Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 303

Memorial Day (Monday) gives the USA a 3-day weekend. Here’s an interesting essay published by the Brookings Institute.

Also regarding Memorial Day, this week I heard an outstanding interview with the producer of an independent documentary about the soldiers who stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Besides the trailer below, here’s a link to the movie’s website.

On this Memorial Day weekend, a salute to all fallen veterans of all countries who fought for freedom.

The Zika virus: For real or an overblown concern? Guess we’ll find out.

Season 22 of Dancing with the Stars ended this week. Wow – what a surprise because we think this was one of the best casts ever. Champion Nyle DiMarco was good, but his story was compelling and inspirational (he’s totally deaf)… plus he probably got a lot of votes from the ladies. No doubt in my mind, Paige Van Zant was the best dancer.

Act 7 of Colors: The Musical featuring Brown provided a surprise number of hits. Two more acts to go. I will make the advance announcement someday mid-week for Act 8 on the Hear Ye page.

No Explore post this weekend.

Modernizing infrastructure is an election-year issue – meaning that after the election, it greatly decreases in importance to the policy makers. This article (from the BiPartisan Policy Center) offers a new model for modernizing US infrastructure.

Finally – after 7 years of complaining, has finally written a health care alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – and is done without repealing the ACA. That point alone is worth congratulating Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

Last week I mentioned about the away-from-the-center movement of both parties. Earlier this week I read this interesting column by Joe Scarborough, who looks at today’s movement through the lens of key Founding Fathers.

In terms of conversations I’ve had with people, the number of people who proclaim they can’t/won’t vote for Clinton or Trump outnumber the number who say they support Clinton or Trump.

This week’s aFa Power Ranking for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Chris Christie, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Bob Corker, 2) John Kasich, 1) Newt Gingrich NOTE: For the record, I had Bob Corker on this draft list before his Monday meeting with Mr. Trump.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides journalism style tips for all writers.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Congressional Compromise Legalizes The Study Of Stem Cells From Mothers On Death Row
Sixteen deer placed in small room and challenged to not copulate
Belt looks weird on child
Voyager probe badly damaged after smashing into the end of the universe
Fact unpatriotic
Heroic Police Officer Talks Man Down From Edge Of Purchasing Subway Footlong Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki

Interesting Reads
The new digital economy
The shocking 1976 wine tasting event
Is pornography a health crisis? 
A population of three
Heroic cave divers
(Photos) A gallery featuring ruins
(Video, 4.5 mins) A brief history of religion in art

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend. The first is a leftover from Act 7 that certainly is a crowd please … and the second is a song from a legendary rock star. 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. 302

The Cincinnati Reds are not only a horrible baseball team … and the ownership and the front office is an embarrassment to the city and its long-time fans. I have one suggestion – please consider another line of work.

Here’s a feel-good story. A local teen’s friend died two years ago, but the friend’s organs helped more than 70 people. He honored his friend by asking a girl to prom from several states away because she received the friend’s lungs to combat her cystic fibrosis. She accepted and all the parents involved support the date. … The original story  … and the story about the outcome

Wow – the Today (Sunday version with Willie Geist) did an outstanding story about The Onion. See it here.

We recently went to the movie theater for two movies. Each movie is different, but worth your time. Money Monsters is a thriller starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Thumbs up. A few days later we saw The Man Who Knew Infinity starring Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel. It’s a wonderful story that is well done. Extra Thumbs Up.

Earlier this week, I saw a farewell post from a blogger – Carrie Rubin. Carrie and I stumbled across each other years ago on Starla’s blog. Since then, we’ve been regular visitors on the other’s blog. Carrie is not only a physician, author, mother, spouse, and self-proclaimed introvert – I have no doubt she is a classy lady in person. Being in opposite corners of the same state, I’m confident that some day we will meet in person. For that day, she has taught me well … that is, I must be prepared with questions to keep the conversation going.😉 Carrie – thanks for being a faithful reader here – and thanks for sharing the inner extrovert side of yourself – which is a hoot! Good luck with your future novels! … and I encourage readers to visit her last post.  Tell her I sent you.

