Post 282 - December 18, 2020

Day 282…

Some states are complaining that they aren’t getting the amount of vaccine that they were promised.

Health and Human Services, however, says that Pfizer hasn’t provided as much as they promised.

Pfizer, in turn, says that there are millions of doses sitting in warehouses for which they haven’t received any instructions or authorizations to ship.

Whatever anybody’s reaction to all of that might be, it is unlikely to be shock.

I slept through the Vice President and his wife getting vaccinated on television this morning. “I didn’t feel a thing,” is what he said as he got the shot. I can’t wait to see the memes that are going to be created using that.

The President, himself, has still not consented to doing it.

The stimulus package discussions in Washington D.C. seem to be on somewhat shaky ground. They have until tonight to pass something to keep the government open. Reports this morning seem to be a bit dubious that that will happen.

Regardless of an agreement, what is definitely missing from the proposal currently being discussed is funding to states and municipalities.

Without this funding, public workers will get furloughed. Infrastructure projects will be delayed. Contracts with private firms will be postponed or canceled. All of that will hit the already impacted economy. Hard.

Without those contracts, more businesses will be forced to close leaving their workers jobless. States will have to scramble to be able to provide basic services - sanitation, transportation and countless other services that they pay for with that federal funding.

The states that rely on federal funding the most are, in order, Montana, Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arizona. 43.1% of Arizona’s general revenue comes from the federal government. In Montana that number is 46.1%.

There was sort of oblique confirmation yesterday, that the only reason that the Senate Majority Leader is engaging in the discussions at all is, indeed, because of the upcoming elections in Georgia. In a conference call with other GOP Senators he told them that the bill has to pass because, “Kelly and David are getting hammered.”

That is, in fact, what is happening down there. The two Democratic challengers have doubled down on their efforts to show voters that the Republicans are the ones holding up the aid that Georgians so desperately need.

If passing this package convinces voters in Georgia to vote Republican, then this will likely be the last aid that they will receive. If the Senate Majority Leader retains his position, he will do everything in his power to block future aid efforts. The GOP is fundamentally against large government spending and nobody believes that more than the good Senator from Kentucky.

There has still not been so much as a peep out of the President about the massive cyber-attack by the Russians.

The National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) is a division of the Office of Cyber Security and Communications, within the United States Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

At the moment, nobody is heading this department.

Chad Wolf has been the acting Secretary, but he’s never been confirmed. Wolf was appointed by the President to replace another acting DHS chief named Kevin McAleenan. McAleenan resigned after he complained in an interview about the “tone, the message, the public face and approach” of the Administration’s immigration policy. McAleenan had replaced Kirstjen Nielsen who, herself, resigned after a meeting with the President where he announced that he wanted to go “tougher” on immigration.

Back in August, the Government Accountability Office said that both Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy Secretary, were serving in their roles in an “invalid order of succession” and were actually in those positions illegally.

Democrats have called upon the two men to resign but they’ve refused. The GOP has ignored it.

Not only are the two people ostensibly in charge of our nation’s security doing so in an unlawful manner, but the President has surrounded them with his unqualified supporters in many other key support roles. So, in the face of what appears to be the most effective cyber-attack on our nation, nobody, from the President on down, seems to be interested or capable or even allowed to deal with it.

There is a military spending bill up for review that contains measures to strengthen cyber defenses against just the sort of attack the Russians have allegedly perpetrated against us. As recently as yesterday, the President has threatened to veto it.

What do the Russians have on him?

Whether or not there is actually a video, as has long been rumored, of him peeing on Russian prostitutes would he really care? Would his base? Look at what they’ve accepted from him already.

Whether it really happened or not, the whole country already believes that it did so what would it matter if it came out?

I had to switch the cushions on the couch around this morning. There is a truly distinct dip in the one that I have been sitting on all these many months. The one on the opposite end from where I usually perch that doesn’t really get sat on at all, is much, much higher - by a good couple of inches. The one that Michael usually sits on is somewhere in the middle.

I certainly spend more time on the couch than Michael does. It’s my Command Central. There isn’t really space in the living room for other chairs, nor is there room anywhere else in the apartment for us to each have a proper desk, so the couch it is.

Michael lives on a rocking chair in the bedroom that he found in an antique store at least a decade ago out in New Jersey.

