On Blog Break Spring 2019

Yes – it’s that time again. A time for a blog break. After all, you know my mantra – blog breaks are good. Because of the respect I have for my readers, I prefer announcing my absence. This time I expect 4-8 weeks. This post is just a collection of random thoughts before Blog Break.

I will be staying away from blogging for most of the time, but I probably will work on future posts. You may see my presence shortly after this and slightly before I return.

Golf league starts in about 5-6 weeks – so, I should get the clubs out of the basement.

Cheers to Dale for her maitre ‘d work at the concerts. However, I know she’s very busy at this time, so the blog break gives her a break. This video is for her.

 

Speaking of the concerts, I’m considering scaling back the concerts to the first and third weekends (instead of every weekend). Your thoughts?

March Madness will be in full swing this week. Personally, no team with a losing record in conference should NOT be in the tournament unless they win the conference tournament. These teams should do bump smaller schools. It’s that simple. UC is in the dance, but I don’t expect much – so the bottom line for me is ABK … Anybody But Kentucky.

Bummer: We had a 10-day tour scheduled for late June into early July going Seattle to Glacier National Park and back. The company cancelled the tour. 😦 …. and we already had non-refundable airfare tickets. Now we have to go somewhere and back by mid-November to use the credited dollars on Southwest Airlines.

I’m a few days into temporary bachelorhood as it’s time for my wife’s girls cruise (that is, the guys aren’t allowed). For me, that means dance when I can! When people ask me what I do for a week, my response is simple: 1) Whatever I want, 2) Whenever I want.

 

My heart sank at the news about the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand. Pauline, my favorite Kiwi, is a regular here – and my support is with her and her nation – yet I also feel helpless.

I’ve got the feeling the Mueller Report will come out during my absence. Oh well, I still believe it will not meet the expectations of Democrats, so it will also be a relief to Republicans who will also sidestep important points.

I stated this line before about President Trump and continue to use it. “He’s a pathetic person and even worse leader; plus he brings most of his problems on himself.” Some say I’m not harsh enough. Yes – it’s tame – but countering it is difficult because it is not threatening.

As I head into Blog Break, here’s a song that I greatly enjoy. From The Greatest Showman, “A Million Dreams”. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 396

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Because we couldn’t rehearse while in Alabama, last Sunday we had a chance to listen to our handbell choir play a wonderful song for Lent. (Plus, the group played very well.) To listen to In the Wilderness (Jason Krug), click here, and then find the Listen button (after the opening paragraph that is worth reading), then click Listen. Warning: It’s over 6 minutes, but it can serve as background music for those interested.

The Weekend Concert Series returns this Saturday with Carole King taking the stage at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Regarding the concerts, tradition is that I limit comments to one song per person. However, a little known fact is that commenters can return on Day 2 (Sunday) to add more songs.

Did anyone watch the Aretha Franklin tribute show on CBS last Sunday night? We did – and enjoyed it.

OITS number 400 is approaching … and visit number 400,000 is in sight (possibly this summer).

Attention Costco shoppers. From Money magazine – If you spend $3000 per year at Costco, upgrading to an Executive Member will pay for itself and may make save you even more. Once we learned we were passing on money, we upgraded. After all, we love Costco.

Have you ever taken a DNA test as Ancestry DNA or 23andMe?

Last week we sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time (DST). Two US states (Arizona and Hawaii) do not join the fun. Several other states are considering doing the same while several others are considering making DST permanent.

Cheers to the US Women’s Soccer Team seeking equal pay with their men’s counterpart. With Wimbledon tennis approaching, should men and women receive the same winnings when men must win three sets per match while women two?

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AOC is made it known that moderates are not welcome. Nothing like pushing away potential voters. Just because I’m anti-Trump does not mean voting for the Democratic candidate is automatic. So thank you AOC, the odds of Dems getting my vote in 2020 has fallen to 10%.

Now would this be an interesting Democratic presidential ticket for a bumper sticker: Hickenlooper-Buttigieg

President Trump referred Apple CEO Tim Cook as Tim Apple. To me, a simple slip of the tongue. That’s something we’ve all done. However, President Trump is so arrogant, he can’t even admit a responsibility on something like this. Instead, he favored an explanation that is pathetic and senseless: “I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words.”

