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Beloved Readers, 

God bless all of you for stopping by. There’s no shortage of funny things for you to read here, both columns and books. Some are free and some we charge for. Click here for samples from our recent Read Free Week.
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The Daily Dose/Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Daily Dose/September 23, 2018
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

In The News
The Vatican and China have announced a provisional agreement reconciling a very long dispute over who appoints bishops in China. The countries have not had diplomatic relations since China severed them in 1951 and there are currently two Catholic Churches in China, the one approved by the government and an underground one that answers to the Vatican.

Under terms of the agreement, Pope Francis agrees (rather incredibly it seems, though this can hardly be the first time a pope has done business with dictators) to recognize seven bishops appointed by China. This will put the official Chinese Catholic Church in full communion, as they like to say, with the Vatican. It’s actually a pretty practical move by Pope Francis, about as good a deal as he could expect to get. On the other hand, boy oh boy, Communists have appointed bishops to the Catholic Church, which cannot, is not, going over well with some in the church.

A Vatican official described the agreement as “reciprocal rapprochement”, which appears to be code for “caving in to whatever Communists want” because while the agreement gives the pope future veto authority over Communist-appointed bishops, it says nothing about his being able to appoint bishops to the church he heads. The status of bishops in China that had been appointed by the pope does not appear to have been addressed, either.

Today at the Site
Sparrow has more chaos at the hotel to announce on The Diary of a Nobody, as he faces the harrowing prospect of also morning and afternoon shifts, in addition to his treasured graveyard shifts. Also, he turned on the heater in the lobby for the first time this season.

This is nonsense, of course…Without me, it’s Assistant GM Puja the five days I’m not there, 19 of 21 shifts a week, hours slaves would have dismissed out of hand.

Another quote from the fine Alexander Hamilton biography by John C Miller is featured on The Thought for the Day. Today’s quote concerns aiming high and straining nerves to reach a goal.

…his life seemed to prove that the valorous were the favorites of fortune.

On This Date
In 1806 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the US Army Corps of Discovery, returns to St Louis, 863 days after they had left. Like all great explorers, they found what was there, describing in great detail the plants and animals and Indians they discovered. They did not find a water route to the Pacific Ocean, but they did find a trail from the end of the Missouri River to the Columbia River, which took them to the ocean.

In 1908 – The New York Giants and the Chicago Cubs, battling for the National League (NL) pennant, tie 1-1 when the Giants game-winning run is disallowed by the umpires because Giants first baseman Fred Merkle did not touch second base on a base hit that had scored a run. Merkle had been on first base and was required to touch second. The two teams would end the season tied for the NL lead, and the Cubs won the makeup game to win the pennant. History refers to the incident as Merkle’s Boner, which meant something different back then.

In 1972 – Mac Davis has the #1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100 with Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me. The song would spend three weeks at #1 and also went to #1 in Australia and on Canada’s country chart, while peaking at #26 on Billboard’s country chart. It remains Davis’ only #1 song anywhere.

Answer To The Last Trivia Question
Cy Young broke both the major league career wins and losses record that had been established by Pud Galvin. Young’s 366th win (1903) and 311th loss (1911) established the new records.

Today’s Stumper
How many members of the Corps of Discovery died on the Lewis and Clark expedition? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day/John C Miller, on Alexander Hamilton

…his life seemed to prove that the valorous were the favorites of fortune. He was simply inviting the [Constitutional] Convention to do what he had done repeatedly – to aim as high as possible and to strain every nerve to attain the goal.
John C Miller
Alexander Hamilton: Profile in Paradox


This is the second consecutive quote from this book, so we will dispense with our usual introductory paragraph, except to say this was one heck of a biography, thoughtful from start to finish and even garnering a chuckle from time to time. Both those who are familiar with Hamilton or who are doing their first substantive reading on him will enjoy it and in another column, we were pleased to issue it our second-highest rating, right below the very best this species can produce.
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The Diary of a Nobody/September 22

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The Daily Dose/Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Daily Dose/September 22, 2018
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Capsule Book Review
Alexander Hamilton: Profile in Paradox by John C Miller: Alexander Hamilton remains one of the more interesting figures that attended America’s birth. Born illegitimate in the West Indies, he made his way to New York City, armed with both the genius and the ambition to make the societal and professional rises he yearned for. Miller does a very good job of making Hamilton accessible and his book as the details you would expect and is written in an urbane style that is actually rather funny at times, not because Miller is a humorist, but because he knows how to write. He does an excellent job of showing Hamilton at his best – a genius with a knack for the audacious – to his worst – a pest unopen to anything other than his worldview – which eventually got him killed.

As an aside, this book took us forever to read, about four months, which is a long time even for leisurely readers like us. But we have assorted projects going on, plus other things, too, and we did have the hour or so every day to devote to it.

Rating Scale: 1 – The very best; 2 – Superior; 3 – Good; 4 – Not too bad. 5 – A steaming pile

Final Rating: 2. Serious students of history will find, have found, Miller’s work to have no small amount of merit and casual readers will find it useful as well. Certainly worth your time.

Today at the Site
Today, on The Diary of a Nobody, Sparrow announces that one of the sacrifices demanded by his new teeth is the swapping of chunky peanut butter for creamy. Also, he is still getting mileage from the “mouth looked like an archaeological dig” line plus here is one of those fancy Keurig coffee machines in the breakroom at the retailer.

We’re grateful for [the Keurig] because the ground coffee they provide company-wide is some of the worst coffee you will ever have…It tastes as if they roasted the beans with some old sweat socks…But the K machine rules…

John C Miller, in the book we reviewed above, has The Thought for the Day, a quote about preparing yourself for your emergence.

Hamilton had been born to unmarried parents in the West Indies and was determined to rise to an exalted station, both socially and professionally…Hamilton, much like Benjamin Franklin, remains an outstanding example of someone of modest birth who saw the life he wanted to live and went out and lived that life.

On This Date
In 1975 – Sara Jane Moore attempts to assassinate President Gerald Ford in San Francisco. Moore fired one shot from about 40 feet away with a gun purchased that morning because the police had confiscated her personal weapon the day before. The sights were off and she missed. Moore was sentenced to life in prison and was paroled in 2007, a year after Ford died. Her attempt came 17 days after Lynette Fromme tried to assassinate Ford in nearby Sacramento.

In 1911 – Cy Young of the Boston Rustlers, later known as the Braves, earns the win in a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is the 511th and final win of Young’s major league (ML) career, a record that still stands. Young would go on to lose his last three starts, finishing with 316 losses, also an ML record that still stands. Young had been baseball’s all-time wins leader since 1903 and it’s all-time losses leader since 1911.

In 1945 – You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often by Tex Ritter is #1 on Billboard’s country chart, then known as the Most Played Juke Box Folk Records chart, for the fourth of eleven non-consecutive weeks. The song would spend five weeks at #1 in this its third of five stints at #1 for the year. It was the second of three number ones for Ritter and the song was written by Jenny Lou Carson and was the first #1 country song written by a woman.

Answer To The Last Trivia Question
President Dwight Eisenhower nominated Potter Stewart to the United States Supreme Court.

Today’s Stumper
Whose major league career wins and losses records did Cy Young break? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day/John C Miller on Alexander Hamilton

It is undeniable, however, that despite the suddenness of his advent, he had been long preparing for this emergence.
John C Miller
Alexander Hamilton: Profile in Paradox


John Chester Miller (1907-1991) was an American historian and writer, focusing mainly on the key figures of the American Revolution. This book was published in the 1950’s and was written in the formal yet urbane and entertaining style that was common to the era. It was richly researched with perhaps a bit more detail than the casual student of history will require, but overall it is well worth the effort required to finish it. Alexander Hamilton, of course, was the first secretary of the treasury for the United States and took a nation without money or credit and deeply in debt and made it prosperous and creditworthy. Killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, Hamilton remains the only person shot to death by a sitting vice president of the United States.
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The Diary of a Nobody/September 21

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The Daily Dose/Friday, September 21, 2018

The Daily Dose/September 21, 2018
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

In The News
Here we go again.

She said, he said. A woman says a supreme court nominee sexually assaulted her, the nominee dutifully says no. It’s difficult to say whether it’s good or bad President Trump finds it very hard to imagine his nominee did something like this. After all, this is someone who said he likes he to grab women by the p*ssy, though, perhaps, as an authority on this matter, he has insights we don’t.

It’s good men are being held accountable for sexually assaulting women. It’s discouraging there are so many of them, though.

It is not reasonable to believe a woman would subject herself to this imbroglio if the accusations were without merit, but this is not stopping the GOP from, for now at least, forging ahead with confirming Kavanaugh. They are resisting calls for an FBI investigation before a Senate vote, though it only takes two senators voting no, along with unanimous opposition from Senate Democrats, to block Kavanaugh’s nomination.

I wouldn’t bet on it, though. Since Clarence Thomas was confirmed, the GOP has acquired a lot of experience in circling the wagons and forging ahead despite the obstacles presented and the damage they have caused. If there are problems in November, well, they will forge through those, too, because they know American voters stopped holding their leaders accountable ages ago.

Today at the Site
Sparrow has another follow-up appointment at the dentist, and he and The Wife spend a pleasant afternoon together on The Diary of a Nobody. They go on a walk by the river, then head up the pass to see the fall colors, which aren’t really at full force yet, though come back strong with a hike on a gorgeous trail at the west summit of the pass.

On the drive back The Wife lamented she hadn’t a thing out for dinner.

You’re not thinking the diner, are you???

All right, maybe not a Line of the Year candidate, but not too bad and no, The Wife wasn’t thinking the diner at all…We stopped by the grocery store and got a rotisserie chicken and some shells and cheese, which the cat really liked…

Michelangelo, not for the first time, is the subject of The Thought for the Day. It’s from a book by Miles Unger that chronicles Michelangelo’s life through several of his masterpieces. As usual, Michelangelo’s life has lessons that will serve us mortals well.

That is not all there is in this life, though and Michelangelo has lessons for all of us: find what you were meant to do then go and do it. Find the talents you were issued at birth and put in whatever work is required to maximize them. Ignore the cacophony of outside distractions and answer your own inner calling.

On This Date
In 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is confirmed, unanimously, as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court by the United States Senate. She would be sworn in five days later, the first woman to serve on the court. O’Connor replaced Potter Stewart and served until her retirement in 2006. Now 88, O’Connor lives in Phoenix.

In 1956 – The New York Yankees establish a major league record by leaving 20 runners on base in a 13-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees got 15 hits and the Red Sox chipped in five errors and nine walks and the Yankees left runners on base in every inning, including the bases loaded in the first, fourth and sixth. The record still stands.

In 1959 – Santo and Johhny are at #1 for the first of two weeks with Sleep Walk. Santo and Johnny Farina are a pair of brothers, and their uncle Michael Dee, played drums for them. Sleep Walk was the last instrumental #1 song of the 1950’s and Sleep Walk remains their only #1 song. The pair continued to make records into the 1960’s but only had one other Top 40 hit, Tear Drop, which peaked at #23 later in 1959.

Answer To The Last Trivia Question
Marvn Gaye and Tammi Terrell first charted with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. It reached #19 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #3 on their R&B chart.

Today’s Stumper
Which president nominated Potter Stewart to the United States Supreme Court? – Answer next time!

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The Thought for the Day/Miles Unger, on Michelangelo

His images are unforgettable because he was conceiving new forms and discovering new meanings, not just dutifully illustrating a predetermined text. He works by instinct…his independence of mind opening up new possibilities.
Miles Unger
Michelangelo: A Life In Six Masterpieces


We have quoted from this book before. Like all good biographers, Unger makes it seem like his subject is sitting next to you, overseeing your reading about him. The six masterpieces Unger tells Michelangelo’s story through are the Pieta, the David, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the Medici tombs, The Last Judgment (on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel) and St Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo (1475-1564), of course, is as talented a man as our species has produced, one of the few to reach the pinnacle in three distinct forms of human endeavor: sculpture, painting and architecture.
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The Diary of a Nobody/September 20

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The Daily Dose/Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Daily Dose/September 20, 2018
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

Friends, In The News, On This Date and Trivia will return.

The other regular crap is ready for your review, though. Sparrow tests the new falsies out on a Stromboli at the local diner on The Diary of a Nobody, and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots has The Thought for the Day.

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