Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 389

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Queen headlines this weekend’s concert series. Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Fiona turned 2 this week! Here’s a click with a story and a photo gallery. Need more? Here’s a collection of videos.

We recently saw Vice at the theater. Some points: 1) Christian Bale was outstanding, 2) I was never a fan of Dick Cheney or any of the neo-Conservatives, 3) I’m not a fan of hyper-partisan movies, and 4) Oscar for Best Picture? Someone had to be kidding.

I’ve finally got around to listening to Podcasts. I greatly enjoy the Ted Radio Hour. CBS journalists Mo Rocca just released his first in a series called Mobituaries. The first episode was about Vaughn Meader. Does anyone remember him? He was the famous for his President Kennedy impressions. Does the First Family Album ring a bell?

Back to podcasts. The two series listed above are 1-hour segments. Any recommendations of podcasts that are 15 minutes or less?

Remember Mr. Blackwell’s best and worst dressed lists? He died in 2008, but Roger Stone (yes – that Roger Stone – the advisor to President Trump) picked up Blackwell’s mantle. I heard an interesting interview with him about his lists – so here they are.

Congratulations to the latest inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, and Edgar Martinez. Cheers to Martinez finally getting his due, and a worthy tip of the cap to Mariano Rivera for being the first player ever to receive 100% of the votes on the first ballot. A worthy honor to a top-shelf player.

Super Bowl LIII is set. Two very entertaining games last weekend, but too bad the officials made a blatant error in one game, plus I don’t like the NFL’s overtime rule that determined the second game. Personally, I hope the Rams win.

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I not only don’t I understand comments like these, I’m even more surprised that people use them and others believe them.

  • “Stalin was a socialist who wanted healthcare for all, then went on to kill 80,000 people.” (Friend on Facebook)
  • “We have a society in which there are an awful lot of people who have no idea that Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung all came to power promising the same kinds of things that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is promising. And it led to mass murder, it led to dictatorship, it led to genocide. These promises are old promises and they invariably lead to bad things.” (Ben Stein)

For goofy statements like the above, I have a simple response: Although I may not agree with the Left, I am glad they have their heads in the cloud because it is a response to the Right who have their heads up their ass – and I’m glad to be grounded with my eyes open and my brain thinking.

With all the bluster about the upcoming State of the Union, I could care less because I won’t be watching or listening.

Interesting how President Trump offered a DACA deal to the Democrats, and then the Supreme Court steps on Trump’s previous DACA actions. Oh how the stories around this administration get weirder and weirder.

White House Counsel Rudy Giuliani is competing with President Trump for best entertainment to those who know better. Earlier this week The Onion has this great headline: Giuliani: ‘Let’s Just Start Everything Over’ … and this Stephen Colbert about Rudy intro made me laugh. (It’s less than a minute.)

To lead you into The Onion, this headline and accompanying image may be one of the best ever. Click here to see.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man beginning to worry that best meals already behind him
Trump dismisses Trump as a distraction
Doctor weirded out by patient providing every lucid detail of medical history
Woman rushes to hide fragile objects, cover up sharp corners on tables before boyfriend comes over
Queen Elizabeth watches as oxen pull apart farmer who failed to provide yearly tithe of grain
Weird kid opts to sit perfectly still, let universe decide his fate after teacher instructs class to pair up

Interesting Reads

Rural states and clean energy
Ten cultural items turning 30
Tough economic times at Amsterdam brothels
Major news from the world of frog dating
Quinoa whiskey
(Photos) The architect exiled by Nazis
(Chart) Coal use by country

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song that I stumble across the other day that I hadn’t heard in a long time. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 385

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The final act of Pronouns 2: The Musical is this weekend featuring songs Self in the title. Acceptable words are Self, Itself, Herself, Himself, Myself, Ourselves, Yourselves, Themselves, and the original theme – Its (but not It’s). Curtain time is Saturday, 1 AM (Eastern US).

FYI: There will be a very important music announcement before introducing the opening act!

