Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve ramble

new years rockin' eve
and I am in my rocker
watching the snow fall gently
no lights from the highway
no light from the new moon
even if it wasn't snowing that would be true
the last new moon on New Years was 19 years ago
 as I recall
it was a very good year
a new moon
a time of new beginnings
renewed hope
"cause last year was the pits
and not just for me
not sure if i am glad or sad to hear that
Every year, I stay up
every year for more than 50 years
have watched the ball drop
haven't missed yet
don't want to go to Times Square
don't know why I still watch it, either

I make only one resolution
the same one every year
that being
I make a resolution to make no resolutions
so easy to keep

I will make a wish for everyone including myself


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sorta silent saturday of snowmen


                                              ~~Baking Sheet


Friday, December 27, 2013

the 12 Days of Christmas

Is today the 3rd day of Christmas, or the 9th?  Anyway the pear tree is covered in ice and I haven't seen a partridge in years.
Another one of those songs learned in grade school, but this one has more mysterious origins and meanings.  Yes, again it was for the Christmas program, only this time forgetting the words was much easier, so, well there were some really embarrassed 4th graders that day.  But since  the Christmas program was right before dismissal for Christmas vacation, it was over quickly.

Learning that this was that  Partridges in Pear trees was not a recent invention, and than it was based on a medieval memory game was a surprise to me. Um, well I looked up that game, party games haven't changed that much. 

I always thought it was written in the 1950s.   Probably by someone like Alan Sherman, who wrote some very good stuff, like "Hello Muddha , Hello Faddha" and"They're coming to take me away!"  Here is his version, for all of those folds who like to calculate the price in today's money of the partridges, geese and Leaping Lords, I would guess the price of this to be about $1375.00, more if the radio is still working.

And as I have been wron many times in the past, and hope to have a future where I can be wrong many more times, I was wrong.  BTW I had one of those Japanese transistors radio's that was one of my gifts that year.

Researching more, (OK I like the way that sounds, so please don't correct my poor grammar...or my rich one either) I began to see a pattern; yes, perhaps even a pattern similar to "The DaVinci Code".  And may-be not, as this one actually works.  It's poetic and accurate and  more or less based on an idea that is based on a fact.  See, you knew there was a fact in there somewhere.  But Snopes.com says it isn't exactly for real a Catechism, which is good because I never liked getting up early on Saturday morning and going to Catechism and never knowing any of the answers. But I digress(alot).

And what have we learned??? Well I learned why I don't like the song "The Twelve days of Christmas."   So to make use all of my reading I have cut and pasted some of the more interesting stuff for my readers.  

The twelve days in the song are the twelve days starting Christmas Day, or in some traditions, the day after Christmas (December 26) (Boxing Day or St. Stephen's Day, as being the feast day of St. Stephen Protomartyr) to the day before Epiphany, or the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6, or the Twelfth Day). Twelfth Night is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking."[2]
The best known English version was first printed in English in 1780 in a little book intended for children, Mirth without Mischief, as a Twelfth Night "memories-and-forfeits" game, in which a leader recited a verse, each of the players repeated the verse, the leader added another verse, and so on until one of the players made a mistake, with the player who erred having to pay a penalty, such as offering up a kiss or a sweet.[3] One hundred years later, Lady Gomme, a collector of folktales and rhymes, described how it used to be played every Twelfth Day night before eating mince pies and twelfth cake.[1]
"Twelve days of Christmas" was adapted from similar New Years' or spring French carols, of which at least three are known, all featuring a partridge, perdriz or perdriole, as the first gift. The pear tree appears only in the English version, but this could also indicate a French origin. According to Iona and Peter Opie, the red-legged (or French) partridge perches in trees more frequently than the native common (or grey) partridge and was not successfully introduced into England until about 1770.[1] Cecil Sharp observed that "from the constancy in English, French, and Languedoc versions of the 'merry little partridge,' I suspect that 'pear-tree' is really perdrix (Old French pertriz) carried into England"; and "juniper tree" in some English versions may have been "joli perdrix," [pretty partridge]. Sharp also suggests the adjective "French" in "three French hens", probably simply means "foreign".[4][5]
In the northern counties of England, the song was often called the "Ten Days of Christmas", as there were only ten gifts. It was also known in Somerset, Dorsetshire, and elsewhere in England. The kinds of gifts vary in a number of the versions, some of them becoming alliterative tongue-twisters.[6] "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was also widely popular in the United States and Canada. It is mentioned in the section on "Chain Songs" in Stith Thompson's Motif-Index of Folk-Literature (Indiana University Studies, Vol. 5, I935), p. 416.

