Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 195

On Politics
The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech has been interesting. We have come a long way, yet still have so far to go. As Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said, Sometimes I hear people saying nothing has changed, but for someone to grow up the way I grew up in the cotton fields of Alabama to now be serving in the United States Congress, makes we want to tell them come and walk in my shoes.

I appreciated the way President Obama used these common metaphors: the flame of conscience, a stream of conscience, and a coalition of conscience.

As a large segment of Congressional Republicans continues to do what they can to remove Obamacare, here’s an article about some Republicans who appreciate the Affordable Care Act.

I recently saw this bumper sticker: I’m Catholic, and I vote. My response is I vote without labels.

I hope “clear evidence” about chemical weapons use in Syria is clearer than the weapons of mass destruction evidence in Iraq.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Study: Americans enjoy watching TV, eating
Narrow gap in bathroom stall door to be widened Monday
Some stupid things making the rounds among your Facebook friends today
Syrian conflict widens as bears enter war
New desktop folder created for sad little project
Man thought to be dead wakes up two days after cremation
Study: The majority of children lack strong male supermodels

Interesting Reads
Juicing A-to-Z
Just another example of injuries retired football players endure
Physicists debate world’s composition
Travel guide and slideshow of Belgrade, Serbia
Golf’s history in America (a book review)
Power of forgiveness
Science and cable news

On Potpourri
Happy Wear College Colors Day! I don’t think orange & brown and red & black will be a good combo, so I wore the first on Thursday (Go Falcons, Beat Tulsa) and the second (Go Bearcats, Beat Purdue) on Friday.

If this celebration isn’t for you, Friday is Holistic Pet Day and Toasted Marshmallow Day. Saturday is Love Litigating Lawyers Day. Huh? Meanwhile, this weekend is the final chance to celebrate Safe at Home Week and your last chance to celebrate Golf Month, Win with Civility Month, and Mutt-i-grees Rescue Month.

For us in the US, Labor Day weekend marks the last major weekend of summer. Being that it straddles two months this time, I won’t feature September celebrations until the next Monday Morning Entertainment post. September 1st (Sunday) celebrations include No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day, Calendar Adjustment Day, Chicken Boy’s Day Emma M. Nutt Day, Dolphins of Taiji Awareness Day, Toy Tips Executive Toy Test Day, and Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day.

Did you hear about the 11-year-old boy starting college to major in quantum physics?

This past Wednesday’s Tribute’s post was a lot of fun to do, so thanks for stopping by to celebrate the occasion … although it put me very behind on my visits! Although unstated, one of my goals was for readers to find new blogs to visit and for bloggers to get new visitors. Did it work?

As my Cincinnati Reds struggle, at least my golf game is trying to become more consistent.

Is Miley Cyrus going to be the next to follow the Lindsay Lohan/Brittany Spears meltdown model?

Because September is going to be a choppy month for me, the next act of Time: The Musical may be next week with the theme featuring songs with Hour(s) in the title. I hope to announced a definite on Monday Morning Entertainment.

Sorry, no Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend.

Here are The Piano Guys to send you into the weekend. (Well, I don’t think I’ve used this one). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Tributes

I have to set aside the normal weekly Satire Bits to dedicate this post (#1256) to the many of have come and gone to my little corner of the world.

To bloggers as Larry (Nutball Gazette) and Stone (Third Stone from the Sun) who are no longer with us … Larry from heart ailments in his 60s and Stone from a stroke and aneurism in his 40s. Both were genuine and far too young to leave life.

To the bloggers I list as Pioneers on my sidebar as they helped me get started; thus special thanks to David, Mo, Beeze, Lester, Chris, and others. We connect back to the days when The Sporting News hosted sports blogs, and they remain avid sports bloggers today.

To Joe, a photographer from Arkansas, who Sunday journeys through rural Arkansas, brought together nature and humanity.

To bloggers as Starla, Les, Melissa, Rachel, Rita, Mags, Izzie, Sekan, Rosie, Rantonit, and Mckenzie who frequented these pages; but (to my best knowledge), no longer blog. I occasionally wonder about McSmall k’s health status. These names represent those who vanished from blogging or here for one reason or another.