Colors: The Musical returns next week with Act 7 featuring Brown. For those who don’t know the rules, stick to brown being in the song title. The theater curtain rises on Tuesday, May 24th at 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

No Explore post this weekend.

I’m still amazed that Donald Trump (R-NY) has gotten this far. Besides numerous insults, his constituents allow him to avoid answering questions and willingly change positions.

This week’s aFa Power Ranking for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Sarah Palin, 4) Chris Christie, 3) Jeff Sessions, 2) John Kasich, 1) Newt Gingrich

Hillary Clinton (D-NY) can’t seem to put-away Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). To me, it’s further evidence that the Democratic Party is following the Republican Party in a movement away from the center … which is not a good thing for those in the center.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains how hackers steal data.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman Had No Idea Participating In 5K Walk Could Be So Unrewarding
NCAA investigating God for giving gifts to athletes
Americans lead the world in compressing big sandwiches so they are bitable
Woman Recreating Famous Marilyn Monroe Photo Has Rat Blown Up Skirt
Report: Unreleased Harry Potter Book More Secure Than U.S. Trains
Porn Star XXX-hausted

Interesting Reads
Advice about the Middle East
The creativity of genes
A cherished Irish Bible for the 6th-to-8th century
Pad 14 and Mercury astronauts
Faking one’s own kidnapping
(Pictures) Nomads in Nepal

To send you into the weekend, I dedicated this song to Carrie. 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. 301

List week we saw Big Fat Greek Wedding II. Entertaining, but predictable.

I imagine this is a rare occurrence for most, but I’ve been dealing with these issues all at the same time: cell phone, laptop, tablet, wireless router, and server storage.

Our handbell season is over, so here’s the last song we played (Celtic Praise). The musicians in the crowd will enjoy the rhythms in this piece. The link is the composer’s choir, which he (interestingly) didn’t use a flute accompaniment.

I feel very behind on much about blogging … so I’m delaying the next act of Colors: The Musical.

Oh my … the stats are dropping like a rock – but I’m pressing on.

Sorry, no Explore post this weekend.

With Donald Trump (R-NY) being the presumptive Republican nominee, talk about his running mate has begun. His the aFa Power Ranking at this point in time: 5)Snookie 4)Sarah Palin 3)John Kasich 2)Chris Christie 1)Newt Gingrich

Republican partisans are predictably starting to embrace the Trump candidacy. After all, that’s what partisans do.

I seldom read two of the three columnists below, but on this day, I appreciated their columns and (in particular) these lines:

It was actually a rare opportunity for Cruz to shed his image as a reptilian barfly and trade his mom-jeans for Lycra tights and a cape. (Kathleen Parker, Washington Post)

His (Trump’s) metabolic urge to be scabrous guarantees that GOP candidates everywhere will be badgered by questions about what they think about what he says. What they say will determine how many of them lose with him, and how many deserve to. (George Will, Washington Post)

But as Trump himself says of being a conservative – at this point, who cares? As of Tuesday night, certainly not the GOP. (Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post)

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains how the USA pick Supreme Court justices.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Lone ant crawling through kitchen trumpets arrival of horde
Biologists discover billions of missing bees living anonymously in Sacramento
Laughing woman clarifies amusement with clapping
Genie presidential candidate promises to grant American public three wishes if elected
Teary-eyed student loan officers proudly watch as $200,000 asset graduates from college
Waitress who took over at table just doesn’t have same spark as Richard
Chinese astronomers inform Beijing residents sky will be visible for rare 2-Minute window tomorrow morning

Interesting Reads
About colors (Thanks, Ray)
Government jobs – where did they go?
Japanese decoys of WW II
Genetically-modified mosquitoes – is that a problem?
The mysteries of ear wax
Militants targeting personalities
(Images plus) Food photographer of the year

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this hit from a collection of stars. 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. 300

For me, this is the perfect image to mark the 300th post of Opinions in the Shorts (OITS). After all, I see myself dropping confetti on you as a way to say thanks.

