Delta variant and other COVID news

Luciferian Globalists

By Harold Jessurun and Aníbal Quiñones, the prominent creators of the popular Pepito comic in Puerto Rico. Instagram had deleted the image on some sites, citing that it violated its Community Guidelines. https://www.latinorebels.com/2020/04/20/pepitocreatorsimage/

The Delta variant doesn’t give a flying #@$% if you’re tired of hearing about COVID-19.

From the  Boston Globe: “This is not the worry-free summer many envisioned as recently as Memorial Day, full of long-awaited travel, family reunions, and evenings in favorite restaurants.

“Since July Fourth, there’s been a steady drumbeat of discouraging COVID-19 news: Infections are climbing across the country. Hospitalizations in several Southern and Western states are spiking, too. Vaccination rates have dwindled. And communities from Cambridge to Los Angeles County are advising or mandating a return to mask-wearing, even for vaccinated people.”

An old friend of one of my sisters has been sending me stuff such as how some doctor says there is no Delta variant of COVID. But the “logic”, alas, fails me. Then she sent me something about the Luciferian Globalists Implementing the New World Order. Er, no.

Speaking of which: In southwest Missouri, the coronavirus Delta variant and “freedom” collide. Our guest pastor made a credible link between American individualism in this crisis and sin.

Right-Wing Vaccine Lies Are Tearing the Country Apart.

My daughter asked me if I’d ever heard of Eric Clapton. Er, yeah. Apparently, he was trending on Twitter because of some reportedly racist thing he said in 1978; IDK why it was notable decades later. But then I came across this article from 2021 noting that he says he won’t play venues that require COVID-19 vaccinations. I find that… disappointing.

Masking up

Someone asked me, “Are you going to watch the Olympics?” And I was surprised that I answered, “I don’t know.” The COVID surge in Japan has taken away some of the luster from the games in my mind. Ken Levine hit on it.

Except for a few restaurant visits, I tend to wear my mask indoors, even though I’m fully vaccinated. So it’s not onerous for me if it’s mandated.

Oh, and it IS required on the local CDTA buses, as it is on most mass transportation. At a bus stop where I was getting on, two potential passengers were arguing about whether masks were required. I butted in and agreed with the one who said yes. Then the bus driver refused to allow the unmasked person on, so the other one declined to get on too. The two were still squabbling as the bus pulled away.

The Department of Justice decided not to probe COVID deaths in state-run nursing homes in four states, including New York. I can’t speak about the other states, but I was hoping for such a probe in my state. It’ll be investigated at the state level, but federal juice has more impact.

Canada to Open to Fully Vaccinated Americans on August 9.

I read that the morally bankrupt Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who lied about a major aspect of his biography, is bloviating that if the GOP retakes the House, it’ll be prosecuting Dr. Fauci to the “full extent” of the law.

June rambling: a blow to the head

Sign by LP Green, 2021

How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax.

Future-proofing the presidency. How to thwart the next American tyrant.

Trump’s Next Coup.

Chicago’s predictive policing program told a man he would be involved with a shooting.

Far-Right Gang Killed Cop In Plot To Blame 2020 Protest Violence On ‘Leftists’.

Hatred lives in a Nashville millinery shop.

NEJM: Dilemmas of Double Consciousness — On Being Black in Medicine.

John Oliver: Asian Americans.

The Mogul and the Monster. Jeffrey Epstein’s longstanding business ties with his most prominent client, billionaire retail magnate Leslie Wexner. hold the key.

What happens if the U.S. can’t reach herd immunity.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
– Anne Lamott

Solidarity

Even though most establishments no longer require mask wearing for the fully vaccinated – and I am – I’ve opted to wear a mask indoors for the nonce. This is in support of the store workers, most of whom are still required to mask up.

Signs Of a Toxic Work Culture—And How To Correct Them.

 Remote Workers Could Quit When Asked to Return to the Office.

Best Websites to Help Kids Learn From Home in 2021.

Amy Biancolli: lessons from a blow to the head.

 7 VA Loan Tips for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Spouses.

 Homeless Oaklanders were tired of the housing crisis. So they built a ‘miracle’ village.

How to Be Sustainable in College: 18 Green Tips for Students.

Eric Carle didn’t want his hungry caterpillar to get a stomach ache.

When I heard that F. Lee Bailey, the “high-flying defense attorney” had died, the first person I told was Paul Rapp. Seriously.

Larry Gelman, R.I.P.

Jack Parker White (1931-2021). He was the husband of my wife’s cousin Diane, who I’d see almost every year at the Olin family reunion near Binghamton. He, my late FIL Richard, and I would test each other over baseball statistics.

