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

Today is Easter, a Christian Holy Day

April 4, 2021

I’ve written a few posts about my ancestors who served in the military.  I’ve also found in my research many ancestors who were religious leaders.  This Christian Holy Day is an appropriate day to write about them, so here they are, with interesting notes for a few of them:

  1. Reverend John Rogers 1506-1555, 10th Great grandfather, charged with heresy by the Church of England for his Separatist beliefs and was burned at the stake during the reign of Queen Mary I (known as Bloody Mary)
  2. Reverend John Lathrop 1584-1653 (shown above), 9th Great grandfather, also charged with heresy by the Church of England for his Separatist beliefs and exiled from England. He escaped with his family on a ship bound for America minutes before the Archbishop of Canterbury’s men arrived at his house to arrest him.
  3. Deacon Richard Platt 1603-1684, 8th Great grandfather
  4. Deacon Stephen Hart 1605-1683, 9th Great grandfather, arrived in Boston in 1632 then moved west and bought land at a low point of the Connecticut River which enabled crossing. The area was known as Hart’s Ford, later becoming Hartford.
  5. Reverend Obadiah Holmes 1607-1682, 8th Great grandfather
  6. Reverend Abraham Pierson 1609-1678, 9th Great grandfather, arrived in Boston in 1640 and later led his congregation to New Jersey, founding Newark in 1666.
  7. Deacon Pierre Montfort 1616-1661, 8th Great grandfather
  8. Deacon Willem van Couwenhoven 1636-1728, 7th Great Grandfather
  9. Reverend Richard Henderson 1689-1769, 6th Great Grandfather

I’m thinking of writing a story or short book about my religious and military ancestors, calling it Bibles and Bullets.  What do you think?

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

It’s April Fool’s Day

April 1, 2021

But I’m not going to write something to fool you or pull any pranks.  Maybe.

I have seen some good ones, though.  Years ago when I lived in Reading, Pennsylvania, I was a faithful listener of the Mike and Dave Morning Show on WRFY radio.  On this particular day, I turned on the radio in my car on the way to work, only to find that the late morning DJ was hosting the early show.  I heard no mention of the change for several minutes.  Finally, an announcement came on air that Mike and Dave were no longer employed by the station.  Now, they (particularly Dave) had a reputation of pushing the airwave envelope – not to the point of being shock jocks, but pushing it nevertheless – so their termination did not surprise me.  But it really disappointed me.  In fact, I was really in a funk the rest of the day.  The next morning, I heard their familiar voices on the radio.  And then it occurred to me that the day before was April 1!  I called them and let them know that they “got” me.  They just laughed and said that was the point.  So go ahead and play your pranks, and maybe leave a comment abut the funniest April Fool’s prank you’ve seen!

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Happy Presidents Day!

February 15, 2021

When I was a kid, I used to love February.  My birthday’s in this month, and we also celebrated two holidays – and had two days off from school – in February as well.  What kid wouldn’t love that?

We were off on February 12, Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, and February 22, George Washington’s Birthday.  Then in the 1970s, some lawmakers had the wonderful idea to move the celebration of Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February, and in the following years Lincoln’s Birthday was dropped as a holiday and the new holiday became a celebration of all of our presidents.  It just seems strange that Presidents Day never falls on the actual birth date of George Washington (it’s always somewhere between February 15 and February 21).  And it’s also strange that only 4 of our 46 presidents were born in February.  But all I know is that we lost a day off from school…

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

It’s Groundhog Day!

February 2, 2021

Many of us have probably seen the movie with Bill Murray, essentially about reliving something many times, until we change our behavior and transcend it.  And most of us probably associate Groundhog Day with Punxsutawney Phil, the famous prognosticator in western Pennsylvania who predicts the arrival of Spring each year, based on whether or not he sees his shadow.  However, did you know that each year no fewer than 15 groundhogs make their predictions?  Take a look at this list:

  1. Balzac Billy – Alberta, Canada
  2. Dunkirk Dave – New York
  3. French Creek Freddie – West Virginia
  4. General Beauregard Lee – Georgia
  5. Jimmy the Groundhog – Wisconsin
  6. Josh Porter – Ohio, I think (I couldn’t find a more specific reference)
  7. Malverne Mel – New York
  8. Octoraro Orphie – Pennsylvania (Phil’s rival)
  9. Punxsutawney Phil – Pennsylvania
  10. Queen Charlotte – North Carolina
  11. Shubenacadie Sam – Nova Scotia, Canada
  12. Sir Walter Wally – North Carolina
  13. Staten Island Chuck – New York
  14. Wiarton Willie – Ontario, Canada
  15. Woodstock Willie – Illinois

