On John Glenn

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Many stories have been published about John Glenn since the news of his recent death. Then again, after 95 years of life, 73 years as a husband to his childhood sweetheart, 23 years as a military pilot and astronaut, 24 years as a US Senator, and 18 years of retirement – there is much to tell outside of his accomplishments and high awards.

Those of in Ohio probably get more about the man and his life because Ohio is his state – the state where he was born and raised – the state whom he served – the state he has always called home – the state where he was born and died. In those articles, what touched me the most were the adjectives describing John Glenn: Kind, gentle, patriotic, genuine, patient, humble, charming, decent, respectful, smart, brave, gracious, determined, heroic, dedicated, simple, likable, and quiet.

The day after his death, I greatly enjoyed this story in the Cincinnati Enquirer focusing on his life. On the political side, he didn’t get the Democratic party nomination in his first attempt to be a senator representing Ohio. After all, the incumbent criticized him because he had “paid his dues” in politics.

He ran again six years later for the same seat as the incumbent was retiring. The road in the primary wasn’t easy because his opponent (Howard Metzenbaum) ran the incumbent’s campaign the last time and had the support of the state Democratic party and the unions. Glenn eventually dropped out, but Metzenbaum lost in the general election.

Ohio’s other senate seat came open in 1974,  so Ohio’s governor appointed Metzenbaum to complete the term. Because the seat was up for vote in the fall, Glenn challenged Metzenbaum.

During the campaign, Metzenbaum told Ohioans they shouldn’t vote for Glenn because he “never worked for a living.” Glenn response to that criticism during their debate was strong, which may be a reason why he won the primary – and eventually the Senate seat – so it is worth reading below.

I served 23 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by antiaircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine to five job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.

I ask you to go with me. … as I went the other day to a Veterans hospital and look at those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to the space program and go as I have gone to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their dad didn’t hold a job.

You go with me on Memorial Day, coming up, and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends than I’d like to remember and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn’t have a job, I’ll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men – some men – who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose, a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible. I have held a job, Howard. What about you?

Godspeed, John Glenn … and thank you for your service and for being a role model.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 320

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Oh yes – classic federal government story. My wife and I applied for a special program. The first available “interview” in Cincinnati was September 2017. So we decided to drive 4 hours (each way) because they had interview openings in December. Well, all they wanted was to take our fingerprints and tell us basic information, which took 10 minutes for each of us.

Had to laugh at this rerun scene from Everyone Loves Raymond.

I still love this vintage television commercial for the season. After all, I used to say that the Christmas holiday wasn’t official until I saw this.

The next post will be about John Glenn. Meanwhile, this story saddened me because it can be applied to many people – but Mr. Glenn in this case.

The Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday causes me to change my posting – so I’m not sure about the next OITS. At this point, I’m hoping to have a few Explore posts between those two days.

Wow … Congress actually demonstrated that bipartisanship is possible with the 21st Century Cures Act. Then again, maybe it was time to use their once-a-year allotment.

As a whole, I am not impressed with President-elect Trump’s cabinet selections. It will be interesting to see which nominees meet resistance from enough Republican senators.

The partisans on both side of the aisle continue to amuse me with their predictability.

Potential conflict of interests involving Mr. Trump’s business remains on my radar.

When will Mr. Trump abandon his on-stage schtick?

Here is The Onion’s 2016 Year in Review.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Brown spots on bananas
Too many Canada Geese
A dysfunctional Congress
Aliens disguised as squirrels
Cleveland Browns playing in London next season

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

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation comes to a halt to watch crane move massive concrete tube
More realistic meat substitute made from soy raised in brutally cruel conditions
Universe feels no connection to guy tripping on mushrooms
Eighteen dead in Kansas town after tornado siren set to “Vibrate”
First nap doesn’t take

Interesting Reads
Fake news leads to a guide to facts
Better sleep in a stressful age
A look at observing teachers
The South Korean President who stepped down
Education in Singapore
The 1952 killer fog in London: An explanation?

Instead of using a popular classic to send you into the weekend, here’s a high energy song that I’ve used in previous years. Not only do I enjoy the Trans Siberian Orchestra version, I marvel at the skill level of the Raleigh Ringers. Enjoy! Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 319

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Ohio lost a native son who was a statesman an American hero at age 95. John Glenn is one of the original Mercury astronauts who became the first American to orbit our planet, then went on to be a respected US Senator representing my state for 4 terms, a presidential candidate, the oldest person in space, a fighter pilot, and all around good guy. In the famous words spoken by fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter just before Glenn’s historic launch, “Godspeed, John Glenn.”

The Kennedy Center Honors event was recently held, so mark your calendars for the televised event – Tuesday, December 27th, 9-11 pm (Eastern US) on CBS. To me, it’s one of the best entertainment shows of the year.

