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.

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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.

Just Sayin’ with Frank

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Greetings everyone. Frank here – once known as A Frank Angle – now the guy at Beach Walk Reflections.

After the past 18 months or so, COVID-19 remains major news – especially the information blitz about the vaccine. Even though the November USA election was 7 months ago, it is still embedded in the news. Imma, Marc’s Director of Strategic Applications of Rhetorical Communications Articulating Substantive Musings, asked me to do some good old investigative journalism. So, in the spirit of Sherriff John Thurston Howell XIV, I’m here to give 12 correlations between vaccine resistance and the November election that I discovered by listening to people.

12) I’m not getting the vaccine because more people died from the flu than COVID, and I know Trump won the election because the Democrats stole it. Keep America First!

11) I’m not getting the vaccine because the government funding was for implanting a tracking device into our body, and I know any person who won the election by a landslide cannot be declared the loser unless there is fraud. Break up Big Pharma! Oh wait! Where’s my phone?

10) I’m not getting the vaccine because the government has taken my freedom away. Besides, Americans did not start dying from the virus until masks were ordered, and there is no doubt Antifa caused the January 6th event at the Capitol that wasn’t an insurrection. I want my country back!

9) I’m not getting the vaccine because it will alter my DNA causing me to vote for a Democrat in the future, and I’ve always questioned election results but now Donald Trump confirmed my beliefs. Make America Great Again!

8) I’m not getting the vaccine because it will cause infertility and miscarriages, and I know Facebook used UFOs to disrupt the electrical grid so they could hack into election computers. Merry Christmas!

7) I’m not getting the vaccine because the mRNA technology is new and will lead to genetic engineering. Because of Charles Darwin, we know what Hitler tried to do, and President Trump’s advisor said he would win if he got 64 million votes, and he received over 70 million. Trump is a gift from God, so cheating is the only way he could lose!

6) I’m not getting the vaccine because they developed the vaccine too fast, so it can’t be safe, and I saw the video on YouTube of uncounted ballots going into dumpsters and through shredders before Google took down the video. Break up Big Tech!

5) I’m not getting the vaccine because it is new and we don’t know the long-term effects, and everyone knows that software can be programmed to flip votes, plus Rudi Guiliani always tells the truth. That’s why he’s America’s Mayor!

4) I’m not getting the vaccine because I had COVID-19 so I already have immunity, plus Joe Biden hid the fact that Osama bin Laden’s death was fake news, and that Osama is still alive living in a cave on the island of Borneo and protected by the CIA. Joe Biden is a disaster – a total loser!

3) I’m not getting the vaccine because I don’t trust the drug companies, plus Hunter Biden laundered money from Ukraine to his dad’s campaign so they could purchase voting machines from a company started by Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to ensure his election. Lock them up! Lock them up! Lock them up!

2) I’m not getting the vaccine because the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is not releasing the real data, their process is flawed, and the organization is too political, and there is no proof that there wasn’t election fraud. Besides, Democrats are Socialists, so keep government out of my Medicare!

1) I’m not getting the vaccine because it’s not FDA approved, but once it is approved, I’ll have a new excuse for not getting it. Besides, all this mess about COVID, vaccines, and the 2020 election comes down to one explanation – it’s Obama’s fault.

Now you know, and Obama is not taking away my Dr. Seuss.

On a COVID Beach Walk

So Frank has decided to commandeer my blog for a beach walk, like in those cop shows when the dude waves his badge in the middle of the street and rides off with some poor schlep’s Mid-size?

Okay maybe not. Instead Imma call this a friendly visit from Frank “Beaches” Angle, who is going to try his damndest to class up the joint for a spell with one of his beach walks. I warned him that I’m beyond help, but he’s just not having it, so there’s that.

Anyways, enjoy the walk!

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like to walk on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Today, I walk with a heavy heart. I think about one year ago – late February 2020 –  a time when we were entering our final week as snowbirds at the beach – doing things for the last time before returning to our northern home. COVID had entered the USA, but life for my relatives in Italy had already ground to a halt.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

A year ago was a time when some proclaimed the virus contained in the USA; passing through like the wind, therefore limiting cases to a handful of 20-25. A year ago was a time when some dismissed COVID cases compared to the flu.

