On Toasting April

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April is here. For us in the northern hemisphere, it’s a time for showers and spring flowers. Leaves return to the barren trees and green grass emerges from its slumber. Migrating birds return to the summer home they share with year-round residence, and day and night air fills with familiar sounds that have been absent.

April is also a time for celebrations – a month to increase awareness about cancer control, Cesareans, irritable bowels, alcohol, autism, math, habitats, multiple births, heartworm, Parkinson’s, stress, pet first aid, testicular cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, DNA, genomics, & stem cells.

April is a time for month-long promotions about greyhound adoption, amateur radio, car care, welding, community spirit, home improvement, card & letter writing, facial protection, landscape architecture, safe digging, and rebuilding.

April is a month to appreciate couples, frogs, military children, decorating, holy humor, guitars, jazz, humor, kites, poetry, straw hats, and smiles.

April is a time to celebrate Food Month while cherishing culinary delights as soft pretzels, cranberries & gooseberries, grilled cheese sandwiches, BLTs, tomatillos, Asian Pears, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, pecans, and soy foods.

April celebrates Knuckles Down and provides 30 opportunities to issue a Twit Award.

April always starts with All Fools Day. I love this classic video that aired in the UK on April 1, 1957. (Start at 30 seconds) Enjoy – and good luck with finding a fool today.

On Ushering in 2014


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Believe it or not, no alcohol is associated with that video!

I recall watching the Mummer’s Day celebration from Philadelphia on New Years’ Day. After all, there’s something about a band of saxophones, banjos, and accordions with extraordinary outfits that capture my fancy. Yes, I am a Mummers-want-to-be from afar. However, nobody does this song better than a Mummers band.

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Once again, nobody in that video was influenced by alcohol. For those wanting more Mummers, here’s a melody of tunes with better sound quality.

How is your final week of 2013?

Following successful handbell ringing on Christmas Eve, we had a low-key Christmas Day afternoon with my father-in-law. A few days later, the three of us traveled cross-state to my sister-in-law’s home for the weekend – thus why you haven’t seen me. Meanwhile, we continue with preparing to sell our home and packing for the whenever-it-will-be move.

Glad to see that readers have been enjoying my Exploring series. Given the mid-week holiday, three more posts will finish the week before I return to my routine.

Given a new month and a new year, your calendars are eagerly anticipating new entries, so enjoy this bountiful list of celebrations!

(2014) Year of Crystallography, Year of Family Farming, Year of the Horse, Year of Small Island Developing Status

Month-long celebration for January include polka, soup, hobbies, eye health, book, hot tea, volunteer blood donor, life, Ok to be different, personal self-defense, wheat bread, candy, swapping soup, reaching your potential, oatmeal, letter writing, bath safety, get over it, bald eagles, mail order gardening, stamp collectors autism awareness, creativity, crime stoppers, bread machine baking,

(Wed) Guapo Surfing Day, Bad Hangover Day, Bowling Day, Copyright Law Day, Commitment Day, Ellis Island Day, Euro Day, First-Foot day, Global Family Day, Polar Bear Plunge Day, Bloody Mary Day, Surnames-Beginning-with-Z Day, Bonza Bottler’s Day

(Thurs) Buffet Day, Swiss Cheese Day, Motivation and Inspiration Day, Personal Trainer Awareness Day, Science Fiction Day, Cream Puff Day

(Fri) Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, Festival of Sleep Day, Drinking Straw Day, Humiliation day

(Sat) Spaghetti Day, Dimpled Chat Day, Tom Thumb Day, Trivia Day, Braille Day, Hypnotism Day, Free Flower Basket Day,

(Sun) Whipped Cream Day, Bean Day, Bird Day, Second-Hand Wardrobe Day

Hope everyone has a safe New Years’ Eve, and cheers to good health and spirits for 2014! Happy New Year!

Flashbacks: On Food and Recipes

Whether eating in a restaurant, a special dinner at home, getting that special treat, or time in the kitchen, we enjoy many aspects of a meal. Here are some selections for my archival vault that may capture your interest. Enjoy, visit as many as you wish, and hopefully you will comment on the post you visited. Are you going to make any of these?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 182

On Politics
With current topics as Benghazi, the IRS, and the AP, our elected officials continue to demonstrate their preference for diversions over finding solutions to primary problems.

