A Time to Weep, and a Time to Laugh

January 14, 2020

You may recognize those words from the song Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds (and written by Pete Seeger), and earlier from the Book of Ecclesiastes in The Bible; in fact, I spoke those words at the memorial service for my father in 1998. And it’s so true at this time of year, when the list of celebrities who passed away during the year is published. Among those in 2019 were Doris Day, Peter Fonda, Cokie Roberts, Tim Conway, Bart Starr, Elijah Cummings, Peter Mayhew, Carol Channing, Ross Perot, Lee Iacocca, Georgia Engel, Gloria Vanderbilt, Toni Morrison, Peter Tork, Diahann Carroll, Luke Perry, Robert Forster, Valerie Harper, Kristoff St. John, Albert Finney, Katherine Helmond, Peggy Lipton, Rip Torn, Eddie Money, Rip Taylor, Ric Okasek, Ron Leibman, Carroll Spinney, Danny Aiello, Mel Stottlemyre, Frank Robinson, John Havlicek, Nick Buoniconti, Richard Lugar, and Birch Bayh. And let us never forget the US Service Members, Police, and Firefighters killed in the line of duty, protecting us. For me, the ones I don’t have around any more include my parents Lyman and Alice, my father-in-law Ray, my brother-in-law Jim and his wife Edna, my brother-in-law Mike, my sister-in-law Dottie, and our Aunt Joan, Uncle Joe, and Aunt Rita. But we did get one blessing ten years ago with our grandson Evan, and another 7½ years ago with our grandson Noah. So, remember to be thankful for those we do have close to us…

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Questions to How Well Do You Know Broadway?

January 8, 2020

Here are the questions to the Jeopardy! answers in the category “Behind the Musical Title” I posted last month:

  1. This Broadway musical’s title refers to the fabulous new footwear at the Price & Sons factory in Northampton. – What is “Kinky Boots?”
  2. A sham Vietnamese beauty contest gives us the title of this musical that debuted on Broadway in 1991. – What is “Miss Saigon?”
  3. Percy Jackson & his friends realize that war among Greek gods must be prevented in this musical named for the first Percy Jackson book. – What is “Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief?”
  4. “Professor” Harold Hill is the title character of this 1957 show. – What is “The Music Man?”
  5. The title of a musical set in Newfoundland beginning on 9/11 is a local slang term for a person not from the Maritimes. – What is “Come From Away?”

I again got three of them correct; how did you do?

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2020

So here we are, 2020.  It seems that every year I’ve said, “I can’t believe how fast this year is going!”  And 2019 was no exception.  Overall, it was a very good year that included two great weddings and two great trips, and I’m confident that 2020 will bring more good things.  My wife and I had our usual New Year’s Eve activity – stay at home, enjoy a great meal of beef fondue, and watch the celebrations, particularly the ball drop at Times Square, a mere 60 miles from our former house.  Actually, I’ve never really had the desire to go there in person.  Being squeezed in with more than a quarter million other people (the official estimates the past few years have been much higher) doesn’t really appeal to me.

In case you’re curious, the ball is 12 feet in diameter and weighs almost 6 tons.  It’s covered with almost 3,000 Waterford crystal triangles, with the new patterns representing musicians working together for this year’s theme of Gift of Goodwill, and the lighting is provided by more than 32,000 LEDs in red, blue, green, and white.  Just for comparison, the first ball in 1907 was made of iron and wood, was lighted by one hundred 25-watt light bulbs, had a diameter of 5 feet, and weighed less than half a ton…quite a difference!

If you can’t make it to Times Square tonight (or if you’re like me and you don’t want to make it), you can watch it live at http://www.timessquarenyc.org/, starting just before 6pm tonight. Happy New Year!

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Kwanzaa Begins

December 26, 2019

I’ve learned a lot doing research for this blog, and the latest thing I’ve learned is about Kwanzaa. Most of you have probably heard of it, but I’d guess that most of you don’t really know what it’s all about (as was the case with me).

The official Kwanzaa website describes it as a “Celebration of Family, Community, and Culture.” Further words from the site add a little more meaning to that: “Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense.”

It’s a seven-day celebration (December 26 through January 1) created by Maulana Karnga in 1966, and today is observed by up to 28 million people around the world. Kwanzaa is based on seven principles:

  1. Unity – to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race
  2. Self-Determination – to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves
  3. Collective Work and Responsibility – to build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together
  4. Cooperative Economics – to build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together
  5. Purpose – to make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  6. Creativity – to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it
  7. Faith – to believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Not bad principles to live by, are they? You can learn more at their official website at http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml. Happy Kwanzaa!

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2019

Most of us know that Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Over the years, however, it has expanded beyond Christianity, and other traditions and symbols have surfaced. Many of us don’t know the origin of things such as:

  1. The custom of erecting a Christmas tree goes back to Germany in the 1500s, and was perhaps decorated with paper flowers and candles
  2. Christmas lights, which actually started when early Christians, persecuted for their group worships, placed candles in the windows of houses where those gatherings would take place
  3. Hanging stockings popularly started when Saint Nicholas was looking for a place to put gifts of gold coins for the three daughters of a poor man; the only thing he could find were stockings that had been hung over the mantel to dry
  4. The modern-day Christmas tree ornament, known as a bauble, was first produced in 1847
  5. About that same time, candy canes were first hung on Christmas trees
  6. Christmas hymns have been around since the 4th century
  7. Even traditional Christmas Carols date back to the Middle Ages
  8. The first commercial Christmas card was produced in 1843 in London
  9. Santa Claus originated in Holland, and comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas, which means Saint Nicholas.

