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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Nostalgic New Years Eve

Today is New Years Eve, and the end of a decade.

Tonight we wish for a 2020 full of prosperity, and an end to the fear that grips many of us - fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of what is to come.

But tonight, let us celebrate.  And allow me to become a little nostalgic.

When growing up, there was only one band to listen to on New Year's Eve-Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians.  There was only one way to mark the end of the year - the dropping of the ball from the Times Tower in New York City, narrated by Ben Grauer.


This is Ben Grauer's coverage in New York City, for New Year's Eve 1965.  This was my first New Years Eve as a teen.  And no, although I grew up in New York City, I've never seen the ball drop in person.

Do you remember Guy Lombardo? He's been dead for many years - in fact he passed away the same year as Ben Grauer did.

For years, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians performed at New York City's Waldorf-Astoria.  I can not think of New Years Eve without hearing his band play in my mind.

So here's a modern version of Auld Lang Syne, by Susan Boyle.  I wanted to ring out 2019 with a beautiful video, and, thanks to a fellow music blogger, I found just what I wanted.

But before I go, one more memory.

In 2009 (my first year of blogging) I remembered us entering another decade - and another century.  This is what I blogged then:

"How time passes.

10 years ago ..... I had a nine year old and the day off.  New Years Eve 1999.  I spent part of the day with my son and one of his friends celebrating the last day of the 20th century (although technically it wasn't).  We tracked the New Years on a globe and watched a bunch of New Years fireworks - Sydney, Australia, Egypt, London.

I don't want to ask my son if he remembers; it would probably embarrass him.  And he had a falling out with this friend early in high school.

Nothing like tracking your life through what you did with your children and when to really make you feel how quickly time passes, and how you need to treasure all the things you do with your young children.  Because one day they will have their own lives.

Now we are about to enter a new decade.  May it be a better one than this first decade of the 21st century.

Happy New Year!"

I meant it then, and I mean it now.

Happy New Year to you, my dear readers!

Tomorrow, I start the decade with a month of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Please join me, and other bloggers, on a month long challenge for the New Year.  If you are interested, the signup is here.  It is not too late to join.


Again, Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Last Music This Decade #MusicMovesMe

It's the last Monday of 2019.

That means it is time for another episode of Music Moves Me.  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only,  please containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  
 

The theme for the entire month of December is "Christmas" but I am going to deviate a bit on this, because...


it's almost time for a new decade.  So, this week, we will see many programs on TV, or articles in magazines, talking about the last decade.  Yes, Lasts.

So how about some Lasts?

Wham! - Last Christmas (For some reason, I kept hearing this song over and over again) to keep up with our Christmas theme.

Here are some other songs with Last in the title:

Save the Last Dance for Me - The Drifters 

Famous Last Words - Tears for Fears

Last Train to Clarksville-The Monkees

All things have to come to an end.  For my LAST song of the decade, I will circle back to Christmas, with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Canon.

Happy New Year to all of my listeners, and it's a wrap!  "See" you next decade.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Hate Rides Again

I should be blogging about this being the end of this decade.

Instead, I'm taking a trip back in history.    A trip back to very scary history for those among us who are Jewish.

We Americans thought, when I was growing up in the 1960's, that our children would not repeat the hate of the past.  We would be different.

We were wrong.

This past Hanukkah, which will be entering its final day at sundown tonight, has seen at least 13 anti-Semitic incidents in New York State.  The latest one, in a heavily Jewish county to the north of New York City, involved a (allegedly) 37 year man entering the home of a Rabbi and stabbing or otherwise assaulting at least five visitors (one being a son of the rabbi) with a machete.  He then ran to a nearby synagogue, but the people inside, hearing the screams coming from the house, wisely barracaded themselves in.

This is what we have come to.  We don't want to go back any further in history.
Temple Israel, Binghamton, New York

From time to time in Jewish history, the lighting of Hanukkah candles had to be done in secret.  Are we heading that way again?  You'll recall that I blogged recently how the synagogue above has had to lock its doors and install security cameras to screen visitors, as have many synagogues and Jewish community centers throughout our country.
Menorah, Oakdale Mall, Johnson City, New York
On some days during this particular Presidential election season, it seems that hate oozed from every dark corner of this country.  Those dark corners have come alive. People of hate are now encouraged, thinking that finally, the conditions are right once again for their hate to blossom.  It isn't just Jewish people at risk.  Other ethnic and religious minorities have been targeted.

You, dear reader, can always become the target tomorrow.  In truth, I feel we have more to worry about from domestic terrorists than ones coming from overseas.

