Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 398

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Greetings. Last week was one of those rare weeks without an OITS. I was behind on the writing and replying to comments on the previous post – so I decided to pass.

Hey hey hey – 2 to go to #400! Visit #400,000 may happen during the upcoming week – but maybe not.

FYI: I’m aiming for the next concert to be on Saturday, June 8th.

My Quickstep routine is in the books. Good news: We didn’t crash and burn. (FYI: Quickstep is not an easy dance.) We successful got through it and my partner was thrilled! For me, we did well – but I’m a tough critic on myself, so I only get a C. My partner and I have the same instructor, who choreographed a routine around this scene from An American in Paris – but we danced to this Bobby Darin version of I Got Rhythm that is definitely aerobic.

We recently wrapped up another season of handbells and ushering.

  • The last handbell piece was Shalom Chaverim. An interesting piece that you can watch a large choir in Japan play. Click here
  • The last play was Tiny House, a new play as a joint effort between the Cincinnati and Cleveland theaters. A fun play – and the building of the tiny house was interesting to witness. Thumbs up if it ever comes to your area. Here are two reviews (one from each city): Cincinnati and Cleveland
  • Of the personalities who died this week, I’m connected with two. Doris Day was born and raised in Cincinnati. Comedian Tim Conway and I graduated from the same university (Bowling Green).

If you like rich and creamy, Graeter’s (of Cincinnati) is a fabulous ice cream (past post). They recently introduced a new summer flavor – Malted Pretzel Ball – so, I’ll be trying very soon.

Some may recall that John Roebling built Cincinnati’s suspension bridge before the more famous Brooklyn Bridge. Click here for a short (less than 2 minute) video of the bridge done by a local TV station.

As a viewer of the CBS Evening News, I already miss anchor Jeff Glor – but look forward to Norah O’Donnell anchoring later this year.

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The Democratic field of presidential candidates continues to grow. Now at 24, let’s go for 30! On the other hand, I wonder about the end game of the majority of the field.

This week the Alabama state government passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. Although their intent is to challenge Roe v Wade in the Supreme Court, I simply say patriotism, morality, and civic duty cannot be legislated.

I have long been a critic of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Her recent comment about AG Barr lying made me wince. On the other hand, I acknowledge the difficult task she has with her current caucus, and she has been done well during this difficult time.

To describe the current situation in Washington, while some proclaim Constitutional crisis – but I prefer institutional crisis.

Here’s an example of the goofy far right of Republicans. My state senator wants to ban insurance coverage of abortions except for re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus. Interestingly, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the procedure doesn’t exist. The senator disagrees.

According to President Trump, Hungarian authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is doing “a tremendous job” and “respect all over Europe”. Sorry to say, that comment is not a surprise and follows praise of other authoritarian leaders from Russia, North Korea, and Turkey.

I grew up in the portion of Ohio that mined coal. Being along the Ohio River, multiple coal-burning power are still located nearby. Because we know President Trump vowed to revive the coal industry, here’s an interesting article about the source of energy for Ohioans.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides tips for going through a divorce.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man starting to think only reason people hanging out with him because they are on same jury
Dress that would have forever altered course of woman’s life patted, placed back on rack
Dissatisfied Taco Bell customer goes rogue
Unsettling study finds two cousins technically fair game
Charity pairs naughty hags with children who taste good in stew
New blender changes guy’s life

Interesting Reads

How much of the Internet is fake
Ancient humans
Nazi looted painting
A camel festival in Mongolia
Enduring McCarthyism
(Graphic) Countries with the worst bad loan ratio
(Photos) Food photography
(Photos) Bikers in Hanoi

To send you into the weekend and as a tribute to Cincinnati treasure Doris Day, it’s time for a Sentimental Journey. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.(NOTE; The video will NOT play embedded here. After you click the video below, then click Watch this video on YouTube.)

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 397

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No weekend concert series this weekend. I have no definite timetable for their return, but I’m thinking June.

On the plus side, the beach walk series returns Sunday evening.

Regulars may remember my love for the Flora-Bama – a great roadhouse on the Florida side of the border with Alabama. Last week, Kenny Chesney made this surprise appearance in the room we frequent.

Several blog milestones are approaching: Views #400,000, OITS #400, and Post #2,200.

Golf League started earlier this week. With only one day of playing in 2019, I didn’t expect much of myself – so I accepted a wide range of inconsistency.

