CSotD: March and Misconceptions

Lola (AMS)‘s stubbornness notwithstanding, the start of March hardly marks the start of Spring.

Except in Australia, where seasons begin the first of the month instead of on the solstices and equinoxes which should probably be equinoces.

The more important thing is that Spring doesn’t start there on March 1 because it starts on September 1.

So I wouldn’t rely on them for seasonal advice.

When I was a kid, we’d drive from the Adirondacks to my grandparents’ place near Philly, and it was like the Wizard of Oz, starting in a gray place of snow, going through muddy transition and then bursting into full brilliant technicolor daffodils and apple blossoms in southeastern Pennsylvania.

The drive home was more like Dr. Zhivago.


Anyway, that stupid groundhog makes sense because the Pennsylvanians were mostly German and just transported their badger story, but the “first robin” is just silly because robin redbreast (Erithacus rubecula) and the American robin (Turdus migratorius) aren’t anything alike.

American robins — their Latin name means “flying turd” — show up whenever they like and they don’t care or even notice if it’s spring as long as there are dead berries on the trees. They survived for thousands of years before the Europeans brought earthworms to this hemisphere which I don’t believe for a minute, nor should you.

Anyway, only overweight 20-something men run around New England in shorts this time of year. It’s not spring yet.


As long as I’m shooting down misconceptions about spring, Barney & Clyde (WPWG) offers one about springs (pl).

Illustrators of children’s rhymes who draw wells at the top of Jack and Jill’s hill should be horsewhipped for misinforming children.

It was a spring, which can pop out of a mountain anywhere. When I lived in Plattsburgh, I got my drinking water from a spring overlooking Dannemora, and while I waited for the jerrycan to fill, there was a lovely view to take in, though you couldn’t quite see over the wall into the Yard.

A fog harp would also work, but a spring at the bottom of the hill would be a pool, at which point you should probably boil the water.

Life expectancy having risen considerably since we quit dipping old oaken buckets into open wells.


Oh, don’t get me started, Andertoons (AMS).

My junior year, one of our professors — a brilliant Dominican who had translated Aquinas and Aristotle among others — brought a Navajo elder to class, who asked us why so many of us sought to adopt the superficial elements of his religious culture, which was utterly foreign to us, instead of exploring the deep, mystic elements of the religious culture in which we had been raised?

Good question. I’ll have to ask my spirit animal.


On the other hand, if anyone besides Dark Side of the Horse (AMS) wants to promote the idea that this is how streetlamps work, I’m all in.

It’s how they should work.


Though if we’re going to talk about energy and myths, I’d point out that, however confused Aussies are about the seasons, First Dog on the Moon (Guardian) has the Texas power failures completely right and I recommend you go read the rest of this one.

I’d say that First Dog gets pissed better than anyone else I know, except that, down there, it probably means drunk, which might also be true but is hardly relevant unless the pandemic ends and I decide to go visiting.

Anyway, his fury is wonderful and not to be missed.


Stephen Collins (Guardian), by contrast, is a Brit and thus much more dry in his approach, though I suspect he had become furious with some Internet company before penning this one.

The British love droll humor, which is why, about 250 years ago, they rounded up all the furious people and exported them to the Antipodes.

That’s history and you can look it up.


This is what technical help was like there long ago, which explains the turnips.

Everyone spoke Middle English or Danish or something back then, which was why things were so confusing until the Normans arrived and taught them to translate half their words into French.

Hence the phrase “How’s Bayeaux the fam’ly? How’s your sister Em’ly?”


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Big Ben Bolt – KFS Vintage)

(Wallace the Brave – AMS)

Ben Bolt comes up on my morning cycle early, which prompted to remember that, when I teased this storyline, the cowboy hat made me assume that Ben’s pal Alamo Smith was somehow involved.

As we see today, it’s headed in another direction altogether, but it also made me reflect that surely Mr. and Mrs. Haines didn’t name their boys “Spider” and “Keno.”

So when I got to Wallace, I already had nicknames on my mind.

We had nicknames in high school, or, I should say, “by” high school. Trout picked his up at about eight, when he snatched a large fish from the grass on the banks of Cranberry Lake and ran triumphantly home with it, chased by the large 12-year-old who had actually caught it.

I don’t know when Digger got his name, but, as the son of the local mortician, it was inevitable. It could have been unsettling later, when his father retired and he became the local mortician himself, but, by then, that was his name and nobody thought twice about it.

Pinky let a grounder go through his legs in American Legion baseball, and was yelled at for being afraid to hurt his pinkies, and Big Dog got his the summer before senior year, when a bunch of his exhausted buddies were taking a break on a lakeside construction job and he went breezing by in a speedboat with several girls in bathing suits.

I, of course, was “Pete” because every Peterson becomes Pete. My son was Pete in the Navy and his son-in-law, despite only being a hyphenated Peterson, is also Pete in the Navy.

It does occur to me that, if Spud has no nickname, his parents must have actually named him that.

Which fits perfectly within the Snug Harbor Universe but I think means he can never leave.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: March and Misconceptions

  1. Hi Mike. Just thought I’d mention that the “flying turd” thing was a joke. Few people get more than a couple semesters of Latin in our sad modern school system anymore.

    Illegitimi non carborundum.

  2. There’s the old calendar where the summer solstice is Midsummer (makes sense); therefore the first of May is the first day of summer (OK); and Groundhog’s Day is the first day of spring (record scratch sound effect).

  3. She’s fine too. She’s fine too.

    Another juxtaposition: Phoebe and Her Unicorn and Reality Check (with a shout back to Diamond Lil week of 02/08).

  4. A related nerdy detail opportuni9ty is to frown on saying such-and-such date *is* the solstice or *is* the equinox. Instead, the day is “the day of the solstice” or “the day the solstice happens” etc. Based on taking the solstice or the equinox as the short moment when the projection of a certain plane crosses a certain axis projected line in astronomical 3-space.

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