Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More from Ahmet Altan, Editor of Turkish Liberal Newspaper TARAF, on Armenian-Turkish Relations

Ahmet Altan speaking at ALMA, Watertown, MA, January 28, 2012
Speaking to several hundred (Armenians and Turks) in Watertown, Massachusetts, Ahmet Altan, editor-in-chief of Taraf, journalist and novelist, with 100+ court cases against him in Turkey, spoke to his audience in a calm and gentle voice.  
"We are here because we are friends and because we share something.  I don't see myself as a Turk although I'm a Turk.  Don't make me feel as a  Turk.  I am here as an old man who cried for Hrant Dink.   . . Hrant Dink's death has changed a lot in Turkey. . . Turks have a heart and a conscience.  Yes, they have hearts . . . I know you won't believe that . . . Not accepting pain is another pain. . . . If you talk to their brains, you will not touch them.  They don't know about 1915.  They became aware only after Hrant Dink's death . . .   I hope Turks will accept and apologize . . . My father always told me, 'Write what you say; say what you write.' [Ahmet Altan's father was the notable Turkish journalist Cetin Altan.]   . . .  We need your help to change  If we confess the great sin, we'll become better people. . . They do not know . . . they want to protect their bloody ancestors.  Write your stories, we will publish.  I will help you.  I want the Turks to feel what you feel.  I am ready.  My newspaper is ready.  .  .  Let us be human beings instead of Armenians and Turks.   Forget the state.  Go to the people.  When they understand, they will force the state  [Turkey] to change."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Turkish Newspaper Taraf Headlines Events of 1915 as Genocide

Front page of Turkish newspaper Taraf during the last week of January 2012.

Ahmet Altan, Editor of Taraf, speaking at the Armenian Library and Museum of America
On Saturday night, Ahmet Altan, Editor in Chief of the Turkish newspaper Taraf, (published in Istanbul), spoke to an overflowing crowd of Turks and Armenians at the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Massachusetts.  His message?  Speak to the heart, not to the mind.  His newspaper, Taraf, in reponse to the new French law outlawing genocide denial, published his message in flaming red letters :  The events of 1915 were a genocide.  Expanding on that message, he cautioned not to argue about numbers.  "If even one person was killed because s/he was an Armenian, it was genocide."  He went on.  "Turks do not know the history; they have not been taught the history.  You must speak to their hearts, not to their minds.  Tell them your stories.  Tell me your stories.  I will publish your stories in my newspaper and they will know the truth."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How old are you now? Celebrating Ron's Birthday: after the Tava & Boulghour Pilav, January 2012

Ron counts the years!
Taking the first bite, Mexican Style
"I did it!"

Happy Birthday, Ron, from Marash Girl and her family!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

  Would anyone buy a book that had green marker scribbled on the title page?  Here's a book that Marash Girl came upon in her pile of books to be listed for sale at OldCornerBooks.com: Karekin Yebisgobos Sarkisyan, HAYASDANYATS YEGEGHETSIN IR DZARAYAGAN GERBIN MECH. Isvahan, Iran: S. Amenaprgeech Vanki Dbaran Nor Chougha, 1973. Very good paperback, slight storage slant, corners and spine ends slightly bumped, measuring approx. 7x5 inches with inscription and signature by author in Armenian writing on title page as follows: Sireli Digin Azniv Charkoudian - Srdakin maghtanknerov (I know -- It's all Armenian to you!) Translation: Dear Mrs. Azniv Charkoudian, With heart felt wishes, Karekin Sarkisyan 20/1/78.  200 pages in Armenian, pages clean & tight, EXCEPT for title page which sports not only the inscription from Yebisgobos Karekin, but also a green magic marker  inscription made by either Karoun or Deron Charkoudian at age 2 in Smith's Ferry, Holyloke, Massachusetts circa 1980.  Marash Girl gives thanks to anyone who could translate the child's inscription for her!
NOTE:  Karekin Sarkisean later became Katholikos, first of the Great House of Cilicia in Antilias, then as Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Carl Sandburg and the (Brookline) Country Club

