On the Finale: The Puzzle’s Last Piece

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Thought I’d have an opening song. For me, the tone of the first word fits this post.

 

In life, I’m not a “Look at me – see what I did” type of person. There are times I even prefer walking away or without fanfare. Of even do something without recognition. A friend told me that one of the reasons they like dancing with me is because I don’t bring attention to myself or the couple. I just dance. That’s a private side of me, but I must admit – I appreciate positive praise and recognition when it’s timely – more during because (to me and at times) after-the-fact seems shallow – contrived.

It is interesting how I’ve ended this place that has been part of me for over a decade. I knew I couldn’t just walk away from my regulars – leaving them wondering “Whatever happened to Frank?” I just couldn’t. On the other hand, just maybe – this formal closing series is something I needed for myself along while respecting my readers.

When I started my little corner of the world on 28 August 2008, I had no idea what I would do and for how long. Beyond writing a post and having people read and comment, I had no clue about what was to come. The respect, friendships, encouragement, and more have blown me away.

Some say a blog’s average life span is 3 years – and to think I’ve gone strong for 11+ years. Guess that means I did OK. Well, at least in these terms.

Many stats are worthless, but I’ve enjoyed watching them: 2,304 posts, 13,531 categories/topics, 442,397 visits, 96,911 comments, 8,017 followers. They cause me to smile – but I’m most proud of my longevity, versatility and the way I’ve handled myself here. Stats will also make me laugh in the future when I receive notifications of a new follower in the days to come. You know that’s going to happen. Maybe I’ll see the day when the counter rolls over to 500,000.

My first post was short – a mere 11 sentences with 166 words. The excerpt below is from that first post.

To readers I promise insight, yet will respect comments from others. I will be respectful to all as bashing is not my style, thus hope others are the same. Disagreement and criticism are fine, but it should be done with class. Other times I will simply provide information for readers to use.” (28 Aug 2008)

With much unknown ahead of me at that time, little did I know how those words would resonate in this final post over 11 years later.. Yes – I accomplished it!

I plan on leaving this blog up and hope to continue visiting and commenting on blogs. Maybe not as regular, but yes – you are important to me! You are part of me. We are friends who have never met. But, I hope to stay away for the rest of the month of February – or at least only be limited because I have some things I must do. Maybe I will start snooping around sometime in March.

My future plans? As long as I’m able, I want to keep doing what I’m doing: ballroom dance, walking, travel, golf, working at the golf course, and whatever else. I’ve started playing a bit of pickleball. In terms of blogging, wisdom tells me to beware of saying “never” because one never knows what lies ahead. I don’t plan to post here again – but I’ll let the future determine what I do on WordPress. Maybe I would use the mailing list here as a future announcement post.

Personally, I would love to turn the beach walking series into a podcast. That’s easier said than done, I’ve done the research – I know that endeavor requires a lot of work, especially for what I visioned – so, I doubt if that happens because I don’t want to dedicate that much time to the task.

I can say that I secured beachwalkreflections.wordpress.com just in case I proceed. If I move forward with the idea, I can’t imagine not letting many of you know. If I don’t do the podcasts, maybe I’ll return to blogging by solely focusing on beach walks. Maybe I’ll use this platform for an announcement to get the word out. Time will also answer that question. Therefore, I ask you to keep me notification active. 

I enjoy research. I enjoy writing. I enjoy interacting with visitors. To me, those are very important factors of blogging. I try to practice what I believe. If someone takes the time to comment, I feel obligated to be welcoming and reply with something meaningful. Then again, that’s time consuming – let alone reciprocating and visiting my favorite blogs. One of the reasons I’m stepping away is failing to meet my self-imposed values and standards.

I’ve tried to be true to myself here – that is, being who I am – well, at least who I think am. Each of us are different and complex in our own way – that defines humanity – and, I know I’m far from perfect.

In person, I try to be personable, friendly, and kind (but some people make that difficult). I have a sense of humor (that some don’t understand). I’m definitely a thinker and a contrarian one at that – yet not confrontational. Yes, I’m a talker, but not a nonstop talker who continues talking when they inhale. Emotional endings to movies can cause a tear or two. I’ve shed more than a few tears here recently – and YES, my eyes are blue. I’m average size and build (5’10.5″) and 67th birthday is coming soon. Cheers to other Aquarians.

