Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 280

To the victims and their families, and to the French people for strength, unity, and peace.

Shame to the American candidates for politicizing the event by playing the blame game while offering suggestions that amount to (at best) meager gibberish.

It was good seeing Americans displaying the French flag this weekend … especially when the Army football team came onto the field with for a game at West Point.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 2 featuring the sun is in the books … and we were nearing 40 songs. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching us in the US, the production won’t return until December. Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

Although no kids for us, we enjoy our 4 nieces and nephews. Last weekend we attended the wedding (the third to be marriage) – but it was out first to attend. We were a proud aunt and uncle, and wish them the best.

While in Cleveland last weekend, I saw my first white stuff of winter.

Because both of us volunteer at the weekly Downs Syndrome ballroom dance event, earlier this week my tango partner and I danced for the group. Considering we haven’t danced the routine in over 10 days, we did well. Most importantly, we had fun and it was well received.

Even with the recent attacks in France, Lebanon, and over the skies of Egypt, I still say no US troops on the ground against ISIS – unless a coalition of Arab forces decide to take action.

Since the latest terrorist attack in Paris, it’s interesting to compare and contrast the French and US responses to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The Atlantic published What ISIS Really Wants this past February. It continue to be on the front page of their website, plus other news agencies promote it. I listed it as an Interesting Read months ago, but I want to promote it again. It’s a long read – but interesting – however, it is a view – and not the only view. For the interested, here’s the link.

The next Republican debate is December 15th (Tuesday) on CNN. Yawn .. .but another one for me to miss as I go for 7 in a row.

Something to ponder – If political candidates submitted their own questions to answer in a debate, would they truly answer the question?

Last week the Democrats had their second debate, and I missed another one. Damn … that makes me 6 for 6. Here are multiple fact checks from the event: Annenberg FactCheckAssociated Press, PolitiFact, Politico, Washington Post.

I continue to believe that if a governor, senator, or representative wants to run for president, they need to resign their position immediately upon announcing their candidacy. Our states and districts play them to do a job that does not include campaigning around the country while being paid.

To lead you into The Onion, here are their suggestions for talking to your children about sex.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation’s conservationist warn there are only 8 trillion rats left
Minimalism Overdone
US Mathematicians Round Pi Down To Three
Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions
Experts Warn Number Of Retirees Will Completely Overwhelm Scenic Railway Industry By 2030
Economists Recommend Setting Aside Part Of Every Paycheck In Case Of Dire Straits Reunion Tour

Interesting Reads
The man who invented relaxation
Russian psychics
The beauty of winter in Greenland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and daily worship
The Owen: an Aussie weapon
The evolution of toxic toad eaters
Photo gallery of Spots

It’s time for a musical two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 2 and a golden oldie. 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. 279

Gone since late September, OITS are back! .. .and this is the 1750th post (which is sort-of-a milestone) … and this post is loaded.

I stopped into one of those large (but temporary/seasonal) Halloween stores .. .and I was surprised to see the Banana Flasher. For those who dare and want to know, here’s the link.

Remember the post earlier in the week about the email? Ever since that post, I haven’t heard from any of the ladies. Not one!

Sky: The Musical is off to a good start as Opening Night was a success. I want to complete this musical before the December holiday season, so Act 2 is next week!

  • Theme – Sun
  • All song titles must include Sun, Suns, or Sunny in the title
  • No compound words (sunlit, sunlight, etc) and No variations as Son, Sons, or Sonny
  • Showtime – Tuesday, November 17th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

I like black licorice, so I pounced on the deal at Costco when I spotted a display offering a 2 lb (0.9 kg) bag for $2.50. Hey Canadians … it’s from your country.

Earlier this week marked the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. These words touched me.

The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald wasn’t the worst maritime tragedy in the history of the Great Lakes. Another early November storm in 1913 took a dozen ships and more than 250 sailors’ lives. The bodies of the Fitz’s crew were never recovered, but the ship’s bell was. And when it is tolled 29 times today, as it is every year, it will be for those men — and for the 25,000 others who have lost their lives on those waters down through the centuries. (Carl Cannon, Editor, Real Clear Politics)

Do you remember my tango routine? Well, my partner and I successfully did it without a major glitch! … and that also means it is over … Whew – a lot of work!

Dale (A Deleciable Life) made me aware of this wonderful dance video from the Montreal Swing Riot – and quite the riot it is. Whew – lots of energy and skill. The entire video is about 20 minutes, but even short stays are worth the time. Enjoy.

Speaking of dancing, the official Dance: The Musical song list is coming soon!

I’ve enjoyed Dancing With the Stars season 21 … and I’m pulling for Bindi. Best wishes to Tamara Braxton because she has withdrawn due to a serious health issue. As a dancer, she’s been very good.

Early this week, I saw (live on CNN) Alysin Camerota’s interview with Republican candidate Ben Carson – and his answers to her good questions were pathetic.

George (The Off Key of Life) had this outstanding post about the 2016 presidential election.

Woo hoo … I missed another one this week, so I’m 5 for 5 when it comes to avoiding the party-specific presidential debates. Here are some fact checks from the event:
Annenberg FactCheckAssociated PressPolitiFactPoliticoWashington Post

From all indications, I tend to agree that the CNBC moderators did a poor job – but that is no excuse for poor answers. Given my rules, candidates in both parties should be thankful that I’m not running the debates. However, Jimmy Kimmel’s comedic take on the event is priceless!

To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion offers these tips for conquering phobias.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Chinese buffet has french fries
Group of friends shouting “Shots” make compelling point
Robert De Niro stunned to learn of man who can “Goodfellas”
Scientists Find Strong Link Between Male Virility, Wearing Mötley Crüe Denim Jacket
Beijing Fire Department Extinguishes Massive Five-Alarm Burning Cloud Of Smog

Interesting Reads (a few more than normal)
A good almost 3-minute video report about a Brooklyn high school (from CBS News)
Columnist David Ignatius on power Ignatius on power
Columnist Kathleen Parker of demonizing in campaigns Parker on demonizing 
Melancholy as a good thing (Thanks Elyse)
The human body: on 4 facts or fiction
New hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb?
A church and the Hawaiian leper colony
Barcelona’s La Sagrada from The Atlantic (article & pics) (Thanks Merril)
Rare Photos of early Peking

No Explore post this weekend, but don’t forget Act 2 is next week.

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover for Act 1 and a golden oldie. 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. 278

Dance: The Musical is over with the 4 acts unofficially providing 48, 34, 30, and almost 40 songs. Many thanks to all, and I’ll post the list of songs sometime in the future. (It’s almost done.) Act 4 was a difficult theme, but the readers came through … and with so many dances available, I also provided a dance to everyone participating guest – I guess one could say that was my way of dancing with everyone.

The next theme? I haven’t made the decision. However, I anticipate another short one.

No Explore post this weekend, but a post is planned.

Did you see the picture Jamie Lee Curtis in the shower screaming while holding the picture of her mother screaming in Psycho’s shower scene? If not, see it here.

Pope Francis visiting the US is big news here. In my opinion, he’s quite the humanitarian and leads by example. To honor his visit, I’ve provided an extra set of headlines from The Onion further down this post.

Kim Davis (Clerk of Courts, Rowan County Kentucky) didn’t let me down, thus did something stupid that made the news by the end of the week. Meanwhile, I think she could play the “Clueless” card, but neither she or her legal team seems to understand that move.

Last week I heard (with my own ears) Michael Smerconish (CNN personality and Sirius-XM radio host) use “bloviator” when referencing Donald Trump. On a similar note, The Bloviator and Pope Francis provide an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast humility.

Ben Carson (R-MD) seeks the Republican nomination for president wants to protect the US Constitution – well … unless he disagrees with it, thus being less faithful to the Constitution. Although his ridiculous statement served the purpose of raising money followed by playing the victim card, I can’t see how he could get the nomination – let alone, win the election.

17th September was Constitution Day in the US. Columnist Ruth Marcus (Washington Post) wrote this interesting piece fitting for both the day and the current Republican campaign.

