The Other Kind Of Blue Moon

So… I learned something new today. I had known for some time of the “second full moon in the same month” definition, but it turns out that is the second definition. Before it (and still, but less well known perhaps thanks to Nanci Griffith and Patrick Alger), it turns out that a Blue Moon is the third full moon in a four moon season–so tonight is this year’s summer Blue Moon. Or so says space.com, anyway.

Back when I thought there was only one definition, in 2009, specifically, there was a Blue Moon on New Years Eve. Which was pretty cool, if you ask me. I saw it, as I so often do, as an occasion for a verse.

A bit of an explanation first. I realized, upon reading this, that my mom is strange. You see, she has her own way of pronouncing some words–not a regional accent, just her. “Bicycle” is pronounced as if you just put “bi” in front of the word “cycle”; nobody does that. “Aren’t” is pronounced with two syllables; nobody does that. And the phrase “once in a blue moon” has the accent on the word “blue”, like “once in a BLUE moon”. Again, nobody does that. But… the tag phrase to this verse came to me, unbidden, as such things do, and it was pronounced that way. So, no complaining about the meter; I already know.

As the calendar crawls toward the end of the year
And of course, as a brand new beginning draws near
I guess it’s just human to look to the past
At the things we have done; at the lot we’ve been cast,
At the friends we have gained, and the friends we have lost,
At the things we might change, had we just known the cost.
I’ll go quite a long time without thinking of you,
But, once in a blue moon, I do.

A year full of travel, of learning, of fun,
A year I’d have sworn had just only begun
Although it was tough, this was one of the best,
With the children all grown up and leaving the nest
They’re better than me, I’ll admit it with pride,
And I think I might burst, I’m so happy inside!
And my heart doesn’t feel like the thing it once was
But, once in a blue moon, it does.

It isn’t the same, but it never can be,
As time, and as life, moves too quickly for me,
The days—hell, the weeks—are a bit of a blur
And things are not ever the way that they were.
I guess I just mean that I want you to know
That I hope you are happy and well, even though
I may miss you much more than the law should allow,
Just once in a blue moon… like now.

So, happy Blue Moon to you all!

“Foggy Bottom” Ink Review

Foggy Bottom

I purchased this ink,
To be honest, I think
For the picture adorning the bottle.
It’s a cuttle with quill,
And it gave me a thrill
In a way that–in truth–not a lot’ll.
With the ink smoothly flowing
My pleasure is showing
(I’ve never been one to be subtle)
To conclude my review
It’s a beautiful hue:
“Foggy Bottom”–approved by the Cuttle!

Ok, so the truth is, I did not purchase it; it was a gift. But other than that, I am loving this ink. It’s by the good people at Organics Studio, who also make a neat indelible black ink named for Charles Darwin. I can see why I was given this ink–just take a look at the label!

Wait… Shoes Don’t Have To Hurt?

I love my shoes. I love my shoes!
My feet no longer sing the blues
I’ve tried them all—I’ve paid my dues
And now—at last—I love my shoes!

I’ve tried the best of hiking boots
On crowded streets and private routes
(I’ve even worn them with my suits)
My feet don’t care for hiking boots

And running shoes with padded soles
Assured me I would reach my goals
Their argument was full of holes—
My feet just ached in padded soles

My Tevas and my Birkenstocks
I’ve worn both with and without socks—
They yield some thousand natural shocks
…I’d just as soon wear LEGO blocks.

My shoe—the Vivobarefoot Ra—
(No padded sole at all—hurrah!)
I sigh aloud, a vocal “aaaahhh…”
I love my Vivobarefoot Ra.

This is an unsolicited but enthusiastic endorsement; I am receiving nothing from the Vivobarefoot people (my shoes were a gift, but from my kids, not from the company). My feet have hurt for enough years that I don’t give a rat’s ass if someone thinks this post has me selling out. [Read more...]

Send Your Haiku To Mars! (or… not)

Have I mentioned that I hate Haikus? Not real haiku, but haiku as it has been translated into American.

I don’t speak Japanese–well, not much. Very little, but I have been told by a Japanese student that my pronunciation is remarkable. Which, I suspect, is only true in comparison to this student’s experience with other Americans. A low bar is easy to jump.

But I am told that haiku is Japanese like baseball is American. Yes, it has been exported, but not without transplant rejection. Haiku is, I am told, beautiful and perfect in Japanese; in American, haiku is counting syllables. Sometimes more than that, but only rarely, and oh my goodness is it difficult to tell.

But that’s not my point.

My point is, NASA is looking to send three haikus to Mars, with the MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) mission. Three haikus. In English, which means 51 syllables in total.

And I think it is a horrible idea. If you are going to send haikus, have a Japanese competition (the current competition specifies haikus in English). If space (or rather, mass) is at a premium, send heroic couplets. Dirty limericks. Whatever. Hell, you are sending poetry to Mars! Why on Earth (yeah, ok, work with me) are you limiting yourself to 3 haikus? Don’t send it because you can, send it because you must–send poetry that belongs on Mars. That’s the way to do it.

Here’s mine. Spirit was the muse, so Spirit should get to read it.

(off topic… I was astonished at how good it felt not to write for a week or so. I honestly don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing. I am not really back yet, but drafts are returned, and final papers aren’t due for a bit, so I may be around for 2-3 days. Or not. I have discovered there is a real world, so I may explore it for a bit. If you are among those who have read this far… thank you for everything you have done for me!)

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

They paved over Richard—that’s Richard the third
The Richard that used to be King.
Will I be remembered? The notion’s absurd!
But who knows what the future might bring?

Will the world of the future seek out where I rest?
Will they quarry in search of my bones?
Will they pore over details of things I’ve professed?
Will they look for the truth in the stones?

Will I live in the memories of those I have left?
Is this rational thought, or mere snobbery?
Will my grave be exhumed? And, for science, or theft?
Archaeology, maybe, or robbery?

They paved over Richard; they’ll pave over me
And a car-park may cover my head
My bones will be hidden where no one can see…
But I really won’t care. I’ll be dead.

In my opinion, the coolest site by far for looking at all the Richard III stuff is this, the University of Leicester page on the search. Great explanations of the dig, of the DNA search, of the analysis of wounds, of the reconstructed face…

Robot Octopus!

Robot Octopus. Two words that are awesome together.

I want a robot octopus
To play with in the pool
To go for walks on rainy days
And follow me to school
To count upon its tentacles
And help me out with math
To find my rubber ducky
When I lose it in the bath

I want a robot octopus
I’ll take one, any size!
With sensors in its tentacles,
And artificial eyes
I’ll run it by remote control
It’s gonna be such fun…
I want a robot octopus
Could someone make me one?

Shiny, Shiny Cuttlefishes!

So new that as of this writing, they are not yet listed on the EvolveFish site, but I assure you, they exist and they are beautiful! And the service is uncannily good–my order, for instance, was shipped and received before I even ordered it (indeed, before I knew it could be ordered!


(Click to embiggen)

Here they are, swimming with my original Lassiter cuttlefish. They can even pretend to change color like a real cuttlefish–all you have to do is give them a different color to reflect. Cheating, I know, but what ya gonna do?

As soon as they are on the website, I’ll link to it–for now, I suspect that if you order by phone or email, they will know exactly what you are talking about; the EvolveFish people have been utterly delightful and tremendously helpful in all my interactions with them.

Next step… lapel pins. Then, world domination!