Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 285

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Welcome to the first OITS of 2016. It’s been a few weeks since the last edition, so there is much to address … so hang on!

A firefighter in the area lost recently his life in a fire. No other professional responds to losing their own the way fire and police personnel – which impresses me.

This one caused me to shake my head in disgust: Car thieves use a device to detect keyless entry codes from the owner to get into a car.

The day before I posted the Explore post about Bratislava (Slovakia), Cindy had this post about the city I want to visit … then she answered my comment with these words. (I invite readers to visit her post.)

How synchronistic! You will love Slovakia. Be sure and savor the countryside and the nearby Carpathian Mountains. Bratislava is a wonderful surprise. It is not as hyped as much of Europe but it has the history, culture and food to make it high on my list of fascinating places.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

When the National Anthem is played before a sport event, the actions of the athletes are many.
A tip of the cap to Buzz Williams, the head basketball coach at Virginia Tech, for his approach .. and thanks to my friend (Jim) for finding this.

Although my WordPress Annual Report (here) shows a continued downward trend in overall statistics in my little corner of the world, I keep blogging because I enjoy writing and greatly appreciate my community. Below are several notes from the report.

  • 2015’s visitors came from 111 countries
  • Top Commenters (and I encourage others to visit them)
    • Dale, the good lady from the Montreal area who also serves as Maitre d’ at the musicals
    • Elyse, royalty from Northern Virginia who can order beheadings
    • Resa, the classy wardrobe designer from Toronto who loves to photograph murals
    • Carrie, the witty doctor/fiction writer from northern Ohio
    • Marina, a sincere artist and musician from Greece
  • Top Viewed New Posts

Milestones remain fun to note as I surpassed 250,000 views last weekend.

To the surprise of many and after 20 months away, I returned to the bell choir this week for the rest of the ringing season (through May). Other than the missed notes, wrong notes, silent rings, poor counting, getting lost, poor technique, and realization that I’m now the worst ringer in the group, I did OK.

I received an email from ShySchoolGirl to sign up for watching her on a camera. What would she be doing – her homework?

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Congratulations to the winner of the Politifact Lie of the Year (2015) for the well-deserved honor.

To the Republican candidates who say President Obama’s Executive Order about guns is unconstitutional or an overreach, either shut-up or get it to the courts ASAP. Given their propensity for pandering and a lack of guts, they won’t act.

Republican candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) rooting against her alma mater (Stanford) in the Rose Bowl is an odd way to pander for vote. Then again, I see it as poor character.

As the media focuses on Iowa and New Hampshire, I say, Blah, blah, blah – thus, point to March 1st as a more significant date.

Both parties have debates next week … oh boy … two more for me to miss.

With the politics of opposition stronger than ever, I would ask this question to all the candidates in both parties (and with my finger on the trapdoor): Other than welcoming members of the opposing party to join your ideas, give a specific example of how you would work through the current political gridlock.

The annual State of the Union (SOTU), which is a Constitutional requirement, is approaching. SOTU is a presidential requirement of the Constitution, thus I remain 100% against the opposing party having their own response.

The Lugar Center and the Georgetown University McCord Center of Public Policy developed a Bipartisan Index rating system of senators. Over the past 20 years, the index rates 227 senators, including the current president & vice president, current majority leaders, and current & past presidential candidates. The site includes tabs with a variety of information. I captured some of the notables. – Note: The lower the ranking (shown), the higher the bipartisanship rating – Joe Biden (37), Harry Reid (47), John McCain (60), Lindsay Graham (122), Mitch McConnell (129), John Kerry (136), Hillary Clinton (156), Barack Obama (165), Marco Rubio (170), Bernie Sanders (217), Rand Paul (222), Ted Cruz (224).

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Here are a few gems to lead you into The Onion …

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Trophy wife to inject a bit more collagen into her lips just in case
Cloned cat neutered
A yawn has been going around town for two straight weeks
Dead man told it’s going to be all right
Man who stayed up until dawn eating mice refers to self as night owl
Local man relieved to be back where his sex toys are compatible with the electrical outlets

Interesting Reads
Columnist David Brooks about the age of small terror (Thanks, Tim)
Views of freedoms across the world (by Pew Research)
Presidential candidates about Alzheimer’s
Nature’s built-in warning system
A columnist writes about the behavior of athletes
A view of religion’s interplay with science
Photos by the BBC’s Travel Photographer of the Year

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this hit from 1969. 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. 20

On a Bipartisan Plea

It is time for both parties to come together and find a way to keep the promise of a sound retirement for future generations. (President Obama, 4/14/09  at Georgetown University)

Both parties come together? Ah come on! Why should the bullies and the G-NO-P find common ground? Mr. President, some of us think your biggest challenge is getting the two buffoons on the same page.

On Norm Coleman
It seems that the cards are aligning against Norm Coleman in his race against Al Franken. With a track record of losing against a comedian and a wrestler, my I suggest Mr. Coleman move to Toledo, OH to prepare a challenge against Joe the Plumber.

On Bo: The First Dog
I can’t believe how many articles and commentaries exist about the White House dog. As soon as I heard the dog came from Senator Kennedy, I muttered, “Here we go.” Congratulations to Newt Gingrich for the outstanding comments for saying it best.

It’s great they have a dog. It’s great they are adjusting. Where they got it from, who cares, and it’s a nice gesture on Senator Kennedy’s part to give it to them. But, who cares.

On Taxes
1913 was the first filing year, which required a two-page form.

Another tax deadline has come and gone. Instead of in November, what if the elections were the first Tuesday after April 15th? Thank you Tom Griswald.

Humorist Dave Berry take on the tax season,

It’s income tax time again, American: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.

On a Great Question
The Pew Research Center asked this question: If you were setting priorities these days, would you place a higher priority on reducing the budget deficit or…spending more to make health care more accessible and affordable? Results: 59% Health care spending, 35% Deficit reduction.

On a Book
I’m about to finish an outstanding book: Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground between God and Evolution, by Kenneth Miller. It’s an excellent follow up to Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution by Karl Giberson.

On an Artist
Last week I saw a piece on artist Jonathon Singer whose photographs are simply stunning. Here’s the best site; actually his site. Click Collections. (See these Joe)

On a Great Read
Here’s a touching must-read post from the Electric Quill with an important message about life.

On the Grilling Season
Since grilling season is geographically expanding, the Nutball Gazette provides a humorous look at this outdoor ritual.

On the Masters
What a great tournament and final day. Here’s a blogger giving reasons why the Masters is better than the Super Bowl.

Sergio Garcia said, “I don’t like it, to tell you the truth. I don’t think it is fair. Even when it’s dry you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It’s too much of a guessing game.”

I know you have since apologized, but in the future, if a course is too tough and/or not to your liking, don’t play.

On a Baseball Pitcher
Although from 2007, this may be the best pitch ever.