Meanwhile in the Goldfields …

The storm that made our recent stay in Port Fairy memorable did extend over the great divide. When we got home the rain gauge had  22 very welcome millimetres of rain in it. The ground though was dry and the grass is not green but hey we can have a shower this week.

There were three trees down in the driveway. I’ve been busy with the chainsaw, but without this sort of excitement …

A number of issues have been playing on my mind.

Since I wrote about the blue moon, really just a few words to go with what I thought was a nice photo, I’ve been troubled by the exact definition of a blue moon. It rose on the last day of March and set on the first day of April. Therefore to my pedantic mind it also qualifies as the first full moon of April and the next one will also be blue. However the news reader said the next one wouldn’t be until November 2020, naturally I couldn’t sleep.

Further research reveals that there are two definitions of blue moon. Originally it was the third full moon in a season that had four full moons. As we all know the solar year is roughly 365 days long, there is a full moon every 29.5 days so there is room for 12.372881355932203 full moons per year. In other words a calendar reckoned by the moon will be 11 days per year adrift from the solar year. If the first full moon for any year falls before the 11th of January there will be 13 full moons that year, otherwise there will be 12. QED.

Four seasons, 12 full moons, 3 moons per season, all’s well. Thirteen full moons and one season has one too many, seeds planted late, village starves, less than ideal.

Communities in touch with the phases of the moon had names for each full moon such as Harvest Moon. If they had a smart astronomer they could call the extra one a Blue Moon and keep the calendar aligned with the true season.

So why definition number two, these days the one more commonly known, the second in a calendar month that has two full moons? It’s the result of

… an error originally made by amateur astronomer James Hugh Pruett (1886–1955). He misunderstood the basis for calculating the seasonal Blue Moon and wrote that a Blue Moon was the second Full Moon in a month in an article published in Sky & Telescope magazine in 1946. This erroneous definition since spread, particularly after it was quoted in a popular radio program called StarDate in 1980 and then appeared as an answer in a 1986 version of the board game Trivial Pursuit.

So remember the name James Hugh Pruett. One day it will be the answer in a trivia quiz.

The question after that will probably be, “What is the common name for Ficus coronata?”

A pommy friend tells me that Cricket Australia is changing the team emblem, no more emu and kangaroo. They are to be replaced by something less aggressive, a botanical entity, Ficus coronata. Read all about it.


The Magic of the Internet …

Stuck in Melbourne between a rehearsal and a gig. Totally bored, and just to prove it …


This is of course the Hollywood version, in real life you die.

Don’t believe me then volunteer for a double blind crossover trial. It is, after all, the gold standard for clinical trials and indeed the subject of a scholarly article in the British Medical Journal of December 2003 …

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials
Gordon C S Smith, professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 2QQ,
Jill P Pell, consultant, Department of Public Health, Greater Glasgow NHS Board, Glasgow G3 8YU
To determine whether parachutes are effective in
preventing major trauma related to gravitational challenge.
Systematic review of randomised controlled trials.
Data sources:
Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane
Library databases; appropriate internet sites and citation lists.
Study selection:
Studies showing the effects of using a parachute
during free fall.
Main outcome measure
Death or major trauma, defined as an injury
severity score > 15.
We were unable to identify any randomised controlled
trials of parachute intervention.
As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomised controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.   BMJ 2003;327:1459-1461.

Abdullah the cat …

Well, it’s true, Peppa Pig never inspired anyone to become a doctor.

The Muslim Council of Great Britain … “The majority of mainstream Muslims would not find Peppa Pig offensive, and anecdotally we know of many Muslim children who watch the show for its entertainment value. Those who do have issues with this can simply refrain from watching the show and purchasing Peppa Pig memorabilia”.

Just how culturally insensitive is the ABC to peddle this stuff.

You can make sense of all this <HERE>.

Less clear than I thought …

As the world stood on the very brink of thinking less of President Putin …

President Obama made clear that Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would negatively impact Russia’s standing in the international community.

… one certainty in my firmament was when I should use less and when I should use fewer. As a rule less beer and fewer cigarettes …

but all is not so clear. Find out why <HERE>.

Ballarat sucks …

Ballarat has chosen to invite Australia’s top bloggers to publicise Ballarat in Bloom. Cheap advertising.

For instance …

Chauffeured in to the main part of town toenjoy (sic) a pre opening look and private tour of the Capturing Flora – 300 years of Australian Botanical Art exhibition at the grand Ballarat Art Gallery was a treat, especially travelling in a 1937 Studebaker. <dillonpete>
I mean the guy can’t even check his writing before he posts.
They didn’t invite me.

Don’t go to Ballarat.

Caution, R plater …

This might seem familiar to one or two people who know me …

Even more important than being drunk, however, is having the right car. You have to get a car that handles really well. This is extremely important, and there’s a lot of debate on this subject – about what kind of car handles best. Some say a front-engined car; some say a rear-engined car. I say a rented car. Nothing handles better than a rented car. You can go faster, turn corners sharper, and put the transmission into reverse while going forward at a higher rate of speed in a rented car than in any other kind. You can also park without looking, and can use the trunk as an ice chest. Another thing about a rented car is that it’s an all-terrain vehicle. Mud, snow, water, woods – you can take a rented car anywhere. True, you can’t always get it back – but that’s not your problem, is it?


My dearly beloved asked if the author (P. J. O’Rourke, 1978) had travelled with me.