Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Lamentation of Swans

They are usually known as a flock or bevy (A wedge when you see them flying in their usual V formation.)

But a lamentation of swans is truly poetic.

Tonight's the Sixth night of Kwanzaa.

Tonight celebrates Kuumba (Creativity) - To do always as much as one can, in the way one can, in order to leave their community more beautiful and beneficial than one inherited it.

December 31, 1907-
For the first time a ball drops at Times Square to signal the New Year on this date.

The New Year’s Eve Ball first descended from a flagpole at One Times Square, constructed with iron and wood materials with 100 25-watt bulbs weighing 700 pounds and measuring 5 feet in diameter.

December 31, 1958 -
Rebels forces lead by Fidel Castro march triumphantly into Havana, Cuba. Cuban dictator Juan Batista flees the country with 180 of his supporters and personal fortune of more than $300 million dollars amassed through graft and payoffs.

Michael grasps Fredo tightly by the head and gives a kiss, telling him "I know it was you Fredo; you broke my heart." Michael appeals to his brother to join him in leaving the country, but Fredo runs away, frightened.

But that's another story ...

December 31, 1995
Cartoonist Bill Watterson ends his Calvin & Hobbes comic strip on this date. Calvin and Hobbes debuted in 1985 and featured the adventures of Calvin, a hyperactive, overly imaginative, bratty six-year-old, and his best friend, the stuffed tiger Hobbes.

Other regularly appearing characters included Calvin's stressed out parents; Susie Derkins, the neighborhood girl; Miss Wormwood, the much put-upon school teacher; Mo, the school bully; and Rosalyn, the only baby-sitter willing to watch Calvin.

Hope you all have wonderful plans for this evening. The only advice I can give you is - Drink til you drop and drop where you drink - Don't drink and drive.

Here’s a brief overview of New Years Celebrations

Although the new year has been celebrated since prehistoric times, it was celebrated on the vernal equinox rather than what we now consider the first of the year. The Romans were the first to recognize New Years Day on January first. Rather than tie the day to some significant astronomical or agricultural event, in 153 BC the Romans selected it for civil reasons. It was the day after elections in which the newly elected assumed their positions.

Years later, Julius Caesar wanted to change the date to a more logical date but that year, January 1, 45 BC was the date of a new moon. To change it would have been bad luck. He did, however, change the calendar system from the Egyptian solar calendar to the "Julian" calendar, named for Caesar. July, the month of Caesar's birth, was also named after him to recognize him for his calendar reform. And look what it got him.

Up unto 1582, Christian Europe continued to celebrate New Years Day on March 25. Pope Gregory XIII instituted additional calendar reforms bringing us the calendaring system of the day. The Gregorian calendar was adopted by Catholic countries immediately while the reformists, suspect of any papal policy, only adapted it after some time. Today most countries around the world have adopted this calendaring system.

From primitive man to today, it has been recognized as a day in which rites were done to abolished the past so there could be a rejuvenation for the new year. Rituals included purgations, purifications, exorcisms, extinguishing and rekindling fires, masked processions (masks representing the dead), and other similar activities. Often exorcisms and purgations were performed with much noise as if to scare away the evil spirits. In China, Ying, the forces of light fought Yang, the forces of darkness with cymbals, noisemakers, and firecrackers.

Early European-Americans adopted the New Year celebrations from their homelands. However, it was noted by early settlers that native Americans already honored News Years Day with their own customs. Their rituals coincided with those around the world including fires, explosions of evil spirits, and celebrations. Today many of the New Year celebrations actually begin with a countdown to the New Year on the evening prior. It is customary to kiss your sweetheart when the clock strikes midnight as one of the customs of these New Years Eve parties.

Around the world, different cultures have their own traditions for welcoming the new year. The Japanese hang a rope of straw across the front of their houses to keep out evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck. They also have a good laugh as the year begins to get things started on a lucky note. Iraqis like to hang evil bastards to try to keep bad luck out of their country.

In West Bengal, in northern India, the people like to wear pink, red, purple and white flowers. Women favor yellow, the color of spring. Hindus also leave shrines next to their beds so they can see beautiful objects when they wake up to the new year.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canadians enjoy the traditional polar bear swim. People of all ages don their swim suits and take the plunge, an event that is sure to get you started in the new year with eyes wide open.

In Scotland, they celebrate Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year, usually with great exuberance. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow host street parties for 100,000 people. At midnight, there is the celebration of "First Footing," where gifts are exchanged.

New Year Resolutions is simply another way to wish away the past in exchange for hopes of the future. It is where the phrase turning over a new leaf originated.

I hope 2012 brings good health and better luck to all.

So everyone turn the wheel of your life. Make complete revolutions. Celebrate every turning. And persevere with joy!!!

Today's gift count: you currently have Seven Swans a' swimming, 12 geese a' laying, 15 golden rings, 16 calling birds, 15 French hens, 12 turtledoves and 7 partridges in their respective pear trees.

I can't begin to imagine the amount of bird waste you are removing at the point. But keep shoveling, you don't want the EPA on your tail (so to speak.)

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