Archive | April 2020

‘Twas Never / Ever So

Book Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort in Santa Barbara (CA ...

As close as I’ll be to a beach today.

My boss told me this week I’ll be working at least 2 more weeks. Apparently most people quit or cut back to half time after the job stopped offering OT, and started collecting the enhanced covid 19 Unemployment Ins benefits. I get it, you do what makes you the most money.

Me? I’m just going to do the job till they don’t need me anymore because I like it and my boss gave me a job when I needed one. I keep in mind the history of our friendship. And of course, Karma. I will not repay kindness when I was in need with a slap in the face when he is in need.

How to Bake a Cake in a Toaster Oven | Toaster oven recipes ...

It does actually work.

Today I’m off though. It’s going to be the hottest day of the year so far. And I hate the heat. Which, probably sounds a bit crackers as right now I’m drinking Nature’s Guru Cardamon Chai tea, baking a chocolate cake (Betty Crocker, not scratch) in a toaster over (don’t ask), while binge watching Psych (great cast, great writing, and it makes me feel better to see my favorite towns, Santa Barbara and Vancouver).

Later I’ll clean the house, do a lot of laundry and make more face masks. Yep, living the life in lockdown.

Psych': The 10 best episodes | EW.com

In a lockdown, Psych is my go to.

After opening the golf courses for rich people on Monday, the county supervisors here decided to open the beaches for walking and swimming, but not sitting and sunning, today. This is despite the fact the covid cases and deaths in the county have been going up not down, and despite the fact the next county over has a huge outbreak (17K known infected), a lot of deaths (800), and all of their beaches are closed.

Um…..can you say uptick?

My expectation is we will see a big rise in covid cases next week, and that’s going to be down to people who met up for Easter. Then in two weeks we’ll see another huge rise, and that’s going to be down to public beaches and golf courses (and maybe a little Orthodox Easter gathering).

Needless to say, I’m going to continue to stay at home, going a bit Psych-o working, cleaning, baking and mask making.

Ok so, on to other things. In my family you learn the Bible as a form of intellectual development. If you’ve ever seen Tibetan monks have a knowledge throwdown, it’s a lot like that. It’s all friendly and aimed toward building up your own views.

You just have to read the text, figure it out and then try to defend your thinking. You learn a lot trying to defend your views, like sometimes, you were wrong. As Neil De Grasse Tyson says, it’s about knowing enough about a subject to think your right but not enough about the subject to to know your wrong. Debate helps you realise where your wrong.

And that’s how I come to today’s ramble. All that reading and all those debates stick with you. For people who live in between the lines where there’s lots of obscurity, you get really familiar with small stories that other’s pass over because there’s points to be made with those.

One of those stories is particularly apt now. King Dave & the Census. It can be found in the very last chapter of 2 Samuel (2 Sam 24). When pundits go on and on about how Covid 19 is like a never before event, and the POTUS’s behavior is a never before event, I’m thinking… what world do you live in?

David decided he needed a census to figure out how many warriors he had. Because not everyone liked him or his country. I mean, makes sense right? He was warned not to do, repeatedly. But he opted to do it anyway. The census workers went out and over about 9 months — during which Dave could have stopped at any time — they did the census.

In the end, Dave had his numbers, 1.3 million able bodied warriors. I’m going to pause on the fact apparently only able bodied warriors were counted. All the women and children, and I’m guessing hired servants and owned slaves,  didn’t count, on his census. So I guess we’ve made some improvements there.

Haltom City, Texas | Official Website - 2020 Census...Get Counted!

While you’re home, do your Census online!

The sticking point was, however, a nation isn’t as strong as its number of warriors. It’s as strong as its faith in the values it holds dear. In this story, the value was God is all powerful. If you are counting the men, you’re putting your faith in the strength of your men.

Doing a census was an act of open in your face rebellion against God. And David knew this. It’s in the Law and his trusted general Joab told him to his face, repeatedly, that what he was doing was wrong. But David didn’t care, about God or good advice.  And since Dave was the king, the pro-Dave govt felt they had to do what he said.

Gadabout Travel - Providing habitual pleasure-seekers vacations of ...

Not really what Gad was about.

After the data came back, Gad, the prophet arrived at the palace. Gad told Dave: “You really blew it. And now God is going to give you 3 choices.  There can be 3 years of famine, you can spend 3 months on the run from your enemies, or there can be 3 days of plague.”

Now a good leader would spare the innocent land and wildlife (ie, the world/economy), and the innocent people he was shepherd of. He’d take that option that impacted only him. Because he caused the problem. He’d choose to be on the run, for 3 months. He wouldn’t die or lose his throne, it’d just be bad for 3 months.

Option 2 is what a good king would choose. But Dave was the worst leader imaginable.He responded, “Better to fall into the hands of the Lord than my enemies.” Sycophantic little turd that he was, he decided to save his own skin and blame the outcome of choice of famine (which affected everything in the world) or plague (which affected just people) on God.

Galavant (Series) - TV Tropes

Seriously, even King Richard was a better king than David.

Apparently, Dave conveniently forgot that the Lord had watched over him, for years, while he was on the run from his enemies. Or maybe, really, he was just a cowardly piece of horse pucky. 

