… Ask Not

This week Tom Hanks was interviewed on the Today Show. Since he and his wife, Rita Wilson, are survivors of COVID-19, he was asked about his unique perspective during the interview. He drew the analogy that during World War II, everyone sacrificed a little for the common good.

Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan

Over 292,000 American soldiers died on the battlefields of WWII. Another 671,801 were wounded. However, it wasn’t just the soldiers who fought the war. Every American contributed in some way. Throughout those years, there were shortages and rationing. Meat, cheese, sugar, and almost everything else was rationed:

“… the war caused shortages of all sorts of things: rubber, metal, clothing, etc. But it was the shortages of various types of food that affected just about everyone on a daily basis.

Food was in short supply for a variety of reasons: much of the processed and canned foods was reserved for shipping overseas to our military and our Allies; transportation of fresh foods was limited due to gasoline and tire rationing and the priority of transporting soldiers and war supplies instead of food; imported foods, like coffee and sugar, was limited due to restrictions on importing.”

The National WWII Museum, New Orleans

Tom Brokaw called the generation that fought WWII “The Greatest Generation.” He called them that for good reason. Every American did their part. Few complained, and most asked how they could do more. Americans pulled together to fight against a common enemy. With the sacrifices they made, and by working together, we defeated that enemy. They will probably always be remembered as the greatest generation.

The next generation… the “Baby Boomer” generation, got their inspiration from President John F. Kennedy. He challenged us with:

“… ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country”

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961
Inauguration of John F. Kennedy – “Ask not…”

The “Boomers” took that to heart… at least most did. It gave us and the world the Peace Corps, the Civil Rights movement. It was the early days of space exploration, and we took up the challenge. We put a man on the moon. That gave us all the satellite communications we have today.

Sure… they were the “hippies.” The “Boomers” gave us… “Make Love – Not War”… Peace, Love, and Rock-n-Roll. In time, they became that and much more. They gave us cell phones, electronic wizardry of all kinds, and the internet. Sometimes I think the internet may not always be a “gift,” but like it or not… the “Boomers” gave it to us.

By the way… Tom Hank, one of those “Boomers,” gave us more than I can possibly list here, but must mention Saving Private Ryan, and the bits of wisdom from Forest Gump.

The “Boomers” also had to endure a war… the Second Indochina War… Vietnam. You can argue the merits for or against that war, but what you can’t argue against are the people who stood tall and answered their country’s call. Nearly 3,000,000 Americans served in Vietnam, and more than another million or so served in nearby locations. Today there are more than 58,000 names on a black granite wall in Washington DC from that war.

Again, in this century, the “Boomers” found themselves in a different kind of war On “911,” Americans were attacked by terrorists. Though we still fight that war, the “Boomers” rallied, and it was a time when every American joined against our common enemy.

While they won’t be called the “Greatest Generation”… that name’s taken… I’m pretty sure history will remember Boomers quite favorably.

Today we have a new, more insidious enemy… COVID-19. And a new generation is being called upon to fight this war. Make no mistake about it, it is a war. COVID-19 has already killed more than twice the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War. With the way it is going, more Americans may die from COVID-19 than died in WWII.

So how does this generation fight this different war? It’s easy. No one is asking you to storm the Anzio or Normandy beaches nor attack the Siegfried Line against withering gunfire from the German defenses. No one is asking you to slog through rice paddies & boobie-traps of Vietnam to find an elusive, determined guerilla force. In his interview with the Today Show, Tom Hanks gave the answer:

“You’re being asked to do three simple things: keep your distance, wash your hands, and wear a mask. How hard can that be?”

So I ask every one of this generation… how do you want to be remembered?

.

What follows is John F Kennedy’s complete inauguration speech. More than ever, the unity, dedication and call to action it asked for is what we need now. It inspired one generation then… . perhaps now it will inspire another.

We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom — symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning — signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago

.The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans — born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage — and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge — and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do — for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom — and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required — not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge — to convert our good words into good deeds — in a new alliance for progress — to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support — to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective — to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak — and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course — both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.

So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms — and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah — to “undo the heavy burdens -. and to let the oppressed go free.”

And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again — not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are — but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation” — a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

.

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Kokomo Man’s 10 Summer Essentials – Part 1

This is the first of a series about the essentials to make summer fun no matter your circumstances.

The summer this year will be for ever known as the “Cootie Bug Summer.” Ok… maybe I’m the only one who is going to call that, but we’ll see. In any case, this summer will be different than any other summer ever.

