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mnl, Queens, NY: my homepage! (Come here to sign my guestbook!)
MNL's Thought Waves!: my own Bible studies, essays, and letters on current events and issues
Best Clowns/About Entertainment : supplying clowns, magicians, and a vast array of entertainment for your function. "No job too big or too small". Hey, sometimes I work for these guys.
Cheer Leaders for Christ: An organization for Christian clowns, puppeteers, illusionists, et al.
Hallmark Cards : Not just cards but an Internet holiday adventure. Many products shown. They flew me out to KC, Mo., for an interview July 1984 as a greeting card writer. (No, I didn't get the job, but a nice trip)
American Bible Society : Where I get many of my holiday materials: leaflets, booklets, bookmarks, etc. Visit the store on Broadway & W. 62 Street, Manhattan.
Clowns of America International (COAI): Clown Central, and no, I don't belong--yet.
Abracadabra: Costumes, magic supplies, etc. Located in Greenwich Village and on W. 23rd Street. What's happening on the streets of New York City. They photographed me in my Lamb Chop in Mourning costume on Halloween night 1998. I'm #579.
Hartmania!: my gift to the Internet: a central location linking to works inspired by Phil Hartman, written by fans. Has its own guestbook, too.
Halloween 1998, Greenwich Village, NYC: my picture: here's me as Lamb Chop in Mourning, 10/31/98, in memory of Shari Lewis.
Lifetime Online: Dad's Diary: "In-house" column by Brian Donlon, Lifetime-TV exec (and former classmate). Many of his columns are about holidays; check the archives.
Halloween 1999, Greenwich Village, NYC: my picture: Now I'm the Blue M&M, blowing my golden (toy) sax. Phil Hartman provided Blue's voice in the M&M commercials. (Yes, Hartman played sax, too. I don't; I attached a kazoo to the mouthpiece!)

MNL's Holiday Page:
Celebrate, Commemorate, and Party!

I love to celebrate!  I love browsing in Hallmark stores, Barnes and
Noble, costume stores, thrift stores...I love celebrating Christmas,
Halloween, Easter, birthdays, Jewish holidays such as Passover and
Purim (I've even written a short Passover/Easter play).  Here I'll
include ways I've celebrated and suggestions for marking special days.


As holidays go--this is IT!!!

I see the Easter/Passover season as the uniting and dividing
line between Christianity and Judaism.

Passover was the very first holiday established by God in
the Bible, in Exodus.  In many languages their word for
Easter is the same as their word for Passover, related to
the word Pascua or Paschal, derived from the Hebrew Pesach.
Passover comes from the Biblical statement, "When I see the
blood, I will pass over you..."  On that first Passover 
season, prior to the Exodus, the Hebrew slaves took a lamb
into their homes, and killed it after four days, roasted
and ate the lamb with bitter herbs and yeastless bread.
They painted the blood on the portals of their houses. 
That midnight the Angel of Death executed the tenth plague,
killing the firstborn of Egypt.  But the blood on the doorways
was a sign to the Destroyer to "pass over" those houses.

For the Christian, the parallels between the Passover Lamb
and Jesus on the cross are plain.  His blood covering our
lives protects us from another Destroyer, the Devil, and from

Several years ago, Kerry Blette, an interim pastor at Union
Evangelical Church in Corona (and connected to New Life
Fellowship) preached on the first Passover lambs.  Imagine,
he said, what it must have been like for the children, making
friends with the lamb, cuddling it, only to have it killed.
He drew up parallels between that lamb and Jesus.  Since then,
inspired by Blette's sermon, I wrote a one-act play about a
lamb at the first Passover.

I like the bunnies, eggs, CHOCOLATE, baskets, and stuff.  But
the symbol of the Lamb means the most to me.  This year (1999),
I've gone lamb-crazy, buying nearly every minature stuffed toy
lamb I can afford, plus a Pez lamb.

The Last Supper was a Passover meal!  Jesus deliberately chose
to die during this season.  I understand he died at 3pm, the
hour the Passover lambs were slaughtered in his day.

Christians: include a little Passover in your Easter.  Of
course, our Holy Communion with its bread and wine is based
on the Passover meal.  I love to set up a seder plate and
eat matzoh, which is bruised, striped, and pierce, like You
Know Who.

