Friday, December 31, 2010
Although the new year has been celebrated since prehistoric times, it was celebrated on the vernal equinox rather than what we now consider the first of the year. The Romans were the first to recognize New Years Day on January first. Rather than tie the day to some significant astronomical or agricultural event, in 153 BC the Romans selected it for civil reasons. It was the day after elections in which the newly elected assumed their positions.
Years later, Julius Caesar wanted to change the date to a more logical date but that year, January 1, 45 BC was the date of a new moon. To change it would have been bad luck. He did, however, change the calendar system from the Egyptian solar calendar to the "Julian" calendar, named for Caesar. July, the month of Caesar's birth, was also named after him to recognize him for his calendar reform. And look what it got him.
Up unto 1582, Christian Europe continued to celebrate New Years Day on March 25. Pope Gregory XIII instituted additional calendar reforms bringing us the calendaring system of the day. The Gregorian calendar was adopted by Catholic countries immediately while the reformists, suspect of any papal policy, only adapted it after some time. Today most countries around the world have adopted this calendaring system.
From primitive man to today, it has been recognized as a day in which rites were done to abolished the past so there could be a rejuvenation for the new year. Rituals included purgations, purifications, exorcisms, extinguishing and rekindling fires, masked processions (masks representing the dead), and other similar activities. Often exorcisms and purgations were performed with much noise as if to scare away the evil spirits. In China, Ying, the forces of light fought Yang, the forces of darkness with cymbals, noisemakers, and firecrackers.
Early European-Americans adopted the New Year celebrations from their homelands. However, it was noted by early settlers that native Americans already honored News Years Day with their own customs. Their rituals coincided with those around the world including fires, explosions of evil spirits, and celebrations. Today many of the New Year celebrations actually begin with a countdown to the New Year on the evening prior. It is customary to kiss your sweetheart when the clock strikes midnight as one of the customs of these New Years Eve parties.
Around the world, different cultures have their own traditions for welcoming the new year. The Japanese hang a rope of straw across the front of their houses to keep out evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck. They also have a good laugh as the year begins to get things started on a lucky note. Iraqis like to hang evil bastards to try to keep bad luck out of their country.
In West Bengal, in northern India, the people like to wear pink, red, purple and white flowers. Women favor yellow, the color of spring. Hindus also leave shrines next to their beds so they can see beautiful objects when they wake up to the new year.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadians enjoy the traditional polar bear swim. People of all ages don their swim suits and take the plunge, an event that is sure to get you started in the new year with eyes wide open.
In Scotland, they celebrate Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year, usually with great exuberance. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow host street parties for 100,000 people. At midnight, there is the celebration of "First Footing," where gifts are exchanged.
New Year Resolutions is simply another way to wish away the past in exchange for hopes of the future. It is where the phrase turning over a new leaf originated.
I hope 2011 brings good health and better luck to all.
So everyone turn the wheel of your life. Make complete revolutions. Celebrate every turning. And persevere with joy!!!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
The Lost I Love Lucy Christmas Episode -
The Mary Tyler Moore Show Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid -
Friends The Holiday Armadillo -
I'll leave you with these thoughts from Henry Van Dyke (and no it's not Dick and Jerry's dad) -
There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.
Are you willing...
To forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you;
To ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world;
To put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground;
To see that men and women are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;
To own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life;
To close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness.
Are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing...
To stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children;
To remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old;
To stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough;
To bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts;
To try to understand what those who live in the same home with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you;
To trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you;
To make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open -
Are you willing to do these things, even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.
Are you willing...
To believe that love is the strongest thing in the world -
Stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death -
Then you can keep Christmas.
And if you can keep it for a day, why not always?
But you can never keep it alone.
You can track Santa's progress here
Thursday, December 23, 2010
We must agree with Mr. Letterman - it's officially Christmas!
Today's Christmas Video Countdown - Prisoner 1073015's Christmas Album
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Mel Blanc is a scream
Today’s Christmas video countdown – Christmas songs from a guest programmer (Olivia)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer -
Frosty the Snowman -
Carol Of The Bells -
Angels We Have Heard on High-
Santa Baby Eartha Kitt-
Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer -
Feliz Navidad -
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
That wasn't quite how I learned all about Christmas back at St. John's
Today’s Christmas video countdown – Random Yuletime
Santa Claus is coming to town Perry Como -
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! Ella Fitzgerald -
Winter Wonderland Doris Day-
We Need A Little Christmas Angela Langsbury-
It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas Harry Connick Jr -
Silver Bells Bob Hope & Marilyn Maxwell -
Must Be Santa Mitch Miller -
I Hear the Bells Burl Ives -
Monday, December 20, 2010
The Frank Capra film It's A Wonderful Life had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its official premiere.
The film is regarded as a classic and is a staple of Christmas television around the world, although, due to its high production costs and stiff competition at the box office, financially, it was considered a flop.
