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A New Year with Old Traditions

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Happy 2013! Photo by: asterix611

One of the things I like about living on the West Coast is watching the ball drop in Times Square at 9 P.M. on television. For me, that’s when the new year begins, and it’s still early in the evening.  But joining the crowd at the Crossroads of the World, suffering in the cold without a restroom in sight, is on many people’s bucket list.

This past New Year’s Eve an estimated one million folks donned their warmest jackets and most comfortable shoes with a heavy pair of socks, fashion be damned, to come together to watch the illuminated Waterford crystal ball make its descent.  At the last minute, they made their voices heard:  sixty, forty, twenty, ten, nine, eight….

The gathering at what is now called One Times Square first took place in 1904. When the new headquarters of The New York Times was built, Alfred Ochs, the newspaper’s owner, threw a New Year’s Eve celebration there sparing no expense.  Over 200,000 noisy, cheering revelers attended an all-day street festival that culminated in a fireworks display set off from the Times Tower. It was a much different ceremony than the ones that had been held at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan for years before.

When the city banned the fireworks display a few years later, Ochs kept the party going.  He arranged to have an iron and wood ball illuminated with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs lowered from the tower flagpole precisely at midnight to welcome 1908. And a tradition was born.

Seven different versions of the ball have been used, including transforming it into an apple with a green stem as part of the “I l Love New York” marketing campaign in the eighties.

This year the triangles comprising the crystal ball, which can display more than millions of colors and patterns, were imprinted with designs denoting peace, friendship, love, courage, joy, and light. In addition to the hale and hearty (and presumably youthful) on site, another billion people around the world partook in the ritual via satellite technology.  We all apparently want the same thing.

Could this be our year?

© 2013 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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Here Comes the Bride Again

Initially, an outpouring of good cheer greeted the announcement of Marie Osmond’s remarriage to her first husband, Stephen Craig, this past May twenty-five years after they had divorced.  As her brother Donny pointed out, “They decided you know, ‘We still love each other, and it’s time to get back together again.’”

Then came the comments and criticism, as bloggers took to their computers.

A marriage counselor recommended not trying this yourself unless you’re ready to trust again.

A relationship expert warned that the same troubles arise and cause heartache all over again.

Another quoted Albert Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Gossip columnists called up similar situations and made comparisons to other celebrities, warning that the odds weren’t good for the newlyweds.

The on again off again over-heated love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton was most frequently mentioned, their off screen lives garnering as much attention and publicity as their movie star turns on the big screen.  They tied and untied the knot twice as the world watched.  “You can’t keep clapping a couple of sticks (of dynamite) together,” Burton philosophized, “Without expecting them to blow up.”

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner also did it twice.  The first time jealousy and petty disagreements drove them apart.  Nine years into their second marriage she died tragically in a boating accident.

Certainly neither of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson’s two trips down the aisle ended well for them as a couple.

While this doesn’t bode well for the Craigs, it seems dire for Barbie and Ken.

Kiss and Make Up. Photo by: madelineyoki

In 2004 the playful pair split up after forty-three years of fun and games in the sun.  Rumors were going around that Barbie had hooked up with an Australian surfer dude called Blaine.  They were apparently true.

Earlier this year Ken decided all was forgiven.  He went public, professing his love on billboards in Times Square.  “Barbie,” he sentimentalized, “we were made for each other.”

Barbie fell for it.  “No doll can resist a sweet talker like Ken,” she said in an interview.  His role in Toy Story 3 undoubtedly improved his stature.

No one knows what the future holds.  But it’s a pretty good guess that for better or worse little girls everywhere will be buying diminutive wedding dresses, small-sized evening clothes, and lots of tiny accessories for the happy couple to celebrate their reunion.


© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved