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Archive for October, 2022

Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment.  By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.
     ―     Viktor E. Frankl
From:  “Man’s Search for Meaning
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On This Day In:
2021 Why I Play The Lottery
C’mon And Dream Along
2020 #45 In A Nutshell
Old Man Wishin’…
2019 Three Down, Three To Go
2018 Too Significant
2017 Shadows
2016 Still Blurry
2015 For Awhile Anyway
2014 By Contrast
2013 A Very Long Time…
2012 Raise And Support
2011 Naturally
2010 A Quick Sunday Morning Read
Giants Win Game 4 In Shutout 4 to 0!!!

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If you can see only what light reveals and hear only what sound announces, then in truth you do not see nor do you hear.
    —     Kahlil Gibran
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On This Day In:
2021 Sustainable Development
Duke, Duke, Duke
2020 #IncompetentDonald Is A Clear And Present Danger
VOTE – “We The People” Can Save America
2019 Why #45 Is Fated To Endanger Our National Security
2018 Dehydrated
Dehydrated II
2017 And Some Of Us Have Books
2016 I See No Proof
2015 Whither Tea Party?
2014 Nothing Is Known Absolutely
2013 Decoration Time
2012 The Beatitudes
2011 Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
2010 Back On The Asphalt
No Sweep – Rangers Win Game 3 by 4 to 2
Greek Myths For Kids

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The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship;  it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
    ―     Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happy Birthday, Hil!!  May we forever hold hands on our walks…
All my love,
Always!
Your Kev
XXX
00
X
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On This Day In:
2021 It Also Helps To Marry Well
Holding Hands And Thinking
2020 A Mandelbrot Set
I Still Can’t…
2019 Proposing A Happy Birthday
35 Years Later
2018 Forever
2017 Too Good To Be True
Plain Speaking
2016 She Is Still Singing
2015 Don’t Complain
2014 Nothing Is The Same
Orange October (XII) – Giants Win Game 7 (3 To 2) And World Series (4 To 3)
2013 Hours, Days, And Years
2012 In Kev Are In Hil
2011 No Game, Didn’t Really Happen
A Good Post

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The way to anybody’s heart is through a thoughtfully-prepared, beautifully-executed, lovingly-presented meal.
    —    Dr. Leo F. Buscaglia
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On This Day In:
2021 Why We Have So Few Personal Favorites
I Would Have Liked You Anyway
2020 Why We Must Vote #45 Out
If You Believe
2019 Sometimes I Still Have Trouble Sleeping
Public Ridicule For Office Holder
2018 And Flights Of Fancy
Dodgers Lose 2nd Consecutive World Series!!
2017 By Their Acts Thy Shall Know Them
2016 Remembering
2015 One
2014 Sure Experiments And Demonstrated Arguments
2013 Irrational Complacency
2012 Why Criticize?
Giants Sweep 2012 World Series With Game 4 Win (4 To 3)!!!
2011 Saying Just Enough
2010 Giants Win Game 2 Shutout of Rangers – 9 to 0!!!

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I cast my vote via early drop-off earlier this week…  (Here is my confirmation on the CA web site.)

CA vote confirmation

Please complete your own civic responsibility and VOTE!  (The democracy you save may be ours…)
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On This Day In:
2021 Two Eff’n Right
Is There A Notion For That Motion?
2020 The Premium Few
No Sympathy Here
2019 Is That Why Love Hurts?
2018 And Honest Politicians
2017 Maya, Maya
2016 Give Value
2015 Believe In Substitution
2014 Pragmatic Religion
2013 How’s Your View?
2012 Giants Win Game 3 Of The 2012 World Series 2 To 0!!!
Still Haven’t…
Accidental Me
2011 What Is Your Ratio?
2010 Giants Win Game 1 With 11 Runs Scored – Repeat 11 Runs!!

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It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
    —    Confucius
[In many things, this is true.  But, I, on the other hand, believe:  “justice delayed is justice denied” to be equally true.   —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Two Eff’n Right
Is There A Notion For That Motion?
2020 The Premium Few
No Sympathy Here
2019 Is That Why Love Hurts?
2018 And Honest Politicians
2017 Maya, Maya
2016 Give Value
2015 Believe In Substitution
2014 Pragmatic Religion
2013 How’s Your View?
2012 Giants Win Game 3 Of The 2012 World Series 2 To 0!!!
Still Haven’t…
Accidental Me
2011 What Is Your Ratio?
2010 Giants Win Game 1 With 11 Runs Scored – Repeat 11 Runs!!

