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.

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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. 324

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Although we were at a dance event, we did get to see the Super Bowl ending. Plus, we recorded the game so we could watch the commercials and the halftime show.

It was great to see former president George HW Bush and Barbara at the game. The announcer got it right by describing Mr. Bush as “the strongest man on the field.”

Congratulations New England Patriots and your fans.

The Sweet Scarletts grapefruit we have had recently have been a step beyond outstanding!

Valentine’s Day is approaching … don’t forget your Valentine!

I will have a timely post this weekend – probably sometime during the last half of Saturday.

I am making progress on transforming the hand-written posts I did last month into electronic versions … and some even into drafts ready for posting here. It was interesting to read comments about writing posts with pen and paper.

Last week I mentioned Cincinnati’s mayor identifying Cincinnati as a sanctuary city. I mentioned the potential loss of federal funds. This week the White House says federal money to Cincinnati for roads, bridges, and other projects is officially in trouble. Now the mayor seems surprised. Hello … anybody home?

This one is so appropriate for the times: If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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A Venezuelan recently told me that Donald Trump reminds him of Hugo Chavez.

President Trump can talk all he wants about “saying what I mean and meaning what I say” … but he’s forgetting an admirable and necessary trait  … tone!

As Republicans complain about a federal judge’s order to halt President Trump’s executive order on immigration, the same Republicans seem to have short memories about their approach of using the courts to stop various aspects of the Affordable Care Act … but I remember.

I like the White House’s continual point to the media because it is just a matter of time before that well dries up.

Cheers to columnist Kathleen Parker who ended a recent column with this rational words: “Whatever tiny ray of hope people held out in the belief that Trump ultimately would behave rationally — respectful of protocol, with caution and care, without haste and with wisdom — has been extinguished by a strategy of maximum chaos executed by shock and awe. With heads spinning, if they’re not rolling, most won’t know what hit them until it’s too late. It’s called distraction.”

I welcome a rollback of Dodd-Frank, but as long as they also repeal Gramm-Leach-Bliley … and I said that way back when – but I doubt if the Republicans have the backbone to do that.

I’ve never been a fan of retired Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer (who I seldom read) hit the right tone for me in this recent column. Too bad the House Democrats stayed attached to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

For deep readers from a conservative think tank: The Government’s Bad Arguments in Defense of Discriminating Against Immigrants Based on Nationality.

Former President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
The comeback in the Super Bowl
The mundane nature of the Super Bowl’s advertising collective
The White House blaming the media
The need to rollback Dodd-Frank
Rising cost of cable and satellite television

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for maintaining composure (important for many Democrats at the moment).

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Trained pony saves Billy Bob Thornton from fire as planned
Area friendship just a series of missed calls
Pretty lady playing hard to follow
Kid security guard brought in to pat down kid passengers
Study: Majority of humans happiest when rest of family still asleep
God pursues the great grandchildren of unsavory merchants and turns them into pillars of salt

Interesting Reads
The high costs of protectionism
The painting that fought fascism
10 forgotten battles that shaped history
Visit the European Southern Observatory
Where Americans live and their ancestral genetics

To lead you into the weekend, here’s another song from Asia. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 282

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Much on my current plate has limited my blogging time – thus I’m way behind on my visits. Thanksgiving travels, a paint brush, having contractors in the home, and normal routines serve as another example of life getting in the way of blogging.

Sky: The Musical – Act 3 (about 24 songs) is complete, therefore only two acts to go. Act 4 features songs with Moon/Moons in the title. As with previous acts, no compound words or other forms of moon. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 8th at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

Plans are still moving ahead for another Holiday party, save the date – Saturday December 19th – and surprise gift bags will be available! The past 2 years I’ve used store at The Onion, so it’s time for a change – but I will remain mum on the store. Meanwhile, tell your friends about the holiday party as everyone is welcome – besides, tell them I’m a wonderful host.

Because of knowing it would put me further behind, no Explore post this weekend.

The first week of December is always difficult. Back-to-back days are anniversaries (different years) of the passing of a very good friend and my mother-in-law.

This week I received an email with “horny area girl” in the subject line – but I wonder if only people in my area received this message. Did any of you get this email?

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The mass shooting in California delivers another black eye to the USA. Republicans deplore the tragedy and issue “thoughts and prayers” to the families, yet continue to do nothing in Congress about gun violence. Just another example of one’s actions – not one’s words – demonstrates the truest value.

