Tag Archives: holiday

AMERICA SHOULD RETURN TO CELEBRATING WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN 🎂 🇺🇸

20170122_161856-1-1
George Washington’s birthday?🎁February 22, 1732.🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic: R.T.

By Steven R. Maher

This coming Monday (February 20, 2017) Americans will celebrate Presidents’ Day. This writer thinks that the holiday should revert to the celebration of the United States’ two greatest Presidents, George Washington (born February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln (born February 12, 1809).

My reasons for advocating this is that there are some Presidencies I don’t want to celebrate. Most Americans probably feel the same way. For example, if you’re a Republican, do you want to celebrate the Presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama? Chances are, probably not. If you’re a Democrat, do you want to celebrate the Presidencies of Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Donald Trump? Chances are, probably not.

I think you see the point.

1971 Change in Law

In 1879 Congress passed a statute declaring Washington’s birthday a federal holiday for government offices in Washington DC. This was expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. “As the first federal holiday to honor an American president, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22,” according to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

In 1971 Congress enacted the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act,” the name of which explains why the holiday schedules were changed. Washington’s Birthday is now celebrated the third Monday in February. But “Washington’s Birthday” remains the official name of the federal holiday. Wikipedia noted: “Various theories exist for this, when reviewing the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill debate of 1968 in the Congressional Record, one notes that supporters of the bill were intent on moving federal holidays to Mondays to promote business.” Alexander Hamilton would have undoubtedly approved.

Historians’ Rankings of our Presidents

Presidential rankings have been a small American cottage industry since Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. conducted a poll of historians ranking U.S. Presidents in 1948. Wikipedia has summarized many of these studies, and it seems that three Presidents are perennial favorites for greatest President: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, listed in this paragraph in chronological order. Usually, historians pick Lincoln as the greatest President, Washington as the second greatest and Roosevelt as third. My expectation is that Reagan will likely enter this top tier as our fourth greatest President. Reagan shifted the “correlation of forces” and momentum in the Cold War to favor the U.S., and the Soviet Union collapsed not long after Reagan left office.

The worst President, by consensus, was James Buchanan, who left office as southern states were abandoning the union because of Lincoln’s election. As Wikipedia puts it: “The C-SPAN Survey of Presidential Leadership consists of rankings from a group of presidential historians and ‘professional observers of the presidency’ who ranked presidents in a number of categories initially in 2000 and more recently in 2009. With some minor variation, both surveys found that historians consider Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt the three best presidents by a wide margin and William Henry Harrison (to a lesser extent), Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, George W. Bush and James Buchanan the worst.”

Bill Clinton once famously said a statement of his could be interpreted differently depending on how one defined the word “is.” To a large extent, the same can be said of Presidential “greatness.” One conservative Presidential historian ranked Presidents based on “whether their policies promoted prosperity, liberty and non-intervention, as well as modest executive roles for themselves.” As Wikipedia put it, “his final rankings varied significantly from those of most scholars.” If one ranked post World War II Presidents based on prosperity, balanced budgets and keeping the country out of war, Dwight Eisenhower and Bill Clinton would be ranked at the top.

The states do not have to blindly follow the federal government in naming holidays. Massachusetts joins eight other states in celebrating “Presidents’ Day.” Five states celebrate Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays: Montana, Colorado, Ohio, Utah and Minnesota. Ohio and Colorado celebrate “Washington-Lincoln Day.”

Massachusetts should join in with the latter two in celebrating Washington and Lincoln – and not non-entities like Chester Arthur and Millard Fillmore on a generic “Presidents Day.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE STORY OF A BOYCOTT THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

editor’s note: we re-run this ICT column by our old friend Bill Coleman – hoping all is well with Bill and so missing his passion! – R.T.

By William S. Coleman III

He never held a public office, he was never appointed ambassador to the United Nations, and he was not the bishop of his church. The world knew him as a Southern Baptist preacher who was thrust into the national limelight because he saw things that were wrong and he tried to make them right.

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was an educated man who, like his father, preached the word of God as an ordained minister. He could have been assigned to a middle-class neighborhood where he could have conducted weddings, baptisms, funerals and local fund raisers for its church and its congregations.