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Love is life.  And if you miss love, you miss life.
    —    Dr. Leo F. Buscaglia
[Just remember – the greatest love only starts when you love yourself.  A flower must BE a flower before it can bring beauty to a garden.    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 A Message To All The Democrats In Congress
Where Did You Go In Texas?
2020 Reminds Me Of #LyingDonald
It’s All Been Rehearsed
2019 The Earth’s Breath
Family Visit
2018 Forests, Shorelines And Mountain Paths
2017 Reach Down
2016 And Women When You Are 59
2015 Intersections, Explorations And Relationships
2014 [!(±*=)/≠], [!<]
Orange October (XI) – Giants Win Game 5 (5 To 0)!!!
2013 Hard To Deserve
2012 Cloudy Between Games
Admiration, n.
2011 One, Two, Three – Blink

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Today’s review is for the 2021 science fiction epic:  “Dune” (aka: “Dune: Part 1“), they couldn’t squeeze the book down into one long movie with any hope of capturing the essence or the subtleties of the novel the movie is based on.  The film stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides (the main character), ducal heir of House Atreides;  Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica (Paul’s mother) a Bene Gesserit (a priestess in a religious order) / and consort to Leto (Paul’s father);  Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, (Paul’s father) the leader of House Atreides;  Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck, weapons-master of House Atreides (one of Paul’s mentors);  Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (the main bad-guy), leader of House Harkonnen, enemy to House Atreides, and former steward of Arrakis;  Dave Bautista as Beast Rabban Harkonnen (second main bad-guy), nephew of Baron Harkonnen;  Javier Bardem as Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe at Sietch Tabr;  “Zendaya” Maree Stoermer Coleman as Chani (Paul’s love interest), a young Fremen woman and Stilgar’s daughter;  Chang Chen as Dr. Wellington Yueh (the traitor), a Suk doctor in the employ of House Atreides;  and, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, the sword-master of House Atreides and another of Paul’s mentors.
Background:  The book “Dune” is considered one the the greatest science-fictions novels ever written.  The author was Frank Herbert.  Herbert later wrote five sequels.  (His son wrote a dozen more sequels after his father passed away.)  The book is about a fictional war for a planet which is the sole source of a “spice” / drug, which allows navigators to safely pilot spacecraft around the universe in “folded space”.  As such, the spice and planet are the most valuable assets in the universe and control of which brings untold wealth.  The “Fremen” are the “native” inhabitants of the desert planet “Arrakis”.  They appear to be human, and there is never any explanation of how or when the Fremen first got to Arrakis.  The Fremen are waiting for the arrival of a “savior” who will deliver them to freedom from the various oppressors they’ve had over the years.  The “savior” is to be both a military and a religious figure / leader.
At the start of the book / movie the spice planet (Arrakis), is controlled by the evil House Harkonnen (ruled by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen) and his nephew “Beast” Rabban.  The emperor compels them to give up Arrakis and awards the planet to the “good-guys”:  the House Atreides.  Both houses are aware they are being set-up for a war to weaken each / both their houses.  House Atreides takes command of Arrakis.  House Harkonnen uses a traitor to disrupt communications / drop defenses, defeats House Atreides in a surprise attack and kills Duke (Paul’s father) Leto.  Paul and his mother (Lady Jessica) escape the slaughter and meetup with the Freman who grant them sanctuary after Paul wins a fight-to-the-death with one of the Freman who doesn’t want to grant them sanctuary.  The movie ends with Paul and his mother looking out over the desert and watching a Freman ride on a Spice-worm (a giant “worm” like creature which produces the spice).  …And, break for Part 2.
So, is this movie any good?  Is it better than the 1984 version?  Is it entertaining?  Yes, much and yes.
Technically, the movie was generally well received by both movie critics and the general viewing audience.  It received multiple nominations for Oscars and received most of the awards.  I found the movie setting to be a bit too dark which made discerning action difficult.  A bit like many of the DC comic movies – particularly the “Batman” trilogy and two Justice League movies.  Other than that relatively minor point, I found the acting good, the pace “okay” and I wasn’t left feeling it was too long of a movie.  I felt it was closer to being “Laurence of Arabia” scope than “2001:  A Space Odyssey” mainly because the scale of the images of the desert and water planets felt FAR more realistic than any of the “space” related images.
This is a MUCH better movie than its predecessor – the 1984 version (my review here).  The ONLY thing “better” about the 1984 version is they managed to get the whole book into one movie (granted, a LONG movie) instead of dragging us through two parts with a multiple year break separating the parts.  Of course some of this has to be laid at the feet of today’s vastly superior film technology, but still the acting a scenery was just poor in the early adaptation.
Is this version entertaining?  Yes!  In addition to better technology (filming and FX) and acting, breaking the movie into two parts allows the time to develop the characters while giving the audience the action sequence “fix” every twenty minutes or so.  What I particularly liked was they showed us the spice-worm early and then multiple times.  As an aside, I’m not sure this version of the worm is “better” than the 1984 version, particularly when they present their respective open maws.  Since we don’t get a good look at the Fremen or Paul riding a worm, I’ll reserve judgment on which version really has the best representation of a giant spice-worm until after viewing the sequel.
Final recommendation:  moderate to strong.  I enjoyed watching this version and it didn’t leave a bad after-taste (unlike the 1984 version).  I look forward to seeing part two when it is released in 2024.
Final thought:  You can be entertained by a movie (this movie in particular) without it making ANY scientific or warfare / combat sense.  Most of this movie makes NO sense whatsoever.  So, don’t bother thinking about it (the “science” behind the movie).  Just go and watch it for what it is:  escapist entertainment with a bit of political moralism overlayed in between the action sequences.  This review is after my second viewing of this film.  I saw it initially during its first month of streaming.  I just never got around to a review.  Unlike the 1984 version, this movie was better after a second viewing – and I didn’t wait over thirty years to sit a second viewing.  I will watch it again when “Part 2” comes out – just to get back in the spirit of the film.
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On This Day In:
2021 A Simple Choice, Really
Waaaay Before The Movie
2020 I Just Want To Stay Happy
Fading…
2019 Show Righteousness, Not Fear
2018 Sounds Like Politics, Too
2017 Resist More
Conservatives Are Not The Enemy
2016 Two Weeks To Go…
2015 Remembering
2014 The Creeping Death Of Civilization
Orange October (X) – A Blue Morning Turns Into An Orange Evening
2013 License Problem
2012 Giants Win Game 2 Of The 2012 World Series 2 To 0!!!
Adage, n.
Questions Women Should Ask Before Voting…
2011 What Are You Looking At?