Yesterday evening, Marash Girl and Marash Boy were to attend a gathering at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.  Upon entering The Country Club, we were approached by a young man spiffily dressed in a suit and tie.  "Excuse me," he interrupted Marash Boy's thoughts, "but what are you wearing under that trench coat?"  Or at least that's what Marash Girl thinks he said.  The young man went on to amend that statement, asking, "Are you wearing a jacket?"  "Oh, yes," Marash Boy assured him.  "But," went on the suited and tied young man, "are you wearing a necktie?"  (Gotcha!) Now it should be known that throughout the years, Marash Boy has always kept a tie in the car, or in his jacket pocket, in preparation for such circumstance, but recently, as dress codes have relaxed for men, or at least in the mind of Marash Boy, the tie is the last accoutrement Marash Boy wishes to add to his attire.  You can guess the ending to this story.  The suit and tied young man escorted Marash boy to the Club's coat rack where were kept for just such occasions a group of (rather tasteless) men's neckties.  Marash Boy was given the choice of selecting one such necktie to place under his shirt collar or of leaving the premises.  Because Marash Boy was with Marash Girl, he chose to tie the tasteless piece of neckwear under his shirt collar.  

All of this was reminiscent of a film that Marash Girl saw many years ago, a film about the life and work of Carl Sandburg in which Carl Sandburg was asked, "What is the ugliest word in the English language?"  Sandburg answered, without hesitation, "Exclusive."

N.B. Elina, take note -- You knew the answer to that question!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cranberry Gingerale Punch for 50!

If you have one of those old fashioned punch bowls (several gallons in capacity), you will find nothing easier to liven up a party (without alcohol) than making a big bowl of punch for folks to gather 'round.  The punch recipe offered here is one that Marash Girl learned many years ago from the Christmas celebration at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. (Before they built the new wing, they had a yearly free Christmas Carol fest on the marble staircase, after which the visitors got to sip a cup of this delicious punch).   And so delicious it was, that Marash Girl actually asked for the recipe.  The creator of the punch was surprised:  "Oh, it's so simple!" she said.  So simple that Marash Girl remembers the recipe to this day!   Just fill a large punch bowl with ice cubes, pour a gallon bottle of cranberry juice cocktail over the ice cubes, followed by a 2 litre bottle of gingerale.  We use Polar Gingerale, the only gingerale we can find on the market that does NOT have preservatives, and voila!  That's all there is to it!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turkish Prime Minister says French Bill on Genocide Denial is 'Racist'

In response, Marash Girl asks, "What could be more 'racist' than snuffing out (to put it mildly) the lives of 1.5 million Armenians?"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kurt Warner, Tim Tebow, Tom Krattenmaker: A Lesson from Nasreddin Hodja

In his introduction to Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks into Pulpits & Players into Preachers,  (Rowman & Littlfield Publishers, Inc., 2010) author Tom Krattenmaker notes that sports figure Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals and other Christian athletes (read Tebow here) who give glory to the Lord whenever their team wins,  "have not a word to say about their Lord" when their team loses, "suggesting that the religious obligation to proclaim Jesus belongs only to the victors." Krattenmaker's observation brought to mind an old Nasreddin Hodja story.

Nasreddin Hodja is walking along the road without his donkey, singing God's praises.  A passerby asks him why he is singing God's praises.  Nasreddin Hodja answers, "I am singing God's praises because my donkey is lost."  The passerby, confused, asks, "If you have lost your donkey, why are you singing God's praises?"  Nasreddin Hodja looks at the passerby, wondering how the man could ask such a question.  "I am singing God's praises because if I were riding on my donkey, I, too, would be lost."

Athletes of today just may have a lesson to learn from Hodja Nasreddin.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Remembering God

On Sunday morning, Marash Girl walked around the corner, crossed the street, and entered the sanctuary of Newton Corner's Eliot Church where she heard a story she will never forget.  Quoting the theologian Marcus Borg who was in turn quoting the Quaker scholar Parker Palmer, the minister at Eliot Church told the following story.

