January 11, 2021
It’s hard to believe that the worst was yet to come, but madness and mayhem still lay ahead.
Lots of nifty stuff in July, 2020, beginning with Vladimir Putin’s successful referendum to allow longer presidential terms, the seizure of 14 TONS of amphetamines in Italy, America’s officially withdrawing from the World Health Organization, and the announcement that the condor, the world’s heaviest bird, can fly for up to five hours without flapping its wings.
Civil Rights leader, John Lewis died in July, becoming the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, and the United Arab Emirates launched Hope, an uncrewed expeditionary mission to Mars.
Here on Earth, the pandemic continued to create havoc in virtually every aspect of what was once called ordinary life. Deaths in the US surged to 154,000 leading the prognosticators to predict that we’d hit 230,000 death by November. Reality and alternate realities continued to separate, and those who did not think the pandemic was not a hoax tried to mask up, keep a safe distance, and shelter at home if possible.
Binging of all sorts continued apace, and at the start of the month, the mega-conglomerate casually known as Disney bundled up the Disney Plus portal with ESPN and Hulu, bringing a literal universe of content to eager viewers including the Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic library , ESPN Films, 30 for 30, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids, and the truly exceptional animated series, Gravity Falls.
On July 3, Disney released a filmed version of Hamilton, edited together from three live performances at the Richard Rogers Theater in June 2016, with the original Broadway cast, and produced, written, and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Reams of insightful observation have been written about Miranda and the play, in many ways a revolution in its own right, a hip hop musical presenting “…previously marginalized people taking on the responsibility and burden of American History”. I was among the plurality of people who had not seen the play in any of its (very expensive) iterations and sensed the excitement from a distance. I’ve seen it several times since it arrived in July and find myself almost overwhelmed by what I can only describe as fierce joy, razor sharp caricature, the revised estimation of Aexander Hamilton, an often demonized historical figure, and the peculiar collision of events that are crystalized in this unlikely Broadway smash.
I love theater and musical theater in particular. I’ve never seen a show on Broadway, but I began collecting original cast albums at the age of ten and scrambling to get to any performances within reach. Without having given it much thought, I was aware of the correspondence between some productions and some distinctive periodsin the American story. South Pacific curiously predated both Vietnam and emerging sensitivity to racial issues. West Side Story, Camelot, How to Suceed in Business Without Really Trying, Hair, A Chorus Line, Rent, Dream Girls, Miss Saigon, Dear Evan Hansen, Fun Home, all have their place in a cultural history, reflecting contemporary issues and desires.
Hamilton is profoundly odd. It arrives in the Obama era with an unapologetic hip hop score, an extended rap on the significance of not-very-familiar founding realist, Aexander Hamilton, pulling the very familiar and mythologized American story into an upside down provocation. A nation once entertained by White mistrels in blackface finds itself meeting its own history emphatically claimed by actors of color. This Alexander Hamilton is not a rapacious capitalist at odds with a Jeffersonian dream of democracy. Today we have awakened to the reality that Jefferson dreamt from a plantation, owned humans, and espoused doctrines that sound, well, more than slightly libertarian these days, whereas Hamilton, for all his brash oportunism, was a champion of government and the Constitution.
Yes, Miranda’s Hamilton is transparently human, but also visionary, inspired, and ultimately heroic. I can’t imagine a more necessary antidote to the cynical hypocrisy of the last five years, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet it now, when despair is barely kept at arm’s length.
Oh, also? The show rocks!
The temptation, as always, is to turn to Elon Musk whose contributions to this month’s conversation included his contention that aliens built the pyramids, an argument Egypt did not accept, and his introduction of Gertrude, the pig fitted out by Neuralink with a tiny computer in her brain, a Beta Test of symbiosis of brain with artificial intelligence. Neuralink was founded by Musk in order to examine the possibility of creating “neural lace”, a brain – computer interface described in Ian. M. Banks’ space operas. To be clear, Elon Musk is the richest person on the planet, and I am definitely not, so my snark has no bearing on the future of the world, and Musk’s various pipe dreams probably will.