Others move on, which is common in blogging, so cheers to Paulette, Spinny, Keith, Randel, Scott, Al, Meesh, Dragonfae, Hat, Don, and others who have stopped by my little corner of the world.

To Maxi, a Filipino living in Sweden who was one of my first global visitors, which now has greatly expanded.

To Nonnie, whose cake-ball business limits her posts, as does Kellie due to work. To Tim Valentine, a man with a deep soul who still posts, but doesn’t interact as he once did. Interacting with him was outstanding!

Cheers to my current visitors!

I don’t have the humorous touches as El Guapo or Leo, nor write fiction like Rich, Jackie P, Amy, Ryan, Hudson, and Tom M. I certainly can’t weave a tale like Eleanor or Lame. I know I don’t write from deep within my soul as Val or Le Clown, or have the sassy wit as Elyse.

I don’t dive into the philosophical depths as Shimon, or rant like Weebs. I certainly don’t have a sense of style like Kay or Gull.

I have neither Archon’s clever wit or John Erickson’s crazed wit. (Has anyone encountered him?) No way do I know as much about space as Alex, or physics as Jim. I can’t garden or compose music as Lynn, and gathering puns like Fasab is against my constitution.

I don’t write creatively like Ginger Fightback, Soma, and White Lady in the Hood, or humorously like Kayjai, Vanessa, Jiggy, and Sandy, nor as editorially clean as Renee, Patti, or Red.

I don’t write with joyful spirit as Debra, Colline, Java Girl, RoSy, Sunshine, or Georgette; or in Mouse’s unique way of making a point. I don’t write poems or haikus like Audra, Kimberly, Errin, or Shrinks.

I won’t even attempt to draw like Hansi, paint like Marina or Jots, create like Mobius and Buddahkat, or cook like Viveka or Spiced. Besides, my photography skills don’t come close to Robin, Otto, Bulldog, Nia, Suzanne, Cindy, Cathy, Victoria, Dink, and Mimo.

I don’t approach bliss like LouAnn, or reach the Alisha’s intellectual depths. I don’t follow music like this Calgary John, provide daily humor like this Athens John, and certainly can’t write like this Seattle John. Besides, I’m not even close to Nancy’s understanding about Christianity.

I wish I had travel experiences as Sylvia, or spent as much time in Tuscany as Debra. The thought of writing a fictional book as Carrie, Rose, TBM, John Howell, Maddie, and H.E. Ellis is outside of my scope. I certainly won’t attempt a story of my life like Kathy, or get published as much as Christine.

I’m not an Australian living in Finland like Kanerva, I don’t write political commentary through three beagles like Kellie, I’m certainly not a political junkie like Moe, and I’m unquestionably not the master of marching band like Tim … nope, I wouldn’t call myself a hiker as Frank or a camper like Catherine.

I know I lack the passion of Snoring Dog, the surreal nature as Winsombella, the emotion of Noeleen, the hope of Tazein, and the prolific manner as Rarasaur. If ever needed, I sure hope I face health issues with Angela’s courage and positive determination.

Given all the skills that I lack, you and others continue to visit and comment – and I’m very grateful and consider myself very lucky to be in contact with so many good people.

This place is not a blog where people quickly gather after a new post, but I’ve learned to accept that. This is not a blog with big numbers, and I accept that, too. After all, I publish this blog because I enjoy writing, learning, and interacting with nice people from all over the world … and that helps me hold on to my belief that the majority of people throughout the world are good.

Yes, thanks to all of you for what you do, and in short, thanks for allowing me to be me, whoever I am here.

No – this is not my last post – just my way of celebrating my fifth year on this WordPress site and saying Thanks – and one more thing – Happy Birthday Shania!

On Smooth Wine

Glass-of-WineTannin is a wine term that provides an explanation why some people don’t like red wine – yet – it also applies to why others or prefer red wines, or even the preference for a particular red wine. Tannin is also the unknowingly basis of why some buyers ask for “a smooth wine.”

Some associate tannin with leather, which a good thought to describe tannic red wines because tannin is what causes the dry feeling within the mouth – the pucker of dryness – the feeling like someone swabbed the mouth dry.

