Tag Archives: illness

How the Chief Is Coping with the COVID-19 Quarantine – May 8, 2020

Reading bedtime stories to my aloe vera plant, Paco, is incredibly relaxing and soothing – well, at least for me.  And I know what you’re thinking.  (Remember, the Chief is cyber-psychic.  Who in the hell would name a plant Paco?  I mean…that’s so Mexican!  Okay, aside from me, Paco is the only other living being inside my house!  Even introverts must find a sense of humanity!

Ghosts” by Marvin Kaye

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Worst Quote of the Week – May 8, 2020

Donald Trump with Gov. Kim Reynolds at the Iowa Caucus this past January

“The media likes to say we have the most [coronavirus] cases, but we do, by far, the most testing. If we did very little testing, we wouldn’t have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad.”

President Donald Trump, during a meeting with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, May 6.

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Photo of the Week – May 1, 2020

This week a number of people protesting the state of Michigan’s shutdown in the midst of the COVID-19 stormed the state capital in Lansing demanding that Governor Gretchen Whitmer rescind the quarantine orders and allow anyone to return to work and shopping if they want.  In other words, they don’t like that a global pandemic has usurped their presumed placement as the center of the universe.  Many of the protesters arrived with guns and rifles; some wearing Nazi swastikas and others adorned in Confederate regalia (those morons keep fighting the 19th century American Civil War and damn!  They still haven’t won!)

A few stood in front of law enforcement officials – the latter wearing face masks – and screamed profanities.  This photo is just image of the virulent mad (mostly White) men unleashing their vitriol.  Faux-President Trump has expressed support for them.

I keep thinking if a group of Black or Latino residents had shown up in the Michigan state capital building with firearms protesting something, how long would they last?

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Earth Day at 50

A lion pride naps on a road in Kempiana Contractual Park, South Africa, an area tourists do not see.  The park has been shut down due to COVID-19 concerns.

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film “The Birds” was an innovative horror film.  A small, peaceful town in northern California suddenly finds itself the target of avian rage.  Seemingly unprovoked and without explanation, untold numbers of birds begin assaulting the townsfolk; leading to death and destruction in the most surreal ways.  Some film historians consider “The Birds” to be a call to action for the burgeoning environmental movement.

But I consider a movie that came out nine years later, “Frogs”, to be an even greater homage to environmental action.  It points specifically to environmental degradation caused by irresponsible and reckless human activity.  Whereas “The Birds” deals with one type of animal that suddenly goes insane, “Frogs” gathers an entire gallery of creatures that seek revenge on their human adversaries.  Just about everyone likes birds.  But few truly like spiders, snakes and alligators – the monsters that seem to band together in “Frogs”.  Even snapping turtles and clever geckoes get into the act!  And yes, frogs join in the mayhem with their ominous croaking, as if directing the chaos.

Unlike “The Birds” where both characters and audience are perplexed by the deranged airborne assaults, it becomes clear the frightening swamp creatures inhabiting “Frogs” are colluding to exact their own brand of justice.  As laughable as the antics can be at times, I always find myself gleeful at the sight of upper class people, trapped on an island off the coast of Georgia on Independence Day weekend, suddenly realizing their wealth and luxurious possessions can’t save them from the brewing ecological nightmare.

It’s the same feeling I get when I see bullfighting matadors gored by the massive horned beasts they stab with spears or when a circus elephant decides to bitch slap people dancing on its back.  It’s also the identical sense of euphoria I’ve been getting in recent weeks as I read of vacant cities resulting in clear skies and see pictures of wild animals strolling through urban streets because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day 2020, a movement begun as the realities of an industrialized society became brutally clear.  A number of celebrations and gatherings had been planned for this day.  The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has stifled those activities, and the revelry has been limited to virtual commemorations.  But, as raucous as some festivities have been in the past – with the usual cadre of corporate scions sneering overhead – perhaps there may be no better way to celebrate Earth Day than watching the world go quiet.

Satellite photos of many locations taken before and after mandatory quarantines and lock-downs exhibit how the reduction of human and vehicular traffic has resulted in less-polluted skies.  On clear days, for example, overhead views of Lake Michigan often reveal shipwrecks on the sea bottom.  But recent COVID-19 restrictions have produced many more of these days.

Undoubtedly, the disease has been heartbreaking and tragic.  But as Earth Day 2020 quietly sunsets, I still feel things couldn’t be more glorious with quarantining and social distancing have become common practice.

