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Posts Tagged ‘California’

Sometimes re-posts are entirely appropriate…  This isn’t “exactly” a re-post, but the first three following paragraphs are pretty close…
For the last twenty years, on 11 September my thoughts turn to those heroes who quietly serve to protect us:  those in the military services, those in law enforcement, and those in health and other protective services.
Today (as it was last year), my beloved State of California is under a state of emergency as fires rage up, down and across the the breadth of the State.  I would just like any of my readers to share with me a few moments of thought (prayers if you’re that way inclined) for those firefighters who are risking their lives daily (and have been for several weeks now) continuously fighting fires to save lives, pets and property.
I, for one, can never express my gratitude enough for what you do.  I can only offer you (and your families) my thoughts and prayers.  God keep you all safe!
This year, we are also engaged in a second wave (and second year) of battle against an indiscriminate virus which is ravaging the nation as well as our state.  Last year – at this time, we didn’t have a vaccine to help protect us in this battle.  This year we do have an effective vaccine, but it has not been fully distributed.  Consequently, the virus is now running rampant among those who are unvaccinated – particularly children under 12 years of age (for whom the vaccines have not yet been proven safe).
We do not know how long the vaccines will remain effective.  We do not know how severe “long-term” COVID effects will last or even if the effects ease or get worse for those COVID does not kill immediately.  What we do know is the vaccines are very effective in reducing the number of folks going to the ER with serious (life-threatening) illness.  We know masking, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently also reduces the rate of spread of the virus.
Unless you have an underlying medical condition which prevents you from getting vaccinated, the best thing you can do to help our doctors, nurses, EMTs and other health professionals is to get your shot(s).  The life you save may be your child’s…
And finally, my thoughts (and prayers) go out to the people of one third of the country damaged by the winds and rain of the recent hurricane (Ida).  With countless individual acts of courage, strength and charity, I believe you will come through these difficult days and be the stronger for it.
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On This Day In:
2020 Current Heroes
I’m Mid-West Born, But California Raised
Appropriated To Her Being
2019 All In Good Time
Day 13: Pause & Resume
Ghrelin And Leptin
2018 Gratitude And Warmth
Remembering Loss, Sacrifice And Service
Making Little Ones Out Of Bigger Ones
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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So, this was our house last year after the new paint job…
And here it is after updating our front garden to help conserve water…
As you can see, we’ve removed the front grass and replaced it with (mostly) white stone.  We’ve circled the two trees with larger riverbed stones and red pumice (like) stones.  We’ve high-lighted the roses on either side of the brick path and added river stone edging on the sides.  We added a “fake” stream bed curving from near the top of the path, around our big tree, down to the sidewalk.  And, finally, we sprinkled various plants in the white stone areas.  We hope they will fill out and add a bit of color to the otherwise plain white space.
Many (not quite most) of the houses in our neighborhood have already done the same to their front gardens.  I don’t know how much money we’ll save, but every drop of water counts in this age of climate change.  Over 25 of the last 30 years have been drought years here in California, so our action is long past due.  Hopefully, better late than never…
And, of course, the best news is:  NO more mowing the lawn, while reducing the expense of our water bill.
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On This Day In:
2020 Was #IncompenentDonald Born To Be A Diplomat?
2019 Have You Planted Lately?
2018 Something / Nothing
2017 Kindness
2016 Dealing With It
2015 Too Many Choices!
2014 Vini, Vidi, Vici
2013 Heroes
Education, n.
2012 Who I Want To Be
2011 Mythic Forgetfulness

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There are many hypotheses in science that are wrong.  That’s perfectly alright;  it’s the aperture to finding out what’s right.  Science is a self-correcting process.  To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny.  The worst aspect of the Velikovsky affair is not that many of his ideas were wrong or silly or in gross contradiction to the facts;  rather, the worst aspect is that some scientists attempted to suppress Velikovsky’s ideas.  The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge and there is no place for it in the endeavor of science.  We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system, and the history of our study of the solar system shows clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources.
