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Having completed my 10th year of blogging and a little more than a quarter of the way through my 11th, I thought I’d check to see my world coverage.  The U.S. recognizes about 195 countries / territories.  I believe the U.N. is upwards of about 210.
Aside from the normal (“expected”) ones missing (Cuba and North Korea), I’m still missing almost 15% of the world’s countries from at least one visit / view.  As near as I can tell, here is my list of countries which I have not had a view from (in alphabetical order):
1) Benin
2) Burkina Fasq
3) Central African Republic
4) Chad
5) Côte d’Ivoire
6) Cuba
7) Djibouti
8) Equatorial Guinea
9) Eritrea
10) Gabon
11) Guinea
12) Guinea-Bissau
13) Haiti
14) Liberia
15) Mali
16) Mauritania
17) Niger
18) North Korea
19) North Macedonia
20) Sierra Leone
21) Sao Tome and Principe
22) South Sudan
23) Suriname
24) Togo
25) Turkmenistan
26) Uzbekistan
27) Vatican City
28) Western Sahara
29) Yemen
I know it is pure vanity to imagine it — given my relatively small number of followers (1,400-ish), but I like to imagine if I cannot personally visit every country in the world in my lifetime, at least my blog has been viewed by at least one person in each country.
Like I said —  pure vanity  —  but at the end of each year I seem to inch a little closer to my goal.  Someone should tell them:  “Assimilation is inevitable.  Resistance is futile…”  (LoL!)
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On This Day In:
2018 Best Wishes For 2019!
2017 Best Wishes For 2018!
2016 Best Wishes For 2017!
2015 Better Red Than Dead
Tomorrow Starts A New Year
2014 Recovering
Best Wishes For 2015!
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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This post marks the first day of my second decade of blogging here on WordPress.  Below is an image of the various countries which have someone who has visited my site…  I’m guessing Cuba and North Korea will be the last two to eventually visit (but you never know).  Someone should advise them:  “Resistance Is Futile…

Image of a world map with visiting countries colored.

My first decade of viewers…

The Past:
I started this blog to experiment with writing and for an opportunity to stand on my soapbox and shout at the universe.  It turned out I am not that creative a writer and not angry enough to maintain a full throated shout / tirade.  Also, time became a factor.
Not knowing what I was doing, I was spending a whole day composing one long (or several short) posts about whatever bone I had to pick that day.  My daughter suggested I try scheduling so I would stop bombarding her with posts two or three times per month.  (She was my first follower, and, my only one for most of the first year.)
Sometime around year three, I reached my tenth follower.  By then, I had switched (added to) my blog by posting quotes from my early adulthood journal.  After another period, I added book and movie reviews.
I had already begun adding poems, speeches and the lyrics to favorite songs.  …Again, the same as my hand-written journal.
By then, I was following about 30-50 other sites, but I am not (and have rarely been) much of a joiner, and my own interests tend to be broad rather than deep, which I guess limits my appeal to others as much as it does others appeal to me.
The Present:
My blog has become a regular part of my daily life now that I’m retired.  (Yes, that does sound sad, doesn’t it?)  I still do book and movie reviews, but I’ve found keeping up with the several hundred bloggers I follow to be quite time consuming.  I probably spend about 60-90 minutes a day reading posts – which my wife considers a complete waste of time.  My better half thinks my time would be much better spent on her “Honey-Do” list or actually reading “real” books.  (Did I mention I have two walls lined with unread books I’ve acquired over the years?)
Although my site says I have over a thousand followers, I believe it’s closer to 15-20 on a good day.  I would say I consistently have 3-5 likes most days and these are my steady followers / visitors.  (You know who you are!)  To all of you, I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks for your valuable time.  I honestly hope I bring you a smile (or a groan) every once in a while.  At the very least, I hope you occasionally wonder: “What’s that guy Kevin thinking about today?”
As mentioned above, I follow several hundred bloggers (almost 300).  That’s not a daunting as it may sound as a few are dead (at least three), many more have stopped blogging, and most rarely post anymore.  I get about 100 emails a day, but a few you (them) are newbies who post 5-15 times a day (you know who you are, too).  And, yes, I remember the excitement of posting multiple times a day and getting a handful of “likes” every month or so.  I don’t mind, because they’ll get tired eventually…
The Future:
Who knows what the future holds…  I sure don’t.  I’ve been posting every day since mid-January 2011.  Will I keep up the streak?  I don’t know.  I’ve come close to missing a day more than once in the last eight years, but now it’s kind of become a “thing”.  I trust this means the universe will offer up an interruption soon…  LoL!!  And that’s okay too.  As long as I’m enjoying it, I’ll just pick back up and start a new streak.  And, when blogging stops being fun…  Well, hopefully, that’ll be quite a while from now.  For now: “Excelsior!
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On This Day In:
2018 Happy 9th Anniversary — Three Thoughts
Day 2 – Notes On Progress
2017 Happy 8th Anniversary
2016 Happy 7th Anniversary
2015 Happy 6th Anniversary
2014 Happy 5th Anniversary
2013 I Resemble That Remark!
2012 Happy 3rd Anniversary
2011 Is America Safe Tonight?
2009 Hello world! (See how it all began…)

