Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 381

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Good news – After 12 acts and an encore, Pronouns: The Musical closed a very successful run. More good news – starting next weekend, Pronouns 2: The Musical kicks off. This musical will be shorter than the other, so my hopes are that we will complete it before 2018 closes. The first theme features songs with My in the title. Curtain time remains the same: Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Only one more post remains for my western national parks tour. Sometime in the near future, I will start the Eastern Europe series.

Although the She/He Writing Challenge didn’t get much of a response, I think it was a good challenge and I enjoyed doing it.

The wildfires in California continue to bring havoc to many. I encourage anyone able to donate to a charity of your choice to help victims. I suggest the California Community Foundation: Wildfire Relief Fund.

Within four days last week, we had quite the string of musical events.

  • We attended (as ushers) the world premier of Cincinnati King – a play about King Records. What a fun show! Sure hope other theaters throughout the country pick this up in the future.
  • The next day we went to the movies for Bohemian Rhapsody. Thumbs up – and a must for Queen fans!
  • Two days later, our handbell played a surreal arrangement of Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery. Here’s a video of our choir doing this beautiful piece. (I’m on the near side popping in out of view.)
  • That night we attended a concert featuring a handbell soloist. Watching her made me nervous 🙂 … that’s quite the skill!

I have no doubt that voters who don’t know what they are doing have started watching Dancing With The Stars.

For many posts I set a publish time. For others who do that and if you just had a time adjustment with Daylight Savings Time – don’t forget to adjust your WordPress clock.

For whatever reason, the WP Gnomes turned off all my notification settings.

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Looking ahead to 2020, at this point I do not see Ohio as a battleground/swing state because it is unquestionably leaning red.

Dealing with President Trump’s string of lies, exaggerations, distortions, and finger-pointing is one thing, but the continual blind eye, acceptance, and enabling by Trumpians and the majority of Republicans is even worse.

On the same topic, Congressional Republicans have done a very poor job of oversight. That’s what the balance of powers is all about! Then again, a party using oversight to justify politically butchering a president isn’t the intent.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion shares an interesting picture they captured in a jungle.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Ecologists discover 400 species of Charles Darwin living in Galápagos Islands
Friends Excitedly Gather Around Man’s Phone To Watch Shaky Footage of concert
Conservative Floridian Enjoys Living Under Sharia Law More Than He Thought He Would
Couple Nervous To Admit They Met Online In Comments Section Of ‘How To Iron Shirt’ Video
Sunday School Teacher Can Already Tell Which Ones Going To Hell

Interesting Reads

100 years after the Armistice
Artificial Intelligence and wildlife research
Science and religion: not in unison, but in harmony
About the placebo effect
(Graphic) A collection of misconceptions
(Pictures) A collection of weather pictures

To send you into the weekend, a tip of the cap to my Canadian regulars with a song from a Canadian icon. Enjoy Leonard Cohen with Dance Me To The End of Love. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 380

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For those that missed Tuesday’s special announcement, Pronouns: The Musical this weekend with an Encore act featuring songs with two or more different pronouns used in this musical (or click here). See the SPECIAL page/tab (below the banner/header) for more information. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

For the story writers in the crowd, hope you saw the Writing Challenge I issued earlier this week. See the Challenge page/tab (below the banner/header) for details (or click here). Responding to the challenge starts this coming Tuesday after I post my version. If you aren’t a short story person, pass along the challenges to others you know who may be interested.

A few days ago we saw First Man, the movie about astronaut Neil Armstrong. Interesting and well done, but I wouldn’t call it a must-see blockbuster. It’s not fast-moving, but has its tense moments. There’s a notice amount of silence throughout the movie. For most of his post-astronaut adult life, Mr. Armstrong lived in the Cincinnati area. From what I know of Armstrong’s personality, Ryan Gosling hit it!

I’m drafting a future post about shopping carts – which caused me to develop a new category – Shopping. Would you know it, I already have a few past posts that fit that new category. Feel free to visit the category in the future or by clicking here.

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President Trump says he could fire the entire Mueller investigation team to end the investigation. Mr. President, do what you mean and mean what you say. The time is now – enough talk – do it! Do what you say you can do. Do what you really want to do! Do it!!!

