Early Morning Open Thread: Happy Solstice!

Here in the northern hemisphere, Winter 2012 officially begins at 6:12am EST, per the Washington Post:

The higher the latitude, the faster daylight is gained or lost on a daily basis throughout the year. This is true whichever hemisphere you live in.

If you live in a northern city with very short days now, the good news is that you’ll gain daylight at a faster, more noticeable pace than places to your south. So, even though the coldest days of winter have yet to arrive, increasing daylight is something to look forward to.

Now that the Mayan Long Count has rolled over, what’s on the agenda for the Last Weekend Frenzy Before Xmas?

102 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    No agenda. I thought I’d be dead. FU Mayans.

  2. 2
    NotMax says:

    Oh my. All the Mayans are… gone.

  3. 3
    Raven says:

    Insane winds and colder than a well diggers ass in Alaska!

  4. 4
    NotMax says:


    You’re in Alaska?

    In December?

  5. 5
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: Colder THAN!

  6. 6

    Somewhere a bunch of Mayans are laughing: “Ha! Made you look!”

    I started my two weeks of winter break yesterday at the close of business, so I got to sleep in a little (as opposed to getting at 3 a.m., I’m up at 5.) I’m going to take my laptop in for a check-up and also donate a bunch of used electronics to a program that converts them into cash for low-income schools to get technology upgrades.

  7. 7
    NotMax says:



    For a couple of minutes, thought maybe you’d booked a trip through Masochistic Anglers tours.

  8. 8
    MikeJ says:

    Yes, today is our shortest day at 8h 25m 23s of daylight here in Seattle, but it’s not our earliest sunset. That would have been Dec 10, when sunset was 4:18. Also after today, the sun gets higher in the sky at noon. Today it will only be at 19°.

    Still have a long way to go in the dark though. The sun won’t set as late as 5pm until January 25th.

    Today I will continue migration of my internet gateway from my old machine (kenya) to my new machine (malawi). Malawi has been up and running for a week or so, but I haven’t switched over to it while I continue configuring (and not working on it at all). Been replacing some old, unsupported packages with newer stuff, firestarter->fwbuilder being the most drastic. Hoping for its first live fire test today. If it works as it should, I’ll do some surgery on it (swapping the drive with /home over, etc) and be done before the weekend is over. Still need to make a new favicon for apache on it though. Just won’t do to serve a 16×16 kenyan flag when I get my morning xword off malawi.

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: We touched down in Anchorage to refuel on my way to Korea in February, 1967. That was my only trip there.

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    @MikeJ: What in the hell are you talking about?

  11. 11
    NotMax says:


    Did my stint of harsh winter weather when I was in Minnesota for a while.

    Remember one winter when for an entire month (January) the daytime high never got up to zero (degrees F), and the wind chill some nights reached into the minus 80s. Traversing paths cut on campus to walk through shoulder-high snow after a series of blizzards.

  12. 12
    NotMax says:

    Chilly, windy and rainy on Maui.

    At 1500 feet up, it’s about 60 right now.

    High Thursday at crater was 36.

  13. 13
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: Korea got a little chilly as well. We stayed out in the field for a couple of weeks and, well, it did freeze the balls off a brass monkey!

  14. 14
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: A friend at work has family in Wailea and he’s on his way.

  15. 15
    low-tech cyclist says:

    The Mayan Long Count went on for centuries, and they never did draw the Aztecs offsides.

    So, did they finally hike the ball? What sort of play did they run?

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Schlemizel says:

    I am very depressed that the world did not come to an end. I feel as a species we have earned an apocalypse and we deserve one very soon. Why can’t we have it? Now we have to wait another 5,150 years for the Mayan calender to roll over again and I just don’t want to wait.

    I guess this means I have to go to work today & continue plans for the weekend

  18. 18
    amk says:

    So you ‘murkans aren’t dead yet ? Drats.

  19. 19
    Schlemizel says:


    Is Seattle North of Minneapolis? I didn’t think so but we are on tap for a tad less than 8 hours and 45 minutes.

