Thursday, April 30, 2020

Standing at the edge of.............

Remember what we used to call the “real world’? I’m guessing that most of our October/November generation can recall those times, especially those of us living in the US of A, where we not-so-humbly accept our assumed privileges as proof of Heaven’s endorsement of our efforts.

Yet, we need not dig very deep for hints of how we have abused those opportunities, the ones our people fought so hard to gain.

Am I right in my belief that our extravagant blessings carry with them great responsibility? Should we expect more than we are receiving from our nation, its leaders, and its people when we have been endowed with such wonderful freedoms and expansive lifestyles?

Is it possible that we have failed the legacy we were gifted? You and I can debate the day’s headlines…….and whether we view any given event as evidence of amazing success or colossal failure.

Yet no matter what the occasion, what the “given event” might be…….. extreme division and polarity among the stakeholders is seldom a recipe for unbridled success? Are the greatest leaders of any persuasion the ones who sow discontent and division among the population that will ultimately decide the result they hope to achieve?

Consider our present situation. An endless flood of “funny money” is being thrown in every direction, though it seems to take longer to reach the fringes. Meanwhile, the disruptive elements of corporate greed, competing channels of  communication, and the cult-like direction of an insecure, yet persuasive TV celebrity are taking us places we may not have intended to to go.

Have you ever tuned in to both narratives at the same time…… listening as Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity tell the same story? You might well conclude they are reporting on different events on different planets.

And the truth of it? Well, I have my opinion and I’ll bet you have yours. Still, our leaders, the ones who claim to represent us carry on……leaving us to judge their results and draw our own conclusions about whom they actually represent.

And where will our nation be when the dust settles? Will we be on the verge of Making America Great Again, or standing at the cliff’s edge, peering down on the crumbled remnant of our Great American Democratic Experiment?

To be sure, it was the virus that triggered our current dilemma. But it was an already chaotic environment, the not-so-fertile soil on which that corona seed landed, and from which it sprouted, that has managed to muddle our national response. 

From the chaos of the present endemic we hear again an old, but applicable slogan. “We are all in this together.” That is so true……be it facing an unfriendly virus or the disintegration of our Democratic dream.

To repeat,  I fear we are standing at the edge of an eventful, possibly deflating future……............…wondering whom, if anyone, will be able to lead us from the societal wasteland that stretches out                    before us.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Quarantine quivers

      As you have surely guessed by now, the wife and I are long removed from the high life…..if ever we were there. In even the best of times our octogenarian days tend to be calm and quiet. Still, I’ve heard it said that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. 
It has taken only a couple weeks of enforced confinement in a world of Corona chaos to have me dealing with a serious case of quarantine quivers and ‘stay-at-home’ heebie-jeebies…….bouncing wall to wall,  from one dark mood to another, longing for a few moments of therapeutic peace and quiet.
That began again early this morning, listening to a pair of TV talking heads debate the virtues and pitfalls of Quanitative Easing, corporate bailouts, and helicopter money drops.
Those two had me recalling my long-ago Economics class, where the monotone professor reminded us that just like every family on the block any fiscally responsible nation must live within its means, or pay the dreaded inflationary piper.
By then I was wondering how that economic logic meshes with today’s ‘fiscal alchemy,’ where the Fed, Congress, and Prez create trillions….with a ’T’…..out of thin, politically-charged hot air. Who will pay the piper this time? And when the dust finally settles, what will be the unforeseen costs of our fiscal extravagance?
About the time those uncomfortable questions had my blood pressure clicking up a notch or two I was overtaken by a pair of apparently opposing, yet equally unpleasant bits of modern reality.
While the cursed virus wreaks havoc around the world, it hurts to realize how fragmented, befuddled, and often inept our nation’s response has been. It seems we had a right to expect more and better. Instead, I am reminded of the all-too-relevant wisdom of the great and wonderful Pogo……….”We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
At this point, months into a potentially deadly pandemic the best response we have found to date is retreat……slowing down the disease’s advance by withdrawing from what we call “normal.” True, that seems to be working…….but at a very high cost.
It is hard to call our strategy an outright win when the price to be paid by so many of our people is hunger, unemployment, loss of small businesses, and possible financial ruin. Most of us feel perfectly capable of pursuing the life we call “normal.” Yet in the name of stopping the pandemic we are told we must “Stay home.” If I was in that boat, with a hungry family to feed, long food-bank waits, and/or a family business on the line I believe I would be tempted to raise a little hell.
So what are the options? Stay at home and slow the death rate……..while exposing so many, especially those most in need, to hunger, depression, and bankruptcy?
Should we put our people back to work and accept the likelihood of resurging casualties? It is a choice worthy of King Solomon’s biblical wisdom. And God knows we have is no Solomon in charge today.
I don’t claim to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I am usually able to stumble toward what seems to me the right answer. Unfortunately, today there seems to be two, somewhat incompatible “right answers.” I urge you to consider both of them, then follow your conscience. As for my house…………we are staying home.
And while we are here, in the comfort of our four walls, I intend to once again indulge in a bit of low-grade escapism. I invite you to join me there, if you are so inclined. Simply make you way to the link below.  Once on that new page scroll down to the “Photos” section, and at the bottom of that display click on “See all.” 
On the next page scroll down to “All photos.” Click on the first picture and settle back to soak up the sights and feel of a more comfortable place. Scroll through the “Comments” on the side of the page……. notes from all over the world. Then, using the arrow at the side of the photo, move on to the next scene. 
With that brief introduction I invite you to move beyond today’s trials for a few minutes or hours, knowing all that everything you hope to escape will be waiting for you when you return from your mind-bending travels. 
Why not check out This Magic Link and enjoy a few minutes in a better place? 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Corona? No thanks.

