Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 379

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Pronouns: The Musical is continues this weekend with the final act featuring songs with It in the title. Caution: It and It’s are acceptable, but not Its. Don’t rely on YouTube getting it right! Curtain time is Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

I may have one or two important announcement by Tuesday. If so, there would be one or two new pages/tabs. So be watching for the Special page/tab and the Challenge page/tab.

This week marked the renewal of a Halloween tradition in our condo neighborhood. The adults get together for an outdoor social so the candy seekers can have a one-stop feast.

A new episode of Rick Steves’ Europe examines cruising. Being that we enjoy cruising, we felt that his assessment of cruising was very fair.

Amazing how each of us have encounters that hit us in different ways. I want to share four of mine from last week

My wife recently had a toe surgery involving a cartilage implant. November will be a slow month here, so my dancing is on hold – well, unless she either goes along to watch and socialize or she wants me away for a few hours. Meanwhile, I’ve come a butler.

Stephen Colbert make me laugh. This 2+ minute clip is very good spoof on commentator Lou Dobbs.

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I can honestly say President Trump will not impact any of my votes on Election Day. For the record, my ballot has races for Governor, other state offices, Senator, Representative, the state legislature, and local races.

Given next week’s midterm elections, I’m raising the odds of the Democrats gaining control of the House to 90%, but retain the 10% odds of the Republicans losing control of the Senate.

From my perspective, there is no difference between the Democratic party attacks on the Koch Brothers and Republican party attacks on George Soros. Of course, during an election, neither party is willing to look within themselves.

Last week was difficult: mailing of bombs to prominent people – a shooting at a grocery store in Kentucky – a mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh – all three incident by loners with unhinged, deranged minds. Unfortunately, predictable statements about gun control and the Second Amendment again come forth. Whereas the focus continues to be the last 14 words of the Second Amendment, I continue to say the key to the debate is the first 13 words. After all, those are the words not on the lobby wall at NRA headquarters.

To understand the problems in today’s America, find a copy of the Roundtable discussion on This Week with George Stephanopoulos (28 October 2018).

Being that we are living in a time of a self-centered, bloviating, obnoxious, dishonest jackass holding the office of the leader of the free world, I hope you visited at least one of the four links listed in the previous section. Cheers to Master Yoda’s comment that is very applicable today.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion reports the latest on the Trump boys. 

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Man exhausted having to explain Halloween costume for the umteenth time
Area man always carb-loading just in case
Polite high school football team runs around banner that took hours to make
Study finds placing one foot forward, then the other, remains best method of walking
Parents honor beloved dead grandmother by naming baby ‘GamGam’
Rash not going away on its own

Interesting Reads

100 years after the Armistice
10 countries gone after the Cold War
A Jew’s life between the wars
The complexity of 10 simple things
Building a Moon base: a how to
(Graphic) Growth, GDP, countries, over time
(Pictures) High water in Venice (and to think I was there 21 days before these pictures)
(Pictures) Mexico City’s Day of the Dead parade

To send you into the weekend and into the midterm elections, here’s that is applicable for me and a few of the readers here. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


On a Worthy Read

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Walls can surround to keep something out. Walls can also surround to keep something in. Either way, walls divide. Walls are barriers – and barriers can come in different forms.

Rick Steves is a respected travel guru in the U.S. – especially specializing in Europe. His shows and books are very well done, and one we appreciate for our travels. We have not taken any of his tours, but everyone that I know who has rave about them.

A new American president has made quite a splash in the news. Although he states his desire to be a president for all, his actions do not support his statement. After all, actions are more powerful than words – or as I like to say, behaviors and actions demonstrate one’s true value.

Rick Steves has a perspective about building a wall and actions that act like a wall. To me, this is a worthy and powerful read. Click here to read it.



On Exploring an Unexpected Place

Ljubljana, Slovenia is a place on my bucket list.

I know the thoughts racing through the mind of most readers right now …. “Ljubljana, Slovenia? Where’s that? How does one say that place? What the heck is he thinking?” (Was I close?)

First the pronunciation – lyoo-BLYAH-nah. I even discovered that the Italians and Spanish simply say (and write) Lubiana, which I find helpful.

Slovenia is a small country that was part of Austria-Hungary (WW I), part of Yugoslavia after WW II, and part of Italy for 27 years between the two World Wars. It became independent in 1991, and has been part of the EU and NATO since 2004.

It has a small coastline along the northeastern Adriatic Sea, and those who remember my background note that Slovenia is very close (a few miles/kilometers) to my birthplace – Trieste, Italy – so I’ve seen Slovenia in the distance, but haven’t visited.

I recall watching a feature on a Slovenian skier from Ljubljana during the Sochi Winter Olympics, and a Rick Steves episode expanded my attraction for Ljubljana. Yep, I’ve even researched how to get from Trieste to Ljubljana by train – so it’s time to pass along this hidden secret to others. FYI: Trains don’t connect the two cities, but I discovered the way.

Enjoy this short tourism video. For those wanting to do see the Rick Steves episode, here it is. What do you think? Ready to join an aFa tour group?

On a View of Iran

I like to travel – and that includes watching Rick Steves travelling. Not that long ago (2008) Steves went to Iran, and as he normally does, he incorporates people and culture into his thoughts and shows.

Today, we’re keeping an eye on the demonstrations resulting from the country’s election process. Journalists had been a source of information, but then they were limited or removed. YouTube and Twitter served as communication outlets, and then those sources have now been limited.

As we debate over meddling or watching, Mr. Steves recently wrote a column (in an editorial sense). Since he’s not championing a political party or special interest, it’s worth reading. Below are links to the column and other Rick Steves’ posts on Iran.


Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 25

On a Conservative Poll
Of the over 2000 people taking the Web poll at ConservativeHQ.com during the May 12-19 period, President Obama’s political philosophy received the following labels” Socialist (46%), Marxist (24%), Communist (11%), Fascist (10%), Liberal (5%), Progressive (2%), Moderate (1%), and the remaining 1% was divided between Other, Populist, and Conservative. FYI: Of those taking the poll, how did they describe themselves: 63% Republicans, 71% Conservatives, but no Fascists or Communists.

Meanwhile, Pat Buchanan is praising Dick Cheney for showing Republicans the way.

On the Supreme Court Nominee
Now that President Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the high court, Republicans can concentrate their opposition on her instead of other potential nominees. They may even try a filibuster. As for me, I’m not crazy about a sixth Roman Catholic on the court, but Rush’s quick criticism tells me that this nomination is worth considering. I simply hope for a fair, nonpartisan vetting process.

On Bipartisanship
Two longtime friends, conservative columnist Cal Thomas and liberal Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, write an every-other-week column for USA Today that I find interesting, thus add them to my Resources. They also co-wrote a book, Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War that is Destroying America.

On Roland Burris
With the latest information about Roland Burris, I hope the senator does the right thing – resigns. If not, I times for the Democratic leadership to step up to the plate and move to get him out. The American Heartland Bar and Grill said it well (as they usually do).

Democrats.  Get this guy out of office.  Ignore those who wish to play race politics and remove Burris.  He is the poster child of the often incestuous relationship between political contributions and political patronage.  He should never have been nominated in the first place.  He should never have been seated as a U.S. Senator.

Senate Democrats.  Show us how committed you are to ‘change.’  We’ve seen Nancy Pelosi’s commitment to change, that’s why John Murtha isn’t being investigated for his involvement in the PMA scandal.  Here’s your chance to show the country that you have high standards and principles by erasing the mistake of allowing Roland Burris to sit in the Senate in the first place.  Some of your supporters won’t like this.  But it’s best for the country that a man who openly lobbied for the seat and at the very least, made it clear he wanted to ‘help’ Gov. Blagojevich, not grace the hallowed halls of the Senate any more.

Do the right thing.  Remove Burris now.

Oh and Nancy, do the right thing- investigate John Murtha’s role in PMA.

On Cell Phones while Driving
A few weeks ago a person told me that more women hold and talk on a cell phone while driving than men. Ever since then, I started taking notice and lo & behold, it seems to be correct (although I didn’t keep statistics). Can someone please tell me the deal on this one?

On a State of Play
State of Play, Russell Crowe’s latest movie has been out for a while, but it still may be in some theaters. As a movie we enjoyed this thriller, but as a blogger I found a lot going on here.

  • Political intrigue in Washington
  • The struggling newspaper industry
  • The effect of the emergence of electronic communications on newspapers
  • The importance of investigative journalism, thus making sure many dots are connected before publishing (as opposed to posting as immediate news as you go)

On Rick Steves
Many who enjoy travel are fans of Rick Steves and his wonderful shows on PBS. I recently saw this short article interviewing him, plus to pay tribute to his great work, I’ve added his blog to the Potpourri links.

On Competing Colors
The recent NCAA lacrosse championship game featured the battle of two colors: Orange vs. the Big Red. I wonder when the last time that happened in any sport?

On the New York Football Yankees
In the sidebar to the right I provide links to many interesting writers, and here’s a plug for one of them: 3rd Stone from the Sun. I had no idea about the history of the New York Yankees – the football version. This post is well researched and a great read. Well done 3rd Stone!

On a Trilogy
Something we reach down into our soul for a post, but to discover it only got a few reads. Well, that happened to me recently so I encourage others to read a trilogy I wrote about a personal experience. Start here, then the post will direct you to the next part.