Given the way the holidays fall and my posting plans, this is the final OITS for 2018. Plans are to return the first Thursday/Friday in January.

Cheers! – Although limited, my wife returned to the dance floor last weekend. Simply some dancers are easier on the feet than others. For the other dances, I search for partners.

Friday is the Winter Solstice for those of us in the northern hemisphere. To those that embrace the day, a beautiful video for you.

As reported here, we cut the television cord this past July. At this point, neither of us regret the decision.

Cheers to Cincinnati for its high rating as a city for beer lovers. Here’s the list: Ranking the best US cities for beer drinkers

I must put in a plug for one of my favorite television special shows of the year is on December 26th – the Kennedy Center Honors. For me, this is a can’t miss event. It’s on CBS, so check your local listings.

Hooray for me! Only one more post to get in the queue, and then the rest of 2018 is ready to go. So yes, I’ll be posting – but nothing heavy. Looking forward to 2019!

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It appears President Trump is not going to sign the spending bill, which will lead to a government shutdown – a shutdown he is willing to own. Then again, saying he is willing to own it, admitting he said it, and taking ownership are similar to being on different planets.

As we know, President Trump loves to take responsibility for something good, but skirts responsibility or blames others for bad news. He used to boast about the rising stock market. For some odd reason, he hasn’t said much this year. Our portfolio is moderately conservative. Since our high in late January 2018, our value is down 7.7%.

I think of four governors: Christie (NJ), Brownback (KS), Walker (WI), and Bevin (KY). All were ushered in with a wave of populous conservatism. All eventually suffered high negative ratings – and only popular with the uber conservatives.

Upon hearing the news about the Texas judge declaring The Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) unconstitutional, my contrarian ways quickly had two thoughts. 1) This puts giddy Republicans in a bind, and 2) because the Act withstood two constitutional challenges at the Supreme Court level, that means the law passed by Republicans that changed the ACA should be reinstated until Congress enacts a replacement.

I close 2018 with my latest thoughts about 2020.

  • 99.9% chance of Republicans re-nominating President Trump (down from 100%)
  • 65% chance of President Trump being re-elected (down from 80%)
  • 0% chance of President Trump getting my vote
  • 25% chance of Democrats nominating a candidate that gets my attention

In the spirit of Christmas, this is the perfect gift for President Trump because I know he doesn’t have one.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines and 2019, here’s a double feature. The Onion made me laugh with this reminder of anniversary involving President George W. Bush; plus, important information regarding the 8 most notorious criminals in US history

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Everything reminds man of her
Petco employee stocks gerbils by register for impulse buyers
Mortician always keeps hammer at tableside just in case one comes back to life
Scientists still decades away from deciphering wireless bill
Optometrist Sets Pressure Of Air Puff Test Way Higher For Asshole Patients
Excited shopper decides to wear new butt plug out of store

Interesting Reads

A brief history of politics and the papacy
Rome’s vestal virgins
Ancestors drilling holes in our heads
(Graphic) 40 years of the music industry
(Photos) Abundance
(Graphic) The global economy in one chart
(Photos) Tis’ the season around the world (this is enjoyable for the holiday spirit)
(Video) Watch the creation of beautiful art at the World Street Painting Festival

To send you into the weekend and toward 2019, enjoy Perfect with an unexpected duet. The looks on the faces are genuine and priceless! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 382

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Pronouns 2: The Musical continues with Act 3: Our(s). Yes, Our and Ours are acceptable. Curtain rises as Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US). Meanwhile, I smile at the interactions between bloggers during the musical.

Earlier this week we saw the movie Green Book. We loved it … many thumbs up! Here’s the trailer.

This line from comedian Ricky Gervais made me laugh: “Being dead is like being stupid – it’s only painful to others.”

This week we watched a handful of Seinfeld episodes. Now that’s original comedy. When we were on a tour in Manhattan many years ago, the narrator said Seinfeld wasn’t a comedy show – but a documentary of life in Manhattan.

