Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sleeping Bear Dunes - Starry Nights

I found this video the other day thanks to Pure Michigan on Facebook, I think.

Sometimes people ask my why I love Northern Michigan so much and I often just say "Sleeping Bear Dunes." Its beauty is second-to-none. Now all I'll have to do is point them to this video.


Sleeping Bear Dunes - Starry Nights from Kenneth Snyder on Vimeo.

As always, if you read Little Merry Sunshine via email and the videos don't come through, visit the site and watch the video. Trust me, it's a little slice of Heaven.

Friday, July 27, 2012

LMS Exclusive: Super-Secret James Taylor Playlist for Ravinia

It's a big weekend in my world. James Taylor is coming to Ravinia. I'm going on Saturday night and believe you me, it's took all my willpower not to buy tickets for both Friday and Saturday night, but that seemed a little, well, stalker-ish. So I'm going on Saturday night, but if anyone wanted to gift me with tickets for Friday night, I'd gratefully go and behave myself. Yes, I would behave and yes, I had to think about that.

I've never seen James Taylor live, but he's in my list of Top 5 Musicians I Must See Live, so I'm going on Saturday. You see how this works. It's not important who the other four are; this is about James Taylor, not them.

Fortunately, just like I did with Kenny Loggins a few weeks ago, I have once again snagged the super-secret James Taylor playlist for Saturday night. Well, okay, I only imagine that I've snagged the playlist. I hope James performs the songs below. Hearing them would make my night. No, that's not true. Hearing them all would make my summer. Trust me, my summer could use the boost.

James, there's no need to thank me. Really. All I really need is for you to bring me up on stage while you serenade me all night long. That will be thanks enough.

As always, this blog post is better if you can watch the videos. If you read LMS via email, click over to the blog and watch the videos. You'll thank me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ron Santo Is FINALLY in the Hall of Fame.

Ron Santo's Hall of Fame Plaque installed July 22, 2012. From the Chicago Tribune.

It's about damn time.

I won't go into all the reasons why it's such a shame #10 didn't receive this honor while he was alive. We'll just stipulate that it's a crime and it's finally been rectified. If you really want to know the backstory, use the Googles.

Yesterday was Ron's day in Cooperstown. With all the fanfare he deserved, he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame and joined his teammates Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams, and Ernie Banks with the best of the best.

Ron's widow Vicki delivered his posthumous acceptance speech. And as she said, this is not a day to be sad. It is a day of happiness for true Cubs fans everywhere.

You can (and should) watch Vicki Santo's inspirational speech here.

Congratulations Ron!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Loyalty Matters

This is what loyalty is all about.

From The West Wing, "Noel", Season 2, Episode 32

The most powerful part of the video is the story Leo tells Josh:
This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. 
A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' 
The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. 
Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. 
Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'
Josh later refers to it in the third season in Bartlett for America.

Loyalty matters. And it's a two-way street.

Receive LMS via email? Visit the site to watch the video to experience the story in the most powerful way.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Joyful Joyful

I don't believe anything just happens. I believe that, especially with the people we are most intimately connected, we bring into each other's lives exactly what the other needs, exactly when it is needed most. The best part of that, in my opinion, is that we often don't realize when we're doing something that will profoundly impact the other person. But the universe knows and guides us to take action.

Take, for example, an email I received the other day from someone who knows me better than almost anyone else. He doesn't usually send me emails and when he does, they never just have video links in them, so I thought this might be some sort of nefarious email I shouldn't open that was sent without his knowledge. So I asked him and without telling me what the video contained, he just said, "yep, I sent it."

Fast forward to this morning when I finally watched the video. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my all-time favorite piece of music and how much it made me smile.

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 is the first Choral Symphony ever composed. Some say it's the greatest piece of music ever written and is widely held as Beethoven's greatest work.

I can't put my finger on exactly what I love so much about this piece of music, but it just moves me. It touches every part of my being each time I hear it. I not only hear it, but I can feel it, taste it, see it, and yes, smell it. My soul feels happier when I hear even just a few bars.

Ode to Joy, which is sung in the final movement of the symphony, is inspiring. My personal preference, however, is Joyful Joyful, which I grew up singing in church. Now I'm not typically a loud singer in church, but when Joyful, Joyful is part of the service, I stand and belt it out. I love it so much, I want Joyful, Joyful sung at my funeral.

Watch the videos below and just try not to end up in a better mood. Oh, my favorite part is watching the little girl who climbs the light pole "directing."

Som Sabadell Flash Mob

Joyful Joyful

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm On A Mission From God to see The Blues Brothers

True Confession Time: I've never seen The Blues Brothers. Yes, it's true. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and have never seen one of the most iconic movies ever made in Chicago.

That all ends tonight.

Tonight I'm seeing The Blues Brothers at Wrigley Field thanks to Groupon and Redbox. Is there a better place to see such an incredible movie? No, I don't think so either.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Betsey & Ross

Yes, yes, yes. I know Betsey and Ross died just over three months ago.

But today would be their 16th birthdays and I can't celebrate the Fourth of July and not think of them and all the joy they brought into my life for just under 16 years.

Ross enjoyed being a talker. He had a lot to say and never shied away from telling me what was on his mind. Although fireworks weren't his thing, he loved that everyone took July 4th to celebrate him. Ross would also want to know why he wasn't getting a car for his birthday. The answer that he was a cat and cats don't drive didn't really cut it.

