Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 252

This week was the fifth year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since then, the White House and its departments did a lousy job educating the public, and Congress has done absolutely nothing to improve the ACA. On the other hand, nothing is something Congress does well. Cheers to Ron Fournier for this National Journal article.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. I smiled at the announcement because I continue to say his nomination is exactly what the Republican party needs. Maybe I should endorse him.

During the first three months of their Congressional majority, Republicans have not shown me that they can lead.

Have you ever seen the International Space Station fly overhead? Thanks to Jim in Iowa, here’s a website to determine when that happens in your area.

The leading thought was that college basketball player Lauren Hill wouldn’t see Christmas. Well, she did … and New Years Day … and Valentine’s Day … and St. Patrick’s Day. Although she may be struggling, she is a fighter and her attitude remains positive.

Did you realize I’m mentioned in Lorna’s video?

For the sidebar, I followed Catherine’s suggestion of displaying the blogger’s location with a rollover. See yours if it’s correct, and let me know if you want me to change it. I need help with List of X.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this weekend, but an edition of the Explore series is ready – thus you can wonder if it will be a person, place, or thing.

Meals: The Musical debuts next week, and I’m side-stepping my normal protocol. Act 1: Meals will feature songs with any of the following words in the title: Meal(s), Breakfast, Lunch, Lunchtime, Brunch, Dinner, Dinnertime, or Supper. More about the debut on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a week in pictures.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Report: Employees most innovative when brainstorming dramatic quitting scenarios
  • Man filled with gratitude at sight of other customers in nice restaurant wearing jeans
  • Study: Not many Disco songs about daytime
  • New speech recognition software factors in user’s mouth always being full
  • Siblings playing tense game of chicken to decide who takes care of mom
  • Michael Dukakis still drives old tank everywhere

Interesting Reads

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Weekend) Crossword Puzzle Days, Listening Weekend
  • (Fri) Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day, Joe Day, Corkscrew Appreciation Day,Celebrate Exchange Day, Viagra Day, Spanish Paella Day, Kite Flying Day, Photography Day, Steam Fire Engine Day, Education & Sharing Day
  • (Sat) Barnum & Bailey Day, Be Mad Day, Virtual Advocacy Day, Weed Appreciation Day, Earth Hour, Black Forest Cake Day, Something on a Stick Day, Hot Tub Day, Eat an Eskimo Pie Day, Children’s Picture Book Day
  • (Sun) Vietnam Veterans Day, Mom & Pop Business Owners Day, Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day, Love Your Children Day, Lemon Chiffon Cake Day, Coca Cola Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a relatively recent video of a classic from the 1979 album Breakfast in America – enjoy Supertramp’s Take the Long Way Home. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 251

The kerfuffle about vaccinations has raised the ire of many. Here is a collection of worthwhile posts to help clarify various aspects of an issue I mentioned last week.

A note to Gov. Scott Walker (R-WS) and all presidential aspirants in both parties. When one seeks or considers seeking the highest office in the land, all questions are on the table … so ducking them isn’t a good idea. At least learn to give an answer that doesn’t answer the question – after all, that’s what candidates do well.

I learned to tune out Jay Carney when he was the White House Press Secretary (well, actually change the channel) but, at least I can listen to his replacement, Josh Earnest. Interestingly, when Carney is contributing on CNN, I still tune him out!

In a recent hearing, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) accused Veteran Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald of glossing over the extraordinary problems confronted by your department among others things. Cheers to Mr. McDonald for his replies

  • “I’m highly offended by your comments, Mr. Coffman.”
  • “I’ve run a large company (Procter & Gamble) sir, what have you done?”
  • “I’ve been here six months. You’ve been here longer than I have. If there’s a problem in Denver, I think you own it more than I do.”

Life: The Musical is officially over, and Epilogue was a smashing finale. Thanks again to all participants, and as I’ve said many times, I’m the lucky one because I listen to all entries. Who knows, maybe someday I will list the collection of songs. Meanwhile, the next musical won’t be until mid-to-late March.

A tip of the hat to Dale for a valiant effort in catching up on Life: The Musical. At the time of this posting, he is approaching completion of all acts within 24 hours … and I listened to each entry … although she did receive the buzzer once (obviously from over confidence).

