Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Personal Reflection - To the People of Buffalo

The Buffalo Convention Center

Something that I have learned about Buffalo, since I moved here, is that there is a strong sense of pride for the community. Those who were born and raised here love this city. It is known as the City of Good Neighbors and I can testify that when I moved here my neighbors greeted me in a very kind and friendly manner and that has not changed.

Recently, Buffalo’s Professional Ice Hockey team, the Sabres, made it to the playoffs. The pride and enthusiasm that the local’s felt for their team was contagious and even I (a non sports fan) found myself rooting for a win. Thousands showed up for the games in downtown Buffalo and people were happy. I’m sorry to report that the Sabres lost their place by 3 wins and 4 losses. The fans were sad but immediately were saying things like ‘We will win next year.”

Why am I mentioning these things? Well, the recent U.S. Census statistics revealed that many people had moved from this area in the past ten years. Yes, I expect that there are some that moved because of the extreme weather in the winter months, but I believe that many more moved away because they just could not find employment here.

The photo above shows some of the almost 5,000 people, who recently showed up to take the application test for the job of being a police officer in Buffalo. The streets of downtown were filled with applicants on that Saturday morning as they waited to take the three-and-a-half hour police department exam. Police salaries are between $48,000 and $64,000. Long lines were seen at the Convention Center. It has been reported that there will be about 120 jobs available for the 5,000 applicants, which means that only one out of every 41 applicants will be hired.

People in Buffalo want to work, they want to continue to live here and raise their families, just as their parents did before them. The reality is that there is not enough employment available and many more will have to make the decision to move away. Many more houses will be left abandoned and many who love the Sabres and the Buffalo Bills will have to support their favorite teams from afar because they were forced to move away.

It is sad to watch adults who wish to work being turned away. It is even harder to observe the youth who have no job skills. and no chance of apprenticeship programs, becoming despondent about not getting hired at all. I am so sorry that people who love this City will join the migration to other places where employment is available, and even those places are becoming few and far between.

To the people of Buffalo – I love your spirit and your perseverance – I pray that better times are coming.


photos from the Buffalo News

Friday, April 29, 2011

Poet - Emily Dickinson - 'Hope is the Thing With Feathers'

Hope is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.


Because I could not stop for Death
by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity –


Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, but severe homesickness led her to return home after one year.

Throughout her life, she seldom left her house and visitors were scarce. The people with whom she did come in contact, however, had an enormous impact on her thoughts and poetry. She was particularly stirred by the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, whom she met on a trip to Philadelphia. He left for the West Coast shortly after a visit to her home in 1860, and some critics believe his departure gave rise to the heartsick flow of verse from Dickinson in the years that followed.

By the 1860s, Dickinson lived in almost total physical isolation from the outside world, but actively maintained many correspondences and read widely. She spent a great deal of this time with her family. Her father, Edward Dickinson, was actively involved in state and national politics, serving in Congress for one term.

Her brother Austin and Dickinson’s younger sister Lavinia also lived at home for her entire life in similar isolation. Lavinia and Austin were not only family, but intellectual companions during Dickinson’s lifetime.

Dickinson's poetry reflects her loneliness.She admired the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, as well as John Keats. While Dickinson was extremely prolific as a poet and regularly enclosed poems in letters to friends, she was not publicly recognized during her lifetime. The first volume of her work was published posthumously in 1890 and the last in 1955.

Upon her death, Dickinson's family discovered 40 hand bound volumes of nearly 1800 of her poems. These booklets were made by folding and sewing five or six sheets of stationery paper and copying what seem to be final versions of poems in an order that many critics believe to be more than chronological.

She died in Amherst in 1886.

Some information for this article came from Academy of American Poets

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dyngus Day in Buffalo

The Legendary Frank Gorshin, Riddler from Batman, along with Eddy Dobosiewicz and members of the Polish Heritage Dancers at the Dyngus Day celebration at St. Stans, Buffalo, New York

When I moved to Buffalo I learned about a Polish Festival that is held
every year on the day after Easter.


The legend of Dyngus Day goes back to the year 966?

Can you really find your TRUE love on Dyngus Day?

Historically a Polish-American tradition, Dyngus Day celebrates the end of the often restrictive observance of lent and the joy of Easter. Over the decades, Dyngus Day has become a wonderful holiday to celebrate Polish-American culture, heritage and traditions.

There are many stories that attempt to explain the origins of the day. Many Polish customs date back to pre-Christian practices of our Slavic ancestors. The custom of pouring water is an ancient spring rite of cleansing, purification, and fertility.

The same is true of the complimentary practice of switching with pussy willow branches.

Since 966 A.D., Dyngus Day has been associated with the baptism of Prince Mieszko I. Tradition states that Prince Mieszko I along with his court were baptized on Easter Monday.

