Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 352

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Thanks to those participating in the IF Challenge. It was a spontaneous idea that was worth doing. Poems, reflections, and a short story provide good reading! I’ll keep the challenge page (tab) up at least until mid-week.

  • A special toast to the two non-regulars here who joined the fun!
  • A tip of the hat to Dale and Merril whose posts brought along a few others.
  • Special thanks to Dale for interacting with commenters!

If all goes as planned, my Tuesday night post is another meager attempt at fiction. As some say, write about what you know.

Here’s a worthy 30 seconds – Fiona in a Super Bowl commercial! … but I think it only ran locally.

Last week I mentioned Lachey’s – a local sports bar/eatery owned by Nick and Drew Lachey – a few days later they announced its closing.

I’m hoping to have another BLINK post this weekend – well, if I finalize it.

Congratulations Philadelphia Eagles and their fans on winning the Super Bowl.

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The US stock market had a tough week – but after predictably taking credit for the gains, President Trump predictably remained quiet.

Last week I stated why I don’t the State of the Union. This Los Angeles Times column made a lot of sense to me.

Although I didn’t watch the SOTU, I know enough not to believe this description of the speech: The SOTU was moving. It was reasonable. It was bipartisan. And it worked. (Mark Thiessen, Washington Post) … After all, in his Cincinnati speech this week he referred to Democrats as “un-American” and “treasonous”- and said it with conviction!

Not that there’s a shortage of strange quotes from President Trump, but I like this head scratcher; “Now we fulfilled far more promises than we promised.”

… and this one from his Cincinnati speech: “I am non-braggadocious.” (Yep – Everyone already knew President Trump is not boastful and arrogant.)

I yield to a great American orator.

President Trump has smart lawyers. Considering his propensity for lying and contradiction, their recommendation to not meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller because of a perjury fear is sound – and unfortunate.

The current criticism of Justice Department agencies is both dangerous and hyperpartisan – and then I see this head-shaking assessment of U.S. Attorneys.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides step-by-step instructions on how to run a successful crowd-funding campaign.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Minneapolis shocked to discover thousands of Super Bowl attendees left without seeing rest of city
American Airlines announces it will no longer try to match seatmates by interests
Determined circle of friends diligently traces back how they got onto this conversation topic
Oxiclean reveals new stain-removing fabric scissors
Popsicle reintroduces beloved “Plain” flavor
Local goose finally lands spot at tip of ‘V’

Interesting Reads
Life magazine … in Afghanistan?
Wealth, status, and an insect
Pizza instead of cereal
Fossils and spiders
Journey across Antarctica
(Images) 15 photos of Queen Elizabeth II through the years

To send you into the weekend, a touch of soul whose title describes the current US government. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 351

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Challenge Update: I will publish my post on Tuesday 6 February at 9 PM (Eastern US) … challenge participants publish after that and link to that post.

On the early morning of this week’s Super Blue Moon’s eclipse, Cincinnati had many clouds. A friend of mine (who is south for the winter) told me that he watched the shadowed moon fade away behind the horizon, then turned around to watch the sunrise over the opposite horizon only several minutes later.

Cincinnati has a unique food battle going on – a Burger Battle of the Boy Bands. In short, Nick Lachey (98 Degrees), is a Cincinnatian, plus he and his brother (Drew) have a restaurant. A few blocks away is Wahlburgers, owned by the Wahlbergs (Donnie was in New Kids on the Block). Here’s an article about the battle.

This weekend is the Super Bowl – big deal. We’ll probably have the game on, but without any festivities. Personally, I hope the Eagles win.

PS: More BLINK posts this weekend.

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I knew before making the decision that I would be missing the most unbelievable, the greatest, the most-watched ever State of the Union (SOTU) speech – but I continued my streak of avoiding the occasion because I hate watching the behaviors of our elected officials. Stay seated and remain quiet during the speech seems like such a small, yet reasonable request.

The SOTU is the US President delivering an annual Constitutional obligation. Although I don’t watch, I support it. On the other hand, I despise the fact opposing party have a rebuttal. The record clearly shows I also didn’t support the Republicans rebuttal after President Obama’s SOTU – and yep – I don’t support the Democrats doing the same. SOTU is the President’s address to Congress and the nation … PERIOD.

