Bag of Randomness for Monday, February 17, 2020


I was notified mid-morning Friday that I needed to pick up BoyGeeding from school because the nurse diagnosed him with a concussion. As soon as I arrived, the nurse, who I have a great rapport with, greeted me and had the security video of his bad fall during P.E. pulled up. She told me, “He totally ate it.” While I don’t like watching a video of my son getting hurt, it was touching to watch all his classmates run to his aid immediately. BoyGeeding was laying down in the nurse’s room with the lights turned off and seemed a little out of it. As a precaution, I took him to his pediatrician. You may recall my mother died from head trauma, so this was all out of an abundance of caution. WifeGeeding was concerned if he did have a concussion if the doctor would clear him for his birthday at the trampoline park the next day.

On the way to the doctor’s office, BoyGeeding’s grogginess seemed to slowly vanish. When I asked him to recite The Microscope, a poem he recited for a grade the previous week, and he did so without error, I knew he was fine. The doctor said as much and cleared him for his birthday party at the trampoline park and said he could play on his tablet and watch TV at home. But, BoyGeeding was bummed he was going to miss his class’ Valentine’s Day party. His teacher was nice enough to save him a slice of pizza and cupcake.


At home, BoyGeeding wanted to spend some time with me but I still had to work. I know I’m no JFK, but he pulled a bit of a modern-day John-John which made me smile.


BoyGeeding’s mother has been tossing around the idea of getting him a guinea pig for his birthday. I wasn’t sold on it, we already have a rabbit and two dogs, but it just happened the local animal shelter had a female guinea pig available. And now for the handful of you who have seen Fleabag . . . Yes, I did suggest the name “Hilary” to him and we are planning on opening up a guinea pig-themed cafe with Chatty Wednesdays.


WifeGeeding brought home a note to BoyGeeding from a girl in his class. She has an interesting sense of humor which may have won me over.


The trampoline park did a cool thing. At the start of the party, they had all the kids gather for a group photo, which they printed out, placed in a cardstock frame, and gave it to us free of charge.

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Bag of Randomness for Valentine’s Day 2020

That image above is from Theodore Roosevelt’s diary, he had a tough day.

On Valentine’s Day of 1884, just 36 hours after the birth of their only daughter, Alice, 25-year-old future U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt held his young wife in his arms as she passed away from undiagnosed Bright’s disease. Incredibly, just hours before, in the same house, he had already said a final goodbye to his mother, Martha. She had succumbed to Typhoid, aged just 48.


Yesterday, DaughterGeeding printed and distributed the third edition of her class newspaper. Her classmates like it so much they are now giving her random sums of money. How much? I didn’t ask. Another classmate asked if she would put something in the paper about his upcoming birthday party and would pay her to do it. The kid is an entrepreneur.


Seeing the shockwave reverberate back and forth is cool, but I bet it felt neat as it rushed through the air.


Too bad Harold Taft isn’t around, he coudl tell us stories about how he got around using that word. – Until 1950, U.S. Weathermen Were Forbidden From Talking About Tornados

  • From 1887 up until 1950, American weather forecasters were forbidden from attempting to predict tornados. Mentioning them was, in the words of one historian, “career suicide.”
  • Less than confident in their own predictive powers, and fearful of the responses of a panicky public, “the use of the word ‘tornado’ in forecasts was at times strongly discouraged and at other times forbidden” by the Weather Bureau, Edwards writes, replaced by euphemisms like “severe local storms.”

I think President Trump, from a political standpoint, has positioned himself well. I’m not sure it was all planned, but he’s in a good spot. If he breaks the law egregiously, the Democrats wouldn’t dare try to impeach him again. Doing so would further the Republican message that Democrats are unwilling to accept the results of the 2016 election and make them look like obstructionists. The country has already been down that road and doesn’t want another ride.

I also read that Hope Hicks will be returning to the White House. I’ve been reading the book A Very Stable Genious and she comes off well. While she’s young and extremely attractive, she’s a lot smarter and calculating than anyone would expect and she’s got the respect of all the Trump family. Don’t underestimate her. She may not be in the spotlight, but she’s really the only person capable of “handling” the president.


Armchair Political Consultant Thought – Mike Bloomberg should hire writers from The Daily Show to come up with funny and snarky tweets about current events. The current president has mastered the art of attention-getting tweets, Bloomberg should tread on that turf. 

Right after I wrote that I found the following articles

Bloomberg campaign pays social media accounts for memes

Michael Bloomberg’s Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere – A campaign of sponsored content for the candidate flourished suddenly on Instagram. A new outfit, called Meme 2020, is behind it.


Since I recently mentioned something about taxes and cyber currency – IRS quietly deletes guideline that Fortnite virtual currency must be reported on tax returns


Meet the Investor Who Bet Early on Warby Parker, Glossier, and Dollar Shave ClubWhile most VCs were focused on software, Kirsten Green at Forerunner Ventures saw the potential of the direct-to-consumer revolution


While pushing some large and heavy furniture yesterday, I heard my bottom left rib pop really loud. It was odd, nothing was pressed against it, it just popped as I was straining. I never had anything like this happen. It was one of those pains that you know something is really wrong but you can’t yet feel the pain and the gravity of the situation hasn’t registered. I laid flat down on my back and didn’t feel a sharp pain but a really dull and deep kind of pain, similar to a pulled muscle. The rib area is still sore and my mobility is only slightly compensated. It was just weird experiencing something I never felt before physically, I thought I was passed that point in life.

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Bag of Randomness for Thursday, February 13, 2020


My fourth-grader, DaughterGeeding, and her class were given the assignment of memorizing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s RideIt’s a long poem, about 971 words (according to WordCounter.net), and the class was assigned to do this in six weeks. Recitation is a big thing at her school, she takes it seriously, and she likes to start on big projects early. She ended up memorizing it in five days and recited it to her teacher, who awarded her a single Skittle, though she didn’t get to choose the color. However, the teacher has a policy that there is no early grading, so she will have to recite it again on the due date. I don’t have a problem with it and neither does she. DaughterGeeding explained to me that she wanted first to memorize it, now she has an opportunity to “perform with inflection and volume”.


I got a kick out of using WordCounter.net because it breaks things down in numerous categories. For instance, for the above-referenced poem:


Both DaughterGeeding and BoyGeeding have been studying a lot about the American Revolution. If the weather is somewhat cooperative and I can find a decent price for airline tickets, I think it would be fun to take them to Boston during spring break and walk the Freedom Trail to experience the realness of what they are learning in class. Schools love to send kids to Washington D.C. during spring break, and I’m thinking nobody really plans on going to Boston for spring break, so maybe we’ll avoid any crowds. Part of me wants to buy tickets early, but I definitely don’t want to visit if a nor’easter decides to make an appearance.


Here’s a bit of American history I’ve been sitting on. Watch this very monotone yet concise and compelling piece about the Battle of Yorktown (at least watch the last 90-seconds of it). If you heard of Yorktown and know it’s part of American history but can’t quite recall why just know it’s where the British surrendered to Washington.

Now, watch this wonderfully detailed reenactment of the surrender from the former AMC television series Turn: Washington’s Spies which hits it out of the park. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, then at least watch the last half of it, which I qued up for you here.

I love how the first video details things I’ve forgotten:

  • The single redcoat waving a white flag on a parapet.
  • British General Conrwallis being so mortified by his defeat dispatched his second in command, Brigadier General Charles O’Hara, to surrender his forces.
  • The British trying to throw some shade by singing the pub song “The World Turns Upside Down” and looking away from the American troops as a final insult as they surrender, but then Lafayette commanding his troops to play “Yankee Doodle” to drown out the British and force them to look at the Americans.
  • When O’Hara offered Cornwallis’s sword to George Washington, Washington, in keeping with the rigid hierarchies of military protocol, asked his second in command, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, to accept it.

Bonus – Here’s Hamilton‘s “The World Turned Upside Down”, which artistically reenacts the British surrender and gives you a chance to catch all the references and detail from the first two videos. If you are pressed for time, then just watch the last half of it.


