On an Aerial Sherpa

Mother Nature is always speaking. She speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer. Leopards, cobras, monkeys, rivers and trees; they all served as my teachers when I lived as a wanderer in the Himalayan foothills. (Radhanath Swami, clergy)

I flew aeroplanes, parachuted, walked on my own across the Himalayas – you name it; if it was dangerous, I did it. (Scilla Elworthy, activist)

I was never comfortable with the risk of climbing in the Himalayas, or the amount of time in idleness that is involved in the Everest expedition. (Steve Fossett, aviator)

I would love to go to the Himalayas and cross over into Nepal to do the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. (Natalie Dormer, actress)

Last week, Nia (from Turkey) mentioned the two places in the world that she wants to visit the most are Alaska and the Himalayas. Because last week’s Explore took us to the Alaskan sky, this post takes us on a brief aerial journey from Kathmandu to the highest peaks in the world … the Himalayas. Enjoy your trip with Nia.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 292

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Last Saturday I watched much of Justice Scalia’s funeral. I’m amazed by the strength of his son – Paul, a Catholic priest – in leading service and delivering the homily at the funeral for his father. He brilliantly wove theology and life together … a WOW … what a beautiful church! (Click for Google Images.)

That once-every-four-years day is approaching. Here’s an explanation of why February gets the extra day in a leap year.

This blog passed on odd milestone earlier this week … 66,666 comments.

Here’s is your chance to make Cincinnati Chili.

Last weekend I saw a great video segment on HLN (CNN companion station) presenting both sides of the argument regarding Apple unlocking the iPhone of a deceased terrorist. Unfortunately, I can’t find it!

Last Friday I took my wife and her sister to the airport so they could begin their week of cruising for the fifth consecutive year. Yep – my Bachelor Week is nearing the end. For my week, I had three things to accomplish: 1) Takes them to the airport, 2) pick them up at the airport, and 3) have the house cleaned when they return.

Some wonder, want did you do? I ballroom danced, wrote a few blog posts, stayed up later but not sleeping as well, did my volunteering (dancing with seniors, dancing with Downs, and ESL tutoring), danced again, attended handbell rehearsal, had a dance lesson, participated in our Lenten journey small group, painted walls in one area, danced some more, attended a group dance class, did the usual Wednesday laundry, prepared the tax materials to our accountant (delivery is based on his schedule), cleaned the house, worked on designing a wall project, and squeezed in  some time to dance … so I can work on leading.

For Act 3: Yellow of Colors: The Musical, readers brought forth quite the array of over 30 songs! A tip of the cap to all! Special thanks to Dale for excellent Maitre D’ work … plus keep your eye on the Hear Ye page.

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

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Interesting time – Data out of California indicates a growing number of registered independents.

A question for Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). How do you implement your vision if Republicans control one or both of the Capitol Hill chambers?

My post (On the Court) earlier in the week regarding a forthcoming nominee to the US Supreme Court created interesting comments – and some were very predictable. Therefore, I pose these questions: How different would my post have been if a conservative justice other than Justice Scalia died? How different would the post have been if a liberal justice died?

Whereas Republicans as Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) use past quotes by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Vice President Joe Biden (D-NY) to justify delaying the confirmation process of a Supreme Court nominee, these are prime examples of the positions politicians take is a matter, place, and convenience – thus they are willing to wear the others shoes when it fits the narrative that meets their needs at that time. I take the contrary view – I oppose McConnell and Grassley today as much as Schumer and Biden then. As a matter of fact, I can say they are flat-out wrong.

My senator (Rob Portman, R-OH)  responded to my contact with a form letter containing an unacceptable answer. Good job at working to lose a supporter during an election year.

The candidate from my state, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) , made a faux pas comment on the campaign trail this week. A big deal to some, no more than a blip for me. Personally, his signature to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio was much bigger news.

Although Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is declaring himself the alternative to Mr. Trump, his road to the nomination is the most difficult.

I enjoy when the morning news recaps comedic comments from the late-night hosts regarding the presidential candidates. After all, laughing is so important.

Although the Republican field is dwindling, one aspect that is important to me is noticing who supports each of the candidates … especially when the field was larger.

