Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 290

Happy Valentine’s Day Weekend!

My initial handbell ring went fine. In April, the choir will be part of a 650-member mass choir at a regional event. That would be something interesting for the audience.

Fortunately, I caught the film Journey to Space at the local Omnimax theater before it left. Simply wonderfully done and a must for all space lovers. Narrated by Patrick Stewart, the film links the Space Shuttle program to the Orion project, the NASA project designed to carry humans to Mars. Here’s a link to the schedule of theaters in both the USA and International locations, plus the trailer is below.

Our church wine group (last weekend) had a gathering, which included my presentation about the similarities and differences of Syrah, Sirah, and Shiraz. Should I turn it into a post?

Two weeks in a row of limited visits to your blogs bothers me. Thanks for your patience.

Act 2 of Colors: The Musical featuring Red provided quite the variety of songs. Although behind with my comments on that post, :( I’ll announce the next act’s theme and date in the next OITS, but the news will first appear on the Hear Ye page (hopefully over the weekend).

There will be an Explore this weekend about a person, place, or thing. I can say that it goes well with last week’s trip to Norway.

Isn’t this a great image to lead into the political section?

Good news – Iowa and New Hampshire votes are done. Bad news – they are only 4% of the delegate count. South Carolina is next up – and oh my – it’s a state with a nasty reputation.

For those who may be wondering, nope – I don’t feel the Bern – but that’s a good, short slogan.

All candidates are scripted. On the other hand, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is scripted among the scripted. Although Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) has left the race, I applaud the way he called out Sen. Rubio about his scripted nature – of which, Sen. Rubio politely did all he could to support the governor’s point.

Although (my) Governor John Kasich (R-OH) finished second in the New Hampshire primary, does he have the infrastructure and support to make it to the Ohio Primary (March 15th)? Time will tell. Although I applaud his big-boy-in-the-room approach, my support for his candidacy remains tepid.

A friend of mine boasts about a conservative columnist who predicted Donald Trump (R-NY) won’t win any primary. Nothing like the first primary to prove that pundit wrong. The longer the Republican field stays large, the better the chance The Bloviator has at winning the nomination. Meanwhile, I stay the course pointing to the pivotal primary dates of March 1st (Republicans) and March 15th (Democrats).

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains the growth of ISIS. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Olay introduces new line of pre-moisturized skin
High school nurse getting pretty good at spotting morning sickness
Middle-aged man in locker room puts shirt on before underwear
Binge eater doesn’t remember going to second KFC
Evolution textbook hidden under mattress
Obama resigns from presidency after Michelle lands dream job in Seattle

Interesting Reads
President for 31 days
Chocolate
Eyes and natural selection
A revolution of mathematical proportions
Ways to keep yourself going (Thanks, Tim)
Mosquitoes resisting malaria
The gift of Lent
(Photos) The Silent Forest

Here’s a 2-fer to sent you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 2 and one that made me think of Elyse. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Colors: The Musical – Act 2: Red

The Story
Color is a large, broad topic, yet color is a human perspective.

We see because cones on the eye’s retina detects a specified range of colors in light, transforms the light messages into nerve impulses to be sent to the brain for interpretation and translation into sight. If it wasn’t for the cones on the retina we wouldn’t see the range of colors that we do … but we could still see without cones.

Colors are a range in the visible light spectrum that correspond to some guy named Roy G Biv. We categorize colors into different levels as primary, secondary, and intermediate. involve tints, shades, and hues with neutrals, pastels, warm/cool, and complementary/contrast … yet designers and artists organize usable colors into a palate.

While a color space organizes colors, a color model serves as a mathematical interpretation … yet 216 colors have been identified as safe for web pages – each with an identify code – each with its own mixture of RGB (red, green, blue), HSL (hue, saturation, lightness and HSB (hue, saturation, brightness).

Cultures adapt color for various symbolisms. The same color can mean excitement, purity, danger, success, and more … yet colors are associated with personality, psychology, meditation, philosophy, and marketing.

No matter the perception, scheme, physics, theory, psychology, or culture, this experience is Color: The Musical.

ColorsPlaybillPROGRAM
Act 1: Black

Act 2: Red
Red – one end of the visible spectrum of light with a wavelength of roughly 620–740 nanometers.

Red – one of the first colors used by early humans.

Red – one of the additive primary colors (with blue and green), but also a subtractive primary color (with yellow and blue).

Red – a color associated with love .. but also hatred, anger, aggression and war. warning, and danger.

