On a South American Wonder

Water is the driving force of all nature. (Leonardo da Vinci)

I love the sounds and the power of pounding water, whether it is the waves or a waterfall. (Mike May)

The point is that when I see a sunset or a waterfall or something, for a split second it’s so great, because for a little bit I’m out of my brain, and it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m not trying to figure it out, you know what I mean? And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness. (Chris Evans)

There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you! (Mehmet Murat ildan)

Just as a waterfall grows slower and more lightly suspended as it plunges down, so the great man of action tends to act with greater calmness than his tempestuous desires prior to the deed would lead one to expect. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

One will never find in the waterfall of sights anything else than the Illusion of Life, which falls in torrents on the granite rocks of the souls. (Sorin Cerin)

Friends of ours just returned from an Argentina-to-Chile cruise. The day before boarding the ship, they took a tour of a place I didn’t know along the border of Argentina and Brazil. Once I saw this video, I knew this was a fitting post for us to explore … and the music is a perfect match for the scenery.

Have you heard of these? Have you been there? Which of the quotes stuck you?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 252

This week was the fifth year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since then, the White House and its departments did a lousy job educating the public, and Congress has done absolutely nothing to improve the ACA. On the other hand, nothing is something Congress does well. Cheers to Ron Fournier for this National Journal article.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. I smiled at the announcement because I continue to say his nomination is exactly what the Republican party needs. Maybe I should endorse him.

During the first three months of their Congressional majority, Republicans have not shown me that they can lead.

Have you ever seen the International Space Station fly overhead? Thanks to Jim in Iowa, here’s a website to determine when that happens in your area.

The leading thought was that college basketball player Lauren Hill wouldn’t see Christmas. Well, she did … and New Years Day … and Valentine’s Day … and St. Patrick’s Day. Although she may be struggling, she is a fighter and her attitude remains positive.

Did you realize I’m mentioned in Lorna’s video?

For the sidebar, I followed Catherine’s suggestion of displaying the blogger’s location with a rollover. See yours if it’s correct, and let me know if you want me to change it. I need help with List of X.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this weekend, but an edition of the Explore series is ready – thus you can wonder if it will be a person, place, or thing.

Meals: The Musical debuts next week, and I’m side-stepping my normal protocol. Act 1: Meals will feature songs with any of the following words in the title: Meal(s), Breakfast, Lunch, Lunchtime, Brunch, Dinner, Dinnertime, or Supper. More about the debut on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a week in pictures.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Report: Employees most innovative when brainstorming dramatic quitting scenarios
  • Man filled with gratitude at sight of other customers in nice restaurant wearing jeans
  • Study: Not many Disco songs about daytime
  • New speech recognition software factors in user’s mouth always being full
  • Siblings playing tense game of chicken to decide who takes care of mom
  • Michael Dukakis still drives old tank everywhere

Interesting Reads

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Weekend) Crossword Puzzle Days, Listening Weekend
  • (Fri) Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day, Joe Day, Corkscrew Appreciation Day,Celebrate Exchange Day, Viagra Day, Spanish Paella Day, Kite Flying Day, Photography Day, Steam Fire Engine Day, Education & Sharing Day
  • (Sat) Barnum & Bailey Day, Be Mad Day, Virtual Advocacy Day, Weed Appreciation Day, Earth Hour, Black Forest Cake Day, Something on a Stick Day, Hot Tub Day, Eat an Eskimo Pie Day, Children’s Picture Book Day
  • (Sun) Vietnam Veterans Day, Mom & Pop Business Owners Day, Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day, Love Your Children Day, Lemon Chiffon Cake Day, Coca Cola Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a relatively recent video of a classic from the 1979 album Breakfast in America – enjoy Supertramp’s Take the Long Way Home. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On an Undeniable Review

UndeniableBillNyeIn February 2014, Bill Nye debated Ken Ham (President, Answers in Genesis, AIG) about evolution-creation at AIG’s Creation Museum on Cincinnati’s Kentucky-side of the river. This book, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, is a result of Nye’s preparation for and participation in the debate.

Although Nye initially trained and worked as a mechanical engineer, the general public got to know him as The Science Guy through his television shows in the early 1990s.

Bill Nye is noted for a fast-paced, engaging style to explain scientific topics in laymen’s terms to the masses – and that style is what readers get in this book. His wit, sense of humor, knowledge, and ability to stay at the layman level is his brand. Those familiar with him may even hear his voice while reading.

