An Existential Threat to Our Republic

--Disclaimer—I've tried to use my BLOG posts to get my readers, few that they are, to think about the subjects about which I write, and then to form their own opinions. But I've tried not to take sides. Not this time. — A former president, a man whom the electorate once entrusted with the defense of our republic, has publicly announced his desire t...

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Traditions - The Advent Calendar

Stemming from Lutheran traditions in the late 19th century, we have the Christmas tradition of the Advent Calendar. Originally made of wood the structures, small or large, had either 24 or 25 doors to count down the days of December, one at a time, until either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. In times past, small homemade candies, toys, and treats ...

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Believe – The Spirit of Christmas

I'm certain that each of us has personal feelings about the meaning of the Christmas season. It's different by culture and generation. The 'standard' American presentation of Christmas is a New England, Currier and Ives, Charles Dickens, east coast kind of thing. New Mexico, California, Hawaii, Florida, and Texas seldom have a white Christmas. They...

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Word for the Day - Heterogeneous

Heterogenous means unalike or distinct from one another. The opposite of heterogeneous is homogeneous. Let us speak of nations as an example of both. Iceland is homogeneous. It is Ivory pure – 99.44% Caucasian, blond, etc. Why is immaterial. That Iceland is homogeneous just is. The United States is anything but. We are, by history, heterogeneous. W...

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Ode to a Savory Autumn

Great dining events hover upon the horizon. Yet, let us dwell not upon the Christmas Feast, nor upon the Thanksgiving Groaning Board. For these culinary events are but a part of larger annual celebrations, predictable both in content and flavor profile. Rather, let us look forward to that extended period of darkness, weather chill, and nutritional ...

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Pondering the Darkness

12:00On September 17 of this year, a terrorist squirrel sacrificed itself to bring life for 20,000 residents to a standstill. Throwing itself on the conductors of a high-tension transformer at a Dominion Energy substation, I suspect its last thoughts were 'Oooh, that tingles', but then the lights went out; the squirrel's and ours. The power outage ...

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Our Anniversary Cruise - Final Week - Part 5

The drizzly weather as we left Sydney, Nova Scotia, foreshadowed the weather that would follow us for the next four days. Fiona was relentless in her pursuit of us. As we left Sydney, we heard that the storm track had Halifax in the bullseye. That sealed the fate of our other Nova Scotia port, Gaspe, which was also closed by Canadian authorities. T...

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All This Stuff

Earlier this week, a widowed neighbor was picked up by an ambulance and taken to a local hospital to be treated for pneumonia related to a chronic illness. Widowed after a long marriage, he contracted a bacterial disease that nearly killed him. Now, he lives alone in a 2200 sq ft two story home full of the stuff they accumulated over a long and hap...

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Our 50th Anniversary Cruise - Underway - Part 4

Viking Cruises aim to educate, inform, and enrich their passengers. Each in-port day includes one or another tour opportunity. On each cruise, one port visit is included. Other opportunities are available, at a cost. Seizing one of the additional opportunities is a matter of desire. For the most part, we took advantage of the included tour. You had...

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Please Think

Do you know what's scarier than Halloween? Election Day on November 8. We stand, all 335 million of us, at a fork in the road. This mid-term election is as threatening to our Republic as December 19, 1860; the day before South Carolina seceded from the Union, heralding the beginning of the Civil War. One way leads us on the level path. We are not a...

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Our Anniversary Cruise - 2022 - Viking Star

Our anniversary cruise would be aboard the Viking Star, one of a seven ship class of small cruise liners in the Viking fleet. She was put into service in 2015. Unlike the huge liners, she carries only 930 passengers. She is 745 feet long and 95 feet wide and can cruise at 20 knots (23 mph).  Our stateroom was on the port (left) side of the low...

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Shaking My Head

I'm not sure if I'm shaking it in wonder, disgust, shame, or bewilderment. Each day those we have chosen as leaders, or those vying for the job, appear to go out of their way to prove that they are incapable of understanding the most basic concept of the word. Some are in thrall (or is it fear) of a pathological liar and narcissist, a would-be dict...

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Our Anniversary Cruise - 2022: Part 1

Did you like that title? I did. But it is a bit deceiving, and you will discover why as you keep reading. I'm dedicating the next few Thursday posts to the cruise that Linda and I took last month. We took a Viking Ocean cruise from New York City (New York City!!!!) to Montreal, via Boston and a few other ports of call (just wait). This was to be ou...

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The Folly of Legislating Morality

"How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?" If you don't know the punch line to this old joke, it's at the end of this post. Once again, a minority on a sacred mission is attempting to legislate morality. We seem to be doomed to repeat the failures of human history. The Roundheads attempted it in the English Civil War in the 1640s...

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Culinary Destination Bucket Lists

We all have places we want to go, things we want to do, and experiences we want to have in our lives. It's only natural, I suppose. Some of us want to attend the Super Bowl, others the Rose Parade, or a Papal audience. Maybe your dream is to visit the top of the Eiffel Tower or the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Antarctica, or the Macy's Thanksgiving ...

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A Crisis of Critical Thought

Small wonder that the survivalists are putting aside rice, beans, and instant water (just add water) against the coming cataclysm. The evangelicals are looking for signs of the apocalypse. From every mountaintop some self-proclaimed prophet is shouting the doomsday lyrics. The end is coming! From the right and left come the clarion call of doom. I ...

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The Wok

If you know me, you know that I'm driven to create. Creating comes in many forms. I am a worker in wood. I write stories and books. I love to cook. All are forms of creation. I'll admit that my woodwork is not world famous. Those who have read my books are numbered in tens. And, those who have enjoyed the fruits of my culinary labors are limited to...

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What the Heck?

Where did the American soul go? Our leaders, great and small, local and national, and I use that term leader with great despair, are exemplifying all of the worst characteristics of third-world despots. What happened to civility? I've heard members of the Legislative branch threaten and insult members of the Judiciary. Multiple members of the Execu...

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Rice a Thousand Ways

Well, I'm sure there are a thousand recipes for rice, but I just want to point out a few familiar, flavorful, and famous ones as an example of the versatility of that tiny white grain. Each of these recipes is a cultural icon in its own right, yet each is a close cousin to the other. I'm talking about Paella (Spain), Jambalaya (The U.S. South), and...

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Midterm Allegory

I think I may have finally defined our governmental process. We have become the mob in a flashback to ancient Rome; Patricians versus plebeians. It is class warfare at its bloodiest. For centuries, men of worth (money-wise, at least) would gather in obscure places around a wooden ring to fight aggressive roosters. They called it the 'sport' of cock...

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