Thursday, June 07, 2007


What do people need to know about the Pleiades? The star cluster, properly known as Messier 45, contains hundreds of stars, though only six of these are visible to the naked eye. Yet throughout the cluster’s extensive lore, it is held to have seven stars. There is now a theory, one supported by Hindu and Mongolian myths, that in the second millennium BC a seventh visible star in the cluster went extinct. In the Rosh Hashanah treatise of the Talmud, the reason for the star disappearing was God’s wrath; by taking the star away, He caused a shakeup in the celestial clockwork of the universe which produced the Deluge. In Celtic festival of Samhain, connected with mourning, the Pleiades reach their zenith in the night sky. Was the disappearance of a star such a momentous event that, millenia later, we still live in a world partially shaped by our ancestors' interpretations of it? Is the Pleiades cluster, and that ill-fated seventh star of legend, the reason why ancient Hebrews latched onto the number seven as a divine numeral? Opinions, please.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Continuing on the previous theme, my brother-in-law, who's also set to become a parent this summer, has let it be known that he's going to beat the crap out of the next person who tells him, "You know you won't be able to do anything fun once the kid comes along, right?" Yes, thanks to all the people who bring this up, but he and I are both well aware that our late night visits to strip clubs and our massive Oxycontin habits will, tearfully, soon become activities of our past as we take on the cruel burden of parenthood. Without the friendly warnings, we never would have figured it out.

Other questions the bro-in-law's not answering:
On a distantly-related note, Mr. Nice Guy has posted a list of questions he routinely asks his two-year-old even though he doesn't want an honest answer:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?