Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 281

For those celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you had a bountiful day.

Volunteering in an English Second Language (ESL) class continues to bring rewards. A student (a gentleman from Libya) wrote an article about learning English, and it was published by a national publication – Easy English Times. It’s a wonderful read, but unfortunately I couldn’t find an online version. Before reading it to the combined classes of different levels, I helped him prepare. When the time came, he stood in front of his peers and nervously read it. His last line touched me – “We need the person who sows hope in our hearts, who smiles, in our faces, who motivates us to go forward, and we need them to hug us when we win.” At the end, I knew he was proud … so when he came back to me, I hugged him.

For at least a year, I published lists of monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations. Did you know Gnocchi Day is the 29th of every month? Here are the links to the two sites I used the most to compile my list of celebrations: Brownielocks and Gone-Ta-Pott.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

No Explore post this weekend.

Samantha Swallows sent me an email this week, but she didn’t say want she wanted – only a link. Oddly, I can’t recall ever meeting her, … I’m not sure why I received the email ..  so I didn’t follow the link.

The number of Democrats who worry about the possibility of Republicans nominating Ben Carson surprises me. Although I would tell them that wasn’t worth worrying, some people just like to find angst. Meanwhile, Carson’s poll numbers are now declining nationally and in Iowa.

The gaggle in the field seeking the Republican nomination continue to provide its share of nonsense and fodder to consider. I appreciate this words by George Will (columnist, Washington Post) – Every day that errant nonsense sloshes through the Republican nominating debate is a day when the party’s claim to represent what the country craves – adult supervision – becomes less credible.

As Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to bloviate about the thousands who are pouring into the US across the southern border, here’s a Pew Research report about the net result (immigration minus emigration).

John Cranley, a Democrat, is Cincinnati’s mayor. Let’s just say that I’m providing an interesting timeline.

  • March 28, 2014 – While announcing a new initiative is in the planning stage – “If you’re fleeing political persecution anywhere in the world, we want you here,”
  • July 2014
    • When announcing the formation of his Task Force on Immigration, he explains his desire to make Cincinnati “the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States.”
    • FYI: Mayor Cranley’s Task Force on Immigration website states it is “working to make Cincinnati a great place for immigrants to call home, start a business and thrive.”
  • Oct 28, 2015 – Mayor Cranley states, “Obviously, there’s political rhetoric around the country that suggests it’s not a good thing and we are emphatically saying we love immigration, we want more immigration, we believe that it’s key to our economic future and you’re a better, more just society.”
  • November 16, 2015 – “However, in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Egypt, the federal government should halt its actions until the American people can be assured that exhaustive vetting has occurred,”
  • November 17, 2015 – I feel horrible that I unintentionally caused harm.”

To lead you into The Onion, see their suggestions for avoiding distractions while working online.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients
Girlfriend Promises To Not Cry So Much
Making Pancakes Best Idea Man Has For Saving Relationship
Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline
Healthy mashed potatoes made with cauliflower

Interesting Reads
How American view their government (from Pew Research)
Scientific faith is different than religious faith
About stupidity 
Drunk animals
The last perfumer in Belgrade
The glowing sea turtle
Lighting bicycles

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song with a video that makes me chuckle. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Reprise MME-Style

No – Monday Morning Entertainment (MME) isn’t returning – but given the holiday week for us in the US, mimicking an MME post is an idea.

How was your weekend? What did you do?

Crazy busy for me. Sure we had time for an evening of ballroom dance and an evening with the church wine tasting group … but I spent Friday afternoon, Saturday morning & afternoon, and Sunday afternoon with a paint brush and roller. YUK! Given that much time, we made progress – but now I’m way behind replying to comments. :(

With my wife still in the handbell choir, I heard their pre-service rehearsal and both the services – thus enjoyed a beautiful piece that they played well.  For those who enjoy handbell music, here’s a recording of the song.

Thursday is Thanksgiving for us in the US. It’s a good holiday marked by a grand meal and time with family. Turkey is the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals, but whether people say “dressing” or “stuffing” is regional. See this map.

Friday is a major shopping day, and some stores are even opening Thursday night – but I will avoid shopping areas as much as possible. When growing up way back in the day, I used to proclaim the holiday season didn’t start until I saw the commercial with Santa riding the Norelco sleigh. What the heck – with a few radio stations adopting an all-Christmas music format a month ago, why not show one of those commercials.

The holiday also means a different posting schedule this week. For me, I’m unsure about what lies ahead this week, so I remain non-committal for the days ahead. Surely I will have something, but I don’t know when.