But!!!! I’m not going to let summer get away. I live for summer, and no matter what, I’m going to make the most of this one. I don’t care where you live or what your situation is, you should do the same.

I took this pic from my drone last weekend. People were far enough apart, but not so much so they weren’t having fun. Summer Begins

So what is essential? Well if you know me, it’s going to be fun in the sun… at the beach, at the pool, on the patio, back porch or maybe just in the back yard. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Just a warm sunny day and a frozen concoction to help me hang on.

Before I get to the 10 essentials, I have to start out with what may be more important than anything else. And if I didn’t mention this one, a certain person out there in the Peanut Gallery would shoot me.

You must… MUST protect yourself from the sun. I know… that tan may look great, and if you’re over 90 years old, then go for it. You’ve lived a nice long life and the danger of MELANOMA doesn’t scare you anymore. But if you’re younger than that, then SUNSCREEN is a must. At least SPF a zillion.

Besides saving your life, there is another upside to sunscreen. You can ask some on to rub it on your back… and other places. Now that’s what I would call a great first day of summer. Here’s my favorite… Coppertone Sport. It’s my favorite for a lot of reasons but mostly because I love the smell. It just smells like summer. You can get it in SPFs from 15 to 100. I’m linking you to 100 because I love you. Don’t leave home without it.

(By the way… for each of the images that follow, if you click on the image, you will be taken to Amazon.com for more information.)

OK… now on to the must have things for summer.

Summer Essential # 1 – MARGARITAS

You knew that was going to be at the top of the list didn’t you? But of course. It would not be summer without Margaritas. But they have to be made correctly. In a minute, I’ll give you my Kokomo Man’s magic formula for the best Margaritas on earth. But first, you need all the stuff to make them. Most important if you are going to make that frozen concoction to help you hang on is Jummy Buffets Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker.

I have a genuine Margaritaville Concoction maker which is shown below. But it is pricey so there is a suitable sub almost as good. The only reason I have the second one is it is a very good blender and I have used it for Margaritas when I had both going for a hot summer pool party. So here they both are:

To make your Margarita MMMMM-MMMMM good, you’ve got to start with the tequila. Nothing but Patron. Some folks say I don’t need the good tequila when mixing it with all the other stuff. Perhaps they’re right if that’s all you are going to do. But it’s Kokomo Island Law that the person making a batch of Margaritas has to take a shot to be sure everything is good. So, Patron it is.

The next ingrediant needed is Trippe Sec. Brand isn’t important, but don’t leave this out. It’s part of what makes Kokomo Man’s Margaritas so good.

I don’t make my own lime mix. There’s no need when there’s the Cuervo mix. Even though I would only use Jose Cuervo tequila in an emergency, I won’t use anything else for a mixer… nuf said.

Now… here’s the secret ingredient. Shhhhhh don’t tell anyone. Agave syrup. One day I was shopping and came across a bottle of agave syrup. I’m not even sure why I bought it, but I figgured since tequila is made from the agave plant, the syrup must be good. In reality it’s a natural sweetener, but I thought I would try it out in a Margarita. I haven’t stopped using it since.

So… here’s the recipe for Kokomo Man’s Magnificent Margarita…. a K-MMM. I should mention that this isn’t one of those little wimpy 8oz Margaritas with 8oz ice you get at your local watering hole. This is for a Kokomo Man size Margarita. If you want one of those wimpy ones, then cut the ingredients in half. Or multiply as necessary for a party

  • 2 Shots of Patron Silver
  • 1 Shot of Triple Sec.
  • 8 Shots of Cuervo Margarita Mix
  • 1 tsp Agave syrup

If you do the math, that’s a bit over 16oz of liquid. I never measure precisely on any of this stuff… especially the Agave syrup. But this gives you the approximate ratios. Don’t get carried away with any of the booze. If you want a little more booze, then just do a shot of tequila before having your first big drink of the Margarita.

You’ve got two ways to go. You can make a frozen concoction to help you hang on, or drink it on the rocks. I suppose you could make just one frozen drink if you wanted to, but I usually make a batch. If you’ve got the Jimmy Buffet frozen concoction maker, just follow the directions for the ice, pour in all the ingredients, and press the button. Presto-chango and out come frozen concoctions.

If you’ be got the blender like the one I showed above, loosely fill it with ice cubes up to about the 50oz mark. Don’t add too much ice. You can add more later if you need to thicken it up. Then go with 3 times the recipe from above and add in a little extra agave. Pour in the booze and stuff, and turn on the blender. Pour yourself a big glass and welcome to brain-freeze.

