Darkness Ahead

Ding! It just happened. Summer solstice. My bummer day — the return of darkness as the days start getting shorter. Only three months left of having more day than night.

Welcome to the first day of summer! Standby for winter…

On the other hand, fall means baseball post-season, and it seems reasonable to think my Minnesota Twins will, at least, win the division. (How far they can go very much remains to be seen.)

Unfortunately, “darkness ahead” speaks to more than the fading of daylight — we’re rapidly ramping into Campaign 2020 on all fronts. The forecast isn’t just for darkness, but ugliness, too.

Baseball and political hardball aside, take a moment to enjoy the longest day, the almost ironical “first day” of summer.

I’ll leave you with this: Seven years ago (almost exactly, 6/19/2012), it hailed and I found hailstones outside that looked like this:

Cool, eh?

Stay sunny, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

18 responses to “Darkness Ahead

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    We have a heat advisory here, so I’m ready for the day shortening to begin. (Not that I’m looking forward to the campaign awfulness.)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      That’s right, you live down south! (I read about a place in Ireland that’s suffering such population decline they’re begging people to move there. Lots of incentives, and they have really good internet — they’re trying to attract technology cottage workers. It’s tempting! Depending on how the election goes…)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Europe is occasionally tempting, but I’m actually more averse to cold weather. And as maddening as American politics can be at times, I think I’d find European politics just as maddening. Grass is greener and all that.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        That’s what’s kept from from moving to Ecuador, despite a friend raving about how great it seemed (on paper). And, as you say, problems of nationalism and racism are worldwide.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I’ve heard good things about Ecuador. (Although I always forget about them down there.) But ultimately, as much as it drives me crazy, American culture is my culture, and I think I’d end up missing it if I moved anywhere else.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I wonder how bad it would be if one had a good internet connection. I suppose it depends on how much one goes out for local culture. There are some great breweries and restaurants in the Twin Cities… I’d miss those! And maybe the occasional music concert.

        Yeah, I think I’m stuck here, too. 🙂

        (I did go to Europe on a high school sponsored summer thing. I was in high school and more interested in the high school girls on the same trip, but my general impression was it was old and dirty. I never found much desire to go back, although I wouldn’t mind visiting England. We only flew over it on that trip.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I know if I move the number one criteria is how good the internet is in that neighborhood. Low cost of living and decent parks are huge plus too, but bad internet will veto it no matter how good the others are.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I was wondering why I never really thought about that, but then I realized it wasn’t so much that I’m a city-dweller (and kind of expect decent internet), but that my moves in the era of my life that overlaps the need for internet were all pretty much forced on me. I moved in with my fiance, married her, divorced her and moved out to a rental until I found a condo I liked (this one).

        And, come to think of it, one search criteria was “built fairly recently” with electrical and cable partly in mind… but back in 2003 I don’t think I valued the internet enough to have it in mind consciously. When I worked from home I never needed a lot of bandwidth.

        These days? Hells to the yes! (I no longer even have cable.) I’m looking forward to getting a fiber connection one of these days!

      • rung2diotimasladder

        Like Ireland, Vermont is giving out incentives for people to move there too:

        https://vtdigger.org/2019/05/27/lawmakers-approve-new-move-vermont-incentive-program/

        Fantastic beer and maple syrup. Hell, fantastic food, period. Nice people. Courteous drivers.

        The downside is you’re still in the states, you have to work to get the incentive, and you have to deal with bad internet and hippies. 😉

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I know about the beer (and the syrup). The bad internet would be a real problem. Truth is, if I’m gonna stay in the states (which seems inevitable), I really do love Minnesota. (We got good beer, too!)

        And, of course, we’re the home of the Juicy Lucy — a burger stuffed with cheese.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        The last year or so my friend and I have been doing a monthly “Burgers & Beers” thing where we pick a new place in the Twin Cites that does burgers and check them out. The variety is amazing. Burgers stuffed with all sorts of things, burgers with all sorts of things on them, it’s a whole thing. Everyone has their own signature burgers.

        And beer is a whole thing these days, too. So many great breweries in Minnesota (and elsewhere).

      • rung2diotimasladder

        That sounds like a lot of fun, and it sounds like burgers are you local specialty. I have to say, I’m partial to the Hatch green chili burger which is prevalent throughout NM, but really I’m down for anything with cheese.

