Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 303

Memorial Day (Monday) gives the USA a 3-day weekend. Here’s an interesting essay published by the Brookings Institute.

Also regarding Memorial Day, this week I heard an outstanding interview with the producer of an independent documentary about the soldiers who stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Besides the trailer below, here’s a link to the movie’s website.

On this Memorial Day weekend, a salute to all fallen veterans of all countries who fought for freedom.

The Zika virus: For real or an overblown concern? Guess we’ll find out.

Season 22 of Dancing with the Stars ended this week. Wow – what a surprise because we think this was one of the best casts ever. Champion Nyle DiMarco was good, but his story was compelling and inspirational (he’s totally deaf)… plus he probably got a lot of votes from the ladies. No doubt in my mind, Paige Van Zant was the best dancer.

Act 7 of Colors: The Musical featuring Brown provided a surprise number of hits. Two more acts to go. I will make the advance announcement someday mid-week for Act 8 on the Hear Ye page.

No Explore post this weekend.

Modernizing infrastructure is an election-year issue – meaning that after the election, it greatly decreases in importance to the policy makers. This article (from the BiPartisan Policy Center) offers a new model for modernizing US infrastructure.

Finally – after 7 years of complaining, has finally written a health care alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – and is done without repealing the ACA. That point alone is worth congratulating Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

Last week I mentioned about the away-from-the-center movement of both parties. Earlier this week I read this interesting column by Joe Scarborough, who looks at today’s movement through the lens of key Founding Fathers.

In terms of conversations I’ve had with people, the number of people who proclaim they can’t/won’t vote for Clinton or Trump outnumber the number who say they support Clinton or Trump.

This week’s aFa Power Ranking for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Chris Christie, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Bob Corker, 2) John Kasich, 1) Newt Gingrich NOTE: For the record, I had Bob Corker on this draft list before his Monday meeting with Mr. Trump.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides journalism style tips for all writers.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Congressional Compromise Legalizes The Study Of Stem Cells From Mothers On Death Row
Sixteen deer placed in small room and challenged to not copulate
Belt looks weird on child
Voyager probe badly damaged after smashing into the end of the universe
Fact unpatriotic
Heroic Police Officer Talks Man Down From Edge Of Purchasing Subway Footlong Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki

Interesting Reads
The new digital economy
The shocking 1976 wine tasting event
Is pornography a health crisis? 
A population of three
Heroic cave divers
(Photos) A gallery featuring ruins
(Video, 4.5 mins) A brief history of religion in art

Here’s a two-fer to send you into the weekend. The first is a leftover from Act 7 that certainly is a crowd please … and the second is a song from a legendary rock star. 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. 302

The Cincinnati Reds are not only a horrible baseball team … and the ownership and the front office is an embarrassment to the city and its long-time fans. I have one suggestion – please consider another line of work.

Here’s a feel-good story. A local teen’s friend died two years ago, but the friend’s organs helped more than 70 people. He honored his friend by asking a girl to prom from several states away because she received the friend’s lungs to combat her cystic fibrosis. She accepted and all the parents involved support the date. … The original story  … and the story about the outcome

Wow – the Today (Sunday version with Willie Geist) did an outstanding story about The Onion. See it here.

We recently went to the movie theater for two movies. Each movie is different, but worth your time. Money Monsters is a thriller starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Thumbs up. A few days later we saw The Man Who Knew Infinity starring Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel. It’s a wonderful story that is well done. Extra Thumbs Up.

Earlier this week, I saw a farewell post from a blogger – Carrie Rubin. Carrie and I stumbled across each other years ago on Starla’s blog. Since then, we’ve been regular visitors on the other’s blog. Carrie is not only a physician, author, mother, spouse, and self-proclaimed introvert – I have no doubt she is a classy lady in person. Being in opposite corners of the same state, I’m confident that some day we will meet in person. For that day, she has taught me well … that is, I must be prepared with questions to keep the conversation going.😉 Carrie – thanks for being a faithful reader here – and thanks for sharing the inner extrovert side of yourself – which is a hoot! Good luck with your future novels! … and I encourage readers to visit her last post.  Tell her I sent you.

Colors: The Musical returns next week with Act 7 featuring Brown. For those who don’t know the rules, stick to brown being in the song title. The theater curtain rises on Tuesday, May 24th at 9:30 pm (Eastern US)

No Explore post this weekend.