Red – in history symbolizing blood, courage, nobility, fire, revolution, authority, nobility.

Red – the color bulls, dogs, and other animals cannot distinguish.

Red – the theme for Act 2.

Guidelines
Songs with Red must be in the title

Cautions

  • No songs using black as a compound word (redbird, redneck, redbud etc)
  • No songs using a form of black (reds, redder, reddest, etc)
  • No songs using shades (crimson, scarlet, pink, etc)
  • No duplicates songs regardless of artists

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
Red is a wonderful color, and with Valentine’s Day approaching, it was the obvious selection for this act. Selecting the opening song was difficult. In this case, many famous artists have recorded the song, but after seeing the accompanying visuals, you will understand why the decision suddenly became easy. Ladies and gentlemen – all the way from Los Angeles, California, give a warm welcome to The Platters singing Red Sails in the Sunset.

On the Road with Larry

Meet Larry.

Larry

My wife trusts Larry, so he’s is a frequent road-trip companion. Even though he led her down a farmer’s road to a fence protecting a cornfield, then declaring, “You have arrived at your destination” … she trusts Larry.

I know Larry has also successfully guided us to other destinations, but I’m leary of Larry. After all, a few years ago on a trip to Maker’s Mark Distillery, Larry led me down narrowing roads with rough pavement before his arrival proclamation – which was actually a farm-house on a gravel road with no distillery in sight. Fortunately, a resident didn’t come out of the house with a shotgun as I was turning around. Somehow, my gyroscope led me to Maker’s Mark without asking for directions.

Marker's Mark Distillary - Loretto, Kentucky

Marker’s Mark Distillery – Loretto, Kentucky

Because we moved earlier in 2014, we decided to take an 8-day road-trip vacation that fall. Larry was along, and he successfully guided us to our first stop (the Frank Lloyd Wright house known as Kentuck Knob in Pennsylvania), even though I only semi-trusted his judgment.

Kentuck Knob

Kentuck Knob

Upon Kentuck Knob, I knew all I had to do was turn left, travel 3-4 miles, and then turn left onto US Route 40 as we were bound for Cumberland, Maryland.

Oh no – Larry said (in his Aussie English), “Turn right.”

I cringed, but because my wife trusts Larry, I reluctantly turn right. Of course, Larry’s direction got a song going in my head – Over the hill and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go. We got to our destination, but hey Larry – WHY? All I had to do was turn left! Surely it wasn’t shorter or saved time.

Larry had successes on this trip that involved Gettysburg, Cooperstown, the Finger Lakes region, Corning, Falling Waters, and home … but he never regained my full trust. On our next-to-the-last day, he took me on another unexpected journey of zigs and zags. We did it, but I wouldn’t have taken that route.

Knowing we were returning to the Kentuck Knob area because Falling Waters is nearby, I figured Larry would again set us on the way to Grandma’s house – so I to prepare my counter to his wishes by checking multiple sources before leaving the hotel. Sure enough, he directed, “Turn right” – so, I sent him into recalculating mode by going straight.

FallingWaters

FallingWaters – Frank Lloyd Wright Masterpiece

He quickly came around, thus got on the same page as I – and we safely arrived – and yes, Falling Waters is spectacular.

We were now ready to leave for home. Larry and I agreed on the initial part of the journey, but I was confident that he would take us in a direction that I didn’t want to go. Once we got to that point, Larry proclaimed, “Turn left.” … but I countered with an unexpected right.

He quickly recalculated to countered with new directions with a left on the next road.

I pressed on – ignoring his wish – and he recalculated again, then asking me to turn left in order to return to his wishes. Again, I continued straight.

Larry is relentless as he recalculates again, then asking me to turn left again – but I’m in full resistance mode. The previous pattern continued a few more time as the battle of wills was at its peak.

I pressed on with my plan, and eventually yes – the battle was now over. Victory for me – thus Larry succumbed to my easier road by telling me to continue on the road for 30 miles – we were now on the same page …. and my way took us 5 minutes more, but without tolls.

Take that Larry …. and meet your new traveling companion!

