Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Festivus!

Happy Winter Solstice 2017!
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Happy Winter Solstice 2017 in the Northern Hemisphere
(Yesterday!) December 21st at 8:28AM PST – also known as midwinter,
it’s an astronomical phenomenon marking the day
with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.

SEASON’S GREETINGS! FELIZ NAVIDAD! JOYOUS NÖEL! HAPPY KWANZAA!

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Happy Winter Solstice and Happy Festivus 2017!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY HANNUKAH!
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Happy Festivus!
The Festival for the Rest of Us!6a00d8341c4f9453ef012876243c1f970c-800wi

festivus

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Happy Festivus!

And my how the little girls have grown!

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September 2016

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December 2017

Happy Festivus!
And Happy Winter Solstice!
Merry Christmas Dudes!

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And Christmastime’s A’Comin’!

So, we had an early Christmas dinner too last night.

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Happy Winter Solstice! Early Christmas Dinner!

On the Menu: Turkey breast, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce

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Have you been naughty or nice this year?

Why so negative?
That’s just your opinion, man.
Lump of coal for you.

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Happy Holidays! Goodbye 2016!

Goodbye 2016!
Happy Holidays from JoshWillTravel!

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Here’s my “Internet Holiday Card” to all my online friends:

HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!
HAPPY FESTIVUS, CHRISTMAS, HANNUKAH & KWANZAA HOLIDAYS!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!
HAPPY TRAVELS IN THE NEW YEAR!

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James Kahlo RIP – Father Time/Old Man New Year – Dickens Christmas Fair – San Francisco

It’s Monday, December 19th and we can’t wait for this year to be over…

HAPPY TRAVELS!

Cold Rain & Snow = Winter Holiday Travel Delays! Be Careful Out There!

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Monday’s Holiday Week Forecast: “Baby it’s cold outside!”

Well, the weather outside is frightful for a lot of people.
Here in Los Angeles it’s really delightful! We are having our West Coast Winter again.

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Flights Cancelled! Baggage Claim at Denver International Airport

People just have to travel for the holidays. You must know that traveling during the Winter Holidays is a crazy thing to subject yourself to… bad traffic, long lines, weather delays, irritated crowds and overworked staff are guaranteed to be part of the experience. We always advise you plan ahead, use a travel agent and buy travel insurance, especially if you’re flying or cruising during the holiday season.

Out here in California it’s cool and clear with blue skies and sunshine while most of the nation is suffering Arctic cold and blizzard conditions. We had a rainstorm or two come through last week, and it’s definitely “sweater weather” in Southern California with some nighttime temperatures getting into the 40s & 50s! We’ll just say “Sorry” for all you folks shoveling mountains of snow, driving in dangerous conditions, or just freezing your asses off. Stay warm and safe!

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Happy Holidays! Yosemite Valley – First Snow of the Season!

We are “home for the holidays” again this year. White Christmas? Green Christmas? Here in Los Angeles you can decide. There was snow on the Grapevine (the top of the 5 freeway north where it crests on the way to Bakersfield) during the storms last week. There’s snow and skiing/snowboarding in the nearby San Gabriel mountains, Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear; or you can have cocktails at the beach or picnic in the park….
or both on the same day.

And currently, as we write this part of the Blog, it is 71 degrees at 2:30pm on Tuesday, December 20 and there’s a puppy asleep in my lap and another asleep in the playpen next to me. They are such sweet little girls! (and at 5pm today in Chicago it’s only 28 degrees)

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Puppy Laptime Naptime!


HAPPY FESTIVUS! December 23rd – 
“the festival for the rest of us”

A family tradition of “Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe, Festivus entered popular culture in 1997 in the episode “The Strike” The holiday celebration includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, the “Airing of Grievances”, “Feats of Strength” and easily explainable events witnessed as “Festivus Miracles!”

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Happy Festivus! “We Shall Begin With The Airing of Greivances!”

“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it!”

The English word festive derives from Latin “festivus” an adjective meaning “excellent, jovial and/or lively” which in turn derives from festus “joyous; holiday, feast day”.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS! December 24 & 25

Happy birthday Jesus! December 25 was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. The prominence of Christmas Day celebration increased gradually after Charlemagne was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day in the year 800 and then William I (the Conqueror) of England was crowned on Christmas Day 1066. In Colonial America, the Pilgrims of New England shared the Protestant’s (Puritan) disapproval of Christmas, and in 1620, they spent their first Christmas Day in the New World working to demonstrate their complete contempt for the holiday. Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659 by the Puritans and the ban wasn’t revoked until 1681. George Washington crossed the Delaware and attacked hungover Hessian (German) mercenaries during the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, the day after Christmas. The holiday being much more popular in Germany than in America at the time.