The chapters a short – actually rather bite-sized with most chapters being less than 10 pages. Nye intertwines stories and analogies amid the chapter’s main premise while using historical and present-day applications.

Typically, each chapter focuses on a specific topic; and Nye covers a wide range of topics, such as evolution, natural selection, punctuated equilibrium, biodiversity, fossils, thermodynamics, convergence, competition, extinction, gene flow, genetic bottlenecks, homologous structures, selection, mutations, and population isolation. Given these topics and his simplistic approach, Nye explains the natural process of evolution.

Although Nye frequently mentions claims made by Ham about evolution, he does not address faith … but to his defense, faith is not the intent of this book. Those desiring more about the interchange between science and religion will be disappointed.

Given that’s the science-religion interchange is not his intent, I don’t like the “Science of Creation” portion of the book’s title … but that’s me because of my level of understanding about the interchange. On the other hand, the “Undeniable” portion of the title is very appropriate – even for the pun lovers who see UndeNEYable.

Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation is Bill Nye’s latest effort in bringing science to the masses. Given the debate about appropriate subjects in public school science classes doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, I applaud Nye’s efforts because the majority of the public is poorly informed.

One for the bookshelves? Maybe, depending on the reader’s background … but definitely not for those with a firm understanding of evolution and its subtopics. Yes, it covers the basics, thus Undeniable is a primer … a good place to start … but it lacks the depth and breathe that others may desire because Undeniable is not a book for extensive study of evolution.

Bottom line – the reader must decide if this is a good book for them … but for the vast majority of people, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye is a good read.

On Satire Bits: Vol. 126

Welcome to midweek. How’s your week been so far?

March weather in Cincinnati is quite wide-ranging with cool to warm and snow to thunderstorms. Whew! The last half of the week looks to be cold. Yuk! That’s OK because my golf clubs remain in the backroom.

A reminder that Thursday is Name Your Own Holiday Day. Do you have any suggestions? I’m proposing Flying Rutabaga Day, Turtles with Prehensile Tails Day, and Hats Off to the Women of CNN Day.

This week’s midweek dose of satire is for RoSy, who (long ago) requested a sports set from The Onion’s archives.

Don’t forget the Combo Challenge – that is, making your own satirical headline from the words in the headlines below. My Combo is at the end.

Have a good rest of the week.

New report suggests it kind of weird baseball uniforms have belts

Man watching World Cup thought he would have seen more bicycle kicks by now

Goalkeeper announces plans to frantically wave and yell at teammates before corner kick

Exhausted cyclists ask for some drugs so they can finish Tour de France

Michael Phelps apologizes to entire nation after tasting Subway for the first time

Amnesty International blasts hockey league for penalty box conditions

Hockey jersey tucked in for date

Student athlete graduates with 3.8 grade point average

Player’s season depends on if he can stay healthy

Report: Majority of baseball players swallow up to six baseballs during sleep each year

My Combo: Exhausted hockey players frantically swallow entire Subway in penalty box causing goalkeeper to wave and yell for first-time date

On a Day at a Museum

In late December, my wife and I spent the afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC). The fabulous day included two Omnimax movies, an exhibition, the holiday train display, and sometime in the history portion of the CMC … so here’s your chance to explore what we saw.

The CMC occupies Union Terminal. With its Art Deco, rotunda, tile mosaics, and architectural structures, Union Terminal is quite the building. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects listed this wonderful structure by placing it #44 on the AIA’s favorites of American architecture. Learn more about Union Terminal here.

Jerusalem, a National Geographic movie, was fascinating! We’ve seen most of the Omnimax movies through the years, and this one ranks as one of the best. The trailer is below, but here is the list of locations the movie is currently playing throughout the world.

Mummies of the World is a travelling exhibit that is currently in Cincinnati. The exhibit trailer is below, and click here for the exhibit’s main website. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a schedule of future tour stops.

In the Omnimax theater, we also saw Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs. To me, the movie was OK and worth seeing, but doesn’t make my list of favorite films at the museum’s theater. Explore the trailer.

On our way to the holiday train display, the Cincinnati in Motion exhibit is a personal favorite. It’s a model of the city in the first half of the 20th Century. Life in cities during pre-suburbia and interstates fascinates me. The video below will give you a ride through the display, and you can see some images here.