What Dave didn’t do was say to the prophet, “Wow, I screwed up. Please, go to God for me and ask him to please, don’t kill the land or the people, instead kill me, and my family, wipe all of us off the face of the earth, everyone related to me. Then choose a better leader.”

A good leader, would have done that. But this wasn’t a good leader. So plague was unleashed and 70K people died. It doesn’t say in the text, but I’m thinking it was probably all the counted men. I hope so anyway.

When the Angel of Death started heading toward Jerusalem, toward David and his family, he suddenly realised how bad he screwed up. And being the toewad he was, at that point, he did say, “Kill me and my family, but spare the country.” And the Angel of death stopped at a farmer’s threshing floor. And an Altar was built on the threshing floor. And David stayed on the throne.

Why you should be watching: Galavant - SYFY Wire

The best king is always a queen!

That’s the story. But let’s be honest. He was a crap leader and a crap person and history is written by those who sit on the throne. And seriously, even if you read the writings left behind by the “pro-Dave” camp, you realise that even they couldn’t stand him and overlook all the crimes he committed or how bad a king and terrible a person he really was.

So, anything new in the insanity of our POTUS in the face of plague? Nope. People keep saying this situation is extraordinary. Is it? Thousands of years later, during a census year, with a raging plague, we’re still dealing with the problem of government that’s in the hands of a single man who is making self-interested choices — even if it means killing people or asking them to kill themselves, his own people, in large numbers, so he can stay in power. Not new. Ever thus.

Miracle Workers Dark Ages | | Simply Daniel Radcliffe

Miracle Workers: Dark Ages. Even Chauncley did the right thing, and abdicated.

What’s new is people live in a democracy now and have laws that are supposed to apply to all people, including those in power. Never Thus. What’s new is people now have a choice to remove a bad leader, and aren’t actively trying to. Never thus. I think there something about stress that interferes with memory, or logic. That’s my take on it. People just aren’t thinking straight.

Here’s what I mean by that.

Does anyone remember that the SIPs (the shelter in place orders) were just supposed to be a stopgap measure? That we were supposed to be doing SIP while TIC (Test, Isolate, Contact trace) was going on? That TIC was what was supposed to get us out of our houses and back at work or school or whatever?

Coronavirus: Hospital workers turn to viral message to flatten curve

Do it for them.

SIP was never the strategy to stop the virus. It was always the strategy to make sure we didn’t overwhelm our health care resources and personnel. SIP has nothing to do with stopping the spread. I can’t stress that enough. SIP is a resource conservation strategy. That’s it.

SIP is the “famine” strategy. It’s spreading out the sickness, but the number of sickened, was always going to be about the same. It was just going to be spread out so as many people as possible could be treated with every resource and maybe more people could be saved as a result. Maybe.

Contact tracing - Wikipedia

TIC is what stops the virus. TIC happens during a SIP to end the threat. Wuhan was in SIP for 78 days, while extensive TIC was happening. South Korea went full on TIC immediately, so they never had to really have massive deaths or long periods to SIP it up. The US could have done TIC off the bat, but it didn’t. Because of crap leadership.

In California we’ve been in SIP mode for 30 days. But in that time TIC hasn’t been happening. And now, we’re lightening up on the SIP, without ever doing the needful TIC. California is just starting TIC now, as the SIP is lifting. As if SIP alone was supposed to make everything alright. As if we wait long enough Covid 19 will disappear.

🙄 Face with Rolling Eyes Emoji

Rolling my eyes so hard my brain hurts.

 

I invite you to review the history of Ebola. Things don’t go away. It takes a lot of effort to get a plague under control. And in the US, it’s like pulling teeth just to get people to take SIP seriously. We’ve just gotten to face masks, as we lift the orders on public beaches?

Have you seen pictures of a farm where there’s Hoof in Mouth virus? Farmers step in a pan of bleach before leaving the farm. Just like Ebola workers do. Have you seen anyone spraying your streets with disinfectant? The way they’ve been doing in Asia since the start.

How to protect both the economy and the population

Seen this on your streets? I haven’t.

 

You really think, as you walk along the streets people have coughed on and spit on and … maybe other things if you’ve got a lot of homelessness in your area, that you can just walk your shoes into your home and onto your carpet, where you children play and it’s all fine? Good luck with that.

More things you probably didn’t think about–

We have loads of Tech companies here. And have you noticed, not one application exists to tell you when you’re closer than 6′ to someone else and ring an alarm?

If you’ve got a joint bank account and your SO dies, you’ve got access to only half your assets, till someday….when you can get a death certificate or get probate or finalize the will. With many businesses and government offices closed, good luck with that. Please, open a savings account with $5 in it and keep it open. If your SO goes into hospital, transfer all your assets into your account to keep yourself going till the situation resolves.

Coley 8 Pair Shoe Storage Rack & Reviews | Joss & Main

Yes, you need this.

Remember Dr Rick Bright, of BARDA.  Trust me when I say, review the evidence. His firing wasn’t about the HCQ being a dud drug for Covid. He was let go when the office was suddenly granted a big budget by the CARES Act. You can’t bilk that budget with an honest guy at the top who just wants to save people.

Remember Earth Day. Two days back? You know what I didn’t hear anyone talk about?  The massive amounts of plastic PPE gloves, masks, gowns, etc, that’s going into dumps that will never degrade.

Littered masks and gloves filling streets, becoming safety hazard

There’s your problem.

Why didn’t we talk about it?  Because it’s always all about the people. People only think about people. But people are the one thing the planet doesn’t need. The planet would be fine, probably better off, without people. But people can’t live without the planet.

Remember all those stacks of bodies behind nursing homes. The reason they don’t report those deaths is because you can’t go on billing LTC and Medicare for dead people. So the longer they wait to report the deaths, the more money they get.

Nursing homes are a business. Not a lot of people are going to come in and fill those empty beds in covid 19 infested care homes. So…. yeah, they cold storage the bodies and fiddle the paperwork to keep profits up.

Stop ratcheting up your own fears. Stop saying “Stay safe” when you part from someone. Say “Be well.” Or “see you later.” Or “vaya con dios, my darling.” Or “I love you.” Or “call me.” Or “let’s do lunch soon.” But let’s move away from the really weird, constant  language of panic and doom.  Make being safe fun, like the SCE commercial.

We need to pull up out of the death spiral thinking induced by constant fear, stress or news induced pundit panic. That is not how you get to a place where you can make considered, fact based decisions, about anything. You can’t save your life or others if you’re white knuckling the wheel with your eyes closed around a hairpin turn.

You can change your govt. You can manage your Covid risks. You can save the planet. You can come out of this better, stronger, safer than before. You might be a little different, but you were always going to grow and change. And so too, your world. Open your eyes. Take your foot off the gas. And gently turn the wheel while you’re in full control. You can bend that curve.

 

Shout out to Timothy Omundson!

 

 

 

This entry was posted on April 24, 2020.

Night at the end of the tunnel

light track railway night tunnel transport darkness monochrome infrastructure symmetry railroad track rail traffic railway rails railway tunnel

It’s a nice night for riding the rails!

In Ancient Ireland, people were very into astronomy. But, historians and scientists until very recently, used to pooh-pooh the Dark Ages writings about the stars. The problem was, the modern people couldn’t confirm what the ancient people saw, so they dismissed it.

Enter the modern telescope.  Suddenly, modern people could see what they ancients saw. This led modern people to a new question. How could the ancients see these stars with the naked eye (implied subtext, since we much better moderns cannot)?

Much of what we can “see” in life is informed by who we are, as individuals, and the society we live in. If you think that’s not true, slowly scroll down on this picture.

Image

@BarbieReports where Art Activist Barbie tells you how she sees it.

You started out by thinking, Oh, a bucolic painting of a woman from antiquity. But then you realised, when you saw the painting from a woman’s point of view, nope. This is a painting by a Victorian man that’s really just porn for the elite white guy.

This work (and many others like it) became a “legitimate” works of art, not just rich white guy porn, when a museum, endowed by dead rich white guys and run by live semi-middle class white guys, started to hang it up on their walls. And so later generations grew up with the idea that this was “art” which was somehow not “porn.”

But it’s really not art. It really is porn. It’s artistic porn. But it’s porn. And I understand that the models needed the money to live. No shame there. I understand that artists too, gotta make a living. No shame there. If this is what people who are buying, and you’re starving, this is the art you make. You can’t blame starving people for making money however they can in a society without an social safety nets. You can blame the buyers. They started things.

Blame | Demotivational posters, Inspirational quotes, Motivational ...

Probably a popular poster at the WH.

Buyers were what started the problem with Covid 19. They bought wildlife to eat. They started this plague. Even if wet markets were closed, rich people would still buy this kind of stuff from poor people who go out and capture it, because poor people need the money.

But what about when you don’t need the money? What about when the artist becomes famous and rich? Why does the artist go on making porn? This is where things get tricky.

Some go on doing it because it’s the only thing they can do or society lets them do. Like an actor gets type cast. And I get that. Some do it because that’s what made them popular, fashionable, so they stick with it for psychological reasons. Some are just in it for the money, and there’s never enough money for them. That’s psychological too. Some really believe in what they do. And I get that. But it’s all a slippery slope.

For instance, the CDC is saying this is the worst flu season in 40 years. That 80K people ( a number conveniently higher than Covid 19 deaths) have died of flu or pneumonia caused by flu.  They’re saying the percentage of deaths attributed to influenza and pneumonia is 11.9%, above the 7% epidemic level.  But, is any of that true?

INFLUENZA Virus Isolated

INFLUENZA Virus Isolated

You’ll notice that in January week 202002, (that the second week of 2020, Mid January), flu was decreasing. It had been decreasing for 6 weeks. It wasn’t starting out to be the worst season in 40 years Then suddenly it jumps. Which would be about the time Covid 19 started spreading, unchecked and untested for.

Isn’t it far more likely that flu, which was tested for, piggybacked on Covid 19 which was never tested for, and all those deaths weren’t flu-driven pneumonia but Covid related? I think so. I think the amount of unreported (or purposefully misreported) Covid deaths is probably staggering.

