Me, commenting on some of the creepy media* commentary and coverage and framing during COVID-19 era
( * Press and platformed, inclusive )
Welcome to your sweet sixteen (days), plague.
You're almost all grown up. Just a couple more.
Then you'll be eighteen . . .
[uncomfortable, creepy fuckety-fucking-fuck pause]
. . . and can vote.
It's an election year, too.
There's cake. And candles.
Please wait to blow them out until we have all donned our masks.
[sleezy fucking grin]
Thanks for waiting. Appreciate that.
Everyone's talking about you.
Can't get enough of you on the TV.
I bet childhood stardom is tough, huh?
But, WOW! if Bop Magazine was still in print you'd make the cover.
Enjoying the sun and warmth, dividing sedum.
[10:45AMish UPDATE]: My Task List also has 'Plant Phlox Along Back Patio Border' showing as Due Today. However, I've no phlox to plant. And since going to a nursery (likely not open) or a hardware store (likely open as considered essential during the KS Shelter-In-Place order) seems an unnecessary and unimportant reason and cause to be exposed to anything plague-like from the shambling zombies we all know and love, I guess I'm going to watch birds and read BURY YOUR DEAD by Louise Penny.
[11AMish UPDATE - corrected]: Can the Establishment and their wealthy, privileged mouthpieces* please step aside so we can cease with the unnecessary killing of US citizens directly, and indirectly through anxiety-induced health impacts from financial worry, and instead implement a meaningful universal health care system?
* They all know who they are. Though they won't admit it. Many don't have time. They're busy treating you like a Consumption Cog™ and are trying to sell you their next bit of whatever.
Yesterday was a great day work-wise. Productive. On the personal front, it was conflicting.
At our house, we make an effort to live a sustainable life. Trees are a part of that. We love trees. But two of our trees had to go. We decided that last October. Booked the service in advance. (Tree crews appreciate having booked work in the slower winter months.) The service we contracted with called a couple of days ago to schedule the workday: yesterday.
That's when the anxiety, and guilt, started bubbling.
An elm was sick.
The silver maple, brittle.
The silver maple had been dropping limbs and large branches. L-A-R-G-E, large! Last summer a windstorm took a branch so big, from near the top of the tree, it concerned us. Had it fallen on someone (even some thing) it would have caused serious, if not fatal, damage.
No matter the background and rationale. Within our practical logic, we found no comfort. Watching them take the trees wasn't easy.
So, that was our yesterday.
Today we're still sad. But we talk about where to plant trees elsewhere, to do our part to offset the loss of CO2 processing Mother Earth now has because of our action, our decision.
Yet magic finds a way.
Now the eastern sun embraces the front of our house. May it ever glow, and light a path, and Let the Sunshine In...
(Side note, for Supporters. I posted March '20 Rock-n-Roll Reads short story a bit ago. "Tangled Up In Blue" is LIVE. Check the For Supporters section of the website; you know the drill. Peace)
Okay. The thirteenth day of self-isolation falls on a Friday. And while I would love to embrace the spookiness of it—the auspicious nature—and while I also empathize with any Triskaidekaphobics reading this and involuntarily entering a semi-catatonic state, indulge me a moment for more pleasant thoughts.
Yesterday: 4 miles. Speed-walking. Nice day. Only a few people out when I was. Many dogs were being walked. Plenty of distancing was being created. And THAT bummed me, but only for a bit.
One of the people I ran into is a woman who is known to me. I don't know her. Hadn't met her. I won't go into details but she's experienced tragedy. We all do. And, although it's not fair or prudent or wise, or even accurate, to grade tragedies, hers is a powerful one that I think most everyone would rank near the worst types of tragedies someone can endure. We spoke. Briefly. A friendly face. A friendlier voice. A stream of asphalt separated us. But a bridge was built. She introduced herself. (It was that precise moment I realized who, in fact, she was.) We shared a few stories. About paths almost crossed. Near misses that prevented us from meeting before then.
A solid bridge. Crossing more than that neighborhood street. A good memory. A ward, a protection against superstition and fear.
Keep calm. Carry on.
A message to Weebly staff:
Why does your text editor just stop working? Thus preventing edits and corrections to text from being published? Exactly how long can you be in business and not fix problems extant for years? Tell me, honestly: Now that Square owns you, and Jack Dorsey is, de facto, at the helm, does his navel-gazing, self-involvement, and pursuit of spiritual enlightenment (after dumping a turd on humanity) prevent refinement and improvement bending toward progress?
