Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 377

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

With wireless available in all our hotels, I admit not totally disconnecting during the blog break.

Although I jumped way ahead to the Croatian National Park, I did it for Robin’s Walktober celebration. I still have to post a series about the western national parks tour we took last May-June (which I will start this Sunday night).

The previous post (Walktober walk) was a round-number milestone – post #2100. For those who enjoyed the walk through Plitvice, I hope you watched the two videos that I mentioned directly under the map. Both are wonderful!

While away, baseball’s regular season ended – and another predictably painful one for Cincinnati fans.

There are 3 tiers (levels) of professional soccer in the USA: top-level MLS (20 teams), NASL (6 teams), and lower-level USL (33 teams). Although Cincinnati is in the lowest tier, of the 59 teams, Cincinnati’s was fourth in attendance – probably a reason why the franchise will move up to MLS next year.

We are enjoying catching up on Dancing With The Stars through recordings. This season has some very good dancers. However, the last elimination was very unfortunate. What are voters thinking?

While strolling through Trieste (Italy), we encountered a new experience – a flute orchestra. Fascinating! I recorded a 90-sec clip, and I’m curious to see if this works. (Then click the video after it appears)  As a back-up plan, I found this YouTube video.

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Given several prominent election races at home, I did NOT miss the barrage of political ads on television.

I continue to hear certain people rebuking Nike products because of Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick as a spokesperson. What these people don’t know is that Nike’s target audience is not old white guys who vote Republican and wear New Balance shoes bought from Kohl’s, Target, or WalMart.

Glad that I was gone during the Supreme Court appointment process. The way I see it, both Republicans and Democrats have painted themselves into a predictable partisan corner only to predictably flip-flop in the future – and the partisan flock will merrily follow along.

Regarding Judge Kavanaugh, I don’t want to judge someone on possible indiscretions during teen and college years. I was already against the nomination, but not for the same reasons as the Democratic loyalists. Then again, each party only agrees with my view of the Supreme Court when it is convenient to their position. These two past posts explain my viewpoint. (Feb 2016 & June 2016)

Although we learned about the political climates in various countries on our trip, my wife and I were politically cautious with our fellow travellers – but we sensed the majority are not happy with President Trump.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, this scoop by The Onion about Donald Trump, Jr. made my laugh.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

  • Mom still raving about butternut squash ravioli she tried 13 years ago
  • Annoyed movers weren’t expecting client to have belongings
  • Sweatshop worker doesn’t even want to know working conditions of place he company gets fabric
  • Nurse’s tray all scalpels
  • Sex shop bathroom key attached to 18-inch double dildo

Interesting Reads

To send you into the weekend, here’s a pleasant song by the Doobie Brothers. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 375

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Pronouns: The Musical is continue its trek this weekend featuring songs with We in the title. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Even though I was out-of-town at a family event during the last act, cheers to all for demonstrating the show must go on. Special thanks to Dale for hosting!

Attendance for the musical has surprised me! Thanks to all participants!!!

Beach Walks resume this weekend (Sunday, after 9 pm Eastern US).

College football started last weekend and the NFL starts this weekend. I enjoy football, but my interest level has declined in recent years.

This week was the final week of the regular season of golf league. I entered the week will a good chance of making the playoffs to defend my championship. I played well, but my opponent had his best round in 20 years. I played good enough, and because there is no defense in golf, all I could do is congratulate him on his great round.

On Thursday, Cincinnati made the national news for the wrong reason – an unnecessary random shooting. Just more evidence that one never knows the whereabouts of someone unhinged. Unfortunately, it can happen anywhere.

Next week we hope to visit the Chocolate exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

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I believe Bob Woodward’s latest book (Fear) about the Trump Administration will NOT alter public perception.

The New York Times publishing an anonymous op-ed in their Opinions section is both intriguing and strange. I enjoyed Jimmy Kimmel’s thoughts, especially his speculation about the writer’s identify. For that, click here – and for what I described, start at 2:30. It’s worth the look.

Speculation continues about Joe Biden’s possible 2020 candidacy. I could vote for him – but I’m also afraid he could follow John McCain’s footsteps in losing my vote with his running mate selection.

I had to laugh at this statement by former President Obama about John McCain. “After all, what better way to get a last laugh to make George and I say nice things about him to a national audience.”

This article from Pew Research says it all: Democrats and Republicans agree that they can’t agree on the basic facts.