Although the anticipated Blue Wave didn’t not occur, Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives. I give House Democrats a 95% chance to do something in one month (by the end of January 2019) that strengthens President Trump re-election – which I raise the chances of happening to 80%.

Gerrymandering is not new. Not only has it been around for a long time, both parties are guilty – even in recent times!

Important “-isms” are in the news: Anti-semitism, racism, Nazism, and others – let alone include other related terms as Islamophobia and homophobia. I want to toss in another one that would impact more than any of the above – partyism. After all, there is plenty of data showing pathetic candidates from each side getting sizeable number of votes.

Eight states still have straight ticket voting – the method allowing voters to cast votes for candidates in one party by making only one mark. Good news is that the number of states doing this pathetic practice is declining.

As an authentic independent who sneers at each party, I enjoyed this article about Congress by the Washington Post.

Last week I wrote these words, “Whereas the focus continues to be the last 14 words of the Second Amendment, I continue to say the key to the debate is the first 13 words. After all, those are the words not on the lobby wall at NRA headquarters.” This week brought us news of another mass shooting.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion discovered the latest “I Voted” stickers from Nevada. Are you willing to look here?

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man does incredibly well at slot machine demo embedded in ad
Girlfriend really has mind of her own today
Supposedly educated professor has no idea how to get bird out of lecture hall
Area man thankful to be single during Golden Age of Television
Slug just taking it easy today
Voter just needs to know which candidate chops wood in a flannel shirt
North Carolina voter in heavily gerrymandered district somehow voting for Montana Senate, Mayor Of Phoenix

Interesting Reads

Eastern and Western European differences
A large, unused airport
Analytics and health care
Butch Cassidy
The re-shaped Milky Way
(Photos) From the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest
(Photos) Beautifully designed spas

To send you into the weekend, here’s that I heard for the first time earlier this week. Enjoy Alex Murdoch with All My Days. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 379

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Pronouns: The Musical is continues this weekend with the final act featuring songs with It in the title. Caution: It and It’s are acceptable, but not Its. Don’t rely on YouTube getting it right! Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

I may have one or two important announcement by Tuesday. If so, there would be one or two new pages/tabs. So be watching for the Special page/tab and the Challenge page/tab.

This week marked the renewal of a Halloween tradition in our condo neighborhood. The adults get together for an outdoor social so the candy seekers can have a one-stop feast.

A new episode of Rick Steves’ Europe examines cruising. Being that we enjoy cruising, we felt that his assessment of cruising was very fair.

Amazing how each of us have encounters that hit us in different ways. I want to share four of mine from last week

My wife recently had a toe surgery involving a cartilage implant. November will be a slow month here, so my dancing is on hold – well, unless she either goes along to watch and socialize or she wants me away for a few hours. Meanwhile, I’ve come a butler.

Stephen Colbert make me laugh. This 2+ minute clip is very good spoof on commentator Lou Dobbs.

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I can honestly say President Trump will not impact any of my votes on Election Day. For the record, my ballot has races for Governor, other state offices, Senator, Representative, the state legislature, and local races.

Given next week’s midterm elections, I’m raising the odds of the Democrats gaining control of the House to 90%, but retain the 10% odds of the Republicans losing control of the Senate.

From my perspective, there is no difference between the Democratic party attacks on the Koch Brothers and Republican party attacks on George Soros. Of course, during an election, neither party is willing to look within themselves.

Last week was difficult: mailing of bombs to prominent people – a shooting at a grocery store in Kentucky – a mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh – all three incident by loners with unhinged, deranged minds. Unfortunately, predictable statements about gun control and the Second Amendment again come forth. Whereas the focus continues to be the last 14 words of the Second Amendment, I continue to say the key to the debate is the first 13 words. After all, those are the words not on the lobby wall at NRA headquarters.

To understand the problems in today’s America, find a copy of the Roundtable discussion on This Week with George Stephanopoulos (28 October 2018).

