Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 390

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

Embed from Getty Images

 

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.

Advertisements

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 323

Embed from Getty Images

It’s Super Bowl weekend. Although I will probably watch, I have no big interest in this year’s game. However, I would like to see underdog Atlanta win.

In the month of January, Cincinnati had the following (regarding sun): 1 sunny day, 6 partly cloudy/partly sunny days, and 24 cloudy days – of which only 7 were without precipitation. BUT – I think the month included a fair share of days with above normal temperatures.

A recent headline: Report find chemicals in one-third of fast food packaging. My question: Who is eating the packaging?

Good luck to Tamron Hall as she exits the Today show. Although I have switched to CBS This Morning, I will miss her presence.

Earlier this week and in defiance to the recent Executive Order on immigration, Cincinnati’s mayor declared Cincinnati as a sanctuary city. Republicans on city council, in county government, and high state officials more than disagree. Interestingly, replacing a bridge here is #2 on President Trump’s infrastructure priority list.

Embed from Getty Images

For years on these pages I have proclaimed my desire for divided power in Washington as a caution to what would happen in one-party rule in the current political climate. Some criticized that stance, and now, reasons for my warnings are quite obvious.

A friend asked me if I’ve been surprised that President Trump is doing what he said he would do. (He was surprised.) My answer was No … therefore why I’m watching the reaction of Congressional Republicans.

Our elected officials are not concerned about creative problem solving, thus more concerned about getting want they want and preventing the others from getting theirs. Here’s a post from the 2009 archives that remains very relevant.

The one thing I find more discouraging than President Trump’s executive order regarding immigration is the fact of polls showing more Americans supporting the plan than opposing it.

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates blew it with her order to Dept. of Justice employees. Resigning would have been much more effective.

I listened to Secretary of State Tillerson’s address to State Department employees. At least he has a positive, constructive tone. I wonder who will be the one that gets the president’s ear?

Count me in as one against the latest nomination to the Supreme Court. Whereas partisans are either automatically for or against the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, I am against it because I think the seat should remain vacant. After all, I want to play Last Judge Standing – thus no nominations until there is only 1.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Common Core Educational Standards
President Trump’s Executive Order regarding immigration
Protesters of anything against President Trump
USA’s bacon reserves being at a 50-year low
Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow

Embed from Getty Images

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for home repairs.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Radiator saving loudest clank for 3:22 AM
Burmese python shocked at amount of stress man holding in his neck
Sports geneticist working on ligament-free athlete
Man spending whole day dreading event he signed up for
World agrees to take-down internet until good use found

Interesting Reads
Better tasting tomatoes with genetics
An island on the comeback
Bubba the Deplorable needing Obamacare
A report: Terrorism and immigration
Snobbery
The future of work in developing countries

To lead you into the weekend, here’s a blast from the past from Asia. A special remembrance to bassist, singer, and songwriter John Wetton who died earlier this week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Worthy Read

Embed from Getty Images

Walls can surround to keep something out. Walls can also surround to keep something in. Either way, walls divide. Walls are barriers – and barriers can come in different forms.

Rick Steves is a respected travel guru in the U.S. – especially specializing in Europe. His shows and books are very well done, and one we appreciate for our travels. We have not taken any of his tours, but everyone that I know who has rave about them.

A new American president has made quite a splash in the news. Although he states his desire to be a president for all, his actions do not support his statement. After all, actions are more powerful than words – or as I like to say, behaviors and actions demonstrate one’s true value.

Rick Steves has a perspective about building a wall and actions that act like a wall. To me, this is a worthy and powerful read. Click here to read it.

 

 

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 281

Embed from Getty Images

For those celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you had a bountiful day.

Volunteering in an English Second Language (ESL) class continues to bring rewards. A student (a gentleman from Libya) wrote an article about learning English, and it was published by a national publication – Easy English Times. It’s a wonderful read, but unfortunately I couldn’t find an online version. Before reading it to the combined classes of different levels, I helped him prepare. When the time came, he stood in front of his peers and nervously read it. His last line touched me – “We need the person who sows hope in our hearts, who smiles, in our faces, who motivates us to go forward, and we need them to hug us when we win.” At the end, I knew he was proud … so when he came back to me, I hugged him.

For at least a year, I published lists of monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations. Did you know Gnocchi Day is the 29th of every month? Here are the links to the two sites I used the most to compile my list of celebrations: Brownielocks and Gone-Ta-Pott.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 1st at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

No Explore post this weekend.

