Claire’s Kitchen

Heading into 2021 this January 9th is the start of a big sports football weekend.   The country remains hooked to its digital dripline of social media and breaking TV news feeds.  The pandemic meanwhile runs wild across the states as the calvary associated with Operation Warp Speed is still loading up the vaccine pack horses. 

For nearly 12 months every cable and TV broadcast network employed a full spectrum of expert talking heads, moderators and guests on political science subjects using a checkboard display across our flat screens.  Soon these political experts would need to share broadcast time audiences with public health and medical personnel undergoing an evolving health crisis for which they and the country were under prepared to handle or address.

When broadcasts of pro and college sports resumed in late August restaurant outdoor seating, strategically organized its footprint for a hesitant patron public to return to.  Colder temps and a rising positivity rate would soon return to impact all restaurant services. 

For sports, flat screens could only communicate the obvious venue emptiness.  Corrugated plastic cutout fan images positioned in top dollar viewing season ticket holder seats tried to give context to the game being played.  That application was and still is a valiant visual of comfort for the reality that the pandemic has on sports.

Now, juxtaposition those images against cable and broadcast TV split screens and Zoom meetings during the 2020 political campaigns from studios, homes, socially distanced parking lots and airport runway gatherings. 

It is a static view versus live worldly view.

Add to that imagery a dusting of digital distractions from social media platforms and time on our hands to finger our commentary and what do we get.  A longing to belong.

We want to participate.  We need to cheer a home run, or high five our partners after a game changing play. Belly up to the bar.

Though we may no longer physically play the game we desire that fan part of the game.  Like eating out at a restaurant – it’s ok to order carry out off the online menu but what we really miss is the clank and clamor of dishes, the reverberated patron conversations, the shriek of drinks spilling and the glaring flat screen broadcasts of hometown games.

So, it is no wonder that for many the 2020 Elections season was a substitute for live sports. Add in the social response of Black Lives Matter protests, or runup to November 3rd and its aftermath and we made a participative choice.  Be it to go out and vote, march or just watch.

155 million people voted, how’s that for participation.

Like our favorite sporting venues, we know their sight lines, the best seats in the house, how to get to the game, where and what we like to eat while in the seats at the game.

So, during this pandemic era, we watched cable and TV broadcasts.  A familiarity was garnered with the moderators, and their cadre of guest experts.  We also learned something else, their home screen venues.

Instead of going out to restaurants we began to map out through the omnipresent Zoom broadcasts the homes and working spaces of these personalities during calendar 2020.

Like the mapping of favorite sports venues, we also made choices as to who were the best home decorators or perhaps subconsciously projected ourselves in sharing carry out diners in similar national Zoom living spaces. 

Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware will probably report in FY2020  financials that the Zoom effect on home interior repair saved their financial bacon in 2020.

For me it was Claire McCaskill’s kitchen.  McCaskill, the former Missouri politician became (is) a favorite talking head on NBC broadcasts.  Her passport to the broadcast venues was her valued commentary.  All based on contacts in the US Senate and an insight on Capitol Hill activities.  But it is in her grandmotherly demeanor as beamed live from her kitchen table that made that venue a hit.

Like sitting in Camden Yards in Baltimore, Cole Field House in College Park, Petco Park in San Diego, MSG in NYC, or Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham NC, it’s time to add Claire’s Kitchen for the remainder of this pandemic broadcast era as the must see TV backdrop.

I can smell her coffee pot brewing.

The MatchLID Project.

We bring good things to Life.

May 26, 2021

Over the weekend the American video viewing public and the golf world saw Phil Mickelson win the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina.

Yes, this event will be remembered for the nearly 51-year-old Mickelson on becoming the oldest pro golfer to win a major.  It was his 6th major title.

Yes, he will be remembered for the longevity of his game for playing over nearly 4 decades in the pro/semi-pro ranks. Much will be written about his relevance then and now.

However, what may be remembered most on this May 23, 2021 date, is the fawning crowds of spectators who engulfed the 18th fairway and green approach at Kiawah.  Mickelson was surrounded by fans as he walked towards the green.  On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, the PGA officially apologized to Mickelson and his playing partner Brooks Koepka for the lack of crowd control.

Perhaps the nearly maskless golf crowd can be forgiven for their exuberance in this instance for sporting crowds of this nature and fervor have been missing on the “world” stage since March 2020.  The COVID pandemic reduced crowd sizes and its spontaneity since then.

Yes, sports continued to find a means for playing on courts, fields, in the roads, in the stadiums, on golf courses, in the pools, and tracks across the world.  But somehow the Mickelson win seems to have both encapsulate the frustrations and relief the pandemic presented to the sporting world these last 15 months.

Observing interstate electronic signage provided from the State of South Carolina back in March 2020 the state seemed, by the messaging, not to want anyone transiting the state, via the I-95 corridor, to feel anything but unwelcomed. Move along.  IMHO, if they could have turned off the northbound billboard lights on the South of the Border ads (Pedro is only a few miles ahead) they would have. Forgive, because it was scary times for all.

Things changed for the better by March 2021 as observed when heading south and stopping for the night in NC a few miles north of Pedro’s.  The evening news was full of instate and cross-state broadcasts urging age relevant residents to be vaccinated as reporters stood nearby just opened vaccination sites.  Messaging was positive.

Fast forward to May and the PGA Championship on Kiawah where state and PGA officials allowed 10,000 spectators a day to walk the fairways of this 4-day event.

