ORANGE CARDINAL BABIES

First there was the big male orange Cardinal. He was orange and he stayed orange. Then along came and orange lady Cardinal and together, they made a few orange baby Cardinals who are growing up. Orange. Now, what’s particularly interesting about this is that they have found other groups of orange Cardinals. They have found a group of them in North Carolina. Cornell University’s Ornithological Department has begun to research orange Cardinals. They are trying to figure out whether or not this is a genuine genetic alteration or has something to do with nutrition or air or water … or something else. Although we are dead broke and in debt and getting even more in debt, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and I signed up for a monthly contribution of $8.00 a month. Not exactly a huge contribution, but I can probably squeeze that much money out of our tiny little budget.

The thing is, more than a billion birds have disappeared over the past 12-years. Maybe more. Originally, it was assumed that the reason for the plunge in bird life was habitation destruction. But now, they are wondering if it isn’t something more than that. We nearly lost our Robins and Blue Jays to viruses and bacterial infections. Many finches have eye infections. Certainly destruction of habitat is a major problem, but it isn’t the only problem. If we don’t research our birds, we won’t have birds and I won’t get to listen to the morning song I hear every summer’s morning.

A NUTHATCH BEFORE THE WIND AND RAIN

Today it was beautiful outside. The trees were golden and orange and red. But tonight, it’s going to rain and the wind shall blow up quite a storm, so there’s a very good chance that by tomorrow night, the leaves will mostly be gone. That is the peril of autumn. Rain and wind or early snow often ruins the display. But we got some good days and I got some lovely new pictures of a nuthatch. Because the autumn is about to pass, all my posts today are visual.

We simply could not watch the debate. We watched maybe five minutes and it was pretty much what we expected. I like the birds much better.

SHARING MY WORLD IN THE AUTUMN OF THE YEAR

Sharing My World 9-28-2020

Where do you feel most at home? Please be more specific than “at home, doh” please. It could be a room in your home, a person, a location.

The left side of the reclining loveseat. It’s where I have all my “stuff” attached: battery chargers for my cameras, my computer, my computer backups, all the things into which everything else plugs. It’s where I sit where I write or process photographs … or write while Garry watches television (baseball I watch, football not so much).

Me and a camera, two matching Scottish terriers, and sunshine through the picture window.

It’s where I store the bills that need to be paid or other paperwork I need to address. If I put it into a drawer, I’ll forget it completely, so it has to be out. There are also both telephones — the  wi-fi phone that hardly works anymore and the cell phone which (mostly) works. A couple of cameras, a small pad so I can write up a grocery list. A container with all my CD cards in it. Antique Chinese porcelain bowls full of pens and my spare eyeglasses. A hat that says “Make America Intelligent Again” and a variety of paid bills that ought to be filed, were there anywhere to file them. This is my corner. I call it “home.”

Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?  

If my spine agreed, which sadly it won’t, definitely, absolutely, a horse. Lacking that, I’ll just stay here on the loveseat, if that’s okay with you.

What song would you sing on “Karaoke Night” (if you were forced to do so)?  

I have spent my life avoiding Karaoke night. Fortunately, there aren’t any in this town and Garry isn’t a bar crawler anymore.

Which place — University or life experience — best prepares you for life?

Well it sure as hell wasn’t college! That prepared me to become an academic — which I didn’t become, though I wouldn’t have minded. But I don’t like teaching, so it probably wouldn’t have worked out well. I can teach, mind you and when I did it, I was pretty good. But there was no joy in it for me. It required too much concentration on people. I am much better at concentrating on facts. Concepts. Ideas. People are harder for me. I get tired of focusing on people. It’s how come I never was “a boss.” I didn’t have that “boss’em around” temperament.

EVERYTHING IS GONNA’ WORK OUT FINE

Still Making Music, Rich Paschall

There are not too many bands from the 1960s still going strong. Those that are, live on the hits they made in the past. Chicago, the band, however, still finds time to write new songs and get new music out there. Early on in the pandemic Robert Lamm, a founding member of Chicago worked with Jim Peterik, author of our top “One Hit Wonders” of 1970, “Vehicle” by Ides of March, to create a new Chicago song. The two shared sound files back and forth across the internet and added in Chicago vocalist Neil Donell along the way.

After the tune took shape, they put in the magic touch of Chicago horns for the unique sound we know so well. This time the message is “Everything Is Gonna Work Out Fine.” With all that is going on in the country, they want you to know there are some positive signs too.

