Whimsy: January 2005 Archives

Happy Homemaker Jan remembers outdoor skating and other winter delights from growing up in the Upper Midwest:

I spent a good part of my childhood in the north: Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. We always had some good snow up there, and snow was never a deterrent for outside play as it seems to be here in Oklahoma. We played outside all day in the snow, coming in only for tomato soup and hot chocolate. ...

As I recall, many friends had small ice skating rinks in their back yards. Before it froze, the rink bottom and sides were laid out (much like a kiddie pool) and it was filled with water. The whole thing was a couple inches deep. When it froze, we would just lace up our skates and go around all afternoon.

That's just a taste -- read it all, and I've posted a comment there, too.

Jan also tells of sharing her love for snowflakes (and snowflake photographs) with her son's kindergarten class.

I'm amazed it's this low

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I am nerdier than 81% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

The summary said:

High-Level Nerd. You are definitely MIT material, apply now!!!

I'll keep that in mind.

(Found via Joseph Hertzlinger, who is much nerdier than I am.)

Next month it falls on a Sunday

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PogoPossum.com, the official website of the classic Walt Kelly comic strip, is celebrating its first anniversary of operation by presenting the original 1955 strips in which we learn of Churchy La Femme's inordinate fear of Friday the 13th, which is more or less lucky depending on what day of the week it falls on in a given month. (Yes, you read that right.) The site also tells us how Kelly came up with the idea:

Some time in 1955, Walt and Helen Kelly were dining in a favorite restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut with their children -- Kathy, Carolyn and Peter, as well as Kathy's thirteen year old friend, Janet Safarik.

As usual with Walt around, the conversation engaged everyone and covered many subjects. At one point, Janet -- in reply to something long forgotten -- stated, "Well! At least, Friday the Thirteenth falls on a Saturday this month!"

Walt's ears pricked up and his full attention went to Janet. He was delighted! They discussed her concept deeply for a few moments and Walt thoughtfully made some notes on a napkin.

In February 2005, Friday the 13th falls on a Sunday, and I don't remember whether that's lucky or not.

Red dirt ranger

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As a resident of Oklahoma's Green Country, where our dirt is a lovely dark brown and we enjoy an abundance of non-Martian vegetation, I can laugh at this item on Sean Gleeson's blog.

One question for the scientists involved: Weren't the tumbleweeds and prairie dogs a tip-off that something was amiss?

...when the gate agent looks at your eyes and says, "I'm sorry, sir, but you're going to have to check those."

And so to bed

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Putting my blogroll in recent-update order has called my attention back to blogs I marked long ago, but haven't read in a while.

You may have noticed a couple of dead bloggers on the blogroll. One of them is Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist of 17th century London. His blog posts the entry from his diary for today's date, 343 years ago.

Here's his entry for January 5, 1661/1662:

(Lordís day). Left my wife in bed not well . . . and I to church, and so home to dinner, and dined alone upon some marrow bones, and had a fine piece of rost beef, but being alone I eat none. So after dinner comes in my brother Tom, and he tells me how he hath seen the father and mother of the girl which my cozen Joyces would have him to have for a wife, and they are much for it, but we are in a great quandary what to do therein, 200l. being but a little money; and I hope, if he continues as he begins, he may look out for one with more. To church, and before sermon there was a long psalm, and half another sung out while the Sexton gathered what the church would give him for this last year. I gave him 3s., and have the last week given the Clerk 2s., which I set down that I may know what to do the next year, if it please the Lord that I live so long; but the jest was, the Clerk begins the 25th psalm, which hath a proper tune to it, and then the 116th, which cannot be sung with that tune, which seemed very ridiculous. After church to Sir W. Battenís, where on purpose I have not been this fortnight, and I am resolved to keep myself more reserved to avoyd the contempt which otherwise I must fall into, and so home and six and talked and supped with my wife, and so up to prayers and to bed, having wrote a letter this night to Sir J. Mennes in the Downs for his opinion in the business of striking of flags.

Some things I found interesting in this short entry:

  • Samuel thinks his brother ought to hold out for a wife with a bigger dowry -- more than 200 pounds, which seems a pretty substantial sum for the time.
  • Money is collected for the clergy's pay only once a year, and Pepys gave a grand total of 5 shillings (1/4 of a pound) for the clerk and sexton. (I assume that the church received more substantial funds from the state and from wealthy patrons.)
  • The problem of church musicians choosing unsingable melodies or matching words with an ill-fitting tune has been around for a very long time.

The site is updated nearly every day, and each entry is generously annotated with hyperlinks for more information about the places and people Pepys writes about. It's a fascinating look into another time and place, but one that is not entirely foreign or incomprehensible.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Whimsy category from January 2005.

Whimsy: December 2004 is the previous archive.

Whimsy: February 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

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