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enjoy yourself
Thoughts and comments about making life even better
Curated by Kenneth Weene
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Upcoming Passport Changes May Impact Your Summer Travel

Upcoming Passport Changes May Impact Your Summer Travel | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The first change of note is that paying an extra fee will no longer expedite the process of receiving your passport. In fact, a backlog through 2018 should be expected. A large amount of passports are due to expire in 2017 so many passports will be in the process of renewal soon.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I no longer travel abroad so I've allowed my passport to lapse. If you're thinking of traveling, best make sure yours is up to date. 
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Once Upon A Word

Once Upon A Word | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A blog from creative authors who write books, novellas, and short stories and love to interact with readers and other authors.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I enjoyed doing this interview and hope you'll stop by to read it and perhaps to leave a comment. 
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The Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working

The Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Scientists have found that individual responses to different diets—from low fat and vegan to low carb and paleo—vary enormously.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Here's a simple takeaway and no I don't mean a curry. Weight loss is as individual as every other aspect of human change. Those who submit to predetermined regimes often gain back their weight, sometimes even gaining more. And, our bodies are often sabotaging the changes we have tried to make by adjusting metabolism rates. 
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The Best Bacon in America

The Best Bacon in America | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
One of the most difficult parts of being America's Bacon Critic is that I haven't been able to lovingly catalogue every single bacon tha
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Many things are important to me. At a personal level the list includes cheese, coffee, and bacon. Bacon? Yes, I admit it. I love bacon. Show me a bacon-cheeseburger and I'll salivate like a Saint Bernard. So, how could I resist sharing this article about the best bacon in America. The only down-side of posting this, now I'm thinking breakfast. Where can I find some egg salad with a double side of BACON? Have a tasty day. 
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9 Impressive Wooden Sculptures Made From Single Trees - ODDEE

9 Impressive Wooden Sculptures Made From Single Trees - ODDEE | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Take a look at these amazing pieces by talented sculptors who bring the art of wood carving to another level.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When we lived on Long Island, there was a fellow who lived nearby and who sculpted from logs using a chainsaw. He did pretty cool bears and birds, but these pieces of art are way finer and grander. Consider my favorite, the circular staircase in Lednice Castle (Czech Republic). And these are objects all carved from one tree.
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This Map Shows Where People Are the Most Stressed in America

This Map Shows Where People Are the Most Stressed in America | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Who's suffering from the most stress in America? See stress levels in each state in this interactive map of America
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Stress! It's all around us. In some states more so than others. If I start to feel stressed, I have a secret remedy. I pick up a good book. Reading works. Try it by finding your next mental vacation at https://www.amazon.com/Kenneth-Weene/e/B002M3EMWU  ;
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Lonely Snail Rejected by Suitors Who Choose to Mate With Each Other Instead

Lonely Snail Rejected by Suitors Who Choose to Mate With Each Other Instead | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Meet Jeremy, a brown garden snail in the U.K. who is struggling to find love, and the scientist who is trying to help him
Kenneth Weene's insight:
How many of us can identify with Jeremy. Somehow the mates we want just don't want us. Perhaps our shells, like this lonely snail's, coil in the wrong direction. Luckily, I found my perfect mate despite the odds. Have you? 

How did you meet? Did a researcher put you in the same box at the lab? I think this scientist rather nasty to have placed two other snails in with Jeremy. Now if she had left only one in there, perhaps desperation? On the other hand, would that be the equivalent of rape? Would the scientist be Jeremy's procurer? 

I wish I could say stay tuned to find out if Jeremy finds love. However, I don't think this is going is a story that is going to find its way onto a live video feed. A bit too slow moving for most of us. 
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Report: Trump Official Offered Insurers Quid Pro Quo For O'Care Repeal

Report: Trump Official Offered Insurers Quid Pro Quo For O'Care Repeal | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
This story has been updated to include the response of the Trump administration. A top official in the Health an
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The healthcare industry said that the administration in secret told them it would continue subsidizing those in need to keep premiums down. Then the administration tells us that they simply haven't decided what to do about those subsidies. The takeaway for me is that healthcare is a complicated topic that shouldn't have been dealt with without proper study and consideration. Obamacare is certainly less than ideal, but the Republican attack on it is even shoddier work. What we really need is to have things stand in place while a properly constructed and motivated commission works to come up with a comprehensive plan. 

My guess, that plan would look a lot like single-payer administered by private companies such as we have available for Medicare. It will include data usage such as the French have incorporated, which will cut lots of expenses, and it would probably not include some of the treatments and off-prescription medications that are offered in Germany. I would expect that co-pays would continue and might have to be higher for specialists than general practitioners. Prevention and other wellness services would be an integral part of the program. 

