Merry Christmas and the “Magical Macy’s Christmas Tree”

This post is courtesy of Cher from her blog, The Chicago Files.  I thought it was the perfect way to wish everyone a Merry Christmas because this tree is one of the best things about My Fair City during the holidays.

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macys-christmas-tree-2016-2Well isn’t this absolutely spectacular! I took this photo today while strolling around Macy’s Department store in downtown Chicago.  I absolutely love this tree! It is breathtaking and reminds me of a winter wonderland! How beautiful! I had to share it with you of course!

Source: Magical Macy’s Christmas Tree!

A Hotel Hanukkah in Knoxville

Our menorah powers off of a 9-volt battery.  Instead of lighting a candle, The Boffin threw a DIP switch. Dinner was what we could grab at CVS since every place else was closed or closing. That was OK because of our gluttony at Skyline Chili earlier.  No latkes.  Just Stouffer’s or snacks.  Our presents were loaded into reusable grocery bags and lugged in for the evening.

It wasn’t home.  We didn’t have our Furball beating us with her paw and proclaiming her complete and utter starvation by standing pathetically by her bowl.  But we still had the quiet.  The calm.  The three of us.  Still good, though not usual.  I guess it is what you make it.

Here’s to a happy Hanukkah to all those who celebrate.

Thanksgiving is Coming.

Pennsylvania Dutch potato filling…

Three sticks of butter and a death wish.

Edited with the recipe with the following changes.

Use all of the butter for the frying of the bread and vegetables.  Do not put any on top.  Not necessary.  You may even need extra butter, hence this time I needed three sticks.  I used salted.

In the UK, use size medium eggs.  In the US, size large.

You can season it however you would like.

 

Remembrance Day vs. Veterans Day

Both Remembrance Day and Veterans Day are celebrated on November 11, but they mark very different occasions and have very different tones to them.

Remembrance Day (also known as Armistice Day) marks the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918 that World War I officially ended and is observed by most countries who fought in the war, including the Commonwealth nations.  I know in the U.K., the main commemoration involving the Royal Family and other dignitaries includes two minutes of silence at 11:00 at the Cenotaph at Whitehall, and the other ceremonies throughout the nation happen on Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday closest to the 11th.

Last year, to honor each life lost within the British Empire during the Great War, an installment of 888,246 ceramic red poppies was displayed around the moat of the Tower of London. "Tower of London Poppy" by JeyHan - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tower_of_London_Poppy.jpg#/media/File:Tower_of_London_Poppy.jpg
Last year, to honor each life lost within the British Empire during the Great War, an installment of 888,246 ceramic red poppies was displayed around the moat of the Tower of London. It was the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.  Red poppies have come to symbolize Remembrance Day because of the poem, In Flanders Fields by John McCrae.  The Royal British Legion adopted it as a symbol in 1921.  “Tower of London Poppy” by JeyHan – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Over here, Veterans Day is a different thing entirely. It is a day that honors those who have served in the armed forces, living or dead. Wartime, peacetime…it doesn’t matter. So, if you signed on the dotted line, it’s your day. That is why you will see lots of memes on Facebook thanking veterans today from the Americans.  Because we have Memorial Day on Bank Holiday weekend in May to honor those we lost, it’s a lot less somber than Remembrance Day.

Case in point, this is what The Boffin told me this morning.

“Happy Veterans Day! Go find some free shit.”

Yes, businesses here give veterans stuff for free on Veterans Day.  Here is what I can get locally and some national deals.

I also found out I can get a free tall cup of coffee from Starbucks.  Like the vast majority of Americans, I don’t care what color the cup is.  I’ll just take a Sharpie and draw Stars of David on it.  Or not, because the coffee tastes like water brewed through compost.

So it’s the same date, but different days.  However, it is all down to honoring our troops, and I appreciate them in whatever way they served and are still serving.  Thank you, all of you.

Bonfire, Guy Fawkes, or That Dude in the Creepy Mask from V for Vendetta Night

For the benefit for folks in my parts, November 5, 1605 is a national holiday in the U.K. celebrating the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot, the conspiracy to assassinate King James I by blowing up the Parliament building. Even though Guy Fawkes was the one discovered guarding the explosives, the mastermind behind the whole plot was one Robert Catesby. It’s a shame he never got the festival named after him, since it was his idea.

He was robbed. "Robert catesby npg" by probably by Adam, after Unknown engraver - National Portrait Gallery: NPG d21072While Commons policy accepts the use of this media, one or more third parties have made copyright claims against Wikimedia Commons in relation to the work from which this is sourced or a purely mechanical reproduction thereof. This may be due to recognition of the "sweat of the brow" doctrine, allowing works to be eligible for protection through skill and labour, and not purely by originality as is the case in the United States (where this website is hosted). These claims may or may not be valid in all jurisdictions.As such, use of this image in the jurisdiction of the claimant or other countries may be regarded as copyright infringement. Please see Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag for more information.See User:Dcoetzee/NPG legal threat for more information.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.English | Español | Français | Magyar | Italiano | Македонски | Türkmençe | +/−. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons
He was robbed. “Robert catesby npg” by probably by Adam, after Unknown engraver – National Portrait Gallery: NPG d21072While Commons policy accepts the use of this media, one or more third parties have made copyright claims against Wikimedia Commons in relation to the work from which this is sourced or a purely mechanical reproduction thereof. This may be due to recognition of the “sweat of the brow” doctrine, allowing works to be eligible for protection through skill and labour, and not purely by originality as is the case in the United States (where this website is hosted). These claims may or may not be valid in all jurisdictions.As such, use of this image in the jurisdiction of the claimant or other countries may be regarded as copyright infringement. Please see Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag for more information.See User:Dcoetzee/NPG legal threat for more information.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.English | Español | Français | Magyar | Italiano | Македонски | Türkmençe | +/−. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

For the most part, when I was living there 20 years ago, it was always an innocuous holiday full of fireworks and fun, although there was a question about the effigies. It is traditional to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes on the town’s bonfire. Understood. Cool. Even before I came over, sometimes towns would throw in a likeness of someone who is persona non grata like the late Margaret Thatcher. However, what made me squicky, were the pope effigies in a few isolated areas. Now, you crossed the line into religion. I understood that the whole point of the celebration was the thwarting of a Catholic conspiracy against the Protestant king, but I grew up Catholic.  How was this OK?  Were these people saying people like me were not wanted?

Of course, now, I realize my fears were unfounded.  The U.K. is a much more religiously tolerant place than the actions of Bonfire Night would make out to be.  The pope effigies are gone, and there is some debate about whether the effigies are appropriate for the modern age.  That is not for me to say, since I am on this side of the Pond.

While the Britons are deciding on what they want, this year, in Lewes, the targets are David Cameron with his friend, the pig’s head, and Sepp Blatter, the currently suspended and disgraced FIFA president.  That should make for quite a blaze.

The smell of bacon should mix well with the consequences of gunpowder, treason, and plot.