What are tannins?
Tannin is actually a protein group found through plant parts as stems and leaves – and in grape skins. It’s not something one smells, but its taste can also be found in tea, chocolate, herbs, and more. Yet, it is because of tannins that red wine goes so well with the fats of red meats and cheeses.

Why are some red wines more tannic?
There are numerous factors determining the tannin level in wine. Whether natural or from the winemaker, here are the key factors – and help with the understanding, let’s go through the winemaking process.

(1) Grape Variety: Some kinds of grapes are naturally more tannic. For instance, cabernet sauvignon is more tannic than merlot.

(2) Grape Maturity: Picking the grapes at the right time is important for optimal levels of juice, sugar, and tannin. In general, younger grapes have more tannin.

(3) Vineyard: Although the vineyard itself is not a tannin source, the soil and conditions may yield a certain minerality that could enhance tannins taste.

(4) Exposure Time: While white grapes only yield white wines, dark grapes can deliver red or white wines. After all, the grape’s juice is close to colorless; thus, red wine’s color comes from exposing the juice to the skins. Regarding tannins, the longer the juice is exposure to the skins, the higher the tannin levels.

(5) Fermentation: Fermentation is the process yielding the alcohol. Some winemakers prefer to ferment the juice in the presence of grape stems, skins, and seeds – which will yield more tannic wine.

(6) Barrels: After initial fermentation, winemakers place many red wines into barrels. Because the barrel’s wood is from the stems of a tree, the barrels naturally contain tannin. Now, sub factors as the type of tree, the newness of the barrel, and the time spent in the barrel become important factors.

(7) Additives: The winemaker may choose to add wood chips or tannin powder to the barreling process. Again, type, amount, and time are factors.

(8) Age: Finally, the wine moves from the barrel to the bottle. Although many wines are drinkable, some need more time in the bottle than others – time allowing additional reactions to occur to tone down the tannins.

(9) Blending: In order to achieve the desired outcome, the winemaker has the luxury of blending wines (before bottling). Remember grape varieties and the vineyards are two of the initial factors. A winemaker may blend Cabernet from different vineyards to achieve a desired taste. They may add less tannic wines to soften the tannin levels – or add tannic wine to a softer wine to give the wine more substance

A blending note: Labeling laws are different everywhere, California law gives the winemaker much latitude. That is, for a wine to be labeled Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, or whatever, it must contain at least 75% of that grape variety. In other words, the other undisclosed grapes may in the bottle, but not on the label.

Winemakers experience a lot of pain when determining the result in that bottle. They know consumers have different tastes. So, people asking their retailer for a smooth wine are actually asking for less tannin … so keep this in mind in your purchases.

On the Dog Days of August

Welcome back! Sure hope you had a good weekend. What did you do?

Our weekend was abnormal. Between having a garage sale, family visiting from out-of-town, and errands meant no dancing for us. I also missed the Cincinnati Brew Ha-Ha Festival, America’s largest beer and comedy festival.

Preparation for the garage sale threw me for a loop last week. After all, I forgot to alert you that this past weekend was a chance to celebrate Waffle Day, Whisky Sour Day, Go Topless Day, and Kiss & Makeup Day.

Never fear because here’s this week’s celebrations:

  • (Mon) National Dog Day, Women’s Equality Day
  • (Tues) The Duchess Who Wasn’t Day
  • (Wed) Radio Commercials Day, Race Your Mouse Around Icons Day
  • (Thurs) More Herbs Less Salt Day, According to Hoyle Day, National Scarcoidosis Awareness Day, and (for some reason) a second chance to celebrate National Whisky Sour Day

Because of its hot, dry, humid days, August is known as the dog days. Besides needing some rain, the heat and humidity will crank up for us this week. I hate that kind of weather!

In honor of National Dog Day, I think puppies are a good choice to start the week with a smile. Enjoy … and have a great week!

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 194

On Politics
After allowing several major airlines mergers, the Justice Department is balking at the merger between American Airlines and US Airways. What a crock, well, unless they tend to order the others to breakup.

A good article about why Americans hate Congress.

