Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Boxing Day Reflections

Boxing Day 2006: Alex occupied my kitchen table and refused to get off it after he determined that it is the warmest place in the house.

Yesterday was Boxing Day, a public holiday or bank holiday not celebrated by us in the United States (unless one wants to call carrying all of the Christmas trash and boxes out to the garbage, which might be called “un-boxing day”), but observed in the UK and Commonwealth nations. There are a variety of conjectures about the origins of Boxing Day, which you may investigate if you so desire.

From what I have read and from conversations with folk I’ve known that have lived in cultures were Box Day is observed, many events took place yesterday, from cricket and soccer matches to yachting events. Sports seems to play a large role, perhaps because one of the origins was that the day after Christmas was a holiday for the servant classes, who, know-it-alls saw are fanatic sports spectators.

As I perused blogs yesterday, I noticed other events on Boxing Day. Some folks spent the day literally recovering from Christmas celebrations and feasts. Others spent it playing with gifts, from cameras to video games, they found beneath the Christmas tree yesterday. The least fortunate bloggers returned to work: some, in retail sales, to mark down hundreds of items, while others to participate in end-of-the-year inventories and corporation reports.

My own Boxing Day activities were rather ordinary. After preparing breakfast for Alex and then for myself (why does the cat prefer to jump on my table and investigate my breakfast rather than eating his own?), I checked the Internet job listings and submitted another two resumes. (That makes fifteen outstanding). I did a bit of work for the United Church of Christ association that I moderate until January 1st. This work was rather sad, for I endorsed an email message to our congregations regarding the impending death of a fine retired pastor, whom I consider to be a good friend.

The remainder of the day I spent reflecting on Boxing Day events, past and present:

Tsunami: At 07:58:53 local time, December 26, 2004, there was an earthquake, since known as the Sumatra-Andaman quake and estimated at a magnitude of 9.1 to 9.3, with an epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. This event brought in to my vocabulary—and I suspect millions if not billions of other people’s—a word with a horrific definition: tsunami. (OK, so maybe I had heard the word before; however, I had never associated it with the atrocious destruction and loss of life that it caused).

Since the word tsunami became so well know after Boxing Day 2004, I have learned more about earthquakes and the tsunamis that they spawn than I thought possible. This awareness and knowledge provides quite a bit for me to contemplate, from the awesome power and destructiveness of nature to fragility of life to the generosity of nations and peoples in response to such a tragedy.

Unfortunately, in the fervor of witnessing such destruction on our TV screens, we may make promises that we either later regret or simply ignore. Two years after the disaster, the victims of the Sumatra-Andaman quake and tsunami are still trying to recover; however, the eyes and pocketbooks of the world have turned elsewhere.

In case you didn’t hear about it, another Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami occurred yesterday. This one was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake near Taiwan that generated a tsunami 3 feet high.

Mass Execution: On December 26th, 1862, the most human beings executed at the same time in United States history occurred in Mankato, Minnesota. The thirty-eight Native Americans hanged at the some time were Lakota Sioux captured during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, tried, and condemned to death. 303 Lakota Sioux had been sentenced to be hanged, but the President, Abe Lincoln, pardoned 265.

Another hanging: On this Boxing Day, 2006, Iraqi High Tribunal's appellate chamber on Tuesday upheld Saddam Hussein's death sentence in the Dujail massacre case. If Iraqi law id followed, the former president of Iraq will, at an unknown time during the next thirty days, will be escorted to s secret location where a noose with be placed around his neck and he will be killed.

Which reminds me: please remember my friend Prill’s request concerning Jack Edward Alderman, whose life is scheduled to end in approximately five months.

TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year”: This year TIME has named us—you and me—its current “Person of the Year,” which has teed office some high profile folks, such as millionaire and megalomaniac The Donald (Trump), who believes that TIME should designate him Man of the Year every year, for time canning—or threatening to can—two young female winners of beauty pageants he owns. Sorry, Donnie; you lose this year.

Back on Boxing Day, 1982, Time for the first time give its Man of the Year award to a non-human: the personal computer.

* * *

Yesterday I actually reflected on numerous subjects other than the ones I have written about above. However, I recognize if one of my blog posts exceeds two pages of MS Word using Times New Roman 12-point font, most people stop reading before they reach the end. I am now approaching that point, so I shall stop writing.


  1. I did not know about the execution. 'Tis sad. I might send Bossy here so she can learn where Boxing Day came from too.

    Is there anything that you don't know?


  2. Yaay for someone doing boxing day! And your round-up was awesome. Thanks!


  3. Very thought-provoking post. Lots of stuff here. :)

  4. I wonder if I am a "person of the year" too even if I don't write a blog?

  5. JD’s ROSE: Thank you. What I know? Probably less than 1/one millionth of a kilobyte. However, I do have the ability to research what I don’t know.

    NATALIA: Thank you.

    SQUIRL: Thank you.

    ABBY: I am certain you are included.

  6. Very interesting post and Alex is looking mighty fine. He's a smart one, isn't he.
    Happy New Year Nick!

  7. I was one of those recovering ones on Boxing Day, though after spending an entire night sitting in an ER can you blame me?

  8. you are the fount of knowledge.

    sad events on boxing day. my last surviving grandparent died on boxing day 2 years ago - the day of the tsunami.

    but i have always loved boxing day as a day to lay in bed and not work. And, being in Canada, I did!

  9. Another interesting post.- Thanks for sharing