Today, of course, is the last day of September. For a variety of reasons, it’s always been one of my favorite months, and it’s always bugged me slightly that September — having only 30 days — is one of the short-changed months. August around here is usually hot, muggy and buggy, so I’d be fine with Congress passing a law to give one of August’s days to September.
And pity poor February! Not only stuck with being the shortest month (a month frequently dark and very cold), but saddled with the responsibility of having to keep an eye on the calendar to even know how many days it has!
Perhaps Congress could also declare February to be National February Month!
I wrote in last night’s post that I had a bet riding on today’s college football game between the Minnesota Gophers and the Iowa Hawkeyes. That’s particularly weird, since: (a) I generally never gamble, especially on sports; (2) when it comes to football, I’m pretty much a “superbowl-only” kind of guy; and (iii) I know nothing about college football [apparently a bronze pig, named Floyd, is involved somehow].
Well, weak from the week, I crashed on the couch all morning and missed most of the game. But I did wake up in time to catch the final 58 seconds (actually a rather long time in football). Final score: Minnesota 13, Iowa 31. That means my former boss and I get beer! [Yes, that’s right, I was betting on Iowa.]
Last night I mentioned it was a long story that I’d tell you later. What I didn’t mention was that it involves a great Humphrey Bogart movie, rotary phones, a prolonged discussion of point spreads and a parody of a famous quote.
When I lived in Los Angeles, the usual mode was that Friday nights were for hitting the bar with work friends to shake off the work week. Saturday nights were for parties and/or date nights.
Here in the Midwest, it seems a lot of parties are held on Friday nights (although Saturday nights are still date nights). The thing about that is: (a) I miss those after work outings, and (2) Friday night parties are often kind of low-key because everyone’s tired after a work week. Saturday night you’ve had a chance to charge your batteries, and you’re ready for what comes before Part B.
A very simple Wednesday Wow for today: a glorious picture of the Space Shuttle’s last flight as it flies low over Los Angeles on its way to land at LAX.
As a life-long fan of space and space-flight, and as a long-time former resident of Los Angeles, this both wonderful and poignant. It’s sad that the shuttles will fly no more and even sadder that we’ve bowed out to the space program as much as we have.
As least we’re still exploring Mars.
And the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn was wonderful.
And the New Horizons is halfway to (former planet) Pluto.
But the space shuttle has made its last flight.
Saw something worth sharing on the most excellent Bad Astronomy blog today. It’s a series of images by reddit user, jerfoo. Click the picture below to open a window on the whole thing (it’s very tall and skinny, so restore it to 100% magnification and scroll down as you read the “story’).
It’s a crisp, cool, sunny Sunday, and the Twins just beat the Tigers 10-4 in the first game of what will be a double-header today. (The second game is to make up from being rained out Friday evening.) I’m not pinning high hopes of their winning both games, but they have won both games of the two double-headers played so far this year. It would be lovely if they did win tonight.
On the other hand, that would put the Tigers one more game away from taking the White Sox, and—as do all Twins fans—I hate those pale hose. On the other other hand, even if the Sox do take the pennant, they’ll likely get creamed by the Rangers or Yankees.
(I’m still holding hope the Orioles will take the Yankees. Anyone who’s not an actual Yankee fan hates those pin-stripe guys. “Best baseball team money can buy,” is not a compliment!)
But on this lovely Sunday, it’s awards, not baseball, that I want to write about.
Tonight’s sky holds a half-moon that looks somewhat like the picture on the right. Can you tell me, just by the picture, is the moon getting bigger or getting smaller?
Of course the moon isn’t really changing size. We use the shorthand “bigger” and “smaller” to refer to how much of the moon we see. Or more properly, how much of the moon is illuminated by the sun. Or even more properly, how much of the moon’s surface facing the Earth is illuminated by the sun.
You can see why we often just say it’s getting “bigger” or “smaller!” Or we can use the terms waxing (getting bigger) and waning (getting smaller).
So can you tell, from the picture, is the moon tonight waxing or waning?
Time to lighten the mood!
This edition of Wednesday Wow features a Japanese island that looks like the perfect setting for retirement or for the secret base of a James Bond villain! It also features a nifty way to grow food and art at the same time.
After we visit Japan, we’ll zip out to Saturn for one of my very favorite space photos. It’s one of my more frequent desktop wallpapers. Then, back on Earth, we’ll zoom in close for a microscopic look at a couple of common items and finally end on the real star of today’s Wowishnessosity: a piece of video that’s a ton of fun.
Ready? Let’s go!
This is a post I have mixed feelings about writing. One purpose this blog serves is to document my life and me. It’s a way of leaving something behind, of scrawling, “Kilroy was here,” on the walls of the interweb. There are no children to carry on a legacy, so this is what I have.
If I am to do that honestly, it means writing about the dark, hard stuff as well as the fun, light stuff. I’ve thought about writing this post for a while, but was looking for the right time (which, of course, is just a delaying tactic). Yesterday I mentioned yet another moment of life synchronicity. To the extent I believe the universe “tells” me anything, it’s not hard to imagine it’s suggesting that I post this now.
I’ve been wanting to get back to the drier, more technical stuff, but I’m finding it a challenge to write. There’s research required for one thing, double-checking facts, and sometimes diagrams to find or create. Writing technical material in a way that’s interesting and accessible is tough! The personal stuff flows much more readily. (And doesn’t require the fact-checking!)
So this post is about my alter-ego: Quasimodo.
Feeling kind of down today. Last day of a five-day vacation; the new position swings into full gear tomorrow. Could put a real dent in the fun I’ve been having here in the blogsphere.
Plus, after weeks of sunny weather, it’s totally cloudy and partly rainy. If it’s going to be that way, I want thunder and lightning! “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!”
Adding injury to insult, it seems I’ve once again proved my unfitness to be among the human race; once again intended to help, but caused hurt feelings instead. And per the weird synchronicity that inhabits my life, on the same day, a post on Talk To Diana speaks to that very issue!
I am the poster child for Foot-in-Mouth disease! Quasimodo thinking he can ever find a place among the townspeople.