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Not What You Expect?

Today is about interesting combinations. Things together that you would not expect! And I’m not even starting with insurance companies who advertise how quickly they pay claims! Instead…

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I walked outside the house yesterday morning and saw three foxes standing with a deer. Why were they hanging out together?  You might ask, “Why didn’t you take a picture?” Funny you should say that!

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That unexpected team didn’t seem to belong together.

Much like the judges on the television show America’s Got Talent. Curiously, none of the four are from the United States. Heidi Klum is German; Mel B (using the name she calls herself) and Simon “Fat Head” Cowell are both British; and Howie Mandel was born in Canada.

Which brings me to another odd grouping that was unexpected. The image of the grand White House,  and the reality of a rundown place to live.

John Adams served as the second President of the United States. He was also a lawyer and writer. A writer who was known for his constant complaining. That included why he withdrew as the author of the Declaration of Independence.

Initially, he was one of the Committee of Five who were charged by Congress to draft the Declaration. When Jefferson wanted him to be the primary author, he declined. When Jefferson asked him why, he replied by describing himself with his second reason of why he should not be the author, “I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular”. (His first reason was because he felt Jefferson, as a Virginian, should be the primary drafter)

When he became President and wrote back to his wife about the accomodations at the White House, this is how he described it in the letter, with his old english spelling included:

“Last night for the first time I slept in our new House. But what a Scene: The Furniture belonging to the Publick is in the most deplorable Condition. There is not a Chair fit to sit in. The Beds and Bedding are in a woeful Pickle. This House has been a Scene of the most Scandalous Drinking and Disorder among the servants, that ever I heard of. I would not have one of them for any Consideration. There is not a Carpet nor a Curtain, nor a Glass nor Linnen nor China nor any Thing. Dont expose this Picture.

Not what we expect as the home of our president! Plus… life in a woeful pickle!

And for pic o’ day, I use another Christie meme. Here he is among Gilligan and his friends, trying to get off the island. Christie just won’t help them, after their three hour tour!

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For our real pic o’ day, this is really not what you expect from a company truck. Someone with a sense of humor!

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Some Politics

We are truly in the political season. Trump picking his Vice President, and soon Clinton will pick her VP. So I thought it would be timely to reference some of the words of John Adams, in letters to his wife Abigail:

First, Adams once complained that the task of cleaning up the President’s House, the first family’s official residence before the White House and after George Washington’s term:

Last night for the first time I slept in our new House. But what a Scene: The Furniture belonging to the Publick is in the most deplorable Condition. There is not a Chair fit to sit in. The Beds and Bedding are in a woeful Pickle. This House has been a Scene of the most Scandalous Drinking and Disorder among the servants, that ever I heard of. I would not have one of them for any Consideration. There is not a Carpet nor a Curtain, nor a Glass nor Linnen nor China nor any Thing. Dont expose this Picture.”

Despite using a bit of old English, it’s still a bad thing to have to stay in a place that is a “woeful pickle”. Like one of those scary hotels where you sleep with your clothes on!

Second, as to the office of Vice President,  Adams once described the office of Vice President as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

And that’s some politics! I hope you have a great weekend!

Here’s a pic o’ day for the weekend that describes a “bad decision”:

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The Franklin/Adams Cold Air Night

We all have been on trips where we ended up sleeping in less than ideal conditions or even failed to plan ahead.  When we think of the country’s founding fathers, it’s real easy to have a mental image of  crowd-stirring speeches or the drafting of documents that would govern our nation in its infancy.

I was reminded by mentalfloss.com, that the background stories were as colorful as the lessons in our history books. This is a story of a night in September of 1776 as recorded by the diary of John Adams; It shows the thinking and persuasion of two historical figures as well as why even the smallest of details makes for intersting historical perspective.

Just months after the thirteen American colonies announced their independence from British rule, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams were sent by the Continental Congress  as part of a small delegation, to travel from Philadelphia to Staten Island for the purpose of negotiating with Admiral Richard Howe of the Royal Navy. Their hope was to bring a possible end to the Revolutionary War.Franklin Adams

According to Adams, as they passed through New Brunswick, New Jersey, the negotiators of the delegation – Frankin, Adams and South Carolina representative Edward Rutledge decided to stop for the night and find a place to sleep. Without Priceline or Expedia, they soon learned that without prior planning, all the inns and local lodging taverns were full except for one establishment that had two available rooms. Unfortunately, this left only two beds for the three men.

As described by Adams’ writings, “One bed could be procured by Dr. Franklin and me, in a chamber a little larger than the bed, without a chimney and with only one small window.” It turned out that the small window would become the bone of contention. The diary went on to describe the night’s events:

 

     Adams described himself as “an invalid and afraid of the air in the night,” so he closed the window before they got into bed.

“Oh!” said Franklin. “Don’t shut the window. We shall be suffocated.”

What Adams had meant by “invalid” was that he could not stand cold air. When Adams explained to Franklin that he didn’t want to catch a cold from the night air, Franklin countered that the air in their room was even worse.   “Come!” Franklin said. “Open the window and come to bed, and I will convince you: I believe you are not acquainted with my Theory of Colds.”

Contrary to the general population of that day, Franklin was convinced that no one had ever gotten a cold from cold air. Instead, it was the “frowzy corrupt air” from animals, humans and dirty clothes and beds that resulted in a cold, when they were “shut up together in small close rooms.”  It was cool, fresh night air that had many benefits.

Franklin’s opinion was inconsistent with Adams’ own experiences, Adams noted, but he was curious regarding Franklin’s theory. So, even at the risk of a cold, he opened the window again and hopped into the lone bed.

As they lay side by side, according to the diary, Franklin “began a harangue upon air and cold and respiration and perspiration.” Adams watched Franklin catch a cold.

“I was so much amused that I soon fell asleep, and left him and his philosophy together,” Adams wrote. “But I believe they were equally sound and insensible, within a few minutes after me, for the last words I heard were pronounced as if he was more than half asleep.”

Unfortunately, the ending of the trip was not a successful negotiation. Still, Adams was able to later tell others that Franklin may have understood lightning and electricity but he did not understand the components of the common cold.

DID YOU KNOW that when people are offered a new pen to try, 97% of them try it by writing their own name.

And for pic o’ day, here are two mischevious  friends that got into it:

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A July 4th Wish and Remembrance

     For Independence Day, Wikipedia gives us the following history:

“In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.”

     How can those dates be so randomly historical? Still, that’s fun history to me. I made reference to this in our July e-blast newsletter. If you did not receive it and want to be on the e-blast email list, you can send a request to joel@joelbieber.com (shameless plug!) 

     Blogging note: I will be off a few days. So, no new blog until Monday.  I hope you have a time of fun and celebration for July 4… our day of Independence!

Happy July4

Founding Father Notes

For my July 4 blog, I started thinking about the individuals that each played a part in the United States’ fight for freedom. Typical for me, I got distracted while reading about the individuals. It never got finished as a blog. So, I finished my thoughts for the next blog.

I have always been fascinated by John Hancock. He is known to most of us as the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence. At the time of his signing, he supposedly exclaimed something about signing so big, so the King could see it without his spectacles.

I am sure that you have heard the expression before signing some document, “Put your John Hancock right there”. Men like Hancock had great personal stories that brought them to that point in life.  In fact, he had much to lose. He was a wealthy man, due in part to having grown up in a wealthy shipping family.

Hancock was the first and third governor of Massachusetts. Supposedly, he got motivated by the fight over taxation. His boat was stopped to be taxed. There was a question over whether it was really only bringing in 25 bottles of wine, but the men on the boat did swear to it to the British authority. It meant less tax than an entirely filled boat.  Unfortunately for Hancock, one of those men changed their story and Hancock was brought to trial. Needing an attorney to represent him, he hired local attorney John Adams.

Adams must have done a good job as his lawyer. Because it was an admiralty case, the law did not provide for a jury trial. However, history tells us that the charges were dropped without explanation. Apparently, this served as motivation to Hancock. Plus, he probably developed a friendship with Adams that carried over to the Continental Congress.

Each of the men had their own story of motivation, but they were also very individualistic; and, of course, human. Sunday’s Parade Magazine recited some of the personal details of some of them.

Alexander Hamilton was known as a dashing figure. He was the first public figure to be embroiled in a public sex scandal. He confessed to his misconduct but then went on to describe his indiscretions in such detail that it made his other colleagues uncomfortable.

George Washington was known for his great courage. In battle, he had two different horses shot from beneath him. He apparently was also a bit of a sentimentalist. He called one of his hunting dogs “Sweet Lips”.

John Adams was known as “His Rotundity” because of his stout stature. However, letters to his wife have revealed that he was also a lawyer with a silver tongue. He wrote such lines to her as “I am, with an Ardour that Words have not power to express, yours”. Ardour is a word that I had to look up. Defined as “feelings of great intensity and warmth”. Hopefully, his wife had a better vocabulary than I.

Principled, committed and motivated are just some of the words that I have heard to describe our founding fathers. The stories just made me want to put a few in a blog. There are so many good ones to read.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a set of pic o’s of the founding dogs… well, maybe that still needs more work:

 

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