On Beach Walk: No. 27

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I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me – like food or water.” (Ray Charles, musician)

I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The sound of the surf fosters many descriptors as magical, soothing, refreshing, healing, and many more. For those hearing one of nature’s symphonies, musical another descriptor.

I think about music, but music is much more than we think.

I think about common notes as one, one and a half, two, three, four, one eighth, and one sixteenth arranged in potentially many random sequences.

I think about the musical notes of A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and their designated accidentals of sharps and flats – let alone the number of times that pattern repeats for a different octave.

I think about all the random combinations those notes can be arranged into music – let alone when combined with the previous combination of numbers.

I think about music as a combination of 88 tones of piano keys and then some – notes of various lengths constructed together in desired chords – majors and minors of the key signature played at a particular tempo.

Music is not just for dedications, memories, emotions, relaxation, and/or entertainment – Music engages emotions, thoughts, memories, or paints a picture with the brush of sound.

Music is more than stanzas composed of phrases arranged in measures containing notes of various lengths and accentuations – Music is a message written in a unique language that must be translated by skilled people so listeners can interpret its intent.

Music is more than something we extract from the electronic device of choice – Music is an expression of a time, a place, a setting, an occasion, a story, a mood, or emotions.

Music is a combination of notes, phrases in a sequence to a key signature, time signature, and tempo – Music is more than a composer’s notes on a page for a musician because music is one of the universal languages.

Music is a variety of genres as Rhythm & Blues, Rock & Roll, New Age, Country, Classical, Rap, and many more – with each subdivided into a host of musical niches – let alone the variations within from global cultures – and all are good for the mood, mind, and soul – but just in a different way for different people.

On the day I think about music and the countless joys that it has given me – even the musical earworms – walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 363

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Cheers to the new header. Following my fascination with images from deep space, NASA released this Hubble image in 2018 featuring a monster young star in the Lagoon Nebula within the Constellation Sagittarius – 4,000 light-years away. To see my past headers, visit the Past Headers page or click here.

I was surprised to learn these facts about recycling in the US: 1) Cardboard recycling is down while online sales are up, and 2) About 40% of Americans either don’t have access to a recycling program or don’t sign up for the one available. For those interested, here’s an interesting article on the topic.

I never realized that Chicago’s Midway Airport is named after WW II’s Battle of Midway.

As one who continues to believe the majority of the world is good, Anthony Bourdain’s death saddens me because he acknowledged the same good through the culinary delights of different cultures.

A major milestone happened while I was on my recent vacation. My feet have successfully stood in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. For the record, Montpelier, Idaho completed the journey.

 

The people have spoken regarding Fiona’s mural, which will be downtown and completed later this summer. If you want a sneak peek, click here.

After two+ weeks away from ballroom and golf, getting back into ballroom is much harder because it requires so much knowledge. The first weekend back to dancing was horribly difficult.

Golf’s US Open (my favorite golf tournament) is this weekend. While two of the past three US Opens have been questionable at best, I look forward to the challenge Shinnecock Hills should provide.

My Cincinnati Reds continue their predictable, pathetic path. However, they did surprise me. By the time they won their 20th game, the Red Sox and Yankees were the only two teams shy of 20 losses.

Cheers to the New York Times for recently including Cincinnati in their 52 places to visit. Here’s the article.

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To my Canadian readers. President Trump may represent Americans, does not speak for the majority of us.

For me, the report that President Trump told Lesley Stahl (CBS News) that he intentionally demeans and discredits the media for the purpose of convincing people not to believe the negative stories in the media about him sums up much of his time in office.

Although the recent Supreme Court ruling of the cake baker case bothered me, I listened to an analysis that mentioned the narrow view of the majority opinion.

My Congressman wrote this op-ed (Washington Times), to which I responded to him by email (below).

As per your newsletter, I read you recent op-ed in the Washington Times. I respectfully submit the following as a rebuttal.

1) Blaming the Democrats, the media, and Hillary Clinton is not only tiresome, it’s down right negligent. By the way, you forgot to mention Barack Obama.