A year ago, we saw reports of overwhelmed Italian hospitals and the beginning of the assault on New York City. We were preparing for our two-day journey home where my wife would have a few days to reorganize before departing on her annual cruise with her friends – leaving the husbands behind to fend for themselves.

During her week away when Ohio and other states went into lockdown – a time when people ravaged grocery stores and stocked up on paper and cleaning products. After seeing televised reports, my wife would call from a port to ask what was going on. Her ship made it back and hasn’t had passengers since she disembarked. She told me of the ship’s precautions and the crazed behaviors she observed at the airport.

As I draft this one year later, the death toll in the USA just passed 500,000. Yes, the USA – a country that is 4% of the world’s population having over 20% of the world’s pandemic deaths. 

I think about my time here at the beach one year later – fewer snowbird renters, restaurants are not busy, and fewer people in stores. The great music venue only 300 steps away is a regular place for us, but a place we never entered this year.

I think about my cousins in Italy who spent months in their apartment; and only allowed to leave for necessities. Only one of them going to a market where they may have to wait in line to enter; and then have a limited time to shop.

Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

I think about how a democracy can be messy. Too many Americans declaring a violation of rights based on Constitutional principles they misinterpret. People with countless reasons to justify a position – reasons that may be valid or invalid. Elected officials politicizing human health and general welfare – something that is still difficult for me to grasp.

I think about those who said they are living in a Communistic state. I wonder if the Czechs in the 1940s would agree when the Allies handled their democracy to the Nazis on a silver platter. What would the same Czechs say after the Soviet occupation took hold after the war – a control lasting over 40 years. 

I think about those who provided simple solutions as, “We have to learn to live with this virus.” Isn’t that what masking does? Is that the role of social distancing? Isn’t that getting a vaccine to everyone as quickly as possible? Isn’t that choosing to take the vaccine?

Over 500,000 Americans, gone in a year. Yes, a small percentage of our total population – but still, a half a million with tens of thousands more on the near horizon – and so many died alone.

I think about how the past year has ripped away something for everyone – yet, I laughed when American late-night host Jimmy Kimmel said at the beginning of Lent – (I paraphrase) – What is left to give up for Lent?

Over 500,000 people – gone – family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers to someone. Advocates, givers, and jokesters – the athletic, the artistic, the organizers, and the doers – the rich and the poor – the famous and the ordinary – the empathetic and the selfish – the nice and the mean – the positive and the negative – the young and the old – the humble and the egotistic – gone.

Photo by Laura James on Pexels.com

Over 500,000 people –  more than the cumulative USA battlefield casualties of major wars. People with quiet integrity and huge hearts. People whom we’ve never met. People that we would be proud to know.  Gone – and most with a limited funeral at best. 

I think about a higher number – those losing their job during the pandemic – some of those jobs never to return. Food banks, present to help the needy, but with new demands stressing their supply. Cheers to the many who stepped forward to help the supply – but the demand continues. 

In a conversation last summer, I asked this question: What have we learned? But, I wonder if people can answer that question beyond their political bias. One year later, after turning life in the world upside down – after a year of many losses – I occasionally still ask that one question, but seldom get a thoughtful answer.  

On the plus side, it’s been a year of celebrating health care workers, although we may not understand their stress. We celebrate that science works – although many still don’t understand it. We celebrate that kindness still works – even something as simple as checking on someone. 

I think about how every one of us lost numerous opportunities and precious time. Some of us have handled it better than others. Then again, the selfish are seldom happy.

Yes, my heart is heavy today. Like many others, I reminisce of better times and hope for better days ahead. On the other hand, I’m still standing on the upward side of the grass; healthy and walking on the beach – which is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Heroes Of The Week! (The Dynamic Duo Edition)

reddit: the front page of the internet | Batman illustration, Robin comics, Batman robin

For this week’s episode, I’ve invited Frank “Beach Walks” Angle to ride shotgun with me as we deliver up a roster of righteousness. We’re still trying to figure out who’s Batman and who’s Robin (I’m Batman), but in the meantime, let’s just say we have a sweet supply of feel good coming at ya. And of course, seeing as how Cincy is sooooo glass half full (must be all those refreshing walks of his), Imma be peach positive in all my entries. This duo rocks!

