Still Perfectly Frank: 01 May ’22

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With one month ending and another starting, Imma asked to take a break from Beach Walk Reflections and pitch in for some random thoughts. Thanks to Marc for the space. 

While spring rolled in during April in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere embraced autumn. Meanwhile, April provided the confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice, Russia’s continued assault on Ukraine, the return of Coachella, a new Masters champion, a physical altercation at the Oscars, and another COVID variant on the loose. 

We also remember those who departed us in April 2022: George Costanza’s mother,  the longest-serving Republican senator (retired), the world’s oldest woman (119), a Tony and Emmy award winner, a star country singer, an MLB batting champ, 2 NHL Hall of Famers, an NFL Hall of Famer, and the quarterback known as The Mad Bomber. 

In case you missed it, here are a few April headline gems from The Onion: Airlines announce it is safe to fly indoors again, Mayonnaise label warns product for external use only, Man shopping for cheap sunglasses troubled by reviews calling sunglasses cheap, and K-Y introduces new drowsy nighttime lube. The Onion also provided an infographic of Putin’s inner circle.  

In April I did a beach walk about containers. In her comment, Eileen mentioned a George Carlin segment. I adore his brilliance! 

May is here, so it is time to celebrate. Monthly celebrations include drums, vinegar, barbeque, Mediterranean diet, Sweet Vidalia Onions, and Latino books. Weekly celebrations include craft beer (16-22), foul balls (16-21), root canal appreciation (1-7), and clitoris awareness (1-7). Daily festivities include paranormals (3rd), tubas (6th), Moscato (9th), limericks (12th), belly dancing (14th), taffy (23rd), and brisket (28th). For a complete list of monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations in May, check it out here.

Baseball season has started. For the first time in my personal history, I don’t give a shit. While Reds ownership wants to save money, I’m will one-up them by saving time and money. I proudly say I have not watched or listened to one pitch yet. Meanwhile, the team is on pace to fall short of the number of games won by the 1962 Mets. Now that’s pathetic!

On the football side of life, I’m still amazed how the NFL has turned the annual draft of college players into a marketing event.

I came close in a recent lottery drawing for over $400 million. After getting 18, I was just off my a few numbers: 10 instead of 12, 21 instead of 20, 36 instead of 39, 55 instead of 60, and 7 instead of 10. 

I love the great perspective of scientist Neils Degraff Tyson. When asked how far into space public trips go, he said think of the world globe in the school classroom. The trip goes about the thickness of two dimes.  

There is a movement in the US (at the state level) to ban something from being taught that isn’t taught … and led by the party proclaiming to be about less government in life. I find that interesting. 

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen receiving over 40% of the vote is another sign that the world is in trouble. 

Ohio has a primary election in early May. Five Republicans are vying for the open senate seat. Interestingly, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and the retiring senator endorsed different candidates. We’ve been seeing TV ads since last fall … and thankfully, this round will be over soon. 

Thank you, April … and cheers to starting the month of May. Enjoy the music and Happy Bubba Day! 

Still Perfectly Frank – April ’22 edition

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Another month is nearing an end, Imma asked me to take a break from Beach Walk Reflections and pitch in for some random thoughts. Thanks to Marc for the space.

March provided Ukraine, Putin, a US Supreme Court nominee hearing, continued COVID saga, gas prices, busted March Madness brackets, baseball’s labor agreement, Oscar awards, Grammy nominees, and other stuff. We also remember those who departed us such as a Good Times actor, a Holocaust survivor, a US diplomat, the creator of GIF images, Foo Fighters drummer, a country singer, William Hurt, Traci Braxton, and some guy named Bob somewhere.

For those looking forward to the new month, April is the month to celebrate guitars, celery, humor, pets, poetry, pecans, hope, and straw hats. April also provides week-long celebrations for dance, coins, princesses, and popper scoopers. April also offers an array of one-day celebrations such as ferrets (2nd), lying (4th), beer (7th), tartan (9th), licorice (12th), dolphins & ex-spouses (14th), Amaretto (19th), zippers (28th), and many more. Check it out here.

