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.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 357

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Thanks again for the Happy Anniversary wishes. It was a normal Monday for us (dance lesson and handbell rehearsal).

Readers provided many nice comments on the recent Beach Walk about horizons. I touched – thank you. The fact that the post inspired Merril to write a poem is quite the honor, so I invite others to read it by clicking here.

I greatly enjoyed NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Concert performed live last Sunday. Broadway voices are extremely powerful. (Actor portraying Judas was awesome!) Did you watch it? For those that didn’t but want to, NBC had it available on their site (for free). Click here.

Congratulations to the Villanova Wildcats and their fans for winning college basketball’s National Title. Not only did they soundly defeat opponents in the tournament, the regular season demonstrated they were clearly one of the elite teams.

For many golfers (included me), Masters weekend is fun television.

Cincinnati has a local station owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group (SBG). When I first heard their statement about their responsibility toward reporting unbiased news, I thought it was the station’s response toward the “fake news” shouts from the White House. I later learned it was an edict from SBG’s upper management to all their local stations forcing lead anchors to read the editorial script. Meanwhile, SBG has prefered to slant toward President Trump. Time will tell if I move away from my preferred choice for local news.

Because I didn’t watch Roseanne back in the 1990s, why start now?

Earlier in the week I saw this headline: The burger that McDonald’s can’t answer. My response – That’s assuming one considers McDonald’s as master burgers.

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I was a teen during the Dr. Martin Luther King years. No way I understood then about his impact. With the 50th anniversary of his death earlier in the week, Brookings Institute posted this wonderful collection of reflections by some of their experts.

John Pepper, a retired Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble and a retired Chairman of Disney, wrote this very interesting editorial about guns that is worth reading.

I’m still amazed at how many Republicans, and not just President Trump, are still running against Hillary Clinton.

More amazement: President Trump’s approval rating has been rising over the past three months.

I’m not sure what the Mueller investigation will find, but I’ve got the feeling neither party is going to be happy.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for a successful parent-teacher conference.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
New ‘Cut Off Your Genitals’ Challenge Gains Popularity Among Teens Online
Doomed rabbit about to teach 8-year-old about responsibility
Doctor asks new mother if she would like to keep newborn’s exoskeleton
Family Has Way Too Many Daughters For Them Not To Have Been Trying For Son
God starting to worry Heaven may be haunted

Interesting Reads
Sugars healing powers
Avocados and global trade
Revisiting Martin Luther King’s final sermon
The bodies of dead big-box stores
(Infographic) 50 inventions of modern life expectancy
(Photos) For those of us needing a dose of spring

To send you into the weekend (and as move toward their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction), here’s another Moody Blues classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 353

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I enjoy watching the Winter Olympics. My favorite events are speed skating (especially short track), downhill skiing, ice dancing, and snowboarding (halfpipe is unbelievable). But why isn’t there a competition of doing aerials off the ski-jump hill? Why doesn’t the sled track have a corkscrew or 360 loop? Shouldn’t there be a winter pentathlon competition involving ski jumping, luge, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and speed skating?

I shake my head when I see Russian athletes participating. Their hockey team even where’s the team colors and jerseys except for the name on the front. The IOC should be ashamed of themselves.

The possibility of the US Men’s Hockey Team going winless is very likely.

This past Monday marked the 209th birthday of two influential figures born on opposite sides of the Atlantic: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. The occasion serves as 9th anniversary of me diving deep into a personal study of the interchange between science and religion – yes – it was reading various reactions to the 200th anniversary that started my journey.

Although more BLINK posts will come in time, none this weekend because I have other posts scheduled around a special event.

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Another mass shooting in the US is followed by more Republicans offering prayers and talking about mental health while failing to back their talk with any action.

Months ago I contacted my Republican Representative and Senator asking them a question about mental health. I just received a response from Senator Portman (R-OH), to which replied with the following: “Senator Portman. Thank you for the gracious form letter that didn’t come close to answering my question.”

It’s so interesting that Republicans are now less concerned with fiscal responsibility – which also means that such a future stance is actually an excuse to say No.

