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.

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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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 387

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After an outstanding kickoff to the new musical event, the aFa Weekend Concert Series continues this weekend. This time, individual Beatles in their careers outside of the Fab Four. Think of them as ex-Beatles. The Producer recommends staying away from songs they continued to sing (such as Yesterday, which Paul McCartney still performs). Concert starts Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

At the concert opener, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all the songs. Truly a concert – so I encourage others to do the same – and coming back on Sunday is even better because there are more songs.

The Oreos post provide two wonder discoveries: 1) For those who separate then eat the icing first, and 2) deep-fried Oreos.

Because I have a lot on my plate next week, I won’t post after the concert – but will return for next week’s OITS.

Even though professional football players put themselves in negative light when their actions involve the police, I’ve always believed that these talented knuckleheads are the minority. Here’s a wonderful story about an NFL quarterback.

The Omnimax theater at the Cincinnati Museum Center recently reopened after the museum’s extensive renovation. We’ve enjoyed many wonderful films there through the years, and we anxious to see the effect of digital projection onto a large, domed, wrap-around screen. Volcanos: Fires of Creation treated us. Thumbs up! For a theater near you, click here – and here’s the trailer.

Although elected officials, this story caught my eye while serving as a bridge into the politics section. This past November, Harris County Texas voters elected 19 African-American women to judge positions. Here’s the video story from CBS.

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No. I didn’t watch President Trump’s primetime address. After all, the man has a well-documented history of lying, exaggerating, misinforming, misusing facts, and blaming while accepting no responsibility – all for the purpose of intentionally misleading the public for his benefits. Reports indicate that the address was more of the same.

Sadly, what if a true national emergency existed – would be suddenly become believable? For me, no!

No – I won’t be watching the State of the Union later this month.

Instead of a “no wall” message, Democrats are missing a ripe opportunity to promote other aspects of improving border security. Simply saying “there is a better way” (Speaker Pelosi) is not enough. Get into the specifics of what to do and sell it to the people.

Shame, shame, shame on Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The newly elected representative made an ass of herself with her inflaming words about impeaching President Trump. Although many of us know the man is pathetic, her words do nothing more but inflame the situation and incite his supporters. During a time when the majority of Americans want and need civility and problem solvers, she says that – and then doubles down? Well done, Rep Tlaib. It didn’t take long to make it to my partisan-hack list.

Another shame to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who didn’t publicly condemn Rep. Tlaib. Congratulations ladies for acting in a manner that supports re-electing President Trump.

Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wants to raise the marginal income tax rate on top earners to 70%. Although tax rate would not affect me, I shake my head at the new representative. A suggestion to her and the other newly elected – carry the big stick of quiet as you learn the system.

To me, I see parallels between the actions of some of the newly elected House Democrats and the Tea Party wave. With that in mind, Speaker Pelosi has a difficult managing task – just like John Boehner had.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Key in but won’t turn
Man finally able to forgive self after terrible mistake he made 2 seconds ago
Report: Students who take Latin have better chance of summoning demon later in life
High school history textbook concludes with little blurb about last 40 years
Man stuck in dead-end body
Everyone at Consumer Electronics Show forced to share single surge protector
System for telling clean clothes in suitcase apart from dirty clothes falls apart on second day of trip

My Combo: Consumer Electronics Show concludes key in surge protector made clothes clean in 2 seconds

Interesting Reads

Artificial Intelligence and the future
Moderate policy in the age of political extremes
82nd Airborne at Normandy
New World, Old World, and chocolate
The concrete blocks that once protected Britain
The Sopranos Effect
(Infographic) History of life
(Images) National Geographic Photo Contest – People’s Choice Winners

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one by Herman’s Hermits. After all, their appearance last week created interesting reactions.. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 382

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Pronouns 2: The Musical continues with Act 3: Our(s). Yes, Our and Ours are acceptable. Curtain rises as Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US). Meanwhile, I smile at the interactions between bloggers during the musical.

Earlier this week we saw the movie Green Book. We loved it … many thumbs up! Here’s the trailer.

This line from comedian Ricky Gervais made me laugh: “Being dead is like being stupid – it’s only painful to others.”

This week we watched a handful of Seinfeld episodes. Now that’s original comedy. When we were on a tour in Manhattan many years ago, the narrator said Seinfeld wasn’t a comedy show – but a documentary of life in Manhattan.

Until recently, I did not realize that WW 2 leaders Roosevelt (FDR), Hitler, and Mussolini all died within a span of 18 days.

A salute to Shimon! The kind thinker in Jerusalem started blogging in May 2011 – and our first encounter here was in March 2012. In this recent post he announced that it was probably his last blog post and he wanted to thank people. First of all, I appreciate when a blogger states their intentions to stop blogging (as opposed to walking away). Relationships are an important aspect of blogging, and I wish more would remember that. More importantly, Shimon is an example of why I believe the majority of the world is good. Shimon, thank you for being you. A toast of bourbon to you! Shalom.

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As of Friday (30 Nov), 34 days until the Democrats can officially start supporting President Trump’s re-election by over-playing their hand.

