U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/AP file photo)

Mitchell’s Musings: Predictions, politics and pandemics

Columnist Glenn Mitchell offers some random thoughts on current affairs

Just some random thoughts from observing an obviously random world because none of these thoughts are grown up enough to be full-blown columns…

…I hear astrology is making a comeback during the pandemic. That’s good for psychics and the like but I wonder what it says about the state of modern times and our belief in science, medicine, education, our leaders, media, etc., etc?

I’m not sure about a belief system that says Gordie Howe, Pavel Bure, Shirley Jones and myself are alike because we happened to be born on the same day of the year, but who knows these days?

Also, I’d like to meet the astrologer who predicted 2020 would be half as bad as it has turned out to be so far, and shake their hand. Or their neck, ahem.

One good story about astrology that I will share with you: Once upon a time at a newspaper that came out three times a week, we found out that a production assistant, who obviously didn’t follow astrology, was typing in the daily horoscopes supplied to us on consecutive days.

In other words, she wasn’t going by the date on the horoscopes supplied but just typing them in as she received them to fill the space. Oops. An honest mistake and I hope no one suffered too much as a result of getting Friday’s horoscope on Wednesday, or vice versa, and who knows, maybe it worked out for the best for all concerned…

…So Trump’s tax returns have finally been released, only not by him, of course. The New York Times article that reveals The Donald plays a businessman on TV much better than in real life, usually doesn’t pay taxes at all and if he does it’s only $750, and believes claiming $70,000 on his ‘hair’ and hundreds of thousands on Ivanka as an outside consultant when she already works for the firm, is truly stunning and damning and should be reason for dismissal from the pursuit of the presidency. But, of course, this is the age of alternative facts so Fox News and others can dismiss it out of hand even though he owes hundreds of millions of dollars to someone with no apparently realistic way of paying it off, considering all his losing propositions. And this doesn’t make a con man in the White House vulnerable to blackmail and undue influence and corruption, especially considering he’s padding his bank account through his hotels and golf courses from the comfort of his Resolute desk, already?

Yikes. No wonder he’s been hiding his tax returns all this time. Unless, of course, you believe Trump despite his track record, and not the New York Times, which is anything but fake news…

…I’ve talked before about the detrimental effects of social media on society and media and democracy, the local economy and the truth, etc. But until I watched the documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix, I obviously had no idea.

It’s truly frightening, the intended and unintended consequences of social media on our lives, and apparently they can no longer control their inventions due to algorithms etc. Plus, they’re getting rich at the expense of our time and clicks and personal information, while all the time feeding us more of what we want to hear in our information silos. Please watch this insiders’ view of things and discuss with your family, friends and especially your children…

…So, in this upside down world, NHL hockey is just ending when it should be just starting, as is the NBA. Meanwhile, they’re freezing in Paris for the French Open. Oh well, at least we’ve got the 2020 Olympics coming up in 2021 in Tokyo. Then again, not taking any bets on that one either…

…Officials are saying trim down your Thanksgiving and some Halloween traditions are already cancelled due to the pandemic. Hopefully by Christmas we’ll be doing better, but if I were you I wouldn’t invest in mistletoe futures…

…So, one thing no pandemic or recession can stop, are sunsets like the one on Sunday night in these parts. And one can enjoy it while social distancing, or not if they’re in your bubble or you happened to be married to them, so do enjoy. It’s likely to happen in your neighbourhood again real soon. No need to click your approval either. Gawking is more than enough…

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Morning Star.

mitchchap1@outlook.com

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