Archive for the ‘Observations on the Strange and Unexpected and on Life Itself’ Category

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 28, 2019

The history of this holiday in the United States is uncertain at best. Some claim it started with Spanish settlers in St. Augustine, Florida an 1565; others look to the English in Virginia in 1619; still others claim it originated in 1621 with the settlers of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Whatever the actual origin, Thanksgiving became a legal holiday here in the United States when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the bill making it such in December of 1941.

Today, of course, it goes beyond giving thanks for the harvest and all that we have; it’s a time for families, travel, shopping, and parades. And New York City is one of the leaders there, with its annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which began at 9 this morning, follows a new route because of the closing of Broadway for the new pedestrian mall. It will still begin at 77th Street and travel south on Central Park West (Eighth Avenue) to 59th Street. Then it will turn onto Seventh Avenue and continue to Macy’s at Herald Square (Sixth Avenue and 34th Street). Although the 3-mile route is different, the floats and balloons and bands and performers are just as good as they always are, so enjoy the holiday!

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

http://www.randolphmase.com

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

Thank a Veteran This Veterans Day!

November 11, 2019

For Veterans Day last year I wrote a Facebook post to honor my ancestors who served in the military. In my genealogical research since then, I have discovered several more veterans. Here’s the updated list of my ancestor veterans, along with their relationship to me and when they served.

  1. Nathaniel Merriman, 8th Great Grandfather, 1630s
  2. Nicholas Byram, 7th Great Grandfather, 1670s
  3. Thomas Merwin, 4th Great Grandfather, 1750s
  4. John Hawks, 6th Great Grandfather, 1750s-1770s
  5. Samuel Mase, 3rd Great Grandfather, 1770s
  6. Moses Tullis, 5th Great Grandfather, 1770s
  7. Jan Van Dyke, 6th Great Grandfather, 1770s, killed in action
  8. Peter Elston Mase, 2nd Great Grandfather, 1810s
  9. Joseph Van Brunt, 3rd Great Grandfather, 1810s
  10. Adam Bommer, 2nd Great Grandfather, 1860s
  11. Sylvester Howell Mase, Great Grandfather, 1860s
  12. Jonathan Langdon Tullis, 3rd Great Grandfather, 1860s
  13. Charles Wesley Tullis, 2nd Great Grandfather, 1860s
  14. Aaron Thayer Tullis, Grandfather, 1910s, wounded in action

I wish I could thank each of these ancestors of mine for their service and sacrifice, but of course I cannot. But I urge each of you to say ‘Thank You’ to any veterans you know. Our veterans are one of the reasons we have remained a free and strong nation for all these years.

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 Day of the Dead

November 1, 2019

We have yet another holiday…in Mexico this time.

In the past few years, I’ve learned a lot about Halloween. I also learned a lot about November 2, known in some cultures as All Souls Day. In Mexico, it’s a holiday called The Day of the Dead. According to a friend of mine in Mexico City, the day celebrates our relatives that have passed away, so that we do remember them. In fact, it’s part of the Mexican culture to laugh in front of Death today, and the photo above is one of an office decoration that my friend sent to me. He said the most famous celebration in Mexico today is in Michoacán State, at Janitzio and nearby Patzcuaro Lake, with many people attending the ceremony at night. You can read more about it, and see more photos, at http://www.mexicoinsmallbytes.com/november.html.

However you do it, it’s very worthwhile to remember and celebrate our ancestors…

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 Halloween!

October 31, 2019

At this time every year, many of us have acquired our stash of candy and anxiously await the arrival of all those children seeking treats, including my grandsons Evan and Noah (shown in this photo of my daughter Jen’s family costumes this year – if you don’t recognize them, search for a 2004 movie with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn).  I don’t know about you, but I never gave much more thought to Halloween, until I watched a program on The History Channel about the history of this day. And that prompted me to do some research about Halloween and its traditions. For example, in the 8th Century, Pope Gregory III declared November 1 as All Hallows (Saints) Day, and the evening before became known as All Hallows Evening, later shortened to Halloween (actually Hallowe’en). And I also learned the history of some of the other traditions associated with the holiday:

Trick or Treating. The Celts left food and sweets around for the evil spirits to take and leave. Years later, in medieval times, poor people would go from door to door, begging for food in return for offering prayers for the dead on All Souls Day, November 2.

The Jack-o’-Lantern. Years ago, many Irish and Scottish people would carve a face into a turnip and place a lighted candle inside to honor the dead on All Souls Day. There is also the legend of Irishman Stingy Jack who tricked the devil into climbing a tree. To avenge this, the devil placed a curse on Jack – he was forced to wander the earth with the only light he had: a candle inside of a hollowed turnip. Thus the name.

The Wearing of Costumes. The Celts also believed that at summer’s end (the same time as Halloween), spirits passed by. Of course, the spirits of ancestors were invited into the home, while evil spirits needed to be warded off. To do this, the Celts wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as evil spirits, thus escaping harm. And of course, today, we see the full range, from the simple to the elaborate and bizarre.