On Coasting into the Week

Another weekend is history, so who was yours?

My weekend was a full with working during the day Thursday through Sunday, an informal evening of dance without my wife, a formal night dancing at a grand ballroom with my wife, and Quickstep formation practice with her as well. (I’m drafting a post about Quickstep.) The above probably accounted over 90% of my waking hours.

Although I announced Meals: The Musical, I don’t want to start it until I get a full-week of blogging in the books – and hopefully this is the week.

Besides an important reorganization of this blog, I have been able to prepare some posts that are in the queue while creating others that are still rough copy. So, a full week of posts is possible. On the other hand, I’m behind on reading your blogs and with housework.

Celebrations for Your Week

(Week) Week of Solidarity with People’s Struggling Against Racism & Discrimination, Tsunami Awareness Week, Phace Syndrome Awareness Week, Cleaning Week, Root Canal Awareness Week, Youth Violence Prevention Week, Meat-Free Week, LGBT Health Awareness Week, Bubble Week, Spring Fever Week, Sleep Awareness Week, Clutter Awareness Week, Second-Hand Shopping Week

(Mon) Puppy Day, Near Miss Day, OK Day, Meteorological Day, Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day, Turtle Day, Dixie Cup Day, Cable Car Day, Melba Toast Day

(Tues) Chocolate Covered Raisins Day, Tuberculosis Day, Day of Human Right and for Dignity of Victims, Family Day, Houdini Day, Brave Hearts Day

(Wed) Manatee Appreciation Day, Letting Go of Stuff Day, Diabetes Alert Day, Medal of Honor Day, First Pancakes Day, Old New Years Day, Sleep Day, Pecan Day, Lobster Newberg Day, Tolkien Reading Day, Waffle Day, Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

(Thurs) Make Up Your Own Holiday Day, Wear Purple for Epilepsy Day, Spinach Day, Nougat Day, International Sister Cities Day, Legal Assistants Day

Let’s start the week with a double feature of chuckles. First is a short commercial, but the second is a trip to an amusement park for an animation of the (to be) world tallest coaster scheduled to open in 2017. Enjoy the ride – and have a good week.

On an Unexpected Connection

Saturday is Dance Day and Down Syndrome Day – thus the perfect opportunity for a post about special people. After all, I imagine many may not see a link between ballroom dance and Down Syndrome.

I volunteer at a weekly dance event that is not only fun, but one with ample opportunities for smiles because it is for adults with Down Syndrome. Some of the attendees are functional enough to have a job, but others aren’t. Some a more coordinated and able to move better freely, but others physically struggle. Toss in a wide range of speaking abilities, it’s quite a gathering of about 30 attendees and numerous volunteers.

My smiles come from an action or something said. From a person running up to me for a dance to receiving a smile given by someone who has difficulty speaking. Simply put, the 45-minute session is a weekly delight in my life.

However, these events are not about the volunteers, but about the attendees. First of all, it’s a social event. They arrive with smiles and race to greet their friends they haven’t seen in a week. That is followed by the power of music and dance as it speaks to them just as it does to the rest of us.

Each week is the same. The 45-minute session starts and ends with the same song – the group’s theme song – a version of Over the Rainbow to which everyone dance a group routine. After a line dance or two, the instructor reviews the dance, and then a song plays for dancing. Another song for the same dance is the sign to change partners. The pattern stays the same through Rumba, Salsa, Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Tango, and Merengue – with the latter quickly morphing into a predictable conga line. After another line dance or two, the session ends with the same theme song that started it all.

I want to toast several of the attendees for the joys they give me.

  • To T, one of the better dancers, and one with an infectious smile and positive attitude
  • To K, whose quiet nature always answers question and giggles
  • To S, who is always smiling and laughing as she thinks I’m a bit crazy
  • To C, who best communicates to me through her eyes and smiles that make me melt on the spot
  • To J, who runs to me with a smile for a salsa or cha cha
  • To R, who insists on being a lady
  • To Teddy, one that I’ve written about here before, whose positive attitude about life is a role model for anyone
  • To the parents and caregivers for being supportive
  • To Mary, our leader (the blonde in the opening video), and the one who has made this happen

I close with a collection of clips for the competition held last October for these wonderful people. (Because you want to know, I’m in Foxtrot, Swing & Tango sections with contestants 35 & 54 – but I think that’s me in the center of the still)

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