Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 388

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After a very busy week, my plan is to return to my normal posting and visiting routine. Thanks for your understanding.

It’s time for a new header – so I introduce a Hubble image of Herbig-Haro object (HH 24) capturing the birth of a new star. To see my collection of past headers, click the Past Headers tab above the image.

The next weekend concert features the Moody Blues. (Long-time readers aren’t surprised.) Concerts starts on Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

Last week’s concert was unbelievably successful with 25+ songs and just-over 300 comments. The interaction between bloggers makes me smile. Thanks to all!!!

There is a rumor of the possibility of Pronouns 3: The Musical. One has to wonder if it will gain momentum and replace next schedule musical.

Not only was David Funk one of my early blogging buddies, he served as a mentor and role model as a host. Although he’s listed as one of my Pioneers in the sidebar, he finally made to WordPress. Now is the time for me to return him a favor by inviting others to visit (and possibly subscribe) to his new travel blog – One Funked Up World. If you visit and comment, tell him I sent you. Welcome, David!

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This picture reminds me of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). His role in the government shutdown is pathetic. This recent opener from Late Show with Stephen Colbert made me laugh.

Regarding the current government shutdown: “Problems start from the top, and they have to get solved from the top, and the President’s the leader, and he’s got to get everybody in a room, and he’s got to lead. And he doesn’t do that, he doesn’t like doing that, that’s not his strength. And that’s why you have this horrible situation going on in Washington. It’s a very, very bad thing and it’s very embarrassing worldwide.” (Donald Trump, 20 September 2013)

For me, the best ending of the Trump saga would not be impeachment. Resigning wouldn’t qualify. Certainly I don’t wish death to the man. Nope, it isn’t even him losing his re-election bid. So what would be the perfect ending? It’s simple. Losing every state in November 2020 – therefore making 2020 the biggest margin of victory ever in the country’s history. That would be HUGE! Then again, that would be difficult to achieve in some states.

I appreciated this concluding statement from a recent article I read: “Because you’re not getting it right if you can’t admit when you’ve gotten it wrong. And you can’t boast of morality if you’ve no sense of shame.” (Matt Bai, journalist)

Democrats are starting to declaring their candidacy for the party’s 2020 nomination. While it’s going to be interesting, the early crop hasn’t caused me to blink – let alone get excited. However, I am confident the ticket will have at least one female.

Due to the government shutdown, my current projection for a Trump re-election drops to 55%

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Biologist still no closer to discovering how birds have sex
Woman amazed she found perfect partner just when she was getting desperate enough to accept anything
Rival gang members come together to help build community playground to fight over
Kinky girlfriend wants to try sexual pleasure tonight
Manager of combination KFC/Taco Bell secretly considers it mostly a Taco Bell
DNA test confirms Subway chicken only 50% poultry

(My Combo: DNA tests confirm kinky woman found sexual pleasure discovering desperate Taco Bell manager as perfect sex partner at Subway)

Interesting Reads

Europe’s most competition country
Capsulating the Venezuelan crisis
10 iconic Italian foods by region
A read for hockey fans
Crazy Horse’s last battle
A view of art theft
(Graphic) Media-bias chart
(Photos) The bests deep-sea dives
(Video) Earth 101 in 3 minutes

To send you into the weekend, here’s a Herman’s Hermits three-peat – but actually as a doubleheader. Take your pic – but we want to know the one you chose.In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 387

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After an outstanding kickoff to the new musical event, the aFa Weekend Concert Series continues this weekend. This time, individual Beatles in their careers outside of the Fab Four. Think of them as ex-Beatles. The Producer recommends staying away from songs they continued to sing (such as Yesterday, which Paul McCartney still performs). Concert starts Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US).

At the concert opener, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to all the songs. Truly a concert – so I encourage others to do the same – and coming back on Sunday is even better because there are more songs.

The Oreos post provide two wonder discoveries: 1) For those who separate then eat the icing first, and 2) deep-fried Oreos.

Because I have a lot on my plate next week, I won’t post after the concert – but will return for next week’s OITS.

Even though professional football players put themselves in negative light when their actions involve the police, I’ve always believed that these talented knuckleheads are the minority. Here’s a wonderful story about an NFL quarterback.

