On to 2015

Embed from Getty Images

A New Year’s greetings to all!!!

Although I’ve been posting and replying to comments, sorry that I haven’t been visiting much. Break has been good, but I will return to your wonderful blogs very soon. This post is similar to the Opinions in the Shorts assortment, but without the opinions.

2014 was a year of several milestones (150oth post, 200,000th visit, and 5000th follower) – the later is relatively meaningless because most of them don’t visit after following. On the downside, my consecutive streak of years Freshly Pressed ended at two, stats are way down (that’s OK because I enjoy this and my commenters), and I fell short of 50,000th comment (which should be early in 2015).

Many thanks to all my visitors, especially those who comment. Cheers to my top 5 commenters (according to WP): Lame, Elyse, Val, Carrie, & Marina!!! A special shout-out to Catherine because I don’t think WP counts her.

For those who enjoy looking at the annual reports, here’s mine.

Closing the year requires a touch from The Onion.

Celebrations to start your year

  • (Thurs) Bad Hangover Day, Mummers Parade Day, Euro Day, Commitment Day, Bowling Day, Copyright Law Day, Beanie Babies Day, First Foot Day, Global Family Day, Bloody Mary Day, New Year’s Dishonor List Day, Polar Bear Plunge Day, Z Day
  • (Fri) Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Day, Happy Mew Year for Cats Day, Swiss Cheese Day, Cream Puff Day, Science Fiction Day, Pet Travel Safety Day,  Buffet day, Motivation & Inspiration Day, 55 mph Speed Limit Day, Boo Boo Bear Day, Run up the Flagpole to See if Anyone Salutes Day
  • (Sat) Drinking Straw Day, Fruitcake Toss Day, J.R.R. Tolkien Day, Remember You Die Day, Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, Women Rock Day, Festival of Sleep Day, Write to Congress Day, Humiliation Day, Brooklyn Bridge Day
  • (Sun) Pop Music Chart Day, Tom Thumb Day, Trivia Day, Spaghetti Day, Appendectomy Day, Blender Day, Roller Skates Day, Free Flower Basket Day, Dimpled Chad Day

The next post will feature January, then followed by one or two Explore posts before returning to the normal routine. I’m thinking about doing more Explore topics in the future, so I will gladly consider your recommendations. Any ideas?

To keep 2015 on a positive track, I’ll announce the theme for the next act of Life: The Musical on the upcoming Monday Morning Entertainment.

When I heard these songs from the past the other day, I immediately thought they are fitting for the occasion. After all, let’s go into the new year with a some bounce in our steps.

Happy New Year everyone … and cheers to a positive life in 2015!!!!

On the Waterfall Illusion

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. (M. C. Escher)

Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling? (M. C. Escher)

He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder. (M. C. Escher)

Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. I think it’s in my basement… let me go upstairs and check. (M. C. Escher)

I am always wandering around in enigmas. There are young people who constantly come to tell me: you, too, are making Op Art. I haven’t the slightest idea what that is, Op Art. I’ve been doing this work for thirty years now (M. C. Escher)

Enjoy a look at the waterfall illusion by artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972)

On Exploring a Treasured Cincinnatian

Charley Harper (August 4, 1922-June 10, 2007) is a Cincinnati treasure. Even though his art work is well-known in my city, I didn’t realize his national prominence. While visiting two Frank Lloyd Wright homes (Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob) this past summer, I noticed Charley Harper books in the gift shops, and when seeing his work in the midst of Wright’s designs, I made a wonderful connection.

Local organizations as the Cincinnati Zoo and various parks donned his artwork, which served as my first exposure to Charley Harper. Little did I know that national and international organizations also used his work.

 

On Exploring an Abstract Russian

Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul. (Wassily Kandinsky)

The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul. (Wassily Kandinsky)

There is no must in art because art is free. (Wassily Kandinsky)

An empty canvas is a living wonder… far lovelier than certain pictures. (Wassily Kandinsky)

December 16th was the first time I’ve ever heard of Wassily Kandinsky, the Russian artist born on that date in 1866. Truth be known, it was Google’s Doodle header on that day that caught my attention, thus my first exposure to Wassily Kandinsky. Soon thereafter, I was off to YouTube searching for a tribute of his work.

Art is a matter of taste, so I hope you enjoy this work. Besides, wonderful music accompanies the images.

On Blind Inspiration

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. (Helen Keller)

To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable. (John Milton)

Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity. (Bo Bennett)

Just do it. (Nike slogan)

As inspirational as the above quotes are, they don’t do this person justice.

On Exploring Clear Skies

The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work. (A. P. J. Abdul Kalam)

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. (John Lubbock)

We are a nation of communities… a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. (George H. W. Bush)

Whether as part of our natural surrounding or from the creativity of a fellow human, our world has so much to offer – thus the purpose of the Explore series is to give us an appreciative taste of those offerings. To me, the sky is a wonderful place to activate this series.

On Good and Goodness – 2014

Good – an adjective, noun, or adverb – and this is the season of goodness.

Good is a word that transcends the globe in many languages and customs. Through a smile, music, a dance, and many other ways, good touches all and has a way to communicate across language barriers. Do you remember Matt?

Good – a desire or approval … as in living in peace with each other

Good – as in pleasing and welcoming

Good – kind, kindhearted, good-hearted, thoughtful, generous, charitable, magnanimous, gracious

Good – as in showing kindness and respect

Good – something produced for use by others

Good – as in appropriate, fitting, and adherence

Good – meaning valid, valued, treasured

Good – a quality emphasizing the best, finest, and nicest – or considerable, sizable, substantial, appreciable, and significant

Good – displaying or possessing a virtuous moral value – thus virtuous, righteous, upright, upstanding, moral, ethical, high-minded, and principled

Good – respectful, well-behaved, obedient, dutiful, polite, courteous, moral, righteous, and with integrity, virtue, and goodness

Good – referring to the positive qualities of a group of people

We need to reach that happy stage of our development when differences and diversity are not seen as sources of division and distrust, but of strength and inspiration. (Josefa Iloilo)

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. (Dalai Lama)

Goodness is the only investment that never fails. (Henry David Thoreau)

Dream that you and I and all of us will realize that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion. (Desmond Tutu)

I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others. (Muhammad Ali)

Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it. (Pablo Casals)

I keep up enough with news to know that the world is not lacking bad news. Whether wars, human strife, harm, or killings, many of events are based on culture, religion, politics, race,and quest of power for imposing one set of values while stifling others. Nonetheless, my belief in humanity remains steady.

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Even with all the bad news, I remain convinced that the majority of the world is good. After all, these are people who go about their daily life, and communicate across languages with smiles, dance, music, kindness, and acceptance … and yes, the bloggers at WordPress that I encounter also serve as ambassadors of humanity’s goodness – thus supporting my belief.

Yes, it’s the Christmas season, which is an important occasion for we Christians .. and festive time emphasizing good. However, goodness is a quality continually exhibited many Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, secular humanists, atheists, agnostics, and many other religions throughout the world … so to me, Santa Claus is a figure of good that transcends all cultures – thus not bound to Christianity.

In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you regularly deliver to me. Yes, you are good. Happy Holidays to everyone … and to my Christian friends, a blessed Christmas to you!

But, one question … Which of the musical and visual gifts in this post did you enjoy?