Now to our heroes . . .

My Project: Goldie Hawn and The Hawn Foundation - NBC News

Goldie Hawn is proving once again that beauty is so much more than skin deep.

For the last sixteen years, Hawn’s MINDUP Program has been helping students deal with anxiety, stress, anger and depression. Schools that have instituted her mindfulness program have seen a dramatic improvement in the mental health of their students and the numbers ain’t lying: 86% percent of users say the program has helped them achieve more positive outcomes while 83% say it has led to an improvement in their social skills.

And now Hawn has introduced a way for these children to cope with the isolation and uncertainty that has come with a global pandemic. She’s partnered up with Insight Timer- a meditation app- to offer five minute exercises called “brain breaks” that help the kids maintain focus while alleviating their stress levels.

“During this time of uncertainty, children are affected negatively emotionally and are facing symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Hawn, the 74-year-old founder of MindUP. “Our program helps address these issues by creating mental fitness and emotional stability.”

For one thing, the girl is making seventy four the new Wow! But more important to her, and to the world around her, is the positive difference she is making every day. In a world of superficial, there do in fact exist superheroes.

Remember back in the early days of this pandemic when people were singing in their windows and baking breads and learning to sew again for the very first time? Well, Scott McKenzie and Jeremy Uhrich- both of whom hail from Huntingdon, Pa.- baked cookies from scratch. This coping mechanism led to a bake-off when Ulrich read McKenzie’s post on Facebook.

The two men invited local front line workers to be the judges as a thank you for all their hard work and dedication.

Well, the event was such a success that the two decided to start up a Facebook page called “Cookies for Caregivers”. The group currently has 299 members the group and has delivered more than 15,000 cookies and cakes to hospital staff, grocery stores and fire departments. Uhrich’s father even got to baking creating his own group in Hershey, Pa.

“There aren’t enough people to thank,” McKenzie said. “Kindness doesn’t have an expiration date.”

So the next time someone pulls out the old standard about how the cookie crumbles? Remind that as to why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all.

A New Jersey restaurant with a coronavirus scare stayed open because of the generosity of a neighboring barbershop - CNN

Not everyone likes to play by the rules of this pandemic, so it’s important to note that places such as the Würstbar eatery in Jersey City, New Jersey abide. Even when faced with the daunting prospect of having to close its doors for good, these guys still did the right thing when one of their workers was exposed to the virus recently. They shut down, together. The health and safety of their staff was more important to these owners than money. Imagine that? Giving a damn about people more than your bottom line.

But no good deed goes unnoticed and so when the workers at Virile Barber Shop got word of the restaurant’s plight, they decided to step in and keep the lights on.

“The weather is too nice out to let our neighbors at Würstbar stay closed!” Virile Barber Shop owner Andre Fersa posted. “I’ve taken over the bar and am selling PRETZELS, beer, wine and cider for outdoor seating only. Come on by and support this great staff.”

No whining about medical conditions or how their rights had been violated. Just human beings making the very best of a bad situation in these trying times.

That’s how you define humanity.

And now Imma kick it over to Cincy, who is going to send y’all into the weekend with a selection of stories that will fill your tank with inspiration. Take it away Frank.

Thanks, Marco for the opportunity to co-anchor this edition of Heroes. I’m starting with a young kid in Gaithersburg, Maryland – Cavanaugh Bell – a second grader that gives humanity hope. He started Operation Magic because he thinks big. So big, I wonder what is next. So big, he makes me feel small.

Last week you featured a Cincinnati story about a man adopting not one, but five kids. This week we are crossing the Ohio River to the Kentucky side. Campbell County is where we find Tricia Verst, a high school freshman with a rare chromosomal disorder. She wanted to run cross country. Unsure how to motivate Tricia, coach Toni McKee got an idea, and that’s when senior Sydney McKinney stepped up. Well, here’s the story.

Image property of WXIX television Cincinnati, Ohio

This one is my no-brainer for the week. This story is about 140.6 miles: swimming 2.4 miles, biking riding 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles … yes, one after another. I have volunteered to dance with those with Down Syndrome. One of the reasons it is so rewarding is that many DS people are so positive and appreciative. This story is about Chris Nikic of Maitland, Florida, but a tip of the cap to Dan Grieb, who was with Chris the entire 140.6 miles.

