Wednesday, February 01, 2006

February is for Lovers*

Yes folks, it's here, the most romantic holiday in the calendar year. I'm two weeks early you say? Not at all -- today is (drumroll)


Now, you might well ask What could possibly be so romantic about Groundhog Day? I submit the following as evidence:
  • My parents were married on Groundhog Day (February 2nd).
  • My husband and I became engaged on Groundhog Day.
  • A good friend (I'll leave it up to that person to choose whether or not to identify him or herself) also celebrates their anniversary on Groundhog Day.

Tomorrow morning, while Punxsutawney Phil is being yanked mercilessly out of his cozy burrow to satisfy the folkloric superstitions of a bunch of fool humans, several of that sorry bunch (fool humans) will be gearing up for a day of romantic remembrance. Perhaps we were inspired by the humble, cuddly (poetic license exercised here) groundhog. Or maybe we just couldn't wait 12 more sunrises for the day of hearts and roses to arrive. Personally, I think it's just because the whole month of February is for lovers, and we should kick it off as early as possible. OK,OK -- full disclosure on my true personal story here; our first opportunity for a romantic dinner out after the purchase of the ring happened to fall on Groundhog Day.

Just for the record, February 2nd is also the holiday of Candlemas, something I know because of enigmatic references to the day in British literature and romance novels. According to the article I've referenced, Groundhog Day has it's origins in Candlemas:

"In the British Isles, good weather at Candlemas is taken to indicate severe winter weather later. It is also the date that bears emerge from winter hibernation to inspect the weather as well as wolves, who if they choose to return to their lairs on this day is interpreted as meaning severe weather will continue for another forty days at least. In the United States and Canada, Candlemas evolved into Groundhog Day celebrated on the same date.The earliest American reference to Groundhog Day can be found at the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center at Franklin and Marshall College:

February 4, 1841 - from Morgantown, Berks County (Pennsylvania) storekeeper James Morris' diary..."Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate." [1]

So Happy Groundhog Day, Happy Candlemas, and Happy Anniversary to all!

*Just a footnote: I'm posting this late in the day on 2/1 because I won't have a chance to publish again until late on 2/2.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Just a few random Who questions to post tonight:

1. WHO took my remote control??? I have looked everywhere for it, it is nowhere to be found.

2. WHO is unlikely to be
spending any political capital during the State of the Union speech tonight?

3. WHO had the shortest auto repair in history this evening? OK, that's a faux question, it was I! The driver's side windshield wiper was out of order. Turned out they just had to tighten a screw. Wonder if it would have been that simple if the car was not still under warranty...

4. WHO stayed home from work today with a nasty borderline migraine headache/wooziness/etc.? OK, I know the answer to that one, too. 'Twas I, alas. Thank goodness for my generic brand headache formula pain reliever, and lots of sleep in a dark, quiet room!

5. WHO's the king of animals in Africa? OK, really off track now. It's my beloved
Kimba, of course!

6. WHO had better find that remote control right now, before the State of the Union speech begins? Gotta be ready to change the channel quickly if the blood boils. Yes, I know we didn't always have remote controls, that we used to get up off our butts and change the channel by hand. But that was a lot easier to do when tv's had dials (so many of you probably don't remember tv's with dials) than it is with an up and down button that changes one channel at a time, in sequence.

OK, now
CNN is talking about dedicated survivors, the government officials who will not attend the shindig tonight just-in-case-of-disaster. They will be taken to a secure, remote location, and will ensure that the government can continue to operate if a disaster wipes out congress, the Pres, and the VP in one fell swoop. This just might be the most interesting discussion of the evening.

Kudos to CNN, by the way, for bringing fresh blood to their news team from the UK and Australia, and having field reporters from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Maybe one day they'll be as good at hard news as the BBC.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What a Zoo

We took a quick trip to the zoo on Saturday. Not the Philly zoo, we weren't up for that much travel this weekend. We headed out for Cape May in the afternoon. On the way to Cape May, we had a change of heart and stopped off at the zoo in Cape May Court House instead. For those of you who don't know Cape May County very well, Cape May Court House really is the name of the town. And yes, the county courthouse is right there in the center of town.

Anyway, it was a bit on the late side when we walked into the zoo. We had just under an hour for our visit. That's OK, since we're local and we can go back any time. Admission is free.

I had my digicam with me, so I took some pics. The light wasn't the best, since the sun was starting to set. Most of my shots seemed to be backlit, which is fatal to quality. If I had known we were going to the zoo, I might have taken my 35 mm with me. The digicam has that tiny bit of shutter lag that makes getting good pics of animals a challenge. Not a problem for things that don't move (the beach in Cape May, Victorian mansions), but not great with living creatures who refuse to pose.

So here they are, a few of the creatures great and small at the
Cape May County Zoo:

The Snowy Owl

Prairie Dogs

Blooming Things

The Tiger

Some Kind of Hog/Boar/Pig

A Camel

Oh, Deer


Ginger with Ruffled Feathers


A Tiny Goat, I Think!

We didn't make it over to the African Savannah to see my favorites, the giraffes. Maybe next time!