The Widdershins

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Hi Widdershins,

Well we finally some good things happening. BIF passed and Joe Biden will be signing it into law on Monday. Mitch McConnell says he will not attend, which is probably fine with everyone else. McConnell did vote for it on the Senate side, but he probably doesn’t want Trump to yell at him by showing up to the signing. Kamala Harris went on a triumphant trip to France – her first as VP – for various meetings with Macron to discuss climate change and help repair the relationship between US and France after the Australian submarine scandal. VP Harris was welcomed warmly by the Macrons and the press. American press largely ignored the visit, though. The biggest thing they could find to discuss was Harris’ pronunciation of the word THE. Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg decided that Harris’ pronunciation of the word THE was intended to be a fake French accent and sounded to Jacobs like THEE. This was also echoed by right-wing mental midget Ben Shapiro and what right-wing mental midgets think frequently overlaps with legitimate “reporting.” Jacobs received, as you can imagine, massive blowback from social media with many pointing out that no only was there nothing weird about Harris’ pronunciation of THE, but that Harris is fluent in French (she went to school in Montreal) and THE doesn’t even exist in the French language. And, I would imagine, if Harris wanted to do a fake French accent she’d be saying ZEE, not THEE.

VP Kamala Harris and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff greeting french President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron.

But there was more good news! Weeks after the 1/6 House Commission sent a criminal referral to the DOJ about Bloviating Blob Steve Bannon refusing to testify before the House and refusing to turn over documents – invoking a non-existent for him executive privilege – DOJ finally indicted Bannon. Lock Jabba Bannon up!!! One potentially worrying thing is the judge overseeing the Bannon case is a former clerk for Clarence Thomas and is a Trump appointee. So we will see how that goes. One hopes the House will now also refer to DOJ the case of Mark Meadows, who refused to show up to testify on Friday morning. Meanwhile traitor Mike Flynn told Nazi Tucker Carlson that he will testify because he has nothing to hide. Well, let’s see.

Also keep an eye on the FBI raid of Project Veritas and its criminal psychopath founder James O’Keefe. Exact details for the raid are unknown, but it involves Project Veritas’ alleged theft and publication of a private diary belonging to Ashley Biden, which they published on the evening of the 2020 Presidential election.

This is an open thread.

Here’s music courtesy of the American born French singer Joe Dassin. Son of the blacklisted by Hollywood French director Jules Dassin (The Naked City, Night and the City, Rififi), Joe and family moved back to France after Jules was not able to find work in Hollywood. (Bette Davis tried to help Jules by hiring him to direct a play with her on Broadway, but the show was not a success.) Eventually Joe became a massive pop star in France. How do you feel about his pronunciation of THE?

Howdy Widdershins,

So much excitement out of DC this weekend. There is a very good chance the BBB bill will finally pass. A few last details are being hammered out (after Manchin demanded “paid family leave” be removed, Gillibrand confronted him on the Senate floor and a few other Senators are trying to change his mind. Manchin, one of the dumbest people in the Senate, had a condition that people receiving “paid family leave” had to prove they had a job… David Simon, the creator of shows like “The Wire,” once wrote on Twitter that once he was sitting in a train car next to Manchin and Ben Carson, who were chatting. Simon remarked that after listening to them converse, Carson was clearly the genius between the two.)

Meanwhile Biden met with the Pope and they spend a long time chatting. A lot of people are puzzled by why Biden’s meeting with the Pope lasted longer than Trump’s. These people are dumber than Manchin, to be frank.

And a few weeks ago I posted a song here by the British singer Dua Lipa, one of the most popular young singers in the world today. Listening to her very fun album, Future Nostalgia, I was struck by another song: “Boys Will Be Boys.” Lots to unpack in it.

Here are the full lyrics for reference:

It’s second nature to walk home before the sun goes down
And put your keys between your knuckles when there’s boys around
Isn’t it funny how we laugh it off to hide our fear?
When there’s nothing funny here

Sick intuition that they taught us so we won’t freak out
We hide our figures, doing anything to shut them out
We smile, a way to ease the tension so it don’t go south
But there’s nothing funny now

When will we stop saying things
‘Cause they’re all listening?
No, the kids ain’t alright
And they do what they see
‘Cause it’s all on TV
The kids ain’t alright

Boys will be boys will be
Boys will be boys will be boys
But girls will be women

I’m sure if there’s something that I can’t find the words to say
I know that there will be a man around to save the day
And that was sarcasm, in case you needed it mansplained
I should’ve stuck to ballet

If you’re offended by this song
You’re clearly doing something wrong
If you’re offended by this song
Then you’re probably saying

Boys will be boys will be
Boys will be boys will be boys
But girls will be women

Widdershins, today I’m going to take a break from politics and share something I’ve been struggling with personally.

