Wednesday Mellow: Come Fly With Me(James Darren)

James Darren has had an interesting character as both an actor and musician. Many remember him from the Gidget movies or Irwin Allen’s The Time Tunnel. When he was approached about doing the holographic character Vic Fontaine for Star Trek:Deep Space Nine he was not certain about the role. His wife, it is reported, convinced him to do it. The role allowed him to showcase his musical talents (and in one episode Captain Sisko’s as well) earning him new interest in his music. His 1999 album This One’s From The Heart showcases many of the songs performed on the show. Enjoy and have a nice Wednesday.

Titanic Memorial Planned For 27 Michigan Passengers Who Died On Titanic

Titanic Trials (Photo courtesy George Behe)

Marine City, Michigan may soon have a memorial plaque to honor those who died on Titanic in 1912. Margaret Micoff wants to not only honor but support “the dream people had coming here.” Micoff wants to have the memorial in Marine City’s Corwin M. Drake Memorial Park and believes it will draw interest from locals and from those in other states and possibly Canada. Micoff’s idea is to have the plaque be shaped like a ship’s wheel with the names of the 72 Michigan residents lost inside it. The plaque would be surrounded by a brick-paved with Titanic style benches. She is hoping the plaque will be bronze and is seeking funds to get the memorial plaque started.

The Marine City commission has approved the plan and Micoff believes the city’s maritime history makes it a suitable location for the memorial. Micoff is currently raising funds for the plaque.

Source: Titanic Memorial Planned For Marine City Park (Times Herald,23 Dec 2015)

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family

The Flight into Egypt (Albrecht Dürer 1471-1528) Photo: Public Domain
The Flight into Egypt (Albrecht Dürer 1471-1528)
Photo: Public Domain

The Feast of the Holy Family was instituted as liturgical celebration of the Roman Catholic Church to venerate the Holy Family–Jesus, Saint Joseph and Blessed Mary–as a model for all Christian families. The feast was first introduced in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII and set on the Sunday after the Epiphany. However in 1969 it was moved to the first Sunday after Christmas to make it part of the Christmas season.

Feast of the Holy Family (
The Feast of the Holy Family(

Today is St. Stephen’s Day(Boxing Day U.K.)

The Demidoff Altarpiece: Saint Stephen
St. Stephen from The Demidoff Altarpiece(Carlo Crivelli–circa 1435–circa 1495) Photo:Public Domain

If you remember the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas you heard the name. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian church who was accused of blasphemy and put on trial by Jewish authorities in Jerusalem. After a trial in which he denounced them, Stephen was stoned to death. One of the witnesses to the event was Saul of Tarsus, who later converted and is known today as the apostle Paul. Stephen is considered the first martyr for the faith, the reason his feast day immediately follows the celebration of Jesus birth. All the major Christian congregations–Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Orthodox–all venerate him as a Saint and celebrate the feast day (Western churches on 26 December, 27 Dec Orthodox, and 8 Jan Oriental Orthodox). In some countries (mainly Western Europe)it is a public holiday.

In the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand it is celebrated as Boxing Day, a secular holiday that falls on the same day as Feast of Stephen. Traditionally it is the day in which servants and tradespeople receive the “Christmas box” from their employers. While that tradition may still hold true, it is either a second Christmas day for some or an extra shopping day (though in some countries it apparently is a day when a lot of returns to retailers takes place). It is also a major sports day as well.

Merry Christmas


The Adoration of the Shepherds (Gerard van Honthorst 1590–1656) Image: Public Domain (Wikipedia)
The Adoration of the Shepherds (Gerard van Honthorst 1590–1656)
Image: Public Domain (Wikipedia)

“….And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!” (Dickens, A Christmas Carol)

Today is the Winter Solstice

The shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere is the Winter Solstice. On the solstice (usually between December 20-23)the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn resulting in the North Pole being tilted the furthest away. This result in shorter days for sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere (and the further north you are the less sun you will see like those in Alaska or the Scandinavian countries). The reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere. As the sun is closer to them, they celebrate the Summer Solstice. Those who live close to the South Pole will see Midnight Sun meaning they get 24 hours of sun during this time of year.

Many cultures observed the Winter Solstice because it marked an important time in the agricultural cycle. By this time all the crops and livestock had been prepared for winter. Important foodstuffs were stored for the months when virtually nothing grew. Wine and beer, which had been fermenting during the year, was ready at this time. Cattle and pigs would often be killed at the start of winter so they would not have to be fed during this time. The early months of winter were tough in many places and often called the “famine months” since little food was to be found. Many cultures observed the Winter Solstice as a renewal or that the year was reborn. For out of the seeming withdrawal of the sun, it would come back just as strong and powerful as before. Thus the Winter Solstice was seen by many as the start of a new year such as the old Roman feast of the Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus) which happened around the 25th of December.

Today the solstice will be at 22 Dec 2015 @04:49 UTC, which is 23:48 (11:49 p.m.) in New York on 21 Dec 2015, 22:49 (10:49 p.m.) in Chicago, 21:49)9:49 p.m.) in Denver, 20:49 (8:49 p.m.) in San Francisco, 19:49 (7:49 p.m.)in Anchorage, and 18:49 (6:49 p.m.) in Hawaii.

Solstices and Equinoxes Image: NASA