Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

In accordance with Japanese versus Chinese custom, we change the year on January 1st. The Chinese calendar will change from the Year of the Tiger to the Year of the Rabbit on February 3, 2011, the Chinese New Year.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010


page views of Yeshliblog since the counter was installed a couple of years ago

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

My Thanksgiving thanksgiving 2010

Hodu L’Adonai Ki Tov Ki L’Olam Chasdo

The theme of this Thanksgiving thanksgiving was to be the things we take for granted. I was going to wax eloquent about traffic lights and baggage handlers and the like, and I still may do that, but it dawned on me as I meditated upon the things we take for, actually reality rushed in on me as our latest grandson was born, that we take nearly everything for granted. To be truly thankful every moment would be to fully appreciate, and give thanks for, every breath, every heartbeat, every morsel of sustenance, every drop of water, every beam of sunshine, every rotation of an earth positioned exactly the right distance from the sun.
Yet, I am extremely thankful for one day on which we can all remember to express the things that come to mind for which we are thankful. Since nearly everything in this world is worthy of thanksgiving in one way or another, we never run out of things for which we are thankful, and it is wonderful to hear what our friends and families are thankful for.

So let me start with life—that life that came springing forth from the love of Ryan and Ellie and the Spirit of Life—three partners, not two, bringing a new measure of goodness into this world. Presently unnamed, but soon he will be called by his name; a prophecy will be spoken over him to give him direction in his life. Our prayer is that he will become all that he is named to be, is meant to be, to bring the greatest goodness with him into this plane of existence. For life, we give thanks.

Without them we could not communicate, but furthermore, without them there would be nothing to communicate about. They are not arbitrary descriptions of things. They are the underpinnings of things. Without words, there would be no things. Things are spoken into being. With words we weave wonderful warp and woof with regard to other words. For words, we give thanks.

Words lie cold on a piece of paper or a computer screen until breath is applied. Breath was applied to red clay, and living being was the result. Applied to consonants, breath brings words to life. Things become. Thoughts arise. Ideas dance. Actions emerge. Breath ought not, but can, bring death. Let not our breath blow out the candle of another. Breathe life. Speak life. Bring life. For breath, we give thanks.

The first place to speak life, the place of receiving life is family. The place, when you go there, they have to take you in. If we’re fortunate, they want to take us in. I am very fortunate and thankful for all my family. We should love everyone, but we cannot love everyone with the utmost intensity. Grandpas, grandmas, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, out-laws, friends of family. Families give us that place to love to our uttermost. For families, we are thankful. For family, we give thanks.

The harmonies of instruments in a fine orchestral piece, the blending of voices in an a cappella choir, hymns of grateful praise raised on high, a joyful shout, the haunting strains of early chant, the close intervals of Barbershop and Sweet Adelines, the rock beat, the jazz improvisation, the sweet, angelic harmonies of polyphonic sound, music is all around us. All we have to do is listen!

Yet music is more and more is music; the music of the spheres, they called it. The underlying harmony and beauty of the universe is musical and fills us with awe and wonder and reminds us of its Orderer, its Harmonizer. As the movie August Rush puts it, “You know what music is? God's little reminder that there's something else besides us in this universe: harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars."

Electrons and their harnessing allow me to type this message to all of you on my binary machine called a computer. First of all, the electrons in my brain have to transmit the messages to the motor parts of the body. Electrons in the electro-magnetic spectrum allow me to wing these words to you at the speed of light. Electrons at your location allow the words to be reproduced so that new things can come into existence as the electrons in your body reach your brain and produce thought. For electrons (and for light, with its speed) we give thanks.

Traffic lights bring order to chaos. Have you ever been at an intersection when the traffic light is out of order? Chaotic! Think of how slowly things would move on our streets and highways without traffic lights. And speaking of out of order, traffic lights are rarely out of order. Either the traffic-light-bulb changing guys are extremely efficient or the traffic light bulbs are very long-lasting. Traffic lights are operable over 99.9 percent of the time. For traffic lights, we give thanks.

We send our words around the world at the speed of light, and we send our bodies hither and yon at speeds that would boggle our ancestors’ minds. Yet do we take for granted the people who make this possible? I’m talking about those who mine the metals, make the plastics, build the engines and door panels and light bulbs, who maintain the vehicles, who drill the oil, who build the pipelines, who produce the gas, who lay the tracks, who fly the plane, who serve the drinks, who conduct the train, who print the tickets, who sell the tickets, who produce the flyers that tell us when the planes and trains depart the ports and stations, who build the terminals, who make the schedules, and of course, who handle our baggage so ably almost all of the time. We ought not forget all of those nor the materials that have been given to them to do the jobs they do, whether physical or mental or motivational. For all of our modes of transportation, even the hands and legs we use to crawl or walk, we give thanks.

Resolved, to be more aware, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment of the infinitely many, innumerable, we can’t count that high, lots and lots of, things to be thankful for, and especially for each and every one of you.