The song is on Spotify and iTunes and probably others by now. You will also find two versions on YouTube. Jim Peterek is singing on the Duet version.

The band has not sat idle during this time. They have done some live Zoom concerts with all of the band members playing from different locations. Modern technology is keeping live concerts alive. Lamm does not feel there will be concert tours this year, although the band is still showing on their website some performances later this year. Do not be surprised if they are rescheduled into next year.

Last year we received a new Chicago Christmas album that included some original tunes. The band would also consider that album as Chicago XXXVII. It was the first new album since Chicago “Now” came out on CD and various digital platforms.

Chicago XXXVI


In 2014 Chicago did something most older bands are reluctant to do. They put out a new studio album of original music entitled “Chicago NOW.” Legendary bands with staying power such as Chicago make their living off their faithful fans at live performances as well as sales of merchandise including older albums. They know that only a select handful of older bands can actually sell new singles and albums. The buying public for new music is mainly in the 13 to 34 age bracket and many of them tend to stream music rather than actually buy it. The main buyers of CDs are in the 45 and over category, but they are buying “catalog” music, or that is to say, classics from their favorite artists of the past.

“Rock with horns”

Studio time can be expensive, both in terms of the studio cost and the lost concert performance time.  A touring band like Chicago, who spends most of the year on the road, does not like the idea of stopping for an extended length of time. But Chicago is not ready to stop composing and recording, so how do they tour and record? The answer came with a new recording system they call “The Rig.” They have pushed the technology forward with a portable system so good, they record as they travel. Much of Chicago NOW was done in hotel rooms across the country and around the world.

Founding member and trumpet player, Lee Loughnane, took charge of the project to put out a new album without stopping the show, so to speak. Each composer of a song got to act as producer for his entry to the album and various band members helped with arrangements as well as select musicians from outside the group. Chicago not only recorded on the move, but they did not all have to be there at once. Members would record their parts at different times. Hank Linderman, a long time studio engineer, was the coordinating producer. A “collaboration portal” was set up and tracks were sent at all times from Chicago and contributing musicians. The result is a stunning contribution to the Chicago catalog and worthy of their best early efforts.



The title track, released as a download prior to the album début, has now worked its way into the current tour performances. Written by Greg Barnhill and Chicago band member Jason Scheff, the number was produced and arranged by Scheff. It is an energetic start to the album. Scheff also contributed “Love Lives On” and is co-composer to founding member Robert Lamm’s song, “Crazy Happy.”



While the horns section technically remains intact with founding members Lee Loughnane on trumpet and James Pankow on trombone, founding member and woodwind player Walt Parazaider appears in the videos but in fact, only played on three of the recordings. Now at age 75, a variety of health issues in recent years has limited Parazaider’s time on the road. Long time fill-in Ray Herrmann is also credited on three of the songs, though he was not listed as a band member at that time. While Herrmannn is now a frequent performer, the audience does not always realize it.  From a distance he somewhat resembles Walt. Other sax players contributed to the album as well.

Guitar player Keith Howland sings the song he composed with Scheff and drummer Tris Imboden, “Nice Girl.” He also contributes, along with Imboden to Lamm’s “Free at Last.” As expected, Lamm leads the way on this album, being credited with lead vocals on six of the songs and background vocals on others.

Previously, I wrote about “America” which was released the autumn before Chicago 36. It appears on the album as well. Lou Pardini drives home the song and the social commentary on lead vocal and keyboards. Also on percussion for the band is Walfredo Reyes, Jr., a more recent addition to the Chicago lineup, a talented nine guys at the time of Chicago XXXVI. There are currently 10 official band members.

Chicago

Chicago in Chicago, August 2014

EVERYONE IS BLAH

It’s true. I try to be upbeat, but I don’t really think I succeed. I don’t feel well. I don’t know if I’m actually sick since I can’t see my doctor. Unless I’ve got COVID and then, I go to the hospital and I still don’t see my doctor. Or anyone else. I already told Garry and Owen that if I should somehow come down with it, I don’ t want to go to the hospital to die alone. If I’m going to die, I’d rather do it at home.

By the waters of Babylon

Everyone is feeling blah. Some of us feel sick. Others just lacking in energy, even to do things we normally enjoy very much. In this case, it’s taking pictures. It’s actually hard for me to pick up my camera. Or one of my instruments. What do I enjoy most? Talking with Garry and Owen. Corresponding with friends on the internet. The occasional Zoom chat. The Duke. The beautiful leaves. I don’t feel like writing but I do it anyway. I feel rather lost and sad.

