Thoughts

Whaz Up!?! There’s Something About Mary and Other Stories


Howdy y’all

It’s been a big week here at Ye Olde Blogge with two big big events and we anticipate a big week next week as we head into the Chinese New Year celebration at the end of January.

Storytime

ICYMI: Posts from the week:

We celebrated two lives this week on 18 January: Betty White’s on her 100th birthday and MLK on MLK Day. Wednesday’s and Saturday’s posts continued our discussion about how we should be viewing and responding to the destruction of our democracy.

THE STORY OF MARY. Mary’s story started with my sixth grade students begging for a class pet a couple of weeks ago. They were full of suggestions like rabbits, horses, and kittens, but none of them had a rabbit, horse, kitten, or other animal to donate as our pet. I thought that bit of clever insight and wisdom, Well, do you have a rabbit that could be the class pet? No? Then, I guess we won’t have a rabbit, would be enough to deter them, but, to use a popular phrase, they persisted.

Friday before last, I found an African death’s head moth in the open corridor — many Southeast Asian buildings are built with hallways and stairs open or semi-open to the environment — outside of my classroom. I picked it up to keep it from being stepped on when the students arrived. As I was about to let it go out of the window, it occurred to me that the students might like to see it, so I put it in a jar. Then it occurred to me that it might be our class pet.

My last class of that Friday was my smaller sixth grade science class — eight students attending and two online. We were all tired at the end of our first week back, so I showed them the death’s head moth. They were all impressed. Then we went down to the butterfly garden — Yes, the school has a butterfly garden for some reason. It’s cool, but how do we use it? — to look at the butterflies because moth.

As the visit ran its course from excitement to boredom, I let the moth go in the shade near the mesh of the butterfly enclosure. It seemed fitting somehow. At my feet, I spied one of those large Asian snails that are everywhere, so I picked it up to show the students.

That snail, now named Mary, became our class pet. The students are strangely intrigued by her. Every morning, when she’s active, a few girls come into the classroom to ooh and awe at her and gain bragging rights during class later that day. Snails are largely nocturnal avoiding the direct sun and heat of the Cambodian day the better to preserve their moist sliminess, but in the late afternoon and early evening, she’s out and about. And, in the morning when I feed her, she often rouses herself.

I take pictures and video of her when she’s active to show the class. She’s amazingly elastic and deliberate in her actions. Of course, she’s deliberate, but maybe rational? When I put the dirt in her habitat, she immediately came out of her shell and twisted her head this way and that and lowered her eyestalks to take a closer look. It was clear she knew her environment had changed and that she wanted to explore it. She also seems to know that the curve at the top of the habitat is too sharp for her navigate safely. She’ll move up to the top, stick her head out over the edge and eventually turn back. She fears falling. Smart snail.

Of course, there are pictures:

#COVID19 COMES TO VISIT. The other big event this week was #COVID19 not only visiting the school in the form of two student infections, but one of the students was in Ma Belle Femme’s class! On Monday, when we arrived at school we found out that one of the MSHS grade levels, their teachers, and several students from other grade levels were on quarantine because one of them had tested positive for #COVID19.

Quarantining the teachers is devastating to a school our size. We all teach multiple grade-levels. While the teachers can teach over Zoom, students require supervision and some lessons need some in person supervision. We’ve been scrambling to cover classes and duties all week.

Then on Friday, Ma Belle Femme was informed that one of her students had tested positive. Unfortunately, so had the student’s mother. She’s a teacher at the school, too, so ha ha, two more grade levels are on quarantine. While neither class will affect the MSHS, it does affect Ye Olde Blogge’s production center! Ma Belle Femme has to self-quarantine at home and isolate in a room. Ideally, she will have a room and bathroom to herself and minimize her time outside of them.

It’s funny how these things work, though. You think when it happens to someone else that it’s easy. You suck it up and that’s what you do. Not so here. Ma Belle Femme is all it’s not fair. We’ll all wear masks in the house. I need to be able to play the PS4. We had the discussion concerning her staying in a room as much as possible. We didn’t come to an agreement. When she sat down at the table to have dinner as I was eating, I realized that I would have to isolate in a room. She wasn’t going to.

Luckily, I’m rather snail-like: self-contained and inert most of the time.