The Omnimax theater at the Cincinnati Museum Center recently reopened after the museum’s extensive renovation. We’ve enjoyed many wonderful films there through the years, and we anxious to see the effect of digital projection onto a large, domed, wrap-around screen. Volcanos: Fires of Creation treated us. Thumbs up! For a theater near you, click here – and here’s the trailer.

Although elected officials, this story caught my eye while serving as a bridge into the politics section. This past November, Harris County Texas voters elected 19 African-American women to judge positions. Here’s the video story from CBS.

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No. I didn’t watch President Trump’s primetime address. After all, the man has a well-documented history of lying, exaggerating, misinforming, misusing facts, and blaming while accepting no responsibility – all for the purpose of intentionally misleading the public for his benefits. Reports indicate that the address was more of the same.

Sadly, what if a true national emergency existed – would be suddenly become believable? For me, no!

No – I won’t be watching the State of the Union later this month.

Instead of a “no wall” message, Democrats are missing a ripe opportunity to promote other aspects of improving border security. Simply saying “there is a better way” (Speaker Pelosi) is not enough. Get into the specifics of what to do and sell it to the people.

Shame, shame, shame on Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The newly elected representative made an ass of herself with her inflaming words about impeaching President Trump. Although many of us know the man is pathetic, her words do nothing more but inflame the situation and incite his supporters. During a time when the majority of Americans want and need civility and problem solvers, she says that – and then doubles down? Well done, Rep Tlaib. It didn’t take long to make it to my partisan-hack list.

Another shame to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who didn’t publicly condemn Rep. Tlaib. Congratulations ladies for acting in a manner that supports re-electing President Trump.

Newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wants to raise the marginal income tax rate on top earners to 70%. Although tax rate would not affect me, I shake my head at the new representative. A suggestion to her and the other newly elected – carry the big stick of quiet as you learn the system.

To me, I see parallels between the actions of some of the newly elected House Democrats and the Tea Party wave. With that in mind, Speaker Pelosi has a difficult managing task – just like John Boehner had.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Key in but won’t turn
Man finally able to forgive self after terrible mistake he made 2 seconds ago
Report: Students who take Latin have better chance of summoning demon later in life
High school history textbook concludes with little blurb about last 40 years
Man stuck in dead-end body
Everyone at Consumer Electronics Show forced to share single surge protector
System for telling clean clothes in suitcase apart from dirty clothes falls apart on second day of trip

My Combo: Consumer Electronics Show concludes key in surge protector made clothes clean in 2 seconds

Interesting Reads

Artificial Intelligence and the future
Moderate policy in the age of political extremes
82nd Airborne at Normandy
New World, Old World, and chocolate
The concrete blocks that once protected Britain
The Sopranos Effect
(Infographic) History of life
(Images) National Geographic Photo Contest – People’s Choice Winners

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one by Herman’s Hermits. After all, their appearance last week created interesting reactions.. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 385

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The final act of Pronouns 2: The Musical is this weekend featuring songs Self in the title. Acceptable words are Self, Itself, Herself, Himself, Myself, Ourselves, Yourselves, Themselves, and the original theme – Its (but not It’s). Curtain time is Saturday, 1 AM (Eastern US).

FYI: There will be a very important music announcement before introducing the opening act!

Given the way the holidays fall and my posting plans, this is the final OITS for 2018. Plans are to return the first Thursday/Friday in January.

Cheers! – Although limited, my wife returned to the dance floor last weekend. Simply some dancers are easier on the feet than others. For the other dances, I search for partners.

Friday is the Winter Solstice for those of us in the northern hemisphere. To those that embrace the day, a beautiful video for you.

As reported here, we cut the television cord this past July. At this point, neither of us regret the decision.

Cheers to Cincinnati for its high rating as a city for beer lovers. Here’s the list: Ranking the best US cities for beer drinkers

I must put in a plug for one of my favorite television special shows of the year is on December 26th – the Kennedy Center Honors. For me, this is a can’t miss event. It’s on CBS, so check your local listings.

Hooray for me! Only one more post to get in the queue, and then the rest of 2018 is ready to go. So yes, I’ll be posting – but nothing heavy. Looking forward to 2019!

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It appears President Trump is not going to sign the spending bill, which will lead to a government shutdown – a shutdown he is willing to own. Then again, saying he is willing to own it, admitting he said it, and taking ownership are similar to being on different planets.

