Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas kickoff 2007

To kick off the Christmas Season on my blog I thought I'd let Linus tell all of you what Christmas is all about (this speech is classic). We hear what Christmas is all about to Linus now drop me a message if you have time and tell me what Christmas is all about to YOU.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

History of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The first Parade in 1924 was called the “Macy's Christmas Day Parade” although it took place on Thanksgiving Day. In the early 1920's most of Macy's employees were first generation immigrants from Europe. To show their pride in America the started celebrated Thanksgiving in a European festival fashion by marching down the streets dressed as clowns, knights and other costumed characters. In 1927 it was renamed the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Live animals including camels, goats, elephants and donkeys were a part of the Parade that inaugural year.

The original Parade route started at 145th Street and Convent Avenue and traveled 5.5 miles to 34th Street and Herald Square.

In the first Parade horses pulled the floats. A particular white steed, that was to aid in the Ben-Hur float, disappeared at the last minute before the start of the Parade.

In 1925 and 1926, bears, lions and tigers were added to the live animals used but this had to be discontinued because they scared the children along the line of march.

In 1927, Macy's replaced the live animals in the Parade with its now signature giant helium balloons. The first balloons included Felix the Cat, The Dragon, The Elephant and Toy Soldier.

1928 saw the first release of the giant Balloons into the air at the end of the Parade. Equipped with a return address label, in 1929, Macy's began offering prizes for the return of the giant balloons.The practice of releasing the Balloons was discontinued in 1933.

The Parade was canceled in 1942, 1943 and 1944 due to World War II. At the start of the war, Macy's donated the Balloons (that where made of rubber at the time) to the government’s rubber scrap heap in a ceremony held at New York’s City Hall.

In 1947, the holiday classic, Miracle on 34th Street, brought the Parade’s magic to theatres worldwide.

In 1948 NBC began telecasting the Parade nationwide, as spectators from coast-to-coast began referring to the Parade as the “Macy's Day Parade.

Macy's is the world’s second largest consumer of helium. The United States Government is the first.

In its 77-year history more than 300,000 Macy's employees have participated in the Parade. More than 50,000 clowns have delighted millions of children along the Parade route.

(click on pics to enlarge them)

Thanks to www.nyctourist.com for the cool history lesson!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Optical Illusions

Hi! I thought I'd have some fun with your brains and eyes. Check out these cool optical illusions. Remember, nothing on the page is actually moving. They're kind of wild.
(click on the image to make it bigger)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Cool Thanksgiving Facts

After doing some research on the web I came across this cool site that listed these Thanksgiving facts. So to start off the month of November on my blog I thought I'd list them.

(Thanks to http://abigslice.typepad.com for the info)

Some Cool Thanksgiving Facts

There are a lot of misconceptions about the first thanksgiving. The image that we grew up with was a bunch of pilgrims, clad in black with hats and large buckles on their shoes. They gathered around a table laden with pumpkin pies and turkeys and joined the indians in giving thanks for the bountiful harvest. This does paint a pretty picture, but not a very factual one. Here are the facts.

1621 is but the first of many holidays
Fact : Actually the first thanksgiving feast was not repeated. It was not the beginning of a long tradition of family meals. What's more the puritans would not have called the day "Thanksgiving." That term would have been applied to a religious holiday and such a day would have been spent in the church and not at a table feasting. Journals from the time tell of dancing, singing and playing games all of which would not have been allowed in a religious celebration. So the first Thanksgiving was secular in nature and therefore, in the minds of the pilgrims, it would not have been considered a day to give thanks to God.

The first Thanksgiving was the fourth Thursday in November
Fact : Although the exact date of the first Thanksgiving is not known, it probably occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. More than a meal, the first Thanksgiving was really a festival lasting three days. The English had a centuries old tradition of harvest festivals and the first Thanksgiving was an extension of those. It wasn't until 1817 that New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. Slowly other states began to do the same. In 1863 Abraham Lincoln assigned the last Thursday in November as a National Day of Thanksgiving. But it was not official and was up to each subsequent president to renew the appointment. Not until FDR was the date officially set. In 1939, the fourth Thursday in November was approved by the president as the official date of Thanksgiving. Congress ratified in 1941. So in the big scheme of things, Thanksgiving is actually a very modern tradition.

Pilgrims wore big buckles on their shoes
Fact : It was not until much later into the 17th Century that buckles came into fashion. As English Puritans the pilgrims only wore black and white on Sunday and formal occasions.

The feast included pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes
Fact : Of course, no one knows exactly what was on the menu at that first feast but, it is known that pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes were not there. It is almost certain that the pilgrims had no pies and no sweets on the table. They came to america with a limited amount of flour and sugar. After their first year in America the supplies of both were probably long exhausted. There were no ovens so breads and cakes, as we know them, were impossible. What it certain from written sources is that the pilgrims did enjoy lots of venison and wild fowl. According to Puritan custom, the first feast would have been eaten in shifts. In Pilgrim households the adults ate first while the children and servants stood by.

The Indians were in attendance
Fact : This one is true. According to Edward Winslow in A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth: "many of the indians came amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted." However the myths have grown, it is clear that life for these settlers was grim at best. Many of them perished en route to America, and more were to die during that first harsh winter. Their diet would seem to us today as very heavy and fatty, but the pilgrims needed that additional protein for their strenuous lives. You may not know that the only furniture they brought with them on this voyage were storage chests and boxes. Everything that they needed was constructed once they arrived in the New World.

We have come a long way since that first festival and Thanksgiving has taken on a whole new meaning. We are truly blessed with plenty. The tables are piled high with all sorts of dishes as we come together as families to enjoy the food and fellowship. We don't depend on a successful harvest to get us through the winter and as such modern Thanksgiving has evolved. Today we allow ourselves this one day to slow down and gather around the family table. In our opinion, that spirit, in and of itself, is worthy of a holiday.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Wrap-Up

Halloween has come to an end and I figured I should end it with a Halloween wrap up. I received a lot of fun feed back on the scary ghost video. That's what Halloween is all about. Some scary fun.
We WON for Best Original Pumpkin in the 2nd Annual Hospital Of Saint Raphael Pumpkin Contest with our Cinderella Coach pumpkin!

So with all the Halloween candy collected and the Thanksgiving approaching fast here's some pics of my nieces and nephews and friends in their Halloween costumes.