Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 364

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Cincinnati has been in an odd weather pattern since November. Not only did winter start 6 weeks earlier than normal, it lasted longer. So spring started later than normal and was short. It’s mid-June and we’re experiencing July-August weather. I do not embrace high temperatures with high humidity – but I realize it is more comfortable here than the saunas to the south.

Hope to visit two temporary exhibits that are in the city this summer – one featuring the Chinese Terracotta Army and the other about chocolate. Would either interest you?

My cybersecurity service (WebRoot) provided with wonderful article about phishing in social media. I placed it here because it is worth reading.

I saw this headline: “2018 is our generation’s 1968” … wow …. I don’t think the author (nor the generation) understands 1968.

My publishing schedule will be a bit abnormal next week. I’ve prepared a 4-part series around the topic of the US as a Christian nation. I will post 4-consecutive days starting Sunday night (9 pm US Eastern). For beach walking fans, the next walk will be this Saturday (not the normal Sunday).

Some advice for the golfers complaining about the US Open. Although I may question some of the pin/hole placements, for future Opens I suggest you don’t apply to play.

We saw the movie Solo. It’s a little long. Star Wars fans will love it. It’s more about the Hans Solo, but not much good vs. evil. No endorsement here, but it’s OK for a rainy or too-hot day.

Here’s a oddity. One of our friends is a twin, who will soon marry a twin – and it just so happens both (really all four) were born on the same day – actually two hours apart.

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I believe First Lady Melania Trump’s recent visit to the border was sincere. However, her choice of clothing was a case of bad judgment – not an intentional message.

Mr. Trump, if the people implemented a Zero Tolerance Policy, you would not have lasted a week.

When Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015, Senate Major Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised the Senate would pass a budget instead of passing continuing resolutions. Well, it hasn’t happened yet!

With all the statements being made about the Mueller investigation, I find it interesting that the actual investigation has released little (if any) information. Meanwhile, whatever the results, I hope each party accepts the results and moves on!

Everyone knows President Trump thrives on lying, exaggerating, blaming, mocking, forgetting, denying, deflecting, contradicting, confusing, taking credit, and shirking responsibility. Incredibly, he is the best-ever, most incredible president to accomplish this things.

It appears President Trump will be meeting with Vladimir Putin soon. Mr. President – when will you be meeting with the leader of Iran?

For those who listen, Rudy Giuliani is the perfect spokesperson for President Trump. He fits in with the parade of others the White House trots out to media.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for getting the most out of life.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Coworker following World Cup goes all-in on tenuous family connection to Portugal
Ants having some kind of party inside crack in pavement
Sexy woman can tie banana peel into knot with tongue
GE releases new flickering light bulb for abandoned sanitariums
MIT researchers create ‘psychopath’ AI by feeding it reddit data

Interesting Reads
Distractions are good for the brain
Today’s Western European Christians
Mulling over Artificial Intelligence applications
Key weapons of the War of 1812
What T. Rex could not do
(Photos) World Cup murals

To send you into the weekend, enjoy James Taylor singing in the summer season for us in the northern hemisphere. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 358

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Cheers – the day has finally arrived – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will induct the Moody Blues this Saturday!

Did you watch the special musical event honoring Elton John? I enjoyed it!

Readers provide very interesting comments on the previous post about Lead and Follow. Thanks for the surprises!

It appears my invitation to the Royal Wedding got lost in the mail.

After playing for Easter services, no rest for the handbell choir as we are back playing at a service two weeks later. Here’s the next song on our agenda: Enjoy Song of Celebration (Arnold Sherman).

Need a laugh? This is a good read from a fellow blogger who occasionally visits my little corner of the world.

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I appreciate this comment by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright: “We should be awake to the assault on democratic values that has gathered strength in many countries abroad and that is dividing America at home.”

Count me in as one who thinks the latest use of chemical weapons in Syria was by the rebels who don’t want the US military to leave.

Interesting announcement by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WS) about leaving Congress at the end of his term this year. I noticed something important in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in his comments about Speaker Ryan. … his speakership has yielded one significant accomplishment after another for his conference, his constituents in Wisconsin, as well as the American people.” Yes, I’m one who notices the order. Nonetheless, best wishes to Speaker Ryan for a positive future as he earn millions.

Congressional Republicans amuse me by pushing for a Balanced Budget Amendment after voting for the tax cut and a spending bill that increases the deficit and debt. What a hoot!