Speaking of baseball, Ken Levine on how he’d fix MLB. I agree with most of these, especially getting rid of the abomination of “the stupid extra-inning rule where a runner starts at second base.” But the shift, and fouling off ideas I wouldn’t change.

How ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ Saved Disney.

 Sister Cindy Is a TikTok Star. “Some of those who turn out to see her [said] they question whether her internet celebrity status is deserved.” Is “internet celebrity status” deserved?

Johnny Carson as Reagan, a “Who’s On First” spoof.

15 Clichés To Avoid With a Ten-Foot Pole.

Now I Know: The Buses That Make a Bee Line and The Tribe With the DIY Spies and Evolution, Eyebrows, and the Pets We Love and The Kids Are All Right and Why The NYC Police Darkened Their Blues and Refrigerators that Ribbit?

MUSIC

Nite Ride and Sunrise by Jean Sibelius.

You Really Got Me – MonaLisa Twins.

The Last of England by Nikolas Labrinakos.

In Her Family – Peter Sprague,  featuring Rebecca Jade.

Black Dog –  Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

Coverville 1359: The Bob Dylan Cover Story VIII and 1360: Cover Stories for Psychedelic Furs, Keane and the Four Tops.

Tiny Dancer – Elton John.

In the year of the masks

do I want to know a secret?

Unity MaskIn some way, there was no date more 2020 for me than December 7. I received three packages. All contained masks.

One was a package of 50 disposable items I had ordered about a week earlier. The second was a mask featuring the mustache of John Green, which I had ordered about a month and a half earlier. It was a Pizzamas thing; don’t worry about understanding that, because I don’t either.

The third, though, I had ordered so long before that I had forgotten about it altogether. Ten black masks with the letters UNITY in white silhouette. Within each letter, a message. all in caps.

Healthcare for all. Back Lives Matter. Save the Planet. Protect Dreamers. Ensure voting rights. The image description from Democracy for America: “We believe there is more that unites us than divides us. These issues are not just for the few, they are for all of us.” I hope so.

In my Christmas stocking, Santa brought two more masks. One was a woodsy scene. The other was a black mask with Day-Glo musical notes. I like these.

One more

Finally, in the mail on New Year’s Eve, came a mask with a card, sent ostensibly from my church’s address. The lettering was intentionally designed to obscure the handwriting of the sender. The white mask had a pinkish rectangle that featured a white cross. In red letters:
FIRST PRES CHOIR
2020

For the last few years, an anonymous benefactor had left the choir t-shirts and pens, both emblazed with messages about the church, left near the choir loft. Since we haven’t sung since March 2020 – haven’t even been in the building – I was particularly surprised by this largesse. I have a theory about who it might be; my wife thinks it’s someone else. Thanks to the choir Secret Santa once again, whoever you are.

Football!

I went to the local grocery store on Tuesday, moving through as quickly as possible. The cashier wore a Pittsburgh Steelers mask. I asked her if her team was going to win this weekend. She said, “I hope so. They only lost by two last week, and they rested some of their players.” I added, “And the Cleveland Browns needed that game. But what about that three-game losing streak?” She sighed, “I don’t know WHAT that was about.”

I mention this because, too often, the mask is a sign of less sharing. You can’t see people’s facial expressions. But at that moment, the mask facilitated a human connection that I too often miss.

Here’s hoping that in 2022, I won’t need the masks anymore. But I keep seeing those newspaper headlines. LA Times, Jan 1.: Spiraling COVID-19 deaths leave morgues overflowing and funeral homes turning away grieving families. And even around here. Times Union, Jan. 1: In Albany County, the mark of 346 new infections in one day is 77 more than the prior record. So know I’ll still have those masks available in 2021. It’s good to have a variety…

At least I don’t have to deal with these folks.

Seeking “normalcy” in Lake George

Where are they?

lake georgeWhen my wife suggested we trek to Lake George Saturday morning, I asked why. She was looking for a sense of “normalcy.” We hadn’t gone anywhere in the last seven months, save for her fortnightly treks to visit her mother 80 minutes away. Our daughter had gone there a handful of times; I went twice.

After lunch, the three of us plus my daughter’s friend Tee set off on the hour-long journey up I-87, the Northway. We saw an automotive parade for TRUMP 2020 on I-90, not that far from our house, which we became inadvertently a part of. Apparently, there was a rally at some abandoned mall before or after our observation. This took place while the incumbent was at Walter Reed Hospital.

Lake George is a lovely place I’ve been going to for much of my life, even before I moved to Albany in 1979. It is charming and not overly “touristy.” I attended at least a couple of conferences there. While my daughter and Tee hung out by the water, my wife and I went walking. It was disconcerting.

I’ll exclude those people not wearing masks because they were eating or smoking cigarettes or alone on one of the large boats or under the age of five. I daresay that the number of people wearing a mask while they were around people outnumbered the maskless by only about 3 to 2. Tee and my daughter never took off their masks from the time wey left the car until we returned, so uncomfortable they were with the other tourists’ masklessness.

