Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 272

As Donald Trump (R-NY) successfully sidesteps his own explosive devices, something to ponder. The Bloviator’s base is very loyal, but his disapproval numbers are high. Therefore, could his current poll numbers be both his ceiling and his floor?

Speaking of The Bloviator, he’s not stupid – so his talk about a third-party candidacy is (in my opinion) just more hot air. After all, he cannot get on the ballot in Ohio (a must-win state) because Ohio has a “sore loser law” preventing him from getting on the ballot. Yes, Ohio’s Secretary of State has already declared it so.

Although “debate” is the descriptor, this statistic helps demonstrate why these aren’t debates while also providing rationale for my pods-of-4 model.

GOP1stDebateTalkTimeFor the interested, he next Republican debate is Wednesday, September 16th on CNN.

Here are two articles for the political wonks who want to read about the conservative media’s influence on the Republican party: Recent and one from Oct. 2014.

For those who remember Mr. Haney on Green Acres, this is a must see. Of course, I’m curious to see who checks it out.

This new commercial from GEICO insurance made me laugh.

It wasn’t a good week for me visiting blogs. :(

Collaborating with Marina for On Blue was a pleasure, and readers appreciated the dualism we provided through words and art. Marina made me two images that she posted on her blog when reblogging our post. For space purposes here, I melded them together as one, but you can tell where the two meet. Thank you, Marina.
MarinaCombo

On a personal note, I know my first gay couple who recently married – and I’m proud of the fact I went out of my way to congratulate them when I saw them at church.

Mark this date on your calendar – Tuesday, August 25th at 9:30 pm for the opening act of Dance: The Musical. (The musical will be running on Tuesdays, not Wednesdays.) More information is on the Here Ye page.

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their video explaining Putin’s Russia.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation’s pansies announce plan to slowly acclimate to pool
Single women with 3 young children unaware she is subject to 984 judgments today
Coworker retreats to remote corner of office to complete disgusting food order
Rescuers heroically help beached garbage back into ocean
New statewide education standards require teachers to forever change lives of 30% of students

Interesting Reads
The future of America’s slums
Cars in Cuba
Not everyone likes kissing
Now 40 years old – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Selling lingerie in Egypt

To send you into the weekend, here’s a flashback to a before expressways. I enjoy Asleep at the Wheel, but this version from them is new to me. 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. 271

The new header is an artist’s impression of supergiant star Betelgeuse that is based on work done by the European Southern Observatory.

I’m not watching/didn’t watch the recent Republican debate for three reasons: It’s too early for such a spectacle, I won’t be voting in the Republican primary in my state, and it would be a waste of my time. For the record, I won’t be voting in the Democratic primary. Remember, I’m an authentic independent, thus not a Democrat or Republican pretending to be an independent.

Columnist Kathleen Parker (in my opinion, a right-center writer) took 3 Republicans to task for making ridiculous cliches. About Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), and candidate Mike Huckabee (R-AR), Parker wrote, Put these three in a cocktail shaker and you get a rather mixed metaphor that nonetheless pours like a narrative: Pontius Kerry is leading the Jews to the Auschwitz oven in the terrorist act orchestrated by the president of the United States. Here’s her entire column.

I find it interesting that both leaders in the Democratic and Republican poles (Clinton and Trump) have similar disapproval ratings.

The last week in July gave us a Blue Moon. I saw many great photographs. I especially enjoyed this creation by Marina, thus knew I had to use it. Thanks, Marina … and you can visit her here.

Blue Moon and Sea - Copyright © of Marina Kanavaki

Blue Moon and Sea – Copyright © of Marina Kanavaki

Cincinnati has been in the national news due to a police officer shooting a man. Interestingly, the citizens in the city did not react in the same manner as people in Ferguson and Baltimore. To be fair, at least not yet.

Because of the high number of regulars here who no longer blog, I’m trying to expand readership here by venturing outside of my circle. I’m amazed so few bloggers are welcoming to their blog and don’t reciprocate.

The Meals: The Musical is over. I have compiled a list of songs, so for those eager to make their own songlist, it will appear in a future post.

Although the topic is not finalized, the next musical will be a short one (less than 5 acts). I will announce its theme in a future OITS (hopefully within the next 2 weeks).

While on the musicals topic, in order to keep the producer on the aFa team, I am honoring his request for being known as The Producer from this point forward.

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, here it explains how campaigns spend money.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
FDA reports food prevents hunger 98% of time when properly used
Condo board maintains purity of bloodline through generations of intermarriage
Worker who forgot email attachments expects coworkers to forgive her just like that
Actual problem nice change of pace for anxious man
Study links meat, sugar consumption to early death among those who choose to be happy in life

Interesting Reads
The workplace is unquestionably different
(Interactive) Gaps between the views of scientists and the public
How writers can find meaning in nonsense
The evolving HIV virus
Churches with strange names
Is animal sex spicy?
2014 National Geographic Best Wildlife Photos
Metal: a BBC short photo gallery

To send you into the weekend, here’s a flashback that also seems fitting for the recent GOP debate. 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. 269

Candidate #16 in my governor, John Kasich (R-OH). No candidate profile for Governor Kasich yet, but candidate #17 is rumored to be on the horizon.

Given so many candidates seeking the Republican nomination, I believe all the candidates should get ample debate time – thus I favor at least one format that hasn’t been suggested – in groups of four – such as Group 1) Bush, Paul, Graham, Perry – Group 2) Trump, Carson, Christie, Pitaki – Group 3) Rubio, Huckabee, Jindal, Fiorina – Group 4) Walker, Cruz, Santorum, Kasich

This editorial headline from the Des Moines Register made me smile: Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side-show. See for yourself.

If and when The Bloviator withdraws from the race, I predict he will do so in grand style – such as, El Chapo has threatened his family.

Cheers to GOP candidates Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rick Perry (R-TX) for aggressively bashing The Bloviator – but jeers to Marco Rubio (R-FL) for equating Trump’s behavior to a “classless” President Obama. Sorry Senator Rubio, but your classless comment registered a severe black mark against you that will be difficult to erase by this independent.

David Ignatius (Washington Post) is one of the most respected columnists specializing in foreign policy. Here’s one of his columns about the Iranian Nuclear Pact.

Cheers to the US and Cuba reopening their respective embassies. Now I await Congress to screw it up.

The video below is a commercial for a website for people who rent lodging. To me, this is a thought-provoking message. Plus their message about kindness in the notes on YouTube is worth reading. (To read, click here)

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of meet and spend time with two bloggers who have visited here: Ginger Snaap & El Guapo (along with TMWGITU). We had a fabulous time, but the pleasure was all mine. My meeting bloggers count leaped to three.

The blogging series continues to be a success, but only one more to go. On a side note, the last one (Posting & Frequency) was a post without fanfare – number 1700, which means this post is #1702.

Only one act remains in Meals: The Musical … and preliminary information is on the Hear Ye page.

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, they offer these tips for getting cheaper airfare.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Toddler unsettled by whatever possessed her to bite friend’s face
Lesser piece of paper used to test pen’s viability
Man sadly realizes his one bedroom apartment large enough to host party with all his friends
Leonardo DiCaprio agrees to donate “It Factor” to science
Four hours scrolling through Facebook before bed referred to as “winding down”

Interesting Reads
10 things you didn’t know about the first moon landing
Pew Research Center study about Americans, politics, and science issues
Chimney climbing
Mosquito’s technique of finding something to bite 
Hot summer around the world (Photo gallery)

For many of us in the northern hemisphere, here’s a song for a hot summer night. For my friends below the equator, summer is on the way. 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. 267

Donald Trump continues to do what he does best: Bring attention to himself and bloviate. Here’s The Onion’s candidate profile on The Bloviator, plus this related headline made me laugh: Trump tell Iowa farmers he has cattle 500 times bigger than theirs.

This headline captured my attention: Schools That Succeed Because of the System, Not Despite It … GAG … As one on the reform education side of the fence, I can justify the statement being true, but I ask a deeper question: But is this the system we want to master?

Discussions about flying the Confederate flag continue, while some seem to want to expand it to anything Confederate.

  • Should schools with Rebels as a nickname change? (No)
  • Should mascots of Confederate soldiers be replaced? (No)
  • Should schools reconsider using the Confederate flag as a school symbol? (Yep if the school receives any public aid)
  • Should the Confederate flag fly at public memorials on Confederate Memorial Day? (To me, this is a tough one as I can see both sides.)
  • Can a person fly the Confederate flag on a pole on their own property? (Absolutely, and this should remain)

The Daily Beast published this very-timely-now article (Jan 15, 2015) about Robert E. Lee’s view about reconciliation.

Cheers to the South Carolina legislature for voting to take down the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds.

Cincinnati is hosting this year’s mid-summer classic: Major League Baseball’s All-Star game. The city has done a great job getting ready for the week-long festivities. Meanwhile, the team’s owner and management continue to demonstrate they have lost their way.

The Coke machines with all the flavors … do you know the ones? Vanilla Ginger Ale is my favorite. Do you have a favorite?

Did you notice that the desserts theme of Meals: The Musical: Act 7 was calorie free? I anticipate only 2 more acts, and preliminary information about Act 8 is on the Hear Ye page.

My wife and I ballroom dance for fun – thus we don’t compete or perform solos in studio-related events – but we have participated in two formations (groups). It appears I’ll be performing with another dance partner (of course with my wife’s permission) at a future showcase. Here’s the song we are hoping to use for our dance. What’s the dance?

For those who will post the entire story on their blog (with their ending), the revised story (without an ending) is on the Challenge page to copy. The Dance Challenge date Sunday, July 12th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US). I’m looking forward to the different endings, so feel free to promote the challenge!

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their short video about what children need in a male role model.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Disney unveils first virgin princess
Report: Male hair-loss 7 times more painful than childbirth
S&M couple won’t stop droning on about their fetishes
Insurance only pays for generic heart transplant
Ghost of Julia Child sounds the same
Meteorologist slips family members few extra days of extended forecast

Interesting Reads
Washington Post’s editorial board about independence
An example of Congress avoiding solutions (from the BiPartisan Policy Center)
Same-sex marriage around the world
Brain’s internal compass
13 facts about Crayola Crayons

Here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover dessert from the musical and a classic. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 266

Last week I wrote this: Numerous southern families support flying the Confederate Battle Flag because they have ancestors who fought under that flag. OK … so why isn’t the Nazi flag flown at the cemeteries for World War II German soldiers? I know that Nazi analogies are often in poor taste, my statement was by no means equating the Nazis to anything in the US Civil War. Flags are symbols, and my intention focused on the flags. I apologize to anyone offended by the question.

Statues of Confederate soldiers in public places are getting scrutinized and even defaced. To me, that’s absolutely absurd. Here’s an interesting Washington Post article about Confederate symbols.

Burning African-American churches? Hey South Carolina – you have a problem!

The recent court rulings offered more examples of Republicans proclaiming a return to the Constitution except when they want to change it. Meaning, the recent rulings have also provided many the opportunity to demonstrate that smart people can say and do stupid things – especially when pandering for votes.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (aka The Truth Teller) may be the King of Hyperbole. As the US Supreme Court went against his views twice in a short span, Cruz stated, Today is some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history. Meanwhile, he describes (in his book) fact-checking as yellow journalism. Here’s an article from USA Today.

Speaking of Texas, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the top law-enforcement official in the state, is encouraging clerks, magistrates, and other officials who object same-sex marriage to not issue the marriage license.

The New York Times did this outstanding 13-minute video about the story that led to the US Supreme Court ruling. (Thanks Lame)

Given some conservatives are squawking about Chief Justice Roberts, this read is about Roberts’ consistency.

In my opinion, and time will tell, the recent ruling says nothing or even implies that churches are required to perform a marriage ceremony involving LGBT. Some have, some will, and some won’t.

Gov. Chris Christie became the 14th Republican seeking the presidency. (I foresee at least 2 more.) He’s a good example of it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Yep – the importance of speaking with conviction can cause others to not notice what is said. No profile from The Onion … Yet!

