On the Answer

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Note: As another feeble attempt into the world of fiction, I didn’t establish a word limit on myself this time. Because I embedded music into the story, listening to at least part of the song (30 seconds) helps set the tone. I will appreciate your comments about the story.

On the Answer

 

The large wooden floor and good music makes it a popular place for ballroom dancers. He and she are relatively newcomers to this venue – but this is their first special-event night – a charity ball. Each are acquainted with a few other people from previous visits, but not with each other. This night is their first sighting.

He finds her alluring – but their eyes never meet. He is a bit intimidated by her dancing ability. She watches him thinking he’s handsome and can dance – yet their eyes never connect.

He wants to ask her, but is hesitant. She waits – yet is anxious..

They sit on opposite sides of the hall – but never know the other’s interest. Their dance partners are from what seems to be a partitioned sector.

A waltz ends – they are unknowing close enough to bump into each other as they start to leave the floor causing their eyes to connect for the first time. Neither knows the other’s thoughts.

A Cha-Cha begins. Their previous partners know one another and pair to dance. He and she are left looking at each other. He asks. She smiles and accepts.

 

Cha Cha music is upbeat and rhythmic. The dance is fun, spirited, and playful – some say flirtatious.

He cautiously engages her. He starts with basic steps so they get comfortable with each other. She compliments his leads. He accepts through a smile and returns kind words; although her ability and confidence are obvious.

The music continues and the steps greatly vary as they both smile and occasionally talk while having a good time – actually a great first dance. The song ends. Smiles of approval and appreciation evident. The next song quickly begins.

 

He extends his hand to say, “Rumba?” She again accepts with a smile and without saying a word. Rumba – its slow, steady Latin beat that some say is the dance of love. To others, it’s the dance of foreplay.

Whatever he leads – she follows without hesitation. Again she compliments him. He smiles and tells her that she makes dancing easy to lead – but he is taken by her white dress that displays her form, her beauty, and her motions.

The song ends. He mentions they are two strangers dancing as one. She philosophically responds, “That’s a power of dance.” – then a different song starts.

 

A Bolero – the dance of love – a dance that they each adore – something the other doesn’t know. The music acts like a strong magnetic bringing their brown and blue eyes together. Without words, they stay on the floor.

Bolero music is slightly slower than Rumba. They are close – thighs touch – frames engage. Bolero is slinky – together, apart, back together – low then high, back to low. He offers a steadiness that she appreciates. She acts as his dance muse as he leads steps he’s never done before – yet she follows with elegance. Still no words – just dance.

She speaks to him with alluring eyes, flowing arms, and a curvaceous figure. He remains outwardly calm. Inwardly he concentrates on the dance because he doesn’t want to make a mistake – but she also has his attention. She is taken by his confidence and continues to silently speak. Once again, they dance as they were one.

The music ends. They stare, smile, and say thank you. He walks her back to her table where she invites him to sit. They continue to connect through conversation and more dances.

When they recount that night, common elements exist in their versions – yet each has their own perspective. She still boasts about his leads and handsomeness; he still finds that difficult to accept because of his ordinariness.

He still talks about the beauty behind her captivating ways; she graciously turns the compliments toward him. He recalls the white dress; she jokes about him remembering the dress while knowing it is safely stored as a keepsake. Yet, this story still remains the answer to the question that friends ask, “How did the two of you meet?”

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On a Beach Walk: No. 53 (Balance)

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

The waves of the sea act on the bob linked to a line connected to the fisherman’s pole. While noticing the up and down action caused by the waves crests and troughs, I think of the midline line between these two extremes – that point of relative equality or balance.

The continual up and down action of the seas brings seasickness to some of us. Not a pleasant feeling for those of us haunted by that natural action of the sea.

Compared to its sensory counterparts, balance seems to be a lost sense. That sense of stability primarily based on the three semicircular canals in the inner ear that are at right angles to each other. But each of us react differently to amusement park rides that spin, jerk, or go fast over the changing terrain of railed hills.

We forget or do not realize the roles that eyes and stomach provide in our balance – especially as we carefully watch the single railroad track as we walk with our arms outstretched as a balancing aid. As our bodies lean right, the brain quickly reacts to pull us left – but hopefully not too far because we want to remain on the rail.

The brain takes all the information it receives about position and reacts by sending messages to muscles to keep us in balance – the position of the ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders, and head relative to space. Our body’s awareness to relative position and spaces allows me to walk calmly and steadily on the beach that is noticeably slanted by the water – but not as much as other days – so it seems relatively flat.

Balance has a rhythm – like that peaceful state while riding a bicycle with confidence.

I think about the various balances in sciences – these balanced forces keeping an object at rest or those keeping the object moving in a straight line and constant speed. Those balances between different populations in a food chain that are not equal in number, but balanced relative to each other. The balanced equations of a chemical reaction showing the same number of atoms entering and exiting the reaction.

The balance sheet of life made of our credits and debits for each of us to work through – and yes – some of those encounters are stressful enough to upset life’s balance. Let us not forget the difficult balance in life as dealing with forgiveness and tolerance.