I get saying at a Catholic funeral, “he was troubled.” When we all know he was suicidal. Or “he died of a heart attack” when in fact he died of doing so much cocaine his heart exploded. I get the little white private lies. But the big old red public lies?

I have respect for Dr Fauci, but I’m not stupid. I know that he loves his country and he’s doing everything he can to keep his job so he can save his as many lives as possible. But in the current administration, doing what it takes to keep your job comes at a price. And that price is steep.

So while I respect Dr Fauci, I do realise that at the end of the day he is the organ grinder’s monkey and the CDC is just the pair of cymbals. And I mean no disrespect to the good honest hard working people at the CDC. I’m just saying, it’s a government body run by a corrupt administration. I don’t expect the facts to be accurately or fully disclosed because they’d be damaging to the administration.

Witty Monkey with Fez on Organ Grinder Hand Cranked Musical ...

Note the monkey always has a cup and wants money – for the grinder’s pockets.

Just consider the issue of masks. People always needed masks. But the administration didn’t want to admit it didn’t have masks, wasn’t prepared, etc ad infinitum. So the CDC said, you don’t need masks. Just social distance. Right, sure. So every country in Asia successfully bending the curve is using masks, but we can just social distance? I’m sorry be we all know you were lying.

And I’ll be the first person to tell you that social distancing can work, if everyone in your whole country is on board with a national policy. If all the people are responsible and  adult. If everyone has full mental capacity to understand what’s going on. But, that isn’t reality, is it?

Photos: Keukenhof Gardens hosts virtual tours amid COVID-19

Go see the tulips, virtually.

Der, my Significant Other, is currently living in his native Netherlands. Their government went in a totally different direction. Lockdown Lite, Intelligent Lockdown, Economy 1.5 (meters = 6 ft). I’m not saying every nation could do what the Dutch are doing, they have very strong social safety nets and full universal health care. But I think it’s where California is headed.

California is a really large blue state with mandatory health coverage and good social safety nets. So they could make more bold decisions, but California is just one state, and it has to deal with the other 50, who aren’t on the same page, because there’s no cohesive federal policy. So one wrong move and POOF, all your good work is gone.

Moving to an intelligent lockdown, to an economy 1.5 is probably the right thing for California, but it might also be a difficult thing. Even as I write this, I think, the choice to make such a move may be out of our Gov’s hands already.

Sunbathers on the Beach North Truro MA | postmarked 1964 | William ...

I’m sure Art Activist Barbie would have something to say here.

Speaking as a Californian, in days, not weeks, it’s going to get hot. Many people here don’t have air condition, or can afford to pay for it. And this was true before they lost their jobs.

That’s why So Cal has public cooling centers and libraries, public beaches and pools, and why people go to air conditioned theatres, restaurants, cafes, and shops, or drive up to the mountains. People aren’t at their work or school, in the AC. All of these things, are closed.

When the hot weather starts here, as it will for many places, your choice becomes die of heat stroke or break the stay home, stay safe order and maybe die of Covid 19 or get fined (which you can’t pay because you don’t have a job, so you end up in jail where you get Covid 19 because….whole ‘nother issue).

Wireless Tunable White LED Dimmer Switch for EZ Dimmer Controller ...

Before people could tell Alexa to do it, there were these.

And while the Governor makes good sense, with his dimmer switch analogy, the governor also lives in Northern California, where it’s colder and wetter. His summers are not as hot and awful. People die here, every year, of the heat. So yeah,  this is deadly serious. We in the south all know, things need to open soon or people are going to be making hard choices about what they kind of death they want.

Personally, I don’t think people will let themselves die of the heat. They’ll go to the beaches and parks and pools, despite the orders. So reopening California, is something we have to do because it’s going to happen, orders or not. I support Gov Newsom and his plan and his thoughtful consideration of the science. But know the reality on the ground.

It didn’t used to be so hot here. It was actually only hot in July and August, maybe September. But as climate change set in, over the years, it’s been hot and droughts have lasted years. I’m hoping with all that crashing of industry that weather patterns will change a bit. They seem to have.

We’ve had a wet April, and that’s rare. I hope it will be cool and May and extend into June, to the June gloom. But as Asia gets back to normal slowly, and maybe parts of Europe too, the weather might turn again. And if it turns suddenly hot, and it remains hot? If it turns into the endless heat of the recent decade? At that point, Covid 19 will take a back seat to a more concrete daily health threat.

Solstice Magic: Ireland's Newgrange

Seriously, doesn’t it look like an observatory?

Which is why I come back to ancient Ireland’s stargazers. My feeling is Newgrange isn’t a tomb and doesn’t really have the soul, sole purpose of marking solstices. I think Newgrange was probably the first observatory and it was used for night sky watching. It’s weird but most scientist automatically assume everything has to do with the day (despite clear written evidence of the ancients’s obsession with the night sky, implicit bias).

I think the opposite. It’s all about the cool and lovely night. That’s why in the Bible, the night precedes the day. A sabbath starts on Friday night, not at the dawn of Saturday. Out of darkness comes light. It’s the night that matters most to the ancient world. But how do you see it when there’s so much ambient light around?

How do you find a dark spot, in your village or town? How do you avoid going out into the wilderness to find darkness, but avoid ending up alone and being killed by wild beasts?