On the arrival of her new-born baby brother, a three-year old girl begged her parents for permission to speak with the baby alone.  Her parents at first hesitated, but remembering that there was a baby monitor in the room, finally agreed.  Leaving their daughter with her baby brother, the parents retired to the living room where, over the baby monitor, they heard their daughter whisper to her little brother, "Tell me about God.  I've almost forgotten."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1491, 1493: Charles Mann at Boston's Chilton Club

Entertaining, you ask?  Yes, Charles Mann, an avowed journalist by profession, is the author of many books, the most recent of which, 1491:  New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and his latest book, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, he commented upon on Friday evening, entertaining his audience of New England Historical and Genealogical Society Trustees and their guests at the Chilton Club on Dartmouth Street in Boston.  Mann began his illustrated talk by sharing the color plates that initiated his interest in writing 1491 and 1493, the plates of "American Indians before Columbus" from his 8th grade United States history textbook, illustrations in which almost every detail was historically incorrect, from the image of Native Americans riding on horseback (there were no horses in the "New World" until AFTER Columbus), to the illustration of the arrival of Columbus on the shores of the "New World" (where, Mann pointed out, every face looked remarkably like George Washington's)!  Charles Mann was so entertaining (about a subject that could have been purely academic --  for academic, read boring) that I vowed to go out and buy both of his books about life on these shores before the arrival of Columbus.  Had college lectures been as entertaining, no doubt Marash Girl would have a Ph.D.  today!

Marash Girl herewith offers her thanks to NEHGS Trustee Bonnie Reilly for the entertaining and informative evening!  Now, dear reader, go out and get those books!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Armenian Cabbage Salad Soup a la Marash Girl

Tired of eating yesterday's cabbage salad?  Got some barley?

Rinse the barley; cover with cool water; soak overnight.  The next morning, rinse the barley thoroughly; then cover with cool water, bring to a boil and simmer until chewable or soft.  Now add the cabbage salad, dressing and all, cover with chicken broth (the broth you've dutifully prepared and frozen the last time you had roasted chicken), simmer until cabbage is cooked; about 5 to 10 minutes is all you'll need.  (Or even quicker, in place of the barley, you could use rice or boulghour pilaf from last night's dinner!) Adjust seasoning, and serve hot with thick slices of a good bread.  You'll never stop making this one!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Armenian Cabbage Salad

A favorite at our Christmas party for many a year -- Armenian Cabbage Salad

Slice a head of fresh green cabbage into thin slivers.
Add thinly sliced red peppers, chopped fresh scallions, 1 tabelspoon of crushed dried mint (or 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint), a good creamy feta cheese crumbled, and as dressing, a mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar (preferably wine vinegar that has had a clove of garlic sitting in it for a while), freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice, Aintab red pepper (available at Armenian or Middle Eastern stores).  Prepare the day before to give the flavors a chance to blend, and the cabbage a chance to marinate a bit.  Absolutely delicious . . . and good for days.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More on Pudd

In response to a special request from one of Marash Girl's readers, here's a bit more on Pudd .

Pudd was beautiful.  Pudd was aloof.  Pudd was regal.  We loved her and she loved us, but she was distant and never showed her affection.  Because of her response to folks, we always knew who didn't like cats, who was allergic to cats.  

Pudd would never jump on any of our laps, she would never allow us to pet her for very long, but often, when we had guests, she would hand select, or rather paw select a particular guest, go  directly to that guest, jump onto his/her lap, and snuggle up.  I would look at our guest and ask, "Are you allergic to cats?"  The answer was invariably, "Yes!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Radish Roses

Have you ever tried to  make radish roses?

Marash Girl can't remember when she first saw them, when she first learned to make them, but the radish roses were a part of her very early childhood.  Her father loved radishes; her father grew radishes in his garden, one of the earliest vegetables to appear; and her mother loved to make radish roses.

Here's how. . .

Trim the leaves and tip off of each radish, removing all evidence of green.  Wash radishes thoroughly in cool water.  Carefully slice a third of the way down along the edge of the radish, making four cuts, leaving a center.  (See photo below.)  Soak in cool water, in the refrigerator and the flowers will open.
These radishes were purchased from the greengrocer's yesterday morning.
The soaking allows the radishes to open into flowers, and removes much of the bitterness. . .

Now not only can you make lemonade from lemons, but you can make roses from radishes!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Never refuse a child who asks for a piece of bread . . .

From an interview Marash Girl did with Peter Bilezikian in the 1970's

In response to the question, did your mother indicate that she wanted you to become anything in particular when you grew up? Peter answered,

"Are you kidding?  We were glad to get a piece of bread."

"During the Marash War, we were in Beth Chalom.  That was a German Orphanage.  There was a woman baking bread in one corner of the yard.  So I went over to her.  I thought that when she wasn't looking, I could grab a piece of bread and runaway and eat it.  (She was Armenian -- This was during the wartime.)  I asked her for a piece of bread before I determined to steal it.  But she wouldn't give it to me.  She said, "Go away, you.  These are for my children." I don't blame her. That's the way it was in those days."

