Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hats Off to Chris Deatherage on N'tl Hat Day!


It's National Hat Day! According to Holiday Insights (HI), January the 15th is the time to celebrate this holiday! HI proclaim that "National Hat Day is set aside to wear and enjoy a hat of your choice and style...  (and) back in 1797, the introduction of the Top Hat almost caused a riot. The top hat was first worn by James Heatherington in London England. As Heatherington strolled through the streets of London, England displaying his Top Hat, crowds gathered, Some people began to push and shove. Heatherington was fined for 'going about in a manner that frightened timid people.'"

As you can see from the copy of a recent Mutts strip posted atop this entry, James Heatherington, is not the only one who appreciates top hats! It seems the Mutt's character known as Ozzie appreciates them too!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Remembering Steven McDonald


Today the city of NYC, where I live, hosted a funeral for Detective Steven McDonald. He died on January 10, 2017, at the age of 59, after suffering a massive heart attack that he suffered a few days prior. McDonald can be seen here in the picture atop this entry (it's from a web-page featuring a number of images of him).

Many New Yorkers, like myself, remember when McDonald was shot on July 12, 1986. The shooting left him a quadriplegic. However, the incident that left him paralyzed is not the only thing that many New Yorkers will remember about Steven McDonald. They will likely always remember how he forgave Shavod Jones, the boy (who was fifteen at the time), that shot McDonald.

Several accountings (including one that you may refer to by clicking here) state that McDonald maintained that he believed," the only thing worse than receiving a bullet in my spine would have been to nurture revenge in my heart. Such an attitude would have extended my injury to my soul, hurting my wife, son, and others even more. It’s bad enough that the physical effects are permanent, but at least I can choose to prevent spiritual injury."

A number of years ago, I happen to have had the opportunity to meet Detective Steven McDonald, at my then parish, The Church of the Blessed Sacrament. He came to give a talk on the power of forgiveness at a Lenten series that we were offering. It was very powerful.  May he rest in peace! And, may his widow, Patti Ann, and their son, Conor (who recently became a police officer) be consoled re McDonald's passing, and may they continue to thrive in their faith.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday's Wisdom: Ode to Oscar Wilde


According to a number of sources, including Holiday Insights (HI) today January 12th is yet another holiday. It is known as Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day! HI has the following info re this event: "Splash Your Friends Day is undoubtedly a day just for mischievous fun. After all, any kid knows that splashing and jumping into puddles is fun. And, when that results in splashing a friend, your joy is complete."

They also state, "We sure would like to find the creators of this day, to better understand why it is observed in January. In mid January, many puddles are frozen!"

AND HI makes a disclaimer re this holiday, saying, "We don't encourage you to splash your friends. It's a quick way to lose a friend, and get two moms angry at you. We're just reporting and describing the day!"

Knowing this fact regarding today, makes me think that Oscar Wilde might have re-thought his opinion when he stated, "It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information."

In any event, the figurine pictured atop this blog entry probably doesn't find Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friends Day to be "useless information."  As you can see, she looks well-dresseed for this occasion!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday's Truths WK 25: Honoring David Bowie




It's week twenty-five of my Tuesday's Truths series, and today I'm remembering that David Bowie died exactly one year ago. A You Tube video posted above features him in bygone years where he is singing The Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby. And a figurine rendered in the drummer boy's likeness can be seen in the following picture. This image also featured in a posting that I wrote for hometalk (HT) that you may refer to by clicking here.


The aforementioned HT includes a view of my figurine appearing in a crèche that I had in my home at the time of that publication and a copy of of this "scene" image can be seen below.


And last year, the same drummer boy played his drum within a different crèche scene (seen below) that was also in my home.


He came back again to play his drum this year, which can be seen in the following image.


As is his standard, my little drummer boy likes to be surrounded by figurines. A majority of the array of figurines seen in these images came from More & More Antiques, the shop in Manhattan's UWS which is now selling my fauna-flora-insect-themed postcards.

Monday, January 9, 2017

SOME GOOD NEWS re The Galette des Rois! (It's available the whole month of January!)


Last night I celebrated Epiphany with two friends and one of them brought his chow chow (Ulysses), seen in the photograph above, wearing a crown in honor of the event. You might recognize him because I've written about this dog in prior posts here on Blogger. He is wearing, a type of crown that I have discussed in entries that I've written (in bygone years), that are related to the celebration of Three Kings Day, as well as the celebration of Epiphany.

