Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 299

Wow – time is creeping up on the celebratory edition of Opinions in the Shorts.

My wife has been gone all week as she was one of 5 long-time friends now in 3 states went to Florida for a week. Believe it or not, I didn’t do a lot of dancing this time. We will refresh the upcoming waltz formation routine when she returns.

Happy Easter to my friends who are Orthodox Christians.

Because of the revenue-driven aspect of college sports, instead of NCAA, I think they should embrace a new set of initials – NCIC ….. National Collegiate Industrial Complex.

House of Cards is currently in Season 4. Any ideas how many years the season will run?

Thanks to George (The Off Key of Life) for posting this video that has many lessons.

Colors: The Musical resumes next week with Act 6 featuring songs with purple, indigo, and violet in the titles. Curtain time is Tuesday, May 3 at 9:30 PM (Eastern US)

  • Purple, Indigo, or Violet must appear in the song title
  • No forms of the any of those three words (as purples, purplest, etc)
  • No compound words containing any of the three keywords
  • No shades of any of those three colors
  • No duplicate songs

There will be a Saturday Explore post this weekend.

Donald Trump (R-NY) admitted that his campaign-trail personal has been fake, so he’ll now pivot to a more presidential personality. Although I knew all along that much was an act, the pivot insults me even more than he already has. If the change results in more support, this is even a sadder commentary on the American public.

I expected Trump’s big night this past Tuesday, so next week’s Indiana primary is big – although the Cruz-Kasich strategy is goofy.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announcing his running mate shows he knows Indiana’s importance.

Looking ahead to the Republican convention, what if a delegate decides not to vote, and those designed to set in choose not to do so? I introduce you to Rule 29.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers ways the GOP can stop Donald Trump.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Brita unveils new in-throat water filters
Report: Only 893,000 news stories to go until 2016 election over
Pope Francis proclaims happiness cannot be downloaded
Psychiatrist cures patient
Pigeon waits for walk signal before crossing street
Experts warn climate change will increase incidences of stepping into puddle and getting whole goddamn foot soaking wet

Interesting Reads
5 ways Americans and Europeans differ
A Brazilian city’s love for the Confederate Flag
Rotifers, genetic engineering, and sex
Different religions and their view of God
Farm animals in the style of Rembrandt

To send you into this weekend, enjoy this easy listening song from Michael Bublé. 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. 291

That video is so funny. How have I missed this one for so long?

Many thanks for the birthday greetings this week (my post) as you helped make my day at good one! Special thanks to Vanessa for stepping up to accept the challenge, and for everyone here who visited her. For those who didn’t see it, visit here.

I like recognizing milestones, and I noticed that 1,800th post should happen in several weeks. Meanwhile, another countdown is on as the march toward a milestone in this series, which is now in single digits. Then again, the current pace places the event in April.

Isn’t it weird that we’ve reached a point that dropping oil prices helps our pocket-book while negatively affecting the stock market. On the other hand, many of us remember the negative effects of over-priced oil.

Wow! Millennials are now the driving force of the wine market. Click to read.

Do you remember Voice of America (VOA) radio? Its first broadcast was in 1942, and Cincinnati played a major role in its broadcast. When I first moved to the area in the late 1970s, the transmission towers were still sending signals. Here’s an interesting article from our paper about VOA.

Baseball’s spring training is beginning. My Cincinnati Reds fell short of having 100 losses and the worst record in baseball … so my hope for the 2016 season is to surpass both of those distinctions.

The Kentucky legislature has a bill in progress that a male who receives a prescription for Viagra must take on oath on the Bible swearing to not use the product with anyone other than their spouse. Ah yes … a wonderful example of responsible government at work.

Act 3 of Colors: The Musical will feature songs with Orange or Yellow in the title. As with previous acts, no compound words with these colors, no shades of orange or yellow, and no duplicate songs. Curtain time is at 9:30 pm (Eastern US) on Tuesday, 23rd February. See you at the theater.

There will be an Explore this weekend about a person, place, or thing.

Regarding President Obama’s upcoming nomination of the Supreme Court nominee, the Republicans are playing a dangerous game. The question is whether President Obama truly places them in between the rock and a hard place … and yes, I disagree with the Republican stance now and I disagreed with the Democratic stance in 2007 … thus both are examples of truly identifying the problems in Washington. Throw them all out!

