Should We Change the American System of Elections?

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Most people will agree that the American system of voting needs an overhaul. Changes to the way in which we cast a vote, and in how votes are counted, would help immensely. Here it is two days following the Election Day and there is still uncertainty. One thing that often comes to mind when people are critical of American elections is the Electoral College. I’m thinking beyond just the Electoral College, though it needs changing too. It’s certainly one of the biggest areas where change is needed. But I can also think of other ways to make improvements. More on the Electoral College later.

First, validated voters should be permitted to vote online. I requested my ballot online. I could have just as easily cast my vote online too. Opponents of online voting point to possible identity validation issues. But I can think of ways around that, such as the types of validation required when logging into federal government websites (like when I make changes online to my allotments or W-4 or accessing my TSP retirement account) or the two-factor identification steps many financial institutions employ to verify a customer’s identity. Here in 2020, we need to find ways to improve how we vote. People vote today essentially the same way it’s been done, almost since the beginning. Not much has changed: (1) either stand in long lines, or (2) fill out a paper ballot at home (or in a hotel room hundreds of miles away) and mail or hand carry it back to the board of elections. Isn’t that a little archaic? I think that it is. Absentee voting became very popular during the Civil War and during World War II, at time at which soldiers away from home could vote. It was universally limited to persons in the military then, generally, and by the late 1800s, the privilege gradually became available to civilian voters. In the last half a dozen or so elections, I’ve casted an absentee ballot far more than I voted in person. I ought to be able to vote online, which would record my vote electronically – and instantly – and avoid the long delay such as what we’re seeing this week.

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Second, we need to improve a candidate’s eligibility to appear on a ballot. Sure, I get that everyone should have a right to run for public office. But, there are several candidates for president who have little chance of winning. No, wait a minute. They didn’t stand a chance at all of winning or even coming close to winning. Did you realize there were dozens of candidates for president in this election? I scratched my head wondering why they weren’t eliminated previously. Some of them include Jo Jorgensen, Howie Hawkins, Don Blankenship, Roque De La Fuente, Kanye West, Jerome Segal, Sharon Wallace, Dennis Ball, Barbara Bellar, President Boddie (yes, that’s his name – do a search), and Mary Ruth Caro Simmons, just to name a few. The list all of all the candidates is a lot longer than this. This is only a paltry number of the people who are legitimate candidates, though not necessarily viable or competitive candidates. There are dozens of 2020 presidential candidates (which you can view HERE). Why haven’t you heard of most of them, you ask? Apparently not all of them made it on the ballots in every state. There are 21 candidates on the ballot each in Vermont and Colorado. The next largest presidential ballots are Arkansas and Louisiana with 13 candidates each. Twelve states have only three candidates on the ballot. Here in Maryland, there were five.

Approximately three dozen candidates for president are on the ballots sporadically around the country. An additional 100 + candidates are eligible but were validated too late to make it on the ballots in most states but are still official presidential candidates. This variance in who appeared on the different ballots supports my idea to eliminate them from the general election altogether. If they can’t get themselves validated to appear on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, then they should not be permitted on the ballot in any state at all. Were I a candidate, I’d favor this change.

These folks collectively received roughly 2.5 million votes, some earning as many as 60,000 + votes and others earning a couple of hundred votes. One person received 29 votes. As close as this election was, just 1-2 percentage points separating Joe Biden and Donald Trump in many states, just imagine what the outcome might have been had all of those other candidates not been in the race? I think the primary elections should eliminate all those extra people. How? Good question. Perhaps, there could be a rule to eliminate any candidate earning less than 20% of the vote in a primary election. That would be a clear indication that the candidate isn’t strong enough to survive the rigor and competitiveness of a general election. Maybe if the American people weren’t voting for all of these extra candidates, we wouldn’t still be waiting with bated breath on the election’s outcome here it is 48 hours later.

