We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, January 8. 2021
Hopefully calm will be restored as the nation moves back toward some semblance of whatever it is we consider 'normal' for the last 9 months. I hope things continue to improve as we move out of the Covid scare and fear mongering (yes, Covid is real, I had it as have many friends, but no it's not so bad for 95% of the people who get it). If we can move past all this, my job opportunities may improve.
Then again, who knows? I know few of you are on Facebook, but I am (or was). It allowed me to reconnect with friends and family and it's a useful tool. I've also shared Maggie's articles there with my friends, and met many other people who I share interests with. I am well aware of the privacy issues, but I know how to navigate them (part of my everyday job) and manage them effectively. There is, however, one thing I can't manage. It's the real problem we're facing today. It's the reason I deactivated my Facebook recently (after letting people know how they can reach me if they want/need to).
I am aware of many HR Departments doing sweeps of social media to find things out about people. I have heard several stories of pro-Trump people losing job offers. This doesn't surprise me at all in NYC today. The shift here has been significant from not just hating Trump to full-fledged belief that anyone who supports him is a deranged psychopath. I have never been a Trump supporter, but that doesn't mean anything because I've never hated him, either. It's best to hate him with the passion of a thousand suns in order to win approval with many organizations today.
I haven't loved him, haven't hated him, I've merely tolerated him, and realized his persona was a massive problem but that he was accomplishing some good things. I was for honesty and balance of thought and reason. Today, you can't be that way. You have to be a true believer, or at least not come across as a believer of "the other side". In other words, it is almost a requirement to be Progressive to be "acceptable". Such is the nature of modern definitions of Diversity - be like us or you're not acceptable. I'm all for Diversity. Diversity of thought, and respect for other views, without accepting the enforcement of those views on others by law, social shame, or other means of behavioral modification (brainwashing via education, for example).
Continue reading "A Dose of Reality"
Wednesday, January 6. 2021
The real issue I see coming out of what's going on in DC is not what has happened. What occurred in DC is not that different from what's been going on all summer. It's not right, it's uncalled for, and it doesn't matter who you support. It's just lawless behavior and it should've been stopped in the summer - just as it should be stopped here (and I'm sure it will be). It's wrong that the media spent the whole summer telling us riots were 'peaceful' protests and didn't care about the destruction of businesses and livelihoods. That was wrong. The only thing we 'lost' here was a few hours and a slowdown to the certification.
As a result, the credibility of our journalists has reached a new low. Today was wrong - we cannot pretend that this kind of behavior is acceptable regardless of who we want in office. But we've been told all summer that rioting is fine. It just matters what you're rioting 'for', I guess.
The REAL problem, as I see it, is that finally the politicians have a taste of what they've wrought...and they will use it to insulate themselves further from the people. And that will be a very bad situation. These politicians have outsourced their riots to other cities for years. They've never felt the wrath of the people. Now that they have, they are blaming the people for the problems they, the politicians, have created. You can be sure they will find ways to continue to distance themselves from us rather than realizing this is just the start of the people demanding our PUBLIC SERVANTS act like what they are, rather than acting as our overlords.
Saturday, December 26. 2020
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? My son says no. I say yes. My brother says yes, the director John McTiernan says yes, and a host of others say no.
Others play Solomon and split the baby. It's not a movie with a Christmas theme, but does include the element of Christmas. So, "no, but..."
Another way of looking at this is to ask if there was a message regarding "the system" in Die Hard. It was based on a book which was clearly anti-capitalist in nature, and McTiernan states it was supposed to be anti-capitalist. Frankly, I think he lost on that score. The proletarian nods don't really add up well. Capitalism had been so successful in providing more for all that by the time the movie was made some of the items he felt delineated 'wealth and privilege' from 'working class' were no longer meaningful. They are even less so today (assuming our economy had not been locked down, which has only exacerbated some of the divisions of wealth which were barely noticeable before).
