Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one

I had a mostly wonderful time in the city tonight. The 4 p.m. service at St. Thomas Episcopal was too long and drawn out, particularly with the (male) choir apparently lacking most of its adults. While they were good from a technical standpoint, one can generally take only so much of prepubescent singing, and it's compounded when the hymns are boring. I also would have sped up the traditional hymns by 10% or even 25%. I would respectfully suggest to the music director that we imitate Luciano Pavarotti, whose famous recording of "Adeste Fideles" was done triumphantly.

Had my two good friends not gone, I wouldn't have either. I'd have preferred going to the Christmas Eve service at other friends' home church, the Real Life Church of the Nazarene in Danbury, Connecticut. Still, it was good to meet up with my two friends. We went out after dinner to Rue 57, basically an overpriced French-style bistro that, for that very reason, is a fashionable choice for dining. I think I'd have been just as happy with a burger and Heinekens at TGI Friday's as with steak and Chambord/champagne cocktails.

On our way back to Grand Central, my friends and I stopped by Rockefeller Center, where we braved the unbelievably immense crowds so that I could take a few more pictures of its 2006 Christmas tree. The first is from a few weeks ago, and the second is from tonight.





You can see my pictures of last year's tree here and here.

Last year's tree was beautiful, but I think this year's was even better. If you compare the pictures, you'll see that this year's is fatter and a truly magnificent specimen. The camera perspective doesn't make a difference: I took the pictures from virtually the same spots at the skating rink's east railing, in all cases trying to photograph the tree head-on from the east, centering it against the GE Building behind it. Cropping makes this year's tree look larger because it's a bigger part of the picture, but judge the tree's size in relation to the GE Building, or Prometheus below.

However, I much prefer last year's pictures. This year the crowds made it impossible to get a clean shot, and I just couldn't get a picture that had both sharpness and vivid colors.

Merry Christmas, and God bless us, every one. Especially Jay. Maybe he was an angel sent to test men, or maybe he was just a man down on his luck. He didn't ask for anything and in fact seemed oblivious to our passing by, but I atypically decided to help him directly. Usually I give to the Salvation Army and other charities, which can ensure the money goes for food and shelter, but tonight I felt different. Maybe it was the sight of someone who'd still be on the street come Christmas morning, while I headed to a warm home after a full meal.

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