Living in Paradise

BLOG

Another Cringeworthy Oscars

And the award for the most cringeworthy, insensitive and unentertaining show goes to the 2022 Academy Awards.

I’m not just talking about the moment when Will Smith stepped on the stage and slapped the comedian Chris Rock for making fun of Jada Smith’s shaved head. That was theater of the absurd, and Hollywood knows a lot about that.

I’m stepping out on a limb here to say that an interaction between the two could have been predicted. Chris Rock has been poking fun at Jada Smith since she complained that her husband was not nominated for an Oscar for his performance in the 2015 film Concussion.

With the Smiths sitting just a few feet away, the Oscar decided to put the mouthy Chris Rock within striking distance … and sat back to see if any fireworks would erupt. A predictable plot as movie action goes.

Those of us watching on TV weren’t allowed to hear what was being said – the sound went dead apparently because Will used the f-word. While what came out of the actor’s mouth may have been deemed offensive by TV censors – and is so commonly used today that hardly anyone raises an eyebrow when it is uttered – no one seemed to care about the endless parade of exposed breasts that graced our television screens before the altercation took place.

Breast exposure is nothing new at the Academy ceremony. If you’re not there to win an award, I guess you have to be remembered for something. This year, it felt like some of the presenters were dressing for the AVN Awards, commonly known as the Oscars of Porn. Maybe it’s just me getting old.

Will Smith’s tearful acceptance speech in which he mentioned peace and love and his desire to protect his wife was followed by an appearance of Sir Anthony Hopkins who seemed, uh, rather lost. He did mention peace and love, which was about as close as the Academy Awards came to paying homage to the poor people of the Ukraine.

Other than that remark and a comment by Francis Ford Coppola, the Academy, just about the most political body in the U. S., except for Congress, was shockingly silent on Russia’s invasion.

Robert DeNiro, who has often publicly worked himself into a frenzy over former President Donald Trump, was mum when he appeared alongside Coppola and Al Pacino to celebrate 50 years of The Godfather. It was left to Coppola to say what should have been on the mind of others: “Viva Ukraine!”

Jessica Chastain did manage to shed a few tears for the plight of transgender and LGBTQ folks when she won her Oscar for best actress, but had no words of sympathy for the millions of people who are being bombed and driven from their homeland 6,000 miles away.

She even took a moment to praise Tammy Faye Bakker – the woman she portrayed – for her sensitivity and the “incredible things she did.” I was confused. Was she talking about the same Tammy Faye, who, in conjunction with her husband, bilked thousands of people out of millions of dollars to fund the couple’s lavish lifestyle?

There were more cringeworthy moments: The patting down of Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa by one of the female hosts … an egregious violation of privacy done for laughs; the choreographed display that often obscured the names of the celebrities and craftsmen who had passed away the previous year; the cuddling of a trembling rescue dog by Jamie Lee Curtis who was paying tribute to Betty White … and still offering no comfort for the people of the Ukraine.

But the award for the most insensitive moment goes to the final seconds of the show.

Brought onstage in a wheelchair to make the announcement of the best picture, 76-year-old Liza Minnelli appeared confused and ill-at-ease. She managed to shout out the name of the winner after being helped by a kindly Lady Gaga. Surely, the Academy knew how fragile the actress/singer had become. It’s been all over the Internet. If her appearance was intended to pay homage to a great entertainer, the effort was mis-guided. Instead, seeing her in that condition was heartbreaking.

Why did I watch this show, I asked myself as thoughts of the absurdities kept me awake? I guess I longed for the days when Hollywood showed a little more class – like Kevin Costner did when he spoke last night about the role of directors before presenting the award for best director to a woman, Jane Campion.

I guess I watched it because my man suggested it would be a good idea. Then an hour into the show, he headed off to bed. I should have done the same.

 

How Conflicts Begin

I can dislike Vladimir Putin for inflicting his dreams of a reunified Soviet on the people of Ukraine. Or I can think that Joe Biden has played a big part in the Ukraine War, higher gas prices and inflation, by being weak and misguided. But the real villain in my small world – the one that has my blood boiling today—is Comcast.

I’m not making light of the horrible world situation. Just trying to deal with things I can control.

