Thoughts on Super Bowl Sunday and Hallmark Holiday Monday


LA Skyline. (Photo courtesy of Discover Los Angeles)
LA Skyline. (Photo courtesy of Discover Los Angeles)

You know Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14 and you likely know that Super Bowl Sunday is the second Sunday in February. But in this year of 2022, Valentine’s Day abuts SB Sunday.

The game will be at SoFi Stadium, home to the LA Rams and LA Chargers, 1001 Stadium Drive, Inglewood, CA at 6:30 ET. LA is a fun town to visit. See Discover Los Angeles for area attractions.

According to an NFL Super Bowl LVI site, tickets and accommodations are still available to see the Rams take on the Cincinatti Bengals. So, there is still time to watch in person to soak up the LA atmosphere.

What’s; interesting about the Super Bowl game is who is the home team. Because the AFC and NFC alternate home and away teams and the AFC takes even-number years, the Bengals will be the home team more than 2,000 miles from Ohio. They are likely to get the Chargers locker room while the Rams will have their own lockers even though they are the “away” team.

But since I’m a Bears fan and am still waiting for them to repeat their mid-1980’s successes, I will be watching the commercials. I know not to expect the Coke bear because Pepsi is a prominent sponsor. However, Budweiser said it will be back and KIA announced it is swapping out its fun hamsters for a robot dog.

Check commercials released so far by NBC Los Angeles for some, very, very short trailers.

And if your team didn’t make the final cut, relax and enjoy the half-time show. The NFL and Roc Nation announced that Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will be performing.

As to Valentine’s Day, check Proflowers or FTD Valentines-Day. Also, I have found that the local grocery store usually has a good selection. As to finding  really good chocolates, consider Lake Champlain.

Go back in time to mid last century

Bus tour during Modernism week. (Photo by David A. Lee)
Bus tour during Modernism Week. (Photo by David A. Lee)

Think about a getaway for movie stars close enough for call backs and retakes but far enough from Hollywood to really be a home away from home and you have a star-studded neighborhood in the Palm Springs, CA area.

Now picture several home groupings that boast mid-century modern architecture zoned similarly to 1800s historic designated areas so that changes have to conform with the period and you’ll have more than 30 neighborhoods in and near Palm Springs.

The area welcomes visitors to tour the neighborhoods by bus, bike and double-decker streetcar during Modernism Week, an annual festival celebrating mid-century design, architecture and culture. The event includes talks, a featured home tour and parties.

Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms home in Palm Springs. (Jake Holt photo)
Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms home in Palm Springs. (Jake Holt photo)

BTW, the outside of Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms home on East Alejo Rd. that backs up to Dinah Shore’s back yard is typically on one of the tours. It is in what is considered the Movie Colony/El Mirador neighborhood. And there is a tour that goes to Sunnylands, the former Annenberg Estate in Rancho Mirage.

Modernism Week is Feb. 17-27, 2022. Find tickets and more information at

Three fun winter happenings

Wisconsin Team 2 of Sculptora Borealis won the National Snow Sculpting Championship in 2021 with “Inoculation”
Wisconsin Team 2 of Sculptora Borealis won the National Snow Sculpting Championship in 2021 with “Inoculation”

See snow sculptures. Ice skate, Explore an ice village with illuminated caves or a Nordic village with downhill and cross-country skiing. Put Wisconsin and Michigan on the travel excursion list to catch these events and ideas before winter ends.


Ice castle kingdom

Stay at Geneva National Resort and Club’s The Ridge in Lake Geneva, WI where guests can now explore an illuminated ice kingdom complete with caves, fountains and frozen slides. Opened Jan. 22, 2022. The Ridge guests get the best available tickets to the ice kingdom, including the difficult-to-get Saturday times.

Call ahead about tickets if driving over to Lake Geneva and not staying at Geneva National. Current expectation is that it will remain open through February depending on the weather. The resort also features ice skating, cross-country skiing and fine dining.

For more information visit Geneva National Ice Castles


Walk around and judge for yourself amazing snow sculptures created by 15 state teams from across the county at the US National Snow Sculpting Championship in Lake Geneva.

Held Wednesday when snow arrives through Saturday for the judging, the annual Snow Sculpting Championship takes place at Riviera Plaza and flat Iron Park during the city’s Winterfest, Feb. 2-6, 2022.

Wisconsin Team 2 of Sculptora Borealis won with “Inoculation” last year and Florida’s Less Latitutde, more attitude,” took second with “the Power of the Mind’s Eye.”

Winterfest also includes ice sculptures and entertainment. For more information visit Winterfest 2022.


