Blogging Ain’t Always Easy or Rewarding. Ask Donald Trump

Image of Donald J. Trump courtesy of Vanity Fair.

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA (aka The PRDude)

Along with favorable reports about the waning impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago and nationwide and the outstanding early season performance of the Chicago Cubs, this recent news grabbed my attention: Former President Donald J. Trump pulled the plug on a blog he launched — after just one month gracing the digital landscape.

A June 2 Vanity Fair article from Bess Levin offers insight into why Mr. Trump discontinued the “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” blog, which I did not read.

(In all honesty, I didn’t even know Mr. Trump joined the blogosphere.  It’s doubtful I would have read his posts, since I get sufficient political commentary from other more established sources. I can attest that he’s not a subscriber to “The PRDude,” but my site is open to all. As of today, I have 138 welcomed followers.)

According to Vanity Fair and other media, Mr. Trump ditched his blog because of low interest by those who search the increasingly crowded social media network.  For someone who worked seemingly obsessively to channel personal exposure through digital channels like his permanently blocked Twitter platform, the lack of readers had to hurt someone so accustomed to the limelight, be it in person or online.

From a personal perspective, it takes perseverance, commitment and a thick skin to manage a blog.  When I push “publish” for this post, it will be post number 490!  According to my WordPress stats, PRDude posts have been opened by U.S. readers 19,022 times since my first post in September 2009; and the blog has reached people in more than 100 countries and territories, including Jersey and Guernsey — two of the Channel Islands — and South Sudan.

I hope thousands will open and read my commentaries, but to get 100 or even 50 views for a new post is heartening. Readership stats and subsequent comments let me know someone allocated the time to click, open and read what I had to say that day.

So perhaps Mr. Trump should reconsider and resurrect his blog and demonstrate his commitment to employing the digital space to communicate thoughts, observations and opinions. It may be a viable option, since yesterday Facebook announced his Facebook and Instagram accounts will be banned until January of 2023.

Until then, Mr. Trump should investigate other online platforms. A suggestion: Pinterest, which according to a March 2021 Hootsuite report is the 14th largest social media network in the world, with some 459 million regular users.  Pinterest allows subscribers to post “pins” or images. This concept is commensurate with Mr. Trump’s practices while in the White House, where, according to this Business Insider article from 2020, he preferred graphics to words.

And, Now Another Dilemma: What to do With All Those Masks

My hippie inspired, psychedelic mask helped me stand out over the past several months. Do I plan to get rid of it? Heck no!

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA

Restaurants can now operate at increased capacity! Movie theaters are open, showing the latest Hollywood productions! And, this just in: Chicago will host the Lollapalooza festival this summer!

Yes, insert insert whatever cliche works for you — “we’ve crossed to the other side” for example.  The number of people in America affected by the dreaded COVID-19 virus is steadily decreasing, steadily allowing us to resume life as we knew it some 14 months ago.

What’s more, this week the Center for Disease Control announced that fully vaccinated Americans don’t have to wear masks indoors or outdoors, however masks will be required on planes, trains and buses; stores, restaurants, educational institutions, and some businesses may still require masks for the foreseeable future.  Yes, the masking guidelines remain quite fluid, and the scenario may change by the time you read this post.

But one thing’s for certain: There will come a time — perhaps next week, next month or next year — when we won’t have to wear the N95, the disposable, the corporate logo branded model, or the hand-crafted mask fashioned by some wonderful person with superb tailoring skills.

That raises the question: What to do with all those masks stashed in your drawer or briefcase, hanging from the car rear view mirror, or there on the counter next to your keys and handheld?  In a laudable action of patriotism and sensibility, I hereby offer these sensible suggestions.

  • Let’s Get Creative. Incorporate masks into art projects. This could be a first: A mask installation, sculpture or textile work. Bet the folks at MOMA already have this prospect on the agenda for fall.
  • Let’s Auction to Raise Money. Hey, the nation spent billions, no trillions I believe, on the pandemic. We can recoup some of those funds by auctioning masks worn by celebrities. Shout out to everyone from Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X and Springsteen to the Kardashians, Tom Hanks and Will Smith:  Sign and auction your masks!
  • Let’s Get Practical. Repurpose those masks around the household. They are designed to keep germs out, but clean and sanitary masks could be incorporated into cleaning surfaces and windows. Maybe the product development teams at 3M or Proctor & Gamble are already working on this concept.
  • Let’s Get to Work. Masks are designed to fit snugly around the face.  But multiple masks could be refashioned into knee and elbow pads that many construction and tradesmen need to wear.  Repurposed masks would add a little bit of pizazz and flair to the drab denim focused work attire.
  • Let’s Keep Them On. Think about it: You don’t want to go through the trouble of shaving or putting on make up. Wear a mask!

