Pre-Blog Break Shorts & Snorts

The Cincinnati Zoo reported (Tuesday) that Fiona weighs 130 pounds. This is what she does when she’s dreaming.

Monday was Opening Day in Cincinnati. Based on the morning weather reports, we decided to stay dry by not attending downtown festivities … and it didn’t rain a drop! … Damn Obama!

Congratulations of the North Carolina Tar Heels for representing ABK with distinction in the men’s basketball tournament. For those who don’t know, that’s Anybody But Kentucky.

Although their winning streak was surprisingly snapped, a tip of the cap to the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team. Wow – winning 111 games in a row is unbelievable … so I imagine a new streak will start sometime in November.

I enjoy celebrating milestones with a numbers tribute – as the last post was for our 40th wedding anniversary. Our schedule dictated that we go out for a nice dinner the evening before, and it was wonderful. Thanks again for the anniversary wishes.

Count me in on the outcry that penalties should not be based on communication from spectators. The PGA and the LPGA need to put an end to the nonsense!

I can’t recall ever seeing ads on television supporting a Supreme Court nominee. I remain standing firm on my stance of Last Judge Standing, and will continue that position until I feel it is no longer necessary – but I wonder if that will happen in my lifetime.

I continue to avoid watching Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Rachel Maddow. I very seldom read columns by EJ Dionne, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and Eugene Robinson. Why? … I can think for myself and do not need partisans to verify my position. After all, I have it even better because I have all the partisans to prove my point.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell (JA/R-KY) is threatening to impose the rule change known as the Nuclear Option. I say go right ahead because we citizens need more dysfunction based on partisanship. After all, Former Majority Leader Reid (JA/D-NV) did his share to lead the way by setting an example. Follow the lead, jackasses!

Cheers to Stephen Colbert who makes me laugh at the political chaos. I know he’s a partisan, but he still makes me laugh.

April has a way of being hectic. Better weather gets us outside. Golf league for both of us will ramp up. Working hours will increase at the golf course. Taxes to be filed. The handbell choir prepares for Easter Sunday. Dances are to be done. The Masters golf tournament is a must-watch event. Baseball season has started. A room painting project in the near future. Vacations to plan, and more.

This blog has been very steady for almost 6 months, so it’s time for a blog break. Not sure how I will spend it, so don’t be surprised if I go visiting. For the record, more Beach Walks are to come.

To send you into my blog break, this song goes out to the dreaming Fiona. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Special Local Kid

As I have noted on the last two mural posts, Resa (@ Graffiti Lux and Murals) is sponsoring her own Kid’s month. Although she has mainly featured murals, the idea just came to me that Cincinnati is home to a very special kid and has turned into a local celebrity during her short life.

She was born prematurely on January 24th and has required special care ever since. As a matter of fact, her care team is attempting to do something that has never been done.

Meet Fiona, the baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was born 6 weeks early at 25 pounds (11.4 kg) and 29 pounds (13.1 kg) underweight.

Photo by Cincinnati Zoo

Her special care has involved being on oxygen, receiving a special milk, and more. Besides, baby hippos nurse underwater. Keep in mind that the zoo is flying blind on this because raising a premature hippo hasn’t been done before.

Here are her first steps.

Not only is Fiona’s progress news here, she has a global following. Below is the latest article about her and a link to the Cincinnati Zoo blog to follow her progress.

Like any kid, Fiona loves to play in water.

On 77 for 50

We recently watched the NBC special honoring Tom Brokaw for his fifty years with NBC News. Serendipitously, February 6th was Mr. Brokaw’s 77th birthday. So this post tries to put the two events together.

I was thinking about his 50 years in television news. Wow .. he’s seen so much in his life in news. In honor of Tom Brokaw’s years of service and dedication to the news, plus his birthday, here are 77 events (listed alphabetically) that happened during his time at NBC.

13 US Presidential elections
5 popes
1968: The most turbulent year in US history (outside of the Civil War)
A new millennium
AIDS

Arab Spring
Argentina invades Falkland Islands
Assassinations of MLK, RJK, Sadat, Rabin, and Indira Gandhi
Beatles breakup
Blogs

Capsules to space shuttles to International Space Station
Challenger disaster
China: from hidden to economic power
Civil Rights Movement
Cloning and Dolly the Sheep

Cold War
Columbine
Computers, fax, cell phones
Dismantling the Berlin Wall
eCommerce

Elian Gonzalez
Elvis and Michael Jackson deaths
Emergence of the global economy
Era of airplane hijackings
Exxon Valdez

Fall of the USSR
First African-American US President
First test-tube baby
Genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia, and Rwanda
German reunification

Goodbye to Pan Am, Blockbuster Video, Woolworth’s, Oldsmobile, TWA, and Enron
Hello to Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon, and Microsoft
Human Genome Mapping
Hurricane Katrina
Internet, Social Media