Oh my … The Onion reported a leather-clad Ted Cruz campaigned at a fetish club. (Beware of image)

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides timely tips for hosting an Oscars party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pizza slice has only one pepperoni
Caffeine bracelet acts as coffee substitute
Takeout burrito shielded from cold as though it were week-old newborn
Nation’s elderly hit hard by closing automatic doors
Vatican City residents rally to save St. Peter’s Basilica from development

Interesting Reads
Global smartphone ownership and Internet use
The GOP nomination and the party rules
Columnist David Ignatius on a high-tech military (Thanks Tim)
Another reason for the Easter Island mystery
Naming elements
Design plans after the Great Fire of 1666
(Pictures) Corners

It’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 3 and one with an appropriate title for the upcoming night to celebrate Oscar. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor – Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Colors: The Musical – Act 3: Orange and Yellow

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.

Act 1: Black
Act 2: Red

Act 3: Orange and Yellow

Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.
(Pablo Picasso, artist)

Fall is my favorite my time of the year. I love it. I’ll try to make it back to Vancouver a bunch. I love going back home for that. Everything turns orange. You start to get out of summer, start making your way into the winter, everyone is wearing jackets. Vancouver lights up in the fall, so I definitely go back there for a bit. (Jean-Luc Bilodeau, actor)

Orange and yellow – neighbors on the color spectrum with wavelengths between 570-620 nanometers … with orange flanked by red and yellow – which is flanked by orange and green.

Orange from the Old French orenge and Arabic naranj – with its first recorded English use in 1512.

Yellow from the Old English geolu, which is derived from the Proto-Germanic word gelwaz – and oldest use dates back to 700.

Orange … the color of its namesake fruit – plus carrots, pumpkins, apricots, cantaloupes, and autumn leaves.

Yellow .. the color bananas, lemons, squash, daffodils, many flowers, and more.

Orange … a royal house, a color on flags of a nation, and associated with life preservers, robes of young Buddhist monks, red rocks, a Hindu holy man, and saffron.

Yellow … a color symbolizing sunlight, wisdom, warmth and reason.

Orange … a color of entertainment, frivolity, visibility, warning, and taking risk

Yellow … a complement to purple as orange is to blue

There is no blue without yellow and without orange. (Vincent Van Gogh, artist)

Songs with Orange or Yellow must be in the title


  • No songs using yellow or orange as a compound word (yellowbird, yellowtails, orangewood etc)
  • No songs using a form of yellow or orange (yellower, yellowest etc)
  • No songs using shades or hues of orange or yellow
  • 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.

We combined orange and yellow to form Act 3 to keep the musical moving while making it an enjoyable experience for all. With my birthday being not long ago, a journey back to the time I was 10 – and that would be 1963, and the great Bobby Darin delivered this song that also served as the title of his latest album. This song didn’t come close to topping the charts, but we love a trip back in time. Ladies and gentlemen – Welcome the great Bobby Darin with 18 Yellow Roses.

On the Court

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The news of the sudden passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia shocked everyone. He’s 79, but it was still unexpected. One of the benefits of the news is that we learn more about the person – and in this case, the one who is more than a justice.

I admit that at one time I wasn’t a supporter of Justice Scalia on the court. I imagine that me disagreeing with many of his opinions was a prime reason – but in retrospect, it also had to do with no understanding his viewpoint.

A phone conversation with a friend changed my view, but not in the way you may think. It’s important to understand that I consider (and call) my friend a partisan hack, and there is no way his belief system regarding his comment is the same as mine – or even changed my opinion of Justice Scalia’s written opinions.

Although I cannot recall the context of the phone conversation we were having, I probably made a negative comment about Justice Scalia’s presence on the court. My friend explained that he was happy Justice Scalia is on the high court because Scalia is a leading spokesperson for a judicial perspective, and it is important for that voice to be heard.

That statement resonated with me then, it still does today, and will continue to be in my mind tomorrow. If one believes (like I do) that the Supreme Court is a court for all the people, it is imperative that the court have a diversity of thought. There is no question that Justice Scalia was smart and had a defined philosophy, but he also wanted smart justices in the other chairs to discuss the issues from varying views. No wonder he had good personal relationships with Justices Kagan and Ginsberg who are philosophically opposite of him.

