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Archive for June, 2022

We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads.  But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Broaden The Circle
The Phone Keeps Ringing
2020 Stay Gentle
2019 Immoral #45
2018 From My Soapbox
2017 The Single Most Effective Thing For Health
2016 A Trumpet Solo
2015 Potential Is A Heavy Burden
2014 Fear Not, Weep Not
2013 Half Way There
2012 Sacrificed Any Lately?
2011 The Value Of One’s Character
2010 Intervals
On Being Human
Non-predictive Emergence
Events
Bodily Functions
Standing Thoughts
Sent Home Is Better Than Fixed

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WAY back when I was starting high school (just before the meteor killed most of the dinosaurs), I signed up for a social studies / current events class.  As our homework, we were expected to become familiar with current events by reading at least one “national” publication (as opposed to a local newspaper with national news).  My mom always tried to encourage our reading so she signed up for three (four actually):  Time Magazine, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report.  The fourth was more for herself and the whole family:  Life Magazine.
Thus began my (more or less) life-long subscription to Time Magazine…
We dropped the other two after the first year’s subscriptions ran out – but she kept me going on Time.  There was a brief lapse while I was in the military and in training, but I picked it back up when I got stationed in Germany for my last two years.  I was reading the “International / European” edition.  I didn’t realize there was a “different” version until after I’d already subscribed.  I just assumed everybody in the world got the same news – after all, our “national” version contained international and European news.  But of course, this was a completely different focus / emphasis and I – being the ugly American – resented I wasn’t getting as much American news.
Anyway, I kept it up when I got out and went to college and, in fact increased my subscriptions to include the Time / Life book series on “understanding computers”, the book series on history and civilization, the book series “Reading Program” – (kind of a mini-“Great Books”) secondary works of famous authors, and two music series: “Great Men of Music” (classical composers) and “Big Bands”.  I continued my weekly subscription when we moved to Liverpool and again upon returning to the Bay Area.
Now, however, my 50+ year relationship with Time has run its course.  My subscription ended towards the end of last summer (2021).  For whatever reason, they continued to send me issues until the end of January this year (2022), but I did not and will not be renewing my subscription.
There are three primary reasons for my non-renewal:  1)  As of five years ago, I retired and funds are getting tighter.  Now don’t get me wrong…  I can still “afford” the subscription.  I just choose to spend the limited discretionary funds on other things.  2)  the magazine has gone from a weekly to a every-other-week magazine.  They are under pressure to turn everything over to the internet and are apparently struggling to keep up staff, quality and quantity.  The practical effect was the weekly was getting thinner and thinner.  Their shift has “almost” restored the number of pages in any given issue, but it’s still only half as many pages of information.  And, 3)  the magazine has modified the typeface in their hard-copy.  I’m fairly confident they explained / justified their reasons for doing this in one of their editor columns, but frankly, it (the magazine) is just less appealing to look at now.  And so I’m moving on…
And just to make a long story (post) longer…  Why now?  If the subscription ended last year and the “bonus” issues back in January, why am I writing this (blog post) is the end of “Time“?
It’s purely personal.  I get the issue in the mail.  I take a quick glance to see if there’s anything I “NEED” to know about now.  I read that.  The issue then goes into my “throne” rack to be read cover to cover when I’m doing “something else”.  So, now, at the end of six months, I’m all caught up and “moving” to other things…
I am continuing my subscription to “Wired” magazine and I will be occasionally be posting quotes from that source.   I will miss the Red border and (regretfully) I’m sure my overall knowledge of current events will suffer / decline.
Back in the Principal’s Office of my high school, there was a framed question on the wall:  “Time is passing…  Are you?
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On This Day In:
2021 Best To Be Trained And Educated
The Great Relief
2020 Diversity And Uniqueness
2019 Ebb And Flow
2018 America: Paging #45
2017 Near By
2016 Maybe Someday
2015 How’s The Cow?
2014 Mind Made Up
2013 On Purpose
2012 The Dream
2011 What Could Be More Comfortable?

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Do everything as if it was the only thing in the world that mattered while all the time knowing that it doesn’t matter at all.
    —     Carlos Casteneda
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On This Day In:
2021 Best To Be Trained And Educated
The Great Relief
2020 Diversity And Uniqueness
2019 Ebb And Flow
2018 America: Paging #45
2017 Near By
2016 Maybe Someday
2015 How’s The Cow?
2014 Mind Made Up
2013 On Purpose
2012 The Dream
2011 What Could Be More Comfortable?

