2020 falling over
Family & Friends,  Personal,  Social Commentary

Hello Again! Personal Notes and the Roller Coaster Known as 2020

Hello, hello, readers-mine. A friend has asked me to start blogging again and I really rather enjoy designing websites, so I decided to create a brand new one. I’ve migrated all the old stuff over, so nothing should be missing, though I have found that some formatting got a little funky in the transfer from Blogger to WordPress. That said, I love the clean lines on the new site.

Now, it’s been four years since I blogged even semi-regularly and a lot has changed during that time, for me personally and for the world. 2020 is one heck of a dumpster fire and one hell of a roller coaster. Normally, my posts include pictures, but this one is going to be long, so I have, instead, hooked you up with links to further reading and photographs.

The year started off with the death of Lindsay, my bestie and partner in crime since high school. We rarely went more than a few days without talking or texting, so the world is weird and less bright without her. At some point, I’m sure, I’ll clear my head enough to write a piece in honor of her, but I’m still not there. A few weeks later, I became pretty ill myself and it’s left me with some breathing issues and swelling in my joints that are problematic and keeping me from my students (because those are not good symptoms to have during a pandemic). So, as I am currently on medical leave, I thought I’d take my friend’s advice and start this blog up again.

On the plus side of this year, my brother moved home from Greece. I love having him around and get to spend time playing with his rather ridiculously adorable cat. I may start studying Greek on my own as it is our family background and I’ve been surrounded by it for most of my life. I’d also like to reup my French, Portuguese, American Sign Language, and Japanese. I have really let my languages go and am totally failing at speaking them at this point other than little phrases here and there. Time to get out the language notebooks again.

Now onto the world during 2020:

