Everyone’s Got A Hobby

With some added free time thanks to the ongoing (and hopefully, nearly concluded) virus, I’ve once again started up a “sister” blog. This one is called Big Pauly’s World Of Sports Sims, which will be a companion blog to the YouTube channel I started at the same time.

It’s just a handful of posts for now on each front for the moment – but with there being no sports going on in North America to speak of, this was the right time to give it a try. There are tons of replays, hypothetical situations, and matchups the void of sports is bringing us at the moment – so why not play some of these scenarios out?

One such scenario I’ll be revealing shortly on that blog – something I don’t think anyone has attempted before. How’s that for a teaser?

Gas, Toilet Paper, Other Capers

It was another day of getting this done for yours truly. One trip was an unexpected adventure – the other went a lot smoother than I thought.

I went with my mother (whose right arm is in the above photo) to get gas and to Walmart for the all-important purchase of toilet paper. In this day and age, getting toilet paper is no gimme – with shoppers hauling it in for themselves faster than you say “don’t squeeze the Charmin.”

Getting gaa at our local Shell station was quite the adventure. When I first inserted my debit card, I made the mistake of hitting Diesel, and the car takes regular gas. Realizing the error, I cancel out – or so I thought I did. Every time I tried afterward, it’s not letting me pick a regular gas – it remembers I had picked Diesel on my first try. Certainly, I can’t be the only person in all of history to make such an error on the first try, right? After a few more attempts – we go to Walmart, with no gas for us – but still enough in the tank to get through the day.

With most everyone these days in masks, Walmart is more and more resembling an offshoot of a Stephen King novel. We got groceries, I got clothes for my thinner frame – and my cat Harry made off like a bandit in absentia with dry food, litter, and treats. Toilet paper was there today – which for me has been the exception and not the rule, thanks to the virus.

Looking forward to when this all ends, and when life can return to normal. It’s looking like my state of Florida will be partially re-opening in the next week, so I hope it can happen without any setbacks once it does. It is not hype to say the future of our country may ride on it.

Scenes From The Stimulus

On a rainy Friday afternoon, life took an upward turn – at least for now. With the “plonk” of mail hitting our mailbox came a piece of business from the US Treasury department.

My long awaited stimulus check had arrived. Thank you, Mr. President – and thanks to the Democrats for originally proposing such an idea. Hey, I give credit where credit is due.

A few hours later, I walked down to the local Wells Fargo bank and deposited it into their ATM. Did I mention that it rained all day Friday? A few years ago, I could walk good distances – but if the weather isn’t great, I can barely walk a quarter mile these days without getting significantly winded. I’ve learned from more recent experiences that if it’s raining, the cooler air and lowered humidity is optimal for whether my problems are walking these days. Umbrella in hand, backpack and water bottles inside in tow – I was off.

It’s taken a couple of days for my legs to recover from the walk on Friday, but I’m almost back at full speed. I divvied out the money so to help those I felt needed my help – mainly to my mother, who needed bills paid sooner rather than later. I turned my cell phone back on – and fortunately, my Straight Talk service still hasn’t turned my IPhone 6 into a dinosaur yet.

I have to get my driver’s license renewed by my 49th birthday of September 6th – and right now, the offices aren’t open here in Florida due to the “essential business” restrictions of the virus, nor can it be renewed online on this renewal phase.

I also need pants and shorts that fit me – as I’m down to 220 pounds and I’ve lost a few inches on my waist, which is not good when all of your pants are the size you were a year or so ago. Going to Walmart (and Amazon if need be) should take care of that.

There’s talk of more stimulus payments to us (as I’ve mentioned on here a few times recently) – but who knows when that gets done, or how much we wind up getting, or if we get anything. All I can do is take things a day at a time and make the most optimal and exemplar decisions that I can.

A Pivotal Moment For America

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There’s a lot of talk in our great country about whether or the President is right to re-open our country in the coming weeks. The media will tell you until they are blue in the face that President Trump is making a huge mistake – and for all I know, they can be right. The future will look at these next few months and probably replay the events for all eternity with various scenarios.

