Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 417

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Like much of the country, winter has arrived in Cincinnati earlier than normal – and with prolonged temperatures delivering new daily records. Brrrrrrrr ….

James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is next to take the stage for a weekend concert. Schedule: Next Saturday, 23rd November 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

I continue to enjoy going through my blog closet. On the other hand, that cupboard is on the way to being bare.

I had my first grapefruit of the new season. With still a bit of bitterness that sweeter grapefruits do not have, I’ll try again after in two weeks.

By the time 2020 starts, and era will end – the last Sears store in Cincinnati will close. Just think – they could have been the Amazon of today before Amazon was Amazon.

While crushing their most recent opponent, the Benevolent Impalers (8-2) are in a 3-way tie for first place and face one of those teams this weekend.

Finally, Sean Spicer is off Dancing With The Stars. Nothing against his political role, but he was horrible on DWTS from day 1. To his credit, he tried. Here’s another thing that gets me. On DWTS, Sean Spicer came across as a nice guy. If that is who he is, why was he such an asshole when he worked in the White House?

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Oh boy. The Ohio legislature recently passed the Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act. As a former science teacher and one interested in the interchange between science and religion, I don’t have a good feeling about this one. I simply see it as a way for religious advocates to circumvent science standards – something they could they could not get included in the standards.

For me, Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-NY) entering the Democratic race muddles the waters. Instead, I preferred he enter the presidential sweepstakes as an independent. What the heck is Deval Patrick (D-MA) thinking?

Even though the vast majority of Congressional Republicans are unapologetically supporting President Trump, here’s one Republican view that may be the most honest perspective I’ve encountered from any Republican.

For a long time and regardless of the White House occupant, there are two problems in Washington: Democrats and Republicans … and if the current dialogue regarding the current administration doesn’t verify that, nothing will. Then again, the majority of voters are partisans.

The Republican defense is very poor and pathetic – yet a sizeable percentage of voters will buy it. Sadly, much of the public doesn’t know this important point – Impeachment has nothing to do with a crime -nothing to do with criminality.

I’ve said it before and need to say it again. Impeachment is about the actions of one person – and has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Oscar Meyer, Bill Clinton, Vlad the Impaler, or Popeye the Sailor Man.  Impeachment is about President Trump’s actions. PERIOD!

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion helps readers understand the Middle East by providing a timeline of US-Syria relations.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Busboy father works hard every day to take food off table for his family
Pack members worried young wolf may be sociopath after he maul rabbit
College freshman annoyed about having to room with 47-year-old adjunct professor
Bar fight de-escalates after both parties unable to tear off t-shirts
Field Of demography collapses after 92-Year-Old woman buys Monster Energy Drink And Sweet Fusion Vape Juice
Cocky atom that started out in cosmos-shattering Supernova reduced to humble role in urine puddle

Interesting Reads

Ranked-choice balloting (Thanks Jim W)
Mexico, 500 years later
Driving a hydrogen-powered car
Redesigning high school
Cars – automatics for Americans – manuals for Europeans Why? 
Europe’s unauthorized immigrant populations
(Video) Visualizing the speed of light
(Photos) Butterflies, birds, and zebras
(Photos) Patterns that birds fly (This is fabulous)

To send you into the weekend, here’s something more contemporary than my normal choices. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 416

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Impressive concert activity last weekend with The Guess Who and friends! So many wonderful songs! Using Day 2 to transition into Bachman Turner Overdrive was perfect.

Announcing a Schedule Change: The next concert will feature The Godfather of Soul – James Brown. The date has not been finalized, but it will be either November 16th or 23rd.

Readers may recall my recent post celebrating Walktober (I featured a walk in a Cincinnati park along the river). Robin has hosted Walktober for many years, and I have proudly participated in most of them. She always ends the celebration with a post featuring all participants. I invite everyone to read it here and encourage everyone to visit other walkers – especially because this may be Robin’s last.

My fantasy Benevolent Impalers delivered a major thumping last weekend. Coupled with an upset, we are now in a 3-way tie for first at 7-2.

Speaking of football, I liked this one from The Onion. Click to see it.

This week I had jury duty in County Common Pleas Court. Tough duty – I didn’t have to report Monday, Tuesday,  and Wednesday – but got the call for Thursday – got seated – guilty – home. Well, it was a slam-dunk case that shouldn’t have gone to trial.

The voting fans have taken over Dancing With The Stars. With 50% of the score from the judges and 50% from the fans, fan voting is skewing the results. The show will either have to change the voting format or go off the air.

The handbell choir is playing a fun piece at this Sunday’s service. This piece includes many techniques, rhythms, and chimes. To listen, click here (then click the Start button).

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2019 is considered not a big election year with zero regular seats are up for grabs. However, it is an election year for Kentucky Governor. Given that Cincinnati is a border city, candidates on both sides bombarded with ads – including the Trump loyalists.

By the way, President Trump won Kentucky by over 30% in 2016, Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who is unapologetically a Trump supporter, is losing by 0.4%. Predictably, Gov. Bevin complained about “thousands” of voting irregularities. Sound familiar?

