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Archive for July, 2015

To be an effective leader, you not only have to get the group of followers on the right path, but you must be able to convince them that whatever obstacle stands in the way ahead, whether it’s a tree or a building that blocks the view, you’re going to get around it.  You’re not going to be put off by the apparent barriers to your goal.  All journeys are filled with potholes and mines, but the only way we can move beyond them is to approach them, and recognize them for what they are.  You have to see that it’s only a tree, or whatever, and it’s not insurmountable.  Everywhere you trip is where the treasure lies.
   —  Norman Lear
Quoted by: Warren Bennis
From his book: “On Becoming A Leader
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On This Day In:
2014 The Flower Of Light
2013 Eye Catching
2012 The Holstee Manifesto
2011 Three Crooners For The Shower
The Soldier’s Faith
Vacation, Books And Lots Of Movies

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Today we increasingly recognize that nothing happens in isolation.  Most events and phenomena are connected, caused by, and interacting with a huge number of other pieces of a complex universal puzzle.  We have come to see that we live in a small world, where everything is linked to everything else.  We are witnessing a revolution in the making as scientists from all different disciplines discover that complexity has a strict architecture.  We have come to grasp the importance of networks.
   —   Albert-László Barabási
From his book:  “Linked: The New Science of Networks
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On This Day In:
2014 Just Support
2013 Wandering Free
2012 Contribute = Paying Taxes
2011 How Will You Be Judged?

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There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
    –    Oscar Wilde
[For those of you who haven’t guessed, and I suspect (given the title) most of you have – today marks the 6th anniversary of my blog!  Thanks for stopping by.   Come again soon…    —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Happy 5th Anniversary
2013 I Resemble That Remark!
2012 Happy 3rd Anniversary
2011 Is America Safe Tonight?
2009 Hello world! (See how it all began…)

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Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.  And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
     ―     Friedrich Nietzsche
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On This Day In:
2014 The Struggle To Educate America Continues…
2013 On Elections
2012 Warm Smiles
Pick Your Poison
2011 Straight Shooters

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In training a child to activity of thought, above all things we must beware of what I will call “inert ideas”  —  that is to say, ideas that are merely received into the mind without being utilized, or tested, or thrown into fresh combinations.
Every intellectual revolution which has ever stirred humanity into greatness has been a passionate protest against inert ideas.  Then, alas, with pathetic ignorance of human psychology, it has proceeded by some educational scheme to bind humanity afresh with inert ideas of its own fashioning.
    —   Alfred North Whitehead
From his book: “The Aims Of Education
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On This Day In:
2014 Worth Anything?
2013 Bruises Before Bed (Or Why You Didn’t Answer)
Revealed Riches
2012 Extra Gears
2011 Say What?
2010 Hello Frogs…

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One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.
    —    Sigmund Freud
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On This Day In:
2014 All Of My Best Ideas Come While Walking…
2013 Learn To Learn
2012 I Remind You
2011 Respect And Prestige
2010 Living Legends (Willie Nelson) and the Gettysburg Address

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It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
    –     Oscar Wilde
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On This Day In:
2014 Choose To Lead
2013 Not Sent Yet
2012 Wall-Crawler Reboot
Learning To Count
On Worshiping God
2011 Emancipated Differences
2010 A Little More Technology, Please…

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Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and humane feeling.  Scraps of information have nothing to do with it.  A merely well-informed man is the most useless bore on God’s earth.  What we should aim at producing is men who possess both the culture and expert knowledge in some special direction.  Their expert knowledge will give them the ground to start from, and their culture will lead them as deep as philosophy and as high as art.
    —    Alfred North Whitehead
From his book:  “The Aims of Education
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On This Day In:
2014 Examining Failure
2013 Driving Passion
2012 Cannibal, n.
2011 Moments Of Truth

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.  If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.  But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
    ―    Friedrich Nietzsche
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On This Day In:
2014 How To Become A Saint
2013 Not Much Change
Our Biggest Fear
2012 Brain, n.
2011 Styles Of Leadership
2010 Face Front!

