Fighting the Three “F’s” – Fatigue, Frustration, and Fear

The following was sent to my girlfriend Gail Williams by one of her physicians. Gail sent it to me and I want to share it with you. Thank you Gail and Dana Clay Ackerly, M.D.

“I haven’t written in a while as I haven’t seen much in the way of truly actionable information. However, I did want to share my two cents as to what I am observing, and where we may go from here.

“I am sensing severe pandemic fatigue, immense frustration (particularly regarding the vaccine roll-out); and fear (Should I get the vaccine? What about these new variants? Will I ever be able to hug a family member or feel comfortable having a child in full-time school again?).

“As I discuss in more detail below, despite the concerns that surround us (including continued cases and deaths) and questions that keep bubbling up (What are the implications of the variants? How long will this last?), we have a TON for which to be grateful. We have vaccines that WORK (and I am confident that they will work for a while and are on an mRNA platform that is easily adjusted as needed).

“We have adequate PPE supplies. We have the ability to get same-day PCR tests. We have treatments that work if COVID is caught early!! It’s okay to be glass half full these days. It is still January. January is always dreary. But please keep your heads up. Though it may not seem that way, there is more good news than bad news on the horizon.

“With that, I wanted to make a few observations and provide a bit of guidance and advice:

1) Always remember that negative news sells better than positive news. I am personally frustrated by the incessant focus on all of the things we CAN’T do once vaccinated. Last week’s brief piece by David Leonhardt sums up my frustration well. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/18/briefing/donald-trump-pardon-phil-spector-coronavirus-deaths.html [Go to the section about underselling the vaccine.] I have been witnessing undue anxiety and stress as a result of these kinds of reports.

“Rather than perseverating on the unknowns (e.g. does the vaccine COMPLETELY stop the risk of transmission by those vaccinated?), I’d like to instead take a moment to truly celebrate the good news: the vaccines work! And, so far, they seem to work against COVID variants as well! While we need to remain vigilant and patient (especially those who are high-risk but are still awaiting vaccination), things are getting better. And all signs point to the fact that, once those two weeks have elapsed after your second shot, you will be able to regain parts of your lives again and interact with loved ones without fearing the worst.

2) Variants are the big news of the day. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/interactive/2021/01/25/covid-variants/ Dr Lucy McBride and I have tackled this topic on our FacebookLive conversations (https://www.facebook.com/drlucymcbride ). I am excited and relieved that the scientific community is on-top of this and monitoring it closely. All viruses mutate, so, despite the media hype, this was expected. It was hoped that this Coronavirus would mutate less than other viruses – but nature seems to find a way (especially when left unchecked, as it has been in the U.S. and elsewhere, which has provided it endless opportunities to mutate). Scientists are “on it” and are already working to test the effectiveness of available vaccines (so far so good!) as well as designing vaccine boosters in case a variant arises against which existing vaccines seem to be less effective.

“This all warrants close attention, but I remain as optimistic as ever. It is also important to remember that the virus (including its new variants) are still preventable through mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand hygiene. Modest updates in these procedures include the deprioritization of major surface cleaning ( https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-playbook-for-covid-19-protection-emerges-after- year-of-study-missteps-11611680950 ) as well as considerations of upgrading your masking when outside your own pod ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/26/n95-masks-safest-next-best-options/ ) The key point is that this is not a new or different beast. We know how to defeat it!

“So…what should and can we do?

1) Everyone (vaccinated or not):

a. Manage Fatigue: Check your internal gas tank. How are you feeling? How is your family holding up? Find ways to fill it up.

For those that remember my earlier rowing analogies, now might be a good time for a Power Ten. You can do this.

b. Combat Frustration: One place to start is reciting Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer. Trying to let go of the things that are outside of your control is almost always helpful. That said, if you also want to scream out of your windows at how many hours you’ve wasted trying to track down a vaccine, please do (I’ve done it a number of times already).

c. Face Fear: Not to go too philosophic – but there is nothing to fear but fear itself. You all know what to do to stay safe. It’s getting extremely old and exhausting, I know, but you know what to do, and the light is finally there at the end of the tunnel. You’ve got this.