Lastly, the Electoral College needs to be eliminated. America is a democracy. In a democracy, the standard of “one person, one vote” is supreme. But in our current system, that doesn’t always work. A person could win the popular vote but end up losing based on the Electoral College, just like what happened in the 2000 and the 2016 elections. If we’re supposed to be a government of, by, and for the people, then the citizens should determine who they want to represent them and not some convoluted system that determines who will be president. At the time the Electoral College was first established, there was a good reason for it in the minds of the founding fathers. They feared that a politician with a tyrant, dictator-like mindset could manipulate the American people (someone like Mr. Donald J. Trump, for instance) and rise to power, possibly staying there in perpetuity. Presidential term limits didn’t exist at that time. A lot of politicians were loud and boisterous and were sometimes intimidating to voters. The founding fathers didn’t trust that the American people would make the right choice, and states identified electors to help get the “right” people in the presidency in a judicious manner, without influences – irrespective of the popular vote. I was thinking and equating this election to a football game that tied and went into overtime leaving everyone sitting on the edge of their seats. This election is like overtime. That’s what the Electoral College gives us.

Although many people don’t like the Electoral College, it’s probably not a high likelihood that it will change. In order to change it, a constitutional amendment is required and ratified by 3/4 of the states. So, we’ll probably be stuck with it for the foreseeable future.

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Eat Some Nuggs: You Might Like Them!

I don’t make a habit of eating a lot of artificial ‘meats’ unless I make my own. I eat them as a treat from time to time. . . as a reward – a bonus. That said, I have tried a few brands of chickenless chickn’ products: Gardein, 365 (Whole Foods brand), Quorn, and Morning Star Farms.

Gardein is the only one of those listed that is always 100% certified as vegan, all the time. For the other brands I listed, they can be either vegan or vegetarian, depending on the particular product. Even though they are vegan or vegetarian, they are still processed foods, so I don’t eat them often. Routinely eating them minimizes the benefits of consuming a plant-based, vegan diet. But, they are good to eat from time to time. Each of them are very tasty, though the Gardein has the best flavor of those I have tried up to today.

Well, I have been toying with the idea of trying a fairly new product, Nuggs, after seeing online ads on Facebook and Instagram. According to its website, Nuggs are vegan; the product is “free from eggs, wheat, soy, and cholesterol” and use natural ingredients. So, I broke down and ordered some the other day. They aren’t available in stores yet; I ordered them from the company, and I received my package today; they ship very well-packaged in dry ice and ice packs. They offer two types: traditional nuggets and spicy ones. I ordered the traditional nuggets. I can always make them spicy myself.

When I’ve fixed nuggets, I pop them in my toaster oven or my air fryer. Occasionally I’ll brown them in a skillet. The microwave is the one method I don’t recommend. It leaves them far too soft and soggy. I find that air frying is the best method, and that’s what I did to prepare these. I sprinkled them with some garlic powder, sea salt, paprika, parsley, and a little red pepper.

Nuggets, w/ honey mustard and BBQ dipping sauce

These Nuggs nuggets are the best I’ve ever eaten. The texture, flavor, and flakiness are more like a real chicken nugget than all the other ones I have ever eaten. I’m not disappointed with the product at all. I tried them with honey mustard sauce and barbecue sauce. They are a bit overpriced, though. That’s why they call themselves the “Tesla of Chicken” – a label that is proper and fitting. But at $34 a package (a comparable purchase of Gardein costs $19.96; $16 for the 365 brand), it’s much too expensive. As wonderfully good as they are, the high cost isn’t worth it. Let me know if you ever try them. I’d love to know your thoughts.

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Personal Training 101

I had a session with a personal trainer after work yesterday. I paid for it back in early March, then the gym shut down, and stayed closed till late July. I don’t know why I felt I needed a trainer. I know what to do and how to do it. I know the things I need to do in order to see results. But, alas. I hired him. Fortunately, the sessions I paid for were still good.

I hadn’t been as active these past several months as I was prior to March. I also haven’t been as conscious of my diet.  If you could see me in person right now, you’d think I was Popeye’s good friend, Blimpie; some of you might not even recognize me. Well, yes. I’m exaggerating a bit. But, I sure do feel like Blimpie. So, I’m back on the wagon after having fallen off.

During the training session, I discovered that I wasn’t as out-of-shape as I thought I had gotten. I was still able to keep up with Roberto fairly well, although for some exercises, I had a little difficulty. He complimented me on that, along with my positive outlook and inspiring words. The latter is what I do better than anything else. He recommended that I consider becoming a trainer myself. That idea wasn’t very far-fetched for me. I had previously thought of that – well, not necessarily a personal trainer, per se but rather, a health and nutrition coach – particularly a nutrition coach focused on plant-based eating. Whenever Roberto would ask me things about my diet or my workout routine, he said I seemed to shine and light up when answering him.

Looking back to yesterday, I can see that I was a hot bag of air, pontificating about what I do and how I do it, not in a condescending or boastful way but in a manner that was encouraging and informative. If you ever ask me something that resonates with me, you’ll find that out. I can go on and on about it. That’s when Roberto encouraged me to become a trainer. Even another gym patron nearby who overheard the dialogue between Roberto and I came up to me and told me the same thing. So, I’ll do some soul searching and praying. About a year or so ago, I had the same idea and thoroughly researched many programs, and I focused on two possible programs. So, who knows?

Perhaps by this time next year, I can add Personal Trainer to my accomplishments. Roberto queried me about what my area of expertise might be if I decide to go through with it. I have long supported active aging, lifestyle/holism, nutrition, and weight management. I would use these tools to bring out the best in others and help them to make better choices. I find myself advising people at work. Even though I’ve fallen off the wagon and put on a few pounds this year, I am still well within the healthy weight range for a 5’ 10” tall 55 year old man.

I love to focus on heart healthy lifestyle choices. Even though February is technical National Heart Month, I prefer to think we should think about our hearts every single day of ever single month, all year long.

Are you being proactive to protect your heart? It’s never too late. If you don’t eat well or don’t get much exercise or perhaps you consume too much alcohol, it won’t take long to turn your life around. Did you know that after only about three days of improved lifestyle changes, the regenerative properties of your body begin to take effect? If you keep it up, you’ll be a completely new person in about six months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a variety of tips and recommendations to help your life and health, and consequently, your heart.  Additionally, the CDC’s Division of Physical Activity and Obesity leads strategic public health efforts to prevent and control obesity, chronic disease, and other health conditions through regular physical activity and good nutrition, all of which have a direct impact on heart health.

A favorite spot I visit frequently, an Internet website maintained by my former doctor who is now retired, is a one stop shop for all things related to health, fitness, and nutrition. Dr. Gabe Mirkin  has been a health and fitness professional has worked alongside his wife and nutritionist Diana Rich Mirkin . They have been passionate about bringing no nonsense information to their patients and to the public through their blog, website, and a radio show they hosted for something like 25 years. Dr. Gabe (that’s what I call him) is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology.  Mrs. Diana is a certified nutritionist and fitness enthusiast. Together, they offer lots of great tips.  Archived files of  Dr. Mirkin’s radio show   are available on their site. Back in my early 20s, I called in a few times.

Dr. Gabe is the person that helped me embark on a plant-based diet. It’s really a vegan diet, though he never called it that. He referred to it as a high fiber, low-fat diet – encouraging people to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds and avoid dairy, refined salt, and refined sugar. I now know that he never called it vegan back then due to the opposition and criticisms associated with such a diet. Today, it’s fairly commonplace and the controversy over a vegan diet isn’t so widespread.

This is the kind of help and guidance I might give to others were I a trainer. It’s all about helping each other to do better. Now is the time, and it begins with you.

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Catfish Chronicles

I love it when someone tries to catfish me, and I personally know the individual they are pretending to be. I have written about this catfish issue before in a post Have You Been Catfished? and Catfish Catfish Catfish.  Someone attempted to catfish me this morning on Instagram. It gives me such joy when I can tell them I know they are fake.

I got such a request this morning, though it wasn’t in the context of dating. I immediately was suspicious only because I was already connected to this person. Of course, I know there may be legitimate reasons someone may have more than one profile. Some people don’t mix their personal and professional lives, and have a separate profile for each. Other people who develop a side business may create a new profile solely for the business. But something didn’t feel right about this one. These imposters, like the person this morning, are really good at trying to replicate the original profile. They copy the main profile picture, and if the profile is open and isn’t private, they copy many of the images that are posted on the profile’s wall. They even use a very similar screen name. Like, if the original one is Science_Teacher, they make the fake profile Science-Teacher or ScienceTeacher_ or some variation of it.