In case you missed it, here are a few March headline gems from The Onion. Oscar Mayer Introduces new filter-tip hot dogs for a healthier meat-eating experience, Pope Francis using a new treadmill-altar to add more physical activity to the workday, God regrets never learning Spanish, and Texas bans consensual sex.

Hats off to Steve Hartman (CBS News) for his features focusing on good news. I like this edition about empathy and a superhero.

In mid-March, I did this beach walk essay about bloggers. Something interesting happened. The first 12 comments were from bloggers in 9 different countries.

March was the time we returned home after several months as snowbirds. During that time I drafted about 30 new beach walk essays. Then again, all of them have a long way to go before they are ready to post.

I yawned at the news that baseball settled their labor dispute. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but they are wearing me out. Shortly after the settlement, my Reds traded many of their better players to decrease payroll. I sighed as my interest waned even more. I should follow their lead and reallocate my resources elsewhere.

Laura, who occasionally visits Beach Walk Reflections, composes music. I found her latest to be great background music as I write. I invite you to listen by visiting this site – the music will be in the upper left. Besides, I love the title of her musical suite.

Are you a supertaster? If not, do you know anyone who is? Here’s an interesting article about supertasters.

In a dream, I imagine a time when politicians ask good and relevant judicial questions to court nominees. In reality, their questions and statements demonstrate that politicians are the best hypocrites while demonstrating a “party-first” mentality with minimal interest in good judicial questions.

According to the 22nd Amendment, a president cannot hold office for more than two consecutive terms. So, will Donald Trump admit that he lost in 2020? After all, if he won, he can’t run. Thank you, Doonesbury for that one.

At the end of today, we can close the door to March and welcome April. Happy St. Stupid Day … well, tomorrow – April 1st – and that’s not a joke!

Still Perfectly Frank: 1st March ’22

Another month is nearing an end, Imma asked me to take a break from Beach Walk Reflections and pitch in for some random thoughts. Thanks to Marc for the space.

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February was the time for more Omicron, ground, Congo, hogs, inflation, Joe Rogan & Spotify, Putin’s disregard for humanity, presidential documents, trucker blockades, avocados, Super Bowl LVI, and the Ides of February. Damn, the Bengals have now lost three Super Bowls by a total of 12 points. We also remember those that left us in February such as a Holocaust survivor, the “Ghostbusters” producer, first responders, and the lead singer of Procol Harum.

February gave us the Olympics and its thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, stories of dedication, overcoming, perseverance, and much of humanity’s goodness – plus a bunch of crap from the Russians. But I enjoy watching the skill and strategy of curling. I’ve curled before, so believe me, it’s damn hard.

Many years ago I asked, “Why isn’t there a competition of acrobatics going off a ski jump?” Because they are doing that now, it’s time for more questions. Why isn’t there a competition involving an inner tube? When will there be a competition involving a sled going down the ski jump?

Maybe this summarizes February … but them there varmints aren’t beavers.

March starts with Mardi Gras ending (Fat Tuesday) and ends with Bunsen Burner Day. Interestingly, both involve calories. March is a time for monthly celebrations of noodles, quinoa, peanuts, frozen foods, adopting a rescued guinea pig, and more. March is a month for weekly celebrations of owls, procrastination, chocolate, and more. March is the month for daily celebrations including the following: sock monkeys (5th), Oreo cookies (6th), Bagpipes (10th), Pi (14th), Buzzards return to Hinckley (15th), Swallows return to Capistrano (19th), and many more. For those interested in a long list of March celebrations, click here.

Baseball’s spring training was set to start. I have a challenge for MLB and the Player’s Union. Go ahead – sit out the entire damn year! No guts, no glory for you. (Thanks for the ending, Soup Nazi.)

Attendance at college football games has dropped seven years in a row to 1981 levels? Damn, someone needs the No-Shit Sherlock Award for Brilliance! Let’s see – expensive tickets, game time is “To Be Announced” until the week before (prohibiting planning), annual booster fees for season ticket holders, and many games are on TV or streaming. However, the rich get richer because college football is big business.

