Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 284

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I hate it when life gets in the way of blogging – hence why my posts are less frequent, and my visits elsewhere have been horrible.

Sky: The Musical is over – and participants have come through in flying colors. A tip of the cap to all who took us on a 5-act musical journey across the sky and clouds to the sun, moon stars.

No Explore post this weekend because the my 2016 Holiday Blog Party is the entire weekend. Start time is 1:30 AM (Eastern US), thus the gifts will be available for the European morning and even the late-night Friday crowd on the US west coast. Because of my lack of presence over the past few weeks, I’m expecting a smaller crowd than normal. 😦 … nonetheless, I will enjoy the company! Bring your friends.

Bomb threats at schools have recently made the news – which reminded me of a Darwin Award candidate. It was probably in the 1980s, a person called the principal during school hours to issue a bomb threat. The principal asked the caller, “Who is this?” … and the caller gave his name – yes, a current student.

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Prior to the last debate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) reminded everyone that one of the commonalities all the GOP candidates have in common is that none of them are Socialists. Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) also made the point during the debate. Even though all the candidates want to overturn the Affordable Care Act, none of them are against defunding public education, public schools, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance, and other programs grounded in Socialism.

Here are various fact checks regarding the most-recent Republican debate: Annenberg, PolitiFacts, Associated Press, Washington Post, Politico

A reminder for the Democrats who may have a burr in their shorts about Donald Trump (R-NY). The Republican nomination process requires 1,236 delegate votes to win the nomination – and at this point, all candidates have zero candidates … plus the process involves proportional allocation.

For those wondering about a brokered Republican convention, it’s possible – but today is also too early in the process. However, it that happens, remember this name – Mitt Romney.

The next Democratic debate is this Saturday night on ABC … and I won’t be watching.

To lead you into a bit of satire, here’s The Onion’s review of the latest Star Wars movie.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

  • Guy Wearing Chewbacca Costume Torn Between Seeing ‘Star Wars’ And ‘The Big Short’
  • Legendary Paparazzo Gets Star On Roof Across From Hollywood Walk Of Fame
  • Geneticists Debate Ethics Of Cloning Humans And Forcing Them To Fight To Death In Pit For Our Amusement
  • Victoria’s Secret Introduces 3-Inch Patch Of Satin To Place Anywhere On Body
  • Study Finds Majority Of Accidental Heroin Overdoses Could Be Prevented With Less Heroin
  • Odorite Introduces New Three-Tier Urinal Cake

Interesting Reads
Guns and race in America
A story involving the history of passports
The strange science of self
The mystery of the saxophone opening to Baker Street (by Gerry Raferty)
Art challenging perceptions
Royal Society Photo Award winners

Here are multiple tunes to send you into the weekend. The first is a leftover from Act 5 that is also a shout-out to Cynthia because I think she’ll enjoy the song, the singer, and the video. The second is also a leftover that I enjoy. The last song title serves as a bit of advise for those dealing with the holiday crazies. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch … and I hope to see you at the party this weekend!

Opinion in the Shorts: Vol. 283

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Sky: The Musical – Act 4: Moon is about 50 songs. A tip of the cap to all!

Act 5, the final act, focuses on Stars – so Star or Stars must be in the song title – but no compound words involving stars (as starlight, stardust, etc). Curtain time is Tuesday, December 15th at 9:30 pm (Eastern US) … and yes, I know it’s competing with the next Republican debate.

Explore series returns this weekend with a place that is on my bucket list to visit.

My Holiday Blog Party is next weekend – starting Saturday morning for the Europeans, but Saturday afternoon for the Aussies, Kiwis, and others in that part of the world – and it will go well into Sunday. Past guest know they will get to pick a gift, and to the first-timers, who knows what you will find. Music will also fill the air, plus I hope to convince Dale to provide the culinary treats. Feel free to invite your friends … and feel free to check in throughout the weekend.

Microsoft shortened this video into a commercial, which caused me to pause when I saw it.

Looking for a unique gift? Don’t forget to visit two of artist Marina’s sales sites: Marina’s Art Shop (artwork for sale) and Society 6 (where her artwork is transformed into other items). Besides her artistic talent, she’s a good person!

A high school football player in New Mexico had a concussion, in which policy requires to miss the next game. Because the next game is the state championship, the player and his parents sought and got a court order overturning the policy.

Numbers of Arabic-speaking people in the US continues to increase. Here’s an interesting article about the complicated matter for a school district in the Cincinnati area.

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I recently discovered a little known perk with taxpayer dollars. Retired House Speakers (most recently, John Boehner, R-OH) have a budget to establish an office, hire staff, and send mail for up to five years. I’m far from a Tea Party supporter, but cheers to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) for wanting to defund this perk.

As Republicans continue use mental illness to explain gun violence, I ask this question: What legislation have Republicans advanced to address mental illness?

I’ll ask this tough question: Why wasn’t the shooter at the Planned Parenthood Center in Colorado Springs labeled as a Christian terrorist?