Until recently, I did not realize that WW 2 leaders Roosevelt (FDR), Hitler, and Mussolini all died within a span of 18 days.

A salute to Shimon! The kind thinker in Jerusalem started blogging in May 2011 – and our first encounter here was in March 2012. In this recent post he announced that it was probably his last blog post and he wanted to thank people. First of all, I appreciate when a blogger states their intentions to stop blogging (as opposed to walking away). Relationships are an important aspect of blogging, and I wish more would remember that. More importantly, Shimon is an example of why I believe the majority of the world is good. Shimon, thank you for being you. A toast of bourbon to you! Shalom.

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As of Friday (30 Nov), 34 days until the Democrats can officially start supporting President Trump’s re-election by over-playing their hand.

Not surprised President Trump rejected recent the Climate Change report done as a group effort by 13 government agencies. After all, everyone knows that he knows more about climate change than the researchers – and the agencies have a political agenda, whereas he doesn’t. Mr. President, I challenge you to put your words into action by defunding the research arm of all 13 agencies.

I’m still amazed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been able to contain information about the investigation. We know so little – so the reason why many speculate. Meanwhile, I patiently wonder and wait.

The large caravan of Central Americans wanting to come into the US is interesting. I recently wonder “Why?” this group exists – and I come up with this list of four most-plausible possibilities.

  • The standard immigration story of people seeking freedom with hopes of a better live
  • A plot by liberal donor(s) to embarrass President Trump and Republicans
  • A plot by conservative donor(s) to embolden President Trump
  • The Russians creating chaos
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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides important dental hygiene tips.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Brutalized toothbrush wishes owner would just let it die
Study finds only 20% of seminary graduates go on to become God
Pistachio-eating man achieves “Flow” state
Kinky couple has mirror in bathroom
Disgusting, unusable shopping cart has single sprig of parsley in it
Metropolitan museum acquires another vase

Interesting Reads

The economically dying areas
Perceptions about food risks
Captain Cook and the Hawaiian Islands
Thoughts about edible insects
Still fighting for Monkey Laws
A place where 500 people speak 9 different languages
(Photos) Unique caskets

To send you into the weekend, here’s a wonderful song from many years ago – and one for Resa who loves them, and Pauline who doesn’t know them. These Eyes (Guess Who). 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. 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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 379

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Pronouns: The Musical is continues this weekend with the final act featuring songs with It in the title. Caution: It and It’s are acceptable, but not Its. Don’t rely on YouTube getting it right! Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

I may have one or two important announcement by Tuesday. If so, there would be one or two new pages/tabs. So be watching for the Special page/tab and the Challenge page/tab.

This week marked the renewal of a Halloween tradition in our condo neighborhood. The adults get together for an outdoor social so the candy seekers can have a one-stop feast.

A new episode of Rick Steves’ Europe examines cruising. Being that we enjoy cruising, we felt that his assessment of cruising was very fair.

Amazing how each of us have encounters that hit us in different ways. I want to share four of mine from last week

My wife recently had a toe surgery involving a cartilage implant. November will be a slow month here, so my dancing is on hold – well, unless she either goes along to watch and socialize or she wants me away for a few hours. Meanwhile, I’ve come a butler.

Stephen Colbert make me laugh. This 2+ minute clip is very good spoof on commentator Lou Dobbs.

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I can honestly say President Trump will not impact any of my votes on Election Day. For the record, my ballot has races for Governor, other state offices, Senator, Representative, the state legislature, and local races.

Given next week’s midterm elections, I’m raising the odds of the Democrats gaining control of the House to 90%, but retain the 10% odds of the Republicans losing control of the Senate.

From my perspective, there is no difference between the Democratic party attacks on the Koch Brothers and Republican party attacks on George Soros. Of course, during an election, neither party is willing to look within themselves.

