Ground Hog day

WEDNESDAY READER | FEBRUARY 1

Hello, hello February!

Tomorrow’s Groundhog Day.

Will he or won’t he see that shadow?

I’ve always thought it was a fun little tradition — whether or not it’s a real-deal, matters not.  Just a little something twinkly to think of on February 2nd.

Hope you enjoy the read.  I’m happy that you’re here.

POP Quiz

POP QUIZ

  1.   WHICH SEA SEPARATES AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND?
    a)  Andaman Sea
    b)  Coral Sea
    c)  Scotia Sea
    d)  Tasman Sea
  2.   WHAT FICTIONAL TOWN IS HOME TO THE CARTOON CHARACTERS ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE?
    a)  Chilly Cheeks, Saskatchewan
    b)  Frostbite Falls, Minnesota
    c)  Shivers, Alaska
    d)  Snowball Gardens, North Dakota
  3.   ARCHITECT OSCAR NIEMEYER DESIGNED THE U.N. BUILDING IN NEW YORK AND GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS IN WHICH WORLD CAPITAL?
    a)  Abuja, Nigeria
    b)  Brasilia, Brazil
    c)  Canberra, Australia
    d)  Gaborone, Botswana
  4. IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY, DAEDALUS DEVISED WHAT COMPLEX PUZZLE?
    a)  Gordian knot
    b)  Labyrinth
    c)  Riddle of the Sphinx
    d)  Sword of Damocles
  5.   WHICH CONTEMPORARY COMPOSER IS MOST CLOSELY ASSOCIATED WITH THE SKYWALKER SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA?
    a)  John Adams
    b)  John Cage
    c)  Philip Glass
    d)  John Williams
  6.   THE GRATEFUL DEAD ALBUM “POSTCARDS OF THE HANGING” CONTAINS 11 COVERS OF WHOSE SONGS?
    a)  The Beatles
    b)  Bob Dylan
    c)  Woody Guthrie
    d)  Billie Holiday

~ Leslie Elman, COPYRIGHT 2023 LESLIE ELMAN
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Wednesday Reader February 1

QUICK QUESTION

WHO NEEDS YOU MORE THAN YOU NEED THEM?

Wednesday Reader February 1

POP QUIZ ANSWERS

  1.   The Tasman Sea separates Australia and New Zealand.
  2.   Rocky and Bullwinkle live in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.
  3.   Oscar Niemeyer designed government buildings in the planned capital city, Brasilia, Brazil.
  4.   Daedalus devised the labyrinth used to imprison the dangerous Minotaur.
  5.   John Williams, who composed the music for “Star Wars,” has conducted the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra.
  6.   The Grateful Dead album “Postcards of the Hanging” contains 11 covers of Bob Dylan songs.

~ Leslie Elman, COPYRIGHT 2023 LESLIE ELMAN
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

GROUNDHOG DAY

According to Wikipedia.org, here’s the backstory on Groundhog Day:

Groundhog Day (Pennsylvania German:  Grund’sau dak, Grundsaudaag, Grundsow Dawg, Murmeltiertag;  (Novia Scotia:  Daks Day) is a popular North American tradition observed in the the United States and Canada on February 2.  It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that it a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day and sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den, and winter will go on for six more weeks; if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.

Observed by : United States, Canada

Type : Cultural

Significance : Predicts the arrival of spring

Celebrations : Announcing whether a groundhog sees its shadow after it emerges from its burrow

Date : February 2

Frequency : Annual

While the tradition remains popular in the 21st century, studies have found no consistent association between a groundhog seeing its shadow and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather.

The weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger (German:  Dachs) is the forecasting animal.  This appears to be an enhanced version of the lore the clear weather on the Christian festival of Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter.

The Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania, centering on a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most frequently attended ceremony.  Grundsow Lodges in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the southeastern part of the state observe the occasion as well.  Other cities in the United States and Canada have adopted the event.

WHAT COMES FROM THE HEART GOES TO THE HEART

((  Starve the Landfills.  Recycle.  ))

RIDDLE ME THIS

WHAT IS FULL OF HOLES BUT STILL HOLDS WATER?

Wednesday Reader February 1

ZITI AND SPINACH BAKE

This recipe is an outstanding, meatless recipe that is a fan-fave of vegetarians and meatlovers equally.  Serve with a small zesty side salad and a chunk of great bread.                                  ~ serves 8

Adapted from, The Joy of Entertaining, by Virginia Colton

In a large skillet – saute over medium heat until soft and light golden:

  • Olive oil or vegetable oil for sauteing
  • 1 1/2 cups small chopped yellow onion
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic (I use Lighthouse freeze dried garlic in a jar)

NOW ADD:

  • 2 – 26 ounce cans, undrained
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes

Simmer about one hour (no lid on skillet) over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until much of the juice has evaporated and all the ingredients have become one amazing tasting sauce.

