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

Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2021

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, returning to its pre-pandemic format!

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

Today is Juneteenth!

June 19, 2021

You may be cocking your head and asking, “What?”  Since it recently became a federal holiday, here is some info to get you familiar with the day.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.  On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army landed with his troops at Galveston, Texas, and shared the news that the Civil War had ended and that the slaves were now free.

One of the first things Granger did is read General Order Number 3 to the people of Texas:

       “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

You can find more information about Juneteenth at http://juneteenth.com.

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

Celebrating Flag Day!

June 14, 2021

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.  I think it’s more important now than it has been for a long time, considering the events of the past year.  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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

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

May 31, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 9, 2021

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

Death Under Jones Beach (under construction)

Nathan Hale

Celebrating May Day

May 1, 2021

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

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

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


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