The IRS story has activated a burr. I’ve been writing on it other the past several days for this post, but eventually exceeding a short, so it will an upcoming post.

Here’s a good one for Gov. Steve Breshear (D-KY) responding to state Republicans avoiding expanding Medicare at the state level in response to Obamacare: “I say get over it. This law was passed by Congress and it was upheld by the Supreme Court. This is not a political decision, it’s a policy decision.”

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Seedless watermelon coming to grips with facts it will never have kids
New crispy cracker to ease crushing pain from modern life
Man demands to know how many siblings co-worker has
Sea World to discontinue Great White Shark ride
Elf finger found in box of Keebler cookies

Interesting Reads
A conservative economist’s support for Keynes
The Bible is not a science book
Top 10 blown umpire calls
Fred Flintstone’s feet as breaks
Wyatt Earp’s Fourth Wife
How curling stones curl?
A slideshow of Cincinnati’s mosaic murals

On Potpourri
The recent news about Angelina Jolle’s choice of a preventative double mastectomy surprised many. Interestingly, the morning of the Jolle’s news, CNN’s Zoraida Sambolin stepped up to publicize her decision for a double mastectomy after her recent breast cancer diagnosis three weeks ago.

Just finished reading Oracles of Science: Celebrity Scientists versus God and Religion by Karl Giberson and Mariano Artigas (2007). Very interesting profiling six leading scientists who also publish: Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Steven Weinberg, and Edward O. Wilson. I’ll review it later, but a thumbs up. PS: Debra, I haven’t forgot!

I haven’t cooked this recipe in a while, so we just did for a friend. Still, a big thumbs up to Cranberry-Sausage Spaghetti.

Several weeks ago, I mentioned the Cincinnati Ballet doing a production with Peter Frampton to his music. Here’s a review.

Sorry – no Saturday Morning Cartoon feature this weekend.

As my Chocolate and Wine week ends, below are a few short videos fitting for the occasion. Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Chocolate Covered Bacon


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Chocolate Covered Jalapenos

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Chocolate in Wine (Rosenblum Desiree)

On A to Z

a-z-2013Someone declared April as A-to-Z Challenge Month. Sure, the challenge’s intent is to have a separate post for each letter, but hey – I have a streak of independence.

With 1,167 posts before this one, why not use my archives to meet the challenge? After all, even frequent readers aren’t aware of some of the posts.

Therefore, I present A Frank Angle’s A-to-Z. Visit as many as you like, because as in my tradition, there is something for all …. so hopefully you’ll visit at least one.

AFAa2zBadgeA is for Acquaintance – People that were not in my graduation class: set 1 and set 2

B is for Ballroom – … and ballroom dance delivers benefits

C is for Cruising – We like cruising, so start your trip with a click

D is for Dinner Group – … We hosted a night of Chopped

E is for Education Reform – Although the need is obvious, here are the obstacles

F is for Frank – Yep, that’s my name, but these are the All-Time Franks in baseball

G is for God and Government – I must say that this post about the separation of church and state is pretty darn good

H is for Handbells – It takes many bells to make one instrument

I is for Italian – I’m 100% Italian heritage, and Ellis Island is an important place

J is for Joys – To whatever give you joy, but for some of us, it’s reliving the cartoons of our youth, and here is where the series started, which led to the first honoree

K is for Knowledge – What do you know about supersonic kangaroos?

L is for LearnerLearning should never stop

M is for Moderate – This early post defines an independent moderate, thus shows why neither party wants me … well, except for my vote

N is for News – Staying informed is important, but there is something more biased than the media

O is for Ohio River – A story from my hometown on a river during my youth.

P is for Politics – I wrote this shortly after the 2008 election, but before the Tea Party’s emergence (which is what makes this post interesting)

Q is for Quantum – Actually, this past post was On a Quantum Thought

R is for Recipes – I’m sort of a Foodie, so try Cranberry Sausage Spaghetti or my own spaghetti sauce that offers a little crunch

S is for Science – Like sports, science has players, plays, rules, and boundaries

T is for Trieste – A beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea that is the place of my birth

U is for Universe – The universe is vast and inspiring, and this post includes one of my absolute favorite videos

V is for Victory – The raised arm created an unexpected moment in college

W is for Wonders – There are many wonders in our world, and let’s not forget Fibonacci, Pi, and Tau

X is for X-Factor – and one X-factor in life is forgiveness

Y is for Why because I can – This is the first main post about the religion-science interchange; now there are 44, plus here is the very first post

Z is for Zinfandel – I enjoy a wide spectrum of wines, especially reds, but zins were the first to capture my fancy – and cheers to the wine group at church

AAA+++ Bonus for the bloggers on my sidebar and on the More Bloggers page, for as without them and you, I wouldn’t be here, so try to visiting someone soon that you don’t know, and tell them I sent you.

