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Archive for March, 2020

Last Saturday, was my 65th birthday.  Ten years ago, I took the week to jog 55 miles.  Because I’ve been having issues with my AFib, I haven’t been in a position to even consider trying to do the same thing for this birthday…

65K on 65Yrs

Instead, I decided to try to march-in-place for 65,000 steps.  As a subset, I did do my 30 minute dog walk and of course there is the regular amount of steps one would take in a day.  (I try to do a minimum of 7,500 steps.)  My prior FitBit maximum for a day was 50,000 steps which included the dog walk and a 5K jog.  Anyway, it was a long haul, but I made it.  I got my first 55K, my first 60K and then my 65K!  Sore back and sore knees at the end of the day, but otherwise no significant issues the following day.  And, yes, 544 minutes is over 9 hours to get it done.  LoL!!
Life can be full of small, daily achievements…
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On This Day In:
2019 Tomorrow’s Bread
2018 Impeach 45: Make America Great Again
2017 Training Shoulders
2016 You Just Have To Care
Day 4 – Blending
2015 My Slow Education
2014 Great Service
2013 You Really Should Wear More Sweaters
Here I Am God
2012 The Serenity Prayer
2011 The Victory Of Life

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Last week I posted images of some of the roses we have starting to bud / blossom out in our front yard.  Here’s the updated images….
The Red Bloom
The Two Yellow Blooms
Our Snapdragons and a single Red…
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On This Day In:
2019 Tomorrow’s Bread
2018 Impeach 45: Make America Great Again
2017 Training Shoulders
2016 You Just Have To Care
Day 4 – Blending
2015 My Slow Education
2014 Great Service
2013 You Really Should Wear More Sweaters
Here I Am God
2012 The Serenity Prayer
2011 The Victory Of Life

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The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.  Puzzling.
  —  Robert M. Pirsig
From his book:  “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
[If you are willing to (and going to) listen to lies anyway, why pretend you are interested in watching the “news”?  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Tomorrow’s Bread
2018 Impeach 45: Make America Great Again
2017 Training Shoulders
2016 You Just Have To Care
Day 4 – Blending
2015 My Slow Education
2014 Great Service
2013 You Really Should Wear More Sweaters
Here I Am God
2012 The Serenity Prayer
2011 The Victory Of Life

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Men of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor.  We need that belief; a cynical community is a corrupt community.
  —  John W. Gardner
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On This Day In:
2019 Is It Dark And Quiet For You?
2018 Undeniable Requirement
2017 Orange Corrosion
2016 Both Particle And Wave
2015 Deep In Debt
2014 The Difference
2013 My Heart Is Described
2012 Keen To Be Alone
2011 The Ideal Business…
2010 55

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Below are two charts representing Corona Virus (COVID-19) fatalities in Italy and then the United States (below that).  The line on the Italy graph represent where the United States is now (between 500-700 deaths).  It also represents the projection of where we can expect to be in two weeks.
When looking at these charts please recall the Italian government called a national shutdown which is now going into the third week.  Notice the plateau at the far right of the Italy chart.  This shows the number of citizens who died is not zero, but the rate of deaths is no longer increasing.  We (the U.S.) have yet to impose a national shutdown.  In fact, if we do not maintain (increase) the shutdown we are almost guaranteeing we maximize the number of deaths from the virus.
The two following graphs show the COVID-19 death rate by age and then a comparison with the “standard” flu.  If you are young, you might be saying: “Well, it’s mostly old people dying.”  Yes, it is significantly more deadly if you are older.  BUT, before you say who cares, observe that COVID-19 is 10 to 20 times more lethal at every age group.
Finally, a chart showing the rate of deaths for the U.S. versus all significant occurrences world wide.  We are tracking almost parallel to Spain.  The problem is Spain has less than 50 million population and the U.S. has over 330 million population.
My suggestion is that you make NO plans to attend Easter services this year…
If we are VERY lucky, we will have herd immunity by the end of September.
We have a choice.  We can self-isolate…  Look after each other – family, friends and neighbors – while keeping a safe distance.  We are all in this together.  Stay well.
Chart sources are:  CDC (U.S.), CDC (China), Business Insider and MSNBC.
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On This Day In:
2019 Indian Myth
Did He Even Have The Courage To Ask?
2018 Nothing
2017 Approval First
2016 In Search Of Words
Day 2 – Blending
2015 At What Price?
2014 Intricate And Subtle Order
2013 Attention To Detail
2012 Aequanimitas!
2011 Consider This

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Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.
  —  Warren Buffett
[Happy Birthday to me!  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Living On The Couch
Who Am I – One Interpretation
2018 A Gardening Goal: Feed The Flowers
2017 Freakishly Happy Cowboy
2016 One More, Please
2015 Infinite Adventure
2014 Unpaved
2013 Headstones
2012 Keeping Young
2011 Lessons Well Learned