12 . . .
. . . lunations of the moon, those familiar faces smiling down at us
. . . titans, Olympians, and the trials of a man as god
. . . apostles in the stead of precedents, characters for new stories
. . . silent winter nights waiting for gifts, for magi, for epiphany
. . . jurors locked away, quarantined as they travel innocence and guilt, carrying society like bags of sand
. . . clock numerals nobody now cares to read, time better misplaced and meant forgotten
Keep calm. Carry on.
I made pancake batter yesterday. A BIG batch, enough for two day's breakfast. Or a breakfast and an Elevenses meal. I put fresh cranberries in the mix. (I always buy extra during the holidays and freeze them so we have them throughout the year.) I added a few dashes of cinnamon too. The result. A taste like Christmas. Which was my intention. A trick of the mind, of more pleasant times.
I am not saying the illusion worked, but it totally worked.
Stay calm. Carry on.
3pm(ish). I wrote my Senators. Didn't dance around my thoughts. Went straight to the point.
The United States of America and the world is facing a healthcare crisis with the COVID-19 epidemic. The relief bill is an affront to human life, a grotesque mockery of the workers of America (providing so little in a great time of need), and is another example of corporate welfare the Republican Senators are always too willing to dole out. It is disgusting.
Is there generic social media outrage happening about this so-called relief bill related to the COVID-19 pandemic? How's it going? Conversation productive? As long as the cool kids are getting enough RTs of their hot takes to ensure inflated self-importance regarding their doing good in the world.
4pm(ish). Logged into the podcast's Twitter account. Each day during the pandemic, I am trying to spread the (good)word. I share only a few (no sense in contributing to flooding) quality-sourced bits of information or news to Sunflower State folks who follow us directly or have us listed. Today, I came across the following:
I understand timing is problematic and the intersection of what was planned and what's happening in the world right now couldn't necessarily have been predicted. Still, given the extent of the current situation and the resulting anxieties—the literal little fires—the wording and the choice to continue to promote this hashtag comes across as crass. A bit tone deaf. At least to me. If it were promoting some independent (artist) creation, I could maybe write it off as the gallows humor of an indie creator or troupe. Hell, I'd appreciate that. But this is BIG business production leveraging a BIG tech platform, trying to create virality. Irony.
There are still people collecting people in this time of trouble. (Think Professor Slughorn, only they don't collect famous persons but gather the throngs to themselves for a gluttonous feeding of their own psyche.) Sadly, many pretend to do good in the name of others. One person in particular—Austin-based—reads like horribly written fortune cookies. Another, quietly gloms onto the work of other(s) and, desperate for attention, repackages and reissues it—disguised as helpful advice and care for others. A vainglorious pursuit. (That writerly bros are so depraved is certainly a comment on state of America's cultural affairs.)
Finding humor is important in times like this. To keep the shadows in check. The horror in witnessing human beings engaged in the above during a pandemic makes me chuckle.
Another act making me laugh right now are statements indicating the economy is valued more than human lives. That certain persons equate human existence with the economy is troublesome. Economic endeavor and activity is A PART of existence, not the only part. And that certain persons would sacrifice life for economic metrics is absurd. And that absurdity makes me smile and chuckle. These people only value beans (profit). They have them counted, and they store them in little urns: Capitalist canopic jars™. As they have no soul, they have no need to use such containers for their entrails. Beans! For them, life is all about beans.
People need food right now. And medical care. How we deliver and how (even if) we are compensated matters little. Certainly we can be compensated with fiat currency. Precious metals. Gemstones. Or we can provide what's needed voluntarily and without immediate concern for stock indexes, GDP, and other metrics that are meaningless to the care of human beings and the upholding of life.
Something for readers to consider. Both the following statements can be true:
1. It's crass to view the human experience exclusively as economic endeavor, and people are foolish for ignoring transmission risks and health effects of the Coronavirus by suggesting people get back to work too soon merely for the sake of 'the economy.'
2. Certain people pointing out the foolishness of above said persons (see #1) stoke anxiety, cater fear, and pander to and over-encourage self-care to the point of rampant despondency and inaction in the broader populace because their bottom-line is driven by garnering the attention of others. They profit through their influence (sell movies, sell clicks and views, sell books, etc). To an extent, they have a vested interest in keeping people tuned in to drama, real or manufactured, because they can profit from it. YES; those suggesting others are wicked for focusing on the economy may themselves be engaging in the shoring up of their own economic interests.
Keep calm. Carry on.
Filled the feeders in the backyard. Birds are already squawking and alighting on neighboring trees.
In the old days, I would have grabbed a chair from the patio table and slid a cigarette from a pack of Marlboro Lights and watched the birds for a while. Now it's just the chair. I can still listen to the birds though.
I can do that, and think about some of the good things that may come from this pandemic.
I am down seven pounds in last seven days. I am not sick. Much of my weight loss was due to the extra pounds I acquired while away, admittedly. That was easy weight loss. There's a little muscle mass loss, too. (I have lowered the amount of weight I exercise with since injuring my left arm in January.) However, some of the weight loss is attributable to careful eating and reducing portion size beyond pre-pandemic levels so I can try and shop only once a week during the self-isolation period.
And THAT is where I think one can find a silver lining in this cloud of pandemic.
Imagine the world being more conscientious of the amount they consume. We have to now, of course, because of worry. We're forced to limit our buying to two packages of X or Y. But what if aspects of this new reality took hold in individual, neighborhood and community behavior patterns?
Less consumption. Less waste. Less emission. Et cetera.
Perhaps anxiety has got a grip on you. Or you have a family member suffering right now and are rightfully in an emotionally heightened state. Perhaps you're not ready, or able, to consider 'beneficial' changes to the culture and attitudes and behaviors that may come from the COVID-19 pandemic. If you're not, I understand. Really, I do. I cannot help but consider all aspects. It's how I am wired. I think there's opportunity for the emergence of positive things.
Stay calm. Carry on. Listen to the birds. And, as always . . . smoke 'em if you got 'em.
UPDATE: The common grackles have established a beachhead. The main feeder is theirs. And they've reinforced the entirety of the backyard now. The robins, and sparrows, and chickadees are in desperate need. Their joy ebbs in the fading light of the new spring. And they search for an effective breach point in the common grackle's defenses. Alas, the bird wars of suburbia are a melancholy affair.
[post corrected for errors contained within original. sorry, I posted quickly, before prepping lunch]
Word came yesterday that starting Tuesday the greater KC area is under a shelter-in-place order. If this is a state of emergency why did bi-state leaders decide the enforcement could wait until Tuesday? Given the exceptions to sheltering in place built into the directive, certain arguments and reasons for the delay can be immediately set aside or are moot. I find this curious. Very curious.
Someone in my inner circle is being made more anxious by the tone and approach certain outlets are taking in their coverage of the pandemic. This is troublesome. My heart aches for them. Honing media intake and filtering distracting noise from melodic notes can be difficult. Media (including celebrities and personalities) can be as much foe as they can be a friend at times like this. I understand it's hard for some to step back, self-analyze and reflect, and attempt to isolate stimuli creating unproductive and unhealthy reactions. Frameworks, networks, and methodologies for coping are important.
Hello fellow pandemic-facing persons. Doing your best? Finding and taking note of things that bring you joy or comfort or are soothing? I hope so!!! Because the better you feel the more likely you might be to give of yourself and assist others in not as great a space as you have been able create for yourself. Like, folks completely cutoff from everyone they love because they reside in a care facility (we've one in our family). Or folks like old friends from high school, who I just discovered have lost their mother (unrelated to Coronavirus, best I can tell).
Stay calm. Carry on. Find a toehold, or fingerhold. Wrap your phalanges around 'em — and hang the fuck on.
(And, as always, if you are using social media and follow famous people, make sure their problems and anxieties aren't becoming your own just because you feel like you know them or can relate to them because they created something you enjoy or play a sport you like. Don't let someone else fill you. Psychic vampires are real, yo!)
That's it for now.
Hey! What is everyone doing today, Day 6 of social [corrected] distancing and self-isolation?
Me? Well, I played video games for a couple hours, early this morning. Was going to jam on guitar, again. However, last night's solo session was too awesome, and I want that memory to linger. So, I left the Six String on the stand. The short story wellspring remains clear and refreshing. I am biased of course. As the author of the stories that's not unexpected, is it? Readers will ultimately bring their own preferences and opinions and tastes to bear as they sip. Looks to be a small collection of short stories thematically related under the banner of titular commonality.
