Category Archives: Religion

A Cat’s Life

After putting up a hilarious graphic depicting “A Dog’s Life”, the cats are demanding equal time. Well, H/T to my friend, Kevin Carson.

A Cat at Christmas

Song of the Day #1898

Song of the Day: Ben-Hur / King of Kings (“A Christmas Sequence”) [YouTube link], composed by Miklos Rozsa, arranged by Christopher Palmer, is a lovely ‘mash-up’ of the music from two of Rozsa’s film score masterpieces: “Ben-Hur” (1959) and “King of Kings” (1961). It takes the cues related to the birth of Christ from both films and presents us with an inspirational thematic celebration of peace on earth, goodwill to all. The sequence is conducted by George Fenton, and performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Choral Society. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! (And it’s my Greek Name Day too! Yay!)

Santa Stops By The Big Apple …

… though if you ask me, it’s a little early for “the city that never sleeps,” but hey, we’re traditionalists. We don’t open up presents until Christmas morning! (Okay, maybe one after midnight! 😉 )

Peace and Goodwill … in the Midst of Carnage

This is still one of the most remarkable stories of spontaneous peace and goodwill … in the midst of the carnage of war. From today’s Los Angeles Times article by Kevin Baxter:

The first Christmas of World War I was a hellish time for Alfred Dougan Chater, a second lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders, who woke that morning in a freezing, muddy trench less than 100 yards from the German lines in West Flanders, Belgium. It was 1914 and the bloodiest fighting of the still-young conflict had ended in a stalemate. Corpses littered the deadly “No Man’s Land” separating the two sides along the Western Front, where hope had long since given way to despair and disillusionment. So what Chater saw next, he wrote his mother, was “one of the most extraordinary sights that anyone has ever seen.” All along a 20-mile stretch of the Western front, unarmed German troops began climbing over the parapets and walking toward the British side simply to shake hands and exchange greetings, the first tentative steps toward what is likely the largest spontaneous Christmas truce in modern history, one in which the warring armies shared cigars, good cheer, chocolate and, in more than one place, a game of soccer.

Check out “Peace for a day: How soccer brought a brief truce to World War I on Christmas Day 1914.”

Song of the Day #1897

Song of the Day: You’re All I Want for Christmas, words and music by Glen Moore and Seger Ellis, has been recorded by many artists through the years, including Bing Crosby (with the Andrews Sisters), Al Martino, and in a lush instrumental by Jackie Gleason [YouTube links] (with Pee Wee Erwin on trumpet). It’s Christmas Eve, and you can be sure I’ll put up another musical selection when Christmas arrives! Till then … don’t forget to Track Santa on NORAD!

Song of the Day #1896

Song of the Day: Christmas Every Day, words and lyrics by Dave Barnes, Cason Cooley, and David Archuleta, who sings this song from his 2018 album, “Winter in the Air.” Archuleta was a very young runner-up in Season 7 of “American Idol” (2008). This song has a finger-snappin’ sweetness. Check it out on YouTube. Two more musical selections to go till Santa touches down!

Empire Christmas

This is not a “Song of the Day,” because it was the featured song on December 29, 2008. But this wonderful light show atop the Empire State Building—my all-time favorite NYC skyscraper—took place on December 19, 2019, when Mariah Carey‘s 1994 holiday tune, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” finally hit #1 atop the Billboard Hot 100—the first time any Christmas song hit the apex of that chart in 61 years (following “The Chipmunk Song” by David Seville). I know, I know, you’ve heard this song a million times… but you’ll likely never see it presented like this again.

Song of the Day #1895

Song of the Day: Salsoul Christmas Medley, produced, arranged, and conducted by Vincent Montana, Jr., is from the 1976 album, “Christmas Jollies,” by the Salsoul Orchestra. The album actually hit the Top 40 on the R&B chart. It’s a fun disco journey through carols and songs of the holiday season. And if you cringe over this … that’s part of the fun! Anyway, at 10:59 am (ET) today, it’s the Winter Solstice … which means, in the Northern Hemisphere, we begin our march toward the light! And only a few more days till Santa takes flight!

Uncle Nick, Godfather: RIP

On Thursday, November 11, 2021, my Uncle Nick Michalopoulos died at the age of 91, after several years of battling serious health issues. He was my mother’s brother.

My relationship with Uncle Nick was blessed quite literally from the very beginning. As my godfather, he held me in his arms when I was baptized on June 11, 1961 at the Three Hierarchs Church in Brooklyn (the church whose first pastor was my grandfather, Vasilios P. Michalopoulos, and my mom was his sister).

Born on June 14, 1930, Uncle Nick would go on to serve in the medical unit of the Navy during the Korean War. Thereafter, he worked thirty years at Western Electric. He was the only one of eight siblings to go on to attend college—Brooklyn College, to be precise. (My sister would follow in his footsteps, becoming the first in our extended family to graduate from Brooklyn College some years later.)

Throughout his life, Uncle Nick exhibited a remarkable range of wonderful talents—from singing to athletics, crafts to parenting. Indeed, he and my godmother, Aunt Vina, raised three children—my first cousins—to whom they have passed on their loving gifts: Will, Marie, and Christine. Add to that seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. In his retirement years, Uncle Nick enjoyed golfing and traveling, and was very handy, even crafting golf clubs and pitching-in with the church here in Brooklyn and out on Long Island, a testament to his strong Greek Orthodox faith.

Over the years, as I truly got to know my godfather, I saw that he had a sweet sense of life and a wonderfully dry sense of humor. Because he lived out on the island, we didn’t see each other as much as we would have liked, but we spoke regularly. I never missed a birthday, a holiday, or a Father’s Day wish.

I am deeply saddened by his passing. And I will carry his love in my heart forever. Rest in Peace, Uncle Nick.

Aunt Vina (l) and Uncle Nick (r)