Whether your customs and traditions are Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or even Festivus, enjoy the day and the season!

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

It’s Christmas Eve…

December 24, 2019

…and what would be more fitting than quoting the poem The Night Before Christmas, by Clement C. Moore or Henry Livingston (I never knew this, but evidently there’s quite a controversy about who actually wrote it.) My grandson Evan (and I’m sure his little brother Noah will also enjoy it soon) loves me to read this to him, so I’ll do exactly that tonight. Enjoy the holidays! 

‘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 down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the 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 the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it 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 dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the house-top 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 peddler, 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 of 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 bowlful 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.’

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back often – I write and post every day! And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well. They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com. On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Hanukkah Begins

December 22, 2019

As you may know, Hanukkah (Chanukah) is an eight-day Jewish festival of light that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, purity over adulteration (I have no further comments about that right now), and spirituality over materiality. The festival began more than 20 centuries ago when a small band of faithful Jews drove the Greek army from the Holy Land and reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They could find only a little olive oil to light the menorah in the temple, and it miraculously lasted for eight days. Today, the eight candles are lit on successive days, the first on December 11 and the last today. Other Hanukkah customs include fried foods such as latkes and sufganiot; playing with the dreidel, a spinning top; and giving gifts of money to children.

And for a real treat, visit what’s billed as the world’s largest menorah, located south of Central Park. It’s 32 feet high, 28 feet wide, weighs 4,000 pounds, and will be lighted daily at 5:30 p.m. (3:30 on Friday and 8:00 on Saturday) from today through next Sunday.

Whether you celebrate and observe it or not, Happy Hanukkah!

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

How Well Do You Know Broadway?

December 18, 2019

One of the categories on a recent Jeopardy! episode was “Behind the Musical Title.”  Here are the answers; just come up with the correct question for each.  I’ll give those questions in a future post:

  1. This Broadway musical’s title refers to the fabulous new footwear at the Price & Sons factory in Northampton.
  2. A sham Vietnamese beauty contest gives us the title of this musical that debuted on Broadway in 1991.
  3. Percy Jackson & his friends realize that war among Greek gods must be prevented in this musical named for the first Percy Jackson book.
  4. “Professor” Harold Hill is the title character of this 1957 show.
  5. The title of a musical set in Newfoundland beginning on 9/11 is a local slang term for a person not from the Maritimes.

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Questions to How Well Do You Know Broadway?

December 12, 2019

Here are the questions to the Jeopardy! answers in the category “Recent Broadway Plays” I posted a couple of weeks ago:

  1. Heidi Schreck reaches back to her days debating civics as a 15-year-old in “What” this document “Means to Me.” – What is the Constitution?
  2. Laurie Metcalf & John Lithgow play the first couple in “Hillary & Clinton,” set in this year Hillary first ran for president. – What is 2008?
  3. Set during The Troubles, “The Ferryman,” which which won the 2019 Tony for Best Play, takes place in this U.K. country. – What is Northern Ireland?
  4. Billed as a sequel to this first Shakespeare tragedy, the comedy “Gary” takes place after the climactic bloody Roman feast. – What is “Titus Andronicus?”
  5. Ethan Hawke broke more than 10 golf clubs wrecking the set nightly in a revival of this playwright’s “True West.” – Who is Sam Shepard?

I only got two of them correct, which isn’t too bad, considering I haven’t been to a Broadway play in a while. How did you do?

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is Now Lighted!

December 5, 2019

The annual celebration surrounding the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center did indeed happen last night. A little about the tree first: it’s a 77-foot high Norway spruce that had been growing in Florida, NY. It’s been decorated with more than five miles of lights (50,000 bulbs) which with the Swarovski Crystal star on top (that contains 3 million crystals and weighs 900 pounds!) are the only decorations. After the holidays, the tree is recycled and provided to Habitat for Humanity to build homes for the needy.

The ceremony, broadcast on NBC and attended by an estimated 500,000 people, was hosted by Al Roker, Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, and Craig Melvin, and included performances by John Legend, Idina Menzel, Derek and Julianne Hough, Lea Michele, Brett Eldredge, and of course the Radio City Rockettes.

Whether or not you watched the ceremony, the tree merits a personal visit…

Feel free to leave a comment, and please come back – I write and post often!  And if you like what I have to say and how I say it, you’ll probably enjoy my novels as well.  They’re listed below, and you can read more about them on my improved website, designed and built by my son Don, http://www.randolphmase.com.  On my site, you’ll also find excerpts of my books that you can read – please check it out!

Randolph Mase, Fiction Writer

https://www.amazon.com/author/randolphmase

http://www.facebook.com/MatthewHoganMysteries

http://twitter.com/randolphmase

My Novels:

Death on Broadway

Death Beneath the Streets

Death in Central Park

Death at The Cloisters

Death Inside Diamond Head (under construction)

Nathan Hale


%d bloggers like this: