Tag Archives: Practical Theatre

Just One Week Until the Party Starts!

new-show-art-2In just one week, The Practical Theatre Company will be saying goodbye to 2016 and ringing in the New Year with comedy and song – and your favorite adult beverages.

nye-art-a-copyTickets are going fast for Mr. Olsen’s Holiday Party on December 30 and 31 at Evanston’s new Studio5 (Dempster & Dodge). There aren’t many tickets left for the New Year’s Eve performance, but you can still reserve seats by clicking here.

PTC vets Paul Barrosse, Victoria Zielinski and Dana Olsen will perform comedy sketches and songs from “The Vic & Paul & Dana Show”, as well as new material crafted for this special variety revue – styled after those classic holiday specials hosted by Andy Williams, Bing and Dean.

Music director and keyboard wiz Steve Rashid will lead a quartet featuring drummer Rockin’ Ronny Crawford, Don Stiernberg on guitar and mandolin, and bassist Jim Cox.

Members of the PTC’s second generation will also perform, including standup comedienne Emilia Barrosse, Giggle Breaks’ Daniel Rashid, singer-songwriter Eva B. Ross and drummer Robert Rashid.

Studio5 features full bar service – and acres of free parking.

The New Year’s Eve performance includes light food and a New Year’s party with live music and dancing after the show.mohp-banner-1-copy

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Snickerdoodlin’ with Emilia & Maggie…

Emilia Poster Final JpegComedy lovers in the Chicago area have a chance to see a couple of bright young performers in their first live original sketch show, when my daughter, Emilia Barrosse and her friend and collaborator, Maggie Fish, present “We’re All People Here, Right” at Studio Be across the street from The Vic Theatre at 3110 N. Sheffield Avenue.

Sunny HighEmilia and Maggie met at Northwestern University, where they teamed up to shoot their own comic videos as Snickerdoodlin’ Productions. (I have no idea how a daughter of mine ever got the notion to perform original comedy with her NU classmates.)

Batman's OutYou can check out Emilia and Maggie’s Snickerdoodlin’ videos on YouTube – or follow what they’re doing on Facebook.

InterviewAnd you can watch a very nice interview with Emilia and Maggie by clicking here.

“We’re All People Here, Right?” will be presented on three consecutive Monday nights: November 25th, December 2nd & December 9th at 10:00 pm. Tickets are $5 and the proceeds go to charity.

A couple of my favorite Snickerdoodlin’ videos are “Welcome to Sunny High”…

“Do Not Solicit”

And “The Fork Factor”…

Snickerbanner

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Vic & Paul & Obama & Mother Mary — Blog 2012: The Third Year In Review.

ClevelandObama bannerMom bannerDays after the year 2012 ended, I was delighted to join with my wife, daughters and Cleveland relations to celebrate the 80th birthday of my wonderful mother, Mary Barrosse. I knew I was tardy in posting my blog’s 2012 year-end review — but honoring my mom in the grand style she deserves came first.

img_04992012 was a very busy year on this blog — dominated by the “The Vic & Paul Show” Summer Tour and the momentous Presidential election. Vaudevillians Vic & Paul traveled to Chicago, Cleveland, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles — and President Obama covered even more ground than that (often in one day). We both emerged victorious — and when all was was said and done, Victoria and I might have come out slightly ahead because we don’t have to deal with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

2012 was also the third year for this blog. And it was a very good year.

Paul’s Voyage of Discovery & Etc. has attracted over 129,900 views in 2012 — nearly doubling the number of visitors that dropped by during this blog’s first two years. (There were 62,900 visits in 2012.) I’ve posted 255 articles since this blog began and you folks have contributed 1,231 comments. Politics and history remain among the most popular topics.

This is not the real subscription sign up box. The real one is further to the right. And up a little…

I continue to be honored that 118 subscribers have signed on to have my posts automatically delivered to them via e-mail. (And 31 more folks follow this blog on Twitter.) Are you a subscriber? If you’re not — then look to your right at the photo of the saluting Matey and follow the simple instructions to “Hop Aboard!”