(more later)


A few years ago my mom and I--who aren't Jewish--were on our way to 
the Free Synagogue of Flushing for an evening Purim service.  I 
found myself singing the Hebraic-sounding songs from our church, 

The Lord is building Jerusalem
The Lord is building Jerusalem.
He's gathering together 
The outcasts of Israel,
Healing broken hearts,
Binding up their wounds.
The Lord is building,
The Lord is building up

At the reform synagogue, children and adults dressed in costume;
I remember one girl dressed as a Hasidic boy, in side curls and
black coat and pants.  Songs of praise were set to Broaday, opera,
and operetta tunes.  And of course when THAT NAME--Haman-was 
mentioned, we joined in the chorus of BOOOOOOOOOOO!, waving our

I admire Vashti, who openly defied a bad command from her husband.
Vashti was ordered to come and didn't; Esther was forbidden to come,
and she did!  Of course, Esther was more subtle than Vashti.

After the November 1998 elections, it was easy to see how the
Republicans had built a noose for Clinton--and Gingrich was 
hung on it!

My favorite Hamenstachen flavor: apricot!


Read the book of Esther, of course.  Tell the story to your
kids.  Buy some hamenstachen at the local supermarket or

One person's summary of Jewish holidays:
They tried to kill us.  They failed.  Let's eat!

I used to love to bake Irish Soda Bread, with the caraway seeds
and raisins.  Of course, the Irish influence is strong in NYC.
I grew up with quite a few Irish friends, even best friends, and
enemies too.  Ryan's Hope was one of my favorite soap operas.

I love to wear a white sweater, green pants, and orange bow or
beret on March 17.  (Hey, Protestants count, too!)

Of course, I have to wonder about the wisdom of celebrating the
day of a saint who brought Christianity to his homeland, with
drunkenness and even brawling.  Oh, well...

This St. Pat's Day (1999) I wore a gold top, green pants, and 
white knit sweater.  I brought home Irish soda bread from the 
local supermarket, and my mom made lamb stew with potatoes.


I don't know if NYC Italians make much of St. Joseph's Day.  I
only know it exists--and that the swallows return to Capistrano
every year on that day, March 19.  Anyone wants to enlighten me,
you're welcome too.  And the Internet, I'm sure, has info about
it for those who search.


When you've never had a "significant other"--I came close in junior
high school--Valentine's Day needs to take on a new significance.

In sophomore year of college, I was bemoaning my boyfriendless state
to the college counselor, with Valentine's Day coming up.  "Why don't
you give to some other people?" she suggested.

So I made up little presents of candy and tiny cards for six male
classmates, including my best male friend and the guy I had a crush
on.  (And no, Mike McAlary wasn't one of the six.)  Also I gave a
box of chocolates to my best female friend, Maureen.

Since then I've been giving cards to members of my family, usually
with Bible quotes that somehow relate to them.

Oh--a few years ago I gave a small card to a guy in church I had a
crush on.  (No, it didn't "work".)

February 1997, I worked as an assistant at an afterschool program.
I made out little cards--not the school cards, but the 3x4 kind--
for each kid and co-worker, with the meanings of their names on
the blank side, and a Scripture quote following.
"And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord...'"

During an Olympic year I found large round chocolate coins, medal
size--a gold coin, a nickel, a copper, i.e. gold, silver, bronze.
I put small heart stickers and strings of yarn on the coins to make
them look like medals, and gave them to my co-workers at ASCAP, the
night crew of the tape department.

Oh, what would I do for my lover this year if I had one?  I'll have
to think on that...

Oh yeah, what would I want him to do for me...?


Song of Solomon (the sexiest book in the Bible!)
Ruth (entire book)
Esther 1-2 (and I admire Vashti!)
Genesis 2 (Adam & Eve)
Revelation 19 & 21 (the last wedding)
Genesis 24 (Isaac & Rebekah)
I Corinthians 13 (The Love Chapter)
Ephesians 5 (husbands & wives)
I Corinthians 7 (marriage vs. singlehood)

1) to develop your love relationship with God.
2) to discover your purpose.
3) to sharpen your skills, your maturity, etc.

I believe to be happily married, one must first be happily
single.  If I'm giving myself to a marriage, shouldn't I
first develop that self to give?



Let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
                  --Amos 5:24

Maybe one day we'll celebrate MLK Day with soul food meals 
and Motown music, just like we celebrate George Washington's
birthday with cherry pies.  But MLK Day isn't yet blase, so
let's celebrate in a meaningful way.

Martin was born January 15, but the day is observed on
the third Monday of January.

Schools, churches, libraries, and the like often have
programs of speeches, songs, anecdotes, etc., on or
around MLK Day.

Sometimes a group might march on MLK Day to protest
about a current civil rights issue.  Once I joined
a march on City Hall; I think it was just after the
Howard Beach incident, where white men chased a
black man onto an expressway, where he was struck by
a car and killed.  The men were later convicted of

Books and Movies:
The bookstore and library--and I imagine the Internet--
are full of info about King: his bio, his speeches, and
even a children's book called "If You Lived in the Time
of Martin Luther King."

