The Hidden Almanac for
Friday January 2nd, 2015
Episode 205
Previous episode: 2014-12-31
Next episode: 2015-01-05


Today we remember the start of the Year of Unrest. It is also the day the first artificial lights were installed in the city. It is the Feast Day of St. Davius, and in the garden, there is winter.

Be Safe, and Stay Out of Trouble.


Welcome to the Hidden Almanac, I’m Reverend Mord.

Today is January 2nd, 2015.

It was on this day in 1779 that riots began in the city. The original cause was poor working conditions among chimneysweeps, but spread rapidly throughout the kingdom, for reasons said to include the price of bread, the callousness of public servants, and the color of brick used on the new facing for the Kingfisher Bridge. The riots lasted for months, flaring up repeatedly, and caused 1779 to be known as the “Year of Unrest.” The assumption of the throne by the Librarian Prince ended the riots, but replaced them with something rather more unpleasant.

And it was on this day in 1816 that artificial lighting was installed along the High Street in the city. Public sentiment was extremely negative, and newspapers were full of so-called “experts” decrying the lighting. Clergy wrote in to proclaim that by disrupting day and night, the city planners were setting themselves up as gods. Doctors claimed that the poisonous exhalations from the gas lights would lead to mass deaths, insanity, and masturbation. Others simply said that lanterns were good enough in their day and should be good enough now.

By 1820, despite many letters to the editor, streetlights lined most of the major thoroughfares in the city.

It is the Feast Day of Saint Davius. This 19th century inventor created a lamp for use in coal mines that burned methane without causing explosions. The color of the flame could be used to determine the quality of the air, and it cut deaths due to explosion to a fraction of their earlier numbers. Davius offered plans for the lamp freely to all mines and manufacturers, claiming that he wished to place no limits on the availability of the life-saving devices. He was duly canonized after death, the Pope saying “I am unaware of Davius’s religious beliefs, but for his attitude and his great service to mankind, let us honor him.” He is portrayed as a robed man holding a lantern and standing upon the head of a defeated dragon labeled “Fire Damp.”

In the garden, successive cold days have left the pond and birdbaths frozen. Don’t forget to break the ice for any birds in the area, or use an electric birdbath heater. Some birds, such as hermit thrushes, simply will not overwinter anywhere that lacks open water.

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 Sacred Order of Bull Moose Men. Congratulations all on another well run race! Our condolences to the family of Jeremy Sutter. He gave us a good run.

That’s the Hidden Almanac for January 2nd, 2015. 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 through 2015, Ursula Vernon.

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