Journal Entry Type #87: Let’s Count All the Ways COVID Changed Our Lives

I recently found out ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres are closing down all their theaters across the U.S. If you’ve never been to one of them, they were by far the best theaters around. Of course, the price was high but they had the best popcorn. I don’t know what they did, but it was the best popcorn I have ever eaten and will probably never again get the chance the eat. When someone was on their phone, you either had two choices: turn it off or leave. This also means the Cinerama Dome has closed too. No more movie premieres. No more seeing Hollywood actors and actresses. The only one I saw was Giovanni Ribisi, but what was even cooler was seeing Illeana Douglas stopping at the corner, riding her bike. I digress.

In addition to movie theaters taking a massive hit and other forms of entertainment except for video games, salad bars and buffets are a thing of the past. They will never make a return in huge numbers. A favorite salad bar restaurant close to me will never be re-opened. People don’t feel safe eating exposed food anymore. Not enough people are getting the vaccine and this virus is so damn powerful, I don’t blame them. I still won’t eat in a restaurant until next year sometime although I was half-forced to walk into a mall a week ago. I suppose malls are making a come back now, but I see some empty spots where stores used to be over a year ago.

There are a handful of businesses that closed down many of their stores in 2020 and 2021. Some businesses permanently closed down their stores and establishments. Here are some of them and this is not an exhaustive list.

Permanently Closing

1. Century 21

2. Lord & Taylor

3. Stein Mart

4. Bed Bath & Beyond

5. Pier 1 Imports

6. Christopher & Banks

7. ArcLight Cinemas/Pacific Theatres

8. Regal (Cinemark)

Reducing Stores

1. Nordstrom

2. Neiman Marcus

3. J.C. Penney

4. Sur La Table

5. Gap

6. Godiva

7. Banana Republic

8. The Children’s Place

9. Disney

10. AMC

The COVID obviously hit the tourism industry like a knife plunging into someone’s body over and over again. The airlines, cruise ships, hotels, and casinos all took a beating like never before. I’ve heard this is far worse than what happened on 9/11 (regarding the U.S.) and I completely believe it. The attacks in NYC disrupted airline flights, but this virus has disrupted everything and anything. It has completely brought people to their death and if not death, then onto their knees except the uber rich who made so much profit I want to vomit. The unemployment rate overall is 6.0% in March 2021, but many states have a much higher rate such as New York, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Mexico, etc. One state is not like the rest in the U.S. Nevada had a 30.1% unemployment rate in April 2020 where Minnesota had a 9.9% rate in May 2020 and Nebraska had a 8.7% rate in April 2020. What does this all mean? It means the U.S. is nowhere near it should be in terms of COVID cases, vaccines, and unemployment numbers. This isn’t even accounting for those who stopped looking and aren’t counted.

On another note, Bernie Madoff is gone. I doubt anyone is missing him. Here are some other famous people who died this year in 2021. Some are more beloved than others, but they were widely known around the world or in certain pockets of society. This is not an exhaustive list.

Those Who Have Died So Far

  1. Jessica Walter (actress)
  2. Michael Apted (director)
  3. Dustin Diamond (actor)
  4. Hal Halbrook (actor)
  5. Hank Aaron (baseball player)
  6. Larry King (journalist)
  7. Cloris Leachman (actress)
  8. Prince Phillip (royalty)
  9. DMX (rapper)
  10. Cicely Tyson (actress)
  11. Larry Flynt (magazine owner)
  12. Christopher Plummer (actor)
  13. Yaphet Kotto (actor)
  14. Tommy Lasorda (baseball manager)
  15. Dearon Thompson (actor)
  16. Tanya Roberts (model/actress)
  17. Joseph Siravo (actor)
  18. Beverly Cleary (writer)
  19. Mary Wilson (singer)
  20. Lawrence Ferlinghetti (poet/bookstore owner)
  21. Roger Mudd (journalist)

There are many other ways COVID affected all of us, but the two outstanding ones are the economy and health. The death toll is 2.9 million worldwide so far and the U.S. has the most cases and deaths. Yet, we are making progress with vaccine shots. About 20% are fully vaccinated and 37% have one vaccination. In order to stop the spread of COVID, all countries need to be vaccinated. It’s a no brainer and I hope as a collective whole, we can get there.

Poem: It’s What I Got

If that day ever arrives, I will not thank you, 
even if you beg. 
You will not be able to use my name.
That will be for sure.  That will be for sure.
One year of learning turned into twenty-five years of payback.
And no, I have not seen a better life.
I have not gained more.
I actually have lost something within me.
After all these years, I still question.
Did I do the right thing?  
Did I make the right choice?
Is my dream dead?
I could be twenty years closer to the end.
There is only forgiving myself and yet, as I feel this bitterness
within me, I know it isn't right.
You did not drag me across state lines.
But, there was the temptation on your fishing line.
A half-eaten worm I saw as whole.
This was the lie you gave me, and I swallowed it,
no objections whatsoever.
I should have spit the worm out sooner.
Another twenty years, I wonder if my irritation will be gone.
Will this be the situation I have not resolved?
Some only have six, others have one-hundred and counting,
more have fifteen, and most under thirty.
The cravings, the urgings, and the visions are there.
For either the meaning has changed,
or I have not changed at all.

