Monday Clutter: Coronavirus, GOP Supports Tax Fraud, Mike Pence, Krispy Kreme, Boston Red Sox, Black Widow, Britney Spears, Iron Maiden, and more
Welcome back! How was your weekend? Saturday was fine here, but yesterday was a mess. I'm not sure what that was all about, although my guess is it had something to do with a few nights of bad sleep. I got off to a productive start in the morning, and then things just fell apart. Ended up being out of sorts all day, which wasn't fun. BDH and Little Buddha eventually suggested maybe it was just one of those days, and we should start again after a good night's sleep, so that's what we did, and now we're ready to go. It's pretty gloomy outside, but we've got a fresh pot of coffee on the counter, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, because it's time to clear out some Monday Clutter.
It's so frustrating to see, as the story keeps repeating itself: The coronavirus pandemic in this country is now almost entirely about non-vaccinated people. We have one question for every MAGA supporter: Why would you not get the vaccine, when Donald Trump did it in January? If you have supported the con man through every lie and scandal to this point, why would this be the one time when you don't follow his lead? How does that make sense? Stop listening to Tucker Carlson, who also got vaccinated long ago, and protect your health. Don't risk subjecting your loved ones to an almost-completely avoidable trauma.
Follow your leader this one time. (pic via latimes.com)
Let's see if we've got this right: In order to get Senate Republicans to support upgrading this country's infrastructure, Democrats have to drop increased IRS enforcement against tax cheats. You almost want to laugh at the GOP's blatant corruption. There's nothing subtle about it. They're fine with roads and bridges crumbling across the United States, if it means the economic elite can continue to avoid paying their current tax burden, which is already insufficient in the first place.
President Biden said the Department of Justice will appeal last week's ruling against the DACA program, which leaves thousands of young immigrants uncertain about their future. As we noted last week, this ruling conflicts with an earlier one saying the program had to approve new participants. The most direct way to resolve this conflict would be for Congress to finally adopt the American Dream and Promise Act to provide a pathway to permanent resident status for those folks. Short of that, it seems likely this issue will eventually return to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Watching Mike Pence still pretend he has any chance of being the 2024 Republican presidential nominee is embarrassing. There are Trump supporters who literally want him dead, and his response of, "Hey, no hard feelings. We can still be friends," projects an overwhelming lack of self-respect that turns off the non-violent portion of the Republican base. If Pence refuses to stand up for himself, there's no chance he'll do it for this country. He should be hiding in some generic Republican think tank writing op-eds that won't land with anyone, and move on to the next stage of his life.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but the Clutter investment team hopes that reports about increasing fear about stocks are correct. The S&P 500 is up 15.2% for 2021 and 34.57% for the last 12 months. That's a remarkable run. However, our team continues to believe that the market is expensive and that the hype has moved well past the fundamentals. There's also still the issue of investors who are in stocks because they are chasing yields, thanks to interest rates still being close to zero. Everyone could stand to take a deep breath and let the market cool off a bit, before it turns into another bubble that leads to yet another financial crisis. Of course, if the fear turns into a full-blown panic, the team will be looking for bargains, but they'd rather not watch Wall Street go off the cliff again.
We usually keep our donut consumption limited to the free one that Dunkin' gives away on National Donut Day every year, and that's probably for the best. However, we're kind of wishing there was a Krispy Kreme nearby right now, because this new carnival-themed donut collection sounds delicious. Of course eating caramel apple, caramel popcorn, and cotton candy donuts probably destroys your blood sugar level inside of 60 seconds, but still...kind of seems like it might be worth it. Oh well, just another 10.5 months until National Donut Day returns.
This is surprising: We had no idea that AAA doesn't tow disabled cars on the Mass Turnpike. Fortunately, we've never had reason to put that to the test before, but we would have assumed the opposite. Long story short, a stranded motorist should call the State Police for help, and then the linked article explains the rest of the process after that.
The Boston Red Sox lost 9-1 to the New York Yankees last night. The Sox lost two out of three games in the shortened series, and thus missed a great chance to kick their adversaries down even further in the AL East. Boston starter Martín Pérez had yet another short outing, giving up three runs over just four innings, as he fell to 7-6 on the year. The Red Sox need Chris Sale and Tanner Houck to replace Pérez and Garrett Richards soon if they want to stay strong playoff contenders. Meanwhile, the Boston offense continues to struggle, as they managed just five hits to go with their one run.
Things don't get any easier for the Red Sox, who now have a three-game series against the dangerous Toronto Blue Jays, followed by another series against the Yankees, followed by another series against the Blue Jays, followed by the Tampa Bay Rays to close out the month. This could be a wild ride. Next up, Nick Pivetta takes the mound against Toronto tonight.
Black Widow had a dramatic 67% decline at the box office last weekend, and theater chain owners say it's because Disney also released the movie at the same time on the Disney+ streaming service. Is it time for simultaneous releases to be abandoned, or will Disney look at Black Widow's global box office total of $324 million (including the streaming charges) and consider it a win? If they and other studios choose the latter, the theaters could be in big trouble again. Hopefully all of the parties involved can work out a deal that protects the long-term health of the theaters. Assuming it's safe, watching a movie on a big screen is still a more exciting experience than doing it at home.
Den of Geek has a really interesting interview with Black Widow screenwriter Eric Pearson about the process of putting the film's story together. Even if you're not into the MCU, it's an insightful look at screenwriting in general.
Meanwhile, the new Anthony Bourdain documentary, Roadrunner, pulled in $1.9 million over the weekend. That's apparently a record for a documentary in the pandemic era, and it's well-deserved. (Click here to read our Roadrunner review.)
Karen Gillan says that even if the end is near for the Guardians of the Galaxy crew, she'd still like to play Nebula in other MCU movies. Given that the multiverses appear about to overwhelm the next phase of Marvel movies, there would certainly be plenty of new ground for Nebula to cover. Gillan's been great in that role, so if she wants to keep going, we say Marvel should do it.
Britney Spears said she will not perform again while her father is still in control of her conservatorship. The singer made the statement in a new Instagram post, as she continues to fight for any control over her own life. Perhaps the potential loss in revenue will convince Jamie Spears it's time to bow out.
Okay kids, that's going to do it for now. We need something to kick-start this week, so let's close things out with Iron Maiden's new single. We leave you with "The Writing on the Wall" for today's, "Song of the Day."
Thanks for stopping by, everyone. It's always a treat to see you. Enjoy the rest of your day, be good, and we'll catch up with you again soon. Until next time, that's today's Clearing out the Clutter, and we are outta here.
If you enjoy Clearing out the Clutter, please consider a $5 monthly donation! You can click here or on the "Donations" category on the right-hand side of the page.