Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 416

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Impressive concert activity last weekend with The Guess Who and friends! So many wonderful songs! Using Day 2 to transition into Bachman Turner Overdrive was perfect.

Announcing a Schedule Change: The next concert will feature The Godfather of Soul – James Brown. The date has not been finalized, but it will be either November 16th or 23rd.

Readers may recall my recent post celebrating Walktober (I featured a walk in a Cincinnati park along the river). Robin has hosted Walktober for many years, and I have proudly participated in most of them. She always ends the celebration with a post featuring all participants. I invite everyone to read it here and encourage everyone to visit other walkers – especially because this may be Robin’s last.

My fantasy Benevolent Impalers delivered a major thumping last weekend. Coupled with an upset, we are now in a 3-way tie for first at 7-2.

Speaking of football, I liked this one from The Onion. Click to see it.

This week I had jury duty in County Common Pleas Court. Tough duty – I didn’t have to report Monday, Tuesday,  and Wednesday – but got the call for Thursday – got seated – guilty – home. Well, it was a slam-dunk case that shouldn’t have gone to trial.

The voting fans have taken over Dancing With The Stars. With 50% of the score from the judges and 50% from the fans, fan voting is skewing the results. The show will either have to change the voting format or go off the air.

The handbell choir is playing a fun piece at this Sunday’s service. This piece includes many techniques, rhythms, and chimes. To listen, click here (then click the Start button).

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2019 is considered not a big election year with zero regular seats are up for grabs. However, it is an election year for Kentucky Governor. Given that Cincinnati is a border city, candidates on both sides bombarded with ads – including the Trump loyalists.

By the way, President Trump won Kentucky by over 30% in 2016, Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who is unapologetically a Trump supporter, is losing by 0.4%. Predictably, Gov. Bevin complained about “thousands” of voting irregularities. Sound familiar?

The number of of Trumpian loyalists and their fervor continues to amaze me … and they accept whatever narrative their leader uses. Also, I liked this one for a letter in the Cincinnati paper: … the president himself has succeeded in pulling Americans down to his level. Not long ago on a past issue of OITS, a reader stated (I paraphrase), If we re-elect Donald Trump, we deserve what we get.

I regularly watch CBS This Morning, but I had to use the Mute button when during the interview with Donald Trump, Jr, who was their promoting his book.

Here’s an interesting point about the 2020 presidential election. For the Democrats to win, they must 1) maintain all their 2016 states, 2) flip Pennsylvania & Wisconsin, and 3) flip one other big state as Florida or Ohio. In can be done, but every Democratic candidate may not be able to accomplish that. Meanwhile, the latest poll from The New Times & Siena College supports my thoughts.

Although I’m not in this profile of swing voters, this article is interesting.

Is the House Intelligence Committee similar to the House Ethics Committee? After all, both are oxymorons.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline of studies on the effects of red meat.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Elite preschool boasts 95% of graduates go on to kindergarten
Patron scans cocktail menu for drink with fewest unfamiliar ingredients
Exterminator composes self in driveway so kids won’t know he saw cricket die at work today
‘Ooh, Right In The Bean Bag,’ Says Wincing Surgeon Through Every Step Of Vasectomy
NYC opens $500 million decoy subway station to catch turnstile jumpers
VISA introduces new preloaded debt card

Interesting Reads

Politics and the holiday dinner table
Life in an alien ocean
Having one time zone for the whole world
From the revolutionary world of the seedless lemon
(Photos) Images of Australia’s past
(Graphic) China’s economy the past 70 years
(Photos) Pics from Mexico’s Day of the Dead

To send you into the weekend, here’s one of my all-time favorite songs. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On an October Break

 

I know – I had a blog break most of the month of August – but sometimes the unexpected comes along in life to change even the best plans. Thankfully, it’s nothing serious. I hope to return late October/early November, and then I’ll explain. Meanwhile, a bit of odds and ends.

I originally wanted to do this post two days ago – but then I wouldn’t have participated in Walktober – and I promised Robin I would do so. Again, I invite everyone to visit Robin’s Walktober AND follow the links in the comments to other Walktober participants.

