On 2019 to 2020

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A toast to my blog friends – those who have passed through my little corner of the world and those are remained. To friendships, to good people, to kindness, to respect, to dreams, to happiness, to good health, to a brighter tomorrow, and to love.

Happy New Year!

Which version of Auld Lang Syne to you select?

Singers

 

Singers and Bagpipes

 

Bagpipes

On Local Cubans

Marc (@Sorryless) loves Cuban sandwiches so much, he’s on infinite quest to find his favorite Cuban. As part of his mission, he is willing to travel miles and miles – and even posts about his ventures.

Whether I suggested or it, he was interested in my thoughts about his beloved sandwich in my area, I decided to jump into the fray. Locating nearby establishments was easy – so was trying them – but getting around to writing a post about them was difficult.  With all due respect to Marc, I had to do something!

I present the candidates.

Sharonville Depot Deli

Grilled Cuban – Ham & smoked grilled pork with bread and butter pickles, Muenster cheese, and Dijon mustard on Ciabatta

Lyle’s Trailside

Lyle’s BBQ Cuban – Pulled pork topped with shaved ham, melted provolone, mustard and pickles

Oasis Golf & Conference Center

Cuban Panini – Shaved ham and sliced pork loin with  brown mustard, pickles & pepper jack  cheese. Served in a grilled panini

 

Final Word

Each of the Cubans have positives and negatives, so it comes down to personal preferences

  • The most-fresh tasting – Depot Deli
  • The most hearty – Oasis
  • Most BBQ tasting – Lyle’s Trailside
  • Best presentation – Depot Deli
  • Best accompanying side – Lyle’s Trailside
  • Most surprising – Oasis
  • If I had to pick just one – Depot Deli

For me, given the range of flavors in a Cuban, it’s about balance. One has to be able to taste all the flavors without one particular flavor being too dominant.

On Christmas 2019

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To me, the December holiday rush is about the season of goodness. Some see it through a festival of light, others through a Nativity scene, others through the secular side of a Christmas tree, others through darkness of nature and Yule, and I’m sure other ways exist. Whatever the perspective, this is the season for joy, light, renewal, and hope.

I know that Christmas is a Christian holiday. Although I am a Christian, so my thoughts will cause some skin to crawl, but I also see this holiday time as the season of goodness that goes across humanity regardless of religion. A season of goodwill to all – l season of gratitude and appreciation of others –  a season …. And at the head of the holiday parade is Santa Claus – the Spirit of Goodness.

Santa is for Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, Naturalists, Christians, and anyone and everyone else believing in a positive humanity. Yes, Santa is for everyone!

For me and to many others here, it’s Merry Christmas – but for others its’s Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice (or Yule), or simply have a blessed holiday.  In my final Christmas post in my little corner of the world, and being one believing the majority of the world is good, I wish everyone bountiful goodness during this holiday season with the greeting that suits them.

Below are some of my favorites for the season. For me, the gift of music for you is me. Whether you watch all or some, please let me know your favorites.

Christmas Canon (Trans Siberian Orchestra)

 

Silent Night (Placido Domingo and The Piano Guys)

 

As a ballroom dancer, I must include the light-hearted Christmas Waltz featuring a variety of clips from holiday movies.

 

In the spirit of the Winter Solstice, enjoy A Fire For You (John Boswell).

 

Ever since I saw this performed live, I love it – a Nigerian carol by the Morman Tabernacle Choir.

 

O Holy Night (piano solo with beautiful images of deep space).

 

Silent Night (Mannheim Steamroller – a long-time personal favorite arrangement featuring images of nature)

On a Beach Walk: #66 (Communities)

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

Community is an interesting word – a word with multiple meanings – a word used differently by biologists, sociologists, and the general population.

I’m confident the initial thought for most people fits into the sociological word. In the biological world, a community is a group of different populations of organisms living and interacting together. All the small mouth bass in a specific lake form a population – not a community.

The lake community made up of different fish, turtles, insects, frogs, algae, single-celled organisms, plants, and more – all living and interacting together in various food chains interwoven into a more complex food web.

