COVID deniers with COVID

Wear a mask in public. Social distancing. This is news?

donald trump wearing corona virus mask face blinded cartoonI’ve been watching the evening news, masochist that I am. More than once in the last few weeks, I’ve seen someone break down crying about the loss of their beloved family member. I’m not made of stone, so I feel a little sad.

Then they weep, “I didn’t know that COVID was REAL!” I bite my lip. In a recent comment on my blog, the blogger fillyjonk wrote, “I find myself irrationally angry at so many of my fellow citizens. ” I tend to agree with her, except for the “irrationally” part. NOW, they believe?

Still, I was STUNNED to read an article in  Vanity Fair this month. What Do You Do When Your COVID Patient Doesn’t Believe In COVID? The online version is quite explicit: “‘It’s the Trump Bubble.'” OMG. “The Right Has Created a Wave of COVID Patients Who Don’t Believe It’s Real.”

Even before getting to the story itself, this description. “A Texas nurse had a patient in a COVID ICU tell her the virus is ‘fake news.’ A California nurse was mocked for wearing a mask. As a new wave of COVID-19 sweeps the country, health care workers are grappling with the consequences of the president’s misinformation machine. ‘This is insane,’ says one. ‘I have never seen anything like it.'”

I am literally holding my hands to my head, fearing that it will somehow explode. COVID deniers with COVID.

Nothing is real

“Gigi Perez, a California–based nurse… told me, ‘The COVID-19 unit I work in has already lost seven nurses in the last three months due to the burnout from managing these types of patients.’ In the last two weeks, Perez said, nine of her fellow health care workers have contracted COVID-19. Workers are ‘beginning to resent the public for not doing their part to help control the pandemic,’ she said.”

And this. “An infectious disease doctor who asked to remain anonymous told me he had never before experienced politics overshadowing science in the medical field. ‘Before [Donald] Trump I never spoke politics in the clinic room,’ he said. ‘There is no doubt that COVID splits into fact-free and factful worlds. This is why we have a raging epidemic.”

In WaPo,  read about a Missouri county health director. Concerning contact tracing, she says, “Probably half of the people we call are skeptical or combative. They refuse to talk. They deny their own positive test results. They hang up. They say they’re going to hire a lawyer. They give you fake people they’ve spent time with and fake numbers.”

While downplaying the pandemic from the beginning, the despicable regime behavior started in earnest on April 3. That’s when IMPOTUS said his experts were “now recommending Americans wear ‘non-medical cloth’ face coverings.” He said “the recommendations… were voluntary and that he would not partake. ‘I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

And the die was cast. Now, hospitals in half the states are facing a massive staffing shortage as Covid-19 surges.

White flag

Here’s a story in the Boston Globe.  With COVID-19 victory in sight, America surrenders. “What’s happened to us? A lifetime ago, Americans endured years of Great Depression suffering, then went off to fight World War II or, on the home front, tightened their belts, stretched their rationed food, and planted Victory Gardens.”

But that’s not us. “Yes, this isolated, socially distanced existence is tiresome, particularly in cold weather. But we have salvation, in the form of vaccinations, within sight… Then life will begin to return to normal.”

This past summer, the writer “had a chance to catch up with an old pal from high school who, long a Republican, has become a Fox News conservative. The good news, said my friend, who has a graduate degree, was that if the Democrats won, the big to-do about COVID-19 would end on Nov. 3. Why, I asked? Because, he said, it was all a big hoax to get Joe Biden elected. We joke a lot, so I assumed he was kidding. No.”

So it makes “sense” that when the CDC urges against Thanksgiving travel, it will be largely ignored. In the New York Times, a writer traced his COVID-19 bubble and it’s “enormous.” He was thinking a dozen or two, but it was over 100 people.

And much of the blame for the current explosion of cases must fall on a regime that has announced in October, “We are not going to control the pandemic.” That’s the truth. About four dozen of them have had the virus.

I am SO angry with the regime’s handling of the crisis. Americans are dying unnecessarily. And the buck stops there.

Death, The New Normal. 20 years after dad.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Les Green.tree sweaterWading through old email earlier this year, I found this piece that Parker J. Palmer called Death, The New Normal. It’s fairly short.

“If emotional honesty is part of living well — which surely it is — then shaking my fist at death is just as important as accepting it. If that’s unenlightened, so be it! At least I have the good company of the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

“I discovered her ‘Dirge Without Music’ when my father died nearly twenty years ago. I found a curious peace in the poet’s refusal to accept the inevitable, and I find it again today.”

As it turns out, it’s been twenty years since my father died. And I remember it all, astonishingly well. Hearing, in Albany, that my father was in the hospital. The news on a Thursday that my father had a stroke. My wife and I staying in his hospital room in Charlotte the following Monday night. The levity between my father and my baby sister on Tuesday morning.

The rapid decline he had undergone between Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening, when the doctor said he would die within the week. Starting to write the obituary on Thursday morning, only to get the news that he was dying. And my sisters had both vehicles. Me waking the next-door neighbor who worked nights, and who I did not know, to get him to drive my mother and me to the hospital. My wife staying back to watch niece Alex. Mom and I arriving after he had died.

The lengthy funeral negotiations on Friday. The funeral on Sunday. The burial at a military cemetery 40 miles away on Monday, and deciding that taking the limo made sense. A bunch of aftermath stuff.

Poem

Dirge Without Music
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

(Excerpted from Collected Poems. Read the full poem here.)

Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

You better count your money

The first time I knew the name Kenny Rogers was as a member of a group called The First Edition. Several people, including Thelma Camacho, Mike Settle, and Terry Williams, split off from a folk-music troupe, The New Christy Minstrels.