Samantha Swallows sent me an email this week, but she didn’t say want she wanted – only a link. Oddly, I can’t recall ever meeting her, … I’m not sure why I received the email ..  so I didn’t follow the link.

Embed from Getty Images

The number of Democrats who worry about the possibility of Republicans nominating Ben Carson surprises me. Although I would tell them that wasn’t worth worrying, some people just like to find angst. Meanwhile, Carson’s poll numbers are now declining nationally and in Iowa.

The gaggle in the field seeking the Republican nomination continue to provide its share of nonsense and fodder to consider. I appreciate this words by George Will (columnist, Washington Post) – Every day that errant nonsense sloshes through the Republican nominating debate is a day when the party’s claim to represent what the country craves – adult supervision – becomes less credible.

As Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to bloviate about the thousands who are pouring into the US across the southern border, here’s a Pew Research report about the net result (immigration minus emigration).

John Cranley, a Democrat, is Cincinnati’s mayor. Let’s just say that I’m providing an interesting timeline.

  • March 28, 2014 – While announcing a new initiative is in the planning stage – “If you’re fleeing political persecution anywhere in the world, we want you here,”
  • July 2014
    • When announcing the formation of his Task Force on Immigration, he explains his desire to make Cincinnati “the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States.”
    • FYI: Mayor Cranley’s Task Force on Immigration website states it is “working to make Cincinnati a great place for immigrants to call home, start a business and thrive.”
  • Oct 28, 2015 – Mayor Cranley states, “Obviously, there’s political rhetoric around the country that suggests it’s not a good thing and we are emphatically saying we love immigration, we want more immigration, we believe that it’s key to our economic future and you’re a better, more just society.”
  • November 16, 2015 – “However, in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Egypt, the federal government should halt its actions until the American people can be assured that exhaustive vetting has occurred,”
  • November 17, 2015 – I feel horrible that I unintentionally caused harm.”

To lead you into The Onion, see their suggestions for avoiding distractions while working online.

Embed from Getty Images

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients
Girlfriend Promises To Not Cry So Much
Making Pancakes Best Idea Man Has For Saving Relationship
Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline
Healthy mashed potatoes made with cauliflower

Interesting Reads
How American view their government (from Pew Research)
Scientific faith is different than religious faith
About stupidity 
Drunk animals
The last perfumer in Belgrade
The glowing sea turtle
Lighting bicycles

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song with a video that makes me chuckle. 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. 241

Embed from Getty Images

On Politics
Earlier this week the Senate voted against the Keystone XL Pipeline, a bill that President Obama was against (one reason being the release of carbon dioxide when burned). The pipeline would have been the 76th oil pipeline between Canada and the US. Interestingly, the oil will still move – but by rail – a method that releases much more carbon dioxide than the pipeline.

Writing this before President Obama’s announcement about immigration, I’m remain against the executive action for the following reasons: 1) Poor timing coming off the recent election, 2) President Obama has had 6 years to do this, 3) An effective date of early January 2015 does put onus on the new Congress 4) Many, if not the majority, of nonpartisan Americans are tired of continual gamesmanship, 5) the majority of Americans want productivity, and 6) no matter how the courts decide if faced with the issue, the majority of American won’t be happy that it went that far.

A different way of doing business was an important aspect of the “Hope and change” mantra, but the executive action actually points to business-as-usual while reinforcing the notion that Congressional Republicans haven’t cornered the market on political obstinance. On the other hand, the House not acting on a Senate-passed bill and the overall Republican idea of shallow taglines is quite pathetic. In the words of Clara Peller ….

The White House mishandled the news around Jonathan Gruber. All they had to do was a) admit they used him, b) state that he’s a smart guy, c) and point to the fact he sometimes says stupid things, of which they don’t approve. Meanwhile, dancing around those facts attempts to play to what we aren’t … and that’s stupid.

By keeping their Congressional leaders in power, the Democrats have an early start in pushing away the 2016 independent’s vote.

Except among the partisans, there isn’t much confidence in either party. Yes, President Obama has a low approval rating, but that of Congress is much lower. Pew Research Center provides this interesting article about the challenges of bipartisanship.

As Washington stymies progress and avoid solutions, I appreciated these two articles (National Journal) about the smallness of Washington: Part 1 & Part 2

On a lighter note, this one made me laugh … If a tree falls in the forest and Fox News is not there to cover it, is it still President Obama’s fault?

