Random Thoughts and Stories I’ve Seen

In the Creative Writing class I had in college, one of the exercises they had us do was to grab a piece of paper and just write whatever pops into your head.  That’s kind of where this blog is coming from.  What will it contain?  Read on and see …

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The above quote is from Sidney Poitier.  Randomness will follow:

A forgotten favorite

I forgot how much I love French Toast.  We bought frozen French Toast sticks for the boys at the store recently and Sam asked me to make some for her.  I asked if she would rather have regular French Toast.  She did, so I made her some.  I made some for me too.  It’s been forever since I have had some.  It was awesome.

Back when I worked at Kiss-FM (WKSG) in Detroit, I would work on Saturday nights and on Sunday Mornings, we’d go to the Big Boy right down Gratiot and get the breakfast bar.  We’d grab French Toast and bacon.  It was a weekly tradition, the waitresses knew us, and always had crispy bacon for us.  Good times!

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A Cheesy Story

I saw a story this week about a woman who has been washing her hands regularly because of the coronavirus, only what she thought was a bar of soap … was a block of cheese!  I don’t get it.   You would think the absence of bubbles or lather would have been a clue, much earlier than it was!  Of course, she said she probably left out the cheese when she was drunk … thank you, alcohol, for another funny tale.  Here is the story:

https://www.irishpost.com/news/woman-discovers-bar-soap-shes-washing-hands-days-block-cheese-181710

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The Perfect Quarantine Selfie

If you have been on social media at all, there are people who are in quarantine due to the corona virus.  Many pictures are of whatever they are watching on TV, whatever they are eating, or their feet up on the ottoman.  The rest are selfies.  Those selfies take time to get “just right.”  According to a new survey, the perfect selfie takes about 20 minutes to get!  Who the hell studies this?  I have taken selfies in the past, and I may take one or two, but it takes me far less than 20 minutes …. of course, I have no hair, so I don’t have to be sure it is perfect.

The survey says that the subject of the selfie will mess with lighting, angles, and edit with various apps to make sure the picture is “post worthy.” One final fact – only 8% of people will post a candid picture on social media.  Many opt for staged photos.  Now you know.

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Long Before Eminem …

No cheating.  What was the first song to feature a white rapper on MTV?  It happened in 1981.  It was a female singer.  Got it?  Sure you do!  Remember Blondie’s song “Rapture?” It features the first rap verse on the channel and it was a #1 song.  Here are some other white rappers and their songs you may have forgotten about:

  • It’s Good To Be The King – Mel Brooks. (It was a tie in with the movie “History of the World Part 1”  Mel was first white artist with a rap song on the Billboard R&B chart in 1982.
  • Rappin’ Rodney – Rodney Dangerfield.  In 1983, I had this on a 45.  He was holding a boom box on the cover.
  • The Rappin’ Duke – Shawn Brown.  Duh Haw Duh Haw!  Ok, I know, Shawn Brown is black, but the actor he is imitating – John Wayne – is white.  This got a lot of radio play in 1983.
  • The Beastie Boys.  They hit the scene in 1986 and were HUGE! Their album License to Ill sold over 100,000 copies the first week! (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) still is requested at weddings and parties!
  • Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice.  This one hit wonder dropped in 1990 and sampled Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure. This was the first hip hop single to reach #1 on Billboard’s charts. Eminem once said that Ice Ice Baby actually made him want to STOP rapping!
  • Good Vibrations – Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.  Another #1 song that came a year after the Ice Man in 1991.
  • Jump Around – House of Pain.  From 1992, I’m not going to lie – I love this song!  I still get requests for this at high school dances!

Eminem shows up on the scene in 1999 with “My Name Is”.

I wonder if I still have that 12 inch single of Rappin’ Duke….

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2020 Seniors

My son Dante’ is a senior this year.  This coronavirus has basically robbed him (and every other high school senior across the country) of the best year of their lives!  It saddens me.  Over the weekend, he was so happy to tell me that the girl he asked out to prom said yes.  Now, the prom has been cancelled.  Kansas has basically called school “over and done” for the year.  Just like that – it’s over.