Beaumont, TX restaurant opens early for 3-year-old customer with leukemia


The Guardian – A 101-year-old Italian man who has been in London since 1966 was asked to get his parents to confirm his identity by the Home Office after he applied to stay in the country post-Brexit.


Beer Waste Helps Montana Town Save Money On Water Treatment

In Bozeman, Mont., the Water Reclamation Facility treats more than 6 million gallons of water every day from sinks, showers, toilets — really anything that goes down a drain. That includes liquid waste from more than 10 breweries in this city of nearly 50,000. Because it’s rich in yeast, hops and sugar, brewery waste can throw off the microbes that wastewater treatment plants rely on to remove nitrogen and phosphorus.  “But if we can use [brewery waste] correctly and put it in the right spot, it’s very beneficial to the process,” engineering consultant Coralynn Revis says. Bozeman worked with a local brewery to feed its beer waste to the treatment plant’s bacteria at just the right time in just the right dosage.


Jeff Bezos bought the most expensive property in LA with an eighth of a percent of his net worthIf you make $60,000 a year, that’s like spending $75 on a house


The making of a rotary cellphone.

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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, February 12, 2020


It’s an easy fix, but I always feel a bit defeated when I try to pull the trash bag from wastebin and suction occurs.


If had to set the radio dial to one singular music station it would be 91.7 KXT. It’s a wonderful mix of music from various genres and decades with no commercials.


I often hear our country would be a bit kinder if we befriended someone from another political party. The problem I have, I can’t find a friend in my political party (online friendships don’t count).


The Guardian: Tampon wars: the battle to overthrow the Tampax empireFor decades, one company has ruled the world of tampons. But a new wave of brands has emerged, selling themselves as more ethical, more feminist and more ecological.


How Many Corn Cobs is in a Corn Can? – Sweet Corn Kernels on the Cob / CANNED CORN EXPERIMENT


 

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Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, February 11, 2020


I’m not comfortable with The TICKET breaking up Bob and Dan, but I like the idea both are staying at the station, so that’s me looking at the bright side of things. Bob and Dan developed great chemistry, a whole opposites attract sort of thing and it was fun watching the whole chemical reaction thing work out –  a bit weird and heated at first and then stable, even with producers coming and going. I really didn’t think the change in hosts was going to surprise me, but it did. I don’t think it’s a bad thing (no pun intended), just surprising. As Craig said, Jake is already a familiar voice in that time slot. Speaking of growing in adulthood with him, it’s been fun hearing Jake over the years. As someone who’s a bit older, it’s neat hearing him go through different life stages and remembering what that was like and then being able to predict how he’s gonna be changed. Best of luck to him and Dan. Of all The TICKET folk, Dan is my leader, by far.


I’ve been seeing a lot of electronic billboards advertising Sarah Huckabee Sanders being interviewed during Sunday worship services at First Baptist Dallas on the first of March.  On the church’s webpage, her biography mentions her work with Bono and the ONE campaign. I’m surprised they included that little nugget, I get the impression that Bono and the ONE campaign isn’t held in high regard in the Baptist community, that he’s too much of a universalist and his Irish and rock star ways are hypocritical of the Christian faith.


I was a bit surprised to learn in Peter King’s latest article that the NFL has been using footballs with embedded computer chips (RFID) in them since 2017. A cursory search shows they are only being used for statistical gathering, nothing relating to officiating, though I expect that to change within the next five years (actually, even sooner). A company called Zebra Technologies is behind it. My initial impression was that this was probably some sort of small startup and maybe I should look into investing in it, but it turns out the company is trading around $247 a share. According to Wikipedia, in 2018, the company had sales of $4.218 billion and had a market capitalization of $12.55 billion

Not only are the footballs embedded with chips, but so are the players’ pads.

Every stadium venue is outfitted with the receivers and antennas, and those are all aimed appropriately to have every inch of the field covered. The players wear RFID tags embedded into their shoulder pads, located just underneath the epaulets — every player has them.

The software is unique in the sense that every tag that’s located on a player is assigned to that player. Each player wears two tags: a left and a right. The down linemen wear a third tag just because they go down into a stance.