The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Christmas Song                                                   ~~about.com

Everybody knows what the Twelve Days of Christmas are, right? After all, we've been singing the Christmas song since we were old enough to talk:
On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.
As the song progresses, the lucky recipient piles up gifts, each day receiving what he or she received the day before, as well as a new item—or rather items, since the generous giver pegs the quantity of his gifts to the number of the days of Christmas:
  • Two turtledoves
  • Three French hens
  • Four collie birds (blackbirds; often mispronounced as "calling birds")
  • Five golden rings
  • Six geese a-laying
  • Seven swans a-swimming
  • Eight maids a-milking
  • Nine ladies dancing
  • Ten lords a-leaping
  • Eleven pipers piping
  • Twelve drummers drumming

The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Catholic Catechism?

But wait! There's more. In 1995, Fr. Hal Stockert, a Byzantine Catholic priest from Granville, New York, published a short piece on the website of the Catholic Information Network entitled The Twelve Days of Christmas: An Underground Catechism. Father Stockert claimed that the "delightful nonsense rhyme set to music . . . had a quite serious purpose when it was written." Referring to the years 1558-1829, when the practice of Catholicism was officially outlawed in England, Father Stockert claimed to have uncovered evidence that "'The Twelve Days of Christmas' was written in England as one of the 'catechism songs' to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith." Each of the gifts, Father Stockert declared, represented one of the truths of the Catholic Faith:
There's only one problem: As David Emery, the About.com Guide to Urban Legends, explains in Is 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' an Underground Catechism Song?, Father Stockert had no evidence to back up his claims. As Father Stockert correctly notes, "to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head—or hanged, drawn and quartered," yet almost all of the points of doctrine that young Catholic children supposedly needed "The Twelve Days of Christmas" to help them memorize were shared with the Anglican Church. Moreover, there are glaring errors in Father Stockert's list: He uses the mistaken "calling birds," which matches up much more nicely with the four evangelists than the correct "collie birds" does; and the Catholic Church recognizes 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit, not nine.
For more information on why we can be sure "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was not an "underground catechism song," see David Emery's article and a similar piece (though with additional information) at Snopes.com. Called to document his claims, and finding himself unable to do so, Father Stockert himself eventually added a P.S. to his article:
P.S. It has come to our attention that this tale is made up of both fact and fiction. Hopefully it will be accepted in the spirit it was written. As an encouragement to people to keep their faith alive, when it is easy, and when any outward expressions of their faith could mean their life. Today there are still people living under similar conditions, may this tale give them courage, and determination to use any creative means at their disposal to keep their faith alive.

The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Season of Feasts

Despite Father Stockert's own acknowledgment of his mistake, years later Catholics in the United States (in particular) continue to spread this urban legend every Christmas season, and well-intentioned priests and parish secretaries dutifully reprint it in their parish bulletins. While little harm (other than the perpetuation of historical misinformation) is likely to come from the "Twelve Days of Christmas" myth, it would be better to use that space in the bulletin to encourage parishioners to celebrate the real Twelve Days of Christmas—the period between Christmas Day and Epiphany, in which we celebrate some of the most important, interesting, and spiritual symbolic feasts of the entire liturgical year.
You can find a list of those feasts below, along with links to learn more about each feast

The Twelve Days of Christmas
An Underground Catechism

~~the catholic information network

You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I think. To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written.
It is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.
Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head - or hanged, drawn and quartered, a rather peculiar and ghastly punishment I'm not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disembowelled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb and the remaining torso.
The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."
The other symbols mean the following:
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
Fr. Hal Stockert 12/17/95
P.S. It has come to our attention that this tale is made up of both fact and fiction. Hopefully it will be accepted in the spirit it was written. As an encouragement to people to keep their faith alive, when it is easy, and when any outward expressions of their faith could mean their life. Today there are still people living under similar conditions, may this tale give them courage, and determination to use any creative means at their disposal to keep their faith alive.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mr. Gonopolis And His 12 Holsteins - A Christmas Story

mrgonopolis_07Mr. Gonopolis And His 12 Holsteins - A Christmas Story

It's Christmas Eve! and not a creature is stirring, well may-be a mouse, the hustle and hurry are over there is only "one more sleep 'til Christmas Day" as Kermit Cachet sang in a "Muppets Christmas." But I can't sleep. It has been alot of years since this house had youngster living in it.    What to do, what to do? 

I stared at the mantle piece, "and it hit me like a shovel to the head"....for years that mantel had been the home to a home made  tableaux of  "Mr. Gonopolis And His 12 Holsteins", and I wondered if  may-be through the miracle of YouTube, well just may-be, so I began to search, and nothing.  but Google never fails me...and I found a link to the story book.  and read it to a big kid, and that would be me.  The time was I read that at least once everyday through the Christmas Season, which starts on December 1st and ends on January 6th or 7th  for us.  Sometimes I even read it during the summer. and time was I really got tired of reading it,  All I need to do is find some plastic Holsteins on Christmas Eve to make things complete.

