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To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life.  The money is the gravy.
    —    Bette Davis
[It normally takes seven to seven and a half years of retirement for the average American to “recover” all of the funds paid into their Social Security retirement funds during their forty odd years of work.  I’m well over half-way there and looking forward to the gravy!    —    kmab]
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On This Day In:
2021 Four Down, Three To Go
It Still Ain’t
Boosted
2020 Three Down, Four To Go
Twenty-Four ‘Til You
2019 Two Down, Five To Go
2018 Year One, Done!
2017 First Day Of Retirement!
2016 Revere And Criticize
2015 Global Climate Change May Test This Statement
2014 Adaptability Won
2013 Disappeared
2012 Fuller
Life On The Range
More Classics
2011 Stoned Again?
2010 Insubordination… And That’s Why I Love Her!
Losing – Week One

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As we in the United States are currently experiencing terrible flooding in our South – South / East and extreme deadly heat in our South – South / West, let us take a moment to think about our fellow humanity suffering equally devastating weather related catastrophes in other parts of the world.
Tonight, as I am thinking of / praying for my fellow Americans in Mississippi, I am doing the same for Pakistan where there are estimates of over 1,100 people having lost their lives and over 20 million are homeless due to rain and flooding.
May God / Allah assist you in your time of need…
Salaam Alaikum for and from the people of America.
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On This Day In:
2021 Why Republicans Are Unhappy
I Guess It’s True
2020 A Tiny And Fragile World
Your Lyin’ Eyes
2019 Day 1: Done
#IncompetentDonald Fails On All Three
2018 I Put It Down To Bad Teachers
Day 34: In And Out
2017 And The Future Is Now
2016 I Am
2015 Positively Aiming Higher
2014 Suspicious Minds
2013 We Are Not Alone
2012 Lawyer, n.
2011 Each Day Remember…
2010 Impossible Dreams of Camelot

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LoL!!  Yesterday, I reported I was shocked to find that for the first time since starting my blog a country other than the U.S. had recorded the most views for a day…
Well, it turns out I pulled a “#TrumpTheLoser” and created Fake News before the final tally…
The “next-day” / yesterday full view count is in and the “balance in the force in the universe” has been restored with the U.S. well over the view count of Australia.  No “Ashes” for the Ozzies, after all.
In my defense, I can only say nobody told ME in advance there would be a end of day surge – AND it didn’t occur to me until today.  (LoL!!  And now I’ll go back to almost never looking at meaningless blog numbers.)
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On This Day In:
2021 No Profit Without Risk
And One For Me
2020 He’s Forgotten About Drugs And Rock ‘N Roll
2019 I Still Walk Daily
A Windy Monday
2018 No Religious Test, Yes Religious Ban
2017 Looking At #DumbDonald
2016 No Great Thing
2015 Happy Memory
Of Two Minds
2014 Sums
2013 Memories & Binging
Admiration Due
2012 Choices Matter
2011 Acceptance Is The Key
2010 Just A Permanent Crease…
Bodily Functions

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Shocked!  Shocked, I say.  For the first time (since starting this blog back in 2009) I’ve gotten more views from a single country which are greater than from the U.S.  Somebody pinch me…  🙂
Over the years, Canada and India have come the closest (Canada most often), but they never quite got there.  Thank you “Down Under”!
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On This Day In:
2021 The Truth Shall Keep Us Free
Let Your Hair Down
2020 But What About Tomorrow’s Blog Post?
2019 Don’t Forget Obstruction Of Justice
An Honest, Unvarnished Assessment
2018 #45 And The Republicans Are Pretending (So Far)
2017 Made
2016 Halves
Accepted Fraud
2015 Even The Little Ones
2014 Who’s On First?
2013 No Equal Measure
2012 A Single Host
2011 No Exemptions
2010 Memories Of KSA – Inside The Fire

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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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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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Image of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington National Cemetery
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

As we gather around our dinner and picnic tables
enjoying the freedom you sacrificed your lives to provide for us,
a grateful nation
remembers
and prays for you and your families…
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On This Day In:
2021 How Trump Won The Fringe Right
Hold My Hand
2020 I’d Include Health Care
2019 Accustomed To It
2018 Booking My Trip Into The Expanding Universe
2017 Fear Instead Of Convictions
2016 Memorial Day – 2016
2015 A Handful Of Reviews
And You Can Quote Me
2014 Get Wisdom
2013 Enjoying The View?
2012 Adam’s Rib
2011 I’m Sure I Remember That…
Memorial Day, 2011

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I mentioned in a post a few weeks back that the roses on either side of our front path were budding and would be blooming soon.  Well, here they are!

