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In my “new” Official campaign t-Shirt…
Image of me in my "new" Official t-Shirt
Just received my “Official” t-Shirt
First t-Shirt (a couple of weeks ago)
Image of me in my Mayor Pete for President t-shirt
Boot
Edge
Edge
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On This Day In:
2018 To Reach The Next Threshold
2017 Streaking Tales
2016 Singular Reality
2015 He Says It’s Hard To Get There From Here
2014 Question From A Founding Father
2013 Make Heroes
2012 See And Hold
2011 Am Not, Are So
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As mentioned previously in other posts, my son and I have been growing our beards out for a year to see what a year’s straight growth would look like…  Today marks one year and one day.  My wife does NOT like my “full” beard and has requested I shave it before she returns from Liverpool (on Sunday).  Since a happy wife == a happy life…
Before:

Image of me with beard.  19 April 2019

Winter is coming… (with chin coat)

After:

Image of me without the beard. 19 April 2019

Sans Winter Coat

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On This Day In:
2018 Heavy On The Starch
2017 But The Beginning Of What?
2016 Today’s Rule
2015 Remembering Oklahoma City
2014 Who Was That Masked Man?
2013 Enemy Mine
2012 Strengthen Me
2011 Service, Please
2010 The Church In Crisis…

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Last year,  my son (“Jim” / James) and I were binge-ing on the “Vikings” series on the History Channel.  On 18 April 2018, we agreed to grow our beards out for one full year to see what they would look like and if they would be long enough to “viking braid”.  (Yeah, I know, very mature…)  My son is working on the 18th, so he came by today for a selfie.  (See below…)

Image of my son and me showing off our beards.

Jim and me rockin’ the chin locs.

We’ve concluded our beards are not really long enough to properly braid.  Jim says his wife can braid his, but they are very short braids.  I think I would need at least another year to have a decent shot with mine.  My Hil hates my full-out beard, so I doubt it will survive her return (this Sunday) from her family visit to Liverpool.  I don’t know if I’m going to miss it (the beard) or not.  It’s relaxing to stroke, but annoying when it catches in your zippers (coats and sweaters).  Ah, well, life is full of trade-offs…
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On This Day In:
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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My wife’s favorite flower is the daffodil.  Before I met her, I never thought much about flowers.  I knew what a rose was (is) and I knew they came in different colors.  I didn’t know the variations had different names or much of anything else.  I used to buy my wife roses several times a year.  Not for any particular reason.  Just to make her smile.  This stopped after a few years because she said she didn’t really like flowers – except daffodils.  When we moved back to Liverpool in the early 1990’s, I found out why.  They (Liverpool city) have fields and fields of daffodils and they all bloom at roughly the same time each year – in February / March.  Here are some of the photos from my Hil’s trip home last year (2018).

Photo of 2018 Liverpool Daffodils

2018 Liverpool Daffodils (1)

Photo of 2018 Liverpool Daffodils

2018 Liverpool Daffodils (2)

Photo of 2018 Liverpool Daffodils

2018 Liverpool Daffodils (3)

Photo of Hil w/ Daffodils

2018 Hil w/ Daffodils

Photo of 2018 Liverpool Daffodils

2018 Liverpool Daffodils

Photo of 2018 Hil's sister Lynn w/ Daffodils

2018 Hil’s sister Lynn w/ Daffodils

Several years ago, Hil began planting bulbs in front of our house.  They never seemed to take.  They would pop up (bud), but never bloom.  Then about 2016, the “miracle of Spring” began.  (Unfortunately, we had to remove the tree shown in the first picture.)  For whatever reason, we seem to get a few more each year…

Photo of 2016 Feb Daffodils

2016 Feb Daffodils

Photo of 2018 Feb Daffodils

2018 Feb Daffodils

Photo of 2019 Feb Daffodils

2019 Feb Daffodils (Thur)

Photo of 2019 Feb Daffodils

2019 Feb Daffodils (Sat)

On Monday of this week, they were just buds.  On Thursday, the first five blossomed.  The final photo is from this morning…
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On This Day In:
2018 But Take Heart
Poetic Marker
2017 The Few, The Many, The Most
2016 To My Brother
2015 For Junior
A Roman Rome
2014 Hmmm
2013 What’s A Motto With You?
2012 Worthy Companions
2011 Bourne Again
Which Ten Are You In?

