M'aidez!

By: Bogon , 1:58 PM GMT on April 26, 2012

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The rising and setting sun shines on the north wall of the house now. There are no dark corners left in the world.

It is the time of one of the cross-quarter days, the one that ends spring and begins summer. Half a year from Halloween, it has been named Beltane or Walpurgis Night or May Day. It lies midway between spring equinox and summer solstice. Astronomers reckon that (in the northern hemisphere) it falls near the end of the first week of May, but most of those who celebrate the tradition do so by the first of the month.

Halloween is all about death and deformity. May Day lies on the opposite side of the year, and its emphasis is just the opposite. May Day affirms life and fertility. Maybe it's just me, but those things seem much more worth celebrating than Halloween weirdness. I'll always wonder why we, here in America, send our children out in grotesque costumes each fall, while Walpurgis Night passes unremarked. That choice betokens a curious kind of negativism in our culture. I invite you to reconsider how that should work.



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Hi, BC. (I know, I said I wouldn't call you that, but now I've seen you refer to yourself by your initials. I'm relying on that precedent.)

People go to movies for different reasons. Mostly, I guess, it depends on the flick. If I went to a screening of a Shakespearean tragedy I would have different expectations than I would for this product of Marvel Comics.

My college English lit professor might claim that the same rules of analysis could be applied to either. Even the comics have something to say about archetypes and human nature. In general one would not expect the comic book to be uplifting or for the analysis to require a lot of thought.

In academic circles Shakespeare has a stellar reputation, whereas comic books are regarded askance. I'm more open-minded than that. If the comic book tale were four hundred years old, and Shakespeare were the Johnny-come-lately, would the verdict still be the same?
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3726
51. BriarCraft
12:42 AM GMT on May 08, 2012
Thanks for the movie review. Your "two thumbs up" criteria matches mine. I don't particularly want a movie to require analysis; I want to be entertained. That usually means some combination of action, adventure, an understandable plot, laughter, suspense, special effects, and/or just plain fun. And last but not least, a satisfying or happy ending -- no heartbreak or cliffhangers for me.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 82 Comments: 4115
50. Bogon
9:20 PM GMT on May 06, 2012
Hi, ycd.

Kids of a certain age would love this movie, boys probably more than girls. There's no sex to speak of. There's a good deal of violence, but it's against evil alien critters that are trying to destroy the world. There is no moral ambiguity. The violence and alien monsters might give very young kids nightmares.
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49. ycd0108
5:19 PM GMT on May 06, 2012
Bogon:
Good to know you got rain.
Maybe I'll take my grand kids to that movie.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 179 Comments: 4637
48. Bogon
3:01 PM GMT on May 06, 2012
Seeing as how this is ostensibly a weather blog and all, I reckon I should make some report of recent local weather. To make a long story short, the peculiar combination (detailed in commment 45) worked. It rained. The weather station at the local airport recorded upwards of two inches.

Sadly there's not much more that I can add. I don't operate a personal weather station. In this case I can't act as eyewitness, either, because when the storm passed, Wife and I were inside a dark theater taking in The Avengers. It was hot and dry when we went in, cool and moist when we came out. Almost unbelievable, actually.

We did not see the Kentucky Derby.

We missed out on the supermoon, too, because it was cloudy last night. It's still cloudy now, though rain chances have dwindled to zero.

The best I can do, under the circumstances, is to offer my services as movie critic. Two thumbs up from Wife and me. We were entertained, which, as I understand it, is the desired reaction — the reason why one would bother to attend a cinematic presentation of this nature. After the movie we went to a restaurant for an early dinner, and we spent the whole meal discussing various aspects of the flick. Yes, I would see it again.
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47. Bogon
11:19 AM GMT on May 05, 2012
Thanks, Rob. Dry so far.
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46. RobDaHood
10:55 PM GMT on May 04, 2012
Quoting Bogon:
...Hope springs eternal. It's better than nothing.

