Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 284

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I hate it when life gets in the way of blogging – hence why my posts are less frequent, and my visits elsewhere have been horrible.

Sky: The Musical is over – and participants have come through in flying colors. A tip of the cap to all who took us on a 5-act musical journey across the sky and clouds to the sun, moon stars.

No Explore post this weekend because the my 2016 Holiday Blog Party is the entire weekend. Start time is 1:30 AM (Eastern US), thus the gifts will be available for the European morning and even the late-night Friday crowd on the US west coast. Because of my lack of presence over the past few weeks, I’m expecting a smaller crowd than normal. 😦 … nonetheless, I will enjoy the company! Bring your friends.

Bomb threats at schools have recently made the news – which reminded me of a Darwin Award candidate. It was probably in the 1980s, a person called the principal during school hours to issue a bomb threat. The principal asked the caller, “Who is this?” … and the caller gave his name – yes, a current student.

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Prior to the last debate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) reminded everyone that one of the commonalities all the GOP candidates have in common is that none of them are Socialists. Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) also made the point during the debate. Even though all the candidates want to overturn the Affordable Care Act, none of them are against defunding public education, public schools, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, and other programs grounded in Socialism.

Here are various fact checks regarding the most-recent Republican debate: Annenberg, PolitiFacts, Associated Press, Washington Post, Politico

A reminder for the Democrats who may have a burr in their shorts about Donald Trump (R-NY). The Republican nomination process requires 1,236 delegate votes to win the nomination – and at this point, all candidates have zero candidates … plus the process involves proportional allocation.

For those wondering about a brokered Republican convention, it’s possible – but today is also too early in the process. However, it that happens, remember this name – Mitt Romney.

The next Democratic debate is this Saturday night on ABC … and I won’t be watching.

To lead you into a bit of satire, here’s The Onion’s review of the latest Star Wars movie.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

  • Guy Wearing Chewbacca Costume Torn Between Seeing ‘Star Wars’ And ‘The Big Short’
  • Legendary Paparazzo Gets Star On Roof Across From Hollywood Walk Of Fame
  • Geneticists Debate Ethics Of Cloning Humans And Forcing Them To Fight To Death In Pit For Our Amusement
  • Victoria’s Secret Introduces 3-Inch Patch Of Satin To Place Anywhere On Body
  • Study Finds Majority Of Accidental Heroin Overdoses Could Be Prevented With Less Heroin
  • Odorite Introduces New Three-Tier Urinal Cake

Interesting Reads
Guns and race in America
A story involving the history of passports
The strange science of self
The mystery of the saxophone opening to Baker Street (by Gerry Raferty)
Art challenging perceptions
Royal Society Photo Award winners

Here are multiple tunes to send you into the weekend. The first is a leftover from Act 5 that is also a shout-out to Cynthia because I think she’ll enjoy the song, the singer, and the video. The second is also a leftover that I enjoy. The last song title serves as a bit of advise for those dealing with the holiday crazies. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch … and I hope to see you at the party this weekend!

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 280

To the victims and their families, and to the French people for strength, unity, and peace.

Shame to the American candidates for politicizing the event by playing the blame game while offering suggestions that amount to (at best) meager gibberish.

It was good seeing Americans displaying the French flag this weekend … especially when the Army football team came onto the field with for a game at West Point.

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Sky: The Musical’s Act 2 featuring the sun is in the books … and we were nearing 40 songs. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching us in the US, the production won’t return until December. Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

Although no kids for us, we enjoy our 4 nieces and nephews. Last weekend we attended the wedding (the third to be marriage) – but it was out first to attend. We were a proud aunt and uncle, and wish them the best.

While in Cleveland last weekend, I saw my first white stuff of winter.

Because both of us volunteer at the weekly Downs Syndrome ballroom dance event, earlier this week my tango partner and I danced for the group. Considering we haven’t danced the routine in over 10 days, we did well. Most importantly, we had fun and it was well received.

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Even with the recent attacks in France, Lebanon, and over the skies of Egypt, I still say no US troops on the ground against ISIS – unless a coalition of Arab forces decide to take action.

Since the latest terrorist attack in Paris, it’s interesting to compare and contrast the French and US responses to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The Atlantic published What ISIS Really Wants this past February. It continue to be on the front page of their website, plus other news agencies promote it. I listed it as an Interesting Read months ago, but I want to promote it again. It’s a long read – but interesting – however, it is a view – and not the only view. For the interested, here’s the link.

