Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 285

Welcome to the first OITS of 2016. It’s been a few weeks since the last edition, so there is much to address … so hang on!

A firefighter in the area lost recently his life in a fire. No other professional responds to losing their own the way fire and police personnel – which impresses me.

This one caused me to shake my head in disgust: Car thieves use a device to detect keyless entry codes from the owner to get into a car.

The day before I posted the Explore post about Bratislava (Slovakia), Cindy had this post about the city I want to visit … then she answered my comment with these words. (I invite readers to visit her post.)

How synchronistic! You will love Slovakia. Be sure and savor the countryside and the nearby Carpathian Mountains. Bratislava is a wonderful surprise. It is not as hyped as much of Europe but it has the history, culture and food to make it high on my list of fascinating places.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

When the National Anthem is played before a sport event, the actions of the athletes are many.
A tip of the cap to Buzz Williams, the head basketball coach at Virginia Tech, for his approach .. and thanks to my friend (Jim) for finding this.

Although my WordPress Annual Report (here) shows a continued downward trend in overall statistics in my little corner of the world, I keep blogging because I enjoy writing and greatly appreciate my community. Below are several notes from the report.

  • 2015’s visitors came from 111 countries
  • Top Commenters (and I encourage others to visit them)
    • Dale, the good lady from the Montreal area who also serves as Maitre d’ at the musicals
    • Elyse, royalty from Northern Virginia who can order beheadings
    • Resa, the classy wardrobe designer from Toronto who loves to photograph murals
    • Carrie, the witty doctor/fiction writer from northern Ohio
    • Marina, a sincere artist and musician from Greece
  • Top Viewed New Posts

Milestones remain fun to note as I surpassed 250,000 views last weekend.

To the surprise of many and after 20 months away, I returned to the bell choir this week for the rest of the ringing season (through May). Other than the missed notes, wrong notes, silent rings, poor counting, getting lost, poor technique, and realization that I’m now the worst ringer in the group, I did OK.

I received an email from ShySchoolGirl to sign up for watching her on a camera. What would she be doing – her homework?

Congratulations to the winner of the Politifact Lie of the Year (2015) for the well-deserved honor.

To the Republican candidates who say President Obama’s Executive Order about guns is unconstitutional or an overreach, either shut-up or get it to the courts ASAP. Given their propensity for pandering and a lack of guts, they won’t act.

Republican candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) rooting against her alma mater (Stanford) in the Rose Bowl is an odd way to pander for vote. Then again, I see it as poor character.

As the media focuses on Iowa and New Hampshire, I say, Blah, blah, blah – thus, point to March 1st as a more significant date.

Both parties have debates next week … oh boy … two more for me to miss.

With the politics of opposition stronger than ever, I would ask this question to all the candidates in both parties (and with my finger on the trapdoor): Other than welcoming members of the opposing party to join your ideas, give a specific example of how you would work through the current political gridlock.

The annual State of the Union (SOTU), which is a Constitutional requirement, is approaching. SOTU is a presidential requirement of the Constitution, thus I remain 100% against the opposing party having their own response.

The Lugar Center and the Georgetown University McCord Center of Public Policy developed a Bipartisan Index rating system of senators. Over the past 20 years, the index rates 227 senators, including the current president & vice president, current majority leaders, and current & past presidential candidates. The site includes tabs with a variety of information. I captured some of the notables. – Note: The lower the ranking (shown), the higher the bipartisanship rating – Joe Biden (37), Harry Reid (47), John McCain (60), Lindsay Graham (122), Mitch McConnell (129), John Kerry (136), Hillary Clinton (156), Barack Obama (165), Marco Rubio (170), Bernie Sanders (217), Rand Paul (222), Ted Cruz (224).

Here are a few gems to lead you into The Onion …

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Trophy wife to inject a bit more collagen into her lips just in case
Cloned cat neutered
A yawn has been going around town for two straight weeks
Dead man told it’s going to be all right
Man who stayed up until dawn eating mice refers to self as night owl
Local man relieved to be back where his sex toys are compatible with the electrical outlets

Interesting Reads
Columnist David Brooks about the age of small terror (Thanks, Tim)
Views of freedoms across the world (by Pew Research)
Presidential candidates about Alzheimer’s
Nature’s built-in warning system
A columnist writes about the behavior of athletes
A view of religion’s interplay with science
Photos by the BBC’s Travel Photographer of the Year

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this hit from 1969. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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90 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 285

  1. You always have the coolest posts, Frank! Boy, I am a Nosy-Nelly, aren’t I?
    I have to tell you I have no idea where my stats are. I never check them!
    Very cool song – I’ve never heard it.

