Some aurora borealis for Seattle tonight? Could be! Last Tuesday, our sun farted. (Or, in prim NASA speak, it "emitted a significant solar flare peaking at 1:32 p.m. EST on Jan.7, 2014.")

Its radiation reaches us today and might cause the northern lights to migrate as far south as Colorado and Illinois tonight. Which, according to the AP, means we might get a peek:

The University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute predicts much of Canada and the northern fringes of the U.S. should see the northern lights. Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Seattle and Des Moines might see the shimmering colors low on the horizon.

Of course, we've got a cloud buffet on our horizon for tonight and tomorrow (and tomorrow and tomorrow).

If any Sloggers are flying in or out of Seattle this evening, watch for some aurorae when you're above cloud level—and claim bragging rights in the comments on tomorrow's Morning News.

In barely related news, Bethany and I spent the days after Christmas driving around southern Arizona and New Mexico—hot in the lowlands, cold in the highlands, full of beautifully freaky eccentrics—which, in a single afternoon, took us to the Kitt Peak National Observatory way out in the desert (and a breath-stealing 7,000 miles in the air), and to the one-man cowtown built in a different part of the desert by octogenarian cowboy, charmer, storyteller, and all-around American Ulysses Ed Keeylocko.

At the observatory, we got to tour the grounds and look into a solar telescope to watch our sun fart/flare.


  • Astro-nappers.

At Cowtown Keeylocko, we got a private audience with Ed Keeylocko, a marvelous old coot who's had so many adventures up and down, comic and tragic, domestic and foreign, in love and in war, that an hour-long conversation with him should be a voting requirement for every American.

Rumor had it that you could just drive out to his place a few hours outside Tucson, AZ, and he'd be glad to chat for awhile. So that's what we did and wound up spending hours in his "saloon" (which is also a repository for all kinds of photographs, farm equipment, beat-up antiques, liquor bottles people bring him, and whatever chickens, dogs, or pigs happen to sneak through the loose front door), drinking tequila and listening to stories from his life: being abandoned by his mother on a front porch in the south, his stint in Vietnam, spending some time in jail in Tacoma for trying to shoot a woodpecker in his front yard, a horse he once owned who was possessed by the devil, doing battle with racists across the country (he said his dark skin, green eyes, and red hair made him stick out among black folks as well as white folks), finding anti-racists where he least expected them, being wooed by his aunt (who, due to some Shakespeare-sized subplots, didn't know she was trying to bed her own nephew), and much, much more.

Inside the saloon/shed.
  • Inside Ed's saloon/shed.

The American Ulysses.
  • The American Ulysses.

Some of Eds pigs.
  • Some of Ed's pigs.

The Keeylocko commandments.
  • The Keeylocko commandments.

Some of Eds friends are buried on the premises.
  • Some of Ed's friends are buried on the premises.

Eds new (old) dog, which he says was bound for bait in the local dog-fighting pits.
  • Ed's new (old) dog, which he says was bound for bait in the local dog-fighting pits.

I think you'll be hearing more about Ed in the near future—he's a strange and uniquely American kind of hero.

Anyway: Look out for those northern lights!