The Russian invasion of Ukraine and how far Putin is going to push it – what a tragedy!
Our upcoming trip to Europe: I just booked a cruise with an extension in eastern Europe. We start with five days in Poland, then get the cruise in Prague and sail to Berlin. I hope the War of Russian Aggression or a new variant of Covid-19 doesn’t interfere with our trip, which starts in April. I REALLY need to travel right now!
The environment/climate change. This is always on my mind. Also, getting a blurb to put in our weekly newsletter from the Environmental Concerns Committee, of which I seem to be chair.
The book I am currently reading, Braiding Sweetgrass – excellent! I’ve been taking notes!
Whether Republicans are going to retake the House and/or Senate in the upcoming midterm elections. They are projected to win because that’s the tradition in midterms, but does it have to be? The Dems need to do something to improve their messaging! More GOP control will be a disaster, especially with the kooks that run the party now!
Whether I have time to accomplish everything I want to accomplish this week.
Melanie writes: 2022 Is bearing down on the world. In my opinion 2021 was 100% better than 2020, but it hasn’t been without its own set of problems and fresh worries. I’m hopeful that 2022 will somehow see a return to ‘life before Covid’ , but I also realize that’s a foolish hope.
At 12 a.m. on December 31st/Jan 1st, what will you be doing? (use your own time zone please)
Toasting the New Year with my husband, sister, and brother-in-law. We will probably be drinking one of the wines I’ve brought to their house to share on that evening.
Is there a tradition you have for New Year’s Eve?
The four of us have gotten together on New Year’s Eve for several years. They provide the venue and games, we provide the food. This year we’re having pizza and have the chance to sample several wines from my “collection.” We play games, always Scrabble, but since we’ve acquired some new games in the last couple of years, including a Trivia game, we will play those as well. We play games until midnight, then turn on the TV to watch Chicago bring in the new year! And we toast! Shortly thereafter, Dale & I take our wines (if anything is left) and go home to bed.
Do you have any hope or reason you find that next year will be better?
Oh yes! Because of vaccines, we are not in the situation we were a year ago. But Covid still rages, preying on primarily the unvaccinate, but frightfully also many vaccinated! Dr. Fauci says that the omicron variant seems to produce milder symptoms, thus fewer hospitalizations in the long run. And travel opportunities are now available! I know several people who have traveled already, mostly to Europe. After a few false starts, we now look forward to a trip in March to Southeast Asia. Travel requirements will make things more complicated, but we are ready to face them, after staying within 50 miles of home for two years!
On the other hand, I think the political situation in the U.S. will get worse. Too many people believe the 2020 election was “stolen” and that Biden is not a legitimate president. In the latest polls, 70% of Republicans now believe the Big Lie!! Due to the vast array of media sources, Americans live in different universes. Bridging that gap, enlightening those who are convinced the virus is a hoax and the election was stolen, will not be easy! So there will be more violence, less civility, and meanwhile, people will continue to die from gun violence every day, while Congress does nothing to stop it.
What’s the biggest personal lesson you learned during 2021?
Not to take life for granted. It is important to live life as fully as possible and to take obstacles in stride. I do not think life will return completely to what it was at the beginning of 2020. Changes have already been made that will affect us for a long time to come. And Covid may be with us for a long time, but it will become manageable, people getting vaccinations every year just like we do for the flu. We will, we must, adapt!
Describe in 1-3 words how you feel going into 2022.
Every week Fandango’s hosts a challenge, for those who choose to accept it, called Who Won The Week? It is the opportunity that fellow bloggers have to highlight someone in the news (good or bad) that takes the ‘prize’ for that week.
Meanwhile, many conservative states have passed or are considering legislation to restrict voting turnout and have either fired or threatened state election officials, who have been besieged by threatening phone calls and messages (some have received death threats, including local election officials who are Republicans and Trump supporters) and many of these officials are being primaried by more loyal Trump supporters who would go along with falsifying results of future elections if Republicans lose in their districts.
If Trump’s supporters follow his directive – and there is little reason to think they won’t – it may not be difficult for Democrats to maintain and even increase their Congressional majority. That would be good for the Biden administration, who currently must curry favor with two conservative Democratic senators, Joe Manchin and Kristin Sinema, who seem to currently have the power to shape Biden’s “Build Back Better” comprehensive reconciliation infrastructure bill.
I don’t have high hopes that all Trump supporters will not vote in the midterm elections, but Trump has only one concern: himself. His fans still don’t get that he has no interest in improving their lives or helping the country; he only cares about himself, as a true narcissist. Even so, I like to think right now that maybe electing Democrats isn’t a lost cause after all, and for that reason, Trump gets my vote for the person who “won” the week.
Fandango has an interesting and relevant question for us this week; in fact, the issue has been on my mind the last several days. Fandango prefaces the question as follows:
It seems to me that there are a lot of things to worry about these days. Whether we’re talking about the climate, politics, the seemingly never ending pandemic, natural disasters, social injustice, mass shootings, cultural clashes, or wars, the news is rarely good. I have almost gotten to the point that I’m considering stopping reading or watching the news because I find it both disheartening and depressing.
So with this in mind, my provocative question this week is this…
What worries you the most about the future? Why is that your biggest concern? Or are you not that concerned about the future?
Last week, I was on the verge of tears, watching a news piece about voting restriction laws that are being passed in various states around the country. If these laws are allowed to take effect, the Republicans in Texas, Georgia, and elsewhere will be able to overturn election results that they don’t like, by removing election officials and installing others of their choosing. This has come about as the “Big Lie” has not been allowed to die – there are still Trumpian politicians who have convinced a large minority of people that the Democrats corrupted the election and that Trump, in fact, had won, not Joe Biden. I believe these politicians are fully aware that there was no fraud and that Biden is the legitimate president, but they continue to fuel this lie for their own interests. It occurred to me, as I watched Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, that if they get away with it, they will destroy what is left of our democracy. The Republicans, under these laws, will have the advantage over the majority, and will control the election results, in their favor. They know they cannot win elections unless they cheat – the victory of the Democrats in the 2020 election and the special Senate election in Georgia, in which two Democrats ran close races against Republican challengers, and won, flipping Georgia – always a Republican stronghold – to “blue.” The Georgia GOP has its greedy eyes on Fulton County, where Atlanta is located, and has already removed its top election official. It is really scary.
Then this week, climate scientists put out a report on the status of climate change: it is no longer a threat, it is a reality now. A 4,000 page report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which includes work by 234 authors who are experts in climate science, and roughly 14,000 citations to existing scientific studies, is the most comprehensive look at climate change and unequivocal in its pronouncements. The Washington Post, on August 10, published a review of this report. The Post cited five major quotes from the report:
‘It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.‘
‘The last decade was more likely than not warmer than any multi-centennial period after the Last Interglacial, roughly 125,000 years ago.‘
‘Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.’
‘With further global warming, every region is projected to increasingly experience concurrent and multiple changes in climatic impact-drivers.’
‘Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.’
Although the Biden administration has pledged to finally do something to mitigate climate change, and the Democrats’ large infrastructure bill includes attention to climate change especially in the manufacture of electric cars, it will unlikely be enough. Other countries have also pledged to make drastic modifications to their energy infrastructures, but so far, there has been way too little change. I understand – industries are reluctant to make the kind of changes that they fear will impact their bottom line, especially since the investment in making the changes will have to be done long before measurable results (as well as their profits) will equal these efforts. And U.S. politics have always focused on short-term (about the length of politicians’ time in office) fixes for short-term results. To really make the kind of changes that will lead to meaningful benefits to society at large, politicians need to become far more altruistic in their vision for the future.
It’s time to stop finger-pointing at other countries (such as China and Russia) who are big polluters but have not committed to major changes. We need to get to work on this “yesterday, if not sooner” (as a former boss of mine liked to say) and encourage others to follow us.
What more real-life proof do we need that the situation is dire than massive out-of-control fires burning in so many areas of the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere? Half of one of the largest islands of Greece, Evia, a major tourist destination, is being decimated by wildfires. Even the Big Island of Hawaii is combatting fires. What about the “heat domes” that have settled for weeks over places that have never dealt with such hot temperatures? Portland, Oregon, reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit, and even Death Valley is hotter than ever, with reported temperatures of 134 F! Two years ago, people died from the heat in Paris, France, which saw unprecedented temperatures of 109 deg. F, in a country where few residents have ever felt the need to invest in air conditioning their homes.
In its conclusion the, WP article says, Even if current emissions pledges are realized, they would amount to just a 1 percent reduction in global emissions by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. Scientists say the number needs to be closer to a 50 percent reduction.
What can we do RIGHT NOW?
We already have the technology to hook residences and businesses up to energy created by wind farms. I have received phone calls offering a great deal on putting solar panels on the roof of my home and switching my residence to 100% solar & wind power. If this kinds of things are being done already on a small scale, why not expand it to include entire cities, states, and yes, even whole countries?
2. Many businesses are realizing that the switch to green power is in the near future, and are getting on board. They have understood that they will not lose all their profit from fossil fuels, because there is plenty of money to be made embracing the new energy technologies. And LOTS OF JOBS will be created! Committing to green energy can vitalize the entire economy! That’s what the much-criticized “Green New Deal” is about.
3. Yesterday, on BBC World News on the radio, there was a discussion regarding methane, the second largest cause of global warming. The first thing that comes to mind when I heard the word ‘methane’ is cows. Cows and pigs. Their farts and manure are culprits, made worse by feeding the cows a diet mostly comprised of corn, which is not in the bovine’s natural diet and which its gut has a hard time processing. Waste in landfills also emits a great deal of methane. The BBC report indicated that methane is a more short-term problem that can be dealt with. While CO2 emissions are, of course, vital to deal with, the ways to lower methane can show more short-term results which would benefit not only the planet as a whole, but also humans in every sector. (It sure would smell a lot nicer too!)
I looked up the BBC report online and found it, referencing more findings in the IPCC report. “An aggressive campaign to cut methane emissions can buy the world extra time to tackle climate change, experts say.” The BBC online article goes on to make the following points.
“One of the key findings in the newly released IPCC report is that emissions of methane have made a huge contribution to current warming.
The study suggested that 30-50% of the current rise in temperatures is down to this powerful, but short-lived gas.
Major sources of methane include agriculture, and leaks from oil and gas production and landfills.”
One of President Biden’s goals is to totally convert our automobile industry to electric power by 2035. But we don’t have that long to wait for many major changes to be made. Like Greta Thunberg, I am depressed that there may not be the human will to think long-term. Yet this planet is the only home that humans and other organisms have!
Where do you get most of your news from? Do you consider your primary news source (or sources) to be objective purveyors of truths and facts?
I admit to being a news junkie – or more accurately, an information nerd. I rely on a variety of media for news. I always watch Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and usually Lawrence O’Donnell right afterwards. Being on Central Time, these shows are on at 8 and 9 pm, respectively, not too late to then catch the local news at 10, followed by the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. These news sources are somewhat subjective, but there is good analysis and an attempt to present more than one side of an issue.
When I’m working in the kitchen or on laundry, or when I’m alone in my car, I tune in to NPR on the radio. National Public Radio is the most objective news source, in my opinion. I hear various opinions on there, and I also like the stories people tell.
I also subscribe to a regional newspaper. The Daily Herald that I get covers the northwest suburbs. I like this newspaper because they have a mix of national and local news, as well as human interest stories. And I always turn to the editorial page and read the letters to the editor and the columns. It’s interesting to know what people feel compelled to write to the newspaper about.
However, I am alarmed at the plethora of sensationalist “news” outlets, online, on TV and the radio. Some of these media outlets perpetuate conspiracy theories that are completely outlandish and untrue. Yet, millions of Americans tune in to these media outlets and are indoctrinated into believing the mainstream press is “left-wing” and “fake news.” I am concerned with the millions of Americans who live in a seemingly alternate world when it comes to current events. I visualize it as a chasm, such as a fault after an earthquake. How does one talk to a person who thinks, for example, that Donald Trump really won the 2020 election and that Biden is illegitimate? It may seem ridiculous, but a lot of people do believe this, and what will this ultimately lead to in a country with a proliferation of semi-automatic weapons? We’ve already gotten a preview with the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. As long as there are Republicans and Donald Trump fanning the flames of these false narratives (even though they know better), and states “recounting” the ballots from the 2020 election, there will be plenty of people who think it is real.