Now, for a disclaimer: Please don’t interpret my thoughts above as being flippant or even cruel.  The pandemic was horrible, and its impact on our lives physically, mentally, financially and socially will be around for a while.  Masks did help us continue with normal life in some fashion.

As for me, I plan to wear a mask indefinitely, especially while on my increasingly regular commute to work on the CTA Blue Line.  And, especially on days when I don’t feel like shaving.

 

Play Ball! Where I Experienced the Reopening

Two friends enjoying conversation about life, baseball and just about anything that came to mind.

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA (aka The PRDude)

The restaurant at the modern mid-rise hotel across the street from the place I visited last week offers oysters on the half shell and a $69 steak. But a block south, an unadulterated Chicago dive bar still features an Old Style sign above the entrance and offers Tall Boys for a couple of bucks. 

Quite a juxtaposition of the new and the old, the what is now and the way it used to be.

Kind of like life sometimes.  Don’t you think?

The place in question is Wrigley Field, a place I’ve visited off and on for — could it really be? — more than 50 years.  My most recent sojourn to this mecca of baseball history, joy and heartbreak was Friday May 7, made possible by the increasingly relaxed restrictions announced by state and city government officials on people gathering together on the downside of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

My visit to Wrigley to take in the Chicago Cubs versus the Pittsburgh Pirates was made possible by my great friend Garry Weiss, who invited me to join him at seats along the first base side. Seating was restricted to around 10,000 fans, and it was a brisk, partly cloudy early May afternoon. 

But I got to get out of the house and gather with my friend and a large number of people — safely.  Since the pandemic put a metaphorical lock on the simple process of interacting with family, friends and strangers, I like many longed for a deviation from the practices needed to remain a step ahead of the virus.

Before entering the ballpark, I marveled at the many new bars and restaurants along Clark Street. There’s even a serious cannabis dispensary just south of Addison Street.  Yet, I found some things stay the same: Men selling peanuts and bottles of water on the sidewalk, parking lot attendants soliciting drivers, a hustler hawking game day tickets near the Addison Red Line station.

To get inside Wrigley, one must scan a digital ticket.  Inside, the concourse was clean and modernized.  Once at our seats, I exhaled and took in the simple majesty that is Wrigley Field — the emerald turf, the vines, the buildings beyond Waveland and Sheffield.  A dose of reality: Beers cost $10 or $11.

Before Friday, I had not been to Wrigley Field in around three years.  I had not visited with Garry in perhaps two years. I had not experienced an event since March of 2020.

Last month, I commented on how enjoying a few beers at my corner tavern was a step toward life as I knew it.  Last week, I got to enjoy life with a friend and thousands of others.  And, to make it all the better, the Cubs won 3-2.

For several minutes I just stood at the corner of Clark and Addison, reveling in the observance of people entering and milling around Wrigley Field.
While many establishments have come and gone over the years, the Nisei Lounge has survived for 67 years. Look for the Old Style sign on Sheffield just north of Clark.
A corporate-sponsored modern scoreboard presents advertisements and replays. However, the iconic manual scoreboard retains is prominence above the center field Bleachers.

A Return to Normalcy Through Malt Therapy

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA (aka The PRDude)

As evidenced by increased vehicular traffic, lines outside some restaurants, and actual fans in the stands at baseball games, the world — at least my world here in Chicago — is gradually returning to some semblance of normalcy. Even the Paleta Man is back, hawking those delicious frozen treats from his pushcart.

Driven by widespread vaccinations and perhaps a greater adherence to CDC protocols, life is almost back to what it once was, meaning we can resume many of the activities halted or restricted over the past year-plus.

