Always on a Wednesday

Écriture, N.Y., Jesus Rafael Soto, 1984

So far this year, we’ve started off with an insurrection, followed by an impeachment and then there was the inauguration. Those were the first three Wednesdays. This week’s Wednesday, yesterday, we had GameStop. What?!? You know the video game retailer, who hasn’t been doing too well as of late. The sharks of Wall Street, hedge fund managers, had planned on profiting from its down luck, but something happened on their way to the bank. Seeing GameStop down, these hedges decided to push it lower, by shorting its stock, wagering that its stock price would go even lower, but things didn’t work out for them as planned. Individual investors are often derided as “dumb money,” destined to lose their lot against the professionals who trade stocks for a living. But recently, many of these individual investors, followers of a popular Reddit page called Wall Street Bets, have upended the pros. Banding together these small investors put the squeeze on two hedge funds that had bet that GameStop’s shares would fall. These fund’s shorts, became a short squeeze and they were left in a pinch when their markers were called. I’ll leave you with comedian Avalon Penrose, who can explain it much better than I.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Anne and I are still waiting for our vaccines. We wait here in Missouri, which is fiftieth out of fifty, of states in vaccinations per capita, dead last. But heck, we have Josh Hawley, our own little Ted Cruz. What more could you want? Well, I want a shot, better make it a double, two rounds for the house. Alice and Chris have both had their shots. Alice is a doctor and Chris participated in a vaccine trial. He only had a 60% chance of getting the real deal, but has since learned that he lucked out. He even gets paid to get his shots. My brother Frank has gotten his first shot, but he has political pull. Anne’s father is scheduled to get his first shot on Monday. I’m trying to get a shot for my father. Where he lives, the county has a webpage, where one can sign up for an appointment, but they don’t have any spots left and there isn’t any way to even leave a name. To help him, I’ve hired a bot who will every five minutes look for any new appointments, if and when they become available. Anne and I are signed up through both our county and our doctors. They have taken our names, but we haven’t heard squat from them, but then we live in the state that is dead last in immunizations.

It snowed yesterday, only a couple of inches, but our first measurable snowfall of the season. Overnight, it turned quite cold, down into the teens. So, any snowmelt that we might have had turned to ice. Going out for the paper this morning, I slipped twice and fell once. Fortunately, I had my hand on the handrail, when I went down and landed without harm. A neighbor called out a warning to another neighbor, but that warning was already too late for me. So, how many more weeks of winter are there until spring?

Under the Sycamore Tree

American Sycamore Grove

Sycamore trees have those stark white limbs that on a late fall day, bereft of leaves and with a brilliant blue sky background, look like they are reaching up to heaven. Their roots penetrate deep into the soil, making them difficult to knock over in a storm. I am just religious, superstitious and mystical enough to grant these ghost trees properties of protection, divinity, eternity and strength. Especially while standing beneath a grove of them during a red-flag warning wind storm.

Among all of the vigorous tree swaying, we heard a rather audible deadfall while in the woods. This begs the question, does a tree really make any sound in the woods, when it falls and no one is around to hear it? What? Huh? What did you say? I didn’t say anything. Apparently it does, but it is doesn’t mean anything.

We drove out to Shaw Nature Preserve, checked-in and then drove up to the hilltop pavilion. There were people there, but once we set out, we didn’t see another soul until we returned. We did our walk of usual duration, but very soon Anne’s nature fix meter was pegging into the green. It was eerie at times being alone together in the woods, but this is one of most protected green spaces around. We got lost, found our way again, set off and explored new corners of the map. We made it down to the Merrimac, but then had trouble finding our way back. It was nothing more serious than a few bug bites for me, past mid-November yet! I was warm enough attired in shorts and a t-shirt, but Anne was overdressed to the nines. She wore her facemask continually, but not for virus protection, we never saw anyone, but as sunscreen. We eventually made it back.

On the way out, I had Anne check for traffic jams using her phone. There were none then, but on the way back there was a huge one where I had envisioned one. This is hardly a paranormal feat. The I-44/I-255 interchange is undergoing major construction. Accidents are foreordained. I think that most of the work is done at night, but most of the infrastructure is there all of the time. It was those crazy construction turns that probably led to the accident and the huge resultant backup that I had originally feared, but then only faced going the other way.

Off to the Races

Racing Quartet

It’s the weekend! Even this retired guy can get excited about this weekend. It’s Labor Day weekend and there are lots of things happening around town. Anne had to teach today, so I soloed on the bike. The Gateway Cup bike races begin tonight. Today, I snapped a pic of these four racers. We were all out for a noon time ride in Forest Park. The Cup will run all weekend long. The Japanese Festival is occurring this weekend at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. It is the fortieth anniversary for the Japanese gardens, so this festival should be special. We have a couple of biking parties to attend and a date for the Greek festival. It should a busy holiday weekend, plus the weather should be quite comfortable.