Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 280

To the victims and their families, and to the French people for strength, unity, and peace.

Shame to the American candidates for politicizing the event by playing the blame game while offering suggestions that amount to (at best) meager gibberish.

It was good seeing Americans displaying the French flag this weekend … especially when the Army football team came onto the field with for a game at West Point.

Sky: The Musical’s Act 2 featuring the sun is in the books … and we were nearing 40 songs. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching us in the US, the production won’t return until December. Act 3 features clouds, so song titles must include Cloud, Clouds, or Cloudy. Curtain time is Tuesday, December 3rd at 9:30 pm (Eastern US). Acts 4 and 5 information is on the Hear Ye page, along with another important announcement.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

Although no kids for us, we enjoy our 4 nieces and nephews. Last weekend we attended the wedding (the third to be marriage) – but it was out first to attend. We were a proud aunt and uncle, and wish them the best.

While in Cleveland last weekend, I saw my first white stuff of winter.

Because both of us volunteer at the weekly Downs Syndrome ballroom dance event, earlier this week my tango partner and I danced for the group. Considering we haven’t danced the routine in over 10 days, we did well. Most importantly, we had fun and it was well received.

Even with the recent attacks in France, Lebanon, and over the skies of Egypt, I still say no US troops on the ground against ISIS – unless a coalition of Arab forces decide to take action.

Since the latest terrorist attack in Paris, it’s interesting to compare and contrast the French and US responses to Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The Atlantic published What ISIS Really Wants this past February. It continue to be on the front page of their website, plus other news agencies promote it. I listed it as an Interesting Read months ago, but I want to promote it again. It’s a long read – but interesting – however, it is a view – and not the only view. For the interested, here’s the link.

The next Republican debate is December 15th (Tuesday) on CNN. Yawn .. .but another one for me to miss as I go for 7 in a row.

Something to ponder – If political candidates submitted their own questions to answer in a debate, would they truly answer the question?

Last week the Democrats had their second debate, and I missed another one. Damn … that makes me 6 for 6. Here are multiple fact checks from the event: Annenberg FactCheckAssociated Press, PolitiFact, Politico, Washington Post.

I continue to believe that if a governor, senator, or representative wants to run for president, they need to resign their position immediately upon announcing their candidacy. Our states and districts play them to do a job that does not include campaigning around the country while being paid.

To lead you into The Onion, here are their suggestions for talking to your children about sex.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation’s conservationist warn there are only 8 trillion rats left
Minimalism Overdone
US Mathematicians Round Pi Down To Three
Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions
Experts Warn Number Of Retirees Will Completely Overwhelm Scenic Railway Industry By 2030
Economists Recommend Setting Aside Part Of Every Paycheck In Case Of Dire Straits Reunion Tour

Interesting Reads
The man who invented relaxation
Russian psychics
The beauty of winter in Greenland
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and daily worship
The Owen: an Aussie weapon
The evolution of toxic toad eaters
Photo gallery of Spots

It’s time for a musical two-fer to send you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 2 and a golden oldie. 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. 278

Dance: The Musical is over with the 4 acts unofficially providing 48, 34, 30, and almost 40 songs. Many thanks to all, and I’ll post the list of songs sometime in the future. (It’s almost done.) Act 4 was a difficult theme, but the readers came through … and with so many dances available, I also provided a dance to everyone participating guest – I guess one could say that was my way of dancing with everyone.

The next theme? I haven’t made the decision. However, I anticipate another short one.

No Explore post this weekend, but a post is planned.

Did you see the picture Jamie Lee Curtis in the shower screaming while holding the picture of her mother screaming in Psycho’s shower scene? If not, see it here.

Pope Francis visiting the US is big news here. In my opinion, he’s quite the humanitarian and leads by example. To honor his visit, I’ve provided an extra set of headlines from The Onion further down this post.

Kim Davis (Clerk of Courts, Rowan County Kentucky) didn’t let me down, thus did something stupid that made the news by the end of the week. Meanwhile, I think she could play the “Clueless” card, but neither she or her legal team seems to understand that move.

Last week I heard (with my own ears) Michael Smerconish (CNN personality and Sirius-XM radio host) use “bloviator” when referencing Donald Trump. On a similar note, The Bloviator and Pope Francis provide an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast humility.

Ben Carson (R-MD) seeks the Republican nomination for president wants to protect the US Constitution – well … unless he disagrees with it, thus being less faithful to the Constitution. Although his ridiculous statement served the purpose of raising money followed by playing the victim card, I can’t see how he could get the nomination – let alone, win the election.

