A Special Elder Music: Time Goes By
ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 2016

INTERESTING STUFF: 24 December 2016

SHORT IMPORTANT UPDATE: On Wednesday I linked to an excellent guide for resisting the Trump agenda. Now, the group producing the the guide, all former Congressional staffers, have posted a "prettier" version in pdf format at their brand new website, Indivisible Guide.

You can download the full document here and you can enter your email address there to receive updates as they are added.

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Most of the western world uses the Gregorian calendar based on the solar year. Because the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar year, Hannukah can occur almost anytime between the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in late November and early January. More or less. It's complicated.

But this year, 2016 on the Gregorian calendar and 5777 on the Hebrew one, Christmas Eve and the first night of Hannukah (which begins at sundown), fall on the same day. This is only the fourth time this has happened since 1900.

An excellent reason to wish everyone both Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah as they both begin this evening.

So here is a combined Interesting Stuff today for the two holiday celebrations including a couple of old favorites and some new stuff too.


Let's start with a Christmas reality check specific to this year from Stephen Colbert – I promise, it gets better from here.


I mentioned in last week's Interesting Stuff that I have come to appreciate Christmas commercials from some large advertisers. Not all, but most seem to be from Merry Olde England. I wish they were as creative at telling good stories the rest of the year.


The Swedish retailer engaged actor Adrian Brody and director Wes Anderson for this terrific Christmas tale.


This wonderful story was first published too late (1956) to be part of my childhood holiday memories but I've read it many times so it's fair for me to pretend that it's part of my youthful history.

This time it is read by NBC News correspondent Keith Morrison with plenty of great and familiar drawings from the book.


This is the fourth year I have featured Penelope Keith's marvelous reading, as Miss Cynthia Bracegirdle, of And Yet Another Partridge in a Pear Tree: A Cautionary Tale for Christmas Showing That it is Better to Give than to Receive.

In the comments on last year's posting of the story, the writer, Brian Sibley, left a note for us about the recording:

”You might like to know that I wrote this piece and that it was first broadcast on the BBC (Radio 4) on 25 December 1977.

“You can hear the original recording on my Soundcloud page here. You can read the script here.

And it seems only fair to let you know that Mr. Subley blogs here.

He also let us know that Timothy Bateson appears as Mr. Graball of Graball, Twister and Fleesum, and it was directed by John Theocharis. Here then is the marvelously funny Penelope Keith “Partridge.”

Penelope Keith - And Yet Another Partridge in a Pear Tree


This one from Temptations cat treats.


And one more, this from Apple: Open Your Heart to Everyone.


It really is a terrific story of a wonderful miracle and like so many holiday stories, it doesn't matter if it is true. Here's a short version from the History Channel:


My Israeli friend, Yaakov Kirschen, has been writing and drawing his Dry Bones cartoon for more than 40 years. (You can follow him at The Dry Bones Blog.) This is his entry for Hannukah from last year.



Hannukah is also called the Festival of Lights. The Atlantic magazine this month has published a gorgeous series of photographs of Christmas lights from cities around the world.

The title, Festivals of Light gives the presentation a nice ecumenical feel for the double holiday this year.

The illuminated Christmas tree stands at the Christmas market behind the Astronomical Clock at the Old Town Square on November 28, 2016 in Prague, Czech Republic.


People release floating lanterns during the festival of Yee Peng in the northern capital of Chiang Mai, Thailand, on November 14, 2016.


Christmas lights are seen illuminated on Oxford Street in London, Britain on December 9, 2016.


These photographs are much more beautiful full size. See them and many more at The Atlantic.


We began up top with Stephen Colbert and let's end with my most favorite elder actor, Dame Helen Mirren. On a recent Graham Norton Show, she was asked to deliver an inspirational Christmas message of hope for the audience. Here is what she said:

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, Ronni, Crabby Old Lady and Ollie the cat wish you


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Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.


Terrific post Ronni, Merry and Christmas and Happy Hannukah to you!

To Ronni and everyone else here, Happy Holidays, whatever your celebration. May your days be warm and merry.

What a delight! Thank you, Ronni.

Best wishes for a Happy and Wonder-full Holiday!

Wishing everyone at this wonderful site of Ronni's a good holiday.

Looking forward to sharing, learning, being inspired and warmed by all of you in 2017.

A great post, Ronni. Your blog is one of my best 2016 discoveries; so happy to find you.

Thanks and happy holidays!

Wishing everyone peace and joy, now and through the new year.

Thank you for the post, Ronni

Happy Holidays


Happy Hannukah hugs to you and Ollie.

Thank you for your excellent blog.

It's a gorgeous winter day in Montreal.

Light snow is falling.

A young girl at the airport was so excited to see snow for the first time.

She was jumping up and down.

"I can't wait to touch the snow."

Thank you for these wonderful posts today Ronni. Such a Christmas-y way to spend the morning.

Happy holidays to all checking in here, and best wishes for another interesting year of enlightenment, entertainment and camaraderie in 2017.

And happy Hanukkah and Christmas to you too. Thanks for the year of thinking and the year of being human.

You outdid yourself today, Ronni (and that's hard to do!).
Thank you for this post. I am nibbling at those videos a little at a time.
They are truly great finds.
Happy Holidays!

Thank you Ronni. Happy Hanukkah to you.

Also, thank you for the post on actions we can take to resist the Trump agenda. I have been feeling so helpless/hopeless and since, as Helen Mirren put it so well, this past year has been s**t and the election that dominated 2016 which was absolutely the worst in my memory (which began with the Kennedy/Nixon election) has had, in my opinion, the worst possible outcome. Although, I should add, I can't say I was overly enthusiastic about a Hillary Clinton presidency, particularly with a majority republican house. That being said, the only hope I feel is that, and it is unfortunate it will have to take this route, the Don the Con presidency will be so disastrous that it will bring our country back together again, and maybe, just maybe, with all the areas that haven't been working for a while, fixed.
Back to Helen Mirren. I believe she is my favorite celebrity. She is soo comfortable in her own skin, has a delightful outlook on life, and to share in her enjoyment of her life is a high.

Thank you, Ronni, Crabby Old Lady and Ollie, for this and for another year of ALWAYS "Interesting Stuff", whether on Saturdays or on any other day of the week.

I am very grateful for your presence in my life.

Best wishes to you, Ronni, and to all in the TGB community. I feel like this wonderful post is a gift to me on this double holiday.

And I will be sending a link to that helpful guide to friends and relations this morning!

Thank you!

Great post Ronni. Love Helen Miranda and agree with the sentiment.

Helen M.

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