LOL
I know the feeling.
Good luck!
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45. Bogon
10:07 PM GMT on May 04, 2012
According to the forecast discussion out of Raleigh, we're going to have a trough axis and one or more mesoscale perturbations, followed by a back door cold front.

Put all that together and it adds up to rain chances, which max out at 50% tomorrow afternoon.

Hope springs eternal. It's better than nothing.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3726
44. Bogon
1:02 PM GMT on May 04, 2012
ycd - "Philosophy of Computers"? Cool! I must say I have a hard time thinking of computers as philosophical. To me they're cool and logical like Mr. Spock.

It seemed to amuse creator Roddenberry to repeatedly test that. Spock, in the original Star Trek series, was half human. Human emotions kept interfering with his dispassionate Vulcan philosophy. In Next Generation it was Mr. Data the android, who had a bad case of Pinocchio complex. I don't know whether that was acquired or designed in from 'birth'. I suspect it may have been part of the design, intended to make Data's personality more engaging to humans, i. e. viewers of the series. To me Data was more intriguing when he asserted himself. Spock survived his testing and became quite sure of who and what he was. He kept his cool, and despite his Vulcan training he developed a healthy respect for the limitations of pure logic.

Interesting that you should remember the name of the course. As a rule I tend not to remember the titles of the courses I've taken. I might remember that one, though, if it had ever been listed in my school's catalog.

Rob - It's not only Ziva that draws Wife's attention. It's the whole schmear. There's the geeky Goth girl Abby and the cheeky agent DiNozzo. There's Ilya Kuryakin and good ol' Jethro. What's not to like? Heck, I like it. I just don't watch that much television. Even nifty commercial-free shows like Nova get lost in the haze. I forget to turn on the set.

One new show that makes the cut is Game of Thrones on HBO. I didn't find out about it until the first season was done, but I caught up during the reruns. It's available on demand from our service provider, so I don't have to remember when it comes on.

When I think of computer books, one that made an impression on me was The Mythical Man-Month by Fred Brooks. Of course, I haven't run across that many (non text-) books on that sort of subject. Books on computer design or software engineering are not exactly flying off the shelves.

At one time I subscribed to Byte, PC, and Dr. Dobb's Journal. After a while Byte ceased publication, and I let PC lapse, because I felt that I had learned most of what it had to say. Finally I dropped DDJ when most of its contributors started discussing a brave new world of topics in which I had no interest. The end of an era for me.

At no time did I feel that I was on top of the world of computing. Every time I started feeling like that, Microsoft would release a new version. They always crowed about increased productivity, but how can you be productive, when they keep yanking your tool set out from under you? It all came to a head when they discontinued Visual Basic and released .NET. I know, there is a VB flavor of .NET, and I pursued that for a while, but it left me feeling like a rat on one of those spinning treadmills.

I'm off the freakin' merry-go-round now, and it feels good to have both feet back on the ground.

sp - Kluge, subtitled "The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind"

Sounds about right. One could write about the haphazard evolution of the entire human body. The mind is a good place to start, though, because that is where we hang our hat, so to speak.

It 'May' come to pass that I will find time to look up that Hawthorne story, but don't hold your breath. I appreciate the suggestion, but I'm booked up. I really need to get out of here and deal with some Real Life. All my comments today are perforce going to be short shrift.

ycd - Back so soon? Oh, I guess it has been a while. Chores on my end. Trying to beat the heat as I maintain my House.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3726
43. ycd0108
1:58 AM GMT on May 04, 2012
Rob:
Well it was Tom Wolfe who wrote the other books (had to ask Tloml).But I'm pretty sure Kidder wrote "House".
We (carpenters) read it and figured he was a bit of a dilettante and figured we should write the sequel but the only writer that worked with us blew himself out before we got started (on the sequel - we built lots of houses together). But Wolfe's "Electric Kool-aid Acid Test" was good fun. I think that's where I got the "dilettante" idea from - Kesey figured Wolfe never imbibed
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 179 Comments: 4637
42. sp34n119w
5:30 PM GMT on May 03, 2012
Not fully following the convo but ...
I happened across a reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne's story The Maypole of Merry Mount and read it last night. It mentions morrice dancers. The different spelling suggests, perhaps, an etymology that does not include Moors.
The story is in Twice Told Tales and can be read directly by clicking on "HTML" and scrolling down to the appropriate page (or click on the title in the ToC).

"Kluge" is the title of a recent book that is not about computers, exactly.


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41. RobDaHood
3:06 AM GMT on May 03, 2012
Just read back and caught the mention of NCIS.
Arrrrrgh!

I swear Angie has had to have seen every episode at least 37 times! Okay, Ziva is not THAT fascinating!
:o)

The aforementioned book was pretty cool for it's fast and loose management style, which was unheard of at the time.

Yeah, I was one of those high school geeks who subscribed to to WSJ, Computer Shopper, and BYTE. My high school girlfriend just smiled and grinned as I plunked down $1000 for a TRS-80 mod3 and I think 69 bucks extra for the "digital" cassette deck.
(which I later adapted to a 7 inch reel to reel)

But, she really got into it when she started conversing with ELIZA. (they had some dirty conversations)

So, the terms TRS-80, S-100, BASIC, C , and some other stuff aforementioned may strike a chord with you.

Was a fun and exciting time. 10-15 years ago, I knew most everything worth knowing about computers...now...not so much. Getting hard to keep up.
Member Since: September 2, 2008 Posts: 97 Comments: 32394
40. ycd0108
2:53 AM GMT on May 03, 2012
Dunno where it went but I worked up a scintilating post about "The Soul of a New Machine". It was required reading in a CS401 course "Philosophy of Computers" which I passed in '83. Kidder wrote a book called "House" as well. Come to think: maybe he wrote some other stuff like "Jousting With Sam and Charlie" Or maybe I'm thinking of "what's his name?" the guy that got fame from "Masters of the Universe"
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39. Bogon
2:01 AM GMT on May 03, 2012
BriarCraft, what I would like to know is how Morris (or Moorish) dancers came to be associated with the first of May.

Those are my favorite questions: how and why. In school there was a whole lot of what. Sometimes, as in history class, they talked about who and when. Geography was about where.

As far as I know, there have never been any Moors, dancing or otherwise, in Norway and certainly not in Minnesota. There could have been a few passing through from time to time, but there were never large numbers of them hanging around long enough to influence the culture (as they did in Spain).

Rob, I missed that book somehow. I wonder if I could still find it at the library? The name Tracy Kidder sounds vaguely familiar, but I'm not sure why.

I first heard the word ‘kluge’ with reference to hardware. I'm talking general electronics, not specifically computers. This would have been in the late '70s, before PCs hit the market. I worked on a few computers back then, some of them by Data General. But they were a far cry from the box sitting under my desk tonight.
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38. RobDaHood
11:12 PM GMT on May 02, 2012
Just the fact that I knew the meaning of kluge tells me that I have been messing about with computers for far too long.
:o)

I think maybe the first time I came across it was in The Soul of a New Machine, a fascinating book at the time.
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37. BriarCraft
9:16 PM GMT on May 02, 2012
Morris dancing to bring in the May... Very strange. You outdid yourself on that one. And kept a straight face while doing it? Really??

evidently, it's alive and well in Minnesota
Of course, they are mostly crazy Norwegians, so it's understandable. (I know, because my husband and his family are from Many-snow-ta.)

Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 82 Comments: 4115
36. Bogon
12:08 PM GMT on May 02, 2012
Prose - The Puritans came to America to obtain religious freedom. Freedom... to do what? Burn witches? Ban the Maypole? They had no time for frivolity.

Skye - Your cat had legitimate business on the roof, but what goes up must come down.

The video shows “Morris dancers”, which the jocular interlocutor conjectures should be (or once were) called Moorish dancers. I suspect that there is much more about May Day that has been lost in translation, thanks to e. g. the Puritans.

