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It was another Christmas at the Twin Cities’ One-House Festival of Lights — the Mike Holtz home of a thousand plastic Santas at 1210 Hovey Ave. 

Cars slowed to a crawl. Many got out to take pictures. Everyone wondered just how fast the electric meter on the side of the Holtz house must spin in December.

And there was one additional occurrence this year — a UFO.

One evening, Holtz says he looked out to see a drone hovering over his house. At first, says Holtz, “I thought 'What the heck'?" 

Ends up it was a neighbor from nearby Searle Drive, Heather Paul, who has her own drone with a mounted camera — a DJI Phantom Vision 2+, to be exact — and this year, she decided to capture a tree-level view of the annual Holtz "Santaganza." 

The result is a very well-done video, 79 seconds long, with Andy Williams singing background. (You can access it on YouTube by typing “Heather Paul Crazy Christmas“ in the search box.)

Thanks to Heather, we’d say the video casts a whole new light on the Holtz house … sort of dignified, sort of even (OK, you read it here first) stately ... except we know shedding any more light at 1210 Hovey is probably not possible.

Not this way:  Rarely in life do you stop to think of the value of the simple things, like the words “STOP” or “NEXT RIGHT” when posted on road signs or "MEN" and “WOMEN” on a restroom door.

Just think if one day those words disappeared and how confused we'd be on where to go?

Like the other night at a Monical’s Pizza in El Paso where the “LADIES” room was identified as such. However, that word apparently having fallen off, the other restroom was not identified.

That led to more than just one quandary. Or as Jay Pfister, of El Paso, would later muse: “Was our conclusion to be that if you were not a lady, you were to then use the other restroom?”

Right at home in Texas: When the ESPN2 cameras next Saturday pan the football crowd at the FCS national championship game between Illinois State University and North Dakota State and suddenly you see a batch of red cowboy hats, don’t be fooled into thinking those are 10-gallon Texans.

Those are all just relatives of ISU long-snapper, Chris Highland. The hats come compliments of Paul Segobiano.

The longtime Bloomington civic leader, Segobiano plans to be at the game where he will be going by another title: “Grandpa.” Highland is his grandson.

For Christmas, in advance of the game and in honor of Highland, a football all-American and 3.60 student in the classroom, Segobiano gave his wife, Barb, a wide-brimmed, red cowboy hat, emblazoned with a Redbird on the front and a “96” on the back, the uniform number of Highland who prepped at Bloomington's Central Catholic High School.

Then, he gave one to daughter, Pamela, too. She would be Chris’s mom. Then, he made an additional announcement — he had one for everyone else, too!

Thus far, that’s 20 red-hatted Segobianos to be nattily garbed in Redbird cowboy hats. But all told, 33 from the family are going. Attention Dallas: Here comes a new-age Red Hat Society.

Today's deep thought: As mulled by David Messenger of Normal: “Ever notice at a red light where everyone in the line wants to turn right on red … except the very first car that wants to go straight?”

Jim Smith and Bob Jones of the world, move over!: Recently named media contact for the state organization, Raise Illinois, was Scott Vogel.

He's not to be confused with Scott Vogel who is director of advancement at Central Catholic High School.

Neither of them is also to be confused with Scott Vogel, who is an elementary school teacher in Unit 5.

Scott Vogel and Scott Vogel don't know the "new" Scott Vogel, but Scott Vogel and Scott Vogel used to be on a softball team together, coincidentally with Eric Vogel, none of whom are related, but all of whom did offer a good chance that a Vogel would bat every inning.

Steve Vogel, you reading this?


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