Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 419

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The James Brown concert went better than I expected. Next for the stage will be Latin sounds of Gloria Estefan. She takes to the stage this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

After an initial glitch, Q&A page is up and running. Feel free to participate.

Beach walks return to their normal posting slot (my Sunday night)

In the Danube Cruise series, I mentioned the magnificent Iron Gates Gorge. I initially stated it is along the Romania-Bulgaria border, which is incorrect – it’s Romania-Serbia. A duh-moment in my head. I invite readers to watch this 3-minute video of this natural wonder taken by a person on a river cruise ship.

I keep thinking about the child who fell to her death from her grandfather’s arms on a cruise ship – and he is charged with her death. In my opinion, the charges are unwarranted. After all, he is already has a life sentence of dealing with the incident for the rest of his life. On the other hand, I don’t think Royal Caribbean was negligent. Simply a tragic accident.

We recently saw Knives Out in the theater. It’s a good who-done-it movie. Well done with interesting twists and turns. Not worthy of Oscars, but entertaining. Here’s the trailer.

My wife purchased an Advent calendar of teas – that’s a different tea for 25 days. So far, they’ve been good.

The winning way of my fantasy Benevolent Impalers continue, and are now 11-2. However, it took the greatest comeback in franchise history to win. It wasn’t pretty and the lowest point total of the season, but a win is a win. Meanwhile, I’m still in shock that the Bengals actually won a game!

Thanks to The Onion, this headline and picture made me laugh.

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One would think Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy would excite me. Nope … I won’t be voting in Ohio’s Democratic Primary, so my assessment of the Democratic field is worthless. They can nominate whoever they want. Just because I unquestionably won’t be voting for President Trump, that has no influence on whether or not I will vote for the Democratic candidate. Besides, the Democratic and Republican parties want the same thing from me – my money and my vote – plus they could care less about my thoughts.

An idea for any of the older Democratic candidates. Announce running as a one-term transitional president in order to stabilize America and then pass the baton to the next generation.

For me, the 2020 election offers a big dilemma. I know there are other possibilities, but these options bother me. Four more years of a Trump presidency or Democrats having control of the White House and both sides of Congress.

Have you noticed that Congressional Republicans favor criticizing the process over defending the president’s actions.

In my opinion, what President Trump has been accused of doing is worse than what President Nixon did. Sadly, the public doesn’t buy it – in part, because a) the more partisan nature of the public today versus then and 2) the poor job Democrats are doing in delivering a good civics lesson to the public – although the first day of the Judiciary hearing offers hope. Then again, the public will yield to it’s partisan side.

Congress is responsible for oversight. It’s has done of poor job of doing so over the past 20+ years, and the current Congress has plunged below the poor level.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides information about the ten worst snowstorms in US history.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologists recommend trees put aside a little phosphorous for unexpected emergencies
Facial Recognition Software Knows It Has Seen Man Before But Can’t Remember His Name
Child decides to become vegetarian after forming close friendship with roasted turkey leg
Veterinarian Wishes Owner Would Just Let Dog Answer One Goddamn Question
Flu outbreak reducing class size to level appropriate for learning
Child Wondering Why Older Brother Only One To Get Funeral

Interesting Reads

Automation improving jobs
Extraordinary talented: why?
A big cat problem: captivity and the wild
Historical view of gin
Why no glasses?
(Graphic) 670 years of interest rates
(Photos) Garden wildlife
(Photos) Cincinnati Zoo animals

To send you into the weekend, here’s a bit of Ed Sheeran. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol 418

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James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is ready to take the weekend concert stage! Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

As part of my exit plan, I’ve added a new page/tab. Q&A page is a place for my audience to ask me questions.

The ending to last week’s Steelers-Browns game was embarrassing. And to think that some people are blaming the Steeler QB. Not that he’s totally innocent, but only one player intentionally swung the helmet.

Speaking of football, the Benevolent Impalers continue to roll. Besides steamrolling the third consecutive opponent, we’ve clinched a playoff spot with three weeks remaining in the season.

Long-time readers know I enjoy milestones. Cheers to Akismet catching over 100,000 spam comments.

For moviegoers, thumbs up to The Good Liar.

Odd are very few readers here have heard of Serpent Mound. It’s an Ohio historic site, and has even applied for status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A local TV station did this drone flyover with a short report. For those wanting to know more, here are three short (less than 5 minute) videos.

Zion National Park, a beautiful natural wonder, is turning 100. A new film is made for the park’s Visitors Center and for global distribution. Oh, now that would be great on an IMAX screen. Although the information I found was limited, I did find this trailer.

Typically, November and December are busy for the handbell choir – meaning many more songs to prepare for the various holidays. Our normal playing schedule is once a month, but this week we return after 2 weeks, then play again 2 weeks later, then again for Christmas Eve. To hear a recording of our next piece, click here to enjoy.

