Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 331

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The Cincinnati Enquirer published an interesting photo essay: A Day in the Life of Fiona the Baby Hippo. Enjoy.

This recent post on the Cincinnati Zoo Blog by one of Fiona’s handlers is good and has excellent pictures.

Opening Day is Monday. First of all, the occasion is formally capitalized in Cincinnati because it is (and has always been in my lifetime) a major event. Opening Day is the official start of the baseball season, and Cincinnati embraces it like no other place. We hope to go downtown for the festivities, but the projected weather is concerning.

Although I think the Reds will be better this year, my goals for their 2017 resemble last year’s:

  • Win more games than the 1961 Mets (Checked in 2016)
  • Have a better record than the worst team in baseball (Checked in 2016)
  • Finish higher than last place in the division
  • Finish closer to first in the division than to last
  • Anything else is extra topping on the sundae

On the downside, a shooting in a Cincinnati nightclub made the news this week. No arrests at this time, but the business has turned in its liquor license and will not reopen.

Enjoy this song with 300 words in one minute.

Several weeks ago I linked a handbell version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Here’s is another version of the same arrangement, but done with a different touch.

A tip of the cap to Lorna who is retiring her blog. I can’t recall how the two of us met each other in blogging, but I recall her move from the eastern US to Oregon. Best of luck Lorna, and thanks for the support.

The time is approaching when I will go on a spring blog break.

No Saturday post this weekend, but I will publish the Sunday post earlier than normal.

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I have a plan to improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) – sensible Democrats and sensible Republicans get together. Then again, I’m not convinced enough of those exist to overcome the obstinance of their respective bases.

  • Why can’t Republicans propose allowing insurance to be sold across state lines within the ACA? (However, states have the final say because they control insurance commerce.)
  • Why can’t Democrats propose eliminating taxes on the wealthy that shouldn’t have been in the ACA in the first place?
  • Why can’t either side propose either allowing credits for the insured or making the fine for not having insurance be greater than the cost of insurance?
  • Why can’t elected officials favor problem solving for the good over the country instead of party-first interests?

I know the answer to the above question – they are jackasses!

Regarding the mega-snafu by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, I say get him out of there!

“Clean coal” is possible – but expensive.

I can’t agree more with this headline that I saw earlier this week: It is Never Trump’s Fault – yep … it’s always Obama’s fault.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
No Cincinnati teams making it to college basketball’s Final Four
Mild winter not killing mosquitos
Coal industries 40-year decline
Hunting hogs from helicopters
An upcoming Blog Break approaching for me

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion identifies the top 10 destinations for spring break.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Hundreds Of blind, pallid Disney characters discovered living in caves deep within Space Mountain
Stoned extraterrestrial stumbles across hidden message after listening to Golden Record backwards
Audubon Society revokes black-capped chickadee’s membership after species fails to pay dues
4 copy editors killed in ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual gang violence
Military aides try to cheer up Kim Jong-Un after failed missile launch by putting on surprise execution

Interesting Reads
A perspective about nostalgia
Your life and history
Evolution of and future of charter schools
Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech (delivered 7 years before I was born, he mentions my birthplace)
Trapped in amber during sex
(Photos) Earth Hour Celebration

To send you into the weekend, here’s an MTV classic from days gone by. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On a Legendary Parade

The Findlay Market Parade may not have the opulence and national recognition of Pasadena’s Rose Parade or Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City, but it meets their tradition on a local scale.

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Findlay Market (in its own right) is a Cincinnati institution. In earlier times, the city had many markets, but Findlay Market is the sole survivor and now listed as a National Historic Landmark. Located in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Ohio’s oldest continuously operated market has its named attached to a parade associated with Opening Day. (You may recall from this post last week that I went into the city for the ambiance of the day.)

2014 was the Cincinnati Reds’ 133rd Opening Day and the 95th Findlay Market Parade.  The parade route is several miles along with rows of people lining the entire journey … and many more people watching in city center.

