On Retrospect: The People

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“The majority of people in the world are good.”

I’ve written those words many times here. I not only believed that statement, blogging cemented that belief into my personal ideology. It’s a personal mantra that I use in conversations and posts. Some just stare at me, but most concur.

People from Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece, India, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Whales, and more became important parts on my little corner of the world. Regardless of politics, religions, cultures, statements by world leaders, and more – YES – the majority of people in the world are good!

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
(“We Are The World”, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie)

I also believe the most important decision a person makes in life is their choice of people to be in their personal orbit. No matter if friends, neighbors, work colleagues, fellow parishioners, hobbists, or wherever – others can build you up while others tear you down. Some will support you in your time of need while others abandon you in a blink of the eye. Some are positive and encouraging, but others are negative influences in a variety of ways.

Bottom line is simple: In life, each of us decide who will be around us – and blogging is no different! However, this involves luck because in cyberworld, we don’t know who is behind the words we read. On the plus side, gaining personal relationships has been the biggest and most rewarding surprise for me. No wonder this post is longer than the others in this series.

Names stick with me – so I wonder whatever happened to some bloggers. They suddenly stop – vanishing into the cyber-abyss – which is one of the reasons I’m doing this series. I don’t want others to wonder. After all, my readers respect me and I respect them. Besides, I’ve been here so long!

As with any type of social media, blogging is about making connections. For instance, I know El Guapo served as my connection point to Raye and Marc (who was Cayman then). I discovered John through Marc while Dale found me through Raye. Monika found me through Marc, plus Dale found Marc (and others) through me – and so on. I also connect with Susannah through Marc, but not through his alter ego Cayman. Goodness has a way of finding goodness!

At the risk of forgetting someone, I want to mention many fellow bloggers (sometimes in alphabetical order). Some I’ve encountered for many years, others less than a year. Some bloggers have faded away, others have cut back, and some are still going strong.  I originally wanted to say something about each of them, but I’ll group them instead. Plus I want to keep it short, otherwise this post would be a book.

Carrie, Elyse, Guapo, and Virginia no longer blog. I miss them. They were regulars and I loved the way the handled themselves and treated me – plus they excelled at their end in their own style. Although chances are slim, I hope they see this and stop by.

Nia, Robin, and Debra are my longest-running visitors – and they still visit, comment, and shine at their end. Debra and I laugh about how much we seem to have in common. I collaborated with Robin 5 times, and Nia is genuinely nice.

A special salute to two Canadians. Resa is not only a treat and frequent visitor, she got me interested in murals. Her tribute post to me will live with me forever. Dale – well – She’s one of the best interactive people I’ve encountered. She’s genuine and a hoot – and what a fabulous maitre’d she’s been at my musical events. After me, she must be the one making the most comments here. 🙂 I can’t thank her enough! After all, we are a great team.

Although relatively new here, cheers to Monika for her sense of humor and her volunteering effort with her comfort dogs collectively known as The Knuckleheads.

Marina, we go back a long time. The more we interacted, the more our bond grew. I am eternally grateful for you being you to me. Yamas!

Raye, I love your wit. John, you are a writing machine. Marc, you may be the best writer I’ve encountered. Merril, you are kind, smart, insightful, and consistent.

Archon, Betsy, Bumba Steve, CAL/Mudge, Catherine, Charlie (SoCal), Cindy, Drew, E R, Eleanor, Holly, Jo (Texas), Jo (England), Karen (Mouse), Kerry, Mary, Melanie, Mobius, Otto, Padre Steve, Pamela, Patti, Phillip, Ray, Sue, Theodora, and Yahooey like to keep me on my toes by keeping an irregular schedule for posting and/or visiting … and that’s OK.

Special shout-out to Aussie Debra who posts about her time in Italy. Her tie to my family’s region always causes me to smile, plus she knows how much I love Bagni di Lucca and that valley.

AmyRose, Eilene, Rachel, Tara, Trent, and Wendy are relative newbies, so thanks for joining us when you can and for what you do at your end – yet our time together has been too short. Fiery and Nina were also new, but gone with a flash as neither is blogging now – one announced and the other vanishing into thin air. Susannah is also relatively new, but she has a great heart and wit; plus (I think) we click.

John Erickson, wherever you are – thank you for bringing your wit and energy to my little corner of the world. I’ve missed your presence.

