History Spotlights Autocracy Evils

When Tyrants Ally To Become Friendship Brothers
Destructive Thirsts Foment Silencing Others
When Despots Show Eagerness To Fuse Their Might
Their Lust For Power Creates A Firestorm Of Fright

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When Handshakes Reap Hints Of Secretive Spew
An Invisibility Of True Intention Blocks Public View
When Fear Steeped in Threat Defines Words of Loyalty
Little Effort Arises To Question Such Royalty

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When Castro Woos Khrushchev Over A Glass Of Wine
A Clean Sweep Destroying Freedom They May Undermine
When Adolph Joins Benito In The Glories Of Rome
Their Company Of Unite Finds True Fascist Home

When Hitler And Stalin Agree to A Non-Aggression Pact
An Imbalance Of World Powers Becomes Ominous Fact
When Arafat Serves As Best Man At Idi Amin’s Wedding
Two Despots Later Exiles Enjoy Terroristic Vetting

When Capone Provides Hope For No-Nonsense Protection
His Warped Aims of Loyalty Move In A Violent Direction
When The Allure Of Serving Nixon Spurs Many To Awe
Coverups of Watergate Force A Drastic Show Of Law

Conclusion:

Election Collusion With Russia Deems Serious Attention
Yet Our President Does Not Issue It A Serious Mention
Does The Trail of Evidence Show Making Of Friends?
Or Does Tyrant Meets Tyrant Portend Catastrophic Ends?

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Sources:

http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/fidel-castro-nikita-khrushchev-drinking-wine-drinking-horn-soviet-republic-georgia1963/

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/06/devils-alliance-hitlers-pact-stalin-1938-1941-roger-moorhouse-review

http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/hitler-and-mussolini-meet-rome

http://www.thedailybeast.com/dictator-bromances

http://watergate.info/analysis/casualties-and-convictions

http://www.myalcaponemuseum.com/id193.htm

No Excuse For Failed Leadership

The current political impasse in the United States concerning affordable healthcare coverage troubles me deeply. Something is clearly wrong and I believe the following poem identifies a key source of such confusion.

PROBING THE LEADER’S MIND

Whenever The Halls Of White Dim To A Still
No Gentleman Nor Lady I Rule Out To Grill
For Nothing Can Stop My Twitter Dumb Reign
In A Stubborn Crusade To Fulfill Personal Gain

There Seems No Point To Question My Blunders
As A Lifetime of Blame Works Fabulous Wonders
Dare Not Question A “Make America Great Again” King
So Let’s Give Them a Taste of My Powerful Sting

I Am a Rich Man Indeed, Yes Richer Than All
How Dare One Accuse Me Of Healthcare Fall
As So Many Look Up To My Legacy of Fame
Then Why Change This One Sided Game

So On I Tweet To Gain Maximum Attention
Yet Never Accept Blame From Any Oppositional Tension
When Sparks Fly In My Direction In Heated Foment
The “Buck Will Not Stop” Here To Destroy My Moment

BLOGGER’S CONCLUSION

Our Freedoms Grow Weaker Amidst Such Egoistic Tension
As Poor, Sick, And Disabled Receive So Little Attention.
Health Care For All Cannot Be Framed By Attack on Obama
When Words Spin Wildly Into A Cold Hearted Melodrama

 

College Criticism Not The Answer

I have always felt strongly as a student and educator that making the decision to pursue a college education should never be considered as a mission of mediocrity or grade 13 so to speak. How true that my adult life story which began as a curious learner  at the University of South Florida provided the impetus  to live a true version of the “American Dream” intelligently and independently.

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I can fondly recall my efforts to instill respect for higher education in my instructional planning. On the first day of college class as a Reading/Writing Professor, I would typically explain to my immature and life challenged students that to to embrace learning excellence rather than passive mediocrity in college would greatly help them to pass their classes. To emphasize this point, I would draw a horizontal line 5-6 feet high along a classroom wall and ask my students to imagine how this height would enable them where score points in basketball more easily. Then I would scrawl another line at the raised height of of an NBA basket and hope to solicit a majority response that it would take greater work at this higher elevation to maintain the same scoring chances. As a result of my demonstration, my students understood that the expectation of academic performance would be much higher in this class than they had experienced in high school. As the term proceeded, I would continually remind them of that.

