15
Oct

Is there always a full moon on Halloween ?

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As I child of the 1950’s, at Halloween, my friends and I dressed up as ghosts, hobos, cowboys or Cinderella. Properly attired, we escaped out the door as soon as the sun went down. Invariably these trips were made alone or in groups of two or three, but without chaperones, since our parents stayed home to dole out the goodies to other trick-or-treaters.

I recall how we tromped through the neighborhood, knocking on doors. Our decorated brown paper bags were soon filled with cookies, cupcakes, oranges and often, homemade fudge or even a candy covered apple. It wasn’t unusual to be invited in to show our costumes to elderly family members.

Overhead, at least the way I remember it, the moon was always big and round and yellow with the face of the Man in the Moon watching benevolently as we tromped the streets.

Halloween these days? Kiddies are still at the door, but there is always a parent hovering on the sidewalk to keep predators and kidnappers at bay. Good-hearted grandmas can’t offer cookies, unwrapped candy or cupcake treats because any such treat would be thrown away, suspected of Ricin poison or a razor blade hidden inside. Children wouldn’t dare enter a neighbor’s house to show their costume to an aged parent, lest the risk of a depraved, perverted felon lurking in a dark hallway.

Even the custom of trick or treating has come into displeasure and is often substituted with private school parties, church carnivals with tailgate trick or treating and prizes for all participants.

Now, you might think that this article is about Halloween customs from yesteryear, but my main subject is not the practices of Halloween. It's actually about that pesky full moon I thought I remembered shining down on every Halloween trek through the neighborhood. Apparently, my memory was faulty.

While considering a particular topic this week, I questioned how often we had a completely full moon on Halloween. Imagine my surprise when Google research reported that the moon is actually completely full on October 31st only four or five times EACH CENTURY! Whoa! Who knew?

The last time we had such a Halloween moon was October 31, 2001, barely six weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center. The next scheduled Halloween FULL moon will occur on October 31, 2020. What an interesting, probably little known fact and a subject that screamed to be shared on Mind Candy Mysteries blog.

Now, if I knew a whit about the sun, moon and stars, rotation of the earth, planets or the galaxy, I could probably give you a reasonable explanation for such a rare occurrence, but since I don’t, you’ll have to do your own Google research to understand the why of it.

Suffice it to say that the occurrence of the first full moon since 1974, directly following the dreadful 911 World Trade Center disaster gave me just the mystery topic I needed for a blog post and a short story, soon to be posted at Kings' River Life online magazine.

Children will celebrate Halloween this year differently than the Halloweens I remember. as one more childhood memory bites the dust. One more pleasure that our grandkids will never experience, like riding my bike alone to the park, playing outside all day and not coming home until dark, or selling lemonade on the corner. These days, parents would be arrested for child endangerment for the former and a City Seller’s Permit is required for the lemonade stand.

But, there will be another full moon on Halloween in just five more years. That’s something to look forward to. October 31, 2020. How shall we celebrate?

18
Jul

Can it really rain frogs?

jayHere’s how a series of events can result in a frog rain. ­­­­

­­­Before a severe thunderstorm, when a high pressure system forms over a body of water, it can cause a small tornado called a waterspout (a whirlwind that picks up water and anything lightweight within it).

Frogs weighing little more than a few ounces are no match for a watery waterspout.

As with tornados crossing land, the center of the waterspout is a low-pressure tunnel within a high-pressure cone. Any light weight item (frogs) can be sucked into the vortex. ­

When a particularly large tornado with waterspout and hitchhiking frogs hits land, it loses some of its energy and slows down. As the vortex loses pressure, it releases whatever cargo it has picked up along the way– The end result? It rains frogs.

 Author’s Corner: An author may find a certain character taking over the scene to the detriment of the protagonist’s goal. Maybe your writing rambles without moving the story forward. Maybe you have too many viewpoint characters. These are the frogs of unintended consequences every author needs to watch out for.

Everyday folks:  Life is complicated. Sometimes, through no fault of our own, we find ourselves the recipient of unintended consequences, either short-lived or life-long.  We are like the innocent storm, crossing a lake, minding its own business, and suddenly, we’ve picked up those frogs along the way.

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