Unsafe

And it was crowded because it was a nice early autumn day, despite bouts of quick rainstorms. EVERYONE needed to get out of Dodge, it seemed, and they picked Lake George as their respite. My wife and I got away from the people for a brief time and saw a nifty partial rainbow across the lake. It was so interesting – short but wide – that a couple people stopped their cars in the middle of a traffic circle to jump out and take some photos.

It was a nice time, but less so because of other people’s behavior. “Normalcy” is difficult to come by when I see headlines such as this in the Boston Globe: “If he believes he doesn’t need a mask, good for him.” It’s because, after all the deaths and illnesses, some folks “still aren’t sure about masks.” And that made me feel unsafe, especially this past weekend.

It’ll be a while before I’ll be willing to venture from my cave again. I’m the very definition of underlying conditions. I do understand the Weekly Sift guy’s sense of Schadenfreude, even as IMPOTUS says he’s finally “learned so much.” I’m trying NOT to feel that way, I really am…

A flimsy surrogate; and yet…

faith and the Census

and yetWhen the singer/songwriter/actress Sara Bareilles was on some morning show recently, she was asked how she was faring in the era of COVID-19. She noted that while she was staying connected via ZOOM, et al., it wasn’t at all the same thing. Each substitute was a “flimsy surrogate” for the real thing.

This resonated with me greatly. I’ve discovered that there are actually MORE chances for hearing music, seeing productions, and interacting with performers. It’s actually a bit overwhelming, truth to tell. Broadway World alone has tons of video opportunities, more than I can avail myself of. Search YouTube for COVID music or coronavirus music and you’ll find a wealth of clever items. The OUTKAST parody Hey-Ya “Ro-Na is a current favorite.

But I miss hugging. I am told that I’m a very good hugger. How one measures that, I have no idea.

I miss going to the movies. Will there be movie theaters next year? Yeah, there are lots of films available on my TV, computer, and even phone. Nah, I’m NOT watching a movie on my phone.

Not the Lone Ranger

The problem with masks is that people don’t recognize me. I was at a Farmers Market and I said hello to one of my state legislators. They said, “Hello to you, whoever you are.” If I wanted to begin my life of crime, maybe now would be a good time.

And I don’t recognize others. At the one Black Lives Matter events my daughter allowed me to attend with her – it WAS Juneteenth – some nice young man brought us water. It wasn’t until he pulled down his mask that I recognized him as the son of great friends of mine; I’ve known him his whole life.

Ordering food is an adventure. Which one of the seven online websites should I order from? GrubHub or EatStreet or AllMenus or MealO or something else? There are places, fine sit-down restaurants where I’ve eaten, whose menus just don’t translate well to take-out. And yet: the sushi place I ordered from for my wife’s birthday was quite fine.

Having nothing to do with WGBH in Boston

The problem of ZOOM meetings there seems to be so many of them. And yet: the Olin family reunion – my mother-in-law’s people – wouldn’t have met at all without it. And they’ve gathered for over three-quarters of a century. While some of the regulars didn’t make it, others who had moved away were able to “attend.”

My choir meets every two or three weeks. On the one hand, we miss the singing. Getting details about the music we’re not performing is sad. And yet: one of the choir members suggested we share our joys and concerns. That’s something we’d do at the end of every rehearsal. The addition was profoundly meaningful.

I’ve had the chance to go to the Adult Education class, which I could rarely attend in the past because it conflicted with the choir. I’ve even gotten to facilitate it once, about my Martin Luther King references on the blog. And I’m doing another one on July 26 at 8:45 a.m. EDT about faith and the Census. (If you’re that much of a Census junkie, I’ll email/IM you the ZOOM link.)

My Tuesday morning Bible study group stopped meeting for the summer. And yet: the Thursday morning group, which I began attending, continues on. I’ve even led the discussion once and I’ll do it again next month.

The church service is actually on Facebook. We do communion with, as instructed, with whatever is available. That might mean Wheat Thins and shot glasses of Blueberry Peach Cobbler from our local cidery.

Advances in technology

The opportunity to go into my bank has been diminished. And yet: the ATM at my bank, which had dispensed only twenty-dollar bills since forever is now allowing customers to get tens and fives. So if I need $100, I could get 3 $20s, 2 $10s, and 4 $5s, or whatever combination I want.

I understand my former colleagues are now more productive working from home.

My wife is now enamored with Google Classroom, which she barely used five months ago.

There are some innovations, such as no-touch door openers.

So we continue to adapt.

FTC Disclaimer: I noted links to a couple of products/services positively, but I received no remuneration for doing so.