What Type of Moon Is It?

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This past Fri night my wife came home talking about how everyone was talking about the moon and how bright it was that night. A bright moon means it’s a full moon – a new moon (hello Twilight fans!) means no light and all of those bright full moon were named by the Native Americans of what is now the northern and eastern United States a few hundred years ago. These tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon so they knew what to do that month. This past week we saw the the Full Wolf Moon.
As an FYI, a lunar month is 29.5 days which means that every year, 11 days are “missing” from our 365 day a year calendar. This is why religions, such as the Jewish religion religion, add a leap month (not a leap day) to their calendar every four years.
The next time super bright moon will show up in about 30 days, Feb 28 to be exact. In case you want to know, the 2010 Naming Convention is as follows:

  • Jan. 30, 1:18 a.m. EST — Full Wolf Moon.
  • Feb. 28, 11:38 a.m. EST — Full Snow Moon or Full Hunger Moon
  • Mar. 29, 10:25 p.m. EDT — Full Worm Moon, Full Crow Moon, Full Crust Moon, Full Sap Moon or Paschal Full Moon
  • Apr. 28, 8:18 a.m. EDT — Full Pink Moon, Full Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon or Full Fish Moon
  • May 27, 7:07 p.m. EDT — Full Flower Moon, Full Corn Planting Moon or Milk Moon.
  • Jun. 26, 7:30 a.m. EDT — Full Strawberry Moon
  • Jul. 25, 9:37 p.m. EDT — Full Buck Moon, Full Thunder Moon or Full Hay Moon
  • Aug. 24, 1:05 p.m. EDT — Full Sturgeon Moon, Full Red Moon, Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon
  • Sep. 23, 5:17 a.m. EDT — Full Harvest Moon
  • Oct. 22, 9:36 p.m. EDT — Full Hunters’ Moon
  • Nov. 21, 12:27 p.m. EST — Full Beaver Moon, Frosty Moon
  • Dec. 21, 3:13 a.m. EST — Full Cold Moon

'Cause I'm As Free As Bird Now…

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It figures that my first real post of this new year is not about a first but a last, a goodbye and a very public one at that. The Late Night TV Debacle of ’09 finally ended with Conan signing off last Friday night from his gig at “The Tonight Show” – something which he called the “greatest gig in all of television” which I find very hard to believe. I would choose doing “In the Papers” on NY1 before hosting “The Tonight Show” even though I hate waking up early. “In the Papers” – that is a great gig. But I digress.
I wound up watching the Conan finale purely by chance – when I finished up something on the old TiFaux I was dumped onto NBC. While I loved to follow the Late Night sniping and barbs through the press, I never cared enough to actually tune into any of the shows to hear the grenades that were being lobbed back and forth nightly. But, once I arrived lazily at “history” I thought I would stay and check out what happened.
Well, after a sort of funny exit interview was conducted by Steve Carell (though all Conan did was laugh the entire time), his Tom Hanks interview was pretty lame and I was about to turn off the tube and head to bed when I decided to just stick it out and see how it all ended. I’m really glad I did.
To quote the review of the show from

And after all the acrimony, bad faith and low blows of the Tonight fiasco, he [Conan] closed, voice breaking, with a statement of unimpeachable class: “All I ask is one thing, and I’m asking this particularly of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality. It doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.”

That bit left me feeling a little warm and fuzzy and then low and behold something truly amazing did happen. Let’s now go back to the review (emphasis in bold added by moi) for the description:

Conan called onstage Will Ferrell, in bell-bottoms and wig (with cowbell!), to lead a band including ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, Beck and Ferrell’s own pregnant wife—plus Max Weinberg and the crew—in a full version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” And in what must be a first in talk-show-host farewells, Conan—who’s wielded an axe numerous times on his shows—played himself off the air by ripping a guitar solo, to a balls-out Southern Rock power ballad about getting out of a relationship with no future.