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Happy Holidays! The Citadel Outlets in Commerce, California 2016

The practice of special decorations at Christmas began in the 15th century: in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be “decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green.” Holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches: its thorns and red berries represent the Crown of Thorns and the blood Jesus shed.

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Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 2014

The traditional Christmas colors are red, green, and gold. Red for the blood of Jesus shed at his crucifixion, green for eternal life and the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold for royalty is associated with the three gifts of the Magi.

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Kevin Brown RIP as Charles Dickens at the Great Dickens Fair in San Francisco

In 1843, Charles Dickens wrote the novel “A Christmas Carol” credited with reviving the spirit of Christmas, seasonal merriment and emphasizing family, goodwill, compassion and redemption. The term Scrooge became a synonym for miser, and “Bah! Humbug!” a statement dismissive of the festive spirit. Also in England in 1843, the concept of sending greetings cards at Christmas was created and the first commercial Christmas card was produced by Sir Henry Cole.

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The first commercially produced Christmas card made by Henry Cole in 1843

The Christmas tree was introduced in the early 19th century in England. In 1832, the future Queen Victoria wrote about having a Christmas tree hung with lights, ornaments and surrounded with presents. An image of the British royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle created a sensation when it was published in the Illustrated London News in 1848. A modified version of this image was published in the United States in 1850 and by the 1870s putting up a Christmas tree had become common in America.

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The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2016 Arrives in NYC!

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

The Christmas tree is considered by some as “Christianization” of pagan tree worship tradition and ritual of the Winter Solstice. The English language phrase “Christmas tree” was first recorded in 1835. Other traditional decorations include garlands, mistletoe & holly, poinsettia, bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, snowmen and angels.

Where’s Waldo? Mele Kalikimaka!

A number of figures are associated with Christmas and the giving of gifts. Among these are Father Christmas aka Santa Claus from the Dutch Sinterklaas for Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle; Père Noël, Saint Basil, the Weihnachtsmann, the Christkind,  Joulupukki, Babbo Natale and Ded Moroz. The Scandinavian tomte is sometimes depicted as a gnome. Of course, the best known of these figures today is red-dressed Santa Claus.

The exchange of gifts is the modern commercial Christmas celebration, making it the most profitable time of year for retailers and businesses throughout the world. Gift giving is based in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, the Christian tradition associated with St. Nicholas and the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh which were given to the baby Jesus by the three wise men.

CLICK ON ANY SMALL PIC TO SEE A LARGER PIC AND VIEW THE GALLERY!

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Thursday’s Holiday Item: Bendable Santa and a Happy Xmas Peanut M&M

 

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Mele Kalikimaka! Wishing you a Happy Christmas!

Christmas Day is the least active day of the year for business and commerce in most Western nations. Retail, commercial and institutional businesses are closed for the holiday and almost all industries cease activity (more than any other day of the year).

HAPPY HANNUKAH! December 24-31

Hannukah is the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt (167-165 BC) against the Seleucid Empire. Also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication it is celebrated for eight nights beginning on the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar (late November to December on the Gregorian calendar).

Hanukkah became more widely celebrated in America in the 1970s, when Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson called for public awareness and observance of the festival and encouraged the lighting of public menorahs. And for secular Jews it became an alternative to Christmas celebrations, a celebration of religious freedom and a symbol of Jewish identity.

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Happy Hannukah! Light the Menorah!

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of the nine-branched Menorah (also called a Chanukiah/Hanukiah). The extra candle is called a shamash (Hebrew for attendant) and is given a distinct location usually above the rest. Light the shamash candle first and then use it to light the others. Three blessings are recited when lighting the candles: On the first night recite all three blessings and on all subsequent nights recite only the first two.

The tradition of lighting one additional candle on each night of the eight night holiday commemorates the miracle declared by Jewish sages: According to the Talmud, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the kohen gadol (high priest) was needed for the eternal flame in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night. One flask of oil was found, only enough oil to burn for one day, yet it burned for eight, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply.

