Wednesday’s Theme Music

This is sort of an unusual choice, via a circuitous route.

First, outside, looking for the comet, NEOWISE. About 10:30ish PMish. The sky is og, so clear, and the night is empty church quiet,

Up visiting comes the house pantera, whining, whining, whining for attention as is his way. He gets some head skritches, as is my way. Exception is suddenly taken by him, as is his way. A warning is issued: you’re doing it wrong. Stop, or I’ll bite.

I stopped. He tottered off (as is his way). Now I’m looking at the sky but thinking about him getting ready to bite the hand that feeds you, a stream that conjured Nine Inch Nails and “The Hand That Feeds” (2005).

The song’s lyrics:

[Verse 1]
You’re keeping in step
In the line
Got your chin held high and you feel just fine
Cause you do
What you’re told
But inside your heart it is black and it’s hollow and it’s cold

[Chorus]
Just how deep do you believe?
Will you bite the hand that feeds?
Will you chew until it bleeds?

Can you get up off your knees?
Are you brave enough to see?

Do you want to change it?

h/t to Genius.com

On one side, when thinking of the song, I think of mask slackers. They claim that maskers are sheeple. By stepping out of line, mask slackers believe they are fighting the system. Masks are only useful (to them) as signs of oppression.

Maskers, of course, say, no, this isn’t a symbol of oppression, it’s a willingness to protect and be protected. It’s not about oppression at all.

Addressing another point I see in the song, dropping down to one knee is a protest against the system. But the song — and history — will have you on your knees if you’re being subjugated. This gives taking a knee it’s power; while others stood, Kap dropped to one knee. He did it to make the point, I’m not standing for this anthem. But dropping to a knee reminds us of being subjugated, and also says (in sports), hold up; pause. Take a break. But by taking a knee — especially in the modern NFL, that was interpreted by many as biting the hand that feeds.

Told you it was circuitous. Here’s the music.

Monday: A Few Things

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes, given here, or on FB, or in private messages. Although I’m not a celebrating type, your thoughts and comments are meaningful to me.

  1. Wore one of my favorite shirts yesterday. I bought it the year we moved to Ashland from Half Moon Bay, 2005. Shortly after moving up here in June, we went back down to the SF Bay area to address some issues, do some shopping, and visit with friends. We stopped in at an odd sale, where a convenience store on Middlefield had been converted to a sale of overstocked items. That’s where I found this shirt. It was bought on a hot day in July, 2005. As one of my favorites, I’ve been photographed in it at work and parties. I’m wearing it in this photo in 2010 with my little sister and her youngest daughter. I’m the one with the facial hair. I know, you can barely see the shirt.
  2. It’s always odd to me that Lee Greenwood lets Donald Trump use Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the U.S.A.”, at his events. The song has lines that refers to being free and the men who died for that right . Trump has denigrated many military members, past and present, in his speeches and remarks. He holds the statues of the Confederate States of America, which was a nation formed from states who broke away from the United States. After they broke away, they attacked the U.S.A., starting a war in which they killed many Americans. If that doesn’t say enemy and traitor, what does? Beyond that, the C.S.A was fighting a war to keep people enslaved. All of that is the antithesis of what Greenwood’s song is purported to be about. Yeah, makes me wonder. Yeah, me makes me sad and cynical, too.
  3. Ashland, the little town that I’ve staked out as home, cancelled July 4th fireworks and celebrations cause, COVID, masking, and social distancing. A few fireworks went off but I’m pleased that the town mostly observed it, making it the quietest July 4th in my memory. Meanwhile, we visited with friends in their gazebo, six feet apart and masked, except to eat cupcakes (still six feet apart or more) and consume root beer floats. We noted, though, two of the masks being used by others had valves. I thought they — the health experts — do not recommend masks with vales. One of the participants wore their mask above their mouth and another wore their mask below their nose. I didn’t call them out, the be respectful, but I stayed back, and we were outside. Made me sigh, though; why wear the mask if you’re not going to do it right?
  4. I’d welcomed July as a positive move, posting to friends, hey, don’t fear July just because the year has been a bit sucky so far this year. This might be the month it all begins turning around. Well, it was like 2020 said, hold my beer, as the next day, I read an article about the Chinese being worried about bubonic plague cases. A resurgence of the black death is all that we need, given how many in the U.S. dismiss the threat of COVID-19 as just another flu, a hoax or conspiracy, refusing to take precautions against the novel coronavirus. God knows what they’ll do if the black plague begins spreading.
  5. We watched Avengers: Endgame last night. Yeah, all three hours of it. Looonnnggg film. One, good thing we watched it at home, where we could pause it and take bio breaks, and where we could also google info. We were constantly wondering, “Okay, who is that character?” They brought them all back, and we’re not deeply invested in the MCU. After all the hype and reviews, I expected something better. Yes, I know, my cynicism (or my age) is showing. Some of the acting appearances were fun and surprising, but I liked Avengers: Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther much better. To each, right?

