On Blog Break Spring 2019

Yes – it’s that time again. A time for a blog break. After all, you know my mantra – blog breaks are good. Because of the respect I have for my readers, I prefer announcing my absence. This time I expect 4-8 weeks. This post is just a collection of random thoughts before Blog Break.

I will be staying away from blogging for most of the time, but I probably will work on future posts. You may see my presence shortly after this and slightly before I return.

Golf league starts in about 5-6 weeks – so, I should get the clubs out of the basement.

Cheers to Dale for her maitre ‘d work at the concerts. However, I know she’s very busy at this time, so the blog break gives her a break. This video is for her.

 

Speaking of the concerts, I’m considering scaling back the concerts to the first and third weekends (instead of every weekend). Your thoughts?

March Madness will be in full swing this week. Personally, no team with a losing record in conference should NOT be in the tournament unless they win the conference tournament. These teams should do bump smaller schools. It’s that simple. UC is in the dance, but I don’t expect much – so the bottom line for me is ABK … Anybody But Kentucky.

Bummer: We had a 10-day tour scheduled for late June into early July going Seattle to Glacier National Park and back. The company cancelled the tour. 😦 …. and we already had non-refundable airfare tickets. Now we have to go somewhere and back by mid-November to use the credited dollars on Southwest Airlines.

I’m a few days into temporary bachelorhood as it’s time for my wife’s girls cruise (that is, the guys aren’t allowed). For me, that means dance when I can! When people ask me what I do for a week, my response is simple: 1) Whatever I want, 2) Whenever I want.

 

My heart sank at the news about the recent terrorist attack in New Zealand. Pauline, my favorite Kiwi, is a regular here – and my support is with her and her nation – yet I also feel helpless.

I’ve got the feeling the Mueller Report will come out during my absence. Oh well, I still believe it will not meet the expectations of Democrats, so it will also be a relief to Republicans who will also sidestep important points.

I stated this line before about President Trump and continue to use it. “He’s a pathetic person and even worse leader; plus he brings most of his problems on himself.” Some say I’m not harsh enough. Yes – it’s tame – but countering it is difficult because it is not threatening.

As I head into Blog Break, here’s a song that I greatly enjoy. From The Greatest Showman, “A Million Dreams”. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 396

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Because we couldn’t rehearse while in Alabama, last Sunday we had a chance to listen to our handbell choir play a wonderful song for Lent. (Plus, the group played very well.) To listen to In the Wilderness (Jason Krug), click here, and then find the Listen button (after the opening paragraph that is worth reading), then click Listen. Warning: It’s over 6 minutes, but it can serve as background music for those interested.

The Weekend Concert Series returns this Saturday with Carole King taking the stage at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Regarding the concerts, tradition is that I limit comments to one song per person. However, a little known fact is that commenters can return on Day 2 (Sunday) to add more songs.

Did anyone watch the Aretha Franklin tribute show on CBS last Sunday night? We did – and enjoyed it.

OITS number 400 is approaching … and visit number 400,000 is in sight (possibly this summer).

Attention Costco shoppers. From Money magazine – If you spend $3000 per year at Costco, upgrading to an Executive Member will pay for itself and may make save you even more. Once we learned we were passing on money, we upgraded. After all, we love Costco.

Have you ever taken a DNA test as Ancestry DNA or 23andMe?

Last week we sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time (DST). Two US states (Arizona and Hawaii) do not join the fun. Several other states are considering doing the same while several others are considering making DST permanent.

Cheers to the US Women’s Soccer Team seeking equal pay with their men’s counterpart. With Wimbledon tennis approaching, should men and women receive the same winnings when men must win three sets per match while women two?

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AOC is made it known that moderates are not welcome. Nothing like pushing away potential voters. Just because I’m anti-Trump does not mean voting for the Democratic candidate is automatic. So thank you AOC, the odds of Dems getting my vote in 2020 has fallen to 10%.