Because next week is Thanksgiving here in the US, no OITS next week – and maybe no Beach Walk …. but I’ll be featuring a series of travel posts.

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An Associated Press article was about a study stating Americans struggle differentiating fact vs. fiction. Whereas I continue to proclaim the people are just as biased than the media, and perhaps more so, several quotes in the article got to me.

  • “It is difficult to get the facts. You have to read between the lines. I rely on like-minded friends and family to help sort through conflicting information.”
  • “When I hear him on Fox News – that’s where I get all my information – Trump is the easiest way to cut through confusing information.”

With the hearing on one day, I switched the channel to watch a rerun of Laramie (an old western 1959-1963). … and nope, I didn’t watch the most recent Democratic debate (which keeps my streak intact).

Why have Republicans complained about the closed hearings when they intentionally chose to limit their attendance? Oh yes – they rely on the public’s ignorance and partisan bias. Meanwhile, on the public hearing, they only hear what they want to hear.

Part of the Republican defense of President Trump begins with statements like, “No judge in America, no trial in America, no jury in America, blah blah blah … To which I respond, In America any juror with a preconceived opinion – especially those stating their views before the hearing the evidence, would be excluded from the jury – including those that have dinner with the defendant before the trial. 

Because they prefer being a political hack favoring their party instead of following the law, the Ethics Committee should expel any member of Congress who demands or releases the whistleblower’s identity. Then again, Congressional Ethics is an oxymoron.

If Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016, would the Republicans (at the time, a majority in the House and Senate) have sought her impeachment over the private server? I confidently say, Yes! After all, it’s not about the evidence – it’s about what they want to believe.

An idea for Congressional Republicans: Seek to amend the Constitution – suggest removing “high crimes and misdemeanors” with something like “proven illegal activity” …. but you won’t … bwak bwak bwak … Chickens!

Bottom line about Congressional Republicans: The vast majority (if not all) are shallow, pathetic, selfish, spineless cowards who are more concerned about their party and self-preservation than about the country. Sadly, their voting constituents may be even worse.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion explains how political ads are made.

(Bonus Onion lead) President Trump visited the hospital earlier this week. Click here if you dare.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Pope Francis Bags 6-Winged Trophy Angel During Vatican’s Annual Seraphim Hunt
Area Man Loads Up On Half-Priced Armistice Day Candy
Girlfriend must have been drinking when she texted picture of knitted scarf at midnight
Man Starting To Think He Didn’t Win 1995 Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Sweepstakes For Free Trip To Australian Outback
Report: Looks Like Ex Gained Some Weight Ever Since They Started Dating Someone Better
Spider panics after losing track of human it noticed scurry across floor

Interesting Reads

Report: marriage v living together in the US
Looking for oxygen on Mars
Farming edible snails
5 facts about illegal immigration in Europe
Relating fictional plots to economic history
About the making of Ford v Ferrari movie
(Graphic) Broadband and cellphone service costs by country
(Photos) Comedy in the wild

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song that I like. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 417

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Like much of the country, winter has arrived in Cincinnati earlier than normal – and with prolonged temperatures delivering new daily records. Brrrrrrrr ….

James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is next to take the stage for a weekend concert. Schedule: Next Saturday, 23rd November 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

I continue to enjoy going through my blog closet. On the other hand, that cupboard is on the way to being bare.

I had my first grapefruit of the new season. With still a bit of bitterness that sweeter grapefruits do not have, I’ll try again after in two weeks.

By the time 2020 starts, and era will end – the last Sears store in Cincinnati will close. Just think – they could have been the Amazon of today before Amazon was Amazon.

While crushing their most recent opponent, the Benevolent Impalers (8-2) are in a 3-way tie for first place and face one of those teams this weekend.

Finally, Sean Spicer is off Dancing With The Stars. Nothing against his political role, but he was horrible on DWTS from day 1. To his credit, he tried. Here’s another thing that gets me. On DWTS, Sean Spicer came across as a nice guy. If that is who he is, why was he such an asshole when he worked in the White House?

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Oh boy. The Ohio legislature recently passed the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act. As a former science teacher and one interested in the interchange between science and religion, I don’t have a good feeling about this one. I simply see it as a way for religious advocates to circumvent science standards – something they could they could not get included in the standards.

For me, Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-NY) entering the Democratic race muddles the waters. Instead, I preferred he enter the presidential sweepstakes as an independent. What the heck is Deval Patrick (D-MA) thinking?

Even though the vast majority of Congressional Republicans are unapologetically supporting President Trump, here’s one Republican view that may be the most honest perspective I’ve encountered from any Republican.