For me, the return to the way things used to be included engaging in regular malt therapy sessions, or to the uninitiated, sitting on a bar stool, hoisting a few pints of beer, engaging in conversation with anyone who will listen, and just disengaging from anything that causes stress or strife. 

Rest assured, enjoying those cold ones away from home for a couple of hours does make a difference from a therapeutic perspective.

My venue of choice for this weekly endeavor has been Small Bar, the neighborhood Avondale corner joint referenced in this post from a year ago. In fact, it’s been my Sunday afternoon malt therapy destination for pretty much the past two decades.

I got my opportunity this past Sunday to rekindle malt therapy at Small Bar, which has been closed since October.  Yes, over the past few Sundays I did venture to other area establishments — the Revolution Brewery and Tap Room  on Kedzie, Reed’s Local on Belmont, and The Old Plank on my favorite street in the world, Milwaukee Avenue.  All fine establishments, to be sure, all with their own charm and atmosphere, and most importantly, all serving beer.

But it was the re-opening of Small Bar that rechristened the malt therapy I need to begin easing back to a place in life that’s somewhat predictable, honest and simple.  Upon my arrival shortly after 3 p.m., the bar was relatively empty and to my satisfaction, the window seat — my favorite seat — was open. 

Plus, the Cubs game was on TV! They got crushed by the Brewers, giving up five runs in the 9th, but I didn’t care. Small Bar was open again. Malt therapy resumed. And, another step was taken forward following too many months of uncertainty.

As more patrons ventured into this classic, humble venue, a tavern that has served the neighborhood faithfully through the generations, I smiled, then ordered another beer.

My first choice was the Stiegl Pils. Argh, the key was empty. So, I opted for an Alagash White, a fine a traditional Belgian-style witbier. Yes, I had more than one.
Normally, Small Bar has a dozen or so beers on tap. The offerings now should satisfy just about any serious beer drinker.

From my seat by the window, I take in the small gathering of fellow patrons Jake and Phil, with Dixie behind the bar. By the time I departed at 5 p.m., many of the seats and tables were filled, and the outdoor patio was buzzing.

Knowing When to Keep Your Comments to Yourself

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA (aka The PRDude)

One of the most storied quotes of Western civilization was attributed to an 18th Century French writer named François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire.

It’s shown in the image posted here, and it certainly embodies the concept of free speech, a concept noted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is voltaire-wychwood-school.png

Clearly, Mr. Voltaire would not be a fan of the so-called “cancel culture” prevalent these days.

My first encounter with these provocative words  was back in the late 1970s upon entering the lobby of the 435 N. Michigan Av. building in Chicago — better known as the Tribune Tower and once housing the newsroom, business offices and printing presses for the metropolitan daily that bears its name.  There, Voltaire’s words were carved into the marble wall above an entrance way in the grand lobby, in view for all who pass through the storied bastion of journalism.

As a free-thinker and ardent supporter of free speech, I certainly adhere to the foundation behind the Frenchman’s commentary. But as a modern communications professional, I’ve learned sometimes it’s best to keep some comments to yourself.

A case in point: Last week, we enlisted the services of a local upholstery cleaning firm to bring our sofa and love seat back to like-new looking condition. The Upholstery Guy, who resembled Jimmy Buffett, maintained a professional, yet casual attitude during his visit.  As he loaded his cleaning machine, solutions, tubing and other gear into our home that morning, he inquired about my line of work.

“I’m in public relations and communications now, but started out in journalism, as a reporter here in Chicago,” I remarked. “But that was many years ago.”

Learning of my former profession led him on a subtle, but passionate diatribe regarding an April 4 segment of 60 Minutes that questioned whether wealthy Floridians and non-residents received COVID-19 vaccinations over residents living in poor and rural parts of the state.  The Upholstery Guy believed the reporting was unfair and biased against Governor Ron DeSantis, who he said has done a phenomenal job in managing vaccination of residents of the Sunshine State.  For the record, media outlets have reported on this story well before 60 Minutes, including a February 17 NPR report.

Sensing a potential heated and uncomfortable political back-and-forth, I just let Upholstery Guy’s comments pass without a response.  Yes, he has a right to his opinion. But I maintain it’s not wise to share political, religious or other sensitive beliefs with a customer — especially at 7:30 a.m. 