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Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned today (20 December 2018) – effective 28 February 2019, to allow time for a replacement confirmation.   Secretary Mattis (Retired Marine Corps General) resigned due to differences with the policies of President Trump.  Below is Secretary Mattis’ resignation letter (and transcript below that).
Page 1 of Sec. Mattis Resignation Letter
Page 2 of Sec. Mattis Resignation Letter
Dear Mr. President:
I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.
I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance.  Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.
One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.  While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.  Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world.  Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances.  NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America.  The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.
Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours.  It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies.  That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.  We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.
Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.  The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February.  Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.
I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.
I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.
[Whenever a high-ranking military officer disagrees so fundamentally with the policy, course of action or directions being given by the President (Commander-In_Chief), it is their duty to resign from their position and bring their objections to the American public.  This is an “honorable” resignation.
In our nation’s history, there have been senior officers objecting to their political commander who have acted contrary to lawful policy and direction (both Democratic and Republican) and who have stayed in post and attempted to ameliorate policy / directions they objected to.  Only historians can judge whether these officers acted with honor (or not).
President Assad rules Syria and wishes us to leave so he can continue to crush his opposition and remain in power indefinitely.  Putin wants us to leave Syria to increase Russian influence in the area and to gain access to “warm-water” ports in Syria.  Iran wants us to leave Syria in order to establish an arc of influence through Iraq to Syria (and the Mediterranean).  Turkey wants us to leave in order to crush the Syrian Kurds (and along with them, the Turkish Kurds).  The Turkish Kurds assisted us in Iraq and are now doing the same in Syria.  They want us to stay.  The Syrian Kurds want our help and want us to stay.  Israel and Saudi Arabia foolishly support President Trump because they feel he will support them.  Between Israel and Russia, Trump will support Russia.  Saudi Arabia is the enemy of Iran because Iran is not Arab and because Iran believes in the Shiite version of Islam while the Saudi’s believe in the Sunni version.  Trump supports Saudi Arabia over Iran (in theory), but he doesn’t seem to realize the long term effect of increasing Iranian influence in Syria will be to the detriment of both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
As for ISIS / ISIL, they are one of the factions seeking to over-throw Assad.  They are Muslim and Assad is Ba’ath.  Assad seeks to destroy ISIL because that’s what he does to all of his enemies.
If the U.S. abandons Syria and the Kurds, we will pay for this policy failure for decades and generations ALL around the world – not just in the Middle East.
I happen to agree with President Trump, that we should get our troops out of Afghanistan and reduce our military footprint in the Middle East – not just Syria.  In Afghanistan, as soon as possible.  In Syria, only after we have secured land for the Syrian Kurds and, after that, for as long as the Kurds need our protection from Russia, Turkey and Iran – and, of course, from Assad.  Unfortunately, this may mean decades…
Israel and Saudi Arabia will pay for supporting President Trump.  Sooner or later he will turn on them, too.   After all, Trump is a snake, they know he is a snake, and to quote candidate Trump’s campaign speech:  “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”
Just sayin’…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Beneath The Tree Of Wisdom
The Republican Rape Of The American Middle Class
2016 Something Authentic Happened
2015 Back On The Bricks
On, Rocinante!!
2014 Changing Frequently
2013 Trifles
2012 Simple, Ordinary And Wonderous
2011 Humane Writers

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Image for 2018 Veterans Day Poster

2018 Veterans Day Poster

[To all who are serving, to all who have served, and to all those who have waited patiently for their return, “Thank You!!”  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2017 Veterans Day – 11 November 2017
2016 Veterans Day – 11 November 2016
2015 Veterans Day – 11 November 2015
2014 Veterans Day – 11 November 2014
2013 Veterans Day – 11 November 2013
2012 Monkey Business
Veterans Day – 11 November 2012
In Others
2011 Veterans Day – 11/11/11
Deeply Confused (Still)
2010 We are not from fearful men and I Am Not Afraid!!
Veterans Day – 11 November 2010
2009 Narrowly missed first weight goal, but still happy…

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Yours truly standing in front of the newly delivered yard sign for our daughter’s campaign for membership on the Community College Board.
Image of me standing in front of Bec's campaign sign
Note:  This is my “uniform”  (T-Shirt and cap) as I walk around our neighborhood dropping off fliers for her campaign.
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On This Day In:
2017 Improvise
2016 Got Leisure?
2015 It’s Been Hurtin’ For Quite A While Now
2014 Curious Talent
2013 Eureka
2012 Slow Me
2011 He Said What?!?
2010 Gritty
3 and 3
Just A Hunch
Wall Street – Movie Review
2nd Pair – Shoe Review (Aborted and Final)

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