Newspapers are struggling. Pittsburgh may be the largest city in the US without a daily newspaper. More and more people are selecting a news source that delivers news they want to hear. Outside money continues to flood into local elections. I question if this famous quote is still valid: “All politics is local.” (Tip O’Neill)

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides a guide to Twitch: a top site for live-streaming video games.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Button-up shirt goes on life-changing odyssey around dry cleaner’s garment conveyor
Societal collapse narrowly averted after man honks horn at car paused at green light
Nation baffled by childless woman who doesn’t even have high-powered career
Trail of ants better be leading toward something delicious
Free toothpick transforms schlubby restaurant-goer into aloof bad boy
Evolution definitively proven as scientists capture first-ever footage of chimpanzee transforming into human (Click here for the image)

Interesting Reads

10 rivalries that shaped world history
Venezuela, crisis, and families
Feminist icon in 17th Century India
The tennis grunt
Clipper ships and world trade
Linking mouse poop and traveling to Mars
(Photos) Celebrating British diversity

Even though Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, I’m continuing the summer theme to send you into the weekend. Enjoy this classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 372

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Pronouns: The Musical is continue its trek this weekend featuring songs with Him in the title. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US). Similar to the last act (He), Him is challenging.

As fires ravage the western US and flood waters run rampant in the east, a reminder to all who are able and willing to donate to a disaster relief fund of your choice. Charity Navigator rates charity based on performance, financial health, accountability, and transparency.

We were in downtown Cincinnati last weekend with friends, and I like this black and white picture that I captured.

Because I was off work at 2 pm and rained damped much of Thursday, we went to the movie theater to see Crazy Rich Asians. A sit-back-and enjoy type of movie. There is plenty of fun, interesting characters, beautiful scenery of Singapore, and opulence.

This was strange. I am prone to motion sickness, especially when spinning – therefore I avoid fast-turning dances like Viennese Waltz. My wife read a strange factoid that placing an earplug in one ear suppresses motion sickness – so we tried it at a dance lesson. Oddly enough, it seemed to work.

College football season is not far away. I foresee a long season for my teams (Oh how they’ve fallen). Meanwhile, I wish Texas and Oklahoma would leave the Big 12 for whoever wants them.

Congratulations John Howell for being the 80,000th comment! The next milestone will be August 28th – celebrating 10 years for my little corner of the world!

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Democratic senators who meet with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and then give me a fair hearing – therefore saving the fight for another day.

The Left and the Right have more in common than they realize – especially when it comes about carrying to those in their party that are more to the center. Other than wanting money and votes, the Left and the Right want nothing to do with their respective moderates – so I provide this article written by a disgruntled Democrat.

I watched and listened to Omarosa’s interview on Meet the Press. I didn’t give Omarosa much credence when she was a member of the Trump administration, and my view hasn’t changed just because she’s written a tell-all book that criticizes President Trump. I’m not saying there are no truths in her story, I still question her credibility; therefore will not automatically embrace her thoughts just because I don’t support President Trump.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides a historical timeline regarding studies on the effects of coffee.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Christian pornographer refuses to film sex tape for gay couple
Caterpillar in pupal stage for past 3 months going to be pissed if it turns out to be moth
Unhinged man with jackhammer slips into construction site undetected
Surgeon pretty bummed about losing patient, but it’s not like they were good friends or anything
Orca mother carries around dead calf for two weeks as warning to all who would defy her
Elderly woman spends day in park feeding pigeons dismembered husband

Interesting Reads

14 words defining the present
America’s “nones” and religion
Elephant’s way fighting cancer
What Americans want via reform
A transformation face transplant
Beer in Mesopotamia?
(Photos) Abandoned Russia

To send you into the weekend and continuing the summer theme, here’s a rocker from the past that also serves as a shout out to my Canadian friends. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 371

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Pronouns: The Musical is continuing its trek this weekend featuring songs with He in the title. Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US). A word of caution: Songs qualifying for this act are not as plentiful as one my think – but that would be Obama’s fault.

Firestone Country Club (Akron, Ohio) hosted its first PGA golf event in 1959. This past weekend, the PGA held its last event at the famed venture. I don’t know who made that decision – the sponsor, the tour, or the course – but that is a pathetic decision.

For those who enjoy a wide variety of music, our church sponsored a summer concert series featuring strong talent in the Cincinnati area. The series featured a Bluegrass band, a string quartet, an organists, a French Gypsy jazz quartet, and a well-travelled concert pianist. Simply an outstanding effort!

I knew head position is important in ballroom dance, but wow – I’ve been underestimating its importance.

Don’t forget to check your Comments Spam folder on your WP Dashboard. I look before emptying because I occasionally find a legit comment in that location.

Because I like milestones, this week my little corner of the world may pass 80,000 comments.

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It’s early August, and I’ve already seen too many political ads for the November election.

Months ago I suggested that it would be best for Democrats if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would announce that she would not seek leadership if the Democrats gained control in November. While Republicans continue to use her as a negative against Democratic candidates in competitive races, some Democratic candidates are saying they would not vote for Pelosi for House Speaker.

