Two Pandemics


October 28, 2021- The viral scourge is ebbing, around these parts and in several other locations around the globe. In other areas, the stubborn Delta strain is proving to be far more than just a nuisance that keeps people from living the lives they had planned. It is, in those areas, a reminder that nothing can be accomplished, in the long run, without a personal commitment to healthful living. Without a robust immune system, any microbe can take root and develop into a “Superbug”. Fortunately, there are advances in organic diets and bona fide natural supplements that can help us to build such immune systems.

There is another pandemic, that of intolerance and false certitude. This is the pandemic of illiberalism, and it infects those on both ends of the political spectrum. We see it in the national governments of several countries-again, both ultraconservative and progressive. We see it in the pronouncements, on and offline, of authoritarian mindsets. I see it in the people who have turned on me, for making honest comments that don’t mesh with their own narrow views of how the world should be. Again, the only remedy for this is a robust immune system: Imperviousness to personal attacks, sudden emotional shutdowns and backs turned; a groundedness that sees one through attempts by others to shun and isolate.

I have had two doses of Moderna vaccine-at the behest of both my employer, Educational Services Incorporated and of the American Red Cross, with which I volunteer my services. Quite honestly, I feel no difference in my health and might possibly have managed to not become infected, given a commitment to using natural supplements and largely keeping to an organic diet. Yet, minimizing even that risk-even if it means running afoul of those who oppose the vaccinations, is not altogether a bad thing.

In adhering to my personal values, it has been reassuring to avoid being swept up in the political maelstroms that go in both directions and collide in the middle. I have lost friends on both the Right and on the Left-people who claim to love God above all else and others who claim to be filled with love for humanity. That love is very short-lived indeed, when they are faced with those of differing opinions. It all boils down to how one views the world.

So, ask yourselves- Which is most important: Loving people as they are and gently encouraging them to do better, or hammering people, relentlessly, until they toe the line you have drawn? I have a feeling that each knows the answer.

Ignorance is Bliss?


August 30, 2021- So, I am looking at a letter which says that, because someone in another person’s community is likely to be jealous of his success, should he build a network of support, I should just give him the money, quietly, and no one will get their feathers ruffled. I am not following the logic, other than the individual adhering to a beggar mentality. It will get him nowhere, of course, but ignorant attitudes die hard.

So it is, with several of the major newspapers in this country, squawking about how imperfect the rescue efforts in Kabul have been. I doubt any of the media moguls who are complaining right now would do any better than the current President, or his three most recent predecessors. In fact, several of those who are the loudest critics were, only a week ago, saying that those Afghans who served our efforts there should stay put and that they were just goldbricks, trying to get a free ride to our country. I am not impressed by the mentality that anything our President does is wrong.

Fire, water, and wind wreak havoc across this country, and several others around the world, and yet those who have theirs are aghast at “the cost of infrastructure repair and of combatting the effects of climate change.” What do they think is going to happen, while destruction continues, God knows what diseases follow Delta, and people in power are sitting on their hands, because procedure has to be followed? A voice of reason, from Louisiana, has called for an end to the mad delusions of his fellows in the U.S. Senate, and elsewhere. Good for him!

Ignorance is leading to the opposite of bliss, and it’s time for those who are suffering to send the U.S. Senate, the Supreme Court and the likes of The Washington Post and The New York Times a clear message-nonviolently, of course, but loud and clear, all the same.

We, the People, have had enough.

Hot Spots


August 16, 2021- I was originally supposed to spend today hiking along a road, to commemorate a friend’s passing, 37 years ago, Wednesday. The person who proposed this originally backed out, over the weekend, citing other obligations. It worked out fine for me, as I got to be with the groups of students with whom I will be working, for the most part, probably well into September.

The weekend brought hard news: There is a new Taliban government in Afghanistan, boding God knows what for women and girls; Haiti was clobbered by yet another severe earthquake, to be followed by a Tropical Storm, of as yet indeterminate strength; Delta continued on its merry path of death and destruction; the Sierra Nevada foothills continue to face the rapacious Dixie Fire. Here at Home Base, I can only continue to do what I’ve been doing- small charity here and there; safe hygiene and honouring the requests of businesses and institutions; promoting fire-safe spaces here and being ready, in case the call comes to go on Red Cross deployment.