Answer, you didn’t think I’d leave you hanging did you, you dig a grave and lay down in it. Yep, creepy I know, but if you lay in a deep ditch, so the ambient light doesn’t screw up your vision, you can see far into the sky with your naked eye.

90-Year-Old Grave Digger Digs Own Grave Right Before Birthday

Really, Gran, it’s for me, for stargazing. Not for you.

This entry was posted on April 17, 2020.

Living in a watershed moment

This is a watershed.

Passover is one of those holidays that’s always relevant, but more so this year. It’s the oldest and first (maybe only?) holiday devoted to the “stay home – stay safe” mode we’re all living in. And also, to following the authority prescribed rules or ending up with dead family members.

God told the Israelites to remember it, annually, forever. It was 3000+ years ago, they still do. And I’m grateful for that because I think of Passover a lot right now, because it was a watershed moment. It’s a “this was life before” and “this is life after” point in time.

People died. A lot of people died. Old, young, men, women. And not just people birds, cows, anything first born died. I can’t imagine the enormity of that moment. I can’t imagine opening my door the next morning and seeing all the death, hearing all the wailing and grieving.

Small wonder then, the Egyptians went to Pharaoh and said “This has gotta stop. Get these people and their god out of here.” And so, Pharaoh ordered all the the Hebrew slaves freed and the Egyptians pushed them out with gifts aplenty.

The Israelites also had a choice, walk out of everything they’d know and take up an entirely new life, on their own terms (which read the new laws they came up with, full of social justice and care for each other), or return to Egypt. They walked on, into the unknown, into the wilderness, into a life they couldn’t even imagine.

But then, shortly after, Egyptians realised, their economy was going to tank. Their fat lifestyle was going to take a hit. They had lost all their “essential workers.” So they went after the Israelites, and well….that which was a path for the Israelites became a tomb to the Egyptians.

The Chariot in Egyptian Warfare

Yeah, that’s not over the top. A slave to do the actual hunting, and a pet cheetah.

I wonder what it was like, for all those poor freed slaves, standing on the banks, to see the Pharoh and his golden chariot, to see all the Egyptian army in its gleaming splendor and wealth, in it’s well fed power, in it’s pomp and pride, covered over in water. To hear the cries go slowly silent. To see all that armor become a weight that dragged them, horses and all, under the water. Till there was nothing left but silence.

Easter is also a watershed moment. (Please remember the “last supper” was actually a Seder, at Passover, led by Jesus, a Jew.) The Romans thought “We’ll just kill this one guy and be done with all this Judean rebellion” against the glorious empire. But as we all know, that didn’t quite happen.

The Roman empire crumbled. What remained was the Christians, living their lives for that one pesky Jew and following his philosophy of love, forgiveness and reconciliation. Time itself was changed in the Western world as a result.

For 2000 years in the West, time became BC, before Christ, and AD, Anno Domini, meaning, now it was the “year of our Lord” ascended to heaven and sitting at the right hand of the Father. And people walking in that faith kept pushing for the values of their founder. Not perfectly. But pushing forward, for all.

Salt of the Earth low-sodium sea salt blend for bakery, cereal, snacks

Your new life awaits, on the other side.

Right now, today, we are in this watershed moment. This Passover moment. This Easter moment. And I hear people say “I want to return to normal.” Do you?

Do you forget your underpaid teachers, nurses, cleaners, bus drivers…. Do you go on allowing corporations and pharaohs to make $1 million a minute and refuse to give SNAP benefits to a mother of 2 working 20 hrs a week on $7.25 an hour? Isn’t an hour of her life just as valuable as an hour of his? It’s life, it’s a hour of time you never get back. Do you want only some people to have health care, or homes of their own?

Do you want to go back to the shattered gods of Egypt, to continue to support the weak unfit Pharaohs and be their slaves? Or do you want to go out, into the unknown, and make something new, a world that reflects the best of who you are as a people?

 

Do you want to go back to being the dogs of Roman Empire? To bow and scrape and lick the sandals of ancient senators in frilly scarlet robes who cast you the occasional crumb? But don’t let you vote. Don’t let you live your own life without their perfumed foot on your neck?

Because that’s the question.

Two Baby Wild European Rabbits Sit Outside Their Burrow At A ...

No dumb bunnies here. Stay safe, stay home.

 

In the watershed moments of time, Passover, Easter, we really see the same thing. An old society, where the wealthy and powerful abuse everyone else for their own amusement and self-enrichment. And then the slaves. The essential people. Crying out for relief, for justice, for plain compassion, only to be ignored or laughed at.

When that watershed moment happens, and society starts to cleave apart, if you’re smart, you don’t go back to being slaves and accepting the life of crumbs others toss you  with a pat on the head and a “that’s your lot in life.” You don’t believe the “Well, we can’t right  now because….” Because now is all you’ve got and if it doesn’t change now, it never will.

How the GI Bill's Promise Was Denied to a Million Black WWII ...

Americans fighting for America.

In WWII, they asked people of color to fight for the US. “You’ll get your rights later.” After the war, “We’re trying to rebuild the economy.” After the economy was rebuild, “Well, we’re rich now and this is the social order and you shouldn’t upset that because of God.” Have you even met God? He does nothing but upset the unjust and evil social orders time and again.