If I would have watched the SOTU, these bingo cards would have made the event more fun.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides an infographic about the myths and facts about Dreamers and the Dream Act.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman apologizes to therapist for monopolizing conversation
New acne-free treatment ships teens to remote island for remainder of puberty
Perfect girlfriend blames self for everything
Flustered mathematician unable to recommend good number
Brad Pitt stumbles across old cardboard box with Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in it

Interesting Reads
Europe’s earliest written language?
Dark money and politics
About the Cincinnati murals
The contradictions of Gaudi
Demographics, America, and the future
Anti-evolution in India
(Graphic) World’s most nutritious foods
(Photos) National Geographic’s Best Adventure Photos of 2017

To send you into the weekend, here’s one of my favorites by John Mellencamp. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Trumpian Nostradamus 2

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Being that enough readers understood my first set of predictions about the Trump Administration for 2018, I went back to the crystal ball to see if I could find 10 more prognostications. Here’s the scoop.

1) President Trump negotiates a peace and economic agreement with North Korea; therefore avoid nuclear war. At the joint signing session, he embraces Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un while eating a taco bowl from the Trump Tower Grill and proclaims this agreement to be the greatest deal in the history of human existence. Kim Jong-un also announces an agreement to bring a Trump Tower Grill to Pyongyang.

2) President Trump unites the United States and China by building the greatest bridge in recorded history that joins Seattle and Shanghai. Because everyone knows he can build things, he will call it the Trump Bridge for Humanity, then proclaim it as the greatest architectural and engineering feat in human history that will never be outdone.

3) President Trump supports the final report issued by Special Counsel Investigation led by Robert Mueller. After lauding Mueller and his team, President Trump pardons everyone involved including himself, and invites all pardonees to enjoy celebratory taco bowl from the Trump Tower Grill.

4) President Trump ends Russia-US tensions by negotiating the most unbelievable deal in modern history as he becomes the first person ever to lead two independent countries at the same time. Known in Russia as Czar Genius, he proclaims Vladimir Putin to be the head of all oligarchs in Russia, primary advisory, and Global Ambassador.

5) President Trump negotiates an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The deal – a really big fantastic deal for both sides – something no US president has ever been able to do – actually the best deal ever for not only the Middle East, but for the world.

6) President Trump buys 3 failing media outlets: CNN, Washington Post, and New York Times – and vows to turn them into the biggest and greatest news organizations that will only reports real news.

7) President Trump scraps the Iran Nuclear deal because it was Obama’s fault – but then renegotiates a much better, more fair deal – actually an unbelievable deal – the best deal that Iran has ever seen – a deal that also includes building a Trump Tower in Tehran – and yes, it includes the Trump Tower Grill so Iranians can eat the world-renown Taco Bowl.

8) After taking credit for no deaths from commercial plane crashes in 2017, President Trump blames President Obama for a recent plane crash.

9) President Trump announces that he will build a wall along the southern US border that Mexico will pay for. The wall – a big, beautiful wall – one more beautiful than anyone imagined. The top of the wall includes a running lane, a fishing pier allowing fisherman to cast lines from the top of the wall into the Rio Grande River, and food venues serving tacos from the Trump Tower Grill.

10) President Trump describes himself as humbled, honored, and as the greatest humanitarian in human history after being awarded multiple Nobel Prizes.

On Trumpian Nostradamus

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I’m not a regular on the prediction circuit, but I could resist gazing into a crystal ball on this topic. I’m going out on a limb with a baker’s dozen of predictions for 2018 about President Trump.

President Trump will exaggerate a fact.

President Trump will use Crooked Hillary as a defense.

President Trump will proclaim a report as fake news.

President Trump will forget and deny he made a previous statement.

President Trump will deflect an issue.

President Trump will do something that he will describe as incredible, the best, biggest, and greatest.

President Trump will ignore polls because they are biased.

President Trump will mock someone.

President Trump will contradict himself.

President Trump will criticize mainstream media outlets as the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC.

President Trump will deny any collusion with anything.

President Trump will tweet something stupid, disrespectful, false, and boastful.

President Trump will blame the Obama Administration for something.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 346

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For those willing to have some background music, here’s something interesting: Il Divo’s version of the Moody Blues hit Nights in White Satin.

