Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 398

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Greetings. Last week was one of those rare weeks without an OITS. I was behind on the writing and replying to comments on the previous post – so I decided to pass.

Hey hey hey – 2 to go to #400! Visit #400,000 may happen during the upcoming week – but maybe not.

FYI: I’m aiming for the next concert to be on Saturday, June 8th.

My Quickstep routine is in the books. Good news: We didn’t crash and burn. (FYI: Quickstep is not an easy dance.) We successful got through it and my partner was thrilled! For me, we did well – but I’m a tough critic on myself, so I only get a C. My partner and I have the same instructor, who choreographed a routine around this scene from An American in Paris – but we danced to this Bobby Darin version of I Got Rhythm that is definitely aerobic.

We recently wrapped up another season of handbells and ushering.

  • The last handbell piece was Shalom Chaverim. An interesting piece that you can watch a large choir in Japan play. Click here
  • The last play was Tiny House, a new play as a joint effort between the Cincinnati and Cleveland theaters. A fun play – and the building of the tiny house was interesting to witness. Thumbs up if it ever comes to your area. Here are two reviews (one from each city): Cincinnati and Cleveland
  • Of the personalities who died this week, I’m connected with two. Doris Day was born and raised in Cincinnati. Comedian Tim Conway and I graduated from the same university (Bowling Green).

If you like rich and creamy, Graeter’s (of Cincinnati) is a fabulous ice cream (past post). They recently introduced a new summer flavor – Malted Pretzel Ball – so, I’ll be trying very soon.

Some may recall that John Roebling built Cincinnati’s suspension bridge before the more famous Brooklyn Bridge. Click here for a short (less than 2 minute) video of the bridge done by a local TV station.

As a viewer of the CBS Evening News, I already miss anchor Jeff Glor – but look forward to Norah O’Donnell anchoring later this year.

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The Democratic field of presidential candidates continues to grow. Now at 24, let’s go for 30! On the other hand, I wonder about the end game of the majority of the field.

This week the Alabama state government passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. Although their intent is to challenge Roe v Wade in the Supreme Court, I simply say patriotism, morality, and civic duty cannot be legislated.

I have long been a critic of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Her recent comment about AG Barr lying made me wince. On the other hand, I acknowledge the difficult task she has with her current caucus, and she has been done well during this difficult time.

To describe the current situation in Washington, while some proclaim Constitutional crisis – but I prefer institutional crisis.

Here’s an example of the goofy far right of Republicans. My state senator wants to ban insurance coverage of abortions except for re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus. Interestingly, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the procedure doesn’t exist. The senator disagrees.

According to President Trump, Hungarian authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is doing “a tremendous job” and “respect all over Europe”. Sorry to say, that comment is not a surprise and follows praise of other authoritarian leaders from Russia, North Korea, and Turkey.

I grew up in the portion of Ohio that mined coal. Being along the Ohio River, multiple coal-burning power are still located nearby. Because we know President Trump vowed to revive the coal industry, here’s an interesting article about the source of energy for Ohioans.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides tips for going through a divorce.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man starting to think only reason people hanging out with him because they are on same jury
Dress that would have forever altered course of woman’s life patted, placed back on rack
Dissatisfied Taco Bell customer goes rogue
Unsettling study finds two cousins technically fair game
Charity pairs naughty hags with children who taste good in stew
New blender changes guy’s life

Interesting Reads

How much of the Internet is fake
Ancient humans
Nazi looted painting
A camel festival in Mongolia
Enduring McCarthyism
(Graphic) Countries with the worst bad loan ratio
(Photos) Food photography
(Photos) Bikers in Hanoi

To send you into the weekend and as a tribute to Cincinnati treasure Doris Day, it’s time for a Sentimental Journey. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.(NOTE; The video will NOT play embedded here. After you click the video below, then click Watch this video on YouTube.)

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 387

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After an outstanding kickoff to the new musical event, the aFa Weekend Concert Series continues this weekend. This time, individual Beatles in their careers outside of the Fab Four. Think of them as ex-Beatles. The Producer recommends staying away from songs they continued to sing (such as Yesterday, which Paul McCartney still performs). Concert starts Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

At the concert opener, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all the songs. Truly a concert – so I encourage others to do the same – and coming back on Sunday is even better because there are more songs.

The Oreos post provide two wonder discoveries: 1) For those who separate then eat the icing first, and 2) deep-fried Oreos.

Because I have a lot on my plate next week, I won’t post after the concert – but will return for next week’s OITS.

Even though professional football players put themselves in negative light when their actions involve the police, I’ve always believed that these talented knuckleheads are the minority. Here’s a wonderful story about an NFL quarterback.

The Omnimax theater at the Cincinnati Museum Center recently reopened after the museum’s extensive renovation. We’ve enjoyed many wonderful films there through the years, and we anxious to see the effect of digital projection onto a large, domed, wrap-around screen. Volcanos: Fires of Creation treated us. Thumbs up! For a theater near you, click here – and here’s the trailer.

Although elected officials, this story caught my eye while serving as a bridge into the politics section. This past November, Harris County Texas voters elected 19 African-American women to judge positions. Here’s the video story from CBS.

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No. I didn’t watch President Trump’s primetime address. After all, the man has a well-documented history of lying, exaggerating, misinforming, misusing facts, and blaming while accepting no responsibility – all for the purpose of intentionally misleading the public for his benefits. Reports indicate that the address was more of the same.

Sadly, what if a true national emergency existed – would be suddenly become believable? For me, no!

No – I won’t be watching the State of the Union later this month.

Instead of a “no wall” message, Democrats are missing a ripe opportunity to promote other aspects of improving border security. Simply saying “there is a better way” (Speaker Pelosi) is not enough. Get into the specifics of what to do and sell it to the people.

Shame, shame, shame on Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The newly elected representative made an ass of herself with her inflaming words about impeaching President Trump. Although many of us know the man is pathetic, her words do nothing more but inflame the situation and incite his supporters. During a time when the majority of Americans want and need civility and problem solvers, she says that – and then doubles down? Well done, Rep Tlaib. It didn’t take long to make it to my partisan-hack list.

Another shame to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who didn’t publicly condemn Rep. Tlaib. Congratulations ladies for acting in a manner that supports re-electing President Trump.

Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wants to raise the marginal income tax rate on top earners to 70%. Although tax rate would not affect me, I shake my head at the new representative. A suggestion to her and the other newly elected – carry the big stick of quiet as you learn the system.

To me, I see parallels between the actions of some of the newly elected House Democrats and the Tea Party wave. With that in mind, Speaker Pelosi has a difficult managing task – just like John Boehner had.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Key in but won’t turn
Man finally able to forgive self after terrible mistake he made 2 seconds ago
Report: Students who take Latin have better chance of summoning demon later in life
High school history textbook concludes with little blurb about last 40 years
Man stuck in dead-end body
Everyone at Consumer Electronics Show forced to share single surge protector
System for telling clean clothes in suitcase apart from dirty clothes falls apart on second day of trip

My Combo: Consumer Electronics Show concludes key in surge protector made clothes clean in 2 seconds

Interesting Reads

Artificial Intelligence and the future
Moderate policy in the age of political extremes
82nd Airborne at Normandy
New World, Old World, and chocolate
The concrete blocks that once protected Britain
The Sopranos Effect
(Infographic) History of life
(Images) National Geographic Photo Contest – People’s Choice Winners

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one by Herman’s Hermits. After all, their appearance last week created interesting reactions.. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 362

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Many thanks for the kind words about my writing in the latest beach walk (#24). I plan another beach walk to go up Sunday night (Eastern US).

The last handbell choir rehearsal of the season was earlier this week. After playing for a service this weekend, we break until August.

Our last ushering assignment of the season at the Playhouse was also this week. Murder For Two is a unique, enjoyable who-dunnit play with two actors: one playing the detective and the other all the suspects. Definitely not serious, it is very musical and a bit of Vaudeville. The actors were great, but it simply wasn’t my style.

As technology changes, devices also change or even replaced. The Museum of Endangered Sounds is an online place attempting to store replaced sounds. It’s a fun place to visit, so I’ll put the link in the Interesting Reads list.

