Happy Solstice! [NOT 21/12/22]

Hi, friends!

Well, officially it’s winter now. And it’s the shortest day of the year.

What are you up to today? Do you have solstice traditions? I don’t, but I have some Wiccan friends who always drive over to Cahokia Mounds for the sunrise.

Sidenote – if you’re in St Louis and have a few hours to drive over to Cahokia Mounds and see the archaeological site, you should! It’s impressive.



  1. We had snow a few days ago & today our coldest day this season (high of 25).  Lots of crazy icy roads & I went out & did all the Christmas dinner shopping.  Roads better than expected & no crowds.  Just a few homeless dudes shopping (stealing).  My Ukrainian housekeeper’s husband & I then bonded over Zelensky being good.  That is all the English he speaks.  He was very happy though.

  2. no work till jan 3rd!

    whoop whoop!

    im gonna miss the dark when it goes….

    no traditions here…i has the christmas tree coz i find it wonderfully absurd

    im firmly in the camp of i believe everything and nothing…so agnostic

    sides from knocking on the counter before taking change.,.,thats important…i just dont know why

      • Lol didn’t get a lootbox this year 🙃

        Courtesy of the cost of living going absolutely insane over here work broke with tradition and traded the lootbox for a €100 gift card for the local supermarket to help with groceries

        It kinda lacks the charm of a lootbox but I really can’t complain

  3. My condolences to those who are traveling soon. Sorry for the link to the New York Post (I know that not everyone agrees with me that it is America’s Finest News Source™) but I have a question about one of the photos they used in this panic-inducing weather report about a “bomb cyclone,” which used to be referred to as “winter storm.” Since I don’t know how to embed photos in comments this is the best I can do.


    If you scroll down to the photo of the line of people in the airport, don’t they give off a very British vibe? I don’t think they’re Americans lining up in Chicago to fly off to Nashville or whatever. It doesn’t look like Heathrow, either, but maybe it’s Stansted or Gatwick, all three of which I’ve flown into and out of. The Christmas holiday tree is predictably lame and dispiriting, and is that a banner of Che Guevara to the left of it?

    I am easily distracted. I think in a previous life I was a small domesticated animal that could watch laundry tumbling in a front-loading dryer for hours.

      • Oh! So maybe that’s Juneau Airport. Better Half used to go up and over there for work in a previous job and I only had two demands: Bring me back an Alaska-theme T-shirt and bring back packs of salmon jerky for [previous dog.] Previous dog, a German shepherd, used to rip into his suitcase upon arrival trying to get to the salmon jerky. She was alive during 9/11 and I half-considered signing her up for airport-related anti-terrorism duties, she would have been great at it, but as we have all come to find out TSA security screening is performative theater so they can find an oversize bottle of shampoo carried by an elderly Asian woman but they can’t find handguns used in government-sponsored test cases.

    • I can’t wait to see what perdido and I end up with tomorrow.

      Monday morning it was “up to 8 inches of accumulation expected on Thursday into Friday”

      Now it’s “probably a little over 2 inches of accumulation expected on Thursday”

      Either way we’re expected to get wind gusts up to 45mph, so fingers crossed there aren’t power outages.

      I mean the cold as fuck temps of Friday haven’t changed, but the snow went from well that fucks over everything here to to ehh, that should be manageble for everyone except Missouri Department of Transportation with the snow plows.

      • Well, I’m about three and a half feet away from my workplace, and this morning I got one of those deli sandwiches from Schnucks, plus a bag of Billy Goat chips and a 2-liter of Coke, so I’m set to hunker the fuck down.


  4. Fanny and I took a longer walk than usual today, making the most of the sunshine.
    The veil is at its thinnest on the winter solstice, so I carry salt in my pocket to protect me from dangerous spirits and I’ll keep a light on all night too. I don’t necessarily believe in all that, lol. But it’s fun and I’m covered just in case!

    • Two of my neighbors used to throw a Winter Solstice party every year and the highlight was the countdown to the official sunset. Even before Covid lots of us were working from home so we could attend this. Once the sun had set (their apartment faces west, like one side of ours does) the champagne popped and the shenanigans began. You haven’t lived until you’ve played Twister with a group of drunken 40- to 70-year-olds. It’s a wonder no one was ever sent to the emergency room.

  5. I can vouch for Cahokia. It’s an amazing site.

    My family went there once with my grandfather, who lived about 50-60 miles away, and he knew a lot about them, which is a sign of how the place is known in the region.