So  put on your  jammies and pour yourself some AppleJack, then click the link under the picture, and read with me. 

"And to all a Good Night"

Sunday, December 22, 2013


On Christmas Eve Christkind brings gifts to children in Germany, much of central Europe, parts of Brazil, Louisiana, and some parts of central America.

Martin Luther developed the Christkind in the 16th century,  a representation of the Christ Child, depicted a a youthful blond girl with wings.  He also was instrumental in moving the date of gift giving from Dec 6th feast of the Catholic St Nicholas Prohibited by the Bible.  It is the Christkind who leaves the gifts for the children on Christmas Eve, that is if they don't try to snoop and catch a glimpse, and upon leaving the house the Christkind rings a small bell to announce the children my  find their gifts under the tree.

The Christkind is also a symbol of hope after destruction and the personal relationship between a person and Jesus Christ.

Christkind, and it diminutive Christkindl can be found walking through the Christkindl Markets, held each year.
The markets sell toys and decor,  food and other items related to the celebration of Christmas.   Christkindl Markets have been  established in many towns and cities, even in America.  Especially in Europe teenage girls  dressed as Christkindl  walk through the market talking with children and adults, this is a relatively new addition to the  very old tradition of Christkindlmarket.  

If you notice a similarity between the name Kris Kringle and the name Christkindl, you are meant to.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

some traditional carols, on a "sorta silent saturday"

And yet another blast from the past.

I remember this rendition, by the Monkees,  of a very old carol as the starting point for my adventures in Music.  Which just shows ta go ya, that you just never know when , or where you will have  a life changing experience.

On this s"Sorta Silent  Saturday", please take a moment and enjoy some music with me.

santa clause

Friday, December 20, 2013

to the solstice ,welcome

From today on each day will get longer, slowly get longer, it will happen, and from today onward the winter will get snowier , the cold will deepen and the winds will howl in the chimney. The Crone will reign, and the earth will appear to be dying,  but it isn't.  Next springs newborns are already growing.  Seeds and nuts are already borrowed in ready for the spring warmth to crack their tough shells. so the tender seedlings safe inside can break out and grow.  The earth is dormant, not dying, but replenishing itself for the growing season. This is the season of gestation, and  not the easiest thing to see in our concrete covered world but  none the less it is there.

It is also the time for replenishing our own resources, and the gestation of ideas, and plans in the cold and still of winter's  landscape.  Without the distractions, taking the time to look for answers in the flames on the hearth, hoping to find them there.  As we have done.............

The solstice is  Dec 21st and 12:11 EST

'The Shortest Day' by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,...
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

See what I learned on Facebook today!

On this day in Philly history in 1841, the first department store Santa Claus made his debut at a dry-goods store. James Parkinson, confectioner and merchant, hired a man to dress up as Kris Kringle, and climb down the chimney of his store. Thanks to vigorous promotion around the city, thousands of children visited “Santa” at what became known as “Kris Kringle’s Headquarters.” Within a few decades, the presence of Santa at stores became a common fixture across the United States.

Do you have any memories of visiting “Santa” as a child?
On this day in Philly history in 1841, the first department store Santa Claus made his debut at a dry-goods store. James Parkinson, confectioner and merchant, h...ired a man to dress up as Kris Kringle, and climb down the chimney of his store. Thanks to vigorous promotion around the city, thousands of children visited “Santa” at what became known as “Kris Kringle’s Headquarters.” Within a few decades, the presence of Santa at stores became a common fixture across the United States. Do you have any memories of visiting “Santa” as a child?
~~ historyofphilly.com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

little drummer boy

Long about a very long time ago, when I was in grade school, I had a teacher who loved all kinds of music. I think Christmas carols were a favorite because during December she told us the history of all of them, we also used them for spelling words...not fun...even math...even less fun.   "Little Drummer Boy" was a new carol,
most of us knew at least parts of the lyrics,  it was that popular at the time.   And that was an exciting thing, especially when it was the song my class sang in the Christmas Concert. 

"Carol of the Drum"which became known as "Little Drummer Boy" was written in 1941 by Katherine Kennicot  Davis { K. K. Davis}.  the Trapp Family singers recorded "Little Drummer Boy" in 1955 and in 1958 it was rerecorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale. Of the many versions of this song, none is more dear to my heart that the one sung by Mrs. Walters Third grade class.