Being that we are living in a time of a self-centered, bloviating, obnoxious, dishonest jackass holding the office of the leader of the free world, I hope you visited at least one of the four links listed in the previous section. Cheers to Master Yoda’s comment that is very applicable today.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion reports the latest on the Trump boys. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man exhausted having to explain Halloween costume for the umteenth time
Area man always carb-loading just in case
Polite high school football team runs around banner that took hours to make
Study finds placing one foot forward, then the other, remains best method of walking
Parents honor beloved dead grandmother by naming baby ‘GamGam’
Rash not going away on its own

Interesting Reads

100 years after the Armistice
10 countries gone after the Cold War
A Jew’s life between the wars
The complexity of 10 simple things
Building a Moon base: a how to
(Graphic) Growth, GDP, countries, over time
(Pictures) High water in Venice (and to think I was there 21 days before these pictures)
(Pictures) Mexico City’s Day of the Dead parade

To send you into the weekend and into the midterm elections, here’s that is applicable for me and a few of the readers here. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 378

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Pronouns: The Musical is continue its trek this weekend featuring songs with Them in the title. Hint: This is not an easy theme. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Last weekend we attended a play that was a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It was interesting and well done – plus the set was fabulous. Here’s the link with pictures.

Although our National Parks Tour was 15 nights, I’ve shorten the travel series to 5-6 posts. Next one is this Sunday night.

Regarding the two huge lotteries this week – well – not only did we not win – we were shutout – no numbers on any of the 6 tickets/lines.

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Election Day for the midterms is approaching – but not soon enough because I’m tired of all the campaign ads: especially those of the 2 races buying the most time.

Party partisans continue to ignore messages from the independent middle. For instance,

  1. Long ago I suggested that leader of Democrats in the House (Nancy Pelosi: D-CA) should step aside ahead of the election. With an approval rating that is much lower President Trump’s, Republicans continue to use her in negative ads.
  2. Shortly after Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination I suggested that Democrats NOT pursue blocking his nomination. Now that he’s on the Court, multiple polls show the Democratic actions have worked against them, thus improved the stature of Republicans in the public.

Regarding the recent mailing of bombs, the perpetrator has not been found. As the partisans take to the airways to point fingers at the other side, here are two important questions of initial focus: Who? Why? The second can’t be answered until determining the first. However, President Trump had a great opportunity to set a tone with his comments that night – and he obviously chose to take a different path – the usual low road.

I heard an interview when a person explain that it took Donald Trump to bring out the differences in Washington. ABSOLUTELY NOT! The difference have been steadily growing for the past 50 years, but Donald Trump has amplified the differences.

Updating the ever-changing odds:

  • Chance of Democrats gaining control in the House: 80%
  • Chance of Democrats gaining control in the Senate: 10%
  • Chance of Donald Trump being nominated by Republicans in 2020: 99.9%
  • Chance of Donald Trump winning re-election: 70%
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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion has a great picture about climate-change advocate Al Gore.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Thrill seeker microwaves pot pie without slitting crust
Mom hates bad guy in movie
Horrified nurses discover 40-pound baby after accidentally leaving it in incubator over weekend
Magpie worried mate only interested in him for collection of shiny objects
Study finds over 5 million birds die annually from head-on collisions with clouds
104-year-old reveals secret to long life being cursed by witch to wander Earth eternally

Interesting Reads

People over 65: Facts vs. opinions
A read about Claude Debussy
Africa and web conductivity
The European schism
(Pictures) Freak hailstorm in Rome
(Graphic) Most valuable global retail brands
(Video) A lady making arms

To send you into the weekend, here’s a throwback to Bruce Hornsby and the Range. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 377

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Pronouns: The Musical is continue its trek this weekend featuring songs with They in the title. (Not an easy theme.) Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

With wireless available in all our hotels, I admit not totally disconnecting during the blog break.

Although I jumped way ahead to the Croatian National Park, I did it for Robin’s Walktober celebration. I still have to post a series about the western national parks tour we took last May-June (which I will start this Sunday night).

The previous post (Walktober walk) was a round-number milestone – post #2100. For those who enjoyed the walk through Plitvice, I hope you watched the two videos that I mentioned directly under the map. Both are wonderful!

