On a Blog Break: Summer 2019

 

Before I embark on my summer blog break, below is an abbreviated edition of Opinions in the Shorts.

The Doobie Brothers concert surprised a few people. With a blog break on the current docket, I do not know who the next concert will feature or when it will occur – but I have some ideas to consider during the blog break.

Unfortunately, on celebration day falls during the blog break. August 28th marks the 11th anniversary of this place – my little corner of the world.

My golf game resembles a yo-yo – but I still enjoy playing.

With August being the final month of summer, that also means September marks the return of handbell choir rehearsals, volunteer ushering at the Playhouse, fall festivals, football season, and more.

Has anyone watched “The Great Hack” on Netflix (about Cambridge Analytica)? If so, what did you think?

Last weekend gave us two mass shootings – including one in Dayton, Ohio (a bit less than an hour drive for me). Interesting how events like that affect you differently when they are closer to home. Events in El Paso and Dayton give Congress more opportunities to do nothing.

The Republican “mental issue” claim as a key cause of gun violence has resurfaced – so I ask an important question to Congressional Republicans: What legislation have you passed in the past five years addressing the mental health problem? I asked my representative. In his response letter, he didn’t answer the question – so the answer is none!

A state representative near me and close to Dayton blamed mass shootings on the following: fatherless families, transgender and homosexual marriages, drag queen advocates, recreational marijuana, violent video games, failed school policies, hatred for our veterans by professional athletes disrespecting our flag and country, Democrats in Congress, disrespect for law enforcement, anti-Trump voters, and last – but not least – the icing on the cake – you guessed it – Obama. Yes – the one who made this statement is an office holder elected by the majority of voters in her district.; which to me is sadder than the one making the statement.

The leader of the Ohio Republican Party asked Candice Keller to resign for the above statement, but (as of this morning) she’s standing by her statement and refusing to resign. “Establishment moderates have never been fans of mine because I ran against their endorsement and won. As the only conservative in this race, I will be taking my (state) Senate campaign to the voters to decide.”

A thought to remember about politics. The party’s goal is to win, therefore finding candidates with the best chance of winning and representing the party. Therefore, the candidate is in an office to represent the best interests of the party. After all, how much time does the office holder (and their organization) spend fundraising for the party and their re-election? The answer is simple – a lot. Therefore, the office holder’s interest in solving issues and representing the non-party flock in their district is (at best) superficial.

As I’ve stated numerous times on these pages, blog breaks are good. How long will this one be? To be honest – I don’t know – but I hope to return in the first 10 days of September – time will tell. Until then, I hope you visit the many good, talented, friendly people I list as A-Team Premium Visitors on the sidebar, plus others on the BlogRoll tab.

By the time I return, summer will be on its last leg – so here’s a classic from years ago to lead me into my blog break. Check out this chops! Keep smiling!

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 409

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Last weekend concert featuring the solo careers of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young went better than I anticipated. Doobie Brothers take this stage this weekend Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Because of an approaching blog break, this will be the last concert until further notice.

What does a professional football player with a degrees in mathematical economics and religion and a minor in business who is working on an MBA in finance do in this spare time? Click here to discover the answer.

The recent baseball brawl between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates was interesting. The umpire had the chance to diffuse the incident when the Pirates’ pitcher threw at the head of the Reds’ batter. Oh no – not even a warning. Interestingly, the league gave the longest suspension to the pitcher. There is no place in the game for intentionally throwing at a batter’s head.

People who use hot weather days in the summer to justify climate change are just as clueless as those who use cold days to deny climate change.

Is there any difference between Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Heach Care?

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Of course I did NOT watch either of this week’s Democratic debates. I didn’t because I couldn’t answer this important question for me … Why? Nonetheless, from reports, I can say that the odds of me voting for Elizabeth Warren is the same as me voting for Donald Trump – Zero.

No – I did not attend the recent Trump rally in Cincinnati. For the record, I would go to hear him speak even if he spoke just to the residents in my neighborhood’s clubhouse.

Another shooting of a large crowd is another opportunity for Congress to do nothing – and that’s something I’m confident they can achieve.

Certain liberal groups want to expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 11 justices. Oh please, please start focusing on important issues. Please!

Who would have thunk that House Democrats would lead the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

A Director of National Intelligence who is a political hack without intelligence experience would seem to be the best two reasons for the Senate to approve Rep. John Radcliffe (R-TX).

President Trump can’t seem to politicize an event. At the recent signing ceremony of the 9-11 responders health benefits bill, instead of recognizing responders advocating for the bill, the responders benefitting from the bill, and the families this bill is designed to help – he threw accolades to his chief apologist – Rudy Guiliani. President Trump is a pathetic person, and even worse leader, and he brings the majority of his problems on himself..

Jeers to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) for being the only two senators to vote against the 9-11 responders bill. Thank you voters of Oregon and Kentucky for sending us clueless, partisan hacks who are loaded with double standards.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion captured this unique debate moment.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Guy on bus really good at whatever phone game that is
Sincere email to coworker drafted, reconsidered, deleted
Four-year-old convinced father is a moron after 45th consecutive hide-and-seek victory
Insecure infant worried he’s unworthy of animatronic toy rabbit’s love
Exhilarated woman discovers last person who used jigsaw puzzle left lots of pieces stuck together

Interesting Reads

A ship’s flag
Humanity’s greatest threat?
Trust and distrust in political America
The moon landing – Fake News!
Need for humanity to know how to get better
Remembering an architect
(Graphic) World’s oldest democracies
(Photos) Wildlife

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Heat song by one who will be a Kennedy Center honoree this December. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 408

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This weekend’s concert features the solo careers of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. Tip: Especially for those using live recordings, keep the others off the stage! Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Stage crew has a fast turnaround because another concert is next weekend (3rd Aug) featuring the Doobie Brothers.

Cincinnati actually had about a string of days of pleasant weather!

I greatly enjoyed last weekend’s golf tournament The Open (aka British Open). The subplot of Northern Ireland hosting, an Irishman winning, and the crowds appreciating the event heightened my interest. It was only the second time the event was held outside of England and Scotland.

I had a good surge in my golf league’s second session – but, I fell short.

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Despite Robert Mueller’s prior statement that he would stay within the scope of the written report, House Democrats decided to go down the path that would ultimately (in my view) cost them votes. House Democrats continue to lead the way for re-electing an incumbent from the other party.

The Mueller testimony to House committees demonstrated the following:

  • Elected representatives have a greater interest in representing their party’s needs over what citizens need to know
  • The art of grandstanding
  • No interest in fact finding

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a pros and cons list of meal kit delivery services.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Pizza crust saved to make pizza broth
Foreign candy has unrecognizable fruit on label
Nemesis has Wikipedia page
Real estate agents trying to gentrify run-down Earth by renaming it West Saturn
Nation’s men holding acoustic guitars announce plan to idly strum while you try to talk to them
Science class learning about harmful effects of sugary sodas by submerging classmate in Coca-Cola for a week

Interesting Reads

Paradigm shifts
Future of work in America
Is college too easy?
Asimov and creativity
Did Neanderthals speak?
Ranking villains of Bond – James Bond
(Graphic) Countries owning the US debt
(Graphic) Bullshit rankings by country and demographics
(Pictures) Led Zeppelin’s first concert

To send you into the weekend, here’s a throwback to 1982. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 406

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Summertime is definitely here. After a long streak of rain, we could use a good dose of water from the sky. I don’t care for this hot, muggy weather.

This Weekend Concert Series returns with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Because of the way these artists have mixed and matched, songs must be credited two at least 2 of the 4 musicians. Solo songs are not acceptable. Stage time is Saturday, 1 AM (Eastern US).

