Tuesday, March 27, 2012

April Fools' Day

It is said that when people pull pranks on one another it is just another way of saying that they care. Try telling that to someone on April Fool's Day after they have just been embarrassed in front of a room full of people.

Sometimes referred to "All Fools' Day," April 1st is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. While its origins are uncertain, there are some theories and traditions associated with April Fool’s Day. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems off of the adoption of a new calendar.

Folk stories describe April Fool’s Day as a day people are sent on impossible tasks in which most were done in spring and revolve around love. Even the most reasonable people go crazy and behave in a silly manor when they fall in love, thus April Fool’s Day is often associated with romantic craziness and fooling around. The custom of shouting “April Fools” after a prank was pulled was only brought to the United States by English settlers in the early 1600’s.

April Fools' Day activities span the Western world and practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist, playing pranks and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.

  • In France they call April 1st Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children attempt to tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, yelling "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is finally discovered. It is said that in France April has the best fishing which is where it might have started but no one is sure. Chocolate fish are even sold in candy stores for the April Fools’ Day occasion.
  • In England they refer to April 1st as "All Fools Day," but while all the names differ, they originated from the “Feast of Fools” which was a popular medieval festival. During the festival, social roles were reversed and rules were deliberately broken.
  • In Mexico and Spain, April Fool’s Day is actually on December 28th and called the Day of the Holy Innocents.

While April Fool's Day is supposed to consist of light-hearted pranks and jokes, sometimes people take the prank so far that some people have developed a fear of the day. Aphrilophobia is the fear of April Fool’s Day. Many of the fears are associated with social phobias because they pertain to being embarrassed in public. So don't be an April Fool! While April 1st is the perfect excuse to catch your friends, family and teachers off guard, make sure it is all in good fun and that no one gets hurt!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Food Lore of Wine

Although diverse in speculation as to how wine actually came to be, it is filled with food lore. And food lore –about how food is prepared and served - is one of the more popular folklore elements. Here are some folk tales about timeless libation:

Persia: The Persian’s have a cranky woman with a headache to thank for the birth of wine. According to legend, she, out of discomfort and fatigue, began drinking fermented juice from a jar of grapes, and immediately began to feel relaxed and dosed off. After waking up completely healed, she accredited the juice as the cure to her headache.

Ancient Greece: Dionysus (son of Zeus’ thigh) is the God of Wine, Intoxication, and Fertility Zeus’ wife Hera did not like Dionysus and ordered him to be torn to pieces. His dismemberment, according to Greek tradition, and later his coming back to life was metaphorically parallel to the pruning back of grape vines to prepare them for bearing fruit.

Germany: In the small town of Varnhalt the last grape harvest of each growing season is brought home by ox cart. If not, according to superstition the harvest will be filled with sour grapes.

Southern France: Natives of South France try not to talk about their grapes too much, for fear that if they speak too much about the grapes or the wine in front of the vines, the whole crop could go bad.

Ancient Rome: According to Roman legend, spilling wine is as bad of an omen as crossing paths with a black cat, or snake falling from the roof. This folklore is often linked with Brutus’s betrayal, that wine was spilled before the royal dinner party disaster.

It is easy to see how wine has been the subject of countless folktales and food lore stories. It is found at almost every celebration in one form or other and has also been a common, everyday beverage served with meals. And the recent rise in vineyards and wineries in this county promises that whether half-empty or half-full, the wine cup will always be a central item of food lore.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Shadow of Morray Hill

Book Review

Mystery, Romance, and Adventure

Filled with suspense, romance, adventure and mystery, The Shadow of Morray Hill by Dalton C. Teczon brings a “California playboy” to a small, quiet town. Unaware of his new mansions haunted past, it creates quite the story for readers to follow.

The old Gayden mansion on Morray Hill is where Dane, the billionaire, finds his true love Cassia, a gallery worker he met at the bar. Instantly falling in love at first sight, the “big city boy with the heart of a simple country boy” brings her on their first adventure in his mansion when the stumble upon a secret room. The descriptive language throughout the story captures the reader’s attention and draws the reader into the intensity of the story while creating the serial drama soap opera .

“The fires that burned between two, heartbeats racing…with the brief fear of being lost forever in the blaze that consumes not the innocent, but that which few ever return from.”

While Dane has genuine intentions for buying the house no one has lived in for quite some time, many of the local men are not too fond of the wealthy man coming into town and wowing all the women. This results in some bar altercations and fights, but Dane has the ability to take on groups of men and even when hit, he does not falter.

Throughout the story you are also introduced to Sheila and Bailey, whom you suspect are up to no good as they try to get closer to Dane for reasons unknown at first. But Dane finds the love of his life and a secret that brings them both to the old mansion. Their love is not always easy, and Dane finds himself on a wild ride with his heart or where it will be taken. Thus, shadows remain over Morray Hill.

Any reader with a craving for the unknown, adventure, passionate romance and writing that makes you feel as if you are in the story will enjoy The Shadow of Morray Hill. The book's few cliches will not stop you from getting your fill of suspense.

Dalton C. Teczon has written a variety of fiction stories, screenplays, romantic songs and poems. Inspired by the works of the late Walt Disney, he shares youthful adventures filled with innocent love, music and bits of humor. Most of his stories are inspired by his dreams and are the product of his expansive imagination.

This book and his first book, Vampire, The Unwilling are both available in paperback and Kindle. For details, visit Amazon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ides of March & Other Superstitions

March Superstitions

The Ides of March; just one of the dozen Ides that occurs every month of the year or a day to watch your back? The term Ides of March is best known as the date in which Julius Caesar was killed in the Roman Senate by a group of conspirators led by Brutus. “Beware the Ides of March” was a warning to Julius Caesar, which will be forever associated with the date as a sense of foreboding dark events. While this is the most popular association to the date of March 15th, there is more to the month of March then most people know.

The word Ides comes from the Latin word “Idus” which means “half division.” Widely used in the Roman calendar, the 15th day of March (ides) indicates the approximate day that was the middle of the month. According to the Georgian calendar, March is the third month of the year, but according to the early Roman calendar, it was the first month and was called Martius. The ancient Romans later made January 1 the beginning of the year.

Here are some more interesting March superstitions:

  • "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb" suggests the first day of March is often stormy, and towards the end of the month it is calm and cool.
  • "April borrowed from March three days, and they were ill" refers to the first three days of April, which are usually rough and stormy like March.
  • The first three days of March "blind days" because they are supposedly unlucky. If rain falls on these days, farmers are said to have poor harvests.

So, the Ides of March is just one of a dozen Ides that occur every month of the year but it does not hurt to watch your back that day, just in case.