Thursday, August 30, 2012
11:55 am pdt
On Friday, August 31, 2012, there will be a “blue
moon.” But what the heck is a blue moon? Well... that all depends on your definition, and you have
three to pick from, not counting the popular brand of beer or The Marcel’s 1961 hit song.
The most current definition
of a blue moon is that of having two full moons in the same month. This definition has lent us the popular phrase “once
in a blue moon,” meaning something that doesn’t happen very often at all. However, the conditions that create
this meaning of a blue moon are truly not that rare. First, you need a month with 31 days (there are seven to pick from),
though it is possible (but less likely) in any month but February, and then you need for there to be a full moon at the first
of the month so 29 and ½ days later, in the same month, you can have another full moon, which happens about every 2
½ years, or more often than the presidential elections. (Rice)
The second, older definition is a bit more convoluted, and it is where our current definition of blue moon
stems from. The older definition for “blue moon” deals with the Christian ecclesiastical calendar.
In that calendar, each full moon has a name. Easter, for instance, is determined by the Paschal Moon. There is,
though, an exception. Some years have 13 full moons instead of 12, which means one season would have four full moons
instead of three. It was the third full moon out of four that became known as a blue moon, simply because it didn’t
officially have a name. (Brunner) As well, it couldn’t be the fourth full moon in that season that was called
a blue moon because then the names of other full moons, “such as the Moon Before Yule and the Moon After Yule [would
not] fall at the proper times relative to the solstices and equinoxes.” (Olson)
How that definition for a blue moon became the current definition is attributed to several
editorial mistakes. The third full moon in a season being a blue moon was the definition that was listed in the Maine
Farmers’ Almanac from 1932 to 1957. In a July 1943 article on blue moons in Sky & Telescope
magazine, Laurence J. Lafleur wrongly interpreted the old Farmers’ Almanac, confusing a tropical year for a
calendar year, though he never mentioned any specific dates, nor did he mention that a blue moon had anything to do with two
full moons in one month. We leave that mistake for an amateur astronomer named James Hugh Pruett. In 1946, once
again in Sky & Telescope, Pruett confused both the Farmers’ Almanac and Lafleur and came up with
the current definition for a blue moon. (Olson)
This definition was then used by Deborah Byrd, who relied on Pruett’s definition for the January
31, 1980, edition of StarDate, a popular radio program, and was further used by Margot McLoon-Basta and Alice Sigel
in their popular Kids’ World Almanac of Records and Facts, which was published in 1985. From that point
on, this has been the definition that we use, even appearing as the answer in the board game Trivial Pursuit. (The
next Blue Moon is August 31, 2012)
if all this isn’t confusing enough, there are times when the moon really can turn blue, which is perhaps the rarest
of them all. A moon doesn’t have to be full, though, to appear blue, nor does the date have anything to do with
it. There just needs to be enough ash particles high enough in the atmosphere, and if those ash particles are the right
size, then “they can block reds and yellow from getting to our eyes, giving us tints of blue — and sometimes green
— moons.” (Newcomb)
were blue moons, for instance, many years after the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa exploded in 1883 with the force of a 100-megaton
nuclear bomb. As well, though far less dramatic, there were blue moons following the eruptions of Mt. St. Helens in
1980, El Chichon in 1982, and Mount Pinatubo in 1991. It is even possible for a large forest fire to cause a blue moon.
So what does all this mean?
Really, not a darned thing. Fairies won’t dance, wishes won’t be granted, and children conceived under the
light of the blue moon won’t be smarter, cuter, or less inclined to believe astrological nonsense. However, it
could be as good a reason as any – if you need a reason at all – to sit out on your porch and drink a Blue Moon
and listen to the Marcels. And if that’s the case, then you’d better have an extra beer or three, because
if you miss this blue moon, then you’ll have to wait until July 31, 2015, to see the next one... barring, of course,
the outside chance of a volcano. (Rice)
Moon.” 7 July 2004. NASA Science. 30 Aug. 2012. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2004/07jul_bluemoon/
“Blue Moon – The Marcels – 1961.” YouTube. 30 Aug. 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7giOrKYIwpQ
Brunner, Borgna and Anne Marie Imbornoni. “Once in a Blue Moon.” 30 Aug. 2012. infoplease.
