Tag Archives: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show

Top ten list of favorite holidays

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list, as you can see by the title, is my favorite holidays. So here they are and one through five are in order.

#10. Valentine’s Day [I used to love this holiday, but with my luck with the opposite gender not being so good, this holiday has slipped way down on my list.]

#9. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day [When Mom and Dad were alive, I would get them nice gifts and sometimes I would buy Mom flowers. Now that they are both gone, I visit their gravesites on those days.]

#8. Memorial Day [As a kid I loved Memorial Day for on that weekend the Indianapolis 500 race would be on TV. It is one of my favorite sporting events. Also this holiday meant the end of the school year was soon approaching and summer time would soon begin.]

#7. Labor Day [This is the day where the workers of the United States are honored, and when I was a kid it meant the end of summer and school would begin the next day.]

#6. St. Patrick’s Day [It is an Irish holiday and the tradition is that everyone should dress up with some green in their outfit. I always enjoyed doing this. A couple of years ago I plumb forgot and was teased, though in fun, by my friends at Panera Cafe. I also enjoy the holiday because green just happens to be one of my favorite colors.]

#5. 4th of July [When I was living at home, I would always watch the New York Macy’s 4th of July fireworks, which was shown on a New York TV station that our cable company picked up. I watched it for at least a decade before they went with alternate programing. Now, kitty cat Keekee and I watch our local fireworks from the living room window on the top floor of my apartment building. The window faces Beaver Stadium where the fireworks are shown.]

#4. Easter [In my youth I enjoyed getting all dressed up in my Sunday best for church. Later when I officially became Catholic, I enjoyed getting palms on Palm Sunday and attending midnight Mass on Easter Eve. Many good memories with Mom and Dad over those years.]

#3. Thanksgiving [Another one of my biggies. As a family oriented person, I always enjoyed holidays such as Thanksgiving where the family got together, watched parades, football, and eat that delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. This year I am going to watch my parade as usual and partake of the Thanksgiving meal served at one of the local diners. I did that last year and found the day quite satisfying.]

#2. New Year’s Day [New Year’s Eve and Day go together for me. I would always watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, drink some champagne with Mom and Dad on the stroke of midnight. On the day itself, one of my favorite things to do was watch the Cotton bowl game on New Year’s morning. After a day of football and making New Year’s resolutions, the holiday season draws to a close.]

#1. Christmas [My all time favorite holiday. Even as a small child, I knew Mom and Dad bought the presents but I still believed in Santa Claus. I always enjoyed watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a wonderful story told be Burl Ives in that version. In recent years, I concentrate more on the meaning of Christmas, buying myself only a small present perhaps, but I do decorate my tiny apartment. Watching such classics as A Christmas Carol, and TV channel 11’s Yule Log, are must dos, along with plenty of egg nog in between Christmas and New Year’s Day.]

Well, there they are. Most of them are in order. As always please feel free to chime in with your list. Add it on Facebook if you wish. I know that people of other faiths and in other countries celebrate different holidays, and feel free to share about those too.

As always, have a good day and weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Now that the holidays are done …

Greetings, readers. First off, before I forget, four more pics of my musical KISS performance have been added to our new page, which is now called Performance pictures. The name I chose yesterday, Pictures of Joe’s Musical Performances, was too long for the top of the blog, especially compared to the one-word names of the other pages.

I hope everybody had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a wonderful New Year’s Day. I certainly did. As I told Rebecca, I was planning on watching one of the New Year’s Day’s parades, but after a mild case of insomnia after staying up to watch Ryan Seacrest and his co-host of several years Jenny McCarthy drop the ball in Times Square, I just couldn’t get up early enough. So, this is what I did instead. I awakened about 10:00 and immediately put on the Netflix streaming version of Crackling Fireplace. I chose the track with the traditional Christmas music and watched and listened to it for an hour. After that I went to Panera – yes they were open New Year’s Day – and got myself a yummy blueberry muffin and a cup of their wonderful coffee. At 1:30, Rebecca came in to work for a half-day session. After that, I turned on Netflix again and watched a whole slew of my new favorite show in re-runs, Futurama. Never having liked the Simpsons, I didn’t think I would like Futurama either. Oops, who knew? I’m addicted.

New Year’s Day evening was spent losing … I mean playing … John Madden football at the highest difficulty level. Yes, I love a challenge. I decided to get to bed a little bit earlier than usual.

Overall, I would have to give this holiday season from Thanksgiving through yesterday a B+. Last year I was depressed and did not really make my apartment festive. This holiday season was much better. Lights went up, I watched A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott a couple of times, drank lots of egg nog and listened to Christmas tunes. The only thing that would have made this holiday season better would have been if my mom and dad were still here to share it with me. I do miss them everyday of course, but much more on holidays.

The banner image for this blog is currently a shot of Christmas lights around a framed painting that used to hang in my mom and dad’s house, but now hangs in my apartment. This banner will remain up until next Wednesday. That is when Rebecca and I will choose another picture and switch it out.