Hats off to Steve Hartman (CBS News) for his features focusing on good news – like this one!

I’m not a fan of former Vice President Mike Pence, but a tip of the cap to him for refuting an ex-president by saying he did not have the Constitutional power to overturn the election.

“Legitimate political discourse” is an interesting description of the events of January 6, 2021. Meanwhile, let’s tear, shred, and flush official documents down the toilet while complaining about Hillary Clinton’s emails. Lock her up! Lock her up!

Back in the day, President Reagan pressured Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. Today, Donald Trump praises Vladimir Putin as a genius and his move to declare two Ukrainian states independent as brilliant. Why didn’t President Reagan praise Russia for building a strong Berlin Wall? To John Dickerson (CBS News), thanks for the thought.

Speaking of Ukraine, here’s one from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co). “I pray for Ukraine, and I wish them the best. They have a great president right now ….. But we also have neighbors to the north who need freedom and need to be liberated, and we need that right here at home as well.”

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blames President Biden for the situation in Ukraine. I vehemently disagree because knowledge people know it’s Obama’s fault.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many censure declarations by a political party of their own as we are seeing these days. That’s just one more reason why I continue to say the two biggest problems in Washington are the Democrats and Republicans – and the wacky on each side are making it worse. Yes, AOC and her flock are like fingernails on a blackboard – they make my ears hurt!

While in Cincinnati endorsing author JD Vance for Senate, Rep. Margorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga) stated, “Vaccine mandates are the worst thing that has ever happened in America.” Yes MTG – worse than 9-11, Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City bombings, the Great Depression, both World Wars, and our Civil War. Perhaps the people of her district who elected her are even more whacky than her.

Here’s more whacky! The mayor of Hudson (Ohio) spoke against ice fishing on a city park’s lake because, “And if you then allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem. Prostitution.” He resigned – but I’m guessing because he’s now qualified for higher office.

A great American orator offers a great summary.

People love to complain about the weather forecast when it is off-target. But, I’m guessing more people trust their local weather personality about predicting the weather than epidemiologists and medical professionals about the pandemic.

As one final tribute to February, missing The Onion is missing a lot. After all, The Onion told us that Archeologists discover more old shit that sucks; Breast reduction surgeon freaks out after misplacing patient’s nipples; Teacher fired for breaking state’s Critical Race Theory laws after telling students she’s Black; and a 13-year-old drinking prodigy accepted to university.

Close the door to February and enjoy your March. I need a beach walk and a good last world. Click here for it. Toss in a good drink, time for a Bushwacker with a topper. Happy Pancake Day!

Still Perfectly Frank: 01 Feb ’22

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Another month is nearing an end, I’m pitching in for some random thoughts. Thanks to Marc for the space.

January 2022 started by turning the page to a new year that Betty White wouldn’t see 100. January was a time for victory and disappointment of bowl games and playoffs. January started with Cincinnati Bearcats fans, “Full of pride and disappointment. Disappointment and pride.” (Thanks, Doc).

January also marked the first Cincinnati Bengals playoff win in 31 years – a time when the elder Bush was US President. Then a second win on the road against the top seed – the franchise’s first-ever playoff road win. Then came another road win after trailing by 18 points for a win that shocked the world and earned a trip to the Super Bowl. Unbelievable!

If someone would have told me back in September that two Cincinnati football teams would be in the final four, I would have pronounced them as crazy. Egg on my face!

January marked more Omicron, a January 6th anniversary, filibuster, the Australia-Novak Djokovic, Russia-Ukraine, a person receiving a pig heart, somebody else a pig kidney, a Jeopardy champion, a Supreme Court opening, Tonga, Spotify, Big Papi, and Duchess Kate turning 40. Let us not forget the goodbyes to Bob Saget, Sidney Poitier, Ronnie Spector, André Leon Talley, Meatloaf, Louie Anderson, Johnny Fever, a Tuskegee Airman, a Woodstock founder, first responders, and the oldest person in the USA (age 115).