Were I on that commission, I would also try to push education for wellness and tie it incentives and sadly also to negative incentives, just as we do with say drivers' ed and insurance vs. DUIs and insurance. Yes, I would have some form of personalized payment schedules not just a fixed tax rate. That would make a bit of extra work for companies payroll departments, but nothing a decent computer bookkeeping system couldn't handle. 


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9 Awesome Desk Toys - ODDEE

9 Awesome Desk Toys - ODDEE | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
If you need a little downtime during the work hours, you need not look any further than your own office. Check out these nine amazing office gadgets.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If ever there was something I don't need on my desk it's a toy with which to take a break. I mean why else did god provide me with itchy balls in need of a good scratch. As for women, my wife uses her breaks to make lists: shopping, tasks, travel plans, and the things she knows that I will never get around to doing. But, if you are one of those people who need to fidget and aren't happier reading one of my great books, here are some neat toys you can use instead of working. 

Oh, if you'd like one of those books, you find them at:
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Tree nuts help colon cancer patients in new study. But caveats abound

Tree nuts help colon cancer patients in new study. But caveats abound | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Surprising new research suggests tree nuts might be as effective as chemo at keeping colon cancer from recurring after treatment. But there are caveats.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I love tree nuts, almost like they are family. Anyway, I eat them regularly and am regular, so I guess I support this finding or at least agree that a healthy diet is part of staying well and of healing when we are not well. My three favorite nuts are walnuts, pistachios, and cashews; or perhaps I was supposed to mention my brother and two of my cousins there. Anyway, eat well and be happy. 
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9 Cutest Small Towns in America

9 Cutest Small Towns in America | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
To help you get away from the breakneck tempo of your daily routine, we rounded up nine of the cutest small towns for an easy weekend escape, from a picturesque New England coastal haven to a romantic Southern getaway that feels untouched by time.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Of course, I go with one of the wonderful choices from New England. Ever been there? Ever read Broody New Englander? You can find your copy at https://www.amazon.com/Broody-New-Englander-Kenneth-Weene/dp/1502759284/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 
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America's Best Diners

America's Best Diners | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The diner is an American breakfast institution. From Connecticut to Hawaii, New York to New Mexico, Tennessee to Oregon, and everywhere in-between
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I love a good diner meal and this list is something of a treasure for me. I know, I know, you may have differences of opinion based on your personal experiences. But, wouldn't you love to do a comparison road trip? For my part, I always wanted to do a search for the best ------------ (fill in your own blank) by traveling around America. In fact, that is one theme of Times to Try the Soul of Man, except that my protagonist never actually accomplishes that. He's looking for the best apple pie in America. I won't tell you what happens or what it represents, but let's just say that in the end we're all entitled to a piece of the American pie and we all have our own favorites in life...although of course mine are the only correct set. 

Find Times to Try the Soul of Man in print, kindle and audio at https://www.amazon.com/Times-Try-Soul-Kenneth-Weene/dp/0990715876/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 

I hope it will join your list of favorite books. 
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China pledges more than $100 billion to global development - The Boston Globe

China pledges more than $100 billion to global development - The Boston Globe | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
President Xi Jinping of China delivered a sweeping vision of a new economic global order.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Is China making a play for world domination? Of course it is. Is Putin playing along? Sure he is. Why not? China will make a fortune selling infrastructure projects against debt just as the US sells weapons systems, which of course garner much less love form the recipients, and Beijing will get valuable leases on all kinds of raw materials in return. Of course, finding countries that are stable and sane enough to enter into a working "partnership" with China will be a problem for President Xi. I can't, for one, see investing in Pakistan, but the rest of the "Stans" are sitting there waiting for fiscal support. 

Russia has to be part of that Asian development and Moscow hasn't the wherewithal to fuel development east of the Urals. They can, however, hope to enter into a political/economic alliance with Beijing; at least that will be better for Moscow than the attempts of the Clintons to take over the oil of the region. A much bigger possibility for Chinese economic hegemony is Africa, where they have already become major players. With Russia bogged down in issues of Islamic terrorism and Syrian civil war, Mr. Putin may have to pick up the spareribs left by the Chinese hogs. Meanwhile, the US will still be selling weapons to warlords—at least until the people in Africa figure they can do better buying from North Korea. And, honestly, do you think Beijing doesn't want their satrap being the big weapons dealer? 
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Emmanuel Macron: my handshake with Trump was 'a moment of truth'

Emmanuel Macron: my handshake with Trump was 'a moment of truth' | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
French president says his white-knuckle prolonged handshake with US counterpart was designed to show he’s no pushover
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When I was a kid, we would use handshakes as battles for supremacy. Sometimes we would arm wrestle or even plain-out wrestle. But, when you're talking about the relationship between leaders of major powers, this seems rather childish. I would far prefer that these men find ways to cooperate rather than compete, but we are talking Trump and Macron so I guess that isn't going to happen. We can hope that they'll help keep each other's egos under control.

