Our Tourist Pictures

When we travel around I take some pictures with my phone.  These, however, are taken with the camera.  I get better pictures, although my Moto 5 phone gets a good quality. I think it is important to pack a camera for vacation.  I know people have phones where they can keep a LOT of pictures and get good quality.  I guess I did not want to invest in a high-end phone to get somewhat better pictures.

Our most recent trip to Germany included our first ever stop in Heidelberg.  It is a university town with great tradition.  Nestled among the hills along the Nekar River it is quaint and picturesque.  For more on this trip check our narrative and more picture on SERENDIPITY here.

Click on any picture to go through the larger versions of each. Be sure to hop over to our Heidelberg story, “Our Visit To The Valley,” by clicking on the link here




We recently returned to Alsace for another tour of the region.  We have been fortunate to do this often in recent years.  To read more about it, head over to SERENDIPITY here.

Click on any picture to start through the larger versions of each. Click here to read more about our Alsace Adventure.


It’s not just on New Year’s Eve that you must be careful not to stumble and fall. There are other times to beware.  Be sure to click “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of my roommate thoughts.

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Roommates, by Rich Paschall, a roommate in the dark

At some point you may have had a roommate other than your parents and siblings. They do not count for this consideration as you did not pick them.  You had to deal with them or endure them according to the rules of family. If you lived with a brother or sister after you moved out of your parents’ house, however, then what follows is all on you. By that point in life, you knew what you were getting into. If your brother left his dirty socks wherever he took them off in the apartment, you should have know that would happen. There’s no use to carp about it now.

My first roommate was while I was in college. We did not go to college together. We were high school chums. This actually worked out well as he was rarely around. I think that he had a…

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It is not “visions of sugar plums” that are dancing in my head, but rather visions of royalty checks.  Will this be the year someone sets this to music and makes us rich?  Dream on.

A Hit for Christmas

O Christmas tree

I need a hit for Christmas
To turn the season green.
A snappy little holiday tune
Is really what I mean.
If I could just find somewhere
In my memory tonight
A verse, a phrase, some words of joy
To the world I would write.

“What is my theme?” I wonder
As I wander here and there.
Christmas songs make lots of cash
And why should I not share
In monies green and silver
But oh what shall I say?
After all I’m thinking now,
“What’s not been said of Christmas Day?”

I’ll write a Christmas Jingle.
Bells of joy will sound –
A song about Kris Kringle
Or snow upon the ground.
I’ll make a little silver.
Bells of joys will play –
A check, a smile, a royalty
With every Christmas Day.

As each and every memory
Was sailing past tonight,
I had to grab the good ones
And to add the music right.
I’m dreaming of best sellers
That every year will rock
Around the Christmas tree
And down every single block.

We then need the musicians
For piano and for bass.
We’ll add a little drummer.
Boy, we’ll really rock the place.
The perfect words and music?
I ask what do you hear.
What I hear are record deals
If we can sound sincere.

I’ll write a Christmas Jingle.
Bells play all the way.
A tune that you will download –
On CD’s that you will play.
I’ll have a greener season
And know just what to say –
“A check, a smile, a royalty
With every Christmas Day.”

Copyright Richard Paschall

Still Christmas Shopping?

For those still shopping on Christmas eve…

A Christmas Gift

Christmas shopping

I was caught
In the crush of Christmas shopping,
Fighting the crowds
And always stopping,
To find the right gift
That I can give to you
But nothing seems right.
What shall I do?

The weather is snowing.
The street lights are glowing.
Everyone is knowing,
That Christmas is near.

The crowd is in a hurry.
The people all scurry,
As they battle the flurry and
Shouts of good cheer.

But I have a task
That is not like the rest.
I must choose a gift.
It must be the best.
I’ll search everywhere.
Do what I can do.
The cost doesn’t matter,
Because it’s for you.

The Christmas Bells are ringing.
The snow begins clinging.
Choirs will be singing
Of heaven above.

As soft music plays,
On this Christmas Day,
I know I will say,
That my gift is Love.

Copyright Michael F. Teolis music and Richard Paschall lyrics.

Frankfurt Adventure

Our Tourist Photos

Our trip to Germany and France included a stop over in Frankfurt. While there we did a lot of exploring on foot. Much to our surprise, it is a good city to see this way.  We took some short journeys on the city train to speed our adventure along.  

Since we are good tourists, we took many pictures with a camera and phone.  I do not consider my phone a camera, although I admit I sometimes get very good pictures with my Moto5. These are from a Canon digital.  Be sure to click on any one of the pictures so you can see larger versions of each photo.

For more on this adventure, see our story today on SERENDIPITY here.


It’s already been quite cold in much of the country, so it is time to break out our winter weather songs. Be sure to click on “View original post” below so you can sing along with my Top Ten on SERENDIPITY.