As things stand now, I agree with the President in that reopening is the most logical play. We need to try even if we fail as opposed to failing by not trying.

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The best analogy I can think of is man landing on the moon as per the goal of President Kennedy by the start of 1970. It was a goal that was beaten with five months to spare – despite the setback of the Apollo 1 pad fire in early 1967 that paused the space program for over a year and a half. A lot of people speculate that if not for Apollo 1’s mishap, we could have landed on the moon sooner.

Not necessarily. It’s also possible that if Apollo 1’s tragedy doesn’t happen, a greater tragedy occurs that keeps us from reaching the goal of going to the moon. Maybe an “Apollo 13” situation occurs sooner – and instead of a crew making it home safely, a crew perishes on the way there or on the way back.

I do think there will be dire consequences if we try to come back too soon and fail. I don’t know how much more damage the economy can take – but if don’t re-open, that fate awaits us anyhow. We might have to sit at home, $2,000 a month in hand – and hope that takes care of us for a while. But trying and failing is better than failing by not trying.

Pauly’s Very Unofficial Guide To Body Language

Let me start out by saying I’m definitely not an expert on this – but watching political events the past few months has led me to believe that I can spot a few things.

It’s beginning to dawn on me that by studying facial expressions on some people – you can tell who is being honest with you and who is trying to con you. If someone can look at you with a straight face, I tend to believe that they are believing what they say. If someone is talking with a lot of head gesturing (as Nancy Pelosi often does – hence the clip), such as eye bulging, eyebrow raising, and head bobbing, they are trying to con you.

Like I said, I’m not an expert – and I’m not trying to be one. I just think some of our politicians (among others) have obvious “tells” about them.

The Quest For Twelve Hundo And Beyond

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There’s rumor and innuendo out there that the first wave of stimulus checks have already begun being distributed. Well, I haven’t seen mine yet, and I’m in that first wave – so it’s the old game of wait and see.

Now there’s talk of another wave of checks – to the tune of $2,000 a month for six months, or longer if the unemployment rate fails to hit a certain benchmark. A few months ago, that would have been absolutely insane. But with one stimulus check already almost in hand – seeing more “money for nothing” wouldn’t wind up being a stretch.

Rarely do I praise Democrat ideas – but this was an ingenious idea from them, because anyone who opposes it would be wildly ridiculed. No politician wants to stand in the way of money for their constituents (especially when quite a few of them find ways to fill THEIR pockets) – or make it appear as such. Yes, I get that this will hurt the economy of the future – but I disagree with my Republican friends on a few things, such as having all the wealth for themselves.

It’s always seemed to me that if you spread the wealth and share it – it makes everyone that much happier. Right now, our world could us a bit more happiness.

The Future Arena

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The weekend that just passed was out sixth weekend without sports going on, except maybe professional wrestling and the E-Sports that take place on computers and gaming systems.

With COVID being out there, I really haven’t given a lot of thought lately to the question of what sports looks like in the post-COVID world. I have a hard time imaging things will be the same in the immediate future – or maybe for a long time.

Most of the popular sports have some form of contact in them – even baseball has the potential for collisions at home plate and contact by runners onto fielders to break up double plays at second base. I guess you can safely forget about social distancing in any of these sports.

Assuming everything comes back up by June (and there are some that say this is very optimistic) – I’d think the NBA and NHL will try to finish their seasons with some form of abbreviated playoff. MLB would likely go half a season, while the NFL and college football would go on as scheduled. The various leagues will have to workaround a few problems – such as what to do in the New York and New Jersey area, where COVID did the most damage. Will the new NFL stadiums in Las Vegas and Los Angeles be ready for the start of the season – and what’s done if they can’t finish construction as scheduled?