It’s a crazy world these days, but I think of many of the good things for which I’m thankful. After all, there is always something for which to be thankful. A good disposition, good health, a loving wife, good family, good friends, and many fond memories. I’m thankful for what we take for granted – food, water, a comfortable home, modern conveniences, community services, and more.

As my volunteer opportunities continue to place me in the presence of many good people, WordPress provides countless positive interactions with members of the interactive global community. My blogging community touches my heart – and to think I receive bountiful sincere and positive vibes from all the continents is something I never envisioned. All of you help me keep my faith in humankind. May the blessings of Thanksgiving touch all hearts everywhere.

To send you into the week, enjoy this compilation of vintage dancing movie clips from movies brilliantly put together. Have a great week.

On Exploring Yosemite

A lot of people think that when you have grand scenery, such as you have in Yosemite, that photography must be easy. (Galen Rowell, photographer)

There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods…and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred. (Theodore Roosevelt, statesman)

It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter. (John Muir, conservationist)

I went to Yosemite as an homage to Ansel Adams. I could never be Ansel Adams, but to know that’s there for us – there’s so much for us in this country. (Annie Leibovitz, photographer)

Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space. (Ansel Adams, photographer)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 280

To the victims and their families, and to the French people for strength, unity, and peace.

Shame to the American candidates for politicizing the event by playing the blame game while offering suggestions that amount to (at best) meager gibberish.

It was good seeing Americans displaying the French flag this weekend … especially when the Army football team came onto the field with for a game at West Point.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 2 featuring the sun is in the books … and we were nearing 40 songs. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching us in the US, the production won’t return until December. Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

Although no kids for us, we enjoy our 4 nieces and nephews. Last weekend we attended the wedding (the third to be marriage) – but it was out first to attend. We were a proud aunt and uncle, and wish them the best.

While in Cleveland last weekend, I saw my first white stuff of winter.

Because both of us volunteer at the weekly Downs Syndrome ballroom dance event, earlier this week my tango partner and I danced for the group. Considering we haven’t danced the routine in over 10 days, we did well. Most importantly, we had fun and it was well received.

Even with the recent attacks in France, Lebanon, and over the skies of Egypt, I still say no US troops on the ground against ISIS – unless a coalition of Arab forces decide to take action.

Since the latest terrorist attack in Paris, it’s interesting to compare and contrast the French and US responses to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The Atlantic published What ISIS Really Wants this past February. It continue to be on the front page of their website, plus other news agencies promote it. I listed it as an Interesting Read months ago, but I want to promote it again. It’s a long read – but interesting – however, it is a view – and not the only view. For the interested, here’s the link.

The next Republican debate is December 15th (Tuesday) on CNN. Yawn .. .but another one for me to miss as I go for 7 in a row.

Something to ponder – If political candidates submitted their own questions to answer in a debate, would they truly answer the question?

Last week the Democrats had their second debate, and I missed another one. Damn … that makes me 6 for 6. Here are multiple fact checks from the event: Annenberg FactCheckAssociated Press, PolitiFact, Politico, Washington Post.

I continue to believe that if a governor, senator, or representative wants to run for president, they need to resign their position immediately upon announcing their candidacy. Our states and districts play them to do a job that does not include campaigning around the country while being paid.

To lead you into The Onion, here are their suggestions for talking to your children about sex.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation’s conservationist warn there are only 8 trillion rats left
Minimalism Overdone
US Mathematicians Round Pi Down To Three
Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions
Experts Warn Number Of Retirees Will Completely Overwhelm Scenic Railway Industry By 2030
Economists Recommend Setting Aside Part Of Every Paycheck In Case Of Dire Straits Reunion Tour

Interesting Reads
The man who invented relaxation
Russian psychics
The beauty of winter in Greenland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and daily worship
The Owen: an Aussie weapon
The evolution of toxic toad eaters
Photo gallery of Spots

It’s time for a musical two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 2 and a golden oldie. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Sky: The Musical – Act 2: Sun

The Story
The sky towers above – seemingly endless, but is it.

The sky is a place for imagination – imagine the swift flight of a local bird – imagining the float of a butterfly – imagining the soar like an eagle – imagining being on a plane to an exotic land

The sky is a place for dreams – of course, the dreams to fly – but also the dreams to go beyond – dreams of a future love we don’t yet know – dreams of the love we have – dreams of a love that remains for someone who is gone.

The sky – a place for contemplation – wondering about what to do – wondering what will be – wondering what has been.

