Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 319

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Ohio lost a native son who was a statesman an American hero at age 95. John Glenn is one of the original Mercury astronauts who became the first American to orbit our planet, then went on to be a respected US Senator representing my state for 4 terms, a presidential candidate, the oldest person in space, a fighter pilot, and all around good guy. In the famous words spoken by fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter just before Glenn’s historic launch, “Godspeed, John Glenn.”

The Kennedy Center Honors event was recently held, so mark your calendars for the televised event – Tuesday, December 27th, 9-11 pm (Eastern US) on CBS. To me, it’s one of the best entertainment shows of the year.

The demands on the handbell choir during the holiday season continues this weekend. Veni (by Jason Krug) is an interesting twist on a popular carol … just click to listen.

Despite President Obama’s effort, I overcame his obstacles and found my Spumoni ice cream.

Some of you may remember the use of wine corks in our home. Meanwhile, this 1+ minute video offers some clever uses for wine corks.

Even though we didn’t know any of the songs from the musical, we watched Hairspray Live. We were surprised by the quality of Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough’s voice. Jennifer Hudson and Kristen Chenoweth delivered impressive performances.

I’m still getting some hours at the golf course; therefore causing me to wonder about the ones playing on cold days.

I worry about the Bengals playing the winless Browns this weekend.

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President-Elect Trump talks about unifying a divided America, yet several of his Cabinet nominees promote division.

Early in the week I heard only bits of an interview that I imagine I would have greatly enjoyed hearing it in its entirety. I found the author’s 3 categories of voters quite amusing: Hobbits, Hooligans, and Vulcans. Here’s a book review.

The fake news story and the subsequent event about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a popular Washington pizza restaurant was too weird on multiple levels.

A tip of the cap to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) 7-minute tribute from the Senate floor to Vice-President Joe Biden (D-DE). See it here.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominations
Ridership of Cincinnati’s new streetcar being less than projected
Tiger Woods not winning his return tournament
Republicans being divided on what to do with the Affordable Care Act
Possibility of Kim and Kanye divorcing

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, here’s an actual headline from The New Yorker that is very Onion-esque: Ben Carson warns that the Bible makes no mention of housing or urban development … that is just too good because President-elect Trump selected Dr. Carson to be in his cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Banana still most popular fruit for pretending to make a phone call
Broken ornament relegated to lonely existence on side of tree facing wall
Divorced friend burning through hobbies at unsustainable rate
Man had no idea cough was going to be a wet one
Oprah purists prefer original British version

Interesting Reads
Pearl Harbor myths?
Magic mushrooms
A look back at the first Rocky movie
Life under the ice
(Video) Black hole eating a galaxy
(Photos) Images capturing beauty across Great Britain

Here’s a 2-fer to lead you into the weekend: hits from two recent Kennedy Center Honors recipients. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 316

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Last weekend we saw a good movie thriller – The Accountant. Thumbs up!

The season finale for Dancing with the Stars is next week. No question, gymnast Laurie Hernandez and racer James Hinchcliffe are the best dancers of the finalists … but anything can happen.

My heart sank when I heard the news about Leonard Cohen, especially for so many Canadians who loved him.

The months of November and December are typically demanding months for handbell choirs, and our choir is no exception. This piece delivers a lot of energy, so enjoy Toccata on King’s Weston arranged by the young man directing this choir. Note: I like watching the four players on the front row closest to the camera.

I’m looking forward to the Kennedy Center Honors telecast in late December. The 2016 honorees are Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, musical group the Eagles, actor Al Pacino, singer Mavis Staples, and musician James Taylor

Headlines from a story in China (not The Onion): Baby monkey befriends a herd of goats (The story)

Here’s a short, humorous read describing capitalism from different global viewpoints. This is definitely amusing.

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Slogans as “change” or “drain the swamp” are shallow. After all, not only do the slogans continue to happen, so does this – victors bring in experience people to bring on a different version of the status quo.