There was some great news in an otherwise bleak month. It was reported that polio had been eradicated in Africa and that BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, took K-pop global, hitting the top of the charts internationally and adding a reported 4.56 billion dollars to South Korea’s economy. The catnip I have to resist, however, is the arrest of Steve Bannon, evil prankster and source of much of the most deplorable aspects of the Trump years. This is meant to tread more lightly through the year, so I’ll refer the reader to “American Dharma”, Errol Morris’ documentary on Bannon, enlightening and terrifying. Moving into restoration of soul and sensibility, however,l August saw the release of Bill and Ted Face The Music, which is now available for streaming fo about six bucks, a paltry sum when anticipating the most time jangled, multi-generational, disturbing Bill and Ted yet.
There’s nothing amusing about the pandemic, and yet, there have been some notably wrong-headed responses to a world-wide deadly contagion that continue to appear beyond belief, all of them were promoted by the 45th President of the United States. The Witchdoctor-In-Chief has often boasted of the range and power of his intellect, rarely admitting any limit to his perspicacity, but he did tentatively admit some lack of credential in suggesting that injecting disinfectant might be one way to combat Covid:
“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”
“I’m not a doctor,” he added but went on to say, “I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.” I’m not sure that I do know what.
This after responding to the Homeland Security spokesperson advice that the virus does less well in full sunlight.
“So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too.”
Like hydroxychloroquin, disinfectant and sunlight have magical power little understood by conventional medicine. Without spending a second more on drinking bleach or infusing sunlight, it’s worth noting that these statement were made as medical advisors sat or stood at his right hand. Yes, pretty funny (funny odd), but hardly reassuring.
Speaking of purported medical advice, the short-lived prominance of Dr. Stella Immanuel, described in detail in an earlier posting entitled, “Side Effects May Include Astral Sex”, demonstrates the degree to which the conversation slipped past the boundaries of medical disagreement into the netherworld of untethered minds. “A fearless warrior for the truth” according to the president, Immanuel (also founder of the Fire Power Ministries which operates out of the same strip mall location as the doctor’s clinic) has established a practice almost edxclusively concerned with human sexuality, contending that many of the most debilitating conditions, such as infertility and sexually transmitted diseases, are the result of the implanting of demon sperm from spirit spouses – carried out by means of astral sex.
BUT WAIT! There’s more. An equally significant conviction is that the highest offices in government have been subverted by reptilian aiens, and, in a final leap of imagination, that the Illuminati are using witches to destroy the world, making use of children’s toys, gay marriage, and Hannah Montana. Anticipating the anti-vaxxers, Immanuel also warned that scientists have developed a vaccination that stops people from being religious.
I’m not sure about Hannah Montana, but the rest seems unlikely.
Not the best month for Southern Oregon. 900,000 acres of the state burned to the ground, including much of our home town. A Red Flag warning advised us to be prepared for high winds to create damage; hours later, two small towns between Ashland and Medford had been virtually vaporized. California lost 2 million acres that month as well.
There was other news that month, of course. Novak Dokovic was tossed out of the US Open Tennis Tournament after hitting an umpire with a ball struck in anger. In a rare show of spirit, Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, declaring itself a republic. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg died and became the first woman to lie in state in the US Capitol. Donald Trump’s tax record was opened, revealing that he had paid $750.00 in taxes in the past year.
This month’s rhapsody has to do with the series, Schitt’s Creek.
The Tiger King phenomenon has already entered my annals of the year from hell, perhaps uniquely showcased as we sheltered in place. A show with a longer lineage and rabid followers, however, finally broke through the Emmy lockout, winning nine awards in September. Schitt’s Creek crept into the pantheon of smart, deftly characterized comedy series at the start of its third season, gradually attracting a wider and wider viewing audience until in its sixth and final season it finally received the acclaim it had long deserved. Unlike Arrested Development which found its audience almost immediately, the Schitts languished until picked up by Netflix. The series, developed and filmed in Canada, bumped up to 330,000 viewers in its second season, jumping to more than 3,330,000 in September of 2020.
