Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 382

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Pronouns 2: The Musical continues with Act 3: Our(s). Yes, Our and Ours are acceptable. Curtain rises as Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US). Meanwhile, I smile at the interactions between bloggers during the musical.

Earlier this week we saw the movie Green Book. We loved it … many thumbs up! Here’s the trailer.

This line from comedian Ricky Gervais made me laugh: “Being dead is like being stupid – it’s only painful to others.”

This week we watched a handful of Seinfeld episodes. Now that’s original comedy. When we were on a tour in Manhattan many years ago, the narrator said Seinfeld wasn’t a comedy show – but a documentary of life in Manhattan.

Until recently, I did not realize that WW 2 leaders Roosevelt (FDR), Hitler, and Mussolini all died within a span of 18 days.

A salute to Shimon! The kind thinker in Jerusalem started blogging in May 2011 – and our first encounter here was in March 2012. In this recent post he announced that it was probably his last blog post and he wanted to thank people. First of all, I appreciate when a blogger states their intentions to stop blogging (as opposed to walking away). Relationships are an important aspect of blogging, and I wish more would remember that. More importantly, Shimon is an example of why I believe the majority of the world is good. Shimon, thank you for being you. A toast of bourbon to you! Shalom.

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As of Friday (30 Nov), 34 days until the Democrats can officially start supporting President Trump’s re-election by over-playing their hand.

Not surprised President Trump rejected recent the Climate Change report done as a group effort by 13 government agencies. After all, everyone knows that he knows more about climate change than the researchers – and the agencies have a political agenda, whereas he doesn’t. Mr. President, I challenge you to put your words into action by defunding the research arm of all 13 agencies.

I’m still amazed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been able to contain information about the investigation. We know so little – so the reason why many speculate. Meanwhile, I patiently wonder and wait.

The large caravan of Central Americans wanting to come into the US is interesting. I recently wonder “Why?” this group exists – and I come up with this list of four most-plausible possibilities.

  • The standard immigration story of people seeking freedom with hopes of a better live
  • A plot by liberal donor(s) to embarrass President Trump and Republicans
  • A plot by conservative donor(s) to embolden President Trump
  • The Russians creating chaos
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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides important dental hygiene tips.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Brutalized toothbrush wishes owner would just let it die
Study finds only 20% of seminary graduates go on to become God
Pistachio-eating man achieves “Flow” state
Kinky couple has mirror in bathroom
Disgusting, unusable shopping cart has single sprig of parsley in it
Metropolitan museum acquires another vase

Interesting Reads

The economically dying areas
Perceptions about food risks
Captain Cook and the Hawaiian Islands
Thoughts about edible insects
Still fighting for Monkey Laws
A place where 500 people speak 9 different languages
(Photos) Unique caskets

To send you into the weekend, here’s a wonderful song from many years ago – and one for Resa who loves them, and Pauline who doesn’t know them. These Eyes (Guess Who). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On Rick Steves’ Europe Tours

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My wife and I enjoy travel – especially in Europe. Through the years we’ve watched many episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe on PBS – plus we found his tour books to be the best – but, we’ve never taken any of his company’s tours.

However, we know at least five couples who have taken his tours – some multiple times – and everyone endorsed them! So, this past late September-early October, we ventured on our first Rick Steves’ Europe tour to a land we didn’t know – Eastern Europe. (After Bled, we continued on our own.)

 

Several broad points about Rick Steves’ Europe tours – especially two very important limitations:

  • Group size in the mid-to-upper 20s (so there is plenty of room on the full-sized bus)
  • One carry-on luggage and one backpack per passenger – after all, travelers are responsible for carrying their own to/from the hotel

For the tour,

  • A tour guide was with us the entire time (we had a wonderful Czech named Jana)
  • When in a new location, local guides shared their expertise
  • Most hotels are for multiple nights (which allows ample opportunities to do some laundry)

As a philosophy, Rick Steves’ tours want travellers to get the most of their experience by emphasizing history, culture, and interacting with the people because he wants travellers to understand the people, their place, and what is important to them. Besides the local guides, our activities included

  • tasting wine at a winery
  • visiting a school and meeting with an English teacher and her students
  • tasting honey at a local producer
  • eating local cuisines
  • being entertained by traditional music.
  • having two transit day-passes in Budapest good for buses, trams, and subways
  • after leaving each country), Jana led us in a toast to that country with a local liquor and toasting in the native language

The hotels exceeded our expectations. All were clean, spacious, conveniently located, and with a hearty breakfast to start our day.

