185 Words or Less – DNA and the Who Done It of Today…

Standard

I find the crime shows so intriguing. Watching Law and Order has long been a passion of mine, as well as CSI, Headline News and the numerous programs involving crime fighters and despicable villains. Growing up, the stern, earnest detectives of Dragnet and the cowboys in white hats hunted and got the bad guys the old fashioned way. Cloak and dagger in a raincoat, or a busty barmaid’s tip always helped them get their man.

Today, most are solved in a lab, or on a pathologist’s table. Cell phone records, social media, and DNA data banks can solve a dastardly slew of serial killings and prove, or disprove a suspect’s guilt. Science gets the needed results. The killer is caught and justice is served. Often in less than an hour.

Here’s what puzzles me. With so many fans glued to the miracles of science on their TV screens, why do so many fear the Covid vaccine? If they trust science to solve the case, why not trust science to protect us from this terrible disease? After all, it’s a serial killer, too.

’twas a cat on my head this morning

Standard
'twas a cat on my head this morning
as I slumbered, unencumbered, in bed.
He rounded my pillow, and sat
settling in, like a hairy, soft hat.
Then, he started to purr, this bundle of fur
and looking, I'm certain, demure.
Soon, a tail switched over my nose
as he washed both his ears and his toes.
He moved onto my hair, quite unaware
of my protests with nary a care.
Removing him became quite a chore
as he thought it a small act of war.
I grabbed 'round his middle, as he yowled like a fiddle
and placed him down on the floor. 
Hence, he sped to the kitchen like he'd seen a bewitching
and checked out his food dish and more.
In an instant he changed, his needs rearranged
as he sped, like the wind, through the door.
No longer a tiger, or great lion fighter
he sat by his dish, looking poor.
And circling my legs, he shamelessly begs
for a treat, or a spot of my cream.
Just a minutes ago, it was fight, toe to toe
was it real, or a feline filled dream?
A scratch here and there, quickly made me aware
that, indeed, there'd been an assault.
But how could this be, as gazed up at me
with a look of "it wasn't my fault."
So, I gathered him up in my arms, forgetting
his earlier harms,
and we sat down to try for a nap.
'twas a cat on my head this morning
and now he's asleep in my lap.










Who Wants to Make the Top 10 List?

Standard

The town where I live has a small school system. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, our 2018-19 enrollment was 512 students in total.  Our teachers work hard and are paid considerably less than those in bigger cities, and their jobs, as in many schools, requires a lot of social work in addition to teaching. Over half the students are considered low income, and in recent years, enrollment for non English speaking children has increased.

In addition to the drills for tornados and fires, the last few years have seen the need for active shooter drills. Chewing gum and passing notes are no longer a problem. Getting kids to stay quiet and pressed together to keep from being gunned down is the new worry.

And now, Covid-19. Masks, sanitizers, and thermometers will be housed near the chalk and pencil sharpener.  Students and teachers will be separated and sequestered in their rooms all day, with lunch at their desks and recess? With the CDC’s 60+ pages of guidelines mirroring the IRS tax code, it may take half the day just to get the children seated.

Betsy DeVos, the head of the Department of Education has insisted that children need to be in school this fall. She recently thought she’d provide some reassurance by declaring that “only 0.02% of children will die” once the schools start back in session.  For Galva, that means 10 students. Which ones do you think should be sacrificed? Should we chose one from each grade, just to be fair?  And those that get sick, and remain affected – what about them? Or, those who bring the virus home to parents, or grandparents – how many of those?  Miss Betsy failed to mention how many teachers would die, so that remains to be seen.

I’m wondering how many of our adult decision makers met in person to make the decisions about when, and how to open the schools. While I do not envy their job and admit that I can’t offer a better solution,  I doubt that they were in a room for 7 hours with 25 – 30 other people when they made these decisions. But, our teachers and children will be.  Five days a week.

I would be interested to know who is willing to let their child die so we can keep them all at their desks.  The first 10 who respond will win an autographed photo of Betsy.

150 Words or Less – The New Expendables

Standard

The Covid-19 pandemic was first a hoax, then a crisis and now China’s fault.  Initially, those most affected were Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, the incarcerated, the aged and infirm and the homeless. All expendable, and quickly forgotten. Stacked up like cordwood. Scientists, doctors, nurses and a few governors have tried hard to warn us of the true deadliness of the virus, only to be out numbered by Fox News pundits and gun wielding, Confederate flag waving mobs, all encouraged by the deranged man in the Whitehouse bunker.

States who have denied the lethalness of Covid-19 are seeing huge increases in positive cases and deaths. And yet, bars and beaches must be open, as “bar lives matter” becomes the new chant.

As more younger people fall victim to the virus, and it washes over our schools, our children will be the next expendables. Small stacks of cordwood will line the playground.

Fiddle Dee-dee Miss O’Hara

Standard

Margaret Mitchell’s tart and tantalizing Scarlett went from indulged to forsaken during the Civil War.  She saw her world crumble as her many protectors abandoned the sprawling plantation.  Some took to the hills and deserted her.  Some just died. Trauma induced lunacy claimed others. Untethered, she faced her fate alone.  In charge of a tumbled, uncertain future; returning to Tara was her only solution.

I see our world much like Scarlett’s.  Our states are once again at odds. Our lives, previously so insulated, are now unsettled and chaotic.  As we wage war against an invisible enemy, our protections erode. Task forces come and go. Our input and gains from a global effort are lost. We’ve been deserted by the lunatic in charge of the battle, and we cling to the notion that somehow, such horror could never happen to us. We are Americans! How dare we be inconvenienced!  We, too, want to return to our former world. Our Tara.

