Billiette Calling! Born Free!


Born Free! by Billiette S. July 1974

   When I say, “I am glad I am an alcoholic”, some people look at me as if I have rocks in my head.  I am not ashamed of having been afflicted by this illness any more than I am ashamed of having had the measles, which left me with a greater handicap of extreme near-sightedness.  For years I went around half-blind and ashamed of my thick glasses for they are outside of me; and, if people don’t like me because of them, that’s their problem.  Alcoholism left me, not with weakness but the strength and courage to become a mature human being – Born free of the personality defects that made me a self-centered, ego-centric person.

   But it is not just the alcoholic that is in a prison of self today.  Their prisons of self are filled with projection (blaming everyone and everything for their problems), self-pity (poor me, everyone has it better than me), martyrdom (look at all I have done for you), self-hatred (killing, other than with guns or knifing them with their venomous tongues).  Perfectionism, procrastination, dishonesty, resentments, renationalization, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, lust, gossip, and greed are human defects that make mighty prison bars to look through.

   The alcoholic can break through these bars by taking the 4th and 5th Steps and living the 12 Steps of AA.  But what do the other poor people do living behind these bars becoming workaholics, foodaholics, and psychosomatics leaving them mentally or emotionally ill, filled with anxieties, fear, and hatred?  Do they die without ever being set free of their earthly prison?  That is why I say, “I am glad I am an alcoholic, a recovering alcoholic – Born Free – released from the prison of that phony world that so many people are living in today.”

   AA has taught me not to hate myself or society – born free to love my fellow man.  AA has taught me courage, the courage to become an independent person – born free of fear and despair.  AA has taught me to be honest with myself and others – born free of lies and alibis.  AA has taught me to be me and not to be a phony – born free of inferiority feelings.  AA has taught me to be thankful for what I’ve got today – born free of jealousy of what others have.

  In AA I found God and fellowship.  I have learned to know the truth about myself and “the truth shall set you free.”  Yes, I am glad I am an alcoholic – born free to grow, to change, and to live as I have never lived before – free from anxiety, fears, hatred, and guilt!  The happy person does not always have wealth, fame, or intelligence in large measure.  But h/she does have the ability to be grateful for whatever she has, be it much or little.

Receiving Billiette’s Call – Born Free!

   Billiette’s Born Free column has many ideas needing attention!  So many that we will only tend a few here, with others carried forward to other Callings. Billie begins with what seems a strange idea that she is happy she became an alcoholic – it was an infliction that woke her up to the mess she was making of her life – a beautiful life she had been building with hard work growing up in the 1920s and 30s without a stable father but with a strong mother – Amanda. What could have happened to Billie’s thinking to cause such a tragedy?  I sense she is telling us in this column but it is a challenge to understand. It seems Mom’s extreme near-sightedness and her thick glasses affected her ability to actually see outside things and people, thus causing her to shut herself off from others. Billie was finally able to overcome her psychological isolation with her involvement in Fargo’s AA Chapter. 

   Billiette reveals a fact of life that I think we all experience in some way or other – it is an early life experience that leaves a ‘scare’ in us.  In Billie’s case, it was her poor eyesight requiring her to wear think glasses resulting in a self-image that was ill. She overcomes this and becomes a successful dancer, married high school star athlete, becomes a good wife, and the mother of five sons. Billie is one of Fargo’s elite personalities when alcohol grabs hold and brings her crashing down. However, she then says that “Alcoholism left me, not with a weakness but a strength and courage to become a mature human being – Born free of the personality defects that made me a self-centered, ego-centric person.”  I have an issue with Mom suggesting here that self-centered and ego-centrism are personality defects. They are essential aspects for developing our personalities, however, in Billie’s case alcohol interfered with her continuing development into adulthood.