As the Republican field use phrases as “war on religion” and “war on Christianity”, why am I (as a Christian) not having the sense of being on a battlefield?

With two of the original 17 in the field having recently dropped out of the race (good riddance to both)… and more are to follow suit … many voters may wonder what happens to the Super PAC money. NPR answers it here.

Before the next Republican debate happens on Oct 28th, the Democrats will start their debates on Oct 13th. To me, this means I won’t watch two debates in October.

Speaking of the debates, I enjoyed this column from Kathleen Parker (Washington Post).

To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion discovered and published Pope Francis’ US itinerary.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Wedding guest in suspenders and bow tie unafraid to take to dance floor
Area woman’s hair always wet
Extension cord on stage steals show at campaign rally
Beautiful sunset wasted on a few schmaltzy bozos
Ethical Hunter Throws Duck He Shot Back Into Sky
First-time flasher definitely going to make sure he’s erect next time

My Combo (I’ve seen this happen): Unafraid erect flasher steals dance floor show

Special Edition Headlines about Pope Francis
Pope Leaves Detailed Instructions For Taking Care Of Holy Spirit While He Out Of Town
Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos
House Lawmakers Brainstorming Some Good Things To Say About Poor People Before Meeting Pope Francis
Pope Francis Kills 3 Hours Milling Around Atlanta Airport During Layover To D.C.
Frustrated Republicans Argue Pope Should Leave Science To Scientists Who Deny Climate Change

Interesting Reads
Libraries and the public today
A new human relative
A hidden hero of jazz: Mary Lou Williams
Futuristic navy
For those remembering James Meredith
Linking medieval history and your DNA
(Photos) On the side of the road

Below are 3 songs to send you into the weekend: a leftover from Act 4 (one of my favorite dance songs – The Bop by Ms. Jody) and two classics. 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

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.

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.

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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 276

Obviously, the Running Late edition.

At last count, Dance: The Musical – Act 2 had 22 songs. Meanwhile, the theater crew is working overtime to prepare for next week’s Act 3 (Tuesday, 9:30 pm Eastern US). It’s a little tricky,

  • Songs titles with dancer, dances, or compound words including dance
  • (EX) Dancehall is an acceptable compound word,but happy dance is not acceptable because it is not a compound word.
  • Exception: dancehall, dance hall, dance-hall, dancefloor, dance-floor, and dance floor are acceptable – but this exception is not applicable to other compound words

No Explore post this weekend. Not only was this post late, I had a poor week with visiting other blogs … so hopefully this weekend will help me get back on the track. I’m even behind on replying to comments on the previous post.

Evangelist Pat Robertson recently blamed the recent drop in the stock market on the ills of Planned Parenthood .. but he changed his mind to blaming homosexuals.

Earlier this week Queen Elizabeth became the long-running British monarch. To most of us, including myself, she is the only queen we’ve ever known. A tip of the cap to her! Here’s a pictorial of her life.

How many people realize the difference between staring/having a conversation and having the final word?

Jackie at Breathe to Write is having a birthday party on September 12th … so make your calendar to stop by that day.

As Kim Davis (Kentucky County Clerk) continues to make the news and serve as a martyr for loud, this situation is full of ridiculous comments by people who should know better. Being ignorant can be excused by not knowing better, which is different that stupidity.

Yes, Judge Bunning did the right thing in letting her (Kim Davis) out of jail because his order was being fulfilled. I wonder how long it will take her to return to jail.

Yes, I believe Hillary Clinton using a private server was wrong. I also believe all government business should be conducted on government servers, thus any allowance by government is a poor choice. Even though her apology and acknowledge is predictably a bit late, I also believe much of the hub-bub is politically driven, and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

This delivers an important message: Donald Trump (R-NY), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sarah Palin (R-AK) shared the stage at the same event.

I missed the first Republican “debate” of the campaign season, and I also plan on missing next week’s second encounter hosted by CNN. It’s simply a waste of my time.