Addendum: To learn more about the A Frank Angle A-to-Z Challenge, click here.

On Spaghetti for Monday

Although more people remember spaghetti westerns and than know spaghetti programming, I’m not sure how many have heard of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Unquestionably, most people think of spaghetti as food while forgetting the spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti is served with different sauces as countless variations of Bolognese or alfredo – or with butter or olive oil – or as carbonara, with egg, countless herbs, and cheeses. The spaghetti that most of us buy is made from semolina and water – but the cheap stuff goes in a can as uh-oh, SpaghettiOs with a sauce that I do not like.

Not only is there regular spaghetti, stores offer spaghetti varieties as thin, vermicelli, and angel hair – but I’m not counting linguini as spaghetti because of its different shape and spelling. However, did you know that only one strand is a spaghetto?

Since odds are good that you will enjoy this joyous pasta sometime this week, let us not forget the best spaghetti is only available outside of selected the Italian peninsula through specialty gourmet stores. Not the mass-produce spaghetti in a box that is in our cupboard – the type that is harvested from trees – whose taste is beyond comparison.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 76

On My Palin Plight
I continue to boycott Dancing with the Stars as long as Bristol Palin continues as a contestant. Nothing against Bristol, plus she’s worked hard, but she should have been gone weeks ago.

Since her mother recently launched her multi-week infomercial on TLC to promote herself under the disguise of a tribute to Alaska, I suggest a 24-hour All-Palin, All-the-Time Channel for satellite and cable viewers. Pay-be-view events could make a bundle – even a prime time mud-wrestling catfight between Mama Grizzly and Lisa the Cat Murkowski – but it would not get a dime from me.

On Wrangling a Rangel
Rep Charles Rangel (D-NY) is a long-time member of Congress. At age 80, he had a chance to walk away from Capitol Hill, but chose not to do so – thus has just been burned by the House Ethics Committee. I know Congressional Ethics is an oxymoron, but there’s no sympathy from this camp.

Meanwhile, in their respective caucuses, Congressional party reps took my advice by selecting new party leaders in both chambers. Oh … that was in a dream!

On Cincinnati Dry
Cincinnati receives an average annual rainfall of 39.9 inches – and to think that half way through November we are down 9.0 inches of rain for the year. Wednesday we receive our first widespread rain in quite some time. Although we only received about a half inch, the ground is so compact and hard that water still gathered in low spots – at least it keeps the dust down. Meanwhile, the final two months typically delivers 6.4 inches of precipitation. I hope we get some water!

On a Handbell
Last weekend we played a very glorious, majestic arrangement by Kevin McChesney of Holy, Holy, Holy. Unfortunately, I cannot find either a video or a recording of this grand piece.

On a Recipe
In 2006, Food Network featured an Iron Chef battle between Rachel Ray-Mario Batalli against Giada DeLaurentis-Bobby Flay. Rachel made an interesting spaghetti dish, for which my wife and I developed a recipe from watching the show several times. Cranberry-sausage spaghetti may seem like a strange combination, but it is good stuff – so here is the recipe. Try it!

On a Tribute to Long Ago
On October 29, 1950, 22 died on a short-after-takeoff crash of a charter plane carrying the Cal Poly football team from the Toledo airport. Ironically, earlier that day the team lost at Bowling Green, my eventual alma mater. At a recent BGSU home game, the school held a moment of silence for that fatal crash. Here are two interesting articles looking back at that event, one from Toledo and the other from San Luis Obispo.

On the Weekend Ahead
Contrary to my normal pattern, I have a special tribute post for the weekend (coming Saturday).

Local broadcasts for MLB teams can be legends, one Seattle recently lost theirs – Dave Niehaus. This clip of great Mariner moments features his calls.

Have a safe weekend!