All posts by John Burdick

Ask a Naturalist: Is a groundhog’s shadow a harbinger of spring?

Ask a Naturalist: Is a groundhog’s shadow a harbinger of spring?

While Groundhog Day was first celebrated in 1887 (in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, famously), the myth finds its origins in the Christian holyday of Candlemas: by which the length of winter was measured and calculated in candles. The Germans were the first to associate the ritual with the groundhog, developing the curious myth that we all know: If the groundhog emerges from its hole and sees its shadow, it becomes frightened and retreats back into the hole, prophesying six more weeks of harsh winter. If it sees no shadow, the way is cleared for an early spring.

Pousette-Dart Band plays the Falcon

Pousette-Dart Band plays the Falcon

Friday, Jan. 10: Jon Pousette-Dart and company left their mark in the height of the singer/songwriter era with album after album of craft folk-leaning rock that makes sense in the world of Orleans and of Little Feat – which is another way of saying that people were better at guitar back then, and the Pousette-Dart Band was and remains a gifted and surprisingly exploratory two-guitar outfit with a boundless set of sweet songs.

The increasingly popular First Day Hike tradition

The increasingly popular First Day Hike tradition

The best way to endure the affronts of cold and snow, in the opinion of this ardent winter walker, is to acclimate. Fear not the sub-freezing and let it have its salubrious way with your adaptive core systems. Get comfortable at 15 degrees and 30 will feel like SoCal.

Ask a professor: Robert Miraldi discusses First Amendment challenges in the age of digital and social media

Ask a professor: Robert Miraldi discusses First Amendment challenges in the age of digital and social media

We have met to talk about the unprecedented journalistic conditions of the Trump Age, in which the press finds itself demonized, discredited and (often literally) attacked. Meantime, digital media have created all kinds of new sources, opportunities and venues for journalists, who, in the podcast and oral history age, enjoy latitude for opinion and personal identity as never before. And no one really gets paid much for any of it. New media companies still appear to work in spacious, urban, open-plan offices, but it is a stock Getty image. Everyone’s actually holed up in a bedroom somewhere drinking Monster.

Perrotta/Marotta play BSP

Perrotta/Marotta play BSP

Friday, Dec. 20: The Marotta of course is the legendary drummer Jerry, who has played with pretty much everybody, but most pertinent to this discussion is his radical work as the featured percussionist on the first four Peter Gabriel solo albums – albums that defined a new way of arty ensemble playing (the third record in particular) and that established a musical dialect from which Sarah Perrotta has drawn across her entire career.