Norah O’Donnell debuts Monday as the anchor of the CBS Evening News. I wish her well and look forward to watching. On the other hand, I recall feeling bored watching Katie Couric’s heralded debut.

I enjoyed the IMAX film about Cuba, so I encourage others to see it if/when it comes to a local theater near you. Future locations and dates are not listed. Here’s a link to the film’s website, which includes a list of current theaters. The trailer is below.

Congratulations to the US Women’s Soccer Team for winning the World Cup.

I’m a baseball fan, but All-Star Game bores me – so if I watch it, I only see snippets.

Earlier this week I substituted in my old golf league. It was good to see people I haven’t seen in 4-5 years. As we were sitting around after golfing, a few were complaining about Nike and Colin Kaepernick. I couldn’t resist the chance to use my explanation: “I hate to tell you but Nike isn’t marketing to anyone at this table. Their target market isn’t old white guys who generally vote Republican and wear New Balance shoes they bought from Target, WalMart, or Kohls.” Some nodded, others laughed, and the majority were speechless.

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I’ve mentioned the Biden Dilemma (my term) several times since I initiated the thought. Here’s the original thought.

  1. His age
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. His tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time
  5. Kate Smith Syndrome – Anything in the past can be placed into today’s standards and context
  6. Ties to the Republican Boogie Man: Obama

Although there is a long way to go, if Joe Biden does not get the Democratic nomination, I would not be surprised to see a strong independent candidate enter the presidential race.

On July 4th, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) declared his independence from the Republican Party. This action may cause him to lose his committee seat(s) and will unquestionably threaten his re-election. Consider this as a prime example of member of Congress doing the right thing to the expense of losing their position.

While the Republicans can’t do anything more about health care than criticize Single Payer and Obamacare, the Democrats also continue to miss the mark by not addressing the issue – including improving Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act).

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion lists pros and cons for sharable electric scooters.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Area man always thought he’d squander his life differently
Fork section of cutlery drawer overrun by invasive soup spoons
Craftsman confirms new hammer backwards-compatible with previous generation of nails
Weary, cynical woman knows better than to bring a tomato plant into a world like this
Area 8-year-old formally rescinds hunger complaint following mother’s insulting banana offer
OSHA special ops team raids local office after receiving intel of expired fire extinguisher
God orders all followers to swallow cyanide capsule in preparation for voyage to Alpha Centauri

(My Combo) Cynical 8-year-old orders weary man to swallow nails

Interesting Reads

The mission of Apollo 11
Plants and climate change
About Einstein
For those who like quirky
Chernobyl: fact and fiction
Demographics and the US political parties
(Photos) New UNESCO World Heritage Sites
(Graphic) Housing by countries over time
(Infographic) History of life

To send you into the weekend from hot and muggy Cincinnati, here’s one of my favorite heat songs. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 402

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Oh my my – After 51 years as a franchise, the St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup. What an improbable and incredible run they had since January. For me, a Blues fan for 51 years, I’m stunned and elated. I loved this tribute column in a St. Louis paper.

Congratulations to tennis pro Rafael Nadal for winning the French Open for an unbelievable 12th time. Cheers to golfer Rory McElroy for winning the Canadian Open – his sixth national open win.

I think we lost many images from our recent cruise. However, I’m confident that I will have enough for a series of posts.

Hoping for a time for the next act for the Weekend Entertainment Series. Next act will be Elton John – tentatively set for Saturday, 22 June at 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

Has anyone seen Rocketman – the Elton movie?

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A citizen’s group in Ohio is considering a ballot initiative to close the gun-show loophole for gun sales without a background check. It will be interesting to see if the Republican legislature flinches.

Shortly after Joe Biden (D-DE) announced his 2020 candidacy in early April I had a list I called Biden’s Dilemma. I’m amused how much they have played out over the past two months.

President Trump recently announced a new military sale/deal with Poland that is huge and fantastic. I believe Poland is in the list of Eastern European countries with leadership leaning toward Russia.

