Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 425

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Welcome to the last edition of OITS. To celebrate the occasion, there is a little more this time.

Although I’ve been proclaiming the end is coming for months, the fact that it is actually approaching is a weird sensation. I spent so much time cleaning out the blog closet, I thought the closet was more like a bottomless pit.

With 425 posts, Opinions in the Shorts is (by far) my longest running series. It’s been fun to do.

With this series having different sections, it has been interesting to notice reader preferences. But I get the biggest thrill when someone reads one of the Interesting Reads and then comments about it. 😀

Over the years, I’ve tried to showcase Cincinnati and the surrounding area. Here’s an article about 10 lesser known historical sites in the area. Some may surprise you.

This is from five year ago, but just saw it for the first time.

 

Remember Fiona, the premature hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo. This post is perfect timing with her birthday. Happy 3rd Birthday, Fiona – which is this Friday, 24 January. Here’s the latest local article about her celebrating her birthday.

We saw Ford v Ferrari. Very good movie. A tad long, but tense from early on to the end. FYI: Being a racing is NOT a requirement to enjoy the film.  Click here to see the trailer.

As per the previous published agenda, the two posts (parties) this weekend are designed to be fun – so I hope you participate!

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Instead of leaders promoting the feat they associate with the other side, America needs leaders who are fearless in attacking today’s problems – not to return to a time that has passed – and not to get us stuck in today – but fearless to address today’s issues with an eye on a positive tomorrow.

My thoughts on my Elite 8 states to watch in the 2020 election: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Which also means I’m hoping Ohioans will see fewer ads than in the last 2 presidential elections.

I have long believed that Washington has two main problems: Democrats and Republicans. Both are selfish organizations favoring self-serving over governing. Because of their preference of shoving ideals down our throats, I hope that the 2020 election results deliver divided government. We need more, but given the environment, unfortunately divided government is the best answer. Today’s environment lacks the attitude of intentionally gathering to collectively pursue a goal – and then achieve it. But maybe that attitude is only an ideal because politics has always been a selfish nasty fight of us versus them.

For the record, the Senate phase of impeachment is unfortunately a joke and an embarrassment. Then again, they are following the precedent of past impeachments … and the Republican stance is weak, sad, and aimed at the blind faith of partisan hacks. Also, given the precedents, if the Founding Fathers would have seen impeachment playout, I wonder if they would switched the jury responsibility from the Senate to the US Supreme Court.

President Trump is a pathetic person, an even worse leader, and one who brings most of his problems on himself. He’ll take credit for anything and avoid taking responsibility. America deserves better. Unfortunately, a high percentage of Americans don’t believe that, and that’s a problem that is bigger than him.

Given’s President Trump’s normal behavior and high chances of election, odds are very high that he will become the first president to be impeached more than once.

I’m tired of partisan-hack Republicans who continually claim that anti-Trump people don’t feel he was dutifully elected. Hey Jackwagons, I hate to tell you, but most anti-Trumpians would disagree with your statement. You sound like the anti-evolutionists who say, “Evolution says humans came from apes.” Interestingly, I’ve never heard an evolutionist say that.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Couple decides there are better off as siblings
Financial expert recommends waiting until chaos is law of the land
New cable bundle includes 24/7 live-in tech support
New sip-and-weld studio provides opportunity to drink wine and create own masterpiece with blowtorch
Amazon reviewer posts selfie with toaster
Man afraid he’ll seem vulnerable if he reaches out to fire department for help
30-minute silence in car broken with “We are making good time”
Report: Clicking this link will add you to FBI Watch List

My Combo: Man decides wine, toaster, and blowtorch make chaos better until expert recommends Amazon to silence siblings for help

Interesting Reads

James Bond music – the hits and the misses
A universe with no end?
The F-14 Tomcat
Rise and fall of the Hummer
Impacts of America’s slow-growing population
A discovery that may treat all cancer
Bismarck: The battleship
Where to eat in 2020
Land Use in America
(Photos) Volcanic eruption in the Philippines
(Photos) Contest winners of photo contest involving boulders
(Photos) Ocean Photo Contest winners
(Graphic) China’s global influence
(Graphic) The true size of countries

Selecting a song to send you into the weekend for the last time wasn’t an easy task, but once I heard a podcast that reminded me of this song, I knew it was it. Thanks for reading. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 423

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The final Weekend Concert was unbelievable! Thanks to all, and an extra thanks from the bottom of my heart to Dale for her energy and kindness.

Looking at the remaining posts, I finally started charting my departure. I will say that if all goes as planned, I will be around into early February.

Obligations this past week have put me behind – but I’m trying to catch up.

