Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 412

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No concert this weekend. Actually, the next artist taking the stage must change due to unforeseen extenuating circumstances. James Brown (the Godfather of Soul) will be rescheduled. Next up: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Journey. Date TBA (possibly 28th Sept).

This weekend our handbell choir starts the season with a fun rendition of Children of the Heavenly Father. For those interested, listen to a studio recording here.

Benevolent Impalers (my football fantasy team) rolled to 2-0 record with a convincing victory over a personal rival (a friend since my first day in college) who is also a perennial power in this league. I remained cautiously concerned because no team has ever made the playoffs with only two wins.

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Allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh recently surfaced. Contrary to many others, I refuse to judge the man on the merits of college-days behavior.

Although I haven’t watched any of the Democratic debates to date, plus I don’t plan on watching any in the future, columnist Maureen Dowd (New York Times) offers this interesting perspective.

Not only does President Trump wants to ease air quality standards, he wants to block states from setting clean air standards. Hmmmm …. Seems the Republican call for “States Rights” is not surprisingly silent.

An obvious contradiction. Polls show that Americans want fuel-efficient vehicles. Yet, in practice, Americans purchase many large SUVs and trucks. Wonder how that correlates with partisan voting.

How’s this for logic? Socialism offers free health care for all. Joseph Stalin was a Socialist. Stalin killed millions. Say no to Medicare for All.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline of capital punishment in America.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Huge box of extra organs left on curb outside hospital
Adoption agency gives couple who waited long time an extra kid free of charge
“Flatbread means pizza,” man explains to visiting father
Nike recalls sweat-wicking shirts that pull gallons liquid directly from wearers’ bodies
Philadelphia to become DirectTV, Pennsylvania after cream cheese manufacturer loses naming rights
Grizzled beer can used as ashtray watches another headstrong 12-pack come and go through patio

(My Combo) Headstrong grizzled man waited long time to pull extra cream cheese from huge box

Interesting Reads

Spreading misinformation
Why big data continues to get bigger
Losing at Waterloo
Why school buses are yellow
How Americans view China
(Graphic) World economy by countries on one chart
(Photos) EyeEm Photo Awards

To send you into the weekend, my favorite video by The Cars. R.I.P Rick Ocasek. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 398

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Greetings. Last week was one of those rare weeks without an OITS. I was behind on the writing and replying to comments on the previous post – so I decided to pass.

Hey hey hey – 2 to go to #400! Visit #400,000 may happen during the upcoming week – but maybe not.

FYI: I’m aiming for the next concert to be on Saturday, June 8th.

My Quickstep routine is in the books. Good news: We didn’t crash and burn. (FYI: Quickstep is not an easy dance.) We successful got through it and my partner was thrilled! For me, we did well – but I’m a tough critic on myself, so I only get a C. My partner and I have the same instructor, who choreographed a routine around this scene from An American in Paris – but we danced to this Bobby Darin version of I Got Rhythm that is definitely aerobic.

We recently wrapped up another season of handbells and ushering.

  • The last handbell piece was Shalom Chaverim. An interesting piece that you can watch a large choir in Japan play. Click here
  • The last play was Tiny House, a new play as a joint effort between the Cincinnati and Cleveland theaters. A fun play – and the building of the tiny house was interesting to witness. Thumbs up if it ever comes to your area. Here are two reviews (one from each city): Cincinnati and Cleveland
  • Of the personalities who died this week, I’m connected with two. Doris Day was born and raised in Cincinnati. Comedian Tim Conway and I graduated from the same university (Bowling Green).

If you like rich and creamy, Graeter’s (of Cincinnati) is a fabulous ice cream (past post). They recently introduced a new summer flavor – Malted Pretzel Ball – so, I’ll be trying very soon.

Some may recall that John Roebling built Cincinnati’s suspension bridge before the more famous Brooklyn Bridge. Click here for a short (less than 2 minute) video of the bridge done by a local TV station.

As a viewer of the CBS Evening News, I already miss anchor Jeff Glor – but look forward to Norah O’Donnell anchoring later this year.

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The Democratic field of presidential candidates continues to grow. Now at 24, let’s go for 30! On the other hand, I wonder about the end game of the majority of the field.

