By Hannah Reich Berman

Moonshine, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, is an illegally distilled, homemade whiskey that usually has a very high alcohol content. It got its name because it was normally distilled at night. And apparently moonshine, or the shine of the moon, affects people in more ways than one. On a Sunday evening two weeks ago, my friend Mary called me, and while we were speaking she asked if I had gone outside to see the “supermoon.” A supermoon? I didn’t even know what she was talking about.

I don’t know where I had been, but I had not even heard of it. For weeks on end I have been glued to the news, none of which is comforting. I am a switch-hitter–or, to be accurate, a switch-watcher. I might just have the busiest thumb in town. It gets more exercise than any other part of my anatomy, as I use the remote control to go back and forth between Fox News and CNN. Unfortunately, the news is enough to make anyone ill. It started many weeks ago with the three beautiful Israel boys who were kidnapped and slaughtered, and it was followed by the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. During the same period, Putin got crazier than ever and showed his true colors. Due to his unhappiness with Ukraine, he had a civilian plane shot out of the sky as it flew over eastern Ukraine, killing several hundred innocent souls.

All of that is hard to take, but then we heard more. (When it comes to news, there is always more.) We learned about that illustrious crew known as ISIS. ISIS, which stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is a murderous group of Islamist madmen who are torturing anyone and everyone who is not a Muslim. As I write this, many thousands of people are stranded on a mountain without food or water and many thousands of babies have been slaughtered in an unimaginable way–in a fashion too horrific to put down on paper. ISIS is not just a challenge to all the countries and regimes in the Middle East, it is also a threat to us right here in the United States. As hard as it is to believe, we are susceptible to their horrors. For quite some time, we have heard about homegrown terrorists. This is not an unknown phenomenon, and according to news reports, ISIS is no exception. There are recruited ISIS members right here among us.

And if terrorism, war, and destruction were not enough, next came news of the Ebola virus outbreak that is scaring everyone. Experts are currently issuing warnings that this might well go global. One has to wonder what is coming next!

So focused have I been on all of the above news that I never heard a thing about the supermoon. It might have been mentioned on one of the many news broadcasts that I watch, but if it was, I missed it. So when Mary mentioned it to me, I was clueless. Our conversation took place at about 9 p.m. that Sunday night, and she urged me to go outside to see it. Not wanting to miss something really nice for a change, I momentarily put down the phone so I could throw one of my muumuus over my head. Then I slipped my feet into my slippers and picked up the phone to continue talking to Mary as I headed for the front door.

Keeping up my chatter with my friend, I shut off the house alarm, which had been set for the night, and went out the door. It was then that it occurred to me that I was doing all the talking and Mary had not said a word. I was expecting her to say things like “Wait until you see it” and “Let me know when you do.” But I heard nothing. So, by the light of that indeed very glorious supermoon, I looked at the phone to see if we were still connected. That was when I discovered that I had been talking into the remote control from the television. The phone receiver was no doubt still lying on my bed.

It appears that the word moonshine means different things to different folks. But whether one drinks the whiskey by that name or simply gets enthused and runs outdoors late at night to gaze at a supermoon, the results of moonshine are the same. It renders people senseless and confused. That’s the way it is. Ï–

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.


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