July 16th, 2007


Midsummer Day

There are several ways to denote summer:

  • Memorial Day to Labor Day
  • Summer Solstice to Autumnal Equinox
  • First day of June to last day of August ("meteorological summer")
  • Last day of school to the first day of school

Since school is the one that has the biggest direct impact on the most lives, let's count it double, using both a random college and a random high school.

For the Memorial Day to Labor Day one, there are almost always exactly 14 weeks of summer. (One out of every seven years it's 15 weeks, but let's ignore that.) This year is a pretty average one in terms of how early/late each holiday can fall, so let's use it. There are 98 days of summer from May 28 through September 3rd, making Midsummer Day today, July 16th.

This year, the summer solstice was June 21st and the Autumnal Equinox will be September 23rd. That makes a 94-day summer, with Midsummer Day on August 7th.

Meteorological summer has 92 days. The midpoint always falls on July 17th.

For our college example, let's use Penn. Penn's new schedule seems to have finals ending on the second Tuesday in May, and fall convocation on the day after Labor Day. This is either 112 or 119 days. Based on all of the possible configurations, it turns out that Penn's Midsummer Day falls, on average, on July 8th.

I can't figure out the Philadelphia School district's rules for calendar making, so I'm just going to ballpark it. The mode of the September starting date for students in 2004-2007 is September 7th, and the mode of the June ending date for students in 2005-2008 is June 19. This gives an 80 day summer (poor kids), and Midsummer Day is July 29th.

So what's the conclusion? Well, first of all, there's a brief period, from June 21st until July 8th, when everyone agrees that it's the first half of the summer. And there's a similar period, from August 7th until around the start of September (though I didn't take into account the many schools who get going in late August) when everyone agrees that it's the second half of the summer. In between fall all of the Midsummer Days. The mean midsummer day is July 22nd. And the median is tomorrow.

The majority opinion, then, states today for the last time this summer that we've got more summer ahead of us than behind us. I don't know about you, but to me, that's reason to celebrate. Happy Last Day Of The First Half Of The Summer According To Majority Opinion! (And happy birthday, Jeffy! And happy birthday, Val!)


Yes, LiveJournal, it was a weekend in DC, and what a weekend it was. The city really seems to know how to put on a show for me, every damn time I drive south. Or maybe it's not so much the city, but more the people. I think I'll have to go back again soon.

A cozy Amtrak ride brought me to Zach/Jon/Becca's Hobart house with just enough time to say hi to Marissa and Ben, finally meet Mobius, get ready, and head on down to TLS. We got there a little late, and it was PACKED. Seriously. The RAC couldn't hold us. My best guess, after hearing all the other estimates, was 170 people in the basement and crammed into the hallways to daven and sing with BZ and each other. There were about a dozen people down from NYC visiting with KZ, and I and a couple other random out-of-towners were also there, but does this mean that TLS gets upwards of 130 people on a typical Friday night? Freakin' incredible.

I had the pleasure of standing between Val and the Laster/Bellows family for davening, eating with rivka_m and Lori and many others, and singing until late with Joelle, Ethan, and a whole bunch of folks. (Margie taught a lovely syncopated Miriam Margles tune to part of Psalm 118 that I'll never remember. Man, if only there were a website to help people remember tunes like this.)

After some chilling back at Hobart, and a little bit of sleep, it was off to shul Saturday morning at Adas. Eliana and I walked from there to a big ol' picnic in Malcom X park organized by Laura. After grabbing a bite and hanging out a bit, I walked a few blocks to the other park to join into the middle of the traditional DC Shabbat touch football game with Becca, Zach, Jacob, Evin, and a bunch of others whose names I forget. (Apparently I can punt the ball quite well. Who knew?)

The evening brought a huge crowd to Hobart for shaloshhiddus and more fantastic singing, and then Marisa's havdalah kicked off the next part of the evening: a frat party! OK, not really a frat party, but it felt like one. (Does anyone else think that red plastic Solo cups always mean "kegger", whereas blue cups that are otherwise identical mean no such thing? Weird.) Tons of people crammed into a house. Why, you ask? Well, Rob's band was playing a JUFJ charity house show! (There's pictures linked from Jewschool, which I highly recommend.) I had more fun doing the saturday night partying thing than I can remember having in years; probably since a particularly fun night at Brown with Beth, Benj, and Sarah many years ago. I even danced with Eliana a bit. The evening didn't end until after 3:30, when I excused myself from the Hobart porch, leaving Zach and Julia and Mobius to conclude the conversation without me.

I left the next morning, halfway through Zach and Becca's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" brunch, because I'd solved the Concert Nexus problem. You see, all on July 15th, The Decemberists were playing the Mann with an orchestra, TFIA was playing Concerts Under The Stars, Reel Big Fish was playing the Starland Ballroom, and little did I know it at the time, but The Vulgar Bulgers were playing Alan's house! As much as I would've wanted to go to all four, I decided to choose TFIA and friends I hadn't seen in years over other shows and other company that I have the pleasure of enjoying more often. So I caught a noon cab to start heading back to Philly.

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ANYway, I arrived at the concert about 45 minutes late, but still caught some of the first set and all of the second set. Ran into intangiblehugs and lord_emo, but hung out most of the time with peneli, whom I hadn't seen in two years. Far too long. And the concert was great, as always. My umbrella stayed in my pocket as I listened to Iko Iko and Proper Cup Of Coffee, enjoying a fantastic ending to a fantastic weekend.