That said, the most noticiable delineations of class today are not wealth-related, but power related as our "leaders" lock us down and lecture us on how to behave, only to go do the exact opposite things which they suggest we do. The real 'class warfare' today is power vs. the lack of it, not whether one has more money than someone else. Of course, that was always the nature of 'class warfare', but Leftists love to obscure that fact with a veneer of basic economic BS that only people with common sense can see through. McTiernan, therefore, fails miserably in his goal of making a legitimate anti-capitalist story. Mainly because there is no legitimate anti-capitalist story to be made. Unless you are a "trained Marxist" and know how to create one out of whole cloth. (For what it's worth, the term "trained Marxist" always made me laugh. I studied Economics at The New School, which tried very hard to push the Marxist agenda, and I read quite a bit of Marx, Hobsbawm, Gordon and a host of other Marxist garbage. So I'm a "trained Marxist" and one of the things every single Marxist professor said was "Marx left no blueprint, only an idea with no path forward and no clear goal except revolution." That's why Marxism and Leftist thought is such utter BS. Unlike Classical, Neo-Classical, Monetarist or even Austrian schools of thought, Marxism is just an idea and not a fully-formed one, but full of childish and misleading binary concepts. Though I will credit Marx with completely shifting the study of History in a very meaningful and useful fashion.)
At any rate, to me Die Hard is very much a Christmas movie and very much a pro-capitalist one. After all, Hans Gruber himself, like so many Marxists before him, only cared about the power he was managing (his gang) and the money he was trying to collect, and was utilizing a facade to perpetrate his crime...you know, like BLM and Antifa today. These movements are cargo cults, full of images that seem to 'make sense' but cannot ever effectively achieve the goals they have set for themselves because they are inclined only toward one thing. Perpetual Revolution.
Thursday, December 24. 2020
Wednesday, December 23. 2020
Friends of mine have barraged me with commentary on the "disaster" that Florida is, particularly with regard to Covid. Anecdotally, I was told urban (and this seems to confirm) ICUs typically range from 55-80% full at any given time, depending on seasonality. The current occupancy rates, in some places, are in the 90s, so while that is very high, it's worth noting ICUs are usually very full. The real concern is the ability to expand, as needed. I believe, based on the response in April, this is something our system can handle fairly effectively. I'm not being too relaxed or naive. I'm not diminishing or putting down the efforts of our medical personnel. I am applauding them for their efforts, their hours, their professionalism, and creativity as they have found many solutions and treatments along the way to help mitigate and ease many of these issues. That is the beauty of not only our medical system, but our overall economic system. Flexibility and ingenuity.
Our friend the Manhattan Contrarian has presented his excellent piece on why Florida has made New York look silly and misguided in the midst of all this.
I doubt the media will present the story as MC has. I applaud our friend MC for presenting the facts. After all, he lives near the center of the echo chamber.
I'll toss in one more point of comparison - New Jersey, which like NY has similar governance, though a much smaller population (8.9mm) than Florida (21.5mm) and New York (19.5mm). Covid cases have reached 440k in NJ, about in line with where Florida is as a percentage, but it has almost 19k deaths - similar to Florida (older and with a larger population). Comparatively speaking, New York City alone has roughly the same population as New Jersey, but has had roughly the same number of cases as New Jersday (390k) and more deaths (24k).
"Follow the science" is a real thing, but not the way Progressives present it. For them, it's really "Follow the politics, which pretends to be science."
Sunday, December 6. 2020
Tuesday, November 3. 2020
So far, for the second straight election, the Dems overspent for a "Blue Wave" and as yet it seems more like a ripple.
It's early, but if everything holds pretty much as it is now, it's instructional. Dems do not know how to spend money properly. They spend too much for too small a payout.
Saturday, October 31. 2020
Some examples of where errors may occur:
Sunday, October 11. 2020
Somewhat related to the above, at Quillette: How We Lost Our Way on Human Rights. One quote:
Thursday, October 8. 2020
I don't know how many Maggie's readers utilize social media, in particular Facebook. I do use Facebook, for a variety of reasons, even though I am aware of the privacy issues it poses. It remains a very good tool to share thoughts, experiences, moments in time, etc. It has helped me re-connect, and stay connected, to many family members and friends. I have investigated other, less intrusive, media like Parler, but I have not made that move to utilize yet.
