Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 318

The recent attack on the Ohio State University (OSU) campus is another example of the warped nature of today’s world. OSU is less than a two-hour drive for us, and to think my nephew is employed at the OSU Medical Center and I also know a pastor who leads a campus ministry there.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) recently released their latest results regarding science and mathematics education. Interestingly, the Internet allows us to compare reactions by different countries. Here’s the TIMSS site with the results.

Now these 30 seconds will cause a smile.

We are enjoying The Crown on Netflix.

My wife and I recently took a local food tour, which was fun and interesting!

I’m craving Spumoni ice cream, so I hope a nearby grocery store has it! … and if I can’t, I know who is to blame.

The first Monday without Dancing With the Stars is always a bit weird for us.

Until this week, I’ve been aware of Fidel Castro my entire life. The BBC did his life in pictures, so click here to see it.

Seems like a French presidential candidate is taking a page out of the US election by promoting free-market reforms, cutting government spending, supporting traditional family values, cracking down on immigration and Islamic terrorism, and better relations with Putin.

Advice for President-Elect Trump: You are your worst enemy, so you have a way of acting like an ass. Here are some suggestions. 1) Develop a very thick skin; 2) Learn to bite your tongue; 3) Control your use of Twitter.

Jill Stein and the Green Party’s request for recounts in a few states is a waste of time and money … and President-elect Trump’s response was almost as pathetic.

Anything wrong with this picture? Those complaining about racism and disrespectful behavior now are the ones who weren’t complaining about it before the election.

I still support the Electoral College system, and this article from Brookings makes a strong case for it. If anything, I may favor removing the actual vote by the delegates, but keeping the scoring system.

Here’s an interesting read co-authored by a Democrat and a Republican.

With Gallup reporting a slight majority of Americans disapproving the Affordable Care Act, I add that besides partisanship, a key reason can be traced back to the poor job the administration, the Congress, Democrats, and the government as a whole did a poor job educating the public. Interestingly, this is nothing new because I stated this position many years ago.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Fidel Castro’s death
Donald Trump making ridiculous tweets
Fire in the Smoky Mountains
The Cincinnati Bengals continued winless streak
Fidel Castro taking power in Cuba

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips on having the perfect surprise party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Doggy in the window costs $1,500
Man to continue drifting into middle of restaurant until hostess redirects him
Siblings hoping the other one will take care of aging parents someday
Deep-sea Godiva rig taps world’s largest offshore ganache deposit
National Institute of Health finds obesity may be caused by too little sleep, too much sleep

Interesting Reads
The Learning Metrics Task Force
Pandas and their thumbs 
The myths behind Harry Potter
A life at sea
Sunflowers following the sun
The new power couple: grapefruit and salt
(Photos) 25 pictures from the People’s Choice Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest

To lead you into the weekend, here’s an oldie from 1982. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Look Up!

Do you know the place? I so-much what to visit the small town on the two, adjacent hilltops in the distance. Oh well … next time.

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If you don’t know, let’s move the camera to the left for some familiar places you may recognize.

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These panoramic views are from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence, Italy. Everybody loves Florence! Then again, loving Florence is very easy to do because there is so much to enjoy. I’ve visited twice in the past three years, and I noticed something each time. Most people look left and right to make sure they catch the store fronts. Besides a lot of shopping, one doesn’t want to miss gelato!

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But for me, the window shoppers are missing some of the best things to see in Florence because their heads are swiveling on their spine to catch the shopping windows … therefore they are not looking up. So enjoy this view of Florence … the Look Up Tour!

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“Italy will never be a normal country. Because Italy is Italy. If we were a normal country, we wouldn’t have Rome. We wouldn’t have Florence. We wouldn’t have the marvel that is Venice.” (Matteo Renzi, Italian politician)

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“In Florence, classical buildings sit against medieval buildings. It’s that contrast we like.” (Richard Rogers British architect)

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“Florence and art is something that is part of my life and is part of myself.” (Roberto Cavalli
Italian designer)

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Any favorites?

On a Cosmetic Nude

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ArtWorks is responsible for adding over 100 murals throughout Cincinnati – of which many are in the main part of the city. Thanks to Resa posting about street art in Toronto and Winnipeg, she has heightened my interest in these wonderful works of outdoor art that is in my city.

The one mural featured in this post first caught my attention several years ago when it I first saw the nearly completed version that was covered by scaffolding. Because I didn’t know much about why this mural was selected, its color and unique style caught my eye.