Meanwhile, various minorities walk around the United States feeling they have bulls-eyes printed on their backs.  If you aren't one today, you could be one tomorrow.

So now we hold our breaths and see how our fellow citizens will react.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

By Our Works

For a number of years, spouse and  I spent every Christmas in Yonkers, New York, with some of my husband's family, hosted by one of my spouse's cousins "B".

Now, my mother in law is gone, a cousin who came every year is gone, and his 107 year old mother are gone. 

A tradition ended?  Yes.

A tradition begun?  Maybe.

When old traditions end, I like to think new traditions begin. Everything eventually changes.

Sometime in November, B gave us a call.  She wanted to come up here for Christmas - there was little reason for her to stay at home (she lives by herself).  She promised to bring her signature dish that we all loved.  And, she would even stay in a motel (her preference, as she enjoys her alone time).

Several days later, she called again.  Could she also come for Christmas Eve?

So, we hosted both Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners, complete with the cousin's signature dish.

We shared a lot of memories, but memories are more than things that exist in our memories.

In a way, we live on in our works.

My spouse's 107 year old aunt (when she was younger) and the cousin who visited us were sisters.  One thing they both did was beadwork.  This is one example, one that I was given as a gift years ago. 

It was an honor to display, on my tree, a needlework ornament made by a work friend who died from cancer 21 years ago.  Every year I bring this out, and other ornaments she gave me (she loved to craft), and I remember her through my Christmas trees.

More memories, and I remember the year I made the doilies underneath some of the knickknacks.

The days of 2019 are dwindling, and so are the days of our lives.

I don't know how many more holiday seasons my spouse's cousin will be with us.  Or others I love.
I do know that we are gone, our works will remain.
Will your works be remembered?  Will mine?

I never thought about that when I was young.  But now, in my 60's, I think about it a lot.

Do you?

Friday, December 27, 2019

Last 2019 Skies #SkywatchFriday

Joining up today with Yogi and other sky watching bloggers at #SkywatchFriday.

Last week, I thought I would be featuring a "best of 2019 skies", but, for most of this week, the sun came out where I live in upstate New York.  Once I figured out what that bright ball of light in the sky was, I knew some nice sunrises and sunsets were on the horizon (no pun intended).

The sky did not disappoint.


Saturday, in the parking lot of a historic building on the edge of downtown Binghamton.

Later that afternoon, as sunset approached.
Monday, as spouse and I left my doctor's office, the sun had just set a few minutes earlier.

By the time we were on the road, an amazing redness (extreme left) awaited us.
And, near a creek, the last of the sunset beckoned.

Yesterday, the clouds and gloom reappeared, but the sunset made one final appearance.

It's been a wonderful year of sky watching, and I hope to bring more to you in 2020.

Happy New Year to my readers!


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Peaceful Sunset #ThursdayTreeLove

It was the day before Christmas Eve, and, in upstate New York, the sun came out and temperatures rose.  Although t weak sun didn't melt as much of our snow as we may have wanted, we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

Although the red did not come through in this picture, the yellow and blue did.  There is just something so peaceful about the trees surrounding this storage shed.

All day long, they slept, unaware (perhaps) of the above normal temperatures.  But maybe, in their small way, they appreciated what was happening, and when the sun set they spread their protective branches over the shed, knowing that eventually, winter would return.

Silent night...

All was calm...

All was bright.

Join Parul at Happiness and Food and other bloggers who love trees each second and fourth Thursday, for #ThursdayTreeLove.  This is the last installment for 2019.

Happy New Year to my tree loving friends!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Peace on Earth?

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is more than just a Bing Crosby classic.

This song was based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, written on Christmas Day in 1863.  

Longfellow had lost his wife in a tragic fire two years before.  His son then went off to fight in the Civil War, and was injured (he recovered).  This is the poem Longfellow wrote, in the midst of his grief.

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
 
In 1872 the poem was put to music.  Even today, its lyrics remain powerful and timely.

Is it too much to wonder if we ever will have peace on earth?

Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Saddest Perfect Pet in the World

Today is my 3700th post, and I am thinking today about loneliness.  It is so easy to be lonely in the midst of celebration, of families reuniting, of people wishing each other Happy Holidays.

And here you are.

Here we are on Christmas Eve, and I am running out of time to write about the Perfect Polly.

Would you consider keeping a plastic pet shaped like a parakeet?

