Workarounds And What-Ifs

This was the day I was supposed to go on hiatus – but I’m trusting a multi-million dollar communications corporation that is a quasi-monopoly to do what it pledged to do, and not cut off our Internet because of the ongoing coronavirus. In my case, it’s Charter/Spectrum who is my provider.

If they keep their word, I’ll be able to stay with you – which is my preference. I’m not too concerned about losing cable for a while, as there’s really nothing I’m missing at the moment with the virus shutting down most of life as we knew it.

In the event that a corporation fails to keep its word – then I have no hard feelings against them. They have to make a buck and keep bucks around, just as I do. When I get my stimulus money, I’d do business with them again, and every major life event such as this has its unintended consequences.

There’s also a “hotspot” that can be used by the public a short walk from my house – so theoretically, I should still be okay and not cut off completely. Then again, Spectrum owns that hotspot, too.

Whatever. As Jerry Garcia once said – we will get by, we will survive.

Media War And Rumor Of War

A little good news for a change – the number of cases and deaths went down yesterday, for a change. Let’s hope that trend continues.

That came with some bad news, though. The President announced in a rather contentious press briefing yesterday that the precautions for COVID are going to last another month at least – until April 30. By that point, who knows what else happens – after all, we went from normal lives at the start of March to anything but normal lives at the end of it.

A lot of friends turn to me for advice, and guess who gets the rap when the answer to something is negative? That would be me.

By the way, can we just agree that the media and President Trump don’t like each other and call it a day in some form? At the press briefings, the media keeps asking these entrapment questions to catch the President in something or other – they’re not exactly non-partisan these days. When the stimulus checks were still in question, they asked very few questions about them – or none at all.

Maybe the reporters should have to write out their questions in advance or something and have the President pick them out of a hat, or a box – something like that. The way these briefings are going are embarrassing, but more so to the media. The longer they go, the stronger the President seems to get.

Stop The Clock!

Good news.

Just learned that my internet/cable/phone provider will not be disconnecting anyone during the Coronavirus crisis. There’s an LA Times article saying as such from March 16th and reprinted a few other places.

That means I’m good, provided that check from “Uncle Donald” comes promptly. Until then, I see no reason to go on hiatus at this point.

You just can’t get rid of me, I guess. Unless I catch COVID – then that’s another story.

Angels Of Our Nature

A look at the calendar reveals we’re nearing the end of March – and we’re in a much different place at the end of March than we began the month, obviously. Yesterday, the total death toll in the US doubled within two days – and 19,000 more of us got the bad news they too have COVID.

It’s one of those events in life that’s causing change in all of our lives like nothing else has – though that also sounds like such an obvious thing to say. I find myself acting strangely at times, acting abnormally behavior-wise. It’s easy to excuse it and say nothing else is normal, so why should I be?

We all have the responsibility to be better in times like these – to help those who need it, even when you might need the help yourself. That is society’s Catch-22 right now.

They’re holding a concert tonight on the FOX networks, headlined by Sir Elton John. Instead of holding it at a public facility, it will be held in the living rooms of the various performers. I’m a bit curious how something like this plays out, as it will be one of the more unique “concerts” ever held.

Best wishes for you all – two more days before I take my hiatus.

Hiatus Update

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As I’ve mentioned, this blog will be going on hiatus after Tuesday. To document all the doom and gloom out there as COVID spreads – it’s probably going to be dull, if not depressing.

It’s also possible I might be losing Internet during April, though that’s looking increasingly unlikely with word yesterday of almost everyone making less than six figures on their most recent tax return getting a $1,200 check in a few weeks. When I get the stimulus check (hopefully via direct deposit), I should be back on at some point afterward. Hopefully, that should take less than a month.

Until then, it’s the same old song with a higher pitch in tone. There are now more than 100,000 cases in America, and one-day records were again broken in terms of positive cases and the number of deaths with over 400 yesterday. The mortality rate is creeping up from one percent a few weeks ago closer to two percent, which is well below other countries around the world.

More states and localities shutting down – more hope that the country will partially return to some form of normal in April. All we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Dispatches From Elsewhere

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I went with my mother to the local Walmart today – we could only afford to pick up a few things, and not everything was available at the cheapest prices. Whether you spend a dollar on bread or $2.50 is pretty much a crapshoot at the moment – but I did tell the bread delivery guy who was setting things up, “Thank you for what you do.” And I meant it – that guy could have abandon his job with all of this happening. I felt he needed to be thanked for being there.

News came in the afternoon that the House passed the stimulus bill – so help is on the way. Even though I sent a IRS Form 8888 to D.C. – it looks like that IRS website is setting up a way to give them your direct deposit information. I hope they can handle all of the traffic it’ll get!

I was wrong to get so nervous about who’s getting the money after all. If you have a Social Security number and you weren’t making six digits – you’re getting paid for sitting tight. If this goes on for some time, you might get paid again.

Showtime and Epix are offering nearly a month of their programming for free – so I haven’t been watching the news as vigilantly as I’ve been. I just got done watching “Action” about the sports-betting boom in the past few years – though that’s now been wiped out with no sports to bet on for the time being.

Other events have gone by the way-side. The Indianapolis 500 has been cancelled. If you’re a reality buff – Survivor halted production, and Big Brother 8 up in Canada ended only three weeks into their season. They should do the right thing and split the prize money up with everyone who was still there when it abruptly ended.

The US has now passed China and Italy in the total number of possible cases – at just past 3:30 pm EDT, that total is nearing 100,000. Over 1,500 have died – with over 200 more already today.

I hope you’re all holding up well – and go check on your friends. They’ll be thankful for the attention.

