Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 333

The aFa Short Story Challenge (Footprints in the Sand) is on final approach. Thanks to those who reblogged the challenge in their blog. I will publish my story on July 10th at 12:15 am (Eastern US). Participants will link to that post (NOT the Challenge post). For those who didn’t see the challenge, click here.

Cheers to the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for another wonderful Fourth of July concert. Interestingly, a three-quarters moon was displaying itself directly behind the fireworks.

We are watching the latest season of House of Cards. Through episode 9 was slow – very slow! … but the pace is starting to pick up as the house seems to the ready to tumble.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of the Seychelles Islands (in the Indian Ocean), and I don’t think I’ve encountered a Seychellian blogger … but I know two people who are currently here. From the views from this video, it appears to be a paradise.

So far, I’m comfortable with my random posting schedule.

I wished I would have saved it, but last week I read an article that mentioned the Democrats top two strategies, which caused me to shake my head.

The previous I displayed the letter I sent to my representative (an R) regarding the health care & insurance issue in the U.S. Last week I wrote the following to one of my senators, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

Senator Portman,
On Twitter you stated. “Let me know what you think.” about the recently proposed Senate health care. Your dilemma lies in this predicament. If you are representing your party, you should vote YES because partisanship and political gain is of utmost important. If you are representing the best interest of the people, you should vote NO because health care and health care insurance is a very serious issue that demands more than a frivolous attempt based on partisanship and political gain. Because of the importance of health care and health care insurance, doing what is best for the people requires a bipartisan effort. That is the challenge.”

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides the pros and cons of artificial intelligence.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman rearranging condiments in refrigerator door like puzzle in ancient tomb
Queen Elizabeth kicks off Wimbledon by serving ceremonial first ace of tournament
Man on internet almost falls into world of DIY mustard enthusiasts
Housefly drops everything to go stand on watermelon slice
Dolphin spends amazing vacation swimming with stockbroker
This stool shall pass

Interesting Reads
Understanding the latest fossils of human origins
50 things about the US Founding Fathers
Humans aren’t nutritious eating
3-D printed ovaries fight infertility
(Photo Gallery) Empty railways in America

For your weekend entertainment, here’s a fun song that you may not know that comes from my cousins. It’s an Italian classic from 1972. Although not in Italian, it’s meant to sound like English, but actually the lyrics are pure gibberish – except for two words. Enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On an Election Day Primer

Tuesday is Election Day … and day that many of us have been anticipating for a long time. In my opinion, our process is too long and too expensive. That aside, it remains an important day. I encourage all to vote with their head.

To many people – a mixture of independents and partisans – this election has been a national embarrassment. One of my fears is that this may become the new normal. Even though embarrassing, I encourage people to vote, and not leaving their ballot blank. If that means holding your nose in the voting booth, just do it.

This election has been so goofy, so undignified, so disrespectful, …. there is only one way (for me) to post a primer leading into Election Day … and that’s with The Onion! Enjoy!!!! … Combos are welcomed! … Any favorites?

The Onion looks back with this timeline about the election …. and a few headlines for a laugh. After all, many of us can use one.

Nation’s still-undecided voters: “Help! We can’t get our car seatbelts off.”

Trump makes last-minute push to appeal to whites

Michelle Obama tosses a bunch of Barack’s old number 44 jerseys

Undecided voter waiting until he hears the same responses for the seventh time before making a decision

Trump raises concern over members of urban communities voting more than zero times

Anthony Weiner sends apology sext to entire Clinton campaign

Intergalactic law enforcement places energy shackles on Hillary Clinton

Trump complains entire personality is against him

New heavy-duty voting machine allows Americans to take out frustrations on it before casting vote

Teary-eyed Tim Kaine asks Clinton if his hair will grow back before Election Day

Mike Pence visits small town hit hard by kids seeing R-rated movies

Nation puts 2016 election in perspective by reminding itself some species of sea turtles get eaten by birds just seconds after they hatch

Trump hold strategy meeting with campaign’s top militia leaders ahead of the election

Clinton delivers stump speech in Moscow warehouse in effort to appeal to Russian hackers

Election Day is the only time most Americans in same room with person support other candidate

Anthropologists discover isolated tribe of joyful Americans in remote village untroubled by 2016 election.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 287

A major snow storm is forming in the central US and aiming at the major cities on the eastern seaboard. It appears (at the publish time) the brunt of the storm will pass to the south of Cincinnati … but that could change. Good luck to everyone affected.