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Image of a fallen tree branch

And when the bough breaks…

As I was out walking my dog today, I heard what sounded like someone stomping on a 2-liter plastic bottle and then dragging it underfoot.  I looked up and didn’t see anything.  I thought it might be a bottle being tossed down the street by the winds.  As I got a little farther along, I noticed some folks standing outside their homes looking across the street.  The wind had caused a tree branch to snap and fall across the road.  I went back a little later (after retrieving my phone) and took this picture.  The workmen had already cleared the opposite side of the road.  The branches originally fully crossed the street.
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On This Day In:
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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Is this a metaphor for life?
At the end of March, my daughter gave me a puzzle for my birthday…  (see image below)  She knows:  I like puzzles.  I like trains.
So, after much diligent effort, I got it assembled!  (see image below)  Well, almost…  If you double click on the image to see the large version, you’ll notice one(1) piece is missing.
Now, because I am OCD, you have to understand, to solve a puzzle, I do the following:
1) separate out all the edge pieces;
2) assemble all the edge pieces;
3) if not complete, return to (1);
4) separate out and assemble (in order) all the pieces of the largest or most visually obvious items; trains, tracks, bright leaves, bridge structures, the rest;
5) Hmmm…  separate train pieces – check.  Assemble train pieces – check.  Ooops!  Piece missing.  Back to 4)…
Now, understand.  1,000 pieces total.  Edges and corners: approximately 100 pieces.  Two trains: let’s be generous and say 300 pieces.  That leaves me 600 pieces to search through looking for one specific piece.  Okay…  We do it the old fashioned way: pour them out and go through them one at a time.  Did I mention I’m kind of OCD?  No luck…  Search floor.  Search under couch and other near by furniture.  No joy…  Look at dog with accusatory glare.  She licks her lips nervously and slinks away.  Pour out pieces and try again.  No joy…  Pour out pieces and try again!
So, after three full piece searches (what I call “positive visual confirmation”) over two days (this is in my “spare” time), and did I mention about five(5) hours(!), still no joy.  I come to accept conclusion that either my wife or daughter are playing an evil trick on me (saving the final piece for themselves), or the piece was never in the box.  I ask casually and they both proclaim their innocence.  Ow, well…  Complete the puzzle anyway.  Maybe it will turn up…
Upon completion, my daughter comments that her friends have this happen to them frequently(!).  What????  Yes.  Several times her friends have bought puzzles and then had them miss a piece.
I am stunned, but unappeased.  I jump online and go to the web site (www.sunsout.com) for the manufacturer.  I email them with the information they request and ask for the piece.  I receive a response the next day.  (Great customer service!)  They respond they will send me a new puzzle in 2 to 3 weeks.  They include the message they are not able to send individual pieces and do not guarantee the puzzle will be from the same die-cut.
A little over a week later, I get my replacement puzzle.  (Again, great customer service!)  I tear it open and the pieces are shaped completely differently.  Arggghhh!!  I don’t even have to open the plastic see-through bag to tell the pieces are cut differently.
Now I have to consult with my wife.  Should I complete the replacement puzzle?  I have no guarantee this version won’t have the same issue: missing piece(s).  Should I toss them both?  Should I search out the missing piece and its neighbors and then cut them to fit my puzzle?  Should I use a close up of the box cover to overlay the missing piece by getting a physical picture and backing it with cardboard?  She says email them back and request a different puzzle.  Then, if it’s missing a piece (too), at least you didn’t solve the same puzzle twice.
In the end, I trash the (almost) completed puzzle and put the unopened bag back into its box to re-gift to someone else…
Somewhere, deep inside…  a frustrated little OCD train loving child is crying.
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On This Day In:
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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Today my thoughts and prayers are for those who have lost their family members in Iraq, Afghanistan, around the world and here at home – and to all those (civilian and military) who’ve suffered injury and those still at risk serving their country and our communities.  God Bless You and Keep You.  Your country and fellow veterans honor your sacrifices as you have honored us with your service.
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On This Day In:
2017 Never Forget
2016 It’s All Greek To Me (Well, Latin Actually)
2015 Truism
2014 Thank You
2013 Really
2012 Ordinary Five Minutes Longer
2011 The Wealth Of Sons (And Daughters)