   Billiette has identified a key factor in this development, our interaction with others, which involves projection, she defines it as “blaming everyone and everything for their problems.” Wikipedia’s definition is that “psychological projection is the process of misinterpreting what is ‘inside’ as coming from ‘outside’. It forms the basis of empathy by the projection of personal experiences to understand someone else’s subjective world. In its malignant forms, it is a defense mechanism in which the ego defends itself against disowned and highly negative parts of the self by denying their existence in themselves and attributing them to others, breeding misunderstanding and causing untold interpersonal damage. A bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target, or a person who is confused may project feelings of confusion and inadequacy onto other people. Projection incorporates blame-shifting and can manifest as shame dumping. Psychological projection has been described as an early phase of introjection”. Here is a lot to unpack, which we will do.  

   To begin, here is an excellent presentation on Carl Jung, the Shadow, and the Dangers of Psychological Projection and the video transcript.  We will use these resources as we move further into Billiette’s experience and understanding of alcohol and drug abuse. Open your journal and write a page on what has and/or is happening in your life.

Steven S. February 3, 2022

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Billiette Calling! Giving Thanks


Giving Thanks by Billiette S. November 1973

   ‘Tis the season of Thanksgiving and it brings to mind that coming into AA is like entering through the small end of a cornucopia – a horn of plenty.  We enter feeling rather small, defeated, lonely, a lost soul.  We wonder, what we’ll find here?

   When I first entered the cornucopia of Alcoholics Anonymous, my eyes went searching up the empty walls, and they’re looking down from the top were a lot of smiling, friendly faces, and their “Higher Powers”.  They held out their hands to encourage me to fill my cornucopia with the fruits of life that AA has to offer.

   First of all, they tell us to throw away our grapes of wrath and put into our new life a date – our dry-date.  We then add the fruits of faith, hope, and love.  Then a plentiful crop of trust, patience, humility, forgiveness, truthfulness, serenity, helpfulness, optimism, and cheerfulness is added.

   Then sprinkle it all with nuts for we all need humor in our lives.  To be able to live and to laugh at it all is not easy, but it is a realistic goal to achieve at the top of our cornucopia.

   Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries and I, for one, have not had the easiest years.  However, by the Grace of God and AA, I have much to be thankful for!  Last year at this time I asked God to let me die and take the pain from my legs.  Recently, at our 26th Anniversary Banquet, I danced without pain – something I never thought I’d ever be able to enjoy again.  I danced, thanking God for every step I danced; thanking God for all those wonderful sobered-up alcoholics – oh, such beautiful people; thanking God that I, too, was an alcoholic or else would never have known such love; thanking God for Father John, who always lifts me spiritually when the baas hit me: thank God for all the blessings I have received in my AA way of life.

   I was filling my cornucopia with the most important fruit of all Thanksgivingness to God.

   A Thanksgiving Proclamation was stated by Calvin Coolidge, that is so appropriate to us in AA that it should be a must in all our cornucopias –

We have been a most blessed people.  We ought to be the most thankful people.

     So, to be forever a favored, grateful, blessed and thankful people, we must always be aware of the grapes of wrath and remove them from our cornucopias.  If they remain, they may ferment and we all know the consequences of consuming the residue of fermented grapes!

Prayer of The Month

Our Father, it is our need to bee eternally and daily grateful, yet we are inclined to be forgetful.  So, during this period of national Thanksgiving, help us to be more then ever mindful of that which we receive by looking for opportunities to share whatever is ours to share – in gratitude. Amen

Receiving Billiette’s Call – Giving Thanks

   Billie presents several images to assist our Receiving Giving Thanks – they are the cornucopia, grapes of wrath, and a wine press – she is writing this as I can remember her preparing our 1973 Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner  – oh, what a thankful image to still have! The cornucopia image reveals that we all enter the World naked, with no possessions, and slowly move into life gathering the fruits that nourish our well-being.  The Grapes of Wrath, of course, brings to mind John Steinbeck’s famous novel, which received the 1962 Nobel Prize, which was a time Billie and Orlando had built their new basement bar and were heavily entertaining their Elk’s Club crowd.  In April 1962, I had my first beer, a quart, in the back seat of Rick’s car, graduating from high school a month later.  This memory even now gives me a headache.

