Holidays

October 30th 2014
Every year on the evening of October 31 children in the US and Canada put on costumes and go door to door asking for candy. Some adults put on costume parties. TV networks and theaters air horror movie reruns. But why? Halloween is a corruption of the term All Hallow E'en or  All Hallows Eve, the day in the Christian liturgical year before All Hallows Day, a.k.a. All Saints' Day, which is followed by All Souls' Day. In Catholic tradition it's the time when one  is supposed to remember the... Read Post
March 13th 2014
You know how sometimes all you want to do is celebrate the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter?   Well tomorrow is the perfect day to do exactly that: it's March 14th, aka Pi Day! Here in Somerville there are a few events planned that should make this Pi Day the best one ever. Petsi Pies is having their annual Pi Day celebration.  Recite the digits of pi from memory and win free pie!  More digits = more pie!   Starts at 1:59 p.m. The East Somerville Community School is... Read Post
December 13th 2013
The sound systems in supermarkets and shopping malls are blaring Christmas music, your neighbors have extra lights that are well on their way to frying the local electrical grid and you're trying to figure out an appropriate gift for the uncle who last year gave you From Prairies to Peaks: A History of the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service, 1905-2012. Well, maybe you would like to avoid Yuletide this year.  Maybe you're not in the mood for wreaths and eggnog. Take heart. You've... Read Post
November 26th 2013
Thursday, November 28, will not only be Thanksgiving Day, it will also be the first day of Chanukah.  Some people have taken it upon themselves to create culinary mashups of the two holidays,  an effort I think misguided, but if the Internet is any indicator of the zeitgeist, it seems to be what some people want.   Just like when patrons ask for help finding Fifty Shades of Grey: it's not for me to judge.** My job is just to provide information. Herewith, a modest catalog of Thanskgannukah... Read Post
May 26th 2013
Today is the day the nation remembers those who have died serving in the armed forces.  Originally called Decoration Day, the holiday began to honor those men who had died for the Union in the Civil War.  Time has a brief history of the holiday  here. If you're interested in learning more about the grim realities of military service, I recommend War by Sebastian Junger.  The award-winning author of A Perfect Storm and A Death in Belmont accompanied a platoon during a fifteenth-month tour of... Read Post
December 27th 2011
Burning the Christmas Greens by William Carlos Williams Their time past, pulled down cracked and flung to the fire --go up in a roar All recognition lost, burnt clean clean in the flame, the green dispersed, a living red, flame red, red as blood wakes on the ash-- and ebbs to a steady burning the rekindled bed become a landscape of flame At the winter's midnight we went to the trees, the coarse holly, the balsam and the hemlock for their green At the thick of the dark the moment of the... Read Post