      This is another of my purely selfish posts. I want the following bit of contemporary history, in an easy-reading poetic form, to be saved……. available to be read and reread in the future.

Using the moniker “Ednold,” our maverick poet has painted an all-too-familiar word picture of what has become an all-too-familiar reality for each of us. For best effect try reading it out loud.

For those who are interested, more of Ednold’s ramblings wait HERE.

Finally, please feel free to share this bit of rhyming fun as you will.


Would I like a Corona?
A year ago, YES!
But that was before
We were all in this mess
Now we’re living confined 
To our own home address
But then, things could be worse
I’m still alive, more or less

Things have recently changed
Now we’re stuck in our houses
With all of our pets and our
Children and spouses
We all just stand around
Like some sheep or some cowses
Fearing tiny little bugs 
That are smaller than louses

This thing we can’t see
It has caused isolation
And has forced us all into
Spring-time hibernation
For this wee little thing 
There is no medication
But this distancing requires
Some real dedication

A big part of the plan
Is to keep our hands clean
That’s not too big a problem
I’ve always been keen
Cleaner hands now, I think
You may never have seen
They belong on the cover 
Of “Hands” magazine

We keep washing our hands
I’m a hand-washing fool now
And I don’t touch my face
Because that is the rule now
I know some of you think
That I’m just a big tool now
But the joke is on you
Because hygiene is cool now

Online you can place
All your household need orders
I’m stocking up now
On my lagers and porters
But leave me some TP
You panicking hoarders 
What kind of incessant poopers
Do you have for boarders?

They say we’ll be safe 
If we just stay alone
Far from friends and our kin
In a six-foot-wide zone
If we want to converse
Well, we each have a phone
On my face I have taken
To wearing a cone

I’m trying to stay healthy
Please excuse my insistence
I need a wide berth
You must maintain your distance
I’m guarding my turf now
With dogged persistence
Your attempts to intrude
Will be met with resistance

I’m minding my six feet
With vigor and verve
Defending this space
That I now must preserve
Why are you encroaching?
You must have some nerve
If you get any closer
I’ll flatten YOUR curve!

Dude! What are you doing?
Stay out of my bubble
You must give me my space 
Or there just might be trouble
I don’t want to reduce
Your whole face into rubble
So politely back off now
Quick-time, on the double!

I said give me my six feet
You unthinking swine!
I am giving you yours
And you can’t give me mine?
Get away from me now
Must I draw you a line?
Just take two more steps backward
And then we’ll be fine

How I long for the days
When the traffic was slow
People all in my way
Everywhere I would go
These days they avoid me 
Like the plague, don’t you know?
Will those bad days be back?
We can only hope so

My kitty’s not scared
It’s strange with that cat
She’s not worried by a virus
She sleeps where she sat
And the birds at the birdfeeder
Just getting fat
Don’t seem too concerned
Tell me, what’s up with that?

Premier League, where are you?
I miss you, I say
And my 4am meetings with you
On gameday
Now there are no weekly fixtures
No Wembley in May
For just one good derby
What wouldn’t I pay?

Are there any sports on?
Yeah! It’s ESPN8!
Dodgeball? On TV?
Wonderful. Great.
The Masters in autumn?
Now that’s a new date!
An odd-year Olympics?
We’ll just have to wait

So I read my dad’s book
That he’d just completed
It was full of advice
That, of course, I’d not heeded
But my unread-book stack
It has hardly receded
I should crack one book open
Each time that I’m seated

And thank god for Netflix
And those girls all from Derry
And the show’s one sane person 
I can so relate, Gerry!
Just how do you put up
With Grandpa Joe and Mary?
And old Uncle Colm
Is he weird? I’d say “very”

We’re zooming, we’re skyping,
We’re facetiming too
Imagine 10 years ago
What would we do?
I chat with my siblings 
Now that’s something new
And my kids and my parents
I could chat with you!

I’ve seen more of my niece
And my nephews of late
Than I’ve seen them in years
Now they don’t have to wait
To see cool Uncle Ednold
It’s now a weekly date
Their desire to see me
I’m sure I can’t sate

I even did Zumba
The class was online
No one saw me dancing
So it was just fine
I still ache from that dancing
Which is not a good sign
The next class I take 
Will involve beer or wine

Mrs. Ednold is lucky
And I’m glad you’re home, honey
And you still have a job
We’re not yet out of money
Do you think you’ll still be here
When the weather’s real sunny?
Some strange things this April:
No egg hunt, no bunny

But millions are out of work
What will they do?
The have-nots list is growing
The haves are but few
Lots of people need help
There’s no end to that queue
I hope soon we can say
“Things are better, woohoo!”

What’s it like for the people
Who are still employed
At a job where they spend all day 
Trying to avoid
All that sickness while having
Their bubble destroyed
By us people who need them?
I’d be quite annoyed

Something else bugs me
Some people are “essential”
As if some people aren’t
We should be penitential
I think everyone is
Or at least has potential
To be worthy of having
That self-same credential

And the sick call takes longer
Each day that I hear it
Will I one day be added?
I hope not, but I fear it
Keep that virus away
I don’t want to be near it
And when it’s finally died off
I will certainly cheer it

Talking heads on TV
With their endless dumb prattle
I could get better info
From goats or some cattle
They must tell us who’s winning
The global death battle
Who’s got more cases now?
New Orleans or Seattle?

Are we all really needing
Non-stop information
On the latest update
To some new regulation?
Common sense is the best thing
In plan formulation
To save those at risk
In our whole population

It bothers me, the blaming
“We should have been more prepared
If we just had more of this
Or of that, we’d be spared”
But all of the onus
Should really be shared
We knew it was coming
But back then, who cared?

Hey! We’ve just moved ahead
Of that one boot-shaped nation
USA’s #1
In this virus invasion!
We can’t really enjoy it
We can’t take a vacation
This win doesn’t come with
That winning sensation

But there’s an upside to being 
Stuck here in this box
I’m now not wearing pants
Though I put on some socks
You don’t have to dress up
To avoid this new pox
And spending the day
In my undies, it rocks!

One more good thing, I guess:
We’re all using less gas
Now I only use some
When I’m mowing the grass
And I walk everywhere
I don’t need a bus pass
Since there’s nowhere to go
I just sit on my ass

We can look on the bright side
Some things are still good
And some things stand much better
Than they’ve ever stood
Our pollution is down
And I think that we could
Make the good things a trend
Yes, I think that we should

We should keep looking out
For the ones who could use it
And when people are kind
Let’s try not to abuse it 
If there’s something to say
Try not to fake-news it
Let’s keep thinking of others
Let’s try not to lose it

There’s sickness all over
In each hemisphere
So many have already lost
Someone dear
I may say silly things
But I want to be clear
I hope no one I know loses
Someone who’s near

To end this, my friends
Please let me just take
One moment in all
Of this rhyming and make
Just one final point
While you’re all still awake
Please take care of yourselves
Just for old Ednold’s sake