Challenge Accepted?

First day of March, 2021. Just about a year since the s really hit the f.

Stats are telling us that the downturn in cases and hospitalizations has stalled again, so once more we find ourselves at a place where we have to choose between ignoring the history or doubling down and modifying our behavior for the sake of keeping this thing at bay until the vaccines (3 options now!) do their thing. I’m not optimistic, but maybe this time we learn?

Maybe the only thing keeping us from numbers off the charts is that there hasn’t been a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday people just had to be together for. There was no significant uptick after the Super Bowl, so maybe folks are finally taking this seriously. We’ll see.

The variants are here, one in particular, and apparently taking hold. This is our chance to see that our behavior, our choices, make a difference.   

What’s the Problem?

It’s a bit of a mystery why there has been so much fretting and differences of opinion over giving the vaccine to teachers. Why wouldn’t teachers be on the 1A list? While they may not be working in ERs or ICUs, they are still potentially exposed on a regular basis in those places that are meeting in person. There may be procedures and protocols and precautions that appear to be working, the stats indicate a low transmission rate when these precautions are followed, but no system is perfect. Why depend on something with so many moving parts when a simple shot or two in the arm will go a long way to quieting the resistance?

The cries are for children to get out of the house and back into the classroom. Well, meet the teacher demand for vaccination, then proceed accordingly. It’s a no-brainer.

Let’s Hope Not

I’m elated that Trump isn’t president anymore, but Joe Biden does little for me, in terms of inspiring confidence. He never has. He’s showing his age, he squints at the camera all the time. He may show empathy, which is a good thing, but there’s something about him that evokes feelings that he’s just a career politician going through the motions, perhaps in over his head.

It’s ok that he won mainly because people had had way more than enough of Trump and he wasn’t Trump. Congress and the Presidency are barely blue right now because enough people in the country were mobilized and inspired to vote for a change in direction, to send a rebuke to a useless autocrat and those around him who seemed hellbent on destroying this country and the planet.

Biden isn’t Trump, but this doesn’t mean Biden is anyone to write home about. After the nightmare that was (and would be again) Trump, what we’re seeing now is over-compensation, a sigh of relief by an underwhelming majority of Americans.

The monster is lurking, though. It is licking its wounds, it is pissed, and it is already angling for a re-emergence in 2022, nevermind 2024. Our window of opportunity for enjoying a period of sanity and competence may not be open for all that long.

What?!

Let me get this straight… immediately following the impeachment vote, Mitch McConnell pretty much tore Donald Trump a new one, threw him under the bus, claiming for all to hear that Trump was indeed complicit in the things he had been accused of and inferring that he would stand accountable in any civil trials that might unfold.

But now there are headlines stating that Mitch would “absolutely” support Trump if he received the GOP nomination for President in 2024.

This country is a mess.

This Sounds Familiar

The Republicans are going to stonewall the covid relief package for as long as they can, even as polls suggest a majority of Americans are in favor of it.

I get that you shouldn’t necessarily be swayed by what Americans are polling in favor of– hell, who doesn’t simply like a sweeter deal, more money in their pocket? Polls of this nature are an inaccurate indicator of what may be sensible and fiscally sound. But these are not normal times we’re living in. People are hurting. Something needs to happen, relief of some sort needs to come. The Dems may end up doing this whole thing on their own. So be it.

And what is the role of the parliamentarian? Can we rest assured that she is really unbiased, or immune to influence?

Lots of Q, Not Much A

What is it that entices people down the path of making creepy videos backed with a head-banging track, with the most annoying, hateful music on earth? And with formulaic, hate-filled, coded language about “acceleration”, reeking of white supremacy and Naziism. How can this still get any traction?

It can only exist on the fringes, on the dark internet, yet it still emerges to see the light of day on the Capitol steps and in the halls of Congress. It gets coverage on reputable networks.

Pundits are right to ask why there are still so many unanswered questions about the events of January 6. And of course, one must figure that Trump had something to do with the sloth-like response of law enforcement. How could an apparatus that normally eats, drinks, and sleeps security be so ill-prepared when they had to know that an angry, motivated crowd was going to show up?

Seems like a strange time to let your guard down.

Anything For A Buck

What is up with the seemingly sudden proliferation of sports betting ads?

Call me a prude, but this looks and feels like an assault by a truly slimy player, with a slick, unapologetic tact that attempts to portray the “industry” as having become mainstream, somehow. People extolling its praises, making it sound legitimate, even trustworthy, borderline virtuous.

I realize it adds revenue for networks and local stations, but something doesn’t feel right about this. It hints at a certain desperation. And the whole enterprise preys on those who should probably be least involved.

Leave it to Fox Sports to plug it as an integral part of their NFL coverage (is it really Terry Bradshaw’s money?). And I guess other major networks are following suit.

The Pebble In the Shoe

In amongst the terabytes of data and millions of pages, will those who are poring over the Trump tax info find anything of value for their case? If history is any indicator, it’s not gonna matter. Trump will emerge unscathed. Again.

But he doesn’t have his butt-sniffing “friends” in Congress to protect him anymore. He can’t hide behind the office anymore.

It’s a shame he’s still in the news. It would be poetic justice if somehow, finally, enough evidence exists to “lock HIM up!”

Phrenospasm

There’s no way to comprehend 500,000 COVID-19-related deaths. In a little over a year.

The population of Atlanta, someone said. More than the toll in the Civil War. More than the total from both World Wars and Vietnam.

Doesn’t help. Nothing helps. It’s a really big number that makes no sense.

This is part of your legacy, Donald. Sleep well.

Another Minority Opinion

I don’t get the lament over the lack of crowds at sporting events. I guess it would be more exciting somehow to have the noise and the waves of cheers and jeers. But all along I have never felt this way. I would argue that, for the most part, the absence of spectators hasn’t diminished the quality of the product on the field or court or rink or course. I like hearing the squeak of sneakers on a basketball court. I like hearing the banter we usually can’t hear at a football or hockey game. And I don’t miss for one second the “mashed potatoes!” or “in the hole!” or whatever else the alcohol-fueled patrons yell after someone tees off.

Frankly, I could watch just about any sport and still enjoy it just as much, since the beautiful people at court side are an annoyance, and there are enough idiots who don’t add anything to the competition. Especially golf. Golf could go on spectator-less forever, as far as I’m concerned. In fact, one could argue that we’ve gotten a whole different, expanded view of the courses themselves, not to mention seeing a few winners along the way who may have withered under the pressure of performing in front of a crowd. Good for them, glad they were able to experience the winner’s circle, crowd or no crowd.

Yup, spectators do nothing for me. It’s more about the level of mastery, and the simple, raw spirit of competition that many of us have by nature. And pretty much whatever is on is still a welcome diversion, something to do besides wondering what to do.