CoVid Star Power

We are all the stars of our own lives.  This applies to each of us, whether we choose to luxuriate in the spotlight or are repelled by the mere thought of being noticed.

All of this is to say we have the ultimate say on every choice we make because at the end of the day we are the person taking the action.  It’s not only our name and reputation, but it’s our decision that keeps the entire project that is US afloat.

And nowhere has this been more apparent than in the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases across the United States.

Oh god

New COVID-19 cases are increasing in all 50 states in the US at an alarming rate.  Sure it’s worse in Florida, Missouri and the Arkansas border than it might be than where you’re reading this, but rest assured cases are also UP where you are.

Thanks Delta-Variant.  Thanks mask refusers.  Thanks pandemic deniers.  And most of all, thanks TO THE NON-VACCINATED.  They are all truly the STARS of their OWN SHOW.

Me, 24/7

The above sentence is meant to be read and/or said aloud with sarcasm.  You can also throw in a dollop of anger, impatience and even hate on my part on any given day or if the mood strikes you.   And given the news lately, it likely will.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Friday that this is becoming the pandemic of the unvaccinated.  This is because that population accounts for over 99% of recent COVID deaths.  However, that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get a mild case of sick with perhaps lingering  lifetime effects from this disease.   

Nor does it mean that kids under 12 years old, who right now don’t even qualify to get a shot, won’t soon be in danger.  In fact, doctors tell us that if virus keeps surging the youngest members of our population will be the most affected.  Even now in Mississippi, a state with one of our lowest vaccination rates, seven children are in intensive care with COVID-19 and two are on ventilators.

Never more relevant

I won’t bore you with too many figures but just know that new cases are up 10% over what they were a week ago and 38 of our 50 states have seen a 50% increase. 

Across the US there were an average of 26,448 new cases per day over the last week. 

That might not seem scary in a country with 328 million people until you realize this figure was 67% higher than the week before.

If you take into account where we were in COVID-19 cases in, say, January 2020, and then look back and do the math of just a few months later, you’ll catch my drift.  Meaning we could be moving into deep sh-it once again if we don’t get our acts together.

Translation?  The answer is not to run to the nearest bar or local Med Men outlet (Note:  Google the latter) to not deal with what’s happening.  Instead, it’s to act like the best star in the world (Note: Think Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep) and step up, do your homework and carry the entire production on your shoulders if need be).

If we lockdown again, I’m ready for my Wilson phase

I live in Los Angeles, the most populated county in the country.  Because we’ve had a FIVE HUNDRED PER CENT increase in cases in the last month, an indoor mask mandate has been reinstated  as of Saturday night this weekend. 

What does this mean?  It means that if you go inside a supermarket, a workplace, a gym, a theatre or ANY INDOOR PUBLIC SETTING YOU HAVE TO WEAR A MASK.

It’s said that L.A. is leading the fight against the Delta Variant of COVID-19.  But, well, are we?

Or is it more like this?

I was fully vaccinated at the end of February and since then have always worn a mask at indoor public settings.  Except, well, a couple of times where I sat indoors at a restaurant when there was social distancing and I had to take my mask off to eat.  And then slowly decided to keep it off while I was inside because it seemed easier and no one else had one on.

Translation:  Truth be told, I never felt totally comfortable being unmasked in an indoor public space after I was vaccinated, even when I was six feet apart from others.  But I did it a few times (Note: Okay, maybe even more) anyway.

As a guy who used to lean towards the hypochondriacal, until I got older and realized there is truly NO escape from death, I figured that with the vaccine I could drop a shoulder strap or two at a socially distanced indoor restaurant. 

The Delta variant’s best friend

Still, there was no way I’d be doing a full strip indoors, even in L.A., at the movies or the, well, supermarket.  At this point, I no longer have any desire to prove just how comfortable I am onstage or center stage EVERYWHERE, even though, living in Hollywood, there is ALWAYS a chance you can be discovered, or rediscovered, at any moment and at any given age.  Or so the legend goes.

Nevertheless, it seems far too many Americans do see themselves as the center stage star of their own burlesque routine in towns big and small all across the country.  Rather than recognize they are part of a cast of millions in a daily blockbuster production called real-life, they see themselves as the spoiled pampered star at their local dinner theatre doing the same old thing in the same old way to less and less and FAR LESS success.  But, I mean, why change now, right?

Keep tellin’ yourself that, Norma

Those who’ve spent their adult lives in the entertainment industry realize at some point there is no reasoning with certain of these types.  They believe it is their right to act and strut and sing out exactly as they always have even if they put the entire rest of the cast and crew, in fact the entire show or project, at risk.

There is no shared responsibility. There is only the wants, needs AND DESIRES of the STAR. The star’s only real life are those moments that they are center stage and, for stars like these, those moments are every second of every waking hour of every single day. Consequences for all others be damned.

By the way, that kind of star doesn’t always have to be the performer.  It can be the director, the producer, the writer or the financier in the background.  It can even be, um, a former president of the United States.

HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED

Or it can be the person staring back at you each morning in the mirror, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

We all have the final say on what we do individually.  It’s our names, our reputations and our decisions that keep us afloat and, en masse, it is all of those things that keep the entire project that is the U.S. afloat.

Or sink it quicker than a summer stock production of The Sound Music in Atlanta featuring the Trump family.

Carly Simon – You’re So Vain

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”