From the Notebook

May 18, 2021

By Karen

I’ve shifted to a Tuesday-Friday posting schedule due to my day job. Here are the bits I’ve been making note of…

Mask Update from Virginia: Today I went to the Post Office, Target, and Food Lion. The PO still had a door sign requiring masks, and everyone inside wore one. Target had removed its mask sign, but kept the social distancing sign. However, I didn’t see anyone maskless. At Food Lion, I forgot to look for the signs, but everyone was masked. I’m thrilled.

Medina Spirit Triple Screwed: The New York Racing Association suspended trainer Bob Baffert from its tracks, including Belmont, home of the third Triple Crown race June 5. So, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit can’t compete, even if he wanted to win two out of three.

In any case, Medina will probably forfeit the Derby because Baffert let Medina receive a rash ointment containing the banned substance betamethasone. We await a second drug test to confirm the first failed test, but it’s using more of the same blood sample, so another positive seems certain.

Medina may have shot Baffert a “middle hoof up” in the Preakness. Medina led balls to the wall the whole race, only to fall a distant third to Rombauer and Midnight Bourbon in the final stretch.

So, a promising Triple Crown season will probably fizzle, with Medina Spirit a drug-convicted also-ran. Leave it to humans, right?

What’s No. 3 Worth Outside Horse Racing?: Demonic Dick Cheney’s daughter, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a wisp of conscience that infuriates Republicans. First, she voted to impeach Trump (on 2nd try). Then she admitted he’s lying about the election being stolen, painting also as liars every Republican scumbag still spouting that bullshit. It was the first and only time I’ll probably ever agree with a Cheney.

So, Liz had to be punished. Through a weaselly, passive-aggressive secret vote, they stripped Liz of her No. 3 position in the House.

Did it ever matter? Did she get wear a special ring or something? I have no idea who No. 2 is. That position may not even need to exist because Kevin McCarthy reeks of No. 2 from constantly rolling in Trump’s crap.

Republicans Remember Insurrectionists as “Normal Tourists”: In real time, the world watched our Capitol swarmed by human Plague rats egged on by Trump to overthrow the presidential election. They smashed windows and doors, beat police, brandished weapons, smeared feces, ransacked offices and stole, and erected a gallows out front for the vice president.

We’ve been seeing video and hearing eyewitness accounts ever since about this nightmare that killed five people.

I’m waiting for Democrats to slam the lid on this garbage that it was a “normal tourist visit” NOW. Arrest the instigators who still sit fat and happy in Congress. Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor-Greene et al. need a little “me time” in jail to face the fact that that Trump’s out and so is gaslighting.

Israel – Hamas War: In its latest burst of impotent rage, Hamas started shooting rockets at Israel again, with predictable results: Israel’s Iron Dome is swatting the rockets away like flies, but in retaliation flattening huge swaths of what little they’ve allowed to remain of Palestinian territory.

In the U.S., it seems anything less than 100% unconditional support for everything Israel does is labeled anti-Semitism. But this has nothing to do with race or religion. It’s about oppression and human rights abuse.

Let me put it this way. Say your neighbor has a dog he encourages to poop all over your yard. This makes you angry and you feel he’s violating your land, so you start flinging the feces back over the fence into the dog-owner’s yard. One night, he responds by fire-bombing your house, destroying it and killing your whole family.

You can usually tell who’s “winning” a conflict by counting the casualties (as of this minute):

Palestinians: 212 dead (including 61 children, 35 women), 1,400+ wounded, 2,500 homeless.

Israelis: 12 dead (including 1 child).

Israel absolutely has the right defend itself from attack, but the disproportionate brutality is where I draw the line.

In a perfect world, Netanyahu and Trump would be sharing a prison cell for their lives of financial corruption and depraved indifference to human life, and we’d all be better off.

CDC Gives Coronavirus Great News

May 14, 2021

By Karen

Was I the only one who reacted with dismay yesterday when the CDC suddenly proclaimed, “Go forth bare-faced and cuddle up! If you’re fully vaccinated, no more masks or distancing. Coronavirus can’t touch you”? (Fine print: Unless you’re on public transport or in a hospital.)

WTF? This is bullshit. This freedom came the same day fully-vaccinated 65-year-old Bill Maher had to cancel taping of his HBO show, Real Time (which he’s been doing live for months before a reduced and distanced audience), because he asymptomatically tested POSITIVE for COVID.

The CDC says, however, that people who haven’t been vaccinated still need to mask up. Yeah, right. Like they’re going to start now. They must be thrilled to be able to mingle freely again because most businesses aren’t asking for proof of vaccination.

In fact, Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida is prohibiting businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, screwing the Florida-based cruise ships that want to sail again and stay disease-free.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, says, “Vaccinated people need some sort of reward.”

I’m sorry, that’s ridiculous. What are we, two-year-olds?