Roses In Bloom

It’s early May and today’s temperature is forecast for mid-80s and getting warmer through the week.  This is probably as good as they’ll get as the 90° – 100° is very hard on them.  We’ll enjoy them as long as they last…
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On This Day In:
2021 Thrive
Are You Still Here?
2020 Perceived Wisdom
Lessons Are Extra And Blondell
2019 Live It
2018 Mostly Unconsciously For Most People
Desperately Ginger Lass
2017 Explaining My Equally Meager Results
2016 Every Tool And Every Chance
2015 Something That You Love
2014 Not Really At All
2013 Listening And Deserving
2012 I’m Still Not Certain
2011 True, False And Useful

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Last year, we had our front yard converted from mostly grass to drought resistant rocks (and some plants).  Here’s a pre-change image…

Mostly grass…

And here are some shots of Spring’s colors…

Colors…

The flowers on the immediate sides of the path are miniature roses, which have a surprising amount of size variety considering they were all bought and planted at the same time…  The ones above are about mid-shin / knee height.

The Tallest…

This is the tallest and next to it (on the lower right) is the smallest.  There are probably a dozen more buds getting ready to blossom.  You can’t really tell from the photo, but there are a half-dozen bees doing their thing on this bush.

Diagonal Shot…

Here’s a better shot of the poppies…

California Poppies…

A better view of the snapdragons…

Snapdragons…

My wife spends a great deal of energy on the gardens (front and back), but it’s worth it for the up-lifting feeling you get when you see everything in the bright morning sunlight and full Spring colors…
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On This Day In:
2021 In Pursuit
The Music Of Her Laughter
2020 Close, Sustained And Careful
2019 #45: Spread The Fear
Fear The Beards
2018 Slice, Nick, Cut, Bled
2017 Like Most Blogs
2016 The Window Left Open
Free Experience
2015 Reality == Perception / (Times Reported * 10)
2014 Tear Da Roof Off Da Sucka
2013 Exposed Spirits
2012 Ow-ow
2011 Focused Relatives

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For the last 10 years, I’ve been posting personal health / fitness updates on pages under my menu topic “Sweat Equity“.  I was doing this to create an open site for me to refer to if I ever needed to, while not having access to my home computer.  I have used the pages very rarely – no more than 2 or 3 times per year and I’m fully settled into retirement now so I don’t really have the need for this type of access.
As such, I will no longer be updating or adding to these pages.  If anything of note happens, I will simply publish a “normal” post.  Typically, it will be as an additional post for a given day.
I will be updating my “Tributaries and Eddies” section (on my sidebar).  Two of the blogs there have (more or less) stopped updating, so I’ll be removing them.  One has changed location, so I’m just updating the address.  I used to do this updating (removing and adding) every six months, but I’ve kind of let it slide, so this will be a bit of New Year’s housekeeping.
Third, for now at least, I will no longer be posting music videos every day.  I’ve been doing it for almost a two years and it started off as a “lark” – just to share music (lyrics) I’ve enjoyed.  Once I got past a month, I thought, I’ll just do it for year (365 days straight).  Then I thought, well, just do it for a full calendar year.  Now, that’s done, too…  I will post a music / song video every now and then, I just won’t be doing it every day.
Finally, I’m going to try to write more posts of my own.  I started this blog to practice my writing and to vent at the universe.  When I began to run out of bile I began using quotes and book / movie reviews more and more and using the post titles as my “creative” tool.  My intent was to express a view / twist of the quote / review with a pun or hi-lite of a few words from the quote(s).  This was my way of pretending to be a newspaper headline writer.  I feel this was mostly unsuccessful, but I’ve enjoyed trying, so I will keep at it (on post titles anyway).
I hope everyone reading this has a prosperous year and that you keep on blogging!  Excelsior!!
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On This Day In:
2021 Happy New Year — 2021!
Facing The New Year
2020 Happy New Year — 2020!
2019 Happy New Year — 2019!
2018 Happy New Year — 2018!
2017 Happy New Year — 2017!
2016 Happy New Year — 2016!
Remembering My Brother
2015 Happy New Year — 2015!
2014 Happy New Year – 2014!
2013 Another New Year’s Thought (In Case It Rains)
Happy New Year – 2013!
2012 Best Wishes For 2012!
Where Did You Spend New Year’s Eve?
2011 Happy New Year (2011)!!

