The tenth month of the old Roman calendar was mensis ("month") December, from the Latin decem ("ten") plus ber ("th"). December has been our 12th month for two centuries, although its name is "10th month." As noted and fully explained earlier, all of our ber months have incorrect numerical names--a fact unlikely to change after 2000 years.
The famous festival the ancient Romans celebrated in late December, the Saturnalia, honored their ancient Titan god Saturn (Latin, Saturnus), the god of both generation and dissolution, agriculture, periodic renewal, wealth, liberation, and time. The familiar figures of Father Time and the Grim Reaper both evolved from images of Saturn, usually depicted in art as an elderly man holding a scythe or sickle, as in the 2nd-century AD Roman bas-relief shown here (Wikipedia). Activities such as gift-giving, feasting, and week-long revelry during Saturnalia (December 17 - 23) are thought by many historians to have directly influenced the creation of Christmas customs associated with the birth of Jesus Christ.
ARTICLES ON THIS PAGE:
(Today through December 10th)
1. NEW Announcements.
2. NEW article: Loose Barge Destroys Part of Buckroe Beach Pier.
3. UPDATED humorarticle:Christmas Dinner with Lovable Louise.
4. Photo ID Contest: Ten First Decade Faculty Members.DEADLINE: December 9th.
5. Dr. Lois Wright Cup Presented to the Class of 2018.
6. English Is a Crazy Language, by Richard Lederer.
7. NEW cartoons: SEASONAL STRESS.
The pursuit of excellence is a continuous process through life. Enjoy the pursuit.
Elaine L. Chao
President and CEO, United Way of America
What has a neck and no head, two arms but no hands?
Answer shown at the bottom of this page
1. 50th REUNION, CLASS OF 1970:MAY 8, 2020. Both sophomores and juniors in 1969-70 will be invited.Save the date and bring a guest! CNU will honor you like royalty! Excellent dinner atno charge!
2. MILITARY VETERANS LISTS POSTED: Check website tab 1st Dec. Veterans. VETERANS: Check your name and details. If any changes or additions are needed ( FULL NAME, OVERSEAS DUTY, RANK at end of service) contact us. If you are not listed, contact us!
3. CNC FRENCH INSTRUCTOR DONALD GILMAN FOUND US: He would enjoy hearing from former students and colleagues. His CONTACT INFO will be emailed to faculty and First Decaders after Thanksgiving.
4. FACULTY PHOTO ID CONTEST: DEADLINE for entries is DECEMBER 9. Follow directions in the article posted here.
CONTACT US at:
firstname.lastname@example.org (Jane) or cnc6171@cox (Dave)
Loose Barge Destroys
Part of Buckroe Beach Pier
by A. Jane Chambers
Very early on Sunday morning November 17, 2019, during gale force winds, a barge moored in the Chesapeake Bay pulled loose and crashed into the Buckroe Beach Pier, collapsing sections of the pier near the shore. The 80-foot-long barge, carrying a large construction excavator, also seriously damaged the attached building that houses restrooms, a snack bar, and a bait shop. The photo above, looking south, is from the Southside Daily of Nov. 18, 2019.
This second picture, taken by freelancer Mike Caudill, appeared in the Daily Press article "Buckroe Fishing Pier Collapse" published Nov. 18, 2019. The barge, owned by Coastal Design & Construction, located in Gloucester, VA, had a $2.3 million contract with Hampton Public Works to dredge and make other improvements to Salt Pond Inlet (Matt Jones, "With help of tugboats," Daily Press, Nov. 19, 2019.) That is probably why it had been moored in the Bay.
The above photo, also taken on November 17, is from the Hampton, VA Government's Facebook page. Here we get a close view of the other side of the pier, showing part of the back of the barge, with pieces of the pier being pulled away by it. The building is also being damaged, which is made clearer in later photographs. Fortunately, no one was hurt in this accident; the few people on the pier were evacuated before the barge got there.
Photo 4 (above), taken by Rob Ostermaier of the Daily Press, is also from the DP article "Buckroe Fishing Pier Collapse." A tugboat based in Gloucester, The Capt. Dale, showed up at the beach around noon to move the barge but had problems, including getting stuck on a sandbar. Three men in a jon boat were sent instead to the barge, to connect a tow line from the barge to the tug. As the above photo shows, that was no easy task. Wind, water and tide combined to cause a change in plans.
The decision was made to wait until the next day (Monday) to connect the runaway barge to The Capt. Dale. Two large excavators (photo below) were moved to the beach to serve as temporary anchors for the barge, and after much difficulty, the tow line was connected to them. (Matt Jones, "With help")
At this point in the day, the beach was filled with Hampton police and fire department personnel, who not only had major chores to deal with but additional problems with a growing audience on foot and in vehicles. And news people and photographers were showing up from all over. The above photo, for example, was taken by someone from WFMY News, based in Greensboro, N.C.