Crystal Mountain

Downhill ski at award-winning Crystal Mountain that controls snow quality with its own machines, has good cross-country trails and an excellent ski school. Located in Thomsonville, MI, Crystal Mountain is a scenic, Nordic style resort village with several accommodation choices, spa and large, indoor pool.

For more information visit Crystal Mountain.

Does January full moon mark middle of winter


January full moon is the Wolf Moon J Jacobs photo)
January full moon is the Wolf Moon J Jacobs photo)

If you like taking photos of a full moon, get those cameras or cell phones ready Jan. 16 through Jan.18 to snap the first full moon of 2022.

Even though the moon at its fullest illumination Jan. 17 at 23.48 UTC (5:48 p.m. CST), it will appear full the day before and day after Jan. 17.

A newscaster mentioned that Jan. 17-18 marks a halfway point for winter. Well, that depends.

Meteorological winter started Dec. 1 and continues through the end of February because the meteorological seasons are divided into quarters of three months each.  In the Northern Hemisphere meteorological spring is March, April May.

A sky watching site mentioned that the last full moon was Dec. 19, 2021, two days before the Northern Hemisphere’s December solstice. For 2022, astronomical winter began December 21, 2021 and ends at the Equinox, March 20, 2022.  Time and Date has a calendar.

The astronomical calendar is based on the Earth’s rotation around the sun with seasons divided by two solstices and two equinoxes, determined by a combination of Earth’s tilt and the sun’s position over the equator.

Another feature of a full moon is its name. Folklore, typically based on animal behavior and crop cycles, calls the January full moon the Snow Moon, Hunger Moon and, most popularly, the Wolf Moon.

Animal behavior is also behind Groundhog Day. Just for fun, on Feb. 2, check out groundhog predictions of winter’s end from Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania and Woodstock Willie in Woodstock, IL (where “Groundhog Day” was filmed).

For more information visit NASA Solar System Exploration and Time and Date.


Meteor Shower


NASA photo of a meteor shower
NASA photo of a meteor shower

Of course people will be watching fireworks in person or on TV the night when Dec. 31, 2021 turn into early morning Jan 1, 2022.

But the sky will be doing its own show during this period with the Quadrantids. They will peak when Jan 3 turns to Jan. 4, 2022.

The good news is that the New Moon will rise and set with the Sun so it won’t be a factor.

The sort of bad news is that the meteor shower peak of about 110 to 120 meteors an hour is a short couple of hours. The expected peak time is 21 UTC (Universal Time Clock.

Named for a defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis the meteor shower’s other name is the Bootids for constellation Bootes. The parent is Asteroid 2003 EH which takes about 5.5 years to orbit the Sun.

For more information visit Time and Date and EarthSky.


Illinois State Museum seeks Mother Road items for anniversary exhibition

Route 66 (Photo on US gov site)
Route 66 (Photo on US gov site)

Maybe you have heard singers croon “Get your kicks on Route 66,” from the iconic travel song composed by Bobby Troup in 1946. Originally, known as the Will Rogers Highway and the Main Street of America, Route 66 was established in November 1926.

In Illinois, there are signs along the famed route beginning downtown Chicago on Adams Street across Michigan Avenue from the Art Institute of Chicago. But this well-traveled road that takes you from Chicago to LA., supposedly started around the south side of the museum.

Now the Illinois State Museum (ISM) which has been chronicling important and interesting Illinois events and places since founded in 1877, is putting together an exhibition on the “Mother Road” to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2026.

The museum is seeking collection help to expand what it has related to the Route. What’s needed are both items that bring alive Route 66 history and those that can add to its current story.

According to a State of Illinois press release, the family of Route 66 traveler Bob Waldmire is donating much of his art and personal belongings to the museum.  The Waldmire donation includes a roadside display stand for selling postcards and the hood of his 1965 Mustang, hand-painted with a map of Route 66.

The release explained that  Waldmire traveled from town to town along Route 66, creating and selling art and postcards in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s.

“No one symbolized the freedom and opportunity of the Mother Road better than Bob Waldmire,” said Illinois State Museum Curator of History Erika Holst.

To contribute or learn more visit ISM Route 66 collecting initiative. Also learn about the ISM and its locations in Springfield, Lockport and Dickson Mounds in Lewistown at Illinois State Museum.

December full moon heralds winter


Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)
Full moon over Chicago (J Jacobs photo)

Don’t be surprised if a bright light wakes you this weekend. The December full moon rises very high in the sky opposite the sun at 10:36 p.m. CST Dec. 18, 2021. But the shining orb looks full and bright Friday through Monday.

In the eastern part of the northern hemisphere the high moon hour is close enough to midnight to be considered a Sunday full moon. Click Moonrise Calculator for time in your area. You can watch for the full moon just before sunset.

