Friday, March 31, 2017

Old sayings.

One bit of weather wisdom my mom always said -- when appropriate; she didn't just go around repeating it all the time -- was: "Mackerel sky, not 24 hours dry."

Here is a picture of the sky I took yesterday at 9:43 am. Note the fish scale-like clouds skimming the expanse of blue.

And here I sit, 21 hours later, and it's raining.

Plus snow. That counts as non-dry.

I have never known that rhymey bit of folk wisdom to fail. 

I used to hear other Old Farmer's Almanac kind of rhymes, like "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning; red sky at night, sailor's delight." I don't know if that one works. I'm not even sure what that one means. A sailor might be delighted with a good stiff wind that would blow the shingles off my house; that wouldn't be too good for me. Maybe delight refers to something else? That's even scarier -- you know what they say about sailors.

Not all of them rhyme, or work at all. The tale that March either comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb or vice-versa is nonsense. Around here March comes in like a pain in the ass and takes a powder the same way.

Ben Franklin was good at these kinds of maxims, but his don't always rhyme and they're not always predictive. His Poor Richard's Almanack gave us gems like these: 

A false friend and a shadow attend 
only while the sun shines.

Analysis: True. Does not rhyme; is not predictive.

A flatterer never seems absurd: 
The flatter'd always takes his word. 

Analysis: True. Rhymes; is not predictive.

An honest man will receive neither 
money nor praise, that is not his due.

Analysis: True. Does not rhyme; is predictive. 

A cold April
The barn will fill.

Analysis: No idea if true. Sorta rhymes, is predictive. 

I would like to be thought a genius like Franklin, but as I am not a genius, maybe I could at least make a better presentation than he. In other words, write some terrific folk maxims that both rhyme and tell the reader what to expect. Here are some I whipped up just now:

On Saturday you hear the knell
Jehovah's Witness at the bell

Unless you like to be annoyed
All attorneys must avoid

He who discards a lone sock Sunday
Is destined to find its brother Monday

Car wash today
Rain on the way

If you're not careful
When you boff
Nine months later
Mazel tov! 

All right, so they suck. I told you I wasn't a genius. I can't make a famous scientific experiment by flying a key on a kite out there in the rain. Might make headlines, sure, but when Franklin did it he was brilliant; if I did it I'd just be lit up.

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