Blue Moon

On my way out of an eatery where I had met a reader and priest heading to Lacrosse for yet another conference with Cardinal Burke, as well as the great Archbp. Cordileone, [HERE] I saw the rising moon. Photos almost never do justice to rising and setting celestial orbs.

This is a Blue Moon.

Spaceweather helps us:

BLUE MOON AURORAS? NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on July 31st when a co-rotating interaction region (CIR) is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. CIRs are transition zones between fast- and slow-moving solar wind streams. Solar wind plasma piles up in these regions, producing density gradients and shock waves that do a good job of sparking auroras. Any display will need to pierce the glare of Friday’s Blue Moon. [Click and listen.  Have kids?  Have them listen too!]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Is that your new antenna mast you were looking to put in back of your residence, Father?

  2. Bryan D. Boyle says: new antenna mast

    Yes. I am defying all the zoning laws. Come and get me!

  3. The Masked Chicken says:

    Wikipedia would have you believe that the use of the term, “Blue Moon,” to mean a rare event was uncommon until the 1980’s, although the use started, apparently in a mistake in a 1946 Sky and Telescope article which misinterpreted the definition from the 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac (which had to do with seasonal moons).

    One can find, however, musical evidence of the use of Blue Moon to mean a rare event as early as 1959, in the musical, Little Mary Sunshine. One of the songs is, Once in a Blue Moon:

    [Refrain] Billy: Once in a blue moon I think you love me
    Nancy: I often think I’d like to love you,
    Billy: Once in a blue moon I think you don’t
    Nancy: It’s rather pleasing to be so teasing,
    Billy: Once in a blue moon I think you hate me
    Nancy: I only hate you ’cause I love you,
    Billy: Once in a blue moon I think you won’t
    Nancy: I’m undecided and must be guided
    Billy: Once in a blue moon you want to leave me
    Nancy: I can’t imagine why I’d leave you,
    Billy: Once in a blue moon you’re in a whirl
    Nancy: You set me reeling With such a feeling,
    Billy: Why this confusion?
    Nancy: Why this confusion?
    Billy: Here’s the conclusion:
    Nancy: Here’s the conclusion:
    Billy: You are my once in a blue moon girl.
    Nancy: I am your once in a blue moon girl.
    Billy: A blue moon girl!
    Nancy: A blue moon girl!

    Interestingly enough, there is a connection between the Blue Moon and the Catholic clergy. This was an English Anglican Reformation dig at the Catholic laity who, “Must say the moon is blue, if the clergy says it’s true.”

    From Wikipedia:

    [“In calculating the dates for Lent and Easter, Catholic clergy identified a Lenten moon. Historically, when the moons arrived too early, they called the early moon a “betrayer” (belewe) moon, so the Lenten moon came at its expected time…

    Another interpretation uses another Middle English meaning of belewe, which (besides the color or emotion of being “blue”) can mean “betray”. By the 18th century, before the Gregorian calendar computus was out of sync with the actual seasons and the moon, ..spring would [occasionally] have begun before the computus put the first spring moon [in its proper place].

    Thus, the clergy needed to tell the people whether the full moon was the Easter moon or a false one, which they may have called a “betrayer moon” (belewe moon). [If there was an additional moon] people would have had to continue fasting for another month in accordance with the season of Lent…

    The earliest recorded English usage of the term blue moon is found in an anti-clerical pamphlet (attacking the Roman clergy, and cardinal Thomas Wolsey in particular) by two converted Greenwich friars, William Roy and Jerome Barlow, published in 1528 under the title Rede me and be nott wrothe, for I say no thynge but trothe[Read me and not be wroth, for I say nothing but truth]. The relevant passage reads:[8]

    O churche men are wyly foxes […] Yf they say the mone is blewe / We must beleve that it is true / Admittynge their interpretacion [Oh, Churchmen are wily foxes…if they say the moon is blue/ We must believe that it is true/Admitting their interpretation] . (ed. Arber 1871 p. 114)

    It is not clear from the context that this refers to intercalation [insertion, interposition, or interpolation]; the context of the passage is a dialogue between two priest’s servants, spoken by the character “Jeffrey” (a brefe dialoge betwene two preste’s servauntis, named Watkyn and Ieffraye). The intention may simply be that Jeffrey makes an absurd statement, “the moon is blue”, to make the point that priests require laymen to believe in statements even if they are patently false. But in the above interpretation of “betrayer moon”, Jeffrey may also be saying that it is up to the priests to say when Lent will be delayed, by announcing “blue moons” which laymen have no means to verify.”]

    Interestingly, also, this thought might have been on Shakespeare’s mind, because in, The Taming of the Shew, in Act IV, scene V, Kate’s “Conversion,” we read:

    SCENE V. A public road.



    Come on, i’ God’s name; once more toward our father’s.
    Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!


    The moon! the sun: it is not moonlight now.


    I say it is the moon that shines so bright.


    I know it is the sun that shines so bright.


    Now, by my mother’s son, and that’s myself,
    It shall be moon, or star, or what I list,
    Or ere I journey to your father’s house.
    Go on, and fetch our horses back again.
    Evermore cross’d and cross’d; nothing but cross’d!


    Say as he says, or we shall never go.


    Forward, I pray, since we have come so far,
    And be it moon, or sun, or what you please:
    An if you please to call it a rush-candle,
    Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.


    I say it is the moon.


    I know it is the moon.


    Nay, then you lie: it is the blessed sun.


    Then, God be bless’d, it is the blessed sun:
    But sun it is not, when you say it is not;
    And the moon changes even as your mind.
    What you will have it named, even that it is;
    And so it shall be so for Katharina.

    Two final implausible points:
    1) A blue moon may be a “sad” moon ( the “man-in-the-moon” with the blues) as depression used to be called, “the Blue Devil,”
    2) The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Iconography often refers to her as the moon reflecting the light of Christ, the Sun (play on words, of course). Since Mary’s mantle is blue, the Blue Moon, the second moon of the month might remind one of Revelation 12:1 – “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars…” One can imagine Mary’s mantle falling around the moon.

    The Chicken

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    There is a lot more to the Blue Moon than meets the eye, so to speak. I have a long discussion on the topic, once it clears moderation. I think you can have a colored moon for every color of the spectrum, depending upon your views about cheese.

    The Chicken

  5. Bea says:

    Petruchio had nothing on moms:
    “If your mother says that wall is black, that wall is black”

  6. Bea says:

    Best taming of the “shrew” story I ever heard:

    A farmer was asked how he got his wife to be so submissive.
    “Well,” he said, “on the way home from the wedding,
    my donkey balked and wouldn’t budge.
    I got down off the wagon and said: ‘That’s three’ and shot him dead.
    My new wife piped up: ‘that was a perfectly good animal. Why did you shoot him?’
    I said: ‘That’s one’ “

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    In my retreat from contemporary television I have rediscovered the joy of listening to LP’s on a phonograph. It has been sheer delight, and Old Blue Eyes is in the collection. If you want to relax, put on an LP and live in a better era for a while.

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