Kage Baker had a real fondness for The Weird.
It always merited the caps. It came in cycles, or pulses, or at least in lengths that might have been considered seasons if they had not been so arbitrary and impossible to predict. But from time to time, it would become obvious that a time of The Weird was upon us, and peculiar things would be happening all around us for a while.
It is specifically not the constant low-level flow of Company antics that make the news all the time. Lost cities, animals, art, and literature being recovered are business as usual, if you are in the know (and you, Dear Readers, tend to be); The Weird is something else altogether, not a single event but a span of arrant peculiarity.
We’re in one now. Maybe it’s the approach of the vernal equinox, which looks as though it might be observed in the breach in all of North American except California. In California, aside from one 4-day storm, we have apparently been in summertime since, oh, around last Halloween. However, just over the Rockies, the next Ice Age is beginning in the Midwest; Niagara Falls has frozen solid (again) and the Great Lakes are obviously giving birth to the sort of glaciers that gouged them out in the first place.
Ragnarok reportedly began on February 22nd, according to at least one Viking festival and an ancient horn in York, England; not to mention the local weather in Europe. It takes a while to get going though, requiring at least 3 winters to reach its peak, so they’re still on schedule so far.
In other arenas of The Weird, it is asteroid flyby time: which is the best asteroid time to have, of course. A biggie flew by last month, but we don’t know where it got to – it’s been missing since shortly before it was expected to whizz by, and we seem to have lost it … in the meantime, though, another one is zipping by today (more or less as I write this) well inside the orbit of the inconstant moon but not low enough to get sucked in and put an end to our civilization. Which it could probably put a fair dent in, as it’s the size of 3 double-decker busses.
Apparently inspired by all the traffic, the Sicilian Space Program has launched a model cannolo into the edge of Space. The SSP is three guys with a camera, a helium balloon, a cannolo made of plaster of Paris (organic cannoli being of doubtful survivability at heights) and a space capsule made of a plastic cooler. You may admire their epic feat here:
The US, in the meantime, is still considering sanctions against Russia for their invasion of Ukraine. Which is definitely the moral high ground, except that Russia is the only country still getting people to and from the International Space Station – where I believe we still have a guy. How are our relations with Sicily, I wonder? Probably weird as hell.
It has been discovered that young alligators and crocodiles can climb trees. And do. The weirdest thing about this finding is that no one noticed before. I’d have thought crocodiles in the trees would have caught someone’s attention before now.
A species of shark thought extinct for decades (the smoothtooth blacktip shark) and previously known only from a specimen in the Vienna Museum, has been found! In accordance with my personal theory of what happened to the Paleolithic megafauna, the sole specimen was located dead, on a slab, in a fish market. In Kuwait. The original specimen in Vienna was found in Yemen. This seems to indicate that somehow, when not being eaten by humans, the smoothtooth blacktip shark lives in the desert. Weird.
Some archeologist has declared that Stonehenge is a giant Neolithic musical instrument: a sort of xylophone, evidently. He has demonstrated this by eliciting bell-like tones from scraps of bluestone at the Preseli quarry. So far, no one has allowed him to take a hammer to the actual stones of Stonehenge, which is nice considering it is a World Heritage Site and has already been considerably messed about with over the last 1,000 years. On the other hand, archeologists and religious fanatics have sometimes been actively encouraged by the UK government to mess about with them, so I am sure he’ll be out there whacking the dolmens before long.
Then the various UK Druidic sects can rally in a rare moment of unity and fight him off. In the meantime, Fenris will be seen stretching out across the sky over the hills of distant Wales, And Storm Giants will be wading in from the North Sea …
Watch out for the alligators in the trees, folks. It’s the season of The Weird.