I am not writing about social media, per se, though. Whatever your thoughts on its benefits or detriments are yours and you're welcome to them. Social media is a reality now, and I doubt it will be going away anytime soon. Personally, I don't use Instagram, Twitter, or most other social media. I limit myself to Facebook and Linked In. One for personal, the other for work.
What I find particularly troubling lately is the number of friends I have posting pictures of themselves mailing in ballots and writing "I voted, make sure you do, too - you know who I voted for." This is no different than taking a selfie while you're in the voting booth and saying "I voted, you know who I voted for." And while some people have done this, most people would find it very distasteful.
This may be the new reality, though. If it is, it's a troubling problem for the democratic process. The social pressures to 'vote the right way' are being ramped up. A new generation may not understand the problems with this, and many people who don't understand Democratic Theory may not, either. Here is a view supporting selfies which I find abhorrent, since the premise is based on the reason it being good is that it allows millienials to "convey information about their political views and engage with their friends about elections." No offense, but the vote itself is, and should be, private. While many of us share our political views, and even how we voted, that's a personal choice - not a fashion statement. Turning voting into a fashion statement is a dangerous thing. For what it's worth, the article supporting selfies points out that fraud is typically engaged via mail-in votes - a fact I'm sure Slate has shifted its position on in the last few months...
A final note. As I pointed out in the first sentence, the privacy issues of Facebook are problematic. Imagine sharing your selfies on Facebook, which already has collected a ton of information about your political views from your posts, what you've clicked on, even sites you've visited (just a reminder - not having a Facebook account does NOT mean you're immune to them collecting your data. They can do it whether you're on there or not - and they certainly do collect it.), and now they can prove from your selfie that you 'did the right thing for the party.' It's a pleasant thought.
Tuesday, September 29. 2020
Friday, September 18. 2020
The story of Brave New World preceded 1984 and other dystopian totalitarian/collective novels. It also provides a counterpoint - the idea that there might be a way to accomplish the collective through positive interaction and genuine agreement. Huxley realized this was a seductive approach, but one fraught with problems, all of which eventually bubble up over time. Collectives require some form of force, or provision to derive agreement, to survive over longer periods of time. Widespread collective agreement, even on a small scale, can only be temporary. Huxley saw the value of propaganda, drugs, and psychological manipulation...as well as genetic engineering...to help achieve that "provision to derive agreement" and achieve a means to a presumed end.
There is, of course, no end that is always utopian and happy. That's the farce of our 'science-based' leaders and protesters out there - believing society can be, somehow, manipulated (or forced) into happiness and perfection. Huxley knew that. The critical flaw in Brave New World is the technological advancement and wealth this 'collective' creates. As we know, that is literally impossible. None has ever achieved it, none ever will. Despite that, Brave New World provides a cautionary tale on falling for seductive ideas that run against human nature. And, oddly enough, it aligns very well with the 'science' of the current covid political management...the willingness of people to fall in line to 'save' society.
Sunday, September 13. 2020
Dystopian science fiction writers must be laughing right now.
There is a reason political functionaries are being assholes about wearing masks - and it isn't about keeping you 'safe' (a common lie used to expand power).
Don't get me wrong, masks can play a role in reducing the likelihood of catching the virus, but it's just a delaying tactic. It's not preventive. There is a larger political play here...even if some of us are not capable of understanding it.
Most science fiction dystopias are based on reducing the individual into a collective hive. The Borg on Star Trek, Harrison Bergeron by Vonnegut, 1984 by Orwell - all of these (and many others) found ways to subjugate the individual to the will of the state or hive.
Humans differ from other animals in a few key ways, which in aggregate make us rather special. The opposable thumb, the ability to analyze situations and prepare plans, the sense of self and free will (self-actualization). Where animals that reject individualism have a level of success in groups or hives - what people who overemphasize these fail to note is that humans exceeded the limitations of groups by emphasizing the individual initiative.
