I was scheduled to go away that weekend. I took my work laptop home, not knowing what was coming. To say that the weekend was odd was an understatement. The plans that we had fell into pieces. The town in which we were staying was oddly quiet. Many of the stores, which under different circumstances would have been open, were closed. The hotel was barely occupied.
When I got home, I turned on the computer to see an email from my company’s CEO. We had the option of going to the office or working from home. I texted my boss to say that I would not be seeing her in person.
Like many of us, I expected to stay home for a couple of weeks, maybe a month at most. Little did we know that everything knew would change.
I would love to say that those in power have their priorities in order. Some do, while others think that their job is to police those who they deem as “different”.
As usual, the fuckery comes from Florida and Texas. Instead of using taxpayer money to fund schools, roads, or hospitals, Governor DeSantis has decided to convene a grand jury. The purpose is to investigate so-called “misconduct” in regard to the Covid 19 vaccine.
Given the rapidity of the vaccine’s release, I am guessing that there was a mistake or two along the way. However, given that it has saved countless lives, I think that is nothing more than another stunt to rile up the base.
In another potential waste of taxpayer funds (which was thankfully averted), Texas AG Ken Paxton asked state employees to put together a list of transgender citizens. This record was supposed to come from requests to change the listed gender on driver’s licenses.
This is not the action of a democratically elected government official. This is what happens in countries run by authoritarian leaders. Though the specific details change, the tactics are the same. A minority is blamed for the nation’s problems to distract from the lack of rights and freedoms. By singling one group out, it is easy to point the finger and state they are the problem.
I don’t know when or how this is going to end. But it has to, for the sake of our country, our children, and our future.
Family is complicated. We love them and we spend time with them. That does not mean, however, that it is sunshine and roses all of the time.
Jennifer Weiner‘s new novel, The Summer Place, was released back in May. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarah Danhauser’s 22-year-old stepdaughter Ruby announces that she is engaged. Moreover, Ruby is determined to marry her fiance in three months’ time. The preferred location is the family’s summer house in Cape Cod.
Despite the fact that Sarah is doing her best to support Ruby, it cannot go unignored that Ruby spoke to her safta (grandmother) before telling her parents. Veronica (Sarah’s mother) would like one last hurrah before the property is sold to someone else.
As the months go by and the wedding gets closer, each character starts to reveal themselves to the reader and the secrets that they have been hiding. When they finally reveal the truth, it becomes a question of how that truth will be accepted (if at all).
I loved this book. It is an exceptional read that immediately pulled me in. The people in this novel are three-dimensional and human. In going through their individual journies, they reveal our common humanity and the flaws that we all have.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The Summer Place is available wherever books are sold.
Every political movement, big and small, has a core ideal that governments their policies and legislation.
If we are to believe the current Republican party, they are governed by the idea of small government. As per Thomas Jefferson, it is as follows:
[A] wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.
On paper, it doesn’t sound hypocritical at all. It comes off as fairly reasonable. The powers that be should not be interfering in the day-to-day life of the average person on the street. But the reality is another story entirely.
In the wake of Covid-19 and the destruction that the virus has unleashed, some GOP-led states (Texas and Florida, again. What else is new?) have made it illegal for businesses to enforcemask mandate policies.
When they are called out for their duplicity, they claim “free speech“. What about my right to free speech? Why is it they are allowed to speak their truths, but if I do it, I am labeled a radical lefty snowflake?
If they want to live in a right-wing, sexist, and racist Christian theocracy, that is their choice and their decision. As we say in Judaism “Zolst leben un zein gezunt!” (Yiddish for you should live and be well!). but do not impose your beliefs on me and expect me to quietly give in.
One of the things I find fascinating and frustrating as a grownup is that we claim to have the ability to be mature and think things through in an intelligent and reasonable manner. That being said, it is amazing how easy it is to revert back to childish behavior.
Directed by Roman Polanski, this movie reveals what happens when people stop being polite and start being real (to borrow a quote from The Real World). The most interesting narratives are the ones that reveal our shortcomings as human beings. This one has revelations oozing from the core, asking all of us to look at our own imperfections and be honest about the weaknesses we need to work on.
When Covid-19 came onto our shores more than two years ago, we all expected that it would be a short-lived experience. We would return to our normal lives within days or weeks as if nothing had happened.
During a talkback after a performance of the Broadway musicalCompany, star Patti LuPone yelled at audience members who were not wearing masks. The video of this incident quickly went viral.
I’m not a huge fan of hers, but props to LuPone for saying what we are all thinking. Anyone entering a Broadway theater as an audience member must be masked. As of now, this rule is in place until the end of the month.
What we have to remember as audience members is that while this is entertainment for us, this is a job. If there is another shutdown, no one involved in the production gets paid. Over the last two years, I have become acutely aware that while I had the luxury of working from home. There are still and were many people who did not have that option. Wearing the mask is about respect not just for ourselves, but for the people around us.
I know that we are all tired of masks and the hoops we have to jump through just to get out of the house. But until this disease is either conquered or toned down to the point of non-existence, this is what we have to do to stay alive.
Using every tool in his investigative journalism toolbox, McSwane explores that while millions of Americans were getting sick, dying, or an inch away from being broke/homeless, others took advantage of the situation. Traveling to different parts of the country, he tells the story of those who only saw dollar signs. First, there was the con artist who was given a multi-million dollar contract to provide PPEs and failed to provide the promised products. Then there was the Paycheck Protection Program, which was supposed to help small businesses stay open and keep employees on the payroll. But before many of these companies could get their hands on the money, the money was gobbled up by larger businesses whose bottom line was less likely to be affected. Finally, there was the whistleblower who understood that masks were necessary to save lives. Before their message could get to the public, they were muzzled by officials and elements within the right-wing press.
As I got further into this book, I became angry. In our greatest hour of need, when we relied on elected officials and business leaders to step up, they saw an opportunity to enrich themselves. Instead of relying on science, medicine, and logic, they pushed ideas that they knew were lies, took advantage, and thought only of filling their pocketbooks.
This is absolutely one of the best books I have read this year. If there was a list of titles that every American should read, this one would most certainly be on it. It is a reminder of the choices we have when times are tough. Do we only see ourselves and our needs or do we put others first?
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Pandemic, Inc.: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick wherever books are sold.
Covid-19 has been part of our lives for more than two years. Since March of 2020, we have become accustomed to wearing masks, minimizing socializing, leaving our homes, and making sure that we get our vaccines.
I know that we are all sick of this virus. With the warmer weather on the horizon, the urge to fling off all Covid-related restrictions and just pretend as if the last two-plus years have not happened. But my gut tells me that we cannot. Though the vaccines have allowed us to relax, we must remain ever vigilant. The chances of another wave is not out of the question. Until this virus has completely disappeared, the need for keeping the emergency light on will continue.
When Covid-19 washed onto our figurative and literal shores two years ago, the assumption was that the virus and the following quarantine were temporary. It would all blow over and we would return to our normal lives like nothing had happened.
I remember leaving work on that fateful Friday in March of 2020, thinking that it would be just any other weekend. I would return to the office on Monday and do my job. On Sunday, I decided to check my work email. The CEO of my company announced that we would all be working from home for the short term. Cut to two years later, and I have only returned to my desk once.
Recently, my company has re-opened the office, offering a seat to anyone who wants to come in. It would be nice to see another four walls. But I don’t want to. The extra hour of sleep helps tremendously, as does the ability to dress comfortably. I don’t have to worry about getting on the train and considering the idea that I might not get in on time due to unforeseen issues.
The one thing I did not understand until I started working remotely was how much more discipline I would need. I’ve always put my job first during business hours. But the thing I underestimated is how much temptation there was at home. There is always something else to do, something to watch on TV or streaming, a book that is waiting to be read, etc.
But as much as I would like to do all of that, none of those activities result in a paycheck. The only thing to do is to put the blinders on and do what needs to be done. If nothing else, I am grateful that I have remained employed for the last two years. There are many people who cannot say the same.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am so tired of Covid-19. I want to take off the mask, throw open the doors, and live life to the fullest.
With Omicron numbers declining, a number of local and federal officials across the United States have announced that mask mandates will either be downgraded or removed completely. In New York State, the mask or vaccinate requirement for indoor businesses will expire on Thursday, February 17th.
For now, the masks must be worn while in schools, child care programs, medical facilities (nursing homes included), and while riding on public transportation. The removal of masks while attending class is pending the numbers after the upcoming winter break. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams announced that individual business owners can decide for themselves if masks are still needed to enter the premises.
I have mixed feelings about this. To be perfectly honest, this piece of cloth that is supposed to keep us alive is a pain in the behind. We have to make sure that we have one on us when we leave the house, we have to make sure it fits properly, etc. As someone with glasses, I stopped counting the number of times that the lenses have fogged up.
But, at the same time, we know enough about this virus to understand that it is not done with us. It may be just a matter of time before we get hit by the next wave or variant. I think the best way to describe this moment is to be cautiously optimistic. For now, we can take a breath. But the question I feel we have to ask is how long will that breath last?
P.S.: Randy Rainbow’s new video, THE TANGO: VACCINE – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody is right on target as usual. Based on the song Tango Maureen from the musical Rent, it’s the release we all need right now.
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