For the fall midterm elections, Republicans have the following problems on their plate: President Trump, ignoring President Trump’s continual misplays, and force feeding party policy down the public throat. On the other hand, Democrats are having a problem finding their voice other than anti-Trumpian.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promising a fair and open debate on immigration also serves as an admission that he hasn’t been doing that. Besides, anyone thinking he doesn’t have something up his sleeve is wishful thinking.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides suggestions about climbing the corporate ladder.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Poignant dying words wasted on dumbshit nephew
Queen Bun gives birth to thousands of tiny rolls
Detective refuses to pry into circumstances of murder out of respect for deceased
Study finds cats only meow when they want to alert owner of neighbor’s murder they witnessed through window
Italian grandmother doesn’t have the heart to tell family any dipshit can make lasagna

Interesting Reads
History and future of the plastic bag
Volcanoes making lightning
Looking back at a fight to vote
Lincoln’s secret visits to slaves
Limits of technology: Paper jams
(Pictures) Nature’s gardens

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 306

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The players are competing in my favorite golf tournament this weekend – the US Open.

  • Fortunately, it is held at Oakmont – arguably, the most difficult course in America.
  • Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch as much as I would like.
  • Unfortunately, I don’t trust the USGA in the way they set the course.
  • Unfortunately, the USGA sold the television rights to FOX – which means fewer viewers but they got more money.

The Cincinnati Police Department accepted the Running Man Challenge from the Detroit Police Department – which then created this fun video.

Orlando, Florida has been the center of bad news in the past week. The latest news about the alligator attacking the toddler is shocking. Before finding the body, authorities euthanized 4 alligators . As I think back to the gorilla incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, did I miss the outcry of killing the animals?

The Spam folder on the WordPress Dashboard can be entertaining. For example, “The post have resolved our problem,thank you very much and hope you writing more good articles.” (Comment made for Colors: The Musical: Act 6: Purple Indigo Violet)

The completion of Act 8: Shades means there is one more act to go in Colors: The Musical. More info next week. Meanwhile (at the time of this writing) Act 8 successfully included songs with 18 different shades. Given the approaching July 4th holiday, I need to carefully examine the date of the last act – so I will say more in the next OITS.

No Explore post this weekend – but there could be a weekend post if I can get it ready.

To the fathers and those with fathers, Happy Father’s Day weekend. To those whose father is no longer with them, may pleasant memories bring you comfort and smiles. For those who didn’t have a father growing up and wanted one, peace to you.

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The recent shootings in Orlando has many aspects to it – such as terrorism, gun control, and bigotry. Gun rights groups and gun control groups blaming each other. A frustrated president who knows it’s up to Congress – a Congress continuing to ignore the issue. Politicians deflecting the issue to one of the other aspects of this situation.

Amazingly, even after Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Charleston, Aurora, others, and now Orlando. This is a serious topic for many Americans, and I’m confident the majority of Americans would support an open debate and national discussion about the issue – and Congress is the one that could lead the way by example. I just suggested why it won’t happen.

Like any topic, I organize information about guns, gun control, and gun rights into three broad categories: what people know, what people think they know – but don’t (the misinformation and the misconceptions), and what they don’t know. An open debate on the Congressional floor and a national conversation will help inform people.

An open debate and national conversation would seem to be a common sense directive – however, common sense is not Congress’ forte. Oh, I forgot again – blame mental illness while not dealing with that issue either. Better yet – blame Middle Eastern immigrants. Then again, there’s always the ever popular excuse of It’s President Obama’s fault.

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To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides tips for cooking with meat. http://www.theonion.com/graphic/tips-cooking-meat-53088

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sock gradually taking care of sticky spot on kitchen floor
Everyone laughing at thing man can’t change about himself
7-year-old unable to maintain single cohesive storyline while playing with action figures
New mother criticized for breastfeeding self in public
The Onion regrets spelling “cucumber” as “konkowbar”
Frustrated Obama writes letter to his Congressman about need for gun control

Interesting Reads
Flight: From idea to reality
Flags and identity
New sex position for frogs: Kermit Sutra
The 1886 famine in India
An educational investment
The unexpected art of Dakar
(Photos) Palace ruins in Kabul

Here are two songs to send you into the weekend: a leftover from Act 8 and s hit from 1982. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 177

On Politics (but not a short)
The Founding Fathers designed Congress to be a public forum for debate. As a group of 13 Republican senators threatens to filibuster the US Senate from debating any gun control legislation, Senator McCain (R-AZ) asked, “What are they afraid of?”