"I was standing in front of her, I was a little boy about 6 1/2 , 7 years old, 1919, not seven yet.  Six and a half.  A bullet came from the top of the minaret (where there was a Turkish sharpshooter), whizzed by my cowlick,  hit her right between the eyes, and she died.  (I still have a scar on my forehead where the bullet knicked me.) There was a little boy with me there, we picked up all of the bread, ran under the stairway, and ate it.  All of it.  I wasn't hungry for days."

When asked, how did you feel about the dead woman? Peter answered, "Didn't feel at all, because there were a lot of dead people . . . she wasn't the only one."

"If I felt compassion for every person who died, I would not have survived.  Children were dying of starvation all around us.  I would see them dropping in the streets with swollen stomachs, literally starving to death."

How ironic was this last statement; Peter was one of the most compassionate people any of us has ever known.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two are better than one . . . Going to Church in Marash, 1918

 From an interview with Peter Bilezikian (1912-2010), circa 1977

"There was a priest in Marash -- Der Ghevont -- who, if necessary, would take his gun and run after the Turks, then come back and finish his Badarak (mass).  My mother told me about him -- a distant relation to my mother. We used to go there (to Sourp Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church) Sunday mornings around 6 and stay 'til about 10, then at 10 went from Sourp Sarkis Yeghegetsi and go to the first Protestant church on the other side of the city. Karaman Dingle (Dinle) (Birinji Kilise - First Evangelical Church, Marash -- Peter's grandfather was the first minister of that church).   When I went to (the Protestant) church, I used to go to Sunday School . . . (Walking all the way, of course.)"

"I wore a shabig and used to sing at Sourp Sarkis (St. Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church) when I was about 6 or 7 years old at the most.  (When asked how he felt about that, he answered,) We had to do it.  We accepted things as they were.  It wasn't what you wanted, or what you didn't.  (When asked why he went to both churches, he answered, ) My mother said it wouldn't do us any harm. We'd learn something.  She was a Protestant at the time.  She became a Protestant when she was in the German orphanage -- Bethel -- which you were named after."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pambook Jack and the Protestants!

Attending the Armenian Women's Interdemoniational Fellowhip yesterday, and watching one of the women open her Bible to I Peter, the Bible reading for the day, reminded Marash Girl of a story her father used to love to tell.

Lousavorchigans are true believers; Poghokagans don't even believe their minister, and I can prove it to you, God dammit! Pambook Jack announced one day.

How can you prove it, Pambook Jack?

Whenever the Armenian Priest reads from the Bible in the Loousavorchigan Church, the people listen and believe, Pambook Jack proudly stated, but whenever the Protestant minister reads from the Bible, the people open their Bibles to check and make sure that their minister is telling the truth!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fishing and Philosophy

"Any fish can swim downstream, but it takes a fish with backbone to swim upstream, to swim against the current."

Peter Bilezikian, Recreational Fisherman, to his children.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The first bite . . .

Nothing ever tastes as good as that first bite.

Peter Bilezikian commenting on . . . food!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

On Small Business

"Sometimes it takes a year to pay for a day. Sometimes it takes a day to pay for a year. . . ."   Peter Bilezikian, proprietor of Newtonville Electrical Company, Inc., doing business in Newtonville, Massachusetts, from 1932 to 1982.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Boston Art Gallery owner, on being questioned by Beacon Hill dowager as to why he paid her only $5,000 for an oil painting that he was selling for $50,000 in his gallery.

"Madame, on your wall the painting is worth $5,000.  On my  wall, the painting is worth $50,000."

Above story credit:  Professor of Art Law, New York University

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vahan Topalian, Shakespeare, and Miss Lanigan

Much should be written about the little known, great Vahan Topalian, a favorite friend of Peter Bilezikian, and a man who greatly influenced the young Marash Girl.  More about Vahan Topalian in future blogs, but today, Marash Girl remembers the day she came home from high school crushed, having been given a failing grade on a sonnet she had written in the style of Shakespeare (or at least that's what her English teacher had assigned the class to write).  Vahan Topalian was visiting for dinner that Friday evening, as he did on a regular basis.  Vahan was a literary genius, who had read almost every book and poem there was to read in the English language, and had collected almost as many first signed editions of these works in his library on Beacon Hill.  