He posted a picture of a headstone that read “My Senior Year” on his Facebook page this week.  It hurts me to see how sad this makes him.  Oh, I am sure that some students are glad, but my son was looking forward to so much more before the school year was over.  I still don’t know how they are handling commencement ceremonies.  U of M and MSU have cancelled theirs.

A Louisiana teacher posted a letter to the 2020 Senior Class that is worth sharing here.  If you have a high school senior and haven’t seen it – share it!

https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/local/st-bernard/louisiana-teacher-of-the-year-has-a-message-for-all-high-school-seniors/289-ba3040d2-85fa-46de-bdc5-2605fcbc5bf3

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Class of 2020 – I am proud of you!

Rest in Peace, Steve Trevor

Growing up in the 70’s, there were plenty of Super Hero shows on TV.  Wonder Woman was one of them.  Lynda Carter was – and still is – beautiful.  Even as a 5-7 year old boy, there was something about seeing her in that outfit!  Lyle Waggoner, who passed away this week at age 84, played Steve Trevor on the show.  I don’t remember much about his character, but I do remember that whenever they showed him in the opening credits, there was this “sparkle” that flashed off his teeth!  HA!  I tried very hard to find a picture of just that, but couldn’t.  I am sure if you YouTube the opening credits, you will see what I mean.

Lyle also had a role on The Carol Burnett Show.  He was actually on more shows than I remember.  He played comedy well.  He was a great strait man and could deliver comedic lines as strait and as good as Leslie Nielsen!  Did you know he was almost Batman on the 1966 TV show?  He actually did a screen test, but lost the role to Adam West.

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December 2020

It’s funny to me what people think about.  I have seen all kinds of memes and posts on social media joking around about the quarantine for the coronavirus.  There are lots of jokes about how there will be a boom of babies born in December of 2020 because so many people are stuck at home.  Dr. Oz even came out and said that couples should have sex to break up the boredom!  If you are stuck home alone, there was another article about how masturbation can actually boost the immune system!

It will be interesting to see just how big the Baby Boom of 2020 is!

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Work

The situation is changing every minute.  For now, my lab is open.  We had only a couple patients last night, but I was able to work.  It looks like if we have low census or the lab closes, they will find work for us within the hospital system screening people, answering phone, or stuff like that.  That freaks me out a bit, but at least I can work and get some or my hours.

It’s a time like I have never seen before.  I am guessing its the same for you.  Traffic is light.  Everything seems to be closed.  Meetings and gatherings are taking place via video chats.  Life events like weddings are being cancelled (or postponed).  People are fighting over toilet paper.  Visitors are being limited or prohibited in medical facilities and nursing homes.  It is crazy!

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I wanted to share a few things friends posted on social media – feel free to share.

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You can probably add to the above list.  There are many things we take for granted.  When this is all over, perhaps we will be a bit more grateful for them.

The following is a prayer read by our classic rock morning man, Carl Coffey just before St. Patrick’s Day.  It was pretty powerful, too.

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Another friend posted this:

“And the people stayed home.  And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.  And listened more deeply.  Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.  Some met their shadows.  And people began to think differently.  And the people healed.  And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.  And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” – Kitty O’Meara

Be safe, dear reader.

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Stuck Home – Now What?

This week, I was fascinated at the simulations posted by the Washington Post on how a virus (coronavirus or the flu for that matter) are spread.  You can see them here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

The coronavirus is everywhere.  Schools are closed.  Casinos are closed.  Churches are streaming services online.  Restaurants and bars are closing.  College commencement ceremonies are being cancelled.  The CDC is warning to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.  We are being told to “flatten the curve” and “stay home.”  Sure we have the internet, video games, and Netflix, but eventually, boredom will set in.

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I saw something on Facebook this week that read:

“Just thing of all the sit down family dinners that will be happening across America because of this inconvenience.  Practices, meetings, and more – cancelled.  So many people say they’re ‘so busy’ and now have been forced to slow down.  Here’s your moment.  Use it wisely.  Be intentional.  Stay home.  Clean a closet.  Paint a room.  Spend time just sitting and talking.”