Then (in a procedural vote), and after an agreed-upon proposal between a Democrat and a Republican regarding background checks, 24 Republican senators voted to block debate on any gun control legislation.

Because this group’s action is a blatant attempt to undermine a national conversation while hiding behind a weak, limited view of the Constitution, they obviously have forgotten that according to the Constitution, the US. Supreme Court determines constitutionality – NOT the United States Senate.

In addition, the record shows that in the DC vs. Heller decision (a case about handguns), Justice Scalia (a strong conservative) did not close the door to government intervention on gun issues when he wrote, “the (Second Amendment) right was not unlimited”. Therefore, for this group of senators, I yield to this great American orator.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Stock photo model scout finds something special in man in business suit with arms crossed
  • Man not certain of names of his coworkers
  • Waters tested as 12-year old says “Shit” in front of mother for first time
  • Teen boulder can’t wait for landslide to put it into ravine where “they get it”
  • D-battery elected to Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame
  • Stripper thinks customer flirting with her

Interesting Reads
Thomas Jefferson Center Muzzle Awards (a good headshaker)
The art of good writing by columnist George Will
Columnist Kathleen Parker on reconciliation
Book Review: The Complete Phillip Roth
Scientist Richard Feynman’s words on science and religion
America’s pooping technique is wrong
Shit Happens according to blogger Archon (not related to the previous read)

On Potpourri
I’m a firm believer in the need for educational reform, but I also realize that “education reform” is an oxymoron. I appreciate this recent article, which I will pair with this past post of mine.

Congratulations to the University of Louisville Cardinals for winning the NCAA Basketball Championship. Unlike in college football, at least basketball has a legitimate champion … and unlike last year, I do not have to declare the basketball championship as invalid.

Monday was an interesting day with the passing of Margaret Thatcher and Annette Funicello. Here’s an interesting read about five myths regarding the Iron Lady, plus a tribute to the popular 60s star.

My stats here have been pathetic, but I keep plugging away.

Coming sometime this week: Time: The Musical – Act 2. After this highly successful opening act, it’s time to prepare. Participants may recall that Act 1 involved posting videos of songs with “Time” in the title. However, Act 2 is Time: A Specific Time – thus the song title must include a specific time in the title – not the lyrics, not the performer, not the meaning – the title. Do your research as I hope to open Act 2 sometime this week.

There will be a Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend … and it will feature a cartoon icon.

Because our handbell choir plays this weekend, I’ll send you into the weekend with a beautiful arrangement of How Can I Keep from Singing, which has an interesting “singing bell” technique with a dowel rod moving along the rim in a similar manner of getting a wine glass to sing with a finger.

Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On After Newtown

The December 14th shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut left 26 people dead – including 20 elementary students. I haven’t said much here because I’ve been listening and processing.

Since that day, I’ve heard quite the variety of reasons for the horrific event:

  • Lack of security in school
  • Availability of assault weapons
  • Lack of religion in schools
  • President Obama
  • Evolution
  • Failure to identify mental illness
  • Lack of love
  • Lack of family
  • Weapon purchases at gun shows
  • Violent video games
  • Rap songs
  • Too many guns
  • Too few guns
  • Hollywood
  • Lack of parenting
  • Media
  • NRA
  • Popular culture
  • Declining values

I’ve also heard many solutions:

  • More gun laws
  • Banning assault weapons
  • Limiting assault weapons
  • Regulating purchases of ammunition
  • Arming teachers
  • Arming administrators
  • More assault-related training for school employees
  • Issue more guns
  • Ban all guns
  • Better mental health identification
  • Moral education in schools
  • Arming security in schools
  • NRA providing school security
  • Improving mental health services
  • Increasing religion in schools
  • Transferring children from public schools to private schools
  • Better enforcement of existing gun laws

The lists above aren’t meant to be inclusive as I’m sure they are more. As some call for a national conversation, the notes above serve as evidence about my doubts about the possibility of a meaningful conversation. Simply put, how can people address a problem when they don’t agree on the problem?