The sky as a metaphor – a smoke – whether haunting or hopeful – a sign of brightness and darkness – for calm and storm – a blanket – infinity.

The sky is a place for everyday things – a place that never seems the same – the place that is the steadiness of the sun, the moon, the clouds, and the stars.

Welcome to Sky: The Musical.

Act 1: Sky

Act 2: Sun

The sun – the foundation of all living things on Earth.

The sun – it rises, it shines, then it sets …. then a new sun returns.

The sun – it carries all the colors in the world around us, but the objects determine their display.

The sun – the brightness of joy – the guide to brightness and hope while casting the shadow of burden.

The sun – it shines rays of memories, which sadden the heart which we can convert into smiles.

The sun not only displaces the darkness of night, it works to remove hatred.


  • Songs with either Sun, Suns, or Sunny must be in the title
  • Caution: No songs using Sun as a compound word (sunshine, sunbeam, sundown etc)
  • No versions of Son are acceptable
  • No duplicates songs regardless of artists

Production Note
To prevent browsers crashing from loading too many videos, please 1) include the song title and artist in your text, and 2) paste the URL as part of your last line (not a new line). The latter will provide a link, thus not embed the actual video … but I don’t mind unembedding, so apologies are not necessary.

The sun not only provides our daily light, it also serves as the basis for many enjoyable songs. Our production team not only works hard at securing a quality opening performance to start each act, they try not to take the most-popular songs. However, this time is an exception because the song title is most fitting for what is to come. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome the great George Harrison and some of his friends with Here Comes the Sun.

Dance: The Musical – The Song List

With Sky: The Musical underway, thought it was time for the song list from the previous musical. A reminder that Act 2 (of Sky) is Tuesday at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). See the Hear Ye page for more information.

Compared to other musicals, Dance: The Musical was short – only four acts. From in-the-title keywords as dance, dances, dancing, dancers, compound words with dance, to types of dances, the contributors to this blog provided 165 songs. This is a wonderful list, thus perfect for a playlist.

Enjoy the list … and thanks for participating to make Dance: The Musical a smashing success.

DancePlaybillAct 1: Dance (48 songs)
Dance to the Music (Sly and the Family Stone)
Dance Dance Dance (Beach Boys)
Dance the Night Away (Cream)
Dance Me to the End of Love (Leonard Cohen)
I Can’t Dance Ants in My Pants (Louis Jordan)
When We Dance (Sting)
Dance With the One Who Brought You (Shania Twain)
She Just Wants to Dance (Keb Mo)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Whitney Houston)
Dance the Night Away (Van Halen)

Let’s Dance (Chris Montez)
Do You Wanna Dance (Bette Midler, Bobby Freeman)
The Mummer’s Dance (Loreena McKennett)
Zorba’s Dance (André Rieu)
Dance Naked (John Mellencamp)
Mary Jane’s Last Dance (Tom Petty)
Last Dance (Donna Summer)
Dance With My Skeletons (Erik Tyler)
Dance With My Father (Luther Vandross)
Your Mama Don’t Dance (Loggins & Messina)
Let’s Face the Music and Dance (Nat King Cole)

I Can’t Dance (Genesis)
Dance on a Volcano (Genesis)
Dance (While The Music Still Goes On) (Abba)
Let’s Dance (David Bowie)
Take Off Your Clothes When You Dance (Frank Zappa)
Dance Into the Light (Phil Collins)
Dance Some More (Mango Groove)
Shall We Dance (King and I)
Dance Dance Dance (Neil Young)
Shut Up and Dance (Walk the Moon)
I Don’t Dance (High School The Musical)
Dance Tonight (Paul McCartney)

Dance On Little Girl (Paul Anka)
Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow (Paula Abdul)
Don’t Forget to Dance (Kinks)
Dance Little Sister (Rolling Stones)
Dance Ballerina Dance (Nat King Cole)
All She Wants To Do Is Dance (Don Henley)
Save the Last Dance For Me (The Drifters)
Bailamos (Shall We Dance) (Enrique Eglasias)
Dance Again (Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull)
Safety Dance (Men Without Hats)
Square Dance (Eminem)
Baila Esta Cumbia This (Dance Cumbia) Selena
I Don’t Wanna Dance (Eddy Grant)
Just Dance (Lady Gaga)
Dance on the Bayou (Mamou)