We recently saw an interesting production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Instead of the normal assortment of cast and orchestra, the cast doubled as the musicians – therefore, each person displayed a variety of talents.

We recently attended an enjoyable concert by the Ambassadors, a select group of the Cincinnati Boys Choir. And to think these young people sang many of the songs in foreign languages!

My journey with the Quickstep routine has been interesting – especially working around 6 weeks down south plus the recent cruise adventure of almost 3 weeks. With one week to go, we are finally to the polish stage … but I can’t wait until it is over.

Have you ever played Singo? We stumbled across it one evening at a local establishment. Interesting and fun. Here’s a short video about it.

For me, this local story would seem to be from The Onion – but oh no – it’s real. Seems a group of adults started fighting at Chuck E Cheeze.

Warning: Those with low tolerance and being easily offended should not read The Onion headlines and my combo.

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The recent Senate Hearing involving Attorney General Barr was all about political theater – not fact-finding – not what is best for the country – but pure party-first political theater. This partisan public spectacle provided clarity for those viewing the situation through their partisan lens- not trying to get to the crux of an important public issue. This party-first event serves as a prime example why concerned citizens have low regard for government officials, and serve as a reason for withdrawing from the voting process. Pathetic …. simply pathetic.

My views on impeachment

  • Congress (not the public) determines the meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors”
  • Does significant grounds for impeachment exist? Unquestionably yes
  • Should the House Dems initiate impeachment? Unquestionably no – After all, successful impeachment requires a significant number of Senate Republicans to go against President Trump (and that won’t happen with the current crop of enablers)
  • To House Dems – Be careful not to waste your time and political capital

Now that Joe Biden (D-De) is in the race for the Democratic nomination, I have established the Biden Dilemma.

  • His age
  • Voters may be looking for a fresh face (as they did with Jimmy Carter (1976), Bill Clinton (1992), George W Bush (2000), Barack Obama (2008), and Donald Trump (2016)
    Not Left enough
  • If nominated, the party will force him left, that is forcing him to be who he isn’t (Similar to what happened to Hilliary Clinton (2016), John McCain (2004), and Mitt Romney (2008)
  • His tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time
  • Kate Smith Syndrome – Anything in the past can be placed into today’s standards and context
  • (New) Link to the Republican Boogie Man

I not only foresee President Trump dumping Mike Pence, but adding Nikki Halley to the ticket would regain the confidence of many of the GOP wafflers and some independents.

My latest odds on the 2020 election

  • 100% chance GOP nominates President Trump
  • 0% chance President Trump gets my vote
  • 20 % chance Dem nominee gets my vote
  • 65% chance President Trump re-elected

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion’s this suggestion about corporate sponsors of a national park made me laugh.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Humiliated baboon unable to keep ass swollen in front of mate
Woman jealous of horse’s eyelashes
Priest cursed with incredible penis
Dog sitting at grave where owner buried alive
Elderly man feeling useless in retirement wishes he could go back to feeling useless at work
Religious conservatives argue Adam and Eve would never have been banished if they’d had guns

(My Combo) Adam feeling useless and cursed with Eve unable to keep incredible swollen penis at work

Interesting Reads

A rare language
The most anti-science documentaries on Netflix
10 best national parks outside the US
Global views on diversity, family, and religion
Buddhism, science, and the universe
(Photos) Association of Photographers Awards

To send you into the weekend, a duet that didn’t appear at the last concert. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 396

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Because we couldn’t rehearse while in Alabama, last Sunday we had a chance to listen to our handbell choir play a wonderful song for Lent. (Plus, the group played very well.) To listen to In the Wilderness (Jason Krug), click here, and then find the Listen button (after the opening paragraph that is worth reading), then click Listen. Warning: It’s over 6 minutes, but it can serve as background music for those interested.

The Weekend Concert Series returns this Saturday with Carole King taking the stage at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Regarding the concerts, tradition is that I limit comments to one song per person. However, a little known fact is that commenters can return on Day 2 (Sunday) to add more songs.

Did anyone watch the Aretha Franklin tribute show on CBS last Sunday night? We did – and enjoyed it.

OITS number 400 is approaching … and visit number 400,000 is in sight (possibly this summer).

Attention Costco shoppers. From Money magazine – If you spend $3000 per year at Costco, upgrading to an Executive Member will pay for itself and may make save you even more. Once we learned we were passing on money, we upgraded. After all, we love Costco.