This week the Alabama state government passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. Although their intent is to challenge Roe v Wade in the Supreme Court, I simply say patriotism, morality, and civic duty cannot be legislated.

I have long been a critic of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Her recent comment about AG Barr lying made me wince. On the other hand, I acknowledge the difficult task she has with her current caucus, and she has been done well during this difficult time.

To describe the current situation in Washington, while some proclaim Constitutional crisis – but I prefer institutional crisis.

Here’s an example of the goofy far right of Republicans. My state senator wants to ban insurance coverage of abortions except for re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus. Interestingly, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the procedure doesn’t exist. The senator disagrees.

According to President Trump, Hungarian authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is doing “a tremendous job” and “respect all over Europe”. Sorry to say, that comment is not a surprise and follows praise of other authoritarian leaders from Russia, North Korea, and Turkey.

I grew up in the portion of Ohio that mined coal. Being along the Ohio River, multiple coal-burning power are still located nearby. Because we know President Trump vowed to revive the coal industry, here’s an interesting article about the source of energy for Ohioans.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides tips for going through a divorce.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man starting to think only reason people hanging out with him because they are on same jury
Dress that would have forever altered course of woman’s life patted, placed back on rack
Dissatisfied Taco Bell customer goes rogue
Unsettling study finds two cousins technically fair game
Charity pairs naughty hags with children who taste good in stew
New blender changes guy’s life

Interesting Reads

How much of the Internet is fake
Ancient humans
Nazi looted painting
A camel festival in Mongolia
Enduring McCarthyism
(Graphic) Countries with the worst bad loan ratio
(Photos) Food photography
(Photos) Bikers in Hanoi

To send you into the weekend and as a tribute to Cincinnati treasure Doris Day, it’s time for a Sentimental Journey. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.(NOTE; The video will NOT play embedded here. After you click the video below, then click Watch this video on YouTube.)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 393

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The aFa Weekend Concert series returns featuring Fleetwood Mac. Given the distinct nature of her voice, Stevie Nicks songs are acceptable. Concert starts Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

On a concert note, the stage will be dark the following weekend (March 2-3) due to scheduling difficulties.

Thanks for everyone for the kind comments on my birthday post. There is something about receiving nice greetings from all over the US and throughout the world that touches my heart – and to think we’ve never met in person. For the record, comments came from 10 different US states and 8 different countries. 🙂

Not long ago we said goodbye to Curiosity, NASA’s rover on Mars. Doesn’t seem that long ago when we said hello to it with this way. Do you remember it?

 

For those who know about TEDx Talks, I recently discovered that TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. I had no clue of its meaning! For podcasts enthusiasts, I endorse TEDx podcasts.

We watched Roma, the critically acclaimed Netflix film that has received numerous Oscar nominations. For us, it’s a movie for critics and lovers of movies critics rave about that aren’t not for many of us. But hey – you may like it.

We also went to the theater for The Wife. Good movie; and Glenn Close is fabulous and worthy of her Oscar nomination and Screen Actors Guild Award.

About the previous post – the Final Jeopardy question. I based the list on Madeleine Albright’s latest book: Fascism: A Warning – not my personal opinion.

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Dear Voters in Kentucky. Thank you for sending us Mitch McConnell. He’s quite pathetic.

If Republican senators are smart, they would unquestionably vote against President Trump’s National Emergency declaration. Otherwise, they are setting themselves up for something in the future. Then again, most of them are not smart and they (and their supporters) accept their own contradictions in their “party-first” perspective.

I encourage you to write your representative and senators encouraging them to vote against President Trump’s National Emergency declaration on the grounds of a dangerous precedent for the future. I’ve written my three: two Republicans (one probably a lost cause) and a Democrat). As of this writing, the lost-cause has not responded, which I requested.

Here’s an interesting scenario from Politico about the declaration and the courts.

Democrats continue to expand the field of candidates seeking the nomination. Shame on NBC starting the debates in June – well ahead of the Iowa Caucuses in early 2020. Odds of me watching are less than very slim.

