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
check tags music technology

24 Hours on Facebook

The main lesson learned after 24 hours on Facebook is that the people most likely to ask What Would Jesus Do are the least likely to follow his lead.

I was raised in a Southern Baptist church and respected the adults who taught us right from wrong. They taught us about the wrath of the Old Testament God and the compassion of New Testament Jesus. Our teachers were strong, yet gentle.


Several years ago, I had a bout with the flu that evolved into pneumonia. I was out of work for at least two weeks and didn't fully recover for 4 to 6 months. After that experience I am hesitant to venture out into the COVID-19 world because, despite arguments to the contrary, it is still a problem in America. I fear that if I get it, it won't be one of the easy cases you hear about, it will be one of the bad ones, and I am just not willing to risk it.

This makes me sad because I want to be on the streets protesting to support the #blacklivesmatter movement. Because I am afraid of getting sick, I have donated what little I can to support the movement and decided I could log into my dusty Facebook account to let people know my thoughts and maybe help them see the world as I would like to see it.

It did not go as planned.


I have aged with those people I grew up with in church. Naturally, I was friends with many of them on Facebook. I took a breath and dove in to engage them. I wasn't there to berate anyone for their views, but to have conversations with people backed with sources to support my beliefs.

It didn't take long before I was lumped in with "you Democrats" who just want to elect politicians who kill unborn babies. This was from one of those adults I looked up to in church. My head is still spinning from the exchange because we were talking about the T-shirt they posted that said "All Lives Splatter" with an image of a car plowing through a crowd of people. You've probably seen it too. It offended me and I asked if they really thought encouraging injury and murder was the right thing to do. That's when I was essentially labeled a baby killer.


In another thread, I was discussing the battery on 75-year-old Martin Gugino. He stepped up to speak to an officer among a squadron of police in riot gear. The officer responded by violently shoving him to the ground. In the video of this incident, you can see Gugino immediately begin bleeding from his ear. You see his phone fall from his limp hand, which then begins to twitch involuntarily. The police looked at him and just marched past him. Follow-up reporting says he sustained brain damage from this needless aggression.

Someone once counted among my best lifelong friends—also a fellow church member, now with a long career in law enforcement—accused me of being a writer who can make things sound the way I want. I say accused because in context I could sense his contempt for the skill. He pointed out the old man's "ASSAULT" (his caps, not mine) led to the officer's need to defuse the situation. That response could have been talking to the man or some other act that wouldn't have impaired his abilities for the rest of his probably short life.

My friend's comment broke my heart and curtailed my fruitless mission to have intelligent conversation with others. Facebook just isn't the right forum. The people I grew up with, people I held in high regard for decades, lost my respect in one day with a single exception.


One friend in law enforcement met me in the middle. He understands where I'm coming from and agrees to disagree. He listened to what I had to say and I returned the favor. That was all I was asking for from anyone. I'm taking him to lunch on Friday to show my appreciation and to continue a good conversation with a friend.

Categories
brain check tags music productivity

“Prejudice, Racism, and Assumptions”

I have a friend, more of a brother, who posted his thoughts about the current #blacklivesmatter state of things. It’s damn near perfect.

Categories
humor music

Finding Words

A couple of days ago I started struggling with writing something titled “Take a Breath, Count to 10.” I now know this isn’t the time for that, but I’m still struggling to find appropriate words.

Are there any?


I have been thinking lately about George W. Bush. I didn’t like him. I didn’t support him. I didn’t agree with his views, which were clearly leaning right into the Republican Party platform. I didn’t agree with going to war in Iraq.

I probably wouldn’t have said it then, but now I can say I don’t doubt he was a patriot. I don’t believe he sought the presidency with the goal of undermining American values. I believe he wanted to be president for all of the right reasons _as he saw them_. I believe he wanted to make America a better and safer place for Americans.

I do _not_ believe Trump sought the presidency with the same noble intentions in mind.


I support the protesters and resent those who riot. The rioters shared the their Molotov cocktails with the president to fuel the flames in an attempt to silence protesters.


Trump has announced his intentions to declare Antifa as a terrorist organizations. If you don’t know, Antifa is nothing like Al-Quaida or other known terrorist groups, It is a shortening of Anti-Fascist. Can an American be anything but Anti-Fascist?

It seems the president’s leans toward Pro-Fascism, but Profa doesn’t have the same ring to it.