Three years of COVID

Only remotely interested in “remote”

Back in January, fillyjonk wrote about three years of COVID. The first case of COVID in the United States occurred in that month. But it didn’t really affect me until March 13.

I’ll back up to when I retired on June 30, 2019. my wife and daughter were home from school, but come fall, I had the run of the house. I’d read and write in the morning, exercise and clean in the afternoon. It was glorious. And after Christmas break, more wonderfulness.

My wife and I went to the cinema often. I saw Cheap Trick at the Palace Theater in February 2022.

The church production of Once on This Island occurred on Sunday, March 8th, with the afterparty the following evening. Choir met as usual on Thursday, March 12.

But the buzz was out that everything was going to shut down after Friday the 13th. At 4:30 pm, I rushed to the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library with my daughter. I WANTED to take out ten videos for me, but she wanted to get a few, so I checked out seven Marvel Cinematic Universe films I had not seen. Sure enough, the library was closed on Saturday and for months after that.

The annual hearts game at my abode occurred as scheduled for March 14; some people came, but others begged off, which I understood intellectually, if not emotionally.

School at home

After a week of figuring out what to do, school districts made laptops available to students, and remote learning began. My wife specifically was disappointed (too weak a word) when then-Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated that the spring break be canceled. The rest of that semester was a slog.

One thing I insisted on is that my wife teach in the old guest room. Otherwise, every time I went downstairs, I was in her classroom. In hindsight, it was a great decision, as she held her church session meetings and other private conversations there.

My daughter was engaged in school for about a month, then not so much.

Starting March 22, my church began having services online on Facebook, a feature that continues to this day. Early on, it was okay; better than nothing.

I was feeling very isolated. Starting in April, I started calling, on the telephone, people who I hadn’t spoken with for a while, some of them for years, even though they live in my metropolitan area. It was a worthwhile project. I completed two calls daily until Memorial Day, then one per day until August. By this point, I was also phoning people I used to see weekly at church.

Meanwhile, my father-in-law, Richard, was dying from lymphoma and passed on April 22; his funeral was 13 months later. His death led to weekly family Zoom meetings, which ended abruptly over political differences at the end of June.

I did start having regular ZOOM meetings with my sisters, which have continued.

New job

I had expressed interest in working on the 2020 Census in mid-2019. But it wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that I learned I’d be trained to work, as I wrote about here. It was more difficult than it was 30 years earlier because it started later in the year. COVID did a number on this enumeration.

My wife, despite her trepidations, had to return to school in person and teach both online and classroom, which was way more work for her. My daughter opted to stay home to do school, which was probably a suboptimal decision.

Church was still remote, though some section leaders recorded music in an empty church on a Monday, and it was shown during the service. Specifically, some previous choir recordings were shared, especially on Christmas Eve. Watching myself sing instead of actually performing brought me to tears.

We watched a few events online. Frankly, though, way more offerings were available than I wanted to consume. I watched a few movies and plays, but most didn’t capture me.

2021: the vaccine!

When the vaccine became available, I wanted it yesterday. There were priority lists. My wife got her first shot in February 2021. I kept checking places for availability but found none that didn’t involve traveling hundreds of miles.

Finally, I logged onto the CVS website again on March 1 at 6 a.m., and Pfizer vaccines were available the next day! I got my first shot, then my second three weeks later. Minimal reactions other than a sore arm for a day.

So on April 6, my kindergarten friends Bill, Carol, Karen, and our friend Michael went to an outdoor restaurant. A sign of normalcy!

I went to a few movies in person, and maybe a half dozen people were there.

The library was quasi-open, and the FFAPL offered remote book reviews online or in the Bach branch garden. It was hard to hear outside because of the wind and, sometimes, the neighbors.

The church is back!

Finally, in June, the church began meeting again, masked, distanced, but in person! We had a coffee hour in the parking lot. Then in October, the choir started rehearsing, though we didn’t sing at service until late November. We did sing on Christmas Eve. I was so happy I probably wept.

But after the holidays, the surge put us back to red/orange, and the church went back to remote. I thought I’d be okay, knowing intellectually it wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t. But I did end up in my sad place for a time.

Since then, and possibly before that, I’ve been checking the COVID status of Albany County and nearby Rensselaer County, which have been in lockstep. I’ve also been obsessively reading related medical news, such as this: RSV Vaccine Succeeds in Phase III Trial of Older Adults.

Fortunately, we sang again in person by February 2022, though Black History Month adult education, which I was in charge of, was primarily remote.

