Thursday, May 31, 2007

Once in a Blue Moon

Tonight we will have a "Blue Moon". It is the first in nearly three years. They happen approximately every 2.7 years and our next one is in December of 2009.(another month with 31 days) Full moons happen every 29 1/2 nights so they don't neatly fit into human calendars. I like that about them, being a "moon child" myself (and my wife) So, this month, we get two full moons, not one, but two, count them. They don't happen everywhere in the world i.e. Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. They will not have the full moon until June 1st., tomorrow. The next full moon will be June 30, and we'll be on The Baltic, on a Princess Cruise. I bet it will be so romantic out on the deck. (I just checked with our travel agent and she verified it) Maybe I'll have to "croon in June under the moon" to her.

Just some other facts here before I move on to my "musings". In the Pacific Time Zone, tonight the moon will be full at 6:04 P.M.. It will barely be dark by then. The current meaning of the term "blue moon" is only 61 years old.(I'm older) Starting in 1932, the Maine Farmers' Almanac suggested that when a season had four full moons, instead of the typical three, the third full moon should be called a "blue moon". A 1946 Sky and Telescope magazine article misinterpreted this rule to mean the second full moon in a calendar month. The first use of "blue moon" appeared to be in an English verse in 1528. There it meant "never". Now, it connotes "very rare" or seldom for an uncommon event, but it originally meant "never" and then "absurd" according to the International Planetarium Society. The moon can appear to be blue after volcanoes or forest fires emit clouds of particles of a certain size. (refracting/reflecting just part of the spectrum-longer rays) In 1883, ash from the massive eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia caused a "blue moon" in parts of the world for years.

I remember being in a talent show in high school in the late '50's where one of our most talented singers, I think her name was Sylvia, sang "Blue Moon" the old standard in such a romantic way that the staff/faculty was "not pleased". At the time, we didn't associate the "scientific meaning" with the "song's meaning"...if you catch my meaning. Come on, we were just high school boys with one thought on our minds...

Speaking of thoughts...if you get a chance, go and see the current movie, "Waitress" with Kari Russell. It is a gem. This kind of "old fashioned movie" only happens, "once in a blue moon". It is so quaint and architypal(?) in it's roles and message. She is so cute, the kind of girl, you want to bring home. (not the current popular kind, who "kick butt") Without spoiling the show, she expresses herself through her pie-making ability. ala "Can she make a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?" Boy, can she! This was a popular song for my parents. My dad's name was Bill (William) and boy, could my mom cook. (yes, I know, the song has "other meanings") Anyway, she, Keri, is the only one who can get along with the old, cranky, demanding codger played by Andy Griffith(?) or Griffin. Yes, he's getting old and playing marvelously "against type" He becomes her mentor and saviour. Such a sweet movie...yes, a chic flic, and I'm recommending it.

Of course, "Waitress" reminds me of one I chanced to meet in Claremont many years ago now. Her name, as I recall was June, as in tomorrow, the first day of the famous month. She was true to that song from one of those Rogers and Hammerstein Musicals, I forget which one, that is about the month of June... She too, worked at a Pie Place and I'd stop there once in awhile for a slice. We got to talking and I found out that she was going to college and preparing to be a teacher. Well, as it goes, things just worked out. Our school, Oakmont, was looking for a "teacher's Aide", an open position. I told her to go apply. She did and was hired by Dorothy Bromage. She didn't work with me but helped with kids who were having trouble reading. She was so well liked as an Aide that she was hired by the Principal at Sycamore as a 1st grade teacher. We became "friends" with her and her husband and they moved to a big house on Indian Hill. We renewed our "wedding vows" in their backyard with them. We even went with them and a group to the Renaissance Faire one year. That was the last time we saw them. The movie reminded me of them in a way. I wonder whatever happened to them. I wonder if they wonder whatever happened to us? Maybe we'll do it tonight, under a big "blue moon". Bob!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mysterious Energy?