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how trade wars work. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Fender introduces new line of sympathy and bereavement guitars
Oat farmer seriously thinking about getting into barley
Unstable couple playing with fire by organizing game night
Retired Pope Benedict promises to donate soul for ecclesiastic research
Cows go extinct

Interesting Reads
An interview with a retiring Republican Congressman
The era of fake video is now
Bots and Twitter
Molly Ringwald revisiting The Breakfast Club
Relating male organ size to extinction 
(Photos) A trip to Antarctica
(Photos) A story of Sri Lankan tea-making

To send you into induction weekend, here’s another Moody Blues classic. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 353

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I enjoy watching the Winter Olympics. My favorite events are speed skating (especially short track), downhill skiing, ice dancing, and snowboarding (halfpipe is unbelievable). But why isn’t there a competition of doing aerials off the ski-jump hill? Why doesn’t the sled track have a corkscrew or 360 loop? Shouldn’t there be a winter pentathlon competition involving ski jumping, luge, cross country skiing, downhill skiing, and speed skating?

I shake my head when I see Russian athletes participating. Their hockey team even where’s the team colors and jerseys except for the name on the front. The IOC should be ashamed of themselves.

The possibility of the US Men’s Hockey Team going winless is very likely.

This past Monday marked the 209th birthday of two influential figures born on opposite sides of the Atlantic: Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. The occasion serves as 9th anniversary of me diving deep into a personal study of the interchange between science and religion – yes – it was reading various reactions to the 200th anniversary that started my journey.

Although more BLINK posts will come in time, none this weekend because I have other posts scheduled around a special event.

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Another mass shooting in the US is followed by more Republicans offering prayers and talking about mental health while failing to back their talk with any action.

Months ago I contacted my Republican Representative and Senator asking them a question about mental health. I just received a response from Senator Portman (R-OH), to which replied with the following: “Senator Portman. Thank you for the gracious form letter that didn’t come close to answering my question.”

It’s so interesting that Republicans are now less concerned with fiscal responsibility – which also means that such a future stance is actually an excuse to say No.

For the fall midterm elections, Republicans have the following problems on their plate: President Trump, ignoring President Trump’s continual misplays, and force feeding party policy down the public throat. On the other hand, Democrats are having a problem finding their voice other than anti-Trumpian.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promising a fair and open debate on immigration also serves as an admission that he hasn’t been doing that. Besides, anyone thinking he doesn’t have something up his sleeve is wishful thinking.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides suggestions about climbing the corporate ladder.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Poignant dying words wasted on dumbshit nephew
Queen Bun gives birth to thousands of tiny rolls
Detective refuses to pry into circumstances of murder out of respect for deceased
Study finds cats only meow when they want to alert owner of neighbor’s murder they witnessed through window
Italian grandmother doesn’t have the heart to tell family any dipshit can make lasagna

Interesting Reads
History and future of the plastic bag
Volcanoes making lightning
Looking back at a fight to vote
Lincoln’s secret visits to slaves
Limits of technology: Paper jams
(Pictures) Nature’s gardens

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. 346

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For those willing to have some background music, here’s something interesting: Il Divo’s version of the Moody Blues hit Nights in White Satin.

I hope everyone had a good holiday. We travelled a few hours to my family several days before Christmas, but returned as the handbell choir played at 2 Christmas Eve services. We will host my wife’s side of the family in early January.

Bone-chilling temperatures are smacking many of us in the USA. YUK!

Hope you didn’t miss it, but this past Tuesday night was another great year of entertainment at The Kennedy Center Honors show (CBS). The honorees were having a great time! It worth looking around for it.

The recent 15th post in the Beach Walk series is the last … well, at least until I return to the beach. After all, having authentic beach walks is important to me.

John Howell (Fiction Favorites) and I are starting a business together where we aim to provide blaming solutions to anyone’s problems. Blames Are UsWe assign blame to any and all situations. Get your problems ready because the time will come when John and I will solve your problems right here on these pages.

A video recently inspired me to write a short story (I’m aiming at less than 300 words). I’ll post it here sometime soon.

Unfortunately, we only saw one between the holidays: Downsizing (with Matt Damon). An interesting premise, but I felt the storyline was a bit unsteady. On the plus side, it provides numerous chances to think about human behaviors. No need to rush to see this one.

The next post will lead us into 2018.

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Congratulations to Congress as it didn’t do anything stupid this week. Of course, not being in session helps.

I had to laugh at the statements both President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made about future bipartisan agreements. Hey guys – that means you have to do three things: 1) Sincerely reach out, 2) Know that you won’t get your way, and 3) give them something substantial in return. After all, seeking bipartisanship is more than inviting the other side to follow your way.

Not only ago the US Supreme Court heard the argument from a Colorado baker who contends the right to deny making a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding (Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission). This article about a Indiana University study bothers me.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers suggestions on being a savvy news consumer. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman stood up on first date got all drunk for nothing
Dad gets dolled up for trip to Lowe’s
Uncle puts more thought than usual into this year’s gift cards
Alcoholic’s plan for turning life around doesn’t involve getting sober
Cockroaches feeling really good about the planet

Interesting Reads (as a whole, a bit more relaxing than usual)
The Crown’s recreation of Buckingham Palace
About ArtWorks, Cincinnati organization responsible for many great murals
Thoughts about tamales
Digitizing important old manuscripts
A new way to see cancer
(Photos) Beautiful bird pictures by Cindy Knoke (a visitor here)
(Photos) Most dramatic weather images of 2017

To lead you closer to the new year, here’s the last in the Beatles series that I’ve been doing since returning from the UK. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 334

Cincinnati Zoo image

This is one of the first family pictures of Fiona with her parents (Harry and Bibi). For whatever reason, I see The Simpsons in this photo. Fiona continues to make great progress as well as integrating with her parents. For more photos and information, see these short updates from the Cincinnati Zoo.