    The theories and evidence around the place, even in a non-woo woo sense are amazing. The signs of trading networks reaching into Canada and Mexico, the population on a par with London and Paris, and the evidence of ways in which American peoples may have converged on the place in ways which upend a lot of pat theories about political structures — it’s pretty incredible if you’re willing to be open.

  6. Also, I have no idea if this is connected to the fox calendar, but….

    Last night my dog was getting really, really agitated. I assumed it was a delivery on our porch, so I went out to look for a package.

    And there, in front of our house, two foxes were engaged in a face off. They were getting awfully snarl-ly, until they fled when a car drove up the street.

    Maybe it was a vixen and a dog fox, in some kind of mating ritual — apparently the darkest time of the year is the time where they pair off. Or maybe it was two males fighting for territory. I’m no expert in fox genders.

    But for about ten seconds last night I got to see something – something – that may have had something to do with the basic solstice wiring of another species. Pretty cool.

  7. Like @farscythe, I’m on vacation until January 3. I’m really looking forward to not working. My job is great and all, but I’ve been going since Nov. 1, 2021 without much of any break. Day off here and there, but that’s it. No real plans but we may make a few day trips here and there.

    The big news is that we’re going to have temperatures down into the 30s this weekend. Coldest Christmas I’ve seen in a couple of decades, at least. And I’ll agree with @MatthewCrawley — what in the actual fuck is a “bomb cyclone?” Is that what they used to call a blizzard? Why invent a bizarre term when we’ve already got a perfectly good one?

      • They’re usually at fault. I’d demand an apology, but they probably already provided several. I’m lunching with my favorite Canadian tomorrow — I’ll deliver a stern lecture on keeping their weather to themselves. That should take care of it.

        • If it’s any comfort, I have both Anglophone and Francophone Canadian relatives and they’re always prepped for an apology. The Anglophones also say “sorry” in a way that’s more like “suhrry” or “s’ry.” “Suhrry it’s raining because the view of [X] is usually really beautiful.” “S’ry that the Pig ‘n Whistle is closed, they had a fire last week, but we could go to Champions, if you don’t mind watching hockey…”

    • Bomb cyclones are supposed to have a rapid pressure drop that impacts intensification.

      However, I don’t know how that differs from a blizzard? I guess because I associate blizzards with much more snow than this bomb cyclone is going to drop?

      In my head, here’s now snowstorms work:

      1. eh some flurries fall but it’s just a dusting
      2. easy rate of snowfall, but not much accumulation and nothing intense
      3. oh huh there’s some actual heavy snow falling
      4. shit this is pretty heavy, OMG THUNDERSNOW
      5. blizzard, whiteout conditions (I have never actually experienced this in St Louis, it’s a hypothetical to me)

      I don’t get where a bomb cyclone really fits into that schema.

      • Yeah, if you can’t put things into hurricane categories, don’t expect anybody in Florida to give a fuck. Now you tell me it’s a Category 4 Bomb Cyclone, you’ll get my attention.

        I’m pretty sure BOMB CYCLONE was invented by some weatherperson to boost ratings. OMG ITS A BOMB CYCLONE STAY TUNED TO LOCAL 6 OR YOURE FUCKING GOING TO DIE.

        • I’m sure I’ve told this story before but when we had our little bolthole in South Beach we used to fly down there every year for New Year’s. We had a guest room, so every year a rotating couple would join us. One year we were watching the local news (and there’s nothing like Miami Anglo news, and the Spanish is even more sensational) and this elderly woman broadcaster was bundled up in a fur coat and standing on the beach not far from our condo and said, “Bundle up, Miami! It’s going down to 50 degrees tonight!”

          Walking over to the dance club a few blocks away I wore this really flattering A/X black short-sleeve fine-cotton polo shirt and Better Half wore this creamy-beige silk/rayon shirt, can’t remember the designer, courtesy of the “everything must go” post-Christmas sales on Collins Avenue. Our friends that year were a New York couple and the husband was kind of schlubby but very rich and his wife, an old friend of mine, wore this slinky vintage “little black dress” and somehow we did not develop frost bite.

    • A bomb cyclone is a SUPER specific type of storm (usually blizzard!), where the Barometric Pressure drops 24(+) millibars in 24 or less hours (it’s called Bombogenesis–and that’s where they get their “Bomb Cyclone” name!)

      According to these, basically the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane, just often over land…

      Where Derechos are huge “straight line wind” storms, bomb cyclones are big like that, but “messier.”

      The Halloween Blizzard in 1991 was a Bomb Cyclone, and iirc, the Armistice Day Blizzard was one, too.