WHILE SAUCE IS SIMMERING, IN A GIANT BOWL, GENTLY COMBINE:

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 pound
  • shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound Ricotta
  • 1 28 ounce can spinach, drained
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound Ziti pasta, cooked and drained to package instructions

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375*.
SPRAY PAM OR PREFERRED COOKING SPRAY ON BOTTOM AND SIDES OF A 13″x 9″ BAKING DISH.

  • Spoon on bottom of baking dish enough tomato sauce to coat
  • Add half of the pasta/egg/spinach/cheese mixture
  • Pour half of the tomato sauce on top of this and gently toss with 2 forks to gently combine
  • Add the other half of the pasta/egg/spinach/cheese mixture + remaining half of tomato sauce.  Gently toss with the forks.
  • Sprinkle on top of dish an additional cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese

BAKE 45 MINUTES.
LET REST ABOUT 10 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING.

** this recipe can be divided between 2 smaller baking pans (I like using disposable pans when I divide recipe).  Cover one with foil and slide inside a large plastic zip bag and freeze for another time.

Prepare recipe once — eat twice!  Ta-da

RIDDLE ANSWER

A SPONGE

Wednesday Reader February 1

TOM BRADY WASHED UP AT 45? WELCOME TO THE LIFE OF A WOMAN

**  this column was released on January 21, 2023 **

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season came tumbling down Monday night, hot takes about old Tom Brady started flying.  And I do mean old.

Everyone was making fun of his age, a decrepit, dusty 45.  Get back in the crypt, Tom!  A New York Magazine headline read:  “Tom Brady Is a Rickety Old Man Still Chasing the Dragon.”  Shazam!  Tampa Bay columnist John Romana opined that Tom should look into the AARP app.

After snorting out some Diet Coke, I felt a little bad for Tom.  Yeah, comments about his age come relative to the sport of football, not his usefulness on Earth.  And 45 is hardly elderly.  He can take myriad more drunken boat rides around Tampa Bay, should he desire.

Then, a little gremlin voice rose from my temporal lobe sounding like Edna Mode.  She said, “HISS.  WHY DO YOU FEEL BAD, LADY?  FIE ON TOM.  FIE ON MEN.  MAY THEY SUFFER.  MAY THEY RETURN TO DUST.”  The gremlin reminded me what it’s like to exist as a woman getting older.  Haha!  Welcome to hell, Tommy!

You see, advertisements, movies, tabloids and social media inform women repeatedly and in perpetuity that our youth, desirability and value will dry up at an early age.  We will stop being hot and fresh around … oh, 14?  Or so?  That’s when our faces begin to crease from expressing emotion, a big no-no.  The standard of beauty in the West is a blonde, white-but-tan, oiled porpoise with no body hair.  She smells like a strawberry jellybean, has lips like pontoons, eyelashes in the chrysalis stage of the caterpillar life cycle.

We must achieve this proximity at all co$t.  Have you watched a woman contouring her face?  Do you know the difference between liquid and powder blush, universal C skin refiner and microencapsulated retinol?  Do you know how much a high-quality tube of concealer costs so that we may most effectively hide our hideous natural countenance?  You know who probably knows this?  Gisele probably knows this!

Do you know how we keep our nails looking fresh, young and healthy?  We dip them in a combination of ETHYL CYANOACRYLATE and POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE for $50 every three weeks.

Do you know about hair extensions?  Microblading?  Electrolysis?  Have you ever heard of a butt mask?  A microcurrent device? Do you know we are hiding in our bathrooms sending low-voltage electrical currents into facial muscles to achieve “snatched jawlines”?

Do you know about Restylane, Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Belotero, Volbella, Voluma, Kybella?  Do you know my friend sent me photographs of her red, puffy injection points last week, and we had a heart to heart, made a pact to let our faces turn into whatever our faces turn into?

Has Tom Brady had buccal fat pad removal?  This is a serious question, because his cheekbones are popping.

Furthermore, you must know women’s body types are trends.  For instance, the Brazilian Booty Lift aesthetic is out.  It is fashionable to look hungry, as if constantly sucking a lozenge.  In addition, we must deploy photo filters with utmost care.  We shall appear young and effervescent, but not too young and effervescent, else the internet will roundly mock us in the manner of Madonna and Paula Abdul.