I’m still amazed that Donald Trump (R-NY) has gotten this far. Besides numerous insults, his constituents allow him to avoid answering questions and willingly change positions.

This week’s aFa Power Ranking for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Sarah Palin, 4) Chris Christie, 3) Jeff Sessions, 2) John Kasich, 1) Newt Gingrich

Hillary Clinton (D-NY) can’t seem to put-away Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). To me, it’s further evidence that the Democratic Party is following the Republican Party in a movement away from the center … which is not a good thing for those in the center.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains how hackers steal data.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman Had No Idea Participating In 5K Walk Could Be So Unrewarding
NCAA investigating God for giving gifts to athletes
Americans lead the world in compressing big sandwiches so they are bitable
Woman Recreating Famous Marilyn Monroe Photo Has Rat Blown Up Skirt
Report: Unreleased Harry Potter Book More Secure Than U.S. Trains
Porn Star XXX-hausted

Interesting Reads
Advice about the Middle East
The creativity of genes
A cherished Irish Bible for the 6th-to-8th century
Pad 14 and Mercury astronauts
Faking one’s own kidnapping
(Pictures) Nomads in Nepal

To send you into the weekend, I dedicated this song to Carrie. 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. 300

For me, this is the perfect image to mark the 300th post of Opinions in the Shorts (OITS). After all, I see myself dropping confetti on you as a way to say thanks.

I started blogging on 28th August 2008 as a politics and sports blog. My first OITS appeared on 25th November 2008. A few weeks earlier, President Obama won the election for his first term.That first OITS featured a hilarious Jimmy Kimmel skit showing the secret handshake between President Bush and President-elect Obama. Too bad the video is no longer available.

I started this series as a way to toss out a variety of short thoughts. Over time, thoughts were categorized, Interesting Reads and The Onion headlines appeared, the Garrison Keillor quote served as the conclusion, and a song sent readers into the weekend. I even wrote about the Keillor phrase in this 2009 post.

My golf league started this week. Last year was my first year in this league. I was fortunate to play with the eventual league champion multiple times. What a nice guy! Over time, I learned about his health issues (but from others). Several weeks ago I learned he passed away during the winter.

For anyone looking for a new laptop, I suggest considering the Dell Outlet Center. I recently purchased my third laptop from them because I’ve been very pleased with the others. Even a better deal when they have specials (see Coupons) on the Outlet Center’s webpage.

At the time of this writing, I’m way behind on Act 6: Purple-Indigo-Violet of Colors: The Musical. Timing simply wasn’t good.

There will be a post this weekend, but it will be a Salute, not an Explore.

The success of the Donald Trump (R-NY) campaign continues to floor me. Yep – I missed it – sadly (and in my opinion), it’s a poor commentary on Americans. Although the chance of the Republican convention being the last stand is between slim and none, I will continue to say (1) Trump has a huge mountain of negatives to climb, (2) the majority of the Republican faithful will vote for him because that’s what partisans do, and (3) he has no chance of getting my vote – absolutely none! My tendency is to cast a vote for a candidate, but in this case, I am willing to vote against one.

I’m sorry to see Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suspend his campaign. Several times I stated that I thought his nomination would be the best for the Republican party, but that hope has dimmed. My reason was simple – I was confident that he would be crushed in a general election, therefore causing the Republican party to retreat from ultra conservatism. Hence, the best for the party.

Here are two articles regarding examinations of President Obama’s time in office: An economic look and a broad view.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips on training for a marathon.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Iconic Iwo Jima photo under investigation
Man who did something wrong now hates cops
Kid you used to babysit 5 bar stools over
Man ashamed of himself after cashier reads food order back to him
Abandoned tuba player honks mournfully by side of road
Students watch in sympathy as teacher’s humongous ass erases part of whiteboard

Interesting Reads
History of the universe through ocean sediment
Hiroshima
Restrictions on religious attire for women
Spirituality and Snoopy
A look back at the American eugenics movement
Comparing images of space: 100 years ago and now

Long-time readers know I’m a Moody Blues fan, and remain disgusted with their omission from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Nonetheless, when I started blogging I had no idea where it would go and for how long – so many thanks to my readers for keeping me going. 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. 297

Thursday was my wife’s last day at work, but she wasn’t there much. We celebrated her retirement and our upcoming anniversary with a nice meal out. For her first official retirement day, we will go out to breakfast … but I have to work in the afternoon.

