Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 297

Thursday was my wife’s last day at work, but she wasn’t there much. We celebrated her retirement and our upcoming anniversary with a nice meal out. For her first official retirement day, we will go out to breakfast … but I have to work in the afternoon.

Although she didn’t respond to anyone, my wife appreciated all the best wishes from the readers here, so she says Thanks to all.  Yep – the majority of the world is good.

As a science person, this scathing commentary directed at the Houston Science Museum caught my attention.

Geraldo Rivera was one of the worst contestants ever on Dancing With The Stars -but not worse that Master P. Then again, he knew he couldn’t dance, so cheers to his sense of humor for accepting the show’s invitation.

Opening Day in Cincinnati to start the season is big – very big! My wife has never been downtown for the festivities, so if the weather is nice, we may go. Meanwhile, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this discouraged at the start of the season about my team … but maybe they will surprise me.

I’m ready for a blogging break – one spending time visiting, writing, and adjusting to my wife being at home – so I will be announcing one in the near future … BUT – there will be a post on Saturday that’s not the break announcement.

Because of the upcoming blogging break, I’m delaying the next act of Colors: The Musical until further notice. I’ll first post the next act on the Hear Ye page.

Somehow, Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to survive. While supporters proclaim that he says what people are thinking, I wonder this: Is anyone listening? The man is one bluff after another. He continually changes the subject when he has no answer – especially about foreign policy. Lies, exaggerates, and doesn’t know the primary rules in the contest he’s chosen to engage. Passing the buck through blaming others. As many proclaim he’s tapping into the anger of the American voter, I say he’s activating the stupid gene … Yet – I continue to what I’ve said all along that he won’t get the nomination.

The notion of any of the Republican candidates wooing the “Reagan Democrats” is a fantasy because the many (if not most) of the Reagan Democrats are now Republicans and have been for some time.

With cracks in the Republican wall against the process of filling the Supreme Court vacancy, is it possible that the Republicans cave in, then the Democrats reject the idea? The Dems could claim it’s too late in the term, but actually mean they could get someone more liberal by winning the White House. If so, I say a good idea by the GOP, but a lousy idea by the Dems. Yes – an issue that could greatly influence my vote.

We hear a lot about the Democratic superdelegates – but much less so about Republican uncommitted delegates. Interestingly, the role of delegates earned by “suspended” candidates differs from state-to-state.

Meanwhile, the GOP race continues to focus on wives, size of hands, physical contact, lies, and more – and at the least of avoiding important issues.

For those who think it’s time to change the current primary system, NPR provides 6 alternatives with pros and cons for each.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, here a 2-fer of tips from The Onion:

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Bacon added
Questions linger about long-fingernailed man
Area man reports new girlfriend has that new girlfriend smell
Family has strict no smartphone rule while eating dinner in front of TV
Trophy wife slowly becoming regular wife
Report: Most effective marketing technique still giving out little version of product

Interesting Reads
The ancient origins of social media
Being forced to leave – unfortunately
The hunt for Fabergé eggs
The lesser known trail to Machu Picchu
The battle of Pork Chop Hill
Five facts about chickens

To send you into this weekend, here’s one you may not know from Pink Martini. The beginning provides an explanation for Tuca Tuca. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On 31

This week is a big one is our household because my wife’s last day of work is Thursday. Yep, after 31 years with a major company that is well-known around the world, she’s retiring. To say she’s looking forward to retirement would be an understatement. She worked hard to be a highly valued employee, but she’s ready to move on to the next phase of her life.

Although the week will end with our wedding anniversary, this post is a salute to her retirement – which also means I’m preparing another salute to a different number.

Life will be an adjustment for both of us, but we’ve been a team for a long time – so the new available time should be fun. A tip of the hat to my partner in life – the one I’ve loved for a long time.

In Language
31 – Tridhjetenjë (Albanian), Třicet jedna (Czech), Enogtredive (Danish), Kolmkümmend üks (Estonian), 30 En (Swedish), Tiga puluh (Indonesian), and XXXI (Roman numerals). Do you have others?

cooltext31

Image from cooltext.com

In Mathematics
31 – a natural number, an odd integer that is only divisible by 1 and itself

31 – a third Mersenne prime, the fourth primorial prime, the twin prime of 29. The fourth lucky prime, the 11th supersingular prime, a centered triangular number, a centered decagonal number, the lowest prime centered pentagonal number, the lowest possible Steiner topology for Steiner trees with 4 terminals, a repdigit in base 2 and base 5

In Chemistry
The atomic number of gallium – so a single neutrally charged atom of gallium has 31 protons and 31 electrons

In Biology
31 – the number of pairs of spinal nerves in humans

31 – the number of pairs of chromosomes in donkeys, gypsy moths, and giraffes

cooltext31

Image from cooltext.com

In Astronomy
Messier object M31 is in the constellation Andromeda and is readily visible to the naked eye in a modestly dark sky.

The New General Catalogue object NGC 31, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Phoenix

31 Orionis is a star in the constellation Orion – 31 Leonis is a star in the constellation Leo – and many more 31s throughout the galaxy

In Geography
31st parallel north crosses land of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, Japan, Mexico, and the United States

31st parallel south crosses land of South Africa, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil,

31st meridian east crosses land of Norway, Russia, Finland, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, and Swaziland

31st meridian west only crosses land in Greenland

31st Street in New York City begins at the West Side Yard, and ends at Second Avenue at Kips Bay Towers and NYU Medical Center

Chicago as a 31st Street Beach

Virginia Beach’s 31st Street Park has an outdoor stage for movies, concerts, and shows

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In History
Papyrus 31, an early copy of the New Testament in Greek, dates back to 7th century

31st US President was Herbert Hoover

31st Congress met 1849-1851 during presidential terms of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore

Federalist No. 31, an essay by Alexander Hamilton (pseudonym Publius), is the second of seven essays on taxation

Year 31 CE
A common year starting on Monday

Berber calendar year 981, Assyrian calendar year 4781, Coptic calendar year −253 – −252
A possible year for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Year 31 BC
Either a common year starting on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday or a leap year starting on Tuesday or Wednesday

Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian becomes Roman Consul for the third time

Roman Civil War: Battle of Actium: Off the western coast of Greece, Octavian Caesar defeats the naval forces under Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII

The fortress Masada completed in the Judean Desert

By some scholars, the Hellenistic period ends

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In Sports
In Super Bowl XXXI, the Green Bay Packers defeated the New England Patriots 35-21 on January 26, 1997 at the Superdome in New Orleans, and Desmond Howard won the MVP

31 – a common number worn by Ice hockey goalies

Retired #31 jerseys

  • (MLB) Dave Winfield (Padres), Ferguson Jenkins (Cubs), Greg Maddux (Cubs and Braves), Mike Piazza (Mets)
  • (NBA) Cedric Maxwell (Celtics), Reggie Miller (Pacers)
  • (NHL) Grant Fuhr (Oilers), Billy Smith (Islanders)
  • (NFL) William Andrews (Falcons), Jim Taylor (Saints)

In 1,071 NASCAR races, car #31 has won 7 times: Jeff Burton (4) and Robby Gordon (3) – plus finished in the top 5 87 times

In Entertainment
Seinfeld episode #31 (season 3) “The Pez Dispenser” first aired 15 January 1992

31 – an American independent horror film (2016) written and directed by Rob Zombie

31 – a card game

31 – a type of game played on a backgammon board

31 Songs, a book by Nick Hornby

Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 31

Symphony No. 31: Paris by Mozart

Symphony No. 31 by Joseph Haydn is also known as Hornsignal

Ludwig van Beethoven composed Piano Sonata No. 16 in G major, Opus 31 No. 1 and Piano Sonata No. 16 in D Minor, Opus 31 No. 2 – the latter is also known as The Tempest (click to hear the Allegreto)

Image from cooltext.com

Image from cooltext.com

In Business
31 – the number of flavors of Baskin-Robbins ice cream; which is called 31 Ice Cream in Japan

31st Street Studios in Pittsburgh offers studio production and management

31 Gifts (actually Thirty-One Gifts) is a party and gift consultant organization

Miscellaneous
The number of days in the months January, March, May, July, August, October and December

The code for international direct-dial phone calls to the Netherlands

There are 31 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet

In French the expression trente et un (31) refers to someone who is well dressed

31 years is roughly a billion seconds

31 (XXXI): a women’s honorary at The University of Alabama

31-bit integers – a component of computer architecture introduced in 1983 for mainframes

Music has a 31-tone equal temperament tuning system

J31 – the first jet engine produced in quantity in the United States (by GE)

On Warnings

As we were walking down from the top of the Rock of Gibraltar this past October, we saw two road signs that I’ve never seen before … but they got me thinking about signs at home … so one day, I took note.

I left the house for a few errands, but didn’t get out of the subdivision before I see my first warning sign.
NoParking

Turning onto the main road, the lines are giving me a message … yes, in this case, a warning.

RoadLines

I stopped at the bank, which greeted me with this warning.
SignBank

I stopped at a novelty store looking for a gift, thus encounter an owner delivering a warning with a sense of humor.
SignStore

It’s lunchtime – I’m hungry. Instead of the No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service sign, I encountered this warning sign.
SignRestaurant

I stopped at the grocery store because tonight we have a homemade pizza – so I’m very glad the pepperoni company told me this. (Look in the label’s lower-left corner)
SignPackage

What are some of the unique warning signs you’ve encountered?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 296

Our hearts and support to Belgians this week. Wishing them peace and strength today, in the days past, and in the days ahead.

Hard to believe that an 18-year-old American injured in the Brussels blast was also in Boston (the day of the Marathon bombings) and in Paris (the day of the recent attacks).

Thanks to those who watched and commented on the PSA in the previous post. My weekly volunteer time with Down Syndrome adults has taught me a lot. It’s where I learned how they see themselves as normal – and it’s where I’ve learned to appreciate them for who they are. A parent told me that the video bothered them as a parent. I responded by saying what I’ve learned from volunteering – to which the parent responded, “You’re exactly right. They really don’t see themselves as any different than anyone else. Thanks for pulling me back.”

We recently saw a stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Wow – it still carries a powerful message.

Next week is The Right Angle’s last week of work as she is ready to ride into the retirement sunset.

This is a great laugh.

Being in the middle of basketball’s March Madness, my city is lucky to have to top programs within the city – let alone, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) apart. But the way both the Bearcats and Musketeers lost was difficult. Ouch! On the other hand, in my opinion, the torch has passed from UC to XU for having the top program in the city. Nonetheless, by the end of the weekend, only 4 teams will be left.

Season 22 of Dancing With The Stars is off to a good start. Definitely a group with some interesting people. It was great to see Edyta back on the show, but ouch – she got the contestant with the worst rhythm and lowest ability.

Act 5: Green of Colors: The Musical was huge! At the time of this writing we’re approaching 50 songs! Then again, I went a bit crazy in my replies … and that’s before Marina and I start playing our additions game.

On the topic of colors, I understand the cherry blossoms of Washington, DC are in full bloom. Elyse and Duncan would gladly give you a walking tour if you stopped by. Make sure to ask her to show you the two trees that are from the original plantings. But if you can’t join her tour, here’s a video to help you enjoy them.

To those celebrating Easter this weekend, a glorious and happy Easter to you.

No Explore post this weekend.

Republicans love to praise Ronald Reagan, but a 1980 Reagan would be lousy 2016 candidate … just as he would have been lousy in 2012. Don’t believe it? Just compare the party platforms.

There’s a lull in primary season as all eyes are directed at Wisconsin. I wonder how much money the campaigns and organizations will spend on ads in the Dairy State.

In terms of this summer’s Republican convention, keep your eye on changes involving Rule 40-B.

I called Sen. Portman’s office (R-OH) about his stance regarding the current Supreme Court opening – and yep – I said the stance will cost him my vote in November.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for establishing a campsite.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Chess onlooker sees a possible move
Scissors kills Paper and Rock; then turns blade on self
Volunteer exercises option to stop volunteering
Shit … new girlfriend snores
Stomach sets aside synthetic additives until it has a few minutes to figure out how to digest them

Interesting Reads
The boom in craft beers
The hidden strengths of introverts
The man who sold the Eiffel Tower twice
3-D printing and the blind
Animals of the world (article & images from National Geographic)

Given Blog Musical Week, it’s a two-fer 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.

Colors: The Musical – Act 5: Blue

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 colors as 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 Color: The Musical.

ColorsPlaybillPROGRAM
Act 1: Black
Act 2: Red
Act 3: Orange and Yellow
Act 4: Green

Act 5: Blue
Blue – the range of colors between green and violet with a wavelength between 450-495 nanometers

Blue – one of the three primary colors in painting

Blue – combining it with different colors yield something new … therefore creating green from yellow, violet from red, and different shades of itself from black, gray, or white

Blue – the color we associate with the oceans … and its dominance on the Earth’s surface that serves as the basis of The Blue Planet – which leads to Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot (one of my favorite videos)

Blue – the color of nobility, the working class, the peaceful, the faithful, the loyal, and the harmonious … but also as a sign of cold, exhaustion, the unexpected, the indecent, and depression

Blue – the focus of this collaboration with Marina

Guidelines
Songs must have Blue in the title

Cautions

  • No songs using blue as a compound word (bluebird, Bluetooth etc)
  • No songs using a form of blue (blues, bluest, blueness, etc)
  • No songs using shades or hues of blue (as blue-green, aquamarine, navy, cobalt, and others)
  • OK! Hyphenated words with blue (blue-eyed turtle), but not when as a shade (blue-green).
  • 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
Blue is a wonderful color that is a favorite to many. You’ve seen my gravatar of a blue eye. Although that is not mine, my eyes are blue. Donald Raye and Freddie Slack wrote the opening song in 1946. Since then, many have recorded it. I enjoy the toe-tapping rhythms of what I call Texas swing, so a loud welcome to Asleep at the Wheel with House of Blue Lights.

On a Thought-Provoking PSA

I was going to include this in the next Opinion in the Shorts, but this is great mental fodder.

While watching the Today show this past weekend, I heard about a Public Service Announcement featuring actress Olivia Wilde regarding World Down Syndrome Day (Monday 21 March 2016). The brief report was about the varying reactions people have about this PSA.

Watching this is worth your time as it stimulates thoughts. What are your thoughts about this video? Praise or criticism?

Here’s a link to Down Syndrome International.

On a Small Town

To municipalities of various sizes, the Ohio River is home. Numerous cities, towns, villages, and hamlets occupy the banks of the 981 miles (1579 km) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois – but this post is about only one of them.

Neville, Ohio is a rural village along the Mighty Ohio in the southern part of my county (Clermont). Other than driving through it several times over the past 40 years, my history with Neville is nil. Founded in 1808 by Gen. Presley Neville, a Revolutionary War veteran. The US government established a post office there in Neville 10 years later – which is still operating today.

From the war memorial, to store names, to officials, certain families have dominated its history – but that’s normal in a small town. By 1880, Neville’s commercial district was vibrant as the population grew to 445.

Being along the Ohio River, Neville has battled its share of floods – especially the major floods of 1913, 1919, 1937, 1964, and 1997. The ‘97 flood the caused more than half of the population to move because, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) bought land and demolished buildings so nobody would build again on those locations.

As a village, Neville depended on funding assistance from the Ohio’s Local Government Fund. In 2010, in order to balance the state’s budget, our newly elected governor slashed the fund’s existence. Besides saving the state money, the survival-of-the-fittest approach would force local governments to either streamline their expenditures to become part of the surrounding township or merge with another municipality.

In the last 10 years, about 10 governments have dissolved – the majority since the 2011. Ohio Auditor’s office gave Neville’s mayor a choice: vote to dissolve or eventually face a court-ordered dissolution.

Today, Neville’s population of 100 has a median income of about $31,000. No businesses exist within its boundaries … and the state of Ohio has a budget surplus. This past March 15th, voters in three more villages across Ohio faced the dissolution decision on the ballot.

Somerville (Butler County) will close its doors, but Smithfield (Jefferson County) and Neville thumbed their noses at the state in order to live another day – at least until the next dissolution vote.