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(1) Today, I read that a majority of Republican voters now believe that college education is bad for the country. Polls show that the number of them who believe this fallacy has grown over the past few years. Why would academic smartness threaten us today? Would one wish to select a physician who does not show medical competence in their field? Would you feel comfortable on an airplane of the pilot flew on “wits and guts alone? How is ignorance cool?

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A brief sample of research about the general knowledge capacities of our country’s citizenry produces a a picture of dismal failure. Witness the following samples. (2) Recorded responses  from a Newsweek survey reveal that nearly half of a group of one thousand U.S. citizens polled do not know what the basic rights and responsibilities of citizenship means. (3) Random street interviews throughout the country reveals that many citizens have little prior knowledge of American History/Civics. (4) College students at one reputable university could not recognize through facial observation such notable political figures as Ronald Reagan and Joe Biden yet easily identify celebrities from reality television.

 

 

 

Are you shocked that many Americans are not well informed about the general knowledge required for an informed citizenry? If so, then you might see why higher education pursuit seems important to overcome the current threats to democracy today. today. College may not embrace everyone yet it remains a viable outlet for combatting the damage caused by such ignorance in our politically challenged world. An empty mind or an informed mind; I will always choose the latter.

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RESEARCH LINKS:

1

Republican Research

2

Citizenship Research

3

Street Sample Video

4

College Student Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having Fun with “All Star” Promo

In glamorous downtown Miami lies South Florida’s modernistic, major league baseball stadium: Marlins Park. Its striking retractable dome towering over a “Little Havana” neighborhood steeped in Cuban tradition surreally suggests a massive “mother ship” has landed from the skies above. Marlins fans can now enjoy the fiesta-like atmosphere of “America’s Pastime” in air- conditioned comfort as South Florida celebrates this new era in inner city, urban renewal.

Let the party begin. This week, Marlins Stadium hosts the 2017 Major League All Star Game. In a tourist city that plays well to “big time” events, the stage could not be better for the casual baseball fan. For visual aficionados, begin your experience by savoring the color wall designs that display prominently along the arena corridors and don’t miss the Picasso-like, Home Run Sculpture. Between innings, “lighten up” at the Bobble Doll Museum as your favorite players wiggle and wobble for your amusement. At your leisure, hang out” at the Clevelander Club near left field inside the stadium. Sip your favorite tropical drink there while watching club dancers gyrating freely to your favorite “Miami”sounds.

For more serious baseball fans, like myself, the the “Home Run Derby” and the  game itself serve as statistical celebrations of home run length, bat speed, and other extraordinarly measurable accomplishments. So pony up the money for a prized ticket if so desired. For those who live on a limited budget , I recommend you purchase an inexpensive ticket for the Major League Futures Game, this year. You will no doubt  enjoy watching these talented minor leaguers play “All Star ” baseball in front of a near sellout, major league crowd.

As you exit the stadium to the west, pay a visit to the “Jose Fernandez Tribute Wall.” Observe how thousands of baseball fans have paid their final respect to this legendary Marlins pitcher, who was tragically killed last fall in a boating accident. This youngest participant to ever play in a major league, All Star Game remains a positive presence for the Marlins team and its avid baseball followers. Do you have your own human, All Star hero that serves as a mind diversion from the unpleasantries of life’s realities? Enjoy the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Perceptions In Check

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster” (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Is one’s state of mind indicated by perceiving a glass container as half empty or half full? Is a 50/50 chance for risking a gambling venture an indication of winning or losing? Does reaching midfield on a football field mean yards earned or yards yet to go? It all depends on your perceptions when seeking answers to such point of views.