As we know, President Trump loves to take responsibility for something good, but skirts responsibility or blames others for bad news. He used to boast about the rising stock market. For some odd reason, he hasn’t said much this year. Our portfolio is moderately conservative. Since our high in late January 2018, our value is down 7.7%.

I think of four governors: Christie (NJ), Brownback (KS), Walker (WI), and Bevin (KY). All were ushered in with a wave of populous conservatism. All eventually suffered high negative ratings – and only popular with the uber conservatives.

Upon hearing the news about the Texas judge declaring The Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obamacare) unconstitutional, my contrarian ways quickly had two thoughts. 1) This puts giddy Republicans in a bind, and 2) because the Act withstood two constitutional challenges at the Supreme Court level, that means the law passed by Republicans that changed the ACA should be reinstated until Congress enacts a replacement.

I close 2018 with my latest thoughts about 2020.

  • 99.9% chance of Republicans re-nominating President Trump (down from 100%)
  • 65% chance of President Trump being re-elected (down from 80%)
  • 0% chance of President Trump getting my vote
  • 25% chance of Democrats nominating a candidate that gets my attention

In the spirit of Christmas, this is the perfect gift for President Trump because I know he doesn’t have one.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines and 2019, here’s a double feature. The Onion made me laugh with this reminder of anniversary involving President George W. Bush; plus, important information regarding the 8 most notorious criminals in US history

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Everything reminds man of her
Petco employee stocks gerbils by register for impulse buyers
Mortician always keeps hammer at tableside just in case one comes back to life
Scientists still decades away from deciphering wireless bill
Optometrist Sets Pressure Of Air Puff Test Way Higher For Asshole Patients
Excited shopper decides to wear new butt plug out of store

Interesting Reads

A brief history of politics and the papacy
Rome’s vestal virgins
Ancestors drilling holes in our heads
(Graphic) 40 years of the music industry
(Photos) Abundance
(Graphic) The global economy in one chart
(Photos) Tis’ the season around the world (this is enjoyable for the holiday spirit)
(Video) Watch the creation of beautiful art at the World Street Painting Festival

To send you into the weekend and toward 2019, enjoy Perfect with an unexpected duet. The looks on the faces are genuine and priceless! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 384

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Act 5 of Pronouns 2: The Musical goes live this weekend featuring songs with Your (or Yours) in the title. Curtain time is Saturday, 1 AM (Eastern US). FYI: For the advance planners, the will be a very important announcement!.

Recently finished Prague Winter (Madeleine Albright, 2012) about Czechoslovakia. After a short history, she focuses on the years 1930-1949. Chapter 18 about Terezin is a very good, but gut wrenching. Worth the read on its own. Also watched a 90-minute documentary about Terezin – Defiant Requiem. We found it on Amazon Prime, but it may be on Netflix.

Michelle Obama’s Note to Self for CBS This Morning made a lot of news – and deserving! On this link. visitors have a choice of reading the text or watching the video (after the text). Click here to watch on YouTube.

One of college basketball’s great non-conference rivalries happened last Saturday between two schools that are 2.4 miles (3.8 km) apart. Until one moved on, the Crosstown Shootout also involved two unique coaches – each from Cincinnati and each a grade of the school they coach. Well done Xavier and Cincinnati – plus cheers for a decisive Bearcats victory.

Last weekend was also America’s best college football rivalry. Army-Navy is what college football should be about.

My wife’s foot continues to recover – but slower than anticipated. She hasn’t danced since late October, but I try to get one day a week to not get too stale.

What a good laugh? Go to Amazon, then search for “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” – then search for “Make Christmas Great Again” – have fun! Alright – I did it for you and I linked the searches.

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If anyone noticed, nobody commented that I didn’t mention President Trump or the Republican party once in last week’s OITS.

Has anyone seen the entire Rex Tillerson-Bob Schieffer interview? I’ve seen snippets, but not the whole interview. If you find it, please let me know because my search was unsuccessful.

Remember the rumors that if Kelly, Tillerson, or Mattis would leave the Trump Administration, all would leave? Well, only one remains.

Should Congressional House Democrats consider impeachment in January when they take control? Based on what is known at this point, (in my opinion) unequivocally NO.

