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That’s the Rub

Valentine’s Day, an annual holiday celebrated on February 14, originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more early martyred saints named Valentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country. Now, we Catholics are a strange bunch and have a thing for martyred saints.  Growing up in Woodside in the late 50s, I attended St. Sebastian Grammar School, where the good nuns would continually implore us to emulate our school’s namesake. The problem was that everywhere...

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A Cut Above

As a youngster growing up in the 1950s in the small Irish enclave of Woodside, Queens, I can remember my father taking me in tow, at least once a month, and walking down Skillman Avenue to “Paul’s” barbershop for a haircut.  The shop had its own unique smell, as well with the smell of cherry, wintergreen, apple, and butternut-flavored pipe and tobacco smoke mixed with the scent of hair tonics, pomades, oils, and neck powders. The moment a man stepped inside, he was enveloped in the warm and welcoming familiarity. Even as a young child, I could sense that a barbershop was a...

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Holiday Bruise

As I strive to move through the initial days of the New Year, I find my house is clean and empty. Sterile, even. The tree, though still up, lacks its pre-holiday luster. Mixed emotions collide and cloud my vision. Was it the best day of the year, or the worst? Did I find the true spirit of Christmas and recapture child-like wonder? Or did I lose another piece of my innocence to the cynicism of adulthood? I think back to the days prior to Christmas that now seems so far away, so utterly unapproachable. I feasted and laughed, but still wished for more. I waited and waited. I even sang festive...

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Only a few more days until the big fat man with the long white beard makes his appearance in each of our homes during the wee hours of December 25. I am referring, of course, to Santa Claus and his annual visit to all good little girls and boys early on Christmas morning. I am particularly looking forward to the big guy’s visit this year as I have been working overtime to welcome him to West 12th Road in the most politically incorrect fashion possible.  The first thing Santa will see after he emerges from his trip down our chimney is my own little “Elf on the Shelf” who I have...

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That Time Of Year

Each year I promise myself, to no avail, that I will not allow politically correct liberal attempts to denigrate the Christmas season annoy me, as each year I find my blood pressure going through the roof right around this time. For example, in recent years the American Humanist Association spent thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign specifically targeting the Christmas holiday. Oops! Did I write Christmas? Of course, I meant to say the upcoming Winter Festival season. The ad campaign states “Why believe in a God? Just be good for goodness’ sake.” Now, one could argue...

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In Broad Channel, as anywhere that people celebrate Thanksgiving, thoughts of our families are foremost in our minds. What makes our community special is the fact that we tend to view our little community on the bay not simply as a neighborhood, but as our “home,” and our friends and neighbors as extended family.  Hard to believe in this day and age, but Thanksgiving in Broad Channel still remains a family-centric holiday, consisting of a day of humble introspection with an accompanying acknowledgment of and a real appreciation for the myriad blessings we all enjoy. Okay, don’t...

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Ale Of A Tale

Recently 7,000 American sailors and Marines visited Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik as part of NATO’s Trident Juncture military exercise. Within a matter of hours, Iceland was facing a national crisis as the visiting swabbies and jarheads immediately set about visiting the local taverns, where they quickly consumed much of that city’s beer supply. Local news in Reykjavik reported that the sailors and Marines preferred local beers over imports, and were very willing to sample different microbrews as well as the more popular standard lagers. One restaurant, Sæta Svínið, and good...

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This coming Tuesday, November 6 is the New York State 2018 General Election and, as always, I would counsel that it is up to each voter to locate easily available information about each candidate and all proposed ballot measures in order to make an informed decision about how to vote. Rather than allowing potential leaders to hide weaknesses and wrongdoing from public awareness, our democratic voting process urges all of us to get involved and to share viewpoints about who should lead us.  Now if you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: “It’s your civic duty to vote.”...

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Worth Every Penny

What exactly is a “penny social” you ask? For those of you unfamiliar, here’s a little primer to get you ready. Penny Socials are special fundraising events dating back in origin to European countries where tickets were sold for a penny each. Hence, the name penny social or penny sale. It combines the elements of both an auction and a raffle. The common factor is that the bidding is done with a ticket. Each participant buys a certain number of tickets for a set price. They then use those tickets to “bid” on a variety of donated items on “auction.” They can bid as many tickets as...

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