2) Those who have been vaccinated:

a. Wait two weeks after your second shot…and then celebrate!!

b. Hygiene/Precautions: Keep wearing your masks in public and keep washing your hands. It will help prevent you from getting the Flu, RSV, adenovirus, you name it. This should be our new normal. But do those things because they’re generally smart to do, not due to any lingering concern about catching COVID or giving it to others.

c. Travel: Absolutely consider it. Do not live in fear. All signs point to the vaccine being effective against the new strains, as well. Is it for certain? No…but it is looking pretty darn good for the currently prevalent strains. If we can’t embrace the benefits of this vaccine (and continue to focus on all of the “what ifs”), this will be a very long pandemic indeed. Again, as a general rule of thumb, I’d advise you to mask up and wash your hands when you do travel, but don’t do it because you’re petrified. Now is the time to let a lot of that burden go.

d. Seeing Loved Ones: Do it!!! Hugs for everyone!! We all need this moment in our lives. There are of course those crazy theoreticals: if you have been vaccinated, then visit a COVID hospital ward (i.e. a place just teeming with virus) and don’t wear a mask, and then visit a high risk relative – then I might suggest a little distance and mask wearing… but the chance of carrying and transmittingthevirusaftervaccinationisreallyquitelow. See2.b.aboveandstartcombating1.a.withsomelongoverduehugs!

e. Stay strong and carry on. If you have ANY symptoms, get a rapid PCR test and, if positive, please consider monoclonal antibody treatment (either Eli Lilly or Regeneron’s products). While high-risk individuals automatically qualify for treatment, there are clinical trials that can enroll lower-risk patients, as well. This type of treatment saves lives. Speed of diagnosis and treatment matters. If you test positive and are interested in taking this route, please call the office so we can help you navigate that path.

3) For those awaiting vaccination:

“That’s all for today.

“PS After drafting my letter early this morning, the following article came out. https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-a-retirement- home-covid-19-vaccines-mean-an-end-to-isolation-11611756008

“This is the kind of press we need to see.”

Dana Clay Ackerly, M.D. on Jan. 27, 2021

.

:

.

.

.

Where Do You Do Your Best Work?

The office of the future, or where you do your personal/professional work, has probably changed dramatically since the beginning of the virus. I think a lot of people have invented new workspaces, or new types of desks, for themselves. We have found out that working remotely means that you better make yourself comfortable.

I made myself comfortable a long time ago. I don’t like a formal office. I like to switch places all the time. As long as I have my iPhone, I can work at my dining room table, my club chair, or even my bed (my favorite). I love the flexibility of working on the spot.

That’s why I copied and pasted this story from the WSJ for you. The new normal is not to be normal at all. We all recently learned that whatever “works” for us is the best choice.

Rethinking College Debt

The last thing I thought the pandemic would impact is the desire for a college education versus the cost. All of a sudden young people are rethinking the college system. We all had a lot of time on our hands so I guess everything is being re-evaluated. Young people are looking at their lives and are wondering if they want the same things as they did before the virus. A combination of Covid-19, plus the last four years of the political turmoil, has us all questioning life desires. Read the WSJ story.

Apollo CEO Leon Black Paid Jeffrey Epstein $158 Million

The photo below is from a Forbes article, but the headline and story is from a recent issue of New York magazine. I wanted to make sure you can read this development.

This businessman was one of the biggest names in the world of finance. I constantly read about him all throughout my business career. He was frequently quoted in The NY Times and WSJ about mergers, acquisitions, banking, government, art, medicine, and education. He is currently chairman of the Museum of Modern Art.

It’s was very disappointing to learn, at the beginning of this year, that Black was connected to Jeffrey Epstein. To think that Black supposedly paid
Epstein $158 million for business advice is just too foolish for me to believe. I know that you’re innocent until proven guilty, but Black has a lot of explaining to do.

———————————————

Apollo CEO Leon Black Paid Jeffrey Epstein $158 Million
The billionaire will resign as CEO from the private equity firm after an internal inquiry revealed he paid Epstein $158 million between 2012 and 2017
.

In the wake of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest and suicide, there was a bounty of speculation parsing out how the financier without any real paper trail in finance earned the lavish fortune that allowed him to prop up his predatory lifestyle. According to the results from an internal investigation at Apollo Global Management, a partial answer can be traced back to the massive private equity firm’s CEO Leon Black. Between 2012 and 2017, investigators found that Black paid Epstein $158 million for a “variety of issues related to trust and estate planning, tax, philanthropy, and the operation of the Family Office” — in addition to a $30 million loan, of which only a third was paid back.