COVID, you SOB

In August 2022, my daughter, my wife, and I all got COVID, probably the Omicron variant. It wasn’t awful, but it was inconvenient.

That’s essentially it. I’m seeking to get past it all. I still refer to events as before or after COVID, and I usually have no idea what happened when after March 2020 unless I look it up. Heck, I probably forgot several things.

Still hate ZOOM, and I use the term generically, for meetings, especially events. My ability to focus in front of a screen with 13 or more rectangles is diminished.

January rambling: India #1 in ’23

Arthur answers my questions

Happy New Year! 2023

The U.S. Census Bureau’s projections

India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country in 2023
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution 
Bossism: Revolt of the Oligarch Class
The Debt Ceiling: a (p)review
Social Quitting: How social media barons squandered their lock-in and made themselves obsolete.
Attack of the Chatbots: Screenwriters’ Friend or Foe?
Person to Person with Norah O’Donnell, interview with Jon Stewart

Clint Meneely: 1975 recording about Meneely bells of Troy, NY

Barbara Walters Remembered by ‘The View’ Co-Hosts, Past and Present, in Show Tribute Episode
Pelé, , Charismatic Master of the “Beautiful Game,” Dies at 82

Sign Up To Be An Organ Donor. You can provide lifesaving organs to as many as eight people.

The Curious Case of Nebraska Man

A Plane of Monkeys, a Pandemic, and a Botched Deal: Inside a Science Crisis You’ve Never Heard Of

Now I Know – Grapefruits: The Nuclear Fruit? and 
The Littlest Big Winner and Then, Their Pants Exploded and The Sesame Seed Backlash of 2023 and America’s Secret, Tasty World War II Weapon? and Why Can’t Californians Buy This Snack?
Abortion rights

The Supreme Court’s decision last summer that overturned the federal right to an abortion sent Rachel Sweet into overdrive focused on two states (Kansas, Kentucky) that share traditionally conservative values.

“With those [successful] campaigns behind her, Sweet has had time to reflect on the lessons learned from those hard-fought victories, including what many activists on her side of the issue misunderstand about voters who are persuadable on abortion rights.”

(The takeaway here is that one should not be so quick to pigeonhole people who could turn out to be your political allies on some issues.
Buffalo
People have been talking about Buffalo, the second-largest city in New York State, a lot recently. Part of it has to do with the deadly weather; folks there are used to snow but not that. Some of it surely with the near-death on national television of  Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, coincidentally, the first game I started watching from the beginning all season. There’s been a lot of “the city’s been through a lot this year,” going back to the shooting deaths of ten black folks at a supermarket in May 2022.
I’m not unhappy about it. It’s just that I hope we can show such concern for each other when there’s no crisis. I know this is an unrealistic ideal.
Quizzes and questions
fillyjonk does the annual quiz I completed
Arthur answered my questions about Nancy Pelosi v. Kevin McCarthy, and Sinema and  ranked voting and sheep
Music
Coverville 1425: The 2022 Coverville Countdown, Part One and 
1426: : The 2022 Coverville Countdown, Part 2 and 1427: The Kenny Loggins Cover Story and 1428: The Jeff Beck Tribute

Hymne (Hymn to the Blessed Sacrament), by Olivier Messiaen

Pale Blue Eyes – the Velvet Underground
The Boxer – Alison Krauss, Shawn Colvin, Jerry Douglas
The Stars and the Moon – Audra McDonald
Sumer is Icumen in – The Hilliard Ensemble
To Whom It May Concern – Lisa Marie Presley, who died at 54

“Weird Al” Yankovic Breaks Down His Most Iconic Tracks

Jeff Beck:  Farewell and Guitar Giant  dies at 78 and his 10 Best Songs: With Yardbirds, Solo & Beyond

December rambling: Fudge

Hanukkah in Santa Monica times 8

cold_complaints
From https://xkcd.com/2714/

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Meeting of Congress

Fueling Inequality, Earnings of the Top 0.1% in the US Have Soared by 465% Since 1979. The bottom 90% saw earnings growth of just 29% between 1979 and 2021, the Economic Policy Institute found.
Jewish Groups Say GOP Is Pushing Antisemitism
Alan Singer: Is Holocaust Education an Antidote to Anti-Semitism?

Did George Santos lie about everything? The representative-elect (R-NY), who allegedly made up his life story, explained.

Republicans turn final House hearing on far-right violence into a clown show

Arthur answers Roger: Ranking Choices (voting) and  Indepen-dunce

Should Doctors Warn Patients About the Downsides of Medicare Advantage Plans?

