Blog December 2020

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PRESERVING YOUR JEANS

Posted On: December 31, 2020


Jeans…..

The comfortable choice of most of us.  This year I thought I’d take a look at Jeans - our pants of choice.

ALL JEANS ARE NOT EQUAL

Today in denim news, we learn that machine-washing a good pair of jeans can be super damaging to the material. So basically, those of us who have been washing our jeans (even every once in a while) have been going about denim care all wrong.

While this news may make some sense, it’s hard to imagine not washing a pair of jeans that

  1. a) smell and b) have stretchy butt (you totally know what we’re talking about here).

But here’s the logic behind all of this uncomfortable information.

Levi’s CEO and President Chip Bergh says he never washes his jeans, but “spot cleans” stains with a toothbrush. This seems like it would be a lot of extra unnecessary work, but per Bergh, if you want your jeans to last a long time, don’t wash them.

Bergh said, “The point I was trying to make… it was a wake-up call to consumers that we go into autopilot. And after we’re finished wearing something, we just automatically toss it into the laundry.”

Which, according to Bergh, is exactly the behavior we need to change. “A good pair of denim doesn’t really need to be washed in the washing machine except for very infrequently or rarely,” he said. He argues that washing a good pair of jeans (we all know the difference between a solid pair of jeans and jeans that basically fall apart after one wear) is not only a waste of water, but it damages the material.

Bergh wrote a piece for Huffington Post back in 2014 where he explained that it’s fine to wash your hang out jeans, but not jeans that are meant to be your nice pair. “I believe we don’t need to wash jeans as often as most people think we do,” he wrote, adding “Now, to be fair, these were also my very best pair of Levi’s, which I normally wear to the office — not for playing soccer in the park with my daughter!”

If you’re still not sold on the idea, other denim companies give the same advice on their websites. Hiut Denim offers this advice: “Raw denim is best given a good six months before washing. The longer you can leave it, the better your jeans will look. The reason for this is that the indigo will have worn off in places where you make natural creases. Just by sitting down, putting your phone in and out of your pockets, your hands in your pockets. All these daily little things will make your jeans look great.”

“When it comes to the big day, the indigo will fade where you made those little creases to reveal the contrasts that give it the well-worn look,” the website continues. “If you wash your jeans too early, the indigo will wash off uniformly so it will give it an even, dark indigo cover which means the magic will have gone. Like anything in life, there are no short cuts.”

So there you have it. No more washing your nice jeans, unless they’re really dirty, in which you can clean them using a toothbrush — preferably not the one you brush your teeth with. Unless you’re cool with that.

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UNDERSTANDING WAVES

Posted On: December 29, 2020

Shoaling And Lee Shores

When a deep-water wave reaches shallower water, its characteristics will change. The apparent "movement" of a deep-water wave is actually a moving pulse of pressure; individual water particles rotate within the wave crest as the pulse passes. Once a wave "feels the bottom," it slows down. The period remains unchanged, however, so the wave becomes slower, shorter, and taller. As water depth decreases, wave height increases, until the wave becomes unstable and breaks. The water particles in a breaking wave no longer rotate within the wave crest; instead they rush down its face.

If the breaker forms gradually (a slower-moving wave hits a gently sloping beach), the waves will form "spilling" breakers with the water tumbling down the sloping face of the wave. If the breaker forms quickly (a faster-moving wave hits a more steeply sloping shoreline), then a "plunging" breaker forms; the face becomes vertical, curls, and then collapses into the trough. This is the classic surfing wave. The plunging breaker generally contains more energy and is therefore more dangerous.

Breaking waves of any height are much more dangerous than even significantly larger ocean swells. The surface force of a breaking wave has the tendency to turn a boat broadside – the "log effect." A breaking wave equal in height to the beam of the boat is likely to capsize a boat.

Depths At Which Breakers Will Form

The critical question for boaters is at what depth breakers will form, particularly when approaching a lee shore. A series of calculations well beyond the scope of this article will answer that question exactly by calculating three important factors: the wave's size and steepness, the depth of the water, and the shape of the bottom contour.

Fortunately, for the boater approaching a lee shore, there are several rules of thumb to help you calculate safe water depth for a given weather forecast. One of the most reliable is professional offshore navigator Stan Honey's rule (see "Practical Takeaways" below). So for a forecasted 15-foot swell and 7-foot wind-wave, the minimum safe water depth would be 55 feet (add 15 and 7 to get 22, then multiply by 2.5).

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A VISIT FROM SAINT NICK

Posted On: December 24, 2020

As is our tradition, Merry Christmas to all!

A Visit from St. Nicholas

By Clement Clarke Moore

 

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,

With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the housetop the coursers they flew

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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THE YULE LOG

Posted On: December 22, 2020

The custom of burning the Yule Log goes back to, and before, medieval times. It was originally a Nordic tradition. Yule is the name of the old Winter Solstice festivals in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe, such as Germany.

The Yule Log was originally an entire tree, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony. The largest end of the log would be placed into the fire hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room! The log would be lit from the remains of the previous year's log which had been carefully stored away and slowly fed into the fire through the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was considered important that the re-lighting process was carried out by someone with clean hands. Nowadays, of course, most people have central heating so it is very difficult to burn a tree!