Comcast has ranked among the top ten villains in my life for decades. I’m guessing you’ve been there, too. And yet when it came time to select a provider for wi-fi and TV service a month or so ago for our new condo, we returned in Orwellian fashion to the Comcast fold.

“He’s the devil we know,” I told my man. At the time I didn’t realize how annoyingly true that statement was.

I have several friends who have gone off the service provider grid because they couldn’t tolerate Comcast. My good friend Candace did it on her own. And she would be the first to tell you that it wasn’t easy and took copious amounts of time and research to get it right. I don’t have the patience; neither does my man.

At our old household, I was in charge of paying the Comcast bill. I didn’t just fork it over automatically. I made them work for it. Every month they sent me the bill, and I went to the trouble to check it and then charge it to my credit card.

Things changed when my man took over that role for our new place…for some still unknown reason. He set up the bill for automatic deduction from his credit card. Then forgot to tell Comcast when he changed his credit card to keep the lady who hasn’t taken care of our messed-up new blinds from charging us until they are properly fixed. You have to have some leverage with incompetents. I get that.

Anyway, there had been discussions with Comcast in recent days. An exchange of information and new credit card number and an agreement that two-months’ worth of bills would be collected on March 1.

But this morning, in the middle of the ongoing Ukrainian invasion, our TV screen went blank, our cell phone service kaput and our wi-fi became dicey. Either Russian hackers were launching an attack on the U. S. or, as it turns out, Comcast didn’t want to wait until next Tuesday for payment; it was stopping our service now.

My man dutifully called the company, paid the bill early with his credit card and turned on the TV. Nothing.

There ensued a painful episode in which he tried to “fix” the situation himself.

“They’ll turn it back on when they are good and ready,” I told him. After all this is Comcast. One of the world’s greatest dictators. He ignored me.

Soon I heard him on the phone again, explaining to the party on the other end what had happened. She said she would send out a technician on Saturday. There might be a service charge.

“They turned off our TV, we paid the bill like they wanted and now they want to charge us for turning it back on?” I wasn’t expecting an answer.

Ten minutes later, I heard Stuart Varney’s voice coming from the TV in my man’s office. The one he’d turned on at the insistence of the Comcast woman who was trying to help him earlier and then decided to send a technician.

“The TV is back on. Guess Comcast decided we were punished enough,” I told my man, who was heading for his phone to cancel the Saturday appointment.

When I think about it, I’m guessing this is how conflicts begin. Not with a bang, but with a misunderstanding about an issue that couldn’t wait for three days to be resolved.

Serving Q for Dinner

A friend asked me to let him know when I was next publishing a blog. I was flattered that he was missing my prose, but I have been moving into our new place and working on the church’s upcoming Strawberry Festival – a fundraiser for charity — and didn’t have time. Probably the biggest reason is that I haven’t been watching the news lately. So there has been nothing to titillate or infuriate my thought processes.

That all changed this weekend when my man and I headed for north Florida and the funeral of an elderly and much-beloved wife of one of my old bosses. We arrived Friday and met up with some former co-workers – delightful, intelligent people who I have known for decades. Reasonable, rationale people, I thought.

Our dinner together was moving along nicely until I asked my former coworker if he was still doing The New York Times crossword puzzles in ink in less than 30 minutes.

“My wife won’t let me read The Times anymore,” he said, straight-faced.

Now there’s a woman that understands that the paper of record has lost its way, I thought at that moment. I also agree that The Times – and many other papers today – cannot be trusted to print the unvarnished facts. Just the truth as their liberal or conservative reporters view it.

Then the wife spoke up. “You know that John F. Kennedy Jr. and Michael Jackson are still alive,” she said, deadly serious. “And that Mother Theresa headed a large trafficking organization and is the mother of Anthony Fauci.”

I nearly choked on my Pinot Noir. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my man giving me the “these are your friends, what the hell is wrong with them” look. The other people at the table sat there in stunned silence.

The wife proceeded to pull out her cell phone and pass around pictures of what JFK Jr. and Michael Jackson look like today from their places of hiding.

“Hmmmmmmm,” we all said in unison.