Census Bureau: LGBT Adults Report More Anxiety, Depression at All Ages

Book About ‘War on Ivermectin’ Distributed by Major Publishing House — “Infuriating to see misinformation mongers being taken seriously”

Celebrities Shilling Crypto Face More Than Just Mockery

Why Economists Study Demographic Change

Barbara Walters, Trailblazing Broadcast Journalist, Dies at 93 – I started watching her on the TODAY show.

Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers’ legendary running back, dies at 72. He and I had the same birthday, albeit three years apart.

Soccer great Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele: 1940-2022

Paul Silas, 3-time NBA champion and longtime coach dies at 79

Walking Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan)

New VIP+ Special Report: Mobile Sports Gambling and  Media

How to be a helpful host to your friends with food allergies

John Oliver on  trash

Still not sure why a “door” nail, though . . .

Comics arrested onstage

What is the Democracy’s Library?

2022

Academy Awards releases its shortlist of 10-15 nominees in 10 categories

Celebrities who died in 2022 from Vanity Fair and TCM

Cory Doctorow: A Year in Illustration

SATIRE: Elon Musk Named Most Exhausting Person of 2022

FUDGE!
Orange crush

Trump still has no credible response to the Jan 6  report

He somehow avoided a Mandatory IRS Tax Audit for two years as President

David Whelan, Paul’s brother, gives him a tongue-lashing for his reaction to Brittney Griner’s release

His trading card images appear to have been lifted from catalogs and stock collections

‘His World Is So, So Small’: Former Adviser Says He Cracked  During White House Isolation

Music

Tell Me If You Still Care – Kevin Flournoy, ft. Phil Perry and Shannon Pearson, with Rebecca Jade on background vocals

Speaking of RJ: 2022 Year-End BEATS Magazine noted Breakout Artist: Rebecca Jade (p. 22) and Best Artist: Dave Koz, with whom Rebecca toured in December 2022

Hollywood Reporter Music Editor Picks the 10 Best Songs of 2022, most of which I have never heard of

AmeriNZ: 2022 pop music mashups

Eight versions of the Tom Lehrer classic Hanukkah in Santa Monica. It also includes the Maccabees ‘ Latke Recipe. which is to the tune of Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon, a song from 2014 that I managed to have missed.

Istanbul – They Might Be Giants

Dino Danelli, the original drummer of The (Young) Rascals, dies at 79

April rambling: shadow docket

1950 Census

John Roberts joins dissent blasting extremist Supreme Court conservatives for abusing the shadow docket

Ginni Thomas Debacle Is a Warning That Trumpism Lives On in the Halls of Power

Battle Against School Segregation in New Jersey

Weekly Sift: Elon and Twitter; will Elon regret the purchase?

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:  Police Interrogations and
Data Brokers and Truckers and Harm Reduction

Florida Eliminates Disney’s Special District

He Was an Ex-FBI Serial Killer Profiler. Then His Lies Caught Up With Him

Viewers Feel Overwhelmed by Too Many Choices, Nielsen Survey Finds and What Happens When an Industry Becomes a Squid Game and Behind the Scenes of CNN+’S Stunning Fall

Lily Tomlin THR interview

Gilbert Gottfried, Comedian, ‘Aladdin’ Star Dies at 67 from a   condition called myotonic dystrophy. In the documentary called Life, Animated (2016), about a child who learned to communicate by watching Disney films, the young man Owen had a club and he invited Gilbert to one of their events. Gilbert was such a mensch.

Bobby Rydell, Pop Singer, ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ Actor, Dies at 79

Robert Morse, Two-Time Tony Winner, and ‘Mad Men’  Star, Dies at 90

Bruce Willis’ Aphasia

How Colorblind NHL Players See The Game

Comics For Ukraine

The Most Beloved Comic? How and Why Calvin and Hobbes Disappeared

The (Edited) Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto

Chuck Miller changes his name

Human connections light up This Brilliant Darkness by Jeff Sharlet

Making popcorn

The remarkable brain of a carpet cleaner who speaks 24 languages

How Come People Say ‘How Come’?

A poem about libraries

A puzzler from Presh Talwalkar.

That Old Twitchy Feeling – linkage to linkage

Information, please

The Census Is Broken. Can AI Fix It?

Fertility Rates: Declined for Younger Women, Increased for Older Women

Official 1950 Census Website

How Many Humans Have Ever Lived?

