On the Day of the Total Eclipse

By Chris McGinty

It’s going to be an interesting day today, but maybe not in the way that one might have hoped. We’re having a total eclipse today here in the Fort Worth/Dallas area. Nowhere else. Just here. It’s other places too. Just not India. It’s everywhere else, except India. You know what? I probably should have researched this before I started typing. Too late now. I have to keep going. Nothing I can do. Listen, I really want to go and find out… have I hit my word count yet? No.

Ok, let me talk about something else then. We have millions of extra people in Texas today and it has nothing to do with the border crisis. It’s just people who wanted to come watch the eclipse. To those people, I just want to say – you maybe wanted to go to Indiana. We’re possibly going to have too much cloud cover and then later in the evening it’s going to start raining. This might not be the eclipse we were expecting. At least, I have a husband… I mean, at least, I didn’t travel to see it. I just have to travel from my bed at… 11 am!? For fuck’s sake. If I don’t see my own shadow because the clouds are too thick, I’m going back to bed.

And there will be 15 more months of winter…

So I’m going to do the most clear and obvious thing that I could do today. Bonnie Tyler. Because I need a hero… sorry, because there’s nothing I can do.

Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart

I didn’t like “Total Eclipse of the Heart” when I first heard it. Even as a kid, I was a bit suspicious of certain types of lyrics, and irony is sometimes misused. I hated the line “Once upon a time there was light in my life, now there’s only love in the dark.” It seemed a little cheeseball to me. My mom loved the song though, so I said to myself, I should give this another… no I didn’t. I was always happy to not like things my mom liked. Don’t get me wrong, we liked a lot of the same things, but we disagreed plenty. The song grew on me eventually though. I’m sure part of it was the amount it was played, which can ruin a bad song for me, but will elevate a good song in my esteem. My parents eventually divorced, so I wonder where my mom’s emotions were when this song came out.

I think I will probably deal with this song more (no pun intended) in a later blog post. I have a number of things I could talk about, but the reason I brought it up today is because of this corrosion that’s coming up in the form of an eclipse. According to Wikipedia, this song gets a boost in streams and attention during the time surrounding eclipses, and I’m not helping that at all by doing this. I was kind of curious about the lyrics though, because an eclipse is an astronomical event and I wasn’t thinking of any ways that the theme of an eclipse plays out in the song, but there actually is a couple. One is in the third verse heard in the full version of the song, and the other is a lyric I honestly never understood.

The lyrics not understood is, “Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time.” Since all I could understand was “Your love is like a… I had no context for the last phrase in the line and I thought it was “on the other side,” or, “on the underside.” (Or on the dark side… ok, never thought that.) Maybe if I’d understood “shadow” maybe it would have given me context. It was years before I caught the phrase “powder keg” to put that line together.

Anyway, in the verse that was omitted from the single version, there is a line “I know there’s no one in the universe as magical and wondrous as you,” which may not relate back specifically to an eclipse, but at least it has an astronomical aspect to it. It could also be astrological in nature. I don’t know how astrologers view eclipses.

Pink Floyd – Eclipse

“Eclipse” is part of the b-side of the “The Dark Side of the Moon” album. It blends with a song called “Brain Damage.” At the very end of the album, you can hear someone saying, “There is no dark side in the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.” Astronomers really call it is the far side of the moon. We’ll never see that side of the moon from the earth, because we’re tidally locked. The near side of the moon does get dark though. Let’s examine that for a moment, because one of the times that the near side of the moon gets dark is during an eclipse, meaning that perhaps the dark side of the moon is the near side for the context of the album. By the way, the word lunatic is a reference to the belief that the lunar cycle causes insanity to be more or less pronounced. I mentioned my mom earlier. I’m not sure she likes Pink Floyd, but she does believe that the crazy comes out in people during the full moon.

Let’s talk about the cowardly lion in the room. “The Dark Side of the Moon” famously can be synched up with “The Wizard of Oz.” There are people who have debunked this claim (like Pink Floyd themselves, but what do those guys know?) but what I notice is that the weird coincidental lining up doesn’t really work with the later parts of the film. I know that there have been experiments with other films and sometimes there are interesting line ups, but this synching is really compelling. “Brain Damage” happens around the time that she meets the scarecrow (If I only have a brain) and around the end of “Eclipse” there’s a heartbeat (If I only had heart) and it happens around the time that Dorothy is beating on the tin man’s chest. That didn’t address the cowardly lion though. Well, he doesn’t show up during the duration of the album, but “All that you slight and everyone you fight” and “put ‘em up” might relate; and therefore, include “everyone you meet.”

A “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Dark Side of the Moon” Sync-up

Anyway, I guess there’s an article written by Louder that explains how you can listen to “The Dark Side of the Moon and have “Eclipse” line up with the totality.

For my part, I’m simply hoping that the eclipse isn’t obscured by clouds or I might have to come back and add “The Sun Never Shone that Day” by a-ha to this post.

Chris McGinty is a blogger who wanted to be an astronomer when he grew up. If he ever grows up, he’ll let you know how that goes.

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