The Year in Pictures — 2020 Edition

This year was different.

News of the virus in China had already begun to circulate late last year. The videos and stories coming out of Wuhan were quite terrifying. People being welded into their apartments to prevent them from leaving. Bodies being secretly cremated en masse by the authorities. Sick people being burned alive. You have to wonder now if any of that had any basis in reality. I have come to distrust the news, both mainstream and alternative.

By February Donald Trump was doing quite well in the polls. It appeared that he would go on in November to handily beat whomever the Democrat challenger ended up being. By March the disease had reached U.S. shores, and the lockdowns began. Racial strife was unleashed yet again after a series of police killings of black men, eclipsing for a time the nation’s obsession with matters of gender and sexual identity. People marched in the streets. The marches gave way to riots. Righteous anger stood shoulder-to-shoulder with hate, the flames ever fanned by media new and established.

Meanwhile the lockdowns took their toll on normal life. Vacations were canceled. People stayed home. Businesses closed. People lost their jobs. Thank God we survived all that, but my daily habit of working away from home was seriously curtailed. I rediscovered my neighborhood. Took up walking every day at lunchtime, through the heat and sun. I could sweat as much as I pleased. I discovered a new trail system they’d built not too far from us. Found out what the grasses looked like there in the evening light. Found beauty in the spring clovers. There’s a lot of that kind of stuff in this year’s set. I hope you don’t mind.

(Kassi and I did end up taking the kids on a short trip to Arkansas. That’s in there, too. I think we all appreciated the break, as little as it was. We learned that traveling with masks is not completely unbearable.)

The end came quietly. Not without a fight but without violence. Donald Trump is gone from the news after dominating the nation’s attention for four solid years. Covid is still around, worse by any measure than it’s ever been, but the raw fear is less, I think. You learn to deal with pretty much anything. We like everyone else are looking forward to a bit more “normalcy” next year, but I don’t think you ever go back fully to the way things were. You always take something from your experience and carry it with you into the next phase. I hope we can carry with us the coping skills we’ve learned and a renewed appreciation for the little world around us.

Rip Taco Naan

Damn you, covid. And damn the lockdowns.

Small businesses are an unaccounted for casualty of 2020. The vast majority cannot survive indefinite periods of marginal revenue due to generalized fear or service restrictions. The money that would have gone to them are instead funneled to large businesses and the mega-rich like Bezos. At least there has been some kickback with regards to people being put out of their homes because of an inability to pay rent (and that may change). But not much has been offered to small businesses except for loans — there is no serious talk of debt relief for them or for people put out of work by the virus. So the best case scenario is to emerge from a couple of years of reduced earnings with a mountain of crushing debt.

To be fair that is, perhaps, a lack of leadership that can be blamed on Trump. But nothing new in terms of policy is being offered by the Biden administration. There are no solutions proposed other than the soft mandate of vaccines that have undergone minimal and hurried testing and claim to do something no other vaccine in history has ever successfully done, which is inoculate against a coronavirus. We are being asked to be guinea pigs in a scientific experiment that enriches big pharmaceutical companies, in order to fix a problem that the government created, with the threat that our lives will never return “to normal” unless we comply.

All that to say Taco Naan is gone.

From my very first review of the place, to the times I spent taking pictures of random lunches in my car, to the time I actually invented a secret menu item, to the times I was able to share the place with my friends, Taco Naan was always nothing less than a delight and a sunny spot on a rainy day.

Taco Naan, I’ll miss you. May the flavor live on.

Spotify Wrapped: 2020 Edition

I thought this was worth highlighting from my listening statistics for this year.

No surprise there. I discovered her work in April and became a huge fan over the course of the year, as I mentioned once before.

But in the top 0.05% of listeners?

That surprised me a little.

I’m gonna go ahead and say that I am the NUMBER ONE Blossom Dearie fan on Spotify. I don’t think that anybody will dispute me on that.

🌹🤴🏻

I also “discovered” this song. People are always trying to copy me. Thank you, Spotify, for pointing out that I am a trend setter, cool hunter, and arbiter of taste. I always thought as much.

1,491 minutes. That’s just a little over 24 hours — one full day of listening. I wonder which day of 2020 should count as Blossom day? Not a bad tribute to a superb performer; another one of my favorites that I’ll never get to see live.

→ Today's Sounds: It's Possible

Forever remind yourself.

The comments section on this video describes it as 70’s Italian cocaine lounge music. Psychedelia. Dunno, but I like it. I suppose this goes out to all you folks tripping today in Oregon.