Not surprised President Trump rejected recent the Climate Change report done as a group effort by 13 government agencies. After all, everyone knows that he knows more about climate change than the researchers – and the agencies have a political agenda, whereas he doesn’t. Mr. President, I challenge you to put your words into action by defunding the research arm of all 13 agencies.

I’m still amazed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been able to contain information about the investigation. We know so little – so the reason why many speculate. Meanwhile, I patiently wonder and wait.

The large caravan of Central Americans wanting to come into the US is interesting. I recently wonder “Why?” this group exists – and I come up with this list of four most-plausible possibilities.

  • The standard immigration story of people seeking freedom with hopes of a better live
  • A plot by liberal donor(s) to embarrass President Trump and Republicans
  • A plot by conservative donor(s) to embolden President Trump
  • The Russians creating chaos
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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides important dental hygiene tips.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Brutalized toothbrush wishes owner would just let it die
Study finds only 20% of seminary graduates go on to become God
Pistachio-eating man achieves “Flow” state
Kinky couple has mirror in bathroom
Disgusting, unusable shopping cart has single sprig of parsley in it
Metropolitan museum acquires another vase

Interesting Reads

The economically dying areas
Perceptions about food risks
Captain Cook and the Hawaiian Islands
Thoughts about edible insects
Still fighting for Monkey Laws
A place where 500 people speak 9 different languages
(Photos) Unique caskets

To send you into the weekend, here’s a wonderful song from many years ago – and one for Resa who loves them, and Pauline who doesn’t know them. These Eyes (Guess Who). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 381

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Good news – After 12 acts and an encore, Pronouns: The Musical closed a very successful run. More good news – starting next weekend, Pronouns 2: The Musical kicks off. This musical will be shorter than the other, so my hopes are that we will complete it before 2018 closes. The first theme features songs with My in the title. Curtain time remains the same: Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Only one more post remains for my western national parks tour. Sometime in the near future, I will start the Eastern Europe series.

Although the She/He Writing Challenge didn’t get much of a response, I think it was a good challenge and I enjoyed doing it.

The wildfires in California continue to bring havoc to many. I encourage anyone able to donate to a charity of your choice to help victims. I suggest the California Community Foundation: Wildfire Relief Fund.

Within four days last week, we had quite the string of musical events.

  • We attended (as ushers) the world premier of Cincinnati King – a play about King Records. What a fun show! Sure hope other theaters throughout the country pick this up in the future.
  • The next day we went to the movies for Bohemian Rhapsody. Thumbs up – and a must for Queen fans!
  • Two days later, our handbell played a surreal arrangement of Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery. Here’s a video of our choir doing this beautiful piece. (I’m on the near side popping in out of view.)
  • That night we attended a concert featuring a handbell soloist. Watching her made me nervous 🙂 … that’s quite the skill!

I have no doubt that voters who don’t know what they are doing have started watching Dancing With The Stars.

For many posts I set a publish time. For others who do that and if you just had a time adjustment with Daylight Savings Time – don’t forget to adjust your WordPress clock.

For whatever reason, the WP Gnomes turned off all my notification settings.

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Looking ahead to 2020, at this point I do not see Ohio as a battleground/swing state because it is unquestionably leaning red.

Dealing with President Trump’s string of lies, exaggerations, distortions, and finger-pointing is one thing, but the continual blind eye, acceptance, and enabling by Trumpians and the majority of Republicans is even worse.

On the same topic, Congressional Republicans have done a very poor job of oversight. That’s what the balance of powers is all about! Then again, a party using oversight to justify politically butchering a president isn’t the intent.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion shares an interesting picture they captured in a jungle.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Ecologists discover 400 species of Charles Darwin living in Galápagos Islands
Friends Excitedly Gather Around Man’s Phone To Watch Shaky Footage of concert
Conservative Floridian Enjoys Living Under Sharia Law More Than He Thought He Would
Couple Nervous To Admit They Met Online In Comments Section Of ‘How To Iron Shirt’ Video
Sunday School Teacher Can Already Tell Which Ones Going To Hell

Interesting Reads

100 years after the Armistice
Artificial Intelligence and wildlife research
Science and religion: not in unison, but in harmony
About the placebo effect
(Graphic) A collection of misconceptions
(Pictures) A collection of weather pictures

To send you into the weekend, a tip of the cap to my Canadian regulars with a song from a Canadian icon. Enjoy Leonard Cohen with Dance Me To The End of Love. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 368

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Pronouns: The Musical debuts this weekend. Act 1 features songs with “I” in the title. Curtain goes up this Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US). My goal is to have a different act every weekend, but time will tell if I can do that pace. Meanwhile, The Producer is ready!

Earlier this week we cut-the-cord; that is, we discontinued our satellite TV service, then went to an antenna for local channels and a streaming service for a package of stations. Saving $75 per month will take care of the upfront costs in less than a year. Should I do a post on the process of considering cutting-the-cord?

Time demands the past two weeks have been greater than normal – so thanks for your patience.

Baseball’s All-Star break was this week. My Reds have been playing very good and entertaining baseball in recent weeks. Although they have one of the best records over the last 35 games, they remain in last place of the division by 4.5 games.

