Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 318

The recent attack on the Ohio State University (OSU) campus is another example of the warped nature of today’s world. OSU is less than a two-hour drive for us, and to think my nephew is employed at the OSU Medical Center and I also know a pastor who leads a campus ministry there.

Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) recently released their latest results regarding science and mathematics education. Interestingly, the Internet allows us to compare reactions by different countries. Here’s the TIMSS site with the results.

Now these 30 seconds will cause a smile.

We are enjoying The Crown on Netflix.

My wife and I recently took a local food tour, which was fun and interesting!

I’m craving Spumoni ice cream, so I hope a nearby grocery store has it! … and if I can’t, I know who is to blame.

The first Monday without Dancing With the Stars is always a bit weird for us.

Until this week, I’ve been aware of Fidel Castro my entire life. The BBC did his life in pictures, so click here to see it.

Seems like a French presidential candidate is taking a page out of the US election by promoting free-market reforms, cutting government spending, supporting traditional family values, cracking down on immigration and Islamic terrorism, and better relations with Putin.

Advice for President-Elect Trump: You are your worst enemy, so you have a way of acting like an ass. Here are some suggestions. 1) Develop a very thick skin; 2) Learn to bite your tongue; 3) Control your use of Twitter.

Jill Stein and the Green Party’s request for recounts in a few states is a waste of time and money … and President-elect Trump’s response was almost as pathetic.

Anything wrong with this picture? Those complaining about racism and disrespectful behavior now are the ones who weren’t complaining about it before the election.

I still support the Electoral College system, and this article from Brookings makes a strong case for it. If anything, I may favor removing the actual vote by the delegates, but keeping the scoring system.

Here’s an interesting read co-authored by a Democrat and a Republican.

With Gallup reporting a slight majority of Americans disapproving the Affordable Care Act, I add that besides partisanship, a key reason can be traced back to the poor job the administration, the Congress, Democrats, and the government as a whole did a poor job educating the public. Interestingly, this is nothing new because I stated this position many years ago.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Fidel Castro’s death
Donald Trump making ridiculous tweets
Fire in the Smoky Mountains
The Cincinnati Bengals continued winless streak
Fidel Castro taking power in Cuba

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips on having the perfect surprise party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Doggy in the window costs $1,500
Man to continue drifting into middle of restaurant until hostess redirects him
Siblings hoping the other one will take care of aging parents someday
Deep-sea Godiva rig taps world’s largest offshore ganache deposit
National Institute of Health finds obesity may be caused by too little sleep, too much sleep

Interesting Reads
The Learning Metrics Task Force
Pandas and their thumbs 
The myths behind Harry Potter
A life at sea
Sunflowers following the sun
The new power couple: grapefruit and salt
(Photos) 25 pictures from the People’s Choice Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest

To lead you into the weekend, here’s an oldie from 1982. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 317

With many Americans being in the midst of holiday travel, a safe travels wish to all.

Congratulations to gymnast Laurie Hernandez for winning Dancing with the Stars. How could anyone not enjoy this delightful young lady … and the same for the other finalists (racer James Hinchcliffe (2nd), football player Calvin Johnson (3rd), and singer Jana Kramer (4th)).

Recent years have brought success to my favorite pro and college teams (2) – but 2016 has delivered 3 losing seasons. Ouch!

I recently bottled my first-ever batch of cranberrry-orangecello. Will let you know the reviews next week.

In the case of the trial involving the university police officer fatally shooting an unarmed Black man, the judge declared a mistrial due to a hung jury. Reports indicate 4 jurors were in favor of a murder verdict, 4 for manslaughter, and 4 for not guilty. The prosecuting attorney will refile for another case with hopes of moving the trial to another city. Both ideas are good.

US presidents live under a microscope. In that light, Mr. Trump must develop thicker skin.

Interesting that Mr. Trump is softening some of his positions. Some are actually flip-flops … oh well, it will be interesting to see how the base reacts.

I had to laugh at the suggestion that the Dow Index passed 19,000 is due to Trump’s election. Just another example of how the partisans entertain me.

With the flap about the Electoral College before and after the election, here’s an interesting viewpoint.

Interesting how a simple question can turn into a partisan discussion. I asked a friend (a GOP partisan) an honest question about the relationship Mr. Trump faces involving the presidency and his business. His answer to my curious question included the Clinton Foundation and witch hunts.

