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Archive for March, 2021

I’m A Believer

Favorite Line(s):
I thought love was more or less
A givin’ thing
Seems the more I gave
The less I got
What’s the use in tryin’
All you get is pain
When I needed sunshine
I got rain
Then I saw her face
Now I’m a believer
Not a trace
Of doubt in my mind
I’m in love
Hmmm
I’m a believer
I couldn’t leave her
If I tried
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On This Day In:
2020 65K
Burst Buds
Faux News Viewers
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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Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.
    —     Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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On This Day In:
2020 65K
Burst Buds
Faux News Viewers
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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Love Don’t Love Nobody

Favorite Line(s):
I gave her all the love
I have within’
My love was strong
Somethin’ went wrong, no!
It takes a fool to learn
That love don’t love nobody
It takes a fool to Learn
That love don’t love no one
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On This Day In:
2020 A Liar As President Corrupts Us
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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Every patient is a doctor after his cure.
    —    Irish Proverb
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On This Day In:
2020 A Liar As President Corrupts Us
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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Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is

Favorite Line(s):
Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry
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On This Day In:
2020 Expectation For The Near Future
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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Love alone is the only reasonable activity or pursuit of humankind . . .   For love not only annihilates our fear of meaningless but empowers us to seek the happiness of others.   And this indeed is our greatest happiness.
    —    Leo Tolstoy
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On This Day In:
2020 Expectation For The Near Future
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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Fill The World With Love

Favorite Line(s):
In the noontime of my life I shall look to the sunshine,
At a moment in my life when the sky is blue.
And the blessing I shall ask shall remain unchanging.
To be brave and strong and true,
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.
And to fill the world with love
And to fill the world with love
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.
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On This Day In:
2020 Still Measuring
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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I don’t have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem.
    —    Ashleigh Brilliant
[Happy Birthday to me!    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 Still Measuring
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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Today my wife and I received our second COVID-19 vaccine doses.  We both got the Pfizer version.  Now we wait fourteen days for the full effect to kick and and then we will be able to resume fairly “normal” life.
Saying that, we anticipate wearing masks in public until summer of 2022.  Wearing masks IS NOW the new normal until scientists can advise about the various strains of COVID and the effectiveness of the current vaccines against them.
What’s different then?  We anticipate “some” travel restrictions will be lifted and we’ll be able to visit family in Liverpool and go other places (stores and restaurants) without too much worry.  We also are looking forward to more casual and comfortable visits with family members (summer BBQ’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners).
We have lost friends and loved ones and we are grateful to have gotten through this pandemic by the grace of God, the luck of fate, the hard work of all the scientists and first line care givers and other critical staff who have worked throughout this crisis, and (probably not least importantly) by wearing masks, social distancing and washing our hands.
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On This Day In:
2020 Democratic Aspiration
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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People Got To Be Free

Favorite Line(s):
All the world over, so easy to see
People everywhere just wanna be free (wanna be free)
I can’t understand it, so simple to me
People everywhere just got to be free
If there’s a man
Who is down and needs a helpin’ hand
All it takes is you to understand and
To pull him through, ah hah
Seems to me
We got to solve it individually, ah ah
And I’ll do unto you what you do to me
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On This Day In:
2020 Democratic Aspiration
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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From our first moments of consciousness up through childhood, the things we think we might be able to do with our lives broaden and broaden.  And then, at some point around adolescence, they start to narrow.  Our imaginations shrink, our obligations grow, we charge ahead on certain roads and avoid the ones less traveled.  Eleven is wonderful.  You’re aware of the world and its limitations, but if you’re lucky your imagination hasn’t been crimped yet.  Really, maybe, you can do anything.
    —    Nicholas Thompson
From his editorial: “An Awesome Question
Appearing in:  Wired Magazine, dtd: Apr 2020
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On This Day In:
2020 Democratic Aspiration
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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Get Together