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Today’s movie review is for “Citizen Kane” (1941).  This is a long review of a classic movie which routinely rates as one of the best movies of all time.  There are spoilers in this review.  (You’ve been warned…)
Background:
I first saw this movie when I was in my mid-20’s and my roommate was trying to get me interested in classic movies (dramas, westerns and musicals).  He mostly succeeded in piquing my interest, but this was before video tapes, let alone DVDs, so a neophyte couldn’t re-watch a movie to their heart’s content.  We were pretty much limited to whatever was showing up on TV or as very limited re-releases at the local theater.  The bottom line is I saw this once and was under-whelmed.
I guess about five years ago, my daughter bought me a copy of the film for X-mas after we had a discussion about “must-see” classic films.  I don’t think I’ve ever watched that version.  She did.  Anyway, I recently picked up a copy on my VUDU account and decided to enjoy a classic.
Cast:
The movie stars Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane the owner of “The Inquirer” newspaper syndicate;  Joseph Cotten as Jedediah Leland, Kane’s best friend and a “society” reporter for Kane’s newspaper;  Dorothy Comingore as Susan Alexander Kane, Kane’s mistress and second wife;  Agnes Moorehead as Mary Kane, Kane’s mother;  Ruth Warrick as Emily Monroe Norton Kane, Kane’s first wife;  Everett Sloane as Mr. Bernstein, Kane’s friend and employee at the paper;  and, George Coulouris as Walter Parks Thatcher, a banker who becomes Kane’s legal guardian.
Plot Summary:
The movie starts with an old man dying in what seems to be almost a castle.  He has a snow-globe in his hand and as he dies, his last word is:  “Rosebud”.  The movie then jumps to a several minute intro about how wealthy (and wasteful) the old guy was…
The basic plot is a reporter is told to find out who this guy really is and what was “Rosebud”.  The reporter then proceeds to recount a number of interviews with the old guy’s friends / family / colleagues…
A young boy becomes wealthy after the discovery of gold on his recently deceased father’s property and his mother ships him off East to be educated and looked after in a series of boarding schools.  The boy does badly and goes through a series of schools and colleges, but his wealth continues to grow until he is one of the five wealthiest men in the world at the age of twenty-five.  Kane returns from Europe with his long-time friend (Leland) and they set about running a “yellow-sheet” newspaper and turning it into a nation-wide paper and radio syndicate.  Although losing money, his other interests continue to grow his wealth under the supervision of Thatcher.  When the Great Depression hits, Kane is wiped out and his business interests are bought at pennies on the dollar by Thatcher.
Without any explanation, Kane is suddenly wealthy again and back in the publishing business.  Kane tries to leverage this into a Governorship of New York State, but loses the election when his opponent publicizes Kane’s “affair” with a clerk / part-time singer.  Kane’s first wife divorces him.  He marries the singer and proceeds to make her life miserable by trying to turn her into an opera singer – although she lacks the ability or desire.  She fails and attempts suicide to avoid further public humiliation.  Kane begins building a famed estate “Xanadu” where they retreat to.  Kane’s second wife leaves him (mostly for mental abuse).  Kane has a fit and then after some unspecified time fades and dies.  His last word is:  “Rosebud”.
The final scene of the movie is a pre-cursor to the ending of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” warehouse scene…  Kane’s possessions are being catalogued and those items deemed “worthless” are thrown into the Xanadu furnace.  One of the items is a sled with the manufacture’s name:  “Rosebud”.
Review:
So, is it any good?  How’s the acting?  Is it “really” a classic?  First off, please recall the film is now eighty(80) years old…  Within that specific constraint:  YES, GREAT and YES!!!
Is it good – the movie is no surprise.  We are told the ending up front and then the story evolves through the series of interlocking / overlapping flashbacks.  Little to nothing occurs in “real time” – our time as a viewer.  The only twist is the actual final furnace scene where WE learn the implied meaning of Rosebud as a profound effect on a young boy’s life.  But is it ANY good?  As stated, it is widely considered one of the greatest movies EVER.  It was up for multiple Oscars (but only won one).  There are multiple books written about the movie and Welles is considered to be one of the greatest directors in film history – although he “directed” only a dozen films in his lifetime.
How’s the acting – it’s actually pretty good.  Obviously the special effects used for aging characters back then is nowhere near what were used to seeing in modern cinema, it holds its own.  I personally am not enamored with Welles role, but I liked all of the other characters / actors – particularly Cotton and Comingore.  The former made a terrific jilted / disabused friend and the latter a terrific naive young lady.
Is it a classic – DUH!!  In preparation for this review, I read the Wikipedia article on the movie.  The initial criticism is there is little to nothing (film making technique) new here.  The response:  maybe, but it was the first movie to tie a whole bunch of things previously (rarely) done together and have the sum be much greater than any of the individual techniques in prior movies.  It’s effects have been both profound, pervasive and long lasting.
Final recommendation:  This IS a classic movie and a must see film if you are at all interested in film history.  ‘Nuff said…
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On This Day In:
2021 Are You Rotating Crops?
Wrong Block, Dummy
2020 I Choose Justice And Mercy
2019 Close, Sustained, Careful, Daily
2018 One Brick At A Time
2017 Order The Rope, #DumbDonald
2016 Chains Of Habit
2015 That You Shall Remain
Did You See That?
2014 True, Vibrant And Open
2013 Remembering, Yet Again
2012 Something Of Value
2011 Sleep All Day

