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

Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2020

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.

And guess what?  Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is happening today on Coney Island, albeit with some changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  One of the changes is that no observers/audience will be there.  If you miss that, try having your own contest on Zoom with family and friends!

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

Nathan Hale

Celebrating Flag Day!

June 14, 2020

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

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 (coming soon!)

Nathan Hale

Death Inside Diamond Head is Here!

June 11, 2020

Good News – Death Inside Diamond Head has been published in Kindle format! And I can use your help. One of the steps in the publishing process I’ve used is to obtain verified reviews (verified only means that the person who submits the review actually bought the book). So, if you read books on Kindle, like mysteries, and appreciate a quick, easy read, please consider buying my book and leaving a review on Amazon.com. You don’t have to read the entire book (although it is short); you can leave a review based upon a chapter or two, if you prefer. To help you, I’ve cut the price to just $.99 for the next two weeks. Click here to buy my book and leave your review. Thanks for your help!

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 (coming soon!)

Nathan Hale

It’s Memorial Day – A Time to Remember Those Who Sacrificed

May 25, 2020

 

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 three people. The first is Jonathan C. Shine, who was in my company at West Point and graduated 2 years before me. He was killed in action on October 15, 1970. He was 23. The second is Michael J. Callahan, a friend and neighbor when I was growing up in New City, New York. He was killed in action on November 8, 1967. He was 18. The third is my 6th great grandfather Jan Van Dyke. He was killed in action at the Battle of Monmouth on December 4, 1777. He was 68. Please take time to 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

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 Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2020

Each year, we celebrate Mother’s Day here in the United States (and Canada as well) on the second Sunday in May. But do you know the history of this holiday? Actually, it depends on the country. For example, the United Kingdom’s version called Mothering Sunday actually started in the 16th century, and occurs on the fourth Sunday in Lent. In South Korea, they celebrate Parents’ Day each year on May 8 (did you also know that we also have a Parents’ Day here in the US, signed into law in 1994 by President Clinton and observed on the fourth Sunday of July?). The Mother’s Day as we celebrate it in the US today was officially recognized in 1914 after years of effort by activist Anna Jarvis. And it’s observed by about 70 countries around the world. Although it is highly commercialized today (lots and lots of cards and flowers and meals), the original intent was to honor our mothers, living or not. This photo is my mother, taken shortly before I was born. To all mothers out there, I hope your special day is indeed special.

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

Enjoy Cinco de Mayo!

May 5, 2020

I think we’ve all heard of Cinco de Mayo, and probably associate it with Margaritas and dinner specials at Don Pablo, and that it means “5th of May.” But you may not know the origin of the holiday (which, by the way, is apparently a minor holiday in Mexico, but celebrated widely in the U.S.), so I did some research.

The day actually commemorates the Mexican Army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. France had sent troops to Mexico over a defaulted loan, and the two armies clashed at Puebla, with the French finally retreating after the day-long battle. Although it was more of a symbolic than strategic victory for Mexico, it did bolster the resistance, resulting in France’s departure 6 years later.

Don’t give up on it this year to avoid social gatherings! Make mock Margaritas for the younglings and have a virtual happy hour with friends and family using Zoom, Facetime, or some other platform. And you won’t even have to drive home!

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 April Fool’s Day

April 1, 2020

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 (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17, 2020

This seems to be an appropriate time to write about St. Patrick’s Day, so I will. Today is the national holiday of Ireland, and celebrates the life of Saint Patrick, a Christian missionary who lived in the 4th and 5th centuries. It began as a religious holiday, and became a public holiday in 1903. The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in Boston in 1737, but the longest-running and largest parade is in New York, which has run every year since 1762, and today would have attracted two million spectators and 150,000 marchers. However, this year’s parade has been postponed due to coronavirus activity. As you know, green is the color of choice, with a river dyed green in Chicago, a canal in Indianapolis, and fountains in Savannah. Even those not of Irish ancestry participate in the festivities (in fact, I’ve gone to several “St. Paddy’s Day” parties in the past few years, and I’ve got only one connection – McCracken – and that name hails from Northern Ireland). So regardless of your background, enjoy!

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 Presidents Day!

February 17, 2020

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 43 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 (under construction)

Nathan Hale

It’s Groundhog Day!

February 2, 2020

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 (under construction)

Nathan Hale


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