Even after Israel became a nation, it finally got so bad God swept it away. (Read Jeremiah). He called the Babylonians in to decimate the place. His own beloved country. God doesn’t put up with social injustice, or economic injustice, or just plain legal injustice. You may think he doesn’t notice, but he does.

Ancient Iraqi city of Babylon designated UNESCO World Heritage ...

And then Babylon got some payback.

So, this week, think about these things as you sit in your home waiting for the Angel of Death to pass by. Do you really want things to go back to normal? Do you think that’s what God wants? The glory of Egypt, it’s unjust economy and it’s gods? Gone. The glory of Rome, it unjust society and it’s empire? Gone.

What has stood the test of time? What has led the way to modernity? What will keep the world going in the right direction? Devotion to social justice and love of others, animals, people, the earth and sky and seas we all share.

If you don’t take this watershed moment to step out into the unknown, to make a new and just society, a greener better world … Then what happened to Egypt and Rome will happen to you. Your society will be washed away. You’ll sink under the waters, into a silent grave. And you will deserve your fate.

This entry was posted on April 10, 2020.

The Yanks Aren’t Coming

Peeps Contest – Twin Cities

Social distancing, while wearing masks, and washing their hands.

This week, I bought some Peeps. People aren’t really thinking about Easter. I think about it all the time. It’s actually hard right now not to think about a holiday that’s devoted to the hope of  resurrection after a life cut brutally short by some corrupt individuals in power who chose to let a “unnecessary” guy die so they could cling to power.

I wanted to get eggs to paint, but all the eggs are always gone when I go to shop. It’s been hard on Gran. She loves her eggs for breakfast. And her egg dyeing and painting at Easter. Maybe next time, I tell her. But time is running out. And so… because no one is buying Easter candy, that made it the perfect time to jump into Peep Art.

Sugary Diorama Gives Colleagues a Peep into Lab Life | In the Loop

Weirdly relevant!

Right now my friends and family members and I are all making peep-o-ramas to be unveiled online at Easter. I can’t wait! I’m going with a Samuel L Jackson theme. I’m going to peep him at a White House coronavirus task force presser.

I’m going to add a recording of Jackson saying “What this situation requires is a whole lot more of you shutting your motherfucker ass up.” ( from the iSamJackson app, which I have but was pulled from the app store for being, well, explicit). I think that’s appropriate.

Snake Oil Flask | Retro-a-go-go!

Snake oil, it doesn’t just ooze out of a can. It can ooze out of your TV as well.

It’s really tragic how some networks stream live the WH corona briefing every day. It’s like they don’t know it’s just a substitute for a campaign rally, which is why the POTUS flips out when anyone says anything remotely truthful — like the awesome PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor.

Do news shows not realise this isn’t news? That they just spill out a sea of WH lies, that the media doing this, broadcasting live these lies, are hurting the country, are literally giving out propaganda and misinformation that will get people killed?

The Newsroom Rush of Old | History | Smithsonian Magazine

Fact Checkers. Every new room used to have them.

Long ago, reporters went to briefings, then went back to their offices and fact checked what they were told, and then on the evening news, an anchor read just the true bits, with a picture of the WH behind him. I really wish that’s what legitimate news organization would start doing again.

Moving on.

The other night I got out the fancy Easter table cloth and gave it a good iron to set my diorama Master-peeps up on. I love ironing. It’s very meditative. Especially late at night. My significant other knows this. I got a sexy video last night of him ironing and dancing, semi clad, to Steam Heat.

Ironing Mistakes - Tips for Using an Iron

Love me some, late night “Steam Heat!”

I have to confess, it’s been a pretty good week on the whole. The Douglas Irises are in bloom, a lovely butter yellow color.  Clouds of orange butterflies that are starting to migrate across the town, unimpeded now by the swirl of human traffic. Free to float on the breezes to their next flower.

On Monday, a neighbor had a bakery make a dozen cupcakes for each house on the street and had them delivered! Tuesday night, I found a bag of Meyer’s Lemons on the stoop. So Gran and I made our “fresh from the backyard tree” oranges into marmalade Wednesday and sent the mason jars around Thursday.

Paddington 2 (2017) - Film | cinema.de

Thanks for the idea, Paddington (2)!

I wrote some encouraging notes, on real stationary and mailed them last weekend. And too, I wrote some love letters, that I spritzed with cologne and sent abroad. Today, after I’ve prepped all my Easter baskets (care packs), I’ll go the Post Office and mail them out.

This year, my “baskets” will include fruity soaps that would make even a Pig Finn smell delightful, elegant nail brushes made of wood and cactus bristles, face masks which I sewed, cloth and leather gloves, some bandannas, and hankies personally monogrammed by Gran.

Winning a Peeps Diorama Contest: the Secret Insider's Guide – Twin ...

Socially distant, but still in love.

If soap seems a strange gift, just know that smell is a great way to reconnect with people. Smell is one of the most powerful drivers of memory. Dial, reminds me of my grandfather who has passed. Neutrogenia, which reminds me of my mum. Dove is my Gran’s brand. Chandrika, which reminds me of Der – strangely exotic.

