Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 405

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Introducing a new header. This is a collection of faint, newly formed (1-to-2 million years old) stars in Westerlund 2 (a small area within the Milky Way). To see past headers, visit Past Headers page (tab) or click here.

To my Canadian readers, a belated Happy Canada Day (which was July 1st).

To my American readers, Happy Independence Day! To the rest of the world, Happy July 4th (the day between July 3rd and July 5th).

Ohio is a strange fireworks state. We can buy a certain grade of fireworks from a licensed in-state dealer, but it is illegal to use them.

In my opinion, Number of Followers is the most insignificant stat in blogging – yet, I noticed crossing the latest milestone – 7,800.

Thanks for those participating in the Elton John concert. The next blog concert features Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young. Because of how these musicians mixed and match, all songs must feature 2, 3, or 4 of them – but not as soloists. Tentative date is Saturday July 13th – and The Producer is eager for this one.

For those who didn’t know and don’t remember, I hate hot, muggy weather – but to celebrate the arrival of the summer heat in the northern hemisphere, I will use a summer songs at the end of the post.

I struggled in the first mini-season in my golf league – so I’m hoping for better in mini-season 2.

Wimbledon – one of the greatest tennis tournaments in the world has started. In the midst of the Women’s World Cup (soccer) and the pay discrepancies between the men’s and women’s teams in the US, Wimbledon has an unusual approach for the prize money – equal pay for unequal work.

For those you saw Rocketman, here’s an interesting interview with Elton John and Taron Egerton (the actor portraying Sir Elton in the movie). FYI: It’s 14 minutes.

A friend of ours marched in Cincinnati’s Pride Day Parade. The number of Christian churches who marched supporting the day pleasantly surprised her.

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Back in May I established Biden’s Dilemma – which (so far) seems to be playing out – but it’s early.

Not to anyone’s surprise, I did not watch either of the recent Democratic debates. Where as last week I provided fact checks to Night 1, here are fact checks to Night 2: FactCheck, PolitFact, PBS, NBC, CBS

Do you remember the outrage involving the Elian Gonzalez situation in 2000? Compare that to the lack of outrage of what is happening today along the US-Mexico border.

To the Trumpians, President Trump is winning the trade battle with China. What Trumpians either don’t know or don’t care about is;

  • President Trump has not used the avenues of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • Instead of involving traditional trading partners, President Trump has chosen to deal alone
  • President Trump has emboldened China in their dealings with other countries, so China has reduced tariffs with other countries while increasing US tariffs. Then again, he is the master of the deal. If you don’t believe so, just ask him.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for the perfect picnic.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Baby’s crows first word ‘Caw’
Historians reveal aqueducts were only a small portion of Ancient Rome’s intricate waterpark system
Barista only person in coffee shop with job
Porn star has face only a stepmother could love
If Earth continues to warm at current rate, Moon will be mostly underwater by 2400
Experts say earliest sign of mental health issues usually crossing eyes while dribbling fingers on lips, saying “Cuckoo, Cuckoo”

Interesting Reads

The most connected countries
The need for intestinal worms
Exiling a Greek philosopher
Data regarding thoughts about fake news
State of the news media
Coordinating Fake News and Fake Science
How fireworks came to America
(Graphic) Compare countries GDP ( a good visual)
(Photos) Seeking relief from the heatwave

To send you into the weekend, here’s a summer song that Dale will love. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 363

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Cheers to the new header. Following my fascination with images from deep space, NASA released this Hubble image in 2018 featuring a monster young star in the Lagoon Nebula within the Constellation Sagittarius – 4,000 light-years away. To see my past headers, visit the Past Headers page or click here.

I was surprised to learn these facts about recycling in the US: 1) Cardboard recycling is down while online sales are up, and 2) About 40% of Americans either don’t have access to a recycling program or don’t sign up for the one available. For those interested, here’s an interesting article on the topic.

I never realized that Chicago’s Midway Airport is named after WW II’s Battle of Midway.

As one who continues to believe the majority of the world is good, Anthony Bourdain’s death saddens me because he acknowledged the same good through the culinary delights of different cultures.

A major milestone happened while I was on my recent vacation. My feet have successfully stood in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. For the record, Montpelier, Idaho completed the journey.

 

The people have spoken regarding Fiona’s mural, which will be downtown and completed later this summer. If you want a sneak peek, click here.

