Sword Tips, the Exkalibur Newsletter: Dec 30, 2021

This is a shorter holiday version to kick off the New Year. I hope you enjoy it.

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Are you Reactive or Proactive?

In the Book, Manage Your Day-To-Day by Jocelyn K Glei, she makes this remark:

Through our constant connectivity to each other, we have become increasingly reactive to what comes to us rather than being proactive about what matters most to us.

I’m not sure that our “constant connectivity to each other“ is the driver of this change … but I acknowledge it’s a valid corollary to the tsunami of information that is so poorly controlled by so many that the natural inclination is to “react“ rather than to “proact” to get the right things done.

In my essay last week, I talked about our tendency to focus each day on what didn’t get done yesterday rather than what we’d like to accomplish today. That, too, is a reactive impulse … sticking our finger in the dike to stem the tide of overwhelm which … too often … knocks your intentional plans off the rails.

When you react to what hits your inbox … without recognizing that your inbox is where other people seek to set your agenda for you … without carefully considering what YOU need to accomplish … you will be continually frustrated and struggle to accomplish your goals.

That’s why you must have a trusted system to control your own agenda … so that when you’re ready to hit the pavement, you know you’re focused on the things that will make the greatest difference IN YOUR LIFE.

That’s why being purposeful about the agenda you intend to follow is the only solution.

You just have to own it!


Gaming Software is a Rocket Ship

$180 Billion Market!

More than three-quar­ters of the $180 bil­lion of con­sumer spend­ing on gam­ing soft­ware this year was in-game pur­chases of reg­u­lar vir­tual goods, ac­cord­ing to New­zoo BV. Around three bil­lion peo­ple world-wide play videogames, the an­a­lyt­ics firm says.


"For all the joy a doughnut brings, fried dough is something you make when you don't have anything better around."

Doughnuts: The fried treat that conquered the modern world

Where did doughnuts come from ?
Read it here

Ode to Joy

Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 featuring his Ode to Joy known around the world ... was written when he was virtually deaf!

Ludwig van Beethoven and his "Ode to Joy"

Considered one of the most important symphonies ever created.The 9th was Beethoven's final major work, the coda to an epic life in music.
Watch this 6m Video

Best Drummer Ever?

With over 180 million views, this is a pretty stunning 4m drum solo using a concrete floor and a bunch of plastic buckets. 

I don't know a better mantra for 2022

The Incredible James Webb Space Telescope

Finally, on Christmas Day, the James Webb Space Telescope was launched into space. It will be about 6 months and a million miles from now before we start to see the images that are expected to give us a glimpse into the moments just after the Big Bang more than …  13 billion years ago.

I know. A little hard to fathom, huh? Here are a couple of articles that will “shed a little light” on the expectations.

Scientific American teases … “now comes the hard part.”

It’s the most ambitious, complex space observatory ever built – 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, capable of seeing stars so distant, their light has been traveling for nearly 14 billion years.


The Kennedy Center Honors

Every year, Connie and I love watching the Kennedy Center Honors, now in its 44th year. They don’t always include our favorite artists or even ones we know very well. Nonetheless, it’s a refreshing reminder of our humanity and the artists who have uplifted our spirits.

This year were some real favorites. Connie is a huge fan of the Divine Miss M, so she was excited to see Bette Midler finally recognized. For me, I can recall countless skits and characters from Saturday Night Live, which Lorne Michaels built from the ground up over 47 years ago. I’m sure you can also name several of its most favorIte stars, skits and characters.

For many of us, the sound track of our lives started in Motown by Barry Gordy, now retired at age 92. As a Michigan kid born and raised, it was close to home and an irresistible influence on music for me … and ever since.

Motown has a seemingly endless list of great talents, from Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Four Tops and Temptations … oh, did I forget to mention Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson?

The Kennedy Center also honored Justino Díaz and Joni Mitchell, two icons in the opera and popular music genres, respectively.

10 Questions for the New Year & the Next

Take a crack at these 10 Questions to highlight your achievements this year.

Then, set yourself up for even more success in 2022 by writing the answers to these questions you want to have when the new year ends.

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1. What was your favorite single day/single event of the year?

2. What was the best thing you built/created?

3. What was the most impactful decision you made for you and your family’s future?

4. What was your best financial achievement?

5. Did you achieve any lifelong goals?

6. What was the hardest lesson you learned over the past year?

7. Did you develop any new hobbies or passions? Are there any new hobbies or passions you want to develop in the New Year?

8. What was the most humbling experience of the past year?

9. What is the one thing you are most grateful for from this past year?

10. What are your personal goals for the coming year? Family goals? Religious goals? Health goals? Financial or career goals?

Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic is tearing through the Bowl Game schedule.

So far, 5 Bowl Games have been cancelled, although the teams unaffected by the virus may play in a different bowl game. All of this is changing on a day-to-day basis.

So far, the CFB National Championship semi-finals is still on for Friday, New Year’s Eve Day.


12:30PM PST

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Cincinnati


4:30PM PST

(2) Michigan vs. (3) Georgia

No bias here. GO BLUE!

Time to Hunt by Simon Gervais

Time to Hunt is the third book in the Pierce Hunt series from Simon Gervais, preceded by Hunt Them Down and Trained to Hunt. Hunt is a former Army Ranger, now a DEA agent (when he’s not suspended).

In the latest novel, Hunt races across Europe to stop an ever-changing threat to national security before it’s too late to save his country or his friends.

When the CIA calls on former Army Ranger Pierce Hunt to find a missing operative and friend, the last thing he wants to do is leave the peace of home and family behind. But there’s more to this mission than meets the eye, and Hunt knows he has no choice but to risk everything to save his friend and protect his country.

Hunt’s target is Jorge Ramirez, who allegedly has information that poses a threat to the national security of the United States. As Hunt tracks Ramirez in Switzerland, he learns that someone close to his operation has betrayed the CIA. His team is attacked, and not everyone makes it out alive.

Facing betrayal on an international scale, Hunt doesn’t know who to trust. The rules of engagement have changed, and the body count is rising. Will he find out the truth in time, or will this be Hunt’s final mission? [Amazon]

Notwithstanding the expected author’s disclaimer that there are no prerequisites to each book, I always recommend starting with the first book in the series. That approach gives you a much better understanding of the series arc as well as a chance to binge read much like you might do with a newly-discovered TV series. When you identify a great character, it’s an extra kick to follow the growth and development of the series, the author and its primary character(s).

Gervais has also written the Mile Walton series. You can find my discussion of these books here:

You’ll find plenty of additional suggestions for novels in the Mystery-Thriller-Suspense genre by clicking the button below.


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