If Fake News is not enough, at least now we have Fake Polls.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a pros and cons list regarding impeachment.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Bored 4-year-old mixes things up by watching movie she’s only seen 97 times
Area pedestrian obsessed with crossing the street
Child promised he can go right back to video game after giving dying Grandfather one last hug
Panic rapidly setting in as man realizes he has no plan for ripe avocado
Local teen invents masturbation

Interesting Reads

Real news about fake news
Building to last
Biggest disaster in music history
Robotic farmers?
Technology and service delivery
(Graphic) Retirement plan participation rate
(Photos) Beautiful Buddahist temples

To send you into the weekend, here’s another classic song I enjoy in the winter at the Flora Bama). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 401

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It’s been a tough week. My boss at the golf course had a back operation, so I took on extra hours. This week is a club event, which means extra hours. Next week is a major club event, which means more hours, plus two of my coworkers won’t be there – which means more hours. Tough – but hey – they suck it up when I vacation.

Working has cut into my blog writing and visiting; plus delaying the next Weekend Concert. Maybe the dominoes of life will align so I can announce the next concert in the next OITS.

James Holzhauer’s run on Jeopardy was interesting. Sorry to see him lose, but hey – it was bound to happen.

I’ve enjoyed watching the first four games of the Stanley Cup finals. Go Blues!

No celebration – but the next post is a milestone – # 2,200.

Marina (a blogger from Greece) and I have interacted for many years here. Although her blog has focused on her art, he’s also a very talented musician (piano is her primary instrument). She has been on a long blog break because of a work project, an art show, and more. Her recent post features a video of her art to her music. It’s wonderful. I encourage readers to visit … tell Marina I sent you.

The last post about bias sparked interesting thoughts. The Media Bias Chart I used is the version 4.0 (August 2018). The first was done in December 2016.

Earlier this week marked the anniversary of three contrasting events: 75th anniversary of D-Day, the 100th anniversary of women voting rights in the US, and the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen Square. Those three events tell quite a story.

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Really? I never knew this: “We are celebrating the anniversary, 75 years of D-Day. This is the time where we should be celebrating our president, the great achievements of America, and I don’t think the American people like the constant negativity.” (Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee)

I was disappointed earlier this week by President Trump closing the door to US citizens desiring to visit Cuba.

I continue to be astonished by the difference between what Attorney General Bill Barr says that counters the statement and report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Congress actually tried to do something good this week when several Republicans actually supported a Democratic initiative challenge President Trumps authority. However, the majority of Republican senators remained loyal to the party and spineless in their oversight responsibility.

While many complain about the way various media attack President Trump, I must do my due diligence and state the following: 1) President Trump brings his problems on himself, 2) Just because the news media is bashing on him does not mean the media is as biased as it may appear. He brings it upon himself and they are calling him out (as they should).

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides information about the most significant US trade wars.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Mood of sex dungeon undercut by sight of plug-in air freshener
Depressed monkey throwing shit at himself
Bee practically blows its load after seeing purple coneflower in full bloom
Man who has been in a bunch of buildings figures he would be a good architect
Apple CEO torn limb by limb by mob of mothers demanding to know whether iTunes gift cards still active

Interesting Reads

Eid: An Islamic festival
About the euro
Bees using plastic
Thoughts about America’s global role
Linking Irish, Catholicism, and Vaudeville
(Interactive) Take a good 11-question science quiz, and then analyze the results to demographics
(Photos) Women’s Suffrage
Photos A few D-Day landmarks 75 years later
(Video) The Pompeii of Mexico (4+ minutes)

To send you into the weekend, here’s a summer song (actually when we enjoy hearing by our favorite duo at the Flora Bama in the winter). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 400

 

Welcome to the 400th volume of Opinion in the Shorts (aka OITS). I published the first on November 25, 2008 – about 3 months after starting my little corner of the world. To celebrate the occasion, I’ve included a short self-perspective in each section.

