Both Sides

That’s a classic song by a classic artist. Joni Mitchell burst onto the music scene during my college days. Since then, her accolades include 10 Grammy Awards, induction into both the Rock & Roll and Songwriters halls of fame, a Kennedy Center honoree, and more – including being on Dale’s Mt. Rushmoor of Female Musicians (who sang and wrote their own songs).

“Both” is an interesting word – one that is on my ideas list for a future beach walk essay. Maybe I’ll draft it next winter at the beach – but I will leave those thoughts for another day. After all, I need the sand and surf to inspire my thoughts.

To me, Both Sides, Now is about perception – how we perceive something based on the situation. How something the same seems different. I think about it as two sides of a coin or two sides of a story.

Much of life is about both – then and now, past and present, before and after. Both sides are even about each of us looking back at something that happened to reflect. Maybe even realizing something totally different now than then – even both sides.

We can create a long list of events involving before-and-after thoughts, but that’s not exactly where I’m going. Anthony Mason of CBS News did this wonderful segment involving respect, will, grit, determination, appreciation, surprise, cheers and tears.

If you watched the story above, you understand my point. If you didn’t, watch below to see Joni Mitchell sing Both Sides, Now at the recent Newport Folk Festival. Joni – surrounded by friends – overcoming a stroke – and singing pretty darn good.

Still Perfectly Frank: 01 Aug 2022

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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.

July’s headlines included more mass shootings, a former Japanese PM assassinated, college football losing its mind, a new UK PM, political unrest in Sri Lanka, failures of the Uvalde police, more unnecessary Russian attacks in Ukraine, Wimbledon, The Open, more Congressional hearings about January 6th, Bennifer marriage, my fourth dose of Covid vaccine, more fake news, and politicians saying stupid shit.

We also remember those who departed us in July 2022: the last Band of Brothers, Sonny Corleone, an F-Troop star, Sopranos actor, composer of the James Bond theme, the first ex-wife of an ex-president, a mouth on Big Mouth, an actor of tough guys, a climate scientist pioneer, an original Star Trek lieutenant, an NBA legend, and people dying from gun violence, natural disasters, and war.

On 12th July, NASA released the first pictures from the James Webb Space Telescope. I’m in awe of images of deep space. Here’s the first collection.

July marked my closest encounter ever with a tornado. Not one, but two! An F2 tornado was 4.5 miles (7.2 km) away and an F1 tornado 2.3 miles (3.7 km) away. Both were way too close for comfort.

This didn’t happen in July, but I learned about it during July, so that’s good enough for me. An Ohio man (my state) was the first person ever diagnosed with a whistling scrotum. As Steven Cobert asked, “Did it forget the words?”

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In case you missed it, here are a few July headline gems from The Onion:

  • Extra-Mad Wife Forces Husband to Sleep on Ottoman
  • Skeptical Doctor Asks Woman Flattened by Steamroller to Rate Pain
  • Wings in Basket from 3 Chickens Who Were Friends
  • Archeologists Discovered “Big Dog” Shirt Christ Wore to Sleep In
  • Insurance Company Swears They Will Get the Next Round
  • Scattered Deaths of Elderly Floridians Expected Throughout the Week

Here’s a blast from the past. Try the Combo Challenge. By using only the words in the above headlines, create your personal headline, then share it in your comment. My combo appears later in this post.

For those desiring information about monkeypox, The Onion provides answers here.

Because we live in the age of “smart” products, readers should consider the Woodbridge B0990S Smart Toilet. It features a built-in bidet, motion-activated open-and-close lid, auto flushing, a heated seat, night light, and a multi-functional remote. Sorry to say, it doesn’t offer a wiping function. But if you have a spare $1200 and Marc won’t give you his address, you may want to consider it.

I always enjoy Steve Hartman’s positive stories on CBS News – but this one about Dexter the dog is amazing … and it delivers a message for everyone.

Because today starts a new month, it’s time for an overview of some of the celebrations on August’s plate. For a complete list of July celebrations, click here.