She continued: “Jeff Bezos has already been arrested for his crimes and a hologram is taking his place.”

“Hmmmmmmm,” we repeated again.

Surprisingly, we remained silent as she continued with stories of how all the criminals, like Bill Gates, would soon be taken out (aka killed) when the great uprising takes place. I mean what can you say in the face of those comments?

Then something in my brain clicked. I had heard about the great uprising before from my Polish cleaning lady who was kicked off Facebook for passing along conspiracy theories. Conspiracy doozies is perhaps a better term.

“Oh wait, this is QAnon, isn’t it?” I got no confirmation but didn’t need it. That’s exactly what my coworker’s wife was talking about. I was surprised that having been proven wrong so many times, it still had any credibiity.

“So, what newspapers do you read if not The Times or The Journal,” I inquired.

“The Epoch Times,” she responded.

“And who publishes that?”

She didn’t know. But as soon as dinner ended, I looked it up. Wikipedia says The Epoch Times is a far-right newspaper and media company believed to be affiliated with the Falun Gong new religious movement. It has websites in 35 countries and opposes the Chinese Communist Party. In 2019 it was reportedly the second-largest funder of pro-Trump advertising and has spread QAnon and anti-vaccine “misinformation.”

There was lots more that smacked of mystery and intrigue, but it was a rabbit hole I wasn’t prepared to go down on the eve of a friend’s funeral.

This morning, back in my cozy condo in south Florida, I saw an article on the Internet that claims that two independent teams of forensic linguists have identified a South African software developer as the original writer behind QAnon.

What it didn’t say was where he came up with some of his outrageous ideas and how two smart, seemingly rational people like my former coworker and his spouse could embrace what the rest of us think is crazy talk.

I mean it is crazy, isn’t it?

Or is it true that somewhere in the deep woods of Tennessee Elvis is celebrating his 86th birthday with peanut butter and banana sandwiches and members of his old posse and planning his new Resurrection Tour. Pass it on.

No Building Back Better

Thank God for Aaron. Straight-shooter. Full of information. Expert plumber and observer of modern-day life.

Aaron is the guy they call to fix everything the youngsters in the company have screwed up. Aaron and his sidekick/apprentice have been at our condo remodeling project for a day and a half now. His lingering presence speaks volumes.

Everyone has plumber stories. Maybe you think you’ve heard them all. But based on what Aaron told me yesterday and today, more of us will be having ugly construction tales to share in the future. There doesn’t appear to be any building back better in much of the younger construction trade these days.

Our story began with the neighbor’s casual observation that there was water dripping onto the top of his Audi. My man, the patient neighbor and I looked up at the maze of condo plumbing over the luxury car, searching for an answer to his concerns.

“I’ll flush the new toilet in the powder room,” I said, dreading that our fixture could be the cause of his problem.

Five minutes and six flushes later, the drip appeared. If toilet water was falling on the top of my expensive car, I might display a certain amount of pique. Lucky for us, our neighbor is from Canada — the land of accommodating folks not prone to hysterics.

The original plumber seemed a nice young fellow. He told us how good he was at his job. But maybe he should have doublechecked his work before spiking the ball in the plumbing end zone. Not one, but two toilets were leaking; the one over my neighbor’s car and a second one over where my convertible will be parked at the end of January.

Furthermore, Aaron pointed out that the original plumber did a lousy job connecting the second bedroom sink to the wall. Caulking was also not one of his strong suits.

“My kid could do a better job,” Aaron observed. I couldn’t disagree.

Aaron was also able to fix the dishwasher that was installed by the hotshot “services” team that works our area and is not affiliated with the company he works for.

“Notice they used an old connector,” he said, pointing to a darkened metal hose that had seen better days.

I took a photo of the one the installation team used so my man could point out the difference between that and the one Aaron put on our dishwasher in his future discussion with the services company.

“Don’t forget to mention that Aaron had to reinstall the garbage disposal, which he said would have fallen off after a couple of uses.”

Aaron, who at 42 is still a baby in my world, seemed wise beyond his years as he discussed today’s workplace dilemmas.

“We’re so busy that you get these guys in here and don’t have time to train them properly before they go out on the job,” he said. “Almost all my work these days is fixing easy mistakes made by our new employees.”