    —    Carl Sagan
[Accidents happen…  As the saying goes:  “Even the blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.”  And, so it appears President Trump has (purely by stupid chance) stated a truth…
A few days ago, while visiting California to view the destruction being caused by wildfires, the President was advised one of the reasons for the massive fires is “Climate Change”.  Trump replied:  “It’ll start getting cooler.  You just watch.
I wish science agreed with you,” Crowfoot (Wade Crowfoot is California’s secretary for natural resources) countered.
Well, I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump said.
As bizarre as it sounds, President Trump is correct (for all the wrong reasons).  To start off, in less than a week Autumn starts.  Followed by Winter!  So, yes, the daily temperature will start getting cooler.  The second part is the “squirrel finding the nut“.  No, “science” doesn’t KNOW if the climate will stay hot or get hotter.  Just as science doesn’t KNOW the sun will rise in the East tomorrow.  Science does, however, have a pretty good certainty that IF the sun does rise tomorrow, it will be in the East.  President Trump’s BASELESS claims “Climate Change” is a “hoax” and / or invented by the Chinese to cripple our economy are both as unscientific as they are silly, but that doesn’t make his “uncomfortable idea” wrong (from a scientific perspective).  His claim also erroneously conflates two issues:  1) is climate change real; and, 2) if it is real, what is causing it?
And, this is the problem (for science and all rational humanity):  we have overwhelming data supporting the theory of climate change;  we don’t have overwhelming evidence of causation – just a LOT of data of correlation.  Our little blind squirrel is denying both the substantial data of change AND the substantial data of correlation.
True science requires that we admit the possibility “Climate Change” is not happening – despite the multiple decades of data which support the scientific conclusion “Climate Change” 1) is real, 2) has already happened, and 3) is getting worse.  More precisely, we must admit the possibility that our current understanding of why “Climate Change” appears to be happening is not valid, i.e., it’s not being caused by human production of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The policy question is:  What if our little squirrel is correct?   Well, if he is correct and there is no climate change, then “eventually” the consistent rise in temperature which the planet has been experiencing with revert back to the norm.  If humanity is lucky, this will happen soon (and quickly) and life will go on pretty much as it has for the last 10,000 years (or at least since the last major ice age).  Policy decision:  do nothing and hope for the best.
Alternatively, if he is correct the climate change (which has been accelerating for the last 50 years) is not caused by humans, what IS the cause and how do we slow, stop or reverse it?  If we don’t discover the “real” cause, humanity (and most of life as we know it) on Earth will become extinct.  Unfortunately, because the data has been so one sided (climate change is real and is happening NOW), we don’t have any good / reasonable alternative theories to human caused CO2 emissions.  Policy decision:  we need to pore tons of money into research to come up with an alternative root cause which we can then pore TONS more money into correcting / fixing.   (All the while hoping and praying we’re not too late to fix the problem.)
And if our little squirrel is wrong about Climate Change and its cause?  Well, despite what we’ve seen over the last 20 years (droughts and wildfires / hurricanes and typhoons), you ain’t seen nothing yet!  Forty(40%) percent of humanity lives within 60 miles of an ocean.  What happens when the ocean levels rise and large swathes of that coastal area becomes uninhabitable due to flooding, storm surges and salination of coastal water supplies?  What happens to sea life when the salination in the oceans changes due to the increased ice melts dumping fresh water into their environment?  What happens to the rest of the life on Earth when there is a vast die-off of life in the world’s oceans?  Policy decision:  we better get busy because our window of opportunity to save the habitable planet we’ve known for the last 10,000 years is closing fast!!!