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I read today of an NPR report where an elderly woman from rural California liked the modest copays and premiums of the “Affordable Health Care Plan” she was receiving on her modest income. Yet she vehemently opposed the continuation of such coverage when she heard the word Obama to describe the plan she had selected. Apparently, her negative perceptions of the Barack name clouded her judgment at a time when she desperately needed this affordable alternative for health care.

 

Clearly, one’s perceptions of personalities and events that surround them can restrict rational judgment and thus perpetuate closed-minded behavior. When I taught the skill of fact vs. opinion as a professor, I often used visual images to demonstrate the power of perception in biasing our decision-making. Think of the subjective confusion raised by the glass/face”contradiction or the “beautiful woman/old hag” experiment. Ponder whether the ballet dancer balances on her right or left foot depending on which way she pirouettes at the time.

 

The matter of perception seems particularly relevant when one considers the staying power of current Trump supporters in the face of his troubled Presidency. Our current, executive administration uses persuasive images of “bully” pulpit aggression combined with the emotional appeal of tabloid journalism to incite his loyal following. As a result, it seems likely that his base become victims of their perceptual biases as they tune out conflicting evidence of truth that question the veracity of the President’s statements. For instance, the tabloid examples below clearly exaggerate the emotional appeal of the Donald Trump persona and use untruth to cast him as a hero who conquers an allegedly unworthy opponent.

 

On a personal level, I am deeply concerned about the political tone of 2017, where angry pessimism reigns to influence public opinion for closing open borders indiscriminately, disbelieving climate change and annulling Obamacare health care coverage with no adequate replacement. As a responsible citizen, I recognize one’s right to think, speak, and act freely yet I equally value the need to be clear-headed and rational before making important decisions. As a result, I envision two, key behaviors which I will undertake to address my perceptual confusions about pertinent issues.

 

Authenticate The Information Given:

The need to obtain accurate information about a given topic means a great deal to me in deciding whether to believe something as true or not. Secondary news sources like CNN, MSNBC, and FOX, seem to be corporate instigators of misinformation at times while Facebook and Twitter frequently spin into endless rants of anger and blame. Why not put my own investigatory skills to use and directly examine primary sources of information on my own? I can now examine actual government documents in the past by conducting searches on “Smithsonian Learning Lab. “New measurements of political opinion can be easily initiated by my self- creating/sharing of “Survey Monkey”online polls. In the ease of my living room, I can obtain instant fact support from multiple information sources by speaking to Alexa on “Amazon Echo” concerning relevant topics in my mind.

 

Avoid Tunnel Vision:

Tunnel vision is defined as one’s tendency to focus on a single or limited goal or point of view while excluding their awareness of alternate information at hand. In my life, Tunnel Vision takes place when I rush and cannot control life situations. I am standing impatiently in a grocery queue obsessing how slow the expected wait will be. As a consequence of such narrow-minded thinking, I do not consider the benefit of initiating friendly conversation with others to pass the time in line more pleasantly . it seems clear from this example that it would be to my advantage if I let go of the need to rush into such tunnel vision decisions prematurely that interfere with clear-headed thinking. On a deeper level, I also recognize my obsessive preoccupation with the contentious political environment of my country. In this regard, the endless Twitter rants that I read from our President cause unneeded stress in my life and “turn off” my tolerance for respecting opposing points of view. Clearly, I must lighten up, avoid social media more, make use of all of my thinking hats, and divert my mind with meditative silence to provide more outlets of positive energy now.

 

The tabloid culture clearly is not for me as I see no point in making monsters out of those who I fear or threaten me. Keeping my perceptions in check seem particularly vital to me as I experience new cultural challenges in retirement as an independent traveler. “Travel like Ghandi, with simple clothes, open eyes and an uncluttered mind. ” (Rick Steves).

