March 2021 -Biden’s $1.9T Help for America, 100MM shots for COVID, Gonzaga in NCAA, are stars

For a year the world hoped for a miracle. With 100MM shots in arms so far, and hundreds of millions of doses available, backyard cookouts for the Fourth of July seem as real as it gets.

Having finished re-editing Chapter 18 of ‘With Platinum Fury Focus,’ Swiffer-ed and vacuumed most of the house, gotten current with ACA (Stim. #2 finally arrived), raking and branch-trimming yardwork, started the spaghetti sauce, had three cups of coffee, walked the dog, put on a favorite striped dress shirt/suit pants, AND SHAVED – I proclaim Thursday’s one year anniversary of COVID-19 lousiness and ennui an official rebooting of “Life More Like It Should Be,” maybe within sight of normalcy.

As of the 18th, I became part of a terrific statistic, arms stuck.

The karma of Asking.

Yes, America, WE made it an entire year with this declared pandemic. It’s still difficult to deal with a ‘previous prez’ knowing how bad it was *really* going to be – and telling a well-known journalist, who recorded it for posterity – early on and then lying about it. There are hundreds of millions of vaccine shots available to help the process now – Donnie J. actually got one, and Mr. Snake Snot didn’t tell the world, which juuuust might have made a difference.

The Karma of Asking

At 64, I was still a Category-5 outsider in North Carolina when I decided to take a chance on the way back from grocery shopping. The Novant clinic is across Independence, barely a block away, it wouldn’t be a killer waste of time, to check out the possibility of a ‘Freedom Shot’ if you will.

In late 2017, “checking things out” about timing when getting an x-ray resulted in an immediate (five days) appointment for a knee replacement had been my standard for good karma. That a supervisor appeared immediately as I’d gotten a temperature check and started chatting with a laptop person (among MANY staff/volunteers) about 64 and around the corner, so why not? Her response was, “Sure, let’s get you stuck.” From parking lot to post-15 minute stay period and leaving, 25 minutes.

I will be heading to Mom’s place at Carmel Hills for a couple hugs. We got to hang with her a little for her birthday, March 1, but it wasn’t one of her better days. Even though masks are still a good idea for a while longer, if your Mom’s been vaccinated (like mine), and so are you, hugging her a bunch of times is a start on what they’ve suffered without so long.

‘March Madness’ Hits Full-on Stardom

The fact of genuine ‘March Madness’ arrival, after being denied that annual basketball bachanal in 2020, means leaving behind any “coulda-shouldas.” Fill out a bracket or three, quaff a quantity of cold ones with variously seasoned wings, invite – righteously vaxxed, no masks? – a couple buddies to watch your big screen, because that *IS* about normalcy.

Those with Ohio State or Purdue in Final Four, oh that Madness thing!

If you gotta go on Spring Break instead of camping on a couch to watch, see if you can plant a big ol’ kiss on Gov. DeSantis, just for the sake of freaking him out. Most of those wild ‘n crazy hombres you’ll be hanging with are still two months from a shot in the arm, but (bleep) it, you only live once (as far as we know).

A nephew and a bunch of buddies drove an RV around the Midwest parks, fishing for two weeks last May because post-college jobs were on hold, my NY brother’s entire family helped move another nephew from Kentucky to the Pacific Northwest, so why shouldn’t you celebrate some in 2021?

The simple fact this administration carefully counts FULLY VACCINATED and ‘sticks’ as two statistic shows an understanding and accounting, right? but who isn’t aware there are multiple bad-ass variants of COVID-19 out there?

Worse case, saying “If it’s good enough for those governors from Texas to the Keys,” nobody over thirty *really* expects you to be the responsible people,” y’know? Sure, its a numbers thing, but also a ‘shoulda learned year,’ too.

I didn’t go to Pennsylvania for a three day car show last July with a brother I’ve been hunkered down with, but he came back without problems. (tongue in cheek) I needed to be ready for that bicycle accident I was going to have in August. Maybe you can get to that age/mileage marker (64) I have no matter what you do…

8 ways a bike accident and “low grade depression” match U.S. mess

Impossible not to be political

Truth is, given a year’s perspective – especially the party line vote, zero Repub Yes votes, 100% willing to stiff their non-Washington, DC people – 75% of the country favoring that $1.9T COVID bill *has* to include some ‘regular’ Repubs in favor of sending checks. If that COVID bill is supposedly the easiest one Dems will have, that doesn’t bode well for the future of Repubs helping their constituents.

Thanks to a sister-in-law doing 2020 taxes, two stimulus checks came very quickly as well. With solid time-on-task https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/218725526-with-platinum-fury-focus progress made an overall enlightening week.

This coming week, President Biden and Vice-President Harris will work on the public relations aspect of what they have maintained all along, that Americans can overcome any obstacle if they put their collective minds to it. ‘100 million shots in 100 days’ has gone from an attitude to fact.

Setting new, familiar and desirable goals, like 4th of July cookouts, that’s legit. Do you have to invite everyone, including recent non-maskers? The ones who never bring meat (or beer), just those plastic containers of ten cookies? Naaah. Maybe next time.

Was slipping into that 100 million category as significant a milestone as John F. Kennedy’s goal of putting the USA flag on the moon “before the end of this (1960s) decade”?Personally, guaranteed survival during a pandemic is at least as important. I didn’t expect to get vaccinated until almost Memorial Day, which seemed like forever.

By the way, America is still in the space business, it’s not just Tesla putting up rockets. There are definitely NOT Jewish spaceships shooting lasers to start raging wildfires in California though, but there are moments to cheer. https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-s-mars-perseverance-rover-provides-front-row-seat-to-landing-first-audio

While the entire WORLD was doing that collaboration thing on an all-important COVID-19 vaccine, having four different U.S. manufacturers produce highly effective ones in less than a year surpassed even the miracle of the sugar-cube polio vaccine. (Wikipedia ref. – a weakened oral polio vaccine (OPV) developed by Dr. Albert Sabin, the sugar cube was first used in 1961.)

Dr. Jonas Salk’s inactivated (‘dead,’ IPV), first used in 1955, is still considered a gold standard of scientific achievement.

I was a “sugar-cube kid,” would’ve trusted any of the current vaccines, but I have no worries about Tuckaseegee, circa 1932. My Dad survived polio in the 1930’s when lots of kids died, and while his left leg was always visibly thinner, he served his country in the Navy. That some would risk death instead of taking a proven “You won’t die or wind up on a ventilator” shot makes me sad.

That a certain former president has made several attempts to claim credit for that vaccine success speaks to political gas-lighting. His denial of the pandemic’s (world-wide) deadliness, and his administration’s brutal mishandling of the health crisis enrages many. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/

Since ‘politics’ were part of everything this past year, it was surprising that tens of millions of protesters taking to the streets during the Black Lives Matter uprisings across the country didn’t cause the level of “super-spreader” infections that certain indoor events during his campaign did. (Sorry, facts are just part of my journalist background)

And now, ‘Selection Sunday’

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My new favorite spot to shoot (glass!) even if it’s set 18″ back too far and messes up foul shooting.

Having watched my share – and perhaps the shares of several others, with three days of quadruple-headers – I’m ready to put my sportswriter expertise on the line by picking at least a few brackets worth. Gonzaga looks strong to me, Illinois has a HUGE center and guards like crazy, that’s my finals. Most experts are calling this a year for ‘chalk,’ meaning favorites.

Of course, during this messed up year, MILLIONS of others will be doing multiple sheets, which again, counts as normalcy. Will there be a chance to pick a perfect one, maybe win that $1 billion prize that’s been dangled the last couple years? (Not if the first two days of wreckage continues through weekend.)

Nahh, but winning cash, that’s not really the point. Most of the world is looking forward to the Olympics, which were delayed from 2020 because of the pandemic. Some will hold their fervor for the World Cup, scheduled for 2022 in Qatar. For Americans though, there is truly nothing like ‘March Madness,’ school ties and buzzer-beaters to cheer insanely for.

Because playing abbreviated seasons in ‘bubbles’ last Fall (ie- Edmonton and Toronto for the NHL) worked so well to reduce COVID infections for the high-priced talent in NBA, NHL, and MLB (baseball) leagues, this year’s three-weekend NCAA tournament will all be held in Indiana venues this year.

Being a righteously dragged-out fan from watching late West Coast games in 2019 will be mitigated by that fact, and even having gotten first Pfizer shot, I’m still not hanging out in bars in 2021. (Well, one two blocks away is mostly outdoors…)

As a WFH (work from home) content writer, it’s very possible I can grab a cup of java and be ready to start a workday by 8:15 anyway, but that’s the *only* thing COVID-19 has done for the viewer experience.

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Just in case appreciaion isn’t enough…

Congratulations America, with a special extra nod and two thumbs up of appreciation for the healthcare people and essential workers who got us through a truly terrible time. For every baller – male and female – who plays their guts out for our enjoyment, NOBODY laid it on the line more than you did. Amen.

‘Smarter than average Bear’ content-writing Boomer replants thought leadership flag 2021

As part of that Boomer Generation that turns sixty-four this year (Really? Friday? Huh…), where most haven’t got their retirement funds at millionaire level and ready for that sunsets-and-RV travel-the-country deal, its kind of ‘put up or shut up’ time. For once I concur with Snoop Dogg, “Down the rabbit hole we ALLLL go!” and almost nobody is guaranteed anything.

A Small History for Boomers

The Generation that survived Vietnam, and how that conflict split families across America, death totals every night on the news, that was us. There were REAL protests of 500,000 people at a time, hippies, dads, black/white, well before the miracle of instant communication arose. Civil rights got some air time, and the environment improved because we paid attention to it.