For all of you who are in the major snow storm this week, take extra care, stay warm, and as always, happy reading.

I had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas

Greetings, readers. I had an unusually festive and rewarding Christmas Eve. Not only did I do exactly what I wanted to do, but thanks to a service called Zipcar, I was once again able to fulfill my traditional annual light ride around the State College area. As a lot of you know, this tradition dates back to my childhood and is most important to me. I reminisced about Mom and Dad, and the Christmases we shared. Four years ago, I had to do it on a bus on Christmas Eve eve. That went okay until the bus driver asked me aren’t you getting off anywhere? It became horribly awkward as I explained to him that I was looking at the Christmas lights and just waiting for the bus to get back into town. Last year I rented a car from a more traditional company, paid lots of money, got a great car, but thanks to a snow storm the day after Christmas, almost got charged an arm and a leg extra. This year, with my Zipcar membership, I was able to rent the vehicle for only the number of hours I needed it; and even though I extended my reservation, because my friend wanted to find a place to eat, it was still a lot cheaper.

Christmas Day got off to a late start for me and I did not watch the yule log on one of the local TV channels. Netflix has a very similar burning fireplace with Christmas music tracks, so I could start it whenever I wanted, and I watched it about 11:00 am. Keekee and I had a very nice Christmas morning together, and then out of sheer habit I went to Panera cafe and realized as I was approaching the door that they were closed.

After resting in the early afternoon, I used another Zipcar vehicle – they have several in town – to spend some time with Godmother. It was a truly cherished visit, since I don’t know how many more holidays I will have with her. After that it was Christmas dinner at, of all places, McDonald’s. It was the only place open. When I got home at 5:00, I had some eggnog, played some PS3 Football, and took a nap. Along with writing emails and Facebook messages to family and friends, and of course the phone calls, I deemed Christmas 2013 a good solid 9.5 out of 10 for me.

Next Wednesday, Rebecca and I are going to have a half day, leaving me time to watch a parade and perhaps the first half of a football game. That will be after I enjoy the New Year’s Eve activities. I will be watching the ball drop in New York City, on the show Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. As many of you know, this is another of my many traditions; I always like to ring in the New Year with Dick Clark’s show. I might even get myself a bottle of sparkling cider and pretend it is champagne.

We are planning to write a blog tomorrow about my performance last Friday, which turned out to be called The Mimic Unmasked. More on that tomorrow. We plan to add photos too, if we can get that to work. So the blog entry might not be posted until close to 3:00 pm. Until then, take care, stay warm, be well, and happy reading.

A year in my early life

Greetings, readers. I’m glad to see that WordPress is back up and running at full force. And I have a blog topic to share with you that I was thinking about last night. So here goes.

Usually my year begins in September. Now I know that sounds odd and is completely incorrect. However, let me explain. You see, as some of you might know, I have vacationed in the state of Maine since I was five years old – that was 1970. My two weeks at camp to me felt more like Christmas. It had that special feeling to it. Like when little children come downstairs and see that lit up Christmas tree.

Anyway. Come September the new school year would begin. New classmates, new friends, new teachers and books. And for the first couple of days everything would be wonderful. Then, of course, came the homework assignments and that first dreaded test. September still had that new feeling to it. But by the third week, friendships had been formed, cliques had been made and you were either accepted or you weren’t.

October. Leaves began changing colors. The temperature began to get a bit cooler and the days a bit shorter. Looking back on it now, October was one of my favorite months. I love Halloween. The last time I went trick or treating, I was fairly old for such an event and no costume you could buy from a store fit me. So I took my dad’s old grey raincoat, an old hat, and a toy machine gun that clearly did not look real, and I went as Al Capone. I still remember scaring the poor old lady in the house up the street. She screamed, slammed the door, and turned off the porch light. When I told my mother what had happened, she made me go apologize the next morning, which of course I did.

November. The trees are now either bare, or the few leaves that are still on the trees are mostly brown. It is cold, dreary, and the whole landscape begins to appear dead. Though football season was still in full swing, the first two weeks of November for me were usually depressing, because I enjoy warm weather, green grass, and trees in full foliage. I could not wait for Thanksgiving. Every year, my parents and I would sit in front of the television and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Having Cerebral Palsy, I had a devilishly hard time controlling my emotions, and even into my early teens, when Santa Claus passed by the Macy’s store on 34th street, signifying the beginning of the Christmas season, I got emotional. Am I embarrassed to say that now? No, because now I know what it was; it was simply what I mentioned – a weakness caused by a brain injury. Thanksgiving would be topped off with two great football games and a scrumptious dinner with turkey and all the trimmings made at home. Nothing like the holiday meals. : )

December brings Christmas. Yes, snow and cold is now fully entrenched and there shall be many months of it to come. More times than not I would stay inside warm and snug. Can you all say, “Joe is not a cold weather person.”? To get ready for my favorite holiday of the year, my folks and I would always choose one day to drive to K-Mart and allow me to push my own cart while they walked behind me, pretending not to see what I was buying them. Most years I actually saved up enough allowance money to get everybody something half-decent. One year I remember buying Pop a lighted replica of the Old Main building. I don’t think he know that it lit up. When I showed him, he smiled and kept it lit in his office for weeks – I guess until the bulb burned out.