2) There are two problems in Washington – and it’s the same two problems that have been there for years – the Democrats & Republicans as they subscribed to their self-servient, party-first mentality.
Meanwhile, to continue discord, stagnancy, and avoiding progress, I encourage you to stay the course. After all, you stated the following: “When those shared values crumble or the system is weaponized to benefit one party over the other, both parties lose. We the people lose. Our nation stagnates and becomes steeped in dysfunction. That is because the heart and soul of our constitutional republic has always been an ultimate allegiance to the overarching ideals of our democratic system and the institutions carefully constructed to uphold it — regardless of political party.

Yes, Congressman Wenstrup, you are part of the problem – not the solution – but relax – the majority of your colleagues are just like you.

I love this Canadian response to President Trump’s trade policy. (Thanks, Dale!)

As a retaliation in an escalating trade war between the US and the rest of the world, Canada is considering placing a 25% tariff on all American canned and glass bottled water including Budweiser, Coors, and Busch. The carbonated drinks sometimes referred to as “beer” in America are sold throughout Canada and purchased by at least one lonely person with no concept of taste.The Beaverton

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for getting the most out of life.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Tarantula rushing to shave legs before meeting up with mate
Himalayan goat dies following failed Everest Climb
Dad spends entire vacation 8 steps ahead of family
Woman bids farewell to former self before beginning new skin care regiment
Trick candles just making birthday boy cry harder
Botanic garden forced to euthanize rose bush that pricked child

Interesting Reads
A view about the future and artificial intelligence
The role of mini-golf in desegregation
Icelandic philosophy
Urban, suburban, and rural: What unites and divides them
Transforming sound waves into sound
Everyone’s neighbor: Mr. Rogers
(Photos) D-Day bunkers

To send you into the weekend, enjoy blast from the past by Dan Fogelberg. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Beach Walk: No. 26

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

From the balcony, the sound of the waves is less rhythmic than when walking along the shoreline. Yet I still hear a stereo effect of moving from one ear to the next. The sound is like constant hum containing fluctuations as I hear an accumulation of many simultaneous actions. Yet, the sound of the ocean from the balcony across the beach is soothing.

As I walk near the water’s edge, the sound is different. The waves are still constant and repetitive – however, each day is different. From the calm days to the stormy waves of anger, the waters speak in different tones as if they were different languages.

We commonly refer the sound of the waves as a roar – but it’s not the same roar as a lion or tiger. While both are sounds of power and might, the lion follows the roar with silence – but the sea does not.

The waves coming ashore roar – but it is not the same as the roar of a crowd at a sporting event. While both provide a constant as background, the crowd’s excitement is not a predictable rhythm.

The waves coming ashore roar – but it is not the same as the roars of laughter caused by a comedian. Those are sounds of joy and approval – but not even close to the consistency of the sea – which can also bring joy.

The waves coming ashore roar – but it is not the same as the roar of a jet engine. Yes, the jet engines starts as a loudness then fades away as it moves down the runway – but it is more gradual than the roar of the sea. Sometimes when I walk I hear the jet’s roar across the sky, then look upward to find it. Other times the sea mimics the flight, and then I look upward to find nothing.

The waves coming ashore roar – but maybe the roar of thunder is the best analogy. Thunder rolls across the sky just like the roar of the waves roll across the beach. Thunder loudly claps to announce its nearby presences just like the waves. The wave’s thunder clap also announces that water is coming my way – sometimes splashing me – yet also touching my feet.

The roar of the waters of the beach are relaxing, serene, and reliable. They carry a sense of freedom that makes walking good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Reflective Return

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Greetings! I hope this find you in good health and spirits – and thanks for returning after my late-spring/early summer blog break. Yes – I missed my interactions here! After taking some time away from my little corner of the world, I eased back to the blogs by visiting.

Vacationing was the reason for my time away – but I did draft and edit some future posts. After all, some readers anxiously await more beach walks. Also almost ready are a short story, several dance posts, a true story about food lines, and a challenging series about religion in the United States. I hope to unveil a new header with the next Opinions in the Shorts.

Amidst a combination of excitement, unknown, and low expectations, my wife and I embarked on a never-done-before journey – a bus-trip tour vacation.

We flew to Las Vegas a day early, then became part of 33 vacationers from eight different US states and 3 foreign countries for a 15-night tour of US National Parks and Monuments. Yes – Americans from Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas joined vacationers from Australia (6), New Zealand (4), and South Africa (2) to be led by a guide from Colorado and a bus driver from Arizona.

