On Blog Break: Fall 2018


 

It’s blog break time again. This time I’m hoping 4-6 weeks, therefore sometime in the last half of October. As with other breaks, I will probably precede posting with some visiting to make my presence known. Meanwhile, below are some odds and ends.

The blog break puts a pause on Pronouns: The Musical. They is the next act, followed by Them and It.

The previous post was the last one for the year. My plan is to write more the next time I return to the beach. I wouldn’t expect anyone to notice because the posts were months apart, but the previous walk was not the only time the walk featured waves. As a matter of fact, I used different versions of the same song (Waves – Mr. Probz). Check them out.

I will spend part of my blog break preparing posts featuring last spring’s bus tour that took us to many western US National Parks.

College football is in full swing and Saturday was a black day for the Big Ten – which lost 6 games to non-conference foes – of which 5 teams are NOT in a Power 5 Conference. Because the league has 14 teams, I prefer referring to the Big Ten as the Big Can’t Count – or the Big Can’t Count Past 10.

Think of Ohio as a square. Cincinnati is in the lower left corner, I grew up in the lower right corner, and went to college in the upper left corner. Sunday morning I went to Toledo’s (upper left corner) newspaper site to read about a college football game – and I was quite surprised what I saw as the feature article – an article about my small time in the opposite corner of the state that is a 4-hour drive – an article about a small town in rural southeast Ohio that struggles on various levels. Here’s the article.

Our current town has one of its water towers very close to our residence. Over the past several weeks, it’s been interesting watching workers clean then paint the water tower.

 

Wow – this headline from Pew Research is powerful and laughable: Republicans, Democrats See Opposing Party as More Ideological Than Their Own. Here’s the article.

Earlier this week marked the anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution. For purely their own selfish reasons, it is interesting how both political parties try to use/not use this document, use/not use words of the Framers, or use/not use the Federalists Papers.

“I doubt too whether any other convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our councils are confounded, like those of the builders of Babel, and that our states are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.” (Ben Franklin)

Has anyone converted to the new Gutenberg editor on WordPress? If so, please share some of your thoughts.

Interesting Blog-Break Reads

Clearing the Unused Headlines from The Onion

  • Body positivity caught in illicit tryst with conventionally attractive lover
  • Cashier forced to incorporate humiliating new phrase into every customer interaction
  • Grocery store bar actually has great little Happy Hour, reports man with a series problem
  • Climate researchers warn only hope for humanity now lies in possibility they making all of this up
  • WHO warns against eating fish and keeping active following death of world’s oldest woman
  • 10-year-old yelling at mom to watch cannonball while she’s trying to scope out younger men at pool

So for now, and I’ve stated many time before, blog breaks are good. Enjoy this upbeat summer song because when I return, fall will definitely be in the air. Then again, it’s fitting for the approaching summer in the southern hemisphere. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On a Beach Walk: No. 39

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

I see the vast water representing bloggers. Communities as WordPress and Blogger are two hosting communities – but not the only ones.

Bloggers are across the world – just another example of the world becoming smaller and more connected. I don’t know how many people from different countries have touched my little corner of the world – but I do know that I enjoy those who interact and return – especially those who have stuck with me for many years.

Each blogger writes for different reasons – marketing, personalizing, pontificating, advocating, educating, sharing, interacting, simply writing, and more. Poems, short stories, sports, politics, photography, travel, satire, music, events, hobbies, diaries, entertainment, fitness, wellness, cooking, religion, philosophy, humor, art, and more because blog pages allow readers to decide the topics they want to engage.

Each blogger wants something different. Some want interactions, others want friends, laughs, respect, community, a voice, and/or even just followers.

Bloggers are like the rest people in our life: they came and go – there are givers and the selfish – the jokers and the philosophers – the learners and the teachers – the encourages and the downers – the inspirational and the passive – the emotional and the practical – the extroverts and the introverts – and many more – even the users and abusers. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that (as a whole) bloggers have made the world a better place. After all, we are the everyday people helping the world go around.