The demands on the handbell choir during the holiday season continues this weekend. Veni (by Jason Krug) is an interesting twist on a popular carol … just click to listen.

Despite President Obama’s effort, I overcame his obstacles and found my Spumoni ice cream.

Some of you may remember the use of wine corks in our home. Meanwhile, this 1+ minute video offers some clever uses for wine corks.

Even though we didn’t know any of the songs from the musical, we watched Hairspray Live. We were surprised by the quality of Dancing With the Stars’ Derek Hough’s voice. Jennifer Hudson and Kristen Chenoweth delivered impressive performances.

I’m still getting some hours at the golf course; therefore causing me to wonder about the ones playing on cold days.

I worry about the Bengals playing the winless Browns this weekend.

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President-Elect Trump talks about unifying a divided America, yet several of his Cabinet nominees promote division.

Early in the week I heard only bits of an interview that I imagine I would have greatly enjoyed hearing it in its entirety. I found the author’s 3 categories of voters quite amusing: Hobbits, Hooligans, and Vulcans. Here’s a book review.

The fake news story and the subsequent event about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a popular Washington pizza restaurant was too weird on multiple levels.

A tip of the cap to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) 7-minute tribute from the Senate floor to Vice-President Joe Biden (D-DE). See it here.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominations
Ridership of Cincinnati’s new streetcar being less than projected
Tiger Woods not winning his return tournament
Republicans being divided on what to do with the Affordable Care Act
Possibility of Kim and Kanye divorcing

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, here’s an actual headline from The New Yorker that is very Onion-esque: Ben Carson warns that the Bible makes no mention of housing or urban development … that is just too good because President-elect Trump selected Dr. Carson to be in his cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Banana still most popular fruit for pretending to make a phone call
Broken ornament relegated to lonely existence on side of tree facing wall
Divorced friend burning through hobbies at unsustainable rate
Man had no idea cough was going to be a wet one
Oprah purists prefer original British version

Interesting Reads
Pearl Harbor myths?
Magic mushrooms
A look back at the first Rocky movie
Life under the ice
(Video) Black hole eating a galaxy
(Photos) Images capturing beauty across Great Britain

Here’s a 2-fer to lead you into the weekend: hits from two recent Kennedy Center Honors recipients. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 128

On Politics
I cannot recall a political graph looking like this one.


As we hear numerous leading Republicans mention the attack on religious freedoms, is it a Constitutional contradiction for Republicans in numerous state legislatures to introduce anti-Shariah Law legislation?

A conservative taking Rick Santorum to task.

Interestingly, as Rick Santorum links social issues to economic issues, his handling of past and current comments seems tentative (at best).

Here is last line from this column by conservative columnist George Will: “Neither Romney nor Santorum looks like a formidable candidate for November.”

Dolt of the Year nomination to Rep Bob Morris (R-IN) for attacking Girl Scouts in this letter to congressional colleagues.

On Headlines from The Onion
Smug New Mom Going to Start a Blog
Woman in Ninth Year of Letting Boyfriend Down Easy
Duck only Interested in Area Man’s Bread
Senate Session Interrupted by Wailing of Ted Kennedy’s Ghost
Scientist Create Lab-Grown Meat

Interesting Reads
From Common Ground, a sensible discussion between a conservative and a liberal

Republican economist Bruce Bartlett about President Obama’s manufacturing policy

What conservative Barry Goldwater said (around 50 years ago) about the religious right (thanks Mo)

Columnist David Ignatius on the Muslim Brotherhood

Andrew Sullivan about President Obama’s Chess Game

Video games in a Urinal (thanks Mags)

On Potpourri
The 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s historical space flight was earlier this week. He is an Ohioan, as is Neil Armstrong. Here’s an short, but well done editorial about John Glenn from USA Today.

According to Smart Money, the US tax code was about 30 pages in 1913 – but 5,296 pages in 2011.

Besides being an unnamed Dolt of the Year nominee, do we have a name yet of the decision maker for Qur’an burning on the USAF base in Afghanistan?

Kentucky High School Athletic Association sanctioned bass fishing as an official high school sport starting next school year (2012-2013).

During this past week, it was interesting to see pictures and reports of different Carnival celebrations throughout the world.

Woo hoo! It’s official – February 2012 is the most viewed month to date here. Thanks to all who visit this my humble little corner.

FYI: I am posting tomorrow (Saturday).

Many refer to Garrison Keillor as America’s Great Storyteller. Writer’s Almanac, his daily ten-minute show is a gem. To hear an episode, click here or see the link in my sidebar under Potpourri.

To send us into the weekend, watch this rare occurrence of an event at Yosemite National Park, which happened again recently. Have a good weekend everyone, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.