Thanks for writers and readers involved with the Footprints Challenge. I appreciated the variety of the 14 stories (to date), which included 3 from newcomers (a pleasant surprise) – although my intent was not to expand my audience. A toast to the Canadian contingent that provided 5 stories. Special thanks to Dale who read and commented on all the stories.

If all goes as planned, a beach walk should return next week.

We recommend the movie Baby Driver. It was fun, fast-paced, and action-packed, and loaded with music accompanying the action.

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The Middle East has been an unsettled mess for many years. Here are three articles worth readings: by Marc Ginsberg, by Aaron David Miller, and by the Washington Post.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (RJA-KY) says that (if the Senate bill fails) he will have to work with Democrats to strengthen the health care insurance market. I have two comments: Too damn bad, Mitch … and … No shit, Sherlock.

Yes, gerrymandering of district lines is a problem now, and has always been a problem. Democrats complaining about it forget they are also guilty; and Republicans forget they would also be complaining if the Democrats did the same thing.

I found this statement more than odd when I first heard it and it has stuck with me ever since. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” (Donald Trump, July 27, 2016)

Got to love this one. President Trump recently described his performance as having done “more in five months than practically any president in history.”

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion explains how to recover from embarrassing situations.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Mariana Trench once again named worst place to raise a child
New iPhone app alerts users to imminent sidewalk collisions with other iPhone users
done more in five months than practically any president in history
Blindfolded taste test participants keep knocking over bottles of soda
Late-arriving guest encouraged to load up on food that has been sitting in sun for past 4 hours

Interesting Reads
European migration with Europe
Contrasting capitalism: Apple and Google
The underwater world of Antarctica
The road of 1000 stories
Big Ben: The bell
(Photos) Weird but amazing bridges

For your weekend entertainment, this is not my favorite mashup of dancing scenes from old movies, but it is a lot of fun – and Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling fits. Enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Pre-Blog Break Shorts & Snorts

The Cincinnati Zoo reported (Tuesday) that Fiona weighs 130 pounds. This is what she does when she’s dreaming.

Monday was Opening Day in Cincinnati. Based on the morning weather reports, we decided to stay dry by not attending downtown festivities … and it didn’t rain a drop! … Damn Obama!

Congratulations of the North Carolina Tar Heels for representing ABK with distinction in the men’s basketball tournament. For those who don’t know, that’s Anybody But Kentucky.

Although their winning streak was surprisingly snapped, a tip of the cap to the UConn Huskies women’s basketball team. Wow – winning 111 games in a row is unbelievable … so I imagine a new streak will start sometime in November.

I enjoy celebrating milestones with a numbers tribute – as the last post was for our 40th wedding anniversary. Our schedule dictated that we go out for a nice dinner the evening before, and it was wonderful. Thanks again for the anniversary wishes.

Count me in on the outcry that penalties should not be based on communication from spectators. The PGA and the LPGA need to put an end to the nonsense!

I can’t recall ever seeing ads on television supporting a Supreme Court nominee. I remain standing firm on my stance of Last Judge Standing, and will continue that position until I feel it is no longer necessary – but I wonder if that will happen in my lifetime.

I continue to avoid watching Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Rachel Maddow. I very seldom read columns by EJ Dionne, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and Eugene Robinson. Why? … I can think for myself and do not need partisans to verify my position. After all, I have it even better because I have all the partisans to prove my point.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell (JA/R-KY) is threatening to impose the rule change known as the Nuclear Option. I say go right ahead because we citizens need more dysfunction based on partisanship. After all, Former Majority Leader Reid (JA/D-NV) did his share to lead the way by setting an example. Follow the lead, jackasses!

Cheers to Stephen Colbert who makes me laugh at the political chaos. I know he’s a partisan, but he still makes me laugh.

April has a way of being hectic. Better weather gets us outside. Golf league for both of us will ramp up. Working hours will increase at the golf course. Taxes to be filed. The handbell choir prepares for Easter Sunday. Dances are to be done. The Masters golf tournament is a must-watch event. Baseball season has started. A room painting project in the near future. Vacations to plan, and more.

This blog has been very steady for almost 6 months, so it’s time for a blog break. Not sure how I will spend it, so don’t be surprised if I go visiting. For the record, more Beach Walks are to come.

To send you into my blog break, this song goes out to the dreaming Fiona. 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

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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.