Saturday, May 30, 2020

Systems overloaded

My heart hurts. My soul hurts. Downtown is being looted. Macy's State Street windows shattered. Dumpster fires outside the Hyatt. Police cars bashed with 2x4's. This is not a protest, it's a riot.

•  We've seen Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd murdered, primarily for being black.*
•  There's a virus outside that could kill us. (1400 new cases in Chicagoland today.)
•  Unemployment has escalated to near 20%.
•  Our President thinks it's appropriate to respond to all this by tweeting, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."

In the face of all this, some douchebags are still actually complaining about their "oppression" because they are required to wear masks when they get their hair cut!

I just can't stay plugged into it anymore. There's real danger outside my door in the form of a virus. Some of my fellow Americans are suffering very real systemic marginalization, while others insult us all by clinging to their imagined victimization over masks and quarantine.

I had a telehealth session with my new shrink today, and she picked up on my fatigue. It's not unnatural, she said, and it's OK to look away. I think it's more than OK. I think it's advisable.

Instead of the Sunday news shows, I'll tune into church. We're still worshiping on line. The services are so well-attended we had to move from Zoom to YouTube. I'm grateful that my minister loves us enough to keep us safe and in our homes ... and that he will reliably be there tomorrow morning when I need him.

*For contrast, check out how UConn student Peter Manfredonia was handled by the justice system. He's suspected in two murders. Authorities found messages sympathetic to the Sandy Hook killer scrawled in red on his walls. A multi-state dragnet brought him in safely so he can stand trial. Naturally he is white.

George Floyd may or may not have passed a counterfeit $20 bill. He was executed in the street by a bad cop. Naturally he is black.

Saturday 9

Saturday 9: Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (1971)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) The lyrics tell us Paul believes it's going to rain. How's the weather where you are today? Beautiful! Sunny and about 70ยบ!

2) Paul sings that he is sorry because he hasn't "done a bloody thing all day." What do you hope to accomplish this weekend? I have to write an email to the President and COO of our agency. My company computer died and I've been working from home on my personal laptop, which isn't fair. That's a lot of wear and tear on a machine purchased with my own money for my personal use. It's just that, when my work laptop crapped out, no one in IT had the authority to issue me a new one and, with everyone working from home, they couldn't reach anyone who could approve a new one. Well, yesterday, Mr. President encouraged us to reach out to him if we need anything, and if he can't approve a new machine, no one can. Still, I'm nervous. He's not the warmest guy you'd ever meet. I should just write the damn thing and get it off my conscience.

3) He also references butter pie, which is made primarily with potatoes (with onions and, of course, butter). That dish is not popular on this side of the Atlantic. Last time you had potatoes, how were they prepared (baked, mashed, hash browned, french fried ...)? I don't remember the last time I had potatoes, but I hope next time they will be mashed.

4) Linda McCartney is credited as co-writer and performer on this recording. Paul and Linda were partners in real life, too; married 29 years, they raised four children together. They often said they tried never to spend more than a few hours apart. Do you enjoy a lot of togetherness, or do you value your personal time? Has your experience with Covid19 and quarantine changed how you feel about this? I am very comfortable being alone. But the pandemic has taught me to value my friendships more and I appreciate it so very much when people reach out by email or phone.

5) Paul and Linda came from very different backgrounds. His family was lower middle class, lived in Liverpool's public housing and received government aid. She grew up in affluent Scarsdale, the daughter of a wealthy theatrical attorney. Do you think it's more important for a couple to share a common background, or to share common interests? Common interests. BTW, I saw Paul at Soldier Field in 1990. We were in the fifth row, and saw a lot that the audience farther back would have missed.  Linda was on keyboards, positioned on an elevated riser behind Paul. He was very solicitous of her, holding her wrist as she moved around behind him in the dark between numbers. By this point, they'd been on the road for a year, so I assume that she was familiar with the stage layout. Yet he continued to look out for her. It was touching.

6) Paul is known for his work ethic. At age 78, he's still making music and performing live. What's your favorite Paul McCartney song?


7) In 1971, when this song was a hit, Bobby Fischer was the world's most famous and highest-rated chess player. Do you play chess? No. I don't have the patience.

8) England's Princess Anne turned 21 in 1971. The occasion was commemorated by a formal portrait, taken by celebrated fashion photographer Norman Parkinson. Who took the most recent photo of you? I did. It was a selfie of the top of my head, which I sent to my friend John. He was so curious about how my roots were growing in.

9) Random question: Do you find it more satisfying to work with your hands, or your head? My head. My manual dexterity is not that great.

Fell asleep proud, woke up relieved

Yesterday, Chicagoans took to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd. At first, when I saw this, I was frightened for my city. We're still healing after Laquan McDonald's death. But the afternoon protest was peaceful and respectful, with both police and protesters wearing masks.

From the SunTimes

Peaceful marching is the most appropriately American way to make ourselves heard. George Floyd's conviction and execution under the knee of a brutal cop is certainly a more worthy exercise of our  rights than grabbing a long gun and driving to the state capitol to whine about corona virus safety procedures.

Unfortunately, there was looting overnight. Arrests and two reported injuries. Disappointing to be sure, but I don't believe it was really a protest. I suspect that was opportunistic, and had more to do with stores reopening for business and merchandise returning to store windows as it did with George Floyd.

Still, when I woke up this morning and saw what happened in Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and our neighbors to the south in Lexington, I'm relieved and proud of my city. 

May Music Meme -- Day 30

A song that reminds you of yourself.  Actually, my friend Henry told me this song reminded him of me.

•  Loves her mama (check)
•  Loves Jesus and America, too (check)
•  Crazy 'bout Elvis (check)
•  Loves horses (check)


  (Play along! Click here for prompts.)