Monday morning, November 18, the weather was still blustery, as shown in the picture above. Though tethered to the excavators on shore, the wayward barge was still being knocked about by high surf. The full title of the November 19, 2019 Daily Press article by Matt Jones (cited in this article as "With help of tugboats,") summarizes that day's hard task-- "With help of tugboats, rope, a pickup truck and a fishing pole, the barge that wrecked Buckroe pier finally freed"--around 2:50 p.m. The hardest part had been connecting the barge to The Capt. Dale.
This last photo, from the Buckroe Fishing Pier Facebook page, shows the severe damage to the pier and the building, both of which lost (among other things) concrete pilings. Built in 2009, to replace the pier destroyed in 2003 by Hurricane Isabel, this pier is still relatively new and the cost of repairing it could be quite high. The time needed to complete that work could be many months. The money lost while the pier is closed could be a very large amount.
Will Coastal Design & Construction, the company that owns the barge, have to pay for some or all of the repair? The weather played a major role in this accident, but maybe so did the company. I expect lawyers and judges will eventually play roles in this drama. There will be many questions to ask. For example--Was the barge adequately moored ? Notice that the two tall metal poles attached to the barge are in the up position--not lowered. If they had been lowered, they might have helped anchor the barge when it was moored. These are stabilizing poles.
NOTE: This excerpt is from comedian Jeff Foxworthy's 1996 autobiography No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem, of which he said that no more than 50% of the material is lies. A brief biography of Foxworthy is at the end of this story.
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As a joke, my brother used to hang a pair of panty hose over his fireplace before Christmas. He said all he wanted was for Santa to fill them. What they say about Santa checking the list twice must be true because every Christmas morning, although Jake's kids' stockings overflowed, his poor pantyhose hung sadly empty.
One year I decided to make his dream come true. I put on sunglasses and a fake beard and went in search of an inflatable love doll. They don't sell those things at Wal-Mart. I had to go to an adult bookstore downtown. If you've never been in an X-rated store, don't go. You'll only confuse yourself. I spent an hour saying things like, "What does this do?" "You're kidding me!" "Who would buy that?" Finally, I made it to the inflatable doll section. I wanted to buy a standard, uncomplicated doll that could also substitute as a passenger in my truck so I could use the car pool lane during rush hour.
Finding what I wanted was difficult. Love dolls come in many different models. The top of the line, according to the side of the box, could do things I'd only seen in a book on animal husbandry. I settled for "Lovable Louise." She was at the bottom of the price scale. To call Louise a "doll" took a huge leap of imagination.
On Christmas Eve, with the help of an old bicycle pump, Louise came to life. My sister-in-law was in on the plan and let me in during the wee morning hours. Long after Santa had come and gone, I filled the dangling pantyhose with Louise's pliant legs and bottom. Then I went home and giggled for a couple of hours.
The next morning Jake called to say that Santa had been to his house and left a present that had made him VERY happy but had left the dog confused. She would bark, start to walk away, then come back and bark some more. We all agreed that Louise should remain in her panty hose so the rest of the family could admire her when they came over for the traditional Christmas dinner.
My grandmother noticed Louise the moment she walked in the door. "What the hell is that?" she asked. Jake quickly said, "It's a doll." "Who would play with something like that?" Granny snapped. I had several candidates in mind, but kept my mouth shut. "Where are her clothes?" Granny continued. "Boy, that turkey sure smells nice, Gran," Jake said, trying to steer her into the dining room. But Granny was relentless. "Why doesn't she have any teeth?" Again, I could have answered, but why would I? It was Christmas and no one wanted to ride in the back of the ambulance saying, "Hang on Granny! Hang on!"
My grandfather, a delightful old man with poor eyesight, sidled up to me and said, "Hey, who's the naked gal by the fireplace?" I told him she was Jake's friend. A few minutes later I noticed Grandpa by the mantel, talking to Louise. Not just talking, but actually flirting. It was then that we realized this might be Grandpa's last Christmas at home.
The dinner went well. We made the usual small talk about who had died, who was dying, and who should be killed. Then suddenly Louise made a noise that sounded a lot like my father in the bathroom in the morning. Then she lurched from the panty hose, flew around the room twice, and fell in a heap in front of the sofa. The dog howled. I snorted cranberry sauce through my nose, and Grandpa ran across the room, fell to his knees, and began administering mouth to mouth resuscitation. My brother fell back over his chair and wet his pants, and Granny threw down her napkin, and stomped out of the room.
It was indeed a Christmas to treasure and remember. Later in my brother's garage, we conducted a thorough examination to decide the cause of Louise's collapse. We discovered that Louise had suffered from a hot ember to the back of her right thigh. Fortunately, thanks to a wonder drug called duct tape, we restored her to perfect health, and she went on to star in several bachelor party movies.
