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Happy New Year!

| Here it is, January 1, and we're not at the bottom of a cliff. Maybe. The Senate has voted to approve "the deal" worked out by Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden. Next, the House. As the saying goes, I'll believe it when I see the votes.  more

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Morning ice

| High wind warning! Freeze warning! Oh, yes, winter is here.  more

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Memo to self

| As 2013 approached, I got it into my head that my new year's project would be to convert this site from thousands of static HTML pages into one with just a few dynamic pages that would suck appropriate content out of a database and build the necessary HTML page on-the-fly.  more

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Consumer Cellular fails massively

| You've seen them on TV, Consumer Cellular customers chirping smugly about how much they just love Consumer Cellular — they don't have a contract, they save so much money, if they ever need more minutes they can just change their plan. According to them, Consumer Cellular is the bee's knees.  more

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Consumer Cellular redeems itself -- maybe

| This morning I called Customer Service at Consumer Cellular again, having allowed what I deemed sufficient time for them to report to work on a Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday no less. I was prepared to be righteously indignant and in high dudgeon, but a cheerful Andrew disarmed me.  more

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Super Bowl and Super Feast

| The usual suspects came over yesterday to watch the Super Bowl — well, the commercials, actually — and have a pre-cruise feast.  more

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Off to sea we go

| The usual suspects are aboard the Carnival Inspiration for a four-day cruise with stops in Catalina Island and Ensenada Mexico, followed by a "fun day at sea" before returning to Long Beach.  more

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Ensenada and a Fun Day at Sea

| After sailing aimlessly in circles for several hours Tuesday night, we arrived Wednesday morning in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where we had booked a winery tour for the morning.  more

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Cruise odds and ends

| We've been back from our cruise almost two weeks now, and I've finally gone through the pictures and videos to do a catch-up post.  more

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And the Oscar goes to

| Sunday was the annual Oscar ceremony and accompanying diversions and amusements, so the usual suspects gathered to observe the occasion with appropriate food, beverages, and hilarity.  more

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The 8.5 hour brunch

| One week ago it was the Oscars, and the usual suspects gathered to critique the wardrobe on the Red Carpet and ooh and aaah over the awards. Since there was an enormous amount of turkey left over, we agreed to assemble again to observe.... It doesn't matter. Nothing at all really. Just because.  more

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First harvest of the season

| We've had several days of balmy temperatures in the high 70s and even into the 80s. Caressed by the sun, the tomatoes have begun to ripen.  more

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Seeking Aurora

| Aurora, the Roman Goddess of Dawn, called Eos by the Greeks, flies across the sky each day announcing the arrival of the sun, and her name is given to the phenomenon of the northern lights, Aurora Borealis. Last week Jim & Angela, Bob C, and I went off to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, hoping to see a good show.  more

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Supreme pusillanimity at the court

| The very name, Supreme Court, evokes an image of august and learned jurists asking trenchant questions that lay bare essential legal questions that underlie a case. If that's your notion, the past two days of oral arguments on the California Prop 8 and DOMA cases must surely make the scales fall from your eyes. It's not only Justice who is blind, but several justices as well, groping in the dark for a light switch so they can find their way out.  more

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Easter Chez Bob

| The usual suspects assembled yesterday afternoon chez Bob for an easter feast to be preceded by the usual cocktail hour, which began with a coconut concoction blended by Bob.  more

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You shouldn't have to ask for a good deal

| A charge came through on my credit card today to renew my internet phone service — voice-over-IP (VoIP) which I obtain from a company confusingly named VoIPo — and was surprised to be getting a bill in April for a service that I distinctly remembered having started at the beginning of a year, so I logged on to check my account.  more

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Springtime blossoms in the backyard

| It's spring, and Mother Nature has been adding touches of color to the backyard.  more

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For want of a cap!

| Last Friday I ran the dishwasher in the morning, having forgotten to do it Thursday night before I went to bed, and that's how I found out I have a leak in the kitchen.  more

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Opera in the Park 2013

| Sunday was the 15th annual Opera in the Park, presented by the Palm Springs Opera Guild.  more

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Oho! Who's hiding in the sage?

| This morning I was in the back yard doing a bit of work and decided that I would trim the sage plant in the herb garden; it was in full bloom and invading the space for other herbs.  more

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My garden grows!

| I diligently planted my garden in October as "they" say one should. Frankly I'm not sure that was such a good idea.  more

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Three score and ten years

| Once upon a time, three score and ten years ago to be precise, my mother roared and gave forth ... me.  more

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When Jim and Angela came to visit

| Jim and Angela attended a conservancy conference in Anaheim and made a swing into the desert on their way home.  more

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Experimenting with Google AdWords Express

| Every so often I get offers from my web hosting company to try Google AdWords Express. Finally one was sweet enough that I decided to try it.  more

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IRS doing its job: Oh, the scandal!

| The right wing is up in arms because the Cincinnatti office of the IRS, years ago, began scrutinizing organizations applying for tax-exempt status, ones with terms like "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their names.  more

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Memorial Day 2013

| What kind of a holiday would it be if you didn't get together with your friends and share food and drink?  more

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Chip pays a visit

| Yesterday a new varmint came calling to my backyard. Well, I saw him come calling for the first time is probably more likely.  more

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Greedy Google and my AdWords Express budget

| It seems that almost every time I sign in to my Google AdWords Express account, I am greeted by a message, "Welcome! We made several changes to AdWords Express."  more

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Junk email and making it stop

| Everyone's email inbox fills up daily with junk email. What's a body to do?  more

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OMG! They are spying on us!

| The Guardian and Washington Post have both published blockbuster articles detailing ways that the government, namely the National Security Agency, is spying on US citizens.  more

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Income inequality

| Sometimes an editorial cartoonist validates the maxim about a picture being worth a thousand words in a stunningly apt way.  more

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Fraud detection check

| To make things easy during my up-coming road trip, I moved all my email to Outlook.com. Almost every message now shows the warning, "This sender failed our fraud detection checks."  more

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Simply Ink - Did they simply stop?

| Faithful readers will recall that I recently tried to UNsubscribe from junk email from SimplyInk.  more

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Day 1 Most excellent roadtrip begins

| Day One of Paul's most excellent roadtrip adventure of 2013 began in the most predictable way — with a panic attack: Did I close the garage door?  more

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Day 2 Zion National Park

| This morning I got up with the chickens in order to get into the park before the deluge of weekend visitors. Unfortunately, the chickens I was paying attention to are in a different time zone.  more

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Day 3 Awesome from the top down

| This 3rd day of my roadtrip began by visiting the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park and ended with Bryce Canyon National Park.  more

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Day 4 Down the down staircase

| I'm a day ahead of my trip plan, so today was to be a leisurely drive and visit to Capitol Reef NP.  more

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Day 5 Leaving Utah

| When I gased up at the only open gas station in Torrey, Utah, the pumps were playing GSTV — Gas Station Television. It's bad enough we have to pump our own gas, and we don't need to have commercials playing at us while we do it.  more

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Jottings

| Since the Toyota dealer could not fit me in until the afternoon, I spent the morning doing a load of laundry at the hotel and shopping for a new belt before heading off to the Toyota dealer.  more

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Day 6 Black Canyon of the Gunnison

| The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is another park experienced from the rim of the canyon. Upon entering the park, a road snakes along the rim of the canyon for several miles, offering stunning views of a narrow canyon with a river running through it.  more

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Day 7 Crossing and being cross

| Today was a travel day, intended to put some miles to the north northwest. It wasn't my pleasure to spend so much of it sitting in "one lane road" lines while construction crews did their thing.  more

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Day 8 Hanging out with George, Tom, Teddy, and Abe

| Leaving Estes Park was a matter of finding Big Thompson Avenue and following it as it became Big Thompson Canyon Road following the Big Thompson River down to the lower elevations. I don't know who Big Thompson was, but he must have been an important someone.  more

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Day 9 Miles I have gone and now I sleep

| Today was the kind of day that just makes you ask Why? I had whittled off a few miles of today's program by spending the night in Wall, South Dakota, instead of Rapid City as I had planned. But when I woke this morning in Wall, a wall of humidity and very low hanging clouds met me at the door.  more

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Day 10 Canoeing on the Red Cedar with riparian entertainments

| Today I went canoeing with the nieces and nephews begat by my sister Edna Mae.  more

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Day 11 Cousinfest

| When the nieces and nephews learned that I would be stopping in Hastings, Minnesota, on this roadtrip, Niece Sharon volunteered to host a potluck gathering of the cousins that could make it, so that I could see as many of them as possible.  more

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Day 12 Blast from the past

| We lived on a farm out in the country, but I went to school in Hastings, MN, and it furnished us with our postal address.  more

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Day 13 Downtown looking up

| Today was a bright, sunny day, so I took myself downtown for breakfast. I also decided to walk from one end of downtown to the other and back again, paying attention to the architecture.  more

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Day 14 Getting ready to move again

| Yesterday was sister Ethel's "four score and seven" birthday. There was cake and ice cream and a lot of very funny birthday cards to commemorate the occasion.  more

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Day 16 Trailing Lewis and Clark

| After showering and checking myself for bedbug bites, I hit the road for the next stop, Cody, Wyoming, one of the gateways to Yellowstone National Park.  more

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Day 15 Theodore Roosevelt National Park

| This was an 11-hour drive day. It really wasn't worth it.  more

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Day 17 Yellowstone National Park

| I entered Yellowstone NP through the East Gate, and it was not a pretty picture. Nothing but dead trees.  more

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Day 18 Old Faithful to Craters of the Moon via Grand Teton

| I had to, had to see Old Faithful erupt this morning, followed by a pass through Grand Teton NP, followed by a swing back up into Idaho to visit the Craters of the moon.  more

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Day 19 Arco to Reno

| It happened again this morning leaving Arco, Idaho, just as it happened twice yesterday approaching Arco, Idaho. Sophie was cruising merrily along when suddenly she was in the grip of a mighty force that shook her, pummeled her, and jostled her roughly about the roadway.  more

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Day 20 Home at last!

| Poor Sophie. Each time I went down another level of the circular ramp in the parking garage, she said, "In a quarter of a mile, left turn."  more

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July 4th celebrated in usual way - by overeating

| Festivities began early in the afternoon as Bob began mixing margaritas.  more

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The adventures of Young William

| William is the son of my friends Carolyn and Hal, and he's decided that he will bike "in the direction of South America."  more

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Fire moon

| A wildfire broke out near Mountain Center yesterday afternoon and quickly spread over 1000 acres.  more

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Shame on you, Google!

| In May I wrote about my experiment with Google AdWords Express, with a follow-up about how quickly Google managed to run up charges for the ads using a black-box formula to calculate the value of each search keyword. Here's a new gotcha!  more

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Meet Ooma

| Many years ago I decided to cut the umbilical cord to the phone company and go completely cellular. It was a noble aim, but one frought with gotchas.  more

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Fire again

| Yesterday afternoon about two o'clock another wildfire started near Banning, and by the time to go to hapy hour, a thick pall of acrid smoke blanketed the valley, all the way down to the ground, driven by strong west winds through the pass.  more

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Annoying people on television

| I watch very little television, but that has not stopped me from formulating my list of the most annoying people in television ads.  more

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Perseid meteor shower was more like a meteor light sprinkle

| Last night, or this morning, rather, was supposed to be the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Brave soothsayers predicted that there might be as many as one hundred per hour.  more

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Windmills at sunset

| Between fires and tempestuous weather, we have been treated to some spectacular sunsets and sunrises lately. At last Friday's sunet I drove to the train station where there is a an unobstructed view across the valley floor to see if I could get a few good snaps.  more

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Labor Day observance

| Labor Day has lost most of its meaning, especially in the context of the Republican war against organized labor.  more

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The fair to a fare-thee-well

| If it's September, it's time to go to the Los Angeles County Fair, AKA "the Pomona fair," so called because the fair is actually held in Pomona. Naturally, we went on Wednesday, which is Senior Day when prices for us of many birthdays is dropped to $5.  more

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Windmills of their minds

| Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) spent the summer—and a lot of advertising dollars — trying to convince us that getting rid of "Obamacare" would be as easy as "defunding" it.  more

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What exceptional irony

| At the end of his address to the nation on Syria, President Obama wrapped himself in the concept of American exceptionalism as his final argument:  more

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Cruz missile was a dud

| Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) vowed that he would do anything and everything to stop Obamacare. To that end he began yesterday to exercise his right as a senator to talk as long as he wanted. And he talked, and talked, and talked.  more