Tearfully, Marash Girl showed him the sonnet she had so carefully crafted, the sonnet with the failing grade marked in red at the top.  Vahan read the sonnet with care and counseled, 'Don't worry about it. This teacher probably would have given Shakespeare an F as well.'

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fresh Celery Leaves, Newtonville Style

Celery leaves? you ask . . . Marash Girl's earliest memory of celery was watching her father eating the celery starting from the dark green leaves and down -- he's eating the celery backwards, she used to think.  And the leaves are so bitter . . . . how can he do that? 

Do you remember those celery leaf fights, Marash Girl asked her sister last night . . . 

They don't even sell long celery with leaves down here in Texas, her sister answered, as Marash Girl pictured the plastic wrapped leaves-chopped-off celery that appears in most supermarkets . . .

Celery leaf fights were such a fun way to dissipate disagreements, chasing each other around the house splashing wet celery leaves at each other as if we were enthusiastic priestesses blessing one another with holy water, laughing hysterically as we ran the circle of the house from hallway to living room to dining room to kitchen to hallway and around again.  

Yesterday evening, eating fresh baby celery (taken from the center of the bunch of celery --  Marash Girl's favorite) from the yellow leaves down, Marash Girl thought back to those early days and smiled . . .

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Miss Griffin, Cheesecake Brook, John Eliot and the Jackson Homestead

Marash Girl just received notice that the Jackson Homestead is open today, Sunday, from 12 to 5, with Free Admission for all.  (Apparently the first Sunday of the month is a period of grace for those of us who are not members of the Newton Historical Society.)

The Jackson Homestead, located 1/2 mile from Exit 17 on the Massachusetts Turnpike, now home of the Newton  (Massachusetts) Historical Society, was the home of the man (William Jackson) who brought the railroad through Newton (actually, the train ran along Washington Street right across the street from his house) and was a stop on the Underground Railroad (significantly so!)

Marash Girl remembers Miss Griffin, third grade teacher at Claflin School, taking her class (Marash Girl included), on a field trip through Newton where the class visited Cheesecake Brook (the folks who lived along the brook reported that there were river rats running along its shores), the John Eliot Memorial (commemorating the first missionary to the Native Americans in Newton, Massachusetts, the preacher after whom Eliot Church in Newton Corner is named), and, yes, Jackson Homestead where the class visited a stop on the Underground Railroad, the dry well in the basement of the building at the bottom of which many a runaway slave had hidden awaiting safe journey to Canada.  Yes, and all this right here in Newton Corner, Massachusetts!

Take advantage of today's free admission and visit the Jackson Homestead this afternoon.  Perhaps you'll get to meet Marash Girl saying a prayer for the misfortunes of all of the folks who had hidden in that dry well, awaiting safe journey to freedom.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ebay, USPS and the Cast Iron Popover Pan

Marash Girl will share a lesson she learned on the last day of the year, (not until now because it's a downer for the first day of the year.)  Though she never buys anything on Ebay, Marash Girl was charmed by the idea of  making popovers in a cast iron popover pan (see blogs on popovers). Unavailable in the new marketplace, on October 26, Marash Girl went to Ebay,  found the perfect cast iron popover pan, and ordered it, paying for it through Paypal.  The popover pan she ordered never did arrive (of course, or she probably wouldn't be writing this blog!)  What did arrive was a beautiful antique cast iron popover pan ordered by Marash Boy and presented to her for her birthday.  (How did he know?)

Marash Girl happily experimented with her newly acquired antique  popover pan, wondering when the one she ordered through Ebay would arrive.  It never did.  She wrote to the seller (via Ebay) and the seller replied:
I was checking with the USPS regarding your shipment. My brother works as a district manager in M. . . for the USPS. He was kind enough to check on it for me, thank goodness as I shipped it without confirmation. The package was discovered with damage to the top of the packaging including the label. I gave the shipping info to my brother so that they can send it on its way to you asap. You should have your item on Monday or Tues of this coming week.

