Ok, last week was a little fever-driven. Or maybe not. Anyway, better now. I had mild migraine-like headache which I stopped with a Tylenol, a little nausea that was fixed with some crackers, and some muscle aches. The fever went up to 100.3. All in all, not really bad. I spent Saturday on the couch watching curling matches and in between, did a little birding for the Global Big Day. Sunday I felt better and got the last 2 old AC units pulled. By Monday I was fine.
So my advice for those working M-F 9-5 that don’t want to miss work because of the 2nd covid shot? Try to get that 2nd shot as late as possible Thursday night. You’ll probably have to leave work Friday afternoon, so a half day lost, but you’ll be back Monday. I really think they should have 24/7 covid vax sites. It just makes sense in a world where things run 24/7. Working people, busy parents, everyone just gotta have that option. In my humble opinion.
In news from the North, the vax campaign and demi-lockdowns in BC are finally showing fruit. The curve is bending. Yea! Public Health recently said they’d be ok with people getting Pfizer as their second shot, after getting AZ for the first. The SO said he’d be fine with that. I think a lot of western countries are backing off AZ and J&J, which is too bad. Used responsibly, appropriately, they’re great vaccines. On the other hand, I’m sure a lot of other nations around the world would welcome any AZ or J&J vaccines the west didn’t want.
I’m concerned about the precipitous falling off of US vax rates. In BC, the Brasilian P1 and UK B117 variants drove the sudden outbreak among the unvaxed. Eventually, the Indian B617 variant is going to wash around the world. We’re already seeing it spread through Asia. It’s 4x as transmissible as the original, and double that of the UK variant. If people aren’t vaccinated, the local surges in states with low vax rates are going to be as dramatic as in India.
Eventually, even with travel restrictions, B617 will become dominant in the Americas just because it’s already traveled here. There are so many people unvaxed in the Americas it’s scary. For the US, we’ll probably see more Michigan style outbreaks. Localized, but overwhelming the care systems wherever they happen due to super-high transmissibility. Starting this summer, I imagine B617 will grow, but we probably won’t see the real impact till Fall and Winter when cold weather, lifted restrictions, and indoor gatherings all collide.
Gotta be honest here, I’m not throwing out my mask. I plan to wear it except when exercising outdoors in the wide open. I don’t plan on attending any large indoor or closely packed outdoor gatherings until April next year. I respect the US CDC. But I know pandemic history. I can’t base my actions on the CDC’s thoughts because Dr Fauci is only as scientific as the current administration he serves allows him to be. And I understand the whys of that. So I prefer to look at all the science, the studies, the latest data, and the long history of pandemics and vaccines, and make my own decisions. It’s my life after all.
Ok, moving on. I did get the 2 new bedroom AC units installed. As soon as the old units were pulled out, Gran improved. Dramatically. She’s been taking claritin and other allergy or cold medicines for several years. Since I pulled the old units out, nope. Not so much as a sniffle. All her allergies stopped. Her allergies are real, but they were to the mold and dust coming from the AC units, even when the units weren’t “in action” blowing. Now we have the new units, all is well.
I am a little scared of the new units. The old ones had freeon in them, which was bad for the planet. The new ones contain some weird flamable substance, which is ecologically safe but apparently so dangerous it warrants multiple large stickers. It’s concerning, because CA is a fire-prone area. I don’t want Gran’s house blowing up because a fire nears an AC unit. But…I did what I had to do for Gran for now. And I did the right thing for the planet too.
I reduced, reused, recycled. I cleaned out both old bedroom AC units. I gave away the working kitchen Frigidaire and one of the bedroom Kenmores to people who needed them. I did do a complete cleaning and mold kill off on the units I gave away. But honestly, they never bothered me, only Gran. So they weren’t unsafe, just unsafe for someone with mold allergies or asthma. I wouldn’t have given them away if they were unsafe. I also kept a Kenmore as a back up, because Gran still has one bedroom without a window AC unit. Who knows if she’ll want/need another there.
Ironically, the weather turned cold this week. It might even drizzle today. But I’m okay with that. I know California. The hot weather is coming. Mutti said she was super grateful for changing out the AC. She’d thought they were unsafe but….Gran. So, new AC was her Mother’s Day as well as Gran’s. I’m not sure why Mutti has so much trouble getting Gran to do things that are clearly the “right” thing to do. I guess it’s all in the backstory, which I’m neither one talks about it, so I don’t bring it up. Silence is golden.