February offers opportunities to celebrate. Besides, no more Bloganuary (woo hoo!). February is a time for monthly celebrations of cherries, grapefruit, snack foods, cat health, and responsible pet owners. The 13th-19th celebrates random acts of kindness and more food. The 5th is worth marking down because it offers a great combo: Ice Cream for Breakfast Day and Nutella Day. For those who want to know more about February celebrations, click here.

February is the time Spring Training is supposed to start – but will it?

These words from an AP News report struck me about human migration and immigration throughout the world. “Their faces are like our faces — hesitant, sad, expectant, wary, curious, hopeful. They are the human beings among us who are trying to get — desperate to get — somewhere else. Somewhere safer, more prosperous, more for them.” (AP News)

Willie Geist referred to the past two years as “The Great Frustration“. I think that fits.

Speaking of Covid, yep – it found me, one who is fully vaccinated, boosted, and cautious. The good news is that my symptoms were minor: stuffy head and a light recurring cough. The vaccine did its duty. Out of respect to others, I quarantined and played it smart. FYI: Test results don’t report the variant because that requires gene sequencing.

Views of deep space fascinate me. I’m not sure if it is awe, inspiration, spirituality, wonder, amazement, or a combination of these factors. I look forward to future images from the James Webb Space Telescope. Well, assuming the mission is successful.

What does this mean? Of the 435 representatives, only 55 are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus – a bipartisan group committed to finding common ground on issues.

I wrote the following earlier this month: “Republicans are the ones promoting themselves as the defenders of the US Constitution. Yet, not only are they the ones who want to amend it, they would like to rewrite the Constitution in their view by calling for a Constitutional Convention.” When I stated that to a friend of mine about a year ago, he was surprised and wondered why this wasn’t being talked about. Interestingly, the Columbus Dispatch recently posted this article about Ohio.

The USA is a republic – and a republic uses the decisions of its people. Therefore, a republic relies on an informed public. Being Glenn Beck’s recent book is among bestsellers, this could be another sign the republic is in danger.

I heard this in a local news interview. “I’m a former graduate of Cincinnati Public Schools ….” I wonder: Did he give up his diploma? Did the school district revoke his diploma?

Reminder: Don’t forget to check your WP Comments Spam folder for comments that shouldn’t be there.

The Onion told us in January that shitty music helped a moron through the hardest times of his pointless life; a man is horrified after a genealogy test confirms he has no past; and, grateful pigeons in the park finally return the favor by feeding a whole loaf of bread to an old man. When you miss The Onion, you miss a lot.

Close the door to January and enjoy your February. Happy National Serpent Day!

A Personal Football History

Marc and I not only love sports, we are also loyalists who relish in the joy of victory and hurt with the pains of disappointment. With one of my teams having unexpected success this year, Marc asked me to weave a story.

Growing up in southeastern Ohio in the 1960s, most people in my area were either Cleveland Browns fans or followers. The Browns were the closest team to us – a time long before cable – a time when an antenna delivered three television stations. The Browns were the weekly game that I watched, but I most enjoyed watching the upstart AFL games while rooting for Charlie Tollar, Billy Cannon, George Blanda, Charley Hennigan, and the rest of the Houston Oilers.

In 1968, the AFL expanded into Cincinnati. Many friends hooked up with the Bengals, others stayed loyal to the Browns. Me, the contrarian, latched onto the Miami Dolphins – a team with Flipper as a mascot – a team with my favorite Dolphin: Howard Twilley.

In the fall of 1971, I went cross-state to college where I would be around many Browns fans – but I stuck with the Dolphins. Before the 1972 season started, I told my friends that the Dolphins would not only win the Super Bowl, they would do so going undefeated (17-0). They laughed, then astonished when it happened.

After graduating in 1976, I went to a different corner of the state for my first job in the Cincinnati area. Already a Reds (baseball) fan – a lifer, I quickly gravitated to the local Bengals. Finally, an opportunity to root for nearby team.

