Chris found a bunch of old photos stuck together in the garage. Found this one from the late 1990s (maybe 1998?) with my friend Don Chareunsy at a journalism convention in Chicago. This had to be at least 60 pounds and two chins ago.

“Peale drew throngs of followers, but also sharp criticism from Christians who accused him of cherry-picking Bible verses and peddling simplistic solutions.

But the young Donald Trump was hooked.”

I can’t stomach Catholic social media right now. Too many people getting on the “open our churches immediately” bandwagon. Hey, I miss Mass and adoration chapels as much as the next observant Catholic, but the anger behind so much of the new clamor is disconcerting.

That anger: Is it driven by a desire for spiritual sustenance or rage over being inconvenienced by a pandemic you don’t necessarily care about or believe? All it does is drive people away from the God you say you worship.

On a videoconference this last e-learning day, F claimed loudly in a “two truths and a lie” session that she had logged 220 hours on Animal Crossing during the lockdown.

It was a lie, but I swear I heard the sound of authorities coming to seize our parenting licenses.

“None of us should spend a moment worrying about what these grown people do. There are better ways to expend our emotional energy than on people who eagerly follow Trump, even if he leads them to their grave.”

If you look closely, our new neighbors appear to have multiplied.

I love this ESPN story about the American “Santa Grandfather” who became one of the Lotte Giants’ biggest fans. Now I wish ESPN would broadcast an actual Lotte Giants game.

I wasn’t imagining it. All these COVID-19 ads are pretty much all the same.

Frannie found a robin nesting in our shrubbery.

I want to follow the Lotte Giants, but the broadcasting rights stars haven’t aligned with ESPN’s KBO broadcasting deal. I don’t want to pick a favorite team just because it’s on ESPN.

I love that now that I’m following a Korean YouTube feed for baseball, I’m getting a ton of Korean suggestions on my YouTube home page. (And no, I’m neither Korean nor understand Korean. But maybe I should learn the language. Ballgames seem more fun in Korean.)

A Muslim video game developer finds community during Ramadan in Animal Crossing: “For Ismail, the biggest benefit is that he’s not alone during inarguably trying times. This gets him a little closer to the real thing.”

The lilacs are blooming in the backyard. And they smell amazing.

Someday, I will get out of the house and take photos of other things besides my kid and her dog.

Had a tough time getting to sleep last night. Odd, since I usually sleep well during storms like the ones we had overnight. Of course, the older dog fidgeted a while before C. put him in his crate.

As for me, I spent several hours fidgeting with the wired earbuds I wear to mask C.’s snoring because they won’t work anymore with the lightning adapter on the iPhone. I’m just going to have to throw in the towel and invest in wireless earbuds – and NOT spend a mortgage payment on AirPod Pros.

Yes, we’re all in this together, we’re all hunkering down, we’re all facing down challenges but we’ll pull through. Whatever.

I don’t need more ads endlessly reminding me. Just let me watch my Korean baseball and old Bulls games in peace, Corporate America.

My frame of mind, one Wikipedia definition at a time

I started searching for “ambivalence” in Wikipedia (where I found these definitions) and ended up in “asociality.” I imagine that means something.

Slept in. Woke up to a custom-made Mom’s Day fortune cookie and Animal Crossing figurine made by Frannie.

This afternoon, had a painkiller-powered nap on a heating pad, followed by my requested dinner: Spam, eggs, and rice. Ultimate comfort food that fits well with a low-fiber diet. Grateful.

Tony Gwynn would have turned 60 years old today. Tim Kurkjian of ESPN writes about the Hall of Fame slugger’s artistry with the bat.

(I also recall my brief brush with his greatness two decades ago.)

“The bitter terms of our racial contract”

The coronavirus epidemic has rendered the racial contract visible in multiple ways. Once the disproportionate impact of the epidemic was revealed to the American political and financial elite, many began to regard the rising death toll less as a national emergency than as an inconvenience. Temporary measures meant to prevent the spread of the disease by restricting movement, mandating the wearing of masks, or barring large social gatherings have become the foulest tyranny. The lives of workers at the front lines of the pandemic—such as meatpackers, transportation workers, and grocery clerks—have been deemed so worthless that legislators want to immunize their employers from liability even as they force them to work under unsafe conditions. In East New York, police assault black residents for violating social-distancing rules; in Lower Manhattan, they dole out masks and smiles to white pedestrians.

~ Adam Serwer, “The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying,” The Atlantic

I didn’t even know the “Racial Contract” had a name. Serwer explains:

The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal; the racial contract limits this to white men with property. The law says murder is illegal; the racial contract says it’s fine for white people to chase and murder black people if they have decided that those black people scare them. “The terms of the Racial Contract,” [philosopher Charles] Mills wrote, “mean that nonwhite subpersonhood is enshrined simultaneously with white personhood.”

Serwer finds this to be the appalling thread that connects the recent shooting of a black jogger in Georgia with the shift in attitude about the pandemic among a small but significant segment of the country.

Collective solidarity in response to the coronavirus remains largely intact—most Americans support the restrictions and are not eager to sacrifice their lives or those of their loved ones for a few points of gross domestic product. The consistency across incomes and backgrounds is striking in an era of severe partisan polarization. But solidarity with the rest of the nation among elite Republicans—those whose lives and self-conceptions are intertwined with the success of the Trump presidency—began eroding as soon as the disproportionate impact of the outbreak started to emerge.

This is a tough but necessary read.

Finding restoration in “No Reservations”

When I went on maternity leave 12 years ago, my sister introduced me to this travel show she watched religiously, “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain, some foul-mouthed former chef from New York.

E. came to help out for a couple of weeks after the baby was born, and we watched a bunch of “No Reservations” episodes while I tried and failed to nurse. (Long story. F. ended up being a formula baby, and she turned out fine.) I was hooked, and looked forward to periodic Bourdain marathons on the Travel Channel. I also downloaded episodes on Amazon. I was less enamored with his show when it moved to CNN and became “Parts Unknown,” but I still watched occasionally.

Even so, his death a few years ago devastated me. Knowing he was in pain clouds my watching of his shows with sadness. Bourdain’s passing remains such a loss to the world, not to mention his family and loved ones. This place needs his humor and generous lens on the world more than ever.

I’ve been getting reacquainted with him after discovering the 24/7 “Anthony Bourdain RIP” feed on Twitch. There is something comforting in this nasty and brutish time about the empathy, astute observations, and smart-assed genius in one “No Reservations” episode after another.

I spend too much time stewing in my rage about the corruption and incompetence that plagues our country. The state of the country is one of insularity and hate; “Making America Great Again” no doubt thrives on an us-versus-them mentality (“them” being other countries, other races and ethnic groups, even the elderly and physically fragile who somehow endanger one’s right to get a haircut) that will kill us all.

Watching Bourdain get to know “the other” across the planet, one meal and family and conversation at a time, is restoring my beaten-down faith in humanity.

Takeaways from two doctors in two follow-ups to last week’s ER visit:

  • Follow up with a gastroenterologist and get set up for a colonoscopy.
  • Get an ultrasound to measure what’s left of my fibroids.
  • Stay off the ibuprofen. (Oh sure, NOW tell me that.) Use alternative, prescription pain meds.
  • Go on a low-fiber diet to let my gut rest. This makes the husband, with his whole-grain obsession, insane.

When Animal Crossing and my appreciation for pro sports collide.

Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of the lawn Nazi next door mowing her grass for the second time this week. #IMissMyOffice