Look, it is not easy to get a handle on humor. It isn’t even easy to discriminate among the various sorts of humor that are presented in what have come to be called situation comedies, a television series in which, “the same set of characters are involved in amusing situations”. It’s tough because the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy, for example, were characters involved in amusing situations, if being crushed by a piano or whacked with a hammer can be considered humor. I’d argue that the defining element is in the creation of the situation as a result of the character’s particular inclinations or foibles. Lucille Ball created a Lucy whose judgment was flawed, impulsive, occasionally deranged, and who went to grotesque efforts to keep knowledge of her follies from her husband. That was pretty much the situation. Most contemporary situation comedies stick to a central setting (30 Rock, The Ofice, Parks and Recreation, The Good Place, Community, Night Court, Scrubs, MASH, Taxi , Cheers) or an abiding situation (Boy Meets World, Pushing Daisies, Freaks and Geeks, I Zombie, Friends, Santa Clarita Diet, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Aadams Family, The Munsters). A few are entirely animated by character, (Arrested Development, Seinfeld, Golden Girls, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frazier, All In The Family, Sex In The City).
Schitt’s Ceek began with a heavy (maybe even heavy-handed) emphasis on situation – the sudden loss of great wealth (Dan Levy was taken by imagining who/what the Kardashians would be without money) and relocation to a one-dog provincial town in which the formerly grotesquely affluent Rose family bump up against the locals. Over the course of six seasons, the defining situation became less significant than the development of character, some of whom remained stock figures while the leads – Daniel Levy, Annie Murphy, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levey, and Noah Reid – became more fully realized season-by-season.
The series is filmed in Canada and was first broadcast on CBC. Without falling into a breathless admission of my fondness for the particular humor found on the Canadian series, SCTV, both Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara come from a curiously challenging improvisational background, first with Toronto’s Second City, then with SCTV, doing sketch comedy within the framework of a bizarre tv network, and in a series of films written by Levy and The Right Honorable Lord Hayden -Guest, better known to fans as Christopher Guest. Those films – Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration – like SCTV escape the confines of situational sketch comedy by dropping actors such as Levy and O’Hara into improvised reality; they inhabit the characters so fully that the lines they improvise could only be spoken by the person they have become.
Schitt’s Creek is a fairly conventional single camera, conventional setting, conventionally paced comedy series. That said, attachment to characters as they revealed themselves to us and as they grew from nettled and self-absorbed spoiled brats to real humanity added dimension to the project, bringing some of us to a very difficult leave taking as the quirky, lovely, and loving Rose family move to the next chapter in their individual stories.
Without revealing the most significant plot twists, any discussion of the show has to include an appreciation of Daniel Levy, Eugene Levey’s son and co-creator of the series. The series hauled away nine Emmy Awards in its final season, five of which went to Dan Levey, actor, writer, producer, and director. Levy had been widely citicized as a host on The Great Canadian Baking Show, accused of flamboyant “feyness”. Finding exactly the right role, his character’s sexual ambiguity on Schitt’s Creek was intriguing but perhaps less notable than his capacity for offended disapproval of events happening around him; Dan does “arch” more effectively than any actor since Alan Rickman. As David Rose falls in love, however, the series’ emphasis is on the slow growth of the relationship between David and his partner, Patrick. I’m not aware of another series that is more concerned with connection and affection rather than self-conscious congratulation in presenting a gay couple. It was no surprise that the series also won the GLAAD Media award for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ people.
There is no award for Actress Almost Completely Overlooked Throughout a Remarkabe Career. It should be presented in perpetuity to Catherine O’Hara, not only willing to play as she put it, “…a woman of a certain age – my age – who gets to fully be her ridiculous self”, but a universe of roles in which she owns her character, however small the part, with goofy professionalism. Her dingbat woman on the verge portrait of Moira Rose, faded soap opera actress, is revelatory, poignant, and a delicious evocation of Moira’s fully ridiculous self. Eugene Levy is an equally talented actor with a career largely given to supporting roles in repertory settings. His work as Johnny Rose may be the most self-possessed role he has played, but his fans are legion, many of them captivated by his work with John Candy on SCTV, perhaps most memorably as Bruno, the hunchbacked assistant to Candy’s Dr. Tongue in a string of productions appearing on Monster Chiller Horror Theater, SCTV’s late night chiller hosted by Joe Flaherty’s Count Floyd.