  • Monthly celebrations for August include cowgirls, goat cheese, panini, crayon collection, and happiness happens.
  • Weekly toasts include Psychic Week (1-5), Buttons (7-13), Weird Contests (14-20), Chef Appreciation (21-27), and Chuckwagon Races (27-9/4)
  • Day celebrations include underwear (5th), root beer floats (6th), prosecco (13th), spumoni (21st), waffle irons (24th), go topless (28th), more herbs-less salt (29th), and many more. See for yourself.

Besides their on-the-field accomplishments, professional athletes tend to make the news after doing something stupid. Unfortunately, that tarnishes the many pro athletics who are good people and even better citizens. Click here for a local story of one of Cincinnati’s finest – Reds second baseman Jonathan India.

I knew I had to use this story when I first saw it. Crescencia Garcia is 102 years old, a Covid survivor, and a member of an all-Black Women unit during WWII – the 6888th – the Six Triple Eight – the only unit of its kind to serve in Europe. This past June, CBS Mornings interviewed her, which they aired a few weeks ago. See it for yourself.

My Combo: Skeptical Steamroller Swears Big Dog Flattened Extra-mad Chicken Wing

Here’s one of my favorite covers of a classic song from a great show I attended years ago. I’m out of here. Merry Loafmas!

Perfectly Frank: July 2022

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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.

June was a month featuring televised hearings about the 6th January insurrection, more mass shootings in the US, Rafael Nadal’s 22nd grand slam title (tennis), The Boss played 2 songs with Coldplay, Thailand legalized Cannabis, LIV Golf lured players with money, annual Tony Award winners, a new US Open golf champ, a sinking stock market, attacks in Ethiopia, Turkey officially changed its name to Türkiye, someone caught the largest freshwater, a major earthquake in Afghanistan, the US Supreme Court overruling Roe v Wade, and politicians saying stupid shit.

We also remember those who departed us in June 2022: Bon Jovi’s bassist, a songwriter who was a member of a popular duet, a teen actor, a political columnist, a racial trailblazer in football, and people dying from gun violence, natural disasters, and war.

June delivered abnormally hot and humid temperatures to Cincinnati. Yuk! However, I was still able to continue my streak of not listening to or seeing one pitch of my beloved Cincinnati Reds. Even after being seated in a restaurant with a big screen within easy eyeshot.

In case you missed it, here are a few June headline gems from The Onion

  • Man Wastes Another Gorgeous Day Being Dead
  • World’s Great White Sharks Call for Immediate Release of all Caged Scuba Divers
  • Left-Wing Group Too Disorganized for FBI to Infiltrate
  • Employee Always Complaining about No Time Off Suddenly Upset about Getting Fired
  • Visa Announces Cards Can Now Be Inserted, Swiped, Tapped, Bent, Clapped, Rolled, Shoved, Thrown, Dangled, Slid, Or Whacked

This meeting of two trailblazers is touching. One never knows what will happen when two female baseball announcers get together. Thanks, Steve Hartman!

Because today starts a new month, it’s time for an overview of some of the celebrations on July’s plate. For a complete list of July celebrations, click here.

  • Monthly celebrations for July include anti-boredom, culinary arts, watercolors, watermelon, blueberries, hot dogs, and ice cream
  • Weekly toasts include beer pong (1-4), nude recreation (4-10), vodka (10-16), massage (17-23), and women in baseball (24-30)
  • Day celebrations include I forgot day (2nd), kisses (6th), no bra (9th), be a dork (15th), take your poet to work day (20th), tequila (24th), take your houseplant for a walk (27th), milk chocolate (28th), lasagna (29th), and orgasms (31st)

Summer is a good time to take in local events. We’ve enjoyed the summer evening concerts featuring local musicians – therefore hope to continue that throughout the summer.

