Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 328

We have an interesting handbell piece on the docket for this weekend. It’s not easy, so it will be interesting to see if we hit it. Here’s a recording.

Our church purchased a new organ. A side note is that the organ is the first produced by a local (Cincinnati) company. In order to promote their product, the company sponsored a concert featuring a distinguished organist – Christoph Bull from UCLA. Wow … he impressed us – so for those who enjoy organ music, here is one of his videos.

Christians are early in the season of Lent. Interestingly, here’s an article about using digital technology for Lenten reflections.

Here’s a look at the lighter side. Enjoy this almost 2 minute trip with a skier going around town.

This is fun. The Atlantic creates a timeline based on a birthday. Here’s the link so you can try it.

Cincinnati and Xavier are two college basketball programs that are competitive, respectful, and regularly in the tournament. These two schools are separated by 3.5 miles (5.6 k). Interestingly, Northern Kentucky University is only 11 miles (18 km) from the most northern (XU), and they will definitely will have a spot on the brackets to be announced on Sunday. So will Cincinnati, and maybe Xavier.

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When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2009, I saw it as a start with hopes that Congress would work out the problems that would arise. Both parties have greatly failed doing that. Now it appears the same thing will happen, just with the other side of the aisle – meaning Congress remains selfish and clueless.

Comparing the ACA with the proposed replacement is a prime example of how Democrats have a tendency to over-regulate while Republicans under-regulate.

Although many have grumbled at the replacement plan, I haven’t heard the insurance industry issuing angst – which means a reason to question the plan.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is enjoying a ratings boost due to his relentless anti-Trump rants during his monologue. We watch (live or recorded) because he’s good for a laugh.

People who regularly watch the nightly opinion-oriented shows on cable news networks are not only feeding their bias, but are also driving themselves into a frenzy – and neither is good for America.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Above normal temperature this past winter
Not placing a phone tap on Trump Tower phones
North Korea continuing to bomb the sea
My alma mater approaching 50 years without making the NCAA basketball tournament
Wikileaks, WikiPooPoo ,PeePeeLeaks, leaks and leeks

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers the pros and cons for a two-party political system.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
God getting strong urges to bring dinosaurs back
Study finds exposure to violent children causes increased aggression in video game characters
Pope Francis spotted sunbathing nude in St. Peter’s Square
Carhartt introduces rugged work throng (A pic doe those who dare to look)
Lemur fantasizes about ripping face off of next dumbshit who calls it a monkey

Interesting Reads
How smoothies delay hunger
How to eat like a Viking
Fall of the Romanovs
Giving up sugar: Lent and the brain
5 future technologies that got real in 2016
Norba and the Romans
(Gallery) A celebration of photography

Here’s another oldie from Huey Lewis and the News to send you into the weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

43 thoughts on “Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 328

  1. Oh please don’t suggest I put down my “nightly opinion-oriented shows on cable news networks,” Frank. LOL! I’m not ready yet! I love the handbell piece and can hear its complexity. I read music very well and in my teens participated in a very short-lived handbell choir. The thing I remember was how much pressure I felt because one small slip could create musical havoc. I guess what I’m addressing is respect for how much practice a complex piece requires. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      To me, what makes handbell music complex is the idea that the choir is one instrument. Although all us are supposed to be counting like crazy, thus almost ignoring the others, one player going wonky can through off the entire choir. Then the question is can it pull back together and how long did it take. A player missing a note in a band or orchestra has much less of an effect. Therefore, handbells does test one’s nerves.

      Meanwhile, yep – the heck with the nightly cranks. Their aim is to fire-up their base against the others. … and unfortunately, too many partisans think of them as a news source, thus partisan viewers become jaded. Oh well … as usual, I’m in the minority.


  2. As per the ACA, how right you are. And yes . . when the insurance industry shrugs, it’s not a good thing.

    Haven’t paid much attention to college hoops in recent years, mostly because of all this one and done business that has become the standard for the better players. But I’m all in on the March Madness pool this year, despite the fact I only know the coaches, lol.

    Great post Frank.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cayman,
      Even since I wrote this post, I still haven’t heard insurance companies complaining! So they must be smiling – and that’s not a good thing. Meanwhile,

      March Madness is set. So interesting – 3 teams for my city … one an hour away … 3 more two hours away …. play in games 1 hour away …. now that’s a lot of thrills nearby!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Merril,
      Glad you enjoyed The Atlantic interactive … and thanks for going there as it is always good to know when someone tries and likes something I suggested.

      In terms of handbells, it was a busy weekend. We attended a conference/convention/festival which was Friday night plus Saturday morning & afternoon. A long day. Saturday afternoon our director decided to cancel playing at the Sunday morning service, so that was a good thing – especially after also losing an hour from the time change and the fact we practice on Mondays. Hopefully we will play that piece soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had heard of famed organist Christoph Bull and I’m sorry I missed hearing him perform live.

    I’m curious what the role is of health care insurance companies in countries like Canada, Great Britain, and France which have single payer national health care systems?

    Good to hear that the UC, Xavier, and NKY basketball teams will all make it to the NCAA Tournament.

    No Onion splats, but the one about the dinosaurs has potential if reworded.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It seems to me, passing a healthcare plan that’s opposed by so many medical organizations is like building a bridge that engineers have declared unsafe. (In fact, I just tweeted that very thing.) It’s just asking for trouble. And what a mess for the industry. Is everything perfect with the ACA? No. So keep what is and improve on what isn’t. This is a complex issue and will take complex tweaking. Now, if only both sides would work together as you mention. Do you suppose that will ever happen? Maybe when we see little piggies flying in the sky.


