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. 320

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Oh yes – classic federal government story. My wife and I applied for a special program. The first available “interview” in Cincinnati was September 2017. So we decided to drive 4 hours (each way) because they had interview openings in December. Well, all they wanted was to take our fingerprints and tell us basic information, which took 10 minutes for each of us.

Had to laugh at this rerun scene from Everyone Loves Raymond.

I still love this vintage television commercial for the season. After all, I used to say that the Christmas holiday wasn’t official until I saw this.

The next post will be about John Glenn. Meanwhile, this story saddened me because it can be applied to many people – but Mr. Glenn in this case.

The Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday causes me to change my posting – so I’m not sure about the next OITS. At this point, I’m hoping to have a few Explore posts between those two days.

Wow … Congress actually demonstrated that bipartisanship is possible with the 21st Century Cures Act. Then again, maybe it was time to use their once-a-year allotment.

As a whole, I am not impressed with President-elect Trump’s cabinet selections. It will be interesting to see which nominees meet resistance from enough Republican senators.

The partisans on both side of the aisle continue to amuse me with their predictability.

Potential conflict of interests involving Mr. Trump’s business remains on my radar.

When will Mr. Trump abandon his on-stage schtick?

Here is The Onion’s 2016 Year in Review.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Brown spots on bananas
Too many Canada Geese
A dysfunctional Congress
Aliens disguised as squirrels
Cleveland Browns playing in London next season

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

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation comes to a halt to watch crane move massive concrete tube
More realistic meat substitute made from soy raised in brutally cruel conditions
Universe feels no connection to guy tripping on mushrooms
Eighteen dead in Kansas town after tornado siren set to “Vibrate”
First nap doesn’t take

Interesting Reads
Fake news leads to a guide to facts
Better sleep in a stressful age
A look at observing teachers
The South Korean President who stepped down
Education in Singapore
The 1952 killer fog in London: An explanation?

Instead of using a popular classic to send you into the weekend, here’s a high energy song that I’ve used in previous years. Not only do I enjoy the Trans Siberian Orchestra version, I marvel at the skill level of the Raleigh Ringers. Enjoy! Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Reprise MME-Style

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No – Monday Morning Entertainment (MME) isn’t returning – but given the holiday week for us in the US, mimicking an MME post is an idea.

How was your weekend? What did you do?

Crazy busy for me. Sure we had time for an evening of ballroom dance and an evening with the church wine tasting group … but I spent Friday afternoon, Saturday morning & afternoon, and Sunday afternoon with a paint brush and roller. YUK! Given that much time, we made progress – but now I’m way behind replying to comments. 😦

With my wife still in the handbell choir, I heard their pre-service rehearsal and both the services – thus enjoyed a beautiful piece that they played well.  For those who enjoy handbell music, here’s a recording of the song.

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Thursday is Thanksgiving for us in the US. It’s a good holiday marked by a grand meal and time with family. Turkey is the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals, but whether people say “dressing” or “stuffing” is regional. See this map.

Friday is a major shopping day, and some stores are even opening Thursday night – but I will avoid shopping areas as much as possible. When growing up way back in the day, I used to proclaim the holiday season didn’t start until I saw the commercial with Santa riding the Norelco sleigh. What the heck – with a few radio stations adopting an all-Christmas music format a month ago, why not show one of those commercials.

The holiday also means a different posting schedule this week. For me, I’m unsure about what lies ahead this week, so I remain non-committal for the days ahead. Surely I will have something, but I don’t know when.

It’s a crazy world these days, but I think of many of the good things for which I’m thankful. After all, there is always something for which to be thankful. A good disposition, good health, a loving wife, good family, good friends, and many fond memories. I’m thankful for what we take for granted – food, water, a comfortable home, modern conveniences, community services, and more.

As my volunteer opportunities continue to place me in the presence of many good people, WordPress provides countless positive interactions with members of the interactive global community. My blogging community touches my heart – and to think I receive bountiful sincere and positive vibes from all the continents is something I never envisioned. All of you help me keep my faith in humankind. May the blessings of Thanksgiving touch all hearts everywhere.

To send you into the week, enjoy this compilation of vintage dancing movie clips from movies brilliantly put together. Have a great week.

On Start Your Santa Engine

The start of the Christmas season actually depends on the perspective of the holder. To some retailers, Christmas display replace Halloween items on November 1st – which is about the same time all-Christmas music radio broadcasts start.

Some individuals say the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade starts their season. For others, it’s the Black Friday shopping craze. YouTube allows me to relive my official start of the Christmas season whenever I want because my favorite seasonal commercial is from my youth. Here’s a 1994 remake of the classic from the 60s and 70s.

On Starting the Holiday Season

For me, the start of the holiday season is not about the day after Thanksgiving. It’s not about hearing holiday music on the radio. (We in Cincinnati have access to the first station in the nation to convert to an all-holiday format on November 1st).

No, it’s also not when stores quickly replace their Halloween displays with Christmas decoration items. Nor is it about being flooded with TV commercials and newspaper ads and flyers. It’s not about the latest Trans Siberian Orchestra music or the host of holiday television specials. It’s not about seeing the lights in the neighborhood or developing a gift list.

Thanks to the vast repertoire at YouTube, I can now see what serves as the official start of my holiday season because there’s nothing better than Santa on a Norelco.