Barefoot - Long time no see! I hope that's not a distress signal. We're all about May here, not dismay.

sp - Ah, the Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson is the putative carrier of a scalar field. The Higgs field, if it exists, would be the only scalar field known to physics. It was postulated to solve a theoretical problem, not a real one. Therefore, if the physicists at CERN are unable to find a Higgs particle, I will not be disappointed. I have always thought that the Higgs mechanism sounded like a kluge.

Alas, my hopes for May Day got lost in translation, too. My wife did not get home until quite late in the evening, whereupon she had no time for frivolity. She wanted to watch NCIS.


There was a disturbance in the flow over southern Virginia last night. A wave of rain showers propagated southward behind it. Eventually the showers extended west to east right across North Carolina. There was, however, a small gap in the middle of that line, and guess what? The Dry Slot missed out again.
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35. sp34n119w
9:16 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
A bit of physics magic for you, Bogon, courtesy of apod.

How is the a-maying going? :)
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34. Barefootontherocks
5:14 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
May Day!
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33. Skyepony (Mod)
4:51 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
Straight face or not..great homeschooling history for the day. Thanks!

Walpurgis Night~ Forgot about that. Probably why she refused to come off the roof & come in lastnight.
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32. Proserpina
2:01 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
Maying definitely leads to mischief! :)

Ps Oh those Puritans! They sure missed a lot of fun!
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31. Bogon
1:56 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
Note that I'm trying very hard to post this with a straight face.



I wish I might, I wish I may...

Now off we go. Happy May Day!
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30. RobDaHood
1:49 PM GMT on May 01, 2012


John Collier - Queen Guinevre's Maying

Happy May Day!

Actually, when I was in elementary school here in Florida, we celebrated may day every year. The weather was usually perfect for the whole school to spend the day outside, competing in things like sack races, 3 legged races, etc., and there would be a May Pole.

I guess that's been a while ago.
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29. Bogon
1:23 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
Proserpina, thank you for contributing another poem.

The thing that attracts my eye is the word ‘may’ used as a verb. The green-garbed members of court went a-maying. I must say, I don't know exactly what that entails. Wouldn't be at all surprised if it led to mischief. :o)

Now I think perhaps I should go maying — just to see what I've been missing.
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28. Proserpina
12:28 PM GMT on May 01, 2012
Queen Guinevere's Maying

"For thus it chanced one morn when all the court,
Green-suited, but with plumes that mocked the may,
Had been, their wont, a-maying and returned,
That Modred still in green, all ear and eye,
Climbed to the high top of the garden-wall
To spy some secret scandal if he might,"


A scene from Malory, as recast by Tennyson in his 'Idylls of the King' (1859). In the relevant poem, 'Guinevere', the cheerful pointlessness of a May Day procession quickly leads to something less innocent....
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27. Bogon
9:12 AM GMT on May 01, 2012
You put your finger on the problem, ycd, Even if we relied on wireless services for communications, we would still need electric service. Fewer wires but not zero.

As we transition to a more sustainable future, we'll come to rely on a more distributed electric generation system. More individual consumers will have solar collectors or windmills on their roof. Only the most determined will be weaned from the grid altogether.

My neighborhood was built with underground utilities. The only poles in view support street lights. Power for the lights climbs each pole from below. It's likely we would have chosen this home anyway, but after living here for several years I can say that the buried utilities do make a nice difference. It's not something you immediately notice. It's like, "What's missing from this picture?"

We did not buy the house new, so I don't know how the costs break down. I doubt there is a big difference if the lines are laid down as a planned part of the development. The underground infrastructure is safer from lightning, falling trees etc., so maintenance costs are likely to be lower.

The underground option is only available for the "last mile" between the substation and the consumer. High voltage transmission lines need too much space around them. They need to be high in the air.

One of these days electric utilities may be in position to deploy superconducting direct current transmission lines, and those could be buried. It's a matter of developing the technology.
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26. ycd0108
2:45 AM GMT on May 01, 2012
According to this guy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla
We never needed the overhead electrical distribution system in the first place.
Westinghouse had problems with that
For instance:
It is difficult to meter and get paid for broadcasted power or WiFi
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25. Bogon
1:39 AM GMT on May 01, 2012
Hey, Skye. You reminded me that I had some new photos on the camera. I just uploaded a few.