By the way, the electrician wasn’t all that great, either. Our condo failed its electrical inspection twice, requiring the company to send in a new team to get the job done right.

Apparently Covid is not the only thing that is becoming endemic these days. Incompetency comes to mind.

When my man called the installation services folks to put in the hood over our range, I cringed and asked him to find someone else. But who?  “They have to drill through the tile in our new backsplash…and they can’t even install a garbage disposal,” I whined.

He just looked at me and shook his head. What was he to do? If only Aaron could do that job for us, too.

Nancy’s Botox Surprise

What Tucker Carlson didn’t realize when he criticized Nancy Pelosi for looking like Michael Jackson the other night – implying she’d had too much plastic surgery – was that she appears to have been over-Botoxed.

I’ve seen it before on our little island where some women don’t want to go quietly into that dark night known as old age. A little nip here and a syringe there and pretty soon you end up with a face that belongs to someone else.

Count me in as one of those folks who hates the thought of looking my age. I’ve avoided the sun since I was in my late 20s. I’ve slathered on expensive creams. I’ve discovered that wrinkles can be pushed out by layers of fat under the skin. At least that’s my excuse for carrying 30 pounds of excess baggage around.

And I can sympathize with Ms. Pelosi. She is constantly in the spotlight. And she is trying her best not to look 81, which isn’t easy when you have a gaggle of very young Progressive women nipping at your heels of authority.

But I recently learned something that the Speaker must not have known. Too much Botox can make you look constantly surprised and, well, somewhat strange.

I mentioned the idea of injections to someone who has a friend who recently turned 80. She looks really good for her age my friend insisted, with a little help from the medical profession.

“Yes, her face is great, but her eyebrows look funny. They are halfway up her forehead. I mean what is with that?” I asked.

“Botox,” my knowing girlfriend said. “I got some injections not long ago and one of my eyebrows went up and the other didn’t.”

I hadn’t noticed her cock-eyed expression, so her eyebrows probably weren’t that bad. After several months, the Botox dissipated and her face was back to normal, she explained.

All of that does not make me want to get that particular injection. But it does make me want to defend anyone who travels down that path.

Movie star Joan Collins said it best when she noted that a woman should try to look her best no matter her age.

And while Tucker is charming, attractive and still a young man, what right does he have to criticize Ms. Pelosi or any woman, for that matter, for their facial features. You want to go after her politics, have at it. But keep the comments on her looks to yourself. It’s not fair game.

Old age is not pretty, so I say here’s to anyone who tries to keep it at bay.

 

 

The Covid Crapshoot

I was bemused to see that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came down with a case of Covid shortly after visiting the free state of Florida and partying without a mask. I’m no fan, but I wish her well. Even a mild case is no picnic.

I can’t say I blame her for not wanting to wear a face-covering. Girls just want to have fun, you know. And Florida is the best place to do that as long as you leave your politics in New York, honey.

Many of my friends are “so over it” and have been for some time, which is why a few of them have recently been infected with the unyielding virus and refused to get tested because they were certain they had the flu or a cold. I call it Covid denial.

The problem is that we aren’t over it, which is why I’m keeping a mask in my purse and avoiding crowds wherever possible.

After being vaccinated, suffering from breakthrough Covid in August and getting an infusion of monoclonal antibodies, then being boosted the first of December, I’m guessing I’m still not safe. Still, there is this need for life to go on.

So, it was with some trepidation that my man and I attended a New Year’s Eve party at the home of dear friends and rampant anti-vaxxers. They had Covid early on, gave it to a few friends at a birthday party and are convinced they are immune forever. Maybe they are. Who knows? Call me skeptical.

The party started at 6:30 and the food was sumptuous: fresh-caught grouper, shrimp off the boat from earlier that day, lobster from Maine. I could have stayed there all night stuffing my face and chatting with people I hadn’t seen for a long time. But about 8 p.m. a whole new crowd arrived. Young, enthusiastic and unknown to me.

“Where have they been?” I said to my man.

“I think we need some fresh air,” he responded. We walked outside and headed for our car.