Have you ever taken a DNA test as Ancestry DNA or 23andMe?

Last week we sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time (DST). Two US states (Arizona and Hawaii) do not join the fun. Several other states are considering doing the same while several others are considering making DST permanent.

Cheers to the US Women’s Soccer Team seeking equal pay with their men’s counterpart. With Wimbledon tennis approaching, should men and women receive the same winnings when men must win three sets per match while women two?

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AOC is made it known that moderates are not welcome. Nothing like pushing away potential voters. Just because I’m anti-Trump does not mean voting for the Democratic candidate is automatic. So thank you AOC, the odds of Dems getting my vote in 2020 has fallen to 10%.

Now would this be an interesting Democratic presidential ticket for a bumper sticker: Hickenlooper-Buttigieg

President Trump referred Apple CEO Tim Cook as Tim Apple. To me, a simple slip of the tongue. That’s something we’ve all done. However, President Trump is so arrogant, he can’t even admit a responsibility on something like this. Instead, he favored an explanation that is pathetic and senseless: “I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words.”

Presidential Weekly Summary: Build the wall. No collusion. Witch hunt. Lock her up. Fake news. I feel badly for Paul Manafort. Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, here’s something different. Viareggio is a popular respite by the sea on Tuscany’s west coast. Actually close to my family. Carnevale di Viareggio is a popular annual event. Let’s just say this event displays a bit of satire. For those who dare, watch a four-minute video here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Baby feels foolish after realizing stranger waving at toddler next seat over
Limited-edition Russet potato comes with letter of authenticity
Washing machine loses man’s trust
Woman nervous for boyfriend to meet person she becomes around parents
Aging Mount St. Helen’s beginning to think erupting days are behind it
Scientists pinpoint part of brain all hairs grow out of

Interesting Reads

Women and World War II
Thinking about plastics
A bit about stupidity
A view of polarized America
Life beyond Earth?
(Graphic) A graphic worth thinking about
(Photos) Rio’s carnival celebration
(Video) Chile’s marble cathedral in a cave

To send you into the weekend, a duet that didn’t appear at the last concert. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 395

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The Weekend Concert Series returns this Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US) with Aretha Franklin – The Queen of Soul!!!!

What timing! This Sunday night (9 PM Eastern US), CBS is broadcasting a special tribute to Aretha!

Five more OITS until number 400.

Sad to hear the news about baseball great Tom Seaver having dementia. When he played in Cincinnati, he lived in a condo on a golf course I worked at in the summer. He was very appreciative when I told him that when people asked me where he lived, I always lied. The man was a great pitcher. Wishing him and his family much strength.

Thanks to Holly @ House of Heart for leading me to this awesome poem about Tango.

Ever ask yourself this question: “Why did I agree to do that?” Well, our dance instructor asked me if I would do a showcase dance with another partner. (My wife doesn’t dance performances). With my wife’s approval, I agreed – but of all things – Quickstep! Fast and not only of my better dances. YIKES! … OK – head to the grindstone.

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With more and more Democrats seeking to be the 2020 party nominee for president, I wonder who will be the first to leave the race. Too bad Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) decided not to enter the fray.

I have mixed feelings about the Democrats decision to bypass FOX News for their debates.

This remains my best explanation of President Trump: He’s a pathetic person and an even worse leader who brings the majority of problems onto himself.

Presidential Weekly Summary: Build the wall. No collusion. Witch hunt. Lock her up. Fake news. Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion has a guide to blockchain technology.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man in rental car spends 20 minutes trying to find the steering wheel
Demonic spirit claws way out of Hell to flicker lights, throw some silverware around
Sperm can’t remember why it came into womb
Cursed ghost ship offers free room and board to anyone willing to join their eternally damned crew
God purges millions of souls from heaven now that sexual assault taken more seriously

Interesting Reads

Americans and Germans diverging thoughts
Travel pattern of text messages
Finding aliens
Politics and Dr. Seuss
Daring WW II raids
(Video) 5-minute history of the Internet in China
(Photos) Cherry blossoms
(Photos) Finalists Smithsonian Magazine photo contest

To send you into the weekend, the great response last week means another one from Linda Ronstadt. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 393

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The aFa Weekend Concert series returns featuring Fleetwood Mac. Given the distinct nature of her voice, Stevie Nicks songs are acceptable. Concert starts Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

On a concert note, the stage will be dark the following weekend (March 2-3) due to scheduling difficulties.

