Friday, August 31, 2012

The Moon, August 31, 2012

I saw the moon tonight – it was wonderfully clear and bright – and I remembered hearing that this full moon was going to be a blue moon.

Although most months have one full moon [it occurs every 29.5 days], August of this year is one of the special months that have two full moons: August 2 and August 31.

The moon is never really blue, but apparently at times it can appear blue if somewhere in the world a volcano is spewing ash into the atmosphere.

The expression "once in a blue moon" naturally refers to a rare event. I first read this phrase in a British book when I was a kid. I thought it was only a fanciful expression and was amazed to learn it was based on a real occurrence.

And of course I have to add a video of the wonderful ballad Blue Moon, written in 1934 by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, performed by Nat King Cole. This has nothing to do with the astronomical event, but it's a great song that needs to be shared! 


Monday, August 13, 2012

One for the lefties

Yes! Here is truly a day for me.

August 13th – International Lefthanders Day – Promotes and raises awareness about the inconveniences experienced by left-handed people in the world today, observed since 1976.

Wait a minute, I thought. True, I was born left-handed. But in those olden days in some countries, people [obviously the righties] believed there was something sinister about the left-handed. 

Per –

In the past, to be left-handed was considered touched by the Devil. As Wikipedia notes:

Historically, the left side, and subsequently left-handedness, was considered negative in many cultures. The Latin word sinistra originally meant "left" but took on meanings of "evil" or "unlucky" by the Classical Latin era, and this double meaning survives in European derivatives of Latin, and in the English word "sinister".

Meanings gradually developed from use of these terms in the ancient languages. In many modern European languages, including English, the word for the direction "right" also means "correct" or "proper", and also stands for authority and justice. 

So, if you were left-handed or sinister, you were associated with evil. In time, sinister itself meant evil and threatening. EtymOnline said that sinister attained this meaning in the early 15th century. 

Because these old superstitions were still around when I was small, I was trained to use my right hand for most everything except writing. [I'm told I fussed too much.] Therefore I never experienced the inconveniences true left-handed people face every day. 

I've never had problems with scissors, knives, saws [all sharp objects, notice]. I can ride a motorbike, use a mouse, a sewing machine and all the hundreds of things that are designed to be used by the righthander.

So I'm only partially entitled to call International Lefthanders Day my day. I'm surely less than half qualified, but since writing, drawing, etc. can be seen as important, I will say one half of me [the left half] will celebrate this day.

I want to note that many who are born right-handed bat and throw a baseball, bowl, golf, etc. with their left hand. Isn't life strange?

Some people tend to overthink this left-sided right-sided thing and   pigeonhole everyone into categories: for example, more serial killers are left-handed, more models are right-handed... [Okay, I just made that up, but this is an example of what's going on].

Interestingly, five of the last seven American presidents have been left-handed. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. 

Among other notables who used their left-hands — Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, Alexander the Great, Queen Victoria, Winston Churchill. 

Canada has not had any left-handed prime ministers.

These things are only important because left-handers have been seen by others as "different." Otherwise, who cares?

That all said, I do feel a slight kinship with other lefthanders. But that's only because we have something in common. I might admire them or I might think they're nuts.

I always felt odd writing in front of other people. I guess it's the awkward looking curl of the hand that looks like you're trying to hide something.

A gawking customer who watched me write out a receipt told me, "It's fascinating the way you people [you people must be lefties] can write that way."

He wasn't the only one that remarked on the way I wrote or looked at me as if I were from outer space.

So maybe there is something different – and sinister – about me after all.

– Cat

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ingenious, not

One of my daily newsletters indicated August 9th is a holiday --
UN International Day of the World's Indigenous People.

I took a brief glance and misread it as the World's Ingeneous People.

At last, I thought, a day for me!

The glow quickly faded when I read that the day "Promotes the protection of the rights of the world's indigenous populations and recognizes the various contributions that indigenous peoples have made to society."

I am excluded by the meaning of the word indigenous.

Well, I guess I am also excluded as I have not made any contributions to society.

So I am doubly excluded.

My day was better before I read this.

But let's hear it for the indigenous peoples of the world. They deserve to have protection of their rights.

It does leave me thinking, though, that all the people in the world were at one time indigenous to a certain place. What would the world look like if no one had left their indigenous homes in search of adventure, new lands, gold?

Maybe that's just a silly thought, one of many I have.

Now I will wait to see if they have an International Day of the Silly People of the World.

– Cat