The Thought for the Day – Gerald Ford

(Government) will continue to be about as good as concerned and conscientious citizens make it. – Gerald Ford


Gerald Ford was the 38th president of the United States, assuming office after the resignation of Richard Nixon. Ford certainly was not the first to be both vice president and president, but he was the first who wasn’t elected to either position. He died in 2006.

We’ve always thought Ford was a good and decent man. Considering the circumstances, he probably did not have much of a chance of getting elected to a full term. History, I think, looks favorably at his presidency, the centerpiece of which was, of course, his pardoning of former President Nixon.

Ford hits the nail squarely on the head with today’s Thought: our government will always be as good as we care to make it. Right now, our federal government, even by the most charitable standards, is a partisan, fractured and bickering mess. Nothing of substance is getting done.

Whom to blame? It’s common to blame the media, or incumbents or lobbyists, but let’s be honest, were any of those at our kitchen table or voting booth when we filled out our ballot? No, of course they weren’t. We filled out our own ballot. We elected everyone there. We have nobody to blame but ourselves.

The good news is if we caused this mess, we can also solve it. The government we want is never farther away than the next election.

The biggest battle we are facing is human nature. It is human nature to stick with what is familiar even if it’s not serving us well. Nothing illustrates this better than the 2014 elections where America reelected 96 percent of incumbents to a Congress that had an eleven percent approval rating.

Eleven percent! Loan sharks have higher ratings than that. America’s message was clear: we are not happy with our government. We are unwilling to do anything about it.

(Government) will continue to be about as good as concerned and conscientious citizens make it…

Unwilling, but not unable. If we are not happy with our government, it’s in our hands to change it. If we don’t, we only have ourselves to blame. To find the solution, all concerned and conscientious citizens need to do is look in the mirror. The government we want is as close as the next election.

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

Sunday, May 30
Used my new can of shaving cream this morning…I didn’t really need new shaving cream when I wandered into the retailer yesterday, but the sleek green and black can caught my eye, as did the sale price of under two bucks for a leading national brand shaving cream that usually costs a lot more.

Look, I don’t like to spend more than a buck for a can of shaving cream…That is getting a bit tougher nowadays – even at the retailer – so I’ve had to up that to a buck and change, so usually I end up getting another leading national brand that comes out in a white foam.

Key is the leading national brand I bought was a gel shaving cream!!!…I am not making that up…I really don’t know why a can of leading national brand gel shaving cream on sale caused me to achieve and maintain a state of arousal…I mean, it’s shaving cream…My usual dollar can does a great job…No complaints, even with my tuff, manly beard…Gel shaving cream is a nice novelty, but that thrill wears off in about five seconds and it doesn’t do a noticeably better job than my usual crap.

But I jumped on it anyway…I didn’t even really need shaving cream…The current can is still about half full, but it was ditched today in favor of the sleeker green and black can that was on sale.

Your work the lodging racket long enough, like I have, you pretty much think you’ve reached a point where you’ve heard every request…Today, tho, brought one I hadn’t heard before.

This guest comes up and says – and I am not making this up, either2 – that he needs to wash Webster…I ask him to repeat that because I could’ve sworn he’d said he needed to wash Webster.

He repeated that he needed to wash Webster.

OK, I ask, how can help with that???…I am, after all, a front desk supervisor at the resort he is staying at, and it’s my job to make myself useful in these matters, even if I have some zero clue who or what Webster is.

After a few seconds it becomes plain to him that I, in fact, don’t know who or what Webster is, so he informs me it’s his Harley, and he needs a pail and some rags to clean it…He also informs me his riding nickname is Spiderman.

Well, we don’t keep a pail and rags handy at the front desk…Toilet paper and soap and other amenities, sure, yours for the asking…Some digging found we really didn’t have a pail that didn’t once hold some sort of chemical, so I ended up giving him a trash can and some rags we have laying around the break room…Later, he returned them and said they worked great.

Memorial Day ceremony tomorrow, my second as Commander…There was a nice write-up in the paper about it, too…I should be able to about-face without completely hurting myself or others, and I got my uniform ready before I went to bed, so I don’t forget anything.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel…All elements are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any other use is a coincidence. 

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The Thought for the Day – J.R.R. Tolkien

…change and growth is not in all things and places alike…the passing seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long stream. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


It’s said that change is mandatory, but growth is optional.

Very true.

…change and growth is not in all things and places alike

Change varies, of course. It can be planned or it can be random. It can come quickly, even instantly, or it may give plenty of notice. It can be tragic or splendid. No matter its aspect, we can either accept or reject the lessons change offers us.

Growth in the eye of life’s changes is not guaranteed. If we’re smart, we accept the lessons and put them to work for us, because anyone who accomplishes anything of substance in this life is not the same person they were when they were younger. They’ve grown, putting nature and circumstance to work for them, accepting the changes in themselves and putting to use what works and discarding what doesn’t.

We must put the benefit of the years to work for us.

We must utilize life’s changes to evaluate ourselves and learn what will put us in the best position to construct the life we want. We must be relentless in being on our path. We must realize that what interests us now may not be what interested us when we were younger, and vice versa. We may accomplish a goal only to find we’ve come to the end of our interest in that matter and are liberated to move on to something else. We cannot stubbornly hold on to the dreams of the past when we’ve outgrown them or when the fates show us they are no longer attainable.

the passing seasons are but ripples ever repeated in the long long stream

Like the seasons, our lives are merely passing ripples in the long long stream. For some, this is hopeless, a sign that what we do really doesn’t matter, so why bother? And in some ways it doesn’t matter. A hundred years from now – except for some old Japanese women – there will be all new people on this planet and we will be long forgotten.

But for those open to change and to putting nature and circumstance to work for them, merely being a passing ripple is OK. It means we have a finite amount of time on this planet and we had best get busy and make that time serve us.

Every day it’s our call. We can while away the passing seasons with a mindless procession of wasted days, or we can make each one ring with our purpose.

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

Saturday, May 28
Even though the weather still isn’t ideal, the garden is starting to take shape. The hanging baskets are ready to go…Right now they are hanging in the carport, as protection against the wind, which has been blowing like it’s McMurdo Station lately…Temperatures at night are starting to get above 40, too, meaning The Wife won’t have to cover the petunias with our bedspread anymore.

A couple of nights ago she did it with my old Navy blanket…I put a stop to this immediately and for good…I stole that blanket from the barracks at United States Naval Submarine Base, San Diego many years ago when I was discharged…As a souvenir…It doesn’t actually get much use as a blanket…It’s one of those gray, wool blankets the government’s been issuing since the Revolution…The black US logo has faded, but otherwise the blanket is in good repair and I want to keep it that way, so I instructed The Wife not to use it to cover petunias anymore.

Anyway, the hanging baskets are really pretty…The Wife put a lot of work into them and it shows…A couple-three will go out front, and a couple in the back and with ol’ Sparrow keeping the lawn looking sharp we might get more of the nice comments we got last year.

Usually on Saturday’s we go to the local diner for dinner, but not tonight…We’ve both eating really well lately, and we’re discovering that when you eat really well for a while and then not eat really well for a meal your body doesn’t take it too well…For example, when I have, oh, I don’t know, say a Stromboli for dinner after a week of eating well, my body throws a fit and keeps me up all night with the trots and I am really thirsty, too…So I drink water which, of course, I am off to the bathroom all night and I end up not sleeping very well…So we ate in tonight.

I’ve been practicing about facing, too…Recall I will have to execute this staple of short order, military drill at our Memorial Day ceremony the day after tomorrow and it turns out an I am not any better at it now than I was when I was in service to our beloved country.

To properly about face, you stand at attention, which means the heels of your feet are together…Then you put one foot directly behind the other and pivot…To my credit I’m able to do this without breaking an ankle, no small feat for yours truly.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any other use is a coincidence. 

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The Thought for the Day – J.R.R. Tolkien

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


We’ve had a rash of Lord of the Rings quotes recently, during which we noted our introduction to the book. It was at work years ago, probably circa 1999 or so, and we picked up the book out of boredom certain we would quickly put it back down because – we thought – books of this sort wouldn’t be to our taste. We noted the writing drew us in.

Today’s Thought was the first line we read from a page chosen at random. We’ve always felt it represents life in a nutshell. Not everything goes our way every single time. Sometimes fate seems to conspire against us even when what we want seemed to have been there for the taking.

We are currently reading a book about George Washington, who presents a perfect example of this. Few Americans are as revered as Washington. A complete review of his exploits is beyond the scope of The Thought for the Day, but his position in American history is, of course, as secure as it is well-earned.

However, even when Washington was at his pinnacle, commanding the Continental Army and serving as the first president of the United States, things didn’t go his way. In fact, many things didn’t go his way. Washington, however, never swerved from the path he felt his life should take, especially when it seemed the fates had turned against. Perseverance was allowed to finish its work.

But his arm was long.

Our arms must be long, too. Nobody is going to give us anything in this life. Or, at least, anything of value. If we want something, we must want it bad enough to go and get it. What we want must come from something deep inside us. When it does, our instincts will tell us how to get there. When we follow our hearts and trust our instincts, we should not be surprised when the time comes to reach out our hand and seize what we went after.

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

Friday, May 27
Had to do one of the toughest things I’d ever had to do as a supervisor today: talk to someone about body odor…This has never gone well…The couple-three times I’ve had to deal with this in the past I’ve caused offense – but you can’t really ignore it here, especially at the front desk, where we have constant guest contact.

It’s actually starting to become an issue with a couple of people, the other one of which works for somebody else.

I talked it over with Alice, beforehand, to see if she had any special tricks she uses…She said no, she’s had to do it many times over her working life and there is no easy to broach this subject except to, of course, broach it…Ensure the subject knows this isn’t meant as a personal affront tho, of course, it is personal….I mean, you have BO, that’s pretty personal.

Anyway, it went better than I had any right to expect…We went outside and I said, look, you’re doing a good job, but you began emanating BO late in the shift…This was a lie…It had been noticeable for a while…I added I didn’t know if it was his clothes or his person, but he had to take care of it….This was true, I couldn’t tell nor, frankly, was I too interested in doing the sniff tests required to find out.

He then pointed out I had visible nose hair…This made me laff, and he thanked me and that was that.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either products of Gaylon’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any other usage is a coincidence. 

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

Thursday, May 26
Had rehearsal for our Memorial Day ceremony today…We do this well and everyone takes great pride in it and we had a really good turnout, especially since the weather is still cold and it was windy and threatening rain.

It will feature the usual color guard, firing squad, flag detail and changing of the guard ceremony…Every year we add something to that, perhaps honoring veterans from a war that might be having an anniversary or whatnot, and this year we are having a memorial service for the 13 local veterans that died in the last year…Six of those were members of the post and we will present flags to their family members…We do not make them line up and pass them out like sodas at a picnic…It will be, of course, a military ceremony.

I came up with something good for this, even if I do say so myself…Tony, who commands the VFW post and I will be standing at the front facing the crowd…When it comes time to present the flags, we will about face (turn around) and walk out a few steps so we are facing the table with the flags…When we are in this position the families will be directly behind us…A Civil Air Patrol cadet will bring Tony a flag, he will deliver it to the family, then return…I will get a flag and take it to another family and there are six flags to present.

What was not entirely clear was the exact procedure we would use for this ceremony…So Tony and I are standing there with our thumbs up our ass wondering what we should do when I came up with what I think History will record as a brilliant idea:

  • Tony and I are standing facing Matthew, the Civil Air Patrol cadet.
  • Matthew, in a very formal, very military manner, retrieves a flag from the table and marches towards Tony.
  • Tony issues a hand salute, Matthew offers the flag, Tony takes it from him and Matthew salutes.
  • All three of us about face at the same time!!!…Tony and I are now facing the families, and Matthew is facing the table with the flags.
  • Tony marches toward the first family and presents the flag…I stay where I am, while Matthew marches back to the table.
  • After the flag is presented, Tony and I about face at more or less the same time…When he starts marching back towards me, Matthew marches towards me with my flag.
  • Matthew presents the flag to me, and all three of us about face together…I march forward for my presentation, Tony stays put and Matthew marches back to the table.

Good luck not weeping during this…We did this a couple of times it looks really sharp…If I can about face without tripping, it will be a very dignified part of the ceremony.

We also cleared up what we would say when presenting the flags:

On behalf of a grateful nation, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, our nations colors.

Stanko had actually written up something similar, but it involved remembering names and branches of service and Tony and I decided to keep it simple…Usually in presentations like this the president’s name is invoked, but Stanko said it will be a staunch Republican crowd and we might do well not to mention him.

It will be a memorable ceremony. If you come, bring a hanky.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any other use is a coincidence. 

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

Wednesday, May 25
Got another Sparrow For Congress video up today…This marks the third one and today’s was about the futility of sending a major party candidate back to Washington…My theory, which is kinda tuff to dispute, is that if they were going to change anything they would have done so already…They haven’t, so they’re not…I also said our country needs our help and I’ll lead the charge, so let’s go.

Nailed it on the first take, too…This is pretty rare because I am usually good for screwing something up the first few times…Even with not having to do it 17 times, it still takes some time, tho…First, I read the script aloud…Then, if I like that, I’ll go to the online teleprompter I use and cut and paste it in…Then I’ll do a dry run with the teleprompter and there is always a change or two to make once you see it on screen.

Once I like reading it on the teleprompter, I’ll set up the camera…I use the one on the iPhone because it’s better than the one on my new desktop…I’ve stuck a piece of Velcro on the back of the iPhone and another on the top of my desktop and then you attach it…From there, it’s easy to get the video camera going, especially with the remote start/stop button I have…Key is not to look at the screen, but at the lens…I put the camera in the center so I can look directly at the lens and see the teleprompter, too, so I’m not seen glancing to the side to read the script.

When you consider this is all done in my home office and not Television City in Hollywood, they come out really good.

I also got some work done on my All-American novel, The Small Town. We’ve gone from Neil and Dutch having coffee in the diner to Jimmy and Steve, two neighborhood, kids, stopping by Neil’s house to see if they can mow his lawn.

Got some time in the garden with The Wife, too, even getting on my knees and transplanting some petunias into the ground…I really don’t like doing any actual gardening when I am helping in the garden – I prefer to do some low-key watering and hand things to The Wife – but sometimes you take your chances…We also got some good work done on her hanging plant baskets, to include ol’ Sparrow putting a hook in a tree for one of them…We still need to find a place for the bird feeder, too.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any other use is coincidental. 

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America Needs Our Help – Let’s Go!

The latest from Gaylon For Congress.

Friends, you and me – we the people – are the only change on the ballot. If Republicans and Democrats were going to change anything, they would have already done so.

Go! Watch, enjoy and share. – Gaylon

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The Thought for the Day – J.R.R. Tolkien

Do not trouble your hearts with thought of the road tonight. Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


 Personally, we don’t think our lives are pre-determined. There are simply too many billions of people leading too many billions of random lives for this to be the case. It doesn’t make sense. Besides, why would whomever is in charge of pre-determining our lives give some people charmed lives, some people routine lives while some get brain tumors when they’re a few months old? This doesn’t make any sense, either.

Still, though, that what is meant to happen in our lives usually does, if we are acting in concert with the abilities we were all issued at birth.

We can all do something well. This is one of the earliest lessons we can remember learning, both at school and where we played sports. Some are good at math, some at science and some can write, just like some can play baseball while others can pole vault. An annoying few seem to be able to do everything well.

However, if we are going to allow what is meant to happen in our life to happen, we have to make use of those talents. If we ignore them, we risk stumbling through our days and wasting our time on this planet.

We must have a plan for our life. The plan must be doable and challenging and must be in step with our talents.

And, as we’ve talk about ad nauseum here at The Thought for the Day, it really doesn’t matter what that plan is. The only requirement is it comes from inside, that it is a result of following our hearts and trusting our instincts.

Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them…

When us humans do follow our hearts and trust our instincts, what is meant to happen in our lives usually does, and what we accomplish might astound us. We will find that the fates will guide our fortunes better than we ever could. All we have to do is let them.

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