All Aboard, It's Monday Morning

Monday, January 30, 2012
Have some Live Ozzy - Crazy Train
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I am a proud monkey

Saturday, January 28, 2012
A quick random photo, pre sunset near Willard Bay
PAD028 - Pre Setting Sun Near Willard Bay
And a Saturday Song - DMB, Proudest Monkey
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When Arena Rock & Album Oriented Radio Ruled

Friday, January 27, 2012
I come from a magical time when your favorite band came around nearly year. When guitar rock fueled  thousands of AOR stations. When nearly every big town had their own summer music festival. I had many nights crammed into a local arena, a cloud of... sandwich smoke filling the air, trying to keep down a little to much cheap beer from a friends trunk out in the parking lot, listening to the bands of the time.

Ah, 70's arena rock. It was a moment in time that will never be repeated. I am glad I was around to experience it. Here is a pick six of Arena rock and AOR standards. Good times.
  1. Surrender - Cheap Trick, Heaven Tonight
  2. Dance The Night Away - Van Halen, Van Halen II
  3. Crazy On You - Heart, Dreamboat Annie
  4. The Boys Are Back In Town - Thin Lizzy, Jailbreak
  5. Smokin' - Boston, Boston
  6. You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet - Bachman Turner Overdrive (BTO), Not Fragile
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We will resume our regular programming shortly

Thursday, January 26, 2012
Meanwhile, have a Random Photo, a bald eagle on a snow fence
As always you can follow my Flickr feed here...
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Wednesday Flashback: Remembering Etta James

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Anyone who has been living on the planet for the last few years knows that when Obama took office he and his wife danced, several times, to his favorite song "At Last". While Beyonce did re-record this for the movie she made in which she played Ms. James, it is the original version that speaks to us after all these years.

She is most known for that song perhaps. Known also for being drug addicted, very overweight, down and out. She once said that she was drawn to being bad, almost wanting to shock everyone with her looks and her actions. Never one to 'stay in her place', visually or artistically.

And she was an artist, there is no discussion there. Back when a voice was as much as instrument as any other, hers moves in and out of the song with a rare control and emotion. We lost her voice this week. Here, as part of our Wednesday Flashback, are a few memorable songs by Ms. Etta James.

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Keep People Off Your Cloud

Monday, January 23, 2012
It's your cloud, share it with who you want. Happy Monday all

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People On The Internet Who Need To Get A Life

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The internet is full of people who we would all like to see leave. I try not to let them get to me, but some days I just want to reach through the screen and wring their necks. Not just because they had the temerity to waste my day with their poor judgment, also because they are wasting valuable bandwidth that should be reserved for more important things, like sharing your high score on “Words With Friends”.

The first group of people who need to get a life on the internet are those annoying Amazon reviewers who start their reviews with “I haven't read this book but...” then proceed to discuss how the book marginalizes their life by casting aspersions on their politics, religion, sexuality or whatever particular pet cause the book is against. You didn't read the book! You are not going to buy the book! Why does it matter? Besides, no one is going to read your lousy one star review of a book you didn't read. Well, except for me, but I don't have a life. Yet, you don't see me wasting it by writing one star reviews of books I have never read.

Next up are the people who bitch about certain types of computers and or technology. Give that flame war a rest already. You don't like Apple or Microsoft or Dell. Whatever. What those companies did to you to cause such a deep hatred of them is probably something you need to discuss in therapy. Not in some stupid forum or in the comments section of my favorite tech blog. Also, all of you who love your iPhone or Android or Blackberry? I don't care. It's a phone. If you have a Windows phone and you love it, I just feel pity for you. Get a real phone.

Ninety nine percent of all celebrity Twitter feeds need to go. I get it. You are a celebrity. I could really give a shit about whatever random thought just floated through your vacuous mind. Those 140 characters should be used for something important. If I wanted to read the random thoughts of self absorbed ego balloons, I can read my own tweets. Political Twitter feeds gotta go, too. Most political tweets are just as dumb as celebrity tweets with added knowledge that these meatheads make our laws.