It’s also sad, because many people have become so jaded about the news and about journalism in general. I have noticed that some of the commenters about this question on Fandango’s page express their complete disaffection with the news. I have great respect for journalists and am an advocate of a free press which is necessary for democracy to succeed. But with social media and the easy access to online “information” there are a lot of lies being perpetuated. And therefore many intelligent people just tune out completely. An apathetic or misled public is a very dangerous trend!
It’s question week for me, and every week I look forward to Melanie’s Share Your World. Following are her questions for this week.
Is every piece of truth worth telling? (credit to the magnificent Cyranny for this one) No, not at all. Sometimes the truth is brutal. Telling someone they are fat, for example. It may be the truth but you don’t say it. Instead, you find a way to compliment that person with another (hopefully) true opinion, such as “I love your outfit!” or “That shirt looks great on you!” Can an opinion be the truth? It is if it is your true opinion! 😉
Important truths, however, must be told, brutal or not. Such as the fact that Joe Biden won the U.S. election for president. Such as Trump won’t admit defeat due to his pathological narcissism, which is why he continues to maintain that he won, and that makes him dangerous. Such as OANN and Fox have been lying to you. Who and how these truths ought to be told is another matter. If you want people to believe you are telling the truth, you must be believable to them. A left-leaning activist should not be the one to address the right-wing about what is the truth and what is not. It’s not just politics – people tend to believe what fits their own world view; this has been shown through study after study. Why do you gravitate to certain news sources rather than others that are also readily available? How do you know who is telling the truth? What if it is all a huge conspiracy? There are people who tend to believe conspiracies, but I am not one of them. And personally, although it’s interesting, I don’t really care why Oswald killed Kennedy. The fact that he did it is what determined the future.
I try to be objective when hearing people who claim to be truth-tellers, like the media I choose to watch or read (because those sources fit my world view, I guess – but I think it is more than that). Some things just don’t ring true. Giant conspiracies that would involve coordination between thousands of people across the globe just are not believable. The view of one scientist who is a friend of your brother’s wife’s cousin that climate change isn’t happening doesn’t hold up to the vast majority of scientists in the world who maintain that it is and we must do something about it. Take a moment before forwarding that Facebook post to think, does this sound like it’s true? There are ways of investigating what is the truth and what is not, and the process of learning this should begin in middle school when kids begin to do a lot of Internet surfing and research. Lies are disseminated when social media users feel drawn to a particular concept or meme, and then forward it to others they know who basically think the same way they do. We are all guilty of this, without exception, I think. But I have always had a streak of skepticism in me, and if it sounds too bizarre or ridiculous to be true, I check the source and then fact-check the information, if it’s important enough to me.
Big truths should and must be told, but small ones are up to the teller. Will telling the truth in this case just hurt somebody’s feelings or will it make a difference in their decision-making? If the former, don’t tell it; if the latter, one probably should. Withholding the truth should never be an excuse, only a reason.
Whom do you miss more Freddy Mercury or Prince? (if you don’t know who those people are, just skip this question. It’s cool). I know who both of them are, but Freddie Mercury is not dead. He lives on in the body of one of my grandcats, an orange Maine coon mix who is very frisky, naughty, and loveable!
If you could only email or text people for the rest of your life (no other form of communication), which would you chose? Email might be more practical, but it is also slow and easy to miss in the slew of emails I get on a daily basis and don’t have time to read. I love texting and prefer it even to speaking on the phone.
Would you prefer to work the midnight shift at a really creepy out of the way motel OR work alone for eternity? Thank God I don’t have to make that choice!
Bonus question because yes, these are a weird bunch (no worries – I did Bushboy’s yesterday!) this week: What’s one secret you’re still keeping from your immediate family? (no details required. You could say something like “The lost weekend in 1982”. You can also answer “Why I NEVER keep secrets from my nearest and dearest!”). That I never really loved my first husband. At least, I’ve never told my son (whose father is my ex) that. This may be an instance in which telling the brutal truth is not a good idea. I believe that when parents separate, it’s best not to always trash the other parent to the kids; be honest but try to be positive too.
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
Please feel free to share something uplifting that you’ve experienced so far in 2021. I wouldn’t call it uplifting but I am grateful for it – Dale and I have had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 with its 95% effectiveness rate! We both had a few symptoms: I felt general malaise for a day, with headache. I took a long nap complemented with extra-strength Tylenol. Now we both feel fine!