Your black cat will be back in style next Halloween, but I bet he's doing okay on Walpurgis Night!

ycd, developing countries deploy WiFi and cell towers and skip having to install telephone poles. Those of us who live in countries where the technology was developed still get to live with poles and wires strung everywhere.



Oh, well, we're used to it.
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24. ycd0108
11:31 PM GMT on April 30, 2012
Afternoon again:
Maybe that's why WU recognized me as YCD. I thought I needed another handle for the iPod. Why we got the iPod in the first place was we found that Internet cafes are a thing of the past now in areas that had them only for a few years. Everybody has some hand held outfit and many businesses (and sometimes local governments) broadcast free WiFi in "third world" countries now.
It was strange to have to borrow another guest's laptop because we could not find an internet cafe. SIL I was laying out footings with this morning just got an iPod touch and downloaded a free "Text+" app. He said:
"At work I can't answer a cell phone and now we aren't supposed to use a phone while driving. There is no cell coverage at home." Texting works as long as you have internet connection.
I'm taking my iPod a bit more seriously now because it looks to me like that is the direction the interface is going.
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23. Skyepony (Mod)
9:51 PM GMT on April 30, 2012
to catch something evanescent and put it in your pocket. A great way to keep a memory from wilting.

This time of year reminds me that my black cat is the "Anti-Spring".
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22. Bogon
5:52 PM GMT on April 30, 2012
ycd, once you're registered and logged into Weather Underground, I'm pretty sure you stay logged in until you log out. Your login state depends on a cookie that your browser saves. You can shut down your browser, even turn off your computer, and you'll still be logged into WU the next time you visit. That's true as long as the cookie remains on your hard drive.

The cookie is a per-user setting. Here at home I never log out of WU. If I visit WU from somebody else's machine (and if I can remember my password to log in) I always want to log out. Otherwise people on that computer could access WU with a member's rights, and they would be able to leave comments under my handle. The first thing wouldn't necessarily bother me, but the second definitely might.

I know for certain that there are still people out there fooling with DOS. There are even TCP/IP stacks available, although I suspect you have to compile them separately into each network-aware application.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3726
21. ycd0108
3:52 PM GMT on April 30, 2012
Bogon:
Just checking back in to complete my response and see if the iPod comment showed up. I don't understand how these machines work but it's a lot of fun. I've got Google Chrome running on the Microsoft machine, Apple running on the iPod and an Apple laptop. I am guessing the iPod is where most are headed and I can't imagine what the next interface will be. The old Bondwell is still sitting here as a project - it runs only MS-Dos.
You guessed correctly with the translation of "Secwepemc
It was always "Shuswap" to us growing up there. Actually we had a cabin on Mara Lake during the '50s and '60s near a town called Sicamouse:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicamous,_British_Co lumbia
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20. ycd0108
3:05 PM GMT on April 30, 2012
I don't know if this will show up nor why I'm
logged in as ycd from the iPod - I thought I'd be called iTrick 'cause that's how I thought I had registered.
Bogon: good morning.
Since water is (more or less) the definition of "hydraulic" it does not compress
If you hit it at a speed faster than it can flow around you it behaves more like concrete.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 179 Comments: 4637
19. Bogon
2:43 PM GMT on April 30, 2012
I saw that a couple of you had posted comments last night, but I was so tired I didn't trust myself to reply cogently. I took myself to bed instead. Now I guess we'll find out whether sleep and morning coffee will suffice for temporary coherence.

It's another cloudy morning. To be fair, the sun burned through the overcast yesterday afternoon, and it turned out to be a fine day. A similar sequence of events should ensue today, but the weather men won't say exactly when. If the sun emerges early, our chances for afternoon thunderstorms increase. In other words, we need sunshine to get rain. Funny how that works.

ycd - A fractured rib? Ow! That clear, rippling water can feel awfully hard sometimes.

