fav science cartoon

Unstrange Phenomena

31 December 2009

30 December 2009

Rare Blue Moon Shines on New Years Eve, Origin of 6 Meanings

Photo from NASA, composite of 2 images sent back by Galileo.

From Denny: A second moon of the month will shine for New Years Eve, a rare event, so rare it won't happen again until 2028 on New Years Eve. The normal December moon is called by the Algonguin Native Americans a Cold Moon. Blue Moon generally refers to the 13th moon of the year. Second moons in a month happen from time to time but are rare on New Years Eve, the last day of the calendar year. Back twenty years ago in 1990, New Years Eve parties were themed around the "once in a Blue Moon"!

According to NASA: "Most months have only one full Moon. The 29.5-day cadence of the lunar cycle matches up almost perfectly with the 28- to 31-day length of calendar months. Indeed, the word "month" comes from "Moon." Occasionally, however, the one-to-one correspondence breaks down when two full Moons squeeze into a single month. Dec. 2009 is such a month. The first full Moon appeared on Dec. 2nd; the second, a "Blue Moon," will come on Dec. 31st. The modern astronomical Blue Moon occurs in some month every 2.5 years, on average. A Blue Moon falling precisely on Dec. 31st, however, is much more unusual."


While normally the moon is not blue there are conditions where it can appear blue to us on Earth. Back in 1883 when the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa erupted it put so much dust into the atmosphere that it turned sunsets green and the moon did appear to be blue all around the world and so the term "once in a blue moon" was invented. That blue moon effect from the erupted volcano lasted almost two years.

Another occurrence of a blue moon was in 1927 in India when a late monsoon created the perfect conditions for a blue moon. A blue moon was found in Newfoundland in 1951 when huge forest fires from Alberta, Canada littered the sky with copious amounts of dust particles.


There are six meanings that have evolved over about 400 years. Centuries ago, in Shakespeare era, the term "once in a blue moon" actually meant you were comparing something to be just as obviously absurd as a blue moon occurring. Eventually, it evolved into a second meaning that something would "never" happen. It's a lot like today when we say something will occur "when Hell freezes over" basically meaning that will never happen.

The main meaning of "once in a blue moon" came into our language when the volcano Krakatoa erupted creating the visual sight of a blue moon around the world for almost two years. It came to mean something that occurred infrequently and not quite regular enough to easily pinpoint.

There are six songs that include the blue moon reference as a symbol for sadness and loneliness. Half of the songs claim the lover's moon turned into gold when he achieved his love.

The most recent meaning in our time is that a blue moon is a second moon in the same month, which can occur at any time of the year. Technically, this perception is not accurate since the public judges this second moon by the calendar year.

The true blue moon comes from the tropical year - going from the Winter Solstice to the next instead of starting on 1 January and going to 31 December like the calendar year - where it is actually the third moon in a season with four, according to Sky and Telescope. You see the tropical year normally has 12 full moons, four for each season. Occasionally, there are 13 full moons so that one season has four full moons instead of usual obvious three.


Blue Moons happen about one for every 2.72 years in a century of 1200 calendar months and 1236.83 Full Moons. That averages out to about 3% of Full Moons are Blue Moons. So, enjoy this rarity on New Year's Eve!

BONUS: And if you live in Europe and Asia there will be visual - only to you - a partial lunar eclipse to send out the "00" decade for this century.

*** THANKS for visiting!

26 December 2009

Funny Cartoonists 26 Dec 2009

From Denny: Here's a sampling of what is happening over at The Social Poet this Saturday, enjoy! I just love editorial cartoons; they really capture the mood of the country. It's fun to look back over the year to see what was happening politically in a society as the cartoons often speak more truth than all the news articles which are often funded by some lobby. At the very least cartoons give us the public reactions to what our politicians are doing - or claim to be doing. :) Take a look:

*** For the full post of a slew of funny cartoons, pay a visit to The Social Poets where I park them every Saturday, go here.

*** THANKS for visiting and hope you had a great holiday!

24 December 2009

Original Christmas Poem Story: The Night Before Christmas

From Denny: This fun poem has a lot of riff off imitators that make us smile too! Here in Louisiana there is the Cajun version that follows.