Now would this be an interesting Democratic presidential ticket for a bumper sticker: Hickenlooper-Buttigieg

President Trump referred Apple CEO Tim Cook as Tim Apple. To me, a simple slip of the tongue. That’s something we’ve all done. However, President Trump is so arrogant, he can’t even admit a responsibility on something like this. Instead, he favored an explanation that is pathetic and senseless: “I quickly referred to Tim + Apple as Tim/Apple as an easy way to save time & words.”

Presidential Weekly Summary: Build the wall. No collusion. Witch hunt. Lock her up. Fake news. I feel badly for Paul Manafort. Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, here’s something different. Viareggio is a popular respite by the sea on Tuscany’s west coast. Actually close to my family. Carnevale di Viareggio is a popular annual event. Let’s just say this event displays a bit of satire. For those who dare, watch a four-minute video here.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Baby feels foolish after realizing stranger waving at toddler next seat over
Limited-edition Russet potato comes with letter of authenticity
Washing machine loses man’s trust
Woman nervous for boyfriend to meet person she becomes around parents
Aging Mount St. Helen’s beginning to think erupting days are behind it
Scientists pinpoint part of brain all hairs grow out of

Interesting Reads

Women and World War II
Thinking about plastics
A bit about stupidity
A view of polarized America
Life beyond Earth?
(Graphic) A graphic worth thinking about
(Photos) Rio’s carnival celebration
(Video) Chile’s marble cathedral in a cave

To send you into the weekend, a duet that didn’t appear at the last concert. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 395

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The Weekend Concert Series returns this Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US) with Aretha Franklin – The Queen of Soul!!!!

What timing! This Sunday night (9 PM Eastern US), CBS is broadcasting a special tribute to Aretha!

Five more OITS until number 400.

Sad to hear the news about baseball great Tom Seaver having dementia. When he played in Cincinnati, he lived in a condo on a golf course I worked at in the summer. He was very appreciative when I told him that when people asked me where he lived, I always lied. The man was a great pitcher. Wishing him and his family much strength.

Thanks to Holly @ House of Heart for leading me to this awesome poem about Tango.

Ever ask yourself this question: “Why did I agree to do that?” Well, our dance instructor asked me if I would do a showcase dance with another partner. (My wife doesn’t dance performances). With my wife’s approval, I agreed – but of all things – Quickstep! Fast and not only of my better dances. YIKES! … OK – head to the grindstone.

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With more and more Democrats seeking to be the 2020 party nominee for president, I wonder who will be the first to leave the race. Too bad Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) decided not to enter the fray.

I have mixed feelings about the Democrats decision to bypass FOX News for their debates.

This remains my best explanation of President Trump: He’s a pathetic person and an even worse leader who brings the majority of problems onto himself.

Presidential Weekly Summary: Build the wall. No collusion. Witch hunt. Lock her up. Fake news. Obama’s fault.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion has a guide to blockchain technology.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man in rental car spends 20 minutes trying to find the steering wheel
Demonic spirit claws way out of Hell to flicker lights, throw some silverware around
Sperm can’t remember why it came into womb
Cursed ghost ship offers free room and board to anyone willing to join their eternally damned crew
God purges millions of souls from heaven now that sexual assault taken more seriously

Interesting Reads

Americans and Germans diverging thoughts
Travel pattern of text messages
Finding aliens
Politics and Dr. Seuss
Daring WW II raids
(Video) 5-minute history of the Internet in China
(Photos) Cherry blossoms
(Photos) Finalists Smithsonian Magazine photo contest

To send you into the weekend, the great response last week means another one from Linda Ronstadt. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 394

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Fleetwood Mac delivered a great show at last weekend’s aFa Weekend Concert. Reminder – no concert this weekend – but it returns next weekend with the Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin!

Due to a hectic personal schedule, I’m unsure about the timing of the next post.

With baseball spring training in progress, 2019 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Cincinnati Reds franchise – the oldest in Major League Baseball.

As a whole, the dress on Oscars night disappointed me enough to mention it here. Actually, many were head scratchers, but thumbs up to Amy Adams, Constance Wu, Tina Fey, Amandla Stenberg, Regina King, Jennifer Lopez, and Julia Roberts.

I imagine most readers here are not familiar with Sister Rose Ann Fleming – so a Cincinnati legend, so this is a good story.