Next time you get a chance to watch the film, notice what a truly strange little film it really is.
Today’s Christmas video countdown – A Hip hop Christmas (Old School)
Christmas In Hollis RUN-DMC -
Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa De La Soul -
Christmas Rappin Kurtis Blow-
Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg-
That's What I Want For Christmas Showboys-
Wiseman The Cross Movement -
Sleigh Ride Ying Yang Twins -
Ghetto Santa Spyder-D -
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol, on this date. Dickens wrote the novel after his first commercial failure. His previous novel, Martin Chuzzlewit had flopped, and he was suddenly strapped for cash. Martin Chuzzlewit had been satirical and pessimistic, and Dickens thought he might be more successful if he wrote a heartwarming tale with a holiday theme.
He got the idea for the book in late October of 1843, the story of the heartless Ebenezer Scrooge, who has so little Christmas spirit that he wants his assistant Bob Cratchit to work on Christmas Day.
Dickens struggled to finish the book in time for Christmas. He no longer had a publisher so he published the book himself, ordering illustrations, gilt-edged pages and a lavish red bound cover. He priced the book at a mere 5 shillings, in hopes of making it affordable to everyone. It was released within a week of Christmas and was a huge success, selling six thousand copies the first few days, and the demand was so great that it quickly went to second and third editions.
God bless us, everyone!!!
Today’s Christmas video countdown – A Christmas Carol
Richard Williams' A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol: The Shortest Version Ever Told...
Tom Lehrer- A Christmas Carol
"Weird Al" Yankovic Christmas At Ground Zero
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Looney Toons- Christmas Carol
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas aired for the first time on CBS on this date.
Dr. Seuss was initially uninterested in animating this or any of his books, but Chuck Jones managed to persuade him.
Today’s Christmas video countdown: Christmas Cartoons Classics
The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives
Christmas Comes But Once a Year
Bedtime for Sniffles
Friday, December 17, 2010
Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, also known as The Simpsons Christmas Special, the first full-length episode of The Simpsons, premiered on this date.
There is no Blackboard or Couch gag in this episode's opening titles, owing to the holiday theme of the episode making the title sequence different.
Today’s Christmas video countdown – Japanese Ukulele Christmas Songs
HAPPY XMAS (War Is Over)
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Eggnog is usually thought of as a Christmas beverage and to tell the truth I am not a huge fan of Eggnog. So I find it amusing that the first drink recipe that I'm posting is for Eggnog.
Coquito, a Puerto Rican twist on the classic, is a family favorite and my sister asked me for our family recipe – I have become the repository for family recipes. I thought I’d share it with you and perhaps you can try it out on your family.
Please note: these drinks go down quite smoothly and are very potent – they could be administered as a calmative to frayed nerves during the holiday season.
* 4 large egg yolks
* 1/4 cup of sugar
* 1/2 can of (14-ounces) condensed milk
* 1 14-ounce cans evaporated milk
* 1 1/2 cans of 15-ounce cans cream of coconut
* 1/2 of a Fifth of white rum (or more)
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon coconut (or vanilla) extract
* Drink Blender
* Can opener
Add the egg yolks, sugar, spices and vanilla into the blender. Mix until well blended.
Add the evaporated & condensed milk to the blender and briefly mix. (Condensed milk is very thick - you may want to open the can up all the way and scrap out all of the milk with a spatula.)
Vigorously shack the can of cream of coconut (it tends to separate.) Pour the cream of coconut into the blender and mix well. Scrap out any remaining coconut stuff from the can.
Add the rum and mix. Taste. If you think you need more rum, add it.
Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve cold.
Today's Christmas gift - That film that TBS plays all day long on Christmas
For anyone keeping count, Ralphie says he wants the Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times throughout the course of the movie. Mythbusters tested whether it was possible to get your tongue truly stuck on a piece of cold metal. Guess what? It is. So don’t triple dog dare your best friend to try it.
Christmas video countdown - Male Rockers
Merry Christmas Baby Bruce Springsteen -
Merry Christmas (I don't wanna fight tonight) Joey Ramone -
Jingle Bell Rock Bobby Helms -
Please Come Home For Christmas The Eagles -
Pretty Paper Roy Orbison -
It's Christmas Once Again Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers -
Christmas Time (Is Here Again) The Beatles -
Fairytale of New York the Pogues -
White Christmas Flaming Lips -
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Look carefully at the back wall in the Three Little Pigs' house, and you'll be able to spot framed photographs of "Mother" and "Father" - a plate of sausages and a football, respectively.
Christmas video countdown - Female Rockers
2000 Miles The Pretenders -
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Annie Lennox -
It's Christmas Time Melissa Etheridge -
Little Drummer Boy Joan Jett -
Christmas Wrapping The Waitresses -
Silent Night Stevie Nicks -
Oi To The World No Doubt -
Run Rudolph Run Sheryl Crow -
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Another holiday special from Rankin & Bass, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town premiered on this date.
