On Closing 2012 with Shorts

With 2012 about to close, I could recap the year – but won’t – however, I’ll let The Onion provide satire’s version of recapping the year.

Other 2012 Recaps from The Onion

Here’s some of the entertainment we watched this holiday:

  • Lincoln helps show that politicians have always been selfish
  • Argo is interesting and about something I didn’t even know happened
  • Black Knight Rises (finally rented) is convoluted
  • The Kennedy Center Honors (TV), a must-see every year, was (as always) great
  • Missed seeing Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Guilt Trip, and Anna Karenina (Did you see any of these?)

Congratulations for being the 20,000th comment to Debra, an Aussie who spends time in a beautiful area of Tuscany that is very near to relatives from both sides of my family. If you visit, tell her I sent you.

Cheers to my top 5 commenters (in reverse order): Elyse (#5), El Guapo, Rich, John Erickson, and Starla (#1).

Here’s a list of those who left this world in 2012

Being Freshly Pressed on Christmas Eve has worn me out, thus kept me away from making my rounds. Given the holidays and weekends, I’ve remained on the FP’s front page for a week, which is longer than normal. Then again, I bring the swamped feeling upon myself by having a mantra to reply, reciprocate, and visit any and all – thus I’m ready to move on.

Soon, 2012 will be in the shadow of 2013. I draw the curtain to 2012 with this fitting video by Lindsey Stirling. For those going out to celebrate – enjoy yourself and be safe. To those staying in, enjoy the calm. To all, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Happy New Year! …. and cheers to a healthy and positive 2013!

On a Time to Play

In lieu of a Saturday Morning Classic Cartoon post, here is a wonderful interactive site for you to enjoy – and probably learn something. Special thanks to Alex for finding this gem earlier this year.

A couple of notes for you before you get to play. The image below is what you probably will see first after clicking the link. Notice the following on the image:

  • The Scroll bar, which located at the bottom of the interactive field (at within as shown), is for zooming in and out
  • Click any image to learn more
  • It may take time to load, and the Start button will display the loading status
  • Once loaded, click Start

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The universe is a wonderful place, so enjoy and savor. To start your exploration, click here.

On a Blog Reflection: 2012

In lieu of Friday’s typical Opinions in the Shorts, here’s a look back at 2012. Besides, I still feel a bit overwhelmed from the hectic nature of the past few days.

From the blogging perspective, 2012 was a successful year.

  • Except when on vacation, I maintained my 5-6 posts per week
  • December was already on pace to be the best month ever, but with Freshly Pressed, this month may stand a while
  • Visits for the year improved over 40% from 2011
  • Reached the 100,000 mark for visits
  • 20,000th comment will be soon – and who will get the fireworks display
  • Freshly Pressed on December 24
  • Being added to Le Clown’s blogroll
  • My 1000th post party was very special
  • I continue to enjoy posting and interacting with my visitors

By reviewing my 2012 posts, I selected one post from each month to feature the variety of topics that I embrace. From politics to religion to science to travel to ballroom dance and more, here is my look back at 2012. This collection also gives new readers a chance to learn about me and this blog – which could either encourage them to return or drive them away!

For your comments, which did you read? To my long-time visitors, do you have any memorable posts that I didn’t include?

January: My story of living with a night of blame for 40+ years

February: A tribute to Pi – yep, 3.141592653, including a link of Pi to a million digits

March: On a spectacular place – the universe

April: Looking at the difficult topic of free will

May: Political gridlock remains valid today … and probably tomorrow

June: Faith and science are compatible

July: A mistaken view about global warming

August: I enjoy college football, so look at some of my favorite college football traditions

September: Time for a cruise – Start in Amsterdam, and then follow the link at the bottom of the post to the next port

October: Learn about and enjoy tango

November: I enjoy classic cartoons, so it’s all about Taz

December: How many people can play one instrument at the same time

To send you into the weekend, enjoy Disco Santa, which makes me laugh … and yep, sure sounds like the Village People. Have a safe weekend, and hopefully I can get a play-toy post together for your Saturday.

On 12 Flurries of Christmas

Welcome back! To my Christmas-celebrating friends, I hope you had a DSC01561wonderful holiday. To those not celebrating, hope the day delivered joy and peace to you.

Because I encountered some unexpected flurries, these pics from an outdoor holiday lights display we visit several weeks ago will accompany the story.

Flurry #1: We decided on a cross-state drive to visit my sister for the weekend. The visit went well, but Saturday was John Erickson’s birthday, thus I was disappointed to miss the festivities.

Flurry #2: Upon returning home, I replied to the comments on John’s tribute post, and then raced through the other tributes. I enjoyed them, but a day late just wasn’t the same as being there.

Flurry #3: Besides catching up on the John tributes, Sunday was also the start of my holiday post. I published it at the planned time, which meant comments were on the way.