Last week was difficult: mailing of bombs to prominent people – a shooting at a grocery store in Kentucky – a mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh – all three incident by loners with unhinged, deranged minds. Unfortunately, predictable statements about gun control and the Second Amendment again come forth. 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.

To understand the problems in today’s America, find a copy of the Roundtable discussion on This Week with George Stephanopoulos (28 October 2018).

Being that we are living in a time of a self-centered, bloviating, obnoxious, dishonest jackass holding the office of the leader of the free world, I hope you visited at least one of the four links listed in the previous section. Cheers to Master Yoda’s comment that is very applicable today.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion reports the latest on the Trump boys. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man exhausted having to explain Halloween costume for the umteenth time
Area man always carb-loading just in case
Polite high school football team runs around banner that took hours to make
Study finds placing one foot forward, then the other, remains best method of walking
Parents honor beloved dead grandmother by naming baby ‘GamGam’
Rash not going away on its own

Interesting Reads

100 years after the Armistice
10 countries gone after the Cold War
A Jew’s life between the wars
The complexity of 10 simple things
Building a Moon base: a how to
(Graphic) Growth, GDP, countries, over time
(Pictures) High water in Venice (and to think I was there 21 days before these pictures)
(Pictures) Mexico City’s Day of the Dead parade

To send you into the weekend and into the midterm elections, here’s that is applicable for me and a few of the readers here. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 378

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Pronouns: The Musical is continue its trek this weekend featuring songs with Them in the title. Hint: This is not an easy theme. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Last weekend we attended a play that was a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It was interesting and well done – plus the set was fabulous. Here’s the link with pictures.

Although our National Parks Tour was 15 nights, I’ve shorten the travel series to 5-6 posts. Next one is this Sunday night.

Regarding the two huge lotteries this week – well – not only did we not win – we were shutout – no numbers on any of the 6 tickets/lines.

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Election Day for the midterms is approaching – but not soon enough because I’m tired of all the campaign ads: especially those of the 2 races buying the most time.

Party partisans continue to ignore messages from the independent middle. For instance,

  1. Long ago I suggested that leader of Democrats in the House (Nancy Pelosi: D-CA) should step aside ahead of the election. With an approval rating that is much lower President Trump’s, Republicans continue to use her in negative ads.
  2. Shortly after Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination I suggested that Democrats NOT pursue blocking his nomination. Now that he’s on the Court, multiple polls show the Democratic actions have worked against them, thus improved the stature of Republicans in the public.

Regarding the recent mailing of bombs, the perpetrator has not been found. As the partisans take to the airways to point fingers at the other side, here are two important questions of initial focus: Who? Why? The second can’t be answered until determining the first. However, President Trump had a great opportunity to set a tone with his comments that night – and he obviously chose to take a different path – the usual low road.

I heard an interview when a person explain that it took Donald Trump to bring out the differences in Washington. ABSOLUTELY NOT! The difference have been steadily growing for the past 50 years, but Donald Trump has amplified the differences.

Updating the ever-changing odds:

  • Chance of Democrats gaining control in the House: 80%
  • Chance of Democrats gaining control in the Senate: 10%
  • Chance of Donald Trump being nominated by Republicans in 2020: 99.9%
  • Chance of Donald Trump winning re-election: 70%
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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion has a great picture about climate-change advocate Al Gore.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Thrill seeker microwaves pot pie without slitting crust
Mom hates bad guy in movie
Horrified nurses discover 40-pound baby after accidentally leaving it in incubator over weekend
Magpie worried mate only interested in him for collection of shiny objects
Study finds over 5 million birds die annually from head-on collisions with clouds
104-year-old reveals secret to long life being cursed by witch to wander Earth eternally

Interesting Reads

People over 65: Facts vs. opinions
A read about Claude Debussy
Africa and web conductivity
The European schism
(Pictures) Freak hailstorm in Rome
(Graphic) Most valuable global retail brands
(Video) A lady making arms

To send you into the weekend, here’s a throwback to Bruce Hornsby and the Range. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.