Thanks for the fabulous Prince concert this past weekend and for expanding my Prince horizon.

The next concert will be sometime in November. The concert promoter has a preliminary agreement with historical around some Canadian legends. No – not The Stampeders – not even Shania Twain … but The Guess Who! Acceptable songs will be from the following artists: The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, Chad Allen, Chad Allen and the Expressions, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. (Note: I love BTO, but I hope participants focus on the others listed because those groups and people are the foundation.)

The handbell choir’s upcoming piece is Beech Spring (arranged by Jason Krug). Listen here.

PS: (Added later) BLINK Cincinnati 2019 is this weekend. I suggestion searching YouTube for videos and/or your favorite photo gallery. Cincinnati.com is also a source.

Cheers to Ellen Degeneres for her response to criticism she received about sitting with former President George W Bush at a football game. Click here to watch her response.

Although Rev. Pat Robertson is known for saying something stupid, his latest that President Trump may be/is “in danger of losing the mandate of heaven” is a confusing to me. Then again, in his resignation letter as EPA Administrator, Scott Pruit stated, “I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence.” As a Christian, I state with confidence that these two (and others like them) do not speak for the majority of Christians.

Agreeing with the decision or not, Speaker Pelosi establishing an Impeachment Inquiry is not against the Constitution and is not against House Rules – so I yield to her shrewdness.

To Republicans. This whole dilemma, the entire situation is NOT about Barack Obama, NOT about Joe Biden, NOT about Hunter Biden, NOT about Hillary Clinton, NOT about the economy, NOT about college football, NOT about other inventive delusional excuses along with declarations witch hunt, fake news, and more.  The situation is about the actions of one single person and those representing him. Then again, I guess defending the indefensible requires blaming others. In other words, you and your fellow minions are a very sad, pathetic lot that is doing the country more harm than good.

To Congressional Democrats: You have the difficult task of being both thorough and expedient, then delivering a convincing civics lesson. Note: I am not confident you’ll meet the challenge.

PS: If the only difference in the current situation was the President’s political party, I have zero confidence that Democrats would be joining Republicans for calls of impeachment.

On a much lighter note, I leave you with something special. Megan Washington is an award-winning Australian singer with a multi-platinum album. She stutters – except when she sings. This performance is after her TEDx talk in Sydney. Enjoy … and don’t forget … Blog breaks are good.

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. 396

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Because we couldn’t rehearse while in Alabama, last Sunday we had a chance to listen to our handbell choir play a wonderful song for Lent. (Plus, the group played very well.) To listen to In the Wilderness (Jason Krug), click here, and then find the Listen button (after the opening paragraph that is worth reading), then click Listen. Warning: It’s over 6 minutes, but it can serve as background music for those interested.

The Weekend Concert Series returns this Saturday with Carole King taking the stage at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Regarding the concerts, tradition is that I limit comments to one song per person. However, a little known fact is that commenters can return on Day 2 (Sunday) to add more songs.

Did anyone watch the Aretha Franklin tribute show on CBS last Sunday night? We did – and enjoyed it.

OITS number 400 is approaching … and visit number 400,000 is in sight (possibly this summer).

Attention Costco shoppers. From Money magazine – If you spend $3000 per year at Costco, upgrading to an Executive Member will pay for itself and may make save you even more. Once we learned we were passing on money, we upgraded. After all, we love Costco.

Have you ever taken a DNA test as Ancestry DNA or 23andMe?

Last week we sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time (DST). Two US states (Arizona and Hawaii) do not join the fun. Several other states are considering doing the same while several others are considering making DST permanent.

Cheers to the US Women’s Soccer Team seeking equal pay with their men’s counterpart. With Wimbledon tennis approaching, should men and women receive the same winnings when men must win three sets per match while women two?

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AOC is made it known that moderates are not welcome. Nothing like pushing away potential voters. Just because I’m anti-Trump does not mean voting for the Democratic candidate is automatic. So thank you AOC, the odds of Dems getting my vote in 2020 has fallen to 10%.

