The Daily Dose/May 28, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

HUT, HUT HIKE: The NFL farted around with its overtime procedures recently, changing the length of an overtime period from 15 minutes to ten minutes.

FYI: The change is cosmetic. In reality, the NFL did nothing because NFL games can still end in a tie. In fact, the likelihood of a tie game has probably increased, since overtime periods are now shorter, giving teams less time to score.

Some people with more time on their hands than us estimated that as many as three NFL games each season could now end in a tie. The NFL disputes this, saying a shorter overtime period will result in more aggressive play calling, which will result in fewer tie games. Since it is good not to believe anything the NFL says, we’re trusting our instincts and and saying this change will lead to more tie games.

Dry, Technical Matter: For a long time overtime in the NFL was sudden death: the first team to score won. Sometimes it still is, but sometimes it isn’t. If Team A scores a touchdown on the first possession of the overtime, or if the defense musters a safety on the first possession, the game is over. If neither team scores on the first possession, the game becomes sudden death again.

Do You Wonder Why You Don’t Get Invited To More Parties?: However, if Team A scores a field goal, on the first possession, Team B gets the chance to possess the football. If Team B also scores a field goal, the game becomes sudden death again. If Team B scores a touchdown, though, they win.

Yay! Problem Solved!: We appreciate the argument that overtime is hard on the players, however it is silly that NFL games can still end in a tie. If the NFL does not want to resort to a field goal kicking contest, here is a way to determine a winner that generally will not take a lot of time.

Team A starts with the ball at the 50-yard line and the two teams play under normal rules, except there isn’t a clock or field goals. If Team A scores a touchdown, Team B gets the ball on the 50-yard line. If they score a touchdown and the game is tied, play continues. If one team leads after each scored a touchdown, the game is over.

If Team A doesn’t score, however, Team B gets the ball where Team A’s drive ended. If they advance past the 50-yard line, they are awarded what we are calling a scrimmage point and win the game. If Team B does not advance past the 50-yard line, Team A is awarded the scrimmage point and wins the game.

The Bottom Line: This would likely result in less wear and tear on players and it would ensure that every NFL game had a winner!

Oh, What The Hell: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, declares Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn to be valid on this date in 1533. The two had married secretly earlier in the month.

It was a busy week for the Archbishop, who plainly knew which side his bread was buttered on. A few days earlier he had annulled Henry’s marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who had declined to produce a male heir. after Pope Clement VII got his shorts in a knot and refused to do so.

Fly In The Ointment: Later, Henry would tire of Anne and have her executed in 1536.

Great Moments In Screwing The Indians: President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act on this date in 1830. The law authorized the government to negotiate with Indians for their territory, in exchange for land in beautiful Oklahoma.

Some tribes, like the Choctaws in Mississippi, signed treaties with the government while others, like the Seminoles in Florida, leading to war and forcible relocations.

Maybe The Neighbors Could Take Some Of Them: The Dionne quintuplets are born near Callander, Ontario on this date in 1934. They were the first quintuplets in history to have all five babies survive infancy.

The girls were born two months early and while individual weights weren’t recorded, they weighed a combined 13 pounds, six ounces and initially were kept in wicker baskets.

Oh Yeah: Two of the quintuplets, now 83, are still alive.

Up, Up And Away: West German pilot Mathias Rust, then 18, lands a private plane on Moscow’s Red Square on this date in 1987. Rust had taken off from Helsinki earlier that day and told fight controllers he was flying to Stockholm before immediately heading east and turning off his communications equipment.

Originally Rust planned to land inside the Kremlin but decided, probably wisely, that this would give the evil Russians the opportunity to kill him – or worse – and deny anything had happened.

Rust was arrested, convicted of hooliganism, disregarding aviation laws and breaching the Soviet border and was sentenced to four years in prison, though he was released the following year as a goodwill gesture.

Thought For The Day: Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The Chrysler Building replaced 40 Wall Street as the world’s tallest building.

Today’s Stumper: How many wives did Henry VIII have? – Answer next time!

