Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 343

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Hooray for us. The out-of-town aunt’s house is sold and closed! Simply a monumental accomplishment considering where we started.

Last weekend’s Supermoon was awesome. Love this collection of images from USA Today.

Savannah Guthrie: “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the recognition that they have behaved badly? And I don’t know the answer to that.” … I say if you love Matt Lauer as a friend, he needs you – so be there for him.

We had a new experience last weekend: Watching a holiday parade of horse-drawn carriages.

The IOC banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics, but Russian athletes can complete without a country. In my opinion, that’s pathetic.

Last week’s Crosstown Shootout was ugly as Xavier convincingly dismantled my UC Bearcats. Oh well … a team not playing well and getting outplayed doesn’t deserve to win. Congrats XU!

The college football committee got the four playoff teams right.

Although PBS dismissed Garrison Keillor for misconduct, I plan to continue using his quote at the end of this post.

Congratulations to Jim Wheeler for being the 75,000th. He was touched by the fireplaces display I had for him. The next milestone will probably happen in early 2018 as I’m 21 posts away from post #2000.

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Current tax bills are a prime example of Republicans being so desperate to accomplish something, they are willing to sell out their philosophy.

Regarding President Trump’s recent proclamation about Jerusalem, I didn’t listen to him, his surrogates, or other partisan talking heads – but I was all hears when listening to Middle East expert Aaron David Miller. Here’s his article about the announcement.

Wall Street’s positive reaction to possible changes in tax policy has nothing to do with changes to people and everything to do with the effect on corporations.

The reason I believe Roy Moore will win the Alabama Senate race can be summarized in one word. Any thoughts?

In the era of declaring Fake News, Chris Wallace (Fox News Anchor) wrote this interesting editorial.

The 4 lines I most commonly hear by President Trump supporters for any situation: Having Hillary would be worse. Look at Hillary’s crimes. He’s better than Obama. It’s Obama’s fault. Nothing like having ready-to-use lines for any occasion.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion captures royal scandals over time.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Cartoon character translated seamlessly into noodle
Son’s friend seems like the type who always gets nosebleeds
Steven Spielberg recalls coming to blows with ET on film set
Negligent oaf sloppily packs away board game without so much as a thought to future players
GOP leaders celebrate passing point of no return

Interesting Reads
Gene therapy brings hope
About a remote Norwegian island
Myths about the brain
Jobs and automation
A symphony from broken instruments
Hedy Lamarr: Inventor
A solution for pack rats
(Photos) Royal Society photo winners

For your weekend entertainment, let’s climb into the way-back machine for some early Beatles. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 342

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Fiona, Cincinnati Zoo’s mega-star, has this major article in the New York Times Sunday edition.

The Kennedy Center Honors are this week, but the telecast is December 27th (9-11 pm US Eastern) on CBS. For me, this annual event is must-watch television! The 2017 honorees are Carmen de Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J, Norman Lear, and Lionel Richie.

If you enjoy “Oh Come Emmanuel”, you may enjoy this handbell piece that we are playing next week. Very interesting rhythms  – and not easy! –  but at least it’s not like the late-October monster. Click here to listen.

Congratulations to Jordan Fisher and partner Lindsay Arnold for winning Dancing With the Stars. He was outstanding from the very start. To our eyes, his technique was over-the-top good. Here’s his Week 1 Tango. (The dance starts at 1:30.)

Cincinnati is lucky to be home to two top-level college basketball teams Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati. The rivalry between the two schools that are only 3.5 miles (5.6 km) apart is intense – and this weekend is the annual meeting known as the Crosstown Shootout. Go UC! … but this is the only game of the year where I hope XU loses.

Here’s the beginning of an interesting local story.

Suliman Abdul-Mutakallim was shot in the back of his head, as he walked home, carrying food for himself and his wife. Authorities say he was an innocent and unsuspecting victim. After two teenagers pleaded guilty this month at separate court hearings and were sentenced to prison terms, Abdul-Mutakallim’s mother, Rukiye, offered to hug them. Javon Coulter said she could. Rukiye wants to visit them in prison regularly and help them become better people. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Just learned about a company named d.light.  Very interesting products! This is a way to help the people of Puerto Rico and other places without electricity. Click to see their products.