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If you’re reading this, it means you’ve survived 2021 and last night’s New Year’s Eve party…  Congratulations!
A new year full of opportunities awaits us.  Let’s all make healthy choices as we try to survive politics, climate change(s) and a dicey economy.
Happy 2022, everyone!!    —   KMAB
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On This Day In:
2021 Happy New Year — 2021!
Facing The New Year
2020 Happy New Year — 2020!
2019 Happy New Year — 2019!
2018 Happy New Year — 2018!
2017 Happy New Year — 2017!
2016 Happy New Year — 2016!
Remembering My Brother
2015 Happy New Year — 2015!
2014 Happy New Year – 2014!
2013 Another New Year’s Thought (In Case It Rains)
Happy New Year – 2013!
2012 Best Wishes For 2012!
Where Did You Spend New Year’s Eve?
2011 Happy New Year (2011)!!

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Simplicity is the final achievement.  After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.
    —     Frederic Chopin
[After barely 200 hours of practice, I can not claim to say I’ve played “a vast quantity of notes”.  But, in seeking my own “voice”, I believe I am already seeking simplicity.  I can (already) see why some become obsessed with playing an instrument and making the music in their head come out.  It is very much like the first time you get a computer program to run successfully and then successively pare the program until it feels elegant (to you).    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2020 51 Days Until The Moron (#45) Is Out Of Office
Tearing The Roof Off It
2019 #Impeach45: Once A Buffoon, Now A Bad Joke
2018 Good Sense
2017 E Pluribus Unum
2016 Lacking
2015 Chip, Chip, Chip
2014 nom de plume
2013 The Real Reason
From The Book
2012 When Young
2011 14 Ways To A Better Judgement

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Ho Jayegi Balle Balle

Comment(s):
A few days ago, I posted about watching music videos on the “V” Channel.  I could not remember the name of the artist I saw and enjoyed the most.  Well, persistence pays off!  I found him…  His name is: Daler Mehndi and one of the songs I used to see every day was this one (“Ho Jayegi Balle Balle”).  There were a couple of other artists and videos I really liked, but I haven’t been able to pick them out of the line-ups yet.  When I first got to Saudi, my family didn’t come out for almost eight months, so I watched a LOT of cable:  sports (cricket, tennis, rugby, track), movies, and music videos.  As I recall, you could see Mehndi on “V” a couple of times a day and this video AT LEAST every day – if not twice.
I don’t speak any Indian dialect, but a quick Google search says this is Punjab.  Like the K-Pop video I posted about a few years ago, you don’t need to speak the language if the music / video “speak” to you.  As a quick aside, I’ve also read this song is actually a series of songs based on a mega-hit by this title.  I’m pretty sure this is the one I remember, but I could be wrong if the video sequels (beat and videos) are all about the same.  LoL.
I think the “V” experience also primed me for my Netflix “Bollywood” binge viewing a couple of years ago.  But, that’s another story…
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On This Day In:
2020 Sometimes Just Being There Is Enough
And I Owe It All To You
2019 Or Live For It
2018 Happy Thanksgiving (2018)
2017 Grateful Humility
2016 Obstacles
Election + 2 Weeks
2015 Done What You Could
2014 Impossible To Other Men
2013 Just In Case
2012 Isn’t This Just Pleasant?
2011 No Void In Sight

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Iron Man

Favorite Line(s):
Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all
Or, if he moves, will he fall?
Comment(s):
I remember first seeing the movie (back in 2008), hearing this song and thinking:  “Great music, but I don’t remember a single word from the lyrics.”  Truth is, twelve-ish years later…  I still don’t.  Can you have “favorite lines” if you have to look up the lyrics?  Probably not.  But the music / song still rocks!
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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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Today my wife and I both got our COVID booster shots!!  We got same day scheduling at the pharmacy in our local supermarket.
Six(6) months and two days after receiving our second original vaccination.
No ill effects to speak of other than a slight soreness at the shot location which passed after a couple of hours.  (That was me.  Hil had NO effects.)
If everything works out, we should be good to go until next year when they’ll probably have an annual regime in place.  Time will tell…
If you have not received your vaccinations yet…  Get on it!  Protect your health and let’s get living our lives back to normal.  If you have received your initial vaccinations, but not your booster shot – get it scheduled as soon as you are eligible.  Life (and health) is too precious to risk losing it over politics.
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On This Day In:
2021 Four Down, Three To Go
It Still Ain’t
Boosted
2020 Three Down, Four To Go
Twenty-Four ‘Til You
2019 Two Down, Five To Go
2018 Year One, Done!
2017 First Day Of Retirement!
2016 Revere And Criticize
2015 Global Climate Change May Test This Statement
2014 Adaptability Won
2013 Disappeared
2012 Fuller
Life On The Range
More Classics
2011 Stoned Again?
2010 Insubordination… And That’s Why I Love Her!
Losing – Week One

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