Advice to Democrats – embrace the NASCAR approach – turn left.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Hamilton Gate
The property prices not increasing everywhere
The mess in my storage area
The Dow reaching 19,000 after Trump winning the election
Stephen Hawking’s prediction dooming the earth

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how clinical trials work.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Collie walked over Lassie’s star when talking picture
Father No Longer Feels Nervous When Walking Daughter Down Aisle
Man’s Recycling Ideals Abandoned During Move
Stealing tampons from office bathroom currently woman’s only source of joy
FDA approves new pasta shape

Interesting Reads
Leonidis of Rhodes
The shortage of prisoners
Link between LED lights and the Internet
Smuggling baseball players
Sacred spaces in the 21st century
Around the world in 12 toilets
(Photos) Faith through a Lens photography contest winners

To lead you into the weekend, here’s an oldie from John Mellencamp. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 312

Earlier this week we sent to the theater to see Star Trek Beyond. My thoughts include the following:

  • Entertaining
  • Interesting story
  • As science fiction, certain events hard to believe
  • Thumbs up to the various tributes to the original stars
  • Loved the animated images at the end

HGTV fans know the Property Brothers are very popular – but I had no idea that Fixer Upper has twice as many viewers as Drew and Jonathan.

The beginning of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is a few weeks away. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has a way of demonstrating it is a bunch of egotistical buffoons.

Baseball’s trading deadline is approaching, so I have a trade suggestion for my Cincinnati Reds: trade management and ownership for a dozen fungo bats, 100 new baseballs, 50 used rosin bags, and a box of rocks to be determined later.

Daal @ Happiness Between Tails invited me to do a guest post about ballroom dancing. I invite readers here to visit the post. Daal, thanks for asking. Here’s the post.

I have a family obligation this coming week, so I won’t be posting – and I question if I will have any presence elsewhere.

No Explore post this weekend.

I’ve never been a fan of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), so count me in as one in the good-riddance camp. Meanwhile, this incident works against the party nominee.

Hillary Clinton’s selection of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) was a predictable, safe pick. On the other hand, I’m not sure how much it appeases the progressive wing of the Democratic party. He has impressive credentials, but doesn’t strike me as the attack-dog type and he is a bit dull.

This comment makes sense to me: When someone makes a choice based on the lesser of two evils, they still select evil.

I finally got around to watch the CNN Town Hall event with the Libertarian presidential slate: Gary Johnson and Bill Weld … It bored me and I think they missed a golden opportunity to get people’s attention.

I like good political speeches – actually in either party. However, the political climate of recent years has worn thin on my enthusiasm for a good speech … so I didn’t watch the Democratic convention, but I did see several minutes of President Obama’s speech because my wife was watching.

I see conventions as a 4-day infomercial to inspire the partisans – and fortunately is great for the fact checkers because politicians and their parties frequently are inaccurate. Because the partisans are the target, the audience doesn’t care.

With a variety of email scandals currently on the table, it’s interesting that Republicans continue to talk about Russians hacking Clinton’s private servers, whereas the FBI report stated “no evidence” of a successful intrusion since 2009 but that intrusion was “possible”.

Research shows that 92.683% of problems today are directly linked to Presidents Roosevelt (FDR), Clinton, and Obama.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week

  • Russia’s state sponsored doping program for athletes
  • Sen. Ted Cruz not endorsing Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump reaching out to Russian hackers
  • The way people dress at Wal-Mart
  • The dismal season of the Cincinnati Reds

Bonus Coverage of the Democratic Convention by The Onion

  • Supporters Aggravated Bernie Sanders Didn’t Use DNC Speech To Get Voters To Act Against Their Own Self-Interest
  • Convention Crowd Really Hoping Bill Clinton Breaks Tension With Joke About How Terrible He Looks
  • Lone Superdelegate Voting For Martin O’Malley Feels Like Total F*#&ing Idiot
  • Depressed, Butter-Covered Tom Vilsack Enters Sixth Day Of Corn Bender After Losing VP Spot
  • Area Man Responds, “That makes sense” after being told the crowd isn’t chanting “Four more ears.”
  • Cannon Overshoots Tim Kaine Across Wells Fargo Center
  • Clinton Campaign Thanks Volunteers For Killing Millions Of Gnats In Hillary’s Bus
  • Biden Chokes Up While Describing Hardworking Americans Who Can Only Afford Shitty Ditch Weed

