On the Day of the Last

The last Trump-Clinton debate is later today. As a matter of fact, many are readying themselves to watch … especially the partisans. To my non-U.S. audience, excuse this lengthy post about US politics, so I understand if you switch to my previous post about Walktober, which you will probably find more interesting and satisfying.

I’ve enjoyed following politics for a long time. I liked conventions because of the good speeches. I watched debates out of curiosity and being informed to make a judgment. I started this blog in August 2008 around politics and sports. I’ve morphed since then, but politics is still in my gut – although I’ve been more silent this year than in the past.

The 2016 election is (unfortunately) different. I didn’t watch either convention. I didn’t watch any of the debates during the primaries of either party, nor any of the debates in the past few weeks. The list of why not was always longer than the list of why. Tonight isn’t any different because I’m going for the shutout.

One reason to not watch is simply because the chances of a candidate answering the question is (at best) remote. The moderator will ask a question, then the candidate figures out a way to segue from the question to the prepared talking point. (In my debate rules, the microphone would be turned off and the candidate would enter the Cones of Silence.

Candidates have been doing this for years, but that doesn’t mean we the people don’t deserve better. Because I’m tired of it, watching would be a waste of time – so, instead, I’ll probably spend my time writing a future post about my recent trip.

2016 is also interesting in other ways. It seems that Hillary Clinton was proclaimed the nominee-in-waiting many years ago. I wonder what the Democrats would have done if she didn’t seek the nomination? After all, I never got the impression they were grooming anyone.

Nonetheless, she is the nominee – she’s also smart and experienced. On the other hand, besides being a polarizing figure to many, I don’t trust her. Although the email issue is mainly an issue for her partisan opponents, it’s a non-issue for me … but, it is an example of why I don’t trust her. Deep down I sense that she means well, but the Clintons are who they are. (Note: Overall, I think Bill Clinton was a good president.)

Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. When he announced his candidacy way back when, I stated (and repeatedly stated) that he wouldn’t be the nominee. I admit missing that one, but I’m still amazed he did so, thus wonder, why have Americans lowered themselves to that standard?

Regardless of “knowing more about ISIS than the generals”, Donald Trump’s candidacy has never been about issues and never been about substance. The man lacks intellectual depth that a U.S. President requires. Several times he promised to be more presidential and talk issues. Each time he failed as he reverted back to his ways. That’s simply him being him.

His candidacy is based on fear and shallow promises. His based his candidacy on making fun of people as low-energy Jeb – let alone other unnecessary personal attacks on individuals and groups. His candidacy is based on false information, misconceptions, and misleading statements. His candidacy is based on saying anything – even contradictions of his own words – all in the name of exciting his base that gives him a free pass on most things he says simply because he isn’t Hillary Clinton.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy really wasn’t a secret or a surprise – and she was very beatable. The Republicans countered by nominating:

  • A candidate who is finding it difficult to beat a beatable candidate.
  • A candidate who stoops low.
  • A candidate with pathetic moral fiber, yet flying under the banner of the party of family values.
  • A candidate who used his personality to effectively use the media to get the nomination, but one who now blames the media for his current troubles that he brought on himself.
  • A candidate who claiming the election is rigged. (For the record, states run the election … and most states have Republican governors, officials, and legislatures.)

Elections shouldn’t be about likability because the major question in 2016 (now more than ever) is who is most fit and capable of leading this country? Election 2016 much less about ideology. Likability aside,and given the choices, the answer is more than obvious. Whether one supported Mitt Romney in 2012 or not (and I didn’t), there was no question in my mind he was fit to serve.

Fortunately for me (and others), two alternatives exist in Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The latter had no chance of my vote, but I listened to Johnson as I looked for an alternative. To me, he lacked substance during a time when I was looking for substance.

I’m having a difficult time understanding how so many people can support Donald Trump. The two main reasons (in my opinion) must be blind partisanship and a total disdain for her. The sheer numbers raises my concerns about my country much more than the concerns I have about each candidate.

The Arizona Republic (Phoenix newspaper) have never endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate in its 126 year history. This year their endorsement headline was the following: Endorsement: Hillary Clinton is the only choice to move America forward.

Because of their stance, the newspaper received many threats. So many that it wrote a second op-ed responding to the threats. This column is worth reading (and the endorsement is linked within it).