This crown variety comes with Galette des Rois; a traditional treat which I have served — for a number of years —in honor of this occasion. It had been my habit to get my Galette des Rois at a bistro-bakery just around the corner from me, which is something I wrote about for hometalk a few years ago.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Today (1-7) is a WHITE CHRISTMAS in NYC! (For Orthodox Christmas)

It's nearly two weeks since many folks that I know in NYC celebrated Christmas! We did not have  a white Christmas just like the ones we used to know — no matter how much we dreamt of them with every Christmas card we wrote! Now, almost two weeks later, we are having snow fall in the city, as evidenced by the following images of Christmas decor that is still in my urban garden which is on a rooftop in NYC!



As you can see, I still have my two Christmas trees standing in my garden. The first of the two images directly above features my exotic Christmas tree. It's a Canadian Palm tree that I featured in a prior entry here on Blogger. The second photo features my "normal" Christmas tree (located in the back-center of the image). This particular tree is for the birds! I say this because I decorated it with several bird feeders.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Epiphany, The Feast of The Three Kings


Today, January Sixth is Epiphany, The Feast of The Three Kings. According to a web-page for Christmas Customs and Traditions, "Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after Christmas on 6th January (or January 19th for some Orthodox Church who have Christmas on 7th January) and is the time when Christians remember the Wise Men (also sometimes called the Three Kings) who visited Jesus.

"Epiphany is also when some Churches remember when Jesus was Baptised, when he was about 30, and started to teach people about God. Epiphany means 'revelation' and both the visit of the Wise Men and his Baptism are important times when Jesus was 'revealed' to be very important.

"Some Churches celebrate use Epiphany to celebrate and remember both the visit of the Wise Men and Jesus's Baptism!

"Epiphany is mainly celebrated by Catholics and Orthodox Christians. It's a big and important festival in Spain, where it's also known as 'The festival of the three Magic Kings' - 'Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages', and is when Spanish and some other Catholic children receive their presents - as they are delivered by the Three Kings!"

New York City  (where I live) also honors this day with The Three Kings Day Parade which takes place in the East Harlem area. For years I've wanted to see the parade, this year I finally it! The photograph atop this entry features a banner that I saw at the event.

Normally, live animals, including camels participate in this annual festivity. However, it such a cold day that the animals who normally are a part of the parade had to pass it up. But one young woman did a work around and came dressed (in a costume that she made) as a camel, evidenced by the following pictures.




Others came dressed as donkeys and there were a number of folks who dressed up as The Three Kings.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

January the Fifth is for (some of) the birds!


Earlier today, I posted some facts regarding this date of January 5th, stating that it is the twelfth day of Christmas and mentioned that some folks will be participating in Twelfth Night celebrations. But this not the only event being honored! For according to Holiday Insights (H.I.), "National Bird Day is celebrated on January 5th."  H.I; in an attempt to clarify one bird related holiday from another states the following:

"Bird Day is the oldest of the days set aside to recognize birds. According to the U.S. Library of Congress, Bird Day was first observed  on May 4, 1894. It was started by Charles Almanzo Babcock, superintendent of schools in Oil City, Pennsylvania. By 1910, Bird Day was widely celebrated, often in conjunction with Arbor Day. Bird Day and Arbor Day events are focused upon conservation training and awareness.

"National Bird Day was established by bird activists. It calls upon people to recognize the plight of captive birds. It also draws attention to exploitation of birds in the U.S. pet industry. On this day, organizers suggest we reflect upon the conditions of birds held in captivity. Note: Our research did not find any documentation that this is a "National" day, which requires an act of congress.

"International Migratory Bird Day celebrates the incredible journey that migratory birds take each year. They travel thousands of miles between breeding grounds in North America, and their winter homes in Central and South America. Organizers say this is a day to both support, and to increase awareness of conservation efforts in support of migratory birds. They also suggest a field trip into a woods to look for and enjoy migrating birds."

Furthermore, H.I. suggests that on this National Bird Day (as well as all bird-related holidays) that folks be more observant of our feathered friends. This always a great thing to do, but, it's also great to give the gift of birds to a fauna lover on this day; and Cam's book, Words In Our Beak, Volume One, seen in the image atop this entry is the perfect choice! Please click here for info on how you can get her book in Apple's iBooks Store or iTunes ; or click here for info re how you can get Words In Our Beak Volume One on Amazon.