Thus, Dyngus Day and its rites of sprinkling with water have become a folk celebration in thanksgiving for the fact that the first king of Poland was baptized into Christianity, bringing Catholicism to Poland.

In more modern times, the tradition continued when farm boys in Poland wanted to attract notice from the girls of their choice. It was the custom to throw water and hit the girls on their legs with twigs or pussywillows.

The ladies would reciprocate by throwing dishes & crockery and Tuesday was their day of revenge, imitating the same tactics


The word can be traced back to a medieval form of the word “Dingnus,” which means “worthy, proper, or suitable.”

Dyngus Day was always celebrated in traditional Polish neighborhoods dated back to the 1870s, modern Dyngus Day in Buffalo had its start in 1961.

Buffalo, New York is officially the Dyngus Capital of America with the largest concentration of festival locations and live polka music. Smaller festivals can be found in community with sizable Polish-America populations such as South Bend, Indiana, Chicago, Illinois, Elizabeth, New Jersey, Bristol, Connecticut and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

As the popular polka anthem explains, “Everybody’s Polish On Dyngus Day!” Many parties begin during the mid-morning on the Monday after Easter with a large buffet of traditional Easter foods (kielbasa, ham, fresh breads, eggs). It is common to hear polka music on Dyngus Day with the mandatory dancing of at least one polka. Many parties continue well into daylight on Tuesday.

Pussy Willows, Piwo, Polkas, Parades, Parties and a Plethora of Polish Pride...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Preview of the Royal Wedding

Got to love the British sense of humour -
this gave me the best laugh I've had in a long time. (Amazing look-alikes also)
Watch the wedding entrance dance to top all wedding entrance dances. T-Mobile's Royal Wedding Dance celebrates the marriage of William and Kate with the help of a host of royal look alikes and music from East 17! T-Mobile wishes William and Kate a long and happy marriage. Join our Facebook group htt

Click on the blue writing - it is a little hard to see it

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19 - Reflection for Passover - 'Chag Kasher v'Semeach'

Jews around the world made last-minute preparations for the festival of Passover, cleaning houses, cars and offices, cooking furiously and getting ready for a week without eating leavened bread.


Reflection for Passover

Passover Prayer

Long ago, at this season, on such a night as this,a people - our people - set out on a journey.

All but crushed by their enslavement, they yet recalled the far-off memory of a happier past.

And heard the voice of their ancestral God, bidding them summon up the courage to be free.

Boldly, they went forth from Egypt, crossed the Sea, and headed through the desert for the Promised Land.

What they experienced, they remembered, and told their children, and they to theirs.

From generation to generation, the story was retold, and we are here to tell it yet again.

We too give thanks for Israel's liberation; we too remember what it means to be a slave.

And so we pray for all who are still fettered, still denied their human rights.

Let all God's children sit at his table, drink the wine of deliverance, and eat the bread of freedom:

Freedom from bondage
And freedom from oppression,

Freedom from hunger
And freedom from want,

Freedom from hatred
And freedom from fear,

Freedom to think
And freedom to speak,

Freedom to learn
And freedom to love,

Freedom to hope
And freedom to rejoice;

Soon in our days,



How to Greet a Jew During Passover

Basic: "Happy Passover"!

- "Chag Kasher v'Sameach!" (Wishing you a Happy and Kosher Holiday)

- Between first and last days of Passover

"Moadim L'Simcha" (Seasons of Joy)

- "Zissin Pesach" (Yiddish for Happy Passover)

Special thanks to: Rabbi Justus N. Baird
Director, Center for Multifaith Education, Auburn Theological Seminary, NY

Reflection received from Kirkridge Retreat Center,Bangor, PA. 18013


Passover is a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival commemorating God sparing the Israelites when he killed the first born of Egypt, and is the seven day Feast of the Unleavened Bread (it lasts eight days in the diaspora) commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery.

To my Jewish friends - Shalom

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can We Talk? - re: Texting & Abbreviations - part II

Some time ago I wrote a message about modern technology and texting abbreviations. The message was directed at people like myself- the fuddy-duddies of modern technology. Those of you who are experts at texting will probably find this old news and boring :-) but I am guessing that I am going to introduce you to some new texting abbreviations.

The following abbreviations were composed by senior citizens and sent to me by a friend recently. So this message is for my more mature readers and the younger readers may just learn something new.

ATD - At The Doctors ...

BFF - Best Friend Fell ...

BTW - Bring the Wheelchair ...

BYOT - Bring Your Own Teeth ...

FWIW - Forgot Where I Was ...

GGPBL - Gotta Go Pacemaker Battery Low ...

IMHO - Is My Hearing-Aid On ...

LMDO - Laughing My Dentures Out ...

OMMR - On My Massage Recliner ...

OMSG - Oh My! Sorry, Gas ...