Three Poems By Edgar Guest

These are the kind of poems and messages I needed today. I feel like doing many things today and yet, I’m having a hard time dealing with my blurry vision (caused by my allergies and probably other circumstances I need to pay more attention to). It’s funny how quickly a life can stay in idle in some areas, but gain speed in others. My mantra lately has been “I need to but don’t want to.” I suppose giving myself some breathing room with my interests and hold onto the belief my new path isn’t for naught. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to reading more Hemingway (when this will happen, I’m not sure) and watching the movie 21 again.

Equipment

Figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You’ve all that the greatest of men have had,
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes,
And a brain to use if you would be wise.
With this equipment they all began,
So start for the top and say “I can.”

Look them over, the wise and great,
They take their food from a common plate
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes,
The world considers them brave and smart.
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if only you will,
You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have legs and arms and a brain to use,
And the man who has risen, great deeds to do
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place,
You must say where you want to go.
How much you will study the truth to know,
God has equipped you for life, But He
Lets you decide what you want to be.

Courage must come from the soul within,
The man must furnish the will to win,
So figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You were born with all that the great have had,
With your equipment they all began.
Get hold of yourself, and say: “I can.”

Home

It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ‘preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ’em up t’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used — they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumb-marks on the door.

Ye’ve got t’ weep t’ make it home, ye’ve got t’ sit an’ sigh
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed, an’ know that Death is nigh;
An’ in the stillness o’ the night t’ see Death’s angel come,
An’ close the eyes o’ her that smiled, an’ leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an’ when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an’ sanctified;
An’ tuggin’ at ye always are the pleasant memories
o’ her that was an’ is no more—ye can’t escape from these.

Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’ love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses ’round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they ‘come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear
Who used t’ love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em jes t’ run
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun;
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’ dome:
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.

See It Through

When you’re up against a trouble,
    Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
    Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
    Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
    See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
    And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
    Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
    Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
    See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
    When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
    Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
    Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
    See it through!

Last Puzzle with Missing Pieces

Hopefully, this will be my last puzzle with missing pieces. This time there were two of them missing. I probably lost them somewhere like I did with my last one. The challenges of putting them together in different rooms. They end up under the futon or alongside my bed.

Trifecta #57

More You Know: Las Vegas, Other Cities, and Violent Crime

Before I moved to Nevada, I read that you don’t want to get housing anywhere near the strip for obvious reasons. People like to gamble and when they lose all their money, they like to break into apartments to find more money to spend. Since every major city that has a population of over 500,000 people usually has a seedy part or underbelly, Las Vegas is no different. Clark County which Las Vegas resides has a population of around 2.3 million people. This pales in comparison to Los Angeles County with 9.9 million people. Mind you since moving, Nevada drivers are ten times worse than California drivers.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I frequented the seedy parts of the city. The ones where tourists usually don’t go because they are labeled dangerous for crime and homelessness. Downtown LA, South LA, K-Town, Fashion District, Hollywood, and Central LA and West Adams are a few areas you should visit with someone and preferably in the daylight. There are some areas where it is advised not to go if you don’t look a certain way (advice given to someone I know) by another person on the subway. I heard enough gun shots on the 405 since I lived close to it before moving. Let’s just say I’m used to it. Sad but true.

Now that I live in Nevada, I learned more about the seedy areas of Las Vegas such as Naked City, East Las Vegas, West Las Vegas, Meadows Village, Rancho Charleston, and of course Downtown LV. I live far enough away that the chances of someone entering my apartment is slim but there are homeless people that show up once in a while. A few weeks ago, I heard what sounded like a gun shot. Again, I’m used to it and helicopters flying around trying to find people. I looked up some statistics about the most dangerous cities in the U.S. and the world because Naked City got me thinking. Amazingly, the LV casinos with the highest number of calls to the LV Metro police were located in the middle and south end of the strip. The Strat wasn’t even on the list which is basically the gateway casino to the actual strip, which starts with Sahara.

Top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of violent crime in 2019 by the FBI (posted on CBS News)

10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The violent crime rate in Milwaukee is 1,332 incidents per 100,000 residents. 

9. Albuquerque, New Mexico

The violent crime rate in Albuquerque is 1,352 per 100,000 residents. 

8. Stockton, California

The violent crime rate in Stockton is 1,397 per 100,000 residents. 

6 (TIE). Cleveland, Ohio

The violent crime rate in Cleveland is 1,517 per 100,000 residents.

6 (TIE). Little Rock, Arkansas

The violent crime rate in Little Rock is 1,517 per 100,000 residents. 

5. Springfield, Missouri

The violent crime rate in Springfield is 1,519 per 100,000 residents.

4. Baltimore, Maryland

The violent crime rate in Baltimore is 1,859 per 100,000 people. 

3. Memphis, Tennessee

The violent crime rate in Memphis is 1,901 per 100,000 residents. 

2. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis has a violent crime rate of 1,927 per 100,000 people.

1. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit’s violent crime rate is 1,965 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Top 10 world cities with the highest rates of violent crime in 2019 by World Atlas

10. Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

9.  Fortaleza, Brazil

8. Natal, Brazil

7.  Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela

6.  Irapuato, Mexico

5.  Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

4.  Ciudad Victoria, Mexico

3.  Caracas, Venezuela

2. Acapulco, Mexico

1. Tijuana, Mexico

Top 10 Casinos on the Las Vegas strip with the highest number of police calls in 2018 to LV Metro PD (posted on KTNV news)

10. Wynn with 1064 calls

9.  Mandalay Bay with 1120 calls

8.  Fashion Show Mall with 1125 calls

7.  Aria with 1133 calls

6.  Venetian with 1309 calls

5.  Planet Hollywood with 1312 calls

4.  Cosmopolitan with 1567 calls

3.  Bellagio with 1646 calls

2. Caesars Palace with 2094 calls

1. MGM Grand with 2492 calls

April Quotes

Poem: Finger Snap

If I snap my fingers, will all my mistakes be undone?
Will all the years I have kicked myself for doing this and doing that be erased?
No, I don't think so.  No, it's not possible.  No, it can't be done.
This isn't a pop in a VHS tape and rewind as far you I need.
If I go too far, I can play it back to see where I am now.
But what if I don't want to see that part of my life again?
It was too painful. It was too embarrassing.  It was too long ago.
Someone asked me if I'd like to be invisible.
I said yes, I would.  Why?, he asked me.
Because why not?  
I could sneak into rooms and hear how people truly felt about me.
I could see how many enemies I have and so few friends.
It might give me the power I need to get ahead.
Be that ass kisser I saw all the time, be that person I never wanted to be,
The one where if you act worthy and busy, you are okay to them.
The unwelcome wagon came and kicked me off in the middle of nowhere.
People giving unsolicited advice.
You don't know what we need or how we feel.
Your time was long ago and your opinion doesn't matter.
Keep your mouth shut.
Mistakes were made that can't be undone.  
I know this and so do countless others. 
Once the energy rebounds in my fingers, I will snap them again.
Where will you be?  Will you hear it?

TV Documentary Recommendation: Hemingway (2021)

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

-Ernest hemingway

I recommend you see this three part documentary film playing on PBS. if you a writer, alcoholic, suicidal, contradictory, or any combination I just listed. Ernest Hemingway is about as influential on writers as is Edgar Allan Poe. They were both alcoholics but one was able to survive as a writer while alive while the other hardly survived at all. Both had trouble with family and both had friends that turned into enemies. I enjoyed watching every bit of this documentary film about Hemingway that begins with his childhood and ends with him taking his life by a gun to his head. There is such a thing about the tortured writer or artist. He was definitely one of them although he allowed many of his personal demons to control him and let his impulses do whatever they felt like doing. He had little sense of delaying gratification, but how frustrating it must be to have a declining physical and mental health getting in the way of what you love to do. I’m pretty confident I won’t go the same route as Hemingway. I don’t drink and I don’t have an inflated ego as he did and yet, I am fascinated and interested in sexual and gender roles as he was. I haven’t read too many of his books, but I plan on reading more. In the short span of time he lived, he wrote quite a bit of novels, novellas, and short stories. On the flip side, Oscar Wilde, Franz Kafka, Zora Neale Hurston, and John Kennedy Toole gained the recognition they deserved after their deaths (wrong on all levels). It goes to show a person should write for the love of it and everything else comes second, third, and on and on.

I rate Hemingway Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%

More You Know: Ponzi Schemes, Pyramids, Multi-Level Marketing, and Franchises

The one thing I noticed when looking for jobs were the various pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing opportunities. As much as I would love to be my own boss and sell my own products, I’m not the type of person who gets thrilled to sell products based solely on commission. There’s a saying: ” if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Ponzi scheme. The Ponzi focuses on recruiting new members and involves no products but a return on investments. When all is said and done, hardly anyone profits except the top dog. Pyramid schemes is where people bring in their own people into the network and the profit comes from recruitments. Multi-level marketing is when there is a product to sell to the public. Franchises are those businesses where the franchisee sells the contents of the business and does not own it outright.

Famous Ponzi scheme – Bernie Madoff

Famous Pyramid scheme – Mary Kay Consulting

Famous MLM scheme – Equinox

Famous Franchise scheme – McDonald’s

There are many ways to earn money, legitimately and illegitimately, in this world. With the Internet and social media, pan handling is a thing of the past unless it’s your only option. Anybody and anyone can ask for money online. Pull at the heartstrings of countless people you will never meet. Based on my own life, I could never do that and luckily I don’t have to (knock on wood I will never have to). There is a great need for selfless monetary contributions to the others less fortunate than yourself, but sometimes I see grifters. I guess this is the new standard when it comes to trying to make ends meet. I continue to do it the normal way of having a 40 hour a week job with benefits and not much time off. This is the great capital dream, right? I end this with the mindset that the hardest thing for me is dealing with the unknown and trusting there is a plan for me, that life isn’t all bad, and it will be okay.

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