You can watch a clip of the performance on the Huffington Post as it seems that NBC’s copyright attorneys have removed it from most of YouTube.
I must stop now and inform you of my love for all things “Free Bird” – both the highbrow and the lowbrow of it all. I love the song, the music, the lyrics, the flow and the way it builds. I love that it’s probably the best example of Southern Rock that exists in a single song. I love how the band has a two word name that is misspelled (like my favorite band).
I also love how people will shout out “Free Bird” during a break in a performance, no matter what type of performance they are attending. It could be a piano concerto, it could be a political speech, or it could be the “Bare Naked Ladies” concert I went to my freshman year in Binghamton’s West Gym. A guy was shouting “Free Bird!” at the end of each song from the start of the show. Finally, in the middle of the second set, the lead singer shouted into a microphone “If we play ‘Free Bird’ will you shut the fuck up?!” and when the man responded with a curdling “Yes!” BNL just launched into a pitch perfect cover that blew the doors off the gym. I have been waiting for something similar to happen at one of the shows I attend since. I have never been present for a “Free Bird” cover at a Phish show or any other shows and cannot wait for the day when I hear it once again because I love it, and this bird you cannot change.


Feliz Década Nuevo

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Goodbye Aughts, hello Teens!
The first decade of the 21st Century and the new Millennium has finally ended. From a macro sense it was not a very good one but from a micro sense it was a very good one. I should note here that I feel a sense of deja vu in writing this post. I feel like I’ve put down these thoughts before but maybe I’ve just been telling them to so many people that I just think that I posted this info. Anyhow, here is what I mean exactly by my macro / micro breakdown terminology:
Macro: from a high level, the decade was book ended by the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the Global Financial Meltdown (paging Iceland – you are now bankrupt and hello mortgage holders in Florida, 45% of your houses are “under water,” a.k.a. you owe more than they are worth). If you throw in a Presidential election that was basically decided by elderly Jews down Florida who couldn’t vote straight (and its resulting Imperial Bush Presidency) and add on two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and lots of man-made and Act of God disasters (the Columbia shuttle explosion was “man made” while the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina were Acts of God), it’ s a good thing that the decade has come to a close.
Micro: the decade was book ended by me moving into and planning to move out of NYC (I moved in on 3/00 and I will be out by 7/10). I started my Internet career which has luckily thrived despite the dotcom bust and aforementioned recent global financial meltdown. I continued my relationship with my college sweetheart who eventually became my roommate, then my fiance and then my wife. We first added a dog and then a daughter to our family and God willing will have another child join us later this year. I watched most of friends fall in love, get married and start to have children of their own. I donated bone marrow to an anonymous donee (the docs said it was a one in a million match) and saved his life. I bought an apartment and pulled off the ultra rare NYC miracle of selling one’s apartment to one’s neighbors (hello no broker fee!). Sure, I was almost killed twice, once by someone I knew which resulted in me missing almost a full year of work and once by a stray bullet in a Chinatown shootout. I also lost my job as well as a boat load of money when the dotcom bubble burst but there is something quite humbling and clarifying about being laid off, losing your shirt financially and being on long-term disability all before the age of 25. It made me focus on what truly matters in my life. To that end, while my parents split up after some 30 odd years of marriage (which definitely would not be classified as a a good event) this trauma allowed me – and also forced me – to focus on my own marriage and I think it has been and will be better because of the landmines my parents hit.
At the close of the previous decade, I posted to my bedroom door the words of the poet Robert Hunter who wrote,

“Every silver lining has a touch of grey.
I will get by. I will get by. I will get by. I will survive.”

As I look back at all of what the Aughts wrought, I think that those words have never been truer. There was abundance of bad but an ever greater amount, at least for me personally, of good. While I’m both extremely scared and exhilarated to see what the next decade will bring, I hope you Dear Reader will be there sitting shotgun as I travel through it. To paraphrase an Irish blessing that I tend to write on special occasions,

May the sun always shine upon your face and may the wind be forever at your back.

Happy New Year and New Decade.


A Phishy Countdown to Midnight

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I was lucky enough to ring in the New Year with Phish back on 12/31/02 when they played New York’s Madison Square Garden. This year, many of my phriends were down in sunny (and warm) Miami this past Thursday night to see Phish ring in the new decade. From the looks of the video below, it was a slamming good time.

If the video is not enough, photos of the show are available at and audio recordings are available at