On a Bit of Cincinnati

Located on the Ohio River, Cincinnati was a center for westward expansion – and it embraces its river heritage

 

Win or lose, Cincinnati embraces it’s baseball team … and we’ve lost a lot in recent years

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Fountain Square is the center of city center … and the place where people gather to celebrate and commemorate

 

Cincinnati love its art deco … these are in the Carew Tower

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The city shines during the day …

 

…. and at night …

 

… and it has quiet places in the city center

 

On the Cincinnati’s Merry-Go-Round, (Carol Ann’s Carousel) riders can choose from 44 handmade Cincinnati-centered characters. Do you have any ideas for these characters? To see all the characters, click here for a video.

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On Beach Walk #64 (Creativity)

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

Creativity is a powerful word – so are related words create and creative. These words of similar meaning, but create is the verb, creativity the noun, and creative the adjective – but today I think of these words as a collective.

My first thought is about those creative with their hands – sowers, quilters, crafters, 3-dimensional artists as potters, sculptures, and others. Definitely not my strength, but these are skills that can be learned.

To some, creative people can draw and paint. Whereas some seem to be naturally gifted with this skill, but nope again, not my strength.

I think of an art teacher who once told me that anyone can learn to draw because there are four things to do – draw straight lines, draw curved lines, establish the proper proportions between them along with the correct angles. His words opened the world of drawing to me because I could now see the world through a different lens – a world that I did not know.

Did that improve my creativity? Oh yes, but I still don’t draw well because I didn’t practice, yet, there are times I look at something in terms of straight lines, curves, proportions, and angles – and yes – I see them!

One aspect of creativity is being able to think outside the box. A different way that others don’t. Now that I can do. Some see the solution as choice A, B, or a compromise of the two. The creative thinkers are the ones that find a new solution beyond those choices.

An architect told me that he has to have at least one architect in his office that is creative in his designs. Not necessarily abstract or modernistic looking – but one who finds a creative solution that meets the client’s wants and needs. A skill that not all architects have. But for those who have visited La Sagrada in Barcelona, Spain, Gaudi’s creativity is unique.

Sometimes architects are ahead of their time – but as time moves on, those designs transition into the mainstream. In some cases, even out of date.

Design engineers have to think ahead about future generations of their product. That would be true for a vacuum cleaner – but also for complex equipment as a jet engine. Creativity is an essential ingredient in innovation and improvement.

For scientists as Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, and countless others, they thought outside of the box to develop their laws and theories. In general, physicists have a knack for creative forward thinking.

Trade workers as carpenters and plumbers are always problem solving. They face problems on a daily basis requiring a creative solution – and they seem to do it.

The creativity of musicians is impressive. Mozart’s composed music with many notes that can be too busy for some to hear. Think about how many types, styles, and genres of music humanity has created through the creativity of creative musicians.

Creativity is also a gift for writers and poets. A creativity they share through the novels, short stories, poems, and more.

Let us not forget nature’s creativity. It’s changing shapes and designs to optimize efficiency. The designs in shapes and colors seen in the shells on the beach that I walk. The creative ways different organisms capture food. After all, not all beaks and bills of birds are the same because they are specialized for different purposes. Yes, nature’s creativity at work.

All of us have a creative side – but do we use it? Do we develop it? Do we recognize the creativity of others?

Unlike the beach that I walk, creativity has no boundaries. Nonetheless, I enjoy walking the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Weekend Concert with Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan

The Producer’s Guidelines

  1. Only songs performed by Gloria Estefan (Miami Sound Machine with her OK)
  2. No duplicate songs
  3. Include the song title in your introduction text so others can see it
  4. One song per person on Day 1, unlimited on Day 2
  5. 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.)

“Conga”

 

Next Concert: Broadway (14 December, the last of 2019) Note: One song per Broadway musical

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), Doobie Brothers, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Journey, Prince, Guess Who, James Brown

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 419

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The James Brown concert went better than I expected. Next for the stage will be Latin sounds of Gloria Estefan. She takes to the stage this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

After an initial glitch, Q&A page is up and running. Feel free to participate.

Beach walks return to their normal posting slot (my Sunday night)

In the Danube Cruise series, I mentioned the magnificent Iron Gates Gorge. I initially stated it is along the Romania-Bulgaria border, which is incorrect – it’s Romania-Serbia. A duh-moment in my head. I invite readers to watch this 3-minute video of this natural wonder taken by a person on a river cruise ship.

