Friday, February 1, 2013


Les Très Riches Heures
Duc de Berry Février
Yes, it's February, time for "The Very Rich Hours of the Duc de Berry in February". Um, no, not really but I digress.

Looking for a way to start the month without having to think of the insanity in DC and elsewhere in this (once?) great Nation of ours, I just "Googled" February. Lots of interesting stuff in Wikipedia about February, much of which is trivial but nonetheless interesting, at least to me. But what really caught my eye was the reproduction of that painting depicted above.

Wikipedia says that the painting "is possibly the best example of French Gothic manuscript illumination surviving to the present day". Furthermore, "The Très Riches Heures is a book of prayers to be said at canonical hours created for John, Duke of Berry, by the Limbourg brothers between 1412 and 1416."

That may well be. It caught my eye primarily because of the painter's use of the color blue.

I like blue. Perhaps you knew that, if not go read this. At any rate, I thought the painting was exquisite. YMMV.

Trivial facts about February (from Wikipedianaturellement):
February starts on the same day of the week as March and November in common years, and on the same day of the week as August in leap years. February ends on the same day of the week as October every year and on the same day of the week as January in common years only. In leap years, it is the only month that ends on the same weekday it begins. 
February starts on the same day of the week as both March and November in common years, and August in leap years. 
Having only 28 days in common years, it is the only month of the year that can pass without a single full moon. It is also the only month of the calendar that once every six years and twice every 11 years, will have only four full 7-day weeks. Where the first day of the month starts on a Monday and the last day ends on a Sunday, this was observed in 2010 and can be traced back 11 years to 1999, 6 years back to 1993, 11 years back to 1982, 11 years back to 1971 and 6 years back to 1965; and so on twice 11 years consecutively and once six years either forward into the future or back into the past. This works unless the pattern is broken by a skipped leap year, but no leap year has been skipped since 1900 and no others will be skipped until 2100. (Years that are evenly divisible by 100 are not leap years, unless they are also evenly divisible by 400, in which case they are leap years.) A year of this kind would be a common year starting on Friday. It cannot happen in a leap year.
Okay then. At any rate, welcome to February. Tomorrow is Groundhog Day, I guess we'll see how much longer winter will last. Based on the prognostications of a large rodent.
The groundhog (Marmota monax), also known as a woodchuck, whistle-pig, or in some areas as a land-beaver, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots.
Whistle-pig? Land-beaver? Hhhmm, never heard those names before. Round these parts we call 'em woodchucks.

There used to be one resident in the backyard at Chez Sarge. The Missus Herself did not care for the beast as he enjoyed gorging himself on the various forms of flora which the Missus Herself has planted upon the grounds of the manse. And upon which she labors for long hours. To produce an effect most pleasing to the eye. Needless to say, the Missus Herself and the aforementioned woodchuck were not on the friendliest of terms. Perhaps come summer I will share some photos of said flora.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Groundhog Day.

The photo above? That's our very own meteorological prognosticating land-beaver himself, Punxsutawney Phil.  He's the one without the top hat. Looking rather bemused at being manhandled by a bunch of men wearing hats. (Hhhmm, if they were women, would one say "being womanhandled"? Food for thought. Or not.)

So over to you Phil? Will you see your shadow or not? Time will tell. 


  1. So I went to The Wiki looking for my favorite February remark and it wasn't there. But The Wiki DID mention that this is "LGBT History Month (United Kingdom)" and I prolly wouldn't have survived not knowing that.

    My favorite saying about the second month of the year: "February is the cruelest month." Well, that's the way **I** always heard it, but Mr. Google (my good friend) tells me TS Eliot said that April was. And certain others say January. Dang. Another illusion, shattered.

    1. When I went to Wiki for my February tidbits I saw the list of "stuff in February", dates, themes, what have you. I am awfully glad I did not see the DADT-WhoCares History Month reference. No doubt that WOULD have set me off.

      I try to have no illusions, that way they can't be shattered.

      Besides which, given the right circumstances, every month can be cruel.

  2. That is one of my favorite films. A paean to the redemption of Man in the person of a man. It drives my wife crazy, she cannot stand the film. I love it, I love watching him evolve through the lo, many iterations, until he finally becomes a good guy despite himself. I can watch the film almost every time that it comes on. I'll have to look, I'm sure it's playing over the weekend.

    Maybe tomorrow night, I'll stay up late to watch it after she toddles off to bed. Tonight though, I must be early to bed for tomorrow early to rise. To plunge, perhaps to dream. You'll have to Barden me for that.

    1. Odd but I completely forgot about the movie. And I love that movie for the very reasons you state. Hhhmm, so now I have an idea for either tomorrow's or next year's post. Depending on how ambitious I feel tonight/tomorrow.

      Ah yes, the plunge. I say again Marcus, you simply have to provide photos. (Well, "have to" is a little strong, more of a "nice to have" thing. But we'll take what we can get.)

      And of course, you have my Barden.

    2. Love that movie. We watch it every year on Ground Hog day

    3. I noticed that AMC (I think) was running it over and over again. Rather appropriate.

  3. Interesting post Sarge. But don't get me started on groundhogs. A couple of those critters were about to drive us crazy, digging their dens under our shed and under the deck which put the foundation in danger. I got the shotgun ready and set out on watch a couple of times but never could catch them. Then, this past year, they just disappeared. Maybe they moved on...I don't know, but I'm glad of it.

    I do like the movie though. And the painting at the top is interesting to study.

    1. Yes, our groundhog was digging an extensive bunker system under our shed. The wife would block the entryways with cement blocks. The groundhog would adjust. Eventually the groundhog moved on. I don't think he relocated to another neighborhood, I believe he was either hit by a car or killed by the neighbor's dogs. Not long after the groundhog became "no longer an issue", I did see a dead one in the street not far away.

      Also this morning, I saw one of the neighbor's dogs (Hercules to be exact) walking around with what appeared to be a dead groundhog in his mouth. Not sure if that one saw his shadow yesterday, but he'll not see one again. That's for sure!


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