Thoughts

Whaz Up!?! Monday 13 September 2021


Howdy Y’all!

It continues to be an exhausting school year. The “worst” I’ve ever dealt with. Now, we have students back in school, but only half at a time while the other half Zoom in to the class. That’s taking the worst of both worlds and making a job that is twice as difficult and stressful as doing either alone. Trying to develop learning activities that will work for students in person and those on Zoom or just making two versions of the same activity is really hard. Trying to be present for students on Zoom and those in the classroom simultaneously takes much more attention and conscious thought than when doing either individually. Having two schedules to follow for each class makes just figuring who should be where when, twice as difficult. Anywho. That’s my professional reality that I will continue to deal with professionally. So, sssshhhh. Not a word to admin, okay?

For the past year or so, I’ve been trying to keep a calendar of events that I think are interesting or important to me. I used to think that I’d regularly check the calendar to see what important dates are coming up and blog about them… hahahahahahaha! How long have I known me? What in my experience of myself ever made me think that was possible? Once again World Suicide Prevention Day has crept up without a word from me in the time prior, for example. Just one example. So, I thought, if I’m not going to blog about them, let’s just mention them here, okay?

From the Calendar

Last Week!

  • Sunday 12 September: The anniversary of Steve Biko, South African anti-apartheid, not surviving the South African apartheid police’s attempt to force feed him during his hunger strike in custody by shoving a frozen pot roast through his skull. He died on this date in 1977. I still remember the shock and horror of my South African classmate and friend upon learning of his death and how foreign such an event felt. I was secure in my knowledge that nothing like that could happen here and that we were exporting our liberal democratic values to them. Little did I know we were just exchanging places with them.
  • Saturday 11 September: In addition to be the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the focus of numerous news articles and stories and commemorative events, it is also the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attack on our embassy in Benghazi that the Republicans used to finish off their smear campaign against Hillary Clinton and prevent her from becoming president so the bumbling useful idiot that they managed to elect could finish off their attack on our democracy by dividing us over #COVID19 and kill almost 700,000 real live dead Americans. This date, as it turns out, is far more consequential than anyone ever dreamed. Let us know what you are doing to commemorate 9/11 in the comments!
  • Friday 10 September: It’s World Suicide Prevention day with the focus of decriminalizing suicide in the remaining 20 countries where it is still a criminal act and reducing the stigma around it. Let us know if you participated in any suicide prevention events… in the comments!
  • Thursday 9 September: The Ig Noble Awards were presented with such notable winners as the best way to transport rhinosauri by air (upside down), human-cat communication (there is none, we are just fooling ourselves), and the protection that beards afford men during fist fights (somewhat). Now, if someone could just do a study to determine why the Ig Noble Awards don’t have their own website and can advertise the date of their yearly awards, they would probably be a shoe-in for next years grand prize winner. Let us know your favorite Ig Noble Award winner… in the comments!
  • Tuesday 7 September: Peggy Noonan, the New York Times commentator that all the hip libel pundits love to hate, had a birthday!

Next Week

Don’t worry, I’m not going to list each and everyone of them, but merely direct you to the listing at the bottom of the right-hand menu, and note that next week’s calendar is chock-a-block full of important dates National Dot Day, important anniversaries of the Nazis rise to power in interwar Germany, the anniversary of President McKinley’s assassination, and the anniversary of the approval of the US Constitution. Make your plans now… and as always, tell us about them in the comments.

Reading

Blogs

Why is good so darn bad? On of our favorite poets, Tebogo Ndlovu, pens an ode to the difficulties of writing interesting moving things about good stuff. I think Dante would commiserate judging by the thickness of the Inferno and Paradise.

Is that the GOP Dystopia beckoning yonder? No, that’s just the Chinese cracking more skulls in Hong Kong. Apparently, there’s a law in Hong Kong that allows the chief of police to demand financial and organizational information from any organization if they have a reasonable belief that the organization may pose a threat to public order. Reasonable belief. A threat. Pretty vague. Kinda like a blank check. If the GQP wins enough to make laws, expect the same BS to be done here. You’ve been warned.

To quote Richard Nixon, as one does when one is talking about climate change, clean air is not free, and neither is clean water. Hop on over to Cheche Winnie’s blog to learn more about conservation, climate change, travel in Africa, and all kinds of other interesting stuff, like how there’s a browsing app that donates 100% of its profits to wildlife organizations. Let us know in the comments, if you use it on your phone!

Cannonball takes out rib! Some of the funnest things about reading blogs is not only finding out some of the mundane things other people are doing, but the clever witty ways they tell you about them. In this case, Samantha over at Heart to Follow tells us about her trip to the vet’s with Meeko... and how much it cost her. Why is it that every vet visit costs a minimum of a hundred dollars?

Neurological News

Beyond Dopamine! Researchers have found a GABAergic pathway in the brain that is projects into the reward structures. GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system, meaning it slows things down. This finding offers another avenue to treating disorders of the reward system like addictions and compulsive behaviors.

Social Stress & Population Decline: Alexander Suvorov of the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences has been studying hypotheses for population declines and has suggested one of his own. His hypothesis links rising population numbers and population density to increases in meaningless, yet frequent, social interactions which, in turn, lead to increases in social stress, social withdrawal, and chronic stress, which leads to fewer reproductive opportunities, desires, and possibilities due to lower sperm counts, decreased ovulation, and reduced sexual activity. Hunh. So, much for social media.

News

Sanity claws one back: Last week we reported on a judge in Ohio ordering a hospital to administer ivermectin to a patient against medical advice. We are happy to report that when the case rose out of the miasmas of GQP mass psychosis, a judge reversed the ruling on appeal stating that physicians should not be trying just any treatment on human beings.