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Democracy remains the form of government most likely to create lasting security and prosperity.  A few oil-producing nations aside, the world’s wealthiest countries are democracies, and democracies are also less likely to go to war with one another.
The findings from these countries suggest that while democracy remains a popular aspiration around the world, “attraction” will prove more effective than “promotion” as a way to help democracy expand.
The report argues that the U.S. has made four main mistakes in fostering democracy abroad.  U.S. policy­makers have focused on the laws and institutions of other countries but not their political cultures.  They’ve assumed that people will forgo near-term security and stability for the chance to vote.  They’ve used military intervention to promote democratic values without accounting for the problems this approach creates.  And they’ve ignored the values and interests of those they hope to persuade.
The survey also finds that allowing foreign-born people to study and live in the U.S. can help to promote democracy: support for American ideas of democracy is driven largely by immigration and direct connections to diaspora communities.  People who report having had family members or close friends who have lived in America in the past five years are significantly more likely to have positive views.
That’s one reason U.S. policy­makers would be more successful if they found the modesty to promote democracy around the world without the explicit American packaging and with the humility to acknowledge that the U.S. has often failed to live up to democracy’s highest ideals. Democracy’s appeal comes in the power it gives individuals to set their own course.  America should accept that each country will need to find its own path to adopt democracy.
  —  Ian Bremmer
Editorial:  “Selling Democracy
In Time Magazine, dtd: 27 May 2019
The article appears online at:  https://time.com/5590236/what-defines-worldwide-democracy/
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On This Day In:
2019 Soul Before Will
2018 Small Things
2017 Clear And Warm To Me
2016 Ripple
2015 Amazing Or Full Of Wonder?
2014 Are You Confused?
2013 But The Odds Are Against It
2012 Far Better Off With Books
2011 Timid And Fainthearted

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I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.  That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect.
  —  Audre Lorde
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On This Day In:
2019 Real Tools
Three Cruelties
2018 United States
2017 Out Of Luck
2016 Wavelengths Of The Earth
2015 God Said What To You?
2014 Not Saying
2013 Ears And Tongue
2012 The Story Of Joe (Middle-Class Republican)
2011 Happy Birthday, Diana
Depending On Kindness

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This however is my teaching: he who wisheth one day to fly, must first learn standing and walking and running and climbing and dancing: one doth not fly into flying!
  —  Friedrich Nietzsche
From:  “Thus Spoke Zarathustra
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On This Day In:
2019 What If Nobody Believes Them Either
2018 It’s About Heart Not Skill
2017 Winning So Much I’m Already Tired Of It (Not)
2016 Punishing Red Binge
2015 Bits In The Soup
2014 More Beef, Less Bull
2013 Where Are Your Mountains
2012 Spherical Knowledge Of Hamsters
2011 Taking Stock Over Time

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First Buds

Last Monday I was out in the front yard cutting the grass.  We have a number of miniature rose bushes on either side of our front path.  I noticed two of the bushes have buds which are starting to bloom.
Our first “red” bud.
Two yellow (with pinkish tinge) buds.
Once these get going, they will continue to bud and bloom through late-September / early October.
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On This Day In:
2019 What If Nobody Believes Them Either
2018 It’s About Heart Not Skill
2017 Winning So Much I’m Already Tired Of It (Not)
2016 Punishing Red Binge
2015 Bits In The Soup
2014 More Beef, Less Bull
2013 Where Are Your Mountains
2012 Spherical Knowledge Of Hamsters
2011 Taking Stock Over Time

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Thus Spoke Zarathustra” — book review
Today’s review is for the book: “Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and for No One” (1883-1885), written by: Friedrich Nietzsche (this version (2012 ©) is a translation to English by: Thomas Common and was originally published in 1909).  Nietzsche was a trained “philogist”.  Basically, he studied classic languages (Greek and Latin) and in particular their literature.  Nietzsche became a philosopher and is considered one of the “great” philosophers of the 19th century.  He considered this work to be his greatest achievement.  The book was written in four main pieces and published over several years.
The main character (Zarathustra) is based on a semi-mythological Indo-Iranian religious figure named Zoroaster, who started his own religion and which “may have” influenced some current day including Islam and the Bahá’í Faith.  Anyway, in the story, Zarathustra is a hermit who lives in a cave for some period of years and then goes down from his mountain home to visit and teach the natives.
The book appears to be both a work of philosophy and a story book. Kind of like the Bible (allegory and parables), but with philosophy overlaid where “god” would normally appear.  As near as I can tell, the main gist of the work is that the traditional “god” is dead and that mankind is merely a bridge between the animals and a future superior species (Übermensch) which I believe translates to “over-man”, but which generally translated as “superman”.  We regular humans will recognize these coming supermen by their differing (self-created and self-benefiting) “values” which Nietzsche calls their “will to power”.
What did I think? BORING!!  A few good bits, but mostly just boring.
I think I may be too hard on the work because Nietzsche was a poet / philogist / and philosopher.  I am none of those and therefore am certainly not qualified to provide an in-depth analysis / critique of the ideas or how they are expressed.  My reaction is to the mixed styles of writing, the verbose language, the poorly explained (mostly unexplained) allegories / metaphors.  So, “God” is a creation of primitive man.  Man is no longer primitive, and so, no longer needs the “God” we created.  Man, in raising himself above the baser creatures should shrug off the superstition and create himself in the image of a new and superior man without the values imposed by prior civilization.  We should create our own value system and impose it on lesser men who will want to retain their older values.
Or, as near as I can tell: “Thus spoke Zarathustra”…
Seriously, this work is considered one of the classics of Western (European) philosophy and it was on my “bucket-list” of books to read to consider myself “educated”.  Am I now better educated?  NO.  Wider read, but not better educated.
Final recommendation: weak to moderate recommendation.  I read this in chunks of 10 to 20 pages at a time over the course of almost a month.  Perhaps I should have ploughed through it more quickly and decisively…  Perhaps I should read a different version – maybe something with more annotations.  Maybe it’s far better in the original German…  I don’t know.  I do know I’m not going to learn German just to try to get more out of this work.  Anyway, if it’s on your personal bucket list, read this translation as I’m informed it is one of the “better” ones.  If it’s not on your list, I think you’ll get more out of reading about this book, the author and Zoroaster on Wikipedia.  In fairness, there were some interesting bits and some flowery prose. I just don’t know if they (the good bits) were from the original or from the translation / translator.  I already have multiple Nietzsche quotes on my blog and I’m sure I add some from this book…  Perhaps they will pique my readers’ interests and you’ll find a copy to read.  Hopefully, you’ll gain more insight than I have.
Midnight has passed and there is no new day.  Thus passed Zarathustra…
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On This Day In:
2019 Enjoy!
2018 Happy Birthday, Bro!
2017 Love Can Change The World In A Minute
2016 60, Little Bro!
2015 Vision and Courage
2014 58 – Little Bro
2013 New Adventures And Old Hopes
Caving In
2012 Bits And Bobs And Birthdays
Always Hope
2011 Wet Snow And Long Hills

