Good morning and greetings, Martin Luther King Day fans. Today we celebrate the birthday of a man of who had a dream and a vision for this country, a giant of a man who preached peace, unity and non-violence. I also have a dream, but my includes cheerleaders, chocolate cake and me reverse jamming on a fast break in traffic. It’s an historic week as a new President will be inaugurated, bringing hope to millions of Americans. So let’s go to the sky and see what else is on the rise. Or in the words of the lovely Alicia Keys, “Where do we go from here?”
Let’s first start off with some space info courtesy of our friends at space.com. Last Saturday night’s sunset (January 10) featured a giant moon rise that will go down as the best and the brightest of 2009. Much like my leaping ability, the earth, moon and sun are all bound together by gravity, which keeps us going around the sun and keeps the moon going around us. This also brings us the phases as the moon makes a trip around Earth every 29.5 days, or about as often as I shoot consistently from beyond the three point stripe.
But much like the rotation on my jump shot, the orbit is not a perfect circle. One portion is about 31,000 miles closer to our planet than the farthest part, so the moon’s apparent size in the sky changes. Last Saturday night, my karma and the moon was at its perigee, which is the closest point to us on this orbit.
According to NASA and Bernie Madoff’s accountant, this moon appeared about 14 percent bigger in the sky and 30 percent brighter than some other full moons during 2009. And as you know, four out of five astronomers recommend full moons to their patients who chew gum. This month’s full moon is known as the Wolf Moon from Native American folklore. January’s is also known as the Old Moon, the Snow Moon and for you rock and roll fans, Keith Moon.
At moonrise, the moon will appear even larger than it will later in the night when it’s higher in the sky. This is an illusion that scientists and the NBA Rules Committee cannot explain. Some think it has to do with our perception of things on the horizon versus stuff overhead. Personally, it think it’s Magic, and I do mean Johnson.
Much like the contents of my stomach, the moon is never truly 100 percent full. For that to happen, the moon, the sun and the holy ghost, er, the earth have to be in a perfect line, and when that rare circumstance occurs, there is a total eclipse of the moon. Which is not to be confused with a total eclipse of the heart.
Here’s a little parting fact for you lunar lovers. The moon is moving away as you read this, by about 1.6 inches a year. Eventually this drift will force the moon to take 47 days to circle our world or about the same amount of time it takes me to recover from playing 48 minutes of full-court basketball.
I shot this moonrise on West Cliff Drive on the cliff above Cowell’s Beach. Yes, just ten short days ago, when the New York Giants were still favorites for a Super Bowl repeat, Bush was still searching for weapons of mass destruction in Dick Cheney’s office and the tide was extremely low. How low was it? I saw a sea anenome with a sign, “Will sting for food.” When the moon rose over the mountains it was an awesome sight. I hadn’t seen anything that impressive rising from the east since the Giant’s playoff run last season. Or in the words of Mr. Van Morrison, “What a marvelous night for a moondance.”
Now for some late night humor. “I think everybody has warm feelings for George Bush now. He held his final press conference yesterday. And he admitted, it takes a big man to do this, he admitted that a couple of things didn’t go according to plan. A couple of things went haywire. Yeah, his first term and his second term.” Thank you, Dave Letterman.
Here’s another one from CBS’s late night king. From the Top Ten Reason Barack Obama Appears A Little Nervous: Offered Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich $100,000 for his old Senate seat.
One more from the humor front. A dog was sitting in a movie theater with his owner. The dog never took his eyes off the screen, growling menacingly whenever the villain appeared and wagging his tail at the sight of the hero. And elderly lady, who had been watching the dog’s reactions from the seat behind, tapped the owner on the shoulder and said, “That’s amazing behavior from a dog.” Yes, it is surprising,” said the owner, “because he absolutely hated the book.”
That’s our salute to Dr. King. Enjoy the history that will be made on Tuesday and know it’s a step in the right direction. What we are asking our new President to do is a herculean task as in many ways my overall floor game is in better shape than this country. Let’s keep the faith and remember that unlike my runway modeling days, our country’s future is ahead of us.
Let me leave you with this quote from Dr. King from his historic 1963 march on Washington where he seemed to fortell his own imment assassination. “I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” For many Americans, Tuesday will be that day. Fortunately, I have already been to the promised land, for when the Giants knocked off the undefeated Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl, I was on sitting high atop the mountaintop.
We’ll catch you in the red zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Chris Paul fans.