My Cincinnati Reds were the first baseball team to lose 20 games this season. I wonder which will happen first: The last team to lose 20 or the Reds to win 20. The race is on!

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To reinforce a statement I made last week about Trump-Clinton-Obama, keep in mind that President Trump needs a villain in his messaging – a boogie man. As long as they continue to fill that role, he will continue to campaign against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Ohio had a primary election earlier this week. It’s sad that so few voters turn out for non-presidential year elections … and Ohio had primary races for governor and senator!

2016 was a presidential election year. In my county, 56,372 people voted in the primary – but 100,859 voted in the November general election. Meanwhile, 25,100 voted in this week’s primary.

My county is so Republican that Bozo the Clown could win an election if he was designed Republican on the ballot. However, I found this interesting: of the 139,110 registered voters, 8.3% are Democrats, 33.72% Republican, and 57.93% are Nonpartisan. On the other hand, in this county, are number of registered Nonpartisans must vote Republican – which also means that are NINOs – Nonpartisan in Name Only.

FYI: Individual states determine voter registration rolls. For primaries, Ohioans register as Democratic, Republican, Green, or Nonpartisan on Election Day. Nonpartisans can’t participate in party primaries, therefore receive ballots with containing on Issues for voting. (My ballot only had two issues on it, and no people.)

Advice for Democrats – Before the fall election, Leader Pelosi (D-CA) should announce that if the Dems gain control of the House in 2018, she will not seek or accept the Speaker’s chair.

Cheers to Saturday Night Live for last week’s outstanding skit that included many of the characters in President Trump’s news circle. For those that missed it, click here.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for treating bed bug infestation.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Amazon fires warehouse worker who took unauthorized breath
Construction crew arguing over who gets to use the fun tools
Kroger recalls 35,000 pounds of ground beef that may contain CEO
50,000 chicken breasts recalled after leaving factory without getting a little kiss goodbye
One-adventurous salmon can’t believe she ended up moving back to birthplace, having a bunch of kids

Interesting Reads
A perspective about infrastructure
Bulls, DNA, and beef
Baghdad: the new Partytown
Picasso, creativity, and genius
Why analog still exists despite digital
(Interactive) Museum of Endangered Sounds
(Photos) Awesome images of a stormy sky

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this classic by Cat Stevens. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 324

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Although we were at a dance event, we did get to see the Super Bowl ending. Plus, we recorded the game so we could watch the commercials and the halftime show.

It was great to see former president George HW Bush and Barbara at the game. The announcer got it right by describing Mr. Bush as “the strongest man on the field.”

Congratulations New England Patriots and your fans.

The Sweet Scarletts grapefruit we have had recently have been a step beyond outstanding!

Valentine’s Day is approaching … don’t forget your Valentine!

I will have a timely post this weekend – probably sometime during the last half of Saturday.

I am making progress on transforming the hand-written posts I did last month into electronic versions … and some even into drafts ready for posting here. It was interesting to read comments about writing posts with pen and paper.

Last week I mentioned Cincinnati’s mayor identifying Cincinnati as a sanctuary city. I mentioned the potential loss of federal funds. This week the White House says federal money to Cincinnati for roads, bridges, and other projects is officially in trouble. Now the mayor seems surprised. Hello … anybody home?

This one is so appropriate for the times: If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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A Venezuelan recently told me that Donald Trump reminds him of Hugo Chavez.

President Trump can talk all he wants about “saying what I mean and meaning what I say” … but he’s forgetting an admirable and necessary trait  … tone!

As Republicans complain about a federal judge’s order to halt President Trump’s executive order on immigration, the same Republicans seem to have short memories about their approach of using the courts to stop various aspects of the Affordable Care Act … but I remember.

I like the White House’s continual point to the media because it is just a matter of time before that well dries up.

Cheers to columnist Kathleen Parker who ended a recent column with this rational words: “Whatever tiny ray of hope people held out in the belief that Trump ultimately would behave rationally — respectful of protocol, with caution and care, without haste and with wisdom — has been extinguished by a strategy of maximum chaos executed by shock and awe. With heads spinning, if they’re not rolling, most won’t know what hit them until it’s too late. It’s called distraction.”

