Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 252

This week was the fifth year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since then, the White House and its departments did a lousy job educating the public, and Congress has done absolutely nothing to improve the ACA. On the other hand, nothing is something Congress does well. Cheers to Ron Fournier for this National Journal article.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. I smiled at the announcement because I continue to say his nomination is exactly what the Republican party needs. Maybe I should endorse him.

During the first three months of their Congressional majority, Republicans have not shown me that they can lead.

Have you ever seen the International Space Station fly overhead? Thanks to Jim in Iowa, here’s a website to determine when that happens in your area.

The leading thought was that college basketball player Lauren Hill wouldn’t see Christmas. Well, she did … and New Years Day … and Valentine’s Day … and St. Patrick’s Day. Although she may be struggling, she is a fighter and her attitude remains positive.

Did you realize I’m mentioned in Lorna’s video?

For the sidebar, I followed Catherine’s suggestion of displaying the blogger’s location with a rollover. See yours if it’s correct, and let me know if you want me to change it. I need help with List of X.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this weekend, but an edition of the Explore series is ready – thus you can wonder if it will be a person, place, or thing.

Meals: The Musical debuts next week, and I’m side-stepping my normal protocol. Act 1: Meals will feature songs with any of the following words in the title: Meal(s), Breakfast, Lunch, Lunchtime, Brunch, Dinner, Dinnertime, or Supper. More about the debut on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a week in pictures.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Report: Employees most innovative when brainstorming dramatic quitting scenarios
  • Man filled with gratitude at sight of other customers in nice restaurant wearing jeans
  • Study: Not many Disco songs about daytime
  • New speech recognition software factors in user’s mouth always being full
  • Siblings playing tense game of chicken to decide who takes care of mom
  • Michael Dukakis still drives old tank everywhere

Interesting Reads

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Weekend) Crossword Puzzle Days
  • (Fri) Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day, Joe Day, Corkscrew Appreciation Day,Celebrate Exchange Day, Viagra Day, Spanish Paella Day, Kite Flying Day, Photography Day, Steam Fire Engine Day, Education & Sharing Day
  • (Sat) Barnum & Bailey Day, Be Mad Day, Virtual Advocacy Day, Weed Appreciation Day, Earth Hour, Black Forest Cake Day, Something on a Stick Day, Hot Tub Day, Eat an Eskimo Pie Day, Children’s Picture Book Day
  • (Sun) Vietnam Veterans Day, Mom & Pop Business Owners Day, Niagara Falls Runs Dry Day, Love Your Children Day, Lemon Chiffon Cake Day, Coca Cola Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a relatively recent video of a classic from the 1979 album Breakfast in America – enjoy Supertramp’s Take the Long Way Home. 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. 251

The kerfuffle about vaccinations has raised the ire of many. Here is a collection of worthwhile posts to help clarify various aspects of an issue I mentioned last week.

A note to Gov. Scott Walker (R-WS) and all presidential aspirants in both parties. When one seeks or considers seeking the highest office in the land, all questions are on the table … so ducking them isn’t a good idea. At least learn to give an answer that doesn’t answer the question – after all, that’s what candidates do well.

I learned to tune out Jay Carney when he was the White House Press Secretary (well, actually change the channel) but, at least I can listen to his replacement, Josh Earnest. Interestingly, when Carney is contributing on CNN, I still tune him out!

In a recent hearing, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) accused Veteran Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald of glossing over the extraordinary problems confronted by your department among others things. Cheers to Mr. McDonald for his replies

  • “I’m highly offended by your comments, Mr. Coffman.”
  • “I’ve run a large company (Procter & Gamble) sir, what have you done?”
  • “I’ve been here six months. You’ve been here longer than I have. If there’s a problem in Denver, I think you own it more than I do.”

Life: The Musical is officially over, and Epilogue was a smashing finale. Thanks again to all participants, and as I’ve said many times, I’m the lucky one because I listen to all entries. Who knows, maybe someday I will list the collection of songs. Meanwhile, the next musical won’t be until mid-to-late March.

A tip of the hat to Dale for a valiant effort in catching up on Life: The Musical. At the time of this posting, he is approaching completion of all acts within 24 hours … and I listened to each entry … although she did receive the buzzer once (obviously from over confidence).