Most of my posts focus on the main topics I established at the outset of this blog: history, adventure, politics, sailing and rock & roll — plus relentless promotion of The Practical Theatre, my band Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation, and The Vic & Paul Show. But what posts were readers of this blog most attracted to this year?

What follows is a list of The Top Ten Most Popular Posts of 2012.

Just click on the title of each post to access the original article.

1. Victory at Pearl HarborPearl Harbor

Originally posted in 2010 on the anniversary of the “day that will live in infamy” – this post has become an annual event. A lot of military history fans visit this blog, but I think Pearl Harbor fascinates and resonates with Americans whether they have an interest in military history or not. The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks took more American lives – but Pearl Harbor was the shocking opening act in a drama that ultimately made the United States the world’s preeminent superpower. Can we say that we’re a better nation after 9-11?

2. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

On December 15, 2010 – the 215th birthday of our Bill of Rights – I wrote this basic primer on the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. For some reason, it’s become one of the most-read post in the history of this blog. I guess that’s because Americans still give a damn about their rights and are keen to understand their Constitutional foundation.

3. The Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Buffooneryblackboc

The bold, brave and vital Occupy Wall Street movement has inspired a lot of posts on this blog since 2011 – but this post, written on November 2, 2011, has proven to be the most popular. Maybe that’s because people agree that we don’t need a bunch of cowardly anarchists screwing up a noble movement that ultimately helped to put Barrack Obama back in office. Without Occupy Wall Street, would Romney’s attack on the 47% have evoked such a profound and spirited response?

4. A Childhood Memory of Kent State, May 4. 1970Kent State

On the May 4, 2012 anniversary of this very dark day in America history, I posted this personal remembrance of a young Ohioan’s earliest memories of that terrible day.

5. Growing Up in the Space Age

The last American space shuttle launch inspired this July 14, 2011 remembrance of my personal connection to the Space Age. This popular post salutes my fellow Ohioan, John Glenn, who served as both the first man to orbit the Earth and as a Senator from my home state. I wish that my three daughters had grown up experiencing something half as exciting and inspirational as The Race to the Moon.

6. My Book Report: “The Battle of Midway”midway

What a great book! What an amazing chapter of world history! On January 23, 2012, I wrote this review of a book that captures all the incredible heroism, good luck, and turns of fate that made this epic World War Two naval battle an overwhelming victory that turned the tide of the war against Imperial Japan.

7. A New Presidential Biography Reminds Us Why We Should Like Ikeike

Even if Los Angeles Times editor Jim Newton weren’t my good friend, I still would have written this September 28, 2011 post extolling the virtues of his excellent biography of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

8. The Top Ten Rock & Roll Singers of All Time

singerbanner1

There’s nothing like a Top 10 list to promote discussion on a blog – and this December 5, 2011 post did just that. Check it out – and then weigh in with your own opinion. Just realize that your opinion on rock & roll singing cannot possibly be as informed as my own.

9. 150 Years Ago Today150 years

Since the spring of 2011, we’ve been in the midst of the American Civil War sesquicentennial: the war’s 150th anniversary. Between now and April 2015, there’s an opportunity every day to write the kind of post that I wrote on March 13, 2012.

10. The Wrecking Crew

Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine, Carol Kay, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell, Earl Palmer: the cream of Los Angeles studio musicians in the late 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s became known as “The Wrecking Crew”. I’m thrilled that my March 21, 2011 blog article celebrating Tommy Tedesco’s son’s marvelous documentary film about these rock & roll legends has proven to be such a popular post. If you haven’t done it already, start a Google search on “The Wrecking Crew” now. Until then, your rock & roll education is not complete.

So, that’s the best of 2012. Stay connected. Subscribe. And please post those replies!

Here’s to another adventurous voyage in 2013!

