mount overlook

Postcard of the snow-shrouded Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, Oregon, made famous as a horror icon by its appearance in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining, where it stood in for the fictional Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies.

Pictured on the postcard along with the hotel are Desmond O’Bear, an Irish ginger bear from the peat bogs of Northern Ireland, and his trainer/manager, Ens. Michael Chapman, who was never a sailor, despite his maritime rank and jaunty cap.

Starting in the 1940s, for nearly 20 years O’Bear and Chapman headlined at the Timberline’s Honey Room, with far fewer incidents of guest maulings than Rodney Dangerfield’s six month residency in the 1980s.

Though the history of the Timberline Lodge is decidedly less horrific than its fictional cousin, it is nonetheless colorful, such as the time actor Kevin James threw up in an elevator.

anonymous asked:

hello PJ, what is the difference between Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah?

Hi there!

Shemini Atzeret, the last day of Sukkot, is almost like a micro-holiday where we have a special ritual to officially end the High Holiday season.  As Jews, we believe that the gates that close at the end of Yom Kippur, remain opened just a little bit until the end of Shemini Atzeret to give us just a bit of extra time to say our slichot prayers before the start of Simchat Torah and the *real* start to the New Year.  The Shemini Atzeret service is known as Hashanah Roba, where we traditionally make seven dances with the Torah in our communities.  This ends with the shmashing of our lulavim (our palm branches from Sukkot).

Simchat Torah is a joyous holiday dedicated our Torah.  Literally meaning “Joy of the Torah,” we also dance with the Torah (traditionally several times in what are known as hakafot in Hebrew).  The big moment comes when the last few lines of Deuteronomy are read (Moses atop Mount Nebo overlooking Israel) to the first few lines of Genesis (the Creation Account).  Simchat Torah signifies an *official* start of the New Year. 

Although technically Rosh Hashanah is the New Year, we need a month of holidays to reset our Jewish clocks!  Rosh Hashanah is when the calendar officially shifts (as per the instructions in the Torah); the entire slichot process, the Ten Days of Awe, and Yom Kippur help us to fully complete (or really almost complete) our reset spiritually; Sukkot helps us remember several parts of our tradition that ground us as Jews (such as nature, the Exodus account, Welcoming Guests etc); Shemini Atzeret completes the final reset in conjunction with all of those parts of our tradition that we hold near and dear; and Simchat Torah is the last part of this grounding, and resets our Torah reading cycle to the beginning!

Please note that the Reform Movement celebrates Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah as one day, unlike more traditional movements in which Simchat Torah is the day after Sukkot.  And because we celebrate harvest festivals for seven days as opposed to eight, our calendar looks a bit different!

I hope that this helps!

Shana Tov v’chag Sameach!

PJ

Playing catch up today as I never had time to post yesterday.  

On November 3rd 1894 Robert Louis Stevenson died at Vailima, Samoa.

The Scottish novelist, poet and traveller Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born in Edinburgh in 1850. After considering professions in law and engineering, he pursued his interest in writing. A prolific literary career ensued, which included Treasure Island (1883), The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) and Kidnapped (1886). Stevenson travelled extensively to America and the South Seas, settling in Samoa in 1890, and getting involved in life and politics there. In the tropical climate, his imagination turned to Edinburgh, and he wrote Catriona (1893), a sequel to Kidnapped. At his death he left an unfinished masterpiece Weir of Hermiston, set in 19th-century Edinburgh and the Lammermuirs.

Stevenson is buried in a tomb on Mount Vaea overlooking Vailima. He had two wishes for his burial, to be buried on the top of Mt Vaea and to be buried with his boots on as he used those boots to walk on the Samoan lands. The picture shows Stevenson with members of his household in Samoa.

I’ve got no sight

The dark sculpts a statue
garden; mounted gargoyles 

overlook the pyracantha. 
I traverse with pin-cushioned 

hands; harmful touch. These
tendrils like all others do

not differentiate. They are
neither mine nor yours for

who has not touched the
stew as a child, or even 

now, still reaching after
the burns with starved

memory; nurture forgotten,
smoking on the back porch.  

“In a way Winter is the real Spring—the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.” —Edna O’Brien

Captured at the scenic overlook above Lake Tahoe on Mount Rose Highway. Perfectly crisp and beautiful December day. Lots of happy moments with *good* people and times marked by deep contentment.