The investigation, conducted by the law firm Dechert at the request of Apollo, came after the New York Times revealed in October 2020 that Black had paid Epstein at least $75 million for his financial services. The review by Dechert boosted that number up to $158 million, while determining that Epstein had provided Black with “legitimate advice” on estate planning and other tax matters. On the day the investigation’s findings were made public, Black announced he would step down from his role as Apollo’s CEO by July 2021, but will retain his title as chairman.

Black’s bankrolling of Epstein through financial services and loans came after his release from prison for his 2008 conviction on a charge of procuring a child for prostitution — a deal that was notoriously lenient, allowing him out of custody for six days a week on work release. And though the Dechert inquiry stated that Black believed Epstein “served his time” and deserved a second chance, the year after he stopped providing funds to Epstein, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ attorney general alleges Epstein was trafficking children to his private key in the territory.

While many Epstein associates have been tarnished by their connections to the convicted sex offender, Black is one of his former friends who had yet to face any material consequences for associating with Epstein. In addition to the chairman title he will continue to hold at Apollo, Black remains the chairman of the Museum of Modern Art

Read in New York Magazine: https://apple.news/ALpORHpwVQ_uZU8YucLS12g

———————————————

Worth Noting

Diversity makes it so much better

——————————————-

———————————————

You can use this photo anytime someone bothers you! ————————————————–
I haven’t seen this ex client in so many years. He is a well known entertainment litigator. The minute I saw his Facebook post, I knew I had to share it with others.

———————————————

This fact makes me sick. Most of us ignore social injustice. Tell me what I can do?

———————————————

If I knew him then, would I have known?

———————————————

This movie makes you think about about letting certain people get away with horrendous crimes.

———————————————

This movie makes you think that certain people are so good that the world is a wonderful place.

Look What I Found

Doug Emhoff’s Ex-Wife, Who Remains a Friend, Was ‘So Excited’ to Attend Biden-Harris Inauguration
Kerstin Emhoff attended the inaugural events with her children, Cole and Ella, whom she shares with ex-husband Doug Emhoff

Read in People: https://apple.news/AhK5xQQy_Q6O8H2G7-WoAQA

———————————————

———————————————

“We All Could Use a Vacation After That”: Jared and Ivanka Are Planning Some Much-Needed Time Off After Wrecking the Country


Billionaire Ron Burkle offered Javanka the use of one of his vacation homes at a private ski club, but, with COVID protocols and the spotlight, the property objected. So they’re heading to Florida—where else?—instead.

Read in Vanity Fair: https://apple.news/APKQxpvb8QoGUT5Ylm1kBrA

———————————————

———————————————

Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo gets canceled by CEOs, sources say


Some CEOs are denying interviews to Maria Bartiromo as she gets ready to try out on Fox News’ opinion lineup. Sources say Bartiromo’s noncritical Trump interview and controversial political statements make her too risky to be associated with. Fox News rejected the claims, sharing a list of Bartiromo’s sit-downs with the Goya CEO and healthcare bosses. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Read in Business Insider: https://apple.news/AYO0BjraDQOmw-1rwUc9Vtw

———————————————

———————————————

Microsoft won’t mandate COVID-19 vaccine for employees: Leaked audio


Microsoft at this time doesn’t plan to mandate vaccines for employees returning to the office. An exec said at an all-hands meeting the company encourages vaccination, but won’t require it. Insider obtained a recording of the meeting. Microsoft did not respond to a request for more information. Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Read in Business Insider: https://apple.news/A5V9UGp-nRX-nTEjlOlZLLQ

——————————————————————————————

Smart grocery carts are coming to change the way we shop – CNET


https://www.cnet.com/news/smart-grocery-carts-are-coming-to-change-the-way-we-shop/

———————————————-

Instacart plans to terminate nearly 2,000 jobs

Instacart plans to lay off nearly 2,000 of its workers, including the 10 workers from the Kroger-owned Mariano’s who unionized early last year, Vice reports. These workers are responsible for in-store shopping and packing of groceries.

