The Thought for the Day – Deng Ming-Dao

…the ultimate opponent is the warriors own self…To actually overcome one’s own defects is the nature of victory. Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao


It is not for the first time that Deng Ming-Dao is providing our Thought for the Day. As we tend to note every hour on the hour, 365 Tao’s influence on us has been profound, and we certainly hope you enjoy its insights when we offer them.

As we frequently note here, we were all issued assorted talents at birth. These talents vary from person to person. I  can write and give a pretty good speech but if you need someone to help fix your car, call someone else. You have your talents, too, and those that get on in this world are usually those that have maximized their talents. And those talents don’t have to bring us fame and fortune, either, to ensure a happy life. All we have to do is get the most out of them, because when we do that, what is meant to happen in our life generally does.

…the ultimate opponent is the warriors own self.

But while all of have our own distinct talents, we also have our own, unique set of defects, because all of us were issued those at birth, too. It is not always easy to get the most out of our talents. Every day there are a hundred different distractions. Every day we must overcome ourselves, be it a fear of success or a fear of failure or the fear of the unknown that attends the start of any great enterprise. One of our many defects is we are amongst the greatest procrastinators our species has produced.

To actually overcome one’s own defects is the nature of victory…

When our time comes to die we are going to have to review our life. We will ask ourselves if we made our time serve us, or if we merely served a sentence while on this planet. But, really, we shouldn’t wait that long. Every day we should be asking ourselves this question and we must be our most stringent examiner because oftentimes the biggest barrier between us and what we want in this life looks us in the mirror every morning.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose/January 20, 2018

The Daily Dose/January 20, 2018
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Notes from around the Human Experience…

USA! USA!: Nothing ever changes in our fractured, partisan, bickering government. In 2013 the Republicans forced a two-week government shutdown by holding a spending bill hostage over the funding of ObamaCare. This year the Democrats, showing that imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery, are holding a spending plan hostage over immigration.

The result is the same. Because an agreement wasn’t reached in the United States Senate before midnight Friday, the government lacks the legal authority to spend money and assorted non-essential government services will be shut down. Exactly what has yet to be announced. During the 2013 shutdown about 40 percent of the federal workforce was furloughed.

We’re In For Some Dry, Technical Matter, Aren’t We?: Officially, the government has shut down 18 times since the Congressional Budget Act was passed in 1974.

Dry, Technical Matter: The Act detailed, for the first time, Congress’ role in the budget process. It was passed by a frisky Congress in the final days of the Nixon Administration and while the Administration didn’t particularly like it, Nixon signed it because he was, of course, knee-deep in Watergate and hardly in a position to further annoy Congress.  

Really Dry, Technical Matter: Before the 1974 Act, the government operated under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, which directed the president to submit a budget to Congress. It was designed to consolidate government spending and was signed by President Warren G Harding in 1921.

The Bottom Line: This is, of course, further manifestation that our government is fractured, partisan and bickering mess that we continue to tolerate every two years at the ballot box. We can blame Congress and the White House only so much because we elected everyone there.

And while it is true Congress and the White House bicker like this regularly, it is another instance of the GOP – in control of both the executive and legislative branches – showing they remain utterly incapable of governing.

IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING, AT LEAST UNTIL THEY CHOP YOUR HEAD OFF: Charles I, king of England, Scotland and Ireland, goes on trial for treason and other crimes on this date in 1846. Charles had fought the armies of the English and Scottish parliaments from 1642 until his defeat in 1645 in what History refers to the English Civil War.  

For his part, Charles I believed in the divine right of kings, which had gotten into this mess in the first place, and claimed that no court had jurisdiction over a monarch. The court trying him begged to differ, found him guilty and on January 26 condemned him to death. He was beheaded on February 2.

It’s Good To Be The King, At Least Until You Abdicate: Edward VIII becomes king of Great Britain on this date 1936, succeeding his father George V, who had died. Edward would serve less than a year, abdicating in December after it became clear he could not marry his love, the soon-to-be twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson and continue on the throne. Edward would be succeeded by his brother Albert, who reigned as George VI, the father of Britain’s current monarch Elizabeth II.