Homemade Jelly Donuts

Jelly Donuts (Sufganiyot)

Traditionally, fried foods, potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot) are eaten to commemorate the importance of oil during the celebration of Hanukkah, gifts are given each night and children are gifted with cash money called Gelt (Yiddish for money). Giving Hannukah Gelt dates back to the East European custom of children gifting their teachers money at this time of year as a token of gratitude.

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Friday’s Holiday Item: Dreidels and Hannukah Gelt ($)

Dreidel: a small four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side, a gambling game played with a dreidel, especially at Hanukkah. The dreidel is a Jewish variant on the teetotum, a gambling toy found in many European cultures. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (He), ש (Shin), which together form the acronym for “נס גדול היה שם” (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – “a great miracle happened there”) Nun stands for the Yiddish word nisht (“nothing”), He stands for halb (“half”), Gimel for gants (“all”), and Shin for shtel ayn (“put in”)

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Hannukah! Eight Crazy Nights!

In the United States and Israel it is common to give and/or exchange presents with friends and family. In addition, many families encourage giving tzedakah (charity to those less fortunate) during Hannukah.

In 1951, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion gave Harry Truman a Hanukkah Menorah. In 1979, Jimmy Carter held the first public Hanukkah candle-lighting of the National Menorah on the White House lawn. In 1989, George H.W. Bush displayed a menorah in the White House. In 1993, Bill Clinton invited a group of schoolchildren to the Oval Office for a small ceremony. In 2001, George W. Bush held an official Hanukkah reception at the White House, along with the candle-lighting ceremony, and it has become an annual tradition attended by the United States’ Jewish leaders. In 2008, George Bush linked the occasion to the 1951 gift by using that menorah for the ceremony, with a grandson of Ben-Gurion and a grandson of Truman lighting the candles.

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Saturday’s Holiday Item: YUM YUM raspberry jelly filled, cinnamon roll & (not pictured) chocolate custard filled donuts!

HAPPY KWANZAA! December 26th – January 1st

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Kwanzaa celebrates its 50th year in 2016!

Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate family, culture and heritage, the name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits” and is modeled after the harvest celebrations of Africa. The colors of Kwanzaa reflect the Pan-African movement and people of African descent worldwide: Black for people of color, red for blood that unites people of African ancestry, and green for Africa. 7 Principles and 7 Primary Symbols emphasize a unique set of values and ideals during the 7 days of Kwanzaa which is spelled with 7 letters. The first US postage stamp to commemorate Kwanzaa was issued in 1997. There have been 5 more designs released since.

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AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017! December 31st – January 1st

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San Francisco Civic Auditorium – New Year’s Eve 1984-85

AULD LANG SYNE
First recorded in 1939: Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians performed it every New Year’s Eve for decades until his death in 1977. His version is played immediately following the dropping of the ball in Times Square every year.

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup! and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne. CHORUS
We two have run about the slopes, and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne. CHORUS
We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne. CHORUS
And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne. CHORUS

“Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song traditionally used to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. (Hogmanay, the Scots word for the last day of the year is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year).

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Happy New Year 2017! Pour the Champagne! Don’t Drink and Drive!

Champagne: a sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France following rules that demand secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation, specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from Champagne and specific pressing regimes unique to the region. The term Champagne is used as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in many countries it’s illegal to label any wine Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region and is produced under the special rules of the Champagne winemaking community (under the auspices of the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne – CIVC).

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Happy New Year!

Me at the beginning of 2016 versus me at the end of 2016:

“The Dude Abides”

To all my Friends and Followers,

The end of 2016 is a welcome relief. It has not been an easy year.
We are still struggling with the tragic loss of our precious little girls in August,
and now we have the new beautiful little girls in our life to love and train.
We are angry, anxious and depressed about the outcome of the 2016 election.
We are worried about the current condition and future direction of our country.

This year was also full of lots of fun, entertainment and good times.
(Read our past Blogs and visit our facebook and Twitter pages to see the fun!)
We hope to expand and increase our “fun tolerance level” in the coming new year.
There’s a secret plan ahead for JoshWillTravel in 2017,
so if you haven’t yet, be sure to “LIKE”, Follow, and stay connected with us. 

We wish you and yours a Happy Winter Solstice, a Happy Festivus,
a Happy Christmas-Hannukah-Kwanzaa and a very Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2016, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

What does the FUTURE hold for us in the year 2017?

