Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Tide Comes In…

I happened across a very funny video showing Stephen Colbert’s reaction to some grave ponderings from Bill O’Reilly, who should know better.

Thanks go to astronomer Ethan Siegel for calling my attention to the clip. Take a look at his reaction to O’Reilly’s pseudo-philosophical ruminations:

Starts With a Bang

The Colbert video is at the end of the above post.




Filed under Natural History

Are You Up For a Museum Visit?

First, a scenario from yesterday morning, one only partially informed by reality:

[The scene is a snow-clogged street in Milwaukee. A BBC correspondent is interviewing a city public safety official:]

Correspondent: “How would you characterize this storm?”

Official: “This seems to be a significant snowfall event.”

[A ragged man shuffles into the camera’s field of view. Why, of all people, the man is a 19th Century British sailor, turned ashore after being court-martialed for a buggery incident involving the ship’s milch-goat. His waist-length pigtail is tied off with a bread-wrapper twist-tie and his dun-colored rags are malodorous. His cheeks are red and frost rimes his nostrils. He glances at the official and she recoils noticeably.]

Sailor: “Snowfall event? Significant? Why, it’s nothin’ but a fookin’ blizzard, matey!”

[The sailor shuffles away through the snow. Cut to a commercial…]

Here in Quincy we had about eighteen inches of snow. The storm reminds me of early New Year’s Morning back in 1982. Betsy and I were at a New Year’s Eve party at a neighbor’s house with our nine-month-old son Tyler. At about two in the morning we decided to drive home. We were amazed when we left the house to find that two feet of snow had fallen since we had gotten to the party!

This sort of weather lends itself to sedentary activities, such as the series of virtual museum tours offered by Google with its new Art Project. Here’s a fascinating painting to explore, a detail-filled scene imagined by Pieter Brueghel the Elder back in the sixteenth century:

Dutch Proverbs

Here are a couple of my favorite vignettes from the painting:

What proverbs are these peculiar scenes meant to illustrate? I have no idea; it would be interesting to read a detailed exegesis of the scenes in this painting!



Filed under Visual Arts