So, it is with the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines that allowed vaccinated (and unvaccinated, too) fans to participate in this annual sporting event.  Even the CDC helped the week before by relaxing the national guidelines that pertain to mask wearing in public.

In a way it reminded me of the old General Electric catch phrase/ad “GE, we bring good things to life.” 

Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching.  The Tokyo Olympics is upon us and physically not that far away.  Summertime is here.

The United States has more than 131 million people (39% fully) vaccinated and over 357 million doses have been distributed (49% with at least 1 dose).  The world still reels from this pandemic and will need help to reach these same heights.

Caution and vaccination perseverance will help return both sporting events and the restaurant industry to move us past this next pandemic stage.  Winter approaches with its home-bound travel and pending flu season. Hopefully, the percentages vaccinated will climb more by then.  The fat lady has not sung yet.

Surviving restaurants and sports bars are the staples for which this MatchLidProject was created. They will implement lessons learned from the pandemic era.  This time may become a renaissance for this industry.   Only time and patrons will tell of that return to glory story.

What became obvious from the thousands of fervent fans who engulfed the 18th green at Kiawah was could you find any visible outwardly signs of national unrest or division?  People came there to celebrate what is a pro sport / golf historic moment.  One of which years from now those in attendance can say they were there.  

Sports unite us.  It keeps us sane for at least the moment.  It helps reduce distractions, lets us cheer together, support our teams, and ultimately lets us honor a champion, be them long in the tooth or young at heart. 

Mickelson provided all including a staying power to endure.

We need to do the same as we bring good things to life.

The MatchLidProject™

Anna Maria, A Snowbird’s Anniversary – March 11, 2021

It’s really nothing to celebrate.  This anniversary just happened over time.

A year gone by and we have returned like the snowbirds to this beach community along the Gulf Coast.  Anna Maria Island (AMI) is south of Tampa and East of Bradenton, FL.  

AMI, popular for its family friendly beach atmosphere and sugar fine white sand beaches splits a geopositioned land mass between the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.  Like fisheries and loggerhead turtles these snowbirds return here annually.   It’s an anniversary marked as sunlight beams signifying longer daylight days tilt above the equator.  

However, this time it is different.

A year ago, the local and national broadcast airways became a white blizzard of breaking news noise.  A virus named SARS-CoV-2 would be known as the COVID-19 was marching towards a worldwide pandemic outbreak. 

Symbolized by virus infected cruise ships like the Diamond Princess many searched for a safe harbor. Travel plans rapidly unraveled because there was fear and scary places to go.

Caught between a “Big Boy” restaurant moment every non-local down along this Gulf Coast community faced the same decision – “do I stay, or do I go”.  Go where? Borders were closing rapidly both interstate and internationally. 

States implemented mobility rules that reduced travel patterns to beltway connected communities.  Canada closed its border with the US.  You had to be a native to return. International flights between European countries, Canada, Mexico, and China became fodder for a national debate.

Back then the casual observer could see Canadian snowbirds begin their quick migration dragging their RV motorhomes northward up I-75, I-10, I-95, to I-64 to I-90 via I-81 and eventually back across the border to their provinces.

Native East Coasters and Midwestern snowbirds unsure if their extended vacation rentals would expire quickly by Florida state orders or be allow a temporary refuge had to choose to return northward abandoning their springtime nests to head home.

Updates from those at home reported panic and outages in the local grocery paper aisles.  Before everyone left, they gobbled up any toilet paper and Clorox spray disinfectants they could find.  It wasn’t much.  

Messaging from local, state, and federal politicians confused and muddled the early response as reflected by their own public health officials.  Many snowbirds packed lunches for rides north.  No one stopped at roadside travel oasis restaurants choosing rather to eat outdoors at rest stop picnic tables, maskless.

What followed in the intervening year of time and its pandemic space was in a word, horrific.  However, during that same space and time, it was also miraculous, heroic, disappointing, revealing, and flat out unbelievable.  

From March 2020 through January 2021 there was much change and chaos rooted in this pandemic.  Its historic impact will still be written about over the next decade.

One year later families, communities and populous worldwide are coping with mechanisms that require simple health guidelines and trust in each other and their governments in hopes of moving beyond the aftereffects of 2020.  Not everyone’s approach is the same.

To watch as numerous vaccines developed that begins to neutralize the COVID-19 Virus, was a miraculous accomplishment of science.  To understand the complexity for first distributing then deploying those vaccines worldwide now requires hope, faith, and a determined greater human spirit.

We are all concerned for family.  Hope is for effective and sufficient vaccines to be forthcoming for loved ones, for those most at risk, for the youth, and for those not readily seen, for all. 

We seek a safe and orderly deployment because we know all too well the statistics of this past year. Candlelight vigils, flags at half-staff, empty seats at the table, memorials and remembrances keep it fresh within sight.

Which makes the return to the Gulf Coast as a snowbird like a circadian cycle, an order by nature.

Over the past year what started as a response to the pandemic’s impacts, the MatchLIDProject now takes on a new direction.  Oh, it will still provide commentary on the plight of restaurants and their intersection with the sporting world.  But now it needs to move forward to display how each has changed their direction, positive or otherwise.

As for sports, yes, them too.  MLB has its baseball spring training underway.  States have recently begun lifting restrictions on occupancy percentages in arenas, restaurants, and churches.  The NCAA will hold college basketballs’ March Madness championship completely in venues across Indiana with limited paying attendance.  Even concert and theater venues are opening under reduced capacity.

However, were any lessons learned from this past year?  Did anyone apply those lessons?  What’s changed? What will change?

Were changes made for business survival purposes implemented in a newly operational metric?  If not, what are the new metrics?  Or like our collective snowbirds is it just the business of spring rituals returning to its commonplace normal?

So, this anniversary was a year in the making and the next cycle has just begun.

The MatchLIDProject

2020 a Race of Truth – The Bdubb Effect

The sports world gives us many lexicons, sports talk is its own language(s).  Each sport prefers to cross over and use other sports terms coincidentally or in a nod to acknowledge that there is no better thing said from what’s been said before.  It then finds a home in normal conversation.

Why work so hard at creating new lexicons and sayings when you can find it in the sports world.

The words “race of truth” come from my favorite sport, the cycling world.  It depicts the time trial “race”.  It’s just you against the clock, all alone, ass on the bike seat.  No mile markers, cheering fans or trailing support staff.  The clock doesn’t lie.  You alone on a lonely winding road, pedaling fast careful not to cut corners close.

Switch hats to other sport sayings and you’ll find how the lexicon adapts, like, “there is no crying in baseball” from the movie A League of Their Own.  Every dad, coach and parent has used this saying at one time or another – to toughen up that whinny child or that wet eyed defiant team player. 

How about “the game is not over till the fat lady sings” given to us from the basketball world about playing the game(s) to its ultimate conclusion.  Taken from a coaches’ view during an opera he/she can’t wait to leave the auditorium until that “fat lady” comes on stage to sing.

Then there is that “Hail Mary pass” from football made famous by a 39-yard forward desperation pass to the endzone from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson (Dallas Cowboys) with seconds on the clock left and a fervent fandom prays for a miracle winning catch with the game in the balance.

My personal favorite saying comes from the boxing world. 

Mike Tyson constantly asked by reporters and friends about “what’s going to happen” about an upcoming title defense fight.  Tyson responded with “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.   Years later Tyson would help define what he meant.  In reality it was about how you react to adversity that defines you, not the adversity itself. “How much can you endure, buddy?” he said, “Most talkers, they can’t handle it.” 

It’s been over three months since the last blog.  Purposely it was delayed until this late in October 2020.

A patchwork of state and local regulations still impacts the restaurant business.  Federal and state funding once provided months earlier to these small businesses has dried up.  At this point, help seems like waiting for the cavalry to come to the rescue in the time of COVID.  All their horses seem to be still in the corral.  And you wonder why the stock market reacts badly.

The sporting world found the wherewithal to stage events.  A few leagues as mentioned in an earlier blog had seasons that were just getting under way. 

Golf pulled off the US Open at Winged Foot, LI NY on the same weekend that the Tour de France crowned a new champion in Paris after Stage 21 on September 20, 2020.

Twenty-one-year-old Tadej Pogecar (Slovenia) bested fellow countryman Primoz Roglic to take the Tour de France’s Yellow Jersey in the desolation of vacant streets along the Champs-Elysees.  The “race of truth” time trial won by Pogecar the day before Paris secured his Yellow Jersey.

Twenty-seven-year-old Bryson DeChambeau, took the US Open with a 3 under par 67, the only under par golfer to be champion with an under par finish on the last day.  Only 600 member volunteers and broadcast personnel were on hand all weekend to view this historic event.

What made these two events emblematic of the year 2020 was in essence the lack of crowds and lack of viewing venues in restaurants, bars, clubhouses across the spectrum.  Yes, there were masked “crazy” cycling fans along the mountainside stage roads in France and voyeurs from fairway homesites that lined the Winged Foot and other TPC and PGA venues.  But both were lacking that fan spontaneity so accustomed to these sporting events.

Simultaneously, restaurants and bars were dealing with the start of NFL and NCAA (college) football seasons.  Their venues were limited in most states to 50% or less occupancy.  Outdoor seating and flat screen TV’s flickering in the distance does not mimic crowded bars of team face painted fandoms. 

Heck, sport venues fared a little better – limited to fan picture cutouts, family and friends who were granted tickets and sports photographers all fighting for empty seating space in 80,000 plus seated venues.

Some would conclude that a pandemic ruined Bdubb (Buffalo Wild Wings) weekends.  I’ll call it the Bdubb effect.

Sports leagues, like the NBA and NFL were taking the heat for low TV ratings because some of our US Senate leaders would like to blame them.  Blame them that is for:  1) insulting their fans and 2) by turning every game into a left-wing political lecture.  Some league owners took that type of thinking rational as weaponizing the ratings and rightfully objected.

Sports Media Watch reported (as reported in the Washington Post, 10-18-2020) viewership for the US Open was down by 42%, the Kentucky Derby down 43%, the Stanley Cup finals by 61%.  The World Series data awaits tonight’s Game 6.  Only the PGA Championship and PGA Tour showed positive upticks in viewership. 

Hey, maybe that was a result of many Americans renewing a love for golf and used courses to exercise.  The 19th hole(s) was just not as popular as craft beers on picnic tables in the middle of former cornfields being preferred after a round of golf. 

Ah, the Bdubb effect.

Is it just an oversupply of premium simultaneous sporting events?  A new social law?  Perhaps it can be attributed to Sir Isaac Walton, or gee maybe include it in the MatchLIDProject laws of Organic Viral Resonance – let’s call it the Bdubb Reverberation. 

As outlined back in the blog of June 9, 2020 under Bending the Intersection – the laws of Organic Viral Resonance were defined.  Sadly, the Bdubb Reverberation just doesn’t qualify. It is just a law of supply and demand – too much TV sports to view and too little time to safely enjoy the weather outdoors with family.

So why did the MatchLIDProject wait till now to write this blog – well it was in hope of a pandemic solution (an awaking) and to see how America progressed during these 3 months.  Basically, I posed the oversupply question and response for sports back on June 11 at this URL

It does not matter the readers political persuasion, sports and restaurant/bars are linked in our American DNA at this point of the 21st Century.  It’s the glue that holds both of these to our hearts.

The view on the other side of the pandemic may look like it did back in 2019 – but our favorite bars and restaurants may no longer be a hangout or be like they once were. 

Yes, we will buy tickets in friendly venues, cheer our favorite teams on the weekends from Bdubbs, recall the good times and the bad as well.  We will belly up to the restaurant bar or maybe flip on the Roku switch to our favorite streaming app or perhaps just buy a craft beer to sip in the middle of a former cornfield as we watch on a smartphone.

But we will have changed – and thus await those new lexicons.

Till then let’s go back to the tried and true.

Because it is a “race of truth” for conquering the pandemic, its who can point us safely on a route to a finish against the clock.

For “there is no crying in baseball” to get beyond the fatigue and to toughen up for the next inning.

No matter how long we sit or stand in line with our masks on the “fat lady still has to sing.”

Hoping and wishing for that “Hail Mary pass” vaccine sometimes it works and sometimes not. Be not afraid of taking the chance at that pass.

You need a plan because “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”  For it can happen and you need to react positively to the adversity.

The MatchLIDProject™

A Yearn for the Return

Today, Thursday July 23, Major League Baseball (MLB) will make its return.  NIH’s very own Dr. Anthony Fauci will toss out the first pitch in Washington DC.  Will he be wearing his now famous Washington Nationals face mask?

A return for MLB in the COVID Season

A return from what or to what is perhaps a better logical second paragraph starting statement.  Why? Because of course it is a return to the arena sports experience.  Where does that leave our restaurants and bars experience?  Well, stay tuned to the end of this blog for that perspective.

Hardly, a day went by since March 13, the day when the NBA suspended its pandemic influenced season in mid stride, when those observers of everything sports began plotting for a return of live sporting action.

Yeah, NASCAR, the WWE, the PBA, the PGA, professional volleyball and soccer leagues both here and across the “pond” are now finding some wiggle room to perform live.  All attempts are just that, attempts at recreating what once was, so that now at least those sporting venues can be used surrounded by a visible void. 

This just reminds all of us on what it could be like with us there watching the action.

Now, with the potential return to major sports action I sold the farm and bought a smart 32” TV. 

The unit is light enough to carry indoors from its semi-permanent outdoor deck perch.  I bought it so I could view games in similar like arena conditions.  A beer by my side and a pot of chili with hotdogs or wings on the grill close by while sitting in an easy chair.

Fireflies will light the backyard deck night.  Pumped in music and crowd noise will echo over the tiniest of speakers enclosed in that “smart” tv.  Perhaps a bud or two will be invited by to socially distance themselves between the beer bucket and grill as they watch with me “a game” in this temporary arena.

The NBA has its Magic Kingdom arena bubble in Orlando.  They will join the fray within the next two weeks sans fans.

The NFL has canceled the shortened preseason scheduled for August as the full season is now in jeopardy.  They, the owners, players and fans, all await the pandemic performance scores from the MLB 60 game season. 

Can the MLB make it work with or without Canada?  Can the NFL safely put on the field 32 competitive teams along with a newly minted mascot in DC?  All very good questions, with no definitive answers.

Meanwhile, the NCAA is next up to bat to make a decision on going forward (with arena sports). 

Rutgers University, the birthplace of collegiate football, announced on Monday, July 20, that they along with their NJ NFL football cousins, the New York Giants and Jets, will go forward without any fans.  Rutgers will limit attendance to 500 spectators, strictly family and coaching members.  The governor of New Jersey has spoken.

Back in the DMV, statewide school systems in VA and MD will follow state reopening plans.  Virginia has canceled all fall high schools’ sports, they did so in mid-July.  Maryland is working through the process using a Roadmap for Return of Interscholastic Athletics published on July 7.  There’s that word again “return”.

On July 21, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), poked a big hole in that return Roadmap, by canceling all Fall and Winter scholastic sports.  Of course, with any decision like that both parents and student athletes are sadly impacted.

Restaurants, bars, arenas and the pandemic, it all goes back to that sole sport intersection connection.  They, the frontline support staff and players are all interconnected.

Think about it.

Sporting arenas are built for the experience.  That includes not only the game on the field but the inside service, consumption and tactile experience that accompanies the venue.  Let’s not forget the community facelift that transformed nearby arena surrounding areas.  All those downtown bars and restaurants for pre and postgame revelry.   Think about all the service personnel employed.

In yesteryears, PGA golf courses had its galleries with food and drink services located out of TV camera views.  Baseball, Football, Soccer stadiums had been built with luxury boxes and mezzanines filled with service personnel and food vendors, even restaurants.  High school booster clubs constructed tents for preparation and consumption of brats and Pepsi’s all dependent on donations from local businesses and pizza parlors.  That is was normal.

Yes, we all yearn for the return.

Perhaps in some small way we can help keep that venue experience alive while we await better days.  Think about ordering carryout, or maybe delivery as we sit in our enclosed arena’s watching the return of live action sports.

We might feel thankful as would a frontline worker.  A person wearing a Pepsi logo kamikaze head bandana and fluorescent orange vendor vest pushes the front doorbell “Ring” and yells “Cold Pepsi’s Four dollars” into the neighborhood while working to deliver his cold drinks and pizza to the summer backyard perch in my sports arena.

Cheers

BE INFORMED – Know Your Risk

The Texas Medical Association recently released a graphic on situations and it’s appropriate level of risk. This graph outlines in a straight forward manner the social situations most people might find themselves in during the coming months.

Basically, it helps to educate rather than dictate as to what might be risky to anyone concerned about spreading COVID-19. If you have no concerns for risk then the chart does not resonate. Otherwise, perhaps the graph provides a means to measure for individual tastes.

The MatchLid Projected created a photographic display to accompany this graphic. Take a look – see what you think.

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BE INFORMED – A PHOTO ESSAY

Future Instagram (IG) Image Postings

On occasion the MatchLIDProject will change up its Instagram (IG) postings to add a visual or photograph unique to restaurant signage in lieu of a match lid cover. Why?

Especially in these pandemic times a restaurant or chef will take up a cause or just do good deeds worth noting.  The signage used promotes an event or charitable act. 

Most of these types of images will concentrate on the DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia) area.  Longer distance travel by the MatchLIDProject is limited due to safety concerns.  Basically, there is nowhere to go to vacay. 

Please feel free to comment on these and other Match lid images.

The MatchLIDProject

June 2020

Part 4, The Intersection’s Denouement

“There’s battle lines being drawn, Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong, Young people speaking their minds, Getting so much résistance from behind” – For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield/Steven Stills, 1967

There it was, a sign, as seen on the EPIX film Laurel Canyon shown on the Apple TV’s Pay Channel.  The large sign in black and white lettering stuck to a wall spelled out Police Brutality.  It was on Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. The time frame was 1967. 

Nearly 3,000 youths flooded to a bar’s closing “funeral” which necessitated the call for the LAPD to appear in riot gear.  Upon seeing this, Steven Stills, returned to his home in Topanga (Laurel Canyon) and penned the lyrics in 15 minutes for this Buffalo Springfield classic. 

For generations it was wrongly attributed as a Vietnam War protest anthem when indeed it was about kids celebrating the closing of a favorite neighborhood restaurant bar and their date with the LAPD – thus their Police Brutality sign.

We could use Stills now to pen some more lyrics – bars, restaurants they all could use the help.

So how do we put all this together, building a bridge connecting the last four months to the next four. Well, the “Project” tried to layout the sequence as follows: . 

Phase 1 – the cause and affect impacting the restaurant service industry resulting from a collision between cancelled sports, racism, police brutality and a pandemic.

Phase 2 – Sir Isaac’s Newton’s laws redrafted by a 21st century hypothesis, a Law of Organic Viral Resonance – a tongue and cheek interpretation “a la Issac Newton” of a revolving digital universe to understand the gravity of messaging actions resonance in unexpected ways, the reactions.

Phase 3 – a forward outlook for the 2020 sports world’s between June and November as all try to avoid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 4 – The Denouement attempts to bridge the first 3 blogs all together.  Trying to make sense of the madness during a pandemic while we sit with masks on at an outdoor bar having apps and drinks. Dare you to drive up for a curbside pickup/order!  Does truth reflect the white light of day through Newton’s prism? Please pass the Uncle Ben’s rice.

Images, whether planned or not where graphically showered upon a viewing public beginning in March 2020. 

No historic precedent could come as close to displaying the madness Isaac Newton spoke of as did the March to June 2020 period.  Perhaps looking back now at the late 1960’s we can find some visual or sound haptic points of comparison.  No wonder those rock period classic songs still resonant today, it called out for change.

Starting with worldwide hero public health and medical care workers clamoring for personnel protection equipment to dead bodies stacked in “reefer” vans outside of hospitals and grave sites viewed from satellites it was a frightening visual start to Spring 2020.

Those early pandemic images from all over the world seemed to pale in comparison to empty grocery shelves devoid of paper and sanitary products.  Supply Chain Madness.

Helicopter video coverage of cars that stretched miles awaiting food distribution centers for food packets in the US were disturbing and reminiscent of food lines of the Great Depression. 

Businesses with closed signs and hockey puck charts depicting states progress to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic.  Or how about those Wall Street charts showing the “off the cliff dramatic drop” in the stock market.

With those scary moments came the opposing (action  and reaction) of positive images of surviving and finding a new world of Zoom conferencing, sitting at home with the kids, serenades across Italy for the health care workers, Nurses as Heroes, people staying home to bang on pans from apartment balcony complexes high above the streets in NYC to honor first responders, the sharing and volunteering to help neighbors and those in need. 

Masked restaurant owners and chefs like Chef Jose Andres were cooking and delivering food for hospital workers anywhere and everywhere.

Pick out an image from above, a written newspaper article or tv field broadcast and they would all follow a Law of Organic Viral Resonance.  It stuck hard.

There it was a chaotic action, and in most cases, an unexpected turn of events, reaction.  Despite the human toll of events people looked to resonant with a positive response.  #AllinitTogether.