Robert Kennedy, speaking to an almost all Black gathering in Indianapolis as news was finally arriving about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. is the ballsiest human-political speech I believe I’ll ever see. It was the only time he invoked his own brothers death, and from his heart and guts, he spoke of Truth AND peace, no filters or spin.

Indianapolis was the only major city in America that didn’t explode in violence that night. No sports analogy for that. We Boomers will always own the Moon landing, and EVERYBODY cared about Apollo 13 – saw it again last night – and in Sr. Mary Anthony’s class, we prayed for those guys.

Yeah, tried bald along the way

That so many people of every stripe stepped up during the BLM protests, which jives with our collective Boomer regard for doing ‘right,’ wasn’t this all straightened out back then?

I’m sure there was at least one environmental SuperFund site (thank you GE) in Schenectady, NY. Our journalism program at Linton HS actually followed socio-political news, and Highlights-“you journalism guys,” with our magic yellow hall passes – has been an identity at reunions. Ahhh, Karen Korniak and the majorettes… A bunch of us became the huge wave of journalism majors in post-Watergate times.

SOUTH Vietnam was overrun the spring of my senior year, 1975.

I never regret missing any part of the meat-grinder Vietnam was for my generation. 2020 was supposed to be our 45th reunion, because waiting for a 50th – who knows what could happen to even the Forever Young Generation by then?

Cripes, we thought Tricky Dicky was a menace to democracy! Turns out America has over 150 people in Congress – and a mob of angry white people with truth and rule of law wiped from their collective minds – who did worse than Nixon ever considered doing to the U.S. of A. as a country. Kow-towing to a RUSSIAN like trump? The idea of a Black President actually worked…

America, still a place to try whatever

I started a real estate class the week after 40th reunion, 79 hours of class time, LOTS of studying and taking chapter tests on line that were a very real part of qualifying for State exam, which I passed first time, a good ending to 2015. https://wordpress.com/post/cdtalententerprises.com/968

Coming out of The Great Recession, I went from reunion to first sale in 100 days, but it wasn’t quite the economic turnaround I needed. While I’ve come inside with a couple operations, since 2019, CDTalent Enterprises has provided skills working in collaboration situations.

I’m taking a philosophical mulligan on last year being Year Three of my transition to ‘long-term copywriting resource.’

I.just.am.

For everything that’s going on in American politics and healthcare in a pandemic, Vietnam becoming a non-factor made college just part of a regular life – I was part of a two year blind spot that never registered. Whether ‘white privilege’ or just Boomer Lifestyle, a four-year double major (journalism and marketing) away from home, then first job as a road man regional rep ($14,000) for TIME, Inc., with company station wagon, twenty cold calls a day, improving retail displays.

“You’re a pretty good talker, you should be in sales,” was the thinking, and I learned plenty, then quit to move to Tampa and become a poorly-paid freelancer.

Yes, that was road-muscle building time, sports and city-magazine writing was a great entree in early ’80s. Comparatively speaking, there are an incredible array of ways to monetize writing skills and content now, when everyone has a website and blogs, and corporate voice material. “Long-form informational content” is the essential journalism of storytelling.

My mantra about best practices is giving the reader “content worth knowing about, considering and using.” Getting an acknowledgment of information being conveyed is okay – always the point with copywriting – even if it doesn’t entirely convince. I did it for a fire-fighter niche while a realtor – their professional aid response had given me another Christmas with Dad – so giving my best effort counted.

The Miracle on Ice, Al Michaels “Do you believe…!” 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, second month on the job, every Sports Illustrated, TIME, LIFE, and People magazine in my territory sold 95%-plus. That constituted a HUGE, real, shared, cultural event.

BOOMERS should be cool on vaccine

I’ve been hunkered down since last March in North Carolina, Mecklenberg County is considered hard hit, but Charlotte has largest population https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article248529400.html.

I’ve been a WFH (work from home) content writing-long form blogger for over two years, and I don’t fit easily in economic or pandemic vaccination criteria . Except for shooting hoops and greenway bike riding, I’m masked. Yes, pandemic is Job One, and as a Cat 5 person, I will get a shot aaaaany time they tell me its a possibility.

https://cdtalententerprises.com/2020/03/30/hoops-heat-for-lockdown-prep-weekend-worries-about-ny/ (My perspective at start of hunkered down, before ten months of pandemic and now 430,000+ official deaths, the worried about others aspect, “stay safe” the common good-bye.)

I come to vaccines from the anti-polio sugar cube kids experience, and for smallpox (I think I had chicken pox). My Dad survived polio as a child, his left leg was always thinner, but he (Navy) and three brothers, Donnie (USAF), Howard (USMC), and Harold (Navy) all served their country. My favorite nephew – parents have to love everyone the same, uncles and grandparents are allowed favs – Curtiss, is an Army Captain, wife Stephanie just delivered a baby girl. The Mom is ex-military (USAF), yes, we love our military people. (Smile – you too Malitzia.)

OF COURSE Grandma Donna was there, because especially in these very trying times, FAMILY COUNTS.

Life goes on isn’t political, its lifestyle

Another nephew and wife delivered Trace (Stephen Paul, III) last June, but first appearance in Charlotte (from Boston) was Thanksgiving. Surprisingly, even the hour of socially distanced family, with a little Tin Cup and a take-it-with-you cigar when leaving with a deep-fried bird, was ‘Enough’ to feel right on family. Mom has flowers and her senior community was vaccinated the end of December, good by me.

Life goes on, right? We Boomers learned that from experiences, not all of them good. I’ve had two bicycle crashes during lockdown, the August one with some substantial injuries, from toes to shoulder on right side. In North Carolina-speak, “I was tore up.” I did a couple blogs about it, but at no time was putting bike away part of any solution. I mentioned that in connection with voting at the time, like in keep doing it, not losing it.

In both cases, I recognized that always wearing a helmet saved me from tremendous negatives, same as seat belts and face masks, because I *heard* the thunk of helmet on concrete both times. Having a front wheel torque off and being DOWN in a heartbeat, and then being literally, physically saved from infection by a chance encounter with a PA while doing furniture pickups for a church operation – that sounds like karma coming around in a good way.

As a Boomer, I credit 35 years of regular bike riding as the core of being an active sixty-four. In real estate, we learned you never talked about age or retirement with Boomers. As I mention in a thought leadership piece about nonpandemic healthcare, all I needed during my last visit was blood pressure meds – physically I’m right, extra thanks for the new knee from ACA in late 2017 – Gimp no more!

Boomers were also early adopters of CBD, because good hemp *does* make a difference. While doing several months of content writing and loads of research for a CBD manufacturer, I learned those cannabinoids worked, I even helped convince a Type-A brother to use several after sampling. Yes, from me on focus (JMHO), yes for ‘anxiety’ by many, yes for topical cream doing an amazing job on Mom’s legs, a bit of service we Boomers probably won’t get down the line.

Crisis of Confidence, trying to keep good ‘tude

I self-published a romance novel with bonus money working in retail during the Great Recession. https://www.wattpad.com/story/216172684-cards-consequences-return-of-marlena-the Its true how having actual books in your hands makes an author-writer feel, but compared to my Dad as a kid… The distributor made a Coca Cola wagon for him, he brought iced Cokes around the Watervliet Arsenal, across the street from his home, returning with the amazing amount of $5 a DAY during the Depression, that is truly humbling.

Right now, with full knowledge of what happened in our democracy on January 6th, dammit, I still have to replant my personal flag.

I affirm as an American, Boomer, and content writing professional – whose been there and done that, maybe more than once – that I continue to get better with age, because us Gigger-Boomers are about that, picking up Zoom skills, reviewing keywords with clients, getting that corporate voice deal righteous.

Yes, plenty of opportunity to click on in 2021, even if being 64 on Friday leaves me wondering about what old is, because I still cycle and shoot hoops regularly and don’t groan getting out of bed. One serious thought for Mr. Azar, telling us in U.S. that there reeeallllly isn’t any vaccine sitting around in reserve – how long before that important shot in the arm makes my day as a Category 5 person?

Memorial Day will be 26 years in Charlotte – there might be some parties to get social at by then. Perhaps someplace where few contrary opinions about trump’s departure are the norm again. Wearing masks? We’ll see. That ’70s phrase “Always question authority” isn’t in vogue with COVID-19.

‘Normal’ isn’t what Boomers are about

‘Normal’ isn’t really what Boomers are about though. We jogged, played tennis, drank green stuff from blenders, probably burned a quantity of green stuff not from a blender, cheered for bratty McEnroe, remember the 444 days of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the kerfuffle of Reagan-Ollie North and guns for contras. My now a Democrat brother railed about “How else could they get guns?” (Answer – not THAT way if Congress didn’t fund it). Lakers-Celtics in the Finals every year, Clinton as President – THAT’S how to move an economy (and yes, Hillary got schtupped) – the millineum and then agony of 9/11 and where the World has devolved to since.

Thirty-five years since Challenger exploded.

I’m good about online collaboration, but also looking forward to seeing a friendly smile from across the room this year. Its not the same to nod at someone as you’re rolling past on the greenway.

Clients still need what I have an endless supply of, words arranged rightly. Gotta add ‘truthfully’ in there too, we can’t overstate that facts are still an essence in the process, not optional extras.

I obviously and truly admire the extreme dedication of news bringers who kept a bright, hot light on trump admistration thuggery, constantly connecting us with facts that counted on this long, long road back to within sight of Real again, The Washington Post people… To think I have similar writing DNA, yeah, that’s ego – like saying Tom Cruise and I both have blue eyes, two arms and legs, and same height. True, but…

Michael Beschloss paused on 11th Hour last night to give Brian Williams a sincere thanks for how he’s handled last four years, steering information consistently, productively, an unimpeachable and comforting resource, an accolade Williams certainly wears well. He knows and owns his singular fumble with Truth, but hey, the Pope wanted him to do the interview. His good humor and humanity works for me – Mom says she raised four gentlemen, and I’ll claim any quality in common like that. Your service and Truth is noted, an honor to stay up late with you, sir.

