Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 200

New Header
The time is right for a header change, so I return to deep space. This is from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory photo gallery, which actually is a computer-stimulated image of a star’s gases falling into a black hole. My header collection is on the Past Headers page (or click here).

I also changed my theme from MistyLook to the update version called Misty Lake, so I imagine adjustments will be necessary. If I don’t like it, I’ll be either switching back to Misty Lake or go for a new look.

On Politics
I didn’t know about this death benefit for families of members of Congress.

Put Congressional Democrats and Republicans in a room to discuss the budget is easy. Getting them to make policy decisions about the budget may not be difficult – but they would have to ignore the big obstacle also in the room – Politics – because policy and politics are not the same, but quite different.

Cheers to ongoing Senator Olympia Snow (R-ME) for this comment: If we (voters) allow our political system to be subjugated to the fringe factions or to ideological interests or the podium-thumping belligerents that we’re witnessing today, then that’s the government we’re going to get.

There is an interesting battle in my state (Ohio) regarding Medicare Expansion between our Republican governor and the Republican legislature.

Republicans using the debacle at healthcare.gov to criticize the Affordable Care Act makes as much sense as Democrats making excuses for healthcare.gov. Meanwhile, a Congressional hearing on the matter is nothing more than political theater.

Given the previous statement, this one from The Onion will lead you into The Onion’s headlines for the week: New and improved Obamacare program released on 35 floppy disks

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Child sees no reason why Iron Man costume can’t be worn at grandfather’s funeral
  • Proposed immigration law calls for US to shut down border slide
  • Weird man begins every morning by dousing his naked body in water
  • Republicans announce plan to go after Obamacare
  • Mom breaks into son’s apartment to administer latest flu vaccine
  • Johnson & Johnson announces new Leave-In Q-Tip

Interesting Reads
See the video and the article about the person behind Humans of New York
Interesting editorial about fixing Social Security
Eight unlikely animal friendships
How black holes work (timely with my new header)
A book review about Ben Franklin’s science
Enjoy these bioluminescence images
See Jim’s good explanation of timing a launch to Mars

On Potpourri
Think about this one. What if you were from Sudan then came to the US to play basketball and get an education. Six years later, your passport is no longer good because you are from South Sudan, which now has independence. Then recently, you learn that your father died. Here’s the story.

A writer at DeadSpin ranked 51 regional dishes (50 states and DC) and ranked my beloved Cincinnati Chili #52 – behind being hit by a car.

Time: The Musical returns next week featuring short time (a minute or less). I announce the planned date on the next Monday Morning Entertainment, (probably Tuesday). Thinking outside the box is important for this act, but dealing with a tyrant producer is a challenge in itself.

Texting + driving = matches + gasoline … thus begs the question WHY? Here’s an interesting post IAMM3Z about the pair.

Here are your reasons to celebrate this weekend

  • (Friday) International Artist Day, Sourest Day, World Pasta Day, Bandana Day, Breadsticks Day, Greasy Food Day, Punk-for-a-Day Day
  • (Saturday) Make a Difference Day, Mule Day, Forgiveness Day, and Mincemeat Pie Day
  • (Sunday) Cranky Co-workers Day, Mother-in-Law Day, Reformation Sunday, Visit a Cemetery Day, Potato Day

The next Saturday Morning Cartoon post will feature a well-known character – and the post is ready!

This is the perfect occasion to thank ABtwixt for this comment: I’d never willingly deprive myself of your OITS, it’s better than the Sunday paper!

To send you into the weekend in honor of Time: The Musical, here’s one that does not qualify for the next act, but could have been in Act 1: the ‘70s hit from The Babys: Isn’t It Time. 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. 199

On Politics
Earlier this week I called my Congressional representative’s office and stated three easy-to-understand points: I’m not happy, get something done now, and he won’t be getting by vote in 2014. Then again, because I’m not a donor, he probably doesn’t care. In the end, he voted against reopening the government and extended the debt ceiling.

Now that the US government is open again for business, I wonder these two questions:

  • If it possible that Speaker Boehner (R-OH) purposely administered more rope to the far right?
  • Because the deal moves new deadlines to January and February (2014), will the recent situation replay in a few months?

I heard this interesting comment earlier in the week: I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up.

Two good truthful chuckles

  • Polls show that the people favor the Affordable Care Act over Obamacare – which (for my foreign audience) are the same thing
  • Interesting freshman roommates: Tea-Party advocate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Craig Mazin, co-screenwriter for the Hangover movies

The rollout of the government’s healthcare insurance site is pathetic.