Lynn doesn’t post or visit as much as she once did, but our time linked together has been long.

I salute Al, Alex, Alisha, Amanda, Amy, Angela, Audra, Bulldog, Calvin, Cathy, Charlie (Aussie), Claudine, Dave (Fasab), George, Ginger, Hansi, Jackie, Jeff, Jim (Iowa), Joanne, John (Canada), John (Seattle), Kathy, Kayjai, Kellie, Kelly, Lenora, Leo, Les, Lizzie, Lorna, Mags, Maria (Aquileana), Mary, Meesh, Melissa, Moe, Mollie, Noeleen, Nonnie, Renee, Rich, Rosie, Rosy, Roxie, Sarah, Sekan, Shimon, Starla, Spinny, Suzanne, Tim V, TMB, Val, Viveka, Vanessa, Weebs (Madam Weebles), and White Lady in the Hood who were prominent here at one time. Many stopped blogging,  others still blog but have moved on, and a some occasionally stop by. I have to mention Cynthia, Larry, and Third Stone who died along the way.

Bloggers come and go – Isadora, Jim W, Pauline, and Sylvia may not be 100% regulars, but they visit and comment when they can and have done so for many years. Others like Barbara, Steffy, and Yvette I don’t know where to include, but I want to mention.

Although I previously mentioned (in the first post) those that I consider as “Pioneers”, they helped get me started. I always smile when one of them unexpectedly pops in here. Cheers to Cheers to Tim (Beeze), Mo, Chris, Ryan, and Dave from my days at The Sporting News. A tip of the cap to Joe as he was one of my early frequent visitors and commenters.

I want to mention a few readers who actually know me. Tim has probably read a very high percentage of the posts – and eventually became an active participant. Gary also reads and occasionally tosses in his two cents – and he loves the musicals. Jim is a gentle, good person that was my work colleague for many years. He has read a lot here, but sparingly comments. Thanks gentlemen.

To the one known here as The Right Angle. I don’t think she ever understood this place or the attachments that develop with others – but she tolerated it and let me do my thing. After all, she’s the one who observed my many hours with my laptop as she watched television.

No matter the-when over the past 11+ years, everyone listed here and all the unnamed have been a joy and an honor to know. You have been good to me here, and welcoming at your end. You have played a big role in learning that blogging is about you (the readers), but not about me (the writer). You are good people.

Countless others have visited and commented here. They too have kept me motivated. I say with confidence that I wouldn’t have lasted 11+ years if not for all of you!

Everyone has a selfish side – after all, we are human. In real life, I don’t consider myself as selfish. I recall a discussion at work with a young colleague as we were discussing potential curriculum changes. I knew she understood when she said, “I get it. You are more concerned about how the changes impact the department and what students get instead of your course.” A ballroom friend told me that they’ve never noticed me bringing attention to myself while dancing.  So yes, to me, this blog has been more about you than me – hence the personal salute to many.

Preparing this 5-part retrospective closing has been easier than I anticipated. Well, until now because thinking about all the positive relationships built in my little corner of the world chokes me up. Yes, tears rolled down my face several times. To me, I have learned that blogging is more about the people than the posts – but the posts have been the vehicle for making the connections with people.

Cheers to the majority of people in the world who are good.

Next Post: The Finale (To be published Tuesday 4 Feb @ 9:00 PM Eastern US)

On Retrospect: The Posts

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This is post #2,302 – and the vast majority of them are non-fiction. Some say one should write about what they know – and for me, that’s been important.

Fiction and poetry are not my strengths nor my interests – but (over time), I did a few posts in those genres. Although I never thought of them as poetry, a few readers say my flow in the Beach Walks have a poetic feel – therefore are poems. To me, they aren’t – but I’m flattered when others say they are. Otherwise, I’ve only published one poem here.

As long-time readers know, I enjoy research. From more light-hearted topics as monthly celebrations (National Potato Month), weekly celebrations (National Rutabaga Week), and day celebrations (Talk Like a Pirate Day) – to saluting numbers celebrating birthdays (missing my upcoming one), anniversaries, milestones, or whatever – to serious topics as the separation of church and state, examining the US as a Christian nation, to the complex topic of the relationship between science and religion – I don’t really enjoy the research – I love it!

