Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 373

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

Earlier this week we watched Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live in Liverpool (on CBS). That was fabulous – so I encourage interested readers to watch it. Did you see it? For those wanting to know more about the show, watch this short news report.

For those who enjoy piano solos (and especially those who can read music), here’s a maddening piece only for highly skilled pianists … and to think we saw it performed live.

Our electric company gave us a report saying that last month, 54% of our usage was for cooling, 13% kitchen, 13% lighting, 9% electronics, 5% laundry, and 6% other.

This Tuesday is a special day, so I hope you stop by here.

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Most of the talk about the Mueller investigation is just that – talk. Other than issuing indictments, news directly from the investigation team has been minimal. As I wait for the final report, I continue to ignore President Trump, his partisans, his partisan opponents, and much of the media’s conjecture. We will know want the special prosecutor knows when the special prosecutor issues the final report.

After the Paul Manafort verdict, President Trump boldly proclaimed, “Where’s the collusion?” An FYI to him and his Trumpian loyalists: the trial was not about any aspect of collusion. Although my advice to the president includes be careful what you ask for, Democrats should also remember both the initial FYI and the previous short.

President Trumps says, “[Cohen] makes a better deal when he uses me, like everybody else,” Trump said. “And one of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial—you know they make up stories. People make up stories. This whole thing about flipping, they call it, I know all about flipping.” I respond with, click here.

Democrats have high hopes on gaining control of the House of Representatives. If they do so, I wonder if they are wise enough about handling impeachment.

Former CIA Director John Brennan’s description is right: President Trump is “drunk on power.”

“Truth isn’t truth” – good one Rudi!

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion lists pros and cons for the Trump-proposed Space Force.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man guessing he’s stared at Giant Sequoia long enough to appreciate it
Girlfriend slowly becoming radicalized by new skin-care blog
Man feeling pressure to give mom grandchildren while she still around to raise them
Young girls creeped out by older scientists constantly trying to lure them into STEM
Minotaur wondering if there’s more to life than bashing in head of those who dare wander into labyrinth

Interesting Reads

History of the Electoral College
Required reading for all?
Explaining on the phone and on hold
Conclusions from errors in thinking
State of the news media
(Photos) Aretha Franklin’s life

To send you into the weekend and continuing the summer theme, here’s Michael Bublé with a Sinatra classic – Summer Wind. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 299

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Wow – time is creeping up on the celebratory edition of Opinions in the Shorts.

My wife has been gone all week as she was one of 5 long-time friends now in 3 states went to Florida for a week. Believe it or not, I didn’t do a lot of dancing this time. We will refresh the upcoming waltz formation routine when she returns.

Happy Easter to my friends who are Orthodox Christians.

Because of the revenue-driven aspect of college sports, instead of NCAA, I think they should embrace a new set of initials – NCIC ….. National Collegiate Industrial Complex.

House of Cards is currently in Season 4. Any ideas how many years the season will run?

Thanks to George (The Off Key of Life) for posting this video that has many lessons.

Colors: The Musical resumes next week with Act 6 featuring songs with purple, indigo, and violet in the titles. Curtain time is Tuesday, May 3 at 9:30 PM (Eastern US)

  • Purple, Indigo, or Violet must appear in the song title
  • No forms of the any of those three words (as purples, purplest, etc)
  • No compound words containing any of the three keywords
  • No shades of any of those three colors
  • No duplicate songs

There will be a Saturday Explore post this weekend.

Donald Trump (R-NY) admitted that his campaign-trail personal has been fake, so he’ll now pivot to a more presidential personality. Although I knew all along that much was an act, the pivot insults me even more than he already has. If the change results in more support, this is even a sadder commentary on the American public.

I expected Trump’s big night this past Tuesday, so next week’s Indiana primary is big – although the Cruz-Kasich strategy is goofy.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announcing his running mate shows he knows Indiana’s importance.

Looking ahead to the Republican convention, what if a delegate decides not to vote, and those designed to set in choose not to do so? I introduce you to Rule 29.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers ways the GOP can stop Donald Trump.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Brita unveils new in-throat water filters
Report: Only 893,000 news stories to go until 2016 election over
Pope Francis proclaims happiness cannot be downloaded
Psychiatrist cures patient
Pigeon waits for walk signal before crossing street
Experts warn climate change will increase incidences of stepping into puddle and getting whole goddamn foot soaking wet

Interesting Reads
5 ways Americans and Europeans differ
A Brazilian city’s love for the Confederate Flag
Rotifers, genetic engineering, and sex
Different religions and their view of God
Farm animals in the style of Rembrandt

To send you into this weekend, enjoy this easy listening song from Michael Bublé. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Close Encounter of …

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I recall hearing and reading about the hub-bub between John Hurley and Kelly Monaco in Season 1 of Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) – but I didn’t watch. As a sports fan, having ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne in the Season 2 cast caught my attention – so my wife and I watched DWTS for the first time on January 5, 2006.

We watched the entire show. The next day was the results show, and my wife asked, “Don’t you want to see what happens?” I had seen the first night with Kenny, and that was good enough, but she was curious – so we watched the elimination of Kenny Mayne.

Season 22 (of the 2 seasons per year) starts later this month. Since that first episode we watched, DWTS was the first domino that led us into the world of ballroom dance. We’re still watching the show and still dancing. Who knows how much money we’ve spent on lessons, dances, and shoes – at least I can blame Kenny Mayne.

Long-time watchers may remember Season 2 as it included guests Drew Lachey (a Cincinnatian who won), Stacey Keibler, Jerry Rice, Lisa Rinna, Tia Carrere, George Hamilton, Tatum O’Neill, Giselle Fernandez, and Master P, It also introduced us to professional dancers Tony Dovolani, Maksim Chmerkovsky, Louis Van Amstel, Cheryl Burke, Anna Trebunskaya, and Edyta Śliwińska – the Polish-born dancer who easily catches the eye. Besides, many of us would love an opportunity to dance with the partner of our choice …. Just once! Did you hear that Edyta? Anna? Sharna? Peta?

To those of us old enough to remember the variety shows on television, DWTS is a blend of a reality show of today and the variety shows of yesteryear – especially on the Results Show when top artists perform – such as this appearance by Michael Bublé in Season 9.

Like any business, dance studios aim at making a profit. Every studio has their way of increasing sales, which may include providing coaching sessions. The “coach” is usually an experienced dancer/teacher from out-of-town who is part of a normal lesson – of course with an extra fee. Yes, coaches are an outside perspective providing a new set of eyes for suggestions, but it’s never interested us – after all, we are social dancers who don’t compete.

As part of one of the sales promotions are our current studio, we earned the right for a drawing – and what did my wife select? … a free coaching session. We talked with our regular instructor about the upcoming coaching possibilities, so we selected Agnes. Plus, I took a group class with her last year, so I knew she had a pleasant demeanor … as well as being an attractive woman. (At least I’m honest.) 😉

Early this past February, we had our coaching with Agnes. A wonderful lesson – and I had a few steps with her. In our chit-chat time, I discovered that she’s Polish and now lives in Los Angeles … but why I didn’t wonder if she knew Edyta is beyond me! After all, look at the connections – Polish, dancer, Los Angeles.

Two weeks later, my wife was gone on her girls’ cruise – which meant too much time on my hands – so I searched Agnes. On her website I discovered her personal story of dance and journey to the USA – her dance accomplished as a winner or finalist in the most prestigious dance competitions, and her appearances on Dancing With The Stars.

WHAT? I had in my arms and danced a few steps with someone who has been on the show! My wife and I had a coaching lesson with someone who probably knows cast members – including Edyta! … and yes … in the video above, that was Agnes and her partner dancing to Michael Bublé … and odds are, we watched that episode!

With YouTube doing what it does, I saw other videos, of Agnes and her partner Urs … including the entertaining, unique dance video below that demonstrates grace, variety, speed, strength, versatility, control, and probably more. TIP: After watching up to 2:50, save yourself time by forwarding to 4:50 … and enjoy watching the lady I think of as my Close Encounter of the Dance Kind.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 292

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Last Saturday I watched much of Justice Scalia’s funeral. I’m amazed by the strength of his son – Paul, a Catholic priest – in leading service and delivering the homily at the funeral for his father. He brilliantly wove theology and life together … a WOW … what a beautiful church! (Click for Google Images.)

