Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 332

When I published my return post, it was nice to see the spike on the graph of daily statistics. More importantly, it was great get to comments from friends all of the world. Thanks to all for the kind words and welcoming return.

I hope to announce a writing challenge in the next edition of this series.

Baby Fiona, (Cincinnati Zoo’s rock star baby hippo) continues to make great progress. Fiona now has a beer named after her, she is featured in a set of playing cards (we have), and continues to be a media darling. She does not regularly appear at the zoo’s exhibit, but she is making great progress bonding with her mother (Bibi) and father (Henry). Below are several links for videos.

With Amazon bid to purchase Whole Foods, this short clip (1-minute) is perfect.

 

In a pile of recyclable materials at a recycling center, what color do you think is the most dominant? (Answer later in this post.)

My wife and I are still enjoying ballroom dancing. Big news would be that we have changed instructors, and a big thumbs-up to our new one.

Did you know:

  • Otto Warmbier, the college student detained in North Korea who returned to the US in a coma and then died within days, was a Cincinnatian. I happened to be in his community the day before his funeral … and the trees lining the streets had blue and white ribbons tied around them.
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), the congressman who first attended to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) at the unfortunate, despicable shooting, is my representative.

Cardboard brown from all the shipping boxes is the most common color in a recycling pile. This has changed through the years, and given all the online purchasing people do today, this shouldn’t be surprising.

American politics is not only frustrating, but is also has become a waste of my time and energy. It reminds of playground squabbles in order to see who gets their way, which actually solves nothing more than determining who gets their way – but this doesn’t mean I’m completely disengaging! No matter the political party, this is what I hear when politicians talk.

I’m no longer listing items for blaming former President Obama because (by now) realizes that he is responsible for everything wrong in the world over the past 10 years and for all ills to come over the next 30 years.

President Trump is a bully who disregards the institution and traditions of government because he thinks he is king.

After the House vote on the Republican-written health care law (AHCA) designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare), I wrote these words to Rep. Wenstrup after the Cincinnati Enquirer published his column.

Thank you for sharing your story of the health issues in your family as well as your point of view concerning the ACA and the AHCA. You should know that as a political independent, I characterize your “Yes” vote for the AHCA without an assessment by the Congressional Budget Office as incompetent and a prime example of favoring the interest of your party over serving the best interests of the people in our district and all Americans. Health care and health care insurance is a very serious issue that demands more than a frivolous attempt based on partisanship and political gain.”

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how cell phones have changed our lives.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Health scare prompts man to overeat healthier
Earth ranked as number 1 party planet
New study finds no long-term health benefits
Man pulling on loose hangnail slowly unravels skin from entire body
Beauty industry exec keeps photo of crying 15-year-old girl on desk to remind himself why he does this

Interesting Reads
Sagan’s baloney detection kit
Continued fascination with Phineas Gage
Tree-climbing goats
A personal view of cystic fibrosis and the benefits of research
(Photos) 91 picture of 91 years of Queen Elizabeth II

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song that you may not know. Enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 331

The Cincinnati Enquirer published an interesting photo essay: A Day in the Life of Fiona the Baby Hippo. Enjoy.

This recent post on the Cincinnati Zoo Blog by one of Fiona’s handlers is good and has excellent pictures.

Opening Day is Monday. First of all, the occasion is formally capitalized in Cincinnati because it is (and has always been in my lifetime) a major event. Opening Day is the official start of the baseball season, and Cincinnati embraces it like no other place. We hope to go downtown for the festivities, but the projected weather is concerning.

Although I think the Reds will be better this year, my goals for their 2017 resemble last year’s:

  • Win more games than the 1961 Mets (Checked in 2016)
  • Have a better record than the worst team in baseball (Checked in 2016)
  • Finish higher than last place in the division
  • Finish closer to first in the division than to last
  • Anything else is extra topping on the sundae

On the downside, a shooting in a Cincinnati nightclub made the news this week. No arrests at this time, but the business has turned in its liquor license and will not reopen.

Enjoy this song with 300 words in one minute.

Several weeks ago I linked a handbell version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Here’s is another version of the same arrangement, but done with a different touch.

A tip of the cap to Lorna who is retiring her blog. I can’t recall how the two of us met each other in blogging, but I recall her move from the eastern US to Oregon. Best of luck Lorna, and thanks for the support.

The time is approaching when I will go on a spring blog break.

No Saturday post this weekend, but I will publish the Sunday post earlier than normal.

I have a plan to improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) – sensible Democrats and sensible Republicans get together. Then again, I’m not convinced enough of those exist to overcome the obstinance of their respective bases.