Our little squirrel is in his 70’s and probably won’t live to experience the full results of his blindness.  Somehow, I don’t find that comforting.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Future Tools
Three Swedish Girls
2018 Four Loves
Favorite Westerns
2017 Faith In Science
2016 What The World Calls
2015 Say What?
2014 Start Today
2013 Fly!!
2012 Greater Love
2011 Before

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Way back in November 2018, #PresidentIdiot said the problem of California forest fires was caused by poor forest management and not by “Climate Change.”  He suggested raking 13 million acres of Federal land to prevent future fires.  Today (14 September 2020), #IncompetentTrump restated this opinion (if not his solution).
Let’s look at some of the “facts” about “forests” in Washington, Oregon and California (WA numbers are rounded, so they don’t add up to 100%):
Washington State is 53% forested.  Of that:
44% is Federal owned
36% is privately owned
14% is State and county owned
8% is Tribal
Oregon 49% forested.  Of that:
60% is Federal (Forest Service or Park Service)
3% is State and Local gov
35% is Private
2% is Tribal
California 33% forested.  Of that:
57% is Federal owned
40% is privately owned
3% is State owned
The President of the United States (that would be #IncompetentDonald), said TWO years ago, the problem of wildfires was caused by mismanagement.  Two years later, he’s still saying the same thing.  In two of the three states, the Federal government owns and is responsible for the majority of the “forested” land.  In the third state (Washington), the Federal government owns the largest percentage of forested land, but not the majority.
This means he admits for the last two years his administration has been knowingly mismanaging the forested land in these three states.  Since that date was almost two years into his presidency, that means he has been mismanaging the forests for almost four years.
Today, it appears the President has inadvertently told the truth:  he has mismanaged the National Forests for the whole of his Administration.
Now, this doesn’t mean I agree his mismanagement is the cause of the fires.  Only, that I agree he has mismanaged the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (basically, the Department of the Interior).
Here’s three more bits of information I picked up while browsing around looking for information about “forest fires” vs “wildfires”.  They don’t have anything to do with President Trump:
“Forestland” is land that is capable of having at least 10% cover of trees.
  —   Oregonloggers.org
“Forestland” means any woodland, brushland, timberland, grazing land or clearing that, during any time of the year, contains enough forest growth, slashing or vegetation to constitute, in the judgment of the forester, a fire hazard, regardless of how the land is zoned or taxed. As used in this subsection, “clearing” means any grassland, improved area, lake, meadow, mechanically or manually cleared area, road, rocky area, stream or other similar forestland opening that is surrounded by or contiguous to forestland and that has been included in areas classified as forestland under ORS 526.305
  —   Oregon State law
Timberland is “forest land” that is producing, or is capable of producing, more than 20 cubic feet per acre per year of industrial wood crops under natural conditions, that is not withdrawn from timber utilization, and that is not associated with urban or rural development.
Forest land is land at least 10% stocked by forest trees of any size, or formerly having had such tree cover, and not currently developed for nonforest use. The minimum area for classification of forest land is one acre.
Reserved forest land is withdrawn from timber utilization through statute, administrative regulation, or designation.
  —   Illinois Dept of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
[Of course the title to this post is a bit “tongue-in-cheek”…  The #LiarInChief would NEVER accept responsibility for anything the least bit negative.  He only takes credit when something “good” happens – irrespective of whether or not he had anything to do with it.   But hey, that’s OUR President for you!    —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 A Lifestyle
Day 16: Cheat Day
2018 The Children Are Our Future
2017 And Three
2016 Nine Parts Mystery
2015 Little Or No Common Ground
2014 Just Between Me
2013 Beyond The Strings
2012 Saving The Union
2011 Still And Too Often

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On 11 September of each year my thoughts turn to those heroes who quietly serve to protect us:  those in the military services, those in law enforcement, and those in health and other protective services.
Today, my beloved State of California is under a state of emergency as fires rage up, down and across the the breadth of the State.  I would just like any of my readers to share with me a few moments of thought (prayers if you’re that way inclined) for those firefighters who are risking their lives daily (and have been for several weeks now) continuously fighting fires to save lives, pets and property.
