On a Blog Break: Summer 2019

 

Before I embark on my summer blog break, below is an abbreviated edition of Opinions in the Shorts.

The Doobie Brothers concert surprised a few people. With a blog break on the current docket, I do not know who the next concert will feature or when it will occur – but I have some ideas to consider during the blog break.

Unfortunately, on celebration day falls during the blog break. August 28th marks the 11th anniversary of this place – my little corner of the world.

My golf game resembles a yo-yo – but I still enjoy playing.

With August being the final month of summer, that also means September marks the return of handbell choir rehearsals, volunteer ushering at the Playhouse, fall festivals, football season, and more.

Has anyone watched “The Great Hack” on Netflix (about Cambridge Analytica)? If so, what did you think?

Last weekend gave us two mass shootings – including one in Dayton, Ohio (a bit less than an hour drive for me). Interesting how events like that affect you differently when they are closer to home. Events in El Paso and Dayton give Congress more opportunities to do nothing.

The Republican “mental issue” claim as a key cause of gun violence has resurfaced – so I ask an important question to Congressional Republicans: What legislation have you passed in the past five years addressing the mental health problem? I asked my representative. In his response letter, he didn’t answer the question – so the answer is none!

A state representative near me and close to Dayton blamed mass shootings on the following: fatherless families, transgender and homosexual marriages, drag queen advocates, recreational marijuana, violent video games, failed school policies, hatred for our veterans by professional athletes disrespecting our flag and country, Democrats in Congress, disrespect for law enforcement, anti-Trump voters, and last – but not least – the icing on the cake – you guessed it – Obama. Yes – the one who made this statement is an office holder elected by the majority of voters in her district.; which to me is sadder than the one making the statement.

The leader of the Ohio Republican Party asked Candice Keller to resign for the above statement, but (as of this morning) she’s standing by her statement and refusing to resign. “Establishment moderates have never been fans of mine because I ran against their endorsement and won. As the only conservative in this race, I will be taking my (state) Senate campaign to the voters to decide.”

A thought to remember about politics. The party’s goal is to win, therefore finding candidates with the best chance of winning and representing the party. Therefore, the candidate is in an office to represent the best interests of the party. After all, how much time does the office holder (and their organization) spend fundraising for the party and their re-election? The answer is simple – a lot. Therefore, the office holder’s interest in solving issues and representing the non-party flock in their district is (at best) superficial.

As I’ve stated numerous times on these pages, blog breaks are good. How long will this one be? To be honest – I don’t know – but I hope to return in the first 10 days of September – time will tell. Until then, I hope you visit the many good, talented, friendly people I list as A-Team Premium Visitors on the sidebar, plus others on the BlogRoll tab.

By the time I return, summer will be on its last leg – so here’s a classic from years ago to lead me into my blog break. Check out this chops! Keep smiling!

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 409

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Last weekend concert featuring the solo careers of David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young went better than I anticipated. Doobie Brothers take this stage this weekend Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Because of an approaching blog break, this will be the last concert until further notice.

What does a professional football player with a degrees in mathematical economics and religion and a minor in business who is working on an MBA in finance do in this spare time? Click here to discover the answer.

The recent baseball brawl between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates was interesting. The umpire had the chance to diffuse the incident when the Pirates’ pitcher threw at the head of the Reds’ batter. Oh no – not even a warning. Interestingly, the league gave the longest suspension to the pitcher. There is no place in the game for intentionally throwing at a batter’s head.

People who use hot weather days in the summer to justify climate change are just as clueless as those who use cold days to deny climate change.

Is there any difference between Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Heach Care?

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Of course I did NOT watch either of this week’s Democratic debates. I didn’t because I couldn’t answer this important question for me … Why? Nonetheless, from reports, I can say that the odds of me voting for Elizabeth Warren is the same as me voting for Donald Trump – Zero.

No – I did not attend the recent Trump rally in Cincinnati. For the record, I would go to hear him speak even if he spoke just to the residents in my neighborhood’s clubhouse.

Another shooting of a large crowd is another opportunity for Congress to do nothing – and that’s something I’m confident they can achieve.

Certain liberal groups want to expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 11 justices. Oh please, please start focusing on important issues. Please!

Who would have thunk that House Democrats would lead the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

A Director of National Intelligence who is a political hack without intelligence experience would seem to be the best two reasons for the Senate to approve Rep. John Radcliffe (R-TX).

President Trump can’t seem to politicize an event. At the recent signing ceremony of the 9-11 responders health benefits bill, instead of recognizing responders advocating for the bill, the responders benefitting from the bill, and the families this bill is designed to help – he threw accolades to his chief apologist – Rudy Guiliani. President Trump is a pathetic person, and even worse leader, and he brings the majority of his problems on himself..

Jeers to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) for being the only two senators to vote against the 9-11 responders bill. Thank you voters of Oregon and Kentucky for sending us clueless, partisan hacks who are loaded with double standards.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion captured this unique debate moment.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Guy on bus really good at whatever phone game that is
Sincere email to coworker drafted, reconsidered, deleted
Four-year-old convinced father is a moron after 45th consecutive hide-and-seek victory
Insecure infant worried he’s unworthy of animatronic toy rabbit’s love
Exhilarated woman discovers last person who used jigsaw puzzle left lots of pieces stuck together

Interesting Reads

A ship’s flag
Humanity’s greatest threat?
Trust and distrust in political America
The moon landing – Fake News!
Need for humanity to know how to get better
Remembering an architect
(Graphic) World’s oldest democracies
(Photos) Wildlife

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Heat song by one who will be a Kennedy Center honoree this December. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 403

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The reason for my slow responses, a lack of visits, and several skipped posts is a two-week stretch of working more than normal and hosting out-of-town visitors. Hoping to get back to normal soon.

The Weekend Concert Series returns with Elton John. Concert starts Saturday, 22 June at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Earlier this week we went to the theater for Rocketman. Interesting how it parallels Bohemian Rhapsody (which, in my opinion, was a better movie). Taron Egerton did fabulous work portraying Elton. The images at the end were awesome. Thumbs up to the movie – plus seeing the movie as the perfect primer for the upcoming concert.

The US Open has been my favorite golf tournament for many years. In recent years, the USGA has disappointed me too many times with both their course selection and layout. Therefore I can proudly say I’m no longer a USGA member.

Several weeks ago, CBS This Morning changed two of their three morning anchors. Although I still prefer and watch the show, I have noticed they moved toward a softer side (less news) as they compete with fluff heavy Good Morning America (ABC)and Today (NBC).

I received a summons from the county court for upcoming jury duty.

We visited the Burning Man Exhibit (No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man) at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Fabulous! I hope to feature it in a future post. If the exhibit is ever in your area, I encourage you to go. It’s current schedule includes the following:

  • Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC (March 30, 2018 – January 21, 2019)
  • Cincinnati Art Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio (April 26, 2019 – September 2, 2019)
  • Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California (October 12, 2019 – February 16, 2020)

Over the past two weeks, the Cincinnati Reds have actually spent several days out of last place.

The latest playoff season deliver two first-time champions: Toronto Raptors (NBA) and St. Louis Blues (NHL). Two obvious facts about their achievement. Neither winning before was Obama’s fault, and President Trump was obvious the major factor on their championships.

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Head-scratcher Time: President Trump gave to a question asked by a reporter Reporter Kristen Welker, NBC asked President Trump a question.
(Welker) “You seem to suggest that yesterday you essentially committing to not spying on North Korea. is that what you meant? Were those comments interpreted accurately, if so why?”
(Trump) “No, it’s not what I meant, it’s what I said and it’s different than, maybe, your interpretation.”

Understatement Time: “Donald John Trump is not considered an eloquent man.” (Carl Cannon, Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics)

I expected President Trump’s “Keep America Great” as a re-election slogan.

Left Democrats continuing to push the party and candidates to the left will drive moderate voters away.

I agree with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson who (in this column) hit it on the button when stated that numerous Democratic presidential candidates would do the party and the country more good if they ran in their state’s upcoming senate election.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion tells the real story why Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving the White House.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man annoyed at being mistaken for employee just because he’s driving forklift through store
New study finds humans could lose vestigial heads in less than 100 years (click to see the image)
Woman thankful she has type of alien looking face that makes her hot
Nike reveals size-inclusive mannequin eating a large hoagie
Krill-eating whale too cowardly to prey on something its own size

(My Combo) Woman eating large hoagie driving forklift annoyed krill-eating cowardly man looking at hot store mannequin

Interesting Reads

Ohio women and women’s right to vote
Conversing about race
The lost NHL franchise: the Oakland Seals
Talking to anti-vaccination people
(Opinion) Most under-rated Beatles songs
(Graphic) People dying and the media
(Photos) National Geographic Photo Contest 2019 winners (notice the selection tabs & buttons)
(Video) Over 2,000 world flags in 5 minutes

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song that I can’t believe I didn’t use last week. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 402

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Oh my my – After 51 years as a franchise, the St. Louis Blues are Stanley Cup. What an improbable and incredible run they had since January. For me, a Blues fan for 51 years, I’m stunned and elated. I loved this tribute column in a St. Louis paper.

Congratulations to tennis pro Rafael Nadal for winning the French Open for an unbelievable 12th time. Cheers to golfer Rory McElroy for winning the Canadian Open – his sixth national open win.

I think we lost many images from our recent cruise. However, I’m confident that I will have enough for a series of posts.

Hoping for a time for the next act for the Weekend Entertainment Series. Next act will be Elton John – tentatively set for Saturday, 22 June at 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

Has anyone seen Rocketman – the Elton movie?

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A citizen’s group in Ohio is considering a ballot initiative to close the gun-show loophole for gun sales without a background check. It will be interesting to see if the Republican legislature flinches.

Shortly after Joe Biden (D-DE) announced his 2020 candidacy in early April I had a list I called Biden’s Dilemma. I’m amused how much they have played out over the past two months.

President Trump recently announced a new military sale/deal with Poland that is huge and fantastic. I believe Poland is in the list of Eastern European countries with leadership leaning toward Russia.

If Fake News is not enough, at least now we have Fake Polls.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a pros and cons list regarding impeachment.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Bored 4-year-old mixes things up by watching movie she’s only seen 97 times
Area pedestrian obsessed with crossing the street
Child promised he can go right back to video game after giving dying Grandfather one last hug
Panic rapidly setting in as man realizes he has no plan for ripe avocado
Local teen invents masturbation

Interesting Reads

Real news about fake news
Building to last
Biggest disaster in music history
Robotic farmers?
Technology and service delivery
(Graphic) Retirement plan participation rate
(Photos) Beautiful Buddahist temples

To send you into the weekend, here’s another classic song I enjoy in the winter at the Flora Bama). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 400

 

Welcome to the 400th volume of Opinion in the Shorts (aka OITS). I published the first on November 25, 2008 – about 3 months after starting my little corner of the world. To celebrate the occasion, I’ve included a short self-perspective in each section.

Next milestone – Only 5 to go to post #2,200.

This section evolved into a potpourri of thoughts. Because it is more applicable and interest to wider readership, I moved this section so it can serve as a lighter opener.

The lengthy stretch of rain, storms, tornadoes, and record flooding in the central US has been devastating. For those who are able and willing to donate, I urge you to do so to the charity of your choice. Here’s a link to Charity Navigator a site rating organizations on performance, financial health, accountability, and transparency.

A few days ago, at least 18 tornadoes hit Ohio – the closest about 40 miles from me. Fortunately, the people we know in that area are OK, but others lost their homes or suffered repairable damage. FYI: Ohio typically averages 3 for the entire month of May.

After seeing images of a long line of people on the final ascent of Mount Everest, I said, “I don’t get it.”

Last week ended with a 3-day weekend for Memorial Day. The Sunday sermon by one of my pastors was one of the best I’ve ever heard about this holiday. For those interested (and having 18 minutes), click here.

I recently learned that my state (Ohio) is ranked #6 in most Bigfoot sightings. Stephen Colbert recently asked a very pertinent question – What is the plural of Bigfoot?

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This blog initially focused on sports and politics – so this section was an extension of the initial roots. For a long time, this section opened OITS.

Emphasizing improving the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was one of the reasons Democrats gained control of the House this past December. I’m still waiting, and failing to pass such a bill through the legit process (as opposed to force feeding) will work against Democrats in the 2020 election.

For the second time in a week, a House Republican blocked the passing of a disaster funding bill. One person having the ability to block a bill is one reason Congress has a low approval rating.

Bottom Line: Special Counsel Robert Mueller explained he was the fact finder, and Congress is the jury. In that light, while Democrats are foaming at the mouth aiming for political gain. Republicans are spineless, protectionists of their own kind. Then again, if the situation were reversed, the roles would be reversed. Members of both sides of the aisle march to their party-first mantra, followed by preserving their own seat. Contrary to popular opinion, “country” is no higher than third on their priority list.