The street on which we live
Wall by the waters

How many others feel like this? This kind of emptiness and lack of drive. The feeling of having lost something. Having lost something and not being entirely sure what exactly we have lost, but it was a profound loss nonetheless.

Path followers in early autumn
Horse chestnuts

Because the world is still beautiful and we got almost half an hour of rain this afternoon, I will include pictures. Because however blah we may feel, the world is — for a time — beautiful.

AND THEN CAME SOME RAIN

Does this mean that our drought might really be ending? We will need a lot of rain to make up for the 10 inches of non-rainfall over the past couple of months.

Rain is lucky. It is seminal. It makes things grow. Dormant seeds and new seeds take power from falling rain. We have been without rain for nearly two months, the longest drought I can remember in the 37 years I have lived in New England. The year Kaity graduated high school, we had no rain for the entire month of May, but after that, the skies opened and, as the song says, “The wind blew and the rain fell.”

A nuthatch and a tufted titmouse

Yesterday, with no rain expected at all — the weather forecasts being essentially “best guesses” by even our best and most accurate meteorologists — it began raining lightly in the afternoon. That little rain came and went quickly, but as I was putting myself to bed last night, suddenly, I heard that rushing in the leaves. I jostled Garry. “It’s raining,” I told him. I’m not sure he was able to track from whatever Western he was watching to a rainfall during a drought, but when I woke this morning, the woods were gleaming with wet leaves. The frenzied attack of the birds on the feeders had slowed to something resembling normal.

My  mother used to sing this song which I am sure she learned in grade school. I think the original concept might have come from the verse Matthew 7:25, but it was a popular song for school children. Written in 1899, I managed to find a used copy of the book (presumably including music) and with luck, someday it will be delivered. This is the section which has always stuck in my memory:

A small piece of a child’s song to an oak tree circa 1899.

Maybe this song is why my mother so treasured oak trees. She adored the trees and would never let one die. She would take each of the babies born from acorns and carefully move it to a safe part of our woods. Or maybe it was growing up in lower Manhattan and never seeing trees or grass, but one way or the other, she loved them dearly.

Isn’t it strange how little pieces of songs remain in our memory forever it seems? The last time I heard this sung was probably more than 60 years ago. I ordered the only hardcover copy of it I could find — at any price — from ABE, the major seller of almost forgotten books from way back when. I have no idea what condition it is in. It’s listed as “good” which can mean anything from tattered to nearly new.

Nuthatch and Tufted Titmouse

There is also a reproduced version available from Amazon done with photographs reproducing each page. Unlike the actual book, it is listed as “anonymous,” but it wasn’t anonymous and the book I’m getting has both an author/songwriter and illustrator’s title on it. Certainly if I could uncover this information in a 15-minute Google search, Amazon should have been able to do the same. However, they are to be applauded for salvaging the book at all. It is considered a book with historic meaning. I’m just happy to be able to get a copy of it. Of course no one but me will be the least bit interested in it.

Owen and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what will happen to our collections when we pass. Our kids have zero interest in them. They might develop some interest as they get older, but I don’t know when or if that will happen … so I hope someone will take charge of our “stuff” and make sure it doesn’t get tossed in a dumpster somewhere.

LIFE, DEATH, CANCER, AND DIGNITY

I don’t talk much about the “reality” of having cancer. It’s not the same for everyone and my cases (two, one for each breast and each different from the other) were relatively mild. The lymph nodes were not attacked, the tumors were (relatively speaking) small. The bigger one in my right breast was the size of a small lemon and the other was half the size. I was assured they were slow-growing but at the same time, I was also warned that it only took a single wandering cell to make it grow somewhere else — probably my lungs.

I had a choice between two complete mastectomies or just having the tumors removed. But I had highly cystic breasts. Figuring out what might be cancer and what was “benign” was going to be very difficult for everyone, especially me. I went with the mastectomies.

To keep the hours of surgery down, I had two surgeons working, one on each side, then two plastic surgeons. A previous hospital had told me they couldn’t give me implants because I had so much scarring from earlier surgeries. I went to a better hospital with more experienced doctors. Seek out the best, most-experienced surgeons you can find. Try to find one who has done hundreds of surgeries like yours. This is not the time to give a newbie her first opportunity. And find a surgeon who listens.

Prefer women. They understand. They have the same parts you do.

