Comparision of December’s and February’s Storms

Leave a comment

Snow in December

The aftermath of the storm in December

Janurary Snow

Sunday morning after the Feb. storm

In my part of DC we received around 15 inches during the December blizzard. I a friend reported 2 feet around her house outside of the city.  The snow started Friday and was hardest on Saturday. By Sunday it was over. Monday was a messy day but people were able to get places.

I measured 20 inches after this new storm, but I’m wondering if I picked a shallow area. It wasn’t more than 24 in my neighborhood, but what a difference 5 inches makes!   The streets were messier, the sidewalks in worse shape. The Brookland metro station opened on Tuesday. Schools are still closed.With more snow coming, I don’t expect classes at all this week.

It is interesting that the storms were both Friday evening-Saturday storms.


We need some of these

Leave a comment

Snow Fence

A snow fence in Wyoming

Midwestern Monday Minute: Paczki

Leave a comment


What are paczki?

Only the most awesome pre-Lenten treat.

Don’t worry, I had never heard of paczki until my freshman year at MSU when I noticed a heaping pile of large jelly and custard filled “doughnuts” in the cafeteria on Fat Tuesday. All around the cafeteria, students were eating them and sharing them with friends–these were big “doughnuts” and heavy too. So of course I got into the tradition too.

Paczki, pronounced, roughly I’m told, as “punch-key”, is a plural word mind you. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the singular word…who talks about just one? It’s like Lays Chips…only much better and less healthy.


Paczki Credit: Rmhermen at

But what are pazcki?

Paczki are a filled pastry from Poland. They differ from what you might call a normal jelly doughnut in that the dough is richer and the fillings often a bit different–I’ve seen chocolate, custard, apple, as well as normal jellies and I’ve heard rose hip and prune  are traditional flavors. In areas with a strong Polish heritage like Cleveland and Detroit, packzi fill the bakeries and stores this time of year and are gobbled up by all around, regardless of heritage.

Louisiana can keep their king cake, around the Great Lakes we’ve got paczki!

Midwestern Monday Minute

Leave a comment

It’s time to learn about  the places I once called home (and still do in my heart): Ohio and Michigan. Each week or so I’ll try to share a story or tradition or factoid from those lands. I’ll call it “Midwestern Monday Minute,” for the sake of alliteration but I am of the opinion that Ohio and Michigan are less Midwestern culturally than part of their own Great Lakes region. More about that in an upcoming installment.

Appropriately for a Monday at the start of the month, this week I will be introducing to the world a dance for BTO’s song “Takin’ Care of Business” which I learned during social events at the Catholic student parish I attended whilst at MSU.  The “Alligator Dance,” sometimes called “Crocodile Dance,” (despite the physiological differences, most experts agree that alligators and crocodiles dance the same) is a simple, childish dance, with humorous effect. Wikipedia notes that it is popular in the Saginaw Valley and UP but mentions no origin. Everyone probably has their theories, but as this it is of the sort of antic that cousins and family friends think up at wedding receptions, I’m sure it started in a community center on a happy day in Marquette, MI…but that’s just my theory.

The dance is simple and uses the beat  “clap, clap, clap-clap-clap”  once at each step, unless noted.

1)Start standing up, clapping your hands to the above rhythm once.

2) Now do the same on your upper thighs.

3) Knell on the ground and hit the floor to the beat.

4)Lay on your stomach and hit the floor the same way.

5) Shake your right leg in the air to the beat.

6) Roll on your back and flail all your limbs in the air without attention to rhythm  but within the same time frame as the beat would hold.

7) Roll on to your stomach and shake your left leg in the air to the beat.

8 ) Lay on your stomach, pound the ground.

9) Knees pound the ground.

10) Thighs

11) Hands

Repeat and if you’re good other people will join you.

Clearly this dance is not the wisest for those who need to keep their clothing free of floor dirt, but it is good fun to do and to watch.

So there is your Midwestern Monday Minute (or two).

You other placers out there…share a tradition from your area. Perhaps another goofy wedding dance?

Wondering Wednesdays: 1st Edition

Leave a comment

Here is the first edition of a weekly event. Wondering Wednesdays. Every Wednesday I will ask you, the reader, what you are wondering about and I shall share something I am wondering about this week. Sometimes there will be a long description sometimes just a statement, depending on my workload.

This week is especially busy so it’s gonna be short.

This week I’m wondering: What is the source of the burnt marshmallow smell behind the architecture building of my university? It’s probably not marshmallows, but it’s most certainly the burning of something carbonaceous and it almost certainly is coming from equipment associated with the building. They do a lot of building stuff there, maybe there are even art classes in the building. Is it burning paper perhaps? Cotton? Maybe it is a kiln? Maybe just the heater? I don’t know! Not the most profound object for wondering, I know.

What are you wondering about?

Interim Start of Semester Post

Leave a comment

I have as a goal for the semester to write more…really. I’m serious. I have fun projects coming up like researching the history of the physics department at my university (apparently it started in the 1890s and there was once an on campus observatory).

In the meantime here’s a question: What are you wondering about?

Right now, besides time independent time perturbation theory, which is more likely making me want to pull my hair (ok my textbook’s inefficacy  is making me want to pull my hair not the theory), I’m wondering this: Why didn’t anyone on Lost ever use the fact that they had watches to estimate their longitude using the sun or some stars (someone on the plane had to have had an astronomy magazine with a star chart, it was a big plane) or use the southern cross to estimate their latitude? Wouldn’t have helped them get rescued–but it would have let them know where they were.

*So a friend convinced me that I need to know about this show called Lost which I watched a bit during my senior year of high school but didn’t follow at all in college and in which I now am 5 years behind….hence this wondering, I’m only in season 2.

The Great International Radio Station Web Search: New Years Around the World

Leave a comment

A family tradition is to listen to the new year arrive around the world. In times past, this was done with a shortwave radio my dad has from his childhood. Now the internet allows one to do the searching far more efficiently and quickly.We missed most of Oceania and Australia, but eventually  I’ll be bringing you links to catch new years in various countries, with interruptions for family events since it is also my father’s birthday.

10:00 EST brings new years to places such as Tokyo,Japan and Seoul, South Korea.

After a major delay we are back.

4:00 brings new years to Moscow, Minsk, Kenya, ect.

We are listing to the Voice of Russia in hopes of catching the new year countdown.

Next is Eastern Europe and Central/Eastern Africa.

You have a variety of options:

Perhaps a station from South Africa.

Or a station from Ukraine.



Or maybe Lativa?

We’re going to try South Africa.

Older Entries Newer Entries