In last week’s OITS, Alisha made this wonderful (worth repeating) comment about the US building a border wall . So, we build a wall against Mexico… then another against Canada… then 2 more to keep the rising ocean levels from flooding our coastal cities… then a dome as a futuristic missile defense system… and voila! We’ll officially live in an Ameri-Can! I’m sure read a sci-fi book about this.

For those worried about the polls, here’s something to ponder: The entire college football season (regular season and bowl games) will be completed before voters cast a ballot.

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s help to parents talk to children about death. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
6-Year-Old Data Entry Prodigy Already Entertaining Offers From Major Temp Agencies
Glade Introduces New Air Freshener Mask
Cockroach Worried About What Kind Of Kitchen Cupboard He Leaving To Children
Pathetic 4-Year-Old Needs Father To Stand On Merry-Go-Round Platform For Entire Ride
Study Finds Earth’s Animals One Giant Creature Before Breaking Apart Millions Of Years Ago
Depression Symptom Checklist Speaking To Area Man As No Poem Ever Could

Interesting Reads
The trend in births by unauthorized immigrants 
Enduring myths
Will the world population reach 10 billion?
The DJ who brought down the USSR
Composition of the universe

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend: an unused classic from Act 2 and one of my favorite music videos 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. 275

After it’s smashing debut of over 40 songs, Dance: The Musical returns this week with Act 2 featuring songs with “dancing” or “dancin’” in the title. Those are the only two options. The show starts this coming Tuesday (Sept. 8th) at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

ALERT: Next week is the first of three consecutive weeks for Dance: The Musical. WARNING – Act 4 will be very tricky, so I suggest seeing the Hear Ye page.

Regular attendees at the musicals know that a cantankerous producer runs the show with burrs in his shorts. Not all that long ago he insisted I refer to him as The Producer (as opposed to the producer). I recently discovered why … he officially changed his name to The Producer.

As I mentioned last week, my pastor read my post about predestination – of which he commented about the civility here. Some readers were curious about his reaction to my content. He and I talked earlier this week, and he was supportive and had no issues. We also talked about other theological meanings for predestination.

President McKinley was from my state – Ohio – and I’m one Ohioan who has no problem with Mt, McKinley (the highest peak in the US) returning to its original name – Denali.

The previous post regarding teaching and training created many interesting responses and fruitful dialogue between visitors.cooltext_7

An Explore post returns this weekend with a person, place, or thing. Last week’s Salute post about the number 7 was a subtle way of celebrating the 7th anniversary of this blog that I commonly refer to as my little corner of the world. A special thanks to those who noticed that fact (#68) embedded amidst the drivel.

College football starts this weekend – a season that I enjoy. Amazingly, the highest paid coaches make $5-7+ million per year. Should they be paid that much? To me, it’s simple: If the investment brings in more than the investment, I unquestionably say YES. Here’s a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed on the topic.

If there is anyone interested in playing a free, no-pressure version of fantasy football, let me know and I will email you the information.

Although I haven’t written it on these pages, I have wondered how long it would take someone to mention building a wall along the US-Canada border. Congratulations, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WS)! Meanwhile, here’s a great video about the US-Canada border. Thanks Debra.

Interesting doublespeak: Some Republicans love to tout American exceptionalism, yet point to the fact that birthrate citizenship (14th Amendment & court cases) is not common with many other countries

Donald Trump (R-NY) loves to mock, but he also makes it easy to mock. If he doesn’t need anyone’s money, won’t ask for anyone’s money, and will self-fund his own campaign, why did a recent Bloviation event charge money? Why does The Bloviator’s website campaign website take donations? I know the drill – answer the question with a bombastic statement that doesn’t answer the question.

Here’s the one thing I confidently believe about Hillary Clinton (D-NY) since 2008: Like her or not, she (and her people) know how to run a lousy campaign.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stated President Obama and his administration is intentionally vilifying law enforcement. Just another example of the type of voter Sen. Cruz is seeking.

Here’s an interesting quote regarding gay marriage from the elected official of my district to the state legislature. Well, I’ve got to hand it to President Obama. He has managed to figure out how to do what no one thought was possible: A national flipping of the middle finger at God, (John Becker). I yield to a great American orator below for his comment.