While away, baseball’s regular season ended – and another predictably painful one for Cincinnati fans.

There are 3 tiers (levels) of professional soccer in the USA: top-level MLS (20 teams), NASL (6 teams), and lower-level USL (33 teams). Although Cincinnati is in the lowest tier, of the 59 teams, Cincinnati’s was fourth in attendance – probably a reason why the franchise will move up to MLS next year.

We are enjoying catching up on Dancing With The Stars through recordings. This season has some very good dancers. However, the last elimination was very unfortunate. What are voters thinking?

While strolling through Trieste (Italy), we encountered a new experience – a flute orchestra. Fascinating! I recorded a 90-sec clip, and I’m curious to see if this works. (Then click the video after it appears)  As a back-up plan, I found this YouTube video.

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Given several prominent election races at home, I did NOT miss the barrage of political ads on television.

I continue to hear certain people rebuking Nike products because of Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick as a spokesperson. What these people don’t know is that Nike’s target audience is not old white guys who vote Republican and wear New Balance shoes bought from Kohl’s, Target, or WalMart.

Glad that I was gone during the Supreme Court appointment process. The way I see it, both Republicans and Democrats have painted themselves into a predictable partisan corner only to predictably flip-flop in the future – and the partisan flock will merrily follow along.

Regarding Judge Kavanaugh, I don’t want to judge someone on possible indiscretions during teen and college years. I was already against the nomination, but not for the same reasons as the Democratic loyalists. Then again, each party only agrees with my view of the Supreme Court when it is convenient to their position. These two past posts explain my viewpoint. (Feb 2016 & June 2016)

Although we learned about the political climates in various countries on our trip, my wife and I were politically cautious with our fellow travellers – but we sensed the majority are not happy with President Trump.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, this scoop by The Onion about Donald Trump, Jr. made my laugh.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

  • Mom still raving about butternut squash ravioli she tried 13 years ago
  • Annoyed movers weren’t expecting client to have belongings
  • Sweatshop worker doesn’t even want to know working conditions of place he company gets fabric
  • Nurse’s tray all scalpels
  • Sex shop bathroom key attached to 18-inch double dildo

Interesting Reads

To send you into the weekend, here’s a pleasant song by the Doobie Brothers. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 376

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Pronouns: The Musical continues its trek this weekend featuring songs with Us in the title. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

The next beach walk will be the last of the season – but hopefully not the last of the series because I plan to return to the beach in the future.

Wishing all the best for those in Hurricane Florence’s path.

Last weekend we saw the stage version of Misery (Stephen King). Well done – so did you see the movie with Kathy Bates?

Downtown Cincinnati installed a controversial streetcar several years ago. According to Channel 12, ridership is 46% below expectations – and I am not surprised.

At the dance studio where we regularly attended social dances, the owner/instructor is absent on Fridays during September and October. “Students” are volunteering to lead the hour-long class before the dance – and I’m doing one in mid-October.

A soon-to-be-announced blog break is on the near horizon. After all, fall is approaching – and yes, it will interrupt Pronouns: The Musical.

In the past 6-9 months, CBS News has been in the news for the various harassment issues. Their on-air personal continues to impress me by the way they address the reports.

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This past Tuesday marked the 17th anniversary of 9-11. An editorial title by a local resident caught my eye: Shared purpose after 9/11 nonexistent today Below I pulled three paragraphs that resonated with me – and are perfect for the politics section of this post.

I was in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. Like all of us, I will never forget that day. But believe it or not, there is something about the days and weeks that followed 9/11 in New York that I actually miss. Something that we seem to have lost entirely today, and at great cost: a shared understanding of the world around us, and a common purpose. For me, that feeling was as unforgettable as anything else. …

Although New York City is famously diverse and also sometimes called the loneliest place on Earth, I found connection, common ground, and resolve in every eye I met walking the streets in those weeks. We were all thinking about the attack, the lives in the balance, and what we could possibly do to help. This shared understanding and purpose felt invigoratingly new then. It would be positively alien today. …

The public square is too regularly a shouting match, staged from our respective corners. This distance between so many of us has left in its wake a degraded political culture that simply can’t tackle big problems, or sometimes even little ones. And so those problems fester, trust in our institutions continues to dwindle and the distance grows.