   Steinbeck’s novel was published in 1939 the year my parents graduated from Fargo Central High School – WWII was just getting started.  Arvid Scherling’s book The Dogma of Sinful Constitution was 10 years old and my grandparents, Arvid and Sophia, were entering the 20th year of Scherling Photography’s operation. I read the Wikipedia entry on John’s book and the section on ‘Development’ tells in mid-January 1939 John wrote Viking Press editor Pascal Covici wanting him to understand the intent of his book.  John states the intent of writing the book: “Throughout I’ve tried to make the reader participate in the actuality, what he takes from it will be scaled on his own depth and shallowness. There are five layers in this book, a reader will find as many as he can and he won’t find more than he has in himself.”[13] Susan Shillinglaw’s (2014) book On Reading the Grapes of Wrath writes about this very interesting psychoanalytical statement.

   The Amazon entry calls Shillinglaw’s book biography of a book that “explores the cultural, social, political, scientific, and creative impact of The Grapes of Wrath and its enduring legacy.” What is important to realize is that the conclusion of the Joad family story “remains eerily relevant in today’s America and stands as a portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, in the souls of the people.”  So, again we are encouraged to examine the soul’s logical life and end with a suggestion to watch The Parallel Society vs Totalitarianism | How to Create a Free World []. And remember this was posted some time ago, Capitalism: A Love Story []

Steven S. March 25, 2022

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Can there be a ‘force’ for good?

I re-watched Christopher Hitchens’ epic opening statement at the Intelligence Squared debate in 2009, is the Catholic Church a Force for Good in the world? which may be viewed in its entirety at this link… Today, if we consider Vladimir Putin to be ‘evil’ we might need to slightly shift our aim from the Popes.

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Vladimir Putin – September 2015

Vladimir Putin Interviewed by Charlie Rose – 60 Minutes – September 2015

Among the topics discussed:

00:00 – 05:48 – Russia’s Presence in Syria

05:48 – 09:21 – Putin’s Philosophy on Sovereign Democracy

09:21 – 19:39 – Putin’s Image and Popularity in  Russia

19:39 – 23:17 – Russia and the  United States

23:17 – 45:19 – Ukraine

45:19 – 47:42 – Putin’s Vision of Russia’s Future

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The Art of War

3/22/2022 7:30 AM Morning Page.  There is news that Putin may be considering the use of gas and chemical weapons! Can we imagine what this is going to look like when the actions Putin is considering are taken? He will have control of a bombed-out land with gorilla-warriors hiding and fighting everywhere.  To make Ukraine completely subservient, Putin is going to need to use gas and chemicals.  There is no other way to subdue the Ukraine combatants.  Can we see NATO and the World letting this happen? What a mess – the West simple was asleep – seems did not see this coming.  And we heard that Biden was in the process of shifting attention and resources from Europe to Asia. What is it they have been doing at West Point?  Certainly, they have not been reading Sun Tzu’s  The Art of War. Jordan Peterson and Victor Hanson’s analysis is enlightening and they have studied “the are of war”.

Sun Tuz

Jordan Peterson: PUTIN IS THE NEW HITLER | Ukraine – Russia Conflict 2022

3/22/2022 8:32 AM  I am on my 2nd cup of coffee and this morning page is soon ending. I will be returning to other writing and cleaning house and yard – i still have them. It looks to be a nice day suggesting that I begin to look into the garage and yard to see what beckons me.  This first clip by Jordan is good and he suggests that we look at what Victor is saying about the war in Ukraine. Finally, we listen to how to get others’ respect.