This piece is an appreciation of Schitt’’s Creek, of course, but I would be guilty of oversight if I did not offer a tip of the hat to the rich comic ore to be mined in digging up in the SCTV treasure troive: Dr. Tongue’s Evil House of Wax, Dr. Tongue’s House of Stewardesses, Dr. Tongue’s House of Cats, Dr. Tongue’s House of Beef, The 3D House of Slavechicks, or Blood Sucking Monkeys
Real news was almost overwhelming as the pandemic raged. The president was hospitalized before assuring the nation that Covid was not that bad, Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court, Pope Francis supported same-sex marriages, the Justice Dept. sued Google, the City of Chicago once again was found to have the greatest number of rats, keeping its title as “rattiest city”, LeBron won an NBA Championship in LA, and the Dodgers finally won a World Series.
Meanwhile, back to the binge.
Nxivm cult leader Keith Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison for fraud, racketeering and sex trafficking. This year seemed to bring cults to the fore again in political, animal, and self-realization arenas. The culting of America appears to be in full swing, for reasons that escape me, although we are notably more religious than the other wealthy nations, if that distinction offers any connection with our fondness for culting.
A cult is a cult is a cult, except that they all seem to have their own particular flavor. Those who examine the netherside of cults identify sub-categories, each of which has had a notable place in recent history.
We’re familiar with the cultish admiration of Eastern religious thought which provides union with the Godhead in the person of an enlightened leader. That would describe the curious case of the Bhagwan Shree Rashneesh, occasionally known as the sex guru, who established the rashneespuram in Wasco County, Oregon, an adventure described in some detail in the documentary, Wild, Wild Country.
It’s hard to discriminate among varieties of religious enthusiasms, some of which can be termed religious cults, such as Heaven’s Gate, the UFO apocalyptic cult which committed mass suicide when the mother ship did not arriven to carry them home, or David Koresh’s Branch Davidian which was famously under siege in Waco, Texas. The Davidians considered themselves a family as did the followers of Jim Jones who died in Jonestown. Some cults are limited to a small group or biological family. The book Unfollow is a recently published memoir of Meghan Phelps-Roper who left the notoriously extremist Westboro Church almost entirely made up of members of her family The Manson Family is an example of the satanic version of a family cult;
We are bracing for atacks by political, racist, and terrorist cults as I write. The KKK and other groups can be seen as perverted iterations of religious as well as racist cults, but the primary threat this week appears to come from a cult of personality energized by Donald Trump, one which has confused millions of people and attracted white supremacists, far right extremist groups, and conspiracy networks such as QAnon. Obviously, these categories can’t even begin to describe the range of affiliation in this upended culture.
Today’s cult of choice, however, partially belongs in the category of psychotheraputic, self-realization, human potential, mass transformation cult and partially in the commercial or mass-marketing cult, and here’s where the description of a cult gets tricky. Are overly enthusiastic advocates for essential oils attached to a spiritual cult, or a multi-level marketing cohort that can appear almost cultish in its devotion to the healing properties of their products? Are Amway or Mary Kay simply part-time jobs or something more significant? How does a Ponzi scheme become a belief system?
Keith Raniere was the founder of a constellation of enterprises known as Nxivm. Many of us first learned of Nxivm in watching HBO’s oddly frustrating/compelling hazy documentary, The Vow. The nine episodes chronicle the accounts of prominent spokespeople for Nxivm’s multi-layered workshops, seminars, and intensive self-actualization coaching sessions who haltingly came o the realization that their allegiance to Keith Raniere has caused thousands of people to be sucked into his web, and that they themselves have been weaponized, coerced into keeping silent and making sure that others stay silent.
One of the central characters, Mark Vincente, a South African film director, spent twelve years as a group leader and publicist. Vincente might have been seen as one of the most highly placed in Raniere’s empire, but as defectors came forward, he came to understand the degree to which he too had been seduced into dependency on Raniere.