At the end of the 1980 season, I suggested to a friend that we get Bengal season tickets for the following year because I felt something special on the horizon. We purchased them, and I still recall the ticket price per game – $9.75.

The 1981 season was unbelievable, finishing 12-4 and winning the division. Locals realized that most of the games were over by halftime. Those Bengals were more than good. They were very good! They ran their West Coast offense for many years before anyone knew that term. Plus, the defense was superb.

That season’s AFC Championship Game was a classic – and I was there. It’s known as the Freezer Bowl – the coldest NFL game on record with a raw temperature of -9F (-23C) and a wind chill of -59F (-50C). That was very cold, and I stayed the entire game to witness history.

The win gave the Bengals their first trip to the Super Bowl. My team lost that game, but I still say they were the better team.

I was still a season ticket holder in 1988 when the Bengals made their second trip to the Super Bowl. Two evenly matched teams hammering each other. The Bengals lost late in the game.

The Bengals would win a playoff game in 1990 before losing in the second round. Then came what Bengal fans call The Lost Decade – an era of ineffectiveness and a lot of losing. It took the Bengals 15 years to return to the playoffs. From there, they made it seven of the next 11 years – but losing every time – losing when favored. Finding a way to lose the game in 2015 that was ready for the taking – a win to break the streak. But no – a win didn’t happen. Losing marked the franchise and the city. Losing hung on the fans.

Losing continued – and many times ugly. 2020 delivered the bright light of a new young quarterback named Joe. One from an Ohio town 3 hours away. One from my home area of the state. The season had some bright spots but still many losses. One with Joe missing many games after a devasting knee injury.

Nonetheless, 2021 had a glimmer of hope. But they were still the Bengals, and we were Bengal fans. We’ve been there, done that. While hopeful, we waited for the other shoe to drop. That’s what Bengal fans do.

While some early games provided hope, some mid-season games delivered ugly reality checks. Facing a difficult closing schedule, the light of hope was a meager flicker. Suddenly, Cool Joe led a dismantling of the dreaded Ravens then beating the vaunted Chiefs. Suddenly, the Bengals were playoff-bound and hosting a first-round game. Then Cool Joe delivered! The team broke the 31-year streak and released the fans from bondage. The local radio call says it all!

The reward for winning round 1 was a trip to Nashville to face the top-seeded Titans. History shows that the Bengals have NEVER won a playoff game on the road. NEVER! Led by some guy known as Cool Joe, another streak was broken. The Bengals were suddenly the darlings of the NFL. (Video will say click to watch on YouTube – so it’s viewable).

Winning or losing this week in Kansas City doesn’t matter. With two streaks broken and Cool Joe leading the way like a seasoned veteran, the franchise, the city, and the fans are winners again. Bengals fans are hopeful again. Bengal fans are proud again. Bengal fans are believing again. The Bengals are relevant again. This is something young Bengal fans have never experienced. At least I’m a seasoned fan who has.

Can the Bengals win one more? Maybe or maybe not. Then again, why not! Why not us! After all, we have Cool Joe.

An MLK Day Thought

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Greetings. Frank from Beach Walk Reflections here. Thank you, Marc for accepting this post.

Today is MLK Day – the commemorating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr – the day to celebrate and reflect upon civil rights – the day that I unfortunately also ponder racism. A news story made me think today, then I wrote.

I think about growing up during the 1960s – spending my youth in a small town in rural southeastern Ohio that is considered as a part of Appalachia. Growing up in a place never knowing why many Blacks lived in another section of town – a dirt road up a hill – seemingly out of the way.

After consolidating with other small schools in our area, I came to know and respect a classmate. What a great guy – and I still think highly of him! Not long ago, he told something important. I never knew his father took him to get a haircut in a town 15 miles away. More importantly, I never knew why. He just thought it was the way it was. He gave me more examples as we talked, and I shook my head at the societal shame.