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Visualizations of Blueness Matters

If spirit needs rest, think colorful blue

Yogic silence tints glass in peaceful matter

While our leader froths blame in madness spew

Aqua hued skies hides such angry chatter

 

When body deprives sleep, blanket azure dreams

Yin motions to slow my “monkey mind” run

As “Alt Right” fears foment unfair schemes

Violet/green unite melt visions of one

 

If brain senses lies, eyes reject such madness

Mindful breaths” on mat open “Blue Hat” scope

As “climate change” casts imminent sadness

Royal blue blossoms bring visions to cope

 

When low energy drains your living pleasure

Sail Santorini shores to an aquamarine pale

Absorb this color for useful measure

As empathy not ego finds an inner grail

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Danny Boy Memories Inspire Hope

The Miami Dolphins remain the only team in the history of the National Football League to achieve a perfect season and won back to back Super Bowls in the early 1970s. As a college student at the University of South Florida and a resident of the Miami area, I felt intense enthusiasm for this winning atmosphere of my home state team at the time. Upon graduation in the mid 1970s, I began a major commitment to Dolphin football as a season ticket holder for over 35 years.

During this winning era of the 1970s, the Orange Bowl rocked as Don Shula coaching brilliance continued to inspire Dolphin relevance in my life as I reveled in the home field atmosphere of playoff bound Dolphin football. In the 1980s and 1990s the “gunslinging” presence of Dan Marino as Fins quarterback captured my interest as the Dolphins continued to stay very competitive each season. Enjoying the closer to home, new venue of Joe Robbie stadium at that time, my emotional investment in these Fins team heroes would only grow with time.

As the 21st century millennium proceeded, however, I witnessed radical differences in the team direction. While Dolphin football continued to consume my attention, Marino and Shula had retired. The winning atmosphere no longer seemed the same as the team began to struggle with questionable quarterback decisions, ineffective coaching hires combined with an increasingly hostile fan atmosphere in the 1:00 pm., oppressive heat of South Florida on football Sundays.

Yet I “hung in” there for the following decade and continued to attend every home game now with my father in law in hope that the glory days of Dolphin football would return. From 2007-2016, however, the team would achieve a winning percentage of only 44% (81-89) and make the playoffs only two times. Negative thoughts about this team began to enter my mind as I began to question whether it made sense to lock myself in every Sunday for a mediocre team product? Sadly, my days of live Dolphins football would abruptly end when I retired from teaching to enter a more frugal and less regimented lifestyle in retirement.

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Last week, I relived my passion for Dolphin football as I attended a Dan Marino speech with hundreds of Fins fans at the $500,000 million, renovated Hard Rock Stadium. On a positive note, I enjoyed the content of Dan’s brief speech as he ignited the crowd with memories of past Dolphins winning glory foretelling optimistic prospects of the team’s future. Yet a brief look around at the corporate glitter of the new arena brought notice to me that a new plan of marketing beyond nostalgia would be needed to attract this high energy, selfie generation of younger Dolphin fanatics.

Following Dan’s speech, announcements were made about the available ticket plans for the upcoming season. With the new stadium renovations, all game attendees for the first time could now sit in air conditioned comfort. They also would have the option to select various levels of yearly seating/entertainment ranging from $600.00 for end zone placement up to over $75,000 for four person, living room boxes. All fans could continue to proudly sing the Dolphin Fight song and dance spiritedly before game time with the Dolphin Cheerleaders while VIP social privileges now included Fins Night Out , Game Day Brunch, and Post Game Field Day.

As a football diehard, I realize the “bottom line” of success for this legendary franchise will best be measured as they win more games and consistently make the playoffs. Team ownership has drastically improved the environment for watching the team play while a young, new coach, Adam Gase, brings his past winning reputation to this city. As the stadium fills each week, stay focused on the game, silence your boos, cheer loudly and realize your commitment in the eyes of each player provides a remaining key ingredient to restore the winning spirit of Dan Marino hometown glory. “Fins Up” fans; I certainly hope so.

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Father’s Memories Seek Normalcy

I often reflect about my life choices as an extension of deep-seated values that I learned from my childhood upbringing in Northeast Ohio. My late father’s influence did not necessarily stem from his physical proximity to me then but seemed to arise from my emotional reaction to his life choices that inspired positive behaviors for me as a child. No doubt, his living role model today provides a steady hand of normalcy as I attempt to act wisely in the face of the daily challenges presented to my retirement in the urban world.