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The thing about race is that, scientifically, there is no such thing.  As far back as 1950, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released the conclusions of an international group of anthropologists, geneticists, sociologists, and psychologists that stated that the concept of race was not a scientific entity but a myth.  Since then, one scientific group after another has issued similar conclusions.  What we use to determine race is really nothing more than some haphazard physical characteristics, cultural histories, and social conventions that distinguish one group from another.  But, for the sake of communication, we will continue to misuse the word, myself included, in order to discuss our social issues so everyone understands them.
     —    Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Quoted from his editorial: “Let Rachel Dolezal be as black as she wants to be
In “The View” section of “Time Magazine” dtd: June 29, 2015
[We all are the human race (species).  And, at least until another advanced species is discovered somewhere in the vast reaches of space, we are it…   Equal == Equal.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Peace With Honor
2013 Dangerous Systems
2012 Useful Science
2011 Say It, But Please Don’t Make Me Listen

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A history of civilization shares the presumptuousness of every philosophical enterprise: it offers the ridiculous spectacle of a fragment expounding the whole.  Like philosophy, such a venture has no rational excuse, and is at best but a brave stupidity; but let us hope that, like philosophy, it will always lure some rash spirits into its fatal depths.
     —    Will Durant
From the Preface to the first volume to his series: “The Story Of Civilization: I – Our Oriental Heritage
I want to know what were the steps by which men passed from barbarism to civilization.
     —    Voltaire
[Several years ago, I purchased the book series “The Story Of Civilization” by Will (and Ariel) Durant.  I first heard about the series perhaps forty years ago, when I was first thinking (and hoping) to “become” educated and cultured by reading great books and listening to classical music.  I found the books on sale at a used book store and picked them up as a promise to myself.  Since then, they’ve been sitting on my shelf calling to me…  Recently, I pulled down the first volume and started glancing through it.  Okay, I actually started to read it.
There are twelve volumes in the series and with one exception each is at least 1,000 pages.  When I looked the series up on line, one reviewer said any serious reader should expect to spend five years of his life reading these in their entirety, because anything less would fail to give them the consideration and justice they deserved.  Talk about your intimidating review!!
I doubt if I’ll finish them in five years.  I doubt if I’ll be able to find the time to give them the consideration they probably deserve.  But if I start now, who can say…
Fortunately, I do not feel foolish enough to set a goal of understanding all of human history or even to remember most of the 12,000+ pages related in this series.  I only hope to understand a little better how I got here (in this time and place) and what my minor role is in this great river of history.     —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 To Be Greatly Good
2013 Limited Capacity
2012 Two Ear Ticklers
Justification
2011 To Avail The Nation

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The purpose of life is not to be happy — but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.
    ––    Leo Rosten
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On This Day In:
2014 At Least Smile
2013 Comfortably Bound
2012 Certainty
Thinking About Fathers
2011 And In Every Level Of Media

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Anybody who has browsed around my blog or read my posts over the years is probably aware I’ve been struggling with weight issues for years (decades).  I am – “health wise” – clinically morbidly obese.  A little while back, I weighed in at 363 lbs and my waist is a size 50″.  Over the last forty years I’ve lost weight and gained it back (plus some) numerous times (including three strict fruit juice and vegetable broth fasts of 30 days).  In the great “yo-yoing” of dieting for life, I’ve been steadily going up and up in weight and down and down in overall health.  I currently have low cholesterol (statin based) but high triglycerides, irregular / non-persistent AFib, and I am taking blood-thinner to prevent strokes.
My mother is currently 88 years old and in very good health – no drugs at all, and still reasonably mobile for her age.  I believe if I am able to get better control of my weight, it will go a long way in getting me to a similar age.  I am currently 60 years old and am planning (hoping) to retire when I am 62- 1/2 years old.  That’s a little over 24 months away! (Yea!!)
Anyway, my wife is constantly worried about my weight and I’ve decided I’ll try to kill two birds with one stone and give her a birthday present.  I’m going to lose 30 pounds by her birthday at the end of October.  That’s right around 1.5 pounds per week, which I believe is very do-able.  So, that’s my goal.  At the moment, that’s my short term goal.  Of course my medium term goal is to keep the weight off until I retire and, hopefully, to use this as a jump-start to go beyond that to really get down to a “manageable” weight.  I don’t really know what that weight is just now, because it’s soooo far away and I really just want to make a start and then see how I get on.
Two weeks ago, I started on a combination juicing / blending diet.  I am currently completing day 14 of no solid foods and I’ve lost between 14-16 pounds.  Recognizing that the human stomach normally carries around 5 to 7 pounds of digesting food, that means I’ve lost about 7 to 10 pounds so far and 3 to 4 inches from my waist.
I am currently walking between 30 and 45 minutes per day and I “plan” to start doing a bit more exercise, but for now, it’s just the walking.  I’m currently drinking two bottles of “juice” (64 oz. each) and one bottle of water (64 oz) each day.  I’ve only had two “bad” days, so far – where I wanted to just drop the program and go gorge myself, so I think that’s pretty good.  Anytime I get hungry, I drink about 8 oz of juice.  I have three types of “juice”.  The first is actual “juiced” vegetables and fruit.  The second type is the pulp fiber from the juicing and some bottled fruit juice and water.  The third is just straight-up bottled smoothie juice from the store.
My “juice” blend is mainly kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, lemons, onions and an apple or two.  My “pulp” blend is the fiber from the juice plus pineapple juice, apple juice, cherry juice and cranberry juice.  I also throw in whole bananas since they don’t juice well at all.  I also try to add one can of beans (usually kidney beans) to the blend.  This gives me some salt and some protein.  Finally, once a week, I add a bottle of regular “V8”.  This is to change the flavor and (again) to give me a little salt.  The “smoothie” juice is usually the “Naked” brand of juices from Safeway (my local supermarket).  I usually have the “Green Machine”, Mango, “Very Berry” and Strawberry/Banana.  None of the juices or smoothies have added sugar or high fructose corn syrup.  Of course, they all contain their own natural sugar content (about 1200 calories per bottle).
One observation about including the “V8”.  I’ve only done it once during these two weeks because I found the blend with it increased my water retention.  This tells me, there’s “probably” too much salt in the bottle –  for me, at this time.  I don’t use the “low sodium” version, because it frankly tastes foul.  But that’s just me…
As I said earlier, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll keep the juicing going.  For the time being, I’m dropping weight and not hungry so the only “problem” is I miss chewing and I miss the company of mealtime.  I don’t have the will-power to sit in the kitchen while the family eats, so I take my juice to my room and jump on the computer.  Obviously, this is not a sustainable lifestyle, but it seems to be working for my short-term goal.
Medium term, when I do stop the juicing, I’ll be starting back eating slowly and work to change my carnivore habits.  Ultimately, keeping the weight off will mean a sustained exercise program and more “healthy and raw” fruit and vegetables in my future.
Wish me luck and keep me in your thoughts and prayers!
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On This Day In:
2014 Pass The Soul
2013 Zapping Music And Art
2012 Not Quite Fantastic
That Kid Is Back
2011 Wolves At The Door
2010 I’m Feeling Patriotic… (Well, more than usual, anyway.)
Beating the Heat…