    Also, to steal a line from Bullwinkle’ “Its colder than a well diggers ankle”. I watched Rockey & Bullwinkle as a kid & got to laugh years later when I got some of the jokes they had planted

  20. 20
    Randy P says:

    @amk: On the internet no one can tell you’re posting from a post-apocalyptic volcanic hellhole.

  21. 21
    Raven says:

    @Schlemizel: Easy for someone who has The Metal Munching Moon Mice From Frostbite Falls on their roof! Whatsamatta U?

  22. 22
    Schlemizel says:


    I remember walking to school (yes, it WAS a mile although only part of it was uphill) in Jr. High when for three straight days it was colder than -30F. Now they would probably close the schools but we were expected to make it.

    BTW – wsa that about 30 years ago? I remember we had nearly 2 feet of snow the day before Thanksgiving and another nearly 2 feet on Thanksgiving day. That was a hell of a winter

  23. 23
    Cermet says:

    Have to laugh that the orange crying boy lost his vote because he really needed democrats (who were smart enough to ignore this ass wipe) to pass his bill; what a looser – the orange crying boy can’t even get a few teabaggers to lick his ass when he needs to prove he can change his own ‘Depends’ … . So, this is the best that the stupid thugs – also called republican voters – can do with their party? This just proves that amerika has been a second rate power whenever thugs have any real power – I guess war crimes are the only things they are good at (see examples like Ray-gun and also the criminal cheney presidency with his boy toy, bush-baby.)

    Gotta love the so-called christians in this god forsaken priest and minister child molesting ‘got religion’ fakers filled country – can’t help but notice that all those christians, who are bound by their religion to forgive, refuse to accept that there were twenty-eight deaths they should be grieving for; yes, both the mother of the killer AND the killer of the children. That’s the way it works unless you are the standard amerikan religious hypocrite.

  24. 24
    Schlemizel says:


    I have always wanted a sweatshirt from Whatsamatta U. Don’t know why I have never had one made. Maybe this year I will do it.

    Then if I could meet Gidney & Cloyd and get one of their scrooch guns I’d be a happy guy

  25. 25
    bago says:

    DEAR GOD! What happened to the CSS?

  26. 26
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    Here at 27 degrees south we get 13 hours and 53 minutes of daylight today.

    Which is all very good except that the rednecks here won’t allow daylight saving, so dawn came at 4:50am.

    Who can get up at 4:50am? By the time you wake up at a civilised hour, the sun is high in the sky and it’s already too hot to go outside and do anything useful.

    At least that’s my excuse.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Linda Featheringill says:

    There are Mayans still among us, by the way. They didn’t disappear altogether.

    Edit: Mayans? Mayas? Mayi?

  29. 29
    Phylllis says:

    @Mustang Bobby: We have a half-day today; go back on January 7th.

    Is the technology program something just in your area? Sounds like a great idea.

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @Raven: It’s definitely chilly. Even though it is suppose to be in the forties later, because of the wind it will feel like the twenties. I’m doing my errands early as long as I can find my winter hat and gloves.
    My son and his six pound dog are coming over this afternoon.
    It will be interesting to see if she will play outside. Actually, my son is so protective, it will interesting if he lets her out in the wind.

  31. 31
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: way down here at 34 south it was 32 degrees c today and i am nursing a slight sunburn.

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:


    Is Seattle North of Minneapolis?

    About 2°. We’re at ~47N.

  33. 33
    NotMax says:


    BTW – wsa that about 30 years ago?

    If memory serves, it was in ’77.

  34. 34
    Linda Featheringill says:


    Oh, hush!

    We have a cold, drizzling rain today, along with gray skies and an elderly cat who might be losing the ability to entertain herself and therefore expects us to make her life interesting.

    But then, nobody ever said that post-apocalyptic life would be easy.

  35. 35
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I posted this in the pet thread, but it deserves some more love because, like all “Top #” lists, there is room for debate: Atlantic Wire’s “Top 50 Worst Columns of 2012.” I believe BJ regulars will recognize most of the “winners.”

