2nd Quarter 2021
Episode 888, 889, 890, 891, 892, 893, 894, 895

Note: The first episode shown during the Second Quarter 2021 was a rerun of #887 on March 22, 2021.

Episode #888: More Digressions
First Broadcast: 3/29/21
After a brief remembrance of "Rats of Unusual Size," we dive into a wide-ranging discussion that bounces from movies people have seen 7 or more times, to media of the past with racist content, to the dangers of ignoring old media, to the sudden skyrocketing value of a Pepe Le Pew DVD, to the somewhat overwhelming number of streaming sites now available (which still end up lacking certain content), to the debate over what--if anything--should be done to preserve the buildings at Auschwitz. Hey, we don't have to talk about the President every week!

Episode #889: A Patchwork
First Broadcast: 4/5/21
At long last, recreational marijuana is finally legal in New York State--a welcome change for a place that once had some of the most punitive anti-drug laws in the nation. Among the many benefits of the new law: You can now possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana, smoke it anyplace where it's legal to smoke tobacco, and if you have a criminal record of marijuana-related acts that are now legal, the State says your record will be expunged. New York now becomes the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana, and we at Free New York hope it's not the last. In further good news: All adults 30 years old and older in New York State became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines as of March 30, and on April 6, everyone 16 years old and older will be eligible, which more than meets President Biden's goal of having all adults eligible to receive the vaccines by May 1--in New York, at least. How long will it take before we're all fully vaccinated? How long before the first dispensaries open in Manhattan? When is recreational pot going to be legal nationwide? I can't promise any answers, but I know they're good questions!

Episode #890: You Should Be Relaxing
First Broadcast: 4/12/21
Unexpected Repeat at 3:00 AM: 4/18/21
I couldn't remember the name of the Popeye cartoon where Olive Oyl becomes a beatnik, but now you can watch "Coffee House" on your own and see how close my recollection was to the real thing. We also meandered through such topics as: Can Betty Boop be updated to the modern day? How good were Max Fleischer's cartoons overall? Is Speedy Gonzales an offensive stereotype or a beloved Mexican icon? What do people from Spanish-speaking backgrounds think of the term "Latinx" and how does it compare to "Hispanic"? How is the so-called "gig economy" destroying everyone's spare time? Aren't we all entitled to "Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for what you will"? And how many ways can you pay for an OMNY ride? We also discussed what's in President Biden's proposed infrastructure act, and what's included in the latest New York State budget, both of which appear to have a lot of good things for fans of public works projects (like low-cost broadband, for example)! Not the worst week, as far as weeks go these days!

Episode #891: Tiny Submarines
First Broadcast: 4/19/21
Repeated: 4/26/21
It would certainly be convenient if we had a tiny submarine full of scientists ready to blast away the blood clots being reported by some recipients of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, but for now we'll just have to wait and see what the CDC has to say about it, and get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if you haven't already started the process yet! The sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can all escape this "Groundhog Day"/"Cause and Effect" time loop we've been collectively simulating since the beginning of quarantine in 2020. And, even after you get your vaccination, you still need to maintain mask-wearing and social distancing for a while to make sure more COVID variants don't continue to spread--the same techniques that have reduced influenza cases to a fraction of what they were the year before. From there, we jump to the upcoming mayoral primary, and how the only thing I'm sure about is that I'm not voting for Andrew Yang, one reason being his desire to turn New York City into a bitcoin "hub", which is probably one of the most environmentally unsound ideas anyone can have at the moment. Scott Stringer recently won the endorsement of the Working Families Party, and so did Dianne Morales and Maya Wiley. How will they do in the ranked-choice vote? We'll find out in two months, I guess!

Episode #892: So Much Airtime
First Broadcast: 5/3/21
Repeated: 5/10/21
After a brief reminiscence about the early days of our show, we discuss how the slow return of "normalcy" coming with the spread of COVID-19 vaccinations seems to be creating what feels like the first lengthy stretch of low-stress or, dare I say it, stress-free time in the last five years (knock on wood!). I think Michael Moore was right, that "the former guy" never wanted to be elected President in 2016, and probably doesn't really want to be elected in 2024 either, because he's probably feeding off his fans' hopes just so he can grift them some more. Why was that man allowed to fail upwards so spectacularly? Were he and his supporters able to spread so much misinformation so voluminously because the philosophy of "both sides" journalism couldn't acknowledge just how many outright lies they were telling? Why do they persist in spreading ridiculous lies as if no one would ever check them? Who was it who said "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on"? A short conversation, but intriguing nonetheless!

Episode #893: Just Giving Out Health
First Broadcast: 5/17/21
Unexpected Repeat at 3:00 AM: 5/23/21
Now that everyone age 12 and up is eligible to get vaccinated for COVID-19, there are fewer excuses than ever to not get your shot. Still looking for a convenient vaccination site? New York City has a constantly updating list! Need some kind of freebie incentive to get vaccinated? There's a bunch of those too, including free Metrocards and free donuts from Krispy Kreme! Or, maybe you're attracted by the thought of not needing to wear a mask anymore, in many places? I mean, that's if the idea of staying out of the hospital and not dying from COVID isn't enough by itself. Stop delaying already! The faster we all get vaccinated, the faster we can all get back to something resembling normality--although, when this is all over, I personally wouldn't mind keeping the practices of maintaining 6 feet between tables in restaurants, and staying the hell away from work when you're sick. Maybe we should have been doing some of those things all along, eh?

Episode #894: Breakthrough
First Broadcast: 5/24/21
Repeated: 5/31/21
COVID-19 vaccines are reducing the presence of the virus in New York City, slowly but surely. Positivity rates in every borough are now below 2%, and in Manhattan it's down to .55%; every neighborhood in Manhattan below 110th Street on the West Side and below 96th Street on the East Side now has more than 50% of the population vaccinated, and climbing; fully vaccinated New Yorkers can now go mask-free almost anywhere in the state outdoors and indoors, as long as local rules allow it; all restaurants in New York City can now operate at 100% capacity, as long as other social distancing measures are in place; and breakthrough cases of COVID among the vaccinated are very rare. So, if you're vaccinated--and if you aren't, get vaccinated already!--why not take advantage of your new status and eat at one of the restaurants that wasn't killed by the pandemic? Wouldn't it be nice if the whole nation could get to herd immunity, so that everyone in the country could stop worrying about masks and live a regular--or even better--life again? (What? I can dream, right?)

Episode #895: Reinventing the Bus
First Broadcast: 6/7/21
Repeated: 6/14/2021
We started by discussing some of the candidates running for Mayor of New York City this year, several of whom were at the Democratic debate hosted by WABC-TV this past week. It's a safe bet that one of them (maybe Maya Wiley?) will win the election, considering the freak show happening with the candidates on the Republican side, who are basically competing in the shadow of a demented ex-President who can't even maintain a blog for a month. Thankfully, the ability to vote in New York State isn't under attack like it is in Texas. And, did we say something about how Andrew Yang's "tech" background reminds me of past "disrupters" who tried to reconfigure the bodega and the bus? Regardless: Onward to the primary!

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