IMG_0948My father was truly a man of many actions but few words. His efforts to serve his country well in flying twenty five, dangerous missions over Germany as a B-17 Ball Turret Gunner in World War II stands as a true testament of the courage I admire in him. I would also look up to him for being an accomplished athlete as I recall accompanying him to ball games on weekends to display his hitting/ pitching skills in competitive baseball leagues. Recently my mother provided further evidence of my father’s achievements by showing me the impressive medal he received for participating in the U.S. Marble Shooting Championship of 1939. Yet my most vivid recollection of this matter would be his humble nature as witnessed by his refusal to talk about these matters at home. Picture his son now remembering such paternal humility as a reason to weed out his Facebook friend list today of selfie egotists and avoid stressfully raising my blood pressure as a result of the senseless Twitter rants of the Trump Presidency.

In addition to his unpretentious character, my father took great pride in the value of hard work. Working long days to efficiently maintain a stressful schedule of shipping deadlines as a warehouse manager, he had limited time to spend with me at home. Yet I learned that taking pride in one’s “life calling” meant a great deal to him in his determination to support our family with “blood, sweat, and tears” on his meager salary. Similarly finding such intrinsic reasons for working overtime to become an effective classroom teacher in the past, I now follow his commitment to daily labor by sacrificing my precious time to volunteer for humane, political causes I truly believe in for the betterment of myself and country.

IMG_0955As a military veteran, my father learned to arrange his life in a neat and orderly fashion. Never tolerating the slightest appearance of slovenly action, his tool shelves, clothes hangings and bedroom drawers were always impeccably uncluttered. Fittingly, the American flag that was given to my mother at his funeral would be folded in precise neatness as he would have wanted. As I accumulate more physical possessions in limited condo space as I get older, I realize my father’s decision to surround himself with an organized and equally orderly world seem greatly relevant to me.

Being “passive-aggressive” in nature, my father often faced the urge to lash out when reaching an emotional “boil.” How refreshing it seems now to recall that in the face of such inner turmoil, he chose to treat my mother/son with non-chauvinist respect in times of crisis and rarely displayed his legendary temper when company matters did not go his way. I have likewise displayed a “slow burn” mentality in times of threat and crisis. Yet I see now the wise course of containing my emotions when possible in the face of a politically polarized country where angry minds feeds moments of attack on my progressive-minded values.

IMG_0951My father’s life ended prematurely at age 64 in 1991 as his body and mind wore down from the debilitating disease of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I often reason, consequently, that his body paid the price for his stoic pursuit of his physically demanding work days. Yet his humility, work ethic, orderliness, and kindness, remain as a living legacy that I wish to emulate for the balance of my life. I am truly proud to have been his son.

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So Odd To Be “On Edge” In Baseball

Baseball calms my soul whether I’ve played it watched, or simply meditated on it for inner meaning. I would never expect that this pastoral game played on a dusty dirt diamond surrounded by inviting green grass would ever become the setting for a deranged assassin. Yet today would defy my lofty expectations of this sport as a bloody scene of carnage took place at a baseball practice of Republican Congressmen near Alexandria, Virginia today. How do you explain to a child attending their first baseball game today that serious danger might lurk beyond their sight to spoil their innocent fun? Why should a family attend a live game when baseball becomes the setting of attempted mass murder?

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Coincidentally, me wife and I chose this infamous day to attend our first Miami home game on a hot and rainy Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park. Proceeding to the entry gates, ninety minutes before game, I immediately noticed an alarming number of armed policemen patrolling along the stadium perimeter. Sensing it might be wise to it make it easier for security to inspect my small backpack now, I calmly placed it on the designated table, unzipped the bag, opened my binocular case, and flashed my cellphone in front of security personnel.

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Unexpectantly,showing them such contents did not suffice as I was curtly told then to remove (or perhaps dump) everything from my backpack on the table. Hearing conversations take place about the content of these items, it seemed my apple and bag of chips became immediate items of security concern. I then patiently awaited for several minutes for them to make their momentous decision. The silence broke as my apple fell on the floor and I received an aloof directive from one of the officials resulting in their decision to disallow it in the ballpark today.