Btw, I have a confession to make re my own observation of my visiting birds! As I was typing this I heard a lot of commotion in my kitchen and thought it was a mouse! Turns out a little male house finch (a bird type that is featured in Cam's book) had gotten inside by going through a very small opening in my window! Before attempting to help him make an exit, I tried to get a photo!

BUT it turns out the memory card wasn't in my camera! I'll have to rely on my own memory re this encounter and turn to the wisdom of E.B. White's aunt which I've referenced here on Blogger in the past, stating:

"When a missed opportunity like this occurs, I try to console myself with the wisdom that E.B. White spoke of in his essay, 'Remembrance is Sufficient.' An excerpt from this can be found below:

"'...A few weeks ago she (White's aunt) said something so close to the theme of Christmas that we shall quote it here... We were apologizing for have taken her for a motor ride that morning to see once again the bright colors of the woods. 'Why, my dear,' she said without hesitation, 'remembrance is sufficient of the beauty we have seen.'"

Therefore, instead of bemoaning that I wasn't on point to document my visitor's very short stay (he figured out how to get out of Dodge...), I'm very flattered to have been in his presence. And to think he visited me on National Bird Day!

Today, 1-5-2017, is The 12th Day of Christmas! (It's also time to go a-wassailing!)




Today's the twelfth day of Christmas! And, if you are familiar with the song known as The Twelve Days Of Christmas, dear reader, then you probably will recall that on the twelfth day of Christmas, someone's true love gave to them the following gifts: twelve lords a leaping, eleven ladies dancing, ten pipers piping, nine drummer's drumming, eight maids-a-milkingseven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four birds a calling (or a colling or a coaling), as well as the gifts of three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

As I mentioned in a recent posting here on Blogger, John R. Henderson, has studied the meaning behind the lyrics to the twelve days song, and has posted his findings on a web-page which he has titled the 12 Birds of Christmas. Here's what Henderson points out the giving of twelve lords a leaping on this twelfth day of Christmas:

"The lords a-leaping are cuckoos. And the cuckoo hen notoriously lays her eggs in another bird's nest. Because of this the cuckoo became a symbol for immorality and disorder. Not just this day, but the whole season of twelve days was a time of misrule and sexual license. The world was turned upside down. During these twelve days, right is wrong, the strong are weak, the first is last, and the lowliest laborers might become the highest lords. The twelve lords a-leaping bring the song to an end, since twelve is the number of completion. As we return to normal life again, we remember that spring will be coming, life will be renewed, order will form out of disorder, and the cycle will continue."

As of this blog posting, I don't recall ever seeing a bird type known as a cuckoo! Be that as it may, Mr. Henderson's ideas have truly given me something to keep in mind if I ever happen to see this bird type. Therefore, for purposes of this posting, the gift of twelve lords a leaping on this twelfth day of Christmas, will have to be represented by the my leaping deer ornament seen in the photos atop this blog posting, for she certainly looks as if she might represent misrule as well as sexual license given her promiscuous attire.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wednesday's Wisdom: Christmas's 11th Day (Info Re the Gift of Ladies Dancing)


Today's the eleventh day of Christmas! And, if you are familiar with the song known as The Twelve Days Of Christmas, dear reader, then you probably will recall that on the eleventh day of Christmas, someone's true love gave to them the following gifts: eleven ladies dancing, ten pipers piping, nine drummer's drumming, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four birds a calling (or a colling or a coaling), as well as the gifts of three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

As I mentioned in a recent posting here on Blogger, John R. Henderson, has studied the meaning behind the lyrics to the twelve days song, and has posted his findings on a web-page which he has titled the 12 Birds of Christmas. Here's what Henderson points out the giving of eleven ladies dancing on this eleventh day of Christmas:

"The dancing, of course, is a code word for passion and courtship. The dancing ladies are Lapwings that wildly wheel, roll, and tumble in the air during courtship displays. Eleven is a lucky number, but, of course, luck is a dual force that might bring good or ill. On this day of dancing, passion, and courtship, let's hope this day brings us good luck (knock on wood)."

As of this blog posting, I don't recall ever seeing a bird type known as a Lapwing! Be that as it may, Mr. Henderson's ideas have truly given me something to keep in mind if I ever happen to see this bird type. Therefore, for purposes of this posting, the gift of eleventh ladies dancing on this eleventh day of Christmas, will have to be represented by the bird-lady dancing ornament seen in the photo atop this blog posting.