17th September was Constitution Day in the US. Columnist Ruth Marcus (Washington Post) wrote this interesting piece fitting for both the day and the current Republican campaign.

As the Republican field use phrases as “war on religion” and “war on Christianity”, why am I (as a Christian) not having the sense of being on a battlefield?

With two of the original 17 in the field having recently dropped out of the race (good riddance to both)… and more are to follow suit … many voters may wonder what happens to the Super PAC money. NPR answers it here.

Before the next Republican debate happens on Oct 28th, the Democrats will start their debates on Oct 13th. To me, this means I won’t watch two debates in October.

Speaking of the debates, I enjoyed this column from Kathleen Parker (Washington Post).

To lead you into this week’s satire, The Onion discovered and published Pope Francis’ US itinerary.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Wedding guest in suspenders and bow tie unafraid to take to dance floor
Area woman’s hair always wet
Extension cord on stage steals show at campaign rally
Beautiful sunset wasted on a few schmaltzy bozos
Ethical Hunter Throws Duck He Shot Back Into Sky
First-time flasher definitely going to make sure he’s erect next time

My Combo (I’ve seen this happen): Unafraid erect flasher steals dance floor show

Special Edition Headlines about Pope Francis
Pope Leaves Detailed Instructions For Taking Care Of Holy Spirit While He Out Of Town
Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos
House Lawmakers Brainstorming Some Good Things To Say About Poor People Before Meeting Pope Francis
Pope Francis Kills 3 Hours Milling Around Atlanta Airport During Layover To D.C.
Frustrated Republicans Argue Pope Should Leave Science To Scientists Who Deny Climate Change

Interesting Reads
Libraries and the public today
A new human relative
A hidden hero of jazz: Mary Lou Williams
Futuristic navy
For those remembering James Meredith
Linking medieval history and your DNA
(Photos) On the side of the road

Below are 3 songs to send you into the weekend: a leftover from Act 4 (one of my favorite dance songs – The Bop by Ms. Jody) and two classics. 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. 275

After it’s smashing debut of over 40 songs, Dance: The Musical returns this week with Act 2 featuring songs with “dancing” or “dancin’” in the title. Those are the only two options. The show starts this coming Tuesday (Sept. 8th) at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

ALERT: Next week is the first of three consecutive weeks for Dance: The Musical. WARNING – Act 4 will be very tricky, so I suggest seeing the Hear Ye page.

Regular attendees at the musicals know that a cantankerous producer runs the show with burrs in his shorts. Not all that long ago he insisted I refer to him as The Producer (as opposed to the producer). I recently discovered why … he officially changed his name to The Producer.

As I mentioned last week, my pastor read my post about predestination – of which he commented about the civility here. Some readers were curious about his reaction to my content. He and I talked earlier this week, and he was supportive and had no issues. We also talked about other theological meanings for predestination.

President McKinley was from my state – Ohio – and I’m one Ohioan who has no problem with Mt, McKinley (the highest peak in the US) returning to its original name – Denali.

The previous post regarding teaching and training created many interesting responses and fruitful dialogue between visitors.cooltext_7

An Explore post returns this weekend with a person, place, or thing. Last week’s Salute post about the number 7 was a subtle way of celebrating the 7th anniversary of this blog that I commonly refer to as my little corner of the world. A special thanks to those who noticed that fact (#68) embedded amidst the drivel.

College football starts this weekend – a season that I enjoy. Amazingly, the highest paid coaches make $5-7+ million per year. Should they be paid that much? To me, it’s simple: If the investment brings in more than the investment, I unquestionably say YES. Here’s a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed on the topic.

If there is anyone interested in playing a free, no-pressure version of fantasy football, let me know and I will email you the information.

Although I haven’t written it on these pages, I have wondered how long it would take someone to mention building a wall along the US-Canada border. Congratulations, Gov. Scott Walker (R-WS)! Meanwhile, here’s a great video about the US-Canada border. Thanks Debra.

Interesting doublespeak: Some Republicans love to tout American exceptionalism, yet point to the fact that birthrate citizenship (14th Amendment & court cases) is not common with many other countries

Donald Trump (R-NY) loves to mock, but he also makes it easy to mock. If he doesn’t need anyone’s money, won’t ask for anyone’s money, and will self-fund his own campaign, why did a recent Bloviation event charge money? Why does The Bloviator’s website campaign website take donations? I know the drill – answer the question with a bombastic statement that doesn’t answer the question.

