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We Made It To the Second Trimester

June 10, 2020

3 months in.

Summer Next.

Fall (again?).

Politics. Protests. Predictions.

Everyone knows one reality: Where we are now is not where we want to be. Has it ever been different?

But this is worse.

Usually that means it will get better,

Or not.

It Is Time

June 6, 2020

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‘Tis the season:

The Democratic Nominee For President Is Chosen!
There are “End of Life Doula’s” (Doulah’s?).
I am old enough to have been 13 in 1968.

It is dead silent in my office. Again. Still still.

That is all.

“Fatigue Makes Cowards of Us All”

June 5, 2020

We are 3 months into a lock down that has exhausted those forced to do nothing. Here in the northeast thousands have died, millions are affected, and almost everyone is simply worn out by our impotence.

A health care professional said to me and others flatly “This will not end until there is a vaccine 4 or 5 years from now.”

Facts, like cowardice, become reality when we are exhausted. “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” said the long dead football coach Vince Lombardi. And we are all pretty exhausted.

Another wonderful human stated without any doubt, “Unless everyone can feel safe in going to church, no one should be allowed to go to church.” That means 5 years? Will there be any church left to attend?

Facts and Faith are a dance. If there was no resurrection it would be hard for me to feel completely powerless in the reality of God. But something happened, without body cams, and billions of data points of human faith in that fact overwhelmed the deadliness of expressing belief in Jesus.

Now that the curve is almost crushed here in New England some want to pretend that danger is gone. But people are still dying of Covid19, just not so many. But some are still completely terrified.

What do you do when a Faith-Based reality has many who have lost faith and replaced it with exhausted fear? I think you embrace facts. Not the ones that you make for your own comfort to play golf or never have communion again, but the ones that doctors and researchers tell us are the truth.

The truth is that it is a more dangerous place now than 3 months ago. The truth is that it will be safe enough in whatever time in whatever place that humans can decide if the benefits of risk are great enough to accept the risks of known outcomes. For some the equation has been established: Covid19 = Death.

This is a fact: .03% will die of those who get the disease, but dead is dead.

But if anything is worth risk it is the reward of connecting through a place, and fellows, to a greater reality than fear. That does not mean stepping in front of a train and asking God to stop it. It does mean wearing a helmet if you ride a bicycle.

Our culture, like our lives, is a construction. It is going through some demolition this year. It will not end, but it will be different. Do we default to our fatigue on the way to a defendable safety? I want to ride my bike again, so I will wear a helmet.

Church is not necessary for Faith, but church without Faith is just a building.

We need to let facts determine our Faith, not fear.

It’s Not An Open Book

June 2, 2020

2020 is 5 months old. Around 150 days. 24 weeks. 1.8 seasons.

The warmest winter followed by the coolest spring.

Are you kidding?

First a Kabuki Impeachment Trial, with a Kabuki Vote and a Kabuki Verdict.

Then a crazed series of humans, being extreme in desire, in umbrage, in outrage, in shaming. Many races, ages, both of the cis-normative genders and sex preferences, in a TV show of theatrics that boiled down to two old white males, who have been doing this for two generations. And then the most normative one won.

That was two months.

Then a new season, not Spring, but COVID, flooded the world in about an hour, with fear that if you were old, fat, black, had A-positive blood, smoked and had a headache, or worse, coughed, you were a dead bag of water walking. Governments either ignored that threat or sent everyone to House Arrest and ended many businesses.

Until wishing it away had no currency.

Then, here in the Land Of Orange and Those Outraged At Orange, we all agreed on printing up, out of nothing but paper and ink (but mostly gigabytes on Internetted transfer) enough money to send to just about every American for a months rent. Maybe,

The inexplicable balloon of stock equity was deflated, our huge employment became greatly reduced, we had to stay home. Pretty much all of us. Everywhere.

Do not wear a mask. You must wear a mask. If you are old, quickly get to others who are also old for protection. No, that will kill you. There will be over 2,000,000 dead. Or in may just “go away”. Or not.

That was another 2 months.

Now: End This. You Cannot End This. Laws Are Killing Us. Laws Are Saving Our Lives. Open. Close. FREEDOM. SAFETY.

Then a guy gets murdered. Who was black. Male. Large. By a white guy. Who is a policeman. With three other white policemen. Absent a TV Show, this would have been more words that followed other words in repeat, for as long as any of us remember. If it was that, we had plenty to distract us from its insanity.

But there was a TV Show. Soon new episodes.

2020’s first two series were a boring, stilted, badly acted grind. The third TV Show was a dystopian Terror Show, where those sitting at home, doing as told, because they could do nothing else, are loudly lauded as “Hero’s”. And those who decided, long before someone ate a bat, which ate goose poop, which had a virus in it, that they wanted to stand in the breech between life and death, are now, suddenly, maybe for the first time, Hero’s.

Worthy of lawn hearts. Now.

Now lawn hearts are replaced by stopping traffic on federal highways, maybe with some of those newly discovered Hero’s ground to a halt, going to the breech between life and death in the stopped traffic. Streets burn. People scream, together, with no distance, no masks, not staying at home, because, well, we are people first, not the controlled.

In America, .03% will die infected. About 2/3 of those will be over 60, most of those over 70. Perhaps 150,000 thousand of us will go to where we all always go, but now alone, sooner than we could. In fear. Then this wave ebbs and we get a vaccine that protects less than half who it is administered to.

A young man was killed by 4 other people who we put into a place of killing for us. That human was simply murdered by them. Just as young men have been murdered in the same way for centuries. Like a series in repeat. Rerun after rerun, Over and over. And we are angry because there is no vaccine for this evil, either.

I wish there was a Final Episode. I wish that no more desire to kill lived in evil viruses and humans. But 2020 is only 5 months old.

A Strange Season

June 1, 2020

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It is June.

Given sequestration, 3 things happen: I work 7 days a week, alone, in my office: We prepare food and eat as a family: I snap-to on the home and gardens. The list of “oughts” dwindles.

The tomato plant above is a month old. It is stunted. There is sun, there is fertilized soil, but, there is inadequate warmth. In a time where Climate Change makes seas rise because ice caps are melting, there is inadequate warmth, here, to grow tomatoes. Perhaps the coldest spring in my memory.

In a sea of technology and humanity: the 40 million humans who rotate in and about New City, spewing Needle Towers of stacked humanity (or cash) to the heavens, our congegation has abetted Plague, and our technology now separates rather than connects.

Zooms, emails, texts, await my time today. We, the quarantined, are not dead, but we are stunted. The tomatoes, while not dead, but are as affected by their environment as I am. It is coming to summer after a spring of growth and isolation.

Will it be different?

 

The World Has Changed

May 31, 2020

Kylie Jenner is only worth $900,000,000.

Shocking.

12 weeks of sequestration and now this…

You would think we would become inured to revelations as we completely rewrite our social contracts and rethink our whole way of living and values. But no, $250,000 per month publicists lost to dogged journalistic vengeance against her outrageous moral turpitude.

Why do we care?

“Karening”

May 27, 2020

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The last time I remember unabashed single gender based humor was “I Love Lucy” – a place so lame or so precious (depending on your perspective) that it lives on in black-and-white immortality.

A new black and white episode has enlightened me to another single-gender comic description. Last week a crazed person, who happens to be a white woman, has a dog she is “fostering” off its leash in Central Park. A small, skittish dog. The dog freaks out seeing a black man who asks the woman to leash her crazed pet, per the Laws of Central Park. That man happens to be black.

Rather than, “Oops, sorry” the woman becomes victimized.

The weirdness happens because of phones. The man starts filming her weirdness, and the dog freaking as a way of shaming. The woman doubles down on her weirdness and calls the Police, the Keepers of the Laws of Central Park, and in leashing her temp dog, nearly chokes it to death in pantomimed aggression. Her call to the police elevates victimhood into racist fantasy. An African-American is threatening her. Why does she think that will bring retribution for her embarrassment? Why film her? Why choke the dog?

Apparently, according to the hip, there was “Karening” going on. A self righteous woman was self righteously offended at the offense of another person over breaking the Laws of Central Park. The Kabuki theatrics of victimhood were on full volume.

There was Internet Justice: the woman was fired and her temp dog was re-assigned. To the glee of the hip who saw her outed as a racist “Karen”.

So being a jerk is being a White, Privileged and Defensive Woman is being a “Karen”, I did not know that. The hip went on to decry “Weaponizing Police”. Well if the police are weapons used to enforce anything, (and I hope they are) then they can be summoned in stupidity as well as in the cause of justice.

The schadenfreude of another’s clear assinnity is the meat of the Internet’s feasting upon the lame. Without moral superiority our own inner “Karen” been expressed, the Internet would be only food, cats & dogs and babies. Oh, and nerds doing things.

This is a time where The Law has grown to include conduct of all sorts, because as our “Karen” voice says, that conduct is “killing” us, when most often it is just breaking new Laws.

Now Mika Bryzinski is deemed a “Karen” as “Karen’s” “Ask for the manager” when things do not follow the Law, and she is calling the Manager of Twitter, because her husband is being falsely accused of literally breaking real laws by the strangest President we have ever had.

Do we validate bad behavior by following the “Karening” to create moments of High Dungeon and righteousness? Sure. But more, we trivialize things like racism, cruelty to animals, even pathological megalomania.

But it’s good Internet.

“The Past Is The [deleted] Past!”

May 25, 2020

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3 years ago I looked up, just as I did yesterday, and saw this: now 36 years, 3.5 constructions, 23 gardens, endless furtherings, repairs, rethinkings. For me, this is creating history in daily doses.

This morning, grinding out 600 calories, a football player on a screen, before a huge effort against a legacy opponent simply screams “THE PAST IS THE [deleted] PAST!” before the game. It is true: what was will probably not ever be restored in the reality of today: but we need history to have a future. Just like me looking at our home yesterday.

What is history? This week I am virtually evil to some for suggesting that reusing the decaying design of an iconic home, using the pieces that can be saved, and rebuilding it as an icon is a better choice than having 2 houses of my design wipe the slate clean, or, perhaps, an empty lot. “Authentic” under a completely obscuring skin is fully invisible – but to those who hate re-creation the invisibly  “Authentic” is preferable to openly honest re-creation – even if the history that is rebuilt fully lauds what had to be rebuilt.

“Had to” in this case means that costing twice as much in time and money made restoration of a non-governmentally protected building impossible: So the alternatives were a naked lot, two new little houses or a replication: I chose the latter, and was the eviler for it. I would love to lovingly restore a fully compromised-to-dangerous building: but I would also like to be playing in the NFL as well. So I coached high school football – and it was a good thing. Better than denying the love I have that could not be realized beyond the age of 17.

And the past is not so objective as a building or as delightful as a devotion. Bad things happen in history, too. Growing up in a Mad Men family of anger, drink and self-preservation has made my own history hurt for me: as it does for many that are damaged so young that healing is simply not possible, and coping is a relief.

The cultural past is what the culture makes of it. I am fully devoted to church, and religion in general as an architect as well as a civilian: But I cannot go to church in this sequestration, and even if legal, would not for a while: But I also simply do not accept God through a 2D screen when God is with me every hour of the day, if I just shut up. So history bumps up against now, and a new history begins.

We want certitude. So we make up Rules: “The Past is Prelude.” “History is Not Destiny, But It Rhymes.” “History Repeats Itself.” But “rules” of history try to define the future as we sent 500,000 troops to Vietnam, invaded Iraq, even predicted 2.2 million dead in the US of coronavirus. Humans do what we think as best, severally or as a group, led or individually, with sweeping social imperative or isolated devotion. History is seen by those seeing it, hard truths are often inconvenient to the agenda of our beliefs.

So a rebuild of an icon is repulsive to some, while answered hope to others. And I still regret not playing football in college.

 

 

 

 

COVID Home

May 25, 2020

PODCAST https://soundcloud.com/wpkn895/home-page-radio-covid-home

It is a cliche to say “Everything has changed.” But it is true. The fundamental truth for everyone, whether you work at home or are in an “essential office”, no matter where you are, is that you are encountering your home in a way you have not before.

Is your home a haven? A prison? Your office? Your children’s school? Your Daily Kitchen Show on Instagram? Your pets’ playhouse? Your farm? A place of fear? A place of love? A happily rectified, improved, controlled harbor? Or, is your home degrading, filling with uncontrollable refuse and failures?

When you are in the middle of change, it is a good thing to document it as it is happening. Joining HOMEPAGE are a group of people who are each experiencing this moment of revisiting where they live. Chion Wolf of WNPR, whose show on that station is another mirror for this moment has the breadth of context and personalized view that is needed to gain perspective. We also welcome Vermont State Senator Alison Clarkson, whose home/work cycle has had any number of changes, and has seen what a small rural state can do. Cori SaNogueira has three young daughters in an in-town suburban idyl: how has this time at home changed their lives? Dawn Lorentson is a Clinical Social Worker at the Yale School of Medicine. Joan Arnold has created houses and housing for over 30 years, how does she think this period is changing all her efforts making homes?

 

Powerless

May 23, 2020

We ate out last night. Bliss.

We saw our friends, in person, after 10 weeks.

All sanctioned, safe, defendable.

Now the earliest Summer possible is not a switch but the first step on a ladder to some mode that all flips when 300 million vaccine doses are in our lives. Somehow I think, here or not, they will be trumpeted, and denied, by November.

What has always been tentative, conditional, even frightening – our lack of control – is our everyday of being controlled and controlling ourselves. This season now evidences our undeniable status of our inability to have faith that we will be alive 5 seconds from now. That powerlessness devolves into our participation in a worldwide Kabuki Theater of pantomimed characterizations of righteousness.

Someone felt compelled to tell me to wear a mask to a meeting. Really. Others told me “No need for the mask” when I arrived at a meeting wearing one, (and we stayed apart). We are endlessly judged and make judgments.

The default has become protocol.

And the protocol will not stop changing…