2022 and Beyond

As we enter into the third year of the COVID pandemic, I’m optimistic.  

Did you know the flu epidemic/pandemic in the early 20th century lasted two years and perhaps beyond into a fourth wave? 

What makes us think we’d be any different?  Besides our vaccines, we have a lot more ways to get close and get infected.

Never leaving the house again

It’s so easy to think the horrible will never end, the future is bleak and that it won’t EVER be as good as it was.

When I catch myself going down this rabbit hole I’m reminded of what the late, great Stephen Sondheim lyricized in the vastly underrated Merrily We Roll Along.

…That’s what everybody does

Blame the way it is on the way it was

On the way it never ever was…

On a lighter metaphor, movies were not supposed to exist once television was born and theatre, well, that would soon be spoken as widely as Latin.

The Tao of Moira

So much for prophecy.

Movies are still here but the way we access them have changed.  The same with theatre.  And television.  And music.

Who remembers DVDs, VCRs, eight tracks, tape decks and…radio?

I mean, radio as a primary art form that’s on the front page or brain of anything?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

But on that latter point, who listens to PODCASTS?  

New Pod from a Chair Episodes coming soon!

You are so no better than your great grandparents.

Social media is not the revolutionary means to the end of the world but the evolution of a world where change knows no end.

Yeats famously prophesized in a 1919 poem, the center cannot hold and we’re still here. 

This despite the fact that phrase was pilfered and rephrased by any number of 1960s social revolutionaries who saw the end coming, and was recently used as the title of the Netflix doc on the life of writer Joan Didion, The Center Will Not Hold.

RIP Joan

Totalitarian reign and pushback.  They leave Afghanistan, we desert Afghanistan. Our weapons of mass destruction, they lied about weapons of mass destruction, our existence teeters on the brink of mass destruction.

This is not to minimize any one of the above issues or their many cousins that are nipping at the heels of all of our destructions.

It is simply to remember that despite all of these changes certain core issues and ways of humanity are ALWAYS the same. 

It’s simply the players, scenery and mode of import that makes it feel different.  To US.

I imagine this is what both Sondheim AND Betty White knew well before their ends.

We’ll miss you girl

On that note, it’s hard to lose our beloved elders, isn’t it?  But by anyone’s measure, living to 91 and 99 is almost more than we can ask given the realities of human frailty.  Yet, we never get enough of people we love, like and admire from afar and near.

This is a particularly heart ripping truth when it comes to our closest friends, family and loved ones. 

Death can be random and cruel, particularly when it comes to the young, but it’s also rote and predictable.  It’s always been the way of the world.  We can extend life a bit but THAT will also NEVER change.

At least as far as we know. 

That is, unless you have Irishman level de-aging tech available to you

Which brings us back to the exciting but scary part that has so many of us freaking out about 2022; what we DON’T know.

Which is….A LOT.

My late second Mom, an avid reader, once told me when I was feeling hopeless and down that life was like a great book, you never know what will happen when you turn the page. 

Expect the unexpected, weather the storm of horribleness and celebrate every second of luck and good fortune that will inevitably come your way.

This, if you have a field

If this sounds like a Forest Gumpism, a movie I could never stomach, it doesn’t to me.  Her advice wasn’t akin to life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get, even though it might be read this way now.  Rather than being about the randomness of life, I took it as the certainty that a good piece of story will always deliver to you; the ups and downs, the inescapable heartache and the always to be counted on moments of joy.

Though perhaps, for me, it was simply the book/story metaphor.  I could relate a lot more to that than some stupid container of processed sugar able to undo you or reward you beyond your wildest dreams depending on what road you decided to paw.

OK but pizza might work

It could have also been the messenger. 

My second Mom, meaning my stepmom – a parental figure who only becomes such by coincidence of marriage but can truly emerge as a lot more than that depending on who they and you are – was not a habitual advice giver and problem solver.  Though always, she was honest.  Some would say to a fault.

So when she took the time to challenge me with a metaphor of what life truly was (and would be) it compelled me to listen.  And woke me up from my malaise in an instant.

I think this idea is what sustains me through so many problematic moments, both personal and societal.

OK, but also pizza

That the secret is that not one of us, the most talented or smartest or even both that any human can be, will solve any of these issues on our own.  Nor are we likely to even manage to get through them.

We depend on each other.  Not only the people we love and trust but on all of those charlatans who we loathe. 

The best of them show us the way to survive and grow.  The worst of them try and seduce us into drowning in their bile and cynicism.

Except this guy. F*** this guy.

Not that I haven’t been known to be a cynic or offered my own bile out into the world, dressed up and spewed out as wisdom at times.

It takes a long time, often a lifetime, to become wise enough to understand what is being offered (and why) from each source and to move forward in the best way possible.  And I believe the most difficult part of this is recognizing that you – yourself – can be quite an unreliable narrator. 

They (Note: Whoever THEY are) say trust yourself, but that doesn’t always work.  When you suspect you – yourself – are not to be trusted you need to turn to people like your second Mom, one among a small handful of someone elses that we all need to cultivate, that inner circle of truth, and then decide what the best options are.

You can’t sit all alone in your room and figure it all out yourself.  That’s myopic and creepy and just plain dumb.  And it will NEVER get you through 2022 in any sort of meaningful or even pleasing way.

Deep thoughts

Once I realized this small fact and made it into a strategy, I became more optimistic.

A group effort with you at the helm but never as sole narrator and dictator, benevolent though you might think you are.