Saturday I’m posting a collaboration with an artist. Hope you stop by.

My little corner of the world is approaching several milestones, including 75,000th comment. I wonder who will get the recognition.

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Brilliantly said by Michael Gerson (Washington Post): Not only do we have tribal politics in this country, we also have tribal morality.

2108 is an election year for Ohio’s governor. The four top Republican candidates were in my area recently for a forum. Here’s the way the Cincinnati Enquirer started the report: The Republican nomination for Ohio governor might come down to who loves President Donald Trump more. And who’s least like current Republican governor John Kasich.

I continue to think Roy Moore will win in Alabama.

Two weeks I mentioned writing my Congressional Representative and Senator because their party like to claim, “It’s a mental health issue” when it comes to mass shootings. I asked what the Republican Party has done about mental health issues (purposefully without mentioning gun control.) My Representative responded: 1) Without answering my question. 2) Stating the issue with the Air Force files on the most recent incident has been corrected, and 3) focusing on gun control.

In terms of the plan for the tax cuts, interesting how the effects of the debt is less important to those who previously said the debt is of utmost importance. Ah yes – the nature of politics.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers tips for clean eating.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Buick introduces new self-buying car
Nutella briefly entertained as lubricant
New historic evidence suggests most Pilgrims sailed back home to celebrate first Thanksgiving
Smithsonian acquires rare photograph where whole family looks really nice
Substitute teacher can tell he’s filling in for real asshole

Interesting Reads
Can machines become moral?
26 words we don’t want to lose
Ocean’s most-dedicated mothers
Digital privacy upcoming in the high court
60 years after Brown v. Board of Education
(Images) Bumper stickers for subway riders
(Photos) Random photos of the week

For your weekend entertainment, I continue the stretch of Fab Four songs. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 341

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Last week we attended live theater 3 nights in a row: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, An Evening with Groucho, and Cabaret. The first two were at the Cincinnati Playhouse where we usher, and the later was a community theater production.

We saw the latest movie rendition of Murder on the Orient Express. If you don’t know who did it, it’s a good (not great) who-done-it movie … but I thought the beginning was too slow.

Last week our handbell choir played Fantasy on an Irish Tune (one many will recognize). For those enjoying handbell music, here’s a recording (not us) of the song, one that we had only a short time to prepare. Meanwhile, this week we started the preparing for a busy December.

If you appreciate outdoor murals, see these extraordinary works. (Thanks to Raye for leading me to these.)

College basketball season is underway. With two strong teams in my city (that are only 3.5 miles/5.6 km apart), expectations are high – especially after a lousy football season.

Sharing our British Isles cruise will continue this weekend – and the end should be before the next edition of OITS. The next post will feature the biggest surprise of the trip.

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I’m awaiting responses from both my Republican Representative Wenstrup and Republican Senator Portman to the following: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, or Texas: No matter the location of a mass shooting, a common Republican soundbite describe the result as “a mental health issue.” What has your party – Republicans – done to address the issue since December 14, 2012? (As of this posting, no answer from either person.)

Seems Congress is aiming for a temporary tax cut … sunset provisions are not tax reform! Then again, much of what they are doing isn’t reform, just mere tinkering with the existing system. The Republicans are stuck between a pushy president and the desperate need to do something. So, they have backed themselves into the corner and can’t make good politics out of bad policy. On the other side, the Democrats are stuck with only saying “No” because they can’t develop a message of a better way.

A divisive president, partisan-driven Congress, and the blind rhetoric of partisan voters has turned me into more fervent independent than I was before. I enjoyed this article from Pew Research Center and the interactive (also from Pew) I listed in Interesting Reads below.

Now this is a classic. A statement from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry referred to President Trump as an “old lunatic” – so President Trump responded, Why would Kim Jong-un called me “old”?