Act 2: Dancing (34 songs)
Dancing in the Dark (Ray Conniff)
Dancin’ Fool (Guess Who)
Dancin’ Fool (Frank Zappa)
Dancing Machine (Jackson 5)
I Don’t Feel Like Dancin; (Scissor Sisters)
Dancin Shaggin on the Boulevard (Alabama)
Dancing Queen (ABBA)
Dancing in the Street (Martha & the Vandellas/Mike Jagger & David Bowie)
You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees)
John, I’m Only Dancing (David Bowie)
Dancin’ Man (Fred Astaire)

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing (Leo Sayer)
Dancing Mood (Dave Brubeck)
Dancing Barefoot (Simple Minds)
Dancing In The Rain (Hillary Weeks)
Heads Were Dancing (Kate Bush)
Dancing With the Moonlight Knight (Genesis)
Dancing Shoes (Dan Fogelberg)
When We Are Dancing (Louis Armstrong)
I was Slow Dancing in a Burning Room (John Mayer)
Dancing in the Moonlight (King Harvest)
Dancin’ Party (Chubby Checker)

Dancing On The Ceiling (Lionel Richie)
Come Out Dancin’ (Ricky Nelson)
Slow Dancing (Willie Nelson)
Dancing on the Jetty (INXS)
I Wanna Be a Dancin’ Man (Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren)
Dancing Cheek to Cheek (Irving Berlin, from the movie Top Hat)
Attitude Dancing (Carly Simon)
Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen)
King Crimson: Lady Of The Dancing Water (King Crimson)
I’m Just a Dancing Partner (The Platters)
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (Ultravox)
How Could We Still Be Dancin’ (Brian Wilson w/ Elton John)

Act 3: Dancers (31 songs)
Dance Hall Days (Wang Chung)
Private Dancer (Tina Turner)
Tiny Dancer (Elton John)
Slow Dancer (Boz Scaggs)
Little Gandy Dancer (Bachman-Turner Overdrive)
Dance Ballerina Dance (Nat King Cole)
Ballroom Dancing (Paul McCartney)
Flashdance … What a Feeling (Irene Cara)
Claire de Lune/Ballerina (Styx)

Fancy Dancer (Commodores)
If I Were a Dancer (Rolling Stones)
Music Box Dancer (Frank Mills)
The Ballroom Blitz (The Sweet)
Nina, Pretty Ballerina (Abba)
Disco Dancer (Devo)
Land of 1000 Dances (Wilson Pickett)
Dancers in Love (Duke Ellington)
Dancer and the Moon (Blackmore’s Night)
For a Dancer (Jackson Browne)
Blood on the Dance Floor (Michael Jackson)
Ballerina Girls (Lionel Richie)

My Wife The Dancer (Engelbert Humperdinck)
Dance Floor (Kylie Minogue)
Lonely Ballerina (Michele McLaughlin)
Dancehall Queen (Beenie Man & Lady Saw)
Moondance (Michael Buble/ Van Morrison)
Ballerina (Van Morrison)
Black Satin Dancer (Jethro Tull)
Death of the Disco Dancer (The Smiths)
Riverdance (Bill Whelan)
Spanish Dancer (Stevie Winwood)

Act 4: The Dances (52 songs)
Lambada (Kaoma)
Do the Freddie (Freddie and the Dreamers)
The Bunny Hop (Lawrence Welk)
The Funky Chicken (Rufus Thomas)
Boot Scootin’ Boogie (Brooks and Dunn)
Electric Slide (Marcia Griffiths)
Chicken Dance
Macarena (Los del Rio)
Harlem Shake (Baauer)
The Locomotion (Grand Funk Railroad)
Wobble Baby (V.I.C)
Jitterbug (Cab Calloway)

Jamaican Rumba (Percy Faith Orchestra)
Do the Hustle! (Van McCoy)
The Stroll (The Diamonds)
Zydeco Boogaloo (CJ Chenier)
Tick-Tock Polka (Frankie Yankovic)
Tango Flamenco (Armik)
Bossa Nova (Estopa)
Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy (Andrew Sisters)
Carlito Samba (Andy Fortuna)
Samba Do DJ (Art Popular)
Mashed Potato Time (Dee Dee Sharp)
Conga (Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine)
Disco Lies (Moby)

Swing Little Girl (Charles Chaplin)
The Charleston (Green Hill Instrumental)
Mambo No. 5 (Lou Bega)
Begin the Beguine (Cole Porter)
Jumpin’ Jive (Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers)
Dark Waltz (Hayley Westenra)
Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits)
Time Warp (Rocky Horror Picture Show)
The Twist (Chubby Checker)
Gangnam Style (Psy)
Gutter Ballet (Savatage)
Tango Bolero (Hans Bund)
The Rich Man’s Frug (a Bob Fosse production)
Do the Bus Stop (Fatback Band)

