Wednesday, June 13, 2012

EnRaptured

Today is a special day because my emcee career is really taking off!

From 4:30 to 6pm, I'll be hosting a hip hop performance and discussion group on community empowerment at the Apex Youth Center.  If the kiddies are lucky, I may even drop a few lines from my world-famous Abraham Lincoln rap.

In the event my lyrical miracles are not well-received, the feature act will be Da Rapture, whose radio-played single "Stop the Violence" encourages youth to value family, education, and positive self-expression.

This event is specially geared toward adolescents and teenagers, but all are welcome!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Venus in transit, like my mileage reimbursement check from 3 months ago

Lately I've been feeling a little ehhh about blogging, mainly because I am not finding myself nearly as entertaining as I used to.

I thought an intellectual pursuit might jump-start the brain juices, so I convinced some neighbors to pick me up from work yesterday and boogie up to Kenner to watch the planet Venus pass between Earth and the sun.

Much like a total eclipse of the heart, this event is special, rare, and enhanced greatly by the presence of men with telescopic insight into the soul (of the universe).

Photo by CJ Butler
We befriended Ron Keating of the Pontchartrain Astronomy Society, who explained the significance of the planetary motion, as well as the hazards of looking directly into the sun, and the Society's surprisingly passionate position on Pluto's downgrade to "dwarf planet" status:

"It's just not fair!" he exclaimed. "They said Pluto's a planet and they need to stick with that. They said it doesn't clean out its orbit like the other planets, but big deal."

"Like a teenage planet?" I asked.

"Something like that," Ron affirmed.

Chatting with Ron's friend George, we learned that welder's goggles offer a gauge of sunlight filtration that, while not recommended for extensive solar viewing, will do in a pinch.

"I can still see," reported George as he gazed steadfastly at the sun through his futuristic eyewear. "For now."

Though the sun was covered by clouds for most of the time we were out there, it eventually did make an appearance with a Venus-shaped freckle on the side of its face.

Different telescopes - which the astronomers graciously lent use of to the adoring public (me, my two neighbors, and a handful of other people, including the aptly named "Joe Rocket") - offered a variety of perspectives.  The photo above was taken through the viewing lens of one of these magical machines, one of which allowed the observer to see bright red solar flares around the edge of the sun.

Don't worry if you missed out - you can catch Venus in transit next time on December 10, 2117.