Not to be outdone, radio bloviator Rush Limbaugh offered this head-banging-against-the-wall  defense for Senator Roy Moore (R-AL): “When he supposedly was attracted to inappropriately aged girls, he was a Democrat.”

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers a list of ways to make a difference your local community.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Toddler scientists finally determine number of peas that can fit in the ear canal
Neither boss nor employee paid enough to deal with each other
Flu takes down biggest guy in the office as warning to rest of staff
Doctors discover the purpose of appendix is to contain human soul
90% of bike accidents preventable by buying a car

Interesting Reads
Relationships: Saudi Arabia and its neighbors
How Cincinnati made the JFK files
People and information
Glass terrarium that changed the world
The most painted woman in the world
(Interactive) Political polarization in the US since 1994
(Photos) Facts about sunsets

For your weekend entertainment, here’s Sir Paul performing another classic Beatles song. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 339

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Well, the handbell monstrous piece is over – finally over – and at least out of our folder of music (although I fear it will return). We played it OK – but not our best – probably better from the director’s position than from mine. I gave us a C. Now we race to prepare a piece for an upcoming November service (1 more rehearsal), followed by the hectic month of December with the Christmas services.

Congratulations to the Houston Astros for winning baseball’s World Series. What a great thrill for a city still a long way from recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

The double elimination on Dancing With the Stars most definitely was a Halloween surprise.

I’m making headway with the vacation posts; so one may appear this weekend.

Many of heard the saying “all politics are local.” We attended a Meet the Candidates night of city council candidates. Even local politicians seem to have a way of not answering questions. Yep – I say, Throw the bums out – so I will not be voting for any of the 3 incumbents.

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On initial assessment, I like the Republican idea of decreasing contributions to 401(k) accounts. As a matter of fact, I could be more aggressive. But they seem to have given up on the idea.

Last week I listed 10 verbs of President Trump’s leadership style. Here’s one more – forgetting.

Republicans say tax reform would grow the economy by 10%. News Flash! Growing from 1% to 1.1% will not take care of the tax reform plans debt. Therefore, 3-to-5% growth in the current GDP (from President Trump’s own Council of Economic Advisors) through the corporate tax cuts would be minuscule … and all that is different than tripling the growth to 3% (said by others). So then, why the disparity – even within the same party?

For those wanting President Trump’s impeachment, I say, Be careful what you wish for.

I will not be surprised if the newly released Kennedy assassination papers indicate Obama was at fault … Who else could have work with Oswald in such secrecy? Now that’s a powerful and destined 2-year-old.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion identifies the most popular Halloween costumes for couples.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Delirious koala hasn’t slept for 72 straight minutes
Most incompetent office worker once again shines at office Halloween party
Startling reports indicates Democrats may have attempted to influence 2016 election
Man wouldn’t have worn costume to work if he’d known he was getting laid off
Alpha trick-or-treater established by third house

Interesting Reads
Protestantism 500 years later
Leonidas of Rhodes
Dark matter & Halloween
Making Mt. Rushmore
Hardy spuds
Spanish Celtics

For your weekend entertainment, fortunately those no longer with us left their music. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 338

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Carefully observers have noticed that my posting has been a bit erratic and my responding to comments has been very slow. This has been primarily due to the time spent working on the situation of an out-of-town aunt. Thanks to all for being patient, understanding, and caring.

Phase 2 (of 3) in preparing an aunt’s house for sale is complete – so 3+ hour trips should not be as numerous as we enter Phase 3. Phase 2 was definitely the most critical and the most time-consuming .. and we proudly check that box!

I’m hoping November will be better for blogging (visiting and posting) than October.

A milestone: I’ve started the process of receiving Social Security and Medicare.

Blink Cincinnati was an unbelievable success. Hopefully several posts in the future.

Readers here know I enjoy posting about murals in Cincinnati – primarily the ones by ArtWorks. Here’s an article from the New York Times about public art. Thanks Raye!

