Man, 2017 was a ball-buster year of insane politics, crazy new trends and the loss of too many musical icons that I grew up listening to that have shaped my personal database of experiences. I suspect as I get older, 2018 will also usher in the passings of many additional great legends I grew up with.  I guess the moral to the story is to enjoy everyday like it is your last!

Thanks for the Memories!

Adam West
Al Jarreau
Ann Wedgeworth (Three’s Company)
Bill Baxton
Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)
Chris Cornell (I am still sad…)
Chuck Barris
Chuck Berry
Dick Enberg (Legendary Sportscaster)
Don Rickles
Fats Domino
Frank Vincent (Actor, Sopranos)
Glen Campbell
Greg Allman
Hugh Heffner(creepy icon)
Jerry Lewis
John Heard
John Warren Geils (J.Geils Band)
Malcolm Young (AC/DC)
Mary Tyler Moore
Miquel Ferrer (most recently, NCIS star)
Roger Moore
Sam Shepard
Tilikum the Orca
Tom Petty (I am still sad…)
Walter Beck (Steely Dan co-founder)

I always enjoy the fireworks but from a photographers standpoint, our Las Vegas Strip fireworks are not really that impressive. The reason is that they launch the fireworks from the rooftops which sort of limits how high they can shoot them which then effects what sort of display they can render. Also, but, launching the roofs of the hotels instead of the ground, the smoke from the pyrotechnics hovers right in the area of the display. All that being said, you will still find me every year at T1 Long Term parking. Easy access, and home by 12:30am.

Thinking about the years past, I did wonder how many of the new year traditions began.

Over the centuries, the calendar that hangs on your wall, fell out of sync with the sun, and in 46 B.C. the emperor Julius Caesar decided to solve the problem by consulting with the most prominent astronomers and mathematicians of his time. He introduced the Julian calendar, which closely resembles the more modern Gregorian calendar that most countries around the world use today.

As part of his reform, Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. Romans celebrated by offering sacrifices to Janus, exchanging gifts with one another, decorating their homes with laurel branches and attending raucous parties. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significance, such as December 25 (the anniversary of Jesus’ birth) and March 25 (the Feast of the Annunciation); Pope Gregory XIII reestablished January 1 as New Year’s Day in 1582.

Truth be told, Amazon and Wal-Mart and other retailers realized that even back then, we need a fixed date on the calendar to maximize our marketing efforts for retail sales. Thus, understandingly so, the Jewish and Muslim faith sort of get slighted because their holiday dates changes yearly. (Hanukkah and Ramadan).

January 1st represents the fresh start of a new year after a period of remembrance of the passing year, including on radio, television, and in newspapers, which starts in early December in countries around the world. Publications have year-end articles that review the changes during the previous year. In some cases publications may set their entire year work alight in hope that the smoke emitted from the flame brings new life to the company. There are also articles on planned or expected changes in the coming year.

This day is traditionally a religious feast, but since the 1900s has also become an occasion to celebrate the night of December 31, called New Year’s Eve. There are fireworks at midnight at the moment the new year arrives (a major one is in Sydney, Australia).

  • BALL DROPPING
    The New Year’s Eve Ball first dropped in 1907. While the tradition of a Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration dates back to 1904, the ball was not dropped at this event until 1907, according to Times Square’s website. The first Ball weighed 700 pounds and had a diameter of 5 feet. It was constructed out of wood and iron, and had one hundred light bulbs on it.
  • TRADITIONS
    New Year’s Eve traditions vary around the world. Just like with any other holiday celebrated around the world, New Year’s Eve has different customs associated with it in different countries, according to History.com. In Spain and a number of Spanish-speaking countries, people eat twelve grapes right before midnight to signify their hopes for each month of the new year.
  • TIME TO SMOOCH
    Puckering up at the stroke of midnight is a venerable tradition with ancient roots. Many cultures considered the transition from the warm to the cold seasons to be an intensely vulnerable time, when evil spirits could run amok, the tradition states. Many of our traditions, including kissing, originally come from the English tradition of “saining,” or offering blessing or protection, during the period of Yuletide. (Yuletide was originally a pre-Christian Germanic festival that eventually became synonymous with Christmastide in Europe.) Kissing, in this context, was thought to bring good luck as people entered the vulnerable, transitional period of the new year. I LIKE IT!
  • AULD LANG SYNE
    Another classic tradition is to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” a Scottish poem that was recorded on paper officially in 1788 by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, according to Scotland.org. The melody itself, however, is a much older folk song that was known in Scotland, and the Scottish Museum set Burns’ words to the tune when he sent it in, according to the English Folk Dance and Song Society. “There is an old song and tune which has often thrilled through my soul,” Burns said in reference to the popular melody in his 1788 letter, according to the Burns encyclopedia.Burns admitted to drawing inspiration for “Auld Lang Syne” from an old man he heard singing the song, and other variants of the song had appeared earlier in the 1700s.
  • FIREWORKS
    Do people ever need an excuse to make things go boom? From China to Australia, people ring in the new year with noisemakers, sparklers and fireworks. But how did the tradition of ringing in the new year with a flash of light and a bang start?It all comes back to the danger lurking in this transitional period. In cultures around the world, people bang drums, light firecrackers and even beat the corners of their room to spook the spooky creatures lurking in the night. “Anything to chase away the evil spirits,” is how many cultures regards fireworks.Fireworks, for instance, were invented in the seventh century A.D. in China, and one of the express purposes of fireworks was to ward off evil spirits. From the beginning, the Chinese New Year was a reliable time to see the sparkling displays. Yet the tradition of setting off fireworks in the Western world seems to have evolved independently, even in Las Vegas.

The New Year arrives with hopes and it gives us new courage and belief for a very new start. Wishing you a very Happy New Year TWENTY EIGHTEEN!