By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
With the income tax deadline looming, the topic of money is mentioned frequently in most households. Questions such as how to spend a refund or pay taxes due seem to be discussed frequently. With the subject of money in mind, I began to think of just how many terms are used when discussing money. Whether derived from slang terminology or historical background, the origin of words describing money is interesting.
We know many of these slang words from watching old black-and-white movies on television. The words seem antiquated when hearing them now after watching a film made over six decades ago. For instance, the word clams, slang for dollars, was a popular term used during the 1940s and was heard a lot in the old gangster movies featuring James Cagney or Humphrey Bogart. How did this word come to mean money? The word clam may have had its origin back in ancient times in China, India and Southeast Asia when various shells were used as an exchange. Even our Native Americans used wampum, which included clamshells, in the 19th century.
Dough – This is another word I’ve heard used as often as the word clam was in the 1940s movies we’ve seen. The word, whose origin had a political background, was used back in the 1850s. It was used in a negative fashion to describe Northern Democrats who worked for the South to earn money preceding the Civil War. Northerners were called doughfaces, which described them as political puppets of the South being molded like dough to do the bidding of the southerners for financial gain. Today the word dough is understood when using it to describe money, even without any political overtones.
Buck – This is probably the most popular word used for money. Its origin was thought to have derived from when buckskins were traded back in the mid 1800s. It was also referred to when trading other animal skins such as sheep, rabbit, goat or antelope by both the frontiersmen and Native Americans.
Shekel – This is the word I remember from my Sunday school classes and listening to our minister reading Bible lessons from the pulpit. It is a real word and is still used today, as it is Israel’s currency, even though in English it has become a slang term for money or cash. Not withstanding its biblical usage, it became the official currency of Israel in 1980. Its historical beginning came from ancient Babylonia where it was a unit of weight. Back then it was a sheqel, a coin minted in silver by the ancient Hebrews.
As we see, money is a fascinating topic whether talking about how to earn it, spend it or its word origins!
March 7, 2018 | admin
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
Looking ahead to the enjoyable celebrations that will soon take place for St. Patrick’s Day, we know there will be parties, festivities and parades throughout our area with Grand Marshal honorees. One doesn’t have to be Irish to enjoy the presentations surrounding the official St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. Businesses enjoy having a theme or purpose to enhance some of their products or dining-out experiences. Think green bagels, donuts with green icing or entrée menu specials with an Irish flare.
But how much do we know about St. Patrick, the person all of this celebration is about? He was one of Ireland’s patron saints who ministered Christianity in Ireland around the second half of the 5th century. His day is a celebration of Irish culture, and his life is surrounded by so many legends, some real and others “enhanced.” What I found surprising to learn is that he was actually born in Britain and was not Irish.
Years ago, when I worked in a large office, many colleagues would come to the office on March 17th wearing something green even if they weren’t Irish. If you had a shamrock design on a tie or scarf, that was even better. Speaking of the color green conjures the thought of just how many shades of green we are familiar with, whether in describing paint colors or clothing items. How many green colors can you name before looking at this list?
Shades of Green: Emerald, jade, celery, forest, hunter, mint, moss, pistachio, Kelly, olive, fern and avocado, to name only a few!
Irish Soda Bread
What would St. Patrick’s Day be without corned beef and cabbage or a corned beef sandwich on rye? How about a dish of shepherd’s pie or hearty bowl of potato soup on the restaurant’s holiday menu? Don’t forget a warm, tasty loaf of Irish soda bread, each slice topped with a thin layer of butter to complete this delight. If you’ve never made one of these breads, you’d be surprised how easy it is to make.
Here is an easy recipe from a friend who teaches preschoolers. As the saying goes, “It’s so easy to make, a kindergartener can do it!”
- 3 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds (optional)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons shortening
Directions: Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Pour boiling water over raisins. Let stand until cool. Drain and pat dry. Add raisins and caraway seeds to dry ingredients. In another bowl mix the egg, milk and shortening. Combine all ingredients, adding more milk if needed. Form into round loaf and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done (light brown). Store in a tightly closed plastic bag to prevent hardening.
February 28, 2018 | admin
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
Think back to the early days of “moving pictures,” before sound was developed to accompany the film. If you watch documentaries about the subject, you know piano players were hired to be in theaters to play music at the appropriate times during the film. This enhanced the acting that was on screen and let the audience know when they should feel happy or nervous about what was being portrayed on film. Fast forward to the 21st century and music is still an integral part of watching a film, in a theater or at home.