We choose what hot spots in which we offer our services. With 7.6 billion people on the planet, there is no reason for any one person to have to do the lion’s share of relief work. I am constantly on the move, as it is, and have no feelings of regret for what I do. Learning to set boundaries, however, has been a most gratifying result of the struggles of the past three years.

Hugging, In The Time of Delta


August 6, 2021- I had the stitches in my left cheek removed this morning, and was able to shave the area of my scar, with no ill effects. This should eliminate some of the disdain, shown by some shop workers around town, when I next pop into their establishments.

I digress, however. I will find myself on special assignment, next week, as a longtime friend at a local high school is off duty. The protocols needed for effectively dealing with the nuisance named Delta are real, are serious and are not the stuff of government overreach. One of those protocols precludes hugging, in and around the school environment.

I am prone to hugging those I know, who are amenable to such a greeting. I do not go around hugging everyone in sight, nor have I kissed more than one or two people, besides my own mother, since Penny passed away-ten years ago. It is less likely to be an issue, in a high school setting, because Andrew Cuomo,70 and 14-18 retain a certain level of decorum, relative to one another.

This brings me to Andrew Cuomo. While few, if any, of his male critics can claim to be squeaky clean, in the #MeToo department, by and large, they have each had to own up to their indiscretions, at some level. I have certainly done so, and would continue to, were my present levels of self-discipline and heightened awareness to somehow go on a slow fade. We have not, to date, however seen this level of accountability from His Excellency, the Governor. Instead, we hear, “I’m Italian. It’s a cultural thing.” Yes, I know about the men in the Old Country who are legendary butt pinchers or leg/breast gropers. I would imagine that’s changing. Italian women aren’t exactly pushovers, from what I understand. Besides, in this country, Italian-American women are likely to kick a man’s butt, if theirs, or their daughters’. are pinched.

Hugging, or more intimate expressions of affection, are chancy in this country, in any era. Given the current public mood, though, with a 75/25 split as to the seriousness of Delta, I would advise knowing a person’s overall health status, before embracing.

Odds and Ends


August 5, 2021- August, around here, is both the hottest month of the year-and the month when evenings start to get cooler-at least, after the 15th, or so. Today is a bit on the stifling side, with a fair debate between the National Weather Service and more independent climatologists, as to whether we will get rain again tomorrow, or have to wait until next week. NWS’ default prognosis for our area is always “Mostly Sunny”-which is right, about 60% of the time. The monsoon, thus far, has been a lot more active than NWS predicted, so we’re not badly off.

I will talk more about life with Delta, tomorrow. I haven’t had the boomerang disease, yet, and am fully-vaccinated, so masks are still clean and handy, but not needed all that often. I read a fair amount about kids of friends having COVID, and being kids, after 4 hours of sleep-are ready for a day of fun and games. I miss the days of being on autopilot, NOT!!

I had Elantra serviced once more, after the journey back from New England. In 2022, she will have one long drive ahead-late February to mid-March, across the South. The May & June sojourn to the Northwest, Canada and northern tier of states will be a hybrid train and rental car workout. The Grizzled Gray One will get ample rest, here at Home Base.

For some reason, as I watch the Day Care van pull up, three houses south, I was reminded of the time that, as I was coming back from an errand, late one afternoon in May, a man who seemed to be impaired was crossing the street and stopping in the middle, trying to figure out which way he wanted to walk. Up behind me comes the Day Care van, with a little boy looking like he was doing the potty dance, in the second row of seats, for which the driver passed me on my left, even though this is a two-lane road and my left turn signal was on. Pedestrian was all the more confused, and started doing his own dance, in the middle of the street-looking at me and grinning. Once van had passed, and pedestrian had figured out where the curb was, my sense of “Don’t mind me, I just live here” also went away and I pulled into the driveway.

One can never be too sure of routines staying routine.