30 Aug. 2012. http://www.infoplease.com/spot/bluemoon1.html
Newcomb, Tim. “Turning Blue: Friday’s Full Moon a ‘Blue Moon.’” 30
Aug. 2012. Time News Feed. 30 Aug. 2012. http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/08/30/turning-blue-fridays-full-moon-a-blue-moon/
“The next Blue Moon is August 31, 2012.” 21 Aug. 2012. EarthSky: A Clear Voice for
Science. 30 Aug. 2012. http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/when-is-the-next-blue-moon
Olson, Donald W, Richard Tresch Fienberg, and Roger Sinnott. “What’s a Blue Moon?”
2012. Sky & Telescope. 30. Aug. 2012. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/moon/3304131.html
Rice, Tony. “‘Blue Moon’ definition based on a mistake.” 30 Aug. 2012.
WRAL WeatherCenter Blog. 30 Aug. 2012. http://www.wral.com/weather/blogpost/11487264/
8:26 am pdt
Word of the Every So Often
cant: (verb) to talk hypocritically and sanctimoniously about something. The
teacher went off on a cant about not using apostrophes, but then he forgot to use one himself.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
9:20 am pdt
Word of the Every So Often
(noun) someone who follows an ideology, especially without question;
one who is uncompromising and dogmatic. It’s really hard to have an intelligent conversation with an ideologue.
9:18 am pdt
Great Ironies of All Time
Nothing is better than good ol’ fashioned irony...
You know... where you hope for one thing to happen, and another, generally the opposite of what you were intending to happen
in the first place, happens instead. The following are some of my all time favourite ironies.
“The Pledge of Allegiance” was written in 1892 by socialist minister Francis
Bellamy. Bellamy’s original version was missing both the phrase “the Flag of the United States of America”
(his version was simply “my flag”) and the contentious “under God.” Bellamy had originally intended
the pledge to be used by anybody in any country. As well, he would’ve definitely objected to including a reference
to “god,” which was added in 1954 as a response to the Communist threat. (The Pledge of Allegiance)
Mother’s Day was championed by Anna Jarvis back
in the early years of the 20th Century. Jarvis had meant for Mother’s Day to be “’a day
of sentiment, not profit...’” for the greeting card industry, “...which she saw as ‘a poor excuse
for the letter you are too lazy to write.’” To her dying day in 1948, Jarvis regretted ever creating the
holiday and lobbied in vain to get it repealed. (Strauss)
Osama bin Laden came to represent all that was evil in the world following Al-Qaeda’s September 11
attacks in 2001. However, back in the 1980s, Bin Laden was involved with an anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan that was
in the least funded by the United States and Saudi Arabia. And more than likely, bin Laden was even trained by the CIA.
(Al-Qaeda’s origins and links) An enemy of my enemy is my friend... maybe not this time.
“Al-Qaeda's origins and links.” 20 July 2004. BBC News. 16 Aug. 2012.
“The Pledge of Allegiance.” 2012. Historic Documents. 16 Aug. 2012. http://www.ushistory.org/documents/pledge.htm
Strauss, Valerie. “Why Mother’s Day founder came to hate her creation (and more on moms, gifts,
baby names etc.).” 13 May 2012. The Washington Post. 15 Aug. 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-mothers-day-founder-came-to-hate-her-creation-and-more-on-moms-gifts-baby-names-etc/2012/05/13/gIQAy
Sunday, August 12, 2012
2:39 pm pdt
More than Meets the Eye: Hidden Meaning in Statues
Perhaps the best definition of art comes
from Tom Miner and Betty Goossens, who published PinchPenny, a small press magazine out of Sacramento back in the
‘80s that featured short stories and poetry. Their definition: Art is what you can get away with.
And that is so true. After all, if you can convince just one person other than yourself that what you’ve just
created is art, then it is. So much the better if that one person is willing to pay. But just what are these artists
trying to get away with?
is especially poignant with several statues in Seattle, in particular, “People Waiting on the Interurban” and
the “Kingstones,” both by Richard Beyer, “Lenin” by Emil Vonkov, and Douglas Bennett’s “Columbus.”
