Turning the corner

Coronavirus case counts are declining.

Source: New York Times

The vaccination rollout has hit plenty of potholes, but people are getting a shot (or two) in the arm, and a third approved vaccine will be available soon.

The snow is melting. Daylight savings is two weeks away.

Spring is on the horizon too.

After our endless year of desperation and frustration, and our long winter of depression and despair, perhaps hope is finally on the way.

Keep singing, hope… it’s music to our soul.

One word

Once upon a time, there was a great future in plastics.

The graduate. Plastics from Veaceslav on Vimeo.

My wife’s grandfather had this model train car in his collection:

A bright yellow car with “Plastics” plastered on it. It couldn’t be louder or prouder unless it had a few exclamation points.

Now, plastics are threatening our future…

But there’s still hope. Boylan Slat, a Dutch inventor, was just 18 when he started Ocean Cleanup back in 2013. He’s trying to tackle the complex challenge of cleaning up the ocean garbage. These days, he’s also working to remove it from the 10 rivers that contribute the most garbage to the patch.

We can do our part, a bit further upstream… by reducing our use. Weaning ourselves from bottled water is a great place to start.

Source: https://insinkerator.emerson.com/en-gb/blog/environmental-cost-of-bottled-water

Bailing out on plastic bags will help too. A lot of cities have banned single-use plastic bags, or are charging a fee if you use them.

These relatively simple daily changes may seem like a drop in the ocean. But maybe that’s the point.

Cold enough for ya?

Snow belongs on ski slopes and Christmas cards… not in my driveway.

Ice belongs in cocktail glasses… not on the roadways.

People have the power… unless ice storms take down electric lines.

Don’t take it personally, Jersey Boys, but I’d be fine with just three seasons.

And for all you “if it’s going to be cold, it may as well snow” advocates, I’d like to gently remind you that 80-car pileups don’t happen in “cold” but they do happen in snow.

“But snow looks so pretty!” Yeah, for about an hour. Then the snow plows come along and turn it into a black/brown/gray slushy mess that makes every sidewalk a Slip ‘N Slide.

Hey, if you like snow so much, why don’t you move to Colorado? (Or Austin this year…)

I suppose if the Snowpocalypse is going to happen, it may was well be during pandemic, when we already have to shelter in place, go out only if necessary, and cover up when we do go out…

Big Bucks, No Whammies

I’ve learned so much from PBS. And when I say “PBS” I mean Pearls Before Swine, the comic strip. (What, did you think I was talking about that highfalutin TV network?) Here’s Stephan Pastis’ brilliant strip from yesterday:

Astounding, ain’t it? Good work if you can get it…

Yeah, I know you can counter this with an argument that CEOs are the LeBrons and Beyoncés of the corporate world, and superstars get super pay. (Pro tip: you probably shouldn’t use LeBron and Beyoncé as your examples, as Blacks and women are woefully underrepresented at the CEO level.)

Are CEOs really nearly a thousand times better than they were back in 1978? Highly unlikely. Not even the CEO of Stark Industries deserves that big a bump, and he’s saved the world a time or three.

I’m not saying CEOs shouldn’t make millions… but their salary should be linked to the salary of the worker bees in their company.

Ideally, we would tie worker pay to executive pay. The maximum ratio would be enforced by law. In order for those at the very top to enrich themselves more, they’d have to raise the wages of their employees. Companies would no longer be able to pay minimum wage to many of those at the bottom and tens of millions to those at the top. All the happy corporate talk about “team members” would finally mean something real.

From this Gawker article back in 2013! Nothing has changed since…

That way when the kingpins get the gold mine, the rank and file won’t get the shaft. And the rising tide will truly lift all boats… not just the yachts.

A War with Heart

Every year, the men’s basketball teams from Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati square off on the court, in what’s known as the Crosstown Shootout.

There’s no love lost between the two teams… there was an ugly post-game brawl in 2011.

The fan bases can get rather rabid, too. With a bit of perspective, it seems silly for normally-sane adults to get so emotionally invested in a single basketball game between two groups of mostly teenagers. (But as a Xavier alum, I’m duty bound to mention the fact that my Musketeers have won 10 of the past 14… Let’s Go X!)

However, there’s a new XU-UC “shootout” going on right now where there are only winners: the local bar and restaurant workers. It started more than a month ago when a man and his daughter left a $1,000 tip at a venerable burger joint and finished off their note with “Go Xavier!”

Since then, fans of both schools have been engaged in a friendly game of one-upmanship, leaving monster tips at dozens of local restaurants.

This tip war isn’t a war of attrition, it’s a war of appreciation for the local restaurants and bars whose business has been crippled by coronavirus, and the workers who rely on tips to get by.

It’s good to know that folks from both schools have their heart in the right place (and apparently fat wallets too).

Running list of tips from this Cincinnati.com article

Let’s hear it for the old man

I’m not a Tom Brady fan. Far from it. As a Raiders fan, the “Tuck Rule” game that launched his legend still sticks in my craw.

But as a fellow old man, I have to admit that there was a small sense of satisfaction with seeing a 43-year-old top a 25-year-old.

It’s also worth noting that Tampa Bay’s coach, Bruce Arians, who is 68, became the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl. He didn’t get his first head coaching gig until he was 60!

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