After a short, evening orientation and social gathering, the group boarded a bus that would log over 2800 miles (4500 km) over 2 weeks at about 7 miles per gallon. Except for one two-night stop, that meant a different hotel every night – yes – essentially living out of a suitcase for 2 weeks.

Given my wife and I had only previously visited Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, and Denver on this itinerary, we were excited to see the national treasures and the land connecting them. We were also apprehensive about a group tour on a bus – let alone the ambitious undertaking of the time and miles involved in our initiation into bus touring.

Four conceptual thoughts are prominent in my mind as I reflect about this trip.

(-) The US National Parks are special places. I combined two quotes by John Muir and Stephen Mather that express my feelings. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike – and this can happen through the US National Parks – not only our best idea, but our best ideal.

(-) Whether the vast grassy plains of eastern Wyoming or the desert areas of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, the USA has a lot of land that remains wide open, Seeing miles and miles of land without a house in sight stimulates a variety of thoughts.

(-) The early history and struggles of the national parks still rings today. Same arguments – different players about federally protected land and land use for business development.

(-) But this point hit my the hardest: How little I know about the American Indians native to the land. Right here, right now I admit it – and I’m ashamed of it and unfortunately believe the same is true for the vast majority of Americans.

Meanwhile, it’s good to be back. Do you have one particular post I need to visit? Here’s a song to start northern hemisphere summer.

On Blog Break May 2018

It’s time for my seasonal blog break. I’m anticipating 3-6 weeks. During that time, I expect a blend of absence and occasional appearances. Before I go, a few random thoughts in the Opinions in the Shorts style.

During my absence, I encourage readers to visit a blog you may not know. You have my right sidebar here for starters and the Blogroll page on the tabs. Tell them I sent you.

ArtWorks announced that Fiona, Cincinnati’s darling hippo, is going to have her own mural. They are also letting the public vote on the design. See the choices here – and yes – you can vote!

For those interested in odd records, this link is about 20 Guinness World Records tied to Cincinnati.

Cheers to the Costco Optical Department for continuing to provide great value for those needing corrective eyewear.

I’m enjoying the hype for the upcoming royal wedding – especially the reports from England about the people and the places. I wonder how much training the bride has done about royal protocol.

Faith Saile did this great report on CBS News comparing American English and British English. It’s worth the 2+ minutes.

Given the hubbub about the Iran nuclear deal, I enjoyed this article to brings issues to light.

Regarding the possibility of the US-North Korea summit, instead of meeting in Singapore, I favor a game of cornhole at the DMZ border. A target on each side of the border is perfect!

Yes – there is a possibility of Donald Trump winning re-election in 2020. I’m raising the possibility from 15% to 35%.

Washington Post’s conservative columnist George Will has never been a President Trump fan – I would say he is more of an antagonist. In this recent column about Vice President Mike Pence, Mr. Will’s closing paragraph was priceless.

There will be negligible legislating by the next Congress, so ballots cast this November will be most important as validations or repudiations of the harmonizing voices of Trump, Pence, Arpaio and the like. Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.

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Here are a few leftover peels from The Onion I have lying around.
Fitbit releases new tracking collar that gets tighter every second you are inactive
Napkinless man with grease-covered fingers realizes he’s trapped in a prison of his own creation
Grandma getting to point she looks like every other grandma
Alcoholic parent easy to shop for
Scientists create artificial placenta that tastes just as delicious as real one
Breakfast in bed served to mom who just eaten out

Interesting Reads
The early days of Israel
The adaptive jaguar
Can Artificial Intelligence doom humans?
Sacred spaces and the 21st century
The dominant lens company
(Pictures) The neon blue tide

To send you into my blog break, enjoy this short song from the electric sounds of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Remember to visit other blogs on my list! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Beach Walk: No. 25

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

I think of my mother. How difficult it must have been to come to America with a 3-month old, a husband, and not knowing the language. She integrated into small-town America life, but she was fortunate to have other Italian families in the town and area.

I think about my mother as her and I returned to Italy for 6-8 months. It was her first trip back to see her mother, father, three sisters, and a brother. I was five years old, arriving knowing primarily English, yet returning only knowing Italian. Oh how the young mind absorbs language.

I think our return six years later. This time our entire family of four. But I didn’t realize until many years later that the passing of my grandfather initiated the summertime journey that gave me my first plane ride.