Presidential Weekly Summary: Build the wall. No collusion. Witch hunt. Lock her up. Fake news. I feel badly for Paul Manafort. Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, here’s something different. Viareggio is a popular respite by the sea on Tuscany’s west coast. Actually close to my family. Carnevale di Viareggio is a popular annual event. Let’s just say this event displays a bit of satire. For those who dare, watch a four-minute video here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Baby feels foolish after realizing stranger waving at toddler next seat over
Limited-edition Russet potato comes with letter of authenticity
Washing machine loses man’s trust
Woman nervous for boyfriend to meet person she becomes around parents
Aging Mount St. Helen’s beginning to think erupting days are behind it
Scientists pinpoint part of brain all hairs grow out of

Interesting Reads

Women and World War II
Thinking about plastics
A bit about stupidity
A view of polarized America
Life beyond Earth?
(Graphic) A graphic worth thinking about
(Photos) Rio’s carnival celebration
(Video) Chile’s marble cathedral in a cave

To send you into the weekend, a duet that didn’t appear at the last concert. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 395

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The Weekend Concert Series returns this Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US) with Aretha Franklin – The Queen of Soul!!!!

What timing! This Sunday night (9 PM Eastern US), CBS is broadcasting a special tribute to Aretha!

Five more OITS until number 400.

Sad to hear the news about baseball great Tom Seaver having dementia. When he played in Cincinnati, he lived in a condo on a golf course I worked at in the summer. He was very appreciative when I told him that when people asked me where he lived, I always lied. The man was a great pitcher. Wishing him and his family much strength.

Thanks to Holly @ House of Heart for leading me to this awesome poem about Tango.

Ever ask yourself this question: “Why did I agree to do that?” Well, our dance instructor asked me if I would do a showcase dance with another partner. (My wife doesn’t dance performances). With my wife’s approval, I agreed – but of all things – Quickstep! Fast and not only of my better dances. YIKES! … OK – head to the grindstone.

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With more and more Democrats seeking to be the 2020 party nominee for president, I wonder who will be the first to leave the race. Too bad Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) decided not to enter the fray.

I have mixed feelings about the Democrats decision to bypass FOX News for their debates.

This remains my best explanation of President Trump: He’s a pathetic person and an even worse leader who brings the majority of problems onto himself.

Presidential Weekly Summary: Build the wall. No collusion. Witch hunt. Lock her up. Fake news. Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion has a guide to blockchain technology.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man in rental car spends 20 minutes trying to find the steering wheel
Demonic spirit claws way out of Hell to flicker lights, throw some silverware around
Sperm can’t remember why it came into womb
Cursed ghost ship offers free room and board to anyone willing to join their eternally damned crew
God purges millions of souls from heaven now that sexual assault taken more seriously

Interesting Reads

Americans and Germans diverging thoughts
Travel pattern of text messages
Finding aliens
Politics and Dr. Seuss
Daring WW II raids
(Video) 5-minute history of the Internet in China
(Photos) Cherry blossoms
(Photos) Finalists Smithsonian Magazine photo contest

To send you into the weekend, the great response last week means another one from Linda Ronstadt. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 394

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Fleetwood Mac delivered a great show at last weekend’s aFa Weekend Concert. Reminder – no concert this weekend – but it returns next weekend with the Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin!

Due to a hectic personal schedule, I’m unsure about the timing of the next post.

With baseball spring training in progress, 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Cincinnati Reds franchise – the oldest in Major League Baseball.

As a whole, the dress on Oscars night disappointed me enough to mention it here. Actually, many were head scratchers, but thumbs up to Amy Adams, Constance Wu, Tina Fey, Amandla Stenberg, Regina King, Jennifer Lopez, and Julia Roberts.

I imagine most readers here are not familiar with Sister Rose Ann Fleming – so a Cincinnati legend, so this is a good story.

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With the final Mueller report seemingly being on the near horizon, my skeptic side feels the narratives are already established – therefore, changing nothing with the Democratic narrative and the Republican narrative are set. The unknown question is how will voters react? Then again, by the time November 2020 arrives, will voters even remember?

I normally don’t read columns by Marc Thiessen (Washington Post) because of his partisan nature. However, something compelled me to read this one, and I smiled.

