Plausibility.

So back in 1983, two mini-series and a television series that last for just one season graced the airwaves of NBC. “V” and “V: The Final Battle” showed us what life could be like if aliens from Sirius descended upon us and promised to be our friends. The Visitors looked like us, seemed to act like us, and wanted to live in harmony with us. They had our best interests in mind. They claimed they brought with them a cure for cancer. They would show us their technology. They just needed a little bit of water and a few minerals in exchange.

They manipulated, and eventually took over the media. They formed youth-corps to foster cooperation between humans and The Visitors. They had big press conferences and said grand things. All the while, they were capturing entire neighborhoods of people to be processed as food, grabbing every ounce of water they could pump up to their mammoth motherships, and plotting the destruction of human civilization.

Wide swaths of the population continued to support The Visitors. They claimed to be our friends. It was the dissenters, the Resistance, that was messing things up. The Visitors came down on humans, eventually strolling the streets with laser guns, commandeering the media, and taking control of the government, all while quieting the scientists or making them disappear entirely.

Back in 1983 I couldn’t fathom how the humans who followed The Visitors as these benevolent beings could do so willingly.

It is now 2020. What we saw in “V” and the follow-up shows isn’t so far-fetched after all. Many humans, especially many Americans, will do anything for power. And they will go to great lengths of bending or discarding morals, turning a blind eye to the obvious truth, or discard any shred of scientific evidence, in any attempt to keep themselves to be perceived as powerful.

One has to wonder if anyone in The White House eats a mouse from time to time.

Duo.

The United States government wasn’t really designed for a two party system. The founders didn’t even write about parties in the Constitution. They didn’t want two factions going at it for political purposes.

But here we are.

During family night watched the Jon Stewart movie “Irresistible”.

The movie is well done, packed wall to wall with familiar faces, and is a satirical look at what the two-party system has come to in the Trump era. The plot was not as predictable as I predicted it to be. At the end of the movie we all declared that we enjoyed the movie very much.

Recommended.

Spacing.

So this evening we decided to go for a walk about the neighborhood and maybe have something to eat, if the situation fit our personal standards for personal safety. We are both approaching the current state of the pandemic as if no one else is looking out for us, so sitting inside a restaurant is completely off our radar right now, but we would consider eating in an open air area if there was plenty of precautions in place.

Many of the pubs and eateries in the neighborhood are still closed or delivery only, be we stopped at The Rambler, as they have outdoor seating and there was a wide selection of empty tables, and all their seating was spaced well apart.

The precautions in place were very good. If you weren’t wearing a mask you weren’t allowed in, and they had two large bouncers confirming this. As we sat down at one of the well spaced tables outside, we were told “you are not allowed in the restaurant without a mask. This includes going to the washroom”. All of the workers were wearing masks, full-time and properly. (No chin or skip-the-nose approaches). Food was served on paper plates, beverages in plastic cups, and they provided individually wrapped single use utensils and napkins. No shared ketchup or mustard bottles, everything was single serve.

This is how you do it, America.

It has been since early March since I enjoyed a draft beer so it was nice to have that change of pace. The food was good and plentiful. Earl and I put our masks on every time anyone brought something or checked on us. We left a nice tip for their hard work and I wrote a short note thanking them for trying to adhere to sensible pandemic precautions.

I was still a little uncomfortable with the situation but I was as comfortable as I could be because it appeared they were doing everything right.

I did go to the washroom at one point, there were people in the bar and they were well spaced apart. Everyone was wearing a mask.

Overall, the experience was great and the best it could be. It was an interesting adventure. I wish the hot spot states could take note and start taking the same precautions. This could be the new normal for a while.

Exercise.

The City of Chicago has a magnificent lane share system for bicycles. It has not expanded to the entirety of the city, however, there are more than enough separated and marked bike lanes in our neighborhoods to make cycling in the city somewhat enjoyable for me.

Traditionally I hop into the marked lanes and make my way toward to Loop, ride around downtown, and then come a separate route home. Riding around downtown can be stressful, even with the somewhat sparse traffic of the pandemic era. Today I decided to try something different and head north. I ended riding all the way up to Evanston.

Several streets on the far north side are one way streets with bicycle lanes separated and headed the opposite direction of vehicular traffic. Riding toward Evanston is a heck of a lot less stressful than riding downtown.