I hope everyone had a good holiday. We travelled a few hours to my family several days before Christmas, but returned as the handbell choir played at 2 Christmas Eve services. We will host my wife’s side of the family in early January.

Bone-chilling temperatures are smacking many of us in the USA. YUK!

Hope you didn’t miss it, but this past Tuesday night was another great year of entertainment at The Kennedy Center Honors show (CBS). The honorees were having a great time! It worth looking around for it.

The recent 15th post in the Beach Walk series is the last … well, at least until I return to the beach. After all, having authentic beach walks is important to me.

John Howell (Fiction Favorites) and I are starting a business together where we aim to provide blaming solutions to anyone’s problems. Blames Are UsWe assign blame to any and all situations. Get your problems ready because the time will come when John and I will solve your problems right here on these pages.

A video recently inspired me to write a short story (I’m aiming at less than 300 words). I’ll post it here sometime soon.

Unfortunately, we only saw one between the holidays: Downsizing (with Matt Damon). An interesting premise, but I felt the storyline was a bit unsteady. On the plus side, it provides numerous chances to think about human behaviors. No need to rush to see this one.

The next post will lead us into 2018.

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Congratulations to Congress as it didn’t do anything stupid this week. Of course, not being in session helps.

I had to laugh at the statements both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made about future bipartisan agreements. Hey guys – that means you have to do three things: 1) Sincerely reach out, 2) Know that you won’t get your way, and 3) give them something substantial in return. After all, seeking bipartisanship is more than inviting the other side to follow your way.

Not only ago the US Supreme Court heard the argument from a Colorado baker who contends the right to deny making a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission). This article about a Indiana University study bothers me.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers suggestions on being a savvy news consumer. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman stood up on first date got all drunk for nothing
Dad gets dolled up for trip to Lowe’s
Uncle puts more thought than usual into this year’s gift cards
Alcoholic’s plan for turning life around doesn’t involve getting sober
Cockroaches feeling really good about the planet

Interesting Reads (as a whole, a bit more relaxing than usual)
The Crown’s recreation of Buckingham Palace
About ArtWorks, Cincinnati organization responsible for many great murals
Thoughts about tamales
Digitizing important old manuscripts
A new way to see cancer
(Photos) Beautiful bird pictures by Cindy Knoke (a visitor here)
(Photos) Most dramatic weather images of 2017

To lead you closer to the new year, here’s the last in the Beatles series that I’ve been doing since returning from the UK. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 345

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Because this is a holiday week, this edition of Opinion in the Shorts is a bit earlier than normal.

I’m overdue for a new header – so welcome another image from the Hubble Telescope – the Horsehead Nebula within the Orion constellation about 1500 light years from Earth. You can see my past headers on the Past Headers tab or by clicking here.

The latest Star Wars film: A quick review – Good vs. evil, a group of eclectic characters from across the universe, numerous special effects battle scenes, and advanced weapon technology that isn’t efficient at hitting a target.

2,000th post is the next statistical milestone for my little corner of the world. I imagine it happening sometime in early 2018 (January or February). 300,000th visit should happen sometime late December or January – but I don’t foresee them happening together

The next post will be a Christmas post (posted either on the 23rd or 24th).

I drafted the beach walks while at the beach. Cincinnati is a long way from the beach, so I only have one more – which I may publish next week.

The Creation Museum (from Answers in Genesis) is located in the Cincinnati area. Although I have more than a passing interest in the interrelationship between religion and science, I’ve never had the urge to visit the museum – and probably never will. After all, it does not represent my view of religion or my view of science. Therefore, I appreciated this closing statement Ted Davis gives his recent post at Biologos. … in engaging culture with Christian truth is a holy duty, but it goes awry when Christians approach culture in an aggressive and combative manner, oversimplify complex issues, and delegitimize any approach that starts with an open question instead of an assumed answer.

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With all the talk about the new tax plan, I wonder what happened to President Trump’s idea of (I paraphrase) “a tax cut not for rich guys like me.”

The new tax bill eliminates the wrong mandate regarding health care insurance – the individual mandate, whereas I say it should eliminate the insurance mandate on businesses – but that would involve guts and creative problem solving.

