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Frank Sinatra Blue Moon "Happy New Year"

VIDEO: Frank Sinatra Blue Moon "Happy New Year"


Blue Moon on New Year's Eve

For the first time in over a decade, New Year's Eve revelry, from early- evening snowshoe hikes to midnight fireworks, will take place by the light of a blue moon.

Savor the moment, astronomers say, because the phenomenon in which two full moons occur in the same month won't happen again in December until 2028.

"I encourage people to look up, enjoy the sight and think about all the interesting things that have happened" over the past decade, said Robert Stencel, professor of astronomy at the University of Denver, where public astronomy events are often held at the Chamberlin Observatory. "And be happy that we're still here to observe it."

I've heard the expression "once in a blue moon" all my life, and knew it was referring to "a long time", but I never thought about the term's origin. Today, my 90 year old father-in-law asked me if I knew what made a moon a "blue moon". I didn't know, and since we start the new year off in a "blue moon", I did some research. Interesting...very interesting.

According to the popular definition, it is the second Full Moon to occur in a single calendar month.

The average interval between Full Moons is about 29.5 days, whilst the length of an average month is roughly 30.5 days. This makes it very unlikely that any given month will contain two Full Moons, though it does sometimes happen.
On average, there will be 41 months that have two Full Moons in every century, so you could say that once in a Blue Moon actually means once every two-and-a-half years.

Blue Moon on New Year's Eve

For the first time in almost twenty years, there's going to be a Blue Moon on New Year's Eve.

Most months have only one full Moon. The 29.5-day cadence of the lunar cycle matches up almost perfectly with the 28- to 31-day length of calendar months. Indeed, the word "month" comes from "Moon." Occasionally, however, the one-to-one correspondence breaks down when two full Moons squeeze into a single month. Dec. 2009 is such a month. The first full Moon appeared on Dec. 2nd; the second, a "Blue Moon," will come on Dec. 31st.

This definition of Blue Moon is relatively new.

If you told a person in Shakespeare's day that something happens "once in a Blue Moon" they would attach no astronomical meaning to the statement. Blue moon simply meant rare or absurd, like making a date for the Twelfth of Never. "But meaning is a slippery substance," says Hiscock. "The phrase 'Blue Moon' has been around for more than 400 years, and during that time its meaning has shifted."

The modern definition sprang up in the 1940s. In those days, the Farmer's Almanac of Maine offered a definition of Blue Moon so convoluted that even professional astronomers struggled to understand it. It involved factors such as the ecclesiastical dates of Easter and Lent, and the timing of seasons according to the dynamical mean sun. Aiming to explain blue moons to the layman, Sky & Telescope published an article in 1946 entitled "Once in a Blue Moon." The author James Hugh Pruett cited the 1937 Maine almanac and opined that the "second [full moon] in a month, so I interpret it, is called Blue Moon."

That was not correct, but at least it could be understood. And thus the modern Blue Moon was born.

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Comment by James Everitt on January 1, 2010 at 9:33am

New year offers the chance for a fresh start
By ABBY Universal Press Syndicate

Dear Readers:

Can you believe it's 2010? It's the 10th anniversary of Y2K. It seems like only yesterday ... But a new year has arrived, bringing with it our chance for a new beginning.

Today is the day we discard destructive old habits for healthy new ones, so with that in mind, I will share Dear Abby's often-requested list of New Year's Resolutions — which were adapted by my mother, Pauline Phillips, from the original credo of Al-Anon.

Just for today: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.

I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

Just for today: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.

Just for today: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.

Just for today: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking.

Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.

Just for today: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I am overweight, I will eat healthfully — if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.

Just for today: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.

And now, Dear Readers, I would like to share an item that was sent to me by I.J. Bhatia, a reader who lives in New Delhi, India:

Dear Abby:

This year, no resolutions, only some guidelines. The Holy Vedas say, “Man has subjected himself to thousands of self-inflicted bondages. Wisdom comes to a man who lives according to the true eternal laws of nature.”

DEAR ABBY
P.O. Box 69440
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Dear Abby Website

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