Yes, to my surprise, I’m leading you out with Britney Spears – well – no really – but a cover of one of her songs.

 

Heroes: A Frank Edition

Greetings to Marc’s Peeps. Frank here, formerly of A Frank Angle but currently at Beach Walk Impressions. Last week Marc asked me if I could do the next edition of Heroes. Of course, I agreed. Shortly thereafter, a family health issue developed, and time got away from me – then yesterday evening’s oh-shit moment arrived. Fortunately, I had some bookmarks. So here goes.

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Marshall Helm (of Salem, Illinois) is a Vietnam veteran, a grandfather, and a person battling cancer. He walked his granddaughter to her stop, and after she boarded, the bus driver directed his attention to the smoke coming from a nearby house. He ran to the house and found flames in the garage. He opened the door, raced past flames, and his shouts awakened the sleeping homeowners. All safely escaped through the backdoor. The house is gone, but lives are safe. Just an example of a person with a sense of duty to others. Thank you, Mr. Helm.

 

Orion Jean (of Ft. Worth, Texas) decided he wanted to make the world a better place by spreading kindness with a message of wanting everyone to know that they are loved. Orion won the National Kindness Speech Award prize of $500 – and he takes the money to buy toys for hospitalized children. THEN, some community members pitched in. Now, Orion’s “Race for Kindness” has a goal of snack bags for a needy 100,000 people by Thanksgiving. For the record, Orion is 10 years old. I like this interview with him, plus I get to see one of my fav news personalities.

 

The Story: COVID-19 has impacted the world in 2020. On top of that, Californians and others in western states have been dealing with devastating wildfires. Berry Creek is a small, rural community of 1,200 people in California’s hilly, forested terrain. While Berry Creek volunteer firefighters fought the fire and helped residents evacuate, a fire destroyed the fire department station and the homes of six of the seven volunteer firefighters.

The Rest of the Story: Meanwhile, back in 2018 the father-daughter combo of Woody and Luna Faircloth started a nonprofit to supply RVs as temporary shelter for people who lost homes to the 2018’s massive Camp Fire. Today their organization is now known as EmergencyRV.org. Once they heard the news about the Berry Creek firefighters, they sprung into action to deliver RVs to shelter those who lost their homes. Although temporary, they now have a place they can call home. Who are the heroes? You decide. I couldn’t find a video of this story, but here’s an article.

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Here’s one for the season – but more of a feel-good story than something heroic. Then again, Abigail, Theo, and Benny (of Salt Lake City, Utah) are hero candidates. No doubt in my mind that kids get what relationships are supposed to be much more than adults.

 

Fortunately, heroes are not by societal biases as age, gender, race, sexuality, religion, and nationality. Thanks to those mentioned here, in past editions, editions to come, heroes not mentioned, and all those who do it as a regular job.

To take you into the weekend, here’s a song for you and all the heroes. Mainly because I like the song. Besides, the images are wonderful. Have a great weekend, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch. PS: Don’t forget about your clocks this weekend – well – those who have to make an adjustment.

Frankly Speaking, Life’s A Beach

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Imma be preempting our regularly scheduled “Heroes” episode in order to dish up some breaking news that is actually worth its weight in bold. Because my punctilious pen pal, the golden gloved gallivanter, the kid I call Cincy . . A Frank Angle . . . yeah. He’s back. 

He’s got brand new digs (click here), that will prove refreshing to your senses and his debut is coming up next week- Tuesday, October 20th. So make sure to stop by and give him some love. And because we ain’t gonna tease when we can please, Cincy has supplied us with a very special preview of what’s to come. 

Enjoy the walk . . .

 

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

Ever think about seeds? They seem so simple at a glance – even on closer examination. We typically think of a hard, thin outer shell with a softer inside. 

On the other hand, this seemingly plain object is the beginning of something new – something beautiful – something useful – a green plant that can be as simple as grass or are grand as a large tree.

Earth’s annual regeneration of seeds for release (many in the fall) – possibly covered by winter snows – yet ready for renewal in the spring so the cycle can repeat – all this with its goal of perpetuating the species.

