Dear Lord, I’ve been asked, nay commanded, to thank Thee for the Christmas turkey before us… a turkey which was no doubt a lively, intelligent bird… a social being… capable of actual affection… nuzzling its young with almost human- like compassion. Anyway, it’s dead and we’re gonna eat it. Please give our respects to its family…Bloom County

October 28, 2008

Now, I suppose you might be wondering why I made mention of Christmas here when it’s still October.  Apparently, the retail gods and television programmers must be living in a time warp that pitches them forward about a month and a half.  Pier 1 and Ikea are decked out in their festive best, and ABC Family is already advertising their “25 Days of Christmas” programming.  I, however, am still trying to squeeze in a few more days of wearing flip flops and sipping boat drinks…revelling in the fact that this week brings us to Halloween and my deck is done up with mini-pumpkins and cornstalks…and in denial that I’m hearing forecasts of possible snow flurries in the next day or so!  However, just because the cold weather is sneaking in does not mean that going out and having a good time is done for the year…just read on!

Life couldn’t be sweeter! 

Well, I have to tell you, Miss Chris has been one happy camper as of late…I’m feeling a whole lot better (drugs are a wonderful thing!), I’m a bit of a smitten kitten (it IS the men around here…I had to look outside the local area to meet my match…it’s not ME…I’m not difficult or dramatic…oh, not at all!  Just kidding!), and for fear of jinxing myself, all is good on many fronts!  But nothing is better than the sweet taste of chocolate, wine, and just plain old GOOD FOOD!  And on that note, besides Long Island Restaurant Week (from last post), Port Jefferson is hosting “A Taste of Port Jefferson” next week!  A bit over Cheap Date guidelines at $20 per person, there will be wine tasting, food sampling, and fun to be had all around!

The Stony Brook Village Center has LOTS going on this week!  From the Halloween Festival, to yoga, to a lecture about Long Island’s ghosts, this is your destination for fun without breaking the bank!  Make a point of visiting Godiva Chocolate…their dipping theatre is particularly bewitching this week with their Strawberry Ghosts dipping event!

Eeeeek! A black cat just crossed my path!

As the adopted mom of four furbabies, vet care is a topic that is near and dear to my heart (that and cat breath mints and pet stain remover for when they get spiteful when Mommy’s a stay-out-late!).  PAWS provides low cost spaying/neutering and additional vet care and they do wonderful things to help animals of all kinds.   If low cost vet care is not a priority to you, but you appreciate what they do, make a donation!

Petco offers low cost vaccinations and pet insurance.  Check your local store for dates and times!

Is that a mask you’re wearing, or are you just happy to see me?

Well, this entry takes us into NYC, but it looks so good I can’t resist!  Ben, I’m copying and pasting…Thanks for the heads up!  Weds, Oct 29 at 7:00pm – Lon Chaney in “The Phantom of the Opera” at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle – pipe organ. Columbus Ave & 60th St., NYC – suggested donation $3 – http://www.stpaultheapostle.org

Summer Camp Cinema at Cinema Arts hosts its annual Halloween Party with a showing of Blacula and Daughters of Darkness!

Is that James Woods?

No, they’re real woods to go hiking in (sorry, could not resist the Family Guy reference!), a lighthouse, and beautiful water views – and Paula from FINS has given me so much info that I’m spreading it out over a few weeks so it doesn’t get missed (and again, I’m going to copy and paste…) To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the lighting of the Fire Island Light, a grand celebration will be held on Saturday, November 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fire Island Lighthouse. Exhibits, tours, special programs and demonstrations, music, kids’ crafts and of course, birthday cake will be the highlight of the day.  A free shuttle will be provided from Robert Moses State Park Field # 5 (small fee charged for parking).

The focus of Fire Island Lighthouse programs on Sunday, November 2, is on the future stewards of the lighthouse. A variety of Junior Ranger activities will be offered at the Fire Island Lighthouse. Kids will have a chance to earn new patches and badges as they participate in fun and games. For more information about this program, contact the Interpretation staff at 631-687-4765.