As for me, I prefer it on the rocks. Get a big glass… quart Mason jar or something you can put a lid on. Put in some ice and then pour in the Patron, and Triple sec first. Then pour everything else in, put a lid on and give it a shake. This really isn’t thought of as a shaken drink but this gets everything mixed up well. There’s nothing I hate worse than a Margarita with the ingredients just poured in and served with a straw.

After you give it a couple of shakes, you can just drink it from the Mason jar. I’ve been known to do that. However… you really need to have a set of Margarita glasses for company. I always use salt on the glass but suit yourself on this one. Put only a little ice in the glass since the Margarita liquid in the Mason jar is already cold. Use an ice strainer to pour only the liquid from the Mason jar into the glass. There’s nothing worse than melted ice watering down a perfectly good Margarita.

Even though you could go through the summer drinking your Margaritas from a Mason jar, here’s a nice set of proper Margarita glasses. By proper I mean the right shape and most importantly… 16oz.

Now that I’ve finished writing this part… it’s time for a Margarita. I’ll be back in a little while.

Summer Essential # 2 – TUNES

What would summer be without the music to go along with it. If you have the right music with you, it doesn’t matter where you are. Play a little island music, and even a blanket spread out in the middle of the Mojave Desert becomes a tropical paradise. So what’s my first pick for music. Surely you didn’t have to ask… and don’t call me Shirley.

This version of Kokomo isn’t performed by the Beach Boys, but it’s as good. (If you didn’t look at the name on the cover and I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t the Beach Boys. That said, for the summer sound, you must have some Beach Boys. this is my pick. This has 30 of the Beach Boys all-time favorites. I don’t care who your or what age you are, these are some of the best summer tunes ever. For only 7 bucks for the CD or less than 12 bucks for the MP3s, this will have you hangin’ ten in your back yard.

I should mention that clicking on any of these album will take you to Amazon. It will open up in another window. Click on the “sample” and listen to some of the tunes while you come back here to read on.

There’ a few more “must-have” albums. You knew I wouldn’t go without a little Buffett did you. Here are two of his more than twenty CDs. The first one has all his well-known stuff and a few of his more unusual songs only true ParrotHeads know. The second one is a concert replay. Be careful though… you could become a ParrotHead and there’s no coming back from that.

This next suggestion could really be a dozen or more CDs. A while back, Carnival (yeah, the cruise folks) created the “Carnival Steel Drum Band.” Even though I don’t think the band still exists, they created more than twelve albums. With any of these albums, a blow-up pool… along with a Margarita… will become the cove of some tropical island.

I almost forgot to mention… Carnival’s Vol 1 has the “Banana Boat Song.” If you’ve followed me for any time, you know that I say the sail-away day of any cruise isn’t really day #1. That’s because the sail-away isn’t till late in the afternoon. Therefore, sail-away day is Day 0… “Day Oh”

You could download all the summer tunes and put them on your smart phone, i-thing or other MP-3 player… put on your headphones or ear buds… get lost in the music. That could take you to your own private Caribbean island… in your head. And that would be fine. As for me, I want to share it with everyone on the beach. That takes a BoomBox.

Start cranking out any of the tunes I’ve listed and you will have people join in. I know.. these days strangers can’t get too close, but with a little imagination you could have a beach party with folks that walk by. I am always amazed at how many people will join in a sing-along or do a little dance to the beach music.

Or maybe a block-beach-party with folks in your neighborhood. Just don’t go blasting out everything late at night. This summer, people are looking for a little something to put a smile on their face. So maybe you’re going to be the one with a boom-box and a few Margaritas (in a disposable paper glass of course.) If you don’t already have a boombox here’s a few things to consider.

  • Don’t get a massive stereo system. Yeah, they may claim to be portable, but remember, unless you are never going to leave your back porch, then you are going to have to carry this thing. And if you are walking across one of those magnificent deep sand beaches, then you don’t want to be worn out before you get there. Besides, modern boomboxes do an amazing job in small packages.
  • Get a Bluetooth model. That way you can put the tunes on your phone and take them with you anywhere. And with the online subscription services like Sirus/XM you can have any tunes you want and play them on your boombox.
  • Think about getting something waterproof or at least water-resistant. You are going to be at the beach or pool-party… or out by your blow-up pool. So something that can withstand a little water… or Margarita may work well for you.

