Welcome to 2021!

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Morning Reading – Friday, January 1, 2021

The US reported a total of 345,737 deaths due to Covid-19 in the year 2020. By month:

February: 1
March: 3,768
April: 58,960
May: 42,099
June: 23,416
July: 26,164
August: 30,234
September: 23,341
October: 23,691
November: 37,172
December: 77,124

What Is Going To Happen In 2021 – AVC

I believe that we will continue to want to work from home, exercise from home, shop from home, watch first run movies from home, order in, livestream, and all of the other new behaviors we learned to enjoy and perfect in the last year. Where all of this shakes out will be the big reveal of 2021… –and– Climate will be to this decade what cloud was to the last one.

In Trump’s Final Chapter, a Failure to Rise to the Covid-19 Moment – The New York Times

Throughout late summer and fall, in the heat of a re-election campaign that he would go on to lose, and in the face of mounting evidence of a surge in infections and deaths far worse than in the spring, Mr. Trump’s management of the crisis — unsteady, unscientific and colored by politics all year — was in effect reduced to a single question: What would it mean for him?

Opinion | Josh Hawley’s heedless ambition is a threat to the republic – The Washington Post

What can be done? We can refuse to inhabit the lie. … And we must ensure that the aspirations of people such as Hawley — who has made the madness more mainstream — come to nothing. This begins with a simple and sad recognition: The ambitions of this knowledgeable, talented young man are now a threat to the republic.

For New Year’s Resolutions, Never Think You’re Too Old to Become a Beginner – WSJ

I had this feeling a few years ago when I suddenly realized, shepherding my young daughter to any number of classes and lessons, from swimming to piano, that I couldn’t remember the last new skill I had learned. I had gently ossified into a finished being, coasting along on midcareer competence.

How I Lost 65 Pounds In 18 Months Without Any Fad Diets or Gimmicks | by Mark Suster | Dec, 2020 | Both Sides of the Table

My wife said to me (I’m paraphrasing), “I wonder why in the past you weren’t able to get beyond your initial success and this time you were able to?” Because I was mentally ready to. It’s that simple. –and– You must weigh yourself every morning. Every single morning — good or bad. … Weigh yourself every day. Religiously. Obsessively.

In 2016, I decided I needed to get serious about weight loss. I was “morbidly obese” and my blood sugar levels were becoming ever more concerning. I had been on weight loss programs a couple of times earlier in my life but the results didn’t “stick” and I gained the weight back. I needed to fess up to reality and deal with my weight problem.

The keys to my success – echoing what Mark shares in the article I’ve linked to above – include the daily routine of weighing in (just before I step into the shower – it’s now totally a habit including entering my weight into the Health app on my iPhone.

In addition, I need to find a way to built in 20-30 minutes of exercise each day. Pre-Covid, that was a neighborhood walk most days. During Covid, I began the regular morning habit of using an elliptical trainer for 15 minutes or so first thing every morning. I also began wearing compression socks every day – which had a big impact on how my legs felt, seeming to make them “lighter” and less fatiguing when I walk. (Note: I highly recommend the Sockwell brand of compression socks. They’re not cheap but they seem to last almost forever – much longer than regular socks!).

In addition to paying a lot of attention to portion control, I totally gave up alcohol when I began my weight loss journey and haven’t had a drink in over four years. Eliminating the empty calories of alcohol was part of paying close attention to carbs in my diet as well.

Losing a lot of weight is one of the best things I’ve ever done – and, in classic fashion, I can truly say I wish I had done it years before!

Meanwhile, here’s a fun long post about carbs!…

Why Is There a Bucatini Shortage in America?

Being educated noodle consumers, we knew that there was, more generally, a pasta shortage due to the pandemic, but we were still able to find spaghetti and penne and orecchiette — shapes which, again, insult me even in concept. The missing bucatini felt different. It was specific. Frightening. Why bucatini? Why now? Why us?

The Liminality of Craig Mod – Chicago Review of Books

“One thing I’ve noticed is that I cannot photograph if I’m with someone,” Mod says. “It’s just really, really difficult […] to be present if I’m not alone. Being in that solitude and the mind space of solitude, almost [like] a mantra, like a meditative space of it, is critical for me to photograph in the way that that excites me or that feels true to it.”

Wow, Craig’s comment about needing to photograph alone is also my experience. There’s one exception – when I’m am out doing street photography with my friend Doug Kaye. Doug and I don’t seem to intrude on each other’s concentration – and we certainly don’t feel compelled to fill the silence with conversation. When we “work a block” we will work independently – and then flow back together when we conclude it’s time to search again for some better light or a better stage.

Working with a group – like in a photowalk – just doesn’t work as well for me as in a group setting there is an increased need to be participatory, having conversations, etc. which serve to break my concentration and pull me “out of the zone” I prefer being in when making photographs.

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