NEXT WEEKS. The next couple of weeks seem “light” compared to what we’ve been having. First is “EXPERIENCE WEEK” in which we have extracurricular activities planned both on and off campus, but none of the faculty has to do any prep. Just supervise during the activities. It feels like a holiday.

The week after is Chinese New Year. I know what you’re saying, but you’re in Cambodia; they have Khmer New Year. Cambodia has a substantial Chinese population from a migration that took place a couple of centuries ago. They’ve remained somewhat insular maintaining their language. Some of my Chinese-Cambodian students don’t speak Khmer. We only get two days off because of all this.

Because storytime was so substantial this week, I’m truncating the links section to avoid the TL;DR curse.

Reading

Commercial Media

  • The age of digital interventions. From the APA comes an article about “digital therapeutics” or diagnostic and treatment software for mental health disorders. No human contact needed. Just in time for our #COVID19 and climate change induced Zoom Age, right? Who even needs real human beings when you have social media to induce depression and anxiety and digital therapeutics to stitch your psyche back together again?
  • The pandemic’s true death toll: millions more than official counts. We’ve all been breathlessly following the #COVID19 death rate at least at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, analysis of year-to-year deaths reveals that those deaths were grossly underreported by various governments around the world by as much as two to four times! (Nature)
  • Nocebo effect reason for vaccine side effects. Apparently, as much as two-thirds of the side effects from #COVID19 vaccines are caused by the nocebo effect or the unconscious assumption of noxious effects a take off of the placebo effect. (The Guardian)

The Blogosphere

  • All things begin anew after a loss. In one of the sweetest and most honest treatments of reaching out for companionship after the loss of a long-term spouse, Charles, recounts his efforts after losing his partner of 22 years. (Reaching for a New Beginning)
  • Don’t sleep may seem like bad advice, and, in general, it is, but when applied to local elections, especially our school boards, it isn’t. As burned out as we all are on every fucking thing around us, we need to figure out who the MAGA candidates are and vote for the one that has the best chance of beating them. We get a strong reminder and some very practical steps on what to do. (hecatedemeter)
  • Rising like a French phoenix from the ashes only more slowly. Really slowly. We get a report on the progress of restoring the venerable Notre Dame church the iconic Parisian church. What makes it so worth the visit are the photos of the damage, the repairs underway, and the detailed explanation of what is happening or not happening. (cas d’intérêt)

Ye Olde Friendes

No matter what else, we always have time to show our friends a little gratitude. Check out these blogs for consistent blogging fun… not like the others aren’t consistent or our friends or anything.

  • FEAR THE NEXT GENERATION: Confirming that the Quote o’ the Day is the best new thing since sliced bread, Bobcabkings gives us the best quote about the use and abuse of propaganda. Check this one out and all the rest. Let us know which is your favorite in the comments. (Of Cabbages and Kings).
  • WHEN ALL YOU HAVE IS A HAMMER, the whole world is made outta nails, amirite? Now that all the GQP gubnors are racing to create election police, I’m sure they’ll be locking up more election frauds than there are stars in the multiverse. Of course, they’ll all be Democratic voters. (Mock Paper Scissors)
  • AND BY WE, THEY MEAN, THE GQP. We’d know if we were living in a fascist state, right? I mean fascism is horrible and all violatey of all the human rights, right? We’d know if we were violating all the rights of humans, right? Besides, we’re good, so everything we do is good… and I can vote, so it’s a democracy and other such bullshit. (Homeless on the High Desert)
  • FULL STEAM AHEAD! Burr is steaming ahead with his weekly review of the best from the week’s reading. His health setback hasn’t harmed his snarky charm, either. (Fair and Unbalanced)
  • IT’S FUNNY CUZ IT’S TRUE? Better to laugh than to cry, I guess, so it’s better to view the week’s news through Scottie‘s cartoon roundup up and links to lots of other worthwhile stories. (Scottie’s Playtime)
  • NOTHING MAKES MAGA HAPPY judging from their response to Psaki’s interview on Fox News earlier this week. There is so much happening in the news these days it’s difficult to keep up. I didn’t even know they had her on. And, friend o’ Ye Olde Blogge, Tengrain, is curating Mike’s Blog Round Up this week, so check it out, too!(Crooks and Liars)
Huzzah!
Jack

Please share this post with someone

be it a friend, family member, acquainatance, stranger, or hated enemy. Seriously, just share it!

Like and rate the post, too. That’s always a good time.