For a long time and regardless of the White House occupant, there are two problems in Washington: Democrats and Republicans … and if the current dialogue regarding the current administration doesn’t verify that, nothing will. Then again, the majority of voters are partisans.

The Republican defense is very poor and pathetic – yet a sizeable percentage of voters will buy it. Sadly, much of the public doesn’t know this important point – Impeachment has nothing to do with a crime -nothing to do with criminality.

I’ve said it before and need to say it again. Impeachment is about the actions of one person – and has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Oscar Meyer, Bill Clinton, Vlad the Impaler, or Popeye the Sailor Man.  Impeachment is about President Trump’s actions. PERIOD!

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion helps readers understand the Middle East by providing a timeline of US-Syria relations.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Busboy father works hard every day to take food off table for his family
Pack members worried young wolf may be sociopath after he maul rabbit
College freshman annoyed about having to room with 47-year-old adjunct professor
Bar fight de-escalates after both parties unable to tear off t-shirts
Field Of demography collapses after 92-Year-Old woman buys Monster Energy Drink And Sweet Fusion Vape Juice
Cocky atom that started out in cosmos-shattering Supernova reduced to humble role in urine puddle

Interesting Reads

Ranked-choice balloting (Thanks Jim W)
Mexico, 500 years later
Driving a hydrogen-powered car
Redesigning high school
Cars – automatics for Americans – manuals for Europeans Why? 
Europe’s unauthorized immigrant populations
(Video) Visualizing the speed of light
(Photos) Butterflies, birds, and zebras
(Photos) Patterns that birds fly (This is fabulous)

To send you into the weekend, here’s something more contemporary than my normal choices. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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. 415

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The next weekend concert is approaching. Join us with The Guess Who +. The plus sign means the following artists will be accepted: The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, Chad Allen, Chad Allen and the Expressions, Brave Belt, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive (hopefully limited). Concert starts this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

California sadly burns again. Good luck and be safe.

Believe it or not, I have not good trips planned for the rest of 2019.

Our ushering duties allow us to see a wonderful play – The Lifespan of a Fact. Although from from esoteric, it engaged my cerebrum.

Cleaning out the blog closet has been fun … and I still have more to come!

Just heard this one. According to the Kentucky Bourbon Association, current bourbon inventory is at the level of 2 barrels for each Kentucky resident.

Baseball is officially over – congratulations to the Washington Nationals for winning and ending a 95 year draught … and let the record show that the Reds have gone more days without losing than all the teams that made the playoffs.

While wins by the away team are typically uncommon, many were amazed that the away team won all of the World Series games – but they also forget that unusually similar (but not the same) results happened in the most recent playoffs in professional hockey and basketball.

My fantasy football team sits at 6-2: one game out of first and tied for second (#3 seed). The Benevolent Impalers end the first round this weekend in a must-win against the #5 seed – but the team has scoring issues!

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The way Republicans are protecting President Trump is a prime example of a politician’s party-first mantra. Then again, that mantra is not limited to one side of the aisle. I like this recent column by George Will.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) continually comparing the Democratic-led private hearings to what happens in Russia is more than pathetic. Given President Trump’s affinity for Russia, interesting that Rep. Scalise chose those words.

In their way of not defending President Trump, Republicans are relegated to focusing their anti-impeachment argument on the impeachment process that focuses on two key points: 1) their partisan base, and 2) public ignorance.

I continue to believe that people want elected officials to solve problems. While people complain about the collective (but not their representative), only 11% (48 of 435) elected to the House of Representatives are members of the bi-partisan Problem-Solvers Caucus.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timely list of the pros and cons of e-cigarettes.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

ISIS member unsure whom to submit PTO request to
Drama queen waiter completely full of shit about plate being too hot to touch
Heroic Secret Service agent takes bull intended for president
Dad figures funeral just as good a time as any to try out new camera lens
Aggressive flagellate just going around whipping other single-celled organisms
Toddler standing up in shopping cart surveys grocery store like grizzled sea captain on whaling expedition

Interesting Reads

Different kinds of stupid
Thoughts about the next 50 years of digital life
A view of the meaning of life
Yellowstone’s volcano: What if it erupted?
Why dog people live longer
(Graphic) Largest acquisitions by the largest tech companies
(Photos) A collection of street art

To send you into the weekend, here are The Piano Guys because it’s been a long time since I’ve featured them. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Late 2019 Return

Hello everyone. I had a feeling I would be going too long. Here’s some background music for you.

 

In the spirit of Waldo, you may have wondered, “Where’s Frank?” As you know, we love to travel. A planned trip this past July was not only cancelled, the cancellation happened after purchasing out airfares. Good news is that when you book on Southwest Airlines, the money spent on a cancelled flight is returned as a credit with a use-by deadline (about 6 months). Then a great deal came along for a 11-night cruise in the Caribbean – so with the airfare credit, it was a deal not to be passed.