Victor Davis Hanson | War in Ukraine

How To Make People Respect You

“How To Get Respect Without Being A Bully – Jordan Peterson recently expertly handled a debate during an interview with BBC’s Channel 4 news (The video was called: Jordan Peterson debate on the gender pay gap, campus protests, and postmodernism). And JBP did it without being a bully or being aggressive. So how do we get respect without being a bully? Well, we often think that getting respect and being aggressive go hand in hand. Because unfortunately, it’s often the bully that gets the most respect in the schoolyard and even in the workplace. But Jordan Peterson is an exemplar of a different way to generate a massive amount of respect. So in this video, we’re going to explore 3 main things he does that force people to respect you WITHOUT being a bully. Now, we focused a lot on respect in this video but that’s actually just one out of four emotions that are going to create an amazing first impression on anyone cross-culturally. Now, if you’re curious about the other three emotions that you want to create in that person are to make an amazing first impression, I made a video on that that breaks down what those four emotions are so that you can start using them today to consistently make killer first impressions”(YouTube).

There, I am on 3rd cup of coffee trying to make it to noon here in Fargo ND – the securest place in the World! Think about this – ND is at the geographical center of North America and has missiles.

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The Mathematics to Somewhere in Time – Dreaming

3/12/2022 1:53 AM Morning PageMy dream just now was having an experience with several others, me insisting that the responsibility be evaluated precisely since I felt my contribution had been less than the others. I was working on the mathematical formula for this evaluation.  Later, I started watching the Netflix movie The Last Czars, which is a six-part movie that premiered on July 3, 2019. “The series follows the reign of Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia’s Romanov Dynasty, from his accession to the throne in 1894 to his assassination in 1918.[1][2]” I have seen this movie before but could not clearly remember it. It is sad to see how weak Nicholas’s personality is – he could have left Russia and lived a comfortable life in England with his wife, four daughters, and son but did not see what was coming.  I now remember watching the movie Doctor Zhivago which was “a 1965 historical romance film directed by David Lean with a screenplay by Robert Bolt, set in Russia during World War I and the Russian Civil War. It stars Omar Sharif in the title role as Yuri Zhivago, a married physician and poet whose life is altered by the Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War, and Julie Christie as his love interest Lara Antipova.”  Who was not in love with Julie Christie?

I have been checking in on news from Ukraine as the Russians advance deeper into this country. Nicholas II’s mother lived in Kyiv. What I am now curious about is how does Vladimir Putin’s life over-lap Nickie’s?  One overlap I quickly saw is that Putin was born in St Petersburg where Nicholas II lived and his life ended. I am not sure now what I am searching for – seems I seek a synchronistic experience that somehow ties these characters together across time. Like in the movie Somewhere in Time, where “Richard Collier, a playwright who becomes obsessed with a photograph of a young woman at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. Through self-hypnosis, he wishes himself back in time to the year 1912 to find love with actress Elise McKenna (portrayed by Seymour) but comes into conflict with Elise’s manager, William Fawcett Robinson (portrayed by Plummer), who fears that romance will derail her career, and resolves to stop him” (Wikipedia). 

Well, okay there you have it, Steven, can I now return to bed?  Seems a link might be the year 1912.  What was happening in Nicholas II life in 1912 and what was happening in Putin’s ancestors’ lives at this time which, may help us understand what is now unfolding? I suppose with self-hypnosis and a time machine we might travel back to 1912 to investigate. I should get the DeLorean ready. Or do I need the Batmobile? I think the Batmobile is needed.  Better yet, we use Vladimir’s presidential car the Aurus Senat – looks like the Batmobile!

3/12/2022 3:00 AM  Okay, this writing release (not as good and a good fuck) should now allow me some sleep.  I must begin spending more energy on BC Project.  I am working to get this work published – hoping that it will be a best seller –  All I have to do is Dream… 

I did think that the way these dreams, readings, and journaling are flowing together – is the story.  I begin the story by explaining my experience with the Intensive journal method. “The intensive journal method is a psychotherapeutic technique largely developed in 1966 at Drew University and popularized by Ira Progoff (1921–1998).[1] It consists of a series of writing exercises using loose-leaf notebook paper in a simple ring binder, divided into sections to help in accessing various areas of the writer’s life.[2] These include a dialogue section for the personification of things, a “depth dimension” to aid in accessing the subconscious and other places for recording remembrances and meditations” (Wikipedia).  There, this is what I thought about lying in bed reflecting on the dream that got me out of my warm bed and started his ‘morning page”.  I am going back to bed now, snuggle close to Fannie, and dream on… This is what I have been doing now for years – now it is time to edit my journals. I’ll be back.