Come, ye thankful people, come!
Hodu, Hodu, Hodu L’Adonai Ki Tov Ki L’Olam Chasdo.
Memories of Thanksgivings past:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanks to our Veterans

It is interesting that Veterans Day occurs shortly before Thanksgiving.
We are very thankful for our veterans.
Some gave their lives.
Some faced great danger and came home to tell about it.
Others, like me, traveled the world and never faced down an enemy in person.
Nevertheless, every veteran put his or her life on the line, with the possibility of risking everything at any moment, in any place, in defense of our constitution and our country.
"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

We owe our liberty, our ability to live lives unmolested from foreign enemies, our survival into the 21st century and beyond, to these men and women, who for whatever reason, dedicated a season of their lives to the defense of this great nation, "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
Here are two such heroes I knew personally.
My Dad...
...and my wife's Dad.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Happy Birthday, Son!

Happy Birthday, Jimmy!

Another year has passed.
You've been many things this year.
A surfer.

A photographer.

A musician.

A golfer.

A world traveler (beautiful Australian waterfall in the background).

A true friend (here's a blast from the past with your Spanish friends in our home in Puerto de Santa Maria, Andalucia).

A great brother (another shot from the same place/same time frame).

You've been many other things as well, an excellent employee, an enthusiastic Mah Jongg player, a loving pet owner, a wonderful cook and host,
a very special person
but most of all
to us
you've been a remarkable son
and we're very proud of you.
Happy Birthday, Son.
May the coming year be the best and brightest so far.

Central City Opera November 2010 Calendar

Season tickets for next summer's festival season on sale now.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Featured Blog: Cognitive Dissonance

I discovered this most excellent blog when I reconnected with a friend from many years ago. I had the pleasure of working with Mike Kubat when we were both stationed in Rota, Spain. Although his self-description below is of a grump, I remember him as a courteous, pleasant, intelligent, well-spoken naval officer, for whom I had the utmost respect.
The writing on his blog, Cognitive Dissonance, reinforces those impressions from so many years ago. I commend the entire blog as a source of "real help when things simply make no sense," but in particuluar, I consider his recent article concerning global warming/climate change/climate disruption to be one of the most articulate, clear, well reasoned, and adequately documented I have encountered.
His writing style is not only cogent but engaging and often entertaining. Check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Cognitive Dissonance
real help when things simply make no sense...
About Michael J. Kubat
I'm a grumpy Czech-born clinical social worker who is vitally interested in the survival
of the United States as a viable democracy and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world.
Go to Michael's blog.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Featured Dictionary Site

As a word lover, I discovered the greatest dictionary site the other day. courtesy of my friend Dan. With one entry, you get dozens of results.

Dictionary Search

Here's an example of what the results of a search look like:

We found 31 dictionaries with English definitions that include the word balderdash: Click on the first link on a line below to go directly to a page where "balderdash" is defined. General (30 matching dictionaries)
1. balderdash: Compact Oxford English Dictionary [home, info]
2. balderdash: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language [home, info]
3. balderdash: Macmillan Dictionary [home, info]
4. balderdash: Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary, 11th Edition [home, info]
5. Balderdash, balderdash: Wordnik [home, info]
6. balderdash (noun, exclamation): Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary [home, info]
7. balderdash: Wiktionary [home, info]
8. balderdash: Collins Pocket English Dictionary [home, info]
9. balderdash: Encarta® World English Dictionary, North American Edition [home, info]
10. balderdash: Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Ed. [home, info]
11. balderdash: The Wordsmyth English Dictionary-Thesaurus [home, info]
12. balderdash: Infoplease Dictionary [home, info]
13. Balderdash, balderdash: [home, info]
14. balderdash: Online Etymology Dictionary [home, info]
15. balderdash: UltraLingua English Dictionary [home, info]
16. Balderdash (disambiguation), Balderdash (game), Balderdash (game show), Balderdash: Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia [home, info]
17. Balderdash: Online Plain Text English Dictionary [home, info]
18. balderdash: Webster's Revised Unabridged, 1913 Edition [home, info]
19. balderdash: Rhymezone [home, info]
20. Balderdash: Multi-Lingual Dictionary [home, info]
21. balderdash: Webster's 1828 Dictionary [home, info]
22. BALDERDASH: Dictionary of Americanisms (1848) [home, info]
23. Balderdash: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898) [home, info]
24. balderdash: Free Dictionary [home, info]
25. balderdash: Mnemonic Dictionary [home, info]
26. balderdash: WordNet 1.7 Vocabulary Helper [home, info]
27. balderdash: LookWAYup Translating Dictionary/Thesaurus [home, info]
28. Balderdash: The Word Detective [home, info]
29. balderdash: Dictionary/thesaurus [home, info]
30. Balderdash: World Wide Words [home, info] Slang (1 matching dictionary)
31. balderdash: Urban Dictionary [home, info]
Check it out here.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Happy 80th, Mom!

Happy Birthday, Mom!
For once, I'm on time with my birthday wishes (although not in the snail mail)!

So, I was looking around for the perfect birthday card, when I came across this one, and it brought tears to my eyes, so I figured it must be the one.

