Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 56

On a Sincere Cheer
Although the Olympics is turning into a distant memory, I still smile when thinking about Penguin fans giving Buffalo/U.S. goalie Ryan Miller a louder ovation than their own, but Canadian player, Sidney Crosby.

On Construction-Area Driving
Spring is upon us also means the start of the highway construction season in Ohio. One thing for sure – I do not like driving on an interstate with concrete barrier walls on my left.

By the way, I recently had a rental car on a trip with a push-button starter – my first experience with that keyless function.

On a Massage Table
A friend of mine is embarking on a new career as a massage therapist. I do look forward to the part of his training where he has to practice. As part of the process, he has to purchase his own massage table and considering the one with the breast openings. Now I was picturing the opening going all the way through the table … but in actuality is is holes in the padding.

On Political Action Money
Many politicians sponsor their own political action committee (PAC). These men and women of nobility use the money to fund campaigns of candidates in their party in other districts.

Is anyone surprise that four of the largest PACS are sponsored by the 4 highest ranking people in the House of Representatives? Yep – Mrs. Pelosi, Mr. Boehner, and their lieutenants (Mr. Hoyer and Mr. Cantor respectively lead the way.

Let’s see – I’ll give you money to help you get elected so you can vote for me in a leadership position and follow my lead. Yet please many still wonder what is wrong in Washington.

On a Commercial
I just saw a commercial against the health insurance bill that concluded with “Put our interests before special interests.” Of course the commercial was paid for by a special interest group.

On Spring Training Time
Spring training means baseball’s opening day is approaching. Not only is a special and celebrated day in Cincinnati, it is the start of the national pastime. Become of time constrains, I may fore-go providing my monthly analysis of the Reds. On the other hand, my all-time teams (based on first names) will continue.

On the Madness
Day 1 of March Madness brought forth the normal unpredictability!

On My Drive-Time Listening

Life of full of good news/bad news events – after all, every situation has plusses and minuses. This past September I received good news that I would be involved in an 11-month project starting in October. Bad news is the work is 70 miles away.

I accepted the work, thus spend more time than I prefer in a car. Friends ask me if I listen to books on the road. Although I good idea, I tell them that XM radio is my reliable companion. Since I appreciate many types of music, XM allows me to select the music that is best for the time of day, travel conditions, and my mood. Besides, I enjoy hearing music that I do not know. Here is my primary listening choices, listed by channel number (not preference).

XM 32 – The Message
Playing contemporary Christian music that is more electric and pop than I realized, The Message offers me inspirational words of faith and hope through music that causes me to reflect and even at times pray. I admit that I had only heard of a few artists before becoming a listener, but this music has been a pleasant surprise.

XM 45 – Spectrum

To me, Spectrum offers contemporary rock for adults. It’s not heavy, but not pop – yet a blend of artists that I know and others that are new to me. Plus, some of the original MTV VJs host.

XM 51 – Coffee House
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I can imagine sitting in a coffeehouse listening to acoustic versions of hits by the original artists or original tunes by local artists that probably won’t make it to the national scene. Although Coffee House does not feature songs from the latter, I thought the description would help describe the music.

XM 72 – Spa
Spa attacks the new age side of me as I really like the music. Whether at the end of a hectic day or when taking precautions by driving slower on slick, snow-covered roads, Spa’s music selection gives me a sense of calm … a journey into tranquility. Besides, it is also quick access to some interesting music on neighboring stations.

XM 73 – Simply Sinatra
The channel of crooners – whether Mel Torme, Sammy Davis Jr, or Nat King Cole – or modern day crooners as Michael Buble or Harry Connick Jr – female artists from the past as Peggy Lee or Rosemary Cloney – or every fifth song by Frank Sinatra – this channel takes me back to an era of nightclubs and fox trots.

XM 74 – Bluesville

Although I listen to this the least of the listed, certain blues offers a beat that I enjoy. Although I recognize the artists, others catch my ear and cause the toes to tap – such as Tab Benoit’s Too Sweet for Me.

XM 134 – NPR Now
I like learning and think, so talk shows can provide that avenue – but listening to some talk-show hosts is difficult. Listening to callers can be worse. Sometimes I treat my cerebral side by tuning in to hear intelligent conversations about a topic. Oh my, this can be quite enlightening.

Traveling on Air Tran airlines introduced me to XM radio. Two years ago, I purchased a new car offering free XM for 3 months. I loved it and have been an avid listener (only in the car) ever since. Click here to read other posts I’ve written about XM radio.

On Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 44

On the Health Insurance Dilemma
There’s no doubt that I support some sort of universal health care because I believe it’s a matter of human decency. On the other hand, I simply don’t trust Pelosi-led legislation. Stop cheering Republicans, you passed on your chance to get anything done.

Although columnist Charles Krauthhammer isn’t one of my favorites, this was an interesting column.

On South Carolina Republicans
Wow. South Carolina, arguably the most conservative state, has a battle brewing between conservative (as Sen. Lindsey Graham) and ultra-conservatives (as Sen. Jim DeMint). Now there’s a battle aimed at winning over moderates. Here’s an article.

A similar thing is happening in my district as a conservative incumbent is being challenged by two to the further right: those so far right that they are actually left. I like this Kathleen Parker column about the GOP.

On the Swiss Reaction
The Swiss vote banning the building of Islamic minarets could me off guard. On the other hand, the multitude of reactions is a balance between interesting and scary. The holy wars are definitely ramping up, and I have to wonder when a similar referendum is tried in here.

On Drivers Holding Cell Phones
Some states have passed laws against drivers talking on a cell phone while driving. Also, and well documented, females do this act more than males – and my observations note that the numbers are considerably different. Meanwhile, we in Ohio don’t have any laws about as such; and to top it off, today I observe a member of our local police force holding and talking on a cell phone while driving the cruiser. Yes, it was a female.

On Baseball’s Hallowed Hall
This year’s Hall of Fame ballot was announced. Given the choices, I would vote for Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, and Fred McGriff. Then again, that doesn’t mean anything to the actual voters.
 
On a Cake Recipe
I like wine and I like chocolate, so how does a chocolate wine cake sound? We’ve used this recipe from Food & Wine twice and it’s been a hit both times.