    I have to order kids gifts online today. Aiming for creative, intelligent “toys” that expand their mind, not movie-themed plastic bullshit.

  36. 36
    NotMax says:

    @ Linda Featheringill

    an elderly cat who might be losing the ability to entertain herself and therefore expects us to make her life interesting.

    Two words: laser pointer.

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Thank you for the link. I saw your earlier post and was not surprised to see megan’s storm the killer post was included.
    Doug could add to that list.

  38. 38
    MikeJ says:

    Anybody know what time the gun nut press conf is today?

  39. 39
    Soonergrunt says:


  40. 40
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @MikeJ: They were talking about it on morning ho, if I heard correctly 10:15 ET.

  41. 41
    MattF says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Whoa. That’s quite a list. I like the categories, e.g., ‘Bloviating’, ‘Contrarian,’ etc….

  42. 42
    Tan says:

    “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Shelley

  43. 43
    Raven says:

    Shootout on Morin Joe.

  44. 44
    NotMax says:

    Someone at the TCM channel has a sense of humor.

    Whole slew of particularly cheesy end of the world movies airing today.

    At 4 p.m. (ET) is “Panic in Year Zero” – wherein one can watch a family survive a nuclear blast – by hunkering down inside the back of a truck.


    Not a high point in Ray Milland’s career.

  45. 45
    Ash Can says:

    @Raven: Shootout? Has DougJ’s murder-suicide scenario come to pass? I hope no camera crew members got hit by any stray bullets.

  46. 46
    Todd says:


    Love that movie. Milland punching the sneering gas station attendant in the face over the $3.00 a gallon gas profiteering is a joy in and unto itself, not to mention the desire to have “nice” families in the camp area.

  47. 47
    The Red Pen says:

    Went to Free Republic for my Morning Hate(tm). Nothing about “Plan B” failing. Mostly still circling the wagons on gun control. One article posted complaining that liberals are the real racists, and another about abortion, so pretty much standard Freeper background noise.

    Maybe later there will be some posts by “preppers” disappointed that they are not sitting pretty in a post-apocalyptic society. Boo hoo.

  48. 48
    magurakurin says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I believe that “Mayan” is reserved in academic circles for an adjective for uses related to only the language of the Maya people. “Maya” is the adjective for everything else, “Maya architecture.” “Mayas” is the plural of the noun “Maya” as referring to the Maya people. But general usage seems to favor “Mayan” as a general adjective for all aspects as well as serving as the noun for the people. Strictly speaking then, “Mayas”, I guess. I had a class in Maya art, it was bit of a pain trying to keep it straight and the teacher was a real stickler about it.

  49. 49
  50. 50
    geg6 says:


    Ooooo, elaborate, please.

    Anyway, it’s freaking cold and a little snowy, which I can handle…but the wind! Holy shit! My doggie is hiding in the bedroom, which is unusual because he is usually attached to me like Velcro. But he hates, hates, hates wind. So he’s on his rug in the bedroom, cowering. So cute!

    I’m on day five of my break and loving everything about it. Got the house cleaned and decorated. Did my shopping for the family celebration on Monday (making a mushroom wine sauce for the beef and creamed peas and pearl onions). Just have to pick up a few last minute things and some bows and gift bags. I’m amazingly organized. Gonna do some laundry in leisurely fashion today and veg out on tv and movies. Glad we dodged that whole Mayan apocolyse so I can have this lazy day at home.

  51. 51
    The Red Pen says:


    Not a high point in Ray Milland’s career.

    It’s difficult to define a “high point” in a career that included The Thing with Two Heads.

    Milland plays a white racist who tries to extend his life by having his head grafted on another man’s body. During a transitional period, the body has both heads. To his horror, the white guy’s head is grafted onto the body of a black guy, played by former NFL defensive tackle Rosey Grier.

    It’s supposed to make you laugh… and then think. Deep stuff.

  52. 52
    Raven says:

    @geg6: I’m trying to hear who the congressman was. He accused Joe of “politicizing” the issue when Joe asked him about assault weapons and high capacity mags. Joe went apeshit and the Gene Robinson came on just flabbergasted.