Although she didn’t respond to anyone, my wife appreciated all the best wishes from the readers here, so she says Thanks to all.  Yep – the majority of the world is good.

As a science person, this scathing commentary directed at the Houston Science Museum caught my attention.

Geraldo Rivera was one of the worst contestants ever on Dancing With The Stars -but not worse that Master P. Then again, he knew he couldn’t dance, so cheers to his sense of humor for accepting the show’s invitation.

Opening Day in Cincinnati to start the season is big – very big! My wife has never been downtown for the festivities, so if the weather is nice, we may go. Meanwhile, it’s been a long time since I’ve been this discouraged at the start of the season about my team … but maybe they will surprise me.

I’m ready for a blogging break – one spending time visiting, writing, and adjusting to my wife being at home – so I will be announcing one in the near future … BUT – there will be a post on Saturday that’s not the break announcement.

Because of the upcoming blogging break, I’m delaying the next act of Colors: The Musical until further notice. I’ll first post the next act on the Hear Ye page.

Somehow, Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to survive. While supporters proclaim that he says what people are thinking, I wonder this: Is anyone listening? The man is one bluff after another. He continually changes the subject when he has no answer – especially about foreign policy. Lies, exaggerates, and doesn’t know the primary rules in the contest he’s chosen to engage. Passing the buck through blaming others. As many proclaim he’s tapping into the anger of the American voter, I say he’s activating the stupid gene … Yet – I continue to what I’ve said all along that he won’t get the nomination.

The notion of any of the Republican candidates wooing the “Reagan Democrats” is a fantasy because the many (if not most) of the Reagan Democrats are now Republicans and have been for some time.

With cracks in the Republican wall against the process of filling the Supreme Court vacancy, is it possible that the Republicans cave in, then the Democrats reject the idea? The Dems could claim it’s too late in the term, but actually mean they could get someone more liberal by winning the White House. If so, I say a good idea by the GOP, but a lousy idea by the Dems. Yes – an issue that could greatly influence my vote.

We hear a lot about the Democratic superdelegates – but much less so about Republican uncommitted delegates. Interestingly, the role of delegates earned by “suspended” candidates differs from state-to-state.

Meanwhile, the GOP race continues to focus on wives, size of hands, physical contact, lies, and more – and at the least of avoiding important issues.

For those who think it’s time to change the current primary system, NPR provides 6 alternatives with pros and cons for each.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, here a 2-fer of tips from The Onion:

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Bacon added
Questions linger about long-fingernailed man
Area man reports new girlfriend has that new girlfriend smell
Family has strict no smartphone rule while eating dinner in front of TV
Trophy wife slowly becoming regular wife
Report: Most effective marketing technique still giving out little version of product

Interesting Reads
The ancient origins of social media
Being forced to leave – unfortunately
The hunt for Fabergé eggs
The lesser known trail to Machu Picchu
The battle of Pork Chop Hill
Five facts about chickens

To send you into this weekend, here’s one you may not know from Pink Martini. The beginning provides an explanation for Tuca Tuca. 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. 296

Our hearts and support to Belgians this week. Wishing them peace and strength today, in the days past, and in the days ahead.

Hard to believe that an 18-year-old American injured in the Brussels blast was also in Boston (the day of the Marathon bombings) and in Paris (the day of the recent attacks).

Thanks to those who watched and commented on the PSA in the previous post. My weekly volunteer time with Down Syndrome adults has taught me a lot. It’s where I learned how they see themselves as normal – and it’s where I’ve learned to appreciate them for who they are. A parent told me that the video bothered them as a parent. I responded by saying what I’ve learned from volunteering – to which the parent responded, “You’re exactly right. They really don’t see themselves as any different than anyone else. Thanks for pulling me back.”

We recently saw a stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Wow – it still carries a powerful message.

Next week is The Right Angle’s last week of work as she is ready to ride into the retirement sunset.

This is a great laugh.

Being in the middle of basketball’s March Madness, my city is lucky to have to top programs within the city – let alone, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) apart. But the way both the Bearcats and Musketeers lost was difficult. Ouch! On the other hand, in my opinion, the torch has passed from UC to XU for having the top program in the city. Nonetheless, by the end of the weekend, only 4 teams will be left.

Season 22 of Dancing With The Stars is off to a good start. Definitely a group with some interesting people. It was great to see Edyta back on the show, but ouch – she got the contestant with the worst rhythm and lowest ability.

