Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 416

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Impressive concert activity last weekend with The Guess Who and friends! So many wonderful songs! Using Day 2 to transition into Bachman Turner Overdrive was perfect.

Announcing a Schedule Change: The next concert will feature The Godfather of Soul – James Brown. The date has not been finalized, but it will be either November 16th or 23rd.

Readers may recall my recent post celebrating Walktober (I featured a walk in a Cincinnati park along the river). Robin has hosted Walktober for many years, and I have proudly participated in most of them. She always ends the celebration with a post featuring all participants. I invite everyone to read it here and encourage everyone to visit other walkers – especially because this may be Robin’s last.

My fantasy Benevolent Impalers delivered a major thumping last weekend. Coupled with an upset, we are now in a 3-way tie for first at 7-2.

Speaking of football, I liked this one from The Onion. Click to see it.

This week I had jury duty in County Common Pleas Court. Tough duty – I didn’t have to report Monday, Tuesday,  and Wednesday – but got the call for Thursday – got seated – guilty – home. Well, it was a slam-dunk case that shouldn’t have gone to trial.

The voting fans have taken over Dancing With The Stars. With 50% of the score from the judges and 50% from the fans, fan voting is skewing the results. The show will either have to change the voting format or go off the air.

The handbell choir is playing a fun piece at this Sunday’s service. This piece includes many techniques, rhythms, and chimes. To listen, click here (then click the Start button).

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2019 is considered not a big election year with zero regular seats are up for grabs. However, it is an election year for Kentucky Governor. Given that Cincinnati is a border city, candidates on both sides bombarded with ads – including the Trump loyalists.

By the way, President Trump won Kentucky by over 30% in 2016, Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who is unapologetically a Trump supporter, is losing by 0.4%. Predictably, Gov. Bevin complained about “thousands” of voting irregularities. Sound familiar?

The number of of Trumpian loyalists and their fervor continues to amaze me … and they accept whatever narrative their leader uses. Also, I liked this one for a letter in the Cincinnati paper: … the president himself has succeeded in pulling Americans down to his level. Not long ago on a past issue of OITS, a reader stated (I paraphrase), If we re-elect Donald Trump, we deserve what we get.

I regularly watch CBS This Morning, but I had to use the Mute button when during the interview with Donald Trump, Jr, who was their promoting his book.

Here’s an interesting point about the 2020 presidential election. For the Democrats to win, they must 1) maintain all their 2016 states, 2) flip Pennsylvania & Wisconsin, and 3) flip one other big state as Florida or Ohio. In can be done, but every Democratic candidate may not be able to accomplish that. Meanwhile, the latest poll from The New Times & Siena College supports my thoughts.

Although I’m not in this profile of swing voters, this article is interesting.

Is the House Intelligence Committee similar to the House Ethics Committee? After all, both are oxymorons.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline of studies on the effects of red meat.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Elite preschool boasts 95% of graduates go on to kindergarten
Patron scans cocktail menu for drink with fewest unfamiliar ingredients
Exterminator composes self in driveway so kids won’t know he saw cricket die at work today
‘Ooh, Right In The Bean Bag,’ Says Wincing Surgeon Through Every Step Of Vasectomy
NYC opens $500 million decoy subway station to catch turnstile jumpers
VISA introduces new preloaded debt card

Interesting Reads

Politics and the holiday dinner table
Life in an alien ocean
Having one time zone for the whole world
From the revolutionary world of the seedless lemon
(Photos) Images of Australia’s past
(Graphic) China’s economy the past 70 years
(Photos) Pics from Mexico’s Day of the Dead

To send you into the weekend, here’s one of my all-time favorite songs. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 413

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The Weekend Concert Series returns this weekend with Journey taking to the stage. Concert time is this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Week 2 of Dancing With The Stars revealed a new way of eliminating contestants – which to me is a result of the trend of viewers making goofy choices. Meanwhile, even though one contestant is typically eliminated each week, those who need to go early are identified – therefore, gives others time to develop into contenders.

Because I just mentioned television, I didn’t watch the Emmy Awards, but from what I’ve seen, gotta love Zendaya Coleman fashion statement.

A Cincinnati Reds legend had his final game this afternoon. Marty Brennaman has been the play-by-play  radio broadcaster for 46 years. He’s not only a local legend, but is also enshrined in the broadcaster’s wing at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Maybe the first inning of his first game served as an omen. That’s when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth as the all-time homerun leader. Marty – thanks for all the memories!

