Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Five Links of Christmas

My dear friends, over the past few days I've been given the best Christmas gift ever: the gift of energy. Whence this drive to get things done, and then the follow-through? Whence this desire to leave the house and go to the store? Whence this purpose? I dunno, but I'm taking it as a gift from God, and running with it.

Alas, this has been a "getting stuff done" energy, and not a writing drive.  And so although I've bought all my Christmas presents and taken all the kids on errands and finished up several projects I started and kept the house basically clean, I haven't written anything here for a week. And tomorrow we're having people over and it gets busy until Christmas...

Anyway, here's some edifying and educational linkage for you.

 The PNC Christmas Price Index. Those among who must educate younguns or who just enjoy coloring will like the printable coloring pages for each of the twelve gifts from the song.

Culinary Arts
Gingerbread Cuneiform Tablets. I've already made the dough, and today we're going to roll it out and impress upon it some Mesopotamian graffiti.

LATER: Hey it turned out well! I didn't put the crushed red pepper flakes in; instead, I substituted a couple good shakes of cayenne. They look ancient, but they taste fresh.


Will Smith in a cop movie, set in an LA with Orcs and Elves as minorities? Yes, I think so.

About the great locust swarm of 1875 that devastated Laura Ingalls Wilder's family.

The Ingallses had no way of knowing it, but the locust swarm descending upon them was the largest in recorded human history. It would become known as “Albert’s swarm”: in Nebraska, a meteorologist named Albert Child measured its flight for ten days in June, telegraphing for further information from east and west, noting wind speed and carefully calculating the extent of the cloud of insects. He startled himself with his conclusions: the swarm appeared to be 110 miles wide, 1,800 miles long, and a quarter to a half mile in depth. The wind was blowing at 10 miles an hour, but the locusts were moving even faster, at 15. They covered 198,000 square miles, Child concluded, an area equal to the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont combined. “This is utterly incredible,” he wrote, “yet how can we put it aside?” The cloud consisted of some 3.5 trillion insects.

The swarms swept from Saskatchewan to Texas, devouring everything in their path. The grasshoppers savored the sweat-stained handles of farm implements, chewed the wool off sheep, ate the leaves off trees. After flying, settling, consuming, and laying eggs, they began marching across the country, millions massing to form pontoons across creeks and rivers. Hoppers were said to “eat everything but the mortgage.” Terrified, people reached for comparisons, likening the insectile clouds to other natural disasters: snow storms, hail storms, tornadoes, even wildfires. “The noise their myriad jaws make when engaged in their work of destruction can be realized by any one who has ‘fought’ a prairie fire . . . the low crackling and rasping,” read a report from the US Entomological Commission, created by Congress to address the crisis. Even modern scientists stretch for language to convey the swarm’s ferocity, calling it a “metabolic wildfire.” It consumed roughly a quarter of the country.

Excerpted from Prairie Fires: The American Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Sacred Music
O Magnum Mysterium.

Tomorrow we're having a sing at our house, and I hope this will be one of the pieces we work on.

Merry Christmas to you all!

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