Under normal circumstances, I would leave my presidential spot on the ballot blank. I’ve done it before and am willing to do it again – but in 2016, the stakes seem too high for me. On Election Day 2016, Hillary Clinton will get my vote – but it is more of a vote against Donald Trump than it is for her. She is unquestionably better than the alternative.

Back to me watching the final debate. No, no, no … I’m still not watching because the odds of something changing my mind are between slim and none. Besides, I would rather watch this clip from Ellen.

On a Few Bits Before …

Greetings everyone. I’m still present, but just not writing and visiting much. Out of respect to the many good people who visit my little corner of the world, I wanted to check-in.

I know my presence has been (at best) faint, but I continue to struggle with the enthusiasm necessary to post and visit. However, in my tradition, it’s also time for a Fall Break.


The current political climate in the US is pathetic (and that’s being kind). Besides our election process being too damn long and too expensive, I’m sick of it, therefore have to get a few things off my chest.

I like this recent quote from columnist David Brooks that describes American voters.

Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide today is between those who feel the core trends of the global, information-age economy as tailwinds at their backs and those who feel them as headwinds in their face.

David Axelrod’s comment about Hillary Clinton is right on: “Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?”

Anyone who doubts the existence of a right-wing conspiracy against Mrs. Clinton is either clueless or part of the conspiracy. Nonetheless, why she (and her campaign) make choices that feed the conspiracy is beyond me!

Here’s another thing that causes me to slap my forehead. Why isn’t Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party making issue of the lack of action by the Republican-led Senate regarding the Supreme Court vacancy?

1968 was the first US presidential election that I closely followed … and I have engaged in them ever since. During that time, the current candidates are the 18th and 19th different candidates nominated by the two dominant parties. (Repeats counted once). I would unquestionably vote for any of the previous 17 candidates over Donald Trump. Yep … Nixon, Humphrey, McGovern, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Mondale, Bush (HW), Dukakis, Clinton, Dole, Bush(W), Gore, Kerry, Obama, McCain, and Romney would get my vote before The Bloviator.

Enough said.

To lead us into my upcoming absence, here a song from the greatest band not (for whatever strange reason) in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 313

On August 28, 2008, my first post appeared on these pages. Eight years later,

  • 1,853 posts
  • 266,745 visits
  • 69,786 comments appear, but probably half are mine because I believe hosts should interact with visitors
  • Proudly, I covered a wide-range of topics.

My biggest pride lies in the fact how I reciprocated visits with so many bloggers. I’ve outlasted many bloggers, while others chose to no-longer visit. Stats here have been spiraling downward for some time, but my lack of visiting others in recent months is evident.

Many thanks to all the visitors here, but especially to the long-time visitors who have stuck with me for many years and took time to comment. Although I’m still in the process of change, time will tell what is ahead for these pages. However, I’m not done yet!

My golf league ended with a thud. After leading the first 4 weeks of the third 5-week mini-season of the year, I didn’t get it done on the last week. To make matters worse, a bizarre rule kept me out of the final 4 playoffs for the season. I took the high road by not complaining, but I foresee a rule change in the future that would prevent a situation like this in the future.

In this election, I think the partisans are making a big mistake with the true independents. I’ve noticed many partisans spending more time trying to convince someone not to vote for the other candidate (as opposed to reasons to vote for their candidates). What the partisans don’t realize is that their approach encourages contrarians like me to go in the opposite direction of their desires.

This election is ridiculous in many ways, mainly the lack of discussion about important issues.

Earlier this week I listened to an interview with Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein. Yes, I didn’t make it to the end of the interview.

To me, one thing scarier than Donald Trump is the number of people who cheer when he says something totally stupid. However, I realize that this is not true for all of his supporters.

Because of the toxic political climate with the USA, I will continue to hope that the November election yields divided government – that is, one party does not control the White House and both chambers of Congress.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Mistakes made by Donald Trump
All events in Rio when the US didn’t win the gold
Approaching hurricane season
Forming ISIS
Ryan Lochte

To let you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion gives the pros and cons of tiny houses.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Gifted, Passionate Student Really Stretching Limits Of School’s Resources
Olympic swimmer admits the Rio pool much wetter than expected
Humanity Hoping It Only Has To Put Up With Few More Millennia Of This Shit
Scientists Confirm First Case Of Zika Transmission From Article To Reader
School Of The Arts Aims To Transform Boys And Girls Into Insufferable Young Men And Women

Interesting Reads
France vs. Jihadist
Unique sperm delivery
How we see colors in nature
Neutrinos and the Big Bang
A short history of solar cells
(Photos) Insight Astronomy contest winners

Although the weekend is already upon us, I still have to end this post with a song. Interestingly, this blog shares a birthday with one of my long-time favorites. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 309

A global economy and nationalism seem to be opposing forces – so here’s a good read from William Galston in the Wall Street Journal.

