Holiday Serendipitous

For your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day enjoyment …

By Jace, a Trail Mix Contributor

Dear Friends,

I have put together something a bit different for today. For lack of a better description  I call it “12 Musical Moments of Christmas.”

Throughout history there is no holiday that has provided more impetus for musical celebration than has Christmas. It has elicited the best in the way of imagination and artistry from composers, arrangers, and performers, and continues to do so to this day.

These selections cover a wide range of musical genres and ideas. Some are very meaningful to me. More importantly, I hope that there may be one that is meaningful and joyous to you.

For at least a few precious moments, hours, or days, may each of you find peace and tranquility in your lives. Let us not languish in the doldrums of what might have been, nor give way to despair over that which may still come. Instead let us revel in the sparkling, iridescent moments of shared memories and and hope renewed.

As always, enjoy the music and enjoy your day!

Merry Christmas!


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Miracles? Why Not

When did you first realize there was no Santa Claus?

For me it was the film “Miracle on 34th ST

Despite the British character actor Edmund Gwenn’s infectious portrayal of Kris Kringle, and the movie’s tease at the end that his character really was Santa Claus, I was at the age (I don’t remember which) when logic prevailed.

My mom said that one day at the kitchen counter I said, “There really isn’t a Santa Clause, is there?” And so she fessed up.

But we still left a full bottle of Coca-Cola out on Christmas Eve, which she still drank as they put out my presents while I was sleeping so that the next morning we could pretend it was for Santa Claus.

Somehow knowing it was an illusion didn’t make it less of a miracle.

It will be a year ago Christmas Eve that she passed on. I’ve got a bottle of Coke ready to go.


Life Is Defined By How Much You Improve The Lives Of Others

— Keith Olbermann

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

This speech was written and delivered by Olbermann for the 1998 Cornell Senior Convocation. I apologize to the gentleman for quoting it without his permission but it is an important work on why we are and what we can become if we apply ourselves to the good:

Come on out of this wonderful haven, this experimental lab of life you’ve been in, and guard your humanity and your Moral Force as if it were your wallet.

…… But I also know that the one thing you have that all of us “out here” do not … is that you are not yet jaded by this process. To some degree you must inevitably become so. But if you keep your Moral Force intact just sufficiently so that you can stand up once or twice in the rest of your life and say, “You know what? This is wrong for me and for people I know and for people I don’t know and I’m not going to do it,” you will have improved the world.

And I do not know what the meaning of life is.

The older I got, the more complicated my philosophical gymnastics got until my one sentence answer turned into a paragraph and then an hour later and then it began to shrink to “beats the hell out of me” and finally to this gesture:


But I do know without fear of contradiction what the definition of life is and it is 12 words long: “Life is defined by how much you improve the lives of others.”

Good Luck.

May you do better than all of us have.

You take it from here.

The speech defines who Olbermann is, why he does what he does, why he is needed. Being a lightning rod is not easy nor should it be entered into lightly. The message only works & lasts if it has integrity & solid ground behind & beneath it.

While others in media treasure access and being seen at the right parties & shindigs, Mr. Olbermann treasures being on the Right Side of History. Whether or not he is your cup of tea is understood & respected. I get it. But he does serve an important place as protecting the flicker of hope & light that defines humanity while others in media work to protect their paychecks. He doesn’t need to do this for the fame; he needs to do this as a decent human being & good citizen. His voice is heard; he speaks for those of us whose voice is not. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank You, Sir.

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Olbermann can be seen regularly on his new GQ show:

The Resistance


Giving The Gift of Caring!

By GrannyMumantoog, a Trail Mix Contributor

Another holiday season is upon us. I know this year has been an especially difficult for some of us here on the Trail. Things seem bleak and we struggle to know what to do, how to cope.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of volunteer work, as well as work for (meager) pay in human services. I’ve seen a lot of suffering in my lifetime, both personally and professionally, but it never fails to amaze me that when I help another person I feel wonderful!

No matter what is going on in my life or the world around me, I get lovely moments of joy when I help other people. Some of my happiest moments came serving holiday meals at soup kitchens.

It’s really a very selfish act! So, especially at this time of year, I’d like to invite everyone to be selfish!

Below you can read a poem that I actually wrote about 35 years ago. As you read it you may notice that not much has changed.

Don’t be discouraged.

Just pick one thing on one line of that poem and make it your way to help others…individuals or society at large. I know that much of what I did might not have made a difference. But I also know that there were some people whose lives were changed by something I said or did.

No matter how low I get I can always conjure up an image of a child or a mother I know I helped in some way, who may have even said thank you.

Those thoughts and mental images lead me to think there could be others I may not personally know about, but knowing it or not knowing it doesn’t negate the good that was done.

So, at those moments I can smile and thank God I was there. You don’t even have to believe in God to care about humanity or our planet.

Our Mother’s Cry

They tell me that it all began
One bright day, long ago.
It started as the simplest plan
The universe would know.

We all were born one family
Where everyone would care.
All made to live in harmony,
Earth’s riches meant to share.

This family was our Mother’s pride,
She loved each special race.
We loved the home she did provide,
Each creature, every place.

What happened to our loving clan?
Where did it all go wrong?
It wasn’t in the early plan
That some did not belong.

Our land, sea, air and creatures too,
Have suffered from abuse.
Some do still care. Are we too few
To be of any use?

Some creatures are no longer here.
Some air can’t be inhaled.
Some water is not clean and clear.
Some land has been assailed.

Some children cry alone at night.
Some grown-ups turn away.
Some people think they know what’s right.
Some might speak out…someday.

Some hungry people sit and weep.
Some will not learn to share.
Some have no place in which to sleep.
Some simply stand and stare.

Some shades of skin are not allowed.
Some hide behind a wall.
Some try to teach us to be proud.
Some will not look at all.

Some women live with pain and fear.
Some rage cannot be heard.
Some men to violence adhere.
Some just don’t say a word.

The Mother of us all begins
To wonder when and how
Her family will repent the sins
That make her suffer now.

Yes, our Mother Earth is crying.
She sheds sad tears tonight.
She sees her family dying.
She fears the end in sight.

She begs us, with her last appeal,
To recognize our worth.
And let the power of love unseal
The fate of our home on Earth.

Happy Holidays with love from Sue (aka Granny)

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