There is a biological community on this beach that I walk, although I don’t know enough about the organisms here. Another community exists within the shallow water that refresh my feet. Different communities exist with changing depths and distance from shore.

Whereas in terms of biology, we humans are one population of the same species – Homo sapiens – yet we relate to sociological communities – a group of people identifying themselves in a common spirit.

I think of the main (but different) communities in my current life – my neighborhood, my dance friends, my church, the golf club where I work, my golf league – all are groups of different people with common interests. Work and hobbies also unite people into communities.

I grew up in a small town that would be more of a community than a small city – yet the town had neighborhood communities: Sugar Run, Mulberry Heights, Lincoln Heights, Naylor’s Run, and more.

I think about the community of my nearby neighbors in my small town. We kids within a few streets who played together – and the parents who knew each other. Parents who would watch over all of us while we played – or even provide a snack to the group. It seems those days are not only gone, but I question if they will ever return.

A college campus is a distinct community within a municipal community. The two interact in a variety of ways, yet are quite distinct.

I think about the wave of immigrants who left their homeland to find a new life in America and other countries throughout the world. Many live in the same neighborhood, some of which live on today as areas known as Little Italy, Germantown, Chinatown, Greektown, and others.

I think about other types of communities today where people gather for support around a common interest – LGBT, a variety of personal support groups, like hobbyists as knitting, modern trains, Civil War reenactments, wine and many more. Let us not forget the political communities – groups of like-minded people around an ideology.

Technology has created electronic communities. Facebook connects a social network as a way to keep in touch with people you know. Blogs have fostered new connections of people who didn’t know each other and may never meet – yet join together to form a community of common interests, support, and genuine respect – so yes, technology and travel have brought the world community closer.

As I walk the beach on this day, I can’t forget the snowbird communities found here and throughout the southern US. Snowbirds – mainly retired people from northern locations who migrate to the south for warmer temperatures during winter. Snowbirds know that no matter how cold it gets here, it is warmer than home.

Being a snowbird is good because walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 421

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Welcome to the last OITS of 2019 … so I’ve included a few extras!

Thanks to everyone for participating in Weekend Concert Series saluting Broadway. It was maddening because it was the first time I’ve done something like that. Plus, it turned out not to be the best weekend for me in terms of timing. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to have a good time and I enjoyed listening to all the songs. The next concert will be after the first of the year, and the finale to the series.

Next concert: Tentatively Saturday 4 January – Duets – (Two performers not normally paired together)

With the December holidays upon us, I will abbreviate my posting schedule. Below is a probable schedule that is subject to change (Times are based on Eastern US).

  • (Sunday afternoon) 22 December) A beach walk
  • (Tuesday 24 Dec – or late 23rd) Christmas post
  • (Friday 27 Dec) A caption challenge for an image
  • (Sun 29 Dec) – A food review
  • (Tuesday 31 Dec) New Years post
  • (Thursday night 2 January) – Opinions in the Shorts
  • (Saturday 4 January) – Weekend Concert – Duets

We recently spent an afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center. We the Omnimax movies. Fortunately, for us, we saw two! After visiting the vert-well-done Apollo 11 exhibit, we went into the theater for the Apollo 11 movie. Interesting, no narration – just a story told through a string of actual film footage from the time. After the movie, we stayed in our seats for Superpower Dogs, an uplifting film about rescue dogs who work to save lives – and a must for dog lovers!

Readers may remember Fiona, the baby hippo that the Cincinnati Zoo cared from birth. Fiona, 29 pounds (13 kg) at birth, will have her 3rd birthday on January 2020. This 30-second video will make you smile.

Joe Barrow, the LSU quarterback not only won the Heisman Award (college football’s best player), he won the hearts of many. In his acceptance speech, he talked about the poverty of many people of Athens County Ohio. The nation has responded with well over $500K! But there is something lost in the story. Athens County is not an island. It’s one county in a region of 15 or so counties that are very poor – worse than Athens County – let alone additional counties in adjacent West Virginia and Kentucky. How do I know? I grew up one county south of Athens.

