Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 264

Jeb Bush (R-FL) ended the suspense (and Super PAC fundraising) by officially announcing his candidacy for president. Here’s The Onion’s profile on him.

Donald Trump (R-NY) officially announced his candidacy with buffoonery. The process requires candidates to provide certain disclosures, so time will tell he is serious, thus complies. He loves attention, so announcing gave him that, thus I hedge on him actually being in the race. As a bombastic egotistical Bloviator-In-Chief, talking with conviction doesn’t mean he’s truthful. Here’s the Fact-Check on his speech and his profile from The Onion. For those needing more, a reminder that The Nincompop (aka Sarah Palin) praised Trump’s candidacy.

It’s easy to find something odd in the news, but the Rachel Dolezal (the former NAACP chapter leader) has my head spinning.

My post about what initially attracts one person to another (On Selection) fostered good discussion. I encourage everyone to start taking note of your casual observation when you encounter people at the grocery store, walking down the street, or at any gathering.

The US Open, my favorite golf tournament, is this weekend. After the first day of competition, I’m withholding my endorsement of the course and layout until later.

Remember the mural honoring Martha, the last passenger pigeon? ArtWorks recently announced 10 new murals for downtown Cincinnati. Click this link to see the current look and projected new mural. The slidebar on the images provides an opportunity to see before and after.

Some personal updates

  • For those recalling my eye issue of a year ago, it never fully recovered, thus giving me a new normal
  • I’m involved with a major watering project in the neighborhood
  • Next week I’m transitioning from a sub in the golf league to a regular
  • After boasting last week about visiting many blogs, this week wasn’t very good
  • Yes … we’re still dancing

Meals: The Musical continues next week with an act featuring songs with an alcoholic drink in the title. Act 7 starts Wednesday, 9:30 pm (Eastern US). In case you forget, there’s always the Hear Ye page.

Another Explore will appear on Saturday.

For those of you that get email notification regarding Likes, I’m curious … which 3 posts are listed for me?

To lead you into The Onion, here’s the Republican response to climate change statement made by Pope Francis. The headline is worth the look.

This Week’s Headlines from The Onion (Combos welcome)
Sexist pig had no idea when Team USA plays Nigeria
Co-worker who threw fit and stormed out of room looked like total badass
Man forced to come up with 45 seconds of facial expressions while server lists menu specials
New law determines bullets no longer responsibility of owner once fired from gun
Dept of Interior sets aside 50,000 acres of Federal land for anonymous sexual encounters

Interesting Reads
How each US President viewed God 
Europeans and the Bronze Age
800 years since the Magna Carta
Language of Apes
(Photo Gallery) California drought (Washington Post)

Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Selection

What initially attracts a person to another? To some, it’s the eyes. To others, it’s the face, physique, height, or butt. Then again, it could be breasts, hair, skin tone, or a combination of any of the listed. We could get into the finer details involving hands, personality, or cheekbones, yet the question remains – What initially attracts a person to another?

From a biology perspective, I see human commonality with the rest of the living world. After all, organisms select mates based on color, strength, the ability to sing or dance, and rituals. in the end, it’s about the best genes getting together to increase the odds of the species’ best genes being passed on to the next generation. Keep in mind that the biological purpose of any organism is to grow and survive so the species can perpetuate.

Yes, that’s natural selection – as opposed to artificial selection when humans decide which domestic organisms breed. In terms of passing along the best genes, artificial selection is similar to natural selection, but it occurs outside of the rules of nature. Breeding dogs and other domestic animals is big money because pedigree is important. Breeding race horses is even bigger money, but in the end, it’s artificial selection.

In general, celebrities fascinate the masses – and how often to we see attractive celebrities with another attractive person. The parents pass these attractive genes to their offspring, but that’s natural selection, not artificial selection.

But the initial question remains – What initially attracts a person to another?

A ratio is a relationship between two numbers. Mathematics provides the Golden Ratio, which some artists, designers, architects, and others apply this because they believe the Golden Ratio is the most beautiful and most pleasing shape.

Maybe a ratio is what first attracts one person to another. If so, which one?

Various ratios influence what a person finds attractive. Shoulder-waist ratio, waist-hip ratio, torso length to leg length, face length to face width, and other facial ratios.

Whatever the ratio or body feature that initially captures one’s attention, it’s different for each of us. Gender, age, and culture account for some of the differences in our preferences. In the end, these are selection factors – yep – natural selection.

… and I couldn’t resist these fitting musical selections …

On Letters to a Skeptic

The father grew up with church being part of his life. Over time, he withdrew, so the son grew up without church. While attending during college, church become part of the son’s life. In time, he became a pastor and a professor.

As one would expect, father and son would have religious discussions, and many went nowhere. Eventually, the son invited his father into an honest dialogue through written letters – and the father agree. Their format was simple – the father asks a question, then the son answers. As with any meaningful dialogue, answer lead to more questions.

Letters to a Skeptic (Gregory Boyd and Edward Boyd) is the collection of letters of such a journey. The father (Ed) asks good questions, and provides thoughts around his questions. Ed’s responses to his son Leters2aSkepticCover(Greg) are also direct, poignant, and relevant. Greg’s replies are respectful and (generally) easy for a layman to understand. However, the responses are also debatable within the Christian community because one size does not fit all.

The father’s questions are good, such as;

  • Why has Christianity done so much harm?
  • Why is the world so full of suffering?
  • Does God know the future?
  • Is you God all-powerful?
  • Why does God create earthquakes and famines?
  • Are the Gospels full of contradictions?
  • Isn’t the Bible full of myths and God’s vengeance?
  • Do all non-Christians go to Hell?

Given the content and the situation/circumstances of the characters involved, one would think this is a book for any atheist or agnostic – or even as a toolbox for Christians when discussing religion with atheists and agnostics. Although this may be applicable to somebody in some circumstances, I see Letters to a Skeptic as an excellent read for Christians – especially in a discussion format. (Note: I read this book this book and participated in a discussion group. The book also provides discussion questions to consider.)

The discussion between father and son is sincere, respectful, and thought-provoking. Every Christian won’t agree with every point made by the son or the father – let alone by others in a discussion group. After all, theological disagreements exist with Christianity.

This book enhanced my Christian perspective, it also caused me to question the thoughts said by others – yes, the others in my own church – and that’s OK. In the end, reading and discussing Letters to a Skeptic was worthwhile – therefore, I recommend this book for those who might be interested in learning more.

On Exploring Ballooning

I pick projects according to how fascinating they are to me, and it has resulted in a broad reach. My records are actually in five different sports: balloons, airplanes, airships, gliders, and sailboats. (Steve Fossett, aviator)

The balloons only have one life and the only way of finding out whether they work is to attempt to fly around the world. (Richard Branson, businessman)

My dream date is a tall, dark, handsome, blue-eyed man with a bubble butt who will whisk me away to Paris in a hot air balloon to wine me, dine me and. (Karen McDougal, model)

My grandmother flew only once in her life, and that was the day she and her new husband ascended into the skies of Victorian London in the wicker basket of a hot-air balloon. They were soon to emigrate to Canada, and the aerial ride was meant to be a last view of their beloved England. (Alan Bradley, writer)

If there was the opportunity to climb a mountain, or to go ballooning, or some adventurous activity, I would always be keen to do it. I loved the countryside. (Roger Bannister, athlete)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 263

I wonder about the similarities between the following presidential campaigns: Hillary Clinton (D-NY) 2016, Jeb Bush (R-FL) 2016, and Mitt Romney (R-UT) 2012.

Wow … Unbelievably, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, said global warming is not a hoax and the primary cause is human action increasing the carbon dioxide level. I’m sure the GOP base is excited and the other candidates are thanking him for paving the way.

Amazon is now collecting sales tax on purchases by Ohio residents, and I’m OK with that.

The transition away from posting daily has been good for me because 1) I don’t feel rushed preparing, and 2) I’ve been visiting other blogs more. Then again, I tend to get behind on weekends.

I added a new page – Hear Ye – to serve as a place for announcements, such as information about the next act of Meals: The Musical. (Yep – it’s there now, but I will announce again next week.)

There will be an Explore post on Saturday.

For those interested in jello shots, this creative recipe is worth checking. 

Carrie Rubin is looking for help with your quest to be published by Amazon. Here’s her post on how you can help her.

Last week Democrat Lincoln Chafee (D_RI) announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a sign that his candidacy is in trouble, his name cannot be found in The Onion’s archives.

The Onion’s profiles of presidential candidates: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

June is the most popular month for weddings in the US. To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion captured the latest wedding trends.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion (Combos welcome)
More US children being diagnosed with YTD – Youthful Tendency Disorder
Idiot zoo animal with zero predators still protecting young
New Claritin flamethrower incinerates whatever causes allergies
Automakers asks nation if it still wants handle above car windows
Laid-back company allows employees to work from home after 6 pm

Interesting Reads
Raising money: political campaigns vs. new-business startups
Building the Clinton Foundation
Powering the future car: hydrogen or electricity?
Is Pope Francis a Communist?
Six mysteries in biology
(Photo Gallery) National Geographic Traveler Contest

Here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend. First, a video from the early MTV days (do you remember the song) and a bigger hit from a 80s. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Meals: The Musical – Act 6: Non-alcoholic Drinks

The Story
Meals: The Musical is an original aFa production is about an important aspect of daily life – eating.

Whether a snack, something on the run, a glorious sit-down feast, or something in between and regardless of the time of day, food is a life necessity. There are three aspects to a truly fantastic meal: the food, the occasion, and the company. We know Meals: The Musical is a festive occasion where friends gather to share wonderful music – thus the acts will focus on what the dining friends encounter.

MealsPlaybillProgram (Past Posts)
Act 1: Meals
Act 2: Fruit
Act 3: Side Dishes
Act 4: Meat
Act 5: Ingredients

Act 6: Non-alcoholic Drinks
Whether a refreshment, nourishment, or accompaniment, drinks are part of the meal. Not everyone likes alcoholic drinks, so we are going to take care of them first. This act features non-alcoholic beverages, so all song titles must include a non-alcoholic beverage without including any alcohol. For instance, the song Rum & Coke is not permissible.

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
Ladies and gentleman, we love it when we to feature a classic for the opening act. Everyone knows Duke Ellington as a musical giant, but do you know the first song he wrote? Mr. Ellington couldn’t be here tonight, so here’s Shelly Berg with Ellington’s first composition – Soda Fountain Rag.

On Beginnings

In the beginning … a start, launch, dawn … a genesis

In the beginning … a void, an empty space, nothing … or maybe something

In the beginning … exposed soil in a field, an empty stadium, a vacant lot … a place

In the beginning … a concrete footer, steel frame, fountainhead, foundation, … an emerging spring

In the beginning … a whistle, kickoff, scrum, opening tip, first pitch … a waving flag

In the beginning … a crying red face, a nervous child, a smiling bride, a happy graduate … a seed

In the beginning … a ceremony, baptism, bar mitzvah, wedding, commencement, ribbon cutting … an inaugural

In the beginning .. a preface, introduction, forward, prelude, preamble … a start

In the beginning … a new moon, sunrise, nova, … a new tide … a new day

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. (Seneca, philosopher)

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. (Og Mandino, author)

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. (Mother Teresa, humanitarian)

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. (George Bernard Shaw, playwright)