I live in a part of America that has fireflies – an insect that fascinates those who don’t have them in your area. Here’s an article from National Geographic about what I also call lightning bugs.

Need new wallpaper for your desktop? This fabulous collection of photos from National Geographic Travel Photography Contest is a must-see.

I didn’t realize most minor league baseball players get a very low wage. I wasn’t expecting a gold mine, but more that the meager pittance they receive. Here’s the column where I discovered the disheartening news.

Earlier this week, Answers in Genesis (who operates the nearby Creation Museum) opened Ark Encounter – an exhibit about Noah’s Ark in the view of a 10,000 year old Earth. Being a local event, there have been many Letters to the Editor … many of which encourage me to bang my head against a wall.

Given current time demands and several life adjustments, not only did I not post this week, I’ve been reflecting about my future on these pages – which will probably lead to an open (irregular) posting schedule. Besides, not visiting other blogs bothers me very much.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

The timing of the FBI report surprised me. At the beginning of this incident I stated that her decision to have private servers was a poor and careless decision – and it seems the investigation more than supports my statement. Meanwhile, the Republican response was more than predictable. I appreciated this comparison by the Washington Post of the Clinton and Petraeus scandals.

Regarding the FBI report and the Clinton email scandal, I enjoyed this comment, “Americans’ trust in public officials and public institutions has fallen abysmally, as we all know. So far as we can now tell, the country in this instance has been well served by a leader and an FBI that has been diligent, hard-working and fair. Embittered partisans will disagree, but for my book, the FBI seems to have gotten this one right.” (David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst in this column)

In terms of the effect on my vote in the election, I consider the Republican offering of an obnoxious bloviating jackass whose depth doesn’t go beyond insults, name-calling, and taglines is much worse than Mrs. Clinton’s poor judgment (in this case) and her distrustful nature.

Columnist George Will is a great writer. Although I haven’t read him much over the past 5 years, I have been noticing his battle with Donald Trump – and love this recent quote: “He (Trump) has an advantage on me. He can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters, and I (Will) can’t.”

Two weeks ago (in OITS 307) I listed an article about US politics in the Interesting Reads. Interestingly, last weekend Meet the Press interviewed the article’s author. Glad to know that NBC followed my lead. Here’s the article.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Mary Fallin, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Scott Brown, 2) Mike Pence, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Xavier Beccera, 4) Julian Castro, 3) Chris Murphy, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion discloses what Vice President Joe Biden is doing this summer.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Swiss guards charge writhing mass of black tentacles devouring Pope Francis
Dad’s eyes welled up at sight of perfectly packed cooler
Synthetic tree removes carbon dioxide from air
Fireworks accident blows off tip of Florida
Rest of the evening spent declaring the asshole not going to ruin the evening
God regrets never creating any two-head snake creatures

Interesting Reads
State of the news media (Pew Research Center)
Georgia O’Keeffe: An American Painting Icon
Football and ALS
Are algorithms biased?
Mating habits of seahorses
(Photos) Dessert landscapes from National Geographic

When searching for a song to send readers into the weekend, this one came to attention. Paul, a friend and great person, pops in my mind from time to time. Although he died several years ago in a senseless murder, I smile when I think of him … and this song from The Piano Guys is what I link to him … plus, it’s a good song to send you into the weekend. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the High Court Truth … and Nothing but the Truth

Non-US readers, please excuse me because I’m tired of reading and hearing the repeated crap, it’s time to tackle many of the partisan hacks.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on 13 February 2016 created an opening on the US Supreme Court. About a month later (16 March), President Obama nominated Merrick Garland as Justice Scalia’s successor. Two months since the nomination, the US Senate and its Judicial Committee have done nothing to advance the process, plus presidential candidates have made the vacancy a campaign issue. It’s time to destroy the cover.