Now to the business of writing. That 64 thing, I guess I’m going to be an OK Boomer about that. Check out https://cdtalententerprises.com/a-writer-whos-smarter-than-average-bear/

Nor’easter, vaccine, safe Christmas put travelers-huggers at COVID crux

After a shout out to the FDA for allowing emergency use for a second COVID vaccine, I’ll also offer a definite thumbs up to the Re-cyclery here in Charlotte. On a shiny, pre-Christmas, Carolina-blue day in America, I don’t care if my front wheel is orange and the fork red while rest of bike is dark gray, physically getting my 30-year old Miyata back on the road constitutes my ‘essential worker’ for these coming, button-down times.

No, this isn’t how things rolled this year, but I did a fine job with a 3-tree potted palm.

I am safe this Christmas week, as is Mom at Carmel Hills, and the New York brother expressed no discomfort in getting out from under a legendary 34″ snowfall, while I ride Clyde a couple miles on a cool, just 50-ish afternoon.

After nine months of being hunkered down with brother Mike, we know its just us for Christmas, although we’ll get to visit Mom on Sunday. They only allow one visit a week, and Steve said she talked strong and well in 30-minutes with her yesterday, as Joyful a message we can have and give thanks for this season.

I’ll start the sauce, a killer meat sauce instead of meatballs, for using on my first lasagna-making in a while. Turkey, ham have been good, I think Mike wants lasagna before he starts dieting – he mentioned needing to use current freezer space.

That’s going to be our Reality Christmas 2020, classic lasagna, maybe bump some elbows at church Thursday night, where I’ll be on lot patrol, but mostly watching football, knocking out a blog with a terrific slab of leftover lasagna Friday-Saturday afternoon, but I won’t be traveling.

There can’t be anything ‘more smarter’ for Americans to swallow hard on and change, because what so many on the move from now till New Year’s will statistically become, is part of some serious negatives, even as we hear the first million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Brian Williams, Snow day, Campbell’s Soup

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2019 Men’s Club ‘Singing Christmas Tree’ and kid singers.

At the end of a challenging 2020, that massive, classic snowstorm working its way https://www.cbsnews.com/news/snow-storm-weather-blizzard-northeast-noreaster/ through New England last week didn’t seem to cause much bitchin’ and moanin’. That’s because in Schenectady, NY and beyond, we’ve all lived through similar poundings before. Nothing crazy, no Hugo Chavez accusations, no Flynn reappearing on the radar, just snow, lots of it.

Got just the thing for it, say people with teenagers, or who do this often every year. Doesn’t happen that often, say Charlotteans and others not living in the mountains.

Snow isn’t an unseen COVID-19 virus, its dealing with something known and handled before, like clearing the porch 4-5 times instead of trying to walk the dog.

The highlight to what some might grumble was more bad news was totally offset by Brian Williams at the end of 11th Hour, when he read Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson’s official snow day letter to the Jefferson County School Dist., and saluted every person who makes decisions in favor of family memory making. An official snow day included no remote learning, and making a snowperson as suggestions.

As a mom, Keri Rodrigues’ captured the moment. “The first time we get a really big snow, you are crazy if you think I’m going to be able to get them to concentrate on remote learning. We will catch up on what needs to be in their brains the day after.” https://www.bigrapidsnews.com/news/article/Another-casualty-of-2020-The-magic-of-the-snow-15810168.php

I was moved to send a note to a Campbell’s soup spokesperson who liked my comment about the good-good thinking of every person to make such a declaration in favor of kid-ness. I sure dipped a LOT of grilled cheese sandwiches in Campbells tomato after a couple hours working a shovel, or watching ‘Wild Kingdom.’

Snowstorm memories include $$$

While the saucering and tobogganning and snowman-making from that story were legitimate, our family going to the golf course after church or many a cold night, spending hours going up and down always got better later, after lots of people got it packed down for better speed.

That Dad tossed brother David away from our full toboggan just before a couple college guys t-boned into us is a memory that’s obviously never gone away. College days, where I was one of only two guys who could steer a ‘boggan among Nu Yawk-types brings a smile.

Snow shoveling was the best thing for young muscles and money during all those years, always beginning with Dad – doing his impression of Sgt. Schultz on ‘Hogans Heroes’ – rousting us at 6 a.m. if necessary, to shovel at least a path on 150 feet of driveway so he could go to work.

Whatever else we did for our regular customers, that driveway, sidewalks, and walking into house had to be fully cleared when he returned at five.

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Dave says that’s 2-ft. level, got 34″ overall

Dad telling us to disengage the propeller and TURN OFF the machine before attempting to clear the chute when we finally got a decent sized snowblower, was never less than gospel, but apparently some guys I know didn’t get the same safety talk.

The optimal snowfall was like ten inches of the powder that nor’easter showed up with last week – easy to move out, significant enough to charge a premium. A corner house became a $12 job for a ‘regular,’ those people who knew you’d come.

Driveways were a test of strength to shovel, a definite kick upwards in economics of more-faster when you had the snowblower. If there was ice to be chopped, it was a point of pride to clear a place *real well*. Customer service was prized, and no problem negotiating, but we learned early that “Whatever its worth to you” and relying on kindness wasn’t a good business model.

That the city changed fairly quickly from older, maybe 10-foot concrete street lights to much taller green metal ones, came as a result of piling more plentiful than usual snow on the islands in many streets. That put inquiring youngsters within easy reach of globes, and the possibility of someone sliding off that snow and into the path of a vehicle on a main thoroughfare, or perhaps passing through many neighborhoods, became a factor.

The optimal snowfall was like ten inches of the powder that nor’easter showed up with last week –

easy to move out, significant enough to charge a premium.

The problem isn’t that lots of people just dug in, took that big nor’easter in stride during a challenging 2020. The fact we are going to have a truly terrible winter of death, that goes directly to seeing just how many people in America are on the move, poised to possibly infect or be infected by our closest, most huggable loved ones.

The snow and time of year memories, these will need to suffice this dark winter of extra intense hunkering down.

Its my fondest hope that the single day I sold Christmas trees for a church – our’s didn’t do it for first time in 34 years – and saw all those young families, searching in Chamber of Commerce weather that Saturday after Thanksgiving, if they remember that tree as any part of a great Christmas 2020 together, that’s *still* the good stuff. It was also THE best all-masked, people enjoying talking to others event I could have asked for after eight months. ‘Uplifting’ is the word I’d use.

Beyond the fact that $100 day was within reach during a 14-year olds snow day, circa 1971– compared to $1.65/hr. working at McDonalds at 16 (and who is FICA?), I’m still humbled by the fact my Dad made the princely sum of $5 a DAY during the Depression with his red Coca-Cola wagon, selling beaucoup drinks in the Watervliet Arsenal across the street from his house during the summer. Dad had polio as a kid, always had a smaller left leg, but served in the Navy, and I’m going to use his drink wagon story somewhere in my writing career.

I wonder how many kids like me still roam the streets, willing to put their backs into making their own spending money in this economy?

If all 85 million people on the move this holiday are as absolutely SURE of *nothing* negative happening as I was selling trees…well, they’re not.

Christmas – Of course ‘We want!’

One year, when the folks flew up from Tampa, there was actually enough snow in Charlotte to mostly cover the grass. Mom was thrilled at their first white Christmas in over twenty years, Dad stayed wrapped in a Panther blanket I got him for Christmas and said, “I’m cold, I’m cold.”

That’s also the year I arrived with my date just in time to stop Mom from hacking the meat off a drumstick. Dad was resisting, because he knew it was a tradition for me. Turns out Mom hated me chewing a drumstick since the early days, strange stuff to overhear after almost fifty years.

The two feet of snow, actually Thanksgiving weekend, which I recall coming the year Nebraska and Oklahoma met in a huge football battle, was the start of my mother and Mrs. Kline alternating making dinner for major holidays. I’m still not sure how Mom let us watch it during dinner – with her, dinner on-TV off was almost always the deal.

That I went back to school over semester break in ’77-’78, when it snowed *every*single*day,* and Buffalo eventually sent a VERY long trainload of snow to Charlotte is a little foggy, but the Khohtetec Blizzard, which was supposed to be the worst of the century, never showed up in Rochester.

Hearing it was coming – “Over three feet and 60+ mph winds, with drifts to 9 feet, you should have three days of groceries” – set off panic buying in Wegman’s, people with carts front and behind. You get that kind of reaction in Charlotte for the THREAT of snow.

We brought more beers, bread, and burger meat in the last hour before that was supposed to hit, but those high winds blew the entire lake effect snow belt significantly north, clobbering Oswego. We had a great party after work called to tell me stay home, nobody was going to be moving.

The Khohtetec reference was a comet that came by around then, one particular cult thought it was their ‘ship’ to elsewhere, and like 26 people killed themselves when it didn’t mean a pickup for them.

Lessons learned in 2020?

Those comet-people and Jonestown used to be the standard for well, stupidity, for us Boomers. For any bloggers and/or trolls, accusing someone of “drinking the koo-laid” is a reference to about 960 people drinking cyanide-laced kool-aid in a mass suicide for a churchy-type ego-maniac name of Jim Jones.

