Archive for July, 2012

Happy Ramadan!

July 21st, 2012 No comments

Today is the start of the Islamic holy season known as Ramadan.  It occurs during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which follows a lunar cycle.  It is believed that during this period the prophet Muhammad received his first revelation.

Muslims who participate in this holy time abstain from ingesting anything into the body for one month from sunrise to sunset.  This includes food, drink, smoke and sexual relations.  It is a time of deep reflection and spiritual self-purification through prayer and meditation.  Additionally, one is required to refrain from evil thoughts toward others, such as thoughts of harm, lust or jealousy.  Through these ritual practices Muslims seek to gain an appreciation for the material gifts from God, regain self-control from bad habits, and deepen empathy for the hungry and deprived of the world.

Despite this seemingly disciplined and stringent ritual, Ramadan is also filled with much joy.  The nights are a time for the community to come together to share in food, prayer and one another’s company.   The end of Ramadan, or the breaking of the fast, is a celebration of grand proportions.

To all my Muslim friends I extend a Happy Ramadan!

M. xo

Categories: Religion Tags: , ,

What’s in a Name?

July 5th, 2012 No comments

It’s a common question posed to me – “What’s the significance of the name Black Chicken?”  Often, this question is accompanied by chuckles and a perplexed expression.  I typically do not offer any explanation aside from the name being an inside joke, which is in part, true.  So, today I thought I’d let the cat out of the bag the bird out of the cage.

The term Black Chicken was coined many years ago when I was hanging out with friends.  I had developed a bad case of hiccups — you know the kind that just won’t stop no matter what you do.  One of my friends told me that he could get rid of my hiccups — guaranteed — then promptly shouted, “White Horses!”  To my surprise, my hiccups disappeared.  My hiccup-curing friend told me that it had never failed for him.  And you know what – I’ve done this many times since, and it works.

After mulling it over, I realized that it was the very absurdity of his actions that probably caused a physiological response similar to that of which one experiences when surprised.  I began to think of whether I could use this element of surprise in other ways.  One evening while I was out with friends playing a game of pool, I thought I’d test the theory.  As one of my opponents steady to shoot, I calmly walked by and said, “Black Chicken” (Black because it was my favourite colour, and Chicken because I was egging my opponent on).  He missed his shot and asked me what the heck my muttering was all about.  I shrugged and told him it was the power of the Black Chicken.  Eventually, the practice of muttering “Black Chicken” while one’s opponent was concentrating on their next move, became an inside jinxing joke among my circle of friends.

Years later, when I was looking for a Web domain name I found that Black Chicken was available.  Since, the moniker had a personal connection for me, I chose the domain name.  I began using the domain in my emails and for various online projects, and came to discover that people remembered the name simply because it was so odd.

Around this time, I also discovered that black chickens were actually real and not just a figment of my imagination!  I learned some curiously interesting facts and myths about black chickens.  I discovered that black chickens were fundamental parts of folklore from Italy, Bulgaria, China and various parts of the southern United States.  In present day, black chickens are considered a delicacy in parts of Asia for their black meat, bones and feathers.  Additionally, a breed of black chickens called Silkies are considered some of the most docile of poultry.

When I started this blog, I decided to keep the Black Chicken name because all that I had learned seemed to fit quite well with my on-line presence.  Black Chickens are:  gentle, unusual, valuable, abhorrent, and memorable.  That’s how I see my blogging.  I will always try and be gentle about the unusual topics I choose to write about, and at times you may value my opinion or you may abhor it.  Above all, I will strive to leave a memorable impression on those who flutter into my coop.

That’s it in an nutshell eggshell.  I wish I could confess of more profound origins, like it being my spirit animal (which actually would be quite befitting), but I can’t.  It’s really that simple.

M. xo

Categories: Personal Tags: