Friday, July 24, 2020

don’t rain on my non-existent parade

It can be argued that baseball in its best is pretty boring.

Last night, in an abbreviated baseball season, baseball summer 2020 season, with no fans in the seats, started.  Up there on the screen were the Washington Nationals playing the New York Yankees.

So what can screwed that up!  How about rain?

A baseball game with no fans and a rain delay?  How we still watching??!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

where to find inspiration

I’m feeling so uninspired these days... But where does a person find inspiration?

From a place?  I recently moved from a home that inspired me to an apartment that so far does not inspire me.  Do I have to move again, or hope for change right here?

From a lover?  Jerry, the love of my life, passed away three years ago, and life with someone else could never be as good, so why try?

From friends?  Maybe, if they are the right kind of friends — if they care whether I am inspired or not.

From within my own soul?  Or has that train left the station?

Saturday, July 18, 2020

weird in a good way

I consider myself lucky that I have visited, at some time or other in my life, all 50 U.S. states.  As I neared that “50th”, I purposely chose a #50 that I was looking forward to seeing, rather than settling for, say, a North Dakota.   It was Oregon.  I had people to see there — relatives and friends — on the Oregon Coast and in Portland, and the state’s reputation for its beauty, its progressiveness, and alternative lifestyles held some appeal for me.

It was October 2011.  The Coast was indeed beautiful, and there was much happening in the city of Portland.  Jerry and I happened to be there during the “Occupy Movement” that started as Occupy Wall Street in New York City and gradually sprouted out across the country.  Occupy Portland was one of the largest and most active of the protests, having taken over several blocks of downtown Portland.  A wide variety of human beings had encamped there over several weeks and were proudly representing Portland’s unofficial city motto — “Keep Portland Weird”.  Jerry and I had been participating in Occupy Minneapolis, and it was fun to see the contrast.  The Occupy Movement was peaceful and made a valid statement.

Fast-forward to Portland, Oregon right now.  In the last few days, peaceful protestors in that city have been violently attacked by unidentifiable federal or military agents in combat gear.  Apparently, Drumpt is attempting to make an example of Portland, to see what he can get away with in repressing alternative political expression.  Pay attention.  This is real and repulsive.  As my nephew Jeff said this morning, “The fascism is no longer hidden.”....

Friday, July 17, 2020

stilted conversation

Remember when there were topics of conversation that didn’t include coronavirus and/or our idiot “president”?

Think of the diversions that normal summers could give us —

—  Sports!  We are already halfway through the non-existent baseball season.  I could have been lamenting how disappointing the Philadelphia Phillies could have been doing!  And how are we going to have a fall without football?
— Summer vacations!  Most people are afraid to get on an airplane or stay in hotels or resorts.  And I for one am not about to sleep in a tent.
—  New movies!  And once movie theaters open again, is somebody even producing movies now that can be released?
—  Concerts and live theater!  I’m dying to see some live entertainment... a symphony orchestra, musical theater, anything!
—  Summer love affairs!  Who wants to kiss through masks?
—  Political conventions!  (Ha!  Just kidding!)

Or maybe it’s just a summer to bask in memories of summers past..... or have a shaky hope for summers future.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

tax day 2020

Normally in the U.S., individual tax-filing deadline day is April 15, a date on the calendar that has generally become notorious.  In this abnormal year of 2020, the deadline, because of Covid, was pushed out by the I.R.S. to July 15th.  Today!

I wonder if Drumpt filed his on time and if we will ever see it.  Now that his lie about his tax returns being “on audit” and thus unavailable has been debunked, he has whined that his tax returns are too complicated for us to understand anyway.

Oh yeah?  I’ve been a CPA for 40 years, dude.  Try me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

la quatorze juillet

Welcome to Bastille Day 2020.... I don’t know if they are celebrating in France as they usually do.

Bastille Day — or French National Day — celebrates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, a protest that led to the French Revolution.

Do you ever feel like storming anything?

And Bastille Day has become just an excuse to celebrate everything French, sort of like St, Patrick’s Day has become a reason to celebrate everything Irish.

For all those who don’t really want to raise a glass to the French, well, let them eat cake!

