Gratitude

5 Year Anniversary Achievement
My WordPress 5 Year Anniversary

Five years ago, the WordPress welcome mat beckoned; invited this fleeing MySpace and Xanga, homeless blogger to migrate into this global community, afforded me the unique opportunity to, free of charge, present my commentary re life and politics (far too often vice versa) and the rest is history.

More importantly, I’ve also had the good fortune to meet many of you, my well-versed, multi-talented neighbors. Right from the outset, our virtual encounters have frequently enriched my life; even more so, now that the pandemic and accompanying socioeconomic instability and governmental upheaval have so radically redefined our lives.

Just knowing that, together, we’ll persevere, helps to alleviate my ofttimes overwhelming feelings of loneliness and despair.

On this auspicious occasion I’d like to thank WordPress and all of you, both the kindhearted residents and visitors, who’ve found / continue to find my content worthy of your precious time and attention!

Most assuredly, without you, my blogs would be little more than word documents gathering virtual dust!

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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America Is Back!

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Two scant weeks ago, after the 45th President of the United States of America had ordered his attack against the United States of America; had deployed his private army of insurrectionists to storm, invade and violate our homeland’s Capitol building; expected them to do their damnedest to illegally install him; to complete his Fascist overthrow of America, Democracy, Liberty, etc., We, who feel genuine love for our homeland, began to wonder if there were any limits to what that bastard would attempt.

Quite understandably, We the People began to ask ourselves…

  • After their failed coup d’état, what would happen next?
  • Would his duly elected opponent ever manage to fight his way to the top of that very Capitol building’s steps to participate in our Constitution’s mandated orderly, peaceable transfer of power?

Well, I’m pleased to report that all is well; indeed, America is back!

On this Inauguration Day, at 11:48 a.m., twelve minutes early, Joseph R. Biden Jr. took his Oath of Office to become the 46th President of the United States of America. And, mere moments earlier, Kamala Harris took her Oath, too, to become America’s very first female of color Vice President!

I, too, participated; stood for Lady Gaga’s passionate rendition of the Star Spangled Banner; added my voice to firefighter Andrea Hall’s moving recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance; sang along with Jennifer Lopez’s stirring, This Land is Your Land and Garth Brook’s heartfelt, most appropriate, for these pandemic days, interpretation of Amazing Grace; took to heart poet Amanda Gorman’s message of unity.

I even unfurled, dusted off and displayed my flag’s “broad stripes and bright stars” on my humble home’s front door.

I suspect that, at some point, today, the welled up tears of joy will ebb a bit; the shudder down my spine will ease up, too. I mean, all things considered, We the People had come too damned close to losing, perhaps forever, our beloved homeland; the America our Founding Fathers had so thoughtfully secured for themselves and posterity.

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Numbing Numbers

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01/14/2021 19:30* = 2 Million Fatalities (Worldwide)
01/15/2021 16:30* = 400K Fatalities (United States)

*Military Time / Eastern U.S. Time Zone

The already grim stats, above, fail to reflect the total number of COVID-19 cases. That’s mainly due to inadequate testing, misdiagnoses, death certificate errors and (saving the worst for last), the feckless, in CYA mode leaders whose MO is to always bury the truth. Additionally, with each passing second, the death toll continues to skyrocket at an alarming rate.

Beyond that, no cold, clinical statistical report could ever tally the countless, accompanying teardrops; of the isolated patients taking their final gasp of oxygen, the medical professionals whose best efforts cannot save them, and last but not least, all of their mourning loved ones.

Let’s be sure to set aside a few moments, today, every day, to contemplate the two million, plus, members of our human family who are no longer with us; to also remember to…

Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Drawing Parallels?

Shortly after Sunday’s sunset, I took down my Christmas tree. Considering 2020’s nearly year long, uh, let’s refer to them as disappointments, I’d have probably left it up until the vernal equinox; well, were it not for the string of lights suddenly, unexpectedly, giving up the ghost.

How such a malfunction could’ve happened still confounds my understanding of basic electricity; specifically speaking, wired in parallel circuitry. I mean, even had a few of the bulbs burnt out, recently, the rest should’ve still lit up.

Anyway, seeing how I had inherited this lighting from my folks; how it had brightened up my family’s Christmastimes for over half a century, the likely cause of death was (what else?) old age; a phrase that’s somewhat applicable in describing the condition of yours truly, too.

Yet, there’s still the loitering kid, within, who saddens me at the end of each December / January holiday season. When I was an actual kid, my shrewd Mom had always chosen the perfect time to take down our tree; typically, soon after my sister and I had returned to our public school classrooms. I mean, the tree was up in the morning and by the time us kiddies got home in the afternoon; well, you get the picture.

