Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 425

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Welcome to the last edition of OITS. To celebrate the occasion, there is a little more this time.

Although I’ve been proclaiming the end is coming for months, the fact that it is actually approaching is a weird sensation. I spent so much time cleaning out the blog closet, I thought the closet was more like a bottomless pit.

With 425 posts, Opinions in the Shorts is (by far) my longest running series. It’s been fun to do.

With this series having different sections, it has been interesting to notice reader preferences. But I get the biggest thrill when someone reads one of the Interesting Reads and then comments about it. 😀

Over the years, I’ve tried to showcase Cincinnati and the surrounding area. Here’s an article about 10 lesser known historical sites in the area. Some may surprise you.

This is from five year ago, but just saw it for the first time.

 

Remember Fiona, the premature hippo born at the Cincinnati Zoo. This post is perfect timing with her birthday. Happy 3rd Birthday, Fiona – which is this Friday, 24 January. Here’s the latest local article about her celebrating her birthday.

We saw Ford v Ferrari. Very good movie. A tad long, but tense from early on to the end. FYI: Being a racing is NOT a requirement to enjoy the film.  Click here to see the trailer.

As per the previous published agenda, the two posts (parties) this weekend are designed to be fun – so I hope you participate!

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Instead of leaders promoting the feat they associate with the other side, America needs leaders who are fearless in attacking today’s problems – not to return to a time that has passed – and not to get us stuck in today – but fearless to address today’s issues with an eye on a positive tomorrow.

My thoughts on my Elite 8 states to watch in the 2020 election: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Which also means I’m hoping Ohioans will see fewer ads than in the last 2 presidential elections.

I have long believed that Washington has two main problems: Democrats and Republicans. Both are selfish organizations favoring self-serving over governing. Because of their preference of shoving ideals down our throats, I hope that the 2020 election results deliver divided government. We need more, but given the environment, unfortunately divided government is the best answer. Today’s environment lacks the attitude of intentionally gathering to collectively pursue a goal – and then achieve it. But maybe that attitude is only an ideal because politics has always been a selfish nasty fight of us versus them.

For the record, the Senate phase of impeachment is unfortunately a joke and an embarrassment. Then again, they are following the precedent of past impeachments … and the Republican stance is weak, sad, and aimed at the blind faith of partisan hacks. Also, given the precedents, if the Founding Fathers would have seen impeachment playout, I wonder if they would switched the jury responsibility from the Senate to the US Supreme Court.

President Trump is a pathetic person, an even worse leader, and one who brings most of his problems on himself. He’ll take credit for anything and avoid taking responsibility. America deserves better. Unfortunately, a high percentage of Americans don’t believe that, and that’s a problem that is bigger than him.

Given’s President Trump’s normal behavior and high chances of election, odds are very high that he will become the first president to be impeached more than once.

I’m tired of partisan-hack Republicans who continually claim that anti-Trump people don’t feel he was dutifully elected. Hey Jackwagons, I hate to tell you, but most anti-Trumpians would disagree with your statement. You sound like the anti-evolutionists who say, “Evolution says humans came from apes.” Interestingly, I’ve never heard an evolutionist say that.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Couple decides there are better off as siblings
Financial expert recommends waiting until chaos is law of the land
New cable bundle includes 24/7 live-in tech support
New sip-and-weld studio provides opportunity to drink wine and create own masterpiece with blowtorch
Amazon reviewer posts selfie with toaster
Man afraid he’ll seem vulnerable if he reaches out to fire department for help
30-minute silence in car broken with “We are making good time”
Report: Clicking this link will add you to FBI Watch List

My Combo: Man decides wine, toaster, and blowtorch make chaos better until expert recommends Amazon to silence siblings for help

Interesting Reads

James Bond music – the hits and the misses
A universe with no end?
The F-14 Tomcat
Rise and fall of the Hummer
Impacts of America’s slow-growing population
A discovery that may treat all cancer
Bismarck: The battleship
Where to eat in 2020
Land Use in America
(Photos) Volcanic eruption in the Philippines
(Photos) Contest winners of photo contest involving boulders
(Photos) Ocean Photo Contest winners
(Graphic) China’s global influence
(Graphic) The true size of countries

Selecting a song to send you into the weekend for the last time wasn’t an easy task, but once I heard a podcast that reminded me of this song, I knew it was it. Thanks for reading. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 420

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Only one more concert remaining for 2019. Coming to the stage this weekend, Songs of Broadway. Note:

  1. Only one song per musical, so include the musical’s name and the song title.
  2. The Producer will allow other songs from the musical only as a reply in the original string of the musical. The concert begins this Saturday (14 December) at 1:00 AM (Eastern US)

Thanks to an upset in another game, the Benevolent Impalers (my fantasy football team) finished the regular season in first place. It’s onto the playoffs as the #1 seed in the semifinals of the championship bracket.

November and December are busy times for the handbell choir. We normally play at a service once a month, but last weekend was your third time in the past four weeks – and two songs at that. (Christmas services are next on the schedule.) One piece – Cathedral Windows – was very interesting. Very easy in terms of the notes – but the nuances make the difference. Listeners will notice the switches from bells to chimes to bells. Hope you listen here.

The other song we played is a more lively piece, again with handbells and chimes.

This we we saw Dark Waters at the movie theater. A good drama about a battle between members of a community and a large chemical company. For those who will see the movie, I grew up in a town on the Ohio River about 65 miles (105 km) downstream from the chemical company. As for the movie, Thumbs Up!

Kennedy Center Honors is one of my favorite shows of the year – so for me, the pre-recorded telecast is a holiday tradition. The actual event this year honoring Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Sesame Street, and Michael Tilson Thomas happened last weekend. CBS is televising it this Sunday night. Check your local listings.

I recently mentioned the situation of a young child falling to her death from her grandfather’s arm while on a cruise ship. I shake my head at the news of charges against the grandfather, and I shake my head again at the this week’s news of the family filing suit against the cruise line citing negligence.

To lead you into the political section, I like this headline from The Onion that is perfect for the season and the situation. Click here to see the headline.

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I fearfully wonder if America is heading into a new presidential era – one where presidents will be impeached if the opposing party controls the House of Representatives.

I would find it interesting IF after the House Judiciary Committee draws up and approves the articles of impeachment, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) holds back an official vote until the key people that President Trump is blocking from testifying actually testify. Personally, that would increase public approval for impeachment. Therefore, I don’t think that will happen.

On a lighter note, Stephen Colbert made me laugh with this one. (IMO, it’s worth the one minute)

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timeline to the first president impeachment – one of Andrew Johnson (1868).

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Terrifying New Therapist Asks Why You Chose That Chair
Invasive restaurant franchise spreads to third state
Free-thinking cat shits outside the box
Summarians look on in confusion as God create world
Washboard Player In Jug Band Tired Of Spoons Guy Getting All The Chicks
World Wildlife Fund Apologizes After Years Of Working With Well-Known Whale Pedophile

Interesting Reads

Wondering about apostrophes
Thoughts about the future of work
World War II: A costly, unproductive battle
Gene editing and evolution
The dark side of recycling
(Graphic) The Jeff Bezos empire
(Photos) What warmth looks like
(Photos) British Ecological Society photo competition

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song about Tuesday (which isn’t on a weekend). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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. 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. 415

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The next weekend concert is approaching. Join us with The Guess Who +. The plus sign means the following artists will be accepted: The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, Chad Allen, Chad Allen and the Expressions, Brave Belt, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive (hopefully limited). Concert starts this Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

California sadly burns again. Good luck and be safe.

Believe it or not, I have not good trips planned for the rest of 2019.

Our ushering duties allow us to see a wonderful play – The Lifespan of a Fact. Although from from esoteric, it engaged my cerebrum.

Cleaning out the blog closet has been fun … and I still have more to come!

Just heard this one. According to the Kentucky Bourbon Association, current bourbon inventory is at the level of 2 barrels for each Kentucky resident.

Baseball is officially over – congratulations to the Washington Nationals for winning and ending a 95 year draught … and let the record show that the Reds have gone more days without losing than all the teams that made the playoffs.

While wins by the away team are typically uncommon, many were amazed that the away team won all of the World Series games – but they also forget that unusually similar (but not the same) results happened in the most recent playoffs in professional hockey and basketball.

My fantasy football team sits at 6-2: one game out of first and tied for second (#3 seed). The Benevolent Impalers end the first round this weekend in a must-win against the #5 seed – but the team has scoring issues!

