Winter Solstice 2017


The word solstice comes from Latin sol “sun” and sistere “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day.

At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.

My mood always improves at winter solstice.  It means that the days will start getting longer, regardless of how imperceptibly.   For those with Pagan roots, the Holly King is strongest and has vanquished the Oak King, until they have to do it all over again at Summer Solstice.

Forget the myths and legends.  I just want the days to get longer.  I anxiously await the beginning of Daylight Saving time on March 11, 2018.  Perhaps I have S.A.D.


Corey Stewart defends Roy Moore

Outspoken Virginia Republican Corey Stewart this weekend defended U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of initiating sexual contact with a teenage girl. Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said if the allegations are true, Moore should drop out of the race in Alabama.

Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and a candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), defended Moore on Friday in a Facebook Live event.

“These allegations are 40 years old. Forty years old, and they’re unsubstantiated,” Stewart said in response to a question from Ian Sams, Kaine’s campaign spokesman. “There’s no way to prove it. They didn’t prove it, but you’re presumed guilty? That’s not right.”

Sams, speaking on behalf of Kaine, said, “Any person of conscience should be willing to condemn child sex abuse, and the fact Corey won’t speaks volumes about him.”

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Veterans Day 2017

Our poet laureate, George Harris sent this piece to me last week.  As usual, George’s way with words and personal experiences greatly contribute to this blog.  George, thank you for your service!

Veterans Day 2017 by George Harris

They’re all gone now, those doughboys of 100 years ago with their wrapped leggings and their soup bowl helmets.  They were our grandparents or perhaps great grand grandparents eager to go vanquish the Hun as the Germans were called.  George M. Cohan was just sitting down to write, “Over There” to send our troops off with a rousing song.  Little did they know they would be facing machine guns and gas; mustard and chlorine gas that would burn their skin and their lungs.  Mr. Ramsey, our Assistant Coach and Driver Education Teacher, had bleached spots on his face and in his hair from gas attacks.  He never talked about it but we all knew what it was.

We were still enough of an agrarian nation that many of those young men and women, yes there were women in World War I, literally laid down their plowshares and picked up arms to join the British and French in The Great War-it didn’t become World War I until 23 years later when we became involved in another world war.  Like many wars, The Great War was being fought much like previous wars-troops were massed and then launched against the enemy much in the same way they had been in our own Civil War and the Spanish-American War.  But there were two big differences-machine guns and chemical warfare.  The United Kingdom lost nearly 750,000 killed while France lost 1,150,000.  Russia, Romania, Italy, Serbia and some others lost something over 2,000,000.  When the end came in 1918, we had lost nearly, 54,000.  And this doesn’t count deaths from disease, particularly the Great Flu Epidemic and the loss of civilian lives.  On the Allied Side alone, perhaps 10 million people died.  And among the Central Powers another 8.3 million military and civilians died.  This war was one of the costliest in our history.

What did we learn from this war?  Perhaps nothing because just 23 years later we found ourselves engaged in another war on a global scale that ended with the new capability of world destruction when the new atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Now we find ourselves involved in a new type of war-a war against terrorism, a war that seems endless.  Now millions of young men and women have served our Nation; hundreds of thousands have been wounded and, depending on who you ask and how they count, perhaps something on the order of 74,000 to 80,000 have died in the wars in the Middle East.

What is my point in all of this?  Although not much in favor at the moment, General Robert E. Lee once noted, “It is good that war is so horrible, or we might grow to like it.”  And thus it is.  In the 241 years of our independence, over 4,000,000 young men and women have been sacrificed on the altars of the gods of war.  And we continue to offer them up with no end in sight.  Freedom has a terrible price and it should always be remembered that war is the absolute failure of diplomacy paid for with the blood of our young men and women.

Perhaps Dwight D. Eisenhower, president and leader of the world’s greatest armed force in World War II said it best:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”

— Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

Musing from under the tent


 Guest contributor, Solon.  Solon has made some keen observations and formed some rather  interesting opinions.


