Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 319

Ohio lost a native son who was a statesman an American hero at age 95. John Glenn is one of the original Mercury astronauts who became the first American to orbit our planet, then went on to be a respected US Senator representing my state for 4 terms, a presidential candidate, the oldest person in space, a fighter pilot, and all around good guy. In the famous words spoken by fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter just before Glenn’s historic launch, “Godspeed, John Glenn.”

The Kennedy Center Honors event was recently held, so mark your calendars for the televised event – Tuesday, December 27th, 9-11 pm (Eastern US) on CBS. To me, it’s one of the best entertainment shows of the year.

The demands on the handbell choir during the holiday season continues this weekend. Veni (by Jason Krug) is an interesting twist on a popular carol … just click to listen.

Despite President Obama’s effort, I overcame his obstacles and found my Spumoni ice cream.

Some of you may remember the use of wine corks in our home. Meanwhile, this 1+ minute video offers some clever uses for wine corks.

Even though we didn’t know any of the songs from the musical, we watched Hairspray Live. We were surprised by the quality of Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough’s voice. Jennifer Hudson and Kristen Chenoweth delivered impressive performances.

I’m still getting some hours at the golf course; therefore causing me to wonder about the ones playing on cold days.

I worry about the Bengals playing the winless Browns this weekend.

President-Elect Trump talks about unifying a divided America, yet several of his Cabinet nominees promote division.

Early in the week I heard only bits of an interview that I imagine I would have greatly enjoyed hearing it in its entirety. I found the author’s 3 categories of voters quite amusing: Hobbits, Hooligans, and Vulcans. Here’s a book review.

The fake news story and the subsequent event about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a popular Washington pizza restaurant was too weird on multiple levels.

A tip of the cap to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) 7-minute tribute from the Senate floor to Vice-President Joe Biden (D-DE). See it here.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominations
Ridership of Cincinnati’s new streetcar being less than projected
Tiger Woods not winning his return tournament
Republicans being divided on what to do with the Affordable Care Act
Possibility of Kim and Kanye divorcing

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, here’s an actual headline from The New Yorker that is very Onion-esque: Ben Carson warns that the Bible makes no mention of housing or urban development … that is just too good because President-elect Trump selected Dr. Carson to be in his cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Banana still most popular fruit for pretending to make a phone call
Broken ornament relegated to lonely existence on side of tree facing wall
Divorced friend burning through hobbies at unsustainable rate
Man had no idea cough was going to be a wet one
Oprah purists prefer original British version

Interesting Reads
Pearl Harbor myths?
Magic mushrooms
A look back at the first Rocky movie
Life under the ice
(Video) Black hole eating a galaxy
(Photos) Images capturing beauty across Great Britain

Here’s a 2-fer to lead you into the weekend: hits from two recent Kennedy Center Honors recipients. 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. 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. 316

Last weekend we saw a good movie thriller – The Accountant. Thumbs up!

The season finale for Dancing with the Stars is next week. No question, gymnast Laurie Hernandez and racer James Hinchcliffe are the best dancers of the finalists … but anything can happen.

My heart sank when I heard the news about Leonard Cohen, especially for so many Canadians who loved him.

The months of November and December are typically demanding months for handbell choirs, and our choir is no exception. This piece delivers a lot of energy, so enjoy Toccata on King’s Weston arranged by the young man directing this choir. Note: I like watching the four players on the front row closest to the camera.

I’m looking forward to the Kennedy Center Honors telecast in late December. The 2016 honorees are Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, musical group the Eagles, actor Al Pacino, singer Mavis Staples, and musician James Taylor

Headlines from a story in China (not The Onion): Baby monkey befriends a herd of goats (The story)

Here’s a short, humorous read describing capitalism from different global viewpoints. This is definitely amusing.

Slogans as “change” or “drain the swamp” are shallow. After all, not only do the slogans continue to happen, so does this – victors bring in experience people to bring on a different version of the status quo.

Republicans declaring the election results as “a mandate” bothers me. After all, not only did Mr. Trump not receive more than 50% of the votes, he didn’t receive the most votes. Then again, a mandate-approach is equivalent to providing enough rope.

Retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a bill to abolish the Electoral College. A question: Were the candidates trying to get the most electoral votes or the total national vote? Sen. Boxer, thank you for your years of service, but it’s time to quietly move into retirement.