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Donald J. Trump – Baby New Year – New York City

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Our Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe> 
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-23h

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Festivus Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

The earliest Latin Christmas hymns appear in 4th-century Rome. Christmas Carols in English first appear in 1426 written by John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty-five “Caroles of Cristemas” probably sung by groups of wassailers going house to house. The songs were originally communal folk songs sung during harvest celebrations as well as Christmas. Carols like “Personent hodie”, “Good King Wenceslas” and “The Holly and the Ivy” date back to the Middle Ages. “Adeste Fideles” (O Come all ye faithful) appears in its current form in the mid-18th century, although the words may have originated in the 13th century. Secular Christmas songs emerged in the late 18th century: “Deck the Halls” dates from 1784 and “Jingle Bells” was copyrighted in 1857.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
~ Buddy the Elf

Musical Merry Christmas Countdown! Playlist 2015
CLICK HERE TO HEAR AND SEE THE MUSIC!

Buddy:
[thinking Miles is an elf]
Did you have to borrow a reindeer to get down here?

Miles Finch:
Hey, jackweed, I get more action in a week than you’ve had in your entire life. I’ve got houses in L.A., Paris and Vail. In each one, a 70 inch plasma screen. So I suggest you wipe that stupid smile off your face before I come over there and SMACK it off! You feeling strong, my friend? Call me elf one more time.

Buddy:
[after a pause]
He’s an angry elf.

[Miles promptly attacks him]

milesfinch

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Hollywood film studios release their big movies during the holiday season always including new Christmas films, big budget “blockbuster” fantasy movies and megastar powered dramas for consideration for the Academy Awards. And YES, “Die Hard” and “Lethal Weapon” are Christmas films.

Clarence:
Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.
When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

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“It’s A Wonderful Life” 1946
produced & directed by Frank Capra,
based on the short story “The Greatest Gift”

Teacher says,
Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

 

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Mele Kalikimaka!

Mele Kalikimaka! (written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson)
http://wp.me/p3dhVM-236

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you from the land where palm trees sway
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night…

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Mele Kalikimaka!


Happy Memories!

A toast to absent friends and family,
and a toast to the blessed memory of everyone who left us in 2016!

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E. Caitlin Phillips RIP

“Another Year Gone!
Say Buh-Bye 2016…
A New Year Ahead!”

WE WISH YOU & EVERYONE YOU KNOW,
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

joshwilltravel

JoshWillTravel PO Box 18376, Encino, CA 91416 joshwilltravel@yahoo.com

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.”
 ~ T. S. Eliot

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Pop A Cork! (Photo By Niels Noordhoek)

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2017


 

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Sunday’s Holiday Item: 2016 Tournament of Roses – Rose Parade Drum Head

NOTE: The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl football game will be held this year on Monday, January 2, 2017, the New Year’s Day federal holiday!


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It’s Groundhog Day!

It’s Groundhog Day!

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Don’t Drive Angry!

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Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned “Needlenose” Ryerson (He did the whistling bellybutton trick…)

February 2nd? Groundhog Day! BING!

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Fool Moon Fever!

Fool Moon Fever!

The moon reached its full phase (just now) at 3:11am Christmas morning. It’s the first full moon on Christmas since 1977 and last until 2034.

Full Moon Friday December 25, 2015 3:11am PST

Fool Moon Fever! Full Moon on Friday December 25, 2015 at 3:11am PST

Happy Christmas!

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Christmas Countdown! Playlist 2015

Musical Merry Christmas Countdown! Playlist 2015

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
~ Buddy the Elf

Here are some of my winter holiday music/video selections from Youtube:

Earl Scruggs & the Bluegrass All-Stars “Jingle Bells” >

Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby “Christmas Special 1957”>

Run DMC “Christmas in Hollis” Charlie Brown (Get down, get funky Peanuts!)>

Bing Crosby & the Andrew Sisters “Mele Kalikimaka”>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEvGKUXW0iI
READ THE “Mele Kalikimaka” BLOG> http://wp.me/p3dhVM-236

Jethro Tull “Ring Out Solstice Bells”>

Billy Idol “Jingle Bell Rock” (This one has to be seen.)>

Grateful Dawg “G-d Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”>

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain “Sleigh Ride” (on a snow covered mountain!)>

BONUS! Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain “Tubular Bells”>

Darlene Love (Letterman Mash Up) “Christmas Baby, Please Come Home”>

Gene Autry “Here Comes Santa Claus”>

BONUS! Gene Autry “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” from 1953>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjniwIMFzgc

And here’s a very special vid:

Andy Kaufman as Santa Claus on Johnny Cash’s Christmas Special (1979)

Merry Christmas…. Ho, Ho, Ho. Thank you very much.

