Drop The ‘Me First’ Attitude And Help Fight COVID-19

by Curt Kovener

Despite what some have predicted, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away with summer or fall or the general election. In fact, it’s only gotten worse and now holds Indiana and Jackson and Scott County in its ever-tightening and potentially deadly grasp. We were advised by medical professionals to not gather with family for last week’s Thanksgiving. I hope you followed that guidance as my family did.
Every day, the number of new cases ticks higher. Every day, new deaths are reported. Every day, more are hospitalized in our already exhausted health care facilities. And, yet, every day comments across social media and in personal discussions express doubt about the existence of the disease or the very real consequences it can impart on a society that does not take it seriously.
A society that could simply do its part by wearing a mask and social distancing arrogantly doesn’t.
There are too many people who allow their religious and political views to trump medical science and common sense. The most recent Supreme Court ruling that government can’t tell churches not to meet for health reasons will embolden churches and ramp up COVID cases. Isn’t that a peculiar twist on Pro- Life?
Science has proven masks are effective in slowing the spread of the disease. Social distancing and self-isolating are proven to lower the risk of infection. Yet some will not do what is required to slow the coronavirus.
If you are among this group, it’s unlikely that anything said here will change your mind. So let us appeal to your heart.
If the spread of this virus continues, there will be fewer stockings on the mantel at Christmas. There will be brides who walk down the aisle in the years to come without their fathers. There will be seniors who graduate from high school without their mothers.
Maybe your heart is cold enough that these scenarios don’t faze you. So, let us appeal to whatever part of you it is that makes claims about freedoms or the economy or whatever reason you cling to that gives you the gall to not wear a mask and follow distancing guidelines. Maybe you think you’re 10-foot tall and bullet-proof and won’t get the virus.
If we do not stop this virus with these simple measures, there will be more shutdowns. Town and city halls have already closed. Community Christmas parades have been canceled. More businesses will close. More people will lose their jobs. More consumer products will become increasingly hard to find. What does that do for your freedoms or the economy?
This country must divorce itself from its “me first” attitude. It’s sickening and killing your fellow Americans… people who are your neighbors, your friends and your family.
And if your maskless face is being shown in public for economic reasons, then consider: some of a litigious nature whom you sicken can file a civil complaint against you in court on a complaint of ‘contributory neglience’. And while the case drags on, your savings will get drained paying your defense costs.
A mask, a little consideration and a little sacrifice can keep the blood off your hands.

Brutally Honest Observations From Just A Brutal 2020

by Curt Kovener

•Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a beautiful tradition where families and friends join together to raise America’s obesity rates.
•I am a person who wants to do a lot of things, trapped in the body of a person who wants to sleep a lot.
•You know you’re officially lost when you turn down the car radio and take off your sunglasses.
•NoVinophobia: the fear of running out of wine in quarantine.
•I can tell today is going to be a “doesn’t play well with others” kind of day.
•I wish more people were fluent in silence.
•Whoever invented autocorrect should burn in hello.
•I used to be a people person…but people ruined that for me.
•The next time you think about taking up jogging remember Proverbs 28:1 “the wicked run when no one is chasing them.”
•I finally stopped drinking for good. Now I drink for evil.
•The fact that there’s a highway to hell and only a stairway to heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.
•Always give 100%…unless you’re giving blood.
•The best nicknames are the ones people don’t know they have.
•People who tolerate me on a daily basis: they’re the real heroes.
•I know right from wrong. Wrong is the fun one.
•I don’t treat people badly. I treat them accordingly.
•I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.
•I was hoping for a battle of wits, but you appear to be unarmed.
•Think. It’s not illegal yet.
•Lying through your teeth does not count as flossing.
•I don’t like to make plans for the day because words like “premeditated” get thrown around in the courtroom.
•What doesn’t kill you just gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humor.
•I’d like to thank my middle finger for always being there, sticking up for me all those times when I needed it most.

What’s A COVID Sequesterd Family To Do?