I wanted to have a post yesterday about the Supreme Court vacancy, but I didn’t get it ready in time … but maybe soon.

I wrote Sen. Portman (R-OH) about his stance regarding the nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice, but I don’t expect a response.

I like this scenario. President Obama nominates a conservative judge. The Republicans reverse their position, thus start the confirmation process … and then the nominee withdraws.

For those wondering my thoughts about my governor, I’m purposely withholding them to see how far he goes in the process. Meanwhile, I continue to applaud his grown-up-in-the-room approach. Did you know he had a brief candidacy in the 2000 presidential election?

Although I haven’t been and won’t be a support of Donald Trump (R-NY), I give him credit for being a quick thinker on his feet.

South Carolina has not disappointed me as being a place for a nasty Republican primary.

I continue to believe …

  • March 1st is a pivotal primary date for Republicans
  • March 15th is the pivotal primary date for Democrats
  • Nominating Ted Cruz (R-TX) would be the best thing for the Republican party in the long-term

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides tips for successful campus activism.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sweden and Finland conclude yet another successful round of peace talks
Turquoise smuggler crosses Nevada border into Arizona without problem
Scissors kill paper – rock turns blade on self
Trophy wife slowly becoming regular wife
Landlocked nation of Chad announces plan to sell control of ports to highest-bidding gullible nation

Interesting Reads
Forgotten female astronomers
Urban education: London style
Driving the driverless car
The golden days of Kathakali
Bizarre sex lives in the ocean
(Pictures) Access to multiple years of photos from National Geographic’s Visions of Earth

A bit of personal philosophy and a fitting song to send you into the weekend, which is also fitting for my recent birthday. When someone asks if I would want to be young again, I usually answer, Nope as I have no interest in being that stupid again. 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. 287

A major snow storm is forming in the central US and aiming at the major cities on the eastern seaboard. It appears (at the publish time) the brunt of the storm will pass to the south of Cincinnati … but that could change. Good luck to everyone affected.

We saw the movie Carol. Very interesting and I can see how critics love the movie. Although the setting was New York City in the 1950s, it was filmed here in Cincinnati – so my eyes were on the constant lookout for familiar sights.

I didn’t know that Iranian women can drive and vote – something that Saudi women cannot.

St. Louis lost another sports team as the Rams leave the Gateway Arch city for more lucrative offer in Los Angeles. The NFL is a money-making machine, and each team is worth in billions. I don’t know the stadium deal in LA, but I do know that teams have held (and continue to hold) their city and county governments hostage to build them a stadium for their product. What a shame.

I recently started a second volunteer project as I attend a Senior Living complex for an hour of ballroom. The lady attendees don’t move well, but their smiles are priceless.

We enjoyed this lemon risotto recipe by Rachael Ray.

Although far from perfect, no doubt in my mind that player on-court sportsmanship is much better in basketball than football.

Hats off to ML Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for allowing the Cincinnati Reds to induct Pete Rose into the team’s Hall of Fame, retire his number, and place a statue on the plaza outside the stadium … all of which his peckerhead predecessor wouldn’t consider.

Although some spotted the preview announcement on the Hear Ye page. Opening Night for Colors: The Musical is January 26th, curtain time at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). All songs must include Black in the song title, but not compound words containing black. Shades of black are also unacceptable. The Hear Ye page also contains information about other acts and the awesome Marina-designed Playbill cover. Resa is also offering her wardrobe-design services for this gala event.

I’ve seen several segments of the CNN special The Person Who Changed My Life (this Sunday, 8 pm, Eastern US). I hope to record to watch later, thus encourage readers to turn in.

There will be an Explore this weekend – and I will say it’s not a person, not a place … but a thing.

I imagine the majority of the people of Iowa can’t wait for the circus to leave town.

A question I would want to ask the Republican candidates: If you don’t believe that humans have influenced climate change, would you reduce the research efforts of governmental groups as NASA and NOAA who support these findings?

Here are the fact checks for the most-recent Republican debate: Politifact, Annenberg Fact Check, Associated Press, Washington Post.

… and the most-recent Democratic debate: Politifact, Annenberg Fact Check, Associated Press, Washington Post.

This Monday, CNN is hosting a Democratic Town Hall event with the 3 seeking the party’s nomination. Yep – I won’t be watching, thus my record will remain perfect.

Other than via comments on these pages, I ran into the first person who is also unhappy with the fact that our governor is drawing a salary while running for president … and I didn’t prompt the suggestion.

Sarah Palin (R-AK) (aka The Nincompoop) returns to the news cycle to endorse Donald Trump (R-NY) … perfect!

Meanwhile, dysfunction continues in The Nincompoop family. After her son’s arrest for domestic violence, The Nincompoop placed the blame on President Obama … Classic Nincompoopian … and priceless.

Something to ponder: Is Sarah Palin a celebrity or a politician?

To lead you toward the weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips on arranging a funeral.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Kind Of music that’s playing indicates movie character must be entering Italy
NCAA investigating God for giving athletes gifts
Naughty EpiPen reveals naked lady when injected
Bungled Apocalypse causes light drizzle over Southern Ohio
Porn DVD’s commentary track just more moaning
Drummer forced to retrieve sticks from audience for encore

Interesting Reads
The Stormtrooper army
The dogs that protect little penguins
Saudi women
Vintage vending machines (Thanks, Tim)
The global movement of money
That many in the human body! Really?
(Pictures) Three colors

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. 282

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?

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

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

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.

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.

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. 280

To the victims and their families, and to the French people for strength, unity, and peace.

Shame to the American candidates for politicizing the event by playing the blame game while offering suggestions that amount to (at best) meager gibberish.

It was good seeing Americans displaying the French flag this weekend … especially when the Army football team came onto the field with for a game at West Point.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 2 featuring the sun is in the books … and we were nearing 40 songs. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching us in the US, the production won’t return until December. Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

Although no kids for us, we enjoy our 4 nieces and nephews. Last weekend we attended the wedding (the third to be marriage) – but it was out first to attend. We were a proud aunt and uncle, and wish them the best.

While in Cleveland last weekend, I saw my first white stuff of winter.

Because both of us volunteer at the weekly Downs Syndrome ballroom dance event, earlier this week my tango partner and I danced for the group. Considering we haven’t danced the routine in over 10 days, we did well. Most importantly, we had fun and it was well received.

Even with the recent attacks in France, Lebanon, and over the skies of Egypt, I still say no US troops on the ground against ISIS – unless a coalition of Arab forces decide to take action.

Since the latest terrorist attack in Paris, it’s interesting to compare and contrast the French and US responses to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The Atlantic published What ISIS Really Wants this past February. It continue to be on the front page of their website, plus other news agencies promote it. I listed it as an Interesting Read months ago, but I want to promote it again. It’s a long read – but interesting – however, it is a view – and not the only view. For the interested, here’s the link.

The next Republican debate is December 15th (Tuesday) on CNN. Yawn .. .but another one for me to miss as I go for 7 in a row.

Something to ponder – If political candidates submitted their own questions to answer in a debate, would they truly answer the question?

Last week the Democrats had their second debate, and I missed another one. Damn … that makes me 6 for 6. Here are multiple fact checks from the event: Annenberg FactCheckAssociated Press, PolitiFact, Politico, Washington Post.

I continue to believe that if a governor, senator, or representative wants to run for president, they need to resign their position immediately upon announcing their candidacy. Our states and districts play them to do a job that does not include campaigning around the country while being paid.

To lead you into The Onion, here are their suggestions for talking to your children about sex.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation’s conservationist warn there are only 8 trillion rats left
Minimalism Overdone
US Mathematicians Round Pi Down To Three
Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions
Experts Warn Number Of Retirees Will Completely Overwhelm Scenic Railway Industry By 2030
Economists Recommend Setting Aside Part Of Every Paycheck In Case Of Dire Straits Reunion Tour

Interesting Reads
The man who invented relaxation
Russian psychics
The beauty of winter in Greenland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and daily worship
The Owen: an Aussie weapon
The evolution of toxic toad eaters
Photo gallery of Spots

It’s time for a musical two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 2 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. 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.

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.