Seven Sleepers’ Day

General Discomfort

It’s Seven Sleepers Day. Known as Siebenschläfertag, it’s basically German groundhog’s day. Folklore says that today’s weather predicts what the weather will be like in July and August.

Naturalist Thomas Say was born June 27, 1787. Considered the founder of descriptive entomology, he described at least 1.000 new species of beetles and published  American Entomology: Insects of North America.

Astronomer Dr. Heber Doust Curtis was born June 27, 1872.  His 1942 obituary from The New York Times says that during his career, he traveled all over the world to study and witness 11 solar eclipses. Coincidentally, NASA launched IRIS, a space probe designed to observe the Sun, on June 27, 2013.

Other June 27 birthdays: Composer Mildred Hill (1859); and actor Moroni Olsen (1889). Mildred Hill wrote a song called Good Morning to You, which became the melody to Happy Birthday. Moroni Olsen was the voice of the mirror, mirror on the wall in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. 

British chemist and mineralogist James Smithson died on June 27, 1829. Despite never having visited this county, he remarkably donated his estate to the United States. Specifically to Washington D.C. to found “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men,” to be named the Smithsonian Institute.

Swinging to the other side of the spectrum, controversial figure Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, and his brother Hyrum Smith were shot and killed by a mob in an Illinois jail June 27, 1844.  His biography is far more captivating than I can describe here. I don’t have room to fully get into the mind boggling origins of this religion, which I only learned about in the past few years, but very briefly, Smith published The Book of Mormon after allegedly finding ancient Egyptian, golden engraved plates buried in New York. These were revealed to Smith by the prophet/angel Moroni. Somehow the book was transcribed by Smith using a complicated process using magic glasses, two transparent seeing stones, and a black hat Smith could stare into to see the words written in his mind’s eye.

At the time of his death, Smith was the mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois. Intending to set up a theocracy with himself as king, he ordered the town’s printing press destroyed. A riot ensued, and Smith declared martial law, and fled to a nearby town with his brother, where they surrendered to authorities on charges of instigating the riot. Amazingly enough, at the time of his death, he was also running for President of the United States. I wonder if they had had internet back then, would it have been more or less crazy than the current administration?

Just after midnight tonight is a Full Strawberry Moon. This full moon will be the lowest in the sky of all of the 2018 full moons.  The low position and warm humidity tend to make June’s full moon appear honey colored. Saturn will also shine its brightest tonight.  Lit up in exact opposition to the sun, it will be closer to the earth than any other time this year. It will rise in the sky with the moon, and, depending on the clarity of your skyline, you might even be able to see its rings.

Oh my god, I just realized the Mormon prophet and the Snow White voice actor have the same name. Do you think Moroni Olsen was a born-again Mormon prophet? Given tonight’s quite unusual and mystical planet alignment, here is what I want you to do:

Wearing the tallest hat you can find, put on your glasses, hold something made of clear glass to use as your seeing stone, and spin around in front of a mirror while singing Happy Birthday. Tear sheets out of your favorite book, and use the pieces as a symbolic offering, showing that you would be willing to destroy a printing press in the name of God.  Actually, you should probably smash your smartphone and laptop too.

If you complete all of these steps with a pure heart, Moroni Olsen will appear to you. Tell him that you destroyed all of your technology and will therefore no longer be able to post selfies to Instagram. He will tell you the answers to these mysteries thrice:

1. If your glasses flatter your face shape

2. Whether or not you can pull off a hat

And finally:

3.  Using a ten-point scale, he will reveal to you if you are hot or not.

Also, can you ask him to confirm the weather for July and August? Thanks.