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more day.

Thursday: A Few Things

  1. Still walking. Sounds like I’m bragging, right? I’m talking about exercising. My progress goes up and down. My 28-day average is just 7.51 miles (sixteen thousand plus steps), with my best being last Thursday, ten and quarter miles. I try to get in more, but stuff. I’m in a heavily hilled area. Examining results with where I walk is interesting. My flights will increase to fifty to sixty a day, and my activity level will increase, but my miles decline. That’s because the steep hills really slow me down. Coming down is less of a physical exertion, but requires a lot from my legs to keep from just pitching forward. Great views, though, and getting the exercise outside is worth it.
  2. COVID-19. We have people who shunned masking, attending rallies (see Herman Cain and Tulsa), church, and parties, who are now testing positive and being hospitalized. Some, like Cain, had underlying conditions. Cain is seventy-four, and I guess he’s okay with getting sick, possibly going through what others have endured, and dying, but what about spreading it to others, and putting them through it? Yeah, nobody say this coming.
  3. COVID-19 Redux. Other crazy reports have one, teenagers trying to deliberately contract COVID-19. Let’s play a game and see who can get infected. (Alabama Teens Are Throwing Coronavirus Parties with Cash Rewards for the First to Get Infected.) Oh, the young… Proves that life can be stranger than fiction. Beyond that, some people who are testing positive are refusing to help with tracing. (Party Guests Wouldnt Talk After 9 Tested Positive.) Hit with subpeonas and facing fines of $2000 a day for not helping, they caved. Florida setting new records for their state with ten thousand cases in one day, a one hundred sixty-eight percent rise. Of course, commentators are blaming the protests or riots, and Gov. DeSantis has vowed that Florida wills stay open. Paul Krugman has an interesting threads based on Opentable reservations for Texas, Florida, and Georgia. After reservations rose with re-opening, reservations began declining as positive cases surged. Here in Oregon, cases are rising. Gov. Brown has declared masks mandatory inside businesses, but several sheriffs have declared her policy unconstitutional and have refused to enforce it. I always thought it was up to the courts to decide constitutionally, not the sheriffs, but they know better. Even Oregon State Police aren’t even masking as they enter businessesTo quote one officer who wasn’t wearing a mask, “Fuck Kate Brown.” That’s protecting and serving for ya. Shows why trust and support for police keeps declining; they’re deciding what laws they’ll obey and enforce, and mocking what they don’t like.
  4. I’m not good at celebrating. My sixty-fourth birthday is this week. As with every year, my wife asked me what I want to do to celebrate. I don’t have an answer. Parties don’t generally entice me. Socializing in general doesn’t entice me. She knows these things about me. I feel pressured to ‘do something’ to celebrate to mollify her.
  5. Still painting walls. We have high ceilings in the dining-living-kitchen combo. Three hard to reach corners where the walls and ceiling met. I’ve bought an extender that telescopes out to twelve feet. I have an edger, brush, and roller that can be attached. Control, though, is challenging, and a bit comical, and a strain on the neck, squinting up there at the wall from twelve feet away. Refreshing the paint on them is also an interesting process.

Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Someone said something about complaining. I thought, oh, boy, a new complaint.

I guess my mind’s Alexa thought that I’d requested a song with those lyrics. Next thing in my mind was Kurt Cobain shouting, “Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint.” Then it was on, and Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” (1993) was raging.

Such a dark song it is. Despite the morning’s sunshine, these feel like dark times. We were being pretty self-congratulatory about flattening the curve. Rona said, “Hold my beer.”

Out here in our little semi-rural county, we’ve seen a jump. Announcements came today that the jump was traced to a party. The original carrier was found to be from out of state.

Hey! Wait! I gotta new complaint.

I was reading about the chaos in other states yesterday. There’s little consistency between counties and cities. There’s no consistency between states or across the nation. The Golfer-in-Chief is more concerned about his rallies, convention, and poll numbers to bother about doing something decisive about the friggin’ rona.

Hey! Wait! I gotta new complaint.

In an ironic twist, the GOP, at Trump’s urging, dumped Charlotte, NC, for the convention site because, masks! Now Jacksonville, Florida, new site of the convention in eight weeks has ordered, masks!

Hey! Wait! I gotta new complaint.

Give me a little time. I’ll think of it. Here’s the music.

Friday’s Theme Music

Masked up and went walking yesterday. Of the ten pedestrians I encountered, one was masked. So, about eighteen percent are masked when out and about, contrary to guidance.

