Tag Archives: holidays

Apology for the Hugs

An apology to the early-morning joggers who thundered past my garden just after dawn this morning:

Glo is a gentle monster, and as he gets older, he wants more hugs. It’s a quirk of his breed. (Though we do not know his breed other than “monster” and I’m postulating that he’s not the only “monster” who likes to hug more as he ages.)

I imagine that his dropping out of the old elm onto your backs was quite a shock. I’m sorry that his horn hit you in the head; it’s put a hole in my oven door, so I can only imagine how painful that was. He’s really such a sweet creature and he’s been feeling magnanimous and “huggy” for the entire month of June. I’m sure you would have appreciated a Glo hug if only you’d been prepared for one.

I am also sorry that Mordecai responded to your shrieks before I did. My brother excels at many things, but public relations is not one of them. I am sorry that he spritzed you so liberally with his new invention – Memory Enhancer. It only momentarily makes this a vivid memory – soon it will seem like a dream that was incredibly “real”. Useful, yes, but it does smell rancid and he cuts quite an imposing figure in his dressing gown in the mornings. The flight goggles are to protect his eyes from the carnivorous newts he’s been raising in his bedroom. They consider eyelids a delicacy.

I do hope you have a Happy Father’s Day. I’m sure that after some bloody mary’s, a hot shower, and perhaps a barbeque, you’ll feel much more like yourselves. The scars from Glo’s over-zealous hugging will fade soon. And no, unfortunately, no one will believe your story.

But I do. I am currently sipping my morning brew with Glo wrapped around me like a backpack. My brother is listening to Wagner and cursing the airplanes who fly over the house (their flight plan seems to have changed; they’re much lower as they approach the area airports and the noise pollution has increased). Bubo is snacking on one of Mordecai’s carnivorous newts and it sounds like the dragons are either making breakfast or re-wiring the house. Either option is a bad one.

Happy Father’s Day, oddlings.

Glo in his natural habitat

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Un-Flagging Patriotism in the Face of Fabric

Well a Happy Flag Day to you, American oddlings!

As many of you know, June 14th is Flag Day, a holiday to commemorate the American Flag. It was in 1777 that the Continental Congress officially approved the design of the Stars and Stripes as the national flag for the United States of America. Flag Day was established as a national day in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson.

Until 1912, when President Taft standardized the arrangement of the stars, the placement (each star symbolizing each state of the union) was up to the individual flag-maker’s discretion. In those days, you see, flags were sewn by hand.

Imagine if Bubo had been sewing flags in the 1800s. I envision flags with stars outlining a great owl head or an ax.

Legend has it that in 1776, George Washington approached Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars disagree on whether or not Mrs. Ross was a seamstress (some say she was an upholsterer’s apprentice) and on whether or not Mrs. Ross actually did create the first flag. Everyone does agree, however, that Mrs. Ross knew Mr. Washington and, in fact, did sew flags.

It also appears that Mrs. Ross was married a total of three times (Mr. Ross being her first husband) but what this has to do with flag sewing, I do not know.

The Birth of Old Glory [detail],
Percy Moran, artist, copyright 1917.
Library of Congress Prints & Photograph Online Catalog

The current flag – with 50 stars – has been in place since 1960, when Hawaii’s statehood was ratified, and has been in use the longest.

Public buildings display “Old Glory” on this day each year, and some folks declare the entire week to be “Flag Week”.

Here, all the creatures in the house are encouraged to create their own flags; our family’s crest has long been in dispute with so many missing factions appearing whenever a design seems to be solidified. I appreciate the symbolism of flags, and the difficulty of creating an image that inspires hope, power, freedom, and perseverance. Our family hopes to inspire none of these feelings, and perhaps that is the root of our problems.

Mordecai has been strutting about with a flag fastened to his shoulders like a cape; it is black (naturally) and has a single word emblazoned upon it: “YES”.

I, for my part, responded to him as only a brother can. I made a small flag (approximately the size of a cigar box) that simply says “NO” and I have it in the brim of my cap. Once he realizes my flag is made from a panel of his good tweed coat, this Flag Day shall go from passive aggressive to aggressive faster than a dragon in summer.

That’s impossibly fast.

Happy Flag Day, dears.

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Memorial Day

How did you spend this Memorial Day, oddlings?

Bubo and I took a stroll through The Green-Wood Cemetery, paying our respects to the soldiers who have fallen in their service.

We missed the annual concert the cemetery hosts each year, but we had a lovely and contemplative walk.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and there are over two dozen towns and cities across the United States claiming the title “birthplace of Memorial Day”. The tradition could have started in the South before the end fo the Civil War; organized women’s groups were decorating the graves of soldiers who had died in the bloody battles even then. Waterloo, New York was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson but it’s rather difficult to prove an exact date or origin. And, honestly, does it matter? The important thing is that countrymen and women remember their fellow countrymen and women who died in military service.

The National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed in December of 2000 and asks that all Americans observe a moment of respect and remembrance at 3:00 pm local time each Memorial Day.

It’s never too late to take a quiet moment and remember things.

I had my moment of silence at The Green-Wood Cemetery. It’s been a bit of an aural melee here at the house; Mordecai has been shooting fireworks off from the widow’s walk and the yeti seems convinced that what she’s doing to my great-great-great-grandfather’s bugle is playing taps.

Trust me, she’s not.

Happy Memorial Day, oddlings.

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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 duringĀ  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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