Women can no longer date Leonardo DiCaprio past 25; this is canon.  But let’s turn to Nicole Kidman for further analysis of midlife in Hollyweird, the laboratory for all arbitrary gender rules.  In 2021, she said:  “There’s a consensus in the industry that as a female actor, at about 40, you’re done.”  While men can flourish as salt-and-pepper daddies, female love interests are often decades junior to leading men.  Women over 40 are more likely to be cast as a psychotic school headmistress with a penchant for shot put (see:  Emma Thompson in “Matilda.”  Inspired performance).

We already know having children causes career interruption.  The pandemic worsened working conditions for women of a certain age, many of whom were trying to teach their children to reduce fractions while balancing a laptop atop a pile of KN95 masks.  An AARP study (did you get your card, Tom?) found midcareer and older women suffered outsized job interruption since 2020, with Black and Hispanic women topping that list.

And since we’re talking about football, no one ever seems to discuss the plight of athletes with periods, or who carry and deliver actual human beings.  What about their changing bodies?  Their perimenopause,  fluctuating hormones, hot flashes, sweating, muscle aches?  Do you know the benefits of hyaluronic acid applied via jade ice rollers???

Serena Williams, who was two months pregnant when she won the Australian Open in 2017 (!!), retired from tennis last year at 40.  She wrote this in Vogue:  “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.  Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.”

We don’t know what creaky, fossilized, enfeebled Tom will do next, though he will likely announce his decisions just past deadline on a Friday night, because that’s his vibe.  But it’s fair to say that once he steps off the field, he will be allowed to age gracefully, with his fine lines and gray hairs blazing on television as long as he chooses, never needing to know what a butt mask is.  So, he can take a few more hits.

~  Stephanie Hayes is a columnist at the Tampa Bay Times in Florida
follow her at @stephhayes on Twitter or @stephrhayes on Instagram
COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM

Fascinating Stuff

FASCINATING STUFF

  • Captain James Cook delivered the first sheep to New
    Zealand in 1773, and they just kept coming.  Thousands of sheep were imported to New Zealand in the 1800s.  Add that total to the natural population growth from adult sheep making baby sheep and it wasn’t long before sheep outnumbered people in New Zealand.  The country’s sheep-to-human ratio hit an all-time high in 1982 with 22 sheep for every person.  As of the most recent count, New Zealand’s sheep population outnumbers its human population by slightly less than 6 to 1.
  • It snows a lot in Quebec, and back in the 1930s, roads weren’t always plowed.   So Canadian mechanical engineer Joseph-Armand Bombardier devised a vehicle with caterpillar tracks for use on snowy terrain.  He called it the B7 — B for Bombardier and 7 for the number of passengers it could carry — and in 1937, he patented his design.  By 1939, Bombardier’s “snowmobiles” were being used for ambulance service and rural mail delivery, and in 1942, the company started making snowmobiles for military use.
  • On Feb. 1, 1946, Norwegian diplomat Trygve Lie was elected the first secretary-general of the United Nations.  Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of his tenure was establishing the site for the United Nations headquarters in New York City.  He laid the cornerstone of the building’s foundation in 1949, and there’s a plaza dedicated to him located directly opposite the U.N. building today.
  • James Joyce’s “Ulysses” was officially published in its entirety on Feb. 2, 1922, Joyce’s 40th birthday.  Sylvia Beach, owner of the Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris, had a mere 1,000 copies printed for the book’s first edition.  A second edition followed later that year.  By that time, “Ulysses” had already been banned in the United States on charges that it was pornographic.  U.S. courts didn’t agree to lift the ban until Dec. 6, 1933.  The first American printing of “Ulysses” was released Jan. 25, 1934.
  • The Eminence Symphony Orchestra specializes in live performances of works by Hitoshi Sakimoto, Uasunori Mitsuda, Yoko Shimomura, Harry Gregson-Williams and other renowned composers of music for video games and Japanese anime.  Hearing orchestral performances of works from “Final Fantasy XII,” “Chrono Trigger,” “Kingdom Hearts” and “Metal Gear Solid 2” captivates audiences, sometimes even more powerfully than the games themselves.
  • The archive of the Institute of American Deltiology is part of the special collections at the University of Maryland libraries.  It contains more than 1 million picture postcards as well as reference materials related to postcard collecting.  Deltiology, which comes from the Greek for “little writing tablet,” is the collection and study of postcards.

~ COPYRIGHT 2023 LESLIE ELMAN
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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