In the current season of special elections, Democrats are elated with strong showing while Republicans are happy with winning the high majority of elections.

Shortly after the US-North Korea meeting in Singapore, I made a statement about when President Trump would be meeting with Iran. So far, President Trump is following a similar playbook with Iran as he did with North Korea. Here’s an article by Aaron David Miller, a foreign affairs expert and distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.

I see foresee the following 2020 scenario as a possibility: Republicans renominate President Trump while Democrats swing left for their nomination. This opens the lane of an independent moderate candidate, plus Libertarians learn from 2016 and nominate a sensible candidate.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion notes one of the problems of the current wildfires in California.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

This woman’s weekend-long trip with her friend should have really just been a lunch
Dog meets owner at door in desperate attempt to get ahead of diarrhea-rug scandal
Beloved father and infrequent pornography user loses 3-year battle with cancer
Owl can’t remember which direction to rotate head back
Report: Takeout place put burrito in completely different container this time
Financial planner suggest spending one evening each week ripping walls, floorboard, in search for cash

Interesting Reads

Dos and don’ts for a heatwave
Ways to apologize in Japanese
Resources of sub-Sahara Africa
An asylum seeker’s journey and back again
Thinking about economic data
(Graphic) Excise taxes and wine
(Pictures) Hiking the Sinai Trail

To send you into the weekend and continuing the summer theme, here’s a throwback to 1969 for you to enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 365

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Thanks to the hearty who stayed with me through the Christian America series this week. To develop the series, I researched information on both sides of the topic, so it was interesting to read the differing viewpoints – but to also discover the illogical, quantum leaps people make.

I’m looking into dual citizenship. Definitely interesting … and having a conversation with someone at the designated US consulate is not easy!

Check the box. We visited the Chinese Terracotta Army exhibit. Not only did we enjoy the exhibit, it is obvious to me that the First Emperor and the Chinese leaders at the time feared Obama.

This video of creative street art will make you smile.

I started an exercise program while at the Alabama coast this past January. In mid-March, I used my Silver Sneakers option in my medical insurance, so I’ve been exercising three days a week since then.

Is this strange? Take Your Kids to Work Day is during the school year (so the kids miss school) while Take Your Dog to Work Day is during the summer when the kids are home.

A tip of the cap to veteran columnist Charles Krauthammer who recently passed away. While one may disagree with his opinion, nobody can deny his brilliance, his skills as a writer, and his commitment to conservatism. I enjoyed the columns written about him as a person. Although I limited my reading of his column, I appreciate his description of the current president as “a rodeo clown”.

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The crisis along the southern US border is sad and complex. However, it’s a refugee issue – not immigration as many play it to be. I also appreciated these two articles from NPR: One and Two.

Congratulations to President Trump for successfully transforming Congress for ineffective to incompetent.

Recent tax cuts improved the bottom line for many businesses. Because tariffs work against many businesses, I want about the net effect. Meanwhile, in order to avid new tariffs, US-based Harley-Davidson is moving some operations to Europe to avoid EU tariffs. Damn Obama.

Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) made a solution statement about abolishing ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) – and I see the statement in the same light as some Republicans saying they want to abolish the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

A huge thumbs down to the recent comment about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) regarding encouraging harassment of Trump supporters and administration workers. Thumbs down to the restaurant owner who asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave the restaurant.

To the Trump apologists believing that the media is too hard on President Trump, my response is simple – He brings it upon himself.

I appreciated this statement from Trevor Noah: “The two-party system in one of the most disruptive forces currently in America.”

Tidbits on Future Elections

  • At this point in time, I see good odds for Democrats gaining control of the House this fall, but doing so in the Senate is a steeper climb.
  • I wince at the thought of the Dems 2020 presidential nomination; therefore I raising President Trump’s chances of winning re-election to 51%.
  • Here are the early odds for getting my 2020 vote: President Trump – 0%; Democratic nominee – 20%; Libertarian nominee – 15%; Independent candidate: 30%; leaving the ballot blank – 35%.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for staying civil when debating child prisons.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Cops bust filthy, unshaven Mark Zuckerberg for selling personal data on street corner
Funeral attendees getting misty-eyed during first dance with corpse
Everyone in Pride Parade straight
Blood-covered finger confirms nose, in fact, bleeding
Saudi Arabia officially lifts ban on female Monster Truck rallies
Steel drum knows it has so much more to offer than tropical vibes

Interesting Reads
The psychology of money
The 1912 GOP Convention

The next global jihadi stage – but where?
The neuroscience of pain
The Sinai Trail
The satisfaction of biscotti
(Pictures) Life under apartheid

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this grand voice from the past for this summer song. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Common Good

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Common good is at the center of any and all relationships involving two or more people. Although organizations embrace common good when developing a mission statement, putting it into action is easier said than done.