A two-part TV-movie called "King" stars Paul Winfield 
and Cicely Tyson as Martin and Coretta.  A children's
TV special, "The Boy King", showed an account of Martin's
childhood.  "Eyes On the Prize" is a PBS multi-part
documentary about the civil rights movement.  Or you 
could rent "Malcolm X" or "Rosewood" or countless other

A movie about civil rights doesn't have to be about
African-Americans.  For one MLK Day, my sister and I
saw "Schindler's List".

Okay, play or sing those 60s and 70s Motown tunes, 
or your favorite protest songs.  Or Black spirituals.  
"We Shall Overcome", of course. 

Songs that mention Martin:
"Happy Birthday"--Stevie Wonder
"Abraham, Martin, and John"--Moms Mabley; Dion
"7 O'Clock News/Silent Night"--Simon and Garfunkel
"If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another"--by ?

I had created for me a compilation tape of songs
relating to Martin and his work and his faith, as
well as songs of protest and civil rights and anti-
war songs.

The best way to remember Martin:
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Stop thinking that your personal prejudices are facts.
Get to know someone of another race, religion, or
 ethnic group as the real person s/he is.
Get involved in a cause that touches your heart.
 And be wise and loving about it.

Note: I heard once that the Roman Catholic Church
considered naming Martin Luther King, Jr. a saint,
but passed on the idea because he wasn't Catholic.
That's okay.  God knows who the real saints are, 
Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise.  I think Martin
is one of them.  No, he wasn't perfect, but who is?
I think he and God chose each other.



Highly recommended:
and Jean Coppock Staeheli
a nonfiction book on how to detatch from commercialism
and put joy back into your Christmas.  Read it now!

Today is my 42nd birthday!
I'd write more, but the library's closing!


Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.  --Psalm 100:4

In our family the hostess--usually my aunt or my sister--
cooks the turkey and the rest of us bring food and drink.
My speciality is baked goods; I've taken turns with Irish
soda bread, cornbread, gingerbread, and most recently, a
creamy apple walnut pie. 

As a kid I'd sometimes watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade
with the crowd at 34th Street, opposite Macy's.  There I
saw my first celebrity--Ronald McDonald!--pushing through 
the crowd.  As an adult, I might go view the parade from the
less crowded 53rd Street, handing out leaflets from the American
Bible Society about thanking God.  When I used to work the 
evening shift at ASCAP, after work Thanksgiving Eve I'd walk
up to 81st Street and Central Park West and watch them inflate
the balloons.  (Because of last year's Cat-in-the-Hat accident,
which knocked a lamppost into spectators, they're using smaller
balloons this year.)

Of course Macy's parade is really a Thanksgiving/Christmas
parade--too cold to parade in NYC in December--but don't tell
anyone I told you that!


I will rouse your sons, O Zion,
  against your sons, O Greece,
  and make you like a warrior's sword.
     --from Zechariah 9:13

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem.  It was winter,
and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade.
The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us
in suspense?  If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you did not believe."

--from John 10:22-25

The Hanukah story is in 1 and 2 Maccabees of the Old Testament
Apocrypha--minus the eight-day miracle story, I think.  Judah
and his brothers fight the Greeks to repossess the Temple.

I don't own a menorah, but sometimes I like to draw or cut
menorahs out of paper and paste them on the wall.  Once I 
stuck eight-plus-one dark blue birthday candles in a block
of white styrofoam, and night by night added yellow paper
flames to the wicks.  Sometimes I buy dreidles and spin them.
(I've never played the dreidle game.)

Favorite Hanukah song:
"Light One Candle" by Peter, Paul, and Mary

Then on Saturday Night Live reruns, Hanukah Harry (Jon 
Lovitz) rides on his magic donkey cart with presents for
all the good Jewish boys and girls.  "On, Herschel!  On,
Moishe!  On, Shlomo!"  And who can forget Adam Sandler's
holiday ditty:

"Wear your yarmulke!
 It is Hanukah!"


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.  
--from Isaiah 9:6

Some Christmas suggestions:

I have two personal compliation tapes for Christmas.
One is a collection of pop songs which mention December,
winter, or Christmas, such as: California Dreamin',
Hazy Shade of Winter, December's Boudoir, I Just Called
to Say I Love You.  Thanks to my former ASCAP co-worker,
Joey, who also threw into the tape some Christmas comedy
cuts (eg. Green Christmas by Stan Freberg, in which
Scrooge runs a modern day ad agency).

