Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 421

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Welcome to the last OITS of 2019 … so I’ve included a few extras!

Thanks to everyone for participating in Weekend Concert Series saluting Broadway. It was maddening because it was the first time I’ve done something like that. Plus, it turned out not to be the best weekend for me in terms of timing. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to have a good time and I enjoyed listening to all the songs. The next concert will be after the first of the year, and the finale to the series.

Next concert: Tentatively Saturday 4 January – Duets – (Two performers not normally paired together)

With the December holidays upon us, I will abbreviate my posting schedule. Below is a probable schedule that is subject to change (Times are based on Eastern US).

  • (Sunday afternoon) 22 December) A beach walk
  • (Tuesday 24 Dec – or late 23rd) Christmas post
  • (Friday 27 Dec) A caption challenge for an image
  • (Sun 29 Dec) – A food review
  • (Tuesday 31 Dec) New Years post
  • (Thursday night 2 January) – Opinions in the Shorts
  • (Saturday 4 January) – Weekend Concert – Duets

We recently spent an afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center. We the Omnimax movies. Fortunately, for us, we saw two! After visiting the vert-well-done Apollo 11 exhibit, we went into the theater for the Apollo 11 movie. Interesting, no narration – just a story told through a string of actual film footage from the time. After the movie, we stayed in our seats for Superpower Dogs, an uplifting film about rescue dogs who work to save lives – and a must for dog lovers!

Readers may remember Fiona, the baby hippo that the Cincinnati Zoo cared from birth. Fiona, 29 pounds (13 kg) at birth, will have her 3rd birthday on January 2020. This 30-second video will make you smile.

Joe Barrow, the LSU quarterback not only won the Heisman Award (college football’s best player), he won the hearts of many. In his acceptance speech, he talked about the poverty of many people of Athens County Ohio. The nation has responded with well over $500K! But there is something lost in the story. Athens County is not an island. It’s one county in a region of 15 or so counties that are very poor – worse than Athens County – let alone additional counties in adjacent West Virginia and Kentucky. How do I know? I grew up one county south of Athens.

For those who need this and dare to reach into a grab-bag, here are some holiday classics: Dominick the Donkey, a classic Santa Norelco commercial, a clean naughty Santa, the infamous Carol of the Belts, and a crazy fast holiday song with handbells (the ending is frantic). Did you watch any? If so, let me know.

I admit, The Masked Singer is a fun show. Congratulations to The Fox – Wayne Brady.

Sadly, my Benevolent Impalers experienced the agony of defeat in the tournament semifinals. It was close, but my worthy opponent had an unexpected monster game from a player and big points from the New England defense against my hometown Bengals. Ouch!

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I’m not a Trump supporter – never have, never will be. Then again, after he won the election, I was willing to give him a chance. To me, he has miserably failed – yet, I see impeachment as a sad day. Congress has not upheld its Constitutional obligation of oversight and the behaviors have been pathetic at best. I’m officially embarrassed to be an American.

If I was single, I would consider moving to another country. Yes, I am that embarrassed and concerned.

I truly believe the polls, pundits, politicians, and citizens that America is a divided nation – and possibly the most divided in my lifetime and beyond. Two strongly divided camps with shrinking common ground – each with vitrole for the other – each with disdain for moderates – each with drums beating fervently in the echo chamber – one explains, the other not listening. A divided nation with a president wearing a hat stating, “Keep America Great” – a statement reinforcing the division. A friend asked me, “How do we solve this problem?” My answer is simple. “Unless the collective of elected officials lead the change, we can’t. Otherwise, we will need a national emergency. I hope I don’t live long enough to see the next US Civil War.”

In a discussion about the current impeachment, a friend of mine (a self-proclaimed unbiased source) told me that he wasn’t sure if President Trump warranted an investigation, let alone impeachment – but President Obama should have been impeached.

For those who forgot and didn’t know, the impeachment is Obama’s fault.

Here’s a recent report on polarization from Pew Research Center.

Darn … I’m missing another Democratic debate!

As we end the year, here’s how I see the 2020 election at this time:

  • Chances of President Trump nomination: 99.9%
  • Chances of President Trump’s re-election: 65%
  • Chances of me voting for President Trump: 0%
  • Chances of me voting for the Democratic nominee: 20%

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion separates facts and fiction about recycling.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Woman not as fun-loving and carefree as pom-pom on winter hat suggests
Hungover coworker a little too functional morning after holiday party not to be alcoholic
Boyfriend ready to take relationship to previous level
Man checking if chicken wings got hot enough in microwave like first responder searching for pulse
Mom holds knife to throat of dinner guest who offered to help with dishes
Hiker trapped for days under fallen boulder survives by cutting off own ponytail
Ant flees across state line carrying big crumb

Interesting Reads

The Ottomans: Their rise and fall
A bit of barcode history
Mysteries of pain
The most important battles of WW2
Bridging differences by seeing good
(Graphic) World debt by country
(Graphics) A series of climate change charts
(Photos) Murals of women in Iraq
(Photos) Winners of a National Geographic Photo contest

To send you into the weekend, here are The Piano Guys with a song of the season. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 326

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It’s been an interesting week for me as I’ve been in bachelorhood as my wife is one her annual cruise with her lady friends. The answer is simple when people ask me what I will do – “I will do whatever I want, whenever I want.”

I spent a lot of time our on the ballroom circuit. It’s been a good time dancing with friends … and it is a good chance to work on leading. For those getting the wrong impression, I’ve been in a crowd where at least a third of the people know me … and would be the worst place to do something stupid.

One afternoon I went to downtown Cincinnati searching for murals that I haven’t posted here.

Here’s an entertaining musical interlude. Very creative, but does this guy have too much time on his hands?

