January 6th, 2020

caillebotte_man at his window

Brandied About

The moon is getting bigger, the first full moon of the year, the Wolf Moon, being on January 10th. I don't spend much time outside looking at it though. It's much too chilly out there now. The moon is pretty much all there is to look at around here anyway, the lights of the mini-metropolis washing out the stars. This is the time of year I'd be watching Orion, if I still lived in a place with dark sky. I miss him.

Another cosmic event has just taken place about a minute ago as I write, at 2:48 AM EST. That was perihelion, the moment when the Earth is closest to the sun. As it's the depth of winter here, it has minimal effect on us in the northern hemisphere, but it's undoubtedly contributing to the horrendous heat that is aggravating the wildfires in Australia. Up here we will get aphelion, the moment when Earth is most distant from the sun, on July 4th. The difference in distance between sun and Earth during the two events is over three million miles.

This afternoon I checked the Goodwill store for books, and was both surprised and delighted to find a copy of Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust. These are both books I lost copies of in the fire, and both are significant landmarks of American literature, so I'm very glad to have them again. West only managed to write four novels before he was killed in an automobile crash in 1940, at the age of 37. His wife, the former Eileen McKenney, also died. She was probably better known than he was, as his novels, though critically acclaimed, did not achieve great popular success, while Mrs. West was the central character of her sister Ruth McKenney's very popular book My Sister Eileen, which had been adapted into a much-anticipated Broadway play which was set to open four days after the crash.

The book had a blue tag, which means I got it for half the usual price, so I splurged on another book, Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown's Claws and Effect a Mrs. Murphy mystery. Sneaky Pie is Ms. Brown's cat, and Mrs.Murphy is a feline detective. I've never read anything from this series before, so I don't know if I'll like it or not, but I do like both cats and mysteries, so it could be okay.

After that I went to CVS for a six pack of beer, and impulsively bought a bottle of brandy they had on sale. I still have a piece of apple pie to heat up, and as the rum sauce I've been making for it is merely adequate, I wanted to try making a brandy sauce. The brandy itself (Christian Brothers) is a bit harsh, but I think the cooking should take care of that. Of course it's a big bottle of brandy, so I'll need to buy more pies so I can use it up. I don't fancy drinking a cheap brandy straight, and I'd have no idea what to mix it with. I'm going to need a whole lot of pies.

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