Iraq War
Jeffrey Dahmer
JenBenet Ramsey
Jonestown Massacre
Gaddafi, Hussein, Amin, Ho Chi Minh, Pinochet,

Last issues of Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look
Lorena Bobbitt’s revenge
Mad Cow and Legionnaires Disease
Media shift from information to opinions
Moon landing

Mother Teresa
Nuclear accident at 3-Mile Island
Oil embargo
OJ Simpson trial
Oklahoma City bombings

Only resignation of a president in US history
Oprah
Pan Am Flight 103 bombed over Lockerbie
Panama Canal to Panama and Hong Kong to China
Patty Hearst kidnapping

Pocket calculators introduced
Princess Diana
Race divisions and integration
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Roe vs. Wade

September 11th
Super Bowl: from a football game to a marketing and entertainment giant
Thatcher, Mandela, Gorbachev, Meir, Walesa, 10 US Presidents, and Queen Elizabeth
The European Union forms
Terror at the Munich Olympics

Tienemann Square
Titanic found
Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanoes
Urban riots of the 1960s
Various Middle East conflicts

Viagra introduced
Vietnam War
War on Terror
Watergate
Women’s movement

Woodstock Music Festival
Y2K

On Mini-Shorts to Start 2017

A belated Happy 2017 to all! Even though the start of the new year seems so long ago, were you awake at midnight? We enjoyed the evening at a ballroom dance party where we’ve developed good friendships.

Did you notice the new header? I find so much awe, wonder, and beauty in Hubble Telescope images. This one is of the Homunculus Nebula surrounding the Eta Carinae star system. I chose this image because it symbolizes several things that are currently in my mind. The entire image is much more impressive than the cropped header.

eta-carina

Readers seemed to enjoy the Explore series I did in the last week of December. Thanks for stopping by.

I have made a decision on the next musical, but have no idea when it will take place.

Countdown is on toward Inauguration Day, and I am confident the partisans are thrilled.

Although I enjoyed President-elect Trump’s slamming the new Congress for attempting to minimize the Independent Ethics Office, I wonder if the Republican Congress will serve as a watchdog over the new administration.

The NFL Playoffs start this weekend. After a good run of consecutive trips to the playoffs, the Cincinnati Bengals are on the sideline this time, which is Obama’s fault.

Cincinnati is excited because Southwest Airlines is finally coming to town! Service starts in June.

For whatever reason, the Rose Bowl is a game I like to watch – and the 2017 edition did not disappoint. The way Penn State lost was definitely Obama’s fault.

Just wanted to get the year starting with something light as I embark on my who-knows posting schedule. Here’s a song from the 1970s to send you into the weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Mid-Week Holiday 2016 Briefs

Given the mid-week status of this post due to the approaching holiday, this is a variation of the weekly Opinion in the Shorts, which probably won’t reappear until after ringing in 2017.

The next post will be my holiday greeting, which I hope goes live in time for Christmas Eve in Australia/New Zealand. Hope everyone has a time to stop by as there will be quite the selection of goodies.

For the last week of December, I will have a few Explore posts, followed by a post to lead us into 2017.

The Electoral College has voted, so Election 2016 is over. In the aftermath since Election Day, hopefully Americans have learned more about the Electoral College. I know I have – but I’ll save that post for another day.

The fact that I’m not listing a “Obama’s Fault” list is Obama’s fault. However, columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote that President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is Obama’s fault.

For those needing some handbell music for the holidays, here’s a recording of the version we will be playing of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

For readers who enjoy a feel-good story, CBS News had this touching report about the origin of Secret Santa.

I was saddened to receive the news of the passing of a blogger – especially one who was kind and smart – let alone talented in her own craft. Blogging makes the world smaller. Even though most of us will never meet, we impact each other through our interactions. To Cynthia Jobin, aka Littleoldladywho, thank you for sharing yourself through your poems and in your interactions with me and others. Here is her last poem (and for those who don’t know, there is also an audio). To me, I heard her talking about herself – but I may be wrong.

The recent announcement of the latest inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ceiling is starting to crack. Although no Moody Blues (which were not consider this year), the wait is over for three worthy bands: Electric Light Orchestra, Journey, and Yes.

On a Few Bits Upon Return

Greetings readers!

My wife and I returned a week ago from vacation, so I thought it was time to say hello to fellow bloggers. Below are a few tidbits that are on my mind.

I know … some of you are eager to know where we went, so here’s the scoop. We spent 2 ½ weeks in Tuscany on a trip that combined vacation time for the two of us and time with my family (an aunt and 4 first cousins). More on that trip over time.