The Night Before Christmas

By Clement Clarke Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Cajun Night Before Christmas

By J. B. Kling, Jr. (1973)

Twas the night before Christmas an' all t'ru de house,
Dey don't a ting pass Not even a mouse.
De chirren been nezzle good snug on de flo',
An' Mama pass de pepper t'ru de crack on de do'.

De Mama in de fireplace done roas' up de ham,
Sit up de gumbo an' make de bake yam.
Den out on de by-you dey got such a clatter,
Make soun' like old Boudreau done fall off his ladder.

I run like a rabbit to got to de do',
Trip over de dorg an' fall on de flo'.
As I look out de do'in de light o' de moon,
I t'ink, "Mahn, you crazy or got ol' too soon."

Cux dere on de by-you w'en I stretch ma'neck stiff,
Dere's eight alligator a pullin' de skiff.
An' a little fat drover wit' a long pole-ing stick,
I know r'at away got to be ole St.Nick.

Mo' fas'er an' fas'er de' gator dey came
He whistle an' holler an' call dem by name:
"Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an' Alcee'!
Gee, Ninette! Gee, Suzette! Celeste an'Renee'!

To de top o' de porch to de top o' de wall,
Make crawl, alligator, an' be sho' you don' fall."
Like Tante Flo's cat t'ru de treetop he fly,
W'en de big ole houn' dorg come a run hisse's by.

Like dat up de porch dem ole 'gator clim!
Wit' de skiff full o' toy an' St. Nicklus behin'.
Den on top de porch roof it soun' like de hail,
W'en all dem big gator, done sot down dey tail.

Den down de chimney I yell wit' a bam,
An' St.Nicklus fall an' sit on de yam.
"Sacre!" he axclaim, "Ma pant got a hole
I done sot ma'se'f on dem red hot coal."

He got on his foots an' jump like de cat
Out to de flo' where he lan' wit' a SPLAT!
He was dress in musk-rat from his head to his foot,
An' his clothes is all dirty wit' ashes an' soot.

A sack full o' playt'ing he t'row on his back,
He look like a burglar an' dass fo' a fack.
His eyes how dey shine his dimple, how merry!
Maybe he been drink de wine from de blackberry.

His cheek was like a rose his nose a cherry,
On secon' t'ought maybe he lap up de sherry.
Wit' snow-white chin whisker an' quiverin' belly,
He shook w'en he laugh like de stromberry jelly!

But a wink in his eye an' a shook o' his head,
Make my confi-dence dat I don't got to be scared.
He don' do no talkin' gone strit to hi work,
Put a playt'ing in sock an' den turn wit' a jerk.

He put bot' his han' dere on top o' his head,
Cas' an eye on de chimney an' den he done said:
"Wit' all o' dat fire an' dem burnin' hot flame,
Me I ain' goin' back by de way dat I came."

So he run out de do' an, he clim' to de roof,
He ain' no fool, him for to make one more goof.
He jump in his skiff an' crack his big whip,
De' gator move down, An don' make one slip.

An' I hear him shout loud as a splashin' he go,
"Merry Christmas to all 'til I saw you some mo'!"

*** THANKS for visiting and have a great Christmas Day!

22 December 2009

New Austrian Zoo Photographer is Fruit Happy Orangutan

From Denny: This is pretty funny and downright humbling to those of us who enjoy taking photographs and fancy ourselves as artists! :) But hey! It's long been known many a "starving artist" will work for food and this one happens to love fruit.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

*** THANKS for visiting!

16 December 2009

Funny Christmas Quotes and More Holiday Fun

From Denny: Here's an excerpt and a sampling of this week's Cheeky Quote Day post over at my other humorous blog, The Social Poets, enjoy! Just so you won't miss out on more grins, there's a link at the end of this post to take you there. :)

5 Funny Christmas Quotes

* The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live. - George Carlin

* Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it. - Richard Lamm

* Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we'll be seeing six or seven. – W. C. Fields

* Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas. – Johnny Carson

* Let me see if I've got this Santa business straight. You say he wears a beard, has no discernible source of income and flies to cities all over the world under cover of darkness? You sure this guy isn't laundering illegal drug money? - Tom Armstrong

Funny Christmas Story

Saying the Holiday Prayer

A four-year-old boy who was asked to return thanks before Christmas dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one. Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food.

He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip. Then he paused, and everyone waited ... and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, "If I thank God for the broccoli, won't he know that I'm lying?"