It’s a Miracle! Hallelujah! Merry Christmas!

An all time favorite! Merry Christmas! The Rockettes get Dave a coke.

Merry Christmas Eve! Happy Holidays! Say CHEEEEEESE!

BONUS! The Osmond Family Christmas Special in 1981
(hey, Luke from “General Hospital”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKINsUYjPf0

Grandma Got Molested at the Airport‬!

For all my friends, “Hip, Hip, Hip, Hip Hip-Hooray!” MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!

Monty Python’s Christmas in Heaven

BONUS! Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life sing-along>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrdEMERq8MA

Merry Merry! Have a great day!

Leon Redbone & Dr. John Frosty the Snowman

 

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Travel Tuesday! Where do you want to go?

It’s Travel Tuesday!

Time to make your travel plans for the Winter Holidays & New Years if you haven’t already!

Where do you want to go?

Will you be “Home for Thanksgiving”? Where is “Home”?

Are you planning on traveling for the Thanksgiving or Christmas Holidays?

Where will you go in 2016?

What destination is on top of your “bucket list”?

Where have you been that was so incredible that you want to return?

Think about it! Leave your comments below!

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See Southern Oregon! (btw Sacramento CA & Bend OR)

Travel Answers about Southern Oregon!

Visit our Ashland, Oregon facebook page: www.facebook.com/theatreinashland

Q: What is a must see between Sacramento, CA and Bend, OR?

My husband and I will be driving from Sacramento, CA, to Bend, OR, in early August, what are some must sees along the way?  I just discovered the Mt Shasta Lavender Farm will be closed for the season August 4 the day we will be doing our drive north.

A: Must see between Sacramento, CA and Bend, OR?

Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland Oregon with JoshWillTravel

Food, Wine & Theatre in Ashland Oregon with JoshWillTravel

Ashland in Southern Oregon is just across the California border on the 5 freeway.

Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University, the city is a great place to stop and stay overnight or for a few days.

The OSF theatre season runs February to November, and there are free Green Shows during the summer. There are several other theaters in town and nearby, and the university has a full schedule of music, dance and drama programs as well. The Britt Festival Pavilion hosts great concerts and the Oang Medford Armory always has events scheduled.

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon

Lithia Park was just voted one of the best parks in the United States, and is right off downtown. There’s hiking, biking, sports, a playground, a lake for swimming, ice skating in winter and bandshell concerts in summer.

There are lots of really great restaurants in Ashland! Beasy’s On The Creek, Peerless Hotel & Restaurant, and Amuse to name just three of the best. Other food places of note are Callahan’s Lodge and Restaurant, New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro outside Ashland, Puck’s Doughnuts and Noble Coffee in town.

The historic Ashland Springs Hotel with Lark’s Restaurant is located on Main Street and the Lithia Springs Resort is just north of town. Both are good choices if you’re staying overnight, and there are many other hotels, motels, B&Bs, and other accommodations available in Ashland or any of the neighboring towns.

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rogue Valley, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

There are great wineries that offer tastings throughout the Rogue, Applegate, Umpqua and Willamette Valleys like Weisinger’s Winery, RoxyAnn Winery and Grizzly Peak Winery, named for the mountain and there’s great hiking at Grizzly Peak Trail and Mt. Ashland Ski Resort.

Visit historic Jacksonville (Oregon) and drive by Medford, but be sure stop in Central Point at Lillie Belle Farms Artisan Chocolatesand the Rogue Creamery cheese shop before continuing north.

Visit our facebook page “Food, Wine and Theatre in Ashland, Oregon with JoshWillTravel” for more info: www.facebook.com/theatreinashland


Q: “Can’t miss” in Oregon Wine Country? Where’s best base? Best time to go?

We’re planning a trip to explore the best of Oregon’s wine country and would appreciate any insider suggestions as to when is the least expensive and least crowded time to go, where to stay to maximize the experience and what we should be sure to do!