The film tells the story of how Santa Claus and several Claus-related Christmas traditions came to be. It is based on the Christmas hit of the same name, which was introduced on radio by Eddie Cantor in 1934.
I've been waiting for this - this year's Misery Bear's Christmas
Your holidays can't be as bad as his
Christmas video countdown - Songs from Christmas cartoons
Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town Fred Astaire -
Frosty The Snowman Jimmy Durante -
Little Drummer Boy
Silver & Gold Burl Ives -
Charlie Brown Christmas
Do you remember Dolly Madison?
Monday, December 13, 2010
It just makes the day a little lighter
Today's Christmas countdown - Mobbed Up Christmas. This is not to say that any of these singers are in anyway associated with organized crime. It's just some gentlemen (Frankie No Neck, Clams Vincenzo, Joey Walnuts, etc) 'requested' these songs.
Adeste Fideles Vic Damone -
Baby's First Christmas Connie Francis -
O Holy Night Al Martino -
Shake Hands with Santa Claus Louis Prima -
It's Christmas Everywhere Paul Anka -
Sunday, December 12, 2010
In honor of Ol' Blue Eyes Birthday - it's a Sinatra Christmas
Whatever Happened to Christmas?
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is a Christmas song written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and made famous by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis. The movie chronicles the change in seasons and times of St. Louis including the Christmas season. In the famous scene, Garland sings the tearful tune to child star Margaret O'Brien. In 1957, Frank Sinatra asked Martin to revise the line "Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow". Martin's new line, "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough," has since become more widely recognized and sung than the original phrase. Martin made several other alterations, changing the song's focus to a celebration of present happiness, rather than anticipation of a better future.
Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby Holiday Special
Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from space, in a Christmas-themed prank by Gemini 6 astronauts Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra. While in space on December 16, 1965, they sent this report to Mission Control: "We have an object, looks like a satellite going from north to south, probably in polar orbit... I see a command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit...." The astronauts then produced a smuggled harmonica and sleighbells and broadcast a rendition of Jingle Bells.
I'll Be Home For Christmas
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
I'll give you a moment to wash your brain out.
Traditional Christmas carols
O Holy Night -
In 1847, the music for O Holy Night was written by French composer Adolphe-Charles Adam, who also wrote the ballet Giselle. Now a mainstay for church celebrations and carolers, the song was first denounced by church authorities for its "lack of musical taste and total absence of the spirit of religion." The English words to the song were translated from French by American clergyman John Sullivan Dwight.
O Little Town of Bethlehem -
Pastor Phillips Brooks wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1867, recalling the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine at night. His church organist, Lewis Redner, added the music so that the children's choir could sing the song.
Angels We Have Heard on High -
Angels We Have Heard on High began as a shepherd's exclamation (Gloria in excelsis Deo!) shouted from hill to hill to celebrate Christmas. The version we sing today was first published in 1855.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing -
Composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote the music for Hark! The Herald Angels Sing for a cantata dedicated to Johannes Gutenberg. The tune was later matched with words written by Charles Wesley, a Methodist poet.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
For those of you who don't put Happy in their Holidays:
Charlie Brown Christmas - Performed by the Cast of Scrubs -
Santa, Don't Pass Me By Jimmy Donley -
Don't Believe In Christmas Pearl Jam -
Lonely Christmas Call George Jones -
Santa Got A DWI -
And what holiday would be complete without the Dusty Towne Holiday Special -
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
It's the Eighth night of Hanukkah.
Hanukkah With Veronica Monica
Candlelight The Maccabeats
Hey, somebody has to clean up all of that wax on the break front. And somebody's got to dump all of this oil.
I wasn't able to get to this but yesterday -
December 7, 1969 -
Another Rankin/Bass production, Frosty the Snowman, premiered on CBS-TV
Frosty The Snowman (1953)
Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman
The Snow Man (1932)
Frosty The Inappropriate Snowman
Spunky The Snowman (1958)
Frosty the Snowman Cocteau Twins -
Finally here's a happy way to remember John Lennon on this sad anniversary
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Give The Jew Girl Toys Sarah Silverman -
Jesus Was A Dreidel Spinner Jill Sobule -
Happy Hanukkah To You 2 Live Jews -
That oil is getting a tad rancid
OK kids, PNC bank has reported that there is a 9.2% increase in the price of the items needed for the 12 days of Christmas. In the 27th year of the survey PNC has found that the 12 items come out to a grand total of $23,439 which is a $1,974 increase from last year.
The jump from 2009 to 2010 marks the second highest increase in the history of the survey behind the 2002 to 2003 rise of 16%. So I hope you put that money away in your Christmas club accounts.
In honor of PNC's dedication to the holidays - The 12 Days of Christmas
Bob & Doug
The Twelve Gifts of Christmas Allan Sherman -