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Tea Party tantrum

| Congress has been infected by the Tea Party virus, and it has now spread from the House to the Senate. They want their way, and if they don't get it they are going to blow up the government and the economy. And their way right now means sabotaging or getting rid of the Affordable Care Act (AKA "Obamacare").  more

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Thirty days hath September

| It's the final hour of the final day of the fiscal year, and our duly elected representatives in Washington cannot even agree to just continue the status quo funding of the government for six weeks in the absence of a budget.  more

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They do not even understand how to take hostages

| Let's think about what happens when someone is taken hostage. The hostage-taker siezes the hostage and then makes a demand: Give me what I want or the hostage gets it.  more

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Unreality TV

| The unbridled rage and petulant demands you see coming from House Republican members, on C-SPAN and elsewhere, shows all too clearly what happens when you disconnect yourself from reality.  more

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Close to boiling over

| Words have consequences, and all the incendiary, uncivil, and divisive talk in Washington, on talk-radio, and on talk-TV has begun to provoke violence.  more

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Yes, negotiate

| The Republican position in the current Washington standoff has devolved to unceasing demands to "negotiate."  more

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Unconditional surrender

| When Republican intransigence shut down the government, it was ostensibly because they wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We know how that worked out: delay the ACA, delay the individual mandate of the ACA, repeal a tax that pays for the ACA.  more

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Picking favorites

| I just tuned into C-SPAN and saw the Repugnicans engaging in another round of picking favorite parts of the government.  more

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Known by the company you keep

| A whole bunch of the Republicans are spreading the word that a US default would be no big deal; some even claim a default isn't even possible! This is whistling past the graveyard for sure.  more

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OMG - snow!

| Just before sunrise this morning, the temperature chez moi was 47°F. When the sun came up, the mountain sparkled with new snow!  more

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All pain, no gain

| During the standoff on Capitol Hill, John Boehner declared it was "not a damn game" and, equally resolute, that he would not make an "unconditional surrender" to President Obama.  more

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"Glitch" puts a glitch in my brain

| Ever notice that there are some words that you hardly ever hear, maybe for years, and then suddenly the word is everywhere? So is it with "glitch."  more

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A real glitch - the Versa Note commercial

| There is an energetic and catchy commercial for the Nissan Versa Note, titled "Door Trip," enjoying a lot of airtime on TV since the ad was released in mid August.  more

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Palm Springs Pride 2013

| Pride 2013 dawned clear and bright. As it should.  more

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The color of proud money

| Today's Desert Sun had a follow-up article on last weekend's Pride festivities with several interesting tidbits, including that festival organizers estimated attendance "up 30 percent to 40 percent from last year."  more

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Ouch!

| A protester in Moscow took off all his clothes in Red Square, sat down on the cobblestones, and nailed his scrotum to the street.  more

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The scoop on The Scoop

| I admit it — it was an impulse purchase.  more

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Lunch at Costco

| During The Season I avoid Costco assiduously on Saturdays. Henceforth, Friday will also be shunned.  more

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Watching Oklahoma! with a different viewpoint

| The other night I was casting about for something to watch on TV and came upon a performance of Oklahoma! from London's Royal National Theatre starring Hugh Jackman who is always watchable.  more

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Dems to GOP - enough already

| The Senate has been tied in knots for years now, with every vote requiring 60 votes in support.  more

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Thanksgiving 2013

| The usual suspects gathered chez moi for our annual Thanksgiving dinner and celebration of our enduring friendship.  more

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"Helpful" feature of the Prius

| The longer I own my Prius, the more things I find to dislike.  more

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Return of the wascally wabbit

| The back yard has not been visited by much wildlife since I had to empty the waterfall (it was leaking something fierce).  more

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Festival of Lights Parade 2013

| For most of the Saturday, it seemed that the Festival of Lights Parade in Palm Springs would be a dreary and miserable affair.  more

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United flight attendants on autopilot

| You have probably seen the ad for United Airlines with the symphony orchestra onboard belting out Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue while soaring through the friendly skies.  more

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In memorium

| I mourn the death of one who died too young.  more

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Christmas chez Bob 2013

| You knew there would be trouble when the appetizers began to proliferate.  more

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