1) Republicans proclaim the “Biden Rule” as their key rationale – a term they developed based on a speech Vice President (then Senator) Joe Biden made in 1992 (which was a presidential election year. TRUE, but the rest of the story…

  • a) As chair of the Judicial Committee, Biden did deliver a speech on 25 June 1992, a time between the conclusion of the last primary and the first party convention … whereas at the time of Scalia’s death, 1 caucus and 1 primary had been completed – therefore, many primaries and caucuses lie ahead.
  • b) At the time of Biden’s speech, there were no vacancies on the high court and no upcoming resignations … plus, no vacancies occurred during the election phase or during the lame-duck time between Election Day and Inauguration Day.
  • c) Biden stated that IF a vacancy would occur, he wouldn’t hold a hearing during the conventions and the contentious campaign, so President GHW Bush should delay a nomination until after the election and confirmation process would take proceed after the Senate reconvenes following the election (during the “lame duck” session).

2) Current Republican language of “Let the people decide” suggests the nomination should be left up to the next president and the next Senate – and the Biden Rule is the common rationale. WRONG.

  • a) Letting the next president decide was not the motive and never a suggestion by Mr. Biden.
  • b) The Constitution (Article 2) acts as the will of the people by granting explicit powers to the president to nominate and to the Senate for advise and consent.
  • c) The people had already decided by electing President Obama in 2012.

3) President Obama (when a senator) helped filibuster the nomination of Samuel Alito in 2006. WRONG.

  • a) Although Sen. Obama favored a filibuster, such a vote within the Democratic caucus didn’t occur because there weren’t enough votes for the filibuster.
  • b) In other words, the filibuster of Justice Alito never occurred.

4) On 27 July 2007, 19 months before the end of President GW Bush’s term (in a speech to a legal organization), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “We should not confirm any Bush nominee to the Supreme Court, except in extraordinary circumstances.” TRUE, but the rest of the story…

  • a) Sen. Schumer’s view is a partisan view that is very similar to the Republican position today.
  • b) I disagree with Sen. Schumer then, an in my opinion, he was wrong. Besides, two wrongs don’t make a right.
  • c) Sen. Schumer’s statement did not block any further nominations.

5) Republicans support the delay because they claim a nomination by President Obama would “shift in the Court”. TRUE, but the rest of the story…

  • a) The same people complaining about a possible shift in the court today were favoring a shift in the court in 2006 when conservative nominee Samuel Alito was replacing a moderate swing vote (Justice Sandra Day O’Connor).
  • b) For the record, Justice Alito’s process from nomination to confirmation took 3 months.
  • c) This is another example of partisans favoring a court to impose their view upon society instead of favoring a court for all Americans.

6) Sen. McConnell (R-KY and Senate Majority Leader) reasoned that Republicans are justified in delaying the nomination because Americans (in 2010) voted to give Republicans control of the Senate. True, but the rest of the story…

  • a) One third of the Senate seats (selected by voters in 33 states) determined the outcome – not all Americans.
  • b) The Constitution clearly states the role of a duly elected president, which starts from the moment he/she takes office until the time a successor is inaugurated. In this case, all Americans duly elected President Obama in 2012 and inaugurated him January 2013 in order to serve until Inauguration Day 2017.

7) Republicans use phrases as “We owe it to him (Scalia).” Let’s examine the statement …

  • a) Interesting, Justice Scalia proudly proclaimed his judicial philosophy to base ruling on the Constitution’s original intent.
  • b) Based on the Constitution’s text, it difficult to believe that Justice Scalia’s originalist view would approve that blatant partisan action is Constitutionally justified.
    Justice Scalia would also refer to the Federalist Papers, especially #10 written by James Madison (Founding Father and key architect of the Constitution) – where Madison counters the “mortal disease” effects of partisan factions.

8) Some Republicans state the delay is following “tradition” or “bipartisan practice” regarding vacancies during an election. Others proclaim President Obama is breaking practice by nominating a justice during an election year. WRONG.

  • a) Note: Supreme Court vacancies during a presidential election year are rare.
  • b) Presidents Hoover (1932), President Roosevelt (1940), and President Eisenhower (1956) nominated justices during election years who were confirmed.
  • c) President Reagan nominated of current justice Anthony Kennedy on 30 November 1987, whom the Senate confirmed the 1st week of February (days before the New Hampshire Primary).

9) NOTE: The Pew Research Center reported that of the 10 longest vacancies on the Supreme Court, 9 of 10 were in the 1800s – of which 6 occurred between 1842-1874 (time preceding and following the Civil War). The lone exception being Judge Henry Blackman on June 9, 1970. Since then, the average duration of vacancies has been 55 days.