There is a lot of truth to that!  I am guilty of complaining about not having enough time to do things.  On my days off, I don’t relax – I am out trying to accomplish things I don’t have time for during the week.  Things get in the way.  I get busy – too busy to focus on what really is important.  Is work so important that it should take away from time with our family – sorry, bosses, it is not.  The structure of the family is hurting, because “family time” is becoming less and less.

“Me time” is also dwindling.  You hear all the time how important it is to unplug, and recharge.  My doctor says how important it is to find time to do something I enjoy once a week, even if it is only for an hour.  The problem is finding that time in a schedule that is already full with other obligations.

Let’s be honest, if I was forced to stay home because my work shut down, I would be freaking out.  No work = no money.  I have financial obligations.  We have cars and a home to pay for.  We have groceries to buy.  We have a baby to feed.  I have child support to pay to be sure my sons are ok.  We have the usually monthly bills to pay.  My wife is already off work and not being paid, so this potential “stay-cation” can really put me in a state of chaos.  I hope it doesn’t happen, but I also 1) don’t want to get sick and 2) get others sick. Whether it happens or not, I have to consider that is a possibility.

So, as I read that quote from Facebook, I began to think about the things I might actually get the chance to do if I was told to stay home for a few weeks. It was quite easy to make the list.  Some things are chores or projects I have put off for some time and others are more family/me oriented.  Here is a list that I just started jotting down. If you get bored while at home, maybe you can steal some of my items or be inspired to create your own list.

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What To Do While on My Forced Stay-Cation

  1. READ. (The stack of “to-read” books at my house is HUGE).
  2. Put the clear coat up on the shiplap in the kitchen.
  3. Exercise.  (I never have time for this.  “Make time” people say.  Ok, I will have some now.)
  4. Purge.  (Old clothes, shoes, papers, etc.)
  5. Watch movies.  (My dad always seems to hand my a bag with DVD’s.  I have many of them on a shelf or in a box.  What a great opportunity to watch them!)
  6. Call an old friend. (“I’ll call you” we often say, and then life takes over.  Why not take the time to catch up?)
  7. Scan pictures. (I have a bunch that I have been meaning to scan for some time.)
  8. Organize my digital music.  (I have many CDs that I want to transfer to digital.  I also have a hard drive with a variety of random folders and songs.  Some songs, I will never play, so I should just delete them)
  9. Organize my computer files.  (So many folders – so little time)
  10. Go through old radio bits. (I have a hard drive of some of my best bits with my old morning show partner.  I keep telling her I will send them to her.  Maybe with the extra time, I can get this done.)
  11. Patch walls and paint. (Long overdue)
  12. Clean the basement. (Another project that is long overdue)
  13. Yard work (weather permitting)
  14. Clean the garage.
  15. Organize Blog Ideas (Lots of random “thoughts” and “scribbles” in my “To-Blog” Journal.
  16. Board Games.  (Family time – lots of laughs)
  17. Inventory.  (Make a list of valuables and such – just in case)
  18. Clean out my e-mailbox.  (Who knew that some of those things you thought you’d want to read, would end up being something that you never get around to?)
  19. Print out some of my blogs.  (I want to start making a “book” for my kids.  Many of these blogs will serve as “chapters”.)
  20. Sleep. (With a newborn, you gotta take advantage of as much sleep as you can!)
  21. Organize cupboards.  (My wife will oversee this – she is better at it than me)
  22. Create the Bucket List.  (I sorta have one.  I just have never written it down.)
  23. Write letters to my children. (Not sure where I saw this before, but I think this is something I would like to do once a year.  Eventually, they will get to read them and hopefully treasure them.)
  24. Learn a language.  (Yeah, I have been saying that for some time.  If I have a few weeks, maybe I can actually do it!)
  25. Unplug.  (No phones.  No TV.  No Internet.  Just sit and talk with my family.)
  26. (a) Take Pictures of Ella. (Cause a new daddy can never have enough pictures of his baby girl.) (b) Take pictures of the boys. (Cause they are growing up too fast!) (c) Take pictures of my wife (Because she is beautiful and I love her)
  27. Sort pictures and put them all in one place to print out (My phone had a gazillion pictures.  I need to send them to Walmart or wherever to print out hard copies)

So, how about you?  What are you planning to do with the gift of some extra time?  I would love to know what makes your list.

