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Ever since Pope Francis uttered his now famous remark "Who am I to judge?", people have been thinking about other important quotes or sayings from the past. Many are quite memorable, such as JFK's "Ask not what your country...", or FDR's "We have nothing to fear...." Some are simply innocuous, such as "Been there, done that".

Mine is somewhat of an old stand-by, but I think it has great meaning: There is no free lunch! I heard this at the end of Alistair Cooke's marvelous "America" series from the 70's. He was referring to how America became the country it is. He asked an Italian immigrant about what he thought about America? The answer was "there is no free lunch!" meaning, of course, success comes to those through sheer force of will, and hard effort. I agree with him on that.

I often use it in a larger personal context (as I'll tell some who feel they are entitled to various things); no, there is no free lunch, you AREN'T so entitled.
I once had a tenant who always took extras when something was free or took multiple sugars or creams from restaurants, etc. to use later for himself. Things like that were an everyday thing with him. I often told him that it was wrong and that he was abusing an honor system AND in the end, there would be no free lunch. The once "free" stuff would be gone, because of people like him.

Obviously, there are many other examples of those who think it is OK to cheat on some such honor system or to skirt loopholes in some laws. It doesn't always pay off in positive ways.

Meanwhile, what say you?
What is your favorite quote or phrase, or saying?
And tell us why you like it so much.

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Did You get (or Give) a Special Toy Today?

This time of the year is the time when no matter what you celebrate — gifts are often given to children. This is their time. And the time we adults revert back to our memories of the joyful times playing with THAT special gift, often a particular toy. We often pass those toys on to our children. Or, we go out and get one for ourselves: See Monday's diary from TBM and her top.

My special one was given to me probably when I was 7 or 8. A very special Junior Tool Kit and it came in a wood box.

Here is the little guy that got it that day:

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What did it mean to me? Huge excitement and it quickly became my favorite toy for many years after. Of course, the contents expanded on each year with more goodies.
I made all sorts of little things with those tools, wooden play guns, (yes..) crude little trucks, a small "house", etc. And naturally, I grew up always having many assorted tools and eventually had a full blown workshop with all the adult "toys" in it.

I'm sure many of you have memories of such a gift given to you during this holiday period. Tell us about it. Do you even perhaps still have it in the family, perhaps you passed a doll  on to your children, or grandkids? I still try to give my kids something special that I created in my workshop.

Remember, That little kid is still in us. One can never replace that smile on a happy child.

Tell us about the happy time when you got (or gave) THAT special gift.


And, do you hope it guides your kids to some particular hobby, or career path?

Or, Tell us what you got today!

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When I was about ten, my sister's then husband, a jokester of sorts, brought me my first record. A version of Eartha Kitt's "C'est Si Bon." If you're ten, THAT is NOT what you want to hear!!!

Now, as years went on I got to appreciate Eartha, particularly her Christmas hit: Santa Baby. That's a real winner.

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My very first record purchases were much later.

I didn't buy any music until I was a young teen and then it was stuff from the old Columbia Record Club. Remember those? Sign up and get 3 FREE, and only buy 3 all year?
Well, as a teen in the Fifties, I buy Benny Goodman's 1938 concert album. (Huh?)

I must have played that 200 times. And, I've enjoyed "Big Band" for years and I eventually did buy many pop 45's.

My then brother-in-law had one more funny one for me back then: this little ditty from 1952. This is hilarious and was actually the #22 best hit of '52. "It's In the Book" by Johnny Standley.

Ok enough from me. Tell us about your early records and memories of music. (Side Pocket, you can tell us about the Crank-up RCA Victrola.)

And, feel free to add in any special Christmas music you like. But, I assure you, most will pale in comparison to THE best Christmas album of all: Christmas with Conniff

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Have at it......

Do You Remember Your First Record or Album?
Tell Us About It

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Ever 'Steal' Something? Tell Us About It.


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We've had the story about "lies" you might have said, but how about "stealing" something?
Now we're not talking about major felony stuff here, (unless you want to 'fess up and soon go to jail) we're talking about things you might have done when younger or even today, as an adult. For instance, did you ever "borrow" someone's hammer and never return it? That's actually "stealing."

When I was a kid I assembled plastic model cars, planes, etc. Sometimes I broke a piece and needed to replace it. I went to my local drug store that sold these models and "borrowed" a piece to fit my needs. THAT was shoplifting! Stealing! Guilty!

Did you ever do such a thing? As young kids, we often don't think of it that way, such as when we take someone's pen or their completed homework or perhaps the extra candy put in the bag after a purchase.

When older, in our early fun-loving-party-time-drinking time, we might go marauding and take some ornamental thing. I stole some property signs. Yup, true larceny. While out drinking and bored we'd steal some homeowner's property signs such as "Smith's Stables," or some such. Terrible thing to do and cost those people a fair bit of money for those signs. We did about 10-12 of them over several weeks. Stealing.  Guilty!

How about you? How about office supplies? Betcha' you have plenty of your office's copy paper or a dozen of their nice pens. That's stealing!

How about vouching for a fellow employee's time on the job when you knew they weren't working?  That's stealing from the company!

Extra corn in the bag at Farmers Market? Tips left at your restaurant table? Magazines from your doctor's office? Eating candy before getting to the register and not declaring it? Etc, etc...

All "stealing!"  Yup—guilty...

So, let us know what things you have "stolen" during your years, remembering, of course, this IS the internet. What you write can be held against you. Big Brother (and the Diva) is watching!  

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With the severe cuts in the Food Stamp program that started yesterday; local and regional food pantries are desperately looking for assistance to help their fast depleting stocks.
Generally, at this time of the year, people try to give a little extra to various charities; but this year, it will be particularly necessary for some additional help.

What can YOU do??

WHATEVER you can afford; OR perhaps you can even volunteer.

Some suggestions below the fold...

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What's Your Favorite Sport or Hobby?

For me, the World series represents the pinnacle of the Greatest Sport of all: Baseball

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To many it is the only sport worth watching and enjoying. It used to be "America's Pastime."

It no longer is...



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It's now football.

However, many of us don't like either of them OR any of the traditional "sports."

What say you??

As someone who grew up in the fifties (yeah, those Neanderthal days) baseball was king. Kids played it everywhere and there was not much TV to drive you to a variety of other sports. All that has changed.  

TV brought the NFL into our homes and it now holds the record for the premier TV event every year, The Super Bowl.

Now, that is not saying EVERYBODY loves these traditional sports. Many are now focused on other "games," computer games, for example. Gadgets like X-boxes and PlayStation play software entertainment like Grand Theft Auto and Batman, etc.

People nowadays spend more time on TV than attending a real game.

What's your favorite "Game?"

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Do you enjoy the live sports with real action or are you one who only prefers the related activities like the party or some tailgating?


Or perhaps, you could give a damn about ANY team sports and prefer to do your own thing. Our Diva prefers "spinning" better known as aerobics.

 photo aerobics_zpsecdb6619.jpg

OK, you get the idea.

Are you into any variety of "sport?" What about a special hobby? Do you collect things, such as books, recipes, butterflies???

Or are you someone that "goes along and enjoys the peripheral fun?"

Offer all thoughts and remember: even "birding" is a sport. (Ahem... ALL varieties of "Birding.")

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liar liar pants on fire photo:  be9e98c0.png
Shades of Joe "You lie" Wilson.....all of us who have told lies.  

What kinds of lies have you told over the years?  
(And don't lie, and say you NEVER did!)

We certainly know politicians, and corporate CEO's, etc who have lied to us; but what about YOU??

There are many varieties of lies: Fibs, white lies, whoppers, and just plain dirty lies (see Bush/Cheney, et al)

Some are sorta harmless; like when you told your teacher about the "missing" assignment.....
Or, when, at age 7, you broke a vase, and you said the "wind blew the curtain, etc..."

Of course, as we got older; we perhaps told a few fibs about where we worked, as we filled out a job application....

Some of our resumes became the equivalent of a CEO's resume....(So, why again are you unemployed??) (You made THAT much of a salary??)

Other than the standard(?) fibs on job apps, and resumes I've rarely done any significant lying (that I can reveal) other than lie to someone about how I feel about them, that I really don't like them. Very often I will just say some pleasantry and move on--sparing their feelings and allowing me to avoid the issue. (Yup, guilty. Chicken.)

So, I think you get the drift: Tell us about your own biggest lie or one that you've seen that is truly extraordinary.  (You better leave out anything regarding personal relationships--might be a problem...)

Tell us about your own biggest lie
or one that you've seen that is truly extraordinary


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If you are a student or a parent, the first day of school is always a big event.  Whether it is elementary, high school or college, it is a day that we all likely remember.

I sure do.

My first day in college was most disturbing, as I was greeted by a mocking, laughing upper classman—who was "helping" me. Yeah, I was a scrawny, gangly kid, but his open laughter was NOT appreciated. It was most humiliating and I wondered what I was doing there.

This was back in the day when going to college meant bringing just a suitcase or two.

Times have changed.

Going to school today isn't what it used to be.

Follow me beyond the pastry...

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What does Labor Day mean to you?

Labor day is nearly here....and I hate it.

Not that I dislike what it's meaning is for many hard-working individuals all over the world; and particularly here in the US; but certainly, that original idea is long lost.

It's origin is duly noted here;

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
This is what it was about:

 photo Laborday_zpsa50cad9e.jpg

Well, as we all know, it is far from a day in which we celebrate the working class of America---clearly has evolved into just another holiday...

My thoughts on why I don't like it----and more, below the "break"....

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Fun & games time here on DKos (Boy, do we need it!)

GW (Gulf Watchers) Block parties are a spot for hilarity, music, recipes, drinks, etc.....no topic is off limits...come on in and join us.

Tonites edition is about; STUFF---and about having too much!!!

Recently, another GW & I were having a discussion about having "too much stuff"---mostly junk!  We agreed we are likely both "pack-rats".

Fortunately, I'm now on the other side of that problem, having just moved from a large house; into a smaller apartment; and now into an even smaller  (final) apartment.  
Well, it was a real challenge to downsize---not so much furniture, etc. but tons of JUNK....good junk, but junk none the less.

For, instance: how many pictures can one hang on 4 walls?   Certainly not 100+
these are just some of the extras...
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More "stuff" after the little thingy...

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EVERYONE is welcome and please join us each morning at 7:30 AM PACIFIC
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Do you have a famous celebrity autograph or picture?

Were you bashful in asking to get it?

What's the most famous one you might have?

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Here's mine:   The President----(albeit before he become President...)

I spent most of my life in New England; and was always close to NH, where I grew up.  So, I often went back there for the ritual of the quadrennial presidential primary races.  
I've seen many of the last several years of candidates---McCain, Hillary,
Dodd, Bush, Buchanon, Bradley, Clinton, et al.......

Always loads of fun.  This particular trip was about going to the first Democratic debate in NH in 2007---all the major Dem contenders were there; including Obama, and Hillary.
Fun debate, and afterward they all pretty much stayed to chat with the folks gathered around the stage--me included.  I got to chat with Obama for a few moments, and got his autograph----and he joked about me "selling it after I become President".  No Way-it's framed..and it's a keeper.

Tell us about your experience in obtaining a celebrity autograph or picture....were you embarrassed to ask? Was it your first attempt?  How old were you when you got your first one?  (I remember as a kid seeking out baseball player autographs--never much success)

I'm sure some of you West coast folks might have some good stories...

(And, ahem----Navajo & MB do NOT count----though Markos' might....LOL)

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Atlantic Magazine &  James Lipton  posed the question:  

“What is the Most INFLUENTIAL TV Show Ever?”

Atlantic Magazine

We all have enjoyed hundreds of shows over the years----from the days of Milton Berle & Lucy; to all the Westerns, and all the early crime dramas, and then all the silly “I Dream of Jeanie” comedies; onto to more sophisticated stuff like Newhart, or NYPD Blue or ER.  And, now Family Guy……on & on it goes.

But, the question posed is: What INFLUENCED you?

What made a difference?

For me, growing up after college---yes---growing up AFTER college…the show that changed my thinking; and I’m sure changed the thinking of many Americans in the late ‘60’s & ‘70’s was: Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

It shook us up, not unlike All in the Family did in another way; but brought us to the realization that Nixon & the War were not what we should be accepting.

 It made us laugh, while pointing out the absurdity of  the Vietnam War; and additionally, the evil of Richard Nixon.  

They broke all barriers---with one-liners…..

So, what say you, NEW DAYERS----tell us what TV show influenced your thinking?

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