I started blogging on 28th August 2008 as a politics and sports blog. My first OITS appeared on 25th November 2008. A few weeks earlier, President Obama won the election for his first term.That first OITS featured a hilarious Jimmy Kimmel skit showing the secret handshake between President Bush and President-elect Obama. Too bad the video is no longer available.

I started this series as a way to toss out a variety of short thoughts. Over time, thoughts were categorized, Interesting Reads and The Onion headlines appeared, the Garrison Keillor quote served as the conclusion, and a song sent readers into the weekend. I even wrote about the Keillor phrase in this 2009 post.

My golf league started this week. Last year was my first year in this league. I was fortunate to play with the eventual league champion multiple times. What a nice guy! Over time, I learned about his health issues (but from others). Several weeks ago I learned he passed away during the winter.

For anyone looking for a new laptop, I suggest considering the Dell Outlet Center. I recently purchased my third laptop from them because I’ve been very pleased with the others. Even a better deal when they have specials (see Coupons) on the Outlet Center’s webpage.

At the time of this writing, I’m way behind on Act 6: Purple-Indigo-Violet of Colors: The Musical. Timing simply wasn’t good.

There will be a post this weekend, but it will be a Salute, not an Explore.

The success of the Donald Trump (R-NY) campaign continues to floor me. Yep – I missed it – sadly (and in my opinion), it’s a poor commentary on Americans. Although the chance of the Republican convention being the last stand is between slim and none, I will continue to say (1) Trump has a huge mountain of negatives to climb, (2) the majority of the Republican faithful will vote for him because that’s what partisans do, and (3) he has no chance of getting my vote – absolutely none! My tendency is to cast a vote for a candidate, but in this case, I am willing to vote against one.

I’m sorry to see Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suspend his campaign. Several times I stated that I thought his nomination would be the best for the Republican party, but that hope has dimmed. My reason was simple – I was confident that he would be crushed in a general election, therefore causing the Republican party to retreat from ultra conservatism. Hence, the best for the party.

Here are two articles regarding examinations of President Obama’s time in office: An economic look and a broad view.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips on training for a marathon.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Iconic Iwo Jima photo under investigation
Man who did something wrong now hates cops
Kid you used to babysit 5 bar stools over
Man ashamed of himself after cashier reads food order back to him
Abandoned tuba player honks mournfully by side of road
Students watch in sympathy as teacher’s humongous ass erases part of whiteboard

Interesting Reads
History of the universe through ocean sediment
Hiroshima
Restrictions on religious attire for women
Spirituality and Snoopy
A look back at the American eugenics movement
Comparing images of space: 100 years ago and now

Long-time readers know I’m a Moody Blues fan, and remain disgusted with their omission from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nonetheless, when I started blogging I had no idea where it would go and for how long – so many thanks to my readers for keeping me going. 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. 298

Image from 123vectors.com

Image from 123vectors.com

Greetings! Good to see you again. My blog break went well, but not as planned because I didn’t write much. However, I helped my wife ease into retirement mode.

A national handbell organization had a regional convention about an hour away, so the choir went. Two days of a lot of standing on a concrete floor means tired legs. Our choir had an individual coaching session. We didn’t play our piece well with foreign bells, but we got something out of the session. Meanwhile, we attended a concert where we heard this piece by the Purdue Bells, which is a wonderful way to usher in a new header.

Because of my fascination with images of deep space, this image of the Veil Nebula Supernova Remnant is from the Hubble Heritage Collection at the Hubble Gallery. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers page/tab above the header.

I considered resuming Colors: The Musical immediately upon my return, but common sense prevailed because I value my guests. I’ll announce more here next week, but for those who need to know, see the Hear Ye page.

I seldom reblog my own or anyone else post, but I’m considering doing that with old posts – well, assuming I find something appropriate.

The death of pop music star Prince shocked us. Here’s an article about a secret concert he played in Cincinnati in 1984.

Competitors completed the Boston Marathon this past Monday. Although the news focused on the dominant presence of Ethiopians in the top places, the women’s wheelchair division caught my attention. For the fourth consecutive year, Tatyana McFadden – a Russian-born American won the division. Born with spina bifida, Tatyana spent the first six years of her life in a Russian orphanage without receiving physical therapy and without a wheelchair. Now that’s an amazing courage and determination!