Now would this be an interesting Democratic presidential ticket for a bumper sticker: Hickenlooper-Buttigieg

President Trump referred Apple CEO Tim Cook as Tim Apple. To me, a simple slip of the tongue. That’s something we’ve all done. However, President Trump is so arrogant, he can’t even admit a responsibility on something like this. Instead, he favored an explanation that is pathetic and senseless: “I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words.”

Presidential Weekly Summary: Build the wall. No collusion. Witch hunt. Lock her up. Fake news. I feel badly for Paul Manafort. Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, here’s something different. Viareggio is a popular respite by the sea on Tuscany’s west coast. Actually close to my family. Carnevale di Viareggio is a popular annual event. Let’s just say this event displays a bit of satire. For those who dare, watch a four-minute video here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Baby feels foolish after realizing stranger waving at toddler next seat over
Limited-edition Russet potato comes with letter of authenticity
Washing machine loses man’s trust
Woman nervous for boyfriend to meet person she becomes around parents
Aging Mount St. Helen’s beginning to think erupting days are behind it
Scientists pinpoint part of brain all hairs grow out of

Interesting Reads

Women and World War II
Thinking about plastics
A bit about stupidity
A view of polarized America
Life beyond Earth?
(Graphic) A graphic worth thinking about
(Photos) Rio’s carnival celebration
(Video) Chile’s marble cathedral in a cave

To send you into the weekend, a duet that didn’t appear at the last concert. 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. 359

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I knew my Cincinnati Reds baseball team would not be very good, but they have exceeded my expectations of badness. They are more than pathetic. People here complain more about the Bengals while many give the Reds a free pass, but as an organization, the Bengals are much better – an it’s not even close. The Reds fired the manager Thursday morning. I feel sorry for him because it tough to with those players.

Did anyone see 60 Minutes last Sunday? Allegiant Airlines has a significant presence in Cincinnati. After watching the segment about them, I doubt I would consider them in the future.

It’s been a big week for planning our 2019 vacations.

During my teacher days, I was reformed minded and a long-time antagonist toward standards and standardized testing. My cynical side smiled when I read this view of testing results.

Our handbell was preparing an interesting piece for our last song before breaking for the summer – The Day of Resurrection (Jason Krug). Unfortunately, circumstances caused the director to delay that song until the fall. For those who want to hear it, click here.

News earlier in the week of former First Lady Barbara Bush’s death marks a sad time. Besides living into her 90s and being married to the same man for 73 years, I admired her strength and wit – even though I didn’t always politically agree with her . Loved the fact that she was known within the family as The Enforcer. Meanwhile, her granddaughter – Jenna Bush Hager – wrote a beautiful piece for the Today show. Read it here. (Video here @ CBS)

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Cheers to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley for standing her ground after the White House appeared to throw her under the bus. To me, she is one of the few bright spots in the Trump administration.

This is my favorite one of the week. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said “I have not” heard President Trump lie. A perfect example of a partisan hack!

A candidate running for a local office in the upcoming May primary. His campaign signs state, “A Real Republican” – which (to me) is code for obstinate asshole.

For those who didn’t see the hair trade deal between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, search the following on Google Images: president trump kim jong un hair deal

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion shows an image of a man fearing he may never trust again after a treasured picture of a duck turns out to be a rabbit. (I have a personal reason for loving this one.)

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man with backed-up shower drain enjoys luxurious foot soak
Shy balloon spends entire party floating in back corner of room by itself
Grandma defiantly taking scone recipe to grave
Controversial theory suggests aliens may have built Ancient Egypt’s intergalactic spaceport
Woman who choked to death alone in apartment kicked out of book club for missing last 2 meetings

Interesting Reads
How France cut heroin overdoses by 79% in 4 years
The dark side of solar energy
Life in the world’s most polluted city
A Nazi who defected to the Soviet Union then became a hero
Ways people cook pasta wrong
Honey bees and bacteria
(Photos) 50 years of powerful photography

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