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January 2022

The Winter of our Confusion

Top Stories

Everybody's Mad!

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“I’m so mad,” said the wife, “and it’s making me mean! I’m a nice person.  Ask anyone. Maybe not certain priests, bishops, or that judge who lost his job after I wrote about him.


“When my doctor’s aide slapped the pressure monitor onto my arm, and the guy at the deli flung my chicken salad across the counter, I wanted to lash out.  But then I thought: maybe people who’ve been taking care of us have a right to slap on a monitor now and then, or fling a little food.”


“It’s not just you,” said the ODD reporter, who dropped by, hearing that ODD was publishing again. “People are driving madder.  Crime is up.  Air travelers are choking staff.  Angry customers are grabbing personal shoppers, with adults, reported The New York Times, “devolving into children.”


“That happened to our friend Veronica at Whole Foods,” said the wife.  “A customer grabbed her; she had to put up her dukes to prevent further assault.”


“You’re coming to my job, my workplace.” said Veronica, by way of advice.  “You’re in, then you’re out.  I’m here all day.   Put on your mask, behave and r-e-l-a-x yourself!”

Wife Complains Husband Not Complaining Enough

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Like many people, the wife has had a number of non-Covid  health issues to contend with during the pandemic, so she does complain a lot.

“This new drug makes me dizzy…The doctor I saw was a jerk…My spine x-ray indicated a problem in my lung, and the lung test suggested perhaps an autoimmune disorder.”


By contrast, the husband rarely complains, though he has his share of medical maladies. “It’s not in my nature,” he said.

“Well, complain more, will you?” said the wife.  “I’ll feel better.” 

“Then will you stop complaining?” asked the husband. 

“It’s not in my nature,” said the wife. 

Hair Falling Out!

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“When I noticed I was losing hair at a stepped-up pace, I chalked it up to aging,” said the wife.  “Until I joined a winter solstice webinar sponsored by the On Being Project.  To my astonishment, host Krista Tippett confessed that her hair was falling out, too!“

The wife decided it had to be from Covid.  “Everything isn’t from Covid,” said the husband.


“But I’m right,” said the wife. The Atlantic confirmed it!  ‘The pandemic has been a near-perfect hair loss event,’ wrote Amanda Mull, who took an impressively deep dive into the subject.


Ever alert to alternative explanations, the husband remained skeptical. “Is the hair falling out,” he asked, tugging absentmindedly at his eyebrows, “or are people pulling it out?”


“It’s not either/or,” piped up the ODD reporter. “There’s a link between hair pulling and Covid, too. It’s all about stress. When the stress ends, the pulling and falling out should end too.” 


“Not helpful,” said the wife, heading for her Rogaine.

Short Takes

What's in a Wordle?

“Everything in life is like Wordle!” said the overly enthusiastic husband about the new word game that’s all the rage. “You just take one step at a time.”  His first days of playing were triumphs.  He found the word of the day, which the wife was shocked to learn could be any word in the universe, in five and then four tries!  But compulsive word-gamer that he is, he soon looked forlorn: “You only get one Wordle a day.”

Is it a wonderful life?

How come nobody notices that maybe Mrs.-It’s-A-Wonderful-Life, brunt of the anger of Mr.-It’s-a-Wonderful-Life, didn’t have such a wonderful life?  

What happened to the edge of the envelope?

When did people start pushing the whole envelope instead of the edge?” asked the wife.  “Makes no sense,” said the husband.  “What’s the envelope without the edge? A bag?”  

What Exactly is a Wave?

“We’re in our fifth Covid wave, and I still don’t know what a wave is,” said the wife.  She’s not alone. Even at the end of 2021, professionals were admitting that there remains no agreement on “what constitutes an epidemic wave.” Ever the optimist, the husband said:  “Well, France is cool, and they’re in their fifth wave too, so at least we’re keeping up.”

Vital information?

Ever notice that we don’t know how many people had Covid but didn’t know it? 

