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Dan Rodricks: Two-year pandemic, 2-point conversions, nine marriages and 10 other things nobody asked about | COMMENTARY

Ravens coach John Harbaugh watches as his offense comes off the field following a failed two-point conversion that would have won the Dec. 19th game against Green Bay.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh watches as his offense comes off the field following a failed two-point conversion that would have won the Dec. 19th game against Green Bay. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

Nobody asked me, but of all the sounds of the season, there’s been none more pleasing than that of the masked woman giving an unmasked woman grief — “The ICUs are full, and you’re not wearing a mask!” — in the produce section at Giant.

Nobody asked me, but the millions of Americans who got vaccinated and boosted during the past year have every reason to be angry at those who didn’t. Indeed, people who refuse to get the shots and who continue to criticize public health officials and infectious disease experts are hypocrites: If they needed medical attention for any reason, particularly a life-threatening one, they’d put their absolute trust in doctors specially trained to treat them.

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And another thing: Though we’ve grown tired of them by now, the ongoing attacks in right-wing media on real expertise and scientific authority — not to mention physical threats against Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top doc on the pandemic — have prolonged the misery. Some day a historian will label this the Disinformation Age Pandemic because it came in a perfect storm of screwball conspiracists, quack science and extreme political polarization.

Nobody asked me, but, while it’s good that President Joe Biden plans to use the U.S. Postal Service to get 500 million virus test kits to American households, it probably would have helped had he found a way to replace Postmaster Louis DeJoy with someone competent six months ago.

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Nobody asked me, but if Ravens coach John Harbaugh really wants to win games with 2-point conversions — if it’s “the right call” as we’ve heard ad nauseam — why not go for them all the time, from the outset of every game? Develop a wide array of 2-point plays, practice them more, go for them always. Pioneer the strategy and watch what happens.

Nobody asked me, but when someone gives you a bottle of wine, it’s impolite to say, “I prefer beer,” or when someone gives you a bottle of face-and-body wash you’d probably never buy for yourself, you don’t say, “I prefer bars of soap.” I prefer you just say, “Thank you,” and go on your way.

Nobody asked me, but despite conventional wisdom, you’re never too old to make new friends, and it’s perfectly all right to jettison old ones who never pay for lunch or refuse to believe Biden won.

Here’s a flourish of six successive opinions nobody asked for:

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  1. Sen. Joe Manchin, the stubborn Democrat from West Virginia, is most like a Republican for this reason: He doesn’t accept reality — about climate change, about the struggles of families, etc. I give him credit for accepting that Biden is president, but that’s about it.
  2. You’d think that having 10 grandchildren would get the mini-minded Manchin to at least support the parts of Build Back Better that address climate change. But the only future he seems to care about is the future of fossil fuels.
  3. The lack of transparency in the Renardo Green case in Annapolis — it was only recently learned that the man’s death while in police and fire department custody last June was ruled a homicide — makes me wonder if officials in Maryland’s quaint capital city have been paying attention to similar situations in Baltimore and elsewhere. Hushing up the cause of death in controversial cases doesn’t work anymore. It just heightens mistrust among citizens.
  4. Regarding the deployment of speed cameras on the Jones Falls Expressway on the first day of February: The 90-day grace period for speeding tickets is ridiculously long. One week of warning should suffice. As the frisky kid says in the Northrop Realty commercial: “One week! One week!”
  5. The Atlas Group keeps acquiring restaurants the way Jay Leno acquires cars, and I guess that’s OK — as long as they don’t centralize the béchamel in an underground tank and pump it to all their kitchens.
  6. LeVar Burton is grand marshal of the 2022 Tournament of Roses Parade. That’s nice. But he should be the host of “Jeopardy!”

Nobody asked me, and I know it’s just a TV commercial, but I have grave doubts about what the mom in the Best Buy spot says when her son arrives at the front door, just in the St. Nick of time, with her Christmas present: “You shouldn’t have.” He shouldn’t have? Of course he should have. He’s your son! … One other thing: Based on the shape of the package and its source, I think that guy got his mom a toaster. That is not OK.

Nobody asked me, but we missed a notable anniversary in 2021: It was 50 years ago that “Summer of ‘42” landed in theaters. A box office smash, it was considered a coming-of-age film. (It would be considered a story of sexual abuse today.) It starred Jennifer O’Neill. I looked her up. She didn’t have much of a movie career after that, but she’s been married nine times, which beats both Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney (eight each) and ties Zsa Zsa Gabor for celebrity serial marriages.

Nobody asked me, but “The Skin of Our Teeth” is another tour de force for Everyman Theatre in Baltimore, and while the entire cast is superb, I hail Felicia Curry’s Sabina “excelsior!” Use of that term confirms that I’ve actually seen the play, and I’m tempted to see it again (before it closes Jan. 2) because it’s one wild ride through the millenniums, end times and New Jersey, somehow delivering optimism about the state of the world as we head into 2022. Bravo.

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