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Mitch Albom’s Coronavirus Column

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Many know Mitch Albom for his books (The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Tuesdays With Morrie, Finding Chika, and more).  I have lived in Michigan all my life, and I came to know him as a journalist for the Detroit Free Press.  Long before people got their news from the Internet, I used to get a newspaper delivered to the house every day.  Albom’s column was one I always read.

The entire world is smack dab in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.  Just like politics and religion, there are many, MANY opinions about it.  Conspiracy theories, blaming, downplaying, and flat out panic can be seen on TV news and on social media. It is yet another thing that is dividing the country – and the world. The Detroit Free Press shared Mitch’s latest column and I found it interesting and thought provoking.  I thought perhaps you would find it thought provoking as well.

The article can be found here:

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2020/03/13/mitch-albom-coronavirus-pandemic/5038942002/

It reads:

Mitch Albom: Coronavirus pandemic will show exactly what we’re made of

It is a human wildfire and each of us feels like a dry leaf, praying the wind blows in the other direction. The flames of this COVID-19 virus are ripping through every institution we have in America, schools, sports, businesses, religious services. Many have never felt so vulnerable. We are tucking into our lives, wary of gatherings, wary of neighbors, wary of things that were just, what — two weeks ago? — symbols of our human spirit: handshakes, high-fives, hugs, kisses.

But there are ways to deal with this, ways to cope with this New World Disorder. And the first is to minimize panic, to remember that, for most of us, the worst outcome is flu-like symptoms for a couple of weeks. When you think of it that way, you wonder why society feels like it’s come off its wheels.

Perhaps because the problem, at least in this country, is not merely the virus, but how it is changing our sense of time and place. How long? Every question comes back to that. How long before it reaches our town? How long should we keep sending our kids to school? How long do we quarantine? How long until the critical point is past? How long will the stock market keep diving? How long before our relatives can visit from Europe?

How long until … a vaccine?

It is time — and the speed with which this virus is tumbling institutions — that has jolted us so thoroughly from the idyllic days of January, when our biggest worry was who’s going to shovel the snow. Since then, life feels like one of those films where a giant is plowing through the city, knocking over small cars and massive skyscrapers with the same indifference. Every day another big thing is erased.

Concerts canceled. Spring breaks canceled. Universities going strictly online. Games without fans. Debates without audiences. Then the NBA. Then the NHL. Then March Madness. Tom Izzo had to tell his promising Spartans team Thursday that instead of heading for the best month of the year, their season was done.

“I felt so bad for my seniors — especially Cassius (Winston),” Izzo told ESPN. Winston had come back to MSU for one more crack at a national championship, then tragically lost his brother at the start of the season. He regrouped and somehow led his team to a share of the Big Ten title — and now this. College career over. No more games.

Just like that.

Our nation, united?

But everything is happening that way, isn’t it? Just like that? Europeans can’t fly here. Just like that. Work tells you not to come in. Just like that. The stock market gave back all its gains for the last two years. Just like that. Every social gathering from the PTA to Coachella has been removed from the calendar. Just like that.

It’s like watching the lights go out in a major city, one grid at a time. So quickly, vibrant turns to silent.

This is not who we are in America. We don’t live in the dark. Which is why, more than many countries, we will have a harder time with COVID-19. It’s because of how good we have it and how freely we move.

We are not China, which can lock down entire regions at will, crush any media it doesn’t like, and move scores of workers to build a hospital in a week.

We don’t operate like that. We do things by consensus. The national mood matters. Which is why American resolve will be under the microscope the next few months, and we will be greatly tested by how we behave.

