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AHH 24-Hr. News

Catholic Schools Week 2015 to Feature Events Throughout Diocese
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Catholic Schools Week to feature events throughout Diocese TRENTON, NJ – Catholic schools throughout of the Diocese of Trenton – in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties – will join counterparts across the country and open their... Read More...
Monmouth University Professor Publishes Book on Economist Kenneth Boulding
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Monmouth University Professor Publishes Book on Economist Kenneth Boulding West Long Branch, N.J. -  Dr. Robert H. Scott III, associate professor of economics at Monmouth University, has authored a new book, “Kenneth Boulding: A Voice Crying... Read More...
Interim Report on Student Testing Released
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Trenton, NJ – The Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey, which is studying issues and concerns about testing in public schools, has issued its interim report, the Department of Education announced today. The... Read More...
Study Commission Accepts Public Testimony on Student Testing
Saturday, 24 January 2015
TRENTON, NJ - The Study Commission on the Use of Student Assessments in New Jersey is a nine-member body charged with presenting recommendations to Governor Chris Christie regarding the quality and effectiveness of student assessments administered... Read More...
IMAGE Community Food Pantry Fund Check-Off Available to NJ Tax Filers
Friday, 23 January 2015
Money to Help Fight Hunger in New Jersey Supports FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today reminded New Jersey taxpayers about an opportunity to assist those in... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Father Trying to Build Understanding
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 24 January 2015
You won't find too many dads that love like this. Joseph Hernandez of Auburn, Washington, knew before his son's birth that his son would have a birth... Read More...
IMAGE My Encounters with Police Officers
by George Hancock-Stefan
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
During the past few months when there has been so much discussion about police officers, I started to think a lot about how I view police officers,... Read More...
IMAGE An Untold Story - Part 1
by Daniel Murphy
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
This is a subject that I have not written or talked about before.  Some people, I am sure, will be looking at me as if I have finally lost a bit... Read More...
IMAGE Review - An American Sniper
by David Prown
Tuesday, 20 January 2015
There are movies; there are films and there are epics. Today I say an uber-epic. I have just returned from seeing "An American Sniper".  I must... Read More...
IMAGE Lesser Black-Backed Gull Goes Crabbing
by Joe Reynolds
Monday, 19 January 2015
The highlight of this winter week around New York Harbor was the sight of another starving and smart gull with food in its beak. Last week I observed... Read More...

Upcoming Events

anne_mikolay_2012_120As a child, my favorite Christmas decorations were the miniature glitter-houses my mother set up atop fake, cotton snow on the window sill. Known as a Putz village, these pasteboard structures with cellophane windows were routinely sold in dime stores and the Sears catalogs. Putz houses, sprinkled with glitter, were Bermuda-pink and Bermuda-blue, among other equally non-seasonal colors. I adored the little houses that today are collectibles fetching quite a pretty penny, depending upon condition.

Back in my day, holiday decorations were mainly plastic...plastic Santa, plastic reindeer, plastic bells with plastic ribbons. Mom's best ornaments were made of colorful glass, and she hung them on the tree with tinsel icicles. Poinsettias (yes, plastic) flanked our fireplace, and shelf elves or wax candles shaped like carolers adorned the end tables. Exterior decorations were limited to Christmas lights with big red, blue, green, and yellow bulbs now considered “retro”; seasonal lawn figures were non-existent.

Though I miss the simple decorations of my youth, I rather like contemporary holiday décor (no plastic!); lighted lawn reindeer and Christmas trees are beautiful. However, the lawn inflatables so popular nowadays are nothing more than eyesores to me. A four foot, inflated Winnie the Pooh is not cute, nor is the “puddle” of nylon left on the lawn when he deflates. This brings me to an inflatable lawn ornament I find most baffling: the flying pig.

The pink, winged, flying pig first appeared as a holiday decoration in my neighborhood about two years ago, at which time I posed the as yet unanswered question: what does a flying pig have to do with Christmas? An internet search failed to reveal anything other than sites selling the incongruent sow. The porker's holiday connection remains a mystery. Do people put the flying pig on their lawn at Christmas because they eat ham for the holidays? Do the politically correct employ the pink pig to convey the message they will cease saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” when pigs fly? Does the flying pig honor Miss Piggy, star of The Muppet Christmas Carol, or is it a character in an obscure children's book? Was there a pig beside the manger when Jesus was born? Was there an angel pig beside the manger? Is there a marketing tie-in somewhere? Is McDonalds stuffing happy meals with pink flying pigs these days? You know what they say...you can put lipstick (or, in this case, wings) on a pig and it's still a pig, so somebody tell me please...what does a flying pig have to do with Christmas?

Christmas decorations are meant to be whimsical, memorable. Granted, a flying pig is both, but I prefer the traditional...a Putz village, an elf on the shelf, even a plastic Santa and plastic reindeer. I will forego the traditional and embrace a pink pig as a symbol of the holiday season...when pigs fly.