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Archive for the ‘Holidays and Special Dates’ Category

A Visit from St. Nicholas

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
 – Clement Clarke Moore (or was it Major Henry Livingston, Jr.?)

 

Both Moore and Livingston are credited with having written this poem for their own children. Both men lived in New York. Henry Livingston was born in 1748, and Clement Clarke Moore some 30 years later in 1779. Both were prolific writers. And there the similarities seem to end.
Moore claimed to have written the poem in 1832. It was published the following year in a newspaper, but was not attributed to any author. In 1844, Clement’s book Poems was published, and included the poem A Visit from St. Nicolas.
Livingston, on the other hand, never mentioned that he wrote the poem. But he did write many poems and light verse. His great-grandson was instrumental in giving credit to Livingston for the poem.
In either case, the poem is here for you to enjoy on this Christmas Eve. Read it aloud. Read it to your children, to your grandchildren, to your partners or your pets. And

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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Happy National Leon Day!

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Joy L. (vintagejoy)

 

There are things we hear and see throughout our lives that just seem to stick in our memories. One thing that I remember is from a Christmas TV spot on the series ‘Home Improvement.’ (Tim the Toolman Taylor? Quite a few years ago) It’s about a Christmas program that the Taylor children were participating in. They were each to hold a letter of the alphabet to spell ‘NOEL.’ Well, they got mixed up about where they were supposed to stand and spelled it backward to reveal ‘LEON.’ This struck me as being very hilarious for some reason. Over the years – especially during the Christmas holidays I remember that show and ‘Leon.’

Now I would like to be the very first to wish you on June 25:

Very Happy National Leon Day!

It has finally been proclaimed!

Which brings up another thought; why on earth does everything have to be a national day of something or other?

I did some searching around and found the following days to be quite intriguing;

Jan 3 National Drinking Straw Day – Wait, what?

Jan 28 National Kazoo Day – O, please No!

Mar 25 National Waffle Day – Cue up IHOP & Waffle House!

Apr 15 National Tax Day – This is not amusing at all.

Apr 17 National ‘Nothing Like a Dame’ Day – Really??

May 9 National Lost Sock Memorial Day – Let’s just take a minute……

June 1 National Go Barefoot Day – it is a good thing this is not the same day as:

June 2 National Rocky Road Day – emergency room visits would be way up if it was
the same day.

Dec 5 National Bathtub Party Day – this will probably need to be canceled this year
as it would be impossible to maintain social distancing in a bathtub.

Let’s just have a National Anything Day and be done with it! 🙂

 

 

Book Give-Away and Interview with Author D.M. Denert

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Mr. Denert for agreeing to this interview!
I’m glad to do it, thanks for having me.

First, please tell us a little about your book, Derek’s Great Thanksgiving Escape.
To be honest, it all happened quite spontaneously. I’ve been meaning to write some of the bedtime stories I’ve told my kids over the years, but never found the time.
Then one day, a bit out of nowhere, the idea to write a short story about Thanksgiving popped into my head. One thing led to another and I ended up turning the short story into a short book because I just had too much fun writing it.

It is a very amusing tale, told from the perspective of an 8-year-old boy trying to get out of spending Thanksgiving Dinner at the table with his relatives, including, his angry sister, weird cousins and kissing aunties whose kisses are inpossible to wipe off.
How much of this story is drawn from your experiences as a youngster?
I would say a great deal. However, it wasn’t just Thanksgiving as we tend to spend it with a small family group, so it wasn’t that bad. Other holidays and family gatherings were a whole different story, and often-included weird cousins and kissing aunties.
Those, I dreaded and tried to escape more than once, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Do any of your own children have plans to escape from Thanksgiving  dinner this year?
I don’t think so, but then again, they seem to enjoy family gathering more than I did when I was a kid.

There are some very handy tips in this book about how to avoid monsters, particularly attic monsters. Would you please share them here, just in case any of our members need to avoid attic monsters during the upcoming holiday season?
Sure, there are 3 key ones:
• Be super quiet. Monsters seem to avoid you if you’re staying silent
• Pretend you’re asleep. Closing your eyes seems to make them go away
• Have a clear path of escaping when the two above don’t work.
With that said, it’s probably best to avoid attics and basements when you’re alone in general.