Other than saying No, Democrats missed the opportunity of providing an alternative tax-cut proposal to the public.

Remember Simpson-Bowles; the 2012 bipartisan effort examining deficit reduction and reform? Five years have passed and Congress and both parties continue to ignore it while kicking the can down the road.

It’s been a long time since I thought about the brilliant George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say on TV, but it immediately came to my mind when hearing the report about the Trump Administration directive to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Reports say that the CDC cannot use 7 words in the budget preparation documents: vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus, evidence-based, and science-based. Although just another odd Trumpian effect, Chuck Todd’s closing segment on Meet the Press was perfect.

I smiled when I heard conservative columnist George Will say he believes the country would be better off with a divided Congress. I also enjoyed this recent column of his about washing machines.

Columnist Kathleen Parker recently offered timely reminder: … effectively convinced voters that what is true is false and what is false is true.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides a guide for interpreting dreams.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Unidentified wooden pole leaning against wall in garage
God gets Celtic Cross tattoo on back
Unpatriotic man does not maintain erection during National Anthem
92% of area woman’s recipes involving pulverizing bag of Oreos
Overworked pajama bottoms pray owner gets job soon
Study finds chickens would have no qualms about caging, eating humans

Interesting Reads
Has the high school diploma lost meaning?
Public trust and science
A guide for pessimists for the days ahead
History of Star Wars
What if Greenland had no ice?
(Pictures) The most beautiful pictures of 2017
(Video) A relaxing two minutes of sights from the Bisti Wilderness in New Mexico

To lead you toward the holiday, here’s a 1963 clip of The Beatles. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 343

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Hooray for us. The out-of-town aunt’s house is sold and closed! Simply a monumental accomplishment considering where we started.

Last weekend’s Supermoon was awesome. Love this collection of images from USA Today.

Savannah Guthrie: “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the recognition that they have behaved badly? And I don’t know the answer to that.” … I say if you love Matt Lauer as a friend, he needs you – so be there for him.

We had a new experience last weekend: Watching a holiday parade of horse-drawn carriages.

The IOC banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics, but Russian athletes can complete without a country. In my opinion, that’s pathetic.

Last week’s Crosstown Shootout was ugly as Xavier convincingly dismantled my UC Bearcats. Oh well … a team not playing well and getting outplayed doesn’t deserve to win. Congrats XU!

The college football committee got the four playoff teams right.

Although PBS dismissed Garrison Keillor for misconduct, I plan to continue using his quote at the end of this post.

Congratulations to Jim Wheeler for being the 75,000th. He was touched by the fireplaces display I had for him. The next milestone will probably happen in early 2018 as I’m 21 posts away from post #2000.

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Current tax bills are a prime example of Republicans being so desperate to accomplish something, they are willing to sell out their philosophy.

Regarding President Trump’s recent proclamation about Jerusalem, I didn’t listen to him, his surrogates, or other partisan talking heads – but I was all hears when listening to Middle East expert Aaron David Miller. Here’s his article about the announcement.

Wall Street’s positive reaction to possible changes in tax policy has nothing to do with changes to people and everything to do with the effect on corporations.

The reason I believe Roy Moore will win the Alabama Senate race can be summarized in one word. Any thoughts?

In the era of declaring Fake News, Chris Wallace (Fox News Anchor) wrote this interesting editorial.

The 4 lines I most commonly hear by President Trump supporters for any situation: Having Hillary would be worse. Look at Hillary’s crimes. He’s better than Obama. It’s Obama’s fault. Nothing like having ready-to-use lines for any occasion.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion captures royal scandals over time.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Cartoon character translated seamlessly into noodle
Son’s friend seems like the type who always gets nosebleeds
Steven Spielberg recalls coming to blows with ET on film set
Negligent oaf sloppily packs away board game without so much as a thought to future players
GOP leaders celebrate passing point of no return

Interesting Reads
Gene therapy brings hope
About a remote Norwegian island
Myths about the brain
Jobs and automation
A symphony from broken instruments
Hedy Lamarr: Inventor
A solution for pack rats
(Photos) Royal Society photo winners

For your weekend entertainment, let’s climb into the way-back machine for some early Beatles. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.