        So true about the breweries. It seems like there’s one on every corner these days, which I’m happy about. Gone are the days where you’re stuck drinking Budweiser. Now I’m reminded of the one down the street from here, Dragoon, which is a hidden little gem that a lot of people don’t know about. (By hidden, I mean literally hidden. For years I drove by it and never knew it was there. There’s a tiny little sign, easy to miss, and the brewery is located behind a nondescript office building.) What I like is that you can just order a small sampler glass without getting a whole flight. Perfect for me. I hate begging others to split one with me. And…no commitment! 🙂 You can also get a draft beer canned, to take home. Which for me is nice because I can’t ever drink a whole growler, and I hate to see all the rest of that beer just sitting around going flat.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I think when you live in farmland, people take their meat more seriously. And I don’t know how much of that West Coast “meat is murder” ethic you have in AZ,… it’s virtually non-existent here.

        You got me thinking about how there are basic, what would you call them, “kinds” of food, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, soups, stews, chili, burritos, and many more, that come in endless varieties.

        All the different ways to make spaghetti. And yet they still fall into the “kind” classifications. (Although some do push boundaries or straddle lines. Chili pizza burrito burgers, anyone?)

        FWIW, I’ve decided sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs, are distinct classes. A burger is not a sandwich. A hot dog is especially not a sandwich. (When I chop up some white meat chicken, mix it with BBQ sauce and eat it in a hot dog bun, I’m not sure what that is. A really weird beef-free, pork-free, chili dog, maybe?)

        We can add beer and wine to that list of endless variety within a kind!

        You can always tell a beer initiate: They know what a growler is. 😀

      • rung2diotimasladder

        There’s not much of that “meat is murder” ethic out here. Some, but mainly downtown, and mainly only as an option in a meaty menu.

        The problem is steak. AZ steak is terrible, at least compared with what I’m used to in OK. I just don’t bother looking for a good ribeye anymore. Restaurants here charge the same prices as the best steakhouses in OK, but they’re not the same quality.

        As for kinds of food, I think about these things as a cook, and so I tend to lump seemingly different things together into the same category. It’s important to know about substitutions, unless you enjoy making a lot of trips to the grocery store. So stick it between slices of bread or in a tortillas, whatever. When it comes down to it, I think it’s the sauce that what makes something what it is, not the shape. A jar of hatch green chili and NM red chili just turned my rotisserie chicken into chicken enchiladas. But it could have gone in so many different directions with a different sauce.

        Of course I know about growlers! I love beer, I just can’t drink much anymore. But now you’ve got me thinking I might have to stop by the Dragoon brewery and pick up a can of something on my way back from flamenco class. 🙂

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “The problem is steak.”

        Well, I can see OK having spoiled you! One cool thing about Minnesota, per a PBS special I was watching last night, is that we’re on the boarders of multiple things. Part of three watersheds, one north to Hudson Bay, one east to the Great Lakes, and one south to the Mississippi. Part of three major weather systems, cold from Canada, heat and humidity from the south, and the general weather currents out of the mountains to the west. Also the Midwestern prairie, the deciduous forests to the east, and the pines to the north.

        Also close enough to both coasts to get craft beers from both coasts, although there is so much good beer brewed locally I only bother with my favorites (Stone, Deschutes, Dogfish Head, a few others).

        And, my point being, we get beef from OK and from Chicago, which is nice. Grass-fed versus grain-fed.

        That said, I eat way more pork and chicken than I do beef. Can’t remember the last time I had an actual steak (back when I was married, I think), although (as mentioned) I’ve been exploring the world of craft burgers the last year or so. Probably the most red meat I’ve eaten in quite a while.

        “As for kinds of food, I think about these things as a cook, and so I tend to lump seemingly different things together into the same category.”

        Interesting point. I bet you do. It’s a bit different when one is just on the receiving end. 🙂

        Good point about sauces. Quite a difference between spaghetti with a white sauce versus with a meaty red sauce! And there the shape is basically the same. Likewise a white sauce pizza with roast chicken and a little ham versus the red sauce pepperoni and sausage.

        I do love chicken enchiladas! A long time favorite.

  • Maggie Wilson

    The fact that the first day of summer in North America coincides with the longest day and therefore the days get shorter afterwards… it’s depressing to consider. It’s just plain wrong, in my humble opinion.

    But so is that 2020 date in November. [shudder] I think I’ll focus on what light remains.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, somehow the shortest day being the “first day of winter” doesn’t seem as offensive. (I’m always glad the days will start getting longer!) Especially lately, it’s seemed like winter has been delayed, so winter solstice does sort seem the beginning of winter these days.

      OTOH, July and August are still to come, so there’s some good summer left. (But by August I’m really noticing the shorter days even though they tend to be hot and sweltering around here.)

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