For those who need this and dare to reach into a grab-bag, here are some holiday classics: Dominick the Donkey, a classic Santa Norelco commercial, a clean naughty Santa, the infamous Carol of the Belts, and a crazy fast holiday song with handbells (the ending is frantic). Did you watch any? If so, let me know.

I admit, The Masked Singer is a fun show. Congratulations to The Fox – Wayne Brady.

Sadly, my Benevolent Impalers experienced the agony of defeat in the tournament semifinals. It was close, but my worthy opponent had an unexpected monster game from a player and big points from the New England defense against my hometown Bengals. Ouch!

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I’m not a Trump supporter – never have, never will be. Then again, after he won the election, I was willing to give him a chance. To me, he has miserably failed – yet, I see impeachment as a sad day. Congress has not upheld its Constitutional obligation of oversight and the behaviors have been pathetic at best. I’m officially embarrassed to be an American.

If I was single, I would consider moving to another country. Yes, I am that embarrassed and concerned.

I truly believe the polls, pundits, politicians, and citizens that America is a divided nation – and possibly the most divided in my lifetime and beyond. Two strongly divided camps with shrinking common ground – each with vitrole for the other – each with disdain for moderates – each with drums beating fervently in the echo chamber – one explains, the other not listening. A divided nation with a president wearing a hat stating, “Keep America Great” – a statement reinforcing the division. A friend asked me, “How do we solve this problem?” My answer is simple. “Unless the collective of elected officials lead the change, we can’t. Otherwise, we will need a national emergency. I hope I don’t live long enough to see the next US Civil War.”

In a discussion about the current impeachment, a friend of mine (a self-proclaimed unbiased source) told me that he wasn’t sure if President Trump warranted an investigation, let alone impeachment – but President Obama should have been impeached.

For those who forgot and didn’t know, the impeachment is Obama’s fault.

Here’s a recent report on polarization from Pew Research Center.

Darn … I’m missing another Democratic debate!

As we end the year, here’s how I see the 2020 election at this time:

  • Chances of President Trump nomination: 99.9%
  • Chances of President Trump’s re-election: 65%
  • Chances of me voting for President Trump: 0%
  • Chances of me voting for the Democratic nominee: 20%

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion separates facts and fiction about recycling.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Woman not as fun-loving and carefree as pom-pom on winter hat suggests
Hungover coworker a little too functional morning after holiday party not to be alcoholic
Boyfriend ready to take relationship to previous level
Man checking if chicken wings got hot enough in microwave like first responder searching for pulse
Mom holds knife to throat of dinner guest who offered to help with dishes
Hiker trapped for days under fallen boulder survives by cutting off own ponytail
Ant flees across state line carrying big crumb

Interesting Reads

The Ottomans: Their rise and fall
A bit of barcode history
Mysteries of pain
The most important battles of WW2
Bridging differences by seeing good
(Graphic) World debt by country
(Graphics) A series of climate change charts
(Photos) Murals of women in Iraq
(Photos) Winners of a National Geographic Photo contest

To send you into the weekend, here are The Piano Guys with a song of the season. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Local Intrigue

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One never knows what encounters lie ahead when strolling through the city.

Batsakes is one of the few custom hat makers remaining in the US (for those who want to know more about this local treasure, here’s a short video)

 

Because of Larry Flynt’s (of Hustler Magazine fame) love affair with local law enforcement, there is a Hustler Store … Did you see the movie?

 

This is what happens to old location of a major department store … What has happened to old department store buildings in your area?

 

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (with its main location in city center) dates back to 1853

 

For those who watch Shark Tank, these guys won … but have since sold off

 

Cincinnati had Kings Records back in the days of vinyl recordings, but I didn’t know about this studio

 

Cincinnati has a minor league hockey team (Cyclones) and a love for pigs … meet Puck Chop …

 

… but in Cincinnati, baseball is king.

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Meet John Roebling and his bridge – The Roebling Bridge – the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge

 

What do you think this is?