Justice Scalia was a lightning rod as people either adored or loathed him on the court. Although I haven’t emphasized it on these pages, but for some time I have felt that the worst recent nomination to the bench wasn’t President Reagan’s appointment of Justice Scalia, but President Bush’s (GW/43) appointment of Samuel Alito.

NOTE: For those who forget, President Bush initially nominated John Roberts to replace moderate Justice Sandra Day O’Conner (retiring). Then Chief Justice William Renquist (conservative) died, and then President Bush changed the Roberts nomination to Chief Justice, which lead to Alito replacing O’Conner. 

Justice Alito is (now and then) unquestionably qualified, but if one believes (as I do) that the Supreme Court is for all the people, Alito’s appointment was a severe shift to one judicial view. Four justices of like mind did not fit my view of the highest court in the land … thus leaving one swing vote.

Probably sooner than later, President Obama will nominate justice for the current vacant position. Sure, there is a lot of political bluster about the vacancy – a topic in itself and not the purpose of this post. President Obama’s nominees currently occupy two of the nine chairs – and there is no doubt that Justices Kagan and Sotomayor are qualified and occupy the same niche on the judicial spectrum – and a space similar to longer-term Justices Ginsberg and Breyer.

I hope President Obama doesn’t make the same mistake as his predecessor made with Justice Alito. Now is the time for President Obama to nominate a moderate to the court … a centrist … A jurist who can swing to the left and to the right to help the court deliver meaningful decision … A jurist who listens to the different views in order to make a decision … A jurist who does not hold a predictable judicial view. After all, the US Supreme Court is for all people, thus apart from one philosophy. Then again, I’m probably asking for too much because the partisans will continue to look after their own selfish priorities, which is not a Supreme Court for all Americans.

On an Alaskan Sky

From wonder into wonder existence opens. (Lao Tzu, philosopher)

The sight filled the northern sky; the immensity of it was scarcely conceivable. As if from Heaven itself, great curtains of delicate light hung and trembled. Pale green and rose-pink, and as transparent as the most fragile fabric, and at the bottom edge a profound fiery crimson like the fires of Hell, they swung and shimmered loosely with more grace than the most skillful dancer. (Philip Pullman, “The Golden Compass”)

The northern cheek of the heavens,
By a sudden glory kissed,
Blushed to the tint of roses,
And hid in an amber mist,
And through the northern pathway,
Trailing her robe of flame,
The queenly Borealis
In her dazzling beauty came!
(May Riley Smith, “Aurora Borealis”)

O’er all the widespread northern skies,
How glows and waves that heavenly light,
Where dome, and arch, and column rise
Magnificently bright!
(Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch, “The Aurora Borealis”)

I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. (Henry David Thoreau, author-poet-philosopher)

I’ve stood outside my house in Montana looking at the northern lights… crackling against the night sky. To me, that’s magic. (Christopher Paolini, author)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 291

That video is so funny. How have I missed this one for so long?

Many thanks for the birthday greetings this week (my post) as you helped make my day at good one! Special thanks to Vanessa for stepping up to accept the challenge, and for everyone here who visited her. For those who didn’t see it, visit here.

I like recognizing milestones, and I noticed that 1,800th post should happen in several weeks. Meanwhile, another countdown is on as the march toward a milestone in this series, which is now in single digits. Then again, the current pace places the event in April.

Isn’t it weird that we’ve reached a point that dropping oil prices helps our pocket-book while negatively affecting the stock market. On the other hand, many of us remember the negative effects of over-priced oil.

Wow! Millennials are now the driving force of the wine market. Click to read.

Do you remember Voice of America (VOA) radio? Its first broadcast was in 1942, and Cincinnati played a major role in its broadcast. When I first moved to the area in the late 1970s, the transmission towers were still sending signals. Here’s an interesting article from our paper about VOA.

Baseball’s spring training is beginning. My Cincinnati Reds fell short of having 100 losses and the worst record in baseball … so my hope for the 2016 season is to surpass both of those distinctions.

The Kentucky legislature has a bill in progress that a male who receives a prescription for Viagra must take on oath on the Bible swearing to not use the product with anyone other than their spouse. Ah yes … a wonderful example of responsible government at work.