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What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it’s grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.
    —     U.S. Representative John Lewis
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On This Day In:
2021 A Simple Choice, Really
Waaaay Before The Movie
2020 I Just Want To Stay Happy
Fading…
2019 Show Righteousness, Not Fear
2018 Sounds Like Politics, Too
2017 Resist More
Conservatives Are Not The Enemy
2016 Two Weeks To Go…
2015 Remembering
2014 The Creeping Death Of Civilization
Orange October (X) – A Blue Morning Turns Into An Orange Evening
2013 License Problem
2012 Giants Win Game 2 Of The 2012 World Series 2 To 0!!!
Adage, n.
Questions Women Should Ask Before Voting…
2011 What Are You Looking At?

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To obtain a man’s opinion of you, make him mad.
    —    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
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On This Day In:
2021 Do What You Can
From The Shadows
2020 Mostly To Just Smell A Few More Roses
Above The Storm
R.I.P.: Jerry Jeff Walker
2019 Ought To More Often Than Once
2018 Talking About Egypt, Not The White House
2017 Left Behind
2016 Self-Restraint
2015 In The Midst
2014 Match Book
2013 Disservice And Disingenuous
2012 Giants Win Game 1 Of The World Series 8 to 3!!!
On Death
2011 The Spirit Of Universal Connectivity
2010 SF Giants Pitchers Witness Protection Program
Orange Outside (Too) & Fear The Beard
Non-Taxing Read

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Courage is like love, it must have hope for nourishment.
    ―     Napoléon Bonaparte
[…with courage, love and hope.    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Too Heavy A Burden
I Don’t Mind At All
2020 Compare, Contrast And Learn
Some Dreams Do Come True
Just In Case
2019 Can I Get A Witness?
2018 I’d Still Like To Try It Out
2017 In Every Thing
2016 Future Halo
2015 The Hard Way Every Time
2014 Indispensable Wits
2013 I’d Like To
2012 2012 National League Champions – San Francisco Giants!!
2nd Viewing – No Change
Light Shining Out of Darkness
2011 Just Kickin It
Are These The “Real” Protectors Of America’s Constitution?
2010 Giants Advance To 2010 World Series!!!

