Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 419

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

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

Interesting Reads

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

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

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol 418

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James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, is ready to take the weekend concert stage! Concert time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

As part of my exit plan, I’ve added a new page/tab. Q&A page is a place for my audience to ask me questions.

The ending to last week’s Steelers-Browns game was embarrassing. And to think that some people are blaming the Steeler QB. Not that he’s totally innocent, but only one player intentionally swung the helmet.

Speaking of football, the Benevolent Impalers continue to roll. Besides steamrolling the third consecutive opponent, we’ve clinched a playoff spot with three weeks remaining in the season.

Long-time readers know I enjoy milestones. Cheers to Akismet catching over 100,000 spam comments.

For moviegoers, thumbs up to The Good Liar.

Odd are very few readers here have heard of Serpent Mound. It’s an Ohio historic site, and has even applied for status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A local TV station did this drone flyover with a short report. For those wanting to know more, here are three short (less than 5 minute) videos.

Zion National Park, a beautiful natural wonder, is turning 100. A new film is made for the park’s Visitors Center and for global distribution. Oh, now that would be great on an IMAX screen. Although the information I found was limited, I did find this trailer.

Typically, November and December are busy for the handbell choir – meaning many more songs to prepare for the various holidays. Our normal playing schedule is once a month, but this week we return after 2 weeks, then play again 2 weeks later, then again for Christmas Eve. To hear a recording of our next piece, click here to enjoy.

Because next week is Thanksgiving here in the US, no OITS next week – and maybe no Beach Walk …. but I’ll be featuring a series of travel posts.

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An Associated Press article was about a study stating Americans struggle differentiating fact vs. fiction. Whereas I continue to proclaim the people are just as biased than the media, and perhaps more so, several quotes in the article got to me.

  • “It is difficult to get the facts. You have to read between the lines. I rely on like-minded friends and family to help sort through conflicting information.”
  • “When I hear him on Fox News – that’s where I get all my information – Trump is the easiest way to cut through confusing information.”

With the hearing on one day, I switched the channel to watch a rerun of Laramie (an old western 1959-1963). … and nope, I didn’t watch the most recent Democratic debate (which keeps my streak intact).

Why have Republicans complained about the closed hearings when they intentionally chose to limit their attendance? Oh yes – they rely on the public’s ignorance and partisan bias. Meanwhile, on the public hearing, they only hear what they want to hear.

Part of the Republican defense of President Trump begins with statements like, “No judge in America, no trial in America, no jury in America, blah blah blah … To which I respond, In America any juror with a preconceived opinion – especially those stating their views before the hearing the evidence, would be excluded from the jury – including those that have dinner with the defendant before the trial. 

Because they prefer being a political hack favoring their party instead of following the law, the Ethics Committee should expel any member of Congress who demands or releases the whistleblower’s identity. Then again, Congressional Ethics is an oxymoron.

If Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016, would the Republicans (at the time, a majority in the House and Senate) have sought her impeachment over the private server? I confidently say, Yes! After all, it’s not about the evidence – it’s about what they want to believe.

An idea for Congressional Republicans: Seek to amend the Constitution – suggest removing “high crimes and misdemeanors” with something like “proven illegal activity” …. but you won’t … bwak bwak bwak … Chickens!

Bottom line about Congressional Republicans: The vast majority (if not all) are shallow, pathetic, selfish, spineless cowards who are more concerned about their party and self-preservation than about the country. Sadly, their voting constituents may be even worse.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion explains how political ads are made.

(Bonus Onion lead) President Trump visited the hospital earlier this week. Click here if you dare.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Pope Francis Bags 6-Winged Trophy Angel During Vatican’s Annual Seraphim Hunt
Area Man Loads Up On Half-Priced Armistice Day Candy
Girlfriend must have been drinking when she texted picture of knitted scarf at midnight
Man Starting To Think He Didn’t Win 1995 Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Sweepstakes For Free Trip To Australian Outback
Report: Looks Like Ex Gained Some Weight Ever Since They Started Dating Someone Better
Spider panics after losing track of human it noticed scurry across floor

Interesting Reads

Report: marriage v living together in the US
Looking for oxygen on Mars
Farming edible snails
5 facts about illegal immigration in Europe
Relating fictional plots to economic history
About the making of Ford v Ferrari movie
(Graphic) Broadband and cellphone service costs by country
(Photos) Comedy in the wild

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song that I like. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 416

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Impressive concert activity last weekend with The Guess Who and friends! So many wonderful songs! Using Day 2 to transition into Bachman Turner Overdrive was perfect.

Announcing a Schedule Change: The next concert will feature The Godfather of Soul – James Brown. The date has not been finalized, but it will be either November 16th or 23rd.

Readers may recall my recent post celebrating Walktober (I featured a walk in a Cincinnati park along the river). Robin has hosted Walktober for many years, and I have proudly participated in most of them. She always ends the celebration with a post featuring all participants. I invite everyone to read it here and encourage everyone to visit other walkers – especially because this may be Robin’s last.

My fantasy Benevolent Impalers delivered a major thumping last weekend. Coupled with an upset, we are now in a 3-way tie for first at 7-2.

Speaking of football, I liked this one from The Onion. Click to see it.

This week I had jury duty in County Common Pleas Court. Tough duty – I didn’t have to report Monday, Tuesday,  and Wednesday – but got the call for Thursday – got seated – guilty – home. Well, it was a slam-dunk case that shouldn’t have gone to trial.

The voting fans have taken over Dancing With The Stars. With 50% of the score from the judges and 50% from the fans, fan voting is skewing the results. The show will either have to change the voting format or go off the air.

The handbell choir is playing a fun piece at this Sunday’s service. This piece includes many techniques, rhythms, and chimes. To listen, click here (then click the Start button).

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2019 is considered not a big election year with zero regular seats are up for grabs. However, it is an election year for Kentucky Governor. Given that Cincinnati is a border city, candidates on both sides bombarded with ads – including the Trump loyalists.

By the way, President Trump won Kentucky by over 30% in 2016, Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who is unapologetically a Trump supporter, is losing by 0.4%. Predictably, Gov. Bevin complained about “thousands” of voting irregularities. Sound familiar?

The number of of Trumpian loyalists and their fervor continues to amaze me … and they accept whatever narrative their leader uses. Also, I liked this one for a letter in the Cincinnati paper: … the president himself has succeeded in pulling Americans down to his level. Not long ago on a past issue of OITS, a reader stated (I paraphrase), If we re-elect Donald Trump, we deserve what we get.

I regularly watch CBS This Morning, but I had to use the Mute button when during the interview with Donald Trump, Jr, who was their promoting his book.

Here’s an interesting point about the 2020 presidential election. For the Democrats to win, they must 1) maintain all their 2016 states, 2) flip Pennsylvania & Wisconsin, and 3) flip one other big state as Florida or Ohio. In can be done, but every Democratic candidate may not be able to accomplish that. Meanwhile, the latest poll from The New Times & Siena College supports my thoughts.

Although I’m not in this profile of swing voters, this article is interesting.

Is the House Intelligence Committee similar to the House Ethics Committee? After all, both are oxymorons.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline of studies on the effects of red meat.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Elite preschool boasts 95% of graduates go on to kindergarten
Patron scans cocktail menu for drink with fewest unfamiliar ingredients
Exterminator composes self in driveway so kids won’t know he saw cricket die at work today
‘Ooh, Right In The Bean Bag,’ Says Wincing Surgeon Through Every Step Of Vasectomy
NYC opens $500 million decoy subway station to catch turnstile jumpers
VISA introduces new preloaded debt card

Interesting Reads

Politics and the holiday dinner table
Life in an alien ocean
Having one time zone for the whole world
From the revolutionary world of the seedless lemon
(Photos) Images of Australia’s past
(Graphic) China’s economy the past 70 years
(Photos) Pics from Mexico’s Day of the Dead

To send you into the weekend, here’s one of my all-time favorite songs. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 414

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Happy October! I recently learned that from the beginning of the month to the end, Cincinnati will lose 1 hour 13 minutes of daylight. On the other hand, Cincinnatian ushered in October with a heat wave resembling July/August!

The Weekend Concert Series returns this weekend featuring Prince. Concert time is this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US). FYI: This will be the last concert until November.

After its initial appearance two years ago, BLINK Cincinnati returns next week. The Thursday-to-Sunday light extravadanza was over-the-top outstanding.

 

The Navy commissions a new combat ship this weekend – the USS Cincinnati. It definitely looks different from what many of us imagine. See a short video here.

Not to be outdone by the US Navy, Glade (the air freshener) develops an aerial spray. Click here for a great visual.

I know this request is contradictory to my plans, but it is an important question to ask. Do you have any ideas/requests for future beach walks? If so, let me know.

Notre Dame may score 100 this weekend when they play one of the worst teams in college football – my alma mater.

Our first ushering assign gave us a musical treat – Once On This Island, which one a 2018 Tony for Best Revival of a Musical.

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Instead of addressing important issues to the country (and its people) as a whole, interesting how Congressional Democrats continue to help President Trump’s fundraising efforts.

I recently heard Kellyanne Conway defending President Trump from impeachment by saying, “Read the Constitution.” I did, and did some research including reading Federalist Papers 65 and 66. It was enlightening, but not worth writing because too many can’t get beyond their partisan lens. Simply put, Kellyanne Conway continues to do what she does best – plea to the ignorant, the misinformed, the stupid, and the partisans.

Although impeachment is not necessary about common law and related offenses, In the impeachment process, think of the House as the Grand Jury issuing an indictment. Think of the Senate as the jury members at a trial. However, in this case, the jury is already weighing in their opinion without hearing the evidence. In conclusion, Senators present the best interest of their respective political party, not the best interest of the country or the thoughts and desires of the people they serve.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion explains the impeachment process in 5 easy steps.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Chameleon wishes environment would occasionally adapt to him
Birthday card secretly passed around office like secret CIA covert operation
Quiet nerdy kid lies in wait for perfect moment to unleash freestyle rap abilities on classmates
Waitress parades choice of pie slices in front of man like madam in high-class brothel
Nutritionists report they wouldn’t have to figure out which foods were bad for you if Americans just ate normal for once

Interesting Reads

The slowing down of tech innovation
The Hollywood sign
Mathematics and nature
Educational progress: an oxymoron?
The world and coffee
(Graphic) Countries with the map sustainable energy policies
(Photos) 2018 Smithsonian photo contest winners
(Video)  Oil production by country 1966-2017 (45-sec)

To send you into the weekend, here’s an oldie I recent heard that would be good here. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 413

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The Weekend Concert Series returns this weekend with Journey taking to the stage. Concert time is this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Week 2 of Dancing With The Stars revealed a new way of eliminating contestants – which to me is a result of the trend of viewers making goofy choices. Meanwhile, even though one contestant is typically eliminated each week, those who need to go early are identified – therefore, gives others time to develop into contenders.

Because I just mentioned television, I didn’t watch the Emmy Awards, but from what I’ve seen, gotta love Zendaya Coleman fashion statement.

A Cincinnati Reds legend had his final game this afternoon. Marty Brennaman has been the play-by-play  radio broadcaster for 46 years. He’s not only a local legend, but is also enshrined in the broadcaster’s wing at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Maybe the first inning of his first game served as an omen. That’s when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth as the all-time homerun leader. Marty – thanks for all the memories!

About the game today. I didn’t watch on TV, I listened on a small, transistor-like radio beyond the final out through the post-game show. I turned on the television to watch the post-game ceremony. Yes – I shed a few tears.

Benevolent Impalers (my football fantasy team) lost it’s first game last week falling to 2-1. We got thumped. The opponents, the lowest scoring team in the league the first two weeks (and I the highest), achieved the highest scoring week of the season by far. My week was OK, but the opponents were on fire.

Did you know Popeyes is the official chicken of the Vatican? ( know Marc knows!)

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President Trump can no longer surprise me.

House Democrats have started an impeachment inquiry. This is the first step in the impeachment process, and it could also be the last step.

Although the US Constitution provides a mechanism for impeachment, there should not be any doubt that impeachment is a political process driven by party-first politics on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, what is best for the country cannot overcome tribalism.

A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt. (from Federalist Paper: No. 65, Alexander Hamilton, 7 March 1788)

The end of the third quarter is a time for my latest odds.

  • President Trump being nominated: 97%
  • President Trump receiving my vote: 0%
  • Democratic nominee receiving my vote: 10%
  • President Trump winning re-election: 55%

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a glimpse of what is happening in a high school science class. I wonder who will look here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Every ingredient in recipe substituted for to avoid trip to store
Child concerned parents might never amount to anything
Nation perplexed by 16-year-old who doesn’t want the world to end
Obsessive-compulsive baseball player has to touch all 3 bases before going home
Man struggling to accept the fact that he’ll never move beyond medium salsa

Interesting Reads

Time with Turkish militants
Keeping working satellites safe
Death of Alexander the Great
Apps and the battle in Hong Kong
Mac & cheese and Mars
(Graphic) America’s political divide since 1994 (I love this one!)
(Photos) Milky Way photo contest winners
(Photos) Running of the wieners

To send you into the weekend, time for a bit of old school Frank style from Blue Man Group. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 412

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No concert this weekend. Actually, the next artist taking the stage must change due to unforeseen extenuating circumstances. James Brown (the Godfather of Soul) will be rescheduled. Next up: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Journey. Date TBA (possibly 28th Sept).