Act 3 of Colors: The Musical will feature songs with Orange or Yellow in the title. As with previous acts, no compound words with these colors, no shades of orange or yellow, and no duplicate songs. Curtain time is at 9:30 pm (Eastern US) on Tuesday, 23rd February. See you at the theater.

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

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Regarding President Obama’s upcoming nomination of the Supreme Court nominee, the Republicans are playing a dangerous game. The question is whether President Obama truly places them in between the rock and a hard place … and yes, I disagree with the Republican stance now and I disagreed with the Democratic stance in 2007 … thus both are examples of truly identifying the problems in Washington. Throw them all out!

I wanted to have a post yesterday about the Supreme Court vacancy, but I didn’t get it ready in time … but maybe soon.

I wrote Sen. Portman (R-OH) about his stance regarding the nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice, but I don’t expect a response.

I like this scenario. President Obama nominates a conservative judge. The Republicans reverse their position, thus start the confirmation process … and then the nominee withdraws.

For those wondering my thoughts about my governor, I’m purposely withholding them to see how far he goes in the process. Meanwhile, I continue to applaud his grown-up-in-the-room approach. Did you know he had a brief candidacy in the 2000 presidential election?

Although I haven’t been and won’t be a support of Donald Trump (R-NY), I give him credit for being a quick thinker on his feet.

South Carolina has not disappointed me as being a place for a nasty Republican primary.

I continue to believe …

  • March 1st is a pivotal primary date for Republicans
  • March 15th is the pivotal primary date for Democrats
  • Nominating Ted Cruz (R-TX) would be the best thing for the Republican party in the long-term
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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides tips for successful campus activism.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sweden and Finland conclude yet another successful round of peace talks
Turquoise smuggler crosses Nevada border into Arizona without problem
Scissors kill paper – rock turns blade on self
Trophy wife slowly becoming regular wife
Landlocked nation of Chad announces plan to sell control of ports to highest-bidding gullible nation

Interesting Reads
Forgotten female astronomers
Urban education: London style
Driving the driverless car
The golden days of Kathakali
Bizarre sex lives in the ocean
(Pictures) Access to multiple years of photos from National Geographic’s Visions of Earth

A bit of personal philosophy and a fitting song to send you into the weekend, which is also fitting for my recent birthday. When someone asks if I would want to be young again, I usually answer, Nope as I have no interest in being that stupid again. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On 63

Image from CoolText.com

Image from CoolText.com

1) 63 is the same as Sessanta tre (Italian), Шестдесет три (Bulgarian), Drieënzestig (Dutch), Seksti tre (Norwegian), Triinšestdeset (Slovenian), and LXIII (Roman numerals) … can you add others?

In Mathematics
2) 63 is divisible by 5 numbers: 1, 3, 7, 9, 63

3) 63 – a deficient composite number, highly cototient number, a Woodall number, a Delannoy number, a Harshad number, cardinal number, and an odd integer

4) 63 – the smallest whole number that can be divided by any number from 1 to 9 without repeating decimals

In Science
5) The atomic number of europium, a lanthanide whose neutrally charged atom contains 63 protons and 63 electrons

6) 63 – the number of chromosomes found in the offspring of a donkey and a horse

In Space
7) STS-63 was the second mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program, which carried out the first rendezvous of the American Space Shuttle (Discovery) with Russia’s space station Mir

8) Deep space give us NGC 63 (New General Catalogue object) in the constellation Pisces, Messier object M63 in the Sunflower Galaxy, 63 Ophiuchi – an O-type giant star in the constellation Sagittarius, and HD 43587 – a stellar system approximately 63 light-years away in the constellation of Orion, which is visible to the naked eye

In Entertainment
9) 63 – a card game, popular in Carleton County, New Brunswick

10) Class of ’63 was a TV movie starring James Brolin (1973)

11) Newport ’63 is a live album by jazz musician John Coltrane

12) USA Channel 63 televisions are in Oxnard, California; Boca Raton, Florida; Monroe, Georgia; Bloomington, Indiana; Sumter, South Carolina; Newton, New Jersey; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin

13) Safo’63 is a 1963 Mexican film

14) 63 Nautical Stories is written by John Arthur Barry

15) Shakespeare’s Sonnet 63

16) A book – 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read (Jesse Venture)

