Saturday, November 28, 2020

COV271D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 6

Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving Day? What was your favorite part of the meal? And do you, like me, think that we don't eat roasted turkey nearly enough? It's easy to do--even if you go to the trouble of bringing it overnight as I typically do for the holidays. But the actual cooking of the bird is simple. And it always happens much faster than I expect it to year after year. I don't have to be in such a hurry each Thanksgiving morning.

When do you typically eat on the big day? Are you midday eaters? Midafternoon? Evening? Do you let football determine your choice?

Speaking of football . . . I'm doing my weekly counter-programming effort but here in Ohio State country, COVID-19 is the most effective counter-programming force out there. Friday night the announcement went out that the game was cancelled because students were diagnosed with the coronavirus (including the head coach). And that is two games in this shortened season that have been eliminated due to virus postponements. I'm wondering if tOSU will even have enough games on its schedule to justify it being in the College Football Playoffs in the coming weeks. (The Buckeyes were tagged as the #4 entrant at the first week's playoff ranking announcement.)

But enough football talk . . .

What else have you all been up to besides cooking and eating food? We barely leave the house, so we've been watching lots of TV the last several days. I'm trying to finish watching HBO's The Leftovers . . . a series that has been off the air for many years now, but one that I am enjoying at a pretty slow pace. I read Tom Perotta's book when it was published a while back and very much enjoyed it. And the Damon Lindelof show is quite good--with lots of musings on the nature of belief, what to do when the universe throws everything in a blender, and how to live in a world that does nothing but show indifference. It's definitely NOT uplifting. But it makes you think.

Speaking of shows that make you think, while also sometimes making you cringe, I thought of Showtime's Kidding again recently. I really, really liked that show from a few years back and wish that I could watch it again. But my cable package/streaming services don't include Showtime anymore so I think I'm out of luck.

Similarly, I wanted to do a quarantine rewatch of Battlestar Galactica (the Ron Moore SyFy version) and was dismayed to find that it is not anywhere streamable anymore. And I don't want to spend the money on paying for it . . . because there were several seasons that I would not want to pay for anyway.

What shows would you like to rewatch but you don't have access to any longer? And do you secretly have the feeling--erroneous and anticapitalistic as it is--that all things should be available somewhere all the time now?

As is our family tradition, we put up the bulk of Christmas decorations this weekend. We are saving the outdoor lights for a pole arm extension to be mailed to us in a week. But the trees are up and the ornaments and stockings are hung. The doo dads and various decorations are placed. And I must say that I am impressed with our two cats general indifference so far. I was afraid that they would wreak havoc on ornaments, trees, and statuary alike. But they've acquitted themselves very nicely so far and I am--dare I say it?--proud of them for their restraint. (I've likely jinxed everything . . . but we'll see how it continues to go forward.)

Saturday, November 21, 2020

COV264D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 5

These days it feels like I am creating anxiety on a daily basis and that I am always waiting for the next shoe to drop.

There are the obvious health conditions in the country, as well as the political state of the country that are contributing to this inner turmoil. But I am also beset by worried of work and personal professional performance.

Why am I always ruining my daily life with expectations of perfection? What does that get me? How can I do good, quality work that isn't driven by a fear of mistakes. And when mistakes happen, how do I accept that failing in myself and truly (TRULY!) incorporate it as something to learn from and get better at rather than turning it into some sort of goad?

When will I learn to trust my ability and just keep doing the work that I have proven I know how to do pretty well?

You have no answer to this and you didn't come to this blog today to serve as my therapist.


In other news . . . Sarah hit a young buck deer on her way to work yesterday afternoon. Most luckily, she was unharmed, but half of her windshield was badly broken and part of her roof dented as well, plus a broken headlight and a misaligned panel on the side of the car. A significant accident and we are still waiting to hear what insurance will say about the state of the car.

She was only a few miles away from the house when it happened, near where a friend of mine lives. I quickly headed off to see how I could help. (So quickly that I neglected to grab a mask on my way out the door, which I realized when I was halfway there. But I didn't turn around because I was mostly concerned about getting to Sarah quickly.)

When I arrived, a man from across the road was checking to see if Sarah was alright. He was leaving as I walked up. I spoke to Sarah to see that she was physically fine and holding up emotionally. .Then I noticed that I had pulled the car along the side of the roadway very close to where the deer had come to rest. (And I had not even noticed it when I parked.) While Sarah and I were beside her car and some yards from the deer, I could see that it was still, but not dead. It was resting in a runoff ditch, beside the entrance to the neighborhood near the main road.

As Sarah and I talked, the first policeman arrived. (Sarah had already called the police while I was arriving.) He came out of his car carrying a rifle, ready to put down the deer. The officer asked Sarah and I to move away from our cars and away from the deer. We turned away and I braced for the sound. It was pretty loud but luckily he only shot once. 

