Everything newer than this was generated after the last backup from our original host. I am currently (05/27/2020) rebuilding all the old content.
I resisted wearing face covering for as long as I could. I did this not just because I have a hard time reading faces and so want to make myself more easily read by people I might talk to, but also because I have a hard enough time breathing while out on a walk or doing any strenuous activity without having a barrier between me and the air I so desperately need. Austin made face covering mandatory, so I finally gave in and started wearing something to cover my mouth and nose.
I wear a bandanna tied in the classic bandit style to go along with my straw hat and tinted prescription glasses. I’m sure I strike a menacing appearance in this getup, or would if it wasn’t for the bright blue sweatpants and bright yellow walking shoes. The bandanna does seem to reduce the amount of pollen that I am exposed to, even if it doesn’t remove all of it, so I may have to keep wearing the damn thing on high allergy days even after all this coronavirus madness is nothing more than an almost forgotten nightmare.
I don’t care what Governor Abbott or his lunatic Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, think about anything. They are taking marching orders from the madman in the White House, and so consequently what they might say or do is pretty much irrelevant if not downright harmful or possibly fatal in the long run. Don’t listen to the madman in the White House. That is the best advice I can offer to anyone. I have no idea why anyone does listen to him anymore.
I’ll continue wearing my bandit mask for as long as it suits me. If they make me go physically to the polls during the runoffs and then in November, I will go there wearing the thing as well. I will wear the mask and vote all of them out of office. This is proof positive that real criminals don’t wear bandannas and straw hats. Real criminals wear business suits and ties and they lie right to your face with not a hint of insincerity. “I have a great deal for you!” Sure you do.
I have been experiencing some deep depression lately. It came to me last night what this depression probably stems from. I don’t know what to write about in this time of coronavirus that isn’t somehow related to the coronavirus. All of my podcasts are going full-on coverage of the subject, and most of the news is also about it.
I’ve been deleting most news podcasts for weeks. Over the last week I have finished two books on tape rather than listen to any of the podcasts that I usually spend time listening to. I have no use for more news about this disease. I know what I need to know to stay healthy, and most of what is being said is correction of the misinformation that the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) has been spreading about the disease on a nightly basis, with the help of the media that can’t seem to stop spreading his lies for him. The WaPo ran a piece today title Trump has played the media like a puppet. Ya think? I’ve only been trying to say this for four years now. Nice that you’ve finally noticed that you are being used. Maybe you should fix that problem before it gets out of hand.
The Wife came to me today and said she had a revelation. “The blame game is about to start.” I tried to be patient with her, but this really isn’t a revelation to me. The OHM has been engaging in the blame game for four years now. He and his cronies are clearly gearing up to start blaming the Democrats for cracking down on the populations under their control, imposing restrictions that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Covid-19) did not require. They’ll say people aren’t dying at greater rates than previously. The cities and states will point to the elevated numbers of deaths. The OHM will say those aren’t coronavirus deaths. The cities and states will say they were coronavirus deaths. The OHM will say they weren’t because they weren’t tested for coronavirus. The cities and states will object and point out that there aren’t enough tests to test all the dead people. The OHM will shrug and go back to golfing. Just like he has always done.
It’s important to remember that this guy complained bitterly about all the time that Barack Obama spent on the golf course. What he hates most about Barack Obama on the golf course (other than he is a black man on a golf course that isn’t a caddy) is that Obama is a better golfer than he is, and Barack Obama spent less time getting there than the OHM has already spent on the golf course during his joke of a presidency.
Donald Trump wants to open the country back up so he can get back to golfing and get back to charging people to golf with him. It hasn’t got anything to do with the deaths and the suffering, or how much worse it will all be after we end social distancing. He just wants to keep doing what he has always done. Screw people and steal their money.
This is par for the course. This is how every single embarrassing event has been played since Trump blundered onto the political stage and demonstrated that he has no capacity to feel shame for his shameful behavior. There is a fly in this ointment though. There are records of his malfeasance.
For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences.
But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience even for the oral summary he now takes two or three times per week, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material.
The advisories being relayed by U.S. spy agencies were part of a broader collection of worrisome signals that came during a period now regarded by many public health officials and other experts as a squandered opportunity to contain the outbreak.The Washington Post
The OHM was ignoring all the signs that COVID-19 was going to be a problem until he couldn’t ignore it anymore. Then he blamed the CDC, the WHO and the Chinese government for the things he had every right to have known months previously if he had only bothered to pay attention.
He tried to blame the Democrats for not giving him the funds that he needed to combat the disease until Nancy Pelosi handed him a check for two trillion dollars. A check that the OHM then promptly put in his and his closest buddies pockets. That bit of malfeasance will be coming back to bite him right about the time elections roll around in November.
Texas may open back up on Friday or Monday. Austin won’t be following the governor’s direction. Neither will Houston, Dallas or any other city that understands what the real problem is here. The real problem is that these Republican morons think they can bluff a virus. That they can lie to mother nature and she won’t punish them for it.
I feel bad for those people who can’t afford to stay home any longer. Those people who have purposely been kept poor by the system they are part of in some ill-gotten belief that you have to keep people hungry, homeless or on the edge of homelessness, in order to get them to work. We have all be stolen from over the course of our lives by these people in suits and ties who think they are better than we are because they have money and we don’t. They don’t understand, any more than the poor do, that they are rich because the system allows them to be rich.
The system could be adjusted so that everyone is at least comfortable with some pretty minor tweaks. The two trillion dollar coronavirus rescue package? The country’s entire population could be granted a guaranteed minimum income for an entire year for that amount of money (Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend) What are the benefactors of most of that money doing with it right now? Driving the stock markets up with all this extra cash they just stumbled into. Pretty much the same thing they were doing before the pandemic hit with all that free money that Trump gave them in his tax bill.
So instead of making sure that no one has to work that isn’t constitutionally set up for the kind of risky work that is required right now, instead of making sure that no Americans are homeless and have enough food to eat, we’ve given billionaires even more money to play around with. Now the poor feel compelled to return to work having burned through the $1200.00 pittance that was allowed to them.
People are going to die. Most likely a lot of people are going to die. I’m going to do my best to not be one of them. I’m not planning on going anywhere (other than to vote as I noted previously) until right about January the 20th of 2021. I might not even go out then other than to abandon this hellhole that we’ve made, heading for greener pastures if there are any of those left by then. We’ll just have to see whether the tide turns or not.
He fled the light and the knowledge the light implied, and so came back to himself. Even so do the rest of us; even so the best of us.Stephen King, The Gunslinger
I went on and read/listened to volume two of the Dark Tower saga, the Drawing of the Three. I wasn’t nearly as impressed with the second volume, and I can’t recall a significant moment of the film purportedly based on the first book, which means I’ll have to go back and watch that movie again (Look for this to be updated then) in the meantime Stephen King’s afterword in the second volume, citing how this work was such a departure from his normal writing endeavors, made me pick up and start reading/listening to the Shining.
The one thing I noticed about the second volume of the Dark Tower saga that stuck (other than did-a-chick) was the references to the movie interpretation of the Shining that Stanley Kubrick graced the screens with back in 1980. Very little of what you saw on screen in that movie was even in the novel that Stephen King penned. No elevator full of blood, no encounters with the dead twin girls, no hunt through the hedge maze, no “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” repeated ad nauseum as a demonstration of the father’s madness. King’s tangential reference to that movie, as well as other movies of the time, leaves you thinking that King wasn’t very impressed with Kubrick’s vision of what the Shining was about.
It’s hard to translate the written word to the screen, even when what is written is written specifically to be filmed. Stephen King’s books are a lot like other novels that are worth reading. The language on the page draws images in your head, and those images will never be the exact same images that any other person has. The script writer/director/actor all have to agree on what the image on the screen should be, and they are all hampered in their ability to get their interpretation of the words onto the screen by the limitations of the technology that exists at that moment to realize the images.
When a book relies on the internal horror of the individual’s mind to advance the plot, every attempt to turn that into a movie is doomed to failure. It is doomed to failure because every single reader will come in expecting to see their mental pictures on the screen, and they aren’t going to see them there.
I take great pains to reserve judgement on a movie based on books that I’ve read. I try to set aside what I know about any given character that I’m watching on screen. Set aside what I know that isn’t in the movie I’m watching. This helped me get through all the Marvel movies based on characters that I’ve followed since childhood. Helped me watch the Harry Potter movies without demanding that this or that scene from the book just had to be in the movie.
There will be enough time to reflect on the whole achievement of the movie after the credits roll. Time to reflect, unless the movie lacks the hooks to make it relevant to your experiences outside the movie theater. That movie is soon forgotten. Does that make the movie a bad movie? Only a second viewing will answer that question.
When this is over this country is going to need more than bandaids. It’s going to need fucking surgery. Things need to change and not go back to normal. Ctrl-Z us back to how we were in 2016 is simply not going to cut it, and honestly it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to prove our unemployment system is a mess, that we need universal healthcare and that workers need benefits, the right to organize and wages that reflect how essential they really are.John Oliver – Apr 12, 2020
…the first Supreme Court case on the rights of business corporations was decided in 1809. To put that in some perspective, the first Supreme Court cases on the rights of African Americans and the rights of women weren’t decided until 1857 and 1873, respectively. So a half-century earlier, corporations were in the Supreme Court seeking the protections of the Constitution.
Bank of the United States v. Deveaux, it really set the foundation for 200 years of Supreme Court cases expanding rights to corporations. The case involved the Bank of the United States, the most powerful corporation in America at the time, and it claimed the constitutional right to sue in federal court, even though the Constitution’s text only provides that right to citizens.Adam Winkler
In the segment of this episode of On The Media embedded below. Posted on Tumblr two years ago and shared to Facebook.
At Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, Dr. Nicholas Caputo followed 50 patients who arrived with low oxygen levels between 69 and 85 percent (95 is normal). After five minutes of proning, they had improved to a mean of 94 percent. Over the next 24 hours, nearly three-quarters were able to avoid intubation; 13 needed ventilators. Proning does not seem to work as well in older patients, a number of doctors said.NYTimes – What Doctors on the Front Lines Wish They’d Known a Month Ago
It was a full week into the Austin advisement to shelter-in-place before I realized that most people were having a hard time dealing with the life of a shut-in. Not much has changed for me in these times of coronavirus. I’m not any sicker today than I was almost twenty years ago when I became a shut-in. I have to say that being shut-in because of your disabilities is a different kind of animal than being shut-in on the orders of the government.
When I first read up on the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew that I could not afford to be exposed to it. I have several of the listed co-morbidities so catching the virus will likely be a death sentence if there are insufficient medical facilities to handle the 20% of cases that will need hospitalization. I was practicing social distancing back at the beginning of February, before the belated attempts to curtail the pandemic came into being. Canceling appointments, avoiding leaving the house, etcetera, I’ve been at this for two months as I write this. The news is getting me down but the isolation isn’t.
I haven’t given how I’ve managed to cope with being a shut-in a lot of thought. Like all things that you have to do to survive, you just do it. I’m naturally a loner, so being alone really isn’t a problem for me. The staying indoors is something that I had a hard time adjusting to when I first started working in an office. It took years to get me adjusted to not going outside because of work. When I couldn’t work anymore I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed wandering around on foot. I can and do go on walks these days, but my disabilities keep me mindful of notifying people when I leave and when I return. I don’t want anyone freaking out because they didn’t find me holed up in my office, which is where I can usually be found.
At this point in the scheme of social distancing, my lone excursions are still permitted by the government here. If a stricter quarantine is put into effect, I see a lot of frustrating miles being walked on the treadmill. That would be much like it was in the early days of my disability, when I was almost certain that being outside was an active threat to my existence.
I have to admit, the first two years of social isolation were quasi-tragic. That was before the government granted that I was disabled, so not only could I not work, but we were at risk of losing the house because I couldn’t work. The Wife and our children would all be out on the street with me because I couldn’t stop the world from spinning when I was under stress. My stress loads were high, so my vertigo was more frequent; and because the vertigo was more frequent, I didn’t trust that I could take a 45 minute walk outside and not be throwing up in a ditch somewhere, waiting for an ambulance to come pick me up.
We bought a treadmill as soon as the disability payments started coming in, so that I could at least attempt to get in some exercise and feel like I was moving. That has been a lifesaver many times over. One of the only pieces of exercise equipment that we’ve purchased that has been worth the price.
I tried to hide in movies and television as much as possible back then. There are a lot of the newly isolated these days trying to cope by engaging in the same activity. I watched more TV then than I did as a teenager. I started to feel the needed to record everything so that I could watch it again when I wanted, just in case I needed something else to distract myself with. I spent several quality months trying to rig up a system that let me capture programs straight to my computer hard drive. I recorded shows for the children, the Wife and myself. I was always coming up with something else we all had to watch, just so I wouldn’t obsess about the impending eviction or the desperate actions I might have to take to keep my family from being evicted.
But our finances have slowly stabilized, even if they haven’t gone comfortably into the black (you aren’t allowed to have savings on disability) and with the stress of work life removed the vertigo spells have been mercifully infrequent. Bear Philley started me playing World of Warcraft not too long after I starting getting disability payments, and in that MMO I’ve found the limited social interaction that I need to stay sane and be a shut-in at the same time.
There is one other ingredient that is essential to this recipe for sanity that I am trying to describe here. More than distraction and finding alternative ways of connecting with other people. More than not having to worry (too much) about keeping the lights on in the house and your children fed. That ingredient is the ability to live in the now.
I remember when this song came out in 1991. There was hope in my world back then. A new father, a new job. The internet was becoming the World Wide Web and it seemed like the world really was waking up from history for the first time ever. The problem with thinking this, that the world is waking up, is that it is you that is waking up. You are becoming conscious of the now, in those moments of transcendence or inspiration.
Now is always going to be a transitive state. There is no point that is now that will still be now after it happens. Being in the now requires you to do exactly that. No plans for the future. No contemplation of the past. The fingers on the keyboard, hovering, waiting for the next words to occur to you so that you can put them down on the page.
How long can you hold that? Fingers poised, without writing anything? Without feeling like you’ve failed to write something? Knowing that the writing will happen when it will happen. To be conscious in the moment, for as long as that moment can be extended. Living in the now. This is where we all are in our quarantine space. Unable to make plans because there is nothing to plan for aside from mundane tasks that really don’t require that much planning.
This is where I’ve been for years now. In the mornings I wake up and take stock of the situation. Is the sun shining? If yes, then go for a walk. If no, then maybe go for a walk depending on weather/allergy conditions. What chores need doing today? What thing that I’ve been putting off for years can I get done today?
I select that thing from the list of possibilities for the day, and then I put all the other thoughts aside and get busy engaging in the task at hand. Dive into it. Don’t just wash dishes, explore the wonderful world of fluid dynamics. Don’t just wash the clothes, quantify fabrics and colors and on and on. Get into the now. I mean, really get into it. Like your whole life depends on it.
That is what life is in the end. Life is what happens, and this is happening to you now. Engage it, learn from it, expand beyond it. Be the person you need to be to get through this moment, so that you can emerge from this moment as a new person capable of dealing with the next thing that comes along.
Be assured that there will be a next thing. there always is a new now to wake up into so long as life continues. Be grateful for each moment that you live, even if that moment seems like drudgery to the outside observer. Find that thing that you can hold onto, and hold onto it until it passes. Hold onto it because that moment will never occur again, no matter how many dozens of times it seems like this has happened before. Savor it, because it will be irretrievably gone before you know it.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.Rutger Hauer
The whole city lay under an epidemic of discreet, infectious fear. I could feel it, like influenza, in my bones.Christopher Isherwood – the Berlin Stories
What we are going through right now is easily comparable to other times in history. The 1918 flu pandemic for example, the commonly mis-labeled Spanish flu, has been rolled out in several podcasts. This episode of Throughline goes into the recorded history of the 1918 flu.
The Second World War was compared to the 1918 flu, as is illustrated in the quote I used to start this article. I was made aware of this comparison by listening to John Barry in this episode of Why Is This Happening?
What isn’t remembered is the pervasive fear. I know it isn’t remembered because I lived in San Angelo for more than a decade, and yet I have never heard this story before.
…when San Angelo had a breakout of polio in 1949 – the hardest- hit town per capita that year in the U.S. – it was horrifying in scope for the city of 50,000. Sixty children in San Angelo came down with polio in one summer. Many died. Movie theaters and swimming pools and public gatherings were shut down. Travelers passing through would roll up their windows so as not to breathe the potentially contaminated air. They wouldn’t even fill up a low tire at the gas station for fear of taking the virus with them. Some residents refused to talk on the phone with anyone, believing that perhaps, somehow, polio could travel through the phone lines.
This kind of fear gripped Texas every summer for years. Parents would not let their children swim or go to summer camp or do anything in groups in an effort to keep them safe. Houses were kept spotless and were scrubbed top to bottom to kill all the germs. In fact, Wooten told me, “When mothers lost a child to polio they suffered added anguish because they felt they would be judged as bad mothers and poor housekeepers. They would explain to reporters that ‘they had always kept a very clean house and didn’t understand how this could have happened.’ ”TexasStandard.org
…even without the orders to shelter in place, people would still not be going out and participating in public events as if there wasn’t an active pandemic. The fear would keep most of us inside anyway. That is the sensible side of your brain talking, in conditions like we are facing right now. Listen to it when it makes sense for once.
Speaking on MSNBC, Governor Gavin Newsom said that he would use the bulk purchasing power of California “as a nation-state” to acquire the hospital supplies that the federal government has failed to provide. If all goes according to plan, Newsom said, California might even “export some of those supplies to states in need.”Bloomberg.com
There is little proof that can be presented that would support the observation that California isn’t both a nation and a state. For example; is France a nation or a state, part of the EU? Yes. It is both things. So is California both a nation, with its own government, business and economics; and a state, a part of the United States. Nation-State is what you call that kind of entity.
