On a Beach Walk: No. 48 (Touch)

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

I feel the firm sand with each step. My feet enable me to distinguish degrees of wetness – yet, I cannot feel individual grains of sand – but I do love the water’s smooth caress. Ahhhhh … the sense of touch.

As I walk I can tell when I step on a fine gritty layer of fine shells – or when I step on a single shell. My eyes tell me to slow down and be careful as I cross a dense area of shells – or even advise me to detour. Yet, I am impressed how the touch on the bottom of my feet causes me to retract my step when encountering a shell’s sharp edge. Cheers to the sense of touch.

I think about the sense of touch on my feet when they are not on this beach – but in a sock that’s in a shoe. I not only feel the sock on these feet, but I can also distinguish the inside of my shoe. Better yet, I can also feel the floor upon where I stand, and the bottom of each shoe between the floor and my feet. I can distinguishing levels of hardness of the floor from plush carpet to wood to tile or concrete. Yes – the marvels of the sense of touch.

I think about the sensitivity of our fingertips and how much we rely on them. While touch sensing ability of the skin on our back is much less sensitive than our fingers, but our lips are even more sensitive as noted in a soft, sensuous kiss. Ahhh – the sense of touch.

The sense of touch allows us to distinguish an apple from a pear when biting into them by differentiating the texture of their flesh. It’s the sense of touch that allows the blind to read through the Braille system.

Touch is related to our mood and the situation. Think about the differences of touch in a loving couple while amorous and the “don’t touch me” feeling during an argument.

Touch differs between cultures – let alone among people. Some show touch as an acceptance or appreciation, but others react to touch as an infringement of their space. Those that are tactile oriented must learn to change because others are not.

Touch, that complex feedback system linking behaviors and emotions. Touch, that therapeutic message that is a sign of assurance, friendliness, encouragement, and comfort. Touch, the sense we associate with erogenous.

Of all the senses, I imagine touch is the least researched, yet, psychologists approach different aspects of touch, but not its absence or loss.

We can close our eyes to simulate blindness, plug our ears to limit sound, or hold our nose to limit smell – but can you imagine not being able to feel? Can you imagine a life without that sense of touch that protects us? Can you imagine being unable to detect the caress by a loved one that gives us a feeling of comfort?

Meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy the current feeling the beach gives me because I like walking the beach for it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On A Weekend Concert with Billy Joel

Billy Joel

The Producer’s Guidelines

  • Only songs performed by Billy Joel
  • No duplicate songs
  • Include the song title in your introduction text so others can see it
  • One song per person
  • To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line) – (I do not mind unembedding, so no apologies are necessary)

Note: Return on Day 2 to submit more songs without limits. (My typical signal is posting a song for all attendees.)

“We Don’t Start The Fire”

 

Next Concert: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young (Date, tentatively 13th July)

Note: Songs must be credited to and performed by at least 2 of the 4

Past Concerts (Category): Beatles, Ex-Beatles, Moody Blues, Queen, Neil Diamond, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Elton John

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 404

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With a national holiday on the near horizon in the US, the Weekend Concert Series resumes this Saturday with Billy Joel. Stage time is Saturday, 1 AM (Eastern US).

I’m looking forward to Yesterday – the movie about the Beatles music.

Do you have or know someone who has old eyeglasses sitting around? OneSight is a nonprofit organization bringing vision care to the needy throughout the world. You can help by donating old glasses at LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, or Sears Optical retail center nearest you.

My cell phone is an Android. The app I use to block unwanted callers is no longer free. Any recommendations for a replacement?

Earlier this week I actually started thinking about how I would end this blog. No – that’s not imminent, but the thought is on my mind. I will make it to my 11th anniversary of my little corner of the world. Plus, I just won’t walk away. Instead of new stuff, maybe I should finish at least some of my drafts. 😉

I submitted a request to change my jury duty dates, and it was accepted. Just another example of honest, timely communication yielding a good result.

Following Malted Pretzel Ball (OK) and Amaretto Crunch (Good), Graeter’s (Cincinnati’s ice cream treasure) just released another seasonal flavor – Molasses Honeycomb Candy, which I have not yet tried.

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Just saw the headlines that the US Supreme Court ruling that Federal Courts cannot block gerrymandering is another example of the checks-and-balances system going astray. The ruling is a win for the parties and a strike against the people.

I intentionally didn’t watch either of the Democratic debates because I will not be voting in Ohio’s Democratic Primary. From the clips I saw Thursday morning about the Wednesday group, I hate when multiple people are talking at the same time.