In Sports
17) 63 yards if the record for the longest field goal in the NFL (held by three kickers: Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam, and David Akers)

18) 63 – Most points scored by a player in the NBA (Michael Jordan)

19) 63 – number of scholarships per season allowed by schools in FCS division

20) 63 – the number of personal runs scored by Cricketer Phillip Hughes before he died during a match

21) 63 kg – a weight class (139 pounds) in women’s weightlifting

22) Retired #63 professional jerseys – MLB (none), NBA (none), NBA (none, NFL: WIllie Lanier (Chiefs), Mike Munchak (Titans), and Lee Roy Selmon (Buccaneers)

23) NASCAR #63 has never won a race in 146 races – but finished in the top 5 twice – driven by Jocko Maggiacomo the most times (22)

24) The Lotus 63 was an experimental Formula One car, designed by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for the 1969 season

In Religion
25) There are 63 Tractates in the Mishna, the compilation of Jewish Law

26) There are 63 Saints in South Indian Shaivism

27) There are 63 Salakapurusas (great beings) in Jain cosmology

28) Papyrus 63 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering) is a copy of the New Testament in Greek

29) Psalm 63

In Geography
30) National/federal highway 63 can be found in US, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, and Greece

31) I’ve traveled Ohio State Route 63 many times

32) Moose Mountain No. 63 (Assiniboine: ȟépa ) (2006 Population 482) is a rural municipality in south-eastern Saskatchewan

33) 63rd meridian east crosses Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Antarctica … and forms a great circle with the 117th meridian west

34) 63rd meridian west crosses Canada, Greenland, Antigua, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Antarctica … and forms a great circle with the 117th meridian east

35) 63rd north parallel crosses Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, United States, Canada, and Greenland

36) Route E-63 is a European route that goes from Sodankylä, Finland to Turku, Finland – a length of  1,126 kilometers (700 mi)

In Places
37) NYC subway station at Lexington & 63rd street

38) 63 Building is a skyscraper on Yeouido island, overlooking the Han River in Seoul, South Korea

39) The Lower 63rd Yard is located at 63rd and Calumet in Chicago, Illinois, The yard is used for storing CTA equipment

40) 63 Seaworld is an aquarium that opened in 1985 in the 63 Building, Yeouido, Seoul, South Korea. It was the first public aquarium in the country

41) KV63 is the most recently opened chamber in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings pharaonic necropolis

42) 63 B&B is a place to stay in Rome, Italy

43) 63 Ranch is a vacation ranch in Montana

In History
44) USS Missouri (BB-63) (“Mighty Mo” or “Big Mo”) is a recommissioned battleship of the United States Navy and was the location of the surrender of the Empire of Japan that ended World War II

45) Federalist Paper #63 – written by James Madison regarding the US Senate.

Year 63 BC
46) Buddhist calendar 482, Berber calendar 888, Holocene calendar year 9938

47) Romans annexed Judea as a client kingdom

48) Roman troops massacre of over 12,000 Jews on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

49) Julius Caesar is elected Pontifex Maximus and praetor

50) Born – Gaius Octavius Thurinus (Augustus), first Roman Emperor; Strabo, Greek historian, geographer and philosopher; Didymus Chalcenterus, Greek scholar and grammarian

Year 63 CE
51) A common year starting on Saturday

52) The Year of the Consulship of Regulus and Rufus

53) Assyrian calendar year 4813, Hebrew calendar year 3823-2824, Korean calendar year 2396

54) An earthquake heavily damages Pompeii

55) According to legend, Joseph of Arimathea goes on the first Christian mission to Britain

56) Aulus Cornelius Celsus writes a dictionary (encyclopedia) on the arts and sciences.

57) Deaths – Mark the Evangelist; Claudia Augusta, sole child of Nero

58) 63 – the code for international direct dial calls to the Philippines

59) 63 – the number of groats in a guinea in British pre-decimal currency

60) 63 gallons are in 1 hogshead

61) Rule 63 of the Internet – For every fictional character, there is an opposite-gender counterpart

62) The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) administers the Series 63 Exam for certification

63) I started on February 17, 1953 … and still have those shoes.

Happy 63rd Birthday from Mini-Me.