Back around 2013,  I was shopping  and saw this box.  It advertised something called "Perfect Polly".  You can see it in action in a video below.  It bills itself the "Amazingly Lifelike Parakeet".  And you don't even have to feed it (or, for that matter, clean up after it).

This is what Perfect Polly looks like.


I kept parakeets as pets for many years (although I haven't recently) and my interpretation of this plastic parakeet is - just no.

 I think Perfect Polly misses an important point.  In a way, it's all about lonliness, something that I think about more and more as I age (I'm a senior citizen now).

The holidays are a sad time for so many people.  And many seniors are alone, due to death, family far away, or for other reasons.  Perhaps one in three elderly suffer from loneliness.

I think it is part of human nature to need to connect with animals in some way.  Not everyone has a pet, and certainly many cultures can not (or do not have the resources to) pamper their pets the way we do in the west.  However, even if the pets must be working animals, we are still interacting.  And, I've known many people who mourn the death of their pet the way they would a member of their families.

I can't see a pet made of plastic.  And I couldn't see this as any kind of holiday gift.  But that's just me.  Still, I recently looked on Amazon and it was "out of stock" indefinitely.  I wonder if it is even made any more.

I found this interesting list of how to reach out to people who do not choose to be alone.

I couldn't see my late mother in law, for example, being kept company by a battery operated plastic something.  Even if it doesn't have to be fed or cleaned up after.

Perhaps the saddest thing in the world is that someone had to make a product like this.  No one should be alone during the holidays.

Or left to be entertained by a plastic bird.



Monday, December 23, 2019

Six 13 #MusicMovesMe

It's the first full day of Hanukkah, and it's time for #MusicMovesMe.
Thank you for joining me for another episode of Music Moves Me.  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only,  please containing links to You Tube or Vimeo for actual music.  Other posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  

The theme for the entire month of December is "Christmas" but I am going to deviate a bit on this, because...

Hanukkah, the eight day Festival of Lights, began last night.  We don't have quite the selection of Hanukkah songs as we do for Christmas, but some modern groups have begun a tradition of singing traditional Hanukkah songs in a way that connects to people of all faiths through popular culture.  

Many of these groups sing a cappella, using only their voices.  This style of music is one traditional style in Jewish music, as the use of musical instruments is forbidden during our Sabbath, and the use of popular culture makes the songs more accessible.

In other words, you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy these songs, and I hope you'll enjoy.

First up is one from this year, an a capella group called Six 13.  This name comes from the 613 commandments in our Torah, the five books of Moses in what Christians call the Old Testament.

Their offering this year is A Star Wars Hanukkah.   I wish there were more English subtitles, but I think you will "get it".   One note -  the English part referring to "Rock of Ages" does not refer to the Christian hymn, but rather to a traditional Jewish song called Maoz Tzur  (Rock of Ages) praising the Almighty for the miracle of Hanukkah.  (Another note - there are various spellings of the holiday in English, given that Hebrew does not use the Roman alphabet). 

For those interested, this is the song Maoz Tzur, sung in both Hebrew and English.

Back to Six 13, this was their release for Hanukkah 2018 - A Bohemian Hanukkah.  This is my favorite Six 13 song.

 

One more Hannukah song for today - this is a traditional children's song called The Dreidel Song, and I enjoyed this jazzed up version, and the video that accompanied it.  This is done by the Boys Town Jerusalem Choir.


And that's a Hanukkah wrap!  Not only that, but it's a Christmas Wrapping, too, with the Waitress's classic song.  Why not rock out to two holidays at once, now that the calendar's down to just one page?

May you enjoy this season.  See you next Monday, same time, same place.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Jewish Foods from Hanukkah House

It's time to eat!  Hanukkah begins tonight.

I will say up front that my blog post name may be a little misleading.  Although these recipes were displayed in Hanukkah House, a Hanukkah museum in Binghamton, New York in December of 2017, they aren't really Hanukkah specific recipes.  But, why not mix and match?

Since the miracle of our Festival of Lights occurred with oil, it is traditional to eat a lot of fried foods.

Some of these, like the Mexican Chilaquiles, are more a Passover food (a Jewish holiday which takes place around Easter time), but would be quite suitable because they are fried.

Jews live all over the world, and our cuisine reflects that.

Here are foods from:
Mexico: fried matzo and eggs.

India Aloo Makalla are a type of fried potatoes, enjoyed by the Bene Israel Jews of Mumbai.

Argentina.  It may surprise you to know that the Jewish population of Argentina is the fifth largest in the world.

