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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has/had a very happy and safe New Year. I hope the New Year is good to you and I look forward to your visits.

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! 










Thursday, December 29, 2011

Four Sticks



  The sixth song from 'Led Zeppelin IV' is "Four Sticks". As the title suggests, John Bonham used four sticks, at the same time, on this track. This is because he was so frustrated with the fact that he could not get the track down right during the recording session at Island Studios, that Bonham decided to take out his frustration on the drums and picked up two sets of drumsticks and just started beating away on the drums as hard as he could. This resulted in Bonham recording the perfect take and that was the one Led Zeppelin kept. But apparently John Bonham wasn't the only one that was having problems with the recording of "Four Sticks", for it took more takes that usual. John Paul Jones played a VCS3 synthesizer on the track.


Jimmy Page once said of "Four Sticks",: " It was supposed to be abstract." The abstract effect is further achieved by the unusual meter signature, aka time signature, of the song., featuring riffs in a mixture of 5/8 and 6/8 time signatures. Out of frustration over another failed take of the recording, Jimmy Page began to play an improvised guitar riff, which was later developed into the the albums second song - "Rock & Roll".

  "Four Sticks" has only been performed live once, in Copenhagen, Denmark on Led Zeppelin's  1971 European tour and has been preserved only on  bootleg recording.

  "Four Sticks" is 4:44 long and as a single was released on February 21,1972. 






 




FOUR STICKS 
 Oh, Baby, it's cryin' time, Oh, Baby, I got to fly.
 Got to try to find a way, Got to try to get away,
 'Cause you know I gotta get awayfrom you, Babe.
 Oh, Baby, the river's red, Oh, Baby, in my head.
 There's a funny feelin' going on, I don't think I can hold out long.

 * And when the owl cries in the night,
 Oh Baby, Baby, when the pines begin to cry,
 Baby, bay, Baby, how do you feel? 

 Craze, Baby, the rainbow's end, Mmm, Baby, it's just a den
 For those who hide, Who hide their love to the depths of life
 And ruin dreams that we all knew so, Babe.


 * Chorus


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Latkes

Latkes are traditionally eaten by Jews during Hanukkah. The oil that they are fried in is the symbolic remembrance of the oil that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long lasting flame, which is celebrated as a miracle. Despite the tradition and popularity of eating latkes during Hanukkah, they are difficult to come by in shops and restaurants in Israel, because latkes have largely been replaced by the Hanukkah doughnut. This is due to connivance, local economic factors and influence by the trade unions.

The Hebrew name for latke, leviva, has it's origin in the Book of Samuel's description of the story of Tamar and Amnon. Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav means "heart" and the verbal form l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well.
 Latkes are not always made from potatoes. Before the discovery of the New World, which introduced potatoes to the Old World, lakes were, and in some cases still are, made with other kinds of vegetables, starches,cheeeses or legumes, depending on the available local ingridents and foodways of the various places where Jews live.
  The following is a recipe thatI use to make latkes but I make mine through out the year, just not that often because it takes me forever to get the potaoes ready. But that is just me
LATKES
1 large egg
 3 Tablespoons of chopped chives (green onions as a substitute)
 2 Tablespoopns of matzo meal or all-purpose flour (pototo flour works well, also)
2 Tablespoons of grated onions ( I just dice mine)
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice
 3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2 1/2 lbs of baking potatoes ( 4 medium sized potatoes), peeled
1/2 Cup of vegetable oil for frying
Applesauce and sour cream


  1. Prheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels.
  2. In a bowl, with a fork, lightly beat the egg. Stir in chives, matzo meal,onion,lemon juice,salt and pepper. In a foodprocessor with a shredding disk, shred potatoes. Or do it the old-fashioned way, use a hand held grater. Thenplace potoes in a colander in the dink or a deep bowl; squeeze out liquid. Stir the potatoes int to the egg mixture.
  3. In a non-stick 12 inch skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Drop the potatoe mixture by scant 1/4 cups into the oil to make 6 latkes. Flatten each latke into 3-inch round. (I guess I should have read that part better because my 1/4 cups are heaping. But they still come out fine.)
  4. Cook latkes 8 to 10 minutes or until both sides are browned and crisp, turning once. With a slotted spatula, transfer to lined cookie sheet. Keep warm.
  5. Repeat stirring mixture each time before frying and adding more oil to each batch. Serve with applesauce and sour cream. ( I think it's okay to serve the latkes without the applesauce and sour cream, because you may not always have them on hand.) 


    HAPPY HANUKKAH!




Merry Christmas


MERRY CHRISTMAS 



  I just would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope you are able to enjoy your family and friends but if you're not you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Andif you are able to spend time with your family and Santa doesn't give you what you asked for just remember, sometimes the answer is no. Maybe that's because there is a bigger reason than we could ever imagine.

