Today in History: November 1

“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”—President John Adams

On this date in 1800, President John Adams moved into the newly built, but still unfinished, White House. The rooms were damp and drafty. He arrived unannounced with two aides to see the building.

The historian David McCullough describes The White House in 1800: “The immense house was still unfinished. It reeked of wet plaster and wet paint. Fires had to be kept blazing in every fireplace on the main floor to speed up the drying process. Only a twisting back stair had been built between floors. Doors were missing. … Later, supper finished, Adams climbed the backstairs candle in hand and retired for the night.”

During his second day in his new reidence, he wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, which included the above words, which were cut into the mantlepiece of the State Dining Room during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, and remain there.
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Today in History: October 1

Years after the event, Babe Ruth recounted his “called shot” of October 1, 1932, as something planned almost from the start of the at-bat, the game, his life.

What certainly took place is this: with the New York Yankees tied with the Chicago Cubs 4-4 in Game 3 of the World Series, Ruth came to the plate in the fifth inning, and after two strikes, he held up his hand and pointed … somewhere.

At the pitcher? At the Cubs dugout? Towards center field?
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Zing! Went the Strings of My Wallet

In honor of #NationalCoffeeDay: ‘Zing! Went the Strings of my Wallet’ by The Gad About Town. #Starbucks #PSL

The Gad About Town

“But what is it?” my friend asked.

I repeated what I had just said: “It’s a Starbucks ‘Caramel Apple Spice.'” (I think I even said “Starbucks,” even though we were at that moment sitting in a Starbucks and we certainly knew where we were, because it is impossible to mistake a Starbucks for any other anything. But sometimes when I open my mouth, an advertisement flies out.)

“Yes, but caramel apple spice what? Coffee? Tea? Soup?”

I did not have an answer. What is it indeed? “I don’t think it’s coffee.” I fell back on the charm of insane repetition, something I have not perfected over the years: “Its a Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice,” and I used my eyebrows to tell my friend that she wanted her own cup of one, too. (Picture Groucho Marx.)

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Achy Breaky Coffee

In honor of #NationalCoffeeDay: “Achy Breaky Coffee” by The Gad About Town. #coffee

The Gad About Town

One of my talents is breaking things. (I have others; they just have not yet been revealed to me.) I am not a physically strong individual. I just use what strength I possess ineptly.

Now, I know that anyone can break anything with enough gumption and/or strength. Give a man a big enough lever, and he can move the world, said Archimedes. Teach a man to swim and he can fish for a bicycle, said no one.

At best, this talent is an inadvertent one; at worst, it portends possible certain probable doom for the planet.

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Hey! Buddy! What’s the Prob?

No one who asks the question, “What’s your problem?” is expressing an invitation to join them in the quest for a solution. It is a statement costumed as a question. In linguistics, this sort of accusation-posing-as-a-question/concern is known by a linguistic term that I have not yet researched and may not get to today. “Accusation-posing-as-a-question,” or APAQ (™ pending) works for me, though.

It is aggressively passive-aggressive only almost approximately one-hundred percent of the time that it is uttered. The person speaking the non-rhetorical non-question is profoundly certain of one thing, is philosophically sure of this, however: That they are not now doing, nor have they just been doing, nor were they about to do, something that falls in the range between perplexing to annoying to criminal.
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Off the Shelf

Today is #IndependentBookstoreDay (‎@BookstoreDay). Here is my ode to booksellers, and here is a map to find an indie near you:

The Gad About Town

My girlfriend says it is like watching a kid in a candy store when we visit a book store. I suddenly appear to have multiple arms, like a Hindu deity, and my stride becomes a purposeful lurch.

Any purpose to my stride can be attributed to my knowing that she is not much of a fan of shopping at all, and less of a fan of browsing, of idling, in a store whose shelves are taller than six feet and could crush us.

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Personal Statement: Do not cry wolf! #OpNimr

Here is an update to my column from earlier this week:

My source Raymond Johansen writes:
“UPDATE: I was proven right. All three contacted their families [as we reported] and one of the mothers even got to visit her son on Sunday. I have however, received information, that four men was indeed executed on Sunday. The source is highly placed in the US State Department and cannot be named. My theory, repeat theory, is that they are not publishing this yet – simply waiting for a more opportune time to go public. The other theory is that nobody, but the murderer executed Sunday morning, was killed.

“UPDATE 2, March 17: Last night Saudi Press Agency confirmed the 73rd execution in 2016. Omar al-Rabie was killed yesterday. My thinking is that we can expect two more executions of ‘criminals’ in the near future.”

‪#‎OpNimr‬ ‪#‎SaudiArabia‬ ‪#‎Executions

hacktivist culture

Sunday March 13th: Personal statement regarding the recent article in the Saudi state newspaper Okaz on Friday March 11 about four men condemned to death

From Dubai I hear the following: Death sentences against four Saudi men convicted of terrorism have been confirmed by 13 judges, a Saudi newspaper reported, raising the possibility of a new round of executions two months after 47 people including a prominent Shi’ite cleric were put to death.

To me this clearly says that on Thursday or Friday a court upheld and earlier verdict. The three juveniles, including Ali al-Nimr, had their verdict upheld last year by the SCC (Specialized Criminal Court). There is no reason why the 5 judges in the Supreme Court would again hear their cases. (As far as I know.)

Therefore logic dictates that these four executions have absolutely nothing to do with the Quatif juveniles. There is simply no way…

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Pride Goeth

The word “humblebrag” has been around long enough that even I have heard of it. (Is that a humblebrag?) A collection of examples has been collected in a book that I have not yet read, entitled, “Humblebrag.” The word is common enough that it is even in the Oxford Dictionary, at least in the online edition.

For some reason, I only recently learned the term and, egomaniac that I am, I thought that I had come up with the concept years ago. I certainly had not.
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