Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 286

As a wine enthusiast, this 15-second commercial for Ally Bank makes me laugh. (Not the best sound on this one) – but I don’t know why Ally Bank doesn’t post it on their YouTube channel.

After watching two current movies, I see a strong connection between two unlikely films – The Big Short and Concussion … and I recommend both films.

For those who enjoy a good fireworks display, I enjoyed the New Year’s display from London. Click here for a a fun 11 minutes.

Did you see the preview of the major announcement on the Hear Ye page?

The attacks this week in Istanbul and Jakarta are troubling. Unfortunately, I fear the world is going to be dealing with this problem for more years than we want … no matter what Washington does.

In order to quicken the pace on improving my handbell skills, I started practicing with the second choir at our church this week. Their music is easier, so I can work on my technique and get back to reading music. I see it as a boot camp to sharpen my skills for a few weeks.

There will be an Explore this weekend.

Thank you readers, especially those who don’t follow sports, for tolerating my vent on the previous post.

Embed from Getty Images

The first 10 minutes of the State of the Union (SOTU) was on (while I was blogging) because my wife was watching. The partisanship of the event drives me nuts. I wish all the members in the audience would quietly and respectfully sit and listen from start to finish … but that’s asking a bit too much from our elected officials.

I’m glad President Obama included the partisan gridlock in the SOTU. (I read this portion of the transcript after seeing the news reports.) Although the Republican caucus makes it difficult, I openly wonder about the White House’s role in the obstruction.

For those thinking I only pick on Republicans, below are the fact-checks of President Obama’s State of the Union … here is the speech’s transcript … (and the fact checks) Politifact,  Annenberg Fact Check,  Associated PressWashington Post

As Donald Trump (R-NY) questions Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) citizenship, I say the Democrats should not address this issue now or in the future. Don’t stoop that low! Should the question be answered? Absolutely – but not by those with a political motive. I say the Republican Party should launch the initiative to determine the answer – but I very much doubt that will happen.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) needs votes, so he pouts and declines to participate in the lower-tier debate. Now that makes a lot of sense.

Speaking of Mr. Trump, I listened to much of two of his speeches. I encourage others to do so, but I won’t say why.

Embed from Getty Images

To lead you into The Onion, here is their list of pros and cons regarding helicopter parenting.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pope Francis Wearing Sweater Vestments He Got For Christmas (I like the picture)
Emotional NRA President honors victims of background checks
Minimalism Overdone
Study Links Binge Eating To Stress, Contentment, Depression, Joy, Boredom, Anger, Relaxation
New Survey Reveals Chicken-Fried Steak Leads Pork-Fried Pork As Nation’s Favorite Meat-Fried Meat

Interesting Reads
For the political junkies, a Republican’s view of the party’s 2016 options
A public-union case at the US Supreme Court
A short primer to understanding Islam (Thanks Jim W)
David Bowie’s life in pictures
Gene editing: the positives and negatives
In his own words: How a gym teacher invented basketball in 1891
Is China scared of ghost films?

Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

48 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 286

  1. I was just heading out to look for you – and up popped your post in Reader. Sounds like you are ringing in the new year with determination. Sounds from bells are bound to may you smile and silently hum along all day long. (Now I have to go see what the sports comment was about) Enjoy your Friday and weekend!


    • Mouse,
      On Christmas Eve, I approached the director to see if she would be interested in another ringer – and initially she didn’t realize I was referring to myself … a priceless reaction.
      To explain my role in the second choir, here’s what I write in OITS last week: “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.”


    • Cynthia,
      Hooray … glad I was able to make you laugh again with this one … and I’m right with you … and yes, the woman’s look at the end is priceless, thus a wonderful ending. She does well of holding the stunned look before going into the Huh look.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t watch the SOTU address. I knew I couldn’t take the division. One side clapping and nodding, the other sitting stone-faced with their arms crossed. Drives me batty.

    I’d love to see Concussion. Might end up being a rental DVD down the road, but I look forward to it.


  3. The White House may have had some role in obstruction, but to my knowledge, they haven’t openly said things like “the most important thing we hope to achieve is to make Obama a one term president.”


    • X,
      No question that the GOP have been openly blatant obstructionists … and that’s the perfect quote to serve as the main thesis for that argument. At least the WH have been more discrete.


  4. I’m so glad you added in a little Bowie. I’ve felt just a little sad all week. And the ally bank commercial is so funny! I steered clear of the State of the Union Address, and I think it is probably the first one in my adult life that I deliberately avoided. I was so sure it would disturb me and I just decided not to bother. I’m looking forward to the the Musical! It looks like it might be a good challenge! 🙂


    • Debra,
      The political divide has grown to the point that it’s one side or the other … and for those of us in the middle, each side wants us on their side, but they don’t understand why or how anyone can be in the middle. Hang in there … and just remain true to yourself.


  5. as if I slept hundred years… when I woke up I saw that so many things happened. How made me so sad… World is not good with all these news… tragics, events… I really don’t know and also can’t understand what is going there and there… There are so many strange things too but you know me, I hate to talk about politics, dear Frank. And you know, I am not free as being in there too 🙂 Thank you, have a nice day, love, nia


  6. I hadn’t seen that Ally Bank commercial before, “Peanut of the Night!” So funny! I liked the Pope’s Christmas sweater vestments, too. 😉
    I don’t think I can take listening to Trump.
    Good luck with the bells!