Life in the rolling hills of Tuscany with the olives and grapes is a difficult task, but we were willing to accept the challenge.

tuscany

On this trip I almost made a connection with Debra, the Australian blogger who vacations in Bagni di Lucca. (One of my favorite places) Maybe next time! … but at least we talked on the phone.

We definitely don’t enjoy journeys involving three flights, but given our destination, we had no choice … Cincinnati to Toronto to Munich to Pisa … .and the reverse on return.

I’m looking forward to returning to my volunteer efforts with English Second Language students (adults). Before leaving I only had one class with them, so I’m anxious to help and get to know more good people from around the world.

I’m still at the golf course, but hours are less (and that’s OK). Because of work, I haven’t been volunteering at ballroom dancing with Down Syndrome adults. Hopefully, that trend won’t continue.

Thanks to DVR, we used last week to get up-to-date with Dancing With the Stars.

The handbell choir played last Sunday. Because my wife and I haven’t practiced in three weeks, we had a chance to listen. Nice piece … hopefully I can find a video in time.

This may have been the case three years ago when I visited, but I didn’t notice – but Italians now have a recycling program. Whew … is it ever different than what we do. At least they are trying something.

Being away from the election madness was more than wonderful. No news – no talking heads – no political gibberish – pure silence. In one location we only had Italian television, so we didn’t watch anything. Two of my cousins had satellite television that offered English stations (and I assuming CNN International) – but we resisted the urge. The day after the debate I looked at the headlines in Politico, but didn’t read any article because the headlines told me everything I wanted to know.

The first Republican debate was many months ago. I didn’t watch any of them … I didn’t watch any of the Democratic debates … and I have continued my pattern during the general election by not viewing any of the 3 to date.

Italians were very interested in our thoughts. I frequently answered this way: Non mi fido di lei, ma lui è un matto pigliacchioI don’t trust her but he is a mad clown. They also seem very confused about how Donald Trump can even have a chance.

Meanwhile, cheers to the Dutch team that came up with this one.

On a Gorilla

Image from the Cincinnati Zoo

Image from the Cincinnati Zoo

The recent incident at the Cincinnati Zoo is known throughout the world. Because I proudly wear my Cincinnati heart on my blogging adventures, I’m sure I popped into the mind of many readers when they heard the news.

What happened here was tragic on many levels. I can’t image the terror in the mother’s mind – let alone what the child was thinking when with a large gorilla so close. Zoo officials hurt – and the members of the zoo’s response team must have extremely heavy hearts.
We hear about the incident everyday on the local news outlets, let alone the information we receive online. There is a lot of finger-pointing, shaming, and general noise by many from all corners of the world – which include death threats to the parents, harassment to a bystander who witnessed the event, countless comments of various degrees in social media, and this editorial by the Toledo Blade shamed its own zoo direction and called for boycotting “all things Cincinnati” as well as firing our zoo director. Bottom line, most of the crap is noise by clueless people.
I’ve never been a parent, but I imagine many parents have had moments when a child gets away – that is, creating a “bad parent” situation – such as the child who almost gets hit by a car or gets into something they shouldn’t be. That has to happen to many – but I acknowledge, maybe not to this extreme.
This is a sad and unfortunate situation – one when zoo officials were placed into a lose-lose situation – and chose to do something they are against doing. Although I admit my first thought was wondering a phrase starting with, “how could the parent” – I continue having a difficult time with the mere thought of charging the mother with a crime – and I still have the deepest thoughts for the zoo employees who absolutely love animals.
The words below are from an editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer written by Opinion Editor Cindi Andrews. They were meaningful to me when I read them on 31 May and they are still meaningful today.
Amid the blame and social noise, let’s pause to be thankful that the child is OK and to truly mourn the loss of another life, not so different from a human one. That doesn’t happen on a smartphone or a computer. It happens quietly, perhaps by remembering a past trip to the zoo or thinking about our relationship with the animal kingdom.
Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those zoo workers who knew Harambe so much better than us, and had to witness or even have a hand in his death. As a child wrote in a sympathy card left at the zoo: “We are so sad that you had to kill one of your gorillas – we love the gorillas.”
In Harambe’s memory, let’s take a moment to let go of anger and simply be sad.
As the finger pointers, shames, blamers, and cranks concentrate their efforts on the mother, Cincinnati Zoo, the zoo’s director, I find it interesting that these same people are very quiet the bigger issues at hand – the protection of gorillas in the wild, action against poachers and hunters, the protection of their nature habitat from logging, farming, mining, and other forms of human expansion.
To close this post, I’m linking several resources that confront the issues I mentioned above – World Wildlife Fund, Mbeli Bais Study, and the newly formed Harambe Fund – but personally, I’ll still dealing with the impact of the actual situation on me. So, I close with two readings from the Cincinnati Enquirer and one from the Cincinnati Zoo.