For those interested, here’s the entire column.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion made me laugh with this one about American politics – and the image is priceless. For more, click here.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Two-faced house guest who didn’t need anything suddenly wants glass of water
Deformed, half-feathered Audubon Society President flees into forest after injecting self with bird DNA
Man discovers huge cache of rare fossils while walking through Natural History Museum
Returning Jesus Christ downed by U.S. missile defense 30,000 feet before making landfall
Is football bad for the NFL?
‘The Onion’ has chosen to publish an anonymous op-ed from two sources close to Trump who think their dad is the best president ever

Interesting Reads

A look back at Thomas Beckett, Henry II, and the church
Green the Sahara?
1968 in Eastern Europe
Linking chocolate syrup and medicine
Attempting to replicate termites in order to help society
The cello and the cellist
(Video) An interview with the first female to lead the cadet corp at The Citadel
(Photos) Stunning silhouettes from Africa

Early this past summer I started sending you into the weekend with a song having summer in the title. This post marks the end of the season here on OITS, so I send you into the weekend with a different version of the first song – this time by Cincinnati’s Comet Bluegrass All-Stars. (The audio isn’t the best.) Give it a chance and enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 375

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Pronouns: The Musical is continue its trek this weekend featuring songs with We in the title. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Even though I was out-of-town at a family event during the last act, cheers to all for demonstrating the show must go on. Special thanks to Dale for hosting!

Attendance for the musical has surprised me! Thanks to all participants!!!

Beach Walks resume this weekend (Sunday, after 9 pm Eastern US).

College football started last weekend and the NFL starts this weekend. I enjoy football, but my interest level has declined in recent years.

This week was the final week of the regular season of golf league. I entered the week will a good chance of making the playoffs to defend my championship. I played well, but my opponent had his best round in 20 years. I played good enough, and because there is no defense in golf, all I could do is congratulate him on his great round.

On Thursday, Cincinnati made the national news for the wrong reason – an unnecessary random shooting. Just more evidence that one never knows the whereabouts of someone unhinged. Unfortunately, it can happen anywhere.

Next week we hope to visit the Chocolate exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

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I believe Bob Woodward’s latest book (Fear) about the Trump Administration will NOT alter public perception.

The New York Times publishing an anonymous op-ed in their Opinions section is both intriguing and strange. I enjoyed Jimmy Kimmel’s thoughts, especially his speculation about the writer’s identify. For that, click here – and for what I described, start at 2:30. It’s worth the look.

Speculation continues about Joe Biden’s possible 2020 candidacy. I could vote for him – but I’m also afraid he could follow John McCain’s footsteps in losing my vote with his running mate selection.

I had to laugh at this statement by former President Obama about John McCain. “After all, what better way to get a last laugh to make George and I say nice things about him to a national audience.”

This article from Pew Research says it all: Democrats and Republicans agree that they can’t agree on the basic facts.

Newspapers are struggling. Pittsburgh may be the largest city in the US without a daily newspaper. More and more people are selecting a news source that delivers news they want to hear. Outside money continues to flood into local elections. I question if this famous quote is still valid: “All politics is local.” (Tip O’Neill)

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides a guide to Twitch: a top site for live-streaming video games.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Button-up shirt goes on life-changing odyssey around dry cleaner’s garment conveyor
Societal collapse narrowly averted after man honks horn at car paused at green light
Nation baffled by childless woman who doesn’t even have high-powered career
Trail of ants better be leading toward something delicious
Free toothpick transforms schlubby restaurant-goer into aloof bad boy
Evolution definitively proven as scientists capture first-ever footage of chimpanzee transforming into human (Click here for the image)

Interesting Reads

10 rivalries that shaped world history
Venezuela, crisis, and families
Feminist icon in 17th Century India
The tennis grunt
Clipper ships and world trade
Linking mouse poop and traveling to Mars
(Photos) Celebrating British diversity

Even though Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, I’m continuing the summer theme to send you into the weekend. Enjoy this classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.