On a Good Reason

I’ve often stated, “Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging.”

This is one of those times. Besides working around personal plans, we have a high-priority family situation requiring time and effort: helping an elderly aunt with some important facets of her life. The tough part is being separated by 3+ hours of driving. Timing is not good from our end – but hey – one must do what one has to do.

Time away from here should be 4-8 weeks. I want the bloggers here to know about my absence from posting, so this is my way of saying thanks for caring and all is well with us.

To send you into an unexpected break, here’s a new one from The Piano Guys … and its title is fitting for this post. See you upon my return. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On Exploring Twinkles Through a Song

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. (Regina Brett, journalist)
Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. (Stephen Hawking, physicist)
Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations. (Alan Watts, philosopher)
Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven! (Lord Byron, poet)

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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 295

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Regarding the return of the headstone in the post earlier this week. A grandson (in Columbus, OH) had it removed to add an engraving, but then decided to keep the stone. I discovered an obituary of a person in Columbus with that name who died last summer (June 25, 2015). Coincidence?

Last week I failed to mention the passing of Nancy Reagan. The longevity of recent First Ladies is amazing. WOW! Meanwhile, a tip of the cap to Nancy Reagan for demonstrating grace and love for her man.

Cincinnati is one of the regional locations for the final 16 in the college hockey tournament. Depending on the times, I may go. Meanwhile, college basketball’s March Madness is underway – Go ABK – Anybody But Kentucky!

Last weekend (and I think two weeks ahead of the rest of the world), we in the USA did our spring SkylineGreenforward into Daylight Savings Time … and the first week of is a struggle for many of us.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I continued my tradition to Skyline Chili served with green spaghetti.

Act 5 of Colors: The Musical is next on the musical agenda, which will feature the color blue,

  • All song titles must have Blue in the title
  • No forms of the word as blues, bluest, etc
  • No shades of blue (such as cobalt, indigo, aqua, blue-green, etc)
  • No compound words of blue (such as blue-blood, bluebird, bluejay)
  • No duplicate songs

My wife had a wonderful birthday this week.

I will have an Explore post this weekend.

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I was about to scold President Obama for delaying his Supreme Court Justice nomination, but he did so this past Wednesday. Although Republican logic for delaying the confirmation is very flawed, it is good for their partisans who are clueless enough to agree with flawed rationale – therefore allowing elected officials to drag the nomination of a qualified, consensus candidate to the highest court of the land into the political sewer of selfishness. After all, to the partisans, the nominator is more important than the nominee – and that is true on both sides of the aisle. Here a past post with my thoughts about the vacancy.

Governor John Kasich (R-OH) wins the important Ohio primary, but even if he won all the remaining delegates, he would go to the convention short of the number needed for the nomination. I’ve heard Kasich supporters here say he should get out of the race, he should stay, and he’s simply positioning himself for the VP slot.

Despite Elyse’s final plea for me to either vote against Donald Trump (R-NY) or vote in the Democratic primary, I accepted an “Issues Only” ballot. Then again, I also told her that voting in the Democratic primary was equivalent to voting for The Bloviator because it wasn’t a vote against him – to which she didn’t agree.

Good bye Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) – and thanks for the poor showing in your home state. Hopefully a lesson learned – Don’t try to be who you aren’t.

Whether she meant it that way or not, Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) comment regarding the coal industry will work against her.

Republicans explaining the current chaos in their party being President Obama’s fault got me thinking about other problems due to the current president – such as El Nino, Malaysian Air missing for two years, Oscar nominations, McDonald’s excluding McGriddles from their Breakfast Anytime Menu, latest flooding in Mississippi and Louisiana, Charo, the Cleveland Browns waiving Johnny Manziel, cost of airfare to Europe from Cincinnati, and my lactose intolerance.

Regarding the Republican chaos, I offer this possible explanation. Since President Obama took office, Republicans formed coalitions with other groups to oppose the president. However, this short-term coalition was unsustainable in the long run – so now they are paying the price.

A note for the political junkies. Not long after the 2008 election that put President Obama in the White House, I wrote this post about the Republican party. In light of the past 7 years and the current fractures with the GOP, readers may enjoy this look-back through the lens of what we know today.

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains how to reduce wasted food. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation reaffirms commitment to things they recognize
$4.75 cupcake scrutinized with jeweler’s eyepiece
Beautiful sunset wasted on a few schmaltzy bozos
First grader wants monkeypox
History sighs, repeats itself
Report: 83% of wise guys think they are really funny

Interesting Reads
Linking social skills and being bilingual (Thanks, Tim)
The island of no escape
The minaret of Allepo
Who was worse: Hitler or Stalin?
Death of the Stethoscope?
(Pictures) 10 beautiful ceilings

It’s been too long since I’ve sent you into the weekend with The Piano Guys. This video has beautiful scenery and is a unique rendition of a popular hit. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Celebrating 1500

1500Celebration

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening wherever you are. From the New World to the Old World, from all the continents, welcome to my 1500th post … and this post is about celebrating the occasion!