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The way Republicans are protecting President Trump is a prime example of a politician’s party-first mantra. Then again, that mantra is not limited to one side of the aisle. I like this recent column by George Will.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) continually comparing the Democratic-led private hearings to what happens in Russia is more than pathetic. Given President Trump’s affinity for Russia, interesting that Rep. Scalise chose those words.

In their way of not defending President Trump, Republicans are relegated to focusing their anti-impeachment argument on the impeachment process that focuses on two key points: 1) their partisan base, and 2) public ignorance.

I continue to believe that people want elected officials to solve problems. While people complain about the collective (but not their representative), only 11% (48 of 435) elected to the House of Representatives are members of the bi-partisan Problem-Solvers Caucus.

To lead you into this week’s satirical headlines, The Onion provides a timely list of the pros and cons of e-cigarettes.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

ISIS member unsure whom to submit PTO request to
Drama queen waiter completely full of shit about plate being too hot to touch
Heroic Secret Service agent takes bull intended for president
Dad figures funeral just as good a time as any to try out new camera lens
Aggressive flagellate just going around whipping other single-celled organisms
Toddler standing up in shopping cart surveys grocery store like grizzled sea captain on whaling expedition

Interesting Reads

Different kinds of stupid
Thoughts about the next 50 years of digital life
A view of the meaning of life
Yellowstone’s volcano: What if it erupted?
Why dog people live longer
(Graphic) Largest acquisitions by the largest tech companies
(Photos) A collection of street art

To send you into the weekend, here are The Piano Guys because it’s been a long time since I’ve featured them. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On an October Break

 

I know – I had a blog break most of the month of August – but sometimes the unexpected comes along in life to change even the best plans. Thankfully, it’s nothing serious. I hope to return late October/early November, and then I’ll explain. Meanwhile, a bit of odds and ends.

I originally wanted to do this post two days ago – but then I wouldn’t have participated in Walktober – and I promised Robin I would do so. Again, I invite everyone to visit Robin’s Walktober AND follow the links in the comments to other Walktober participants.

Thanks for the fabulous Prince concert this past weekend and for expanding my Prince horizon.

The next concert will be sometime in November. The concert promoter has a preliminary agreement with historical around some Canadian legends. No – not The Stampeders – not even Shania Twain … but The Guess Who! Acceptable songs will be from the following artists: The Guess Who, Burton Cummings, Chad Allen, Chad Allen and the Expressions, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. (Note: I love BTO, but I hope participants focus on the others listed because those groups and people are the foundation.)

The handbell choir’s upcoming piece is Beech Spring (arranged by Jason Krug). Listen here.

PS: (Added later) BLINK Cincinnati 2019 is this weekend. I suggestion searching YouTube for videos and/or your favorite photo gallery. Cincinnati.com is also a source.

Cheers to Ellen Degeneres for her response to criticism she received about sitting with former President George W Bush at a football game. Click here to watch her response.

Although Rev. Pat Robertson is known for saying something stupid, his latest that President Trump may be/is “in danger of losing the mandate of heaven” is a confusing to me. Then again, in his resignation letter as EPA Administrator, Scott Pruit stated, “I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence.” As a Christian, I state with confidence that these two (and others like them) do not speak for the majority of Christians.

Agreeing with the decision or not, Speaker Pelosi establishing an Impeachment Inquiry is not against the Constitution and is not against House Rules – so I yield to her shrewdness.

To Republicans. This whole dilemma, the entire situation is NOT about Barack Obama, NOT about Joe Biden, NOT about Hunter Biden, NOT about Hillary Clinton, NOT about the economy, NOT about college football, NOT about other inventive delusional excuses along with declarations witch hunt, fake news, and more.  The situation is about the actions of one single person and those representing him. Then again, I guess defending the indefensible requires blaming others. In other words, you and your fellow minions are a very sad, pathetic lot that is doing the country more harm than good.

To Congressional Democrats: You have the difficult task of being both thorough and expedient, then delivering a convincing civics lesson. Note: I am not confident you’ll meet the challenge.

PS: If the only difference in the current situation was the President’s political party, I have zero confidence that Democrats would be joining Republicans for calls of impeachment.

On a much lighter note, I leave you with something special. Megan Washington is an award-winning Australian singer with a multi-platinum album. She stutters – except when she sings. This performance is after her TEDx talk in Sydney. Enjoy … and don’t forget … Blog breaks are good.

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.