Meanwhile, as the French might say, "Les enfants seront enfantins." 
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Tarahumara Woman Wins Ultramarathon—Wearing Sandals! - Indian Country Media Network

Tarahumara Woman Wins Ultramarathon—Wearing Sandals! - Indian Country Media Network | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
María Lorena Ramírez, 22, and a Tarahumara runner - a people who are renowned for their abilities to run long distances either barefoot or in sandals.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Want a runner to win a normal marathon, find a Kenyan. Want to go the longer distance (31 miles) ultra marathon, find a Tarahumara. And in sandals no less. Of course, she may have been drinking that corn beer. Anyway, I can't run to the mailbox and am duly impressed. 
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Want to make a difference? Try creating parks. Children need to play.

Want to make a difference? Try creating parks. Children need to play. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

Toody Maher is an urban visionary who helped residents in Richmond, Calif., collectively transform a deserted spot. She believes that the most beautiful and enlightened public spaces belong in the most disadvantaged communities.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
When I think about making a real difference in the world, few ideas seem as simple or as effective as creating parks. They can help bring people together and most importantly play inessential to the growth of children. 
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The response from people in Manchester after the attack is the best of humanity.

The response from people in Manchester after the attack is the best of humanity. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Like London, Paris, Mumbai, and New York before it, the city is not giving in to terror.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I always liked Eric Fromm's distinction between those who are biophilic and those who are necrophilic. Clearly, the goal of terrorism is not just to induce fear but to drive people away from life and a belief in its possibilities towards a preoccupation with death. Faced with the awareness of death, presumably people will have to either commit to that which will last beyond them as in the Third Reich or to something that will be them beyond death, some rewarding heaven. 

The very nature of humanism and modernity is to stress the value of life as we are living it. Every act of terrorism, be it individual, through organizations such as ISIS, or state sponsored as in the bombings of other countries, is intended to remind us that life is fleeting and that the bond of biophilia is illusory. 

True courage, the courage not of the brave person but of humanity, is to face the reality of life's impermanence and recognize that such temporal limitations don't matter in the face of the personal search for authentic meaning. That is why terrorism, while it may affect the cowardly among us, will ultimately fail. In the end, it is the realization of our common humanity and our commitment to life that will lift us up. 

Today, we see the power of affirmation in Manchester; it is the same power that history has witnessed in Palestine and in Vietnam and among the survivor of all the holocausts that the worshippers of death have rained down on us, for are we not all one us, one collective species? 

Sadly, governments and organizations often cannot recognize that commonality. Sadly, cowards can spread terror and feat in service to the gods of death. However, I do believe that we shall overcome. Do you?
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Coeur d'Alene Lake Is a World of Adventure - Indian Country Media Network

Coeur d'Alene Lake Is a World of Adventure - Indian Country Media Network | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe, proud of its heritage and environmental stewardship, welcomes visitors to its historic lands in northern Idaho.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I have to admit it, this article makes me want to take a road trip to Northern Idaho. I hope just reading it will give you as must pleasure as it gave me. 
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Rouhani Wins Re-election in Iran by a Wide Margin

Rouhani Wins Re-election in Iran by a Wide Margin | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
President Hassan Rouhani defeated his closest rival, Ebrahim Raisi, 57 percent to 38.5 percent, giving him a mandate to continue his quest to open Iran’s ailing economy to global investors.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I know that to many Americans it hardly matters who is elected to the presidency of Iran. After all, most Americans think Iran is our enemy. It isn't. In fact, sitting between Iraq and Afghanistan it is our natural ally in the world of geo-politics. It is also the bulwark against the spread of the jihadist Islam of ISIS and the extremism taught in the madrases of our putative friend Saudi Arabia. Now, the people of Iran have overwhelmingly supported moving forward and in support of improving ties with America and the West. Will we take advantage of this moment? Hopefully, Mr. Trump, who is currently in the Middle East, will reach out to President Rouhani. A call from him or even a visit in the wake of his remarks in Riyadh calling for all religions and sects to come together to fight those who would destroy humanity would be a great step. If he could get somebody significant from Saudi Arabia to join him in that ground-breaking step, it would be even better. 

By the way, there is no better barricade against expanding Russian influence in the region than an alliance among the major Muslim countries, which has to start with Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt (because of its size). Will Turkey also identify with that region and religious alliance or continue to see itself as part of Europe? That we cannot know, but Iran and Turkey always have some heavy-duty tension going back to the conflict between the Persian and Seljuk empires and then continuing into the Ottoman days. 