Entertainment (especially music) has been important for much of my time here in my little corner of the world. I remember the thought about featuring music with “time” in the title. That idea morphed into Time: The Musical with many acts featuring different aspects of time. Eventually, this led to 8 musicals of 81 acts. Before deciding to step away from here, Opposites: The Musical was next on the docket featuring consecutive acts of opposite terms (big/little, happy/sad, etc). Other long-standing musical ideas included Travel, Questions, Roadtrip,, and more ideas that I never created. Oh well.

On the plus side, the musicals paved the way for the Weekend Concert Series (23 posts). My initial intent was for these concerts to fill the void between musicals – a good idea that I never used.

My love for research and old cartoons led me to the Saturday Morning Cartoon series (71 posts). Featuring classic cartoon characters from the Golden Age of Cartoons, these posts were a pure joy to do.

Sometimes good ideas pop into the mind and they work – as it did with the Beach Walk series (71 posts). During my first season as a snowbird on the Alabama coast, I noticed my mind (especially while walking) focused on a topic in a different rhythm from my normal thinking pattern. Fortunately, I realized I needed to write notes after walking. Those notes would form the basis of a beach walk, so the series was born.

Collaborating was another good idea. It came to me after seeing some images by a long-time friend, Steve. We eventually did 5 posts together – but then expanded it to others. Thanks to Marina (2), Robin (3), and Ray (1). In my opinion, Ray had the most difficult challenge in this collaborative post.

I started another series – Take 5 – aiming to promote other bloggers. I only published one featuring Marina. Failure to do others is on me because I never got around to doing other interviewers.

Keeping in mind that I started this blog focusing on sports and politics, politics has maintained its space here. Whether in Opinions in the Shorts (425 posts) or posts on specific topics, I aimed high with pragmatism. In real life, I’m an authentic independent and an unapologetic moderate – and getting more so. One of my favorite posts explained my view of an independent moderate. Besides, I like liberal having their heads in the clouds because that is a response to the conservatives having their heads up their butt – and I am glad to be grounded with my head looking around to call it like it is.

Because I love research, of course there are topics that I wanted to do but never got completed. I actually started analyzing the Supreme Court rulings in District of Columbia vs.Heller (an important Second Amendment case). Definitely heavy reading, yet interesting. I may finish reading the majority ruling and dissents, but I won’t be writing about. I also had more to say about the relationship between science and religion, but I won’t publish them.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my travels with you. Some say they travel through me. Bringing my beloved Cincinnati to you has been a treat. From murals to events to places to my link to aces, eights, and Dead Man’s Hand, and to whatever. Resa, you inspired me to capture murals – yet, I left too many untouched.

It’s interesting how comments or posts by others spark ideas. I recall a post about the blogging blues – actually where I introduced an important phrase – blogging breaks are good. While some thought that post was my retirement announcement (which was never the intent), the discussion in the comments was so good, I created a good series (4-5 posts) from the fabulous comments. Readers shared so many useful insights that I had to re-share them with others. Personally, they should be required reader for all bloggers.

Introducing topics as handbells, ballroom dance, and the relationship between science and religion has been very rewarding. Thank you for embracing what may have been an unknown.

Although I’ve encountered a few WordPress members who only comment (and don’t post), publishing posts is the mainstay that drives blogging. In general, if they aren’t posting, they aren’t visiting. Blogging has been a wonderful experience for me on many levels – including (but limited to) the posts at this end.

Next Topic: The People (To be published Sunday 2 Feb @ 9:00 PM Eastern US)

On Retrospect: The Golden Years

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For me, The Golden Age is a time that I saw blogging at its peak. Statistically, I don’t know if that is true, but it was to me. Fortunately, it was probably in full swing when I started.

Freshly Pressed was a popular promotion and recognition by WordPress Editors. Besides checking the list daily, I visited and commented on many blogs attempting to gain regular readers. After having some posts that I believed should have been recognized, I made and displayed a “Not Freshly Pressed” badge. On 23 Dec 2012, the editors notified me of my selection while mentioning I can take down my badge. 51 weeks later on 16 December 2013, my second Freshly Pressed honor came. After all, how could the WP editors not appreciate this post about words.

Whatever success means in blogland, I think I was tasting it. My community grew. I was associated with more than a few (apparently) well-known bloggers – and oh wow – what a variety of blogs!

