Opinions in the Shorts: No. 354

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It’s good to return to my little corner of the world with various tidbits, thoughts, and commentary. I sadly report that I didn’t write as much as I hoped during my blog break.

Love this factoid: Stephen Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, then died on Einstein’s birthday (which also happened to be Pi Day). A toast to Dr. Hawking’s contribution.

March Madness of college basketball is officially underway. Cincinnati is proud to support two teams in the top eight seeds. Two teams located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) apart and ranked in the top 6 ,  Interesting that both teams start in Nashville. Meanwhile, besides the two local teams, I’ll be rooting for ABK – Anybody But Kentucky.

The tournament committee got many selections correct, but excluding worthy teams at the expense of selecting teams that we .50o or worse in their conference is pathetic.

We recently saw a play about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a musical pioneer who influenced greats as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, and more. She wheeled her guitar as she sung a blend of blues, gospel, and a forerunner to rock and roll. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct her next month.


John Tyler, the 10th US President, occupied the White House 1841-1845. Amazingly, his grandson is still alive! Here’s the head-scratching story.

While south for 6 weeks, we danced very little because ballroom wasn’t readily available. Although we are back in cold weather, the good news is we have returned to the dance floor – but rusty. Being away from handbells for 6 weeks creates uncertainty when returning to rehearsal. Both dancing and playing handbells will improve with time and repetition.

A few editions ago I mentioned about I would be dancing a bolero at an upcoming studio event. Unfortunately, my partner and I have respectfully withdrawn.

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Although the quote isn’t by Gloria Steinem, the viral message of gun purchases following similar procedures a woman seeking an abortion in some states is an interesting thought.

This statement in Politico about the success of the National Rifle Association (NRA): It’s not the money. It’s because the NRA has built a movement that has convinced its followers that gun ownership is a way of life, central to one’s freedom and safety, that must be defended on a daily basis.

As Democrats have been loudly complaining about gerrymandering, I have to throw in some bits. 1) Gerrymandering has been around a long time. 2) Democrats do it, too. 3) The use of data and sophisticated software by both parties heightens the problem. Therefore, the time for finding a different way is now.

This week the House Intelligence Committee (and prime example of an oxymoron) concluded its investigation by stating no collusion existed between the Trump campaign. I give them as much credence as I would a Democratic-led committee finding collusion. I patiently await the results by the independent investigation led by Robert Mueller – therefore will accept this findings.

In my response to a poll about tariffs by my representative, I reminded him that I was against tariffs regardless of the president’s party affiliation – then asked him if he would react the same way if a Democratic president proclaimed the tariffs.

Personally, I wish many Republicans would give the party to the President Trump, his minions, and the uber-conservatives – thus walk away. At the same time I wish many Democrats would give the party to the uber-liberals, thus walk away. Too bad they lack the guts to do that.

Not that many years ago Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) was a darling of Republican conservatives. Since withdrawing from the 2016 Republican Presidential primaries, I haven’t heard “boo” from the man – until earlier this week. It seems Gov. Walker is taking a more conciliatory tone and voicing a concern about his party’s direction. (Click here for the article.)

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides an infographic about the pros and cons of open relationships.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Roomba claims another pet gerbil
Beer aisle scanned for something asshole friend won’t mock
New evidence reveals Ancient Greeks immediately regretted inventing theater
Perverted measles virus exposes itself to playground full of children
Barbaric fifth grader gouges paper onto binder ring without so much as hole punch
FDA cancels bacon recall after finding U.S. population already ate it all

Interesting Reads
Bots and misinformation
France and the age of consent
Defining death
Nature on an island abandoned by humans
Life from microbes
The Smithsonian looks at daylight savings time
(Images) Winter Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony

I know I featured this song not long ago, but it fits. Along with my return from Blog Break, April 14th also approaches – the day their long-delayed induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 353

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I enjoy watching the Winter Olympics. My favorite events are speed skating (especially short track), downhill skiing, ice dancing, and snowboarding (halfpipe is unbelievable). But why isn’t there a competition of doing aerials off the ski-jump hill? Why doesn’t the sled track have a corkscrew or 360 loop? Shouldn’t there be a winter pentathlon competition involving ski jumping, luge, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and speed skating?

I shake my head when I see Russian athletes participating. Their hockey team even where’s the team colors and jerseys except for the name on the front. The IOC should be ashamed of themselves.

The possibility of the US Men’s Hockey Team going winless is very likely.

This past Monday marked the 209th birthday of two influential figures born on opposite sides of the Atlantic: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. The occasion serves as 9th anniversary of me diving deep into a personal study of the interchange between science and religion – yes – it was reading various reactions to the 200th anniversary that started my journey.

Although more BLINK posts will come in time, none this weekend because I have other posts scheduled around a special event.

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Another mass shooting in the US is followed by more Republicans offering prayers and talking about mental health while failing to back their talk with any action.

Months ago I contacted my Republican Representative and Senator asking them a question about mental health. I just received a response from Senator Portman (R-OH), to which replied with the following: “Senator Portman. Thank you for the gracious form letter that didn’t come close to answering my question.”

It’s so interesting that Republicans are now less concerned with fiscal responsibility – which also means that such a future stance is actually an excuse to say No.

For the fall midterm elections, Republicans have the following problems on their plate: President Trump, ignoring President Trump’s continual misplays, and force feeding party policy down the public throat. On the other hand, Democrats are having a problem finding their voice other than anti-Trumpian.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promising a fair and open debate on immigration also serves as an admission that he hasn’t been doing that. Besides, anyone thinking he doesn’t have something up his sleeve is wishful thinking.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides suggestions about climbing the corporate ladder.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Poignant dying words wasted on dumbshit nephew
Queen Bun gives birth to thousands of tiny rolls
Detective refuses to pry into circumstances of murder out of respect for deceased
Study finds cats only meow when they want to alert owner of neighbor’s murder they witnessed through window
Italian grandmother doesn’t have the heart to tell family any dipshit can make lasagna

Interesting Reads
History and future of the plastic bag
Volcanoes making lightning
Looking back at a fight to vote
Lincoln’s secret visits to slaves
Limits of technology: Paper jams
(Pictures) Nature’s gardens

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 352

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Thanks to those participating in the IF Challenge. It was a spontaneous idea that was worth doing. Poems, reflections, and a short story provide good reading! I’ll keep the challenge page (tab) up at least until mid-week.

  • A special toast to the two non-regulars here who joined the fun!
  • A tip of the hat to Dale and Merril whose posts brought along a few others.
  • Special thanks to Dale for interacting with commenters!

If all goes as planned, my Tuesday night post is another meager attempt at fiction. As some say, write about what you know.

Here’s a worthy 30 seconds – Fiona in a Super Bowl commercial! … but I think it only ran locally.

Last week I mentioned Lachey’s – a local sports bar/eatery owned by Nick and Drew Lachey – a few days later they announced its closing.

I’m hoping to have another BLINK post this weekend – well, if I finalize it.

Congratulations Philadelphia Eagles and their fans on winning the Super Bowl.

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The US stock market had a tough week – but after predictably taking credit for the gains, President Trump predictably remained quiet.

Last week I stated why I don’t the State of the Union. This Los Angeles Times column made a lot of sense to me.

Although I didn’t watch the SOTU, I know enough not to believe this description of the speech: The SOTU was moving. It was reasonable. It was bipartisan. And it worked. (Mark Thiessen, Washington Post) … After all, in his Cincinnati speech this week he referred to Democrats as “un-American” and “treasonous”- and said it with conviction!

Not that there’s a shortage of strange quotes from President Trump, but I like this head scratcher; “Now we fulfilled far more promises than we promised.”

… and this one from his Cincinnati speech: “I am non-braggadocious.” (Yep – Everyone already knew President Trump is not boastful and arrogant.)

I yield to a great American orator.

President Trump has smart lawyers. Considering his propensity for lying and contradiction, their recommendation to not meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller because of a perjury fear is sound – and unfortunate.

The current criticism of Justice Department agencies is both dangerous and hyperpartisan – and then I see this head-shaking assessment of U.S. Attorneys.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides step-by-step instructions on how to run a successful crowd-funding campaign.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Minneapolis shocked to discover thousands of Super Bowl attendees left without seeing rest of city
American Airlines announces it will no longer try to match seatmates by interests
Determined circle of friends diligently traces back how they got onto this conversation topic
Oxiclean reveals new stain-removing fabric scissors
Popsicle reintroduces beloved “Plain” flavor
Local goose finally lands spot at tip of ‘V’

Interesting Reads
Life magazine … in Afghanistan?
Wealth, status, and an insect
Pizza instead of cereal
Fossils and spiders
Journey across Antarctica
(Images) 15 photos of Queen Elizabeth II through the years

To send you into the weekend, a touch of soul whose title describes the current US government. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 351

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Challenge Update: I will publish my post on Tuesday 6 February at 9 PM (Eastern US) … challenge participants publish after that and link to that post.

On the early morning of this week’s Super Blue Moon’s eclipse, Cincinnati had many clouds. A friend of mine (who is south for the winter) told me that he watched the shadowed moon fade away behind the horizon, then turned around to watch the sunrise over the opposite horizon only several minutes later.

Cincinnati has a unique food battle going on – a Burger Battle of the Boy Bands. In short, Nick Lachey (98 Degrees), is a Cincinnatian, plus he and his brother (Drew) have a restaurant. A few blocks away is Wahlburgers, owned by the Wahlbergs (Donnie was in New Kids on the Block). Here’s an article about the battle.

This weekend is the Super Bowl – big deal. We’ll probably have the game on, but without any festivities. Personally, I hope the Eagles win.

PS: More BLINK posts this weekend.

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I knew before making the decision that I would be missing the most unbelievable, the greatest, the most-watched ever State of the Union (SOTU) speech – but I continued my streak of avoiding the occasion because I hate watching the behaviors of our elected officials. Stay seated and remain quiet during the speech seems like such a small, yet reasonable request.

The SOTU is the US President delivering an annual Constitutional obligation. Although I don’t watch, I support it. On the other hand, I despise the fact opposing party have a rebuttal. The record clearly shows I also didn’t support the Republicans rebuttal after President Obama’s SOTU – and yep – I don’t support the Democrats doing the same. SOTU is the President’s address to Congress and the nation … PERIOD.

If I would have watched the SOTU, these bingo cards would have made the event more fun.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides an infographic about the myths and facts about Dreamers and the Dream Act.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman apologizes to therapist for monopolizing conversation
New acne-free treatment ships teens to remote island for remainder of puberty
Perfect girlfriend blames self for everything
Flustered mathematician unable to recommend good number
Brad Pitt stumbles across old cardboard box with Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in it

Interesting Reads
Europe’s earliest written language?
Dark money and politics
About the Cincinnati murals
The contradictions of Gaudi
Demographics, America, and the future
Anti-evolution in India
(Graphic) World’s most nutritious foods
(Photos) National Geographic’s Best Adventure Photos of 2017

To send you into the weekend, here’s one of my favorites by John Mellencamp. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 350

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Although I took a low-key approach to #2000, I greatly appreciate the comments. Yes, they collectively choked me up a bit. Thank you!

I can’t believe WordPress didn’t sent me a special badge. Then again, maybe they did, but I can’t find it.

I had to look, but the first 1,000 took 4 years 1 month … the second thousand took almost 5 years 5 months. Especially given my age, I’m trending in the wrong direction for the next 2,000! But hey – thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

I had to check the party for #1000. I enjoyed looking at the names from the past. Approximately 67 attended: 12 are still here (more than half attended #2000), 14 are still active bloggers but no longer visit, and 42 are no longer active.

My next venture: The IF Challenge. A new (and temporary) page detailing this challenge on a tab. Bottom line, construct a post centering around the word “if”. Writer’s choice of format (poem, short story, graphic, etc). Dates are TBA – probably a specific announcement in the next OITS for the challenge post within 7 days after.

This weekend I hope to introduce readers to BLINK Cincinnati, which will be a series of posts.

We saw The Post (Meryl Streep/Tom Hanks). Thumbs up – but I enjoyed Darkest Hour more. As with any movie based on history, details are often omitted (because of time), massaged or even made-up to improve the movie’s flow – therefore, I often wonder how much of the movie is true. Here’s one such view of The Post.

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Here’s an interesting post about integrity by a blogger that I don’t know. Raye, thanks for leading me there.

The government shutdown was ridiculous. The 3 comments below stuck with me this week.

A president who can’t make a deal, Republicans struggling to govern, Democrats shaped by their anti-Trump base. (Dan Balz, Columnist, Washington Post)

What’s striking is Republican operatives said to me they think this president is erratic, he’s undisciplined, he’s inconsistent which makes it tough for him when he tries to get himself engaged in a deal like this. (Peter Alexander, NBC National Correspondent)

Where’s the empathy in my party? Al Cardenas, Republican Strategist)

This article by The Guardian definitely has an intriguing title: “The 12 Weirdest Days From Trump’s First Year”.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion capsulizing the history of the World Economic Forum.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Area man thinks movie he saw should have been nominated
Lustful man sensually uses one hand to unhook clasp of take-out box
Ophthalmologist instructs patient not to look at anything 24 hours before eye surgery
Man wishes women in crowded bar would let him read Jane Austen novel in peace
Newborn has father’s asshole
Real life Michelin Man dies (Photo here)

Interesting Reads
Defending the grid
Soybean to diesel fuel: is it worth it?
Feeding 1.4 billion Chinese
Feeding 10 billion people globally
Plague Fort in Russia
(Photos) London Lit

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one from The Cars on the way to their upcoming induction. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 349

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A friend will be my dance partner when we do a Bolero this spring at the studio both of us attend. Several years ago at the same event, she and I did a tango that some people still talk to us about. (FYI: My wife doesn’t like being the only two on the floor). For those interested, click the video below. FYI: Use the music for background while reading the post because not much to see in the video (on purpose). Hope you enjoy the song.

There are teens dumb enough to eat detergent pods?

Recently saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Definitely a movie with only a few good characters. Cheers to Frances McDormand for her Golden Globe performance. Interesting story, so Thumbs Up! The same for Darkest Hour – and to think that movie covered about 2-3 weeks.

Fiona, Cincinnati’s darling hippo, turns one on January 24th.

What a coincidence. On the day when WalMart announces increases in wages and benefits, it abruptly closed 63 of its Sam’s Club stores.

Last weekend our bell choir returned from the holidays to play a song with one rehearsal – and it went well! Click here for the video of our choir playing Day by Day (arranged by Anna Laura Page).

This is post #1998. There will be a post early Saturday, therefore #2000 should be Sunday evening (US Eastern). I hope you get a chance to stop by to say hello.

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I watched (on Netflix) David Letterman’s interview with Barack Obama. Very enjoyable.

I learned about President Trump’s degrading comments about many immigrants after publishing the last edition of OITS. I typically take the high road, but here’s my commentary: A shithole comment by a shithead.

As much as many like to complain about President Trump, I tend to laugh a lot – but complain about the Republicans who a) justify his actions, b) deflect his actions, and/or c) say nothing.

Three US Senators give two vastly different accounts of a meeting led by President Trump. At least 1 of the 3 is intentionally lying – not stretching the truth – intentionally lying. At least one senator, dutifully elected by the people to represent the people of his state, is lying with the purpose of favoring the party on an important issue instead of representing the people. Actually, this action is one step beyond partisanship normally exhibited by members of Congress.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides an infographic showing the pros and cons of electric cars.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Wall wishing it were load bearing
Audiobook narrator going for broke with Cajun accent
New after-school program aims to keep children off streets for additional 45 minutes
Opera ends on unexpected high note
Perfectly good dead body cremated

Interesting Reads
Global media habits
Man carving long road in mountain (not an Onion headline)
Tourism and Guinness
Choosing between a bull or a man
Almost wiping-out 16th Century Mexico
(Infographic) Global Millionaires
(Photos) National Geographic: Best Photos of Animals of 2017

To send you into the weekend, here’s another group that will soon be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What a fun, old-style video! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 348

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While I’ve been noting various milestones, I discovered another one as last weekend I surpassed 75,000 visitors. Meanwhile, on my march toward the 2,000th post, this is #1,994 – but I don’t know what I will do for the 2,000th.

For those enjoying the Iceland journey, Saturday will bring a post about Reykjavik, while Monday night/Tuesday may deliver a post with important travel tips.

Congratulations to the University of Alabama for winning the college football’s coveted title. That was quite a game! To Georgia players and fans – Hold your head high!

I was saddened at the news of the passing of one of the founders of the Moody Blues – Ray Thomas – and to think just months before the group’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I will close this post with one of the songs he wrote – a song that captivated me at my first Moody Blues concert.

John Dickerson joins CBS: This Morning (my morning show preference) – but I never realized his mother is journalist Nancy Dickerson (now deceased).

In case you missed the announcement, Mensa International is moving its US headquarters to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, DC.

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One of Ohio’s Senate seats (held by Sherrod Brown – D) was in play for a Republican gain this fall, but their leading candidate suddenly dropped out due to his wife’s health issues. I’m not a fan of Josh Mandel, but people taking shots at him during this time is unnecessary and pathetic. Meanwhile, the party filled the slot by convincing a fellow Trumpian to abandon his quest for governor in order to enter the Senate race.

Oprah’s speech at the Golden Globes created quit the stir. Regardless of the political aspect, she successfully delivered a strong message.

“Trump has been in office 1 year and has already fixed global warming.” (Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin)

To me, this statement summarizes President Trump’s views of immigration policy: He doesn’t know what he wants.

The steady stream of stories about Immigration and Custom Enforcement actions against people who are illegally in the US, but stay out of trouble and contribute to society continues to bother me. I’m guessing “bad hombres” is code of any illegal, not just bona fide criminals.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers the worst potluck contributions of 2017.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
7-year old unable to maintain cohesive storyline while playing with action figures
New evidence suggests ancient Egyptians only ever visited pyramids when friends were in from out of town
Vacuum got something really big under couch
Spider sitting on shower wall cannot wait to see look on man’s face
Pile of dirty clothes on bedroom floor starting to mix with pile of clean clothes on bedroom floor

Interesting Reads
A commentary and historical look about the future of work
Dealing with mosquitos
Countries without governments
Myths and truths about pirates
PT Barnum’s attractions
Sequencing the tree of life
(Video) A 2-minute celebration of black female photography

To send you into the weekend, he’s the song I promised early – and Rest in Peace, Ray Thomas. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.