I welcome a rollback of Dodd-Frank, but as long as they also repeal Gramm-Leach-Bliley … and I said that way back when – but I doubt if the Republicans have the backbone to do that.

I’ve never been a fan of retired Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer (who I seldom read) hit the right tone for me in this recent column. Too bad the House Democrats stayed attached to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

For deep readers from a conservative think tank: The Government’s Bad Arguments in Defense of Discriminating Against Immigrants Based on Nationality.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
The comeback in the Super Bowl
The mundane nature of the Super Bowl’s advertising collective
The White House blaming the media
The need to rollback Dodd-Frank
Rising cost of cable and satellite television

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for maintaining composure (important for many Democrats at the moment).

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Trained pony saves Billy Bob Thornton from fire as planned
Area friendship just a series of missed calls
Pretty lady playing hard to follow
Kid security guard brought in to pat down kid passengers
Study: Majority of humans happiest when rest of family still asleep
God pursues the great grandchildren of unsavory merchants and turns them into pillars of salt

Interesting Reads
The high costs of protectionism
The painting that fought fascism
10 forgotten battles that shaped history
Visit the European Southern Observatory
Where Americans live and their ancestral genetics

To lead you into the weekend, here’s another song from Asia. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 221

On Politics
For those you think the Tea Party is dead because of its unsuccessful showing in Tuesday’s primary, think again because if nothing else, it has shifted the party to the right.

As Washington examines issues at the Veterans Administration (VA), comments by members of Congress demonstrate to me that they are more interested in political gain than solving the problem.

Speaker Boehner’s (R-OH) new conference came on the radio as I was listening today, and I changed the channel. Later, I returned to find Minority Leader Pelosi’s (D-CA) new conference, so I changed the channel again.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Congress reluctant to cut funding for tank that just spins around and self destructs
  • Revealing spring attire reminds man he’s nothing more than weak, hormonal ogre
  • High school student, teacher applying for same summer waitressing job
  • Paleontologists unearth earliest known dinosaur stickers
  • Experts recommend breaking down crushing defeats into smaller, more manageable failures
  • Ohio replaces lethal injection with human new head-ripping-off machine

Interesting Reads
Leadership lessons from Dancing with the Stars
Columnist Ruth Marcus on politics and money
Interesting interactive sorting state (US) data
Learn to love your doppelgänger
The real Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Interesting infographic on man-made structures
Nutella in America

On Potpourri
Meryl and Maks were very deserving champions of Dancing with the Stars. Although some complained about co-host Erin Andrews in her debut season, but I say bring her back.

Taken April 22, 2014

Taken April 22, 2014

I took this picture about a month ago after getting some gas.

Thanks for the wonderful music in Act 4 of Life: The Musical. I love getting different genres of music!

With Monday being a national holiday (Memorial Day) in the USA, I will not have a Saturday Morning Cartoon Classic post this weekend. I know … this pattern is too frequent, but I’m still digging out of my hole from the move.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Weekend) Mudbug Madness, Polka Weekend, Old-Time Player Piano Weekend
  • (Fri) Taffy Day, Wig Out Day, Turtle Day, Don’t Fry Day, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis Day, Heat Awareness Day, Polka Day, Lucky Penny Day
  • (Sat) Military Appreciation Day, Brother’s Day, Jazz Day, Morse Code Day, Escargot Day, Scavenger Hunt Day, Mary had a Little Lamb Day
  • (Sun) Cookie Monster’s Birthday, Something Day, Wine Day, Tap Dance Day, Towel Day, Nerd Pride-Geek Pride Day

With Saturday being Lucky Penny Day, here’s a question to answer. If you see a penny on the ground with the tails side up, do you pick it up?

To send you into the weekend, let’s celebrate Morse Code Day (Saturday) with this hit from 1967 … Western Union by the Five Americans. (The song starts 1 minute in.) 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. 75

On those Gold Gloves
Cheers to my Cincinnati Reds as they recently won THREE Gold Glove Awards. Congratulations to Scott Rolen (3B), Brandon Phillips (2B), and Branson Arroyo (P)!

On the House of Dems
Speaker Pelosi just doesn’t get it. While proclaiming she wants to stay for the fight, her retaining leading the Democrats will work against the party because most people don’t trust her.