After two+ weeks away from ballroom and golf, getting back into ballroom is much harder because it requires so much knowledge. The first weekend back to dancing was horribly difficult.

Golf’s US Open (my favorite golf tournament) is this weekend. While two of the past three US Opens have been questionable at best, I look forward to the challenge Shinnecock Hills should provide.

My Cincinnati Reds continue their predictable, pathetic path. However, they did surprise me. By the time they won their 20th game, the Red Sox and Yankees were the only two teams shy of 20 losses.

Cheers to the New York Times for recently including Cincinnati in their 52 places to visit. Here’s the article.

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To my Canadian readers. President Trump may represent Americans, does not speak for the majority of us.

For me, the report that President Trump told Lesley Stahl (CBS News) that he intentionally demeans and discredits the media for the purpose of convincing people not to believe the negative stories in the media about him sums up much of his time in office.

Although the recent Supreme Court ruling of the cake baker case bothered me, I listened to an analysis that mentioned the narrow view of the majority opinion.

My Congressman wrote this op-ed (Washington Times), to which I responded to him by email (below).

As per your newsletter, I read you recent op-ed in the Washington Times. I respectfully submit the following as a rebuttal.

1) Blaming the Democrats, the media, and Hillary Clinton is not only tiresome, it’s down right negligent. By the way, you forgot to mention Barack Obama.

2) There are two problems in Washington – and it’s the same two problems that have been there for years – the Democrats & Republicans as they subscribed to their self-servient, party-first mentality.
Meanwhile, to continue discord, stagnancy, and avoiding progress, I encourage you to stay the course. After all, you stated the following: “When those shared values crumble or the system is weaponized to benefit one party over the other, both parties lose. We the people lose. Our nation stagnates and becomes steeped in dysfunction. That is because the heart and soul of our constitutional republic has always been an ultimate allegiance to the overarching ideals of our democratic system and the institutions carefully constructed to uphold it — regardless of political party.

Yes, Congressman Wenstrup, you are part of the problem – not the solution – but relax – the majority of your colleagues are just like you.

I love this Canadian response to President Trump’s trade policy. (Thanks, Dale!)

As a retaliation in an escalating trade war between the US and the rest of the world, Canada is considering placing a 25% tariff on all American canned and glass bottled water including Budweiser, Coors, and Busch. The carbonated drinks sometimes referred to as “beer” in America are sold throughout Canada and purchased by at least one lonely person with no concept of taste.The Beaverton

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for getting the most out of life.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Tarantula rushing to shave legs before meeting up with mate
Himalayan goat dies following failed Everest Climb
Dad spends entire vacation 8 steps ahead of family
Woman bids farewell to former self before beginning new skin care regiment
Trick candles just making birthday boy cry harder
Botanic garden forced to euthanize rose bush that pricked child

Interesting Reads
A view about the future and artificial intelligence
The role of mini-golf in desegregation
Icelandic philosophy
Urban, suburban, and rural: What unites and divides them
Transforming sound waves into sound
Everyone’s neighbor: Mr. Rogers
(Photos) D-Day bunkers

To send you into the weekend, enjoy blast from the past by Dan Fogelberg. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a 2016 Season of Lights

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A candle is a small thing.
But one candle can light another.
And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other.
You are such a light.
Moshe Davis and Victor Ratner

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Such a short poem, yet so profound in many ways … and even better in the season of the lights. On the religious side of 2016, Christians and Jews have celebrations on December 24th – Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah. Three days earlier was another day that provides spirituality for many – the Winter Solstice. Toss in the fact that Christmas also serves as a secular celebration for many, these days impact many.

To me, Santa Claus is a symbol that crosses all cultures – all people – simply because he is the symbol of goodness. After all, goodness across the world as it transcends religions, languages, cultures, skin colors, gender, ages, sexual orientations, and even politics.

As my regulars know well, I enjoy using videos in many of my posts. In the spirit of Santa’s goodness, thank you for all the joys you give me through your interaction here and for your posts. Even through all the craziness in the world, the good feed off each other.

Enjoy any or all of the music selections of the season that are below … but I appreciate knowing which you enjoyed … so stay as long as you wish.

For all who find peace and renewal through the Winter Solstice.

For all finding the light shining bright through the night.

For all who appreciate the music of the season done a different way A few weeks ago we heard – Little Drummer Boy done to the rhythms of Ravel’s Bolero.