In Provence (in France), it is traditional that the whole family helps to cut the log down and that a little bit is burnt each night. If any of the log is left after Twelfth Night, it is kept safe in the house until the next Christmas to protect against lightning! In some parts of Holland, this was also done, but the log had to be stored under a bed! In some eastern European countries, the log was cut down on Christmas Eve morning and lit that evening.

In the UK, the log is called 'The Mock'. The log is dried out and then the bark is taken off it before it comes into the house to be burnt. Also in the UK, barrel makers (or Coopers as barrel makers were traditionally called) gave their customers old logs that they could not use for making barrels for Yule logs.

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THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING TRADITION

Posted On: December 17, 2020

The tradition of Christmas stockings originated in the generous deeds of a nobleman named Nicholas who was born in 280 A.D. in Asia Minor. Nicholas dedicated his life to following the principles of Jesus Christ, using his wealth to help impoverished and suffering people. He became the Bishop of Myra in his young years, and was immensely popular for his kind, generous heart. Living a lifetime of celibacy, Nicholas never married or had children, but he loved children and thus often regaled those who lived in his hometown. This practice provided him with the epithet “the gift-giver of Myra.” Interestingly, his nobility never prevailed his modesty, so he always gave his presents late at night in order to protect his identity. He didn’t like the children to know who their patron was, so they were often told to go and sleep or otherwise he wouldn’t visit them.

One of the legends regarding Christmas stockings takes us to a small village where the destiny of the once wealthy merchant and his daughters changed overnight when they fell into poverty. The father was worried about the future of his children and afraid that he wouldn’t be able to provide dowries for their marriages in the future. At that time, this meant an almost humiliation due to the impossibility of wedlock. While the now-famous St.Nicholas traveled, he passed through the village and heard the sad story about the merchant and his daughter, learning from the locals that he would not accept any gifts of charity.

One night, while he was riding his gorgeous white horse, he stopped at the merchant’s home and threw three bags filled with gold coins down the house’s chimney. The bags fell down right into the girls’ stockings which were hung by the fireplace mantle to dry. The next morning, the daughters and their father discovered the coins and jumped for joy.  The young women married happily and prosperously, so, obviously, their story had a happily ever after. The details of their story spread among the villagers, whose children began hanging their stockings by the fireplace, hoping to receive presents from St. Nicholas

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THE HANUKKAH TRADITION

Posted On: December 14, 2020

This past Thursday evening marked the the first day of Hanukkah. Surprisingly or not, many people don't understand the celebration or the meaning of this holiday.

I'm not Jewish, but here goes my take on the observance.....

 

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday. It traditionally celebrates the victory for the    Maccabees over the larger Seleucid army. It also celebrates a miracle that happened during this time, wherein just a day's supply of olive oil allowed the menorah in the rededicated Temple in Jerusalem to remain lit for eight days. Therefore, Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah for eight days. Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. Hanukkah begins in late November or December.

The Hebrew word hanukkah means dedication.

The Hanukkah or (hanukkah menorah) is an important Hanukkah candle holder. It has nine candles. Traditionally, one candle is separated from the rest, usually by being higher than the other eight. On the first night, only one candle is lit, on the right side of the hanukah. On the second night, a second candle is added, and they are lit from left to right. This continues for all eight nights. The candles are never lit directly - instead, the higher candle, (called a shamash, meaning "attendant") is lit first, and then used to light the rest of the candles. Before the candles are lit, blessings are said over them.

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THE POINSETTIA

Posted On: December 10, 2020

Poinsettias at Christmas

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as 'Taxco del Alarcon' where they flower during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them 'cuetlaxochitl'. The Aztecs had many uses for them including using the flowers (actually special types of leaves known as bracts rather than being flowers) to make a purple dye for clothes and cosmetics and the milky white sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers. (Today we call the sap latex!)

The poinsettia was made widely known because of a man called Joel Roberts Poinsett (that's why we call them Poinsettia!). He was the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825. Poinsett had some greenhouses on his plantations in South Carolina, and while visiting the Taco area in 1828, he became very interested in the plants. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.

One of the friends he sent plants to was John Barroom of Philadelphia, who gave the plant to his friend, Robert Buist, a plants-man from Pennsylvania. Robert Buist was probably the first person to have sold the poinsettias under their botanical, or latin name, name 'Euphorbia pulcherrima' (it means, 'the most beautiful Euphorbia'). It is thought that they became known as Poinsettia in the mid 1830's when people found out who had first brought them to America from Mexico.

There is an old Mexican legend about how Poinsettias and Christmas come together, it goes like this:

There was once a poor Mexican girl called Pepita who had no present to give the the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked to the chapel, sadly, her cousin Pedro tried to cheer her up.
'Pepita', he said "I'm sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus Happy."

Pepita didn't know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a a small bouquet. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this small present to Jesus. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered what Pedro had said. She began to feel better, knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the 'Flores de Noche Buena', or 'Flowers of the Holy Night'.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

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A DATE WHICH WILL LIVE IN INFAMY

Posted On: December 08, 2020

Air Raid On Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor External, Hawaii Territory, killing more than 2,300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. A total of twelve ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged. A hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base. It said simply: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.

The following day, in an address to a joint session of Congress, President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy.” Congress then declared War on Japan, abandoning the nation’s isolationism policy and ushering the United States into World War II. Within days, Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, and the country began a rapid transition to a wartime economy by building up armaments in support of military campaigns in the Pacific, North Africa, and Europe.

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