Author Archives: Van Christo

Author of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” also wrote a history of Scanderbeg

In 1850, Clement C. Moore, who wrote the much-beloved Yuletide classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas…” also wrote a history about Albania’s great, 15th century folkhero titled George Castriot, Surnamed Scanderbeg, King of Albania.

Here is a picture of the title page:

Scan of the title page of George Castriot, Surnamed Scanderbeg, King of Albania by Clement C. Moore.

Scan of the title page of George Castriot, Surnamed Scanderbeg, King of Albania by Clement C. Moore. (Image Courtesy Google Books)



One Hundred Albanians: One Heart–Saturday Night!!

Please see attached the latest MAASBESA Newsletter on Saturday’s One Hundred Albanians One Heart Event, and please make your reservation if you plan to come at

So far we have 76 adults and 24 kids reserved online for the event, and 21 families have pledged to donate $10 per month beginning in 2013. We are quite sure this will go much higher in the coming weeks.

Since there will be a fair number of kids at the party (including myself, of course), we are also expecting a visit from Santa Claus at around 8:00PM — we really need someone to be Santa Claus every year for Albanian community events, and Saturday night is a good time to start.

Finally, due to unforeseen changes, we decided to include the drinks for adults and soft drinks for kids, add bread butter and salad as well as provide a holiday cake from the Plluska Family of Brian’s Fine Desserts in Braintree.

We will have 3 bottles of wine per table for adults (no bartender) and 2 ½ liter coke and sprite per kid’s table, and entree choices will be chicken or fish only.

Final price will be $30/adult and $15/kid (including salad, drinks, desert) so it should actually cost less for adults than the original price of $25 without drinks or dessert

We apologize for any confusion or misunderstanding, but there were some changes this week from the restaurant that we could only address by making a package deal including the drinks.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday night

A Christmas Poem by Rozi Theohari


As 2005 comes to an end
Saturday, 24 December, 12:00 Noon
In broad daylight
Two jet planes in the Atlantic sky
Laying down the white puffy contrails
One, straight North-South
The other — East to West
Through Boston Bay and beyond its shores
Create a big bright, silver, vaporized cross
Fixed in the middle by a dazzling Apollo-Sungod!
The presence of the eye of the Universe…
“O come, O come Emmanuel !”
A melody echoing of angels songs
Surrounding Boston from
Horizon to horizon.
Higher and higher the trail’s prophecy cross
Stretches its wings
From Massachusetts — the free Commonwealth–
To the World.
A messenger of grace for the planet:
Truth, Hope, and heavenly Peace on Earth.

A Worthy Request

Here’s a very interesting and worthy request that I received from my friend, Lou Foundos, about preserving photographs by an early Albanian photographer in Korce, Kristaq Sotiri,  that certainly should be supported!

It seems that there was a photographer that worked throughout the Korce region dating back to the early part of the 1900’s. The original negatives are fading and someone has taken the task of digitizing them to save them for history. This project will take about 5000 Euro’s. Al and I think it is worth while in supporting it and I am trying to find some other’s who are willing to donate $500- $1000 toward this project. I have commitments for $3500 and we need about $3000 more. Can you participate and know of some others that may have an interest?

This is the email from the fellow who is spearheading the project.

Dear Lou,

The photographer we are speaking of is: Kristaq Sotiri. He his author of similar works such as: (Tefta Tashko Koco) or but of course a large number of the pictures are expected to represent daily life, happiness or sorrow in the peoples of Korca’s sorroundings (

After the digitalization of photo-Marubi, this should be the largest project of photo digitalization in Albania

There is an immediate need to preserve them. Beside the economical aspects of the heirs of the archive, there are also other incentives like tourists or specific people buying the photo-negatives (on glass) as reliques or for other purposes. The digitization will at least create a full snapshot of this archive as it is today, because small part of it have been lost already.
The digitalization will be carried away by “Qendra Kombëtare e Inventarizimit të Pasurive Kulturore”, a Governmental Institution concerned with cultural heritage. The problem is that they did not have the funds (and their proposal to the Ministry of Culture was rejected). Basically all the money I asked Rich to help me raise, will go to this process. Beside that, I will add personally another 1000€ to present the effort of the donors in a exposition which is necessary in this case.
Rich has also mentioned the idea of a printed album (and we have an agreement for this as well) with the best pictures (should be free to distribute thought), but I have not included it in the price list before and honestly I am not so much concerned about that right now.
We have an agreement with the heirs of the archive, but in Albania there is a dynamicity in these things. Normally if someone has an agreement he should act quick or the other party might change the mind (“per sa kohe hekuri eshte i nxehte”). In fact I was hoping that the process of raising this fund would have been instant considering the value of the project and the required budget. Apparently I was too enthusiast and got carried away.
Let me know your thoughts and some other people we may approach.

The Role of Print in Cross-Media Campaigns

After my older son, Jeff, who is Executive VP at ARTCO, had  donated the printing of the complete stationary program for Frosina (a new, non-profit Albanian cultural and immigration resource), from time to time  I publish ARTCO’s e-grams offering helpful  business marketing tips.  Here’s the latest one:

Author: ARTCO

Print is the foundation of an increasingly complex cross media environment. Consumers are enjoying more connectivity and control than ever before. This requires a fresh look at your creative approach, value proposition, media mix and budget— not only the cost of individual elements of a campaign, but also any required investment in technology and training. A clear strategy is essential for success, building on the fundamentals of marketing: understanding your customers and meeting their wants, needs and desires.

