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.

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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. 311

Summer is at full throttle in my area as we are in the throws of heat and humidity. Although I realize those to the south have more humidity, I hate this type of weather.

We saw the newest Ghostbusters movie this week.

  • Entertaining
  • Good animations
  • Slow beginning
  • Kate McKinnon is outstanding
  • Love the cameos
  • I enjoyed the 1984 original more

This week I bottled my first-ever batch of basilcello. Initial taste test was good as it is basilly, sweet, and strong.

Even though numerous incidents have heightened racial tensions in the US, today’s situation isn’t remotely close to 1968.

I didn’t know that upon returning from their historic trip to the moon, the Apollo 11 crew completed a Declaration Form at US Customs. Here is a copy of theirs.

This year has been the strangest golf season I’ve had in some time – maybe ever.

No Explore post this weekend.

Sorry – I couldn’t find any reason to watch the Republican convention. Do you think I’ll watch the Democrats next week?

Although I didn’t watch the convention, I noticed these headlines from The Onion’s coverage.

  • Trembling, Pallid RNC Attendees Undergo Second Day Of Firearm Withdrawal
  • RNC Speech: ‘If We Don’t Elect Trump, Our Enemies Will’
  • Chris Christie Emits Loud Sob As Paul Ryan Asks Crowd Whether They Worse Off Now Than They Were 4 Years Ago
  • RNC Attendee Excited To Find Out What He’ll Get To Boo Tonight
  • Trump Accidentally Fires Off ‘Boring Mike Pence’ Tweet During VP Speech Before He Can Stop Himself

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week

  • Lack of riots at the Republican Convention
  • Melania Trump’s plagiarism
  • Texas Voter ID laws violating the Voting Rights Act
  • Phil Mickelson losing the British Open
  • Roger Ailes

Much ado is being made about Melania Trump’s speech. Although I actually heard someone blame Hillary Clinton for the snaffu – no way – as I stated earlier, it’s President Obama’s fault.

In terms of the selection of Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) has a running mate, Mr. Trump was in the same position as previous nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney – play to the base.

To we independents, this election has been loaded with head-shaking moments. Ron Fournier hit a home-run in this article (in The Atlantic) about Mrs. Clinton.

Given next week’s Democratic convention, this is probably the last aFa Power Ranking for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Julian Castro, 4) Chris Murphy, 3) Tom Vilsack, 2) Tim Kane, 1) Thomas Perez

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion explains Pokémon Go.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Humanity hoping it only has to put up with few more millennia of this shit
‘People are inherently good,’ world halfheartedly mutters
Woman who doesn’t use Facebook completely out of touch with friends’ prejudices
FDA declares new drug ‘Qualmex’ safe for treatment of anxiety about drug
Two-hour meeting spent thinking up hashtag absolutely nobody on the planet will use

Interesting Reads
The most emotional cultures
Quantum and the origin of time
The campaigns and elections of Millard Fillmore
Dusk, dawn, and Viagra
Me in the Age of the Selfie
(Interactives) Where US gets its oil
(Photos) The world from above

Earlier in the week I heard a song that took me back to the early ‘70s. 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. 310

Other than knowing it happened, I don’t know much about the recent incident in Nice, France. What is going on in today’s world? When will the good rise up?

Count me in as a person looking forward to seeing the new version of this movie hit from the past.

My wife and I are actively working on a wall project that I plan to feature in a post sometime in August.

Given the recent cases of violence by police and the Dallas shooting against police, the strongest correlation between the two is obvious – both are President Obama’s fault.

Rev, Martin Luther King, Jr. offers a wide selection of great quotes that are applicable for current times. This one stuck me this week:

We have got to learn to disagree with being violently disagreeable.

This golf season has been one of my strangest seasons yet. Oh well … but I’m still having fun playing. I haven’t played as much as I hoped at the course where I’m working, well … work hours get in the way.

I didn’t know that Presidents Ford and Carter developed a strong friendship during the 1980s – and through that friendship, they agreed to the survivor would speak at the other’s funeral … which Carter did for Ford.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

Politics is a team sport, but governing is about finding solutions – not demanding a particular solution. No wonder government has a difficult time accomplishing anything meaningful.

Numerous polls are supporting the thoughts I’ve had for some time about this election – more people will be casting votes against a candidate rather than for a candidate … and yes, that’s also President Obama’s fault. Nonetheless, I wonder if the strong negatives leads to a one-term presidency.

Count me among those critical of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticizing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump (R-NY). Then again, Mr. Trump’s response was predictably pathetic.

Here’s a great line from a local Letter to the Editor – If Donald Trump becomes the next president of the United States, I will be the first in line to buy a ticket for Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark replica …. Because I am pretty sure that Yahweh will suddenly change his mind about never flooding the world again.

Regarding positions on issues, this recent Doonesbury strip hit the nail on the head (well, for me) … which helps demonstrate that this election isn’t about issues.

Although the official announcement is Friday morning, news is leaking – but that’s subject to change. Nonetheless, I created this aFa Power Rankings earlier this week: 5) Michael Flynn, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Chris Christie, 2) Newt Gingrich, 1) Mike Pence

The aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) James Stavridis, 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 the campaign strategy for the two main candidates: Clinton and Trump

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Facebook status update field dreading what area man about to type into it
USA Today announces nation’s fattest city has eaten neighboring city
New Study: Having sick friends may improve your physique
30,000 people drafted to live in Nebraska
Divorce reveals mom always the one who botched Christmas presents
Wrong turns in ventilation duct results in world’s largest bakery robbery

Interesting Reads
Global trends of governments restricting religion
The news sources for Americans: a trend
Europe: Insurgence, referendums, and politics
Is the 2016 election similar to 1968?
A look at couch potatoes
(Photos) Underwater with National Geographic 

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, summer is in full throttle. That spirit leads me to this blast from the past … and how about those chops. 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. 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.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 308

The recent attack at the Istanbul airport rips one’s heart. Blogger Nia quickly came to my mind because I know she’s a kind, sensitive person who is unhappy with the political turmoil and the regional violence. I encourage you to visit her blog to offer your support to her and the good people in Turkey.