Monday, July 13, 2020

the Washington (fill in the blank)

Today, the Washington Redskins NFL organization has (finally!) dropped the Redskins team name after years of hearing protests that the name is a racial slur.  A new nickname will be decided and announced at a later date.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians baseball team is considering a name change.

Which brings me to a question....

Christopher Columbus “discovered America” accidentally when trying to find another route to the East Indies, and when he landed he assumed that the inhabitants were Indian, that he had succeeded.  So when he at some point realized that he was in a new land and not in India, why were the natives still called Indian and are to this day?  Somebody couldn’t have come up with a different, more specific and original name?

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Pence with a pistol

People have been talking about the Broadway musical  “Hamilton” because it’s been on TV lately.  The stage version on Broadway was such a smash several years ago that tickets, if a person could manage to locate any at any price, were super-expensive.  It’s a filming of that original stage production on TV now, so it’s kind of a big deal.  I was fortunate to see it live on stage when the Broadway touring version came here to Minneapolis a couple of years ago.  It’s impressive, although the hip-hop music isn’t so much my cup of tea.

A strange hero for a Broadway musical, though — Alexander Hamilton, one of our U.S. “Founding Fathers”.  And even though Hamilton was important in those early years, such as being the first Secretary of the Treasury, he is perhaps best remembered in history for how he died — gunshot wound from a duel with Aaron Burr.  Although it’s hard to imagine how any intelligent men would ever agree to a gun duel, no matter their disagreement, what made this duel even stranger was that Aaron Burr was the sitting Vice President of the U.S.  The duel was illegal, but Burr was never charged.

Can you imagine our current U.S. Vice President in a duel?  Actually, it’s scary to think of him with any weapon of any kind in his hand.  But one thing is for sure:  If he were to survive a duel and be charged with a crime, he could count on a pardon from Trump.  All that butt-kissing would have paid off.

Friday, July 10, 2020

sweating it out — summer 1968

Mid-July in Minnesota, and it’s hot.  On these muggy, miserable days, I take some sort of comfort in the memory that this is nowhere near the miserableness of my summer of 1968.  That’s when I was drafted into the Army and spent those dreadful months in basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Polk, Louisiana (Two U.S. Army bases named after Confederate generals — 🙄).

So can you picture me trudging through the swamps of those Southern states with a rifle on my shoulder and a full backpack weighing me down — all for the  now-laughable purpose of preparing mostly-pacifist me to be a killer in those even more miserable swamps of Vietnam??

It was bad, but that was as bad as it got.  After all that prep, I didn’t have to serve in Vietnam.  The universe was watching out for me.  I wish I would have known that as I was sweating profusely, shaking mud out of my boots, swatting mosquitoes and watching armadillos scoot by.  Get the picture?

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Proverbs 3:3

“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you....”

But then — how many people never knew what loyalty is and never had any kindness in their soul?

I could name names.....

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

next plane to Amsterdam

Now that Europe is forbidding Americans to travel there because of our out-of-control mishandling of the coronavirus, I’m of course dying to get back there!  And it’s been too long.....

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

what to do in a sports bar

I stopped at a nearby sports bar, had a glass of scotch on the rocks and a few chicken wings... sitting at the bar, counting at least twelve large TVs around me set on channels that struggled to be something about sports... But what news is there?  Fretting about whether there will be any Major League Baseball this summer or any football games this fall or NBA or NHL or whatever else there might be?

And, just because it has something going on, has NASCAR ever gotten this much attention?  And how the heck is NASCAR a sport?  I drive a car every day, and I love driving, and why would I want to watch simebody else driving a car?

Another scotch, please.... and what might be on the other channels?

Monday, July 6, 2020

her reasons for social distancing

So here is my question for the day:  How is it that Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend has tested positive for Covid-19 while he has tested negative, considering how contagious this virus is?

The way I see it, there are only two possible answers:

—  They are lying, and he really is positive, or
—   They as a couple aren’t, shall we say, “intimate”?  Maybe she has laid down the rules:  “Stay away from me, you creep!  Be like your dad and go hire whores!”

Take your pick.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

virtually perfect attendance

My weekly calendar stays full during this COVID lockdown, but too many of those appointments are Zoom meetings or FaceTime connections or other iPad conveniences.

This morning, for instance, being a Sunday morning, I sit here watching the virtual Sunday morning service at my church.  Since none of us for now can attend in person (and it’s rare for me to miss Sunday morning church), virtual is all we have now, and, while I’m thankful for having such technological inventions just in time for this pandemic,  I — people-person that I have somehow become — sure do miss seeing friends at the other end of the pew and hugs and handshakes and hearing the pipe organ and the choir in person.

Looking on the bright side,  I at least can now watch the service while drinking coffee and maybe only marginally dressed.

That first Sunday back in that welcoming, beautiful church, though, will be sweet.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

the 2020 version of the 4th

Hey there, on this, the 4th of July, the 244th anniversary of Independence Day.....

.... and it has to be one of the weirdest  4ths ever.  I could dwell on that, but I find myself wondering today how July 4, 2021, might look different from this one —

—  A different U.S. president?
—  A less divided country?
—  Major anti-racist progress?
—  The Washington DC NFL team with a different name?
—  The final defeat of Covid-19?
—  A re-invented “back to normal” that reflects some positive lessons that we may have learned from the first half of 2020?
—  Peace?

We together need to have hope and faith.

Friday, July 3, 2020

I know who you are. I see your face.

A couple of nights ago, my niece Ruthie and I went to a nearby bar/restaurant where we had never been (because it was Trivia Night, and we are trivia-team people).  In this stage of the pandemic here in Minnesota, rules for re-opening of businesses vary by city and by venue, but masks and social distancing are encouraged and sometimes required in all public places.

So we walked into the place,  hopeful for a new place to hang out but not sure what to expect.  She and I were wearing masks and there were plenty of people there — but none of them, other than the servers, wearing masks — and customers lined up along the bar with no distance between them.

We didn’t know any of these people, but it was easy to figure them out with just a glance.  They were making a statement as an act of defiance, following the lead of their so-called president and Leader, who has made this coronavirus a political issue by his denial and ignorance.

So I wouldn’t mind finding a new bar, but it’s not going to be one where we would be surrounded by Trump-lovers, especially in a place that has lousy scotch choices.  And we didn’t do very well at Trivia, either!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain

In an effort to give my pacemaker a break and keep this heart going for at least a little while longer, I’ve been trying to do a lot more walking and am then keeping a count of my steps on my iPhone.  8000 to 10,000 steps a day (4 to 5 miles) is a cool goal, but, man, is it hard to get cooperative outdoor weather:  it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, too windy, etc., and an excuse is all I need to not walk on any given day!  Today, for instance, it was 91 degrees, muggy and windy.  I especially hate the wind, because it seems like no matter what direction I’m walking, I’m going into the wind.

So for some of those weather-forecast-unfriendly days, two or three days a week, I’ve become an early morning mall-walker at the Mall of America, that mega-mall a few miles from me.  It’s perfect for a just-barely-motivated walker like me because it is circular around a big center space of carnival rides and has four levels of interesting but un-tempting chain-store fronts. Except for Starbucks, the stores aren’t open until later in the morning, so a skinny latte is my reward at the end of the trek.

And there are other aging mall-walkers every day there too, probably recovering from heart attacks or knee-replacement surgery, so I’m never walking alone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

greetings from minneapolis

For 856 days straight, from August 10, 2010, until January 2, 2013, I blog-posted here -- a mix of inspired prose and absolute silliness (Actually, I struggle to remember the inspired prose).  After that, my posts were sporadic at best.

As we today start the second half of the weird year of 2020, I am more and more feeling the need and urgency to do some semi-serious writing but am searching for direction:  A play?  A story?  My Manifesto?

My friend Alicia has suggested that at a minimum I begin journaling or, more to my liking, blogging daily -- just to be back in the habit of obsessively writing something -- until I find that direction.

So here I am, maybe starting a new streak of lovable nonsense with occasional words of substance.  Hopefully.

And there should be plenty to blog about in this world of today, and I'm a person who doesn't struggle for opinions.  Here we are with a pandemic, a politically-divided country, worldwide re-invigorated racial justice protests and discussions that began right here in Minneapolis with the murder of George Floyd..... and the daily ins and outs of ordinary life (assuming that we eventually have ordinary life again).....

I realize that blogging maybe isn't the thing that it used to be, but, if you decide to follow me again, I'll feel honored.