  53. 53
    Bruuuuce says:

    @magurakurin: In our house, “Mayan” is an adjective referring to my better half and her things. (Yep. She’s named Maya and has been alternately amused and annoyed at this whole mishegoss.)

  54. 54
    SectionH says:

    @NotMax: I spent two winters in Minnesota, and I still vividly remember that yes, one month the temperature did not get above 0F even in the daytime. People often don’t believe me when I tell them that.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    gene108 says:


    Have to laugh that the orange crying boy lost his vote because he really needed democrats (who were smart enough to ignore this ass wipe) to pass his bill

    Paul Brown (Rep. Lying Bastard) is on CSPAN right now. He started off saying Obama wasn’t negotiating with Republicans.

    Obama proposed his budget that got voted down 99-0 in the Senate and 435-0 in the House.

    In short, the Republican lying about the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations has already begun. I await the mainstream stenographers MSM to begin “reporting” how Obama never tried to negotiate with Republicans and ram his crazy Kenyan-Muslim-Socialist-Anti-Colonial-Rage policies down the poor Republicans throats.

  57. 57
    jon says:

    The Far Right voted against Plan B because their crack corn jiminy constituents demanded they stop the abortion tax pill bill thingy the black man tricked the orange man into thinking was a good idea.

    That’s my read, and I’m sticking to it.

  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: “expand their mind”

    Where do you get the mushrooms on line?

  59. 59
    SectionH says:

    And a Happy Solstice to all!

  60. 60
    Raven says:

    @gene108: I think you have the spelling wrong.

  61. 61
    catclub says:

    @NotMax: With a laser pointer comes cat bowling. (Look for the youtube video)

  62. 62
    gene108 says:


    You’re right. Screw it. I had to turn off the T.V. I couldn’t stand listening to him. I wanted to claw off my ears, so I couldn’t hear him lying and gouge out my eyes, because his smug look on his face makes me think he knows he’s pulling one over on the rubes, who keep voting him into office and doesn’t care what damage he does to this country.

  63. 63
    shortstop says:

    @Schlemizel: John Boehner had one (an apocalypse) last night. That’s something!

  64. 64
    Elizabelle says:

    Think the conservative Republican asshat who got most of us to turn off Morning Joe is Rep. Huelskamp.

    From Kansas. Here’s the clip.


  65. 65
    Elizabelle says:

    Huelscamp of the “[President Obama] is not the only one who won election. We all won election.”

    And bleating about how taxes going up will kill jobs.

    Meanwhile, isn’t a lot of the business community on board with President Obama?

    Believe Huelscamp says he does not have major industry in his district, but he does have a lot of farmers.

    Q: Should anybody’s taxes be raised?

    Fool: No.

  66. 66
    Todd says:

    I had an interesting experience yesterday on the assault weapons front. For two reasons one altruistic and the other mercenary, I decided to explore selling my WW2 leftovers. They are in great operating condition, outstanding physical condition, and would have been sold back complete with high cap mags for one and a bunch of clipped .30-06. One of my thoughts had been that now would be the time to dump them ahead of transfer restrictions, as demand is supposed to be up, and prices would be high. Plus, I was bored with them.

    I take them into the store (which was packed with camo wearing slack jaws in camo caps), and the guy at the counter advises me to hang on to them because the price for wood stock items has actually crashed due to the huge current demand for new weapons manufactured to appear military and black.

    A couple of things dawned on me:

    1. It’s all about Walter Mitty with the gun [insert negative appellation historically applied to gay men here];

    2. This country is so awash in firearms that items which should be desirable and collectible cannot hold their value.

    The guy told me that he did a quick check online, and was as surprised as I was about how many were available at really low prices; the quotes I got were only about 60% of what I paid for them a dozen years ago.

  67. 67
    NotMax says:


    Still a powerful pic, trite and cliched as some of it may be now.