Here’s my quick note on each stop.

  • St. Thomas – Store after store of jewelry
  • St. Croix – the poorest of the islands
  • Antigua – 365 different beaches
  • Barbados – Could be fun but much closed on Sundays
  • St. Lucia – Most physical beauty
  • St. Maarten – Fun

Celebrity Equinox is a large ship of 2800+ passengers – but not a mega-ship of 6,000+ passengers. As my normal custom, I didn’t gain weight on this trip. I enjoyed the on-board entertainment of shows and music. Even had a few comp surprises: bottle of wine, champagne, two trays of chocolate covered strawberries, a bowl of fruit, and a wonderful meal in a specialty restaurant. Most were because of an issue, but the wine and one tray of strawberries were from a Guest Relations Rep that I spontaneously got dancing.

A plaque with a saying was above each urinal (on the ship). I enjoyed this one the most: An honest politician is one who, when bought, stays bought. (Simon Cameron, 1799-1889)

In my opinion, it’s always good to have some unplugged time. Aside from having phone access in 2 ports, I was without internet access. The television in the cabin had news channels, so I stayed somewhat informed.

A note to ponder about Congress – The minority complains about the actions/behaviors of the majority, even though the majority is acting/behaving as the minority did when they were the majority.

I’ve made considerable progress on my final series, which will be a retrospective on various topics. However, I still don’t know the dates.

The next concert is set with The Guess Who. Acceptable songs will be from the following artists: The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, Chad Allen, Chad Allen and the Expressions, Brave Belt, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. (Note: I love BTO, but I hope participants focus on the others listed because those groups and people are the foundation.) Think of the list as a family tree involving The Guess Who’s before and after. Concert date and time is this Saturday 2 November 2019 at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Good to see you again!

On an October Break

 

I know – I had a blog break most of the month of August – but sometimes the unexpected comes along in life to change even the best plans. Thankfully, it’s nothing serious. I hope to return late October/early November, and then I’ll explain. Meanwhile, a bit of odds and ends.

I originally wanted to do this post two days ago – but then I wouldn’t have participated in Walktober – and I promised Robin I would do so. Again, I invite everyone to visit Robin’s Walktober AND follow the links in the comments to other Walktober participants.

Thanks for the fabulous Prince concert this past weekend and for expanding my Prince horizon.

The next concert will be sometime in November. The concert promoter has a preliminary agreement with historical around some Canadian legends. No – not The Stampeders – not even Shania Twain … but The Guess Who! Acceptable songs will be from the following artists: The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, Chad Allen, Chad Allen and the Expressions, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. (Note: I love BTO, but I hope participants focus on the others listed because those groups and people are the foundation.)

The handbell choir’s upcoming piece is Beech Spring (arranged by Jason Krug). Listen here.

PS: (Added later) BLINK Cincinnati 2019 is this weekend. I suggestion searching YouTube for videos and/or your favorite photo gallery. Cincinnati.com is also a source.

Cheers to Ellen Degeneres for her response to criticism she received about sitting with former President George W Bush at a football game. Click here to watch her response.

Although Rev. Pat Robertson is known for saying something stupid, his latest that President Trump may be/is “in danger of losing the mandate of heaven” is a confusing to me. Then again, in his resignation letter as EPA Administrator, Scott Pruit stated, “I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence.” As a Christian, I state with confidence that these two (and others like them) do not speak for the majority of Christians.

Agreeing with the decision or not, Speaker Pelosi establishing an Impeachment Inquiry is not against the Constitution and is not against House Rules – so I yield to her shrewdness.

To Republicans. This whole dilemma, the entire situation is NOT about Barack Obama, NOT about Joe Biden, NOT about Hunter Biden, NOT about Hillary Clinton, NOT about the economy, NOT about college football, NOT about other inventive delusional excuses along with declarations witch hunt, fake news, and more.  The situation is about the actions of one single person and those representing him. Then again, I guess defending the indefensible requires blaming others. In other words, you and your fellow minions are a very sad, pathetic lot that is doing the country more harm than good.

To Congressional Democrats: You have the difficult task of being both thorough and expedient, then delivering a convincing civics lesson. Note: I am not confident you’ll meet the challenge.

PS: If the only difference in the current situation was the President’s political party, I have zero confidence that Democrats would be joining Republicans for calls of impeachment.

On a much lighter note, I leave you with something special. Megan Washington is an award-winning Australian singer with a multi-platinum album. She stutters – except when she sings. This performance is after her TEDx talk in Sydney. Enjoy … and don’t forget … Blog breaks are good.