Although I continue to believe my personal mantra that the majority of the world is good, this and similar incidents challenge my view …. but I continue to hang on! Meanwhile, the key to defeating ISIS (in my opinion) starts within the Arab world.

Loud cheers to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for allowing the Cincinnati Reds to honor Pete Rose by retiring his number and allowing him to enter the Reds Hall of Fame. The previous commissioner felt the need to extend Rose’s punishment to the Reds organization, Reds fans, and the city of Cincinnati.

Hey hey hey – it looks like our Argentine Tango class will be extended by one week!

The distance separating Cincinnati and West Virginia isn’t very much. Whereas very little rain has fallen at my residence, West Virginia is flooding. I think it’s President Obama’s fault.

My life has been one of major adjustments the past 3 months. My wife’s retirement and my part-time job have affected whatever time is left in a day – therefore, my poor attendance among the blogs.

Thanks to all who participated in Colors: The Musical! As of this writing, I’m way behind on replying to comments, but I’ll get there! Thanks for your patience.

This is a long holiday weekend in the US (4th of July), so no Explore post this weekend.

The combo came to mind by using the subject lines in my email spam folder: Rock-hard Trump destroys Cialis implant

I found interest in this week’s Supreme Court ruling regarding the abortion laws. Although Ohio was not on the list of states with similar laws, my state has also been on the restrictive path.

Polls and studies showing the majority of Americans say that Congress is doing a bad/poor job make me laugh because the vast majority of elected officials in Congress get re-elected. Which best describes the voting public: anger or complacency?

The recent BREXIT vote created many shock waves across the world. Around all the chaos, it is important to remember the primary cause: It’s President Obama’s fault.

Be cause of the US process for electing a president, I know national polls are essential meaningless – but the closeness of the polls is both fascinating and disturbing.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Mitch Pence, 4) Chris Christie, 3) Bob Corker, 2) Jeff Sessions, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Sherrod Brown 4) Elizabeth Warren, 3) Xavier Becerra, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides tips for handling social anxieties.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man driving while making YouTube video to explain how PC culture destroying America
‘Five-Second Rule’ disproven
Black mark on birth control manufacturer’s record weighs in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces
Factory robot working on some of its own designs after hours
Three-year-old announces plan to point out fat people all day long.
Only news source man trusts has logo of eyeball with crosshair

Interesting Reads
A moderate working in a polarized environment
Classic music and new technologies (Thanks Tim)
A collection of matchbook boxes from India
Education in Estonia
The Irish pirate queen
Has physics made philosophy and religion obsolete?
(Photos) The Night Skies

Here’s one of my all-time favorite music videos. 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. 307

Last Friday my wife and I went to US Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. It was her first visit to one of the finest government museums outside of Washington, DC … and admission is free.
In this recent editorial in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Director of the Cincinnati Zoo ended his column with these words: You can sure tell who your friends are when the chips are down. I continue to wonder why they lack of outcry for the killed alligators at Disney World in Orlando.
Golf’s U.S. Open ended last week with a bit of a controversy that (fortunately) didn’t affect the outcome. With other sports using video replays to get the correct outcome, I have no problem with golf using today’s technology. However, if a player only gets 5 minutes to find a potentially lost ball, rules officials should only get 5 minutes from the time of the potential infraction to make a ruling. Doing so hours later or at the conclusion of the round is a problem that could lead to future problems.
I’ve known many people from Cleveland and its suburbs. Heck – I even married a Clevelander. I can also remember the last time the city won a major sports championship (1964). With their recent basketball championship, The Onion does what The Onion does.
I look forward to the results of the EU Exit vote (BREXIT).
Our introductory class in Argentine Tango is over – and the class was a lot of fun – so we may willing to learn more.
One more act in Colors: The Musical – and it features songs with “White” in the title. Any ideas why I saved this color for the last act? Hint: See Act 1. See you this coming Tuesday (28th June) at 9:30 pm (Eastern US).
No Explore post this weekend.
Last week I called for a national conversation around guns. This week, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate demonstrated the need for my request – and of course the partisans shun the idea by digging their heals into the stance.
I recorded the recent Libertarian Town Hall (on CNN), and I look forward to watching it when I get a chance.
People who follow elections realize Ohio is a swing state – and polls currently show a toss-up race. Here’s a short list that outsiders may not know about the Buckeye State.
  • Ohio is a strong Tea Party state. Even our Republican governor (Kasich) has bucked them.
  • The Cincinnati area has high viewership of reality shows.
  • Donald Trump’s personality fits with a large portion of the state.
In my opinion, American politics is off the rails – so this article from The Atlantic is interesting.
This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Nikki Haley 4) John Kasich, 3) Chris Christie, 2) Jeff Sessions, 1) Newt Gingrich
The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Xavier Becerra, 4) Andrew Cuomo, 3) Thomas Perez, 2) Elizabeth Warren, 1) Tim Kane
To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion provides etiquette tips for wedding guests.
Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man getting futon all dolled-up for Craigslist photoshoot
Late-arriving guest encouraged to load up on food sitting in sun for past 4 hours
Man at amusement park gets right back in line for another funnel cake
Family mercifully pulling plug on grandfather unaware they are sending him directly to hell
WalMart considered part of town’s late-night dining options
Grizzled fast-food junkie moving on to harder dipping sauces
Cincinnati has been crazy about Jimmy Buffett for many years. Because he was in town this week, he’s a good choice 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.