    Love the revelation about the Irish-run and Jewish-run pawnshops reciprocal agreement to close down for each others major holidays.

  68. 68
    gene108 says:


    And bleating about how taxes going up will kill jobs.

    The sad thing about the fiscal cliff stuff is the spending cuts Republicans demanded will really cause a second recession.

    A lot more government jobs and private jobs paid for by the government dollars will be lost, along with subsidies for various groups in our society.

    The tax increase by itself would hurt demand, but people would industry could probably adjust and government could use the extra tax revenue to invest to stimulate the economy.

  69. 69
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    FSM, what a fucking moron, that Huelscamp guy.

  70. 70
    Mardam says:

    I knew it!! Now I’ve gotta pay for the hookers and blow I bought last night.

    @#$%^$# Mayans!!1

  71. 71
    bemused says:


    I hope you mentioned car block heaters….wake up to minus 40 degrees, damnit, you forgot to plug in the car last night.

  72. 72
    Elizabelle says:


    You cannot govern with people like him, with small intellect, running solely on ideology from a closed, closed society of closed, closed minds.

  73. 73
  74. 74
    Lojasmo says:


    I have no idea what any of that meant except there are two computers involved.

  75. 75
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Elizabelle: Indeed. And the fucking moron doesn’t know what the word “leadership” means.

  76. 76
    Elizabelle says:

    It’s actually great payback for the Republican party, and the megadonors funding the rightwing think tanks.

    That’s what you have out there, a Congresscritter commando who drank the Koolaid and cannot reason and analyze. He’ll tank your business because someone told him “taxes kill jobs.”

  77. 77


    Seattle’s climate is moderated by its proximity with the ocean…

  78. 78
    Ash Can says:

    @Todd: That’s an interesting insight. Unsurprising conclusions, but interesting to see them confirmed this way.

  79. 79
    MikeJ says:

    @Lojasmo: The men don’t know, but the little girls understand.

  80. 80
    Elizabelle says:

    That congressman is all about fear too.

    No higher reason involved. Just fear, fear, fear and what the Heritage Foundation and the NRA tells him.

  81. 81
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: We went with Zombie Dice for our godson and his brother — It’s a board game showcased on Will Wheaton’s Table Top blog. All players are zombies and roll the dice to get brains and avoid death.

    Why is this educational? 1) ZOMBIES, 2) the dice are not consistent, there are three colors with a different number of outcomes, so one has to keep track of the dice and learn probability, 3) you interact with relatives you probably want to ignore with opportunities for witty repartee.

    Plus, there’s a free app.

  82. 82
    Lojasmo says:


    I remember a winter like that in??1990??

  83. 83
    Schlemizel says:



  84. 84
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland: Thanks, I’ll look into that.

  85. 85
    mandarama says:


    I was talking with Cassidy in a thread a while back, and he told me that the hunting rifle my grandfather used (and taught us to shoot with) in the late 70s is now marketed as a “sniper rifle.” He said it IS the basic platform for military sniper training…and my granddad thought the world of it because it is very accurate, and therefore you didn’t need many bullets if you knew what you were doing. But now the fetish guys paint it black and put a big-ass scope on it and call it a “sniper rifle.”

    So I googled “Remington 700” and found even worse than I expected. Check out this website where they actually paint the gun in a variety of camo (desert, NOT hunting-in-South) patterns, add modifications, and call it SNAKE NAMES so you can feel extra cool! Plus, the marketing says stuff like “combat ruggedness” and “tactical advantage.”

    Yeah…since all anyone ever shot when I was a kid was a single deer or a paper target on a tree (MAYBE beer cans on a Bad Idea night)…how much “combat ruggedness” did we need?
    I mean, this is basically the same gun as the walnut stock one, right? My grandfather would be completely perplexed. I’m flat weirded out, myself.

  86. 86
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @gene108: I bet an argument the Republicans will throw out in January if everyone’s taxes go up is “See, if you raise taxes on the rich, it hurts job growth.”

  87. 87
    Schlemizel says:


    I did not know that! I know we are North of Cities in Canada and just assumed we we the furthest North of AMerican large cities.