We saw the movie Carol. Very interesting and I can see how critics love the movie. Although the setting was New York City in the 1950s, it was filmed here in Cincinnati – so my eyes were on the constant lookout for familiar sights.

I didn’t know that Iranian women can drive and vote – something that Saudi women cannot.

St. Louis lost another sports team as the Rams leave the Gateway Arch city for more lucrative offer in Los Angeles. The NFL is a money-making machine, and each team is worth in billions. I don’t know the stadium deal in LA, but I do know that teams have held (and continue to hold) their city and county governments hostage to build them a stadium for their product. What a shame.

I recently started a second volunteer project as I attend a Senior Living complex for an hour of ballroom. The lady attendees don’t move well, but their smiles are priceless.

We enjoyed this lemon risotto recipe by Rachael Ray.

Although far from perfect, no doubt in my mind that player on-court sportsmanship is much better in basketball than football.

Hats off to ML Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for allowing the Cincinnati Reds to induct Pete Rose into the team’s Hall of Fame, retire his number, and place a statue on the plaza outside the stadium … all of which his peckerhead predecessor wouldn’t consider.

Although some spotted the preview announcement on the Hear Ye page. Opening Night for Colors: The Musical is January 26th, curtain time at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). All songs must include Black in the song title, but not compound words containing black. Shades of black are also unacceptable. The Hear Ye page also contains information about other acts and the awesome Marina-designed Playbill cover. Resa is also offering her wardrobe-design services for this gala event.

I’ve seen several segments of the CNN special The Person Who Changed My Life (this Sunday, 8 pm, Eastern US). I hope to record to watch later, thus encourage readers to turn in.

There will be an Explore this weekend – and I will say it’s not a person, not a place … but a thing.

I imagine the majority of the people of Iowa can’t wait for the circus to leave town.

A question I would want to ask the Republican candidates: If you don’t believe that humans have influenced climate change, would you reduce the research efforts of governmental groups as NASA and NOAA who support these findings?

Here are the fact checks for the most-recent Republican debate: Politifact, Annenberg Fact Check, Associated Press, Washington Post.

… and the most-recent Democratic debate: Politifact, Annenberg Fact Check, Associated Press, Washington Post.

This Monday, CNN is hosting a Democratic Town Hall event with the 3 seeking the party’s nomination. Yep – I won’t be watching, thus my record will remain perfect.

Other than via comments on these pages, I ran into the first person who is also unhappy with the fact that our governor is drawing a salary while running for president … and I didn’t prompt the suggestion.

Sarah Palin (R-AK) (aka The Nincompoop) returns to the news cycle to endorse Donald Trump (R-NY) … perfect!

Meanwhile, dysfunction continues in The Nincompoop family. After her son’s arrest for domestic violence, The Nincompoop placed the blame on President Obama … Classic Nincompoopian … and priceless.

Something to ponder: Is Sarah Palin a celebrity or a politician?

To lead you toward the weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips on arranging a funeral.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Kind Of music that’s playing indicates movie character must be entering Italy
NCAA investigating God for giving athletes gifts
Naughty EpiPen reveals naked lady when injected
Bungled Apocalypse causes light drizzle over Southern Ohio
Porn DVD’s commentary track just more moaning
Drummer forced to retrieve sticks from audience for encore

Interesting Reads
The Stormtrooper army
The dogs that protect little penguins
Saudi women
Vintage vending machines (Thanks, Tim)
The global movement of money
That many in the human body! Really?
(Pictures) Three colors

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. 286

As a wine enthusiast, this 15-second commercial for Ally Bank makes me laugh. (Not the best sound on this one) – but I don’t know why Ally Bank doesn’t post it on their YouTube channel.

After watching two current movies, I see a strong connection between two unlikely films – The Big Short and Concussion … and I recommend both films.