Baseball season is underway and I have the following goals for my Cincinnati Reds:

  1. Win more games than the ‘62 Mets (40)
  2. Not finishing with the worst record in baseball
  3. Have at a team below them in the standings
  4. Finish closer to the team above them in the standing than below them
  5. Beyond this list would be a tremendous success

Because I’m easing my way back into my normal rhythm, no Explore post this weekend.

My wife received this pillow as a retirement gift – and I find it interesting.

PillowAdventure

Columnist David Ignatius wrote this interesting column about the Saudis.

At this point, I can listen to a news conference by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) – which is an improved from predecessors John Boehner (R-OH) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Republican senators meeting with the Supreme Court nominee while continuing to block the confirmation process infuriates me even more than the block.

The 2016 primary has been quite bizarre, and to me, the title of this Ruth Marcus column is quite profound – An unpopularity content for the ages.

I find it interesting that the #2 contender in each party have this quality in common: an inability to work across the aisle. According to the Lugar Center – McCourt School Bipartisan Index at Georgetown University, not only do Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have the lowest scores in 2015, each of them are in the bottom 11 of all senators since 1993. Here’s a good question for them: Have do you plan to get Congress to act on your ideas when you have a poor history of working within Congress?

Consider this possibility – Donald Trump (R-NY) and Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) walk out of the Republican convention together to embrace a third-party run.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for having your own vegetable garden.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sixth beer steps in to speak for area man
Universe feels zero connection with guy tripping out on mushrooms
Breeze plays kick-ass riff on wind chimes
Pope Francis worried about job security after butting heads with new God
New study finds humans experience greatest joy when pushing “Skip Ad” button

Interesting Reads
Life-long learning and technology
A century of flight
Animal neat freaks
Augustine of Hippo
(Animation) Battle of Shiloh
(Video) Explaining burning ping-pong balls

To send you into this weekend, here’s a throwback in time with a touch of Bobby Darin and a dose of Prince. 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. 297

Thursday was my wife’s last day at work, but she wasn’t there much. We celebrated her retirement and our upcoming anniversary with a nice meal out. For her first official retirement day, we will go out to breakfast … but I have to work in the afternoon.

Although she didn’t respond to anyone, my wife appreciated all the best wishes from the readers here, so she says Thanks to all.  Yep – the majority of the world is good.

As a science person, this scathing commentary directed at the Houston Science Museum caught my attention.

Geraldo Rivera was one of the worst contestants ever on Dancing With The Stars -but not worse that Master P. Then again, he knew he couldn’t dance, so cheers to his sense of humor for accepting the show’s invitation.

Opening Day in Cincinnati to start the season is big – very big! My wife has never been downtown for the festivities, so if the weather is nice, we may go. Meanwhile, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this discouraged at the start of the season about my team … but maybe they will surprise me.

I’m ready for a blogging break – one spending time visiting, writing, and adjusting to my wife being at home – so I will be announcing one in the near future … BUT – there will be a post on Saturday that’s not the break announcement.

Because of the upcoming blogging break, I’m delaying the next act of Colors: The Musical until further notice. I’ll first post the next act on the Hear Ye page.

Somehow, Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to survive. While supporters proclaim that he says what people are thinking, I wonder this: Is anyone listening? The man is one bluff after another. He continually changes the subject when he has no answer – especially about foreign policy. Lies, exaggerates, and doesn’t know the primary rules in the contest he’s chosen to engage. Passing the buck through blaming others. As many proclaim he’s tapping into the anger of the American voter, I say he’s activating the stupid gene … Yet – I continue to what I’ve said all along that he won’t get the nomination.

The notion of any of the Republican candidates wooing the “Reagan Democrats” is a fantasy because the many (if not most) of the Reagan Democrats are now Republicans and have been for some time.

With cracks in the Republican wall against the process of filling the Supreme Court vacancy, is it possible that the Republicans cave in, then the Democrats reject the idea? The Dems could claim it’s too late in the term, but actually mean they could get someone more liberal by winning the White House. If so, I say a good idea by the GOP, but a lousy idea by the Dems. Yes – an issue that could greatly influence my vote.