These snapshots above are just a few of the thousands of images from the Hubble Space Telescope in recent years. More importantly though, it has also shown us that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. This has given rise to expanding theories about what almost 2/3rds of the Universe seems to be made up of..."Dark Energy" ("Dark Matter" is the subject of a previous post on this blog) Now I prefer to call it "Mysterious Energy" because we don't really know what it is. We have called it "dark" because we can't really see it, just its affects. This alone is prompting the thrill of another major discovery in the field of Astro Physics. A few years ago it was Quatum Physics to explain some anomilies in the Einstein's Theory of Relativity. This has produced computers, medical devices, cell phones, cameras, ipods and every modern electronic device. What will the mystery of "dark energy" reveal and who will discover it, harness it, use it for the future of mankind?
My money is on some...Female Science Professor. Yes, a woman of mystery. It may even be Prof. Meg Urry, soon to be chair of the Department of Physics at Yale. She is a renowned researcher in the area of massive black holes. She may even be writing that blog I check into daily Well, she's not anonymous anymore if she wrote the lead article in this Sunday's Parade Magazine. She goes on to trace the history of Big Ideas that have transformed our thinking about the Universe. She thinks we are due since Niels Bohr's explanation of the Universe at the atomic level with his "quatum mechanics". What excites her personally is how the discovery of "Mysterious Energy" (Dark) illustrates that science is not a set of beliefs that one constructs. Instead, scientists observe nature, then develop theories that describe their observations. Science is driven by nature itself, and nature gives us no choice. It is what it is.
Contrast that to the recent announcement in the news of a new museum in Petersburg, Ky that displays God's Creation in 6 days with dinosaurs munching grass next to Adam and Eve. Yes, believe it or not, scientist? are behind this too. I wonder how many are anonymous female science professors? Maybe it would be better if they stayed anonymous.
Space satellites and ground based telescopes are already being proposed by NASA, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation to probe this mysterious energy and further develop theories from their observations. If they observe a weakening of mysterious force, gravity (a la Einstein) could take over again and pull the Universe back together. This is already referred to by scientists as the "Big Crunch" (I wouldn't want to be around for that...and won't) If Dark Energy gets stronger with time it may eventually pull apart the galaxies (you see in snaps above here) now held together by gravity and that, they are calling "The Big Rip" (doesn't sound so good either) Or the Universe could have an intermediate fate, expanding gradually to a vast, cold, empty place called "The Big Chill" (I've already experienced that a few times, being married) The truth is out there as they say and, I predict that will be discoverd by some smart, young, female students taking high school physics right now. I doubt that they'll be wearing birkas, or from Petersburg, Ky...but you never know. Bob!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


R.O.Y. G. B.I.V. has never been so captivatingly beautiful. I wish I had been there to see this rare evening rainbow (or spraybow) near Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, CA. Ah, it does, though, bring back memories of romance and risk. Read on, oh intrepid post reader, and you shall see through my eyes and words what didst transpire almost 50 years ago at this very spot.

The last time I remember seeing a rainbow and being utterly enthralled was when we had one right out of our front window looking northeast. I took a picture of it and it appeared to be resting on the street sign right outside my house. It was as though my house was the "pot of gold" at the end of the rainbow. I posted a blog about it here probably a year or two ago (220+ posts later). It was thrilling. Rainbows just have that effect on me. Reference.Com today said, "A rainbow is a series of concentric colored arcs that may be seen when sunlight, or light from some other distant source, falls upon a collection of water drops as in rain, spray, or fog. The colors are a result of the refraction and internal reflection of light rays entering the water drops, each color being produced by rays bent at a slightly different angle. The colors separate as they emerge from the water droplets. The spectrum of a rainbow, from the outer edge inward, consists of the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet." My question would be: does this order change if the light that is refracted and reflected is from the moon which is already reflecting the sun? It would appear not to in the picture above.