According to Vice, 10 of the workers affected unionized with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1546 in Skokie, Illinois. However, they have yet to negotiate a contract with Instacart, according to Vice. Instacart notified the union of the planned changes earlier this week. In the letter, Instacart said it planned to stop using in-store shoppers at Kroger-owned stores, which includes the Mariano’s store in Skokie, in Q1 and Q2 of this year, but no earlier than mid-March.

———————————————

———————————————

Covid-19 Kindled Washington, D.C.’s Luxury Market. The New Administration Could Make It Even Hotter

Michael Stock’s Beaux-Arts Revival-style home on Washington, D.C.’s Embassy Row is asking $5.5 million.

Michael Stock’s Beaux-Arts Revival-style home on Washington, D.C.’s Embassy Row is asking $5.5 million. CESAR OLIVARES

.

The pandemic lit a fire under the city’s high-end home market. Real-estate agents say it could become even more competitive, as President Biden appointees descend on the U.S. capital

By

Katherine ClarkeJan. 21, 2021 12:16 pm ET

For many years, Michael Stock said he never considered selling his handsome Beaux-Arts Revival-style home on Washington, D.C.’s prestigious Embassy Row—not even when representatives from a nearby embassy stopped by with a case of wine and an unsolicited bid of interest. 

Then the pandemic happened, sending the local luxury real-estate market on an unstoppable hot streak. The rise in prices, combined with the promise of fresh demand spurred by an incoming presidential administration, proved too good to pass up: Mr. Stock listed his home, which he bought in 2008 and spent years restoring, for $5.5 million earlier this month. 

Like many other cities whose luxury housing stock is dominated by single-family homes, Washington, D.C.’s market has only benefited from the Covid-19 crisis, as buyers—often spurred by ultralow interest rates plus the desire for dedicated home offices and large gardens—move to larger homes. As a result, the D.C. real-estate market is pricier than it has been in years, according to local agents. 

Mr. Stock listed his home after seeing an upward shift in the local market.
Mr. Stock listed his home after seeing an upward shift in the local market. PHOTO: STEPHEN VOSS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Now, with a new administration taking over the White House, those agents say they are busier than ever. “I’m on meetings and showings all day long,” said Daniel Heider of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, noting that he’s already shown Mr. Stock’s house to a couple relocating to the area to serve in President Biden’s administration.

“We didn’t know where we were going to be when Covid hit in March,” said Robert Hryniewicki. The luxury agent with HRL Partners of Washington Fine Properties said he is currently handling a bidding war for a Massachusetts Avenue Heights property priced at $5.65 million. “But after April, it really took off.”

The median price of a home sold in Washington, D.C., was $641,300 in December, a 1% increase from the same time a year prior, according to data from real-estate firm Long & Foster. The volume of sales was up 16% during that same period. The number of signed contracts in December was 731, up 40% from December 2019.

In December, there were just 1.7 months of housing supply available in Washington, D.C., down 12% from the prior year.

The ultra-high-end saw even more of an uptick. There were 72 transactions priced at $4 million and up in the capital region in 2020, compared with 53 in 2019, according to Washington Fine Properties. There were eight sales priced at $10 million or more, compared with zero the year before. 

Coe Magruder, a 67-year-old hedge-fund and asset-management entrepreneur, is one of the many beneficiaries of the hot market. He sold his Massachusetts Avenue Heights home, a redbrick Colonial formerly home to the embassy of Swaziland (now known as Eswatini), for $4 million in August after receiving an unsolicited offer, he said.

He said he and his wife Denise Magruder had already relocated to Vero Beach, Fla., and were planning to do some work to their home, including a paint job and a redo of the bathrooms, before listing it for sale.

A Grand Home on Embassy Row

Michael Stock’s home sits directly across from the Japanese embassy in Kalorama.

Michael Stock’s home sits directly across from the Japanese embassy in Kalorama.CESAR OLIVARES

The Venetian plaster was done by a restoration artist from Spain.

The Venetian plaster was done by a restoration artist from Spain.CESAR OLIVARES

THE VICE PRESIDENT NEXT DOOR

PHOTO: TOM WILLIAMS/CQ ROLL CALL/ZUMA PRESS

Secret service. K9 sweeps. It’s not easy living in the same condo complex where Kamala Harris owns an apartment.

The market wouldn’t wait. Mr. Hryniewicki, the couple’s agent, soon had a client for whom the house was perfect. Mr. Magruder agreed to a single showing and threw in a caveat: The buyer would have to meet the fixed asking price of $4 million, or he would continue with his plans to spruce up the property and list it publicly later. 