Joni Mitchell once lyrically summed up this old year out / new year in cycle as (what else?) the Circle Game. As for my drawing additional parallels to all things electrical, indeed, the circle / circuit has now been broken. Hmm, that must also account for what has just triggered my sudden, lengthy sigh.

All sighs aside, it was while boxing up my dismantled artificial tree and the ornaments, that my mind began to wander; to loosely, free associate my 2021 short story with O. Henry’s 1907 short story, The Last Leaf; set in Greenwich Village amidst a fall / winter pneumonia epidemic. Via his cleverly crafted protagonists’ interaction we get to witness the completion of the seasoned painter’s pièce de résistance; how his labor of love serves as a morale booster for his ailing artist friend. Yet, by story’s end, not all things wind up happily ever after.

By the by, my intentionally vague rehashing of the narrative is to benefit any of you, who’ve yet to read this heartwarming / heartbreaking tale.

For those of you who’ve chosen not to savor O. Henry’s literary masterpiece, I’m linking you to a synopsis, which, as a final warning, I’m deliberately keying in as SPOILER ALERT!

As for how my project, last night, relates to O. Henry’s last leaf (well, at least in my own head)? Well, you see, with each passing year that these lights had managed to survive, I sensed that I, too, could survive to behold, at the very least, one more Christmas future. But now? Especially now?

With the still raging pandemic; with my own homeland’s in-title-only leader still pissed off enough to (literally) go ballistic, how can this doubting Thomas not have doubts?

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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No Comeuppance invites the Comeback

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It’s now going on forty-eight hours since domestic terrorists attacked my homeland’s capital city; since subversive rampaging assailants targeted a lifelong loved one of mine, namely, Lady Liberty. So, please bear with me if my overwrought feelings of heartache and righteous indignation impair my ability to adequately express myself.

While many of us have been down this road before; most notably during / following the 9/11 attacks and the Martin Luther King and Kennedy assassinations, take it from me, such experiences do little to make coping with this past Wednesday’s revolt any easier.

Even though no PhD’s in Psychiatry and Poli-Sci had been prerequisite for any thinking person to sense the pointless, needless, worthless, four-year-long, undercurrent of Trumpian tensions (all of which had sparked the DC siege), Wednesday’s insurrection had still been shocking / horrifying (and still is). I mean…

Here we had the (in title only) President of the United States of America, no less, utilizing / exploiting / bastardizing his bully pulpit; barking out his marching orders to trigger an assault against the United States of America, no less!

We then witnessed legions of HIS marauding domestic terrorists, cultists all, unconditionally and meticulously dotting every “i” / crossing every “t” of HIS dictates; committing unforgivable, heinous, seditious acts on HIS behalf!

What a crying shame that NEITHER the subversive leader NOR the misled have even the slightest inkling re what America is truly all about; what honest to God patriotism involves. Alas, long sigh, that’s to be expected when each of them has rocks within the cranium and a stone beneath the sternum.

If justice can still prevail, We the People must hold all of these insurrectionists accountable for their attempted coup d’état; punish each and every last damned one of these bastards, to the fullest extent allowed by law; inclusive of the 140 U.S. House Representatives, 12 U.S. Senators and the 1 (and thank God only) Donald J. Trump.

Re that last on the list entity, he must be removed from office, via either the 25th Amendment Section 4 or by Impeachment / Conviction.

As for Trump’s legislative branch co-conspirators, in particular, they, too, must be totally stripped of their power (whilst due process is doing its thing). And, as soon as guilty verdicts are handed down, their punishment should be inclusive of being forever banned from holding / seeking elective office.

Forgiving and forgetting is NOT an option! No comeuppance could only invite a comeback.

About the only good that has come out of this past Wednesday’s failed coup has been twofold:

The heightened awareness of our undying love for America!
The reminder that we must never, again, let down our guard!

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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“Forever in our hearts, always our inspiration.”

Last evening, Alex Trebek’s five, yet to be shown, final Jeopardy! episodes, taped mere days prior to his demise, began playing out. This transcendental episode (originally slated to air on December 21, 2020) began with his opening, impromptu, soul searching, holiday message:

“You’ll recall that about a month ago, I asked all of you to take a moment to give thanks for all of the blessings that you enjoy in your lives. Now, today, a different kind of message. This is the season of giving. I know you want to be generous with your family, your friends, your loved ones. But today, I’d like you to go one step further. I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your hearts to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19. People who are suffering through no fault of their own. We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society and if we all pitch in, just a little bit, we’re gonna get there.” [Watch Clip/Read More]

Alex Trebek • Air Date: January 4, 2021

If humanity is paying attention, such much needed wisdom will resonate and endure long after Alex’s final Final Jeopardy!, come Friday.

By next Monday, a series of select host candidates will begin auditioning to determine who, amongst the 7.8 billion of us, might come close to filling Trebek’s size infinity shoes.