He could have lived a simple life, not challenging the local status quo or political leaders. He could have just preached “tranquilize” to his congregants and “gradualism” to those wanting to live in a community where people felt they had the right to live free. Dr. King, as he was known after he received his Doctorate of Philosophy degree from Boston University, was very happy enjoying family life with his wife Coretta and their children.

But there was a storm brewing in his heart that would challenge the times for which he lived. America was about to erupt into a modern day civil war on injustice.

When we research the time and era for which Dr King began his early preaching ministry, we see an America separated by race, gender, class, education, religion, economics and political power.

This was an America where the nation was separated by cultural regions and a living Mason/Dixon line that was alive and taking great tolls. American sports teams in the most prominent colleges in the country were segregated, black and white players could not be on the same sports team. County Sheriffs and local police departments would not hire able and capable African American men to serve in their departments.

It would be hard for young people today to imagine not being able to talk to a friend simply because the color of that friend’s skin or accent in that friend’s voice was not the same as ones of their parents.

We seem to work in a world today of multiple diversities. We can’t imagine drinking from a water fountain that said whites only or use by colored people only. One could not think that going to a movie meant sitting on one side with all white patrons or being up in the nose bleed section of the balcony which was set aside for Negroes as blacks were once called.

As we look back on those times we see that our schools were segregated, our churches were divided and woman’s place was below a man’s. America was on the verge of an uprising that would push the civil rights movement of our nation’s quest for equality and right to challenge the way things were.

The young preacher had no idea what he was about embark on, when a group of church leaders asked him to help stop end the discriminatory practice that forced black Americans to ride in the back of the bus. Dr. King was invited to speak with some community leaders about ending this practice, those established powerful and controlling white male leaders said to Dr. King: we cannot change this practice, it is the way it is.

They warned him not to aggravate and get people all riled up. This practice would stay.

Dr. King, appealing to the good nature of these gentlemen, was polite and said he would bring their message back to his congregation. When he spoke to the crowd and he shared the many meetings he had with the business and city leaders of that day, he was moved to emotional tears when the city’s black population said we will boycott the buses, said we will walk to our jobs, we will carpool to our businesses, our farms and our churches.

Everybody did just that. For one year. Until this bus boycott stopped an unfair and antiquated practice and started a peaceful nonviolent movement for change and acceptance that influences every movement in America and the world today.

Dr. King got the ball started with the help of some powerful black women and powerful back men, working together with common white and black folks wanting so tirelessly to end modern day segregation in America.

My question to you today…For the next generation of community leaders of every race, gender, persuasion, religious belief, height, size, financial status, ability or disability, street educated or academically institutionally educated…Are we there yet?

******

Listen! NOW! Be transported by the imagery,

… the rhythm, the wisdom, the courage, the life experience of Martin Luther King, Jr. I listened to this entire sermon, his last, yesterday and was so moved! He was so unlike the preachers I was forced to pay attention to in church years ago. Not at all boring and dull or condescending. MLK, Jr. was the kind of pastor you’d follow ANYWHERE because he LIVED his eloquent and passionate sermons. He practiced what he preached! Hearing him for 40+ minutes makes you understand why he was the kind of preacher with whom people marched straight into the depths of Birmingham, Alabama, impervious to attack dogs, billy clubs and fire hoses, the kind of preacher for whom they knowingly risked their lives. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just made you believe in your natural, God-given … preciousness.
– R. Tirella
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixfwGLxRJU8&feature=youtube_gdata_player

In case you missed it …

Thanksgiving Recipes galore from the New York Times …

This is why The NYT is the greatest newspaper on earth! 

All their Thanksgiving recipes in ALL their special THANKGIVING guides!!

 It’s ALL HERE!     – R.T.

The New York Times guide to the year’s biggest meal, with our best recipes, advice and instruction. From turkeys to pies, yams to brussels sprouts, these are the essentials of a perfect Thanksgiving.

THANKSGIVING GUIDES

Some FREE, wonderful ways to remember animals this holiday season!

Fun! Cute! And all for the animals! –  From the great folks at PETA!  – R.T.

12 Ways to Help Animals This Holiday Season!

The holiday season gives us a bunch of unique opportunities to make a difference for animals. We got things started with a list of 12 ways to help animals. Check it out and get going:

1. Print out our “This gift is cruelty-free” cards and put them on your gifts! When people receive their gifts, they’ll know that their present is cruelty-free!

gift-tags-2   gift-tags-1

2. Print out PETA’s “Be Sweet to Animals” tags! These tags can be attached to candy canes and small items to add an animal rights message to treats.

peta-gift-tag-collage

3. Make Christmas cards with animal rights messages. You can also add PETA stickers to cards and envelopes to spread the message. Or if you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase animal rights holiday cards from PETA.