    “Wife neutered man for eating sex toys all night”

    It is always a pleasure reparteeing with you!

    Like

  2. An excellent first OITS! Thanks for bringing it all together. Politics is much too shallow these days. The basketball Veterans Day tribute was moving. And I have not heard “In the Year 2525” in years but it brought back memories of 1969. You have a safe weekend too.

    Like

  3. Like Dale, I never look at my stats either Frank. I did look at the little video of the Hokie coach talking to his players. Man, that was the best talk a coach ever gave wasn’t it! And all done so quietly and respectfully too. Is that the man who has recently retired or the new coach? Thanks for sharing that, it was great to see.

    Like

    • Pauline,
      Glad you enjoyed the coach video. He is in his second year at Virginia Tech, but he’s been a head coach since ’08. Such a great message for anyone. Fortunately, a friend of mine saw the video, then forwarded it to me for the blog.

      Like

    • JM,
      You have much on your plate, so I appreciate when you can drop by … speaking of which, I need to come over for the updates. Large fires are scary … good luck. And I didn’t know about it, so thanks for the info.

      Like

  4. Realistically, this isn’t about bipartisanship anymore, Frank. It’s about getting “our politicians” elected so that “their politicians” don’t get the full control of the political process. And for one of the two main parties the word “bipartisanship” is pretty much synonymous to “treason”, at least until the general election.

    Like

    • X,
      The lack of bipartisanship is the top reason why 2016 cannot give (in my opinion) one party control, which means continued gridlock – which I prefer over steamrolling. Let’s not forget that the Dems aren’t excluded from a lack of bipartisanship.

      Like

  5. Wonderful and interesting post here Frank as always with you. I believe in the significance of synchronicity and look forward to hearing about your trip to Slovakia which I suspect will be significant for you. Be well my friend~

    Like

  6. Great start to the year, Frank! I haven’t heard that song In the Year 2525 in a long time. I think it’s been used on many soundtracks over the years. Lots of interesting stuff here–the column on the age of small terrors rings true. And speaking of ringing, congratulations on getting back to the bell choir!

    I liked the Onion headline about the yawn going around town for two weeks. . .except now I’m yawning. . .

    Like

    • Merril,
      in the Year 2525 has been a long time favorite of mine, so when it came to mind, I had to use it. Of course positive reactions by others make me smile.

      Oh yes – the Brooks column is a good one – then again, he’s very good. Meanwhile, stop yawning because now I’m fighting one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love this song, Frank. The words are brilliant, although I’ve always found them somewhat scary. Well done on returning to the bell choir. Has it really been that long? 😕 Glad I’m not a Trophy Wife. The thought of injecting stuff into my lips is really horrifying. 😯 Happy weekend to you.

    Like

  8. And yet another reason for me to like Biden: he’s got a good bipartisan rating. Thanks for including info about that. I found it interesting. I wish they gave a score for governors. I’d like to see where Kasich’s at. I would imagine his is quite good too.

    Like

  9. Wow.. Loved reading all of that Frank.. and my review said my stats were up.. but I very rarely look and often just click on by error.. 🙂 Well done on your yearly Review.. And yes sad about those who put their lives at risk as part of their job..
    And great choice of Music.. Loved that Song.. 🙂
    Wishing you a Great start to 2016.. And have a great weekend.. and Keep dancing and ringing those bells 🙂
    Hugs Sue x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Frank, the way in which Firemen and Police Services respond to death of one their own, impresses me as well. Profoundly hitting deep inside. Early in the fall I lined up street side, along with others to watch a lengthy procession as the coffin containing the body of a young fireman (my age) whom had died from cancer took his last ride on top a Fire Engine to the church. Hope you don’t mind but here is the first stanza of something I wrote that day, The last two lines is the slogan one sees on the side of many fire trucks in this country.

    a profane wind pushes a body down Broadway
    the message pierces mucous membrane
    plan and practice your escape route
    know two ways out

    Have a good weekend Frank

    Like

  11. Frank, my comment disappeared! I wrote to thank you for the link and to say I’m glad you’ve hung around, too. Thanks for all the fun, funnies and things to think about over the years!

    Like

  12. What a hoot the Zager & Evans song is! Of course, they may prove to be right!
    I heard a rumor that ShySchoolGirl doesn’t go to school.
    & i do like the Veteran’s Day recognition video….. lots!
    Thanks for the Resa note and link! 😀

    Like

    • Resa,
      What??? ShySchoolGirl doesn’t go to school?? Tell me that ain’t so!!!!! And I was hoping the best for me figuring she wanted me to help with homework.

      Glad you enjoy the trip in the way-back machine with Zager & Evans. … and the Vet’s tribute is a good lesson for all.

