Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 299

Wow – time is creeping up on the celebratory edition of Opinions in the Shorts.

My wife has been gone all week as she was one of 5 long-time friends now in 3 states went to Florida for a week. Believe it or not, I didn’t do a lot of dancing this time. We will refresh the upcoming waltz formation routine when she returns.

Happy Easter to my friends who are Orthodox Christians.

Because of the revenue-driven aspect of college sports, instead of NCAA, I think they should embrace a new set of initials – NCIC ….. National Collegiate Industrial Complex.

House of Cards is currently in Season 4. Any ideas how many years the season will run?

Thanks to George (The Off Key of Life) for posting this video that has many lessons.

Colors: The Musical resumes next week with Act 6 featuring songs with purple, indigo, and violet in the titles. Curtain time is Tuesday, May 3 at 9:30 PM (Eastern US)

  • Purple, Indigo, or Violet must appear in the song title
  • No forms of the any of those three words (as purples, purplest, etc)
  • No compound words containing any of the three keywords
  • No shades of any of those three colors
  • No duplicate songs

There will be a Saturday Explore post this weekend.

Donald Trump (R-NY) admitted that his campaign-trail personal has been fake, so he’ll now pivot to a more presidential personality. Although I knew all along that much was an act, the pivot insults me even more than he already has. If the change results in more support, this is even a sadder commentary on the American public.

I expected Trump’s big night this past Tuesday, so next week’s Indiana primary is big – although the Cruz-Kasich strategy is goofy.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announcing his running mate shows he knows Indiana’s importance.

Looking ahead to the Republican convention, what if a delegate decides not to vote, and those designed to set in choose not to do so? I introduce you to Rule 29.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers ways the GOP can stop Donald Trump.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Brita unveils new in-throat water filters
Report: Only 893,000 news stories to go until 2016 election over
Pope Francis proclaims happiness cannot be downloaded
Psychiatrist cures patient
Pigeon waits for walk signal before crossing street
Experts warn climate change will increase incidences of stepping into puddle and getting whole goddamn foot soaking wet

Interesting Reads
5 ways Americans and Europeans differ
A Brazilian city’s love for the Confederate Flag
Rotifers, genetic engineering, and sex
Different religions and their view of God
Farm animals in the style of Rembrandt

To send you into this weekend, enjoy this easy listening song from Michael Bublé. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Bit of Difficulty

When I get a new piece of handbell music, I check two things: the name of the composer/arranger and the difficulty level

Maintained by the Handbell Musicians of America, the difficulty level is a numbering system from 1 (easiest) to 6 (hardest). (Standards here) The designation may include a plus or minus to further clarify. The level has many functions, one being help directors select appropriate songs for their choir relative to the skills and techniques the piece requires. Our choir normally plays in the 2+ to 4 range, but we’ve played level 5 once or twice.

Capriccio (by Kevin McChesney) is an original composition for handbells – and a level 5. It’s fast and involves irregular rhythms, changing tempos, a variety of techniques, and more. I recently saw the Purdue Bells (from Purdue University) in concert. This choir was large (16 members) – but for Capriccio, it was done by 4 … that’s F-O-U-R players.

The murmur at the very beginning is because they just announced the name of the piece they were playing. Given the audience was hundreds of handbell players, many know the difficulty for a choir of 12-14 players – let alone for 4 people – and that also explains the final reaction. Enjoy these 4 people playing over 30 bells!

On a Playful Brick

To me, art is one of the (if not the most) ultimate expressions of human creativity. It’s easy to apply that thought to paintings, drawings, and sculptures – but it also applies (and not limited to) music, architecture, closing, photography, and countless creations of woodwork, jewelry, knitting, pottery, and embroidery..

For many months, my wife and I looked forward to visiting an exhibit before it left Cincinnati’s Museum Center – an exhibit of something many of us played with – a toy – yet, the fundamental ingredient of an art form – LEGO® bricks.

Art of the Brick is an exhibit featuring the work of Nathan Sawaya – a contemporary artist who uses LEGO® bricks to replicate his expressions of great art and his own original art through these toyful bricks.

