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I don't know what you were up to this past weekend, but I spent most of mine outside gardening. Actually, gardening is a glorified name for what I was really doing – collecting and burning weeds for something like 12 hours straight. Apparently, that's what you have to do when your neighbor to the south is the state's most successful tumbleweed farmer, every wind gust generously delivers more of his tremendous crop and the state doesn't even consider this tumbleweed – a variety of Russian Thistle – a noxious weed.

Everything else Russian (I kid you not) is on the noxious weed list: Russian Knapweed – check, Russian Olive (and that's a tree, 'mind you) – check. But when it comes to Russian Thistle – it is not on the list, but it is on the ground! How do they ever come up with those lists?

I imagine a bunch of state paid farm boys sitting around a table, cigars in mouth, beers in hand, going over the list: African rue – nope boys, that's one immigrant flower I'd like to stay away… Camelthorn – nope, let's keep them animals in the Saharan desert… Mediterranean sage – hmm, isn't that somewhere in the Middle East? Let's wipe out any sleeper cells before they have a chance to explode on us… Absinth wormwood – I sure do like that little weed, but let's not forget who signs our fat paychecks… Black henbane – sure is a pretty flower, but you never know… Canada thistle – it's freezing here at night as it is… Chinese clematis – now that they have taken away our jobs, how dare they suggest that we import their vines?... Eurasian watermilfoil – that Eurasia is so small – it's not even on the map, but oh so slimy they even have their own brand of ooze!... Russian – oh let's not even bother with them Ruskies – put them all on the list – you never know when they sober up and start another cold war... No, no wait, we can't do that guys. Don't you recognize this cute little spiny plant? Yes, that's right, it's growing all over your property as well. Can you believe they call it "Russian Thistle"? It must be all some kind of a mistake – let's just cross it of that list… Venice mallow…

I set out writing about keeping in touch with friends and what you are reading instead is a treatise on weeds? But wait, there is an unexpected connection here somewhere… You see, when you spend the time outdoors doing physical mechanical labor (my computer science friends are especially encouraged to try this some time), your mind is free to wander, think and examine. At times like these, my mind goes over the names and faces of friends, relatives and business acquaintances that I neglect to call as often as I would like. One by one I talk to all of you in my mind, as I collect weeds or go about my other everyday chores. But, unfortunately, that is a one way conversation, and I have no opportunity to hear back from all of you. So, I ask you to join me here online with your own blogs and share your life.

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Are you currently bullish or bearish on the economy and the stock market?:

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