Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 238

On Politics

From WordPress

From WordPress … but I will vote on Tuesday

I encourage those in US states with Congressional races to use the three fact checkers I provide on the sidebar (under Resources): Annenberg FactCheck, PolitiFact, and The Fact Checker (@Washington Post). , ,

On the topic of fact checks, one of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) ads mentions a factcheck regarding his opponent. Interestingly, Sen. McConnell’s has claims don’t clear the same bar.

Not surprisingly to me, the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed Sen. McConnell for the contested Senate seat. However, and sad to say, the last sentence in the endorsement caused me to laugh: We (the editorial board) just hope that, if re-elected, McConnell will remember that’s it’s Kentuckians first – not his party – whom he answers to first.

I find this scenario interesting: What if the Republicans gain control of the Senate, but their leader loses his re-election?

Mitt Romney says a GOP-controlled Senate would end gridlock in Washington. Sorry Mitt, I disagree. Did your Civics class leave out the White House’s role in legislation?

Last week I asked instead of disposing all four of the top Congressional leaders (Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi), and if you could keep just one, who would it be? … and who do you think I would keep. Surprise … for me it would be John Boehner (R-OH). Although he has to deal with a difficult caucus within his own party, as an individual, I believe he would be the one most willing to make a deal.

To lead you into this week’s headlines from The Onion, here a few about next week’s election:

  • Midterm candidates distancing themselves from the United States
  • 45-year-old to help candidate understand the youth vote
  • Traumatized nation terrified to make its voice heard in another election

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Two-year old never thought he would see the Giants win the World Series
Man’s heart stops as speaker asks audience to turn to person next to them
Four angels banished from heaven for attempting to unionize
Antidepressant can’t believe it’s expected it’s expected to fix this mess all on its own
Crowd outside White House hoping to catch glimpse of President naked

Bonus Graphic: How Ebola Quarantine Works

Interesting Reads
Shift college programs to 3 years?
Media habits of the partisans …. (and something I wrote in January 2009)
Keyless cars and thieves
Neil Young: Musician, artist, and painter
Denying science in politics
Interactive: Henry Hudson on the Hudson

On Potpourri
Happy Halloween. Here’s an interesting read wondering if adults have hijacked Halloween.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for winning baseball’s World Series … and special congrats to their fans who visit here that I know love their Giants … especially Lame and Amy.

Pope Francis’ support (this week) for science regarding evolution and creation not only does not surprise me, but it continues a trend going back to Pope Pius XII. Regardless the clamor of the noisy cranks, there is no question in my mind that when measured along denominational lines, this is the predominant view among Christians. Even in that light, much of the Atheist community is not willing to join in partnership against the conservative agenda of placing God-driven creationism based on Genesis in public schools.

To go along with the previous comment, I’ve been saving this one from Pew Research about attitudes about evolution by political party.

Dr. John Walton is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. (I loved his book about Genesis that I reviewed here.) Recently, I read this worthy essay about right vs. wrong … and I think agree vs. disagree is also valid.

I continue to find a wonderful interest in Cynthia’s poems, Her audio versions add to my experience because she has an outstanding cadence. If you visit and comment, tell her I sent you … and a special thanks to Mary for directing me to Cynthia.

Lauren Hill, the college freshman from the Cincinnati area with an inoperable brain, is expected not to see 2016, yet this Sunday she will get her dream of playing in a college basketball game. It seems that various cable stations will be broadcasting the game in different parts of the country. I’m curious if this makes the local news (television, radio, or newspaper) in your area … so let me know. Here’s an article about her. PS: I’ve learned that she will be in the starting lineup, plus the last player introduced.

Cheers to everyone’s effort in yesterday’s Act 11 of Life: The Musical. In the history of musicals here, readers provided many songs that I didn’t know … and as one who appreciates a wide-variety of music, I say Many thanks!

This blog hit the 200,000 hits mark late Wednesday morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the rollover, but my guess the celebratory moment occurred sometime between 11:40-11:55 AM (Eastern US).

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this week because tomorrow is a special day! Do you remember why?

