…by Anura Guruge
The ‘dot.com‘ boom of the mid-1990s also spawned a whole new resurgence of vocabulary among media writers, all of us (and I was cranking out articles like there was no tomorrow) scrambling to come up with cute, clever words and phrases, legitimate but henceforth not often used, to adequately capture the amazing events happening around us at breakneck speeds. ‘Nascent‘ was one of the early words. I came up with ‘embryonic‘, ‘incisive‘, ‘pussy-foot‘ and ‘livery‘ — and I manged to have ‘pussy-foot‘ included in the first paragraph of one of my monthly columns in the ever so proper ‘Network World‘, to the amazement of most, and the amusement of the rest. [My favorite in those columns, however, was when I managed to say: ‘Tad may have underestimated the actual figure by a tad, …‘ — referring to my friend (and benefactor) Tad Witkowicz, the legendary founder of CrossComm. (See below. Thanks to Google, I found the original.) For days afterwards I was getting phone calls and e-mails saying: ‘I can’t believe you said that. Was Tad mad?‘ Tad (famous for not suffering fools gladly) never said a word to me, but I heard that he shook his head and said at a meeting: ‘I can’t believe Anu said that‘. But, he never stopped the commissions I got from CrossComm one of my best (if not most lucrative) clients thanks to their irrepressible V.P. of Marketing, Gregory W. Koss.] Anyway, a phrase that was very popular at the time was: ‘once in a Blue Moon’ … as in: ‘IBM once in a Blue Moon will manage to get it right’. So all of us writers of that era knew what ‘blue moon’ meant — of course, many of us having to look it up the first time around.
Last night we had a Blue Moon; a special one at that. I did not know that until it was too late to tell any of you. I knew it was a Full Moon. I had seen the Moon the night before, on Thursday, and realized that it was close to full. Every night, around midnight, as I am shutting down my PC after my 3rd shift of working, I check Alton weather on the awesome, information-overload ‘wunderground.com‘. They have a comprehensive almanac, so I knew that Full Moon was Friday, August 31, 2012. Yes, if I had checked I could have found more.
I made a point of locating it on Friday night — as I invariably try to do with Full Moons. It was around 10:45 pm. I was taking the dogs out for their final outing of the day. While they did their thing, I wondered up our drive to get a clear view of the resplendent, bright Full Moon, sans cloud cover. As is customary, I then put my head back and howled (confusing the dogs) to show my affinity with all my distant ancestors, who I am sure all howled at the Full Moon.
There was a time when I used to keep a list of the forthcoming Blue Moons — so I could conveniently drop references to them in my articles. I don’t anymore, BUT the next ‘regular’ Blue Moon will be on July 31, 2015 and the one after that on January 31, 2018. So, please make a note of those. A ‘regular’ Blue Moon, the definition that most of us know, is the 2nd Full Moon in a month — thus most of them occurring on a 31st or 30th.
The astronomical definition of a Blue Moon is different. Per that definition, it is the 3rd Full Moon in a Season that has 4 Full Moons — we having Four Seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. So in a typical season you will only get 3 Full Moons. Yesterday’s Full Moon met both criteria, 3rd in a season of 4 Full Moons and the 2nd in a Month, we also having had a Full Moon on August 1, 2012.