I think of the farmer preparing the land before planting the seeds. Whether scattering the seeds randomly or planting them in straight rows with distinct spacing, time delivers something that belongs to all of us – bountiful crops and flowers. 

As I walk, trees are sparse – only found on the grounds of some condominiums – although they are naturally found a short distance away from this beach. I think about a forest. Somewhere in that forest’s history, there was a time of one tree – the first tree. One tree that came from a seed. From that one tree came other trees – each coming from a seed.

I think about the sizes and shapes of seeds – from the tiniest orchid seed to a type of coconut containing the largest seed – shapes as squares, oblong, angular, triangles, round, egg-shaped, bean-shaped, kidney-shaped, discs, and spheres. Some seeds with lines and ridges – others perfectly smooth – plus in a variety of colors, and some even speckled.  

A seed has three components – an outer protective coat, the embryo for growing into a new plant, and the food source giving the embryo and young plant its initial food source for growth – all aspects for increasing a chance for survival.

Ever notice how leaves sprout early from a seed? Yes, leaves for producing food for the youthful, growing plant because the initial food source is small. 

Seeds hold the potential to produce something new because they contain hope and promise for something new. But not all plants use seeds for reproduction. For instance, mosses or ferns do not  – but seed plants are the ones that dominate the plant world. 

This causes me to think about our fertility – that is, the seeds within us. The promises that we hold that can produce a bountiful yield.

Interesting that the sperm of human males are called seeds, but in the plant world, seeds are something produced after the sperm fertilizes the egg.

Seeds are mobile, so they must have adaptations to move them around – a method of dispersal. Some have wings to be carried by the wind. Some have barbs, burrs, or hooks to attach to fur, feathers, or even human clothing to be dropped elsewhere. Some are buoyant so moving water can transport them. Others are surrounded by fleshy fruit that will be eaten, therefore the seeds can be exposed and deposited elsewhere for potential growth. 

I remember the large oak trees at my previous home. Each producing a bountiful supply of acorns – but not the same number each year. Each acorn with a coat, an embryo, and food supply. Each acorn is the potential for a new oak tree. However, all those acorns from one tree – a culinary feast for squirrels preparing for winter – so I wonder how many of all those acorns will yield their acorns in time. 

Seeds are that structure we plant in fertile soil and associate with terms as vigor, viability, dormancy, and germination. Seeds are also a source for food, oils, cooking ingredients, flavorings, jewelry, and even deadly poisons.

Besides a simple design yielding a complex adult, the seed is also a useful metaphor.

People are hidden seeds waiting to become viable vessels of knowledge. Because every seed has the potential for a significant result, seeds are a symbol for the potential that is in each of us for a positive future – a power of hope and possibility. Teachers hope to plant a seed in students – a seed that develops over time into something valued by others and society – their role in cultivating humanity.

Seeds are the ideas coming to us from thinking. The something that initiated a thought process that leads to personal action for improving life. The seeds of discovery lie in the knowledge of determination through the human spirit.

I think about how each of us has a bright side and a dark side – the good seeds and the bad seeds. Seeds are a symbol for laying the groundwork for future development as planting the seed – but some use planting the seed for promoting negative feelings or a downfall.

Religions rely on the seeds of faith while politics prefers manipulating the seeds for selfishness.  

A heart contains seeds of love that are waiting to sprout a new life with that special someone.

I think about how entrepreneurs use “seed money” for starting a new business. I also remember during my youth using “bird feed” or “chicken feed” as a term for a small amount of anything – something paltry or minuscule in amount.

Seeds – that simple, interesting, incredible, and successful biological design found in nature that plays a large role in human life. I don’t recall what triggered thinking about seeds on this day, but it has been an interesting mental journey and exercise as I walk. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

America 2020

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Many unemployed

Societal unrest due to social justice issues

Partisan divides running deep

People yelling to get their way

Families divided, and even severing family ties

Friendships strained enough to break

People choosing a news source delivering the narrative they want to hear

Strained relations with long-term international allies

Coronavirus amplifying differences

People cheering illness and death to mock the person

Too many racists in the population

A variety of means of voter suppression

Politics determining disaster assistance

Conspiracy theorists gaining public office

Yes – Keep America great

We shred junk mail with our name on it, but I wish I would have carefully saved more of this envelope. I understand why people want to come to America for a better life, but I also understand why someone would want to leave it behind. I can honestly say that it is on my mind, but I also understand the role of other factors in my decision. First, where to go is one thing, but in the age of COVID, who would let an American enter? Let alone a person in their 60s. I also realize that the grass always appears greener on the other side of the fence – and when jumping the fence, landing in a bigger pile of crap is very possible. Second, I’m not alone – meaning it’s not just my decision. I’m married, and my wife’s 91-year-old father lives in our area. In other words, the decision is not solely mine – which means moving is very unlikely.