Way back, way-way crazy, but compared to trumpies unwilling to mask-up when all applicable metrics are pinned in the red of overload, getting together enmasse and in close quarters? With the Spanish Flu pandemic of 100 years ago as a graphic case history? Wear a mask or die? Hmmm…

The dinosaurs didn’t die from stupidity, like continuing to smoke three packs a day – they didn’t have a choice about an asteroid that kicked up massive planetary dust, etcetra. A house-sized asteroid missed us around election time, just a 400-mile miss across the vastness of space, but staying hunkered down during a pandemic, that’s a smart, even if not happy, choice.

Dr. Fauci got out the word that he made sure Santa Claus got the vaccine. If that’s the best-reasoned lie I hear from anyone in trump’s realm of nutso about *everything,* we thankfully didn’t have to rely on any 2020 public relations from those lacking that humanity gene.

If you think, “It could be worse” while shoveling out from a nor-easter, people will share your estimation if they got extorted on the price for milk and bread at the only store they could reach back in the Blizzard of ’77, which was more a blizzard that just kept coming. Like hitting 100 degrees here in Charlotte, taking weather in stride is part of what makes us strong, and its hard to imagine worse for the thousands who lost all to rampaging fires out west, AND had to deal with COVID-19 and unemployment.

Okay, there’s something to be said for the smarts and survival instincts of the many State Dept. personnel who skipped Mr. Pompeo’s Christmas gathering. 900 invited, a couple dozen attended, that’s a lot of speaking with your feet. I’ve heard he and the wifey know how to entertain well, especially when somebody’s tax dollars are footing the bill.

With safety (maybe some luck), Christmas again in 2021

Christmas only comes once a year, but if you’re lucky, it comes again the next year is a lesson I hold dearly.

It wasn’t the same year as snow, but Dad wasn’t doing well (congestive heart), walking around at 5:30 am, my nephews were up, nurse friend they called said if Grandpa didn’t look good, call the paramedics. They came and packed Dad up; he spent three days in a hospital. Years later, when I was a realtor, as a more solid ‘Thank you’ than stopping by #14- Cotswold periodically, I served two fire stations my great spaghetti sauce and meatballs once a month for three months (to get all the shifts).

If once is Good, twice is Better, three times you’ve accomplished something, but those guys doing whatever meant that Christmas and another in 2012 with Dad, that’s all the motivation anyone should need. I saw paramedics work on a marginal homeless patient while doing an overnight for Room in the Inn – 20 full minutes in the truck, almost 3 a.m. – and she didn’t make it. It should be impossible not to think of protecting our loved ones to the max – and NOT hugging them now actually counts.

“It ain’t over till its over” is a well-honored athletic point of fact, and given the puke-worthy level of self-serving bastardization of prez power, meant for the righting of certain situations, but which trump has slopped around on a day to day basis, don’t expect relief until 12:01 on January 20, 2021.

Democracy took a whack with all this horses**t lawyering by GOP to invalidate 10 million votes, but both bike and the greater body politic are still sound vehicles, even if they’re being driven with a bit more caution.

The snow thing, we got that.

Me. December, 2020.

I appreciate how smoothly my bike handles, it *feels* like a new bike, although I do go across bridges MUCH more carefully now. Safety comes more naturally when you’ve taken some bad injuries, but even “getting tore up” in August crash, if a ventilator becomes a reality, it won’t be because I sucked in the wrong air, traveling with millions of others. Amen.

‘Non-pandemic healthcare’ – Mom’s update by doc, smart help for no insurance walk-in, CBD

In a time before COVID-19, a maskless Thanksgiving with family wasn’t a concern.

‘Non-pandemic healthcare’ puts COVID concerns “over there” for a little while, because while all metrics show we’re leaning into another wave, https://carolinapublicpress.org/29967/coronavirus-in-north-carolina-daily-status-updates/ life goes on. Beyond ‘low grade depression,’ ‘cabin fever,’ or ‘just sick of it,’ concerns for elderly others, taking care of one’s own meds, and how an uninsured person pays for what’s necessary still constitutes healthcare .

“I have to leave here with meds” was the point of a recent office visit, and the essential question was, beyond a $75 office visit, how necessary was anything else to get those blood pressure pills? Recalling a 2019 appointment, when ACA coverage had a $740 tag for bloodwork and whatever (I paid $20 for office visit), I appreciated a helpful worker taking care of my “no insurance but a long time client” situation when I showed up.

While getting my meds from my regular doctor as a walk-in was relatively easy, the customer service skills of Loretta, a listener and ‘pleaser’ type, is worth mentioning. It turned out I didn’t need a physical at all, just to be SEEN by a doctor, to allow a prescription to renew. It was a small revelation to learn I could’ve been seen in July, I’d assumed everything stopped with COVID-19.

I used to think I was doing great when talking with senior center personnel; its as much their training to listen completely to seniors, who often can’t get straight to the point. Still, yay! for smart helpers like Loretta to make situations like mine just a regular thing.

After 16 months without being physically seen, an online service ($19) I tried could only renew my previous prescription for thirty days – its usually 90 day supply plus refills. While I got decent telephone support (and some sympathy), and the online version had only been up four months, there was a frustrating number of screens to view without seeing a choice close to my blood pressure priority.

There were more expensive options, where video connection replaced lower cost version, but it was an ungood surprise at pickup to learn all the effort only gave me a month supply.

It turned out I didn’t need a physical, just to be SEEN by a doctor, for my prescription to renew.Two hours and one blood test (kidney function check vs. med) later, Loretta rang up a satisfied patient for $115.

(Still way) Healthier than most

This was the first time I’ve been beeped for temperature (97.2) during the pandemic, and I’ve been hunkered down for seven months. I’m 63, 193 lbs. (same weight forever), and until an August bicycle accident, was riding thirty miles a week.

My BP was 132/82 that day, higher than normal by 15 pts., and I blame the first front person, at a different, earlier clinic operation I tried before Loretta (Novant).

Person #1 was right in suggesting I could go elsewhere if the pricing ($99) answer she’d given for my visit – instead of Prescription Refill ($89) function from their web site – wasn’t satisfactory. If she’d done as good a job explaining the difference, I’d have gladly given her my card without griping about it while driving seven miles and getting Loretta.

ACA coverage – better than I knew

Because its a big deal in the news, and will shortly be a case in the Supreme Court, I’ve appreciated having ACA coverage since it became mandatory, especially it handling most of a $6,900 bicycle accident and a knee replacement that rejuvenated my lifestyle at sixty.

I never needed to compare how much a $250,000 a year dentist covering a couple kids paid, but I lost my coverage in January because – after hoping a particular deadline falling on Sunday would work out – being a day late meant I needed to pay $970 for the first month of coverage. As for many Americans, having a large unexpected bill was a real problem, and the economics of food and rent overruled insurance.

That old “When you’ve got your health…” bromide still works, and millions are ‘skating,’ trying to make it through these crazy and stressful times. Seeing the worst kind of communicable health hazard appear without any coverage is a yikes! experience.

The “better than I knew” aspect was getting a check ($13 and change) from Blue Cross/Blue Shield because ACA had only used 79.1% (instead of mandated 80%) of premiums in 2019, so they split the difference among the masses. That’s got to change your attitude about all government programs as screwed up.

I’ve been “hunkered down” for seven months now, and had two bicycle crashes, one with actual injuries. That I paid a mere $8 for an anti-bacterial that a PA indicated I should get to handle what was a bit of infection in leg, doesn’t encompass how ugly the possibilites could have gotten.

People hear bike accident, they ask if you were wearing a helmet.

Yes, always, same for mask wearing, except when I’m moving 15 mph.

Ask questions, get answers

Things are more than a little confusing and scary right now, but there SHOULDN’T be any confusion about wearing a mask as worthy of doing for the good of all, and taking care of regular, non-pandemic stuff counts just as much. For many, that includes a loved one who needs extra attention, and speaking with people – ie. Loretta and my Mom’s doctor – who have specific information about specific situations, is still the best way to learn things.

Medical and nursing personnel know what’s going on, but they won’t just start providing a lot of “then this and then that” if you don’t ask. The people caring for Mom know she’s a ‘fiesty sundowner,’ but there’s no reason to think an elderly parent knows how they’ve reacted to a change of any kind.

Elementally, this is what my sales and journalistic training makes me good at, becoming a subject matter expert (SME) to the extent I can ask, “What about A, B, or C situations?”

When two brothers and I had 15 minutes of discussion with the doctor regarding the course of my mother’s medications, the reason for reducing or adding particular ones, and his most recent – that morning – meeting with her, we all got the facts at same time. BIG chunk of good intell there, even if events since then haven’t been as positive.

According to her doctor, she was admitted with a bladder infection – UTIs happen more than it should, she just won’t drink enough fluids – and antibiotics in seniors often change personalities. Though she’d only changed meds four days to that point, “her lab work was good, and she’s still a little bossy, but not physical” was legitimate. They’re aware of not ‘bombing her out,’ and she’d probably need most of two weeks to adjust to what her body was getting.

trump says he was low-keying things (“its like flu”) to avoid panic about COVID. In real life, most of us want the straight up information.

There won’t be any visits where she is, although two of us can have an hour together at her senior community after she comes back. Only one vendor reported to have broken protection there, which I trust. I relayed things to brother #4 in upstate NY, and particularly at this point, knowing what you can’t see or affect is being handled the best way possible, makes a solid difference in stress levels for others.

A quickie story

Although it represents very different circumstances, before she moved to assisted living side three years ago, she was in the hospital with afibulation problems. Four oncology doctors (that’s cancer arena) told me that, after a “sugar scan” they’d waited three days to take hadn’t shown anything “we’d still like to get a snip from inside the lobe.” What seemed like an unnecessary step – with a rubber-hosed scope the size of my pinkie going down her throat – had me smiling though.

“Thanks for the explanation, I think I have enough information here to accurately pass it along to everyone else. I’m not sure I’d go for anything invasive like that, especially involving anesthesia, but Steve is the one you’re really going to have to convince.” (FYI – No.)

Legally and operationally, someone has the final say on higher order senior healthcare. Voting at times of high stress rarely satisfies everyone involved.

Social Distancing

Long, short, immediate COVID considerations (for me) start with keeping as close to home and always being masked for the last seven months (and yes, maskless clowns still tick me off), but I’ve decided to take care of what I can. They won’t go away after any election, but thus far, my steering clear of others has been successful.

We’ll see how that works out when I’m a poll worker for 15 hours next Tuesday.

Our church-related (St. Gabriel Men’s Club) community group had its first gathering since March in early October, a bring-your-own-chair with beers and brots, fire pit and comaraderie for a couple hours in the parking lot. We have a significant mix of much older fellows, so everyone wore masks.

We won’t have a Christmas tree sale (a 34 year tradition), the overnight Room in the Inn program (rated for 20 beds) for homeless is off, but we’ve still managed our furniture pickups for another ministry. It’s always done with masks on, and without doing the usual cooking and prep work once a month, paying for food at the Mens Shelter is the best we can do.

More immediate is my brother’s three days in South Carolina with his Mustang group this weekend – how many people can you trust when mothers send kids who have been exposed to school? I’ve been lax about wiping surfaces, but how many people might he be exposed to, was there a “less careful moment?”

With ZERO chance of attending a ‘super-spreader’ like trump’s Rose Garden events, and minimizing the moments here and there that become exposure, I’m doing the best I can.

The CDC changed ‘exposure’ from 15 minutes with same (tested or not) positive person to TOTAL 15 minutes in a day. That’s a legit piece of information, not to be discarded like trump’s continuing to hark back to “Dr. Fauci said no mask, now he says wear mask” like its sooo confusing. ‘Don’t’ was in March, not last week. As a current PSA points out, “This is a mask, not a political statement,” but we all wind up being at risk with non-maskers.

Being a good patient counts

Having $115 in checking account to pay for the office visit and a single blood test (checking for any kidney change) was a solid investment in my health. I didn’t have that available the week in August, when my bicycle tire torqued loose on a greenway ride, and as they say here in North Carolina, “I got tore up.”

A ‘skaters’ example of healthcare economics – A week after the accident, while doing a furniture pickup for that church group, a PA (physicians assistant) who pointed to a gouged-up leg and told me what I needed as an anti-bacterial to fight infection, THAT is a reason to use something. Within four applications, you could see results. Healthcare investment – $8, and thankfully, she was wrong about a possible torn ligament in my swollen ankle.

How often have YOU gotten by so easily with a total body smack health issue like this? https://cdtalententerprises.com/2020/08/18/bike-accident-low-grade-depression-match-us-mess/

Having worn a helmet since (luckily) just before the first time I truly needed it years ago, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is still a good way to look at things like COVID and masks.

That long-promised stimulus check is finally in the bank, and that’s an economic situation working out. I feel for the millions who don’t have even that much control over what’s coming next. I’ve worked from a depleted refrigerator and cupboards along the way, but I *could have* gone to get groceries; it hasn’t been a choice between the food and medicine, or rent. No insurance, I sure dodged a bullet on that score.

A primary personal healthcare habit

Two bike accidents since end of March lock down aside, I consider cycling a primary personal healthcare habit – it gets a major share of credit for my continuing good body maintenance. Regular shooting of baskets is a habit from way before any pandemic made solitary activities the rule, and after a week of lousy productivity, I recognized-rectified fact the CBD oil I neglected to order (300 mg) made a difference with ‘anxiety’ levels and focus.

‘A dark winter ahead’

Right now, the fact of 100,000-plus reported COVID infections daily should create some awareness among non-maskers that attitudes and actions need to be changed. The sheer math of projected 100,000 a day over 78 days from elections to when Biden (please God, give us a chance!) can put something in place instead of “herd immunity” nonsense, is going to be necessary for survival.

Healthwise, the entire Midwest – actually 41 states – are statistically on fire, and our healthcare front liners are already exhausted. Those aren’t resources we can replace like another box of wine in the fridge.

I have three brothers and a mother with underlying factors that make COVID exposure a real threat. Yesterday I brought flowers with a chocolate bar (cookies and cream) and a nice note to her senior community nurses. I don’t know if she still reads the paper regularly, but the note said she wasn’t going to get let loose for trick or treating, chew on this. Also, chocolate brings a similar reaction to being hugged, and this was best I could do because I couldn’t see her.

For any changes on COVID to begin will require many, many more people doing things they may not want to.

The only perfect healthcare solution available is petting the dogs or other pets. That’s always a freebie, an organic anti-stresser.

8 ways a bike accident and “low grade depression” match U.S. mess

Lately a “Be safe!” wish seems related to continued success dodging anything COVID-related, but I didn’t “fall off my bike” ten days ago, I had a solid accident. Just making a distinction guy-wise, nothing silly like falling. I’ll get to that shortly, but some dings from this most recent one look like they’ve got potenial to be long-term problems.

This country has been battered by a constant series of similar “bike accidents” in 2020, and having recovered from several incidents in the past, when someone asks if this will be the end of my cycling days, I’m sure both this country and I will survive. Bike riding has kept me in shape for over 35 years, and like our democratic roots, its a deep positive I won’t give up.

Thankful that anti-bacterial cleared this mess up.

I couldn’t have been the only American who heard Michelle Obama’s “low grade depression” in describing current events that gave her a draggy feeling and immediately said, “I feel like that too!” Pretty much everything that’s come down the pike in 2020 has been like that, including unreceived stimulus checks, which brings a legitimate sense of pissed-sad.

That the protests regarding George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer set off weeks of people in the streets across the country was inspiring. Anything important enough to do that during a pandemic already causing huge amounts of suffering and death (171k) should get appropriate attention.

Like my bike accident, we can be thankful that protesting apparently didn’t become the super (spreader) negative it could have been. If I said the same about trump’s Tulsa rally, that would be snarky though, right? (I hear even Putin was swearing about that non-“super-spreader” fiasco…)

Of course, now we’re on to situation with USPS and voting, also reeeealll important, but Ms. Obama was absolutely right about how daily crushing of spirit seems to be integral to this administration’s operation. It takes discipline to produce if you’re one of 40 million? 50 million? who don’t have a specific (PAYING!) job, and Tuesdays look almost exactly like every other day.

For me, riding a keyboard, re-editing two online books on wattpad, without even touching my bike, is a driving force in making today count.

How my bike crash is like the U.S. mess

  • Whatever small change from the usual angle of my tire landing after ‘humping’ it over an inch high ledge of concrete was, it made a (BAM!) BIG difference in my ride. If trump’s EO extends unemployment at $400/wk. instead of previous $600 – but states have to kick in $100 of that – that’s $50 million/wk. that can’t be used elsewhere, according to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. $100 won’t pay the rent, but its a small, tough difference to deal with.
  • While several body parts – shoulder, shin, calf, head, ankle – took impact, if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, it could’ve been seriously worse. Bad as things seem now, if people hadn’t left work and school to fearfully hunker down at home in March-April-May, yes, the healthcare system would have broken. Front line workers are still short on PPE and reagents for testing, and exhaustion before the expected second wave this Fall is a very real possibility.
  • Does luck have anything to do with it? After suffering some wicked ‘gouges’ in leg from accident, I got to talk with a physican’s assistant (PA) during furniture pickups for a church organization Saturday. While she commented on a swollen ankle as possibly torn ligaments, that she suggested a salve – Bacitraycin – for possible infection from those bad scratches means they’ve healed remarkably in just four applications. Trump’s valet and his son’s girlfriend both tested positive for COVID, but nothing actually happened to him, Junior, or the girlfriend. (He didn’t catch it, I got better fast.)
  • Shoulder took a helluva crunch, because I went straight down when wheel popped off from (I assume) torque of landing. I’ve never done much weight work, just curls for arms and pullups, but fact it didn’t totally come apart makes me feel that years of bicep work was like hydroxychloroquine. Experts say that doesn’t do anything for COVID, but if you did it and nothing bad happened at clutch time, just take the non-event as a stray blessing and say thank you. On other hand, that Bacitraycin worked gratifyingly well on what it was MEANT to – infection.
  • Cycling has always been good for my body in the Big Picture. At sixty-three, I’m less than five pounds from best (188) rugby weight in 1986. If you’re active, things happen, and wearing that helmet doesn’t help with face plants, but wearing a mask everywhere except house, riding, or shooting hoops is NOT something I take for granted. If it only really helps one specific time – say, when you wind up with several non-maskers in an elevator – you’re more willing to continue wearing it.
  • There was nobody around to blame when I crashed. I sure didn’t see that wheel popping off when I’ve done that ‘up Simba!’ move hundreds of times over obstacles since I was a kid. Its obvious LOTS of Americans didn’t see asymptomatic people coming, and many didn’t know better themselves. I was the only person affected – quite directly – but non-maskers can pull off their particular mistake an untold number of times.
  • ‘Social distancing’ is a cinch at 15 mph. Walking the neighborhood has its benefits on the calming front, but stretching it out physically, passing families who are getting through this together on greenway rides, its a good thing. Saying “We’re all in this together” is simplistic, but the mental health people say its worth the effort to move our endorphins vs. just moaning in isolation.
  • On a bottom line, I look and feel (minus or despite current dings) physically better in cycling gear than *anybody* does on a ventilator.