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Cheers to you, my blog readers!  Here are a few suggested resolutions for 2018:
1) Give of yourselves…
2) Love others (and tell them / show them often)…
3) Enjoy long walks (preferably while holding someone’s hand), nutritious food and candle-lit meals, good reading, music which touches your soul, and quiet moments for reflection…
4) Laugh frequently and loudly…  Cry freely and unashamed when you must…
5) Look forward (Hope), while living in the moment (Enjoy), and not forgetting the past (Memories)…
May you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!
Please have a happy (and safe) New Year’s Eve!
[Yes, this is a similar post (okay, the same as) to last year’s New Year’s Eve suggestions.  And, this year, yes, I’m just being lazy!  LOL   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 Best Wishes For 2017!
2015 Better Red Than Dead
Tomorrow Starts A New Year
2014 Recovering
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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Cheers to you, my blog readers!  Here are a few suggested resolutions for 2017:
1)  Give of yourselves…
2)  Love others (and tell them / show them often)…
3)  Enjoy long walks (preferably while holding someone’s hand), nutritious food and candle-lit meals, good reading, music which touches your soul, and quiet moments for reflection…
4)  Laugh frequently and loudly…  Cry freely and unashamed when you must…
5)  Look forward (Hope), while living in the moment (Enjoy), and not forgetting the past (Memories)…
May you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!
Please have a happy (and safe) New Year’s Eve!
[Yes, this is a similar post to many of my earlier New Year’s Eve suggestions.  And, no, I’m not just being lazy!  LOL  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2015 Better Red Than Dead
Tomorrow Starts A New Year
2014 Recovering
Best Wishes For 2015!
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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I want a small truck.  But I’m definitely NOT feelin’ the love…
Every now and then I want to take stuff to the dump or bring home some home & garden stuff (cans of paint, stones for a path, a sheet of plywood), but I’m frustrated because it either doesn’t fit in my car or it would mess the car up (fertilizer in your trunk on a hot day).  Why do I have to buy (or rent) a MONSTER truck just to accomplish this?  If a small (4 cylinder) truck is done right, it can also be light and (relatively) fuel-efficient, so I could even substitute it for my commuter car.  I’d even trade a shorter bed (as long as it’s not too much shorter) for a small, side-ways jump-seat extended cab (but not a full back-seated cab).
It seems to me, the manufacturers are really missing a market.  I’m getting ready to retire in the next couple of years and after that I’ve probably got (maybe) five good years of puttering around the house ahead of me.  You’ve got a window to reach a LOT of baby-boomers just like me.
It’s not like you guys don’t make these trucks.  You do.  You just don’t sell them in America – or at least not here in California.
Missed opportunity.  Lost profit.  Just saying…  Or, maybe it’s just me…
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On This Day In:
2015 And Some Not So Brave Too
2014 In My Lifetime…
2013 Democracy
2012 Borrowed Expectations
2011 Not Necessarily True

