A new parlor game: Find out how many ways it is offensive that Trump told Pence, “You can be a patriot or a pussy.”

Good books can be emotionally  hard to read. I have recently read two very good novels that were very hard for me to read. I was not familiar with Margaret O’Farrell until I read her Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague, which centers on the death of William Shakespeare’s young son. It is beautifully written, and I kept wanting to turn the pages, but the powerful prose about mounting waves of grief pressed down on me making it hard to continue, but I did.

I had read Redeployment by Phil Klay shortly after it came out, and now, six years later, I have read his Missionaries. He is a spell-binding storyteller, and I wanted to stay up late at night reading about Afghanistan, Colombia, and Yemen. Combat stories can be hard to handle, but I have read many before. On the other hand, the many, many atrocities of Colombia were, at times, stomach-turning. Yet, because the book is so compelling, I kept on reading and was rewarded with some thought-provoking insights about the modern world.

Both books were very good;; both were hard to read. If I am asked whether I would recommend them, I don’t know how I will reply.

“In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers.” August Bebel

“War hath no fury like a noncombatant.” C.E. Montague.

I certainly hope that Biden produces fewer jactations than Trump.

I don’t believe that I will ever meet Donald Trump and, therefore, I will not get the chance to say what I always wanted to tell him: “I marvel at the extent of your nescience.”

There is much concern over what will happen on Inauguration Day. If I had my way and if your neighbor still had outside Christmas decorations up on January 20, you would have the legal right to tear them down.

The spouse and I got our first Covid vaccination shots a few days ago. We were lucky to get an appointment. We had logged onto various websites numerous times and got error messages or a notice that no appointments were available. It was especially aggravating that each time we had to fill out the same (rather long) form only to find out that we still couldn’t get an appointment. Then, as if it were a miracle, a slot opened. We nervously went to the high school location at the appointed time expecting to meet as many problems as we had had on the website. Instead, we met pleasant, smiling people seeking to help. Many of those administering the shots were volunteer nurses. Many of these other wonderful people were civil servants who cared about serving us. We too often forget the many dedicated people who work in the government. One of those wonderful people was a young Sudanese-American woman, and I again marveled at how much value immigration has added to this country.

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