Saturday, August 19, 2017

Excuse Me While I Stare At The Sun

One of my all time favorite comedians, the late Robin Williams, used this line in one of his comedy routines when describing some sketchy characters inhabiting a small town somewhere out in the California desert.

Apparently a lot of people in North America will ask to be excused so they can stare at the sun when the Great Solar Eclipse occurs on August 21, 2017. I guess this is a really big deal since there hasn’t been one like it since 1918. (Although another one is passing through Mexico and the Southern U.S. seven years from now). There is concern that in some places along the path of this eclipse there will be massive traffic jams. Small towns are bracing for an onslaught of SEWs (Solar Eclipse Watchers). Some have predicted up to a billion dollar negative impact on businesses from lost productivity as employees take time off to watch the eclipse. (Note to businesses: Between fantasy sports and gambling you lose at least that much every week, probably twice as much during football season.)

I don’t know, I just can’t get all that excited about The Eclipse. It’s going to be on every news outlet and will be replayed for days. It will be out there on You Tube for eternity. I mean we know how the eclipse works and exactly what it’s going to do. I just can’t get worked up about it. Give me a thunderstorm and lightning, some hail and high winds, a big old West Texas dust storm. That excites me. Shooting stars get my attention. A real UFO would really cause me to take notice. I even like sunrises and sunsets because they look different depending on clouds and temperature and the time of the year.

But a solar eclipse is pretty much the same thing every time. We know when it will happen, where it will happen and what it will look like. So even though it is indeed a rare occurrence, considering that it’s been going on the same way for billions of years and so many of my clients will be watching or doing double duty to cover for those who are watching…. I think I’ll just take a nap.

And then there is this about an eclipse from long ago:

In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (i.e., AD 33) there was ‘the greatest eclipse of the sun’ and that ‘it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i.e., noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea. – Phlegon, Greek Historian

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