It’s possible that the song below is the hardest handbell piece our choir has ever played. Our one-shot performance is approaching, so time will tell. “Mixed meter” is a musical term for a piece with different time signatures within the piece. This piece (the one we are playing) changes timing over 75 times. Now that plays havoc on my nerves.

Because this weekend marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, two related articles are in this week’s Interesting Reads.

This season of Dancing With the Stars continues to surprise me. Actor Jordan Fisher and musician Lindsey Stirling have been exceptional. Television personality Vanessa Lachey continues to shine. Actor Frankie Muniz, wrestler Nikki Bella, ESPN’s Victoria Arlen are solid, while Property Brother Drew Scott and athlete Terrell Own continue to improve.

Contrary to some partisans, the situation involving scumbag Harvey Weinstein is not a political issue.

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A tip of the cap to Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA for at least trying to develop a bipartisan agreement regarding the Affordable Care Act – even co-sponsored by 24 senators. Another proposal from a bipartisan group on the House side faces similar obstacles: a group representing slightly less than 10% of the House of Representatives.

I have no problem with a Congressional committee investigating the sale of US uranium mines to Russians ONCE – not over and over – not as a dragged-on affair trying to find something that isn’t – not as a political witch hunt.

I liked this question regarding North Korea and nuclear weapons: Would you rather live with North Korea having nuclear weapons or have thousands killed in the name of stopping North Korea from having weapons?

After 9 months in office, President Trump uses the following strengths to lead the country: bolivating, exaggerating, lying, blaming, defecting, distorting, denying, ignoring, fabricating, and dividing. Cheers to this CNN commercial about two popular fruits.

Erick Erickson is definitely a conservative, but I appreciate his words about the way President Trump is reacting to the crisis in Puerto Rico.

But sometimes the President should be Presidential and getting in the mud is not. The people of Puerto Rico are hungry, thirsty, homeless, and fearful. They won’t hear a lot about President Trump’s twitter fight and it won’t matter to him because they cannot participate in the Electoral College. It should matter to all of us though that the President is so willing to get in the mud and fight back when the mayor and everyone else in Puerto Rico need our empathy and compassion. Sometimes the President just does not need to dial-up the jackass and sometimes he does not need to be defended.

Cheers to recent comments by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ) for having the guts to call it like it is. Then again, that’s a meager minority.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for organizing a protest.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
New evidence reveals Pythagoras wrote dozens of unhinged conspiracy theories about triangles
Romantic gesture too expensive to waste on current girlfriend
Nation demands more slow-motion footage of running basset hounds
Article nauseous from constant scrolling
Self-conscious panda swears it overheard zookeeper refer to it as “Giant”
Historians discover meditation spread from Ancient China by annoying monk who wouldn’t shut up about how it changed his life

Interesting Reads
Martin Luther and Literacy
Robots and ethics: teachable?
Odd pet behaviors
Historical aspects of doughnuts
Martin Luther’s impact
(Photos) British Press Photographer Awards

For your weekend entertainment, hooray for an early contribution from the Fab Four. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 337

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Cincinnati has a new major event this weekend, so I hope I get to report on Blink Cincinnati.

Last weekend our handbell choir played a good piece that is very melodic and peaceful (Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether). To listen to a recording of the song (not by us), click here, then scroll down to find the Listen button under the paragraph, then click Listen.

Also last weekend I participate as a volunteer partner at a dance competition for the dancers with Down Syndrome and other disabilities. What a great event!

In case you missed it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the 2018 nominees that will be on the ballot – and The Moody Blues received their FIRST nomination.

Thanks to those who are interested with our trips to care for the issues of an elderly aunt. The situation is stressful on multiple fronts, but we are going in the right direction. Meanwhile, the next 6 weeks are critical.

Because of the time involved with an aunt, yesterday was the first time I’ve played golf in many weeks … and the weather has been great for golf!

I like watching for statistical milestones. Comment #75,000 is approaching – Post #2000 could happen in 2018 – along with views #300,000.

In my posts featuring local murals, I encourage readers to visit Resa, the one who motivated me to post about the murals. Cheers to Resa for reaching a milestone: Post #1000 – visit it here.