A fox wanders through a residential street near West Middlesex University Hospital in London, England on April 2, 2020. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

Jackals howl in Hayarkon Park, in the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel. (Oded Balilty/AP)

A Hindu holy man feeds monkeys at Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, the country’s most revered Hindu temple on March 31, 2020. Guards, staff and volunteers are ensuring animals and birds on the temple grounds don’t starve during the country’s lockdown, which halted temple visits and stopped the crowds that used to line up to feed the animals. (Niranjan Shrestha/AP)

Horses in Huajchilla, Bolivia, on the outskirts of La Paz, wander a deserted highway amid government restrictions that limit residents to essential shopping in an attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus on April 15, 2020. (Juan Karita/AP)

Two women take pictures of the pelicans in a deserted St James’ Park due to the Coronavirus outbreak in London, England on April 14, 2020. (Alberto Pezzali/AP)

Cats eat food on a street that is almost empty before a nighttime curfew imposed by the government to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Beirut, Lebanon on April 3, 2020. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

A lone peacock walks along a street in Dubai on April 1, 2020, past shops closed during the pandemic. (Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images)

Fallow deer from Dagnam Park in Romford, England rest and graze on the grass outside homes in the Harold Hill community on April 2, 2020. The deer are a regular sight in the area around the park, but as the roads have become quieter due to the nationwide lockdown, the deer have staked a claim on new territories in the vicinity. (León Neal/Getty Images)

A young puma wanders the streets of Santiago, Chile shows on March 24, 2020. According to Chile’s Agricultural and Livestock Service, the animal arrived from nearby mountains in search for food as fewer people occupy the streets due to COVID-19. (Andres Pina/ATON CHILE/AFP via Getty Images)

A wild deer, from a herd used to mingling with and be fed by the local population, roams a deserted street during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown, in the port city of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka on March 31, 2020. (STR/AFP Getty Images)

Mountain goats roam the streets of Llandudno, Wales. The goats normally live on the rocky Great Orme but are occasional visitors to the seaside town, but a local councilor told the BBC that the herd was drawn this time by the lack of people and tourists due to the COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine measures. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A stray dog walks in front of an empty historic India Gate as a nationwide lockdown continues over the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 30, 2020, in New Delhi, India. (Yawar Nazir)

Stray dogs stand on a deserted square in Pristina, Kosovo on April 1, 2020, during a government-imposed curfew from 5pm to 5am as part of preventive measures against the spread of the COVID-19. (Armend Nimani/AFP)

Sika deer cross a road on March 12, 2020, in Nara, Japan. Like a number of tourist hotspots around the country, Nara, a popular ancient city where free-roaming deer are an attraction for tourists, has seen a decline in visitor numbers in recent weeks amid concern over the spread of COVID-19. Some groups of deer have begun roaming in the city’s residential area due to shortage of food partially fed from tourists, according to media reports. (Tomohiro Ohsumi)

A seabird swims across clear waters by a gondola in a Venice canal on March 17, 2020, as a result of the stoppage of motorboat traffic, following Italy’s lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis. (Andrea Pattaro/AFP)

Sea turtle hatchlings scamper towards the water. (Ben Hicks)

The History Channel’s “Life After People” series examined what the world could look like if humanity disappeared.  It didn’t describe what might cause a massive die-off of humans, but a variety of experts discussed how flora and fauna would slowly consume and ultimately destroy human-made creations and induce a chemical- and pollution-free world.

Hm…would that be a bad thing?

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COVID-19 Safe Distance Measures by State

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have recommended individuals remain at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) from one another to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  The minimum distance is based on the average trajectory of nasal droplets once expelled from the nose, mouth, or whatever infected orifice a person might have.  (If this person can expel nasal droplets from more openings than their mouth and nose, I suggest they be put to death.  They will be a danger to humanity, no matter what contagion is in the air.)

This “social distancing” has caused some consternation among many people.  For introverts, however, it’s called life as we know it.  But, in order to help people understand exactly what the 6-foot minimum is, each state has comprised analogies for their particular citizenry.

Alabama – 2 outhouses

Alaska – 12 salmon or 2 Alaskan King Crab

Arizona – 5 Native American bead necklaces or a blueprint for Donald Trump’s “Wall”

Arkansas – 5 lists of the state’s 3 family trees

California – 1 surfboard or a chest of old Kim Kardashian press-on fingernails

Colorado – 1 miniature horse

Connecticut – 25 recordings of Donald Trump trying to pronounce Connecticut

Delaware – 6 bags of used Joe Biden hair pieces

Florida – 1 adult alligator or 4 motorized wheelchairs

Georgia – 10 DVD sets of “Gone with the Wind”

Hawaii – 5 floral lei wreaths or 1 lost mainland tourist

Idaho – 1 “No Californians Allowed” sign

Illinois – 5 Chicago pizzas (or 10 boxes of .32 caliber bullets if you’re actually in Chicago)

Indiana – 10 lists of the top 10 names indigenous peoples had, before some drunk White people arrived and screwed up everything

Iowa – 10 late-model voting machines

Kansas – 3 sheaths of whole-grain wheat

Kentucky – 5 cases of moonshine

Louisiana – 10 Mardi Grass beads (preferably neon) or 5 indictments of state governors

Maine – 1 lobster (unboiled)

Maryland – 10-15 bricks from a now-dismantled wall built around Washington, D.C.

Massachusetts – 5 cases of Irish whiskey

Michigan – 10 cases of German beer or 1 illegal Canadian immigrant (in Detroit, use anything that’s bullet-proof)

Minnesota – 5 maps of the 10,000+ lakes in the state (complete with detailed explanations why no one has made a concerted attempt to count the exact number)

Mississippi – 50 audio recordings of school children trying spell Mississippi

Missouri – 50 video recordings of school children misspelling Mississippi as Missouri

Montana – 3 taxidermy moose heads

Nebraska – 1 bovine calf or a University of Nebraska cheerleader (whichever is closest and not sleeping at the moment)

Nevada – 500 poker chips or 1 topless showgirl

New Hampshire – 1 10’x 6’ slab of granite or 5 “We Are NOT Vermont!” signs

New México – 1 saguaro cactus frond (unshaven)

New York – 1 life-size inflatable Donald Trump doll, 5 yamakas, or 10 Brooklyn-made calzones

North Carolina – 5 vintage “Missing: Roanoke – Have You Seen Us?” flyers

North Dakota – 25 copies of “Why God Created North Dakota (Because Minnesota Was Too Cold)”

Ohio – 30 unpublished “Best Reasons to Visit Cleveland” pamphlets

Oklahoma – 15 editions of the latest Indian casino directory (also still accepting donations for the “Back to Europe” movement)

Oregon – Any still-living Grateful Dead fan

Pennsylvania – 25 king-size Hershey bars

Rhode Island – Rhode Island

South Carolina – 10 editions of “25 Reasons We Keep Fighting the Civil War and Still Haven’t Won”, © 1964

South Dakota – 3 cases of malt liquor beer or 1 “White People Don’t Let the Sun Set on You!” sign

Tennessee – 1 statue of Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, or Tammy Wynette

Texas – 1 rifle and a bottle of tequila (preferably José Cuervo)

Utah – 10 Mormon bibles or 25 unused “Romney 2012” posters

Vermont – 10 “Sanders 2020” banners (previously 5 cases of maple syrup) or 5 “We Are NOT New Hampshire!” signs

Virginia – 5 replicas of Cutty Sark clipper ships or 10 bottles of Cutty Sark whiskey

Washington – 5 buckets of rainwater or 200 bongs

West Virginia – 25 “There Is NO East Virginia” bumper stickers

Wisconsin – 5 crates of Gouda cheese

Wyoming – 1 life-size replica of a buffalo (NO live buffaloes permitted, as they’ll kick your ass)

“Don’t move any closer, bitch!”

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The Earliest Hazmat Suits

Color copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel (Dr. Beak), a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome, published by Paul Fürst, (c. 1656).

The sight of various medical personnel clad in head-to-toe coverings to protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus has become common in recent weeks.  It used to be frightening to see something like that; images that were usually relegated to toxic waste dumps and crime scenes.  But such garb is nothing new.

Beginning in the 17th century C.E., as more epidemics of bubonic plague swept Western Europe, doctors often wore a variety of outfits to protect them from the miasma, or “bad air”, then believed to carry disease.  This was still a time when most people believed health scourges were acts of God and not the result of microbes gone awry.  (Some people – even in so-called developed nations – are still stupid enough to believe that!  The AIDS epidemic is a perfect example.)  It was long before people realized the importance of basic health measures: handwashing, sanitation, not listening to politicians or religious leaders.

These long-ago costumes look theatrical (almost comical) now, as they typically consisted of a head-to-toe leather or wax-canvas garment; large crystal glasses; and a long snout or bird beak, containing aromatic spices (such as mint and cloves), dried flowers (usually roses or carnations), or a vinegar sponge.  The strong smells of these items — sometimes set aflame for added advantage — were meant to combat the contagious miasma that the costume itself could not protect against.

They attire wasn’t just fanciful.  The ankle-length gowns and beaked masks could offer some protection against germs.  The design of these particular outfits has been credited to French physician Charles de Lorme who may have developed the concept around 1619.  By the time the “Plague of 1656” ravaged Italy (which was then a collection of city-states) and killed an estimated half-million people, the beaked coverings had become mostly mandatory.

Terrifying in centuries past, they make for good Halloween apparel today!

Photograph of 17th-century plague doctor mask from Austria or Germany on display in Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum.

Theodore Zwinger III (1658-1724), coat of arms with portrait.

Man in plague mask on Poveglia, (c. 1899).

Plague doctor, from Jean-Jacques Manget, Traité de la peste, (1721).

Doctor in plague costume during the plague epidemic of 1720 in Marseille. Drawing first published in 1826 in the Guide sanitaire des gouvernemens européens by Louis-Joseph-Marie Robert.

Jan van Grevenbroeck (1731-1807), Venetian doctor during the time of the plague. Museo Correr, Venice.

Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel, a plague physician in 17th-century Rome, (c. 1656).

IJsbrand van Diemerbroeck, Dutch plague doctor.

Satirical engraving by Johann Melchior Füssli of a doctor of Marseilles clad in cordovan leather equipped with a nose-case packed with plague-repelling smoking material.

Doctor’s outfit at the Lazaret de Marseille, 1720.

A physician wearing a 17th-century plague costume, as imagined in 1910.

A physician wearing a 17th-century plague costume, as imagined in 1910.

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Photo of the Week – April 3, 2020

“Prophecy” classes canceled?!  Wow!  Imagine reality smacking head-on into religious ideology!  Happens every time there’s a REAL crisis!

Academy Christian Church

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