About the game today. I didn’t watch on TV, I listened on a small, transistor-like radio beyond the final out through the post-game show. I turned on the television to watch the post-game ceremony. Yes – I shed a few tears.

Benevolent Impalers (my football fantasy team) lost it’s first game last week falling to 2-1. We got thumped. The opponents, the lowest scoring team in the league the first two weeks (and I the highest), achieved the highest scoring week of the season by far. My week was OK, but the opponents were on fire.

Did you know Popeyes is the official chicken of the Vatican? ( know Marc knows!)

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President Trump can no longer surprise me.

House Democrats have started an impeachment inquiry. This is the first step in the impeachment process, and it could also be the last step.

Although the US Constitution provides a mechanism for impeachment, there should not be any doubt that impeachment is a political process driven by party-first politics on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, what is best for the country cannot overcome tribalism.

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt. (from Federalist Paper: No. 65, Alexander Hamilton, 7 March 1788)

The end of the third quarter is a time for my latest odds.

  • President Trump being nominated: 97%
  • President Trump receiving my vote: 0%
  • Democratic nominee receiving my vote: 10%
  • President Trump winning re-election: 55%

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a glimpse of what is happening in a high school science class. I wonder who will look here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Every ingredient in recipe substituted for to avoid trip to store
Child concerned parents might never amount to anything
Nation perplexed by 16-year-old who doesn’t want the world to end
Obsessive-compulsive baseball player has to touch all 3 bases before going home
Man struggling to accept the fact that he’ll never move beyond medium salsa

Interesting Reads

Time with Turkish militants
Keeping working satellites safe
Death of Alexander the Great
Apps and the battle in Hong Kong
Mac & cheese and Mars
(Graphic) America’s political divide since 1994 (I love this one!)
(Photos) Milky Way photo contest winners
(Photos) Running of the wieners

To send you into the weekend, time for a bit of old school Frank style from Blue Man Group. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 377

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Pronouns: The Musical is continue its trek this weekend featuring songs with They in the title. (Not an easy theme.) Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

With wireless available in all our hotels, I admit not totally disconnecting during the blog break.

Although I jumped way ahead to the Croatian National Park, I did it for Robin’s Walktober celebration. I still have to post a series about the western national parks tour we took last May-June (which I will start this Sunday night).

The previous post (Walktober walk) was a round-number milestone – post #2100. For those who enjoyed the walk through Plitvice, I hope you watched the two videos that I mentioned directly under the map. Both are wonderful!

While away, baseball’s regular season ended – and another predictably painful one for Cincinnati fans.

There are 3 tiers (levels) of professional soccer in the USA: top-level MLS (20 teams), NASL (6 teams), and lower-level USL (33 teams). Although Cincinnati is in the lowest tier, of the 59 teams, Cincinnati’s was fourth in attendance – probably a reason why the franchise will move up to MLS next year.

We are enjoying catching up on Dancing With The Stars through recordings. This season has some very good dancers. However, the last elimination was very unfortunate. What are voters thinking?

While strolling through Trieste (Italy), we encountered a new experience – a flute orchestra. Fascinating! I recorded a 90-sec clip, and I’m curious to see if this works. (Then click the video after it appears)  As a back-up plan, I found this YouTube video.

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Given several prominent election races at home, I did NOT miss the barrage of political ads on television.

I continue to hear certain people rebuking Nike products because of Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick as a spokesperson. What these people don’t know is that Nike’s target audience is not old white guys who vote Republican and wear New Balance shoes bought from Kohl’s, Target, or WalMart.

Glad that I was gone during the Supreme Court appointment process. The way I see it, both Republicans and Democrats have painted themselves into a predictable partisan corner only to predictably flip-flop in the future – and the partisan flock will merrily follow along.