Flurry #4: I started Christmas Eve with replying to comments. Throughout the day, in between errands, cleaning, and cooking dinner, I tried to make holiday wishes to the blogs I frequent.

Flurry #5: I receive an honor from highly acclaimed H.E.Ellis because this Naughty Santa video from my Gifts 2012 post inspired this post by her.

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Flurry #6: We just finished dinner, and I returned to blogs to answer comments on the gifts post. Through my emails, I see a Like for someone I don’t know … followed by a subscribe notice … following by a comment from Society Red in Seattle, and one I ordered not long ago to shred his citizenship papers: NOW what are you going to do? Freshly Pressed!

Flurry #7: Society Red’s comment created an oh-crap moment, so I scanned the Inbox – and there it was – the notification – and it was already live! … She (the editor) picked DSC01559her favorite video (Hubble to Oh Holy Night), and included this closing statement: Sorry to have to make you remove your “never been Freshly Pressed” badge. Consider it our gift to you.

Flurry #8: I was totally surprised that post #1,082 made it, so I hastily notified a few. After all, time was short and I knew had to abdicate the throne of the country I formed. I summoned a chopper for making my escape into the dark skies to avoid the potential hysteria.

Flurry #9: From the chopper, I contacted John Erickson, who spread the news. Yet, on this Christmas Eve night, the night known for celebrating joy and peace, I looked at the sparkling lights from the people below with pride and sadness … and as the last light faded away, the a tear hits the floor.

Flurry #10: Now in a new location I realized I had get to church for the handbell choir’s final rehearsal. After participating in two services, I returned home to more messages.

Flurry #11: Christmas Day – Dealing with 800+ visitors on this day, plus comments, and maintaining a personal philosophy of interacting with visitors DSC01560was a challenge. My in-laws visited in the afternoon and we had enjoyed dinner. In the evening, I finally slayed the last comment … and then I saw this tribute from rarasaur.

Flurry #12: Besides managing comments, the day after Christmas delivered a winter storm dividing Cincinnati in two – snow and wind for blizzard conditions on the west side to rain-sheet-ice-snow mix for those of us on the east side. Fortunately, I was on the good side of the storm.

I safely landed on the other side of NonFP Nation., and warmly greeted by my friends here … and those in my former homeland cheered as well. Suddenly and unexpectedly receiving the never-envisioned was interesting – but it sure made Christmas 2012 was a bit different. I weathered the storm of 2,100+ visits over 3 days – but I also look forward to returning back to my normal routine. Thanks everyone!

PS: To add the pleasure, the FP post about Santa (the one beside mine in the FP image below)  I listed in last Friday’s Interesting Reads section of Opinions in the Shorts. Yep, I noted it before WordPress.

FreshlyPressed

On Gifts 2012

interfaithlogoYes, I believe in Santa Claus, and the reason is simple – Santa Claus is a spirit of giving and kindness that transcends all cultures.

This post is for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, secular humanists, Atheists, agnostics, and all other belief systems because this my way of saying thank you with hopes that it brings a smile and warms your heart.

To me, there is no other day like Christmas Eve as it brings a sense of calmness. I smile when driving by closed stores with empty parking lots. Traffic is light as we pass houses with outdoor holiday lights. Listening to calm, classic music of the season adds to the sense of calmness.

In the spirit of Santa Claus, here are my gifts to you – my visitors – for I owe you for the many joys you’ve given me here and throughout WordPress.  So, go under the tree, not only take your pick, but you also get as many as you like. In addition, you can make more than one trip and invite your friends. The only condition is that everyone tells me your gifts of choice. Afterwards, head to the buffet and bar for bountiful treats! … and feel free to mingle with the good people here.

Whether Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, cheers and thanks to all!

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Enjoy the trailer to the classic movie, Holiday Inn

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Smile with Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy on a Glass Harp

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Laugh and sing with the Aussies to Six White Boomers

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Dance to the Christmas Waltz as it provides great background for classic holiday movie scenes

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Tap along with rousing bells of a large choir playing vigorous, joyous holiday song

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Be awed by the universe through the Hubble Telescope and Oh Holy Night

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Observe the beauty Aurora Borealis to one of my favorite Mannheim Steamroller tunes: Silent Night

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Take in the joys of George Winston’s piano and to images of snow

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Marvel at one playing all the cello parts

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Laugh with Bob Hope as he entertains troops in Vietnam (1966)

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Be in awe of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with this Nigerian carol

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Wonder about the naughty Santa

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

On 22 December: A Tribute

December 22 is a special day to honor history, science, military, cars, and some oddities. This post starts in 1962.