Now that the holidays and last year are over, are you filled with a renewed sense of hope at the coming year, or something else? Please explain.
As I write this, I have the TV on next to my computer desk, following the nail-biting election returns from Georgia. One of the Democrats is ahead and the other is very closely behind his Republican rival. If both Democrats win, the Democrats will have control of the Senate, with an exact 50/50 split – and future VP Kamala Harris will break the tie vote along party lines. That will given Biden a better chance at being able to move ahead with his agenda.
That said, both houses of Congress are barely in the hands of one party or the other. This says a lot about the state of our country these days, with two halves of the population who are completely polarized. It is unknown how much hold Trump will continue to have on the Republican Party after he leaves office, but there is bound to be a lot of political and social strife in the next few years and our democracy may continue to erode – but it’s not too late to save it.
So, I am cautiously optimistic about 2021. I feel that at least there is light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have a ways to go to get to the end of that tunnel. The pandemic is still with it and probably will be for several more months. BUT we will have sanity in the White House, a president with a lot of experience and respected here and abroad, AND the vaccines are coming – they are not being distributed as efficiently as they should be and hospitals have not gotten the number of vaccination doses they were promised, but even so, there are reasons to be hopeful. I am not optimistic about the American political scene, whether both Georgian Democrats get to the Senate or not, but at least we can relax a little knowing that President Biden won’t continue to destroy the environment and gut government agencies such as the EPA.
I don’t expect to be able to travel much this year, although we are hoping to take a road trip in the autumn, perhaps to the Northeast to admire the fall colors.
Meanwhile, we keep on keeping on, wearing our masks and not going to crowded places. We are blessed to have a nice place to live on a beautiful campus, our meals are delivered to us every day, and we do have a chance to get together with some of our friends here at least occasionally. I am relieved the holidays are over so we can get back to our new normal, having Zoom meetings regularly with family and friends, pursuing our interests and having plenty of things to keep us occupied. It is disheartening knowing we will have to stay in this enforced semi-isolation for many more months, but at least now we are used to it, and health care professionals know a lot better how to deal with the virus.
I look forward to reading 40+ books this year, painting a watercolor masterpiece, finishing a couple of photo books, and working on my several writing projects.
Pick three words to describe this past year. (please keep them PG. Thanks). frustrating, appalling, anger-inducing
What were the best books you read this year? Or the best movie you saw? The best books I’ve read this year are not new: I don’t normally read Stephen King, but I loved the novel 11/22/63 which I read for a book group. Other than that, I have read a lot of novels written in the 1990s set in ancient Egypt. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and right now I’m kind of obsessed with ancient Egypt. All the books written by Pauline Gedge are excellent. I also read some political books, including Mary Trump’s book about her uncle: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Once I’d read that I could predict how Trump would react to losing reelection – he wouldn’t and doesn’t accept it! But the best political/social non-fiction book I read this year was Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. I highly recommend it.
One of the best movies I saw was on Netflix, Social Dilemma – it’s fairly new, and I encourage everyone to see it. You’ll never look at Facebook the same way again! I don’t see too many movies, unfortunately. I saw some old ones that either I never saw before or wanted to see again such as Out of Africa (somewhat of a disappointment) and Dr. Zhivago (because I just finished the novel The Secrets We Kept about smuggling the manuscript of the novel by Boris Pasternak out of the Soviet Union). I enjoyed seeing Dr. Zhivago again, although the copy we got from the library had a lot of scratches. A lot of what I watch are news shows and videos we watch on our community broadcasting channels. Also PBS series such as Nova and Masterpiece.
Because there was lots of time for looking inward, what is one big personal lesson you learned this past year? Perseverance – the pandemic has lasted longer than perhaps it should have due to mismanagement and lack of leadership. What galls me is how people just drag it on longer by refusing to wear masks (see answer to the next question). I have persevered by accepting what is. I don’t like wearing a mask any more than anyone else; I don’t like not being able to go out with my friends; I especially don’t like not being able to travel – but it’s what we have to do to stay healthy! I’ve read a lot of books and worked on my artwork, and have tried to take a walk every day that has weather I can tolerate.
Another lesson is gratitude: being grateful for the blessings I have, appreciative of people who put their lives on the line to save others, and not taking anything for granted. I see happiness in small things: reading a good book, watching flowers bloom, and baby chicks grow. Nature continues on as usual.
Do you think Covid has strengthened or weakened societal bonds? I would love to say strengthened, and I think on an individual level, that may be true: developing or solidifying relationships, appreciating the different jobs people do that may put their lives in danger during a pandemic, and working together to solve problems. But societally, our country is even more divided. I am somewhat surprised at this. I am surprised that in spite of the federal government’s terrible handling of the pandemic, over 70 million people in this country voted to reelect Trump! Fortunately they did not prevail, but I am appalled at how people have protested the dumbest things, such as wearing masks as an infringement on their freedom. Sorry, but their freedom ends where the next person’s begins so they need to take some responsibility for their behavior and not infect other people when they leave their home! And the denial of science – there are still people who are sick with Covid, go to the hospital and when told the diagnosis, deny it and say it’s a hoax! Why don’t some people believe doctors and nurses who put their lives on the line to save others? It’s all become politicized and it didn’t have to be. Trump and his Republican lackeys politicized it, instead of helping to unify the people of this country in combatting it.
It’s really shaken my confidence in the citizenry of this nation as supporting democracy and our values, such as stewardship, responsibility, and compassion. It’s also made me fear we can no longer have a dialogue – there are alternate messages of what is truth. How can one dialogue with a person that doesn’t share the same reality?
What is a New Year’s Wish You’d Like To Share With the World?
May 2021 give us 2020 hindsight and may the new year bring us the light at the end of the tunnel!
Have the results of the US Presidential election left you feeling relieved, apprehensive, hopeful, or some other emotion? Relieved, definitely relieved, and hopeful that our country gets back on track. I am apprehensive at what Trump and his GOP lackeys will do in the next 70 days, and also very wishful for the Georgia Senate election in January. If Democrats win both those seats, they will gain control of the Senate. It’s a long shot, but I have already made a larger than usual donation to Jon Ossof’s campaign, and I will do the same for the Democrat in the other race, Warnock. If the Republicans retain control of the Senate, we will have to put up with Moscow Mitch calling the shots, getting nothing done, and Biden will have to issue an awful lot of executives orders!
Have you been surprised at all by the emotions and reactions of others regarding the results? No, I have been very happy and sympathetic at the outpouring of joy, released emotional reactions when the election was called for Biden-Harris, after a week of tense anticipation. I loved seeing people dancing in the streets in various cities and also some pretty awesome percussion bands!!
On Sunday, we were out doing some errands and ended up passing (3 times!) an intersection in Schaumburg filled with Trump supporters on all four corners of Golf and Meacham Roads. I was surprised at how many people driving by honked their horns in support of the Trumpies’ “cause” – calling voter fraud and believing Trump’s lies and not accepting that he lost.
I remember in 2016, and ever since, Republicans have been saying that Trump has been “harassed” by opponents, who – they claim – have never been able to accept the outcome of the 2016 election. Trump’s Republican Party hides behind this excuse in order to not accept what the other side is claiming about Trump – mainly that he is unfit to be president, he is dangerous, he is a narcissistic bigot (Lindsay’s Graham’s words before Trump got the nomination), and criticizing all the damage he has done. They cannot accept the truth about Trump and his family, regardless of all the glaring evidence, even in the midst of a pandemic that he has bungled so badly. So I find it ironic that his supporters are now showing that they don’t accept the outcome of this election!
When we drove past the Schaumburg protest the first two times, I tried to counterbalance the honking by booing, sticking my hands out the window with thumbs down and yelling, “HE LOST! HE LOST!” Unfortunately, the horns drowned me out. The third time we passed, I simply ignored them.
Frank, PC Guy, in his own answer, expressed surprise that so many Biden supporters are still apprehensive and worried. I understand how they feel. We don’t know how Trump is going to spend the next 70 days pushing back on the results. So far he has started several lawsuits and ordered recounts in at least two states. He wants the Supreme Court, with his new conservative appointee, to rule on the legitimacy of the election. He is a very insecure and mentally sick person – accepting defeat is not in his DNA. Also, the close outcome of the election shows how divided our society is. How will this play out in the next few years? So yes, there is good reason to worry.
What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top of? Sears Tower (now officially Willis Tower, but Chicagoans still call it Sears Tower) – 104 floors! I went up by elevator but my 78-year-old brother-in-law climbs the stairs to the top once a year! Amazing!
What do you do to keep fit? Not enough, especially now with Covid + cold weather. I try to walk every day or most days. I try to get to the fitness center as often as allowed (3 days a week, 1/2 hour a day) and usually choose the stationary bike. I’m starting a new fitness program from New Zealand (called “Otago”) tomorrow for “older adults” to help with balance and reduce risk of falling. It has several types of exercises to be done each day.
What’s your jack-o-lantern carved to look like? I haven’t carved one in several years, for three reasons: 1. I’m really lousy at this and usually just was able to carve a rudimentary face with triangular eyes and smiling mouth with a couple of teeth sticking out. 2. My son is grown and moved out, and I’m retired from teaching, so there’s no incentive to do it. My husband has no interest. 3. When I used to put jack-o-lanterns on my front porch, either the squirrels got them or kids who had a thing about “smashing pumpkins” (isn’t there even a rock group with that name?) would steal them and smash them in the street.
Do you have hope or have you lost it? Bad day to ask (Monday, although I posted this Tuesday) – it has been a very depressing day in the news. On days like this, my heart feels heavy and I feel completely hopeless. Normally, I am fairly positive about life. *The U.S. Supreme Court now has a conservative majority of 6-3 thanks to the hypocrisy of the Republican Senate who pushed through Trump’s ultra-right-wing nominee one week before the election, when people have already been voting early all over the country. The Supreme Court is so politicized now, it’s no longer functioning as a “check” on the other branches of government! *Cases will be coming before this Supreme Court within weeks that may possibly take us backward by making abortion illegal and repealing the best health care system we’ve ever had (ACA, also known as “Obamacare”) with nothing to replace it and people dying every day from coronavirus. *Another fallout from this is the increased possibility of an election decided by the Supreme Court in Trump’s favor. If the presidential election is close, if Biden wins by a small margin, Trump will surely intervene to contest the results. He’s been saying for weeks that the “Supreme Court will decide the election!” He’s polling at 43-45% nationally, way too high for comfort, in my opinion. If the Democrats don’t win a majority in the Senate, it won’t matter if Biden is elected president – they will block every legislation from the House and override the president’s veto on their (Republicans’) legislation. On the other hand, if the Dems take the Senate, they will play hardball with the GOP in the Senate and with Trump if he is (God forbid) reelected. There are several Senate races that are very close and it is possible the Democrats will win, but they also have to retain every seat they currently hold! *Today or yesterday Trump signed an executive order in which loyalty will be considered when deciding whether to hire applicants for federal government jobs. Disloyalty will be cause for dismissal. An official from some obscure government agency quit today because of this, and wrote a letter which was released to the press stating his reason for quitting. We are moving dangerously close to a dictatorship. *Then there’s the new spike in coronavirus cases, which seems to be happening everywhere, but in this country especially. Today it was announced officially that the Trump administration’s policy toward Covid-19 is to do nothing to stop or curb it, and just wait for a vaccine. Trump has been lying about that too, saying the vaccine will be available “in a matter of a few weeks.” He’s also saying “we’re turning the corner” when there are more cases than ever and some hospitals’ ICUs are filled to capacity. *Due to the spike in cases in our area, the governor has imposed new restrictions, including no more indoor dining at restaurants. This is sad for me because weekly lunches with friends have been my only chance to see them and I looked forward to it every week. I’m not saying the governor was wrong to do this, but it is hard especially now that the weather is getting colder. *It snowed today, earlier even than last year when we had snow on Halloween. It quickly melted, but I had to get out my winter coats, which turned out to have been mildewed during their storage in a bag at the top of my closet! Meteorologists are predicting lower than normal temperatures in the next couple of weeks, with a few days respite in between.
Feel free to share something you’re grateful for! Images and photos or poems, essays or free writing (stream of consciousness) pieces are all acceptable! AND you don’t have to do this part, it’s always optional! Two things! 1. Some former art teachers are forming an art class, mostly people from our art class that was discontinued last spring. It starts tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it! 2. The fall colors have been very beautiful this year, much better than the last few years. Here are a few photos I have taken on our campus recently: