Monday, January 23, 2012

The Year of the Dragon

Hey all, Duke stopped me in the hall today and wished me a "Happy New Year!" When I questioned whether he's been that busy that he's just getting around to his well-wishes, he began to tell me all about Chinese New Year. And rather than me translate his story (and possibly screw it up), I decided to include his memo to all Haband Associates below - hope you enjoy!

Happy New Year, everybody!


Nope, that's not a mistake — and no I haven't spent the last 22 days hibernating! I say "Happy New Year" because that's just what it is — today is the first day of the Chinese New Year! It's also called the Lunar New Year since its date on the Gregorian calendar (the one most Americans traditionally use) changes each year based on the phases of the moon. The Spring Festival — which starts today in many regions of Southeast Asia — lasts for 15 days and is associated with firecrackers, paper lanterns, and the color red. Why? Well, many many years ago, according to the legend, a great beast called the Nian would wreak havoc on the rural villages, preying upon the livestock, and even people. Scary! The usual method the people employed to deal with the beast was to simply hide inside their homes, with doors and windows locked tightly to keep the creature out. One year, someone got the idea of trying to scare the Nian away using fireworks, lighting lanterns, banging drums, and lots of red decorations. Lo and behold, it worked! And it still must be working today because I've been to China during the Spring Festival myself - and while I saw lots of amazing sights and had lots of tasty food, I never saw any Nians!


So Happy New Year to you and yours, whether you're celebrating or not — Now, I'd stay away from the fireworks if I were you (someone might call the cops!!) but if you wanted to hang up some red Chinese lanterns (for good luck or to keep any local Nians away) I've found a
neat website to show you just how to make them! And if you wanted to order a red shirt or jacket or something like that in the spirit of the day, I just happen to know a nice little website where you can do just that. What? You know I have to sneak one plug in there!

'Til next time my friends!


Duke Habernickel


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy 306th, Mr. Franklin!

Today, January 17th, is the birthday of one of our country's all-time most important citizens, a person without whom our lives would be different in more ways than you or I could possibly count! I'm talking about none other than Mr. Benjamin Franklin himself, and from a purely personal viewpoint, I actually owe quite a debt to Mr. Franklin - he was instrumental in the development of both the Post Office and the publishing industry. And without both, there would never have been a Haband in the first place! 

By the way, while I was reading about Benjamin Franklin's life, I also learned a new vocabulary word: polymath. A polymath is someone who is an expert in many, many fields and the term certainly applies to Ben Franklin. Writer, statesman, inventor, scientist, humanitarian - he was all of these things and more. No wonder the U.S. Mint saw fit to place HIS likeness on our highest denomination unit of currency, the $100 bill. (Did you know he's the only non-President to  be honored in such a way?). 


However, there is one thing about which I believe Benjamin Franklin was wrong, and I wonder if you'd agree! When the matter was discussed of selecting our young country's official bird to serve as its symbol, Franklin was not in favor of the majestic bird we recognize in that way today. He pushed for a more, shall I say 'portly' choice - the Turkey! (I'm glad we went with the Bald Eagle, aren't you?)


So Happy 306th Birthday, Ben, and Gobble! Gobble! Your impact is still felt today, over three centuries later. You know, I bet he'd have been a
Haband customer, too!