Fact-checking reports about the first group gathering: PolitiFact, FactCheck, PBS, CBS, and NBC.

Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats continuing to sidestep healthcare will work against them.

Somehow (and it wasn’t easy), I watched Chuck Dodd interviewing President Trump on Meet The Press. He frequently used his common foils: Obama, Democrats, and Jeff Sessions.

It’s the end of the quarter, so time for my 2020 election thoughts.

  • 99% chance of President Trump being nominated
  • 0% chance of me voting for President Trump
  • 15% chance of me voting for the Democratic candidate
  • 60% chance of President Trump being re-elected

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline about how American diets have changed over time.

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Maybe the Best Single Headline Ever by The Onion

Hot Wheels Ranked Number One Toy For Rolling Down Ramp, Knocking Over Dominoes That Send Marble Down A Funnel, Dropping Onto Teeter-Totter That Yanks On String, Causing Pulley System To Raise Wooden Block, Propelling Series Of Twine Rollers That Unwind Spring, Launching Tennis Ball Across Room, Inching Tire Down Slope Until It Hits Power Switch, Activating Table Fan That Blows Toy Ship With Nail Attached To It Across Kiddie Pool, Popping Water Balloon That Fills Cup, Weighing Down Lever That Forces Basketball Down Track, Nudging Broomstick On Axis To Rotate, Allowing Golf Ball To Roll Into Sideways Coffee Mug, Which Tumbles Down Row Of Hardcover Books Until Handle Catches Hook Attached To Lever That Causes Wooden Mallet To Slam Down On Serving Spoon, Catapulting Small Ball Into Cup Attached By Ribbon To Lazy Susan, Which Spins Until It Pushes D Battery Down Incline Plane, Tipping Over Salt Shaker To Season Omelet

Interesting Reads

Fascination with Leonardo da Vinci
How dogs evolved
Ohio’s corn is in trouble and that matters
Patents and Toy Story characters
Mobile devices: a fact sheet
(Graphic) World’s most valuable brands
(Photos) World’s Ugliest Dog Competition

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song not submitted at last weekend’s concert (as well as a throwback to the disco era). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On an Alabama Trek

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Time is 8:02 AM (my pedometer reads 425 steps)

As I do most of the time, I walk down nine stories in anticipation of the known and unknown of what lies ahead.

In minutes I’m at the beach. The sun is bright. The sky is blue with wispy white streaks. The air is brisk, but the wind is strong – much stronger than I hoped – plus I am walking into the wind.

Within a few minutes, I cross into Florida. There’s the Flora Bama. (1,100 steps)

 

The sand is packed. I’m close to the water, but wearing shoes. I start a 15-minute stretch of familiar landmarks: Pharaoh, the Green-Eyed Lady, and Olives.

Time is 8:18 AM (2,072 steps)

Pharaoh stands guard over the beach. He tells me, “You can have my crown if you make it.”

Suspicious of his offer, I nod as I walk past.

This is something I wanted to do last year, but didn’t – and to think the weather was better then.

 

Conditions haven’t changed, but it’s early.

There she stands – “Green-eyed lady, ocean lady. Soothing every waves that comes. Green-eyed lady, passion’s lady. Dressed in love, she lives for life to me.”

She always wonders where I’m going and when I’ll return.

I smile at her presence as I walk by.

 

There’s that cool sand sculpture I saw the artist doing yesterday!

Several days ago would have been better because it was warmer and less windy – but the fog would limit the view.

The sand is no longer easy walking. I look for hardpan.

There stand the Olives.

Time – 8:34 AM (3,941 steps)

 

The next landmark is the USS Eden aircraft carrier with a flight deck at the end of a stretch of houses.

Head down, I maintain my pace into the wind. I encounter company for a short distance.

 

Time – 8:53 AM (2.5 miles/4 km) at Eden, a typical turnaround point

Eden is not a carrier, but a proud falcon or eagle perched to display its wings – much like the eagle on the back of a US quarter.

 

After Eden is a string of 6-7 houses, followed by a long stretch (2.5 miles/4 km) of no housing units for it is a Florida state park. My next destination is the first tall tower.

 

Fortunately, I know the locations of the bathrooms.

My pace is slower than normal. The strong headwind is a factor.

The sand remains difficult, so I continually search for a packed surface.

I’ve walked this lonely stretch before. I could listen to a podcast, but I want to conserve my battery.

The tide appears higher than normal, so low tide must have been earlier than I thought.

Should I turn around?

…. but then I find a stretch of packed sand that delays the decision.

Time – 9:52 AM (12,525 steps) 5.5 miles/ 8.8 km

At Windemere, the first tall condo outside the state park. I’ve been here before. I stop to empty my shoes, drink water, rest, check my phone, and think.

Walkers assure me that better sand lies ahead.

Before continuing, a man passes where I sit, and he turns left as if he will serve as my guide. I chose to continue to where my feet have not gone before and to reach the point at the end of the national shoreline.

 

The sand is better here, but the wind seems a bit stronger.

Condos are a few stories taller than our location – but not as wide. I marvel at the beauty of the expansive, curved balconies.

 

The man continues to serve as a guidepost as he walks ahead of me.

A collection of pastel houses are sandwiched between condos. For whatever reason, I smiled.

I imagine the first part of my destination lies ahead – and the man still sets a good pace and direction – but I’m gaining on him.

Time – 10:30 AM (12,525 steps) 7.1 miles/11.4 km

I enter the Gulf Islands National Shoreline. The sand is hard and level.

 

A half mile into the national protected area, I catch the man. We talk.

I asked the location of the point. He says, “Another 5-6 miles.” (98-9.5 km) – I laugh and think about Pharaoh’s words.

Time – 10:50 AM (16,284 steps) 7.1 miles/11.4 km)

One mile into the national shoreline we turned around. This is near the location where I thought the point would be – but little did I know it was still so far away.

We separate as I stop at the pavillion for restrooms, eating a banana, rest, water, texting my wife, and emptying my shoes.

Lunch is about 45 minutes away – a place just before the long stretch of the state park.

Ahhh … the wind is finally at my back.

Lunch was wonderful – a plate of red beans and rice.

Before heading back to the beach, my windshirt comes off to expose my arms.

The wind is at my back, but soon I notice a chill on my neck. My windshirt goes from my waist to my neck. Much better.

The state park stretch is generally lonely. I’m tired. I chat to two fisherman about their day.

I keep my eyes focused ahead for the next landmark.

I finally pass Eden as the eagle stands proud.

Olives appear as a martini toasting my survival.

The Green-Eyed Lady smiles with approval and my safe return.

Pharaoh nods in approval, then sheepishly smiles as a reminder that the crown is still his – but my walk is slower than normal.

I stop again to visit a sand sculpture done by an artist I talked to yesterday. (This is a morning picture)

 

There’s a log – I stop to sit, remove my socks and shoes that I stuff into a bag.

Ahhh … the sea refreshes my feet. My pace get faster. I hear the steady bass drum of my steps.

The Flora Bama tempts me to stop for a celebratory drink, but I press on to Alabama.

A final foot splash in front of the condo. I wave to my wife on the balcony, head inside, find the elevator for the ride to the ninth floor.

I stand at our door checking the final stats.

Time – 2:20 PM (38,185 steps) 16.8 miles/27 km

An interesting day – and I imagine the rest of the day will involve several thousand more steps.

As for the point that I did not see, hopefully next year – but then I will drive to the national shoreline, park the car, then start the trek to the point and back.

On a Beach Walk: No. 47 (Senses)

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

Ever think about your senses? Yes – the senses – that collective that we associated with sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste, and balance.

The senses – the cooperative making us aware of our external and internal environments.

The senses – the cumulative sensory devices gathering information that is sent to our brain, which integrates the message into our personal reality that we shape into our individualized personal perspective.

The senses – something all living things have – maybe not all to the same degree of sensitivity – but they have senses. After all, detecting and reacting to environmental conditions is important to all life forms. Maybe not all the same senses as us, but they have senses with the same purposes as ours – to make the organism aware of their surroundings.

The sensory devices may be as simple as to detect light – that is, to either seek it or avoid it. Others see well enough to detect movement – but even our vision isn’t that of an eagle, hawk or falcon.

Some sensory mechanisms seek a desired pH. Others trigger movement. Some detects temperatures to guide the organism toward the preferred temperature.

I look at the shells on the sand thinking that they once housed a living thing that had senses. Not as the specialized organs that may be in our minds, but as specialized nerve endings sensitive to touch so a reflex action can quickly occur.

I pass a jellyfish washed ashore and its their sensory ability that reacts with a sting. Since it may still be alive, I watch my step.

I see a pelican diving because their sensory eyes spotted a prey below the water’s surface – a fish who can also see with eyes and detect other senses with its lateral line on the side of its body – a structure that our eyes can see – but they still may fall prey to the pelican – but maybe not.

The senses – those detection system that constantly bombard our brain with information – many of which are unconscious to us – so we are oblivious to their usefulness. Many others we choose to ignore – yet some get logged as future memory recall. Some create a moment in time that sticks with us. Maybe a learning situation because I wonder – is there any learning that doesn’t start with a sense?