Now here’s an interesting situation to ponder about the 2020 election: Democrats gain control of the Senate, keep control of the House, and President Trump is re-elected.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides a list of pros and cons about salary transparency.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man competitive about how depressed he is
Coworkers agog as employee introduces new shirt into rotation
Aunt scores big with nephews by dropping bombshell story about Mom smoking weed as teenager
Scientists produce rigorous study of why grapes spark in the microwave
Mass invasion of polar bears forces Russian islands to declare emergency
Man always makes sure to place phone on Silent before misplacing it

My Combo: Competitive depressed man scores spark with bombshell employee before misplacing weed misplacing new shirt

Bonus: I like this headline and image of this one about New York City police (but you’ll have to click to see).

Interesting Reads

Women and computer programming: a historical look
Policy and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Why calories are not on labels of alcoholic drinks
Albanian bunkers
Thinking non-human animals
(Article w/ interactive) International view of issues
(Graphic) Marijuana regulations in the US
(Photos) UK National Parks Photo Competition

To send you into the weekend, here’s one from the past that once I heard it earlier this week, I knew to use it here. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Snit about a Fear

Breaking News Alert

I interrupt my regularly scheduled post for a timely message. Some may say a bit of a snit. Allow me to scream first.

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Although I am far from the Democratic Left, President Trump’s frequent cry of “Socialism” and Republicans yelling “Socialism” as a response to the Progressive message of the Green New Deal has gotten under my skin more than the agenda itself.

My response is an important question to the GOP and their minions: When are you going to campaign against government-run taxpayer-funded Socialstic programs?

Eliminating (not reforming) Social Security
Eliminating unemployment benefits
Eliminating food stamps
Eliminate government housing
Stop housing assistance
Stop funding public roads & schools
Eliminate disability payments
Eliminate benefits for government employees
Eliminate Medicare
Eliminate Medicaid
Eliminate financial assistance for foster care, adoption child care & development
Eliminate food and health programs for children through schools
Eliminate health insurance assistance
Eliminate assisting communities with local services
Eliminate educational loans & grants for schools & students
Eliminate funding for museums & libraries
Eliminate subsidies for business
Eliminate public-funded transportation
Eliminate farm subsidies
Abolish the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)
Abolish the Small Business Administration (SBA)
Abolish the Veterans’ Administration (VA)

… and I’m sure there are many more examples.

I know you won’t answer the question, so I’ll answer it for you. You won’t because you are gutless hypocrites who can’t practice want they preach for you are the party of fear and anger who preys on ignorance. No wonder I left the party.

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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 381

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Good news – After 12 acts and an encore, Pronouns: The Musical closed a very successful run. More good news – starting next weekend, Pronouns 2: The Musical kicks off. This musical will be shorter than the other, so my hopes are that we will complete it before 2018 closes. The first theme features songs with My in the title. Curtain time remains the same: Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Only one more post remains for my western national parks tour. Sometime in the near future, I will start the Eastern Europe series.

Although the She/He Writing Challenge didn’t get much of a response, I think it was a good challenge and I enjoyed doing it.

The wildfires in California continue to bring havoc to many. I encourage anyone able to donate to a charity of your choice to help victims. I suggest the California Community Foundation: Wildfire Relief Fund.

Within four days last week, we had quite the string of musical events.

  • We attended (as ushers) the world premier of Cincinnati King – a play about King Records. What a fun show! Sure hope other theaters throughout the country pick this up in the future.
  • The next day we went to the movies for Bohemian Rhapsody. Thumbs up – and a must for Queen fans!
  • Two days later, our handbell played a surreal arrangement of Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery. Here’s a video of our choir doing this beautiful piece. (I’m on the near side popping in out of view.)
  • That night we attended a concert featuring a handbell soloist. Watching her made me nervous 🙂 … that’s quite the skill!

I have no doubt that voters who don’t know what they are doing have started watching Dancing With The Stars.

For many posts I set a publish time. For others who do that and if you just had a time adjustment with Daylight Savings Time – don’t forget to adjust your WordPress clock.

For whatever reason, the WP Gnomes turned off all my notification settings.

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Looking ahead to 2020, at this point I do not see Ohio as a battleground/swing state because it is unquestionably leaning red.

Dealing with President Trump’s string of lies, exaggerations, distortions, and finger-pointing is one thing, but the continual blind eye, acceptance, and enabling by Trumpians and the majority of Republicans is even worse.