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Punkin Chunkin Champtionships (Video to learn about it)
  • (Fri) Happy Halloween!, Knock-Knock Jokes Day, Caramel Apples Day, Books for Treats Day, Day of the Seven Billion, Frankenstein Friday, Girl Scout Founder’s Day, Bandana Day, Breadsticks Day, Magic Day, Scare a Friend Day
  • (Sat) Fried Clams Day, Extra Mile Day, Give Up Your Shoulds Day, Sadie Hawkins Day, Games Day. Authors’ Day, Family Caregivers Day. Family Literacy Day, Go Cook for Your Pets Day, Prime Meridian Day, Kite Day, Games Day
  • (Sun) Deviled Eggs Day, Cookie Monster Day, Plan Your Epitaph Day, Zero Tasking Day, Name Your Car Day, Look for Circles Day

Here’s another 2-fer to send you into the weekend. With Saturday being Sadie Hawkins Day, the first takes you back to 1959 with Stubby Kaye in Lil Abner. If musicals of that era aren’t your thing, you are only going back to 1980 for Turn It On Again (Genesis). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Life: The Musical – Act 11: Hope

The Story
Life: The Musical is an original aFa production is a journey featuring songs of about life. Each act features an aspect of life as a theme with music supplied around that theme.

Program (Past Posts)
LifeTheMusicalAct 1: Life
Act 2: Born
Act 3: Names
Act 4: Young
Act 5: Dream
Act 6: Teens
Act 7: School
Act 8: Adulthood
Act 9: Work
Act 10: Play

Act 11
Life … the time for the living to live. One’s life starts when one is born. Shortly thereafter, we are given something that stays with us no matter where we go – a name. Immediately, we are nourished, so we grow physically, mentally, and emotionally from babies into young children … and that’s when we start to dream about our future life. Growth never stops, so from children we move on as teens .. but school is still much of life at this point.

Eventually, we move into adulthood as women and men with many things going on in our life. Whether its work, play, or family,  life can be complicated, so many times we hope for the best. Act 11 is about hope, so song titles must include Hope, Hopes, Hoping, Hoped, Hopeless, or Hopelessly.

Production Note
To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line). The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video … but I don’t mind unembedding, so apologies are not necessary.

Announcement
Legends have started many acts at aFa Productions, and this one is no different. He’s in the building, so ladies …. no screaming … but give an enthusiastic welcome to Elvis Presley with Cross My Heart and Hope to Die.

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*** For a bonus clip after the song above, start watching this one at 3:00 minutes.

 

On Satire Bits: Vol. 112

Hey hey hey … How’s your week going? Do you need a dose of mid-week satire as an energy boost? If so .. hold that thought for a few important tidbits.

Life: The Musical starts Wednesday 9:30 pm (Eastern US) with Act 11 featuring Hope, so song titles must include Hope, Hopes, Hoped, Hoping, Hopeless, or Hopelessly in the title. Have you made your selection? Shhhhhh …. don’t tell anyone!

Because Halloween is Friday, The Onion offers these tips for the perfect Halloween party.

The 200,000 hit may happen with this post. Because I doubt it, my guess is during Life: The Musical (Act 11). … but heck, maybe during Opinions in the Shorts.  Whenever, my way of celebrating the occasion is to dive into The Onion’s archives searching for celebration headlines. Which is your favorite?

For those who want to write an original combo, go ahead .. but I struggled because of the nouns and similar verbs. Nonetheless, have a good rest of the week.

Local couple celebrates anniversary by returning to website where they met

Chessmaster begins celebration several moves before checkmate

Parents at graduation celebrate child’s last accomplishment

Painful reminder celebrates fourth birthday

Larva celebrates ascent into adulthood with Bar-Moltzvah

Christianity celebrates one billionth unanswered prayer

White Castle bathroom stall celebrates fifth conception

Canvas shopping bag celebrates third year on doorknob

New hospital celebrates grand opening with free health-insurance samples

Team celebrates eighth straight loss by emptying garbage can contents on coach

Tiger Woods adds celebration where he slowing licks a putter shaft

On a Toast to Autumn

By definition, all seasons are a time of transition in the rhythm of life. Some see autumn as a start, after all, each school starts in autumn, yet it ends at the start of summer. To me, autumn is one of the more interesting seasons. Our temperatures vary, but I like the combination of warm by day, yet cool by night – yet, I don’t miss the long leaf-gathering ordeal of our previous address.

I built this post around three videos of fitting music will displaying the sights of the season. So think of the quotes as stepping-stones on your through the glories of the season. Which quote(s) do you like? Which music/video captured your attention?

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. (Albert Camus)

My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane. (Robert Frost)

Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring. (Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

The spring, summer, is quite a hectic time for people in their lives, but then it comes to autumn, and to winter, and you can’t but help think back to the year that was, and then hopefully looking forward to the year that is approaching. (Enya)

There is a part of me that will forever want to be walking under autumn leaves, carrying a briefcase containing the works of Shakespeare and Yeats and a portable chess set. I will pass an old tree under which once on a summer night I lay on the grass with a fragrant young woman and we quoted E.E. Cummings back and forth. (Roger Ebert)

I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time. (Robert Browning)

The garden of love is green without limit and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy. Love is beyond either condition: without spring, without autumn, it is always fresh. (Rumi)

Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile. (William Cullen Bryant, Indian Summer)

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?”
― Robert Frost (Gathering Leaves)

On a Charlie Monday

How was your weekend? I’m sure you did something that you enjoyed, so come on .. tell us about it.

Mine was filled. It started Thursday night by attending a community theater performance of Young Frankenstein, then a college football game Friday night, ushering at Cincinnati Playhouse (Safe House, a premier run), practicing for our participation in a tango formation, and stuff around the homestead. Also, our weather was wonderful, and Monday is supposed to be super … which means the weather will be turning soon thereafter.

This week looks like a probable milestone week, The Blog Stats box near the bottom of the sidebar shows that I’m approaching 200,000.  I hope I get to see the turnover.

Last week I posted about the Arizona wine I receive from my Secret Santa. Jeff (@ The Drunken Cyclist) has organized the 2015 exchange. Although his deadline has passed, he invites my interested readers to join in the fun … but do so ASAP. Here’s the link to the post for the guidelines. Remember, ASAP.

Life: The Musical returns this week with Act 11 featuring Hope … so let your songs ready with Hope, Hoped, Hoping, or Hopeless in the title. Curtain time will be Wednesday, 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

Celebrations for your week

  • (Week) Magic Week, Save Your Back Week, Rainforest Week, Red Ribbon Week, Peace Friendship & Goodwill Week, Prescription Errors Education & Awareness Week, Origami Week, Asexuality Week, Give Wildlife a Break Week, Kids Care Week, Infertility Awareness Week
  • (Mon) Cranky Co-Workers Day, Potato Day, World Day for Audiovisual Heritage
  • (Tues) Chocolate Day, Ghost Busters Day, Separation of Church and State Day, Ochi Day (Greece), Gone-ta-Pott Day
  • (Wed) Gnocchi Day, Dracula Bites Day, Hermit Day, Pancake Day, Psoriasis Day, Basketball Coaches Day, Cat Day, Internet Day
  • (Thurs) Checklist Day, Zero Tasking Day, Candy Corn Day, Haunted Refrigerator Night, Create a Great Funeral Day

I tagged this one when stats when 5 digits identified the hits … and that was early last week … so the hits are now 7 digits. Gotta love Charlie! Enjoy and have a great week.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 237

On Politics
This week’s senseless horrors in Ottawa, Canada is just another reminder of our crazy world. My heart goes out to my northern neighbors.

Not that I don’t think Ebola is serious, but I do wonder how much of the fear and discussion is politically driven.

People are undoubtedly disgusted with members of Congress, and there’s no doubt in my mind that many voters will cast a vote against a candidate rather than for a candidate. Unfortunately, others believe both parties are pathetic, thus will stay home because it doesn’t really matter who wins.

Many of the ads of Grimes-McConnell race for the Kentucky Senate seat focus on coal. Interestingly, the coal industry accounts for 1% of Kentucky jobs, plus has been in decline for over 40 years.

Midterm elections in the US usually don’t get much interest from the voters. Nonetheless, outside groups are spending around $4 BILLION dollars on the election.

This is interesting to ponder, but nothing one can do about it … but still interesting. Given the top leaders in Congress (Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, and McConnell) – If you could get rid of 3 (thus only keep 1), who would you keep? Who do you think I would keep? (My answer next week)

Cheers to The Onion for these election headlines

  • New election rules allows candidates to remain completely anonymous throughout campaign
  • Populist candidate gaining support among underrepresented corporations
  • Bitter concession speeches only thing Americans looking forward to in upcoming elections

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Man coasting through life entirely on benefit of doubt
Hazmat worker sees no reason to throw away all this perfectly good food
Pueblo Indians can’t keep pace with area woman’s appetite for earthenware
New census study finds 40% of US population is filler

The Onion’s infographic about tracking Ebola in the US 

Cake left in breakroom without instructions (photo below)

Photo from The Onion (theonion.com)

Photo from The Onion (theonion.com)

Interesting Reads
How to keep your health-care costs in check in 2015
Ebola and the epidemics of the past
(video) Blue eyes: Endangered and on the road to extinction?
How nature sparkles … literally sparkles
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WS) on poverty
The first Olympics games following WW II: London 1948

On Potpourri
I watch my share of CNN, so imagine my surprise when I learned that CNN and HLN are no longer on my system due to contract negotiations.