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The closing process has been a reflection opportunity. Throughout my life, and no matter the endeavor, I’ve wanted the following: acceptance, respect, and appreciation while being part of something. I think those build my self-esteem. My work career is where I discovered my contrarian nature. Overall, I didn’t feel valued – the feeling of swimming against the current or being alone on an island. But, I had the desire and confidence to push forward with my ideas and approach – and in many ways, mission accomplished.

My contrarian nature, desire, and confidence continued here, and my readers here have made me feel valued – yes; accepted, respected, and appreciated. I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me! Because of you, I’m a better person today than when I started this blog on 28 August 2008.

I also believe YOU are the ones that kept me going for so long! For me, some of the praise you have given me the past few weeks is a bit of a shock. Appreciative yes – but I’m still surprised. Simply put, I’m wired to think more what you have done for me as opposed for what I’ve done for you. After all, I’m just being myself. Maybe just a different view of selfishness.

I recently received an email about comments on the closing agenda post, and the person asked if I realized how much I had affected people. To be honest, I had not – so the message caused me to look at those comments in a different light. My impact on people here has never entered my mind. I’m not one who focuses on himself. In the comments of the final two posts I’ve included locations of commenters, which says two things to me – the world has touched me – and it seems I have touched the world. Now that’s an overwhelming thought. All I can say is, “Wow and thanks for allowing me into your life!”

It’s been a fabulous 11+ years – and I have no regrets. Blogging has been a gift, and you the treasure inside that gift. Thank you for being you and for visiting my little corner of the world. Thank you for accepting me and my quirks. Thank you for your role in making this a friendly place. Thank you for making me a better blogger. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for building my confidence in humanity. Hosting has been an honor and a pleasure that you have made easy.

Thanks to everyone for reinforcing my belief that the majority of people in the world are good, and for helping me take my little corner of the world beyond my wildest dreams. I love the people here! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Farewell Music Fest

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Music has been an important part of my little corner of the world for a long time – unquestionably, the majority of the 11+ years. From holiday parties to blog musicals to weekend concerts, to sending readers into the weekend with a song, embedding music in many other posts, and even sharing handbell music  – music has been a common bond between you and I. Because of the role music has played here, music is the right choice to serve as the kickoff to my closing celebration.

The Producer’s Guidelines

  • Leave me a song (supply SONG TITLE (all caps) and the artist)
  • As you mingle with others, leave them a song (SONG TITLE in all caps)
  • No duplicate songs
  • Have fun by listening to other songs

LOVELY TO SEE YOU AGAIN (Moody Blues)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 420

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Only one more concert remaining for 2019. Coming to the stage this weekend, Songs of Broadway. Note:

  1. Only one song per musical, so include the musical’s name and the song title.
  2. The Producer will allow other songs from the musical only as a reply in the original string of the musical. The concert begins this Saturday (14 December) at 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

Thanks to an upset in another game, the Benevolent Impalers (my fantasy football team) finished the regular season in first place. It’s onto the playoffs as the #1 seed in the semifinals of the championship bracket.

November and December are busy times for the handbell choir. We normally play at a service once a month, but last weekend was your third time in the past four weeks – and two songs at that. (Christmas services are next on the schedule.) One piece – Cathedral Windows – was very interesting. Very easy in terms of the notes – but the nuances make the difference. Listeners will notice the switches from bells to chimes to bells. Hope you listen here.

The other song we played is a more lively piece, again with handbells and chimes.

This we we saw Dark Waters at the movie theater. A good drama about a battle between members of a community and a large chemical company. For those who will see the movie, I grew up in a town on the Ohio River about 65 miles (105 km) downstream from the chemical company. As for the movie, Thumbs Up!

Kennedy Center Honors is one of my favorite shows of the year – so for me, the pre-recorded telecast is a holiday tradition. The actual event this year honoring Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Sesame Street, and Michael Tilson Thomas happened last weekend. CBS is televising it this Sunday night. Check your local listings.

I recently mentioned the situation of a young child falling to her death from her grandfather’s arm while on a cruise ship. I shake my head at the news of charges against the grandfather, and I shake my head again at the this week’s news of the family filing suit against the cruise line citing negligence.

To lead you into the political section, I like this headline from The Onion that is perfect for the season and the situation. Click here to see the headline.

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I fearfully wonder if America is heading into a new presidential era – one where presidents will be impeached if the opposing party controls the House of Representatives.

I would find it interesting IF after the House Judiciary Committee draws up and approves the articles of impeachment, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) holds back an official vote until the key people that President Trump is blocking from testifying actually testify. Personally, that would increase public approval for impeachment. Therefore, I don’t think that will happen.