When I was in high school my parents liked to send me off for the summer to work at a summer church camp. I can see why now. It gave them a break from me and visa versa. I earned alittle extra money and got alot of work experience for future jobs and the "work world". It wasn't the kind of work you'd write home about, i.e. first summer, cleaning toilets, washing dishes in the dining hall kitchen to all hours of the night; second summer, same place but a "promotion" I was assistant cook and pots and pans washer (not much of a promotion). We, my church buddies and I, made fun out of it. We drove the caretaker/manager's model A truck all over the camp ground, learning how to backshift and turn the ignition off and on to cause extremely loud backfires especially when we were passing hot chicks, girl campers. There was a mountain road around the perimeter of the the camp that was remote in spots and mostly residential (cabins etc.) There was a romantic lookout spot we'd drive to with a bunch of kids in the back. Every two weeks or so we'd get a "new crop" of church campers (girls) to try and impress/take out after evening vesper services. We'd then come back and brag about our exploits ie. "first base, second base, homeruns" etc. We got a reputation I'm afraid. I kind of remember that was the first time the term "moonlight evangelists" was coined or used about us. We'd also have other fun tricks like locking h.s. girl employees in the walk-in refrigerator for...minutes...extracting promises etc.

It was from these "mild" beginnings that my next summer "work assignment" through our church connections was to a two-part job in Yosemite Park's Tuolumne Meadows. One of our former members had a job at Camp Curry on the floor of the Valley. She had the responsibility of posting young h.s./college aged students at the various satellite camps such as Tuolumne Meadows as "student/assistant ministers". Our job, on Sundays was to help the rotating, vacationing, real pastors to run a morning worship service out under the pines. We'd pass out the hymnals and take up collections etc. This was not enough work time of course so we were assigned to the Standard Oil Gas stations on the weekdays. This went fine with me. I was learning how to service cars, pump gas etc. and "think" about whether or not I wanted to continue on after college into seminary. I didn't have to preach but I sure heard alot of different sermons from many different denominations. I also met and got to know three other college students who could sing parts and so we formed the "Strolling Madrigals" on those Sunday afternoons and we'd serrenade the campgrouds with olde English Madrigals (early barbershop harmony, but SATB) What fun! I'd also have Mondays off. That was my day for hiking to the famous surrounding peak(Vogalsang, Glen Aulen) by myself or preferrably with girls that I had met the previous Sunday at the campground church meeting. Now, you can probably see where this is going...some of those hikes did last into "moonlight time" and, being the "evangelist" that I was so familiar with...need I say more?

One weekend I had off, I hitched a ride down into Yosemite Valley with a oil trucker. He only talked of WWII and how horrible it was. When I got down there I looked up my folk's church friend's trailer and touched base with her. She recommended that I stay at least until it got dark and witness the awesome spectacle of the "Firefalls". I had never seen it and wondered what it really was. She gave me the name of a student she had "employed"/reccomended working at the Baskin Robbins there as being a "good guide" to that event. I went into the ice cream store that afternoon and asked for her. She wasn't there, but an awfully cute co-worker was answering my questions with "interest". I expressed disappointment at not being able to find where to sit to watch the "Firefalls" that night and she...volunteered to show me. I don't even remember her name. She brought a blanket out to an open field with a perfect view of Yosemite Falls maybe a quarter mile away. We had some snacks and conversation etc. and then, when it got dark enough, "Let the fire fall!" was yelled out from below. Pretty soon someone was pushing live, burning coals over the edge at the top, right next to the waterfall. It was "breath-taking". We responded in I remember. As they say, "Time stood still".

There was an after glow but no "moonglow" or "moonbow" as I remember. At the time, I had other thoughts on my mind...I was trying to save this "poor girl's...soul"?...I thought.

It is wonderful now to "reflect" on a "reflection" brought about by a "moonbow". It certainly confirms the truth and power of NOW, books that I'm reading by Eckhard Tolle. Our egos (my ego) through my memory drives me and what little I have left, are mostly, "moonbows". Bob!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Revelatory Moment?

My horoscope today said that I would benefit from a low-pressure environment so that "a revelatory moment" might sneak up on me. I am so ready for one of those right now. I can hardly wait. I think I'll just stay home all day and do my laundry and ironing...that seems pretty low-pressure. I wonder if I should go through my usual musing pursuits as I de-pressurize. I get so stressed here...being "retired". Maybe I'll just wait for the phone to ring with another "happy revelation"...I get so many. I still subscribe to two newspapers and I compulsively peruse them daily just looking for "revelatory articles". Oh, I think I've found one...