Regarding Judge Kavanaugh, I don’t want to judge someone on possible indiscretions during teen and college years. I was already against the nomination, but not for the same reasons as the Democratic loyalists. Then again, each party only agrees with my view of the Supreme Court when it is convenient to their position. These two past posts explain my viewpoint. (Feb 2016 & June 2016)

Although we learned about the political climates in various countries on our trip, my wife and I were politically cautious with our fellow travellers – but we sensed the majority are not happy with President Trump.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, this scoop by The Onion about Donald Trump, Jr. made my laugh.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

  • Mom still raving about butternut squash ravioli she tried 13 years ago
  • Annoyed movers weren’t expecting client to have belongings
  • Sweatshop worker doesn’t even want to know working conditions of place he company gets fabric
  • Nurse’s tray all scalpels
  • Sex shop bathroom key attached to 18-inch double dildo

Interesting Reads

To send you into the weekend, here’s a pleasant song by the Doobie Brothers. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 342

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Fiona, Cincinnati Zoo’s mega-star, has this major article in the New York Times Sunday edition.

The Kennedy Center Honors are this week, but the telecast is December 27th (9-11 pm US Eastern) on CBS. For me, this annual event is must-watch television! The 2017 honorees are Carmen de Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J, Norman Lear, and Lionel Richie.

If you enjoy “Oh Come Emmanuel”, you may enjoy this handbell piece that we are playing next week. Very interesting rhythms  – and not easy! –  but at least it’s not like the late-October monster. Click here to listen.

Congratulations to Jordan Fisher and partner Lindsay Arnold for winning Dancing With the Stars. He was outstanding from the very start. To our eyes, his technique was over-the-top good. Here’s his Week 1 Tango. (The dance starts at 1:30.)

Cincinnati is lucky to be home to two top-level college basketball teams Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. The rivalry between the two schools that are only 3.5 miles (5.6 km) apart is intense – and this weekend is the annual meeting known as the Crosstown Shootout. Go UC! … but this is the only game of the year where I hope XU loses.

Here’s the beginning of an interesting local story.

Suliman Abdul-Mutakallim was shot in the back of his head, as he walked home, carrying food for himself and his wife. Authorities say he was an innocent and unsuspecting victim. After two teenagers pleaded guilty this month at separate court hearings and were sentenced to prison terms, Abdul-Mutakallim’s mother, Rukiye, offered to hug them. Javon Coulter said she could. Rukiye wants to visit them in prison regularly and help them become better people. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Just learned about a company named d.light.  Very interesting products! This is a way to help the people of Puerto Rico and other places without electricity. Click to see their products.

Saturday I’m posting a collaboration with an artist. Hope you stop by.

My little corner of the world is approaching several milestones, including 75,000th comment. I wonder who will get the recognition.

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Brilliantly said by Michael Gerson (Washington Post): Not only do we have tribal politics in this country, we also have tribal morality.

2108 is an election year for Ohio’s governor. The four top Republican candidates were in my area recently for a forum. Here’s the way the Cincinnati Enquirer started the report: The Republican nomination for Ohio governor might come down to who loves President Donald Trump more. And who’s least like current Republican governor John Kasich.

I continue to think Roy Moore will win in Alabama.

Two weeks I mentioned writing my Congressional Representative and Senator because their party like to claim, “It’s a mental health issue” when it comes to mass shootings. I asked what the Republican Party has done about mental health issues (purposefully without mentioning gun control.) My Representative responded: 1) Without answering my question. 2) Stating the issue with the Air Force files on the most recent incident has been corrected, and 3) focusing on gun control.

In terms of the plan for the tax cuts, interesting how the effects of the debt is less important to those who previously said the debt is of utmost importance. Ah yes – the nature of politics.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for clean eating.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Buick introduces new self-buying car
Nutella briefly entertained as lubricant
New historic evidence suggests most Pilgrims sailed back home to celebrate first Thanksgiving
Smithsonian acquires rare photograph where whole family looks really nice
Substitute teacher can tell he’s filling in for real asshole

Interesting Reads
Can machines become moral?
26 words we don’t want to lose
Ocean’s most-dedicated mothers
Digital privacy upcoming in the high court
60 years after Brown v. Board of Education
(Images) Bumper stickers for subway riders
(Photos) Random photos of the week

For your weekend entertainment, I continue the stretch of Fab Four songs. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 296

Our hearts and support to Belgians this week. Wishing them peace and strength today, in the days past, and in the days ahead.

Hard to believe that an 18-year-old American injured in the Brussels blast was also in Boston (the day of the Marathon bombings) and in Paris (the day of the recent attacks).