To read more CLICK HERE 

InCity Yum Yums! Recipes to savor this holiday season! For under $5

CAM00454Chef Joey – self-taught and brilliant!!

By Chef Joey

Dare I say the weather is changing and looks like we are going colder, folks! But that can be a good thing.  With the colder weather the yearn for hearty food goes up and, believe it or not, you can cook up some delicious fare this holiday season for cheap!

Using beans as your protein source not only reduces the cost of your meal, it actually is healthier for you.  We so often look to short cuts, a quick “dollar” meal, frozen microwave meals, or all out dining.  Investing in a $15 crock pot makes cooking a breeze, so you come home to a prepared meal.  On the flip side, 45 minutes to an hour will also yield a delicious soup or stew made on your stove top.

You can make over 1 gallon of homemade tomato or cream of tomato soup for under $5.  It’s easy fast and delicious – all you need are onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic, water and a soup base – I prefer “Knorr’s” or “Better than Bullion” veggie base for the flavor.  The wet bullion base will cost you upfront – but the yield is amazing.

So, Joey, how do I make that soup?

It’s easy! Get a big pot, slice up 2 large onions and add to the pot with 1 -2 inches of water and let those puppies heat up – the water softens the onions and does not allow them to burn.  N

Now peel and rough chop 4 carrots and 4 or 5 stalks of celery and 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, put them in a blender with a cup or 2 of water depending on the volume and blend until smooth.

Add this to your onion mix, then open a large 6 pound can of crushed tomatoes (called #10 cans your food club stores sell them for under 4$) and stir. It will be kind of thick, so add ½ can or less of water and stir well.

Bring it to a near boil and let it simmer a good 40 minutes.  Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of your bouillon at this point and taste for flavor – now would be the time you salt and pepper.

Add heavy cream for cream of tomato or enjoy it vegan fast and easy.  The carrots add a sweet tinge and give another veggie element to the soup!

Notice how I had you finely chop the onions and cook in water? You can add a little olive oil if you like too –  this helps act as a baby sitter so your onions don’t burn.

Blending celery and garlic is a great way to introduce it to your broth without having to cut it up small small.  This is the basis for just about everything. The carrots and celery need to be pureed for the tomato soup but cubed or chopped is fine for other soups. Garlic however I feel works best in this application.

To make lentil soup – start with your onions then pureed garlic when the onions are soft add about 2 quarts of water – 8 cups and one bag of lentils that have been rinsed off.

To this add 3 peeled (or unpeeled) potato finely diced and 4 peeled and diced carrots and 4 or 5 stalks of celery.  A tablespoon or 2 of cumin or turmeric, it does wonders for this soup

The lentils need a solid 45 minutes to cook.  At the end taste for flavor – if you feel the need for bouillon go ahead if not salt and pepper – you can add fresh lemon juice and a whole bunch of fresh chopped spinach too (blender trick works great).

Substitute the bag of lentils with barley for another great soup and instead of cumin – try turmeric, or curry powder!

1 cup barley goes a long way and it keeps growing-  so don’t use more than a cup per 2 quarts.

Ok – we get it! But I don’t like lentils!

Well, that’s great but I say try them as an adult. But you still don’t like them!!! Ok, then start your base of onions and this time triple your garlic (I LOVE bags of whole peeled garlic and NEVER use the chopped up stuff – you will ruin your recipe) – blend it together and add Cannelli beans or white navy beans juice and everything into your onion base.

Ideally, if you buy a bag of dried beans and soak overnight or quick boil prepare is the cheapest route – 1 pound bags range from 89 cents to $1.50 versus the same price, depending on the brand for cans.

Add your water and base at this point for this soup.  Add fresh washed and chopped escarole to this, and there you have it – Escarole and bean soup! Just add diced carrots and boom white bean soup, or get a package of grape tomatoes, rough blend in the blender with water – add to the beans and you have a variation.

Black bean soup is just as fun! A secret I taught myself when I didn’t have any cilantro is to add a jar of salsa to my black beans.

