The Sabbath provides a time for prayer and reflection, so maybe the Senate should take that break.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: This Banter Bite was almost canceled … but then we decided it was still relevant.

First, a little backstory to the backstory … earlier in the week David Schoen, one of Trump's lead impeachment trial lawyers, advised that he's an observant Jew who strictly adheres to the commandment against working on the Sabbath. This would mean that if the trial wasn't concluded before sundown on Friday, he'd be unavailable starting at sundown and running through Saturday.

Now, when Red first heard of this request, which came with an apology for the inconvenience, she couldn't help but wonder how it would be received – especially since Congress (and, let's face it, many of us) are hoping for a speedy trial. And, while she read that the schedule for the trial hadn't been finalized, the history buff in her was interested to learn that during impeachment trials the Senate would meet Monday through Saturday and only break on Sunday.

The official response? An allowance would be made for Mr. Schoen. Although the decision didn't really surprise Red, Black's thoughts on the matter did.

Amidst all the chaos and politics of Trump's second impeachment, the request for a break to observe the Jewish Sabbath provided a perfect reminder of the importance of faith and religious tolerance. And how, in reality, there are many similarities between the world's religions.
Red had been so focused on thinking of the request in terms of the Sabbath itself (the day and its prayers and "formalities") that she hadn't stopped to think about it in terms of the importance of it being a "day of rest" after the creation of the universe to reflect – on the world and what's truly important.

A few days later the request was withdrawn, with Mr. Schoen indicating that he wouldn't participate during the Sabbath, but the balance of the defense team could handle the proceedings. And that's when we thought about cancelling the Banter Bite, until Black pointed out to Red that it didn't change our conversation about the importance of religious tolerance.

This definitely falls under truth is stranger than fiction. And thinking about it cracks us up.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It's one of those stories where you don't know if it's true or false, but either way, the puns just keep on coming with no end in sight.

It all started when Red received an email from Black and the subject line was "Bear Butt". Since Red had been cooking a lot of pork butt roasts lately (in her new, and now favorite, Dutch oven) she initially wondered if Black was sending her something about some sort of new exotic meat. But then realized Black thinks "cook" is one of those four-letter words you shouldn't use.

But then she opened the email and clicked on the link to Alaska woman using outhouse attacked by bear, from below, and was first horrified and then, realizing it had a "happy ending", knew that it was going to be a source of bathroom humor and plenty of play on words.

Black couldn't resist referencing the comment from the women's brother who said, "I opened the toilet seat and there's just a bear face just right there at the level of the toilet seat, just looking right back up through the hole, right at me." You know his immediate reaction was, "Hole-y shit!"

Red wondered what did the bear make of the situation. Was it as scared as the woman, or did it barely make its radar? And will they ever get to the bottom of how this happened? We know that we'd all like the bare (or it is bear) facts and nothing else.

Sorry, it's just a very punny story … and continues to crack us up.

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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.

Forget about being in the dark, it's like going back to the Dark Ages.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: In the midst of the unprecedented winter storm that hit Texas last week, it's coming to light (pun intended) that power outages leaving millions in the dark could have been much worse as the power grid had come dangerously close (as in minutes) to crashing.

Last week, when Red first heard that the Texas power grid had come very close to total collapse, she thought it might have been yet another guest making a dramatic claim, as what he described seemed more like a scene from a Hollywood movie than a nightly news show. Meanwhile, as Black read about the situation, she could only imagine the assorted lawsuits that would be filed – both legitimate and "creative".

But now that official investigations into the situation have begun, the reports are even scarier than a Hollywood blockbuster – millions went without electricity, heat, and water – not to mention thousands who went without medicine and food – all while enduring frigid temperatures. And, people, including children, died.

As the investigations continue, it's becoming more obvious what happened … and what happened is unforgivable. Especially as much of it was avoidable. We get no comfort in knowing it could have been even worse. But at this point, what would be even worse would be not to do everything possible to prevent this from ever happening again.