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Like our pandemic response, the U.S. Capitol riot is the latest cataclysm to be blamed on a failure of imagination.  Who could imagine a virus that crashes the entire global operating system, or an attack that narrowly fails to decapitate the U.S. government?
And the obvious answer?  Anyone who was paying attention.
Just as epidemiologists long warned of a pandemic, the insurrectionists helpfully advertised their violent intentions all over social media.  The phrase storm the Capitol, unleashing countless QAnon furies, appeared 100,000 times in the month before the attack, according to Zignal Labs.  The President clashed his cymbals and stoked the lie;  party leaders largely ignored or pampered him.  The day before the attack, an FBI office shared the warnings from online:  “Be ready to fight.  Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in  …  Get violent.  Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest.  Go there ready for war.”
Which means that it should have required no imagination to foresee an uprising that was planned, promised and promoted in plain sight.
But until we find our way back to a shared reality, lack of moral imagination will remain a national-security threat.  Lack of moral leadership at a moment like this imperils democracy itself.  In our schools and sanctuaries and clubs and communities, in our dealings with alienated friends and family, the vital work of replacing toxic fantasies with hard realities falls to each of us.
    —     Nancy Gibbs
From her op-ed:  “TheView Essay: America’s Moral Vaccum
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  1 / 8 February 2021
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On This Day In:
2021 Are You Rotating Crops?
Wrong Block, Dummy
2020 I Choose Justice And Mercy
2019 Close, Sustained, Careful, Daily
2018 One Brick At A Time
2017 Order The Rope, #DumbDonald
2016 Chains Of Habit
2015 That You Shall Remain
Did You See That?
2014 True, Vibrant And Open
2013 Remembering, Yet Again
2012 Something Of Value
2011 Sleep All Day

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When there isn’t enough food, the body has to make a decision on how to invest the limited foodstuff available to it.  Survival comes first, growth comes second.  And in this kind of nutritional triage, the body seems obliged to rank learning, last.  It sort of it’s better to be stupid and alive, than smart and dead.
    —    Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2021 Life Finds A Way
In The Palm Of My Hand
2020 I’m Not Worried
2019 Forgiving The Chasm
2018 A Sure Sign Of Age
Before The Fall – Cheat
2017 Distant Goal
2016 More Lives
2015 Go Shopping More
2014 Say What?
2013 Accepting Beauty
2012 Transitional Choice To Ride The Wave
2011 Freedom Isn’t Always Perfect
Just That Simple

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A poor, charitable person can sometimes feel rich, a miserly Croesus never.
    — Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
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On This Day In:
2021 Choose Strength
Release Your Fears
2020 No Fear
2019 Propaganda vs. Art
2018 What Did You Bring Up?
2017 Waiting For My First Strike
2016 Mostly Just Masticating
2015 Don’t Mess With Mosa
How Long Is This Run?
2014 The Importance Of Being Forgetful
2013 Anyway
2012 Habit Forming
2011 And In The Other Hand(ful)
In Love With Words
Boundless Naïveté
Who Did You Say Signed Off On This Treason, Pat?

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My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.
    –    Thomas Paine
From:  “The Rights of Man
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On This Day In:
2021 A Quest
I’m Still Wondering
2020 Time For Bed
2019 With Proper Guidance
2018 MAGA?
2017 Neutral
Family Over Ego
2016 Hard Learners
2015 Goals
2014 Switch To Dogs…
2013 Times Change
2012 Ashes Not Dust
2011 A Handful From Saudi
None Of This Happened
Take Responsibility

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You cannot save people, you can only love them.
 
