On a Surprise Gift

I recall that day in December 2013. As my wife and I were returning from errands, I noticed a package on our doorstep … and we both confirmed that we weren’t expecting anything. But as I approached the box, my brain pulled out the file card with the answer, then I smiled and my heart rate increased in anticipation of what was inside the box. After all, I had never done anything like this before.

Jeff, (@The Drunken Cyclist) has a passion for wine … and there’s no doubt, I would love to be his neighbor. Nonetheless, several weeks earlier he tossed out the parameters of an idea to his readers, and some (including me) proclaimed, “Why not!”

I sent my name, address, and wine preference (red, white, or either) to him. After gathering the information from participants, his wife developed the plan … which meant I received a name, address, and wine preference of a person (and they don’t know it will be from me), plus someone received my information. So there it, inside the box on my doorstep … a wine from my Secret Santa.

Envisioning a delight that would be a highlight to a dampened holiday spirit (as my mother-in-law had passed away a few weeks earlier), I was eager to open the box. Would it be a single varietal or a blend? Would it be from vineyards of Spain, Italy, France, California, Australia, or Argentina?

Image from vinfolio.com

Image from vinfolio.com

As I reached for the bottle, my excitement continued to build, then like a ton of bricks … POW … I crashed when I noticed the wine was from a vineyard in Arizona.

Alright … I knew that every US state has at least one winery, so Arizona didn’t surprise me, but my mind raced with questions and thoughts:

  • Huh?
  • Where is the Arizona wine region?
  • Given the location, a blend has to be better than a single varietal.

I examined the bottle, and on the backside … YES … it’s a blend! Then I gave myself the wake-up call … Hey … wine lovers read Jeff’s blog, so they aren’t going to send lousy wine … so relax and trust the sender!

Tom, my Secret Santa, included a wonderful write-up about the wine, the vineyard, and himself. He gave a quick overview of Arizona wineries (over 50) being at the high elevations (thus cooler) in primarily three regions of the state. In this case, the owner and winemaker is Maynard James Keenan, a metal/alternative rocker who has won awards with this wine.

Sometime in January we hosted a friend for dinner. Knowing that he’s willing to try different wines, this would be the perfect time to share a taste of Arizona. After the first taste, all three of us looked at each other with open eyes saying, “Wow … what a pleasant surprise!”

Caduceus (the winery) is also the staff carried by Hermes …. the staff that is the common symbol for medicine Winery’s homepage: Here’s what we discovered about this wine.

  • Easy to drink
  • A Super Tuscan style of blend: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese
  • Smooth (not tannic), yet rich with complexity
  • Not overpowering, but cherry with spice are obvious
  • Excellent with our food for the evening (that I can’t recall)

Although this post is very late, I salute Jeff for organizing this fun activity (the rules), Theresa who received my wine, and Tom – my Secret Santa .. and hey Jeff … I hope you do this again.

Here’s  a short video of the winemaker discussing this wine. Cheers!

On Satire Bits: Vol. 111

HEY HEY HEY … WEDNESDAY IS ALL-CAPS DAY … BUT I’M NOT YELLING … JUST CELEBRATING!!!

AUTUMN HAS UNQUESTIONABLY ARRIVED IN CINCINNATI, AND MANY OF THE LEAVES ARE BEAUTIFUL … I ESPECIALLY LOVE THE REDS. NONETHELESS, REGARDLESS OF LEAVE COLOR PREFERENCE, MY LONG-TIME READERS WILL BE GLAD TO KNOW THAT REMOVING FALLEN LEAVES IS NOT ON MY AGENDA, AND I DON’T MISS IT!!!!

EVEN THOUGH I’M NOT YELLING, I WANT TO KEEP THIS HARD-TO-READ STUFF AT A MINIMUM.