The Reason for the Annual Celebration

The Reason for the Annual Celebration

Although records show this year’s parade had over 180 floats, a float is definite as any wheeled vehicle that carries people. A truck pulling a long trailer loaded with people dressed in red (with some holding a plastic glass) is a float. In other words, it’s a cheesy parade featuring local celebrities, organizations, businesses, trucks, horses, marching bands, a lawn mower drill team, and more. This parade is not opulent, but it is a beloved Cincinnati tradition and the reason why people will stand and watch for 2 hours. Enjoy the parade.

People love to participate in this parade

People love to participate in this parade

Do you remember this post about Teddy?

He was the Honorary Grand Marshall (as a Reds great from the past was the Grand Marshall)

He was the Honorary Grand Marshall (as a Reds great from the past was the Grand Marshall)

I strolled to Fountain Square where crowds were the biggest.

Do you see Cincinnati's leading lady with her outstretched arms in the background?

Do you see Cincinnati’s leading lady with her outstretched arms in the background?

Looking back at Fountain Square from the Skywalk

Looking back at Fountain Square from the Skywalk

For those who want a closer look at the lady on Fountain Square

For those who want a closer look at the lady on Fountain Square

Others in the parade

It's a float!

It’s a float!

Cheers to Cincinnati's beer tradition and their salute to Guapo

Cheers to Cincinnati’s beer tradition and their salute to Guapo

 

On a Rite of Spring

Thousands of people descend on downtown for a parade, the game, and the general excitement of this annual rite of spring. The young and old, male and female, tall and short, rich and poor, workers and nonworkers, locals and out-of-towners … most dressed in red.

Many workers do not go to work – and many of those who do are not as productive. Kids skip school – and many those who do not face a day of study halls or atypical activities. These behaviors happen every year – thus predictable – then normality follows the next day.

For those who do not know, professional baseball started in Cincinnati. For many years, a Reds home game served as the start to the Major League Baseball (MLB) season. In recent years, that tradition has given way to MLB’s quest for more money, but the Cincinnati Reds remain as the only team that starts the season with a home game – so this day was Opening Day…a special day in Cincinnati … and no other city in the country embraces the day as my city along the Ohio River.

After a horrendous winter, weather brought us sun and warmth. With this setting serving as the perfect opportunity for me to get away from the move-related activities, I went downtown to join thousands of others who were also dressed in red.

For ease and convenience, I parked on the Newport, Kentucky side of the river, and emerged from the garage at Newport on the Levy …

Newport on the Levy with shops, eateries, theaters, and an aquarium

Newport on the Levy with shops, eateries, theaters, and an aquarium

… then had lunch at this establishment (the owners won venture capital money on Shark Tank) …

 

Excellent source for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

Excellent source for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

… the Cincinnati skyline and the quiet baseball stadium 4 hours before game time

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

… the Ohio side with three sports venues on the river and a glimpse of the Brooklyn Bridge’s prototype

Cincinnati has a beautiful riverfront ... and parks are behind me

Cincinnati has a beautiful riverfront … and parks are behind me

… looking back to Covington, Kentucky and the other end of our famous bridge

Daniel Libeskind designed the building with the slanted roof

Daniel Libeskind designed the building with the slanted roof

… while walking beside the stadium, banners remind me of important events in Reds history

Sorry Yankee fans, but our Big Red Machine was one of the best teams ever

Sorry Yankee fans, but our Big Red Machine was one of the best teams ever

… fans eagerly awaiting the start of the festivities around Great American Ball Park

The party goers are just to the right (next pic)

The party goers are just to the right (next pic)

… but many others found a party a short distance away

This must be the no-alcohol zone

This must be the no-alcohol zone

… but for me on this day, I was heading into the city center where thousands gathered for an Opening Day tradition … and that will come in a post next week … besides, I didn’t have a ticket to the game.