Earlier this week the news reported President Trump contradicting the National Security Advisor. Hello – he not only frequently does this to his advisors and experts, he also frequently contradicts himself. No wonder he is “the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln.” (Jon Voight) … but a great American orator responds

I just watched a report on CBS citing three studies/organizations supporting what I about to state.To those citing the current tornado activity as proof of climate change, to those condemning President Trump for ignoring climate change, and to those blaming Obama for everything & anything, current research shows there is currently no link between increased tornadic activity and climate change. That doesn’t mean the existence of an undiscovered link or the absence of any link. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (an “independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change”), states in their opening sentence on their page about tornadoes and climate change: The link between tornadoes and climate change is currently unclear.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a history of robocalls.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

The Onion has had a place on this blog for a long time. Long-time readers probably remember The Onion’s Satire Bits – a midweek dose of satire that ran for 134 weeks. That’s where the combo challenge started.

Showerhead self-conscious about single jet that sprays sideways
Boss encourages employees to take short mental breakdowns for every hour of work
World populace actually fine with rich people dying on Mount Everest
Businessman mortified to discover he’s been wearing suit backwards all day
Lowe’s reveals new table saw with attached ice chest for storing cut-off fingers (Click for the image)
Struggling single mother seriously considering putting baby up for audition

(My Combo) Mortified boss struggling putting self-conscious rich people on table saw

Interesting Reads

I’m not sure when this section first appeared. However, early OITS editions occasionally contained linked articles. Over time, articles switched from politics and economics to a collection of wide-ranging topics.

Linking democracy and dissatisfaction
Descartes laws of nature and theology
Getting pandas from China
About Portuguese citizenship and Jews
Virgin birth by an anaconda
(Photos) Waterfalls in black-and-white
(Photos) A collection from a river and streams theme

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one from Bonnie Raitt (since many appreciated her appearance last week). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Book Review – Fascism: A Warning

I recall seeing former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on various talk shows promoting this book. Once I decided to use the public library during my stay in Alabama, this book was at the top of my list – especially after reading Prague Winter a few months earlier.

Fascism: A Warning was not available on my first trip to the library, so that’s when I read Albright’s The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs. Not long thereafter, I reserved the book I wanted.

Published by Harper-Collins in 2018, Fascism: A Warning contains 254 pages within 17 chapters, plus acknowledgments, endnotes, bibliography, and an index.

Throughout the book, she shares her personal experiences with Fascism that started as a child during WWII in her native Czechoslovakia – a country for who her father served as a diplomat – a country with a proud democracy – a country later controlled by Nazis – a country that would become part of the Communist bloc – a country that would regain democracy as part of the Velvet Revolution in late 1989.

Her personal history involves being born in Czechoslovakia, living in Serbia, living in exile in England during WWII, returning to Czechoslovakia, and fleeing to the United States. Reading Prague Winter helped me understand life during the 1930s and 1940s – as well as the loss of family members in the Holocaust.

To introduce the topic (Fascism), Albright shares discussions with and thoughts by students in her classes at Georgetown University. Because of my past-life as a teacher, I know the importance of this by dealing with prior knowledge and misconceptions very early in the learning process. Her definition of a Fascist is the following:

Fascist: Someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, someone who is utterly unconcerned with the Rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.

After the introduction, the next four chapters center around Adolf Hitler (Germany) and Benito Mussolini (Italy) – their rise to power, their styles, their relationship, and their demise. General Francisco Franco (Spain) is embedded. If you recall this post past I did as a Final Jeopardy question (about Fascism), I based the list primarily on the first five chapters of this book.

The Chapters 6-14 focuses on past leaders as Joseph Stalin (USSR) and Slobodan Milosevic (former Yugoslavia); plus modern leaders as Hugo Chavez & Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela) with past leaders Juan & Eva Peron (Argentina) and Rodrigo Duterte (Philippines) are integrated into the chapter. Vladimir Putin (Russia), Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey), Viktor Orban (Hungary), and the three generations of Kims in North Korea (DPRK) have dedicated chapters. Jaroslav Kaczynski (Poland) is integrated in the chapter about Hungary.

While a separate chapter focuses on President Trump, different US Presidents (starting with FDR) appear throughout the book. Madeleine Albright is perfectly clear that she is not a fan of President Trump, his agenda, and his tactics. She continues to believe in the strong light of liberty and democracy along with having a strong faith in the United States. (For the record, President Trump has praised at least four of the leaders listed in the previous paragraph.)

Chapter 16 examines if Fascism could become dominant in the US. After all, aspects of US history have events paralleling Europe. For instance, a Nazi movement in the US existed in the 1930s and 1940s.

In Chapter 17 (the final chapter), Albright focuses on connecting the dots by looking at the present world through the lens of the past and her experiences as a diplomat and a human. She unquestionably sees the growth in modern-day Fascism as a threat to international peace.