      • Not sure yet. For the women of course UConn – went to see one of their games a month ago against SMU, a wild and fantastic game. More UConn fans in the stands than SMU fans! We are going wild around here with TCU finally, maybe having a chance at even getting into the NCAA tournament after routing #! Kansas yesterday – a very big deal! So not sure on the guys side who I’ll be cheering for. Love watching the games though – lots of energy and fun.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Love the handbell piece. It does sound as though you will need your wits about you. Adore ‘The Daily Show’ and not just because Trevor Noah is a South African. He probably daren’t leave the country in case they won’t let him back in again. 😕
    I wonder what would happen if Dinosaurs did come back, bur wait …….. we do have a few of them in government. 😀 Have a great weekend, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sylvia,
      Glad you enjoyed the handbell piece. That 8/8 timing is tricky enough, let alone going to other timing. In terms of those dinosaurs you mentioned, yuk … and they are dangerous in large numbers. Glad you enjoy The Daily Show … which I haven’t gotten in the routine of watching … but I enjoy the clips of see.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All the best on your upcoming handbell concert; it’s a gorgeous piece. I am hooked on Colbert and Trevor Noah. They make me laugh and I sure need that right now. I personally blame President Obama for being born Black because that is what stimulated the urgent drive of a lot of Republicans, the Trump camp, and some who voted for Trump (not all) to embark on the tenacious “unblackening” of the White House. I can smell the bleach from where I live. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ah, Frank, I took you up on the dare and took a good look at the hardy work thong – I’m thinking that landscapers adopting this look could get quite a bit of business 🙂

    Loved the handbell piece! And like others have said, I can’t give up those commentators on TV. We are glued to Rachel Maddow every night at 9 – it feels like a mystery novel which is read chapter by chapter and the woman can put an intriguing tale together. It doesn’t make me crazy, it is the only antidote against going completely crazy and depressed about this administration.

    As always, thanks for the fascinating tidbits of info and fun in “the Shorts” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meant to comment on the “tidbits” – the birthday timeline is fascinating; Vikings ate yogurt like me (I’m of partial Viking descent) and years ago, I read a book called “Sugar Blues” that likened the effect of sugar on the blood to be very similar to addictive drugs. What goes around comes around?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lynn,
      Handbell music can be very interesting … and this piece fits that description – so given your musical expertise, I’m happy that you listened. Because the choir was over scheduled this weekend, we ended up not playing the piece, so hopefully we will continue to work on it then play work it into a service soon.

      Meanwhile, while the nightly commentators continue to feed their flock, I will continue to avoid the narratives both sides offer.


    • Calvin,
      Handbell music is unique … and it ranges from simple to complex while expressing a wide range of emotions. This weekend we heard a highly skilled handbell choir in concert, and that level also adds a visual aspect as well. Glad you also enjoyed Christoph Bull … I suggest searching him in YouTube for other musical treats!


  8. Frank, the hardcore cynic in me truly believes the insurance companies aren’t saying a word because they know in the end they’ll get as much money as possible out of whatever comes out of this repeal, replace, renew, restore…whatever we’re going to call it. Plenty of blame for both parties to go around as the health care issue in this country left the barn a long, long time ago. That Cincy radius of basketball squads certainly outdid the Big 5 in Philly this year. Aside from Villanova (live 25 miles from them) being the #1 overall seed and defending National Champ we got nothin’. Zip. Temple, St. Joe, LaSalle and Penn all struggled this season. With the Ivy League initiating a four-team tournament Penn squeaked in and did have Princeton on the ropes Saturday…but let the Tigers escape in OT. Kudos to Northern Kentucky, Xavier and Cincinnati. Always more special when the nearby colleges are part of the Madness. How did you make out with that challenging handbell performance?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bruce,
    Yepper on the health insurance companies. My comment is probably in the same thought pattern as yours because they will be the ones makes the profit … and since they aren’t complaining, they must be smiling … which I don’t see as a good thing.

    Yepper again as there is no shortage of blame to go around for all parties on this issue. Actually, there is plenty of it available! Our politicians act as if they have been beaten with the silly stick … well, they have but it’s called the silly party-first stick. From my viewpoint, I see Republicans simply going down the parallel path the Dems did in 2009.

    There are not many metro areas that have the college basketball clout as our two cities. Give me a 50 mile radius, then Dayton is included – which is also the site for the 4 play-in games. Let also give me 100 miles to include Kentucky, Louisville, & Butler … let alone traditional programs as Ohio State and Indiana that didn’t make the dance … and several other mid-majors. So, this area feels like an epicenter of college basketball.

    Thanks for asking about the handbell piece. This weekend the choir was very busy as we attended a handbell convention (almost 400 ringers) which is Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon. Toss in the time change, many of us were happy that our director cancelled playing at our church service on Sunday – therefore that piece will probably be played at a service on another day. Will find out more tonight at practice. Nonetheless, it is an interesting piece, so I hope we play it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marina,
      I was hoping you would hear both the handbell piece and the organist – who is quite the player – which also involves using all the “stops” .. do you play organ?

      Meanwhile, our handbell choir didn’t play on Sunday – which was a good thing. Not sure when (or if) we are able to get this piece into a service. But we are still practicing it as if it will.


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