Columnist Charles Krauthammer isn’t may favorite, but this closing statement in this column is very telling.

Gun control impinges upon the Second Amendment; involuntary commitment impinges upon the liberty clause of the Fifth Amendment; curbing “entertainment” violence impinges upon First Amendment free speech.

That’s a lot of impingement, a lot of amendments – but there’s no free lunch. Increasing public safety almost always means restricting liberties.

We made that trade after 9/11. We make it every time the Transportation Security Administration invades your body at an airport. How much are we prepared to trade away after Newtown?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 150

On Politics
Gov. Romney is off campaigning overseas. Because then-candidate Obama did this in 2008, I guess this is the new normal.

I find it interesting that Gov. Romney uses “European-style government” in his campaign, but dodged the question in Great Britain about his opinion.

Although I frequently use my remote’s MUTE button during commercials, I encourage everyone to do yourself a favor: check what you hear. Two good sources on in my sidebar: PolitiFact and Fact Check. Meanwhile, President Obama’s commercial of Gov. Romney singing is quite MUTE worthy.

Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) states he is open to raising fees to enhance the revenue stream. Interestingly, that means penalties are taxes, but fees aren’t. Sorry senator, this is not a one-way street. Meanwhile, count me in on opposing the Democratic tax plan.

Wow! A big-named banker now wants to separate institutional and investment banking – thus reinstate the Glass-Steagal Act.

The Giffords shooting incident brought forth cries for gun control that faded. Now the Aurora theater incident has reignited the thought, but it will also fade. For well over 200 years, the US Supreme Court has left gun policy to the people, well, until DC vs. Heller (2008). Meanwhile, here is a powerful post from reader here. Thanks Val.

The odds of me shaking my head are good whenever Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) starts to talk. However, as little respect I have for her, I have less respect for the majority of the voters in her district.

On Headlines from The Onion
Pet Smart VP Rolls on Back, Exposes Belly when CEO Enters Room
Civil War Reenactor Accidently Uses Renaissance Fair Voice
Multivitamin Snubs Magnesium
Exhausted Cyclists Ask for Some Drugs so they can Finish Tour de France
Area Man has Dietary Habits of Hanna-Barbera Character
Hiccupping Man also has Song Stuck in his Head

Interesting Reads
The 18-Day Vice-Presidential Candidate
Essential Facts about the Federal Budget
Rome’s Pantheon
When Arts Meets Science (Thanks Roxie)
Discover of the 600-Year-Old Bra
Ten Oddest Ex-Olympic Sports

On Potpourri
Interesting batch of facts from the US Census Bureau that you can examine at the national, state, counties, and cities level.

With the summer Olympics in mind, here are two related stories. Fasab, a commenter here, recently posted his view of synchronized swimming. Also, enjoy this story about the ten oddest former Olympic sports.

Dolt of the Year nomination to Dan Cathy, President and CEO of Chick-fil-A restaurants. He is entitled to opinion, but as a CEO, he should watch what he says. Nonetheless, the City of Chicago shouldn’t block openings and permits.

Interesting batch of facts from the US Census Bureau that you can examine at the national, state, counties, and cities level.

This is the 150th post of Opinions in the Shorts. I guess this the Sesquicentennial OITS. I could go onto one of my marches to include as many meaningless factoids about 150 – such as there are 150 psalms in the Old Testament; or 150 is the sum of when adding the eight consecutive prime numbers (starting with 7), but I will spare you the trivia. Meanwhile, here’s the first OITS posted November 25, 2008 – oddly, a Tuesday. Too bad that video is no longer available because the secret presidential handshake between Presidents Bush and Obama (from Jimmy Kimmel) had me laughing!

Cheers, a classic cartoon post will go up this weekend.

To send you into the weekend, here’s something grand and dramatic for you to enjoy. Have a safe weekend everyone. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.