Hives have their place, they can be useful even for humans. Collectives can work, temporarily and in small groupings, if they are VOLUNTARY. But the problem with modern people is they fail to recognize that capitalism and free markets allow for voluntary collectives to form, disband, and form again.
Think corporations are powerful? Name 10 that have lasted more than 100 years. The few that have managed to survive that long only did so one way - by playing political games, or gaining some form of monopoly power guaranteed by the state itself. Natural monopolies can exist over short periods of time, but fall apart without state protection. That is why socialism can only fail, over time. It is an unnatural state monopoly formation. Even fascism, which is a form of socialism, fails because it is still the state dictating the means of production. While competition can exist, it's limited and reduced, innovation is stifled and winners are chosen by political functionaries.
Individualism, in socialism and fascism, is reduced to whatever the state says is acceptable and limited.
Friday, September 11. 2020
My memory of 9/11 is pretty vivid. I won't go into details about what happened, we all have our personal views on how/why/what all occurred. These views are based on where we were, what we were doing, and what we choose to believe.
I don't believe the 'truthers' and their conspiracies. All you need for a good conspiracy is a couple of willing believers and some good memes that are logical fallacies. But I'm not going to share what I believe happened, either. We're all allowed to believe what we want, even if I don't agree with what someone else believes. That's called a marketplace of ideas. Sometimes there are lemons being sold in that marketplace. The nice part of the marketplace is this - I don't have to buy the lemons.
Getting past that, I have other memories. People coming together. People pulling together. Without any impetus from a 'leader'. Spontaneous organization and commitment to each other. Race differences disappeared. People cared about each other and making sure they were getting what they needed. I remember it as a "lockdown" of sorts. I didn't go back to work for 2 weeks, working remotely from home, just like the last 6 months. Of course, my office was by 14th Street, which had limited ability to cross. Our office felt it best to let the responders have as much space as possible. I saw similar behaviors in the Northeast Blackout of 2003, 2 years later. Spontaneous organization, not something we needed leaders for. People working together, finding solutions to issues we all faced.
Continue reading "A 9/11 Thought"
Wednesday, August 12. 2020
I have seen almost no overt racism in my life, other than a bit of paranoia about Muslims on airplanes. I am not sure whether that counts as racism. Having been a victim of two crimes in NYC by black guys, and another in Cambridge MA, I am instinctively wary of guys in hoodies behind me on empty streets at night but I don't call that racism either.
I think the idea of systemic racism was invented when ordinary, disgusting racism disappeared with the passing of generations.
Related, The Myth that Is Systemic Racism
Thursday, June 11. 2020
Apparently, Seattle is now epicenter of the revolution which we have all waited breathlessly for. The NYTimes has headlines saying it's "Free Food, Free Speech and Free of Police", which I suppose is a start. We are expecting great things from these people. 'New ideas' we've never seen before. Lovely. Maybe the food is 'free', though nothing is ever free, and we certainly know the speech is only free if you agree with them. But I'm fairly certain the area is free of police. For now.
Remember a few years ago at Malheur, and those supposed 'right-wing extremist' loony birds were roundly misrepresented by the press? Yeah, me either. Didn't happen. The Feds didn't kill anyone there, either.
I'm sure this Seattle experiment will go really well. Just like Christiana did originally (cough, cough).
By the way, can I just also mention how proud I am of my alma mater's devotion to presenting fact-based opinions and respecting free speech? We're leading the way! Future donations on my part will not be part of the plan. I can show my point of view by withholding money.
Monday, June 8. 2020
Ghosts don't exist, except in history. These ghosts live in our minds, because we are aware of history and hope 'it can't happen here', or that lessons are learned. But some choose to not be aware of history, and make every effort to bring ghosts to life.
For several months, since listening to the French Revolution portion of the Revolutions podcast I mentioned here at Maggie's, I've told friends we're moving toward a new French Revolution. As Minneapolis moves to defund its police department, one can only wonder, will it be replaced with a Committee of Public Safety? In a perverse way, I hope they do create one.