ArtWorks selected this design to be part of its Cincinnati Masters series – a collection of murals dedicated to the work of Cincinnati artists. Maybe in the future I’ll put them together into one post. To be honest, I didn’t know this artist – then again, I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about art. So, I decided to do this post in the style of a famous television game show – Jeopardy!

Answer: Born in Cincinnati, lived 1931-2004, graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and the Art Academy of Cincinnati

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Answer: He moved to New York City where cartoon strips were his initial success, but after 5 years he decided to pursue painting

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Answer: The Great American Nude series brought him fame in the art world
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Answer: He became well-known for his American Pop Art, and a contemporary to Andy Warhol
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Answer: He also developed his own techniques of using metals in metal-work sculptures; such as The Dropped Bra
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Answer: His Still Life is another series – Still Life #60 is a collection of things a woman will wear – causing some to suggest these object take the place of a nude while suggesting her presence.
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Answer: His mural is located at 811 Main Street in downtown Cincinnati

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Question: Who was Tom Wesselmann?

Although this mural caught my attention, I’ve never heard of Tom Wesselmann … at least now I know. Thanks ArtWorks!

To see more posts about the ArtWorks murals in Cincinnati, click here. Meanwhile, here’s a short video featuring Wesselmann’s work … and don’t forget to visit Resa to see the urban art she has captured.

 

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 317

With many Americans being in the midst of holiday travel, a safe travels wish to all.

Congratulations to gymnast Laurie Hernandez for winning Dancing with the Stars. How could anyone not enjoy this delightful young lady … and the same for the other finalists (racer James Hinchcliffe (2nd), football player Calvin Johnson (3rd), and singer Jana Kramer (4th)).

Recent years have brought success to my favorite pro and college teams (2) – but 2016 has delivered 3 losing seasons. Ouch!

I recently bottled my first-ever batch of cranberrry-orangecello. Will let you know the reviews next week.

In the case of the trial involving the university police officer fatally shooting an unarmed Black man, the judge declared a mistrial due to a hung jury. Reports indicate 4 jurors were in favor of a murder verdict, 4 for manslaughter, and 4 for not guilty. The prosecuting attorney will refile for another case with hopes of moving the trial to another city. Both ideas are good.

US presidents live under a microscope. In that light, Mr. Trump must develop thicker skin.

Interesting that Mr. Trump is softening some of his positions. Some are actually flip-flops … oh well, it will be interesting to see how the base reacts.

I had to laugh at the suggestion that the Dow Index passed 19,000 is due to Trump’s election. Just another example of how the partisans entertain me.

With the flap about the Electoral College before and after the election, here’s an interesting viewpoint.

Interesting how a simple question can turn into a partisan discussion. I asked a friend (a GOP partisan) an honest question about the relationship Mr. Trump faces involving the presidency and his business. His answer to my curious question included the Clinton Foundation and witch hunts.

Advice to Democrats – embrace the NASCAR approach – turn left.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Hamilton Gate
The property prices not increasing everywhere
The mess in my storage area
The Dow reaching 19,000 after Trump winning the election
Stephen Hawking’s prediction dooming the earth

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how clinical trials work.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Collie walked over Lassie’s star when talking picture
Father No Longer Feels Nervous When Walking Daughter Down Aisle
Man’s Recycling Ideals Abandoned During Move
Stealing tampons from office bathroom currently woman’s only source of joy
FDA approves new pasta shape

Interesting Reads
Leonidis of Rhodes
The shortage of prisoners
Link between LED lights and the Internet
Smuggling baseball players
Sacred spaces in the 21st century
Around the world in 12 toilets
(Photos) Faith through a Lens photography contest winners

To lead you into the weekend, here’s an oldie from John Mellencamp. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Thanksgiving 2016

After an election process that has been too long, too costly, and too damn goofy, the election has tested our spirits and patience. While some are upset, others gloat. While some cautiously watch, some don’t worry – even though they are leery.

My Thanksgiving wish for 2016 is that everyone enjoy the gathering. Don’t talk politics, but enjoy the company. Don’t talk politics, but enjoy the food and beverages. Don’t talk politics, but enjoy laughter. Don’t talk politics, but enjoy the little things. Don’t talk politics, but be thankful for all the good people in the world. Don’t talk politics, so smile and be kind – after all, you probably have a lot to be thankful for.