The second I made myself: a collection of Christmas
spirituals and other holiday songs of African-American
origin: Rise Up Shepherd, Children Go Where I Send Thee,
This Christmas, Give Love on Christmas Day, and so forth.
For some reason Harry Belafonte shows up a lot on this
tape.  I made the tape with a two-recorder stereo system
my family gave me one Christmas.

These tapes aren't for sale--copyright/royalty infringement--
but if you want the list of songs please e-mail me.


Call your local post office and ask for a Santa letter from
a needy child.  Then, play Santa!  I go to the General Post
Office on W. 33rd Street and 8th Avenue, where in early
December they open up a section with boxes of Santa letters
for people to browse and choose.

Especially if you live in an apartment.  Roll some wrap down
your door, tape it, cut for the peepholes, then decorate with
ribbons or a Nativity picture in the middle.




Halloween (Oct 31) arrives along with All Saints Day (Nov 1) and All 
Soul's Day (Nov 2), which in Mexico is the Day of the Dead.  This
year (1998) I went to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade
as Lamb Chop in Mourning, in memory of Shari Lewis.  I distributed
tracts of Psalm 23, with a photo of a lamb in front, along with
other tracts and booklets from the American Bible Society.

Favorite scriptures for Halloween:

"Do not be terrified..." Joshua 1:9

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me."  Psalm 23:4


For All Saints Day:

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
Psalm 116:15


Recommended short stories for Halloween:

"How John Boscoe Outsung the Devil"
  (found in American Negro Short Stories, J.H. Clarke, ed.)
"Young Goodman Brown"--Nathaniel Hawthorne
"The Monkey's Paw"--by ?
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"--Washington Irving
anything by Edgar Allan Poe

Recommended play:

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

"Dry Bones" (spiritual)
"Death's Little Black Train" (spiritual)
"(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" (Western song)
"And When I Die" (Laura Nyro, author; 
   check out the Blood Sweat & Tears version)



I've never been married, and I've only been a bridesmaid
once, at my sister's wedding in 1983.  Well, I have made
a few bridal bags for relatives and church friends who've

Like most women, I imagine my wedding day.  I hate to
imagine the costs!  Really, I think weddings, like
funerals, bar/bat mitzvah receptions, and some Christmas
celebrations, are overelaborate and overpriced.  The
guilt factor.  I'd hope to do my wedding day, if it
happens, creatively and cheaply.

When my friends Joy and Lou married, they asked guests
to bring dishes for the reception.  I forgot what I made:
maybe a vegetable dish.  By the way, Lou was into Jewish
things: he walked down the side aisle before Joy did, and
they used a prayer shawl and canopy.  And broke the glass
at the reception.

One hundred years ago the guest brought food for the
reception.  Why not now?

Once I saw a patchwork quilt vest, off-white, with buttons
and pearls.  "It reminds me of a wedding dress!" I thought.
If I ever marry, I might want to incorporate the patchwork-
and-buttons design into my dress.  Since I'm "plus-size", 
I might do better having a friend make the gown, basically
simple, with "patches" of elaboration.

I'd want a show!  Friends and relatives performing Broadway
show tunes having to do with weddings:
"When I Marry Mister Snow"--Carousel
"Get Me to the Church on Time"--My Fair Lady
"One Hand, One Heart"--West Side Story
and so forth.

A ballet, male and female duo, before the ceremony or
at the reception.

Ever heard "March of the Nobles" by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov?
I'd love to hear that during the recessional at the wedding,
or the processional at the reception!

How about a wedding clown?!
Twice I dressed as half-bride, half-groom for Halloween.

The latest trend is to let the bridesmaids choose their
own gowns or dresses in a matching color.  I might go one
better: where what you want, whatever color, in a formal
or semi-formal gown.

Of course, what kind of man would I want?



Early January 1999, I dreamed I was in a wedding gown, 
looking for a small sprig of flowers for my hair, 
thinking I might--or might not--finally marry a man I'm
attracted to who I know darned well doesn't want me!

I don't watch "Friends" much, but I caught the episode
in which the three women lounged around in wedding gowns.

Here's an idea:

Single women and girls attend a party dresses in wedding
gowns, white or off-white dresses, or whatever best 
simulates a wedding dress for them.  No men; most likely
no married women.

Wedding cake or white-frosted cake with solo bride 
figure on top.

Gift exchange of small inexpensive presents in bridal
wrapping paper, stored in a wishing well.  

Each woman or girl takes turns marching down the "aisle",
and makes some profound statement about wedddings or
marriage.  Takes a gift from the grab bag "wishing well".

The guests take turns reading Bible quotes about marriage,
telling wedding anecdotes, or the like.

If anyone out there actually goes through with this idea,
please let me know!



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