The Daily Dose – September 9, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

HUT, HUT HIKE: From time to time here we’ve discussed whether or not the NFL will be around in a generation or two. It’s a discussion worth having because it is not entirely certain it will be.

Dry, Technical Matter: At first we brought it up because with all the attention head injuries and their consequences are getting fewer kids are playing football. This attention will not decrease and over the years fewer and fewer kids will be playing football. It won’t happen immediately, but in time there won’t be enough good football players to man a professional football league. The NFL will fade away and we will be doing something else with our Sunday afternoons.

Fly In The Ointment: A complete lack of fan interest might beat a lack of players to the punch, though. Last year TV ratings took a dip. In 2015 your average NFL game was watched by about 17.9 million people. Last year your average NFL game was watched by roughly 16.5 million viewers.

More Fly In The Ointment: They didn’t rebound Thursday night, either, as roughly 21.3 million people watched the season opener on NBC, down 13 percent from the 2015 opener.

Play Ball!: All of these figures are still more people than have usually watched the World Series this century.

Back On Message: Last year the ratings dropped was blamed on the presidential election stealing viewers, which nobody outside of NFL headquarters really believed. An excuse for Thursday night has not been issued yet, but if they say anything other than “backlash from Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the National Anthem” we think they are deluding themselves. 

USA! USA!: America is perfectly content to let blacks addle their brains for our pleasure, but let them get uppity and start protesting the benefits white America has decided to confer on them and there is going to be trouble. We believe it’s folly to think national anthem protests do not have something to do with the decline in the NFL’s TV ratings.

Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: Any athlete can sit, stand or kneel for the National Anthem for all we care. We’re veterans here and one of the things we served for was to defend any American’s right to say what they damn well please when they feel like saying it. We personally issue a hand salute for the National Anthem, but that’s us. It’s America. You want to kneel, knock yourself out. Be advised, though, there will be consequences for this, though, and every NFL players should note Kaepernick has yet to find work as an NFL quarterback and jobs that pay what you make playing professional football are not passed out with the jock straps.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! Two months and a week after declaring independence from Great Britain, the Continental Congress declares the name United States is to be used when referring to the union of the several states.

Typical of the Congress, the moment is mentioned in the Journals of the Continental Congress with no great fanfare:

Resolved, That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words “United Colonies” have been used, the stile be altered, for the future, to the “United States.”

Dry, Technical Matter: The resolution came after the Congress appointed some members to a committee and before the Congress heard a report from the Board of War.

Get Out Your History Books: Sandy Koufax pitches the eighth perfect game in major league history on this date in 1965, a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

The game was historic on many levels. It was Koufax’s fourth no-hitter, breaking the ML record of three that had been held by Bob Feller. The Dodgers had 24 at-bats plus Lou Johnson’s walk and Ron Fairly’s sacrifice, which are not official at-bats, the only time in ML history a winning team in a nine-inning game sent less than 27 men to the plate.

Hey, Look What I Did, Not Bad: Bob Hendley of the Cubs pitched a one-hitter that night, and the game remains the only one in ML history with one hit.

The Post Game Show Is Brought To You Old Style Beer: The first base runner was Lou Johnson, who walked to start the fifth inning. He was sacrificed to second by Fairly, stole third and scored on a throwing error by Cubs catcher Chris Krug. Johnson had the game’s only hit, a double, in the seventh.

Great Moments In Prison Rioting: The Attica Prison riots begin on this date in 1972 at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. The festivities began when prisoners overpowered guards on the way to breakfast, ending up in an area known as Times Square, which gave them access to all cell blocks. By afternoon, and without bloodshed, authorities had retaken control of most of the prison.

Most, but not all. Over 1,200 convicts occupied D yard, holding 39 guards and other employees hostage. Negotiations didn’t accomplish anything and on September 13 the state of New York said screw it and sent in the state police. The results were a disaster. They shot tear gas into the yard then began firing at random, killing ten hostages and 29 inmates. 89 more were injured.

Quotebook: He was not so unreasonable-usually- as to demand both freedom and the fruits of popular slavery. – Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The Cleveland Spiders replaced the Detroit Wolverines in the National League for the 1889 season.