Rhett Butler’s famous line concerning the illusion of the Confederacy’s strength comes to mind. “All we have is cotton, slaves and arrogance” he warned the zealous young enlistees. Today our lifestyle is our cotton; our conveniences our slaves. And an arrogance that promotes blind allegiance to anything that speaks to our fears; a modern bravado that seeks out easy solutions to perceived threats. Those that find reality too difficult, or inconvenient, cling to theories that feed their need for security. Bizarre conspiracies posted on line, or twitter feeds at midnight go down easier than hard science. Rating-crazy talking heads spew out the latest disinformation, no longer thwarted by the need to fact check.  Those in the usual role model positions indicate one thing, and do another.  Analyze? Not any more. It’s now rationalize and sensationalize.  Facing facts means getting them. Not those alternative ones. The scientifically based facts.

And the facts tell us that we are dying. By the thousands. That increasing exposure by liberating our communities will increase the death toll. That those in charge have no plan other than to inspire the enemy.  And the voters. And the donors.

Clearly, we are on our own. Tara was, and is, a myth. But this virus is not. We will never be able to go home again. Not completely.

So, give a damn. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. And get your affairs in order. The winds are changing…

 

Winning the Race and Losing the Battle

Standard

Today, America is number one. Not in science. Not in healthcare. Not in climate control. Not in manufacturing. But, we are number one in Covid-19 cases.  Whether or not other countries have fewer or more, is not the point.  As of today, one million people are infected.  Fifty-five thousand are dead. And while some areas of the country have seen a leveling of numbers, people are still contracting the virus.  And the death count will continue.

Being far from the big city can give us small towners a false sense of security.  But we must take heed. The pandemics of the past hit cities first and then rolled into rural areas.  And round two was far more virulent than the first one. It’s quite possible that this pandemic could get worse, before it ever gets better.

Americans tend to feel indestructible. We’ve ridden a wave of success, domination and power since our forefathers created our republic.  Not so much any more. We’ve taken a back seat to Europe and Asia in the current war against an elusive virus. This time, we’re all soldiers, with little or imperfect ammunition and no Eisenhower or Patton to lead the charge. We all must do what we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

A new world is, indeed, on the horizon. But new isn’t always better. Everything about our world has changed. It will be a long time before we can right this ship, if indeed, we can survive the storm.

150 Words, or Less – “Give ’em Five”

Standard

Americans have always been generous.  They donate, tip and volunteer more than any other country.  Giving USA’s annual report on philanthropy shows that, in 2018, donations totaled  nearly $428,000,000,000. Tax law changes hurt some, as giving was down 4% from the year before. But the country still gave.

It is estimated that 6 in 10 Americans donated something in 2019, with individuals over the age of 55 giving the most.  Corporations provide the largest share, with foundations in second place and individuals coming in third. Wherever it comes from, charitable giving keeps the country going. It assists schools, the environment, the arts and the needy.  Without it, important programs and safeguards would disappear.

Local charities are suffering. Agencies that serve our communities need your help.  Families are hurting. Fund raisers have been shelved. Donations have plummeted. Consider choosing 5 favorite charities and send them each $5.00. Every month. If 100 do this, that’s $6,000/yr for each one. Give now. Please.

150 words, or Less. Elephant Has Left the Room

Standard

I grew up with Republicans. The ancient ones. The “fiscally conservative/socially moderate” folks. People like Eisenhower, who built the Interstate System, continued the New Deal and expanded Social Security.  Nixon, who resigned in disgrace, eased Cold War tensions, ended the draft, formed the EPA, created the first affirmative action program, enforced desegregation, saw the passage of the Clean Water Act and implemented Supplemental Social Security for the needy. Closer to home, Everett Dirksen,  war monger that he was, also fought to create the Civil Rights Acts of ’64 and ’68. The Rockefellers were probably the best example. They favored big business and Wall Street, but supported Unions, the building trades, and government spending on the environment, healthcare and higher education.  Six decades ago, the GOP fought for Civil Rights, Gender Equality, welfare programs and environmental protections.  I miss those people.  Their old, familiar elephant is now in a museum. Next to integrity.

150 Words, or Less – Take This Personally

Standard

The pleas for “social distancing” have me puzzled.  Such a strategy sounds more like advice for young teens with racing hormones than a public health necessity.  I find little about the current pandemic precautions to be social in any way.  To me, a call for “personal distancing” is more suitable advice.

Social drinking, along with pot lucks, bridge parties and birthday celebrations are what I consider entertaining contact with others. A deadly virus not so much. And yet, people in my own community continue to gather on porches, in garages and on their decks to socialize – thinking, I assume, that being outside is a “no-virus bubble.”  Furthermore, large delegations of family and friends still march in tandem though big box grocery stores, checking out the bargain bins and gathering up the necessary allotment of beef jerky and toilet tissue.

This is not a party, folks. Take this personally. Stay home!

Link

For those who plan to attend the 2020 Easter service at your place of worship…

Our leader, who art a heathen,
Hollow be thy fame.
Although you won.
We know how come.
Ask Putin,
To whom you’re cleavin’.
Give us today, no view of your head,
And quit with all the texts,
And let Fauci do his best.
And lead us not into annihilation,
By continuing your drivel.
For the world is not your kingdom,
As you sour in false glory,
Shut your mouth, sir.
Amen