I shake my head not only at the county clerk in Kentucky (Kim Davis) refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but to also the ridiculous comments I’ve heard from others. As an elected official, she can’t be fired or request a transfer – therefore, she should either resign or taken to jail (which she has). Employees of the clerk office in the same situation should request transfer or find another job.

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s explanation of the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Full summer of tending outdoor garden produces single edible cherry tomato
Friends grandma to give you hug too
NASA deploys Congressional funding is search of funding
Pope cleans up dead angel who flew into Sistine Chapel window
New dating site suggests people you already know but thought you were too good for
Salt Lake City hoping to boost tourism by reminding visitors they are free to leave at any time

Interesting Reads
A historical look at India’s great divide (Thanks Jim)
Plagiarized anthems
Water and hangovers
Quotes about science by theologians
Competencies and limitations of science
(Interactive) Political media habits by generations

To send you into the weekend, here are two versions of the same one: the way we know it and the studio acoustic version. Any preference? Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinion in the Shorts: Vol. 274

Tough week for the stock market (US and elsewhere). A note for Republicans – You can blame President Obama if and only if you are willing to give him credit for the market run since he took office (Jan 2009). Meanwhile, the shoe also fits the other way – That is, the Democrats giving the President Obama the credit for past growth should be blaming him for this past week. In my view, markets are more complex than that.

Many are wondering why Donald Trump (R-NY) is high in the polls. The answer is simple. Trump is the candidate for people seeking affirmation – not information. The Bloviator has the knack for telling people what they want to hear, regardless if the statement is true or false. Case in point, here’s the most recent scorecard from PolitiFact regarding Trump’s bloviations.


Can you recall one person being about to do so-many phone-in interviews on TV? It is so with Mr. Trump, which tells me that the media is part of the problem because they are taking him whenever they can for ratings … thus limiting their challenges because they don’t want him to say “No” to the airtime.

Last week, Gov. Walker (R-WS) made three contradictory statements about birthright citizenship granted by the 14th amendment – yet the campaign described them as consistent. I guess that also means they see the situation as having no choice. Earth to Walker campaign – some us aren’t stupid.

The presidential election process is too long in the US. If the lengthy time is so important to the parties, the candidates, and all the donors, what about the taxpayers? Are some of us getting cheated. I have a suggestion that these people will hate. Sitting governors, senators, and representatives were elected by the people of their state (or district within the state) to represent them – yet a national campaign takes much time. In order to seek a national office, just resign your state-elected office. The choice involves cake or ice cream – not both.

Opening Night for Dance: The Musical was a smashing success! Two bits of good news: Act 2 is scheduled for Sept. 8th, plus, I’ve added an additional act. For those needing to know more now, see the Hear Ye page. Also, special thanks to Dale for her excellent job as the theater’s maître d … even if the WP gnomes are blocking me from commenting on her blog.

You may recall that Marina provided the artwork for my On Blue post. Here’s a post from Resa featuring a clothing item she purchased of Marina’s work.

My pastor read my post my post about predestination. Here’s something he wrote to me, How do you have such nice, generous people in your comment section? The civility is refreshing. … A tip of the cap and a round of applause to my blogging community!

No Explore post this weekend, however, there will be a Salute post. Of course, the burning question is – salute what? Hmmmm …. it’s subtle.

If there is anyone interested in playing a free, no-pressure version of fantasy football, let me know and I will email you the information.

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s explanation of how Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to lead in the polls.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man spends entire weekend binge-watching neighbor
Report: 1 in 3 Americans will get dessert if someone does
Guantanamo Bay begins construction on Senior Care wing
Q-Tips introduces new multi-speed electric ear swab
Man to undergo extensive interrogation by co-workers about where he got falafel
Scientist confident artificially intelligent machines can be programmed to be lenient slave masters

Interesting Reads
Street artists in Ghana
About Neil Armstrong
Restoring a famed piano
A report on mobile messaging and social media
A planet’s habitation

To send you into the weekend, here’s a twofer. The first one is a leftover from Opening Night. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.