After the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, it took only a few hours from the news to run amuck. Long ago I stated that one thing worse than a Trump presidency is the millions of Trumpians remaining after his presidency. Believing in his brand is one thing, selling one’s soul to get something they want is another matter. Yes, I’m very much bothered.  Yes, moving is on my mind.

On Life After Blogging

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A Frank Angle was my little corner of the world for 11+ years – a place that was my pride and joy – a place where I met many kind people from all over the world – and some of those would develop into wonderful cyber-friendships. In early Fall 2019, I announced I would end the run – then in early February 2020, and after an orchestrated departure, I posted for the last time. Time has told me that I need to bend your ear a little about that time and the time that followed. Maybe this is my way of saying I still feel it.

To say the period around the closing was very emotional would be an understatement. The combination of tears and pride was more than I ever imagined. Words cannot describe my appreciation for the kindness showered upon me. So much so, I feel it still today.

The way I closed turned out to be important and confirmed what I believed at the time. When ending a blog, closure is important for both the readers and the host. My readers respected me and were sad to see me go, but they understood. In my eyes, I owed them closure. Although I can’t speak for the readers, my gut says my plan succeeded.

I also needed closure. In a way, I looked at it as a funeral – but not one of sadness, but one of a celebration of life. Besides being emotional, the ending series was also fun. Several days later, a sense of calm and relief came upon me. Yes, I had no worries of visiting or writing to my self-imposed deadlines and visits while being proud of my accomplishments.

My readers gave me a sense of worth, pride, and accomplishment – a feeling that I won’t forget – so I visited many of them shortly thereafter. Not for every post, but enough to show my respect and appreciation for them.

If you ever close a blog, readers will want to know if the blog will remain visible, I chose to, but also understand taking it down. However, I think back to another blog who suddenly announced her last post, then it was gone. She provided no closure for me or her most-loyal readers – let alone a vanishing cyber-footprint.

Since then, my life has been interesting. By being released from my self-imposed obligation of visiting others from my shoulders, I began to relax from blogging while still snooping around. I still visited others, but it was on my terms.

By mid-March, life with COVID-19 changed everyone’s life. For me, no more blog to maintain – no ballroom dance – no handbell choir – no dinner with friends – no working at the golf course – no volunteer ushering at plays – no evenings at a restaurant. Life focused on walking several times a day and watching streaming services – but the writing was still important to me.

In the final post, and to the surprise of many, I mentioned the possibility of a new blog – Beach Walk Reflections. COVID-19 allowed me to write – and that I did. With 71 beach walks in the archives at A Frank Angle, I decided to rewrite all 71 of them. After all, the walks had evolved, so the earliest walks needed a lot of work. Plus, I already had prepared notes for many other walks, so I started the draft process on about another 50 walks. So during the first few months of the pandemic, I wrote. I guess that means I still feel it.

By late April, my golf course duties returned. Surprisingly, the golf business has been booming! Ballroom, handbells, ushering, and more are still in limbo. Summer remains a time for the outdoors, so my wife and I walk, golf, and play pickleball. We still watch our share of streaming shows. Therefore, my writing time decreased – and so did my blog visits. However, I’m still on target for a possible fall return to WordPress.

Because our travel plans vanished, we treated ourselves with some new items for our home – so I spent a lot of time researching online.  Life remains simple while limiting our normal social circles. This new normal sucks, but I accept my responsibilities in this pandemic.

I’ve written several posts as a guest blogger for Marc here at Sorryless – which is a good thing. He is also the reason why I approached him with this post. Plus, it’s been an opportunity to stay in touch with some good people. Then again, I feel it still.

