Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 368

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Pronouns: The Musical debuts this weekend. Act 1 features songs with “I” in the title. Curtain goes up this Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US). My goal is to have a different act every weekend, but time will tell if I can do that pace. Meanwhile, The Producer is ready!

Earlier this week we cut-the-cord; that is, we discontinued our satellite TV service, then went to an antenna for local channels and a streaming service for a package of stations. Saving $75 per month will take care of the upfront costs in less than a year. Should I do a post on the process of considering cutting-the-cord?

Time demands the past two weeks have been greater than normal – so thanks for your patience.

Baseball’s All-Star break was this week. My Reds have been playing very good and entertaining baseball in recent weeks. Although they have one of the best records over the last 35 games, they remain in last place of the division by 4.5 games.

Amazon is a great service. We bought something a day or two before Prime Day – which offered the same product $50 less. Amazon would not credit the difference to our account. So, they paid for shipping to return the unopened product, credited our account for the entire purchase, gave us a $10 courtesy credit, and then allowed us to repurchase the product. Although we came out ahead, it doesn’t make sense to me.

Congratulations to France for winning the World Cup.

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Here’s a worthy read: What’s wrong with political leaders citing research?

Although his followers love it, President Trump’s European trip was a disaster.

Last week’s joint hearing of the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committees with FBI official Peter Strzok was a great example of political theater and partisan hackmanship. On the plus side, the hearing resulted in one of the best Stephen Colbert monologues ever! Below is one of my favorite segments in the monologue that is worth 12 minutes. To see the entire monologue, click here.

Because he naturally says things that are fitting for a comedy skit, President Trump is a gift that keeps on giving. Ahead of the meeting with Vladimir Putin, The Bloviator said he had met Putin “two or two-and-a-half times before.” Hmmmm …. that is definitely worth pondering.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for getting the most out of life.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Bride and groom clearly have not kissed much
Guy on cologne advertisement must smell pretty good
Heavenly Sources Confirm Joe Jackson Already Screaming At Michael
Half Of Morning Run Spent Trying To Change Song On Phone
Poll finds 97% of Americans don’t know who Donald Trump is
Woodpecker Having Difficulty Remembering Tree Where He Got The Really Good Bugs That One Time

Interesting Reads
People in a difficult world
The history of steel
Populist Parties in Western Europe
The breakfast capital of the world?
For those who are scared of math
(Graphic) Household wealth by countries
(Photos) An enjoyable collection from National Geographic

To send you into the weekend and continuing the summer theme, here’s a song from my youth. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 367

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A tip of the cap to the international rescue efforts in Thailand of the kids in the cave. Interesting how the parents stayed together supporting each other until the last rescue.

Cheers for Cincinnati! A German newspaper proclaims Oktoberfest Zinzinnati as America’s best Oktoberfest.

Although I don’t know when it will start, but I proudly announce the next blog musical: Pronouns: The Musical. Stay tuned for future announcements, but I can say the Playbill is ready and the theme for Act 1 is I. !

Here’s an interesting blog read on a set of topics that are more related than most of us think: courage, humility, and the visual artist. If you stop by, tell Greta I sent you.

Thank you readers for the many interesting comments regarding the last beach walk featuring time.

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As Republicans continue to tout recent tax cuts, I wonder about the net effect of the negative impact of tariffs on the positive gain of tax cuts.

Although a former Democrat criticizing the Democratic party wrote the article, I enjoyed this quote:

Politicians from both parties have gotten away with letting down ordinary Americans for decades because millions of Americans are culturally wedded to their tribal political identities of Republican or Democrat, and can’t think outside the box.

At the recent NATO meeting, President Trump boasted about winning Wisconsin, something that Ronald Reagan didn’t do. Well, this is at least the third time that the Bloviator-in-Chief has made that statement – and the third time he was wrong! Oh well – just more of the same.

Given President Trump’s recent nomination, the high court is about to return to the Supreme Court for the Party – not the people.

Given the political and social climate in the US, I wonder if a civil war is in America’s near future.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides home repair tips.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pet gerbil absolutely crushing it lately
New report finds fastest-rising cause of death in US is losing chess match to Grim Reaper
Picky refugee just expects to be reunited with exact same family as before
Wimbledon grounds crew frustrated after learning about cement courts
Eco-conscious hotel lets guests decide whether they want room’s towels washed before next guests arrive

Interesting Reads
Lessons from World War I
Buddhism and the over-connected world
10 of the most famous art pieces ever stolen
Facts for World Population Day
Found: The oldest human tools outside of Africa
(Graphic) World’s 20 largest tech giants

To send you into the weekend and continuing the summer theme, here’s a song that may be long before your time. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 366

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As heat has been blasting much of the US, fires are torching the western US. Interestingly, fires were commonly mentioned during our recent tour of western national parks.

For relief from the heat, we went to the movie theater to see Ocean 8. Interesting and in the same spirit as the other Ocean movies. Enjoyable – but not a must-see film – so waiting for it from Redbox, a streaming service, or pay-per-view is a good idea.

Interesting how July 4th events use the colors of the American flag for their event: Red White, & Blue Ash; Red Rhythm & Blues, Red White and Boom, and Rye Wine & Boom. Any interesting ones in your area?

We enjoyed a July 4th concert by the Cincinnati Pops. Besides a Broadway singer with a local connection, the concert also featured the US Army Chorus (composed of about 25 men).

I’m unhappy with my golf game because I can’t find the consistency that has been me for many years.

The current resurgence of the Cincinnati Reds is not easy to explain. Although still in last place of their division, they non longer have the worst record in the National League – let alone all of baseball.

As opposed to private lessons, learning a dance from group classes is a good way to develop many bad habits, which are difficult to break.

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The odds are good that I will disagree with President Trump’s upcoming justice nomination for the Supreme Court. Then again, I would also disagree if the numbers and situation were reversed favoring the Democrats. After all, I’m all about the High Court being for everyone@

Finally – EPA Director Scott Pruitt is gone!

Many weeks I suggested House Democrats dump Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as their leader, the latest reports of that possibility causes me to smile

Reflecting on the Fourth of July is a good time to synthesize how the use of the term “patriot” has sadly changed over time.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for being a savvy news consumer.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Clay Pot Shards From Dwelling Of Earliest Known Klutz
Asshole occupying two cemetery plots
Man silently eating personal pan pizza alone in corner of airport unaware this will be best part of 7-day vacation
Woman Takes Break From Dating To Focus On Everything About Herself No One Could Ever Love
Area man just wants a haircut without all the frou-frou
App knows it’s gone next time man needs space for photos

Interesting Reads
How America got its name
Changing your mind
Discovering King Tut’s tomb
The changing world of genetics and DNA
A view of George Clinton’s funk music
(Photos) Scottish birds of prey

To send you into the weekend and continuing the summer theme, enjoy this duo from the past. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 365

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Thanks to the hearty who stayed with me through the Christian America series this week. To develop the series, I researched information on both sides of the topic, so it was interesting to read the differing viewpoints – but to also discover the illogical, quantum leaps people make.

I’m looking into dual citizenship. Definitely interesting … and having a conversation with someone at the designated US consulate is not easy!

Check the box. We visited the Chinese Terracotta Army exhibit. Not only did we enjoy the exhibit, it is obvious to me that the First Emperor and the Chinese leaders at the time feared Obama.

This video of creative street art will make you smile.

I started an exercise program while at the Alabama coast this past January. In mid-March, I used my Silver Sneakers option in my medical insurance, so I’ve been exercising three days a week since then.

Is this strange? Take Your Kids to Work Day is during the school year (so the kids miss school) while Take Your Dog to Work Day is during the summer when the kids are home.

A tip of the cap to veteran columnist Charles Krauthammer who recently passed away. While one may disagree with his opinion, nobody can deny his brilliance, his skills as a writer, and his commitment to conservatism. I enjoyed the columns written about him as a person. Although I limited my reading of his column, I appreciate his description of the current president as “a rodeo clown”.

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The crisis along the southern US border is sad and complex. However, it’s a refugee issue – not immigration as many play it to be. I also appreciated these two articles from NPR: One and Two.

Congratulations to President Trump for successfully transforming Congress for ineffective to incompetent.

Recent tax cuts improved the bottom line for many businesses. Because tariffs work against many businesses, I want about the net effect. Meanwhile, in order to avid new tariffs, US-based Harley-Davidson is moving some operations to Europe to avoid EU tariffs. Damn Obama.

Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) made a solution statement about abolishing ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) – and I see the statement in the same light as some Republicans saying they want to abolish the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

A huge thumbs down to the recent comment about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) regarding encouraging harassment of Trump supporters and administration workers. Thumbs down to the restaurant owner who asked Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave the restaurant.

To the Trump apologists believing that the media is too hard on President Trump, my response is simple – He brings it upon himself.

I appreciated this statement from Trevor Noah: “The two-party system in one of the most disruptive forces currently in America.”

Tidbits on Future Elections

  • At this point in time, I see good odds for Democrats gaining control of the House this fall, but doing so in the Senate is a steeper climb.
  • I wince at the thought of the Dems 2020 presidential nomination; therefore I raising President Trump’s chances of winning re-election to 51%.
  • Here are the early odds for getting my 2020 vote: President Trump – 0%; Democratic nominee – 20%; Libertarian nominee – 15%; Independent candidate: 30%; leaving the ballot blank – 35%.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for staying civil when debating child prisons.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Cops bust filthy, unshaven Mark Zuckerberg for selling personal data on street corner
Funeral attendees getting misty-eyed during first dance with corpse
Everyone in Pride Parade straight
Blood-covered finger confirms nose, in fact, bleeding
Saudi Arabia officially lifts ban on female Monster Truck rallies
Steel drum knows it has so much more to offer than tropical vibes

Interesting Reads
The psychology of money
The 1912 GOP Convention

The next global jihadi stage – but where?
The neuroscience of pain
The Sinai Trail
The satisfaction of biscotti
(Pictures) Life under apartheid

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this grand voice from the past for this summer song. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 364

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Cincinnati has been in an odd weather pattern since November. Not only did winter start 6 weeks earlier than normal, it lasted longer. So spring started later than normal and was short. It’s mid-June and we’re experiencing July-August weather. I do not embrace high temperatures with high humidity – but I realize it is more comfortable here than the saunas to the south.

Hope to visit two temporary exhibits that are in the city this summer – one featuring the Chinese Terracotta Army and the other about chocolate. Would either interest you?

My cybersecurity service (WebRoot) provided with wonderful article about phishing in social media. I placed it here because it is worth reading.

I saw this headline: “2018 is our generation’s 1968” … wow …. I don’t think the author (nor the generation) understands 1968.

My publishing schedule will be a bit abnormal next week. I’ve prepared a 4-part series around the topic of the US as a Christian nation. I will post 4-consecutive days starting Sunday night (9 pm US Eastern). For beach walking fans, the next walk will be this Saturday (not the normal Sunday).

Some advice for the golfers complaining about the US Open. Although I may question some of the pin/hole placements, for future Opens I suggest you don’t apply to play.

We saw the movie Solo. It’s a little long. Star Wars fans will love it. It’s more about the Hans Solo, but not much good vs. evil. No endorsement here, but it’s OK for a rainy or too-hot day.

Here’s a oddity. One of our friends is a twin, who will soon marry a twin – and it just so happens both (really all four) were born on the same day – actually two hours apart.

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I believe First Lady Melania Trump’s recent visit to the border was sincere. However, her choice of clothing was a case of bad judgment – not an intentional message.

Mr. Trump, if the people implemented a Zero Tolerance Policy, you would not have lasted a week.

When Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015, Senate Major Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised the Senate would pass a budget instead of passing continuing resolutions. Well, it hasn’t happened yet!

With all the statements being made about the Mueller investigation, I find it interesting that the actual investigation has released little (if any) information. Meanwhile, whatever the results, I hope each party accepts the results and moves on!

Everyone knows President Trump thrives on lying, exaggerating, blaming, mocking, forgetting, denying, deflecting, contradicting, confusing, taking credit, and shirking responsibility. Incredibly, he is the best-ever, most incredible president to accomplish this things.

It appears President Trump will be meeting with Vladimir Putin soon. Mr. President – when will you be meeting with the leader of Iran?

For those who listen, Rudy Giuliani is the perfect spokesperson for President Trump. He fits in with the parade of others the White House trots out to media.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for getting the most out of life.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Coworker following World Cup goes all-in on tenuous family connection to Portugal
Ants having some kind of party inside crack in pavement
Sexy woman can tie banana peel into knot with tongue
GE releases new flickering light bulb for abandoned sanitariums
MIT researchers create ‘psychopath’ AI by feeding it reddit data

Interesting Reads
Distractions are good for the brain
Today’s Western European Christians
Mulling over Artificial Intelligence applications
Key weapons of the War of 1812
What T. Rex could not do
(Photos) World Cup murals

To send you into the weekend, enjoy James Taylor singing in the summer season for us in the northern hemisphere. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 363

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Cheers to the new header. Following my fascination with images from deep space, NASA released this Hubble image in 2018 featuring a monster young star in the Lagoon Nebula within the Constellation Sagittarius – 4,000 light-years away. To see my past headers, visit the Past Headers page or click here.

I was surprised to learn these facts about recycling in the US: 1) Cardboard recycling is down while online sales are up, and 2) About 40% of Americans either don’t have access to a recycling program or don’t sign up for the one available. For those interested, here’s an interesting article on the topic.

I never realized that Chicago’s Midway Airport is named after WW II’s Battle of Midway.

As one who continues to believe the majority of the world is good, Anthony Bourdain’s death saddens me because he acknowledged the same good through the culinary delights of different cultures.

A major milestone happened while I was on my recent vacation. My feet have successfully stood in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. For the record, Montpelier, Idaho completed the journey.

 

The people have spoken regarding Fiona’s mural, which will be downtown and completed later this summer. If you want a sneak peek, click here.

After two+ weeks away from ballroom and golf, getting back into ballroom is much harder because it requires so much knowledge. The first weekend back to dancing was horribly difficult.

Golf’s US Open (my favorite golf tournament) is this weekend. While two of the past three US Opens have been questionable at best, I look forward to the challenge Shinnecock Hills should provide.

My Cincinnati Reds continue their predictable, pathetic path. However, they did surprise me. By the time they won their 20th game, the Red Sox and Yankees were the only two teams shy of 20 losses.

Cheers to the New York Times for recently including Cincinnati in their 52 places to visit. Here’s the article.

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To my Canadian readers. President Trump may represent Americans, does not speak for the majority of us.

For me, the report that President Trump told Lesley Stahl (CBS News) that he intentionally demeans and discredits the media for the purpose of convincing people not to believe the negative stories in the media about him sums up much of his time in office.

Although the recent Supreme Court ruling of the cake baker case bothered me, I listened to an analysis that mentioned the narrow view of the majority opinion.

My Congressman wrote this op-ed (Washington Times), to which I responded to him by email (below).

As per your newsletter, I read you recent op-ed in the Washington Times. I respectfully submit the following as a rebuttal.

1) Blaming the Democrats, the media, and Hillary Clinton is not only tiresome, it’s down right negligent. By the way, you forgot to mention Barack Obama.

2) There are two problems in Washington – and it’s the same two problems that have been there for years – the Democrats & Republicans as they subscribed to their self-servient, party-first mentality.
Meanwhile, to continue discord, stagnancy, and avoiding progress, I encourage you to stay the course. After all, you stated the following: “When those shared values crumble or the system is weaponized to benefit one party over the other, both parties lose. We the people lose. Our nation stagnates and becomes steeped in dysfunction. That is because the heart and soul of our constitutional republic has always been an ultimate allegiance to the overarching ideals of our democratic system and the institutions carefully constructed to uphold it — regardless of political party.

Yes, Congressman Wenstrup, you are part of the problem – not the solution – but relax – the majority of your colleagues are just like you.

I love this Canadian response to President Trump’s trade policy. (Thanks, Dale!)

As a retaliation in an escalating trade war between the US and the rest of the world, Canada is considering placing a 25% tariff on all American canned and glass bottled water including Budweiser, Coors, and Busch. The carbonated drinks sometimes referred to as “beer” in America are sold throughout Canada and purchased by at least one lonely person with no concept of taste.The Beaverton

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for getting the most out of life.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Tarantula rushing to shave legs before meeting up with mate
Himalayan goat dies following failed Everest Climb
Dad spends entire vacation 8 steps ahead of family
Woman bids farewell to former self before beginning new skin care regiment
Trick candles just making birthday boy cry harder
Botanic garden forced to euthanize rose bush that pricked child

Interesting Reads
A view about the future and artificial intelligence
The role of mini-golf in desegregation
Icelandic philosophy
Urban, suburban, and rural: What unites and divides them
Transforming sound waves into sound
Everyone’s neighbor: Mr. Rogers
(Photos) D-Day bunkers

To send you into the weekend, enjoy blast from the past by Dan Fogelberg. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 361

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A string of warm weather has finally arrived in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, I lost the color I gained from 6-weeks in Alabama (mid-January through February).

Golf league season is underway. Fortunately, the weather was great … and given my 1-day preparation, I did OK.

The new season of Dancing With the Stars has started. Having all athletes competing is interesting, but a big thumbs down on the 4-week format.

Last weekend we saw Treasure Island as a play. Very enjoyable.

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A friend ask this question: Why to Trump supporters blindly accept what he says and does? To me, the answer is obvious – His supporters are willing to accept anything and everything about Donald Trump because he is not Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama … and this also explains why Republicans continue to campaign against Clinton and Obama.

Politics and citizens are spending too much time pointing fingers at the opposition – as opposed to taking ownership of their role in the problem and the solution.

Comedian Michelle Wolf headlined the 2018 White House Correspondents Dinner. In my opinion, she had some good jokes, but also crossed the line.

Regardless of the person holding the office, I can’t imagine everything that a US President has to do. Journalist John Dickerson offers an interesting look at the duties and expectations of the one occupying the Oval Office.

Pew Research released an interesting study about what Americans see as ideals and their perception of reality around those ideals.

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

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nutritionists reveals human with proper diet should not be defecating
Stressed lab rat breaking out in human ears (Image explains)
3-year old pretending stuffed animals having big fight about accidental pregnancy
Tornado creeped out by man who keeps following it in truck and filming it
E. coli ready to treat itself to some beef after weeks of nothing but salad

Interesting Reads
A unique language
Shifting sands
A view of biodefense
The last man who knew everything
Early cosmos activity 
A look at the Heller decision regarding guns
(Photos) A visit to Socotra

To send you into the weekend, enjoy one of my favorites by Harry Chapin. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.