Interestingly, this is post #1600. After 6+ years of hosting over 52,000 comments,  plus who knows how many visits and comments elsewhere, I proudly say I only need the fingers on one hand to count the bloggers who truly irritated me. Thus my point – blogging is just like life because so much is about who one chooses to hang around.

No Saturday Morning Cartoon this weekend, but, I am working on the next one. After last week’s delightful trip to the Gobi Desert, wonder what person, place, or thing will be next … hmmmmm ….

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a graphic showing the results of their opinion poll about government requiring vaccinations.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Literary study finds all modern narratives derived from classic Alien vs. Predator conflict
Area woman not good enough artist to justify eccentricities
Scientists working to harness energy produced by intense fracking debates
Astronomers discover new planet that makes Earth look like S#-t
Health experts recommend standing up at desk, leaving office, and never coming back

Interesting Reads
American Ideas: a brief history
Baltic Dry: Not what I thought it meant
Doodles from Darwin’s children (Thursday was Darwin Day)
Columnist David Ignatius on acting like a superpower
Columnist David Brooks scandals and forgiveness
US-Cuba relations and Netflix

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Weekend) Great Backyard Bird Count, American International Toy Fair
  • (Fri) Blame Someone Else Day, Get a Different Name Day, Desperation Day, Employee Legal Awareness Day, Madly in Love with Me Day, Radio Day, Tortellini Day, International Condom Day
  • (Sat) Ferris Wheel Day, Quirky Alone Day, Pet Theft Awareness Day, Library Lovers Day, Have a Heart Day, Cream-filled Chocolate Day, National Condom Day, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, League of Women Voters Day, Women’s Heart Day, Race Relations Day, Singles Appreciation Day, Donor Day, Telephone Day, Organ Donor Day, Marriage Day, Whale Day, Read to Your Child Day, Valentine’s Day
  • (Sun) Gum Drop Day, Hippo Day, Remember the Maine Day, Susan B Anthony Day, Clifford the Red Dog Day, Angelman Syndrome Day

Since hearing this classic song early in the week, it’s been crawling around in my head – so, it seems to be right for sending you into the weekend. 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. 249

Although reporters love to ask Sarah Palin (R-AK) if she’ll seek the presidency in 2016, I declare that Nincompoop will not run because doing so would ruin her diminishing brand. Besides, her recent speech in Iowa even caused conservative media pundit Sean Hannity scratched his head. Then again, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stated, She’do great. She predictably blamed the lame-stream media for pre-planning any criticism of her speech. Good night Nincompoop, turn out the lights as the party is over.

Given the topic, I expected yesterday’s post about Congress’s operating budget wouldn’t get much traction … then again, my purpose was to increase awareness.

Here are two outstanding interactives

Earlier this week marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, yet the reports of this human embarrassment remain chilling. As the survivors dwindle in number, I can only hope that humanity never forgets. Here’s a story about a survivor on his return trip this year – actually, his first.

Here’s a strong opinion about an upcoming Supreme Court ruling about housing.

If all goes as planned, Life: The Musical comes to an end. I’ll announce the final act’s theme on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

Several ideas are vying for the next musical, but time will tell the choice.

Online comments in posts and articles are in a world of their own – especially at the major publications. I like the invitation to comment by Barry Ritholz.

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forego all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

Sunday is Super Bowl XLIX. Did you know that next year will be the first Super Bowl using standard numbers?

No Saturday Morning Cartoon or Explore post this weekend. Given a new month lies ahead, Saturday’s post is dedicated to February. After all, given only 28 days in the month, time is valuable.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their blizzard survival tips and a list of the least inspiring biographical movies.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Family lets cars come inside during snowstorm
Nation’s historians warn the past is expanding at alarming rate
Man’s area code provides exciting glimpse at past life
Postal Service unveils new stamp honoring Americans who still use Postal Service
Republicans address income inequality with middle class hot stock tip
Study links negative Tweets to more heart disease

Interesting Reads

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Inane Answering Message Day, Yodel for Your Neighbors Day, Escape Day, Jazz Day, Snagglepuss Day (a Saturday honoree), Fun at Work Day, Croissant Day, Pre-School Fitness Day
  • (Sat) Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, Seed Swap Day, Backwards Day, Hell is Freezing Over Day, Brandy Alexander Day, Street Children Day, Child Labor Day, Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day
  • (Sun) Working Naked Day, Serpent Day, Spunky Old Broads Day, Popcorn Day, Rare Disease Day, Car Insurance Day, Change Your Passwords Day, Decorating with Candy Day, Baked Alaska Day, Hula in the Coola Day, Women’s Heart Day, Freedom from Slavery Day, G.I. Joe Day, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Day, Skippy Peanut Butter Day, Girls & Women in Sports Day, Face & Body Art Day, Robinson Crusoe Day, Super Bowl XLIX

To send you into the weekend, here’s a classic from a classic artist who needs no introduction. 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. 248

In a political way, I’m very lucky. After all, my Republicans friends think I’m a Democrat while my Democratic friends think I’m a Republican … thus I combined the two thoughts into an affirmation.

I didn’t watch the State of the Union (SOTU) because it’s too much like an infomercial. All that’s missing is a Billy-Mays-type spokesperson. The event displays a canned speech delivering a collection of soundbites with minimal substance leading to predictable responses and buffoonery by those choosing to display partisanship over listening with respect.

Yes, the US Constitution requires SOTU, but not the opposing party’s televised response – and the mere fact that they have one is repulsive (let alone the multiple this year) … and I am equally disgusted at a Democratic response during a Republican presidency.

President Obama plan for free tuition at community colleges has received much attention. This response by columnist David Brooks is an interesting slant to ponder.

Regarding Islam, are the majority of non-Muslims confused or ignorant?

A board member from our local Islamic Center wrote had this guest commentary in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Although interesting, the online comments are even more so.

Malcolm recently posted about epitaphs … here’s my submission – If you didn’t understand him, you didn’t know him … now I wonder if the thought should be flipped.

Hats off to reader for providing 26 songs (at last count) at Life: The Musical – Act 16. There’s still one more act, any ideas on the theme?

No Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend – however … big news … an Exploring post will be there!

Here’s the reason why Saturday is Beer Can Appreciation Day.

To lead you into The Onion, here is a collection regarding the State of the Union.

This Week from The Onion
New Facebook Notification alerts users when they are not currently looking at Facebook
Area man clearly came to Redbox machine without a plan
Man reserving judgment on Best Actress nominees until seeing all 5 photos
Area man eats breakfast for dinner in desperate attempt to reinvent his life
Preschooler asks to borrow classmates notes on shapes

Interesting Reads
An article with a 5-circle Venn diagram about potential GOP presidential candidates
Designer babies
Politicians avoiding science is not limited to the US
Cartography and the land of the octopus
A historical look at Congressional dysfunction
A different, but interesting graphic about the history of jazz

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day, Handwriting Day, Pie Day, Measure Your Feet Day, Rhubarb Pie Day, Spouse’s Day
  • (Sat) Talk the a Grizzled Prospector Day, Fancy Rat & Mouse Day, Beer Can Appreciation Day, Belly Laugh Day, Compliment Day, Just Do It Day, Peanut Butter Day, Eskimo Pie Day, Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Today, Speak Up & Succeed Day, Wish Cynthia a Happy Birthday Day
  • (Sun) Soup Swap Day (here’mine for you), Fluoride Day, A Room of One;s Own Day, MacIntosh Computer Day, 101 Dalmatian Day, Opposite Day, Robert Burns Day, Leprosy Day

To send you into the weekend, here’s a 2-fer … the first is one that surprisingly was not submitted for latest Life: The Musical, and the second is a hit from Journey. 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. 247

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline continues to make the news. Politically, it’s project that one party oversells the jobs impact while the other party overstates the environmental impact.

Very seldom do I read columnist Walter Williams because I find his brand of conservative to be off base. Besides, I demonstrated this January 2011 post his premise as wrong. No, not a disagreement, just flat-out wrong! Nonetheless, the title of his recent series of columns is Liberals Use of Black People for Own Agenda. My response is simple: I didn’t realize that conservatives don’t use any group for their own agenda.

The absence of a notable, high-level US representative at last weekend’s Paris rally was sad. At least the White House admitted they made a mistake.

I’m pleased with the number of Muslims who have spoken out against violence since the Paris tragedy, and I continue to believe that education within the Islamic community is the best vehicle against the Jihadists.