On a lighter note, Stephen Colbert made me laugh with this one. (IMO, it’s worth the one minute)

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline to the first president impeachment – one of Andrew Johnson (1868).

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Terrifying New Therapist Asks Why You Chose That Chair
Invasive restaurant franchise spreads to third state
Free-thinking cat shits outside the box
Summarians look on in confusion as God create world
Washboard Player In Jug Band Tired Of Spoons Guy Getting All The Chicks
World Wildlife Fund Apologizes After Years Of Working With Well-Known Whale Pedophile

Interesting Reads

Wondering about apostrophes
Thoughts about the future of work
World War II: A costly, unproductive battle
Gene editing and evolution
The dark side of recycling
(Graphic) The Jeff Bezos empire
(Photos) What warmth looks like
(Photos) British Ecological Society photo competition

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song about Tuesday (which isn’t on a weekend). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Returning from Blog Break Summer 2019

 

Greetings! For whatever reason, this song popped into my mind while preparing this post – so hey – why not use it!

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Hoping everyone is in good health and spirits as we continue on the trek toward fall. Then again, those in the southern hemisphere are moving toward spring! I missed everyone – then again, I continue to embrace Blog breaks are good as an important mantra. Time to hit the Play button.

I’ll be back in the blog saddle for about 5 weeks because something expected popped into my life that requires a 2-3 week hiatus. Thankfully, not a serious concern.

To celebrate a return, let’s jump into a Weekend Concert featuring songs by the King of Pop. Michael Jackson takes the stage this Saturday (7 September) at 1:00 AM (Eastern US). We’ll go back-to-back weekends with a 14 September concert. (Act TBA).

Contrary to Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, something has been on my mind for most of 2019. As I mentioned several months ago, I’ve been contemplating stepping away from my little corner of the world. Without any fanfare, 28 August marked my 11th anniversary, so I’ve been blogging for some time. Although I still have the energy to host and post, my interest in rebuilding readership and reciprocating is waning – and the latter is very important to me.

During the recent blog break, I drafted my closing “retrospect” series. Because writing the closing felt right, the time may be right – but not right now! I foresee early 2020, but time will tell. Meanwhile, I will carry on by cleaning out the closet by finishing posts that I never finished.

We planned the recent break more than a year ago. Last year we took a fabulous Rick Steves tour to Central Europe that included Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia. So a perfect sequel would be our first-ever river cruise on the Danube that included Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. A great trip into the part of Europe visit the least – and only Prague and Budapest were duplicates from last year.

 

Travel posts as I’ve done in the past will not happen. Remember – I’m phasing out! Besides, I posted very little about our spring cruise from San Diego to Miami through the Panama Canal. However, I may do a summary post or something about river cruising – but no promises. However, feel free to ask questions.

Meanwhile, back to my regular routine. Golf league will continue well into September. I’m already back to working at the course. Ballroom dance continues. September means be beginning of handbell choir and ushering the new season of plays. Fall means football season, something I enjoy watching, but it doesn’t consume me. I’ve returned to a casual fantasy football league, which should be fun. There’s plenty to keep me busy!

I’ve used this song on multiple occasions after returning from a blog break. For me, it still fits. Have a good week!

On a Weekend Concert with the Moody Blues

Moody Blues

The Producer’s Guidelines

  1. Only songs the Moody Blues
  2. Songs by individual members outside the group are not acceptable
  3. No duplicate songs
  4. Include the song title in your introduction text so others can see it
  5. To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line) – (I do not mind unembedding, so no apologies are necessary)

For me, this is the perfect opening song for this concert at my little corner of the world – Lovely to See You

 

Next Concert: Queen

Past Concerts: Beatles, Ex-Beatles

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 388

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After a very busy week, my plan is to return to my normal posting and visiting routine. Thanks for your understanding.

It’s time for a new header – so I introduce a Hubble image of Herbig-Haro object (HH 24) capturing the birth of a new star. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers tab above the image.

The next weekend concert features the Moody Blues. (Long-time readers aren’t surprised.) Concerts starts on Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Last week’s concert was unbelievably successful with 25+ songs and just-over 300 comments. The interaction between bloggers makes me smile. Thanks to all!!!

There is a rumor of the possibility of Pronouns 3: The Musical. One has to wonder if it will gain momentum and replace next schedule musical.