Act 5: Green of Colors: The Musical was huge! At the time of this writing we’re approaching 50 songs! Then again, I went a bit crazy in my replies … and that’s before Marina and I start playing our additions game.

On the topic of colors, I understand the cherry blossoms of Washington, DC are in full bloom. Elyse and Duncan would gladly give you a walking tour if you stopped by. Make sure to ask her to show you the two trees that are from the original plantings. But if you can’t join her tour, here’s a video to help you enjoy them.

To those celebrating Easter this weekend, a glorious and happy Easter to you.

No Explore post this weekend.

Republicans love to praise Ronald Reagan, but a 1980 Reagan would be lousy 2016 candidate … just as he would have been lousy in 2012. Don’t believe it? Just compare the party platforms.

There’s a lull in primary season as all eyes are directed at Wisconsin. I wonder how much money the campaigns and organizations will spend on ads in the Dairy State.

In terms of this summer’s Republican convention, keep your eye on changes involving Rule 40-B.

I called Sen. Portman’s office (R-OH) about his stance regarding the current Supreme Court opening – and yep – I said the stance will cost him my vote in November.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion offers tips for establishing a campsite.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Chess onlooker sees a possible move
Scissors kills Paper and Rock; then turns blade on self
Volunteer exercises option to stop volunteering
Shit … new girlfriend snores
Stomach sets aside synthetic additives until it has a few minutes to figure out how to digest them

Interesting Reads
The boom in craft beers
The hidden strengths of introverts
The man who sold the Eiffel Tower twice
3-D printing and the blind
Animals of the world (article & images from National Geographic)

Given Blog Musical Week, it’s a two-fer 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. 295

Regarding the return of the headstone in the post earlier this week. A grandson (in Columbus, OH) had it removed to add an engraving, but then decided to keep the stone. I discovered an obituary of a person in Columbus with that name who died last summer (June 25, 2015). Coincidence?

Last week I failed to mention the passing of Nancy Reagan. The longevity of recent First Ladies is amazing. WOW! Meanwhile, a tip of the cap to Nancy Reagan for demonstrating grace and love for her man.

Cincinnati is one of the regional locations for the final 16 in the college hockey tournament. Depending on the times, I may go. Meanwhile, college basketball’s March Madness is underway – Go ABK – Anybody But Kentucky!

Last weekend (and I think two weeks ahead of the rest of the world), we in the USA did our spring SkylineGreenforward into Daylight Savings Time … and the first week of is a struggle for many of us.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, I continued my tradition to Skyline Chili served with green spaghetti.

Act 5 of Colors: The Musical is next on the musical agenda, which will feature the color blue,

  • All song titles must have Blue in the title
  • No forms of the word as blues, bluest, etc
  • No shades of blue (such as cobalt, indigo, aqua, blue-green, etc)
  • No compound words of blue (such as blue-blood, bluebird, bluejay)
  • No duplicate songs

My wife had a wonderful birthday this week.

I will have an Explore post this weekend.

I was about to scold President Obama for delaying his Supreme Court Justice nomination, but he did so this past Wednesday. Although Republican logic for delaying the confirmation is very flawed, it is good for their partisans who are clueless enough to agree with flawed rationale – therefore allowing elected officials to drag the nomination of a qualified, consensus candidate to the highest court of the land into the political sewer of selfishness. After all, to the partisans, the nominator is more important than the nominee – and that is true on both sides of the aisle. Here a past post with my thoughts about the vacancy.

Governor John Kasich (R-OH) wins the important Ohio primary, but even if he won all the remaining delegates, he would go to the convention short of the number needed for the nomination. I’ve heard Kasich supporters here say he should get out of the race, he should stay, and he’s simply positioning himself for the VP slot.

Despite Elyse’s final plea for me to either vote against Donald Trump (R-NY) or vote in the Democratic primary, I accepted an “Issues Only” ballot. Then again, I also told her that voting in the Democratic primary was equivalent to voting for The Bloviator because it wasn’t a vote against him – to which she didn’t agree.

Good bye Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) – and thanks for the poor showing in your home state. Hopefully a lesson learned – Don’t try to be who you aren’t.

Whether she meant it that way or not, Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) comment regarding the coal industry will work against her.

