Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Winter

The Solstice has occurred, spectacularly, with a full lunar eclipse.  Cloud cover prevented me from seeing it with my own eyes, but there are plenty of images online.

We are on the upside -- although a frozen driveway is a little inconvenient.  We're expecting more ice and snow.

We recently viewed a movie, Agora, which was about life in 4th Century Alexandria, Egypt.  Hypathia was the main character.  She would have been able to predict the eclipse, as she was a preeminent astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher.   Respected among the elite, she didn't hesitate to consult with the politicians and intellectuals in the cosmopolitan city.  She taught at the Museum of Alexandria, which housed the written treasures of the world prior to being burned down in a struggle for political dominance.  Although history is somewhat debatable when it comes to the details of Hypathia's life, there is no debate that she was influential.  She seemed to be indifferent to religion and is usually considered to have been a Neo-Platonist (philosophy) rather than a "pagan" in the sense that she probably did not worship any gods in the true sense.  Nevertheless, she was murdered by a mob of Christians -- that is not debated. although some have claimed that the reason was more political than religious.
If you are interested in history and especially history which concerns women, you may enjoy this movie.  At any rate, it would be good entertainment while you are cooped up inside with the snow building up.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Can't Remember a Worse December

I can’t remember a worse December.

Just watch those icicles form!
What do I care if icicles form?
I’ve got my love to keep me warm.

For those of you too young to remember this song, you can go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0677H1EPdB0&feature=related and listen to Billie Holiday sing it.

Well, anyway those lyrics were rattling around my brain yesterday -- I've got some strange ability to remember song lyrics.  I figure my brain is full of song lyrics where math ability would normally be.  Sadly, there's just no room for trigonometry.

Those lyrics express the current weather conditions in SW Virginia.  The wind is blowing the cold inside.  We take extra care to feed the animals and give them some comfort, although the goats normally can't wait to be let out to roam the pastures.  Our llama is in his element.

Besides the cold, the indiscriminate use of banjos in the Bluegrass Holiday tunes is an irritant.  Silver Bells sung with a snazzy banjo chorus is NOT my idea of a Bluegrass Christmas and Christmas Time's A-Comin' is NOT authentic, but certainly IS irritating.

Meanwhile, I'm accutely aware of the waning daylight.  We're almost at the solstice, at which time day length will begin it's reverse cycle. 

So, bundle up.  Hunker down.  Put another log on the fire or turn up the thermostat a degree or two.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Into the Deep Freeze We Go

As of December 1st, the mild weather ended.  It was abrupt, but we knew it was coming.  The forecast for the next five days is that temperatures will not go above freezing and it will snow.  As I type, the ground is getting whiter and whiter...

'Good weather for staying inside and reading and writing.

I've just finished reading Lies My Teacher Told Me and I highly recommend it to all who continue to learn.  If you are or were a teacher, do not be put off by the title.  This is a book about how history is taught in U.S. schools -- full of legend and nationalism, but short on factual information.  

As a student of the current political scene, I realize that it is important to understand the past. 

A People's History of the United States is similar in subject matter.  I read it several weeks ago and am glad I did.

I've got a stack of books waiting for me, including quite a few on my Kindle.  So, time to fire up the heated throw and settle down in my nice soft chair and get started.