Categories
life politics

2020 is Dead, Long Live 2021

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.


  1. We did manage to squeeze in one visit during his first week before pandemic numbers got horrible again 
Categories
life politics video

Orson Welles Commentaries on Isaac Wood

Orson Welles Commentaries – Isaac Woodard Jr.:

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.

Categories
life politics

My Plea to 2021 Democrats

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.
Categories
life politics

Leadership

Queen tells UK “we will succeed” against Coronavirus in rare address to the nation:

Calm. Supportive. Encouraging. Hopeful. None of these words describe our lunatic president. If only a leader was here to provide such a message in the United States.

Categories
culture life

Fragile, yet Resilient

Humans are fragile.
Flesh and blood. Walking bags of bones and meat brought to life by a smattering of thoughts—some good, some bad. When we’re hurt, we bleed, and it’s not that hard to hurt us.

If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”. (Act III, scene I).”
—William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

No weapon is necessary to hurt us or even to kill us. Viruses have been hunting humans for millennia and there is a new killer. A virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) leads to COVID-19, the disease brought on by this microorganism far too small to see.
As I understand it, the symptoms are similar to the flu. The lungs fill with fluid until the victim is drowning, gasping for breath until no breath can be taken.
Human beings. Us. We have never encountered this version of illness. The difference with COVID-19 is that over-the-counter medication won’t necessarily get you through it until you’re better. We have zero immunity to this disease. Think polio. Think smallpox and measles. Even consider the annual flu season. Those diseases were beaten back with a vaccine.
As of today, there is no known vaccine for COVID-19. If you get it, you’ve got it. Maybe you will get better, but if you don’t you will die.
The best tool we have to fight this threat is to resist human nature and stay away from each other. Individuals should resist joining up with their tribes, whether they are friends at the bar or the church. Be patient, let scientists work, and they will discover a vaccine. Vaccination will be our revenge on this disease. Some of us will die, but humans will survive.
Humans are resilient.

Categories
culture life

London Calling is "Our Bar"

Https live staticflickr com 7912 47380447732 ae5fc32bdcMy wife and I are members at a Chattanooga speakeasy called London Calling and we love the House Rules shared in their incredible spring menu (they update the menu as the seasons change).

Categories
life music

I Should Have Played Synth

Love watching them play as much as hearing them. I can see myself in that environment. I missed my calling.

Categories
life video

Moving Tips (Video)

I probably won’t be able to afford such a moving company the next time we relocate (whenever that may be). Before we move, I hope I remember to watch this video. This company has created a new category of science about moving.

Categories
art general life movies video

Don't Tailgate

I can relate.

—from David Lynch’s Lost Highway.

Categories
brain life nerd writing

Breaking Digital Bonds

My habits have become terrible. All of my idle moments are filled with Twitter, Instagram, and endless mindless games of Microsoft Solitaire (which is the best handheld solitaire game I have found to date and please don't download it for your own sake and sanity just DON'T DO IT).
So it's time for some change. The easiest change is to read more, not in witty chunks of 240 characters or 500-word articles on, well, everything. I mean reading real books of fiction and non-fiction, and I mean reading for fun and not to learn anything. I mean reading like I did when I was a kid riding my bicycle to the public library between the polo field and elementary school to fill up my summer reading booklet with titles.
I've had a Kindle for years. It's the third-generation Kindle with the physical keyboard. It's slow, and I'm old and need lots of light to read now. As I was finally finishing American Gods by Neil Gaiman, a book I purchased two or three years ago and only finished Sunday night, I found myself leaning into the lamplight and squinting to make out the words. It was frustrating, so it didn't take me long to upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite and I got it yesterday and it's wonderful.
Now I'm digging into the five-volume box set of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones saga, which may be too ambitious. Having watched the series on HBO (and eagerly anticipating the final season), reading the books is like watching it again in slow motion in my brain. The writing is great, but I'm not sure if it will hold my attention to the end. I wish I had read it before watching the series so I could kvetch about how they did so-and-so wrong and "No, it wasn't like that in the book!" with all of my fellow nerds.
Reading more will, hopefully, lead me to write more regularly. One plan to reframe my brain on the front is to simply move around a bit. Today I have holed up in a local coffeehouse. Cliché, I know, but it's working. I can see they have Wi-Fi, but I refuse to ask for access. That invisible Wi-Fi wire will bind my mind and I'll be stumbling through Twitter and reloading Reddit before I know it. If I really start jonesing for a connection, I have a paper notebook and pencil.
In case of emergency…unplug!
These grand plans for change are fresh on my mind. For now, it's working. I have written more today than I have in the past year. Much of it is rambling. Nobody would want to read it, but it's getting garbage out of my brain. I spent many years making a living as a writer, enough time to know that the words will start making sense if I just start giving them form outside of my brain. I remember someone saying something like "you can't think your way out of writer's block" and that is so true. Thinking is important, but spilling thoughts into a more physical medium is the only way to break a block. It seems like a contradiction, but you must write your way through writer's block.