01. While much of the country braces for a major winter storm, my area is breathing a sigh of relief that the system is giving us a miss — fifteen states and more than 50 million people are in the storm’s path, with some areas expected to see two feet of snow by week’s end.
02. We were rather spoiled by Mother Nature with a mild December that saw above normal temperatures that included a new high of 60 F one day. Alas, since NYE, we have had more "seasonable" temps, with below freezing and even sub-zero temps this past week.
03. That does not mean the ice on the lakes is one hundred percent safe. While some areas are thick enough to support people, the ice is not thick enough for ATV's or snowmobiles, as one ice fisherman found out the hard way early Wednesday morning. Luckily, his ATV had flotation devices, he was seen going into the water, and was rescued in a timely manner. He is recovering at home from hypothermia.
04. Sadly, you don't need to fall into a lake to suffer hypothermia, as there were at least two incidents in this week's news of people freezing outside homes. One person was found in time and survived; one young woman was not so lucky. In below freezing temps with extreme windchills, frostbite begins to set in within minutes.
05. Speaking of weather, Groundhog Day is fast approaching, and the nearby city of Sun Prairie is still searching for a new groundhog, as well as an "understudy," should they not be able to obtain a new Jimmy in time. Last year's groundhog was released from his duties after he bit the ear of the former SP mayor.
06. And speaking of holidays, while the extra money was appreciated, I am so glad "holiday" hours are over. I have actually had time to make cards and do some stitching this month, and have already completed several ornaments and pieces for another small project in the works.
07. I have also had more time for books, and have already read more than 800 pages this month. Of course, 610 of that was from the same book.
08. As I'm sure you've heard, this year's Oscar nominations were announced last week. As you may have also heard, there is quite the hullabaloo over the lack of "diversity" and claims of racism among members of the Academy, with many actors and other performers declaring they will boycott the awards. The Academy has announced coming changes that may expand the nominees for acting categories from five to eight or ten.
09. Personally, I do not feel that this is a reflection on the Academy or a lack of opportunity, so much as the type of movies being made. I am constantly amazed by the tripe that ranks among top movies each week, but as long as people continue to patronize these low-brow offerings, they will continue to be made. The same applies with television. Stop watching garbage and they'll stop making it.
10. On a higher-caliber note, the century old Al Ringling Theater in Baraboo, WI is scheduled to reopen in February after major refurbishments. The historic marquee was relit this week.
11. Scientists believe they have found a new planet to replace the demoted Pluto at the edge of our solar system. Nicknamed Planet Nine, it is 10 times the size of Earth.
12. The next presidential election is ten months off and I am already tired of it all. I especially wish Trump (and his new best friend Sarah Palin) would go away. Why can't we pass laws in this country as they have in others to shorten the election cycle? Imagine how much good all those millions of campaign dollars could be put to were it not for years of running!
13. A "final jeopardy" clue on this week's Jeopardy! has been making headlines for the simple fact that all contestants bet everything they had, and every one of them guessed the same wrong answer. I can honestly report that I got it right. The clue: "A 1957 event led to the creation of a national historic site in this city, signed into law by a president whose library is now there too." Can you guess the correct city?
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