“I  Do Solemnly Swear…”: Franklin Delano Roosevelt becomes the first president inaugurated on January 20 on this date in 1937. Roosevelt was being sworn in for his second term, the change coming about as a result of the passage in 1933 of the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution.

About Time: 52 Americans, held hostage by Iranians at the US embassy in Tehran, are released from captivity on this date in 1981. The release came immediately after newly-inaugurated President Ronald Reagan finished his inaugural address.

The hostages were not flown immediately home. First, they were paraded around Algeria because Algeria had helped secure their release, then they were flown to an air force hospital in what was then known as West Germany, then they were obliged to spend no small amount of time in New York where the festivities included a ticker-tape parade.

FunFact: The embassy had been overrun on November 4, 1979. It was originally planned as a mere sit-in by some malcontent students, but the crowd kept getting bigger and support from Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini led to them taking the embassy over.

Not every diplomat was taken hostage. Some found refuge in the British, Canadian or Swedish embassies and some were eventually smuggled out using fake Canadian passports and masquerading as a film crew.

Quotebook: It was hard to believe he had evolved through the natural process of conception, birth and growing up. – McKinley Kantor, Andersonville

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Wake Island was named after Captain Samuel Wake, who rediscovered the island in 1796 while commanding the Prince William Henry.

Today’s Stumper: Before the passing of the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution, on what date were presidential inaugurations held? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – Charles Bukowski

I had always been good company for myself. – Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye


Charles Bukowski (1920-94) was a German/American writer and poet and Ham On Rye is a profound book told in the first person by Henry Chinaski, a character of Bukowski’s who is actually his alter ego. Our introduction to this book came entirely by chance, us coming across the manuscript in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California a few feet from a Gutenberg Bible. The manuscript was open to a page where Chinaski is about to get beaten by his father for the first time, a passage we read many times before purchasing the book in the gift shop. As a side note, a column Bukowski once wrote for an underground newspaper in Los Angeles earned him is own FBI file.

It’s not easy to go it alone in this life. People need people. Whether it’s a kid needing his family or a husband needing his wife, very few people are cut out for being alone. It’s the way we humans are built. Heck, we’re cut out for solitude more than most and even we threw up our hands several years ago and got married, unable to further fend for ourselves.  

I had always been good company for myself…

Those that get on in this life either are born with or acquire the capacity to be good company for themselves. This is important because the only way we can be comfortable with others is to be completely comfortable with ourselves. The way to do this is to resist outside influences and take the time to get to know ourselves from the inside out, to find the talents we were born with and to get the most out of them. We must learn to like ourselves despite our myriad faults and imperfections.

We are the only person we will see every day of our lives. Others will come and go, but every day we must look ourselves in the mirror. It’s important we like and are comfortable with what we see.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose/January 17, 2018

The Daily Dose/January 17, 2017
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Notes from around the Human Experience…

WELL, WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?: We were doing some browsing recently seeing what our fellow humans were up to when we came across this headline:

The 2017 Freshman All-American Football Team

The left-handed quarterback pictured looked as if he was still anticipating his first shave and some further research showed the list was an All-American team of freshmen high school football players!

Our first thought was this is insane. These are punk freshmen, they should be having trouble with algebra, popping zits and trying to scam on chicks. Putting them on an All-American football team cannot be doing them any good at all.

Oh Jesus H: You know, there was a time when freshmen didn’t play varsity sports. Heck, we made the varsity baseball team as a sophomore and that was pretty big news in the early 80’s, especially since we weren’t any good.

But times change, of course. Freshmen are making an impact now because for a generation or two a lot of high school athletes have been focusing on one sport the year round, in order to better their chances for a scholarship or professional contract.

Running The Numbers: Good luck. Of the just over one million kids that play high school football, roughly 73,600 – a bit less than seven percent – will play college football at any level. Of these 73,600, only 10,880 are scholarship players at major division universities.