Within a week, a contract was signed for $4 million. Mr. Hryniewicki said the home sold for a notable premium over what it might have sold for prior to the Covid-19 crisis.

Being home with their two young children amid the pandemic made real-estate developer Michael Rocks and his wife Dana Rocks, who was pregnant with their third child, rethink their space. In November, they listed their four-bedroom Tudor in the leafy Wesley Heights neighborhood to move to a larger home in McLean, Va., where the children could each have their own rooms and a bigger yard. 

Coe Magruder’s Massachusetts Avenue Heights home sold for $4 million last year before he could put it on the market.
Coe Magruder’s Massachusetts Avenue Heights home sold for $4 million last year before he could put it on the market. PHOTO: STEPHEN VOSS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Little kids have a lot of energy they need to expend,” said Mr. Rocks, 35, who became a father of three in December. “They want a jungle gym, and since they couldn’t go to the playground we wanted to create something like that for them in our own yard.”

The Rockses hosted one open house and about 12 separate tours and received four offers over their $1.795 million asking price, Mr. Rocks said. “What was shocking to us was how many offers there were,” he added. The house went into contract for $2.022 million just four days after it was listed. 

While they reveled in the success of a quick sale, the flip side of the market was trickier; the purchase of their new home in McLean required winning a three-way bidding war. “Everything is just so expensive and in such limited supply,” Mr. Rocks said.

Michael and Dana Rocks sold their home in the Wesley Heights area of D.C. for $2.022 million, just four days after listing it.
Michael and Dana Rocks sold their home in the Wesley Heights area of D.C. for $2.022 million, just four days after listing it. PHOTO: HRL PARTNERS AT WASHINGTON FINE PROPERTIES

Real-estate agents project the market will become even tighter in the next few months, as Mr. Biden continues to roll out new appointments.

Neighborhoods expected to be especially in demand include fashionable areas like Kalorama and Massachusetts Avenue Heights, which are known for drawing Washington high society, including major political donors, lobbyists and wealthy elected officials, as well as billionaires like Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. In these neighborhoods, a short drive from the Capitol, high-end classic homes are clustered together on tree-lined streets. ADVERTISEMENThttps://

Despite for a heavy security presence in some pockets, designed to protect residents like Jared Kushner and first daughter Ivanka Trump, the Kalorama neighborhood was quiet on a recent Sunday. A few walkers with their dogs paid little attention to the security as they passed. 

Michael and Dana Rocks with their children.
Michael and Dana Rocks with their children.PHOTO: LISA ZIESING FOR ABBY JIU PHOTOGRAPHY

Mr. Stock, 44, leads a nonprofit that trains peacekeepers and military forces in troubled parts of the world. While his home is close to the one owned by President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, he said the security is basically discreet and somewhat reassuring. “You couldn’t find a safer block probably anywhere in the country,” he said. “Sometimes, when there are people over for an event, I don’t lock the door.”

During the last presidential transition, administration officials like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway all bought homes within the same tiny area.

PHOTO: SANNA MANDER

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

How do you think the luxury real estate market in D.C. will change in the coming months? Join the conversation below.

“This current administration threw everyone in the housing market for a loop,” Mr. Heider said. “There were people coming from New York and Palm Beach, who were extremely wealthy and that upper bracket market went on fire,” Mr. Heider said. 

It isn’t clear if Mr. Biden’s cabinet will be as affluent, or if those Trump administration officials will leave D.C. following President Donald Trump’s departure; as of now, none of their homes are publicly listed for sale. 

As for the recent riot at the Capitol, Mr. Heider said he expects it to have little to no effect on demand for homes. 

“Obviously, a breach of the Capitol building is not something to brush off, but Washington has been home to protest after protest for decades,” he said, though he noted that the curfews imposed because of the riot were inconvenient for residents. “This summer, there was looting and businesses being set on fire and it didn’t impact the real-estate market. It’s just part of living in Washington.”

The Trump Administration

After Donald Trump triumphed in the 2016 presidential election, real-estate agents reported a significant bump in interest in high-end homes in Washington, D.C., as some of President Trump’s wealthy appointees relocated to the district.