Our little town has a reported ten COVID-19 cases. That’s an unofficial count. The county has had fifty-two cases. Social distancing and sheltering-in-place has been practiced, but most only wear masks when in stores, because the stores demand it. So, I suspect our low count is due to our rural nature, limitations on travel, and luck. I hope it all holds.

While out exercising my legs, I realized I was humming a song and identified it as the Rush song, “Freewill” (1980). I have one friend who was a devoted Rush fan and another who can’t stand Rush because they don’t like Geddy Lee’s voice. The Rush lyrics rushed in with these memories (sorry for the pun).

A planet of playthings
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive

The stars aren’t aligned
Or the gods are maligned
Blame is better to give than receive

[Hook]
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear, I will choose freewill

h/t to Genius.com

These lyrics are taken in different ways by different people. (Well, words, right? That’s how it goes with words.) I’ve always thought that the song referred to thinking for yourself. I like to believe I think for myself. I wear a mask because that’s recommended; studies show it helps reduce viral transmission.

Maybe I am sheeple, as non-mask fans charge. Perhaps my twenty plus years in the military conditioned me to obey orders without question. Don’t think so, myself; I was known for challenging orders.

Then again, we select and frame the information and memories that best suit what we want to know as the facts, don’t we? We’re each in our own bubble. We try to control what comes in and goes out but there’s quite a bit beyond our control.

Nebulous? No, complicated. One thing that I’ve discovered as I’ve aged is that I’m not the person who I think I am. My window into myself is as limited as my windows into others. My body is often doing things that I don’t know, responding to chemicals in ways that science knew but I didn’t, and my brain often reacts before I think. We depend on surface impressions and isolated moments to inform our decisions. Some of them are magnified in importance – in our heads – rising on waves of emotions and intellect.

Such complicated beasts we are in a complicated world. Which takes me back to “Freewill” and Rush. You make a choice. Sometimes it seems to work, other times, it seems to flop, but a lot of times, we’re forever waiting to learn the results.

The Age

It was the age of toilet paper shortages;

it was the age of puzzle shortages.

It was a time of masks and ventilators,

a time when few had enough,

and some had too much.

It was a time of testing, of being tested,

and waiting to be tested,

and a time to wait for results.

It was the time when nobody could go anywhere,

and everyone wanted to go to work,

a time of confusion, questions, and misinformation,

and a time of heroic sacrifice and hope.

It was a time of worry and a time of concern,

a time to watch, and a time for patience.

It was the time when we lived,

and the time we died.

Mask Up

Sharing a story. Yeah, anecdotal, about a bus driver, a coughing passenger, and a COVID-19 death. The bus driver is the death in this tale. He was fifty years old.

Wear masks, people. Wear masks. They can save you. I was out yesterday, had to make a supply run. While I was masked and gloved and practiced social distancing. We’d ordered online, and the purchases were delivered to the car’s trunk. While sitting there, I watched the scene. First, I was dismayed by how many were out, looking as if it’s business as usual. Social distancing? What’s that? Counted twenty-seven people as I sat there, awaiting my delivery. Counted five with masks. One with gloves and masks.

When a twentyish employee brought the order out, she wasn’t wearing a mask or gloves. Her arms were bare. I cringed with speculation about her condition.

Oregon — my state (yes, I bought it a number of years ago, so it’s my state — still have the warranty) has over eight hundred cases. Jackson County, where my experience took place, has almost thirty.

First case in Oregon was announced Feb. 29. My wife and I took measures after the possibility of the first case emerged in our area, March 14. Since then, more evidence of the value of masks has emerged as data has rolled in, showing how poorly people are responding to social distancing. My county got a C. I could see why when I was on my supply run yesterday.

Lot of folks were out. Not as heavy as a normal day, no. But less people would’ve been out if Oregon U. were playing a football game.

Yes, I know, some are essential. Thank you to all of them. To the rest, think about why you’re out. Sometimes, we have a need. But if you’re out, take precautions, for your sake, my sake, all of our sake.

The groceries are in the car’s trunk (boot, if you need a translation). There’s nothing perishable. They’ll stay in the trunk for three days. After that, I’ll fetch and clean them, and clean the car. We bought them for the long term, deciding to stock up now rather than waiting for when there are more cases in our area.

Changed clothes in the garage when I returned home, too. Yeah, given all the vectors possible for transmitting something to us (my wife and me), we’ll probably contract it, if we haven’t already. We’re trying to buy time for the world to come up with the resources and vaccines to combat this thing. We’re also trying to keep from spreading the thing.

Hope you’re all doing well at there. Take care. Wear masks. That is all.

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