Dr. Ben Carson has declined a cabinet position because (to quote his spokesperson) “he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency.” Yikes! … This guy ran for the Republican presidential nomination !

Confusion? Donald Trump has the job as President-Elect and Billy Bush doesn’t have a job.

In the name of full disclosure, I searched for and found a quote in preparation for Donald Trump and his supporters challenging the election results. For whatever reason, I didn’t delete it – and it turned out to be very applicable to many Clinton supporters. It seems many seem to prefer finger-pointing over reflection. Besides the violence from the fringe, others have blamed the election results on the FBI Director, the media, the Founding Fathers for the Electoral College process, the uneducated, the lack of voter turnout by Hispanics and African-Americans, and more … while conveniently forgetting that it’s Obama’s fault.😉 On to the applicable quote.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new President-elect and do everything possible to help him bring Americans together in fulfillment of the great vision that our Declaration of Independence defines and that our Constitution affirms and defends. (Al Gore, 2000)

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Low gasoline prices
The Cincinnati Bengals lousy record during prime-time games
Latest earthquake in New Zealand
Differences between Chicago and New York pizza
Difficulty finding Spumoni ice cream

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion lists lessons America can learn from the recent election.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Holding trophy above head still number 1 celebration technique
Matt Damon appears fully nude for first time in local man’s imagination
Incoming class of Subway trainees spend week practicing on sandwich cadavers
Accidentally closing browser with 23 tabs open presents rare chance at new life
Empty inner tube ominously exits mouth of lazy river
Mom learns about new vegetable

Interesting Reads
The brain and bad decisions
Black female figures of western art
Dangerous times for the world’s coconuts
50 years ago: McCarty’s fake death
(Photos) Australia’s wild wild west

To lead you into the weekend, here’s a tribute to Leonard Cohen. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Wondering

With Election Day 2016 in the rearview mirror, I sit on the edge of a canyon and stare into the vastness.

I see a divided nation separated by the canyon with steep wall … without a bridge, and no plan for a bridge, or even another bridge to nowhere … and I wonder …

I wonder about loud beating drums of the partisans as the yell and demand their self interests.

I wonder about the existence of common ground … and if it exists, can it be found?

I wonder if reconciliation is possible.

I wonder about the intersection of civility, grace, and humility with hate, sexism, bigotry, and disrespect

I wonder about if acceptance, respect, listening, and working together toward solution is possible.

I wonder about the similarities and differences between a President Trump and Candidate Trump.

I wonder if Republicans can govern and the response by the Democrats as they move left.

I wonder about the messages from the voices that aren’t heard.

I wonder about the solutions that favor one side or the other, the solutions that are a blend of both, and the solutions that are outside the framework of all partisans.

I wonder how a President Trump will deal with his worst enemy – himself.

I wonder if  the intent of “unifying” actually means just follow.

I wonder about the effects of one-party rule during tumultuous times.

I wonder if civility is a shared value.

I wonder how long Trump supporters will continue to give him a free pass because “not her” isn’t a good excuse.

I wonder who really cares and why.

I wonder about the uneasy feeling within me about the future.

I wonder about a changing world that is changing more rapidly than ever.

I simply wonder.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 315

So far, the plays we’ve seen while ushering have been enjoyable. Definitely a variety of styles.

If it’s not already, Cincinnati will soon be in the national news because the jury is deliberating a case involving a police office shooting an unarmed black male.

Photo Credit: Andrew Evans

Photo Credit: Andrew Evans

The handbell piece we played last weekend was very well received. Here it is again.

My Italian cousin Gino has a good sense of humor. At dinner my cousins were asking us about chefs in America. After showing Gino this picture of Giada de Laurentiis, he raised his eyebrows, paused, then said, “Do you think she will cook for me and wash my underwear?”

I’ve made limoncello, orangecello, meloncello, gingercello, and basilcello. For this holiday season, I’m making cranberry-orangecello. It’s in the extraction phase at the moment, so I hope to have it ready for sampling when the family gathers for Thanksgiving (November 24th). For those who want to make limoncello, click here for my recipe.

I recently heard this story. Two guys hired a cab to pick them up, take them to a specific address, wait, then return them home. After the complete trip, the two passengers refused to pay – so the cab driver called the police to report not only the failure to pay, but the fact the two guys committed a robbery at a specific address and were now at a designated address. Book ‘em, Danno, and then give them a Darwin Award.