The ghosts of Marat, Robespierre, Danton and countless others are alive again. I'm sure our modern day radicals will say "This time is different" or "It wasn't done right the last time" or some other excuse will be provided. I have to admit, though, it's fun to see these people turn on their own kind. It's also frightening. A friend of mine was sending me pictures today from Manhattan of the destroyed store fronts. It's pretty extensive, and the minimal news coverage of how bad it was provides a kind of rationale for the radical influence to keep pushing. There is no shame in destruction if it's not visible. But the destruction, too, is a ghost - not visible to many.
Jonathan Turley puts his own spin on it here. Being a modern-day Abbe Sieyes isn't something I thought I'd begin to aspire to, but it may be a worthwhile goal nonetheless.
Sunday, May 31. 2020
This morning, watching the news, I simply told my son "never join a mob." The police can't win in a situation like this. If they do nothing and people get hurt, businesses and homes are destroyed. If they do something, a video will call out the 'bad cops'.
There's nothing to be gained in a mob. You get to be part of a crowd, and sure that's 'fun'. You're in with the 'in crowd'. But when it all goes south, you stand a chance of getting arrested or worse.
I hope we can all agree what happened to George Floyd, and many others like him, was unnecessary and requires action. I hope we can all agree peaceful protests of this kind of thing are useful and necessary as part of our nation's traditions. I'm sure we can all agree riots and destruction are counterproductive and unnecessary. They do not represent a revolutionary movement.
I've seen many people making comparisons of the looting and riots to the Boston Tea Party. This is just nonsense. While it's true that John Hancock and Samuel Adams were happy to see the tea tossed because it kept prices on their smuggled tea high, many others opposed the Tea Party, with Washington and Franklin calling for restitution to the East India Company. So criticism of destruction also has a long history in our fine nation.
That said, the East India Company existed by mandate of the Crown, and was an arm of the government. While it was 'private' in construct, even Parliament recognized it was both a political and economic entity. Taxes were only part of the way the Crown benefited from the East India Company. So any attack on the tea was an attack on the government, by default. Burning or looting Target stores are not an attack on the US government or local governments. The looting had nothing to do with depriving the government of anything, nor is it a statement about government. It's just violence and destruction for the sake of violence and destruction.
Taking the comparison further, the Boston Tea Party was not an uncontrolled riot. It was, by most accounts, generally orderly. Armed British ships did not make a move to intervene. The participants went so far as to sweep the decks clean afterward. This was not mob behavior. This is the kind of protest one should feel comfortable joining.
After being cooped up for 2 and half months, any spark was likely to result in an overreaction. Criminal elements love a protest, particularly one they can turn into a riot. Protests require strong leaders, soft guidance, and respect for order. But none of this exists with the 'protesters' in our current situation. There is no Martin Luther King here.
George Floyd should not be dead. His murderers should be arrested. The reaction is still wrong and cannot be justified. Each is a separate crime in itself. The riots should not be linked to Floyd's death, they should be linked to violent thugs seeking to cause problems.
Don't join a mob.
Friday, May 22. 2020
Yesterday, a post by a fellow commentator addressed whether anyone would listen to epidemiologists again. This, in itself, is not a controversial question. There is a range of opinions, even among epidemiologists, on how to deal with viral outbreaks. That said, most posts are designed to create a discussion. None are likely to ever come to any complete answer, though hopefully some shared ground can be hammered out. It seems this did not occur and considerable animus was shared in the comments section.
I will begin by saying I have not lost anyone to Covid, but I can list about 15 people in my family who are at risk. They have all been isolating, as they should. They know isolation won't prevent them from getting ill, as we know there are many other problems with isolation. But it is a safety feature. There are no guarantees for any of us.
The questions which remain are whether we 'flattened the curve', actually 'saved lives', and even if we could do these things.
There is no way, literally none, to answer whether we 'flattened the curve' or 'saved lives'. Saying we did will only be based on what you presume may have happened otherwise. That's not science, that's an opinion. My opinion is we didn't and can't do either, but my opinion is no better informed than yours. I base my reasoning on logic. Isolation has happened, and people are still getting sick despite isolation. The virus spreads more easily in confined spaces, and shutting up a family with one asymptomatic member may well doom the entire family. Multi-generational homes in Italy, where that kind of living is more common than in the US, certainly played a role in the Italian situation.
Continue reading "The Personalization of Disease"
Sunday, April 19. 2020
I'm not sure if it's unfortunate fallout or collateral damage, but I had a conversation with a friend who, like me, battled Covid. Their battle was much worse than mine as they were in an at-risk group. But they survived, as did other family members who eventually got milder cases. The net result is this person is now virulently anti-Trump, blaming him for a host of things that simply have no basis in reality. Previously, we'd shared a belief that Trump isn't our favorite president, he's badly flawed, and while I'd been more ambivalent, we basically weren't too far apart.
Yesterday, I realized his experience caused him to jump the shark and become a full-on Trump hater. I don't understand how you can blame Trump for a virus, or even the response to it. This is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. H1N1 was, so far, more damaging than Covid worlwide, and it also cut a broad swathe across demographics. Covid has not finished its tour yet - but is clearly very specific in its opportunism. The primary difference that I have noticed in the nature and spread of H1N1 and Covid is that Covid erupted mightily in New York City (media capital) while H1N1 was more damaging to other regions of the US. There could be much to discuss here. What's clear is H1N1 will be seen as less damaging to the US because fewer people died (lower population in affected areas, more diffuse, etc.), while the media attention of Covid was heightened because our media elites felt threatened and made it the #1 story to scare people. Few people will remember Obama's slow (and ultimately meaningless) response to H1N1, nor will they remember that nobody blamed him for over 13,000 deaths. It was a virus.
A newly released study shows how widespread Covid likely is. I shared this with my friend, but was rebuffed entirely. No interest in viewing useful information.
Continue reading "Unfortunate Fallout"
Tuesday, April 14. 2020
I was speaking with a friend, prior to the lockdown, about Covid and the political repercussions. His view was the politicians would overreact/overreach for one reason - demographics. He believed, and this is now proving to be correct, that the black population would be disproportionately hit. There are higher incidences of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, alcoholism - all at-risk traits. As a result, there'd be a need to try to 'protect' these people and manage the data. They did a good job with the data, but as usual, you can't hide the truth all the time.
These at-risk traits are the natural result of bondage to the state. As the US moved heavily to institutionalize all kinds of state aid to 'lift up' a downtrodden people, the government created a permanent underclass that is in thrall to the state, and engaging more irresponsible behaviors as a result (please note, I'm not saying black people are irresponsible - this is true of people of many ethnicities who have become multi-generational recipients of state aid). Taking responsibility for one's life is hard, and it's hard work. The state can step in and solve all that for you, though. Free health care, free food, free homes. It's good stuff, if you can get it. You can even become a 'Covid Patriot' full time by just going along with state aid.
So it's no surprise to see calls for 'reparations' for Covid hitting the black population so hard. Yes, they have suffered more. I'm not sure the survivors deserve 'reparations' though. After all, it's hit men disproportionately, too. Perhaps we can have calls for Covid reparations for men?
Thursday, April 9. 2020
As I've been recovering, one thing I've thought about is the next four years. There is still a chance (slim, but still exists) Biden could win. So far it seems Trump continues to consolidate his position. His leadership through this isn't what I'd call strong, but then again I don't pay attention to leaders much. I keep hearing how great Cuomo is, but I don't pay attention to him, either. What little I've seen isn't impressive. After all, he was shrinking health care in New York until he decided to play superman. Not to mention he has his fair share of lies and misrepresentations, as all politicians do.
Regardless of which politician you want to listen to, believe, or support, the reality is we'd get through this with or without leaders. Most plagues in the past weren't worse because of poor leadership. Leadership, however, is what democracy and politics is about. So that's why the election is still important. Nothing has changed from a geo-political standpoint, we still need to present ourselves on the world stage.