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Last night I completed watching the science-fiction, war series: “Space: Above and Beyond“.  The series ran for one year back in the mid-1990’s.  The basic storyline is that some outer-space Earth colonies are attacked by an alien race and so Earth is thrown into an intragalactic war.  There are five young folks who join the U.S. Marines for various reasons and they are the focus of the series.  They become Marine Corps pilots, but throughout the series, they seem to spend as much time fighting on the ground as they actually do in space.  The pilots become the 58th Squadron and are nicknamed: “The Wildcards”.
In addition to the principle story line of the war and the sub-arcs for each of the five pilots, there is a sixth principle character (their squadron commander) and multiple sub-arcs which include racial prejudice and subjugation, corporate malfeasance, and a prior war between humanity and a race of artificial intelligent androids/robots.
When I say I “completed” watching the series, that’s a bit of a mis-statement.  The series is available on Youtube.com, but three of the twenty-four episodes are missing.  The series is actually listed as having twenty-three episodes because the “pilot” is a two-part combined episode.  As it stands, watching the available episodes are more than sufficient to give you the flavor of the series.
I am a bit of a history buff and military history in particular.  I like this and the fictionalization of it in all formats – books, movies, songs, poetry, TV series, whatever…  This series is right in my wheelhouse / comfort zone!
About one quarter of the episodes are based on some historical occurrence, fictionalized and then referenced back to the history.  This is one of the classic ways civilizations use their “current” media to create / promote the heroes / legends of their past.  So as someone with a degree in Political Science, I find it is interesting to see a TV series do this “myth-making” for current generations.  I’m sure somewhere (in Heaven) Joseph Campbell is smiling.
One of the interesting sub-arcs is the proposition that a corporation has placed a colony on two planets they “knew” belonged to the alien species.  The colonies are owned by the corporation, but lightly defended by national troops – in one case, by the U.S. Marines.  When attacked (and slaughtered), the corporation demands the Earth go to war in retaliation for the “unprovoked” attack on their employees / “civilians”.
Another interesting idea from the main arc is the aliens make a point of mutilating our dead.  Earthlings, of course, assume this is an act of barbarism by a dark-hearted enemy.  In fact, we come to discover the aliens have no concept of an afterlife and “discover” this concept only by monitoring our electronic transmissions.  They don’t know how we manage to “rise from the dead”, but they are positive we believe we can.  So their act of mutilating the dead is actually just an attempt to ensure our soldiers don’t rise to fight again.
The series fell victim to time-slot shuffling and poor ratings and was cancelled late in the first season.  However, because the show was allowed to complete the season, the writers were able to come up with a terrific last episode with explanations (leading to more questions) and cliff-hangers galore.
While some of the acting is poor (particularly in the early episodes), the actual battlefield tactics are amateurish (if not suicidal), and the special effects are dated by today’s standards, the series remains very viewable and I highly recommend it.  I’ve read on the internet that the show is frequently re-run on the Sci-Fi channel and I will be keeping my eyes out for it so I can catch the three episodes I’ve missed.
Ooo-rah!  Semper Fi!!
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On This Day In:
2014 Winning?
2013 Still Inventing
2012 Motivated
2011 Waiting In Line At Starbuck’s

 

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Here’s to you, my blog readers,
Give of yourselves…
Love others (and tell them / show them often)…
Enjoy long walks (preferably while holding someone’s hand), nutritious food and candle-light meals, good reading, music which touches your soul, and quiet moments for reflection…
Look forward (Hope), while living in the moment (Enjoy), and not forgetting the past (Memories)…
May you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015!
Please have a happy (and safe) New Year’s Eve!
[Yes, this is almost the exact same post as last New Year’s Eve.  And, no, I’m not just being lazy!   LOL  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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The following is the response by Riasat Ahmed to the question: “What advice would a 70 or 80 year old person give about the way the life should be lived?
1. Have a firm handshake.
2. Look people in the eye.
3. Sing in the shower.
4. Own a great stereo system.
5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
6. Keep secrets.
7. Never give up on anybody.  Miracles happen everyday.
8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
9. Be brave.  Even if you’re not, pretend to be.  No one can tell the difference.
10. Whistle.
11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
12. Choose your life’s mate carefully.  From this one decision will come 90 per cent of all your happiness or misery.
13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
14. Lend only those books you never care to see again.
15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
16. When playing games with children, let them win.
17. Give people a second chance, but not a third.
18. Be romantic.
19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
20. Loosen up.  Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
21. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments.  It’s there for our convenience, not the caller’s.
22. Be a good loser.
23. Be a good winner.
24. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
25. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
26. Be modest.  A lot was accomplished before you were born.
27. Keep it simple.
28. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
29. Don’t burn bridges.  You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
30. Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets
31. Be bold and courageous.  When you look back on life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
32. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
33. Remember no one makes it alone.  Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
34. Take charge of your attitude.  Don’t let someone else choose it for you.
35. Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
36. Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
37. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
38. Send a lot of Valentine cards.  Sign them, ‘Someone who thinks you’re terrific.’
39. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
40. Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table.  Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
41. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
42. Send your loved ones flowers.  Think of a reason later.
43. Make someone’s day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
44. Become someone’s hero.
45. Marry only for love.
46. Count your blessings.
47. Compliment the meal when you’re a guest in someone’s home.
48. Wave at the children on a school bus.
49. Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
50. Don’t expect life to be fair.
[Found at: http://www.quora.com/What-advice-would-a-70-or-80-year-old-person-give-about-the-way-the-life-should-be-lived
Another place I go for an occasional interesting read. — KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 Running To
2012 Suddenly
2011 Liberal Washington
2010 Giants Advance To NLCS!!

