On Opening Day 2011

The annual rite of spring is about to begin – the first pitch of the baseball season.

When I was a kid, the start of the season meant many things. One was trying to catch the movie It Happens Every Spring, the story of a chemistry professor accidentally discovering a wood-repelling chemical that he rubbed on a baseball. Sure, the storyline is corny, but it was a simple story about dreams and the love for the great game of summer.

I can also remember hurrying home after school to watch the rest of the Reds Opening Day. After all, that was a time long before big spending and free agency as all fans started the season full of hope and optimism. It was also the days before cable television, so seeing the Reds on TV was a treat that only happened 10-20 times a year. It was also before the days that television revenue was a plus instead of a decision maker. Yes, it was a time when the Reds, as the oldest professional franchise, opened the season for Major League Baseball.

Now that I live in Cincinnati, I understand how the season’s start still has special significance here. Gone is the day that Cincinnati leads the way in the nation, but to Cincinnatians, the season still starts here.

Today, thousands of people dressed in Red will line the streets to watch a city version of a small town parade displaying a stream of organizations forming a float on a trailer or a truck with a few signs and streams, some marching bands, and even motorcycles, fire trucks, and horses. People will gather on Fountain Square for activities, and fill the stadium for the game.

Like any start of the season, Cincinnati is excited today. Given our teams success in 2010, expectations are high. I will save my prediction for the 2011 Reds until next week because today is a special day – Opening Day in Cincinnati – and a tribute to our local history. Enjoy the video because it says a lot.

On Connections through Nature

Nature is our surroundings – a system of objects and entities with direct and indirect links to one another that cycle together as interlocking parts. Whether human, plant, animal, or whatever, no living thing can exist on its own. In other words, nature is a strong, intricate system.

Nature is the setting for the interaction of nonhuman life with each other and their nonliving surroundings. Organisms compete with one another for food, space, shelter, water, and even mates. As many scowl at the thought of a fox killing a rabbit, we tend to forget about the fox’s needs to care for itself and its offspring.

Nature is the setting for the dramatic performance of our lives through all history and beyond. Nature is the construction site of our uniquely human culture where the human race constantly searches for justice, peace, and validity. Nature is the stage for human interactions with one another and the interchanges between people and God.

We know that the grand creation of nature displays patterns, connections, unity, universality, and interrelationships of which we are a part. God gave us an ability to investigate (through science) and discover (through theology) that he is the ultimate source of our revelations. Oh how nature provides so much through its connections, thus one reason why I love this video.

On Jobs

I wonder how many times I’ve heard Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) say something about jobs in America. Yes, jobs and the economy is a pressing need – but how many times have politicians used “jobs” as political manure? Let’s face the music!

Company mergers cost jobs. Company A purchases Company B, thus consolidates operations. Jobs are gone and won’t return.

Companies operate with their eye directly on the bottom line. If the company moves jobs to another country to lower labor cost in order to achieve a certain target, then that’s what is done. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Some companies move operations to another country because of environmental laws. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Companies have been downsizing, thus doing with less. Jobs are gone and probably won’t return.

Many aspects of manufacturing as textiles have gone elsewhere, and probably won’t return.

In manufacturing that remains, technology has replace what employees used to do, so those jobs won’t return.

Many look at government jobs as being the most stable, yet the current political climate is to cut, cut, cut – thus eliminating jobs.

As our politicians look to cut spending, especially by the Department of Defense, I wonder how many jobs will be lost in defense equipment and its supply chain.

The next time anyone hears Mr. Boehner or any other politician ask Where are the jobs?, let us remember that unless they detail specifics about a plan (and good luck with that), their statement is nothing more than political rhetoric for the benefit of their party. Just listen below to hear the party rhetoric of regulations and taxes. Meanwhile,  many Americans need jobs.

On a Han D Monday

This could be a good week. Baseball starts on Thursday – and Opening Day is always special in Cincinnati. (More about that on Thursday). Plus, I plan to do four or five posts this week – which is a hopeful thought for me.

Good hands are important in baseball. So are quickness, good feet, and balance. To start your week, here’s a 2010 web classic with two people using their hands to simulate that they do with their feet as Irish dancers.

Enjoy and hope you have a good week – and I hope return each day this week. This video requires an extra click as it must be viewed on YouTube.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 89

On Political Shorts
As our politicians muddle and haggle their way through budget decisions and handling the government’s deficit, I remind everyone that both major parties are not in fiscal order. In fact, the Republican National Committee has a greater debt than the Democrats National Committee.

