Big & Little Things Noted Lately

Funny How Things Catch Your Attention. Here are a Few That Caught My Eye Today

 TV Interviews at Home

 One thing the pandemic made routine was people on tv being interviewed in their homes. We have been doing this for two years now, and some people are on tv regularly being seen from their homes.

For these repeaters, I am really surprised that we see that we are in their bedrooms, or kitchen, or some other space that looks unprofessional. By now, one would think they would put up a background screen or use one of the electronic backgrounds readily available, or at least pick a better setting in the home. Not doing so at this point seems unprofessional.

There are exceptions, of course. A few do set up their home views to look interesting and an appropriate place to meet. Two that lead that roster are former Senator Claire McCaskill and Steve Schmidt, cofounder of the Lincoln Project. I always feel like I have had an interesting visit after watching them. For the rest of these folks, this type of set up is likely with us to stay. Clean up your act.

Collars with No Ties Need Work 

While I am picking on people on tv… There is quite the trend lately of men appearing on tv without a tie. That’s ok by me, but if we are to see more of this, and I think we will, shirt makers need to better design the collar area to look better without a tie. Most look like a saggy mess. Again unprofessional. Look and you will see what I mean.

Shirt makers of the world, come to our rescue, please.

A Major Lesson the War on Ukraine Reminds Us to Remember

Ukraine reminds us, painfully, of one of the key guidelines in risk management- the longer you wait to manage it, the higher the risk.

Putin and his forces committed unimaginable crimes in Chechnya. Again, in Syria, directly and with local forces under their influence. He invaded Georgia. He stole part of Ukraine and supported pro-Russia insurgents throughout the country.

For all of this, the punishment from the West was negligible. Some – the East Europeans, in particular, nervously warned us we were encouraging a monster. No wonder Putin came to this latest evil confident he would face no consequences.  Pay me now or pay me later.

Good News and Bad News on the Trump Disease in the GOP

The good news is increasing evidence that Trump is starting to run out of gas within the GOP. People are complaining about his appearances and speeches. His feckless praise of Putin in Ukraine finally broke the band for many. If, as I suspect may happen, many of his endorsed candidates do poorly in the midterms, this will accelerate his isolation.

The bad news is that there is still no shortage of Trump wannabes. Consider the indescribably evil legislation and executive actions going on today in Texas and Florida. Trump turned over a lot of rocks and some of those snakes uncovered have come to like the daylight. Shame is in short supply with these folks.

Two Long Term Effects of COVID – One Medical, One Social

Lest we forget, the pandemic is not over, although hopefully we are moving into a more manageable stage. But there is so much we do not yet understand about this disease. Two conditions are especially noteworthy.

One, long term health effects from COVID are completely unknown. What little bit we do know looks very worrisome. For example, evidence is building that an infection may leave one with important changes in the brain, maybe even the loss of gray matter, even with what appeared to be a mild case. Others note conditions like permanent fatigue, inability to concentrate, loss of the sense of smell, and still more conditions. We have not a clue at this point on any of this.

Two, the extended isolation everyone has gone through appears to have broken down social norms at levels we have not seen before. We have all heard of terrible behavior on airplanes. Fatal road rage incidents are common. Teachers report violence and outbursts at schools at a level previously unimaginable. I have no clue what is going on with all this, but something about all this feels fundamental and dangerous.

What is Ahead for Russia?

We have rarely seen history this big unfold before us in real time. Russia is slipping back behind the Iron Curtain, the Ghost of Stalin has arisen, and the Russian economy will take decades to get back to where it was only a few weeks ago. Much depends, of course, on Putin. There does not seem to be any countervailing force, no Politburo, to oust him. A coup is not impossible; not many other paths are open.

I have wondered if we got word to senior military and government officials that war crime trials are coming and those working with Putin will be held accountable, might some decide enough is enough. If enough actual information about what is actually happening in Ukraine, might popular uprisings gain strength?

Most probably not enough to force a change, but so many powerful forces are at work – I am not inclined to bet on any outcome now. Too many variables, too much at stake. The world might look like a very different place – better or worse – soon.

See You on Friday

In the meantime, on COVID and on Russia, I wish us all luck. On the war, I note again my undying admiration of the Ukrainians. What a people they are. On TV, may we all see better dressed people in good looking settings. Standards, people, standards.

                Bill Clontz

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3 replies to Big & Little Things Noted Lately

  1. What a nice piece. Think critically and seek diversity are two things I can give my allegiance to. One of the books that has influenced me most deeply is “Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together,” by William Isaacs.

    • Thanks, Bruce for the comment and the excellent reference. Good reading I am happy to share with others.

  2. What a nice piece. Think critically and seek diversity are two things I can give my allegiance to. One of the books that has influenced me most deeply is “Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together,” by William Isaacs. In one of the chapters he lays out the four elements of dialogue: listening, respecting, suspending, and voicing. (Suspending is kind of tricky, but think of it as the importance of suspending judgment.) So I would add a related piece of advice: practice dialogue.

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