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.

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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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 388

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After a very busy week, my plan is to return to my normal posting and visiting routine. Thanks for your understanding.

It’s time for a new header – so I introduce a Hubble image of Herbig-Haro object (HH 24) capturing the birth of a new star. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers tab above the image.

The next weekend concert features the Moody Blues. (Long-time readers aren’t surprised.) Concerts starts on Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Last week’s concert was unbelievably successful with 25+ songs and just-over 300 comments. The interaction between bloggers makes me smile. Thanks to all!!!

There is a rumor of the possibility of Pronouns 3: The Musical. One has to wonder if it will gain momentum and replace next schedule musical.

Not only was David Funk one of my early blogging buddies, he served as a mentor and role model as a host. Although he’s listed as one of my Pioneers in the sidebar, he finally made to WordPress. Now is the time for me to return him a favor by inviting others to visit (and possibly subscribe) to his new travel blog – One Funked Up World. If you visit and comment, tell him I sent you. Welcome, David!

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This picture reminds me of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). His role in the government shutdown is pathetic. This recent opener from Late Show with Stephen Colbert made me laugh.

Regarding the current government shutdown: “Problems start from the top, and they have to get solved from the top, and the President’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead. And he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t like doing that, that’s not his strength. And that’s why you have this horrible situation going on in Washington. It’s a very, very bad thing and it’s very embarrassing worldwide.” (Donald Trump, 20 September 2013)

For me, the best ending of the Trump saga would not be impeachment. Resigning wouldn’t qualify. Certainly I don’t wish death to the man. Nope, it isn’t even him losing his re-election bid. So what would be the perfect ending? It’s simple. Losing every state in November 2020 – therefore making 2020 the biggest margin of victory ever in the country’s history. That would be HUGE! Then again, that would be difficult to achieve in some states.

I appreciated this concluding statement from a recent article I read: “Because you’re not getting it right if you can’t admit when you’ve gotten it wrong. And you can’t boast of morality if you’ve no sense of shame.” (Matt Bai, journalist)

Democrats are starting to declaring their candidacy for the party’s 2020 nomination. While it’s going to be interesting, the early crop hasn’t caused me to blink – let alone get excited. However, I am confident the ticket will have at least one female.

Due to the government shutdown, my current projection for a Trump re-election drops to 55%

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologist still no closer to discovering how birds have sex
Woman amazed she found perfect partner just when she was getting desperate enough to accept anything
Rival gang members come together to help build community playground to fight over
Kinky girlfriend wants to try sexual pleasure tonight
Manager of combination KFC/Taco Bell secretly considers it mostly a Taco Bell
DNA test confirms Subway chicken only 50% poultry

(My Combo: DNA tests confirm kinky woman found sexual pleasure discovering desperate Taco Bell manager as perfect sex partner at Subway)

Interesting Reads

Europe’s most competition country
Capsulating the Venezuelan crisis
10 iconic Italian foods by region
A read for hockey fans
Crazy Horse’s last battle
A view of art theft
(Graphic) Media-bias chart
(Photos) The bests deep-sea dives
(Video) Earth 101 in 3 minutes

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Herman’s Hermits three-peat – but actually as a doubleheader. Take your pic – but we want to know the one you chose.In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 387

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After an outstanding kickoff to the new musical event, the aFa Weekend Concert Series continues this weekend. This time, individual Beatles in their careers outside of the Fab Four. Think of them as ex-Beatles. The Producer recommends staying away from songs they continued to sing (such as Yesterday, which Paul McCartney still performs). Concert starts Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

At the concert opener, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all the songs. Truly a concert – so I encourage others to do the same – and coming back on Sunday is even better because there are more songs.

The Oreos post provide two wonder discoveries: 1) For those who separate then eat the icing first, and 2) deep-fried Oreos.

Because I have a lot on my plate next week, I won’t post after the concert – but will return for next week’s OITS.

Even though professional football players put themselves in negative light when their actions involve the police, I’ve always believed that these talented knuckleheads are the minority. Here’s a wonderful story about an NFL quarterback.