Thanks to those who watched and commented on the PSA in the previous post. My weekly volunteer time with Down Syndrome adults has taught me a lot. It’s where I learned how they see themselves as normal – and it’s where I’ve learned to appreciate them for who they are. A parent told me that the video bothered them as a parent. I responded by saying what I’ve learned from volunteering – to which the parent responded, “You’re exactly right. They really don’t see themselves as any different than anyone else. Thanks for pulling me back.”

We recently saw a stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Wow – it still carries a powerful message.

Next week is The Right Angle’s last week of work as she is ready to ride into the retirement sunset.

This is a great laugh.

Being in the middle of basketball’s March Madness, my city is lucky to have to top programs within the city – let alone, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) apart. But the way both the Bearcats and Musketeers lost was difficult. Ouch! On the other hand, in my opinion, the torch has passed from UC to XU for having the top program in the city. Nonetheless, by the end of the weekend, only 4 teams will be left.

Season 22 of Dancing With The Stars is off to a good start. Definitely a group with some interesting people. It was great to see Edyta back on the show, but ouch – she got the contestant with the worst rhythm and lowest ability.

Act 5: Green of Colors: The Musical was huge! At the time of this writing we’re approaching 50 songs! Then again, I went a bit crazy in my replies … and that’s before Marina and I start playing our additions game.

On the topic of colors, I understand the cherry blossoms of Washington, DC are in full bloom. Elyse and Duncan would gladly give you a walking tour if you stopped by. Make sure to ask her to show you the two trees that are from the original plantings. But if you can’t join her tour, here’s a video to help you enjoy them.

To those celebrating Easter this weekend, a glorious and happy Easter to you.

No Explore post this weekend.

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Republicans love to praise Ronald Reagan, but a 1980 Reagan would be lousy 2016 candidate … just as he would have been lousy in 2012. Don’t believe it? Just compare the party platforms.

There’s a lull in primary season as all eyes are directed at Wisconsin. I wonder how much money the campaigns and organizations will spend on ads in the Dairy State.

In terms of this summer’s Republican convention, keep your eye on changes involving Rule 40-B.

I called Sen. Portman’s office (R-OH) about his stance regarding the current Supreme Court opening – and yep – I said the stance will cost him my vote in November.

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for establishing a campsite.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Chess onlooker sees a possible move
Scissors kills Paper and Rock; then turns blade on self
Volunteer exercises option to stop volunteering
Shit … new girlfriend snores
Stomach sets aside synthetic additives until it has a few minutes to figure out how to digest them

Interesting Reads
The boom in craft beers
The hidden strengths of introverts
The man who sold the Eiffel Tower twice
3-D printing and the blind
Animals of the world (article & images from National Geographic)

Given Blog Musical Week, it’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Close Encounter of …

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I recall hearing and reading about the hub-bub between John Hurley and Kelly Monaco in Season 1 of Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) – but I didn’t watch. As a sports fan, having ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne in the Season 2 cast caught my attention – so my wife and I watched DWTS for the first time on January 5, 2006.

We watched the entire show. The next day was the results show, and my wife asked, “Don’t you want to see what happens?” I had seen the first night with Kenny, and that was good enough, but she was curious – so we watched the elimination of Kenny Mayne.

Season 22 (of the 2 seasons per year) starts later this month. Since that first episode we watched, DWTS was the first domino that led us into the world of ballroom dance. We’re still watching the show and still dancing. Who knows how much money we’ve spent on lessons, dances, and shoes – at least I can blame Kenny Mayne.

Long-time watchers may remember Season 2 as it included guests Drew Lachey (a Cincinnatian who won), Stacey Keibler, Jerry Rice, Lisa Rinna, Tia Carrere, George Hamilton, Tatum O’Neill, Giselle Fernandez, and Master P, It also introduced us to professional dancers Tony Dovolani, Maksim Chmerkovsky, Louis Van Amstel, Cheryl Burke, Anna Trebunskaya, and Edyta Śliwińska – the Polish-born dancer who easily catches the eye. Besides, many of us would love an opportunity to dance with the partner of our choice …. Just once! Did you hear that Edyta? Anna? Sharna? Peta?

To those of us old enough to remember the variety shows on television, DWTS is a blend of a reality show of today and the variety shows of yesteryear – especially on the Results Show when top artists perform – such as this appearance by Michael Bublé in Season 9.