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The Daily Dose/May 27, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

YEAH, YEAH, WHATEVER: One of the things the past couple of decades has desensitized us Americans to – besides war, of course – is the release from prison of those who have served time, sometimes very long stretches of time, for crimes it was later shown they didn’t actually commit.

Running The Numbers: We were shocked at the first few releases of people who had served 20 years for crimes they didn’t commit. Twenty years! That’s a long time.

Now, 20 years of being wrongly imprisoned barely gets you noticed because the number of years served by the innocent before being released kept inching up to 25, 26, 27 years and the past few years introduced us to black males who had served over 30 years for something they didn’t do.

The New Heavyweight Champion Of The World: Like Bob Beamon obliterating the long jump world record by 21 inches at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Cleve Heidelberg of Illinois has obliterated all previous marks. Heidelberg’s 1970 murder conviction was vacated last month, and he was released on bond earlier this week after 47 years in prison.

47 years!

Now, it is important to note Heidelberg was not exonerated, he was granted a new trial and is out on bond while prosecutors decide whether to try him again or not.

They may not. It has never been particularly difficult to get an all-white jury to convict a black man of killing a white policeman and it might have been even easier in 1970. Not only that, someone confessed to the crime in 1971, about the time Heidelberg was sentenced, which was the basis of his conviction being vacated.

Don’t Even Start: We are mindful that now no one stands convicted of the murder of Peoria County Sheriff’s Sgt. Raymond Espinoza. We don’t like that anymore than you do.

Heidelberg is 75 now, the best years of his life gone. He does seem to have his faculties, in addition to heart disease, though perhaps he can do something useful with the rest of his time on this planet.

The Department of the Innocent: Why our government doesn’t have an entire cabinet department dedicated to freeing the innocent is beyond us. More and more, innocent people are released from prison, enough people to show this isn’t a fluke: America’s judicial system makes a habit of sending people to prison for crimes they did not commit. This should cause every American to go and hang their head in shame.

Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: This is not an issue that is on most American’s radar, however. We mentioned it during our 2014 campaign for the United States Senate and it was one of our four focal points when we ran for the US House of Representatives last year, but it drew little interest frankly. 

The Bottom Line: It should draw a lot of interest and be on everyone’s radar. Convicting the innocent has no place in a nation conceived in liberty.

ON THIS DATE: The Chrysler Building in New York City, opens on this date in 1930. At 1,046 feet is the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it will hold until the Empire State Building opens the following year.

Dry, Technical Matter: The Chrysler Building is now the 89th tallest building in the world.

Great Moments In Connecting San Francisco And Marin County: The Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrians on this date in 1937. It would open to vehicles the following day.

The bonds financing the bridge were paid off in 1971. The total was $79 million, $35 million in principal and $39 million in interest. The entire amount was paid from bridge tolls.

FunFact: Thought the Golden Gate Bridge appears red, it is actually a shade of international orange, roughly the same color as most life preservers.

How About A Bloody Torpedo Off The Port Bow, Governor?: The German battleship Bismarck is sunk by British warships about 350 miles off the coast of France on this date in 1941.

Two days earlier Bismarck had been damaged and had flooded during the Battle of the Denmark Strait and she was headed to France, which Germany occupied for repairs.

LOL: The British had actually lost contact with Bismarck and only found her when her captain broke radio silence to communicate with German headquarters.

Good Show, Mateys: Bismarck and her crew could take a hit. There were airstrikes from torpedo bombers and shelling from battleships before Bismarck finally went down. The final blow was from a torpedo from HMS Rodney.

Long Live The Master Race: Out of a crew of 2,200, only 114 survived.

Insert Your Own Lead Line Here! Michael Fortier, an accomplice in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, is sentenced to 12 years in prison on this date in 1998. Fortier had helped Timothy McVeigh scout out the Oklahoma City federal building and in exchange for snitching on McVeigh and Terry Nichols, Fortier was given a reduced sentence and immunity from prosecution for his wife, who had laminated the fake driver’s license McVeigh used to rent the truck used during the attack.

FunFact: Fortier was released from prison in 2006 and is now in the federal witness protection program, so he might well be your neighbor. McVeigh was executed in 2001, while Nichols is serving multiple life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Thought For The Day: People are more disposed to suffer than right themselves by resistance. – John Locke

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: There was not a trivia question last time!