I, for one, can never express my gratitude enough for what you do.  I can only offer you (and your families) my thoughts and prayers.  God keep you all safe!
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On This Day In:
2019 All In Good Time
Day 13: Pause & Resume
Ghrelin And Leptin
2018 Gratitude And Warmth
Remembering Loss, Sacrifice And Service
Making Little Ones Out Of Bigger Ones
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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Global climate change is one of the causes for the current drought in California and across much of the mid-west and southwestern United States.  Despite what #IncompetentDonald says, that’s just the unfortunate truth.  The thing about science AND reality is they don’t care whether you believe in them or not OR what political party you support.
On visiting the California Camp (Butte County) fire area and viewing the town of Paradise which was destroyed by the recent fire, #PresidentIdiot said we can deal with forest fires the way they do in Finland by raking the underbrush.  If only we had better land management.  Setting aside the fact this is a lie – the Finn’s don’t manage their forests by raking brush and that their President never told Trump they did, as #PresidentTrumpIsALiar claims, let’s take a look at what this “proposal” might cost (this is just a scribbling on the napkin guesstimate):
First I Google’d how many acres of forest land there are in California (Federal land only):   19,000,000 acres
Next I Google’d how long it takes to clear 1 acre of land of leaves – (in a level garden, using a blower and machine lawn-mowers / cutters):  3 men x 3 hours = 9 man-hours per acre.  This includes bagging and taking the leaves to the dump.  This was a private sector estimate at $40 per hour per person and with supervisory overhead (profit margin), a minimum of $500 bid for the job.  Please, note the bids I found are for back yards and gardens.  The quotes are not for brush, hills, mountains and dense forests which may either have no roads or be too steep / rugged to have road access.  In other words, you’ll have to hike there just to use that rake of yours.
That’s a rough $9.5 BILLION dollars ($500 x 19,000,000 acres)!!!  But, of course, we all KNOW that the private sector is MUCH more efficient than the government, so we can assume this is an accurate estimate and a lower cost than if the job were done by Federal workers.
So, how many workers is that?
19,000,000 acres * 9 man-hours per acre = 171,000,000 man-hours
171,000,000 man-hours / 2,000 man-hours per year of work = 85,500 man-years of raking.  (The good news is you don’t need a high school diploma to use a rake.)  Talk about full employment and a Civilian Conservation Corps!!!!
The most level management organization in the world is (wait for it…) the Catholic Church which has ONLY four levels between the parish priest and the Pope (Monsignor (parish), Bishop (diocese), Cardinal (region), Pope (Church) ).  If we adopt the standard rule of seven for supervisor efficiency (except at the bottom of the table) we are left with also hiring 1 supervisor per 36 rakers (2,375 supervisors), 1 manager per 7 supervisors (340 mngrs),  1 senior manager per 7 managers (49 senior mngrs), 1 executive per 7 senior mngrs (7 execs), and 1 “Head of Raking for California”.   Yes, I know that’s 5 levels not 4 (like the Church), but the numbers are the numbers and we don’t have God to routinely make miracles for us.
So, that’s an extra 2,772 folks who will be on staff but not raking.  Now, obviously, these folks are going to make a lot more than the $40 the private sector was going to charge for a “raker”, but let’s assume it’s ONLY $50 / hour.  The cost of this management will be:  $277,200,000.
So, President Trump’s “idea / proposal” to rake the underbrush to prevent future fires will need to hire / use about 88 THOUSAND people and cost  somewhere around $9.8 BILLION per year.  And that’s ONLY for Federal land in California.  And, let’s not get into who’s going to drive the trucks moving the undergrowth to the dump and / or where we’re going to find landfills large enough to hold all of the compost.  Oh, don’t forget the cost of the rakes and the plastic bags to hold the undergrowth during transport.  It boggles the mind…
This is the kind of ridiculous suggestion you get from a man who is so stupid he believes he is smarter than “his” generals (we are still in the Middle East and Afghanistan), “his” economists (we still have no tax relief for the middle class), “his” political advisors (Republicans just lost the House in the mid-terms), and “his” intelligence services (Russian had nothing to do with #DumbDonald getting elected), let alone “who knew healthcare was so complicated” (we still have no Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act).  Basically, this is what happens when you elect an incompetent con-man / grifter to be President.
