CSotD: Daylight, Mud and Other Topics

In today’s Frazz (AMS), there is, as usual, no need to fact-check Caulfield, but, if you’d like to play around with sunrise, sunset and length of lighted day, here’s a website I found when I was fact-checking Caulfield.

I tried my current New Hampshire ZIP Code and the one I lived in back in Colorado, a difference of nearly 5 degrees in latitude, and found that our days are of equal length, but it’s the time that varies.

So, if you’re seven years old and standing on the roadside waiting for the school bus in Colorado, the Sun will come up at 7:02, while, in New England, it won’t come up until 7:18.

As long as you wear something bright and your bus doesn’t come until 7:30 or later, you should be relatively safe.

Except now the Senate has decided to have that bus come before dawn, at what the Sun thinks is 6:30.

Maybe you should carry a flashlight and stand back from the road a bit.

The arrival of Spring is more dubious, because, despite Caulfield’s technical explanation, it is a moment to be measured not on calendars but in crocuses and daffodils.

And, boy, does that vary!

I was married on this date in Denver and we only wore jackets and shawls because it was a wedding, not because it was cold. My brother was married in the Adirondacks six weeks later, on May 1, and I’ve got pictures with six-foot snowbanks in the background.

Anyway, we’re, as Cummings put it, “in Just-spring, when the world is mud-luscious,” and there are people who can’t get up the road to their house by car, even with 4-wheel drive.

It’ll be Spring when the trilliums bloom, when you can sit on the grass without getting wet, and when the dog comes back inside without muddy paws, regardless of the date or the position of the Sun.


True Spring also means kids get to go outside without bundling up, causing the Buckets (AMS) to discuss the demise of baseball.

We played a lot of baseball as kids, but that was back in the days of Harriet Nelson and June Cleaver, when more moms and kids were home and you could readily assemble enough kids to make credible teams.

And without scheduling “playdates,” either.

However, “baseball” was a pretty flexible concept even then. If you only had five people on a team, you could outlaw stealing and have the other team furnish a catcher and declare right field a foul or a ground-rule double, but, any fewer players and you needed ghost runners and things started becoming far more complex.

My kids grew up in the age of soccer, where two players can figure out something and four is enough, but what they seemed to play mostly was “500,” which, to my adult eyes, appeared to consist of throwing a football in the air and assigning random values for catching it until someone reached 500.

Which is the kind of game all kids can enjoy, because it combines athletics and quarreling.


And as long as I’m harrumphing, I got a chuckle out of today’s Bizarro (KFS), because those must be some wealthy cannibals.

I’m sure artificial meat is better for both the environment and you, but that seems a dubious reason to eat it.

I know more recovering alcohols who drink non-alcoholic beer than vegans who eat pretend meat. Most seem to focus on grains and vegetables that aren’t disguised as something else.

Burger King offers beef and faux Whoppers at the same price, and, while the mystery of going to Burger King for your health is baffling enough, my question is why faux meat costs the same there when it’s so much more expensive at the grocery store.

Consarn it, I remember back when ground beef mixed with soy meal produced a blend that was cheaper than ground beef alone.

Though, IIRC, we used it mostly for meat loaf or meat balls. Nobody ate that stuff straight up.


Rabbits Against Magic (AMS) keeps me on rant mode, because I’m struggling with the moral concept of “Shop Local.”

The first step is to define “local,” because, while shopping at a chain means some small percent of your purchase goes to pay their minimum wage/no benefits employees, and I suppose the taxes have local impact, the largest portion of their profits goes to some distant corporate headquarters.

I buy gas at a locally-owned convenience store, and we have a co-op for groceries that is the rival of the chains, but there aren’t a lot of independent merchants left for much else.

Now add supply chain issues and the general economic squeeze and even the chain stores don’t offer a whole lot of selection anymore. Used to be you could special order and they’d get it in 10 days — rather than Amazon’s three — but these days, they can’t even guarantee “better late than never.”

Shopping on-line begins to feel like less of a moral failing after a while.


Rant mode off, because this Flying McCoys (AMS) happens to hit about 24 hours after a discussion about how the folks in Bangalore have stepped up their game, at least at the better call centers. You can still hear an accent, but the quality of English-speaking employees is way beyond what it was a few years ago.

Not that you don’t occasionally stumble into the folks who have to say everything three times, but we’re at the point where we should be arguing over call centers entirely, not about language skills.

After all, we used to have call centers right here in the US of A where we offered really crappy, low-paying jobs to a staff that turned over every four months, but now those jobs have headed overseas, dammit.


To end on a positive note, Man Overboard riffs on what it’s like to emerge from a creative beta state and see what you did. I love the experience of finding some particularly good piece I did years ago and wondering what hidden level I had tapped that time.

So I imagine looking up at your work and seeing the Sistine chapel would be pretty mind-blowing.

Or looking at your painting of a flower.