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Today’s TV series review is for the seven season / 151 episodes / 115 hours total viewing time, drama / crime-police / mystery series: “The Mentalist“.  The show stars Simon Baker as Patrick Jane (the Mentalist) and Robin Tunney as Agent Teresa Lisbon (his long suffering boss / side-kick”Watson”).  There are three other “main” supporting characters:  Kimball Cho (played by Tim Kang), Wayne Rigsby (played by Owain Yeoman) and Grace Van Pelt (played by Amanda Righetti).  The series originally aired between 2008 and 2015.  I viewed / “streamed” the series over several weeks in 3-to-4 episode chunks.  Some spoilers follow, so if you are intending to watch this series, do so before continuing this review…
The basic premise is that a “reformed” con-man / fake psychic (Jane) assists law enforcement (the California Bureau of Investigation [CBI]) with solving crimes (mostly murders).  Because the CBI is a state law enforcement unit, the crime is generally on California state property or CBI involvement is “requested” by someone with sufficient political influence to warrant the notice of the CA State Attorney General.  Sometimes this aspect is a REAL stretch…  and then has to be narratively explained away by dialogue.
The main character – Jane – has highly developed observational skill, exceptional memory skill and high intelligence which combined with his years as a con-man / magician / fake psychic allow him to “solve” each case in intuitive (sometimes illegal) ways – much to the discomfort of the supporting cast (professional law enforcement officers).  Jane becomes involved with CBI after recovering from a nervous breakdown following the brutal murder of his wife and daughter by a serial killer (“Red John”).  Red John’s modus operandi is “generally” a rape, disembowelment and then throat slitting of his (mostly female) victims.  Red John is a cult leader type criminal, generally following the “Dr. Moriarty” character type from the Sherlock Holmes genre.  Lisbon is Watson to Jane’s Sherlock.
The series has two over-arching series themes:  the developing romantic relationship between Jane and Lisbon and the developing friendship(s) between Jane and the rest of the law enforcement supporting characters.  Within this there are also three main seasonal story arcs:  seasons one through three are single episode murder mysteries developing the two main arcs.  Seasons four, five and half of season six are devoted to both episodic crimes and the hunt for Red John.  Red John is revealed (and killed) and then the last half a season six and all of season seven is Jane assisting in various FBI cases.  Season seven is an abbreviated season of only twelve episodes.  All of the other seasons are twenty-one plus episodes. Most of the series is based in Sacramento.  Post-Red John, the series moves from CBI to FBI and is then based from Austin, Texas.
So, is this series any good?  Has it stood the test of time?  How is the acting?  Is the show realistic for leadership, psychology or law enforcement?  And, finally, is it worth investing 115 hours of your life?  In order:  yes, mostly, poor to excellent, more often than not, so-so, “I sure hope not”, and yes.
More specifically, overall, this is a VERY good series.  It is as predictable as any police procedural:  crime, investigation, resolution.  It is mostly predictable for character development – but at a surprisingly / interesting slow pace and then – bang – your in rapids, and then – back to slow pace.  The series ends “happily” from a romantic perspective it is well rapped up – the two main couples wed.  So, bottom line, the good-guys win and live happily-ever-after.
Test of time / acting / theme portrayals:  As a police procedural – I hope not.  As a romantic drama, yes.  As a “Sherlock Holmes” genre, so-so.  In practically every episode, some person’s rights are either ignored or aggressively violated.  This is morally acceptable because the team is putting very bad people (mostly men) behind bars (or killing them).  No matter how honorable the character starts in their role, they are always corrupted by Jane and the concept of acting for “the greater good”.  On the romantic side, a big part of every drama is how long can you maintain the sexual tension between the main characters.  Although obvious from the first episode, both main relationship arcs are well developed.  As a super-sleuth / Holmes procedure series, the show has problems, but it (the show) still works because of the believability of the actors in their slowly developed / multi-layered character portrayals.  The portrayals of most of the bad-guys are mostly flat and one dimensional, but there are notable exceptions.  As the series progresses most of the other (non-super-genius) characters say:  “This is what Jane would (would not) have us do…”  For me personally, I found the various depictions of leadership styles / personalities to be one of the most interesting aspects of the series.  The whole gamut of leadership from criminal to sainted is represented and the strengths and weaknesses of the various styles is examined, critiqued and accepted or rejected.
Investment:  I feel there has been an on-going transformation in home entertainment happening over the course of my lifetime.  The progress is roughly equivalent to that of written literature.  In writing we have daily comics, short stories and comic books, short-moderate-long books (texts and novels), books series and encyclopedias.  In TV, the corresponding genre would be animated / cartoon shorts (multiple stories in a half-hour show), episodic stories (half-hour to hour long shows), movie length (90 minutes to mini-series [sub-30 hours of total viewing time]), and seasonal arcs (episodic, but with 3-5 minutes devoted to long-term character / story development), and then generational shows / series.  I consider “generational” series to be any series over 15 years / seasons – so, most day-time soap operas and multi-series franchises (“I Love Lucy“, “The Simpsons“, “StarTrek“, “Law & Order“, “NCIS“, etc).  I (personally) do NOT consider game shows to be “generational” series, even though many have gone well beyond 20 seasons, because they are normally not re-watched after the initial viewing.  Although, there is now some give on this characteristic, too, as you can “watch” some of the prior episodes (on TV-history channels).  The point of the “re-run” (though) is to view the contestants (famous personalities from yesteryear) and not viewing the contests, themselves.  At any rate, I would put a seven seasons series in the “War & Peace” – lengthy story grouping, but not in the generational level group.
Final recommendation:  This is a moderate to strong recommendation for an initial viewing (see caution later), a low to moderate for re-viewing in its entirety and a strong to highly for individual episodes (if you develop a favorite character or mini-story arc during your initial viewing).  For me, 100-plus hours is almost certainly too long to spend re-watching the entire series. I purchased my “series-bundle copy” on steep discount ($30 as I recall), at which price this a bargain for entertainment value – even if only viewed once – $.25 per hour or $.20 per episode.  One note of caution:  there is the occasional swear word used at least once per season and there are repeated scenes of victims injuries (almost one per episode), so this is not appropriate for viewers under 12 years of age.
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On This Day In:
2021 Press On
Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This
2020 AMA
Still Shiny
2019 Things That Go Bump In The Night
Hoping I’m Careful
2018 I Must Be Truly Wise
2017 My Sensei
2016 The Worst Sin
2015 Rules Of Thumb
2014 A Prayer
Orange October (IX) – Giants Lose Game 2 In Bullpen Collapse
2013 Complacent Reality
2012 Two-minute Sex
Just Staring, Why?
2011 A World Of Difference