Similarly, while fishing several years ago with a friend up in Northern Wisconsin, the guide we hired one afternoon shared repeated criticism and calloused remarks about Democrats. And, while on my getaway to Galena, Illinois last November, the owner of the bed-and-breakfast where I stayed somewhat boldly declared: “I hate Chicago.”

Again, to get this on the record: I have voted Democratic most of my life, and I have lived in Chicago most of my life. I will defend Upholstery Guy, the Wisconsin Guide and the Galena Gentleman’s right to their respective opinions — although not to the death.  (Sorry, Voltaire.)

But from a dollars and cents perspective, I would not hire Upholstery Guy again, Wisconsin Guide got a smaller tip, and we’ll seek other accommodations the next time Galena is on the travel agenda.  Yes, our furniture looks great, my buddy and I caught lots of crappie, and I thoroughly enjoyed the three nights last fall in the historic home.

All three experiences would have been better minus the pointed rhetoric.

 

New PRSA Strategic Initiative Direly Needed Now

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA (aka The PRDude)

We’ve all probably have had to address this situation: Finding continuing value in membership in an organization or association, especially one that requires an ongoing financial commitment. The question that surfaces when the renewal notice arrives: “Is it time to stop sending hard-earned dollars to maintain membership?”

For the record, I have been a member of the Public Relations Society of America since 2002.  I joined PRSA initially because it was a requirement to pursue the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential, which I earned in 2004.

Over the years, PRSA membership has been pivotal in my evolution and growth as a modern communications professional. I’ve gained from volunteer work on committees, through webinars, and by attendance at national and local events.  Plus, I’ve built strong professional relationships with people from coast to coast. So, come July, I will renew my membership.

A recent PRSA initiative reinforced and solidified my commitment to the Society and its values: The launch of Voices4 Everyone, an encompassing digital resource that’s rooted at the foundations of what we do: Initiate and disseminate honest, ethical and strategic communications that contributes to the betterment of society; pursue fairness; encourage discourse. 

Like all sound programs, Voices4Everyone is structured around a defined platform that will address disinformation, diversity and inclusion, civility, and civic engagement. Given the incessant proliferation of caustic misinformation across segments of both the public and private sectors, it’s appropriate that the nation’s foremost organization of communicators take on this challenge. 

As noted in a recent email from PRSA 2021 Chair Michelle Olson, APR, Voices4Everyone will benefit communicators through “ongoing professional development, curated content on critical matters, data-driven information and essential tools and resources.” This includes the option to contribute content to the site, one I plan to consider soon.

All who read this are encouraged to share the site and add their voice to this new PRSA initiative. With all that’s going on in the world today, our voices are very much needed.

 

 

 

So, Have I Been “Side Hustling” All These Years?

A Google search for “freelance image” resulted in many images of modern offices or laptops featuring men or women who clearly were models. So, I opted for this image: My freelance (or “side hustle”) workplace.

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA

What I remember most about the interview was that the subject, a jazz musician, was passionate about his craft and employed terms like “modal” and “atonal” during our phone conversation. Yes, I had to look up the words — using my big The International Webster New Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language & Library of Useful Knowledge — to better understand what the man was conveying.

This was 1981, and the subject, pianist Adegoke Steve Colson, continues to be a force in modern jazz.  A short profile on Mr. Colson was my first freelance writing assignment; the piece appeared in the Illinois Entertainerthe free monthly entertainment magazine still being published. 

I believe I earned $6 for the profile; but I went on to write for the Entertainer for a dozen years, and my passion for music provided the impetus to write for other entertainment periodicals. That led to many other writing and consulting assignments in subjects far beyond the local rock and roll scene.

I still freelance today.

So why share this anecdote? On March 10 I took in “Work Hard; Hustle Harder,” a webinar hosted by the Chicago Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, of which I am a long standing member.  Visit this link to access a copy of the webinar.

The focus of the webinar was how successful public relations professionals balanced their primary jobs with other, extra work, a process that’s now often known as a “side hustle.” Moderator Kirk Hawkins, a former television news reporter and anchor, noted that his primary source of income now centers on real estate sales; yet he sometimes fills in on the weather segment at a Los Angeles station.