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Fyodor Dostoevsky

3/11/2022 5:28 AM I suppose many arm-chair-psychoanalysts, which I admit I think I am, are pondering over their Russian coffee, the psychology of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  I have not gone in search of these dudes but did stumble onto, now on my second coffee, Carl Jung: Psychology of The Devil [], which has me wondering – is Mr. Putin a devil – is he evil?

Next, consider Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist philosopher to be the Greatest Philosopher in History whose books, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons, and The Brothers Karamazov Putin has to have on his bedside table. Dostoevsky explores “human psychology in the troubled socio-political atmosphere of 19th century Russia”, and we might add also in the 20th and still now in the 21st century. We learn that Fyodor’s novels address the psychology of those losing “their reason, who are nihilistic, or who become insane or commit murder”. Sounds like a Russian we know!

“Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote Notes from Underground in 1864 which is considered to be one of the first existentialist works, emphasizing the importance of freedom, responsibility, and individuality. It is an extraordinary piece of literature, social critique, and satire of the Russian nihilist movement as well as a novel with deep psychological insights on the nature of man.”

“Dostoevsky’s most sustained and spirited attack on the Russian nihilist movement is voiced by one of the darkest, least sympathetic of all his characters – the nameless narrator and protagonist known as the Underground Man, revealing the hopeless dilemmas in which he lands as a result. Notes from Underground attempts to warn people of several ideas that were gaining ground in the 1860s including moral and political nihilism, rational egoism, determinism, utilitarianism, utopianism, atheism and what would become communism” (Wikipedia).

Another surprise this morning is Fyodor’s 1864 novel Notes from Underground []. Fyodor observes that “utopian society removes suffering and pain, but man desires both things and needs them in order to be happy. He argues that removing pain and suffering in society takes away a man’s freedom. He says that the cruelty of society makes human beings moan about pain only to spread their suffering to others.”  This wiki entry on “Notes From Underground” goes deeper into what 1860 Russia experienced as it rubbed up against Western civilization.  That rubbing never was completed and today we are experiencing an intense rubbing.  Much more time can be spent digging deeper into these underground notes. I can just imagine my history teacher Bill Barney enjoying this!

Jordan Peterson: “Men are not piano keys on Dostoevsky’s Notes From Underground.”

This just received from CBS News “Putin is being investigated for war crimes, but convicting him will likely be difficult.” 3.11,2022 4:08 PM CST.

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Good Morning Ukraine “Fortunate Son”

US is moving F-35 Fighter Jets to NATO.  Good Morning Ukraine “Fortunate Son”.

Neutral Switzerland buys dozens of US F-35 fighter jets at $400B per fighter jet (2016) (02:27)

Good Morning Ukraine “Fortunate Son”

Talking Heads – Burning Down the House LIVE Los Angeles ’83

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Billiette Calling! The Christmas Spirit

The Christmas Spirit by Billiette S. December 1969  

Christmas is a joyous time – a time of love – a time of giving to those we love – a time when we think and long for those distant but not forgotten friends – a time of laughter and friendly companionship with our friends and neighbors – a time when your walk down the busy street and everyone seems as if they want to say Merry Christmas.  Even those commercialistic stores seem to be filled with the Spirit of Christ.

Why is it that most of us seem to lose the Spirit of Christmas the day after Christmas?  If we could keep this Spirit in our hearts every day of our lives, it wouldn’t be long before “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” would become a reality.   

   We in AA have been “God’s chosen people to live this way.  Christ’s birth was a miracle –” Bill W’s spiritual awakening was a miracle, God so loved us alcoholics that the 12 Steps come through Bill W’s awakening.

   We live the 12th Step to help other alcoholics, but there are other ways that we can live the 12th Step.

   Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies of gifts.  The only true gift is a portion of Thyself.”

   Almost anything in the world can be bought for money, except the warm impulses of the heart.  They have to be given and they are priceless in their power to purchase happiness.  “It is not so much the gift of the lover, but the love of the giver”.

   Try spending yourself this year. How?  You know from experience that gift from the heart has given you the most pleasure.  Such a little gift as a compliment, a visit to a sick or lonely person, a long-overdue letter, a greeting card, a telephone call, a smile, a smile act that reflects thoughtfulness and concern.  These little things you give are the truest form of giving.

   Every one of us in AA has asked for God’s help to keep our sobriety.  Let us in AA asks God’s help to carry the Christmas Spirit over into each day of our lives.

  Give from your heart, and you will see what magic will come into your life!

Receiving Billiette’s Call – The Christmas Spirit

We took our yearly family photo at Christmas when it was sent to others wishing them a Happy New Year. This photo was taken January 1962 at 1422 River Road Fargo.

In the photo of Dad and I, we can see that mom took it in front of our first Christmas tree as a family in December 1944.  I grew up with Mom, Dad, and I praying “lay me down to sleep, I pray my soul to keep”… we said the 1662 Anglican BCP Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, which art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy Name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done|
on earth, as it is in heaven:
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.

I changed the above Lord’s prayer to the following when teaching it to my children.

Our Fathers and Mothers, which art with us,
Hallowed be our Names;
Our kingdom come;
Our wills be done
on earth, as it is in heaven:
Help us this day produce our daily bread;
And help us understand our trespasses,
as we seek to understand those that trespass against us;
And help us understand temptation,
For ours is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
Forever and ever. Amen.

This Receiving finishes with a call to Ukraine, Russia, China, Germany, France, Spain, England, Brazil, Cuba, United States, all Nations to establish Parallel Societies creating a freer World.

Steven S.  March 2, 2022

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Vladimir Putin Manic Monday

2/28/2022 7:49 AM Morning PageMonday Monday by The Bangles [] starts our day. 

I heard the other day that listening to music while one writes has a motivating impact on what and how one writes.  As I am listening, I used YouTube to peek in at what was happening in the Ukrainian War of 2022 – it seems the aggressor Putin may have misjudged Russian readiness for the engagement.  However, a misjudgment about his conventual preparedness only means he likely will turn to his nuclear weapons. The logic of mutually assured destruction (MAD) which is “a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender[1] It is based on the theory of deterrence, which holds that the threat of using strong weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy’s use of those same weapons. The strategy is a form of Nash Equilibrium in which, once armed, neither side has any incentive to initiate a conflict or to disarm”. To follow Nash’s Equilibrium idea one can read The Power of The Nightmare [ttps://]. Other Parts Power of Nightmare can be watched.

At the end of this blog The Power of The Nightmare are linked these related posts: Bulworth “Lonesome” Trump, Donald’s got his gun, Kapitalism on the Couch.  Can you imagine, listening to Trump at CPAC last Saturday that he may be running again for US President?

However, this morning we will watch and listen with our 3rd ear Why are Most People Cowards? | Obedience and the Rise of Authoritarianism[] and reflect on our own cowardness. Courage is the key variable to be addressed.  Time for another cup of coffee…  I still have Fannie harassing me to be doing work.  It is now 9 am and this MPage took me an hour to pen – Fannie does not consider this work. What is work?  Wiki states this: Work (human activity), intentional activity people perform to support themselves, others, or the community.  Then we can add this thought on a “work of artartworkart piecepiece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetic value. Except for ‘work of art’, which may be used of any work regarded as art in its widest sense, including works from literature and music, these terms apply principally to tangible, physical forms of visual art.” So, the little woman’s definition of work has to have the component of earing money to live life. So, far my writing art work has not earned a penny, however, what I am doing should still be defined as work.  To get her off my case I will need to earn a dime.  Who will pay me two nickels for these paragraphs? Brother or sister do you have a dime?

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