Lego Entrance

Although the exhibit contained over 100 pieces, the comparative images of Sawaya’s work to the originals impressed me …

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… but so did his replications of the Mona Lisa (da Vinci), Starry Night (Van Gogh), and others …

… and so did this (I’m guessing) 10 ft (3 m) version of the iconic Moai on Easter Island composed of over 75,000 individual bricks …

Lego Moai

.. Sorry to say I didn’t get of a good picture this 20 ft (6 m) long replication of Tyrannosaurus rex of over 80,000 bricks, but The Guardian did (which I will list in the Additional Resources at the end of this post)

Mr. Sawaya also created original contemporary work How could one not love the swimmer in the pool of bricks …

Lego Swimmer

… and Yellow: the expression of a life-sized man ripping open his chest …

Lego Yellow

.. and a unique collection of other originals …

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… and even the Flying Pig specifically done for the people of Cincinnati in this exhibit.

Lego Flying Pig

Art of the Brick is a fun and impressive exhibit. Although it’s run in Cincinnati is ending, multiple exhibits are currently touring across the globe. See the Additional Information at the end that includes the tour’s world-wide schedule. Any favorites?

Videos
The Exhibit

From the artist

Testimonials

The exhibit challenges the concept of what is art. What is a toy. And even the limits of human imagination. It’s a playground where pigs are let loose to fly. – Carol Motsinger, Cincinnati.com

Is it a grown-up version of child’s play? Yes. Is it art? Yes — and not merely in the kitschy tradition of Warhol. In addition to presenting an 80,020-piece Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton and plastic reproductions of famous masterpieces, the exhibition is surprisingly contemplative. – Kathy Schwartz, CityBeat

Sure, it might start with a brick, but it takes an impressive amount of vision to build upon that first step and take the concept to the finish line. Because while we’ve all, at one time or another, built a house out of LEGOs, we haven’t built the world’s largest display of LEGO art. That claim belongs to Sawaya. – Leah Zipperstein, Cincinnati Refined

While I loved seeing the well-known works of art re-imagined and created in LEGO® bricks, I was totally enamored with the creativity displayed by the original works of Nathan Sawaya.” – Bridgett Raffenberg, 365Cincinnati.com

This exhibit isn’t just for LEGO fanatics…everyone is going to love this collection of works of art using LEGO bricks. – Katie S., TheLittleThingsJournal.com

Each room of the exhibit has a WOW factor! It’s hard to pick a favorite when you see how diverse Nathan’s skills are. It’s incredible to think of the foresight and planning that went into creating each sculpture. – Nedra McDaniel, AdventureMomBlog.com

Additional Information
Exhibit’s website
The Touring Schedule
The Artist
Images from The Guardian

Art of the Brick is something to think about. After all, this exhibit may be near you.

Lego Ponder

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 298

Image from 123vectors.com

Image from 123vectors.com

Greetings! Good to see you again. My blog break went well, but not as planned because I didn’t write much. However, I helped my wife ease into retirement mode.

A national handbell organization had a regional convention about an hour away, so the choir went. Two days of a lot of standing on a concrete floor means tired legs. Our choir had an individual coaching session. We didn’t play our piece well with foreign bells, but we got something out of the session. Meanwhile, we attended a concert where we heard this piece by the Purdue Bells, which is a wonderful way to usher in a new header.

Because of my fascination with images of deep space, this image of the Veil Nebula Supernova Remnant is from the Hubble Heritage Collection at the Hubble Gallery. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers page/tab above the header.

I considered resuming Colors: The Musical immediately upon my return, but common sense prevailed because I value my guests. I’ll announce more here next week, but for those who need to know, see the Hear Ye page.

I seldom reblog my own or anyone else post, but I’m considering doing that with old posts – well, assuming I find something appropriate.

The death of pop music star Prince shocked us. Here’s an article about a secret concert he played in Cincinnati in 1984.

Competitors completed the Boston Marathon this past Monday. Although the news focused on the dominant presence of Ethiopians in the top places, the women’s wheelchair division caught my attention. For the fourth consecutive year, Tatyana McFadden – a Russian-born American won the division. Born with spina bifida, Tatyana spent the first six years of her life in a Russian orphanage without receiving physical therapy and without a wheelchair. Now that’s an amazing courage and determination!

Baseball season is underway and I have the following goals for my Cincinnati Reds:

  1. Win more games than the ‘62 Mets (40)
  2. Not finishing with the worst record in baseball
  3. Have at a team below them in the standings
  4. Finish closer to the team above them in the standing than below them
  5. Beyond this list would be a tremendous success

Because I’m easing my way back into my normal rhythm, no Explore post this weekend.

My wife received this pillow as a retirement gift – and I find it interesting.

PillowAdventure

Columnist David Ignatius wrote this interesting column about the Saudis.