Favorite Line(s):
If you hear the song I sing
You will understand, listen
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command
C’mon people now
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try to love one another right now
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On This Day In:
2020 Spoken And Shared
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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With a few flowers in my garden . . . I live without envy.
   —    Lope de Vega
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On This Day In:
2020 Spoken And Shared
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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2034: A Novel of the Next World War”  (2021©)  —  book review
The book subject to today’s review was written by Elliot Ackerman, James Stavridis Admiral USN (ret.).  Ackerman is a former White House Fellow and decorated Marine veteran.  Stavridis is, of course, best known as a four-star Admiral and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.  Ackerman is a working journalist / opinion writer and both are authors of multiple books.  That’s pretty much their bonafides for writing a “future – history” about world war / combat.
This novel is set thirteen years in the future.  Putin is still in charge of Russia.  The U.S. has a female President from an Independent party.  And, we don’t really know much about anyone else in charge around the world.  We know China is pushing its claims in the northern Pacific, yet Taiwan remains an independent “nation” state.  India has somehow “resolved” the Pakistan issue in its favor, but we don’t know what that means for either India or Pakistan.  NATO is in disarray without strong U.S. leadership.  And, finally, Iran has had some success against Israel.  What isn’t exactly made clear, except Iran has somehow “freed” the Golan Heights.
Background:  The first third of this book was published as a special “full dedicated issue” recently in Wired magazine, which I subscribe to.  I have read EVERY issue of the magazine since inception back in 1993.  The company I worked for back in 2000 had all of the back issues on a shelf and I would “borrow” them one at a time, read cover to cover and then bring them back.  As far as I know, no one else EVER read any of them, as once I was hired, I kept the current ones on my desk and no one ever asked for them.  Shortly before leaving the company, I got a personal subscription and have continued reading them for the last 20 years.  Anyway, Wired‘s issue left you hanging with the promise of a future novel publication in March 2021.  My review is of the full publication.  This book was one of two I received as a birthday present from my wife.
And,…  This book is about a military conflict between China and the United States.  Supposedly, China is an ascending world power and the U.S. is a descending / failing world power.  China stages a confrontation in order to demonstrate its military superiority – and the world slips into war.
Is the book interesting?  Informative?  Entertaining?  Accurate – technologically, politically or militarily?  Is it worth the time to read it?  To be honest, the magazine promised more than the book delivered.  The answer to all five of those questions is mostly so-so…
It is a fast read at barely over 300 pages.  The problem is there isn’t much there – there.  I don’t know how much (if any) current military capability Ackerman has access to.  It is a given (to me) that Stavridis would have had nearly unlimited access (pre-retirement anyway).  The problem is, of course, the book would have had to be submitted to and cleared through State and DOD before it was published and neither agencies (nor the authors) would have been inclined to offer much useful information in a novel.
With nothing but the most general capabilities described we get a lot of implausible “magic” technology under the guise of “AI” (Artificial Intelligence) which seems to work perfectly and then not at all.  We get very poor strategic decisions / action by the U.S.; we get some oversimplification of other technologies (overseas internet cabling);  side tracks by Russia and Iran, which seem to have been added to make the conflict global rather than China vs. U.S.;  and then we get a couple of miracles at the end by India to conclude the novel / war.  That pretty much covers the “informative and accuracy” portion of this review.
What about interesting and entertaining?  Again, so-so…  There are five main characters: female American Admiral, male American fighter pilot, male American (Indian immigrant) NSC advisor, male Iranian officer (he ends up with various ranks), and the main Chinese (half-American) Admiral.  The story is told from each of their viewpoints.  (Yes, there are also another handful of secondary but important characters, but this is really about the big five.)
The problem I had was the number of characters made for a long, deep story which developed each character to the point where you cared about them without giving away too much plot / ending.  Unfortunately, this book is neither long nor deep, which meant you almost cared, but not quite.  And, again unfortunately, it was almost entirely predictable and therefore, while I finished feeling entertained, I didn’t feel satisfied – emotionally or intellectually.
Then is it worth your time, then?  Yes!  It raises the interesting question if military technology is useful if it is subject to (can be negated by) a less expensive counter-measure.  In this case, the apparent answer is that if the elephant is blinded, it is still an elephant and not easily overwhelmed.
Final recommendation: moderate to strong.  This is not Tom Clancy or Sir John Hackett level political, military or strategy writing, but I did find it entertaining even if not informative or militarily consistent.  I’m grateful to have received it as a present, because I’d have waited for the paperback or a very reduced price before buying it myself.  So I got to read something almost literally hot off the presses…
Final disclaimer:  I purchased this book at normal / sale price and no compensation has been provided to me by anyone for my opinions in this review.
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On This Day In:
2020 First Buds
To Fly
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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Nobody Knows It But Me

Favorite Line(s):
Like a clown I put on a show
The pain is real
Even if nobody knows
And I’m crying inside
And nobody knows it but me
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On This Day In:
2020 First Buds
To Fly
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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