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We all need each other.
  —  Dr. Leo F. Buscaglia
[Happy birthday, Bro!  Hang in there.  We still got a long road to travel…  Love, ya.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Enjoy!
2018 Happy Birthday, Bro!
2017 Love Can Change The World In A Minute
2016 60, Little Bro!
2015 Vision and Courage
2014 58 – Little Bro
2013 New Adventures And Old Hopes
Caving In
2012 Bits And Bobs And Birthdays
Always Hope
2011 Wet Snow And Long Hills

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Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are.
  —  John W. Gardner
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On This Day In:
2019 Morning Mirror
2018 Wondering About #45
2017 A Prayer For London
2016 Don’t Default
2015 Her Pilgrim Soul
2014 Three Observations
2013 Robbed Again
2012 Good Hearts
2011 Interesting Reading
What Are You Lookin’ At?

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As a science journalist, I have devoted my career to writing about science and trying illuminate its findings and methods.  Science is incredibly tough in practice despite its often gentle and glamorous image.  By nature, it seeks to limit the role of faith, to make as few assumptions as possible, and to subject the information it gathers as well as its own tentative findings to withering doubt.  A synonym for “science” is “organized skepticism.”  The process can be intellectually brutal.  The constructive side is that science, done right, also works to suspend judgment, to collect and test and verify before coming to firm conclusions.  In theory, it can see without prejudice.  That makes it a rare thing in the world of human institutions.
But science — even at its best, even with its remarkable powers of discrimination and discovery — is nonetheless extraordinarily crude.  It can quantify and comprehend.  What gets set aside can be considerable — the wonders of the Sistine Chapel, among other achievements.  Science, for all its triumphs over the last four centuries, sometimes fails to see the obvious.  It is blind to the individuality of a snowflake and the convulsions of the stock market, not to mention ethics.  No equation is going to outdo Shakespeare.
What I know with certainty is that science cannot address, much less answer, many of the most interesting questions in life.  It’s one finger of a hand, as a wise man once said.  I treasure the scientific method for its insights and discoveries, as well as for the wealth of comforts and social advances it has given us.  But I question the value of scientism — the belief that science has authority over all other interpretations of life, including the philosophic and spiritual, moral and humanistic.
  —  William J. Broad
From his book:  “The Science of Yoga
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On This Day In:
2019 An Interest In Life
2018 Two: A Current President With Both
2017 Watch This Space
2016 Beyond The Foundation
2015 Become An Affliction
2014 Just Setting Out
2013 Scott’s Inscription
2012 Good Knowledge
2011 Social Safety Nets

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R.I.P.:  Kenny Rogers
Kenneth Ray Rogers (August 21, 1938 – March 20, 2020)
Some versions of a very few songs are just “special”.  They evoke in the listener, a memory of a time, a place, a smell, or (sometimes) of a lost love.  Kenny Rogers’ version of “The Gambler” was bit of all of the above for me.  I have no idea how many times I’ve heard or absently hummed along to this song (or many of his other hits).  He certainly dealt me more than one “ace”.  I hope he felt he left the table a winner…
And when he finished speakin’
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
But in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep.
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On This Day In:
2019 The Right Anger
Another P&P Review
2018 Does Fatalism Equal Mental Health?
2017 Choice
2016 Growing Worlds
2015 Change The Tide
Martyr, n.
2014 You, Too!
2013 Bitter Stand
2012 Lost For Words
2011 On Market Reactions…

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