Christmas music is especially important to me. When I would go to Christmas Eve service with Mom and Dad as a child, I would always delight in singing “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” “Hark! The Harold Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night.” When the Christmas service was almost over the very last hymn was “Silent Night, Holy Night.” One of my most cherished childhood memories was of the lights dimming in the church, everyone taking their candles and lighting them and singing that beautiful song. I was always afraid that I was going to drip wax on myself, scream, drop the candle, and set the church on fire. Luckily that never happened. When the song was over and the lights would come up again, it would be midnight and Christmas morning. *

December 31st going into New Year’s morning is truly my favorite time of year, folks. I remember sitting in the living room watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s show, sipping either Champagne or sparkling grape juice, while ringing in the new year with hugs, kisses, and my mother’s un-patented, traditional, Happy New Year’s shout on the front porch, followed by a whooping yell.

Then came the down time. After all the college bowl games were over in January came the long winter. Complete with cold, snow, and ice. Today it doesn’t seem to snow as much here in central Pennsylvania as it did in the 70s and 80s. Throughout the rest of the winter my friend David and I would either listen to records or play a short game of Nerf football outside. I certainly didn’t like being cold and I don’t think he did either. Now let’s jump to early Spring.

April. Hooray, hooray. It’s the beginning of baseball season. That truly is my favorite sport. With the boys of summer back, this time of year also brings the Crocuses, the fresh green buds on the trees, and the smell of spring. To me winter has no smell. It smells dead. Also the Easter holiday rolls around. All the men, women, and children would arrive at the church that we would go to in their Easter best. Little boys in suits and ties, looking miserable, and little girls in dresses, white stockings, black shoes, and ribbons in their hair. I must admit somehow I think the little girls liked to dress up for Easter.

May and June. The last couple months of school had finally arrived. Projects were beginning to wind down and everyone was excited about the summer to come. Kids started talking about where they would go on vacation. Some teachers eased up on homework just a bit and during my elementary years, we could all finally go back outside for recess. My favorite game was kickball. I was fairly good at it and only once did I hit someone with the ball so hard that it hurt him. I felt terrible. I remember he said something like, “Am I bleeding?” I answered, “No.” And he told me to forget it; no harm, no foul. The last day of school was always more or less of a joke. A formality. There was not going to be any homework, there would be no tests. In my early years of schooling, we actually had parties. In junior high and high school, we might watch a film or all hang out in the auditorium and reminisce about the year that was.

July brought my birthday. Some years, Mom would take me swimming to the local pool. If there was a carnival in town, we might attend that. But most years it was steaks on the grill, Hires root beer, and lots of happy memories with the neighborhood kids, playing Wiffle ball, lawn darts, and Nerf football.

And then, lo and behold, August would roll around once more. It would be my second New Year, as it would be time to go back to camp and recharge my batteries for another year. I would count down the days until we packed up the car and left for Maine.

Hopefully this longer than usual post has made up for a few days that I did not post anything. If any of you want to share your memories of childhood, religious celebrations, school, or anything else, please feel free to do so in the comments. As always, take care and happy reading.

*The paragraph on Christmas music came from the earlier blog post The importance of music in my life, from May 10, 2012. It said what I wanted to say for this piece so well that I copied and pasted it.

R.I.P. to the Great Dick Clark

Greetings, readers. I heard from my dear Godmother yesterday, and saw that it was confirmed in our local paper today, that one of my favorite TV celebrities has passed away. The remarkable Dick Clark. From American Bandstand to the $25.000 Pyramid to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Mr. Clark graced TV sets for well over 40 years.

One of my favorite childhood memories was New Year’s Eve, when my parents and I would watch Dick Clark count down the final seconds until the ball dropped in Times Square to ring in the new year. I was able to have a sip of champagne as we made resolutions for the bright shiny new year. Later, on the re-runs of the $25,000 Pyramid, I remember shouting answers to the contestants, jumping up and down when they would win. Yes, I did tend to get a little excited. I am not certain the years that American Bandstand ran, but I do have vague memories of watching it. Dick Clark would highlight all the up and coming musical talents.

When Dick Clark suffered his stroke a number of years back I thought for certain he would give up. I was wrong. This man apparently told himself, no, as long as I can speak at all, I am going to be part of the New Year’s celebration until the very end. And that is exactly what he did. That is a source of inspiration to me.

For those of you who checked yesterday for a new blog post, it was a crazy day around here. I still hope to have at least one more new one later this week. So until then, take care and happy reading.