State Tax Collections per Capita, Fiscal Year 2020

100+ Statistics and Trends in Social Media

Maps of Albany

Now I Know

Indiana Jones and the Porcelain Throne? and When Belgium Flipped the Coin at France and We Shouldn’t Forget Ignaz Semmelweis and Why Doctors Wear Green (or Blue) Scrubs and The Walls (and Book) That Can Kill You and The $64,000 Fake New York City Tourist and Why You Shouldn’t Hold in a Sneeze and An Initial Reaction to Disaster Relief?

MUSIC

Rebecca Jade was gearing up for San Diego Music Awards performance; she won two awards, Best Video; and Best R and B, Funk, or Soul Song for What’s It Gonna Be.

Possibly Neil Diamond’s most significant Sweet Caroline performance, Fenway Park in Boston, April 20, 2013.

Elmer Bernstein at 100

Rest in peace, C.W. McCall

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed by Khatia Buniatishvili

Good Day Sunshine – MonaLisa Twins

Three Visions by William Grant Still 

Town Of Tuxley Toymaker

Le Palais Hante by Florent Schmitt.

Coverville:  1396 – Tribute to Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and 
1397 – The Elton John Cover Story IV and 1398 – The Hollies Cover Story II

Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland 

Twelve cellists from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra play the theme from The Pink Panther

 The Crown of India by Edward Elgar

Introverting – The Holderness Family

Amadeus clip

All By Myself – Eric Carmen

John Denver

K-Chuck Radio: You mean they’re not related?

 

March rambling: quotation marks

Support the Albany High School robotics team!

tractor_beam_2x
From https://xkcd.com/2579/

In a world-historic first, microplastics were detected in human blood

The Our World in Data COVID vaccination data

 How American conservatives turned against the vaccine

The Lancet: Paul Farmer

Cameroonians fleeing conflict are in dire need of Temporary Protected Status – cf.  Inside “the most diverse square mile in America”

What Caused the War? Ukraine and Russia in Historical Context

The Race to Archive the Ukrainian Internet

Ukrainian Actress Oksana Shvets Killed in Russian Rocket Attack

Non-war conflict

Hate and extremism

How did Christianity become so toxic?

The Interactive Theater of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Confirmation Hearing

Addressing racial inequality in paid leave policy

Sara Jacobs, one of the youngest members of Congress, talks about sexism and ageism in politics. 

Writing Women into History

Women in medicine are running up the wrong side of the escalator

Where Does the Religious Right Go After Roe?

Sojourner Truth’s Battle to Free Her Son from Slavery

Actor Tim Reid on addressing racial issues on WKRP in Cincinnati

Texas’ New Voting Law Disenfranchised Thousands Of Otherwise Eligible Voters

The Tangled, Messy Roots of Fake News, long before it became djt’s favorite term

Ginni Thomas demanded Congressional Republicans take the fight to overturn the 2020 election to the streets

John Bolton admits that ‘it’s hard to describe how little [djt] knows’

I Know There’s An Answer

Climate Change Brings Uncontrollable Wildfires

 The Illinois town that got up and left

The 1950 Census is Coming: What You Need to Know

Timbuctoo Institute would build opportunities in the Adirondacks 

About Those Gas Prices

Concert  Tickets: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

2021 County and Economic Development Regions Population Estimates for NYS

Luka’s mural

Jobfished: the con that tricked dozens into working for a fake design agency

“They’re called ‘quotation marks’.”

Phobias. Aibohphobia is the (unofficial) fear of palindromes. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is used to describe the fear of very long words.

The official Girl Scout cookie power rankings

The Result of a Rabbit Hole

Audience participation

GoFundMe page for the Albany High School Robotics Team to compete at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in Houston, TX on April 20-23. They placed 2nd in the New York Tech Valley Regional Competition.

Four Open Seats on Albany Public Library Board in May 17 Election. Nominations are due to the Clerk of the City School District of Albany by Wednesday, April 27, at 5 pm.

New York Bike Census

Now I Know

The Biggest Bread Soup in the World and Why Are My Baby Carrots Always Wet? and The First Computer Bug and The Phone Booth in the Middle of Nowhere and Beware the Ire of Caesar and Which Came First, The Algorithm or the Pi? and World War II’s Pre-Email E-Mail

MUSIC

Livinliv – Aleksandr Shymko

Irish tunes

K-Chuck Radio: The musical tree of Ida Red  and green songs

Holiday at Ferghana -Reinhold Gliere

Lullabye of Broadway from 42nd Street

Coverville: 1393 – John Cale and Velvet Underground Cover Story and 1394 – The Blink-182 Cover Story II and 1395 – The Smashing Pumpkins Cover Story II

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