The next day several of the people at the New Year’s Eve party celebrated at a neighbor’s house. He had also been at the party the night before and spoke at length with me and my man. We weren’t invited to his home but apparently the Omicron variant was. It seems that many of the folks that avoided the Covid on New Year’s Eve got it the next day, including the host.

“Weren’t you lucky,” my friend said as she related the story to me about the second party.

‘Holy moly,” was all I could think to say in response. I guess we were fortunate, but I felt bad for my friends.

This morning I headed for the new condo that we’ve been remodeling since June. When I arrived, the construction manager was standing next to one of the workers in front of the kitchen cabinets. When he saw me, he put his hand out: “Don’t come too close, I’m not feeling well.”

We all shrank back and covered our mouths. When he left, an uproar erupted.

“What the hell was he doing standing so close to me?” one of the workers demanded.

“Yeah, if I’m sick, I stay home,” another said.

We passed around a battle of hand sanitizer and joined in taking an antiseptic bath of the clear liquid. Not that any of us thought it would do any good, I suspect. But we had to do something.

Here we are. Wanting desperately to be normal. To party like AOC. And realizing all the time that, despite everything, we are still dealing with the Covid crapshoot. Enough now.

 

 

Bring on the Willpower

“Poor grandma,” my friend said. “The doctor says she can’t have calcium so we took away her morning cup of hot chocolate.”

“Isn’t this the woman who’s 95 and in failing health?” I said.

“Yes. The doctor thinks she won’t be around in six months?”

“And you took away her morning cocoa?!” I practically yelled at her. “What? Does the doctor think it might kill her?”

My friend was at a loss for an answer, like so many of us when it comes to health care and what we should and shouldn’t eat.

If my doctor said I had six months to live, the first thing I’d buy was a carton of cigarettes. Hang the cost. Light me up. I gave up smoking almost 40 years ago, and I still miss the disgusting things.

And bring on the steak, pie and ice cream … gallons of it.

Almost every day, someone adds a new item to the no-no food list. By the time I reach 95, the only thing left to eat will be lettuce grown in California without pesticides and downwind from any radioactive material floating in from Japan. The greens will be wrapped in paper. No plastic please; it causes cancer. This healthy bundle will be delivered to my front door by a drone.

Just yesterday, a doctor on my computer told me about a new menace to our bodies. Lectins. They’re killing us, he said, along with all the good flora, fauna and microorganisms that live in our digestive system. No longer can we eat tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, beans, cashews and grains. Peanuts are the food of the devil. Splenda is akin to cyanide.

Forget red meat. It contains antibiotics that also do a number on us. No wonder we need antacids, stool softeners and laxatives.

When my personal physician decided I had acid reflux … and doesn’t everyone these days … I googled a list of the items I shouldn’t eat. Tomatoes were at the top. (I sense a pattern here, so bye-bye Italian food.) Then red meat, alcohol, fried foods, peppermint, citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, refined sugar and so forth. You get the picture. Everything edible.

At my last visit, my doctor’s assistant told me to give up cereal for breakfast. At no time should I be drinking milk. Yogurt was a must in the morning but only the most foul-tasting, sugar-free brands. So, I was mixing yogurt with blueberries and other tasty fruits to please my doctor when I discovered that blueberry skin is No. 1 in the retention of pesticides. It’s a can’t-win world.

My physical is coming up in a month or so. My cholesterol will be sky high like it was last year. My doctor took away my Crestor on suspicion that it was messing with my liver and hasn’t come up with a panacea. I predict she’ll be removing my cheese next.

I shared my food woes with my friend Joan recently. This is the Joan who looks terrific, seems to be quite healthy and has wine at 5 p.m. every day.

“What’s your secret?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t worry about any of that stuff.” She smiled as she scooped up the last of the dressing-free salad on her plate.

That’s it. Willpower. Self-control. Where can I get a couple pounds of that to go in 2022?

Liz Versus Elon

Here’s the starting point. Consider that Elizabeth Warren paid $268,000 in taxes in 2017. Elon Musk is preparing to pay $15 billion for 2021 according to media reports.

The two were in the news when, shortly after Musk was named Person of the Year by Time Magazine, Warren tweeted: “Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.”