Once he put the deer down, he approached and I was surprised when he asked if we had plans to keep the deer. (Grace later informed me that it is Ohio law that in these types of accidents, the person involved has a right to keep the deer if they wish.) But we had no desire to keep the meat or a way to keep it, transport it, butcher it . . . whatever. So we declined. He quickly asked if he could take it, as he could butcher it for meat. I was happy to let him have it, but that was the last part of this incident that I was mentally prepared or expecting to have at that moment. Mostly I was worried about Sarah's emotional state and the sound of the gun and didn't want her to be bothered with more thoughts of the deer that she had hit.

Once that was all over, we got down to the quotidian business of clearing out the accident. Sarah used her insurance app on her phone to contact a tow truck. 

While we waited for the tow, I made a quick call to my friend who lived nearby and asked him if he could bring me one of his masks. I was increasingly self-conscious about talking to police and whomever else might arrive with no protection on me. He quickly arrived and helped save the day. He caught up for a few minutes while Sarah sat in my car and rested. He left a few minutes later. It is good to have friends!

Lynda called to see how things were progressing. She decided to come and let Sarah borrow Grace's car so that Sarah could proceed ahead to her job and hopefully occupy her mind with other things. Lynda and I stayed with the accident to report it to insurance, and get that machinery going.

Eventually the tow truck arrived and we completed the claims report for insurance. We headed back home to complete our day and wait for next steps. Sarah got home to us from work that evening and we are all safe again together.

It was an unusual afternoon--to be sure. But nothing more than machinery and a deer were hurt. I'm glad enough for that.

Back to the normal anxieties once again.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

COV257D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 4

 What if they held a football game and no one came?

Well, that would be this year . . . because no one is allowed to come. (Or almost no one.)

But even now, today's tOSU game is cancelled because the opponent (Maryland) has coronavirus complications.

So . . . how do I counter-program something that isn't even programmed?

And while we are asking pointed questions . . .

How long will I keep this counter going on my blog title? What is the appropriate metric for stopping it? 

  • When I personally get a vaccine? 
  • When I leave my house on a much more regular basis? 
  • When I stop wearing a mask? 
  • When I can eat in a restaurant again? 
  • When I can actually touch someone who is not a direct family member?

And those are all connections to ME. 

When will I know that others have gotten vaccines? 

When can I feel that others are safe?

What? When? How?

Saturday, November 07, 2020

COV250D-19: Football Counter-Programming B1G Week 3

Photo from Reddit user Texwook

The reports are finally coming in and the waves of ballot counts are slowing down. The media is beginning to officially declare that they are willing to project that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris did in fact win Tuesday's presidential election.

President Trump is away from the White House this afternoon, golfing in Virginia. Maybe he is doing so because his staff knew the projections were coming today. And they wanted to cocoon him away from the crowds that are celebrating around the White House today. 

But that didn't stop the Trump staff from releasing a statement that continued to call this election result fraudulent. And Trump promised to continue pushing his legal challenges against the vote counting. And he made it publicly clear that he rejects the people's choice and he thinks it is false. He thinks that he is more important than over 71 million people, American citizens, who have chosen someone else to run the country for the next four years.

And his fellow party members are also allowing this to happen. They have ceased to be independent operators, free-thinkers, supporters of the rules and the precedents of the country that they spend so much time telling us that they love. They are staying silent in the face of Trump's fear-mongering. They refuse to resist him publicly. They are also showing--as Trump is showing--that power is their only metric. They are much more concerned about staying in the good graces of the people who habitually vote Republican. Because all they want to do is stay in a seat of power. And if they oppose Trump right now. If they try collectively to speak out against him and his legal challenges. If they try to actively, as a group, make it clear that this election was accurate and that the president must accept the outcome, then they are afraid that they will lost re-election the next time they try to stay in power. And staying in power is all that they want.

All of the patriotism and flag waving and lapel-pin wearing that they use to appeal to voters is just an empty facade, a costume, a ritual that they must undergo to gain power and wield it. They do not yet show the conviction and personal courage necessary to speak out against Donald Trump. Will they ever have it?

If Trump continues his legal challenges, he'll likely face the considered judgment of federally appointed judges that were put there by Republican presidents. (Because the GOP Congress is really good at not doing that particular job when a Democrat is in the White House.) But those judges don't have to run for re-election. So they are (hopefully) secure enough in their own self-worth and self-definition--something that is NOT tied up in voter approval--that they can judge the merits of Trump's legal challenges on the truth of the evidence. And I hope that they judge rightly.

So, if that occurs . . . then Trump's legal challenges may fail. And then the weeks are short before the January inauguration of President-elect Biden must occur. Because this is what our Constitution requires. And this is what our Congress has passed. And this is how our nation has done things 45 different times before. And Republicans love to celebrate the wonderful and exception nature of the United States. And this peaceful relinquishment of power is one of the MOST exceptional parts of that story that they love to tell.

So . . . will they be part of that?

Will they stand up for that story?

Can they look beyond themselves and resist the simple-minded nature of Donald Trump? Something that is no surprise to anyone who know Trump. Can they stand up for the country they SAY that they love? Or do they truly only love themselves and the benefits of power?