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Who Really Wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas”?

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- jim Young “The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it.” - Dylan Thomas In the interest of time, I caution my readers to first read Paul Hond’s excellent article The Story Behind the Most Famous Christmas Poem of All   that my nephew, Kory recently shared with me. My article here won’t mean much to you unless you do. And thus begins the dilemma in trying to determine the true credit for A Visit From St. Nicholas. As a writer, I would hate to have any of my original works credited to another author. BUT and it's a big BUT - I would equally hate to have anyone else's original work credited to ME. Of course my feelings on that subject do not necessarily reflect either Clement C. Moore's or Henry Livingston Jr.'s feelings on the matter. However, when you consider Moore's background, as described in Paul Hond’s article, The Story Behind the Most Famous Christmas Poem of All one can't help but view Moore as an honourable individual and wonder

Published In The Great North Arrow, December 2020: Santa On The Set

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- jim Young “Sometimes you can have the smallest role in the smallest production and still have a big impact.” - Neil Patrick Harris “Lights! Camera! Action!” And the fantasy world of Hollywood begins filming another scene for what everyone on set hopes will be the next big Christmas blockbuster. Except it’s North Bay, not Hollywood.  And it’s not “Lights! Camera Action!” anymore, it’s “Rolling! Background! Action!” now. “Rolling!” indicates the cameras are operating. The cameras are all digital now of course, but the direction refers to the old days when the film literally “rolled” in the cameras. Mostly it is a call for everyone on the set to “Pay attention and shut the fuck up!” “Background!” is the direction for the background actors, formerly known as “extras”, to start doing whatever they’ve been directed to do. “Action!” which has remained unchanged is still the direction for the main actors to begin pretending to be whoever they are pretending to be. But on the first set b

Published In The Great North Arrow, November 2020: Surface Noise

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- jim Young “Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise.  I said, ‘Listen, mate, life has surface noise.’”  - John Peel ( the longest serving of the original BBC Radio1 DJs) Music today has changed. I think that’s pretty obvious.  But I’m not talking about the songs or the artists or even the genres, I’m talking about the medium in which we listen to our music and more specifically a medium that was once almost lost in time, vinyl. I have a collection of between 400 and 500 albums. That doesn’t count the few hundred I have for sale nor the hundreds and hundreds I have sold in the past.  This is just my personal very eclectic collection of the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Who, The Guess Who, The New Vaudeville Band, Gordon Lightfoot, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Ten Years After, Dylan, The Rollings Stones, Liberace, The Carpenters, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Rivers,

Dictatorship or Democracy

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Pumpkin Cheeseball

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Here's a nice festive looking little appetizer to serve with crackers for Thanksgiving. But don't worry. Despite what the title might suggest, there is no pumpkin in this cheeseball. That would just be gross. Prep Time: ½ hour Wait Time: 3 hours Total time: 3 ½ hours Stuff Required: 8 oz cream cheese (1 x 8 oz/250 gm packs) 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese (½ x 8 oz/250 gm tub of MacLaren’s Imperial Sharp Cheese) 1 green onion ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tbsp orange bell pepper, finely chopped Red food colouring Yellow food colouring Do This: Let cheeses soften at room temperature and then blend together. Cut off about 1 ½” of the green part of the onion for the stem and set aside. Finely chop about 1 tbsp of the white part of the green onion. (You can save the rest of the green onion for use at another time.) Add Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion, chopped orange bell peppers to the cheese and mix together. Mix in red and yellow food colouring until you achieve the desired colour o

The "Blue Jacket"

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- jim Young “La Gente Del Barrio (The People Of The Neighbourhood)”, It’s a Tito Thing - Hector Lebron Special achievements deserve special awards. While money can be a great motivator, it isn’t the only  motivator. And contrary to popular belief it isn’t even always the best motivator.  Sometimes it’s the simple things in life, like a gold star or a pat on the back that can motivate people the most. It’s recognition from your peers, the people you respect and admire. A sense of belonging.  In 2011, the MLB banned milestone bonuses from being recognized as part of a player’s contract, effectively outlawing a bonus for a player achieving 3,000 hits, 500 home runs etc.  And while there may be no extra money for something like hitting a home run in Major League Baseball, it does not diminish the batter’s desire to hit one out of the park every time he gets up to bat. Just to make it a little more fun (because after all, when it comes right down to it, baseball is still a game) the playe

Published In The Great North Arrow, October 2020: Lies, White Lies & Exaggerations

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- jim Young “I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate!” - anon Everyone exaggerates. Wait! That’s a lie. Maybe not everyone. Actually that wasn’t really a lie even though everyone may not really exaggerate. It was just an exaggeration. Confused? So what’s the difference? A lie can be defined as an untrue statement usually with the intent to deceive.  An exaggeration, while technically a lie, on the other hand is most often an attempt to embellish a true story to make it sound more interesting or more dramatic than it probably is. In the opening quote, while you may not have really been told a “million times” not to exaggerate, the main point is you have been told on more than one occasion not to exaggerate. “A million times” was added to emphasize it was a lot of times that you’ve been told and it's not intended to be taken literally. A pathological liar will soon be discovered as a fraud by everyone around him until the only person that believes his lies is himself. A comp