On Opening Day Monday

As a holiday weekend for many, I hope you had an enjoyable one in whatever you did. How did you spend your weekend? We had  wide variety of things as an evening on the ballroom floor, working in the yard, playing handbells, and hosting my in-laws.

Meanwhile, although Saturday was sunny and warm, cool temperatures have come to Cincinnati for Monday’s Opening Day. This is always been a special day for Reds fans, so the weather will not dampen spirits.

To celebrate Opening Day in the spirit of Monday Morning Entertainment, here are four of my favorite short pitching videos.  Even though the longest is only 90 seconds, (three are less than a minute), I’ve included a short description to help guide your choices 0 but watch as many as you want. Enjoy and have a great week!

On Opening Day 2010 in Cincinnati, the mayor delivered the worst “throwing out the first ball” ever.

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Enjoy this crazy pitch of a ceremonial first pitch.

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This one from a Japanese League is awesome. The umpire called it a strike probably for the effort.

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Movie buffs may remember this scene from Bull Durham.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol 91

Announcing

On DOTY Nominations are Open
The first quarter of 2011 has ended, so it’s time to accept 2011 Dolts of the Year nominations. I nominate Terry Jones, Charlie Sheen, and Lindsay Lohan.

On Baseball’s Opening Week & College Basketball
Brewer broadcaster and great personality Bob Uecker is great to quote. On attending his 56th consecutive season opener: “Still not in the starting lineup.” On gaining weight following his illness: “I’m back to 190. That was my sitting weight when I played.”

This is from a Cincinnati Gazette editorial over 110 years ago. ”The baseball mania has run its course. It has not future as a professional endeavor.”

VCU and Butler in the Final Four was great for college basketball. Butler in the finals was great for college basketball. Butler winning would have been great for college basketball. In other words, all elitists can stick it in their ear – plus congratulations UConn on your great run and for beating Kentucky!

On Politics
Meanwhile, columnist David Brooks had an interesting view of the Rep Ryan’s [R-WI] proposed budget.

Sarah Palin said the US is spending $600 million per day in Libya. Secretary of Defense Gates said the bill was $550 million to date. I wonder who is lying.

Newt Gingrich continues to seek approval from the religious right by asking them to forgive him for his transgressions. If Newt really gave a hoot, he would publically forgive Bill Clinton not only for his transgressions, but Mr. Gingrich would seek forgiveness for all the words he said in the 90s about President Clinton’s immorality.

The US Supreme Court will eventually determine the fate of health care legislation. Here is a solution to appease this disenchanted by getting the government out of the business. Everyone against the legislation could purchase insurance for any uninsured. What a novel idea!

On a Local Convention Snafu
Cincinnati hosted a convention last weekend of homeschoolers. Interestingly, the Creation Museum is located near the city. The convention cancelled Dr. Ken Ham, from Answers in Genesis (who built and operates the museum), for behavior that was deemed as unkind, not gracious, unprofessional, ungrateful, and divisive.

On some Blogs
Thanks to Nancy for discovering this graphic illustrating 5000 years of Middle East history in 90 seconds.

Padre Steve is a Navy chaplain who shares his experiences from the military, politics, faith, baseball, and life. Here’s worth a visit.

Thanks to Don in Mass for exchanging links and providing good, short posts to ponder.

In the land of Uterusia, the home to Hysterical Raisins, Nonnie wrote lyrics for It’s My Uterus (to the Bill Withers tune Just the Two of Us). Such a Uteropian response to a political comment in Florida. To full appreciate the lyrics, click her video to hear Bill Wither’s original tune.

On a Movie
Last weekend we saw The Adjustment Bureau starring Matt Damon. It’s a fast-moving drama that will hold your attention; plus it will get you thinking.

On Opening Day 2011

The annual rite of spring is about to begin – the first pitch of the baseball season.

When I was a kid, the start of the season meant many things. One was trying to catch the movie It Happens Every Spring, the story of a chemistry professor accidentally discovering a wood-repelling chemical that he rubbed on a baseball. Sure, the storyline is corny, but it was a simple story about dreams and the love for the great game of summer.

I can also remember hurrying home after school to watch the rest of the Reds Opening Day. After all, that was a time long before big spending and free agency as all fans started the season full of hope and optimism. It was also the days before cable television, so seeing the Reds on TV was a treat that only happened 10-20 times a year. It was also before the days that television revenue was a plus instead of a decision maker. Yes, it was a time when the Reds, as the oldest professional franchise, opened the season for Major League Baseball.

Now that I live in Cincinnati, I understand how the season’s start still has special significance here. Gone is the day that Cincinnati leads the way in the nation, but to Cincinnatians, the season still starts here.

Today, thousands of people dressed in Red will line the streets to watch a city version of a small town parade displaying a stream of organizations forming a float on a trailer or a truck with a few signs and streams, some marching bands, and even motorcycles, fire trucks, and horses. People will gather on Fountain Square for activities, and fill the stadium for the game.

Like any start of the season, Cincinnati is excited today. Given our teams success in 2010, expectations are high. I will save my prediction for the 2011 Reds until next week because today is a special day – Opening Day in Cincinnati – and a tribute to our local history. Enjoy the video because it says a lot.

On Opening Day and Predictions

Although the weather is miserable, it’s Opening Day in Cincinnati, so the day is special. Back in the day before the mad pursuit of TV money, the Reds opened first, and then all others followed. Although those days are gone, Opening Day in Cincinnati includes excitement, a traditional (yet simple, even cheezy parade), and a sold out ballpark. It’s simply a time-honored special event.

Here’s a reminder of the 2007 opener … poor mayor, yet the look by Eric Davis is priceless.

Today’s parade is the 90th, so here’s a sample of the parade from the past along with some background.

On Divisional Predictions
AL West: The Angles are the class of the division, but expect the A’s to challenge.
AL Central: The most competitive division, so drawing the names out of a hat has just as good a chance. Crazy Ozzie will get the Chisox to the top.
AL East: Jays and O’s won’t contend. Although CC wins the Cy Young, Boston wins the division.
NL West: Dodgers survive the Diamondback’s challenge.
NL Central: By far, the Cubs the class of the division.
NL East: Mets face through issues and somehow get it done. The Braves will surprising be in the mix.

On the Reds
Since my Reds have some of the better young talent in baseball, some pundits designate them as the surprise team. Adam Dunn prodigious blasts are gone, so it’s a different type of team.

To me, it’s a team with a lot of ifs: If Votto and Bruce continue to improve; If Harrang returns to form; If Volquez and Cuetto win a combined 30; if the RH bats of Encarnacion and Hernandez hit 55-60 HRs with 150 RBIs; If SS Gonzalez stays heathly and has an average year; If Willy Taveras improves his OBP by 100 points, which means he may have to find a way to steal first; If the team batting average with RISP improves at least 50 points; and so on.

For a team with that many ifs, third place is a reasonable expectation, but I say it will be lower.

On Awards
AL MVP: David Ortiz
AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia
AL Rookie of the Year: David Price
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Geren
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Eric Chavez
AL Batting Crown: Ichiro Suzuki
AL Home Run Title: Josh Hamilton
AL RBI Title: Mark Teixeira
NL MVP: Manny Ramirez
NL Cy Young: Dan Haren
NL Rookie of the Year: Jordan Schafer
NL Manager of the Year: Bobby Cox
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Chris Carpenter
NL Batting Crown: Albert Pujols
NL Home Run Title: Ryan Howard
NL RBI Title: Ryan Howard

On the NCAA Basketball Championship
Two semifinals wins moves my tournament prediction record (since Round 2) to 24-6 (80%). Go with North Carolina.