Posts Tagged ‘Sydney Opera House’

worldtour01a

The 9:30 Nightclub

As this year is coming to an end, I have been looking over the statistics that my online hosting service, WordPress, provides regarding readership of this blog.  And this year was the biggest year, with the most number of views ever.  Now, I don’t ride to the places where I do, or take the photos and write the postings that you see in this blog in order to amass statistics.  I do it because I enjoy riding a bike.  And learning about the places to which I ride in order to write about them enhances my enjoyment.  But I must confess, it’s also been interesting for me to learn about how many people view what I’m posting, as well as the other information which WordPress provides, such as the countries where the readers are located.

So that I could put the numbers in perspective in my head, and because I daydream a lot, I imagined myself as a rock star.  And I thought about the people who viewed the blog as members of the audience for my imaginary band’s concerts.  The statistics indicate that we would sell out the Verizon Center here in D.C.  But that would only represent a fraction of the blog views.  The band could then sell out other popular venues here in the city, including the concert hall at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, D.A.R. Constitution Hall, The Howard Theater, the U Street Music Hall, The Black Cat club, and the 9:30 Nightclub.

But even the combined audiences for all of those performances would not equal the total number of blog views.  Which means my band and I could take the show on the road for a U.S. tour.  And since this is just my imagination, a warm-up show preceding the actual tour would first take place at the legendary but now closed CBGB’s in New York City’s East Village.  From there the band would head across town the next night for the official kick-off of the U.S. tour with a standing room only performance at Carnegie Hall.  Then we’d play one more New York City gig, at the Apollo Theater, before we hit the road again.  From there, the band would then play to sell-out shows at The House of Blues in New Orleans, The Troubadour in Los Angeles, The Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, and The Fillmore West in San Francisco.

But even with the combined attendance at all of the sold-out shows here in D.C. and throughout the U.S., the band would then have to go on a brief world tour to increase the total attendance to the point where it would equal the number of views for this blog.  So in my mind the world tour would begin where the Beatles began, at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.  There would then be another show in England, at The 100 Club in London, before moving on to Paris and playing at the reopened Le Bataclan.  We would then play Club Ta in Hongdae in Seoul, South Korea, the Ruby Room in Tokyo, and the Ding Dong Lounge in Aukland, New Zealand.   Then we would wrap up the final leg of our world tour with a sold out show in the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

By the end of the tour we would have played in only a half dozen countries altogether.  But based on the location of the readers of this blog, as identified by WordPress, the audience would have been comprised of people from 125 different countries throughout the world.  And I must say, it’s difficult to believe but at the same time amazing to me that people in 125 different countries have read my blog.  There are currently 195 countries in the world.  So my goal for the coming year is to gain at least one reader in each of the remaining countries.  Maybe then my imaginary band and I will go back on tour.  And until then, I’ll just keep riding my bike and exploring our nation’s capital one ride at a time.

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The National Menorah

The National Menorah

The National Menorah, which is considered the world’s largest, is located on The Ellipse in President’s Park (MAP), near The National Christmas Tree just south of the White House. Because tonight is the 35th-annual White House lighting ceremony of the National Menorah, I decided to make it the destination for this lunchtime bike ride.

The lighting of the Menorah marks the first of the eight nights of Chanukah. Perhaps the most prominent public Chanukah program in the world, the National Menorah lighting ceremony is attended by thousands of people every year. It is also seen via television newscasts, live internet feeds and through other media by tens of millions of people across the nation and around the world. And since many of them are not near any Jewish community, it makes it possible for them to properly celebrate and enjoy Chanukah in a way that they might not otherwise be able to do.

The first public menorah on record in the United States was lit in 1974 at Independence Mall in Philadelphia as part of a campaign initiated by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson to raise awareness of the holiday and support for holding public menorah lightings. Five years later, a public Menorah appeared for the first time in D.C., helping it to become a premier national and even international symbol of the festival of Chanukah. It was attended in 1979 during the midst of the Iran hostage crisis by President Jimmy Carter, who shared greetings with the assembled crowd and then lit the shamash, which is the helper candle from which the others are kindled. Every president since has recognized Chanukah with a special menorah-lighting. And in 1982, the menorah lit in Lafayette Park was referred to by President Ronald Reagan as the “National Menorah,” and the moniker stuck.

Over time, the unifying initiative of public menorah lightings has become such a sensation that it has inspired many communities across the globe to sponsor more and greater public menorah lighting ceremonies of their own. Today, there are lighting ceremonies at such locations such as the Sydney Opera House, Moscow’s Red Square, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Hong Kong Harbor, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and, obviously, the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

It has become a tradition for Cabinet-level Federal officials to assist in the lighting of the National Menorah. This year, however, Vice President Joe Biden will assist in the lighting. The ceremony will take place at 4 p.m., but attendees are encouraged to arrive as early as possible due to security measures.

If you can’t be there in person, you can not only watch it live, but you can participate in the annual celebration of Chanukah online through “Virtual Chanukah.” Through innovative concepts like Olive Drops, CyberDreidle, e-mitzvot, etc., Jews anywhere can illuminate their homes and lives with the special glow and meaning of the Chanukah lights, celebrating the victory of right over might, good over evil, and light over darkness.

Chag Sameach.