Florida: Fishy, Alaska: Snowy 2016.03.02

I was busy last weekend and didn’t get around to writing a new column. It’s interesting in that it shows some repeating cycles, only with new names and circumstances.


Enough about dogs in this column. This week we need a few paragraphs about pelicans.

Bill and Reva Clark plus Harley Hodges sent clippings from the Press-Journal of Vero Beach, Fla., showing Don and Carol Heilman feeding a pelican.

The photo caption explains that the Heilmans recently retired from teaching in Michigan. Now they’re working on fishing in Indian River country.

Furthermore, it mentions how the Heilmans were feeling generous after filleting their catch, so they threw the leftovers to hungry pelicans. The photographer caught Carol with an arm outstretched and a gob of fish guts heading for the pelican’s mouth.

Generous? That makes it sound like they usually keep the innards for themselves. They’ll be back in Morenci in a few weeks and we’ll get their recipe for sweet and sour sea bass lips.

And speaking of Florida, Tom Buehrer sent an e-mail report that the Feb. 21 Observer arrived on the 29th. I don’t know whether or not that’s typical Florida delivery time. It’s not good, but I’ve heard worse reports.

Tom wondered when the Observer would come out on a Feb. 29. He figured there’s probably some formula to find out the answer. I turned to the perpetual calendar that gives dates from the mid-1800s to 2100. Here’s the answer, Tom: it happens every 28 years. The last time was 1984 so the next one comes in 2012.

Feb. 29 comes on a Wednesday every 28 years, but what about any other day of the year? For example, how often does my birthday come on a Wednesday? That’s quite a different matter.

There’s another pattern this time: after five years, then six years, then 11 years, then 6 years. I check it out for Thursday and Friday and the others and it’s the same thing: 5, 6, 11, 6, 5, 6, 11, 6. There is a relationship to the leap year pattern. The 5-6-11-6 pattern also adds up to 28 years. There’s probably a good explanation for 5-6-11-6 but I think I’m through with it.

A quick presidential primary report. All the attention is focused on the Republican party, of course, since that’s where the current contest is unfolding. But there’s a nearby newspaper that’s already endorsed the standing president. It’s the Clinton Local.

They’re not shy about it, either. Right there at the top of the front page every week, the publisher claims that you’re reading “The Only Paper in the World that Cares about Clinton.” That’s not exactly an endorsement, but it’s a pretty strong statement of support.

There’s some interesting news from Blissfield, also. Their newspaper, the Advance, has a birthday greeting ad that reads: ”Looks real sporty for a guy who’s forty.”

This might be the world’s first 40th birthday greeting ad that didn’t start off with “Lordy, lordy, blah-blah’s 40.” This is really ground-breaking, because there isn’t much that rhymes with 40. “She looks real warty for a gal who’s 40.”

Tell you what. I’ll knock $5 off the price of any unique birthday ad that has a rhyme with 40. Offer expires Dec. 31, 1996.

 A little more newspaper news. I wondered a few weeks back about whether those two Alaska publishers read the Observer or toss it aside with the other papers they receive in exchange.

Five days after that issue was sent out, I got a call from Chris Casati in Anchorage. (Five days, Florida readers!) I missed his call, but he told my wife that he always reads the Observer every week. He loves getting it.

The other half of the test was to see if the Homer News staff reads the paper. If they did, they would change the incorrect spelling of “Christian” in an ad that runs every week. Three weeks later it changed, but Chris said he was going to call them up and report the error.

And by the way, Valdez, Alaska, finally got its snow. They were suffering with only about 25 inches through late January but they got 10 feet in a week.