It is about time that the various states flexed their muscles. If the president in D.C. Won’t lead, then the state governors have to lead. Power exists that the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) can’t or won’t exercise, and the state governors have to step in and manage this crisis if the president won’t do it. When I talked about the United States ceasing to be the United States back in 2016 when Trump won the presidency, this was one of the ways that I saw that coming to pass.
No, I’m not saying that I saw SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) looming on the horizon. I thought that a rebellion over the OHM’s hateful immigration policies would be the most likely instigator of the crisis. I was wrong there. But I did envision a lack of leadership in a moment like this allowing the room for governors to step forward and assume a leadership role in defiance of the federal government.
California lead the way several years ago when they legalized Marijuana and the federal government was powerless to stop them from doing that. Several states have followed suit since, laying out the groundwork for an effective rebellion if one ever had to be utilized in a time of crisis. That time could be now.
The OHM will have to suppress California with force if it comes to that. Trump has proven that he hasn’t got the murderous instinct in him (thankfully) and who is willing to take bets on federal forces being willing to follow his orders when it comes to occupying one of our own states? One of our own states that is rightfully seeking redress of a problem that Washington has failed to remedy even though they knew that this pandemic was on it’s way three months ago?
This is a crisis moment the likes of which we haven’t seen since the last great war. Yet it is different than war as we have seen it previously. We don’t have an army that is trained to fight this war, and neither does any other nation have that army. The leader that can manage this crisis will be the one that the people will follow, because even bad leadership is better than no leadership.
The hacking of our democratic processes that gave us the OHM as president was also a war. We didn’t have an army trained to fight that war either, and the OHM hasn’t been inclined to tool-up to fight the enemy that, after all, put him into power. He has instead been willing to dissipate himself and the money-lenders on Wall Street with wealth handouts and relaxed regulations. Letting the greedy pile more millions onto their already disgustingly enormous piles of cash. He fiddled like Nero through crisis after crisis, most of them of his own making, until he ran into the harsh biological reality of this pandemic.
Now we can all see just how naked the emperor really is. He can order his Stormtrumpers to be cruel to immigrant children and their fathers and mothers. He can brag endlessly about being a wartime president as the country burns with fever around him. The camps that his immigration policies have created will be hotbeds for SARS-CoV-2. But it will also tear through cities and towns across this country, and everyone of us will have known someone who has died from this virus, before this pandemic is over.
He cannot stop the virus because the virus doesn’t notice his bluster and bullshit. It doesn’t respect law, or wealth, or property. It simply does its biological job, and in the process of doing that job it proves that Donald J. Trump is a coward incapable of making the hard decisions that a real leader is required to make in times like these. Maybe Gavin Newsom is the kind of leader who can. Gavin Newsom for president?
It’s been three years now. In order to get a sense of the history of what OHM means, I will link a few crucial posts. I wrote The Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) when it became clear that the Republicans were going to nominate Donald Trump. I wrote The GOP Cuddles Up To the NSDAP when the GOP refused to ostracize the OHM for his dangerously xenophobic populism. I wrote Caveat Emptor on the day Trump lied with his hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the US constitution. I wrote Bullshit is Bullshit on the day I stopped even trying to catalogue the blatant disregard of the truth by the OHM. It mystifies me why people still listen to him, and why the OHM still holds the office of the president. #MAGA means Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans. Anyone who believes differently is a MAGA themselves, otherwise known as a Stormtrumper, h/t to Berkeley Breathed.
I had to go looking to remind myself who it was that had written that great song that I loved. Who was it that the coronavirus killed the other day? That guy? That guy who sang a song about being there when someone needed you? Wasn’t that the song? I had to not only remind myself that his name was Bill Withers, but I had to then recognize the chorus line so that I would know the song title.
Lean on Me. Yes. That song. That guy. Bill Withers. Him too, then? One more grandfather we let die because we can’t be bothered to spend some of our precious treasure to make sure that there are procedures and tests and quarantine measures and hospital beds and whatever else that we need to invest in so that we can stop disease from spreading unchecked through our cityscapes. How many more will we lose? Will it be worse than AIDS this time? Will it hurt more this time than it hurt when Freddie Mercury died and I had to listen to friends spit on him and call him faggot?
I wonder. I really do wonder. Hat/tip to Billboard for being there when I needed someone to remind me of the things I had forgotten. I was reminded of this today because John Prine died today. I can’t name a single one of his songs that I know and love, but I know his name anyway. Ellis Marsalis I can remember too, and I can’t say that I’m a jazz fan. How about Adam Schlesinger? If you watch TV you probably know his work.
Get ready. Get ready, because there is going to be a lot more of this kind of sadness going around before this tragedy is over.