Dana-Farber Cancer Hospital (local outlet)

The odds of my getting cancer in both breasts at the same time were staggeringly small. I pointed out that I probably didn’t get them at the same time. I had one and over the years when my doctor forgot to send me for a mammogram, I grew the second. Even though my mother had died from metastasized breast cancer, neither of the tumors was genetically linked. There are lots of genetic linkage involved, but they only know a few of them and insurance will only pay for one test. Pick your tumor. It’s the cancer lotto. Men don’t get our connection to breasts. They see them as a removable piece to get rid of a tumor, not our connection to our womanhood. Where we nursed our babies.

Breast cancer is frighteningly common. There’s a theory that if you live long enough and your were born female, you will get it. Men get it too, by the way and it often gets missed. They aren’t trained to feel for lumps.

When I woke up from surgery, I already had two breast implants in place. This was an act of extraordinary generosity by my plastic surgeon and her associate. Usually they wait for the original surgery to heal, but they felt I needed to be able to look at myself and know I was still a woman. I am deeply grateful. With all the other madness you are going through with cancer, it is good to have surgeons who are also concerned with how you feel about your body and are willing to help.

They don’t keep you long in American hospitals. There’s a rumor that it’s because insurance companies don’t want to pay the money, but the true reason is that there are so many diseases in hospitals that the moment they can get you out of there, they send you home. I’m not talking about poverty stricken hospitals out in the country, but top-notch research and surgical facilities. They want you to leave healthier than when you arrived — and that means getting you out as fast as possible. Also, the odds of your getting edible food are better at home — even if it comes out of a can.

Honestly, I don’t remember much. I know I was in pain, but I was taking so many drugs, my brain was very blunt.

It has been ten years since the original surgery. I have no sign of regrowth, but that doesn’t really mean much. Because of the heart surgery and my metal pacemaker, I can’t have another MRI, so it could have spread. My grandparents, on my mother’s side, both died of pancreatic cancer as did my brother. Just because you’ve had one kind of cancer doesn’t mean you can’t get another. My first husband had kidney cancer, but died of heart disease. It’s all a game of craps. Some of us get everything yet we live on for many years. Others seem completely healthy, get one bout of pneumonia and die.

Moral? Be nice to everyone. You just don’t know what’s coming around the next corner.

So for anyone struggling with cancer or heart disease now, do the best you can. Within the realm of reason, follow your doctor’s orders, but if you don’t feel that the treatment you are on is working for you, speak up. Sometimes medications make you so sick, you have to stop taking them. If you don’t tell them, they may not realize things aren’t going well. When they ask how you feel, tell them. Icky and unpleasant as it is, they need to know and sometimes, small things that don’t seem important to you may be much more important than you realize.

None of us want pity, but all of us want support, sympathy, and kindness. If you don’t know what to say to a sick friend, you aren’t alone. Potentially lethal disease tends to leave us speechless.

A TIME OF GOLD AND AMBER

AUTUMN & AMBER LIGHT …
BUT WHAT DOES THE STUFF ON MY CAMERA’S MENU MEAN?

Text: Marilyn Armstrong – Photography: Garry Armstrong

The Blackstone Canal in Autumn
Autumn by the Blackstone

I have always loved the fall. I remember being a child on my way back to school. I was wearing new shoes. Leather shoes with leather soles, so I could hear and feel the crunch of leaves underfoot. Mostly, though, I remember the color of the autumn. The glow of the sun coming through the gold of the maple trees. The color of the sunshine is amber in the fall. Everyone looks beautiful in that light. Whatever natural skin color you have, it looks better swathed in amber light. Real amber light, not the plastic they use on theatrical lights, but the real sun being really amber.

A boy and his dog at the end of the world
Friends and foliage
The Canal and foliage

I once did a PR pamphlet for my college football team in October. Most of them were brown or browner, but in that light, they glowed. They were beautiful and so was the pamphlet. It was all about that beautiful light. And a really good camera, which was  (as I recall), an Olympus SLR. There was no D because it wasn’t digital. Cameras were mechanical and by today’s standards, relatively simple.

Marilyn as photographer
Marilyn with sunflowers
Friends

It didn’t mean they didn’t take amazing pictures because the truth is, all those dozens of options in your camera’s menu are mostly of no real use to your photography. In the end, four things matter: (1) the quality of the lens, (2) the accuracy of the shutter, (3) using the correct film, and the really big one, (4) your eye, your ability to see a great photograph. frame it and make it beautiful. None of those setting on your digital camera can help you take a beautiful picture if your eye can’t see one, and your lens is not sharp enough to grab the moment.