Not only was David Funk one of my early blogging buddies, he served as a mentor and role model as a host. Although he’s listed as one of my Pioneers in the sidebar, he finally made to WordPress. Now is the time for me to return him a favor by inviting others to visit (and possibly subscribe) to his new travel blog – One Funked Up World. If you visit and comment, tell him I sent you. Welcome, David!

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This picture reminds me of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). His role in the government shutdown is pathetic. This recent opener from Late Show with Stephen Colbert made me laugh.

Regarding the current government shutdown: “Problems start from the top, and they have to get solved from the top, and the President’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead. And he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t like doing that, that’s not his strength. And that’s why you have this horrible situation going on in Washington. It’s a very, very bad thing and it’s very embarrassing worldwide.” (Donald Trump, 20 September 2013)

For me, the best ending of the Trump saga would not be impeachment. Resigning wouldn’t qualify. Certainly I don’t wish death to the man. Nope, it isn’t even him losing his re-election bid. So what would be the perfect ending? It’s simple. Losing every state in November 2020 – therefore making 2020 the biggest margin of victory ever in the country’s history. That would be HUGE! Then again, that would be difficult to achieve in some states.

I appreciated this concluding statement from a recent article I read: “Because you’re not getting it right if you can’t admit when you’ve gotten it wrong. And you can’t boast of morality if you’ve no sense of shame.” (Matt Bai, journalist)

Democrats are starting to declaring their candidacy for the party’s 2020 nomination. While it’s going to be interesting, the early crop hasn’t caused me to blink – let alone get excited. However, I am confident the ticket will have at least one female.

Due to the government shutdown, my current projection for a Trump re-election drops to 55%

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologist still no closer to discovering how birds have sex
Woman amazed she found perfect partner just when she was getting desperate enough to accept anything
Rival gang members come together to help build community playground to fight over
Kinky girlfriend wants to try sexual pleasure tonight
Manager of combination KFC/Taco Bell secretly considers it mostly a Taco Bell
DNA test confirms Subway chicken only 50% poultry

(My Combo: DNA tests confirm kinky woman found sexual pleasure discovering desperate Taco Bell manager as perfect sex partner at Subway)

Interesting Reads

Europe’s most competition country
Capsulating the Venezuelan crisis
10 iconic Italian foods by region
A read for hockey fans
Crazy Horse’s last battle
A view of art theft
(Graphic) Media-bias chart
(Photos) The bests deep-sea dives
(Video) Earth 101 in 3 minutes

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Herman’s Hermits three-peat – but actually as a doubleheader. Take your pic – but we want to know the one you chose.In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 358

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Cheers – the day has finally arrived – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct the Moody Blues this Saturday!

Did you watch the special musical event honoring Elton John? I enjoyed it!

Readers provide very interesting comments on the previous post about Lead and Follow. Thanks for the surprises!

It appears my invitation to the Royal Wedding got lost in the mail.

After playing for Easter services, no rest for the handbell choir as we are back playing at a service two weeks later. Here’s the next song on our agenda: Enjoy Song of Celebration (Arnold Sherman).

Need a laugh? This is a good read from a fellow blogger who occasionally visits my little corner of the world.

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I appreciate this comment by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright: “We should be awake to the assault on democratic values that has gathered strength in many countries abroad and that is dividing America at home.”

Count me in as one who thinks the latest use of chemical weapons in Syria was by the rebels who don’t want the US military to leave.

Interesting announcement by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WS) about leaving Congress at the end of his term this year. I noticed something important in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in his comments about Speaker Ryan. … his speakership has yielded one significant accomplishment after another for his conference, his constituents in Wisconsin, as well as the American people.” Yes, I’m one who notices the order. Nonetheless, best wishes to Speaker Ryan for a positive future as he earn millions.

Congressional Republicans amuse me by pushing for a Balanced Budget Amendment after voting for the tax cut and a spending bill that increases the deficit and debt. What a hoot!

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how trade wars work. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Fender introduces new line of sympathy and bereavement guitars
Oat farmer seriously thinking about getting into barley
Unstable couple playing with fire by organizing game night
Retired Pope Benedict promises to donate soul for ecclesiastic research
Cows go extinct

Interesting Reads
An interview with a retiring Republican Congressman
The era of fake video is now
Bots and Twitter
Molly Ringwald revisiting The Breakfast Club
Relating male organ size to extinction 
(Photos) A trip to Antarctica
(Photos) A story of Sri Lankan tea-making

To send you into induction weekend, here’s another Moody Blues classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.