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Christmas Star 2020

Solstice, the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, happens on December 21. In addition to being the longest night, December 21, 2020 is also the date of the Great Conjunction when Jupiter and Saturn will be so closely aligned that, providing the night is clear, you can go outside and see a

Christmas Cards: From Convenient Greeting to Annual Burden

I grew up in a different America, one that had one black plastic rotary phone per household and one black & white family television powered by tubes. Yes, it was that long ago. Christmas trees were “live” with scraggly branches and decorated with strands of tinsel that had to be correctly placed, usually by a

SANTA, ELVES, & LIFE ON THE NORTH POLE

With the Thanksgiving holiday in the “rear-view” mirror, many Americans focus their attention on end of the year celebrations. And the most popular symbol of secular joy is Santa Claus. Many cultures celebrate a generous gift-giving spirit. In the United States, he goes by the name Santa Claus and is instantly recognizable in his red

The First Thanksgiving Feast

Over the years, historians have shared stories about the multi-cultural harvest event that took place in Plymouth in 1621. The usual version is that when the Pilgrims arrived on Cape Cod, the Wampanoag People showed them how to plant corn, and that when the harvest came in, everyone celebrated. If you don’t look too closely,

Cranberries — An American Fruit

Do you recognize this iconic Norman Rockwell picture? The artist created it in 1943 with the title Freedom from Want to illustrate one of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms justifying American participation World War II. The illustration went on to represent the perfect American Thanksgiving Celebration. Three generations gather around the dinner table to enjoy a truly

Lillian Gilbreth & The Modern American Kitchen

This is a story about Lillian Gilbreth and how she applied principles of scientific management developed by Frederick Taylor to modernize American kitchens.  Taylor believed there was one best way to accomplish any task. The trick is to find it. Once the method is discovered, tools and work methods can be standardized to increase efficient

Daylight Saving – It’s About Time

Do you have a traditional clock or watch? Did you remember to push time back an hour? If you use a smart device to find “tell” time, the change happened automatically. If, like me, you still wear an old-fashioned watch, the adjustment requires a bit more attention. Daylight Saving happens twice every year, forward in

Ichabod Disappears

Imagine. Two horses approach Sleepy Hollow Bridge at a thunderous gallop. No doubt the first horse, Gunpowder, is on his last legs. He’s hardly fit enough for a trot. Now he catches his rider’s terror, and gallops as if the very devil is behind him. The second horse is sleek and muscular. His hooves pound

Ichabod Crane Flees The Headless Horseman

Ichabod Crane is a poor man with aspirations; a lover of ghost stories who fears the dark. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving creates an unsympathetic character as the subject of his American ghost story. Last week, Ichabod courted Katrina Van Tassel, hoping she would accept him as a suitor. One wonders why

Ichabod Crane Goes a-Courtin’

In honor of Halloween, I’m sharing Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow this month. It’s about more than a wild horseback ride in the dead of night. Last week we met Ichabod Crane, a man of unfortunate appearance and few prospects. Nevertheless, Ichabod persevered in his quest for a comfortable life. Ichabod set his