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A Difficult Three Weeks, But We Have Toilet Paper

March 23, 2020 Featured, Popular Culture, Steve Patterson Comments Off on A Difficult Three Weeks, But We Have Toilet Paper

My most recent immunotherapy treatment was three weeks ago. Since then I’ve been especially tired and have had almost no appetite. Normally I’d be baking bread, making dinners from scratch, etc. I’d been eating so well I gained 5lbs my last visit. I’ll lose wait again my next treatment day, a week from today.

The last three weeks have been anything but normal, for anyone. Very surreal.  Seeing photos of stores being out of toilet paper made me regret not buying more on our trip to Costco last month.

My last time outside of our apartment was Saturday March 7th, we went to ALDI for our regular monthly trip. They had toilet paper, but we didn’t buy any — though I later wished we had.

My husband is a home health aide, so he’s out most days helping his clients in their residences. This includes doing their grocery shopping for them. After he finished one day last week he stopped at a nearby Costco to pick up items on the list I’d given him. Normally we’d go together, but I was too tired and I didn’t want to be exposed to other people.

My husband took a few pics, like crates at the entrance to demonstrate social distancing.
A sign on a crate lists items that are out of stock — like toilet paper.

As we’re putting away what he’d purchased I hit the jackpot. On the very top of our tall pantry shelves…six rolls of toilet paper!

This package of 6 rolls is part of a larger bundle of 30 rolls.

Yeah, there go my fears of running out.  Of course, we don’t know how long all this will last.

— Steve Patterson

 

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Shutting Down To Save Lives

March 13, 2020 Featured, Popular Culture, STL Region Comments Off on Shutting Down To Save Lives

The St. Louis region still only has one confirmed case of COVID-19, but to contain it from spreading some big decisions have been made — both nationally & locally. Flights from Europe cancelled for at least 30 days, major sports postponed, Broadway shows shuttered, music tours cancelled. College classes switching to online only.

Enterprise Center was to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

The NCAA had said the March Madness tournament initially would be played without fans, but yesterday made the decision to cancel completely. Both local St. Patrick’s  Day Parades have been postponed.

Some had been upset about lost revenue by not having spectators at restaurants and booking hotel rooms by the NCAA decision to not have fans, now we won’t have players, coaches, family, etc.

Sometimes the right decision means saying no to short-term profits.  This also impacts workers who need their paychecks to pay rent/mortgage and other bills.

We can look back to St. Louis 102 years ago to see how effective such drastic actions are.

When the influenza epidemic of 1918 infected a quarter of the U.S. population, killing tens of millions of people, seemingly small choices made the difference between life and death.

As the disease was spreading, Wilmer Krusen, Philadelphia’s health commissioner, allowed a huge parade to take place on September 28th; some 200,000 people marched. In the following days and weeks, the bodies piled up in the city’s morgues. By the end of the season, 12,000 residents had died.

In St. Louis, a public health commissioner named Max Starkloff decided to shut the city down. Ignoring the objections of influential businessmen, he closed the city’s schools, bars, cinemas, and sporting events. Thanks to his bold and unpopular actions, the per capita fatality rate in St. Louis was half that of Philadelphia. (In total roughly 1,700 people died from influenza in St Louis.)

In the coming days, thousands of people across the country will face the choice between becoming a Wilmer Krusen or a Max Starkloff.” (The Atlantic)

Philadelphia did have twice the population of St.Louis, but also more than twice the land area. It was a wise decision to shut everything down. In doing so many lives were saved.

It’s impossible to know how many more would’ve died had the city not been shut down temporarily. There will, hopefully, be a point where our lives can return to normal.

Will normal be different than what we knew prior to COVID-19?  Impossible to say at this point. However, it is possible to see businesses learning how to live without expensive conferences & expos.

Over the last 20 years, the conference and convention industry has grown rapidly as the global economy has expanded.

In 2017, about $1 trillion was spent worldwide on business events, including funds to plan and produce the events and related travel, according to an Events Industry Council report. North America alone accounted for $381 billion.

Convention centers and similar facilities rely on these events to survive, often booking major ones years in advance. (LA Times)

Right now we’re looking at an expensive expansion of our downtown convention center. Do we move forward or put it on hold to see what the  convention business will look like a year from now?

Will Coronavirus influence the design of the upcoming MLS stadium? More hand-washing stations?

A lot to think about, especially if you’re at home for days.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Readers Happy To Have Professional Football Back In St. Louis

February 26, 2020 Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Readers Happy To Have Professional Football Back In St. Louis

Professional football is back in St. Louis and many couldn’t be happier.

The St. Louis BattleHawks kicked off their XFL home schedule in style Sunday, blowing by the New York Guardians 29-9 before an inspiring crowd of 29,554 at The Dome at America’s Center. (Post-Dispatch)

Football fans parked as far north as 7th just before Cass Avenue during the first home game.

Here’s a more colorful quote:

After some 1,530 long, excruciating days, St. Louis football fans were finally able see their sport of choice at the Dome again, no thanks to the NFL or a certain toupee-sporting team owner who shall remain nameless.