President Obama announced the intent for Cuba and the USA to open respective embassies. The next step is up to Congress – Oh boy! Given the 2016 election, this could be interesting.

The economic situation in Greece is troubling, yet complex. The heart aches for the Greek people.

Congratulations Missy Copeland on her accomplishment … and cheers to the American Ballet Theater for the historic decision.

I enjoy Enya’s music. I stumbled across this pleasing video to one of her songs. For other Enya fans, enjoy The Memory of Trees (which is good waltz music).

Desserts is the theme for Act 7 of Meals: The Musical. One note of caution: Because they had their own act, beware of using “fruits” or any fruit as they had their own act. (EX) Blueberry Hill is not acceptable because the dessert is not identified; but Blueberry Pie or Blueberry Ice Cream would be acceptable. Curtain time is this Wednesday, 7:30 pm (Eastern US)

For those who will post the entire story on their blog (with their ending), the revised story (without an ending) is on the Challenge page to copy. The Dance Challenge date Sunday, July 12th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US). … Feel free to promote the challenge!

This is a holiday weekend in the US, so no Saturday post from me. Happy Fourth of July, America.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their mass extinctions timetable.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Boss’s clout evaporates after he’s seen in shorts at company picnic
Study: U.S. wastes 2 million hours annually figuring out where tape roll begins
Man commits to new TV show just hours after getting out of 7-season series
Family enters crisis talks after discovering restaurant has 45-minute wait
Only predictor of happy marriage is if husband won wife big stuffed animal at amusement park

Interesting Reads
Slavery, states rights, civil rights, and a flag
A year as a nudist
How the turtle got its shell
Endangered places is America
Mushrooms and weight reduction
Yes, photos of a crow landing on an eagle

To send you into the weekend, here’s a touch of Motown from years gone by, 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. 263

I wonder about the similarities between the following presidential campaigns: Hillary Clinton (D-NY) 2016, Jeb Bush (R-FL) 2016, and Mitt Romney (R-UT) 2012.

Wow … Unbelievably, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, said global warming is not a hoax and the primary cause is human action increasing the carbon dioxide level. I’m sure the GOP base is excited and the other candidates are thanking him for paving the way.

Amazon is now collecting sales tax on purchases by Ohio residents, and I’m OK with that.

The transition away from posting daily has been good for me because 1) I don’t feel rushed preparing, and 2) I’ve been visiting other blogs more. Then again, I tend to get behind on weekends.

I added a new page – Hear Ye – to serve as a place for announcements, such as information about the next act of Meals: The Musical. (Yep – it’s there now, but I will announce again next week.)

There will be an Explore post on Saturday.

For those interested in jello shots, this creative recipe is worth checking. 

Carrie Rubin is looking for help with your quest to be published by Amazon. Here’s her post on how you can help her.

Last week Democrat Lincoln Chafee (D_RI) announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. As a sign that his candidacy is in trouble, his name cannot be found in The Onion’s archives.

The Onion’s profiles of presidential candidates: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)

June is the most popular month for weddings in the US. To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion captured the latest wedding trends.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion (Combos welcome)
More US children being diagnosed with YTD – Youthful Tendency Disorder
Idiot zoo animal with zero predators still protecting young
New Claritin flamethrower incinerates whatever causes allergies
Automakers asks nation if it still wants handle above car windows
Laid-back company allows employees to work from home after 6 pm

Interesting Reads
Raising money: political campaigns vs. new-business startups
Building the Clinton Foundation
Powering the future car: hydrogen or electricity?
Is Pope Francis a Communist?
Six mysteries in biology
(Photo Gallery) National Geographic Traveler Contest

Here’s a 2-fer to send you into the weekend. First, a video from the early MTV days (do you remember the song) and a bigger hit from a 80s. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 262

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Explore series continues this weekend.

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

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

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

To to send you into the weekend, a toast to June being Accordion Month – not with a polka, but actually a good version of a Lady Gaga hit for the ballroom floor. Which ballroom dance can you picture? Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.