I wrote an entire post on egg creams, a traditional New York City refreshment back in 2017.  I don't consider them a Hanukkah food, but why not?  We can even get the traditional U-Bet chocolate syrup where I live in the Southern Tier of upstate New York.

Although this says borscht originated in the Ukraine, it is fondly remembered from my childhood during Passover.  In a kosher household, however, a meat based borscht would never have been served with sour cream. I remember most borschts served by my mother as being meat free, and served with potatoes.

How about this one?
This one isn't a true Hanukkah dish but I love it.  Because my spouse doesn't like the combination of meat and fruit (a combination I usually love), we don't put dried prunes in our version.  I was suprised to find its origin was in France.

Last but not least - Arkansas, by way of Germany.

The entire selection.

I chose this memory of Hanukkah House because this year's display is on the owner of the mansion the museum is located in, rather than the holiday itself.

Hungry yet?

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Brooklyn to Broome (And a Latke recipe)

Christmas (December 25) and Hanukkah (starting tomorrow) await.

What a food festival this next week will be.

On Thursday, merchants from Brooklyn (a borough of New York City) traveled some 150 miles to bring the residents of the Binghamton, New York area (Broome County) Italian goodies.

A couple of pictures I was able to get (it was crowded):

Italian cookies and breads.

Italian cheeses and cured meats.

Meanwhile, food for Hanukkah await.

Parsnips (also in the picture, orange and red beets, and Jerusalem artichokes).
Potatoes for latkes (also in the picture: turnips)
And local mushrooms, for both Christmas and Hanukkah.

Happy holidays!

And, if you are looking for a latke recipe, you may want to try this one from 2017.  
And for music, check this post out.

More Hanukkah enjoyment tomorrow and Monday.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Grateful Skies #SkywatchFriday

Tomorrow, winter begins.  Today, we treasure the next to last Friday of 2019.

Perhaps next Friday I'll feature a little retrospective of skies, but for now, we are starting to experience the wonderful sunrises and sunsets of late December and early January.

Trouble is, where I live in upstate New York, we don't always see them.

So I treasure the sunrises and sunsets I do get to see, whether or not they are spectacular.
December 12
I get to see this one because my loving spouse is taking me home.

And this one, because he is taking me to work.

This one, because it has trees.

This one, because of the cloud formation.

And this one, just because.

I am grateful for these skies.  As dangerous as our winter weather can be, we are not in the midst of wildfires or other natural disasters.  And, unlike many, I don't have to travel this holiday season.

Want to see more pictures of the sky?  Join Yogi and other sky watching bloggers at #SkywatchFriday.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Country Store

Yesterday, I read a blog post about abandoned country stores.

It brought me back to a post I wrote in August of 2013.  If any of you have memories of the 1970's and 1980's "back to the land movement",  my spouse and I were part of that.

Not in a "hippie" way.  We weren't hippies - no, we were far from it, probably about as far from it as you could get.  But here we were anyway.

We were afraid the economy was tanking, along with a lot of other people.  Although we were in our late 20's, we found ourselves trying to prepare for a future that was uncertain.  Part of it was reading a magazine called "Mother Earth News" and deciding we were going to "live off the land". Oh, and by the way, neither of us had any relatives that had ever pursued the rural life.  We were fully urban. 

And yet....we had dreams of self-sufficiency, of living the "organic way", and Arkansas turned out to be the place where we were going to make them come true.  My spouse was in the Air Force, he was stationed in Wichita, Kansas and his enlistment was going to be up in another year.  We went on a vacation in 1979 and bought land.  We moved a year after my spouse left the military, and gave it a good shot.

We lasted five years.

It was five years we are proud of.  We learned skills, we learned there was courage in us we didn't think we had, and we learned that failure means only that you tried, and you need to do something different.   I should remember that leap of faith I took back in my 20's now, as I draw closer to retirement.

A life without trying and failing is not a life at all.

You know what?  Our dreams really did come true in theyears after we left.  My spouse and I are still married.  We have a grown son, born after we left and returned to New York State.  We are still curious, still wanting to champion the sustainable lifestyle.

Why did we fail?

We were too unprepared, still too immature.  And, Arkansas wasn't ready for us, either.

We and Arkansas both changed between 1979 and 2013 when I made the trip I'm going to mention.  We moved towards each other in those years.  Maybe we didn't meet in the middle, but we did meet.

So I wanted to take you on parts of the drive we made in late August of 2013, the first (and only) time we returned after we left.

Northwest Arkansas has grown tremendously since we left.  Just from 2000 to 2010, the population grew 71%.