FunFact: The prospect of a professional career are even bleaker because on any given week only 1,472 players suit up for a National Football League game.

Dry, Technical Matter: Now, if you’re one of the few with the talent required to give pro or college sports a shot, knock yourself out. The lessons taught by the focus and work required to get the most out of supreme talent will serve you well. Take your shot and for Pete’s sake make the most of it because you’re only getting one. Waste it and it’s gone.

Meanwhile, Back On Earth: But we don’t think the average kid with average talent is served well by playing only one sport because they are missing out not only on both the fun of other sports but in the lessons each sport has to teach.

Hut, Hut Hike: Football’s great lesson, of course, is you get hit, you get back up. It is the only way to succeed in football and it is the only way to succeed in life. But a lineman isn’t required to break tackles and cornerbacks seldom need to throw down a block or throw a pass. A kid needs other sports to complement his journey to adulthood.

Full Court Press: Basketball teaches you must be versatile enough to play defense, rebound and score and you must be adaptable enough to go from offense to defense and back to offense in a matter of seconds.

On Your Mark…: Track and field, where success can be objectively measured by a clock or a tape measure, does a very good job of teaching you that oftentimes the biggest obstacle between you and the success you want sometimes looks us in the mirror every morning.

Hey Batter, Batter: My favorite lesson from baseball was it’s a long season, so don’t get too worked up over a good game or a bad game, just like you don’t want to get too worked up over a good day or a bad day in life. Everything must be taken in stride.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: The United States takes possession of Wake Island on this date in 1899. The US, fresh off its annexation of Hawaii and seizure of Guam and the Philippines thought it would be a good location for a cable telegraph station and a good place to refuel ships with coal.  

FunFact: Wake Island is located about two-thirds of the way between Honolulu and Guam and today has a transient population of about 150 servicemen and contractors that keep the airfield running. It is also the easternmost time zone in the United States. When it is 1am Monday in New York City, it is 6pm Monday on Wake Island.

USA! USA!: Executions resumed in the United States when Utah executes convicted murderer Gary Gilmore on this date in 1977. It was the first execution in the United States since Colorado executed Luis Monge in 1967.

Justice was swift in Gilmore’s case. He had only been convicted the previous October.

“I  Would Like Them All…To Butt Out.”: Though Gilmore couldn’t be bothered to file appeals to save his life, his mother did, though the United States Supreme Court denied her petition on the grounds that Gilmore had waived his rights by not pursuing them. The ACLU, against Gilmore’s wishes, did muster a few stays against Gilmore’s wishes.

Oh Yeah: Gilmore had his choice between being shot to death and being hanged and he chose a firing squad because he thought there was less chance of that being botched.

Quotebook: You don’t have much hope of getting the truth if you think you know in advance what the truth ought to be. – Robert B Parker, Pale Kings and Princes

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The United States first accomplished the docking of two manned spacecraft when the lunar and command service modules of Apollo 9 undocked and docked on March 7, 1969.

Today’s Stumper: Who was Wake Island named after? – Answer next time!

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January 16, 2018

All righty, it’s all over. The 2017 Bottom Ten season is complete with this week’s Tenny Awards. This marks the longest season in Bottom Ten history. Recall college football games started a week earlier in 2017 so, flexible as ever, we kicked things off the first-ever Preseason Q&A before the usual weekly surveys started. Then we brought back the Best Of column and now the guaranteed-to-be-an-instant-classic Tenny Awards are being issued for the first time, so there were three (3) extra weeks of The Bottom Ten this season.

The Tenny Awards have knocking around my mind for a couple of years, but this was the first year we were moved to actually write them. They were referenced in an early survey and awards and lines started showing up in our minds a couple-three weeks ago.

As usual, it is both easy and tough to let The Bottom Ten go. Easy because it runs over all or part of six (6) calendar months and we’re pretty sure we’re ready for the offseason. Tough because it’s a lot of fun. In the spring the first lines will start creeping in, usually some stuff about Duke – even though they are seldom ranked anymore – or the service academies, and by the time August rolls around we are ready to go again.

In today’s Daily Dose we talk about the Hawaii missile alert imbroglio and how we actually got a chuckle out of it and British author John Creasey has today’s Thought.

Thank you for reading,

Gaylon

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The Bottom Ten/The 2017 Tenny Awards

The Bottom Ten/The 2017 Tenny Awards
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

In the Bottom Ten pollsters never-ending quest to milk even more material out of this feature, they are pleased to present the first ever Bottom Ten Tenny Awards, an opportunity to not only celebrate the awards that were issued throughout the season, but a time to herald the remaining winners of new, coveted Bottom Ten hardware.

The 2017 Bottom Ten season will go down in infamy as the rarest of the rare: a Holy Trinity year where the NCAA and NFL champions, not to mention the Continental Cup winner, of course, all go winless!

So bring out the barf bags! The Tennys for 2017 go to:

Bottom Ten Hall of Fame Inductees
Cleveland Browns – For meritorious achievement in becoming only second 0-16 team in NFL history.

Hue Jackson, Head Coach, Cleveland Browns – Own wing being designed as only NFL coach to go 1-31 over two-year span.

Nick Johnson, Head Coach, Earlham Quakers – Johnson off to historic 0-30 start with Quakers, with consecutive Continental Cups – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NAFTA sphere-of-influence – already in hand.

Game of the Year
Tennessee at Cleveland NFL/Week 9 – 14 minutes of overtime, seven (7) field goals, 17 penalties and zero (0) touchdowns…B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” this is first game in NFL history where winning coach wins playoff game, loses job, losing coach goes winless, keeps job.

Team of the Year
UTEP (0-12)- Toughest Team of the Year vote since 1960 when Dallas Cowboys, SMU, Tijuana Tech all went winless, Miners get nod over Cleveland Browns, Earlham based on Total Team Effort (TTE) that produced four (4) games of scoring ten (10) or fewer points, four games of giving up 40 or more points.

Coach of the Year
Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns – Steady-as-she-loses coach shows focus of B-10 champion, setting aside heartache of 2016’s 1-15 mark to lead Browns to perfect 0-16 record and second straight Dan Henning Trophy in 2017.

Line of the Year: The Medal Stand
1. Team so bad squad has Nike logo on jerseys even though they are sponsored by Under Armour. – Earlham NCAA/Week 9

2. StubHub Center spokesman assures LA football fans tarps will be taken off seats in time for next month’s high school football playoffs… – Los Angeles Chargers NFL/Week 6

3. Americans eagerly awaiting day when Amazon, Walmart give permission for holidays to begin with He Is Risen sales after Easter sunrise services. – 2017 Holiday Season NCAA/Interregnum Poll

3. Thomas Robinson Stadium almost as bad a bowl facility as Yankee Stadium, with 50-yard line seats a mere 130 feet from field, behind running track, long jump/triple jump pits, detention area for opposition leaders. – Bahamas Bowl NCAA/Bowl Game Edition

Previously Awarded Crap:

The ESPN Cup – Issued To The Collegiate Bottom Ten Champion: UTEP, 0-12
The Dan Henning Trophy – Symbolic of NFL Bottom Ten Supremacy: Cleveland Browns, 0-16
The Continental Cup – Issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO: Earlham, 43 consecutive losses
The Sgt Bilko Trophy – Symbolic of Service Academy Lousiness: Air Force
The Tostitos Plaque – Issued to Team With Longest Losing Streak in Season That Actually Includes A Win: Kansas, 1-11
The Jim Hanifan Medallion Symbolic of NFL Preseason Lousiness: Atlanta Falcons, 0-4
The Billy Cannon Certificate – Symbolic of Cajun Football Lousiness: UL-Lafayette
NCAA Conference of the Year: Conference USA
The Pete Rozelle Award – Issued to NFL’s Worst Division: AFC North

That’s A Wrap: Thank you for reading. See you in 218 days with the 2018 Bottom Ten Preseason Q&A!

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The Thought for the Day – John Creasey

…if his mind was preoccupied with emotions he couldn’t use it effectively. – John Creasey, A Sharp Rise In Crime


John Creasy (1908-73) was a British writer specializing in crime and science fiction. He was rather prolific, too, a veritable assembly line, producing over 600 novels under his own name and 28 pen names. It’s been years since we read this book, though there is another Creasey quote from Day of Fear, a couple of quotes above today’s Thought and we reckon we came across today’s Thought in the early 1990’s.

Emotions are everywhere. From the trivial, when someone cuts us off in traffic, to emotions stirred while earning a living to the profound family issues that affect all of us, we ask our minds to take on an awful lot.

Sometimes this can be used to advantage. After all, not all emotions are bad. Good things, sometimes great things, happen in this life and we channel these emotions both to enjoy the moment and to spur us on to even greater things.

…if his mind was preoccupied with emotions…

Sometimes, of course, emotions cause negative feelings and sometimes they can be so overwhelming they hinder or even incapacitate us. When this happens, our minds are completely caught up in emotion’s ruling power and are no longer doing us much good. When this happens we are completely out of step with our life’s march and our time is spent responding to outside influences, keeping us off balance and far from a centered and balanced life.

…he couldn’t use it effectively.

If we are going to accomplish what we are meant to accomplish in life our minds must be clear. As much as possible, at least. We’re not robots, after all, and it is not reasonable to expect any of us to shut out every emotion every time. But we can keep it clear of emotions – like anger or hatred or prejudice – that do not do us any good.

Our mind is our greatest tool, our greatest weapon and – with the possible exception of our good health – our greatest asset. If we are going to get the most out of our lives we must be getting the most our minds. As much as possible, we must dismiss the negative emotions that provide no dividend and that prevent our minds from humming on all cylinders.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose/January 16, 2017

The Daily Dose/January 16, 2017
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Notes from around the Human Experience…

INCOMING!!!…OR NOT: The text message sent out was ominous:

BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

We must be honest: we chuckled when we first heard this. And, perhaps, there was a time when, collectively, America would have chuckled at it, too. If not for the fear it caused, at least over how it happened. But that time has passed. There is no humor in events like this anymore. Everybody gets their shorts in a knot. 

Dry, Technical Matter: What happened was this: those zanies at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HEMA) were conducting a change-of-shift test of their emergency missile warning system. Included was an internal test of the warning system that alerted the public to the fact they had, more or less, ten minutes to live. The test is done on a computer and the worker conducting the test is presented with a drop-down menu offering two options: Test Missile Alert and Missile Alert.

Fly In The Ointment: The worker, obviously selected Missile Alert.

A missile alert test and an actual missile alert on the same drop-down menu? Good gravy, this was asking for trouble from the start, the surprise not being that someone clicked on the wrong option, but that this nonsense hadn’t happened before.

A Warm, Personal Remembrance: Many years ago we were working security at the Monte Carlo Hotel on the glamorous Las Vegas Strip. An alarm of some sort went off and after the matter was attended to the wizard in charge of pressing the All Clear button inadvertently hit the Emergency Evacuate button, which was right next to, and as unprotected as, the All Clear button. Similar hilarity ensued.

And The Darwin Award Goes To…: Us humans never learn. Why the Missile Alert command was as easy to access and activate as the Test Missile Alert command isn’t immediately clear. For Pete’s sake, make it take some work to activate the real thing. I don’t suppose HEMA needs two people each with separate keys – and armed to prevent shenanigans by the other – like they have for launching nuclear weapons, but having the test command and the actual alert command on the same drop-down menu was/is silly.

Suggestion Box: Hey guys, how about a big red button on the screen that says Press Here To Activate Real Alert and have one or two more following steps like clicking another button and entering a code. Or have the button in the bottom of a jar of Macadamia nuts or, better yet, have a hula dancer in the office holding a remote control button in a coconut. Have anything, really, as long as it is not on the same drop-down menu as the test command.

WELL, THIS SHOULD END DRINKING FOREVER AND EVER: America completely loses its goddamned mind when the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution – prohibiting the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors in the United States – takes effect on this date in 1919. North Carolina, Utah, Nebraska, Missouri and Wyoming all ratify it on this date, with Nebraska’s ratification actually making it official. Congress had sent it to the several states for ratification in December 1917.

Initially, booze consumption in the United States actually fell, but that was just until the bootleggers could get up and running. The Eighteenth Amendment would be repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment in December 1933.

Great Moments In Showing The Evil United States Who’s Boss: Not for the first time, the Soviet Union makes space history when Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 become the first manned spacecraft to dock in orbit on this date in 1969. Their crew transfer between spacecraft is also a first and it remains the only transfer to be done by spacewalk.

Take Me Out To The Courtroom: Curt Flood, traded from the St Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies earlier in the offseason, files suit against major league baseball on this date in 1970.

Flood’s suit challenged baseball’s reserve clause, which bound a player to one team even when the terms of their contract had been fulfilled. Flood was peeved that he had been traded and refused to play for the Phillies, who back then were not any good and played in one of the worst stadiums in the league. In December, Flood had petitioned Commissioner Bowie Kuhn to make him a free agent, a request Kuhn denied.

Fly In The Ointment: Flood’s suit would be rejected in United States District Court in August 1970, with the judge merely citing baseball’s antitrust exemption and declining to rule on the merits of Flood’s claim. This ruling was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1972. Flood sat out the entire 1970 season, accepted a trade to the Washington Senators for the 1971 season, but retired after 13 games. He died in 1997.

Quotebook: All I’m saying, I suppose, is that if the temptation to humanity does assail you now and then, I hope you won’t take it as a weakness in yourself, but give it a fair hearing. – John LeCarre, The Secret Pilgrim

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Four Super Bowls (XX, XVI, XXXI and XXXVII) have been played on January 26, the most of any date.

Today’s Stumper: When did the United States first accomplish the docking of two manned spacecraft? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – Henry David Thoreau

But it’s a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Henry David Thoreau, a regular contributor to The Thought for the Day, was a writer and genuine American philosopher. Though sales of Walden got off to a slow start, it has been in print almost continuously for the past 163 years and remains a landmark in American letters.

Wisdom can be confusing. Wise men are exalted in sacred texts and some ancients are still revered for their wisdom. As they should be because their work laid the foundations for modern thoughts never-ending march.

But this can make wisdom seem out of reach to mere, non-exalted mortals like you and me. However, it shouldn’t. Wisdom does not mean knowing confusing philosophical terms or being conversant with philosophy’s numerous and differing schools of thought.

Far from it, in fact. Wisdom is there for anyone because wisdom is not granted, it is earned. It is not something you are born with, it is something you gather over the course of your years. It is not reserved for anyone, it is there for all. It is the culmination of your experiences, both practical and learned, and is a direct result of your willingness to learn from and apply these experiences.

More than anything, wisdom stems from knowing yourself. It comes from the year-in, year-out effort of putting nature and circumstance to work for you and from the day-in, day-out marching on your path. It comes from knowing our strengths and weaknesses, avoiding the latter while using the former to advantage. Wisdom comes from knowing how we were meant to spend our time on the planet, from striving and failing before ultimately succeeding.

But it’s a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things

Thoreau was an excellent example of knowing yourself and each of us should be, too. When we are, when we’ve taken the time to know exactly what we are about and what we should be doing with our lives, then we will have the wisdom to avoid the desperate acts that sometimes occupy others and be open to what nature and circumstance have in store for us.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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The Daily Dose/January 15, 2017

The Daily Dose/January 15, 2017
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Notes from around the Human Experience…

CAPSULE MOVIE REVIEW: Darkest Hour: Darkest Hour follows Winston Churchill from May 9, 1940 – the day before he becomes Great Britain’s prime minister until his Fight on the Beaches speech before the House of Commons on June 4. The main focus is Churchill’s battle with Lord Halifax over whether to fight or negotiate with Hitler and Churchill’s precarious position his first few weeks in office. Gary Oldman is brilliant as Churchill, and there are the usual capable performances you’d expect from a movie of this sort.

“Those Who Do Not Change Their Mind Never Change Anything.”: This movie is brilliant. Like 2012’s Lincoln, which covered the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life, you got the impression the History Channel had dispatch dozens of film crews to chronicle this moment in history. There will be some, of course, who will get their shorts in a knot over whether the color of Churchill’s pajamas is accurate and the fact Churchill likely did not ride the subway – known as the tube across the pond – to get the opinion of commoners, but do not let this detract from your enjoyment of this splendid film.

A Note To Guys: Be prepared, as we did, to fall in love with Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, who played Churchill’s wife Clementine, and Lily James, who played his secretary Miss Layton.

“He Mobilised The English Language And Sent It Into Battle.”: Warnings about some parts being unintelligible because Churchill mumbled from time to time are issued. It adds some realism to the film, frankly, so we didn’t fret over it. Also adding realism was the non-stop smoking that went on. Churchill smoked cigars constantly, even while taking lunch with King George VI, who usually was working a cigarette himself.

This Planet Is Going To Hell: Society being what it is today, the producers felt obliged to include a disclaimer during the credits to the effect that the smoking scenes were for historical accuracy and that the filthy and vile habit of smoking was in no way being condoned.

Oh Yeah: It was fun renewing our on-screen acquaintance with Britain’s King George VI, the father of Britain’s current monarch Elizabeth II. We had first gotten to know him on the big screen in The King’s Speech, a brilliant and touching movie about George VI attempting to overcome his stuttering problem, which he still has not completely conquered in Darkest Hour.

FunFact: George VI was played by Ben Mendelson in Darkest Hour and Colin Firth in The King’s Speech.

Final Rating: A – As Good As The Medium Can Produce: We do not issue the top rating too often here at The Daily Dose. And we did note our affection for Winston, not to mention our affinity for historical dramas of this sort. So we gave no small amount of consideration to this, but anything less than our top rating simply does not do this film justice.  

Our only complaint was it was too short and we would not dismiss out of hand the prospect of a movie of this sort covering Churchill’s entire first term as prime minister.

MORE BRITISH MONARCH STUFF: Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England and Ireland on this date in 1559. The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I had actually ascended the throne the previous November when her half-sister Mary I died. Elizabeth I  reigned for 44 years, never bothering to marry or produce an heir and was succeeded in 1603 by her nephew James I, who was also King James VI of Scotland.

This Really Happened: 21 people are killed when a large tank containing over two million gallons of molasses collapses in Boston on this date in 1919. The incident happened about 12:30 pm, with a wall of molasses reaching a height of 25 feet and a speed of 35 mph making its way through the streets.

Dry, Technical Matter: Cleanup took several weeks and involved both washing the streets with salt water and laying sand down for absorption. Boston Harbor was reported to have remained brown until summer.

Hut, Hut Hike: Super Bowl I  – then known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game – is played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on this date in 1967. The Green Bay Packers, champions of the National Football League (NFL) defeated the American Football League (AFL) champion Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

Dry, Technical Matter: The attendance was 69,946 and Super Bowl I remains the only Super Bowl not to sell out. Though unofficially known as the Super Bowl even then, Super Bowl would not come into official usage until Super Bowl III.

Running The Numbers: The top ticket price was $12, about $89 in today’s value and the cost of a 30-second commercial on both CBS and NBC was $42,000, about $315,000 in today’s dollars.

Quotebook: Oh, what low joke was Fortuna playing on her now? Arrest, accident, job! Where would this dreadful cycle ever end? – John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces  

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The four American television shows that have been on the air longer than Today are Hallmark Hall of Fame, Music and the Spoken Word, CBS Evening News and Meet the Press.

Today’s Stumper: On what date has the Super Bowl been played the most times? – Answer nest time!

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