Yes, February 23, 2020 will forever be remembered as the day Ka-Kaw Nation was truly born, thanks to St. Louis’ new XFL franchise, the mighty BattleHawks. As early as 8 a.m. beer-thirsty Hawkamaniacs were setting up grills and rolling out coolers; by 9:30 a.m. the parking lots and even the top levels of some of the parking garages located around the dome were filling up with rowdy tailgaters. (Riverfront Times)

Those who responded to the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll were generally enthusiastic.

Q: Agree or disagree: I’m excited the St. Louis BattleHawks are playing their first home game today.

  • Strongly agree: 5 [27.78%]
  • Agree: 2 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat agree: 4 [22.22%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 5 [27.78%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Strongly disagree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]
Event workers outside the Dome during the BattleHawk’s first home game.

I’m glad to see the Dome getting used, and compensated. It appears, initially at least, that promoter Vince McMahon has a modest hit with the reboot of the XFL.

Week 4 will be important. The NFL has taken back the news cycle with the scouting combine happening this week. The XFL is getting to the point of the season in which the novelty has worn off, yet it’s too early to hype up a stretch drive for the postseason. It will be a real test to reverse the ratings decline.

The XFL is doing better than expected through three weeks. The numbers still compare favorably to other options on the sports menu. But the challenge will always be to retain most of the audience that has had only three weeks to get used to a new football league. (Yahoo Sports)

Hopefully for the St. Louis fans the XFL will do well enough to continue.

— Steve Patterson

 

‘Die Hard’ Is A Christmas Movie If You’re A Fan

December 25, 2019 Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on ‘Die Hard’ Is A Christmas Movie If You’re A Fan
Our leg lamp ornament — a reference to the 1983 classic: A Christmas Story.

The recent Sunday Poll was about the 1988 Bruce Willis action film Die Hard being a Christmas movie, or not. Here are the non-scientific results:

Q: Agree or disagree: The 1988 movie ‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie.

  • Strongly agree: 7 [31.82%]
  • Agree: 2 [9.09%]
  • Somewhat agree: 3 [13.64%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [4.55%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [9.09%]
  • Disagree: 2 [9.09%]
  • Strongly disagree: 4 [18.18%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [4.55%]

My husband loves this movie as much as Home Alone, so my opinion doesn’t really matter. The following comes closest to my own thoughts:

The film is a deceptively rich text that crucially hinges on John McClane flying across the country to reconcile with his estranged wife over the holidays. That is, all things considered, pretty damn Christmas of him. Pair that with the bond he builds with Sgt. Al Powell via walkie-talkie over the course of the film (the moment they finally meet at the end of the movie and greet each other as old friends gets me as good as any great Christmas Movie) and you’ve got the makings of all the naked sentiment and emotional exploration required of a Christmas Movie.

The catch is that while the events of Die Hard are technically instigated by the holiday season, Christmas isn’t the lens through which these relationships are explored so much as the trauma stemming from the attack on Nakatomi Plaza is. John and Holly don’t reconcile because it’s Christmas so much as they reconcile because they’ve both seen the other narrowly escape death (multiple times) and had to contemplate living in a world without one another. Al and John’s friendship stems from survival and personal growth, neither of which have any concrete tie to the holiday. It’s a great movie, a great movie that takes place on Christmas. But don’t get it twisted: it’s not a Christmas Movie. (Geek)

Being set during Christmas doesn’t make a movie a Christmas movie. At least not for me, maybe for you it does. I think a movie you like a movie set during Christmas can become a classic Christmas movie for you.

Enjoy your day!

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Is ‘Die Hard’ A Christmas Movie?

December 22, 2019 Featured, Popular Culture, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Is ‘Die Hard’ A Christmas Movie?
Please vote below

There are many films out that are undisputed Christmas classics. Esquire recently published a list of the top 40 Christmas movies, here’s their top 10:

  • 10. A Christmas Carol, 1951
  • 9. The Muppets Christmas Carol, 1992
  • 8. Bad Santa, 2003
  • 7. Miracle on 34th St., 1947
  • 6. Scrooged, 1988
  • 5. Home Alone, 1990
  • 4. White Christmas, 1954
  • 3. A Christmas Story, 1983
  • 2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989
  • 1. It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946

Further down the list is Meet Me In St. Louis, at #16:

Vincente Minnelli’s 1944 musical is comprised of vignettes set during a variety of seasons, but none are as famous as the one featuring star (and Minnelli’s future wife) Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” (Esquire)

You can watch Garland sing this here.

Today’s poll is about the movie at #25 on their list — Die Hard, 1988. Here’s an intro to the plot:

On Christmas Eve, NYPD detective John McClane arrives in Los Angeles, intending to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly, at the Christmas party of her employer, the Nakatomi Corporation. McClane is driven to the party by Argyle, a limousine driver. While McClane changes clothes, the party is disrupted by the arrival of a German terrorist, Hans Gruber, and his team: computer hacker Theo, Karl and Tony Vreski, Franco, Alexander, Marco, Kristoff, Eddie, Uli, Heinrich, Fritz, and James. The group seizes the tower and secures those inside as hostages except for McClane, who slips away, and Argyle, who gets stranded in the garage. (Wikipedia)

And this is the trailer:

I can’t think of a movie that has been debated more about being a Christmas movie or not.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

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