Safe travels for those who will spend time on the road. To those who don’t have family gatherings, peace to you. Happy Thanksgiving … and I’m thankful for all the good people I’ve encountered on my little corner of the world.

There’s got to be a song for you below. Which did you pick? …. and you can have more than one.🙂

On the Proud One

Upon arriving it the main train station, one can easily notice why the city is nicknamed The Proud One. Do you know where we are? (This isn’t easy, but I’ve the feeling Aussie Debra knows … Pssst … Don’t tell, Debra.)

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Here’s another hint: This monument honors one of the cities most-favorite sons and his house.

Alright – one last hint: It’s actually Italy’s sixth largest city, a port city (I actually sailed in and out of this port in 1958 with my mother), and it has a noble history.

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Before going to Italy, my wife asked me where I wanted to visit … and I always listed the Old City section of Genova (Genoa). So one day, we boarded the train to fulfill one of my requests. For those who may want to visit this city by train, Genova has several train stations, so select Genova Principe.

Blogger Debra did this post about her trip to Genova, and her pictures captured my attention and remained stuck in my memory bank. The Old City is well-preserved and we loved it.

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We also took the hop-on, hop-off tour bus for a broader view of the city outside the old wall.

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Notice anything odd here?
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To top off this day, we even saw The King.
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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 316

Last weekend we saw a good movie thriller – The Accountant. Thumbs up!

The season finale for Dancing with the Stars is next week. No question, gymnast Laurie Hernandez and racer James Hinchcliffe are the best dancers of the finalists … but anything can happen.

My heart sank when I heard the news about Leonard Cohen, especially for so many Canadians who loved him.

The months of November and December are typically demanding months for handbell choirs, and our choir is no exception. This piece delivers a lot of energy, so enjoy Toccata on King’s Weston arranged by the young man directing this choir. Note: I like watching the four players on the front row closest to the camera.

I’m looking forward to the Kennedy Center Honors telecast in late December. The 2016 honorees are Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, musical group the Eagles, actor Al Pacino, singer Mavis Staples, and musician James Taylor

Headlines from a story in China (not The Onion): Baby monkey befriends a herd of goats (The story)

Here’s a short, humorous read describing capitalism from different global viewpoints. This is definitely amusing.

Slogans as “change” or “drain the swamp” are shallow. After all, not only do the slogans continue to happen, so does this – victors bring in experience people to bring on a different version of the status quo.

Republicans declaring the election results as “a mandate” bothers me. After all, not only did Mr. Trump not receive more than 50% of the votes, he didn’t receive the most votes. Then again, a mandate-approach is equivalent to providing enough rope.

Retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a bill to abolish the Electoral College. A question: Were the candidates trying to get the most electoral votes or the total national vote? Sen. Boxer, thank you for your years of service, but it’s time to quietly move into retirement.

Dr. Ben Carson has declined a cabinet position because (to quote his spokesperson) “he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency.” Yikes! … This guy ran for the Republican presidential nomination !

Confusion? Donald Trump has the job as President-Elect and Billy Bush doesn’t have a job.

In the name of full disclosure, I searched for and found a quote in preparation for Donald Trump and his supporters challenging the election results. For whatever reason, I didn’t delete it – and it turned out to be very applicable to many Clinton supporters. It seems many seem to prefer finger-pointing over reflection. Besides the violence from the fringe, others have blamed the election results on the FBI Director, the media, the Founding Fathers for the Electoral College process, the uneducated, the lack of voter turnout by Hispanics and African-Americans, and more … while conveniently forgetting that it’s Obama’s fault.😉 On to the applicable quote.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new President-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the great vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that our Constitution affirms and defends. (Al Gore, 2000)

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Low gasoline prices
The Cincinnati Bengals lousy record during prime-time games
Latest earthquake in New Zealand
Differences between Chicago and New York pizza
Difficulty finding Spumoni ice cream

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion lists lessons America can learn from the recent election.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Holding trophy above head still number 1 celebration technique
Matt Damon appears fully nude for first time in local man’s imagination
Incoming class of Subway trainees spend week practicing on sandwich cadavers
Accidentally closing browser with 23 tabs open presents rare chance at new life
Empty inner tube ominously exits mouth of lazy river
Mom learns about new vegetable

Interesting Reads
The brain and bad decisions
Black female figures of western art
Dangerous times for the world’s coconuts
50 years ago: McCarty’s fake death
(Photos) Australia’s wild wild west

To lead you into the weekend, here’s a tribute to Leonard Cohen. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.