If you’re curious if the weight of the ball is affected by this chip about the size of a nickel –

We worked with Wilson in Ada, Ohio to implant a tracking device inside the football.  Even with our chips, the football still weighs the same as it did ten years ago, Wilson did a great job of being able to reduce a minor bit of the bladder and incorporate our tag. We can collect statistics to compare a Tom Brady throw to an Aaron Rodgers throw, you can see the difference in spin, number of evolutions, and even the force on a similar type of pass.


Big Ten football ref Dan Capron is retiring and had some interesting things to say about some famous coaches in a recent interview.

  • On Bo Polini: “The worst coach I’ve ever worked for, ever, not even close, no one within 10 miles, is Bo Pelini.”
  • On Urban Meyer: “He is unlike any other Big Ten coach. He is distant, uncommunicative. He had a staff member whose job it was to communicate with the officials. Any time I would approach his sideline, he would turn and go the other direction.:
  • The time Joe Paterno almost ran him over:
    • We’re in Columbus and it’s late in the first half, our final TV timeout. Penn State is pinned back and punting. I raise my hand to signal ready for play. All of a sudden I see Coach Paterno running onto the field and right at me. He has his head down and he is running at me. The stadium almost went silent. What’s going to happen next? He’s coming and coming and gets within five yards and runs right past me. A less experienced referee might have thrown a flag, but I’m like: Let’s not make trouble out of nothing. I blow the ball ready for play, they punt the ball and the half ends uneventfully. (Penn State defensive coordinator) Tom Bradley is now running off the field for halftime. I say, “Coach, what was that about?” He says: “Joe’s got a touch of the flu; he had a little diarrhea. He had to go.”

As for his most embarrassing moment:

Referee Dan Capron once announced, “Timeout, Wisconsin.” The crowd erupted in laughter. Why? The teams on the field were Nebraska and Miami.


I’m just about finished with preparing my taxes and was surprised that one could be taxed on virtual currency such as Bitcoin. As far as I know, Schrute Bucks are still untaxable.


Baylor Scott & White has fewer people in its hospitals — and much higher profits


“You wouldn’t think you’d go to jail over medical bills”: County in rural Kansas is jailing people over unpaid medical debt

  • Tres and Heather Biggs’ son Lane was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 5 years old. At the same time, Heather suffered seizures from Lyme disease. “We had so many — multiple health issues in our family at the same time, it put us in a bracket that made insurance unattainable,” Heather Biggs said. “It would have made no sense. We would have had to have not eaten, not had a home.”
  • Tres Biggs went to jail for failing to appear in court for unpaid medical bills. He described it as “scary.” “I was scared to death,” Tres Biggs said. “I’m a country kid — I had to strip down, get hosed and put a jumpsuit on.”
  • The attorney uses that law by asking the court to direct people with unpaid medical bills to appear in court every three months and state they are too poor to pay in what is called a “debtors exam. “If two hearings are missed, the judge issues an arrest warrant for contempt of court. Bail is set at $500.



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Bag of Randomness for Thursday, February 6, 2020


DaughterGeeding published the second edition of her class newspaper and now she’s got three classmates to serve as reporters and writers for future editions.


I bet when Kirk Douglas died all the news organizations had to scramble to put together a life retrospective segment unlike they had to do with Kobe Bryant. The man was only 103 years old and lived 24 years after a major stroke.


After 2,000 Years, These Seeds Have Finally SproutedSix date seeds as old as the Dead Sea Scrolls are now flourishing as trees on a kibbutz.


I saw this clip on the news last night and my jaw dropped more than Rush Limbaugh’s at the SOTU. It reminded me of times I was in school and was told to “go back to China”. I dreaded going to school every morning for a while and could never work up the courage to tell my parents.

At least the man’s son wasn’t supportive of his father’s outburst.

After Monday’s meeting, Matt Burtell, an alumnus of Saline High School, called out his father on Facebook.

“Today my father asked a deliberately racist question at the Saline Area Schools diversity and inclusion meeting,” Burtell wrote. “His views of hate in no way represent my own.”

He added, “I stand in solidarity with the refugees and immigrants of the world.”


San Antonio Zoo will name a cockroach after your ex and feed it to the animals on Valentine’s Day


How dare a recent college graduate move back home and park in the driveway of her childhood home and go on vacation with her parents. Did they really need to double-boot the car?