That once-every-four-years day is approaching. Here’s an explanation of why February gets the extra day in a leap year.

This blog passed on odd milestone earlier this week … 66,666 comments.

Here’s is your chance to make Cincinnati Chili.

Last weekend I saw a great video segment on HLN (CNN companion station) presenting both sides of the argument regarding Apple unlocking the iPhone of a deceased terrorist. Unfortunately, I can’t find it!

Last Friday I took my wife and her sister to the airport so they could begin their week of cruising for the fifth consecutive year. Yep – my Bachelor Week is nearing the end. For my week, I had three things to accomplish: 1) Takes them to the airport, 2) pick them up at the airport, and 3) have the house cleaned when they return.

Some wonder, want did you do? I ballroom danced, wrote a few blog posts, stayed up later but not sleeping as well, did my volunteering (dancing with seniors, dancing with Downs, and ESL tutoring), danced again, attended handbell rehearsal, had a dance lesson, participated in our Lenten journey small group, painted walls in one area, danced some more, attended a group dance class, did the usual Wednesday laundry, prepared the tax materials to our accountant (delivery is based on his schedule), cleaned the house, worked on designing a wall project, and squeezed in  some time to dance … so I can work on leading.

For Act 3: Yellow of Colors: The Musical, readers brought forth quite the array of over 30 songs! A tip of the cap to all! Special thanks to Dale for excellent Maitre D’ work … plus keep your eye on the Hear Ye page.

There will be an Explore this weekend about a person, place, or thing …

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Interesting time – Data out of California indicates a growing number of registered independents.

A question for Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). How do you implement your vision if Republicans control one or both of the Capitol Hill chambers?

My post (On the Court) earlier in the week regarding a forthcoming nominee to the US Supreme Court created interesting comments – and some were very predictable. Therefore, I pose these questions: How different would my post have been if a conservative justice other than Justice Scalia died? How different would the post have been if a liberal justice died?

Whereas Republicans as Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) use past quotes by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Vice President Joe Biden (D-NY) to justify delaying the confirmation process of a Supreme Court nominee, these are prime examples of the positions politicians take is a matter, place, and convenience – thus they are willing to wear the others shoes when it fits the narrative that meets their needs at that time. I take the contrary view – I oppose McConnell and Grassley today as much as Schumer and Biden then. As a matter of fact, I can say they are flat-out wrong.

My senator (Rob Portman, R-OH)  responded to my contact with a form letter containing an unacceptable answer. Good job at working to lose a supporter during an election year.

The candidate from my state, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) , made a faux pas comment on the campaign trail this week. A big deal to some, no more than a blip for me. Personally, his signature to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio was much bigger news.

Although Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is declaring himself the alternative to Mr. Trump, his road to the nomination is the most difficult.

I enjoy when the morning news recaps comedic comments from the late-night hosts regarding the presidential candidates. After all, laughing is so important.

Although the Republican field is dwindling, one aspect that is important to me is noticing who supports each of the candidates … especially when the field was larger.

Oh my … The Onion reported a leather-clad Ted Cruz campaigned at a fetish club. (Beware of image)

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides timely tips for hosting an Oscars party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pizza slice has only one pepperoni
Caffeine bracelet acts as coffee substitute
Takeout burrito shielded from cold as though it were week-old newborn
Nation’s elderly hit hard by closing automatic doors
Vatican City residents rally to save St. Peter’s Basilica from development

Interesting Reads
Global smartphone ownership and Internet use
The GOP nomination and the party rules
Columnist David Ignatius on a high-tech military (Thanks Tim)
Another reason for the Easter Island mystery
Naming elements
Design plans after the Great Fire of 1666
(Pictures) Corners

It’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 3 and one with an appropriate title for the upcoming night to celebrate Oscar. 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. 289

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Yep – playing handbells is so easy, ___.

