Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 244

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Although I wonder about the political nature of the Senate report on torture and subsequent comments, no waterboarding means no waterboarding. – no ifs, no buts, and no rewriting and no reinterpretation – no means no. What part of “NO” don’t Washington and the political hacks understand? On the other hand, I’m against indictments and trials for high-level decision makers.

As Congress continues to deliberate a bill to fund the government, all the other stuff attached to the bill is more confirmation of why Washington has a low approval rating.

With gas prices falling, I suggest that if they were rising, it would be President Obama’s fault.

My heart goes out to Filipinos as they deal with the Typhoon Hagupit.

Recent community-police incidents have brought the need for improved community-police relations and interactions. In order for improvement to occur, and instead of quickly pointing the finger elsewhere, it starts with everyone taking a deep look into the mirror at themselves.

Although it was sad to see a university disband it’s football team, which centers around the madness of the money chase by college athletics. But as in life, competition is fierce, and with competition comes casualties … all because college athletics has sold their integrity.

Speaking of college football, the Big 12 has only itself to blame for not getting a team in the final four, and TCU and Baylor didn’t help themselves with their nonconference schedule. In other words, I suggest some inward reflection. Then again, maybe this conference desires to make less money and become the perennial Cotton Bowl host.

Last Saturday was the last home for the University of Cincinnati football game at the professional Bengals stadium, the temporary home during on-campus renovations. I look forward to return to games on campus. They played this 82-second video to the crowd toward the end of last week’s game, which the crowd appreciated. After all, Nippert Stadium is a unique venue in the center of campus. (past post)

Saturday is the big day for my 2014 holiday party. Doors open at 3 AM (Eastern US) … and remains open the entire weekend. Santa visits around 3 PM Sunday, so hope you return to visit Santa and tell him your holiday wish.

Visit the Banned Toys Museum to discover if you had any of top banned toys. Of the Top 10 and the Honorable Mention, I only had two. How about you?

I’m currently reading Bill Nye’s new book – Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation – thus expect a book review in 2015.

Yesterday’s Life: The Musical  delivered another fabulous set of music. With so many songs available, maybe the future will give us Bummed: The Musical. This was Act 14, and for those wondering, the current plan involves 3 more acts, so it will carryover into 2015.

The front page of Thursday’s Wall Street Journal included an article about being Noodle Ring Day – and that made me smile.

The next Saturday Morning Cartoon post will wait until 2015.

To lead you into The Onion, see this unexpected collaborative business marketing effort.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Royal couple spent the $36.21 Queen had left over from 2010 US visit
  • World’s oldest woman pleased that every other human on earth when she was born are now dead
  • Michelle Obama reassigned to Department of Agriculture after butting heads with the president
  • Area theater has strict rules against bringing in outside movies
  • Stressed-out CVS back to selling cigarettes after only 3 months
  • Pope rummaging through Vatican basement for plastic nativity scene figures
  • High school band director spends 85% of rehearsal hammering in dress code for holiday concert

Interesting Reads

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Lost & Found Day, Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, Ding-a-Ling Day, Gingerbread House Day, Ambrosia Day, Poinsettia Day, 12-hour Fresh Breath Day, Day of the Virgin Day
  • (Sat) Violin Day, Day of the Horse, Tic-Tac-Toe Day (Naughts & Crosses Day), Pick a Pathologist Pal Day, Cocoa Day, Gingerbread Decorating Day, Shareware Day
  • (Sun) Monkey Day, DNA Day, Candle Lighting Day, Choral Day, Bouillabaisse Day

Here’s another 2-fer from two big-time pop piano players to send you into the weekend. The first is an extension of Life: The Musical’s recent act, while the second takes us back to a 1969 rock opera. 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. 195

On Politics
The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech has been interesting. We have come a long way, yet still have so far to go. As Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) said, Sometimes I hear people saying nothing has changed, but for someone to grow up the way I grew up in the cotton fields of Alabama to now be serving in the United States Congress, makes we want to tell them come and walk in my shoes.

I appreciated the way President Obama used these common metaphors: the flame of conscience, a stream of conscience, and a coalition of conscience.

As a large segment of Congressional Republicans continues to do what they can to remove Obamacare, here’s an article about some Republicans who appreciate the Affordable Care Act.

I recently saw this bumper sticker: I’m Catholic, and I vote. My response is I vote without labels.