This is the last walk of the season. It’s been fun – so thanks for walking along. This series started in 2017 with 15 posts – but 2018 increased to 24. Our plans are to return to the beach again in 2019, which serves as my writing time for this eclectic collection of personal thoughts. Hopefully my future includes more walks to share on my little corner of the world. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Pronouns: The Musical – Act 9: Us

The Story

Welcome to Pronouns: The Musical.

Some may ask, “Pronouns?”, but we at A Frank Angle say, “Why not pronouns!”

A subset of nouns, pronouns serve as a substitute for nouns and noun phrases. These bits of linguistics and grammar are versatile and can almost refer to anything.

Although pronouns can be personal, objective, possessive, indefinite, relative, intensive, demonstrative, interrogative, reflexive, and reciprocal, this musical extravaganza focuses on selected pronouns.

Program

Act 1: I
Act 2: You
Act 3: Me
Act 4: He
Act 5: Him
Act 6: She
Act 7: Her
Act 8: We

Act 9: Us

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. (Mother Teresa, humanitarian)

The power of imagination makes us infinite. (John Muir, naturalist)

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there. (Barbara Bush, First Lady)

Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it. (Stevie Wonder, musician)

We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle. (Marilyn Monroe, actor)

History teaches us that unity is strength, and cautions us to submerge and overcome our differences in the quest for common goals, to strive, with all our combined strength, for the path to true African brotherhood and unity. (Haile Selassie, leader)

Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it. (Niels Bohr, physicist)

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained. (Marie Curie, chemist)

Guidelines

Songs must have Us in the title

Cautions

  1. No duplicates songs regardless of artists
  2. Foreign language equivalents unacceptable
  3. Contractions are acceptable at the discretion of The Producer

Production Notes

  1. To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please
    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

Welcome to the latest musical by aFa Productions – Pronouns: The Musical.

We are all gathered at this wonderful theater for Act 9 because it’s all about us. Having a chance to have this group here, well – the aFa production staff couldn’t pass the chance. Ladies and gentlemen, if this doesn’t get you moving, you have a problem. Welcome to one of my favorite groups and favorite songs, so let’s hear those loud cheers for Asleep at the Wheel with Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens.

Act 10: They (Date TBA)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 376

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Pronouns: The Musical continues its trek this weekend featuring songs with Us in the title. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

The next beach walk will be the last of the season – but hopefully not the last of the series because I plan to return to the beach in the future.

Wishing all the best for those in Hurricane Florence’s path.

Last weekend we saw the stage version of Misery (Stephen King). Well done – so did you see the movie with Kathy Bates?

Downtown Cincinnati installed a controversial streetcar several years ago. According to Channel 12, ridership is 46% below expectations – and I am not surprised.

At the dance studio where we regularly attended social dances, the owner/instructor is absent on Fridays during September and October. “Students” are volunteering to lead the hour-long class before the dance – and I’m doing one in mid-October.

A soon-to-be-announced blog break is on the near horizon. After all, fall is approaching – and yes, it will interrupt Pronouns: The Musical.

In the past 6-9 months, CBS News has been in the news for the various harassment issues. Their on-air personal continues to impress me by the way they address the reports.

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This past Tuesday marked the 17th anniversary of 9-11. An editorial title by a local resident caught my eye: Shared purpose after 9/11 nonexistent today Below I pulled three paragraphs that resonated with me – and are perfect for the politics section of this post.

I was in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. Like all of us, I will never forget that day. But believe it or not, there is something about the days and weeks that followed 9/11 in New York that I actually miss. Something that we seem to have lost entirely today, and at great cost: a shared understanding of the world around us, and a common purpose. For me, that feeling was as unforgettable as anything else. …

Although New York City is famously diverse and also sometimes called the loneliest place on Earth, I found connection, common ground, and resolve in every eye I met walking the streets in those weeks. We were all thinking about the attack, the lives in the balance, and what we could possibly do to help. This shared understanding and purpose felt invigoratingly new then. It would be positively alien today. …

The public square is too regularly a shouting match, staged from our respective corners. This distance between so many of us has left in its wake a degraded political culture that simply can’t tackle big problems, or sometimes even little ones. And so those problems fester, trust in our institutions continues to dwindle and the distance grows.