Rick Steves’ Europe offers tours throughout Europe – and a surprising number of offerings, plus each frequently offered. I invite anyone interested to visit ricksteves.com. Regarding this tour, the previous post featured Prague, and my plan is to post at least one stop a week.

Bus touring isn’t easy and isn’t for everyone. However, I can honestly say that we would not hesitate to take another Rick Steves’ Europe tour. Actually, we even have our eye on another Rick Steves’ Europe tour in the future.

 

On Prague (Czech Republic)


Click for background music of a very special song to the Czech people.

 

Prague – Praha to the Czechs

Prague – located on the Vltava River, the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic, the historical capital of Bohemia, and the place known as The City of 100 Spires.

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Prague – with its historic Old Town (UNESCO World Heritage Site) providing much of the city’s charm. Once surrounded by a wall, now only a few towers remain. Old Town Square serving as its center while featuring a statue to Jan Hus – a Czech religious reformer who was 100 years before the Reformation.

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Prague – with the historic Charles Bridge connecting Old Town and the Little Quarter located across the Vltava, just below Prague Castle. The bridge served as part of Coronation Way during the days of the monarchy.

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Prague – the home of Prague Castle with the majestic St. Vitus Cathedral within its walls. At our first dinner, two members of the Prague Castle Orchestra (from the opening video – the flute and accordion players) – privately entertained our group.

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Prague – with New Town flourishing outside Old Town. A magnificent collection of Art Nouveau buildings dominating the eyes – as well as a pair of dancers (Dancing Towers) known as Fred and Ginger.

 

Prague – featuring Wenceslas Square as New Town’s main square – the place where thousands of Czechs gathered for 1989’s Velvet Revolution ending one-party rule (Communists). Yes – the square is named after the Good King (of Christmas carol fame) who is buried at St. Vitus Cathedral.

 

Prague, not only a wonderful place to start our tour, it’s a great city for visitors. If you get a chance, GO! Below is 3-minute video about Prague’s Jewish Quarter (in Old Town). Hope you watch. Have you ever been to Prague?

Next stop: Krakow

Pronouns 2: The Musical – Act 2: Mine

The Story

Welcome to Pronouns 2: The Musical.

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

Why a sequel to Pronouns? Again, “Why not!”

Program

Act 1: My

 

Act 2: Mine

Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater. (Albert Einstein, scientist)

I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine. (Neil Armstrong, astronaut)

Beyond a certain point, the music isn’t mine anymore. It’s yours. (Phil Collins, musician)

It is a cursed evil to any man to become as absorbed in any subject as I am in mine. (Charles Darwin, naturalist)

That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal, as time will show. (Ada Lovelace, mathematician)

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. (Emily Bronte, novelist)

Chaos is a friend of mine. (Bob Dylan, musician)

When a person is going through hell, and she encounters someone who went through hellish hell and survived, then she can say, ‘Mine is not so bad as all that. She came through, and so can I.’ (Maya Angelou, poet)

Guidelines

Songs must have Mine in the title

Cautions

  • No duplicates songs regardless of artists
  • Foreign language equivalents unacceptable

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

Welcome back for Act 2 of Pronouns 2: The Musical. My introduction of this artists is simple. The year was 1995 – and when I first saw this video, I was hooked (for some mysterious reason). She’s also the reason I have a prosthetic left hand and my original hand is hermetically sealed for posterity. Ladies and gentleman – Shania Twain with Any Man of Mine.

Act 3: Our(s)

On Thanksgiving 2018

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The most important decision each person makes in live is the choices they make of the people around them.

No matter the age – as children, teens, young adults, adults, and elders – the importance of the choices is the same.

No matter the place – work, school, neighbors, organizations, and more – the importance of the choices is the same.

No matter our choice of hobbies – dance, photography, travel, bicycling, knitting, blogging, or more – the importance of the choices is the same.

For Thanksgiving 2018, I am thankful for all the good people who have been around me all my years – my hometown, college, neighbors, work, church, conferences, dance, vacations, family, and many more – and that includes the good people in blogging.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Returning this weekend for Act 2 of Pronouns 2: The Musical featuring songs with Mine in the title. Curtain goes up at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

On Reviewing a Travel Book

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” (Mark Twain, author)

I don’t know about the PBS stations in your area, but ours love Rick Steves shows and specials – especially on weekends and during fundraising campaigns. Sometime in late August I stumbled across one of him giving a lecture. I hadn’t seen it and he immediately grabbed my attention.