It takes some nerve for a member of Congress, among the biggest freeloaders in the country, to level that charge at someone else.

Musk responded that Warren reminded him of when he was a kid and “his friend’s mom would just randomly yell at everyone for no reason.”

In my opinion, Musk would also have been correct in saying: “I created a corporation that is helping us reexplore space. I’m building one of the world’s most successful electric vehicle companies.  I provide jobs for 110,000 people worldwide. What have you done for the world, lately?”

Ms. Warren has been feeding at the taxpayer trough since 2012 when she was the first female senator elected to that office from Massachusetts. Before that she practiced law and then moved over to teaching. Those that can’t do, teach, as the old saying goes.

Elon Musk was born in South Africa and moved to Canada, landing in the U. S. to settle in Silicon Valley. At age 24, he started Zip2 with his brother and another partner. They sold that company to Compaq four years later for $307 million. A month later he used his $22 million share of the sale to co-found a payment company that was sold two years later for $1.5 billion in stock to eBay.

In 2002, he founded SpaceX; in 2004 he joined Tesla and became its CEO in 2008; in 2006 he helped create SolarCity, a solar energy services company that is now Tesla Energy; in 2015 he co-founded OpenAl, a nonprofit research company that promotes friendly artificial intelligence and on and on.

It’s people like Musk who are willing to throw caution to the wind, who let it all hang out there in pursuit of their dreams that make a difference for the rest of us more-cautious, less-visionary folks.

It’s people like Warren who stifle our ability to pursue the American dream by seeking to drown entrepreneurs in rules, regulations and government bureaucracy. To my knowledge, she has never started a company or envisioned what life could be like on Mars.

Warren says she considers herself a capitalist because she has a reported net worth of $12 million. I for one would like to know how she made all that money since it doesn’t appear she brings much, if anything, to the table and is a “civil servant” beholden to the public. She is certainly no Elon Musk.

I don’t care how much Musk pays in taxes. I think he’s more than paid his dues by simply being an asset to our world. Based on her contributions to bettering our lives, Ms. Warren should return 100 percent of what she earns as a member of Congress to the rest of us taxpayers and return to the classroom.

Trump As Speaker?

We talked about it as we ate dinner with friends last night in a restaurant where the company far excelled the food. I’d heard the rumor before – perhaps from the same source – but there it was again.

When the Republicans take over the House of Representatives in the 2022 election they will name Donald Trump as Speaker, my friend said. The first order of business will be to impeach President Joe Biden.

He didn’t offer support for the thought, just noted it was floating out there and had credibility.

I inwardly rolled my eyes, a technique I mastered in the corporate world when the ideas being floated in a meeting were so ludicrous that I had to do something to keep me from screaming out loud “that is the most ridiculous, ill-conceived suggestion I’ve ever heard.”

And there it was on my computer’s newsfeed this morning – a Newsweek article on the very topic we were discussing in hushed tones last night across a white tablecloth. It quoted Florida congressman Matt Gaetz who said he’d spoken with Trump about the possibility.

Even though it is legal, constitutional and clever, it feels like the idea would be political suicide for every office holder that identifies as an R. Just because there are a large number of idiots in the Democrat party doesn’t mean that Republicans should be working to increase their own number of crazies:  Gaetz appearing to be one of the unhinged.

The only politician who seems to be on sound footing these days is Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. And I worry that someday even he will let all of us down.

Recent actions to the contrary, the Speaker of the House should be a serious position held by a thoughtful person who has the country’s best interest at heart. The Speaker should conduct herself or himself with decorum. She or he should at least try to rise above politics and promote bipartisanship in an effort to help the country move forward in a positive manner.

Nancy Pelosi was bad enough. The idea of Donald Trump in that position is laughable.

In my opinion that job should never go to someone who hasn’t been elected. I don’t think the public would stand for it.  And if the Republicans were lucky enough to take over control of the House and do something that egregious, they would pay for it in the 2024 election.

I can’t imagine that the former President would want the job. Any Republican Speaker can oversee the impeachment of Joe Biden if he or she is willing to waste the House and Senate’s time again. And being Speaker after being President – playing second fiddle to two other heads of state – seems like a big step down for an individual with an insatiable ego.

