Even if you observed a moment of silence on Monday for those who died in this tragedy – do it again today before the flags are raised at sunset.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It's a grim milestone, 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19 – alone, scared, typically away from family and friends with their only comfort coming from healthcare workers covered by protective gear.

Yes, it's a staggering number, half a million, but it's made even more shocking when you realize it's more than the number of American soldiers who died in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War -- combined. And, if that isn't enough, think about the fact this "war" has only been raging for about a year. It's almost incomprehensible – 500,000 lives lost in a single year. And at what point does the number start getting so big that we become numb?

Until you hear on the news tributes to individuals or you read heart-wrenching articles with images that capture the loss. Or, you personally mourn the loss of family members and friends. Because it's not just the 500,000 who died – it's the ripple effect of these lives lost. And it's important that we all remember,

It isn't about charts and graphs. It isn't about comparisons. It isn't even about what we should've done differently – or better. It's about losing loves ones. It's about lives lost. Full stop.

Want good customer service? Good behavior is a good start.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We grew up hearing the expression "the customer is always right," and Red certainly agreed with it; and while Black understood the customer service aspect of it, she did question its impact on employees (why would you "automatically" side with a customer over an employee without knowing the details). And that was before the pandemic changed everything, but especially customer behavior.

Until recently, Red didn't think much about why the customer was "always right," but it reminded her of years ago when Black shared her amusing (or, at least, to Red) version of the Golden Rule, "He who has the gold, rules. "So, wouldn't that also apply to customers? Wouldn't a happy customer be a loyal customer?

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Normally, you shred important papers before trashing them … not expensive art after selling it.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red will admit that she's never been into art, except for the Tudor paintings section of the National Portrait Gallery in London, but that's because she loves Tudor history. And although she's been to plenty of art museums, they were more to "tick off" places on her tourist "to do" list than a genuine desire to see the art. That even includes the Mona Lisa at The Louvre in Paris! (When in Paris, Black was content to go to the Louvre-Rivoli Metro station as the platforms themselves were decorated with art replicas found inside the Louvre Museum.)

Black can't remember when she first became interested in contemporary art, although it went to a whole new level when her second husband asked her to acquire an investment-quality collection. In typical Black fashion, she not only researched the art market and worked with an art consultant, but became friends with several leading artists with whom she shared a mutual passion … cars and racing.

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Take one famous actor, a brilliant billionaire, and mix in space travel. Sound like the start of a sci-fi movie or an example of how truth can be stranger than fiction?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: When Red recently learned that the actor William Shatner was going to be on board the second Blue Origin's space mission (now delayed until tomorrow due to weather), she admitted that she's more interested in history than current events, so compared it to the historic initial launch on July 20, which included 82-year-old Wally Funk. However, at 90-years-old, Shatner will become the oldest person ever to take a trip to space. (Talk about two great role models of inspiration and passion not having age limits.)

Meanwhile, at the risk of alienating (pun intended) Star Trek fans, Red's only seen a few of the movies, and Black has seen none, but we both have fond memories of watching the original TV show with our dad, who loved the show. So, we can't resist (like everyone else) quoting the opening monologue and its proclamation "to boldly go where no man has gone before."

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