The December full moon has several nicknames such as the Long Night Moon and Full Cold Moon because it comes closest to the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21,2021). It marks the start of winter and is the date with the longest period of darkness. The December full moon also has a very high trajectory so it will be in the sky longer.

Other names are the Yule Moon, Winter Moon, Frost Moon and Oak Moon.

Find good source information at EarthSkyNASA Solar System Exploration, TimeandDate and Old Farmer’s Almanac.


Four top ideas for a fun and different holiday gift

Long Grove Confectionery. ( JJacobs photo)
Long Grove Confectionery. ( JJacobs photo)

Shopping on-line makes holiday gift-choices COVID safe and fun. Just try to do the shopping now while orders have a good chance to make it to their destinations by Christmas. You also are likely to find some things you would like. Hey, give yourself a gift.

For the traveler or travel wannabe National Geographic has a holiday special –   for $39/year that includes immediate digital access, 12 print issues, and a tote bag. Find the details at NationalGeographicHolidayGift.

Find the perfect gift online at a historical or landmark site such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin in Wisconsin or Taliesin West in Arizona. Both of Wright’s famous homes have books, home décor items, ties, clever socks and jewelry. Visit Shop – Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation for Arizona and Shop – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin ( for Wisconsin.

Check out the giftshop on-line at a favorite museum such as the Art Institute of Chicago. The shop has great scarves, books, calendars, jewelry and home décor items. Look for gifts at MuseumShopartic.

Share your love of fine foods. Order from a favorite coffee or candy store. A couple of examples are Door County Coffee and Tea which is the go-to place in a Wisconsin vacation spot and Long Grove Confectionery in a historic Chicago suburb.

Visit them at Door County Coffee & Tea Co.  and at Long Grove Confectionery Co. and Chicagoland Favorite! Decadent chocolate gifts for business & beyond! – Long Grove Confectionery Co



Best meteor shower

NASA photo of a meteor shower
NASA photo of a meteor shower


“Catch a falling star.” That idea shouldn’t be hard the first half of December when the Geminids send about 120 meteors per hour across the sky at its peak.

Although most meteor showers happen when the Earth passes through the debris from comets, the Gemeni meteor shower is debris left by an asteroid called 32 Phaethon.

However, the Geminids, as the shower’s meteors are known, are named for their radiant point in the constellation Gemini where the “Twins,” the bright stars Castor and Pollux, reside. They appear to emanate from Castor which can be found near Pollux.

But this meteor shower can be seen from all directions so don’t worry if you can’t pinpoint the constellation.

The Geminids, considered among the best meteor showers of the year, starts Dec. 3 in 2021. To catch it at its peak, look up the night of Dec. 13 into the early hours of Dec. 14.

Of course, the best viewing area would be away from city and street lights.

Two good Gemini Meteor Shower resources are NASA and NASA Solar System Exploration.


Watch the sky this week!

NASA photo of a meteor shower
NASA photo of a meteor shower

Meteor shower. Full moon. Lunar eclipse. Oh my!

The mid-November sky is full of interesting phenomena to see if  you are patient.

First challenge: Watch for the Leonids, a November meteor shower from the Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle debris. The Leonids can be prolific but this year only about 10 to 15 meteors are expected even at its peak Nov. 16-17.

Best time will be early Wednesday morning just before dawn when the waxing gibbous moon, on its way to full moon phase, sets about 4:45 a.m.

Which brings us to the second challenge: a full moon coupled with a lunar eclipse. November’s full moon is the Beaver Moon which in 2021 reaches full phase at 3:59 a.m. Nov. 19 at the height of a nearly full lunar eclipse.

So enjoy its fullness the day before and day after (the moon appears full for three days) because we will also be experiencing the longest lasting lunar eclipse in 580 years.

That’s because the moon will be at its slowest orbital speed at the same time it will be at apogee, the farthest point from the Earth.

Its all about the Earth’s shadow on Nov. 19 when the moon’s position is just about directly opposite the Sun.

In the Midwest you can start to watch the eclipse just after midnight  but it won’t be as noticeable until an hour later.

At the peak of eclipse at 4:02:53 a.m. Eastern Time,  97% of the Moon will be in full shadow.

More about the Beaver Moon  The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests looking for the full moon after sunset Nov. 18 before its hits peak illumination during the eclipse early Friday morning.  The Almanac has a moonrise and moonset calculator.

Full moons typically take their name from Indian and farming events and seasons. Beavers have been known to have laid up their stock for winter and done building their homes by mid November.





Mark geninids on cal for dec13-14