When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie

Jennifer Van OrmanJust now·2 min read

The Man in the Moon is struck by a spacecraft in the 1902 fantasy film Le Voyage dans la Lune

August 22nd is the Full Sturgeon Moon. It’s also a blue moon. The Old Farmers Almanac says that this month’s moon was named as such because it was observed that the fish in the Great Lakes were more plentiful this time of year. It is also noted to be a good day to make jams or jellies.

Read some superstitions about the number 22.

Tomorrow the sun enters Virgo.

Lucky numbers: 9 and 17

Magic 8 ball answer: Ask again later.

For today: Have an apple.

Hyères, France Henri Cartier-Bresson

Astronomer and inventor Samuel Langley was born on August 22, 1834.

French composer Claude Debussy was born in Paris on August 22, 1862.

Sculptor Jacques Lipchitz was born on August 22, 1891.

Poet Dorothy Parker was born on August 22, 1893. One of my most favorite quotes, though there is some debate on the actual phrasing, as recalled in the book The Improbable Life and Times of Charles MacArthur by Ben Hecht:

At a subsequent Halloween party, Miss Parker spoke one of her wryest sentences. Asked to join a group of merrymakers who were “ducking for apples,” Dorothy said, “Change one letter in that phrase and you have my life story.”

Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson was born on August 22, 1903.

Dorothy Parker, circa 1920
Samuel Pierpont Langley, circa 1900
Langley’s steam-powered Aërodrome №5 in flight, May 6, 1896. Photo by Alexander Graham Bell.
Postcard from c. 1920 showing the street and house in Saint-Gemain-en-Laye where Claude Debussy was born (in the house on the right, topped with skylights and chimneys.)
Claude Debussy, 1908
Portrait of Jacques and Berthe Lipchitz by Amedeo Modigliani, 1916,

July 23rd: It’s Hard to Hold a Candle in the Cold November Rain

Increasing size of antlers year on year in different European game species, 1891 illustration

July 23rd is the 204th day of the year. As mentioned yesterday, tonight is the full moon. July’s full moon is known as the Buck Moon indicating that we have reached the time of year for new antlers to start growing on the heads of bucks. I guess I knew they shed them, but truthfully, that bit of trivia was lost to me. It is really kind of an amazing process. I feel like I should start cultivating some sort of physical transformation for the changing season too. I guess I could stop cutting my hair and shaving my legs, but it won’t be nearly as impressive. Maybe if I also stop cutting my nails. That should make for an interesting Thanksgiving.

Speaking of unruly tangles, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t also tell you that today Slash turns 56. Put November Rain on repeat, and wave around your lighters.

Consulting a Figurative System of Human Knowledge and Building a Pillow Fort

Seven sleepers (Menologion of Basil II)

French scientist and contributor to Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, Louis-Guillaume Le Monnier was born on June 27, 1717.

I love encyclopedias. We had a white and green leather set, published circa 1962 (I only know that because of the number of times they made it into the citations of a great many poorly-researched high school papers in the early-to-mid 1990s and that according to these volumes, the moon landing had not happened yet). I am positive encyclopedia diagrams lead directly to my interest in mixed media art. I recall in particular the “F” volume had an intricate series of layered pictures of the anatomy of a frog, using clear sheets and onion skin paper that was just lovely.

Classification chart with the original “figurative system of human knowledge” tree, in French.

Also born on June 27th: musician Elmo Hope, Helen Keller, and physicist and astronaut Joseph P. Allen.

June 27th is also Seven Sleepers Day. Known as Siebenschläfertag, it’s basically German groundhog’s day. Folklore says that today’s weather predicts what the weather will be like in July and August. Though this is a German holiday, the medieval story of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers is found in both Christian and Islamic religious traditions.

You can take a day trip to the Cave of the Seven Sleepers in the Dead Sea for less than $60, excluding travel costs to Amman, the capital city of Jordan. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that, like me, you could not in your wildest dreams afford this right now so how about you build a pillow fort and nap inside it instead? It will feel hot and stuffy, and presumably also predict the weather for the next 8-12 weeks.