September 12, 2010

When The Moon Hits Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie, That’s Pepperoni

Good morning and greetings, NFL football fans. That’s right, the smell of the kickoffs and baby back ribs are in the air, and for lovers of this sport involving running, passing, blocking and trying to drill your opponent into the turf so he doesn’t know what time zone he’s in, life once again has real meaning, giving us the opportunitity to set new goal posts for ourselves.

Personally, I don’t get emotionally involved when watching my New York Giants. I remain cool, calm and collected, never getting too high or low. After all, it’s just a game being played by a bunch of guys who prefer to hug each other in the end zone after a touchdown instead of the cheerleaders.

And most importantly, for many fans in this pigskin nation, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but whether your team covers the point spread. Yes, it’s a special time for football lovers. I don’t want to say Jason was happy when the season kicked off, but I hadn’t seen him that excited since he starting ball-faking like Stephen Curry. Of course, that was until he witnessed yesterday’s Raider debacle and reality set in.

So for this beautiful late summer day let’s check out some memories from September’s past. For our photo entree we are journeying down to It’s Beach and Steamer Lane to check out a couple of glorious evenings with the full moon rising. Creedence Clearwater Revival might say it was “bad moon rising” but for me this experience was all good and better. So let’s get to it, the lunar the better.

The first shot shows the bad boy up close and in full regalia as it rose in late afternoon. The next photo was shot thru my favorite arch as then we move on to the beach itself, with the beautiful glow on the sand from the colors of dusk.

We then shift our focus to Steamer Lane, where I photographed the next full moon to rise in the company of sailboats and reflective action. You might notice the different colors on the moons and if you look really hard you can see the cow struggling to jump over it.

So what do we really know about the moon? Then again, what do I really know about myself? Well, Buzz Aldrin fans, I’m glad you asked. So thanks to our friends at space.com, here are some fun facts about my favorite satellite orbiting our planet. Of course, with the exception of DirecTV.

So for starters, and I’ll have the calamari and the shrimp cocktail, how did the moon form? According to the “giant impact” theory, about 4.5 billion years, the young Earth had no moon, no hope and no fear. At some point, a rogue planet, larger than Mars, struck the Earth in a great, glancing blow, like Ali’s left jab that knocked down Frazier in the Thrilla in Manilla.

Instantly, most of the rogue body, and a sizable chunk of Earth, Wind and Fire were vaporized. The crowd went wild as the cloud rose to above 13,700 miles altitude, where it condensed into innumerable solid particles that orbited the Earth. They they aggregated into ever larger moonlets, which eventually combined to form the moon which then led to the formation of moon river, which is “wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style, someday.”

The Moon’s heavily cratered surface is not the result of childhood acne, but rather the result of intense pummeling by space rocks 4.1 billion ago. The scars of this war, seen as craters, have not eroded much for two main reasons: The Moon, much like my social life, is not geologically very active, so earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain-building don’t destroy the landscape as they do on Earth. With virtually no atmosphere or ambiance, there is no wind or rain, so very little surface erosion. Or in the words of Diana Ross, “no wind, no rain, no winter’s cold, can stop me babe, if you’re not cold.”

The rotation of the moon, the time it takes to spin once around on its own axis, takes the same amount of time as the moon takes to complete one orbit of the Earth, about 27.3 days, or about the same amount of time it used to take me develop a new dance move for Soul Train.

This means the moon’s rotation is synchronized in a way that causes the moon to show the same face to the Earth at all times, unlike myself, as I constantly change my facial expressions to show joy, serenity and frustration, like when my Giants dominate in statistically in the first half but can’t score in the red zone. One hemisphere always faces us, while the other always faces away. The lunar far side, or for you Pink Floyd fans, the dark side of the moon, has been photographed only from spacecraft and northern New Jersey.

The Moon is not round. Instead, it’s shaped like an egg with a side order of toast and hash browns. The airless lunar surface bakes like Betty Crocker in the sun at up to 243 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks at a time, as the lunar day lasts about a month. Then, for an equal period, the same spot is in the dark. The dark side cools to about -272 degrees Fahrenheit, so you might want to bring a sweater.

