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.

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.

On Walktober 2019

It’s time for Walktober, so cheers to Robin for her organizing this annual tradition. If my memory is correct, this is my seventh in the last eight years (missing 2017 – probably due to travels).  Here’s a walk that I’ve been wanting to do for some time, so here goes … but this is a long walk, so I hope you are in walking shape.

That’s downtown Cincinnati from the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Such a great view. Access to my destination is a bit easier from this side, plus it gets me more steps. It’s a beautiful morning, but I wonder about the shadows that will be present today because the sun is still low.

 

As I cross on old bridge now known as The Purple People Bridge, oh look … an old friend is working as a lifeguard. That’s Bearcat, the University of Cincinnati mascot. A good one!

 

Cincinnati has a string of wonderful parks along the river. Each is different, plus another one is currently in the planning stage. That’s the popular Serpentine Wall to the west of this bridge ….

 

… but I’m going to the park on the east, Bicentennial Commons. Dedicated in 1988, this 22-acre park honors Cincinnati’s 200 years. Looks like the shadows are pronounced today.

 

Meet our city’s namesake – Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus – a Roman citizen, farmer, warrior, and leader.

 

Who’s over there? Well, well – it’s the infamous Lucius Quinctius Pigasus.

 

With part of the walk close to the river, I always love to look. After all, my hometown is many miles upriver from here.

 

The walk upriver is awesome. The trees, continuous views of the river, historical markers, a geologic timeline on the sidewalk, and the outlooks. The first set historical markers have information about the area’s German and Irish settlers, the Sultana (riverboat), and the Black Brigade of Cincinnati on the Union side of the Civil War. For those who don’t know, Cincinnati and the surrounding area had an important role in the Underground Railroad. Seeing the geologic timeline reminds me that the Creation Museum (promoting 10,000 year old Earth) is less than 30 minutes from here.

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I like the sight of an old pump house that was part of the Cincinnati Water Works. After all, Cincinnati had Ohio’s first publicly owned water system.

 

Oh look – river traffic! Because I grew up in a river town, seeing the barge traffic always reminds me of my youth. Do you see the recreational boat?

 

Given 22 acres, there’s plenty of available activities areas besides walking: tennis courts, kids play area, rollerblade rink, picnicking, and a concert venue.

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There’s another pig. Let’s see who. it’s the Ribs King! Look closer to see the crown.

 

What’s a park without ornamental plants!

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Ornamental plants are always nice, but looking up is something that not enough people do – therefore, they miss a lot. I know, one may miss something near when looking up, so balance is necessary.

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Here’s the official entrance into Bicentennial Commons. When first proposed, those four flying pigs created quite the ruckus. In time, the citizens embraced them – even naming a successful race after them – The Flying Pig Marathon.

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Thanks for walking along with me through Cincinnati’s Bicentennial Common. I’ve got over 9,000 already for my day!

 

Robin, a good lady and Ohioan now living in Maryland, is the host. Click here for her Walktober post that will have links to others participating as pingbacks in the Comments. (I hope to visit all of them). I invite my readers to visit other participants – plus hey – if you are interested in participating, Robin is a gracious and welcoming host.

To see my past walks, either click Walktober in the Categories sidebar or click here. Happy Walktober!

Because this (most likely) will be my last Walktober, a special thanks to Robin. For hosting, for visiting and commenting here, for wonderful posts, for our collaborations, and for anything else that I missed.

On Walktober 2018

2nd October 2018 was a cool, rainy day. A tram takes us to a high point where we begin following the boardwalk through the dense forest before descending.

 

Stillness greets us as we look over the aquatic grasses to the calm water.

 

Water flows across the rocky outcroppings as we begin moving down.

 

While descending, the sound of the moving water is always present.

 

Lake to lake, water prevails.

 

Sometimes close …

 

… sometimes far.

 

After 90 minutes of walking, an electric boat calmly moves us across the still water to a new location so we can continue our walk. The ride shows us signs that fall colors were on their way.

 

After the ride, our walk continues along the still water, but now through a canyon.