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With the final Mueller report seemingly being on the near horizon, my skeptic side feels the narratives are already established – therefore, changing nothing with the Democratic narrative and the Republican narrative are set. The unknown question is how will voters react? Then again, by the time November 2020 arrives, will voters even remember?

I normally don’t read columns by Marc Thiessen (Washington Post) because of his partisan nature. However, something compelled me to read this one, and I smiled.

A friend asked me if I thought Joe Biden could beat Donald Trump in November 2020. I said YES, but added I’m not sure he can get the Democratic nomination.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion looks back at the biggest Oscar snubs in history.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Teen on verge of either joining ISIS or getting super into rollerblading
Unclear why stagehand wrote heartfelt little notes to everyone in cast
Poor attendance at intervention a wake-up call
Bouncer who is not that big must be crazy
Chef makes hamburger

Interesting Reads

The US-EU trade war with olives
Evolution and humans drinking milk
Fats Domino
A Holocaust story
Verona + gnocchi = gnocchio
Correlating personal happiness and leisure time
(Photos) Iconic views
(Photos) Elton John through the years

To send you into the weekend, let’s go back to the time of Linda Ronstadt. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 393

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The aFa Weekend Concert series returns featuring Fleetwood Mac. Given the distinct nature of her voice, Stevie Nicks songs are acceptable. Concert starts Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

On a concert note, the stage will be dark the following weekend (March 2-3) due to scheduling difficulties.

Thanks for everyone for the kind comments on my birthday post. There is something about receiving nice greetings from all over the US and throughout the world that touches my heart – and to think we’ve never met in person. For the record, comments came from 10 different US states and 8 different countries. 🙂

Not long ago we said goodbye to Curiosity, NASA’s rover on Mars. Doesn’t seem that long ago when we said hello to it with this way. Do you remember it?

 

For those who know about TEDx Talks, I recently discovered that TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. I had no clue of its meaning! For podcasts enthusiasts, I endorse TEDx podcasts.

We watched Roma, the critically acclaimed Netflix film that has received numerous Oscar nominations. For us, it’s a movie for critics and lovers of movies critics rave about that aren’t not for many of us. But hey – you may like it.

We also went to the theater for The Wife. Good movie; and Glenn Close is fabulous and worthy of her Oscar nomination and Screen Actors Guild Award.

About the previous post – the Final Jeopardy question. I based the list on Madeleine Albright’s latest book: Fascism: A Warning – not my personal opinion.

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Dear Voters in Kentucky. Thank you for sending us Mitch McConnell. He’s quite pathetic.

If Republican senators are smart, they would unquestionably vote against President Trump’s National Emergency declaration. Otherwise, they are setting themselves up for something in the future. Then again, most of them are not smart and they (and their supporters) accept their own contradictions in their “party-first” perspective.

I encourage you to write your representative and senators encouraging them to vote against President Trump’s National Emergency declaration on the grounds of a dangerous precedent for the future. I’ve written my three: two Republicans (one probably a lost cause) and a Democrat). As of this writing, the lost-cause has not responded, which I requested.

Here’s an interesting scenario from Politico about the declaration and the courts.

Democrats continue to expand the field of candidates seeking the nomination. Shame on NBC starting the debates in June – well ahead of the Iowa Caucuses in early 2020. Odds of me watching are less than very slim.

Now here’s an interesting situation to ponder about the 2020 election: Democrats gain control of the Senate, keep control of the House, and President Trump is re-elected.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion provides a list of pros and cons about salary transparency.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man competitive about how depressed he is
Coworkers agog as employee introduces new shirt into rotation
Aunt scores big with nephews by dropping bombshell story about Mom smoking weed as teenager
Scientists produce rigorous study of why grapes spark in the microwave
Mass invasion of polar bears forces Russian islands to declare emergency
Man always makes sure to place phone on Silent before misplacing it

My Combo: Competitive depressed man scores spark with bombshell employee before misplacing weed misplacing new shirt

Bonus: I like this headline and image of this one about New York City police (but you’ll have to click to see).