In political news, I spent a good deal of time laughing this week at the governor’s most prominent Republican challenger. He’s running an advert that’s supposed to be riff on the classic fairy tale, Beauty and Beast. And this is the first source of amusement. The fact he thinks voters are so stupid he needs to treat them like children. Second, he’s selling a fairy tale. Third, he casts the Governor as Beauty and himself as Beast. Um, Beauty is the good smart one, the hero. Beast is the bad evil cursed one.
The advert comes off as homoerotic. The old white Republican male casts himself as Beast and his younger white Democratic male opponent as Beauty. I can’t help wonder if Mr Cox is super deep in the closet. I don’t mind a gay governor, but if someone can’t openly face his own identity, and styles his campaign as a total fairy tale, how is that person able to openly face real life, and its real world problems? My other issue is, as a Christian, when a person casts himself as “the Beast,” I think, “Wow. Have you read the Book of Revelation? Do you know you’re actively claiming to work for Satan?”
Anyway, I’m not sure who the advert’s intended audience might be. Old, white, latently homosexual, Republican male Satanists? But I’m voting Beauty all the way. I also have to add, I feel sorry for Tag (the Kodiak Brown bear is an actor just trying to make a living) who acts in the commercial and gets dragged to the GOP challenger’s live “Meet the Beast” events. Tag’s use shows a total disrespect for wildlife. And treating our beloved state symbol as your personal political prop? Yuck. On the other side? Gov Newsom, standing at a podium the declaring California is “roaring back.” Uh…ok. More bear metaphors, but at least respectful ones. No actual bears demeaned or politicized or involved.
Other things I’ve been thinking about this week? A few states are now creating laws that allows people run over protestors with impunity. The intent is to take out BLM protestors and union organizers I assume. But a law is a law. So, that means people can legally run over a group of anti-abortionists blocking roads outside clinics now? And white supremacists? And Trump supporters? I mean, they all protest too. I’m not sure anyone thought these laws through. I don’t even think these laws are legal. Americans have a Constitutional right to freely assemble and protest.
I’ve been thinking about Liz Cheney’s statement on doing everything she can to keep the former president out of office. And yet, she’s opposing HR1. I mean, if you really want to keep crazy people out office, you need the voice/votes of the majority to do it. If she actually believed what she says, she’d come out for HR1 and be actively splitting apart the Senate pro-democracy and pro-authoritarian “I am the state” GOP members. I don’t know if that will ever happen. Most purportedly pro-democracy “It’ll last my time at least” GOP members seem to be abandoning America, with their cushy pensions and health plans in tact.
Something else I’ve been pondering this week is chatter about how great the US is doing compared to the EU and the world. The claim is US GDP will grow more the EU GDP this year was particularly galling. Um, yeah, probably true. But EU GDP didn’t crash as hard to begin with because of effective governance and strong economic response to help people, who already had national health and lots of benefits Americans don’t, during the pandemic; didn’t have as much unemployment because of same; and let’s be super clear here…did not wilfully murder 600K of their own people for fun and politics. So all in all, l’d rather have less GDP this year and more Americans still alive.
I find the world reopening exactly as was kind of … disappointing really. The differences between the 1918 pandemic and the 2019 pandemic in terms of human and government response to the pandemic itself, and resulting post-pandemic human and government behavior is pretty much nil. It’s just history repeating itself. Pro and anti maskers. Bad govt response, ethnic blame (“Spanish” flu originated in Kansas and spread to the world). Post pandemic boom in local and foreign travel, boom home buying, and boom in violence (Bugsy Siegel, Bonny and Clyde, etc 1920s). I’m waiting for the explosion of drug use, sex and partying. The cratering of birth rates.
Nobody talks about it, but post 1918 pandemic, People v. Sanger (1918), US birth rates fell off a cliff. They continued down in the 1930s due to the Great Depression, and were further depressed in the 1940s by WWII, when women started going to work and war. My feeling here is, American women, especially young women, can now see modern American policy is both anti-woman and really anti-woman with children. Nothing about our national polices is pro-woman or pro-woman with child. Why would any rational woman want to have children after seeing what happened to women with children this past couple years?
To be honest, a hard dip in birth rates is a good thing, for women, for children, for the world really. One only has to watch 5 minutes of any climate change discussion to realise humans are very locked into irrational self-destructive patterns. It takes big events to change thinking or actions. Almost no one in climate change will honestly address the population crisis. In 1961 there were 3B people, 60 years later is 7.26B. It took millions of years to get to 3B. It took 60 to double down. People keep saying they care about the planet, but economists insist “lack of population increase” is a bad for the economy. Can I just say, that’s only true if your economy is a Ponzi scheme?
