Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 392

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As always, I enjoy seeing the many interactions at the weekend concerts. Reminder: No concert this weekend.

A no-brainer. Because of sensitive skin, I use Cetaphil bar soap. I needed a bar to carry me over until my next shipping. CVS has it on sale with the second bar at half price. At $6 per bar, that’s 2 for $9. WalMart had a 3-bar pack at $8.67.

On Thursday morning, I saw this story from CBS News about descendents. Fascinating – Inspiring – and hopeful. For me, it was a worthy 6 minutes about links to Thomas Jefferson. Click here to watch.

A prisoner asked for an imam to be present at his execution. Shame on the Supreme Court for allowing the execution to proceed without the state honoring the request. Would the high court have ruled the same way if the same circumstance involved a Christian? I doubt it.

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At the time of this writing, another shutdown is possible. Here’s a scenario that wouldn’t surprise me. Congress gets a bill to President Trump, which he signs – thus no shutdown. Then he declares a National Emergency. That way he can keep the government open and play to his base. PS: It’s 5 pm (Eastern US), and this now seems to be the avenue of choice.

A friend (Tim) forwarded me this interesting column by Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post). I had to laugh because she is professing the same message I’ve been saying about 2020. However, much like their Tea Party counterparts, I can’t see (at least at his time) the enthusiastic liberals and progressives giving way.

Early in the week I encountered this quote that is very meaningful to me.

The Republicans appear gutless because few have dared complain een while their party is taken over by people who despise them; the Democrats seem unaware of something similar might happen to them. The vital center, which in the past have saved the country from divisions over a host of contentious issues, has become a lonely place – historically an augury of more extreme problems in the offing. (Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, written in 2018)

Earlier in the week President Trump stated a Democratic member of Congress should resign for anti-Semitic remarks (for which she apologized). Shortly thereafter, at a rally after one of his supporters attacked a BBC photographer, he did not apologize or condemn the action – but did ask if the one attacked was OK. President Trump is, without a doubt, the most hypocritical president of my life time – as well as one who favors blaming others over accepting responsibility, favors lying to cover himself instead of building trust with others, favors intentionally exaggerating, misinforming, misleading, distorting information in order to protect himself. He is a pathetic person and an even worse leader who brings the majority of his problems on himself. Nonetheless, it’s all Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, and as a wine drinker, I appreciated the The Onion’s information about the myths vs. facts about wine.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

  • Spacecraft from all over the galaxy to honor end to (Mars) Rover’s life
  • Man hoping girlfriend doesn’t notice Valentine’s gift came from gas station
  • Non-profit works to overturn convictions of prisoners who don’t like being in prison
  • Congress agrees to $1.3 billion for border fencers
  • Underfunded public schools lacking basic support systems leave students perfectly prepared for rest of life
  • Meals on Wheels volunteer delivers body chocolate, edible underwear to senior shut-in on Valentine’s Day

Interesting Reads

Latest Pew Research about origins and evolution
55 years ago: The Beatles and Ed Sullivan meet
Products that could replace plastic
Beer and the bier spa
Book review about Joe McCarthy
T-Rex: a sex victim
(Photos) Sony World Photography Awards

To send you into the weekend, here’s some jazz from Diana Krall with good Argentine Tango in the video. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On a Snit about a Fear

Breaking News Alert

I interrupt my regularly scheduled post for a timely message. Some may say a bit of a snit. Allow me to scream first.

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Although I am far from the Democratic Left, President Trump’s frequent cry of “Socialism” and Republicans yelling “Socialism” as a response to the Progressive message of the Green New Deal has gotten under my skin more than the agenda itself.

My response is an important question to the GOP and their minions: When are you going to campaign against government-run taxpayer-funded Socialstic programs?

Eliminating (not reforming) Social Security
Eliminating unemployment benefits
Eliminating food stamps
Eliminate government housing
Stop housing assistance
Stop funding public roads & schools
Eliminate disability payments
Eliminate benefits for government employees
Eliminate Medicare
Eliminate Medicaid
Eliminate financial assistance for foster care, adoption child care & development
Eliminate food and health programs for children through schools
Eliminate health insurance assistance
Eliminate assisting communities with local services
Eliminate educational loans & grants for schools & students
Eliminate funding for museums & libraries
Eliminate subsidies for business
Eliminate public-funded transportation
Eliminate farm subsidies
Abolish the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)
Abolish the Small Business Administration (SBA)
Abolish the Veterans’ Administration (VA)

… and I’m sure there are many more examples.

I know you won’t answer the question, so I’ll answer it for you. You won’t because you are gutless hypocrites who can’t practice want they preach for you are the party of fear and anger who preys on ignorance. No wonder I left the party.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 389

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Queen headlines this weekend’s concert series. Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Fiona turned 2 this week! Here’s a click with a story and a photo gallery. Need more? Here’s a collection of videos.

We recently saw Vice at the theater. Some points: 1) Christian Bale was outstanding, 2) I was never a fan of Dick Cheney or any of the neo-Conservatives, 3) I’m not a fan of hyper-partisan movies, and 4) Oscar for Best Picture? Someone had to be kidding.

I’ve finally got around to listening to Podcasts. I greatly enjoy the Ted Radio Hour. CBS journalists Mo Rocca just released his first in a series called Mobituaries. The first episode was about Vaughn Meader. Does anyone remember him? He was the famous for his President Kennedy impressions. Does the First Family Album ring a bell?

Back to podcasts. The two series listed above are 1-hour segments. Any recommendations of podcasts that are 15 minutes or less?

Remember Mr. Blackwell’s best and worst dressed lists? He died in 2008, but Roger Stone (yes – that Roger Stone – the advisor to President Trump) picked up Blackwell’s mantle. I heard an interesting interview with him about his lists – so here they are.

Congratulations to the latest inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, and Edgar Martinez. Cheers to Martinez finally getting his due, and a worthy tip of the cap to Mariano Rivera for being the first player ever to receive 100% of the votes on the first ballot. A worthy honor to a top-shelf player.

Super Bowl LIII is set. Two very entertaining games last weekend, but too bad the officials made a blatant error in one game, plus I don’t like the NFL’s overtime rule that determined the second game. Personally, I hope the Rams win.

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I not only don’t I understand comments like these, I’m even more surprised that people use them and others believe them.

  • “Stalin was a socialist who wanted healthcare for all, then went on to kill 80,000 people.” (Friend on Facebook)
  • “We have a society in which there are an awful lot of people who have no idea that Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung all came to power promising the same kinds of things that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is promising. And it led to mass murder, it led to dictatorship, it led to genocide. These promises are old promises and they invariably lead to bad things.” (Ben Stein)

For goofy statements like the above, I have a simple response: Although I may not agree with the Left, I am glad they have their heads in the cloud because it is a response to the Right who have their heads up their ass – and I’m glad to be grounded with my eyes open and my brain thinking.

With all the bluster about the upcoming State of the Union, I could care less because I won’t be watching or listening.

Interesting how President Trump offered a DACA deal to the Democrats, and then the Supreme Court steps on Trump’s previous DACA actions. Oh how the stories around this administration get weirder and weirder.

White House Counsel Rudy Giuliani is competing with President Trump for best entertainment to those who know better. Earlier this week The Onion has this great headline: Giuliani: ‘Let’s Just Start Everything Over’ … and this Stephen Colbert about Rudy intro made me laugh. (It’s less than a minute.)

To lead you into The Onion, this headline and accompanying image may be one of the best ever. Click here to see.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man beginning to worry that best meals already behind him
Trump dismisses Trump as a distraction
Doctor weirded out by patient providing every lucid detail of medical history
Woman rushes to hide fragile objects, cover up sharp corners on tables before boyfriend comes over
Queen Elizabeth watches as oxen pull apart farmer who failed to provide yearly tithe of grain
Weird kid opts to sit perfectly still, let universe decide his fate after teacher instructs class to pair up

Interesting Reads

Rural states and clean energy
Ten cultural items turning 30
Tough economic times at Amsterdam brothels
Major news from the world of frog dating
Quinoa whiskey
(Photos) The architect exiled by Nazis
(Chart) Coal use by country

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song that I stumble across the other day that I hadn’t heard in a long time. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 388

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After a very busy week, my plan is to return to my normal posting and visiting routine. Thanks for your understanding.

It’s time for a new header – so I introduce a Hubble image of Herbig-Haro object (HH 24) capturing the birth of a new star. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers tab above the image.

The next weekend concert features the Moody Blues. (Long-time readers aren’t surprised.) Concerts starts on Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Last week’s concert was unbelievably successful with 25+ songs and just-over 300 comments. The interaction between bloggers makes me smile. Thanks to all!!!

There is a rumor of the possibility of Pronouns 3: The Musical. One has to wonder if it will gain momentum and replace next schedule musical.

Not only was David Funk one of my early blogging buddies, he served as a mentor and role model as a host. Although he’s listed as one of my Pioneers in the sidebar, he finally made to WordPress. Now is the time for me to return him a favor by inviting others to visit (and possibly subscribe) to his new travel blog – One Funked Up World. If you visit and comment, tell him I sent you. Welcome, David!

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This picture reminds me of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). His role in the government shutdown is pathetic. This recent opener from Late Show with Stephen Colbert made me laugh.

Regarding the current government shutdown: “Problems start from the top, and they have to get solved from the top, and the President’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead. And he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t like doing that, that’s not his strength. And that’s why you have this horrible situation going on in Washington. It’s a very, very bad thing and it’s very embarrassing worldwide.” (Donald Trump, 20 September 2013)

For me, the best ending of the Trump saga would not be impeachment. Resigning wouldn’t qualify. Certainly I don’t wish death to the man. Nope, it isn’t even him losing his re-election bid. So what would be the perfect ending? It’s simple. Losing every state in November 2020 – therefore making 2020 the biggest margin of victory ever in the country’s history. That would be HUGE! Then again, that would be difficult to achieve in some states.

I appreciated this concluding statement from a recent article I read: “Because you’re not getting it right if you can’t admit when you’ve gotten it wrong. And you can’t boast of morality if you’ve no sense of shame.” (Matt Bai, journalist)

Democrats are starting to declaring their candidacy for the party’s 2020 nomination. While it’s going to be interesting, the early crop hasn’t caused me to blink – let alone get excited. However, I am confident the ticket will have at least one female.

Due to the government shutdown, my current projection for a Trump re-election drops to 55%

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologist still no closer to discovering how birds have sex
Woman amazed she found perfect partner just when she was getting desperate enough to accept anything
Rival gang members come together to help build community playground to fight over
Kinky girlfriend wants to try sexual pleasure tonight
Manager of combination KFC/Taco Bell secretly considers it mostly a Taco Bell
DNA test confirms Subway chicken only 50% poultry

(My Combo: DNA tests confirm kinky woman found sexual pleasure discovering desperate Taco Bell manager as perfect sex partner at Subway)

Interesting Reads

Europe’s most competition country
Capsulating the Venezuelan crisis
10 iconic Italian foods by region
A read for hockey fans
Crazy Horse’s last battle
A view of art theft
(Graphic) Media-bias chart
(Photos) The bests deep-sea dives
(Video) Earth 101 in 3 minutes

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Herman’s Hermits three-peat – but actually as a doubleheader. Take your pic – but we want to know the one you chose.In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 386

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Welcome to 2019! I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

This weekend is the inaugural aFa Weekend Concert Series. Determining the opening concert was easy – The Beatles – but selecting the opening song is difficult. Concert starts Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US). PS: For those wondering – YES – The Producer will be involved.

This Sunday evening (Eastern US) I will continue posting about my Eastern Europe trip. This series will feature on various tidbits. The first one is ready, so I better work ahead.

The annual televised production of The Kennedy Center Honors (26th Dec on CBS) did not disappoint! What a great night of entertainment!!! I love seeing big name performers getting into the music of others. The 2018 honorees were Reba McEntire, Wayne Shorter, Philip Glass, Cher, and a special recognition to the creators of Hamilton. YouTube has numerous segments, but click here for the full episode.

I enjoy various aspects of The Year in Review that are available in late December. CBS Sunday Morning did a great one about those that died in 2018. Read it here, but for me, the 23-minute video version (linked) is worth the time. The Interesting Reads below links The Onion’s 2018 review.