Stone bridge over the Blackstone River
Conversation on a bridge
Meditation by the river

In the end, photography is about your special gift to “see” something beautiful and unique. Meanwhile, it’s the end of September and as we fade into October, I’m all in it. For the color of the leaves, the color of the sun. The incredible beauty of this brief time of year.

ALCOHOL ABUSE AND PRIVILEGE – ELLIN CURLEY

Since Brett Kavanagh, the Supreme Court nominee, now Justice, has been in the news, so have discussions about excessive drinking among teenagers. Apparently, there are studies that show that rich, privileged teenagers are more likely to abuse alcohol. An article in the Washington Post on September 28, by Suniya S. Luthar, is subtitled “Affluence is a risk factor for dangerous behavior.”

Brett Kavanagh

Psychological research seems to support the premise that excessive drinking is more common with affluent teens, like Brett Kavanagh, who went to an élite boarding school in the 1980’s. In fact, students in high-achieving, élite schools are at higher risk for drug abuse, anxiety, and depression as well as casual sexual activity. Substance abuse in high school is not an isolated phenomenon. It is linked to serious drug and alcohol abuse in later life. This is clearly not only a teenage problem.

The studies show that the key risk factor for these wealthy kids is not money. It’s the extreme pressure they feel to succeed, to be the best and to live up to very high standards of accomplishment. This extreme pressure to excel produces high levels of stress and anxiety. Another factor in this toxic situation is the attitude of the parents. The parents seem to be more lenient when it comes to transgressions by their kids vis-à-vis drugs and alcohol. They are willing to pay for high-priced lawyers to get their kids out of any legal trouble. However, these same parents would come down hard on their kids if they indulged in behavior such as truancy, academic slacking or inappropriate social behavior to adults.

The article warns that “When adults are sanguine about drunkenness and associated reprehensible behaviors among kids, there are potentially serious consequences for … an entire generation of young people as they form their own values about what is decent, what is excusable and what will simply not be tolerated despite the power and prestige of their parents.”

I don’t believe that all of this is inevitable. But I am biased. I grew up affluent in New York City and went to a high achievement oriented high school in the 1960’s. My school was not residential so we had a different culture and social matrix than a residential boarding school. Dorm life can be a strong influence on kids. I succumbed to the academic pressure and suffered from both anxiety and depression. But neither I, nor anyone else in my class of 120, drank heavily or regularly. (Drugs were not yet readily available so they were not an issue.)

Unreal dormitory life

My school was 95% Jewish, and at the time, the stereotype of Jews not drinking much was basically true. My parents never drank. Not even wine at dinner. They only served alcohol at dinner parties. So my experience may have been atypical. The fact remains that teenagers under pressure don’t inevitably turn to alcohol or drugs. I have a friend whose son now goes to a prestigious, rigorously academic, coed, residential prep school in Connecticut. There is plenty of tolerance and support for homosexuality, gender fluidity, and gender switching. But not for blackout drinking or drug abuse.

The students (at least in my friend’s experience) are serious students into healthy living. His friends are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural and racial and there are many kids from underprivileged backgrounds. This melting pot may explain the straight, clean lifestyles. It’s not all rich, white males, like at Brett Kavanaugh’s single-sex school. The peer pressure to drink excessively and misbehave may have partially been a cultural phenomenon, but it’s not limited to the wealthy by any means. We need to get parents to be vigilant about their children’s drinking and drug habits while they are in high school, public or private. If we can’t reach the kids directly, maybe we can reach the parents who tolerate and finance their children’s excesses.

BODGES? WE DON’T NEED NO BODGES! – SERIOUSLY

From the battleground, an update, by Rich Paschall

Yes, there is more to the story!

You have probably quoted, or misquoted, the famous movie line. In fact, I would bet you have done it often. Do you know where it comes from? Have you seen the movie? If not, you have missed a gem.


“Bodges? We ain’t got no bodges. We don’t need no bodges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ bodges!”


The 1948 western film, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, stars Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and Walter Houston. It was one of the first Hollywood films to be shot on location in a different country. They used many Mexican actors and extras. When our main characters are in the mountains prospecting for gold, a ragtag group who look like bandits come across the Americans. The leader announces they are the police. This causes Bogart to say, “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”

Well if you want to know what happens next, you will have to check out the movie. In fact, I have not seen it for decades and need to watch it again myself. It’s directed by John Houston who also directed Bogart in The Maltese Falcon. Houston won an Oscar for Best Director for Sierra Madre. His father, Walter Houston, also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The American Film Institute named it one of the best films of all time.