The complexity of life requires us to find a manageable balance between work, love, and play. Work can consume us as we walk the fine line differentiating living to work and working to live. To some, it’s the love for what they do that drives the imbalance with play and love – for others, it’s the pressure to achieve.

Balance is a sense – an important sense – but balance has many applications to life. On this day I find life is good and not much stress because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Weekend Concert: CSNY – the Soloists

 

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, or Neil Young

The Producer’s Guidelines

  • Only songs performed by David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, or Neil Young

Note: As solo performers; therefore without any of the others present

  • No duplicate songs
  • Include the song title in your introduction text so others can see it
  • One song per person (on Day 1)

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

  • 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)

“Cinnamon Girl”

 

Next Concert: Doobie Brothers (Saturday, 3rd August, 1:00 AM Eastern US)

Past Concerts (Category): Beatles, Ex-Beatles, Moody Blues, Queen, Neil Diamond, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Elton John, Billy Joel, Crosby Stills Nash & Young (the group)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 408

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This weekend’s concert features the solo careers of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. Tip: Especially for those using live recordings, keep the others off the stage! Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Stage crew has a fast turnaround because another concert is next weekend (3rd Aug) featuring the Doobie Brothers.

Cincinnati actually had about a string of days of pleasant weather!

I greatly enjoyed last weekend’s golf tournament The Open (aka British Open). The subplot of Northern Ireland hosting, an Irishman winning, and the crowds appreciating the event heightened my interest. It was only the second time the event was held outside of England and Scotland.

I had a good surge in my golf league’s second session – but, I fell short.

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Despite Robert Mueller’s prior statement that he would stay within the scope of the written report, House Democrats decided to go down the path that would ultimately (in my view) cost them votes. House Democrats continue to lead the way for re-electing an incumbent from the other party.

The Mueller testimony to House committees demonstrated the following:

  • Elected representatives have a greater interest in representing their party’s needs over what citizens need to know
  • The art of grandstanding
  • No interest in fact finding

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a pros and cons list of meal kit delivery services.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Pizza crust saved to make pizza broth
Foreign candy has unrecognizable fruit on label
Nemesis has Wikipedia page
Real estate agents trying to gentrify run-down Earth by renaming it West Saturn
Nation’s men holding acoustic guitars announce plan to idly strum while you try to talk to them
Science class learning about harmful effects of sugary sodas by submerging classmate in Coca-Cola for a week

Interesting Reads

Paradigm shifts
Future of work in America
Is college too easy?
Asimov and creativity
Did Neanderthals speak?
Ranking villains of Bond – James Bond
(Graphic) Countries owning the US debt
(Graphic) Bullshit rankings by country and demographics
(Pictures) Led Zeppelin’s first concert

To send you into the weekend, here’s a throwback to 1982. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Beach Walk: No. 52 (Sight)

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

I think of our eyes – those two moveable spheres on the front of our face looking straight head while other organisms have them on top of their head.

I think about the importance of the eyes in balance – the way we keep our eyes on the single rail as we attempt a balanced walk on a railroad track.

I think of the eyes and the sense of sight that they initiate. That upside down, mirror-reversed image that red, green, and blue sensors on the retina of each eye detect – and these messages are the ones that our brain interprets and puts it together as the one image of what we see.

I think of sight as the one sense most of us fear losing. Some of us have lost the sight that others never had while others have experienced threats their eyesight. Ever wonder how people cope with losing vision after they had it?

Ever wonder what those with a visual abnormality see? The colorblind, whether red-green, blue-yellow, or even the monochromatic? Or the limited views caused by glaucoma or cataracts? It’s hard to imagine visual problems for those eyes aren’t mine.

Color is all around us. All the color we see is based on light signals received by those three sensors – yet we see so many colors. Somehow, a person with monochrome vision can be a painter of vibrant color.

Eyesight – that mechanism that puts a world in front of us to see – to interact with, to note danger, and more. But those are only true if we take the time to look – to notice the world and its detail found directly in front of us. Otherwise, we won’t notice what our eyes see. Then again, our biases, perceptions, and distractions influence our interpretation of the visual scene.

Whereas the eyes gather light’s input of our world, our vision is a gift from our mind that is a higher level and purpose of vision. Perhaps this is what Helen Keller meant when saying, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

The eyes – those two small spheres that show emotion, interest, confusion, confidence, insecurity, and more. The locking of eyes can be a special moment – that is transcending what one sees to another level of emotion.

No matter where we are, our lives are surrounded of things to see, but do we take time to notice what is around us – even directly in front of us. After all, awareness is a conscious activity. But for everything there is to see, we cannot see without light.

There is much to see when I walk the beach, and my observations are in many beach walks – but this remains unchanged – I like walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Beach Walk: No. 51 (Hearing)

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

Hearing the sounds of the sea as I walk is relaxing. The sequence of the upswell at the start of the breaking waves to the clap of the crest’s splash to the shoosh gently fading away. I even hear the popping of the tiny bubbles as water caresses my feet.