Here’s the one thing I confidently believe about Hillary Clinton (D-NY) since 2008: Like her or not, she (and her people) know how to run a lousy campaign.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stated President Obama and his administration is intentionally vilifying law enforcement. Just another example of the type of voter Sen. Cruz is seeking.

Here’s an interesting quote regarding gay marriage from the elected official of my district to the state legislature. Well, I’ve got to hand it to President Obama. He has managed to figure out how to do what no one thought was possible: A national flipping of the middle finger at God, (John Becker). I yield to a great American orator below for his comment.

I shake my head not only at the county clerk in Kentucky (Kim Davis) refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but to also the ridiculous comments I’ve heard from others. As an elected official, she can’t be fired or request a transfer – therefore, she should either resign or taken to jail (which she has). Employees of the clerk office in the same situation should request transfer or find another job.

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s explanation of the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Full summer of tending outdoor garden produces single edible cherry tomato
Friends grandma to give you hug too
NASA deploys Congressional funding is search of funding
Pope cleans up dead angel who flew into Sistine Chapel window
New dating site suggests people you already know but thought you were too good for
Salt Lake City hoping to boost tourism by reminding visitors they are free to leave at any time

Interesting Reads
A historical look at India’s great divide (Thanks Jim)
Plagiarized anthems
Water and hangovers
Quotes about science by theologians
Competencies and limitations of science
(Interactive) Political media habits by generations

To send you into the weekend, here are two versions of the same one: the way we know it and the studio acoustic version. Any preference? Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinion in the Shorts: Vol. 274

Tough week for the stock market (US and elsewhere). A note for Republicans – You can blame President Obama if and only if you are willing to give him credit for the market run since he took office (Jan 2009). Meanwhile, the shoe also fits the other way – That is, the Democrats giving the President Obama the credit for past growth should be blaming him for this past week. In my view, markets are more complex than that.

Many are wondering why Donald Trump (R-NY) is high in the polls. The answer is simple. Trump is the candidate for people seeking affirmation – not information. The Bloviator has the knack for telling people what they want to hear, regardless if the statement is true or false. Case in point, here’s the most recent scorecard from PolitiFact regarding Trump’s bloviations.


Can you recall one person being about to do so-many phone-in interviews on TV? It is so with Mr. Trump, which tells me that the media is part of the problem because they are taking him whenever they can for ratings … thus limiting their challenges because they don’t want him to say “No” to the airtime.

Last week, Gov. Walker (R-WS) made three contradictory statements about birthright citizenship granted by the 14th amendment – yet the campaign described them as consistent. I guess that also means they see the situation as having no choice. Earth to Walker campaign – some us aren’t stupid.

The presidential election process is too long in the US. If the lengthy time is so important to the parties, the candidates, and all the donors, what about the taxpayers? Are some of us getting cheated. I have a suggestion that these people will hate. Sitting governors, senators, and representatives were elected by the people of their state (or district within the state) to represent them – yet a national campaign takes much time. In order to seek a national office, just resign your state-elected office. The choice involves cake or ice cream – not both.

Opening Night for Dance: The Musical was a smashing success! Two bits of good news: Act 2 is scheduled for Sept. 8th, plus, I’ve added an additional act. For those needing to know more now, see the Hear Ye page. Also, special thanks to Dale for her excellent job as the theater’s maître d … even if the WP gnomes are blocking me from commenting on her blog.

You may recall that Marina provided the artwork for my On Blue post. Here’s a post from Resa featuring a clothing item she purchased of Marina’s work.

My pastor read my post my post about predestination. Here’s something he wrote to me, How do you have such nice, generous people in your comment section? The civility is refreshing. … A tip of the cap and a round of applause to my blogging community!

No Explore post this weekend, however, there will be a Salute post. Of course, the burning question is – salute what? Hmmmm …. it’s subtle.

If there is anyone interested in playing a free, no-pressure version of fantasy football, let me know and I will email you the information.

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s explanation of how Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to lead in the polls.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man spends entire weekend binge-watching neighbor
Report: 1 in 3 Americans will get dessert if someone does
Guantanamo Bay begins construction on Senior Care wing
Q-Tips introduces new multi-speed electric ear swab
Man to undergo extensive interrogation by co-workers about where he got falafel
Scientist confident artificially intelligent machines can be programmed to be lenient slave masters

Interesting Reads
Street artists in Ghana
About Neil Armstrong
Restoring a famed piano
A report on mobile messaging and social media
A planet’s habitation

To send you into the weekend, here’s a twofer. The first one is a leftover from Opening Night. 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. 272

As Donald Trump (R-NY) successfully sidesteps his own explosive devices, something to ponder. The Bloviator’s base is very loyal, but his disapproval numbers are high. Therefore, could his current poll numbers be both his ceiling and his floor?

