A Very Great Thing Happened Here

The Feast of Lights begins at sundown tonight. A rather humorous modern take on the miracle of Hanukkah says, “OK, your phone is down to ten percent and it lasts eight days, until you can find a plug. That’s Hanukkah.”

[Waits for sighing and head-shakes to finish.]

In a way, Hanukkah goes back to Alexander the Great, and the generals who divided his empire after his death. The Greeks recognized that the Children of Israel had an ancient religion (as the Romans would also do, later.) However, they didn’t appreciate certain Jews insisting that their way was the only way and the that Greek administrators could just stay out of the way. Continue reading

Solstice Day and Night

The shortest day of the year, in the Northern Hemisphere, has come. It will not be the coldest. There’s truth in the saying “The days begin to lengthen and the cold begins to strengthen.” But it is the day with the least sunlight. And most of that sunlight comes at a pronounced angle, weakening the effects. We’re in the week when I can go out without sunscreen for almost 45 minutes at mid-day before starting to burn.

It was also a day to be feared, especially in the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Sunrise comes late, sunset arrives early. There’s little time to work if you lack artificial light. And more time for trouble, for things that stalk the night, to do their work. Would the sun return? Or would this be the Fimbulwinter, or some other beginning of the end? Continue reading

Cajun Christmas Humor

No, not a copy of Gaston the Green-nosed Alligator or The Cajun Night Before Christmas. This is worse. 🙂

You can blame sib-in-law’s brother for this one. Anyone who works as a pirate for a living is going to be a little off kilter. (Yes, he captains a pirate ship. For tourists. He’s having the most fun he’s had since he left the Navy.)

New Western Out

No, not mine. Although eventually one might be coming, but it won’t be a straight western like this one. Trust me!

This one is set in my stomping grounds. I’ve read part of it, and it’s goooood. If you like Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, and other great Western writers, it’s one for you.

https://amzn.to/2EjcjlL

What Do You Mean I’m Not 18 Anymore?!?

So, I went to the gym and lifted yesterday.

Ahem. Apparently my bod decided that this was a good week to point out that I’m 1) tired, 2) have already doubled my bench-press this year, 3) hadn’t eaten anything since my low-cal breakfast six hours before (like, 400 calories), and 4) am no longer young enough to do it all.

The fact of having been going non-stop since, oh, September seems to be attacking me as well.

Thppppppth.

Had I but Room Enough, and Time . . .

With apologies to Andrew Marvell.

I grew up reading mythology, folk-lore, and fairy tales, first the kids’ version, then the unexpurgated versions. I still have an interesting selection of mythology, including four volumes of Aboriginal stories about the Dreamtime that are probably irreplaceable, given today’s academic climate.

Several public and school libraries had the Time-Life collection of 21 books about myth, legend, superstitions, and other things. I spent hours reading up on things my imagination probably didn’t need, and a few times gave myself nightmares. Continue reading

Moonrise, Moonset

This time of year we get weeks of beautiful sunrises and sunsets as the jet streams sweep veils of high clouds over the region.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time when I was in Albuquerque just over a month ago. The class had wrapped up a little early because we opted to work through two breaks. So I left the hotel and started trotting uphill toward a restaurant that I knew would be open and be really good, The Range Cafe. The road runs due east-west, and almost dead-ends on Sandia Crest.

Moonrise over Watermelon Mountain.

Continue reading