And here are the All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts from January 2010 up to today:

1. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

2. Victory at Pearl Harbor

3. The Occupy Wall Street Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Buffoonery

4. History & Honeymoon: Part Three

This post was also the #3 post in 2010. 23 years ago, my wife Victoria and I went to Gettysburg and other Civil War battlefields on our honeymoon! I needed no other assurance that I had married the perfect woman. On our 20th anniversary, we returned to Gettysburg. Now both students of the battle, we walked the battlefield on July 1, 2 and 3, 2010 on the 147th anniversary of that critical conflict. My four-part account of our battlefield tramping became one of the most popular items on the blog. (Originally posted July 20, 2010)

5. Aliens Among Us?

I’ve always wondered where singular, epochal, “out of this world” geniuses like William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci and Bob Dylan came from. So, on January 26, 2011, I wrote this speculation on the possible alien origin of such monumental minds. Evidently, my curiosity (if not my Erich Van Daniken “ancient astronaut” fantasy) is still shared by a lot of people who read my blog in the past year.

6. Growing Up in the Space Age

7. Bazooka Joe, Jay Lynch & Me

One of the first posts I wrote for this blog back on January 9, 2010 celebrated my brief but soul-satisfying collaboration with the legendary underground comix artist, Jay Lynch, who gave Vic and I the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write a series of Bazooka Joe comics. It was one of the great chapters in my creative career. The Practical Theatre Company, Saturday Night LiveBehind the Music, The Vic & Paul Show and Bazooka Joe. Can I retire now?

8. The Saints Come Marching In…

This was the #1 post in 2010 — and, like the Saints, has shown staying power. The New Orleans Saints got 2010 off to a great start by winning the Super Bowl. (What about that bounty scandal?) So, why does a man who was born in Cleveland, went to college and met his wife in Chicago, and moved to Los Angeles two decades ago care if the New Orleans Saints finally won a Super Bowl after years of epic gridiron failure? Simple: my daddy was New Orleans born and raised. Who dat say what about dem Saints? (Originally posted February 8, 2010)

9. History & Honeymoon: Part Four

2011 was the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the American Civil War – and that might be the reason that two of my “History & Honeymoon” posts are still among the most-read this past year, including this one, posted on July 26, 2010. This post covers everything from my wife Victoria and I battle tramping Pickett’s Charge on the third day of Gettysburg –to our visit to Philadelphia and the eccentric, visionary artwork of Isaiah Zagar.

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“The Vic & Paul Show” Summer Tour Arrives in Los Angeles, August 9-12th!

Tickets are on sale now for the final four performances of “The Vic & Paul Show” at the iO West Theatre in Hollywood. CLICK HERE.

After stops in Chicago and Cleveland, “The Vic & Paul Show” Summer 2012 Tour is celebrating the conclusion of our comedy odyssey with four performances in an intimate cabaret venue on Hollywood Boulevard: The iO West Theatre.

It’s the perfect place to enjoy a cool summer drink and share some groovy music and lots of laughs with Paul, Victoria and Steve.

Seating is limited, so get your tickets now. You can do so by calling the iO West Box Office at 323-962-7560 or by going to the iO West website at http://ioimprov.com/west/io/shows/the-vic-and-paul-show.

We hope to see you in Hollywood, August 9-12th, for a festive end to our great comic adventure!

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Blog 2011: The Second Year’s Voyage In Review…

My 2011 concluded on a fabulously positive note as “The Vic & Paul Show” enjoyed a successful two-week run at Mayne Stage in Chicago. It was a holiday homecoming that warmed the winter chill with a gathering of the very best, most supportive, fun, generous, talented, and entertaining friends that a person could  possibly cherish. Victoria and I consider ourselves truly blessed in the camaraderie department –and this holiday season proved what an embarrassment of riches our community of friends has become. (Including our new friends at Mayne Stage, who handled it all with class, professionalism and a welcome sense of humor.)

And speaking of talented and entertaining friends — New Year’s weekend rocked with two performances by Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation — one that closed “The Vic & Paul Show” at Mayne Stage, and another that rang in the New Year at The Prop Theatre. It was a raucous, celebratory sign-off on an eventful year: full of drama, politics, resurgent activism — and the ongoing clown car routine that is the Republican Party nomination process.

2011 was also the second year for this blog.

