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Leaving the place better than we found it
Seeing with my eyes closed
Thomas Jefferson on gun control
How to lie convincingly
Our hardy heartland
Breaking the cycle
How to catch the sun's comings and goings
You are here
Leveraging the internet to build our walls
Twitters from the past
And the invincibility of youth
Without ego projection
Yet another gift of the road
The charming side of obstinance
The creative part of photography
A movie critic looks in the mirror
We are not alone
As part of the system
Mastering your master
The end of Kumbaya
The wanderer's poet
Running out of dirt
Striking a balance
The Bay of Fundy, where the sea breathes
How to photograph them with anything, even your cellphone
A simple question we get every day
We may be failing to fail
And why no one should hesitate to examine them
Becoming a hero in one's own life story
A writing assignment
A new discovery of something old
Finding new eyes to see old landscapes
Hick humor
Toys for photographing wild places
Experiencing life with God
A radical thought about our radicals
Redemption with style
Hidden heroes among us
Resetting our parallel processor
A village with heart
A lesson from the road
The bullet dodged
A soul sparkles
Isolation in style
Painless ways to lose your virginity : 11/12/15
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Thoughts from the inside

I get a kick out of my GPS gal referring to Missouri as misery, which is quite inaccurate for this fine state.

Lots of country chatter around here about border security, Trump's wall, and immigration in general, so I thought I would weigh in seeing how I am an immigrant, actually a refugee, which is like an immigrant but faster on his feet.

My friends know I've done well financially, partaking of this fine country's life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I'm not embarrassed to declare my patriotism for a nation that took us in with nothing but the clothes on our backs, and I plan to leave behind a legacy of giving back.

Among my refugee & immigrant friends, such prosperity and feelings of gratitude are common. How this came about is perhaps best explained by the spoon incident at Camp Kilmer, an army base in New Jersey whose barracks formed our refugee camp.

We lined up in the chow hall with our steel trays, the tubs of food bubbling in front of us, but the line just stood there. I knew not one word of English, but the rest of the gang somehow conveyed that we were waiting for the servers.

I'm sure one of the crusty sergeants wondered if we thought ourselves royalty, but that wasn't the problem. The problem was that the spoons were turned toward us. As one of us who knew a few words of English explained to the sergeant, someone would surely take more than his share.

The word eventually passed along the line that the spoons were turned toward us because we could take as much as we wanted.

"Preposterous," came the collective response. "There must be some mistake." The line didn't move.

A soldier finally grabbed the wrist of the fellow at the head of the line, laid his hand on the spoon, and motioned for him to get to work. He shot a sheepish look over his shoulder for guidance, but we were of no help. His hunger broke the stalemate and he loaded his plate. When my turn came, the unguarded spoon was still turned toward me.

A collective murmur flowed through the line, "What kind of country have we lucked into?"

That was the moment that we all decided to work harder than ever before, to become valuable human beings, and to earn the right to call this our home.

So how has my immigration left me feeling about today's immigration problem? As much as I still feel immigrants bring more than they take, I don't like illegal aliens cutting in line.

And no, I'm not about to call them the politically correct undocumented workers. That obscures the problem. They are not workers with a paperwork problem. They have broken our laws, and if I have learned anything being an immigrant, it's the integrity of a nation governed by laws.

As much as I still feel Trump is a self-absorbed Neanderthal, I find myself agreeing more with his immigration policy, actually all we have are slogans, than Hillary's ideas to start by giving everyone a path to citizenship. If your boat has a leak, first you plug the leak, then you bail. With the borders secure, I'm sure America would show compassion for the illegals whose only criminal intent had been hunger.

If Trump could get over his belligerent nature, he would see an opportunity to cooperate with the Mexicans, not just to stop illegal aliens, but also the flow of drugs and guns causing such turmoil south of the border.

With our capabilities in sensors, drones, autonomous patrol vehicles, and so much technical imagination, we could foster an industry making America the leader in border security. So many places around the world would become more peaceful as customers of such an industry, starting with the Middle East.

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Mark Twain's birthplace

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Before dawn on the Mississippi

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Hannibal before dawn, Mark Twain's hangout

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St. Louis Gateway Arch

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630 feet high

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The Old Courthouse

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Staring up at the courthouse ceiling

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