The moon is sheathed by a rocky road of rubble created by constant bombardment by meteoroids, asteroids, comets and internet bloggers. There is no water, no air, no restrooms on the moon. The shape of the moon appears to change in a repeating cycle when viewed from the Earth because the amount of illuminated moon we see varies, depending on the moon’s position in relation to the Earth and the sun. Or in the words of Phillip Bailey and the gang, “you’re a shining star, no matter who you are, shining bright to see, what you can truly be.”

We see the full moon when the sun is directly behind us or someone drops their pants, illuminating a full hemisphere of the moon. Like today’s photo ensemble, the full moon rises at sunset and sets at sunrise. The full moon is the only moon that will be overhead in the middle of the night. Only 59% of the moon’s surface is visible from earth. No word on how much surface is visible from Neptune, Jupiter or Uranus.

The surface gravity of the moon is only one-sixth that of the Earth. The force gravity exerts on a person determines the person’s weight. Even though your mass would be the same on Earth and the moon, if you weigh 132 pounds on Earth, you would weigh about 22 pounds on the moon. How’s that taste, Jenny Craig? The moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth is the main cause of the rise and fall of ocean tides. Or as I like to think of it as, this time from the Outlaws, “green grass and high tides forever, castles of stone, soul and glory.”

When Neil Armstrong took that historical step of “one small step for man, one giant step for mankind” it would not have occurred to anyone that the step he took in the dust of the moon was there to stay. It will be there for at least 10 million years, or until the Merry Maid service arrives by rocket ship. When Alan Sheppard was on the moon, he hit a golf ball and drove it 2,400 feet, nearly one half a mile. Unfortunately, it missed the green and landed in the sand trap, which led to a double bogey and his dropping off the leader’s board.

The term “honeymoon” is derived from the Babylonians who declared mead, a honey-flavored wine, the official wedding drink, stipulating that the bride’s parents be required to keep the groom supplied with the drink for the month following the wedding. Either that or pay for the tux rental and the “entertainment” at the bachelor party. And finally, in a survey conducted in 1988, 13% of those surveyed believed that the moon is made of cheese. No cheese has ever been found on the moon, although crackers were found by the first Soviet cosmonauts.

Let me end with a quote from my old racquetball partner, Mahatma Gandhi. “When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.” I know where you’re coming from, my man.

Here’s a little taste of the late night. “U.S. commanders in Afghanistan are ending their zero-tolerance policy on corruption and allowing local officials who are on our side to be ‘moderately’ corrupt. It’s the same policy we have in Congress. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer stopped speaking during an interview and stared blankly at the camera for 30 seconds. The good news is, she’s now eligible to be governor of Alaska. Hillary Clinton opened the Middle East peace talks and said, “People with a history of conflict can learn to live together.’ And believe me, she knows what she’s talking about.” –Jay Leno

So that’s it for our last full week of summer. Clouds returned to the sky last week, which means it’s time to dust off my camera as change is in the air. Also caught a gorgeous crescent moon in the twilight on our way home from the basketball court on Friday night, which gave this post and Jason posting me up greater meaning.

On a sad note, condolences go out to the family of Jamie and Marylu Hall, whose son, Rafael, passed away on September 5. Rafael loved the beach, was full of life and will be remembered in his family’s hearts forever.

So I hope you enjoyed the first weekend of football as much as I enjoyed the first episode of the new season of “Sons of Anarchy.” Nothing like good, wholesome family entertainment. We’ll catch your in the corner of the end zone. Aloha, mahalo and later, Arian Foster fans.

4 Comments »

  1. I just returned from a brisk walk through our autumn cool morning. I enjoyed reading your blog while sipping a hot mug of cider. What a great time of year.

    Comment by Babs — September 13, 2010 @ 8:41 am

  2. As the song goes, “The moon belongs to everyone, the best things in life are free.”. Giants were lucky that opposing QB threw 3 interceptions in the end zone. Even worse performance than the home team’s history of success in the Red Zone.

    Comment by Moon Zappa — September 13, 2010 @ 9:32 am

  3. What? No mention?

    Comment by Andy Williams — September 13, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

  4. is it just me or does the word ‘autumn’ or ‘fall’ used to describe santa cruz weather kind of a joke? how about slightly cooler rainy winter and slightly warmer dry summer. you’ve got 2 seasons here folks… not four. :P

    Comment by Name — September 14, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

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