We did our share of travels to visit in opposite corners of the state from us. Those 5 days are the reason I wasn’t out and about very much in blogland.

A friend gave me a sample of an interesting herbal tea – Ginger-Licorice. I greatly enjoyed it, so if you want to try, here’s the link.

I think 2019 my the first time ever (for me) that I didn’t see one play of college football to begin the year. All the games were on ESPN, which I no longer have – and I had zero interest in the game on ABC. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Rose Bowl no matter who was playing, but not this year. So, I watched the annual NHL Winter Classic.

Have you noticed how varying uses and misuses of New Years, New Years’, and New Year’s?

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Although I feel for government workers because they are being used as political pawns, I’m unsure how long I would long I would like to see the shutdown go. Several months? For me, and because President Trump initiated and promoted this fight, he would have to give up something that he doesn’t want to do.

While Trumpians use “open border” to justify their wall, the same people cannot apply “open border” to the current situation in the US.

Some wonder why President Trump didn’t push for the wall harder when Republicans had full control. The answer is simple: 1) Democratic control of the House gives him a foil, and 2) its still Obama’s fault.

The Washington Post reports that President Trump averages 15 false claims per day. I say it’s higher because he also talks without cameras or reporters present.

A tip of the cap to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) for standing up for America and criticizing President Trump. Here’s his Washington Post editorial that contains many great lines. Maybe this will inspire other Republicans to take a stand against President Trump. Then again, I don’t have much confidence in that happening nor in Republican voters.

PS: Senator Romney, keep in mind that talk is cheap.

To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines for the new year, The Onion provides a timely list of pros/cons of making New Year’s resolutions.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Report: There is nothing else in bottom of gift bag
Podiatrists recommend getting feet rotated every six months
Man methodically explains origin behind every poster hanging in apartment
Zoologists discover new fastest land animal after pumping white-tailed deer full of steroids
Department of Interior to control mole population by releasing mallets into national parks

(My Combo) Mole full of steroids methodically mallets man with rotated feet into bottom of gift bag

Interesting Reads

Belongings of those who fled
Inside Van Gogh’s mind
A view outside the partisan parties
A lesson about the importance of commas
America’s new religions
Time travel and the US National Parks
The Onion’s Annual Report (Year in Review)
(Photos) 10 powerful pics from 2018
(Photos) Interesting photos submitted to the BBC

To send you into the weekend, enjoy this musical trip back to 1965. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 382

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Pronouns 2: The Musical continues with Act 3: Our(s). Yes, Our and Ours are acceptable. Curtain rises as Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US). Meanwhile, I smile at the interactions between bloggers during the musical.

Earlier this week we saw the movie Green Book. We loved it … many thumbs up! Here’s the trailer.

This line from comedian Ricky Gervais made me laugh: “Being dead is like being stupid – it’s only painful to others.”

This week we watched a handful of Seinfeld episodes. Now that’s original comedy. When we were on a tour in Manhattan many years ago, the narrator said Seinfeld wasn’t a comedy show – but a documentary of life in Manhattan.

Until recently, I did not realize that WW 2 leaders Roosevelt (FDR), Hitler, and Mussolini all died within a span of 18 days.

A salute to Shimon! The kind thinker in Jerusalem started blogging in May 2011 – and our first encounter here was in March 2012. In this recent post he announced that it was probably his last blog post and he wanted to thank people. First of all, I appreciate when a blogger states their intentions to stop blogging (as opposed to walking away). Relationships are an important aspect of blogging, and I wish more would remember that. More importantly, Shimon is an example of why I believe the majority of the world is good. Shimon, thank you for being you. A toast of bourbon to you! Shalom.

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As of Friday (30 Nov), 34 days until the Democrats can officially start supporting President Trump’s re-election by over-playing their hand.

Not surprised President Trump rejected recent the Climate Change report done as a group effort by 13 government agencies. After all, everyone knows that he knows more about climate change than the researchers – and the agencies have a political agenda, whereas he doesn’t. Mr. President, I challenge you to put your words into action by defunding the research arm of all 13 agencies.