So basically start your base onions and garlic – then add 2 cans black beans 8 cups water let that heat up – throw in a bag of frozen corn and cup or 2 of diced carrots, a tablespoon of cumin – these old world spices really work – after about a half hour add the salsa – at least a cup stir until hot and there you have it.  All of these nutritious meals costs less than $5.

You can add meat to the barley soup, if you have leftovers.  It is ideal chop it up into little cubes.  One half of a whole chicken breast goes a long way and can feed many.

Chicken pot pie is chicken stew without a crust.  This is easy! Once again the base of the onions – add garlic a little oil on this one, toss in 4 or 5 chopped celery stalks then add your diced chicken and sauté for a few minutes.

Add 2 cups carrots – 2 cups peas– 2 cups diced potatoes then cover with mixture just enough about an inch over the mixture.

When veggies are done, add some chicken base or veggie base – I am gluten free so I thicken with corn starch – 4 or 5 tablespoons mixed with COLD water (1/4 cup works fine) add to the broth and there you have it 20 minute chicken stew.

Pour it in a pan, make a quick crust (1 stick cold butter 2 cups flour – salt and a teaspoon of baking powder – throw it in your food processor – or if you don’t have one mix the dry together – soften the butter – both ways require a little bit of cold water until it becomes pastry like – roll it out on a floured surface – no roller…use a bottle or a can (clean it first) and bake until flakey and golden.

When you go shopping and you see carrots potatoes, turnips etc. on sale BUY THEM – they can last a while in dry storage.  A 10 pound bag of carrots will sell for $3.99 vs 1 pound for $1.99 – always shop for the lowest price per pound.

Notice how I had you finely chop the onions and cook in water? You can add a little olive oil if you like, too – this helps act as a baby sitter so your onions don’t burn.  Blending celery and garlic is a great way to introduce it to your broth without having to cut it up small small.  This is the basis for just about everything. The carrots and celery need to be pureed for the tomato soup but cubed or chopped is fine for other soups. Garlic. however, I feel works best in this application.

To make lentil soup start with your onions then pureed garlic when the onions are soft add about 2 quarts of water – 8 cups and one bag of lentils that have been rinsed off.  To this add 3 peeled (or unpeeled) potato finely diced and 4 peeled and diced carrots and 4 or 5 stalks of celery.  A tablespoon or 2 of cumin or turmeric, it does wonders for this soup The Lentils need a solid 45 minutes to cook.  At the end taste for flavor – if you feel the need for bouillon go ahead if not salt and pepper – you can add fresh lemon juice and a whole bunch of fresh chopped spinach too (blender trick works great).  Substitute the bag of lentils with barley for another great soup and instead of cumin – try turmeric, or curry powder!  1 cup barley goes a long way and it keeps growing so don’t use more than a cup per 2 quarts.

Ok we get it but I don’t like lentils – Well that’s great but I say try them as an adult..  But you still don’t like them ok then start your base of onions and this time triple your garlic (I LOVE bags of whole peeled garlic and NEVER use the chopped up stuff – you will ruin your recipe) – blend it together and add Cannelli beans or white navy beans juice and everything into your onion base.  Ideally if you buy a bag of dried beans and soak overnight or quick boil prepare is the cheapest route – 1 pound bags range from $.89 to $1.50 versus the same price depending on the brand for cans.  Add your water and base at this point for this soup.  Add fresh washed and chopped escarole to this and there you have it escarole and bean soup.  Just add diced carrots and boom white bean soup, or get a package of grape tomatoes, rough blend in the blender with water – add to the beans and you have a variation.

Black bean soup is just as fun, and a secret I taught myself when I didn’t have any cilantro is to add a jar of salsa to my black beans.

So basically start your base onions and garlic – then add 2 cans black beans 8 cups water let that heat up – throw in a bag of frozen corn and cup or 2 of diced carrots, a tablespoon of cumin – these old world spices really work – after about a half hour add the salsa – at least a cup stir until hot and there you have it.  All of these nutritious meals costs less than $5.

You can add meat to the barley soup if you have leftovers it is ideal chop it up into little cubes.  One half of a whole chicken breast goes a long way and can feed many.

Chicken pot pie is chicken stew without a crust.  This is easy is once again the base of the onions – add garlic a little oil on this one, toss in 4 or 5 chopped celery stalks then add your diced chicken and sauté for a few minutes.