Love to all
 and
 Merry Christmas,
 Misha and cats

P.S. The cats are :

Sweetie, 17
 Lilibelle, 7
 Spookie, 5
 Fluffy, 5
Penelope, 4
 Silver
 Floppsie         { 2
 Moppsie        
 Daffodil         
Rocky           
Sassyfras         {1     
Li'l Patch, 6 months
Honey, 3 months 
Odysseus, 6 years




 


Monday, December 19, 2011

Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia)


   Saint Lucy, Saint Lucia or Santa Lucia was born in Syracuse, Sicily to a wealthy Christian noble family in 283. Saint Lucy's Roman father died while she was still an  infant, leaving her and her mother,Eutychia, without a protective guardian. Even so, Eutychia took singular care of Saint Lucy and furnished her with sublime and tender sentiments of piety and religion. Because of the early impressions Saint Lucy received and the strong influence of divine grace, she discovered no disposition but towards virtue and she was yet very young when she made her vow to God to stay a virgin. However, Saint Lucy kept this vow from her mother, who was pressing her to marry a young man, who happened to be a pagan. The saint sought occasions to prevent this marriage from taking place. Because Eutychia had suffered with dysentery for four years Saint Lucy was able to convince her mother to go to the tomb of Saint Agatha, patroness of Catania, and offered  their prayers all night to God for relief from dysentery, until they both fell asleep. Saint Agatha came to Saint Lucy in a vision and said "You shall be the glory of Syracuse, as I am of Catania." It was at that instant Eutychiha was cured.

   Immediately following this Saint Lucy told her mother of her desire to devote herself to God in a state of perpetual virginity and bestowing her fortunes on the poor.In gratitude Eutychia gave Saint Lucy the liberty to follow her heart's desire. News of her distribution of her father's inheritance and jewels came to the ears of Saint Lucy's intended from a talkative nurse, that Saint Lucy had found a nobler Bridegroom.



  This enraged Saint Lucy's promised bridegroom and he denounced her as a Christian  to the magistrate, Paschasius, who ordered her to burn a sacrifice of an image of the emperor. Saint Lucy refused saying "I offer to Him myself, let Him do with His offering as it pleases Him." She was then commanded to be exposed to prostitution in a brothel, to which Saint Lucy asserted:

 "No one's body is polluted so as to endanger the soul if it has not pleased the mind. If you were to lift my hand to your idol and so make me offer against my will, I would still be guiltless in the sight of the true God, who judges according to the will and knows all things. If now, against my will, you cause me to be polluted,a twofold purity will gloriously imputed to me. You cannot bend my will to your purpose; whatever you do with my body, that cannot happen to me."

  However, the guards could not move Saint Lucy, even when they hitched to a team of oxen, because she had become filled with the Holy Spirit. Even when she had daggers plunged into her throat Saint Lucy prophesied against her persecutor. One legend claims that her eyes were gouged out by either the tyrannical government official or her jilted intended. Another story says that she tore her eyes out herself and gave them to her pagan suitor so he would leave her alone. In every story, however, God would restore her eyes to her, more beautiful than ever.  Saint Lucia died on December 13,304.

The emblem of the eyes on the plate or cup must be linked to the popular devotion to her, as protector of sight, because her name, Lucia, comes from the Latin word for "light", lux.  Lucy's name also played a large part in naming her patron saint of the blind and those with eye trouble. She is patroness of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy.

  Her feast day is December 13. Saint Lucia is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican, Orthodox Christians and in the Lutheran Church. Saint Lucia is one of the seven women, aside from the Holy Mother, who is commemorated by name in the Cannon of the Mass.

She is one of the few saints  celebrated in the Lutheran Church among Scandinavians, who take part in Saint Lucy Day celebrations. In Sweden, the oldest ( or youngest) daughter in each household traditionally  carries a tray of coffee and pastries called, lussekatter (Lucy cats) to her parents before they get up in the morning. She wears a white gown, scarlet sash and crown of greens and four, seven or nine lighted candles. her brothers, wearing white shirts and  tall cone-shaped hats decorated with stars and and her sisters all in white carrying lighted candles, follow her.In many towns, a Saint Lucy carries coffee and buns to each house. She and her followers each carry a lighted candle, sing carols through the dark streets as Saint Steven, represented by a man on horseback, leads the way.The procession is done in honor of Saint Lucy traversing darkened woods to bring bread and other food  the poor.



 In Switzerland, she strolls around the village with Father Christmas, giving gifts to the girls while he gives gifts to the boys.

Italians eat small cakes or biscotti shaped like eyes, light bonfires, and conduct an evening candle light procession, all in honor of Santa Lucia.

 In Sicily, they pay tribute to a miracle performed by Santa Lucia during the famine of 1582. At that time she brought a flotilla of grain bearing ships to a starving Sicily, whose citizens cooked and ate the wheat without taking the time to grind it into flour. Thus, on Saint Lucy Day, Sicilians do not eat anything made with wheat flour. Instead they eat cooked wheat called cuccia




SANTA LUCIA  (Original Italian lyrics)

Sul mare luccia l'astro d'argento
 Placida e l'onda , prospero e il vento 
 Sul mare luccia l'astro d'argento
 Placida e l'onda, prospero e il vento
Venite all'agile barchetta mia
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
 Venite all'agile barchetta mia
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