When I look into my crystal ball, I do see greater regional governments emerging. Actually the United States, the Soviet Union, and China have all represented that kind of centralization. Today, while Russia is no longer running its vassal state, it still has sway over them. Europe is trying to move towards an integrated government even if Britain is fighting the inevitable and Greek poverty is making the Europeans look at some big issues. 

Such a single governing structure for the Arab world was Muhammed's dream as he spread his religious views. While ISIS is of the same down-side of such dreams as Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, there can be no question that such unification is a force to be reckoned with. 

I look at this puzzlement and think, I'm glad that I only have to write fiction and not run the world. For that game we have  fools, knaves, and madmen. 
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Kill and let kill: The debate surrounding religious rules for slaughtering animals | The Economist

Kill and let kill: The debate surrounding religious rules for slaughtering animals | The Economist | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
THERE are some religious-freedom arguments where even the time-honoured principle of “live and let live” fails to provide democracies with any easy answers. One such dispute concerns animal slaughter.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I have no desire to attack any religion, but I have even less desire to kill animals without thought of their suffering. As a carnivore, I won't make believe that killing animals is still killing, but I would prefer they not suffer. In an idea world, they would be given a sedative that wouldn't have any effect on the human consumers (or other animals) of their flesh and remains. However, lacking that miracle, I think that religious leaders have to find ways to accept stunning. At least, some Muslim clerics have moved in that direction. For orthodox Jews, sadly there has been no such movement. 
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‘Uncle Fat’: meet the chunky monkey now on a crash diet

‘Uncle Fat’: meet the chunky monkey now on a crash diet | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A morbidly obese wild monkey who gorged himself on junk food and soda left behind by tourists has been rescued and placed on a strict diet of lean protein, fruits an
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There are so many morals to be drawn here, so many jokes to be made, so many allusions to politicians and business moguls that I have to refrain from sharing a single one. Instead, simply meditate on this story of the overweight but incredibly socially powerful macaque. I'm sure you will find the relevance in your own life. 

Now, Uncle Fat is in rehab as it were, but what will happen to him when he returns to the streets Bangkok? Will he find work in monkey business or will his old street gang take him back?

At any rate, if you like this story, you'll enjoy the stories of the folks at the Dew Drop Inn. Cal and his buddies may not be as successful as Uncle Fat, but they sure have a lot in common. Here's the book trailer; you can stop in for an Irish coffee right now.
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What chimps understand about keeping secrets that Donald Trump doesn't.

What chimps understand about keeping secrets that Donald Trump doesn't. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A chimpanzee might not be able to read briefings, but they would know better than to spill information to the Russians.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Sure it's humor, but it will also teach you a bit about animal behavior, one of my favorite topics. So enjoy the chimpanzee in the oval office.
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China's Gruesome Dog Meat Festival Canceled, Say Activists

China's Gruesome Dog Meat Festival Canceled, Say Activists | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
China's Yulin dog meat festival, where thousands of canines are bludgeoned to death and eaten on June 21, has been canceled, say activists.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I guess China is throwing the West a bone, but I doubt this means an end to eating dog and cat meat just the end of a fairly new Yulin city festival, one that was probably created by local authorities to generate some tourism. Still, it's a good thing. Now if they can come up with good spay and neuter policies and better rabies control, I might even given China a big woof. Of course, porcine folk might say the same if China banned ribs and bacons. Woof, woof, did I hear bacon? Got to go eat. 
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Ford To Eliminate 1,400 White Collar Jobs In North America and Asia

Ford To Eliminate 1,400 White Collar Jobs In North America and Asia | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The carmaker is coping with a sales slowdown even as it invests aggressively in new technologies like self-driving cars, electrified vehicles and ride-sharing models.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There has to be a slowing of automotive industry, people are buying fewer cars and keeping them longer. At least Ford realizes that the place to cut is in the office and not among those who do things and to cut back in the areas where their marketing is not working, like India and China. Still, no American with a sense of economics in the 20th century can see this iconic automotive firm, and perhaps the one that has over that century been the most consistent, cut back without a sense of foreboding. 
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There’s So Much to Learn From the Montana Special Election

There’s So Much to Learn From the Montana Special Election | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
It's not a referendum on Trump. But the election — between a 'singing cowboy' and a 'carpetbagging billionaire' — can teach the rest of the country about how to actually cultivate and persuade indepen
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I really enjoyed this article. The big message to take away from the Big Sky Country: In the end good politics is always local. Sadly, more and more our political system has shifted away from the local and focused on the Washington power elite, especially within the Democratic party. That is one reason for the Trump populism that won; people don't want the central government running their lives. On the other hand, most folks do want that government making our lives better. That's part of why I think there has to be a relocation of much of the decision making. Why, for example, couldn't the US bureau of mines be relocated to Montana? (Or North Dakota or Arizona?) There certainly isn't a lot of mining inside the beltway. 
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