On a National Park

Named after the French-Canadian fur traders that settled the area, Voyageurs National Park is a US National Park in northern Minnesota near the US-Canada border. The park is known for its vast lakes, abundant wildlife, and old geology. This Explore video, a relatively new release from National Geographic, offers a time-lapse look of this park – especially the skies.

On an Italian Time-lapse

One of my friends describes Italy as “one long museum.” The country offers so much that it is actually very hard to describe. Then again, being that my heritage is all Italian and with 4 first cousins and an aunt there, I admit being a bit biased. Enjoy with time-lapse of various parts of this beautiful country.

On a Fire that Isn’t

The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire. (Pamela Hansford Johnson, critic)

During 2 weeks in February in Yosemite National Park, the light from a setting sun lines up to not only illuminate a waterfall and its mist, the light also gives the water a fiery appearance. Sit back and enjoy this spectacular natural phenomenon.

On Wonderful Skies

I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings. (Gustave Flaubert, novelist)

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. (Coco Chanel, designer)

You cannot look up at the night sky on the Planet Earth and not wonder what it’s like to be up there amongst the stars. And I always look up at the moon and see it as the single most romantic place within the cosmos. (Tom Hanks, actor)

On a 2016 Season of Lights

A candle is a small thing.
But one candle can light another.
And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other.
You are such a light.
Moshe Davis and Victor Ratner

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Such a short poem, yet so profound in many ways … and even better in the season of the lights. On the religious side of 2016, Christians and Jews have celebrations on December 24th – Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah. Three days earlier was another day that provides spirituality for many – the Winter Solstice. Toss in the fact that Christmas also serves as a secular celebration for many, these days impact many.

To me, Santa Claus is a symbol that crosses all cultures – all people – simply because he is the symbol of goodness. After all, goodness across the world as it transcends religions, languages, cultures, skin colors, gender, ages, sexual orientations, and even politics.

As my regulars know well, I enjoy using videos in many of my posts. In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you give me through your interaction here and for your posts. Even through all the craziness in the world, the good feed off each other.

Enjoy any or all of the music selections of the season that are below … but I appreciate knowing which you enjoyed … so stay as long as you wish.

For all who find peace and renewal through the Winter Solstice.

For all finding the light shining bright through the night.

For all who appreciate the music of the season done a different way A few weeks ago we heard – Little Drummer Boy done to the rhythms of Ravel’s Bolero.

For the many regulars here who enjoy The Piano Guys … (I had to include them.)

For all who appreciate the music of other cultures (This one has stuck with me ever since I saw this in person many years ago).

For the fans of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who meld their words with the beauty of Pachelbel’s Canon.

For all who find awe and wonder in deep space with this classic.

For all attracted to one of the most beautiful natural lights of the season – the Aurora Borealis – and set to my favorite version of a classic tune of the season.

Whether it be Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever greeting you prefer, I issue a greeting of your choosing for the season … plus Peace and Joy to all!

On Mid-Week Holiday 2016 Briefs

Given the mid-week status of this post due to the approaching holiday, this is a variation of the weekly Opinion in the Shorts, which probably won’t reappear until after ringing in 2017.

The next post will be my holiday greeting, which I hope goes live in time for Christmas Eve in Australia/New Zealand. Hope everyone has a time to stop by as there will be quite the selection of goodies.

For the last week of December, I will have a few Explore posts, followed by a post to lead us into 2017.

The Electoral College has voted, so Election 2016 is over. In the aftermath since Election Day, hopefully Americans have learned more about the Electoral College. I know I have – but I’ll save that post for another day.

The fact that I’m not listing a “Obama’s Fault” list is Obama’s fault. However, columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote that President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is Obama’s fault.

For those needing some handbell music for the holidays, here’s a recording of the version we will be playing of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

For readers who enjoy a feel-good story, CBS News had this touching report about the origin of Secret Santa.

I was saddened to receive the news of the passing of a blogger – especially one who was kind and smart – let alone talented in her own craft. Blogging makes the world smaller. Even though most of us will never meet, we impact each other through our interactions. To Cynthia Jobin, aka Littleoldladywho, thank you for sharing yourself through your poems and in your interactions with me and others. Here is her last poem (and for those who don’t know, there is also an audio). To me, I heard her talking about herself – but I may be wrong.

The recent announcement of the latest inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ceiling is starting to crack. Although no Moody Blues (which were not consider this year), the wait is over for three worthy bands: Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, and Yes.

On a Bit of Kindness

Although kindness comes in many forms, I wonder about human beings. Are we naturally selfish? Are we naturally positive or negative? How much of our behavior is innate as opposed to learned?

As a person who enjoys staying informed by watching the news, I realize most news stories typically focus on something negative. After all, when the station does a short positive story near the end of the telecast, it seems out-of-place.

On the other hand, I’m a firm believer that the majority of the world is good – which means I’m confident that the majority of people in people in international hotbeds are good. Yes, I believe the majority of people in Iran, China, Venezuela, Syria, Afghanistan, Russia, and all countries are good. After all, smiles and kindness are accepted with gratitude even with barriers in place as language, culture, and government..

Maybe all this is a reason that those simple positive news stories get my attention – and sometimes bringing a tear to my eye as the story touch my heart and reinforced my belief in kindness across the role. It’s been a long time since I focused a post on goodness, so it’s about time I get my act together! 🙂

I saw this not long ago on the Today show, so I’m glad the story is still available. NBC’s Hoda Kotb dressed up as a metermaid – an officer with a duty of issuing parking violations. Click here to watch the video, and enjoy!