Donald Trump’s (R-NY) latest bloviation has created quite the stir. His followers are loyal, and will remain loyal. His numbers may dip – but the campaign continues to crack while the ceiling strengthens. Over time, the two candidates benefiting the most from him remaining in the race are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Donald Trump is smart, very good at thinking on his feet, and is using television to his benefit … thus, he is out marketing the rest of the field. After all, his strategies successfully aims at a segment of Republicans – thus is not intended for independents, moderates, or cross-over Democrats.

Given recent events, the next Republican debate could be a good one. It is this Tuesday (December 15th) on CNN … but I won’t be watching.

My wife (the Right Angle) laughed at this from one of her Facebook friends.

AppleImplant

To lead you into The Onion, here’s a headline of an actual event that one would think is from The Onion: Man named Bud Weisser arrested at Budweiser brewery (True story here)

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Employee returns from vacation refreshed, ready to waste time
Hitchhiker with machete, driver with machete can’t help but laugh
Shamefaced man stands stock-still as acquaintance zips up backpack for him
After watching news, man checks wallet to make sure cash still there
Study: Heart transplant group significantly healthier than heart transplant placebo group
Vacuum cleaner salesman asks that ashes be spread on potential customers’ carpets

Interesting Reads
Smiling for photos hasn’t always been the way
Problem for Democrats: Little faith in government
An effect of finger-pointing in a free-speech society
Muslim Americans and ISIS
How to never forget a name
(Photos) Windows

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend. The first is a leftover from Act 4 that features a sexy song by Maria Muldaur, JJ Cale, and Eric Clapton. The second helps celebrate Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday celebration on Saturday. 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. 281

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For those celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you had a bountiful day.

Volunteering in an English Second Language (ESL) class continues to bring rewards. A student (a gentleman from Libya) wrote an article about learning English, and it was published by a national publication – Easy English Times. It’s a wonderful read, but unfortunately I couldn’t find an online version. Before reading it to the combined classes of different levels, I helped him prepare. When the time came, he stood in front of his peers and nervously read it. His last line touched me – “We need the person who sows hope in our hearts, who smiles, in our faces, who motivates us to go forward, and we need them to hug us when we win.” At the end, I knew he was proud … so when he came back to me, I hugged him.

For at least a year, I published lists of monthly, weekly, and daily celebrations. Did you know Gnocchi Day is the 29th of every month? Here are the links to the two sites I used the most to compile my list of celebrations: Brownielocks and Gone-Ta-Pott.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 1st at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

No Explore post this weekend.

Samantha Swallows sent me an email this week, but she didn’t say want she wanted – only a link. Oddly, I can’t recall ever meeting her, … I’m not sure why I received the email ..  so I didn’t follow the link.

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The number of Democrats who worry about the possibility of Republicans nominating Ben Carson surprises me. Although I would tell them that wasn’t worth worrying, some people just like to find angst. Meanwhile, Carson’s poll numbers are now declining nationally and in Iowa.

The gaggle in the field seeking the Republican nomination continue to provide its share of nonsense and fodder to consider. I appreciate this words by George Will (columnist, Washington Post) – Every day that errant nonsense sloshes through the Republican nominating debate is a day when the party’s claim to represent what the country craves – adult supervision – becomes less credible.

As Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to bloviate about the thousands who are pouring into the US across the southern border, here’s a Pew Research report about the net result (immigration minus emigration).

John Cranley, a Democrat, is Cincinnati’s mayor. Let’s just say that I’m providing an interesting timeline.

  • March 28, 2014 – While announcing a new initiative is in the planning stage – “If you’re fleeing political persecution anywhere in the world, we want you here,”
  • July 2014
    • When announcing the formation of his Task Force on Immigration, he explains his desire to make Cincinnati “the most immigrant-friendly city in the United States.”
    • FYI: Mayor Cranley’s Task Force on Immigration website states it is “working to make Cincinnati a great place for immigrants to call home, start a business and thrive.”
  • Oct 28, 2015 – Mayor Cranley states, “Obviously, there’s political rhetoric around the country that suggests it’s not a good thing and we are emphatically saying we love immigration, we want more immigration, we believe that it’s key to our economic future and you’re a better, more just society.”
  • November 16, 2015 – “However, in light of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Egypt, the federal government should halt its actions until the American people can be assured that exhaustive vetting has occurred,”
  • November 17, 2015 – I feel horrible that I unintentionally caused harm.”

To lead you into The Onion, see their suggestions for avoiding distractions while working online.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients
Girlfriend Promises To Not Cry So Much
Making Pancakes Best Idea Man Has For Saving Relationship
Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline
Healthy mashed potatoes made with cauliflower

Interesting Reads
How American view their government (from Pew Research)
Scientific faith is different than religious faith
About stupidity 
Drunk animals
The last perfumer in Belgrade
The glowing sea turtle
Lighting bicycles

To send you into the weekend, here’s a fun song with a video that makes me chuckle. 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. 271

The new header is an artist’s impression of supergiant star Betelgeuse that is based on work done by the European Southern Observatory.

I’m not watching/didn’t watch the recent Republican debate for three reasons: It’s too early for such a spectacle, I won’t be voting in the Republican primary in my state, and it would be a waste of my time. For the record, I won’t be voting in the Democratic primary. Remember, I’m an authentic independent, thus not a Democrat or Republican pretending to be an independent.