For those who enjoy a good fireworks display, I enjoyed the New Year’s display from London. Click here for a a fun 11 minutes.

Did you see the preview of the major announcement on the Hear Ye page?

The attacks this week in Istanbul and Jakarta are troubling. Unfortunately, I fear the world is going to be dealing with this problem for more years than we want … no matter what Washington does.

In order to quicken the pace on improving my handbell skills, I started practicing with the second choir at our church this week. Their music is easier, so I can work on my technique and get back to reading music. I see it as a boot camp to sharpen my skills for a few weeks.

There will be an Explore this weekend.

Thank you readers, especially those who don’t follow sports, for tolerating my vent on the previous post.

The first 10 minutes of the State of the Union (SOTU) was on (while I was blogging) because my wife was watching. The partisanship of the event drives me nuts. I wish all the members in the audience would quietly and respectfully sit and listen from start to finish … but that’s asking a bit too much from our elected officials.

I’m glad President Obama included the partisan gridlock in the SOTU. (I read this portion of the transcript after seeing the news reports.) Although the Republican caucus makes it difficult, I openly wonder about the White House’s role in the obstruction.

For those thinking I only pick on Republicans, below are the fact-checks of President Obama’s State of the Union … here is the speech’s transcript … (and the fact checks) Politifact,  Annenberg Fact Check,  Associated PressWashington Post

As Donald Trump (R-NY) questions Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) citizenship, I say the Democrats should not address this issue now or in the future. Don’t stoop that low! Should the question be answered? Absolutely – but not by those with a political motive. I say the Republican Party should launch the initiative to determine the answer – but I very much doubt that will happen.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) needs votes, so he pouts and declines to participate in the lower-tier debate. Now that makes a lot of sense.

Speaking of Mr. Trump, I listened to much of two of his speeches. I encourage others to do so, but I won’t say why.

To lead you into The Onion, here is their list of pros and cons regarding helicopter parenting.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pope Francis Wearing Sweater Vestments He Got For Christmas (I like the picture)
Emotional NRA President honors victims of background checks
Minimalism Overdone
Study Links Binge Eating To Stress, Contentment, Depression, Joy, Boredom, Anger, Relaxation
New Survey Reveals Chicken-Fried Steak Leads Pork-Fried Pork As Nation’s Favorite Meat-Fried Meat

Interesting Reads
For the political junkies, a Republican’s view of the party’s 2016 options
A public-union case at the US Supreme Court
A short primer to understanding Islam (Thanks Jim W)
David Bowie’s life in pictures
Gene editing: the positives and negatives
In his own words: How a gym teacher invented basketball in 1891
Is China scared of ghost films?

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. 283

Sky: The Musical – Act 4: Moon is about 50 songs. A tip of the cap to all!

Act 5, the final act, focuses on Stars – so Star or Stars must be in the song title – but no compound words involving stars (as starlight, stardust, etc). Curtain time is Tuesday, December 15th at 9:30 pm (Eastern US) … and yes, I know it’s competing with the next Republican debate.

Explore series returns this weekend with a place that is on my bucket list to visit.

My Holiday Blog Party is next weekend – starting Saturday morning for the Europeans, but Saturday afternoon for the Aussies, Kiwis, and others in that part of the world – and it will go well into Sunday. Past guest know they will get to pick a gift, and to the first-timers, who knows what you will find. Music will also fill the air, plus I hope to convince Dale to provide the culinary treats. Feel free to invite your friends … and feel free to check in throughout the weekend.

Microsoft shortened this video into a commercial, which caused me to pause when I saw it.

Looking for a unique gift? Don’t forget to visit two of artist Marina’s sales sites: Marina’s Art Shop (artwork for sale) and Society 6 (where her artwork is transformed into other items). Besides her artistic talent, she’s a good person!

A high school football player in New Mexico had a concussion, in which policy requires to miss the next game. Because the next game is the state championship, the player and his parents sought and got a court order overturning the policy.

Numbers of Arabic-speaking people in the US continues to increase. Here’s an interesting article about the complicated matter for a school district in the Cincinnati area.