There are a ton of boomboxes to choose from. Here’s the one I bought. It checks all the boxes and didn’t break the bank.

Here’s another one I have. It’s just a small one. I take this one with me everywhere… especially on cruises, because it’s easy to pack. It’s not loud enough to entertain everybody at the beach or a large pool party, but it will do a good job for friends around a picnic table and stuff like that. It really is waterproof too. Mine has been dunked in the Caribbean more than once and it still works just fine.

You can see how small this one is by the pic of it in my hand. It has amazingly good sound considering how small it is.

My next post will continue with the essentials for summer. I chose these first two because even if you don’t read anymore, you’ve got the two most essential things… frozen concoctions to help you hang on and beach tunes. For now I’ll leave you with one more item. Even though it’s not really essential, you would be surprised how much fun friends can have with Margaritas, beach tunes, and… a blow-up pool.

To follow along with Summers 10 Essentials and keep up with all my posts, you can get notified by email any time I make a new post. Just sign up in the right-hand column at the top of the page. I promise… I won’t blast you with SPAM email.

Letting Tourons Back to Key West

I usually try to keep it lite in my posts… especially during hard times. But today, I’m taking a mostly serious look at the situation in which we find ourselves. I was spurred on by “Key West Lou.” I follow his daily blog about Key West and, of late, “no punches pulled political commentary.” CLICK HERE TO GO TO HIS BLOG

One of Lou’s recent blogs started with:

Key West is closed down. Duval dead!

One of Key West’s famous gentleman’s clubs is The Red Garter on Duval. A strip joint with class. There is a large sign in its window: Sorry….. We’re Clothed Until Further Notice.

A delicate touch! A Key West one!

Lou’s comments and the sign are clever ways to point out Key West is in dire straits during the Cootie Bug crisis.

This pic was posted on twitter by Reese Piper, a stripper at the Red Garter. The comment with the pic was, “My club in Florida’ Clothed Until Further Notice’”
Reese @reesepipewrites proclaims of herself: Freelance writer. Mostly sex work, disability, & the intimate details of my life. Stripper.

Key West (and all of the Florida Keys) are almost entirely dependent on tourism. There is no other industry of consequence in Key West. Right now, there is a roadblock preventing all but residents from entering The Keys. During normal times upwards of 20,000 visitors are in Key West every day… sometimes more. While the full-time resident population of “Bone Island” is small, about 25,000, I would venture to say 95% or more of the residents are in one way or another dependent on tourism. Key West is indeed in trouble.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Col. Lou Caputo directs a driver wanting to continue down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway near Key Largo, Fla. Friday, March 27, 2020. The Keys have been temporarily closed to visitors since March 22, because of the coronavirus crisis. Keys officials decided to established the checkpoint Friday to further lessen the threat of virus transmission to people in the subtropical island chain. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)
Road block allowing only residents into The Keys.

I sometimes comment on Lou’s blog… he’ll let anyone comment. So today, I commented about the “clothed till further notice” sign. I said:

Perhaps the sign should read, “We’re clothed until Fantasy Fest.”

(If you don’t know what Fantasy Fest is… it’s held around Halloween every year and can be best described as a “public tits & tease. I wrote about it last October.
For adults… HERE’S THE LINK TO THE FANTASY FEST PAGE. )

After reading Lou’s blog, I went looking for pics or videos of Key West during the shutdown. There’s one video of a bike ride down Duval just about sunset time. It’s eerie. All the places I like to go to have their doors closed and no visitors. Capt’n Tony’s, Sloppy Joes, and yes, The Red Garter, are all locked-up tight. There are no tourists. Even Margaritaville is closed except for take-out food.

Margaritaville closed! The horror of it all!!!!

(Here’s a LINK TO THE VIDEO, which is about 50 minutes long. Seeing The Rock like this is very eerie.)

There is some truth to my “clothed till Fantasy Fest” comment on Lou’s blog. I mean, unless you’ve recovered from the virus, there is no immunity. And with a vaccine maybe 18 months away, what are we to do. Visitors are the lifeblood of “The Rock.” Can it survive all the way to Fantasy Fest… or longer?

 And if Key West does open up for Fantasy Fest… or any time before there is an effective vaccination, what will happen? Of course… Tourons will flock to Key West by the tens of thousands. They will eat, drink, and party all over Key West… especially right down Duval.

(Touron = Tourist + Moron – Not all tourists are morons and vice-versa.)