The ones really getting rewarded are the holdouts who now don’t have to do a fucking thing while the vaccine they should get goes to waste.

The Washington Post reports as of today that only 46.8% of the total population has received at least one dose, and only about a third is fully vaccinated. That’s far below what they’ve been calling herd immunity.

Meanwhile, the anti-vaxxers become variant incubators. Nobody knows if current vaccines protect against variants, because they don’t all exist yet. But they WILL if we drop our guard with people thinking the pandemic’s over and they don’t need the shots.

Another thing we don’t know is how long vaccination protection lasts. And is the time different for two-dose Pfizer and Moderns versus one-dose Johnson & Johnson?

What most infuriates me is how we NEVER learn. The goddamn minute we see fewer cases and deaths (we’re averaging only 622 corpses a day, according to The New York Times, Yippee!), we throw caution out the window. Like we haven’t seen what happens after EVERY large event or holiday where people get sloppy.

I hope I’m wrong, but I expect the numbers to climb again over the summer as people who think they’re safe mingle freely with the diseased and vaccination protection wanes.

Not to mention the country’s not in a sterile bubble. People carrying variants can travel here from anywhere. Now they can walk the streets bare-faced and spike our numbers.

I don’t intend to give up my mask in public until I see vaccination stats much higher, infections much lower, and a CDC estimate of vaccine longevity.

COVID is nothing to play with and I’ll forego my “reward,” thank you, to stay alive and breathing without a ventilator.

PS: I’m glad I just bought a huge package of toilet paper.

NOTE: The cats threw in the towel on the Triple Crown. To quote them, it’s “FUBAR.” Even if Medina Spirit wins the Preakness tomorrow, he’ll most likely forfeit his Kentucky Derby win, thanks to the crooked humans around him. Medina’s record will always bear that stain as they go merrily on their way, doping and disgracing other horses.

Chapter 19: COVID Chronicles

April 16, 2020

By Karen

Day 36

Doctor Breaks My Quarantine, But Was There TP?

After someone mentioned here that their cats don’t interact much, I realized how tight-knit the Cats Working crew is, for cats. Here they were last night while I did my 7,500 steps in front of the TV…

The black blob to the left is Roc, middle Max, with Tony on the table, where the magazine drapes keep Max from gouging out chunks. Nobody else could live like this.

Once I returned to my little office today, the gang stopped by for a visit…

Today was my doctor’s appointment to get prescription refills, but last night I couldn’t bring myself to set the alarm for dawn to hunt for toilet paper while I was out.

I woke up early anyway. By 7:40, Wegmans supermarket’s parking lot was disgustingly full; I almost kept going. But they have great TP, so I donned my mask, stepped over discarded latex gloves lying beside my car (assholes!) and hoped I’d get lucky.

Carts were being sanitized, and sanitizer was by the door, which the woman ahead of me ignored. I used it entering AND leaving (no gloves). Most people seemed to be distancing and wearing masks.

I made a beeline for the far corner via unoccupied aisles as much as I could, also avoiding eye contact for some reason. Masks make you feel sneaky.

The best TP was gone, but they had lots of the six-roll cheapo stuff — limit one per customer ($5.49 — 91 cents/roll). So just in case I couldn’t do better…

At the register where tape on the floor spaced us, I stood behind a woman with a huge order. Then an employee noticed my one little item and led me to customer service to ring up so I could get the hell out of there. She was wonderful.

Still too early for the doctor, I drove over to Sam’s Club. Another trek to the back corner was totally worth it when I scored 32 rolls of Quilted Northern ($19.98 — 62 cents/roll)!…

So, 51 more sheets per roll, 30 cents cheaper. Wegmans scalped me. Live and learn.

I appreciate the masks my sister made me, but it was so stifling at times, I thought I could pass out. Lack of oxygen probably made me forget the few other things at Sam’s I needed and didn’t get.

Sam’s gas was $1.35 a gallon, so I filled the tank wearing bags on my hands, which dropped off into a trashcan when I finished.

I reached the doctor’s early. You have to call from the parking lot before going in and say if you have a fever, cough or feel sick. Anybody could lie, and the door isn’t locked, but they say nobody sick has ever been inside.

All the staff and I wore masks, but other patients didn’t. One discussed her symptoms loudly on her phone in the waiting room, even though a sign said “Phones off.”

The doctor looked like he wore a coveted N95. Since my blood pressure was an amazing 119/70, I let him listen to my heart and lungs and gave blood and urine samples like a nice girl. Then I was OUTTA THERE!

Having skipped breakfast, I toyed with stopping by Burger King, but asked myself, “Really? A bacon, egg and cheese biscuit is worth risking a horrible death?” So I came straight home, put my mask in a 150-degree oven to decontaminate, and dropped my clothes in the washer.

As I was power-walking through the stores, I was surprised by so many people casually pushing loaded carts, shopping like nothing was happening. And patients with naked faces in the doctor’s office. What’s up with them?

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