When Time Goes Missing

The Elgin Watch Company was a notable American watchmaker for about 100 years, from 1864 to 1968. Its logo featured Father Time, who’s seen in it as having switched his hourglass for a pocket watch.

During the holiday season—a.k.a. the “holy days”—network television programming tends to get pretty lackluster. Unless you happen to stream, there’s not much to be entertained by.

For instance, 40 years after it premiered on CBS, in 1976, “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year,” is still telecast every year in and around the time of Christmas. And that’s how I happened to catch it on Boxing Day, last year.

And I’m glad I did.

A sequel to 1964’s “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” it’s about a newborn New Year named Happy. Sad at being mocked at for his oversize ears (a homonym of “years,”) he runs away from the castle of Time and hides out in the “Archipelago of Past Years,” which is, well, a chain of islands, where Older Years retire.

Its treatment of time—that the past is never lost, but is simply, away from the present—is one that’d make sense to a string theorist.

If Happy doesn’t return home before midnight on New Year’s Eve, the hands of the clock will be stuck forever on December 31. Time will stop. Father Time contacts Santa Claus and seeks his help in locating Happy. Santa Claus dispatches Rudolph, who’s joined in this expedition by agents of Father Time as well.

Fortunately, he’s found. And time goes on.


There’s Such A Thing As A Free Lunch

J. Wellington Wimpy.

Those who swear by McDonald’s hamburgers could still be counted on to have picked up a slider or two from White Castle, but hardly any of those folks would remember a chain called Wimpy.

Sandwiched in the middle, between the founding of White Castle in 1921, in Wichita, Kansas, and McDonald’s in San Bernardino in 1940, Wimpy appeared in Bloomington, Indiana during the Great Depression, in 1934.

Today, the nearest Wimpy restaurant to us is some 3,000 miles away, in the United Kingdom. And it’s headquartered in another hemisphere, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

That fills me with nostalgia for a brand named after a famous American cartoon character from E. C. Segar’s comic strip, “Popeye,” created in the mid-1930s

J. Wellington Wimpy, popularly known as Wimpy, is Popeye’s friend. Portly and gluttonous, he loves hamburgers, but is too stingy to pay for them. He’d often utter this line: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Of course, “Tuesday” would never come, and so Wimpy always got himself a free lunch.


Earth Has An Eerie Hum

We think of the Earth as solid and still as a billiard ball. But that’s not true.

Our planet is in a ceaseless motion, even though we don’t feel it. It’s continually spinning (at a speed of 1,070 m.p.h.) and the ground beneath our feet, vibrating non-stop.

In fact, it’s “ringing like a bell all the time,” a researcher told the Washington Post. But that ringing is so feeble that our ears can’t pick it up. Hovering between 2.9 and 4.5 millihertz, the frequency is 10,000 times lower than our audible range, which starts around 20 hertz.

This “hum” is everywhere, even at the bottom of the ocean.

h/t: WP