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Ken Hartke's Blog

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Depending on the kindness of strangers isn't what it used to be. Dependency is not our thing. We pride ourselves on being self-sufficient and empowered. We carry smart phones and mini-laptops so we don't have to ask directions or feel like we are uninformed. We can Google or Wiki- whatever we need...
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When my wife passed away some six years ago she left me to be the caretaker of about 300 Santa Clauses. Three-hundred is a lot but only a drop in the bucket for some serious collectors. I know one person who begins setting up her Santas after Halloween and doesn't get finished until late...
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I assume that almost everyone has one or two memorable cemetery experiences. When we are little we get taken to cemeteries at times of sadness or solemnity and, while it looks like a park it obviously isn’t a fun place. I recall going to a cemetery as a child for the burial of one of my dad’s...
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I am preparing for my second move in nine months. I now appreciate what those kids went through whose parents were in the military or had some other job that kept them on the move every few years. I have not been a frequent mover. My current house is transitional and I knew it wouldn't be...
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Or at least I think I did....hope I did. It was taking over the world and I saved you all from certain death. You didn't even know you were in danger.   I live in a 108 year old house that is what experts call a "Folk Victorian". It looks very nice and sedate sitting on West Main Street high...
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Red Room recently asked about our favorite literary detective.  I've been reading mysteries for a long time. I have a number of favorites but I'm especially drawn to international mysteries and Italian mysteries in particular.  I was inspired to read Cicero after I met Guido Brunetti, the...
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I read a dozen or more of the Hardy Boys mysteries, which means I barely scratched the surface. I don't know how many were written but the author's name, Franklin W. Dixon, was a pseudonym for several people who wrote Hardy Boy books from the 1920s to the 1970s or 1980s. I was reading these mostly...
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New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin. -- Mark Twain I've been paying attention to the media hype running up to this Sunday's Super Bowl game in New Orleans. CBS is broadcasting the game and milking it for all it is worth...this is like the "Black Friday" of television...
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The election is over and I've decided that my state may not ready for self-government. I’m reasonably happy with the voting results but the process seems crazy. I live, and vote, in Missouri, at one time considered to be a bellwether state for elections. Years ago, Missouri usually picked the...
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Full Moon
The Dog Days are upon us. Sirius, the "Dog Star" must be working overtime although I can't see Sirius or the constellation Canis Major from my usual vantage point. The Romans blamed Sirius for the hottest days of summer. Then there is that other dog reference regarding the heat of the day..."mad...
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The best part of being Batman is the cape. I've always had a soft spot for capes, even as a kid; maybe especially as a kid. If there was a job with a cape involved, I was ready and willing. Sign me up. I got teased a little bit in those early years but pretty soon the bullies learned not to mess...
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I have a box of my parents’ war letters that I've never read. I've skimmed maybe a half-dozen over the years but it just didn't seem right. I felt like I was intruding. My dad was a paratrooper in WW-II. Actually he was one of those guys that fell out of the sky in what you could jokingly call a...
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I recently read a book on de-cluttering my surroundings. I actually didn't finish the book...it was the first thing that I got rid of. I didn't like the author's approach but it did cause me to start looking around for ways to clear out some of the stuff I have accumulated. I figured it was time to...
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I just got back from a week in Peru. I'm not going to post a long travel account....not here anyway. I just have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable trips I've taken. The people of Peru are happy to share their country with visitors and the entire experience was extremely positive. Much...
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Northern New Mexico Highway
I pondered this blog topic for some time. I have too many "best" pictures. I don't think I'm qualified to judge an image on technical merit or even composition. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I spent a lot of time looking at my digital images and I couldn't select just one as the best....
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