Och Tamale
Gazolly Gazump
Deyump Deyatty Yahoo
Ink Damink
Deyatty Gazink
Deyump Deray Yahoo
Wing Wang
Tricky Trackey
Poo Foo
Joozy Woozy
Skizzle Wazzle
Wang Tang
Orky Porky Dominorky
Rah, Rah, Redlands!
Ah yes! This is what I've been looking for...a non-sensical chant called the "Och Tamale" from Redlands University. It has been required reading and memorization at the University for the last 80 years. I guess it was originally used as part of "pledging and hazing" on campus with the result of not being able to chant it on command, would mean waiting tables and busing dirty dishes. It is very popular among the undergrads and now, in honor of the University's 100th Anniversary, it is A Musical. Can you imagine making a musical out of this gibberish? I'm almost tempted to go and see it.
Maybe this is what is wrong with our educational system. I've always looked up to Redlands U. as on the level with other, favorite private institutions i.e. Occidental (near my hometown), Harvey Mudd or any of the Claremont 7(where I lived so many years), U.S.C. (where I went for my credential) Granted there is a certain amount of "sillyness" always going on with undergrads just to relieve the "pressure"...say of...finals. Speaking of which, my wife and I just attended mine yesterday at "Rosie's Mexican Restaurant" in Yucaipa. What an affair!...pressure?! I think I had a preliminary "revelatory moment" there. I can take that class over and over, at least 4 times for credit. I worked hard, but I have actual physical improvement I can point to.
Here's another "Fact for the Day": The Knights of King Arthur's Round Table, at one time, numbered up to 25. That must've been a big table...all just to get them to feel equal. This Table of Britain's Legendary King, was first mentioned in Wace of Jersey's Roman de Brut (1155). There are many locations and lists of this "historic" item/location. The following 12 are usually included: Sir Bedivere, Sir Bors, Sir Galahad, Sir Gareth, Sir Gawain, Sir Kay, Sir Lamorack, Sir Lancelot, Sir Mordred, Sir Perceval, Sir Torre and Sir Tristan. What great names! I know at least four boys to men who remind me of some of these names. Why didn't we use these names for them instead of the ones we picked? The ones I like in particular: Bedivere, Lancelot, Bors, Galahad, Gareth, Gawain, Mordred, Preceval...two per boy/man. Why not?...first and second names per. They are all equal. This was important yesterday too, come to think of it. I was online at "Legal" doing my Last Will and Testament; a task I've been avoiding. I thought it prudent to take care of this before my upcoming world cruise. My vast estate and "millions" will be divided equally among all my heirs. Don't think they'll need a round table tho...especially after they see the "special instructions". Oh well, Bob maybe more "revelatory moments". Bob!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bob's Your...Genie!...NOT!

I've decided to...come out of the bottle. Yes, it is finally time to let everyone know...that I am not...your uncle, your "Life Preserver" your "Waldo" or your genie. I know, it's hard to believe after all those years of near miraculous performance as a husband, father, teacher, moonlighter etc. that I just don't have it in me anymore. I don't even command the snappy repartee or the storytelling chops that I used to have. When called upon now, I seem to simply shrink and defer to my masterful sons. Oh, I still have lots of dreams and fantasies but, zero-zip on the follow through. If I do happen to come through, then there is a greatly increased recuperation time.

Cases in point: Yesterday, for my Total Body Fitness Class at Crafton Hills College, I had to imporve my jog/walk time for the mile and a half. I barely did it and now I'm paying, pain-wise.
The first time I did it, it took 27 minutes walking steadily. The next time, a couple months ago, I improved it to 23:18 in the cooler weather around the track. My latest effort was just over 22:21 with mitigating circumstances. You see, the EMT class was having an on-field demo of a rescue heliocopter. It and its crew had landed near our walking/jogging track and we were able to get around it; but along about the 5th lap for me, it/they decided to take off and we all had to wait out of the way. Our coach Chris had to stop her watch and then start it 1:30 later. This gave us all time to catch our breath. Would I have been able to improve my time if this hadn't occured? I doubt it. Sunday, I had the great idea of flying kites again, this time with my grandchildren. Oops, maybe not. I needed help building them, finger strength or just perseverance and then trying to run with them in the gusty wind was...too much. Little things like this keep reminding me that...I've got to step asside. It is very hard after being the...Robin Williams...I used to fantasize.