The four webinar panelists also shared thoughts on striking out from the corporate environment to follow their passions beyond day-to-day work commitments, which resulted in benefits that transcend earning extra money. Examples shared: Enhancing diversity and inclusion, providing pro bono communications support, and solidifying the entrepreneurial spirit.

The enthusiasm and candor shared certainly was inspirational.  Yet, during the conversation, the phrase “freelance” was not mentioned. That prompted me to post this message in the Q&A box:  “Great exchange of information and ideas here. But to follow up on Rachel’s comment: Is it beneficial or even appropriate to continue to propogate (sic) the term ‘side hustle?’ The word ‘hustle’ has a negative connotation; the noun form is defined as ‘a fraud or swindle. What happened to ‘freelance’ work?”

As the hour time allotment for the webinar moved toward the closing time of 6:30 p.m., Mr. Hawkins shared my question. However, there was no time left to debate the issue.

So, I shift this question to you, dear reader: Is “side hustle” an appropriate term for a temporary or infrequent job, given the long-standing definition of “hustle?”

An aside: My Webster’s dictionary notes that the noun version of “hustle” is slang for “prostitute.” On the other hand, the definition of “freelance” is: “pertaining to the manner of working of a writer, artist, or actor not under contract or employed by another.”

Please share your thoughts and observations.  Me, I still plan to continue hustling freelance gigs for a while.

 

Dog Poop and Parking Dibs: Today’s Topics of Conversation

An example of double parking space dibs on a residential street near our home. Felt it best not to share an image of the other topic of this post.

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA (aka The PRDude)

Now that some of the big stories of late — the 2020 Presidential election, January 6 domestic terrorist insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol, and crippling power outage across the Lone Star state — have evolved and are somewhat moved from top-of-mind conversation, there are other, more localized, news to consider.

Please note that the focus of this post is to not diminish the importance of major news; but rather, today the goal is to recognize the need for a break from the grab-you-by-the-lapels kind of news.

For insight into these “lesser” issues, I looked to Nextdoor, that ubiquitous online community forum that allows you and your neighbors to share thoughts, observations, and insight on just about any issue germane and relevant (or not) to your block or neighborhood. 

From a full-disclosure perspective, I subscribe to the Nextdoor group that covers the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago. But frequently, communications cross my screen that originate in other nearby North Side neighborhoods. Common discussions center on the best delivered mac and cheese, alerts advising awareness of the strange man lurking outside the local Starbucks, or questions on hiring a dependable person to clean your apartment.

Two popular topic threads that have garnered participation in the past few days have origins in the region’s recovery from a near month of heavy snow and brutal cold: Pet owners who fail to retrieve dog droppings, and an end to Chicago parking dibs, or the practice of reserving a shoveled out on-street space.

Here are just two examples of these topics I found recently on Nextdoor:

Dog waste. Hi Neighbors, It’s hard not to notice the abundant amount of dog waste on the ground, especially with limited walking space from the snow. It’s a health hazard, attracts rats and is disgusting to step in (both humans and pets).

Car tires slashed over dibs spot. Parked on the street at 4927 N. Troy at about 845pm. 2 guys in a grey jeep with a yellow plow pulled up and I heard them say “is that the one” but I didn’t think anything of it. Just went to go check on the car because I had a bad feeling and yep. Someone slashed the 2 passenger side tires.

Yes, there are many others, all with replies, some citing outrage at the lack of common courtesy and decency.

Still with me? Here’s why I’m addressing such commonplace topics: After 12 months of news dominated by the pandemic, national unrest, and a serious threat to our democracy — we all need a break! Or at least I do. Nextdoor and other hyperlocal online sites reinforce to me that everyday aspects of our day-to-day lives have importance. And from another perspective, the information shared demonstrates people care about their community.

With the snow melting and spring on the distant horizon, I wonder: What seemingly insignificant topics will drive Nextdoor posts in the weeks ahead?

Regardless, I will continue to watch were I step, and where I park.

Afterwards: PRSA Chicago Panel Talks Impact of Pandemic, Unrest

linkedin.com/in/peggyaustingsc

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA

The value of regular, timely, accurate and effective during the most serious public threat of our lifetimes and ongoing national discordance encapsulates the perspectives shared by a panel of communicators last week during “It’s 2021 — What Now?”, a live webinar hosted by PRSA Chicago. Now, nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clearly apparent that the global health crisis tested the mettle of those responsible for disseminating and helping to shape news, as did the protests and political turmoil of the past several months.