For the many regulars here who enjoy The Piano Guys … (I had to include them.)

For all who appreciate the music of other cultures (This one has stuck with me ever since I saw this in person many years ago).

For the fans of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who meld their words with the beauty of Pachelbel’s Canon.

For all who find awe and wonder in deep space with this classic.

For all attracted to one of the most beautiful natural lights of the season – the Aurora Borealis – and set to my favorite version of a classic tune of the season.

Whether it be Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays or whatever greeting you prefer, I issue a greeting of your choosing for the season … plus Peace and Joy to all!

On Exploring Deep Space

To me, images of deep space as beautiful,  inspirational, magical, and full of wonder. While marveling at their beauty, thoughts about ongoing creation race across my mind. Their special nature to me is  reason I used them as headers. Music by The Alan Parsons Project (titled Beginnings) is a wonderful way to explore while thinking about how it all began. Enjoy … and I hope you share your thoughts.

On Exploring the Final Frontier

My Exploring series ends with a salute to what some call the final frontier.

Star Trek fans know these abbreviated words:

Space: The final frontier
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before

The universe is a big place. Think about Earth as that pale blue dot in our solar system – which is only a speck in the Milky Way galaxy – which is a very small portion in a changing and expanding universe.

Long-time readers here realize my fondness for the programs studying deep space. Not only have I used those images as my headers, but I find deep space to be mesmerizing, invigorating, awe-inspiring, majestic, and more.

Watch this video, and then, tell us what thoughts come to your mind when you see images from deep space.

Flashbacks: On Grandness Around Us

Earth and the universe provide countless wonders. I uncovered flashbacks so you can enjoy some of the grandness around us. Enjoy, visit as many as you want, and I hope you comment on the post you visited.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 171

On Politics
There’s no doubt that President Obama’s inaugural address is more to the left. Although the GOP squawking about it is not surprising, I remind them that they spent four years focusing on the goal of “making sure he would be a one-term president” – so what the heck to they expect. Sorry GOP, reconciliation is in your court, not his.

Wow – House Republicans backing down from the debt ceiling fight is a huge surprise. Here’s an interesting read.

I’m still amazed to hear references as Fascism, Hitler, etc regarding the Obama administration. This time it was the CEO of Whole Foods.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) isn’t much better:

I think my role is to uphold support and defend our Constitution, … The Constitution I uphold and defend is the one I carry in my pocket all the time, the U.S. Constitution. I don’t know what Constitution that other members of Congress uphold, but it’s not this one. I think the only Constitution that Barack Obama upholds is the Soviet constitution, not this one. He has no concept of this one, though he claimed to be a constitutional lawyer.

Regardless of the topic and the administration, here’s one thing that we can count on during Congressional hearings: one side is generally soft while the others proudly declare, “I am an ass.”

All the hubbub about Beyonce’s singing at the inauguration is a sad commentary in itself.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Nation descends into utter chaos following Dear Abby’s death
  • Lance Armstrong plan return to cycling as fan-hating villain
  • Russell Crowe praised for man who cannot sing in Les Mis’
  • List of politically achievable reforms down to just three minor changes to traffic code
  • Romney makes desperate last-ditch bid for presidency
  • Biden working through scratch-off tickets during Obama’s swearing in
  • Michelle Obama is not keen on President’s new bangs

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
While Super Bowl XLVII is the first with two brothers as head coaching opponents – but here is the tie to me. Their father, a long-time NFL assistant coach, graduated from the same college as me – Bowling Green State University.

I have often said that biology teachers are in three categories regarding teaching evolution: Those teaching it well, those teaching it poorly, and those not teaching it at all. It seems this article supports my claim.

Cheers to my Cincinnati getting baseball’s 2015 All-Star Game. Too bad that Commission Bud Selig came to town for the announcement. I must say that I may like idiotic politicians more than him.

Check out the interactive Census Dotmap created by a MIT graduate student.

Yesterday’s post was about Word(s) – coincidentally, Harmonique and LouAnn at On the Homefront also posted about the topic – so give them a visit and tell them I sent you.

Good news – I will post a classic cartoon post on Saturday.

Bad news – I’m taking a short break after Saturday’s post.

To send you into the weekend, enjoy these images of the wonder of creation from deep space to the fitting music by Vangelis. Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.