Our handbell choir plays this weekend, which will be my first since returning. The song is interesting … slow, a touch of haunting and passion. For those interested, here’s another choir doing the song.

I didn’t have a good week of visiting other blogs. 😦

This is Super-Bowl weekend. It’s been awhile since we haven’t attended a party for the game, but we’ll sit back, watch the game, and enjoy the commercials. Without a preference, I think Carolina is the better team, but I would like to see Peyton Manning go into retirement with a win.

Colors: The Musical returns next week. Act 2 features Red, so all songs must have Red in the title. However, no compound words contain red (redbird, redbud, etc) and no shades of red (crimson, scarlet, maroon, etc). Show time is Tuesday night at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

There will be an Explore this weekend about a person, place, or thing.

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Hooray … Iowa is over! I’ve heard multiple Republicans complain about the Democrats’ results, My independent research discovered the following: (Jim in Iowa – Is my capsule close?)

  1. The political party determines the rules. (They can be different)
  2. Just because the opposing party uses a different method does not mean the other method is incorrect.
  3. Since the first statewide caucus in 1972, Democrats do NOT report the number of votes, but on-location caucus leaders determine the number of delegates based on a weighted vote calculation.
  4. Caucus leaders submit the final weighted calculation results and the subsequently elected delegates to the Iowa Democratic Party. (Read about the process here)
  5. aFa conclusion: Complaining Republicans shouldn’t care, thus complain to discredit a particular candidate – in this case, Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

New Hampshire is next. No matter the results, the race is not a sprint. On the other hand, I wonder about the next candidate(s) leaving the fray … but I continue to point to the pivot dates of March 1st (Republicans) and March 15th (Democrats).

There is a bit of a lag after New Hampshire, which will cause some angst to some candidates.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has withdrawn. Republican party rules in Kentucky were that a candidate could not appear on the ballot for two different positions. Because 2016 is election year for his Senate seat, Sen. Paul convinced the state’s party leaders to change the way the state determines the Republican presidential delegates from a primary to a caucus. (thus allowing him to run for president and senator.) Now, the caucus is in March while the primary is in May. I imagine many Kentuckians are confused while others will be surprised when they get their ballot in May. Stay tuned. NOTE: Republicans complaining about the Democrats in Iowa are not complaining about this bit of craziness within their own party.

A good question for the candidates. Governing is much easier when one party controls all facets. If the opposite party controlled the Senate, and other than inviting them to join your ideas, how would you handle your legislative agenda?

Hillary Clinton’s explanation defending her progressive label was very weak.

I decided not to include several fact checks from recent debates. Let me know if you want them.

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To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion identifies the biggest campaign gaffes of this current election season.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Car windows rolled down to let out shitty music
Chiquita introduces easy-grip banana (See for yourself)
Back of library smells like weed
Car alarm turned off just as it was starting to get good
Researchers announce they don’t have heart to reveal what will happen to 1 In 5 women

Interesting Reads
The crumbling of one of Africa’s biggest dams
A BiPartisan Policy Center’s report about improving the Affordable Care Act
18th Century smugglers and the tea cartel
Communicating with only yes and no no
Recognizing the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
(Photos) Winter in northern Whales

To sent you into the weekend, enjoy a touch of high-level ballroom to a Michael Buble song. 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. 277

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Cheers to your efforts of making Act 3 of Dance The Musical a success.

In the next and last act for Dance: The Musical, Act 4 provides the biggest challenge of any musical act.

  • Songs must feature the name of a dance in the title
  • Waltz, Macarena, and Hokey Pokey are acceptable examples … BUT ….
  • No dance can be used more than once
  • No children songs
  • Info is on the Hear Ye page
  • Performance time: next Tuesday at 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

I will probably have an Explore post this weekend.

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Wouldn’t you know it. Kim Davis (the Kentucky County Clerk) finally made a good decision, and then screws it up when she added a disclaimer line to the marriage license. The lady doesn’t get it and I think she’s getting lousy legal advice. Meanwhile, The Onion got their word in by doing this profile on her.