People who use internet memes that were outdated five years ago need to get a life. “All your base” was funny for like five minutes so was “rick rolling”. Now it's just sad. I understand that you are still connecting to the internets with your 56.6k modem, but that is not an excuse for using stupid memes that might have had relevance in the previous decade.

I am sure there are other people who are annoying that I am missing. To all those people, ask yourself before you post, “Am I adding something valuable to the internets?” and you honestly think you are, then please, for my mental health, don't post it.

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The Righteous Path - Saturday Song

Saturday, January 21, 2012
In keeping with Diane's Friday Pick Six, here is another (sort of) protest song from Drive By Truckers. Have a great Saturday.
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Friday Pick Six: A little protest music

Friday, January 20, 2012

With the political race ramping up there is one thing that almost everyone in America has: an opinion. About who should run the country, who shouldn’t?  About who should get married, who should pay taxes, who should be allowed to move here and who should be able to go to school. 

We are still talking about whether someone with cancer deserves health care, whether marijuana will make you become a junkie, whether the lack of family values is ruining America.

We have had even the right wing Christians of the day re-define family values to mean that you can cheat on your wife as long as you’re willing to say it was wrong later, even though you did it again and again.

People really are still unemployed, going without, figuring out whether to pay the light bill or buy gas to look for work. People really are still protesting that things are not okay. We live in a country where it’s still okay to do that without fear of reprisal. 

Whether you’re for or against, or don’t even care- there is probably a protest song that will fit. Here are a pick six of some good ones to ponder on a Friday night:

·         What’s Goin’ On – Marvin Gaye
Protesting the war was popular in the 60’s but Marvin was protesting more than that, he was protesting inequality. Have we really fixed that problem in America? “Picket lines and Picket Signs, don’t punish me with brutality…”
·         Minority – Green Day
One of my favorite protest songs, because sometimes I really do want to be the minority- and stand as far away from those in power as I can. “I want to be the minority, I don't need your authority. Down with the moral majority, 'Cause I want to be the minority”
·         Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Some things never change…“Some people are born silver spoon in hand, Lord don’t they help themselves, oh. But when the taxman comes to the door, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes.”
·         Washington Bullets – The Clash
It’s still pretty easy for us to decide when to step in, and when to let things fall apart. I still haven’t figured out exactly how we do that…but it always seems to have something to do with oil. “For the very first time ever, when they had a revolution in Nicaragua, there was no interference from America. Human rights in America, the people fought the leader and up he flew, without Washington bullets what else could he do?”
·         Bullet the Blue Sky – U2
Best version of this song was the live one- where Bono let the world know that his “…God isn’t short of cash, mister.” “I can see those fighter planes, across the mud huts where the children sleep, through the alleys of a quiet city street…and through the walls you hear the city groan, outside is America.”
·         Seeds – Bruce Springsteen
Live in a town where the industry has died up and gone away, where the housing crisis has left you upside down in what you thought would be your forever home. “How many times can you get up after you've been hit?... You ain't gonna find nothin' down here friend. Except seeds blowin' up the highway in the south wind. Movin' on movin' on it's gone gone it's all gone gone gone."

Videos after the Jump:

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Why Don't You Like This? Part 1 - Clone High

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In my last article, I made a cheap dig at cult classic (and all-around cheesy B-movie awesomefest) Buckaroo Banzai, and I didn’t feel entirely good about it. After all, for every commercial success story like Star Wars, Back to the Future, or James Bond, there are a dozen Buckaroo Banzais, who flop commercially and never survive past their first outing. Does that make them bad movies? No, not by a long shot. The term is “cult classic”, meaning that by and large, these films are loved only by a select few. The list is massive – The Big Lebowski, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and ol’ Buckaroo are only the tip of the iceberg.

But what determines something with cult appeal from the rest of the crap that flops throughout the year? Is it all luck? Or is there some deeper reason for these glorious failures? It’s a question I’ll be looking into in my new column, where I seek to answer the simple question…

Why don’t you like this?

Okay, so, how to start this first episode? How about with one of my favorite cult television series?

Way, way back in the 1980s, secret government employees dug up famous guys and ladies and made amusing genetic copies…
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Laura Marling – A Creature I Don't Know

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
A Creature I Don't Know, Laura Marling, September 12 2011
This weeks New Music Tuesday has been out since last September. To be honest, I knew little of Laura Marling, except for her duet on “The Water” from Johnny Flynn's last album, so I am little late to the party as I am with this review. The highly praised singer's latest effort is nothing if not compelling. Ms. Marling plaintive voice and new folk/jazz infused stylings find a way to get under your skin and into your ears.

At twenty one, she expresses a dark world weariness that covers the music in an assured way colored in layers of gray. Reminiscent of Joni Mitchell's middle period work, Laura meanders her way through a collection of stand out songs. “Don't Ask Me Why” is a great example of the Laura Marling's lyrical and singing ability. Feeling like a conversation late at night on the meaning of life and love with the singer;
Those of us who are lost and low
We know how you feel
We know it's not right but it's real
But it's real. - Don't Ask Me Why
In “A Creature I Don't Know” we hear a women struggling to find her way in a world of expectations, as heard here in the song "Salinas";
O cover me up, I'm pale as night
With a mind so dark and skin so white
Is this the devil having fun?
I'd tip my cap to the raging sun
All in all, this is a album of meditations on the struggle for growth and against societal convention. Laura let's all her demons and devils speak as well as her better angels, giving her fans a beautiful and open look at her soul.   
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Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 16, 2012
Not everyone in our country celebrates this day as a holiday, or this man as a leader. While studying leadership today I came across this definition of leadership:
"Being a real leader means learning who you are and what you stand for, and then having the courage to act."
 I think this exemplifies Martin Luther King very well.

He understood who he was as a man, but also as a representative of many people.

He understood what he stood for, what his followers needed and wanted-both from him and from their country.

And he had the courage to stand up and be a spokesperson for his followers. They knew he was speaking for them, speaking their own hopes and fears and dreams. But no one could speak as he did if he was not also speaking from his heart and soul, from his own pain - and the pain of those who came before him.

Would he like the world we are in today? Would he feel we had accomplished the goals of equality for everyone? Would he feel that we now have a symphony of brotherhood, that we stand for freedom together, that all children can sing 'my country 'tis of thee."? In light of how we have been treating immigrants in this country lately, I would say no.

If you haven't listened to his speech for a long time, you should.

For those who are still oppressed, for those who are trying to stand up for what they believe in at every occupy site in our country-whether you believe in them or not- let freedom ring!

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Morning Comes Grey

Monday, January 16, 2012

I haven't had a random verse for a while. So here goes...
The morning comes
after the night
Dressed in grey
monotone sight

The day rises
with plans set
Brightness hidden
No sun yet

The quiet broken
by a barking dog
Distant are the hills
yet shrouded in fog

The morning comes
after the night
Sliding silently
White on white
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Stop me when I'm passin by (NSFW)

Monday, January 16, 2012
Happy Monday all. Here's a classic pick me up - Van Halen (not Van Hagar) live in 1982 with Ice Cream Man. This is definitely not safe for work because of some F-bombs dropped by David Lee, but it will sure get you going!

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Grungy & Rockin

Friday, January 13, 2012

Since no one here at MfaMLG has an idea for a Friday Pick Six, have five grungy songs and one rockin' song. Rock On! Party On! Have a great Friday! We can all pretend it's the early nineties again!
  1. Dam That River – Alice In Chains, Dirt
  2. Jesus Christ Pose – Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger
  3. Release – Pearl Jam, TEN
  4. Think About You – Guns 'N Roses, Appetite for Destruction
  5. Mudshovel – Staind, Dysfunction
  6. Lounge Act – Nirvana, Nevermind

Videos as always, after the jump...

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Thursday Think Piece: A message to my insurance carrier

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Welcome to our new Thursday topic: Thursday Think Piece.

After spending part of the afternoon swearing like a sailor and hanging on hold for my insurance company, this one was easy to come up with.

How would you feel if your Allstate agent called you and said "Um, I know you planned to buy a new Toyota, but we just can't authorize that purchase for you. We've decided it's a horrible idea. Here is a list of cars we will permit you to buy." Would you allow that? I think not.

What if your State Farm agent called and said "Hi there, we have decided you are not permitted to drive more than 20 miles a day. We don't really care that you work further away than that, not our problem, this is our decision and you'll live with it."  You would be okay with that?

So why is it okay for us to allow our MEDICAL INSURANCE companies to make all kinds of decisions for us and we sit idly by and allow it? Have you seen commercials for 'ambulance chasing' lawyers on t.v. offering to go after your car insurance company because they are not doing right by you? Probably. Have you seen one for medical insurance companies? No. Why not? Because they are incredibly powerful, and our country has allowed them to become a monopoly that sets their own rules, does what they feel like doing, and do not get challenged. This is not democratic. We are not given choices. And yes, I know I could go out and buy a $1,000 a month policy on my own if I felt like it. I don't. I'm talking about something I PAY for, like I pay for my car insurance and home insurance...and I do not let them get away with telling me shit.

So here is a little message to my Health Provider:
  • You know the person you pay $10 an hour to to process my claim? They are not a Doctor. I'm pretty sure they never even made it into college. So I do not think they get to tell me that my Doctor cannot order films or blood tests or an explosive inner cavity search if he thinks I need it.
  • And your prescription approval person? Yeah, they didn't go to medical school either. So they do not get to tell me that the prescription my DOCTOR prescribed for me, is not acceptable to them. They can just keep their trap shut and let me handle my own medical needs, thank you very much.
  • I'm pretty sure just breathing in and out is a pre-existing condition. So please do not tell me that because I've been sick before I cannot be sick again. 
  • When I drag my butt into the emergency clinic at 4 in the morning because I'm bleeding out my arse or in so much pain I can't crawl to the car or whatever reason I would have to go to a cold and impersonal place that treats me like I have do not get to say it was 'not medically necessary'. You were not there. Next time I'll call you and you can listen to my kid scream for hours on end.
  • When I get laid off from my job and I am trying to figure out how to keep a roof over my head, you do not get to stop paying my claims because you assume I'm now receiving medical coverage by Donald Trump and you are no longer responsible. If I have other coverage that will take care of the issue, how about we do this: I'll TELL you. Stop making stupid assumptions just so you can decide not to pay. And you know what? While I'm at it, I'm tired, tired, tired of you deciding MY HEALTH CARE based on MONEY. It's not about money here. Not to me. And I PAY you to provide this service. If you don't want to, feel free to take your toys and go home.
Rant over.

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Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Darkness On The Edge Of Town was the first Springsteen album I ever heard and I fell hard for The Boss & The E Street Band's rich Jersey wall of sound. I have a theory that your Springsteen listen is a defining moment in that you either like it or you don't. There aren't a whole lot of casual Springsteen fans.

I have, more than once, had people tell me that they hate Springsteen, mostly for the way he sings. I admit, I don't get that criticism, but like the Jersey mob, you are either in or you are out and mister, I am most definitely in.

The thing that caught me the most was the rich lyrical themes that Bruce was expressing in his songs. The Boss has often said that Darkness was a change for him, in that instead of just asking questions, it became important to him to figure out what questions to ask. I will admit that much of the content of my first Springsteen exposure was a bit over my fifteen year old head.