    –     Anaïs Nin
 
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On This Day In:
2021 A Sovereign Good
  Some Tenderness Survives
2020 At Least Until The Rainbow Comes
2019 And/Or A Great Soulmate
  Austen Stalking
2018 Dead Red
  You Ain’t Done Yet
2017 Just Because
2016 As Close As They Can Get
2015 And So I Blog
2014 Take Flight
2013 Contributing Joy
2012 More Than A Race
2011 Institutionalized Leadership
   

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About a month and a half ago I started playing a daily word / search / complete game:  “Wordle“.  It is a once a day game hosted on the New York Times news website.  Basically, you have six chances to figure out the five letter word of the day.  Incorrect letters appear as grey;  correct letters in the wrong location as yellow;  and, correct in the right location, as green.
As of today, I have only missed twice.  I have found it EXTREMELY addictive and also a great vocabulary refresher.  Highly recommended!
Here’s the link to the NYT site’s version:  Wordle – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
[Disclaimer:  I have nothing to do with the New York Times or the producers of the Wordle game.  I am merely offering this link / game as a suggestion of something I’ve enjoyed playing.    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 The Principal Difference
Picture Perfect
2020 So Sad, Faux Crowd
The Spirit Is Willing
2019 And The Same For Blogs And Posts
2018 The End Of Asgard (For Now)
I Learn The Hard Way Every Time
2017 For Some
2016 Fragile And Explosive, Provocation And Privacy
2015 Bound Up
2014 Economic Engines
2013 Weren’t You Supposed To Be Reading?
Absent Friends
Where I Stand
2012 Hangin’ With His P’s
Help Save
2011 Six Facets Of Good Leadership

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I don’t know that art can be understood in any final way, but a search for understanding tends to open one’s eyes rather than close them.
    —    Jasper Johns
From the interview:  “15 Questions
Written by:  Belinda Luscombe
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  dtd:  11/18 Oct. 2021
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On This Day In:
2021 The Beauty Of Life
Seeds
2020 Better Sooner Than Later
2019 Possibilities And Challenges
And Miles To Go Before She Sleeps
2018 What I Tell You Three Times Is True
2017 And So On
2016 Kept
2015 Envy * 2
2014 Destiny For The Talented
2013 I Do Not Fear It
2012 Until Found
2011 Reducing Goods To Data
The Fog Of Civilization Building

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I would say that I don’t know how we got through that first shaky week of this third pandemic-impacted school year, hugging our kids and checking to make sure their masks were secure before they left each morning, except that I do know:  We had no choice.  We still don’t.  Though we’re grateful to their teachers and glad that our kids are once again learning alongside their peers, the worry persists, an undercurrent to which we’ve been forced to adapt as we settle into routines both familiar and new.
Each week brings more pediatric infections, more student quarantines.  Each day, I’m conscious of the fact that I’m allowing my children to assume a risk from which I, working at home, am protected, and this feels hopelessly backward.  I read every update to the school COVID-19 guidelines so I know what to expect after the inevitable exposure, but I can’t tell my kids what they have long wanted to know:  When will things go back to the way they remember?
Over the past 18 months, a common refrain has been that this pandemic should compel all of us to recognize our interdependence, the inescapable fact that we will not address this or any of the other grave threats we’re facing without collective action.  This is a lesson that I expect many of our children are also learning, though the cost and the danger to them feels too high.  I know I don’t want my kids to conclude that they are or forever will be powerless, or that there is no one who will fight with and for them.  There are many things I still have to hope for to get through each day, and while our children’s survival and health top the list, I also want them to retain their faith in themselves and in their ability to look forward to something better than this — to find, as they so often do, their own reasons to hope.
    —     Nicole Chung
From:  “The View Essay: Parenting – Did I point my kids to the wrong North Star?
Appearing in:  Time Magazine;  11/18 Oct 2021
Also online at:  https://time.com/6102019/covid-19-hope-for-kids/
The online version appears as:  “There’s No End in Sight for COVID-19. What Do We Tell Our Kids Now?
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On This Day In:
2021 The Rush Is On
Another Rerun
2020 It Is Still About Sharing And Cheering
2019 Sounds Like #LyingDonald
2018 Start Building
2017 Woof! Woof!
2016 Cast Out
2015 Small Pieces
Happy Father’s Day!
2014 Uncertain Work
2013 Unpatriotic And Servile
2012 What Price Freedom?
2011 Particular Importance
Three From Bette…