 Con questo zeffiro , cosi soave
 Oh, com e bello star sulla nave!
 Con questo zeffiro, cosi soave
 Oh com e bello star sulla nave!
 Su passegieri, venite via!
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
 Su passegieri, venite via!
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

 In fra le tende, badir la cena
 In una sera cosi serena
In fra le tende, badir la cena
 In una sera cosi serena
 Chi non dimanda, chi non desia
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Chi non dimanda, chi non desia
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

Mare si placida, vento si caro
Scordar fa i triboli al marinaro
Mare si placida, vento si caro
Scordar fa i triboli al marinaro
E va gridando con allegria
Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!  
 E va gridando con allegria
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

 O dolce Napoli, o suol beato
 Ove sorridere volle il creato
 O dolce Napoli, o suol beato
 Ove sorridere volle il creato 
Tu sei l'impero dell'armonia
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
Tu sei l'impero dell'armonia
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!

 Or che tardate? Bella e la sera
 Spira un auretta fresca e leggiera
 Or che tardate? Bella e la sera
 Spira un auretta fresca e leggiera
 Venite all'agile barchetta mia
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!
 Venite all'agile barchetta mia.
 Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!


 (ENGLISH TRANSLATION)

On the sea shimmers the silver star
 The wave is peaceful, prosperous wind.
 On the sea shimmers the silver star
 The wave is peaceful, prosperous wind.
 Come quickly my boat.
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
 Come quickly my boat.
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

 With this breeze so gentle
 Oh, how beautiful to be on the ship!
 With this breeze so simple
 Oh, how beautiful to be on the ship!
 Its passengers, come on!
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
 Its passengers, come on!
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

 In between the tents, dinner invitations
On such a quiet evening
 In between the tents,dinner invitations
 On such a quiet evening
 Who does not demands, desires to those who do not.
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
 Who does not demands, desires to those who do not
Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Sea so calm, wind so dear
 Forget make thistles in the marine.
 Sea so calm, wind so dear
 Forget makes thistles in the marine.
 It should be shouting with joy.
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
 It should be shouting with joy.
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

 O sweet Naples, or wont blessed
Where would smile creation.
 O sweet Naples, or wont blessed
 Where would smile creation.
 You are the empire of harmony, 
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
 You are the empire of harmony,
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

 Or to be late? The evening is beautiful 
 A little breeze blows fresh and light
 Or to be late? The beautiful evening
 A little breeze blows fresh and light.
 Come quickly my boat,
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!
 Come quickly my boat,
 Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

  






Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Misty Mountain Hop



  "Misty Mountain Hop" is the fifth song on Led Zeppelin IV and was released as a single on December 2,1971. Even though it was the B-side of "Black Dog" in Australia and the U.S., it still got a lot of airplay on FM radio stations. The song is 4:38 long and of course "Misty Mountain Hop" was also recorded at Headly Grange.

  In a musical manner the song is of a medium tempo with bassist John Paul Jones playing the electric piano in the opening sequence. It has a notable presence of layered keyboard and guitar parts, which makes it melodically solid and is driven by one of John Bonham's  most powerful recorded studio performances. Featuring a memorable riff, on which Jones and Page harmonize using keyboard and guitar. The repeating riff in "misty Mountain Hop" sounds like a funk rock bassline and is based on note A G E. In the second half of  the second verse, at 2:11, mistakenly fall out of sync with one another. But Led Zeppelin thought the rest of the take was too good, so they kept the mistake in the song.




   One of the most common interpretations of the lyrics of "Misty Mountain Hop" is that they refer to an encounter with police in the park after smoking marijuana and leaving to go to the Misty Mountains ( where the spirits fly) which seems to be a reference to "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkein. Another variation is that the song is about a 'love-in' at a park near London that was broken up by police.



On the 1971 Led Zeppelin European Tour in Copenhagen, Denmark "Misty Mountain Hop" made its debut and was regularly played live at Led Zeppelin concerts from late 1972 through 1973, often directly linking into "Since I've Been Loving You"  (from Led Zeppelin III). "Misty Mountain Hop" was also performed at Knebworth in 1979. Because of a broken string on his main Les Paul Jimmy Page used a 1977 Gibson RD Artist guitar, for the second of two performances. The surviving members of Led Zeppelin performed "Misty Mountain Hop" at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988 with John Bonham's son, Jason, on drums and then again for the 21st birthday of Robert Plant's daughter the next year.  "Misty Mountain Hop" was again performed at the Led Zeppelin reunion show at the O2 Arena, London on December 10, 2007.


___________________________________





 MISTY MOUNTAIN HOP 

Walkin' in the park the other day, Baby,
 What do you, what do you think I saw?
Crowds of people sittin' on the grass with flowers in there hair said,
 "Hey, Boy do you want to score?"
 And you know how it is;
 I really don't know what time was, woh, oh,
 So I asked them if I could stay awhile.

 I didn't notice but it had got very dark and I was really,
 Really out of my mind.
 Just then a policeman stepped up to me and asked us said
 "Please, hey,would we care all to get in line,
 Get in line."
 Well you know,
 They asked us to stay and have some tea and have some fun,
 Oh, oh, he said that his friends would all drop by, ooh.