But, at some point in the nearly 27 mile drive from Fayetteville to our former land, it was almost like time had stood still.  The roads were back down to two lanes.  Farmers drove slowly.  The traffic lights disappeared. Round hay bales stood in the fields.  Cattle grazed.


We went through Canehill, an incorporated place that could have been great except for the Civil War.   Several historic buildings, in ruins, the remnants of its former history as a college town, and a ruined mill, can be seen if you know where to look.  And we did know, even though we had never bothered to investigate its history when we had lived near there.

Then we made the turn into the small town of Morrow.

We passed what used to be the Morrow Cash Store, a true general store. (We didn't go in).  More about the Morrow Country Store in a moment.
Then, we turned onto the road where we lived.  A little of it is paved now, but most of it is still unpaved.  Just like when we left.

So let me tell you what we found. 

We had two neighbors.  One (we had found this out right before we left) died in 2012 and the other died several months before we made the 2013 trip.

The house of one of them (he and his wife had moved before we did) was gone  - absolutely no trace of it, or his barn.  No foundation, no nothing.  As of 2012 the other neighbor's widow was still living exactly where they had been. I don't know if she, as a widow, moved, but, but her trailer was there.

The cabin my spouse built with the help of a neighbor's son and we lived in - gone.  Our chicken house - gone.

The peach tree we had planted - gone.  My roses.  My flower beds.  Gone.

Our garden areas - gone.  Our raspberries - gone.
 
We will never return to Morrow.  There is no need.  Only ghosts of our past remained, and we let them go.  They flew away in the hot, late August breeze, dust in the wind.

So, when I read the blog post about abandoned country stores, my memory went right back to this trip.

I did a search for the "Morrow Country Store" and found it on Facebook. I found that it had still been in the family that owned it back when we bought our land in 1979.   But....I found it too late.

It closed in June.

It has new owners, but it has a new name and its business model has changed.


But what was once there...gone.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Oh Tannenbaum 2019 #WordlessWednesday

Before I begin, I wanted to thank everyone who commented on my blog post yesterday about the ordinary nature of hate and how a local synagogue has had to lock its doors to those wanting to visit a Hanukkah museum on their premises, so they can control entry.

Your messages of support mean a lot to me and my readers.

How can I repay you?  How about with some pictures of beauty?

For years, the Tioga County (New York) Historical Society has featured an annual Christmas Tree auction they call Oh Tannenbaum.  The exhibit is free to the public.  You can bid on whichever tree (normally, if you win, you just get the decorations, so the museum can reuse the tree) you like.  Proceeds go to charity.

This year's program ended on December 14:  here are some highlights.
Imagine several rooms full of trees.
Some are patriotic.
Some are whimsical.
Some are wreaths.

Some have beautiful toppers.
And some are a bit unusual.

But all express the beauty of the season.

Linking up with Sandee for her #WordlessWednesday

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Ordinary Nature of Hate

Is it the most wonderful time of the year?

This holiday season is not the usual type.  While many celebrate with wonderful traditions, fear has come to certain populations of the United States.

It's become a holiday tradition on my blog, when the Jewish holiday of Hanukah draws close, to blog about an annual museum in Binghamton, New York.

Hanukah House is located in a historic mansion now owned, and part of, Temple Concord.

Here is an outside picture.

During late November and into late December (days vary each year), Hanukah House operates as a museum dedicated to the Jewish holiday of Hanukah.  It's the Festival of Lights, a celebration of rebellion and religious freedom (and a miracle).  Each year its exhibits change.

Here are some of my previous posts.

From 2012

From 2015 

Would You Help a Neighbor? (from 2016)

And then there's this:  The Ordinary Nature of Evil (from 2016)

That was only the beginning, that ordinary nature of evil post.  Times have changed, my reader friends.

At one time you could just walk up to the door and open it, and walk into the museum/synagogue.

No more.

Now, the door to Hanukkah House is locked.  You have to ring a bell, and there is a security camera where the volunteers inside can view you, and decide if they will let you into the building.

Hatred has become so ordinary.  Someone with a gun, a car, a knife, could decide to put their hate into action at the mall, at your church, at your synagogue, at your mosque, at your local big box store, at your local TV station, at a concert, a movie, a grocery store, or even at an office Christmas party.

Just because.

It's so ironic that a woman whose dollhouses and dolls are part of Hanukkah House's exhibits was herself murdered in a mass shooting on April 3, 2009, in an adult classroom in Binghamton, New York.

We all pay the price of the haters among us.

Each and every day.