To let you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers these tips for throwing the perfect bachelorette party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man Checks To Make Sure No One Home Before Recording Song Into Laptop
Determinist Insurance Company Insists All Conditions Are Preexisting
Aquatic Turtle Discovers Limits Of Tank For 43,000th Time
Ellis Island Visitor Honored To Finally See the Location Where His Grandfather Was Deloused
Man Entirely Different Misogynist Online Than In Real Life

Interesting Reads
Mandatory education for adults
The evolution of turtle shells
History of clear sodas
The effect of full-time work on the brain
Life and quantum physics
(Photos) Soviet relics

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song from 1983. I didn’t high on the charts, but I like it. 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. 309

A global economy and nationalism seem to be opposing forces – so here’s a good read from William Galston in the Wall Street Journal.

I live in a part of America that has fireflies – an insect that fascinates those who don’t have them in your area. Here’s an article from National Geographic about what I also call lightning bugs.

Need new wallpaper for your desktop? This fabulous collection of photos from National Geographic Travel Photography Contest is a must-see.

I didn’t realize most minor league baseball players get a very low wage. I wasn’t expecting a gold mine, but more that the meager pittance they receive. Here’s the column where I discovered the disheartening news.

Earlier this week, Answers in Genesis (who operates the nearby Creation Museum) opened Ark Encounter – an exhibit about Noah’s Ark in the view of a 10,000 year old Earth. Being a local event, there have been many Letters to the Editor … many of which encourage me to bang my head against a wall.

Given current time demands and several life adjustments, not only did I not post this week, I’ve been reflecting about my future on these pages – which will probably lead to an open (irregular) posting schedule. Besides, not visiting other blogs bothers me very much.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

The timing of the FBI report surprised me. At the beginning of this incident I stated that her decision to have private servers was a poor and careless decision – and it seems the investigation more than supports my statement. Meanwhile, the Republican response was more than predictable. I appreciated this comparison by the Washington Post of the Clinton and Petraeus scandals.

Regarding the FBI report and the Clinton email scandal, I enjoyed this comment, “Americans’ trust in public officials and public institutions has fallen abysmally, as we all know. So far as we can now tell, the country in this instance has been well served by a leader and an FBI that has been diligent, hard-working and fair. Embittered partisans will disagree, but for my book, the FBI seems to have gotten this one right.” (David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst in this column)

In terms of the effect on my vote in the election, I consider the Republican offering of an obnoxious bloviating jackass whose depth doesn’t go beyond insults, name-calling, and taglines is much worse than Mrs. Clinton’s poor judgment (in this case) and her distrustful nature.

Columnist George Will is a great writer. Although I haven’t read him much over the past 5 years, I have been noticing his battle with Donald Trump – and love this recent quote: “He (Trump) has an advantage on me. He can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters, and I (Will) can’t.”

Two weeks ago (in OITS 307) I listed an article about US politics in the Interesting Reads. Interestingly, last weekend Meet the Press interviewed the article’s author. Glad to know that NBC followed my lead. Here’s the article.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Mary Fallin, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Scott Brown, 2) Mike Pence, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Xavier Beccera, 4) Julian Castro, 3) Chris Murphy, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion discloses what Vice President Joe Biden is doing this summer.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Swiss guards charge writhing mass of black tentacles devouring Pope Francis
Dad’s eyes welled up at sight of perfectly packed cooler
Synthetic tree removes carbon dioxide from air
Fireworks accident blows off tip of Florida
Rest of the evening spent declaring the asshole not going to ruin the evening
God regrets never creating any two-head snake creatures

Interesting Reads
State of the news media (Pew Research Center)
Georgia O’Keeffe: An American Painting Icon
Football and ALS
Are algorithms biased?
Mating habits of seahorses
(Photos) Dessert landscapes from National Geographic

When searching for a song to send readers into the weekend, this one came to attention. Paul, a friend and great person, pops in my mind from time to time. Although he died several years ago in a senseless murder, I smile when I think of him … and this song from The Piano Guys is what I link to him … plus, it’s a good song 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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 308

The recent attack at the Istanbul airport rips one’s heart. Blogger Nia quickly came to my mind because I know she’s a kind, sensitive person who is unhappy with the political turmoil and the regional violence. I encourage you to visit her blog to offer your support to her and the good people in Turkey.

