Live from the 2017 Buffalo Bills Snow Bowl

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Photo courtesy of Catarina Lena Carosa

Unless you grew up on the western shores of Lake Erie, it’s kinda hard to describe just exactly what “lake effect” conjures up in the brain. I was reminded of this last Friday, when I traveled once more to the land of my youth. I left merry old Mendon with nary a hint of the white stuff anywhere to be found. By the time I had arrive in Amherst ninety minutes later, the mushy roads were only then being plowed. In three hours – smack dab in the middle of the morning rush hour – a devilish lake effect band targeted the North Towns of Buffalo.

I was “lucky” enough to be there before the plows to witness first hand the blissful blessing of the new fallen snow. It was Christmas card perfect. Pristine and sparkly, with the look of a soft blanket, it almost took me back to those fuzzy days of yore, but then I Continue Reading “Live from the 2017 Buffalo Bills Snow Bowl”

‘tis the Season

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If the forecast is correct, there may be snow on the ground by the time you read this. Still, even if the dullish green grass and crumpled brown leaves remain, there’s no denying we’ve entered that special time of the year – the Christmas Season.

There. I said it. I said “Christmas” instead of “Xmas,” instead of “Holiday,” instead of “Winter.” instead of “Xmas.” I don’t say “Christmas” to ignore practicing Jews, who celebrate Hanukkah beginning on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev (which falls on Tuesday, December 12th this year) and lasts for 8 days (December 20th this year). I say “Merry Christmas” because that’s what my family celebrates (and has celebrated for generations). If my family had celebrated Hanukkah instead, I would be wishing everyone a “Happy Hanukkah” rather than a “Merry Christmas.”

Well, maybe I’d still say “Merry Christmas.”

Why? Because, despite efforts by Christian groups to deny this and by anti-religious Continue Reading “‘tis the Season”

A Christmas Postcard

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classic-christmas-postcardThere’s something about this season that evokes bygone memories. These aren’t sepia toned memories – I’m not that old – they’re more like a mix of warm vibrant colors filmed with a soft lens. In other words, they bring forth feelings both nostalgic and pleasant. Think of a classic Christmas postcard, its snow covered landscape offering the perfect contrast to the brilliant but somehow muted colors surrounding a heartfelt home filled with love and the joy of expectation. This paints the picture of the memories I’m writing about.

Except my memories aren’t make believe. They are very real, although the distant years sometimes make me wonder if the soft lens distorts more than the crisp definitions we’ve become all too accustomed to in the digitized world in which we live. No matter. The price of a slight distortion here and there is well worth the comfort of the inner smile they bring.

Of course these memories, as they do for everyone and almost by definition, come from Continue Reading “A Christmas Postcard”

Revealed: Christmas Spirit’s Real Hometown

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But wait. There’s more to this story. As you travel through the 50 Hidden Gems of Greater Western New York, you’ll no doubt notice the number of amazing gifts we given to our community, our nation and even the world. Is there something in our spirit of living that has made Greater Western New York such a font of helpful, practical and invigorating ideas? What makes our character so creative yet so generous? As I’m writing this particular passage, we are within a few days of Christmas. I can’t help but think how our regional personality resembles Santa Claus.

And then I discover this.

Not only do we have the Continue Reading “Revealed: Christmas Spirit’s Real Hometown”

A Christmas Letter

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the December 21, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Dear Gentle Reader:

As we find ourselves in the midst of the hectic holiday season, let us each make a personal commitment to enjoy the tranquil pleasance which surrounded that solemn manger scene some two thousand years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. In no way am I pressing piety on anyone. The aura of which I speak blesses all. The wonder of repose can – and should – be tasted by those of any persuasion. Divergent traditions – from ancient philosophy to modern psychology – all address the importance calmness and rest can have to the human spirit.

Silent Night. Holy Night. All is calm. All is quiet.

These short words pointedly proclaim that which pervades the very foundation of this season. For anyone who doubts the truth to these words, open your door or window at Continue Reading “A Christmas Letter”

Is it OK to Wish “Merry Christmas” in Public?

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In a PC mad nation, there was once a rush to purge “Merry Christmas” from the lexicon of polite society, or at least local school districts. For fear of offending 1125011_44284321_Merry_Christmas_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300offensive people (let’s face it, anyone offending by a joyous and peaceful religious sentiment ought to be considered at a minimum intolerant or, in a less PC vein, offensive), “Christmas” vacations became Winter breaks and “Easter” vacations became Spring break. All the while, taking the Lord’s name in vein fell under the embrace of “free speech.”

But that’s for the extremist element we all read about but rarely encounter in real life. What about us common folk who simply wanted to do the right thing? We didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but we wanted to still practice our religion.

Well, I think I accidentally stumbled on an answer to the question “Is it OK to wish Continue Reading “Is it OK to Wish “Merry Christmas” in Public?”

Mega-Mall Mania

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the December 7, 1989 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Those picture postcards really have it. The small chateau with the roof thickened by a foot of snow. The gentle rolling hills of white. The soft pillar of smoke rising mildly from the brick chimney. The Charlie Brown size snowflakes feathering down from the pleasantly gray sky. The scene conjures all the familial imagery of a country Christmas.

A far cry from the maddening malls of suburban shopping centers. These hubs of hysteria make even the slushy city glisten with tradition. Somehow, when they invented Continue Reading “Mega-Mall Mania”

Day 28 – December 11, 2009 (Fri): Create a Second Timeline

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Start of Day Twitter Stats: Follow: 156 Followers: 147 Listed: 9

Missed yesterday? Go here to read what happened on Day 27 – December 10, 2009 (Thu): Have Fun!

twitter_power_joel_comm_150Do you love watching classic movies? I mean movies that have withstood the test of time. Made more than 25 years ago (that would be 1984 for all you Orwellians in cyberspace), you can still view them in their entirety to this day and still not notice the ravages of time. Perhaps you’ve seen a particular magical scene over and over, but its message resonates as if eyed for the very first time. Wouldn’t it be great to pass these moments on to the next generation? After all, whether we admit it or not, these cinematic features have framed our lives. They’ve become a legacy for us to will to our young.

But, what do adolescents think of classic movies? Without the benefit of our years of living, will they take away the same meaning? Will the aged reels of celluloid unwind the same emotional response in them? I’ve finally figured out a way to discover this once and for all. Would you like to me to share it with you?

Continue Reading “Day 28 – December 11, 2009 (Fri): Create a Second Timeline”