If you really think the world is in an ecological crisis (climate is just a part of the overall ecologic crisis), be honest. It’s going to take more than clean energy. That doesn’t fix a host of other problems driven by a consumer society in which more and more resources are consumed by exponentially increasing consumers. That’s the definition of unsustainable. In a sustainable society, everyone has value, everyone gets care, gets education, gets what they need to be a contributor to the high quality of life everyone shares in that society.
I’m unclear why it’s obvious to people when there’s too many elephants or elk on the land, but mention people in that way and ….. Ka-boom. Hysteria sets in. And I’m not being a racist Malthusian here. I think every country, every major people group, needs to figure out how to halve its population over the next generation or two, to create a healthy ecologically sustainable planet that maintains a high-quality life for all. It’s a project for all nations, races, creeds, etc. Otherwise, all “climate change” action is just a band-aid over a time bomb.
I find the politics of ecological crisis in the US something akin to two dogs fighting so viciously over a bone (let’s call it GDP, corporate profits, or political power) they don’t notice the world around them is being wholly consumed in flames and their very tails are on fire. I’m not a pessimist, I think humans can pull up out of the death spiral. But not if we don’t face reality. Just look at the pandemic. It didn’t have to happen. China took control of the situation and showed the world how to do it. But Western “leaders,” specifically delusional authoritarians . . . .
As the pandemic showed, bad leadership anywhere, hurts everyone everywhere. Quality of leadership matters, the truth matters, facing reality matters. Ecological “pandemic” is already happening. Without people speaking truth to each other, to corporate, government, and global leadership, without real change it’s hard to imagine the world in 60 years. People have to make serious choices. Just like in the pandemic. If you tackle serious stuff early, you’ll have less problems. Transition can be gradual. If you don’t, shut downs, chaos, profits for a few, death for many.
We can choose a new path now. Eventually, like the pandemic, if we do nothing, or continue to make band-aid choices about water systems, air quality, forests, etc, that road becomes pretty awful. There will be awful consequences. Anyone celebrating the fact the US has 580K dead, and 350+ people a day still dying of covid, and 35K new cases a day happening? People’s financial lives were/are still ruined (again mostly women, and women with children). It’s still a slow-moving disaster. Just because middle aged white men who never lost their jobs, health care, or homes are okay, doesn’t mean it’s all ok.
Think about the new US Space Force for a moment. Space was an untouched sphere, it was that spot for research, discovery, and dreams of better things. Now, a short 60 years since the moon landing, we, (humanity), has cluttered it with dangerous junk and spend our time and money militarizing it, thinking how we can financially exploit it. This is how humans treat things, this is a species-wide problem. Given the state of the earth? a Space Force, to continue on this same path, is just crackers-level waste of time and money. How about a Space Force and and Earth Force, dedicated to moving the planet from ecological crisis to ecological stability? Let’s save our home world and the space around it.
I think this, as a species, we need to breakout and advance right now. It’s hard to do when old mindsets hold us back. Consider racism as an old mindset for a moment. Racism harms everyone. We all know racism to be bad. But no one ever says “Racism is an old human mental construct.” By that I mean, for example, cats (past and present) don’t care about the color of other cats. They don’t make assumptions about other cats based on coat pattern. Yet, people, who are supposedly the most advanced Earth species, can’t see past skin color. Human thinking is full of bad, really deadly to the species, ideas.
I’m not down on ideas. Ideas are great. But we need to frequently reassess our ideas in light of new facts. This can be scary, but survival depends on it. If you live in a time when everyone walks, and few people have horses, a crosswalk seems a stupid idea. But then a car is developed and a large car can hit and kill you. So a crosswalk seems a good idea. It’s that level of basic rationality people need right now. A vaccine will save you and the world. If it’s possible for you to get a vaccine, save yourself and the world. It’s always possible for people to grow, to advance, to change.
People are great, even if they are far less advanced than cats. But people need to start excelling at basic humanity. A lot of commonly accepted human thought is simply out of touch with reality or even common sense logic. War is not a public good. Hate is not a public good. Violence is not a public good. Racism. Sexism. Nationalism. All the -isms really, are not public goods. It’s not doing us any good to hold on to destructive personal or public ideas. But it’s always a good to hold on to each other. To lift each other up. To support each other. Value each other. Love each other. From the moment we are born, to the last breath we take, we need to hold on to each other.