Tag Archives: Silas

Labor Day: ReDux

Well, Happy Labor Day, oddlings. The sky in Brooklyn is an undulating palette of greys, blues, and whites. Perhaps we will have rain. Perhaps the day will just continue as a moody overcast day. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Bubo hates the word perhaps for reasons unknown. She also hates the word yarn. I think perhaps she’s overly cranky because her attempts to over-dye the bright orange paint on her feathers made them a deep violet color. It’s rather striking. Apparently, the heaviness of extra paint on her feathers is making complicated hunting moves difficult for her.

Luckily for Bubo, we live in Brooklyn, and there is a plethora of pigeons who land in our garden even though there is a fierce hunting machine living in said garden. Oh, pigeons. So shockingly ignorant and unperceptive.

So it is Labor Day here in the States. Silas is manning the barbeque grill (hand-tooled from a small tractor) and Mordecai has spent the weekend mixing pitchers of cocktails. Rumor has it some family members will be descending, though this family doesn’t operate on a standardized calendar. With the Autumnal Equinox right around the corner, they could be showing up in about two weeks. It’s so hard to tell and not a single family member has figured out their cell phones yet.

I can’t quibble – I’ve been unable to find my cell phone for four days. Troublesome thing, technology.

At any rate, I thought I would re-post a previous missive about Labor Day from 2011. So, here it is. Be safe, oddlings, and enjoy your Monday, whatever it portends.

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It occurs to me that many people do not think about what these national holidays mean. They take the day to relax, revel in not being at work, and to grill meat and drink beer. Well, sure. These are wonderful things. But it’s important to know why we get this day to enjoy doing these things.

This is from the United States Department of Labor Page:

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

There is also an article about the true Rosie the Riveter that I trust you will find interesting.

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Happy Fourth of July!

Well, dears, my guess is that most of you in the States are outside, having hot dogs and hamburgers and waiting for your local fireworks display to celebrate American Independence Day.

(It was on this day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 original colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation.)

The dragons have been incredibly busy putting the finishing touches on their sure-to-be-eye-catching home-made fireworks display for this evening. I’m hoping for clear skies since dragons + fire + home-made fireworks + thunder and lightening = mayhem.

Silas has a few pitchers of lemon berry cocktails cooling in the ice box and has been slaving in the kitchen all morning. Mordecai has been in the cellar grumbling to himself and I’ve been in the Laboratory with the monsters. It’s best if the three of us only stay in close contact when cocktails are involved. You understand: family.

Have a safe and happy holiday, oddlings. Remember that fireworks are not toys and be good to each other.

 

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A Cinco de Mayo beneath a Super Moon

Buenas tardes, oddlings!

It’s Cinco de Mayo, and while many of you think that means tequila shots and pinatas, the fifth of May actually commemorates the Battle of Puebla. This 1862 battle was a Mexican victory during  the Franco-Mexican War, which took place from 1861-1867.

The holiday is a fairly minor one in Mexico, but here in the United States it has become quite the event, celebrating the Mexican culture and heritage.

The Battle of Puebla is an interesting story, and I highly recommend reading more about it on Mexonline.com.

Aside from mariachi music, you might hear oohs and aahs tonight over the Super moon. The term “super moon” simply means that a full moon occurs at or near the time when the moon is closest to Earth on its non-circular orbit. This is called perigee, and it places the moon at 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) away from Earth.

Added bonus tonight? There’s a meteor shower from Hailey’s Comet that is set to peak as well! This is the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower and promises up to 60 meteors per hour for skywatchers with clear weather and away from city lights. Brooklynites might have a tough time peaking the Eta Aquarid, since we have so much light pollution and today’s weather makes the sky look like a gauzy grey curtain. But Bubo promises that the Super moon’s 30% brightness increase will shine through.

If you’re in a similar situation, fear not! You can access views from NASA’s all-sky cameras for the Eta Aquarid meteor shower remotely here: http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/allsky.html

Our last Super moon was in March 2011, so get outside tonight and tilt your eyes to the skies. Bring a margarita outside with you and toast those brave Mexican fighters who won the Battle of Puebla. Silas is making us sizzling fajitas and we are dining on the Widow’s Walk by Super moon light.

 

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Nestor

What a delightfully rainy day in Brooklyn! I woke to steady rain drops and the delicious smell of wet wood and stone.

I also woke to the sounds of Mordecai and Cousin Silas dueling on the parapet. Apparently Silas has returned from parts unknown and he and Mordecai enjoyed their mutual passion: inclement weather dueling. Prudence of dueling aside, I’ll take fencing over jousting any day, quite frankly. Less stress on the roof.

I, obviously, do not partake in these activities, though they are all in good fun. One might call me an old stick-in-the-mud, but one might also call me wise. Which brings me to today’s word.

Nestor is a noun that means a wise old man; sage. The word originates in Greek mythology; Nestor was the king of Pylos, and was considered the oldest and wisest of the Greeks. He served as counselor to the Greeks during the Trojan War.

Additionally, the word nestorian means wise and aged, and often a nestor is a senior figure or leader in one’s field.

Too often the sages in modern society are ignored and ridiculed. Somehow, being wise has ceased to be revered as in the days of Nestor. For shame, oddlings. We wise, old beings have some interesting tidbits to share.

And, often, we’re snappy dressers and surprising dancers.

 

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