Sunday, August 30, 2015

Who needs this August?

What a screwy August this is.

This month, which is about to expire, has five Saturdays, five Sundays and five Mondays in it.

The Chinese actually have a name for it — Silver Pockets Full.

It's supposed to be such a rare collection of days (a month of Sundays?) that the odds of that reoccurring are said to be once in every 823 years.

Wow, I gullibly thought to myself. Once in 823 years. I'm lucky to be alive to see this. Incredible. It'll be almost a 1,000 years before anyone sees this again.

Wrong. It's misinformation. A myth. Just look ahead to this coming October, which has five Thursdays, five Fridays and five Saturdays in it. Suddenly, it's not such a big deal. In fact, a quick Internet search tells me that the first three weekdays of any 31-day month are repeated five times within that month.

So, once in 823 years? It's more like once in 823 hours. Sheesh. I suspect my pockets are full of something else, and it's not silver.

But that's not all.

The other day my wife came home from work telling me she heard there was going to be a double moon that night.

"Now that's impossible," I thought, less gullibly this time.

"Unless," I said to myself, more gullibly again, "there's some weird atmospheric condition that I don't know about that somehow causes the moon to reflect itself in the evening sky."

I bet that happens once every 823 years.

Anyway, another quick look on the Internet told me the double moon hoax has been floating around social media for about as long as there's been social media.

The whole premise of the double moon thing took root back in 2003 — before Facebook —when the planet Mars actually came within 35 million miles of Earth. I vaguely remember that. You could almost feel the breeze as Mars whistled by. At the time, it was the closest approach to Earth by Mars in 60,000 years and, consequently, Mars appeared six times bigger and 85 times brighter to our eyes than it normally does.

Six times bigger than normal would take Mars from the size of a pinhead to perhaps the size of a small nailhead to our earthbound vision, but no matter. We were in for a treat.


Really, can you imagine what would happen if Mars suddenly showed up one night the size of our moon? The gravitational violence alone would no doubt turn us all into asteroids.

I don't know. Maybe it's the heat. But I'm ready to get out of August and into a more stable month, like October. And Halloween.

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