Orion, Winter Constellation

(Toledo, OH) The clear winter sky is the perfect opportunity to observe the constellation Orion. The best months to view this collection of stars in the Northern Hemisphere are between December and February.

Like now.

So take a few minutes in between holiday reruns and spiked egg nog to learn a bit more about the universe. I find stargazing to be a relaxing activity, one that helps me relieve stress and gain a greater sense of peace.


Passing a Roadside Cross

(Toledo, OH) The presence of the roadside cross in the United States usually signifies the place where a traffic fatality occurred. I assume that this is the case in the memorial that I frequently pass on I-75 just south of the I-475 split in central Toledo.

I cannot imagine the pain of the family members as they drive past the site of a loved one's untimely death, especially if that accident victim was a young person. What do you do with the possessions of a young person who dies young? Imagine a house full of items like clothing, CDs, a plasma screen TV, and an elliptical - how empty such a house must seem in spite of the wealth of possessions that would no longer be used by their owner.

Incomprehensibly sad.


Winter Sunset in Toledo

(Toledo, OH) The evening colors were conducive to photography the other night, and I enjoyed the blast of pink and orange hues that accompanied my dinner. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out after my ninth picture or so, in part because I stupidly had the flash on and burned down the remaining charge too quickly.

Then again, if I spent the entire sunset screwing around with my camera, I would have missed living in the colorful moment. I might as well have played in a cardboard shipping box instead on enjoying the natural beauty around me, at least if my principal goal in life was to capture the natural world around me.


DenTek Complete Clean Textured Easy Sliding Floss

I received a sample of DenTek's high quality dental floss to try out, and I found the product to be quite effective at reaching some of the tight spaces between my teeth. Here is a short video I produced about the dental floss:

If you are concerned about oral health care, be sure to check out the complete clean floss that DenTek's braided PTFE fibers provide. The floss does not shred, slides easily between teeth, and thoroughly removes any residual food and plaque that can contribute to tooth decay and other health problems.

The suggested retail price for this excellent floss is $2.99, and you can purchase the floss online at the DenTek store.

This review is a result of a feedback campaign by DenTek Oral Care Inc. The recipients were asked to give their honest opinion about the product they received. Good reviews were not incentivized and poor reviews will not be censored for their opinion of the product.


Barren Tree in Winter

(Lambertville, MI) The solitary oak reached up into the winter sky toward a sun that offered little warmth to the life forms below, the sun a cruel and tepid version of its summer self. I possessed no words of encouragement for the tree, not only because we speak different languages.

In a bleak winter sun, there are few sources of hope when standing in the arctic air.

The tree and I stood and faced one another, though I doubt the tree had much of an opinion of me. If I were in a more optimistic mood, I might conjure up some inspirational rhetoric about the tree's majesty or strength, but in my seasonal melancholia I preferred to join the tree in its winter gloom.


Toledo Band Ocean of Deceit

(Toledo, OH) I had the opportunity to destroy a few of the remaining layers of my tympanic membrane while attending a show by Toledo-based band Ocean of Deceit. I am not sure whether to characterize the group as post-hardcore, post-screamo, or thrash-metal-meets-deathcore, but the tightly-rehearsed group played an energetic set in front of dozens of fans at Frankie's Inner City.

I am too old to be regularly abusing my external auditory meatus to such a sonic assault, but it is important to support local musicians, at least as much as one can before aggravating any existing conductive hearing loss.



Passing Flurries

(Toledo, OH) For a few minutes this morning the skies opened up and let loose a blast of light snowflakes, and it looked as though we might get some significant snow accumulation. Then, just as fast as they appeared, the flurries dissipated and the sun returned.

The limited amount of snow failed to do much more than lightly coat the driveway, and in 20 minutes all traces of the trace precipitation had disappeared.



Frozen Log

(Maumee, OH) The log pictured on your left was suspended atop the frozen Maumee River the other day, seemingly forever immobilized. The next journey into warmer temperatures, of course, will free and perhaps sink this decaying piece of wood, which may have traveled many miles down the Maumee to its current resting place.

Winter days like this in Northwest Ohio do not immediately prompt me to think of Manhattan vacations, though my wife enjoys shopping in the Big Apple during the holiday season. Several years ago she traveled to New York City over Christmas break with our adult daughters, and they had a fine time shopping and seeing shows.

This log, however, is now well into a period of decline, and "enjoyment" is a state of being it will no longer experience.


Oily Garage Floor

(Toledo, OH) Pictured on your left are the rainbowed hues of my oily garage flooring, a stretch of pavement coated with a wide variety of noxious substances over the years. One day I would like to invest in a higher quality floor for this workspace, but I need to wait until all of my children have left our home.

The kids, God love them, have a knack for destruction that would impress the most pillage-minded Hun, and the thought of spending a thousand dollars or more on a new floor for the garage is too frightening to contemplate while certain teenaged hooligans remain ensconced in my house.

Late Fall Field

(Temperance, MI) I spent a few minutes staring across an open field in extreme southeastern Michigan yesterday, feeling the bitter cold of the wind that accompanied the first true cold front of winter.

Or the last one of fall, since winter does not actually begin for another few weeks.

Yet there were still excellent fall colors to be enjoyed, and the deep rust color of the dead grasses would look good even in the no-frills camera of a low-cost unlocked phone. Missing from the scene, however, was the sound of wildlife, as I heard nary a bird in my five minutes of shivering in the 30-degree gusts of wind.