ROFLACGU - Rolling On Floor Laughing And Can't Get Up


HAND . . . Have a nice day

If you can relate to what I have written let me hear from you - I am gradually learning this method of communication :-)

So TTFN - that means 'TaTa for now' (goodbye) in England


:-) :-) :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Poet - William Shakespeare - Sonnet 98

From you have I been absent in the spring... (Sonnet 98)
by William Shakespeare

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

Poetry:William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, in Stratford-on-Avon. The son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, at school he learned Latin and a little Greek and read the Roman dramatists. At eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, a woman seven or eight years his senior. Together they raised two daughters: Susanna, who was born in 1583, and Judith (whose twin brother died in boyhood), born in 1585.

Little is known about Shakespeare's activities between 1585 and 1592. It is believed that he was an actor and playwright. Shortly after 1585 he went to London to begin his apprenticeship as an actor. Due to the plague, the London theaters were often closed between June 1592 and April 1594.

While Shakespeare was regarded as the foremost dramatist of his time, evidence indicates that both he and his world looked to poetry, not playwriting, for enduring fame. Shakespeare's sonnets were composed between 1593 and 1601, though not published until 1609. That edition, The Sonnets of Shakespeare, consists of 154 sonnets, all written in the form of three quatrains and a couplet that is now recognized as Shakespearean. poetry.

In his poems and plays, Shakespeare invented thousands of words, often combining or contorting Latin, French and native roots. His impressive expansion of the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, includes such words as: arch-villain, birthplace, bloodsucking, courtship, dewdrop, downstairs, fanged, heartsore, hunchbacked, leapfrog, misquote, pageantry, radiance, schoolboy, stillborn, watchdog, and zany.

Shakespeare wrote more than 30 plays. Only eighteen of Shakespeare's plays were published separately in quarto editions during his lifetime; a complete collection of his works did not appear until the publication of the First Folio in 1623, several years after his death.

He died on April 23, 1616, on his 52nd birthday, and was buried two days later at Stratford Church.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Secret of a Happy Marriage is in the Shoebox


A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything.
They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.
He asked her about the contents.

'When we were to be married,' she said, ' my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.'

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

'Honey,' he said, 'that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?'

'Oh,' she said, 'that's the money I made from selling the dolls.'

Author unknown

Friday, April 1, 2011

History of April Fool's Day

Before you make plans for your day don't forget to remember that today is April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day. Pay attention! If something seems to good (or bad) to be true it probably is someone playing a joke on you.

This day is celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication, on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on fool's errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible.

Traditionally, in some countries, the jokes only last until noon: in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, someone who plays a trick after noon is called an "April Fool". Elsewhere, such as in Ireland, France, and the USA, the jokes last all day.

Origins: The origin of April Fools' Day is obscure. One likely theory is that the modern holiday was first celebrated soon after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; the term referred to someone still adhering to the Julian Calendar which it replaced. In many pre-Christian cultures May Day (May 1) was celebrated as the first day of summer, and signalled the start of the spring planting season. An April Fool was someone who did this prematurely.

Well known pranks:

Spaghetti trees: The BBC television program Panorama ran a famous hoax in 1957, showing the Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees. They had claimed that the despised pest, the spaghetti weevil, had been eradicated. A large number of people contacted the BBC wanting to know how to cultivate their own spaghetti trees. It was, in fact filmed in England.

Left Handed Whoppers: In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today, saying that people could get a Whopper for left-handed people whose condiments were designed to drip out of the right side. Not only did customers order the new burgers, but some specifically requested the "old", right-handed burger.

Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell." When asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry replied tongue-in-cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

Metric time: Repeated several times in various countries, this hoax involves claiming that the time system will be changed to one in which units of time are based on powers of 10.

Smell-o-vision: In 1965, the BBC purported to conduct a trial of a new technology allowing the transmission of odor over the airwaves to all viewers. Many viewers reportedly contacted the BBC to report the trial's success. In 2007, the BBC website repeated an online version of the hoax.

Tower of Pisa: The Dutch television news reported once in the 1950s that the Tower of Pisa had fallen over. Many shocked people contacted the station.

Annual BMW Innovations see a new "cutting-edge invention" by BMW advertised across British newspapers - The "Toot and Calm Horn" (afterTutankhamun), which calms rather than aggravates other drivers, so reducing the risk of road rage.

Another advertisement: Canine Repellent Alloy Protection (CRAP)- a means of discouraging dogs from urinating on car wheels. (2008)

By radio stations
"National Public Radio" Every year National Public Radio in the United States does an extensive news story on April 1st. These usually start off more or less reasonably, and get more and more unusual. A recent example is the story on the "iBod" a portable body control device. In 2008 it reported that the IRS, to assure rebate checks were actually spent, was shipping consumer products instead of checks.

I really wanted to play a joke on you, the reader, but after reading those listed above I couldn't think of a single thing to fool you that would be so creative.

So regarding April Fool's Day - you have been alerted - beware!