That’s what this individual did this morning, and he tried to solicit me to invest in a business opportunity. I could tell he was fake, because his words and language skills were very unlike those of my friend. Not only have I know him for many years and interacted with him a lot online, but I have also hung out with him in person. So, I could tell it was a different person. Besides, I was already texting my friend about it to let him know someone was impersonating him. I was so hoping he was going to say, “Oh no, Will. That’s me. I have a second profile.” But he didn’t say that. He confirmed that it was indeed an impersonator. He reported the profile and asked me to do so as well.

Usually when I know they’re fake, I have fun with the con artist for a while, making them believe I’m interested in investing. I eventually do a 180 and tell them I know they are an imposter. I didn’t get that chance today though, because Instagram had disabled the account. When I do get the chance to tell them I know they are fake, people will either go away and stop responding or they immediately block me. A few of them try to keep up the ruse by trying to convince me that I’m mistaken and that they really are who they claim to be. I feel like singing, “You must not know about me.” I’ve become very proficient at recognizing the phonies.

These people have no conscience at all. Maybe it’s a waste of my time conversing with them like I do. I do the same thing when I get those Spam emails from people too. My thinking is, the time I spend chatting back and forth with them leading them to believe I’ll open my wallet is time they aren’t trying to trick someone else. Even if just one or two others are spared, then it’s worth it.

It’s astonishing to me the great lengths people go through to trick others and steal their money. Catfishing isn’t just for dating. Con artists can be a catfish too.

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Where is My Money?

I never understood why it can take such a long time to receive a merchant credit on my card. When I pay for something, I see the debit on my card right away. Why does it take so long to go the other direction. I could understand if we were still in 2000 or 1995 or thereabouts. But in 2020? You’d think here in 2020 things could move much more quickly.

As I’ve written before (I hope you aren’t tired of me bringing it up…..if so, oh well .), I had plans to attend the show MJ the Musical in New York in March, 2021. Because of the state of affairs as a result of COVID-19, the MJ show was pushed back to September. The March show was rescheduled from October 2020. I was originally planning to go last weekend,  but it was canceled completely – and new shows start up again in September. Ticketmaster advised me on October 9th that it had processed my refund, and that I should receive it soon. I finally received the funds today, almost two weeks later. Why does it take nearly two weeks to process a refund when the money comes out of the account right away? Ho hum.

I suppose I should stop whining and be thankful I received a refund, albeit late. I have had many conversations with friends and associates who weren’t so fortunate. They say they lost the money they paid. I was refunded when the Motown Musical show for which I had tickets was canceled. I was refunded when Natalie Cole suddenly passed away, and her show was canceled. I was refunded for the canceled musical Come From Away in April 2020 . I was offered a refund for a Tony Bennett show that was pushed back (three times and is now in July 2021) because of COVID-19, but I declined a refund. My tickets from March 2020 are still valid and are useable come July 2021.

Well, I was refunded, so, let me go sit down and count my money.

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No More Paper Checks!

Why are some businesses still not fully integrating e-payments and e-debits? Here it is 2020 and some companies still do things the old fashioned way.

I very seldom take out my check book. If I encounter a vendor that isn’t set up to receive an e-payment, I’ll log into my bank account online and order a check to be sent to it. I don’t physically write out a check myself. That’s so 20th century. If there’s an overpayment or if that vendor issues me a discount or a rebate, the vendor will mail me a refund check. I received an email yesterday that such a business for which I’m a longtime customer is mailing me a check, which I should receive soon. Incidentally, this business gives customers the option of mailing them a check or writing credit card information on the invoice and mailing it back. How archaic and antiquated is that?

I would think that e-commerce would be far more efficient for companies than paper-managed commerce. The 21st century way could help to cut down or fraud and theft, particularly from an insider threat point of view. If I am your customer and I mail you a check, you can use my routing number and account number to steal money out of my account. When there are e-payments, 21st century technology encrypts the information, so it’s isn’t visible to the average worker of your company. That’s added security for the company, for the bank, and for the customer (me).

