Tuesday, September 22, 2015
As we all know, this will be the last DUNER BLOG ever. See, the world is slated to end on this coming Sunday, September 27th. Therefore, there will be no more human life, no more Internet, and no more DUNER BLOG. Confused? Well, let's sort this whole messy Blood Moon / Doomsday Prophecy thing out.
The Harvest Moon. This refers to the full moon nearest to the Autumnal Equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, the moon is at its closest point of the year to the earth, and is actually larger on the horizon than in months prior. Native Americans have been celebrating this event for centuries. Over time, American farmers incorporated the celestial oddity into their cultures as well.
The Blood Moon. This Sunday night, we will be treated to a Super-Moon Total Lunar Eclipse. This rare celestial event hasn't occurred in thirty years. When the Earth's shadow (umbra) combines with Rayleigh Scattering of sunlight, light beams produce a unique red hue. As they shine on the moon, a unique visual occurs, called a Blood Moon.
The Evidence. Hagee, Rowe and other so-called prophets have piled up an impressive list of natural disasters in the last week to prove their doomsday predictions are real. In addition to the flooding in Utah, there was a massive earthquake in Chile and inexplicable cloud formations in Costa Rica. Throw in the drought, the massive death of Saiga antelopes and beached whales...and it does really seem like the world is ending this week.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Bad news from Minnesota. Earlier this week, the despised Lion Killer Dentist returned to work in suburban Minneapolis. Escorted by security, Walter Palmer calmly strolled past a dozen protesters and a handful of journalists. Not exactly the conclusion environmentalists were hoping for. They wanted new dialogue on animal preservation. Unfortunately, it took only one month for the American public to forget about the entire issue and move on to a new topic. Well, we here at the DUNER BLOG will gladly carry the torch for LION RIGHTS. There's a lot to discuss..
As a child, I often wondered: Why do lions figure so prominently in our society? They are only found in Africa! That may be the case today, but three thousand years ago Panthera Leo was more prevalent. Lions were plentiful throughout Southern Europe, the Middle East and even India. Since this is the also the same region where the world's religions, literature and culture began, LIONS figured in prominently in all fields. Hence, today, we still have lions appearing in everything from Children's stories to figures of speech to mascots for our sports teams.
While this may seem like good news, a study from Canada's McGill University recently shed light on the new "Natural Law" found in these confined areas. Although prey is plentiful, lion populations are on the decline. It appears Darwin's Laws don't work in these small areas. When confined, predators change behavior patterns and reproduce at lower rates than their free-range counterparts. The scary part of this study: Since there are hardly any free-range lions left, this means the species is doomed to eventual extinction.
Friday, September 11, 2015
Without doubt, the biggest concert tour of 2015 belongs to TAYLOR SWIFT. So far, the 1989 Tour has grossed $128 million...and it still has 24 shows to go. Last month in Los Angeles, Swift sold out the gargantuan STAPLES CENTER for sixteen straight nights...a new record! But what is truly amazing about the 1989 TOUR isn't the ticket sales. Nope, it's the impressive list of friends that have appeared on stage with Tay-Tay. With each city, comes a surprising, electrifying new 'Bestie.' Here are the top ten:
10. Mariska Hargitay, Philadelphia. Taylor is a HUGE fan of the TV show Law & Order SVU. In fact, she named her pet cat Olivia Benson after the main character of the show. So, naturally, it follows that Taylor, the cat and the actress who plays Olivia are all close friends in real life.
8. Lorde, Washington DC. The 'Royals' singer is from New Zealand and Swift won't be touring there. So, she invited Lorde to our nation's capital to perform the smash hit together. This friendship might be the most legitimate one on our list. Their Instagram pictures have a whopping 1.3 billion views.
6. Heidi Klum, New York. To be a member of Taylor Swift's Inner Posse, you must either be a fellow Pop Star OR a Super-Model. While the German superstar may be twenty years older than Swift, this doesn't stop them from being extremely close BFF's.
4. Ellen DeGeneres, Los Angeles. Swift's favorite Talk-Show has always been ELLEN at 4pm. She has been a guest on this program more than any other. Naturally, when Swift was in Los Angeles, the two fabulous females were like totally hanging out together...like....everyday. So it was no coincidence that Ellen would come up on stage and tell some jokes.
2. Joan Baez & Julia Roberts, San Francisco. Okay, these friends of Taylor are a bit confusing. In fact, Taylor called them "Heroes" in addition to friends. One is old enough to be her grandmother. Nonetheless, the Folk Music legend and the Oscar-Winning actress traipsed up on the stage at Levi's Stadium for lots and lots of hugs.
PREDICTIONS: Here's who we'd like to see on stage with Taylor at selected upcoming concerts:
Sept. 25. Nashville (Bridgestone Arena): Dolly Parton & Al Gore.
Oct. 25. Toronto (Rogers Centre): Drake & Stephen Harper.
Oct. 10. Omaha (Century Link Center): Warren Buffet
Oct. 17. Dallas (AT&T Stadium): George W. Bush & Tony Romo
Nov. 11. Shanghai (Mercedes Benz Arena): Hu Juntao & Yao Ming.
Friday, September 4, 2015
The DUNER BLOG mailbox has been stuffed with letters regarding President Obama's decision to rename the tallest peak in the USA. Let's get started:
Didn't they already change the name to Denali? Ted, Oakland. Good question, Ted. Back in 1980, the National Park Service did, in fact, rename the land surrounding Mount McKinley. So the National Park has been called Denali for 35 years. However, the mountain itself remained named after the 25th US President.
What does the world 'Denali' mean? Helen, Houston. The folks who live around the 20,310 foot peak are the Athabaskans. The word "Denali" translates as "The Tall One." George Vancouver was the first non-Inuit to view the mountain in 1794, but he just called it "Stupendous!" During the Alaska Gold Rush, a miner named Frank Densmore named it after himself. A decade later, a "McKinley for President" supporter audaciously slapped the moniker on the peak and it stuck. In 1917, it officially became a national park.
Shouldn't everyone be fighting the wildfires instead? Walter, Memphis. Good point! But basically, the whole point of the trip to Alaska is a desperate attempt for the President to get tepid American attention span back on Global Warming. Sure...one such fire scorched an area the size of Connecticut...but US media attention is still focused intently on Kylie Jenner's 18th birthday party. Tomorrow, Barack will become the first US President to cross the Arctic Circle. It's unlikely to receive much news coverage either.
What will the punishment be for using the old name? Carl, Colorado Springs. Hmm. The President did not specify that fact, Carl. But you do make a great point. All around the world, there have been initiatives to revert back to 'native' names with mixed results. Maps still have Australia's Uluru labeled as Ayers Rock. Bombay has been Mumbai for decades, but Bollywood hasn't become Mollywood. People will still call Pluto a planet as well. Let's just hope the Feds don't spend too much money re-doing all the signage..