Worth the effort against depression

“Low grade depression” America? Yep, see it, understand it, know that drinking cheap wine won’t change anything for the positive. Can I get back on the bike any time I want and cycle safely again soon? Sure, but I’ll need to tighten up that front fork that allowed my wheel to pop loose and dump me so dramatically and painfully.

For years I rode in the streets, ignoring the potential dangers of swerving around potholes and dead possums and expecting drivers behind me would not clip me with a fender. You can’t take all the danger out of riding, I know that – when you’re active, things happen. I also know I can be a little more careful on specific things, like ‘humping’ over small obstacles.

Central to current events, I’m going to pay extra attention to how I can deal with “low grade depression” by more significant marketing of my previous blogs, and moving that second book along on wattpad. https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/218725526-with-platinum-fury-focus

Oh, and my vote WILL be counted, because I’ll safely *walk* it right to the Board of Elections office, and I look forward to a 64th birthday, when the cause of todays depression is removed from office. Just sayin’.

Tear gas wasn’t as serious at Watkins Glen, with a side of white privilege to start

The Winnebago we had at Watkins Glen wasn’t as grand as brother’s current 57-footer, but getting a place inside was a good thing

Well, it was the Fall of 1979, which kind of makes it ancient history, but having paid $15 and change for two wall panels I’d written some important Kansas lyrics on (that’s right, graffiti!), I had my college degree, and it would only be another two months before I got a job to use it on.

Our carload of properly stoked-up college buds were heading across New York to pick up a seventh passenger near Rochester before getting a Winnebago for the weekend of Formula 1 races at Watkins Glen, when the flashing lights behind us got everybody a LOT more serious than discussions about Mario Andretti’s chances or the powerful Ferrari team.

It was dark-thirty or so, we probably weren’t doing 55, and the trooper said he stopped us because there were a lot of heads in the car. There might have been a little haziness in the vehicle, but knowing we were definitely going the wrong direction with a transporter plate on that big ol’ Caprice was a reality.

Every time I hear that “white privilege” phrase I think of this event, and hearing the officer say, “Well, if you’re transporting this to Massachusetts, you’re going the wrong way,” was just as chilling as the possibility he wouldn’t ignore the smell of that haze. I’ve never doubted that a black driver or any ‘brothers’ (besides our two Italian guys) would have entailed a much more significant interruption of our race plans.

About fun with tear gas

Seven guys with nine cases of beer worked out fine, as did setting up camp the first site we tried, because once the wheels went off the pebbled road into soggy earth, we were there. That two guys crapped out and I got a place inside the ‘bago, that was great. We never went anywhere without beers in every pocket, I still have the Ferrari hat purchased with poker winnings. But about the tear gas…

Watkins Glen fell out of the F-1 scene because it lacked the financial backing to improve the track adequately, but part of the historic ‘charm’ of it was a place called The Bog, where rowdiness was available every night. This was the time of a second OPEC gas crunch, and I haven’t forgotten the guy standing next to a gas guzzler, hoping somebody would take it to that wild area and sacrifice it, which is how torching cars was regarded. Allll part of the party, although the yahoo trying to aim a Bic lighter into the gas tank of an upended Datsun was about as smart as not wearing a face mask during a pandemic.

It was actually the second night there when “Joey G.” and I roamed that direction, picking up the pace as people went past the other way, talking about getting gassed. Neither of us had that life experience yet, and after standing aside so a phalanx of riot-geared cops could go past, we headed to The Bog. Imagine our disappointment when we arrived and no tear gas – something I’m SURE the people who’ve gotten that, plenty of pepper spray, and some of that “non-lethal munitions” nastiness won’t feel the same about.

Sorry I can’t tell you how it felt, but ask the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, for a recap – I’m sure his memory is fresh about it.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, center in black with goggles looking away, stands at a fence guarding a federal courthouse as tear gas drifts by early July 23, 2020, in Portland Oregon, during another night of protest against the presence of federal agents sent by President Donald Trump to quell unrest in the city.Jonathan Maus/BikePortland via AP

Young men still do adventures, bonding counts

While I’m going nowhere next week while bro Mike does D.C. and Carlisle, PA trip, youngest nephew and recent UNC grad buddies flew west while several of their job starts were delayed, nailing an 18-day odessey in something more like Mike’s vehicle above than that long ago Winnie. Fishing because they’re all good at it, catching some SNOW in July, and rolling wherever. Any other time this would be the shit that cements friendships as a damn-straight American rite of passage, but this particular time, scarily dangerous beyond all norms.

Don’t we have the same data-driven fact, that LOTS of America is on COVID fire? Yet he and his buhds, and David, the NY part of us four brothers – who I couldn’t bust in person about hitting SIXTY yesterday – wife, and daughter, went NY-KY-Dakotas-Washington State driving, hiked a few of the major parks that just reopened. Ryan & Crew got trail passes easily after parks reopened from COVID.

That’s just people I know, but keeping to themselves over 3,000 miles, being very traceable if anything happened out in the wild – and David, 60 yesterday, Donna and Maria have self-quarantened in Ballston Spa, NY for two weeks afterwards – but so far, all ultimately safe.

As the French say, “C’est la vie.” Reopening anything safely should be as carefully planned as those successful trips.

Tuesday I’m hoping that the only driving I’ll be doing is nine holes at a local club, while Mike starts his road trip Wednesday. I still think cutting my time “out there” with COVID is legit. I’m still primarily a remote worker, and my options improved by two this week – I’m in 2nd phase of process, with video interview portion scheduled and skills evaluation.

I’ll be getting out for first time, and seeing how the muscle memory is on my irons would be getting back to normal a little, maybe playing two balls. Could be more people available to play Tuesdays with almost 50 million unemployed, I don’t know. I’m ready to invest around $20, Hitting off the tees is a decent option, they have chipping and putting too. More 90s in weather forecasts? Psshhh, it’s July in Charlotte, man.

On the topic of memory, its been good to see America recognize the passing of a passionate American, Rep. John Lewis, an iconic figure from the days of Martin Luther King, Jr., the March to Selma where he nearly died, a gentleman who epitomized the looking forward ‘Merica we want to fight for, getting into Good Trouble.

That a practical memorial would be renaming a certain bridge for Mr. Lewis, for what its worth, I concur. Keep it together ‘Merica, we’ll get the EPA back on that “sea to shining sea” thing again. Black Lives Still Matter.

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Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises 

http://www.linkedin.com/in/glennshorkey
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(704) 502-9947

Westbrook, MLB, others won’t play with COVID, Reality says NY road trip not worth it either

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Editors Note: About 10 hours after I wrote this, I got a text from NY brother. Some places are a LOT more serious about COVID (in red, below)

The most up-close and personal examples of disaster almost always involve family, and one brother of mine repeatedly asking another to reconsider a three day car show as part of a 2,000 mile road trip to upstate New York and back, was such a toughie.

My decision last week not to accompany an older brother in his 57′ motor home, then just hanging while he shows off his terrific Mustang with all the trimmings in Carlisle, PA on the way back, still doesn’t strike me as worth the risk when the country is on fire with COVID-19. Sadly, this is a situation where votes – and fears apparently – won’t make a difference.

Mike, You need to reconsider your trip to NYS. EVERYONE in NYS takes this seriously (14 day quarantine in NY, NJ, CT from states with high COVID rates). Violators are fined and publicly shamed. We see it on the news every day and wouldn’t have it any other way.

We are self-quarantining through 7/22 because of the states we traveled through (going NY to KY and X-C to Wash. St.) NYS will *require*us to register you (for coming to NY) because your state (NC) is above 10%. Failure to do so is a $2,000 fine. For the 10 days you are here and TWO WEEKS after, Donna cannot see clients, Maria and Donna cannot work at the farm store, Maria cannot coach rowing, and Donna’s Mom can’t work in the office because you will need to use that bathroom.

These are our families livelihoods, and Maria’s final coaching stint before college. To give you an idea how bad your state is, NYS is below 1% and is VERY serious about contact tracing. Thus the hefty fines per violation. NYS system is working extremely well, stops the spread dead in its tracks. They deal swiftly against dissenters.

The safest place to stay is PUT. But, if you insist on going to show, I can send you trump wearables for the car show. 

While staying ‘in place’ together since mid-March, my getting out for sanity-saving bike rides and shooting baskets without facial covering is legit. Wearing a mask and gloves when going to the grocery store, doing a first church furniture pickup since February recently, and no dates/social life, its been a careful, not so onerous couple months. I’ve been a remote worker (and still available) as a content creation – writer for about a year, so the change wasn’t dramatic for me. Bro Mike just went back to his office last week, with only a handful of other workers around.

I still haven’t seen any $1,200 stimulus check, family has thankfully helped with some economics, and whether I’m a weenie because I don’t feel as free or – well, lucky – as the last road trip I made to New York. is a small but real pinprick to the mind. I’m not concerned about the NBA’s (in Orlando) or NHL’s (two cities in Canada) ‘bubble’ efforts to have playoffs as I am about his health, and my safety when he returns.

Baseball begins a sixty game season July 23rd, hockey is restarting in August, and nobody will have fans in attendance.

Considering how much TV I’ve watched – although not F-1 or NASCAR racing , Australian rules football, and only a smidge of golf – I suppose I should be grateful for all that high-priced talent putting real sports back on the menu.

Luck, control, dangerous heat

Is it dumb luck that makes the difference during a pandemic? Perhaps taking the words seperately is more accurate: Both the prez (valet) and his son (girlfriend) have been very close to people who have tested positive without becoming positive themselves.

On the other hand, the 30-year old who admitted going to a COVID party, where the host is *known* to be infected and people were apparently willing to find out if being there would bring on a truly negative result – DEATH – instead of being a hoax, that’s dumb.

Recognizing that several employees have been shot by shoppers who reacted VERY badly to being told they couldn’t be in the store without masks, its made me (somewhat) easier on the stores who tell employees NOT to try changing things. Shooting baskets near a father with son and daughter also shooting, I was glad to hear HIS kids wouldn’t be going back into schools “just because” trump or his Education Secretary, the reprehensible and equally incompetent Betsy DeVos, threatened school districts with funding cuts.

In Charlotte, this will be a second straight week of definite 90 degree weather, which certainly isn’t too crazy for July here. Looking at the weather map, the entire middle of the country is blazing (100+), and its doubtful you’ll hear that usual “But its a dry heat,” out of many Arizonians.

Of all the things America has to be concerned about, including a new name for the NFL’s Washington team since sponsors like FedEx really put the wood to owner Daniel Snyder, Roger Stone, Russian ‘bounties’/payments to Taliban members for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, or whether the Repubs get more delegates to their Jacksonville convention than the mere 6,200 who appeared in Tulsa (and VT cancellation), some things come across as more important. Pay attention to those.

I know “my people” are safe, at least for now. I have a significant supply of quality CBD oil to help keep things on a relatively even keel, and I hope that despite wicked temperatures, we can keep our collective mojo from boiling over regarding dumb and/or criminal actions by our “leaders.” 

President Kennedy said we – meaning the country called the UNITED STATES – didn’t have lofty goals, like putting a person on the moon AND bringing them back safely before the end of the decade (1960s), because it was easy, but because they were hard. If it was easy to believe my brother, your nephew-elderly aunt-Dad-best bud-neighbor can stay safe, that wouldn’t be the hardest thing, keeping it True might be a bit tougher.

See you in the streets if our “leaders” try to EXTORT the behavior that will put your kids in schools that aren’t truly safe (DeVos got *nailed by CNN on “whats the plan IF…” but don’t forget that Black Lives Matter just because six weeks have passed.

(Ed. Note: Bottom line, bro is not doing NYS, but still on track for 3 days at car show.)

 
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Maintaining ‘lifestyle’ is a worthy goal during Regular Times, too ‘Merica

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Knight’s Stadium in downtown Charlotte, NC has big city ambiance, and civic jewel Romare Bearden Park the other side of right field fence. Pro sports are facing challenges of gearing up, but good thoughts for your Fourth ‘Merica.

Exchanging FB messages with a favorite cousin, we concur that, whatever is going on in lots of places at this point in time, we’re still not severely cut off from all civilized pursuits, our lifestyles, as it were. Confederate statuary be danged, that “When you’ve got your health…” stuff comes up on both our attitude-radar regularly.

Frank is retired, would probably be spending the summer in Minn. if not for all that’s transpired. My brother Mike and I have been in-place since just before the official start in late March, and having lived together off-on during long stretches of life before, we’re doing pretty good on staying relaxed. I’ve got an office at one end of house, he winds up using the kitchen table. Yes, there’s been too much TV watching, the dogs demand regular petting, and they follow my every move in the kitchen.

I was essentially a remote worker the last year, so COVID-19 didn’t have a major effect on my daily timing. Knowing this week will be a scorcher, I expect bike rides will be earlier vs. in energy-sucking humidity of Charlotte afternoons. Brother Steve asked Mike for a lift back from here while riding yesterday – I shot hoops earlier this morning, had early lunch and being blog productive all afternoon.

Time on task

Sometimes it really does feel like vacation, and what needs to be accomplished in any 2-3 hour window might be vague. Missing a blog is most often a lack of discipline, but also a signal that’s reminded  you throughout life about attitude affecting outcome. You let it slide, it becomes a negative.

Every time I leave mid-program, after any too long escape from screen/keyboard or food-making, I give myself an attaboy! Artificial Intelligence (AI) might be able to turn ‘it’ on-off in the future, but only being in the saddle actually gets results in 2020. Period.

Having opinions about BLM, face masks, and when stimulus checks show up? are kind of in the personal mix, but really, only getting the dialogue written for my creative stuff with wattpad, or making sure an RFP hits the clients criteria described on Indeed, thats a ‘more is better’ situation. Discipline is always the deal.

Sports – Who knew we’d do okay without…?

  • Charlotte has Carolina Panthers football, Hornets basketball (23-42, 10th in East, out of any restart) and Triple A hockey Checkers (2018-19 champs, 34-22-5, tied for 3rd in Atlantic Division), and Panthers owner David Tepper pushed through his purchase of an MLS soccer franchise ($300M worth) that doesn’t have an official name yet.
  • It’s doubtful any of these will be putting fannies in the seats in the near future. After two train-wreck seasons, the Panthers return is certainly the most anticipated. The retirement of beloved Luke Kuechly, the amazing goodness of Christian McCaffrey’s rarely achieved 1000-1000 yard productivity, an exciting new coach (Matt Ruhle), a necessary all defensive (7 picks) draft, and the arrival of QB Teddy Bridgewater from New Orleans, and offensive coordinator Joe Brady from national champion LSU are all positives. 
  • According to CBS Sports, the big sendup for Major League Baseball will be the Yankees and reigning World Series champs the Washington Nationals on July 23rd. That will be the focus game, with the rest of whatever season they figured out starting the next day. Could be Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasberg for the Nats, Yanks battered 306 HRs last year (and the Twinkies-no-more had one more).
  • I got my motorsports ya-yas out years ago, with a couple Formula I races in Watkins Glen and Montreal, and satisfied any NASCAR yearnings with a 300 miler in Charlotte that took almost seven hours, with wrecks and rain delays. I was in a hospitality suite, so food, drink, staying dry was all good, with a great view of everyone pulling into the pits without the various fumes.
  • Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick were at the top in Pocono 350, Harvick leads the standings with 581 pts. (3 wins, 8-Top 5s), Hamlin is 4th, with 506 pts. (4 wins, 9-Top 5s). You figure it out.
  • Dustin Johnson’s -19 took the Travelers Tournament, Kevin Streelman was 2nd at -18, and because he was one of the ‘names’ in tournament, Phil Mickelson was T-24th at -11, Sergio was T-32nd at -10. Webb Simpson leads the FedEx standings with 1,583 points (7 tournaments), Justin Thomas (1,543 in 11 events), Rory McIlroy (1,270 in 9 outings) is 4th.
  • Formula I is a whole ‘nother deal than just going left, and if you’ve had the opportunity to samba in the streets with Brazilians, you have partied with the best. Having no crowds trackside, those sports mean very little. The golfers don’t seem to mind any lack of  crowd ‘juice,’ and its probably easier to keep your mind on doing what most think of as free money, hardly a real job.

For those who wondered, former Panther Cam Newton has landed in New England as their probable #1 QB, since 42-year old Tom Brady has left for Tampa Bay.

Bombshell good news – ‘The Comeback Trail’

While doing our first furniture pickup for a shelter supply ministry since February, our four-man crew moved a large table downstairs for a lady’s neighbor, receiving 300mg. vials of prime CBD (hempseed oil) for the effort. Having been a content creation person for a manufacturer last year, I appreciate the quality of it, much better on anxiety levels with .5 of a dropper several times a day, compared to the $2.49 version (wine) from Aldi.

good timesdave-michStill, beyond just knowing everyone is safe – including Mom, even if they had a breach at her senior community on 17th – and Favorite Nephew and wife arriving in other corner of country, getting really GOOD news is a slice of Life that works wonders.

Family counts plenty under circumstances like whats out there, with 40 million in some stage of unemployed, and not many you can have a beer with.

 

That came with a note on FB about a movie my “fifth brother,” David Ornston worked, and his getting a producer credit for comedy ‘The Comeback Trail,’ starring Robert DeNiro, Tommy Lee Jones, Morgan Freeman, and Zach Braff.

It’s not “Jenny from the Block” or “Straight Outta Compton” huge, and for most its just info you’d look for at the beginning or end of the film. As a bro thing, when an important part of your life involves getting a bunch of stars on the same project like ‘Comeback,’ that’s a good professional result, worth an attaboy.

Right now I’ve got RFPs for remote work out, I’d like to try some outdoor brew pub entertainment three blocks away, will keep an eye out for that elusive stimulus check, continue a healthy amount of activity including my good-looking jump shot, and edit another chapter of Platinum Fury.’ y’know?

Time on task man. And please wear your mask.

 

 

 

It’s the ’60s again – SpaceX, civil rights, but COVID-19 is bigger than Vietnam

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During a week of exhaustive coverage for nationwide protesting over the killing of George Floyd – a black man whose life was ended by a Minneapolis cop who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes – many people were still excited about Americans taking off from historic pad 39-A at Cape Canaveral Saturday.

NASA was involved, but the SpaceX launch, with visions of “Mars and beyond,” was Musk’s baby. So what if he got a $700M bonus for success.

It didn’t take over the news, but after a non-launch Wednesday, Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 rocket, a slim, 24-story tall projectile compared to the thundering Saturn 5s of yore, it wasn’t another COVID-19 related story either. When Doug Hurley and Rob Behnken successfully docked with the International Space Station 19 hours later, science nerds weren’t the only ones loving it.

That said, for over fifty years Vietnam has been the standard for a situation that divided our country, but in less than 100 days, the lies and mismanagement by an administration that perpetuated a meat-grinder of young lives and treasure lost for nearly a decade, is now relegated to second place.

With a pandemic that has cost more American lives – over 106,000 as of yesterday – than any 20th century war except the Big One, WWII, and 40 million unemployed that trumps the Depression our parents and grandparents told us was the worst of times, reliving the tumultous Sixties proves there can be a new bottom.

But America DID put people on the moon, and now we’re trying to match that shining pinnacle, even as we struggle with civil rights brutality and personal malfeasance at the highest levels by an administration that seems to thrive on sucker-punching its citizens.

The Real Sixties

The Cuban Missile Crisis, hippies, the Beatles and English Invasion, Hendrix, Baby Boomers, the protest marching and sit-ins, the Black Panthers, Muhammed Ali, the Black Power salute of John Smith and Juan Carlos in Mexico City that shoved athletes 100% into political mainstream awareness. The 1969 Amazin’ Mets, Jets, Knicks, Woodstock! Timothy Leary and LSD, Rachel Carson and the beginning of environmental awareness, American astronauts walking on that orb in the sky “before the end of this decade,” winning the Space Race against the USSR. Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America; (original) Star Trek!  LOTS of hair; the oral polio vaccine (Sabin, 1963); Ford’s Mustang; Smiley face; Mr. Ed and The Wild, Wild West.

A legendary one liner is “If you remember the Sixties, you really weren’t there.” I was a well-sheltered Boomer (1957), getting A’s in Catholic grade school who saw life on TV more than I participated. I saw Lee Harvey Oswald get killed live, police *whaling* on protesters at the ’68 Democratic Convention, couldn’t have missed the moon landing, and Jim West was THE coolest imaginable dude. We prayed for Apollo 13 (which was actually 1970).

I’ll qualify that “more than I participated,” because our family of four boys traveled plenty of places with our pop-up camper, that we routinely got set up in fifteen minutes and could go exploring or swimming, always a prime consideration on a 3-day drive. Dad helped Mom make dinner.

Our classic was 5,353 miles over 13 days. Yes, I’ve been to the Lincoln Memorial, climbed into the crown of the Statue of Liberty, watched a game in the Astrodome, ate bignets in the French Quarter, two blocks from a *very* high Mississippi River. Walked on the turf at Dallas Stadium and Michigan, rode the Arch in St. Louis. Gettysburg.

Being shotgun meant something when you were on-off the interstate every 40 miles for three days going to Florida. We read the maps, knew what south and west were from anyplace on the map, how good the road would be. We counted all the military vehicles in convoys, mostly kept track of totals.

I hit the floor *fast* when an arch-typical red-faced with hat, BIG ol’ gun and gut cop, somewhere in the Deep South going to Tampa, snapped a look at the station wagon where someone had decided to give a double snort of piggy sound.

My baby brother, David, was born in 1960. We lived in West Palm Beach when the Everglades and airboats (and snakes!) were across the dirt road and adults were nervous about Cuba; Dad’s 7-Up floats were a big treat, and a $1M house, pssshhh, build it where?

There was also unending violence.  Church bombings, lynchings and vicious German shepherds, the assassinations of now iconic figures – JFK and Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. But as a fact of life and death, VIETNAM, especially nightly body counts on the 6:00 news, over-shadowed this country like nothing since the American Civil War a century earlier.

History repeats itself because…

Lincoln said “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and after 3 1/2 years of Trump’s us/them-red/blue division, there’s nothing to indicate he was wrong. After 243 years of democratic rule of law, it looks like even agreeing that covering our faces to protect ourselves from each other during a pandemic is impossible to accomplish.

Prayer, even saying the Pledge of Allegiance, has been essentially stricken from our schools as a daily factor, replaced by on-going, onerous, and instant profusion of “tweets” that are taken as “Word from on high” by some.

COVID-19 may not have been caused by Trump’s administration, but his willingness to take the low road, and kill by 1,000 cuts, the rule of law in this country that we’ve held up to the rest of the world as something to be desired is the side that’s crumbled. That return to the Sixties was epitomized on Monday by a black man who died with a cop’s knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Even Brian Williams suggestion that parents get the Spot the ISS app, while not new but still definitely cool, cannot overcome how dramatically wrong what happened in Minneapolis, MN was, or that this country, actually the WORLD, knew it.

We can take this SpaceX mission as a slice of Goodness, and for police who took the extra step of interfacing with instead of tear gassing protestors in LA or a city near any of us, who physically KNELT in acknowledgement of that wrongness and silently asked for forgiveness, that wasn’t a lesson from the Sixties.

More like Colin Kapernick, 2016. Think about it.

If Dr. Fauci was an umpire, his SAFE! call would be the end of “in place” griping

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Equating Dr. Fauci’s influence in so much relative to this pandemic with the ability I, as an umpire, held sway over decisions that affected how events went forward in the lives of others,  is specious.

Still, while its permissible to gripe about some calls, when the ump says, “This is how it shall be,” well, a lot of  ‘Mericans seem to count that as more factual than Fauci’s forty years of expertise gets him about Next, coronoa-wise.

Before each game, I went to both dugouts to discuss “the high strike” in arc pitch softball, that area at the top of arm but below the shoulder, where the tough calls are. Anybody can call ’em down the pipe, and pointing out the specific area *I* called a strike, my exit line was usually, “But you’re all hitters here, right?” meaning working walks is mehh.

A player I recall saying he didn’t LIKE my strike zone – but I called it consistently – was all anyone should ask for. For those clamoring for “freedom” from the  tyranny of being told not to congregate to improve chances of NOT getting sick, just know that I let a pitcher throw a strike to someone who stepped out of the batters box without asking permission.

‘Outside’ as helpful, not ‘bum rush to’

Umping in a medium pitch league, by the third inning I’d sent enough guys to first that the catcher was catching heat from his pitcher. I told him, again, “Tell your guy he’s this much (thumb-forefinger couple inches) off the plate.” A couple more walks in the fifth, he yells, “Hey ref! I been putting it in the same place all night!” I took one step onto the plate, pointed at him and asked, “Which of us better change what they’re doing then?”

The reality was, that strange motion he had when looking at his catcher for location, was because HE WAS LEGALLY BLIND in his left eye. Talk about flipping a cliche. The point I expected to convey was, straight up, that my opinion was the one that counted.

Frankly, Fauci has done that step up more than a couple times during truth-oriented situations, even with his political boss nearby. In the video conference he did with the Senate this week, he handled Rand Paul admirably – no, he’s not political or the “be all” on answers – but there is forty years of well-regarded expertise.

When Trump said “Maybe there’s nothing in the fall,” he came right to the mike and said, “We WILL have a wave of corona virus in the fall.” IMHO, that’s a definitive call on the second half of a double play grounder.

If anyone, my nephew included, questioned my calls (he did, in a minor league LL volunteer stint), you are two pitches from being struck out.

Umpiring and standing up for ‘right’

There was a girls league in Charlotte where they apparently worked the “run rabbit run!” style. The (obviously) better team would get people on, then, because *you can’t lead or steal until the ball crosses the plate,* they essentially went wild on the catchers throws back to the pitcher.  Inaccurate throws around the infield to stop runners quickly became a cycle of two runs and someone on second.

I see part of the umpire’s job as fairness. Following the catcher to the backstop (she really couldn’t stop much), I told her to call time out. Then throw the ball to the pitcher, after which I said, “Play ball.” After a single inning of that, the A-team manager asked what I was doing, and while I knew I’d never be coming back, letting people run wild and getting mercy-ruled by errors is a humiliating way to lose an un-fun game in three innings, that I could do something about.

Fauci as Umpire:  Check the states “re-opening” and having spikes in their infected rates about un-fun. If Dr. Fauci controls the “we’re gonna go-go-go operation” (I did), makes the call on scientific results (and expertise) vs. going to instant replay or another court case, that’s an ump who hits a righteous standard.

Rules matter

While unprepared, I volunteered to do a charity tournament game wearing topsiders, a tank top, and Ray Bans. Left field was actually unfenced, allowing outfielders to chase foul balls. With runners on 1st and 2nd, left fielder catches a long foul, and throwing to third from an angle, he clongs it off a light tower, it ricochets into center, and two runs score.

After searching for the guy with ground rules, it becomes one base on the throw, so only one run scores. Unfortunately, one person (female) wouldn’t quit “discussing” it, so I finally gave the word: Next yapping I heard, she’d be leaving.

After the game, two large players came over and asked me about singling her out. I explained that I went and found the ground rule and applied it. I had umpired plenty before, I didn’t have to put up with the sh*t, but if I left, the game was going to be in trouble. I wished them good luck and walked away..

An all time favorite was a runner interference call. Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out, with a major pop up to the shortstop. Runner from second was *right* in front of her, she dropped it, girl from first scored off two errant throws.

I couldn’t help myself – I said, “Boy, if that happened to my shortstop, I’d probably want to talk to somebody about it.”

The catcher held her hand up to stop the pitcher, turned to look at me, then walked out, and while talking to the pitcher, pointed back at me. She came back and said she wanted to make an appeal; I asked whether the runner going from 1st-2nd, or 2nd-3rd. She got the answer right, I yelled “runners out!” and both teams changed, with the manager having no idea what happened.

As for one guy cheating up in batters box, knowing the pitcher couldn’t get it in his strike zone with arc AND across (vs. land on) the plate, or, very likely have to give him a pitch he could cream, my job is still ensuring a fair game. I told the catcher, “Throw it any way you want,” which was essentially flat.

Batting box cheats and  people carrying military-style assault rifles while protesting ‘in place’ rule in Michigan, but not in NY is a valid analogy. Why? Because in NY the rule is you empty your pockets into little trays before going through a metal detector in state buildings, and pistols, AR-15s, and grenade launchers DON’T come in the building.

There are things YOU want to do, that might be good for you, but that aren’t fair to others. If it was simply a matter of rights, and it might trim the herd appropriately by doing something uncool like exposing themselves to unseeable but deadly viruses, fine, but the fact is, that behavior might affect me, and that’s not the best way to run a pandemic.

I’m still willing to look for the SAFE! sign from Dr. Fauci instead of listening to the bench saying, “Looked good from here, ump.”