As a concept, common good may be easy to define as the benefit of society as a whole, but developing a meaning in today’s complex society would be difficult. After all, common good engages philosophy, morality, economics, culture, politics, religion, and more while having different meanings to different people and different groups. Even the Preamble to the US Constitution states, “… promote the general Welfare and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Is this statement same as common good?

Democracy depends on governance for the common good, but what that entails today may be a complex story in itself. Personally, I don’t have much confidence in elected officials being able to agree on a definition, let alone other aspects that would follow. However, common good is a concept that is so foundational, failure to agree is like trying to construct a building without a strong foundation.

To engage and implement common good, people must agree on the common facts. Even with agreement, disagreement on how to get to the common good is understandable – actually very likely because the different ways exist on achieving the common good. In the US, although Democrats and Republicans may agree on a common good, they may have fundamental differences on how to get there – and that’s fine.

However, declaring and accepting fake news fundamentally prevents agreement on the common facts – so doing for the common good would not only be highly improbable – but probably impossible.

If democracy is about the common good, then democracy must have reasonably well-informed citizens. Unfortunately, society includes those to whom truth is the enemy – the fools and liars who are misinformed and underinformed – let alone those who use a partisan lens to selectively filter the facts.

Life today is about information and fast access to it. The problem isn’t information’s availability or the mainstream media – not even the biased nature of well-known media personalities and outlets who feed red meat to their hungry flock.

A problem is the biased nature of a large slice of the public that selectively determines their preferred news source based on one that provides a message to hear – a message aligning with their predetermined view of the world.

A problem is when listeners determine immediate judgment on a legitimate news report because they have to protect their personal interests.

A problem is that given a fast and open information system, good journalism can give way to favoring expediency over accuracy.

A problem is that too many accept reports from obscure outlets as reliable because the story supports the preferred narrative the person desires.

A problem is that the truth is no longer a high priority.

All of these problems come together to prevent people from agreeing on the common facts – therefore no hope for acting for the common good. Perhaps that’s the greatest dangers to democracy.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 350

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Although I took a low-key approach to #2000, I greatly appreciate the comments. Yes, they collectively choked me up a bit. Thank you!

I can’t believe WordPress didn’t sent me a special badge. Then again, maybe they did, but I can’t find it.

I had to look, but the first 1,000 took 4 years 1 month … the second thousand took almost 5 years 5 months. Especially given my age, I’m trending in the wrong direction for the next 2,000! But hey – thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

I had to check the party for #1000. I enjoyed looking at the names from the past. Approximately 67 attended: 12 are still here (more than half attended #2000), 14 are still active bloggers but no longer visit, and 42 are no longer active.

My next venture: The IF Challenge. A new (and temporary) page detailing this challenge on a tab. Bottom line, construct a post centering around the word “if”. Writer’s choice of format (poem, short story, graphic, etc). Dates are TBA – probably a specific announcement in the next OITS for the challenge post within 7 days after.

This weekend I hope to introduce readers to BLINK Cincinnati, which will be a series of posts.

We saw The Post (Meryl Streep/Tom Hanks). Thumbs up – but I enjoyed Darkest Hour more. As with any movie based on history, details are often omitted (because of time), massaged or even made-up to improve the movie’s flow – therefore, I often wonder how much of the movie is true. Here’s one such view of The Post.

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Here’s an interesting post about integrity by a blogger that I don’t know. Raye, thanks for leading me there.

The government shutdown was ridiculous. The 3 comments below stuck with me this week.

A president who can’t make a deal, Republicans struggling to govern, Democrats shaped by their anti-Trump base. (Dan Balz, Columnist, Washington Post)

What’s striking is Republican operatives said to me they think this president is erratic, he’s undisciplined, he’s inconsistent which makes it tough for him when he tries to get himself engaged in a deal like this. (Peter Alexander, NBC National Correspondent)

Where’s the empathy in my party? Al Cardenas, Republican Strategist)

This article by The Guardian definitely has an intriguing title: “The 12 Weirdest Days From Trump’s First Year”.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion capsulizing the history of the World Economic Forum.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Area man thinks movie he saw should have been nominated
Lustful man sensually uses one hand to unhook clasp of take-out box
Ophthalmologist instructs patient not to look at anything 24 hours before eye surgery
Man wishes women in crowded bar would let him read Jane Austen novel in peace
Newborn has father’s asshole
Real life Michelin Man dies (Photo here)

Interesting Reads
Defending the grid
Soybean to diesel fuel: is it worth it?
Feeding 1.4 billion Chinese
Feeding 10 billion people globally
Plague Fort in Russia
(Photos) London Lit

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one from The Cars on the way to their upcoming induction. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.