Being the involved customer that I am, I wrote this company’s Chief Financial Officer, explaining all of this to him. I even cited a number of cyber-related journal articles with information about ways companies can protect themselves and their customers and be less vulnerable to theft by eliminating paper accounting systems. That was about four years ago. The CFO wrote back thanking me for my letter, and identified internal measures they have in place to address insider threats. But here it is four years later, and they still don’t do any electronic payments. For goodness sakes, my church accepts e-payments. It will debit your account or take your tithes via PayPal or Venmo. If a church can accept an e-payment, any organization should be able to do it.

What viable reason is there to continue to do things the old fashioned way? The primary one is likely processing fees. Businesses pay a processing fee or transaction fee for e-payments. But this would be offset in the long run with the savings of not having to print and mail bills. Additionally, e-commerce processes have built in security checks and balances to help cut down on fraud. Just maybe, some business executives are too old-school and have no vision. Companies that accept e-payments can receive funds more quickly than they do if payments are sent via a paper check. Once paper checks are received, there is added labor involved with depositing the checks in a bank. It’s one thing for me to scan a single check in my living room and deposit it into my account. But this business has thousands of customers, which means they must make a daily run to a bank to make deposits. But, as antiquated as this company appears to be, it probably doesn’t make deposits daily. I surmise they make 2-3 trips to a bank per week.

It reminds me of how it was in the beginnings of Direct Deposit. It’s a no-brainer now. But back in the day, many opposed the electronic process, opting to get their paper check in their hands. A lot of people didn’t choose Direct Deposit until organizations began to mandate the electronic credit of paychecks to their bank accounts. I suppose this is akin to that. Although I only have this one company that is still living in yesteryear, a few friends and associates tell me they do business with a company or two that also don’t do e-payments.

If I were a business owner, it would be about the bottom line. The cost of the paper that the check is printed on, the cost of the ink, as well as the cost of  the envelope, not to mention the postage multiplied by the thousands or tens of thousands of customers receiving a bill; that would save the company a lot of money per annum.

Around 2018, I wrote to Verizon Wireless about them mailing me a check in the amount of $1.37 for an overpayment. That’s ridiculous.  First of all, I have been a customer since 1999. They take money out of my bank electronically. Why can’t they just reverse it, rather than mail me a check. Secondly, if they can’t reverse a payment electronically, why can’t they just credit my Verizon account, reducing my current balance by $1.37? Verizon wrote back, expressed appreciation for my correspondence, and acknowledge the need for improved business processes in this area.

Too bad all companies don’t see value in making improvements in this area. It’s no wonder why some companies are in the red. They could save money with just a few tweaks to their business practices. Using 100% e-payments and e-debits is the only way. I don’t see any reason to continue with paper accounting systems, other than the old standard, “We’ve always done it this way.”

But alas. That’s life for now. It’s only a minor inconvenience, and I’ll have to be okay with it. But come on people. Get with the program.

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Be A Blessing to Be Blessed: Part VIII

It was Friday morning, 16 October 2020. I was sitting on the train at the Shady Grove Metro Station. It’s the end of the line (or the beginning of the line depending on your optic). The train hadn’t yet departed the station. I was thumbing through my phone. I was mostly playing games like I enjoy doing almost every day. Games are my antidrug. They help me to destress, and they take my mind away from the real world for a little bit. It’s my therapy.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone walking toward me, and I was thinking it was far too early to converse with anyone. It was only 6:02 am. I didn’t want to look up, thinking if I didn’t make eye contact the person would keep on walking. Then the person sat across from me (I was in a side-facing seat); he addressed me by name. “Good morning, Will.”

I looked up and saw that it was a homeless dude, Jeffrey C., that I had seen on the street from time to time, going back to around 2012, always downtown around Gallery Place, MLK Library, Metro Center, and the surrounding areas. I could easily tell it was Jeffrey because he wasn’t wearing a mask. I pulled out one of my packs of disposable masks and gave it to him, watching as he donned one of them. I always keep plenty.  I’m impressed that he remembered my name, as I didn’t have a lot of interactions with him, and most of those interactions were spread out over long periods of time. The last time was about two years ago. I suppose he remembered me because those interactions were likely meaningful to him, even with their lack of frequency.

The first day I met him was just inside of Metro Center; he told me he had just gotten out of jail and needed a helping hand. So, I helped him with a dollar or two. But the greatest help I gave him that day and on subsequent days was a little information and some kindness, mostly telling him where a person living on the street can get help with basic needs and information to help him in his job search, like directing him to a nearby library where he could look for job vacancies and draft his resume. Working in Washington, DC, I have encountered many homeless men and women, and one thing I have found to be true: they all appreciate you treating them like a human as much as they appreciate the money you give them. Some of them may even appreciate the smile and kind words more than the money.

I often speak and say, “Good morning.” to people living on the street just like I greet many of the people I pass throughout the day. A little TLC can brighten people’s day in immeasurable ways. People are often battling things, even those who aren’t living on the street; and a little act of kindness goes a long way to make them feel a little better, even if only for that brief moment in time. The same is true with Jeffrey too. I’d give him tips and guidance that I thought would help him. For starters, I helped him with the way in which he approached people. When he would approach someone to ask them for help, he’d roll up on them (and me too), almost in an ambush sort of way, and that can be rather intimidating. He also said, after asking if I had any change, “Because I don’t want to have to do something and end up back in jail.”  Say what? I couldn’t believe he’d say that. That can be unsettling to people too. Jeffrey is a young African American man – 25 years old – very thin, but he’s tall. Being a man, but also an African American man, is intimidating to some people by itself. He could easily appear menacing. So, I had to put on my Probation Officer hat, and had a talk with him. Yes, in a past life, I was a Parole and Probation Agent in Maryland.

I counseled Jeffrey to be mindful of what he is projecting, especially to people who don’t know him. He’s not the first homeless man I had to talk to about that. There was another guy I encountered a while back who behaved and spoke similarly. First impressions mean everything. Jeffrey, like that other homeless guy I encountered, didn’t mean any harm. They just gave out what they were accustomed to giving out. There’s good and bad in everything and everyone. It’s like reaching out for a rose. The petals are beautiful, soft, and aromatic. But if you end up grabbing the stem instead of the flower itself, you’ll prick your finger, and you might even bleed a bit. People are the same way.

It also reminds me of that old Cherokee Indian story about the two wolves. There are many versions of the story, but essentially there are two wolves inside of us. One wolf is darkness and anger and evil and hurt – while the other wolf is hope, love, goodness, and joy. It’s an inner conflict that everyone faces daily, resting along a continuum. Which wolf wins? The one you feed the most will win. Frankly, both wolves are needed to survive in life, and the challenge is applying balance and knowing when to bring out one wolf over the other. I explained this to Jeffrey, and he understood completely. This was back in 2012, and through the years I saw him from time to time and watched him finesse his attitude; he toned it down. I told him I noticed the change, and he said that it wasn’t easy, but that people began to respond to him differently, more favorably, when he wasn’t as assertive. That was his incentive to be less “pushy” (his word) toward others. That’s the greatest lesson, one that you can see as a direct result of the changes you apply to your life.

Fast forward to this morning, once I saw it was a familiar face, I put aside the “Please don’t talk to me, now.” mood I was in. I wondered why Jeffrey was out and about so early in the morning and why he was in Gaithersburg, far from his stomping grounds of Northwest DC near Metro Center. So, I asked him. He told me that found a job. For the past eight months, he said he had been working at the Columbia Heights Target and was on his way to work. He shared an apartment with a coworker, and they live in Gaithersburg about two blocks from the Shady Grove Metro Station. He was beaming. He looked good and fresh, clean-shaven, and healthy too, unlike the disheveled, scruffy look he presented previously. I was proud of him, even though I didn’t really know him. But I was still proud just the same, and I told him so. He was proud of himself and mentioned that someone might one day write a book about him and title it, The Life and Times of Jeffrey Collins. I told him I won’t be writing a book about it, but I most assuredly would write a blog article about him. He became almost giddy.