by Curt Kovener

COVID cases are rising. The Governor has ordered additional restrictions in what we should safely do. The hospital has restricted surgeries and procedures so don’t get too sick. And here we are on the cusp on the holiday season and are being warned that we should not meet with family and friends for fear of spreading and catching COVID.
So what’s a sequestered family to do this holiday season?
Here in the Hoosier wilderness we will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for two. Well, three and a quarter if you count Emma the Great Pyrenees and Willow the cat. So it could be a lot of leftover turkey, dressing, cranberry relish, hickory nut and pumpkin pie for several days.
So, you ask again, after all that cooking and eating, what’s a sequestered family to do this holiday season?
Let me suggest you dig in to or begin a holiday DVD collection.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be watching most of our growing collection.
There’s “Miracle on 34th Street”, the original black & white version with a youthful Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwinn as Chris Kringle and John Payne as an attorney who proves without a shadow of a doubt that there is a Santa Claus.
And keeping things original, there’s the B&W “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.
Set in Indiana there’s “A Christmas Story” where all Ralphie wants is a Red Ryder B-B gun and is warned by everyone “You’ll shoot your eye out”. But he gets his Christmas wish and he almost does.
At some point we will watch George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge find redemption in “A Christmas Carol”. Then for a comedic parody of that story there is the 1980’s Bill Murray in “Scrooged.”
And keeping with comedy and absurd chaos, we will watch 6’3” Will Ferrell in “Elf” with James Caan as his absent father. I am particularly amused that Sonny Corleone is the father of a 6-foot+ child Buddy who thinks he is one of Santa’s elves.
Also a comedy but definitely not to be viewed with children in the room is “Bad Santa” with Billy Bob Thornton. My DVD warns me that I have the “Naughty Version Not Shown In The Theatres.’
There are a couple of animated holiday originals I first watched in my youth: “Frosty the Snowman” with Jimmy Durante narrating and singing the title song and another original Christmas classic “Santa Claus Is coming To Town!” Even gray hair & wrinkles can enjoy cartoons on occasion.
We also will be watching the higher tech live and animated Tom Hanks conduct us on “The Polar Express.
For the ladies in the house (there are three in the wilderness Becky, Emma and Willow) who enjoy romantic comedies there’s “The Holiday”, “The Family Stone”, and “Love Actually” are all holiday views at our house.
And new to our collection this year is “The Man Who Invented Christmas”, the inspiration story of the magical journey that led acclaimed but writer blocked Charles Dickens to create Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of “A Christmas Carol”.
One I have not found yet on DVD but available on Netflix is “Christmas Chronicles” with Kurt Russell as Santa Claus who sings (while in jail) a punchy, bluesy Elvis Presley classic “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.”
So there you go—nearly 24 hours of holiday viewing to lift your spirits as you lift a hot buttered rum while you remain separate from COVID and the rest of the family.
And no doubt there will be those televised seasonal specials to occupy our holiday sequestration.
Drop me an email of what other holiday classics you like that we should add to our collection.

Nothing Matters…And What If It Did

by Curt Kovener

Now that the election is over, it doesn’t matter whether your candidate won or lost. The prophet John coined the title of this column: we all should remember it often.
And remember some of these when you’re feeling low… and especially when you’re feeling high & mighty.
•Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon; and some days you’re the statue.
•Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
•Always read stuff that will make you look impressive if you die in the middle of it.
•If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
•Always be nice to people on your way up because you damn sure will see them again on your way down.
•If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
•It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
•Never buy a car you can’t push.
•Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
•Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
•The second mouse gets the cheese.
•When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
•Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
•Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
•We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
•A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
•Save the earth…it’s the only planet with chocolate!

Thoughts On November…

by Curt Kovener

We now find ourselves in the eleventh month of a year many of us wish would hurry and get over so we can (optimistically) look forward to a new and improved 2021. But to soothe our souls, contemplate on the observations of others about the month we have just begun.
•How sad would be November if we had no knowledge of the spring.
•In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year.
•Spring is brown; summer, green; autumn, yellow; winter, white; November, gray.
•In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is brown and dark and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.
•Not winter, not fall—November
•Dull November brings the blast, then the leaves are whirling fast.
•November is the month to remind us to be thankful for the many positive things happening in our life.
•In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.
•November is chill, frosted mornings with a silver sun rising behind the trees, red cardinals at the feeders, and squirrels running scallops amongst the fallen leaves.
•I have come to regard November as the older, harder man’s October. I appreciate the early darkness and cooler temperatures. It puts my mind in a different place than October. It is a month for a quieter, slightly more subdued celebration of summer’s death as winter tightens its grip.
•In November you begin to know how long the winter will be.
•October is the month for painted leaves. Their rich glow now flashes round the world. As fruits and leaves and the day itself acquire a bright tint just before they fall, so the year near its setting. October is its sunset sky; November the later twilight.
•No sun – no moon! No morn – no noon! No comfortable feel in any member! No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees! No fruits, no flowers, no leaves! November!

An All Hallow’s Eve History

by Curt Kovener

All Hollow’s Eve is this Saturday, but how did it get to be what it is today?
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.
This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on Oct. 31 they believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
By the 9th century, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted older Celtic rites. In 1000 A.D., the church made Nov. 1 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It’s widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, church-sanctioned holiday
The All Souls’ Day celebration was also called All-hallows and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.
The celebration of Halloween in early America was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies.
Colonial Halloween festivities featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the 19th century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.
In the second half of the 19th century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally.
Borrowing from European traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition. Young women believed that on Halloween they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings or mirrors.
In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day.
By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide Halloween parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague some celebrations in many communities during this time.
Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats.
A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.