Let’s hope that his successor will know, instinctively, that Alex is irreplaceable; may sense a momentary “blinding” by the aura / afterimage of his brilliance; perhaps even feel somewhat haunted by him while making each entrance onto the Jeopardy! stage.

Should the eventual new host be lacking such qualities, it’d be fair to suspect that (s)he has been miscast. And, so long as I’m hinting at this, anyway, let me add that the time is ripe for a game show, of this stature, to break the glass ceiling; namely, the Sony Pictures Television production company execs should select a savvy, suave woman to preside over the game.

Returning, now, to the rolling of last night’s closing credits…

For a fleeting moment, I had this wild notion; how great it’d be to rebroadcast the entire 36+ year run of Trebek’s Jeopardy!; perhaps, as an alternative to Pat Sajak’s / Vanna White’s Wheel of Fortune, which on most network schedules, precedes Jeopardy!

I’ve always found playing along with W of F’s contestants far less challenging and educational. Hey, don’t brand me an intellectual snob; my educational background, would rarely, if ever, crown me the Jeopardy! champion. Anyway, that’s not my point.

What is relevant, here, is that each episode of Jeopardy! serves as a teaching moment; can function as motivation for us to discover more about the world we don’t know. After all, we don’t stop learning until the day each of us takes our final breath. And for all we know, it may not end even then!

Of course, my aforementioned wish for that Trebek replay must remain just that. After all, the new host must be afforded the unencumbered opportunity to build upon Alex’s rock solid foundation. Most assuredly, he would’ve wanted it that way!

And that said, the show’s closing credits will sum up everything even better than I; namely, via their dedication to Alex Trebek:

“Forever in our hearts, always our inspiration.”

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Not worth a plug nickel?

Right from the pandemic get-go, anyone whose mind is rooted in science / logic, could, in a heartbeat, sense the worst was yet to come. After all, the very novelty of Corona-V had sent our epidemiologists into OJT mode; the ideologues / Führers into a CYA furor; the propagandists into (what else?) their bury the truth spin.

And being eyewitness to THAT had rendered me doubtful that humanity could even survive the year.

Such a sense of doom doth walk hand in (small) hand with the likes of my totally unlikable homeland’s IN TITLE ONLY, leader, one Donald J. Trump. At least publicly, that has-been has been the inveterate science denier, while, in private, he can easily morph into the not so nutty professor.

My gawd, we actually got to earwitness astounding, taped phone confabs where the lucid(?) Trump was actually “schooling” the already schooled journalist and author Bob Woodward. The very fact that Oval Office occupant has known, all along, how ferociously contagious and deadly Corona-V is, only makes his conduct all the more incomprehensible and reprehensible.

One certainty, here, when one’s leader doesn’t give a shit about the people he swore (on the Holy Bible) he’d protect and defend, I began to reevaluate my life / chances; distill that down to these five words:

Not worth a plug nickel.

Another certainty, I owe my very survival / making it to this New Year’s Eve to my own pandemic take charge ‘tude; my common sense, insightful conclusion that nearly everything that Trump utters, mutters, bleats and Tweets (or has yet to do so) can be regarded as absolute BULLSHIT!

Yet, in spite of all that, we mustn’t overlook the ever-increasing rays of hope; namely the vaccines and the likes of the likeable, rooted in science / logic of Dr. Anthony Fauci, his learned colleagues and the soon to be sworn in, intellectually curious, responsible, honorable American President, one Joe Biden.

Oh, there’s one more ray of hope, too.

My being a numistmatist, for nearly sixty years, my eyes widened, instinctively, two scant days ago, when the supermarket cashier handed over my change. You see, the Thomas Jefferson nickel had a very special struck date on its obverse side.

Right next to the word “Liberty” was / is the year of my birth.

My newfound, treasured keepsake has managed to liberate me; has served to cancel out my early-on, erroneous, premature, “not worth a plug nickel”, not so brilliant deduction.

While this far from mint condition 5¢ coin, which has been in circulation for as long as I have, would not fetch me more than 10¢ from a coin dealer (who’d have little, if any, interest in buying it), nonetheless, in my mind, it IS priceless and not, repeat, NOT for sale!

I view receiving it to be a good omen and, for the rest of humanity, a harbinger of 2021’s better days to come.

Till then…

Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Tenets / Traits Specs Sheet

Each and every savory human being’s “ingredient list” involves as many of the following “tasty” tenets and traits as possible. Granted, some words are synonymous but, then again, who among us would not welcome a surplus of life’s pluses? Seeing how these elements are all impactful on the creation and continuance of a civilized society, it’d be a tough task to rank the placement of each one. Hence, this Specs Sheet is presented in alphabetical order.

  1. Accountability
  2. Adaptability
  3. Amicability
  4. Approachability
  5. Charity
  6. Compatibility
  7. Congeniality
  8. Dependability
  9. Generosity
  10. Honourability
  11. Humility
  12. Impartiality
  13. Ingenuity
  14. Integrity
  15. Intellectuality
  16. Knowledgeability
  17. Liberality
  18. Likeability
  19. Lovability
  20. Lucidity
  21. Magnanimity
  22. Objectivity
  23. Originality
  24. Perceptivity
  25. Practicality
  26. Rationality
  27. Reasonability
  28. Reputability
  29. Respectability
  30. Responsibility
  31. Sensibility
  32. Sensitivity
  33. Serendipity
  34. Serenity
  35. Sociability
  36. Spirituality
  37. Spontaneity
  38. Tranquility
  39. Trustability
  40. Whimsicality

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The comment section awaits anyone who’d like to contribute an “ity” suffixed tenet / trait to this Specs Sheet.

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Christmas Karaoke (Parody)

Let’s consider the above clip’s supplied, original song lyrics our incentive. We’ll have a good shot at getting our lives back to normal IF we pandemic-proof our holiday parties, NOW; as suggested by my parody, below:

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Have yourself a social distanced Christmas
A-void Covid’s blight
Zoom your parties
Keep Corona out of sight

Have yourself a sheltered little Christmas
Keep “droplets” at bay
At that point
Our troubles will be miles away

Here we are in pandemic days
Unlike golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Can’t be near to us; no more

Come next Christmas we’ll all be together
If vaccines allow
Till then stay in tune with public health knowhow
And have yourself a sheltered little Christmas now

Here we are in pandemic days
Unlike golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Can’t be near to us; no more

In one year
We all will be together
When vaccines allow
If we hang tough, we’ll get thru this mess, somehow
So, have yourself a levelheaded Christmas

Have yourself a social distanced Christmas
Have yourself a sheltered little Christmas now

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Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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Sign of the Times

I suppose, by now, we, who’ve been staggering around like extras in some zombie apocalypse film, have become a bit desensitized; have slightly adapted to our pandemic redefined world. Nonetheless, I really did get spooked out just last week. I wouldn’t even be blogging about this, now, were it not for my still being unable to shake that weird feeling.

I mean, this STILL is Earth. Yes? No? Maybe?

Setting the drama aside, IT all began when I needed to transact some mundane biz at the very same bank I’ve been frequenting since I was a four-year-young lad. Hey, what can I say? My impoverished, public school teacher folks’ lesson plans included instructing me to be thrifty.

Hell, even banks, of that bygone era, had encouraged that DIY, build a nest egg ethic, too, by paying out 4% interest on our savings accounts.

Granted, thru the ages, “my” bank has undergone numerous ownership changes as well several minor physical renovations, but, to me, I’m still seeing that same old brick and mortar institution thru my mind’s eye. In a sense, it feels as if I’m traveling back to that far more pleasant era; experiencing, anew, the flood of fond memories; e.g. the facial recognition; the personable bank personnel greeting me, by name (and vice versa), each time I set foot inside.

Of course, these days, there’s not much setting foot inside, anymore.

After all, even while masked / socially distanced, face to face, indoor transactions still (potentially) expose everyone to COVID-19. Beyond that, I’m sure that management doesn’t want customers spooking out their tellers; i.e. now that our being masked makes the same “fashion statement” that the bank robbers do.

Hmm, seeing how I’ve now digressed a bit too much, let’s time travel back to last week, again. Upon my arrival at the bank drive-thru destination, there IT was. The Sign. The Sign of the Times:

IT had been taped over the pneumatic tube system’s access port. IT read: “This branch office is temporarily closed.” They neither elaborated THE WHY this had happened nor THE HOW they were defining “temporarily”.

I actually began to worry. What would happen if “temporarily” actually meant forever AND my modest DIY nest egg had suddenly vanished, POOF, into thin air? Got gobbled up by some zombies?

Be it intentional or not, that sign’s evasiveness, did erode consumer confidence. It had been ill-timed, too, considering how, pandemic or not, retailers / e-tailers always depend on the holiday gift giving season to make their fourth quarter merry and bright.

More to the point, when our funds cease to be available on demand, even “temporarily”, this could compound the problem; i.e. result in a run on the banks.

At the very least, this episode certainly got me out of the shopping mood. From the drive thru exit I just drove home. And, for a fleeting moment, it felt as if the zombie apocalypse was starting to spill out from the big screen and into the real world.

Epilogue: Fortunately, this past Monday, my bank’s drive-thru lane reopened; finally allowing me to complete last week’s transaction.

As for the zombies? For the moment, they’ve been driven off.

For the moment.

Stay Publicly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

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