Autumn

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Today is one of those life transitions.

The Hoyt nuclear family now counts an MD in its ranks. In the next week or ten days, (they haven’t booked the truck, yet) Dr. and the young Mrs. Hoyt will be making their way out of state for his residency program.

Younger son’s graduation is in limbo due to the fact no one informed him of the bureaucratic things he needed to do for graduation, and he’s kind of isolated due to his unique double-degree path. He just didn’t know that there was paperwork to fill months ago.  (And his counselor apparently is useless or thinks he’s psychic.) Wish him luck as he tries to speed up the paperwork so he can have a diploma in hand soon.

Meanwhile — because I can’t do anything about the bureaucracy and younger son won’t let me beat people up (no one lets me have ANY fun) —  this task is done, and it’s time to get back to OUR life.

Even though a summer of moves lies ahead of us, as we help older son and younger son move, and as we engage in the Great Office Swap of 2020. (Now husband is working from home for the foreseeable future, we need to change where my office is, where his office is, and where the household office and paperwork center is.  I know, it sounds loony, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s needed. It is in fact a way to re-center our marriage on our relationship, rather than the relationship with the boys. … Okay, fine, it’s a grandiose way of saying “We want to be on the same floor during the day and the same floor on our time off.”  Also I have great hopes of getting Dan to unpack the boxes he’s carried for the last three moves, and making his office look less like a warehouse. I’ll probably fail in this, but maybe at least he can hide the “graveyard of computer parts” in what will be a bigger closet.)

Anyway, when this is all done, round July or August, we will move into what will be justifiably “a new normal.”  Which won’t mean a diminished life, as what they’re trying to sell to us with the “new normal” carp, but a step into a new phase.

When and where I grew up, by the time the kids were married and moved away — usually not very far because, let’s face it, the entire country is not very far — it was time for the parents to be OLD (even though objectively they were most of them younger than us, given how long the boys have lingered in education, and how late we had them, through no fault of our own.)  They were retired, or had achieved everything they wanted to in their careers, and it was time to … slow down.   To live a slow and limited life as they waited for grand kids.

We do hope to — hint to both boys — have biological grandkids someday (we already have adopted ones — and before anyone complains at the distinction, these are our grandkids by fans I adopted as my kids even though they have other parents. It’s kind of like a reverse cuckoo’s nest thing. — And yes, we do love them, but we’d like our biological kids to have kids, also.) this new phase of life is in many ways not a diminishment but a reorienting and reblossoming.

I.e. I noticed years ago when I was first published that most of the women who became big in the field did so when they were done pushing the kids out of the house (earlier for some than for others.)

I can tell you that doing mothering right, including supporting them through the upheavals of professional training WITHOUT infantilizing them takes a lot of mental space, even when it doesn’t take physical time.  Or maybe that’s just be and being somewhat (Ah! The person who just smirked in the back row might just get a shoe to the noggin) neurotic.

Well, it’s time to concentrate on the career now.

I’m not going to stop caring for the boys. But it’s time for older son (and very beloved DIL) to go off, have their own adventures and learn their own ways.  Younger son will be moving to basement apartment, at least while he waits the resolution of academic limbo, and perhaps for a few years, if he can find a job nearby, because that will speed up paying off student loans and frankly give us someone on hand if we need SOMETHING.  And in fact this house is just two much house for two people, so until we move, we’ll be fine if he stays in apartment. BUT the apartment is completely separate with its own entrance. We’ve been known to go out to the driveway to see if DIL and older son are home.

We do plan some joint ventures with younger son who is a born organizer/adminsitrator, including AT LONG LAST activating Ink Stain Publishing (And yes, that means Kate Paulk’s books come back on line.  At least if she’s not too fed up with us.  We’ll also publish what she calls The Prussian book (space opera, I’m editing now) and we’ll do our best to get her to write sequels to all of them.)  Younger son will also be setting my indie books in paper, and he’ll be doing other stuff.  You’ll see.  Part of our plan is to get it started, so he can continue it even after he has a job, because some things I’m really bad at, but he isn’t.

But MOSTLY Dan and I are going to do the things that were put on hold 28 years ago, when someone put a helpless being in our arms (by stealth!) and we realized with a cold feeling that we were responsible for him for the next 18 years of his life, and he would die without us.  Turns out he and his brother reoriented our lives to be “parents,” instead of Dan and Sarah.  And yeah, we went a little longer than 18 years, because we were giving them a reach up, so they might achieve higher than we ever did.  And who knows, maybe Marshall will actually manage his life-long goal of “getting us the heck out of this rock.”  And if not, maybe he’ll get us a little further on. Maybe he can contribute something on humanity’s way to the stars.

Now because 28 (almost 29) years ago Dan and I were, ourselves, young idiots of 28, we’re not the same people, and some of our goals have changed. Sort of. Kind of.

He’ll probably get back to his music, but — coff — he’ll probably never be a rockstar.  Or not the way he wanted to be in 1991.  As for me….  Well, the only thing I ever wanted to do is tell stories.  That has been weird and spotty, partly due to the publishing establishment, partly due to family, partly due to health and other concerns and running just ahead of the hungry financial wolf for way too long, and getting in my own way by worrying about politics.

Now, all of those aren’t going to stop — duh — but there is indie now, which changes a lot of things, the kids are more or less on their own (well, younger son will be, hopefully within months AT MOST depending on how fast we can get the university office to realize he didn’t drop the ball, THEY did), the health is — for now — under control and G-d willing and according to family history, I should be okay and mentally allert enough to write stories for thirty years or so, and finances will recover soon.  Politics will still interrupt, but that’s life. It’s possible that they’ve become too silly for even me and I’ll learn to put them in the back brain, or like Robert Heinlein during WWII only read news on the weekend.

Hopefully there will be time for a lot more writing, a lot more stories.  Because that’s what I was made to do.  And I intend to do more of it.

We’re moving, you could say, into the autumn of life. And that’s the time that shines the brightest gold. Right?

And now, I’m going to go over some copyedits, put up some Jane Austen “fanfic” and finish the next book.  In the plans is also a space opera Dan and I have been writing. (It’s the world’s pulpiest thing ever.)

Maybe I’ll even find time for some hobbies on the weekends.  At least after the moves and after moving more rock.  Or not. But I’m going to try.

Go have fun.  The Hoyt family is taking a day of rest.  Which means writing and doing math and well, for the younger part of the family, packing like mad people.

Lasting

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Like a lot of Americans these days I’m doing a lot of food preservation.  This is not only natural, when you can’t trust your supply chain — something we never had a problem with before, mind, but the covidiocy driven by the lunatic media has broken that for a while.  I trust that if we don’t go howling into insanity further (sure a portion of society is guaranteed to, but I hope no one pays them any attention) this will be solved within a year, but for now… — but also considerate, because the more you have put by the less stress YOU personally will put on the supply chain and therefore the better the chance that we all get through this without famine. (Well, in the US. The rest of the world all we can do is pray for them.)

And preserving food, with an eye to what will last will give you a strange turn of mind.  Particularly if you are in your fifties, which could rightly be described as the autumnal season of life (I always liked Autumn, anyway) when you both realize you don’t have unlimited time and that the story is not, and never was about you.  (That second part might be only if you’re connected to young people who are now adults and moving on into their own adventures.)

What I mean is at some point, looking at everything you can do and everything you have done, you start prioritizing “what can I do that will last?”

For a person of my limited talents, this is easy.  Novels last — and make money — longer than short stories.  And both last and make money more than articles.

But there are still quandaries.  When I mentioned in my group on facebook (Sarah’s Diner. If you’re there, knock, answer the questions, and we’ll let you in) that I’ve been re-reading Heinlein, Mackey Chandler pointed out I don’t get paid for reading, I get paid for writing.  Which is undoubtedly true.  But it’s also besides the point.  I’m still going to spend time reading (and re-reading) books or taking courses on line, for the same reason I eat food and wash my hair, both activities I don’t get paid for and which I’ll have to do again: because I need them.  (Whether re-reading is productive is something else.  There are authors I re-read a lot, like Heinlein or Giovanni Guareschi, Larry Correia, Agatha Christie, Pratchett, Dave Freer, or Jim Butcher, or about half of John Ringo (I know, but some of his more popular books I can’t “get” in. Not his fault. It’s a thing to do with the universe build and my own personal itchy spots as a reader.  As has been noted here, just because you personally can’t get into a writer it doesn’t mean they’re bad. There is something to taste and personality.  Incidentally, I’ve found that while some writers “keep me out” at one time of my life, they can become my favorites ten years later.  The mind is a weird thing and reading is the meshing of two minds.) Other writers, no matter how enjoyed are one and done.

However most of my re-reading is really to keep me on track in tasks that don’t engage the mind but which are ultimately needed.  You see, I do that with audio books. Without audio books, I would never clean my house, because I would clean half the kitchen and wander off.  In fact, for years, I had “books to ruin” which had to be bought very cheap (or free, from the damaged book shelf that used to be outside every used bookstore.) Why “to ruin”? Because I would hold them in one hand or prop them unstably on something while I did dishes, scrubbed floors, or other tasks where splashing will ruin books.  Getting my husband used to this idea was difficult, since he won’t even let me set the worst of books face down and open, BUT he eventually understood “no bookie no cleany or cooky” and flinched and accepted it.  With audio books it’s easier, though sometimes I get the “TAKE THE HEADPHONES OFF” with varying levels of irritation, depending on whether he didn’t SEE the headphones and has been talking to me for ten minutes. (Which is why headphones tend to be red, pink or yellow.)

But Sarah, you’ll say, why on Earth if you’re trying to do things that last do you do things like clean the house, or (on the program right after I publish this) go and move rocks in the garden, or plant roses, or work on the (truly near dying right now, because we’ve not started watering) lawn or prune trees, or whatever the heck you do that will be gone in a season and for which at any rate no one pays you?

Well….  There is what lasts, but there is also keeping your sanity.

For years, and arguably what is biting me now that the botanic gardens are closed, I carefully scheduled times to “see people that aren’t inside my head.”  All the gardening, cleaning, organizing, and yes, even cooking and preserving, are part of the same process.

We live in a world saturated with story, permeated with it.  For those of us with that kind of bend, it’s easy to live entirely in our heads, with very few excursions out for conversation with our loved ones.

But we are not in fact in Plato’s cave (don’t you dare argue that. Yes, I know all the arguments. I’ve made them myself. But if you argue that you’re just digging yourself a new gallery off the main tunnel.) We are in a world where things have substance, and heft and flavor.

Particularly for those of us who often go fishing off the shoals of the mind for a living, it is important to remember the hand that tickles the keyboard can and should be able to plant vegetables, pat a baby or cut up vegetables.

When I’m stressed doing really violent labor keeps the depression at bay.  And it lasts.  In a weird way.  The roses I’ve been planting and tending this week will — G-d willing, and the next owners of this house not being complete idiots — outlast me, and delight future generations.  Even small things, like seeding the cosmos (they’re coming up beautifully, btw) will last out the day, which is more than my reading the political news and grinding my teeth will last.  And hopefully (I’ve done this before in other houses, except the last one where nothing grew) the way I’m designing things means that next year and the year after the labor will be lighter.  In three or four years (if I’m still here in every sense) it will be a matter of like Agatha Christie’s village biddies watering and weeding a bit every morning.

So I’m trying to do one or two hours in the morning of hauling rock or digging, or putting down flowers (mostly flowers. Vegetables are tough in this climate, though I’m doing some too) and then writing. Novels, because they last.  Though I need to block off some hours/a day for columns because those pay now.

The choice between two activities is “Do I need this in some sense?” and “Which one will last.”

The exception of course is petting cats. It doesn’t last, but I — and they — need it. And heck, none of us lasts, in the long run.

Anyway, the sun is shining and the rock must be shifted and the plants watered.  And then there’s a novel to finish. Even if nothing I do outlasts me, most of what I do today will last out the day itself.  And sometimes that’s all you can aim for.

I’m off to work.

I DO NOT CONSENT

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So for all this time, the democrats have been about consent, right?

Remember when it was essential that every drunk college boy get his equally drunk date to sign a consent for each stage of the relationship?  Like “I consent to mild groping on the couch while watching net flicks”  or “I consent to inept kissing where you look all over for my lips and kiss my left eyebrow, then my earlobe, and end up doing a good imitation of a cow when you use your tongue to find my lips?” (What? Okay, look, I didn’t go out with him again. Besides, he’s a leftist. They’re not good at this stuff.) Like being a teen/early twenties and dating isn’t difficult enough?

Remember how important it is to keep the mentally ill and drug addicts on every street corner, because they don’t consent to treatment and we don’t have the right to incarcerate them unless they commit a crime? And of course, if they commit a crime, they do it because they’re not in their right minds and then we can’t incarcerate them either. We must respect their rights to be free as the wind,  camp all over the most expensive parts of our most expensive cities, and throw buckets of diarreah at innocent citizens.

(BTW part of the reason the despicable Jared Polis in his over stretched Hugo Boss Uniform says that he doesn’t know when restaurants will be able to open, but it’s not “in the foreseeable future” and that public “edutainment” venues like the zoo, the botanic gardens and museums will also remain closed for the foreseeable future, other than the fact that he’s not done admiring himself in front of the mirror in his Hugo Boss Uniform and polished boots, is that while there is an “emergency” he gets extra funds to spend on the homeless.  Thanks Jarred. We know you love the homeless. You love them so much you want to make every citizen of this state a pauper.)

Well, assholes, I have news for you: I do not consent. Nor do the rest of America consent.

You didn’t even have the decency to get us drunk before you started to lie to us.

Remember how this shit started, back in March, when Wu Flu was considered much more deadly — because people insisted on not paying attention to the Diamond  Princess numbers, which were right on target, and also on ignoring the fact the homeless were NOT dropping like flies on the streets — they told us to wash our hands, stay 3 feet away from other people (this was before the six foot magic distance) and cough into our elbows?  They didn’t even give that any time to work. Like a college kid with a roofie, they jumped right on us, before knowing if any of those measures had done anything, and just went for third base with the lockdown.

And then they kept changing the conditions for letting us go. It’s now to the point of “it wears useless masks on its face, or else it gets the hose again.”

So….

So nothing. The American people are setting themselves free all over. At a guess they have a month no more before we start forcibly opening the museums and gardens, which are paid for by our tax dollars, and restaurants are setting tables out everywhere, and letting people come in.

So why are they doing this?  Well, part of it is the Polis thing, above. If you look, while the emergency persists, they get all sorts of funds for all sorts of pet projects. Or, you know, to award contracts to their friends, so that they have a place to go when we run them out of town on a rail.

The problem is I think they’re underestimating how mad people are and how ugly things will get.

Which is where the danger lies.  I know many of you think we should already have started shooting. But there’s a danger to that, while the enemy holds the highlands of propaganda.  In a way our going hot too soon and half cocked or in a way they can paint as unprovoked is what they’re hoping for. It’s their only chance.

Their media arm — and you see what they’ve done, just with scaring everyone — will swing into action, and suddenly everyone will be afraid to associate with those killers.  And they get their moral high ground back. And then they get to control the narrative. And — they think — we’ll never get our heads up again. It’s 1984 forever, and they are big brother.

The thing to remember though, is that the left doesn’t understand people. They have these…. chess markers, labeled people, who move only according to their class.

They have zero chance of getting what they want. They DO have a chance of making our getting rid of them very unpleasant and bloody. And they do have a chance of landing us with a dynastic ruler…. but not of their number.

Both of those are relatively minor, though.

So, what is going on?

Nunes — bless him and his line forever — talks about a coup in progress.  He’s not wrong.  But what he’s seeing is a fractional amount of what the left has been up to.

The coup isn’t now. The coup is what took over the culture and society of the west post WWI.  Most of the world has folded to them, even America to an extent.  They just never controlled America completely, and that galled them.  Both because while there’s freedom somewhere they can’t install their dictatorship of the enlightened, and because (they are, remember, economic illiterates) if only they had the wealth of America they could really get rocking and show the world how well socialism/communism works.

So for the last thirty years they’ve been doing everything they can to take America down and break her.  They thought they’d succeeded.  And then 2016 sucker punched them.

Which is why they have been trying to engage in what Nunes calls coups (and are by definition.)

The problem is…. they haven’t been working.

The massive overreaction to COVID-19 was part of the process. First, the media got to scare its audience. It must have felt good to have power again. And they got to keep that audience — literally — captive.  Of course they don’t want to let us go. Like an aging dowager, they have managed to fascinate people ONE LAST TIME. They’re going to try to lock you in as long as possible.

And it worked, for a while, in the beginning.  But the thing about Americans is that collectively we’re not trusting. And we’re starting to — collectively — smell a rat. And the rules — ever more deranged rules — the left tries to impose are breaking out all over.

The media is still trying. Anything to hide the biggest malfeasance of any administration the country has ever had. I mean, if they were even vaguely non-partisan or only mildly partisan, Rick Grenell would be a household name. He is already — and for that we must be glad — a Usaian. (Hey, given… everything, maybe I should send him a copy of A Few Good Men? 😉 )

And the stuff coming out. Oh, mama! I mean, I don’t trust these assholes and never have and it shocked ME. Is shocking me. Both the corruption and the ineptitude at it.

Are these coups? Well, yes, in the sense they’re trying everything they can to overthrow an established system.

But their coup has been going on since Woodrow Wilson, at least. Probably before.
What is causing them to go batshit insane? The counter revolutioon.  Us.

The internet allowed us to find each other, and to know there are still Americans out there.  Hell, we might — if you take in account massive levels of fraud in elections — be the vast majority of Americans.

And we do NOT consent. To any of this.

On a phone call with mom, she said “You know when they lock you down it’s not about whatever they tell you it is about. It’s always about being afraid of you.”

They should be afraid. They should be afraid enough to know their craziest ploy ever of “let’s keep America under house arrest until they forget what freedom is” is not going to work.

It’s not working. Each day it’s breaking apart a bit more.

Be not afraid.  We are the revolution.

And those who took the establishment through the long march through the institutions? They’re losing.

They’re going to get crazier. But the crazier they get the more obvious their corruption and intents are.

In the end we win they lose.

Go be ungovernable.

Dance To The Music – A Blast From the past from February 14th 2017

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Dance To The Music – A Blast From the past from February 14th 2017

The last day I’ve been going “Argh” as I realize the barriers that have been put to thinking and expression thereof, as well as the continuous blast of “this you must think, this you must celebrate” (more onerous than even “this you must not think” and “this you must not do” that Heinlein cautioned us about) just in the last ten years or so.

The first occasion of ARGH was my going over page proofs for my mystery, Dipped, Stripped and Dead (under pen name Elise Hyatt.)

It was supposed to be out in December, then the collapse, and then January turned into “bursts of insane working, punctuated by the worst flu I’ve ever had.”  That extended into February.  Yesterday Dorothy Grant (BTW, her first book is out) pointed out if I didn’t try to use the treadmill desk the first day I feel up to it, I might not relapse again.  It might have been too late for that warning, though this relapse feels less awful than the last.  I should have pointed out to her that sanity is for sissies, but she might be able to slap me, even from Texas.

Anyway, in going over Draw One In The Dark, I came across a character I’d forgotten was in the book.  First I should point out the furniture refinishing mysteries are where I put most autobiographical details, to the point of older son making me change a thing because he uses it as a password.  Both boys refer to this series as “selling our childhood retail.”  As in, E. the little boy character in the book, is a composite of my sons at that age.

The character I had forgotten was a Marine, who was a carpenter and six foot six or seven, whose other “personality” was a female who liked to dress in extremely high heels.  He was completely harmless, and a very nice man, except for a tendency to think my wedding vows didn’t mean much.  THIS part was goofy. (Though he took his rebuff with grace.) And hitting on me in my own kitchen, while wearing women’s clothing was very very creepy.  His other goofy idea was that he passed as female.  (OTOH best line to guys who were making fun of  him in a bar was “How would you like to have your ass kicked by a guy in a dress?”)

Anyway, I use a version him in that book, and gentle ribbing happens.

It occurred to me that I couldn’t get that book traditionally published today for the thought crime of “laughing at the transgendered” (which I wasn’t.  I was laughing at a very specific person whom I actually liked, but who had some odd quirks in his brain, as who doesn’t?)

And I went “ARGH.” Because this is an area in which we must now think that someone’s cross dressing name/persona is as valid or more valid than his male personality/person, and we’re supposed to call his occasionally liking to dress as a woman “genderfluid.” We MUST also not find it funny that he thinks his female persona is beautiful.  (He is/was — we lost touch and he was older than I– a gorgeous man, of the “craggy type” which does not translate well to female beauty.)

In a way, this type of enforcing of what we MUST think of people’s little quirks is less tolerant and makes us less free.  I mean, I honestly don’t know if my friend viewed this other persona of his as a whole other “person” or just as a hobby, i.e. something fun he liked to do/explore.  And that was fine.  I mean, we didn’t hold our noses up at him, and it was none of our business what he chose to do.  But now, by the dictates of the politically correct church, he and I and all our friends would have to think of it as very serious indeed, a “genderfluid” thing that meant he wasn’t the same sex his body was for at least part of his time.

How is this helping? Sure, if you really are a person who thinks he/she shifts genders occasionally, you now have reinforcement/support.  But what about everyone else?  What about the vast spectrum of people, from guys who think women clothes are fun, to guys who just want to explore that side of themselves? WHY must there be only one correct way to be a guy who periodically dresses/thinks he passes as a woman?  And isn’t labeling every other view of it as hateful… rather hateful?

My other moment of Argh was occasioned by younger son.  No, that doesn’t mean younger son did something wrong.  He didn’t.  It’s more that younger son told me about something.  (Oh, dear Lord, why does he do that?) and what he told me about was that some show introduced the concept of “Galentine’s” on the 13th.  This is a day for “ladies to celebrate ladies.”  What was driving younger son bananas (with a side of kiwi) is that he seeing all his female friends fall into this.

The idea is frankly loony.  Valentine’s itself is highly commercialized, but most of the time, my husband I circumvent it by having walks together, or just watching a movie together.  However, a day to celebrate being a couple is useful (and it wasn’t proclaimed by some government.  In fact, I’m fairly sure what it is in the US grew organically, because it’s not the same anywhere else.  In Portugal it’s considered “boyfriend/girlfriend day” but it mostly amounts to some kissing and maybe flowers.  Or it did in my day.)  Trust me, in the years of raising toddlers, any time to remember yes, you’re in love, and what brought you together is important.

But Galentine?  What the actual heck?  It’s not bonding, and it’s not building a relationship that is a cornerstone of society.  No.  It’s … putting up lists of your friends who are female and celebrating them BECAUSE THEY’RE FEMALE.  This is something they were born, and can’t help being, and… what are we celebrating, precisely?

It’s not that I object to “ugly/awkward girls get a day too.”  No.  it’s the undertones of it.  It’s the “It’s just as good to be a woman as a couple (you know, the future would beg to differ) and how being a woman is something you should celebrate because… because… because….  I don’t know?  Because we have vaginas?

Picture guys saying that being a man is something to celebrate, because… they have penises?  Mind you, I’m a big fan of both men and their ah implement, but seriously? It would be laughable.  And celebrating because you’re a woman is equally laughable.

Mind you, I’m probably the voice crying in the wilderness in the days of pussy hats and women marching around with signs painted with vulvas or proudly proclaiming they have a vulva, but it seems to me if what makes you special is the non-thinking thing between your legs, you’re doing life wrong, you’re doing equality wrong and MOST importantly, you’re doing SPECIAL wrong.

I have friends who are female and friends who are male.  Not only do I not care what their equipment is, but frankly I don’t want to think about their equipment.  The only person whose sexual organs matter to me (other than myself) is my husband.  It’s the only one whose sexual organs have an even remote effect on our relationship (I maintain if we lost the capacity to have sex tomorrow, love would go on, so, yes, remote.  But it would be less fun.)

What makes my friends special are the things we both enjoy, the things we like to talk about, their fascinating minds or their generous personality, or their kindness, or their enthusiasm or all of those and more.  None of them, though are “vagina” or “penis.”

Celebrating my lady friends is goofy.  Celebrating my gentlemen friends sounds like I’m having affairs.  I love all my friends, and wouldn’t even be opposed to giving non-romantic valentines, the way elementary school kids do it.  (Only not to everyone I know.) BUT I don’t think of my friends in neat little groups.  A couple of my best-male friends are gay.  I don’t have them in a group for “my gay friends.” I only think of them in those terms when refuting some idiocy from left or right about “all gay males” or when the subject — usually a joke — is one they’d enjoy.  In that sense it’s like thinking of my “writer friends” a fluid group who will appreciate some jokes/situations more than my other friends.

