Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 309

A global economy and nationalism seem to be opposing forces – so here’s a good read from William Galston in the Wall Street Journal.

I live in a part of America that has fireflies – an insect that fascinates those who don’t have them in your area. Here’s an article from National Geographic about what I also call lightning bugs.

Need new wallpaper for your desktop? This fabulous collection of photos from National Geographic Travel Photography Contest is a must-see.

I didn’t realize most minor league baseball players get a very low wage. I wasn’t expecting a gold mine, but more that the meager pittance they receive. Here’s the column where I discovered the disheartening news.

Earlier this week, Answers in Genesis (who operates the nearby Creation Museum) opened Ark Encounter – an exhibit about Noah’s Ark in the view of a 10,000 year old Earth. Being a local event, there have been many Letters to the Editor … many of which encourage me to bang my head against a wall.

Given current time demands and several life adjustments, not only did I not post this week, I’ve been reflecting about my future on these pages – which will probably lead to an open (irregular) posting schedule. Besides, not visiting other blogs bothers me very much.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

The timing of the FBI report surprised me. At the beginning of this incident I stated that her decision to have private servers was a poor and careless decision – and it seems the investigation more than supports my statement. Meanwhile, the Republican response was more than predictable. I appreciated this comparison by the Washington Post of the Clinton and Petraeus scandals.

Regarding the FBI report and the Clinton email scandal, I enjoyed this comment, “Americans’ trust in public officials and public institutions has fallen abysmally, as we all know. So far as we can now tell, the country in this instance has been well served by a leader and an FBI that has been diligent, hard-working and fair. Embittered partisans will disagree, but for my book, the FBI seems to have gotten this one right.” (David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst in this column)

In terms of the effect on my vote in the election, I consider the Republican offering of an obnoxious bloviating jackass whose depth doesn’t go beyond insults, name-calling, and taglines is much worse than Mrs. Clinton’s poor judgment (in this case) and her distrustful nature.

Columnist George Will is a great writer. Although I haven’t read him much over the past 5 years, I have been noticing his battle with Donald Trump – and love this recent quote: “He (Trump) has an advantage on me. He can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters, and I (Will) can’t.”

Two weeks ago (in OITS 307) I listed an article about US politics in the Interesting Reads. Interestingly, last weekend Meet the Press interviewed the article’s author. Glad to know that NBC followed my lead. Here’s the article.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Mary Fallin, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Scott Brown, 2) Mike Pence, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Xavier Beccera, 4) Julian Castro, 3) Chris Murphy, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion discloses what Vice President Joe Biden is doing this summer.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Swiss guards charge writhing mass of black tentacles devouring Pope Francis
Dad’s eyes welled up at sight of perfectly packed cooler
Synthetic tree removes carbon dioxide from air
Fireworks accident blows off tip of Florida
Rest of the evening spent declaring the asshole not going to ruin the evening
God regrets never creating any two-head snake creatures

Interesting Reads
State of the news media (Pew Research Center)
Georgia O’Keeffe: An American Painting Icon
Football and ALS
Are algorithms biased?
Mating habits of seahorses
(Photos) Dessert landscapes from National Geographic

When searching for a song to send readers into the weekend, this one came to attention. Paul, a friend and great person, pops in my mind from time to time. Although he died several years ago in a senseless murder, I smile when I think of him … and this song from The Piano Guys is what I link to him … plus, it’s a good song to send 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. 308

The recent attack at the Istanbul airport rips one’s heart. Blogger Nia quickly came to my mind because I know she’s a kind, sensitive person who is unhappy with the political turmoil and the regional violence. I encourage you to visit her blog to offer your support to her and the good people in Turkey.

Although I continue to believe my personal mantra that the majority of the world is good, this and similar incidents challenge my view …. but I continue to hang on! Meanwhile, the key to defeating ISIS (in my opinion) starts within the Arab world.

Loud cheers to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for allowing the Cincinnati Reds to honor Pete Rose by retiring his number and allowing him to enter the Reds Hall of Fame. The previous commissioner felt the need to extend Rose’s punishment to the Reds organization, Reds fans, and the city of Cincinnati.

Hey hey hey – it looks like our Argentine Tango class will be extended by one week!

The distance separating Cincinnati and West Virginia isn’t very much. Whereas very little rain has fallen at my residence, West Virginia is flooding. I think it’s President Obama’s fault.

My life has been one of major adjustments the past 3 months. My wife’s retirement and my part-time job have affected whatever time is left in a day – therefore, my poor attendance among the blogs.

Thanks to all who participated in Colors: The Musical! As of this writing, I’m way behind on replying to comments, but I’ll get there! Thanks for your patience.

This is a long holiday weekend in the US (4th of July), so no Explore post this weekend.

The combo came to mind by using the subject lines in my email spam folder: Rock-hard Trump destroys Cialis implant

I found interest in this week’s Supreme Court ruling regarding the abortion laws. Although Ohio was not on the list of states with similar laws, my state has also been on the restrictive path.

Polls and studies showing the majority of Americans say that Congress is doing a bad/poor job make me laugh because the vast majority of elected officials in Congress get re-elected. Which best describes the voting public: anger or complacency?

The recent BREXIT vote created many shock waves across the world. Around all the chaos, it is important to remember the primary cause: It’s President Obama’s fault.

Be cause of the US process for electing a president, I know national polls are essential meaningless – but the closeness of the polls is both fascinating and disturbing.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Mitch Pence, 4) Chris Christie, 3) Bob Corker, 2) Jeff Sessions, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Sherrod Brown 4) Elizabeth Warren, 3) Xavier Becerra, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides tips for handling social anxieties.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man driving while making YouTube video to explain how PC culture destroying America
‘Five-Second Rule’ disproven
Black mark on birth control manufacturer’s record weighs in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces
Factory robot working on some of its own designs after hours
Three-year-old announces plan to point out fat people all day long.
Only news source man trusts has logo of eyeball with crosshair

Interesting Reads
A moderate working in a polarized environment
Classic music and new technologies (Thanks Tim)
A collection of matchbook boxes from India
Education in Estonia
The Irish pirate queen
Has physics made philosophy and religion obsolete?
(Photos) The Night Skies

Here’s one of my all-time favorite music videos. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Colors: The Musical – Act 9: White

The Story
Color is a large, broad topic, yet color is a human perspective.
We see because cones on the eye’s retina detects a specified range of colors in light, transforms the light messages into nerve impulses to be sent to the brain for interpretation and translation into sight. If it wasn’t for the cones on the retina we wouldn’t see the range of colors that we do … but we could still see without cones.
Colors are a range in the visible light spectrum that correspond to some guy named Roy G Biv. We categorize colors into different levels as primary, secondary, and intermediate. involve tints, shades, and hues with neutrals, pastels, warm/cool, and complementary/contrast … yet designers and artists organize usable colors into a palate.
While a color space organizes colors, a color model serves as a mathematical interpretation … yet 216 colors have been identified as safe for web pages – each with an identify code – each with its own mixture of RGB (red, green, blue), HSL (hue, saturation, lightness and HSB (hue, saturation, brightness).
Cultures adapt color for various symbolisms. The same color can mean excitement, purity, danger, success, and more … yet colors are associated with personality, psychology, meditation, philosophy, and marketing.
No matter the perception, scheme, physics, theory, psychology, or culture, this experience is Colors: The Musical.
Act 9: White
White – signifying purity, innocence, a new beginning, serenity, wholeness, perfection, and cleanliness
White – a common color in nature – as in ice, clouds, snow, milk, chalk, limestone, doves, white swans, the arctic fox, beluga whale, a snow leopard, light, and white pearls
White – prisms transform white light so we can see the color spectrum that comprises white light
White – depending on the culture, the color for baptism, first communion, Easter, weddings, funerals, reincarnation, Hajj, Yom Kippur, and Niwa
White – used in idioms and expressions as white knight, white noise, whitewash, white collar, white lie, white paper, white as a ghost, raise the white flag, white elephant, and many more
White – fitting for the last act of Colors: The Musical – has equal amounts and equal intensities of other colors
Guidelines
Songs must have White in the title
Cautions
  • No forms of white (as whitish, whiter, whitest, etc)
  • No shades of white (as cream, ivory, eggshell, etc)
  • No compound words as (whitewater, whitecaps, whitewash, etc)
  • 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.

Announcement
Closing Night is always a sad night – and Colors: The Musical has been a success. But the final act also means a new theme is near. Because white symbolizes a new beginning, we’ve invited a rocker with the appropriate song title to start tonight act. Let’s stand up and start clapping to welcome Billy Idol with White Wedding.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 307

Last Friday my wife and I went to US Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. It was her first visit to one of the finest government museums outside of Washington, DC … and admission is free.
In this recent editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Director of the Cincinnati Zoo ended his column with these words: You can sure tell who your friends are when the chips are down. I continue to wonder why they lack of outcry for the killed alligators at Disney World in Orlando.
Golf’s U.S. Open ended last week with a bit of a controversy that (fortunately) didn’t affect the outcome. With other sports using video replays to get the correct outcome, I have no problem with golf using today’s technology. However, if a player only gets 5 minutes to find a potentially lost ball, rules officials should only get 5 minutes from the time of the potential infraction to make a ruling. Doing so hours later or at the conclusion of the round is a problem that could lead to future problems.
I’ve known many people from Cleveland and its suburbs. Heck – I even married a Clevelander. I can also remember the last time the city won a major sports championship (1964). With their recent basketball championship, The Onion does what The Onion does.
I look forward to the results of the EU Exit vote (BREXIT).
Our introductory class in Argentine Tango is over – and the class was a lot of fun – so we may willing to learn more.
One more act in Colors: The Musical – and it features songs with “White” in the title. Any ideas why I saved this color for the last act? Hint: See Act 1. See you this coming Tuesday (28th June) at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).
No Explore post this weekend.
Last week I called for a national conversation around guns. This week, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate demonstrated the need for my request – and of course the partisans shun the idea by digging their heals into the stance.
I recorded the recent Libertarian Town Hall (on CNN), and I look forward to watching it when I get a chance.
People who follow elections realize Ohio is a swing state – and polls currently show a toss-up race. Here’s a short list that outsiders may not know about the Buckeye State.
  • Ohio is a strong Tea Party state. Even our Republican governor (Kasich) has bucked them.
  • The Cincinnati area has high viewership of reality shows.
  • Donald Trump’s personality fits with a large portion of the state.
In my opinion, American politics is off the rails – so this article from The Atlantic is interesting.
This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Nikki Haley 4) John Kasich, 3) Chris Christie, 2) Jeff Sessions, 1) Newt Gingrich
The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Xavier Becerra, 4) Andrew Cuomo, 3) Thomas Perez, 2) Elizabeth Warren, 1) Tim Kane
To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides etiquette tips for wedding guests.
Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man getting futon all dolled-up for Craigslist photoshoot
Late-arriving guest encouraged to load up on food sitting in sun for past 4 hours
Man at amusement park gets right back in line for another funnel cake
Family mercifully pulling plug on grandfather unaware they are sending him directly to hell
WalMart considered part of town’s late-night dining options
Grizzled fast-food junkie moving on to harder dipping sauces
Cincinnati has been crazy about Jimmy Buffett for many years. Because he was in town this week, he’s a good choice to send you into the weekend. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Humanity

RLHumanity

“Burger” on trumpet with his band, TBC, at a second line on St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans

The majority of the world is good – I’ve written those words on past posts here because I believe it. Even when the news constantly reminds us about all the evil, I continue to believe the majority of the world is good.

Humanity is a term that refers to all of us. All … not all with a but or except … simply all. Regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, location or any other qualifier or disqualifier, humanity includes the characteristics human beings have in common.

Acceptance
The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. (Brian Tracy, author)

RLAcceptance

Men in support of the Lady Buckjumpers second line in Central City, New Orleans

Compassion
Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. (Stevie Wonder, musician)

RLCompassion

Sammy Eubanks comforts his wife Corrie after he was notified that his band did not win the blues competition in Memphis, TN

Cooperation
The requirements for our evolution have changed. Survival is no longer sufficient. Our evolution now requires us to develop spiritually – to become emotionally aware and make responsible choices. It requires us to align ourselves with the values of the soul – harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for life. (Gary Zukav, author)

RLCooperation

Members of The Stooges brass band rehearse prior to a second line in Central City, New Orleans

Goodness
Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people. (Dennis Prager, journalist)

RLGoodness

Three generations of Mardi Gras Indian queens on the most important of all nights — St. Joesph’s Night — in Central City, New Orleans

Humility
Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot. (Thomas Moore, poet)

A discussing of who to trust on the street, which is basically nobody. La salle Street, Central City, New Orleans

Mr. Otis gives me a little advice about life on the street in Central City, New Orleans

Integrity
Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. (Oprah Winfrey, entertainer)

RLIntegrity

Coming out in Treme – the neighborhood, not the HBO series

Kindness
A warm smile is the universal language of kindness. (William Arthur Ward, writer)

One Giant Smile.

Sometimes we celebrate. The world’s biggest smile at Uncle Lionel’s Jazz Funeral in Treme, New Orleans

Love
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. (Ann Landers, journalist)

RLLove

Two second line walkers greet each other in Central, New Orleans

Patience
Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting. (Joyce Meyer, author)

RLPatience

Taking pictures requires a little patience at Mardi Gras, Uptown, New Orleans

Respect
I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being. (Jackie Robinson, athlete)

Respect is what we owe; love, what we give. (Philip James Bailey, poet)

RLRespect

Mardi Gras Indians greet the elders during Downtown Super Sunday, 7th Ward, New Orleans

——————————–

Ray Laskowitz is a photographer in New Orleans. I can’t recall how we found each other, but I find his photos capture many aspects of humanity. Fittingly, he describes his blog as “about pictures and their backstories.” My experience told me he is the perfect artist for this collaborative endeavor. I gathered the text, then he supplied the images.

I encourage everyone to visit Ray’s blog for his stories and his website to see his photos, where images are available for purchase. I’ve invite Ray to respond to comments when he can, so feel free to ask him questions.

All photos are copyrighted by Ray Laskowitz @ Laskowitz Pictures

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 306

The players are competing in my favorite golf tournament this weekend – the US Open.

  • Fortunately, it is held at Oakmont – arguably, the most difficult course in America.
  • Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch as much as I would like.
  • Unfortunately, I don’t trust the USGA in the way they set the course.
  • Unfortunately, the USGA sold the television rights to FOX – which means fewer viewers but they got more money.

The Cincinnati Police Department accepted the Running Man Challenge from the Detroit Police Department – which then created this fun video.

Orlando, Florida has been the center of bad news in the past week. The latest news about the alligator attacking the toddler is shocking. Before finding the body, authorities euthanized 4 alligators . As I think back to the gorilla incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, did I miss the outcry of killing the animals?

The Spam folder on the WordPress Dashboard can be entertaining. For example, “The post have resolved our problem,thank you very much and hope you writing more good articles.” (Comment made for Colors: The Musical: Act 6: Purple Indigo Violet)

The completion of Act 8: Shades means there is one more act to go in Colors: The Musical. More info next week. Meanwhile (at the time of this writing) Act 8 successfully included songs with 18 different shades. Given the approaching July 4th holiday, I need to carefully examine the date of the last act – so I will say more in the next OITS.

No Explore post this weekend – but there could be a weekend post if I can get it ready.

To the fathers and those with fathers, Happy Father’s Day weekend. To those whose father is no longer with them, may pleasant memories bring you comfort and smiles. For those who didn’t have a father growing up and wanted one, peace to you.

The recent shootings in Orlando has many aspects to it – such as terrorism, gun control, and bigotry. Gun rights groups and gun control groups blaming each other. A frustrated president who knows it’s up to Congress – a Congress continuing to ignore the issue. Politicians deflecting the issue to one of the other aspects of this situation.

Amazingly, even after Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Charleston, Aurora, others, and now Orlando. This is a serious topic for many Americans, and I’m confident the majority of Americans would support an open debate and national discussion about the issue – and Congress is the one that could lead the way by example. I just suggested why it won’t happen.

Like any topic, I organize information about guns, gun control, and gun rights into three broad categories: what people know, what people think they know – but don’t (the misinformation and the misconceptions), and what they don’t know. An open debate on the Congressional floor and a national conversation will help inform people.

An open debate and national conversation would seem to be a common sense directive – however, common sense is not Congress’ forte. Oh, I forgot again – blame mental illness while not dealing with that issue either. Better yet – blame Middle Eastern immigrants. Then again, there’s always the ever popular excuse of It’s President Obama’s fault.

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides tips for cooking with meat. http://www.theonion.com/graphic/tips-cooking-meat-53088

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sock gradually taking care of sticky spot on kitchen floor
Everyone laughing at thing man can’t change about himself
7-year-old unable to maintain single cohesive storyline while playing with action figures
New mother criticized for breastfeeding self in public
The Onion regrets spelling “cucumber” as “konkowbar”
Frustrated Obama writes letter to his Congressman about need for gun control

Interesting Reads
Flight: From idea to reality
Flags and identity
New sex position for frogs: Kermit Sutra
The 1886 famine in India
An educational investment
The unexpected art of Dakar
(Photos) Palace ruins in Kabul

Here are two songs to send you into the weekend: a leftover from Act 8 and s hit from 1982. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Colors: The Musical – Act 8: Shades

The Story
Color is a large, broad topic, yet color is a human perspective.

We see because cones on the eye’s retina detects a specified range of colors in light, transforms the light messages into nerve impulses to be sent to the brain for interpretation and translation into sight. If it wasn’t for the cones on the retina we wouldn’t see the range of colors that we do … but we could still see without cones.

Colors are a range in the visible light spectrum that correspond to some guy named Roy G Biv. We categorize colors into different levels as primary, secondary, and intermediate. involve tints, shades, and hues with neutrals, pastels, warm/cool, and complementary/contrast … yet designers and artists organize usable colors into a palate.

While a color space organizes colors, a color model serves as a mathematical interpretation … yet 216 colors have been identified as safe for web pages – each with an identify code – each with its own mixture of RGB (red, green, blue), HSL (hue, saturation, lightness and HSB (hue, saturation, brightness).

Cultures adapt color for various symbolisms. The same color can mean excitement, purity, danger, success, and more … yet colors are associated with personality, psychology, meditation, philosophy, and marketing.

No matter the perception, scheme, physics, theory, psychology, or culture, this experience is Colors: The Musical.

ColorsPlaybillPROGRAM
Act 1: Black
Act 2: Red

Act 8: Shades
Shade, tone, hue, tinge,touch tone, cast, highlights, lowlights, saturation, lightness, darkness, pigmentation, and complexion are closely related to shades.

A color wheel is a visual representation of colors in relationship to other colors. We start with primary colors, then move onto secondary and tertiary colors. We can add white and/or black to any of the colors to create shades. We add white and black to different hues of the shades. The bottom line is a large palette options available for our us.

Our choices are many – yet we work to complement the scheme with different shades through lightness, darkness, and coordinating.

Guidelines

  • Songs must include a color shade in the title
  • The shade may only be used once
Cautions
  • No colors from previous or upcoming acts (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, purple, brown, black, white)
  • No duplicate songs of the shade (once the shade is used in a song title, no more songs from that shade)
  • Stick to normal shade colors
  • The Producer has the final say on what is an acceptable shade
    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.

Announcement
This act is a challenge to attendees – but the aFa team is confident that it’s readers will rise to the occasion. The opening act is not only an American icon, but he’s also a global star. With his roots in the American heartland, his songs capture the heart and soul of ordinary Americans. Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome John Mellencamp singing Beige to Beige, (therefore no more songs featuring Beige in the title).