“We’re not [expletive], strange monsters that made bad choices our whole life. We didn’t join a cult. Nobody joins a cult! Nobody. They join a good thing — and then they realize they were [expletive].”
Vincente, like most of the former cultists interviewed, sought personal transformation as they worked with and for Raniere, transfixed in some instances by his willingness to push them to harsh estimations of the self they brought to the compound.
The Vow was one of several investigatory documentaries that surfaced as the full extent of the cult’s machinations became public. A central point of investigation in the HBO series had to do with a vow taken by women deemed worthy of inclusion in a small group known as DOS (Dominus Obsequious Soroium), a secret society comprised of women branded with a cauterizing iron, Raniere’s initials were placed on the lower abdomen of slaves who took a vow of absolute obedience to their “masters”, a pyramid directed by Raniere for his own pleasure and protected by threats and secrets (photographs and documents) held by Raniere. One chart displayed at Raniere’s trial displays Raniere at the center of a circle of eight women, know as the “first line slaves”.
In the end, Keith Raniere was convicted of sexual exploitation, sex trafficking, identity theft, forced labor, racketeering, and wire fraud. The FBI was not able to conclusively attach Raniere to the mysterious “disappearances” or deaths of Gina Hutchinson, Kristen Snyder, Barbara Jeske, and Pam Cafritz, but there is little doubt that Raniere did not take defection lightly.
There’s little to be gained in re-telling the story the documentaries present; my interest is in the process that Raniere perfected, a process that allowed this personality to become the leader of a cult, a personality most people would find unexceptional, annoying perhaps, but in terms of ability or charisma, unexceptional.
One of the oddities of the documentaries is that those drawn to Nxivm became obsessed with having time in Raniere’s company, angling for the privilege of meeting with him or accompanying him on his daily walks. Much is made of Raniere’s proclamation of his intelligence, his experience in multi-level marketing,and his fascination with Scientology and neuro-linguistic programming, suggesting that his control of others combined narcissism and hypnosis. Not included in most accounts, however, is the evidence of intuitive seduction appearing as early as his twelfth of thirteenth year. One element to be considered is his drive to combine sexual mastery with his victim’s vulnerabilities, alternately eroding their sense of self-worth then promising to restore them as they devoted themselves to him. It has been reported that in his early teens he had relationships with dozens of girls, telling each one, “I love you. You are the special one. You are important.”
Raniere’s anger at those who opposed him was vicious, perhaps murderous, and the accounts of his attempts to destroy those in his way are terrifying. The greater terror, however, might have been in witnessing the genius with which Raniere found the weakness in his female victims. Unlike the more commonly observed bullies and strongmen, Raniere promised love and redemption, then essentially created a trauma bond with the women he possessed.
Hmmmm … It occurs to me that this entry may less flowing with lighthearted whimsy than others. Let’s just agree that 2020 offered relatively little to chuckle about and hop on to November with the new year almost in sight.
Well. the big news, of course, was that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the presidential election and then 61 more times in various courts across the nation. He beat Trump so many times in Michigan, battered fans of the University of Michigan suggested he should change his name to “Ohio State”. The first effective vaccines began to clear accelerated testing, although the Collins English Dictionary declared “Lockdown” the word of the year. Other pandemic phrases were also popular, “pandemic” being one, as were “covidiot”, “Zoom fatigue”, “doomscrolling”, “shelter in place”, “superspreader”, “fomites”, and the phrase not commonly heard in news reporting until this season, “shitshow”.
Michael B. Jordan was People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, joining recent honorees John Legend and Idris Elba. A look back does reveal some shifting in the magazine’s focus. Brad Pitt won twice, as had Richard Gere and George Clooney, but still holding the record as the oldest Sexiest Man, the now formerly alive, Sean Connery.
OK, Rudy Giuliani. Once “America’s Mayor” after 9/11, Time Magazine’s Person Of The Year in 2001, Giuliani walked out of history and into notoriety, operating as counsel and go-between in a number of shady efforts on behalf of Donald Trump. Messing with Ukraine was unseemly, and his grotesque appearance in more than 70 courtrooms in the attempt to delegitimize the presidential election was increasingly off-putting. It was his master stroke in scheduling a major press conference in the driveway of the Four Seasons Landscape Company, however, that most clearly identified the distance between his role in 2001 and his stint as “court jester” (especially in court) in Trump’s dangerous campaign to undermine the election.