Interestingly, this is post #1600. After 6+ years of hosting over 52,000 comments,  plus who knows how many visits and comments elsewhere, I proudly say I only need the fingers on one hand to count the bloggers who truly irritated me. Thus my point – blogging is just like life because so much is about who one chooses to hang around.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this weekend, but, I am working on the next one. After last week’s delightful trip to the Gobi Desert, wonder what person, place, or thing will be next … hmmmmm ….

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a graphic showing the results of their opinion poll about government requiring vaccinations.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Literary study finds all modern narratives derived from classic Alien vs. Predator conflict
Area woman not good enough artist to justify eccentricities
Scientists working to harness energy produced by intense fracking debates
Astronomers discover new planet that makes Earth look like S#-t
Health experts recommend standing up at desk, leaving office, and never coming back

Interesting Reads
American Ideas: a brief history
Baltic Dry: Not what I thought it meant
Doodles from Darwin’s children (Thursday was Darwin Day)
Columnist David Ignatius on acting like a superpower
Columnist David Brooks scandals and forgiveness
US-Cuba relations and Netflix

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Weekend) Great Backyard Bird Count, American International Toy Fair
  • (Fri) Blame Someone Else Day, Get a Different Name Day, Desperation Day, Employee Legal Awareness Day, Madly in Love with Me Day, Radio Day, Tortellini Day, International Condom Day
  • (Sat) Ferris Wheel Day, Quirky Alone Day, Pet Theft Awareness Day, Library Lovers Day, Have a Heart Day, Cream-filled Chocolate Day, National Condom Day, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, League of Women Voters Day, Women’s Heart Day, Race Relations Day, Singles Appreciation Day, Donor Day, Telephone Day, Organ Donor Day, Marriage Day, Whale Day, Read to Your Child Day, Valentine’s Day
  • (Sun) Gum Drop Day, Hippo Day, Remember the Maine Day, Susan B Anthony Day, Clifford the Red Dog Day, Angelman Syndrome Day

Since hearing this classic song early in the week, it’s been crawling around in my head – so, it seems to be right for sending you into the weekend. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 250

Maybe the latest horrors regarding the Jordanian pilot will motivate the Arab world to fight ISIS with boots on the ground, and then the world follows their lead.

It was quite the week with some US politicians pandering for votes with vaccinations. Long ago on these pages, I stated something like this about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) – Keep him talking. Meanwhile, I wonder (thus I don’t know) if President Obama’s has been consistent since 2008.

Speaking of vaccinations, here’s part of the closing statement from a recent Wall Street Journal editorial: Let’s chalk up the weird science of Messrs. Paul and Christie to a lack of information, and we’re happy to send them 13 years of vaccine editorials if they want to study up.

Here’s CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Op-ed on vaccinations.

Much has been made about the Seattle’s blunder in the Super Bowl. Interestingly, the game before marked an unbelievable comeback against Green Bay – a team who had won against Dallas on a questionable call by an official late in the game – yet Dallas won its previous game against Detroit on another questionable call by an official. Oh well … all is over.

For those who didn’t notice, this post is a milestone post.

Amazingly, the previous post marked the last act of Life: The Musical. Many thanks for the great songs!

I’ve decided on the next musical, which will probably start sometime in March. To order to see what my readers are anticipating, I invite you to answer the question on my first poll!

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this weekend, but an Explore post will appear. Wonder what person, place, or thing will serve as the highlight.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s an outstanding satirical flowchart about vaccinations (but not from The Onion).

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Man figures he has two more bites or roommate’s leftover before it is noticeable
Pope nervous for annual performance review with God
Neighbors come together to watch BMW owner struggle in snow
Man wistfully looks around website he hasn’t visited for 30 minutes
Venus added to registry of historically significant planets
Fingerprints on Lombardi Trophy to be used in dozens of criminal investigations

Interesting Reads
A 2014 article about politics and the Affordable Care Act
A bit of history about US government’s budget
Are swing states disappearing?
Surprises on Uranus?
Texting and head positions affecting the neck and spine
(Infographic) 50-years of financial engineering

