2021 Finally Arrives To Mixed Reviews

all images from 1969 Mirage

The calendar flipped, the digit increased, and here we are in a new year. But what will change? What will stay the same? We sit and wait with baited breath. 

Will we get our piddly $600 stimulus checks? Possibly. Will Eygpt get 1.4 billion in aid from US taxpayers? Undoubtedly. Because isn’t that we why work a 40 hour week anyway, while businesses and restaurants around us go bankrupt, disappearing with each new week? Let’s hand oxygen masks to countries who hate us while our own are just out of reach. Seems like an elevated way to give the bully our lunch money. So we sit and wait. Wait on assistance. Wait on the numbers to go down, for the news to spout something encouraging, wait on the new regime, wait for the world to once again flip the CLOSED sign to OPEN.

Let’s hope the pessimistic leader-elect’s gloomy prediction of a dark winter proves false. Love him or hate him, all our leaders need our prayers now. Don’t we all want our country to thrive and be united? Seems like a pipe dream, but I believe many Americans are hopeful.

So we applaud the arrival of a new year, albeit with trepidation.

The vaccine is here, and I know several folks now who have received it, all of them working in hospitals. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope. There is always hope.

pleated jeans

If Puerto Ricans Can’t Choose Decent Shoes, How Can They Choose Decent Presidents?

Dec 79

Let me qualify that. Male Puerto Ricans. Puertorriqueños. From his bangs to his jaunty mustache, to his feminized clunky yellow sandals, to his flesh belt matching flesh socks, to his choice of stool, everything is wrong wrong wrong. Even 41 years later, his lady friend looks stylish and composed. But Enrique, not so much. I mean, look at his jean hem! Look at the cut of it!

I know Puerto Rico wants to be able to vote, and I don’t blame them. Really, the main barrier I can see is that we’d have to add another star to our flag, and OCD people would go nuts with an odd number of states. It wouldn’t line up correctly on the flag. We’d have to adopt yet another state to make it even. Or Texas could secede! Most folks my age still think we have nine planets; we’re not going to suddenly remember 51 states. Or we’ll say it with finger quotes, as if it isn’t real yet.

But maybe Enrique’s problem was that he was lit, juiced up on the rum for which he was plugging in this ad.

The thing is, they knew they were being photographed. Ingrid should have offered spously guidance. Could they even possibly still be married, after this atrocity? Or is the rum that good?

The Early Bird Gets The Worm

We didn’t know what to expect of our local polling place, a quick four minute drive from our home, when we stopped by this morning. Several cars lined the stretch of street up to the town hall, but to our surprise, no line existed. We donned our masks, went inside, handed them our registration cards and ID, used the touch screen in the polling booth, and were back in our car four minutes later. Add our names to the 21,500 early voters in our county so far. Easy peasy, life in the suburbs. Glad that’s done.

Look At Your Shoes, Peasants

This billboard was situated on Elizabeth Street in Sydney, Australia, advertising Kiwi Shoe Polish, with an image of an unidentified man who coincidentally, bore a strong resemblance to the current president of the United States. Evidently, FDR had not authorized use of his likeness. I can’t imagine that a billboard in the US of an Australia Prime Minister would help sales of shoe polish over here. In fact, I doubt any of us could name one Australian Prime Minister.

LIFE 7/38

Hot Off The Press: Fake News

1962 Silver Spruce

This all seems fishy. Let’s print it!

Networks don’t care about accuracy. They want ratings. Unity doesn’t get viewers. So why not flat-out tell lies, “change the narrative,” incite violence and unrest, and frighten folks with the scariest topics we can find. Corona! Lockdown! Second wave! Riots! Wildfires! Floods! Division! Your neighbor hates you and always has! The economy is sinking! What about your 401K? And all this followed by that incessant Boy Scout rape commercial that lasts about four minutes. Wouldn’t it be nice to watch a Good News network? Journalists, tell us something positive!

1948 Ventana

Let’s call the editor and give her a piece of what for.

1947 Yucca

What’s that? A march for hope and joy? People lining the streets with smiles on their faces? What’s that? We have more in common with each other than what separates us?

Sure, 2020 sucks. No doubt about it. And it does seem to be getting worse–and getting better and getting worse.  But, hey, you and I are still alive to blog. Most of us probably even had the virus by now. But, wait! You’ll have everlasting side effects that destroy your health! Maybe, but life is a crapshoot. Any day we wake up is a gift. No guarantees.

At least we can still spin some vinyl.

We can still dance, if only with one partner, or even by ourselves.

We can still buy hats–or even masks that reflect our political, religious, or social ideologies–if that floats your boat.

We can nap and read periodicals.

We can still drive.

And most of us can still eat out.

And guess what? When the holiday season starts in one month, we can start wearing festive Christmas sweaters again.

Who can be sad with reindeer on their chests?

So just remember, it’s okay to relate to this.

But don’t forget this:

So Busty!

Living Lens

Looking très French in his beret and silk apron, sculptor Rene (of course his name is Rene) Shapshak adds the final touches to his clay model of former President Harry S. (“You Dropped A Bomb On Me”) Truman in early 1956 at the Federal Reserve Bank Building in Kansas City, Missouri, the state from whenst Truman sprang. While interweb sources all declare that this would become a bronze bust, to be unveiled in Israel on Truman’s 73rd birthday, I can find no such bronze bust. It would seem the bust itself was a bust.

 

Hannibal Hamlin, I Never Knew Ye

Illustrated History of US

My minor was in history, and I admit I’ve never heard of Hannibal Hamlin, the first Republican Vice President. Or perhaps the memory of him was replaced by the cannibal Hannibal in the movie I saw my freshman year, forever cursing the name. I can promise you no one in public school will ever learn his name. But how could we be expected to know the names of the Vice Presidents? We don’t even know what they do. Neither he nor Lincoln look particularly psyched for union preservation in this poster.  A former member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Hamlin left the pro-slavery Democratic Party in 1856 for the newly-formed Republican Party that aligned with his anti-slavery views. He served only four years, during all but the very last month of the Civil War, and was replaced during the 1864 election by Andrew Johnson. Among other positions that followed, Hamlin returned to the Senate and served two terms, then became the US Ambassador to Spain. Que bueno!

In this picture, I think he bears a passing resemblance to another double H, Howard Hessman, aka Johnny Fever. But that’s just me.

Put Me In, Coach

Illustrated History of the US

Just look at the grin on the fellow biting his lower lip, as President Warren G (the president, not the rapper) Harding throw out the baseball to start the April 1922 season. Guess that didn’t happen this year.

The originator of the tradition was the portly and oft-ridiculed President William Howard Taft, seen throwing out the  first pitch at a Washington Senators game in 1910. (AP Photo, File)

Good form, sir!

But before you go, let’s make sure that you have one bit of trivia in that noggin of yours about our 27th president, that has nothing to do with his size (which seems to have vacillated from 243 in college to a high of 330 and then down again).  His father was a former US Attorney General, and he himself was named by President Warren Harding (above) to the Supreme Court in 1921. Yes, he was the Chief Justice of the US. And no, he never got stuck inside a bathtub.