so thats why you can see the outline of the whole moon when it is just a half moon, or quarter moon!

Moon glows with sunlight boomerang

Jan. 9, 2006 12:00 AM

So I guess the holidays are officially over now. Last week was sort of a holiday withdrawal time, and now all the Christmas stuff is put away, and things are back to normal.

How depressing.

So I think we should ease back into reality by just tackling a few easy ones.

Why is it that sometimes when the moon isn't full you can still sort of see the outline of the dark parts?

That's a very beautiful thing to see, isn't it? It's usually best seen at dusk when the moon is just a crescent.

What you are seeing is the dark portion of the moon faintly illuminated by earthlight. In other words, light from the sun that has been reflected off Earth and then bounced off the moon and back to Earth to your eye.

Recently I was doing a crossword puzzle and the clue was "squarely," and the answer was "smack dab." Where did that expression originate?

I haven't been able to do the puzzles lately, or at least not the ones in this paper, because my mother has been staying with me, and she does them. What can I do? She's my mother. I can hardly tell her to go out and buy her own paper, can I? Anyway, she's going home today. I'll miss her, but at least I'll get my puzzles back.

She and the dog hit it off pretty well. Every morning when she opened her bedroom door and came out, the dog would just be delighted to see her. My theory is that he's so dumb that when she closed the door at night, he just forgot all about her and was amazed to see her again the next day.

Anyway, smack dab probably comes from smack, in the sense of "sharply" or "directly," like a smack on the face, and dab, which also can have the meaning of sudden, sharp slap. So smack dab basically means squarely or sharply or directly or something like that.

I've been told that the cold virus can't survive at a temperature above 110 degrees, and if I catch a cold I should breath hot air from my hair dryer to cure it. Is this so?

I don't know what the lethal temperature is for the cold virus, but I'm thinking that if you could cure the cold with a hair dryer, we would have heard about it by now.

Also blowing all that hot air up your nose or into your lungs can't be good for you. Warm, moist air might help unclog you, but hot, dry air from a hair dryer probably would dry up the mucus membranes that help protect you from germs.

Reach Thompson at or (602) 444-8612.

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