Musing from under the tent
Its Virginia.
Another year, another election.
On to 2018 for better or worse.
If one is honest, they did not see the blue wave coming.
No pol, no poll, no candidate anticipated it.
The wave was strong enough to lift even weak Democratic candidate to victory.
Now, can they stay there?
Their hard work is just beginning.
Some learning and winners/losers:
Learning #1: The politics of negativity and meanness don’t pay off.
Yes, we are looking to you Scott Lingamfelter and you, Russ Harrison.
Learning #2: Hard work and dogged determination can pay off.
Congratulations Delegate Donte Tanner!
Loser #1: Barbara Comstock. Babs, that bulls-eye on your back just got a whole lot bigger.
Loser #2: Marc Aveni. Your time has come.
Loser #3: Corey Stewart. How are the politics of hate looking now?
Loser #4: Ruth Anderson. They are coming to get ya!
Winner #1: Harry Wiggins. A very nice victory lap for the often maligned (and sometimes deservedly so) PWC Demo Chair.
Winner# 2: Tim Kaine.
Winner #3: Redistricting reform. The Dems need to continue to be the adults in the room.
Winner #4: Terry McAuliffe. Terry vs Donny in 2020?
On to 2018!!!!!!


Open Thread…………………November/December, 2017


The ginkgo trees at the Virginia Arboretum over in Clark County off its 50/17 are a sight to behold.  There is a grove of these yellow beauties.  The ginkgo is the oldest tree in North America.  The leaves are smaller than I thought.  I hope the leaves survive this patch of rainy weather because I certainly plan on going back.

If you have never been to the Arboretum, it is worth the trip.  There are car/pedestrian trails, picnic tables, and horse trails.   The trees aren’t too shabby either.

Moonhowlings endorses Danica Roem for the 13th


Election day 2017.  Moonhowlings is endorsing Danica Roem, hands down.  Danica has plans. Her opponent has very few that don’t involve denying women their reproductive rights.

I first realized what a dynamic candidate Danica was when she nocked on my door last summer, before the primary. I went out, sat down, and an hour later, as she stood up to go, I realized how knowledgeable she was about our community.   Truthfully, I had thought western PWC might not be ready for identity politics.  Well, I was dead wrong.  Identity has little to do with Danica’s campaign.

Danica stopped by last night again.  She was exhausted after 10 hours of door knocking.   We chatted,  we gave her a bottle of water and she was on her way–2 more doors to knock on.  I have been very impressed with her dedication to winning, her tireless approach and her knowledge base.  Those attributes are what we need in Richmond.

Danica, may the force be with you as you win the 13th today.

As we head to the polls….

Here is the reality.  Those politicians who scream the loudest about being “pro-life” often  are the quickest to vote against medicaid for those around the poverty level.  Additionally, they often vote against food stamps, maternity programs and assistance so that single mothers can work.

Finally, most who shriek about “pro-life” issues are the first to start yammering about defunding Planned Parenthood.  In reality, this simply means denying Medicaid reimbursement for women seeking medical (not abortion) services at Planned Parenthood.

Newsflash- contraception is your best weapon against abortion.

Open Thread…………………………….October, 2017

October is absolutely my favorite month.  The air is crisp and clean.  It nips our cheeks and noses in the morning.

October is beautiful–nature’s color palette that continually changes.  Head to the mountains to drink it all in.  If you start in Front Royal,the tree scape will look totally different by the time you get to Big Meadows.

October has wonderful smells.  A burning campfire, fallen leaves, fruits and spices all send our olfactory senses on a month long high.  Our autumn expert, North of Nokesville, aka North, really paints fall with his words. North has brought fall to the blog and I thank him.

Recall takes on a life of its own

As the current chairman of the PWC school board continues to assert his supposed authority, the public becomes more and more dissatisfied.  This truck (see left) was seen in the Haymarket Parade today.

I have been told that the recall group had a booth also.

If half of what I read about this chairman is true, it’s just time for him to settle down.

He cannot go around intimidating employees, colleagues, or others.  He is not the school board “boss” like he thinks he is.  All board members are equal, despite what Sawyers thinks.

I have lived in PWC a long time.  I remember the “4 Horsemen.”  We thought that was the nadir of poor school boards.  Now I am not so sure.