For the entire weekend, please take the time to comment, state where you are from, say something about your blog, interact with my guests here and on my sidebar, listen to music, and enjoy the food and beverages. Entertainment will appear throughout the celebration, so comeback often … and bring a friend!

By the way, the theme for the next act of Life: The Musical will be Play – so I will give more information on the next Monday Morning Entertainment. After all, Play is good to follow Act 9’s Work.

Some Factoids about 1500
Only 14 players have ever played 1,500 games in the National Hockey League (NHL)

We could discuss the year 1500 AD, but other than the year starting on a Wednesday, I don’t think many of my readers would be interested in the Second Battle of Lepanto

On the other hand, the Polynesians settled Fiji in 1500 BC … and many of my readers would love to take an all-expense paid trip to Fiji

Many radio stations occupy 1500 on the AM dial

1500 meters is a common event in Olympic swimming, speed skating, running, and walking

1500 Ocean is a restaurant at the wonderful Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA

Some say fifteen hundred, but other say one thousand five hundred

1500 equivalent to 15 centuries, but all but one of the 1500s was in the 16th century

1500 is a grand and a half but 1500 dollars, 1500 Euros, 1500 Pesos, 1500 Pounds, 1500 Krona, 1500 Rubles, 1500 Yen, and 1500 Turkish Lira are not equal … but they are exchangeable into another currencies.

1500 Broadway is at Times Square in New York City

Besides being an Australian film, 1500 Steps refers to the number of ice steps on the Chilkoot Pass (Alaska) and the number of steps on a portion of the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu

On a 24-hour time system, 1500 is 3:00 PM

Songs to start the party

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 173

On Politics
Americans continue to be disgusted with Washington regarding the budget, and there’s no question in my mind that the majority will respond by re-electing the majority of incumbents.

To Speaker Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Ryan (R-WS): Creating legislation that has no chance of passing is a waste of time and taxpayer money.

CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) didn’t invite Gov. Christie (R-NJ and governor with the highest approval rating) to speak because “he had a bad year” – so they invited Mitt Romney (who conservatives don’t like), Sarah Palin (Nincompoop), and Donald Trump (egotistical blowhard).

Regardless of the party occupying the White House, I don’t agree with the opposing party having any airtime after the State of the Union.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Shady new Wendy’s deal offering five hamburgers for free, no questions asked
  • FBI tracks down elusive picture-disc version of Herb Alpert’s “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”
  • Nervous Pope candidate changes wine into Jesus’ urine
  • Pea farmers say they alone keep peas from overrunning planet
  • Iowa Fashion Week begins

Interesting Reads
First woman in America to earn a medical degree
Enjoy these wonderful pics from Zion National Park
David Ignatius on America’s traditional allies
Hank Greenberg: Baseball’s first Jewish superstar
Pinot Noirs from Oregon
The never-completed Cincinnati subway
Dogs knowing what we’re thinking

On Potpourri
I try to stay informed, but being away from politics and news for my 10 days in Italy was great! Thus, the first news I saw upon my return agitated me.

Wow – getting stats back to normal isn’t very easy.

CNN’s upcoming separation from Soledad O’Brien is a shame because she is a good journalist – and a pleasant for the early morning. If CNN wants to move to the top of ratings, here are two models: GMA (entertainment and fluff) and Fox Morning (biased inaccuracies). Hey CNN, I want to be informed, but those like me are in the minority.

Thanks for those participating in Time: The Musical. It’s quite the music montage, so I invite you to return for the 50+ songs.

Watching Pope Benedict XVI’s last day was interesting. In recognition to him, I love this one from The Onion.

He obviously carried Ohio to be elected, so good luck to Pope Francis I.

Here’s the latest handbell piece our choir played, which was interesting and surreal. Enjoy Compassion by Jason Krug.

There will be a classic cartoon character post on Saturday.

To send you into the weekend, enjoy The Piano Guys with the Charlie Brown song – and gotta love the people in this video. Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a March Monday

This weekend brought for a blast of winter for Ohio. We didn’t get a lot of snow, but cold and breezy accompanied the flurries. Nonetheless, we still got to the ballroom floor once and went to dinner with friends, followed by coming to our house for dessert and chat. Otherwise, a low-key weekend.

What was the highlight of your weekend? Come on now …. time to fess up!

The current project is still dominating my plate, thus I have two posts on deck for this week: Tuesday and Thursday.

Although the start of March sparks thoughts of John Phillip Sousa, one of Alex’s recent posts (that I was fortunate to see) reminded me of one of my favorites – the Piano Guys. Couple that with my current project and Lindsey Stirling, and this is what you get. Enjoy and have a good week!