I recently discovered a little known perk with taxpayer dollars. Retired House Speakers (most recently, John Boehner, R-OH) have a budget to establish an office, hire staff, and send mail for up to five years. I’m far from a Tea Party supporter, but cheers to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) for wanting to defund this perk.

As Republicans continue use mental illness to explain gun violence, I ask this question: What legislation have Republicans advanced to address mental illness?

I’ll ask this tough question: Why wasn’t the shooter at the Planned Parenthood Center in Colorado Springs labeled as a Christian terrorist?

Donald Trump’s (R-NY) latest bloviation has created quite the stir. His followers are loyal, and will remain loyal. His numbers may dip – but the campaign continues to crack while the ceiling strengthens. Over time, the two candidates benefiting the most from him remaining in the race are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Donald Trump is smart, very good at thinking on his feet, and is using television to his benefit … thus, he is out marketing the rest of the field. After all, his strategies successfully aims at a segment of Republicans – thus is not intended for independents, moderates, or cross-over Democrats.

Given recent events, the next Republican debate could be a good one. It is this Tuesday (December 15th) on CNN … but I won’t be watching.

My wife (the Right Angle) laughed at this from one of her Facebook friends.

AppleImplant

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a headline of an actual event that one would think is from The Onion: Man named Bud Weisser arrested at Budweiser brewery (True story here)

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Employee returns from vacation refreshed, ready to waste time
Hitchhiker with machete, driver with machete can’t help but laugh
Shamefaced man stands stock-still as acquaintance zips up backpack for him
After watching news, man checks wallet to make sure cash still there
Study: Heart transplant group significantly healthier than heart transplant placebo group
Vacuum cleaner salesman asks that ashes be spread on potential customers’ carpets

Interesting Reads
Smiling for photos hasn’t always been the way
Problem for Democrats: Little faith in government
An effect of finger-pointing in a free-speech society
Muslim Americans and ISIS
How to never forget a name
(Photos) Windows

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend. The first is a leftover from Act 4 that features a sexy song by Maria Muldaur, JJ Cale, and Eric Clapton. The second helps celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday celebration on Saturday. 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. 281

For those celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you had a bountiful day.

Volunteering in an English Second Language (ESL) class continues to bring rewards. A student (a gentleman from Libya) wrote an article about learning English, and it was published by a national publication – Easy English Times. It’s a wonderful read, but unfortunately I couldn’t find an online version. Before reading it to the combined classes of different levels, I helped him prepare. When the time came, he stood in front of his peers and nervously read it. His last line touched me – “We need the person who sows hope in our hearts, who smiles, in our faces, who motivates us to go forward, and we need them to hug us when we win.” At the end, I knew he was proud … so when he came back to me, I hugged him.

For at least a year, I published lists of monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations. Did you know Gnocchi Day is the 29th of every month? Here are the links to the two sites I used the most to compile my list of celebrations: Brownielocks and Gone-Ta-Pott.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 1st at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

No Explore post this weekend.

Samantha Swallows sent me an email this week, but she didn’t say want she wanted – only a link. Oddly, I can’t recall ever meeting her, … I’m not sure why I received the email ..  so I didn’t follow the link.

The number of Democrats who worry about the possibility of Republicans nominating Ben Carson surprises me. Although I would tell them that wasn’t worth worrying, some people just like to find angst. Meanwhile, Carson’s poll numbers are now declining nationally and in Iowa.

The gaggle in the field seeking the Republican nomination continue to provide its share of nonsense and fodder to consider. I appreciate this words by George Will (columnist, Washington Post) – Every day that errant nonsense sloshes through the Republican nominating debate is a day when the party’s claim to represent what the country craves – adult supervision – becomes less credible.

As Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to bloviate about the thousands who are pouring into the US across the southern border, here’s a Pew Research report about the net result (immigration minus emigration).

John Cranley, a Democrat, is Cincinnati’s mayor. Let’s just say that I’m providing an interesting timeline.

  • March 28, 2014 – While announcing a new initiative is in the planning stage – “If you’re fleeing political persecution anywhere in the world, we want you here,”
  • July 2014
    • When announcing the formation of his Task Force on Immigration, he explains his desire to make Cincinnati “the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States.”
    • FYI: Mayor Cranley’s Task Force on Immigration website states it is “working to make Cincinnati a great place for immigrants to call home, start a business and thrive.”
  • Oct 28, 2015 – Mayor Cranley states, “Obviously, there’s political rhetoric around the country that suggests it’s not a good thing and we are emphatically saying we love immigration, we want more immigration, we believe that it’s key to our economic future and you’re a better, more just society.”
  • November 16, 2015 – “However, in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Egypt, the federal government should halt its actions until the American people can be assured that exhaustive vetting has occurred,”
  • November 17, 2015 – I feel horrible that I unintentionally caused harm.”

To lead you into The Onion, see their suggestions for avoiding distractions while working online.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients
Girlfriend Promises To Not Cry So Much
Making Pancakes Best Idea Man Has For Saving Relationship
Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline
Healthy mashed potatoes made with cauliflower

Interesting Reads
How American view their government (from Pew Research)
Scientific faith is different than religious faith
About stupidity 
Drunk animals
The last perfumer in Belgrade
The glowing sea turtle
Lighting bicycles

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song with a video that makes me chuckle. 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. 258

Biggest yawn of the week – Providing 3 new presidential candidates on the Republican side: Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee. Then again, additional candidates increases the odds of someone saying something stupid.

Several weeks ago I posted the graphic below showing our energy usage for the past year. Some of the reasons include LED lights in high-use areas, natural gas water heater and stove, programmable thermostat, and reasonable temperature settings.

EnergyUse1year

I asked my wife what song the handbell choir is playing for the final Sunday before the summer break, and a hit from years ago. Here’s Morning is Broken. Enjoy. Do you recall the artist who made it a hit?

Meals: The Musical returns next week, thus I will announce the theme in the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

No Saturday morning post this weekend, thus neither Cartoons or Explore features. Not that I don’t have a post ready, but I’m falling more and more behind, so I don’t want to make matters worse.

To lead you into the week’s headlines from The Onion, enjoy either a review of the latest Avengers film or links to the latest Republican presidential candidates” Carly Fiorina (R-CA), Ben Carson (R-MD), and Mike Huckabee (R-AR).

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Head of National Potato Council declares US in midst of potato renaissance
Sports drink company putting first advertisement on the moon
Hotels now charging customers for looking at items in minibar
Tiger Woods & Lindsey Vonn blame breakup on hectic sex lives
Man frantically returns to website that just crashed his browser
Fetus going to pretend he didn’t hear loud argument coming from other side of uterine wall

Interesting Reads
Unnecessary health care
Pew Research Projecting Religions to 2050
(Video) Left brain and right brain
The fossil record: What it shows
Interpreting chickens communicating 
(Slideshow) 166 years of riots & protests in the US

Your Weekend Celebrations
(Fri) No Socks Day, Free Trade Day, Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, Victory in Europe Day, Child Care Provider Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Red Cross/Red Crescent Day, Ovarian Cancer Day, Giving Sharks a Voice Day, Coconut Cream Pie Day, Have a Coke Day, Iris Day, Empanada Day, Time of Remembrance & Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives During the Second World War

(Sat) Birth-Mother’s Day, Moscato Day, Hurray for Buttons Day, Train Day, Butterscotch Brownie Day, Cornelia De Lange Syndrome Awareness Day, Windmill Day, Peter Pan Day, Root Canal Appreciation Day, Stay Up All Night Day, World Belly Dance Day, Archery Day, Lost Sock Memorial Day, Fair Trade Day, American Indian Day, Migratory Bird Day, Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day, Babysitters Day, Miniature Golf Day, World Belly Dance Day (For those, like Bulldog, needing an erotic belly dance)

(Sun) Mother’s Day, Shrimp Day, Lipid Day, Lupus Day, Mothers at the Wall Day, Clean Up Your Room Day

To send you into the weekend, here are the Stray Cats (including a young Brian Setzer) with Rock this Town. Do you remember this video? (If you can’t see it, try this.)Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.