Two interesting political reads

The 2016 ambitions are testing the waters. Yep, Mitt Romney (R-MA) is interested in a third try focusing on poverty, and Mike Huckabee (R-AR) (while on his Guns, God, Grits, and Gravy book tour) slammed President Obama for letting his daughters listen to Beyonce. Let the parade begin, so bring on the clowns (and the party is open to all political parties).

The State of the Union is next week, but I’m not interested in a canned speech with predictable responses for the audience.

When will politicians (actually anyone) learn that most analogies to Adolph Hitler are not a good idea. A Dolt Award to Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX). He apologized, but a bit late.

People don’t believe me when I tell them what my dental specialist (implants) offers patients, so I took this picture after an implant-maintenance visit early this week.

DentistOffice

Every time I hear or read Click on, I cringe. It’s Click the image. It’s Click the button. It’s Click the icon. After all, have you ever been instructed to Click off the image?

Lauren Hill Update: She made it to Christmas, and then the new year. I saw this local news story Thursday evening, and she continues to impress everyone who knows her story. The foundation she started has raised over $1.2 million in 3 months as she continues to be a spokesperson for children with cancer (The Cure Starts Now Foundation)

Given Saturday’s celebration, I will have a cartoon post for Saturday.

I’m hoping for the next-to-the-last act of Life: The Musical to be next week, which means the theme will be on the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a powerful message from Mad magazine’s Editor-in-Chief as viewed on CBS Sunday Morning. (Thanks Mouse for finding this.)

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
HR Director reminds employees that any crying at work must be job related
Snorkeling instructor unaware he’s in background of 400 dating profile photos
First-year Congressman brings fresh roadblocks to table
Supreme Court gathers to watch baby justices hatch
Area man only one with problems
New archeological find suggests Mary Magdalene was actually a size 12

Interesting Reads
The wealthy gap between Europe and America: A brief history
The sun through an X-ray eye
Photo gallery from within Shenandoah National Park
Lincoln’s Writings: A book review
Different laughs for different people
Whale testicle beer

Your Weekend Celebrations
(Fri) Fetish Day, Fig Newton Day, Appreciate a Dragon Day, Hot & Spicy Food Day, Nothing Day
(Sat) Popeye Day, Rid the World of Fad Diets & Gimmicks Day, Ditch the New Years’ Resolutions Day, Cable Car Day, Customer Service Day, Hot Buttered Rum Day, Kid Inventors Day, Hot-Heads Chili Day, Polar Bear Swim Day
(Sun) Winnie the Pooh Day, Thesaurus Day, Maintenance Day, Peking Duck Day, Wish Elyse a Happy Birthday Day

Another 2-fer to send you into the weekend. The first video is for those willing to join Raye in a Friday celebration. Last, but not least, a song from T Rex to get you movin’. 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. 245

This week’s horrifying news out of Australia and Pakistan is insane, senseless, and heart-wrenching.

Cheers to President Obama opening the door for normal relations with Cuba. Boo to Republicans who link this action to supporting oppression throughout the world.

According to the Pew Research Center, my view about CIA torture is in the minority.

Although I support a sales tax on internet sales, count me in as one against government intervention into the internet as a whole. (a read)

Earlier this week the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame announced that Joan Jett (and others) deserves induction over the Moody Blues and Yes. This committee may be more pathetic than the US Congress and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. Well, at least close.

Lauren Hill has played in her final basketball game, and ending her college career with 10 points. She’s struggling, and no longer enrolled. Her story has been one that keeps giving, and she continues to be a shining example of humanity. Her latest statement is, I want everyone to know that I never give up. Meanwhile, there is no question we will mourn when her day arrives.

This is probably the last Opinions in the Shorts for 2014, but I foresee the Explore series starting next Friday.

Next week’s posting schedule will at least include Monday Morning Entertainment, a holiday post, and the start of the Explore series.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their holiday gift guide for kids.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Mom gathers rolls of wrapping paper around her to stroke softly
Subway employee still unnerved by high-pitched screech sandwiches make when cut in half
Sexually frustrated woman just one of the guys
Increasing number of men pressured to accept realistic standards of female beauty
Family receives 38-piece Astra Zeneca assorted pill sampler
Schlubs from US, China meet in lowest level talks

Interesting Reads
Weird stocking stuffer ideas
Memoir of a political candidate
Improving the umbrella
How successful people stay calm
Why Zombies eat brains
(Infographic) Sleep deprivation and the brain