In this post, I wanted to share some aspects of closing a blog, as well as providing an update of my life. Closing a blog is a personal decision, but I want bloggers to know what I did and experienced. I’m sure I could have written more, but I did this from memory – not notes. Although that may not be for everyone, there is something in this post for all bloggers. Besides, I feel it still.

On a Sign of the Times

Embed from Getty Images

(The following situation is real, but I changed the names)

I first met Lee in 1972 – probably somewhere between January and April of my freshman year in college. Lee was visiting my dorm neighbor and friend, Rob from his hometown. Lee, a year older than Rob and me, was about to finish his Associate Degree at a community college, so he was looking for a place to continue his education and earn his Bachelor’s Degree. He joined us in September 1972, which would start a long friendship between us.

Upon graduation, he returned to northeast Ohio, and I landed in southwest Ohio – but we stayed in touch. Not many years later, he came to the Cincinnati area looking for a new job. We lived on opposite sides of the metropolitan area, but we stayed in contact by phone with frequent conversations.

Lee is a kind man – not one to get in trouble. Describing him as “straight-laced” may be an understatement – family-man, religious, no alcohol, a non-smoker, empathetic in his way, and willing to help others in his circle. He’s stubborn and opinionated. His voice resonates with confidence and being knowledgeable, which also means he provides ample opportunities to discover that if bullshit was music, he would be a one-man symphony orchestra.

Besides personal character, interest in sports and politics served as a bonding agent. Both of us love baseball and its rich history. Who knows how many trivia questions about the national pastime we’ve bounced off each other – or the countless conversations about recent great plays we saw on ESPN Sportscenter.

On the other hand, we have sports-related differences. Through good times and bad times, I am loyal to my teams – whereas Lee switches allegiances based on his conveniences. He’s also quite the homer. Every autumn he would ask who I wanted to win baseball’s World Series, and I would always answer, the Reds. He would remind me the Reds aren’t in the series, so I would remind him then I didn’t care. In time, he stopped asking.

Sports, politics, and no matter the topic, his opinionated nature allows him to make ridiculous statements. Sharing them here is not the point. Lee makes so many predictions that even one of his family members refers to him as a “Shotgun Nostadamas” who hopes one comes true so he can boast.

Almost 50 years of friendship is odd for us because of our differences. I grew up in a rural area – he, in a metropolitan suburb. I grew up in a multi-national family – he, in a traditional white American family.

I, a traveler – he, a homebody. I, a doer of a variety of entertainment activities and interests outside the home – he, still a homebody. He has two kids – I have none.

I raised a Catholic now a Lutheran – he, a Southern Baptist. I, with a science background and one who understands what science is and how it works – he, a cafeteria scientist who picks and chooses what he believes primarily based on his religious and political views.

We have had our share of good discussions about current events through the years. Politically, sometimes we were on the same side of issues – other times not. There is no question in my mind that every person’s view evolves. When we met in college, we were both Democrats – but of different forms. Today, neither one of us identifies with the Dems, but we are far apart. I, an authentic moderate independent – he, a consumer of the party Kool-Aid and a Trump apologist. I call him a political hack.

I, a believer in the potential of oneness that humanity can be and that the majority of people in the world are good – he, unquestionably the most racist person I know regarding skin color, religion, nationality, and sexual orientation.

Being a reflective type, I will also point the finger at myself for part of the blame for my current feeling. While I would challenge him on sports and political issues, I very seldom challenged him on his prejudices regarding people. Looking back, I regret that choice.

With head-on issues such as President Trump’s actions and divisive nature, George Floyd and social justice, COVID-19’s multitude of impacts, an election year, and more, life today is challenging.

I haven’t talked to Lee in several months and a future conversation is not on my radar. I’ve deleted his name from my Contacts list – but I know his number – and no, I haven’t blocked him.

He texted me recently, but I ignored/did not answer because I saw it as one of his stupid sports statements. But what will I do if he calls or texts again? Time will tell.

The bottom line is simple. Is he a person that I want to associate with these days? Is the situation worth ending a 48-year friendship? For me, the answers are simple because they revolve around the fact that Lee is a science-denying self-proclaimed know-it-all who is a Trump apologist and arrogant bigot. Besides, I have enough divisiveness in my life because we live in challenging times – but challenging times require challenging decisions to do the right thing.