On December 22, 1962

  • First British band reaches #1 on US single’s chart: Telstar by the The Tornados
  • USSR performs a nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • 1,000,000th NBA point scored
  • Ralph Fiennes (actor) and John Erickson (blogger) born as twins from different mothers
  • All knitted out with new khakis and a rucksack, John Erickson voted cutest baby in nursery

AskJohnDecember 22, 1963: Official 30-day mourning period for President John F Kennedy ends so people can celebrate John Erickson’s first birthday

December 22, 1964: Comedian Lenny Bruce is convicted of obscenity while celebrating John Erickson’s second birthday

December 22, 1965: Vowing to never let John Erickson speed, Great Britain sets maximum speed at 70 MPH

December 22, 1966: WCVW-TV channel 57 in Richmond, Virginia (PBS) goes live by broadcasting John Erickson’s 4th birthday celebration

December 22, 1968: Julie Nixon weds Dwight David Eisenhower to celebrate John Erickson’s 6th birthday

December 22, 1970: SS Commander Franz Stangl of Treblinka, sentenced to life in prison to celebrate John Erickson’s 8th birthday

December 22, 1978: Deng Xiaoping reverses Mao-era policies to allow Chinese to celebrate John Erickson’s 16th birthday

December 22, 1980: So its crew can celebrate John Erickson’s 18th birthday, USS Eisenhower returned to Norfolk, Virginia after a 251-day deployment

December 22, 1982:  Having memorized all three seasons of Star Trek, John sends a fan letter to William Shatner at his new T.J. Hooker TV show, promising to adore him forever.  Bill returns a heartfelt letter saying, “Go ‘way kid, yah bother me!  Why don’t you go bug Yeoman Janice?”

December 22, 1984: Board of Elections discovers John Erickson voted for Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley three times, despite the fact Daley died in 1976

December 22, 1985: To honor a Star Trek enthusiast’s 23rd birthday, NASA moves STS 51-L (space shuttle) to Launch Pad 39B

December 22, 1988: To celebrate his 26th birthday, John Erickson orders 2 robbers wearing police uniforms to rob armored truck in NJ of $3 million

December 22, 1989: Romanians celebrate John Erickson’s 27th birthday by ousting Nicolea Ceausescu

December 22, 1989: To honor John Erickson’s 27th birthday, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate re-opens after nearly 30 years, effectively ending the division of East and West Germany.

December 22, 1990: Poles celebrate John Erickson’s 28th birthday by swearing-in their first popularly elected president, Lech Walesa

December 22, 1997: To help John Erickson, FDA approves Merck’s baldness pill for men

December 22, 1998: Courts order Microsoft to stop blocking Blue Mountain Arts so John Erickson can receive birthday cards

December 22, 2005: To honor John Erickson’s 41st birthday, astronomers hail his proctologist by announcing the discovery of two more rings encircling the planet Uranus

December 22, 2007:  Medically induced financial exile forces John and his long-suffering wife to move to eastern Ohio – Local Amish organize strong protest

December 22, 2010: For nothing to do with John Erickson besides his 48th birthday, President Barack Obama signed a law allowing gays for the first time in history to serve openly in America’s military – thus repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy

December 22, 2012: John Erickson – blogger; Trekkie; enthusiast of WW II, anything military, certain cars, and general nonsense; Clutch Cargo fan, and friend of many bloggers – turns 50

Other Sharing John Erickson’s Birthday
Diocletian, Roman Emperor (244)
Roger II, King of Sicily (1095)
James Oglethorpe (1696) English founder of Georgia (US)
Giacomo Puccini, composer (1858)
Minor Watson, Guadalcanal Diary actor, (1889)
Grote Reber, first radio astronomer (1911)
Lady Bird Johnson, American First Lady (1912)
Barbara Billingsley, actor (1915)
Gene Rayburn, game show host (1917)
Diane Sawyer, broadcast journalist (1945)
Brothers Gibb, Robin and Maurice, Bee Gees (1949)
Coco, first gorilla bred in captivity (1956)
Yuri Malenchenko, Russian astronaut (1961)
Dina Meyer, Starship Troppers actor (1968)
Greg Biffle, NASCAR driver, (1969)

Many people have a soft spot for animals. As strays come to doors, some shoo them away, others offer temporary help, and some even take them in. In late 2010/early, someone saw my comment about being in Ohio – and shortly thereafter I received a visit. The best I can determine, John Erickson first commented here on January 3, 2011 – and he’s been not only hanging around here ever since, but he has also worked his way into many of your lives.

John always provides an interesting quip, and at times, I admit writing commentator-award1something to set up his comment. Most of us got to know John through his visits because he didn’t host a blog as he does now. To John, I present the Commentator Award.

I’ve never met (in person) any bloggers, but this past October I drove 3.5 hours to meet John – and I had a wonderful day with hopes that I return in the spring. Happy birthday John … and a video for you below.

Visit these other birthday tributes: Fasab, Elyse, Guapo, Weebs, Doggy, Jamie, Brainrants, Benzeknees, Archon, The Idiot Speaketh, WhiteLadyInTheHood