Are you new to the Mac and looking for cool apps? Even if you’re an oldtimer like me, you’ll likely find something new and useful at Mac Open Web.
Tonight I reread some Edgar Allen Poe, one of my favorite writers since I was a child. I remember being heartbroken while riding home from vacation with my parents. The blood drained from my face as I screamed. I left a volume of Poe behind in a drawer, to be read never more.
Now, I have two copies of Poe on the shelf. Tonight I read:
- The Tell-Tale Heart
- The Cask of Amontillado
- Some Words with a Mummy
History will remember the obvious horrors of 2020 including, hopefully, Trump’s reign of lunatic terror, pathological narcissm, and denial. It’s up to people like me and you to remember the effects of this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
Bad News First
I personally know people who suffered or died from a virus that could have been limited if our Republican-majority government hadn’t embraced conspiracy theories or deafening silence.
Hindsight is blind in matters such as these, but I believe many or most of the more than 300,000 dead could be alive today if, beginning in January, Trump and his defenders had led by proper example to encourage the obvious needs for social distancing, mask-wearing, and handwashing.
Instead, they discouraged these simple activities, hosted super spreader events, promises from the president that the disease would simply go away like a miracle. They wrapped up the year with a series of indoor holiday parties. The fallout from these gathering has yet to be seen, but based on a year of observation it can be nothing but bad.
Their lack of leadership led to most of the other bad news of 2020.
Businesses suffered. Those that are still afloat continue to struggle to keep their doors open. Those who weren’t so lucky closed their doors for good. Those of us who have appropriately hunkered down won’t know the full impact until we finally try to go to one of our favorite places only to find the lights off and the doors locked.
People lost their jobs. More than 70 million have filed for first-time unemployment benefits since the beginning of the pandemic.
Politics with Trump leading the party in power have divided the country more than I have ever seen in my lifetime. Republican supporters gave a tacit boost to white supremacism fueling disputes about whether Black Lives Matter (They do!). Police did terrible things and murdered innocent people. Our so-called law and order president pardoned his partners in crime (several of whom pleaded guilty to the crimes for which they were charged) and literal war criminals who were convicted and imprisoned for murdering unarmed civilians in Iraq.
Now, the Good News
They say you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit, and it’s hard to find good news in such a terrible year, but we have to work with the ingredients we have.
As an introvert, staying home hasn’t been so bad. My wife has worked from home since 2019 and I began working from home in January. Social distancing hasn’t been much of a problem for us and honestly we don’t like strangers. As for our friends, we miss them dearly and can’t wait until we can safely see them again in 2021.
We’re grandparents! For reasons of operational security I’m not giving out a lot of details. Just know that one beautiful boy is already here with one of our daughters and another is on the way with one of our sons. I’m not a huge fan of phone calls, much less FaceTime, but it has been a blessing to help us see our first grandson grow up from more than 300 miles away during his first weeks.1
Sometimes I need a strong push to complete home goals and my wife finally nudged me enough to help her build out our library/bar downstairs and it has become our safe space. It’s even furnished with gently used furniture from the best bar in Chattanooga. The tragedies of 2020 don’t weigh so heavy on us while we’re in our sanctuary reading, listening to good music, and enjoying high-quality adult beverages.
Looking Forward to 2021
As of today, December 26, 2020, Trump still refuses to concede the election he lost to Joe Biden. To recap, the loser Trump fell by a margin of more than 7 million ballots in the popular vote. That lead to landslide electoral loss for Trump (and a landslide victory for Biden) of 306–232.
Like our second grandchild, vaccines are on the way. In fact, the shots are already being administered to those on the front lines who need them most. Unfortunately, normal people like me are way down the list and I don’t expect to be eligible for the vaccine until summer 2021. Even so, it’s good to have hope again.
- We did manage to squeeze in one visit during his first week before pandemic numbers got horrible again ↩
During a communications conference I attended years ago, two comedians leading a session about improv introduced the concept of “Yes, and….” They explained it was always easier to take someone else’s idea and build on it in a positive way. Choosing “No, but…” is a negative path, they said, and can quickly suck the joy out of improvisation. Some of the time, it could even make the participants and audience angry instead of happy.
Nobody wants that. Right?
This could be interpreted as choosing to be kind to others instead of mean. We seem to have taken a dark turn from a “Yes, and…” world to a “No, but…” society. Wearing masks for our collective health is one example. It seems like it would be easy to say, “I am wearing a mask to protect you.” The other person would say, “Yes, and I am wearing my mask to protect you, too.”