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How can you tell if you should be voting Democrat or Republican:
Vote Republican if you hire exterminators to kill bugs in your house.
Vote Democrat if you step on the bugs.
Vote Democrat if you buy books which have been banned somewhere.
Vote Republican if you form censorship committees and read the books as a group.
Vote Democrat if you eat the fish and game you catch or hunt.
Vote Republican if you hang them on a wall.
Vote Republican if you keep your bedroom shades drawn (although there is little reason you need to).
Vote Democrat if you ought to but don’t.
   —    From “An Incomplete Education“, by Judy Jones and William Wilson
[The above quote was posted several years ago, but I’ve recently re-read it, so I’m re-posting it.  I would add:
Vote Democrat if you believe America should be a representative democracy based on the votes of a majority of the American public.
Vote Republican if you believe a theocratic minority (mostly hypocritical) should be able to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of America.
   —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Press On
Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This
2020 AMA
Still Shiny
2019 Things That Go Bump In The Night
Hoping I’m Careful
2018 I Must Be Truly Wise
2017 My Sensei
2016 The Worst Sin
2015 Rules Of Thumb
2014 A Prayer
Orange October (IX) – Giants Lose Game 2 In Bullpen Collapse
2013 Complacent Reality
2012 Two-minute Sex
Just Staring, Why?
2011 A World Of Difference

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Man, sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.
    —    Miles Davis
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On This Day In:
2021 Press On
Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This
2020 AMA
Still Shiny
2019 Things That Go Bump In The Night
Hoping I’m Careful
2018 I Must Be Truly Wise
2017 My Sensei
2016 The Worst Sin
2015 Rules Of Thumb
2014 A Prayer
Orange October (IX) – Giants Lose Game 2 In Bullpen Collapse
2013 Complacent Reality
2012 Two-minute Sex
Just Staring, Why?
2011 A World Of Difference

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Distrust that man who tells you to distrust.
    —     Attributed to:  Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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On This Day In:
2021 Table Talk
No One Left To Blame
2020 Plant Roots For A Hundred Years
That Seat Is Taken
2019 Shining In The Dark
2018 Sometimes Wisdom, Too
2017 What Do I Know…
Not Much Magic Here
2016 Rare Competition
2015 Now Where Did I Put That Thing?
2014 Reckoning
Orange October (VIII) – Giants Win Game 1 Of 2014 World Series!!
2013 Trying To Capture Serenity
2012 Above The Vaulted Sky
2011 Active Learning

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