During this time, my topics/categories continued to expand. My little corner of the world evolved into a weekly magazine with 6 posts following a similar pattern:

  • Monday Morning Entertainment (256 posts) highlighted the weekend and started the week with a smile
  • Tuesday provided a feature post of content
  • Aiming at a mid-week chuckle for Wednesday, The Onion’s Satire Bits (134 posts) provided a list of the week’s best headlines from The Onion – and this is where the Combo Challenge started
  • Thursday was a day for a variety of topics – a second feature, a travel post, or anything else.
  • Opinions in the Shorts (— posts) quickly evolved into a consistent format.
  • Saturday featured something light-hearted for the weekend. I loved Saturday Morning Cartoons (71 posts). After all, many readers loved watching cartoons on Saturday mornings during their youth. Explore series (74 posts) followed the cartoons on weekends. Eventually the Blog Musicals (8 musicals of 81 acts) moved from weekdays to Saturdays.

After several years of posting six days a week, replying to all comments, visiting other blogs, plus researching and writing, I was wearing down. With a long-term work contract consuming my day, I backed down from my self-imposed expectations – which lead to an important mantra – Blogging breaks are good.

Three-to-five posts per week became the new routine, which was fine with me. Eventually it became three-to-four. During this time I realized that six posts per week were not only demanding on me, it was also demanding on my readers. In retrospect, that’s a major revelation because my readers read other blogs as well as maintaining their own. That thought alone helped me slow down.

Were these really the Golden Age of Blogging? I don’t know – but to me, this period was exciting. The Golden Age faded away as some bloggers moved on to other forms of social media. Maybe the time wasn’t the Golden Age – but just a time when I was surrounded by activity and creativity. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful time in my blogging history.

Next topic: The Posts (To be published Saturday 1 Feb @ 1:00 AM Eastern US)

On the Closing Ceremonies – The Schedule

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As I enter the homestretch of my time on these pages, below is the final agenda/timeline. All times are Eastern US.

If you missed the final beach walk, go back one post or click here.

If you missed the final short story, go back two posts or click here.

(Thursday 23 Jan 9 pm) Final Opinions in the Shorts

(Saturday 25 Jan 1 am) Final Music Fest – This post is about music, music, music, and more music. Not only bring a song to share with me, be ready to give songs to your friends in the comments.

(Sun 26 Jan 4 pm) Final Gift Party – The collection of unknown gift bags should provide interesting times.

(Tues 28 Jan 9 pm) Retrospect: The Beginning – A look back at how this place came to be.

(Thurs 30 Jan 9 pm) Retrospect: The Blog Golden Years – About a period of time that I felt many people were blogging and I made the most connections.

(Sat 1 Feb 1 AM) Retrospect: The Posts – Bloggers must have something to say, so this post is about how my little corner of the world displayed my personality through its posts.

(Sun 2 Feb 9 pm) Retrospect: The People – For me, this was the most important to write in my closing series. It was also the most difficult. After completing the first draft, I know the time was right for me. Because of the importance of my loyal readers, I shed a few tears when writing this post.

(Tues 4 Feb 9 pm) The Final Post – Some final thoughts and a look ahead.

On a Blog Break: Summer 2019

 

Before I embark on my summer blog break, below is an abbreviated edition of Opinions in the Shorts.

The Doobie Brothers concert surprised a few people. With a blog break on the current docket, I do not know who the next concert will feature or when it will occur – but I have some ideas to consider during the blog break.

Unfortunately, on celebration day falls during the blog break. August 28th marks the 11th anniversary of this place – my little corner of the world.

My golf game resembles a yo-yo – but I still enjoy playing.

With August being the final month of summer, that also means September marks the return of handbell choir rehearsals, volunteer ushering at the Playhouse, fall festivals, football season, and more.

Has anyone watched “The Great Hack” on Netflix (about Cambridge Analytica)? If so, what did you think?

Last weekend gave us two mass shootings – including one in Dayton, Ohio (a bit less than an hour drive for me). Interesting how events like that affect you differently when they are closer to home. Events in El Paso and Dayton give Congress more opportunities to do nothing.

The Republican “mental issue” claim as a key cause of gun violence has resurfaced – so I ask an important question to Congressional Republicans: What legislation have you passed in the past five years addressing the mental health problem? I asked my representative. In his response letter, he didn’t answer the question – so the answer is none!