The next Republican debate is December 15th (Tuesday) on CNN. Yawn .. .but another one for me to miss as I go for 7 in a row.

Something to ponder – If political candidates submitted their own questions to answer in a debate, would they truly answer the question?

Last week the Democrats had their second debate, and I missed another one. Damn … that makes me 6 for 6. Here are multiple fact checks from the event: Annenberg FactCheckAssociated Press, PolitiFact, Politico, Washington Post.

I continue to believe that if a governor, senator, or representative wants to run for president, they need to resign their position immediately upon announcing their candidacy. Our states and districts play them to do a job that does not include campaigning around the country while being paid.

To lead you into The Onion, here are their suggestions for talking to your children about sex.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation’s conservationist warn there are only 8 trillion rats left
Minimalism Overdone
US Mathematicians Round Pi Down To Three
Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions
Experts Warn Number Of Retirees Will Completely Overwhelm Scenic Railway Industry By 2030
Economists Recommend Setting Aside Part Of Every Paycheck In Case Of Dire Straits Reunion Tour

Interesting Reads
The man who invented relaxation
Russian psychics
The beauty of winter in Greenland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and daily worship
The Owen: an Aussie weapon
The evolution of toxic toad eaters
Photo gallery of Spots

It’s time for a musical two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 2 and a golden oldie. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 279

Gone since late September, OITS are back! .. .and this is the 1750th post (which is sort-of-a milestone) … and this post is loaded.

I stopped into one of those large (but temporary/seasonal) Halloween stores .. .and I was surprised to see the Banana Flasher. For those who dare and want to know, here’s the link.

Remember the post earlier in the week about the email? Ever since that post, I haven’t heard from any of the ladies. Not one!

Sky: The Musical is off to a good start as Opening Night was a success. I want to complete this musical before the December holiday season, so Act 2 is next week!

  • Theme – Sun
  • All song titles must include Sun, Suns, or Sunny in the title
  • No compound words (sunlit, sunlight, etc) and No variations as Son, Sons, or Sonny
  • Showtime – Tuesday, November 17th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

I like black licorice, so I pounced on the deal at Costco when I spotted a display offering a 2 lb (0.9 kg) bag for $2.50. Hey Canadians … it’s from your country.

Earlier this week marked the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. These words touched me.

The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald wasn’t the worst maritime tragedy in the history of the Great Lakes. Another early November storm in 1913 took a dozen ships and more than 250 sailors’ lives. The bodies of the Fitz’s crew were never recovered, but the ship’s bell was. And when it is tolled 29 times today, as it is every year, it will be for those men — and for the 25,000 others who have lost their lives on those waters down through the centuries. (Carl Cannon, Editor, Real Clear Politics)

Do you remember my tango routine? Well, my partner and I successfully did it without a major glitch! … and that also means it is over … Whew – a lot of work!

Dale (A Deleciable Life) made me aware of this wonderful dance video from the Montreal Swing Riot – and quite the riot it is. Whew – lots of energy and skill. The entire video is about 20 minutes, but even short stays are worth the time. Enjoy.

Speaking of dancing, the official Dance: The Musical song list is coming soon!

I’ve enjoyed Dancing With the Stars season 21 … and I’m pulling for Bindi. Best wishes to Tamara Braxton because she has withdrawn due to a serious health issue. As a dancer, she’s been very good.

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Early this week, I saw (live on CNN) Alysin Camerota’s interview with Republican candidate Ben Carson – and his answers to her good questions were pathetic.

George (The Off Key of Life) had this outstanding post about the 2016 presidential election.

Woo hoo … I missed another one this week, so I’m 5 for 5 when it comes to avoiding the party-specific presidential debates. Here are some fact checks from the event:
Annenberg FactCheckAssociated PressPolitiFactPoliticoWashington Post

From all indications, I tend to agree that the CNBC moderators did a poor job – but that is no excuse for poor answers. Given my rules, candidates in both parties should be thankful that I’m not running the debates. However, Jimmy Kimmel’s comedic take on the event is priceless!