Professional sports, owners, players, fans were hoping for the best in March and April for a quick turnaround to their seasons.  However, public health issues were still up at the plate and pointing to the pitcher to “Play ball” is something that would have to wait.

To date, government public officials, lead by a Vice Presidential Task Force have been nearly publicly silenced for 50 days in contrast to the earlier pandemic days.

Then in May 2020 there was the knee.

A black man restrained by a white police officer, knee to the man’s neck. He died.

It was videographed on a cellphone, then distributed.  Peaceful protests, chaos, looting and civil disobedience resulted.  Many called out for Justice as a revamped Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement had a new martyr and diversity in the streets.

The BLM movement in May also added two additional martyrs, one a result of a no knock police action break in, and the other a black man hunted down and killed while jogging.  All were videoed.

117,000 COVID-19 pandemic deaths aside, people were angry and walking in protest closely in our American streets.  Was it selfish, or selfless acts of those participants?  Or was it an outlet for pandemic related stress? Only time will tell if these actions across the nation contributes to a second wave.

“Paranoia strike deep, Into your life it will creep, It starts when you’re always afraid, Step out of line, the man come and take you away” Steven Stills – 1967, For What it’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield.

June 1 brought the BLM protest close to the White House, as situated in Lafayette Park and the surrounding Square.  Leadership reactions to the bunker mentality claims occurring within the White House and unrest in the District over the prior weekend laid the groundwork for what happened next on the evening of June 1.

It included a plan for a permanent razor barbed wire fence around the White House. Image-in that.

The Park and Square is juxtaposition to the White House parcel of land and all within the boundary of the Federal District of Washington DC. This district is by design federal property, though many restaurants, businesses and hotels reside within those confines. 

“There’s something happening here, But what it is ain’t exactly clear, There’s a man with a gun over there, A-telling me, I got to beware” – Steven Stills, For What It’s Worth.

And “it” was not exactly clear. 

For those attuned to the events unfolding on that evening the world would see on video tape the Attorney General of the US within Lafayette Square talking and possibly directing  Justice Department subordinates who commanded positioned armed federal policing officers, (including US Border Guards, US Park Police, Bureau of Prison guards, DC National Guard and associated local law enforcement from Arlington VA) into a “plow the road” action to clear the square.  Forget about erecting a fence that evening – somebody had something else in mind.

Around 6:40P photographers caught the peaceful protestors being forced out of the Square by federal police officers using force, tear gas and pepper spray.  Eventually, no one is expected to take the blame for that order to advance.

The park now vacated of protestors but not of press pool photographers was there for a 7:05P stroll by the US President flanked along the way by centurion federal officers.  He was accompanied by an entourage of family members; public service executives and the White House press corps. They headed for the nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Someday, and not in this present time, historians will weigh what were the most important historical resonant images of that photo opportunity before a charred St. John’s adjacent to Lafayette Square. And subsequently what was the lasting effects of those images. 

Hopefully, the press and historians will still be free and not have a crafted story rewritten for them of these events.

Will the image be one of the President holding a bible upside down for the cameras or will be it those taken by the press corps of the entourage parade heading across Lafayette Square?

Now apply that tongue in cheek Law of Organic Viral Resonance to the action and reaction to those images.  The bible holding image was planned well in advance and the visual effects of the preceding “plow the road” use of force to clear the square was not.  The later “plow the road” images and stroll of the entourage to the church were strictly organic for the White House Press Corps photographers to capture.  That they did.

Was it a bad implementation strategy or a timing failure of under recognizing the gravity of the situation?  What would Forest Gump say?

Eventually in the days following that photo op in Lafayette Square, the US Attorney General tried to walk back and deny his involvement in the parks’ clearing.

A Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff general apologized for his appearance with the entourage (rejecting a view suggesting military complicity). The Secretary of the Defense Department walked back his participation in the photo op suggesting he was unaware of the intent of his boss and went further by removing federal troops from the DMV area (reducing the so-called dominated city “battlescape”).  It was an action not supported by the White House which places him on a crash course towards the exit door.  Any bets?

Seems like a few of the “affects” of the Law of Organic Viral Resonance are in play here.

Then former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Generals and former Secretaries of Defense all within 48 hours of those photo ops publicly condemned the actions which suppressed First Amendment rights of the protestors at Lafayette Square.  An unexpected consequence?  

How about the DC’s 16th Street which leads up to the square officially being painted in huge caution yellow lettering by the District of Columbia spelling out Black Lives Matter?

16th Street is beyond symbolic.  It is the street in DC that has the most churches of many faiths located all along it broad thoroughfare from Lafayette Square to the Maryland state line.  It evenly divides/bisects the District in half.

In days that would follow, lost cause monuments would topple from major boulevard parks located in Alexandria to Richmond Virginia and over to Albuquerque, NM. 

City fathers and state governments across the south would take it upon themselves to quickly remove these statues whether or not the public discussion of their continued display or existence had been finalized.  The memory of Charlottesville, VA 2017, racial injustice raged fresh upon public officials minds as their remedial actions slowly dragged on – so people now stepped into the void.

Look at Albuquerque, NM and that monument to Spanish conquistador Juan de Onate toppled in mid June.  Newspapers reported the existence of a “civilian guard” and a “lone” agitator menacing the protestors that resulted in injuries and arrests.  Consequences of action and reaction.

All this was happening while yet another restaurant, a fast food restaurant, was burned by protestors in Atlanta GA because a black man was dead by police officer actions in that restaurant’s parking lot. Again, all caught on multiple videos. 