As of this writing, Paul’s Voyage of Discovery & Etc. has attracted over 67,000 views — with 44,750 in 2011 alone. That’s double the number of views (22,250) in 2010. I’ve made 165 posts since this blog began and all of you have contributed 935 comments. The blog saw it’s busiest day this year when, on March 17, 2011, 491 viewers checked out the site to read, among other things, “A Reply To My Conservative Friend.” Politics and history remain among the most popular topics on Paul’s Voyage of Discovery & Etc.

This is not the real subscription sign up box. The real one is further to the right. And up a little...

I’m especially gratified by the 80 subscribers who have signed on to have my posts automatically delivered to them via e-mail. Are you a subscriber? If not — just look to your right at the photo of the saluting Matey, then look below the photo and follow the simple instructions to “Hop Aboard!”

My posts on this blog still largely stick to the main topics I established at the outset: history, adventure, politics, sailing and rock & roll. And to what type of posts were readers of this blog most attracted this year? What follows is a list of The Top Ten Most Read Posts of 2011, listed in order of the most views.

Note: Just click on the title of each post to access the original article.

1. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

On December 15, 2010 – the 215th birthday of our Bill of Rights – I wrote this basic primer on the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. For some reason, it’s become the most-read post in the history of this blog. I guess that’s because Americans still give a damn about their rights and are keen to understand their Constitutional foundation.

2. Aliens Among Us?

I’ve always wondered where singular, epochal, “out of this world” geniuses like William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci and Bob Dylan came from. So, on January 26, 2011, I wrote this speculation on the possible alien origin of such monumental minds. Evidently, my curiosity (if not my Erich Van Daniken “ancient astronaut” fantasy) is shared by a lot of people who read my blog in the last year.

3. History & Honeymoon: Part Three

This post was also the #3 post in 2010. 21 years ago, my wife Victoria and I went to Gettysburg and other Civil War battlefields on our honeymoon! I needed no other assurance that I had married the perfect woman. Last year, on our 20th anniversary, we returned to Gettysburg. Now both students of the battle, we walked the battlefield on July 1, 2 and 3, 2010 on the 147th anniversary of that critical conflict. My four-part account of our battlefield tramping became one of the most popular items on the blog. (Originally posted July 20, 2010)

4. History & Honeymoon: Part Four

2011 was the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the American Civil War – and that might be the reason that two of my “History & Honeymoon” posts are among the most-read this past year, including this one, posted on July 26, 2010. This post covers everything from my wife Victoria and I battle tramping Pickett’s Charge on the third day of Gettysburg –to our visit to Philadelphia and the eccentric, visionary artwork of Isaiah Zagar.

5. The Saints Come Marching In…

This was the #1 post in 2010 — and, like the Saints, has shown staying power. The New Orleans Saints got 2010 off to a great start by winning the Super Bowl. So, why does a man who was born in Cleveland, went to college and met his wife in Chicago, and moved to Los Angeles two decades ago care if the New Orleans Saints finally won a Super Bowl after years of epic gridiron failure? Simple: my daddy was New Orleans born and raised. Who dat say what about dem Saints? (Originally posted February 8, 2010)

6. Bazooka Joe, Jay Lynch & Me

One of the first posts I wrote for this blog back on January 9, 2010 celebrated my brief but soul-satisfying collaboration with the legendary underground comix artist, Jay Lynch, who gave Vic and I the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write a series of Bazooka Joe comics. It was one of the great chapters in my creative career. The Practical Theatre Company, Saturday Night Live, Behind the Music and Bazooka Joe. Can I retire now?

7. 10 Rays of Sunshine…

The general worldview looked bleak on November 9, 2010, when I decided to list some positive stuff to focus on amid the gathering gloom, including a stunning victory by the lowly Cleveland Browns over the vaunted New England Patriots, an upswing on Wall Street, and the return of the delicious though gastronomically questionable McRib to McDonald’s restaurants. Obviously, many blog readers shared my desperate desire for a few shafts of light amid the darkness.

8. The Wrecking Crew

Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine, Carol Kay, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell, Earl Palmer: the cream of Los Angeles studio musicians in the late 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s became known as “The Wrecking Crew”. I’m thrilled that my March 21, 2011 blog article celebrating Tommy Tedesco’s son’s marvelous documentary film about these rock & roll legends has proven to be such a popular post. If you haven’t done it already, start a Google search on “The Wrecking Crew” now. Until then, your rock & roll education is not complete.

9. Baseball Season Opens: Of Mud Hens & More…

This is the third post on this list that appeared on last year’s most-read list. It was #4. It seems readers still love those Mud Hens. What was written as a tribute to The Practical Theatre Company’s contribution to the Chicago Theatre 16-inch Softball League became a post that hundreds of Toledo Mud Hens fans found online, attracted to the info and photos of Toledo Mud Hens history — especially that picture of Jamie Farr. Go figure. Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! (Originally posted April 6, 2010)

10. Growing Up in the Space Age

The last American space shuttle launch inspired this July 14, 2011 remembrance of my personal connection to the Space Age. This popular post especially salutes my fellow Ohioan, John Glenn, who served as both the first man to orbit the Earth and as a Senator from my home state. I wish my three daughters had grown up with anything half as exciting and inspirational as The Race to the Moon.

So, that’s the best of 2011. Stay tuned. Subscribe. Post those replies!

Here’s to another adventurous voyage in 2012!

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Don’t Miss Larry’s Concerto!

Don’t miss the broadcast of Larry Schanker’s first piano concerto on radio station WAUS this Sunday, November 20th at 6:00 PM Michigan time.

Photo credit: All photos of the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra by Alden J. Ho Photography.

I am delighted to announce that our good friend, the amazingly talented pianist and composer, Larry Schanker, has performed his first piano concerto — Concerto for Jazz Piano — with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. Better yet, we’ll all get a chance to listen to it on Sunday November 20th – by clicking this link at 6:00 PM Michigan time.

http://www.andrews.edu/WAUS/listen.html

Larry was the Practical Theatre Company’s first musical director, and played keys for our comedy revues at the Piper’s Alley Theatre: The Golden Jubiliee, Megafun and Babalooney (with Rockin’ Ronny Crawford hitting the skins.) Larry also worked with us on the development of our musical, “Rock Me!” for the Columbia College New Musical project in 1988. He’s also a lifetime member of Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation.

But Larry is also one of those longhair serious classical artists — and he’s been busy in the past year writing his first piano concerto, preparing the orchestral parts over the summer, and, as he says, “practicing more than I have in many years to make sure I could play the darned thing.”

On Sunday, Larry’s performance with the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra will be broadcast on a local Michigan university radio station, WAUS. Larry says it may only be accessible in real time.

Techincal note: Mac users will need an updated version of Flip4Mac, the program that enables Quicktime to read Windows Media Player files.

Here’s a link to the concert program and program notes.

http://www.smso.org/Concerts/Mendel2.html

Larry’s on the bill with some guys named Aaron Copland and Dvorak.

So, tune in to Larry’s concerto Sunday evening and get a taste of the talent that so many of his friend have marveled at over the years.

Congratulations, maestro Schanker!

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A Mid-Year Celebration!

If nothing else worth celebrating happened today, June 30th would still mark the mid-point of 2011 — reason alone to pop a cork. But there are some very good reasons to mark this day with fanfare and hoopla.

The newlyweds and our comedy guru, Sheldon Patinkin, on June 30, 1990. A picture of perfect harmony in our universe.

The first reason to party today is personal. On June 30th, 1990, I was wise enough to wed the lovely, brilliant and talented Victoria Zielinski. Today is our 21st wedding anniversary. Whatever else I have done in my life to this point, marrying Victoria has been my shining accomplishment. Ultimately, my marriage to Vic will stand as the pinnacle of my achievement.

Now, from the sublime to the ridiculous…

The other reason to celebrate today is something we all can share with equal joy. Tonight, Glenn Beck will make his last appearance on Faux News before going off the air. Beck was banished by progressive activism that pushed more than 400 advertisers to pull their commercials from his show. Of course, Beck will not be going away entirely. He’s setting up his own Internet network so that he can live-stream his ravings for two hours a day starting in September – for just $9.95 a month! (Can you think of a bigger waste of an Alexander Hamilton?)

Today also marks the end of the first year and a half of this blog. And, thanks to all of you, 2011 has been going gangbusters for Paul’s Voyage of Discovery & Etc. Consider that this blog attracted 22,389 total views in 2010 – and the fact that there have been 23,845 views in the first half of 2011 alone. We’ve more than doubled our site visits from 60 daily views in 2010 to 133 per day this year. That says a lot for the growing community of friends and readers,  including 70 stalwart subscribers, that make this blog worth blogging.

So, what are all these readers reading on this blog? Of the 177 posts I’ve put up since I began this personal experiment in new media back on January 1, 2010 – the following are the Top Ten Posts. (You can access the original post by clicking on the title.)

1. Happy Birthday Bill of Rights!

(Posted 12/15/10.)

Though it’s a relatively recent post, this primer on one of America’s most misunderstood founding documents has gotten just over 6,000 views. Clearly, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Glen Beck were not among those 6,000 readers.

2. Aliens Among Us?

(Posted 1/26/11.)

The most recent post on the all-time Top Ten, this celebration of my favorite geniuses has attracted more than 2,000 views. (Which shows just how strong popular interest in the Bill of Rights is. And that’s somewhat comforting.) Were Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain and John Lennon aliens sent from another world to show humanity the light? Or just really, really, really cool…

3. History & Honeymoon: Part Three

(Posted 7/20/10. #5 post in 2010.)

1,623 viewers have perused my account of battlefield tramping through the Second Day’s fight at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and the heroism of Joshua Lawrence and the 20th Maine’s desperate defense of Little Round Top. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of The Civil War (Fort Sumter in 1861), which may be part of why this post has gained in popularity.

4. Baseball Season Opens: Of Mud Hens & More…

(Posted 4/6/10. #4 post in 2010.)

This article was the 4th most viewed post in 2010 – and it still holds that spot today. That’s because Baseball is eternal. (Though some games may seem interminable.)

5. The Practical Theatre Co. Part 1

(#3 post in 2010)

If you don’t know anything about The Practical Theatre Company, here’s a good place to start your education. (Many of you have already lived this history – in which case, you may not learn anything new, but you’ll enjoy the photos.)

6. All About The Rockme Foundation

(#2 post in 2010)

If you don’t know anything about Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation, here’s a good place to start your education. (Many of you have already lived this history – in which case, you may not learn anything new, but you’ll enjoy the photos.) Wait! Did I already say that somewhere?

7. The Saints Come Marching In…

(Posted 2/8/10. #1 post in 2010.)

The second sports post on the Top Ten: an ode to my daddy’s New Orleans Saints and their Cinderella victory in the 2010 Super Bowl.

8. Bazooka Joe, Jay Lynch & Me

(Posted 1/9/10)

One of the first posts on this blog makes its first appearance in the Top Ten. Than can only mean one thing: it’s Jay Lynchmania!

9. “I have not yet begun to fight!”

(Posted 1/20/10. #7 post in 2010.)

This post is one of my personal favorites. Please forward it to all of your local Democratic politicians well in advance of the 2012 elections.

10. Le Salon de Crawford

(Posted 1/26/10. #8 post in 2010.)

Anchoring this list and first in our hearts, the fabulous Crawfords round out our Top Ten. If you haven’t already checked this post out, do it now. You will be introduced to the coolest and most talented family I know. They invented the word “groovy” to describe The Crawfords.

So, there you have it. A snapshot of Paul’s Voyage of Discovery & Etc at mid-year, 2011.

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Thanks again to all of you for making this so much fun. And thanks for your 751 comments over the past 18 months. This blog is so much better when it’s a two-way street.

And, if you aren’t a subscriber yet – click on the image of the saluting Matey (at right, where it says “Hop Aboard) — and get on the bus. Or the blog. Or both.

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