Embed from Getty Images

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Mellowing Jihadist not as enraged by western culture as he used to be
Paleontologists determine dinosaurs killed by someone they trusted
10th grade math prodigy studying math at 10th grade level
New law to forgive student debt for college graduates once all their dreams are shattered
Chinese citizens gather in Beijing square to watch US National Debt Clock strike $18 trillion
Astronomers discover planet identical to Earth with orbital space mirror (I like this accompanying image)

Interesting Reads
The causes behind the mid-life crisis
Geography and terrorism
Malta: An ancient fortress and the modern world
Life of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Converting Facebook Likes of NFL teams into a map
(Gallery) Wildlife photography winners
(Interactive) What the world eats (This is outstanding)

On Potpourri
The latest on Lauren Hill is that her weakness is her practice time with basketball team … and I wonder if she sees 2015. Earlier this week, Xavier University (the game’s host) and Mt. St. Joseph University (her school) presented a check (over $58,000) from the game’s receipts and merchandise in honor of her to her fund-raising effort. Being the game sold out in less than an hour, it’s too bad the price wasn’t doubled from the $5 charge.

These words stuck with me this week: “Our hearts are battered, but they will mend. The world is broken, but it will be healed in the end.” (By the mother of the recently beheaded American)

This past Wednesday was World Toilet Day. When I announced to start the week, Vanessa provided this outstanding link from the BBC about the day … and it is worth seeing! Thanks Vanessa!

The On Perceptions post from earlier in the week is an idea that came to me more than a year ago … so it was good to finally post it.

Over 8 feet (240+ cm) of snow south of Buffalo … That seems unbelievable!

Life: The Musical has been running every other week starting on a Wednesday night into Thursday. With next week being Thanksgiving in the US, I will temporarily shift curtain time to Tuesday at 9:30 pm (US Eastern). Therefore, I will continue to step outside of normal protocol, thus announce right now ….. Act 13 will have much leeway, thus many choices because it’s about Positive Emotions, so all song titles must include a positive emotion in the song title, BUT, love is not acceptable.

With a series of busy weekends on the horizon, I’m unsure about the next Saturday Morning Cartoon post.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) World Hello Day, Stuffing Day, False Confessions Day, Alascattalo Day (Alaska & Humor), Beaujolais Nouveau Day, Television Day
  • (Sat) Start Your Own Country Day (Anglestan), Cranberry Relish Day, Go for a Ride Day, Humane Society Day, Family Volunteer Day, Adoption Day, Survivors of Suicide Day, Stop the Violence Day
  • (Sun) Fibonacci Day (a past post for your celebration), Doctor Who Day, Jukebox Day, Mother Goose Day, Eat a Cranberry Day, Buy Nothing Day, You’re Welcome-Giving Day, Aura Awareness Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s some high energy from a concert at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. (Look closely, we may spot Debra in the crowd) … It’s the Doobie Brothers with China Grove. 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. 197

On Politics
Interesting that Tuesday’s government shutdown coincided with Yosemite National Park’s 123rd anniversary.

As the shutdown neared and ever since, it is interesting to see politicians dodge answering questions more than usual.

A reminder to Congress: Whenever pointing a finger at someone, three are pointing at you.

I wonder if federal workers in Tea Party districts are standing with their representative?

I continue to say the shutdown is a battle between Republicans.

Republicans are offering Democrats an interesting choice: Defund health care or fund everything else.

“If this health care law is forced upon this country, the young men and women in this audience are the ones who are really going to pay the price, and that, I will suggest to you, reaches to the point of being a felony toward them and their future. That is a criminal act, from my perspective, to put that type of burden on them, to mortgage their future like that. America cannot stand that. America cannot accept that.” – Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

From http://dictionary.law.comfelony“1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison, as distinguished from a misdemeanor which is only punishable by confinement to county or local jail and/or a fine. 2) A crime carrying a minimum term of one year or more in state prison, since a year or less can be served in county jail. However, a sentence upon conviction for a felony may sometimes be less than one year at the discretion of the judge and within limits set by statute. Felonies are sometimes referred to as “high crimes” as described in the U.S. Constitution.”