We seem to need more of a "cushion" now in many ways, especially financially. No margin of error anymore, little time to recoup booboos. Can't be counted on to replenish, reboot or bail out anyone anymore. Kind of a weird feeling I haven't experienced before. The real concern now it not to come off as a "jerk" about such things but to be gracious and quiet. Not so quick on the "comeback" or sarcastic zinger that is still right there in some instances. Love conquers all and sometimes, lack of action speaks louder than words.

I was reminded of all this by an article in yesterday's L.A. Times Calendar section, titled: "Scriptland: Jim and Ryan's Excellent Adventure" It seems that Jim Herzfeld and Ryan Rowe, successful screenplay writers, have just gotten a $1.6 million advance for a comedy screenplay they co-wrote 20 years ago. They had tried several times to get it developed by various studios for TV or a movie but it had "died" mostly from neglect and circumstances. Disney was going to do it but then along came a very successful Aladin. There was also a Screen Writers' Guild Strike too. Their idea, from a colleague was: a messed up, jerk of a Genie named Bob. (why do we continue to choose my name for this characterization? ie. Bill Murray's "Bob" steps etc.) This genie was a ghost who inhabits a bottle that some teenagers find. He, of course, is more than willing to grant their typical (teenaged boy) fantasies, but screws them up, predictably. Anyway, 4th wish is granted and we will be seeing a redrawn scenario based on this concept in the near future by Fox. I can hardly wait...2, 3, 4... for this blockbuster. You never know; these guys have written for "Meet the Parents", "Charlie's Angels", "Men in Black", "Great American Hero" (one of my favorites - a superhero - teacher) . It may be just what we need in "TVLand". I'll pass...and just...Bob!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

2:03:04A.M. on 05/06/07

Are you a numerologist? You'd think I was. Here I am posting a blog on the 4th second of the 3rd minute of the 2nd hour of the 6th day of 5th month of the 7th year in A.D.2000. I must be crazy, or I can't sleep or both. This has to be a very special time for those of us who are bound by time, numerology and blogging. Something special is going to happen today. Actually there is!

I cut a cartoon out of our newspaper the other day. It showed the last words of a guy standing before a firing squad, "Can I put one last entry in my blog about this?" That's me. Who knows? He who lives by the blog may die by the blog. The blogging gods surely know that I have tried to keep it clean and healthy and apolitical and nonreligious. But sometimes secret pet peeves do creep out. My apologies again to all. If you go back to my original post back in May of '05 you would see that my motivation back then was: 1. To "preserver" my memories and life. This is quite similar to what my mother did in her last few years with a written journal. We still have it. I have just taken it a step or two further by publishing it on the internet for everyone to ignore. 2. To make observations about events and things that are still important and interesting to me as I age. 3. To exercise my "gray matter" in these regards. 4. To provide "advice" about "self preservation" to those who might read ie. my loved ones especially my four sons.(two of whom don't have access to a computer). 5. To provide therapy for me as writing always has. 6. To "bob" like a life saver in a storm.

A true numerologist would "cast out nines" with the above time/date numbers. So...2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 = 27 and 2 + 7 = 9 which you "cast out" gives you 0. This is how you can check your work in basic math. I'm sure "9" has some magical significance also...something mythical perhaps. All I know is this is the first time in a long time that everyone in our family appears to be "healthy and "happy" we are. There is this old wive's tale that says, "You can only be as "happy" as your least "happy" child. Well, all our children are grown men and we don't even want to make our happiness dependent on theirs. Their "good fortune" or the opposite waxes and wanes and we just like to think we "bob" along and float with it all. (hence the name of this blog) It is also advice to me, "Bob! a life preserver." Go with the flow, the ups and downs of day to day living.

Blogging can also be part of an almost daily "mantra", a comforting, self-speech that reassures you and allows you to work through things...working thoughts into writing. To me it is alot like a "cat's purr". Purring has been described as a low, continuous, rattling hum of domesticated cats and other feline species. It can be interpreted as an expression of pleasure or contentment. Purring also occurs in cats that are injured and in pain. It is mostly a relaxing, self-comforting sound (writing) and a mood conveying signal. Cats can and will purr without stroking or petting but here again, blogging sort of accomplishes that too doesn't it? Bob!