Interestingly enough, half of the furry creatures typically predict six more weeks of winter each year, and the others predict an early Spring.  So who do you believe?  I think the best way is to do it yourself: walk out of your house at daybreak and see if your shadow appears.  I would have done it, except the weather forecast was morning breezy and cold.  So I  stuck with the electric blanket and let the groundhogs do the work…

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Let’s Remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 18, 2021

Since today is the celebration of Dr. King’s birthday (he was actually born on January 15, and would have been 91 years old this year), it only seems fitting that I share a few words about Dr. King.  In case you don’t know, he was a leader of the movement to end segregation and discrimination in the 1950s and 1960s, leading to his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, as well as posthumous awards of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.  His life was tragically cut short in 1968, at the young age of 39.  His most memorable and inspiring speech was likely was “I Have A Dream,” delivered at the Washington Mall in August of 1963.  If you’ve never heard it, I strongly suggest that you watch the March on Washington and Dr. King’s speech here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs.

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

A Time to Weep, and a Time to Laugh

January 12, 2021

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 2020 were Edd Byrnes, Kobe Bryant, Mary Higgins Clark, Kirk Douglas, Orson Bean, Robert Conrad, Max von Sydow, Kenny Rogers, Honor Blackman, James Drury, Brian Dennehy, Little Richard, Jerry Stiller, Fred Willard, Ian Holm, Carl Reiner, Kelly Preston, Regis Philbin, Olivia de Havilland, Trini Lopez, Kevin Dobson, Diana Rigg, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Helen Reddy, Mac Davis, Eddie Van Halen, Conchata Ferrell, Rhonda Fleming, Sean Connery, Alex Trebek, Charley Pride, John le Carré, Pierre Cardin, and Dawn Wells.  And let us never forget the US Service Members, Police, and Firefighters killed in the line of duty, protecting us.  And this year, special recognition of front-line healthcare workers and first responders who risked their lives to help those stricken by Covid.  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.

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2020

2020 is almost over! It has been a terrible and forgettable year for millions of people around the world, through loss of a loved one, loss of a job or business, or extreme financial hardship.  I consider myself lucky to not be included in this group: our family members and close friends are still in good health, our goddaughter Lindsey was married, we welcomed great niece Emelia Mase into the world, and my latest mystery was an Amazon best-seller.  So while I’m not giving 2020 an Easy Rider salute as it leaves, I do look forward to a year of health and prosperity for all.

Now for the New Years Ball Drop in Times Square.  It will happen this year, but closed to the public.  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 a sunburst of bright colors for this year’s theme of Gifts of Happiness, Goodwill, Harmony, Serenity, Kindness, Wonder, Fortitude, and Imagination, 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!  You can enjoy the drop from the comfort of your home; information is at NYE Live Webcast | Times Square NYC.

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Kwanzaa Begins

December 26, 2020

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 about Kwanzaa at Kwanzaa – HISTORY.

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2020

Typically my Christmas post is about the origin of Christmas traditions and symbols.  However, since just about everything else has changed in this unusual year, I’ll change my post as well.

Many years ago, the only payment option we had at toll booths was cash.  On a whim one day I decided to pay for the car behind me.  It wasn’t much – fifty cents or so – and I did it mostly to freak him out.  But I never knew the effect of my action.

Fast forward to two days ago.  I was in the drive-thru line at Starbucks and when I got to the window I told the employee that I wanted to pay for the car behind me.  She smiled – at least I think she did; she was wearing a mask, of course – and said that I was “very nice.”  I asked her to tell the driver “Merry Christmas.”  Again, I don’t know the effect of my action, but I do know two things.  First, it felt good, as I might have helped someone in a difficult situation.  Second, there was a child (I’d guess about six or seven) in the car behind me, and I like to think that my action was a positive lesson in generosity for him.  If you’ve never done something like this, I urge you to try it; it’s a good feeling.  Whether you observe Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or even Festivus, remember the spirit of giving!

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

It’s Christmas Eve…

December 24, 2020

…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 grandsons Evan and Noah loved me to read this to him, so I’ll do exactly that today.  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 – 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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale


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