Interesting Reads

Women and computer programming: a historical look
Policy and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Why calories are not on labels of alcoholic drinks
Albanian bunkers
Thinking non-human animals
(Article w/ interactive) International view of issues
(Graphic) Marijuana regulations in the US
(Photos) UK National Parks Photo Competition

To send you into the weekend, here’s one from the past that once I heard it earlier this week, I knew to use it here. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Snit about a Fear

Breaking News Alert

I interrupt my regularly scheduled post for a timely message. Some may say a bit of a snit. Allow me to scream first.

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Although I am far from the Democratic Left, President Trump’s frequent cry of “Socialism” and Republicans yelling “Socialism” as a response to the Progressive message of the Green New Deal has gotten under my skin more than the agenda itself.

My response is an important question to the GOP and their minions: When are you going to campaign against government-run taxpayer-funded Socialstic programs?

Eliminating (not reforming) Social Security
Eliminating unemployment benefits
Eliminating food stamps
Eliminate government housing
Stop housing assistance
Stop funding public roads & schools
Eliminate disability payments
Eliminate benefits for government employees
Eliminate Medicare
Eliminate Medicaid
Eliminate financial assistance for foster care, adoption child care & development
Eliminate food and health programs for children through schools
Eliminate health insurance assistance
Eliminate assisting communities with local services
Eliminate educational loans & grants for schools & students
Eliminate funding for museums & libraries
Eliminate subsidies for business
Eliminate public-funded transportation
Eliminate farm subsidies
Abolish the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)
Abolish the Small Business Administration (SBA)
Abolish the Veterans’ Administration (VA)

… and I’m sure there are many more examples.

I know you won’t answer the question, so I’ll answer it for you. You won’t because you are gutless hypocrites who can’t practice want they preach for you are the party of fear and anger who preys on ignorance. No wonder I left the party.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 391

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As a whole I think Neil Diamond surprised visitors last weekend. The next concert features the Eagles – start time is this Saturday at 1: 00 AM (Eastern US).

The concert series has turned out to be more popular than I anticipated. My need for a breather is way I didn’t post Sunday evening. On a similar note, scheduling conflicts will bump a weekend concert several times in upcoming weeks.

In my opinion, many professional athletes are wonderful people. Unfortunately, the bad apples make the police blogger and the news. For a story that will make you smile, see this one about PGA golfer Gary Woodland.

Last week our timing was perfect when we successfully returned to the theater to catching the ending to The Upside. For those who don’t remember or didn’t know, with about 30 minutes to go in the movie, an evacuation alarm sounded.

CBS had this outstanding 10-minute report about singer Linda Ronstadt, which includes an interview.

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True to my word, I didn’t watch the SOTU. Based on the clips I saw, I didn’t miss much.

I didn’t watch the Democratic response. Regardless of the president, I wish the opposing party would start a new tradition of not responding. Then again, the odds of that happening is about the same as Congress choosing dignified decorum of sitting and listening instead of popping up and down like they are attending a pep rally.

This week I saw a state-by-state approval/disapproval rating of President Trump. Whereas Democrats can be elated by the numbers, I say they should be cautious because many of who disapprove will vote for his re-election and the Democratic nominee could push others that way.

The Trump idea of unity is when opponents change their mind to agree with him.

As possible Democratic nominee Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) continues to apologize regarding her ethnicity, maybe her campaign is already out of steam – especially with a potentially large field.

To lead you into the weekly dose of satire, The Onion sets the record straight about preventing and treating colds.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Yosemite closed indefinitely after bear spotted in park
Small town billionaire fails to make it in big city
Responsible man sets aside small portion of every paycheck for bank to gamble with
Doctors zap brains of awake brain surgery patients to make them laugh and have fun
Study finds sedentary lifestyle puts millions of Americans at risk of becoming beautiful just the way they are

Interesting Reads

Foreign language classes in decline
The needs for living on Mars
The needs for building a Moon base
Pushing the envelope: Women bicycling in Pakistan
The bank-robbing bicyclist
A tribute to the passing of an artist
(Photos) Enjoy the Daily Dozen from National Geographic

To send you into the weekend, I thank John for inspiring me to use this song. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.