Republicans declaring the election results as “a mandate” bothers me. After all, not only did Mr. Trump not receive more than 50% of the votes, he didn’t receive the most votes. Then again, a mandate-approach is equivalent to providing enough rope.

Retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a bill to abolish the Electoral College. A question: Were the candidates trying to get the most electoral votes or the total national vote? Sen. Boxer, thank you for your years of service, but it’s time to quietly move into retirement.

Dr. Ben Carson has declined a cabinet position because (to quote his spokesperson) “he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency.” Yikes! … This guy ran for the Republican presidential nomination !

Confusion? Donald Trump has the job as President-Elect and Billy Bush doesn’t have a job.

In the name of full disclosure, I searched for and found a quote in preparation for Donald Trump and his supporters challenging the election results. For whatever reason, I didn’t delete it – and it turned out to be very applicable to many Clinton supporters. It seems many seem to prefer finger-pointing over reflection. Besides the violence from the fringe, others have blamed the election results on the FBI Director, the media, the Founding Fathers for the Electoral College process, the uneducated, the lack of voter turnout by Hispanics and African-Americans, and more … while conveniently forgetting that it’s Obama’s fault. 😉 On to the applicable quote.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new President-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the great vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that our Constitution affirms and defends. (Al Gore, 2000)

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Low gasoline prices
The Cincinnati Bengals lousy record during prime-time games
Latest earthquake in New Zealand
Differences between Chicago and New York pizza
Difficulty finding Spumoni ice cream

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion lists lessons America can learn from the recent election.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Holding trophy above head still number 1 celebration technique
Matt Damon appears fully nude for first time in local man’s imagination
Incoming class of Subway trainees spend week practicing on sandwich cadavers
Accidentally closing browser with 23 tabs open presents rare chance at new life
Empty inner tube ominously exits mouth of lazy river
Mom learns about new vegetable

Interesting Reads
The brain and bad decisions
Black female figures of western art
Dangerous times for the world’s coconuts
50 years ago: McCarty’s fake death
(Photos) Australia’s wild wild west

To lead you into the weekend, here’s a tribute to Leonard Cohen. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 282

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Much on my current plate has limited my blogging time – thus I’m way behind on my visits. Thanksgiving travels, a paint brush, having contractors in the home, and normal routines serve as another example of life getting in the way of blogging.

Sky: The Musical – Act 3 (about 24 songs) is complete, therefore only two acts to go. Act 4 features songs with Moon/Moons in the title. As with previous acts, no compound words or other forms of moon. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 8th at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

Plans are still moving ahead for another Holiday party, save the date – Saturday December 19th – and surprise gift bags will be available! The past 2 years I’ve used store at The Onion, so it’s time for a change – but I will remain mum on the store. Meanwhile, tell your friends about the holiday party as everyone is welcome – besides, tell them I’m a wonderful host.

Because of knowing it would put me further behind, no Explore post this weekend.

The first week of December is always difficult. Back-to-back days are anniversaries (different years) of the passing of a very good friend and my mother-in-law.

This week I received an email with “horny area girl” in the subject line – but I wonder if only people in my area received this message. Did any of you get this email?

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The mass shooting in California delivers another black eye to the USA. Republicans deplore the tragedy and issue “thoughts and prayers” to the families, yet continue to do nothing in Congress about gun violence. Just another example of one’s actions – not one’s words – demonstrates the truest value.

I’m sure President Obama is unhappy with the lack of legislation by Congress regarding guns. Nonetheless, he accepts the fact that nothing will probably come forth. On the other hand, Congressional Republicans continue to legislate attempts to unravel the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), even though they know President Obama will veto the legislation, plus the votes probably don’t exist to override the veto.

In this lengthy presidential campaign season, I (unlike others) haven’t worried about the possibility of Ben Carson (R-Md) getting the Republican nomination – and the more he talks, the more he secures my initial thoughts. His latest analogy relating the money spent on Halloween candy to money being spent on Syrian refugees is a head-scratching comment in several ways. To learn more about the comment, here’s the transcript from the interview.

For the upcoming debate, Donald Trump (R-NY) asked CNN to pay him (in the form of a donation to a charity) for appearing in the debate – thus has threatened not to appear if the network doesn’t comply. We’ll learn more about this on December 15th (debate night). For those worrying about him leading the polls, let’s not forget that 30% of Republicans represents about 7% of voters.

For those wondering why I’m not watching the debates, the reasons are simple:

  • The nomination involves the party faithful making a decision
  • I won’t be voting in the Ohio primary (that is, in neither party)
  • I have plenty of time to make an informed decision
  • Watching is a waste of my time as I would rather be blogging
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Have you seen Spectre, the latest Bond film? To lead you into The Onion, here is their movie review.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Environmental Protection Agency urges nation to get new air source
Woman confusingly tells area man she is not interested in him
Allergies prevent man from enjoying dust
Middle-age woman tired of going back and forth between divorced parents’ nursing homes
Ohio replaces lethal injection with new head-ripping-off machine
Prostitute accepts better-paying sexual position

Interesting Reads
Connected learning impacting education
How dogs make friends for humans
After the antibiotics era
30 great one-liners by US Presidents
Six graphics explaining climate change
(Photos) Haunting images of Central Park

A 2-fer is here to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 3 and a classic. 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. 281

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For those celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you had a bountiful day.

Volunteering in an English Second Language (ESL) class continues to bring rewards. A student (a gentleman from Libya) wrote an article about learning English, and it was published by a national publication – Easy English Times. It’s a wonderful read, but unfortunately I couldn’t find an online version. Before reading it to the combined classes of different levels, I helped him prepare. When the time came, he stood in front of his peers and nervously read it. His last line touched me – “We need the person who sows hope in our hearts, who smiles, in our faces, who motivates us to go forward, and we need them to hug us when we win.” At the end, I knew he was proud … so when he came back to me, I hugged him.

For at least a year, I published lists of monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations. Did you know Gnocchi Day is the 29th of every month? Here are the links to the two sites I used the most to compile my list of celebrations: Brownielocks and Gone-Ta-Pott.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 1st at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

No Explore post this weekend.

Samantha Swallows sent me an email this week, but she didn’t say want she wanted – only a link. Oddly, I can’t recall ever meeting her, … I’m not sure why I received the email ..  so I didn’t follow the link.

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The number of Democrats who worry about the possibility of Republicans nominating Ben Carson surprises me. Although I would tell them that wasn’t worth worrying, some people just like to find angst. Meanwhile, Carson’s poll numbers are now declining nationally and in Iowa.

The gaggle in the field seeking the Republican nomination continue to provide its share of nonsense and fodder to consider. I appreciate this words by George Will (columnist, Washington Post) – Every day that errant nonsense sloshes through the Republican nominating debate is a day when the party’s claim to represent what the country craves – adult supervision – becomes less credible.

As Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to bloviate about the thousands who are pouring into the US across the southern border, here’s a Pew Research report about the net result (immigration minus emigration).

John Cranley, a Democrat, is Cincinnati’s mayor. Let’s just say that I’m providing an interesting timeline.

  • March 28, 2014 – While announcing a new initiative is in the planning stage – “If you’re fleeing political persecution anywhere in the world, we want you here,”
  • July 2014
    • When announcing the formation of his Task Force on Immigration, he explains his desire to make Cincinnati “the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States.”
    • FYI: Mayor Cranley’s Task Force on Immigration website states it is “working to make Cincinnati a great place for immigrants to call home, start a business and thrive.”
  • Oct 28, 2015 – Mayor Cranley states, “Obviously, there’s political rhetoric around the country that suggests it’s not a good thing and we are emphatically saying we love immigration, we want more immigration, we believe that it’s key to our economic future and you’re a better, more just society.”
  • November 16, 2015 – “However, in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Egypt, the federal government should halt its actions until the American people can be assured that exhaustive vetting has occurred,”
  • November 17, 2015 – I feel horrible that I unintentionally caused harm.”

To lead you into The Onion, see their suggestions for avoiding distractions while working online.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients
Girlfriend Promises To Not Cry So Much
Making Pancakes Best Idea Man Has For Saving Relationship
Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline
Healthy mashed potatoes made with cauliflower

Interesting Reads
How American view their government (from Pew Research)
Scientific faith is different than religious faith
About stupidity 
Drunk animals
The last perfumer in Belgrade
The glowing sea turtle
Lighting bicycles

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song with a video that makes me chuckle. 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. 279

Gone since late September, OITS are back! .. .and this is the 1750th post (which is sort-of-a milestone) … and this post is loaded.

I stopped into one of those large (but temporary/seasonal) Halloween stores .. .and I was surprised to see the Banana Flasher. For those who dare and want to know, here’s the link.

Remember the post earlier in the week about the email? Ever since that post, I haven’t heard from any of the ladies. Not one!

Sky: The Musical is off to a good start as Opening Night was a success. I want to complete this musical before the December holiday season, so Act 2 is next week!

  • Theme – Sun
  • All song titles must include Sun, Suns, or Sunny in the title
  • No compound words (sunlit, sunlight, etc) and No variations as Son, Sons, or Sonny
  • Showtime – Tuesday, November 17th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

I like black licorice, so I pounced on the deal at Costco when I spotted a display offering a 2 lb (0.9 kg) bag for $2.50. Hey Canadians … it’s from your country.

Earlier this week marked the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. These words touched me.

The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald wasn’t the worst maritime tragedy in the history of the Great Lakes. Another early November storm in 1913 took a dozen ships and more than 250 sailors’ lives. The bodies of the Fitz’s crew were never recovered, but the ship’s bell was. And when it is tolled 29 times today, as it is every year, it will be for those men — and for the 25,000 others who have lost their lives on those waters down through the centuries. (Carl Cannon, Editor, Real Clear Politics)

Do you remember my tango routine? Well, my partner and I successfully did it without a major glitch! … and that also means it is over … Whew – a lot of work!

Dale (A Deleciable Life) made me aware of this wonderful dance video from the Montreal Swing Riot – and quite the riot it is. Whew – lots of energy and skill. The entire video is about 20 minutes, but even short stays are worth the time. Enjoy.

Speaking of dancing, the official Dance: The Musical song list is coming soon!

I’ve enjoyed Dancing With the Stars season 21 … and I’m pulling for Bindi. Best wishes to Tamara Braxton because she has withdrawn due to a serious health issue. As a dancer, she’s been very good.

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Early this week, I saw (live on CNN) Alysin Camerota’s interview with Republican candidate Ben Carson – and his answers to her good questions were pathetic.

George (The Off Key of Life) had this outstanding post about the 2016 presidential election.

Woo hoo … I missed another one this week, so I’m 5 for 5 when it comes to avoiding the party-specific presidential debates. Here are some fact checks from the event:
Annenberg FactCheckAssociated PressPolitiFactPoliticoWashington Post

From all indications, I tend to agree that the CNBC moderators did a poor job – but that is no excuse for poor answers. Given my rules, candidates in both parties should be thankful that I’m not running the debates. However, Jimmy Kimmel’s comedic take on the event is priceless!

To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion offers these tips for conquering phobias.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Chinese buffet has french fries
Group of friends shouting “Shots” make compelling point
Robert De Niro stunned to learn of man who can “Goodfellas”
Scientists Find Strong Link Between Male Virility, Wearing Mötley Crüe Denim Jacket
Beijing Fire Department Extinguishes Massive Five-Alarm Burning Cloud Of Smog

Interesting Reads (a few more than normal)
A good almost 3-minute video report about a Brooklyn high school (from CBS News)
Columnist David Ignatius on power Ignatius on power
Columnist Kathleen Parker of demonizing in campaigns Parker on demonizing 
Melancholy as a good thing (Thanks Elyse)
The human body: on 4 facts or fiction
New hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb?
A church and the Hawaiian leper colony
Barcelona’s La Sagrada from The Atlantic (article & pics) (Thanks Merril)
Rare Photos of early Peking

No Explore post this weekend, but don’t forget Act 2 is next week.

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover for Act 1 and a golden oldie. 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. 278

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Dance: The Musical is over with the 4 acts unofficially providing 48, 34, 30, and almost 40 songs. Many thanks to all, and I’ll post the list of songs sometime in the future. (It’s almost done.) Act 4 was a difficult theme, but the readers came through … and with so many dances available, I also provided a dance to everyone participating guest – I guess one could say that was my way of dancing with everyone.

The next theme? I haven’t made the decision. However, I anticipate another short one.

No Explore post this weekend, but a post is planned.

Did you see the picture Jamie Lee Curtis in the shower screaming while holding the picture of her mother screaming in Psycho’s shower scene? If not, see it here.

Pope Francis visiting the US is big news here. In my opinion, he’s quite the humanitarian and leads by example. To honor his visit, I’ve provided an extra set of headlines from The Onion further down this post.

Kim Davis (Clerk of Courts, Rowan County Kentucky) didn’t let me down, thus did something stupid that made the news by the end of the week. Meanwhile, I think she could play the “Clueless” card, but neither she or her legal team seems to understand that move.

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Last week I heard (with my own ears) Michael Smerconish (CNN personality and Sirius-XM radio host) use “bloviator” when referencing Donald Trump. On a similar note, The Bloviator and Pope Francis provide an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast humility.

Ben Carson (R-MD) seeks the Republican nomination for president wants to protect the US Constitution – well … unless he disagrees with it, thus being less faithful to the Constitution. Although his ridiculous statement served the purpose of raising money followed by playing the victim card, I can’t see how he could get the nomination – let alone, win the election.

17th September was Constitution Day in the US. Columnist Ruth Marcus (Washington Post) wrote this interesting piece fitting for both the day and the current Republican campaign.

As the Republican field use phrases as “war on religion” and “war on Christianity”, why am I (as a Christian) not having the sense of being on a battlefield?

With two of the original 17 in the field having recently dropped out of the race (good riddance to both)… and more are to follow suit … many voters may wonder what happens to the Super PAC money. NPR answers it here.

Before the next Republican debate happens on Oct 28th, the Democrats will start their debates on Oct 13th. To me, this means I won’t watch two debates in October.

Speaking of the debates, I enjoyed this column from Kathleen Parker (Washington Post).

To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion discovered and published Pope Francis’ US itinerary.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Wedding guest in suspenders and bow tie unafraid to take to dance floor
Area woman’s hair always wet
Extension cord on stage steals show at campaign rally
Beautiful sunset wasted on a few schmaltzy bozos
Ethical Hunter Throws Duck He Shot Back Into Sky
First-time flasher definitely going to make sure he’s erect next time

My Combo (I’ve seen this happen): Unafraid erect flasher steals dance floor show

Special Edition Headlines about Pope Francis
Pope Leaves Detailed Instructions For Taking Care Of Holy Spirit While He Out Of Town
Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos
House Lawmakers Brainstorming Some Good Things To Say About Poor People Before Meeting Pope Francis
Pope Francis Kills 3 Hours Milling Around Atlanta Airport During Layover To D.C.
Frustrated Republicans Argue Pope Should Leave Science To Scientists Who Deny Climate Change

Interesting Reads
Libraries and the public today
A new human relative
A hidden hero of jazz: Mary Lou Williams
Futuristic navy
For those remembering James Meredith
Linking medieval history and your DNA
(Photos) On the side of the road

Below are 3 songs to send you into the weekend: a leftover from Act 4 (one of my favorite dance songs – The Bop by Ms. Jody) and two classics. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.