Betsey knew her own beauty, but was never conceited about it. She loved a good party as much as anyone and loved celebrating her birthday.  She would enjoy extra cat nip and a good nap before putting her brother in his place.

Happy Birthday Betsey and Ross. I miss celebrating you today and hope you're having a big ole bash in Kitty Heaven.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Playlist for Kenny Loggins

So one of the great traditions of my new town is the fantastic Fourth of July celebration it puts on. (Sorry, Arlington Heights, Frontier Days is great, but I think Lake Forest and Lake Bluff do the Fourth of July much better).

Each year, they have a great musical talent perform at Deerpath Park followed immediately by fireworks so big you feel like you could reach out and pull them out of the sky with your bare hands. (NOTE: Do not try this. Fireworks are very dangerous. I've known people who were involved in a freak fireworks accident. You don't want to be in their shoes. Trust me.)

Last year, Rick Springfield played. This year, it's Kenny Loggins. That's right. Kenny Loggins of Loggins & Messina, for those of you of a certain age, and the guy who sang the theme songs to Caddyshack, Footloose (the original), and Top Gun, for those of you in my generation. Previous concerts have included The Village People, KC & the Sunshine Band, Eddie Money, and others. Completely awesome. I know. The entire community comes out for this event. It's like a night at Ravinia with people bringing picnics and wine, although you can purchase food from Lovell's, if you'd prefer.

I don't know if Kenny Loggins reads Little Merry Sunshine or not (but if not, why the Hell not?), but I thought I'd take it upon myself to create his play list for him. These are the songs I'd love to hear. He can perform others too, but at a minimum, I hope he sings these songs. No need to thank me. It was a labor of love.

For the First Time

Footloose (the original will always be the best)

Danger Zone (By the way, what are the odds we could have the hottest guys from LFPD and LFFD playing sand volleyball shirtless while Kenny Loggins sings this? I'll pick the players and no, I don't need anyone else's opinion. I'm fully qualified to make this decision.)

This is It

I'm Alright (because everybody needs a little Caddy Shack)

Meet Me Halfway

Return to Pooh Corner (I prefer this to the original, House at Pooh Corner. He must sing this because who doesn't love Winnie the Pooh and all this song represents?)


The Real Thing

I'm Free (Heaven Helps the Man)

Rainbow Connection (The only thing better than Kenny Loggins singing this would be Kermit joining him to sing it.)

Danny's Song 

Finally, for his encore, he should perform Conviction of the Heart

Because I'm so easy going and not controlling at all, Kenny can feel free to do these songs in any order he wishes. I would encourage him not to do all the mushy love songs together because I may just end up in tears. Honestly, I'd forgotten how many wonderful love songs he'd written. But Conviction of the Heart should be last.

Of course, if you received this blog post via email, take a stroll onto the inter webs and watch all the videos. It's worth an hour of your workday. It's the 3rd of July, the day before a holiday. You're probably not doing anything anyway.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thank You

You know who you are and you know what you did. XOXOXO

Fun With Security Cameras

My friend, Ellen, posted the video below on Facebook yesterday and it made me smile.

Don't misunderstand me, I hate the almost constant intrusion of security cameras in our lives. I hate that we can barely walk down the street without Big Brother spying on us all under the guise of keeping us safe. Uh huh.

But sometimes the cameras catch good things in life that we wouldn't ever see. So, as much as it pains me to say this, thank you Coca Cola for capturing these snippets of the good in life.

Plus, I love the song "Give A Little Bit" by Supertramp (which you can watch below the Coco Cola video).

As always, if you read LMS via email, hop on over to the website and watch the videos. I don't know why they don't show up in the emails, but they don't.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

5 Years Ago Today . . .

Five years ago today, I started a little blog called Little Merry Sunshine. It was a Sunday then too.

LMS was my effort to celebrate the good in life because I felt like I was living in a world where I was constantly barraged with negativity and I wanted a place where I could revel in what made me happy and inspired me.

I'll admit I didn't always achieve my goal. Sometimes I've been sarcastic and snippy. I hope I've never been mean. I deviated from my stated mission to talk politics, although frankly, the campaign of 2008 inspired me in more ways than I can probably verbalize now.

LMS has, at times, been my own personal journal. The irony there is that I stopped writing a journal when my journals were subpoenaed in 1992. Seriously. So it's a little bit ironic that this incredibly public blog has sometimes been a journal to me. That said, I've never shared anything too personal. That stuff says inside me.

Somewhere along the way, I lost my drive to write my blog. But that doesn't fully explain it though. What I lost was my belief that focussing on all the good and inspirational would make the world better.

Maybe you've noticed, but I've been sad. I've been so incredibly sad. So much has happened the past few months that I can't talk about on LMS and it's broken my heart more than I thought it could ever be broken. And the thought of writing LMS was too overwhelming because, frankly, I simply didn't have anything to say that could be said publicly, much less out loud. 

So I killed Little Merry Sunshine. I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. Now, I'm not so sure. I don't know if I can start writing this blog again or if its time is simply gone.

But five years ago today, I started Little Merry Sunshine and it's gotten me through some really dark times. So I figured that, at least, deserved some acknowledgement.