To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion offers these tips for conquering phobias.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Chinese buffet has french fries
Group of friends shouting “Shots” make compelling point
Robert De Niro stunned to learn of man who can “Goodfellas”
Scientists Find Strong Link Between Male Virility, Wearing Mötley Crüe Denim Jacket
Beijing Fire Department Extinguishes Massive Five-Alarm Burning Cloud Of Smog

Interesting Reads (a few more than normal)
A good almost 3-minute video report about a Brooklyn high school (from CBS News)
Columnist David Ignatius on power Ignatius on power
Columnist Kathleen Parker of demonizing in campaigns Parker on demonizing 
Melancholy as a good thing (Thanks Elyse)
The human body: on 4 facts or fiction
New hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb?
A church and the Hawaiian leper colony
Barcelona’s La Sagrada from The Atlantic (article & pics) (Thanks Merril)
Rare Photos of early Peking

No Explore post this weekend, but don’t forget Act 2 is next week.

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover for Act 1 and a golden oldie. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 277

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Cheers to your efforts of making Act 3 of Dance The Musical a success.

In the next and last act for Dance: The Musical, Act 4 provides the biggest challenge of any musical act.

  • Songs must feature the name of a dance in the title
  • Waltz, Macarena, and Hokey Pokey are acceptable examples … BUT ….
  • No dance can be used more than once
  • No children songs
  • Info is on the Hear Ye page
  • Performance time: next Tuesday at 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

I will probably have an Explore post this weekend.

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Wouldn’t you know it. Kim Davis (the Kentucky County Clerk) finally made a good decision, and then screws it up when she added a disclaimer line to the marriage license. The lady doesn’t get it and I think she’s getting lousy legal advice. Meanwhile, The Onion got their word in by doing this profile on her.

In terms of the second Republican Debate, yep – I followed my same format as before: deciding not to watch, then get some information from a variety of talking heads. The day after I watched both CNN and Fox News … and I came away with the same conclusion about these two networks – There’s no way they were talking about the same event – although the difference wasn’t as vastly different as after the first debate.

I discovered (from NPR) the amount of talk-time for each candidate in the second debate. The data supports my idea that the “debate” is the wrong term. Although the evening’s rules naturally skew the results.
TalkTime2For the interested, here are various FactChecks from the event: PolitiFactsWashington PostCNNFox NewsAssociated Press

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s help to parent when talking to children about death.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (Combos welcome)

  • Juggler’s Medication Wears Off Halfway Through Routine
  • Report: 92% Of Americans Would Have Gotten Over Ex By Now
  • Report: Oyster Cracker–Wise, Nation Doing Pretty Good
  • Google Engineers Invent New Body Part To Strap Gadgets Onto
  • Weather Report: Upturned earthworms imminent
  • Gender Guessed Correctly On Second Try

Interesting Reads
Pope Francis and the Vatican: Who changes who?
The blind hiker
China’s growing middle class
Africa’s population boom
(Video) Connection in and through dance (Thanks Lame)
Headless chicken
(Photos) Autumn in Alaska

Here is another two-fer to lead you into the weekend. A leftover from Act 4 (I was surprised it wasn’t used) and a rock classic. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 238

On Politics

From WordPress

From WordPress … but I will vote on Tuesday

I encourage those in US states with Congressional races to use the three fact checkers I provide on the sidebar (under Resources): Annenberg FactCheck, PolitiFact, and The Fact Checker (@Washington Post). , ,

On the topic of fact checks, one of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) ads mentions a factcheck regarding his opponent. Interestingly, Sen. McConnell’s has claims don’t clear the same bar.

Not surprisingly to me, the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed Sen. McConnell for the contested Senate seat. However, and sad to say, the last sentence in the endorsement caused me to laugh: We (the editorial board) just hope that, if re-elected, McConnell will remember that’s it’s Kentuckians first – not his party – whom he answers to first.

I find this scenario interesting: What if the Republicans gain control of the Senate, but their leader loses his re-election?

Mitt Romney says a GOP-controlled Senate would end gridlock in Washington. Sorry Mitt, I disagree. Did your Civics class leave out the White House’s role in legislation?

Last week I asked instead of disposing all four of the top Congressional leaders (Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi), and if you could keep just one, who would it be? … and who do you think I would keep. Surprise … for me it would be John Boehner (R-OH). Although he has to deal with a difficult caucus within his own party, as an individual, I believe he would be the one most willing to make a deal.