Primal Element’s Snowy, which is my go-to brand. But these day, I keep all these different soaps, a different one in every dish at every sink, in the house. And every time I wash my hands, which is frequently!, I use a different soap and the smell reminds me of someone dear. It’s like they’re right here with me. And I don’t think about Covid 19.

Bar Soap 5.8 oz. - SNOWY

Having myself a merry little Christmas, at Easter.

 

I need those little everyday encouragements. We all do. They keep us going when things get tough. They remind us we aren’t alone. That we are never alone. There is always a cloud of witnesses, if nothing else.

A friend this week sent me a video of the two year-old ginger cats she adopted — to console her King Cavalier. A few weeks back, before the descent into lockdown, the pooch’s St Bernard brother had died. He was bereft. He felt alone. Now, I see these fur balls happily bundled together and I’m reminded there is still a lot of good stuff  happening in the world.

I’m very much a “knowledge helps you overcome fear and do great things” kind of person. This video by Chris Hadfield, the astronaut, was sent to me this week by a friend. It’s on that theme. I found it inspiring and helpful. (I might even take his class!) If you don’t know Chris, you’re not Canadian!

 

When things get a little much, I tend to think of vintner I know. He told me once, you don’t know what the year will bring, but you know you have to do certain things now in this season, for the one you know is coming. If you wait, it’ll be too late. Always pay attention to nature, and prepare for what you know is coming.

While I don’t watch the pressers, because there’s no relevant information there, I do read all the latest research on covid 19. That my way of paying attention, and knowing what nature’s got coming, so I can prepare.

For instance, I found out this Tuesday, from a paper by a physician, that 97% people put on ventilators in China died.  And in other countries, the range of people still dying, despite being on ventilators, is… well it’s high. So, you could be on a ventilator for days, or even weeks, and the likely outcome is still pretty high in favor of death.

Marshmallow Peep Art | Get Your Sugar Fix | Bit Rebels

I feel like we’re being watched. Do you feel watched? Must be that cloud of witnesses! Or triffids.

When I hear people fighting over ventilators, I think, “Okay, I get it. But realistically, maybe 25% of people ventilated will make it.” That being true, I was glad My Medical Advanced Directive already said “no ventilators.” Yes, to a CPAP machine, but don’t drug me and ventilate me.

It’s a choice I made that I wouldn’t recommend other people make. In order to ventilate someone, you have to sedate them, generally with an opioid, and then keep them sedated, with an opioid. Opioids have no effect on me. Zero (ok, they constipate me, but that’s all).  You can imagine what a nightmare the whole intubation and ventilation scenario would be like if you weren’t sedated.

Procedures I’ve had in the past were all done with local anesthetic, deep mediation, and self-hypnosis. There was even one operation that featured the sawing of a bone in my leg for half an hour. Not a sound you forget. My being awake, reading a magazine, totally freaked the surgical team out. But, you do what you gotta do.

Kamikaze | Recipe | Cocktails, Drinks, Tequila drinks

You might get an Rx for post surgical pain. I down a Kamikaze shot.

This week I also realised, Covid 19 will likely be back in the fall. A study out of China showed that transmission reduced in a hospital when the hospital windows were opened. Another study showed that the virus gets stuck in ventilation systems. So if you have people who are inside a lot… together… in a closed building with a shared ventilation system…..

When summer comes, people go outside more. Things like flu get better. It’s not the warm climate. It’s the fresh air. When fall comes and they all go back inside, back to their shared ventilation systems and it’s back where we started. One person, one person that doesn’t even know he or she is sick, … and it’s in the air system.

It’s scary to think about but, if you know (or make an educated guess), you can gear up. And people need to gear up. Currently in the US there’s 260K confirmed cases. But there’s 6K deaths. The death rate (low end estimate) is 1%. That means there’s about 340K additional cases walking around the US, actively spreading covid 19 right now,  they just haven’t been confirmed by testing or maybe are asymptomatic spreaders.

Think about that for a moment. That’s why shelter in place is such an important thing.

20 Awesome Pieces Of Marshmallow Peep Art

Covid 19, a lot like having Tribbles really.

To be honest, I think about 3 million people could die in the US. Which is why this week I reviewed and upped my life insurance substantially. I want to make sure if I kick it, all my bills are paid and I get a decent burial.

Being in a pandemic, I kind of had to tweak my funeral plans. I decided to go with a nice mass, a quick cremation, and then having my significant other, post C-19 lockdown, take me to (an undisclosed destination) and scatter my ashes. But I’m less concerned with my bells and smells, than my love ones.

People aren’t thinking about it now, but there’s a crippling amount of medical debt headed toward families of those who become very sick, need hospitalization and survive as well as those who become very sick, need hospitalization and die.

This isn’t Europe with national health. You won’t walk out of hospital and go on with your life. Day after day on a US hospital’s ICU ward? That’s big bucks. If that stay turns into weeks? And if you don’t have life insurance to pay up when you die, those bills land on your family. If you live? You walk out with crushing debt and into an trashed economy where you may not find a job for a year.

People aren’t saying it, yet, but millions of unemployed people are going to be drowning in medical debt really soon. In my estimation,  those medical bills will start arriving in mailboxes in New York in August, maybe sooner. With other places to follow in short order.