 Why don't you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see,
 And Baby, Baby, Baby, do you like it?
 There you sit, sitting spare like a book on a shelf rustin'
 Ah, not trying to fight it.
 You really don't care if they're coming, oh, oh,
 I know that it's all a state of mind.

 If you go down the streets today, Baby you better,
 You better open your eyes,
 Folks down there really don't care, don't care, really don't
 Which way the pressure lies.
 So I've decided what I'm gonna to do now. 
So I'm packing my bags for the Misty Mountains,
 Where the spirit go now,
 Over the hills where the spirit fly, ooh
 I really don't know.










Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NBA 2011- 2012 Season

  Yes it does seem that there is definitely going to be an NBA basketball season. Even though I am still a bit ticked with everyone involved, well maybe with the exception of the Mavericks. The players I am at least okay but Mark Cuban... well what can you say about him that already hasn't been said. I just hope he keeps his mouth shut like he did last season! And it would be nice if they can keep Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler but there seems to be a high chance of that not happening.

 Anyway, here is what is proposed, and more than likely just waiting for the official votes, of the NBA's labor deal.

 Specifics of NBA Proposed Labor Deal 

by Andrian Wojnarowski


  The NBA and the Players Association  have begun circulating to teams,players and agents outlining some of the specifics of the proposed labor agreement that must still be ratified by the leagues owners and players.

  Among the specifics in the collective bargaining agreement:

 * Revenue split: The players will receive 49to 51 percent of basketball-related income based on revenue projections. The split is set on a base case of 50%, with players receiving 60.5% of every incremental dollar beyond the target amount.

* Maximum contract lengths: five years for Larry Bird rights players; four years for non-Bird players.

*Maximum salary: A player finishing his rookie contract will be eligible to receive a maximum salary equal to 30% of  the salary cap if  he signs with his prior team and meets certain performance benchmarks: first, second or third team All-NBA two times; an All-Star starter two times; or one-time MVP.

* Annual salary increase: 7.5% for Bird players; and 4.5% for non-Bird players.

 * Mid-level exception: up to $5 million starting salary with four-year maximum contract length for teams that don't exceed the luxury tax threshold by more than $4 million; teams that exceed this threshold by $4 million will be limited to using a $3 million mid-level exception with a three-year maximum contract.

 * New $2.5 million exception for teams below the salary cap to go over the cap. Those teams can't use the mid-level or bi-annual exceptions.

*No reduction in rookie scale or minimum salaries.

 * Player options are allowed for all players, similar to the previous collective bargaining agreement.

 * Extend-and-trade contract similar to the one Carmelo Anthony received prior to his trade from the Denver Nuggets to the New York Knicks last season will continue to be permitted.

 * Escrow pool: Ten percent of player salaries will be held each year.

 *  Teams now have three days to match offer sheets given to their own restricted free agents.

 * Minimum team salary increases to 85% of the salary cap in the first two years of the deal and 90% of the cap in the years thereafter.

* Each team has one amnesty clause to use on a player currently under contract. The players' salary will be removed from the team's cap.

I'll post the NBA schedule at a later time.


* Larry Bird rights players : 

  The NBA's salary cap is not set in stone - teams are allowed to exceed the payroll maximum for a variety of reasons. One of the exceptions to the cap was created to allow teams to resign their own players. The Boston Celtics were the first team to employ the exemption, exceeding the cap to re-sign Larry Bird. Since then, it has been known as the "Bird Exception". 

Players eligible to be signed under the Bird Exception are said to have "Bird rights".

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saint Nicholas




  Saint Nicholas was a historic 4th century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, Lycia, Asia Minor ( modern day Turkey). Because of the many miracles that are attributed to his intercession, he is also know as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. Saint Nicholas had the reputation for gift giving in secret for example, putting coins in shoes of those who would  leave them out for him. This became the model for Santa Clause, whose modern name comes from the Dutch Sinterklass. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as did most early Christian saints. His relics were quickly moved to Bari, in southeastern Italy, in 1087, for which he is also known as Nikolaos of Bari. His feastday is December 6.

  As a historical figure, Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered by Orthodox Christians and Catholics. He is also honored by various Lutheran and Anglican churches. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, thieves, prostitutes, fisherman, pawnbrokers, pharmacists,merchants,broadcasters, the falsely accused, travelers, virgins,shoemakers and children.He is also a patron of the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine emperors who guard his relics in Bari.






  Not much is known to be historically certain about Saint Nicholas  only that he was the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century.

   Now according to tradition he was born a Greek in the town of Patera, which was a port city on the Mediterranean Sea, at the time, and was located at Myra, Lycia  at the time when the region was of Greek heritage,culture and outlook and was part of the Roman province in Asia. As the only son of wealthy Christian parents, Saint Nicholas was raised to be a devout Christian. According to tradition, Saint Nichols was said to be a rigorous observer of the canonical fasts of Wednesdays and Fridays. His parents died of an epidemic while Saint Nicholas was still young. He was taken in by his uncle, whose name was also Nicholas, and who was the Bishop of Patera. While in his youth Saint Nicholas made religious pilgrimages to Egypt and Palestine. Shortly after his return he was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known for his generosity to the needy,his love of children and his concern for ships and sailors.

