So. 2020. The start of a new decade. That’s just a bit surreal for me. I can remember wondering if 1984 would turn out anything like the novel. The future did turn out a bit like Orwell’s vision — it just took until 2016 or so to get there. It isn’t so much that Big Brother is watching (although, that too), but how our government corrupts and perverts facts and truth.
Good fiction is insightful about the human condition; good science fiction is insightful about our future. Over time, as advertised, the prescient film Idiocracy goes from SF comedy to anthropological documentary. Many others went from fiction to fact. (Fortunately, at least so far, The Terminator has not.)
Suffice to say, this year will seem surreal in more ways than one.
So. 2019. Another crazy year. I’ve set this post to publish at 6:00 PM my time, which is 00:00 Universal time. By the time you read this, the new year has begun, at least at one spot on Earth. Within 24 hours of posting, it’ll be 2020 for everyone (on the Gregorian calendar, anyway).
It’s not just the end of the year — most see it as the end of a decade, the twenty-teens. The more pedantic say that decades actually run from 1 to 10, so 2001–2010 was the previous decade, and, sorry to rain, but we’re still in the 2011–2020 decade.
But what the hell, odometer parties are a lot more fun!
The Solstice has passed, but Christmas Day is tomorrow, and New Year’s Eve lies just ahead. Another year behind, and 2020 awaits. May it be a good one for you and yours!
My small annual gift, here’s a little Christmas Music for you:
The Winter Solstice was at 04:19 GMT on December 22. For me, in Minnesota, it happened at 10:19 PM CST last night. And today, the first official day of winter, it’s sunny and currently 41° (F) out.
At least we got snow for Christmas. We don’t always.
Ye Olden Tools of Yore
I’ve been meaning to write an Abacus post for years. I used one in my first job, back in high school, and they’ve appealed to me ever since. Many years ago I learned there were people who had no idea how an abacus worked. Until then I hadn’t internalized that it wasn’t common knowledge (maybe a consequence of learning something at an early age).
Recently, browsing through old Scientific American issues before recycling them, I read about slide rules, another calculating tool I’ve used, although, in this case, mainly for fun. My dad gave me his old slide rule from when he considered, and briefly pursued, being an architect.
So killing two birds with one stone…
Maybe it’s seasonal — I really hate the darkness of winter — but I find myself sufficiently discouraged by the debate side of blogging to “hit the mute button” for a while. It isn’t the first time I’ve felt like withdrawing from what too often amounts to a tug-of-war. I didn’t blog at all in 2017, in part, because of that.
For months now I’ve been thinking of ending this blog (or taking another break), but I like having the outlet to express myself. I don’t do Twitter or Facebook or Instagram; I like to write about stuff. Whatever stuff strikes my fancy (which apparently breaks a Blogging Rule about focusing on a single topic).
My problem is that I’m tired of debates that go nowhere.
The Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate here in the USA has some unfortunate overtones regarding its colonial origin. Still, the idea of a festival of thanks is an ancient one — thanks for a good harvest or a good hunt. Or, in our case, thanks for helping us not die last winter.
As with Christmas or the Copenhagen interpretation, we tend to take a “shut up and calculate!” approach to the holidays. “Shut up and shop!” in the case of the Winter Solstice, and “Shut up and give thanks!” today.
One thing we can be very thankful about is patterns…
Put this under someone’s tree…
“You take one out and drink it down,… 98 cans of beer in the case…”
Well, it’s been quite a week! As mentioned in the last post, the coming of fall (which is always bittersweet for me), a bout of miserably muggy weather, and then electrical problems in my home, have all conspired to batter the shores of my equilibrium. But there have been some raisins in the poo pile. This week, stressful though it was, has turned out a good one.
For one, my Minnesota Twins won the AL Central Division last Wednesday! They are going to postseason for the first time since 2010. (The bad news is that it looks like they’ll face the Yankees — who ended the Twins’ postseason in 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2017.)
And my electrical power problems are fixed. (I think.)
Enjoying a nice morning!
I’ve definitely been feeling the wear and tear of my age lately. This past few weeks, especially, a variety of things has conspired to do considerable pounding on my emotional balance. Simply put, it’s been a shitty transition into fall with the looming dark and cold of winter (the Autumnal Equinox was this past Monday).
And since I have an electrician coming tomorrow to try to solve the power outages that have affected half the circuits in my home, it ain’t over yet. On the other hand, counting blessings, the weather is finally fall-like (we had a bout of hot muggy misery last week); I’ve been really enjoying my morning walks; and I read one of the most delightful and brilliant science fiction books.
I’ll tell you about the book this coming Sci-Fi Saturday. Today I thought I’d show you why I love my morning walks!