At this point, I can listen to a news conference by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) – which is an improved from predecessors John Boehner (R-OH) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Republican senators meeting with the Supreme Court nominee while continuing to block the confirmation process infuriates me even more than the block.

The 2016 primary has been quite bizarre, and to me, the title of this Ruth Marcus column is quite profound – An unpopularity content for the ages.

I find it interesting that the #2 contender in each party have this quality in common: an inability to work across the aisle. According to the Lugar Center – McCourt School Bipartisan Index at Georgetown University, not only do Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have the lowest scores in 2015, each of them are in the bottom 11 of all senators since 1993. Here’s a good question for them: Have do you plan to get Congress to act on your ideas when you have a poor history of working within Congress?

Consider this possibility – Donald Trump (R-NY) and Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) walk out of the Republican convention together to embrace a third-party run.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for having your own vegetable garden.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sixth beer steps in to speak for area man
Universe feels zero connection with guy tripping out on mushrooms
Breeze plays kick-ass riff on wind chimes
Pope Francis worried about job security after butting heads with new God
New study finds humans experience greatest joy when pushing “Skip Ad” button

Interesting Reads
Life-long learning and technology
A century of flight
Animal neat freaks
Augustine of Hippo
(Animation) Battle of Shiloh
(Video) Explaining burning ping-pong balls

To send you into this weekend, here’s a throwback in time with a touch of Bobby Darin and a dose of Prince. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Spring 2016 Blog Break

PauseBreakKeyWith my wife’s retirement and our wedding anniversary, last week was huge for us. Tuesday afternoon was her retirement party at work, then Tuesday night came my salute to #31. She appreciated the many comments from my blogging community, so here’s her comment late in the string.

Thanks to all of you bloggers for the kind wishes in my new retirement life. If the Frank Angle disappears from the web for a while, it will either because we’re having such a good time that he’s never home, or our constant togetherness resulted in a homicide! I’m hoping for the former.

Here’s a snapshot of our happenings

Thursday

  • Her last work day, so she was home by noon
  • Walking our typical 2-mile loop … but in the afternoon
  • Dinner at Seasons 52 to celebrate her retirement and our upcoming anniversary

Friday

  • Breakfast out (@First Watch) to celebrate her first day off
  • Walked our loop
  • I worked 3-7
  • She went to dinner with neighbors who invited her
  • We met at the dance studio where I planned a surprise retirement celebration

DanceCake2

Saturday
Official 39th anniversary day – but in the evening we attended a birthday gathering for a friend

As I’ve written on these pages many times, Blog breaks are good. I try to take several per year, and I know the time for one is now. For me, the break won’t be one of total avoidance because I want to spend time visiting others. After all, I’ve been very negligent recently – which is one of the signs I use to determine the need for a break.

I’m envisioning two weeks, but time will tell. Because of the positive response for featuring Pink Martini, here’s a live version of Amado Mio to send you into my blog break. Meanwhile, remember these words from a great American storyteller – Garrison Keillor – Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On 39

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

April 2, 1977 – that was the day of our wedding in a Cleveland (Ohio) suburb. It was cross-state from my home, but a good group of my family and friends attended.

I graduated the previous June, then came to Cincinnati for my first job. She graduated a few weeks before the wedding, then joined me in Cincinnati after our honeymoon in Hilton Head, SC.

Since then, she knows I love trivia – or in her terms – useless information – this is the perfect post for our celebration – more useless information the number 39 in one place than one ever imagined. Yep – I’m quite the romantic.

In Language
Тридесет девет (Bulgarian), Trenta nove (Italian), Tridsať deväť (Slovak), Trettio nio (Swedish), Ba mươi chín (Vietnamese), XXXIX (Roman numerals) … Know any others?

In Mathematics
39 – a natural number, an odd integer that is divisible by 1, 3, 13, and 39

39 – a distinct semiprime number, a Perfect totient number, a Perrin number, Størmer number

39 – the number of edges on a F26A graph

39 – the sum of consecutive primes (3 + 5 + 7 + 11 + 13) and the product of the second and sixth prime (3 x 13)

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In Chemistry
39 – the atomic number of yttrium, whose neutrally charged atom has 39 protons and 39 electrons

In Biology
Brodmann area 39 (BA39) – part of the human brain’s parietal cortex

39 – Number of chromosome pairs in the cells of African wild dogs, Chickens, Coyotes, Dholes, Dingos, Dogs, Doves, and Golden Jackal

In Astronomy
39 – the Saros series number for 73 lunar eclipses over 1298.1 years