  • January
    • Australian Brushfires displaced thousands of people and killed at least 1 billion animals. Starting in September, 47 million acres burned, 113 native animal species were declared as needing “emergency intervention,” and at least 34 human beings died. CNN, Business Insider, NYPost
    • Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike. Business Insider, CNN, APNews, BBC
    • Brexit happened. The U.K. left the EU. They set themselves a deadline of New Year’s Eve to set up a trade deal with the EU. No one knows what will happen with that. BBC, The Gaurdian, Politico, The Economist, CNBC, APNews
    • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to quit their jobs as “senior” royals, decided to become financially independent, moved around to different houses in Canada and California, and finally moved to Santa Barbara. NYPost, Daily Mail, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue
    • The World Health Organization announced that novel coronavirus was something new we needed to worry about. It originated in Wuhan, China, and has spread throughout the world this year. NYPost, CNN, WHO
    • Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, killing 176 people. Government of Canada, BBC
    • Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and a local coach were killed in a helicopter crash. Nine people died and many people mourned. NPR, USAToday ESPN
    • The impeachment trial for Donald Trump, who is currently our president, started. NYPost, CNN, BBC, CNN
    • Super dry weather caused problems in California and people started wondering how bad fire season was going to be. NYPost, LATimes
  • February
    • 109 U.S. soldiers were diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injuries stemming from a missile barrage. Reuters, CNN, MilitaryTimes
    • Somehow, Donald Trump was acquitted of the charges brought against him even though he was, in fact, impreached. Many people were pleased with the vote in the Senate and many others were outraged. NYPost, CNBC, NYTimes
    • Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed while jogging. The video was not released immediately, but it is clear that the men in the truck are essentially stalking him to kill him. They claimed it was vigilante justice. It was clearly murder. CNN, NYTimes, BBC, The Cut, USA Today
    • The State of the Union Address was the tensest anyone can remember. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and the president didn’t shake hands before the speach. She, in fact, ripped up a copy of his speak after he finished. CNN, CNN, NBCNews, Business Insider
    • The Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan. CNN, ScienceDaily
    • Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual abuse. This was a watershed moment for the #MeToo Movement. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. We started to see people actually changing how we discuss rape, assault, and abuse in this country. NYPost, NPR, BBC, CNN
    • Parasite was the first non-English-language movie to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. They also took home Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film. NYPost, Wikipedia, Oscars
    • Super dry weather continued and we started to see issues that typically come with a drought. NYPost, LATimes
  • March
    • The Stock Market crashed and triggered a global recession as a result of the pandemic. NYPost, CNN, Insider
    • Countries started to go into lockdown all over the world because of COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus or novel coronavirus). This is when it was first called a pandemic. Everyon had a near-immediate order to work from home. CNN, NYPost, BBC, BBC
      • Personal Note: California went into lockdown on Friday, March 13th. Teachers were told that we would need to have curricula rewritten and ready to teach to online by Monday, March 16th.
    • A state of emergency was declared in California because the mass die-off of trees put us at huge risk of wildfires. Oregon declared wildfire season at the same time. NYPost, Wikipedia, CNN, BBC, NBC
    • All professional sports were cancelled. ESPN, NYTimes
    • The Olympics were canceled. CNN, Insider
    • Hospital ships went to New York and Los Angeles. CNN, NavyTimes, DefenseNews
  • April
    • The world passes 1 million coronavirus cases. It has killed more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and the flu. BBC, LiveScience, NYTimes
    • John Lewis, a Civil Rights activist and the conscious othe f Congress, died at the age of 80. Alabama News, NPR, NYTimes, TIME, ABC
    • All sorts of weird stuff went on with Kim Jong Un and the world thought that he was either dead or dying. The intelligence community was skeptical that he was able to run a country considering the various rumors of his death (heart surgery, being shot, and some sort of mysterious illness). He wasn’t seen from or heard from for 20 days in any way. NYPost, CNN, NYTimes
    • The Pentagon confirmed UFOs and nobody really cared because so much else was going on. CNN, NYTimes, USNews
    • Mass graves were dug on Hart Island in New York City because so many people died from conronavirus. CNN, USAToday, Insider, Fox5NY, NPR
    • Millions of Americans lost their jobs and food banks dealt with incredible lines. CNN, MotherJones, NYTimes, Vox, WSJ
    • Protesters arrive in the Michigan House of Representatives, where signs are illegal, but semiautomatic rifles are allowed. The incongruity of those rules stands out to people. CNN, NPR, BBC, The Detroit News
    • People begin protesting stay-at-home orders. CNN, CNN
    • The West Coast Wildfires began in Washington. They are still burning today. It’s literally so bad that it has it’s own Wikipedia page. CNN, BBC, NBC
  • May
    • George Floyd was killed in an encounter with police in Minneapolis. He pleaded to be allowed to breathe throughout the entire video until his death. They knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Thousands of protesters took to the streets as Black Lives Matter protests erupted and riots occurred with looting, burning, and aggression from police. The majority (93%) of protests were peaceful and still are. CNN, CNN, NYTimes, BBC, APNews, TIME, CNN
    • Protests occur for Ahmaud Arbery as there are calls for the men who murdered him to be charged and brought to justice. CNN, ABCNews, USAToday, CNN
    • North Korea released photos of Kim Jong Un at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, to the surprise of the planet. NYPost, WSJ
    • “Murder Hornets” (a.k.a. Asian Giant Hornets) were found in the US for the first time. They can wipe out bee colonies in hours and kill 50 people a year in Japan. NYPost, NYTimes, NBCNews, The Guardian
    • The West Coast Wildfires continued to burn. More people lost their lives and their homes. Wikipedia, CNN, BBC, NBC
    • The U.S. had it’s 100,000th coronavirus death. CDC, BBC, NYTimes
    • 59 mass shootings. This is the most gun violence in seven years. Gun Violence Archive
    • Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivered virtual commencement address to millions of high school seniors. CNN, CNN
    • The worst invasion of desert locusts hits Kenya and the Horn of Africa. This causes even more food insecurity. CNN, NPR, BBC
    • The police in Minneapolis arrest Omar Jimenez, a CNN journalist, and his crew while on broadcast television. They were later relased. CNN, NYTimes, The New Yorker
    • The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched two NASA astronauts toward the International Space Station. Thi was the firsst time in history that a commercial aerospace company carried humans into space. CNN, SpaceX, Kennedy Space Center
  • June
    • Black Lives Matter protests went global, filling city centers around the world. George Floyd’s funeral is watched around the world. CNN, BBC, Vox, BLM
    • Riot police shot peaceful protesters with rubber bullets and throw tear gas and flash bangs intostay-at-h the crowd so President Donald Trump can stand in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op while holding a bible upside down. Part of the church was set on fire the night before during some riots. The pastor said that he did not want the president there and that he was not happy with what happened. CNN, NPR, NCR, USAToday
    • Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot 8 times by police when they broke down the door to her aparment in Louisville during a ncotics investigation. Her boyfriend claimed that the police did not announce themselves. The police claimed that they did announce themselves. Breonna’s boyfriend shot at police, thinking that his home was being broken into. Breonna’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. CNN, CNN, NYTimes, The Cut, BBC, APNews