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My Top 10 Cold Weather Songs, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

With some of the nation having already been visited by cold and snow, it seems like a good time to bring on the winter tunes. Songs by any band with “Cold” in their name is not what we mean here.  Nor shall we include song about loves who are as “Cold As Ice” or running “Against The Wind.”  Our tunes are really songs about winter, cold, and snow.  Some are a bit more symbolic than others, but they will do nicely for my purposes.

Let’s be clear, they are not holiday songs, although some of them only get played in the holiday season.  Since the Christmas holiday season seems to start around Halloween and go until New Year’s Day, I guess there is already ample opportunity to hear some of them.  You will discover that there is no holiday greeting included in…

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A young man who works in air freight asked if Dublin was handled by the Asia team. A warehouse worker said he knows what to get the young man for Christmas. A globe! Be sure to click on “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY and take our short geography quiz.

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 Ouagadougou, anyone?  by Rich Paschall

One of the many things that has surprised me about education in the twenty-first century is the absence of Geography in grade school and high school curriculum.  When I have asked any young people in the last two decades if they have taken geography in school, the answer is usually the same.  “Geography?  What’s that?”

When I was in elementary school, we took Geography.  We had Geography books.  The class room had Geography maps so we could understand where in the world our place of study was located.  They were the kind of maps that rolled up like your window shades.  There were pictures pinned to a bulletin board of various places we might study.  The geography course was our window to other locations in the world.  It was an introduction to other people and cultures.  I always found it an interesting class, although I did not know…

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A Modern Opera, a review 

It is likely I would not have gone to see a local opera company had I not already been familiar with the work of the poet, Gavin Geoffrey Dillard.  After all, I have seen plenty of opera at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and plenty of local theater.  But this has an intriguing premise that was too good to pass up.

I first encountered Mr. Dillard in the late 1980’s.  I was looking for a book of poetry that was well reviewed and actually contacted him at the publisher.  I found earlier works as well as later and even exchanged correspondence with the author.  His poetic style is unique, varied and always interesting.  

Originally the librettist, John De Los Santos, had proposed an opera based on Dillard’s autobiography, In The Flesh.  Dillard countered with the idea of an older poet with a bit of writer’s block, and a younger one who becomes his muse.  The idea came to him as he had been in correspondence with a younger fan/poet over a certain length of time.  They exchanged poems just as the characters of the opera do.  The opera, however, is not a telling of that, but rather uniquely original. 

De Los Santos constructed the work in 5 sections.  A couple of collections of older works of Dillard provided the voice of the muse/younger poet, while more recent works provided the basis of the older poets words.  De Los Santos advised that he was able to put the pieces together in just five months.  You will find that remarkable if you are lucky enough to catch the show. 

Director / choreographer  / librettist John De Los Santos approached composer Clint Borzoni for the music.  At first he was unsure of the project, but got rolling as the words suggested to him the music.  He has crafted a work that would be challenging to the seasoned professional.

Dillard with Kistler (left) and Wilson (right)

The two young men who provide an entire full length opera in the Chicago production are up to the challenge.  Jonathan Wilson plays the poet while Nathan James Kistler is his muse.  They are always engaged and engaging.  The time moves quickly when performers keep your attention on the storyline.  Like any good opera, the company projects the words above the performance area.  This is particularly helpful with the unique work of Dillard.  

The story is aided with the interpretive dance of Jay Espano and Christopher Young at various moments throughout.  For their purposes a larger stage would have been helpful, but they manage well nonetheless.

Thompson Street Opera Company’s production at the Broadway Theater at the Pride Arts Center is the second production of the opera.  It premiered at the Ashville Lyric Opera in May 2018.

Finally, don’t be put off (or turned on) by the Opera Company notice that there is full male nudity in the show. It lasts about 3 seconds on a darkened performance area and the lights go out quickly.  If you see anything at all (I didn’t), then I suggest you have probably seen such things before.  


Last week we posted the Top Ten short dramas, but we left the half hour western to a Top Ten of its own. Be sure to click on “View original post” below to head over to SERENDIPITY for the entire list.

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My Top Ten Half Hour Westerns, By Rich Paschall

Previously on Top Ten Lists, the half hour dramas were pursued and captured by our list makers after a mighty struggle with the internet.  The hero of our saga had to hunt down the short dramas of yesteryear, because the present day folks had completely abandoned the idea of getting to the point quickly.  These stories were rounded up one by one and displayed in

Too Much Drama

, an episode from a couple of weeks ago.  Now the tale of the half hour drama resumes with the Western division.  Our hero will ride off into the sunset looking for horse dramas that actually had a plot and moved right along.  Saddle up and follow us down the trail.

In the early days of television, the western was a staple of programming.  Many shows were radio broadcasts that became television series.  With an…

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