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Winter Solstice, Mega Millions and The Hobbit

Good morning,

Winter arrives tonight, while many of us will be sleeping.  At 12:30 a.m., the Earth's south pole will be tilted as close as it ever gets to the sun, giving us the shortest amount of daylight all year.  After that, the Earth will be moving in the other direction with days getting longer and thoughts of spring not far off.   While most of us don't give it a second thought, the winter solstice has had great impact on human life over time.  Stonehenge is perfectly aligned with the winter solstice's setting sun, although we don’t know why. 

A woman chants beside the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge, as access to the site is given to druids, New Age followers and members of the public to mark the annual Winter Solstice, in Wiltshire, southern England, Friday Dec. 22, 2006. The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice was marked at sunrise on Friday morning as the solstice occurred at 0022 GMT on Friday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Ireland's Newgrange, which is older than Stonehenge and the great pyramids of Giza, has an inner stone room that is flooded with light by the rising sun only on the winter solstice.  In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from the winter solstice through January, burning large logs and feast until the fire went out, which could take as many as 12 days.  The Romans celebrated from December 17th to December 24th with a festival called Saturnalia, during which all work was put aside in favor of feasting and gambling.  Saturnalia is named after Saturn, which, in astrological terms, is gloomy, old, dutiful and heavy - the heart of darkness, basically.  For new life to flourish and return to the sunlight, feasting and merriment were mandated in order to combat the forces of gloom.  So you see, there is much history to winter solstice… too much to write about in this short space.   We still celebrate in our own ways, usually in religious terms.  Some of us call it Christmas.  Others call it Hanakkuh.  Some celebrate Kwanzaa.  It is the one time of year when all that separates us share something in common.

With the Hanakkuh celebration underway, the search for latkes is on the rise.   The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosted the third annual Latkes Fest on Monday night.    Liz Neumark, the founder of the catering company Great Performances, thought up the idea, which she says started in her kitchen.    So many turned out this year that the line went out the door and down the block.

If you are looking to break out of the winter gloom, you might want to pick up some Mega Millions tickets and you could wake up rich with cash this holiday season.   No one hit the Mega Millions lottery last night so the jackpot rolls to $173-million! 

Snooki is trending for the second day in a row with word that she has reached her goal weight of 98 pounds.    She's been tweeting lots of pictures of her slimmed down "meatball" self. 

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"So happy I'm at my goal weight I was when I was in high school! Feelin fit is amazing and can't wait to tone up hardcore!"  she tweeted.  While the rest of America is looking at her pics, what caught my attention was a story that the Snooki Bobble Head is a popular stocking stuffer this year.   Yeah, that just what I want sitting on a shelf, staring at me.   However, the MTV store appears to be sold out.

"Will & Grace" star Debra Messing and her husband Daniel Zelman have called it quits after more than a decade of marriage.    In a statement, the couple said they had been separated for most of this year.  They met as New York University students, and married in 2000.

American Idol runner-up David Archuleta made an emotional announcement on stage in Utah on Monday.    He's going to take a break from his music career to serve on a two-year Mormon mission.   The contestant from the 2007-2008 season broke down in tears during a Christmas concert in downtown Salt Lake City.   The 20-year-old Miami native said he is not quitting music, just taking a break to answer a strong call to serve the church.


Check out this really odd weather video from Birmingham… Someone captured clouds that look like giant waves on camera and it’s making waves on YouTube.


The first trailer for "The Hobbit" has been revealed. Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth for the first time since he won three Oscars for "The Lord of the Rings."  The first movie of that trilogy hit the big screens ten years ago.  The Hobbit is the prequel.  It's due out next December.


Yet another holiday house is lighting up the trends on YouTube.  This one comes from Fountain Valley, California.


In case you missed it, check out Puppy Christmas from YouTube director Devin Graham.


If you open up a gift this holiday season and it's not working, this might be the reason.


And finally, the shot of the day from a 59-year-old woman who won a new Ford truck with this amazing hockey shot (about 1:05 into the video)

59 Yr Woman Wins Truck From Frenchie's Ford By Making Hole in one from Clayton Plourde on Vimeo.




That’s the trend!

Have a great day,




Girl from Norway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klJhWr_FTaE :D It's about the stonehenge


Thanks for sharing the link. What a hoot!

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