Thanks for everyone for the kind comments on my birthday post. There is something about receiving nice greetings from all over the US and throughout the world that touches my heart – and to think we’ve never met in person. For the record, comments came from 10 different US states and 8 different countries. 🙂

Not long ago we said goodbye to Curiosity, NASA’s rover on Mars. Doesn’t seem that long ago when we said hello to it with this way. Do you remember it?

 

For those who know about TEDx Talks, I recently discovered that TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. I had no clue of its meaning! For podcasts enthusiasts, I endorse TEDx podcasts.

We watched Roma, the critically acclaimed Netflix film that has received numerous Oscar nominations. For us, it’s a movie for critics and lovers of movies critics rave about that aren’t not for many of us. But hey – you may like it.

We also went to the theater for The Wife. Good movie; and Glenn Close is fabulous and worthy of her Oscar nomination and Screen Actors Guild Award.

About the previous post – the Final Jeopardy question. I based the list on Madeleine Albright’s latest book: Fascism: A Warning – not my personal opinion.

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Dear Voters in Kentucky. Thank you for sending us Mitch McConnell. He’s quite pathetic.

If Republican senators are smart, they would unquestionably vote against President Trump’s National Emergency declaration. Otherwise, they are setting themselves up for something in the future. Then again, most of them are not smart and they (and their supporters) accept their own contradictions in their “party-first” perspective.

I encourage you to write your representative and senators encouraging them to vote against President Trump’s National Emergency declaration on the grounds of a dangerous precedent for the future. I’ve written my three: two Republicans (one probably a lost cause) and a Democrat). As of this writing, the lost-cause has not responded, which I requested.

Here’s an interesting scenario from Politico about the declaration and the courts.

Democrats continue to expand the field of candidates seeking the nomination. Shame on NBC starting the debates in June – well ahead of the Iowa Caucuses in early 2020. Odds of me watching are less than very slim.

Now here’s an interesting situation to ponder about the 2020 election: Democrats gain control of the Senate, keep control of the House, and President Trump is re-elected.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides a list of pros and cons about salary transparency.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man competitive about how depressed he is
Coworkers agog as employee introduces new shirt into rotation
Aunt scores big with nephews by dropping bombshell story about Mom smoking weed as teenager
Scientists produce rigorous study of why grapes spark in the microwave
Mass invasion of polar bears forces Russian islands to declare emergency
Man always makes sure to place phone on Silent before misplacing it

My Combo: Competitive depressed man scores spark with bombshell employee before misplacing weed misplacing new shirt

Bonus: I like this headline and image of this one about New York City police (but you’ll have to click to see).

Interesting Reads

Women and computer programming: a historical look
Policy and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Why calories are not on labels of alcoholic drinks
Albanian bunkers
Thinking non-human animals
(Article w/ interactive) International view of issues
(Graphic) Marijuana regulations in the US
(Photos) UK National Parks Photo Competition

To send you into the weekend, here’s one from the past that once I heard it earlier this week, I knew to use it here. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 392

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As always, I enjoy seeing the many interactions at the weekend concerts. Reminder: No concert this weekend.

A no-brainer. Because of sensitive skin, I use Cetaphil bar soap. I needed a bar to carry me over until my next shipping. CVS has it on sale with the second bar at half price. At $6 per bar, that’s 2 for $9. WalMart had a 3-bar pack at $8.67.

On Thursday morning, I saw this story from CBS News about descendents. Fascinating – Inspiring – and hopeful. For me, it was a worthy 6 minutes about links to Thomas Jefferson. Click here to watch.

A prisoner asked for an imam to be present at his execution. Shame on the Supreme Court for allowing the execution to proceed without the state honoring the request. Would the high court have ruled the same way if the same circumstance involved a Christian? I doubt it.

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At the time of this writing, another shutdown is possible. Here’s a scenario that wouldn’t surprise me. Congress gets a bill to President Trump, which he signs – thus no shutdown. Then he declares a National Emergency. That way he can keep the government open and play to his base. PS: It’s 5 pm (Eastern US), and this now seems to be the avenue of choice.