Woman’s car booted after parking in her own drivewayHOA promises to refund residents whose vehicles were booted in their driveways


Man’s rapid heartbeat returns to normal when ambulance hits pothole

I was suddenly reminded of this old Geico spot.


GPS Soles Now Available for Seniors with Dementia and Alzheimer’s


In case you were confused about the top picture I posted yesterday – It happens a lot:’ Tennessee lawmaker sipping chocolate syrup bottle makes waves


Tide-lapse

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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, February 5, 2020


I suspect an Asian student in WifeGeeding’s class is getting picked on. For no reason that she or her fellow teachers can think of, they received an email from the mother of the child explaining that no one in her family has been ill, that they haven’t visited China anywhere near the time of the coronavirus outbreak, and have not interacted with anyone who has recently traveled from China.


This Italian volunteer fire station, which is actually carved into the mountain, looks like an evil lair. Since the town is in the Alps and farmland is scarce, they thought this was the best option.


Elon Musk promotes Texas ‘career day’ as SpaceX files paperwork for Starship flight as early as March

Musk tweeted early Tuesday morning that SpaceX would be hosting a “Starship career day” at the company’s Stargate building in Boca Chica, Texas, where it’s currently working on producing the next Starship testing prototype.

Musk added that the purpose of the hiring fair would be specifically to bring on new people to staff four full production shifts to allow production around the clock for “24/7 operations” at the Texas facility. He did add that SpaceX would also be looking for “engineers, supervisors & support personnel,” but it’s clear the call is primarily to build out the production crews that assemble the Starship prototypes, which likely includes welders and others with experience in fabrication.


This idea isn’t as great as combining Fiber One and Fireball whiskey to make Fiberball, but this modified Jenga game, in which 15 of the 54 blocks have indentations for one-ounce jello shots has potential.


Smithsonian Magazine – A New Book About George Washington Breaks All the Rules on How to Write About George Washington

Starting with its cover illustration, a playful Washington grinning at the reader, You Never Forget Your First is a wink of sorts, at Washington biography and at the ways that Americans have very consistently misremembered the first president.


President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has risen to 49%, his highest in Gallup polling since he took office in 2017.


I’m guessing the president prefers American’s like Rush Limbaugh than John McCain. But I’ll give him this, he knows what makes good television. I expect some sort of tweet this morning about how the ratings were through the roof.  Stephen Miller’s fingerprints were all over that speech last night.



Buttigieg supporter asks to take back vote after learning he’s gay


The Mandalorian season 2 arrives this October


Tiny Fate, Texas Wants to Solve All Our Infrastructure WoesThe tiny suburb is trying to show its larger neighbors that highways aren’t the answer. Will it work?


I didn’t know Wendy’s sold breakfast, but about 300 of them do. Come this March, all of them will.

Wendy’s is serving a mix of new items and twists on its customer favorites, including the Breakfast Baconater and a Frosty-ccino. The full menu consists of nine sandwiches. Three are on croissants, including two options with eggs (sausage, egg and Swiss cheese or a bacon, egg and Swiss cheese) and a maple bacon chicken croissant. Similar egg sandwiches will also be sold on biscuits and classic buns. It’s also selling new side dishes, like potato wedges and replacing its coffee blend.


It’s been around a while, but I had no idea there was such a thing as inflatable concrete. You basically just roll it out and add water. I actually disagree with their descriptor of “inflatable” as structures are inflated and wrapped in the concrete canvas, no concrete is inflated.


https://twitter.com/PeccaryNotPig/status/1224515892282740737?s=09

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Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, February 4, 2020


WifeGeeding had a more than typical case of the Mondays yesterday. After dinner, she asked if I’d grab a Sprite out of the refrigerator and I replied with a wryly “How about some Fireball (cinnamon whiskey)”.  She gave me a strange look so I repeated myself and then she burst into laughter stating, “I thought you asked me if I wanted some Fiberball.” I also started to crack up because I immediately had the mental image of an SNL parody commercial along the likes of Colon Blow. It would play off the idea of combining Fiber One with Fireball to make FiberBall – the cinnamon-flavored whiskey – a shot of mouth-burning whiskey and half your daily fiber regiment.


Speaking of whiskey, have you ever heard of Whisky Rebellion? It was the first and only time a sitting American president ever led troops into battle. Whatever you do, don’t let President Trump know about this, upon doing so, he’s going to tell his chief of staff, “Mick, hold my beer.”

Note: Yes, I know the president doesn’t drink. He doesn’t because his older brother died from alcoholism.


There’s a very grainy video, maybe even worse than the Zapruder film, making the rounds yesterday of President Trump at a Super Bowl party acting disrespectful while the national anthem was being played. It had all the markings of a deep fake and I tweeted as much. Some person running for another state’s congressional seat liked my tweet, but minutes later I saw the same account retweet the video and commenting how disrespectful the president was. It appears two interns managing the Twitter account weren’t on the same page or someone is an idiot.


Not that I’m into weather prognostication (you can get that at another regional blog), but it looks like it’s going to be cold and wet with below freezing temperature Wednesday evening, so I’m guessing there’s gonna be icy roads on Thursday morning, which means there’s a chance for school closing, which means there’s a chance for the fake Michael Irving to make an appearance on The TICKET to close down some schools.


One thing I really wanted to do in high school was to go to Texas Boys State, but I wasn’t selected and majorly bummed. I thought about that disappointment yesterday when I saw this headline – Apple, A24 Nab Hot Doc ‘Boys State’ for Record-Breaking $12M

Apple and A24 have acquired worldwide rights to the documentaryBoys State, a political coming-of-age story which examines the health of American democracy. A source pegged the deal at $12 million, which marks the largest sale for a documentary ever at a festival. A24 will release the film theatrically.

The previous record for the largest documentary sale at Sundance was 2019’s Knock Down the House, which sold for $10 million. Sources say Netflix and Hulu were also bidding at $12 million.

Variety already has a review and I can see why Apple thinks it will get some traction.

‘Boys State’: Film ReviewThis deep dive into the mock-government conference for Texas teens offers an alternately encouraging and terrifying look at tomorrow’s politicians.

Every summer, more than 1,000 teens swarm the Texas State Capitol to attend Boys State, the annual American Legion-sponsored leadership conference where these incipient politicians divide into rival parties, the Nationalists and the Federalists, and attempt to build a mock government from the ground up. In 2017, the program attracted attention for all the wrong reasons (the attendees voted for Texas to secede from the United States), which gave filmmakers Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss an idea: What would it take to orchestrate a deep dive into the subsequent next session? Is there a right way to cover the testosterone- and Ritalin-fueled event?


China Pledged to Build a New Hospital in 10 Days. It’s Close.State news outlets reported that the 1,000-bed facility would accept patients from Monday even as construction workers raced to complete it.

In a ceremony on Sunday, Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan, officially handed the new hospital over to the military, which will be in charge of operations. Boxes containing ventilators and medical equipment lay piled on a sidewalk on Monday. Trees sat in large trucks, ready to be unloaded.

By Monday evening, Chinese state media were reporting that ambulances had begun transporting patients to the new hospital.

Xue Ying, a resident of Wuhan, had driven to the new hospital hoping to find help for his increasingly unwell cousin. But city officials and signs on checkpoints have said the hospital would not accept walk-ins. Admission was only for patients with officially confirmed coronavirus infections who were transferred from other facilities.



So much for bipartisanship – Virginia GOP delegate tries to kill own bill to remove Democratic segregationist statue


A guy carted 99 phones around to create traffic jams on Google Maps

For his experiment, Weckert loaded 99 smartphones running Google Maps into a cart. He then had someone wheel that cart around various streets in Berlin, including outside the Google office.

The phones apparently fooled Google Maps into thinking that there was a high concentration of users on those streets. Because the phones were in a cart, Maps was further tricked into believing that the traffic was slow-moving.

As a result, the navigation app started showing virtual traffic jams by turning green streets to red.


I’m Upset: Give me back my SundaysThe Oscars, the Grammys, and the Super Bowl all happen this year on consecutive Sundays. It’s too much.

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