That is why I decided to write this, because I'm curious to see how many people are familiar with a certain character who was, not too long ago, elected DA of San Francisco. Chesa Boudin. I was introduced to this character by a good friend and I began reading up on him. I realized he is someone to pay attention to because he may be one of the most dangerous people in the US today. In fact, I've begun to believe the Biden candidacy is a campaign designed to undermine the fundamentals of the Democratic Party, drive it further left, and have more characters like Chesa take over as part of a 'drive for younger people who care and vote'. Sounds conspiratorial, but if you know his life story, it's nothing short of a grooming and it's been stage-managed by a cabal of deeply committed leftists. Look for him to become governor of California and ultimately a player on the national stage, driving a very hard left agenda with him.
I don't think Wikipedia is the be-all-to-end-all resource, but note something about the entry. Totally non-threatening. He seems approachable. He's not appearing as a revolutionary, even though he was raised and indoctrinated by revolutionaries of the deepest hard-left ideologies. The devil will appear as a friend, approachable, likable even. He'll make grand promises, utopian in nature. He'll have a good track record, and will be 'qualified'. He's still the devil. I don't believe this fellow is a bad person - I don't even know him. I wouldn't call him 'the devil'. But his ideology, his supporters' beliefs - that is the work of something truly evil.
Monday, April 6. 2020
I'm now about 12 days into my Covid experience, and I'm getting better. I probably thought I was better than I was. I went out and raked for hour yesterday, trying to benefit from fresh air for the first time and get a little exercise. I was pretty wiped out after that. So I'm resting today. I may have the mild version, but it doesn't make it less difficult to recover from.
However, I'm moving into newer territory. The cough is diminished significantly, the headache has eased, and my main issue now is hydration. I seem to be dehydrated no matter what I do. So I drink a lot of water and Gatorade. But my appetite is back, and I'm finally moving more. Sleep is still at a premium...10 hours every night.
My brother also has it. He has a much tougher version, but he also has adult onset diabetes. So he's at-risk. He's struggled much, much more than I have, had many more symptoms, and is fighting it still. He is also getting better, but at a much slower pace. He warned me not to rake yesterday. He was probably right.
What I'm more concerned about now is not my health, but where we go in the post-shutdown world...
I fear we're not going to move in the best directions. Value structures are a mess. The social shaming over this is an example of the worst of what can happen, and I (sadly) see this as something people will engage in more of.
Thursday, April 2. 2020
Not too long ago, I shared my views on Covid-19 and the lockdown. I still stand by my (often misunderstood) position and I feel that after this is over, I'll still stand as having a well-developed viewpoint. Meanwhile, as we sit in the midst of all this, I am now officially 3 weeks working-from-home. The Covid numbers have continued to rise, the deaths have risen as well, and the newsmedia has...ratcheted up the fear factor as high as possible. Even my sister, down in Florida (where even she admits nothing is happening of any note) is freaking out and running scared.
Well, today I chatted by phone with her and shared with her something I'll share with all of you. I am Covid-19 positive. I found out yesterday.
Let me share some of my own personal thoughts and some of my doctors' comments.
First, I was told "this is a high-powered flu". By 3 different doctors who checked me or spoke with me. Second, "No, there's nothing we can do unless you have respiratory distress, so please monitor yourself carefully." Yup. I do that anyway. Third, there were no lines at the station where I got checked. Called first, drove up, got out, they checked me in a field tent, sent me to another field tent, and did the swab (annoying, but not horrible...a Q-Tip WAY UP into your sinuses). Doesn't hurt. You do sneeze a little.
I am in good general health. I work out regularly, good BP, good pulse rate, not an ox by any standard, but I'll keep up with most people my age, and probably surpass them (55+, in case you're wondering).
My first hints of the virus were on Tuesday 3/24. A little coughing, lots of mucous, etc. Not a dry cough. By Thursday, Mrs. Bulldog was saying "You're coughing too much, I don't want people on our walks to think you have it, so stay home." Fine...I stopped taking walks. I had started having headaches (sinus) anyway. The headaches got worse. By Friday, my head was pounding, the cough was persistent, and it was dry. No fever. No rash. 3 days of (sorry) diarrhea began.