I think about my mother receiving a letter that my grandmother died. How lonely of a feeling that must have been, yet I recall not really knowing what to tell her.

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I think about my mother displaying kindness and acceptance from the first day she met the one who would eventually became my wife … and that would never change – and my wife still remembers her first exposure to a festive meal involving homemade ravioli as a side dish … (not the main course).

I think about my mother returning to Italy to see her sisters a few more times – but without me. I was older – either in college or working.

I think about my mother battling cancer for three years – first a breast, then the liver. She never wanted the rounds of chemo and radiation – but she took it all.

I think about the phone call I received from my mother sometime during that three-year battle. She was in Florida, I in Ohio – Crying, she said “I love you.” … words that were not commonly spoken in our house.

I think about various events around the day of her passing – it’s timing with the start of a new school year – the words I spoke at her funeral (which I posted here as in several parts).

I think about my mother smiling on my return to Italy in 2013 – a trip when I visited my mother’s only surviving sister – my aunt that I had seen in 48+ years. (Posted here)

I think about my mother as I passed her family’s home – the apartment where I spent 6-8 months – a building that is now abandoned, but awaiting a new life. (Posted here)

I think about my mother dying young – a month shy of her 59th birthday – and to think my life has surpassed hers by six years. She would be 90 this September.

Today is Mother’s Day – but I wrote this post after a beach walk because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You never heard this song, but you would have loved it.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 362

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Many thanks for the kind words about my writing in the latest beach walk (#24). I plan another beach walk to go up Sunday night (Eastern US).

The last handbell choir rehearsal of the season was earlier this week. After playing for a service this weekend, we break until August.

Our last ushering assignment of the season at the Playhouse was also this week. Murder For Two is a unique, enjoyable who-dunnit play with two actors: one playing the detective and the other all the suspects. Definitely not serious, it is very musical and a bit of Vaudeville. The actors were great, but it simply wasn’t my style.

As technology changes, devices also change or even replaced. The Museum of Endangered Sounds is an online place attempting to store replaced sounds. It’s a fun place to visit, so I’ll put the link in the Interesting Reads list.

My Cincinnati Reds were the first baseball team to lose 20 games this season. I wonder which will happen first: The last team to lose 20 or the Reds to win 20. The race is on!

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To reinforce a statement I made last week about Trump-Clinton-Obama, keep in mind that President Trump needs a villain in his messaging – a boogie man. As long as they continue to fill that role, he will continue to campaign against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Ohio had a primary election earlier this week. It’s sad that so few voters turn out for non-presidential year elections … and Ohio had primary races for governor and senator!

2016 was a presidential election year. In my county, 56,372 people voted in the primary – but 100,859 voted in the November general election. Meanwhile, 25,100 voted in this week’s primary.

My county is so Republican that Bozo the Clown could win an election if he was designed Republican on the ballot. However, I found this interesting: of the 139,110 registered voters, 8.3% are Democrats, 33.72% Republican, and 57.93% are Nonpartisan. On the other hand, in this county, are number of registered Nonpartisans must vote Republican – which also means that are NINOs – Nonpartisan in Name Only.

FYI: Individual states determine voter registration rolls. For primaries, Ohioans register as Democratic, Republican, Green, or Nonpartisan on Election Day. Nonpartisans can’t participate in party primaries, therefore receive ballots with containing on Issues for voting. (My ballot only had two issues on it, and no people.)

Advice for Democrats – Before the fall election, Leader Pelosi (D-CA) should announce that if the Dems gain control of the House in 2018, she will not seek or accept the Speaker’s chair.

Cheers to Saturday Night Live for last week’s outstanding skit that included many of the characters in President Trump’s news circle. For those that missed it, click here.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for treating bed bug infestation.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Amazon fires warehouse worker who took unauthorized breath
Construction crew arguing over who gets to use the fun tools
Kroger recalls 35,000 pounds of ground beef that may contain CEO
50,000 chicken breasts recalled after leaving factory without getting a little kiss goodbye
One-adventurous salmon can’t believe she ended up moving back to birthplace, having a bunch of kids

Interesting Reads
A perspective about infrastructure
Bulls, DNA, and beef
Baghdad: the new Partytown
Picasso, creativity, and genius
Why analog still exists despite digital
(Interactive) Museum of Endangered Sounds
(Photos) Awesome images of a stormy sky

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this classic by Cat Stevens. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.