 

The water continues to display its turquoise brilliance that we’ve seen during this journey …

 

… and very clear, too.

 

Walking leads us to more falls.

 

The upward journey out of the canyon allow us to look back to what we’ve passed.

 

To marvel at the high falls across the way …

 

… and to love the panorama view as we say goodbye.

 

That was our two-and-a-half hour walk in Plitvice (PLEET veet seh) National Park in Croatia. It’s a natural wonderland resembling something one would see in the Avatar movie.

Plitvice is a series of 16 naturally dammed lakes terracing down the mountains, through a canyon, and eventually into a river. It’s spectacular!

Registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plitvice is the oldest and largest national park in Croatia.

…. a magnificent sight in beautiful Croatia – a land with the strife of war not long ago (mid 1990s).

 

To see more of this natural wonderland, here are two well-done videos: drone view and personal view. (Plitvice is spectacular, so each provides a different viewpoint – so if you Plitvice impressed you, watching will be worth your time.

This is my contribution to Walktober 2018 hosted by Robin, a good lady in Maryland. I first contributed in 2013, but I missed last year. Here’s her Walktober post that will have links to others participating as pingbacks in the Comments. (I hope to visit all of them). I invite readers here to visit other participants – and hey – if you are interested in participating, Robin is a gracious and welcoming host.

To see my past walks, either click Walktober in the Categories sidebar or click here.

Happy Walktober!

On Walktober 2016

WalktoberRobinI always look forward to Robin’s Walktober celebration. Below are my past walks:

I had several ideas for 2016 – but then it hit me …. Let’s board a plane for one of the most beautiful and desirable walks in the world. Are you ready to join me in Cinque Terre, Italy!

Cinque Terre is a gorgeous short strip of very hilly terrain (some say rugged) along the amazing blue waters of the Ligurian Sea along Italy’s northwestern coast. The “Five Lands” are five small villages that are unique and outstanding: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Not only is this area an Italian National Park, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Although (three years ago) I have spent an afternoon in this visual wonderland, my wife and I were not only looking forward to visiting each village, but also anxious for the challenge of walking from Monterosso to Vernazza … so I decided to take my readers along to celebrate Walktober. Besides, some of the other paths between towns remain closed from damage suffered in a 2011 severe storm.

For us, we boarded a train to La Spezia where we purchased a Cinque Terre pass for the trails and the local trains … followed by the short ride to Monterosso, the most western village of the five.

Monterosso not only has the longest shoreline of the five, it also has the most beaches. Add the blue sky and the blue water … wow! … wait until you see how blue the sea on this walk!

 

The walkway out of town is obvious, so after a snack, “Good bye Monterosso”

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… and discovered a special Home for Wayward Bloggers.

After a short walk and around the corner, we discovered another part of Monterosso that I didn’t know existed .. but we kept moving … after all, we didn’t know what’s ahead … Arrivederci Monterosso.

It wasn’t long thereafter that the terrain and the path changed. Oh crap … we have to go way up there? … and it was straight up with higher than normal steps.

The path is actually an ancient path used by people with mules and persons without a boat. The path can be narrow, steep, rocky, and high steps … so keep moving!

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That’s Monterosso (where we started) …. but no sign of Vernazza …

… yet people live up here to tend to their grapes, olives, and/or citrus.
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Along the way, everyone is treated with spectacular views

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Finally, a glimpse our destination – Vernazza
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… but the twists and turns caused Vernazza to play peek-a-boo to tease us …



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… and Monterosso seems so far away …

Vernazza is getting closer!
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What does up must come down – and on this day that means we enjoyed the long descent into Vernazza (while we watched those going in the opposite direction who were wondering if the climb would ever end and what lies ahead).

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At the end, I look back to see the start of those who walk in the opposite direction.
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To celebrate the journey, my wife chose a gelato treat … of which she says was the best gelato of the entire vacation.

… then let’s sit on the rocks by the water.