39 – the star number that is in many constellations including Andromeda, Aquarius, Auriga, Boötes,Cancer, Draco, Eridanus, and more

In Religion
39 – according to Halakha, the number of activity categories prohibited on Shabbat

39 – the number of mentions of work or labor in the Torah

39 – the actual number of lashes given by the Sanhedrin to a person meted the punishment of 40 lashes

39 – according to Protestant canon, the number of books in the Old Testament

39 – the number of statements in Anglican Church doctrine known as the Thirty-Nine Articles

Papyrus 39 – an early papyrus manuscript of the New Testament in Greek of the Gospel of John, but only John 8:14-22

Psalm 39 (Prayer for Wisdom and Forgiveness)

39 – other than numerical designations for pages, chapters, etc, 39 does not directly appear in the Bible

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In Arts and Entertainment
39 – Comedian Jack Benny’s perpetual age after 40

39th Tony Awards – winner include Biloxi Blues, Big River, and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

In Literature
The Thirty-Nine Steps – a novel by John Buchan (1915), which has been transformed into multiple films (info later), a play, a television feature, and a video game

The 39 Clues – a book series revolving around 39 clues hidden around the world.

Sonnet 39 by William Shakespeare

In Television
39 – the number of days contestants compete on Survivor (the CBS reality show)

39 – the number of episodes done the 1955-1956 season of The Honeymooners (commonly referred to as the “Classic 39”).

The 39 Steps is a 2008 BBC adventure feature-length adaptation of the John Buchan novel The Thirty-Nine Steps

39th Emmys – winners included Golden Girls (Best Comedy) and L.A. Law (Best Drama)

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In Film
Based on The Thirty-Nine Steps – the novel by John Buchan (1915) – are four versions:

  • The 39 Steps (1935 film), directed by Alfred Hitchcock
  • The 39 Steps (1959 film), directed by Ralph Thomas
  • The Thirty Nine Steps (1978 film), directed by Don Sharp
  • The 39 Steps (2008 film), directed by James Hawes

Glorious 39 – a 2009 drama film set at the beginning of World War II

39th Academy Awards – Oscars go to A Man for All Seasons (Best Picture), Fred Zinnemann (Best Actor), and Elizabeth Taylor (Best Actress)

39 Steps (band), a rock band appearing in Woody Allen’s film Hannah and Her Sisters

In Music
39 – a song by The Cure and Tenacious D

FabricLive.39 – a 2008 mix album by DJ Yoda

Fabric 39 – a 2008 album by Robert Hood.

39 Steps – an album by guitarist John Abercrombie (2013)

Now 39 (aka Now That’s What I Call Music! 39) – the 39th release of music featuring top singles i the UK.

Symphony No. 39 in G minor – written by Joseph Haydn 1767/1768)

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In World History
39 – Forty save one: the traditional number of times citizens of Ancient Rome hit their slaves

39 – the duration (in nanoseconds) of the nuclear reaction in the largest nuclear explosion ever (the Russian Tsar Bomba detonated on 30 October 1961)

39 – the number of Scud missiles Iraq fired at Israel during the Gulf War (1991)

Year 39 CE

  • A common year starting on Thursday
  • Tigellinus, minister and favorite of the Roman emperor Nero, is banished for adultery with Caligula’s sisters.
  • Philo leads a Jewish delegation to Rome to protest the anti-Jewish conditions in Alexandria.
  • The Trung Sisters resist the Chinese influences in Vietnam.
  • Born – Lucan (Roman poet) and Titus Flavius (future Roman emperor)
  • Deaths – Seneca the Elder (Roman rhetorician)

Year 39 BC

  • A common year starting on Friday, Saturday or Sunday or a leap year starting on Saturday
  • Sextus Pompey (self-proclaimed “son of Neptune”) controlled Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica
  • Born – Antonia Major (daughter of Mark Antony, grandmother of Nero and Messalin),
    Julia the Elder (daughter of Caesar Augustus)

In US History
39 – the number of signers to the United States Constitution

39th President of the United States – Jimmy Carter

Number 39 – the Federalist Paper essay by James Madison describing the nature of the United States government as a new idea. (The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles,
published January 18, 1788)

Title 39 – the United States Code outlining the role of United States Postal Service

39th Congress – served from 4 March 1865 – 4 March 1867 during the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln (1 month) and Andrew Johnson

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In Sports
39 – the number of wooden boards normally consisting a bowling lane