As I have grown older, the songs seem to resonate with me more. The opening lines of Badlands, the whole of Darkness is a meditation reflecting on what it means to grow up and being a grown up. It is equal parts acceptance and wistfulness of the need to do the right thing and how painful it can be to do it. You may not understand why you need to it, but it must be done.
Lights out tonight, trouble in the heartland.
Got a head-on collision, smashin' in my guts man.
I'm caught in a crossfire that I don't understand. - Badlands
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New Music Tuesday: Fallen Empires

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires
New Year, new music, and this year it looks like I get to start off by reviewing the new album of a band I've liked for some time, Snow Patrol. Though let me start off this review by saying that I bought this album and started listening to it with a bit of trepidation. Why, you may hypothetically be asking your computer? Well, you know how with a lot of bands, you listen to one album and fall in love with them, and every following album just makes you love them more (I'm looking at you, Green Day)? Snow Patrol has had the opposite effect since I first discovered them six or so years ago.

The first album I became acquainted with was Final Straw, originally released in 2003, which I can honestly say is a phenomenal album. Seriously, I just rediscovered Final Straw when going through my CDs, and fell in love with it all over. However, due to some personal reasons (One song on that album is associated with a bad memory) and poor pacing their 2006 album Eyes Open didn't have the same longevity as Final Straw. Their 2009 album, A Hundred Million Suns was good as far as I remember, but nothing on it really stands out. So, with such a declining motion, I put my own money at stake with Snow Patrol once more, mostly because I remember how much I loved Final Straw.

The good news is, after a couple of listens I think that Snow Patrol has managed to stop, and even reverse, their downhill slide with Fallen Empires. At first I wasn't sure it was going to, as the first few tracks were only okay. My opinion changed about one minute into the third track, the Weight of Love, which won me over with lead singer Gary Lightbody's bluesy lyrics and the catchy tune. The album stayed strong from there with it's folk rock inspired tone and strong tracks like The Garden Rules, New York, Lifening, and The Symphony displaying Lightbody's gift of writing, and delivering, powerful and poignant lyrics.

With Fallen Empires, I think 2012 is off to a good start, musically. And while I'm not sure yet, I think its safe to say this is Snow Patrol's best overall album since Final Straw, and if you remember my glowing praise from earlier that's saying a lot. Maybe in six years I'll be rediscovering this.

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Drive by post

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
While we are waiting for today's New Music Tuesday, have some Laura Marling from her fantastic album, A Creature I Don't Know .
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After All It Was A Great Big World

Monday, January 09, 2012
Oh Yeah, Alright, Take it easy baby, make it last all night, She was an American Girl. Have some Petty & The Heartbreakers this morning. This one is for all the girls, American and otherwise. Take it easy.

Tom Petty American Girl Live 1980
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Movies I Want Them to Make (And Why They Won't) - First Post by the New Guy!

Saturday, January 07, 2012
Hello! The Effin Bear here, happy to be a contributor on Music for a Midlife Geek! I am an aspiring director and screenwriter in his early ‘20s, who avidly follows the world of visual storytelling (speaking of, would you like to read my screenplay?). In the coming months, I will be delving into the complicated world of film, television, and theater. First, I’ll be taking a look at four of the dream film projects I want to see made.
As we look forward to the new releases of 2012, one can’t help but be a little disappointed. I mean, yeah, we’re supposed to see a new Arrested Development season, but what about Firefly? Or an Evil Dead movie that, you know, actually has Bruce Campbell in it? And I’m sure there are a few Buckaroo Banzai fans out there that are still hoping against hope that Buckaroo Banzai vs. The World Crime League will be announced this year.
And that’s exactly what this article is about – those movies we want them to make, why they’d be awesome...and why those movies will probably never be made. Check them out after the jump!

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Six songs to take your mind off the week that was.

Friday, January 06, 2012
Day 5 Sunset Panorama 1
Have some smooth tunes to take your mind off of this terribly long week as it always is after an extended holiday. It has been a week of ups and downs for me, so some smooth melancholy love songs are just what I need.
  1. Collide – Howie Day, Stop All The World
  2. Dreamgirl – Dave Matthews Band, Stand Up
  3. I Don't Think I Will Ever Get Over You – Colin Hay, Going Somewhere
  4. Broadway – Goo Goo Dolls, Dizzy Up The Girl
  5. American Girls – Counting Crows, Hard Candy
  6. It's All Been Done – Barenaked Ladies, Stunt
Videos After The Jump

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Santorum to Black People; I didn't say 'Black People' I said... bl... bla... Blah people. Yeah, that's what I said.

Friday, January 06, 2012

So now little Ricky is claiming he didn't say “Black People” he really said “Blah People”;
“I looked at that [video] and I didn’t say that,” the candidate asserted. “What I started to say was a word and then it sort of changed and ‘bluh’ came out. And people said I said ‘black’ and I didn’t.”
This raises the question, what, exactly, does Santorum have against blah people?

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said today he is willing to go before the NAACP and urge blacks to demand paychecks, not food stamps.
Gingrich told a town hall meeting at a senior center in Plymouth, N.H., that if the NAACP invites him to its annual convention this year, he'd go there and talk about "why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps."
Oh my... I am just speechless.  

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Poverty in America and the Republicans

Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Republican hopeful Rick Santorum recently made headlines when he spoke to a group of Iowa voters and said, he does not want to "make black people's lives easier by giving them somebody else's money." ( He said this to a mostly white audience.

Let's just forget about national statistics for a moment, which show that it is NOT mostly black people who are on welfare in our country. In fact, 37.2% of the people on welfare are black, and 38.8% of the people on welfare are white. But blacks are only 17% of the total population in our country, so the majority (by a large margin) of actual PEOPLE on welfare are white.

But let's just look at Iowa, since that is where Santorum was. According to CBS news only 9% of people in Iowa on welfare are black. 84% of those on welfare are white in Iowa. Not only is Santorum being insulting and racist by singling out black citizens as those who are bleeding off the system, but it sets up a question in voters minds that the financial crisis in our country should be placed squarely on the shoulders of minorities.

And while we're pointing fingers here, let's address the one pointed at 'single mothers'. There is a myth that single mothers (mostly black) are taking the biggest bite out of welfare and remain on welfare for about 10 years. Fact is, there were more teen mothers in the 1950's than there are now. Child poverty is found to be higher with single mothers, but the reasons are mostly that they are under-trained for employment, they do not make as much as their male counterparts can make, and about half of all fathers do not pay child support. (7.6% of welfare recipients are under 20).

Santorum is not alone. Gingrich attacks Obama constantly and calls him the 'food stamp' President. He also has stated in the past that blacks cannot acquire wealth because of their "habits" and that our country should deny money to young mothers (note stats above which indicate this group is not responsible for most of welfare recipients) and that the money could be used to establish other ways of caring for the children like creating orphanages.

If the republicans and democrats want to have a real discussion about welfare, let's talk about what is really costing the American people: corporate welfare. But, that's another blog. 

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Finding Things To Do

Monday, January 02, 2012
Once upon a time, I started a Flickr group called Plurk People Photo A Day with the goal of shooting one photo a day for an entire year. I invited other people to join and 43 others joined me, but I never actually completed the exercise. Over time, the Flickr group fell by the wayside and all but three souls other than mine, continued shooting a photo a day.

I am not one for New Year's resolutions, but I am going to try the whole photo a day thing again. This time I hope to actually complete the task. Here is my photo for today. Two down, three hundred and sixty four to go.
PAD 002 - Day 2 2012 Sunset
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One More Version Of Auld Lang Syne

Monday, January 02, 2012
Happy Monday! I hope you have the day off to enjoy one last bit of New Years. Have some Jimi Hendrix - Band Of Gypsys Auld Lang Syne from New Years Eve 1968.
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Chocolate Covered Bacon

Sunday, January 01, 2012
We always wanted to try it. I mean how can it be a bad thing? Sweet Chocolatey Bacony goodness. We baked some thick cut bacon so it was nice and crisp, then covered it in melted dark chocolate. Nom!

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It can only go up from here

Sunday, January 01, 2012
I haven't had the greatest year, but New Year's Day brings the possibility of a better year than the previous one. Everything is new again and it can only go up from here. To all of our readers and friends, may 2012 be kind to you and bring you all the joy you want and deserve.

Happy New Year from all of us here at MfaMLG
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