Even with the Congressional hearing about the insurrection, I believe Donald Trump has a 50% chance of winning the Republican nomination and a 55% chance of returning to the presidency, but Gov. DeSantis may be his nomination foil. Meanwhile, President Biden’s chance of reelection is only 20%.

I know trade policies have an impact, but why do politicians get the blame for companies outsourcing jobs outside the country while seemingly nobody blames CEOs who make the decision?

The US Constitution’s Second Amendment contains 27 words. Whereas most people focus on proclaiming the last 14 words, I believe a national dialogue about the first 13 words is a worthwhile discussion. What was the Framers’ intent? What did it mean then? How does that apply today?

Don’t forget to wish Happy Canada Day to the Canadians. I’m out of here.

Perfectly Frank June ’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. Because the new month starts on a Wednesday (Tuesday), Imma also said I’m not bumping Dale – and no way would I even consider that thought! Marc, thanks for the space.

2022 provided a rainy May for Cincinnati, which has become the fifth rainiest Mays in recorded history.

May was a month featuring continued conflict in Ukraine, a baby formula shortage in the US, a leaked Supreme Court draft ruling, rising gas prices, the second biggest longshot Kentucky Derby winner, photos of the center of the Milky Way (confirming no nougat), a Eurovision winner from Ukraine, too many mass shootings in the US, the one-millionth COVID death in the US, and politicians saying stupid shit.

We remember those who departed us in May 2022: a basketball Hall of Famer, a Napa Valley wine pioneer, a Greek keyboardist-composer-Oscar winner, shooting victims, a Field of Dreams actor, and iPods.

In case you missed it, here are a few May headline gems from The Onion: Man Scared of Committing to Earpods because he’s Afraid to Someday Lose Them; Affection for Restaurant Dialed Back upon Realization It’s a Chain; New Diversity Initiative; Elderly Man Spends Afternoons Feeding Self to Ducks; and Sacrificial Altar Comfier than Expected.

For some crazy reason, this compilation fits for a transition.

June starts tomorrow, so there is new stuff to celebrate. Monthly celebrations for June include smiles, sponges, papaya, surf music, bathroom reading, celibacy awareness, and naked bike riding. Weekly cake and candles include International Clothesline Week (4-11), Duct Tape Days (16-18), and Craft Spirits (19-25). Day celebrations include Oscar the Grouch (1st), Moonshine (5th), YoYo (6th), Ghostbuster’s (8th), Sex (9th), Bourbon (14th), Prunes (15th), Tapas (16th), Garfield the Cat (19th), Gongs (21st), Runner’s Selfie (23rd), and Bike Naked Day (25th). For a complete list of June celebrations, check it out here.

Earlier this spring the Biden Administration created a Disinformation Governance Board (DGB). The DGB is currently on hold for organization or reorganization, but I still have a few thoughts. 1) That’s a waste of time and money. 2) Disinformation is defined by the person occupying the Oval Office. 3) This is an excellent example of trying to protect people from themselves. 4) It doesn’t prevent politicians from talking.

May was a horrible month for mass shootings in America. As one party wants tight controls, the other avoids the issue by offering no solutions to lame excuses. So the beat goes on … but I’m not playing Sonny and Cher. Perhaps this headline from The Onion is a good explanation: No Way to Prevent This’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.

Baseball season is well underway, so here are two bookends. After two months, Marc’s Yankees have the best record in baseball while my Reds have the worst. I proudly say that my streak continues of not hearing or seeing one pitch.

Because we hope to see Top Gun: Maverick in the theaters, we recently revisited the original movie on Netflix. For those who may want to do the same, today (Tuesday 31st May) is the last day it will be streaming on Netflix.

Thank you, May, for doing what you do. Being it’s the last day of the month, don’t forget to celebrate Necrotizing Fasciitis Awareness Day (Flesh-Eating Bacteria). June starts tomorrow, so you can start the month with Oscar the Grouch Day. At least now you know what’s going on. I’m out of here.

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

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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

Photo by Gotta Be Worth It on Pexels.com

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.