We had the pleasure of attending a special event held at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The evening began with a program entitled Common Language: The Art of Composing for Film. It was an evening of film clips and conversation with creative collaborator Carter Burwell, (composer of True Grit, Where the Wild Things Are, and the extremely successful Twilight Trilogy, etc.) and filmmaker Michael Almereyda (Paradise, Hamlet, Nadja).
The evening began with a greeting by Raj Roy, Chief Curator of MOMA’s film department. The audience viewed clips of films and then Burwell discussed how he composed the music in addition to the story behind several of the scores. The tales were as stirring as his music as Burwell described the process he went through to find the right music to accompany such films as Raising Arizona and Fargo, among his vast array of commercial hits.
For True Grit, he had a year before the film was made and decided not to go with a typical western soundtrack. The plot line of the film was from a fourteen-year old girl’s point of view as she talked about avenging her father’s murder. Her narrative bore many passages that were biblical or used “church language” and so Burwell scored music that was in the same genre as church hymns.
In Twilight, the teen vampire series, a compelling love song melody was requested by the filmmakers, so Burwell used a song he wrote when he was courting a girl in his dating days. Bella’s Lullaby was thus created and Burwell was amazed about how much interest this music has been generated by bloggers. “By the way,” Burwell related, “that girl from his dating days is now his wife.”
These and other stories filled the evening with the behind-the-scenes look at the process of inserting music into films. It was a forceful insight into the world of music that stirs, compels and puts us on the edge of our seats in the darkened movie theater.
February 21, 2018 | admin
by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
Whether you have a babysitter for just the evening or for an extended period of time, there is vital information all parents should leave posted before they go out. Case in point is when we had the opportunity to mind our two grandchildren for the week when their parents took a plane trip out of town. Since we live in another state we were not familiar with the children’s daily routine, so before our visit I sent our daughter an extensive email asking for important phone numbers and schedules. It was pleasurable being with and taking care of our six- and eight-year old grandchildren for that week; however, to feel more comfortable I wanted all the necessary emergency phone numbers at my fingertips. One sheet of information was posted on their refrigerator and the other kept in our car’s glove compartment since we would be doing errands with the children and picking them up from school by car.
I wanted the telephone number for their elementary school and their teachers’ names in case I had to call the school if one of them were sick and not going to class. Since it was wintertime, I asked how we would be notified in the event of a delay or school closing. “The school will call the house with a recorded message” was the answer. More important than the school’s telephone number were the names and phone numbers of their pediatrician and dentist. What is the name/address of the nearest hospital and the name of their medical insurance company and ID number? Grandparents or caregivers in charge of young children when parents are away and can’t be reached should have a note designating them to authorize treatment. Last, but not least, I wanted the name/number of the veterinarian used for their little dog.
Making sure all bases were covered for our week babysitting, we were able to enjoy our time together and not think about what to do or who to contact in an emergency. It was certainly an eye-opener to go back in time and be part of getting two young children ready for school each morning, helping with homework, bath time, listening to them practice their reading, playing classic board games, and best of all reading some of my favorite stories to them at bedtime.
Today’s working parents certainly have a complex life and hectic daily routine – that’s for sure!
February 14, 2018 | admin
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
In every month there is a reason to celebrate or recognize a particular occasion. Among February’s holidays is the Chinese New Year, which falls on the 16th of the month this year. There are 12 animals represented in the Chinese zodiac and this year it is the Year of the Dog. The Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year because it is based on the moon, so it’s called the lunar calendar. A Chinese New Year always falls on the second day of the new moon after the winter solstice. There are 7 “lucky foods” to be eaten during the 16-day festival, with each one having a different meaning. Among the most common delectable choices are dumplings, fish, and spring rolls. For instance, eating fish means increased prosperity; dumplings and spring rolls bring wealth; tangyuan (sweet rice balls), family togetherness; good fortune fruit, fullness and wealth; niagao (glutinous rice cakes), a higher income or position; and longevity noodles bring happiness and longevity. So what’s not to like about eating delicious foods with so many unique promises?
When our children were young we taught them to try many different foods over the years. To make meals interesting when I cooked Chinese food, I served tea in the tiny handle-free cups used in Chinese restaurants. It was served in an Asian-designed teapot with a bamboo handle. My family’s favorite dish was Niu Ju Chin Jow (beef with green peppers, served with rice) an easy recipe I discovered decades ago in my international cookbook.