Understood.  Still no pan.  When notified, the seller kindly offered to return Marash Girl's shipping fees.  (The shipping had been free.) Still no pan.  When notified yet again, the seller wrote on Dec. 4,
I feel so bad about this whole order!! I apologize for the delay in getting back to you, my mother just passed away after a lengthy illness and i have been out of town for a few days. My brother told me that the item was accidentally shipped back to me. When I returned home there it was sitting on my front step. I am re-shipping to you via priority Mail tomorrow morning. Please accept my sincere apology about this mess! 

Marash Girl did not want to be unkind to the seller, and patiently awaited the arrival of the antique popover pan she had purchased. Weeks passed.  Finally, on the last day of the year, Marash Girl decided it was time to conclude all business that had been left unresolved.  Deciding to file a claim for unreceived merchandise on Ebay, she learned (folks who purchase on Ebay take note) that the buyer has up to 45 days, and no longer, to file a claim for unreceived merchandise through Ebay.  After that, the buyer has no recourse through Ebay.  Yikes. "Vaht to do?"  Ebay's consumer advisor suggested calling the credit card company that supported that Paypal account that paid for the item and asking them to place a holdback on the payment that was made.  The Ebay rep also provided the name, city, state and phone # of the seller (though not the address), information that would be required when contacting (which she recommended I do) ic3.com, a partnership between Ebay and the US government to protect consumers against fraud.

That seemed a bit far to take things.  So Marash Girl, on that last day of the year, made a telephone call to the phone number provided by Ebay and left a message regarding the possibility of contacting ic3.com.  Several hours later, a very irate seller returned that call stating that she had done as requested, she had refunded the $29.95 through Paypal, and hadn't Marash Girl checked her Paypal account?  Had Paypal not notified her?  After all, she  opined, the seller couldn't be held accountable when Marash Girl had not taken the responsibility to check her Paypal account . . . Correct!  Marash Girl, feeling a bit unnerved and perhaps irresponsible, returned to her computer to check her Paypal account yet again.  It took awhile, because she was looking for earlier payments she may have missed, but as she reached 12/31/11, there it was -- a refund payment that had been made an hour before the seller's irate telephone call.

Marash Girl is not sure what the lesson is to be learned here.  There are many, I suppose.  What lesson have you learned from this very minor, and hopefully once in a lifetime  episode in the life of Marash Girl?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Քրիստոս ծնաւ եւ յայտնեցաւ . . . Blessed Armenian Christmas

Just when we thought we could return to our daily routine (enough worshiping and celebrating, already!) the Eastern Christian Churches remind us that there is still time to remember, as the three wise men witnessed, the miracle of Jesus' birth.   It is on January 6 that the Russian, Greek and Armenian Churches celebrate Christmas.

Matthew 2:1-12 (King James Version)

 1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
 2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
 3When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
 4And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
 5And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
 6And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
 7Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
 8And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
 9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
 11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
 12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Sorry, Marash Girl doesn't know how to say the above in Armenian, but she does know how to say "Christ is born and has been revealed to us" in Armenian!

Քրիստոս ծնաւ եւ յայտնեցաւ . . .  Krisdos dznav yev haydnetsav!

 And so today, dear readers, Marash Girl wishes you all a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

RADIO MY WAY: Ron Della Chiesa at Stellina's

Ron Della Chiesa reading from his book at Stellina's in Watertown Square
Talking to a room full of admirers (most of whom were sipping wine from elegant wine glasses) at Stellina's Restaurant in Watertown Square yesterday evening, Ron Della Chiesa of WGBH fame, talked about his life in radio, the writing of his book RADIO MY WAY, and the many fascinating folks he came to know throughout his career in radio broadcasting.  If the book is even half as fascinating as he is, it's worth the read!  Radio My Way: Featuring Celebrity Profiles from Jazz, Opera, the American Songbook and More begins with several chapters on the early life of Ron Della Chiesa followed by 44 vignettes based on interviews with those famous in the world of music.  Thrown in for good measure are recipes served by his wife Joyce to the celebrities the Della Chiesas entertained.

Beginning with his childhood in Quincy, Ron writes about his fascination with radio, his Boston accent and how he dealt with it, his body building and fascination with Steve Reeves, his first job while at Boston University with Arnie Woo Woo Ginsberg on WBOS (anyone out there remember listening to Arnie's bells and whistles?), and his hilarious encounters while working as the only English announcer at WBCN, the foreign radio station which was then broadcasting  Greek, Polish, and Gaelic programming, Ron playing the records and broadcasting the ads in English.

