By Bob Curtis, Local Secretary

February 2014

In last month's column, I scribbled about the winter solstice and how the celebration of Christmas on December 25th came about. On January 4th, at 1:03 am EST, I celebrated the earth's perihelion; this is the moment of the year when the earth is closest to the sun due to the earth's elliptical orbit. One effect of this is that winters and summers are milder in the northern hemisphere than they are in the southern hemisphere. Aphelion, the moment when the earth is most distant from the sun, will occur on July 3rd at 7:10 pm EDT. These are two under- celebrated astronomical events, but good reasons for a little scotch.

ALBERT CAMUS - the name

Camus and his family are Algerian, and as I understand it from Rev. Edwin Dodge Cuffe, S.J., my Dean and Professor of Poetry (1960-1961), who knew Camus personally, Camus himself pronounced the "s" of his last name (not making it silent as would ordinarily be the case in French). Albert Camus was born on November 7, 1913, at Mondovi, Algeria. He died in an automobile accident near Sens, France, on January 4, 1960. He was noted for fighting in the Resistance in France during World War II, and received the Noble Prize in Literature in 1957. He is sometimes referred to as a Catholic Existentialist. This probably is in a league with Hillaire Belloc who insisted that his first name should be pronounced "Hillary."

Donna Funk, a NNJM member who lives in Garfield, is the president of Moon Doggie Coffee Roasters on West Pleasant Avenue in Maywood. She has offered to help raise money for our Wendy Sailer Scholarship by doing a coffee/dessert tasting event and donating all the proceeds. I think this would be excellent, and look forward to it. Meanwhile, check out Moon Doggie at

Thanks to Nisha Zoeller for all her work as Scholarship Chair during the last few weeks. This is an intense period because of the need to organize and run the Mensa scholarship essay contest. Thanks also to Miriam Schneidmill who has put some life back into our testing program, and to Kathe Oliver and John Devoti for their contributions of articles for our newsletter.