      They’re SUPER disruprive, but, because we have modern tech, they usually aren’t as deadly in the Upper Midwest as they *used* to be–beczuse lots of times nowadays, we have *some* indications that big winter storms are coming, and folks are able to plan** accordingly😉😁💖



      **Fwiw, since the district i work for is SO large, and our bussing is *so* intricately planned?

      We didn’t have any afternoon Pre-K programming *today* (we got notice yesterday evening), so that “the big kids” could be released from their schools early, in order to get THEM home before the storm got *too* bad, AND before the windchill dropped to incredibly-dangerous levels…

      AND they called school off, entirely & district-wide for *tomorrow* (we have a snow day😁😁😁💖) at around 10:30 am TODAY.

      It’s got MSP backed up TERRIBLY, already… but at least these bad ones are *typically* predictable in advance nowadays, send don’t sneak up on folks like the old-time “monster blizzards” (like the Armistice Day one!) did!💖💞💗💓💝


      • Cat 1? Please. We don’t even carry umbrellas for Cat 1. But thank you for the clarification. It’s good to know that I can completely ignore this, other than wearing my leather jacket, which has gotten very little use over the last 15 years or so.

        • Yep, for y’all down in FL, windspeed-wise, these are just little baby storms!😉💖


          It’s really the windchill and blowing snow, which make ’em sooooo dangerous!

          At the sort of low temps we’ve had today (today’s *high* was about 2°F), snow that falls ends up being incredibly  light & “fluffy,” which means it doesn’t really settle into solid masses on the ground–and with even those relatively “light” winds in a Category 1–or the 40-50 mph gusts we’ve been told to expect, it leads to “Whiteout Conditions” where you can’t see the edges of the road, or if someone stopped short in front of you/spun out, etc.

          Then there’s the windchill, itself…

          Temps that’ll freeze exposed skin in 5 minutes or less, are incredibly dangerous, if you’re stuck in the ditch!

          Annnnnnd, there’s also the fact that, after a certain level of “cold” temp-wise (basically under 20°-15°F), road salt, brines, and even the sugarbeet juice or  sand combos that get spread on the road? They just don’t work, at a certain temp–and any slow-moving traffic on even “dry” pavement will lead to the water vapor from vehicle exhaust settling on the road surface & forming that infamous “black ice.”

          An easy rule of thumb, to keep you safe, if you’re a Northern driver, is to watch the roadway as you drive, and remember the temps...

          If it “looks wet/shiny”–but the temps are under 20°F?

          That’s NOT “wet” roadway–it’s straight up ICE on the road, you need to give yourself a good cushion of space between yourself & the car in front of you, and lay OFF the damn gas!!!

          Coast a bit, rather than hitting the brakes, TAP the brakes, don’t slam on them, AND steer your vehicle *into* any skid! (I.e. if you try turning left, but your vehicle slides *right*? POINT your steering wheel into a *RIGHT* turn, then gently brake once the vehicle is being controlled by YOU again!😉).

          Making a turn or coming up on a curve in the road?

          Drive like a racecar driver–SLOW *before* the curve, foot OFF the brake going *into* the curve–cover the gas pedal instead, and once you’re 1/3 to 1/2-way through, SOWLY & *GENTLY* accelerate THROUGH the rest of the curve.

          Once you start getting to the end of that turn/curve, you again “steer into the skid,” and ease up on the gas, just a little, to let the vehicle naturally straighten out on the road…

          Honestly? When temps start to hit 0°F to *anything* below zero, and windchill start to hit those ridiculous-sounding “10 Below!” To “40 Below!” numbers?

          It really doesn’t feel much “colder,” it’s simply that you go from a possibility of freezing any exposed parts in 15-20 minutes, to 5 minutes or less… something you DON’T wanna do, by getting stuck in a damn ditch, or crashing into someone else.






          • I was going to make a joke about the difference between a blizzard and a bomb cyclone is that the latter can freeze your eyeballs into solid ice like in The Day After Tomorrow…but I guess it is more true than not.

  8. My solstice was spent in 2 hours of torturous physical therapy on my damaged knee with nothing to show for it except a throbbing ache in my entire leg.  Up until today I’ve seen steady improvement, but my therapist added some 160 lb leg presses today and side-stepping with a resistance band around my ankles which just destroyed me.  I have no reason not to trust him, so I guess I’ll just see how I feel after a night’s sleep.  Here I was thinking I might avoid surgery and now I can barely walk up the stairs.


    Also, we’re driving up to Chicago on January 1 and they’re about to get hit with a bomb cyclone snow apocalypse and arctic blast.  I’m usually the champ at dealing with stress, but tonight I’m stressed.  Sorry if I bummed anyone out.


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