Identify the purpose of each tactic. The idea isn’t to throw every cool new technology into the mix; it’s to combine the components in such a way that the result is a successful campaign based on reach, frequency and response rate. Establish contact by mailing a customized postcard, letter or self-mailer that drives the reader to a personalized URL. Offer the option of connecting to the site by either entering a Web address or scanning a QR code. Here the respondent can sign up for an email list and find links to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, opening the door to regular communication. Make sure content is consistent in message, look and feel across print and digital platforms.

Move beyond simple demographics. It’s tempting to use basic information, such as gender, age and income, to guide your marketing efforts. Go a step further to understand what your prospects care about. Today’s consumer wants to be an individual, not a segment. The more personalized an offer is (the right message delivered in the right way), the more inclined the target audience is to respond favorably.

Measure your success. The diverse spectrum of media options has created an intense demand to demonstrate return on investment. How will you define success? Connect each element of the cross-media campaign to a reasonable target. For example, state that the direct mail piece will drive a certain number of hits on your website, and the website will entice a defined percentage of visitors to request more information. This, in turn, will result in a specific amount of new business.

The convergence of print, online, mobile, and social media empowers consumers to respond in the way they prefer. Keep an eye to the future; be ready to embrace the next innovation that will give you one more option for delivering relevant content to your target customers.

Resources for Prospective College Students

Visitors to the Frosina Blog may find the info below of possible interest to prospective college students:

From: “Rachel Higgins”
To “Van Christo”

Subject: Resources For Prospective Students

The project — — is a comprehensive college directory with many resources useful to prospective students and parents interested in advancing their education. A school’s accreditation status should play a large role in choosing which school to attend and with, we provide the tools to make this research easier than ever.

This site enables individuals to search for an institution by a number of criteria including location, subject, size, and graduation rates. As a valuable resource to anyone pursuing a college degree, I thought the project could be of interest to yourself and others who frequently visit your site. Take a look and let me know what you think. If interested, it would be great to see it listed as a resource for those interested to refer to.


Peter Lucas writes for the Lowell Sun!

I met Peter Lucas years ago when he was the State House reporter for the Boston Herald Traveler after he had written an outstanding series of articles about Albania which, I believe, gave a balanced view of that then-communist country.

Peter is now writing for the Lowell Sun so check out the attachment below for his latest article! 

Bay State’s also-rans failed to fight back – The Lowell Sun

By Peter Lucas

What do Mitt Romney, John Kerry and Mike Dukakis have in common? Well, all three are from Massachusetts, held high political positions, ran for president — and lost.

BOSTON: AAWV Luncheon Meeting on November 12, 2012

Francisco A. Urena is Guest Speaker at AAWV
Annual Luncheon Meeting

BOSTON November 7, 2012 Boston Veterans’ Services Commissioner Francisco A. Urena is the Guest Speaker at the 64th Annual Luncheon Meeting of the American Albanian War Veterans (AAWV) on November 12, 2012 at Anthony’s Pier 4 Restaurant on Boston’s historic Waterfront.

Appointed by Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Meninoto lead the City of Boston’s Veterans’ Services, Commissioner Urena’s commitment to government service began the day after graduating from South Broward High School in Hollywood, Florida, where he enlisted in the United States Marines Corps.

In the span of eight years of honorable service in the U.S. Marines, Commissioner Urena’s duties included Diplomatic Security with the Department of State at two American Embassies; American Embassy Damascus, Syria, and American Embassy Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He is a Purple Heart recipient from injuries sustained while in combat during the Operation Iraqi Freedom

Commissioner Urena followed his enlistment in the U.S. Marines with a degree in History and Legal Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.
While pursuing his education, he involved himself in a series of volunteer work which ultimately led to his role as a Veterans’ Services Officer.

In 2008, Commissioner Urena was honored with the “Veterans’ Services Officer of the Year” – award by former Veterans’ Services Secretary, Thomas G. Kelley.

The AAWV, comprised of WWII Albanian-American veterans in Greater Boston, was founded in 1946 in Boston by U.S. Navy Lieut-Commander Andrew E. Elia
who served as a Medical Officer on board a U.S. Navy supply ship during WWII. It is believed that Dr. Elia was the role model of the ship’s doctor in the book,
Mr. Roberts, by Thomas Heggen that later became a movie starring Henry Fonda as Mr. Roberts and William Powell as the ship’s doctor.

For more information and/or reservations, please contact Virginia Kosmo
at 1-781 894-2721 or Ron Nasson at 1-508 668-6506

AAWV Annual Luncheon Meeting
November 12, 2012 at Noon
Anthony’s Pier 4 Restaurant
140 Northern Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts

The AAWV Annual Meeting Luncheon ($25) is open to the public.
All are most welcome!

Writing Workshop for all U.S. Military Veterans

Roxana von Kraus and her husband, Rick, have been close  friends of Jane and me since our son, Zach, and their son, Brian, both attended Chestnut Hill Nursery School. Brian is now a Major in the US Marines who is currently serving his 4th tour of duty in Afganistan where he received a Silver Medal for heroic action under fire

Motivated by her son, Brian’s long and noble military service in the U.S. Marines, Roxana has created a Writing Workshop for all U.S. military veterans to tell thier stories. Below is complete information about the Workshop that I invite you to attend.

Van Christo