The Omnimax theater at the Cincinnati Museum Center recently reopened after the museum’s extensive renovation. We’ve enjoyed many wonderful films there through the years, and we anxious to see the effect of digital projection onto a large, domed, wrap-around screen. Volcanos: Fires of Creation treated us. Thumbs up! For a theater near you, click here – and here’s the trailer.

Although elected officials, this story caught my eye while serving as a bridge into the politics section. This past November, Harris County Texas voters elected 19 African-American women to judge positions. Here’s the video story from CBS.

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No. I didn’t watch President Trump’s primetime address. After all, the man has a well-documented history of lying, exaggerating, misinforming, misusing facts, and blaming while accepting no responsibility – all for the purpose of intentionally misleading the public for his benefits. Reports indicate that the address was more of the same.

Sadly, what if a true national emergency existed – would be suddenly become believable? For me, no!

No – I won’t be watching the State of the Union later this month.

Instead of a “no wall” message, Democrats are missing a ripe opportunity to promote other aspects of improving border security. Simply saying “there is a better way” (Speaker Pelosi) is not enough. Get into the specifics of what to do and sell it to the people.

Shame, shame, shame on Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The newly elected representative made an ass of herself with her inflaming words about impeaching President Trump. Although many of us know the man is pathetic, her words do nothing more but inflame the situation and incite his supporters. During a time when the majority of Americans want and need civility and problem solvers, she says that – and then doubles down? Well done, Rep Tlaib. It didn’t take long to make it to my partisan-hack list.

Another shame to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who didn’t publicly condemn Rep. Tlaib. Congratulations ladies for acting in a manner that supports re-electing President Trump.

Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wants to raise the marginal income tax rate on top earners to 70%. Although tax rate would not affect me, I shake my head at the new representative. A suggestion to her and the other newly elected – carry the big stick of quiet as you learn the system.

To me, I see parallels between the actions of some of the newly elected House Democrats and the Tea Party wave. With that in mind, Speaker Pelosi has a difficult managing task – just like John Boehner had.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Key in but won’t turn
Man finally able to forgive self after terrible mistake he made 2 seconds ago
Report: Students who take Latin have better chance of summoning demon later in life
High school history textbook concludes with little blurb about last 40 years
Man stuck in dead-end body
Everyone at Consumer Electronics Show forced to share single surge protector
System for telling clean clothes in suitcase apart from dirty clothes falls apart on second day of trip

My Combo: Consumer Electronics Show concludes key in surge protector made clothes clean in 2 seconds

Interesting Reads

Artificial Intelligence and the future
Moderate policy in the age of political extremes
82nd Airborne at Normandy
New World, Old World, and chocolate
The concrete blocks that once protected Britain
The Sopranos Effect
(Infographic) History of life
(Images) National Geographic Photo Contest – People’s Choice Winners

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one by Herman’s Hermits. After all, their appearance last week created interesting reactions.. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 385

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The final act of Pronouns 2: The Musical is this weekend featuring songs Self in the title. Acceptable words are Self, Itself, Herself, Himself, Myself, Ourselves, Yourselves, Themselves, and the original theme – Its (but not It’s). Curtain time is Saturday, 1 AM (Eastern US).

FYI: There will be a very important music announcement before introducing the opening act!

Given the way the holidays fall and my posting plans, this is the final OITS for 2018. Plans are to return the first Thursday/Friday in January.

Cheers! – Although limited, my wife returned to the dance floor last weekend. Simply some dancers are easier on the feet than others. For the other dances, I search for partners.

Friday is the Winter Solstice for those of us in the northern hemisphere. To those that embrace the day, a beautiful video for you.

As reported here, we cut the television cord this past July. At this point, neither of us regret the decision.

Cheers to Cincinnati for its high rating as a city for beer lovers. Here’s the list: Ranking the best US cities for beer drinkers

I must put in a plug for one of my favorite television special shows of the year is on December 26th – the Kennedy Center Honors. For me, this is a can’t miss event. It’s on CBS, so check your local listings.

Hooray for me! Only one more post to get in the queue, and then the rest of 2018 is ready to go. So yes, I’ll be posting – but nothing heavy. Looking forward to 2019!