I keep thinking about the child who fell to her death from her grandfather’s arms on a cruise ship – and he is charged with her death. In my opinion, the charges are unwarranted. After all, he is already has a life sentence of dealing with the incident for the rest of his life. On the other hand, I don’t think Royal Caribbean was negligent. Simply a tragic accident.

We recently saw Knives Out in the theater. It’s a good who-done-it movie. Well done with interesting twists and turns. Not worthy of Oscars, but entertaining. Here’s the trailer.

My wife purchased an Advent calendar of teas – that’s a different tea for 25 days. So far, they’ve been good.

The winning way of my fantasy Benevolent Impalers continue, and are now 11-2. However, it took the greatest comeback in franchise history to win. It wasn’t pretty and the lowest point total of the season, but a win is a win. Meanwhile, I’m still in shock that the Bengals actually won a game!

Thanks to The Onion, this headline and picture made me laugh.

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One would think Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy would excite me. Nope … I won’t be voting in Ohio’s Democratic Primary, so my assessment of the Democratic field is worthless. They can nominate whoever they want. Just because I unquestionably won’t be voting for President Trump, that has no influence on whether or not I will vote for the Democratic candidate. Besides, the Democratic and Republican parties want the same thing from me – my money and my vote – plus they could care less about my thoughts.

An idea for any of the older Democratic candidates. Announce running as a one-term transitional president in order to stabilize America and then pass the baton to the next generation.

For me, the 2020 election offers a big dilemma. I know there are other possibilities, but these options bother me. Four more years of a Trump presidency or Democrats having control of the White House and both sides of Congress.

Have you noticed that Congressional Republicans favor criticizing the process over defending the president’s actions.

In my opinion, what President Trump has been accused of doing is worse than what President Nixon did. Sadly, the public doesn’t buy it – in part, because a) the more partisan nature of the public today versus then and 2) the poor job Democrats are doing in delivering a good civics lesson to the public – although the first day of the Judiciary hearing offers hope. Then again, the public will yield to it’s partisan side.

Congress is responsible for oversight. It’s has done of poor job of doing so over the past 20+ years, and the current Congress has plunged below the poor level.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides information about the ten worst snowstorms in US history.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologists recommend trees put aside a little phosphorous for unexpected emergencies
Facial Recognition Software Knows It Has Seen Man Before But Can’t Remember His Name
Child decides to become vegetarian after forming close friendship with roasted turkey leg
Veterinarian Wishes Owner Would Just Let Dog Answer One Goddamn Question
Flu outbreak reducing class size to level appropriate for learning
Child Wondering Why Older Brother Only One To Get Funeral

Interesting Reads

Automation improving jobs
Extraordinary talented: why?
A big cat problem: captivity and the wild
Historical view of gin
Why no glasses?
(Graphic) 670 years of interest rates
(Photos) Garden wildlife
(Photos) Cincinnati Zoo animals

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

On Cruising the River Danube: Part 4 of 4

This is the last installment about the cruise we took on the Danube River this past summer. It was a fabulous trip. Besides recommending it, we look forward to our next river cruise (whenever and wherever it may be).

When moving downriver from Germany, changes in socio-economics in easily seen. Especially in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. However, these countries also offer many wonderful sights to visit. This part travel from Belogradchik to Bucharest

 

Belogradchik, Bulgaria

Located atop the foothills of the Balkan Mountains, Belogradchik is a small town with two unexpected sites: interesting natural rock formations (Belogradchik Rocks) and an ancient fortress built within the rocks (Belogradchik Fortress).

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Cetate, Romania

Describing our several hours in Cetate is difficult. Listening to the poet who was a dissident during Romania’s Communist era was enlightening. To me, the part of Cetate that we saw felt like a commune – but it isn’t. They grow many of their own crops, nurture their own livestock, make wine from their organic groups, and promote their own art. Here’s Cetate’s website.

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

We spent the day on a bus trip into Bulgaria from Rousse. As the City of the Tsars, Veliko Tarnovo is home to castle of Bugarian kings. After lunch, we hiked up to the castle for wonderful views of the city and surrounding region.

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Arbanassi, Bulgaria

Located above Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanassi is a village with an old church that has unique frescos. Because photography was not permitted inside the Church of the Nativity of Christ, click here for a link to Google Images search result.

