The Hidden Almanac for
Monday December 16th, 2013
Episode 41
Previous episode: 2013-12-13
Next episode: 2013-12-18


Today we remember the silver thaw of 1948. It is also the birthday of Joseph Ilex, and the anniversary of a fifth century eclipse. It is the Feast Day of St. Crocuta, and in the garden, there is rain.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I’m Reverend Mord. Today is December 16th, 2013.

It was on this day in 1948 that a silver thaw struck the city. While the ground was frozen, a layer of warm air briefly blanketed the city. Falling rain was supercooled as it hit the cold air just above the ground and coated everything in the city with three inches of glazed ice. Power lines snapped under the weight, trees broke in half, pipes exploded, and the entire city was shut down for nearly a week. Damages were estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. This remains the single most expensive weather event to ever strike the city, narrowly edging out the 1899 rain of freezing Holsteins.

And today is the birthday of Joseph Ilex, owner of the largest private collection of birdhouses in the world. His collection ranged from the functional to the baroque and included some hundred thousand specimens. Upon his death, his daughter bequeathed the collection to the Royal Museum, on the condition that they “get all these goddamn birdhouses out of the attic.” The Joseph Ilex Memorial Bluebird Trail was inaugurated in 1995, stretching for twenty-six miles and housing an unknown number of bluebirds. It is credited with greatly increasing bluebird numbers throughout the coastal foothills and is maintained by the Garlic Scouts of Troyzantium.

And it was on this day in the fifth century that a total eclipse terrified the peasantry. While the total eclipse only lasted some seven minutes, there was a lengthy run-up, during which time the priests of the island of Stonybirth sacrified a goat, six chickens, several virgins, and finally the emperor. Unfortunately for the priests, the eclipse was followed two weeks later by a comet, and the population of Stonybirth was not in the mood for any more shenanigans. The priests were duly sacrificed, and Stonybirth remained a pleasant place to live for several hundred more years, after which a volcano sank it into the sea.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Crocuta, patron of those who perform dentistry upon large carnivores. She is generally represented as a woman accompanied by hyenas, holding a pair of pliers in one hand and a tiger skull in the other. Saint Crocuta’s followers are few in number but extremely devout. As one adherent said “When you have your hand inside the mouth of an eight-hundred-pound ice bear, trying to perform a root canal, you need all the help you can get.”

In the garden this week, it rained. We stared out the window at the rain, grumbled a bit, and waited for the next seed catalog to arrive.

The Hidden Almanac is brought to you by Red Wombat Tea Company, purveyors of fine and inaccessible teas. Red Wombat — "We Dig Tea."

Also brought to you by the Garlic Scouts of Troyzantium. Remember, cookie orders are coming! Get your Pungent Crunchies and Herb Thin orders ready!

That’s the Hidden Almanac for December 16th, 2013. Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Out of Character

The Hidden Almanac is a production of Dark Canvas Media, written by Ursula Vernon and performed and produced by Kevin Sonney. Our theme music is Moon Valley and our exit music is Red in Black, both by Kosta T. You can hear more from Kosta T at the Free Music Archive. All other content is copyright 2013, Ursula Vernon.


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