Cincinnati was named after Roman leader Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was known for good governance. Because he saw himself as a modern day Cincinnatus, Benito Mussolini donated a statue (in 1931) to Cincinnati (as well as Rome, New Year and Rome, Georgia). That statue has resided in a city park ever since. A Cincinnati council member is considering the statue’s removal. Like any place, the city has its share of issues – but sorry – that is not worth the time and effort.

Although young by European standards, the Cincinnati Symphony will celebrate its 125th year at next weekend’s concert.

The Ohio Medical Board received a submission that being a Browns or Bengals fan in Ohio is a condition that should qualify for medical marijuana treatment.

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The January 5th Meet the Press episode was (for me) one of the best ever. After the opening segment about Iraq, most of the show focused on lies, fake news, biases, and more.

Forgot to mention this last week. I observed this in one home I visited during the holidays. These items were clearly visible: Trump – Make America Great sticker on the outside front door, Trump wall calendar, Trump bobblehead, Trump ashtrays, framed pic of the First Couple, and Trump stickers for holiday cards.

The killing of an Iranian general was significant news. It was also a prime example of how can one believe a president who routinely lies and distorts? If there was a national disaster/event that requires the president to make a national address, who would the listener know if they are receiving the truth?

Until the impeachment proceedings, I have never heard of Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). The man is a piece of work. Whew. Now he states Democrats “in love with terrorists” and they “mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani.” I yield to a great American orator for my brief response.

I seldom read the columnists from the left or the right, but a recent one by Mark Thiessen (conservative, Washington Post) caught my attention. Personally, it gave me new-found respect for him and provided a faint glimmer of hope. If you are interested, click here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man still can’t believe he’s not a virgin
Report: Only 2% of internet worth sitting through 15-second ad
Man doesn’t want to put too much effort into fixing up house he just going to burn down
Study finds comparing yourself to others actually a pretty good way to gauge success
Woman ties reading shampoo bottle directions in French first to test if she’s secretly smart
Las Vegas residents worried that proposed construction of new casino will bring in riff-raff

Interesting Reads

Advertisers tracking people
The first humans to the Americas
Who was Buddah?
Art of decision making
Differences in snowflakes
Wines around the world
(Graphic) Changing demographics of China and India
(Pictures) An ice festival in China
(Pictures) Culturally important sites in Iran

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Van Morrison song I’ve always enjoyed. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 421

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Welcome to the last OITS of 2019 … so I’ve included a few extras!

Thanks to everyone for participating in Weekend Concert Series saluting Broadway. It was maddening because it was the first time I’ve done something like that. Plus, it turned out not to be the best weekend for me in terms of timing. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to have a good time and I enjoyed listening to all the songs. The next concert will be after the first of the year, and the finale to the series.

Next concert: Tentatively Saturday 4 January – Duets – (Two performers not normally paired together)

With the December holidays upon us, I will abbreviate my posting schedule. Below is a probable schedule that is subject to change (Times are based on Eastern US).

  • (Sunday afternoon) 22 December) A beach walk
  • (Tuesday 24 Dec – or late 23rd) Christmas post
  • (Friday 27 Dec) A caption challenge for an image
  • (Sun 29 Dec) – A food review
  • (Tuesday 31 Dec) New Years post
  • (Thursday night 2 January) – Opinions in the Shorts
  • (Saturday 4 January) – Weekend Concert – Duets

We recently spent an afternoon at the Cincinnati Museum Center. We the Omnimax movies. Fortunately, for us, we saw two! After visiting the vert-well-done Apollo 11 exhibit, we went into the theater for the Apollo 11 movie. Interesting, no narration – just a story told through a string of actual film footage from the time. After the movie, we stayed in our seats for Superpower Dogs, an uplifting film about rescue dogs who work to save lives – and a must for dog lovers!

Readers may remember Fiona, the baby hippo that the Cincinnati Zoo cared from birth. Fiona, 29 pounds (13 kg) at birth, will have her 3rd birthday on January 2020. This 30-second video will make you smile.

Joe Barrow, the LSU quarterback not only won the Heisman Award (college football’s best player), he won the hearts of many. In his acceptance speech, he talked about the poverty of many people of Athens County Ohio. The nation has responded with well over $500K! But there is something lost in the story. Athens County is not an island. It’s one county in a region of 15 or so counties that are very poor – worse than Athens County – let alone additional counties in adjacent West Virginia and Kentucky. How do I know? I grew up one county south of Athens.

For those who need this and dare to reach into a grab-bag, here are some holiday classics: Dominick the Donkey, a classic Santa Norelco commercial, a clean naughty Santa, the infamous Carol of the Belts, and a crazy fast holiday song with handbells (the ending is frantic). Did you watch any? If so, let me know.