He (like me) is a believer that the majority of people in the world are good. Even though his talk did not inspire me to donate to the fundraising effort, I bought the book ahead of my journey to Eastern Europe, then finished it during the trip.

Travel As a Political Act (3rd edition, 2018) is not only an antidote of his travels, it focuses on the ability of travel to bridge cultures. After all, many people have fears based on exaggerations, myths, and a lack of knowledge.

Eight of the 10 chapters center on specific regions/issues as Yugoslavia, El Salvador, Denmark, Turkey & Morocco, Israel/Palestine, Europe & drugs, and similarities & difference between Europe & America. The other two chapters are about the importance of travel and retrospective thoughts when returning home.

Simply put, each of us have a worldview that is shaped by friends, family, media, perceptions, education, and personal experiences. Rick Steves want travelers to

  • Get the most out of travel by keeping an open mind and getting outside our comfort zone
  • Think beyond the logistics “hows” as flights, hotels, transportation, sights, and travel tips. The “whys” of travel allows travelers to be enlightened, learn, and grow.
  • Understand that bridging differences begins with understanding differences
  • Travel with the purpose of learning, not just seeing because everything has a history.
  • Know that sights are important because of what went on there and why it is important to the people today.
  • Learn why people are proud and why they hurt because all people have dreams, national heroes, traditions, values, and stories.

Yes – these points are easy to say, but very hard for many to do.

Travel As A Political Act is a good read. There is no question in my mind that Rick Steves is promoting his worldwide view. Just like his television shows, he is optimistic, affable, humorous, and even at times cheezy – all with the goal of how travel can change a personal perspective if the person embraces travel with an open mind.

Although some may say the author is promoting a political view. I disagree because he is using his personal view through experience to help travelers get the most out of travel. However, I understand how a reader can construe one personal view in the same light as a political view. Because of that, I hesitate to endorse this book for uber conservatives. On the other hand, they may be ones who could benefit from the challenge if they approached it with an open mind.

“While seeing travel as a political act enables us to challenge our society to do better, it also shows us how much we have to be grateful for, to take responsibility for, and to protect.” (Rick Steves, traveler & tour agency owner)

On Heading South from Yellowstone


After leaving Yellowstone to the south, Grand Teton National Park is less than an hour away. The park is named after the tallest mountain in the Teton range. The name’s origin goes back to the area’s French fur trappers calling the range les trois tétons.

The range’s sharp, jagged peaks are not only a contrast to the rounded ones at nearby Yellowstone, the peaks also serve as a reminder that the Tetons are the youngest mountains in the Rockies.

The drive through the valley east of the range offers stunning views. These mountains are spectacular!

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Jackson Hole refers to the long valley east of the Tetons. Jackson, the major town in the valley, is a popular destination for tourists and serves as a base for vacationers during all seasons and a seasonal home for some notable people. Our tour group stayed an evening in Jackson before embarking on the long drive to Salt Lake City.

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After an evening in Salt Lake City, our next destination was Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce, resembling more of a natural amphitheater than a canyon, is spectacular and very unique. The red, orange, and white color combination below a bright blue sky is stunning.

Bryce’s unique appearance comes from the sea of hoodoos occupying the amphitheater – the pillars of rock formed by weathering and water eroded erosion previously uplifted rock millions of years ago. Although hoodoos are found in other parts of the world, Bryce offers the largest collection.

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After an evening in, we were bound for where we started – Las Vegas – but not without stopping at Zion National Park. Whereas the views of Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon were from above looking down, one enters Zion Canyon’s deep gorge from the floor, which allows visitors to enjoy looking up at its walls of reddish and tan Navajo sandstone.

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After 2800 miles (4500 km) in 2 weeks, we saw many wonderful sights that America’s National Parks provide. Simply spectacular! Yes, we had a lot of bus time and yes, our visits were long enough for sampling – therefore, not long enough for embracing – but this trip was better than not ever seeing these natural wonders.

To see the post of the entire trip, see the sidebar (Categories > Travel > Western US National Parks Tour), click here, or visit any of the individual posts linked below.

Las Vegas
Vegas to Denver
South Dakota and westward
Yellowstone