Last May, I got a call from a dear friend’s wife. I missed it because I was in a client meeting and figured hey, I can call her back. I did have a brief flash of “that’s odd that she’d call me on a Monday morning, I hope my friend is okay” but then dismissed that thought because he was 54 and in good health.

When I called her back, she said he had passed away the day before. We both started bawling uncontrollably. Apparently the family (my friend, his wife and their two kids, who are 16 and 13) were picnicking in the park near their how. My friend was laughing one minute, then suddenly grimaced, clutched his heart and fell over. He was just gone. They tried CPR and heart massage, but there was nothing they could do, and the EMTs pronounced him when they arrived.

A bit of history about my friend (let’s call him BC). I met him, along with many of my closest friends, in college, my freshman year. BC was in the companion dorm to mine, right across a big common area called the Lounge. So many parties, late night chats, trips. We were all thick as thieves. BC and I kept in touch pretty well – his brother was in NYC, so he stayed with me and my roommates once when I was in grad school. We spoke on the phone. I even visited him and his then-girlfriend (who became his wife) in Hawaii when I happened to be there.

But once BC moved to Southern California, we started losing touch. My family was almost all on the East Coast, and my brother was in NorCal. He and his wife were becoming parents and building a life out West. I was building my career and life with my husband. And every time we talked, it was always at least an hour and a half, so we had to plan it out pretty carefully as we got busier and busier.

Flash forward to the pandemic.

The first week after we went remote at work (week of March 16, 2020), I coordinated a Zoom call with my college friends. At first, for me it was a check-in call to make sure everyone was safe. I couldn’t stand the thought of not knowing how everyone was, and I could see that with Drumpf in charge we were going to have a terrible time of it. After we talked for a while, I suggested the call be every week. At first people thought that was excessive, but I convinced them to try it and if we wanted to adjust, we could adjust. It turned out to be our bastion of sanity and connection during those very dark days, and we’ve continued it to this day.

I mentioned BC a few times, and then eventually decided I would try to reach out. I found his email on LinkedIn and he responded right away. I told him about the call and invited him, and soon afterwards he started showing up regularly, with his wonderful wife and kids dropping in to say hi frequently. It was just as though we had never lost touch.

I’m so thankful for the timing of that outreach, because we all had several months of being with him before that dreadful May day. My husband said BC was the funniest guy he ever met. It was the way he thought about things – so logical to him, but mystifying to everyone else. The classic example: he decided to go to Hawaii because he was a waiter in Rochester, NY – why not be a waiter somewhere warm? No worries at all about logistics or career – he focused on what would make him physically and emotionally content. His boundless curiosity and desire to understand life from every angle made ambition beside the point.

The last conversation we had was with a couple of my other friends and BC. We spent 45 minutes helping him talk through a decision he wanted to make about his daughter’s education – he was trying to figure out what to tell her about whether to take a class she didn’t want to take. In the end I gave him the advice he took – tell her the risks of not taking the class (she might not get into the college she wanted) and let her decide. She would ultimately bear the consequences of the decision, so it was best to give her the grace to make it for herself.

Five days later, he was dead. And so began the agony of figuring out who was going to call whom to break the horrible news, including the Googling of another friend we had lost touch with and talking to him for 45 minutes about BC, and making plans about how to honor him at his Celebration of Life (coming up next weekend). The whole terrible, awful, unfair mess of it all. A middle-aged man in the prime of his life, cut down in the midst of joy. The pain of it is brutal and sly, the tears catching me unawares before a meeting or in quiet moments at the end of the day.

What I want to say about this is, if there’s someone you love whom you haven’t seen or spoken with in a long time, don’t wait to reach out. Life is short, random and unforgiving. Keep your dear ones close. You’ll never regret it.

This is an open thread.

Hi All! This is just a quick holdover post until Madamab can post another. What’s going on with everyone?

Open thread.

Hello Widdershins! Yes, it’s me, MB. Dmitry is relocating again so I’m taking his spot temporarily.

As of this morning, I am officially on vacation for the first time since January 4th. I can’t tell you the relief I feel. After the vaccine this week and all the months of scare and stress, from the failed insurrection at the Capitol to the ever-looming shadow of COVID, it will be great to drive up to Sacramento, go see my dad, go play the slots, and have a couple of days at home to relax.

When was your last vacation? Are you planning one soon? Now that 30% of America has been vaccinated I know I’m starting to plan a longer one in late July.

Let’s post our favorite songs either related to vacation, or that we like to listen to while on vacation.

Open thread as always.

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