Friday, January 5, 2018

In the Grip of Old Man Winter

As I write this, the snow seems to have stopped and the wind has increased. Why I say "seems" is that the wind is blowing the snow around so that it appears to be snowing. But as visibility is much better than it was earlier, my guess is that the frozen precipitation is done, for now.

So far it's been rather a colder winter than I'm used to in these parts, though very similar to where I grew up. In truth, it's warmer than where I grew up as it's been in the 20s for the better part of a fortnight, though the last few days it has hovered close to, but not below, zero. (That's Fahrenheit, I don't buy into that French Revolutionary metric nonsense. And it truly is nonsense in my book.)

The tree in the southeastern corner of the backyard in summer.
The same tree on Thursday.
When I arose Thursday morning at around 0730 local (to attend to a call of nature, TMI yes, but it's what I do, I share) I noted that the snow had yet to begin. What I heard and thought to be the wind at that time, was actually an airliner lifting out of T.F. Green (the local air patch). So, back to bed I went (dinna judge me, I'm on vacation).

When the feline staff came to awaken me at 0930 (for the math-challenged, that would be two hours later than when I first arose) I could hear the wind howling and looking outside I half expected to see polar bears frolicking in the street.

Nope, no polar bears, just snow.
So yesterday was a day to hunker down, to drink two cups of java (for the warmth that was in it), to read, and to discover something new to watch on Amazon. What I found has been entertaining so far. For the HBO series Gunpowder is about the Gunpowder Plot (think Guy Fawkes) which was an attempt by English Catholics to kill King James I of England and the whole Parliament with him.

Before ye begin to disparage and berate the "Papists" think on this, in those days the English were very keen to eradicate Catholicism from England. Torture, beheading, drawing and quartering, hanging, burning were all used to suppress the Catholic Church in England. (At the same time in Catholic Spain, the same was being done to Protestants and Jews. Religion can be a very dicey proposition in the wrong hands. For "the wrong hands" read "The State." Our Founding Fathers had good reason to include the Separation Clause in the Constitution. And no, it was not meant to be used by atheists who don't like manger scenes or menorahs on public property.)

Anyhoo, the program drags a bit at times but so far (aside from the usual tendency to "jazz up" a perfectly good historical tale) seems fairly historical. Though I do need to read up on this period in English history again as I'm a bit rusty on that time. (Though I do know a couple of things about the period, such as "Penny for the Guy?")

And yes, King James I (who had also been King James VI of Scotland until the Union of 24 March 1603) is known mostly to we in the West as the chap who sponsored the King James Version of the Bible. Thought you'd like to know that.

Speaking of religion...

One fellow I've been reading a lot of lately is David Warren, who had this most interesting offering on the 30th of December. I've been digging through his archives and I will say this, the chap writes very well. Psst, don't tell my fellow Baptists that I've been reading a lot of "Catholic stuff" lately.

Anyhoo. Winter is here, for a bit. We're expecting temperatures in the 40s next week.

In other news, The Nuke is now a homeowner. (Now all of the progeny own homes. Wow.) She also told me that the Potomac, 'round about the 14th Street bridges, is frozen. With snow on top.


Looking east from the ramparts at Chez Sarge.
The Christmas cactus in early December.
What a difference a month makes.
'Twas an excellent day for Zuppa Toscana...
...and a superb day to stay inside.
See you soon.

And yes, I am working on the next installment of Panzer 413. Just so you know.


  1. Interesting, isn't it, how those who have lived in different climates adapt to the one they now inhabit?

    1. It's what our species has been doing for a long time.

  2. In one of your photos of the outdoors I thought I saw Napolean's army in retreat.
    I have Gunpowder on the recorder.
    Next year I am going to get a flu shot, the reason is exactly what you would guess. I did feel enough better to help my wife with the snowthrower, but not well enough to wrestle with the machine. She did really well.

    1. Never had a flu shot before going into the Air Force, never had the flu either. In the Air Force flu shots weren't optional, it was required, yet one year I missed mine, yup, caught the flu, a horrible experience.

      Since I retired I have gotten a flu shot every year, save one. Yup, got the flu that year as well.

      I asked those freezing Frenchmen to hurry on through, "head south mes amis!" 😉

    2. "In the Air Force flu shots weren't optional,..."

      I dodged the AF flu shots by signing my shot record myself ( I think/hope that the statutes of limitations is up ).

      Enjoy your cold, white stuff. So far we have not gotten any here.

      My wife and I are going to the coast for a few days; I hope that y'all will be able to manage without my interference, uh, no, no, I meant witty comments.

      Stay warm, my friend,
      Paul L. Quandt

    3. Have a good trip Paul.

      Sign one's own shot record? What a rebel you are!

  3. Great, another blogger i have to have a dictionary close by.

    1. Yeah, he kinda reminds me of someone else I once knew.

  4. Column of Fire by Ken Follett is about the absurd extremes of religion back in those days, too.
    It bounces back and forth from England to the continent.
    Goes a long way toward explaining why there is still some animosity and distrust.

  5. Just curious, does your neighbor's pool double as and ice rink?

    1. Hahaha!

      No, they cover it up the day after Labor Day and reopen it on Memorial Day. No skating in between.

  6. Thanks for the Dinner Suggestion, Sarge. The pictures provided the precise amount of snow I need to call this winter complete. Course the 19 degrees with 15K of wind provided WAAAY more cold than my winter requirement. Bring on Spring!

    1. Yes, I get that cold and wind thing. Yesterday, 27° with snow and wind, cold. Today bright and sunny, 15° and wind, very cold!

    2. DAMN, That was good soup. Need more.

    3. We had it again Friday night.


  7. Well, as to Catholics in England, they kinda did get the short end of the stick in the early 1600's. Especially that whole English Civil War, where one side was rabidly Protestant (and some proto-communist/socialists (the whole Levelers thingy)) while the other side was mostly Protestant and tended to use Catholics as expendables (especially the Irish Catholics. Yikes, the treatment from both sides of the Irish Catholics after battles was, well, not nice.)

    A good series, but an old one, about the ECW is "By the Sword Divided" which follows a Royalist family during the ECW. Shows all the nitty gritty, and why you don't put your ammo bunker within throwing distance of the enemy. Good use of nails, too. (Howitzer loaded with, well, nails....)

    It's follow-up, "By the Sword United", isn't as good, but follows the family, what's left of it, after the ECW, I think when Charles ascended the throne.

    Made in the early 80's in England. The "Divided" is out there, the "United" seems to have fallen off the face of the earth.

    They are typical BBC style shows, so, heavy on the drama and obscure (for Americans) references. The armor and harness and costuming is all excellent and accurate, which is always nice in a historical piece.

    Now that I've wet your whistle, good luck finding it. Hahahahahaha. That's for the bees...

  8. Pass my congrats to the Nuke. Big grown-up moment for her. Stay warm everyone. My daughter flies back to college tomorrow through Boston. Hope she gets out. Think warm thoughts for her!

    1. Through Boston? They had two feet of the white stuff. But we're used to it, she'll be fine.

      Wilco on the passing of congrats. She's worked hard!

  9. Speaking of the KJV, King James was a Church of England guy. The most popular English translation of the Bible at the time was the Geneva Bible, from which much of the majestic poetry of the KJV was taken. The Geneva also had copious Reformed theological notes included, some of which doctrine contradicted that of the Church of England. I'd say church purity rather than piety was his motivation behind it.


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