I hope “clear evidence” about chemical weapons use in Syria is clearer than the weapons of mass destruction evidence in Iraq.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Study: Americans enjoy watching TV, eating
Narrow gap in bathroom stall door to be widened Monday
Some stupid things making the rounds among your Facebook friends today
Syrian conflict widens as bears enter war
New desktop folder created for sad little project
Man thought to be dead wakes up two days after cremation
Study: The majority of children lack strong male supermodels

Interesting Reads
Juicing A-to-Z
Just another example of injuries retired football players endure
Physicists debate world’s composition
Travel guide and slideshow of Belgrade, Serbia
Golf’s history in America (a book review)
Power of forgiveness
Science and cable news

On Potpourri
Happy Wear College Colors Day! I don’t think orange & brown and red & black will be a good combo, so I wore the first on Thursday (Go Falcons, Beat Tulsa) and the second (Go Bearcats, Beat Purdue) on Friday.

If this celebration isn’t for you, Friday is Holistic Pet Day and Toasted Marshmallow Day. Saturday is Love Litigating Lawyers Day. Huh? Meanwhile, this weekend is the final chance to celebrate Safe at Home Week and your last chance to celebrate Golf Month, Win with Civility Month, and Mutt-i-grees Rescue Month.

For us in the US, Labor Day weekend marks the last major weekend of summer. Being that it straddles two months this time, I won’t feature September celebrations until the next Monday Morning Entertainment post. September 1st (Sunday) celebrations include No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day, Calendar Adjustment Day, Chicken Boy’s Day Emma M. Nutt Day, Dolphins of Taiji Awareness Day, Toy Tips Executive Toy Test Day, and Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day.

Did you hear about the 11-year-old boy starting college to major in quantum physics?

This past Wednesday’s Tribute’s post was a lot of fun to do, so thanks for stopping by to celebrate the occasion … although it put me very behind on my visits! Although unstated, one of my goals was for readers to find new blogs to visit and for bloggers to get new visitors. Did it work?

As my Cincinnati Reds struggle, at least my golf game is trying to become more consistent.

Is Miley Cyrus going to be the next to follow the Lindsay Lohan/Brittany Spears meltdown model?

Because September is going to be a choppy month for me, the next act of Time: The Musical may be next week with the theme featuring songs with Hour(s) in the title. I hope to announced a definite on Monday Morning Entertainment.

Sorry, no Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend.

Here are The Piano Guys to send you into the weekend. (Well, I don’t think I’ve used this one). Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Approaching Traditions

NOTE: This post is about college football in the U.S., but there is something here for everyone!

Saying that college football is big in the U.S. is an understatement. Not only is it popular, it is also big business – actually ginormous! Nonetheless, with the 2012 season starting toward the end of this month, fan excitement is building.

I like the traditions of college football – and oh my, there are many – but one post cannot capture them all. Much like politics, one’s favorite traditions stems from their loyalties. Simply put, here are some of my favorites.

Colleges have their collection of spirit songs, fight songs, and alma maters. Here’s mine – a song that I played many times in my time as a member of the BGSU Falcon Marching Band – Forward Falcons. (Yes, that’s me on the album cover here.) BTW – Here’s a site where one can find a plethora of college spirit songs.

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From the Michigan’s “Big House” hosting 110,000 to the small stadium holding 4,000, fans file into colossal venues across the land to watch their gladiators. One of my favorite venues is also one of the oldest in college football. Nippert Stadium , located in the center of campus at the University of Cincinnati, is a cozy place with great site lines for fans. Given a full house and a raucous crowd, it’s a tough place for opponents. (My past post on Nippert) The band racing down the old concrete steps is always a risky venture, but a traditional pre-game entrance.

More on Nippert

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Avid fans help create an atmosphere that seems unique to college football. Some say that game day in Madison is the place to be because those fans know how to have a good time while intensely supporting their Wisconsin Badgers. I’ve been there once, and what an experience – and witnessing their eruption in song was both a surprise and a treat!

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Teams have nicknames (my past post) and mascots, such as Herbie Husker, Bucky Badger, Freddie Falcon, Puddles the Duck, Tommy Trojan, Benny Beaver, Buster Bronco, or single names as Smoky, Cocky, Testudo, just simply The Bearcat … animals as Bevo (longhorn steer), Uga (bulldog), Ralphie (Buffalo), Tusk (bore hog), Traveler (horse), and many more.

Before you get to the video, here are a few other links about mascots: Wikipedia list of mascot names , a photo gallery of mascots , a video of bad mascots, and my post on nicknames. Meanwhile, I gotta love this short video about Puddles, the Oregon Duck.

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As the home team finally enters the field shorting before kickoff, fans erupt! I’ve never been to Clemson University, but someday I want to be in the stands as their Tigers enter the famed field known as Death Valley.

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Pregame and halftime is for the college bands, which add to the atmosphere and have historic traditions of their own. I may live in Ohio, but that does not mean I root for Ohio State. Nonetheless, as a former band member, I respect their long-standing tradition of Script Ohio.