On the same topic, Congressional Republicans have done a very poor job of oversight. That’s what the balance of powers is all about! Then again, a party using oversight to justify politically butchering a president isn’t the intent.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion shares an interesting picture they captured in a jungle.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Ecologists discover 400 species of Charles Darwin living in Galápagos Islands
Friends Excitedly Gather Around Man’s Phone To Watch Shaky Footage of concert
Conservative Floridian Enjoys Living Under Sharia Law More Than He Thought He Would
Couple Nervous To Admit They Met Online In Comments Section Of ‘How To Iron Shirt’ Video
Sunday School Teacher Can Already Tell Which Ones Going To Hell

Interesting Reads

100 years after the Armistice
Artificial Intelligence and wildlife research
Science and religion: not in unison, but in harmony
About the placebo effect
(Graphic) A collection of misconceptions
(Pictures) A collection of weather pictures

To send you into the weekend, a tip of the cap to my Canadian regulars with a song from a Canadian icon. Enjoy Leonard Cohen with Dance Me To The End of Love. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 380

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For those that missed Tuesday’s special announcement, Pronouns: The Musical this weekend with an Encore act featuring songs with two or more different pronouns used in this musical (or click here). See the SPECIAL page/tab (below the banner/header) for more information. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

For the story writers in the crowd, hope you saw the Writing Challenge I issued earlier this week. See the Challenge page/tab (below the banner/header) for details (or click here). Responding to the challenge starts this coming Tuesday after I post my version. If you aren’t a short story person, pass along the challenges to others you know who may be interested.

A few days ago we saw First Man, the movie about astronaut Neil Armstrong. Interesting and well done, but I wouldn’t call it a must-see blockbuster. It’s not fast-moving, but has its tense moments. There’s a notice amount of silence throughout the movie. For most of his post-astronaut adult life, Mr. Armstrong lived in the Cincinnati area. From what I know of Armstrong’s personality, Ryan Gosling hit it!

I’m drafting a future post about shopping carts – which caused me to develop a new category – Shopping. Would you know it, I already have a few past posts that fit that new category. Feel free to visit the category in the future or by clicking here.

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President Trump says he could fire the entire Mueller investigation team to end the investigation. Mr. President, do what you mean and mean what you say. The time is now – enough talk – do it! Do what you say you can do. Do what you really want to do! Do it!!!

Although the anticipated Blue Wave didn’t not occur, Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives. I give House Democrats a 95% chance to do something in one month (by the end of January 2019) that strengthens President Trump re-election – which I raise the chances of happening to 80%.

Gerrymandering is not new. Not only has it been around for a long time, both parties are guilty – even in recent times!

Important “-isms” are in the news: Anti-semitism, racism, Nazism, and others – let alone include other related terms as Islamophobia and homophobia. I want to toss in another one that would impact more than any of the above – partyism. After all, there is plenty of data showing pathetic candidates from each side getting sizeable number of votes.

Eight states still have straight ticket voting – the method allowing voters to cast votes for candidates in one party by making only one mark. Good news is that the number of states doing this pathetic practice is declining.

As an authentic independent who sneers at each party, I enjoyed this article about Congress by the Washington Post.

Last week I wrote these words, “Whereas the focus continues to be the last 14 words of the Second Amendment, I continue to say the key to the debate is the first 13 words. After all, those are the words not on the lobby wall at NRA headquarters.” This week brought us news of another mass shooting.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion discovered the latest “I Voted” stickers from Nevada. Are you willing to look here?

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man does incredibly well at slot machine demo embedded in ad
Girlfriend really has mind of her own today
Supposedly educated professor has no idea how to get bird out of lecture hall
Area man thankful to be single during Golden Age of Television
Slug just taking it easy today
Voter just needs to know which candidate chops wood in a flannel shirt
North Carolina voter in heavily gerrymandered district somehow voting for Montana Senate, Mayor Of Phoenix

Interesting Reads

Eastern and Western European differences
A large, unused airport
Analytics and health care
Butch Cassidy
The re-shaped Milky Way
(Photos) From the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest
(Photos) Beautifully designed spas

To send you into the weekend, here’s that I heard for the first time earlier this week. Enjoy Alex Murdoch with All My Days. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.