We hear a lot about the Democratic superdelegates – but much less so about Republican uncommitted delegates. Interestingly, the role of delegates earned by “suspended” candidates differs from state-to-state.

Meanwhile, the GOP race continues to focus on wives, size of hands, physical contact, lies, and more – and at the least of avoiding important issues.

For those who think it’s time to change the current primary system, NPR provides 6 alternatives with pros and cons for each.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, here a 2-fer of tips from The Onion:

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Bacon added
Questions linger about long-fingernailed man
Area man reports new girlfriend has that new girlfriend smell
Family has strict no smartphone rule while eating dinner in front of TV
Trophy wife slowly becoming regular wife
Report: Most effective marketing technique still giving out little version of product

Interesting Reads
The ancient origins of social media
Being forced to leave – unfortunately
The hunt for Fabergé eggs
The lesser known trail to Machu Picchu
The battle of Pork Chop Hill
Five facts about chickens

To send you into this weekend, here’s one you may not know from Pink Martini. The beginning provides an explanation for Tuca Tuca. 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. 296

Our hearts and support to Belgians this week. Wishing them peace and strength today, in the days past, and in the days ahead.

Hard to believe that an 18-year-old American injured in the Brussels blast was also in Boston (the day of the Marathon bombings) and in Paris (the day of the recent attacks).

Thanks to those who watched and commented on the PSA in the previous post. My weekly volunteer time with Down Syndrome adults has taught me a lot. It’s where I learned how they see themselves as normal – and it’s where I’ve learned to appreciate them for who they are. A parent told me that the video bothered them as a parent. I responded by saying what I’ve learned from volunteering – to which the parent responded, “You’re exactly right. They really don’t see themselves as any different than anyone else. Thanks for pulling me back.”

We recently saw a stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Wow – it still carries a powerful message.

Next week is The Right Angle’s last week of work as she is ready to ride into the retirement sunset.

This is a great laugh.

Being in the middle of basketball’s March Madness, my city is lucky to have to top programs within the city – let alone, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) apart. But the way both the Bearcats and Musketeers lost was difficult. Ouch! On the other hand, in my opinion, the torch has passed from UC to XU for having the top program in the city. Nonetheless, by the end of the weekend, only 4 teams will be left.

Season 22 of Dancing With The Stars is off to a good start. Definitely a group with some interesting people. It was great to see Edyta back on the show, but ouch – she got the contestant with the worst rhythm and lowest ability.

Act 5: Green of Colors: The Musical was huge! At the time of this writing we’re approaching 50 songs! Then again, I went a bit crazy in my replies … and that’s before Marina and I start playing our additions game.

On the topic of colors, I understand the cherry blossoms of Washington, DC are in full bloom. Elyse and Duncan would gladly give you a walking tour if you stopped by. Make sure to ask her to show you the two trees that are from the original plantings. But if you can’t join her tour, here’s a video to help you enjoy them.

To those celebrating Easter this weekend, a glorious and happy Easter to you.

No Explore post this weekend.

Republicans love to praise Ronald Reagan, but a 1980 Reagan would be lousy 2016 candidate … just as he would have been lousy in 2012. Don’t believe it? Just compare the party platforms.

There’s a lull in primary season as all eyes are directed at Wisconsin. I wonder how much money the campaigns and organizations will spend on ads in the Dairy State.

In terms of this summer’s Republican convention, keep your eye on changes involving Rule 40-B.

I called Sen. Portman’s office (R-OH) about his stance regarding the current Supreme Court opening – and yep – I said the stance will cost him my vote in November.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for establishing a campsite.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Chess onlooker sees a possible move
Scissors kills Paper and Rock; then turns blade on self
Volunteer exercises option to stop volunteering
Shit … new girlfriend snores
Stomach sets aside synthetic additives until it has a few minutes to figure out how to digest them

Interesting Reads
The boom in craft beers
The hidden strengths of introverts
The man who sold the Eiffel Tower twice
3-D printing and the blind
Animals of the world (article & images from National Geographic)

Given Blog Musical Week, it’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.