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JEFFREY MARSHALL FOXWORTHY (b. 1958 in Atlanta, GA) is a comedian, actor, radio and TV personality (host of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?") and author of six comedy albums and a number of books based on his "You might be a redneck" one-liners. Jeff is also a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour that includes Larry the Cable Guy. Jeff and his wife Pamela Gregg, who have been married over 30 years, live on a farm in Georgia and have two grown daughters (source: Wikipedia).
We welcome your FEEDBACK. Send to
Published first on December 14, 2014.
Republished December 23, 2016.
Updated version published November 29, 2019,
with identity and photos of author, Jeff Foxworthy,
FIRST DECADE HISTORY
Photo ID Contest:
Ten First Decade Faculty Members
by A. Jane Chambers
The ten people in the above photograph were members of two academic departments at CNC in the mid-to-latter part of the first decade. How many of them can you identify by both NAME and DEPARTMENT at CNC? Even if you cannot identify all of them, consider entering this Photo ID Contest, which is only for CNC students of the First Decade (the First Decaders). CNC/CNU faculty, staff, and administrators, and other readers of this website may not enter this contest.
HOW TO ENTER
Email me at email@example.com with your list (by the 2 rows) of those professors whom you can identify. Give for each person the NAME, DEPARTMENT, and LOCATION in the photograph--for example: "Row 1, left-right: 1. Mr. W (A dept), 2. Ms. X (B dept.), 3. ? , 4. Ms. Z (A dept.) & 5. ? (B dept )."Also give your name, phone number and mailing address. DEADLINE for entering the contest is December 9 at 5:00 p.m.
HOW TO WIN
The contestant who correctly identifies the MOST professors and their departments will win the contest and a PRIZE, which will be mailed to the winner's home. The name and (if possible) a photo of the winner will be posted on this website on December 13. If there is a tie, both contestants will receive a prize and also be named and (if possible) pictured on this website. If three or more contestants are tied, the PRIZE will go to the 2 contestants whose emails were dated the earliest; therefore, enter soon.
Please observe the Honor System: If you know the location of this photo, and therefore can easily locate the faculty names and departments, do not enter this contest, and do not enable another contestant to cheat.
Thank you! And Good Luck!
P.S.: We might have more contests (also with prizes) if the response to this one reflects enough interest among our readers.
On Saturday afternoon, October 26, 2019, a new Christopher Newport tradition began on the 50-yard line during halftime at the Homecoming football game, with the first annual presentation of the Dr. Lois Wright Cup. The silver cup's name honors Dr. Lois Wright, CNC's first and only student to receive the A.A. degree in the first academic year of our then-new college (1961-62).
In the above University photo, Dr. Wright, wearing a CNU blue coat, and President Paul Trible applaud Cedra Brown, President of the 2018 Class Council, after jointly handing her the Dr. Lois Wright Cup, presented each year to "the young alumni class with the highest annual giving percentage." Applauding also on the left is Baxter Vendrick, Director of the Alumni Relations Office, keeper of the Cup until the ceremony. An announcer described to the crowd what was happening.
The class of 2018 was the first to win the award because 37 % of its members donated funds to their alma mater in academic year 2018-19.The award is not for the amount of money the winning class gives, but the percentage of class members who participated in that gift.
The above picture of Lois Wright and Baxter Vendrick holding the Wright Cup was taken shortly before the ceremony on the field by Lois's friend Elizabeth Benson-Colligan, mother of a CNU graduate, who rode down from Williamsburg with Lois for this event. Our thanks to Elizabeth for this picture and the next two photos in this article.
Before going to the stadium, Lois and Elizabeth went into Klich Alumni House to connect with Baxter and Katie Monteith, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations. There Lois also saw the Lois Wright Cup for the first time and relaxed awhile in the McKnight Conservatory (photo above), the lovely glassed room opening to the recently constructed Terri M. McKnight Veranda.
At the alumni house, Lois and her friend also met with Christopher Newport alumnus Gregory P. Klich ('84), after whom the alumni house is named. Katie Monteith then drove Lois, Elizabeth, and Greg to the stadium in one of CNU's golf cart shuttles, while Baxter, cradling the Cup, was driven in another. The group met President Trible on the sidelines shortly afterwards.
The Dr. Lois Wright Cup will remain on display in Klich Alumni House permanently. "Class of 2018" will be engraved on the smaller rectangle on the base. Lois's 1962 diploma is also on permanent display in the house.
Editor's Note: The following, often printed erroneously as anonymous, is an excerpt from Crazy English (1989), one of over 40 books written byRichard Lederer, PhD (born 1938), an American author, speaker, and retired English teacher best known for his books about the English language and word play such as puns, oxymorons, and anagrams (Wikipedia).
Let's face it--English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Richard Lederer at the 2006 Mensa World Convention, where he was a speaker. Photo from Wikipedia.
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.
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