On a Beach Walk: No. 50 (Smell)

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I like walking the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

As I walk, air along the gulf coast has a certain freshness that vitalizes the soul. The salt and a bit of fish or other marine life seems to permeate the sense of smell.

I think about how smell and taste influence each other. The sommelier smells the wine first, then tastes – and smell influences that taste – then the sommelier may smell again, followed by another sip to taste, and then even repeating this cycle of experiencing enhancement.

I think about the times when walking into the house from the outside to be greeted by the aroma of a food feast is in the midst of preparation for a family meal. Smells that we recognize – smells that trigger memories – smell that make our mouths water in anticipation.

I think of the smells many of us recognize – burning leaves of autumn – grilling steaks – newly cut grass – freshness of a flower.

I think of chemistry class as a teacher taught us to wave one hand over a beaker or test tube toward our nose to catch a scent – especially wonderful esters that are part of the flavor industry.

I think of products with distinct smells – whether roses, leather goods, pungent ammonia, or many more in nature and as manufactured products.

I think about how smell and taste are two senses working in tandem to enhance the other. We have many more different specialized sensors detecting smell than taste – yet the wine sommelier uses both to develop descriptors for that wonderful fruit of the vine.

I think about pheromones – the chemicals that living things release outside the body for a variety of reasons as attracting a mate, defense, marking territory, alarm, and more. Although we humans also have natural pheromones, sometimes we chose to add a scent of our choice.

I think about those who cannot smell. What a world they are missing. Yes, they are fortunate to miss the bad and unpleasant – but smells absence is a misfortunate when encountering the flowery, the essence of a spice, the sensuality of freshly-cleaned skin, and more.

I think about how smells are personal. Not only can smells trigger memories, each of us can smell something different from the same object as each of our brains interpret those smells differently. Each of us may associate a smell with a different event in our past – some pleasant, others no so.

Yet, we have something in common. Our smell sensors are in the same location. After detection, the sensory impulses travel to the same part of the brain, which interprets that smell for our analysis – yet we may perceive the smell differently in the analysis

We can walk in the same air, but smell is personal. Each of us my detect something different or interpret the same smell differently.

I enjoy smelling the sea air when I walk, after all walking the beach is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 366

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As heat has been blasting much of the US, fires are torching the western US. Interestingly, fires were commonly mentioned during our recent tour of western national parks.

For relief from the heat, we went to the movie theater to see Ocean 8. Interesting and in the same spirit as the other Ocean movies. Enjoyable – but not a must-see film – so waiting for it from Redbox, a streaming service, or pay-per-view is a good idea.

Interesting how July 4th events use the colors of the American flag for their event: Red White, & Blue Ash; Red Rhythm & Blues, Red White and Boom, and Rye Wine & Boom. Any interesting ones in your area?

We enjoyed a July 4th concert by the Cincinnati Pops. Besides a Broadway singer with a local connection, the concert also featured the US Army Chorus (composed of about 25 men).

I’m unhappy with my golf game because I can’t find the consistency that has been me for many years.

The current resurgence of the Cincinnati Reds is not easy to explain. Although still in last place of their division, they non longer have the worst record in the National League – let alone all of baseball.

As opposed to private lessons, learning a dance from group classes is a good way to develop many bad habits, which are difficult to break.

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The odds are good that I will disagree with President Trump’s upcoming justice nomination for the Supreme Court. Then again, I would also disagree if the numbers and situation were reversed favoring the Democrats. After all, I’m all about the High Court being for everyone@

Finally – EPA Director Scott Pruitt is gone!

Many weeks I suggested House Democrats dump Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as their leader, the latest reports of that possibility causes me to smile

Reflecting on the Fourth of July is a good time to synthesize how the use of the term “patriot” has sadly changed over time.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for being a savvy news consumer.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Clay Pot Shards From Dwelling Of Earliest Known Klutz
Asshole occupying two cemetery plots
Man silently eating personal pan pizza alone in corner of airport unaware this will be best part of 7-day vacation
Woman Takes Break From Dating To Focus On Everything About Herself No One Could Ever Love
Area man just wants a haircut without all the frou-frou
App knows it’s gone next time man needs space for photos

Interesting Reads
How America got its name
Changing your mind
Discovering King Tut’s tomb
The changing world of genetics and DNA
A view of George Clinton’s funk music
(Photos) Scottish birds of prey

To send you into the weekend and continuing the summer theme, enjoy this duo from the past. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.