This is the third book I’ve read by Madeleine Albright, and like the others, it’s an easy read and meant for the general public. As with her other books, the reader’s political view will impact her words and their conclusions. Bill Woodward co-authors all three books with Albright.

For me, this book has a scary side – but I also see a hope. Then again, humanity as a way of not learning from its mistakes. Thumbs up to Fascism: A Warning.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 397

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No weekend concert series this weekend. I have no definite timetable for their return, but I’m thinking June.

On the plus side, the beach walk series returns Sunday evening.

Regulars may remember my love for the Flora-Bama – a great roadhouse on the Florida side of the border with Alabama. Last week, Kenny Chesney made this surprise appearance in the room we frequent.

Several blog milestones are approaching: Views #400,000, OITS #400, and Post #2,200.

Golf League started earlier this week. With only one day of playing in 2019, I didn’t expect much of myself – so I accepted a wide range of inconsistency.

We recently saw an interesting production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Instead of the normal assortment of cast and orchestra, the cast doubled as the musicians – therefore, each person displayed a variety of talents.

We recently attended an enjoyable concert by the Ambassadors, a select group of the Cincinnati Boys Choir. And to think these young people sang many of the songs in foreign languages!

My journey with the Quickstep routine has been interesting – especially working around 6 weeks down south plus the recent cruise adventure of almost 3 weeks. With one week to go, we are finally to the polish stage … but I can’t wait until it is over.

Have you ever played Singo? We stumbled across it one evening at a local establishment. Interesting and fun. Here’s a short video about it.

For me, this local story would seem to be from The Onion – but oh no – it’s real. Seems a group of adults started fighting at Chuck E Cheeze.

Warning: Those with low tolerance and being easily offended should not read The Onion headlines and my combo.

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The recent Senate Hearing involving Attorney General Barr was all about political theater – not fact-finding – not what is best for the country – but pure party-first political theater. This partisan public spectacle provided clarity for those viewing the situation through their partisan lens- not trying to get to the crux of an important public issue. This party-first event serves as a prime example why concerned citizens have low regard for government officials, and serve as a reason for withdrawing from the voting process. Pathetic …. simply pathetic.

My views on impeachment

  • Congress (not the public) determines the meaning of “high crimes and misdemeanors”
  • Does significant grounds for impeachment exist? Unquestionably yes
  • Should the House Dems initiate impeachment? Unquestionably no – After all, successful impeachment requires a significant number of Senate Republicans to go against President Trump (and that won’t happen with the current crop of enablers)
  • To House Dems – Be careful not to waste your time and political capital

Now that Joe Biden (D-De) is in the race for the Democratic nomination, I have established the Biden Dilemma.

  • His age
  • Voters may be looking for a fresh face (as they did with Jimmy Carter (1976), Bill Clinton (1992), George W Bush (2000), Barack Obama (2008), and Donald Trump (2016)
  • Not Left enough
  • If nominated, the party will force him left, that is forcing him to be who he isn’t (Similar to what happened to Hilliary Clinton (2016), John McCain (2004), and Mitt Romney (2008)
  • His tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time
  • Kate Smith Syndrome – Anything in the past can be placed into today’s standards and context
  • (New) Link to the Republican Boogie Man

I not only foresee President Trump dumping Mike Pence, but adding Nikki Halley to the ticket would regain the confidence of many of the GOP wafflers and some independents.

My latest odds on the 2020 election

  • 100% chance GOP nominates President Trump
  • 0% chance President Trump gets my vote
  • 20 % chance Dem nominee gets my vote
  • 65% chance President Trump re-elected

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion’s this suggestion about corporate sponsors of a national park made me laugh.

business businessmen career colorful

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Humiliated baboon unable to keep ass swollen in front of mate
Woman jealous of horse’s eyelashes
Priest cursed with incredible penis
Dog sitting at grave where owner buried alive
Elderly man feeling useless in retirement wishes he could go back to feeling useless at work
Religious conservatives argue Adam and Eve would never have been banished if they’d had guns

(My Combo) Adam feeling useless and cursed with Eve unable to keep incredible swollen penis at work

Interesting Reads

A rare language
The most anti-science documentaries on Netflix
10 best national parks outside the US
Global views on diversity, family, and religion
Buddhism, science, and the universe
(Photos) Association of Photographers Awards

To send you into the weekend, a duet that didn’t appear at the last concert. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.