The discussion was moderated by Peggy Austin, president of GoldStar Communications, and featured four senior-level professionals.  Here are responses to Ms. Austin’s opening line of questions regarding the pandemic and civil unrest: What are the key issues faced by your organization or client? And, are they still present?

Below is my best effort to paraphrase responses from the panelists.

  • Deborah Song, Director of Public Affairs, Cook County Health: Cook County Health is the largest healthcare facility in the Midwest. With a big event, there’s a beginning and an end. But with the outbreak of some unknown respiratory illness, we don’t know when this will end. The pandemic is a not a sprint, but a marathon. I’ve been training for this my entire career. When will it end? I don’t know, but we have to communicate effectively. We have to take it day by day.
  • Maura Farrell, Managing Director, Kivit: The big issue is gaining trust and knowing your audience. knowing who to reach. More employees are working remotely now, and we had to employ tools to work with the media to build trust. Trust and communications go hand in hand. I’ve never felt more confident as a communicator in this industry. We’re in a position to help restore trust. 
  • Brandon Carter, Marketing & Communications Manager, Sand Valley Resort: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on our resort. Being in the travel industry, we have to deal with the question: Who is willing to travel these days? Our priorities are the safety of our guests and staff. We’re fortunate being in Central Wisconsin; we’re close to the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Chicago and Madison. We focused our communications on the region, and we had to be sensitive to people’s travel concerns.
  • Kelli Teno, Director, Pharmacy and Healthcare Services Communications, Walgreens: One of the biggest challenges we faced at Walgreens was the pace at which things were changing, and on such a large scale. We had to make changes based around safety policies at stores, first for COVID testing, and now for administration of vaccines. The information we share has to be accurate and informative to consumers. We have to focus on clarity and transparency. We have to tell consumers: “Here’s what we know, and here’s what we don’t know.”

Now, my thoughts.

As noted in the webinar last week, understanding your audience, your stakeholders, is vital in all effective communications, especially when communicating vital messages during the sustained crisis situations that have erupted over the past 11-plus months. Sharing accurate, cogent messages paramount. The outstanding communicators above exemplified the value of strategic and ethical communications as we advance toward solutions in the (hopefully) near future.

Miss the February 10 webinar?  Visit this link to view the recorded version and take in the balance of this excellent conversation.

A Prediction for Super Bowl LV

By Edward M. Bury, APR, MA (aka The PRDude)

In around 60 minutes from now, much of the nation — and a good part of the rest of the world — will be engaged in the contest to determine whether a team led by arguably the best player ever to play his position or one who may define the game for the foreseeable future will capture football’s storied trophy.

Yes, it’s almost time for Super Bowl LV, so I trust you have your pizzas ordered, your beer chilled, and if you are of the wagering kind, your bets made.

Me, I’m baking a chicken and may have a glass or two of red; today’s single-digit temperatures are not really beer-drinking weather. Even indoors.

As for gambling, I’ll stick with the occasional Illinois Lottery ticket.

This “love fridge” is located on the 2900 block of N. Milwaukee Avenue, right outside a family-run supermarket. Yes, I’ve donated canned and packaged goods, a small act of kindness, I know.

Back to the focus of his short post. For the balance of this evening, many in America figuratively will come together to watch football, and perhaps eat and drink too much. The great issues and challenges facing the nation seemingly will be put on hold, until tomorrow.

You know what I’m referring to, too many topics to mention, perhaps.

One is encapsulated here in the above image, which shows a “love fridge,” a network of free pantries located across Chicago and supported by people who want to help those who don’t have enough to eat.

For those of us who are fortunate, hunger will not be an issue tonight. But, I predict it will remain an issue — a maddening problem in the greatest and wealthiest nation on earth.

So perhaps tomorrow, the day after Super Bowl LV, we can collectively take on and mitigate the perplexing and distressing factors ahead in 2021. The relatively small step of establishing street side food banks is a step forward. It demonstrates the value of kindness.

As for what takes place on the field in Tampa Bay, all I predict is an exciting athletic contest, insightful commentary and lots of entertaining commercials.