Next milestone – Only 5 to go to post #2,200.

This section evolved into a potpourri of thoughts. Because it is more applicable and interest to wider readership, I moved this section so it can serve as a lighter opener.

The lengthy stretch of rain, storms, tornadoes, and record flooding in the central US has been devastating. For those who are able and willing to donate, I urge you to do so to the charity of your choice. Here’s a link to Charity Navigator a site rating organizations on performance, financial health, accountability, and transparency.

A few days ago, at least 18 tornadoes hit Ohio – the closest about 40 miles from me. Fortunately, the people we know in that area are OK, but others lost their homes or suffered repairable damage. FYI: Ohio typically averages 3 for the entire month of May.

After seeing images of a long line of people on the final ascent of Mount Everest, I said, “I don’t get it.”

Last week ended with a 3-day weekend for Memorial Day. The Sunday sermon by one of my pastors was one of the best I’ve ever heard about this holiday. For those interested (and having 18 minutes), click here.

I recently learned that my state (Ohio) is ranked #6 in most Bigfoot sightings. Stephen Colbert recently asked a very pertinent question – What is the plural of Bigfoot?

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This blog initially focused on sports and politics – so this section was an extension of the initial roots. For a long time, this section opened OITS.

Emphasizing improving the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was one of the reasons Democrats gained control of the House this past December. I’m still waiting, and failing to pass such a bill through the legit process (as opposed to force feeding) will work against Democrats in the 2020 election.

For the second time in a week, a House Republican blocked the passing of a disaster funding bill. One person having the ability to block a bill is one reason Congress has a low approval rating.

Bottom Line: Special Counsel Robert Mueller explained he was the fact finder, and Congress is the jury. In that light, while Democrats are foaming at the mouth aiming for political gain. Republicans are spineless, protectionists of their own kind. Then again, if the situation were reversed, the roles would be reversed. Members of both sides of the aisle march to their party-first mantra, followed by preserving their own seat. Contrary to popular opinion, “country” is no higher than third on their priority list.

Earlier this week the news reported President Trump contradicting the National Security Advisor. Hello – he not only frequently does this to his advisors and experts, he also frequently contradicts himself. No wonder he is “the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.” (Jon Voight) … but a great American orator responds

I just watched a report on CBS citing three studies/organizations supporting what I about to state.To those citing the current tornado activity as proof of climate change, to those condemning President Trump for ignoring climate change, and to those blaming Obama for everything & anything, current research shows there is currently no link between increased tornadic activity and climate change. That doesn’t mean the existence of an undiscovered link or the absence of any link. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (an “independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change”), states in their opening sentence on their page about tornadoes and climate change: The link between tornadoes and climate change is currently unclear.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a history of robocalls.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

The Onion has had a place on this blog for a long time. Long-time readers probably remember The Onion’s Satire Bits – a midweek dose of satire that ran for 134 weeks. That’s where the combo challenge started.

Showerhead self-conscious about single jet that sprays sideways
Boss encourages employees to take short mental breakdowns for every hour of work
World populace actually fine with rich people dying on Mount Everest
Businessman mortified to discover he’s been wearing suit backwards all day
Lowe’s reveals new table saw with attached ice chest for storing cut-off fingers (Click for the image)
Struggling single mother seriously considering putting baby up for audition

(My Combo) Mortified boss struggling putting self-conscious rich people on table saw

Interesting Reads

I’m not sure when this section first appeared. However, early OITS editions occasionally contained linked articles. Over time, articles switched from politics and economics to a collection of wide-ranging topics.

Linking democracy and dissatisfaction
Descartes laws of nature and theology
Getting pandas from China
About Portuguese citizenship and Jews
Virgin birth by an anaconda
(Photos) Waterfalls in black-and-white
(Photos) A collection from a river and streams theme

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one from Bonnie Raitt (since many appreciated her appearance last week). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.