Finally, it doesn’t feel like Trump would like all the minutia involved with being Speaker and would quickly tire of a position that didn’t involve campaign speeches with thousands of adoring fans wearing red hats and shouting his name.

I’m no prognosticator and crazier things have happened in politics as witnessed by my news feed on this – and any – day.

Example. After I read the Trump as Speaker article, I came across the Hillary Clinton as Masterclass lecturer piece. In an episode called The Power of Resilience, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee reads from the remarks she had prepared to give in New York on November 8, 2016 before she learned that she was beaten by Trump. Then I watched an excerpt with her weeping as she read the part where she thanked her mother for her positive influence.

One reporter called it “poignant.” I call it embarrassing. If I had been Hillary, I would have ripped up that speech just like Nancy Pelosi did to Trump’s State of the Union — and moved on. But that’s the lure of politics for you.

Shockingly Unprepared

It happens frequently around here. People rent golf carts, don’t listen to what Steve at Kappy’s tells them about how far the carts can be driven and end up out of juice in the middle of the island after several hours of fun.

I tell you this because golf carts are electric vehicles. What happens with a golf cart can happen with an electric car. So, while everyone in the Biden Administration is getting excited about electric vehicles, I’m pondering the realistic side of traveling without a tank.

For starters, you can’t just park your dead vehicle on the side of the road and walk a couple of miles to the nearest gas station for a couple of gallons of voltage. Will AAA have a fleet of electric trucks whose drivers are willing to sit around waiting for your car to recharge?

As a southwest Florida resident, my biggest nightmare is trying to evacuate in an electric car when a hurricane is bearing down on me. I might make it to Ocala on one overnight charge but then I’m toast. When everyone else is looking to charge their vehicle, where will I go?

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is a big advocate of electric vehicles. He says people will be saving money because they won’t have to buy gasoline.

“The people who stand to benefit most from owning an EV are often rural residents who have the most distances to drive, who burn the most gas, and underserved urban residents in areas where there are higher gas prices and lower income,” Buttigieg told MSNBC.

Today, a compact SUV/crossover costs about $31,000; an electric vehicle $42,000. What wage earner in a lower income bracket can afford an electric vehicle, and where will an apartment dweller in a big city plug in his or her car? And that’s if there are cars available to purchase. My man was at the Toyota dealership earlier this week to have our SUV serviced. There was not a new gasoline-powered car in the showroom, let alone an electric vehicle.

And Pete’s comment about rural residents who have the most distances to drive saving money? Oh yes, let the rural residents find themselves stranded on the side of the road when their pricy new vehicle runs out of juice.

There has also been talk about a $12,500 incentive for purchasing electric vehicles. It reminded me of one of my favorite electric car stories. It took place when the Obama Administration was trying to encourage folks to buy electric many years ago.

At that time, anyone who purchased an electric vehicle got an $8,000 rebate. My clever friend, a multi-millionaire, called the nearest golf car dealership and asked if their vehicles qualified for a rebate. They did, he was told, as long as they had turn signals and seatbelts.

“Load one up,” my friend told the dealer. He went over to pick up it up a couple of days later. He traded in his old golf cart, for which he got $1,000. He also avoided buying a new battery for his old cart. It would have been another $1,000. And he got a snazzy new red vehicle that cost him nothing. He called it his Obama Cart.

I’m not opposed to electric cars. I wouldn’t mind owning a Tesla. But it doesn’t feel that we are even close to being ready for electric cars to replace our gasoline-powered vehicles no matter how much we talk about it. In fact, we won’t be ready until someone figures out where all this extra electricity we’ll need is coming from….how we’ll get charging stations on every corner…how we can make the grid more reliable…how auto batteries will be disposed of safety? And on and on.

Instead of getting excited about electric vehicles, I’m for diverting a big part of our attention to encouraging the manufacture of semiconductor “chips” used in all sorts of important devices. Business writer Will Knight reported recently that only 12 percent of chips sold worldwide were made in the U. S. in 2019. That’s down from 37 percent in 1990. When the U. S. is dependent on other countries for essential items, we put ourselves at greater risk.

So many challenges; so few realistic plans.