On the Other Side of the Front

Well, the predicted storm front arrived on schedule.  My storm radio blared no less than thirteen warning messages between 4:20 and 6:30 AM, though most of them weren’t relevant for the Lexington area.  The storms themselves were compressed into a thin line; when they arrived at 6:30, they passed over in only five minutes.  In the news reports I checked today, I learned we got off easy, compared with other states.  The only damage reported in Lexington were a few trees and utility poles knocked down.  Two of the poles were near my former workplace; that must have messed up the local traffic.  Now it’s getting colder, so tomorrow we may get snow instead of rain.

As for me, I was still laid low by this flu.  I hope it doesn’t get any worse than this.  I won’t describe the symptoms in detail, I’ll just say that I had to stay inside for yet another day.  I had an appointment to attend a job fair, but obviously I couldn’t go to that; hopefully we can reschedule.  At one point Leive smeared her hot wintergreen oil on me, had me wearing a jacket, scarf and hat, and gave me a strong concoction of lemon tea with too much ginger & cinnamon in it.  This afternoon I realized that I wasn’t taking a strong enough dosage of the cold medicine I had been using, so we’ll see if all this makes a difference.

April in January

That is how the weatherman is describing the current conditions in Kentucky.  Over the past few days it has been warming up from last week’s freeze.  Yesterday the high temperature was 52 degrees, and today it was 66.  Today I went on a minor shopping run, and this was probably the first time in weeks when I could step outside without a jacket.  Unfortunately the balmy spell is scheduled to end tonight, as a big cold front comes in from the west; the front is expected to bring thunderstorms and high winds, followed by more cold temperatures to ring in February.

Alas, I haven’t been able to enjoy the nicer weather much; the main benefit is that it keeps my utility bills from climbing ridiculously high, as they are prone to do in the winter.  I’m still suffering from this flu or whatever that I have had since last Thursday; Leive may still have it, too.  Aside from the aforementioned shopping trip and another quick one on Sunday, I have only stepped out of the house to take out the garbage or check the mail.  I have even skipped the usual church activities and the Monday night LegalShield meeting.  Boy, I sure hope to get over it tomorrow, today was the worst congestion yet.

On the radio, I heard that John Kerry won approval to become the next Secretary of State by a 94-3 vote.  Richard Pryor once said, "The State Department’s job is to foster anti-Americanism and world turmoil, at which it excels.  At least as far as I can discern."  I’ve noted that too, over the past thirty years.  Knowing how Kerry opposed the US war efforts in Vietnam and Iraq, it looks like he is suited for his new job.

The Silicon Valley of the East?

I have lamented in the past that the closest community to here that is known for its high-tech industry is Oak Ridge, TN.  Now it looks like Chattanooga is taking advantage of the fastest Internet connections in the United States to turn itself into one.  We can’t call it another “Silicon Valley” because Chattanooga isn’t in a valley; will Silicon Mountain do?

City turns Internet speeds into jobs | Fox News.

Happy Tu B’Shevat!

TuBShevatTree

Today is a minor Jewish holiday, the 15th day of the month of Shevat.  Here it’s the middle of winter, but in Israel it’s also the earliest day when fruit trees are likely to bloom, so this is the Israeli equivalent of Arbor Day.  You can read more about the holiday here:

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3264/jewish/Tu-BShevat.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_Bishvat

Two Hundred Years Since the River Raisin Battle

Neither one of us went out today.  Not only was their snow on the ground (it snowed this morning), but both Leive and I are ill with a minor cold or flu.  I came down with it yesterday, and Leive got it first, so both of us are recuperating at home.  That’s why I didn’t post a message yesterday; I went to bed early instead.

Earlier this week was the bicentennial of one of the battles in the War of 1812, the River Raisin battle & massacre, also called the battle of Frenchtown.  Fought in southeast Michigan in January 1813, this was an unsuccessful attempt by the Americans to take back Detroit, which had surrendered to the British in the previous summer.  I’m mentioning it here because a lot of the casualties suffered came from the Kentucky Militia, and nine of Kentucky’s 120 counties are named after officers who fought in the battle, so the battle played an important part in the state’s history.  You can read the details here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Frenchtown

Click here for more on Kentucky’s role in the war:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_in_the_War_of_1812

And here is the battlefield’s website:

http://www.riverraisinbattlefield.org/

My Kingdom For Some Bones

My, but King Richard III has been in the news quite a bit over the last few months.  I’ll venture that he hasn’t been in the news this much since his death in 1485.  In case you missed the story, it looks like his bones have been found, generating a controversy over where he should be buried.

Skeleton of Richard III may have been found — but where will it end up? | Fox News.

I expanded a footnote in Chapter 9 of my European history to include the discovery, it now reads as follows:

“Richard III has been a controversial figure ever since. Tudor writers portrayed him as a villain, and in 1995, William Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, was made into a “politically correct” movie, with the king, played by Sir Ian McKellen, wearing a Nazi-style uniform. Even so, many feel he got a bad press, so today there are fan clubs devoted to restoring the good name of Richard III.
The latest news concerning Richard III is the discovery of two skeletons under a Leicester parking lot in 2012; one has been tentatively identified as the fallen king. Supposedly he was buried in a garden at Greyfriars church, but both church and garden disappeared in development of the property over the next five hundred years. If the identification holds up after carbon-14 and DNA testing, the remains will be given a state funeral and reburied in a more fitting location, possibly Leceister Cathedral.”

Unquote:  And here is Richard’s side of the story, sung on the TV show “Horrible Histories.”

 

The Greater Chill Is Here

Previously I said I couldn’t see any rules for the weather here in Kentucky, and longtime residents told me there weren’t any.  Well, it looks like I found a pattern.  For the first part of January the cold isn’t too bad.  Most of the time, even when there is snow, the temperatures are in the 30s and 40s, uncomfortable but acceptable.  Then in the third week of the month, we get a super chiller of a freeze; temperatures approach zero for the rest of January and much of February.

That pattern happened right on schedule this year.  Yesterday an Arctic blast arrived to bring temperatures down to twenty degrees below the normal level for winter around here.  It was 11 degrees this morning, and I don’t think it got even close to freezing today.  Now temperatures are falling again, with tonight’s low forecast at 12.  It will be warmer tomorrow, but for the rest of the week it is only expected to go above freezing on Friday.  I find it all the more amazing that the grass outside is still mostly green; if I took a picture of it, you probably wouldn’t think it was taken in the middle of winter.

I’m thinking of calling the part of winter in December and early January the “Lesser Chill,” which becomes the “Greater Chill” in late January and February.  As for Leive, she is staying with her space heater in a little room upstairs as much as possible.  Forget about asking her to go outside; she claimed she got a chill when she went to the kitchen, where it is currently 67 degrees.