Add 2 cups carrots – 2 cups peas – 2 cups diced potatoes then cover with mixture just enough about an inch over the mixture.

When veggies are done add some chicken base or veggie base – I am gluten free so I thicken with corn starch – 4 or 5 tablespoons mixed with COLD water (1/4 cup works fine) add to the broth and there you have it 20 minute chicken stew.

Pour it in a pan – make a quick crust (1 stick cold butter 2 cups flour – salt and a teaspoon of baking powder – throw it in your food processor – or if you don’t have one mix the dry together – soften the butter – both ways require a little bit of cold water until it becomes pastry like – roll it out on a floured surface – no roller…use a bottle or a can (clean it first) and bake until flakey and golden.

When you go shopping and you see carrots potatoes, turnips etc. on sale buy them – they can last a while in dry storage.  A 10 pound bag of carrots will sell for $3.99 vs 1 pound for $1.99 always shop for the lowest price per pound.

Speaking about carrots… peel 3 pounds of carrots, run them through the food processor or blender with water to purée them.(if you don’t have one use the side of your box grater – or dice very fine.  Start your soup with the onion base add garlic then add your carrots – cover with water add a tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger and let it cook for a good 30 minutes on medium –a tablespoon of curry powder will add another dimension.  Salt pepper and add base if needed..

You can find many different spices in the ethnic sections of your supermarket – fennel, curry, turmeric etc. are way cheaper in the Indian section versus the spice section of the market.  Look for the big Goya displays most yearly supplies are under $5.  Use chick peas with your onion and garlic blend add water when it boils add a cup of pasta!  Pasta Cici – and if you soak your own beans – you’re talking $3.00 soup for 10 or more – that’s $.30 cents a serving and no additives.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Remember the book stone soup?  I don’t like to admit it much either because it shows our age, but it is true – you can make soups and stews with anything – adding mashed potato will thicken the case nicely.  Save your leftover veggies no matter how small the portion and after a couple days well stored – “add them to the pot”!

If onions bother you, I feel bad – use leeks instead and make sure you wash them well as they can collect dirt between the layers – they enhance soup wonderfully.

Toss some cubed butternut squash in with your lentils or barley soups or even chicken stew at $.79 a pound it’s inexpensive and just one will add 3 or more servings!

Carrot soup …. Speaking of carrots… peel 3 pounds of carrots, run them through the food processor or blender with water to purée them. (if you don’t have one, use the side of your box grater – or dice very fine.)  Start your soup with the onion base, add garlic then add your carrots.

Cover with water, add a tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger and let it cook for a good 30 minutes on medium –a tablespoon of curry powder will add another dimension.

Salt pepper and add base, if needed.

You can find many different spices in the ethnic sections of your supermarket – fennel, curry, turmeric etc. are way cheaper in the Indian section versus the spice section of the market.

Look for the big Goya displays!  Most yearly supplies are under $5.  Use chick peas with your onion and garlic blend add water when it boils add a cup of pasta!  Pasta Cici! And if you soak your own beans – you’re talking $3 soup for 10 or more people – that’s 30 cents a serving – and no additives!

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Remember the book stone soup?  I don’t like to admit it much either because it shows our age, but it is true – you can make soups and stews with anything – adding mashed potato will thicken the case nicely.  Save your leftover veggies, no matter how small the portion, and after a couple of days well stored – “add them to the pot”!

Enjoy the cooking! I would love to hear your new recipes! (editor’s note: email them to Chef Joey, c/o incitytimes@hotmail.com)

Veterans Day is tomorrow …

… Tuesday, November 11

Our city marks the holiday with the following events:

Annual Pancake breakfast

8 a.m.

Veterans Inc., 69 Grove St.

*********
Annual Veterans Day Parade

11 a.m.

Starting at the north end of Grove Street at Glennie Street to Grove Street,  to the Veterans Inc. Historical Armory, 44 Salisbury St.

Speaking program

Noon

Featuring Gabriel Nutter, veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and regional team leader for the Department of Veterans’ Services SAVE team.

***************

Wreath-laying ceremony

2 p.m.

Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Green Hill Park

Events co-sponsored by Worcester Veterans Council, the city’s Veterans Services Department, Veterans Inc. and the Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Perpetual Care Committee. For more information about the parade, call 1-800-482-2565, ext. 154.