Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 421

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Welcome to the last OITS of 2019 … so I’ve included a few extras!

Thanks to everyone for participating in Weekend Concert Series saluting Broadway. It was maddening because it was the first time I’ve done something like that. Plus, it turned out not to be the best weekend for me in terms of timing. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to have a good time and I enjoyed listening to all the songs. The next concert will be after the first of the year, and the finale to the series.

Next concert: Tentatively Saturday 4 January – Duets – (Two performers not normally paired together)

With the December holidays upon us, I will abbreviate my posting schedule. Below is a probable schedule that is subject to change (Times are based on Eastern US).

  • (Sunday afternoon) 22 December) A beach walk
  • (Tuesday 24 Dec – or late 23rd) Christmas post
  • (Friday 27 Dec) A caption challenge for an image
  • (Sun 29 Dec) – A food review
  • (Tuesday 31 Dec) New Years post
  • (Thursday night 2 January) – Opinions in the Shorts
  • (Saturday 4 January) – Weekend Concert – Duets

We recently spent an afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center. We the Omnimax movies. Fortunately, for us, we saw two! After visiting the vert-well-done Apollo 11 exhibit, we went into the theater for the Apollo 11 movie. Interesting, no narration – just a story told through a string of actual film footage from the time. After the movie, we stayed in our seats for Superpower Dogs, an uplifting film about rescue dogs who work to save lives – and a must for dog lovers!

Readers may remember Fiona, the baby hippo that the Cincinnati Zoo cared from birth. Fiona, 29 pounds (13 kg) at birth, will have her 3rd birthday on January 2020. This 30-second video will make you smile.

Joe Barrow, the LSU quarterback not only won the Heisman Award (college football’s best player), he won the hearts of many. In his acceptance speech, he talked about the poverty of many people of Athens County Ohio. The nation has responded with well over $500K! But there is something lost in the story. Athens County is not an island. It’s one county in a region of 15 or so counties that are very poor – worse than Athens County – let alone additional counties in adjacent West Virginia and Kentucky. How do I know? I grew up one county south of Athens.

For those who need this and dare to reach into a grab-bag, here are some holiday classics: Dominick the Donkey, a classic Santa Norelco commercial, a clean naughty Santa, the infamous Carol of the Belts, and a crazy fast holiday song with handbells (the ending is frantic). Did you watch any? If so, let me know.

I admit, The Masked Singer is a fun show. Congratulations to The Fox – Wayne Brady.

Sadly, my Benevolent Impalers experienced the agony of defeat in the tournament semifinals. It was close, but my worthy opponent had an unexpected monster game from a player and big points from the New England defense against my hometown Bengals. Ouch!

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I’m not a Trump supporter – never have, never will be. Then again, after he won the election, I was willing to give him a chance. To me, he has miserably failed – yet, I see impeachment as a sad day. Congress has not upheld its Constitutional obligation of oversight and the behaviors have been pathetic at best. I’m officially embarrassed to be an American.

If I was single, I would consider moving to another country. Yes, I am that embarrassed and concerned.

I truly believe the polls, pundits, politicians, and citizens that America is a divided nation – and possibly the most divided in my lifetime and beyond. Two strongly divided camps with shrinking common ground – each with vitrole for the other – each with disdain for moderates – each with drums beating fervently in the echo chamber – one explains, the other not listening. A divided nation with a president wearing a hat stating, “Keep America Great” – a statement reinforcing the division. A friend asked me, “How do we solve this problem?” My answer is simple. “Unless the collective of elected officials lead the change, we can’t. Otherwise, we will need a national emergency. I hope I don’t live long enough to see the next US Civil War.”

In a discussion about the current impeachment, a friend of mine (a self-proclaimed unbiased source) told me that he wasn’t sure if President Trump warranted an investigation, let alone impeachment – but President Obama should have been impeached.

For those who forgot and didn’t know, the impeachment is Obama’s fault.

Here’s a recent report on polarization from Pew Research Center.

Darn … I’m missing another Democratic debate!

As we end the year, here’s how I see the 2020 election at this time:

  • Chances of President Trump nomination: 99.9%
  • Chances of President Trump’s re-election: 65%
  • Chances of me voting for President Trump: 0%
  • Chances of me voting for the Democratic nominee: 20%

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion separates facts and fiction about recycling.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Woman not as fun-loving and carefree as pom-pom on winter hat suggests
Hungover coworker a little too functional morning after holiday party not to be alcoholic
Boyfriend ready to take relationship to previous level
Man checking if chicken wings got hot enough in microwave like first responder searching for pulse
Mom holds knife to throat of dinner guest who offered to help with dishes
Hiker trapped for days under fallen boulder survives by cutting off own ponytail
Ant flees across state line carrying big crumb

Interesting Reads

The Ottomans: Their rise and fall
A bit of barcode history
Mysteries of pain
The most important battles of WW2
Bridging differences by seeing good
(Graphic) World debt by country
(Graphics) A series of climate change charts
(Photos) Murals of women in Iraq
(Photos) Winners of a National Geographic Photo contest

To send you into the weekend, here are The Piano Guys with a song of the season. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 389

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Queen headlines this weekend’s concert series. Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Fiona turned 2 this week! Here’s a click with a story and a photo gallery. Need more? Here’s a collection of videos.

We recently saw Vice at the theater. Some points: 1) Christian Bale was outstanding, 2) I was never a fan of Dick Cheney or any of the neo-Conservatives, 3) I’m not a fan of hyper-partisan movies, and 4) Oscar for Best Picture? Someone had to be kidding.

I’ve finally got around to listening to Podcasts. I greatly enjoy the Ted Radio Hour. CBS journalists Mo Rocca just released his first in a series called Mobituaries. The first episode was about Vaughn Meader. Does anyone remember him? He was the famous for his President Kennedy impressions. Does the First Family Album ring a bell?

Back to podcasts. The two series listed above are 1-hour segments. Any recommendations of podcasts that are 15 minutes or less?

Remember Mr. Blackwell’s best and worst dressed lists? He died in 2008, but Roger Stone (yes – that Roger Stone – the advisor to President Trump) picked up Blackwell’s mantle. I heard an interesting interview with him about his lists – so here they are.

Congratulations to the latest inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, and Edgar Martinez. Cheers to Martinez finally getting his due, and a worthy tip of the cap to Mariano Rivera for being the first player ever to receive 100% of the votes on the first ballot. A worthy honor to a top-shelf player.

Super Bowl LIII is set. Two very entertaining games last weekend, but too bad the officials made a blatant error in one game, plus I don’t like the NFL’s overtime rule that determined the second game. Personally, I hope the Rams win.

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I not only don’t I understand comments like these, I’m even more surprised that people use them and others believe them.

  • “Stalin was a socialist who wanted healthcare for all, then went on to kill 80,000 people.” (Friend on Facebook)
  • “We have a society in which there are an awful lot of people who have no idea that Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung all came to power promising the same kinds of things that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is promising. And it led to mass murder, it led to dictatorship, it led to genocide. These promises are old promises and they invariably lead to bad things.” (Ben Stein)

For goofy statements like the above, I have a simple response: Although I may not agree with the Left, I am glad they have their heads in the cloud because it is a response to the Right who have their heads up their ass – and I’m glad to be grounded with my eyes open and my brain thinking.

With all the bluster about the upcoming State of the Union, I could care less because I won’t be watching or listening.

Interesting how President Trump offered a DACA deal to the Democrats, and then the Supreme Court steps on Trump’s previous DACA actions. Oh how the stories around this administration get weirder and weirder.

White House Counsel Rudy Giuliani is competing with President Trump for best entertainment to those who know better. Earlier this week The Onion has this great headline: Giuliani: ‘Let’s Just Start Everything Over’ … and this Stephen Colbert about Rudy intro made me laugh. (It’s less than a minute.)

To lead you into The Onion, this headline and accompanying image may be one of the best ever. Click here to see.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man beginning to worry that best meals already behind him
Trump dismisses Trump as a distraction
Doctor weirded out by patient providing every lucid detail of medical history
Woman rushes to hide fragile objects, cover up sharp corners on tables before boyfriend comes over
Queen Elizabeth watches as oxen pull apart farmer who failed to provide yearly tithe of grain
Weird kid opts to sit perfectly still, let universe decide his fate after teacher instructs class to pair up

Interesting Reads

Rural states and clean energy
Ten cultural items turning 30
Tough economic times at Amsterdam brothels
Major news from the world of frog dating
Quinoa whiskey
(Photos) The architect exiled by Nazis
(Chart) Coal use by country

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song that I stumble across the other day that I hadn’t heard in a long time. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Blog Break May 2018

It’s time for my seasonal blog break. I’m anticipating 3-6 weeks. During that time, I expect a blend of absence and occasional appearances. Before I go, a few random thoughts in the Opinions in the Shorts style.

During my absence, I encourage readers to visit a blog you may not know. You have my right sidebar here for starters and the Blogroll page on the tabs. Tell them I sent you.

ArtWorks announced that Fiona, Cincinnati’s darling hippo, is going to have her own mural. They are also letting the public vote on the design. See the choices here – and yes – you can vote!

For those interested in odd records, this link is about 20 Guinness World Records tied to Cincinnati.

Cheers to the Costco Optical Department for continuing to provide great value for those needing corrective eyewear.

I’m enjoying the hype for the upcoming royal wedding – especially the reports from England about the people and the places. I wonder how much training the bride has done about royal protocol.

Faith Saile did this great report on CBS News comparing American English and British English. It’s worth the 2+ minutes.

Given the hubbub about the Iran nuclear deal, I enjoyed this article to brings issues to light.

Regarding the possibility of the US-North Korea summit, instead of meeting in Singapore, I favor a game of cornhole at the DMZ border. A target on each side of the border is perfect!

Yes – there is a possibility of Donald Trump winning re-election in 2020. I’m raising the possibility from 15% to 35%.

Washington Post’s conservative columnist George Will has never been a President Trump fan – I would say he is more of an antagonist. In this recent column about Vice President Mike Pence, Mr. Will’s closing paragraph was priceless.

There will be negligible legislating by the next Congress, so ballots cast this November will be most important as validations or repudiations of the harmonizing voices of Trump, Pence, Arpaio and the like. Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.

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Here are a few leftover peels from The Onion I have lying around.
Fitbit releases new tracking collar that gets tighter every second you are inactive
Napkinless man with grease-covered fingers realizes he’s trapped in a prison of his own creation
Grandma getting to point she looks like every other grandma
Alcoholic parent easy to shop for
Scientists create artificial placenta that tastes just as delicious as real one
Breakfast in bed served to mom who just eaten out

Interesting Reads
The early days of Israel
The adaptive jaguar
Can Artificial Intelligence doom humans?
Sacred spaces and the 21st century
The dominant lens company
(Pictures) The neon blue tide

To send you into my blog break, enjoy this short song from the electric sounds of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Remember to visit other blogs on my list! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 349

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A friend will be my dance partner when we do a Bolero this spring at the studio both of us attend. Several years ago at the same event, she and I did a tango that some people still talk to us about. (FYI: My wife doesn’t like being the only two on the floor). For those interested, click the video below. FYI: Use the music for background while reading the post because not much to see in the video (on purpose). Hope you enjoy the song.

There are teens dumb enough to eat detergent pods?

Recently saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Definitely a movie with only a few good characters. Cheers to Frances McDormand for her Golden Globe performance. Interesting story, so Thumbs Up! The same for Darkest Hour – and to think that movie covered about 2-3 weeks.

Fiona, Cincinnati’s darling hippo, turns one on January 24th.

What a coincidence. On the day when WalMart announces increases in wages and benefits, it abruptly closed 63 of its Sam’s Club stores.

Last weekend our bell choir returned from the holidays to play a song with one rehearsal – and it went well! Click here for the video of our choir playing Day by Day (arranged by Anna Laura Page).

This is post #1998. There will be a post early Saturday, therefore #2000 should be Sunday evening (US Eastern). I hope you get a chance to stop by to say hello.

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I watched (on Netflix) David Letterman’s interview with Barack Obama. Very enjoyable.

I learned about President Trump’s degrading comments about many immigrants after publishing the last edition of OITS. I typically take the high road, but here’s my commentary: A shithole comment by a shithead.

As much as many like to complain about President Trump, I tend to laugh a lot – but complain about the Republicans who a) justify his actions, b) deflect his actions, and/or c) say nothing.

Three US Senators give two vastly different accounts of a meeting led by President Trump. At least 1 of the 3 is intentionally lying – not stretching the truth – intentionally lying. At least one senator, dutifully elected by the people to represent the people of his state, is lying with the purpose of favoring the party on an important issue instead of representing the people. Actually, this action is one step beyond partisanship normally exhibited by members of Congress.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides an infographic showing the pros and cons of electric cars.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Wall wishing it were load bearing
Audiobook narrator going for broke with Cajun accent
New after-school program aims to keep children off streets for additional 45 minutes
Opera ends on unexpected high note
Perfectly good dead body cremated

Interesting Reads
Global media habits
Man carving long road in mountain (not an Onion headline)
Tourism and Guinness
Choosing between a bull or a man
Almost wiping-out 16th Century Mexico
(Infographic) Global Millionaires
(Photos) National Geographic: Best Photos of Animals of 2017

To send you into the weekend, here’s another group that will soon be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What a fun, old-style video! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 342

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Fiona, Cincinnati Zoo’s mega-star, has this major article in the New York Times Sunday edition.

The Kennedy Center Honors are this week, but the telecast is December 27th (9-11 pm US Eastern) on CBS. For me, this annual event is must-watch television! The 2017 honorees are Carmen de Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J, Norman Lear, and Lionel Richie.

If you enjoy “Oh Come Emmanuel”, you may enjoy this handbell piece that we are playing next week. Very interesting rhythms  – and not easy! –  but at least it’s not like the late-October monster. Click here to listen.

Congratulations to Jordan Fisher and partner Lindsay Arnold for winning Dancing With the Stars. He was outstanding from the very start. To our eyes, his technique was over-the-top good. Here’s his Week 1 Tango. (The dance starts at 1:30.)

Cincinnati is lucky to be home to two top-level college basketball teams Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. The rivalry between the two schools that are only 3.5 miles (5.6 km) apart is intense – and this weekend is the annual meeting known as the Crosstown Shootout. Go UC! … but this is the only game of the year where I hope XU loses.

Here’s the beginning of an interesting local story.

Suliman Abdul-Mutakallim was shot in the back of his head, as he walked home, carrying food for himself and his wife. Authorities say he was an innocent and unsuspecting victim. After two teenagers pleaded guilty this month at separate court hearings and were sentenced to prison terms, Abdul-Mutakallim’s mother, Rukiye, offered to hug them. Javon Coulter said she could. Rukiye wants to visit them in prison regularly and help them become better people. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Just learned about a company named d.light.  Very interesting products! This is a way to help the people of Puerto Rico and other places without electricity. Click to see their products.

Saturday I’m posting a collaboration with an artist. Hope you stop by.

My little corner of the world is approaching several milestones, including 75,000th comment. I wonder who will get the recognition.

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Brilliantly said by Michael Gerson (Washington Post): Not only do we have tribal politics in this country, we also have tribal morality.

2108 is an election year for Ohio’s governor. The four top Republican candidates were in my area recently for a forum. Here’s the way the Cincinnati Enquirer started the report: The Republican nomination for Ohio governor might come down to who loves President Donald Trump more. And who’s least like current Republican governor John Kasich.

I continue to think Roy Moore will win in Alabama.

Two weeks I mentioned writing my Congressional Representative and Senator because their party like to claim, “It’s a mental health issue” when it comes to mass shootings. I asked what the Republican Party has done about mental health issues (purposefully without mentioning gun control.) My Representative responded: 1) Without answering my question. 2) Stating the issue with the Air Force files on the most recent incident has been corrected, and 3) focusing on gun control.

In terms of the plan for the tax cuts, interesting how the effects of the debt is less important to those who previously said the debt is of utmost importance. Ah yes – the nature of politics.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for clean eating.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Buick introduces new self-buying car
Nutella briefly entertained as lubricant
New historic evidence suggests most Pilgrims sailed back home to celebrate first Thanksgiving
Smithsonian acquires rare photograph where whole family looks really nice
Substitute teacher can tell he’s filling in for real asshole

Interesting Reads
Can machines become moral?
26 words we don’t want to lose
Ocean’s most-dedicated mothers
Digital privacy upcoming in the high court
60 years after Brown v. Board of Education
(Images) Bumper stickers for subway riders
(Photos) Random photos of the week

For your weekend entertainment, I continue the stretch of Fab Four songs. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 340

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Sorry to interrupt the cruise tour of the British Isles, but think of Opinions in the Shorts as a cruise day without a port. So far we’ve visited Guernsey, Cork, Cobh, and Dublin. Do you have a favorite? Liverpool is the next stop sometime Saturday.

Last week I forgot to mention the passing of Henry, Fiona’s father. Henry was up in age (36) for a hippo, had a hard time fighting an infection that eventually led to kidney failure. Here’s a positive column at the hippo family from the Cincinnati Enquirer focusing on Henry.

Two weeks to go on the current season of Dancing With The Stars. There is no question in my mind that Jordan Fisher is the best dancer. The question: Will the fan voting validate that point?

We the movie LBJ. We enjoyed it, but I’m not sure how long it will stay in theaters.

It’s Cincinnati Pizza Week … and as of this writing, we have yet to participate. 😦

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Some say that Tuesday’s election served as an anti-Trump referendum. My thoughts on that point.

  • Not only are some voters predictable partisan, another slice is fickle – fluid – always changing with the flow.
  • New Jersey: A Democrat wins the governor’s race replacing a Republican in a solid Democratic state. NOPE
  • Virginia: A Democrat wins the governor’s race replacing a Democrat in a state won by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. NOPE.
  • Virginia: Democrats unseating 15 Republicans in the state Legislature. BINGO!
  • Maine: Voters solidly passed Medicaid expansion over objections from their Republican governor. YAHTZEE! … at least in terms of health care.

Last week’s shooting at a church in Texas brings forth numerous emotions: including the typical Republican response saying the situation is not a gun issue, but a mental health issue – which sparks me to ask two questions: What have the Republicans done to address mental health issues in the past 10 years? Why haven’t the Democrats pushed the Republicans on their own words?

I looked at the GOP tax-form postcard. Whereas the current tax form follows a list-to-list-then-calculate format, card filers must complete calculations “off” the postcard before entering a value. In other words, simplifying the process and the code is a ruse – but it is in need of a thorough review!

About the tax plan, I liked this article from Politico.

Several weeks ago I watched an interview with columnist Thomas Friedman. I like his analogy (and I paraphrase). Donald Trump and many of his supporters are first paragraph people. The first paragraph states a position as “get rid of (fill in the blank)” (NAFTA, the Iran Nuclear Deal, or whatever). But when faced with the “then-what” question, they don’t have an answer because there isn’t a second or third paragraph.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for getting organized.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man resolves to read the Wikipedia tabs he has already open before starting new ones
Woman wearing jacket indulging in forbidden pleasure of having pockets
Excitement shifts to concern after coworker brings baked goods into office for fourth consecutive day
Styrofoam to spend next 500 years reflecting on how well it protected blender in transport
Office bad boy sees right through team-building exercise

Interesting Reads
Linking forensics and doll houses
The power of Calypso music
Dodger Stadium: The communities it replaced
The Lady Gaga of the 1920s
Science transforming the world
US cars is Japan

For your weekend entertainment, here’s another classic that still sounds great today. Besides, the next cruise stop is Liverpool. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.