Archive for the Current Events Category

New Year for Trees

Posted in Current Events, Judaism with tags , , on February 10, 2017 by ThommyMac

Things have been rough but I am OK. Thank you for asking about me. I foolishly let my guard down for someone who asked me to.  That gave me the most painful lesson I have ever received. Hopefully I can use it to grow or something. Bitter and mean is EXACTLY how I do NOT want to end up. So, like many, I sought comfort in my religion. It really does help, regardless of what your faith and\or church is. Cheerio.

Today is Tu B’Shevat ("the 15th of Shevat") which marks the beginning of a "New Year for Trees." This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

Legally, the "New Year for Trees" relates to the various tithes that must be separated from produce grown in the Holy Land. We mark the day by eating fruit, particularly from the "Seven Kinds" that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates). On this day we remember that "Man is a tree of the field" (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.

For more on Tu B’Shevat go here

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Yeah, baby, yeah!!!!

Posted in Current Events, Info, Opinion, Pittsburgh with tags , , on September 25, 2016 by ThommyMac

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It is no surprise to me BUT the ‘Burgh was mentioned in MSN travel today:

America’s Most Underrated Cities!

Most folks who know me know that deep down I love my hometown, especially now that I am back in the Squirrel Hill area. Absolutely EVERY ‘Out of Towner’ I have talked to is floored at how nice the city is, especially its appearance and people. I am pretty widely travelled and I can only think of 2 cities where strangers at the bus stop routinely strike up a conversation. Here (Pittsburgh, PA USA) and Nashville TN. A sunny day in London, UK can make it quite friendly but the ‘Burgh is friendly pretty near all the time. And the amazing or charming thing is how that little bit of conversation transcends. Gay folks, black folks, punk rockers, hipsters, wannabes, even city hicks will all talk a little waiting for the bus. THAT can’t be quantified but is pretty darn cool. It can even be life changing if not actually life saving. I’ll share an example that I have only shared with close friends until now. It is so hard to believe this happened over 30 years ago. I was 1/2 drunk and waiting for a bus. My dad had taken his own life 18 hours before and I was NUTS. An older black fellow in a housekeeping uniform saw the tears streaming down my face. They wouldn’t go away no matter how hard I tried to stop or hide them. He asked me what was wrong and I told him. He hugged me long and hard and tried to give me $20. I said no thanks and he said “let a brother buy a nephew a drink”. I took the 20 and bought a case. This was the mid 1980s and $20 could get you a case of Genny Cream and a couple packs of name brand smokes. He never did say his name but I never forgot that guy. Think that would happen in, ohhhh, say Philly? Asking someone the time there could lead to a fist fight. I can say it without apology, I love Pittsburgh, PA. Maybe that is what kept me around the 4 times I had a chance at a good gig far away.

-T