Retired #39 Uniforms
MLB – Roy Campanella (Dodgers)
NFL – Larry Csonka (Dolphins)
NBA – none
NHL – Dominik Hašek (Sabres)

Super Bowl XXXIX – New England Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 on February 6, 2005 at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida

NASCAR #39 – in 422 races, #39 won 4 races (all by Ryan Newman)

In Geography
39th Parallel north – crosses land in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, China, North Korea, Japan, and United States

39th Parallel south – crosses land in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina

39th Meridian west – crosses land in Greenland and Brazil

39 Meridian east – crosses in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia,Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique

National Highway 39 – found in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany
India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States

Pier 39 – a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California

I-39 – a US interstate highway from Normal, Illinois to Wausau, Wisconsin

In Miscellaneous
The 39 Steps is video game adaptation of Buchan’s book

39 – the international code for direct-dialed phone calls to Italy

ICL Series 39 – a range of mainframe and minicomputer computer systems released by the UK manufacturer ICL in 1985

Curse of 39 – the belief in some parts of Afghanistan that the number 39 is cursed or a badge of shame associated with prostitution

39 – Japanese Internet chat slang for “Thank You” when written with numbers (3=San 9=Kyuu)

Lace – the traditional gift for a 39th wedding anniversary

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 297

Thursday was my wife’s last day at work, but she wasn’t there much. We celebrated her retirement and our upcoming anniversary with a nice meal out. For her first official retirement day, we will go out to breakfast … but I have to work in the afternoon.

Although she didn’t respond to anyone, my wife appreciated all the best wishes from the readers here, so she says Thanks to all.  Yep – the majority of the world is good.

As a science person, this scathing commentary directed at the Houston Science Museum caught my attention.

Geraldo Rivera was one of the worst contestants ever on Dancing With The Stars -but not worse that Master P. Then again, he knew he couldn’t dance, so cheers to his sense of humor for accepting the show’s invitation.

Opening Day in Cincinnati to start the season is big – very big! My wife has never been downtown for the festivities, so if the weather is nice, we may go. Meanwhile, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this discouraged at the start of the season about my team … but maybe they will surprise me.

I’m ready for a blogging break – one spending time visiting, writing, and adjusting to my wife being at home – so I will be announcing one in the near future … BUT – there will be a post on Saturday that’s not the break announcement.

Because of the upcoming blogging break, I’m delaying the next act of Colors: The Musical until further notice. I’ll first post the next act on the Hear Ye page.

Somehow, Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to survive. While supporters proclaim that he says what people are thinking, I wonder this: Is anyone listening? The man is one bluff after another. He continually changes the subject when he has no answer – especially about foreign policy. Lies, exaggerates, and doesn’t know the primary rules in the contest he’s chosen to engage. Passing the buck through blaming others. As many proclaim he’s tapping into the anger of the American voter, I say he’s activating the stupid gene … Yet – I continue to what I’ve said all along that he won’t get the nomination.

The notion of any of the Republican candidates wooing the “Reagan Democrats” is a fantasy because the many (if not most) of the Reagan Democrats are now Republicans and have been for some time.

With cracks in the Republican wall against the process of filling the Supreme Court vacancy, is it possible that the Republicans cave in, then the Democrats reject the idea? The Dems could claim it’s too late in the term, but actually mean they could get someone more liberal by winning the White House. If so, I say a good idea by the GOP, but a lousy idea by the Dems. Yes – an issue that could greatly influence my vote.

We hear a lot about the Democratic superdelegates – but much less so about Republican uncommitted delegates. Interestingly, the role of delegates earned by “suspended” candidates differs from state-to-state.

Meanwhile, the GOP race continues to focus on wives, size of hands, physical contact, lies, and more – and at the least of avoiding important issues.

For those who think it’s time to change the current primary system, NPR provides 6 alternatives with pros and cons for each.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, here a 2-fer of tips from The Onion:

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Bacon added
Questions linger about long-fingernailed man
Area man reports new girlfriend has that new girlfriend smell
Family has strict no smartphone rule while eating dinner in front of TV
Trophy wife slowly becoming regular wife
Report: Most effective marketing technique still giving out little version of product

Interesting Reads
The ancient origins of social media
Being forced to leave – unfortunately
The hunt for Fabergé eggs
The lesser known trail to Machu Picchu
The battle of Pork Chop Hill
Five facts about chickens

To send you into this weekend, here’s one you may not know from Pink Martini. The beginning provides an explanation for Tuca Tuca. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.