For more information about Fire Island National Seashore, visit the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/fiis.

The Three Village Historical Society is hosting walking tours…$5 per person!

Get your history on!

The Museum of American Airpower is a fun place for the kid in all of us…who hasn’t dreamed at least once of taking to the wild blue yonder in a vintage aircraft to relive the romance of the early aviation age?

After midnight…

The Smithtown Arts Council presents Midnight Oils, a collection of fine art paintings with a Halloween feel.

A little night music…

I’ve asked a friend of mine with a great ear for music to start contributing to this blog.  Coming soon, I am hoping that you will be seeing posts from Christopher (he of the Live in the Lobby Series and the Bellport Songwriter Series) letting us know even more about the independent music scene on LI!  (I’m still waiting for Paul Brown to pony up and write about microbrews…)

An open letter to Phil Butler

As I walked into work today, I was asked if I knew a Phil Butler.  I said, “Kind of.  We’ve met a few times with some of the events in Patchogue Village.”  Well, not all of us have had the distinction for being in the news for standing up for our views, and Mr. Butler was not only in the New York Times a while back, but is back in the news today with his decision that Grucci Fireworks would not participate in the local Boat Parade as it is no longer called the “Christmas Boat Parade”, but the “Holiday Boat Parade”.   I’d like to offer my views on the topic, if I may. 

I was raised Catholic.  I went to Catholic schools, and in college, I minored in theology.  I still consider myself a spiritual person, though I have wandered a bit from the Church these days.  I believe that Christmas is a holiday that has lost its meaning…but not through people wishing each other “Happy Holidays”.  I believe that the meaning of Christmas has gotten lost under mall Santas, TV programming, and crass commercialism that inspires the thought that we must all keep up with the Joneses.  If the studies proposed by many historians are correct, Jesus was actually born closer to the springtime, but his birth was hidden due to the persecutions of the day…so instead, Christians chose to celebrate the time of his birth in keeping with Pagan solstice celebrations (which also happened to coincide with other celebrations from many other cultures, and if we are going to get really into it, well the holly and mistletoe and evergreeens we use to decorate are actually a Pagan tradition, and Santa Claus was actually a Catholic saint from Asia Minor around 400 AD.).  What I am trying to say is that there are many different religions celebrating at that time of year.  We have Ramadan, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and so many others (and there are quite a few).  Patchogue, of all areas, is a mixed salad of diverse faiths and cultures.  As we move into the holiday time of year, we should be embracing all faiths, not pushing one over another–and we should be opening our eyes and embracing the wonderful differences!  We can learn so much from each other.  Why take away a beautiful display that people of all backgrounds can enjoy WITH THEIR FAMILIES?  Just because you have a creche, he has a dreidle, and someone else lights lamps…are we all so different?  We celebrate our faiths in different ways, but it’s this time of year when we should all celebrate together.  When I decorate for the holidays in school, I have window clings for every group of students.  I have no problem if someone wishes me a “happy holiday” (or merry Christmas, or a blessed Yule, or a happy Hannukah).  When we push one faith over another, it excludes many people, including those that may be close friends or family.

Is it right to homogenize Christmas into a “one size fits all” holiday?  No, I would say not.  Christmas is a Christian holiday.  But instead of looking at a “holiday” scenario as something that is trying to take away one of the most cherished stories of that faith, wouldn’t it be nicer to think that to wish someone a “Happy Holiday” is instead an effort to make sure that you’ve acknowledged that they are celebrating a special event as well?  I’m far from a bleeding heart liberal…I believe that blue laws should be reinstated and that a family dinner is a tradition that seems to be sadly lost on our youth.  But to take away a wonderful event we can share together no matter what our upbringing and beliefs, doesn’t that go against what Christmas (and Hannukah, and Dinali, and so many others) is all about?

Al for now…I’ve decided to post often, but email weekly.  Keep checking back so you don’t miss a thing!  Have an event that should be here?  Email me at cheapdateli@gmail.com!

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