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Weekend) Bird Count Weekend
  • (Fri) Underdog Day, Hard Candy Day, Oatmeal Muffin Day
  • (Sat) Sangria Day, Fried Shrimp Day, Games Day, Go Caroling Day, Human Solidarity Day
  • (Sun) Solstice, Global Orgasm Day, Don’t be a Scrooge Day, Yule, Hamburger Day, Phileas Fogg Win a Wager Day, Crossword Puzzle Day, Kiwi Fruit Day, Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day

To me, music by The Tractors is fun, so here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – the first is their biggest hit that I really, really like, and the second is a bouncy tune for the holidays. 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. 244

Although I wonder about the political nature of the Senate report on torture and subsequent comments, no waterboarding means no waterboarding. – no ifs, no buts, and no rewriting and no reinterpretation – no means no. What part of “NO” don’t Washington and the political hacks understand? On the other hand, I’m against indictments and trials for high-level decision makers.

As Congress continues to deliberate a bill to fund the government, all the other stuff attached to the bill is more confirmation of why Washington has a low approval rating.

With gas prices falling, I suggest that if they were rising, it would be President Obama’s fault.

My heart goes out to Filipinos as they deal with the Typhoon Hagupit.

Recent community-police incidents have brought the need for improved community-police relations and interactions. In order for improvement to occur, and instead of quickly pointing the finger elsewhere, it starts with everyone taking a deep look into the mirror at themselves.

Although it was sad to see a university disband it’s football team, which centers around the madness of the money chase by college athletics. But as in life, competition is fierce, and with competition comes casualties … all because college athletics has sold their integrity.

Speaking of college football, the Big 12 has only itself to blame for not getting a team in the final four, and TCU and Baylor didn’t help themselves with their nonconference schedule. In other words, I suggest some inward reflection. Then again, maybe this conference desires to make less money and become the perennial Cotton Bowl host.

Last Saturday was the last home for the University of Cincinnati football game at the professional Bengals stadium, the temporary home during on-campus renovations. I look forward to return to games on campus. They played this 82-second video to the crowd toward the end of last week’s game, which the crowd appreciated. After all, Nippert Stadium is a unique venue in the center of campus. (past post)

Saturday is the big day for my 2014 holiday party. Doors open at 3 AM (Eastern US) … and remains open the entire weekend. Santa visits around 3 PM Sunday, so hope you return to visit Santa and tell him your holiday wish.

Visit the Banned Toys Museum to discover if you had any of top banned toys. Of the Top 10 and the Honorable Mention, I only had two. How about you?

I’m currently reading Bill Nye’s new book – Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation – thus expect a book review in 2015.

Yesterday’s Life: The Musical  delivered another fabulous set of music. With so many songs available, maybe the future will give us Bummed: The Musical. This was Act 14, and for those wondering, the current plan involves 3 more acts, so it will carryover into 2015.

The front page of Thursday’s Wall Street Journal included an article about being Noodle Ring Day – and that made me smile.

The next Saturday Morning Cartoon post will wait until 2015.

To lead you into The Onion, see this unexpected collaborative business marketing effort.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Royal couple spent the $36.21 Queen had left over from 2010 US visit
  • World’s oldest woman pleased that every other human on earth when she was born are now dead
  • Michelle Obama reassigned to Department of Agriculture after butting heads with the president
  • Area theater has strict rules against bringing in outside movies
  • Stressed-out CVS back to selling cigarettes after only 3 months
  • Pope rummaging through Vatican basement for plastic nativity scene figures
  • High school band director spends 85% of rehearsal hammering in dress code for holiday concert

Interesting Reads

Your Weekend Celebrations

  • (Fri) Lost & Found Day, Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, Ding-a-Ling Day, Gingerbread House Day, Ambrosia Day, Poinsettia Day, 12-hour Fresh Breath Day, Day of the Virgin Day
  • (Sat) Violin Day, Day of the Horse, Tic-Tac-Toe Day (Naughts & Crosses Day), Pick a Pathologist Pal Day, Cocoa Day, Gingerbread Decorating Day, Shareware Day
  • (Sun) Monkey Day, DNA Day, Candle Lighting Day, Choral Day, Bouillabaisse Day

Here’s another 2-fer from two big-time pop piano players to send you into the weekend. The first is an extension of Life: The Musical’s recent act, while the second takes us back to a 1969 rock opera. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.