With all the talk about the Washington Redskins changing their name, my shared this one with me: Redskins considering dropping Washington from their name

To help show the Washington discourse and the biased perspectives, see these real headlines:

  • Republicans need to Dump the Tea Party
  • Democrats Show Their Insincerity
  • The Republican Party’s Age of Unreason
  • Obama’s intransigence is a big bluff’
  • Democrats Waiting for GOP Surrender on Shutdown A Small President on a World Stage
  • Give Boehner a Break
  • In Nixing Weekend Deal, Dems Exposed
  • Republicans Will Pay for This
  • Obama Can’t Waste This Moment
  • Boehner is Speaker in Name Only
  • The Presidency is No Place for Amateurs

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Cereal commercial completely neglects showing numerous life problems character faces beyond breakfast
  • Internet rocks by blogger’s sarcastic sensibility
  • Chipmunk’s plan for future better crafted than 8 of 10 Americans
  • New Pumpkin Spice Channel offers fall-themed hardcore porn
  • Thursday’s cry moved up to Wednesday due to scheduling conflict
  • Heroic broken sewage pipe flood Congress

Interesting Reads
The American stalemate
Wow paintings from a Russian artist (Thank you Patti)
Both parties blundering columnist Michael Barone
A tribute to one of the original astronauts: Scott Carpenter
US, China, and Middle Eastern Oil
Five Misconceptions about Columbus
One Man’s Love for Math

On Potpourri
Look what made Smithsonian Magazine’s “20 Most Iconic Foods Across America!

Home decorating tips for Halloween from The Onion

Upcoming Celebrations Calendar

  • (Fri) Chocolate Cupcakes Day, No Beard Day, Alaska Day
  • (Sat) Menopause Day, Bridge Day, Evaluate Your Life Day, Sweetest Day, Seafood Bisque Day
  • (Sun) Toy Camera Day, Brandied Fruit Day

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame recently announced its 2014 nominees. NWA, The Replacements, Hall & Oates, LL Cool, and Link Wray are some of the nominees more worthy than the Moody Blues. At least Yes is on the ballot. Finally! Although this museum is a worthwhile visit, I continue to question its selection rationale and process.

A Saturday Morning Cartoon is next!

To send you into the weekend, a cheer to a rock classic, Roundabout by Yes – but as an acoustic version. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Flashbacks: On Food and Recipes

Whether eating in a restaurant, a special dinner at home, getting that special treat, or time in the kitchen, we enjoy many aspects of a meal. Here are some selections for my archival vault that may capture your interest. Enjoy, visit as many as you wish, and hopefully you will comment on the post you visited. Are you going to make any of these?

On a Skyline

If you are in the Blue Ridge Mountains, travel Skyline Drive.

If you are in Brooklyn, marvel at Manhattan’s skyline.

If you are at a scenic mountain range overlook, enjoy the stunning peaks encroaching into the skyline.

If you are in Cincinnati, enjoy eating our local cuisine that we locals call Skyline.

In Cincinnati, Skyline is a chili. It’s not soup or a stew. It’s not in the style from Texas or even the rest of the country. Actually, as this past post on chili shows, it is very different from the normal mindset of what chili is or should be. Then again, it’s so Cincinnati – thus one of the great examples of specialized, local cuisine in the United States.

Cincinnati serves chili as a topping for – of all things – spaghetti! Whenever I take a visitor on their first trip to this culinary institution, I ask them these basic questions: Do you like spaghetti? Do you like shredded cheddar cheese? Do you like raw onions? Do you like red kidney beans? Based on their answers, I can tell them how to order the right way without looking at the menu.

  • 3-way: Spaghetti, chili, cheese
  • 4- way: Spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions
  • 4-way bean (my fav): Spaghetti, chili, cheese, beans
  • 5-way: Spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions, and beans

Tabasco Sauce is available at the table for those desiring to add a touch of heat.

Yet – Cincinnatians have other ways of ordering their locate favorite after identifying “the way.”

  • Wet – extra liquid
  • Dry – liquid drained
  • Semi wet or dry – have way
  • Extra something (beans, onions, or cheese)
  • Inverted – Served upside down than the normal way, (thus cheese is on the bottom)
  • Dieters can get it without the cheese

Skyline Chili is not the only chili restaurant in the city, but it is the most popular and my preference. When President Obama came to town in July, he visited Skyline – and even ordered the correct way (and my fav)” 4-Way Bean. Gotta love the coneys, too! Enjoy the short commercials.

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And this one that includes another Cincinnati tradition

On Chili

Is chili a stew or a soup? Does chili contain chilies? Does chili that goes on a chili dog differ from chili that goes in a bowl? Can you serve chili on a plate?

In much of America (and generally speaking), chili is a stew with ground beef and beans with a varying degree of spices.

Image from Food Network and to this recipe

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Nah-baby-nah in Texas because chili has a spicy broth, and chunks or sliced bits of beef, but no beans.

Image from Food Network and to this recipe

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Then again, some substitute chicken for beef, plus switch from red beans to white.

Image from Food Network and to this recipe

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Others proclaim a chili without meat, so bring on the vegetarian chili.

Image from Food Network and to this recipe

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Other variations include using sausage, turkey, pork, lamb, and include this wonderful rendition from Argentina (a past post).

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By visiting us in Cincinnati, chili takes on an entirely different meaning … and on a plate.

Image property of Skyline Chili

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Come on St. Patrick’s Day, it’s taken to another level.

Image property of Skyline Chili