LarryPal

On to the Land of the Fjords

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. (Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood)

Shared joy is a double joy. (Norwegian proverb)

All weather is passing. (Norwegian proverb)

Everybody’s friend is true to none. (Norwegian proverb)

The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.
(Edvard Munch, Norwegian artist)

The wild and varied landscapes also serve as an inspiration for a new and notable wave of architects and designers. (VisitNorway.com)

I want to travel. Maybe I’ll end up living in Norway, making cakes. (Eva Green, actress)

I was walking along a road one evening – on one side lay the city, and below me was the fjord. The sun went down – the clouds were stained red, as if with blood. I felt as though the whole of nature was screaming – it seemed as though I could hear a scream. I painted that picture, painting the clouds like real blood. The colours screamed. (Edvard Munch)

Enjoy this visual journey to Norway. Would you visit? Have you been there? Would you return?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 289

Yep – playing handbells is so easy, ___.

Our handbell choir plays this weekend, which will be my first since returning. The song is interesting … slow, a touch of haunting and passion. For those interested, here’s another choir doing the song.

I didn’t have a good week of visiting other blogs. :(

This is Super-Bowl weekend. It’s been awhile since we haven’t attended a party for the game, but we’ll sit back, watch the game, and enjoy the commercials. Without a preference, I think Carolina is the better team, but I would like to see Peyton Manning go into retirement with a win.

Colors: The Musical returns next week. Act 2 features Red, so all songs must have Red in the title. However, no compound words contain red (redbird, redbud, etc) and no shades of red (crimson, scarlet, maroon, etc). Show time is Tuesday night at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

There will be an Explore this weekend about a person, place, or thing.

Hooray … Iowa is over! I’ve heard multiple Republicans complain about the Democrats’ results, My independent research discovered the following: (Jim in Iowa – Is my capsule close?)

  1. The political party determines the rules. (They can be different)
  2. Just because the opposing party uses a different method does not mean the other method is incorrect.
  3. Since the first statewide caucus in 1972, Democrats do NOT report the number of votes, but on-location caucus leaders determine the number of delegates based on a weighted vote calculation.
  4. Caucus leaders submit the final weighted calculation results and the subsequently elected delegates to the Iowa Democratic Party. (Read about the process here)
  5. aFa conclusion: Complaining Republicans shouldn’t care, thus complain to discredit a particular candidate – in this case, Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

New Hampshire is next. No matter the results, the race is not a sprint. On the other hand, I wonder about the next candidate(s) leaving the fray … but I continue to point to the pivot dates of March 1st (Republicans) and March 15th (Democrats).

There is a bit of a lag after New Hampshire, which will cause some angst to some candidates.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has withdrawn. Republican party rules in Kentucky were that a candidate could not appear on the ballot for two different positions. Because 2016 is election year for his Senate seat, Sen. Paul convinced the state’s party leaders to change the way the state determines the Republican presidential delegates from a primary to a caucus. (thus allowing him to run for president and senator.) Now, the caucus is in March while the primary is in May. I imagine many Kentuckians are confused while others will be surprised when they get their ballot in May. Stay tuned. NOTE: Republicans complaining about the Democrats in Iowa are not complaining about this bit of craziness within their own party.

A good question for the candidates. Governing is much easier when one party controls all facets. If the opposite party controlled the Senate, and other than inviting them to join your ideas, how would you handle your legislative agenda?

Hillary Clinton’s explanation defending her progressive label was very weak.

I decided not to include several fact checks from recent debates. Let me know if you want them.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion identifies the biggest campaign gaffes of this current election season.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Car windows rolled down to let out shitty music
Chiquita introduces easy-grip banana (See for yourself)
Back of library smells like weed
Car alarm turned off just as it was starting to get good
Researchers announce they don’t have heart to reveal what will happen to 1 In 5 women

Interesting Reads
The crumbling of one of Africa’s biggest dams
A BiPartisan Policy Center’s report about improving the Affordable Care Act
18th Century smugglers and the tea cartel
Communicating with only yes and no no
Recognizing the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
(Photos) Winter in northern Whales

To sent you into the weekend, enjoy a touch of high-level ballroom to a Michael Buble song. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Exploring Blooms

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. (Luther Burbank, botanist)

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable. (Joseph Addison, writer)

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. (Rainer Maria Rilke, poet)

The rose is without an explanation; She blooms, because She blooms. (Angelus Silesius, poet)

Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. (Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet)

Love is like the wild rose-briar; Friendship like the holly tree. The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms, but which will bloom most constantly? (Emily Bronte, novelist)

I draw flowers every day and send them to my friends so they get fresh blooms every morning. (David Hockney, artist)

It’s winter for us in the northern hemisphere. Those of us in the upper half experience cold and snow. This Explore is about the days to come … and a dose of spring for those who need it.