On a Description of Palin
Some believe that Sarah Palin’s main aims are herself and her pocket book. Russ Douthat, a conservative columnist at the New York Times, wrote the following about Sarah Palin.

… having watched Sarah Palin pretty closely over the last few years, first with great interest and sympathy and then with frustration and disillusionment, I can say with some degree of confidence that it’s the kind of response you’ll almost never hear from the former Alaska governor. Cultural authenticity may be her bread and butter, but politically she’s established a consistent identity as a strident and self-justifying base-flatterer who rarely strays from her go-for-the-jugular talking points. There’s a narrow slice of the electorate that loves that kind of thing, and a broader population that doesn’t — and given the choice between saying the thing that broadens her appeal and the thing that plays best with the narrower group that already loves her, Palin always, always seems choose the latter. Conservative writers have been giving her advice on how to break out of this box for more than two years now (this week it was Kevin Williamson, imagining how she might boost her credibility as a presidential candidate), and I think at a certain point we all just need to stop playing make-believe and acknowledge that she isn’t interested. The politician that Jonathan Last heard on Fox News on Tuesday, never giving an inch and blaming everything on the media, is the politician Sarah Palin has become, and wants to be, and seems likely to remain.

On Dancing with the Stars
The Bristol Palin’s continual presence has gotten to under my skin, so I purposely did not watch the show this past week. I said this would happen as I figured that her mother’s troop of fanatics would stuff the ballot box, and they have. How else can the lowest score survive?

Meanwhile, last season ESPN did a Sports Science segment about the athleticism of professional dancers. Here’s the link to the first 90 seconds of the awesome segment.

On Worth Checking

  • In the spirit of humor, someone at the Cincinnati Enquirer posted 14 images that President Bush rejected for his memoir.
  • Since the initial invasion of Iraq seems so long ago, it’s time to bring back a legend of that event – Baghdad Bob. How would be announce a Red Sox-Yankee game? Well, here’s a copy of the post that originally appeared on ESPN. What a hoot!
  • Here’s one of my past posts where I explain the existence of supersonic kangaroos. Yes, you read that right.

Have a safe weekend!

On Desired Leadership

There is no doubt in my mind that Americans currently desire one of two types of leaders: half of Americans want a leader based on their party affiliation, whereas the other half desires a leader who is willing to make difficult decision. While the first group cannot think beyond their respective ideology, the other tends to want what is best for the country.

Given his record to date, President Obama, despite his campaign rhetoric, has demonstrated to be an ideologue rallying on his party’s majority in both legislative chambers. Given that environment, he passed on opportunities to buck his own party. Granted, Republicans have intentionally been little to no help to President Obama, but that is still no excuse for following his own party.

With the possible control gain by Republicans in the upcoming mid-term election, President Obama seems to be set to shift his pattern. Whether or not he turns into a desired leader is for the future to decide.

Anyone thinking of Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) or Minority Leader Boehner (R-OH) as desirable leaders are operating more than a quart low. Both of these individuals have the same common concern: raise funds for the party and their leadership with the hopes of gaining power. Both are poster faces for what is wrong in Washington and why the public gives Congress low approval ratings. Both self-centered, ideological buffoons. Heck, we might as well include their lieutenants and their senate counterparts.

I appreciate this analogy from conservative columnist Cal Thomas:

Today’s Washington politician is like the guy who, after a one-night stand, tells the woman he’ll call her in the morning. He never does.

Anyone thinking that quasi-candidates as Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, or any other campaigner charmer are desired leaders are just as lost as Mrs. Pelosi, Mr. Boehner, and their flock. These public figures are self-centered, polarizing individuals attempting to gain power at anyone’s expense.

Although our desired leader is lurking somewhere in the shadows, below are some desirable characteristics.

  • They practice what they preach
  • Do not focus on re-election
  • Do not make decisions based on pollsters
  • Challenge lobbyists in public
  • Refuse to be bound by special interest money
  • Go against their party
  • Challenge both parties in public
  • Distain polarized politics
  • Take the case to the people
  • Clear and honest communication with the people

In other words, our desired leader governs solely in the best interest of America. Wonder if I’ll ever see one.