Editor's Note: The Daily Dose is on hiatus for a while as Gaylon works on a project. It will return.

Funny, thoughtful commentary from around the Human Experience. Includes On This Date, Trivia and the Thought for the Day.

August 17 -
Capsule County Fair Review!
August 16 -
RIP Washington Generals
August 10 -
Some thoughts on the Aurora theater shooters sentences
August 9 -
You can't tell the candidates without a scorecard
August 6 -
The real issue at the heart of the Planned Parenthood debate
August 2 -
 Capsule Aircraft Carrier Review!

July 31 -
Lots of great stuff! Trust us!
July 27 -
Cut and paste the last mass shooting column
July 20 -
El Chapo, Pluto and Apollo!
July 19 -
Records that will and will not be broken
July 16 -
Back on the lamb!
July 14 -
 New Horizons! Pluto!
July 12 -
Can we get some straight talk, please?
July 10 -
Jeb Bush and the American worker
July 9 -
Evangelical Chirstians and gay marriage 
July 6 -
Uber vs. a taxi

June 23 -
 Here we go again
June 13- 
Louis L'Amour and the national debt

May 31 -
The Department of Justice scorecard!
May 21 -
How much do we want our government to do for us?
May 7 -
The shooting in Garland, Texas and how America has completely lost its mind.

March 29 -
Business 101
March 5 -
More Death Penalty Fun!
March 1 -
Some Thoughts On Net Neutrality

February 16 -
Be Fruitful And Multiply...Or Not. Plus Some Death Penalty Crap
February 15 -
The Economy Is Still In The Tank
February 12 -
Military Force, The Constitution, And Thou
February 9 -
 This Planet Has Gone Completely Bonkers
February 3 -
 Vote Early, Vote Often: The Latest From Gaylon For US Senate
February 1 -
Capsule Book Review! Capsule Book Review!

January 26 -
 Capsule Restaurant Review! Capsule Restaurant Review!
January 23 -
DeflateGate And Where Were The Game Officials?
January 22 - 
The State of Our Union
January 18 -
 Can A Nation Conceived In Liberty Do Anything Else?
January 15 - 
How Much Do We Want Our Government To Do For Us?
January 14 -
Read My Column: No New Taxes
Janury 12 -
 A Peaceful America, A Peaceful World
January 8 -
The Carter Criteria
January 3:
Go Congress!

Chronicling The Human Experience:
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None whatsoever.
Copyright, 2013-15, Gaylon Kent, All rights reserved.

I write so you will remember this the rest of your lives.
There is no other reason to do it, folks.
None, whatsoever.
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The Diary of a Nobody 
Current Month    2015    2014

The Daily Dose/January 2, 2016

By Gaylon Kent
The Writer's Shack

The Golden Age by Gore Vidal: Longtime readers of this crap know we are unabashed Vidal fans here at the Writer's Shack, so we were pleased to dive into the final installment of his collection of historical novels that covers the United States from the founding of the republic right through to where The Golden Age leaves us at the Korean War.

The Golden Age ends at turn of the 21st century, ending with assorted characters, now older, looking back at the time they flourished.

Warm, Personal Remembrance:
 For our money, Vidal's Creation and Lincoln are about as good of books as our species have produced, and his other works rank just a notch below. Forgetting our own fawning over him, by any measure Vidal is one this species most distinguished man of letters.

Back On Message:
 The Golden Age takes place in much the time as the previous novel in this series, Washington DC, does and contains most of the same characters.
Vidal touches on familiar themes. As he did in
Creation - set in the 5th century BC - Vidal continues to note that us humans will always do what is in our best interest. As he has in this series since Burr, he points out, as if he really needed to, the inherent corruption in American government and, by extension, ourselves. Or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, they have been human traits since time immemorial.
Like other Vidal books, this one is graciously and humorously written, chock full of the insights into our human experience we pay our writers to provide us with.

A Couple Of Things:
 One, Vidal makes an appearance as a character in his own novel. We've been reading an awfully long time here at the Writer's Shack and we can't recall seeing that before. Characters based on an author, sure, we've done that ourselves, but never the author actually appearing in his own novel.

 Also, Vidal gets off one of the funniest lines we have ever read. The Vidal character is involved in a rather tedious conversation with a couple of other characters and he interrupts:

I intervened, to ward off stroke.


Dry, Technical Matter:
 As usual, Vidal examines his role as historical novelist, this time at length. As usual, he states the historical characters more or less did and said what he had them saying and doing, this time acknowledging the freedom his fictional characters give him to analyze history which is not always the province of the historian.

We Interrupt This Program For A Word From The Ratings Department:
 Following Is The Official Writer's Shack Capsule Review Rating scale:

EX - Excellent; as good as the medium can produce in every respect.
VG - Very Good. Well worth your time.
GD - Good. More or less worth your time.
AR - All Right. Not completely without merit.
SP - Nothing of substance; a steaming pile, utterly without merit.

Final Ranking: VG.
 This book gets lesser marks than others because Vidal, probably a bit full of himself as he was wrapping one of the great series in American literature, gets a bit preachy. Vidal always has a point to make, but he really gets on top of his pulpit in The Golden Age.
More often than he really needed to, Vidal hammers home his feeling that FDR knew in advance about, and even instigated the attack on Pearl Harbor and that Harry Truman was nothing more than a bumpkin thrust into the presidency, an office his inadequacy for was obvious to everyone, except perhaps Mr and Mrs Truman. We may - or we may not - agree with these points, but he didn't have to make them as often as he did. We got the point.

But we quibble.
The Golden Age is a splendid book.

 The Earth reaches its closest point of approach to the sun for 2016 today, getting as close as 91.4 million miles. Amongst really dull people, this is known as perihelion. Earth will reach aphelion, or its farthest point away from the sun for 2016, in July when it will be about 94.5 million miles away.

GO IN PEACE, CONSOLIDATE WEALTH AND POWER: John II becomes pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church on this date in 533. Originally named Mercurius, John II faced the usual travails and intrigues popes of the era were subjected to and today is known mainly for being the first pope to take a new name upon taking office.
John II was a visionary. It wasn't until late in the 10th century that consecutive popes took different names, and the practice didn't come into common usage until the 11th century.

 The Soviet Union launces Luna 1 on this date in 1959, mankind's first attempt to fly to the moon.

The unmanned spacecraft was expected to crash into the moon, but a miscalculation sent it only within 3,700 miles of the moon's surface and ended up in orbit around the sun, where it remains, somewhere between Earth and Mars.

Maybe Sammy Hagar Will Sing A Song About This One Day:
 President Richard Nixon signs legislation lowering the national speed limit to 55mph on this date in 1974.

The law, which could not have been more ignored had they issued prizes for non-compliance, was enacted to help save gasoline during the OPEC oil embargo and was the leading reason Nixon was forced to resign the presidency later that year.

Great Moments In Solving British Murder Cases:
 Peter Sutcliffe, now known as Peter Coonan and also known as the Yorkshire Ripper, is arrested in northern England on this date in 1981. Sutcliffe, who was interviewed an astonishing nine times before police got around to arresting him, was convicted of 13 murders from 1975-80 and he was likely he was arrested before committing number 14.

Sutcliffe is still serving 20 concurrent life sentences. He is not eligible for parole.

Thought For The Day:
 Lead the ideas of your time and they will accompany and support you; fall behind them and they will drag you along with them; oppose them and they will overwhelm you. - Napoleon

Answer To The Last Trivia Question:
 We only see one side of the moon from the Earth because the moon revolves around Earth and rotates on its axis at the same speed, a phenomenon that is fairly common in the solar system.

Today's Stumper:
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Sunday October 18
The Wife and I went for a walk today and ended up inside a house for rent a block down for us...The house is, at least, 8o years old while 80 years ago occupants would've marveled at the indoor plumbing, it would not be a very functional house right now匱he stairs are very narrow and are mostly between two walls and don't have the handrails that become more and more important as you get older匬lus, the only bathroom is on the ground floor, also important as you get older, especially if your sleeping on the top floor and have to negotiate fun house stairs to get there.
The young couple that bought it was out staining the deck and said they've had some calls on it, but nothing has worked out so far匢 forgot to ask how much they're asking for it.

Also on the walk we ran into a mom, Becky, out for a walk with her kids匫ne was a girl scout with an order form The Wife - an old girl scout herself - spotted from more than a block away匴e thought it was for cookies, but no, it was for nuts and other assorted stuff like that匱he Wife ordered some stuff that was chocolate covered and shaped like daisies, while I ordered some whole cashews, which I dearly love.

When we knocked off work Friday night we didn't know what we would be in store for Monday because our truck was being towed back to the branch匴ell, Keith called me today and said we are driving to Town A Monday morning to pick one up that someone from Route 21 is driving up.

This means we will have to be on the road by 6am and ol' Sparrow will miss his now-treasured workout, but I will take the opportunity eat really well...I am almost down a notch on my belt and I am highly motivated to make it so I can get down a couple of more notches.

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The Diary of a Nobody is a novel. All elements are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

Copyright 2013-14, Gaylon Kent, all rights reserved. Only excerpts for a review may be used in any form without Gaylon Kent's express written consent, just like on NFL telecasts.

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