Some of the transactions included those by: 

PHOTO: STEPHEN VOSS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Kellyanne Conway

In 2017, Kellyanne Conway, a longtime adviser to President Donald Trump, and her husband, attorney George Conway, purchased a roughly 15,000-square-foot mansion in the Massachusetts Avenue Heights area for $7.785 million, according to records and people familiar with the deal. The eight-bedroom house dates back to the 1920s and had previously been owned by Moeen Qureshi, once the acting prime minister of Pakistan, who first listed it for $22 million and then dropped the price several times. 

PHOTO: STEPHEN VOSS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Steven Mnuchin

In 2017, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin paid $12.6 million for a nine-bedroom mansion near Rock Creek Park, also in the Massachusetts Avenue Heights area, according to records and a person familiar with the deal. Built in 2001, the property spans about 16,000 square feet with a wine cellar and a media room. 

PHOTO: STEPHEN VOSS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Rex Tillerson

In 2017, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his wife Renda St. Clair bought a four-bedroom Colonial Revival-style home in the Kalorama neighborhood for $5.5 million, according to public records, which indicate the couple still owns the property.

PHOTO: STEPHEN VOSS FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Wilbur Ross

At the close of 2016, President Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his wife Hilary Ross paid $10.75 million for a gated limestone Beaux-Arts mansion in Massachusetts Avenue Heights, records show. The property, which dates back to 1927 and sits on over an acre of land, was formerly owned by philanthropist Adrienne Arsht. The house had been on the market for $12 million, Zillow shows.

PHOTO: SHAWN THEW/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

During her father’s administration, presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner rented a house in the Kalorama neighborhood from a company controlled by Andrónico Luksic. Mr. Luksic’s family is the wealthiest in Chile and controls a mining, banking and industrial empire worth billions of dollars, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company had purchased the home for $5.5 million in December 2016. It wasn’t clear how much the couple was charged in rent.

Write to Katherine Clarke at katherine.clarke@wsj.com

Tiny Houses May Be In Your Future

Ana Thue is currently a student at Emory University getting her degree in Physical Therapy. She hopes that one day she’ll become a physical therapist for dancers. She is a ballerina.

BUT that’s NOT why we are talking to Ana— it’s because of where she lives—It’s a TINY HOUSE — that means a house that is under 400 square feet
And the trend to live in a TINY HOUSE is HUGE
AND Ana is part of that trend—

Lois Whitman-Hess and Steve Greenberg of “Lying on the Beach on Camera” talk with Ana and get a look at what it’s like to live large in a small house.

——————————————-

———————————————

Fran Lebowitz’s One-Star Amazon Reviews

Fran Lebowitz.
Photograph by John Lamparski / Getty

In addition to being an author and public intellectual, Fran Lebowitz is also a prolific Amazon reviewer. Here are some of her most helpful one-star product reviews.

Garlic Salt (Three-Pack)

Are we this lazy?

We can’t chop garlic? We need to flavor salt?

Salt is a flavor. You understand?

Salt is already a flavor. We’re flavoring a flavor.

———————————————

Welcome Mat (Seventeen Inches by Thirty Inches)

I don’t like welcome mats.

They set an expectation that a guest in my apartment will actually be welcome.

Which isn’t always the case.

Instead of “Welcome,” it should say “O.K. Fine. You’re here. I’m here. Let’s get this over with.”

And there should be another mat for on the way out that reads “You see? Was this really necessary? I think a phone call would’ve sufficed.”

———————————————-

Ultimate Foodie Cookbook” (Hardcover)

I despise the term “foodie.”

I mean, how is this a personality?

———————————————-

Do you also like air? Water? Shelter?

Hammer (Sixteen Ounces, Craftsman)

What are we hammering?

Why do we, as humans, feel this need to put holes in things?

See, this is why I love New York. Everybody rents.

I’ve lived in my apartment for thirty-five years. I’ve never made a single hole.

There’s nothing hanging on the walls.

Even if I die here, I’m getting that security deposit back.

——————————————-

Rubik’s Cube (Hasbro)

You finish it. Now what?

Congratulations, you have a slightly more attractive cube.

———————————————

Portable Cement Mixer (Ryobi)

Thank goodness it’s portable.

For when I need to mix cement, on the go.

You see, this is the problem with society. We’ve become so fixated on this idea of multitasking—getting multiple things done at once—that we can’t even mix cement without texting and eating a sandwich.

If your job is mixing cement, just focus on the cement, O.K.?

———————————————

Lunch can wait.

———————————————

Crayons (Crayola, Sixty-Four-Count)

You never see something written in crayon and think, Now this I gotta read.

The crayon is the tool of children and idiots.

If the Declaration of Independence were written in crayon, we wouldn’t be a country today.

No one would take it seriously. They’d go, “What is this, a placemat?”

——————————————-

Selfie Ring Light (with Tripod)

People have this need to be constantly filming themselves.

I don’t understand why.

They think that something interesting might happen. They don’t want to miss it.

Let me clue you in—nothing interesting ever happens.

Maybe ten truly interesting things happen per year.

———————————————

None of them in your apartment. Five-Piece Drum Set

The people who bought this product shouldn’t be reviewing it.

Their neighbors should be.

They’ll give you the honest review.

———————————————

Amazon Echo Show 8 (Smart Display with Alexa)

I often think, There aren’t enough things spying on me. Let’s add another. But this time let’s cut out the middleman.

I mean, it’s truly something. People are intensely private.

And yet they will put a robot in their kitchen.

With a camera. And a microphone.

And talk to it.

Geniuses.

———————————————

Dry Shampoo (Pantene)

No.

———————————————

Coasters (Set of Five)

Listen, just by their name, they’re telling you they don’t do much.

They hold your drinks. That’s it.

Don’t expect anything more.

They’re coasters. They coast.

And, by the way, I endorse this as a general life style.

———————————————

Paper Shredder (Amazon Basics)

Do you work for the C.I.A.? No?

Then let me save you some time—keep your documents in one piece.

Trust me. No one is rooting through your garbage. No one cares.

Once you learn that, everything in life will make sense. No one cares.

About you. Or about anything.

———————————————

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” by J. K. Rowling

I’ve never read “Harry Potter.” I never will read “Harry Potter.”

Do you know why this is?

Because I’m not twelve. O.K.?

I’ve had people—adults, mind you—tell me that I need to read this.

———————————————

“You need to read it.” No.

Eat. Sleep. Breathe. These are things I need to do.

Then there are the things I want to do. Which are not many.

So there are things I need to do, and things I want to do.

And I can tell you—“Harry Potter” is not on either list.

——————————————-

Metal Detector (Ace 300)

If you see an adult using a metal detector, you know something has gone terribly wrong.

He’s lost something. And I say “he”—you never see a woman with a metal detector. It’s always a man.

So he’s lost one of two things. His wedding ring. Or, more likely, his mind.

And he’s listening for beeps. He’s shut out the rest of the world. His friends. His family. He’s only focussing on . . . the beeps.

This is what happens when you have a country that’s obsessed with material wealth.

This is the last domino of American capitalism.

A man with a metal detector, looking for buried treasure.

Bernie Is A Washington Star

If you are not familiar with what a “meme” is, I copied and pasted the explanation above. “Memes” are used by millions of social media users every day to express a point of view, or just to be funny.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders became the subject of a “meme” during the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris last Wednesday. He attended the event with a casual look. TV viewers, across the world, felt Bernie was definitely one of the main attractions because he sat solo in a folding chair wearing mittens made out of recycled materials, and a warm winter jacket. Everyone else was formally dressed.

I don’t think any of the “memes” were meant to be disrespectful, so I hope no one takes it that way. This is just a way to give Bernie the attention he deserves. It’s not easy to compete with Lady Gaga or JLo. In fact, Bernie’s “meme” became so popular that Topps decided to memorialize the Senator.

Topps is releasing a limited edition of Bernie trading cards capturing some of his most memorable moments at the inauguration.

The following pictures do not come from the Topps collection. I found them on various social media sites. Creative folks inserted Bernie sitting on his folding chair in hundreds of iconic settings. Here are a few.

Now you know what a “meme” is.

The New York Times has a page one story on this today too.

Bernie Sanders Is Once Again the Star of a Meme


https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/21/us/politics/bernie-sanders-meme.html?referringSource=articleShare

What A Difference A Day Makes

———————————————

https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/amanda-gorman-inauguration-poem-transcript-the-hill-we-climb/amp

———————————————

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2021/01/20/biden-inauguration-speech/

———————————————