Tricounty News

U of M January 2014 Starwatch


In January, Earth barely “laps” Jupiter in the orbital race before being lapped by Venus.

Earth overtakes Jupiter on the 5th, when it glides directly between the planet and the sun. At that time, Jupiter is at a point called opposition, when it will be opposite the sun in the sky and visible all night. Because Jupiter is traveling slightly outward in its orbit, its closest approach to Earth comes the day before opposition. Then it will be just 390 million miles from us, and this opposition will be the closest until 2020.

Jupiter comes into opposition about every 13 months. It orbits the sun in just less than 12 years; thus, in a year it moves ahead a little more than one-twelfth of its orbit. But after a year, Earth is right back where it was, so it must move ahead a little more than one-twelfth of its orbit, slightly more than a month, to catch Jupiter again. Therefore, we’ll see the next opposition Feb. 6, 2015.


When weird things make us happy

I have a friend who wondered out loud on Facebook whether it was weird for her to be excited about the purchase of a new vacuum cleaner. There can be only one answer to an outrageous question like this:JillPertler-RGB

H-E-double-toothpicks, no!

A vacuum is worthy of a fair amount of hoopla. It is a nearly-essential household appliance, albeit not a major one, but in a similar position of importance as a crockpot or coffee maker. (And who’d want to live without those?) I can get excited about a whole lot less than a vacuum – like when my stainless steel fridge is free of streaks and smudges, or I happen to nab the last scoop of rocky road ice cream.


Dec. 20 Update

Merry Christmas

On behalf of the Eden Valley – Watkins School District faculty and staff we want to thank you for working with us. We have worked very hard to meet your expectations in providing a quality education that is safe and nurturing. We take pride in our work and our profession, and continually explore new ideas, concepts, and practices that will prepare your child for the future demands of this global economy.

We want to thank you for your support and participation in all of our academic, artistic, and athletic programming. We hope this holiday season brings you happiness and peace of mind. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Affluenza – blame the parents

As a self-professed fan of the English language, I like to think I stay hip with our ever-evolving lingo, but I learned a new vocabulary word this week. It came to my attention during a news story about a 16-year-old boy in Texas who, as part of his defense in a drunk-driving case, claimed he suffered from a condition called affluenza, or poor-little-rich-kid syndrome.

His legal team said he couldn’t be held accountable for his actions because he was too rich to understand that other people are, well, people too. His parents’ wealthy lifestyle makes them responsible for his affliction. They were so busy buying him expensive vehicles, designer clothing and lavish toys that they forgot to teach him right from wrong. Or so the story goes. In other words, this whole thing is not his fault.


Hot mama versus cool daddy

I am a hot mama – although not in the way you might be thinking. I am hot, but I’m not referring to a trendy or hip sort of fashion, which, ironically, might also be thought of as cool. I am hot as in Hades hot. Temperature hot. My husband is not. (Hot in a temperature sort of way, that is.)

It didn’t used to be like this.

In our early years of marriage I suffered from chilled-to-the-bone syndrome. Brrrr was practically my middle name, especially at night. I wore winter pajamas – the kind with the feet built right in. I piled on thick quilts and comforters – the more the merrier. Still, I froze.

Being the yin and yang that we are, my husband, who rested on his side of our bed inches from me, complained of the insufferable heat while I shivered and threw on an extra blanket. His body operated like an oven; my toes were like those jelled ice packs you use to soothe a pulled muscle.