Friday, March 13, 2009

Across the Clouds I See My Shadow Fly

Discovered this day in 1781: Uranus.

Herschel's music led him to an interest in mathematics, and thence to astronomy. This interest grew stronger after 1773, and he built some telescopes and made the acquaintance of Nevil Maskelyne. In the spring of 1781, William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus, using a homemade telescope in the back garden of his house in New King Street, in Bath. He called the new planet the 'Georgian star' after King George III, which also brought him favour; the name didn't stick, however: in France, where reference to the British king was to be avoided if possible, the planet was known as 'Herschel' until the name 'Uranus' was universally adopted.

Color me impressed. I've discovered many things in my various backyards: lightning bugs, a high school ring, unexpected pet poop - but never a planet. Perhaps if we spent more time on our patios, additional planets would reveal themselves. You see, whatever's spinning out in space has done so for essentially all eternity. We just don't see it until we're ready.

Tata: Just so you know, I'm likely to drink a bottle of wine tonight and turn up tomorrow looking like dog chow.
Lupe: You were exceptionally lovely on Monday so we'll average it out.

Pete and I are planting meaty beefsteak tomatoes. I plan to name them all Herschel in hopes of noticing tomatillos I don't remember planting but must have been there all along. Today is also the anniversary of the murder of Kitty Genovese, who was a person and not just a famous tragic figure. Less and less will be known about her as time passes, the people who knew her take to the ether and she is swallowed by lore. Rosemary, as Ophelia said, "rosemary for remembrance." Ophelia wasn't talking about memories, but that gets lost, too. And basil. I like basil. Last night, Jon Stewart tore up one side of Jim Cramer and down the other after a protracted series of tearings up and down. I had waited so long to see just such a thing, just such a series of things, that at first I didn't realize what I was seeing. After a moment, I remember thinking Jon would let him get away, as Jon has let so many before. Then I saw I was wrong, as I often am. Jon was out for blood. Jim was defenseless and mewling: a bully challenged often cries. It was always going to be thus, but now we are ready. We are ready to see the Masters of the Universe reduced to bitter tears.



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