Speaking of The Bloviator, he’s not stupid – so his talk about a third-party candidacy is (in my opinion) just more hot air. After all, he cannot get on the ballot in Ohio (a must-win state) because Ohio has a “sore loser law” preventing him from getting on the ballot. Yes, Ohio’s Secretary of State has already declared it so.

Although “debate” is the descriptor, this statistic helps demonstrate why these aren’t debates while also providing rationale for my pods-of-4 model.

GOP1stDebateTalkTimeFor the interested, he next Republican debate is Wednesday, September 16th on CNN.

Here are two articles for the political wonks who want to read about the conservative media’s influence on the Republican party: Recent and one from Oct. 2014.

For those who remember Mr. Haney on Green Acres, this is a must see. Of course, I’m curious to see who checks it out.

This new commercial from GEICO insurance made me laugh.

It wasn’t a good week for me visiting blogs. :(

Collaborating with Marina for On Blue was a pleasure, and readers appreciated the dualism we provided through words and art. Marina made me two images that she posted on her blog when reblogging our post. For space purposes here, I melded them together as one, but you can tell where the two meet. Thank you, Marina.

On a personal note, I know my first gay couple who recently married – and I’m proud of the fact I went out of my way to congratulate them when I saw them at church.

Mark this date on your calendar – Tuesday, August 25th at 9:30 pm for the opening act of Dance: The Musical. (The musical will be running on Tuesdays, not Wednesdays.) More information is on the Here Ye page.

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

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their video explaining Putin’s Russia.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation’s pansies announce plan to slowly acclimate to pool
Single women with 3 young children unaware she is subject to 984 judgments today
Coworker retreats to remote corner of office to complete disgusting food order
Rescuers heroically help beached garbage back into ocean
New statewide education standards require teachers to forever change lives of 30% of students

Interesting Reads
The future of America’s slums
Cars in Cuba
Not everyone likes kissing
Now 40 years old – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Selling lingerie in Egypt

To send you into the weekend, here’s a flashback to a before expressways. I enjoy Asleep at the Wheel, but this version from them is new to me. 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. 268

The reward for Gov. Scott Walker (R-WS) officially entering the presidential race is this candidate profile from The Onion. I’m losing track, but I think he is the 15th Republican entering the fray. I see more on the horizon!

A recent poll puts Donald Trump (R-NY) leading the GOP race. Funny … but The Bloviator also has the highest disapproval rating of any candidate in both parties. It’s early, and he’ll keep talking. Meanwhile, he fooled me by filing his election paperwork.

Predictably, numerous Congressional Republicans were quick to criticize President Obama on the recent Iranian nuclear deal. Cheers to the few on both sides of the aisle who prefer to read and study the agreement before commenting.

The question isn’t whether or not Iran will get the bomb, but can the global community convince them of not using it.

Baseball’s All-Star Game came to Cincinnati this past week, and it was a rousing success for the city and its baseball fans. From a Reds player winning the Home Run Derby to having 4 Reds legends being on the field, there were many memorable moments.

Some have called for GM to withdraw their sponsorship of Kid Rock’s tour because his use of a Confederate flag. To me, some people just don’t know when to stop … but Kid Rock needs to seriously think about it. Then again, it is his right to do as he pleases.

Citizens waving the Confederate flag when President Obama comes to town have the right to do so, have the right to look stupid, and have the right to suffer consequences of their choices.

Interesting that some continue to disagree with ESPN awarding Caitlyn Jenner the Courage Award over Lauren Hill. Let the record show that Lauren’s parents wanted to meet Jenner to say that they were not involved with the wave of criticism.

The WordPress gnomes again changed my settings that blocked emails of your new posts. Fortunately, I think the block was less than a week. Damn gnomes.

With only two acts remaining, Meals: The Musical returns next week. Act 9 features Snacks and Leftovers. In this case, leftovers stand for items that haven’t had been in any previous act – such as seafoods, eggs, and more. Acceptable snacks would be candy, chocolate, cookies, potato chips, pretzels, pizza, and more. For both snacks and leftovers, beware of the previous acts. The curtain goes up for Act 9 next Wednesday at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).

I greatly enjoyed the story challenge! Tough for me to pick a fav because each had a different element from humor to relationships to one set to die. Thanks to all for joining in the fun. Special thanks to Dale for interacting with so many comments here and on the other blogs posting the story.