  • Why can’t Republicans propose allowing insurance to be sold across state lines within the ACA? (However, states have the final say because they control insurance commerce.)
  • Why can’t Democrats propose eliminating taxes on the wealthy that shouldn’t have been in the ACA in the first place?
  • Why can’t either side propose either allowing credits for the insured or making the fine for not having insurance be greater than the cost of insurance?
  • Why can’t elected officials favor problem solving for the good over the country instead of party-first interests?

I know the answer to the above question – they are jackasses!

Regarding the mega-snafu by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, I say get him out of there!

“Clean coal” is possible – but expensive.

I can’t agree more with this headline that I saw earlier this week: It is Never Trump’s Fault – yep … it’s always Obama’s fault.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
No Cincinnati teams making it to college basketball’s Final Four
Mild winter not killing mosquitos
Coal industries 40-year decline
Hunting hogs from helicopters
An upcoming Blog Break approaching for me

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion identifies the top 10 destinations for spring break.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Hundreds Of blind, pallid Disney characters discovered living in caves deep within Space Mountain
Stoned extraterrestrial stumbles across hidden message after listening to Golden Record backwards
Audubon Society revokes black-capped chickadee’s membership after species fails to pay dues
4 copy editors killed in ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual gang violence
Military aides try to cheer up Kim Jong-Un after failed missile launch by putting on surprise execution

Interesting Reads
A perspective about nostalgia
Your life and history
Evolution of and future of charter schools
Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech (delivered 7 years before I was born, he mentions my birthplace)
Trapped in amber during sex
(Photos) Earth Hour Celebration

To send you into the weekend, here’s an MTV classic from days gone by. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Special Local Kid

As I have noted on the last two mural posts, Resa (@ Graffiti Lux and Murals) is sponsoring her own Kid’s month. Although she has mainly featured murals, the idea just came to me that Cincinnati is home to a very special kid and has turned into a local celebrity during her short life.

She was born prematurely on January 24th and has required special care ever since. As a matter of fact, her care team is attempting to do something that has never been done.

Meet Fiona, the baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was born 6 weeks early at 25 pounds (11.4 kg) and 29 pounds (13.1 kg) underweight.

Photo by Cincinnati Zoo

Her special care has involved being on oxygen, receiving a special milk, and more. Besides, baby hippos nurse underwater. Keep in mind that the zoo is flying blind on this because raising a premature hippo hasn’t been done before.

Here are her first steps.

Not only is Fiona’s progress news here, she has a global following. Below is the latest article about her and a link to the Cincinnati Zoo blog to follow her progress.

Like any kid, Fiona loves to play in water.

On Toys for Kids

Can you name of these toy characters? Better yet did you have any of them or purchase any of these for kids?

I’m confident you identified the Star Wars characters as C-3PO, R2D2, Yoda, and the X-Wing fighter flown by the Rebel Alliance. Did you get Strawberry Shortcake holding the Spirograph wheel and the bear she made from Play-Doh? Cheer Bear (one of the original Care Bears)? Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (from Ghostbusters) on Batman’s back?

Surely you got Mr. Potato Head! But, did you recognize The Purple Pieman feeding a pie from the Easy Bake Oven to the T-Rex from Jurassic Park? The fury animal from the Littlest Pet Shop in the Ghostbusters’ vehicle? The character and car from M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand)?

This ArtWorks mural – Cincinnati’s Toy Heritage – located at 23 West Court Street in downtown Cincinnati – is a tribute to Kenner Toys – a Cincinnati-based company formed in 1947.

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ArtWorks is a unique non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth to create art in the community. To date, ArtWorks is responsible for over 100 murals throughout Cincinnati – which many are in the main part of the city.

This post is for Resa, Toronto’s lady of style who also captures street art in Toronto and Winnipeg as a hobby. Resa recently declared March as Kid’s Month on her blog.

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On a Kid’s Daydream

Every kid dreams of a party like this …

. .. with ice cream

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… and cake

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… and cookies

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… friends and happiness

… and our imaginary friends too

All for this young lady

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… It’s a good day for her.

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Ice Cream Daydream is a vibrant mural created by ArtWorks at 33 East 12th Street in Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine district. This mural is full of imagination, fun and joy.

ArtWorks is a unique non-profit organization that employs and trains local youth to create art in the community. To date, ArtWorks is responsible for over 100 murals throughout Cincinnati – which many are in the main part of the city.

This post is for Resa, Toronto’s lady of style who also captures street art in Toronto and Winnipeg as a hobby. Resa recently declared March as Kid’s Month on her blog – so this is the first of my two posts for her celebration.