It will be my boyfriend and I, less expensive is ideal, I prefer white wines but know this is red wine country!  Want to do as little driving as possible but understand that wineries are spread out….

Are there any festivals or events we should check out?

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Oregon Shakespeare Festival (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

A: Oregon Wine Country!

Visit the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon.Stay in Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Visit historic Jacksonville, home of the Britt Festivals and Medford, home of the Harry & David Country Village.

There are lots of great wineries: Grizzly Peak Winery, RoxyAnn Winery, Weisinger’s Winery, Trium Wine, EdenVale Winery and many others. You’re also just south of the Applegate, Umpqua and Willamette Valley wineries, so there are great day trips available.

There are also many great restaurants, places to shop, tourist activities and nice places to stay in addition to the wine and theatre available in Ashland. Please see my other answers for more details!

There’s skiing at Mt. Ashland Ski Resort if there’s snow.

Another great day trip is north 2-1/2 hours to Crater Lake National Park


Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon

Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon

Q: Place to stay w/ Kids at Crater Lake?

Driving up to Crater Lake this summer w/ 3 kids in tow. Would love a recommendation for a place to stay for 2 nights as close as possible to the lake.

Place to stay w/ Kids at Crater Lake National Park?

A: The best place to stay inside the park is the historic Crater Lake Lodge inside the park on the rim of the lake. Spend the extra money and get a room with a view if available!

From the nps.gov website: http://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/hours.htm

Crater Lake Lodge has 71 rooms and is normally open mid May through mid October (2014 Operating Season is May 16 – October 12, 2013). Advance reservations are strongly recommended and can be made on-line or by calling (888) 774-2728 

Cabins At Mazama has 40 units and is located in the Mazama Village complex. It is open late May through early October (2014 Operating Season is May 23 – October 5, 2014). Reservations are recommended. (888) 774-2728

RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED!

Accommodations for spring and summer book early and sell out fast! Check the nps.gov website for info.

There are additional places to stay (motels and cabins for rent) and activities (rafting, fishing, horseback riding, and more) available outside the park near Lost Creek Lake, Prospect, Fort Klamath, along the Rogue River and Highway 62 down the mountain.

 

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12-13-14 New BLOG Posted!

13 December 2014 (posted Sunday 12-14-14)

12-13-14

The last sequential date this century, made up of four sequential digits: 1, 2, 3 and 4.

You may be wondering “What happened to Part 4 of the Roadtrip?” (see previous blog)

Well, it’s been weird around here lately. Once again I apologize to my loyal readers for being absent from my own Blog and leaving the story unfinished…

Lithia Park - Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Lithia Park – Ashland, Oregon (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

I promise to continue the story of my trip to Ashland, Oregon very soon with tales of Lithia Park, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, antique shopping & fine dining in Ashland, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Reno, Lakeland Village, Harrah’s, Harvey’s, the Montbleu, and the road trip home on US 395 south (a beautiful 8 hour drive through central California).

So, it’s December again. Hooray for the winter holidays and holy days.

Happy Christmas! – Happy Hannukah! – Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy Festivus! – and Happy New Year! (almost)

I wish you, my readers, a wonderful, safe and happy holiday season!

Ho! Ho! Ho! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. (copyright 2014 JoshWillTravel)

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Home for the holiday in Los Angeles and shared a wonderful feast with family and friends. (see previous Blog – just posted)

There were two big storms in the last week here in Southern California, and another one expected on Monday. We’ve gotten a lot of good rain, and as they say “We need the rain”. There was also a SMALL TORNADO hit south Los Angeles and someone got it on video!

Here’s the link to KTLA’s New Report: http://ktla.com/2014/12/12/tornado-strikes-south-l-a-neighborhood-rips-roof-off-building-residents/

And the full video with censored commentary from ABC: http://abc7news.com/434831/

We have a lot of fresh snow in the local mountains and all across the United States. Crazy conditions in the midwest and northeast! Winter is finally here. Stay warm and dry!

Talked about the weather and I’m not going to Blog about Politics, War and Racism today.

NOTE: Please read my previous Blog: “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” Today there were massive rallies across the country to protest the POLICE STATE, VIOLENCE AND ABUSE OF POWER. I will update my previous blog very soon, and will title it “I Can’t Breathe!”

St. Louis County Police Stormtroopers in Ferguson, Missouri

St. Louis County Police Stormtroopers in Ferguson, Missouri

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Travel Answers: Yosemite!