Will we turn on one another? Take a “better him than me’’ approach? Hoard our supplies? Distrust anyone we don’t know?

Or will we sacrifice? Will we think about what it means to actually be one country, not two, not a left vs. right, or sick vs. healthy? But one nation, united against a wildfire.

Can we do that?

Everything can be shut down

We’ll see. There are, to me, certain hard truths we must accept — or should have already accepted — to be levelheaded about where this will all go.

First, everything can be shut down. And most of it will be. Disneyland. Broadway. The Supreme Court Building. Landmarks, big and small. And they should be shut down. Not because we are scared, but because we are smart.

Those people in the sports world who pondered, “How bad will it have to get for us to suspend (whatever)?” were asking the wrong question. The question should have been, “How much better can we make things by shutting it down now?”

You don’t wait, as the NBA learned, until you find out a player is infected. You close the tent before the infections can start. The old adage of an ounce of prevention and a pound of cure is particularly true right now. We shouldn’t be hanging onto spring traditions hoping not to lose them too fast. We should be wrapping them in blankets quickly, so that summer and fall are not affected.

So, yes, of course the NCAA tournament and the NBA season and the NHL season needed to be shut down. You’re talking 20,000, 40,0000, 60,0000 people in one place. Doctors suggest avoiding groups bigger than 100.

Baseball will follow suit, I imagine, and cancel at least the start of its regular season (it already postponed it). And it’s hard to see how they will conduct the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which should and will likely be postponed.

But sports are hardly unique. Cruise ships. Airplane trips. Theme parks. Concert venues. Who knows? Shopping malls, health clubs, and all public schools may be next on the list.

But if it that happens, don’t be depressed. Know that it is better to preemptively pull the door shut then to try and clean up a post-outbreak mess. We have seen in New Rochelle and Seattle how fast COVID-19 can spread if people in gatherings are unaware of its presence.

And we have seen, in Italy, how bad things can get if you don’t act fast enough.

If we can protect ourselves, we should, in the small gestures, like hand washing, which keeps the little breeze from blowing an ember, and in the big gestures, like gathering for mass events, which can stave off a massive blaze.

Protect the elderly

That brings us to those who can’t so easily protect themselves: Our elderly. Why has this not been more of a federal priority? It’s an accepted fact that those over 60 are more at risk with the coronavirus, and those over 80 may be in mortal danger. Why is there no formal program to protect nursing homes and senior centers? To assure that homebound elderly can still get medical care and supplies? To construct facilities, even makeshift ones, that can handle seniors if our hospitals get overloaded? Aren’t our parents and grandparents worth making a priority?

This baffles me. As did the earlier suggestion by our Senate lawmakers that they wouldn’t pass legislation until after they returned from a scheduled recess. A scheduled recess? Were they serious? (They have since reconsidered and will be in session next week.)

But this is what the short-term future will come down to. A series of decisions, big and small, that will determine how long this thing will shadow us.

We need to be our best now. We need to be responsible and considerate of our society — and this doesn’t mean grabbing every roll of toilet paper off a Costco shelf and hoarding it into your truck. It doesn’t mean reporting on COVID-19 stories with political bias, when the viewers only need facts. It doesn’t mean threatening or ostracizing people who get sick, as if it’s them or you in a fight to survive.

It isn’t.

Not even close.

The good news is, this will eventually pass and we will get through it. We have endured worse. COVID-19 isn’t shipping our sons and daughters off to war. It isn’t causing us to lose our homes. It isn’t threatening to blow up our buildings with no warning.

What it’s doing is upsetting the apple cart of our lives, and because our lives are good and blessed, it is more noticeable to us and to the world.

We are dry leaves in a wildfire now, combustible and brittle and subject to burning on the outside. But what’s inside will determine our legacy in this health challenge.

Let’s see what we’re made of.     

Contact Mitch Albom: malbom@freepress.com. Check out the latest updates with his charities, books and events at MitchAlbom.com. Download “The Sports Reporters” podcast each Monday and Thursday on-demand through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify and more. Follow him on Twitter @mitchalbom.