I think back at seeing the news of the race riots in the late 1960s, but not understanding. I think back to the March on Washington and Dr. King’s famous I Have a Dream speech, but not understand. I sadly proclaim my ignorance. But today, I am also thinking about people I know. People that are close to me in some way.

People who refer to Blacks as goons. People who think wearing a black face is funny. People who in discussions include an unnecessary fact of someone is Black.

People who believe Martin Luther King, Jr. was a communist. People who say they celebrate the day gathered around a Kingmus Tree. People who say their town doesn’t need to celebrate the day because no Blacks live in their town.

People who fear and hate people named Obama. People who fail to see racial injustice. People who hang their hats on Critical Race Theory while not knowing what it is. People who don’t even try to understand the events such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.

Three people fail to reflect. Three people who resist learning. Three people who are unwilling to admit that they were wrong then and still wrong now. Three people in my circle who I consider to be the most racist people I know. Three people who cause me to hang my head in shame. Three people who show me what not to say – what not to do. And how many more people are like these three? I still have faults, but at least I’m trying.

This is the video essay sparking my thoughts …

… and a song for the day. If you prefer Alicia Keys, click here.

On Tyranny

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According to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst poll

  • 46% of Republicans say President Biden’s election was definitely not legitimate
  • 25% of Republicans say President Biden’s election was probably not legitimate
  • 15% of Republicans say President Biden’s election is probably legitimate
  • 6% of Republicans say President Biden’s election was legitimate

According to a CBS News poll,

  • 24% of Republicans approved the events of January 6th
  • 80% of Republicans see the January 6th event as a protest, not as an insurgence
  • 41% of Republicans were left-leaning groups

According to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll,

  • 75% of Trump voters believe the election was rigged and stolen
  • 12% of Trump voters believe Republicans should cooperate with the Congressional investigation about the events of January 6th
  • 10% of Trump voters say the next election will be free and fair
  • 23% of Trump voters justify the January 6th events
  • 26% of Trump voters say the former president himself is the best/most truthful source of information about January 6th

First of all, the extraordinary reality that there’s this research that shows that something like at least 8%, and maybe as many as 12%, of the American people, now say that Joe Biden was illegitimate and that violence is an appropriate tool to removing him and restoring Donald Trump. That’s somewhere between 20 million and 30 million people. That’s a mass movement in America in favor of political violence, which is a new thing. (John Heilman on Meet the Press, 12 December 2021)

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

The data above and the quote frighten me. What have we become? Why? For the record, and in accordance with Ohio law, I’m a registered Independent, therefore I do not vote in primary elections for either party. I also have a history of being a registered Republican.

I look at Republican leadership – those officials elected to national, state, and local offices. Not all of them, but I am confident in saying most.

Republicans are the ones sowing the seeds of discontent. Republicans are the ones promoting the big lie.

Republicans are the ones using echo chambers of their biased media outlets to spread falsehoods.

Republicans are the ones promoting widespread voter fraud, which does not exist.

Republicans are the ones suppressing voters under the disguise of election security. They started this after the nation elected Barack Obama, and continued after Joe Biden’s election.

Republicans are the ones who intentionally blocked a Supreme Court nomination because they wanted the count favoring their view of America. They are the ones who don’t believe the judicial system is for all Americans.

Republicans are the ones promoting themselves as the defenders of the US Constitution. Yet, not only are they the ones who want to amend it, they would like to rewrite the Constitution in their view by calling for a Constitutional Convention.

Republicans, your silence is deafening. Your deflection is ill-guided. Your loyalty is misplaced. Your judgment is selfish. Your denial is absolute. You are the suppressors. You are the greatest threat to democracy. You are the tyrants. You are the promoters of tyranny.

Still Perfectly Frank 12 2021

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This post is a bit of a spinoff of Opinions in the Shorts, a regular feature from my previous blog life. Thank you, Marc, for sharing a bit of your space with me.

It’s grapefruit season – but my grocery stores switched from Ruby Reds from Texas to Pink from Florida. Then again, maybe this is an effect of last winter’s icy weather in Texas. Thoughts, John?