For those interested, here’s the entire column.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion made me laugh with this one about American politics – and the image is priceless. For more, click here.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Two-faced house guest who didn’t need anything suddenly wants glass of water
Deformed, half-feathered Audubon Society President flees into forest after injecting self with bird DNA
Man discovers huge cache of rare fossils while walking through Natural History Museum
Returning Jesus Christ downed by U.S. missile defense 30,000 feet before making landfall
Is football bad for the NFL?
‘The Onion’ has chosen to publish an anonymous op-ed from two sources close to Trump who think their dad is the best president ever

Interesting Reads

A look back at Thomas Beckett, Henry II, and the church
Green the Sahara?
1968 in Eastern Europe
Linking chocolate syrup and medicine
Attempting to replicate termites in order to help society
The cello and the cellist
(Video) An interview with the first female to lead the cadet corp at The Citadel
(Photos) Stunning silhouettes from Africa

Early this past summer I started sending you into the weekend with a song having summer in the title. This post marks the end of the season here on OITS, so I send you into the weekend with a different version of the first song – this time by Cincinnati’s Comet Bluegrass All-Stars. (The audio isn’t the best.) Give it a chance and enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Book Review: Enriching Our Vision of Reality

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I

n my ongoing journey of diving into the positive relationship between science and religion, I read Enriching Our Vision of Reality: Theology and the Natural Sciences in Dialogue by Alister McGrath. With science degrees in quantum chemistry and biology, Dr. McGrath is a Professor of Science and Religion and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science & Religion at Oxford University.

McGrath firmly believes that both science and religion are important parts of the big picture – but not the only parts. He sees science and religion are “different parts of the same reality” with each offering a different perspective. Although he unequivocally encourages readers to develop to develop an intricate understanding of nature, McGrath sees Christianity’s role (especially through the lens of natural theology) as providing greater insight into God, creation, and today’s scientific exploration.

“… both scientific and religious theories find themselves confronted with mysteries, puzzles and anomalies that may give rise to intellectual or existential tensions but do not require their abandonment. . . . In each case, there is a common structure of an explanation with anomalies, which are not regarded as endangering the theory by its proponents but are seen as puzzles that will be resolved at a later stage.”

“We all need a greater narrative to make sense of the world and our lives, naturally weaving together multiple narratives and multiple maps to give us the greatest possible traction on reality. Reality is just too complex to be engaged and inhibited using one tradition of investigation. That, I suggest, is why we need both robust theology and informed science.”

“Science dismantles the world so that we can see how things work; the Christian faith assembles them so we can see what they mean.”

In order to understand his point of view, Dr. McGrath organizes this book in a different, but sensible, manner – three parts with multiple chapters in each part; and one part building on the next.

  • Part 1: An explanation of the relationship between science and theology. Although some see the two as incompatible, McGrath promotes a positive relationship.
  • Part 2: Because he threads his story throughout the book, McGrath uses this section to discuss the three people most influential on his point of view: Charles A. Coulson, Thomas Torrance, and John Polkinghorne (whom I’ve read).
  • Part 3: These six chapters examine six parallels between science and theology: Theories & doctrines, faith, models, evolution, human identity, and natural theology.

At pertinent times throughout the book, McGrath shares his personal experiences, including his time as an atheist – so he willing responds to notable New Atheists (particularly Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I find this interesting because I’ve read multiple authors who have been atheists in their personal journey.

Before reading this book, my concept of natural theology related back to William Paley (19th Century) who saw nature’s design and intricacies as proving God’s existence because observable design is a sign of God’s past activity. (This thought is the general overview of those favoring Intelligent Design over evolution by natural selection.) Today’s natural theology (far removed from Paley) allows people to meld scientific and theological information in order to enhance our understanding and admiration of God’s creation.

McGrath surprised me with his criticisms of Ian Barbour’s four models explaining the science-theology interchange. Although he favors Polkinghorne’s four models, I tend to stay with Barbour’s explanation. While Polkinghorne’s model may be more centered on the theological perspective, I see Barbour’s models as an easy way for the general public to understand the different levels/stages of the science-theology relationships. After all, much of the public remains stuck in the paradigm that they must make a choice between the two disciplines. My personal journey on this topic also relates very well to Barbour’s models.

This book is well-researched and documented with 27 pages of endnotes. McGrath also provide 2+ pages of further reading materials for those wanting to know more. For me, these references also reinforces the decisions I’ve made what who and what to read

Enriching Our Vision of Reality is a thought-provoking, but not an easy read for novices on the topic – therefore I believe McGrath’s intended audience are those with more than a casual interest in theology and its interrelationship with science. I wonder if pastors are his intended audience. Then again, the intended audience could be scientists in order to expand their view of theology. For anyone interested, Kindle and paperback versions are available at Amazon.

On a Beach Walk: No. 38

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

No matter the day, one can rely on the waves. Some days they bring water ashore with a gentle, velvet touch. Other days as a thunderous and splashing roar.

Some days the moving water is actually a gentle roll allowing boats to smoothly glide. Other days the water violently toss vessels as if they are a small toy in a bathtub.

I think of the waves representing the ups and downs of life. The good days – the difficult days. I think of the parallels that these waves have with other waves as sound, light, radio, x-rays, microwaves, and infrared.

I think of waves signifying the euphoria of successes and personal highs, then the depths of grief and despair.

I think of waves representing the wide range of human emotions from calm to rage.

I think of waves as numerous metaphors in art, literature, and life.

I think of waves representing a link between the conscious and subconscious – that is the waves washing ashore are where the conscious and subconscious meet – therefore representing the tears of sorrow moving across one’s face.

I think of waves away from the shore and the energy the possess – the energy motivating one to catch the wave – the same energy that can tumble one into the abyss below.

Yet, the waves are one of the factors why walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Pronouns: The Musical – Act 8: We

The Story

Welcome to Pronouns: The Musical.

Some may ask, “Pronouns?”, but we at A Frank Angle say, “Why not pronouns!”

A subset of nouns, pronouns serve as a substitute for nouns and noun phrases. These bits of linguistics and grammar are versatile and can almost refer to anything.

Although pronouns can be personal, objective, possessive, indefinite, relative, intensive, demonstrative, interrogative, reflexive, and reciprocal, this musical extravaganza focuses on selected pronouns.

Program

Act 1: I
Act 2: You
Act 3: Me
Act 4: He
Act 5: Him
Act 6: She
Act 7: Her

Act 8: We

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. (Helen Keller, author and activist)

We’re all working together; that’s the secret. (Sam Walton, business leader)

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty. (John Muir, naturalist)

Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart. (Sarah Ban Breathnach, author)

Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children. (Sitting Bull, leader)

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. (Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights leader)

Our uniqueness, our individuality, and our life experience molds us into fascinating beings. I hope we can embrace that. I pray we may all challenge ourselves to delve into the deepest resources of our hearts to cultivate an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion. We are all in this life together. (Linda Thompson, actor)

Guidelines

Songs must have We in the title

Cautions

  1. No duplicates songs regardless of artists
  2. Foreign language equivalents unacceptable
  3. Contractions are acceptable at the discretion of The Producer

Production Note

  1. To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please
    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

Welcome to the latest musical by aFa Productions – Pronouns: The Musical.

I’ve said it before, but establishing blogging friendships is one of the unexpected joys that I’ve encountered in my 10 years here at my little corner of the world. With that thought in mind, one particular song comes to mind for my faithful readers and commenters through the years – so, I contacted a group of sisters from Philadelphia to open Act 8. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Sister Sledge with We are Family.

Act 9: Us