Perused the morning headlines. What a mistake. Shifting sands and tornadic winds. Many crafted storms dance around fewer actual ones. A Fujiwhara Effect results. A blurring occurs, making it harder to separate fact from fiction. Maybe I'll update this entry later, depending on whether I decide to share opinions or preliminary conclusions on the weirdness in greater depth. For now, I'll say this: The near future will likely prove out the ineffectiveness of tactics recently deployed in achieving sought objective(s). As pathetic as it was predictable. CHAOS didn't need to be romanced. It doesn't flirt or fuck. It breeds asexually. And its gestation period? An inverse curve. Its rate of reproduction ever shortening and quickening cycles as one travels the X-axis of time. It didn't need the matchmakers of recent memory. I find a certain ironic symmetry in the recent CHAOS-courting and the epidemiology of plague now confronting humanity.
If you have not already done so, you may want to visit the home page (at bottom) of this website after you read the following. Only a few days shy of exactly four years ago I created a graphic—for shits and giggles AND predictive TRUTH—referencing James Garfield. In light of betrayal of trust within alleged recent investment-related actions by certain politicians, as well as considering intent of the STOCK ACT of recent history, I leave readers and visitors with a quote from James Garfield during his days while serving as a U.S. Representative:
[N]ow, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand those high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.
A few weeks ago, on Twitter, I mentioned —in reply to the Fed lowering rates to help facilitate consumption— that I was more concerned about supplies and supply chain disruptions than I was about consumption waning. The random news stories and barren grocery store shelves confirm there's plenty of demand. Too much perhaps. (P.S. Don't hoard, people. Keep Calm. Carry on.)
Why the initial economic policy response to this pandemic by U.S. policymakers was lowering rates is totally lost on me. While I am presently less worried about food stocks (outside of the hoarding issue) I still see potential issues with the supply chain and other non-food supplies. Please do not read that last statement as I am panicked over supplies and supply chain. Nor worried. However, I am concerned about supplies (import restrictions) and supply chain (logistics and any necessary distribution pattern shifts). Some concern is warranted, if you use such positively—at least in my opinion.
I am hoping consideration for the common good allows any limited supplies and alterations in the distribution of goods to go where they are most needed. This only takes a mindset, an attitude. A disposition toward others like that I witnessed in a grocery store clerk on Day 1. I know the name of the clerk (I shop at this store often and know many of the team on staff) but will refrain from stating it because I did not ask her permission. She was talking to an elderly couple who were looking for specific items they needed or desired. They had gone to numerous stores. And found nothing. They were noticeably frustrated, and likely afraid. I was standing several feet away, by design. (Social distancing, yo!) But I could hear the conversation completely. After a minute or so of banter the grocery clerk finally said: "I understand. I do. And thank you for understanding. It will take all of us. We're in this together."
Smiling, I nodded at the clerk and remained in place to give the elderly couple plenty of room to pass by.
It's now been almost five days. I have chewed on that life-affirming interpersonal exchange for as many days. NEVER have I found a better food item in that store than this...and I shop there regularly and always enjoy what they offer for sale.
Food for thought.
Stay Calm. Carry On.
Excerpt from a longer post I made in the Supporters section of this website:
Wisdom exists in forgotten or unseen or unfamiliar corners. And it is, unfortunately, often overlooked or deemed nonexistent for reasons of social status, or lack thereof. And mistakes repeat.
Happy St Patrick's Day, everyone.
It may seem a weird greeting, perhaps. Given our present situation here on Planet Earth, Mother Nature jabbing her COVID-19 pandemic finger at our collective chest. But I don't believe my celebratory greeting odd. I think it necessary. The luck of the Irish is not what's being elevated. Rather I am celebrating intention. The resolve contained within the legendary story of Saint Patrick. A kind of deliberate (symbolic) protection of life Saint Patrick embraced in the tale. The chasing away of snakes. Effort done for the benefit of others. Of a dedicated purpose.
Even now, with immediate events uncertain, we can do more than hope and pray. We can choose. We can act. Be guided by wisdom and intelligence and help our fellow brothers and sisters in humankind.
There is life happening. And there is much more to come. I believe this.
I decided to draft a short story to be sent to health and elder care facilities, to be read by staff to residents who might be feeling a bit vulnerable given so many of these facilities are on lockdown to visitors.
Story is called THE MONKEY THIEF. It is about a particular universal aspect of human experience, drawing inspiration from a recent encounter I had while traveling.
It's impractical to begin self-isolation and self-distancing when you've been gone for over a week during which time the inclination of humanity's communal orbit changed, shifting at least a few degrees, in your absence.
There's groceries to be had, after all. And sundry items.
An arm's length, that's the measure of fair market value.
What's fair? Stockpiling? Price gouging? Scapegoating?
What's fair? Keep calm. Carry on.
by Geoffrey Allison || SIXSTRINGcpa