No ONE of us is to be entirely trusted.   But together, with the benefits of our small group (Note: Which doesn’t mean isolating from the thoughts and logic of the rest of the world at large), we will see a way forward.

Through 2022 and into plots twists and turns we never could have imagined or pulled off by ourselves.

“Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight” – Jennifer Hudson from SING

Zoom Free Zone

The 93d annual Academy Awards will be presented next Sunday, April 25.  ABC will carry them live at 5pm PST and at 8pm EST.  The main stage hub will be located at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, an architectural delight of Deco and Spanish design, long considered among the last of the great train stations.

Red carpet ready

Consider the decision to use this public transportation landmark as a gathering place for the world’s most popular awards show, one that could surely rival the old MGM’s claim of having more stars than there are in heaven– as an innovative coup.

For one thing, it’s NEVER been done before.  And, well, at this point I’m not sure there is much of anything any of us can say that about.

But for another, this year’s Oscar producers have categorically promised, sworn really, that this production will contain:

NO ZOOM CHATS.  AT ALL.

Live shot of me in my living room next Sunday

NOTHING on the small or big screen can categorically claim that these days as we enter the latest chapter in our more than year-long (and still counting) continuing TV series, entitled:

AS THE PANDEMIC TURNS….

It’s the program that consistently reminds you:

No one really knows for sure how close is too close, even if you’ve been vaccinated. 

What?

Thank god I look good in green

Yeah, sure if you’ve been jabbed you can get “close” to random people and be fairly sure you won’t get IT, or at least a bad case of IT.  But if you’re careless you still can’t be positive (Note: Or can you?) you won’t pick IT up and pass it on to your friends, your kid, other family members or even someone you randomly meet… somewhere ….and strike up a conversation with.

Not that many of us are back to doing much of that these days.  I don’t think.  Though, well, truly I can’t be sure.

What I can be sure of is that other than the fact that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on hold until they can sort out 6 or so blood clots it unwittingly induced among a handful of unlucky women, and the fact that those of us fortunate enough to receive Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations will now need a third booster jab no more than a year from out first vaccination date, the US is doing great!

It is, right?

That is, as long as you’re not a Black male within 1000, okay 10,000, feet of a police officer, or even someone who happens to care about what happens to Black males engaged in anything that could place them anywhere near the vicinity to any of the above.  That series, which truly has been going on since 1776, could very presciently be entitled:

REPARATIONS?  DUH!!!

Though, well, let’s see.

Because it might not be the type of four-quadrant series studios and production companies long for, despite how timely it might seem at this moment.   Meaning it likely would NOT appeal to the broadest possible audiences of all ages and economic classes the industry longs to attract given how polarized our country is at the moment.

No comment

A better choice might be chucking the topic all together and stay with something, um, safer….for the majority of us, that is. 

Given our national fascination with gun violence, which pretty much affects everyone now since you can not only get your head blown off at a school, a movie theatre, a supermarket and, as we’ve just learned a few days ago – even a nondescript FED EX facility.

you just know something that promised some blood and bullets and, well, MAIL would be a bigger draw.  The action. The letters left unopened or undelivered.  Who knows what could have been in them that remained unrevealed and unrealized before it was too late?

By the way, does this latest FedEx fiasco have anything to do with how screwed up the Trump Administration’s still lingering postmaster Louis DeJoy made the US postal service with all his slashing and burning of services?

Evergreen

Maybe not, but let’s blame him anyway because, well, it just feels right.  Doesn’t it???

It is for all of the above and more that I am truly, and greatly, looking forward to this year’s Oscars.  It’s why I’ve been blogging about it lately and why we’re devoting several of our new POD FROM A CHAIR podcasts to who will win and why, as well as why not.

Yes, we all need to pay attention to what’s going on in the world.  The shootings, the trials, the racism, the guns, the sickening lack of empathy the idiot who occupied the Oval Office fomented for four years before Joe Biden took office, not to mention the shots, the masks, and the vigilance we need to all employ in just about everything as we try to forge a new and better normal.

No more than ever, Moira.

Yet amid all that I would argue we also need to rely on the few constants we have left.  Pizza and chocolates are two.  The Academy Awards are a third.

Do NOT judge me.

NO JUDGEMENT

Aside from Union Station, this year there will also be cutaways to Oscar’s usual home, the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, a place close to my heart because I could walk there from my own home if I so desired; which I do not.

Though needless to say, I wouldn’t get very far.  Those surrounding streets should start getting barricaded right about…well, now.  And when that happens there’s  more security and barricades than just about anywhere. 

Certainly, it’s much more secure than our Capitol Building in D.C. was on Jan. 6th.  The ONE thing Hollywood ALWAYS does better than everyone else is keeping people out who they have somehow decided en masse to never let in.

But let’s not get too political at this point (Note: Time’s up).

wink

Instead, here’s what you can look forward to in this last week leading up to the Oscars.

A NEW POD FROM A CHAIR on TUESDAY with a special guest star.  Someone who is a REAL LIVE MOTION PICTURE ACADEMY VOTER who will share with us WHO THEY VOTED FOR AND WHAT THEIR PREDICTIONS ARE FOR THIS YEAR’S OSCAR WINNERS.

Of course, the Chair and Holly will also weigh in.

This may not be the booster vaccine you were looking for but don’t even start saying something Oscar-related is meaningless.  Anything that can take your mind off of…anything for a few minutes right now, so you can reserve your rage for the big stuff, is worth its weight in sanity.

The Rolling Stones – “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”