10) NOTE: Let us not forget that within hours of Justice Scalia’s sudden, and before proclaiming any of the above reasons, and instead of praising Justice Scalia’s tenure, both Senate Majority Leader McConnell and current Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) issued strong statements about delaying the confirmation process.

11) NOTE: Possibly the only point Republicans did get right is that the on Constitution states the Senate involvement and duty, but does not provide a time-frame or how their decision-making process should proceed. Besides, Section 5 does provide the Senate the power “to determine the Rules of its Proceedings.”

My Final Thoughts
Hyper-partisanship purposely delivers a message of partisan constituents who probably get their news from a new organization that reports the message listeners want to hear. This repeating sound of partisan drivel resembles an echo chamber – that is repeating sounds where competing views are disallowed or (at best) under-representative. This information serves as the Kool Aid of choice so the partisans repeat what they perceive as resounding joy while actually displaying a profound ignorance.

Although a discussion of the question regarding a Supreme Court opening in an election year may be a worthy discussion, answers to pertinent questions are debatable, but the partisans will take the stances that are most beneficial to them at the time. However, Republicans do not have a corner on that market.

In this case, the Senate has an “advise and consent” role on behalf of the American people. Because of deliberate actions by Republicans, the Senate is miserably failing in its duties, and the reason is simple – acting for the benefit of party over doing their duty for the people.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 305

For those enjoying the Cincinnati murals, here’s an article (with images) about the latest additions.

To my Muslim readers, best wishes as you start Ramadan.

The passing of any life causes us to reflect about that life – and the passing of Muhammad Ali was no exception. I was a teen when he became champion, and I know I didn’t understand much about him. But over time, my respect for him grew – and watching him light the torch at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta was quite the surprise. I salute a great ambassador for humanity. Here’s a gallery of images about his life from the BBC.

In this week’s post about the gorilla incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, I mentioned this editorial by the Toledo Blade calls for boycotting all things Cincinnati. I wrote to the paper’s editorial board to issue a challenge, but (as I expected) no response. After all, I want them to practice what they preach. I challenged them to the following:

  • Encourage the people of Toledo to
    • Not shop at any of the 12 Kroger grocery stores in Toledo
    • Not shop at Macy’s
    • Not purchase any Procter & Gamble products
    • Never come to Cincinnati, attend an event, eat at a restaurant, stay at a hotel, or even stop for gas as they travel south on I-75
  • Ask all retailers in the Toledo area (especially Kroger, CVG, Walgreen, Walmart, and Target) to remove all Procter & Gamble products from their store shelves
  • Encourage the University of Toledo and the Toledo professional hockey team to cancel games with Cincinnati teams

An idea: The Cincinnati Zoo could lead the way by enclosing pedestrian walkways in wire to keep visitors contained.

There are different types of tango, but our ballroom time has been with American tango. Argentine tango is different, so we decided to attend a 3-week group class. In week 1, the instructor focused on walking – then sent us this video of a couple doing an Argentine tango routine focusing on walking. Wow … now that is making simple look great.

That couple competes at a very high level. For those who what to see one of their routines, click here.

My favorite golf tournament (the US Open) is a week away. Oakmont is hosting the tournament, so given the USGA’s recent record of setting the course, I will be interested to see what they do to this fabulous golf course.

After a delay of a week, Colors: The Musical returns next week featuring songs with a color shades in the title. Curtain time will be at 9:30 pm (Eastern US) on Tuesday, June 14th. Here are the key rules.

  • No songs with any of the following colors in the title: Black, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet, Purple, or White in the title.
  • Shades should be an acceptable shade name, therefore caution should be used when selecting a shade.
    • Just because the shade is used as a paint color doesn’t automatically qualify the entry.
    • To make matters worse, The Producer has the final say on if the submitted shade is acceptable.
  • No duplicate shades can be used. In other words, once an acceptable song with Puce in the title has been submitted, no other songs with Puce in the title will be acceptable.

If I can get it ready, there will be an Explore post this weekend.

Public service is about serving the people. Politics is about serving the party. Unfortunately, much of public service is about politics.

Congratulations to Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for coming the presumptive Democratic nominee.

I find it interesting the ardent supports of Donald Trump (R-NY) continue to find scapegoats for his lying, harassment, disrespect, and lack of knowledge on issues. Then again, they are simply following the actions of their leader.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Nikki Haley 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) John Kasich, 2) Bob Corker, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Julian Castro, 4) Sherrod Brown, 3) Mark Warner, 2) Tim Kane, 1) Thomas Perez

We are already getting many televisions ads from both sides in the campaign for the contested Senate seat (Portman/Strickland).