    • The mayor of D.C. creates Black Lives Matter Plaza and paints the words directly in front of the White House. CNN, WAMU, NPR, WTOPNews,
    • Statues are torn down or graffitied during the protests. People call for either a reallocation of funds or a defunding of the police. CNN, NYTimes, The Guardian, BBC
    • Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man was shot by police near a Wendy’s drive-thru. Police suspected that he was driving under the influence, and Rayshard Brooks took the officer’s Taser and attempted to shoot it at them as he ran away. Brooks was shot in the back twice. The restaurant was later set on fire. CNN, NYTimes, CNN, AJC
    • Joe Biden beat out Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Mike Bloomberg to become the Democratic party’s presidential candidate. NYPost, CNN, NYTimes
    • The West Coast Wildfires continued to burn. More people lost their lives and their homes. Wikipedia, CNN, BBC, NBC
    • The Supreme Court determined that federal law protects LGBTQ+ workers. CNN, CNN
    • Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, detained members of the New Mexico Civil Guard, an armed civilian group, after a man was shot while protesters tried to pull down a statue of Juan de Oñate, a Spanish conquistador. It was determined that the man was not part of the armed civilian group. CNN, CNN, NPR
    • The Supreme Court blocked President Trump’s attempt to end DACA, the program the protects immigrant children who grow up in the US because their parents brought them here illegally. CNN, CNN
    • The Tulsa Trump rally is a bust for the president as Tik Tok and K-Pop stans users buy tickets that they will not use. The phony reasons given for their lack of arrival at the rally, after confirming that they will be there, lead to running jokes all over social media and the news. CNN, NYTimes, CNN
    • Rayshard Brooks’s funeral took place at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was pastor for the last 8 years of his life. King’s daughter, Rev. Bernice A. King, spoke at the funeral. CNN
    • A couple in St. Louis drew guns on protesters in St. Louis. CNN, APNews, BBC
    • The Mississippi state flag was retired. It was the last flag to feature the Confederate battle flag. CNN, CNN, Vox
  • July
    • Orange County, CA becomes a battleground area in the debate over masks as COVID-19 continues to be politicized in the United States. numbers of coronavirus cases remained high in the area as people fought wearing masks still. LATimes, Fox, CBS
    • Hackers, led by a teenager, took over the Twitter accounts of people like Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Kanye West as part of a bitcoin scam. NYPost, GeekWire, CNN, Business Insider
    • The West Coast Wildfires continue to burn. More people lose their lives and their homes. Wikipedia, CNN, BBC, NBC
    • Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested on sex-trafficking charges. She was the madam for Jeffrey Epstein, an American financier, crook, and convicted sex offender who trafficked little girls around the world and on his own private island. He supposedly committed suicide last year, but many people think he may have been murdered as a result of the horrific things he did. NYPost, NPR, NYTimes
    • The West Coast Wildfires caused major damage to Washington and Oregon. Wikipedia, CNN, BBC, NBC
    • The NBA Bubble is where teams lived and played. Some big names opted out, which disappointed some fans, but people were happy to have live sports to watch. They were so careful with how things ran that there have been no incidents of serious COVID-19 infections. SportingNews, ESPN, NYTimes
  • August
    • A South Korean official told the world that the photos of Kim Jong Un were faked and that he was in a vegetative state. Body doubles are a thing, so much of the world is still waiting on official word of what truly happened to this despot who convinces his people that he can read their minds and has put much of his population into concentration camps at one point or another. This started a whole new round of rumors. NYPost, National Post
    • A massive explosion at the port in Beirut, Lebanon, killed at least 190 people and injured thousands. Supposedly accidental, the detonation blew up 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate and caused damage, deaths, and injuries that rocked the world. NYPost, RedCross, BBC, Al Jazeera, Science Magazine, The Guardian
    • Kamala Harris, the senator from California, was chosen as Joe Biden’s running mate. She is the first black and the first Asian (Indian, in this case) woman on a major party’s presidential ticket. She has lived in both California and Canada. NYPost, BBC, NYTimes, CNN, APNews
    • Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer. He kept his diagnosis private, so fans were shocked when they found out that he filmed Black Panther, Marshall, Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and 42 while being ill. He also started Operation 42, an effort to raise money for personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals that serve communities that were hardest hit by the pandemic. NYPost, BBC, NYTimes, APNews
    • The West Coast Wildfires got worse and Northern California began to burn as well with the Lightning Complex Fires. Wikipedia, CNN, BBC, NBC
  • September
    • The West Coast Wildfires continued to burn. The air quality was so bad that the sky essentially looked brown and orange all the way from Southern California up to Canada. The world looked like a post-apocalyptic video game. Wikipedia, ScienceMagazine, CNN, BBC, NBC
    • Ukrainian Military plane crashed and killed 26 people. There was only 1 survivor. APNews, BBC
    • The U.S. has a death toll of over 200,000 people from COVID-19. Our death toll is unfathomable to much of the world. NPR, BBC, BBC, CNN, APNews, ChicagoTribune
    • The 1st presidential debate from 2020 was a disaster. It was chaotic, unhelpful, and showed the character of both men rather clearly. President Trump attacked Former Vice President Biden personally in ways that seemed designed to trigger Joe Biden’s stutter, talked over the moderator, and was rude overall. Vice President Biden did best when he spoke directly to the camera and the American people, but had some slip ups where he lost his cool and said things like, “Shut up, man” and seemed surprised that he said it out loud. Just about everyone felt badly for anyone who had to caption or translate the debate into American Sign Language in real time. YouTube, NYTimes, CBS
  • October
    • The West Coast Wildfires continue to burn and both their burning and the smoke are impacting our crops. The sky stilled looked apocalyptic as the first gigafire in modern history happened.. Wikipedia, The New Yorker, The Guardian, CivilEats, CNN, BBC, NBC
    • Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, known as “The Notorious RBG” died. She was only the second woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court and spent her life as a trailblazer for gender equality. Her dissent collar is now being sold as jewelry. NYPost, NPR, NYTimes
    • The President and First Lady of the United States, Donald and Melania Trump, tested positive for COVID-19. He was hospitalized for three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he received experimental treatments, before returning to the White House. NYPost, Axios, WhiteHouse,
    • Eddie Van Halen, legendary rock god and guitar virtuoso, died after a very long battle with mouth and throat cancer. He died with his family around him. The tallest bell tower in the Netherlands, Dom Tower, played “Why Can’t This Be Love,” “Love Walks In,” and “Jump” on it’s carillon, in a beautiful 11-minute tribute. NYPost, NYTimes, RollingStone
    • The FBI had to protect a governor from 14 men who plotted to kidnap the Michigan governor after President Trump made disparaging remarks about her, calls her names, and claims that she should be removed. Possible ties were found to the protest in the Michigan Capitol. ABC, CNN, CNN, APNews
    • Donald Trump tweeted about “total Declassification” of all documents on the government’s investigation of Russia’s intervention in the 2016 U.S. election. A federal judge literally had to determine whether that tweet was an executive order and chided the president for essentially being unclear about his intentions for the classified information. The Washington Post, NBCNews, CNN
    • Pope Francis became the first pope ever to support civil unions for gay couples and to tell people that human beings on the LGBTQ+ spectrum should not be kicked out, forbidden love, or treated cruelly. He told parents of gay children that God loves them just as they are. While he didn’t go as far as some people hoped, he went much farther than other people hoped. CNN, NYTimes, APNews

Throughout this whole thing, President Trump has also been tweeting and using social media to make announcements on policy, harangue, and harass people. He name calls like a schoolyard bully and does it online, calling for other people to do the same. He even puts out comments on other political leaders, international and domestic, making him rather less popular with other world leaders. Vox, CNN, RollingStone, Boston Globe, TweetBinder, Wikipedia, Newsday

We’ve also had to deal with QAnon becoming a real problem. Something that previously was a fringe conspiracy is now everywhere. People previously thought of as rational have started to believe some or all of this crazy theory that involves anti-Jewish conspiracies from the Middle Ages, a Satanic pedophile ring, red shoes, harvesting blood from children, cannibalism, the Deep State, aliens, and Donald Trump as a savior. All of this started with random posts from someone calling themselves Q and leaving anonymous statements on websites. People even scan Twitter for misspellings, thinking that these are signals to QAnon followers. To call it bizarre is an understatement. If you want to see some crazy maps, look up “map of QAnon” on Google. No. Really. Go do it. These reference articles to explain some of what you see will be here when you get back, readers-mine. WSJ, BBC, CBS, Al Jazeera, The Gaurdian, NYTimes

I am sure that I have missed something somewhere, but if you’re feeling tired, worn out, or alone, readers-mine, the list above is probably why. Hang on tight as we go through the final drop on this roller coaster we call 2020. It’s sure to be a doozy.

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