Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ma Nature Says Hello...

It was all just an illusion, you know. The November without a jacket, save for a couple days. The 50s on Thanksgiving Day. You knew it had to come eventually. This is Wisconsin, after all. And on Dec. 1, it came.

It's not as if we got dumped with three or four feet of snow, but there were an awful lot of big flakes flying around in the a.m. hours, and things got a whole lot whiter before it was over. Doesn't look like it's gonna go away, either. Winter is here.

I've been through 30-plus of these seasons, closing in on 40 of 'em, actually. And while I don't make it a habit to bitch about winter too much, I don't like it. I don't own a snowmobile, and I don't ski. The occasional snowball fight can still be fun. But what I do mostly in winter is...wait. For spring. And most recently, I curse the shitty tires that came on the car I got last September. New tires...plenty of tread. Just, horrible in the snow! (a Kumho endorsement, I'll never get.) I've got a buddy that owns a Goodyear dealership, and if I'm going to stay on the roads this winter, I might have to pay him a visit.

There is one good thing about winter, however. Relatively minor on one hand, but amazingly grand in scale if you look at it through the right eyes.

Winter is the season for Orion. Visible in the northern hemisphere from November to April, it's one of the most well-known constellations in the sky. It's been mentioned in literature and pop culture and music, from Homer and Milton and Tennyson and Frost, to Jimmy Buffett and Metallica and Prince and Springsteen and Jethro Tull.

Known as The Hunter, many references have been made to Orion's belt and sword, and other constellations surrounding him make up his two hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, and his prey, such as Taurus the Bull. According to one story in Greek mythology, Orion was killed by the poisonous sting of the scorpion, Scorpio. The two constellations are positioned so that Orion (fall and winter) and Scorpio (spring and summer) do not appear in the sky together.

I'll never claim to be the biggest astronomy scholar on the planet, and I don't own my own Hubble, but I never...never...miss an opportunity to stare up at the sky in winter and find Orion. I talk to him. And when spring comes, I bid him adieu for another couple seasons.

It would make for a great personal ad, don't you think?

(Lonely, slightly crazy SWM into star-gazing at heavenly bodies, Greek mythology, talking to himself, reading the classics like "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," shooting good darts and playing bad poker...seeks SF with same interests. Heavenly body preferred, but not required. Scorpios need not apply.)

I can see all the soulmates lining up already.

"You know Orion always
comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg up over
our fence of mountains."
—Robert Frost in "The Star-Splitter"


  1. Very intriguing post and well done. I'm always sorry when I'm finished reading! Got me thinking about soulmates and such...make sure you don't spend so much time looking up that you miss her when she walks by! :)

  2. I wouldn't constantly harrass you if these posts weren't so well written. So, take the cynical, smart-ass comments as a sort of weird way of being complimentary and keep the quality writing coming.

    Your arrest warrant has been suspended. For now...

    I'm with Erin. I'm always disappointed when the post comes to an end.

    I also really liked Erin's last line of her comment. Very profound.

  3. Ok, I was born in Manitowoc. Save for my first two years living in Valders, I lived in either Manitowoc or Two Rivers until March, 1997. And in all those years, despite my insistence, no one would ever believe me that the cold-weather bird restaurant on Calumet Avenue had the letter "Q" in it.

    Yes folks, despite the picture of penguin, and despite the pronunciation of the word "penguin" the restaurant is spelled "PenQuin!" Look at the photo yourself. Look it up in the phonebook.

    What the hell? Look at this - http://www.wdfi.org/apps/cris/?action=details&entityID=1P06034&searchText=penquin&searchBy=searchByEntityNameAlphasort

    It was established in 1964 - with a fricken' Q!!! Did Leila Weyer not know how to spell?

    Here's more pictures. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=636&RefID=636

    Oh well. The place was once named the fourth-best drive-in in America. So I guess I can forgive it. But geez, what's up with the Q?

  4. Not in over a month, no. But I'll bet Leila Weyer was back in 1964.

    Hmm... March, 1964. This was only a few weeks after the Beatles arrived in America. That explains it. She was blinded by the handsome smile of Paul McCartney, and was drowning herself in her "Meet The Beatles" LP. In her Beatlemania haze, she simply forgot how to spell.

    That explains it.

  5. Thanks, Erin. I think you might have hit the nail squarely on the head with your last line. I'm looking in the wrong places. (there's a lot of writing left to be done in that last line, by the way. great thought!)

    Brad...believe me, I take all of your comments in the spirit in which they are intended, on this blog and on others. Thanks for the good words. And I echo Burt's and Erin's thoughts on you starting your own blog. You'll do well, and I'll be a regular visitor.

    Burt...I would've believed you about the Penquin, because I saw that "q" there for many, many years.

    By the way, did you notice on the official listing on that DFI site, that it says it's a "drive INN," as in "...there was no room for them in the inn." At least they didn't put that up in neon.

  6. Hmm, drop a G, and add a Q and an N. What was she thinking?

    I'd say she went to Clarke. But Clarke hadn't opened yet.

  7. Ha! Burt, I actually snorted when I read that. Good one! *still giggling*

  8. The Penquin is closed for good? What the fuck!

  9. Hey ggggggg, you still posting????

  10. Maybe he can't, with all the blogger problems this week. Click my name. It doesn't even take you to my profile anymore.

  11. Unfortunately, I can't use the excuse that Blogger is keeping me from posting, because, well...I'm just too honest. That'd be a good excuse, though.

    My only excuse is that I have no excuse. And that's not even an excuse.

    New entries (plural) will be along shortly.

    But I've also seen all the Blogger problems this week. I was trying to comment on Burt's post with the three "999" vid clips on it, but I didn't see a link to leave comments. Then one day, I saw the link and read the three-ish comments that were there, but didn't have time to leave one of my own. And when I went back to leave a comment, the link was gone again, and still hasn't come back. (is that just me?)

    And I've noticed the profile issues as well, Burt. Some people's profiles are unavailable, some look as though they've been stripped down to the bare bones, and others are mostly unaffected.

    I wonder if it's got something to do with the old Blogger fighting with the Blogger beta...I finally switched over to beta before I put up my last post, because the old one was rarely letting me upload photos anymore, and it got to be very frustrating. Blogger beta seems to be cool so far, though, photo-wise.

    One more quick note: The Penquin DOES have a "For Sale or Lease" sign among the Christmas trees on its lot. This was the first place I'd heard anything about it.

  12. My parents said it closed down a few months ago.

    The blogger problems seem to be fixed. I too noticed the comment link disappearing (and reappearing) on the 9-9-9 post. Your guess is as good as mine on that one. As I type this, it's back.