It is true that I see many unhappy people in the world. I realize that what I am today, what I've become, is in large part due to the faith you and Dad had in me. I am happy, and I believe in myself. You believed in me, and that gave me the confidence to believe in myself, and to do my best, to pursue my dreams and become...

Your love, time, and support...

You were always there when I needed you. Your time was always there for me. You always supported me.

I am so happy that you have reached this milestone, your 80th year, and I look forward to many, many more. Again, happy birthday to the best Mom in the world for this grateful son.

I obviously don't remember when this picture was taken, but I love it now.
One of the pictures we have hanging on our wall. The back says 1992, but it doesn't say where. We were stationed in Japan at the time, so this must have been when we were home on leave.

So, again, Mom, we wish you a very Happy Birthday, Happy 80th, a wonderful year to come, and many more after that.

Your son....

With Love

Monday, October 04, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ellie!

It was in Italy, many, many years ago (well, not that many—she’s not that old) on October 4th that her mom and I received the most excellent gift, unique and amazing. She grew into the most delightful child, with smiles and winks galore, and into a fun, well adjusted daughter, and a kind young woman, wise beyond her years. Now she’s become a wonderful wife, a marvelous mother, and a faithful friend to all who choose to get to know her.

That’s how I remember it, El. (That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!) Happy birthday, Ellie Bella. Italian Bella means beautiful. Beautiful Ellie.

Tanti auguri per un buon Compleanno!

2009, 2008, 2007

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Matsos Family Restaurant

Recently, I was home for my 40th High School Class Reunion, and some dear friends took me to one of their favorite restaurants in a nearby city, Wooster, Ohio. A Greek restaurant, Matsos offers a mouth-watering array of fine Greek cuisine, one of my favorite of all international culinary delights.

Matsos offers an amazing array of Greek favorites. I can vouch for the Spanakopita (which is a filling entrée, not an appetizer) and the souvlaki. My friend, Thorne, loves the Seafood Pizza. I've only been there once, but everything I saw looked and smelled great. Check the place out if ever in Wooster. The menu is here.
Here's another view of the front of the restaurant with Spiro Matsos, the owner.

An interesting sidelight is the owner's participation in a group called Ohio Light Opera. He has pictures of the group decorating the eatery's walls. Here he appears in costume for one of their productions.
For more on the Ohio Light Opera, check out their web site here.

Matsos Family Restaurant offers their delicious Greek dressings online at
Thanks again, Thorne and Linda, for treating me at this great Ohio restaurant. Next time, I'll have the presence of mind to snap some photos of the food, which looked and tasted great!

Usage notes:
An entrée, although formerly a smaller course that precedes the main course, the term is now used to describe the main course itself, in which case what would otherwise be called the entrée is called the first course, appetizer or a starter.

Spanakopita (σπανακόπιτα, from σπανάκι, spanáki, spinach, and πίττα, pítta, pie) is a Greek spinach pie made with layers of phyllo and a filling of seasoned spinach, onions and scallions, feta, and sometimes eggs.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Featured Blog: Ethan in Australia

Our daughter's husband's brother (I don't think we have a special name for that in English, but he's a special guy) is going to Australia for three months of training with Youth with a Mission, followed by three months of outreach in Central Asia. You can follow his exploits on his newly minted blog.
He will be at the YWAM base/school on the Whitsunday Islands, which are off the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia, approximately 560 miles north of Brisbane. You can find out more about the YWAM base at Whitsunday on the following site:
Whitsunday is another designation for Pentecost Sunday on the Christian calendar (especially in the United Kingdom). More information here and here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Thimble Book

Our son created an amazing book based on his grandmother's thimble collection. She used to keep detailed notes about each thimble: where it came from, who gave it to her, the significance of the design, etc. The title of the small notebook she kept was "Thimbles I Have Known and Loved." Here are a couple of examples from the book.

You can see more of the book and/or order a copy here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Central City Opera Weekend 2010 - Recap

Last weekend we saw two operas that couldn't be more different from one another. On Saturday it was Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld, which was a total romp, a farce, in French, opéra bouffe. There was nary a serious moment from beginning to end.

On the other hand, Madama Butterfly, on Sunday, was as intense a performance as we have ever seen. By the end of this sad, tragic story, I would venture to say there was not a dry eye in the house. It was intensely emotional and powerfully performed. We thoroughly enjoyed both productions and highly recommend them.

Here we are, all gathered for breakfast at the Chase Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast. This room is so bright. It is illustrative of the entire B&B, a place full of light and peace and good food, thanks to its proprietors, Karen and Hal.

Opera a la Carte is a lot of fun, and we haven't attended in years. Just before the afternoon opera, some of the performers present three scenes from three different operas at the Williams Stables, just across the street from the Opera House. It's a great way to broaden one's opera experience. In this venue, the actors/singers are right in front of you. It's almost like being on stage with them.

One of the many relaxing features of the Chase Creek Inn B&B is the porch, with its comfortable rocking chairs. Here are Abe and Vickie enjoying the porch.

The view from the Inn's porch.

Bidding adieu to our favorite Bed and Breakfast for another year.