Columnist Kathleen Parker (in my opinion, a right-center writer) took 3 Republicans to task for making ridiculous cliches. About Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), and candidate Mike Huckabee (R-AR), Parker wrote, Put these three in a cocktail shaker and you get a rather mixed metaphor that nonetheless pours like a narrative: Pontius Kerry is leading the Jews to the Auschwitz oven in the terrorist act orchestrated by the president of the United States. Here’s her entire column.

I find it interesting that both leaders in the Democratic and Republican poles (Clinton and Trump) have similar disapproval ratings.

The last week in July gave us a Blue Moon. I saw many great photographs. I especially enjoyed this creation by Marina, thus knew I had to use it. Thanks, Marina … and you can visit her here.

Blue Moon and Sea - Copyright © of Marina Kanavaki

Blue Moon and Sea – Copyright © of Marina Kanavaki

Cincinnati has been in the national news due to a police officer shooting a man. Interestingly, the citizens in the city did not react in the same manner as people in Ferguson and Baltimore. To be fair, at least not yet.

Because of the high number of regulars here who no longer blog, I’m trying to expand readership here by venturing outside of my circle. I’m amazed so few bloggers are welcoming to their blog and don’t reciprocate.

The Meals: The Musical is over. I have compiled a list of songs, so for those eager to make their own songlist, it will appear in a future post.

Although the topic is not finalized, the next musical will be a short one (less than 5 acts). I will announce its theme in a future OITS (hopefully within the next 2 weeks).

While on the musicals topic, in order to keep the producer on the aFa team, I am honoring his request for being known as The Producer from this point forward.

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, here it explains how campaigns spend money.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
FDA reports food prevents hunger 98% of time when properly used
Condo board maintains purity of bloodline through generations of intermarriage
Worker who forgot email attachments expects coworkers to forgive her just like that
Actual problem nice change of pace for anxious man
Study links meat, sugar consumption to early death among those who choose to be happy in life

Interesting Reads
The workplace is unquestionably different
(Interactive) Gaps between the views of scientists and the public
How writers can find meaning in nonsense
The evolving HIV virus
Churches with strange names
Is animal sex spicy?
2014 National Geographic Best Wildlife Photos
Metal: a BBC short photo gallery

To send you into the weekend, here’s a flashback that also seems fitting for the recent GOP debate. 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. 269

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Candidate #16 in my governor, John Kasich (R-OH). No candidate profile for Governor Kasich yet, but candidate #17 is rumored to be on the horizon.

Given so many candidates seeking the Republican nomination, I believe all the candidates should get ample debate time – thus I favor at least one format that hasn’t been suggested – in groups of four – such as Group 1) Bush, Paul, Graham, Perry – Group 2) Trump, Carson, Christie, Pitaki – Group 3) Rubio, Huckabee, Jindal, Fiorina – Group 4) Walker, Cruz, Santorum, Kasich

This editorial headline from the Des Moines Register made me smile: Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side-show. See for yourself.

If and when The Bloviator withdraws from the race, I predict he will do so in grand style – such as, El Chapo has threatened his family.

Cheers to GOP candidates Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rick Perry (R-TX) for aggressively bashing The Bloviator – but jeers to Marco Rubio (R-FL) for equating Trump’s behavior to a “classless” President Obama. Sorry Senator Rubio, but your classless comment registered a severe black mark against you that will be difficult to erase by this independent.

David Ignatius (Washington Post) is one of the most respected columnists specializing in foreign policy. Here’s one of his columns about the Iranian Nuclear Pact.

Cheers to the US and Cuba reopening their respective embassies. Now I await Congress to screw it up.

The video below is a commercial for a website for people who rent lodging. To me, this is a thought-provoking message. Plus their message about kindness in the notes on YouTube is worth reading. (To read, click here)

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of meet and spend time with two bloggers who have visited here: Ginger Snaap & El Guapo (along with TMWGITU). We had a fabulous time, but the pleasure was all mine. My meeting bloggers count leaped to three.

The blogging series continues to be a success, but only one more to go. On a side note, the last one (Posting & Frequency) was a post without fanfare – number 1700, which means this post is #1702.

Only one act remains in Meals: The Musical … and preliminary information is on the Hear Ye page.

The Explore series continues on Saturday featuring a wonderful video about a person, place, or thing.

To lead you into The Onion, they offer these tips for getting cheaper airfare.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Toddler unsettled by whatever possessed her to bite friend’s face
Lesser piece of paper used to test pen’s viability
Man sadly realizes his one bedroom apartment large enough to host party with all his friends
Leonardo DiCaprio agrees to donate “It Factor” to science
Four hours scrolling through Facebook before bed referred to as “winding down”

Interesting Reads
10 things you didn’t know about the first moon landing
Pew Research Center study about Americans, politics, and science issues
Chimney climbing
Mosquito’s technique of finding something to bite 
Hot summer around the world (Photo gallery)

For many of us in the northern hemisphere, here’s a song for a hot summer night. For my friends below the equator, summer is on the way. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.