Total Eclipse of the Part

The Perseid Meteor showers are gracing our skies this weekend. YouTube conspiracists promise the brightest showing in modern history sprinkled with end-of-all-humanity. I haven’t bothered to Google the event because it is partly cloudy here and I probably won’t get to see the action. Plus, we are only on Episode 9 of Season 3 in The Flash. The binge watch is real. I have become addicted to the characters more so than the plot lines but it is a fun show with some good complexity so I will keep watching. My dishes may lie dirty in the sink. My laundry may live in limbo between the floor and the dryer. My friends and family may report me missing and fear I have died but I know one thing… I will find out if Barry and Iris are really meant to be. This means that I probably will fail to notice the setting sun and I will wake up in the recliner, having completely missed the world’s most impressive meteor shower. Thank you Netflix.

That will be okay because on August 21st there will be a full solar eclipse. I plan on watching that event with my family. Our only decision to make regarding the solar eclipse is where we are going to watch and how we can avoid being part of an Interstate National Disaster. Experts expect millions of people to flock to the “Totality” zone where the eclipse will be an absolute darkening of the sun instead of 90% in the 100 miles adjacent. The ensuing traffic jam promises to become a disaster urban legend. I must decide if we will brave the migration of sky-watchers or settle for something less than amazing. My track record suggests the latter. I buy generic coffee for my Keurig because it is “good enough”. We clean out our van when we become unsure of “that crunching sound”. We are, generally, terrible at self-motivation and superstars at procrastination. (I’ll write a blog on that topic tomorrow.)

Not this year. We are cramming in some quality family memories. We are going to Disney in October. That should be amazing and exhausting. We will take pictures with every character that we encounter. We will buy the fifty-dollar, plastic and felt Mickey Ears Hat. We will be the best parents that selective photo posts on Facebook will allow.

As a warm-up, we are going to watch the solar eclipse in nine days. We might even try for a dinner together as a family afterwards. Anything is possible. No pain no gains.

I’m excited about the solar eclipse. I hope it makes a special memory for the girls and they aren’t preoccupied with having to go pee or wanting to listen to silly songs on XM radio. That is expecting a lot from a demographic group that mistreats toys but insist on playing for hours with empty Tupperware. Maybe the memory will be more powerful in their future adult brains.

I remember the first time that celestial objects seemed like real things. Not just bright spots in the sky. My sister and I went with our Grandmother on a road trip to Indiana to visit family. My Aunt and Uncle had a really cool house with a heated pool and a next-door neighbor who played football for the Colts. One night we were in the backyard laying on the trampoline, staring at the stars. My uncle pointed out a star that was moving faster than the other stars across the sky. “That’s a satellite”, he told me. It was a cool moment. It moved space and satellites from something imaginary to something I could observe and understand. We watched at least ten more objects coast across the sky over the next couple of hours. I hope the eclipse will do something similar for my girls. Of course, I will probably leave out all the dirty jokes my uncle was telling while we stared up at the heavens. I doubt the girls would appreciate tales of frogs who perform sexual favors or dogs who lick themselves and the old men who say, “You better pet him first.” I thought the jokes were hilarious. They were a hit at school later that fall. Thanks Uncle J.

If you enjoy the wonders of the cosmos and dirty jokes, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.


  1. I love that dog joke. It’s always wise to pet him before making that advance. We’ll be watching the eclipse up here in Nova Scotia. unfortunately, we’ll only see half of it. 50-60% coverage. Better than nothing at all, though. We’re using welding lenses. You?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So how did the eclipse go for you guys? I didn’t get totality, I hung around in California to give some middle schoolers a glimpse of 65% coverage. All part of my astronomy club outreach.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I did for the whole two minutes. It was moving to say the least. The silence and the sudden dark with the nighttime sounds of frogs was cool. The corona around the moon looked like a brilliant painting. We got a spot in the center of the path.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ooohh! Lucky you 😊 I got offered a spot, but I would have had to spend two nights in a row with a near stranger. I also couldn’t condone running off to totality when there was no one else to set up a telescope for the CA middle school kids…oh well. The there’s always the one ten or something years from now!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Also, I know another Emma and she left a Facebook comment earlier in the day and I confused the two of you. The invitation to visit (while valid because I know no strangers) probably seemed odd. I just realized. Sorry about that. lol. Isn’t the internet fun!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Mm, I sorta just thought you were joking or something. But that makes sense. Yeah, speaking of you knowing another Emma…you probably know another “me” too. Does the WP username Perse ring a bell? My avatar back then was a horse. Same person, tons of different identities and blog name shuffling.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I actually thought there was that Perse feel to your page. Plus it says Im a follower and I’m certain that I haven’t added anyone really for a good year. The mystery of your name is solved! I hope all is well and that you are still writing. And keeping after the science!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. “Perse feel”? Ooh, I like that. Always good to know my brand has stuck around despite all the changes to its name and content 🙂 Yeah, Perse was a pseudonym. Emma’s my real name. I changed it online as soon as I turned 18 (little before that, actually, since I begged my parents). Yup, still writing, though I no longer have my fiction online. And the science is now the sole focus of my blog—I’m aiming to be the next Bill Nye! (The blog I’m talking about is, as you probably saw, Science at Your Doorstep, but it was once known as Far Beyond the Stars—probably rings some more bells 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I fashioned my early dreams around writing like Michael Crichton, using current research in cutting edge fields to shape plausible narratives. Then I learned that ADD is really efficient for storyline and plotting but terrible for filling in the blanks. Now I write about things my kids dropped in the toilet.
        The world needs another Bill Nye, our current model is showing some age.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Argh. I typed out a whole comment and then hit the wrong button and lost it. Oh well. Anyway, yeah, I gotta agree with you there that he could use a successor. I can’t promise to *be* Bill Nye—I’m not aiming to replace anyone—but the field of science always needs someone who can communicate science to both experts and kids alike. Bill Nye’s strength lies in distilling the technobabble down to plain English, and being excited and passionate enough that it’s contagious. That’s what I aim to do. I doubt I’ll ever run a TV show, that’s just not my medium, but I do in-person outreach, I’ve got a blog, and I’m a secondary ed major…who knows, that aim might not be too lofty.

        By the way, do you think I’d follow you if I didn’t appreciate the things you write? I haven’t been around in a while (haven’t been around WordPress at all in a while) but I’m getting back into the swing of things.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’ve learned that the easiest way to be something in particular is to do something in particular. Do it long enough and it becomes you.
        I know. I would just love to write one totally gripping and inspiring science tale. But to do that I have to write…
        Stay around this time.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I intend to. My stats aren’t going to make themselves. My 207 followers did their part, now I have to do mine and actually write stuff and engage with the blogosphere. You’ll see me around 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I have seen this just once and many years since. It seemed a humbling experience that brought us together with countless generations since the very dawn of history.


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