    Ya learn something new every day – sometimes, accidentally, its even something you wanted to know 8-{D

  88. 88
    handsmile says:

    While the frat buddies over at “Morning Joe” were bemoaning the collapse of the Republican Party (“my party,” Joe squealed repeatedly) over its moldy ideas on taxes, guns, and contraception, “the Most Trusted Name in News” network was interviewing the new Miss Universe (“the first American in 15 years!”).

    To be fair, this spokesmodel for the Trump Organization was preceded by outgoing Teabagger Congresswoman Nan Hayworth (NY19) who chirped a silly tune about upholding GOP economic principles from the disloyal John Boehner.

    CNN just keeps swirling away into irrelevance, already so deluded that it believes hiring Jake Tapper from ABC will staunch the flow.

    For your reading pleasure, Salon’s brilliant media matador Alex Pareene has issued his Hack List 2012 (#1 Politico, #2 Kaplan TPD, #3 Newsweek…). Much savage hilarity.


    Now that the wind and rain have abated here in the urban hellhole, I’ll soon be off to the bedlam of holiday shopping.

  89. 89
    quannlace says:

    When I was a little kid, I remember my Dad every December 21 saying, “Ah, now the days will start getting longer.” I used to laugh at him, but now I’m starting to feel the same way. Is this what getting old means?

  90. 90
    Schlemizel says:

    @The Red Pen:

    I always wondered what the hell happened to him. He had a decent career & was a leading man. Did he piss off the Warners or somebody? It seems the end was him doing horrible movies like the ones mentioned here

  91. 91
    Schlemizel says:


    Ya know, for the last 60 years EVERY Miss Universe winner has come from the same, small blue-green planet far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy circling a small unregarded yellow sun.

    I think the contest is fixed

  92. 92
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    I can never really sign up with the idea that winter begins on the solstice, because that in turn makes early March late winter, which is just silly.

  93. 93
    Gus says:

    @Schlemizel: That was a typical winter where I’m from in Northern Minnesota. Now I live in Minneapolis, and I wonder how anyone deals with a Northern Minnesota winter. Like Minneapolis is a tropical paradise.

  94. 94
    handsmile says:


    I suspect you’re right. Earthlings love their anthropocentrism when it comes to universal female pulchritude. But I’m sure we agree that Donald Trump, who sponsors this “contest”, is a cosmic as*hole.

  95. 95
    Lojasmo says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Know how I know you don’t live in Minnesota?

  96. 96
    Gus says:

    @Lojasmo: lol, I was thinking the same thing. Early April is often winter here.

  97. 97
    Gus says:

    @The Red Pen: Let’s not forget “The Man with the X-Ray Eyes.”

  98. 98
  99. 99
    gene108 says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Raising taxes kills jobs, is a response Republicans will through everytime they open their mouths, even if they talk in their sleep.

    The problem is the MSM will repeat it ad nauseum and ignore the spending cuts that are actually going to cause the deepest hurts to the economy, because “government is the problem” and therefore cutting government solves the problem.

  100. 100
    SectionH says:

    @bemused: Oh yes… Well, I didn’t own a car (poor student) but my bf and his car-nut roommates did plug their cars in every night. Sometimes with a blanket over the hood, too. I’m not sure, but I think they were very DYI heaters, like a lightbulb on an extension cord. I was there back in the 70’s.

    @Lojasmo: Sorry, I was there quite a bit earlier than the ghastly winter you have in mind.

    I’ve been back to Mpls a number of times since, but only once in the winter deliberately, on a complicated itinerary through MSP. We had a downtown hotel, and I was very impressed – and pretty jealous – at how much winter-amelioration, if I may call it that, has happened. Never mind all the downtown walkways: the light rail stops (and I hope bus stops) are sheltered from the wind – and heated! What a difference that makes.

  101. 101
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy: Okay, I clicked over… good joke.

  102. 102
    Michael James says:

    Jethro Tull rings out those Solstice Bells on Top of the Pops in 1976.

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