And, no, I don’t seriously believe any company in the private sector is going to pay someone $40 / hour to rake / blow leaves.  I do believe that is what they will charge you, though.  Okay, enough scribbling…
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On This Day In:
2017 Federal Deficit, National Debt And Tax Cuts For The 1%
2016 Picky, Picky, Picky
2015 Another Limitation On Religion
2014 Enduring
2013 Tell Me More…
2012 Passing…
2011 Fake It ‘Til You Make It

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The Grapes Of Wrath (1940) — movie review
Today’s review is for the John Ford directed movie: “The Grapes Of Wrath” starring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, Jane Darwell as Ma Joad and John Carradine as Jim Casy.  The movie is based on the novel written by John Steinbeck which was published the year before the movie (1939).  The subject of the movie is the move by the Joad family from Oklahoma to California – what causes the move and what happens during the move.  This is the first time I’ve seen this movie and I never had to read the book while in high school and haven’t read it since.  Yes, I know it’s a “classic”.  Mea culpa, mea culpa.
It seems I’ve been watching a number of Henry Fonda movies lately, so I thought I’d do this review next (after “Once Upon A Time In The West“).  In OUATITW, Fonda plays a cold blooded killer named (only) Frank.  I was surprised to find he is also a killer in this movie.  At the start of the movie, Tom is released from prison (convicted of murder which he claims was in self-defense) and he makes his way to his family’s farm in Oklahoma.  He finds the farm abandoned, but is able to meet up with them at his uncle’s farm nearby.  Unfortunately, his uncle’s farm has also been repossessed, and the family is being forced off of it.
Repossessed is probably not an accurate description, because they don’t actually own the farm.  They are sharecroppers.  As long as the land was productive, they could scrape by enough to feed themselves and pay their rent.  But, when the world was hit by the Great Depression and most of the mid-west was hit by the “dust bowl” of the mid-1930’s, the land was unable to support the families let alone pay for the rents.  Many families were forced to move or starve.
Like many families, the Joad’s decide to move to California on the “promise” of well paying jobs.  The majority of the rest of the movie is about the difficulties of the trip and the eventual realization that “the promise” was merely a means for the owners of the land in Oklahoma to get the sharecroppers to voluntarily move off the land without the owners having to use force.  And, during the course of the movie, Fonda’s character kills again.  This time Tom kills a “deputy” who has just killed Fonda’s friend (Carradine / Casy) for no reason except that he (the deputy) can get away with it.
This movie is a powerful indictment of capitalism, fascism and authoritarianism in the United States during the 1930’s.  It has strong political (anti-communist) undertones which touch on both the “red scare” and anti-unionism as the wealthy, in California, try to take advantage of their fellow Americans who have been driven into poverty and into migrant worker status by weather and economic forces beyond their control.  The movie also uses two specific scenes to demonstrate that average Americans have charity in their hearts – in sharp contrast with those with economic power / wealth.
The movie is generally considered to be one of the greatest American movies of all time – and I agree it one of the most powerfully disturbing movies I’ve ever viewed.  According to Wikipedia: “this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” “
The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards (1941) and won two:  Darwell for Best Actress and Ford for Best Director.  Fonda was nominated for Best Actor, but did not win.  He lost to James Stewart in “The Philadelphia Story“.
Final recommendation: very highly recommended!  Disturbing, yes!  Powerful, yes!  If there is ANY downside to the movie, I’d say the weak attempt at an optimistic ending detracted from the overall power of the movie.  Fonda’s “Joad as everyman” in the prior scene was barely believable.  Ma’s “we’re gonna get by cause that’s what we’ve always done” – far less so.  In any case, this is a great / classic movie and well worth viewing in our day due to its message about our own economic / political time.