I look forward to continuing this trend tomorrow.

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Sightseeing.

As per tradition, my husband was the first passenger to go with me after getting checked out on a new airplane. This was his first time in a Cessna 182 and his first time in a single engine airplane with retractable gear.

Since there are no baseball games at Wrigley and whatever they’re calling the home of the White Sox these days, we had the opportunity to fly along the lakeshore, over Navy Pier, and along the Chicago skyline a bit. To maintain legal separation from O’Hare’s airspace, I have to fly fairly low (but not too low) and away from the shoreline. Technically I could fly closer but I would have to fly lower and without a lot of options for an emergency landing over the city, I’m more comfortable slightly higher and over water.

It makes sense to a pilot.

We thoroughly enjoyed our flight and Earl enjoyed his first flight in “Large Marge”. We already have the airplane booked for a flight next weekend. This time we’ll venture out to one of the airports on the prairie and maybe have we in general aviation call a $100 hamburger. They’re more like $200 these days but well worth it.

Time.

So we have tomorrow off from work to celebrate American Independence Day. Since the fourth falls on a Saturday we get the third off. It all makes sense.

Except, I don’t feel like it’s the Fourth of July. With this pandemic thing going on I’m still waiting for Easter and Memorial Day to roll around. I’ve lost all track of time. I find myself thinking it’s the weekend when it’s Tuesday. The long years of the Trump administration that happen every week, coupled with this weird pandemic routine shtick we’re all doing right now has me so very confused.

Now, I suppose I could go right out and start running around like everything is normal and start celebrating my patriotism like a true ‘Merican, but the thing is, I don’t want to die. Not yet. If I were to die, I would die a very happy man, but there’s still much more I’d like to accomplish. I’d like to see a happy world again before I die. I don’t believe we live in a happy world right now. Actually, it’s quite presumptuous for me to speak for the entire world, since I live in a very small corner of a smallish state named Illinois, but with all the information blasts I get on a minute by minute basis I feel like the world as a whole isn’t very happy right now.

I would love to see statistics around any increases in drug or alcohol use since 2017 in the United States. I think it would be a fascinating statistic.

So we don’t really have plans for the holiday weekend other than a sunset flight tomorrow night, but I didn’t need a day off to do that. We’ll probably go for a ride out on the prairie in the car, go through a drive thru or two, and look at the clear blue sky. Maybe we’ll watch fireworks from afar. I miss the days of handing out glow sticks to all the kids gathered to watch the fireworks from the village green.

I have no sense of time. I think I just took a nap. I’ll finish my beer. Happy, erm, Thursday.

Karen Carpenter.

I was originally going to title this blog entry “Karen”, but with the connotation associated with the name these days it would have led would be readers in the wrong direction and I didn’t want to do that.

In 1979 Richard Carpenter went into recovery for his addiction to quaaludes. During that time, his sister Karen, the other half of “The Carpenters” went into the studio with some pretty famous producers and recorded her first solo album, to be simply titled “Karen Carpenter”. The story goes that when the album was recorded, the suits at A&M Records took a listen, along with Richard, who was now out of recovery, and absolutely hated the record. Richard was particularly harsh, saying the record didn’t fit her vocal style at all and that producer Phil Ramone was using the opportunity to try to imitate Richard’s polished vocal productions. A&M Records leaned on Karen to not release the album and it went into the vault. Bits and pieces of the album were released after her death, but it wouldn’t be until 1996 that the intended album was released, following her mixing and arrangement requests.

Richard Carpenter has said in interviews that ultimately he was supportive of his sister Karen recording her own album, he just advised, “whatever you do, don’t do disco”.

There’s a pretty kick-ass disco track on the album. It’s called “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind” and it is bell-bottom swishing disco from beginning to end.

Now, I find Karen Carpenter to be one of the greatest female vocalists of all time. I could listen to her sing all day long, and my recent love affair with the TIDAL Music service and its non-compressed music tracks has pumped her album in high fidelity to my ears for the past several days while I’ve been out doing my daily exercise.

I found an extended version of “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind” that is without 21st century remix; it’s simply an extended version of the original disco track, and I’ve been bopping to it all week. So for your listening pleasure, from 1979 here’s Karen Carpenter with “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind”.