To lead you into this week’s headlines from The Onion, here a few about next week’s election:

  • Midterm candidates distancing themselves from the United States
  • 45-year-old to help candidate understand the youth vote
  • Traumatized nation terrified to make its voice heard in another election

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Two-year old never thought he would see the Giants win the World Series
Man’s heart stops as speaker asks audience to turn to person next to them
Four angels banished from heaven for attempting to unionize
Antidepressant can’t believe it’s expected it’s expected to fix this mess all on its own
Crowd outside White House hoping to catch glimpse of President naked

Bonus Graphic: How Ebola Quarantine Works

Interesting Reads
Shift college programs to 3 years?
Media habits of the partisans …. (and something I wrote in January 2009)
Keyless cars and thieves
Neil Young: Musician, artist, and painter
Denying science in politics
Interactive: Henry Hudson on the Hudson

On Potpourri
Happy Halloween. Here’s an interesting read wondering if adults have hijacked Halloween.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning baseball’s World Series … and special congrats to their fans who visit here that I know love their Giants … especially Lame and Amy.

Pope Francis’ support (this week) for science regarding evolution and creation not only does not surprise me, but it continues a trend going back to Pope Pius XII. Regardless the clamor of the noisy cranks, there is no question in my mind that when measured along denominational lines, this is the predominant view among Christians. Even in that light, much of the Atheist community is not willing to join in partnership against the conservative agenda of placing God-driven creationism based on Genesis in public schools.

To go along with the previous comment, I’ve been saving this one from Pew Research about attitudes about evolution by political party.

Dr. John Walton is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. (I loved his book about Genesis that I reviewed here.) Recently, I read this worthy essay about right vs. wrong … and I think agree vs. disagree is also valid.

I continue to find a wonderful interest in Cynthia’s poems, Her audio versions add to my experience because she has an outstanding cadence. If you visit and comment, tell her I sent you … and a special thanks to Mary for directing me to Cynthia.

Lauren Hill, the college freshman from the Cincinnati area with an inoperable brain, is expected not to see 2016, yet this Sunday she will get her dream of playing in a college basketball game. It seems that various cable stations will be broadcasting the game in different parts of the country. I’m curious if this makes the local news (television, radio, or newspaper) in your area … so let me know. Here’s an article about her. PS: I’ve learned that she will be in the starting lineup, plus the last player introduced.

Cheers to everyone’s effort in yesterday’s Act 11 of Life: The Musical. In the history of musicals here, readers provided many songs that I didn’t know … and as one who appreciates a wide-variety of music, I say Many thanks!

This blog hit the 200,000 hits mark late Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the rollover, but my guess the celebratory moment occurred sometime between 11:40-11:55 AM (Eastern US).

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this week because tomorrow is a special day! Do you remember why?

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Punkin Chunkin Champtionships (Video to learn about it)
  • (Fri) Happy Halloween!, Knock-Knock Jokes Day, Caramel Apples Day, Books for Treats Day, Day of the Seven Billion, Frankenstein Friday, Girl Scout Founder’s Day, Bandana Day, Breadsticks Day, Magic Day, Scare a Friend Day
  • (Sat) Fried Clams Day, Extra Mile Day, Give Up Your Shoulds Day, Sadie Hawkins Day, Games Day. Authors’ Day, Family Caregivers Day. Family Literacy Day, Go Cook for Your Pets Day, Prime Meridian Day, Kite Day, Games Day
  • (Sun) Deviled Eggs Day, Cookie Monster Day, Plan Your Epitaph Day, Zero Tasking Day, Name Your Car Day, Look for Circles Day

Here’s another 2-fer to send you into the weekend. With Saturday being Sadie Hawkins Day, the first takes you back to 1959 with Stubby Kaye in Lil Abner. If musicals of that era aren’t your thing, you are only going back to 1980 for Turn It On Again (Genesis). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 209

On Politics
Here are my key reasons why I did not watch the State of the Union (SOTU):

  • It’s a collection of applause lines over many topics with little substance
  • Congressional behavior is predictably pathetic (Suggestion: Stand and clap at the beginning; sit, listen, and be quiet; stand and clap at the end, then leave to run to the cameras)
  • The SOTU is a Constitutional requirement, but the opposing party’s response is nothing more than political grandstanding
  • I’m unhappy with the both parties

Given the predictable responses by both sides in Congress, I ask them this question about their legislative prowess: Which is worse: Sending a bill to the other chamber knowing they won’t act or not acting on a bill that was sent?

Here are a few fact checks on the speech: Fact Check, PolitFact, Fact Checker, Politico, and ABC News.

The Onion took this great picture during the SOTU.