Like any business, dance studios aim at making a profit. Every studio has their way of increasing sales, which may include providing coaching sessions. The “coach” is usually an experienced dancer/teacher from out-of-town who is part of a normal lesson – of course with an extra fee. Yes, coaches are an outside perspective providing a new set of eyes for suggestions, but it’s never interested us – after all, we are social dancers who don’t compete.

As part of one of the sales promotions are our current studio, we earned the right for a drawing – and what did my wife select? … a free coaching session. We talked with our regular instructor about the upcoming coaching possibilities, so we selected Agnes. Plus, I took a group class with her last year, so I knew she had a pleasant demeanor … as well as being an attractive woman. (At least I’m honest.) 😉

Early this past February, we had our coaching with Agnes. A wonderful lesson – and I had a few steps with her. In our chit-chat time, I discovered that she’s Polish and now lives in Los Angeles … but why I didn’t wonder if she knew Edyta is beyond me! After all, look at the connections – Polish, dancer, Los Angeles.

Two weeks later, my wife was gone on her girls’ cruise – which meant too much time on my hands – so I searched Agnes. On her website I discovered her personal story of dance and journey to the USA – her dance accomplished as a winner or finalist in the most prestigious dance competitions, and her appearances on Dancing With The Stars.

WHAT? I had in my arms and danced a few steps with someone who has been on the show! My wife and I had a coaching lesson with someone who probably knows cast members – including Edyta! … and yes … in the video above, that was Agnes and her partner dancing to Michael Bublé … and odds are, we watched that episode!

With YouTube doing what it does, I saw other videos, of Agnes and her partner Urs … including the entertaining, unique dance video below that demonstrates grace, variety, speed, strength, versatility, control, and probably more. TIP: After watching up to 2:50, save yourself time by forwarding to 4:50 … and enjoy watching the lady I think of as my Close Encounter of the Dance Kind.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 221

On Politics
For those you think the Tea Party is dead because of its unsuccessful showing in Tuesday’s primary, think again because if nothing else, it has shifted the party to the right.

As Washington examines issues at the Veterans Administration (VA), comments by members of Congress demonstrate to me that they are more interested in political gain than solving the problem.

Speaker Boehner’s (R-OH) new conference came on the radio as I was listening today, and I changed the channel. Later, I returned to find Minority Leader Pelosi’s (D-CA) new conference, so I changed the channel again.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Congress reluctant to cut funding for tank that just spins around and self destructs
  • Revealing spring attire reminds man he’s nothing more than weak, hormonal ogre
  • High school student, teacher applying for same summer waitressing job
  • Paleontologists unearth earliest known dinosaur stickers
  • Experts recommend breaking down crushing defeats into smaller, more manageable failures
  • Ohio replaces lethal injection with human new head-ripping-off machine

Interesting Reads
Leadership lessons from Dancing with the Stars
Columnist Ruth Marcus on politics and money
Interesting interactive sorting state (US) data
Learn to love your doppelgänger
The real Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Interesting infographic on man-made structures
Nutella in America

On Potpourri
Meryl and Maks were very deserving champions of Dancing with the Stars. Although some complained about co-host Erin Andrews in her debut season, but I say bring her back.

Taken April 22, 2014

Taken April 22, 2014

I took this picture about a month ago after getting some gas.

Thanks for the wonderful music in Act 4 of Life: The Musical. I love getting different genres of music!

With Monday being a national holiday (Memorial Day) in the USA, I will not have a Saturday Morning Cartoon Classic post this weekend. I know … this pattern is too frequent, but I’m still digging out of my hole from the move.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Mudbug Madness, Polka Weekend, Old-Time Player Piano Weekend
  • (Fri) Taffy Day, Wig Out Day, Turtle Day, Don’t Fry Day, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis Day, Heat Awareness Day, Polka Day, Lucky Penny Day
  • (Sat) Military Appreciation Day, Brother’s Day, Jazz Day, Morse Code Day, Escargot Day, Scavenger Hunt Day, Mary had a Little Lamb Day
  • (Sun) Cookie Monster’s Birthday, Something Day, Wine Day, Tap Dance Day, Towel Day, Nerd Pride-Geek Pride Day

With Saturday being Lucky Penny Day, here’s a question to answer. If you see a penny on the ground with the tails side up, do you pick it up?

To send you into the weekend, let’s celebrate Morse Code Day (Saturday) with this hit from 1967 … Western Union by the Five Americans. (The song starts 1 minute in.) Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.