Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year Thoughts

  My New Year's Resolution was to have one of my photos published in a newspaper at least 9400 miles from where I live.
    Check.  Col Maybury (with the coolest job title ever), space reporter from the Maitland Mercury in Maitland, New South Wales, Australia,  noticed my Venus -Jet photo on and emailed me for permission to use it in his Sky Watch column  .  The column was published today and Mr. Maybury sent a scan of it.
G'day Maitland
.   Here is the google distance map showing Maitland to be 9427 miles from my house.

  One of my other resolutions was to have the first bird sighting of the year among the folks in the southeast Michigan birding community.  At 10 minutes after midnight I was on my outside round at work and spotted a Mallard swimming in the 40 degree water.   Check.  Oops, it seems Paul Cypher stepped out of a New Years celebration at  the Fort St. Brewery at 12:06 AM and saw a Robin fly by,  possibly spooked by fireworks.  He blogged about it on his website .  Paul, you win this year but remember I work midnights at Ducks on Demand.
   In the morning I got a photo of the Mallard after half an inch of snow accumulated on its back.
   The snowstorm that started New Years Eve continued for 40 hours and dumped 8-12 inches across the region.  When I had to drive to work yesterday afternoon I left early to deal with any hazards or delays that the unplowed roads of Wayne and Monroe County could throw at me.   The hour drive reminded me of a revelation that I had a few years ago while discussing winter driving with a coworker.
   Everyone nods in agreement at the statement  "People forget how to drive when it snows", but if you ask the right questions you'll find that it has two exact opposite meanings to two different type of people.  In meaning one,  the emphasis is on 'how to drive when it snows' and people who forget  'how to drive when it snows' don't drive cautiously.  In the second interpretation the emphasis is on 'People forget how to drive'.  This version is spoken by the folks who complain that it took forever to get somewhere because everyone was driving too slow.  Because they 'forgot how to drive'.   Exact same words two completely different meetings.
  Which meaning do I subscribe to?  Put it this way, I never saw a car spin out because it was driving too cautiously but yesterday I did see a driver spin out because he forgot how to drive when it snows.

    Last night I bought a new indoor/outdoor weather station.  My wife set it up and here is what it looked like during this morning's cold weather.


  1. In my experience, the "multiple meaning" scenario can be avoided by changing the sentence a bit. "People forget how to drive when it snows" becomes "That guy is driving like an idiot..." For the record, the noun can change depending on the severity of the infraction.

    See? No confusion......

  2. Then again is there agreement who the idiots are? I know some folks (including one I live with and at least two people I have worked with) that think the idiots are the ones driving slower in the snow and others( unless I'm alone here.... making me the lone idiot) who think the idiots are the ones driving faster.

  3. Had exactly the same conversation at work about 3 days ago.I said the same thing,you can never drive too cautiously in these conditions and my workmates seemed to think I was Mad by suggesting that they might leave 15 or 20 minutes earlier.Actually by the looks of the snowfall and freezing temps I might leave for work a day later.

  4. Not looking forward to the drive to work tonight, probably leave an hour early, Can't see the ride home in the morning being any better, hopefully people who don't need to be out there will stay home.