Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by Front-Ranger on Yesterday at 09:37:02 pm »
Bacchus?
2
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by serious crayons on Yesterday at 06:52:54 pm »
It always amazes me that the USA, being so much more religious than Australia or NZ does not have Good Friday as a public holiday. Over here no business or supermarkets are allowed to open. In Dunedin there is no pubic transport. Only small family businesses and petrol stations operate. Easter Sunday is similar but not so restrictive. Last year a law was passed in parliament allowing city councils to decide about businesses operating on Easter Sunday. Dunedin voted to remain closed. The only other similar days are Christmas day and the morning of Anzac day. I would have been horrified if expected to teach on Good Friday.

I think it's as simple as the separation of church and state commanded by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Not only can they not declare a religious holiday a legal holiday but they can't put a soldier's memorial in a public park. That happened in a rural town of 7,000 that I covered for the newspaper. They let a veterans' group put up a little memorial and it was of a soldier kneeling at a grave, and the sculpture had a big cross on it.

Someone on the city council thought that might be seen as mingling church and state, so they removed the memorial. Then protesters picketed the decision and filled the town with Popsicle-stick crosses. So the city put the monument back.

Then the Satanic Temple got involved. They insisted on being able to put up a monument of their own. So the city declared a small portion of the park a place for rotating memorials that would stand for a few months apiece. The city said OK to the Satanists, which then of course led to more local protests. So the city council killed the whole idea. So -- and this is where I came in to report the story -- the Satanic Temple was suing the city for reneging on its promise, because they'd already constructed the memorial.

When first assigned this story I said I thought there's no such thing as real Satanists, that nobody sincerely worships a figure of evil, that people who call themselves Satanists were poseurs who want to be scary and contrarian like the band Black Sabbath or something. Well, turns out I was partly right, except that the Satanic Temple itself doesn't seriously claim to worship or even believe in any non-scientifically-provable figures, such as Satan. Their whole purpose is to combat mingling of church and state, as they explain on their website and as I heard when I talked to the co-founder on the phone.

Basically they're the ACLU with a more provocative and attention-grabbing approach. The Temple is based in NYC and is subject of a recent documentary. The monument they made to put in the small town was, I thought, tasteful: a black stone cube etched with a pentagram and topped with an upside-down soldier's helmet.

This little town was literally the first place they would have ever put a monument of any kind. But while the city wavered back and forth they got in a similar spat in Chicago and in that case their monument was a giant sculpture of a goat-headed man. Maybe some of you know who this figure is -- something that starts with B, I believe. Far less tasteful than the other one, IMO.

3
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by Jeff Wrangler on Yesterday at 06:16:28 pm »
It always amazes me that the USA, being so much more religious than Australia or NZ does not have Good Friday as a public holiday. Over here no business or supermarkets are allowed to open. In Dunedin there is no pubic transport. Only small family businesses and petrol stations operate. Easter Sunday is similar but not so restrictive. Last year a law was passed in parliament allowing city councils to decide about businesses operating on Easter Sunday. Dunedin voted to remain closed. The only other similar days are Christmas day and the morning of Anzac day. I would have been horrified if expected to teach on Good Friday.

I guess the cultural imperative to have Christmas as a holiday is so strong as to override other concerns. I have no idea why the change in status of Good Friday was made. I know only the situation where grew I was raised. The US may be a great deal more religious than Australia and New Zealand, but perhaps somebody decided that having Good Friday as a holiday amounted to an unconstitutional favoring of one religion--Christianity--over others. Nobody so far as I know has ever had a holiday for the Jewish High Holy Days, for example.

Of course Easter Sunday isn't an issue because it's always a weekend.

It continues to surprise me that we do not have a holiday for Veterans Day (Nov. 11). Government offices are closed, mail is not delivered, and, at least in Pennsylvania, liquor stores are closed, but for the rest of us, it's business as usual.
4
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by brian on Yesterday at 04:46:21 pm »
It always amazes me that the USA, being so much more religious than Australia or NZ does not have Good Friday as a public holiday. Over here no business or supermarkets are allowed to open. In Dunedin there is no pubic transport. Only small family businesses and petrol stations operate. Easter Sunday is similar but not so restrictive. Last year a law was passed in parliament allowing city councils to decide about businesses operating on Easter Sunday. Dunedin voted to remain closed. The only other similar days are Christmas day and the morning of Anzac day. I would have been horrified if expected to teach on Good Friday.

5
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by Jeff Wrangler on Yesterday at 04:37:44 pm »
I was a very overweight kid.

:o :o I didn't know that.

In 13 f'in years I don't believe I've seen you mention it (not that I've read every single post you've ever written, of course).

Yes, I was, and here's the weird thing. There is a stereotype of people gaining "the Freshman ten" pounds when they go off to college. Instead, I lost weight, a lot of weight. But it's all come back in, oh, about 40 years.  ;D
6
The Culture Tent / Re: Music News
« Last post by serious crayons on Yesterday at 04:14:22 pm »
I'm not the hugest fan of either Madonna or Bruce (I like them fine, just not intensely) but it's nice to see boomers ruling the chart.

I heard the other day that "boomer" has become a derogatory name even for people who were born long after 1964. A writer at the weekly alternative paper, now owned by the regular daily newspaper where I work, wrote something that I guess some young person deemed fogey-ish and was called a "boomer." He's 31. So he's not even the oldest millennial.


7
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by serious crayons on Yesterday at 04:06:41 pm »
Here in Colorado, school starts in early to mid-August! for Pete's sake. But there's a break in October for a few days. It was set by the teacher's union.

We have that, too. It's called MEA, for Minnesota Education Association, which holds its convention then. We have had that since I was in elementary school, and probably long before. It's taken on a life of its own as a holiday because it's usually like Wednesday through Friday. So people with kids plan trips out of town "during MEA."


I was a very overweight kid

 :o :o I didn't know that.

In 13 f'in years I don't believe I've seen you mention it (not that I've read every single post you've ever written, of course).

8
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by Jeff Wrangler on Yesterday at 01:49:13 pm »
Then for a while I suppose it was because schools lacked air conditioning, and also that waiting until after the holiday helped protect resorts and tourism -- obviously lots of families liked taking trips around Labor Day (first Monday in September, Brian) to get the extra day off. So for a long time the state required schools to wait until after the holiday. Then at some point that law was lifted and schools started opening the week before Labor Day or even into late August, which I find abhorrent. The classrooms are still hot because many schools still don't have AC. The start of school is also a really strong cultural/psychological signal of the beginning of fall. Let's not make fall come any earlier than it has to, Legislature.

In Pennsylvania it can be beastly hot in September. I remember once when I was in junior high school, and I was a very overweight kid, it was so hot in school that I arrived home clearly suffering from heat exhaustion. My mother had me sit in a bathtub of tepid water till I cooled down.

Not only do schools lack air conditioning, or even fans, they also lack even cross ventilation because, of course, one of wall a classroom is windows, but the other is a solid wall.
9
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by Front-Ranger on Yesterday at 01:22:01 pm »
Here in Colorado, school starts in early to mid-August! for Pete's sake. But there's a break in October for a few days. It was set by the teacher's union. Also, school is not out until the first week of June, not before Memorial Day as it was when I was in school.

The weather here has been crazy wet and cool. A measure of summer is when Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mtn. National Park opens. They almost made the Memorial Day traditional start time with snowplows working overtime. But then they had to close down the road last week (mid-June!) because of more new snow.

I'm getting a little worried about taking off for Wyoming this Thursday. Might have to put chains on the Crimson Chariot. . .that's what I call my car.
10
The Polling Place / Re: How are you spending the summer solstice?
« Last post by serious crayons on Yesterday at 12:31:22 pm »
Reminds me that one of our local TV meteorologists has spoken several time of "meteorological seasons." Apparently for whatever reason, meteorologists think of seasons by the calendar months. Winter is December, January, and February,;spring is March, April, and May; summer is June, July, and August; and fall is September, October, and November.

I think most people do. If the weather has been warm or hot, flowers are blooming, garden vegetables producing, they've been to the beach, etc., they don't, on June 21, say, "Ah, summer is here at last!" and they don't say "finally, fall has begun!" if they've been crunching through red and gold leaves for the past few weeks.
 
In New Orleans, it's summery hot through September and trees don't turn colors or lose their leaves, so I guess there the 23rd makes a little more sense.

That is what is officially accepted here, newspaper and TV news will say on June 1. "Today is the first day of winter."  In fact this year there was a lot of comment about Winter coming right on time. May 30 was max temp 15'C and I do not think there had been a day when it did not reach 14'C through all of May. Then on May 31 the max was 9'C and June 1st, max 7'C.

In your post, I had to stop and translate each of the temps into F, then would get thrown by the upside-down seasons. When I saw you say May was in the 60s I thought, brrr, that IS cold for May, but then of course I realized you were saying it was WARM for May and had to remind myself that your May is the opposite of my May.  :laugh:

It must have been hard to teach natural science if you had to constantly go through all of those calculations!  :laugh: :laugh:

Our winter started extremely late, too. In December and January it was above 0'C most days. It would dip below 0'C at night, so lakes froze to a heavy but clear ice, easily thick enough to hold a person in most places, smooth on top because it would melt and refreeze every day. So people were ice skating like crazy. People who hadn't skated in years were buying or renting skates and lacing them on. On one big lake near here that has multiple cities on its shores, they were ice skating across the lake for lunch or a beer or to go to a movie!

Then at the very end of January the temperature plunged well into the double-digit below 0'C. One day the high was minus 25'C. And in February, the snowfall not only broke the all time record -- it broke the record by more than a third of a meter. So the whole winter was weird.

I wrote a few weather stories for the newspaper so I talked to meteorologists a lot. One said our winters are warming much faster than our summers. By about half a degree C a decade, which didn't sound too drastic to me -- and if anything it's welcome since I hate cold weather -- but apparently it's actually pretty dire and catastrophic.


"In my day," the schools in the region where I grew up did not open until after Labor Day (first Monday in September in the U.S.), sometimes the very next day.

In my day, too. I guess originally it had something to do with the planting season, having kids home to help with the farm, but even that seems odd because harvesting goes well into September.

Then for a while I suppose it was because schools lacked air conditioning, and also that waiting until after the holiday helped protect resorts and tourism -- obviously lots of families liked taking trips around Labor Day (first Monday in September, Brian) to get the extra day off. So for a long time the state required schools to wait until after the holiday. Then at some point that law was lifted and schools started opening the week before Labor Day or even into late August, which I find abhorrent. The classrooms are still hot because many schools still don't have AC. The start of school is also a really strong cultural/psychological signal of the beginning of fall. Let's not make fall come any earlier than it has to, Legislature.

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10