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The Journey To The East”  —  book review
Today’s book review is for a book I finished last Saturday (July 11th), but never got around to posting about.  The book is: “The Journey To The East” (1956©), written by Hermann Hesse.  The book is supposedly autobiographically written by an un-named character “H. H.”, but as Hesse has written other books with main characters who share his initials, the intent seems to be to not make this novel personally semi-autobiographical.  “H. H.” is a member of a secret “League” which exists to assist its members in understanding life (via shared personal experiences) and in advancing civilization (via the creation of a vast library containing all of human knowledge).
The group on the journey with H. H. fails to reach their destination and the individual members lose faith in the League, with each other, and with themselves.  The author (H. H.), spends a good part of the rest of his life living as a “failure” and then decides to make himself whole by writing a book about the journey.  The problem is he can’t remember the specific details of his trip.  He seeks out a friend who’s advise is the find one of the other participants from his trip (Leo the servant) and to seek his (Leo’s) recollections.  Leo is not receptive at first and then he lets H. H. have access to the League’s library – which contains the sum of human knowledge, including entries about every single person (living or dead).
The journey to the East seems to be a metaphor for growing up, or more precisely, for going on a vision quest to seek the meaning of life.  The trip to the “East” is a trip to discover yourself and the realization from that discovery (for H. H.) is that the meaning of life is service to others.  Thus, “East” is not a direction of travel.  It is a destination.  Your “home”.
The novel is very short (120 pages) and can be read in a couple of hours.  It is a simple narrative told by the principal and is done in very straight forward language – so it’s easy to read.  I found the book interesting for a number of reasons.  The two main ones were (are): 1) the book created a reinforcing memory of a scene in the movie “Interstellar” where the main character is in a four dimensional representation of a library (actually behind a bookshelf in a bedroom); and, 2) because there are a lot of pseudo-Christian messages sprinkled throughout the book.  The meaning of life being service to others is just one of many such messages.
So, final recommendation:  Strong recommendation.  The book is short, easy to read and promotes thought for the reader about what is the purpose of life.  It worked for me…
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On This Day In:
2014 Pass The Soul
2013 Zapping Music And Art
2012 Not Quite Fantastic
That Kid Is Back
2011 Wolves At The Door
2010 I’m Feeling Patriotic… (Well, more than usual, anyway.)
Beating the Heat…

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If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.
    ―    Thomas Jefferson
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On This Day In:
2014 Pass The Soul
2013 Zapping Music And Art
2012 Not Quite Fantastic
That Kid Is Back
2011 Wolves At The Door
2010 I’m Feeling Patriotic… (Well, more than usual, anyway.)
Beating the Heat…

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