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It appears President Trump is not going to sign the spending bill, which will lead to a government shutdown – a shutdown he is willing to own. Then again, saying he is willing to own it, admitting he said it, and taking ownership are similar to being on different planets.

As we know, President Trump loves to take responsibility for something good, but skirts responsibility or blames others for bad news. He used to boast about the rising stock market. For some odd reason, he hasn’t said much this year. Our portfolio is moderately conservative. Since our high in late January 2018, our value is down 7.7%.

I think of four governors: Christie (NJ), Brownback (KS), Walker (WI), and Bevin (KY). All were ushered in with a wave of populous conservatism. All eventually suffered high negative ratings – and only popular with the uber conservatives.

Upon hearing the news about the Texas judge declaring The Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) unconstitutional, my contrarian ways quickly had two thoughts. 1) This puts giddy Republicans in a bind, and 2) because the Act withstood two constitutional challenges at the Supreme Court level, that means the law passed by Republicans that changed the ACA should be reinstated until Congress enacts a replacement.

I close 2018 with my latest thoughts about 2020.

  • 99.9% chance of Republicans re-nominating President Trump (down from 100%)
  • 65% chance of President Trump being re-elected (down from 80%)
  • 0% chance of President Trump getting my vote
  • 25% chance of Democrats nominating a candidate that gets my attention

In the spirit of Christmas, this is the perfect gift for President Trump because I know he doesn’t have one.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines and 2019, here’s a double feature. The Onion made me laugh with this reminder of anniversary involving President George W. Bush; plus, important information regarding the 8 most notorious criminals in US history

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Everything reminds man of her
Petco employee stocks gerbils by register for impulse buyers
Mortician always keeps hammer at tableside just in case one comes back to life
Scientists still decades away from deciphering wireless bill
Optometrist Sets Pressure Of Air Puff Test Way Higher For Asshole Patients
Excited shopper decides to wear new butt plug out of store

Interesting Reads

A brief history of politics and the papacy
Rome’s vestal virgins
Ancestors drilling holes in our heads
(Graphic) 40 years of the music industry
(Photos) Abundance
(Graphic) The global economy in one chart
(Photos) Tis’ the season around the world (this is enjoyable for the holiday spirit)
(Video) Watch the creation of beautiful art at the World Street Painting Festival

To send you into the weekend and toward 2019, enjoy Perfect with an unexpected duet. The looks on the faces are genuine and priceless! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 350

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Although I took a low-key approach to #2000, I greatly appreciate the comments. Yes, they collectively choked me up a bit. Thank you!

I can’t believe WordPress didn’t sent me a special badge. Then again, maybe they did, but I can’t find it.

I had to look, but the first 1,000 took 4 years 1 month … the second thousand took almost 5 years 5 months. Especially given my age, I’m trending in the wrong direction for the next 2,000! But hey – thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

I had to check the party for #1000. I enjoyed looking at the names from the past. Approximately 67 attended: 12 are still here (more than half attended #2000), 14 are still active bloggers but no longer visit, and 42 are no longer active.

My next venture: The IF Challenge. A new (and temporary) page detailing this challenge on a tab. Bottom line, construct a post centering around the word “if”. Writer’s choice of format (poem, short story, graphic, etc). Dates are TBA – probably a specific announcement in the next OITS for the challenge post within 7 days after.

This weekend I hope to introduce readers to BLINK Cincinnati, which will be a series of posts.

We saw The Post (Meryl Streep/Tom Hanks). Thumbs up – but I enjoyed Darkest Hour more. As with any movie based on history, details are often omitted (because of time), massaged or even made-up to improve the movie’s flow – therefore, I often wonder how much of the movie is true. Here’s one such view of The Post.

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Here’s an interesting post about integrity by a blogger that I don’t know. Raye, thanks for leading me there.

The government shutdown was ridiculous. The 3 comments below stuck with me this week.