A member of the audience asked if he had ever interviewed Fred Astair.  Yes, Ron answered, but Astaire's not in my book.  I interviewed him on his 80th birthday over the phone.  It was a difficult interview -- Astaire didn't like to look back, and was self-deprecating in a way -- he didn't want to talk about himself.  Luckily all of the folks Della Chiesa discusses in his book loved to talk about themselves, and thus we all have a treat in store for us.

Radio My Way promises to be a fascinating read! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sautee Spaghetti in Butter Before Boiling?

Phaidon Press has done it again with the The Silver Spoon Pasta.   336 beautiful pages bound in a large slick hardcover,  recipes for every kind of pasta dish one could imagine, with a preface (or warning?) that begins, 'A Balanced Diet', and continues 'The History of Pasta' and 'Changes in Taste'.  There are even two satin ribbon markers and luscious photos of pasta preparations -- eye candy (as it were)!

The cookbook was the gift of choice to all of the women in Marash Girl's family.  Thus Marash Girl found herself leafing through the pages of The Silver Spoon Pasta, only to find a recipe instructing the reader to sautee dried pasta in butter before boiling in water!  Confounded, Marash Girl asked her daughter Nisha why anyone would do such a thing.  Nisha replied, "You do it all the time!"  "I do?" queried Marash Girl.  "Sure," her daughter answered.  "When you make rice pilaf with shehrideh, boulghour pilaf, lentil pilaf, you sautee the shehrideh and the rice before you add the chicken broth, you sautee the boulghour with the onions before you add the vegetable both, you sautee the lentils and rice with the onions before you add the water."

"Oh, you're right," replied Marash Girl.  "I do!  Fancy that!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cash or Credit?

Marash Girl began chatting with Pat (the Sales Person at Nordstrom Rack's check out counter) after she heard Pat comment, "It's gonna be one of those days again!"  Marash Girl really sympathizes with anyone in retail during the days of 'after Christmas' returns, so she engaged Pat in conversation.

"Do you think anyone uses cash anymore?" Marash Girl asked.  "Not many," Pat replied.  "Usually only visitors from other countries use cash. . .  Funny you should ask, because the other day I saw two little boys -- I think they were around six years old -- the boys were playing cops and robbers -- I haven't seen that for a long time!  At any rate,  I heard one little boy say to the other, 'Stick 'em up.  Now hand over all your credit cards!'"  

Here endeth the humor for the day!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Dating back to the 18th Century, the Tavern at the Publick House on Route 20 (earlier known as the Boston Road) in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, was the place of choice yesterday, where family East of Sturbridge met family West of Sturbridge for lunch on New Year's Day.  
 The perfect setting for New Year's Day, to be in the past, as it were, looking forward to the future, the Tavern provided an exquisite variety of luncheon options from the lightest of salads to the sturdiest of hot meals.  And, (Marashmellow Fluff, take note,) the clam chowder was to die for --  a compliment not to be taken lightly from this connoisseur of New England clam chowders! 

Returning East after lunch in Karoun's bright yellow mini-Cooper, Marash Girl could not help but notice the dark and gloomy traffic driving west.  Dark and gloomy, you ask?  Yes, if you would consider black and gray dark and gloomy.  The cars heading west were black or gray, with the occasional maroon car thrown in for good measure.  And this went on for as long as Marash Girl cared to notice.  Couldn't be!  The experience brought to mind the 1940's when (almost) all cars in Massachusetts were black.  It wasn't until the influence of sunny California in the 1950's when the East Coasters began to have the courage to experience the joy of color in their cars.  [Back in the day, even Marash Girl drove a yellow automobile!]

What has happened to us?  Does our choice of color in automobiles reflect our view of life as we have come to know it?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

AULD LANG SYNE: Robert Burns Reminds Us to Remember

Traditionally sung on New Year's Eve, Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne reminds us to remember, and we remember by singing on New Year's Eve (if not every day of our lives) . . . we remember all the people who have been a part of our lives,  all the men and women, young and old, who have made us who we are, all the folks who have left us. And so, if we were asleep when the New Year rang in, let us sing this morning, and remember . . .

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,  we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
 Please feel free to memorialize in the comments below the folks you remember on this day.
N.B. Robert Burns was Peter Bilezikian's Favorite Poet.