Republicans explaining the current chaos in their party being President Obama’s fault got me thinking about other problems due to the current president – such as El Nino, Malaysian Air missing for two years, Oscar nominations, McDonald’s excluding McGriddles from their Breakfast Anytime Menu, latest flooding in Mississippi and Louisiana, Charo, the Cleveland Browns waiving Johnny Manziel, cost of airfare to Europe from Cincinnati, and my lactose intolerance.

Regarding the Republican chaos, I offer this possible explanation. Since President Obama took office, Republicans formed coalitions with other groups to oppose the president. However, this short-term coalition was unsustainable in the long run – so now they are paying the price.

A note for the political junkies. Not long after the 2008 election that put President Obama in the White House, I wrote this post about the Republican party. In light of the past 7 years and the current fractures with the GOP, readers may enjoy this look-back through the lens of what we know today.

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains how to reduce wasted food. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Nation reaffirms commitment to things they recognize
$4.75 cupcake scrutinized with jeweler’s eyepiece
Beautiful sunset wasted on a few schmaltzy bozos
First grader wants monkeypox
History sighs, repeats itself
Report: 83% of wise guys think they are really funny

Interesting Reads
Linking social skills and being bilingual (Thanks, Tim)
The island of no escape
The minaret of Allepo
Who was worse: Hitler or Stalin?
Death of the Stethoscope?
(Pictures) 10 beautiful ceilings

It’s been too long since I’ve sent you into the weekend with The Piano Guys. This video has beautiful scenery and is a unique rendition of a popular hit. 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. 294

This weekend our handbell choir is playing a nontraditional, beautiful arrangement of a traditional hymn – Amazing Grace. A piano is also involved, which for us is our director – so we will play without a director. For those who want to hear a recording, click here … besides, it could be the background as you read this post.

ABC announced the new cast of Dancing With The Stars … and the thought of Edyta rejoining the cast that includes Sharna and Peta has me smiling.

We enjoyed last weekend’s Grand Tasting at the Cincinnati International Wine Festival. We attended one event and volunteered at another. Total attendance for the three Grand Tastings was about 4,000 … and yes, my unofficial observation is that more millennials attended than baby boomers – thus affirming the statistic I recently provided that millennials have become the largest demographic group purchasing wine.

Act 4 of Colors: The Musical has — songs featuring green in the title. Cheers for another great effort.

I will have an Explore post this weekend.

I watched (last week) the first of a six-part series Race for the White House (on CNN). I enjoyed Part 1 about the Kennedy-Nixon race (1960). CNN replays Part 1 Saturday night, and Part 2 airs Sunday night, which featuring the Lincoln-Douglas campaign of 1860. Here’s the trailer for the series.

Next Tuesday gives us major primaries in Ohio and Florida. Votes are anyone other that the favorite son in each of those states is a vote for Donald Trump (R-NY). Rubio and Kasich wins would greatly increase the odds of a brokered convention.

I will NOT be voting in the Ohio primary. Ohio’s voting laws require voters to declare as a party member (at the polls), which remains in effect until the next primary … and I do not want to be associated with either party at this time … so I will be voting only on issues.

Recent polls indicate Mr. Trump losing head-to-head with the other Republican candidates. By staying in the race, the other candidates (Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich) are playing a game of chicken against each other.

A question for House of Cards fans: How would Frank Underwood deal with Donald Trump? Meanwhile, are you watching Season 4? (We’ve only seen Episode 1.)

I heard this quote myself … and listened several times to make sure … Senator Rubio: “I didn’t say what he was saying as I said it one time.” Huh?

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) winning the Michigan primary surprised me. After all, the six polls I saw had Hillary Clinton (D-NY) winning by double digits (11-to-23 point margin).

To lead you into your weekly dose of satire, The Onion explains how to meditate. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Horrified investigators find unresponsive legislative body in Capitol building
Zoo hosts contest to name baby of pregnant gift-shop worker
Prima donna species just has to have every part of natural habitat intact
Antique store celebrates 750,000th ‘Oh, Just Looking’
Alien parasite can’t find way out of fat astronaut
Report: More women losing weight with elective bone-shaving surgery

Interesting Reads
Winston Churchill’s spectacles
WW II American airmen
Meat and the brain
Downton going green
(Pictures) Award-winning science photos
(Podcast) A brief history of school discipline

Here’s 2-fer to lead you into the weekend – a leftover from Act 4 and a unique version of a Beatles classic done by a strings duet. Thanks to Cathy (@Large Self) for introducing me to Acoustic Eidolon. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.