A friend asked me if I thought Joe Biden could beat Donald Trump in November 2020. I said YES, but added I’m not sure he can get the Democratic nomination.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion looks back at the biggest Oscar snubs in history.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Teen on verge of either joining ISIS or getting super into rollerblading
Unclear why stagehand wrote heartfelt little notes to everyone in cast
Poor attendance at intervention a wake-up call
Bouncer who is not that big must be crazy
Chef makes hamburger

Interesting Reads

The US-EU trade war with olives
Evolution and humans drinking milk
Fats Domino
A Holocaust story
Verona + gnocchi = gnocchio
Correlating personal happiness and leisure time
(Photos) Iconic views
(Photos) Elton John through the years

To send you into the weekend, let’s go back to the time of Linda Ronstadt. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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.

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. 390

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Another huge weekend concert last week, so many thanks to everyone. Neil Diamond takes the stage this Saturday at 1: 00 AM (Eastern US).

Last week’s concert made my morning crazy. I awakened to many interactions (that made me smile) – and they kept coming and coming. Given comments and likes, I received over 150 emails before 8 AM. Fortunately for me, I’m process oriented, so I systematically got it to a manageable point.

For those wondering, there is not a pecking order for the concert series. All will be stars, so do not expect to see Rocco Flamefart and the Ultimate Deathtrip Chinese Icebox Jug Band. However, some concerts may feature multiple artists.

This just hit me – 10 more editions of this feature will be the 400th.

This week’s podcasts

  • This American Life (thanks Merril) – One about immigration and the other about walls
  • A Thousand Things to Talk About (Thanks Jim) – daily short segments on a variety of topics
  • Seven Minute Opinions – These are right up my alley

For temporary relief from lousy weather, we went to the theater for The Upside. With about (we think) 30 minutes remaining in the movie, a fire alarm caused everyone to evacuate the theater. Oh well … we will figure a way to see the ending.

One can easily think this next bit of information is from The Onion; but it’s not. KFC is introducing (in test markets) a new sandwich – a chicken sandwich with a Cheetos sauce and a layer of Cheetos. Here’s the article. Interesting, but not for me.

Just finished reading The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (Madeleine Albright, 2006). Now that’s a complex topic – so I’ll post about it later. For now, I can say Thumbs Up to those who would be interested.

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I smiled this week when I heard the reactions to former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz possible independent presidential. The reactions to warned against such a move when help, if not ensure, President Trump’s re-election.

The government has reopened for 3 weeks. This process is an embarrassment and a joke. I don’t think President Trump will repeat the mistake; however, because the man thinks he’s king and he lack of understanding of how government works, his big ego and thick skull will declare a national emergency, which will lead to a legal battle and more embarrassment.

As a result of a proposition vote in California and the immigration crisis it faced in the mid-1990s, I stumbled across this interesting quote.

“There is simply no time to lose. Too many people are still able to illegally cross our borders and too few states, most notably California, carry the burden of having to support, educate, and often incarcerate, the hundreds of thousands who enter this country illegally each year. Ladies and gentlemen, let me say to you what I, honest to God, believe is the truth. If we cannot affect sound, just, and moderate controls, the people of America will rise to stop all immigration. I am as sure as that as I am that I’m standing here now.” (Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, sometime mid-1990s)

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains the truths and myths of taxes in America.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Guest roster assembled for surprise birthday reveals minimal understanding of girlfriend’s social circle
Marine biologists train highly intelligent octopus to profitably manage mid-size aluminum goods supplier
Self-conscious puppet has no idea what to do with hands
A team of archaeologists discovered pile of bones labeled ‘The Last Of The Bones’
Man losing respect for incompetent boss who won’t fire him
The CDC issues a nationwide recall on all Salmonella
Older cafeteria monitor not a teacher or parent or anything

(My combo: Salmonella surprises self-conscious archaeologists with guest octopus) 

Interesting Reads

Rage in America
Priorities of the US public … for now
Reflecting with Smokey Robinson
Looking back at Jackie Robinson
Disappeared warships
Italy’s complete food – a cheese
A Cincinnati story about a Holocaust survivor
Happy Birthday Periodic Table
(Graphic) 200 years of stock market sectors
(Photos) Murals in London’s East End

To send you into the weekend, this happened 50 years ago earlier this week. The Beatles last performance. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.