I’m still amazed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been able to contain information about the investigation. We know so little – so the reason why many speculate. Meanwhile, I patiently wonder and wait.

The large caravan of Central Americans wanting to come into the US is interesting. I recently wonder “Why?” this group exists – and I come up with this list of four most-plausible possibilities.

  • The standard immigration story of people seeking freedom with hopes of a better live
  • A plot by liberal donor(s) to embarrass President Trump and Republicans
  • A plot by conservative donor(s) to embolden President Trump
  • The Russians creating chaos
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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides important dental hygiene tips.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Brutalized toothbrush wishes owner would just let it die
Study finds only 20% of seminary graduates go on to become God
Pistachio-eating man achieves “Flow” state
Kinky couple has mirror in bathroom
Disgusting, unusable shopping cart has single sprig of parsley in it
Metropolitan museum acquires another vase

Interesting Reads

The economically dying areas
Perceptions about food risks
Captain Cook and the Hawaiian Islands
Thoughts about edible insects
Still fighting for Monkey Laws
A place where 500 people speak 9 different languages
(Photos) Unique caskets

To send you into the weekend, here’s a wonderful song from many years ago – and one for Resa who loves them, and Pauline who doesn’t know them. These Eyes (Guess Who). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 381

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Good news – After 12 acts and an encore, Pronouns: The Musical closed a very successful run. More good news – starting next weekend, Pronouns 2: The Musical kicks off. This musical will be shorter than the other, so my hopes are that we will complete it before 2018 closes. The first theme features songs with My in the title. Curtain time remains the same: Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Only one more post remains for my western national parks tour. Sometime in the near future, I will start the Eastern Europe series.

Although the She/He Writing Challenge didn’t get much of a response, I think it was a good challenge and I enjoyed doing it.

The wildfires in California continue to bring havoc to many. I encourage anyone able to donate to a charity of your choice to help victims. I suggest the California Community Foundation: Wildfire Relief Fund.

Within four days last week, we had quite the string of musical events.

  • We attended (as ushers) the world premier of Cincinnati King – a play about King Records. What a fun show! Sure hope other theaters throughout the country pick this up in the future.
  • The next day we went to the movies for Bohemian Rhapsody. Thumbs up – and a must for Queen fans!
  • Two days later, our handbell played a surreal arrangement of Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery. Here’s a video of our choir doing this beautiful piece. (I’m on the near side popping in out of view.)
  • That night we attended a concert featuring a handbell soloist. Watching her made me nervous 🙂 … that’s quite the skill!

I have no doubt that voters who don’t know what they are doing have started watching Dancing With The Stars.

For many posts I set a publish time. For others who do that and if you just had a time adjustment with Daylight Savings Time – don’t forget to adjust your WordPress clock.

For whatever reason, the WP Gnomes turned off all my notification settings.

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Looking ahead to 2020, at this point I do not see Ohio as a battleground/swing state because it is unquestionably leaning red.

Dealing with President Trump’s string of lies, exaggerations, distortions, and finger-pointing is one thing, but the continual blind eye, acceptance, and enabling by Trumpians and the majority of Republicans is even worse.

On the same topic, Congressional Republicans have done a very poor job of oversight. That’s what the balance of powers is all about! Then again, a party using oversight to justify politically butchering a president isn’t the intent.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion shares an interesting picture they captured in a jungle.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Ecologists discover 400 species of Charles Darwin living in Galápagos Islands
Friends Excitedly Gather Around Man’s Phone To Watch Shaky Footage of concert
Conservative Floridian Enjoys Living Under Sharia Law More Than He Thought He Would
Couple Nervous To Admit They Met Online In Comments Section Of ‘How To Iron Shirt’ Video
Sunday School Teacher Can Already Tell Which Ones Going To Hell

Interesting Reads

100 years after the Armistice
Artificial Intelligence and wildlife research
Science and religion: not in unison, but in harmony
About the placebo effect
(Graphic) A collection of misconceptions
(Pictures) A collection of weather pictures

To send you into the weekend, a tip of the cap to my Canadian regulars with a song from a Canadian icon. Enjoy Leonard Cohen with Dance Me To The End of Love. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.