  Under the rule of the Roman Emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD), who was ruthless in his persecution of Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith by being exiled and imprisoned. There were so many priests, bishops and deacons in prison that there was no room for real criminals... murders, thieves and such. After his release from prison because of the accession of Constantine, Saint Nicholas is said to have attended the first Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD in Myra and was buried in cathedral church, where a unique relic called watery liquid that smells like rose water called, manna. It is believed by the faithful to hold miraculous powers.





In August of 1071 in the Battle of Manzikert,  the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, Romanus  IV, faced the Sultan Alp Arsian of the Seljuk Turks. The battle ended in the defeat and capture of Romanus. As a result Asia Minor was temporarily taken control of by the invading Turks. The Byzantines did regain its control over Asia Minor during the reign of Alexius I Commenus. But early in his reign Myra was overrun by Islamic invaders and in the confusion sailors from Bari in Apulia took the remains of the saint from his burial church in Myra over the objections of the Orthodox monks. Saint Nicholas' remains arrived in Bari on May 9, 1087. In some variations the relics of Saint Nicolas were taken by thieves or pirates. In others they are said to be taken because of a vision of Saint Nicholas appeared and commanded that his relics be removed in order to be kept safe from the impending Muslim conquest.

   There have been many stories and legends about Saint Nicholas' life through the centuries. These accounts help us understand his life and his devotion plus why he is so loved a revered as protector and helper of the needy.

  One story seems to have a Sweeney Todd feel to it. In this one a famine has struck and a malicious butcher lures three children to his house, where he kills and butchers them, putting the children's remains in a barrel to cure, with the plan to sell them off as ham. Saint Nicholas, who is visiting the region to care for the hungry, sees through the butcher evil crime and brings the three children back to life through his prayers. In another version of the same story, it was three clerks that  who wished to stay the night. The man murders them and upon the advice of his wife he turns them into meat pies. Saint Nicholas sees through this scheme and bring the clerks back to life.

  Another story, which is one of the oldest, shows Saint Nicholas as protector of children even after his death. The townspeople of Myra were celebrating Saint Nicholas on the eve of his feast day when a band of Arab pirates from the island of Crete came into the district. They came and stole treasures from the Church of Saint Nicholas as booty. On their way out of town they kidnapped a young boy, named Basilios, to make into a slave. The ruler or emir of the Arabs chose Basilios to be his personal cupbearer, because Bsilios did not know the language of his captor he would not understand what the emir was saying to those around him. So, for the next year Basilios was the emir's slave, waiting on the emir and bringing him his wine that was in a golden cup.Meanwhile, Basilios parents were full of grief over the loss of their only child and the year passed very slowly for them. As the next Saint Nicholas day neared, Basilios mother would not join in the celebration because for her it marked a day of tragedy. She was, however persuaded to have a simple observance- with quiet prayers for son's safe keeping. Meanwhile, as Basilios was doing his duties of serving the emir, he was whisked up and away. The boy was terrified but Saint Nicholas appeared to him and set Basilios back at his home in Myra, still holding the emir's cup. This is the first story that has Saint Nicholas protecting children.

  Now what is perhaps the most famous story of Saint Nicholas is the one of the three sisters whose family was so poor that there would be no dowry for any of the girls, thus forcing them into prostitution:

  In those days a young woman's father had to offer prospective husbands with something of value- a dowry. The larger the dowry the better prospects of a good husband for the young woman. Without a dowry, the more unlikely a woman would marry (sound familiar Jane Austen fan?). Anyway, there was this poor man that had three daughters and of course he could not afford proper dowries for them. So this would mean that they would remain single and probably, because of no other employment,would end up becoming prostitutes. Hearing of the plight of the poor man and his daughters, Saint Nicholas decided to help them. But because Saint Nicholas was a man who was too modest to help the man in public and because the man may have been to humiliated to accept charity, Saint Nicholas went to the man's house in the cover of night and threw three purses ( one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through an open window into the poor man's home. The bags of gold are said to have landed in either a pair of shoes or a pair of stockings that were left before the home's fire to dry.

  One version has Saint Nicholas throwing a bag of gold for three consecutive nights. Another one has him throwing the bags over a three year period, each time on the eve of when  one of the daughters is to come of age. The third time this is to happen the father want to know who their benefactor is, so he lies in wait. In one version the father confronts Saint Nicholas, only to be told by the saint that it is not he who should be thanked, but God. In another story, Saint Nicholas learns of the father's plan and instead drops the third bag of gold down the chimney instead.



  This is what has led to the custom of hanging stockings or putting out shoes, in anticipation of Saint Nicholas. In a variation of the story it is gold balls that Saint Nicholas gives the sisters instead of bags of gold money. That is why gold balls,  sometimes represented by oranges, are one of the symbols of saint Nicholas. And therefore Saint Nicholas is a gift giver.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stairway to Heaven






All right now for one of the greatest, some may even argue it is the greatest, rock song in music history..."Stairway to Heaven".