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1.  Thou shall not attack the person’s character, but the argument.  (Ad hominem)
2.  Thou shall not misrepresent or exaggerate a person’s argument in order to make them easier to attack.  (Straw man fallacy)
3.  Thou shall not use small numbers to represent the whole.  (Hasty generalization)
4.  Thou shall not argue thy position by assuming one of its premises is true.  (Begging the question)
5.  Thou shall not claim that because something occurred before, it must be the cause.  (Post Hoc/False cause)
6.  Thou shall not reduce the argument down to two possibilities.  (False dichotomy)
7.  Thou shall not argue that because of our ignorance, claim must be true or false.  (Ad ignorantum)
8.  Thou shall not lay the burden of proof onto him that is questioning the claim.  (Burden of proof reversal)
9.  Thou shall not assume “this” follows “that” when it has no logical connection.  (Non sequitur)
10.  Thou shall not claim that because a premise is popular, therefore it must be true.  (Bandwagon fallacy)
[No particular reason for posting these…  They are available from multiple web-sites…  I just find them interesting to review every now and then.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 Sociology Of The Future
2012 1010
There In The Sunshine
2011 Not Enough Time

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All I want to know is why do we consider each other as parts making a whole instead of as a whole influencing the parts.  I’ve always thought that the whole of a person was more than the sum of his or her parts.  To me, man is not reducible into equations; and therefore, any individual’s ability or inability to perform a certain task is irrelevant when evaluating him as an individual.
  —   KMAB
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On This Day In:
2013 Memories & Binging
Admiration Due
2012 Choices Matter
2011 Acceptance Is The Key
2010 Just A Permanent Crease…
Bodily Functions

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This weekend especially, I pray for our brave warriors, who are willing to place themselves in harms way to keep us safe. God Bless You All.
 

 

(Thank you Russ at: http://russtowne.com/2013/05/27/memorial-day-video/ and beebee at: http://beebeesworld.wordpress.com/.)

beebeesworld

Beautiful tribute to our veterans

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There is an old story about a gathering for a funeral.  The mourners have come out of a sense of obligation rather than through any fondness for the departed.  The minister sensing a feeling in the air asks, “Would anyone like to say a few words about our brother Fred?
There is an embarrassed silence as people look at their feet or stare fixedly into the middle distance so as not to catch the minister’s eye.
Feeling awkward about the situation and feeling that someone should say something, the minister asks again, “Would anyone care to say a few words about Fred?
Again, there is silence, no-one prepared to venture even a word.  As the silence drags out the sense of awkwardness continues, people furtively glancing around to see if anyone will speak.  Eventually, a man, a contemporary of Fred, feels compelled to speak up: “His brother was worse”.
[The Latin phrase translates roughly as: “Say nothing but good of the dead.”   In “normal” usage, this would mean the recently deceased.  I don’t know anyone who has recently passed away.  I stumbled across the Latin phrase and researching it’s origin on the internet turned up several pages with similar stories.  The faith of the “minister” and the name of the deceased varied, but the story was the essentially the same…   In any case, the story made me smile.  —  KMAB]
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