The past week delivered Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) declaring President Obama started the war on women, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blaming Democrats (again) on the government shutdown, Mike Huckabee (R-AK) making a ridiculous statement about libido, and the Arizona Republican Party censuring their senior senator from their own party, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

I said it before and it’s time to say it again: China carrying the bulk of US debt is a common misconception. Here’s the breakdown.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Dad Delivers State of the Union Rebuttal Directly into Television Screen
  • Increasingly Worried Man Hasn’t Yet Come Across any Guacamole in Burrito
  • Area Grandma Enjoys Flourishing Correspondence with Mailer-Daemon
  • Best, Most-Original Idea Man Ever Had Returns 14,000 Google Search Results
  • Spookiest Sound Effect Grammy Goes to Lord Chillingsworth

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
The anticipated debate between science advocate Bill Nye and Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham is approaching, and no doubt will deliver a narrow view, thus providing a false choice. Here’s an article.

The recent Grammy Awards were big news. The show now focuses on performances and promotion over the awards. After all, there are over 80 categories, and how many did they broadcast? 10?

The AFA musical production for 2014 will be …. (click here for the drum roll) …. Life: The Musical. The production date TBA.

The Explorer of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean ship in the news with the recent norovirus, is the ship we were on this fall in Canada …. and no, the news doesn’t discourage me from cruising with Royal Caribbean in the future.

FYI for those living in/near metropolitan areas: When needing a new appliance, don’t forget the local independent dealer. We went to one and discovered the big-box stores were NOT close on price!

Here are your weekend celebrations

(Fri) Brandy Alexander Day, Fun at Work Day, Backward Day, Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, Hell Freezes Over Day, Baked Alaska Day, Working Naked Day

(Sat) Serpent Day, Freedom Day, Hula in the Coola Day, Robinson Crusoe Day, Change Your Password Day, Decorating with Candy Day, GI Joe Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Spunky Old Broads Day, Take Your Child to the Library Day, Face and Body Day

(Sun) Crepe Day, Dump Your Significant Jerk Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Job Shadow Day, Hedgehog Day, Sled Dog Day, Play Your Ukulele Day, Wetlands Day

Let’s use a dose of the 80s to whip everyone into the weekend with Ohio’s own Devo. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 160

On Politics
Here are fact checks on the last 2012 presidential debate
Annenberg Fact Check
PolitFact
Washington Post Fact Checker
Associated Press
National Journal

By the way, Pulitzer Prizing winning PolitiFact issued two “Pants on Fire” false-statements ratings in the third debate.

A long-time friend of mine is a disrespectful, clueless, partisan hack. The other day he called, made a ridiculous comment, to which I responded, “Don’t go there.” He kept babbling, so I repeated, “Don’t go there.” Because he ignored my genuine request, I hung up the phone. We haven’t spoken since, I’ve “unfriended” him on Facebook, and I watch Caller ID on my phones.

I cannot justify any reason why law enforcement officials (sheriffs. prosecutors and judges) can run for office under a political party banner and/or endorsement.

The race for one of Ohio’s senate seats involves $30 million of outside-the-campaign money where donors do not have to be identified.

This is interesting: a scorecard of President Obama’s promises and a separate scorecard of promises by GOP Congressional leaders.

This is a wonderful 7-minute video about the Electoral College from CBS Sunday Morning.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Thriving Onion Puts Another Print Edition Out of Business
  • Town Hall Attendees Still Standing Patiently Waiting for Their Questions to be Answered
  • Backup Spatula Always Ready to go in case the Unthinkable Happens
  • Study: Human Imagination Capable of Magnificent Things during masturbation
  • Trump Announces He is a Very Sad Man

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
It’s World Series time. Anyone asking me about team I want to win, and I will answer, “The Reds.” The questioner will explain that the Reds aren’t playing as the series involves the Tigers and Giants, which leads to my answer, “Then I don’t care!”

Now that Blood of Nincompoop is off Dancing with the Stars, I am happily able to concentrate on watching the show.

With another milestone approaching, I wonder who will be the 100,000th visitor to my little corner of the world.

AFA’s Ginger Ale Report
Gosling’s Ginger Beer – On the sweet side, good ginger that lingers, a light cloudy color

Boylan’s Ginger Ale – Slightly better than the mass producers

Jamaica’s Finest Ginger Beer – Too spicy for my taste, but others may enjoy it

Gus Extra Dry Ginger Ale – Light taste all the way around with a pleasant aftertaste

There will be a Saturday Morning Classic Cartoon post this weekend.

Enjoy the music below of Lindsey Stirling. Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.