The number of of Trumpian loyalists and their fervor continues to amaze me … and they accept whatever narrative their leader uses. Also, I liked this one for a letter in the Cincinnati paper: … the president himself has succeeded in pulling Americans down to his level. Not long ago on a past issue of OITS, a reader stated (I paraphrase), If we re-elect Donald Trump, we deserve what we get.

I regularly watch CBS This Morning, but I had to use the Mute button when during the interview with Donald Trump, Jr, who was their promoting his book.

Here’s an interesting point about the 2020 presidential election. For the Democrats to win, they must 1) maintain all their 2016 states, 2) flip Pennsylvania & Wisconsin, and 3) flip one other big state as Florida or Ohio. In can be done, but every Democratic candidate may not be able to accomplish that. Meanwhile, the latest poll from The New Times & Siena College supports my thoughts.

Although I’m not in this profile of swing voters, this article is interesting.

Is the House Intelligence Committee similar to the House Ethics Committee? After all, both are oxymorons.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline of studies on the effects of red meat.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Elite preschool boasts 95% of graduates go on to kindergarten
Patron scans cocktail menu for drink with fewest unfamiliar ingredients
Exterminator composes self in driveway so kids won’t know he saw cricket die at work today
‘Ooh, Right In The Bean Bag,’ Says Wincing Surgeon Through Every Step Of Vasectomy
NYC opens $500 million decoy subway station to catch turnstile jumpers
VISA introduces new preloaded debt card

Interesting Reads

Politics and the holiday dinner table
Life in an alien ocean
Having one time zone for the whole world
From the revolutionary world of the seedless lemon
(Photos) Images of Australia’s past
(Graphic) China’s economy the past 70 years
(Photos) Pics from Mexico’s Day of the Dead

To send you into the weekend, here’s one of my all-time favorite songs. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 411

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The concert stage will be active this weekend as we transition from the King of Pop to The King. Elvis Presley will be in the building to take the stage this Saturday, 1:00 (Eastern US)

Cincinnati is in the midst of an unseasonable blast of summer. I’m ready for the transition into fall – which will happen soon.

The new season of Dancing with the Stars starts on Monday. Although I’m not acquainted with most of the participants, I’ll be watching.

Just saw the movie Blinded By The Light (trailer). Interesting, despite a slow beginning.  I would describe it as sad and inspirational – frustrating and joyful. Thumbs up!

One more week to go in my golf league. I haven’t been happy with my swing the past two years, but hey – I still enjoy the game. Meanwhile, I jumped into fantasy football for the first time in a long, long time. Trying to prove the pundits wrong because I’m currently the underdog every week! Never fear – the Benevolent Impalers won the opener!

So far, I’ve enjoyed going through my blog closet finding unfinished posts. There are more to come!

Wondering: Instead of e pluribus Unum (“one out of many”), has America became a land of prejudices based on political ideology, race, gender, sexuality, and religion/personal belief?

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As this post is published, Democratic candidates are participating in a 3-hour debate in Houston. Meanwhile, I’m counting the number of pieces in a large bag of recently shredded paper.

It’s always interesting reading and watching various perspectives of September 11 2001. That day impacted the world. That day brought much of humanity together. Outside of this statement, President Trump and 9-11 should not be used in the same sentence, same paragraph, or the same story.  That day is much more important than him, and anything about him.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides famous instances of censorship in US history.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Dog stool pretty much picked over by the time fly arrives
Distraught man still finding painful reminders of long-gone hoagie around apartment
Fashion designers announce plans to wave with both hands, bow slightly
Longtime Sleepytime Tea addict has to use 6 bags just to feel drowsy
Scholar wishes someone would refer to him as preeminent
Man overcomes fear of public urination

Interesting Reads

Antarctica’s only native insect
Something about private labels
Painter William Blake
Symbolism and the albatross
New species with a headline fitting for The Onion (at least look)
(Infographic) Your brain on beer vs. coffee
(Photos) Australian Geographic photo contest winners

To send you into the weekend, here’s an unexpected song and artist from the norm. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 338

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Carefully observers have noticed that my posting has been a bit erratic and my responding to comments has been very slow. This has been primarily due to the time spent working on the situation of an out-of-town aunt. Thanks to all for being patient, understanding, and caring.

Phase 2 (of 3) in preparing an aunt’s house for sale is complete – so 3+ hour trips should not be as numerous as we enter Phase 3. Phase 2 was definitely the most critical and the most time-consuming .. and we proudly check that box!

I’m hoping November will be better for blogging (visiting and posting) than October.

A milestone: I’ve started the process of receiving Social Security and Medicare.

Blink Cincinnati was an unbelievable success. Hopefully several posts in the future.

Readers here know I enjoy posting about murals in Cincinnati – primarily the ones by ArtWorks. Here’s an article from the New York Times about public art. Thanks Raye!

It’s possible that the song below is the hardest handbell piece our choir has ever played. Our one-shot performance is approaching, so time will tell. “Mixed meter” is a musical term for a piece with different time signatures within the piece. This piece (the one we are playing) changes timing over 75 times. Now that plays havoc on my nerves.