Before all of this, we certainly sat on the couch occasionally, but by no means every day. As far as I know, neither of us had EVER sat on the rocking chair.

A friend of ours offered to recover the rocker’s seat a few years ago. Even when he bought it, Michael did so, thinking that the old red vinyl should be replaced by actual leather. We never got around to it.

It’s one of the things we will definitely need to do when we don’t need it on a daily basis. The vinyl is cracking, and it looks a bit shoddy. The whole thing also needs to be strengthened. Now, however, is not the time to do it because where would Michael work while it was gone?

Some years ago, when we were doing Jersey Boys in Holland, I bought Michael a pair of plush comfy slippers in the shape of traditional Dutch wooden shoes. They were meant as a joke and he never wore them, but ever since the temperature dropped, he’s been living in them. I’m glad that they survived the last few purges because seeing him in them never fails to amuse me.

Last night, as I was looking for something else in my closet, a pair of slippers that I got on a Japan Air flight to Tokyo sometime in the last few years fell out. They’re pretty comfortable.

I can see where this is heading. Two middle-age guys puttering around their apartment, with the cat, wearing nothing but their pajamas and slippers. On top of everything, my beard is fully in and Michael’s is on the way. It’s not looking good for us.

A long time ago, my ex, who was - is - a writer, was working on a screenplay about Hugh Hefner for Imagine films. He spent a lot of time at the Playboy mansion while he was working on it and we both ended up being invited there for Hef’s 75th Birthday Party.

The party was, of course, at the mansion, and, under attire, the invitation said, “pajamas mandatory”.

We had to go shopping. I got a pair - top and bottom - that were cream-colored with bears on them. I have no idea why.

We were staying at the Beverly Wilshire and had to drive over to UCLA to park, then take one of a line of shuttle buses that had been arranged to get us all to the house. It felt strange to be outside in pajamas until we got to the parking structure and saw that everybody else was in them too. We got on the bus right behind Weird Al Yankovic and headed over.

The Playboy Mansion was not nearly as large as I had imagined it would be. The party was actually mostly outside.

This was the era when Hefner was “dating” about seven women at the same time. They all looked exactly like Pamela Anderson.

The back yard was packed with every minor celebrity you could think of. Rod Stewart was there. Scott Baio. Kato Kalin from the OJ Simpson trial and almost the entire cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Everybody was in pajamas.

Brian Grazer from the production company had come and wanted to actually do some work, so my ex went off with him and I was on my own. I actually ran into a friend who was there with Jane Krakowski and we all went off exploring.

All of us knew that this was a once in a lifetime event.

There were peacocks strutting around the grounds and a small zoo in one corner and then there was the famous grotto. We spent most of the night on mattresses inside the grotto watching people cavort with Bunnies in the hot tubs.

It was a pretty fantastic night. When I told straight guy friends about it later the response was almost always, “what a waste!”

I don’t know what happened to the tops of those bear pajamas, but I am wearing the bottoms of them now.

The mailperson just delivered a new wine rack which I put together and loaded in the bottles that have been scattered around the kitchen. Just inside the front door, we now have a brand-new shoe rack that got rid of the obstacle course of different shoes we had to get through every time we came into the apartment.

The longer we are in the apartment, the more efficient we are making it. Also, the more comfortable.

The TV is really our window out into the world these days - far more so than it ever was before. It’s hard to recognize that strange world out there sometimes these days.

Congressional representatives have started calling the actions of this Administration seditious and treasonous. It’s about time.

It is unconscionable that we are going to have to wait for another month for our government to begin to operate properly. It’s certainly not doing that now. The man who so desperately wants to keep his job does not appear to have any interest in actually doing it in the time that he has left.

So, we wait.

On our couches. On our chairs. In our homes. In our pajamas.

I realized as I was looking for my Timberlands yesterday that I have worn almost nothing in my closet for nearly a year. Even at the busiest of pre-COVID times, I didn’t wear most of it. It is clearly time for another purge.

Hugh Hefner once said, “I have about 100 pairs of pajamas. I like to see people dressed comfortably.” I think he was on to something.

If we can’t fix what is going on outside in the world, at least we can make the worlds we are stuck in the best that they can be.

Tonight, is the eighth and final night of the Festival of Lights.

Happy Hanukkah! and Chag Urim Sameach! to you all.