It was a fatal turn of events for that man who fell asleep in his car, perhaps intoxicated in that Wendy’s drive up window line. Whatever the truth of that Atlanta evenings’ event was, it will eventually be uncovered. As will all the other preceding events.

Cue the Food Industry titans for a reaction.

MARS Inc., is one of the world’s wealthiest privately held family firms who own among other things the M&M brand. They announced on June 17 that they are evaluating changes to their Uncle Ben’s rice brand.  This follows on the heels of Quaker Oats retiring its 140 year old Aunt Jemima brand and logo.  Mrs Butterworth, well she’s gone too Oh, and as a sidebar Lady Antebellum is now Lady A.

Makes you wonder why it took them this long to change.

We better stop children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.” – Steven Stills, For What’s It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield.

Or better yet, Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) said ….

“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”

The Denouement is build more bridges … then order out more.

The MatchLIDProject

Part 3, Moving pass the Intersection.

Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it”. Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1726), Newton’s second law.

Pandemic, COVID-19.  Change your daily routines or risk being exposed or expose others to a viral infection with no known antidote.  Black Lives Matter.  Change city police restraint tactics , the brutality used against citizens or face political changes that fundamentally change the function of policing.  Action and reaction.  Life,  across the world in 2020, is not in a state of rest.

To recap, the sports world meets the pandemic in March 2020.  The NBA canceled its season, on March 13, 2020 and sports leagues follow suit.  Restaurants felt the immediate impact, as states install stay at home mandates. Where not closed, they attempted to operate on a carryout basis.  Unemployment rose as many in the impacted service industry sectors were laid off. No broadcast or cable sports, no drinks at the bar, your best friend seated six feet away may have an infection.  Stay home.

Earlier in Part 2, of this Intersection blog series, a tongue in cheek hypothesis was unveiled.  The Law of Organic Viral Resonance.  It was built to apply in a pandemic world robbed of enjoying sporting activities.  Civic upheavals , organically grown in America made the colors of the Law come into focus.

Stick your finger in the wind to find which way this hypothesis is blowing.

For wind direction, let’s concentrate on the status of major sport leagues that include the NBA, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, NCAA, Cyclings’ Tour de France, and the Republican and Democratic national conventions.  All viewable sporting events that are ratcheting up their plans for 2020 in August through November. 

NBA.  Now three months after it season suspension it is planning to restart in late July 2020.  Games will be played at the ESPN Center in Disney World in Orlando, FL no fans allowed

NFL. Frightened by the possibility of dwindling owners 2020 pocketbooks and declining fandom the NFL addressed its political justice protest policy. In June 2020, the NFL’s Commissioner Roger Goodall, who may have a had a long standing different mind set, confounded billionaire team owners by walking back its policy statement on freedom of speech as displayed by Colin Kapernick.  Remember Kapernick, he in 2016 took a knee in protest to social justice issues during the pre-game playing of the national anthem.  Accused of disrespect to the flag Kapernick was blackballed from the football. Subsequently, Goodall admitted that the NFL was fundamentally wrong in its approach then but not now in 2020.  The NFL will mostly play in reduced fan attended stadiums due to public safety issues resulting from COVID-19.

BREAKING NEWS: On June 16, Commissioner Goodall recommended to all NFL teams that Colin Kapernick should be looked at for possible quarterback positions. Apparently Goodall did not go far enough in his earlier statements concerning displays of public protest during NFL games, Suddenly, that blackball status from 2017 seems to be lifted from the Kapernick’s bended knee position.

MLB. Plans for a 76-game season staring in July are at risk because it is being constrained by ongoing salary negotiations with the players union.  Salary issues aside, the MLB is losing $75M per day that they don’t play.  It has a $787M broadcast revenue bogey sitting behind all the negotiations.  June is fish or cut bait time for MLB and their union employees.

NASCAR.  Up and operating in June 2020 driving in circles in a left-handed manner before empty stadiums seats.  NASCAR will invite 1,000 military personnel to attend an upcoming race.  Then on June 10, 2020 NASCAR made a sharp u-turn to avoid a culture crash and banned confederate flag symbols and flags from being displayed at all future NASCAR events and on race event properties. Next race is in Martinsville, VA

PGA Golf  Tour carded players are itching to get the season on track in the June/July time frame.  Most events will be players only.  However, late news indicates that the Jack Nicklaus Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio rescheduled for July 16-19 will allow fan galleries.

NCAA.   Let’s stick strictly to college football. In May the NCAA released its Resocialization of Collegiate Sports Action Plan.  Basically, it is a phased approach similar to state COVID-19 reopening plans that provides guidelines for athletic departments to prepare for the upcoming 2020 season.  But it is all dependent upon University presidents and state educators to agree upon opening campuses to  students. 

Tour de France That 2,000 mile 30 day cycling marathon will take place in France in late August through late September. Crowded mountainsides and packed urban areas with fans along the route will be common place. Will this activity portend a return of a second wave in Europe?

Republican and Democratic Conventions.  Politics is a sport. It is not played on a green field or on slick surfaces.  It has become must-see TV regardless of where it occurs.  Jacksonville, FL appears to have the lead on accommodating the RNC convention – with the possibility of having 19,000 unmasked fans sitting next to each other in stadium chairs.  Sitting on the FLA-GA line J-ville is home for many military installations. DNC, who’s event is in Milwaukee, WI most likely will be a viral event watched on your smartphone.