Of maybe 20,000 visitors every day of Fantasy Fest, a few… maybe 100 or so, will have (or carry) Cootie Bugs into the bars and restaurants… and right down the middle of Duval. They will visit all my favorite places like the Chart Room, the “Trat”, the Rum Bar, or Aqua for dueling bartenders. And yes… Margaritaville!

So… I have to ask: Do you want Key West and the world to wait 18 months for a vaccine, or; perhaps, just perhaps, it’s time to rip off the Band-Aid and get it over with. Yes… it will be a lot like walking naked down the middle of Duval street… all exposed.

But that’s precisely what Sweden is doing. Not the naked part… but the “ripping off the Band-Aid part. They are allowing mostly “business as usual” and accepting that rather than taking months for everyone to get Cootie Bugs, they are getting it over with… and then on with life.

Hummm… thinking about it and considering it’s Sweden… maybe the naked part does apply.

So how long do we wait? It’s six months till Fantasy Fest. Is that long enough? Probably not. In a short period, the Turons are sure to bring the Cootie Bugs into every bar, restaurant, hotel, and t-shirt shop in town.

Southernmost Point before Cootie Bugs
Southernmost Point post “lock-down.”

Can we even wait until Fantasy Fest… six months from now? If we wait that long, then there will be no bars, restaurants, hotels, and trinket shops for visitors to come to. All but wealthy and retired residents will be forced to leave. They will have to find work elsewhere. Then there will be nobody to serve the booze, no musicians, no one to work in the t-shirt shops…. And no one will be at the front desk of the hotels. Those who make Key West the vibrant place that it is will be gone. The Rum Bar, the Trat, and maybe even the Chart Room will be gone. And I’m sure we can’t wait 18 months until there’s a vaccine.

Finally… if we’re not back to normal by Fantasy Fest, I’m walking naked down the middle of Duval street. That should be motivation enough to get re-opened.

So I ask… when should re-open? When do we “rip the Band-Aid off?”  I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision.

Silver Linings Everywhere

As has been my morning routine for a lot of years, the first thing I do is get a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, make a quick check of emails for anything important, and get a cup of coffee.  Then I sit down to watch NBC’s Today Show.

For the past few weeks, the Today Show makes me cry twice. In the beginning, it’s all Corona all the time… and I cry tears of sorrow. But as the show goes on, a few bright spots start to shine through. Of late, Harry Smith and Cynthia McFadden have had great stories of how people all over are stepping up in the time of crisis. These make me cry too, but they are tears of joy.

A grandma in Detroit doing what she can to help.

More than anything, this Corona Bastard Virus has shown what WE are made of. The “WE” I’m referring to is the collective American and world-wide spirit. Every day people from all walks of life are “stepping-up” to do whatever they can. Sometimes it’s just the little things that put a smile on a little girl’s face… the grandpa dancing in the street a safe distance away from his granddaughter to make her happy.

Or maybe it’s the firefighters saluting all the medical workers. This time it’s the medical workers that are running to the danger.

And of course, stories abound about people giving money. Athletes and celebrities everywhere are donating… millions. But it’s not just the rich. Piano Bar and lounge entertainers are giving free concerts on Facebook and YouTube. Far more than a lounge entertainer, the next clip is Niel Sedaka doing a Facebook Concert. You may not know who he is unless you are a Baby Boomer. But you are sure to recognize the songs he has written. He has written for and collaborated with performers such as Elton John, and The Capitan & Tennille.

Neil Sedaka is doing these every day on YouTube and FaceBook. If you don’t know who he is, ask your Grand-Dude

People are donating food to medical workers or old folks that need help. One place on an interstate was giving meals to truckers moving goods to grocery stores. There are others just going to work and doing their job. Yet they are the ones that get us our groceries and other essential stuff.

Yesterday I beamed over to the “mainland” to pick-up groceries. I ordered it all online and drove to the grocery store. I parked in the designated spot and opened up the rear doors of the Magic Bus. A person came out wearing a mask and loaded everything in the back. I offered a tip, but the reply was, “I’m just doing my job, and a tip isn’t necessary. Give it to your favorite charity.” I think that’s much more than “just doing their job.”

Hummmm… I think grocery store workers are some of the heroes on the front lines. Even though they try to do everything they can to keep everything clean and disinfected, think of the hundreds or maybe thousands of customers coming into the store. How many of those customers are bringing in Cootie Bugs with them? Well… when you consider many of us are isolating ourselves for safety, anyone working in a grocery store is putting themselves in “harms way”. I just hope they don’t bring it home and give it to their kids.