Then there's the "local" version of the famous Christmas classic "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

The Night Before Christmas in Brooklyn, New York

'Twas the night before Christmas,
Da whole house was mella,
Not a creature was strirrin',
Cuz I had a gun unda da pilla.

When up on da roof
I heard somethin' pound,
I sprung to da window,
To scream, "YO! Keep it down!"

When what to my
Wanderin' eyes should appear,
But da Don of all elfs,
And eight friggin' reindeer!

Wit' slicked back black hair,
And a silk red suit,
Don Christopher wuz here,
And he brought da loot!

Wit' a slap to dare snouts
And a yank on dare manes,
He cursed and he shouted
And he called dem by name

"Yo Tony, Yo Frankie,
Yo Vinny, Yo Vito,
Ay Joey, Ay Paulie,
Ay Pepe, Ay Guido!"

As I drew out my gun
And hid by da bed,
He flew troo da winda
And slapped me 'side da head.

"What da hell you doin'
Pullin' a gun on da Don?
Now all you're gettin' is coal,
You friggin' moron!"

Den pointin' a fat finga
Right unda my nose,
He twisted his pinky ring,
And up da chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh,
Obscenities screamin',
Away dey all flew,
Before he troo dem a beatin'.

Den I heard him yell out,
What I did least expect,
"Merry Friggin' Christmas to all,
And yous better show some respect!

- (Understandably) Anonymous

*** For the full post over at The Social Poets go check out The Funny Side of Christmas - Cheeky Quote Day! 16 Dec 2009

*** THANKS for visiting and have a great holiday!

12 December 2009

06 December 2009

Mount Everest Glaciers Melting Worry Half a Billion People: Fresh Drinking Water

From Denny: Watching the video of Mount Everest in the Himalayan winter is astonishing. It looks like summer with melted glacier turned into small meltwater ponds and lakes with bare rock mountains now.

This glacier is now stationary and worries scientists. Why is it important for a glacier to keep moving slowly as opposed to suddenly stopping and standing still? Because when a glacier is standing still it means it is literally rotting from the inside core out: melting.

The scientists take us inside an ice cave to view the glacier from the inside out. All the beautiful intriguing ice sculptures are deceptive in their beauty. The melting water from above in the little idyllic ponds and lakes have worked their way down into the ice caves, carving out these sculptures. Essentially, the above meltwaters are working their way back into the core of the glacier to melt it also from the inside out, eventually collapsing whole caves like this one in the film. This news clip makes it available to you to view the death of a glacier. Eerie stuff...

What scientists are most worried about is that these glaciers keep frozen huge amounts of fresh drinking water that normally melt in small amounts, in turn feeding the various rivers of Southeast Asia. Without cold temperatures to keep the glacier frozen, the water melts too fast and too much, causing flooding downstream and a shortage of drinking waters. Overflowing downstream rivers does no good; it has to be at an acceptable rate for the rivers to accept. Otherwise, flooding just keeps rushing on until it empties into a large body of water like an ocean.

At best the solution to the problem may be for this impoverished region to consider building dams high up in the mountains to contain the rapidly melting waters. Without it they are going to have to move whole cities and villages out of the melting glacier's path.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

*** Thanks for visiting!

05 December 2009

Entertaining Editorial Cartoons 5 Dec 2009

From Denny: The Secret Service took a beating this week as well they should have, how lame can you get? Tiger Woods took another beating, this one from his irate wife fed up with his sleeping around. You go, girl! Send her to Afghanistan to win the war suggests one cartoonist. :) Obama announces his controversial plans to escalate in Afghanistan while the rest of us are war weary. And plenty of Santa cartoons to get you in the mood for the holiday season...

Secret Service and their lame excuses as to why they did not protect the President or the Prime Minister of India adequately... It might as well have been Bart Simpson in charge of security.

Health care:

Iran dilemma of thumbing their nose at world and going ahead and building now 10 times the number of nukes:

Obama's Afghan War controversial strategy that's just wearing out the public patience after eight years of expensive wars burdening the taxpayers and costing jobs:

Tiger Woods getting beat up by his irate wife for having an idiot affair. It's bad enough the guy is known for being a bad tipper, emotionally stingy and cheap on philanthropy. "Do ya think?" Karma is on his case...?

And to get you in the mood for Christmas...

*** Thanks for visiting and keep laughing!
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