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Self-absorbed mini-vacation post

Greetings from the hot heartland, friends. Taking a few days off to spend with our daughter and her family before they head back to Colorado later in the week.

So far we've tested the capacity limits of our refrigerator and cupboard, explored new and different ways to configure child and adult seating for meals, used our washing machine and dishwasher many, many times (far more than my wife and I, the empty-nesters, do routinely), and generally have had a great time!

We took the gang to the Newport Aquarium yesterday, and had a lot of fun there.  Somehow I like aquariums a little better than zoos, and I don't know if it's because I like the water so much, or if it just seems cleaner when one visits.  Regardless, we were able to see and experience all that that facility has to offer.  Good crowd for a Monday, albeit one just after a holiday weekend.

Along with that, it was nice to be back in the greater Cincinnati area (it always is, in my book) and to see some of the adornments for next week's All-Star Game, which the Reds will host for the first time since the 80's.  Some nice improvements to Great American Ball Park were evident from our viewpoint directly across the Ohio River, and I'm sure the crew there will spend a lot of time putting the finishing touches on a great venue for the game.

And I'm proud of my fellow Reds fans, as we all pulled together and managed to vote Todd Frazier to the starting third baseman slot for the National Leaguers.  He is most deserving, and it will be fabulous to see a homegrown Reds player on the field when the game starts.  His teammate Aroldis Chapman, relief pitcher extraordinare, is also on the roster.  Reds fans have one more chance to recognize a star player, as starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is on the "final vote" ballot.  I've already done my duty, thank you very much.

I have to say that a holiday and three days off from work doesn't sound like a long time, but work is most definitely in my rear view mirror right now. I return to it on Thursday, but the idea of two days of work and then another weekend softens that blow considerably.  And I know that I could have a far worse job than I do....I could be Donald Trump's media relations person, for example.

I don't talk a lot about geopolitical issues here, but isn't it amazing that Greece voted against a bailout, on the basis that it came with too many stern conditions that would restrict its future economic activity?  I don't pretend to know all of the details, but having read a few times about the problems that Athens had in staging the 2004 Summer Olympics (incomplete facilities, unreliable spectator and media transportation, etc.), I suppose it's a little bit expected that the country would rebel against tighter controls by outsiders.  After all, the government that they voted into office somewhat recently ran on an anti-austerity platform.

Finally, a little tip of the cap to the U.S. Women's soccer team, winners of the Women's World Cup on Sunday.  I know little about soccer, but even my untrained eye saw a determined and focused group of athletes who pulled together to accomplish something special.  Bravo.

With that, I now return to my temporary programming.


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