This past Wednesday, potential GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that the first thing he would do is repeal the healthcare bill. Hmmm … hey Mitt! What about that Massachusetts plan?

The battle between the state house and public employees in Wisconsin is well known. We’ve also seen similar situations in Ohio, Indiana, and others. An action by Maine Governor LePage caused a “huh?” Read this interesting post from former cabinet member Robert Reich. Thanks to Don in Mass for the heads up. Then see this post from Nonnie.

If you didn’t see this interview with Veronica de La Cruz about health care, it is worth your time. Thanks WriteChic for making me aware of this interview.

On a Streetcar
The debate by the city of Cincinnati officials regarding a streetcar project is over a year old. Regardless of the condition of federal and state budgets, the reason I’ve been against this $128 million dollar project is simple. Today, most downtowns are centers of commerce, so most investments should center on increasing (or at least keeping) employment.

On DTWS
As noted on these pages before, we take ballroom dance lessons and enjoy Dancing with the Stars. A reminder, I thought that having Bristol Palin on last year was a mistake, and my worst fears almost happened. Shortly before the announcement of the latest cast, the decision makers asked former Delaware senator candidate Christine O’Donnell to participate. Fortunately, she declined – but if she would have accepted, I would not have watched this season until she was off.

On a Water Bill
Over the past year or so, we purchased a water-efficient clothes washer and replaced two original, 23-year-old toilets. Interestingly, we have seen a decrease in our water usage. Our choices were the GE WHRE5550 and a Kohler Cimarron.

On a Sheen Tactic
Charlie Sheen has been in his share of news in recent months – actually too much. By never mincing words in his posts, Beeze says that Sheen’s antics are an act – which I admit, is something I didn’t consider.

Have a good weekend everyone. Here’s a music sendoff for you, which also is well synced with the animations. Besides, Z likes this group.

On a GOP Glimpse at 2012

Jockeying to be the Republican presidential nominee has been underway for sometime – actually starting before the last election. In a this not-long-ago post, Al (a blog friend and sensible writer at 2012), wondered about who his party would put forth to challenge President Obama. With that as a cue, and with various announcements about candidates forming exploratory committees, maybe it’s time for an independent, moderate’s perspective of the GOP field.

In one corner, we have the ideological buffoons, those specializing is pandering rhetoric to the narrow-minded in the form of snake venom and snake oil. These candidates throw ideas against the wall hoping if they stick – of course sticking is more important than truth as they invoke fear over intellect, reaction over thought, rage over calm, populism over rationalism, and party over country in the name of the country. These are the candidates also use the names of dreaded historical figures from dark, worldly regimes from history to enhance their climate of fear.

In the next corner, the rational ideologues. As ideological buffoons and their followers taunt them, but the rationale ideologues remain tall for conservative principles. Although this group speaks with a degree of sensibility that can attract independents, they lack the rants that fuel populist masses. As with anyone in the political arena, some are haunted by their self-imposed albatrosses that hang around the neck – thus questions remain if the public will allow them to shed their bird of the noose.

In which corner will you find Michelle Bachman, Halley Barbour, John Bolton, Herman Cain, Mitch Daniels, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Pence, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump? You can decide for yourself, or you can give it your best shot to determine the few that I think may have a chance at unseating President Obama. After all, most on this list don’t because independents will have no part of them.

To many of us, and maybe most of us, the presidential campaign starts too early and takes too long; so I end this post with a quote from columnist Kathleen Parker.

Political polarization has so defined us that we are always deployed in campaign mode, never in repose. Politics is, among other things, spectacle, but there’s something dreary about the incessancy. Familiarity doesn’t only inspire contempt; it deadens the senses.

On Sawing Your Week

I admit – Monty Python two consecutive weeks is plenty, although that doesn’t mean the British comedy team won’t return.

Saw can be a horror movie, a verb, and a noun. As a tool, a saw can be a chain saw, table saw, circular saw, hand saw, back saw, crosscut saw, rip saw, hacksaw, jig saw, sabre saw, mitre saw, miter saw, tenon saw, dovetail saw, carcase saw, rotary saw, radial arm saw, concrete saw, abrasive saw, sternal saw, dragsaw, Scroll saw, reciprocating saw, compass saw, keyhole saw, coping saw, and who knows how many others.

Oh wait – there is also the band saw – which has nothing to do with music, but this video to start your week is about a musical saw. Have a good week, and I may have a midweek post.