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Meanwhile, the college football season starts by the end of this month. Good luck to your favorites, and if my team plays yours, I wish you the best with the other games.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 87

On David Broder
On Wednesday, we lost Washington Post columnist David Broder to complications with diabetes. I will miss him because of his sensible approach to the problems and issues that he addressed in his columns. Given the crazy atmosphere of the current state of US politics, I (and many others) will miss him. Thank you David Broder for practical view!
Here are two columns about Mr. Broder: one and two.

On a Few GOP Shorts
Is it too much time on their hands, or stupidity? Why else would Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin intensify attacks on First Lady Michelle Obama?

Columnist George Will recently had this interesting column about the GOP presidential nominees.

On the Public Union Debates
The news about public employee unions in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana has been front page for a few weeks. Regardless what the governors and legislators say about budgets and even school reform, these actions center on union busting. Meanwhile, the number of misinformed inaccuracies I read from the public is staggering. One thing for sure, although commonalities exist, each state is different.

On those Flood Waters
At the moment, the Ohio River is at flood stage. Of course, that has a different meaning to those living in river communities. I grew up in one, so dealing with floodwaters was a spring event that interrupted life in our small town. Hmmm … an idea for a future post.

On Women’s History Month
Until I read this post from fellow blogger (and good guy) Al, I didn’t realized that March is Women’s History Month. I encourage everyone to read this.

On Sports Shorts
Something just isn’t right that Ohio State football players received a stiffer suspension that the coach. Isn’t the coach supposed to know better? Although the NCAA may change that, time will tell if the NCAA also sanctions the university. I think they should, but don’t think they will.

Sports polls are such joke. Unlike football and its debacle known as the BCS, basketball fans roll with the polls because in the end, the one left standing in the March Madness brackets is the undisputed champion.

Baseball season is approaching, thus for me, the return of fantasy baseball. I play for fun. The version I play is free, owners don’t deal with one another, and there is no time-consuming draft. Let me know if you would like to play.

On a Different Event for the Weekend
This weekend we (along with the rest of our handbell choir) will attend a handbell convention for a five-state region. This will be our first time at an event as this, so we don’t know what to expect – plus who knows how many ringers will be there. Nonetheless, we are looking forward to the event.

Here’s a wonderful video of two combined choirs in Korea. They are talented and the piece is fun. You should notice bells, chimes, mallets, and a variety of techniques – so I encourage you to watch and enjoy. Have a good weekend everyone!

On a Potpourri of Reads

Below are random notes on a variety of topics with links to some interesting reads. I hope you find something worthwhile, and enjoy the musical treat at the end.

On the Latest Brokers
This past Tuesday’s post was about the political center and the current lack of overlap between the two major parties. John Avalon wrote this piece about the current GOP mavericks.

Oh College Football
Dan Wenzel, one of the few Yahoo! Sports writers I give any credit, wrote this good article about the state of college football in terms of the recent dealings by some Ohio State players. Yes, I’m from Ohio, yet count me in as one who thinks the NCAA’s penalty is a both a joke and an acknowledgement of state of major college athletics.

On a Retirement Perspective
Columnist Ellen Goodman (retired, Boston Globe) offers an interesting perspective about retirement and aging that is appropriate for all ages.

On the Previous House Speaker from Cincinnati
Representative John Boehner (R-OH) if a life-long Cincinnatian who is the new Speaker of the House of Representative. The last Cincinnatian to hold that position was Nicholas Longworth, who started in the House in 1903 and then elected as Speaker in 1925. For those interested in a bit of history, see this recent article from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

On the GOP Tussle
On more than one occasion, I have mentioned that Speaker Boehner will have his hands full in managing his own party – especially with the Tea Party’s our-way-or-nothing philosophy. A liberal friend of mine even feels that Speaker Boehner could be a pleasant surprise. I don’t give Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) much of my time, but here’s an interesting analysis of the GOP environment.

On Resolutions
Kathleen Parker (Washington Post, and one of my favorite columnists) weaves an interesting slant about New Years’ resolutions and politics. Not cutting – just good for the brain.

On the Importance of Language
Columnist Nicholas Kristof (New York Times) provides an excellent perspective about being multilingual. However, a segment of our population will miss the point.

On the Size of Government
Columnist David Brooks (New York Times) final sentence in this column is profound: “Quality, not quantity, matters most.”

On Simple Gifts
Simple Gifts, the Quaker tune, is commonly associated with Thanksgiving, although I (and others) maintain it is timeless. Here’s a moving 7+ minutes rendition from the musical Blast. Hope you take the time to watch, enjoy, and remember the simple gifts we can give to other any day.