So enjoy the day, but remember the traditions…

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

Is Columbus Day a Forgotten Holiday?

October 14, 2019

It’s interesting that when I was going to school or working, I viewed holidays simply as another day off. Now that I’m doing neither, I find myself trying to learn more about each holiday. Take today – Columbus Day – as an example. Before it was moved to the second Monday in October, Columbus Day was always celebrated on October 12. I always assumed that it marked the birth of Christopher Columbus, but it actually marks the date when he arrived in the Americas. Although it is a federal holiday here in the U.S., only 26 of our states also recognize it as a holiday. In fact, in my last three jobs I worked in a state which still recognizes it as a holiday, yet we did not get the day off.

On this day, let’s taker the time to remember Mr. Columbus and take the time to discover more about the meaning of the day. It’s interesting stuff!

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 Fourth of July!

July 4, 2019

I think that most Americans know enough about our country’s history to realize that today is a celebration of the signing and approval of the Declaration of Independence, beginning our fight for independence in 1776.  But I also think that most of us take the holiday for granted, and view it as just another day off from work, particularly this year when it creates a long weekend for many of us.  But few of us know much else about the holiday; in fact, I learned a lot as I researched it, such as:

  1. In 1778, General George Washington gave his troops a double ration of rum to observe the date. Fortunately, they were recovering from the Battle of Monmouth and didn’t have to prepare for another battle.
  2. In 1779, July 4 was on a Sunday, so the celebrations were held on Monday…perhaps that set the precedent for what we do today.
  3. In 1781, Massachusetts was the first state to make it an official state celebration
  4. The first time July 4 was referred to as Independence Day was in 1791
  5. It was made an unpaid holiday for federal workers in 1870
  6. It was finally declared a paid federal holiday in 1938
  7. The oldest continuous July 4th celebration has been held in Bristol, Rhode Island since 1785.

So whatever you do today, remember the intent of Independence Day as you celebrate!

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

http://www.randolphmase.com

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

Celebrating Flag Day!

June 14, 2019

       I would guess that many of us do not know that today is Flag Day here in the United States.  Established by Congress in 1949, it commemorates the adoption of our national flag by the Second Continental Congress on this date in 1777.  And it’s an opportunity to show our patriotism – if you have an American flag and the weather permits, please display it for all to see.  And if you don’t have a flag, please consider buying one.

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

http://www.randolphmase.com

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 Memorial Day – A Time to Remember Our Veterans

May 27, 2019

       Most of us think of Memorial Day as another Monday holiday, another day off from work, and baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.  But the real purpose, as the name implies, is in memory of our men and women who died while in the military service.

       On this day, I remember two friends who were killed in the Vietnam War.  The first is Jonathan C. Shine, who was in my company at West Point and graduated 2 years before me.  The second was Michael J. Callahan, a friend and neighbor when I was growing up in New City, New York.  Both are memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, and which you can visit virtually at http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/.  Please remember those who have given their lives for our country.

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

http://www.randolphmase.com

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

Celebrating May Day

May 1, 2019

       When I was growing up, I never thought there was anything special about May 1, other than we had less than 2 months until summer vacation.  But in many cultures, particularly those in the Northern Hemisphere, do in fact celebrate it, and the day is a declared holiday in many of those cultures.  Many pre-Christian cultures regarded February 1 as the beginning of Spring, and May 1 then became the beginning of Summer, with cause to celebrate. In other cultures, it was regarded as the end of the unfarmable winter season, another cause for celebration. 

       What it seems to have become now is a celebration of culture.  Here in the United States, it’s known as Lei Day in Hawaii, where it is now a celebration of the island culture and Spring. 

       Whether it’s a holiday or not where you are, enjoy Spring! 

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

http://www.randolphmase.com

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 HaleCelebrating May Day

New York City’s Easter Parade

April 21, 2019

You may know that this parade, one of the most famous in the world, is held every year on Easter Sunday, and is known as a showcase for new clothes and bonnets; hence the popular song by Irving Berlin, “Easter Parade.”  The photo above is of Fifth Avenue during the parade in 1900.

You may also know that today is also April Fool’s Day…but this post is no joke!

You probably don’t know that the Easter Parade differs from other New York City parades in its loose organization, as people generally wander around the area.  Between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon tomorrow, Fifth Avenue will be closed to vehicles between 49th and 57th Streets, and the crowds turn out, some dressed in very unique bonnets, and even some pets dressed up as well.  Good weather – as is expected tomorrow – draws even more people…and zanier outfits.  But in addition to the Easter Parade, there are many other activities planned in the City, including a history and dessert tour of Greenwich Village, Easter Egg Hunts, Easter brunches and dinners, and even special Easter Egg programs at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.  Find your activity at http://gonyc.about.com/cs/holidays/a/easter.htm.  Happy Easter!

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

http://www.randolphmase.com

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


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