Back in July: I was thinking about this movie after I got an email from the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA). That was immediately followed by an email from my employer, an airline I have mentioned to you in the past. The topic of these emails? Badges!

Technically I have an airport job, although I had not been to the airport since March 13. On that date, we were told to take whatever we thought we needed to do our jobs from home and not come back. Our group packed up and left.

 

The cargo building has a nice office that was remodeled at the end of last year. It is not near the terminal buildings and is in fact outside the fence along the east side. I had a very nice view of the east runway from where I usually parked my car.  Since the building is on the City of Chicago airport property, we of course needed airport badges!

My current “office” is a small table that is mounted to the wall in a corner of my kitchen. I guess it was meant for cozy little breakfasts since only two could sit there at a time. It is perfect for my computer because there is an outlet underneath the table and it just big enough for what I need. It is not as big or as nice as the work station in the cargo building, but it is away from a public building where people come and go all day.

At home, I have not been expecting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), or the CDA to show up in my kitchen to ask to see my badge. (“If you work for the airline, where are your badges?”) This is something that could happen at the cargo building and the TSA does make the rounds, as does US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). If you are in a building that handles air freight, they really would like to know you belong there.

The problem with the official airport badge is that it has an expiration date. Every year! All of the people who work in any capacity at one of the world’s largest airports must go to the Badging Office in Terminal 3 every year to get a renewal. My time was up. I needed a new badge Even if I work from my kitchen for the next entire year, I needed to renew in case the TSA, FAA, CDA, or CBP showed up one morning for coffee (or covfefe) and asked to see my badge.

If I said I was not pleased with the thought of going to the cargo building to pick up my papers (“If you work for the airline, where are your papers?”) and then to a passenger terminal to get my badge, I would understate the obvious. But at the appointed hour one Friday this month, I got ready to go with my backpack filled with pills, water, a mask, hand sanitizer, picture ID, and stinking badge. Off I went on a trip I had not made in 4 months. I picked up the papers, chatted with a colleague a bit, and headed out.

I was told the Badging Office would not be crowded. That was true since they only let in a few people at a time in order to maintain the mandated social distancing. This meant we had to stand in a line in the hall outside. A long line. Fortunately, I got in the line before it ran all the way to the back wall where a cluster of people was milling about.  I kept 6 feet behind the guy in front of me, but the woman behind me kept creeping up close behind. We were both wearing masks, but even so.

The “gentleman” in front of me never turned around so I did not see his face. He was wearing a camouflage baseball cap with an American flag on the back. He had “salt and pepper” hair, and dressed conservatively like he would be going hunting afterward. After standing in line for 20 to 30 minutes we were near the door when a TSA agent came up to the “gentleman” and said, “Excuse me, sir, do you have a mask?”

“Mask? We ain’t got no mask. We don’t need no masks. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ masks!”

The gentleman was given two options. They could get him one of those single-use masks, or he could leave. I guess there was a third option. You may have seen their TV show, Chicago P.D. (CPD).

Update: Now just a couple of months later, the Badging Office has realized that a lot of people with badges are either on furlough or working from home. In other words, “We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges.” The CDA has set out to decommission lots of badges. Since I don’t go to the airport, the airline wants me to bring back my badge. I guess this is a commentary about whether we are going back there to work this year. I will have to plan another trip to the airport to turn in a badge I did not need in the first place. Bureaucracy!

A Month of Sundays

May we survive our brokenness and live on through good and bad.

France & Vincent

The faces of Britain's banknotes – in pictures | Business | The ...

The Old Sterling Ten Pound Note (obverse)

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The Sundays of my youth were quiet days,

primarily because in those far off times our country

still regarded the first day of the week as a rest day.

Most of the shops were shut and public transport was at best intermittent.

The roads reluctantly opened themselves up to a dreaded scourge, ‘Sunday Drivers’!

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Since lockdown, here in Sunny Sheffield, every day is very much like those Old Sundays,

with perhaps one major difference, a lot of people now wear face masks and rubber gloves…

Because I am a Key Worker I have to ‘brave’ the outside world every week-day

to get to and from my place of work and, despite myself, I cannot help thinking

how ridiculous these people look in the early spring sunshine.

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A month on from the lockdown’s inception and our city’s free newspaper is once

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