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Not that I need another top-shelf example of the impact of partisan politics, but the Senate Judiciary Committee negotiated an agreement to issue a subpoena? Just another example of those elected following the party-first mantra.

I find it interesting when opponents of the president/administration of one party complain, but they stay silent when the president/administration of their party does the same.

While polls show the majority of Americans want to improve the Affordable Care Act, Congressional Democrats are pathetically silent with suggestions. For the record, being in the minority is not an acceptable excuse.

Vice President Pence’s actions at a recent NFL game were nothing more than a political stunt at the expense of the American taxpayer while doing nothing about the issue being raised and inflaming the situation.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion defines common cooking terms.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Side salad clearly made from hamburger toppings
Stunned family watches as grandma wolfs down sandwich in 33 minutes
Subway sandwich emits noxious honey mustard spray as defense against predators
Man explains to visiting father that “Flatbread means pizza”
Mom has stacked dinner party roster
Food Network production assistants prep Guy Fieri with dry rub

Interesting Reads
Armenians and strangers
The growing partisan divide in American politics
The hermit of Qadisha Valley
The town losing its language
Generation Z and big questions
(Images) From the longest-running photography competition

For your weekend entertainment, a song and video from many legends that have left us – but fortunately their music stayed behind for us to enjoy. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

 

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 336

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Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria along with the earthquake in Mexico have created much havoc in this part of the world. I encourage all readers to give to a charity of their choice that assists in recovery efforts.

I recently discovered Charity Navigator, a website rating many charitable organizations on their finances; including administrative expenses, fundraising expenses, accountability, transparencies and the percentage of donations that go into programs. Take a look.

Last week my wife’s side of the family recently gathered for a week along Lake Michigan. The town (Grand Haven, MI) has a fountain sitting high and across the river from the town – and this is a musical fountain – one choreographing water and lights to music.

Fiona surpassed 500 pounds. Keep in mind that she was born 6 weeks early at 29 pounds – and the zoo raised her without much guidance from other zoos.

October is going to be a busy month for us as we deal with the elderly aunt – so my presence will be inconsistent.

Several years I ago I was ride high with good seasons from my 3 football teams (2 college and 1 pro). I describe the 2018 edition of the same 3 teams as not-very-good, bad, and worse … how quickly things can change.

Dancing With the Stars is off to a good start with a strong cast. As a whole, the cast is very likable. The weakest and strongest competitors are obvious, but a large portion of the cast has room to develop into a contender.

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The recent fervor regarding football teams and the national anthem has caused many to wince and wonder in a variety of ways. Contrary to what others think, the action has nothing to do with disrespecting the country; nothing to do with disrespecting the flag; nothing to do with disrespecting the military; nothing to do with disrespecting first responders. This article from Polifact is interesting.

After the previously failed vote repealing the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) he was “willing to work with Democrats” …. then he sponsored the latest repeal effort (which at posting time) appears to be doomed.

Not long ago concerning an issue, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) described the solution coming from the center to find a majority – therefore avoiding the extremes. Although a good idea, I’m not convinced there are enough in the Congressional middle to create a majority.

As Republicans look toward tax reform as the next big issue, I won’t be surprised if they forego the normal legislative path. Meanwhile, the current posturing by both sides involves partisan distortion around facts that don’t exist.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides tips for remaining calm during an emergency.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Facebook vows not to hand over users’ medical records to government
Hydra decides to see doctor about painful ingrown head
Archaeologists discover fully intact 17th century belief system in Ohio congressman
Food purchased as souvenir tragically revealed to be available back home
Asian-American actress struggles with being typecast as Sherlock Holmes
Partridges frozen to pear trees
All Else fails

Interesting Reads
Is “scared to death” possible
Genetics and human evolution
Questioning lager beer’s origin
King John’s lost jewels
(Gallery) Pictures in nature from the first round 2017 National Geographic Photographer of the Year Contest 

For your weekend entertainment, enjoy the Fab Four classic sung by Sir Paul. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.