Although I continue to believe my personal mantra that the majority of the world is good, this and similar incidents challenge my view …. but I continue to hang on! Meanwhile, the key to defeating ISIS (in my opinion) starts within the Arab world.

Loud cheers to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for allowing the Cincinnati Reds to honor Pete Rose by retiring his number and allowing him to enter the Reds Hall of Fame. The previous commissioner felt the need to extend Rose’s punishment to the Reds organization, Reds fans, and the city of Cincinnati.

Hey hey hey – it looks like our Argentine Tango class will be extended by one week!

The distance separating Cincinnati and West Virginia isn’t very much. Whereas very little rain has fallen at my residence, West Virginia is flooding. I think it’s President Obama’s fault.

My life has been one of major adjustments the past 3 months. My wife’s retirement and my part-time job have affected whatever time is left in a day – therefore, my poor attendance among the blogs.

Thanks to all who participated in Colors: The Musical! As of this writing, I’m way behind on replying to comments, but I’ll get there! Thanks for your patience.

This is a long holiday weekend in the US (4th of July), so no Explore post this weekend.

The combo came to mind by using the subject lines in my email spam folder: Rock-hard Trump destroys Cialis implant

I found interest in this week’s Supreme Court ruling regarding the abortion laws. Although Ohio was not on the list of states with similar laws, my state has also been on the restrictive path.

Polls and studies showing the majority of Americans say that Congress is doing a bad/poor job make me laugh because the vast majority of elected officials in Congress get re-elected. Which best describes the voting public: anger or complacency?

The recent BREXIT vote created many shock waves across the world. Around all the chaos, it is important to remember the primary cause: It’s President Obama’s fault.

Be cause of the US process for electing a president, I know national polls are essential meaningless – but the closeness of the polls is both fascinating and disturbing.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Mitch Pence, 4) Chris Christie, 3) Bob Corker, 2) Jeff Sessions, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Sherrod Brown 4) Elizabeth Warren, 3) Xavier Becerra, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides tips for handling social anxieties.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man driving while making YouTube video to explain how PC culture destroying America
‘Five-Second Rule’ disproven
Black mark on birth control manufacturer’s record weighs in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces
Factory robot working on some of its own designs after hours
Three-year-old announces plan to point out fat people all day long.
Only news source man trusts has logo of eyeball with crosshair

Interesting Reads
A moderate working in a polarized environment
Classic music and new technologies (Thanks Tim)
A collection of matchbook boxes from India
Education in Estonia
The Irish pirate queen
Has physics made philosophy and religion obsolete?
(Photos) The Night Skies

Here’s one of my all-time favorite music videos. 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. 307

Last Friday my wife and I went to US Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. It was her first visit to one of the finest government museums outside of Washington, DC … and admission is free.
In this recent editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Director of the Cincinnati Zoo ended his column with these words: You can sure tell who your friends are when the chips are down. I continue to wonder why they lack of outcry for the killed alligators at Disney World in Orlando.
Golf’s U.S. Open ended last week with a bit of a controversy that (fortunately) didn’t affect the outcome. With other sports using video replays to get the correct outcome, I have no problem with golf using today’s technology. However, if a player only gets 5 minutes to find a potentially lost ball, rules officials should only get 5 minutes from the time of the potential infraction to make a ruling. Doing so hours later or at the conclusion of the round is a problem that could lead to future problems.
I’ve known many people from Cleveland and its suburbs. Heck – I even married a Clevelander. I can also remember the last time the city won a major sports championship (1964). With their recent basketball championship, The Onion does what The Onion does.
I look forward to the results of the EU Exit vote (BREXIT).
Our introductory class in Argentine Tango is over – and the class was a lot of fun – so we may willing to learn more.
One more act in Colors: The Musical – and it features songs with “White” in the title. Any ideas why I saved this color for the last act? Hint: See Act 1. See you this coming Tuesday (28th June) at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).
No Explore post this weekend.
Last week I called for a national conversation around guns. This week, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate demonstrated the need for my request – and of course the partisans shun the idea by digging their heals into the stance.
I recorded the recent Libertarian Town Hall (on CNN), and I look forward to watching it when I get a chance.
People who follow elections realize Ohio is a swing state – and polls currently show a toss-up race. Here’s a short list that outsiders may not know about the Buckeye State.
  • Ohio is a strong Tea Party state. Even our Republican governor (Kasich) has bucked them.
  • The Cincinnati area has high viewership of reality shows.
  • Donald Trump’s personality fits with a large portion of the state.
In my opinion, American politics is off the rails – so this article from The Atlantic is interesting.
This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Nikki Haley 4) John Kasich, 3) Chris Christie, 2) Jeff Sessions, 1) Newt Gingrich
The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Xavier Becerra, 4) Andrew Cuomo, 3) Thomas Perez, 2) Elizabeth Warren, 1) Tim Kane
To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides etiquette tips for wedding guests.
Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man getting futon all dolled-up for Craigslist photoshoot
Late-arriving guest encouraged to load up on food sitting in sun for past 4 hours
Man at amusement park gets right back in line for another funnel cake
Family mercifully pulling plug on grandfather unaware they are sending him directly to hell
WalMart considered part of town’s late-night dining options
Grizzled fast-food junkie moving on to harder dipping sauces
Cincinnati has been crazy about Jimmy Buffett for many years. Because he was in town this week, he’s a good choice 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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 306