Thinking about grapefruits takes me to spoons. For me, big spoons are for soup and cereal – small spoons for ice cream and grapefruits. End of story.

Do you check your Spam Comments folder? I do regularly – and I have been finding legit comments from readers.

While doing a word puzzle early this week, I asked my wife if tuffle was a word. She said no. Researched verified her thought, but it was in the Urban Dictionary.

Does anyone out there like Creme Cicles or Orange Pushups? How about limoncello? What if those two worlds met? Yahtzee! My first ever batch of Creme CicleCello (orange-vanilla) is a big hit. Cheers!

You may know I’m in Cincinnati and a fan of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. The great football season allowed them to be the first outsider team invited into the final 4 championship series. Of course, the reward was facing perennial content Alabama. However, while I am grateful for their opportunity, I believe the selection committee – regardless of their biases – had no choice and were without reasonable alternatives. Besides, I wonder why schools haven’t filed antitrust lawsuits about the current arrangement – but I’m not a lawyer.

After losing seven straight, huge news out of Miami as Marc’s Dolphins win their seventh straight.

Surprised that they haven’t done so, I’m waiting on the insurance companies to deliver a hammer to the unvaccinated through premiums.

Our national government continues to be a group of elected officials standing in the quagmire of crap. Their main concern is representing their party – not their constituents, and certainly not acting in the country’s best interest. Don’t believe it? All they have to do is talk – so listen. They protect each other and don’t hold themselves to the same standards as they hold to the opposing party. Just ask how much time they spend fundraising for themselves and their party.

Ads for several candidates of the May 2022 Ohio Primary Election are already in full swing. Current ads are stoking fears of a Socialist agenda ruining our country. I would ask these candidates this question: Given your public commitment against Socialism, do you pledge to remove Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Unemployment Insurance from American life? Of course, I would also want a follow-up question because they wouldn’t answer the question. For those who dare, here’s one and the other.

The end of the year is always a good time to review the past year. After all, last year at this time we were hearing that vaccinations for the general public would be starting in January. Here goes.

2021 was a year for insurrection, inauguration, and denial, plus impeachment and acquittal. For vaccines, boosters, reopenings, Delta, Omicron, and more denial. For Lightning, Bucks, Bucs, and Braves.

2021 was a year for hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires, and droughts; suppression, bias, and racism. For justice and injustice; love and hate; victory and defeat. For the guilty, not guilty, and pardoned; freedom and tyranny.

2021 delivered withdrawing from Afghanistan, buildings collapse, protests and conflicts, shootings and more shootings, elections, coups, new governments, bombings, kidnappings, culture wars, and increased mental health awareness.

2021 featured billionaires leading people into space, cryptocurrencies, supply shortages, a freighter blocking the Suez Canal, and theaters reopening. For Amanda Gorman, free Brittany, Olympians, Meghan & Harry moving, deaths of people who made an impact as leaders, entertainers, servants, first responders, crusaders, and many more – plus births of people who will deliver much good in the future.

Onto to 2022!

Freedom

Frank here for a bit of Angleisms. Thanks Marc, for sharing your space with me.

Depending on the perspective, there are many viewpoints around freedom: the right to act, speak and think – not being imprisoned, enslaved, or physically restricted – the absence of a government that is autocratic, tyrannical, or oppressive.

Human societies have varying degrees of freedom. They have much in common, including the foundation principle that freedom provides choices that carry responsibilities, benefits, and consequences associated with each choice. That’s freedom.

To some, freedom of speech means they can say anything they want about anything or anyone. In the USA, the Bill of Rights explicitly states the government shall not prohibit speech, but the courts support consequences such as slander and libel regarding speech about others. That’s freedom.

Functional free societies have rules to follow for a variety of reasons. Flyers know the rules during takeoff and landing: seats up, trays up, carry-on items under the seat in front of you, and seatbelts fastened. Rules that don’t restrict rights, and rulebreakers may encounter consequences. That’s freedom.

Roads and highways have speed limits to protect people from themselves. Those limits don’t stop anyone from choosing to exceed the limit, but consequences may accompany that choice. That’s freedom.

In today’s crazy times, yes – people have the choice whether they take one of the Covid-19 vaccines. I respect that – but attached to one’s choice are responsibilities, benefits, and consequences. That’s freedom.

Business owners have the right to decide health and safety decisions. If a restaurant owner wants to require proof of vaccinations for their employees and their patrons, they can. However, they must also accept the responsibilities, benefits, and consequences of that choice. That’s freedom.

Patrons with a vaccine have the right to decide on which restaurant they want to enter – one with restrictions or one without. Whatever their choice, they must accept the responsibilities, benefits, and consequences of that choice. That’s freedom.

Patrons without a vaccine have the right to decide on which restaurant without restrictions they want to enter. However, a restaurant owner refusing to seat and serve the unvaccinated is not a violation of your freedom. If anything, you are violating theirs. That’s freedom.

In conclusion, are vaccination restrictions violating personal freedoms? Not even close. Get over it people, so accept the responsibility, consequences, and benefits of the choice you were free to make. That’s freedom.

Readers, there are two songs below – a new one and an oldie. You have the freedom to watch one, the other, both, or neither. That’s freedom – and I hope you tell us your choice.

Friday’s Heroes: A Frank Edition

Happy Friday to all! As Marco announced last week, this is my meager attempt to occupy the big chair during his absence as he galivants to somewhere unknown to spread his goodwill, wit, and charm. I suspect he is attending a symposium sponsored by the International Institute on Sarcasm. Meanwhile, onto the heroes who are examples of goodness in the world.

Getty Images

The Olympics provides a plethora of outstanding stories about humanity’s good side – so here’s one more with multiple heroes. Miloszek Malysa is an eight-month-old Polish boy needing life-saving heart surgery, so the family started a fundraising page to pay for surgery in the USA (at Stanford U). Maria Andrejczyk, a silver-medalist Javelin thrower, stepped forward by auctioning her metal from the recent Tokyo games. The Polish convenience store chain Żabka won the bid that supplied about one-third of the goal, then declined to accept the metal from Maria because they thought it rightfully belongs with her.

From the Holy Shit Department, here’s a story with multiple heroes. Lindsay Bull is an employee at a Utah petting zoo. While working with Darthgator, the large reptile decided to snack on Bull’s hand. With her hand in his mouth and instead of pulling, Bull entered the water and rolled as the alligator tried to dismember her. Donnie Wiseman, an innocent observer, not only enters the area but also wrestles the alligator, and then pries the mouth open so Bull can remove her hand. Another bystander, Todd Christopher, encouraged Bull and helped pull her out. Amy Christopher’s nursing background helped treat Bull until the EMTs arrived. By the way, Bull is anxious to return to work after she heals.

I must include an honoree from Cincinnati. In summer 2018, six-year-old Payton started a lemonade stand to buy new toys for patients at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center because she received a new teddy bear when she was a patient. She repeated the venture in 2019. Today, Payton’s Lemonade Stand is a foundation and 25 stands exist across Greater Cincinnati this past summer … and children host all of them. Cheers to Payton for starting a chain reaction.

A 1992 car accident left Sabrina Cohen as a quadriplegic at age 14. Today she is the founder and president of the Sabrina Cohen Foundation, an organization focusing on meeting fitness and recreation needs for the disabled – especially the beach and the warm waters of Miami. A tip of the hat to Sabrina, her foundation, and all the volunteers for all the goodness they share.

During the virus lockdown’s peak, we in the US received daily briefings from a governor. Unlike federal officials, the governors (at least that I saw) also had a sign language interpreter present on the screen. Now that I have twin great-nieces with hearing disorders, I appreciate those signers much more than I already did. A shout out to these public servants!

Marc returns soon. Although I’m on blog break, I invite you to stop by Beach Walk Reflections. Enjoy your weekend.