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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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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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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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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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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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To all those who are serving our country – near or far, home or away; to all those who have served; and, to their families who stay behind and pray  —  Thank YOU!!!

2012 Veteran's Day Poster

Thank YOU for your service!!

Please remember those still in harms way.  Pray for them and their families.  Write them letters – become a pen-pal.  Most of all, welcome them home when they return.
Take a minute to read: What Is A Vet?  And then, the next time you are out in a group of people, look around and ask yourself if you can recognize the Vet…
The poster was taken from the Veterans Administration web site: http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/gallery.asp where you can see each of the posters since 1978.
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Well, today my blog (this here disturbance) turns three years old.
My first entry was the obligatory: “Hello, World!
I didn’t particularly note the first or second anniversary.  I guess, I wanted a certain body of work to accumulate before I thought much about recognizing it as an accomplishment.
The blog started slow – about three or four entries per month.  Some days I had that many posts alone and then had nothing to say for weeks (days) at a time.  Since 17 January 2011, I’ve had a post every day.  Most of them are simply quotes which gave me pause and / or made me think and I’m simply passing them on to anybody who happens to stumble across my site.  Sometimes I comment on the quote.  More often than not, I simply throw them out there for the reader to consider without my bias.  Every couple of weeks I post something a little more substantial.  When this happens, sports, politics and my family are the normal topics.
Other UBIs (“Useless Bits of Information) about my blog:
As of today, 29 July 2012, I will have had –
988 Posts
175 Pages
206 Comments
I will have used up about 2% allowed free space (about 52 MB);
I will have had about 12,000 views (all time)  (probably 25-33% are my own views just admiring my handiwork);
About 52 of my entries have been book reviews (some entries have multiple books), but basically I’m averaging about a book every three weeks.
About 49 of my entries have been movie reviews (again many of the entries are for multiple movies and some are re-reviews of movies I’ve taken a 2nd – or 50th – look at, and just feel like adding more comments to / about.
Probably 90% of my pages are song lyrics, poems or speeches which particularly moved me at some point in my life.
There about 70 folks following my Blog via the blog (WordPress) itself,  but there’s no way to tell how many are looking at it frequently – or simply deleting the notification.  Beyond that, there’s another 83 folks following my blog via Facebook and 12 more who follow via twitter.  I have no idea what they’re seeing off of twitter feed, unless it’s merely the daily titles.
Anyway, three years and no end in sight…
I hope you’re enjoying reading my 2¢ worth enough to come back every once in a while, and, as I said at the beginning of all of this, I hope you “Live long and prosper!
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I now have twenty-five active followers!!
Whuu Huu!!
To commemorate the occasion, I’ve added a new section on the right side of my blog titled:  “Tributaries And Eddies“.
These are folks with sites of their own.  Some of them have commented at my site and some are just followers.  Either way, I wanted to mark the occasion by trying to promote their sites in my own little way.
Now, you may notice there are not twenty-five links there.  That’s because not all of the folks who follow me have blogs or web sites.  Also, in one case (Richard J. Geib’s Web/Blog), the blogger doesn’t follow me, but his was one of the first sites I found that helped inspire me.  I think, over time, these links will eventually loose their “follower” status and become more like Richard’s – sites which have inspired me, made me laugh, or made me think.  Anyway, if you’re one of those I’ve included, keep up the good work — shout out to the universe, you never know who is listening / reading!!!
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Back in the gym (at work) this morning.  First time since the end of December, 2010 (see blog post: 1,001).  Since then, I’ve been in an Emergency Room twice and a cardiac intensive care unit overnight.  All in all, I guess I should be happy to be here at all let alone commenting on how I’ve finally gotten to my 1,000th and 2nd workout.  (I’m still not counting my home / schoolyard jogs and walks.)
So, I’m back in the gym and struggling to do my slow jog.  My legs are dead.  I made it through the two miles (my goal for the workout), but it was in a fairly pitiful 38 minutes.  To think, just a few months ago I was doing two miles in just under 24 minutes.  As I was showering, I thought back to my Army days when you had to run 2 miles in under 18 minutes or you failed your PT test.  Anyway, I got through the jog.  I then added in a couple of sets of crunches (2X25).  I’m so out of shape now, even that little bit was gut busting.  Still, each day I’ll get better.  My goal is four sets of 50 for 200 reps a workout.  That’s pretty much how I started out thirteen years ago in Saudi, except then, I started with three sets of ten.  Of course, within a couple of weeks I was up to four sets of twenty-five.  I did a little light stretching and that was it for my first visit back.
The bad news is I’m almost exactly where I was two years ago, when I started the Fat Smash Diet – 330 lbs.  Very discouraging.  I got down to 292, before my little (and not so little) injuries and illnesses started adding up.  My unofficial high was actually 337 lbs.  I dropped the seven pounds before I went on my “official” weigh in.  So, I’m still down by seven pounds now that I’m starting this new cycle.
The best news is I felt pretty good for the rest of the day.  So, here’s to making progress to 2,000 visits and getting back below 300 lbs!
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Today I felt like listening to some songs and posting a few more lyrics:
Sunshine On My Shoulders – This is a song from my teens / early adulthood.  When I first heard it, I thought it was one of the sappiest songs I’d ever heard.  As I’ve grown older and seen a few sunrises and sunsets, it’s come to mean more and more to me.  Now, whenever I hear it, I think of pristine lakes and evergreen forests and glorious sunrises.
You’re Gonna Miss This – Every dad can relate to this song.  It’s as simple as that.  The funny (ironic) thing is that at every point in the song – it’s true – so in the end, every minute needs to be cherished because they will all be missed.
Nobody Knows It But Me – This is another in a long line of “lonely” songs which I always favor.  Love is always bitter-sweet when lost.  This version, performed by The Tony Rich Project is my favorite of the many covers because at the end he goes to find her (his lost love).  Some of the other versions don’t do this verse.
My Wish – This is one of two Rascal Flatts songs I can listen to a million times.  I haven’t (nearly), but I could.  It’s another of those songs you’d always want your kids to live up to or keep in their heart.
Bless The Broken Road – Like Robert Frost’s poem (The Road Not Taken), you never know what road will lead you to where you need to be.  Hopefully, it actually does lead you to someone to love…
Enjoy the words, go listen to the music online somewhere and then, if they touch you as they’ve touched me, don’t forget to buy them!!
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Well, if there was much doubt about my review the other day about “The King’s Speech“, it was laid to rest tonight when the movie won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the 83rd Academy Awards.  Bravo Colin Firth!  Well done, lad!
I must admit, “Inception” did not do as well as I thought it was going to when I first saw it.  I felt it was a brilliant movie and would have a long term impact on the industry and society – much like “Matrix” did.  But it (“Inception“) never has.  It also won several awards tonight, but they were technical awards mostly about sound.
Friday night, I re-watched “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen“.  I must admit it was much better on the smaller screen and I was able to follow the fight action much better with the limited view of having everything directly in front of me instead of having to shift my eyes or head as I would have to do at a theater.   I’m going to watch T:I and T:II again before T:III comes out later this year.  I think, so far, the first was better than the sequel because the first had more (and better) humor, but T:II had some pretty good moments too.  I particularly like the action shot of the carrier being destroyed by the Transformer bad-guy “meteors”.  That was a very well done action sequence.
Last night (Saturday), I re-watched “The Guardian” with Kevin Cosner and Ashton Kutcher.  It’s a cross between “An Officer And A Gentleman” and “The Karate Kid“, but it really works for me.  They both worked individually (for me) so there is no reason to think a combo wouldn’t.  The movie is about the US Coast Guard elite jump-swimmers (they jump from helicopters) who save lives at sea.  Of the two, I’d rate Guardian over T:II if only because it was less comic bookish.  All in all, a good weekend for watching movies and relaxing.
Non-Movie Notes:
Friday I got a permanent crown put in.  I got the temp a couple of weeks ago.
Yesterday, Hil and I went out for another meal with Donnie (my son’s god father).  He’s going away on vacation for a couple of months, so it was kind of a farewell dinner.
Hil and I went for an afternoon walk around Lafayette Reservoir this afternoon, after church.  It was beautiful – sunny but with a nice cool breeze.  It felt good to spend some time out with Hil – just walking and enjoying the air, view and each other’s company.
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