Surely Ryan Sawyers does not think he can run successfully for Congress.  I would sure hate to vote for Rob Wittman but I surely will if those two are my only choices.  I cannot tell you how painful that would be for me.


Trevor Noah on Antifa

Let me first say that I see no moral equivalence between the KKK, Nazi, and any antifa groups. This loosely knit organization has been around a long time and I don’t think anyone has every heard their spokesperson talk about killing any group of people. We cannot say the same for Nazis or for the KKK.

I  do not condone the behavior of this group. This is 2017. We should be able to settle our difference politically and otherwise without brawling, especially with the intent to harm or maim others. I also don’t approve of property damage. Would I put this group on the terrorist list? Yes, probably. I just wouldn’t equate them with Nazis or with the KKK.

That was a critical mistake on the part of Donald J. Trump.  There is no “Alt-Left.”  I don’t believe that anyone in the Democratic party mainstream claims this group or feels that it speaks for the Democrats.  That assignment has been handed forth by the “Alt-right” and it is based on a false premise.

Meanwhile, lets continue to condemn the KKK and the Neo-Nazis for their repugnant ideology.  Both organizations, whether original or “neo” have horrible, un-Americans beliefs.

Let’s condemn the behavior of groups like Antifa who act like street thugs, while agreeing that there IS a significant difference.

Much ado about nothing…?

The protestors from Charlottesville  just entered Prince William County.  All seemed peaceful.  I saw no covered faces or all-black attire.   The small band were exuberant–they chanted and shouted their cause (mainly to get rid of Trump).  Other than that, the horror stories that preceded them were exactly that–stories.

If Antifa was there, I sure didn’t see them.  Everyone just seemed to be visibly shouting out what they thought was right.

I was impressed with the heavy police presence.  The officers were courteous and vigilant.  Traffic was backed up pretty far.  I cut through and got turned around without having to get in the long line of traffic that had backed up.

Word to the wise–Protestors–don’t mess with commuters on Tuesday.  They will not have sympathy with any cause if they are inconvenienced.   That’s just how Northern Virginia commuters are.


Turning your back on heritage?

Jackson astride Ole Sorrel

The Republican Party of Virginia said Wednesday that Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, whose ancestors once owned slaves and fought in the Civil War, had “turned his back on his own family’s heritage” by calling for the removal of Confederate monuments.

The accusation drew swift condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans, who said it amounted to calling Northam a “race traitor.”

In a two-part tweet on its official account posted shortly after noon, the state party took aim at Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor, whose great-great-grandfather owned eight slaves in 1860 and nine slaves in 1850 on Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore.

“.@RalphNortham has turned his back on his own family’s heritage in demanding monument removal (1/2),” it read. “Shows @RalphNortham will do anything or say anything to try and be #VAGov – #Pathetic 2/2.”

The blowback was instant.

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Representative government at its worst

Workers in Charlottesville, Virginia, placed a large black tarp Wednesday over a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that was the site of violent protests earlier this month.
Officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, have found black fabric big enough to shroud two controversial Confederate statues — and the covers could be in place by week’s end, the City Council clerk said.
Hunting down fabric swaths large enough to drape over the monuments of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson had proven tough, the clerk, Paige Rice, told CNN.
But by Wednesday morning, the shrouds were on their way, she said.
“The drapes have been ordered and may be in place by the end of the week, pending department resources to properly secure them at both statues,” she told CNN.
At a heated meeting Monday, the Charlottesville City Council unanimously voted to cover the two statues in black.
The vote was meant to signal the city mourning the death of Heather Heyer, who was killed August 12 when a car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters who’d gathered to oppose a rally of white nationalist and other right-wing organizations.
Since when do statues mourn?    The people of Charlottesville simply were not asked.  The only discussion was at a council meeting this week.  No advance notice.  Unilateral decisions were made.

There was never discussion about removing Stonewall Jackson, to my knowledge.

I expect the City Council needs to take a long hard look at the deeds to the land both statues are on.  Can Charlottesville afford the lawsuits?
How long will the shrouds stay?  No one knows.  I supposed shrouded statues might attract an unsavory element just as well as enshrouded statues.
What a shame.