This column about the election by a local sports columnist is worth the read.

The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Editorial Board offered these words: “This is a time to respect the will of the people and find a way to move forward as a nation. This is a time for civility. There’s been too much vitriol on both sides, and Americans must learn how to talk to each other again, treating fellow citizens with respect regardless of their differences. Without question, Trump was the more appealing candidate to the darker forces among us, but it would be a grave mistake to paint all – or even a majority with the same “deplorable” brush. … This is a time for healing …. This is a time for change and moving past the same old cynical politics …. This is a time for reflection …. We should all want President-elect Trump to succeed, just as we should all have wanted the same for President Barack Obama. That’s what patriotism means. That’s the key for finding our way again as a country.”

In a related note, I’m very proud of the readers here for many reasons – including the civil tone on my post following the election (the previous post). Thanks to all.

“Repeal and replace” is going to be a common phrase in the months ahead. There will be a time when we start hearing actual proposals. If we hear the insurance industry squealing about a proposal, that may be the one to use.

News of children in a Michigan school chanting “Build a wall” to Latino students is disturbing.

Some Things that Concern Me (listed in increasing importance)

  • Democrats acting like Republicans
  • The Nincompoop getting a cabinet position
  • A Republican Congress proclaiming a mandate, thus shoving an agenda down everyone’s throat
  • The loud, obnoxious portion of the electorate thinking they are in control
  • Ted Cruz on the Supreme Court

Now that the election is over, it’s time to return to the Supreme Court vacancy. Too bad the Republican Senate who proclaimed the Biden Rule aren’t following it. I was hoping for a divided government between the Senate and the White House so we could play a game of Last Judge Standing! Therefore, no nominees until the court is completely vacant …. Damn the results!

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Hillary Clinton losing
A ganglion cyst returning to my leg
Sharna’s injury on Dancing With the Stars
Cleveland Browns not winning a game yet (but they are playing at the time of this post)
Donald Trump winning

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for handling social anxieties.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Winning lottery numbers obvious in hindsight
Woman worried she’s doing bad job enjoying massage
New premium Uber service lets users commandeer any car
Bungled Apocalypse causes light drizzle over southern Ohio
Man praying job interviewer doesn’t ask any questions

Interesting Reads
Escape from Syria in a wheelchair
Successes in Finnish education
A different look at historic Route 66
Sightseer’s guide to Mars
Poverty and parties from Brookings with a state-by-state drop-down menu at the end.
The Beatles Final Concert
3-D printing and prosthetics
(Photos) Glasgow’s mural trail

To lead you into the weekend, here’s a popular oldie. Besides, I mentioned it in the Interesting Reads. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Aftermath

It’s over … finally …. the longest campaign season in history is finally over! Below is a collection of immediate thoughts.

I never thought Donald Trump would get the nomination, let alone win … but he did. I not only accept the results, I accept the fact that I missed it on both counts.

Although I’m surprised he won, I’m not surprised she lost.

Yesterday I told a friend that if we knew before 10 pm, it would be an easy victory for Mrs. Clinton … but the longer it went into the night, advantage Mr. Trump … and about 9 pm I knew she was in trouble.

Her not speaking to supporters with a concession speech bothers me … and for some reason, I’m not surprised.

I took heat from a few partisans for my hope of divided government. Because they preferred all or nothing, a side of me is now smiling.

The Republican-led Senate proclaimed the Biden Rule regarding the Supreme Court vacancy, but now I don’t expect them to follow it.

The results do make me wonder about many things. I will continue to ponder, and time will tell what happens. After all, over-reaction is seldom a good idea.

Because the election is rigged, will he immediately step down? … Hey … someone had to ask!🙂

I’ve always believed that the USA and its framework is stronger than any one person.

I’ve said on many occasions that if the president is successful, then the country is successful. Although I didn’t vote for him and casted a vote much more against him (than for her), I wish him well with hopes he governs toward the center. Although I expect to disagree with some (maybe even many) of his decisions and many (if not most) actions by the Republican Congress, it’s time to move on.

I’m extremely thankful for the end of the political ads! … and besides (as I can’t resist) all this is Obama’s fault.😉