Monday, December 16, 2013

the Full Moon before Yule

The  Full moon Before Winter Begins, Long Nights Moon. Long Snows Moon, Moon of Cold. Deer Sheds Moon,   Darkness Moon. Yule Moon, Solstice Moon.  The Druids called this the Oak Moon. The oak is a symbol of strength, the wood is strong,  beautifully grained and splits cleanly, it's a heavy wood the burns brightly for a long time, keeping the hearth and our ancestors warm  through the long dark nights.  The oak reminded our ancestors that strength and endurance were needed as much as hope to carry them through the bleak, cold and stormy season, until the  first signs of spring.

The bucks have begun to shed their antlers and the next generation of deer has started,  for a few more days yet, until the solstice, the days will grow shorter and the nights longer.  It will be awhile before the lengthening days become obvious.  It seems everyday brings more snow and cold, these long nights were just made for long slumbers, long reads, or long contemplations in front of the fire.

the  yule log from Gracie Mansion

Saturday, December 14, 2013

so may-be the snow on the pyramids and the sphinx was fake, but look at these pictures

snow, on the pyramids, the sphinx, so may-be that was more photoshop and models than real


nothing so real as kids of all ages and snowmen on this nearly "Silent Saturday" 





Clever and creative Christmas trees

on a silent Saturday       

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lady of Guadalupe, December 12th

Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the Americas, is celebrated on the 12th of December, the faithful, not all of whom are Catholics make their way through the streets of Mexico City to the
basilicas built on the site where she appeared.   The Basilica of Guadalupe in one of the most visited Catholic shrines.

On December  9th 1531,  a man named Juan Diego, who was one of the early converts to Christianity was walking  along a path near Mexico City, when he heard music.  He looked around and was amazed to see a young woman,  who in appearance could have been one of the young women form his village, she even spoke to him in Mexica, the same dialect he spoke,  she was surrounded by radiant light. The Lady explained that she was the mother of the true God and asked Juan Diego to carry a message to  Bishop Juan de Zummarraga, that a chapel  should be built on the site where she had appeared.  A site reported to have been dedicated to Tonantzin. The Bishop wanted more proof, so Juan Diego returned to the site where upon the Lady gave him a bouquet of roses, which he then took to the bishop, when the Bishop unwrapped the cape that the roses has been carried in,  a picture of The Lady was revealed, the cape is still venerated  by devout Catholics.

Hernan Cortez had brought the Spanish rule only a decade earlier, and though they had destroyed the Mexica's temples , they were still following their old beliefs.  The story of appearance of  the Lady of Guadalupe, with her resemblance to Tonantzin the Mexica goddess,  lead to many Christian conversions.   And a small chapel was built sometime in the 1550s.


Old and new basilicas where Mary is said to have appeared in Mexico City.
Our lady of Guadalupe was credited with many miracles, not only saving the city from floods in1629 and 1634, but also saving it from an outbreak of disease in 1736, in 1745 the Vatican declared her Protectoress of the city, and recognised Juan Diego's vision as a miracle.
The clergy recognised the power of  The Lady to bring into the Christan community, Indians,Africans, Spaniard and Creole communities, her shine was rebuilt in 1695 and rebuilt in Grande Baroque style in1736.  The basilica was rebuilt again in 1904 and again in1976,

guadalupeThe feast of St Lucia falls on the 13th, her name literally means "a holy light", Our Lady of Guadalupe is portrayed surrounded by radiant light.  Tonantzin, is the "Mother of us all" and associated with the moon and the dawn..  All very separate and all united by the date of the winter solstice on the Julian calender, December 12/13. As I look at the beautiful image of The Lady and see details like feathered headdress, corn, a dark crescent moon, roses, crown, the angel beneath her feet, star studded cloak, and cactus I am reminded not only of the skill and creatite joy of the artist, but the symbolism that we are all under the same sun, moon and stars.

Her reign predates the Hispanic takeover of Mexico.
Guadalupe is not now, nor has She ever been Mary, Mother of God. She IS God. She is the holy Feminine Divine. A living goddess who is fervently worshiped as such by millions upon millions of folks today.
Called "La Virgen Indigena," She was once - and still is to Her vast multitude of adorers - Tonantzin, "Our Lady," the great mother goddess identified with the moon, a principal household deity revered by the Mexica and other tribes of Mesoamerica.

I adore Our Lady of Guadalupe. I especially love the passionate adoration bestowed upon her by Her legions of devotees, among whom I am one. And I so admire the charming, endlessly creative images, amulets and altars that She inspires. I call them "Guadalupaneria."
  ~~~~~Donna Henes

many thanks to Momma Donna who inspires me often

slightly wordy Slent Sunday on a road

Not every picture is worth a thousand words, but the memory it represents is.