Snowshoeing the San Bernardino Mountains

March 6th, 2008

Snowshoeing Bear MountainOn Tuesday and Thursday evenings when we can’t bike due to Winter weather, we will often snowshoe up the Bear Mountain ski runs to the top of the mountain range above Big Bear. Usually we do this in the dark with headlamps, but as the days get longer we sometimes are treated to spectacular sunsets and views almost all the way to the coast. Below is a panoramic view of the San Bernardino Mountains from the top of Silver Mountain at 8,564′. In the panorama to the left is San Gorgonio Peak, which is the highest point in Southern California at 11,501′. In the middle you can see Big Bear Lake, and to the right, Baldwin Lake at the East end of Big Bear Valley.

Silver Mountain Panorama

Origins of Putz

March 1st, 2008

In German putz literally means “finery, adornment,” but when used ironically in Yiddish it means “obnoxious man, fool,” or more crassly in Yiddish slang it refers to a certain part of the male anatomy. The Pennsylvania Dutch used the term putz for a “Nativity display around a Christmas tree.” Putz is a derivative of the German term “putzen,” meaning to clean, brighten, preen, or shine.

Growing up I would slunk down and cringe in my theater seat when one movie actor would call another “a putz.” Now I just laugh. As my Father always said, “no one ever forgets your name.”