A state representative near me and close to Dayton blamed mass shootings on the following: fatherless families, transgender and homosexual marriages, drag queen advocates, recreational marijuana, violent video games, failed school policies, hatred for our veterans by professional athletes disrespecting our flag and country, Democrats in Congress, disrespect for law enforcement, anti-Trump voters, and last – but not least – the icing on the cake – you guessed it – Obama. Yes – the one who made this statement is an office holder elected by the majority of voters in her district.; which to me is sadder than the one making the statement.

The leader of the Ohio Republican Party asked Candice Keller to resign for the above statement, but (as of this morning) she’s standing by her statement and refusing to resign. “Establishment moderates have never been fans of mine because I ran against their endorsement and won. As the only conservative in this race, I will be taking my (state) Senate campaign to the voters to decide.”

A thought to remember about politics. The party’s goal is to win, therefore finding candidates with the best chance of winning and representing the party. Therefore, the candidate is in an office to represent the best interests of the party. After all, how much time does the office holder (and their organization) spend fundraising for the party and their re-election? The answer is simple – a lot. Therefore, the office holder’s interest in solving issues and representing the non-party flock in their district is (at best) superficial.

As I’ve stated numerous times on these pages, blog breaks are good. How long will this one be? To be honest – I don’t know – but I hope to return in the first 10 days of September – time will tell. Until then, I hope you visit the many good, talented, friendly people I list as A-Team Premium Visitors on the sidebar, plus others on the BlogRoll tab.

By the time I return, summer will be on its last leg – so here’s a classic from years ago to lead me into my blog break. Check out this chops! Keep smiling!

On a Yearly Transition

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As the waves come ashore to wash away 2018, the year officially moves into our memory bank. A year that marked 10 years in my little corner of the world here on WordPress. A good year of writing, memories, and interactions with many good people.

A year featuring of 158 posts (I think) included 24 more beach walks, a tour to notable US national parks, and an outstanding tour in Eastern Europe. A year when Pronouns awakened the sleeping giant known as blog musicals. Some of my favorite topics to post included religious liberty, common good, buying food in Venezuela, a teacher’s day, a 4-part series about the US as a Christian nation, 1968, containers, my career of 2 halves, lead & follow, ballroom connections, and several attempts at fiction. Remember any of those?

If all goes well, 2019 means more beach walks, more travel, another musical, and the introduction of the aFa Weekend Concert Series (which starting this coming weekend). For the inaugural event, it doesn’t get any bigger than The Beatles.

Sometime in 2019 will deliver the 400th weekly edition of Opinions in the Shorts. New posts in final preparation include Oreos, shopping carts, race music, samba, water, shadows, dark, a look at me during my college days, and a toast to 66. 2019 could deliver visit #400,000.

As we say farewell to 2018 while greeting 2019 with open arms, Happy New Year to you … and may goodness continue to shine! Enjoy The Tenors.

On a Beach Walk: No. 39 (Blogging)

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

I see the vast water representing bloggers. Communities as WordPress and Blogger are two hosting communities – but not the only ones.

Bloggers are across the world – just another example of the world becoming smaller and more connected. I don’t know how many people from different countries have touched my little corner of the world – but I do know that I enjoy those who interact and return – especially those who have stuck with me for many years.

Each blogger writes for different reasons – marketing, personalizing, pontificating, advocating, educating, sharing, interacting, simply writing, and more. Poems, short stories, sports, politics, photography, travel, satire, music, events, hobbies, diaries, entertainment, fitness, wellness, cooking, religion, philosophy, humor, art, and more because blog pages allow readers to decide the topics they want to engage.

Each blogger wants something different. Some want interactions, others want friends, laughs, respect, community, a voice, and/or even just followers.

Bloggers are like the rest people in our life: they came and go – there are givers and the selfish – the jokers and the philosophers – the learners and the teachers – the encourages and the downers – the inspirational and the passive – the emotional and the practical – the extroverts and the introverts – and many more – even the users and abusers. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that (as a whole) bloggers have made the world a better place. After all, we are the everyday people helping the world go around.

This is the last walk of the season. It’s been fun – so thanks for walking along. This series started in 2017 with 15 posts – but 2018 increased to 24. Our plans are to return to the beach again in 2019, which serves as my writing time for this eclectic collection of personal thoughts. Hopefully my future includes more walks to share on my little corner of the world. After all, walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.