No matter what President Trump says or does, this statement (that I made long ago) still seems to be the most relevant: The man is a pathetic person and an even worse leader.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides a pro/con list about seeking out uncontacted peoples.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

  • Moon now overrun with cane toads after species accidentally introduced during Apollo 17 mission
  • Soldier back home from serving at Mexico border still having nightmares about being used as political prop
  • Woman trying to wean self off coffee by switching to Long Island Iced Tea
  • L.A. adds lanes for cyclists to recover from getting hit by cars
  • 4th grader panics upon realizing classmate giving presentation had exact same summer as he did
  • Petting zoo all goats

My Combo: Cane toads wean from 4th graders upon realizing goats with nightmares used Apollo 17

Interesting Reads

Thinking about Winston Churchill
Seven climate change charts
Evolution of human language
Why we sleep and why we can’t
How Cincinnati Jews changed how Americans ate
(Photos) Construction creativity
(Video) A 45-second look at unique art
(Infographic) Beer vs Coffee: Effects on the brain

To send you into the weekend, here’s another one from The Temptations. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 383

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Act 4 of Pronouns 2: The Musical goes live this weekend featuring songs with Their in the title. Warning: This act will be challenging. Curtain time is Saturday, 1 AM (Eastern US).

Special thanks to Dale for featuring me in one of her Advent posts promoting other bloggers – and cheers to her grand idea of promoting others!

Last week I shamefully forgot to wish Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. In the spirit of Bohemian Rhapsody, this version for the Festival of Lights made me smile. Chag sameach!

Recently, Ohio (my state) became the first state allowing residents to pay taxes with Bitcoins.

The previous post was about my visit to Auschwitz. If I could take everyone in the world to one place on Earth, Auschwitz may be my choice.

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Last Saturday morning I awoke to the news of the passing of former president George H. W. Bush. It’s been a good week of salutes to a good, decent man who believed in honor public service for the country. A salute to a life well lived.

I stated this before on these pages, and the time is right to repeat it: the elder President Bush had it right about Iraq.

Another thought about Bush 41. He may have been the greatest Presidential Statesman of my lifetime.

The funeral signified a glorious sunset on the Greatest Generation. Cheers to that generation!

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion celebrates the birthday of the computer mouse.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Nervous maid of honor just stringing together random Maya Angelou quotes
Experts recommend just putting up with everyone else
Man hates having to wear condoms all day every day
Study finds dogs twitching in sleep are dreaming about tearing owners from limb to limb
Report: Average American spends 25% of life waiting in line at cell phone store

Interesting Reads

The insect apocalypse
Malta’s last knight
Growing as an artist: 33 rules
Einstein and the religion of science
Drink volcanic purple tea
(Interactive) 500 years of urbanization graphed
(Photos) Comedic wildlife
(Photos) Art and architecture

To send you into the weekend, another trip into the time machine – but this time for a bit of soul. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 382

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Pronouns 2: The Musical continues with Act 3: Our(s). Yes, Our and Ours are acceptable. Curtain rises as Saturday at 1:00 AM (Eastern US). Meanwhile, I smile at the interactions between bloggers during the musical.

Earlier this week we saw the movie Green Book. We loved it … many thumbs up! Here’s the trailer.

This line from comedian Ricky Gervais made me laugh: “Being dead is like being stupid – it’s only painful to others.”

This week we watched a handful of Seinfeld episodes. Now that’s original comedy. When we were on a tour in Manhattan many years ago, the narrator said Seinfeld wasn’t a comedy show – but a documentary of life in Manhattan.

Until recently, I did not realize that WW 2 leaders Roosevelt (FDR), Hitler, and Mussolini all died within a span of 18 days.

A salute to Shimon! The kind thinker in Jerusalem started blogging in May 2011 – and our first encounter here was in March 2012. In this recent post he announced that it was probably his last blog post and he wanted to thank people. First of all, I appreciate when a blogger states their intentions to stop blogging (as opposed to walking away). Relationships are an important aspect of blogging, and I wish more would remember that. More importantly, Shimon is an example of why I believe the majority of the world is good. Shimon, thank you for being you. A toast of bourbon to you! Shalom.

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As of Friday (30 Nov), 34 days until the Democrats can officially start supporting President Trump’s re-election by over-playing their hand.

Not surprised President Trump rejected recent the Climate Change report done as a group effort by 13 government agencies. After all, everyone knows that he knows more about climate change than the researchers – and the agencies have a political agenda, whereas he doesn’t. Mr. President, I challenge you to put your words into action by defunding the research arm of all 13 agencies.