Today’s Stumper: What building did the Chrysler Building replace as the tallest building in the world? Answer next time!


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The Thought for the Day – Martin Kaymer

You have to believe. You have to play brave. – Martin Kaymer

Martin Kaymer is a German professional golfer. Currently plying his trade on the European Tour, he has won two major championships, the PGA Championship in 2010 and the 2014 US Open and as I write this he is ranked 50th in the world in a sport Satan invented on the seventh day.

Today’s Thought followed his US Open victory. Kaymer believed and played brave the whole week, leading after every round and winning by eight strokes, a phenomenal total for a major championship.

Every successful person, no matter the field of human endeavor, believed in himself. Among others, Michelangelo believed he had the talent to live down the ages and to cite an example from the other side of the human spectrum, substantive reading into his life shows Hitler believed in himself, too.

And you’re reading this because the writer believes he has something you might want to read.

If you are going to be a success you must believe in yourself, too. People that believe in themselves all share four traits:

One, they have a plan for their life.
Two, they make the execution of that plan a primary purpose of their life.
Three, they come back strong from defeat
Four, they truly believed their ultimate success was their for the taking, all they had to do was go and get it.

No one will believe in you quite like you do. All right, your mother might come close and a good spouse will try, but by and large no one will believe in you the way that you do and no one accomplishes anything of substance without first believing they can.

You have to play brave…

It is important to act in concert with the ebb and flow of life and it takes wisdom to know when the time has come to play brave and it takes courage to actually go out and do it. It isn’t always easy because everyday there are dozens of distractions. Livings have to be earned. Your family demands your attention. The lawn needs to be mowed.

We must know ourselves well enough to have a plan for our life and the courage to go out and get the life we want.

We must have the courage to play brave.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quote book, begun in a motel room in Berkeley, California in 1988.

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The Daily Dose/May 24, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

CAN’T WE JUST CUT AND PASTE THE LAST MASS KILLING COLUMN?: It’s hardly even news anymore, the random killing of large numbers of our fellow humans. All we need to do is fill in the blanks: where and the number dead.

For The Record: This time the blanks are Manchester, England and 22. For now. It could rise.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It: Mass killings used to be news, rarities that caused us to take pause and take notice. Now, of course, that isn’t the case. Sure, we’ll issue thoughts and prayers, we’ll stand with Manchester, we’ll make colorful ribbons, but they will merely serve as templates for the next mass tragedy. We will no longer take pause because tragedy’s litany simply is not stopping.

Sigh: With the exception of our World Wars, our planet might be as violent as it’s ever been. Sure, mass killings like this have always happened because there will always be people hell bent on causing mayhem, but the frequency of them now is unprecedented.

History’s Question: Why? Why are mass killings now happening regularly instead of rarely?

U-S-A! U-S-A! The blame for most of our planet’s violence can be laid squarely at the feet of the United States.

Gaylon For Congress (Or Senate)…Vote Early, Vote Often: We said this every hour on the hour during our 2014 United States Senate campaign and last year’s US House campaign:

We have a violent world because we have a violent United States government.

Yeah, Yeah, Whatever: We also have a violent country for this reason, but that is a topic for the next Mass Shooting in America column.

Back On Message: From refusing to give other nations the dignity of conducting their affairs without the benefit of US interference, to fighting wars not declared by Congress, America is responsible for an awful lot of the violence in this world. America has been at war continuously since 1989 and a violent America has produced a violent world.

Write This Down: Had we been at peace every day since 1989 we would have a world considerably less violent. 9/11 would not have happened and ISIS would not exist and, perhaps, concert goers in Manchester would be looking back at a fun concert instead of deadly tragedy.

TESTING ONE, TWO, THREE: The first telegraph line is tested successfully on this date 1844 when Samuel Morse, sending from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the US Capitol, sends the message “What hath God wrought” to his assistant Alfred Vail, who was in Baltimore.

FunFact: Morse would received a patent for the telegraph in 1847.

Dry, Technical Matter: Before turning his attentions to the telegraph, Morse was an accomplished portrait painter, and he was led to finding a faster way of transmitting information when he received word of the sudden illness and death of his wife by letter, after the fact and too late to do anything about it.

It’s About Time: The Brooklyn Bridge, after only 14 years of construction, opens on this date in 1883. 1,800 vehicles and over 150,000 people would cross the only land connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn that first day.

Let There Be Night Baseball: The first night game in major league baseball is played at Crosley Field in Cincinnati on this date in 1935. Night baseball had been played, with an pronounced increase in attendance, in the minor leagues for several years. In fact, Cincinnati general manager Larry McPhail had had success with it when he was with Columbus in the International league.

Despite this, baseball owners have never been known for their foresight, and it was great reluctance that McPhail had been given permission to play one night game against each National League team before the 1935 season began.

The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: The Reds beat Philadelphia that night 2-1.

Thought For The Day: They do what they are meant to do, and endure what they must endure, and they come to an end when it is tie – and no sooner  – Gore Vidal, Creation

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Pope Gregory XI was the last pope from France.

Today’s Stumper: The Trivia feature will return.

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The Thought for the Day – Woody Allen

The vision of the audience is never as deep as the vision of the artist involved…I think it is not a very satisfying accomplishment for me to aim at a more modest goal and achieve it. – Woody Allen

Woody Allen is an American filmmaker, writer and comedian. While most are familiar with is work as a filmmaker, some might recall he started out doing stand-up comedy and has also written some the funniest books in the English language. Marrying his step-daughter has sullied his reputation, of course, but looking at Woody artistically, he is virtually without peer.

He is virtually without peer because he had the courage to execute the vision he had for whatever project he was working on. It is the way of every artist be it a singer, painter, carpenter, baker or anyone else who creates anything. Every artist answers to something deep inside to use their chosen medium to say what they feel needs to be said. Every time an artist sits down to ply their trade they must ask themselves if they are creating based on what moves them from deep inside or are they merely reacting to outside elements?

As a screenwriter Woody Allen knew the script he wanted to write and as a filmmaker he had a vision for the movie he wanted to produce and good luck derailing him from that vision.

It is no different for us, because there is no substitute for knowing the script we want to write for ourselves and for knowing the life we want to end up with. We should be as diligent in producing the life we want, in saying what we need to say in our time on this planet, as any artist.

Anyone can ask us how are life is, but only we can provide the answer. Are we making our time serve us, or are we squandering it, passing aimless days that do not produce a dividend? If we are making our time serve us, we are probably looking back at goals met while looking ahead to future challenges. If we are not, eventually we will be looking back at years squandered.

it is not a very satisfying accomplishment for me to aim at a more modest goal and achieve it.

Anyone can be average. If you’re determined, you can even be mediocre, however, there is no satisfaction that attends being less than your best. The very best works of art were ushered into this world by artists who pursued their vision with diligence and courage. The happiest lives are lived by those who  relentlessly pursue the life they want.

It is there for anyone willing to work at it. All we need is the courage to go and get it.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quotebook, begun in a motel room in Berkeley, California in 1988.

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The Thought for the Day – Randy Shilts

Insanity triumphed because sane people were silent. – Randy Shilts

Randy Shilts was an American reporter and author. He died of AIDS in 1994 and this quote – we neglected to note the book we heisted it from – concerns the utter lack of action and concern in America at the start of the AIDS epidemic. An openly gay man at a time when, and in a profession where, this was not common, Shilts’ influence on the way the mainstream media covered the AIDS epidemic was profound.

Today’s Thought actually could have turned up at any of History’s junctions and be accurate and, of course, it is still true today.

There is always insanity going on in the world. It has been part of the human experience since time immemorial. The fortunate and strong take advantage of those who have neither good fortune or strength. The evil take advantage of the good. The good, as human as anyone else, sometimes exploit their position to advantage. Six billion people, each living utterly random lives, get in each other’s way, sometimes with good results, sometimes with tragic results.

Some of the world’s insanities are out of our control, but some are not, and you might be surprised at what you can have some influence over. It isn’t easy. Every day there are a hundred different things to distract us. Livings must be earned and the kids have practice and the lawn has to be mowed and it is easy to wave something away and delude ourselves into thinking there wasn’t much we could have done about it anyway.

Sometimes this is far from the truth and you might be surprised what one person, acting out of conscience, can do, either individually or by inspiring others to follow them.

What insanities are we tolerating that we could do something about? It could be something national in scope, like running for office, or something as simple as trying to keep those rascals at the town hall from raising your water rates.

Whatever the insanity, we must not be silent. We must utilize our resources – our time, our talents, our money, if available – to make a difference.

It’s not easy to derail insanity because insanity has vast reservoirs of cunning and guile. But so do we. All we have to do is muster them.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quotebook, begun in a motel room in Berkeley, California in 1988.

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The Thought for the Day – St Paul, I Corinthians

If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle. – I Corinthians 14:8

First Corinthians is a book in the New Testament of the Christian bible, written by Saint Paul while he was in Ephesus to the church in Corinth he had founded. First Corinthians is generally thought to have been written sometime between 53 and 57 AD and is one of 13 epistles credited to Paul in the New Testament, and one of seven of these to be considered by most biblical scholars to be of unquestioned authenticity.

Today’s Thought comes in the context of Paul encouraging his church’s members to speak in tongues and to prophesize, but to do so in a manner that is easy to understand, because if they don’t who will hear the message?

Today’s Thought is relevant in our lives, even for those of us for whom the bible holds little influence and who do not speak in tongues.

We must be confident in this life. We must be confident in ourselves. We must be confident that the path we are on is the life we were meant to be living. There is no substitute for this because only when we are living the lives we were meant to live are we doing ourselves or anyone else any good.

No one will believe in us like we believe in ourselves. It’s not possible. Sure, your mother will come pretty close. A good spouse will try. But that’s really it because nobody has the breadth or depth of vision for our lives that we do. It’s not possible nor, frankly, is it particularly desirable because why should somebody believe in ourselves more than we do?

Our trumpet must not give off an uncertain sound. No matter what we do – build a chair, teach a class, serve a customer – our trumpet must ring with certainty because only with the certainty of being true to ourselves will our lives resonate with others.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quotebook, begun in a motel room in Berkeley, California in 1988.

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The Daily Dose – May 22, 2017

Notes from around our Human Experience…

CAPSULE SUNDAY DINNER REVIEW: BBQ’d Steaks, Tin Biscuits, Velveeta Shells and Cheese, Onion and Mushroom Mixture; The Shire, Hayden, Colorado: We’ve been big fans Sunday dinner since we were kids growing in Los Angeles when Grandma and Grandpa (Mom’s side) would come over. They usually arrived in the early afternoon and since Mom’s side of the family was Mexican, dinner was usually Mexican, too. If there was a ballgame on – this was before the era when there was always a ballgame on – we’d watch that, but if not Grandma would insist on watching the bullfights from Tijuana on Channel 34.

What was funny is Mom had four brothers and sisters that still lived in the area, but we were the ones they visited every Sunday. Looking back, it was probably because my late brother Loren was Grandpa’s favorite. No debate, he made no secret of it, all us other grandkids were battling for the runner-up spot.

Back To The Future: So when The Wife started making her usual noises about doing something for Sunday dinner, I was excited because I am keeping rather odd hours right now and dinner together is sometimes not all that easy to coordinate.

ROFLMAO: The Wife also asked what kind of vegetable I wanted,to which I waved a hand dismissively. Under these circumstances – a fine steak, to which I added biscuits and macaroni and cheese – a vegetable would just get in the way.

Dry, Technical Matter: Despite my limited cooking skills, The Wife put me in charge of the kitchen, while she stood post outside, tending to the barbecue. I was in charge of putting the biscuits in the oven and presiding over macaroni and cheese prep plus – get this – cooking our usual onion and mushroom mixture.

Write This Down: Despite the fact I cooked it, the mixture turned out really good. Really good. First you saute the onions in butter and some salt and pepper. Then I threw in a spoonful of some ginger/garlic paste The Wife had picked up at some Indian store somewhere. Then I added the mushrooms. Then I stirred them occasionally. It turned out that a spoonful of ginger/garlic paste was perfect. You didn’t have to go hunting to taste it, but it wasn’t dominating, either.

The Bottom Line: Dinner was great. Offhand, I’m calling it Home Cooked Dinner of the Year, a title it will probably retain until our Christmas prime rib.

GREAT MOMENTS IN RACIAL TOLERANCE: History’s long hatred of the Jews continues when several Jews are killed and the rest banished from Brussels, Belgium on this date in 1370.

Jews would not return to Belgium until the 16th century, when Jews who had been expelled began to filter back in.

Was This An Enlightened Century, Or What?: Pope Gregory XI issues several proclamations – known as papal bulls – regarding the writings of English theologian John Wycliffe on this date in 1377. Wycliffe had had the temerity to suggest, among other things, that the church had become corrupt and should sell all its property, while it’s clergy should live in poverty, views which were not shared by either the church or its clergy.

Despite the fact Gregory had determined that Wycliffe’s On Civil Dominion was both “erroneous” and “dangerous” Wycliffe – who enjoyed broad-based, if not universal, support – was never charged or otherwise punished for his views.

Get Out Your History Books: Cliff Curtis of the Boston Braves breaks the major league record for most consecutive losses by a pitcher, losing his 23rd consecutive game on this date in 1911.

Pitching at home against St Louis, Curtis goes the distance and didn’t do too badly, giving up three runs, all earned, on seven hits in a 3-1 loss. Curtis, who lost his last 18 games in 1910, would break the streak on May 26, defeating Brooklyn 7-2.

Oh Yeah: Curtis’ record would stand until 1993, when it was broken by Anthony Young of the New York Mets, who would go on to lose 27 consecutive games.

Up, Up, And Away…At Least Until The Explosion: A flight from Chicago to Kansas City explodes above Centerville, Iowa on this date in 1962, killing all 45 people on board.

You Know, A Good Cavity Search Would’ve Prevented This: The investigation showed the explosion was suicide bombing by a man named Thomas Doty, who had brought several sticks of dynamite on board. Doty had also purchased a $150,000 insurance policy before the flight. His wife attempted to collect on it, but since Doty’s death was ruled a suicide, all the wife received a $3 refund of the policy’s purchase price.

Thought For The Day: …Malcolm felt his heart pound with hope because he knew that intuition and instinct had once again performed their customary miracle. – William McGivern Choice of Assassins

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The Tonight Show replaced Broadway Open House on NBC.

Today’s Stumper: Pope Gregory XI was History’s last pope from what country? – Answer next time!

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The Daily Dose – May 21, 2017

GOP, YOU’RE ON THE CLOCK: One of our favorite things to watch during the Trump Era is whether or not the Republican Party is going to be able to survive it.

At first we thought Trump losing the general election might mean the end of the GOP. That point, of course, is academic, because he won. But Trump is nothing more than a 72-year-old spoiled brat who lacks a long-term vision for our country, so we started thinking maybe Trump’s victory might spell the end for the GOP.

We’re not so sure. True, we are only four months into his presidency, but if there was going to be a palace revolt I think we would already have started hearing the first rumblings.

OTOH: The conditions remain ripe for both elected GOP officials and GOP members to bolt. The Trump Administration has been four months of non-stop chaos and intrigue and scandal. No actual governing is getting done because the Trump Administration has turned out to be a quagmire jumping from one fiasco to another.

It is being led by an insecure, brutish man whose only real talent is drawing attention to himself. The remainder of his term will accomplish nothing of substance, obliging America to mark time, instead of making substantive progress on any issue at a time when America and the world could use some real, substantive leadership.

The Bottom Line: While the GOP cannot be looking at the 2018 midterm elections with any degree of enthusiasm, who’s to say they will take a beating next year? Recall this is a party that survived Nixon and got George H.W. Bush – a man of no particular substance – twice elected president. With the Democrats lacking anyone to rally around and the Libertarians hampered by a populace that prefers to stick with the familiar, the GOP might – despite everything they have to answer for – be able to ride out yet another storm.

Dry, Technical Matter: America has its media to blame for this, of course. Long gone are the days of Woodward and Bernstein because a proper media would not have let Trump anywhere near the primaries. A real American media would have had Trump out of the race in two weeks. But Candidate Trump meant TV ratings and internet hits and he was allowed to talk in vague generalities and insults, permitted to bulldoze his way through candidates that, frankly, weren’t a whole lot better than he was.

INSERT OWN LEAD LINE HERE: Queen Mary I grants a charter to the Derby School in Derby, England on this date in 1554. Though founded in the middle of the 12th century, the school had been closed for a few years. It closed permanently in 1989.

Up, Up And Away: Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris in this date in 1927, becoming the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The flight from New York City had taken 33 hours.

Oh Yeah: Lindbergh’s flight was also the first flight between the North American and European mainlands, and the second transatlantic flight. In 1919 two British pilots flew a plane from Newfoundland to Ireland, which is about 1,800 miles less than what Lindbergh flew.

Hey, What About Me?: Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean on this date in 1932, landing in a pasture in Northern Ireland. Earhart had taken off from Newfoundland the previous day and had originally planned to fly to Paris.

Here, Take That: Michelangelo’s Pieta, a sculpture depicting a dead Jesus Christ lying in the lap of his mother Mary, is damaged in St. Peter’s Basilica on this date in 1972.

The attack was by one Laszlo Toth, an Australian originally from Hungary. He took a hammer to the sculpture, taking off Mary’s arm at the elbow, plus parts of her nose and one of her eyelids.

The Pieta was eventually restored, and is now kept behind bulletproof glass.

Great Moments In Mental Health: While attacking the Pieta, Toth advised onlookers that he was actually Jesus Christ. In light of the fact he was crazy, Toth was never charged with a crime and after a couple of years in an Italian mental hospital, Toth was deported to Australia, where he died in 2012.

Theeeerrrreee’s Johnny: Johnny Carson hosts his final Tonight Show with guests on this date in 1992. Carson’s final show, a retrospective in front of invited guests, would air the following night. Carson hosted The Tonight Show for 30 years and 4,531 episodes.  

Thought For The Day: Fortune had betrayed him for the moment, and the world had turned against him. Victory was slipping from his grasp even as he stretched out his hand to seize it. But his arm was long. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The last deed under the Homestead Act, signed in 1862, was issued in 1988 to Ken Deardorff of Alaska.
Today’s Stumper: What show did The Tonight Show replace in the NBC lineup? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – Will Durant, Voltaire

He forged fiercely a path for his truth, until at last kings, popes, and emperors catered to him, thrones trembled before him, and half the world listened to catch his every word. – Will Durant, On Voltaire

Will Durant was an American writer and historian, known for a variety of works, including the multi-volume History of Civilization and The Story of Philosophy, a book which does a good job of putting philosophy in a context non-scholars can appreciate.

Voltaire, of course, was a French philosopher who flourished in the 18th century. He enjoyed poking fun at the Catholic Church and other established institutions and remains one of liberty’s best friends.

Voltaire wrote even when others made it difficult for him. His father wanted him to become a lawyer and kept finding him jobs that had nothing to do with writing. He wrote anyway. Voltaire’s thoughts on religious tolerance and freedom of thought, in an age where the authorities cherished neither, also kept Voltaire on his toes. He was imprisoned twice and once was obliged to flee to England. He wrote anyway.

He forged fiercely a path for his truth…

Despite the obstacles that attend every endeavor, Voltaire never stopped writing. He wrote from the depths of his heart and his mind. He wrote for himself and for others and for History, brilliantly doing what you pay us writers to do: provide insights into our human experience that are both thoughtful and entertaining.

Fiercely forging a path isn’t reserved for those you read about in books and those who happen to live down the ages. All of us should be forging – fiercely, if required – a path for our truth. It doesn’t matter what that truth is, either. All that is required is the wisdom to know ourselves and the courage to go make it happen.

Writer’s write. Parents teach, guide and fret. Athletes train and compete and carpenters build. Each are on paths which lead to their truth.

What’s your truth? If you are not sure, search inside yourself for it. When you find it, follow it. Use it. Exploit it. Enjoy it. Your truth will take you exactly where are meant to go in this life.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quotebook, begun in a motel room in Berkeley, California in 1988.

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