Because this weekend marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, two related articles are in this week’s Interesting Reads.

This season of Dancing With the Stars continues to surprise me. Actor Jordan Fisher and musician Lindsey Stirling have been exceptional. Television personality Vanessa Lachey continues to shine. Actor Frankie Muniz, wrestler Nikki Bella, ESPN’s Victoria Arlen are solid, while Property Brother Drew Scott and athlete Terrell Own continue to improve.

Contrary to some partisans, the situation involving scumbag Harvey Weinstein is not a political issue.

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A tip of the cap to Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA for at least trying to develop a bipartisan agreement regarding the Affordable Care Act – even co-sponsored by 24 senators. Another proposal from a bipartisan group on the House side faces similar obstacles: a group representing slightly less than 10% of the House of Representatives.

I have no problem with a Congressional committee investigating the sale of US uranium mines to Russians ONCE – not over and over – not as a dragged-on affair trying to find something that isn’t – not as a political witch hunt.

I liked this question regarding North Korea and nuclear weapons: Would you rather live with North Korea having nuclear weapons or have thousands killed in the name of stopping North Korea from having weapons?

After 9 months in office, President Trump uses the following strengths to lead the country: bolivating, exaggerating, lying, blaming, defecting, distorting, denying, ignoring, fabricating, and dividing. Cheers to this CNN commercial about two popular fruits.

Erick Erickson is definitely a conservative, but I appreciate his words about the way President Trump is reacting to the crisis in Puerto Rico.

But sometimes the President should be Presidential and getting in the mud is not. The people of Puerto Rico are hungry, thirsty, homeless, and fearful. They won’t hear a lot about President Trump’s twitter fight and it won’t matter to him because they cannot participate in the Electoral College. It should matter to all of us though that the President is so willing to get in the mud and fight back when the mayor and everyone else in Puerto Rico need our empathy and compassion. Sometimes the President just does not need to dial-up the jackass and sometimes he does not need to be defended.

Cheers to recent comments by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ) for having the guts to call it like it is. Then again, that’s a meager minority.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for organizing a protest.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
New evidence reveals Pythagoras wrote dozens of unhinged conspiracy theories about triangles
Romantic gesture too expensive to waste on current girlfriend
Nation demands more slow-motion footage of running basset hounds
Article nauseous from constant scrolling
Self-conscious panda swears it overheard zookeeper refer to it as “Giant”
Historians discover meditation spread from Ancient China by annoying monk who wouldn’t shut up about how it changed his life

Interesting Reads
Martin Luther and Literacy
Robots and ethics: teachable?
Odd pet behaviors
Historical aspects of doughnuts
Martin Luther’s impact
(Photos) British Press Photographer Awards

For your weekend entertainment, hooray for an early contribution from the Fab Four. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Rumba

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Some say Rum’-ba, others say Room’-bah – some spell it as Rumba, others Rhumba.

Real interest in Latin music began about 1929. In the late 1920’s, Xavier Cugat formed an orchestra specializing in Latin American music.

Some dances accentuate the relationship between a man and woman. Rumba is a woman’s dance as she uses her rhythmic, sultry moves to charm her partner. Yep, Rumba is foreplay by dance with the woman controlling the signals.

Rumba first appeared in Cuba during the 1880s as an energetic dance that was a blend of Spanish, West Indian, and African cultures.

It’s initial lewd nature caused it to be restricted to private events.

Forerunner dances of Rumba are Son, Danzon, Guagira, Guaracha, and Naningo. In the 1940’s, Son was a popular dance of middle-class Cubans while Danzon was the dance of wealthy Cubans. Today’s American Rumba is a modified version of Son.

Although Lew Quinn and Joan Sawyer introduced Rumba (the dance) to Americans in 1913, it was a movie of the same name that caused promoted the dance to many – Rumba (1935) starring George Raft and Carol Lombard.

Monsieur Pierre and Doris Lavelle popularized Rumba in Europe during the 1930s – which helped Rumba become a competitive dance in 1955.

Today, Rumba is a popular competitive and social ballroom dance.

The match between the musical rhythms and the body expression of the dancers make Rumba one of the most popular ballroom dances throughout the world.

American-style basics

  • Music: Repeatable 4-beat pattern in 4-beat music
  • Pattern: slow (2 beats), quick (1-beat), quick (1-beat)
  • Steps: Short, compact
  • Hips: Expressive hip motion called Cuban motion

Basic Rumba box step …

… and the basic box with Cuban motion.

Rumba styles today include American ballroom, International ballroom, Cuban, Catalan, Flamenco, African, Yambú, Guaguancó, and Columbian. In general, differences are based on choreography and the music’s tempo.

Night Club-Two Step and Bolero are different dances, but actually variations of rumba

As a “dance of romance”, polished Rumba is a beautiful dance.

… and we end with a Dancing With the Stars version of rumba.

Any thoughts? Which videos did you watch? Have you danced Rumba? Do you think you could learn?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 317

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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.

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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

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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. 303

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Explore post this weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend. The first is a leftover from Act 7 that certainly is a crowd please … and the second is a song from a legendary rock star. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.