They had a big hit, Just Dropped In (To See What My Condition My Condition Was In), which got all the way to #5 pop in March of 1968. It was a quasi-psychedelic track later covered by Tom Jones.

After a couple flops, they released But You Know I Love You. They performed it on some variety shows, because I remember the applause at the dead-stop false ending. It went to #19 in early 1969.

Their next hit was Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town. By now, Kenny Rogers was receiving top billing. Read about the Mel Tillis song, which was not about the aftermath of the Vietnam war. It went to #6 pop and #39 country in mid-1969.

The follow-up, Reuben James, went to #26 pop, #46 country. The group had a few more hits, notably Something’s Burning (#11 pop). They even had their own syndicated show called Rollin’ in 1972. Kenny went solo in 1973. It took a while, but the hits eventually came.

His first country #1 was Lucille in 1977, which also went to #5 pop and went gold.

When the dealin’s done

If one knows only one Kenny Rogers song, it might be The Gambler. While it only went to #16 pop in 1979, it went to #1 for three weeks country. Moreover, there were at least three TV movies about it, starring Rogers. And it’s the only one of his songs ever quoted in this blog.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

In 1980, Kenny Rogers was the #1 pop artist, with massive crossover hits. Lady, written by Lionel Richie, for instance, was #1 for six weeks pop, #1 country, and #42 soul.

You probably have your own favorites, including duets with female artists. I count 20 #1 country hits among the 53 songs charting. His other #1 pop song was Islands in the Stream with Dolly Parton for two weeks in 1983.

He was a ubiquitous popular culture presence for decades, and I’m sorry about his passing.

Coverville 1302: The Kenny Rogers Tribute Cover Story.

How news of Mom’s death spread

before you post another RIP on social media

Trudy.Green_dress This Groundhog Day I get to relive the day my mom died in 2011. I stayed in her room overnight on 1 February, and she died early the next morning. My sisters were already on their way back to the hospital. I suppose I could have called them on their cellphones, but I didn’t see the point. They walked into the room less than five minutes after she died and I got to tell them the news.

As I’ve noted, there was a certain symmetry to this. My sisters were present when my father died in 2000. My mom and I were en route to the hospital. I signed some legal document as the correspondent of her death, as I was for my father – the joy of being the oldest. The hospital contacted the funeral home, and eventually we went home, shortly after noon.

As it turned out, I had written a blog post, a few days earlier, about my mom’s stroke and me taking the train to Charlotte. Eventually, I checked my email. Denise Nesbitt, the doyenne of ABC Wednesday asked how my mom was. I told her that Mom had died.

She must have shared the news somewhere. Within 15 minutes, I started getting comments that switched from hoping my mom was getting better to condolences regarding her loss. I suppose it’s bizarre to note it’s the post for which I received the greatest number of comments.

Facebook

I was reminded of this article, Please read this before you post another RIP on social media. The piece doesn’t apply to my situation, but it was nevertheless instructive.

In fact, my grief was documented in several posts that month. My sisters and I have to write an obituary? Post it on the blog. We have to come up with the program? More blog fodder. I still remember someone referred to me as “dispassionate” because I was doing one post in my Joe Friday mode. “Just the facts.” It was/is my coping mechanism.

I’ve been dealing with death for a long time, it seems. My father’s mom Agatha died when I was nine; she lived upstairs from us. My mom’s maternal aunt Deana passed when I was 11; I saw her almost daily. Agatha taught me canasta, which I taught to Deana. I was very fond of both of them.

Groundhog Day is the day I relive when my mom died. I think about how I’m now an Orphaned Adult, a book I recommend, BTW.

It doesn’t matter much to me

Let me take you down

It doesn't matter much to meNearly four decades after his death, there’s an inordinate interest of What If? when it comes to John Lennon. Quite often it comes from people who were born after the Beatles broke up, or even after John died.

If he had lived, would he have left Yoko? One can find theorists suggesting that he would, that their marriage was a sham. The thought was that once he started writing music again, he was regaining his inner strength. Eventually, after Double Fantasy, or maybe the followup, he’d leave her.

Of course, the Beatles reunion is always at the heart of this sort of speculation. John was fond of some songs on McCartney II in 1980, Paul’s first album sans Wings in a decade.

George had a modicum of commercial success. His first album after the murder, Somewhere in England, contained a tribute to John. His album after that, 1982’s Gone Troppo, was not a big hit. Ringo had had all three on his various albums, although not simultaneously. So I suppose a reunion might have been possible.

Now you know I remain a massive Beatles fan. When my sisters and I lipsynched to the songs of Beatles VI in 1965 for the neighbor kids, I was always John. Lennon was always my favorite Beatle. I was devastated by his death.

Let me take you down

Yet I find all the speculation is not at all interesting. As he wrote, “It doesn’t matter much to me.” So I don’t have much of an opinion on which songs would be on a 1981 Beatles album if there had been such a thing.

For one thing, the interaction among them would have been far different than it was in 1969. Would they even get along in the studio again? Does George get more songs? Who knows? NOBODY and no one ever will.

Enough grumpiness. Some songs:

BEATLES
Ticket to Ride
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
Norwegian Wood
Rain
Tomorrow Never Knows
Strawberry Fields Forever; “It doesn’t matter much to me”
I Am the Walrus, from LOVE
Come Together

SOLO
I’m Losing You
Nobody Told Me

Robert Freeman, the longtime photographer for the Beatles, died. He had an exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art. “The complementary exhibition, THE BEATLES: Community Stories, from December 21, 2002 through March 2, 2003, is an… exhibition that celebrates the Fab Four with a selection of memorabilia on loan from Capital Region residents.

“From toys to tea towels, from posters to photographs, from autographs to collectibles…you’ll see it all at the Albany Institute.” I had but one magazine, but I also brought in some bootleg LPs and The Beatles in Italy.