Thursday, May 28, 2020


My sister lived in the Twin Cities for about 10 years and I used to go and visit her there. I loved visiting Minneapolis and St. Paul. I found the people friendly and I enjoyed being there. It was a nice break from the East Coast, where I was living at the time. I remember visiting one year in the winter and my sister and I went to the post office. I must have needed stamps or something and the clerk at the window was so friendly. He asked how I was doing and we chatted for a moment. That kind of thing didn't happen when I went to the post office in Brooklyn.

Seeing the murder of George Floyd and the unrest in Minneapolis makes me sad. I know bad things happen everywhere, but I was still surprised to hear about this happening in Minneapolis. The Target store that was looted by hoodlums last night was a store I had visited while I was there. (My sister used to refer to it as the Tar-ghetto because of its location.) I remember my sister and I laughing at the public housing in Minneapolis because it looked so much nicer than public housing we'd seen growing up in Detroit and that I've seen in other large cities like in Camden and Brooklyn.

With everything going on right now, it's discouraging to hear about one more bad thing. While people are dying, broke, losing their jobs, being evicted, dealing with depression, and generally flipping out, what's Donny worrying about? Twitter fact-checking him. Really? Yes, really. God, November can't come soon enough.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Tired of This

No, I'm not referring to my Coronavirus lockdown. (It's necessary!) There are a few other things that have been annoying me lately.

1. Colonial Penn TV commercials. Man, if I see another commercial with a senior asking, "Alex, what's my price?" I think I'm going to run into traffic. Is Colonial Penn solely funding certain TV stations? These channels need to get some new advertisers.

2. Wall-to-wall Coronavirus news coverage. I know this is a huge topic, but there are other things going on in and around Chicago and we could all use a break from "COVID-19: How many were infected today? How many died today?" I like to keep up with the news, but lately I've been watching things like Wild Wild West, Matlock, and Murder, She Wrote to get away from it.

Side Note: Speaking of Wild Wild West, how come Robert Conrad always seems to end up shirtless halfway through an episode? He's a nice looking man so I'm not complaining, but he sure was used as the beefcake for this show. I enjoy seeing him in his really tight pants and chaps (ass-less chaps and yes I know all chaps are ass-less; it's a joke 😊).

3. The ongoing tomfoolerly of Donny T. Between him questioning the scarf lady about injecting/ingesting bleach and Lysol and rallying behind these nutjobs who want to open everything back up and won't wear face masks, he gets his fragile feelings hurt when someone calls him obese (which he is). As Lizzo says "truth hurts." What's so ridiculous is he's always insulting others based on their personal appearance, yet when he gets criticized about being overweight, he snaps. As Bugs would say, "What a maroon!" Don't start nothing and there won't be nothing, Donny!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

In the Air

As my day job contemplates when (if?) we'll ever return to the office, I asked management if anyone is looking at the ventilation systems in offices. I want to know this because I don't know if the Coronavirus can travel via heating/cooling systems via droplets like Legionnaire's disease. It's something to think about! While a lot of us are worrying about dealing with transmission between people, what about transmission via the air we breathe? In an enclosed setting like an airplane or an office, how do we know that air has been filtered enough to prevent us from inhaling spores or whatever that carry the virus? It's just one more thing to think about. You can wash your hands diligently, wear your face mask, stay six feet (or more) away from others, but you have to breathe and when you're inside a building, you breathe in that building's air.

This has nothing to do with airflow, but if clothing stores reopen, will people still be allowed to try on clothing? Do you want to try on a pair of pants or a shirt not knowing how many people have tried these items on before? (That's always a risk, but now it's an even greater risk.) And, what if you take the item home, wash it, try it on, and realize it doesn't fit, what then? Will the store take it back? Highly unlikely! So many things to think about and all of them are bad!

RIP, Jerry Stiller. Serenity now! Insanity later!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Pull It Sir

I read yesterday that Colson Whitehead won his second Pulitzer (pronounced "pull it sir" and thanks to Andrew Sean Greer for that pronunciation lesson care of his Pulitzer Prize winning book Less) Prize for his novel The Nickel Boys. Whitehead won previously for his novel The Underground Railroad. I am a huge fan of Colson Whitehead's work and thought he truly deserved to win for The Underground Railroad. However, this year, I think the wrong book won. Anne Tyler was a finalist for her novel The Dutch House and she should have won. I bought and read both The Nickel Boys and The Dutch House and Anne Tyler was robbed. The Dutch House was so much better than The Nickel Boys. It was. The writing, the story, everything. For me, it was a page turner and The Nickel Boys just wasn't. The Nickel Boys started strong and just fizzled out for me. It took me far too long to finish that book and it's not a long book. The subject matter is interesting and, I suspect, the judges gave more weight to that aspect of the novel rather than to the novel itself. Yes, a narrative about black boys in the 1960's who were sent to a reform school where they were tortured and killed is a more compelling subject than a story about two upper middle class white kids whose stepmother threw them out of the house where they grew up after their father died. I get it. But The Dutch House was the better book. Sorry, not sorry, but it was.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Keep Your Distance

Anytime I go out now, whether it's to the grocery store or for a walk, I do my best to keep my distance from others. If I'm walking, I'll cross the street to avoid anyone coming towards me or I'll work to maintain a safe distance if I need to go around someone. I also wear a face mask anytime I go out (although not when I'm alone in my own car). This is the new normal right now and it's sad. I feel like I have to treat every person I see as a potential COVID-19 carrier, and I do! I don't know who has it and who doesn't, so I just assume everyone has it and I need to stay away from them and avoid having them breathe on me. I figure they assume the same thing about me and they should. You can't be too careful these days.

I got my letter from Donnie T. in the mail yesterday. I didn't realize he sent letters to everyone who received the government's Corona cash. I thought his letters were only going to people who got checks in the mail, not people (like myself) who got their money via direct deposit. What a waste of government resources. Donnie really is a big baby. He needs to much positive reinforcement just to get through the day. He has to see his signature on a letter to "My Fellow American" or his name on check to give his fragile ego a boost. His letter made it sound like he'd given you money out of his own pocket (and you know that didn't/wouldn't happen). That money came from taxes you and I pay! Ridiculous. November can't come soon enough.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Grocery Store Clothing

I bought shirts from Aldi last week. That's right. I bought clothing from the grocery store. I was in line (maintaining my designated 6-feet distance from other shoppers) and noticed a twin pack of camisoles on the shelf. I bought that pack of camis and they're very nice. I read an article recently where a clothing store owner in Alabama was complaining because his store wasn't allowed to be open due to the COVID-19 situation, yet Walmart was allowed to be open and sell clothing. This man seemed to overlook the fact that Walmart sells food in addition to clothing. If the complaining shop owner also sold meat, eggs, bread, milk, etc., I'm sure he'd be allowed to open also, but selling just shirts and pants doesn't cut it. Yes, we need clothes, but no one is going to die because they can't go shopping for a new shirt or a new pair of pants. People will die if they can't eat!

During this quarantine, I've thought a lot about what a return to the office might mean for me personally. My day job has a pretty open floor plan with no real dividers to keep you from reaching out and touching the person sitting next to you, in front of you, or behind you. There are no high cubicle walls. This is a problem if you're concerned about someone else breathing on you. And what about the ventilation? If COVID-19 can be circulated through an air conditioning system (like Legionnaire's disease), how can workers be assured that they won't ingest droplets or whatever from infected people? And what about the common workplace spaces like restrooms and kitchens? How can companies deal with possible transmissions when you have so many people touching the same stuff? It's one thing to keep your own workstation clean, but that's nearly impossible when dealing with community work spaces. Maybe we'll all end up wearing Hazmat suits in the future.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Stress Baking

As we start yet another week under home arrest, I have to confess I did some stress baking over the weekend. I made a 7-Up cake cake that turned out quite well. (When the only cake pan that you have is a Bundt cake pan, you made a Bundt cake!) I'm glad I had a small bag of flour I bought the last time I made a cake that I could use because I sure couldn't find any at the grocery store. Clearly I'm not the only person stress baking right now. I had all of the ingredients and was ready to go yesterday when I realized I didn't have any 7-Up! (It's not something that I normally drink and have on hand.) I had to go out and buy a small bottle just to make the cake.

I'm trying to focus on the positive aspects of this crisis. With so many places closed, I'm certainly saving money by not being able to buy much more than groceries, so that's good. The weather is turning nicer here (although we did have snow last week), but on the warmer days, I've been able to get out and do some walking to get exercise since the local Y is closed for business, and that's great. (Sitting around eating cake and watching trash like "Tiger King" isn't helping me to keep the weight off, so I need all the exercise I can get!) My next goal is to walk my bike to the gas station and get the tires pumped up so I can ride around the neighborhood. Gas has fallen below $2 a gallon around where I live so that's a plus (even though I'm not doing much driving these days). The money from the government helped. So many people are out of work right now, so getting those funds hopefully helped to ease some of the financial burdens some people are facing.

I wish I could say I'm getting a lot of writing done, but that's not happening. I've been dragging my feet on a story I've been working on for some time now and I'm about ready to throw in the towel on it, but not yet. I keep thinking I can salvage it, but at some point I'll have to move forward or call it a day.