That sound is repetitive and constant while dominating the beach’s soundscape – but both similar and different with each passing day.

Hearing – the only sense relying on vibrations. The shell of our outer ear captures the sound waves of the sea and then directs those waves that we don’t hear then to the eardrum – causing it to vibrate. – which causes the 3 bones of the middle ear to vibrate – yet we do not hear.

The vibrating bones cause another membrane to vibrate – which causes inner ear fluid to vibrate – then nerve endings specialized to a particular wavelength of sound detect the vibrations – yet we do not hear.

Nerves carry the detected messages to a specialized section in the brain that puts all the messages together into what we hear. Ahhhh … now I hear the sounds of the sea that I enjoy.

I think of the classic holiday song, “Do You Hear What I Hear?” because we apply our own perspective into interpreting sounds. What one enjoys, another may not.

Without hearing, sound is silence to the listener. They do not hear the emotions music conveys. They do not experience the sounds of nature. They cannot differentiate the soundscapes of the beach, the stream, the woods, and the meadow.

They do not hear the words of love, encouragement, support, enthusiasm, and wisdom. They do not hear the voice that gives one peace. On the plus side, they are protected from the political noise of partisan pickering, personal slander, and consistent vitriol.

I think of the animals in nature whose hearing mechanism is like ours – yet some are acutely more sensitive for protective purposes. Dogs have nerve endings for detecting frequencies beyond our upper range, so they painfully hear the dog whistle that we cannot hear. Deer, who detect a slight rustling of the ground caused by a seemingly quiet step by a human in the distance.

Hearing isn’t the same as listening. Some may say listening is sophisticated hearing. Listening is mindful attention to what is said. Listening is focusing on the spoken words, not on what to say in response. Listening is something we give someone – respect – a gift that connects us to others.

Listening stimulates our thoughts. Listening make one better. Listening leads to a great understanding. Listening connects humanity. Listening joins us with nature as we concentrate on the natural sounds while trying to apply meaning.

But, some favor being heard or hearing their own voice. Then again, maybe they simply favor telling over listening.

Hearing – a sense that we value – yet take for granted. Does listening to loud music through headphones at a high volume demonstrate a greater value for music than hearing? But what did I know then – or simply did I not listen to wisdom? Is this a reason for my hearing aids today?
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I have a choice when I walk. I can hear the wind or I can listen to it. Thinking about what the wind is saying or even letting the mind wander and wonder. After all, I like walking the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 407

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Last weekend’s Crosby, Still, Nash & Young concert provided over 20 songs. The next concert (tentatively 27th July) will feature the same four – BUT only their solo careers. Tip – Keep the others off the stage!

Although I haven’t decided yet, readers may get two beach walks next week.

A professional baseball player dies away from home. The team honors him at the next home game. The players were his number with his name on the back of the jersey. His mother throws out the first pitch – a perfect strike. The team wins the fame – a shutout – a no-hitter. All the day before his 28th birthday. That’s a difficult script to write.

The news is covering the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Here are several articles of interest for those interested.

A forgotten fact about the first landing on the Moon. The year -1969 – right in the midst of a turbulent social period throughout the world. Yet, the world stopped for this event, therefore humanity was united as one – at least for a brief moment.

For those who like this sort of thing, here’s a site focusing on media bias, which I’ve also added to the Resources section on the sidebar.

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Many refer to President Trump with a variety of names and adjectives: Bloviator, Narcissist, Idiot, Jackass, Asshole, and many more. Instead of inflaming a supporter, I continue to simply say, “He’s a pathetic person, an even worse leader, and he brings the majority of problems on himself.” By the way – it works!

I’m not a fan of the Congressional group known as The Squad, but at least a few Republicans spoke up condemning President Trump’s language about the four female Democratic representatives. Meanwhile, most of the GOP caucus were silent, evasive, or issued shallow statements.

Given President Trump’s controversial tweets about The Squad, I like this headline at The Onion because it speaks volumes about this supporters – who will still be around after he leaves office: Trump supporters worried racist attacks against progressive Democrats just talk

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion gives us some thoughts about the future of farming.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Moon receives standing ovation at Apollo 11 anniversary event
Exhausted Amazon customer forced to piss in bottle while browsing Prime Day deals
Gaming addict attempting to slowly wean self off of real life
MIT scientists successful swap man’s brain with an almond
Mom saving baby pictures for child to use on rap album cover
Man taking unemployment as opportunity to think about how he really wants out of life
Family creeped out by Alexa playing back conversations they haven’t had yet

(My Combo) MIT scientists successfully wean creeped out Alexa off family

Interesting Reads

Plastics as a fuel source
Future work in America
New Coke: What happened?
Picasso’s muse
The race to rule streaming TV
(Photos) Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium (1970-2002)
(Photos) Pictures of Spain
(Graphic) What people stream
(Infographic) The tale of two economies: USA & China

To send you into the weekend from hot and muggy Cincinnati, here’s a song that I like by an artist that I don’t like – but hey – I like the song! Besides, it fits my heat theme. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.