And the answer? It could be just a little playful kidding, perhaps some social commentary, or maybe standing up for
what they believed was right, but in a sneaky sort of way. Or maybe it was nothing at all.
You can read the complete essays, including pictures, by clicking on the “Essays”
tab to your left, or by following the above link.
1:34 pm pdt
Word of the Every So Often
puce: (noun) either a
flea or a colour, or the colour of a flea; however, what colour is it? It can either be a purplish colour or a greenish
colour. The flea’s decision to theme the wedding in puce caused a lot of confusion.
Friday, August 10, 2012
2:32 pm pdt
Word of the Every So Often
taciturn: (adj.) temperamentally disinclined to talk. Taciturn people may actually be quite
intelligent… but who can tell?
Macenkzee Amanduh Lagostino
2:30 pm pdt
English 101, Section 114
Social Security Number: 578-83-4559
Student ID Number: 4562398
July 25, 2012
I Learned this Summer
What I learned this summer is how ridiculously
easy it is to have your ID stolen. When I reported it to the police, they told me that most people are able to hack us so
easily because we tell them everything they need to know. Anybody can get your address and phone number. It's in the phone
book. But we tell them other stuff, too. For instance, I only had three passwords that I ever used, and in case I ever forgot
what they were, I kept them in a file on my Facebook account. That way, I could get them whenever I wanted. Come to find
out, that wasn't a great idea. Just because Facebook is a voluntary public forum doesn't mean that people have the right
to look at my account if I don't want them to.
Did you know that a lot
of places will give out your account information simply if you can answer the challenge questions? It's true. They guessed
my bank, for instance, because I put a "Like" on it in Facebook, and then they just followed the link. Then they
called the bank and pretended they were me but had completely forgotten all my information, which really made me look stupid.
And they were able to get around the challenge questions because I had all that information on Facebook, too. Stuff like
where I went to high school and my brother and sisters' names. I even had a memorial to my first cat, Fluffy. I can tell
you one thing: I don't like my bank as much as I used to.
As well, I
found out that you should never give out the routing or account numbers off of your checks. Those numbers are really confusing.
The routing number is always the one that comes first on the bottom of your check. For instance, mine is 563287914. And
the account number is the one that comes second. Mine is 665379152. Giving out those numbers is just like giving out the
PIN number on your ATM card. An easy way to remember your PIN, by the way, is just to make it the year you were born in,
like 1992. Of course, even if they have your PIN, it won't do them any good, not without the card. They would still need
the numbers on the front and the three numbers on the back. I was lucky that way. The hackers who got my information found
out that my Visa card's number was 4554 2632 9754 1256. Apparently a friend of mine had taken a picture of our bar tab and
posted it on Facebook, and my credit card happened to be in the picture. But they didn't know that the three numbers on the
back were 635, so they couldn't use it.
We even tell people stuff we
probably shouldn't. For instance, I took an online course last semester, and I wrote a paper about how I was growing marijuana
in the crawlspace of my mother's house. Somebody must've gotten a hold of that paper and they found out where my mother lived,
and they broke into the crawlspace and stole every last plant. I always suspected my professor, especially since she gave
me such a bad grade in the class, but the more I think about it, it might've been the same people who hacked me, and I don't
think my professor was that smart.
I don't know why, but things always
seem to work out for the best. For instance, if those people hadn't stolen all those pot plants, then they still would've
been there when the cops came to bust me. It was a stupid place to grow pot anyway. There wasn't enough light. In an open
field behind someplace like your step-father's house would be best. That way you could always deny it when the cops come.
And speaking of the cops, when they found all the illegal Czechoslovakian porn on my computer after I had been hacked, I
was able to blame the hackers. That worked out for the best, too.
know I sure learned from this experience, and I'm hoping you can, too.
Monday, August 6, 2012
2:58 pm pdt
Word of the Every So Often
tacit: (adj.) not spoken; assumed; implicit. The couple had a tacit understanding
to never again mention either the strange old man, inflatable pool toys, or his cat… especially his cat.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
11:27 am pdt
of the Every So Often
exonerate: (verb) to free from blame or obligation. Senator Bullfinch, this committee exonerates
you of all charges, though we really have no reason to, other than if we find you guilty then we may have to apply those same
standards to ourselves.