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snowy pale purple coneflower

Faithful reader Marilyn Leonard sends in this photo of the March 17 on the heads of her pale purple coneflowers.

Conversation is picking up around our house regarding the final season of "Game of Thrones" (aka "GOT"), beginning April 14.

I myself have never watched this show, except for happening through the TV room during several random scenes. One was when Cersei Lannister was committing incest with her brother and another was of her exploding a church (the Grand Sept?) that was full of people. I could have lived without seeing either.

But I have heard no end of animated retelling from my husband about the "red wedding" (much bloodshed) and how "winter is coming" and the "is he?" or "isn't he?" death of John Snow, so I appreciate the anticipation.

The Davenport Public Library-Eastern Avenue Branch is hosting a free "GOT" party at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 6, costumes optional.

Does anyone else have parties or thoughts about this show? Email them to me at agaul@qctimes.com

PRECIOUS PENS: Inside today's section there's a story about a new-found interest in fountain pens, the kind you fill with liquid ink.

I usually am interested in a resurgence of anything dating to my childhood, but I'm cool toward fountain pens. I remember my first (and only) one. It arrived in third grade, during a time when we were being taught cursive writing. It was dangled before us as a reward once we learned.

Mine did not draw up ink from a well; instead, it was fed by plastic cartridges that were replaced when they ran out. I found that the ink was impossible to erase, and it smudged.

I still have it, though, which I guess is saying something.

WEATHER FORECAST: Once again standing in for longtime columnist Bill Wundram, I present the spring weather forecast from Steve Gottschalk, of Lowden, Iowa.

Steve says April will be warm and wet with less snowfall. May will be cool and dry. June should be warm and wet.

"There is an old saying that the robin has to get snow on its back three times before the snow is done for the season," he wrote in an email. "He's got two more snows to go. I would say that this saying is accurate more than 80 percent of the time."

He also mentioned that as of April 1, he "will have 35 years in as a cooperative observer for the National Weather Service, which is exciting for me.

"On my own, this is my 58th year of recording Lowden's weather. It never gets boring."

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Good going, Steve!

In addition to his forecast, he sent along research on tornadoes and their relationship to phases of the moon.

"I have found that 55 percent of April tornadoes occur during the week of the full moon and 27 percent of them occur during the week of the last quarter. The (most likely) days for having them this month are April 4-5, 18-19,  24-25 and 28.

"For May, 50 percent of the tornadoes occur during the week of the full moon. Most likely days: May 2, 15 and 22.

"For June, 36 percent of tornadoes occur during the week of the last quarter and 27 percent occur during the weeks of both the full and new moons. Most likely days: June 3-5, 17-18 and 25."

Bill always identified Steve as a "prognosticator." Now I can, too, using that word in a sentence for the first time in my life.

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