Flashback: “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

Godspeed to Kenny Rogers – who passed away March 20th at the age of 82.

A few of Kenny’s songs have been Flashbacks over the years. I’d argue “The Gambler” is probably that one song everyone knows if you’re of a certain age. It was #1 on the country Billboard charts, and also went to #16 on the pop charts after its 1978 release.

Dispatches From My Taxes

It suddenly dawned on me last night that I hadn’t done my taxes for last year. The horror! Now that it looks like $1,200 in the terms of a COVID stimulus check could possibly be riding on it – I decided to do them. The reason why I waited was I didn’t make enough last year to file taxes, or so I thought. Again, with a refund on the line via COVID, I figured why not give it a try?

Doing taxes was not that hard at all – even though I’d inadvertently thrown out the sole W-2 form I had for the year. I just estimated what I made off of that – filled out the forms online, and it was approved overnight.

There’s still one problem: the IRS doesn’t have my direct deposit information, which they need if you want to get the stimulus as quickly as possible. For that, I filled out a “Form 8888” (you can type your info right into the PDF file, which it saves when you print it), and added a note that this was for the COVID relief.

As the President often says, we’ll see what happens. I still possibly might not get anything, but it won’t be because of a lack of effort.

Everybody Wants To Rule Your World

It’s looking like my neck of the woods (Pinellas County, Florida) will going on the stay-at-home lockdown many states have ordered for their citizens – and we’re seeing that all the more in recent days. As I type this at nearly 9:00 on March 25th = that emergency order could come imminently and probably would take effect in a day or two. I’d still be able to go to a grocery store or a pharmacy or a gas station – but forget everything else.

Yesterday’s “tote board” had 11,075 new cases and 225 new deaths, according to Worldometers – which tallies things up on GMT time, 8pm our time one day to 8pm the next.

The fabric of our how our governments at all levels work is being exposed. If the states don’t like President Trump’s decision not to lock down, they make their own call. If the counties (like mine) don’t like the state’s decision – they make their own call. If a city (like Tampa recently did) doesn’t like a county’s decision, or doesn’t want to wait on them – the same thing happens. We’ve yet to see a larger area overrule the decision of a smaller area – though I assume that could happen.

It’s all confusing and messy, if you ask me. You could live in a state with no lockdown order, but live in a city or county that has one. Theoretically, you could also live a state with a lockdown order – but have a city overrule such an order.

Politicians Are Gonna Politic

In case you missed it, this blog will be going on hiatus after March 31st, so that I can prepare for whatever this virus brings my way – or doesn’t bring my way. I hope to be back on as my situation warrants

As I type to you this morning of March 24th – the Tokyo Olympics have now been cancelled, the first time the Summer Games have been interrupted since 1944. They hope that it will just be a one-year postponement and that it can be played out next year.

My state of Florida has yet to go on the stay-at-home “lock down” that about a dozen states now have – though individual counties have gone on with such measures, not including mine, Pinellas County, as of yet. I can only hope our governor is seeing something that we’re not seeing, and I have faith that it’s the right decision. It’s all I can hope for.

The President was surprisingly upbeat in a marathon press conference last night that the economy of the county can resume in weeks, not months – leaving all the punditry with sharp opinions one way or another. Unlike the Democrats and how they seem to behave, I’m rooting for my country – and hope whatever this is winds up ending as swiftly as possible.

It was so weird to see the usually mild-mannered Senate turn into its own version of Jerry Springer’s talk show of the past few decade, minus the brawling. Republicans want a stimulus bill passed that would help out taxpayers – but the Democrats decided yet again that they have their own ideas, and are not budging to the whims of the Republican Senate. It just goes to show you – when you need your government to work for you, it doesn’t or it won’t.

As for me, I’m doing well for the time being.

Fear And Loathing Everywhere

It’s another morning of a mixture of fear, panic, and hate in this country. Yesterday, more than 100 people died – and more than 9,000 tested positive for COVID. That includes Kentucky’s US senator Rand Paul – with four other Senate Republicans self-quarantining because they had been in close contact with him.

My state of Florida still hasn’t gone on the stay-at-home “lockdown” about ten states and several foreign countries have. It’s probably just a matter of time, though. COVID is spreading in my area – college kids in the Tampa Bay area who go to Tampa University or the USF campus in St. Petersburg have come down with it.

If you expected Congress to still play political games as I did – the latest fiascos on those fronts need not disappoint you. The Senate doesn’t appear anywhere near passing a stimulus bill that helps most but not all of us (as I’ve outlined the past few days), so both sides are name calling each other like that will fix things up. Perhaps this is a contrived fight to cover-up the fact that the bigwig Democrats and Republicans agree it’s not in their combined interest to help those on low-income.

When the bill is passed, I’m going to do what Congress often fails to do – I’m going to actually read the bill, as I did Friday when it was in the proposal stage.

Maybe this is a no-win situation, designed by the Deep State to oust President Trump by the usual political levers – a Kobayashi Maru for the real-world. Much like that fictional Star Trek test, that character we exhibit during this outbreak may truly be the real test.

A Looming Hiatus

I’ve decided that unless things dramatically improve by the end of the month, my last blog entry before going on a hiatus will Be March 31st. I’d rather say my goodbyes for the time being now as opposed to doing these blogs up until a point where something happens and I leave you all in a lurch.

The news it’s getting any better – and my state of Florida appears poised to go on “lock down” stay-at-home orders some point during this week. Our situation is not yet as bad as New York’s or Italy’s, but considering how out state is consistently ranking in the top-10 in cases and fatalities – who knows how long that goes before it changes.

Until the end of the month at least, I’ll be here. Still hoping our government listens to reasons and helps all they can instead of picking and choosing who to help.