Now this stat from a recent poll emphasizes partisanship: 29% of Louisiana Republicans polled blame President Obama on the Federal government’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina (2005). 28% blame President Bush, and 44% are not sure who to blame. (For foreign readers, President Obama was elected in Nov 2008.)

A friend of ours said he wishes President Obama would come out against eating yellow snow so he can hear FOX News defend eating yellow snow.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Washington’s Hobby Lobby Lobbies to Strengthen Hobbies
  • San Andreas fault feels terrible about what could happen
  • Riotous chanting Iowa State Fair Crowed Gathers for Annual Deep-Frying of Virgin (I love the accompanying pic)
  • Researchers Discover Female Frogs Prefer Mate Who Knows Way Around the Cloaca
  • Elmore Leonard, Modern Prose Master, Noted for His Terse Prose Style and for Writing about Things Perfectly and Succinctly with a Remarkable Economy of Words, Unfortunately and Sadly Expired this Gloomy Tuesday at the Age of 87 Years Old

Interesting Reads
The autobiography of George Orwell (a book review)
Alex’s post about the annual eclipse of Venus
About Mussolini (a book review)
Brief history of lobotomies
Microbakeries
Global divide about homosexuality
The Onion’s Point-Counterpoint about bellyrubs

On Potpourri
Security detaining David Miranda was big news from the UK this week. I suspect he intentionally routed his plans through London with hopes this would happen.

This week’s post about hot sauces received interesting reactions. For anyone interested, here are two sites selling many of these hot sauces: chiliworld.com and hotsauce.com.

Last week I posted about an Ohio school district’s take on evolution and creationism in the science classroom. Thanks to Tim, here’s a collect of essays from the New York Times around a question: Should Creationism Be Controversial? The comments are interesting as they are filled with both hope and ignorance.

American football season is about to start. As a physical sport, it has received much criticism in recent years. Here’s an interesting article from the opposite perspective.

Our first handbell choir rehearsal was earlier this week. Interestingly, we received news that we get to be the first to play a new piece. Yep, we’ll play a world premier by a big-named composer in handbell music!

Sorry, no Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend because of a prep-time shortage.

It’s on to the weekend. In the spirit of El Guapo adventurism, here’s a longboard coasting down a small hill. Enjoy the ride, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Time: The Musical – Act 6

The Story
Time – The Musical is an original A Frank Angle production featuring songs about time with each act featuring songs following a particular theme.

Time The MusicalProgram (Past posts)
Act 1: Time
Act 2: Specific Time
Act 3: Years
Act 4: Months
Act 5: Days and Weekdays

Act 6
Act 6 only features songs with Weekend, Saturday, or Sunday (or their plural forms) in the song title; but the challenge for attendees is no duplicates.

Production Note
It has come to my attention that past acts have crashed browsers. Please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line. The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video. But, I don’t mind unembedding. .

Announcement
Ladies and gentlemen, to kickoff Act 6, a grand AFA welcome to a classic group doing a quirky song from their Night at the Opera album … Welcome, Queen with Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon.

On Satire Bits: Vol. 69

Heat and humidity are creeping back into my area, plus we (unlike the southeastern US) could use a little rain. Nonetheless, my golf game is improving. Congratulations to my wife as she and her golf partner won their league for the second consecutive year.

Reminder that the next post is Time: The Musical – Act 6 featuring song with weekends, Saturday, Sunday, (or the plural forms) in the title.

It’s time for your midweek dose of satire. Which is your favorite? For those desiring the extra challenge, develop a combo from the these headlines. My combo is at the end of the list.

Report: Economy one speech away from recovery

Pit of Komodo dragons shocked to discover billionaire who owns them is just 26

Fans flock to Lollapolooza to see all the biggest brands

Politician spots young female aide …. and so it begins

Baby can already tell crib he’s in going to be recalled

Annual 6-sentence conversation with cousin goes smoothly

Man has never given a definitive Yes to any invitation he’s ever received

FBI offering $1 million reward for information on cheetahs

Soulmate uses different dating website

After three days of solid training, man gets pet parrot to say Shazbot

My Combo: Parrot gets politician in crib to say “Shazbot”