The Mysterious Ohio High School is back in the news. Turns out it isn’t a school at all according to the “school’s” football team’s head coach. It’s a post secondary football program that someone who works for it filled as a school with Ohio’s Department of Education, but no one other than the head coach can be found to talk about it… what? Something sounds out of control to me. How much money did parents pay these folks for their boys to play ball for them?

Juneau is not accessible by road?!? How did I live my whole life without knowing this? The things you learn perusing the news. If there is an odd smell suddenly wafting your way, you are probably smelling the loads of schadenfreude the fives and tens of people felt who read this far in the post. It turns out behavior does have consequences. Alaska state senator, Laura Reinbold, refused to wear a mask on an Alaska Airlines flight, so they banned her. Now she can’t get from Anchorage to Juneau to attend the legislative session because you can only get there by boat or plane! I’m just laughing. Guess which party she’s a member of!

#COVID19 News

Cambodia

Well, that didn’t take long. Cases are on the rise again in Cambodia. We are now averaging 600 new cases per day as the delta variant spreads further afield. One of the biggest problems seems to be having opened the border with Thailand. We’re allowing in hundreds of cases every day. The other problem is that the government isn’t reporting their numbers out of their “big” metropolitan areas, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville correctly. The pandemic here is very likely much worse than the government is telling us. I don’t think our little experiment in hybrid teaching is going to last very long.

The Mu Variant

Good news in a very strange sort of way, the delta variant is so contagious that the mu variant can’t get a viable foothold. That’s good because the mu variant is just barely vaccine resistant. The mu variant has been in the US since June, but as soon as delta hit, it became the most dominate strain.

Unfortunately, there is bad news wrapped in that good news mu package: the delta variant is no more deadly than the other variants, but because it is so much more contagious, it’s going to kill a bunch more people.

Hypothetically for illustration purposes only, if the previous variants killed at a rate of 1% and 100 people were infected, then one person died. Because delta is so much more contagious, where the previous variants would infect 100, delta will infect 1,000 and kill 10.

We’ve been killing more people per day than we did last winter. More people have died in 2021 than in 2020 of #COVID19. Unless we get the pandemic under control in the unvaccinated red states, this winter is going to be a killing field not because delta is more deadly but because everyone who is not vaccinated will eventually get it. Everyone. EVERY. ONE.

Man, that is one depressing note to finish on, but there you have it.

If you enjoyed this recap of my week and the things I’ve been reading and thinking, then let me know by doing one or more of the following:

  • Comment: My number one favoritest thing is conversing with readers in the comments. Let us know what you did to commemorate 9/ll, what did you think of Bush’s speech? Biden’s vaccine mandates? the problems of writing about good things or taking your pets to the vets. There’s lots of fodder for the comments here.
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9 replies »

  1. I can’t imagine how difficult this pandemic has been for teachers. Last year was devastating for one of my kids, who among other things worried about the declining mental health of a couple of her teachers. I hope things soon become easier for you.

    I hear you regarding the calendar. I try to be organized but it’s simply not in my nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Carol!

      Bless your sweet children for worrying about others. There is hope in this world.

      I’ve tried all those organize yourself schemes. The thing that works for me is “remembering” what I gotta do when and where and keeping everything in a big pile and looking for it based on how long ago it was added. I call it the archeological filing system. Usually, I’m “reminded” of the important things that I’ve missed by someone helpful in my life. Usually, students.

      Attention to detail just isn’t part of my person. And, somehow it all happens without me seeing all those little details.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Howdy y’all!

    I have to say that I didn’t do much to commemorate the 20th anniversary. I didn’t even write a blog post about it. However, I was struck by how emotional I was listening to the speeches and watching some of the coverage of the remembrances. To me, though, the most important things about 9/11 were as follows:
    (1) As the Reverend Al Sharpton noted on MSNBC, the terrorists of 9/11 view us as more unified than we actually are. We don’t see ourselves as unified.
    (2) 9/11 and the so-called War on Terror did not define our generation or this period of time. It didn’t even define the decade other than mire us in two questionable wars, one of which was completely illegal, the other merely dubious.
    (3) The War on Terror accelerated our authoritarian instincts.
    And (4) we spent a trillion, two trillion, more money on the War in Afghanistan without even noticing really. Twenty years of war was little more than a speed bump for us as a country. Something ain’t right there. And, now we’re quibbling over spending three trillion over ten years to combat climate change, which is the defining struggle of this century.

    Huzzah!
    Jack

    Like

  3. There you go again, finding cool stuff to check out. I didn’t do much at all to commemorate 9/11. NPR extended its morning news show all the way to noon to cover all the events and stuff. I skipped most of it, reading instead several articles on how our response to it put us on the path to where we are now (i.e., we’re so, so f’d):

    https://www.salon.com/2021/09/11/911-and-the-birth-of-the-big-lie/

    https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/episodes/on-the-media-aftershocks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      I didn’t think I would do much about the anniversary, either, but ended up listening to Biden’s and Bush’s speeches. I found it strange that VP Harris’ speech didn’t get more coverage. I guess it didn’t make any radical accusations like Bush’s did.

      I had thought about writing a post about it, but every blog and its monkey will have done that. I didn’t think I had anything of value to add. I still don’t. I did enjoy some of the nostalgia and grief of the remembrances. However, other than the drama and destruction of it all, it didn’t define the 21st century or even anything more than the next several years. It did provide an excuse to accelerate the authoritarian power grab by the executive branch in general and the Republicans specifically.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

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