 "Stairway to Heaven" was released on November 8,1971 by Led Zeppelin and it runs for 8 minutes and 2 seconds. The song, which is the fourth song on Led Zeppelin IV, is composed of several sections, that increase in tempo and volume as the song progresses.The last section is a high tempo hard rock section highlighted by Jimmy Page's intricate guitar solo.




 
  Led Zeppelin started planning "Stairway to Heaven" in early1970, when they decided to create a new epic song to replace "Dazed and Confused" as the centerpiece of their concerts.Jimmy Page would work on the song in 8-track studio he had installed in his boathouse, trying out different sections on his guitar. By April he was telling journalists that their new song could be 15 minutes long and described it as something that would "build in climax" with John Bonham's drums not coming in for sometime. In October of 1970, after nearly touring constantly for 18 months Page and Plant worked on the song in a Welsh cottage called Bron-yr-Aur, where the started writing songs for the album. Led Zeppelin started writing "Stairway to Heaven' in December of 1970 at Basing Street Studios, a new Island Records studio,  in London.

  To complete the song and the rest of the album Led Zeppelin went to the former poorhouse, Headley Grange in Liphook Road, Headley, Hampshire where they recorded the album with the Rolling Stone mobile studio.

  Page kept a cassette recorder close by and the idea  for "Stairway to Heaven" came together in bits and pieces of taped music. Jimmy Page states:

 "I had these pieces, these guitar pieces,that I wanted to put together. I had a whole idea of a piece of music that I really wanted to try and present to everybody and try to come to terms with. Bit difficult really,it started on acoustic and as you know it goes through to electric parts. But we had various run-through [at Headley Grange] where I was playing the acoustic guitar. Robert was sitting in the corner or rather leaning against the wall and as I was routining the rest of the band with this idea and this piece, he was just writing. And all of a sudden he got up and started singing, along with another run-through and he had 80% of the words there... I had these sections and I knew what order they were going to be in, but it was just a matter of getting everybody to feel comfortable with each gear shift that was going to be coming."

  John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin's bassist, recalled this presentation of "Stairway to Heaven" following its beginning at Bron-Yr-Aur:

  "Page and Plant would come back from the Welsh mountains with guitar intro and verse. I literally heard it in front of a roaring fire in a country manor house!I picked up a base recorder and played a run-down riff which gave us an intro, then I moved into a piano for the next section, dubbing on the guitars."


  In a 1977 interview, Page elaborated:  

   "I do have the original tape  that was running at the time we ran down "Stairway to Heaven"completely with the band. I'd worked it all out the night before  with John Paul Jones, written down the changes and things. All this time we were all living in a house and keeping pretty regular hours together, so the next day running it down. There was only one place where there was a slight rerun. For some unknown reason Bonzo couldn't get the timing right on the twelve-string part before the solo. Other than that it flowed pretty quickly."


   The first attempt at the lyrics written by Robert Plant sitting by an evening fire at Headley Grange, were partly spontaneous and Page claimed that " a huge percentage of the lyrics were written then and there.'" Page was strumming the intro chords when a flash of inspiration came to Robert Plant.  Said Plant: "I was holding a pencil and paper and for some reason I was in a very  bad mood. Then all of a sudden my hands were writing out the words 'There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold/ And she buying a stairway to heaven.' I just sat there and looked at them and almost leapt out of my seat." Plant's explanation for the lyrics was that it "was some cynical aside about a woman getting everything she wanted all the time without giving back any thought or consideration. The first line begins with a cynical sweep of the hand... and it softens after that." 

  The lyrics to "Stairway to Heaven" is a reflection of Robert Plant's reading at the time. Plant, who is a great admirer of all things mystic, Celtic writings and old English legends and lore, had been reading J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" and "Magic Arts in Celtic Britain" by Lewis Spence.The Tolkien influence can be heard in the phrase "In my thoughts I have seen Rings of Smoke Through the Trees." which could be a reference to Gandalf , the wizard in "Lord of the Rings",making smoke rings when he is puffing his pipe. There is also a correlation to the lady in the song and Lady Galadriel , the Queen of the Elves, who lives in Lothlorien, the golden forest.










   On March 5,1971 Led Zeppelin performed "Stairway to Heaven" for the first time in Belfast, Northern Ireland and according to John Paul Jones the people were not impressed. The audience came to hear songs they knew- like - "Whole Lotta Love".

  When the band started the U.S. leg of their tour the song got a better reception.From 'Led Zeppelin: The Definitive Biography' by Ritchie Yorke, Page said of playing the song at an August 1971 show at the Los Angeles Forum: "I'm not saying the whole audience gave us a standing ovation- but there was a sizable standing ovation there. And I thought ' This is incredible because no one's heard this number yet. This is the first time hearing it!' It obviously touched them, so I knew there was something with that one."

  The world premiere of " Stairway to Heaven" was recorded on April 1, 1971 at the Paris Cinema, in Lower Regent Street,London, in front of a live audience and three days later it was broadcasted on the BBC. After that the song was performed at almost every following concert,unless there were  technical issues or those rare cut short due to curfews. 1975 marked the time when"Stairway to Heaven" got it's place as the regular finale in every Led Zeppelin concert. But, after their U.S.concert tour in 1977, Plant began to tire of singing "Stairway to Heaven". According to him " There's only so many times you can sing it and mean it...It just becomes sanctimonious." Led Zeppelin's last performance of this song, as a whole band, was on July 7,1980 in Berlin ( in the Western Sector I would imagine); this version was also one of the longest, lasting for about 15 minutes.