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains what our planet will look like in the year 2100.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Antidepressant Medication Label Reminds Users That Pill Should Never Be Mixed With Long Look In Mirror
U.S. Consumer Confidence Shaken After Mom Buys Wrong Kind Of Tortilla Chips
Man Who Sees The Good In All People Universally Despised
KFC Manager Wants Bucket On His Desk By End Of Day
Governor Urges Calm At Toyotathon

Interesting Reads
Zachary Taylor and death to the Whigs
The right to try experimental drugs
Maneuvering Heimlich
A brief history of pirates
New water-saving techniques
Global trends with renewable energy
The UK’s oldest handwritten note
BBC’s look at the US media-Donald Trump addiction

Summer has arrived for those of us in the northern hemisphere, so here’s Glenn Frey to send you into the weekend. 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. 298

Image from 123vectors.com

Image from 123vectors.com

Greetings! Good to see you again. My blog break went well, but not as planned because I didn’t write much. However, I helped my wife ease into retirement mode.

A national handbell organization had a regional convention about an hour away, so the choir went. Two days of a lot of standing on a concrete floor means tired legs. Our choir had an individual coaching session. We didn’t play our piece well with foreign bells, but we got something out of the session. Meanwhile, we attended a concert where we heard this piece by the Purdue Bells, which is a wonderful way to usher in a new header.

Because of my fascination with images of deep space, this image of the Veil Nebula Supernova Remnant is from the Hubble Heritage Collection at the Hubble Gallery. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers page/tab above the header.

I considered resuming Colors: The Musical immediately upon my return, but common sense prevailed because I value my guests. I’ll announce more here next week, but for those who need to know, see the Hear Ye page.

I seldom reblog my own or anyone else post, but I’m considering doing that with old posts – well, assuming I find something appropriate.

The death of pop music star Prince shocked us. Here’s an article about a secret concert he played in Cincinnati in 1984.

Competitors completed the Boston Marathon this past Monday. Although the news focused on the dominant presence of Ethiopians in the top places, the women’s wheelchair division caught my attention. For the fourth consecutive year, Tatyana McFadden – a Russian-born American won the division. Born with spina bifida, Tatyana spent the first six years of her life in a Russian orphanage without receiving physical therapy and without a wheelchair. Now that’s an amazing courage and determination!

Baseball season is underway and I have the following goals for my Cincinnati Reds:

  1. Win more games than the ‘62 Mets (40)
  2. Not finishing with the worst record in baseball
  3. Have at a team below them in the standings
  4. Finish closer to the team above them in the standing than below them
  5. Beyond this list would be a tremendous success

Because I’m easing my way back into my normal rhythm, no Explore post this weekend.

My wife received this pillow as a retirement gift – and I find it interesting.


Columnist David Ignatius wrote this interesting column about the Saudis.

At this point, I can listen to a news conference by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WS) – which is an improved from predecessors John Boehner (R-OH) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Republican senators meeting with the Supreme Court nominee while continuing to block the confirmation process infuriates me even more than the block.

The 2016 primary has been quite bizarre, and to me, the title of this Ruth Marcus column is quite profound – An unpopularity content for the ages.

I find it interesting that the #2 contender in each party have this quality in common: an inability to work across the aisle. According to the Lugar Center – McCourt School Bipartisan Index at Georgetown University, not only do Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have the lowest scores in 2015, each of them are in the bottom 11 of all senators since 1993. Here’s a good question for them: Have do you plan to get Congress to act on your ideas when you have a poor history of working within Congress?

Consider this possibility – Donald Trump (R-NY) and Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) walk out of the Republican convention together to embrace a third-party run.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for having your own vegetable garden.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Sixth beer steps in to speak for area man
Universe feels zero connection with guy tripping out on mushrooms
Breeze plays kick-ass riff on wind chimes
Pope Francis worried about job security after butting heads with new God
New study finds humans experience greatest joy when pushing “Skip Ad” button

Interesting Reads
Life-long learning and technology
A century of flight
Animal neat freaks
Augustine of Hippo
(Animation) Battle of Shiloh
(Video) Explaining burning ping-pong balls

To send you into this weekend, here’s a throwback in time with a touch of Bobby Darin and a dose of Prince. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.