Amethyst Quickstep (Marc Reift Orchestra)
Monster Mash” by Bobby Boris Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers
Zorba’s Dance
Camilia Slow Foxtrot (Marc Reift Orchestra)
Rain Dance – Guess Who
Wah Watusi (The Orlons)
The Bop (Ms. Bop)
Breakdance (Irene Cara)
Do the Limbo Dance (David Hasselhoff)
Cowboy Cumbia (Javier de Molina)
Cha Cha Slide (Mr. C the Slide Man)
Cha Cha Gabriel (Jimmy Bosch)
Dancin’, Shaggin’ on the Boulevard (Alabama)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 279

Gone since late September, OITS are back! .. .and this is the 1750th post (which is sort-of-a milestone) … and this post is loaded.

I stopped into one of those large (but temporary/seasonal) Halloween stores .. .and I was surprised to see the Banana Flasher. For those who dare and want to know, here’s the link.

Remember the post earlier in the week about the email? Ever since that post, I haven’t heard from any of the ladies. Not one!

Sky: The Musical is off to a good start as Opening Night was a success. I want to complete this musical before the December holiday season, so Act 2 is next week!

  • Theme – Sun
  • All song titles must include Sun, Suns, or Sunny in the title
  • No compound words (sunlit, sunlight, etc) and No variations as Son, Sons, or Sonny
  • Showtime – Tuesday, November 17th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

I like black licorice, so I pounced on the deal at Costco when I spotted a display offering a 2 lb (0.9 kg) bag for $2.50. Hey Canadians … it’s from your country.

Earlier this week marked the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. These words touched me.

The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald wasn’t the worst maritime tragedy in the history of the Great Lakes. Another early November storm in 1913 took a dozen ships and more than 250 sailors’ lives. The bodies of the Fitz’s crew were never recovered, but the ship’s bell was. And when it is tolled 29 times today, as it is every year, it will be for those men — and for the 25,000 others who have lost their lives on those waters down through the centuries. (Carl Cannon, Editor, Real Clear Politics)

Do you remember my tango routine? Well, my partner and I successfully did it without a major glitch! … and that also means it is over … Whew – a lot of work!

Dale (A Deleciable Life) made me aware of this wonderful dance video from the Montreal Swing Riot – and quite the riot it is. Whew – lots of energy and skill. The entire video is about 20 minutes, but even short stays are worth the time. Enjoy.

Speaking of dancing, the official Dance: The Musical song list is coming soon!

I’ve enjoyed Dancing With the Stars season 21 … and I’m pulling for Bindi. Best wishes to Tamara Braxton because she has withdrawn due to a serious health issue. As a dancer, she’s been very good.

Early this week, I saw (live on CNN) Alysin Camerota’s interview with Republican candidate Ben Carson – and his answers to her good questions were pathetic.

George (The Off Key of Life) had this outstanding post about the 2016 presidential election.

Woo hoo … I missed another one this week, so I’m 5 for 5 when it comes to avoiding the party-specific presidential debates. Here are some fact checks from the event:
Annenberg FactCheckAssociated PressPolitiFactPoliticoWashington Post

From all indications, I tend to agree that the CNBC moderators did a poor job – but that is no excuse for poor answers. Given my rules, candidates in both parties should be thankful that I’m not running the debates. However, Jimmy Kimmel’s comedic take on the event is priceless!

To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion offers these tips for conquering phobias.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Chinese buffet has french fries
Group of friends shouting “Shots” make compelling point
Robert De Niro stunned to learn of man who can “Goodfellas”
Scientists Find Strong Link Between Male Virility, Wearing Mötley Crüe Denim Jacket
Beijing Fire Department Extinguishes Massive Five-Alarm Burning Cloud Of Smog

Interesting Reads (a few more than normal)
A good almost 3-minute video report about a Brooklyn high school (from CBS News)
Columnist David Ignatius on power Ignatius on power
Columnist Kathleen Parker of demonizing in campaigns Parker on demonizing 
Melancholy as a good thing (Thanks Elyse)
The human body: on 4 facts or fiction
New hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb?
A church and the Hawaiian leper colony
Barcelona’s La Sagrada from The Atlantic (article & pics) (Thanks Merril)
Rare Photos of early Peking

No Explore post this weekend, but don’t forget Act 2 is next week.

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover for Act 1 and a golden oldie. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.