Remember the old Tonight Show? Johnny Carson would make a statement like, "Boy it sure was cold this morning!" And
Ed McMahon (together with half the audience) would respond with "How cold was it?", setting up the punchline.
Today's punchline comes courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"It was so cold that the St. Paul Winter Carnival's Ice Palace -- the ICE PALACE, for crying out loud -- was closed for
I suppose I should be proud. This is, after all, one of the things our fair state is famous for, although in truth it's
been seven years since we've achieved this exalted degree of chilliness. Driving to work this morning, I think I know
how the astronauts must feel. You just hope to God that nothing goes wrong with the spacecraft, because you know you'll never
Okay, so here's the deal. I wake up at 6:30 last Saturday morning (a little more than an hour before sunrise). The sky
is perfectly clear. I see stars. Smoke trailing from the neighbors' chimneys suggests a light wind from the North. It's
dark, and looking to the East, what do I see but six to eight vertical columns of bright white light spaced irregularly on
the horizon and extending high into the sky. WTF? The St. Paul Winter Carnival Ice Palace had just
opened a couple of days earlier and St. Paul is roughly to the East, so my first thought was that they'd set up searchlights
to highlight the opening. But then I thought... at 6:30 a.m.?
My photojournalism days long behind me, I nevertheless shake off my lethargy, dig out the camera, put on robe and
slippers and venture out onto the snowy deck to record the phenomenon. It's cold and I'm tired, so I don't bother with a
tripod (or, it seems, many of my photographic skills) but the image above clearly shows that there was something
going on that morning. (Note that the photo only shows three of the lights clearly, but there were at least four or more that
I failed to capture.)
Conspiracy theories welcome. Used car lot searchlights? Strange atmospheric conditions? Aliens landing? Tell me what you
The dated links above are to previous week's posts. Take a look if you haven't been following along.
And just for the record, all words and pictures, except as noted, are mine and mine alone. I take full responsibility
for them (unless, of course, legal action is threatened).
Willie, here, is both the mascot and the arbiter of good taste for this site... So, as you might
expect, people will be offended. My apologies.
"There's nary an animal alive that can outrun a greased Scotsman!"