    • Merril,
      I know you enjoy wine, so cheers that you got to see the commercial – got to love Peanut of the Night. … and cheers to you enjoying the pope’s Christmas sweater!

      My first (self-proclaimed) boot camp helped me. The reaction of some of the other ringers (that I know) when they saw me there was priceless. A friend standing beside finally side that I must be a rock star. … we had a good laugh. Bottom line, I need more repetitions, so this was helpful – thus I will continue for at least two more weeks (which means I ring twice a week).

      Not everyone can listen to The Bloviator … I respect that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love “Peanut of the Night” It always makes me laugh. Which makes me wonder… In the musicals.. are we allowed to use different languages?
    Thanks for the “Changes” vid, I can’t seem to get enough of that song this week.
    Well, it’s Friday night, and I’m off for a glass (or 3..?) of wine to pair with the meal I’m cooking. So, cheers to you & your wife, Frank, “Cacahuete de la noche”
    PS I fell asleep during SOTU.


    • Resa,
      Definitely enjoy the evening … and maybe a suave gentleman will use the Peanut of the Night line. …. if so … just smile.

      In the past, there have been instances of other languages coming in to play. Most of the time, readers have done the smart thing with an explanation. After all, remember that dealing with The Producer requires caution. But he knows verde is green, and so on.

      Enjoy the wine tonight!


  8. My combo. Pope Francis honors minimalism. Also, Frank I have said in the past the executive branch has a responsibility or maybe more accurately, an obligation to negotiate consensus. I think this President has not learned how. He uses executive orders to circumvent the legislature which set a bad precedent and not well received by both houses. He also openly blames the congress for inaction which can only cause more rift. My hope is whoever gets elected will not continue this practice. Have a great weekend.


    • John,
      An leader embracing minimalism is quite the feat!

      Well put about the current situation in Washington. Although Congress is dysfunctional, the White House’s role in the debacle is noted – thus without blame. Like another situation we know, there is a lot of blame to go around. He campaigned on a new day … a new way of doing business … and then embraced a different way.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The experience you’re getting on the handbell choir reserve squad is a tribute to the director’s ability to build an outstanding handbell choir program at your church.

    I plan to put a high priority on finding out why you see a strong connection between the films – ‘The Big Short’ and ‘Concussion.’

    Since you got me hooked on Petite Sirahs, and since then having tried a wide variety of low to moderate priced French Bordeaux wines (left bank and right bank), I’m here to report that the only Petite Noirs I seem to like are the ones which are way too expensive for my income level. Can you offer a solution?

    A hard copy of the short primer to understanding Islam is going on my refrigerator.


    • Tim,
      Pinot Noirs can be expensive .. and in general, those with lower price are that for a reason. However, New Zealand has a good selection at a reasonable price.

      The hard copy of the Islam primer going to your refrigerator must be a sign of a full golf bag.


      • Thanks for the tip on New Zealand Pinot Noir wines. My wife’s relatives lived in New Zealand on and off for several years and will be a good resource.

        There are three levels of importance for hard copies I save: (1) on my refrigerator, (2) in my golf bag, (3) in my file cabinet.


  10. My favorite of all of this (other than, maybe, the Pope’s sweater vestments) was the list of pros and cons of helicopter parenting. Having known a few perpetrators and the children they spawned . . .


  11. I’m having a really diffict time trying to listen to any politician these days. My mind is in rebellion mode and while I understand the game I don’t appreciate it. There’s too much uncertainty too many serious issues that require serious people with some degree of intelligence and I’m sorry but I can’t seem to find anyone out there that only wants what they want with no regard to how they get there. That includes both sides of the aisle. It’s just a pathetic set of circumstances and individuals and all we can seem to do is “settle” for who we think will do the least amount of damage in their allotted time in office.
    What have we become?


    • George,
      Amazing how much we have in common with this issue. I keep thinking of Washington’s low approval rating, so we re-elect the majority of incumbents. Could voters (as a whole) be the problem?


      • I believe we are a big part of the problem, Frank. We either turn a blind eye, are apathetic or simply consumed with what is in our individual best interest instead of the country as a whole. We’re the ones who continue to vote in the very people we complain about. Wasn’t it Freud who said something along the lines of doing the same thing over and over again with the same result is a form of illness? Well, here we are.


  12. Just one more comment on the “interesting reads” here: The Atlantic’s David Frum’ column on A Republican’s view of 2016’s options is the best analysis I’ve read on the revolutionary changes in the GOP’s cultural base and the rise of Trump. Frum is a very smart guy and the times, they are achanging. It’s true of the Democrats as well, I think. When a “Democratic Socialist” can legitimately challenge a long-time party icon, you know real change is in the wind. As Betty Davis once uttered, “Fasten your seat belt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!”


    • Jim,
      So far, the 2016 campaign is a bit odd on both sides … and glad you found some good info in Frum’s article. With NH being early, the effect of Bernie getting a good start is going to be interesting.


  13. I enjoyed looking through the Bowie picture gallery. Thanks for the film recommendations. I’ll put them on my list for when they’re available to download. Glad to hear you’re getting back into the handbell swing of things. I’m sure it won’t take you long to get back up to speed. 🙂 Have a great week.


    • Sylvia,
      Ringing twice a week helps … and with the easier music in the second group, I can concentrate on techniques without the frantic of worrying about getting the notes.

      Hooray … someone looked at the Bowie pictures! Glad you enjoyed them. Hope you enjoy the movies when they come available.

      Liked by 1 person

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