« Dream Casting | Main | What we want is to pay for what we want »

That mountain was so tall, and John Henry was so small

Some Gentle Readers may be aware that snow fell from the sky onto southern New England this past weekend. A lot of snow. I mean, a lot of snow. You know the thing I do where I post the list of songs that came through my earbuds whilst I was shoveling? I was going to do that but I ran out of pixels. A lot of snow.

So it reminds me that I don’t think I have posted my idea for a fund-raiser for my employer. Y’all can use it wherever you like, as my employer has shown no interest whatsoever, for some reason…

You know those things where people guess when the ice will break on the river? Here’s a local article from last year about a few of them. You pay a dollar and guess a date, and the winner gets some of the pool of money. The one I’m most familiar with has a weight resting on a rope that stretches across the river, and when the weight goes through the ice is raises a flag (I think) that is visible from the road. There are a bunch of ways of doing it: here’s one and here’s another.

So. While the educational institution that employs me does have a creek running through the campus, it’s not deep enough to make for interesting guesses about the melting date. Plus, frankly, nobody cares whether the creek is solid or liquid. We don’t fish it. We don’t swim it. We don’t boat it. Pretty much, not a fun creek.

What we have that is a focus of interest in the wintertime is the amazing mountain of snow. After the snow hits, they need to clear off the parking lots by pushing all the snow into one big mountain. The biggest parking lot is the site of a mountain of impressive proportions. It’s huge. And, of course, it’s unpredictable: will they need to add to it after yet another storm? Will it all melt away? Will it freeze in place? The pile—thousands and thousands of cubic feet of snow—could be here for months. Or could be gone by Friday. I think it’s worth a wager.

All you would need (other than some organization to collect the money and the tickets and figure out who won) is a device that would record the magic moment. I had been thinking you would put something at the bottom of the mountain—in which case you would need a device that had some sort of scale and clock and would withstand tremendous pressure, immersion in water and extreme cold. Now I’m thinking you could do it with something fancy that would be painted on the blacktop, combined with a camera affixed to one of the lampposts. Would that work? Luminescent paint? I dunno, an engineering prof could give extra credit for something that works.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


I have been pondering holding an office pool on the first student-in-pajamas sighting for each semester, but that would necessarily have to be a lot less precise that any of these scenarios.

Comments are closed for this entry. Usually if I close comments for an entry it's because that entry gets a disproportionate amount of spam. If you want to contact me about this entry, feel free to send me email.