I’m still amazed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has been able to contain information about the investigation. We know so little – so the reason why many speculate. Meanwhile, I patiently wonder and wait.

The large caravan of Central Americans wanting to come into the US is interesting. I recently wonder “Why?” this group exists – and I come up with this list of four most-plausible possibilities.

  • The standard immigration story of people seeking freedom with hopes of a better live
  • A plot by liberal donor(s) to embarrass President Trump and Republicans
  • A plot by conservative donor(s) to embolden President Trump
  • The Russians creating chaos
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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides important dental hygiene tips.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Brutalized toothbrush wishes owner would just let it die
Study finds only 20% of seminary graduates go on to become God
Pistachio-eating man achieves “Flow” state
Kinky couple has mirror in bathroom
Disgusting, unusable shopping cart has single sprig of parsley in it
Metropolitan museum acquires another vase

Interesting Reads

The economically dying areas
Perceptions about food risks
Captain Cook and the Hawaiian Islands
Thoughts about edible insects
Still fighting for Monkey Laws
A place where 500 people speak 9 different languages
(Photos) Unique caskets

To send you into the weekend, here’s a wonderful song from many years ago – and one for Resa who loves them, and Pauline who doesn’t know them. These Eyes (Guess Who). In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 381

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Good news – After 12 acts and an encore, Pronouns: The Musical closed a very successful run. More good news – starting next weekend, Pronouns 2: The Musical kicks off. This musical will be shorter than the other, so my hopes are that we will complete it before 2018 closes. The first theme features songs with My in the title. Curtain time remains the same: Saturday at 1:00 am (Eastern US).

Only one more post remains for my western national parks tour. Sometime in the near future, I will start the Eastern Europe series.

Although the She/He Writing Challenge didn’t get much of a response, I think it was a good challenge and I enjoyed doing it.

The wildfires in California continue to bring havoc to many. I encourage anyone able to donate to a charity of your choice to help victims. I suggest the California Community Foundation: Wildfire Relief Fund.

Within four days last week, we had quite the string of musical events.

  • We attended (as ushers) the world premier of Cincinnati King – a play about King Records. What a fun show! Sure hope other theaters throughout the country pick this up in the future.
  • The next day we went to the movies for Bohemian Rhapsody. Thumbs up – and a must for Queen fans!
  • Two days later, our handbell played a surreal arrangement of Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery. Here’s a video of our choir doing this beautiful piece. (I’m on the near side popping in out of view.)
  • That night we attended a concert featuring a handbell soloist. Watching her made me nervous 🙂 … that’s quite the skill!

I have no doubt that voters who don’t know what they are doing have started watching Dancing With The Stars.

For many posts I set a publish time. For others who do that and if you just had a time adjustment with Daylight Savings Time – don’t forget to adjust your WordPress clock.

For whatever reason, the WP Gnomes turned off all my notification settings.

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Looking ahead to 2020, at this point I do not see Ohio as a battleground/swing state because it is unquestionably leaning red.

Dealing with President Trump’s string of lies, exaggerations, distortions, and finger-pointing is one thing, but the continual blind eye, acceptance, and enabling by Trumpians and the majority of Republicans is even worse.

On the same topic, Congressional Republicans have done a very poor job of oversight. That’s what the balance of powers is all about! Then again, a party using oversight to justify politically butchering a president isn’t the intent.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion shares an interesting picture they captured in a jungle.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)

Ecologists discover 400 species of Charles Darwin living in Galápagos Islands
Friends Excitedly Gather Around Man’s Phone To Watch Shaky Footage of concert
Conservative Floridian Enjoys Living Under Sharia Law More Than He Thought He Would
Couple Nervous To Admit They Met Online In Comments Section Of ‘How To Iron Shirt’ Video
Sunday School Teacher Can Already Tell Which Ones Going To Hell

Interesting Reads

100 years after the Armistice
Artificial Intelligence and wildlife research
Science and religion: not in unison, but in harmony
About the placebo effect
(Graphic) A collection of misconceptions
(Pictures) A collection of weather pictures

To send you into the weekend, a tip of the cap to my Canadian regulars with a song from a Canadian icon. Enjoy Leonard Cohen with Dance Me To The End of Love. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.