Had to google for ‘shuswap’. I learned that it is a lake, a “multi-band regional organization of Secwepemc governments based in Kamloops”, a town and a provincial park. I assume ‘Shuswap’ is what ‘Secwepemc’ sounds like when uttered through paleface lips.

sp - Thanks for researching Halloween for us. That needed to happen.

So, we dress up in costumes so the spooks can't find us. This prompts all kinds of questions. Why wait until the last moment to don the mask? Are wandering souls stupid? Do they invariably procrastinate? Are modern souls (who are hugely more numerous than, say, fourteenth century souls) so feckless that only our children need to disguise themselves?

Oh, it's unbelievable what people used to believe.

As for cross-quarter days, I read that they flip around to move with the seasons in the southern hemisphere. That makes sense. Observing them out of their proper seasonal context doesn't.

If you live in the tropics, you probably get tired of hearing us talk about all this irrelevant nonsense.

shore - This guy interprets life, the universe and everything through the motif of a red tree? Whatever floats your boat, I guess. Maybe this is the true road to enlightenment.

All that talk about ‘extra dimensions’ is liable to set me off on another rant. Where the actual physical theory is concerned, each of those extra dimensions is a fudge factor. The theory comes ready made with six or eight fudge factors built right in. How could you ever prove such a theory wrong? All the string theorists have to do is massage those fudge factors around until the theory fits your observations. It's, like, employment security.
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18. shoreacres
12:02 PM GMT on April 30, 2012
Well. Speaking of string theory, I suspect you'll enjoy seeing this painting and reading what the artist has to say about it.

String Theory
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17. sp34n119w
7:25 PM GMT on April 29, 2012
I remember May Day in school (much like shore's remembrance) and I think my town had some celebration at a park. Otherwise, the trappings of May Day are used at Easter, I think. It's Spring - chicks and bunnies and flowers and eggs work the whole season!

Halloween is an odd celebration. To explain the costumes and stuff, Wikipedia says:
"It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints' Day, and All Hallows' Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving onto the next world.[18] To avoid being recognized by a soul, Christians would wear masks and costumes to disguise themselves, following the lighted candles set by others to guide their travel for worship the next day.[18] Today, this practice has been perpetuated through children guising (trick or treating).[18]"
[emphasis mine, of course]

The entry on All Saints Day, which is what Halloween is about, is also helpful. Not everyone celebrates on the same day and the date has been moved a few times. Maybe Spring was getting full! Christmas was also a Spring holy day, initially.

Both both days seem to have been distanced from the relationship to cross-quarter days, but, that may have been somewhat artificial, anyway. The ties to pagan festivals are a tad speculative, in most cases, and vary much from region to region.
It may be cultural influence but it seems natural to me to associate death with the dying of the light as winter sets in. Similarly, the climbing sun and rebirth of plants and animal life seems a sensible thing to note. And everybody likes a party.
Of course, as you note, the relationship between sun and celebrations only works in the Northern Hemisphere. I wonder if it feels weird at Easter to use the Spring symbols of lambs and bunnies and eggs in, say, South Africa.

I've enjoyed lurking through the discussion of Pan Pan Pan - I did not know that and also think of the satyr when I hear "Pan".

Also like the Twilight Zone intro, of course, and your initial pun :)
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16. ycd0108
2:28 PM GMT on April 29, 2012
Morning Bogon:
We skied on the lakes in the shuswap when I was a teenager. I could step off the dock on a single "Slalome" ski then and one friend got pretty good on the trick "Banana" skies. Many years later when my daughter was a teen she took an interest in a fellow who was practicing for waterskiing championship and the young people offered me a ski. I did make it up eventually and fell a few times - the motor power had come a long way by then. Earlier we used 35hp and these kids had 90hp so you hit a bit harder. When they finally let me off the rope I first noticed my fore arm muscles cramping then noticed I had also fractured a rib.
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15. Bogon
6:15 AM GMT on April 29, 2012
ycd - I had to learn phonetic spelling (alpha, bravo, charlie etc.) for talking on the radio when I was in the Air Force. I don't recall that the subject of "pan-pan" ever came up. Aside from water skiing I never had much to do with boats. Most of my interaction with water has been limited to swimming around the edges. Didn't need a radio to call for help. I was close enough to shout.