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Reloading my bag, I spread my arms for the next wave of security. Displaying my cellphone for the third time in this ordeal, I was now told to empty my pockets. All of this activity took place as I felt surrounded by blank police stares, impatient, inspector body language, and an eerie feeling that something would get lost in the item removal shuffle. No doubt, my anger and confusion would eventually subside  as I finally gained access to the fun distractions awaiting me in this air conditioned,  indoor facility.

I reason that we might have chosen the wrong day to see live baseball in Miami. Witness today’s Virginia tragedy then as an unwelcome sign of distrust amongst our American populace that has escalated in the divisive political environment we experience today. Yet this scene took place for this fan who simply wanted to enjoy a Major  League baseball game. Don’t tarnish the game for fans who attend baseball contests to relish the light hearted spirit and peaceful escape from harsh reality today.

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True Tests To Avoid The Daily Grind

It’s nice to be home finally after our ninety six day road trip across America. The timing of off-season living in South Florida over the wet and humid summer allows me to escape the hectic presence of tourist traffic and school routine that will inevitably resurface by September in my surrounding community. Yet it seems difficult to release my mind at times from memories of urban survival every day for almost thirty years as a classroom teacher. It seems I need a set of reminders now to verify my detachment from my former life as I commit to more simplicity and freedom of extended travel in retirement. Imagining my new identity surfacing on the beach as I casually sip on my favored coconut milk, I thus prioritize the following actions on a daily basis to maintain commitment to this desired lifestyle.

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APPRECIATE SILENCE MORE

Picture myself as the white cat who appears at my condo front door every morning now. Be curious to observe the natural environment surrounding you by embracing anything interesting in the present moment. Slow down your “monkey mind” activity with silent yoga and gym workouts. Develop your skill in digital photography as a way to enhance your sensory observations of your natural surroundings. Find a quiet place in the Barnes and Noble Cafe to read quietly in the company of your favorite cup of coffee in finding roads to “authentic history” for wanderlust travel.

GET OFF THE “HIGH ENERGY” TREADMILL

Realize that the fire-pole of daily crisis that you have slid down for years to begin your stressful day no longer serves your interest. Obsessing on perfection in pursuit of career challenge seems unnecessary now. Slow down now and enjoy full course meals. Limit your intake of caffeine from regular coffee and Diet Coke. Drink more water instead. Turn off the “Trump” media disaster by limiting your access to Facebook/Cable News when needed. Turn down your radio volume in the car and switch to non-commercial, new age /classical music stations when possible.

REJECT AMERICAN DREAM “SPIN”

The ideal of materialistic gain no longer appeals to you. As an independent world traveler, you have learned that carrying less not more enhances your frequent travels. Address debt obligations/Medicare with electronic “auto pay” As a paperless world seems more practical for your now, throw out unneeded advertising brochures. Embrace conversations that unite rather than divide according to the globalistic philosophy of the Paris Environmental Summit and third party progressivism of fairness/equality for all. Utilize alternative medicine methods of chiropractic care, sensory-cranial massage, and herbal nutrition to better manage chronic medical concerns. Avoid exorbitantly priced, corporate tickets on Ticketmaster for major concerts/sporting events on weekends.

EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY SAVVY TRAVEL

You taught your academically challenged students in college to research academically in an online course environment. Now it is your turn to find technological solutions to your own informational challenges of extended travel in retirement. Therefore, you must continue to utilize those travel apps that have served you well in the recent past to promote affordable, independent travel. On the road, consulting Siri for Google searches and at home asking Alexa on Amazon Echo for voice activated responses also seem indispensable. Managing the “Cloud” will likewise enable me to make efficient use of my mobile device, picture/video storage space. Eliminating book clutter in road-trip travel with Kindle and streaming personalized music in lieu of CDs for desired music seem equally indispensable now.