This recipe serves four. While cooking the beef and peppers, cook your rice so it is ready when this part is finished. I use a wok, but a large frying pan is also fine to use.
1 pound thinly sliced lean beef
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon pepper
6 medium green peppers
6 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon salt
Mix beef with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, cornstarch and pepper. Seed peppers and cut in julienne strips. Fry in 3 tablespoons of oil. Remove from pan, add remaining oil and fry beef until redness disappears. Add peppers, salt and remaining soy sauce. Note: chicken, pork or shrimp can also be used instead of beef.
In closing, here is the Cantonese greeting used on New Year’s to wish everyone “Great Happiness and Prosperity” — Gong Hey Fat Choy (pronounced Gung Hey Fah Choy).
February 7, 2018 | admin
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
There couldn’t be a more appropriate production to kick off the Westchester Broadway Theatre’s (WBT) 2018 season than the mega Broadway hit, A Chorus Line! One of the longest running musicals ever, the iconic music gets your feet tapping instantly. This WBT show opened on January 11th and will run through April 1st. As with all their shows, this one is filled with glitz, glamour and soul as well as talented performers that fit their roles perfectly.
While life on stage appears glamorous under the lights along with hearing thunderous applause, the road to this fame is an exhausting process. Based on the book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante, with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban, A Chorus Line was destined to be a hit show. The storyline is simple. It’s a celebration of those unsung heroes of the musical theatre—the chorus dancers—valiant, over-dedicated, underpaid and highly trained troopers who back up the stars and often make them look more talented.
This is the real life experience of Broadway dancers. Everything is on the line for 17 dancers as they audition for a highly sought-after place in the chorus of a Broadway musical. Through this exhausting process, their stories and vulnerabilities are laid on the line as they ultimately come together and become one singular sensation! In a brilliant fusion of song, dance, and compellingly authentic drama, the musical features one powerhouse number after another including What I Did for Love, One, and I Can Do That. Considered groundbreaking when it opened on Broadway in 1975, the musical went on to win nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Today, it remains as touching and powerful as when it debuted and is one of the longest running musicals on Broadway.
Think of Valentine’s Day or any other upcoming event that you wish to celebrate or enjoy with an evening out with friends and co-workers. A Chorus Line promises the perfect night of dance, music and extraordinary entertainment and dining as is customary at the WBT. Call (914) 592-2222 or visit www.BroadwayTheatre.com
There are discounts for groups of 20 or more, Luxury Boxes for private parties at both lunch and dinner shows and free parking. Dinner & Show range between $59.00 to $89.00 plus tax depending on the performance chosen. Beverage Service & Gratuities are not included in the ticket price. Discounts are available for children, students, and senior citizens at selected performances. Check their website for on-going Special Offers!
January 31, 2018 | admin
By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
How you handle your money, keep track of it and spend or save it influences your lifestyle. People learn by example, and handling money is no exception. An article about family finances stated that children usually grow up handling their money in a fashion similar to that of their parents. Does the child overhear family issues about “not having enough money to pay the bills” or “how should we invest the money we have saved this year?” The child who observes parents’ strong money values and is taught to spend wisely, to comparison shop, avoid heavy credit card debt, and to save for a rainy day will most likely do the same later on as an adult.
When a parent is in the middle of preparing income taxes, it can be so frustrating that there is little time to think about sharing a “learning experience” with a student. Parents wrapped up in calculations and completing the filing process forget there is a vital mathematics lesson here for their children. A student in their junior or senior year of high school is ready to learn how to prepare income taxes. If the student held a part time job, this is an easy tax form to complete. When our student was a senior she received a W-2 form from her summer employer. Her taxes were not complex, so my husband taught her how to complete her own income tax form that year. His instruction included the importance of neat and accurate writing when filling in all the information, how to find the figures she needed to insert in the boxes, and how to read the form. Her form was the 1040 easy version and a perfect start for learning what filing taxes actually meant. It was not difficult for her and she was able to compute the appropriate final figure for her refund. Naturally, Dad reviewed it to make sure everything was correct and nothing was left out. The feeling of accomplishment was something she talked about months later. Now with the ease of computer software a novice has no problems with this task. New software literally speaks to you and personally guides the user through every step, asking questions, prompting responses and providing tips along the way. This is certainly far easier than the old pencil and calculator method my husband first started with decades ago! By starting at an early age, the student will feel more comfortable tackling the process in the years to come.
January 24, 2018 | admin