Then there’s the other extreme – either there’s another COVID outbreak among athletes, or the virus returns in the civilian population somewhere in America. Then you’ve got a much darker situation – where no league will be safe to operate. I could see in that scenario one of the big four North American leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL) folding, or having to reduce the number of teams through contraction. I could see teams merging geographically, and spreading their reserve players throughout their respective league somehow.

Does New York need three NHL teams? Does Florida need two MLB teams? Those are the questions that would need answers if things don’t resume normally. All in all, I have a hard time things in the sporting world will ever be the same, and that’s a reality that will soon have to be dealt with.

Exercises In Futility

To finish up the series of debacles I’ve been having with getting my direct deposit information to the IRS: I’m getting a check. While it’ll be good to have the money, the whole process I went through this week defeated the purpose of their goal – to get this done quickly. Instead, it has done the opposite.

The “Get My Payment” application and web portal the IRS rolled out this week didn’t speed up the process for me. If you filed a tax return this year (for 2019) – and if you didn’t owe the IRS money and also didn’t get a refund, putting in your data resulted in technical difficulties and a “109 error.” Apparently, the government didn’t account for this being a possibility – and left us “109’ers” in this endless loop, which ended with the message today that I’d be getting a check in the mail.

But wait, it gets better.

Now there is talk of the Democrats wanting most of us over the age of 16 to get $2,000 a month for at least six months, depending on how the unemployment rate in each state fares in the time ahead. If that were to pass in Congress and become law (which likely happens – no politician will want to get in the way of taxpayers potentially getting money), I’d have to go through this rigmarole all over again of trying to give the IRS my direct deposit information and them not taking it because some glitch in their system.

I’m beginning to see why people hate the IRS so much. I guess I’ve been lucky in my life not to have seen it beforehand.

Flashback: “Free Me” by Roger Daltrey

The events of the past week have me thinking of this rare Roger Daltrey tune that MTV would play the hell out of in the summer of 1982 – when I first watched music videos.

Not a big hit, missing the US Top 40 in 1980, but the perfect song for those of us feeling cooped up and stressed out by the ongoing Coronavirus.

Real Issues Don’t Matter, But Fake Issues Do

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Every day, there are these press briefings the President holds and the media attends, since the Coronavirus has gone on in earnest.

As I noted yesterday, a lot of people were having problems getting their direct deposit information into the IRS website set up for it yesterday. The national media totally ignored the issue – at least in terms of what I saw. It didn’t “break” any news about the issues, which would have served a public service for many computer users to stay away until the bugs are fixed.

Then I saw the most recent press briefing late in the afternoon yesterday. Not a single reporter asked questions about the IRS website’s troubles. Not a one. hey were way more interesting in telling the President what he can and can’t do (yes, he can adjourn Congress – look it up, it’s in the Constitution that he can), and keeping petty squabbles going.

This is why the President has been right in terms of the media all along – they are fake and illegitimate.

Real issues – that matter to all of us – they don’t care about. All they want is their tabloid drama.

No Refund For Me – Yet

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I mentioned a couple of days ago that I wasn’t expecting this stimulus thing to go smoothly – and so far, I haven’t been disappointed.

(Before moving on with today’s entry, one VERY important disclaimer: the experiences I’m sharing are as of 10am EDT on April 15, 2020 – so if something better happened later in the day, I don’t know of it yet.)

First, my “Form 8888” strategy was somehow a bust – so either I sent the form to the wrong address among the many they had or they didn’t recognize it as valid in terms of it applying to the COVID relief checks. With that, I noted on the IRS website that the “Get My Payment” portal was now set up – so off I went over there.

You give them all of your relevant information – social security number, address, date of birth, zip code, routing and account information. Nothing winds up happening after you do all of this, and you have to start over. On top of that, if you do this too many times – the IRS tells you to try again in 24 hours, even though they didn’t accept the information or give you some sort of heads-up that you were accessing the site too many times.

This is highly frustrating, but right now – this is also my quest. I need to get this over with sooner rather than later.

Footnote: did a Deep Stater or a Democrat design this portal, or what?