      Like

  13. As expected, the Pew Research Center’s report on global attitudes toward Free Speech, Press Freedom, and Internet Freedom, requires careful study. So does the John C. Lennox book, “Science is Becoming God’s Best Friend.”

    Like

  14. My goodness but you have put a lot into this OIS! I’m really impressed with the research! I think it’s great that you’ve once again joined the bell choir. Previously it was really clear how much you enjoyed it and I think the practice and performance is a very nice balance against the pull of all the other stress of life. I heard a report today that said for the first time in multiple decades it’s possible that California’s Republican primary may actually count. I almost immediately thought, “Frank might like to hear that!” As for the WP report, I didn’t get an announcement, but when I finally find it I know it will reflect quite a drop from last year. I think that it’s almost impossible to keep those stats booming when it also seems to take more and more work to hold the community together when others are coming and going quite rapidly. I always look forward to your posts, Frank. And you have a very loyal readership! 🙂

    Like

    • Debra,
      Handbells is a mental workout, but being away from them and reading music was a shock to the system. The GOP primary could prove to be interesting. Some states are winner take all – others designated delegates proportionally to the vote. Yes, I did hear that your state may be in the spotlight – but time will tell. After all, there are still plenty of candidates to drop out.

      One of the reasons for the drop in numbers is the number of visitors that no longer blog … thus they haven’t been replaced. Oh well … thanks for the support!

      FYI: The WP Annual Report came via email. If you don’t see the email, try https://breathelighter.wordpress.com/2015/annual-report/

      Like

  15. “In the Year 2525” creeped me out as a 14-year-old. So did “Eve of Destruction” and “Bad Moon Rising.” I think I thought musicians knew something about the future that I didn’t . . .

    Like

  16. From The interesting read on religion and science:

    I came across a talk some time ago that nails why I and the vast majority of the human race find atheism/naturalism so untenable. The speaker said something to the effect that if you are an atheist you have to believe that:

    Chaos produces order,
    lifeless matter produces life,
    chance produces intelligence, and
    accidents produce purpose.

    This is simply undeniable; order, life, intelligence, and purpose exist, and they came from . . . . nothing? Now that takes a lot of faith!

    I get it and I’m OK with it as far as it goes. It is the ultimate conundrum. Indeed, why should anything exist at all? But I submit that the author denigrates (most) atheists and agnostics unfairly. Just because logic dictates that there must be a cause for nature, that says nothing about which, if any, of the world’s 4,200 religions has the right interpretation of understanding the source of it. I’m ready to embrace an answer when and if it’s understandable but I’m not going to pick one randomly and worship it. However, I’m perfectly content to let others do so just so long as it results in civilized behavior. To me, tolerance of diversity is the main pillar of the Constitution and the best hope for the human race.

    I always enjoy your “interesting reads”, Frank, and I appreciate your enquiring mind. It must be so or you wouldn’t find these for us. Be well, and happy new year!

    Like

    • Jim,
      I can see the conundrum in religion. In terms of this author, I don’t see the comment has being hard on atheists & agnostics … after all, I’ve had much worse stated to me on this blog by atheists & agnostics (more the former).

      In terms of the Interesting Reads, you are in the handful that truly enjoys this section, thus I appreciate the fact that you can find something of value in the list. I try to capture a wide swath of topics.

      Like

  17. Loved the Religion and Science read, of course these usually have me enthralled. The Pew Research is interesting, still making my way through some of it. David Brooks always has something interesting to say.

    You always have the best stuff Frank, the video from Virginia Tech, superior! Though I must say, Buzz failed to recognize there were men and women standing in that line of Veterans.

    I can’t, simply can’t watch anymore debates right now. I will watch the State of the Union, I can’t help myself.

    Welcome to 2016.

    Like

    • Val,
      David Brooks does interesting topics, a good columnist that I consider to be sensible. In terms of the VT basketball team, I noticed the vets were both male and female … but I didn’t catch the words. If so, good catch.

      Interestingly, you can’t watch the debates (anymore at this point) and I haven’t watched any. For some reason I’m smiling!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I love your OITS posts! Must take a long time to compose, though. I also love your wide and varied interests – I try to live like that as well. But I don’t like the “ShySchoolGirl” thing, because it blows my image of you as the quintessential gentleman! Much prefer you with the bell choir! LOL! 🙂

    Like

  19. Great first OITS! Loved the Onion articles and the new set up by them. The article about the Koch Brothers buying the same election for each other for Christmas. What a hoot! Congrats on your stats. I think they are great and wouldn’t kick them out of my “Stat Bed.” Happy New Year to you and Mrs. A.

    Like

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