Thursday, May 31, 2007

So-Called Blue Moon

There was a blue moon out tonight. Here's a photo I took from the window of my apartment:

What's that you say? It doesn't look very blue to you? Well that's because apparently "blue moon" is just a colorful term some people use when there's a second full moon that occurs in one month. Yahoo! news has a pretty good explanation of this whack phenomenon.

As you probably know, the lunar cycle is 28 days, and months usually have 30/31 days, so when the full moon falls at the very beginning of the month there will be another one at month's end. This phenomenon, which really has to do with the way we count time in the Roman Calendar and not with anything unique going on in the sky, is not very exciting and not all that rare either: apparently, it occurs on average every 32 months.

At any rate, I decided to use this astronomical event of dubious interest as an excuse to share with you what I think is the most fun version of the song "Blue Moon," the one sung by the early '60s doo-wop group the Marcels.

Marcels - Blue Moon

Second order of business: I'm sure a lot of you have already heard about the Creation Museum which opened this week in Kentucky. This is a museum created by fundamentalist Christians which gives their take on natural history. Its exhibits show Adam and Eve's rug rats frolicking with dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden and suggest that a couple of dinosaurs were even loaded on to Noah's Ark. Fossils are presented as a testament to animals that were killed in the Great Flood, which is also responsible for carving out the Grand Canyon in a matter of days (as opposed to the thousands of years claimed by geologists). Indeed, according to the museum, the world is just around 6,000 years old -- not only does this leave no room for millenia of geological transformation and the evolution of life, but it also places creation week after the earliest neolithic human settlements uncovered by archaeologists.

Now of course this museum is totally bonkers and re re: if you're going to embrace a literalist reading of the Bible as your version of how the world came about that's one thing, but it's a whole 'nother level of bizarre to drop dinosaurs into the mix and come up with pseudo-scientific explanations in an attempt to controvert the best theories of actual scientists. Yet, to me, the museum's concept was only slightly more stupefying that this clinker of a sentence that slipped into the NYTimes article mocking it: [in the museum] "evolution gets its continual comeuppance, while biblical revelations are treated as gospel."

The Bible is treated as gospel?! Really?! That's sort of like saying "the Israelites obeyed the Ten Commandments as if they were written in stone." This is worse than the time I found an article in the travel section on restaurants in Mexico City. If you look at the caption under the photo, you'll see how they tell you that this particular restaurant serves fruit drinks called jugos, suggesting that this is the name of some sort of special, local drink. But, as anyone who stayed awake in their high school Spanish class could probably tell them, "jugo" is merely the Spanish word for juice! [No, that is not the Spanish word of the day.] I always thought the New York Times was supposed to set the standard for educated writing in our country, but I guess not. I mean I would be pretty ashamed of myself if I published a sentence as bad as that.

I do have to say though that I love a good "bon not" like this: a phrase in which a word is used to define itself or in which antonyms or synonyms are arranged in such a way as to create an unintentional tautology or contradiction. The all time worst I ever read was in a paper submitted by another student in college. It was in this seminar I took on Alexander the Great in which each week students had to write a short paper on a topic and then hand them out to the other students before class. (Why did I take classes like this? Masochism, I guess.) Anyway, this one girl wrote a paper on Greece after the Peloponnesian War in which she said "The normal agricultural output of Attica was xxxx. But the normal output was not always the norm." The normal output wasn't always the norm?! That really made me cringe with delight when I read it.

Oh one more thing: I have an IMPORTANT UPDATE for everyone RE my "million dollar idea". Not that I feel like any of my slacker / drunkshow friends were REALLY going to do any work on this; but after reading that post Desiree did some research on the Internet, and it seems like someone already patented shower curtain reinforcements. We still can't find any for sale though which makes you wonder whether maybe the powerful shower curtain industry (or "Big Shower Curtain" as I like to think of it) with it's deep pockets didn't get to the guy who patented the reinforcements and pay him off so that the things would never be marketed.


SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY: chasquido! (= snap!)


Ploni said...

Good catch on the Times comments, which were a bit, ehem, on the nose. Still, most reviews of the museum I've read, including the Times, showed far too much deference to the museum. Am I the only one who thinks that this 'museum' is just a send-up of the Flintstones?

Meeg said...

I fixed the busted download link everybody.

And this is totally a send up of the Flintstones... we didn't even discuss the exhibit showing Eve using the pterodactyl's pelican beak as a mixer ;)

jdoriot said...

I love to find those sentences that are full of contradictions or those ones that just make you shake your head!

I wasn't aware that the Creation Museum had opened...I'm one of those crazy people that want to visit! lol!

Thanks for visiting me! I'll be back to read some more...your posts are good!