Follow the blog or join the email list so you never miss a post or make it harder to miss them!

Image Attribution

The picture is mine, taken by me of the snail, Mary, so it is free to use and abuse as you see fit.

21 replies »

  1. I don’t know if this is over-thinking it: by all the reading (“research” the word having been compromised) having got this thing pv, pre-vaccine, when it was still the “vape-flu”, and then again a breakthrough of the Darwin variant pre-boosted but post-vaccination … with fully boosted vaccination and two active infections in the system by all the reading (“research”) I have the most robust antibodies, the most active immune system a sixty-seven year old relatively athletic Mr Natural who enjoys the occasional cheeseburger, fries and a cold draft beer … can have.

    One) am I over-thinking this? and two) the implications of that are as scary as snails eating …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Ten!

      Maybe you are overthinking it a wee bit, but I follow the entertainment value rule: how entertaining do I find the chain of thought or topic or whatever it is. If it is even mildly entertaining, then it’s okay by me. Contemplating one’s immune system, especially appreciating how fine tuned it is, seems to me a pretty entertaining thing to do. And when you add in the comparison to how scary it is to watch snails eat, well, then, bucko, you got yourself a winner.

      Keep those antibodies spinning and you’ve a good chance to make sixty-eight, I’m sure.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

  2. Hi Jack! A friend of mine also kept snails as pets. Literally, a handful of garden snails she kept in a tank. They had a very nice life and ate well, lived long and grew huge. A good beginner’s pet, I’d say. Which part of the world are you teaching these days? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if this is overthinking it: off-the-top I had side-effects; first consider this … I first got it when they were still blaming it on vape products, which wouldn’t apply to me, was sick for a good six weeks though the know at the back of my neck is still there. I only know that I had it because the first Moderna shot mimicked the symptoms of the doesn’t apply to me vape-flu for about three weeks; the second shot for about ten days, the Darwin variant for about a week this past July and the October booster about three days.

    Now consider this: by all the reading* a booster double-shot of the Moderna plus two active infections leaves me with the most active anti-bodies, the most active immune system a guy (or gal) can get.

    The word “research”, has been compromised …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you got through the #COVID19 thing as well as you did. I guess I missed the whole vape-flu stage of the pandemic. I should expand the social media circles I travel in, I guess.

      Jack

      Like

  4. That’s quite an impressive snail. As a pet, it has advantages – doesn’t bark, bite or scratch.

    If I had been thinking al along about the nocebo effect, I would have expected the result of that study. It is probably true for some fraction of reported side effects of many medications.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      The better reported the side effects, the stronger the nocebo effect? The number of people I see voicing anxieties about getting their second dose or boosters tells us something. Ma Belle Femme was convinced her second dose was fake because she didn’t have any side effects.

      People are definitely overthinking this.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know if this is overthinking it: off-the-top I had side-effects; first consider this … I first got it when they were still blaming it on vape products, which wouldn’t apply to me, was sick for a good six weeks though the know at the back of my neck is still there. I only know that I had it because the first Moderna shot mimicked the symptoms of the doesn’t apply to me vape-flu for about three weeks; the second shot for about ten days, the Darwin variant for about a week this past July and the October booster about three days.

        Now consider this: by all the reading* a booster double-shot of the Moderna plus two active infections leaves me with the most active anti-bodies, the most active immune system a guy (or gal) can get.

        The word “research”, has been compromised …

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s like so many other words in our language that get coopted by a side with an agenda. I mean you can hardly say “happy and gay” or “on the straight and narrow” any more, just for example.

          Like

        • Hit send way too early.

          I follow a parody account on Twitter who labels himself as “does his own research.” His stuff can be pretty funny as long as you’re standing on this side of the MAGA aisle.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Like

      • I don’t know if this is over-thinking it: by all the reading (“research” the word having been compromised) having got this thing pv, pre-vaccine, when it was still the “vape-flu”, and then again a breakthrough of the Darwin variant pre-boosted but post-vaccination … with fully boosted vaccination and two active infections in the system by all the reading (“research”) I have the most robust antibodies, the most active immune system a sixty-seven year old relatively athletic Mr Natural who enjoys the occasional cheeseburger, fries and a cold draft beer … can have.

        One) am I over-thinking this? and two) the implications of that are as scary as snails eating …

        Like

Howdy Y'all! Come on in, pardner! Join this here conversation! I would love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.