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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You may have thought that your family Thanksgiving brought too much drama, or the holiday movie was just too long, so here are our favorite short form dramas of the past. Be sure to click on “View original post” as the bottom to follow over to SERENDIPITY for our top ten list.

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My Top Ten Half Hour dramas, by Rich Paschall

Have you ever watched an hour-long drama and decided it was too long?  Even with all the commercial breaks, it did not seem to have a story of any length.  “They could have told that in a half hour,” you may think.  With all of the extraneous character development for the sake of giving us details into the private lives of the main characters, the story may go on for much too long.  Recently I saw an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles that seemed to be torturing us with filler.  If they stuck with the main plot line, it could have been over quickly, but they found plenty of uninteresting ways to stretch out the episode.

Why can’t each episode be a half hour if that is all the story they have?  Why do they bury us with scenes that do not move…

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But now the days grow short… Be sure the Click on “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of my thoughts on the seasons of your life.

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But Now The Days Are Short,Rich Paschall

HEADER-Friday-AtteanView_01When I was seventeen, it was a very good year…

When I turned seventeen, I had finished my Junior year in high school and was looking forward to Senior year at a new school.  It was a bit scary, I admit.  No one wants to leave his mates behind and start again, but that was my fate, not my choice.  At least the new school was in the neighborhood, and I already knew a few students who were going there.  Although we did not admit at the time, the final year of high school put many new thoughts into our heads.

You may think sex or sexual orientation, but those thoughts had already arrived years earlier.  All the passing of a few years meant was that these thoughts and curiosities intensified.  As you might imagine, a few of the boys and girls were a little more…

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Shopping is not one of my favorite chores. It has to be done and sometimes “roomie” comes with to slow me down. Here are my various thoughts. Do you feel the same? Be sure to click on “View original post” at the bottom to follow over to SERENDIPITY for the entire article.

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A Day at the “Zoo,” by Rich Paschall

Let’s start out with a sweeping generalization, shall we? Most guys do not like to spend a lot of time in the grocery store.  I know generalizations are a bad thing … generally … but we seem to be in an era of generalizations, so let’s proceed.

Do you know many guys who want to wander up and down the aisles with you?

When my mother was getting older, she was often looking to be taken to the store.  This happy duty usually came my way.  After she recovered from a stroke, it always came my way.  She was unable to go it alone.  At first we would go slowly up and down all of the aisles, and I do mean all the aisles of the Jewel (you may know them as Albertson’s).  As it became more difficult, we would go down…

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Following are important thoughts on the upcoming election from Marilyn Armstrong. My thoughts on senior voting also appears today on SERENDIPITY. Be sure to hit “View original post” at the bottom to follow over to SERENDIPITY for these articles. 

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I hear a lot from many people, including in my own family, that “my vote doesn’t matter.” The reasons given range from “I live in the country and it’s just the votes in the cities that make the difference.” There’s some truth in that and it is frustrating, particularly on a local level.

Then I hear “None of this has anything to do with me.” That’s pretty hard to accept from a kid living in HUD-managed reduced cost housing and who survives on Social Security Disability. And a woman.

Others include “This state is so blue, my vote won’t matter.” That’s how we elected Trump.

The thing is, the vote isn’t just YOUR vote. Your vote is one of the millions of votes never given.

In the last election, more people didn’t vote than did.

One person doesn’t vote? No big deal. A dozen people don’t vote? Still no big…

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We thought you might need a little fright music for your Halloween. Yes, we have run this before on Sunday Night Blog and SERENDIPITY, but thought you might need it again. It is a little service we perform.
This time out we have added links to songs six through ten. Just click on the title, and be sure to click on “View original post” below to follow over to SERENDIPITY for the rest of the article and music links.

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My top 10 Halloween Songs, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog

Halloween music is becoming popular in the same way as Christmas music.  You don’t think so?  Listen up.  It’s all around and has been playing all week.  Sirius XM radio has a temporary station dedicated to Halloween music, almost like they do for Christmas music.  Just for howls, you can listen in on Halloween for a night of creepy and scary sounds.  It’s a little something to traumatize the little ones.


So with the emphasis on the ghoulish this week, it seems only right that I give you again my top ten favorite Halloween songs.  When I thought of this list I soon had 20 titles, so I stopped looking and started trimming it down.  Some of the titles sounded good, but the music was a disappointment.  For example, I hunted down the theme song to the old television series, Thriller…

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