25 February 2009

Rudolph Day, February 2009

The purpose of Rudolph Day is to keep the Christmas spirit all year long. One can prepare Christmas gifts or crafts, watch a Christmas movie, play Christmas music, or read a Christmas book.

For our February edition, play Reindeer Roundup

Read Temple Bailey's "A Candle in the Forest"

Like these newfangled MP3s? Download Christmas albums or individual songs at Amazon.com

Also noted are Ace Collins' two Christmas songs books, Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas and More Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas. These are short pieces about the history of favorite Christmas hymns, carols, and songs. Not everyone's taste is the same, and I have to admit that "The Christmas Shoes," "Blue Christmas," and "Pretty Paper," all covered in these books, are probably my least favorite Christmas songs, but they are best-loved by quite a few folks out there. :-) But I have never heard of "Thank God for Kids," "It Wasn't His Child," "Come and See What's Happening in the Barn," or "Christmas in the Country," nor heard them played anywhere, or seen them on Christmas CDs. Shouldn't "best-loved" songs mean just that, ones everyone knows rather than some obscure country and western songs like these seem to be? Otherwise these are readable, interesting pieces on each of the songs.

02 February 2009

How Much Wood...

Bother. With the weather report the way it is, looks like "General Lee" will not see his shadow. Noooooo! Not spring! Not spring!

Groundhog Day 2009 at the Yellow River Game Ranch

The "official" groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.

The groundhog tradition comes from beliefs centered on the Christian holiday Candlemas (40 days after Christmas, the day when all Christmas greens must be removed or it will bring bad luck; the name comes from the Church practice of blessing the candles that day for use in the remainder of the liturgical year) and the pagan celebration Imbolc. A Scottish poem says of this day:
"As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger;
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas be cloud and snow,
Winter will be gone and not come again.
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay.
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop."
Early American references to Groundhog Day go back as far as 1841 and state this as a German custom. The original German animal, however, was a badger; once in the United States, the behavior was changed to the groundhog (also known as the woodchuck).

01 February 2009

Thanksgiving Flashbacks

Check out this New York Daily News site, with vintage Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade photos.