ArtWorksSign

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 323

It’s Super Bowl weekend. Although I will probably watch, I have no big interest in this year’s game. However, I would like to see underdog Atlanta win.

In the month of January, Cincinnati had the following (regarding sun): 1 sunny day, 6 partly cloudy/partly sunny days, and 24 cloudy days – of which only 7 were without precipitation. BUT – I think the month included a fair share of days with above normal temperatures.

A recent headline: Report find chemicals in one-third of fast food packaging. My question: Who is eating the packaging?

Good luck to Tamron Hall as she exits the Today show. Although I have switched to CBS This Morning, I will miss her presence.

Earlier this week and in defiance to the recent Executive Order on immigration, Cincinnati’s mayor declared Cincinnati as a sanctuary city. Republicans on city council, in county government, and high state officials more than disagree. Interestingly, replacing a bridge here is #2 on President Trump’s infrastructure priority list.

For years on these pages I have proclaimed my desire for divided power in Washington as a caution to what would happen in one-party rule in the current political climate. Some criticized that stance, and now, reasons for my warnings are quite obvious.

A friend asked me if I’ve been surprised that President Trump is doing what he said he would do. (He was surprised.) My answer was No … therefore why I’m watching the reaction of Congressional Republicans.

Our elected officials are not concerned about creative problem solving, thus more concerned about getting want they want and preventing the others from getting theirs. Here’s a post from the 2009 archives that remains very relevant.

The one thing I find more discouraging than President Trump’s executive order regarding immigration is the fact of polls showing more Americans supporting the plan than opposing it.

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates blew it with her order to Dept. of Justice employees. Resigning would have been much more effective.

I listened to Secretary of State Tillerson’s address to State Department employees. At least he has a positive, constructive tone. I wonder who will be the one that gets the president’s ear?

Count me in as one against the latest nomination to the Supreme Court. Whereas partisans are either automatically for or against the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, I am against it because I think the seat should remain vacant. After all, I want to play Last Judge Standing – thus no nominations until there is only 1.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Common Core Educational Standards
President Trump’s Executive Order regarding immigration
Protesters of anything against President Trump
USA’s bacon reserves being at a 50-year low
Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for home repairs.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Radiator saving loudest clank for 3:22 AM
Burmese python shocked at amount of stress man holding in his neck
Sports geneticist working on ligament-free athlete
Man spending whole day dreading event he signed up for
World agrees to take-down internet until good use found

Interesting Reads
Better tasting tomatoes with genetics
An island on the comeback
Bubba the Deplorable needing Obamacare
A report: Terrorism and immigration
Snobbery
The future of work in developing countries

To lead you into the weekend, here’s a blast from the past from Asia. A special remembrance to bassist, singer, and songwriter John Wetton who died earlier this week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Cosmetic Nude

ArtWorksSign

ArtWorks is responsible for adding over 100 murals throughout Cincinnati – of which many are in the main part of the city. Thanks to Resa posting about street art in Toronto and Winnipeg, she has heightened my interest in these wonderful works of outdoor art that is in my city.

The one mural featured in this post first caught my attention several years ago when it I first saw the nearly completed version that was covered by scaffolding. Because I didn’t know much about why this mural was selected, its color and unique style caught my eye.

ArtWorks selected this design to be part of its Cincinnati Masters series – a collection of murals dedicated to the work of Cincinnati artists. Maybe in the future I’ll put them together into one post. To be honest, I didn’t know this artist – then again, I don’t claim to be knowledgeable about art. So, I decided to do this post in the style of a famous television game show – Jeopardy!

Answer: Born in Cincinnati, lived 1931-2004, graduated from the University of Cincinnati, and the Art Academy of Cincinnati

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Answer: He moved to New York City where cartoon strips were his initial success, but after 5 years he decided to pursue painting

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Answer: The Great American Nude series brought him fame in the art world
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Answer: He became well-known for his American Pop Art, and a contemporary to Andy Warhol
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Answer: He also developed his own techniques of using metals in metal-work sculptures; such as The Dropped Bra
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Answer: His Still Life is another series – Still Life #60 is a collection of things a woman will wear – causing some to suggest these object take the place of a nude while suggesting her presence.
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Answer: His mural is located at 811 Main Street in downtown Cincinnati

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Question: Who was Tom Wesselmann?

Although this mural caught my attention, I’ve never heard of Tom Wesselmann … at least now I know. Thanks ArtWorks!

To see more posts about the ArtWorks murals in Cincinnati, click here. Meanwhile, here’s a short video featuring Wesselmann’s work … and don’t forget to visit Resa to see the urban art she has captured.