Caelum et Terra Is Back On the Air
Not Surprising

It's Antarctica Month!

I've been meaning to mention this for several days: Craig Burrell has declared February to be Antarctica Month at his blog, All Manner of Thing, in part because "February is dang cold," (and he lives in Canada, so when he says it's cold he doesn't mean the temperature will dip below freezing for a day or so). Already, a little over a week into it, he's put together a lot of fascinating information, presented in his usual elegant way. Click here to go to the first entry, and from there you can proceed through all of them via the link at the upper right corner of each post. Unless you're already an expert on the subject, you'll probably learn a lot. And you'll enjoy it (that's an observation, not a command).


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Thanks, Mac. I've been having a great time with it. I actually have enough ideas for a post every single day of the month (except the day I already missed); whether I will have time to write the posts is another question.

It was -25C (-13F) when I got up this morning. Cold, but not as cold as in Antarctica.

I needed something to put my life in perspective.


Every day?! That's very impressive. I'm keeping up with you so far (sorry for the delayed reply, I've been really busy and if not busy then distracted).

Approximately -10F is the coldest temperature I've ever experienced. Anything much below that is not really conceivable to me.

-30, with high winds,riding up a ski lift in Michigan when I was about 20... never been so cold in my life.

I'm not sure I've ever experience temperatures below 0F,but it was 8F(-13C) here night before last and that's plenty cold enough for me.


I suppose every one's lowest-temp-ever-experienced (including wind chill) becomes a sort of personal absolute zero. I'm completely failing in the effort to imagine -30F/-34C.

By the way, did y'all know that the Celsius & Fahrenheit scales converge at -40? So if you're ever in that temperature, it will compensate some for the suffering that you don't have to bother with conversion formulae in order to communicate it to someone who uses the other scale.

Janet, my -10F/-23C experience was at home in north Alabama, and I can remember several other times when the temp dropped below 0F, so you've probably experienced it, too. You may have been too numb to care.

How old were you? I'm thinking that it got that cold when I was little.


Well, the one absolute coldest time I'm thinking of was ca. 1981. It was Christmas and I was outside trying to unfreeze the thermostat on my VW Rabbit, freezing of which had the paradoxical effect of making the engine overheat in spite of the air temp. But I know there were times when I was growing up--say 10-15 years old--that the temp went some degrees below zero. So since you're so much younger than me, it may have been when you were little. :-)

I am not sure what the lowest temperature I ever experienced was, but it was probably in the -40 or -45 range (as Mac pointed out, at those temperatures one needn't really specify C or F, since they pretty much coincide). I remember trying to clear the driveway when I was a teenager -- and we had a long, country-home driveway -- and the snow-blower kept breaking down. It was -40, plus a terrific wind. That was truly awful.

One thing about cold temperatures is that one can dress for them. A temperature of -10C isn't that bad for us, because we have warm jackets, hats, and gloves. The same temperature for you folks, down in the lands where alligators live, is going to feel a lot colder.

There are a surprising number of people here who bundle up in heavy coats when the temp is a few degrees above freezing. I myself don't even own one anymore. I find that a jacket, stocking cap, and gloves, supplemented under extreme conditions (i.e. high wind or more than a few degrees below freezing) with a scarf and/or sweater, are plenty for anything I've encountered here. I lost my gloves a week or so ago, which I think means there will be a few more cold spells.

I usually don't wear a coat unless it's under about 45F (8C). I haven't even put the lining in my cloth coat this winter, although I have thought that was mighty stupid a few times in the past couple of weeks. I just hate coats.

I don't know how you pump gas in a cold spell without gloves.


Janet, you don't pump gas without gloves. You either wear gloves, or go to a full service gas station.

If you lived in Canada, you would learn to love, not hate, your coat. We even wear our coats in the house sometimes.

A few months ago a friend was in Estonia, and I narrowly missed asking him to bring me back one of those wonderful Russian fur hats. I am a little sorry that I did not. But what if it had not fit?

One reason why I don't live in Canada. I'd like to visit there in the summer sometime, though.


And I'd like to visit Alligator-land in the winter.

I can't remember the last time I saw a full-service gas station. I wonder if there are any around here.

Well, you'll have to go to Maclin for alligators, but I can offer you a wide variety of roadkill: beavers, armadillos, possums, skunk (passed a nice fresh one this morning), the occasional deer, and much more.


At the closest gas station to my house (about 5 miles) they pump gas for women. This was fine when only men worked there, but then when women started pumping my gas, I began to wonder what the point was.


It seems, Janet, that you are not a true southern belle, because otherwise you would just assume that some people are put there to wait on you, regardless of their gender.

That's not true, Maclin, a true southern belle would never expect a woman to pump gas.


I can think of a lot who probably wouldn't notice. Maybe you're attaching more significance to "true" than I was.

As in, a *true* southern belle wouldn't expect a woman to pump gas.

Well, as I've gotten older, I've realized that other southern families were much more like the people you are describing than we were. Of course my father's family were immigrants, so maybe that was part of the difference. I did have one friend in high school that was probably pretty much like you describe.


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