A president who can’t make a deal, Republicans struggling to govern, Democrats shaped by their anti-Trump base. (Dan Balz, Columnist, Washington Post)

What’s striking is Republican operatives said to me they think this president is erratic, he’s undisciplined, he’s inconsistent which makes it tough for him when he tries to get himself engaged in a deal like this. (Peter Alexander, NBC National Correspondent)

Where’s the empathy in my party? Al Cardenas, Republican Strategist)

This article by The Guardian definitely has an intriguing title: “The 12 Weirdest Days From Trump’s First Year”.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion capsulizing the history of the World Economic Forum.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Area man thinks movie he saw should have been nominated
Lustful man sensually uses one hand to unhook clasp of take-out box
Ophthalmologist instructs patient not to look at anything 24 hours before eye surgery
Man wishes women in crowded bar would let him read Jane Austen novel in peace
Newborn has father’s asshole
Real life Michelin Man dies (Photo here)

Interesting Reads
Defending the grid
Soybean to diesel fuel: is it worth it?
Feeding 1.4 billion Chinese
Feeding 10 billion people globally
Plague Fort in Russia
(Photos) London Lit

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one from The Cars on the way to their upcoming induction. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 199

On Politics
Earlier this week I called my Congressional representative’s office and stated three easy-to-understand points: I’m not happy, get something done now, and he won’t be getting by vote in 2014. Then again, because I’m not a donor, he probably doesn’t care. In the end, he voted against reopening the government and extended the debt ceiling.

Now that the US government is open again for business, I wonder these two questions:

  • If it possible that Speaker Boehner (R-OH) purposely administered more rope to the far right?
  • Because the deal moves new deadlines to January and February (2014), will the recent situation replay in a few months?

I heard this interesting comment earlier in the week: I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up.

Two good truthful chuckles

  • Polls show that the people favor the Affordable Care Act over Obamacare – which (for my foreign audience) are the same thing
  • Interesting freshman roommates: Tea-Party advocate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Craig Mazin, co-screenwriter for the Hangover movies

The rollout of the government’s healthcare insurance site is pathetic.

With all the talk about the Washington Redskins changing their name, my shared this one with me: Redskins considering dropping Washington from their name

To help show the Washington discourse and the biased perspectives, see these real headlines:

  • Republicans need to Dump the Tea Party
  • Democrats Show Their Insincerity
  • The Republican Party’s Age of Unreason
  • Obama’s intransigence is a big bluff’
  • Democrats Waiting for GOP Surrender on Shutdown A Small President on a World Stage
  • Give Boehner a Break
  • In Nixing Weekend Deal, Dems Exposed
  • Republicans Will Pay for This
  • Obama Can’t Waste This Moment
  • Boehner is Speaker in Name Only
  • The Presidency is No Place for Amateurs

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Cereal commercial completely neglects showing numerous life problems character faces beyond breakfast
  • Internet rocks by blogger’s sarcastic sensibility
  • Chipmunk’s plan for future better crafted than 8 of 10 Americans
  • New Pumpkin Spice Channel offers fall-themed hardcore porn
  • Thursday’s cry moved up to Wednesday due to scheduling conflict
  • Heroic broken sewage pipe flood Congress

Interesting Reads
The American stalemate
Wow paintings from a Russian artist (Thank you Patti)
Both parties blundering columnist Michael Barone
A tribute to one of the original astronauts: Scott Carpenter
US, China, and Middle Eastern Oil
Five Misconceptions about Columbus
One Man’s Love for Math

On Potpourri
Look what made Smithsonian Magazine’s “20 Most Iconic Foods Across America!

Home decorating tips for Halloween from The Onion

Upcoming Celebrations Calendar

  • (Fri) Chocolate Cupcakes Day, No Beard Day, Alaska Day
  • (Sat) Menopause Day, Bridge Day, Evaluate Your Life Day, Sweetest Day, Seafood Bisque Day
  • (Sun) Toy Camera Day, Brandied Fruit Day

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame recently announced its 2014 nominees. NWA, The Replacements, Hall & Oates, LL Cool, and Link Wray are some of the nominees more worthy than the Moody Blues. At least Yes is on the ballot. Finally! Although this museum is a worthwhile visit, I continue to question its selection rationale and process.

A Saturday Morning Cartoon is next!

To send you into the weekend, a cheer to a rock classic, Roundabout by Yes – but as an acoustic version. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.