Marshmallow Peep Art | Get Your Sugar Fix | Bit Rebels

Brother, can you spare a dime?

And just after those August medical bills hit? Probably a lot of medical bankruptcies in September. And with people having been out of work so long, October will see a raft of home foreclosures.  And then in November, health insurance rate increase letters will show up and 2021 rates will be way, way up. By December, we could be drowning in Covid 19 cases again.

If I were the POTUS, I’d be pretty hair-on-fire (although how could you tell with him) scared right now. Not just for all those reasons above, but for sheer reasons of shrinking one’s own base and losing the election that way. Who gets hit hardest by Covid 19?

  • Men die of this way more than women, and they tend to vote GOP.
  • People in places with no expanded medicaid health care SO GOP majority/governed states, who tend to vote GOP.
  • People in rural places, who don’t have good healthcare infrastructure because capitalism doesn’t see those few lives as “worthwhile,” who tend to vote GOP.
  • Older people, who tend to have underlying conditions, who tend to vote GOP.
  • People who reject science and don’t therefore take active measures. So, Evangelical Christians and lesser educated people, who tend to vote GOP.

See a pattern? I don’t think the GOP or the POTUS does.

Nursery Rhymes Are Not What They Seem: The Story Behind “Little ...

As relevant now as it was in the 18th century.

I can’t think of a more efficient way to literally kill the GOP voters you’re relying on to re-elect you than to deny the obvious lethality of a disease, that you can see happening in other countries, that you can see targets your base, and instead of preparing to fight it with every federal superpower you’ve got, you instead a) call it a hoax, b) engage in magical thinking and hope it goes away, and then c)  stall any type of assistance once it arrives until such time as you (your family, friends, and cronies) can find all the various ways to profit off it.

I’m sure the POTUS/GOP thinking is Covid 19 will kill off people the POTUS and the GOP don’t like (ie, people of color, poor people, people in nursing homes on social security, who don’t vote and are a “drain,” democrats in cities). But that isn’t what will happen. All those people are tough. They were born knowing they had to look out for themselves. They’re scrappy and proactive.

And the blue states? They are all taking things in hand. Polls have show, over and over, a vast majority Democratic voters across the country know the risks of Covid 19 and act appropriately. GOP voters don’t even think it’s more than a bad cold and …. well….

ReplaceMovieTitlesWithPeeps | Playbuzz

I told them to stay home, stay alive. They didn’t listen.

I’ve heard people say they’re are counting on the politically country coming together, but I’ve seen the RNC’s mailer, from the FLOTUS, supposedly. I’ve also seen the POTUS’s MAGA committee letter dated April 2020. These things were sent out last week. Coming together? Nope, not on their agenda. If you haven’t seen these mailers, you should really take a look. (Particularly the crazy “pledges” which I imagine they stack daily in front of the POTUS to try to boost his ego.)

I hope the Congress does something, but then again, Rand Paul wandering around with Covid 19 is a classic example of the GOP mentality. Realistically, I think a number of GOP senators and house members will die of Covid 19. It will be suicide, death by their own doing.  I’m not sure how those deaths will impact governance or pandemic response going forward. Probably for the better, I’m sorry to say.

I hear the coming together thing from the media, a lot. They need to do their homework. Parties aren’t coming together. And for God’s sake, even if you don’t believe in God: Please, please, please, stop saying every news cycle there’s still time to turn it around. There isn’t. It’s way too late. It’s like telling a woman with baby crowning there’s still time to vacation on St Croix. No, I’m sorry, there isn’t.

If you want a comparison to where we actually are, as a nation, now, look no further than the movie 127 Hours? Remember Aron Lee Ralston? The young hiker who had to cut his own arm off, with a pen knife and no anesthetic, to save his life? That’s where we are.

127 Hours - Movie Review - YouTube

And the good news is, he lived.

States have to save themselves, their economies, their people. There’s no help coming from the federal level.

When your government’s leader(ship) so badly bungles things that the entire country ends up economically devastated and millions people are expected to die because of it, and then your government’s leader(ship) still does nothing helpful? Then your government leader(ship) is really Idi Amin, busily committing genocide.

And Idi isn’t going to help you. Ever.

Maybe you can’t let go of the idea of the federal government as it was, just a few years ago. I understand. Maybe you cling to the memory of what the US federal government used to be like.  I understand.

We were the country run by a government that always was first to send aid, scientific help, food….the moment a disaster hit. And maybe you remember that in the past our federal government always kept our national house in order. So when something like Ebola turned up on our shores? “Oh hell, yeah. We’re the US of A. We got this.” (Sorry, Sam Jackson’s voice is in my head now.)

That isn’t us. That isn’t now.

The federal government flat-lined from the neck up in 2016 as far as being a responsive national body dedicated to government of, by and for the people. So, It’s up to the states now. To the people living in those states. And I have every confidence that many states and many people living in them will rally and save themselves.

While in Washington, DC, the POTUS and the VEEP….

Toilet fluff | Peeps crafts, Marshmallow peeps, Easter peeps

Never buy the fluff the daily WH briefing is selling.

 

This entry was posted on April 3, 2020.