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Wear Red Day, Working Naked Day, Waitangi Day, Canadian Maple Syrup Day, Lame Duck Day, Doodle Day, Pay a Compliment Day, Cordova Ice Worm Day 6-8, Girl Scout Cookie Day, Monopoly Day Give Kids a Smile Day
  • (Sat) Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day, Dump Your Significant Jerk Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Ballet Day, Pinocchio Day, Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Take Your Child to the Library Day, Send a Card to a Friend Day, Girls & Women in Sports Day, Leadership Success Day, Fettuccine Alfredo Day
  • (Sun) Laugh and Get Rich Day, Autism Sunday, Boy Scout Day, Opera Day, Man Day, Fly a Kite Day, Molasses Bar Day, Marriage Day

Here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend. The first is an unused song from yesterday’s Life: The Musical, and the second is a classic blast from the past. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 249

Although reporters love to ask Sarah Palin (R-AK) if she’ll seek the presidency in 2016, I declare that Nincompoop will not run because doing so would ruin her diminishing brand. Besides, her recent speech in Iowa even caused conservative media pundit Sean Hannity scratched his head. Then again, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stated, She’do great. She predictably blamed the lame-stream media for pre-planning any criticism of her speech. Good night Nincompoop, turn out the lights as the party is over.

Given the topic, I expected yesterday’s post about Congress’s operating budget wouldn’t get much traction … then again, my purpose was to increase awareness.

Here are two outstanding interactives

Earlier this week marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, yet the reports of this human embarrassment remain chilling. As the survivors dwindle in number, I can only hope that humanity never forgets. Here’s a story about a survivor on his return trip this year – actually, his first.

Here’s a strong opinion about an upcoming Supreme Court ruling about housing.

If all goes as planned, Life: The Musical comes to an end. I’ll announce the final act’s theme on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

Several ideas are vying for the next musical, but time will tell the choice.

Online comments in posts and articles are in a world of their own – especially at the major publications. I like the invitation to comment by Barry Ritholz.

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forego all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

Sunday is Super Bowl XLIX. Did you know that next year will be the first Super Bowl using standard numbers?

No Saturday Morning Cartoon or Explore post this weekend. Given a new month lies ahead, Saturday’s post is dedicated to February. After all, given only 28 days in the month, time is valuable.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their blizzard survival tips and a list of the least inspiring biographical movies.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Family lets cars come inside during snowstorm
Nation’s historians warn the past is expanding at alarming rate
Man’s area code provides exciting glimpse at past life
Postal Service unveils new stamp honoring Americans who still use Postal Service
Republicans address income inequality with middle class hot stock tip
Study links negative Tweets to more heart disease

Interesting Reads

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Inane Answering Message Day, Yodel for Your Neighbors Day, Escape Day, Jazz Day, Snagglepuss Day (a Saturday honoree), Fun at Work Day, Croissant Day, Pre-School Fitness Day
  • (Sat) Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, Seed Swap Day, Backwards Day, Hell is Freezing Over Day, Brandy Alexander Day, Street Children Day, Child Labor Day, Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day
  • (Sun) Working Naked Day, Serpent Day, Spunky Old Broads Day, Popcorn Day, Rare Disease Day, Car Insurance Day, Change Your Passwords Day, Decorating with Candy Day, Baked Alaska Day, Hula in the Coola Day, Women’s Heart Day, Freedom from Slavery Day, G.I. Joe Day, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Day, Skippy Peanut Butter Day, Girls & Women in Sports Day, Face & Body Art Day, Robinson Crusoe Day, Super Bowl XLIX

To send you into the weekend, here’s a classic from a classic artist who needs no introduction. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 248

In a political way, I’m very lucky. After all, my Republicans friends think I’m a Democrat while my Democratic friends think I’m a Republican … thus I combined the two thoughts into an affirmation.

I didn’t watch the State of the Union (SOTU) because it’s too much like an infomercial. All that’s missing is a Billy-Mays-type spokesperson. The event displays a canned speech delivering a collection of soundbites with minimal substance leading to predictable responses and buffoonery by those choosing to display partisanship over listening with respect.

Yes, the US Constitution requires SOTU, but not the opposing party’s televised response – and the mere fact that they have one is repulsive (let alone the multiple this year) … and I am equally disgusted at a Democratic response during a Republican presidency.

President Obama plan for free tuition at community colleges has received much attention. This response by columnist David Brooks is an interesting slant to ponder.

Regarding Islam, are the majority of non-Muslims confused or ignorant?

