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.

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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. 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. 362

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Many thanks for the kind words about my writing in the latest beach walk (#24). I plan another beach walk to go up Sunday night (Eastern US).

The last handbell choir rehearsal of the season was earlier this week. After playing for a service this weekend, we break until August.

Our last ushering assignment of the season at the Playhouse was also this week. Murder For Two is a unique, enjoyable who-dunnit play with two actors: one playing the detective and the other all the suspects. Definitely not serious, it is very musical and a bit of Vaudeville. The actors were great, but it simply wasn’t my style.

As technology changes, devices also change or even replaced. The Museum of Endangered Sounds is an online place attempting to store replaced sounds. It’s a fun place to visit, so I’ll put the link in the Interesting Reads list.

My Cincinnati Reds were the first baseball team to lose 20 games this season. I wonder which will happen first: The last team to lose 20 or the Reds to win 20. The race is on!

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To reinforce a statement I made last week about Trump-Clinton-Obama, keep in mind that President Trump needs a villain in his messaging – a boogie man. As long as they continue to fill that role, he will continue to campaign against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Ohio had a primary election earlier this week. It’s sad that so few voters turn out for non-presidential year elections … and Ohio had primary races for governor and senator!

2016 was a presidential election year. In my county, 56,372 people voted in the primary – but 100,859 voted in the November general election. Meanwhile, 25,100 voted in this week’s primary.

My county is so Republican that Bozo the Clown could win an election if he was designed Republican on the ballot. However, I found this interesting: of the 139,110 registered voters, 8.3% are Democrats, 33.72% Republican, and 57.93% are Nonpartisan. On the other hand, in this county, are number of registered Nonpartisans must vote Republican – which also means that are NINOs – Nonpartisan in Name Only.

FYI: Individual states determine voter registration rolls. For primaries, Ohioans register as Democratic, Republican, Green, or Nonpartisan on Election Day. Nonpartisans can’t participate in party primaries, therefore receive ballots with containing on Issues for voting. (My ballot only had two issues on it, and no people.)

Advice for Democrats – Before the fall election, Leader Pelosi (D-CA) should announce that if the Dems gain control of the House in 2018, she will not seek or accept the Speaker’s chair.

Cheers to Saturday Night Live for last week’s outstanding skit that included many of the characters in President Trump’s news circle. For those that missed it, click here.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for treating bed bug infestation.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Amazon fires warehouse worker who took unauthorized breath
Construction crew arguing over who gets to use the fun tools
Kroger recalls 35,000 pounds of ground beef that may contain CEO
50,000 chicken breasts recalled after leaving factory without getting a little kiss goodbye
One-adventurous salmon can’t believe she ended up moving back to birthplace, having a bunch of kids

Interesting Reads
A perspective about infrastructure
Bulls, DNA, and beef
Baghdad: the new Partytown
Picasso, creativity, and genius
Why analog still exists despite digital
(Interactive) Museum of Endangered Sounds
(Photos) Awesome images of a stormy sky

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this classic by Cat Stevens. 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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 360

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We’ve been back on the road with 3-hour trips to northern Indiana to help an elderly aunt. No fun! Also, it’s the reason I’m being behind with comments here, a lack of presence elsewhere, and a mediocre OITS: v360.

I enjoy listening to the eulogies of famous people with a televised funeral – and the recent funeral of Barbara Bush was no exception.

Not long ago we saw Black Panther. Interesting movie – but more violence than I expected. Also on the arts front, soon we will see Treasure Island as a play. Do you have any movie recommendations that are currently in theaters?

My Cincinnati Reds are a bad baseball team. The expansion 1962 Mets were the worst time in my lifetime – winning 40 games. Through Wednesday, the current Reds team is on the pace to win 40 games.

I enjoyed researching the previous post about 1968. Those of us who lived it know how crazy it was.

My golf league will be starting soon. Given the horrible weather that has blessed Cincinnati, my golf clubs are still in our storage area. Yikes!

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The Ohio Primary takes place in a few weeks. Area Republican signs are loaded with descriptors as Conservative, Real Republican, and a few more. However, on a recent 3-hour trip to the north and into Indiana, I did not see any similar taglines. Oh yes, the benefit of living among the Trumpians.

The Cincinnati newspaper compared the reactions by representatives and senators to when President Obama’s ordered bombing of Syria (2013) to President Trump’s recent order to bomb Syria. Of course the majority were inconsistent!

It’s time to give President Trump credit for an accomplishment: A record number of people wishing W was back in the Oval Office.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides scoop on the James Comey memos.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Conversation at other end of table sounds way more interesting
Local history museum really digging deep to fill two 15-by-20 foot rooms
25-year-old moving into comfortable, rent-free arrangement in parents’ home worried he’s hit rock bottom
Dermatologists recommend regularly checking body for screaming demonic face bulging out of skin
New employee doesn’t understand that’s where Zack sits

Interesting Reads
Linking American racism and Hitler
Hummingbird love-charm trade
Women who secretly fought the Cold War
(Graphic & article) Where the ultra-rich live
(Graphic) Large subscription services
(Photos) A collection of holes

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this song from Gordon Lightfoot. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 359

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I knew my Cincinnati Reds baseball team would not be very good, but they have exceeded my expectations of badness. They are more than pathetic. People here complain more about the Bengals while many give the Reds a free pass, but as an organization, the Bengals are much better – an it’s not even close. The Reds fired the manager Thursday morning. I feel sorry for him because it tough to with those players.

Did anyone see 60 Minutes last Sunday? Allegiant Airlines has a significant presence in Cincinnati. After watching the segment about them, I doubt I would consider them in the future.

It’s been a big week for planning our 2019 vacations.

During my teacher days, I was reformed minded and a long-time antagonist toward standards and standardized testing. My cynical side smiled when I read this view of testing results.

Our handbell was preparing an interesting piece for our last song before breaking for the summer – The Day of Resurrection (Jason Krug). Unfortunately, circumstances caused the director to delay that song until the fall. For those who want to hear it, click here.

News earlier in the week of former First Lady Barbara Bush’s death marks a sad time. Besides living into her 90s and being married to the same man for 73 years, I admired her strength and wit – even though I didn’t always politically agree with her . Loved the fact that she was known within the family as The Enforcer. Meanwhile, her granddaughter – Jenna Bush Hager – wrote a beautiful piece for the Today show. Read it here. (Video here @ CBS)

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Cheers to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley for standing her ground after the White House appeared to throw her under the bus. To me, she is one of the few bright spots in the Trump administration.

This is my favorite one of the week. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said “I have not” heard President Trump lie. A perfect example of a partisan hack!

A candidate running for a local office in the upcoming May primary. His campaign signs state, “A Real Republican” – which (to me) is code for obstinate asshole.

For those who didn’t see the hair trade deal between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, search the following on Google Images: president trump kim jong un hair deal

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion shows an image of a man fearing he may never trust again after a treasured picture of a duck turns out to be a rabbit. (I have a personal reason for loving this one.)

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man with backed-up shower drain enjoys luxurious foot soak
Shy balloon spends entire party floating in back corner of room by itself
Grandma defiantly taking scone recipe to grave
Controversial theory suggests aliens may have built Ancient Egypt’s intergalactic spaceport
Woman who choked to death alone in apartment kicked out of book club for missing last 2 meetings

Interesting Reads
How France cut heroin overdoses by 79% in 4 years
The dark side of solar energy
Life in the world’s most polluted city
A Nazi who defected to the Soviet Union then became a hero
Ways people cook pasta wrong
Honey bees and bacteria
(Photos) 50 years of powerful photography

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this song from James Taylor. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.