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT YOSEMITE!

HOW MANY DAYS IN YOSEMITE VALLEY? 

It depends on how much of the park you want to explore or if you just want to see Yosemite Valley.Allow at least three days! You should add more days if you want to really see everything! It also depends on how active a hiker you are. There are great things to do and many day trips with varying degrees of difficulty you can experience in and around the park.

WHAT ARE “MUST SEE” SIGHTS AND THINGS TO DO? 

In Yosemite Valley, ride the Shuttlebus, walk the valley paths and bridges, raft or inner tube down the river, tour the valley in an open air tram, hike to Mirror Lake, picnic at Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, hike to the top of any of the waterfalls or around the rim of the valley or to the top of Half Dome, climb El Capitan. Visit Yosemite Village and see the Visitor Center and the Ansel Adams Gallery, shop at Curry Village and be sure to check out the Ahwahnee Hotel.

REMEMBER YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY!

There are other areas to see within the park or just outside: Tuolumne Meadows, Mariposa Groveand the Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees, Wawona Point (and historic hotel), skiing at Yosemite’s Badger Pass in winter), Bass Lake, Oakhurst, and many others. You should allow 1-3 days or more for each area depending on how active a hiker/camper/skier/snowboarder you are.

If you want to experience the backcountry as a backpacker/camper you should plan 3-14 day trips. there are great areas in and around the park. I’ve been to the Tiltill Valley above Hetch Hetchy Loop and down the South Fork Merced River in the Sierra National Forest, both of which were excellent backpacking trips! Be sure to learn the necessary skills and the park rules and regulations before entering the wilderness.

You are also close to Lee Vining, Mammoth Mountain and Mono Lake State Preserve which are near the east entrance to the park.

See also John Muir Trail and the Yosemite Park website for more info.

MOSQUITOES? 

Yes, there are mosquitoes in Yosemite National Park! They primarily feed at dusk and dawn, but you should be prepared and use repellent all day and night if you have reactions. From the http://www.nps.gov website:

  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, mainly during the summer. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants or consider staying indoors during these hours. Ticks cling to plants, waiting for a host (you) to walk by; walk down the middle of trails and avoid areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Use an effective insect repellent.
    Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection against mosquitoes, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends repellents containing DEET or permethrin to repel ticks.

WHERE TO STAY?

Accommodations in the park range from tent and camp sites, RV sites, covered campsites, tent cabins, and hotel rooms. You need to make reservations for any of the concession vendors a long time in advance at nps.gov and there are lots of rules and regulations you need to be aware of before and during your visit.

In Yosemite Valley, the Ahwahnee Hotel is a luxury resort and the Yosemite Lodge at the Fallsis more of a family hotel/motel. Curry Village has tent cabins and some hotel/motel type rooms as well. There are a few campgrounds with covered camp sites, tent sites and rv sites if you want the full experience of “roughing it”.

The historic Wawona Hotel and Tuolumne Meadows Lodge (tent cabins and campsites only) are both inside the park concessionaires on the rim of the valley. Near Wawona there is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Redwood Trees and skiing in winter at Yosemite’s Badger Pass and Toulomne Meadows and Tenaya Lake are worth the trip when the roads are open and there is a grove of Giant Sequoias there as well.

There are a number of hotels, condos for rent, cabins and campgrounds just outside the park too.

CAMPING?

Do you have a reservation? Most of the campsites in Upper, Lower, and North Pines Campground for summer are “sold out” before May! If you don’t have reservations, you can try to get a campsite in the valley on the day you are there, or there’s “Backpacker’s Camp” (Camp 4) which is “first-come/first-served”.

From the National Park Service website:

“Yosemite National Park has 13 campgrounds, of which up to seven are on a reservation system. From April through September, reservations are essential and even the first-come first-served campgrounds often fill by noon from May through September.

CAMPGROUND RESERVATIONS?

Reservations are required from about March 15 through November for Yosemite Valley’s car campgrounds and summer through fall for Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Wawona, and half of Tuolumne Meadows. Campground reservations are available in blocks of one month at a time, up to five months in advance, on the 15th of each month at 7 am Pacific time. Be aware that nearly all reservations for the months of May through September and for some other weekends are filled the first day they become available, usually within seconds or minutes after 7 am!”

