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Jan. 20th, 2015

On a myth of British history:

"The behaviour of young people on May Eve and May Day had thus become a cliché of scandal and of titillation alike. It took until the late twentieth century, and the patient labours of demographic historians, to reveal that there was in fact no rise in the number of pregnancies at this season, in or out of marriage. The boom in conceptions came later in the summer. In practice early modern people seem to have found the night of the 30 April generally too chilly, and the woods generally too damp."
Ronald Hutton. The Stations of the Sun: a history of the ritual year in Britain. Oxford University Press, 1996. p. 229.

***Saturday January 3, 2015. Seen at the Van Cleve Park ice hockey rink: a man on skates, pushing a baby in a stroller. Also a woman holding a toddler up by his arms; both on skates.

***Sign: "End of year sale." More than 360 days early.

***"Careful dog," I said. "I bite." The dog owner’s companion then explained to me that the dog didn’t bite.

People hear, or read, what makes sense to them. Sometimes they understand the words, but take it for granted that something which makes sense to them was meant.

Example: I mentioned on-line that Quebec City had the highest percentage of native French speakers of any city. -"Outside of France, of course,"- someone said helpfully. No.

***Tuesday January 6, 2015. Cold enough that ice formed on my beard and mustache.

***Wednesday January 7, 2015. Colder yet. Minneapolis schools closed. St. Paul schools didn't, but there were excused absences.

***Got a computer!
Free Geek Twin Cities refurbishes used computers, replacing Windows with Xubuntu (a Linux variant.) I bought a Toshiba Satellite laptop.

Free Geek is in a mostly-industrial part of Minneapolis; one which has other quirky nonprofits and businesses, such as Barebones Puppets.

When I got home, started re-familiarizing myself with Linux.

And began tweaking various programs to my taste. Mostly turning off "helpful" features such as word completion.

***Thursday January 8, 2015. Warmer.

I bought a balaclava at Thrifty Outfitters (part of Midwest Mountaineering.)