A board member from our local Islamic Center wrote had this guest commentary in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Although interesting, the online comments are even more so.

Malcolm recently posted about epitaphs … here’s my submission – If you didn’t understand him, you didn’t know him … now I wonder if the thought should be flipped.

Hats off to reader for providing 26 songs (at last count) at Life: The Musical – Act 16. There’s still one more act, any ideas on the theme?

No Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend – however … big news … an Exploring post will be there!

Here’s the reason why Saturday is Beer Can Appreciation Day.

To lead you into The Onion, here is a collection regarding the State of the Union.

This Week from The Onion
New Facebook Notification alerts users when they are not currently looking at Facebook
Area man clearly came to Redbox machine without a plan
Man reserving judgment on Best Actress nominees until seeing all 5 photos
Area man eats breakfast for dinner in desperate attempt to reinvent his life
Preschooler asks to borrow classmates notes on shapes

Interesting Reads
An article with a 5-circle Venn diagram about potential GOP presidential candidates
Designer babies
Politicians avoiding science is not limited to the US
Cartography and the land of the octopus
A historical look at Congressional dysfunction
A different, but interesting graphic about the history of jazz

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day, Handwriting Day, Pie Day, Measure Your Feet Day, Rhubarb Pie Day, Spouse’s Day
  • (Sat) Talk the a Grizzled Prospector Day, Fancy Rat & Mouse Day, Beer Can Appreciation Day, Belly Laugh Day, Compliment Day, Just Do It Day, Peanut Butter Day, Eskimo Pie Day, Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Today, Speak Up & Succeed Day, Wish Cynthia a Happy Birthday Day
  • (Sun) Soup Swap Day (here’mine for you), Fluoride Day, A Room of One;s Own Day, MacIntosh Computer Day, 101 Dalmatian Day, Opposite Day, Robert Burns Day, Leprosy Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a 2-fer … the first is one that surprisingly was not submitted for latest Life: The Musical, and the second is a hit from Journey. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 247

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline continues to make the news. Politically, it’s project that one party oversells the jobs impact while the other party overstates the environmental impact.

Very seldom do I read columnist Walter Williams because I find his brand of conservative to be off base. Besides, I demonstrated this January 2011 post his premise as wrong. No, not a disagreement, just flat-out wrong! Nonetheless, the title of his recent series of columns is Liberals Use of Black People for Own Agenda. My response is simple: I didn’t realize that conservatives don’t use any group for their own agenda.

The absence of a notable, high-level US representative at last weekend’s Paris rally was sad. At least the White House admitted they made a mistake.

I’m pleased with the number of Muslims who have spoken out against violence since the Paris tragedy, and I continue to believe that education within the Islamic community is the best vehicle against the Jihadists.

Two interesting political reads

The 2016 ambitions are testing the waters. Yep, Mitt Romney (R-MA) is interested in a third try focusing on poverty, and Mike Huckabee (R-AR) (while on his Guns, God, Grits, and Gravy book tour) slammed President Obama for letting his daughters listen to Beyonce. Let the parade begin, so bring on the clowns (and the party is open to all political parties).

The State of the Union is next week, but I’m not interested in a canned speech with predictable responses for the audience.

When will politicians (actually anyone) learn that most analogies to Adolph Hitler are not a good idea. A Dolt Award to Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX). He apologized, but a bit late.

People don’t believe me when I tell them what my dental specialist (implants) offers patients, so I took this picture after an implant-maintenance visit early this week.

DentistOffice

Every time I hear or read Click on, I cringe. It’s Click the image. It’s Click the button. It’s Click the icon. After all, have you ever been instructed to Click off the image?

Lauren Hill Update: She made it to Christmas, and then the new year. I saw this local news story Thursday evening, and she continues to impress everyone who knows her story. The foundation she started has raised over $1.2 million in 3 months as she continues to be a spokesperson for children with cancer (The Cure Starts Now Foundation)

Given Saturday’s celebration, I will have a cartoon post for Saturday.

I’m hoping for the next-to-the-last act of Life: The Musical to be next week, which means the theme will be on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a powerful message from Mad magazine’s Editor-in-Chief as viewed on CBS Sunday Morning. (Thanks Mouse for finding this.)