 

Bucharest, Romania

After disembarking the ship in Oltenita, Bucharest is about a 90-minute bus ride. As Romania’s capital and largest city, Bucharest is busy. To me, it’s a big city without much to offer. Sure their is the second largest Parliament building in the world, the Avenue of the Fountains, old palace, and a vibrant Old Town sector, but our highlight was the food tour we took in the evening through a local neighborhood.

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Hope you enjoyed the 4-post trip down the River Danube. I don’t know if I’ll return to Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania, but I’m very glad that I got there at least once.

Previous Posts

Part 1 (Prague to Linz)
Part 2 (Melk to Budapest)
Part 3 (Budapest to Iron Gates Gorge)

On Cruising the River Danube: Part 3 of 4

 Please excuse the interruption, but a beach walk will return next week. 

………..

Because we cruised 75-80% of the Danube, parts 3 and 4 of this series features the lower Danube -downriver from Budapest  through Hungary to Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. This portion of the river is less travelled by river cruisers.

 

Budapest, Hungary

As I mentioned in the previous post, Budapest was our halfway point. We hiked the top of a hill on the Buda side for an awesome view of the city. Visited the nearby Cave Church. The view of Budapest at night is spectacular, and a must-do for visitors.

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Pecs, Hungary

Located about a 40 minute bus ride from our dock in Mochas, Pecs (PAY-ch) is Hungary’s fifth largest city. It’s early Christian necropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location of interesting archeological excavations.

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Belgrade, Serbia

I recall Belgrade as the capital of Yugoslavia. Although not dominated by the Soviet Union, Marshall Tito had a different view of Communism – so Yugoslavia remained an arm-length from the USSR. Belgrade pleasantly surprised me.

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Donji Milanovac, Serbia

This small town served as a base for the 20-minute bus ride to an archeological site (Lepenski Vir) dating back to 6000 BCE. That’s old! Thought is that the culture worshipped the mountain. Before docking in the town, the ship passed the museum. The actual site is now well below the water level.

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Iron Gates Gorge

The Iron Gates is a spectacular natural beauty separating Romania and Serbia. From the time we entered the region at 7 AM, there’s no better view than from the ship’s top deck. For me, this region served as one of my top highlights of the trip.

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Previous Posts

  • Part 1 (Prague to Linz)
  • Part 2 (Melk to Budapest)

On Cruising the River Danube: Part 2 of 4

Both the previous post and this one focus on the Upper Danube River. This happens to be the section that most river cruises take (between German and Budapest) in one direction or the other. This post features from Melk to Budapest.

 

Melk, Austria

Melk Abbey majestically sits above the city of 5,000+. Founded in the 11th Century, this UNESCO World Heritage site is magnificent inside and out. Here are two Google Images searches: Exterior; Interior: plus a 4-minute video from Rick Steves.

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Wachau Valley

Protected by UNESCO, The Wachau Valley very scenic. A great day to sit on the top deck and watch the world go by.

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Durnstein, Austria

Durnstein is a small town located in the wine-growing region of the Wachau Valley. The medieval sector (with its narrow streets) is full of shops and free of automobiles. I hiked to the Durnstein Castle ruins sitting high above the town that offers wonderful views of the area.

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Vienna, Austria

Vienna – the center of the Hapsburg Empire for 500 years – and the city where classical music is the real king. The city was busy – very busy. Maybe too busy, so the city didn’t grab me as it should. However, that evening we attended a private concert by a chamber orchestra composed of  12 fabulous musicians who sounded like a large orchestra. The evening was unquestionably extra special.

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Bratislava, Slovakia

Whereas Vienna disappointed me, Bratislava captured my heart. I love old-city-sectors in Europe, and Bratislava is my kind of place.

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Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, a vibrant, opulent city, is where 102 passengers disembarked and 104 replaced them as 36 of us had reached our half-way point. Because we spent two-full days there last year as part of our Rick Steves tour, we wanted to do different things. We our visited an exhibit of a Hungarian artist (Miska Roth), toured the Hungarian Opera House (great but under renovation), and enjoyed some Hungarian cake. For more information about this wonderful city, here are links to four past posts: Budapest, Liberty Square, The Bronzed Shoes, and Tidbits.

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Past Post in the Series

Part 1 (Prague to Linz)