A friend (Tim) forwarded me this interesting column by Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post). I had to laugh because she is professing the same message I’ve been saying about 2020. However, much like their Tea Party counterparts, I can’t see (at least at his time) the enthusiastic liberals and progressives giving way.

Early in the week I encountered this quote that is very meaningful to me.

The Republicans appear gutless because few have dared complain een while their party is taken over by people who despise them; the Democrats seem unaware of something similar might happen to them. The vital center, which in the past have saved the country from divisions over a host of contentious issues, has become a lonely place – historically an augury of more extreme problems in the offing. (Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, written in 2018)

Earlier in the week President Trump stated a Democratic member of Congress should resign for anti-Semitic remarks (for which she apologized). Shortly thereafter, at a rally after one of his supporters attacked a BBC photographer, he did not apologize or condemn the action – but did ask if the one attacked was OK. President Trump is, without a doubt, the most hypocritical president of my life time – as well as one who favors blaming others over accepting responsibility, favors lying to cover himself instead of building trust with others, favors intentionally exaggerating, misinforming, misleading, distorting information in order to protect himself. He is a pathetic person and an even worse leader who brings the majority of his problems on himself. Nonetheless, it’s all Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, and as a wine drinker, I appreciated the The Onion’s information about the myths vs. facts about wine.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

  • Spacecraft from all over the galaxy to honor end to (Mars) Rover’s life
  • Man hoping girlfriend doesn’t notice Valentine’s gift came from gas station
  • Non-profit works to overturn convictions of prisoners who don’t like being in prison
  • Congress agrees to $1.3 billion for border fencers
  • Underfunded public schools lacking basic support systems leave students perfectly prepared for rest of life
  • Meals on Wheels volunteer delivers body chocolate, edible underwear to senior shut-in on Valentine’s Day

Interesting Reads

Latest Pew Research about origins and evolution
55 years ago: The Beatles and Ed Sullivan meet
Products that could replace plastic
Beer and the bier spa
Book review about Joe McCarthy
T-Rex: a sex victim
(Photos) Sony World Photography Awards

To send you into the weekend, here’s some jazz from Diana Krall with good Argentine Tango in the video. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 391

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As a whole I think Neil Diamond surprised visitors last weekend. The next concert features the Eagles – start time is this Saturday at 1: 00 AM (Eastern US).

The concert series has turned out to be more popular than I anticipated. My need for a breather is way I didn’t post Sunday evening. On a similar note, scheduling conflicts will bump a weekend concert several times in upcoming weeks.

In my opinion, many professional athletes are wonderful people. Unfortunately, the bad apples make the police blogger and the news. For a story that will make you smile, see this one about PGA golfer Gary Woodland.

Last week our timing was perfect when we successfully returned to the theater to catching the ending to The Upside. For those who don’t remember or didn’t know, with about 30 minutes to go in the movie, an evacuation alarm sounded.

CBS had this outstanding 10-minute report about singer Linda Ronstadt, which includes an interview.

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True to my word, I didn’t watch the SOTU. Based on the clips I saw, I didn’t miss much.

I didn’t watch the Democratic response. Regardless of the president, I wish the opposing party would start a new tradition of not responding. Then again, the odds of that happening is about the same as Congress choosing dignified decorum of sitting and listening instead of popping up and down like they are attending a pep rally.

This week I saw a state-by-state approval/disapproval rating of President Trump. Whereas Democrats can be elated by the numbers, I say they should be cautious because many of who disapprove will vote for his re-election and the Democratic nominee could push others that way.

The Trump idea of unity is when opponents change their mind to agree with him.

As possible Democratic nominee Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) continues to apologize regarding her ethnicity, maybe her campaign is already out of steam – especially with a potentially large field.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion sets the record straight about preventing and treating colds.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Yosemite closed indefinitely after bear spotted in park
Small town billionaire fails to make it in big city
Responsible man sets aside small portion of every paycheck for bank to gamble with
Doctors zap brains of awake brain surgery patients to make them laugh and have fun
Study finds sedentary lifestyle puts millions of Americans at risk of becoming beautiful just the way they are

Interesting Reads

Foreign language classes in decline
The needs for living on Mars
The needs for building a Moon base
Pushing the envelope: Women bicycling in Pakistan
The bank-robbing bicyclist
A tribute to the passing of an artist
(Photos) Enjoy the Daily Dozen from National Geographic

To send you into the weekend, I thank John for inspiring me to use this song. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.