Here is the link to the nps.gov site: www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camping.htm

NOTE: Check and see if Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite Valley is still available! If you can’t get camping in the valley, there are campgrounds in the park on the rim (about an hour from the valley) and just outside the park as well. Camp Wawona is on the rim near the Wawona Hotel, Yosemite’s Badger Pass, Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Glacier Point. Wawona is also close to Oakhurst which is a real town with markets, laundromats, restaurants, etc. Soquel Campground and Crane Flat Campground are farther away.

COOKING IN YOSEMITE PARK?

INFO FOR WAWONA (AND OTHER) CAMPGROUNDS?

From the NPS.gov website: “Each campsite contains a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker [33″(D)x45″(W)x18″(H)], and is near a bathroom with potable water and flushing toilets. You are required to store food properly in order to protect Yosemite’s bears.

In out-of-Valley campgrounds, fires are permitted at any time. Fires must always be attended and put out completely with water when not attended (do not let them smolder). Firewood collection (including pine cones and pine needles) is not permitted in Yosemite. We discourage visitors from bringing firewood from more than 50 miles away to prevent spread of forest pests. You can purchase firewood at stores near most campgrounds.

Camp wastewater must be disposed of in designated utility drains.”

The fire rings may have a grill, but you should plan on bringing EVERYTHING you want to have for cooking. There’s lots of information online about camping and camp cooking, so spend a little time researching “camp hacks” etc. so you’ll have some ideas.

Plan your meals, bring your ingredients and spices, if you’re car camping and you have room, bring the comforts you want. Keep it simple! Things you can cook in and with boiling water, things you can grill over a fire, things you can wrap in foil/cook in the fire, and things you don’t have to cook are best.

Remember to bring bottled WATER, cooking and eating utensils, can opener, corkscrew, trash bags and cleaning stuff that isn’t harmful to the environment!

HOW TO GET THERE?

If you’re flying in, you’re going to have to land in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland or Los Angeles. Each has it positives and negatives, so base your decision on the cost of airfare and then determine the best mode of transport from your destination city.

Rent a car (get unlimited mileage plus insurance) or take Amtrak (train and bus combo) from Los Angeles or San Francisco/Oakland. The bus will take you right into Yosemite National Park and drop you atYosemite Lodge at the Falls and it’s both less expensive and cleaner than driving! www.amtrak.com/san-joaquin-train

The drive from Los Angeles is about 6 hours, and you’ll travel the 5 freeway to interstate 99 through Bakersfield, Fresno and the Central Valley to interstate 41 into Yosemite.

The drive from the Bay Area is about 4 and 1/2 hours (could be longer with traffic) on highway 580 through San Leandro and Livermore to highway 205 through Manteca to interstate 120 into Yosemite.

NOTE: If you’re driving in the Sierra Mountains in the Fall, be prepared for rain and snow at higher elevations, some roads may require tire chains (sometimes a problem with a rental vehicle).

There are also tour companies that have chartered buses that will take you into the park, or backpack/bus adventure travel companies like Green Tortoise from San Francisco that include more than just transport: www.greentortoise.com/adventures/yosemite-national-park-tour-3d.php

NOTE: If you’re going to take a chartered bus, make sure the company is CA state licensed and check their safety and consumer record before buying a ticket!

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Travel Alert! Who ya gonna call? Airline Information Links

Bad weather? Missed Flight? Travel Emergency? Who ya gonna to call?

Bad weather? Missed Flight? Travel Emergency? Who ya gonna to call?

http://www.weather.gov

http://www.flyfaa.gov

http://www.flightstats.com

http://www.flightaware.com

AMERICAN: http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/travelAlerts.jsp 
DELTA: http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/alerts-and-advisories/northeast-winter-storm1.html 
JETBLUE: http://www.jetblue.com/JetblueAlerts/WeatherUpdate.aspx?intcmp=global_travelalert 
SOUTHWEST: http://www.southwest.com/html/advisories/swa_travel_advisory_201311131386966150044.html 
UNITED: http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/news/Pages/travelnotices.aspx?v_ctrk=HHLN$0-772-2045-1-1156#ExceptionPolicies 
US AIRWAYS: http://www.usairways.com/TravelCenter/Advisories.aspx 
VIRGIN AMERICA: http://www.virginamerica.com/news.do?int=news_alertbart_travelAdvisory 

Canadian Airports:

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