Probbly too Wobbly to water ski these days. It has been many years since I've tried.

The note about a May Day gathering in Nanaimo is on topic. Doubt I'll be able to make it, though.

Skye - Thanks. I was able to capture those iris right after a rain shower when they were all pumped up and dewy fresh. In my opinion that's one of the best possible uses for a camera, to catch something evanescent and put it in your pocket.

shore - If I ever find myself "monitoring VHF" and hear the cry, "Pan, pan!", maybe I won't be totally clueless (as I was until comment 8).

According to Wikipedia Sweden is one of the countries that traditionally observes Walpurgis night. On May 1 they celebrate International Workers' Day.

When I was very young and just starting school — second grade? — there was a curious object standing in the back corner of the classroom. Nobody knew what it was. We had to wait all year until the first of May, when the teacher asked us to shove our desks against the wall. Then she dragged the weird object to the center of the floor and told us how to work it. It was a Maypole. We learned the dance.

I believe that was the sole occasion on which I've had any personal use for that knowledge. Geez, that's kinda sad, isn't it?
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14. shoreacres
3:26 AM GMT on April 29, 2012
Ah, yes. "Pan, Pan, Pan" vs Mayday. I've never heard a Mayday call, thank goodness. I've heard "Pan, Pan" a few times... maybe four. I'll tell you this - when you're monitoring the VHF and that comes across, everyone pays attention.

As for May Day, I loved it as a kid. We made May baskets, tiny little things filled with flowers and candy, and took them to the hospitals and nursing homes. I always made a May basket for Mom, and we got them at school. The violets always were up by then, and lily of the valley. Flowering almond, too. The baskets were usually fluted crepe paper, in pastel shades, and we would add pastel mints. In my grandparents' town, there would be a Maypole erected in the town square, and a great celebration, with girls competing to be the one to dance around the pole.

When I was in Liberia, I spent some time at the Bong Mines, a Swedish-German operation in Nimba County. The Swedes carried on their traditions there, too - although the weaving around the pole was done with vines rather than ribbon.

And to make everything perfect, you've even mentioned Beltane. I went and dragged back the clipping blessing from my St. Patrick's day post about the Celts. It's one of my favorites:

Go shorn and come woolly,
Bear the Beltane female lamb,
Be the lovely bride thee endowing,
And the fair Mary thee sustaining,
The fair Mary sustaining thee.
Michael the chief be shielding thee
From the evil dog and from the fox,
From the wolf and from the sly bear,
And from the taloned birds of destructive bills,
From the taloned birds of hooked bills.


You've made me eager for May Day!

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13. Skyepony (Mod)
9:38 PM GMT on April 28, 2012
Beautiful flowers.
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12. ycd0108
7:33 PM GMT on April 28, 2012
Another take on Mayday:
"Mayday! Mayday! Workers, students and the poor, all under attack!" So reads the flyer I discover on the rack of the downtown library, tucked between issues of Home and Garden and Rolling Stone. It goes on to urge people to walk out of work, stop shopping, and gather "in solidarity" at the Diana Krall Plaza in Nanaimo to celebrate International Worker's Day on May 1 at 11 a.m." From an article in the "Nanaimo Daily News"
Julie Chadwick: "Former ferry skipper fights the fight for working man
Alperovitz now part of local branch of Industrial Workers of the World movement."
I know Alperovitz - he ran a dependable small ferry service for years - might just attend the thing on May 1.
Wobblies are us - well, at least me as I age.
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11. Bogon
5:36 PM GMT on April 28, 2012
Cloudy and cool today without the compensation of rain. There is a front hanging around the general area. It passed to the south as a cool front earlier. NWS says it will return as a warm front later. More wavering is likely while spring and summer duke it out.