After walking and relaxing in Vernazza, we let the train take us to the next town – Corniglia (possibly my favorite village)- which involved 382 steps up to the town from the station. Then we trained to Manarola for dinner, and then Riomaggiore with the sun already below the horizon- so on this day, we visited all five villages of this beautiful part of the world.

If you enjoy fall walks, join Robin and others at her post. All you have to do is click here.

On a Walktober 2015

WalktoberRobin
Robin (Breezes at Dawn) celebrates October by proclaiming Walktober. Her posts typically feature her wonderful photos of nature, but Walktober invites others to lead a walk. I’ve participated the previous two years featuring a walk in my now-old neighborhood (2013) and a walk in my town (2014). I even turned other photos from my 2013 walk into another post featuring seeds from ornamental grasses.

Robin is a gracious host and a long-time visitor here, so Walktober has been on my mind, especially because I was out of the country during the first half of the month … but while on a tour, the setting for my Walktober became clear.

Welcome to Alhambra, a palace and fortress complex in Granada, Spain (southern Spain in the Andalusia region. Granada is 90-minute drive inland from the port of Malaga.)
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The Moors ruled most of Spain for over 700 years, and constructed Alhambra as a small fortress in 889. In the 13th century, a Moorish emir expanded the fortress into a walled town containing a palace. Towers looked over the city of Granada below.
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At its peak, over 2000 people lived within the walls. Moorish poets described it as “a pearl set in emeralds”. Although Napoleon’s forced leveled many of the homes, their foundations and passageways remain.
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Not only did Alhambra include a palace and homes, gardens filled with fountains brought peace to the complex.
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The Moors viewed water as precious, so they constructed various pools of water that was gathered by an elaborate water-collection system and stored in a reservoir.
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Overall craftsmanship (especially in the Moors’ palace) is impeccable as numerous designs catch one’s eyes – ornate stucco, scalloped designs, beautiful tiles, various colors, and more.

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After the conquest of Granada by the Catholic forces of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile (1492), Christians rulers used the Alhambra, and eventually built The Palace of Charles V with Alhambra’s walls (1527).
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Some consider Alhambra to be the greatest of the Moorish palaces in Europe. Today, Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions. Its website includes an interactive map, photo gallery, history, and more.

Thanks for walking along – and consider taking other walks.

Robin’s Walktober 2015 with pingbacks to other walks
My 2014 Walk
My 2013 Walk
My 2013 Seeds Walk

On a Walktober Town Walk

Loveland Sign

Loveland Sign

As part of Robin’s Walktober, welcome to Loveland, the town where my wife and I reside. Instead of sharing our beauty fall colors, I’ve chosen to take you for a town walk of this northeastern Cincinnati suburb.

Lt. Colonel Thomas Paxton may have first lived in a house like this …

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Rich Cabin @ the Loveland Historical Museum

… but his daughter and husband built this home in 1840 …

White Pillars

White Pillars

… and all are buried in the family cemetery (both the home and cemetery are now part of a subdivision)

Paxton Cemetery

Paxton Family Cemetery

In the early days, Loveland thrived as a railroad community because two lines intersected here, thus served at least 14 trains a day … (and one railway still operates as I hear the train’s horn several times a day)

Loveland Station

Loveland Station

One of the railroad beds is now a very popular 70-mile bike trail, which also intersects with other trails in the state

Loveland straddles both sides the Little Miami River, which is a designated sceinic waterway at both the state and national level, thus is popular for canoeing … plus the bike trail follows the river

Between the bike trail and the river is a wonderful city park with picnic tables, an amphitheater, and access to the river bank

Old Town offers a some shops, eateries, and a movie theater that the local firefighters converted into a playhouse for the community theater company

Other sights include a studio for local artists, an old church that is now someone’s home (I’m told the owners call it their chouse), and even a mural for Resa

Loveland honors its veterans from all wars and area firefighters

The city’s motto is The Sweetheart of Ohio, besides, people love to send Valentine’s Day cards with the Loveland post office mark

A City Symbol

The Sweetheart of Ohio

From Loveland, Ohio, good day and good night … and don’t forget to vist

WalktoberRobin