Were you dreaming of a white Boxing Day?
Well, we almost enjoyed a white Christmas. It snowed for the second time in a month on our fair valley, giving us a white Boxing Day instead.
Boxing Day, celebrated on the day after Christmas in Great Britain and many countries of the former British Empire, has nothing to do with pugilism.
The term is believed to have originated with the custom of wealthy families giving the servants a day off on Dec. 26 and sending them home to their families with a Christmas box.
At least some people got an unexpected day off Thursday because of the snow.
I felt a bit cheated, though, because as I write, at 8 a.m. Thursday, we have just a dusting of snow here in downtown Lancaster, while friends just a few miles away sent pictures of four or five inches.
Maybe next week we’ll get more. Forecast says chance of snow Monday.
Speaking of Great Britain, I saw a video of Prime Minister Boris Johnson launching into a two-minute recitation from Homer’s “The Iliad”
— in the original Greek.
An impressive feat, indeed.
I assume he said every word and phrase correctly, but I wouldn’t know. It was, ahem, all Greek to me.
In the old days, British schoolboys learned to recite the classics by heart in Greek and Latin, but it is not as common today.
According to his bio, Johnson read (we would say majored in) Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, and was elected president of the Oxford Union (debating society) in 1986.
It appears both served him well.
I’m told I have a good memory for dates, historical facts, events, conversations, etc., but I have never been good at reciting things from memory.
Actors are impressive in how they memorize lines, particularly on stage in live performances. Soap opera actors, though, I think are most impressive.
Since their shows run about 44 minutes a day (one hour minus commercials), they learn a full movie’s worth of dialogue every three days.
This is the time of year when many pundits and experts make predictions about the year ahead. Few will come true.
Lao Tzu, a 6th Century BC Chinese poet, wisely said: “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.”
I saw an interesting piece from the Reader’s Digest site about predictions that turned out wrong: the automobile will be a passing fad, the telephone will be a passing fad, the iPhone will never get a major share of the tech market.
Scientists in 1908 predicted that automobiles would fade from use because the human brain could not operate anything at a speed faster than a horse.
The great John Philip Sousa predicted that recorded music would destroy all musical ability. Sousa wrote in 1906: A time will come when “music can be heard in the homes without the labor of study and close application, and without the slow process of acquiring
Few predictions about the new year will actually come true
a technique, it will be simply a question of time when the amateur disappears entirely, and with him a host of vocal and instrumental teachers, who will be without field or calling.”
That one is not that far off. How many families are entertained in their homes by musical family members today as opposed to 1906? How many music teachers are there?
William P. Warford’s column appears every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.