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Determine never to be idle.  No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any.  It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.
    ―     Thomas Jefferson
[A rocking horse provides a lot of activity and can be a lot of fun, but riding it never gets you anywhere different from where you were when you first got in the saddle.    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Be Interesting
Wonder What Is Wrong With Me
2020 To Our #IdiotInChief: Wear A Mask!
2019 Silent Purpose
2018 Just Bake The Cake, Man
2017 Visible Proof
2016 Poor Enough Means
2015 Still Standing
Follow Your Heart
2014 Just Reminded
2013 A Fine Balance
2012 One Measure
2011 Seeking The Common Ground
In Brightest Day…

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Back in the 1980’s I developed a “repetitive stress injury” to my wrist(s) – mainly my right wrist, as I am right handed.  It happened due to overuse of a mouse while working on computers.  Back then it was more “popularly” starting to be called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Of course, back then, there was no significant use of either term in the general populace.  The closest we (the public) came to it was “tennis elbow” and its cousin “golfer’s elbow / wrist”.
I was lucky and mostly got over it (RSI) by playing Aikido for a few years – where you do a number of wrist flexing exercises during warm-ups / before practice.  When I stopped Aikido, the symptoms began coming back and I went to a sports doctor (specialist) who gave me a sheet with wrist exercises to do several times a day.  He said it is more important to do a few repetitions several times during the day than it is to do a massive number in one long session.  He said he normally suggests using 1lb to 3lbs weights, but as I was muscular (back then), I should use 5lbs weights.  He added if a weight is not available, just use a book.  I’m in the process of going through some of the stuff I used to have in my work cubicle and found the exercise sheet so I’m offering the image of the exercise instructions to anyone who may have similar wrist issues.  (Click on the image for a larger and more readable version.)

Wrist Exercises for RSI Relief

[Disclaimer:  Please remember I am NOT a medical professional and the “tips” in this post are based on my positive anecdotal result(s) from a therapy recommended by a certified physician.  Consult your personal physician before starting any diet or exercise regime.
I recently drove by the location of his storefront office and it is no longer there.  He was older than me, so he’s probably long retired.  As such, I have removed his office information from the image.  I did a quick browse around the web to see if there were similar instructions / exercises available from a website I could provide attribution to.  I was not able to locate anything similar.  I am making no claim to ownership of the image and I am merely offering it up to help others in need.   —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 It Doesn’t Stop
I Feel Like I’m Winning
2020 #45: 14.81 Lies Per Day
2019 Less Miserable Now
So Near And Yet So Far
2018 I Doubt #45 Is Listening?
2017 Life’s Oddity
2016 Just Asking…
2015 Two Thoughts On Thinking
2014 From The Top, Please…
2013 You Are The Stars
2012 Just One??
2011 Anything But

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The following is my “goal” for learning / playing guitar for the remainder of this year (2022).  (It will be quite a stretch-goal for me.  LoL!)

Guitar Test

1.) How much do you practice  —  # of Day (6) / week (52);  # of Hours (1)
2.) How well do you know the fretboard
3.) Knowledge of major & minor scale for natural notes
4.) Knowledge of major & minor chords  —  open & barred
5.) Perform three:  Maj7, Min7 & Dom7 chords
6.) Playing & modifying a chord progression
7.) Perform three different Arpeggios  —  anywhere on the fretboard
8.) Build A Major scale (at least 3)  —  demonstrate a knowledge of scale formulas (along 1 string)
9.) Name the tones of four major key signatures
10.) Name & explain three time signatures  —  count, beat, stresses & accents
11.) Explain note duration  —  whole, half, 1/4th, 1/8th, & 1/16th
Of course the object of “learning” these things is not the inherent value of knowledge.  It is the ability to put the knowledge into use why playing the guitar.  Some of the items on the list are things I already “know”.  They are just (still) not yet under my fingertips.  That will come with time and practice…  Inshalla
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On This Day In:
2021 Waiting For The Sting
Right From The Start
2020 Reward Truth In November
2019 Prepare For The 2020 Election
2018 Why #45 Is Uncivil And Sinking
Ole! … Ole, Ole, Ole
Is This Still The United States Of America?
2017 Go Where?
2016 Returning To The Same Box
2015 The Hunter’s Music
2014 Dedication
2013 Unhappy Alternatives
2012 Implications
2011 Never Let Us Down

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