Over the weekend, the headaches intensified, the coughing got worse. I was more or less stuck on the couch watching movies, in a very annoyed frame of mind. By Sunday, it was suggested I get tested.
So we arranged it, and yesterday at 3pm the results were back. Positive.
Of course, by now the headache is starting to fade. It's still there, but Tylenol keeps it reduced. The coughing is still there, but laying down helps it stop (don't lay down too much...no need to promote pneumonia). I've been sleeping 10 hours a night. The really weird things, and there are 2 of them, are the general haziness of frame of mind - I can't concentrate very long - and what I'd call "fever dreams without the fever." I don't know how to describe these, but I have the strangest dreams all night. Then I wake up in the morning very dehydrated and have to drink a pint or two of water.
My doctor voiced concern over the number of cases, but also pointed out that "it's just a flu that is worse for at-risk people, you're not at risk. Just stay vigilant, take care of yourself and you should be fine."
So if this were the normal world - I'd take 2-3 weeks off from work, and get better. Instead, I've had 3 weeks off, and based on current protocol I will have AT LEAST (if my symptoms play out normally) 3 more weeks off (because my office says 2 weeks after cessation).
For what it's worth - most people in the US, after 6 weeks off from work, will be broke. If it goes longer, who knows. At this point, the "cure" is worse than the disease. Trump is right to consider opening some counties as soon as possible - like any other pandemic, this has areas of concentration. We can limit exposure to those regions, and keep the rest of the nation working well.
Stay healthy. Stay vigilant. I do believe there is much more, politically, to play out. At this point I no longer believe it's mainly a health crisis (if it ever was). It's a political one.
ps - I had to inform my HR Department - just a public safety thing. Naturally, I got a call back today...all pre-arranged, and about exactly what I supposed. They were trying to determine if I could have caught it anywhere else but at the office. "AVOID LAWSUITS AT ANY COST" must be their view. Can't blame them, I suppose. Not that it would stop me if I was litigious. Thing is, nobody can EVER prove where they got it from. I commute, via train, every day. I went to the bank. I was playing poker one night with 50 people at a bar the week before being sent home (won $650 and the tournament WITH A ROYAL FLUSH - not a joke, totally telling the truth, I have pictures...it's the poker players' Hole-in-One). So I could have gotten it anywhere...and I admitted that. Because it doesn't matter where I got it from. I KNEW I was going to get it. That was the point of my original article. If you believe you can avoid it, you're fooling yourself. I DO NOT believe social distancing works. But don't worry - they politicians and other liars will convince you it's working.
Wednesday, March 18. 2020
Some things to consider in the Covid-19 panic. I've always known Covid is real, and that it's slightly more dangerous than the flu. I'm quite aware of how the mortality rate is considerably higher than some other viral outbreaks, especially with the elderly and those suffering health conditions. I've been less than convinced there is anything we could have done to stop it, short of shutting the nation down completely in January and keeping it shut down for about 2 months....which seems to be where we've gone anyway. That said, even extreme measures are unlikely to stop the spread. I've always supported an abundance of caution. But now that we're here with extreme measures, let's think calmly about HOW we got here.
Fear. Just fear. Yes, many of us would've gotten sick. Yes, some people would die. We can talk all we want about flattening the curve to keep hospital facilities from being overrun...while ignoring how herd immunity is being compromised. Furthermore, in shutting down in the manner we did, we basically sent people on 5 days of panic shopping whereby anyone infected and shopping was busy spreading the virus. It seems to me, the 'cure' is just as bad as letting it run its course. By increasing fear and panic, and even potentially the spread.
What's really concerning to me, however, is less the health issue and more the socio-political issue. This is the largest non-partisan event of our lifetime, and it's been heavily politicized. To that point, consider this - Democrats, who only a week ago complained that President Trump was abusing power, now are complaining that he isn't using enough power to 'fix' this.
Continue reading "Some Notes From Home"
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