Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 209

On Politics
Here are my key reasons why I did not watch the State of the Union (SOTU):

  • It’s a collection of applause lines over many topics with little substance
  • Congressional behavior is predictably pathetic (Suggestion: Stand and clap at the beginning; sit, listen, and be quiet; stand and clap at the end, then leave to run to the cameras)
  • The SOTU is a Constitutional requirement, but the opposing party’s response is nothing more than political grandstanding
  • I’m unhappy with the both parties

Given the predictable responses by both sides in Congress, I ask them this question about their legislative prowess: Which is worse: Sending a bill to the other chamber knowing they won’t act or not acting on a bill that was sent?

Here are a few fact checks on the speech: Fact Check, PolitFact, Fact Checker, Politico, and ABC News.

The Onion took this great picture during the SOTU.

The past week delivered Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) declaring President Obama started the war on women, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blaming Democrats (again) on the government shutdown, Mike Huckabee (R-AK) making a ridiculous statement about libido, and the Arizona Republican Party censuring their senior senator from their own party, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

I said it before and it’s time to say it again: China carrying the bulk of US debt is a common misconception. Here’s the breakdown.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Dad Delivers State of the Union Rebuttal Directly into Television Screen
  • Increasingly Worried Man Hasn’t Yet Come Across any Guacamole in Burrito
  • Area Grandma Enjoys Flourishing Correspondence with Mailer-Daemon
  • Best, Most-Original Idea Man Ever Had Returns 14,000 Google Search Results
  • Spookiest Sound Effect Grammy Goes to Lord Chillingsworth

Interesting Reads

On Potpourri
The anticipated debate between science advocate Bill Nye and Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham is approaching, and no doubt will deliver a narrow view, thus providing a false choice. Here’s an article.

The recent Grammy Awards were big news. The show now focuses on performances and promotion over the awards. After all, there are over 80 categories, and how many did they broadcast? 10?

The AFA musical production for 2014 will be …. (click here for the drum roll) …. Life: The Musical. The production date TBA.

The Explorer of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean ship in the news with the recent norovirus, is the ship we were on this fall in Canada …. and no, the news doesn’t discourage me from cruising with Royal Caribbean in the future.

FYI for those living in/near metropolitan areas: When needing a new appliance, don’t forget the local independent dealer. We went to one and discovered the big-box stores were NOT close on price!

Here are your weekend celebrations

(Fri) Brandy Alexander Day, Fun at Work Day, Backward Day, Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, Hell Freezes Over Day, Baked Alaska Day, Working Naked Day

(Sat) Serpent Day, Freedom Day, Hula in the Coola Day, Robinson Crusoe Day, Change Your Password Day, Decorating with Candy Day, GI Joe Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, Spunky Old Broads Day, Take Your Child to the Library Day, Face and Body Day

(Sun) Crepe Day, Dump Your Significant Jerk Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Job Shadow Day, Hedgehog Day, Sled Dog Day, Play Your Ukulele Day, Wetlands Day

Let’s use a dose of the 80s to whip everyone into the weekend with Ohio’s own Devo. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On an Explorer

Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, and Vasco da Gama are a few of the early European explorers. but this post is not about any of them because the day after arriving in Quebec City, we joined another explorer – Royal Caribbean’s (RCCL) Explorer of the Seas.

This 1025 ft (312.4 m) explorer is part of RCCL Voyager Class capable of carrying 3,114 passengers and almost 1,200 crew. Our trip was about 96% capacity.

When in port, we spend much time seeing sites and walking. Our evenings following a pattern of dinner, theater entertainment, then dancing – but the dance floors on this ship were a negative. Enjoy some pics of the ship.

Explorer of the Seas

Explorer of the Seas

Beautiful main dining room named after famous explorer

Beautiful main dining room named after famous explorers

1,350 capacity theater

1,350-seat capacity theater

900 seat ice rink

900-seat ice rink


4-story Main Street Promenade for shopping, eating, drinking, and gathering

Some rooms overlook Main Street

Some rooms overlook Main Street

A not-for-me climbing wall

A not-for-me climbing wall


The top deck (from ship-technology.com)

The top deck (from ship-technology.com)

Find out where this trip went.

For additional information about Explorer of the Seas

On Gotcha Moments

It’s Valentine’ Day, so I suddenly changed my posting plans. Instead of telling a story about how we met or how lucky I am, here’s a story about us as a couple. After all, because we don’t have kids, we’ve spent a lot of time together.

Many people enjoy those gotcha moments, especially when they involve humor. On the other hand, being on the other end is another story. We had a first cruise to the Caribbean in early November, which was our fourth cruise … and this is a story of a gotcha moment.

Our common cruise itinerary includes going to “the show” after dinner. The first night show had only one performance, and that’s where the ship introduces the cruise director to the passengers – and it was there that we learned Mr. Ricky Mathews is one live wire. As my wife said after the cruise, “I can’t remember any of the other cruise directors, but I think we will remember him.”

We had two close encounters with Ricky on the 7-day journey, but I’ll start with the second – so keep in mind, we have been around him at that point – plus I imagine cruise director’s make it a point to know what is going on with the passengers.

The center of Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas is the Centrum – an area with a small stage for music, a bar, a small dance floor, and plenty of places to sit. It is also open all the way to deck 11, so an elevator lobby on every floor also allows guests to look down to see whatever was happening.

This particular night was a formal night, and I think it was before dinner. Two of the ship’s singers did a 15-minute show on songs from a decade (I think the 70s). Instead of being on the stage, the singers sang from the dance floor and encouraged people to dance around them.

My wife and I were innocently standing off to the side watching and enjoying the show without any intention of dancing – well, until Ricky walks over, grabs each of us by the hand, and pulls us onto the floor with others. (I think he knew we were ballroom dancers.) So we broke into a ballroom hustle, outshined everybody on the floor, and even both singers said something about us over the speakers. Plus, they said something to us (which was nice). Over the next several days, someone recognizes us elsewhere (elevator, on deck, or at the theater) and says, “Oh, you are the dancers.”

However, what about the first encounter with Cruise Director Ricky Mathews? It was the first cruise (at-sea) day, and we attended what the ship billed as a dance activity in the upper lounge. We should have known better seeing that Ricky was in charge of this event. It started with about 15 people, but a few dropped out. We were innocently learning a simple hip-hop line dance.

At the end of the session, dear ol’ Ricky said, “Now that you know the dance, meet in the Centrum tomorrow night at 8 to perform in front of the ship.” As my wife and I frowned at each other thinking “He’s got to be kidding”, so we forgot about it.

The next day after dinner, we were doing the familiar stroll from the main dining room to the theater through the Centrum. My wife looks at me and then reminds me that tonight performance night while pointing out the other couples who were waiting around. Along comes Ricky, who shuffles us into a private room to practice, and then gives us Gotta Dance basketball jerseys.

Onto the Centrum dance floor we go, he tells the audience about the Gotta Dance Foundation, we introduce ourselves (I’m Frank from Cincinnati – and yes, everyone got cheers), and then we did the following routine (no … this is not us) … but I doubt if we will ever see anyone from that ship again.

This spring will be our 35th anniversary. We’ve endured and through my tough times, she has stood by me – and for that, I am thankful. So to the one who occasionally comments here as The Right Angle, I say, “I love you and I look forward the days to come.”

Centrum picture is from Ginger’s Blog, which has other good images of the Centrum. Now here’s the Gotta Dance routine from the senior dancers of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. Enjoy!