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On This Day In:
2017 Proof Sits In The Oval Office
2016 Tragic Determinism
2015 Maybe It Should Be Clearer
2014 Make It Your Strength
2013 Four Score
2012 The Ruler
2011 Forever
2010 Just Cuz
How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
It’s Alive!! (3rd Pair Shoe Review)

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Key Dates In California

Deadline for registering to vote for the General Election22 October 2018
Deadline to apply for vote-by-mail:  30 October 2018
Date of General Election: 06 November 2018
Regardless of which side you fall on in the coming election, ask yourself:  “What am I doing to make a difference for the country I love?”  Every vote(r) counts…  Be heard!  Register and VOTE!
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On This Day In:
2017 Both Odd And Exceptional
2016 Private Entrance
Camping Out In Camden
2015 Quality Government
A Handful Of Flics
2014 Just Another Brick From The Wall
2013 Artistic Demands
2012 Foundations
2011 Are We Devouring Yet?

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Chasing Perfection: The Principles Behind Winning Football the De La Salle Way”  (2015©)  —  book review
Today’s book review is for “Chasing Perfection” written by Bob Ladouceur with Neil Hayes.  The book is about coaching American Football at the high school level.  Ladouceur was the head coach of the varsity football team at De La Salle High School here in Concord, California.  His teams are the owners of the all-time longest winning streak in high school history (151 wins between 1992 and 2004).  To put that into some perspective, the next longest streak is 109 games!
There are lots of different types of sports books.  There are coach and player biographies.  There are league and team histories.  There are greatest games, greatest championships and greatest dynasties.  My favorites are those which discuss – in depth – schemes and techniques (in any sport).  I enjoy them because you get a chance to learn the why’s and how’s of the game which then allows you to see and understand why something is working as it is happening on the field (or court).  As such a book, this is perhaps the best book I have ever read about football – specifically, football techniques.
This is not really an “X’s” and “O’s” play diagram type of book.  It IS a “we want the tackle to have his inside foot here, his outside foot there, four to six inches back and heel no more than one inch off the ground, with this much weight on one hand” book.  That, literally, is the detail provided in the explanations in this book.  And, I love it!!
I haven’t been this excited about reading a football book — WHILE reading the football book — since I was in high school and just learning how to play.  Back then, I read a book on defensive football written by Dick Butkus and another book with chapters on various players and I was completely enthralled by Raymond Berry at wide receiver.  Berry is NFL Films #36 greatest players of all time and Butkus is, well, Butkus.  I learned more from that book and that chapter than I have from a host of other books I’ve read about the sport of football – at every level.  And this book is as good as if not better than both of those.
Every part of organizing and building a team is covered: offense, defense, special teams, nutrition, weight training, scouting opponents, game planning.  You name it.  It’s here.  Now, realistically, is it encyclopedic?  No.  But, then it’s less than 300 pages.  If you want a book with “X’s” and “O’s”, this isn’t the book.  But you can find dozens of those which still won’t add up to what you’ll learn from the reading (and re-reading) of this book.
Final recommendation: VERY highly recommended.  Not only did this book explain things I didn’t know about, it also explained the reasons why some things I used to do instinctively actually worked.  This book is so good, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to coach any sport at any level.  It is that good…
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On This Day In:
2017 We Can Figure This Out
2016 Just Enough
2015 Bourne Bond
Springs Eternal
2014 Brains First
2013 Not Listening Anymore
2012 At Your Marks!
2011 We Are Not Alone
Underlying Rationality
2010 Is the Obama Administration Failing?
In Other Words…
Quite Please!
In A Hostage Situation…
Are We Done Yet?
In Order…
Flip-flopping…
Proof of Choice…
On “Leading” A Democracy To War…
Actually, It’s All About Me…

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