Then there’s the soccer mom in New Braunfels, Tx. She’s a mother of six, cranking out “COVID-masks” by hand. She’s making 40+ a day… in-between homeschooling and everything else a mom of six has to do while her husband is away at work. OH… what does her husband do? He’s a US Army Officer and works at the Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Mom of six making these masks. She said she only hopes to cover the cost of materials.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a difference. There’s a California girl who works at Macy’s. When the Cootie Bugs caused the Macy’s store to close, she was home and out of work. Not one to bemoan her problems, she found a way to help. She volunteered with Project Door Drop. This all while battling Melanoma herself. She just said, “It makes me feel good to help out.”

Volunteering to help at Project Door Drop.
Project Door Drop is a non-profit organization working to bring pre-packaged boxes of food to the elderly and immunocompromised within the City of Lancaster. All food comes directly from the LA Food Bank. One box is estimated to feed 2 people for 1 week.

Feel sad, and feel-good stories abound. Perhaps the one that includes both ends was provided this past weekend on the Today Show by Harry Smith. I think this covers the week better than anything else I’ve come across. In the end, it shows just how good people can be… it shows there is a rainbow on the horizon.

Groundhog Day… all over again.

I’ve watched this video many times. Every time I watch it, I get a little something in my eye. The full story about the guy in Texas tells you more about him, his neighbors and Americans. You really need to watch this. Here’s the link: Ventilator shortage solution by small company in Texas (opens up in a new tab)

The people with stories during this time are almost endless. Yes… this is a hard time, but if you look you can find the silver linings. Mostly these silver linings are in people… what they do and how they are helping each other. I encourage you to post comments with your story, or the story you have learned about.

Just What The World Needs Now

In the midst of this epidemic, has your faith in mankind been restored?… at least a little bit? I mean… people are kinder… gentler toward each other. Every day… almost every minute you see some act of kindness. People are giving of themselves to others. Throughout time, ordinary people have stepped up to do extraordinary things… ordinary people becoming extraordinary heroes.

Before you read on, click on the Youtube link below and let it play in the background.

Read more about this video and music at the bottom of the page.

Today’s hero doesn’t fit the mold we’ve come to expect… or do they? We’ve come to expect a hero to be someone in uniform that goes into danger. But take away the uniform and what do you have? A mostly ordinary person who is put in a situation and decides they are going to make a difference.

Usually, it isn’t the Generals, Police, or Fire Chief leading the way into danger. More often than not it’s the low ranking, low paid “soldier” down in the trenches. Today’s soldier is the one that delivers your mail, packages, or groceries to your door. It’s the truck drivers delivering TP to your store. (Hurry up… I’m almost out.) They are taking a chance exposing themselves when the rest of us are “hunkered down.”

Those that are wearing uniforms are still out there too. Themilitary, police and firefighters are still on duty… answering the call inthe face of new danger. Then too, some are wearing uniforms we don’t ordinarilythink of as “soldiers.” Nurses, doctors, orderlies are especially on the “frontlines.” They are the soldiers in the middle of the battle.

Most of them will say, I was just doing my job… or it wasthe right thing to do. Today, in every walk of life, we see people stepping upto do the right thing. Sometimes it’s rich people donating their time andmoney, but more often than not it’s the everyday people that are out there “inthe trenches.”

In the deepest, darkest and desperate times of World War II in Great Britain, their Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech telling the people it would be remembered as their “finest hour.”

Perhaps this will be the world’s finest hour. I have seenmore good in mankind in the last couple of weeks than I have seen in a longtime. It’s not just here in the US…it’s all around the world. People are helping out any way they can.

People are working together in ways that we couldn’t imaginejust a few weeks ago. There’s the neighborhood that all go out to say the “Pledgeof Allegiance” with their kids in the morning. Neighbors throw impromptubirthday parties for little kids by driving around in their cars and truckshonking their horns. People everywhere are doing what they can to make adifference. They are looking out for each other. While having to remain apart,they are coming together

Keep it up humans.

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The music for “What the World Needs Now” was written by Hal David (Lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (Music) in the summer of 1965. It became a “top 40” hit. This video version is the “brainchild” of Shelbie Rassler, a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The video below from the March 29 “Sunday Today,” tells about how she and her fellow students came together to put together the video. It is yet another example of people coming together in ways we couldn’t imagine just days ago. (By the way… seems the music of the 60s is still holding up pretty well.)