I’m sure President Obama is unhappy with the lack of legislation by Congress regarding guns. Nonetheless, he accepts the fact that nothing will probably come forth. On the other hand, Congressional Republicans continue to legislate attempts to unravel the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), even though they know President Obama will veto the legislation, plus the votes probably don’t exist to override the veto.

In this lengthy presidential campaign season, I (unlike others) haven’t worried about the possibility of Ben Carson (R-Md) getting the Republican nomination – and the more he talks, the more he secures my initial thoughts. His latest analogy relating the money spent on Halloween candy to money being spent on Syrian refugees is a head-scratching comment in several ways. To learn more about the comment, here’s the transcript from the interview.

For the upcoming debate, Donald Trump (R-NY) asked CNN to pay him (in the form of a donation to a charity) for appearing in the debate – thus has threatened not to appear if the network doesn’t comply. We’ll learn more about this on December 15th (debate night). For those worrying about him leading the polls, let’s not forget that 30% of Republicans represents about 7% of voters.

For those wondering why I’m not watching the debates, the reasons are simple:

  • The nomination involves the party faithful making a decision
  • I won’t be voting in the Ohio primary (that is, in neither party)
  • I have plenty of time to make an informed decision
  • Watching is a waste of my time as I would rather be blogging
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Have you seen Spectre, the latest Bond film? To lead you into The Onion, here is their movie review.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Environmental Protection Agency urges nation to get new air source
Woman confusingly tells area man she is not interested in him
Allergies prevent man from enjoying dust
Middle-age woman tired of going back and forth between divorced parents’ nursing homes
Ohio replaces lethal injection with new head-ripping-off machine
Prostitute accepts better-paying sexual position

Interesting Reads
Connected learning impacting education
How dogs make friends for humans
After the antibiotics era
30 great one-liners by US Presidents
Six graphics explaining climate change
(Photos) Haunting images of Central Park

A 2-fer is here to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 3 and a 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. 281

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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.

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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.

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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. 262

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) loves to imply that the NSA gathering meta phone data is unconstitutional. Two points: 1) Only courts declare constitutionality (not senators, interest groups, or citizens) and 2) the panel of judges ruled the collection was illegal based on the limits of the law because the law didn’t authorize the NSA collection – so, the court did not rule the data collection unconstitutional. (ACLU vs. Clapper). Yes, another example of a politician pandering for votes with incorrect and misleading information that people believe.

For the record, I have no problem with the NSA gathering meta phone data (including mine) if it would have been in the original law. In the end, a rare bipartisan agreement got something done to replace the old Patriot Act with the USA Freedom Act, which clarifies the data collection.

Bush (FL), Jindal, (LA), Christie (NJ), Walker (WS), Kasich (OH), Huckabee (AR), and Pataki (NY) are current or former state governors and have either announced or are expected to announce their candidacy to seek the Republican presidential nomination. All but Bush and Kasich denounce the Common Core education standards. Three interesting points:

  1. Most previously supported the Common Core standards before they were against it
  2. Federal intrusion/overreach is a common reason
  3. These standards were not developed by the Feds, but were driven by governors and state leaders (and the majority of states are controlled by Republicans) … and now you know.

After hearing the news about the recent Biden family news, I was wondering which Republican would make a stupid comment. Congratulations to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). I maintain he planned it, practiced it, and purposely said it to a base that will laugh, and then it backfired. After all, politicians do that all the time. To be fair, at least he apologized. But come on, he or none of his advisers thought of the situation?

Given the wide swath of current and potential Republican candidates and the dilemma that causes around the debates, I say put them in groups of 4-5. After all, should the people get a fair chance to see all of them? Besides, this field has much more to offer than the 2012 group.

ESPN is giving their Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner, not Lauren Hill.

I applaud Jennifer Lopez’s support for the Children’s Miracle Network. In the commercial below, I find something quite odd near the end when she says, Put your money where the miracles are (while raising her hand.) Watch below, but seeing the still is enough. What do you think?

If you were given the Stupid Test, would you rather pass it or fail it? Why?

Even though I didn’t expect much this season, following my Cincinnati Reds has been painful.

For those who need a touch on the retired Monday Morning Entertainment, this one from Weird Al Yankovic cracks me up. Thanks Cayman!