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
HR Director reminds employees that any crying at work must be job related
Snorkeling instructor unaware he’s in background of 400 dating profile photos
First-year Congressman brings fresh roadblocks to table
Supreme Court gathers to watch baby justices hatch
Area man only one with problems
New archeological find suggests Mary Magdalene was actually a size 12

Interesting Reads
The wealthy gap between Europe and America: A brief history
The sun through an X-ray eye
Photo gallery from within Shenandoah National Park
Lincoln’s Writings: A book review
Different laughs for different people
Whale testicle beer

Your Weekend Celebrations
(Fri) Fetish Day, Fig Newton Day, Appreciate a Dragon Day, Hot & Spicy Food Day, Nothing Day
(Sat) Popeye Day, Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day, Ditch the New Years’ Resolutions Day, Cable Car Day, Customer Service Day, Hot Buttered Rum Day, Kid Inventors Day, Hot-Heads Chili Day, Polar Bear Swim Day
(Sun) Winnie the Pooh Day, Thesaurus Day, Maintenance Day, Peking Duck Day, Wish Elyse a Happy Birthday Day

Another 2-fer to send you into the weekend. The first video is for those willing to join Raye in a Friday celebration. Last, but not least, a song from T Rex to get you movin’. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 246

This week’s terrorist attack in Paris was horrifying. Strength to the French, and peace to the many Muslims who condone condemn such brutality in the name of religion. Much of life is about two virtues that a few people lack: respect and tolerance.

Note: The previous paragraph shows an edit with the original word in place. Using that word was an honest mistake, and I apologize. A special thanks to Lame for pointing this out to me in private.

Congress is back in session … gag!

In his recent WSJ column, I appreciate these words by William Galston:

Although both the executive and judicial branches play a role in the legislative process, the people’s elected representatives are supposed to drive this process. When they fail to do so, the legitimacy of popular government is called into question. Along with partisan commitments, members of Congress have constitutional responsibilities, and it is time for members of both parties to start honoring them. …

For the most part, though, there are only two choices—continued gridlock or compromises in which each party gives ground on matters it cares about. …. Both sides would have to eat some crow, but the dish might still be palatable.

Cheers to the fact checker at the Washington Post, who also put together this list of the biggest Pinocchios of 2014. Then again, politicians do make it easy.

Act 15 of Life: The Musical is complete. Readers provided an outstanding collection, so many thanks to all participants. Only 2 acts to go in this musical – any ideas about the theme for Act 16?

I’m hoping to continue the Exploring series, thus will consider your suggestions. Think person, place, or thing.

Congratulations to Cindy for being the 50,000th comment here (which happened in the last post). She received a beautiful fireworks display!

If I can complete the work, I hope to celebrate the first Saturday in 2015 with a Saturday Morning Cartoon post!

To lead you into The Onion headlines, here’s their suggestions for fighting the winter blues.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Brutal cold doesn’t factor into man’s decision to stay inside for two straight days
Weird chair pressed into service at family’s holiday dinner
Copycat criminals continue to mimic liquor store robbery from 1882
Dirty-Slush machine provides children in Florida a taste of winter
Supreme Court releases young Scalia’s audition tape
Man who spent 300 hours playing fantasy football this year rewarded with $30 second-place prize

Interesting Reads
Connection between dirt and antibiotics
Science of the booty call
An excellent energy series from WSJ
(Interactive) Interesting oil graphic
(Graph) Inflation-adjusted gasoline prices since 1980
The link between bourbon biscuits and bourbon whiskey

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Nerd Day, Apricot Day, Clean Off Your Desk Day, Balloon Ascension Day, Cassoulet Day, Static Electricity Day, Dance Day, Organize Your Home Day
  • (Sat) Peculiar People Day, Bittersweet Chocolate Day, Cut Your Energy Costs Day, Save the Eagles Day
  • (Sun) No Pants Subway Ride Day, Milk Day, Step in a Puddle & Splash Your Friend Day, Secret Pal Day, Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day, Hot Toddy Day, Thank You Day, Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Cigarettes are Hazardous to Your Health Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a 2-fer from Life: The Musical – Act 15. The first is a song (thanks Narf) that didn’t fit the parameters, but the video was an excellent match to the theme – plus it make you smile. The second goes out to Debra because I was surprised she didn’t use it. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.