In terms of the second Republican Debate, yep – I followed my same format as before: deciding not to watch, then get some information from a variety of talking heads. The day after I watched both CNN and Fox News … and I came away with the same conclusion about these two networks – There’s no way they were talking about the same event – although the difference wasn’t as vastly different as after the first debate.

I discovered (from NPR) the amount of talk-time for each candidate in the second debate. The data supports my idea that the “debate” is the wrong term. Although the evening’s rules naturally skew the results.
TalkTime2For the interested, here are various FactChecks from the event: PolitiFactsWashington PostCNNFox NewsAssociated Press

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s help to parent when talking to children about death.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (Combos welcome)

  • Juggler’s Medication Wears Off Halfway Through Routine
  • Report: 92% Of Americans Would Have Gotten Over Ex By Now
  • Report: Oyster Cracker–Wise, Nation Doing Pretty Good
  • Google Engineers Invent New Body Part To Strap Gadgets Onto
  • Weather Report: Upturned earthworms imminent
  • Gender Guessed Correctly On Second Try

Interesting Reads
Pope Francis and the Vatican: Who changes who?
The blind hiker
China’s growing middle class
Africa’s population boom
(Video) Connection in and through dance (Thanks Lame)
Headless chicken
(Photos) Autumn in Alaska

Here is another two-fer to lead you into the weekend. A leftover from Act 4 (I was surprised it wasn’t used) and a rock classic. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


On May 2015

May, the fifth month of the year, but one of seven months with 31 days

May, spring in the northern hemisphere, but autumn in the southern hemisphere – making May and November as seasonal equivalents

May, with no other month beginning or ending on the same day of the week as May

The month May was named for Maia, a Roman goddess

Late May, being the official start of the summer vacation season in the US and Canada

May, with its symbols

  • Birthstone: emerald
  • Birth flower: Lily of the Valley signifying sweetness, humility, and return to happiness
  • Zodiac: Taurus (until May 21) and Gemini (May 22 and into June)

May moon

  • Called Egg Moon, Grass Moon, and Hare Moon
  • Full Moon May 4th 3:43 UTC
  • New Moon May 18th 4:13 UTC

May, with national celebrations in Armenia, Canada, Eritrea, Japan, Mexico, Norway, United States, and the UK

May, with many countries celebrating May Day & Mother’s Day, plus Europe celebrating victory over the Nazis in World War II

May embraces Asian American & Pacific Islander heritage, chip your pets, creative beginning, Haitian heritage, audits, Mediterranean diets, Jewish-American heritage, guide dogs, meditation, military appreciation, moving, preservation, older Americans, personal history, preparing tomorrow’s parents, Social Security education, South Asian heritage, date your mate, and recommitment.

May increases awareness in ALS, APS, arthritis, asthma & allergies, medical orphans, brain tumors, celiac, cystic fibrosis, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, fibromyalgia, Huntington’s disease, homeschooling, lupus, melanoma & skin cancer, hepatitis, neurofibromatosis, preventing osteoporosis, physiotherapy, Prader-Willi Syndrome, pet cancer, toddler immunization, chemical injury, Tay-Sachs & Canavan diseases, Tourettes Syndrome, borderline personality disorder, high blood pressure, Lyme disease, stroke, preeclampsia, and ultraviolet rays & skin cancer.

May celebrates wetlands, clean air, community living, drums, Freedom Shrine, gifts from the garden, golf, Victorian women, Latino books, barbeque, bikes, eggs, hamburger, inventors,
pets, photos, salads, salsa (the food), strawberries, asparagus, beef, chocolate custard, and drinking water.

May promotes global civility, better hearing & speech, building safety, ecodriving, family wellness, gardening for wildlife, getting caught reading, global health & fitness, food drives for homeless animals, heal the children, healthy vision, Oregon wines, business image improvement, motorcycle safety, foster care, good car keeping, mental health, physical fitness & sports, service dog eye examinations, water safety, Finger Lakes wines, youth traffic safety, revising your work schedule, spiritual literacy, women’s health care, reacting, and respect for chickens.

Any celebratory occasions in your life during May? What songs did you listen to in this post? Have a wonderful month of May.