That isn’t how it seems to be going though. We have chosen to say, “I am wearing a mask to protect you.” The other person on a darker path says, “No, I’m not going to wear a mask even if it kills you, me, my family, or anyone else around me.”
They say it’s a violation of personal liberty, a violation of their right to choose.1 The way I see it, that is akin to walking around slapping strangers. We are living through a pandemic and their right to choose ends when it begins to harm others. Their so-called liberty shouldn’t impede my right to live free of sickness.
If we’re going to make it through this pandemic together, society needs Love in the Time of COVID2. We’re really in trouble if we can’t remember how to be kind to one another.
I learned a new word, one that perfectly describes Dr. Scott Atlas and many others in the Trump administration. Ultracrepidarianism is the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge.
Fancy way of saying, “He’s full of shit!” Now, enjoy George Carlin!
Scanning the audience who attend Trump's rallies, less-educated white voters seem to comprise his base. Could this lead to a political ouroboros of voters? An electorate that doesn't appear to understand their unrequited affinity for the president leads them on a doomed downward spiral as his economic policies swallow them whole to benefit the rich?
Consider this tweet from @KBAnderson.
The party of less-educated whites is devoted to making economic life worse for the less-educated.
The “pro-life” party has caused 100,000 unnecessary deaths.
The supposed party of Christian honor is the party of utter cynicism.
They can’t be shamed. They must be vanquished.
Yesterday was National Voter Registration Day. Please make sure you are registered and pleases go vote.
Orson Wells aired a powerful series of commentary broadcasts on ABC Radio from September 1945 through October 1946. Five of those episodes, which were dedicated to homebound veteran Isaac Woodard Jr., kicked off on July 28, 1946, with the reading of an affidavit that detailed the blinding of that soldier by an officer.
All five commentaries are provided in this YouTube playlist collected by @italkyoubored, who also wrote a companion article on his blog. Here is the first, the reading of the affidavit followed by Wells’ thoughts and insight.
Yesterday, another black man was shot at least seven times by an officer for the crime of breaking up a fight. Jacob Blake was shot in Kenosha, Wis., while entering his car where his three children waited. They watched as their father was gunned down by police for the crime of helping others put down their fists and stop hurting one another. According to the latest reports he survived, although the 29-year-old is now paralyzed.
America has come so far, but we still have so far to go.
Anyone would benefit from this advice
I hope members of the Democratic Party will keep a few things in mind after they retake control of whatever remains of our great American Republic.
- Don’t take on a holier-than-thou attitude. Never talk down to people. It makes you the lesser person.
- Don’t talk over people. It’s rude and makes you a bully.
- Don’t let people talk over you. Don’t let bullies run over you.
- Listen more than you talk. God gave you two ears and one mouth. Allocate your resources appropriately.
- Make good trouble. John Lewis, may he rest in peace, deserves for all of us to surge forward on his mission to gain true equality for all.
Every writer has his/her own process. Therefore, I thought it might be helpful to write about the only writing process that I really know: mine.
This article by Stephen B. Hebert is focused on using Ulysses on macOS and iOS for writing, but any writer should appreciate the ideas about his writing process.
Years ago, Merlin Mann1 said you can’t think your way out of writer’s block. You must write your way out of thinker’s block. I’ve been trying to do the former when, obviously, I should be attempting the latter.
So much as happened since New Year’s Eve 2020. The novel coronavirus pandemic aka COVID-19. People wearing masks alongside their embittered archenemies who refuse to wear such a violation of freedom. The Black Lives Matter Protests and the anonymous federal police stripping protesters of their rights by hauling them away in unmarked rental vans. This occupational force first raided Portland, Ore., with more federal forces promised for Chicago, Ill., Albuquerque, N.M., and other American cities under the moniker “Operation Legend” (a name that would make Cobra Commander cackle with maniacal glee).
In addition to all of the national trauma, my wife’s father-in-law in ICU for more than a week.
Violence and disease are everywhere we look. Our goofy man-child president flounders about like a drowning orange monkey while our nation founders and sinks in the sea of division he has created. As I write this, more than 4 million cases of coronavirus are on the record along with roughly 144,000 dead Americans.
Yeah. Dark times, they are here.
The overwhelming firehose of bad news is the latest reason I haven’t been writing (and believe me, I have a bucketload of reasons not to write at the ready). I should say firehoses, plural. The sheer amount of animosity flooding through the nation’s TVs by the media is drowning everyone who isn’t bingeing reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or longing for Happy Days.
- I started following Merlin when he was a “productivity guru,” a term which would either make him giggle or sigh with exasperation. I think he is brilliant for a lot of reasons. Find one of his podcasts. ↩