I’ll print this out and keep it in my book bag and give it to him the next time we cross paths. It’s always nice to see that the efforts you make to help someone are not in vain. Jeffrey thanked me for the help I gave him, and I reminded him I didn’t really do much, that he had it in himself all along. That made him smile and beam even more than before, and we parted ways.

The encounter with Jeffrey blessed me, which is why I’m always paying it forward. It’s a great reminder: Never miss an opportunity to be somebody’s blessing. Be a Blessing to Be Blessed!

Visit these too:

Be A Blessing to Be Blessed: Part One

Be A Blessing to Be Blessed: Part Two

Be A Blessing to Be Blessed: Part Three

Be A Blessing to Be Blessed: Part Four

Be A Blessing to Be Blessed: Part Five

Be A Blessing to Be Blessed: Part Six

Be A Blessing to Be Blessed: Part Seven

Season of Gratitude

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It Aint Over Till It’s Over


Mr. Donald Trump announces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on Sept. 26 – © Chip Somodevilla

Coronavirus is back on the rise, with the United States is now seeing about 45,000 to 50,000 new cases daily, and its trending upward. There is a general increase in cases worldwide, based on World Health Organization data. It was just reported today that 21 states have hit their peak 7-day average of new Covid-19 cases.

But, it’s no surprise to me. Many organizations have begun reintegrating employees back to work, which means more people are out and about, more people are using public transit systems, and more people are in closed-in spaces at work. But more than that, each jurisdiction established various levels of quarantine – and if everyone isn’t being regulated in the same way simultaneously, it’s no wonder infection rates are on the rise again.

Additionally, there are still many people  who oppose wearing a mask. I’m not even talking about the people who allege health/breathing problems that wearing a mask could create. That’s questionable in itself. But no, I’m talking about the people who oppose wearing a mask because they just don’t want to wear a mask. I see plenty of them, although some of the ones I see without a mask put one on when someone reminds them to do so. Unfortunately, not everyone is so agreeable. That mask is the first line of defense to keeping the virus at bay. There is a list of basic things people ought to do, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984:

  1. Universal wearing of masks;
  2. Maintaining physical distance;
  3. Avoiding congregate settings or crowds;
  4. Doing more outdoors as opposed to indoors; and
  5. Washing hands frequently (Source)

When people socialize and don’t maintain proper distance from others, it’s a

Wearing a mask makes you a superhero.

recipe for the spreading of COVID-19.  More than a dozen other Trump aides and allies have tested positive for the coronavirus, along with additional White House residence staffers. Some Trump aides faced scrutiny following a large event in late September in the White House Rose Garden, an event announcing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett; unfortunately, many people were seated close together and not wearing a mask. In fact, looking at a photograph of the event, there are more people without a mask than there are people wearing one.

“We had a super spreader event in the White House and it was in a situation where people were crowded together and were not wearing masks,” Fauci said Friday in a radio interview referring to the Rose Garden gathering. What example does that set for the American people?

In addition to the president and the first lady, there are several other people who were at the ceremony have been confirmed to have Covid-19, many of them who consistently have failed to wear a mask. These include the following: former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins and a White House journalist.

Let’s face it. Coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon; there’s a long road ahead. Like Yogi Berra once said, “It ‘aint over til it’s over.” I pity the fool who continues to defy the basic recommendations of health experts. Even if you have outdoor events, maintaining proper distance is a crucial step to ensure everyone’s safety.

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It’s National Cheese Curd Day

I just heard some people talking about the special day this is. Aside from it being my mom’s birthday, (rest in paradise my queen), it’s National Cheese Curd Day. Imagine that.

I don’t believe I have ever heard of a cheese curd, let alone a day in honor of it. I guess nobody would eat it if you just called it what it is: fried cheese. I’ve heard of bean curd, though, and I love the heck out of it. I don’t know whether there is a National Bean Curd Day. If there isn’t, there ought to be.

I don’t eat cheese anymore – not routinely. Ever since I adopted a plant-based diet, I gave up dairy. I drink almond milk or soy milk and eat cheese that is made from the almond milk/soy milk base. But cow’s cheese is not something I eat. But, that cheese curd in the photo up there sure does look good.

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Breast Cancer In Men

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