One of local college basketball players is known for his big hands … hands measuring 11.75 in (30 cm) from thumb to pinky, and 10.25 in (26 cm) from palm to tip of middle finger. Undoubtedly, that’s a big hand!

10 children, 16 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren, one great-great grandchild, 73 years of marriage, and they died 28 hours apart. Read this touching story about a Cincinnati couple.

Here’s an update on the two local athletic stories that are getting national attention because of cancer. The Bengals have sold about 15,000 jerseys of Devon Still’s #75 … that’s $1.5 million dollars to fight pediatric cancer. Across town we find Lauren Hill, the college freshman hoping to play in one college basketball game before she dies from the inoperable Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). Her small college accepted Xavier University’s offer to use their arena for the game, and Tuesday the public responded by buying over 10,000 tickets less than an hour – that is a sell out. (Story)

I anticipate reaching a milestone sometime next week. Stay tuned!

We saw the movie Gone Girl this week. Whew .. talk about two people deserving each other!

Speaking of next week, I hope to raise the curtain on Act 11 of Life: The Musical next week, which also means I will announce the theme in the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this week because I don’t have one ready! :(

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Food Day, Bologna day, Sour Day, Black Cat Day, World Development Information Day, UN Day
  • (Sat) Cartoonists Against Crime Day, Chuckie the Notorious Killer Doll Day, Pasta Day, Make a Difference Day, Greasy Foods Day, Sourest Day, Pit Bull Awareness Day, Punk-for-a-Day Day
  • (Sun) Mother-in-Law Day, Mule Day, Visit a Cemetery Day, Privacy Day, Mincemeat Day, Horseless Carriage Day

Last weekend was the first of two weddings for us to attend, so those events made me think of this rock song from the early 80s … White Wedding (Billy Idol). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Surprise Gift

I recall that day in December 2013. As my wife and I were returning from errands, I noticed a package on our doorstep … and we both confirmed that we weren’t expecting anything. But as I approached the box, my brain pulled out the file card with the answer, then I smiled and my heart rate increased in anticipation of what was inside the box. After all, I had never done anything like this before.

Jeff, (@The Drunken Cyclist) has a passion for wine … and there’s no doubt, I would love to be his neighbor. Nonetheless, several weeks earlier he tossed out the parameters of an idea to his readers, and some (including me) proclaimed, “Why not!”

I sent my name, address, and wine preference (red, white, or either) to him. After gathering the information from participants, his wife developed the plan … which meant I received a name, address, and wine preference of a person (and they don’t know it will be from me), plus someone received my information. So there it, inside the box on my doorstep … a wine from my Secret Santa.

Envisioning a delight that would be a highlight to a dampened holiday spirit (as my mother-in-law had passed away a few weeks earlier), I was eager to open the box. Would it be a single varietal or a blend? Would it be from vineyards of Spain, Italy, France, California, Australia, or Argentina?

Image from vinfolio.com

Image from vinfolio.com

As I reached for the bottle, my excitement continued to build, then like a ton of bricks … POW … I crashed when I noticed the wine was from a vineyard in Arizona.

Alright … I knew that every US state has at least one winery, so Arizona didn’t surprise me, but my mind raced with questions and thoughts:

  • Huh?
  • Where is the Arizona wine region?
  • Given the location, a blend has to be better than a single varietal.

I examined the bottle, and on the backside … YES … it’s a blend! Then I gave myself the wake-up call … Hey … wine lovers read Jeff’s blog, so they aren’t going to send lousy wine … so relax and trust the sender!

Tom, my Secret Santa, included a wonderful write-up about the wine, the vineyard, and himself. He gave a quick overview of Arizona wineries (over 50) being at the high elevations (thus cooler) in primarily three regions of the state. In this case, the owner and winemaker is Maynard James Keenan, a metal/alternative rocker who has won awards with this wine.

Sometime in January we hosted a friend for dinner. Knowing that he’s willing to try different wines, this would be the perfect time to share a taste of Arizona. After the first taste, all three of us looked at each other with open eyes saying, “Wow … what a pleasant surprise!”

Caduceus (the winery) is also the staff carried by Hermes …. the staff that is the common symbol for medicine Winery’s homepage: Here’s what we discovered about this wine.

  • Easy to drink
  • A Super Tuscan style of blend: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese
  • Smooth (not tannic), yet rich with complexity
  • Not overpowering, but cherry with spice are obvious
  • Excellent with our food for the evening (that I can’t recall)

Although this post is very late, I salute Jeff for organizing this fun activity (the rules), Theresa who received my wine, and Tom – my Secret Santa .. and hey Jeff … I hope you do this again.

Here’s  a short video of the winemaker discussing this wine. Cheers!