Even in a museum celebrating a fight for religious freedom.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas of Songs Written By Jews #MusicMovesMe

It's the third  Monday of December and it's time for #MusicMovesMe.   It is time for something that has become one of my favorite seasonal blog posts, updated a little each year. 


It may surprise you that White Christmas, the most popular Christmas song in our country of all time, was written by a Jewish song writer, Irving Berlin.  Not only that, but Jewish composers are responsible for many other beloved Christmas songs.

My quest to find out more started in 2010, reading a NY Times Op Ed.  There are a number of these songs, and other bloggers and writers have done the research for me:  I thank them, including the  this article. (a must read, based on extensive research).

Here is another, more recent article on the topic.

Why would Jews write Christmas songs?   Well, think of the themes of these songs:  Missing your home.  Childhood nostalgia.  Enjoying a season of lights and happiness. The different child (or reindeer), scorned by others, who becomes the best of all.  These are universal themes, and this is why these songs, I think, are so appealing, no matter who wrote them. 

Now, when hatred seems to be swirling around us more and more, I think it's more important than every to listen to these songs.

After all, It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, written by two Jewish composers, Edward Pola and George Wyle.

In addition to featuring "White Christmas" this year (later in this post), I chose another Irving Berlin song, "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep", sung by the incomparable Bing Crosby.  This may not be a true Christmas song, but many people consider it one.

Johnny Marks was responsible for three of the greatest secular Christmas songs - Jingle Bell Rock, A Holly Jolly Christmas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  This year, I chose the Rudolph song sung by the late Dean Martin.

In 1944, Mel Torme and Robert Wells, both Jewish, wrote "The Christmas Song", a personal favorite. I choose the version by Nat King Cole.

Last week, I mentioned Santa Baby, a 1953 song made famous by Eartha Kitt. Both its composers, Joan Javits and Phillip Springer, were Jewish.

I also featured a satire of the song "Winter Wonderland", another song written by two men, one of whom, Felix Bernard, was Jewish.  Here is "Winter Wonderland", sung by Tony Bennett.

Finally, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", and I decided to feature a cover sung by a Jewish singer, Barbra Streisand.  I have to admit, I'm not a fan of the video, but close your eyes and listen to the singing.


Thank you for joining me for another episode of Music Moves Me.  We are bloggers who blog about music each Monday and if you have music to share with us, you are most welcome to join! (Music Posts Only,  please! Non-music posts are subject to removal or labeling as "No Music".)   First, there is XmasDolly.  Her chief co-conductor is Cathy of Curious as a Cathy. Her other co-conductors are Stacy of Stacy Uncorked, and me.  

And that's a Christmas wrap! 

Next week, Hanukah songs.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-December 2019

Winter has come to the Southern Tier of New York, and my zone 5b garden has nothing to show outside.   The pansies, still alive, have no flowers.  My early blooming Christmas Rose has no buds yet (that will come in January, when they play games with the snow - some years they bloom and other years the winter cold gets them.)

But inside, things are blooming.  Welcome to my house this 15th of December, the last Garden Bloggers Bloom Day of 2019. 


Another African Violet

Another African violet.

Finally, my specialty African violet from Lyndon Lyon greenhouses.  A local nursery gets these beauties in twice a year.   The leaves are variegated and an unusual shape.  These are not grown for their flowers.

Red and white speckled poinsettia (the actual blooms are in the center of the picture - the red and white bracts are just lovely, specialized leaves.

 A white Phalaenopsis, which I bought at Home Depot on Black Friday.  I couldn't resist the flowers and the price ($5), and figured, if it lasted a couple of weeks, it would be work it as a bouquet for my table.
Pink Thanksgiving cactus.  My Thanksgiving cactus, and my one Christmas cactus, aren't having a banner year the way they did last year.
But I did find blooms on one of the red cactii.
White poinsettia.

Red Poinsettia, 99 cents at Home Depot for Black Friday.

Finally, for some reason, I can't get a sharp picture of this, a variegated geranium I brought in for the winter.

I bought an amaryllis bulb Black Friday (nothing fancy) and need to get that going.  Other than that, I will wait for those first days of spring.  I don't force Ziva paperwhites because I can't stand the smell - I'm one of those unfortunates for whom paperwhites smell like a garbage dump.  I can't seem to find any other locally, and I don't feel like mail ordering.

I hope this floral beauty has brought a smile to your face this Sunday.

Thank you once again to Carol at May Dreams Gardens, for hosting this 15th of the month meme.  See you next month!