December 18, 2015


Volume 10, Issue 14–December 18, 2015


And Still No Snow

There’s no doubt that snow will arrive and stick at some point, but thanks to El Nino, that point hasn’t come yet.  A few days ago on the morning news, they reported that the temperature in Canton was actually warmer than that in Las Vegas!  Yesterday, there were a few snow flurries and there was a little snow on the windshield when I woke up, but the temperature rose to the high 30’s, and it was all gone by lunchtime.  Today, it was 45° when I left the house.  We’re supposed to get a little snow on Friday night/Saturday day, but it’s supposed to warm up a bit after that and all melt away.  Thus far, I haven’t had to break out the heavy coat.

Due to the warm weather, people are predicting that it may snow in June to make up for it.  I doubt it, but we’ll see.




Holiday Giving Trees

In the last BLAB, I talked a little about the Giving Tree opportunities on campus.  Well, one of them was picked up by SUNY for its “30 Days of Giving 2015” Big Ideas blog.  I think we’re Day 21, and  you can see the article by clicking here.


Student Government Association Budget Director Fatizjah Burnett at left

Our student government organized the effort to collect gifts for needy children, with the presents going to the Canton Church and Community Program.  Some 100 gifts were collected.  A second giving tree effort was carried out for the Children’s Home of Jefferson County and St. Lawrence County Foster Children by Delta Omega Epsilon fraternity.



And Pancakes Too!

For the past ten years or so, it has become a tradition that various faculty and staff serve our students with pancakes, sausages, and other comfort food starting at 10:00 PM and ending at midnight, during Finals Week.  So, on December 9th, we all assembled at Chaney Dining Hall, donned our Christmas sweaters, and went to our respective assignments.

12321142_10153689870880211_7289364122144615106_n l-r:  Me, Courtney Bish, Michael Perry, Katy Perry

 Apropos of my abilities, I was assigned to clean tables after students had finished eating!


Katy Perry and me sharing a bucket

Lots and lots of students came out for the food, and a good time was had by all. 12243071_768918875416_7801994966326719992_n

We used to do the same thing back at Southern Polytechnic, so it’s great to see that great minds all think alike.



Chanukah is Over

Chanukah began on the evening of December 6th this year and ended on the 14th.  As usual, we lit son Mark’s favorite chanukiya (a special type of candelabra, also commonly called a menorah), one we had bought the year he was born.  It features Mickey Mouse and Minnie playing the dreidel game in front of a fireplace, surrounded by presents.  For those who don’t know, the dreidel is a four sided top that you spin.  Each side has a Hebrew letter on it:  Nun (standing for the word “nes”, meaning miracle), Gimel (standing for “gadol” meaning great), Hei (standing for “haya” meaning occurred), and Shin (standing for “shahm” meaning there).  Thus, the four letters add up to “A great miracle occurred there”.  [In Israel, the fourth side’s Hei is replaced with the letter “Pe”, standing for “po”, meaning here—“A great miracle happened here”.]


Remember–Hebrew is read from right to left!

The miracle was that the light at the reconsecrated Temple, after the victory of the Maccabees over the Assyrians, burned for eight nights, even though there was only oil enough for one night.  Thus on Chanukah, one lights a single candle on the first night, adding an additional one each successive night until the chanukiya is filled with eight candles (plus the “helper candle, used to light the others, called the “shamash”.


The way the dreidel game is played, is that everyone “antes” a chip, which is often a piece of chocolate covered with gold foil that looks like a coin.  The first player spins the dreidel.  Depending on what letter comes up, you take or give chips from the pot.

Nun: “none”—You do nothing.

Gimel: “get”—You take the whole pot, and everyone antes again.

Hei: “half”—You take half the chips in the pot

Shin: “shtel—Yiddish for “put in”—you put a chip in the pot.

The last person with chips wins.



But Don’t Forget the Parties

Once finals end, there’s still a lot of work to do, but truth be told, a lot of time is also taken up by holiday parties!  The folks in Academic Support Services put on a nice one yesterday.  The party was in the mezzanine of the Athletic Center, and as we came up to the doors, everyone was greeted by the Grinch (played by Terri Clemmo).


The party was a potluck, so there were lots of nice home-made treats.  After eating, there was a package wrapping race, where each team of two had 3 minutes to wrap three gifts, with the winner going to the one who did it fastest and with the most style.


Earlier in the week, we had the Secret Santa party, also a potluck, where everyone opened their gift, and had to guess who gave it to them.  Very few people guessed right!



And Finally

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope everyone has a great break and comes back raring to go!




Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s challenge dealt songs with words starting with the letter “h”. The fastest winner was DianneMarie Collins once again.  Others getting all five right included Alan Gabrielli (from SPSU), Debbie Flack, Alan Gabrielli (from SPSU) and Terri Clemmo.  What happened to the rest of you?  This one wasn’t hard!

Here are the correct answers:

  1. Trip just after a wedding. Honeymoon.
  2. You sing them in church.  Hymns.
  3. Wimpy will gladly pay you Tuesday if you give him one of these today.  Hamburger.
  4. Catchphrase from Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator. Hasta La Vista, Baby.
  5. Showy flower also known as the rose mallow, it is the national flower of Haiti, South Korea, and Malaysia. Commonly worn by girls in Hawaii and Tahiti, it is also used in making tea.  Hibiscus.




This Week’s Trivia Challenge

There isn’t one!  The trivia challenge is on vacation until the New Year.


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