Today’s Stumper:  Who the was the governor of New York who ordered the state police to retake Attica prison by force? – Answer next time!

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The Bottom Ten/NFL Week 2 – The Interregnum Poll!

The Bottom Ten/NFL Week 2 – The Interregnum Poll!
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

It’s the most anticipated column in America: the Interregnum Poll. Necessitated during the NFL Week 2 survey because of the extra week between the Week 1 poll and the start of regular season, the Interregnum Poll has become the nation’s go-to source for lousy professional football team rankings plus witless social commentary.

Following the awarding of the Jim Hanifan Medallion – symbolic of NFL preseason lousiness – to the Washington Generals basketball team (2015) and Colin Kaepernick’s Fro (2016), the first Bottom Ten award of the season is actually issued to a football team this year, following petitioning by Trump Administration, not to mention several NFL teams.

This year’s interregnum fiasco, as the nags preen at the starting gate:

1. Atlanta Falcons (0-4; lost to Jacksonville 13-7) – Carries momentum from blown Super Bowl straight through to winless preseason and first ever Jim Hanifan Medallion, symbolic of NFL preseason lousiness…Falcon fan(s) hoping downward trend continues to first ever B-10 title…Next Loss: at Chicago

2. Interregnum Dry, tedious word – an Interregnum Poll regular – makes first B-10 medal stand appearance in 2017…Only used twice in America, during the gap between presidential election and inauguration and in Week 2 NFL B-10 survey…Made first appearance in 1590, the same year as “legerity”.

3. American Electorate (0-for-3) – Another Interregnum Poll regular making first medal stand appearance, shows that with election of Donald Trump as president, once proud nation ensures years 17-20 inclusive of lousy presidential leadership..Next Loss: The entire American experiment if we don’t start electing decent leaders.

4. Oakland Raiders (0-4; lost to Seattle 17-13) – Raiders lose out on first ever Jim Hanifan Medallion based on fact Atlanta bribe check cleared before theirs did…0-4 preseason gives Las Vegas officials hope Raiders can arrive in 2020 with a couple B-10 titles under their belts…Next Loss: at Tennessee

5. Chicago CubsAn Interregnum Poll staple, Cubs in seldom-charted waters, actually in position to repeat as World Series champions…After slow start, Cubs back in first place in NL Central as we write this and could well win their second World Series title in 109 years, though that is not the forgone conclusion it was in 2016.

6. Los Angeles Chargers (1-3; lost to San Francisco 23-13) – Strong loss to lousy 49er team sends unified message to LA fans Chargers serious about B-10 medal stand run in 2017…Though team value increased by a billion dollars with LA move, no one otherwise certain why they moved to city that neither needed nor wanted them…Next Loss: at Denver (9/11)

7. Tie GamesHey guys, before you fart around with NFL overtime rules again, ask yourself this: “Will it remain possible for NFL games to end in a tie?” If the answer is yes, do not implement the change…Keep working until the answer is “No” as tie games cheat teams as much as they do fans.

8. Cleveland Browns (4-0; defeated Chicago 25-0) – Defending B-10 champions had winless 2016 preseason and stumble to undefeated 2017 preseason, making B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” Browns first team “basically, like, ever” to do this…Next Loss: Pittsburgh

9. Los Angeles (0-for-2) – LA pro football fan(s) wandering around scratching heads wondering “we waited two (2) decades for this?”…For the first time since Kennedy Administration LA stuck with both Rams and Chargers playing in town, with both harboring 2017 B-10 medal stand dreams…Next Loss: With Dodger preparing to blow NL West title and Lakers in doldrums, entire city ready to embrace World Team Tennis again.

10. Donald Trump Trump well on way to worst presidency ever…So divisive he makes Richard Nixon look like a healer, Trump has brilliantly parlayed a mandate from angry white males, a GOP controlled Congress and a crippling need for attention into a complete inability to govern…Next Loss: Our country, if he keeps pissing North Korea off.  

Opening Week Clash of the Titans: Atlanta at Chicago
This Is Don Criqui Reporting: Oakland at Tennessee
Jacksonville Jaguars Fiasco of the Week: at Houston

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The Thought for the Day – Patrick Henry

It is natural for man to indulge in the illusion of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth… – Patrick Henry, speech to Virginia Legislature, 3/23/1775

Patrick Henry was an American patriot, an attorney and planter who was also the first and sixth governor of Virginia. The above speech is most famous for the line “give me liberty or give me death” but a reading of the whole thing would benefit anyone. Henry was opposed to the Constitution, fearing it would result in a monarchy and infringe on states rights. Later, Henry would be instrumental in getting the Bill of Rights adopted. He died in 1799, after 63 useful years.

It is natural for man to indulge in the illusion of hope…

It’s human nature to hope. Individually, all of us hope to make something of ourselves and build a good life for our families. Hope is the lifeblood of our human experience and without it, there isn’t much point of getting up in the morning.  

Collectively, we continue to hope that reelecting the status quo will result in a change in how we are governed. Every two years we elect the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate and every four years we elect a president. Every time we do this we expect something different.

We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…

The painful truth is we have yet to receive something different. Our government continues to be partisan, bickering and fractured, utterly unable to get anything of substance done.

Part of this is human nature, too because it is entirely human to stick with the familiar, even when it is not serving us well, so it is not completely surprising we keep electing the status quo. We’re human and most of us prefer the status quo.

We deserve better, of course, and this is human nature as well, wanting to improve our lot. Not until we decide to buck human nature at the ballot box – not until we’ve decided we’ve had enough of the familiar – will we have a government and a country we can be proud of again.

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

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The Daily Dose – September 6, 2016

Notes from around the Human Experience…

AMERICA..LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF TRUMP: One lesson we all should have learned by now is that nothing of substance is going to get done during the Trump Administration. The latest imbroglio, the debate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, is the latest example.

There really isn’t a reason for wanting to change or eliminate this program except for the standard Trump reasons of being petty and vindictive, for not having an initiative of his own, for merely wanting to undo what someone else has done. Trump has established he has nothing original and workable to offer his country, that he seldom thinks beyond his next tweet or of anything other than how best to draw attention to himself. 

Nothing is going to happen here, either, because outside of saying “do something” Trump is providing his usual zero guidance. He has parlayed a mandate from white America, a GOP controlled Congress and his own ineptitude into a complete inability to govern. We used to say America will spend the entire Trump years merely marking time but we’re not even going to do that. This country is so fractured, so devoid of leadership and so divisive right now that we are sinking farther and farther into an abyss we might not be able to crawl out of. Marking time until you and me – we the people – decide we deserve better would be progress.

Dry, Technical Matter: Not that passing the matter of on Congress is wrong. It’s not because this is something that is Congress’ province to deal with. As we should all remember from civics class, Congress passes laws and the president executes those laws and DACA is something Congress should have implemented in the first place, instead of President Obama instituting it via executive order in 2012.

Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: DACA is merely a symptom of our bigger immigration problem, one that really has no solution. Ideally, conditions in other countries are good enough that others neither want nor need to move here to build a good life, but it is not reasonable to expect that to happen. 

So instead of looking at this as a problem, let’s look at it as an opportunity. In our 2014 book The Liberty Handbook, we discuss a program that allows those who entered illegally to remain here. We called it the work card program and would allow those who want to do so to obtain legal residency here, even if their initial entry violated current federal law.  

Fly In The Ointment: They would not be entitled to become citizens, however. That privilege is reserved for those who play by the rules. So they would be denied the right to vote and a passport and a few other things.

Back On Message: But America should have a place for those who want to a better life. It’s America’s stock in trade, what we do, what made us great because America was built on the back of immigrants. Anybody who doesn’t realize either forgot the lessons they learned in school or never learned them in the first place.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! The Pilgrims, a group of 100 or seeking religious freedom, leave Plymouth, England on this date in 1620. They would arrive off the coast of Massachusetts on November 9 and after some fussing around about where to land, ultimately anchored off what is now Provincetown on the 12th.

From The Ballyard: The Chicago Cubs – then known as the White Stockings – set a major league record by scoring 18 runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, part of a 26-6 win over the Detroit Wolverines. The record still stands.

Some record setting individual performances accented the festivities. Ned Williamson, Tom Burns and Fred Pfeffer became the first players to have three hits in an inning and Williamson and Burns were the first to score three runs in an inning. Both records have been tied, but otherwise still stand.

Oh Yeah: Burns had two doubles and a home run, establishing records for most extra base hits and total bases in an inning that still stand. 

FunFact: The Detroit Wolverines would leave the National League after the 1888 season.

The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: Elsewhere in the National League, Providence defeated Boston 6-1 and Buffalo defeated Cleveland 7-1. Chicago remains in first place a game up on Providence, Cleveland and Boston. Boston, however, would win 14 of their last 15 games to win the pennant by four games over Chicago.

Quotebook: It is natural for man to indulge in the illusion of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth… – Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death” speech to Virginia Legislature, 3/23/1775

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The Albany Congress of 1754 and the Stamp Act Congress of 1765 were the first two legislative gatherings of the American colonies.

Today’s Stumper:  What team replaced the Detroit Wolverines in the National League for the 1889 season? – Answer next time!

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The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 2

The Bottom Ten/NCAA Week 2
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

The Week 2 Bottom Ten survey is often a mess. Sure, the teams you expect to blow turn in dutiful losses but there are always one, or three, teams that flew under the Week 1 radar presenting themselves for ranking.

Hello UNLV!

No strangers to Bottom Ten fan(s), of course, the Rebels rebounded from their Week 1 snub to post one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

And with 2020 right around the corner, teams are starting to turn their attention towards the coveted Bottom Ten Team of the Decade award, with 2017 expected to be a key year.

This week’s mess:  

1. UNLV (0-1; lost to Howard – Howard! – 43-40)
Mitigating Factors: After being ignored in Week 1 survey, Rebels now squarely on B-10 radar with loss to lower level team after being 45 (45)-point favorites…Special teams gets season off to roaring start with offside penalty on opening kickoff…Rebels show early season mastery of fundamentals with 13 penalties, with three (3) fumbles and two (2) missed field goals leading to 21 Howard points.
FunFact: Already the largest point-spread upset in college football history, would have been biggest upset ever had UNLV been any good last year.
Next Loss: at Idaho

2. Rutgers (0-1; lost to Washington 30-14)
Mitigating Factors: After trailing only 10-7 at the half, Scarlet Knights shows mettle that leads straight to B-10 glory,  getting outscored 20-7 in second half…With Fresno State winning, Rutgers 10-game skid now nation’s best…Not that they need any more B-10 street cred, but Rutgers can make big statement with loss to former B-10 perennial Eastern Michigan this week.
God, We Love The Big Ten: Scarlet Knights also holding heads up with best-in-class 14-game conference losing streak.
Next Loss: Eastern Michigan

3. Fresno State (1-0; defeated Incarnate Word 66-0)
Mitigating Factors: Smackdown of future vicars and bishops good for morale as Bulldogs settle in for defense of 2016 B-10 title with win over lower level school…Coaching staff refusing to let team get big head, taking defense out back for beating after first shutout since 2009…Bulldog fan(s) eager to get bid for second straight B-10 title back on track with obligatory blowout loss to Alabama this week.  
FunFact: Win in opener now puts Bulldogs in prime position win win second straight Tostitos Plaque – issued to team with longest losing streak in a season that actually includes a win – if they can lose out.
Next Loss: at Alabama

4. Ball State (0-1; lost to Illinois 24-21)
Mitigating Factors: Cardinals catch fickle B-10 pollsters eyes after clutch come-from-ahead road loss to Power 5 school…Six (6) game losing skid best in always-tough Mid-American Conference and third best in nation…Cardinals show strong finishing kick, allowing 52-yard fourth quarter punt return that sets up Illini go-ahead touchdown before securing loss with blocked field goal as time expires.
FunFact: Losable games next two weeks could set great 0-3 tone before beginning minefield that is MAC play later this month.
Next Loss: Alabama-Birmingham

5. UMess (0-2; lost to Coastal Carolina 38-28)
Mitigating Factors: Minutemen gracious guests, never leading on road in Chanticleers first ever major division football game…UMess 0-2 for for eighth straight time as major division program, dating back to 1905…Complete inability to run ball, stop others from running ball key, as Minutemen rush for only 71-yards while giving up 321 on ground.
FunFact: With B-10 title, 10-51 record since 2012, UMess making big pitch for B-10 Team of the Decade honors.
Next Loss: Old Dominion

6. Texas A&M (0-1; lost to UCLA 45-44)
Mitigating Factors: B-10 fan(s) everywhere hailing hilarious ranking of “name” school after early season loss…Historically this loss is an upset, however Aggies giving up 35 unanswered points leads to granting of waiver…While few expect Aggies to contend for B-10 medal stand, fan(s) are pointed to Notre Dame’s historic 2007 B-10 run as proof that B-10 dreams really do come true.
FunFact: Immediately following loss, Texas A&M athletic director seen frantically dialing USC athletic officials for advice on firing coach on airport runway.
Next Loss: Nicholls State

7. Purdue (0-1; lost to Louisville 35-28)
Mitigating Factors: Ignored in Week 1 survey, find themselves in center of B-10 storm, blowing three (3) leads in clutch neutral site loss…Purdue has lost eight (8) straight, second best in nation…Though darkhorse for B-10 Team of the Decade honors, Boilermakers have lost at least four (4) games in a season once – sometimes twice – in a season every year since 2012…Boilermakers can take big step towards ascending B-10 throne with loss to MAC team this week.
Broad Historical Context: Boilermakers have not beaten Power Five conference team that finished season with winning record beating Illinois in 2011.
Next Loss: vs Ohio (9/8)

8. Austin Peay (0-1; lost to Cincinnati 26-14)
Mitigating Factors: Governors have lost 28-straight games, earning first ever Interim Continental Cup – issued to team with longest all-division losing streak by a team that has actually started season – while permanent Continental Cup holders Earlham limbers up for their 34th straight loss in Saturday’s season opener.
FunFact: B-10 staffers still in shock over hearing Governors fans chanting “Let’s go Peay!” during basketball game a few years back because it sounded like they all wanted to go to the bathroom together.
Next Loss: at Miami, Ohio

9. East Carolina (0-1; lost to James Madison 34-14)
Mitigating Factors: Pirates in survey for first time ever following season opening loss to lower level school…Offense sets tone for strong start, with four punts, an interception and missed field goal in first half…Defense shows way in second half, giving up 27 points…Pirates have lost five (5) straight and ten (10) of twelve (12)…
FunFact: First ever Pirate appearance in survey has B-10  staff scurrying to find East Carolina on map, though B-10 pollsters “pretty sure” it’s somewhere near West Carolina…Or maybe Finland.
Next Loss: at West Virginia

10. Mid-American Conference
Mitigating Factors: With 1-8 record against major division non-conference foes, MAC easy pic for Week 2 Conference of the Week honors…Nobody has tougher road to B-10 glory than MAC teams, as future opponents have combined 12-53 record, .185 winning percentage.
Stop Us If You’ve Heard This Before: Conference teams so bad B-10 pollsters beginning to wonder if MAC has what it takes to rebound for strong .500 mark in conference play.
Next Loss: Hold on Conference of the Week award could be tenuous, past Conference of the Year winners Sun Belt and Mountain West conferences expected to contend.

This Week’s Clash of the Titans: Alabama-Birmingham at Ball State
Live On ESPN735: Old Dominion at UMess


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The Thought for the Day – Henry David Thoreau

The mass never comes up to the standard of its best member, but on the contrary degrades itself to a level with the lowest. – Henry David Thoreau, lecture at Concord Lyceum, unknown date.

Henry David Thoreau, who is no stranger to regular readers of this crap, was an American writer and it is also fair to issue him the title of philosopher. He remains one of our favorite examples of someone who did what we constantly preach here: making your time serve you.

Today’s Thought is offered not as an indictment, but as an observation because what Thoreau talks about is completely in step with human nature. It’s human nature to take the road most traveled and it’s human nature to want to get along and fit in. It’s the way the world is built.

We see the lowest common denominator Thoreau is talking about all the time in this life. Our favorite example is a TV in a waiting room. Invariably it is tuned to cartoons or one of those infernal talk shows where a dozen young men are taking paternity tests to see if they fathered this young woman’s child. Few are enjoying it, but no one is moved to turn it to another channel or even turn it off.

This happens in individual lives, too. Few start out this life wanting to get as little as possible out of it. Some do, of course. The homeless ranks are full of people who do not want the responsibility of providing for themselves. Most of us, though, go to bed when we’re young dreaming about doing things.

But then we dive in and the reality hits: what we want is not going to happen immediately. It is going to take time and effort and patience, and in no small measure, either. It gets put of until tomorrow but tomorrow never comes, the years pass and the next thing anybody knows decades have gone by and we are looking back at what might have been, life’s great tragedy.

Each one of us must work to make sure this doesn’t happen. We must not settle for anything less than the life we were meant to live. We cannot let the years slip away. Each day we must wake up committed to making the next 24 hours serve us instead of merely serving time on this planet.

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

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The Daily Dose – September 5, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

GIVE NUCLEAR WAR A CHANCE: Fresh off another successful nuclear test, North Korea is again testing, so to speak, the world’s patience. The sabers continue to rattle. The threat, as comical as it is tragic, continues to grow.

It’s tragic because until somebody uses the common sense they were born with the chance of nuclear weapons being used again grows by the day. It’s comical because this tit-for-tat is childish and unnecessary.

Dry, Technical Matter: What are we expecting to happen here? Are we expecting threats and sanctions to persuade North Korea to back down? That is folly. North Korea is a second-rate military dictatorship led by a leader eager to show the world how big his cock is.

Don’t expect the US to back down, either. President Donald Trump – no stranger to showing the world whose is bigger – has one purpose in life: drawing attention to himself and he will mine this for every possible drop of attention it can generate for him, eagerly cheered on by the warmongers in the Defense Department.

Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: We said this ad nauseum on the campaign trail:

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

You can’t really argue with this, either. Well, you can, but not successfully.

Ladies And Gentlemen Of The Jury: Has American interference anywhere at any time produced peace? Of course it hasn’t. America has been at war continuously for almost three decades and the only dividend we have to show for it is more war, more death, more destruction. In no place and at no time has American intervention produced peace.

Her Lips Moved…She’s Lying: The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told this to the UN Security Council:  

Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants…

LOL: We checked. Haley said this with a straight face. She was just funning the UN, of course, because another war is always something the United States is down for.

We are on our way to getting it. The United States is to blame for all of this. You stir a hornet’s nest you are going to get stung. You leave it alone, you won’t. We are pestering and instigating North Korea, a nation more than willing to be pestered and instigated, and they are responding exactly as you would expect.

OH, BLOODY HELL: After four days, the Great Fire of London ends on this date in 1666.History estimates that the homes of 70,000 of London’s 80,000 residents are destroyed.

Also destroyed was Old St Paul’s Cathedral. The fourth church on that spot, William the Conqueror had started construction in 1087 following yet another fire. It was finished in 1314. Another St Paul’s Cathedral currently stands on the site.

Shave And A Haircut, Two Bits: Russian Tsar Peter the Great, just back from an 18-month tour of Europe – a tour History refers to as the Great Embassy – orders all citizens to shave their beards on this date in 1698. It was an effort to modernize what Peter believed was a backward country. The tax ranged from a couple of kopeks for peasants to 100 rubles for the nobles. Those that paid the tax had to wear a medallion that had a beard engraved on it.

Peter, himself clean shaven, started right in, removing the beards of his court at a reception immediately after his return.

Dry, Technical Matter: A couple of years later Peter would declare the Julian calendar in effect, changing the year from 7207 to 1700.  Previously, the Russians had reckoned the year from what they perceived to be the creation of the world.

USA! USA!: The Continental Congress of the United Colonies convenes for the first time, at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, on this date in 1774. They would adjourn in October and the Second Continental Congress would convene the following May.

Congress has always been good about keeping records, and regular readers of this crap know we quote their journals whenever we can. For their first session, they recorded the names of the delegates, as well as their commissions from their respective colonies.

The More Things Change…: Congress being Congress, they attempted to form a committee, however – again, Congress being Congress – this was put off until tomorrow.

Trial Of The Century: One of Hollywood’s first great scandals begins on this date in 1921 when actress Virginia Rappe falls ill at the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco at a party hosted by actor Fatty Arbuckle. She dies four days later.

Arbuckle was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and the ensuing scandal may well have put OJ Simpson to shame. Arbuckle would stand trial three times in Rappe’s death. The first two trials resulted in hung juries and the third jury acquitted Arbuckle.

Nowadays a scandal like that might get you a three picture deal, or the White House, but Arbuckle had trouble finding work after his acquittal, his wife left him and he would die at age 46 in 1933.

Quotebook: …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: Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens and John Adams negotiated the Treaty of Paris with the British.

Today’s Stumper: The First Continental Congress was the third legislative gathering of the colonies. What were the first two? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – Frederick Douglass

As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eye to the horrible pit, but no ladder upon which to get out. In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity.  – Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

Frederick Douglass was an American of many talents. As a boy, he learned to read – no small task for a slave – then taught other slaves to read. Later, he would be a writer, orator and statesman in the cause of abolition, one of the very best examples of someone who, despite supreme obstacles, followed his heart and trusted his instincts to live the life he was meant to live. Today is the anniversary of his escape to freedom when he was, more or less, 20-years-old. Douglass never knew his age. He could reckon it to within a year or maybe a few months, but he never knew for sure the date of his birth.

As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing…

Knowledge is an interesting animal. Not knowing what you should know and want to know leads to an unfulfilling life. Knowledge gained, however, sometimes leads to challenges you have no answer for and some might think the ignorance of not knowing in the first place was better.

Douglass certainly felt this. Reading had opened his eyes to his ‘wretched condition’. It had not, as he noted, provided the solution. Worse, his fellow slaves, unburdened with this knowledge, went about their wasted lives not knowing any better. Maybe they were better off.

They were not. Ignorance is nothing more than further layers of chains. Learning to read and think gave Douglass a working and useful mind, a mind that was able to plan and execute his escape from slavery. He would live to see slavery ended the United States, though America still fights the race battle.

Douglass’ life provides lessons today. Knowledge is there for everyone and it shows itself in every possible circumstance if we are open to finding it. Doing this will not solve the world’s problems nor will it solve all of ours. You work and plan and try to make something good happen for yourself, sometimes with the success you are looking for, sometimes not. It’s the way the world is built.

However, if we are armed with a persistent and working mind, and we follow our hearts and trust our instincts, we can, like Douglass, live a life that is useful to us and others.

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

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The Daily Dose – September 3, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

NO TRUMP TODAY:  Honestly, we weren’t even looking for a column idea because President Trump has darn near produced a backlog of column fodder, but the headline caught our eye:

NCAA Head In Tokyo To Offer Advice On College Sports Body

This is rich. The head of the largest intercollegiate sport governing body – NCAA president Mark Emmert – went to Japan to offer advice on regulating college sports.

What advice is he going to offer, how best to be both pimp and john simultaneously? On how to prostitute teenage boys and girls while at the same time prostituting yourself to TV networks? Maybe Tokyo State can take notes on how to keep a child molester on staff and still, after the smoke clears, continue to reap the financial windfall that is major college sports.

ROTFLMAO: Emmert should get an agent and start booking dates at comedy clubs, telling reporters, evidently with a straight face:

We’d like to be a part of this because we value sports as a part of education.

His Lips Are Moving…He’s Lying: My ass you do, Mr Emmert. You are there solely on spec, on the prospect that maybe you can send some teams to play some games there and make even more money for your conferences and teams on the backs of your treasured student-athletes.

Maybe at the Division III level sports are part of the educational process. Athletes pay their own way there or, if they don’t, they fight for the same grants and scholarships that future engineers and band members fight for.

However to say major division intercollegiate sports are anything more than a way scrape every last possible dollar off the backs of your athletes is folly. The NCAA is a billion dollar business and the top two dozen athletic departments generate over $100 million. The athletes see none of that.

Dry, Technical Matter: Some are surprised to find out that America is one of the few countries that have organized intercollegiate sports. Canada does. So do the Philippines and Indonesia and Great Britain. That’s really it.

“Jolly Good. A Flare Out To Trevor In The Right Flat, Then…On Three.”: Britain, under the auspices of British University and College Sports (BUCS), plays American football, too. It’s reported that every year there are issues with field markings on American football “pitches”, problems such as incomplete goal and end lines or, if they do have them, lines that are faint or crooked.

We’ll Be In Town All Week…Please Tip Your Waitresses: The problems, however, do not appear to be as egregious as those in Canada, where groundskeepers consistently keep putting two 50-yard lines on their fields.

The Bottom Line: If Japanese colleges are desirous of learning how to maximize revenues while fully exploiting their kids then they should have their notebooks out because with Emmert there class is in session. They are learning from the very best.

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: St. Marinus, whom History records as fleeing a woman who accused him of being her husband, builds a chapel at Mount Titano on this date in 301, regarded as the founding of the Republic of San Marino, an enclave in northeast Italy. With an area of 24 square miles and a population of 34,000 or so, San Marino is the fifth smallest country in terms of both population and size.

Scoreboard, Baby: The Mongols lose the Battle of Ain Jalut to the Mamluks on this date in 1260. Fought in what is now northern Israel, the battle was the first time the Mongols had an advance halted in combat. It would also mark the farthest expansion for the Mongols, who saw their empire split four ways by the end of the century, though assorted Khanates of the Mongol empire would last until the 1800’s.

USA! USA!  The American Revolution officially ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on this date in 1783.

Despite the fact the treaty specified the boundaries of the new country, America’s borders would remain a fiasco for years, and the British violated the terms that stated they would vacate their forts almost before the ink was dry on the treaty. In fact, the only provision of the treaty that remains in force is the first one, which acknowledges America’s sovereignty.

“It Was A Time Of Joyous Excitement Which Words Can But Tamely Describe.”: Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery on this date in 1838.  Dressed as a sailor and using a borrowed certificate showing he was a free black seaman, Douglass went from Baltimore to Philadelphia to New York in less than 24 hours and except for the time his certificate was inspected by a train conductor, the trip was very routine.

Yeah, This Is Interesting: Joaquin Benoit of the Texas Rangers records the longest save in major league history on this date in 2002, pitching the final seven innings of a 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Benoit relieved Todd Van Poppel, who had pitched two innings after starter Aaron Myette was ejected in the first inning.

Quotebook: As I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing. It had given me a view of my wretched condition, without the remedy. It opened my eye to the horrible pit, but no ladder upon which to get out. In moments of agony, I envied my fellow-slaves for their stupidity. – Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Through 2016, 2,429,979 boys have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

Today’s Stumper: Who negotiated the Treaty of Paris for the Americans? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day – William E Woodward

[he] taught with a fervid, burning passion, like that which moves martyrs and heroes. – William E Woodward, The Way Our People Lived

William E Woodward (1874-1950) was an American writer. Rather versatile, he wrote novels and biographies as well as the history book today’s Thought comes from. The Way Our People Lived is a look at back how American manners and customs evolved over a 300 year period ending in the early 1940’s. We read it many years ago, likely toward the end of the 1980’s based on its position near the beginning of our quotebook. Unfortunately, we’ve long forgotten who the teacher is that Woodward is referring to.

No matter. We are reading about him or her today because this teacher did more than go through the motions.

…a fervid, burning passion…

Nothing great is accomplished without enthusiasm. If we are merely going through the motions at anything – a job, a relationship, anything – then we are cheating ourselves and our fellow humans. We are leaving experiences and emotions on the table when we should be taking them home with us. 

…like that which moves martyrs and heroes.

We don’t need to worry about being martyrs or heroes. To be a martyr is to believe in your cause so strongly and to an extent where your life no longer matters. You are ready to toss it aside for what you believe in because you have given yourself up to a cause greater than yourself. That is not for everybody.

To be a hero is to find yourself in a singular and momentous situation, though you don’t necessarily have to be doing something great. More than one hero has said they were average people merely doing what needed to be done in an extraordinary circumstance.

However, like martyrs and heroes, we can answer to something deep inside. Everything we do needs to be heartfelt. Everything needs to come from the very essence of our being. Everything must be believed in, especially ourselves because if we don’t believe in ourselves, we can’t expect to have anyone else believe in us, either.

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

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