Amazon is a great service. We bought something a day or two before Prime Day – which offered the same product $50 less. Amazon would not credit the difference to our account. So, they paid for shipping to return the unopened product, credited our account for the entire purchase, gave us a $10 courtesy credit, and then allowed us to repurchase the product. Although we came out ahead, it doesn’t make sense to me.

Congratulations to France for winning the World Cup.

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Here’s a worthy read: What’s wrong with political leaders citing research?

Although his followers love it, President Trump’s European trip was a disaster.

Last week’s joint hearing of the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees with FBI official Peter Strzok was a great example of political theater and partisan hackmanship. On the plus side, the hearing resulted in one of the best Stephen Colbert monologues ever! Below is one of my favorite segments in the monologue that is worth 12 minutes. To see the entire monologue, click here.

Because he naturally says things that are fitting for a comedy skit, President Trump is a gift that keeps on giving. Ahead of the meeting with Vladimir Putin, The Bloviator said he had met Putin “two or two-and-a-half times before.” Hmmmm …. that is definitely worth pondering.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for getting the most out of life.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Bride and groom clearly have not kissed much
Guy on cologne advertisement must smell pretty good
Heavenly Sources Confirm Joe Jackson Already Screaming At Michael
Half Of Morning Run Spent Trying To Change Song On Phone
Poll finds 97% of Americans don’t know who Donald Trump is
Woodpecker Having Difficulty Remembering Tree Where He Got The Really Good Bugs That One Time

Interesting Reads
People in a difficult world
The history of steel
Populist Parties in Western Europe
The breakfast capital of the world?
For those who are scared of math
(Graphic) Household wealth by countries
(Photos) An enjoyable collection from National Geographic

To send you into the weekend and continuing the summer theme, here’s a song from my youth. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 365

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Thanks to the hearty who stayed with me through the Christian America series this week. To develop the series, I researched information on both sides of the topic, so it was interesting to read the differing viewpoints – but to also discover the illogical, quantum leaps people make.

I’m looking into dual citizenship. Definitely interesting … and having a conversation with someone at the designated US consulate is not easy!

Check the box. We visited the Chinese Terracotta Army exhibit. Not only did we enjoy the exhibit, it is obvious to me that the First Emperor and the Chinese leaders at the time feared Obama.

This video of creative street art will make you smile.

I started an exercise program while at the Alabama coast this past January. In mid-March, I used my Silver Sneakers option in my medical insurance, so I’ve been exercising three days a week since then.

Is this strange? Take Your Kids to Work Day is during the school year (so the kids miss school) while Take Your Dog to Work Day is during the summer when the kids are home.

A tip of the cap to veteran columnist Charles Krauthammer who recently passed away. While one may disagree with his opinion, nobody can deny his brilliance, his skills as a writer, and his commitment to conservatism. I enjoyed the columns written about him as a person. Although I limited my reading of his column, I appreciate his description of the current president as “a rodeo clown”.

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The crisis along the southern US border is sad and complex. However, it’s a refugee issue – not immigration as many play it to be. I also appreciated these two articles from NPR: One and Two.

Congratulations to President Trump for successfully transforming Congress for ineffective to incompetent.

Recent tax cuts improved the bottom line for many businesses. Because tariffs work against many businesses, I want about the net effect. Meanwhile, in order to avid new tariffs, US-based Harley-Davidson is moving some operations to Europe to avoid EU tariffs. Damn Obama.

Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) made a solution statement about abolishing ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) – and I see the statement in the same light as some Republicans saying they want to abolish the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

A huge thumbs down to the recent comment about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) regarding encouraging harassment of Trump supporters and administration workers. Thumbs down to the restaurant owner who asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave the restaurant.

To the Trump apologists believing that the media is too hard on President Trump, my response is simple – He brings it upon himself.

I appreciated this statement from Trevor Noah: “The two-party system in one of the most disruptive forces currently in America.”

Tidbits on Future Elections

  • At this point in time, I see good odds for Democrats gaining control of the House this fall, but doing so in the Senate is a steeper climb.
  • I wince at the thought of the Dems 2020 presidential nomination; therefore I raising President Trump’s chances of winning re-election to 51%.
  • Here are the early odds for getting my 2020 vote: President Trump – 0%; Democratic nominee – 20%; Libertarian nominee – 15%; Independent candidate: 30%; leaving the ballot blank – 35%.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for staying civil when debating child prisons.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Cops bust filthy, unshaven Mark Zuckerberg for selling personal data on street corner
Funeral attendees getting misty-eyed during first dance with corpse
Everyone in Pride Parade straight
Blood-covered finger confirms nose, in fact, bleeding
Saudi Arabia officially lifts ban on female Monster Truck rallies
Steel drum knows it has so much more to offer than tropical vibes

Interesting Reads
The psychology of money
The 1912 GOP Convention

The next global jihadi stage – but where?
The neuroscience of pain
The Sinai Trail
The satisfaction of biscotti
(Pictures) Life under apartheid

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this grand voice from the past for this summer song. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.