“America was designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots.” —Anonymous

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
US Government of the verge of full-scale government hoedown
Company more like family whose members are desperate to join better family
Student reporter hits it out of the park with five accurate sentences
Fantasized argument getting pretty intense
Disgusting shower liner has another three years left in it

Interesting Reads
Quinoa
A book review about Woodrow Wilson
Congress, border sheriffs, and immigration bills
Actual science controversies
From Nicholas Kristof (NY Times) on the shutdown
Madame Weebs takes a bite out of Congress (language alert)
The Onion explains how health insurance exchanges work 

On Potpourri
Ever wonder what tacos, smiles, flutes, noodles, balloons, vodka, and cinnamon rolls have in common?

Did you know that Julius, Leonard, Arthur, Milton, and Herbert were known as Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Gummo, and Zeppo?

For me, baseball season is officially over.

.
I saw this and immediately thought of El Guapo.

.
While in Quebec City, it was interesting to observe reactions when I asked locals about Le Clown. Some bowed, while others brought food, drink, and gifts. Some screamed as they ran away in terror while others simply laughed. smirked, and muttered “Le Clown” and something in French. (They must be the anarchists.)

Reasons to celebrate this weekend

  • (Weekend) Storytelling Weekend, Fallen Firefighters Weekend
  • (Friday) Improve Your Office Day, Taco Day, Ten-Four Day, Vodka Day, World Animal Day, Smile Day, Lee’s Denim Day, Cinnamon Roll Day, Balloons Around the World Day, Toot Your Own Flute Day
  • (Saturday) Card Making Day, Cephalopod Awareness Day, Smile Day, Do Something Nice Day, Apple  Betty Day
  • (Sunday) Change a Light Day, Mad Hatter Day, Diversity Day, Noodle Day

Catching up has been difficult, so if I can get it together, a Saturday morning cartoon feature returns on the next post.

To send you into the weekend, here’s a jazzy song from a rock band during my 70s college days. Enjoy Blue Collar by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. 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. 188

On Politics
No matter the issue, Congress gridlock continues to be a battle between ideological obstinance and inability to make tough decisions, thus kicking the can down the road.

It’s the House bill or nothing on immigration (Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark, title of his Op-Ed in the July 11th Wall Street Journal)

The current Republican brand of obstructionist continues to serve as an example of our Congressional attitude. Robert Reich helps make my point; plus this one from columnist Michael Tomasky adds to the twist.

In a Wednesday speech about immigration, President Bush (an immigration reform supporter) stated, “But we have a problem, the laws governing the immigration system aren’t working. The system is broken.” I understand his point, but I ask this question: Which is ineffective, the law or the implementation?

As different countries offer Edward Snowden asylum, I like this offer: The Onion offers a swift, painless death to Edward Snowden (Click to read it)

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Report: 79% of sincere thoughts played off as jokes
  • American Dental Association recommends making your gums hurt really bad once a day
  • Area man loses all control of face while thinking
  • Lovers lost in fog
  • Terrifed Johnny Depp unable to remove Tonto makeup
  • CIA interrogator apologizes profusely after asking questions about touchy subject
  • Pregnant wife has no idea which Jonas brother she married

Interesting Reads
Obamacare delay: The winners and losers
Infographics: Inside Fireworks
Ohio and the Civil War
An inexpensive summer wines from Portugal
Columnist Peggy Nonnan on writing of a great address
Mountain gorillas of Uganda
Beer-flavored ice cream (for National Ice Cream Month)

On Potpourri
Interesting how the networks are cancelling more television shows not based on ratings, but on demographics that drive marketing. Older demographic groups lost Harry’s Law last year, so this year’s cuts include Body of Proof, Monday Mornings, and Red Widow.

I dislike the way baseball players are selected for the upcoming All-Star Game, which is just another reason to hate MLB Commimssioner Bud Selig.

Our house had quite the rain downpour on Wednesday: 3 inches (7.6 cm) in 30 minutes.

Yesterday was one of the few days I missed a post. Oh well, I just ran out of time, which also means I’m learning not to panic or force a post.

There will be a Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend.

Looking at the weekend ahead, don’t forget these celebratory events: Simplicity Day (Friday), National French Fries Day (Saturday), Gruntled Workers Day (Saturday), Bald Is In Day (Saturday), Embrace Your Geekness Day (Saturday), and International Nude Day (Sunday), which happens to be the end of Nude Recreation Week.

In honor of the World Piano Competition in currently in Cincinnati, here are The Piano Guys to send you into the weekend. Have a good weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.