This weekend our handbell choir starts the season with a fun rendition of Children of the Heavenly Father. For those interested, listen to a studio recording here.

Benevolent Impalers (my football fantasy team) rolled to 2-0 record with a convincing victory over a personal rival (a friend since my first day in college) who is also a perennial power in this league. I remained cautiously concerned because no team has ever made the playoffs with only two wins.

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Allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh recently surfaced. Contrary to many others, I refuse to judge the man on the merits of college-days behavior.

Although I haven’t watched any of the Democratic debates to date, plus I don’t plan on watching any in the future, columnist Maureen Dowd (New York Times) offers this interesting perspective.

Not only does President Trump wants to ease air quality standards, he wants to block states from setting clean air standards. Hmmmm …. Seems the Republican call for “States Rights” is not surprisingly silent.

An obvious contradiction. Polls show that Americans want fuel-efficient vehicles. Yet, in practice, Americans purchase many large SUVs and trucks. Wonder how that correlates with partisan voting.

How’s this for logic? Socialism offers free health care for all. Joseph Stalin was a Socialist. Stalin killed millions. Say no to Medicare for All.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline of capital punishment in America.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Huge box of extra organs left on curb outside hospital
Adoption agency gives couple who waited long time an extra kid free of charge
“Flatbread means pizza,” man explains to visiting father
Nike recalls sweat-wicking shirts that pull gallons liquid directly from wearers’ bodies
Philadelphia to become DirectTV, Pennsylvania after cream cheese manufacturer loses naming rights
Grizzled beer can used as ashtray watches another headstrong 12-pack come and go through patio

(My Combo) Headstrong grizzled man waited long time to pull extra cream cheese from huge box

Interesting Reads

Spreading misinformation
Why big data continues to get bigger
Losing at Waterloo
Why school buses are yellow
How Americans view China
(Graphic) World economy by countries on one chart
(Photos) EyeEm Photo Awards

To send you into the weekend, my favorite video by The Cars. R.I.P Rick Ocasek. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 411

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The concert stage will be active this weekend as we transition from the King of Pop to The King. Elvis Presley will be in the building to take the stage this Saturday, 1:00 (Eastern US)

Cincinnati is in the midst of an unseasonable blast of summer. I’m ready for the transition into fall – which will happen soon.

The new season of Dancing with the Stars starts on Monday. Although I’m not acquainted with most of the participants, I’ll be watching.

Just saw the movie Blinded By The Light (trailer). Interesting, despite a slow beginning.  I would describe it as sad and inspirational – frustrating and joyful. Thumbs up!

One more week to go in my golf league. I haven’t been happy with my swing the past two years, but hey – I still enjoy the game. Meanwhile, I jumped into fantasy football for the first time in a long, long time. Trying to prove the pundits wrong because I’m currently the underdog every week! Never fear – the Benevolent Impalers won the opener!

So far, I’ve enjoyed going through my blog closet finding unfinished posts. There are more to come!

Wondering: Instead of e pluribus Unum (“one out of many”), has America became a land of prejudices based on political ideology, race, gender, sexuality, and religion/personal belief?

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As this post is published, Democratic candidates are participating in a 3-hour debate in Houston. Meanwhile, I’m counting the number of pieces in a large bag of recently shredded paper.

It’s always interesting reading and watching various perspectives of September 11 2001. That day impacted the world. That day brought much of humanity together. Outside of this statement, President Trump and 9-11 should not be used in the same sentence, same paragraph, or the same story.  That day is much more important than him, and anything about him.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides famous instances of censorship in US history.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Dog stool pretty much picked over by the time fly arrives
Distraught man still finding painful reminders of long-gone hoagie around apartment
Fashion designers announce plans to wave with both hands, bow slightly
Longtime Sleepytime Tea addict has to use 6 bags just to feel drowsy
Scholar wishes someone would refer to him as preeminent
Man overcomes fear of public urination

Interesting Reads

Antarctica’s only native insect
Something about private labels
Painter William Blake
Symbolism and the albatross
New species with a headline fitting for The Onion (at least look)
(Infographic) Your brain on beer vs. coffee
(Photos) Australian Geographic photo contest winners

To send you into the weekend, here’s an unexpected song and artist from the norm. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.