The American public will surely enjoy the compressed sport activities funneled into a 3 to 4 month time frame.  It will be a welcomed change after months of watching the Disney Channel, ESPN 30 for 30 specials, Little League and South Korean baseball.

The only question that remains is where you will watch “sports”.  How and when will the bridge be built across this intersection of states Phase 2 COVID-19 responses.

Florida, has in June, entered their phase 2 status which allows restaurants and bars to open outdoors and full capacity with restrictions on interior dining limited to 50% capacity.  Other states will soon follow their lead.  So, bellying up to the “outside bar” may be in vogue soon at your local neighborhood eatery.

Small businesses, restaurants will try to bridge that 4-month gap by taking advantage of better outdoor weather to accommodate customers and sports fans. People hope that the infection rates do not grow or cause a second wave.

Issac Newton, a survivor of the European “Great bubonic plague” in 1665 would eventually craft the framework for the Scientific Revolution that came on the heels of the plague.  The calculus (invented by Newton) shaped a new rational world view.

Public health officials now await that similar American public and the world scientific view for an “aha moment” when the apple falls and bongs us on our head. 

Will it come in the next four months?

The MatchLIDProject

Part 2, Bending the Intersection

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people” Sir Isaac Walton (1642 – 1726). 

Newton among other things built the first reflecting telescope and created the basic rules of color which separates white light from the colors of the visible spectrum. Today’s photographers/video-photographers owe credit to his science.  Video and digital images of today’s world would not be possible if not for Newton’s science.

The MatchLIDProject is no student or follower of Sir Isaac Newton.  “The Project” came to this moment, to outline a Law of Organic Viral Resonance, in a humorous manner.  Laugh, cry, cheer, scream, you just don’t know, because people, over the past few weeks, are doing maddening things. So here goes ….

The Law of Organic Viral Resonance is a theorem, a hypothesis crafted roughly to relate to Newton’s Law of Gravity.  Or to state his third law in the simplest of his terms, to every action there is always opposed and equal reaction”.

The Law of Organic Viral Resonance – is the speed in which an organic viral notice(s), an action, is distributed grows faster and its angle of reception becomes sharper transforming the notice (reaction) into an unpredictable change or unexpected consequence.

 It is only viewed in its resonance to the viewer and not by the creation of, or attempted control of that viral notice.

The notice is defined as an image, written electronic message, or a song that originates in the digital world as an online internet or broadcast action (a posting). An organic viral notice is grown from a chaotic situation. It is neither organized or a planned response of release. It is of the moment. The action grows beyond the originators’ immediate control.

Think Henri Carter-Bresson, the photographer famous for capturing the decisive moment on the street as opposed to manufacturing a photo opportunity on the street and then promoting it.

Newton never had to deal with 1/0 digitized world.  Or how those digits congeal, then rapidly distribute at the speed of light – to reformulate in a spectrum of colors somewhere else in the physical world.  Gravity in this sequence is measured in importance, severity, magnitude and at times in a physical reaction.  Laugh or cry, feel emotion, feel a tug – it’s all an “equal reaction”.

Like a drug company TV ad disclaimer this law comes with “affects” such as  – Common occurrences that accompany this law are: A shrug-like shit happens justification, OMG expressions, explaining that fat finger moment to the boss, Walk-that-back public statements, claims of being susceptible to brain farts, the cause for hiring social/media consultants, a facial expression of “how did I get here” or where the “fug-r-we”, a sudden recognition that you and Toto are no longer in Kansas,  full faith in artificial intelligence controlling the map or drivers’ steering wheel (aka going along for the ride), the sick feeling that you just got tackled in the backfield for a loss and then there’s jail time. Abuse of the law can be lethal, in a strictly social environment.

Then there is political scientist Christopher Wlezin’s thermostat theory of politics. His theory holds that the American people (TAP) move like a thermostat. When an administration moves the country in one way the TAP worry if the shift is too big and their views move the other way much in the way a thermostat regulates room temperature.

A simpler held view is TAP are really like a pendulum, where the pendulum does not stick in one spot, right or left but rather tries to swing back towards a natural resting central position. Newton’s work on gravity would endorse the pendulum.

Does this silly organic law exist?

Sure, it’s first correlation is in the phrase – “Stupid is as stupid does”.  It is from that famous 1994 Tom Hanks line from the movie Forrest Gump.  The phrase’s lexicon is now defined as “a person’s lack of intelligence may be judged by their actions”.  The phrase is not a metaphor for a slowed intelligent person as portrayed by the Hanks character.

More evidence of the laws’ existence happened on May 4, 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio.  The actions on that date conducted by federal troops dispatched to KSU to control a peaceful Vietnam War protest resulted in Neil Young writing with Crosby, Stills and Nash’s help in recording that viral analog anthem, Four Dead in Ohio. The anthem painted a dark picture of the use and intervention of armed militia upon US citizens.

Lastly, on August 1, 2017, Charlottesville, VA becomes the flash reference point over the conflict on the removal of lost cause confederate symbols, that revive racism and deadly confrontational protest actions. Again, actions here are virally shared.

So how does this all relate to the Intersection of the sports world with the pandemic world and the resulting impact upon, in particular, restaurants. 

To find out follow this next bread crumb to the blog Part 3, Moving through the Intersection.

We build too many walls and not enough bridges. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726)

The MatchLIDProject