Sometimes I Can Only Muster The Strength To . . .

. . . read headlines. Recently, I’ve been diagnosed with “CEFS” or Current Events Fatigue Syndrome.

Some recent headlines are funny enough that I don’t even have to read the article. My spirit is already lifted.

I Became Extremely Hot In The Pandemic. My Husband Did Not.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t read it because I was afraid the Good Wife wrote it.

Some recent headlines are so cringe-worthy I can’t bring myself to read the article. This is CEFS in action. In increasing order of cringe:

Misinformation Is A Pandemic That Doesn’t Have A Headline

Tie for First. . .

Election Offices And School Board Meetings Could Become Weapons-free Zones In Washington

Report: World’s 10 Richest Men Doubled Their Wealth During COVID Pandemic

And sometimes since I know how the story is going to turn out, it’s unnecessary to read on.

Help! My Husband Throws Away My Things Without Asking In The Name of “Minimalism.”

Dude’s wife divorces him. He moves into an apartment a few steps below the one he lived in during college. Can’t afford any real furniture to speak of, any art, anything. Shortly thereafter, dies from loneliness in his minimalist “paradise”.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t read that because I was afraid the Gal Pal may have authored it as well.

Do You Remember?

That kid in science class that was so smart they had a hard time relating to others of lesser intellect. Yeah, the one with thick hard plastic framed glasses that you weren’t very nice to. Your similarly insecure friends and you called her a brainiac and other not so nice things.

Remember losing track of her after high school? Probably not since since no one ever paid her much attention to begin with.

While you were spinning your wheels drinking too much and trying to “find yourself”, she completed three degrees in biology and other sciences. Threw in a post-doc for good measure.

Initially at least, you may wanna call her Doctor at the next reunion, but why would she attend given the grief your knucklehead friends and you gave her?

She’s a contact lens wearing tenured professor of epidemiology now with 162,000 twitter followers. Drives a Tesla Model S Plaid and knows more about viruses than all your high school homeboys and you combined. Turn on the right cable news station at the right time and you might catch her helping everyone who slept through science better understand covid’s innumerable complexities.

Finally, she’s the center of attention.

The Covid Ball Is In The NBA’s Court

From “The NBA’s Big Covid Choice” by Ethan Strauss.

“The NBA actually has an opportunity here to end the precautionary moment, or at least signal its ebb. If commissioner Adam Silver steps forward and announces that his league is ending test protocols and treating this admittedly terrible disease in much the same way we deal with some other respiratory illnesses, that’s a potential cultural shift. The basic plan would be to test players and team officials only if they’re obviously sick (and sit said players if they test positive). And no more of the contact tracing that’s gummed up work behind the scenes of a highly mobile industry. The message could be simple: Look, we can’t functionally operate like it’s 2020; now that the disease is endemic, and vaccines are widely available, we must move into 2022.

This could be an influential move for all the reasons the NBA lockdown was important back in 2020, but now with one new one: The NBA is the archetypal blue state sport. The Covid question has broken along partisan lines, with Democrat-voting spaces far more likely to embrace interventionist measures. If the NBA announces a relaxation, there’s an element of “Nixon goes to China,” a credibility inherent to going against the grain. Such a proclamation grants space if not permission for other non-red world institutions to follow suit and open up despite the surge.”

Do read the whole thing. As thoughtful a rumination on our predicament with the “invisible enemy” as I’ve read. Granted, I might feel that way because I agree with Strauss.

What Are You Most Afraid Of?

That was the The Good Wife’s question on our Saturday night date to the Westside taco truck.

Because I’m male I replied, “Your questions.”

I gave a wee bit more thoughtful answer after the beans and rice kicked in which maybe I’ll summarize sometime soon. 

In the meantime, here’s how Germans recently answered the same question.   

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There’s zilch overlap between the Germans and me.

The Person, Not The Passport

Like me, I know you’re psyched for the Ryder Cup two weeks from now, that every other year team competition between the best golfers in the U.S. and Europa.

The U.S. team is set and although Patrick Reed was passed over, Bryson DeChambeau was an automatic pick. Which makes it a lot harder to root for the home team at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. I wholeheartedly concur with this Alex Kirshner dissection of DeChambeau:

“. . . his positive COVID test in late July knocked him out of the Olympics. Fortunately, DeChambeau healed up, though he said he lost some swing speed. Reporters asked DeChambeau if he regretted not getting the vaccine. He said he did not, and that he’d “tried to take all the necessary precautions” not to catch the virus (except, you know, for the most important one). But DeChambeau—who, it bears repeating, very much likes to fashion himself as a science guy and a deep thinker—had more to say. In one of the most embarrassing bits of vaccine misdirection anyone in sports had attempted all year, he tried to cast his decision as a move to keep vulnerable people safe. He explained that the vaccine needed to be preserved for those in worse health than himself. (By that time, the government had a surplus of doses.) ‘I don’t need it,’ he said. ‘I’m a healthy, young individual that will continue to work on my health. I don’t think taking the vaccine away from someone who needs it is a good thing.’

That bit should’ve ended anyone’s idea that DeChambeau is especially committed to science. But it mostly revealed his lack of interest in thinking seriously about anything. The audacity of framing not getting vaccinated as a way to help vulnerable people, rather than something that could literally kill them, makes him something between a fraud and the absolute thickest person in sports. Not getting vaccinated is a worse thing to subject other people to than anything anyone has ever hollered at him from along a fairway. There are people who command honest conversations about whether they deserve the grief they get. This isn’t one.”

Besides the inclusion of the American Knucklehead, the Euros are easy to root for because they WANT IT so much more and their fans and them celebrate their upset victories with incredible élan.

And so this golf fan says to hell with the political boundaries and passports, may the team with the fewest knuckleheads and the most dogs win.

Postscript: Last night after eighteen year old British tennis phenom Emma Raducanu won her semifinal match at the US Open, she attempted to give her wrist bands to some grade school girls standing nearby in the first row of Arthur Ashe stadium. But she couldn’t because some despicable twenty-something men intercepted the tossed sweat bands. Which I hereby offer as the most embarrassing moment for young males in Western History. As a non-young male I was ashamed of my gender. After pocketing the sweat bands from the younger Raducanu, they set their sights on her towel and other souvenirs she was about to dispense with. Instead of dealing with the six foot tall LOSERS, she huddled with a security guard who made sure the young girls ended up with her towel. Tar and feathers might be too good for those hapless dudes.

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Thursday Required Reading

  1. Emerging From the Coronavirus. As someone with pandemic privilege—my state has done a very good job of limiting it and my circle of family and friends have been spared—I took my time with these personal stories on how profoundly Covid has changed millions of people’s lives.
  2. Diversity in Presidential Cabinets. As thorough and thoughtful a description and analysis as you will find. Should become a staple in political science courses.
  3. Lego enthusiast explains why the black market for the toy bricks is so lucrative. Fifty years too late for moi.
  4. The Robots Are Coming … to Mow Your Lawn. Yes please.
  5. How open and face to face will fall semester be? Sigh. Surprising how cynical the commenters are about higher education on this highly intellectual blog.

Maybe He Got Tired Of Winning

The Wall Street Journal explains why Trump lost the election. Bears repeating, the Wall Street Journal:

“Much of this erosion in support was based on dislike for Mr. Trump personally and the way he handled the Presidency. ‘While a majority of voters said they didn’t find either Presidential candidate honest or trustworthy, Biden held a double-digit advantage over POTUS,’ especially in the five states that flipped to Mr. Biden in 2020, says the Fabrizio analysis.

Mr. Trump was favored 6 to 1 or more among voters on the economy. But the coronavirus was the top voter issue in both groups of states, and Mr. Biden carried those voters 3 to 1. Mr. Trump’s eroded credibility and inability to maintain a consistent Covid message may have been decisive.

More startling is that Mr. Trump ‘suffered his greatest erosion with white voters, particularly white men in both state groups,’ according to the Fabrizio analysis. This offset his double digit gains with Hispanics while he performed about as well with blacks as he did in 2016. The former President also lost ground with nearly every age group in both sets of states, and he ‘suffered with white college educated voters across the board.’

We rehearse all this not to rub an open political wound. The point is to remember, as time passes and Mr. Trump blames everyone else for his defeat, that 2020 was a winnable race. Mr. Trump had many accomplishments to tout, and voters recognized them. But Mr. Biden’s consistent campaign message of a return to a calmer, more unifying politics resonated with millions of voters who had tired of the constant Trump turmoil.

Mr. Trump didn’t lose to Joe Biden. He lost to himself.”

In hindsight, he defers to the scientists, wears a mask, advocates for masks, he wins. Those of us who desperately wanted to send him packing have his ego to thank.

‘Rona Silver Lining

Americans exercised more in 2020, according to data tracking service, Strava.

“In addition to jumps in running and cycling activity in the U.S., Strava also saw booms in walking, hiking, indoor cross-training activities such as yoga and weight lifting, and water sports like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

‘There was just so much uncertainty surrounding COVID […] it was great to see people deal with that by finding some sort of certainty and an everyday routine,’ Megan Roche, an ultra-runner and epidemiologist, told ESPN.

Women drove the increase in fitness — both in the U.S. and all over the world. Between April and September, women aged 18-29 saw a 45.2% increase in the median number of activities uploaded compared to a 27.3% increase by their male counterparts, the Strava data shows. Women were also biking more, logging a 72% increase in bike trips compared to 2019.”

Case in point, none other than one of my twenty-something daughters. Summer spent lake swimming. Migrated to the pool in the fall. Cycled with friends in the summer. All the while, she turned into a certifiable WALKING machine. 120 miles in November.

Help Isn’t Coming

David Brooks, arch-conservative, “If We Had a Real Leader—Imagining Covid under a normal president.

Astute conclusion:

“One of the lessons of this crisis is that help isn’t coming from some centralized place at the top of society. If you want real leadership, look around you.”

Related. “Fact check: Breaking down Trump’s 654 false claims over 14 weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Help me out here. Is he incapable of telling the truth or is there a method to his mendacity?

I lean to towards the latter. Tell enough lies in the hope that people tire of distinguishing between what’s true and what’s not. That’s why Daniel Dale’s work, as nonstop fact-checker, is vitally important. And November, 3, 2020.