LET’S MOVE ON TO YOUR MIDWEEK DOSE OF SATIRE. BELOW THE IMAGE ARE THE HEADLINES FROM THE ONION (AND IN NORMAL PRINT). DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE? DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE EXTRA CHALLENGE OF CREATING YOUR OWN HEADLINE BY USING ANY OF THE WORDS BELOW. MY “COMBO” IS AT THE END. HAVE A GOOD REST OF THE WEEK!

Fire flies almost salvage man’s lousy day

Mom $15,000 in the hole with ceramic frog dealer

Study: Average American has over 9 million imagined sexual partners in lifetime

Patient zero kicking back in 38-c with episode of New Girl

Pitiful man struggles to find reason not to watch rebroadcast of 2006 football game

Man under impression he went down fighting

Man wearing M&M jacket made in God’s image

Report: Stagnant economy forcing more Americans to take jobs as infrastructure

Study: 73% of bedroom closets have wife’s boy-toy crouched naked inside

New Nike running app tell you what you are running from

My Combo: Man wearing wife’s jacket running from naked new girl struggles fighting frog as sexual partner

On a Walktober Town Walk

Loveland Sign

Loveland Sign

As part of Robin’s Walktober, welcome to Loveland, the town where my wife and I reside. Instead of sharing our beauty fall colors, I’ve chosen to take you for a town walk of this northeastern Cincinnati suburb.

Lt. Colonel Thomas Paxton may have first lived in a house like this …

Rich Cabin

Rich Cabin @ the Loveland Historical Museum

… but his daughter and husband built this home in 1840 …

White Pillars

White Pillars

… and all are buried in the family cemetery (both the home and cemetery are now part of a subdivision)

Paxton Cemetery

Paxton Family Cemetery

In the early days, Loveland thrived as a railroad community because two lines intersected here, thus served at least 14 trains a day … (and one railway still operates as I hear the train’s horn several times a day)

Loveland Station

Loveland Station

One of the railroad beds is now a very popular 70-mile bike trail, which also intersects with other trails in the state

Loveland straddles both sides the Little Miami River, which is a designated sceinic waterway at both the state and national level, thus is popular for canoeing … plus the bike trail follows the river

Between the bike trail and the river is a wonderful city park with picnic tables, an amphitheater, and access to the river bank

Old Town offers a some shops, eateries, and a movie theater that the local firefighters converted into a playhouse for the community theater company

Other sights include a studio for local artists, an old church that is now someone’s home (I’m told the owners call it their chouse), and even a mural for Resa

Loveland honors its veterans from all wars and area firefighters

The city’s motto is The Sweetheart of Ohio, besides, people love to send Valentine’s Day cards with the Loveland post office mark

A City Symbol

The Sweetheart of Ohio

From Loveland, Ohio, good day and good night … and don’t forget to vist

On a Comic Tune for Monday

Brrrrr … after a beautiful day on Friday to lead us into the week, Saturday slapped us with a dose of cold – thus not a great day to attend an outdoor wedding reception in the evening … but hey … it was a wonderful event for an outstanding family. The rest of the weekend was filled with numerous errands and (of course) time on the ballroom floor. How was your weekend? Is the weather changing in your area?

Celebrations for your week

  • (Week) Character Counts Week, Chemistry Week, Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, Bullying Bystanders Unite Week, Infection Prevention Week, Mediation Week, Forest Products Week, Friends of Libraries Week, Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Massage Therapy Week, Respiratory Care Week, Pastoral Week, Save for Retirement Week, Ally Week, Freedom of Speech Week, Disarmament Week, Health Education Week, Nuclear Science Week, School Bus Safety Week, Radon Action Week, Wildlife Week, Rainforest Week, Hepatitis Awareness Week, Dystonia Awareness Week, Adult Immunization Awareness Week, Consumers Week, Business Women’s Week
  • (Mon) Brandied Fruit Day, Clean Up Your Virtual Desktop Day, Lung Health Day, Miss American Rose Day
  • (Tues) Reptile Awareness Day, Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, Babbling Day, Celebration of the Mind Day, Iodine Deficiency Disorder Prevention Day, Apple Day
  • (Wed) Nut Day, Mother-in-Law Day, Cap Locks Day, Stuttering Awareness Day, Smart is Cool Day, Make a Difference Day
  • (Thurs) Mole Day (as in chemistry), Swallows Depart from San Juan Capistrano Day, iPod Day, TV Talk Show Host Day, Boston Creme Pie Day

To send you into the week, here’s comic Tom Shillue version of Trololo, although I can’t recall you guided me to him (for some reason, Cynthia comes to mind.) Nonetheless, thanks to whomever … and cheers to a good week ahead.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 236

On Politics
In the US, the Surgeon General would be the point person in the fight against Ebola. As Republicans are (predictably) attacking President Obama on Ebola, let us not forget that President Obama nominated Dr. Vikey Murthy for the post in November 2013, whose nomination is being blocked by Republicans. Once again I say that Senators should act on any and all presidential nominees regardless of the president’s political affiliation.

In the fight against ISIS, Turkey is remaining on the sidelines as much as possible, which causes me to wonder if its leadership is doing with hopes of eradicating the Kurds. I don’t know, but just a thought to ponder.

I like this statement in a recent Cincinnati Enquirer article regarding climate change and politicians … When you get politicians in the room to talk about climate change, science doesn’t seem to enter into the equation. What does? Money, geography, party politics, and a region’s history.

Recent quotes for talk-show host Bill Maher and some of his guests about Islam has received much media attention. On the topic, I enjoyed this column from Fareed Zakaria (Washington Post).

I always appreciate the Stealers Wheel song clip Michael Smerconish uses on his XM radio show: Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, stuck in the middle with you … and now I see this one from Nancy’s book review: Don’t go to the right, don’t go left, go deeper. Thanks, Nancy!

To lead you into The Onion, I appreciate these two recent gems they provide on our upcoming elections.

  • Voters excited to use midterm elections to put country back on different wrong track
  • Congress waiting until after the midterms to address nationwide plague of hornets

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
TV show under fire for depicting murder
Man thinks people care enough about him to be let down by his failures
Facebook offers to freeze female employees’ newborn children
Entire conversation with parents spent changing subject
Lifelong dream no match for first brush with adversity
Susan G Komen Foundation launches deep-space probe to bring breast cancer awareness to rest of galaxy

Interesting Reads
A white-only town in South Africa
Constitutional balance
Evolution and faith: one’s journey
Columnist David Brooks on campaign spending
Top geologic sights in the UK (great pics, too)
Infographic: Extinction by Numbers
Microsoft Office is not needed

On Potpourri
Another story of a young lady from the Cincinnati area with cancer is getting national attention. She’s a college freshman with a wish to play in one college basketball game. Here’s the video from a local channel (one in which the reporter has a difficult time) and this written report from Sporting News that has a video for a different local station.

This week I made my first appearance to the weekly dance gathering for those with disabilities. It was a great 45 minutes, plus the dancer teacher was pleasantly surprised to see me. Later, I sent her the link to my post about the event, and she loved it.http://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/on-an-extra-special-event/

CNN has a series (CNN Roots) about the family roots of some of their studio personalities. I’ve enjoyed the three I’ve seen so far, but this one about Michaela Pereira is outstanding, so I encourage you can watch it here. By the way, CNN will have a primetime special regarding this series on October 21st at 9:00 pm (Eastern US). Here’s the CNN page on the series with all the videos.

This week we got a new neighbor, and they used a POD storage system, which I’ve seen – but I’ve never witnessed one either loaded or unloaded to/from a truck. I must say, Very interesting! … so here are two videos for those who want to know more … from the moving company (1+ min) … and … by a user (4+ min).

Another act of Life: The Musical is in the official record, so thanks to all participants … and, as always, I love listening to all the songs. What’s your thought on this idea: Should I compile all the songs for the entire musical?

This weekend is going to be a busy one for us, so there won’t be a Saturday Morning Cartoon this week.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Wear Something Gaudy Day, Pasta Day, Alternative Fuel Day, Black Poetry Day, Eradicate Poverty Day, Mulligan Day, Mammography Day
  • (Sat) Bridge Day, Chocolate Cupcake Day, Menopause Day, No Beard Day, Sweetest Day, Boost Your Brain Day
  • (Sun) Toy Camera Day, Evaluate Your Life Day, Get Smart about Credit Day, Seafood Bisque Day

Thought I’d send you into the weekend this week with a 2-fer. First, Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel (because I mentioned it in the post), plus one that you may not know .. but I like the beat and its a great dance song … so here’s Ms. Jody with At the Bop. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


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Life: The Musical – Act 10: Play

The Story
Life: The Musical is an original aFa production is a journey featuring songs of about life. Each act features an aspect of life as a theme with music supplied around that theme.

LifeTheMusicalProgram (Past Posts)
Act 1: Life
Act 2: Born
Act 3: Names
Act 4: Young
Act 5: Dream
Act 6: Teens
Act 7: School
Act 8: Adulthood
Act 9: Work

Act 10
Life … the time for the living to live. One’s life starts when one is born. Shortly thereafter, we are given something that stays with us no matter where we go – a name. Immediately, we are nourished, so we grow physically, mentally, and emotionally from babies into young children … and that’s when we start to dream about our future life. Growth never stops, so from children we move on as teens .. but school is still much of life at this point.

Eventually, we move into adulthood as women and men, and the work world is a prominent feature in life … but work isn’t the only thing in life. After all, who would ever believe that life is all work and no play! Act 10 is about play as in fun, so song titles must include Play, Playing, Fun, or a fun activity (as in swimming).

There is much latitude in this act, thus a lot of room for error … so make your selection with care. IMPORTANT: 1) Include the title and artist in your comment, and 2) an occupation can only be used once.

Production Note
To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line). The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video … but I don’t mind unembedding, so apologies are not necessary.

Announcement
Right here on this stage aFa Productions presents is an American icon to kickoff Act 10. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome The Boss … Bruce Springsteen Dancing in the Dark (with a young Courtney Cox).

On Satire Bits: Vol. 110

How’s your week gone so far?

With today being a dreary day in Cincinnati, I decided to start my quest of dedicating as much of one day as possible to writing. So, hey … I now have some posts already in the queue!

No golf league in my schedule means I get an extra evening at home. But, that also means I will prepare dinner. My wife had to leave quickly this evening, so I kept it simple – spaghetti with a personally made meat sauce with Italian sausage, onions, fennel seed, basil, red wine, and tomatoes – and then top the plate with crumbled feta cheese.

A reminder that the next act of Life: The Musical goes live Wednesday, 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Because we know life is more than work, Play (as in having fun) is the theme, so get your songs reading with any of the following in the title: Play, Playing, Fun, or a fun activity (such as swimming). The producer is worried about this one, so good luck.

It’s time for that mid-week boost of satire to give you a burst toward the weekend. You also have a chance to create your own, original satirical headline by using the words in the headlines below the image. Have a good rest of the week.

Going-out-of-business sign thanks neighborhood for 3 months of no support whatsoever

More couples using wedding drones to film nuptials

Entirety of man’s personal data protected by reference to third season of West Wing

Homosexuality only thing parent can accept about son

Employer totally botches job interview

New law requires welfare recipients to submit sweat to prove how they are looking for a job

Wife already knows the one thing she’ll say that can never be taken back

Drug company releases new drug to treat people who feel sort of weird sometimes

New Kindle helps readers show off by shouting title of book loudly and repeatedly

Groundbreaking young adult novel features protagonist who’s a bit of a loner

My Combo: Loner wife helps drug company treat wedding couples with no drugs