  When playing the song live, the band often extend the song over 10 minutes, with Plant adding lyrical ad-libs and Page playing an extend guitar solo, using a Gibson EDS-1275 double neck guitar so that he would not have to switch between a six string guitar to a twelve string guitar.



  At the 1985 concert event Live Aid,  "Stairway to Heaven" was played by the surviving members of Zeppelin and in 1988 at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert with John Bonham's son, Jason Bonham, on drums and as an instrumental by Jimmy Page on his solo concert tours.

  By the late 1980's , Plant made his negative feelings towards the song clearer in an interview. He stated in 1988:

   "I'd breakout into hives if I had to sing ("Stairway to Heaven") in every show. I wrote those lyrics and found that song to be of some importance and consequence in 1971, but  17 years later, I don't know. It's just not for me. I sang it at the Atlantic Records show because I'm an old softie and it's my way of saying thank you to Atlantic because I've been with them for 20 years. But no more "Stairway to Heaven" fo me."

  But by the mid 1990's, Plant had apparently a softer view of the song. During the Page and Plant tours instead of playing the final notes of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You"they played the first few bars of "Stairway to Heaven". In 1994, at a Tokyo news station, they performed an acoustic version for Japanese television. Also, thy performed the song at O2 Arena on December 10,2007 as part of the Led Zeppelin reunion show.

  Robert Plant cites the most unusual performance of "Stairway to Heaven" as being at Live Aid when Duran Duran was at the side of the stage crying. Plant stated "... there was something quite surreal about that."



  The legacy of "Stairway to Heaven" is that of high regard. It is often rated as among one of the greatest rock songs of all time. Although the song was released in 1971 it wasn't until 1973 that it  achieved it's "anthemic" status. Recalls  Jimmy Page I knew it was good, but I didn't know it was going to be like an anthem... But I knew it was the gem of the album, sure."

 "Stairway to Heaven" was put into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock 'n' Roll, in 1994. The English rock magazine 'Classic Rock', in 1999,listed it as the #1 song of the Best Songs Ever and was placed #31 on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time"  Despite never having been officially released as a single, it is one of the most requested song on FM radio in the United States during the 1970's. Through download sales promoting Led Zeppelin's compilation album "Mothership", "Stairway to Heaven" hit #37  in November of 2007 on the U.K. Singles Chart.

  In the late '90's the trade magazine 'Monday Morning Replay' reported that "Stairway to Heaven" was still played 4,203 times a year by the 67 largest AOR (album-oriented rock) radio stations in the U.S. ASCAP, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, refuse to release exact figures on how many it has been since it has been released, but that on each AOR station in America, the song was played 5 times a day, during the first 3 months of existence; twice a day for the next 9 months; once a day for the next 4 years;and 2 to 3 times a week for the next 15 years. There are roughly 600 AOR and Classic Rock stations in the U.S., which means "Stairway to Heaven"has been broadcasted a minimum of 2,874 times. At 8 minutes per spin, roughly 23 million minutes-almost 44 years- have been devoted to the song. So far.






 STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN 

 There's a Lady Who's Sure All That Glitters is Gold.
 And She's Buying a Stairway to Heaven.
 And When She Gets There She Knows
If the Stores Are Closed.
 With a Word She Can Get What She Came For.

 There's a Sign on the Wall
 But She Wants to Be Sure
 Cause You Know Sometimes Words Have
 Two Meanings.
 In a Tree by the Brook There's a Songbird
Who Sings Sometimes.
 All Our Thoughts Are Misgiven.

 There Is a Feeling I Get When I Look
 To the West.
And My Spirit is Crying For Leaving.
 In My Thoughts I Have Seen Rings of Smoke
 Through the Tree.
 And the Voices of Those Who Stand Looking.

And It Whispered That Soon If We All
Call the Tune.
 Then the Piper Will Lead Us to Reason.
 And a New Day Will Dawn for Those
Who Stand Long.
 And the Forest Will Echo With Laughter.

And It Makes Me Wonder.

If There's a Bustle in Your Hedgerow
Don't Be Alarmed Now.
 It's Just a Spring Clean for the May-Queen.
 Yes There are Two Paths You Can Go By.
 But In the Long Run
 There' Still Time To Change the Road You're On.

 Your Head is Humming and It Won't Go
-In Case You Don't Know.
 The Piper's Calling You to Join Him.
Dear Lady Can You Hear the Wind Blow
 And Did You Know
You're Stairway Lies On the Whispering Wind.

 And As We Wind on Down the Road
Our Shadows Taller Than Our Soul.
There Walks a Lady We All Know
Who Shines White Light and Wants to Show.
 How Everything Still Turns to Gold
 And If You Listen Very Hard
 The Tune Will Come to You at Last.
 When All Are One and One is All
To Be a Rock and Not to Roll.





Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hello everyone, I thought I would let you know that I am working on my next Led Zeppelin post, which is "Stairway to Heaven", but life is making it slow going, but I am doing pretty good getting it done. It's just that sometimes after a long day, like yesterday,  I just didn't feel like doing much writing and of course having a cat homesteading on my lap, like right now, doesn't help much. But I dope hope to finish it whether my homesteading Floppsie likes it or not. I say that but he may not give me much choice because he seems to think I am disturbing him now... wait I think he has relaxed again. Yes he has, good.

  Also,I thought I would just give you a head up on the lack of an NBA lockout post. The reason why I haven't done a post about the NBA lockout being over is because I don't trust the parties involved. I'm not looking for things to go wrong but December 9 is a week away and anything can happen.So if everything gets agreed upon then I will do a post about it, heck if things fall through before December 9 I'll still  probably have something to say about it, as well.

  Now I think I'll work on "Stairway to Heaven"...CRAP! I just remembered that I don't have my Led Zeppelin IV CD near and I don't want to look the lyrics up online. Guess I'll just have to disturb Floppsie and go get it and hope he settles back down again without a problem.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mississippi Mud Pie

  This is one of favorite desserts, but because I'm the only one in my household that likes Mississippi Mud I don't have it that often. But one of my aunt's made some for Thanksgiving and I made a pig of myself with it and had two helpings. So I thought I would post a couple of recipes for it. One of them uses nuts in it, but because there seems to be a lot people allergic to nuts I'm including a recipe that uses Graham crackers instead. I have had it both ways and I think they both taste good. But then with chocolate involved... and the thing is I'm not all that crazy about chocolate or pretty much any kind of candy for that matter. Anyway if any of you try the Mississippi Mud I do hope you enjoy it.




 MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE #1

1 3/4 Cup of flour
1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 Cup of chopped pecans
1 Cup of powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
12 oz Cool Whip
2 (3.9 oz) packages of instant chocolate pudding mix
3 Cups of milk



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine pecans and flour. Mix well, then stir in softened butter. Stir until mixture forms a ball. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Then bake for 20 minutes or until golden brow.Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. Make chocolate pudding according to directions on the box. Let sit for 5 minutes before spreading on top of cooled crust.
  4. In a large bowl, whip softened cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar until mixture is smooth. Then fold the Cool Whip into the cream cheese mixture. Spread over pudding layer. Garnish, if you like, with chocolate candy bar shavings or miniature chocolate chips. Serve chilled.


__________________________

MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE #2 

2 Cups of Graham cracker crumbs
1/4 Cup of white sugar
1/2 Cup of butter, softened
1 12 0z container of frozen Cool Whip, thawed
3/4 Cup of white sugar
2 small packages of chocolate pudding mix
3 Cups of milk

  1. Thoroughly blend Graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of sugar and butter. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan or onto the the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Blend together half of the Cool Whip,3/4 cup sugar and the softened cream cheese. Spread onto top of pie crust.
  3. Whip together the pudding and milk and spread on top of cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining Cool Whip. Put chocolate sprinkles on top for garnish.

I would think that a store bought Graham cracker pie crust would work in a pinch instead of making it yourself.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving




FIRST THANKSGIVING 
by
 Aileen Fisher

 Venison for stew and roasting,
 Oysters in the ashes toasting,
 Geese done to a turn,
Berries(dried) and wild grapes (seeded),
 Mixed with dough and gently kneaded.
 What a feast to earn! Indian corn in strange disguises,
 Ash cakes, hoe cakes (many sizes),
Kernels roasted brown...
After months of frugal living
What a welcome first Thanksgiving
 There in Plymouth town. 
_______________



THANKSGIVING DAY  
 by
 Emily Dickinson

 One day is there of the series
 Termed Thanksgiving Day,
 Celebrated part at table,
 Part in memory.

 Neither patriarch or pussy,
 I dissect the play;
Seem it, to my hooded thinking, 
 Reflex holidy.

 Had there been no sharp subtraction,
 From the early sum,
 Not an acre or a caption,
 Where was once a room.

 Not a mention, whose small pebble,
 Wrinkled any bay, --
 Unto such, were such assembly,
 'T were Thanksgiving day.

 

 

Thank You

  This is Misha's Blue first official holiday and I would like to thank everyone who has come and visited my blog.
 I know that my blog is a bit scatter-brained, but then I happen to be REALLY scatterbrained, but in spite of the shortcomings I really do hope you have enjoyed my blog. I have strived to make this an enjoyable stop on your web surfing maybe you have been informed about and enjoyed a song that you may not have heard of before or maybe forgot about but may have brought back a fond  of memory. Then again you could have enjoyed the sports section (so to speak) and maybe my rants about the NBA, which I hope I have kept you informed in a way in which you can understand ( me being scatterbrained). For whatever reason you have visited my blog, I thank you for your kindness and for visiting, because without you my dear friends I wouldn't have a blog.

 So may you all have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. For those that do not have Thanksgiving, I wish for you happiness and the best in life. Again Thank You everybody.


 Misha