The Daily Dose – November 1, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

CAN’T WE JUST CUT AND PASTE THE LAST COLUMN?: Mass killings in this country long ago stopped being news in the context of actually being out of the ordinary. The root of the word ‘news’ is ‘new’ and there is nothing new about large numbers of innocents being slaughtered in America.

So when we found out something had happened in New York City Tuesday we mentally shrugged because it wasn’t a question of if something, somewhere in this country would happen, it was merely a question of when.

FunFact: The only difference is Tuesday’s slaughter did not involve firearms. A 29-year-old Uzbek man rented a truck and drove it down a bike path in Manhattan. Manhattan being Manhattan, the bike path was busy and eight people died while eleven others were injured.

After running into a school bus he scrambled out of the truck and proclaimed the greatness of God in Arabic before being shot by police. As we write this, the killer is in critical condition at a New York hospital.

Ready…Aim…Fire: Marksmanship standards must be slipping at the New York Police Department. If the officer was any good he would have killed him instead of merely wounding him in the gut.

Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before: We say this every hour on the hour:

We are not going to have a peaceful world without a peaceful America.

We should not be surprised people want to fly airplanes into our buildings or plow trucks into our citizens. This nation has been at war continuously since 1989. That is almost three decades of not giving other nations the dignity of conducting their affairs without US interference. A violent world and a violent America are the consequences of that.

Testify, Gaylon, Testify!: Had we been at peace every day since 1989 9/11 would not have happened, ISIS would be a comic book character and eight people in New York that were killed today would still be alive.

We don’t think you can argue with that. We are never going to be rid of the misfits who want to cause harm. It’s been that way throughout history because that’s the way the world is built. But peaceful America would go a long way towards making this planet less violent.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: Pope Julius II is elected on this date in 1503. Julius’ pontificate would not be dull and he is noted for, among other things, commissioning Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He died in February 1513.

Speaking Of Michelangelo: The ceiling of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is shown to the public on this date in 1512. Painting had begun in 1508 and Pope Julius II had commissioned Michelangelo to paint it the year before. It remains one of mankind’s most significant achievements.

Fly In The Ointment: Before Michelangelo could get to work the small matter of exactly how to get a human up to the ceiling so it could be painted had to be worked out. A suggestion to hang scaffolding from holes cut in the ceiling proved unworkable and Michelangelo ended up designing his own platform supported by brackets secured to holes in the walls.

Dry, Technical Matter: The ceiling measured 131 feet by 43 feet. Michelangelo’s frescoes replaced the original design of gold stars on a blue sky.  

Home Sweet Home: John Adams becomes the first president of the United States to live in the White House on this date in 1800. The White House was designed by James Hoban, whose design won a competition that included an anonymous entry by Thomas Jefferson.

Adams did not live there long. Already three years into his only term, he would move out the following March after Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated president.

More From The Government Facilities Desk: The Library of Congress building – now known as the Thomas Jefferson Building – opens to the public on this date in 1897. Prior to its completion, the Library of Congress had been housed in the US Capitol.

Up, Up And Away: A United Airlines flight from Denver to Portland is blown up over Longmont, Colorado shortly after takeoff on this date in 1955. 39 passengers and five crew members are killed. The investigation led to one Jack Gilbert Graham, who had mommy issues and had placed a dynamite bomb in his mother’s luggage. Graham also hoped to cash in on assorted flight insurance policies that had been purchased at Stapleton Airport vending machines immediately prior to the flight.

We Are Not Making This Up: At the time, there was not a federal law prohibiting the bombing of an airplane, so Graham was charged with one count of premeditated murder for the death of his mother instead of 44 counts of murder. Justice was swift back then and Graham was executed in Colorado’s gas chamber in January 1957, only 15 months after the crime. 

Eff This Getting Hit In The Face Noise: Jaques Plante, a goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens, becomes the first goalie to wear a mask in an NHL game on this date in 1959. Plante had been wearing the mask in practice and put it on after he had taken a puck to the nose in the game against the New York Rangers.

Quotebook: I work harder than anyone who has ever lived. I am not well and worn out with this stupendous labor, and yet I am patient to achieve the desired end.  – Michelangelo,  letter to his brother while painting Sistine Chapel

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The world’s population is generally regarded to have reached one billion people in 1804.

Today’s Stumper: Who was the last goalie to play without a mask in the National Hockey League?  – Answer next time!

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in The Daily Dose | Leave a comment

The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 10

t is The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 10
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Three winless teams.

One ESPN Cup, symbolic of NCAA Bottom Ten supremacy.

The battle is joined. #1 tight, but so is the competition for the remaining spots. It is so tight, in fact, that unless you are a Bottom Ten Legacy Team like Duke or Vanderbilt, you can forget about being ranked if you have two wins. This leaves out former #1 UMess, who sent regrets for the rest of the season with their second win of 2017.

This week’s fiasco:

1. UTEP (0-8; lost to Texas-San Antonio 31-14)
Mitigating Factors: Miners ascend top B-10 throne following nation’s best eighth-straight loss…Three punts and an interception set strong early tone for Miners, who also finish strong, closing it out by getting outscored 14-0 in second half…Nobody moves the ball worse than UTEP, who rank Dead Last in Total Offense (222.5 ypg) and Offensive First Downs (97).
Broad Historical Context: Current losing streak best since 2007-08 squads tag-teamed on nine (9)-game skid.  
Next Loss: at Middle Tennessee

2 Georgia Southern (0-7; lost to Troy 38-16)
Mitigating Factors: Eagles fan(s) crying foul after team dropped from top spot despite dutifully losing seventh (7th) straight game…B-10 pollsters cite loss to former #1 UMess, who has won two (2) straight, causing Eagles to lose enough strength of schedule points to drop to runner-up spot.
FunFact: Passing game key for Eagles, as offense ranks 126th in Passing Offense (100.6 ypg), 127th in Third Down Conversion Percentage (.472%)…Defense chipping in, too, ranking 126th in Scoring Defense (40.9ppg)
Next Loss: Georgia State

3. Baylor (0-8; lost to Texas 38-7)
Mitigating Factors: Bears easily retain medal stand berth with lowest point output of 2017…Running game key to success, as Bears averaged 28 inches per rush (IPR) on 37 carries vs Longhorns…Defense taken out behind shed for beating following game for only allowing ten (10) points off of three (3) turnovers…Bears have lost eight (8) straight in a season for first time since 2007.
FunFact: Showdown at Kansas this week for Big 12 berth in B-10 regionals.
Next Loss: at Kansas

4. Rice (1-7; lost to Louisiana Tech 42-28)
Mitigating Factors: Owls still haunted by UTEP win, remaining on outside of B-10 medal stand looking in….Owls wore pink ribbons on helmets to show solidarity with other one-win schools missing out on B-10 medal stand…Consistent Owls getting it done on both sides of ball, getting outscored by average of 35-to-13.1  
SOS (Save Our Season): With only win coming in Week 2, Owls need help not only to win B-10 title, but also to earn Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win.
Next Loss: at UAB

5. San Jose State (1-8; lost to BYU 41-20)
Mitigating Factors: Big loss to previously one-winned Cougars shoves Spartans into upper half of B-10 survey…Total Team Effort (TTE) key, as five (5) turnovers lead to 20 (20) BYU points…Spartans cannot get caught taking slumping San Diego State too lightly this week as veteran B-10 watcher(s) know the only game you can lose is the one coming up.
Bump, Set, Spike: Team so bad official athletic website leads off with pics of chick soccer, volleyball since basketball team isn’t good enough to countdown to start of season.   
Next Loss: San Diego State

6. Kansas (1-7; lost to Kansas State 30-20)
Mitigating Factors:  Despite scoring points for first time in three (3) weeks, Jayhawks still more than bad enough to earn seventh straight loss…After getting field goals on first two (2) drives, offense settles down with four punts, a fumble and a turnover on downs on next six (6) possessions…With only win coming in opener, Jayhawks in driver’s seat for second Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win.
Carry On, Wayward Jayhawks: Showdown vs Baylor this week for Big 12 berth in B-10 regionals.
Next Loss: Baylor

7. Earlham (0-8; lost to Manchester 48-13)
Mitigating Factors: Division III Quakers 41st straight loss shows they are in complete command in quest for second consecutive Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak in NATO…Defense to be given extra instruction this week, as unit just 7.2 inches away from giving up an average of 500 yards per game.
Rand McNally Would Be Proud: Earlham losing streak really hits home as B-10 staffers realize Quakers are almost neighbors, with  Earlham campus a mere 1,300 miles from B-10 headquarters on US Hwy 40.
Next Loss: at Bluffton

8. Coastal Carolina (1-7; lost to Texas State 27-7)
Mitigating Factors: Chanticleers in first year of major division football and are ineligible for ranking in final B-10 survey, but B-10 pollsters wanted to give them a shout-out anyway…Have lost seven straight since winning opener (against UMess), leading athletic department to petition B-10 staffers for interim Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in season that actually includes a win – should they lose out.
Getting To Know You: With school relatively new to survey, B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” school located “next to ocean or something” but still unable to find state of Coastal Carolina on map.
Next Loss: at Arkansas

9. Trilateral Commission (7-10; Duke: lost to Virginia Tech 24-3; Vanderbilt: lost to South Carolina 34-27)
Mitigating Factors: With Rice entitled to own entry, hilarious, traditional B-10 joint entry reduced to two teams…Bleu Devils, Commodores have combined to lose ten (10) straight…After strong start to decade, Duke, the B-10 Team of the Decade for the Double Aughts, hoping to earn consideration for Teen Team of the Decade by losing out next 2+ seasons.
FunFact: Vanderbilt still reeling from turn-of-century decision to merge Athletic, Student Affairs departments as starting offensive line at choir practice, leaving blocking duties to 5-8, 135-pound divinity school students.
Next Losses: Duke: at Army (11/11); Vanderbilt: Western Kentucky

10. Sun Belt Conference
Mitigating Factors: Former B-10 Conference of the Week staple – regular B-10 fan(s) will recall the award was almost named for them a few years back – Sun Belt earns first weekly award of 2017…Sun Belt setting pace with winless Georgia Southern, of course, but two-thirds of 12-team league has losing record.
Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before: Despite historical lousiness, Sun Belt expected to once again come back strong with .500 conference play mark in 2017.

This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Baylor at Kansas
Lousy Big 12 Matchup of the Week: Baylor at Kansas
Lousy California State University System Matchup of the Week: San Diego State at San Jose State
Bumped From ESPN932 To ESPN7236: Rice at UAB
Sun Belt Conference Thriller of the Week: Georgia State at Georgia Southern

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in The Bottom Ten - 2017 | Leave a comment

The Thought for the Day – J.C. Watts

The American dream is not about money. It is about using your abilities and being the best you can be. – Congressman J.C. Watts, United States Congressman, Republican National Convention, 8/13/96


We’ve been keeping our quotebook since 1998 and of the couple of thousand or so entries there only a few we actually heard in person including one by, of all people, Sonny Bono. Today’s Thought is another one. We were reporters at the Imperial Valley Press in El Centro, California at the time and the Republican National Convention was a couple hours west in San Diego, and each of us reporters took a turn going to the convention and rustling up a story. Watts was in his first term in Congress and some readers might remember him playing quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners.

It’s easy to think the American dream is about money. We are saturated with images of the rich and famous, and products that we must buy right now. Plus instinct and self-interest demand that we make our share. For some, this self-interest turns into their ruling passion. This is not an indictment. A society needs people who enjoy and have a knack for making money because they employ people like me who do not.

It is about using your abilities and being the best you can be…

One of the themes we harp on ad nauseam here at your Thought for the Day is the proposition that all of us were issued certain talents at birth. It is one of the earliest lessons we can remember learning: we can all do something well. In school, some are good at math or science or writing and in sports, some can shoot a basketball and some can hit a baseball. An annoying few seem to be able to do everything well and are marks for particular scorn. 

Those who make a go of it in this life are the ones who get the most out of the talents they were born with. When we do that we become the best we can be at something, life’s great prize and something that cannot be purchased.

When we utilize and cultivate the talents we have we will find that everything else will follow. The life we are supposed to live will be there for the taking.

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

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in The Thought for the Day | Leave a comment

The Daily Dose – October 31, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

OH, I  WISH I WAS IN DIXIE, HOORAY!: The headline about a Mississippi school district deciding to return the landmark book To Kill A Mockingbird to its eighth-grade curriculum caught our eye, but it took a second for the full impact to hit:

People are still banning books!

Earlier this month the Biloxi School District had removed To Kill A Mockingbird from its eighth-grade curriculum after receiving complaints about the language – particularly the use of the n-word – used in it. The book is about racism in the Deep South, so it is not unreasonable to expect the n-word to make an appearance or two. As it is, it makes several dozen appearances in To Kill A Mockingbird, generally in dialogue.

Of course, not every book should be taught to eighth-graders, but To Kill A Mockingbird has been a staple of American education for decades and rightfully so. We remember being required to read it and you may well remember it, too.

FunFact: The book’s return to the classroom is not without condition. Students must request to be part of the class and must present a signed permission slip. Those who do not want to read To Kill A Mockingbird will be given another book to study.

Dry, Technical Matter: This isn’t the first time To Kill A Mockingbird has been banned. It has happened off and on since it was published in 1960. Last year a Virginia school district took it off its library’s bookshelves, along with the equally subversive The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, after some parents go their shorts in a knot over their use of racial slurs.

LOL: What’s funny is people in the South complaining about the use of the n-word. Maybe some KKK grand wizards complained because it wasn’t used enough. It can’t be because it isn’t used in the South anymore because in some houses the n-word is generally the second word of out of Southern white kid’s mouth, right after ‘mama’.

Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: Unless the book is F*ck Me Stud, a kid should not need a parent’s permission to read anything in school. Furthermore, for Southerners especially to get worked over the use of a slur it brought into common usage is silly.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! America’s first cross-country highway, the Lincoln Highway, running from New York City to San Francisco, is dedicated on this date in 1913.

The road has been realigned many times, and now mostly – though not entirely – follows US Highway 30 from Philadelphia until meeting Interstate 80 in Wyoming and there are still a variety of businesses along both the current and past routes that still carry Lincoln names.

It’s Not The Heat, It’s The Heat: Marble Bar, Australia has a temperature of over 100 degrees on this date in 1923, the first of a record 160 consecutive days of temperatures above 100F. The town in Western Australia would not have a day without a 100-degree temperature until April 8, 1924.

Well, That Was Nice: Mt Rushmore, featuring 60-foot high carvings of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, is declared finished on this date in 1941. Carving had begun in October 1927 and over 450 workers moved 450,000 tons of rock without anyone dying.

Now You Know: Mt Rushmore was designed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum. He chose Washington and Lincoln because they were two most popular presidents, Jefferson because he doubled the size of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase and Roosevelt because he founded the National Park Service.

We’re Outta Here: Three members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) are freed from Mountjoy Prison in Dublin via helicopter on this date in 1973. The helicopter had been hijacked by two IRA members, with Captain Thompson Boyes instructed to fly to and land in the prison. Guards initially thought the helicopter was ferrying a government official so the prisoners had a head start. The three prisoners climbed aboard and Boyes flew the craft to an abandoned race track, where the IRA members fled in a hijacked taxi.

Oh Yeah: The three prisoners were eventually recaptured and Boyes was not harmed.

Get Out Your History Books: Earth’s population exceeds seven billion people on this date in 2011.

Actually, the day is symbolic. The day was picked by the United Nations based on data from five-year estimates. With the margin of error factored in, it is thought the seven billionth human could have entered the world anytime between March 2011 and April 2012.

Running The Numbers: Earth had passed the six billion mark in 1999 and is expected to pass the eight billion mark in 2027.

Quotebook: There’s no use denying fear – It’s how you handle it that counts. – Caryl Chessman, moments before dying in California’s gas chamber, May 2, 1960

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Besides appearing as himself and as the narrator, Orson Welles played Professor Richard Pierson in the radio drama The War of the Worlds on October 30, 1938.

Today’s Stumper: When did the world reach a population of one billion people?  – Answer next time!

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in The Daily Dose | Leave a comment

The Thought for the Day – Nietzsche

Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves? – Friedrich Nietzsche


Friedrich Nietzsche was a German writer and philosopher whose writings covered a broad spectrum, from philosophy to art, history, science and culture. He originally went to university to train for the ministry but he lost his faith and turned to the study of philology, which is the study of literary texts and written records. He discovered philosophy when he was 21 when he began reading Schopenhauer. Nietzsche popularized, though did not invent, the phrase “God is dead” and he lost his mind in his mid-40’s and died when he was 55.

The boredom Nietzsche is talking about is not sitting around playing with our fidget spinner but leading a life that is off our path, a life spent existing and not living, a life spent reacting to outside stimuli and not responding to what comes from deep inside us.

We are boring ourselves.

Is not life a hundred times too short…

While the years might seem long, in reality our years here are mere specks on Earth’s canvas. The years turn into decades and the decades turn into centuries and by then we are long forgotten, our years here a brief interlude in time’s relentless march. Time overtakes us just like it overtook those before us and like it will overtake everyone who follows us. It’s the way the world is built.

So instead of boring ourselves, we should be amusing ourselves. If we follow our hearts and trust our instincts we will be shown fresh prospects every day because our hearts will tell us where to go and our instincts will tell us how to get there. Our lives will become our best amusement, our path taking us exactly where we are meant to go.

Exactly what amuses us is of no particular consequence. It will vary from person to person, of course, and it is entirely possible that what interests me might well bore the heck out of you. That’s all right. We are not going to find our path on roads commonly traveled by others and if we stay on the road we are meant to take, our lives will be far from boring.

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

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in The Thought for the Day | Leave a comment

The Daily Dose – October 30, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

 

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’: You know, there was a time when winning ensured some job security for managers and coaches. Not anymore.

Joe Girardi manages the New York Yankees to within a game of the American League pennant? Thanks for playing, Joe, and thanks for that World Series win in 2009! That’s ancient history, however, and making it to Game 7 of the American League Championship Series this October wasn’t enough, despite the fact it was perhaps farther than your team had any right to expect to go.

John Farrell, former manager of the Boston Red Sox? Puh-lease. What a loser. A World Series in 2013 and three division titles, including one this year, was not enough to stave off his pink slip. Dusty Baker won division titles his only two years managing the Washington Nationals and he was shown the door, too.  

In Other News: Jim McElwain is out as head coach of the Florida Gators football team after two-and-a-half seasons. Now, there is more to this than winning and losing because neither side was particularly thrilled with this fit but still, McElwain won SEC East titles his first two seasons, but he was 3-4 this season and the Gators have lost three straight. If the Gators had been 7-0 this season McElwain would be reviewing his contract extension with his agent right now.

Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: Is it any wonder some major division NCAA college basketball coaches are under indictment for bribery? The pressure to win and win NOW is as enormous as it is unreasonable, but there is so much money for winning teams to make none of this should be a surprise.

FunFact: John Wooden, regarded by some as the greatest college basketball coach ever, didn’t win the first of his ten national championships until his 16th season at UCLA. His 16th season! Good luck finding a school or team that will wait that long now.  

This country has completely lost its mind. Now, we’re not losing too much sleep over any major league manager getting fired. They know the risks when they took the job. So did McElwain, really.

The Bottom Line: Still though, this win now mentality trickles down. Major division high school coaches feel the pressure to win now because demanding and unreasonable parents want scholarships for their kids and for years the very best schools have been competing for spots in national rankings. High school national rankings! If that is not utter insanity it is knocking on the door.

Sports, of course, is no different than government or TV: we get what we choose to tolerate, but our country is the lesser for it.

WHOOPS, MY BAD: Prussian Lt General Friedrich von Romberg surrenders 5,300 men to French General Antoine Lasalle, who was commanding a force of 800 light cavalry soldiers at Stettin, Prussia – now Poland – on this date in 1806. Von Romberg, a rather gullible sort, believed Lasalle’s claims that he had 30,000 troops on hand standing by to destroy his men. His 800 men had one gun.

Don’t Worry About Fighting Men: This was not the first example of Prussian gullibility in this conflict. Two days earlier another Prussian wizard had surrendered 10,000 troops without a fight when the French commander claimed to have superior forces.

Dry, Technical Matter: After his surrender, von Romberg was tried by a Prussian military tribunal and was sentenced to life in prison, though he was too ill to serve his sentence and he died three years later in Berlin.

The Original Fake News: Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds causes a national panic on this date in 1938. The show simulated a live radio broadcast where music is interrupted by a news bulletin announcing there have been a series of explosions on Mars. Eventually, Earth is invaded by Martians, who eventually die becuase they didn’t have immunity to Earth’s germs.

There’s Several Million Born Every Minute: The fact CBS aired four disclaimers and the fact the broadcast was only an hour long and involved, among other things, troop mobilizations and battles, an awful lot of people thought they were listening to a real news bulletin. Police stations and newspaper offices were flooded with calls and police officers actually showed up at the CBS studios in New York City wondering what the deal was.

“This Is The End Now”: Meeting with reporters after the broadcast Welles said he and everyone involved with the show was surprised at the commotion it caused.

“The Vanguard Of An Invading Army From Mars”: Our commitment to you, our reader(s) is so great we actually listened to the original recording for the first time in years. It was as entertaining as we remembered it and again we wondered how anyone thought it could be real.

Quotebook: These poor bastards. They’ve got us right where we want ‘em. We can shoot in every direction now. – Chesty Puller, United States Marine Corps

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Sir Walter Raleigh is given credit for establishing tobacco in England.

Today’s Stumper: Besides himself and his duties as narrator, what other character did Orson Welles play in The War of the Worlds?  – Answer next time!

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in The Daily Dose | Leave a comment

October 29, 2017

Today’s Menu: The Daily Dose and The Thought for the Day

We didn’t intend to go three days between columns, but that is how it worked out. We keep rather odd hours right now and we sat down at the time we usually produce Saturday’s columns we were dead tired, frankly. We do not need to be fresh from the sack when we write, but we needed more than the few hours sleep we’d had over the past couple of days.

The mind is no different than the body in this regard: both need their rest to be at their best and we write completely unreadable stuff when we’re tired, so we took the day off.

Today’s Daily Dose addresses a problem not everyone is aware of: the declining number of sports officials. This isn’t the biggest problem facing America right now, but more and more those responsible for finding officials for games are having a tough time doing that and today we talk a bit about why that is.

This will surprise you, but Gore Vidal’s Creation produced our Thought for the Day. This is our all-time favorite book, for our money as good a book as the English language has produced. It is a historical novel set in Persia in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, beginning during the reign of Darius the Great. The main character, the made-up Cyrus Spitama, who sent by Persian kings on missions to, among other places, India and China.

Enjoy,
Gaylon

 

 

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Thought for the Day – Gore Vidal

Each of us must endure the entire cycle from beginning to end. There is no way out. – Gore Vidal, Creation


Both this author and this book have appeared numerous times in this feature so we won’t bore you with the usual introductory paragraph. Their regular appearances here are hardly the Upset of the Year. We’ve read Creation several times and though we don’t have the exact figure, it has contributed more quotes to our personal quotebook than any other book. For our money Vidal has always done a brilliant job of providing insights into the behaviors, traits and foibles that construct our human experience, which is what you pay us writers to do.

Each of us must endure the entire cycle from beginning to end…

We had no choice when our lives would start and unless we end it ourselves or are issued an execution date we have no idea when it will end, either. It could end tomorrow or years from now.

But while we had little choice about when our cycle began or when it will end, we have a great influence as to what happens in between. We can merely endure, or we can flourish. To an extent that surprises some, the choice is ours.

Now some, of course, have little choice in the matter. Some are born into lives whose only option is enduring, where mere survival is a daily struggle, where tomorrow sometimes feels like next year. Some, too, are born with no chance. They die shortly after birth or are born into circumstances where they have no chance for anything but misery. It’s the way the world is built.

If you are reading this, however, you are not one of these people. The 24 hours we have each day are ours to do with as we please. We had a beginning and we will have an end and in between we have a blank canvas to fill and what goes on that canvas is mostly our call: what we get out of life depends on the work we put into it. 

There is no way out…

Those who wander around the Gobi Desert never climb Mount Everest, so it is incumbent on us to make our time serve us while we are on this planet. We must have the wisdom to know what we are meant to do, the courage to go and do it and the patience to see it through to our desired end. Anything less is timed squandered, a life endured and not lived.

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

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in The Thought for the Day | Leave a comment

The Daily Dose – October 29, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

HELP WANTED: We don’t usually talk about personal amusements here at your Daily Dose but today we are going to chat a little bit about sports officiating. For several years the number of people plying this honorable trade has been decreasing. Veteran officials are leaving when they still have good years left in them and only 20 percent of new officials make it to year three. Your neighborhood pimp has better retention rates.

Standard Internet Disclaimer: We’ve been officiating since 1991. The trade is responsible for some the best moments in our life.

Dry, Technical Matter: Now, part of the problem is there are more games that need officiating. One of the ways this country has changed is the day of the three-sport athlete is more or less gone. More and more kids play one sport year round and this means there more games. This is lamentable because each sport as different lessons to teach and the more sports a kid plays the more of these lessons he learns.

FunFact: And more officials specialize, too, preferring to focus one sport. We have been officiating since 1991 and we can think of three people who we have officiated three sports with. That’s it.

Back On Message: More games, however, is not the main reason. The main reason is officials get more crap than ever. It used to be that head coaches and fans only got worked up over the close ones but those days are long gone. Nowadays officials get more and more crap delivered from more and more people with more and more venom. Calls that used to only get a mild response, if any, are now immediately taken to DefCon 1. It makes for a tense environment and new officials subjected to this feel intimidated and resentful while veteran officials begin to wonder if they really need this.

Now Hear This: Parents should mellow out. Your kid is not the Living Miracle but merely another kid trying to learn the lessons a sport has to teach. Statistically speaking he has virtually zero chance at making a living as a professional athlete and while he has a slightly better chance of getting a college education paid for, the odds of this are high, too.

Now, that doesn’t mean your kid should throw up his hands and say screw it. Far from it. There is everything to be said for putting maximum effort into an endeavor, becoming the best you can at it and seeing where that takes you. But leave the officials alone. They are professional men and women delivering a professional service. You don’t yell at your mechanic and or doctor like that, so don’t yell at the officials.

The Bottom Line: Officials are at fault for this somewhat by tolerating it, but we can’t police everything. Coaches and parents must bear their share of the responsibility, too, because at some future date when their kids game is canceled because there is no one to officiate it they will only have to look in the mirror to find the reason why.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! English explorer and all-round gentleman Sir Walter Raleigh, is beheaded on this date in 1618. Raleigh had flourished, particularly as an explorer, under Queen Elizabeth I, who had knighted him in 1585, but Raleigh had never been in any great favor with King James I. About 20 minutes after ascending the throne in 1603 James I  had Raleigh convicted of treason and Raleigh spent 13 years in prison. When he was paroled so he could explore Venezuela some more, there was an incident that peeved the Spanish, who requested Raleigh’s execution, a demand James I  was more than happy to grant.

FunFact: Raleigh’s head was, of all things, embalmed and given to his wife. Legend has it that she kept in a velvet bag until her death 29 years later, when it was put in Raleigh’s tomb with the rest of his body.

Well, That Was Quick: Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley, is executed at Auburn Prison in New York on this date in 1901.

Justice was swift back then. McKinley had been shot in Buffalo at the site of the Pan American Exposition, on September 5 and he died on the 14th and Czolgosz was convicted on September 24.

Broad, Historical Context: The building where McKinley was shot, the Temple of Music, was demolished with other exposition buildings once the exposition ended in November. A stone marker in a street median in a residential neighborhood marks the site, though the exact spot where McKinley was shot is not known for certain.

Not The Crime Of The Century: Three men steal some of the world’s most valuable gems from New York city’s American Museum of Natural History on this date in 1964. Among the gems stolen were the Star of India sapphire, the Delong Star Ruby and the Eagle Diamond. The theft was as easy as entering the museum through an open window and taking the gems. Only the Star of India had any security and that wasn’t working because the battery was dead.

Fly In The Ointment: Getting away with the theft was more problematic. The thieves were arrested a couple of days later and in the hopes of leniency they began singing like canaries and most of the gems were recovered in a Miami bus station locker.

Not all of them, though. The Delong Star Ruby had been used as collateral for a loan from the mob and would be recovered only after extensive negotiations with the mob resulted in its ransom. A New York Daily News reporter who had found himself involved had been dispatched to a phone booth in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He picked up the ringing phone and followed his instructions to turn around and reach up, where the ruby had been placed. After its authenticity had been verified, the ransom was released.

Quotebook: What we really need is the determination to work hard…It is very difficult to achieve anything if we follow the easy way.The 14th Dali Lama

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Adlai Stevenson was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Today’s Stumper: Sir Walter Raleigh is given credit for establishing what American crop in England?  – Answer next time!

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in The Daily Dose | Leave a comment

October 25, 2017

Editor’s Note: scroll down to read today’s gems. The Links Department had the night off. 

The Holy Trinity again for you today, valued readers: On This Date, The Thought for the Day and The Bottom Ten/NFL Week 9.

Today on The Daily Dose we have some thoughts on Penn State football. We’ve always felt they got off light for harboring a child molester, and we still do.

One of the almost interesting aspects of writing The Daily Dose is the On This Date segment. We’ve always enjoyed and we think it’s useful to look back on History’s momentous events. That’s why no small part of the column is devoted to it.

Some days, however, have more history than others.  Some days see several noteworthy events off because we like to keep the column at a certain length, and then there are days like October 25, when there really isn’t a whole lot. Now, we weren’t reduced to writing about Mongol war conquests, but there was not an awful lot to choose from today.

Have a good day,
Gaylon

Join The Conversation and Leave Your Comments Below

Share Gaylon! Go!
Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Share