“I’ll give you the moon.”

There are movies that live on Mount Olympus. The movie “It’s a wonderful life” by Frank Capra from 1946, belongs to them. However, at the time of the release, shortly before Christmas of the aforementioned year, this had not been the case yet. Commercially, this movie was a flop and did not turn into a cult movie until decades later. Today, the story about George Bailey (played by James Stewart), who does many good deeds in a small American town, quarrels with his destiny on Christmas Eve and eventually, through meeting an unconventional angel, learns to recognise the value of life, is considered to be one of the best movies in motion picture history.

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Chinese moon landing in sight

After USA and the Soviet Union, China will be the third nation in the world travelling to the Moon with their space program, and they will probably land there with the astronauts as well in the long term. At the moment, an unmanned spaceship »Chang’e-3« (moon fairy) is on its way to the Moon since 1st December 2013, planning to land in the Mare Ibrium on 14th December and supposed to transport a rover for research purposes of the Moon’s surface. The vehicle is called »Yutu« (jade rabbit).

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»Ghost Clouds« by Richard Riemerschmid

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Richard Riemerschmid (1868–1957) was a German artist and architect and a major figure in Jugendstil (German form of Art Nouveau). Further, he worked in arts and handcrafts and created furniture, fabrics, wall paper, and dishes, and was the co-founder of the German Association of Craftsmen – an association of artists, architects and business men.

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Kiss me!

Fitting into the Christmas period, we are hanging up a virtual mistletoe and calling upon all lovers out there to kiss each other! The custom has a long tradition in many countries. The symbolism of fertility and vitality play as much a part as the search for the possibility of making the kiss in public socially acceptable. The mistletoe helps to overcome the inhibition, which can stand especially between two people before their first kiss. And incidentally, for every kiss one berry of the bush is plucked – until no berries are left.

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When do you call a full moon “blue moon”?

Everyone knows that about once a month is full moon … but, strangely enough, a full moon is always on a different day each month and always at a different time. The reason is that the moon month is shorter on the average, than the calendar month. Without being to mathematical, one can say that a moon cycle lasts approx. 29.5 days. This is how the time of full moon spreads irregularly throughout the calender months and it happens (about every 2.5 years) that two full moon dates fall onto the same month, one at the beginning and one at the end of the month. This second full moon is called a “blue moon” today.

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The Moon in »Space Oddity« by David Bowie

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The song »Space Oddity« by the British musician David Bowie (1947–2016) made history. Bowie’s inspiration for this piece composed in 1968, was the science fiction classic »2001: A Space Odyssey« by Stanley Kubrick.

It tells the fictional story of the astronaut Major Tom, who leaves his spacecraft during a flight through space and says his farewell to the people. The last four lines of the lyrics also mention the Moon:

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Ancient Chinese moon poems

Matching to the moon festival, which has just been celebrated in Asia, we are looking to the Far East and are going far back in time to the year 700 A.D. Back then, the Tang Dynasty ruled China, a powerful dynasty that remained in power for almost 300 years. And there were two poets whose names are still well-known today, Li Bai (701–762) and Du Fu (712–770; see fictitious portrait opposite). Both created magnificent works. Li Bai was already a little older and hence a few years ahead, Du Fu had apparently surpassed his idol – this is what is being said amongst scholars.

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With the car on the moon

When Neil Armstrong became the first human being that set foot on the moon within the scope of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, he said the famous words »That’s one small step for (a) man … one … giant leap for mankind«  and hence erected a monument for this historic move. Rarely in history, did the success of human research and development work, condense so impressively in just one moment.  

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Moonquakes

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By analogy with earthquakes on the Earth, there are so called »moonquakes« on the Moon. By that, we are referring to tremors on the Moon. The astronauts of the five Apollo missions in 1969 to 1972, left seismographs on the Moon, to measure these seismic waves. Afterwards, all data had been sent back to Earth until 1977 and analyzed.

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»It was dark, the moon was shining bright« – a German poem

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There is a German poem called »Dunkel war’s, der Mond schien helle«, in which the first line has been dedicated to the Moon and which boasts special features. For one thing, nobody knows who wrote the poem, which is quite unusual coming from the »land of poets and thinkers«. For another thing, it is based on the principle of the »oxymoron«. This is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that are contradictory or that are created from terms which are mutually exclusive. Straight away, the first line reveals this principle, because it cannot be »dark«, when the Moon is shining »bright«.

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