Diane Henders told her readers that we are all free and naked.

Rumor has it that a blogging dignitary is coming to my area this weekend.

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

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their list of pros and cons regarding the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Pope Francis grills burgers on balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica (Gotta love the pic)
Mom would rather sit here and watch you guys have fun
Hungover man horrified to learn he made dozens of plans last night
Flight attendant attempting to pass cup of cranberry juice over laptop
Pluto capable of sustaining rock-based life

Interesting Reads
A good collection of thoughts about the Iranian Nuclear Pact
Making wine in a war zone
Best way to fight memory loss
International war on LGBT (and it goes well with this from last week)
9 things you didn’t know about Pluto

Besides the tip in this post, Diane also got this song in my head, so it’s perfect to send you into the weekend … Aaahoo! 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. 266

Last week I wrote this: Numerous southern families support flying the Confederate Battle Flag because they have ancestors who fought under that flag. OK … so why isn’t the Nazi flag flown at the cemeteries for World War II German soldiers? I know that Nazi analogies are often in poor taste, my statement was by no means equating the Nazis to anything in the US Civil War. Flags are symbols, and my intention focused on the flags. I apologize to anyone offended by the question.

Statues of Confederate soldiers in public places are getting scrutinized and even defaced. To me, that’s absolutely absurd. Here’s an interesting Washington Post article about Confederate symbols.

Burning African-American churches? Hey South Carolina – you have a problem!

The recent court rulings offered more examples of Republicans proclaiming a return to the Constitution except when they want to change it. Meaning, the recent rulings have also provided many the opportunity to demonstrate that smart people can say and do stupid things – especially when pandering for votes.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (aka The Truth Teller) may be the King of Hyperbole. As the US Supreme Court went against his views twice in a short span, Cruz stated, Today is some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history. Meanwhile, he describes (in his book) fact-checking as yellow journalism. Here’s an article from USA Today.

Speaking of Texas, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the top law-enforcement official in the state, is encouraging clerks, magistrates, and other officials who object same-sex marriage to not issue the marriage license.

The New York Times did this outstanding 13-minute video about the story that led to the US Supreme Court ruling. (Thanks Lame)

Given some conservatives are squawking about Chief Justice Roberts, this read is about Roberts’ consistency.

In my opinion, and time will tell, the recent ruling says nothing or even implies that churches are required to perform a marriage ceremony involving LGBT. Some have, some will, and some won’t.

Gov. Chris Christie became the 14th Republican seeking the presidency. (I foresee at least 2 more.) He’s a good example of it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Yep – the importance of speaking with conviction can cause others to not notice what is said. No profile from The Onion … Yet!

President Obama announced the intent for Cuba and the USA to open respective embassies. The next step is up to Congress – Oh boy! Given the 2016 election, this could be interesting.

The economic situation in Greece is troubling, yet complex. The heart aches for the Greek people.

Congratulations Missy Copeland on her accomplishment … and cheers to the American Ballet Theater for the historic decision.

I enjoy Enya’s music. I stumbled across this pleasing video to one of her songs. For other Enya fans, enjoy The Memory of Trees (which is good waltz music).

Desserts is the theme for Act 7 of Meals: The Musical. One note of caution: Because they had their own act, beware of using “fruits” or any fruit as they had their own act. (EX) Blueberry Hill is not acceptable because the dessert is not identified; but Blueberry Pie or Blueberry Ice Cream would be acceptable. Curtain time is this Wednesday, 7:30 pm (Eastern US)

For those who will post the entire story on their blog (with their ending), the revised story (without an ending) is on the Challenge page to copy. The Dance Challenge date Sunday, July 12th, 9:30 pm (Eastern US). … Feel free to promote the challenge!

This is a holiday weekend in the US, so no Saturday post from me. Happy Fourth of July, America.

To lead you into The Onion, here’s their mass extinctions timetable.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Boss’s clout evaporates after he’s seen in shorts at company picnic
Study: U.S. wastes 2 million hours annually figuring out where tape roll begins
Man commits to new TV show just hours after getting out of 7-season series
Family enters crisis talks after discovering restaurant has 45-minute wait
Only predictor of happy marriage is if husband won wife big stuffed animal at amusement park

Interesting Reads
Slavery, states rights, civil rights, and a flag
A year as a nudist
How the turtle got its shell
Endangered places is America
Mushrooms and weight reduction
Yes, photos of a crow landing on an eagle

To send you into the weekend, here’s a touch of Motown from years gone by, Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.