Earlier this week I realized that with the post about June was my 12th in the series, (whereas I thought it was my 10th). Therefore, I doubt they will continue, so maybe I’ll move on to saluting the days of the week.

It’s time for a drink as Meals: The Musical returns next week, so all song titles must include a nonalcoholic drink in the song title. (Hmmmm … Any idea about what Act 7’s theme?) One caution: Make sure no alcohol is also in the title. (EX: Rum & Coke is not acceptable) Curtain time will be Wednesday, 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

I updated the Schedule page to reflect the latest changes, which include weekdays Monday/Tuesday and Wednesday/Thursday.

The Explore series continues this weekend.

This week gave us two new presidential candidates, thus The Onion provides their profiles: former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Former governor and senator Lincoln Chafee (D-RI) and Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) also declared, but no profile yet. Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) will announce on June 15th.

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Heartless monster walks out of local small business without buying anything
Parents worried children old enough to remember family vacation
Man at party comes crawling back to conversation he thought he could do better than
Pigeon that flew into subway going to need all his wits to get out of this one
Nation’s single men announce plan to change bedsheets by 2019
College allowing students individual commencement speakers to make ceremony acceptable for all

Interesting Reads
France honoring the Resistance heroes
Human migration
Genetics, breeding, and cows
Suspected spy pigeon
Death penalty in the US
A look at war from an insightful veteran and blogger who visits here 

To to send you into the weekend, a toast to June being Accordion Month – not with a polka, but actually a good version of a Lady Gaga hit for the ballroom floor. Which ballroom dance can you picture? 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. 250

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Maybe the latest horrors regarding the Jordanian pilot will motivate the Arab world to fight ISIS with boots on the ground, and then the world follows their lead.

It was quite the week with some US politicians pandering for votes with vaccinations. Long ago on these pages, I stated something like this about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) – Keep him talking. Meanwhile, I wonder (thus I don’t know) if President Obama’s has been consistent since 2008.

Speaking of vaccinations, here’s part of the closing statement from a recent Wall Street Journal editorial: Let’s chalk up the weird science of Messrs. Paul and Christie to a lack of information, and we’re happy to send them 13 years of vaccine editorials if they want to study up.

Here’s CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Op-ed on vaccinations.

Much has been made about the Seattle’s blunder in the Super Bowl. Interestingly, the game before marked an unbelievable comeback against Green Bay – a team who had won against Dallas on a questionable call by an official late in the game – yet Dallas won its previous game against Detroit on another questionable call by an official. Oh well … all is over.

For those who didn’t notice, this post is a milestone post.

Amazingly, the previous post marked the last act of Life: The Musical. Many thanks for the great songs!

I’ve decided on the next musical, which will probably start sometime in March. To order to see what my readers are anticipating, I invite you to answer the question on my first poll!

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this weekend, but an Explore post will appear. Wonder what person, place, or thing will serve as the highlight.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s an outstanding satirical flowchart about vaccinations (but not from The Onion).

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On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Man figures he has two more bites or roommate’s leftover before it is noticeable
Pope nervous for annual performance review with God
Neighbors come together to watch BMW owner struggle in snow
Man wistfully looks around website he hasn’t visited for 30 minutes
Venus added to registry of historically significant planets
Fingerprints on Lombardi Trophy to be used in dozens of criminal investigations

Interesting Reads
A 2014 article about politics and the Affordable Care Act
A bit of history about US government’s budget
Are swing states disappearing?
Surprises on Uranus?
Texting and head positions affecting the neck and spine
(Infographic) 50-years of financial engineering

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Wear Red Day, Working Naked Day, Waitangi Day, Canadian Maple Syrup Day, Lame Duck Day, Doodle Day, Pay a Compliment Day, Cordova Ice Worm Day 6-8, Girl Scout Cookie Day, Monopoly Day Give Kids a Smile Day
  • (Sat) Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day, Dump Your Significant Jerk Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Ballet Day, Pinocchio Day, Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Take Your Child to the Library Day, Send a Card to a Friend Day, Girls & Women in Sports Day, Leadership Success Day, Fettuccine Alfredo Day
  • (Sun) Laugh and Get Rich Day, Autism Sunday, Boy Scout Day, Opera Day, Man Day, Fly a Kite Day, Molasses Bar Day, Marriage Day

Here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend. The first is an unused song from yesterday’s Life: The Musical, and the second is a classic blast from the past. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.