A big wow to the recent news about NASA discovering a new set of earth-sized planets with the potential of having liquid water. Here’s the news release from NASA, and the first video is worth the two minutes.

It seems salted black licorice is common in northern Europe. I found it in a store here. Interesting combination of flavors. Have you ever had salted black licorice?

My wife returns soon … and the house will be clean … including the bathrooms.

Our handbell choir is playing an interesting piece soon at our Ash Wednesday service. To me, it’s a fitting sound for the start of Lent. For those who want to listen, look for the Listen button near the sheet music image. Click here.

There will be a light post ready for your Saturday morning.

President Donald Trump continual attacks on the press continues to be a sign that he is afraid of the truth.

Question: Why does President Trump spend so much time watching Fake News?

I hate to inform people, but like him or not, Donald Trump was dutifully elected and is our president.

A local congressman had an editorial for proposing dismantling the U.S. Dept. of Education. I say why stop there – re-organize the whole damn government structure!

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Fake news
Certain media outlets being the enemy of the people
Hostile town hall meetings
Fig tree issues in Italy
My wife going on a cruise causing me to celebrate my birthday on my own

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for personal cybersecurity.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Humiliated Man Discovers Embroidery On His Jean Pockets
Open-Minded Man Tries To Get News From Variety Of Facebook Friends
Man Thinking About Just Packing Up And Making Exact Same Mistakes Someplace Far Away
Goose finally realizes it doesn’t have to honk like an idiot entire time it’s flapping its wings
30-million-year-old species worried it doesn’t have another evolution in it

Interesting Reads
Women and governance in India
Why sleeping bats don’t fall
Thoughts about laundry chutes
Evolution of technology
(Photo Gallery) Australian farmland

Many seemed to enjoy the Traveling Wilburys last week, so here’s another one from them to send you into the weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 178

On Politics
Interesting to see that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) now has concerns with the Affordable Care Act. By the way, he’s up for re-election in 2014.

The US Senate has me in a snit. The people elected these officials to debate and legislate – but not to determine the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of a law. Civics 101 says that’s the duty of the Supreme Court. Sure makes me wonder about the constitutionality of their action.

Polls show that people have a low opinion of Congress and they don’t trust Congress. Here’s one key question to ask each member: What are you going to do to change those perceptions?

The Onion offers tips to Congress on passing a gun control bill.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Excited man only 2 therapy sessions away from resolving issues
  • Couple making out at bus stop like its Paris
  • TV viewer relates to totally unbelievable character that could never exist in reality
  • Boss has deft touch for making employees feel like shit
  • An airport security pig finds concealed truffles
  • Justin Bieber fan jealous of Anne Frank

Interesting Reads
The rise in pseudo-academic conferences and journals
Moving Bridges by Sliding
Picking the Pope
Evolution and good science
When alcohol was medicine

Honorable Mention to those who missed it because this article received many comments last week: America is pooping wrong

On Potpourri
Time: The Musical – Act 2 was successful, so I proudly announce to hopefully premier Act 3 in mid-May.

Congratulations to Georgette for being the 25,000 comment.

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Strangely, there has been a recent rush on followers. Is this the forerunner to a something weird?

There will be a Saturday Morning Cartoon feature this weekend … and it will feature a cartoon icon.

Instead of some sort of entertainment to send you into the weekend, marvel at this animation by NASA of their Asteroid Retrieval Initiation. Thank you Alex for this great find, and I invite everyone to read Alex’s post on this venture.

Have a good weekend! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Johnson Style

Especially for those of us that grew up during the space race, NASA has a special place in our heart. Yes, I remember the first named flight by Russian Yuri Gagarin, the first US flight by Alan Shepard, and obviously the ones that followed. They were big news events – and I recall our grade school class stopping to watch the televised launches. From Mercury to Gemini, to Apollo missions the wonderful space shuttle, and countless satellite programs,  NASA has taken us to the heavens.

Today, the shuttle program is retired, the Russians transport the astronauts to/from the International Space Station, and satellite launches in this country is now by private business. Nonetheless, the Johnson Space Center in Houston is still operating, thus this video made by smile and laugh. Cheers to two space geeks who visit here, Alex and John.

On a Header to Saturn by Cassini

Usually headers feature images from the Hubble Telescope, but when I saw this one, I knew it was a must-use image. Not sure for how long, but it is a user.

This is an image from the Cassini orbiter from the dark side of Saturn looking back at the sun, whose rays illustrate the main particles in the Saturn system. Similar to Hubble images, scientists use filtering techniques to determine the digitally created colors. Here is more information about this image.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a joint mission between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency. The Cassini orbiter, sending a steady stream of images of the Saturn system since 2004 arrival, is just another example of the awesome nature of creation.

This image happened to capture a small, bright speck of light on the left side, which happens to be the pale blue dot we call home. With that in mind, I can never get enough of this awesome video accompanying the words of Carl Sagan. Besides, he would be proud of the images from this mission.

On Hubble

The astronaut crew of the space shuttle Atlantis has safely returned home after what appears to be a successful restoration of the Hubble Space Telescope (Hubble). Designed in the 1970s and launched in 1990, Hubble should continue to deliver information for about another 5-10 years. Thank you Atlantis crew!

Without Earth’s atmosphere interfering, Hubble has taken us to the edge of the visible universe, while showing us that the universe is an ever-changing place – or as someone described – a cosmic dance; thus what a grand creation.

Many people may be like me – knowing of both Hubble’s existence and its successes, but only in the broad sense because I admit that my space science knowledge is weak. Nonetheless, I still marvel at the images.

Beside this link to NASA’s Hubble home, here’s a music video with images from Hubble. For those wanting more, the second video (10 minutes) tells the story of the top 10 Hubble images selected by astronauts several years ago.

Top 10 Hubble Images Selected by Astronauts