Tips for Surviving the Pandemic

Pandemic survival skill no. 1

“When you make plans with friends, don’t get too attached,” advises the husband.  “Don't expect everybody to be on the same page about what risks they feel comfortable taking. In fact, don’t expect yourself to be in the same frame of mind all day.”  As they used to say in the last century:  Go with the flow.  

Find your pandemic style!   

Half-listening to NPR’s Morning Edition on a recent Saturday, featuring advice on how to manage this new phase of the pandemic, the wife was shocked and amazed to hear someone say: “Find people who pandemic the way you pandemic.”  Holy cow, pandemic as a verb!  

Embrace the confusion

Yes, the pandemic rules change every five minutes.  Yes, the CDC’s missives are hilariously confusing.  Yes, the pandemic may end, or not.  Yes, this all sucks!  But how about if we embrace the confusion?  Someday we’ll be back to some kind of normal, and how boring will that be?  (Ok, we’ll shut up.)

Help the CDC!

To all communications professionals:  Please, stop what you’re doing, and send your resumes to the CDC!  DO IT NOW! 

Free de-stressors  

You can drop in on The Open Center’s free half-hour lunch meditation or sign up for a month of free exercise and other classes for the over 60 crowd at Vitality Society online.  Move, breathe, enjoy!


Looking for some new suggestions?  No problem!  Here are links to newly banned or potentially banned books, compliments of NBC news and the Texas Tribune.

ODD Media Watch

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Don't Look Up!

“Don’t Look Up” is a satirical portrayal of clueless pols (led by Meryl Streep as President), who are faced with a plainly visible asteroid barreling toward earth.  Film ends up reflecting our unfortunate political moment, as in:  “A recent poll shows that 20% of Americans don’t believe in the asteroid.”

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Kennedy Center Honors

At the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors on December 5, awards went to Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, Berry Gordy, Lorne Michaels, and Justino Diaz, with performances by Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Brandi Carlile, Norah Jones, a show-stopping Billy Porter, and more. Recommendation from Sara in Brooklyn: “Joyful, fun, inspiring!  Am I over my word limit?”

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The Shrink Next Door

Based on a true story, “The Shrink Next Door” is about a very bad man (Paul Rudd) who takes advantage of a very vulnerable man (Will Ferrell); fascinating, cringeworthy, maddening, worse than a horror movie at times, that you won’t be able to stop watching.  Thankfully, comeuppance comes.  

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Ted Lasso

What, you haven’t watched it yet? What are you waiting for! 

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The Lost Daughter

At times confusing and frustrating, “The Lost Daughter” is a deeply engrossing and ambitious undertaking by director/writer Maggie Gyllenhaal and actress Olivia Colman, based on the novel by Elena Ferrante; it dives into difficult, too long secret realities. For some deep perspective, read this review

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The Great

“The Great” may portray Russian Empress Catherine the Great as a “girl boss,” as New York Times writer Alexis Soloski contended, but this two-season series (starring Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult) is captivating, silly, at times hilarious, sometimes grisly, but always fun.  Billed as “occasionally a true story,” click here for some books, movies, and videos for the real scoop on Catherine.

The Bee Hive

For NYT Spelling Bee Obsessives (we know you're out there)

Welcome to 2022! I'm still Bee-ing - Are you?

Yes, still at it - playing by the ODD house rules and maybe getting marginally better at solving.


To get in the New Year's spirit, here are my Bee-Goals for 2022:

- Fewer unfound words when QB eludes me

- Get to Genius before finishing my 2nd cup of coffee

- Attain QB all by myself (no help). This is known as QBABM in the Glossary of Spelling Bee Terms

Picking nits

What's the deal with multiple spellings allowed in answer sets?

Teepee/Tepee; Cancelling/Canceling. OK if they have different meanings, sure: pewee/peewee; canon/cannon, but variant spellings? I thought that was a no-no.

Hang on a second, was that a complaint?

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