I think of the technologies that assist our senses. The corrective lenses that I wear for better eyesight; a hearing aid to detect and amplify lost sounds. Oh the wonders of how Braille transforms touch into visual words so the visually impaired can read.

I think of the blind who can’t see the graph, but can interpret the data through technology transforming the data into audible sound.

I think of technologies that extend our senses. From the simple stethoscope to a sonogram and beyond.

The bottom line is simple – our senses are vital for survival of all living things – yet to we humans, senses are also personal.

As I walk, my senses are simultaneously at work, and thinking about this wonderful collective that we may take for granted are good thoughts for this day. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Weekend Concert with Elton John

 

Elton John

The Producer’s Guidelines

  • Only performed by Elton John
  • No duplicate songs
  • Include the song title in your introduction text so others can see it
  • To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line) – (I do not mind unembedding, so no apologies are necessary)

One of his early, fast-moving hits – “Bitch Is Back”

Next Concert: Billy Joel (Date, TBA)

Past Concerts (Category): Beatles, Ex-Beatles, Moody Blues, Queen, Neil Diamond, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Carole King

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 403

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The reason for my slow responses, a lack of visits, and several skipped posts is a two-week stretch of working more than normal and hosting out-of-town visitors. Hoping to get back to normal soon.

The Weekend Concert Series returns with Elton John. Concert starts Saturday, 22 June at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Earlier this week we went to the theater for Rocketman. Interesting how it parallels Bohemian Rhapsody (which, in my opinion, was a better movie). Taron Egerton did fabulous work portraying Elton. The images at the end were awesome. Thumbs up to the movie – plus seeing the movie as the perfect primer for the upcoming concert.

The US Open has been my favorite golf tournament for many years. In recent years, the USGA has disappointed me too many times with both their course selection and layout. Therefore I can proudly say I’m no longer a USGA member.

Several weeks ago, CBS This Morning changed two of their three morning anchors. Although I still prefer and watch the show, I have noticed they moved toward a softer side (less news) as they compete with fluff heavy Good Morning America (ABC)and Today (NBC).

I received a summons from the county court for upcoming jury duty.

We visited the Burning Man Exhibit (No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man) at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Fabulous! I hope to feature it in a future post. If the exhibit is ever in your area, I encourage you to go. It’s current schedule includes the following:

  • Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC (March 30, 2018 – January 21, 2019)
  • Cincinnati Art Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio (April 26, 2019 – September 2, 2019)
  • Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California (October 12, 2019 – February 16, 2020)

Over the past two weeks, the Cincinnati Reds have actually spent several days out of last place.

The latest playoff season deliver two first-time champions: Toronto Raptors (NBA) and St. Louis Blues (NHL). Two obvious facts about their achievement. Neither winning before was Obama’s fault, and President Trump was obvious the major factor on their championships.

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Head-scratcher Time: President Trump gave to a question asked by a reporter Reporter Kristen Welker, NBC asked President Trump a question.
(Welker) “You seem to suggest that yesterday you essentially committing to not spying on North Korea. is that what you meant? Were those comments interpreted accurately, if so why?”
(Trump) “No, it’s not what I meant, it’s what I said and it’s different than, maybe, your interpretation.”

Understatement Time: “Donald John Trump is not considered an eloquent man.” (Carl Cannon, Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics)

I expected President Trump’s “Keep America Great” as a re-election slogan.

Left Democrats continuing to push the party and candidates to the left will drive moderate voters away.

I agree with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson who (in this column) hit it on the button when stated that numerous Democratic presidential candidates would do the party and the country more good if they ran in their state’s upcoming senate election.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion tells the real story why Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving the White House.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man annoyed at being mistaken for employee just because he’s driving forklift through store
New study finds humans could lose vestigial heads in less than 100 years (click to see the image)
Woman thankful she has type of alien looking face that makes her hot
Nike reveals size-inclusive mannequin eating a large hoagie
Krill-eating whale too cowardly to prey on something its own size

(My Combo) Woman eating large hoagie driving forklift annoyed krill-eating cowardly man looking at hot store mannequin

Interesting Reads

Ohio women and women’s right to vote
Conversing about race
The lost NHL franchise: the Oakland Seals
Talking to anti-vaccination people
(Opinion) Most under-rated Beatles songs
(Graphic) People dying and the media
(Photos) National Geographic Photo Contest 2019 winners (notice the selection tabs & buttons)
(Video) Over 2,000 world flags in 5 minutes

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song that I can’t believe I didn’t use last week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.