Have you always been a writer and storyteller?
As a kid I was often told I have a very active imagination, I guess most kids do, but it seems I didn’t grow out of mine. With that said, I did write some fantasy as a teenager and young adult, but really got going as a storyteller when my first daughter was born.
I had to tell her at least 3 or 4 stories per night before she would let me go.

Do you have plans for publishing your next book?
Yes, I have a few in mind.
Two will be a continuation of Derek’s adventures. One about Christmas and the other summer vacation.
I’ve been also toying with the idea about writing a fantasy novel for children. Naturally, these will include dragons, fairies and monsters.

Did you have a favorite author growing up?

Growing up some of the earliest reading I did for fun, instead being forced to, were the Harry Potter books. The whole idea that there was another world paralleled to our one has really captivated my early years. Especially, how I was 11, the same age Harry is at the start, when the books were published in United States.

I think JK Rowling did a great job making it believable and I spend more than a few nights reading the series. Which also kick-started my passion for reading and later writing.

And now, do you have a favorite author?

One of my favorites, if not the favorite, author as an adult is Fyodor Dostoevsky. Others are Stephen King, Joe Abercrombie and of course Tolkien and CS Lewis, as both I discovered and enjoyed as an adult.

Now for some fun questions:

Stuffing or dressing?
Definitely stuffing, with bacon and mushrooms

Fresh cranberries or canned?
I think I never had fresh, so canned?

Apple or pumpkin pie?
Apple, while I enjoy pumpkin pie apple pie has always been my favorite.

Weird cousins or kissing aunties?
Weird cousins, nothing is worse than kissing aunties! I’m just kidding, but weird cousins seem to be a lot more fun. __________

Mr. Denert has generously offered to give away 3 copies of his book to PaperBackSwap Members who comment. Tell us who you would like to read his book to for a chance to win. We will choose 3 lucky winners at random from the comments we receive here on the Blog. Good luck to Everyone!

If you would like to learn more about Mr. Denert you can view is website at:  dmdenert.com

or follow him on Facebook here.

 

 

Veterans Day

Monday, November 11th, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

 

By Cyn F. (Cyn-Sama)

 

While my soul loves everything ooky and spooky about Halloween, I also have a fascination with death culture – how we mourn, and how we care for our dead. My introduction to this was through Jessica Mitford, and the American Way of Death, a scathing expose into the heart of the funeral industry. While it’s an older book, most of the practices still are being used.

 

Then I discovered Caitlin Doughty, and Dr. Paul Koudounaris. Caitlin, is also known for her YouTube series, Ask a Mortician, started off with writing Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: and Other Lessons from the Crematory, about her experiences working in a crematorium. She also spreads light on the growing green burial movement, which her funeral home specializes in.
Her next book, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, shows different cultures views on death, and how they memorialize their loved ones. I’m slightly partial to the chapter on Mexico, and the Day of the Dead celebrations.

 

 
Her most current book Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death, is a series of death related questions, from children. And, no. Your cat will most likely not eat your eyeballs. They’ll go for things like your nose and lips first.
 

Dr. Paul Koudounaris is a well known photographer and art historian. I was introduced to him through Caitlin Doughty, and was drawn to his knowledge, and by how beautiful his photography is. His most recent work is Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us is about the memorials and traditions from around the world.
His previous works are: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, a look into the curious practice of churches taking the bodies of supposed Christian martyrs, and covering them
with jewels and fine clothing.

 

Then there is The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses. Do you know what an ossuary is? It’s the name for a space that is designed to serve as the final resting place for skeletal remains. You may have heard some of the “bone churches” in Eastern Europe. This book covers all of that.
I hope you will find something on this list interesting. I personally find it fascinating, and I want to share how awesome it all is with everyone I know.

 

Have a happy Halloween, and remember to stay spooky.
 

September 11, 2019.

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Banned Book Week – How many have you read?

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Below is a partial list of banned and challenged books, compiled by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. The ALA cites Robert P. Doyle in his book Banned Books, “at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts”.

Many of the books on this list have been swapped by our members; some thousands of times. Which banned or challenged books have you read?

 

 

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger

 

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

 

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

 

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

 

Ulysses, by James Joyce

Beloved, by Toni Morrison

The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

1984, by George Orwell

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

 

 

To see the entire list, you can visit the ALA’s website at this link:

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics