The Thought for the Day – Fred Kaplan

…he must have wondered, why had he not achieved what his ambition and talent from early on had directed him toward? – Fred Kaplan, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer


Fred Kaplan is an American writer and a biographer of considerable distinction. He is also a professor of English at Queens College in New York City. This book shows Lincoln’s growth as a reader and a writer and the work he put in to become a man able to put complex ideas into words that could be grasped by everybody, including himself. It’s a side of Lincoln that a lot of biographies only touch on.

Abraham Lincoln, of course, was the 16th president of the United States. Revered by some as the man who saved the Union during our Civil War, despised by some as nothing more than a despot, he was one of a few people our species has produced that will live down the ages, being talked about as long as there are enough humans around to hold a conversation.

Today’s Thought comes from a period in Lincoln’s life where he had yet to achieve what he felt he was destined to achieve. We forget the exact time, but the context of today’s Thought makes this plain.

This had to be frustrating for Lincoln. We’re read our share of Lincoln over the years and we always felt Lincoln knew he would have a place in American history, specifically as president. He had things to do with his life, but the fates were not yet cooperating.

Perhaps you can relate to this. We know we can. Like you, perhaps, we’ve been chasing dreams our entire adult life. Some we caught, some eluded us and some we’re still chasing. Some attainments took – and, honestly, are taking – longer than we thought they should.

Lincoln chased dreams, too, and was unyielding in his commitment to living the life he was meant to live. Full measures of effort, diligence and patience eventually took him where was meant to go, and he lived the life he always felt he was destined for, probably including his assassination.

Effort, diligence and patience are lessons that will serve all of us well in every aspect of our lives. We all have talents and ambitions we were issued at birth and the happiest lives are spent by those who get the most out of those talents. Less happy lives are lived by those who ignore these talents and ambitions.

Our paths may not see us to living down the ages – or they might, you never know – but if we are going to look back on a satisfactory life we must follow our paths. We must follow our hearts and trust our instincts. It is the only way to ensure we live the life we were meant to live.

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

Monday, July 25
Had some friends over tonight: Jim, Mike and Sandy…They are up from Sin City umpiring in a baseball tournament here…Jim and Mike have been coming up for three-four years and it’s always fun to have then over for dinner.

The Wife and Her Majesty made enough food to feed the flight wing of an aircraft carrier…She does this all the time, too, one because she does not want even the remotest of possibilities that a guest will waddle from her table anything less than completely stuffed and, two, she adores leftovers, so the frig is stuffed with goodies, enough to feed us for at least three days.

The Wife refers to them as the Dinner Crew, and the last time they were up dinner was at our rented cabin in town and we were both pleased to show off The Shire and they even brought housewarming gifts which was as surprising as it was unnecessary.

Driving into work this morning The Wife had some fun with me.

So, did your baby grass come up???

Regular readers of this crap will recall I laid down some grass seed a couple-three weeks ago because we do have some bare spots on our lawn I wanted to fill in…I figured weeds just up and sprout wherever the hell they want, so grass should probably do the same thing and I just threw some grass seen on the lawn near the storage shed…This despite The Wife’s blathering that I needed to aerate and rake and cover everything with topsoil.

Anyway, The Wife knew damn well my ‘baby grass’ didn’t pop up…I have no idea what did happen to it, actually…The seeds just sort of laid there for a few days before disappearing…I don’t suspect The Wife of going out and picking all of them up of course, but they went somewhere and it certainly wasn’t in the ground to sprout, despite my faithful watering.

The cat continues to jump on me from The Wife’s dresser when I’m sleeping, however, sometimes it coincides with when I have to use the bathroom, so it’s all right.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either made up or are used fictitiously. Any other use is a coincidence.

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The Thought for the Day – Grantland Rice

Amid world beating hearts, the tumult and the shouting starts. – Grantland Rice, The Start


Grantland Rice was an American sportswriter, one of the most eloquent and best known America has produced. Among other things, he is known for coining the phrase “The Four Horsemen” to describe the 1924 Notre Dame football team’s backfield, as well the phrase:

He writes – not whether you won or lost –
But how you played the game

Rice was a versatile man. He played football and baseball at Vanderbilt and was their baseball coach in 1908. In 1944 and 1946 he was nominated for Oscars in the Best Short Subject – One Reel category, winning in 1944 for a short called Amphibious Fighters. (The category is now known as the Best Live Action Short Film.)

The tumult and the shouting will begin soon in Rio De Janeiro, site of the Summer Olympics. While Rio was universally hailed for its unquestioned – and perhaps unparalleled – ability to produce scantily clad, buxom young women and to generally throw a party, almost immediately doubts were cast about Rio’s ability to stage an event of this magnitude.

Those concerns have come to pass, though in fairness to Rio organizers, not all are their fault. For example, they’re not responsible for the doping scandal that came this close to keeping the entire Russian Olympic team out of the Games, or the fact that some athletes – who had past samples recently test positive – might be waiting outside the gate at Olympic Stadium to see whether or not they’ll be allowed to participate in the Opening Ceremonies.

The fact that this planet has completely lost its mind and some whack job might well cause havoc at the Games is not their fault, either, though they will be responsible for preventing and dealing with it.

Some problems are their fault, though. The bay where the open water swimming and sailing events are to be held is, literally, a sewer. A half-million visitors could spread the Zika virus to the rest of the world. Some infrastructure projects either won’t be completed or, if completed, will be untested.

…the tumult and the shouting starts…

And perhaps the chaos, too. Even the biggest Olympic booster has to acknowledge an awful lot of elements for disaster are there. The Olympics biggest cynics have achieved, and are maintaining, a state of arousal usually only seen on porn movie sets waiting for catastrophe to strike.

We’re somewhere in the middle. The Olympics could use a swift kick in the pants. From bribery scandals to doping fiascos to athletes competing among body parts and feces, Rio might give it to them, and perhaps we’ll have the opportunity to usher in a new Olympic era. We could use it.

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

Sunday, July 24
I don’t think we’re going to get Yard of the Year…Even in our small town, where lush lawns aren’t the highest priority…Ours is looking pretty ragged…I mean, it has always been an eclectic assortment of grasses, weeds and whole grains and, lately, fungi, but are even more weeds than ever before.

Mowed the lawn today…Despite my instructions, The Wife did not mow the lawn while I was gone and today was really the first opportunity to do it…It needed some TLC…Actually, it needed my TLC…It needed mowing and watering and me talking to it…I don’t say too much to it…I do try to put in an encouraging word in the really dry spots, however and there were enough of those so that it was more or less running conversation today…The Wife insists she watered while I was gone, but I know better.

While Yard of the Year might be out, the county fair is next month, here in town, so we have some hope of coming back strong with an award there…Recall last year The Wife’s turnips took the coveted Second Premium ribbon, tho there won’t be a repeat this year because The Wife couldn’t be bothered to grow turnips this year…There are a variety of other options for county fair entry, altho The Wife hasn’t said what she plans to enter yet…I don’t think our apple tree will be ready for entry, however.

Her Majesty spent the day alone in the house while The Wife and I were at work and we came back to spotless kitchen…Not only that, the knives, forks and spoons were all organized, a phenomenon in our kitchen on par with planetary alignment…Her Majesty’s influence was even felt in the bathroom…We have a towel rack above the can and The Wife and I, well, mainly The Wife, had been in the habit of rolling the towels up for storage.

Not anymore…The towels are now folded prior to being stowed on the towel rack.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either made up or are used fictitiously. Any other use is a coincidence.

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparow, an average man passing an average life…

Friday, July 22
So I’m in the break room about 1:30 or so, getting ready to go home cause recall I go in at 5am on Saturdays (Well, more like 5:30 because Alberto never leaves until 5:45am) when Anna from the concierge desk walks in…Anna is in her 20’s, kinda cute, very tall and dangerously thin…She is carrying a plate on which plainly had recently held her lunch…I asked her what she had for lunch and she said a burger and two hot dogs…The sales department had a BBQ for our timeshare owners today, so there was no shortage of burgers and hot dogs around.

Anna, how do you weigh ten pounds…How do you stay so trim eating like???…I gained two pounds just listening to it.

Anna made a serious of ladylike sounds that weren’t really a laff or a giggle, or anything, really, but which indicated I should be envious of her.

You’re not one of those who can eat whatever they want and not gain weight are you???

I am, Sparrow…I usually eat a quart of ice cream every night.

A quart of ice cream!!

I hate you…I mean, you know I hate you, right???

(Laughing) You should!!!

Anna then stops at the door to the break room, turns around and sashays over to a table near the TV that has bagels…Anna then goes thru a big, funny show as if she were fretting over which bagel, with appropriate cream cheese, of course, she should have to compliment her burger and hot dogs lunch…It was all rather funny and, ultimately, Anna declined to have a bagel, probably so as not to interfere with her evening ice cream ration.

I am very tired, and I was grateful when The Wife texted me advising the races here in town were cancelled…Recall a few weeks ago we worked the Post’s burger truck there and we were scheduled to do it again tonight…It’s a long night…Regular readers of this crap might – or they might not – recall that last time we snuck out early and still didn’t get home until 10pm and we gone the distance we wouldn’t have gotten home until well after midnight, at the earliest.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either made up 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…

 Friday, July 22
The big news is Stephanie is back in charge of the front desk…This actually happened the last day before I went on vacation but I was in vacation mode and only gave it passing interest.

Recall Stephanie is the one who had the good sense to hire me last fall and after I started she almost immediately fled to manage the Housekeeping department…She has a career to build and to become a resort manager it’s nice to have a variety of department manager positions on your resume as possible.

Her housekeeping experience completely blew, tho…Meanwhile, we’ve been muddling along in good ol’ Guest Services without a manager…Some might recall the alleged new manager that was hired that I referred to from time to time who never actually made it to work…Turns out she had dandruff or psoriasis or some sort of deadly skin deal that prevented her from taking the job.

It’s good to have Stephanie back…I’ve always liked her, tho there has been almost complete turnover at the front desk since she started…Some of the new desk clerks are kind of leery of her, but I’ve been telling them not to worry, Steph will be great to work for…Somehow, tho, me telling them she was the one who hired me was not as reassuring as I had hoped.

We had our first front desk meeting today, too…Stephanie gives really good meeting and it went well, with little wasted time…I was a rascal and knocked off early, too…The meeting was over about 1:15 or so and recall I worked late last night to cover a call off…Fellow supervisor Tanya was there, starting her shift after the meeting and she presented no violent objection to ol’ Sparrow leaving, so I was home by 2pm.

When I walked in the kitchen door The Wife, Her Majesty and my beloved sister-in-law Becky were there sitting at the kitchen table coloring in grown-up coloring books…The Wife and Her Majesty tag teamed on Shepherd’s Pie for dinner with some elk meat that was slaughtered and packed by a woman The Wife works with at the retailer…That’s the way it is up here…Sometimes you work with women who slaughter and prepare elk meat.

The first video of Plain Talk w/ Sparrow has over 200 views in just over a day, which is about 200 more views past videos have gotten on the first day…My only real resource is social media, so that’s what I’m working…I even have an app so I can schedule stuff in advance, which is really convenient.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either made up or are used fictitiously. Any other use is a coincidence

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Plain Talk w/Gaylon Kent – We Have a Country To Change, Let’s Go!

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The Diary of a Nobody – Drivel From Sparrow!

Meet Sparrow, an average man passing an average life…

 Thursday, July 21
With the rearranging of the bedroom, the cat has a new perch to keep tabs on her vassals…One of The Wife’s dressers, a rather tall, sort of ugly green contraption that – and this is almost interesting, we got from a woman now doing time – is now located immediately inside the bedroom door and the cat has found favor with sitting on top and looking down at us.

I don’t think she is able to jump directly to the top of this dresser from the floor, tho…I suspect she jumps on my dresser, nearby against the other wall and leaps from there, but who know???…I haven’t really paid that close of attention yet.

I am now completely bald…I started shaving my head again last week on the road trip because Her Majesty and I were going to some pretty nice restaurants and I didn’t want to look like a balding old man…I’ve shaved my head before and it remains a distinctive, rather commanding look, so I am going to keep it for the campaign and it looked pretty good on the Sparrow for Congress videos I am releasing this week.

Back to work…It was good to see everybody again, tho I suspect something is going on in Maintenance…I went in at 11am and there was a two-hour period where we were slammed, but it was pretty routine otherwise…Well, Gabriel called off, so I ended up working until 11pm, but that’s OK, too.

Actually, we had so many long days towards the end there with the Doily Delivery Company that I don’t really like working more than eight hours a day, but this was the easiest solution to the problem.

The Wife, in contravention of my orders, did not get the lawn mowed while I was gone…Of course, she didn’t water it, either, so it didn’t grow all that much, but the lawn will need to be mowed soon.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either made up 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, July 20
All right, I am living with four women this week, including the cat, but one of the advantages is that without lifting a finger my closet is organized and so is my dresser, to include clothes being folded, something I can never be bothered to do on my own…And Her Majesty has completely moved in to the spare bedroom…I mentioned to her that she wasted no time and she said she wanted to feel right at home as soon as possible.

Three umpiring buddies of mine are in town for the next couple of weeks to work some youth baseball tournaments they have every summer…Jim called me this morning, pretty early, actually because they had an early game, but I was up so I answered…Turns out their games were in town, so I threw some clothes on and went and said hi.

After their games we went to the local diner for dinner and The Wife likes having them over for dinner when they’re in town, so we made arrangements for that, too….I might actually do some umpiring for them next week…The tournament starts on Wednesday and I’m off on Wednesdays and they said they could probably finagle it with the tournament director…I said sure…I haven’t umpired with them for years and it would be a lot of fn.

I have no idea why they baseball tournaments here…The fields are, by any measure, substandard…All have dirt infields instead of grass and some have portable pitcher’s mounds…But they come every year, lots of teams, mainly because it’s nice up here and this is a nice place to travel to.

The Wife, Her Majesty and my beloved sister-in-law were up and out of the house early today, heading to a state park a few hours of here, one where are planning a camping trip to after Labor Day…

Turned the office into a soundstage today, getting no less than four campaign videos in the can…I titled them Plain Talk With Sparrow and the underlying theme in all of them is we are getting the government we deserve because we elected everyone there…When we want better government all we have to do is elect it…I might’ve also added my contention that this nation may well collapse if we don’t do it pretty darn soon.

The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either made up or are used fictitiously. Any other use is a coincidence.

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The Thought for the Day – Andrew Jackson

…you are deluded by men who have either deceived themselves or wish to deceive you. – Andrew Jackson


Andrew Jackson was the seventh president of the United States, serving from 1829-37. A complete review of Jackson’s presidency is beyond the scope of this feature, but it is interesting to note Jackson was the last president to preside over an America that was debt free.

Today’s Thought has particular relevance today. We are in the midst of as contentious an election as this has nation has seen, which is saying something because this nation has a long, honorable history of contentious presidential elections. Those who think the 2016 election cycle is anything special has either forgotten the lessons they learned in school or they skipped school altogether. The only thing that has changed is the medium, this nation having gone from broadsheets, town criers and pamphlets to radio, television and the Internet.

…you are deluded by men…

Politicians say this and politicians say that and, as numerous organizations are pointing out, not everything we are told is true. Fact checking has gone from a cottage industry to an integral part of coverage of any speech.

Too bad, really, because candidates for any office, be it dog catcher or president, should be telling us the truth and citing valid statistics. That they are not is our fault and not theirs. We are not going to bother citing specific examples. One there are so many it would be too time consuming to pick out one or two. Every major candidate for a major office has issued their share of half-truths, falsehoods and misinformation. Some intentionally, some unwittingly

…who are either deceived themselves or wish to deceive you.

Whether someone is deluding themselves with information they believe is true, or whether they are lying to us in an attempt to deceive us is not particularly important because nobody deludes us without our consent. If politicians are getting away with issuing misinformation and falsehoods it is only because we are allowing it by continuing to pay attention to them. When we stop paying attention to falsehoods and start demanding the truth, I think we will be surprised at how fast we get it. We are merely being given what we are tolerating.

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