Meanwhile we're exiled to the Twilight Zone. =oD

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10. ycd0108
1:10 AM GMT on April 27, 2012
It's a pretty simple language Bogon:
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabet_radio
I certainly never understood it.
We were using OACI/OTAN what ever that means
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9. Bogon
12:46 AM GMT on April 27, 2012
O-o-kay, ycd, thanks for clearing that up. I'm a lubber myself, in case you can't tell. :oD
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8. ycd0108
11:14 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
Afternoon Bogon:
"Pan, Pan, Pan" is Marine VHF Radio Protocol, how you call for aid when you are not actually in a life threatening situation. M'aidez or Mayday is a serious life threatening situation same as SOS - Save Our Souls.
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7. Bogon
10:35 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
Ylee - You may be right, and I may be making too much out of trick or treat, which is how kids experience Halloween. They're thinking more about candy corn than about how grisly and goulish Halloween's trappings can be. Fortunately most kids have no real world referent for such things.

Prose - I took French in school. Never had much opportunity to actually use it for serious communication, but some of it stuck with me all this time.

Shucks, I wasn't trying to cry wolf or deceive anyone. I really do wonder why we celebrate Halloween instead of May Day. Is it human nature? If so, we all need help.

BriarCraft - Thanks for the nosegay! Does that mean spring has arrived in your back yard?

The cross-quarter days work for me, too. It doesn't make sense to wait until solstice to declare that summer is underway. I expect the heat to arrive here any day now. Got a list of chores I'm hoping I can finish first.
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6. BriarCraft
7:53 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
Here are some primroses to help with the spring celebration.



I've always felt that the time midway between equinox and solstice was more truly indicative of the change of seasonal weather. The astrological seasons may dictate the seasons on our calendars, but the meteorological seasons more accurately reflect the season. And, thanks to you, I now have a name for that -- cross-quarter days. This one starts the transition from spring to summer. Sounds good to me.
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5. Proserpina
7:43 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
Nice play and use of words, help me and may day. Good job. I see from your ending words that you are in a French state of mind. I take the stand on the side of joie de vivre and lovely Irises!

I came by because I was intrigued with the blog title, and I thought that you might really need help about something.

Have a wonderful Thursday evening.
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4. Ylee
6:46 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
Maybe we celebrate Halloween instaed of May Day because while spring and youth are always all too fleeting, death is if not ultimately front and center, then lurking in the background, and we need to confront it through celebration.(Does this make sense?lol!)

Glad you're getting rain!
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3. Bogon
4:28 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
Hi, gamma. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. I finally broke through my writer's block, but only just barely. This edition is short and sweet.

When I finished typing the header I clicked on my photo gallery and elected the iris to represent life and fertility. This picture is a month old. All our iris blooms are kaput now. Clematis and roses decorate our yard. It won't be long until the lilies begin their annual show. I really ought to go get a clematis picture while I still can. It can wait a little bit longer; right now it's raining outside.

Spring is a busy time, ycd. Here in the good ol' US of A it's tax time. I've always thought that there surely must be some better time of year to do the accounting. Spring is much too nice to spend even a moment wrestling with tax forms. The doldrums of summer might be about right. Midwinter is too full of holidays.

I assume you're talking about Pan, the satyr. I picked "M'aidez" for the timely pun and because my brief essay ends with an appeal. I could have padded the discussion by considering the various means and modes of celebration (Maypole dancing, bonfires etc.) and mythological associations (satyrs and nymphs, witches' sabbath and whatnot). My time is limited, and hashing over the historical background was not my purpose. I simply wanted to take a stand on the side of light and joie de vivre.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3726
2. ycd0108
3:19 PM GMT on April 26, 2012
Morning Bogon:
Pretty flower and another intriguing notion.
Maybe we are too busy in spring to celebrate whereas in fall we are looking at long slow winter?
"Pan, Pan, Pan" would be my call here rather than "Mayday" but it did get my attention.
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Unemployed software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...