The players are competing in my favorite golf tournament this weekend – the US Open.

  • Fortunately, it is held at Oakmont – arguably, the most difficult course in America.
  • Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch as much as I would like.
  • Unfortunately, I don’t trust the USGA in the way they set the course.
  • Unfortunately, the USGA sold the television rights to FOX – which means fewer viewers but they got more money.

The Cincinnati Police Department accepted the Running Man Challenge from the Detroit Police Department – which then created this fun video.

Orlando, Florida has been the center of bad news in the past week. The latest news about the alligator attacking the toddler is shocking. Before finding the body, authorities euthanized 4 alligators . As I think back to the gorilla incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, did I miss the outcry of killing the animals?

The Spam folder on the WordPress Dashboard can be entertaining. For example, “The post have resolved our problem,thank you very much and hope you writing more good articles.” (Comment made for Colors: The Musical: Act 6: Purple Indigo Violet)

The completion of Act 8: Shades means there is one more act to go in Colors: The Musical. More info next week. Meanwhile (at the time of this writing) Act 8 successfully included songs with 18 different shades. Given the approaching July 4th holiday, I need to carefully examine the date of the last act – so I will say more in the next OITS.

No Explore post this weekend – but there could be a weekend post if I can get it ready.

To the fathers and those with fathers, Happy Father’s Day weekend. To those whose father is no longer with them, may pleasant memories bring you comfort and smiles. For those who didn’t have a father growing up and wanted one, peace to you.

The recent shootings in Orlando has many aspects to it – such as terrorism, gun control, and bigotry. Gun rights groups and gun control groups blaming each other. A frustrated president who knows it’s up to Congress – a Congress continuing to ignore the issue. Politicians deflecting the issue to one of the other aspects of this situation.

Amazingly, even after Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Charleston, Aurora, others, and now Orlando. This is a serious topic for many Americans, and I’m confident the majority of Americans would support an open debate and national discussion about the issue – and Congress is the one that could lead the way by example. I just suggested why it won’t happen.

Like any topic, I organize information about guns, gun control, and gun rights into three broad categories: what people know, what people think they know – but don’t (the misinformation and the misconceptions), and what they don’t know. An open debate on the Congressional floor and a national conversation will help inform people.

An open debate and national conversation would seem to be a common sense directive – however, common sense is not Congress’ forte. Oh, I forgot again – blame mental illness while not dealing with that issue either. Better yet – blame Middle Eastern immigrants. Then again, there’s always the ever popular excuse of It’s President Obama’s fault.

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides tips for cooking with meat. http://www.theonion.com/graphic/tips-cooking-meat-53088

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sock gradually taking care of sticky spot on kitchen floor
Everyone laughing at thing man can’t change about himself
7-year-old unable to maintain single cohesive storyline while playing with action figures
New mother criticized for breastfeeding self in public
The Onion regrets spelling “cucumber” as “konkowbar”
Frustrated Obama writes letter to his Congressman about need for gun control

Interesting Reads
Flight: From idea to reality
Flags and identity
New sex position for frogs: Kermit Sutra
The 1886 famine in India
An educational investment
The unexpected art of Dakar
(Photos) Palace ruins in Kabul

Here are two songs to send you into the weekend: a leftover from Act 8 and s hit from 1982. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.