To be clear, the assembling of the press had a specific purpose – Giuliani had ostensibly found evidence of many Philadelphians, such as Will Smith’s father and Joe Frazier, voting from beyond the grave. The allegation was disproved, duh, but it was in failing to confirm a reservation at the upscale Four Seasons Hotel, a venue five blocks from the Convention Center where ballots were being counted that the scrambling Giuliani had to further allege that the Trump team had intended all along to invite the press to a location generally referred to as “unsavory”.
In the name of equity, one might have hoped that the enterprises surrounding the Four Seasons Landscaping Company might have shared in the promotional boost Giuliani provided that morning. The landscapers saw an increase in business, but did equally well in their t shirt division, as they could not keep up with orders for “Lawn and Order” merchandise. Petitions have surfaced, requesting that Four Seasons Total Landscaping be named to the National Register of Historic Places. It has also been nominated as the site of the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library.
Bernie D’Angelo, however, owner of the adjacent Fantasy Island Adult Book Store was caught unprepared for the publicity coming his way:
“Oh yeah. It’s helped me out. Matter of fact, if I knew this was coming, I would have definitely got in touch with a web designer, and also [gotten] some silkscreen-type things, to just put on a shirt because my Fantasy Island Facebook page has been blown up. I’m past 7,000 people commenting on everything that’s been going on. I had to order some more stuff and ask the companies if they could physically pick up some stuff at my distributors or actually ask UPS if we could fast-track some of it. People in the neighborhood forget about us because we haven’t done any major, major advertising. We could never afford advertising like this. This is worldwide. I don’t know if I’ll ever trend like this ever again.”
Fast tracking lube and vibrators is never easy, and Mr. D’Angelo’s enterprise remains essentially unchanged by the events in Noivember. There are currently no efforts in place to add the Fantsy Island to the Register of Historic Places.
The other adjacent buildings house the Philadelphia Department of Prisons and the Delaware Valley Cremation Center. Nothing much has changed for the prisons, and the Cremation Center still offers its “easy, affordable, and convenient for you in this difficult time” Special $1095 Direct Cremation.
Caveat Emptor, that price gets you the “Minimum Urn”; the “Purchased Urn” comes at various levels of distinction.
Finally! The end is in sight!
Lost in the hubbub following the disputed election and the emerging possibility of effective vaccination, other noteworthy events got short changed in December. China sent a robot ship to Mars. Yes, Mars. Breaking, competitive breakdancing, joined the sports to be included in the Paris Olympic Games. Argentina legalized abortion, and LA ran out of hospital beds.
The start of the new year was welcomed with cautious optimism, soon to be steamrollered into hope paste. The future looked grim, but two developments ALMOST happened in December, each of which allows the mind to drift to something other than the end of Democracy and tribal war breaking out in my hometown.
Amazon ALMOST began sending parcels by drone aircraft. I’m still waiting for the future the Jetsons promised so long ago, and the notion of drones stopping by with my latest Amazon isolation-fueled impulse buy (a four pack of scalp massagers) swoop somehow into view on my front lawn is intoxicating.
Nike, on the other hand, added to its seven billion dollar income by issuing the “Mamba Moment” line of shoes to commemorate the loss of superstar Kobe Bryant and among its several hundred patent registrations, finally gave golfers hope of soon seeing the Thermo-Plastic Multi Layer Golf Ball, a ball described as having a larger diameter with lower density, allowing a larger target for middling golfers.
Great Minds at Work.
The word has not yet arrived to describe the spider web fragmentation of time we experienced in the last year. Days of the week, months of the year, years themselves, are all a moist muddle. I suspect that we, like the fortunate survivors of a nasty car wreck, will emerge at some point, semi-functional, but with memories so confused that even “I Love The 20’s” won’t be able to pull events back into focus. As the first weeks of 2021 continue to bring even greater confusion amd hazard, let’s hope that the worst is behind us, or shortly about to be.
Happy New Year!