I admit, The Masked Singer is a fun show. Congratulations to The Fox – Wayne Brady.

Sadly, my Benevolent Impalers experienced the agony of defeat in the tournament semifinals. It was close, but my worthy opponent had an unexpected monster game from a player and big points from the New England defense against my hometown Bengals. Ouch!

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I’m not a Trump supporter – never have, never will be. Then again, after he won the election, I was willing to give him a chance. To me, he has miserably failed – yet, I see impeachment as a sad day. Congress has not upheld its Constitutional obligation of oversight and the behaviors have been pathetic at best. I’m officially embarrassed to be an American.

If I was single, I would consider moving to another country. Yes, I am that embarrassed and concerned.

I truly believe the polls, pundits, politicians, and citizens that America is a divided nation – and possibly the most divided in my lifetime and beyond. Two strongly divided camps with shrinking common ground – each with vitrole for the other – each with disdain for moderates – each with drums beating fervently in the echo chamber – one explains, the other not listening. A divided nation with a president wearing a hat stating, “Keep America Great” – a statement reinforcing the division. A friend asked me, “How do we solve this problem?” My answer is simple. “Unless the collective of elected officials lead the change, we can’t. Otherwise, we will need a national emergency. I hope I don’t live long enough to see the next US Civil War.”

In a discussion about the current impeachment, a friend of mine (a self-proclaimed unbiased source) told me that he wasn’t sure if President Trump warranted an investigation, let alone impeachment – but President Obama should have been impeached.

For those who forgot and didn’t know, the impeachment is Obama’s fault.

Here’s a recent report on polarization from Pew Research Center.

Darn … I’m missing another Democratic debate!

As we end the year, here’s how I see the 2020 election at this time:

  • Chances of President Trump nomination: 99.9%
  • Chances of President Trump’s re-election: 65%
  • Chances of me voting for President Trump: 0%
  • Chances of me voting for the Democratic nominee: 20%

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion separates facts and fiction about recycling.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Woman not as fun-loving and carefree as pom-pom on winter hat suggests
Hungover coworker a little too functional morning after holiday party not to be alcoholic
Boyfriend ready to take relationship to previous level
Man checking if chicken wings got hot enough in microwave like first responder searching for pulse
Mom holds knife to throat of dinner guest who offered to help with dishes
Hiker trapped for days under fallen boulder survives by cutting off own ponytail
Ant flees across state line carrying big crumb

Interesting Reads

The Ottomans: Their rise and fall
A bit of barcode history
Mysteries of pain
The most important battles of WW2
Bridging differences by seeing good
(Graphic) World debt by country
(Graphics) A series of climate change charts
(Photos) Murals of women in Iraq
(Photos) Winners of a National Geographic Photo contest

To send you into the weekend, here are The Piano Guys with a song of the season. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 420

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Only one more concert remaining for 2019. Coming to the stage this weekend, Songs of Broadway. Note:

  1. Only one song per musical, so include the musical’s name and the song title.
  2. The Producer will allow other songs from the musical only as a reply in the original string of the musical. The concert begins this Saturday (14 December) at 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

Thanks to an upset in another game, the Benevolent Impalers (my fantasy football team) finished the regular season in first place. It’s onto the playoffs as the #1 seed in the semifinals of the championship bracket.

November and December are busy times for the handbell choir. We normally play at a service once a month, but last weekend was your third time in the past four weeks – and two songs at that. (Christmas services are next on the schedule.) One piece – Cathedral Windows – was very interesting. Very easy in terms of the notes – but the nuances make the difference. Listeners will notice the switches from bells to chimes to bells. Hope you listen here.

The other song we played is a more lively piece, again with handbells and chimes.

This we we saw Dark Waters at the movie theater. A good drama about a battle between members of a community and a large chemical company. For those who will see the movie, I grew up in a town on the Ohio River about 65 miles (105 km) downstream from the chemical company. As for the movie, Thumbs Up!

Kennedy Center Honors is one of my favorite shows of the year – so for me, the pre-recorded telecast is a holiday tradition. The actual event this year honoring Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Sesame Street, and Michael Tilson Thomas happened last weekend. CBS is televising it this Sunday night. Check your local listings.

I recently mentioned the situation of a young child falling to her death from her grandfather’s arm while on a cruise ship. I shake my head at the news of charges against the grandfather, and I shake my head again at the this week’s news of the family filing suit against the cruise line citing negligence.

To lead you into the political section, I like this headline from The Onion that is perfect for the season and the situation. Click here to see the headline.

 

I fearfully wonder if America is heading into a new presidential era – one where presidents will be impeached if the opposing party controls the House of Representatives.

I would find it interesting IF after the House Judiciary Committee draws up and approves the articles of impeachment, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) holds back an official vote until the key people that President Trump is blocking from testifying actually testify. Personally, that would increase public approval for impeachment. Therefore, I don’t think that will happen.

On a lighter note, Stephen Colbert made me laugh with this one. (IMO, it’s worth the one minute)

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline to the first president impeachment – one of Andrew Johnson (1868).

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Terrifying New Therapist Asks Why You Chose That Chair
Invasive restaurant franchise spreads to third state
Free-thinking cat shits outside the box
Summarians look on in confusion as God create world
Washboard Player In Jug Band Tired Of Spoons Guy Getting All The Chicks
World Wildlife Fund Apologizes After Years Of Working With Well-Known Whale Pedophile

Interesting Reads

Wondering about apostrophes
Thoughts about the future of work
World War II: A costly, unproductive battle
Gene editing and evolution
The dark side of recycling
(Graphic) The Jeff Bezos empire
(Photos) What warmth looks like
(Photos) British Ecological Society photo competition

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song about Tuesday (which isn’t on a weekend). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 419

 

The James Brown concert went better than I expected. Next for the stage will be Latin sounds of Gloria Estefan. She takes to the stage this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

After an initial glitch, Q&A page is up and running. Feel free to participate.

Beach walks return to their normal posting slot (my Sunday night)

In the Danube Cruise series, I mentioned the magnificent Iron Gates Gorge. I initially stated it is along the Romania-Bulgaria border, which is incorrect – it’s Romania-Serbia. A duh-moment in my head. I invite readers to watch this 3-minute video of this natural wonder taken by a person on a river cruise ship.

I keep thinking about the child who fell to her death from her grandfather’s arms on a cruise ship – and he is charged with her death. In my opinion, the charges are unwarranted. After all, he is already has a life sentence of dealing with the incident for the rest of his life. On the other hand, I don’t think Royal Caribbean was negligent. Simply a tragic accident.

We recently saw Knives Out in the theater. It’s a good who-done-it movie. Well done with interesting twists and turns. Not worthy of Oscars, but entertaining. Here’s the trailer.

My wife purchased an Advent calendar of teas – that’s a different tea for 25 days. So far, they’ve been good.

The winning way of my fantasy Benevolent Impalers continue, and are now 11-2. However, it took the greatest comeback in franchise history to win. It wasn’t pretty and the lowest point total of the season, but a win is a win. Meanwhile, I’m still in shock that the Bengals actually won a game!

Thanks to The Onion, this headline and picture made me laugh.

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One would think Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy would excite me. Nope … I won’t be voting in Ohio’s Democratic Primary, so my assessment of the Democratic field is worthless. They can nominate whoever they want. Just because I unquestionably won’t be voting for President Trump, that has no influence on whether or not I will vote for the Democratic candidate. Besides, the Democratic and Republican parties want the same thing from me – my money and my vote – plus they could care less about my thoughts.

An idea for any of the older Democratic candidates. Announce running as a one-term transitional president in order to stabilize America and then pass the baton to the next generation.

For me, the 2020 election offers a big dilemma. I know there are other possibilities, but these options bother me. Four more years of a Trump presidency or Democrats having control of the White House and both sides of Congress.

Have you noticed that Congressional Republicans favor criticizing the process over defending the president’s actions.

In my opinion, what President Trump has been accused of doing is worse than what President Nixon did. Sadly, the public doesn’t buy it – in part, because a) the more partisan nature of the public today versus then and 2) the poor job Democrats are doing in delivering a good civics lesson to the public – although the first day of the Judiciary hearing offers hope. Then again, the public will yield to it’s partisan side.

Congress is responsible for oversight. It’s has done of poor job of doing so over the past 20+ years, and the current Congress has plunged below the poor level.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides information about the ten worst snowstorms in US history.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologists recommend trees put aside a little phosphorous for unexpected emergencies
Facial Recognition Software Knows It Has Seen Man Before But Can’t Remember His Name
Child decides to become vegetarian after forming close friendship with roasted turkey leg
Veterinarian Wishes Owner Would Just Let Dog Answer One Goddamn Question
Flu outbreak reducing class size to level appropriate for learning
Child Wondering Why Older Brother Only One To Get Funeral

Interesting Reads

Automation improving jobs
Extraordinary talented: why?
A big cat problem: captivity and the wild
Historical view of gin
Why no glasses?
(Graphic) 670 years of interest rates
(Photos) Garden wildlife
(Photos) Cincinnati Zoo animals

To send you into the weekend, here’s a bit of Ed Sheeran. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.