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Tthere are good days and then, of course, there are Bad Days. Now I am not overly prone to bad days but I do feel personally that my bad days are the worst. So, before you say anything, let me tell you how bad my bad days are. (Loosens his collar Rodney-Dangerfield style).

I can tell you I get no respect around here! So listen up and you will be able to go about your wonderful life miserably happy. It all started with the alarm clock; which is to say, was flashing 12 o’clock when I woke up. You know what that means, your already one minute late for work because someone at The Electric Company fell asleep at the controls, and sent power surges thru your electric lines.

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Wwith our new administration, it is obvious our schools are going to change. I don’t believe it will be a change for the better but rather changes back to our past.

I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing because as elders of our society we didn’t turn out weak or poor. Can our new standards produce the same results?

As a retired schoolteacher and now substitute teacher I approach the school year with hope and enthusiasm. Yet a new teacher, even a substitute, can be a traumatic thing.

Just last week I noticed a particular young man, sitting in the front row, who looked absolutely terrified. A small, clean cut young fellow in a crisp white shirt and neatly pressed black pants, I guessed he was the apple of his mother’s eye.

Hoping to put him at his ease I asked him if there was any particular problem that was bothering him on his first day in my class.

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Wwe have the same enemies this year. They are in the same part of the world and are conspiring to do the same things. We tried to blow them up again this year and, of course, failed. I remember, not so long ago when the saying was, “when you blow up a rice paddy all you have left is a rice paddy”. I guess the same goes for a desert.

We have a new president this year. He started off in trouble because he can’t figure out where his ego ends and his mind begins. There are now new people trying to get rid of him. They just have a better excuse this year.

We have the same economy this year. We lead the world in spending to the point many economists state that the world’s economy was saved because of the American need to have more. Of course this also means many of the people of the World are still struggling to survive. Some say that trying to change this reality is like throwing a gate to the wind.

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Iis there anyone else out there in our great nation who is sick and tired of being afraid? Webster defines fear as being, “an unpleasant strong emotion caused by expectation or awareness of danger.”

Ever since 9/11 there has been a vale of fear surrounding us all. Even though we are the most powerful nation on the planet we are still afraid what happened will happen again. What I know about 9/11 was we let our guard down against a group of people who want to hurt us. Throughout our history there have been many groups of people and many countries that wanted to hurt us.

In the past when this happened we did not hide our faces or hide behind closed doors. We stood up to this danger and showed the world we were not afraid of anything. Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were leaders who rallied their countrymen to stand up to any threat by not fearing but rather defeating it.

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Wwhen we are born we have to figure out important things like how to breathe, eat and go to the bathroom. As we get older we try to figure out our strengths and weaknesses and how we might deploy our strengths to achieve some sort of success in life.

Then, just when we think we might finally have figured out the art of growing up, we find out that feeling good about ourselves has a lot to do with how healthy we are. We usually get that message along with the first chest pains.

This scared the hell out of me. My doctor said he didn’t know what was wrong with me? Even worse was his comment about me being in my late years. Didn’t he realize people lived well past 80 now and I was only 65? Okay, mathematics is not my strongest suit but I still didn’t like the comment.

I was then ushered into an examination room. There a very pleasant and efficient woman asked me to take off my shirt so she could attach a dozen or so electrodes to my body. The female technician took one look at me and said she would have to shave my chest so the electrodes would stick. Continue Reading →

Wwebster defines symbol as, “something that stands for something else, a letter or character used instead of a word to represent a quantity, position, relationship, direction, or something to be done.”

These symbols have the tendency to define someone or something. For example the New York Yankees have their world-known symbol emblazoned on their uniforms and hats. One of the most famous mathematic symbols throughout the world is p. The symbol Donald Trump most fears is the *.

The asterisk is a symbol that represents that something has been left out. Today’s modern use for the * is that a title or representation does not completely mean what it is supposed to mean. In other words, there is a reality associated with the title.

Throughout modern history there have been many titles whose original meaning had something attached to it. For example: for years Phil Jackson referred to the San Antonio Spurs title as having an asterisk attached to it because of the shortened season.

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Oon an island, close to the mainland, was a village called Hope. Over the years, the prosperity of its inhabitants had ebbed and flowed like the mighty Atlantic Ocean, which incessantly crashed at its steep shoreline.

Not having easy access to the sea, the options of becoming fishermen or smugglers were never practical and other ways of earning a living had never been easy. However, these close-knit, doughty people had grown accustomed to weathering the financial storms by leading a frugal but happy life. With only one access road, via a narrow bridge, they were in a ‘cul-de-sac of Time’ and with the stresses of modern-day living, ‘them outsiders’, as they were called by the islanders, were beginning to search for remote places, such as Hope, to relax in.

Slowly at first but then rapidly, bed-and-breakfast accommodation became a handy source of income. At first to supplement but soon after to take over from the centuries-old toil of vegetable growing. With this new prosperity burning a hole in their pockets, many of the villagers decided to expand by pooling their wealth. Very soon small weekend-dwellings started to sprout up in the vegetable fields. Success bred success and the villagers thrived.

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Cchristmas is a magical time of year, especially for a 6-year old girl. In her eyes everyone can see a more than special sparkle in the knowledge of being a good girl all year long, in order to receive that special present.

My wife and I lost that special window through the eyes of a child when my daughter grew up and became a beautiful woman with a beautiful life. Six years ago she gave us a remarkable granddaughter whose love of life was exceptional to the point where everyone she came in contact with had to smile.

This year my daughter gave my wife the task of buying the special doll for our granddaughter. Weeks before, she would hint to us about the doll with the specific knowledge, it would be under her tree on Christmas Day.

That special day came and we all met in a small town around Boston to open all of my grandchildren’s special presents. Since my daughter married, this became a very special tradition for all of us. My granddaughter knew the size of the box that would contain her special doll. She was patient allowing everyone to open one present at a time.

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Tthis is the time of year everyone seems to slow down. For the past few months all we’ve thought about was preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner and getting out to the shopping areas, in order to show how much you love someone by how much you spend on them.

The Christmas rush is over, the New Years Eve celebration is a hangover you want to forget, and all you have left is to figure out where you are heading into the future before it happens. The election of 2016 seems to have lasted forever. In fact, it feels as though it is still going on.

Our nation is split in two with political ideologies having little conversation in order to lead our nation to a better place. People supporting Donald Trump believe America will be made great again. Those who lost are in fear our future will be defined by where we were in the past versus where we should be in our future.

The weather cooperated this year by laying down a thick white blanket of snow displaying a kind of clean slate. This new whiteboard has the tendency to sweep away the dust of the past.

I have a favorite saying that fits perfectly during this time of reflection. I am in no way taking credit for it and have no concept as to where I picked it up. However, it fits and it always goes to the front of my mind during this time of year which defines the new. Continue Reading →

Eevery morning it’s my job to make the coffee before my wife joins me for some breakfast and conversation. This has been a tradition in our marriage ever since it began over thirty-one years ago. While I was getting the coffee pot ready, I noticed a large jar next to the coffee machine.

It must have had a gallon capacity but was only a quarter filled by some kind of yellowish liquid. The liquid was brewing because its surface was covered with tiny bubbles. When my wife came downstairs to join me for breakfast I asked what this newest of inhabitant of our kitchen counter was.

She told me it was a starter cake. Not having a clue as to what a starter cake is supposed to be, I asked for an explanation. She told me that she received the starter liquid from her sister. She explained that every time one made the cake they would have enough left to give the extra mix to two other people who wanted to make their own Christmas cake.

These people would then make their cakes and have a couple of starter liquids to give to other people, so the same cake starter would spread around our known universe. This intrigued the hell out of me because I wondered where the starter cake liquid had been and where it was destined to go. Continue Reading →