Putting people in groups, some of which are to be celebrated and some reviled is a trick for “governing” and controlling people, which has been used since machiavelli.

What burns me is seeing people willingly cooperate in this, seemingly unaware that any group that’s uplifted can be cast down when policy demands it.  It’s all a game to control people.

They can pipe all they want.  I’m not dancing.

Happy valentines to all my friends, male and female, all of whom are loved even those I’ve never met but who make this blog interesting.

You are loved, all of you, you fascinating individuals.  Now, go be you.

 

 

Civil Shoulder Shrug

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I know, and have said, that one of the things I appreciate the most about America is how law abiding we are.

I’ve written in the past about the transformative experience of realizing no one stole Christmas decorations from yards, followed by realizing how few yards had even a nominal picket fence.  Mind you, I still don’t feel okay without a fence, and when I’ve lived in a house with one, I obsessed about closing gates, since it seemed to me an open gate was an invitation to entry.

Now, when I was a kid in Portugal, the only well defended houses — eight foot walls, broken glass on top — were those more than a hundred years old, dating back to the Napoleonic wars or the civil war.

BUT there were no yards without walls.  My parents’ garden wall was maybe four feet high, and made of stone, but behind it was an hedge that went up another 2 feet.  Not insurmountable. Coming home to find gates locked, and having forgotten the keys (or perhaps our parents thought we were home. Whistles innocently) both my brother and I showed that the wall was entirely surmountable, and in stealth as well.  Of course we also showed you could jump between the terrace and the balcony. And I was somewhat better at pulling up the blinds from the outside, and defeating the window lock. (Prompting my brother to tell me, in pride, that I could make a living as a second story woman.  BTW we were usually together and not doing anything wrong, though often something temporarily “illegal” in the sense that we’d break curfew to go to book meetings and book fairs [curfews were often only for thirty and under, since the authorities feared civil unrest.])

These days my parents’ garden walls are eight feet tall, and the pipes someone might use to climb into the house are girded in razor wire.  Also, the house is a series of compartments, each of them separated from the other with doors as strong as a bank vault’s.

Note the progression. It’s not inevitable. And it’s not just “oh, times have changed.”  The question is WHY times have changed.

Portugal has an history of shrugging its shoulders at laws, and of thinking laws apply to other people only (never to the individual talking about how we need MORE laws.) Hence why no yard decorations were safe, and people had at least nominal walls to signal “this is mine. No trespassing.”

However, keep in mind those nominal walls used to WORK, which means there was some respect for private property, just not the same as in the US. I.e. people weren’t respecting the law that said “if it belongs to someone else don’t take it” but the wall that said “the individual will protect his things.”

The underlying lack of respect for central authority might have its roots in the deep past of the culture — I really wish I could abide a degree in anthropology in the current climate, because one of the things I REALLY want to know (and perhaps we all NEED to know) is how long deep-culture survives. Something like the subconscious of the collective culture — where every new invader brought his new and nonsensical “laws” and “orders” and sometimes the only way to survive was to cock a snook at them.

On the other hand, perhaps it’s all the near-disturbances, starting with the Napoleonic invasions and the civil war, and then the deposition of the king, and then anarchists (of the left kind) trying to govern and bankrupting the country, followed by national socialism, international socialism of various flavors, and then the EU mad-hatter take over.  I noticed by the way a brief flash of more respect for the laws, when the EU took Portugal in, followed by things going rapidly to hell with no coming back, and lately accelerating to insanity. (OUTSIDE touristic areas. Things seem to be safer in touristic areas. Possibly because again, while cocking a snook at unreasonable rules the locals are not insane and realize where the bread is buttered and which orifice the golden eggs eject from.)

Which brings us to the circumstances under which a culture remains as law abiding as possible while shrugging its shoulders at insanity.  (BTW in another proof that Portugal is a mystery even to me, they meekly obey EU laws on stuff like “no selling of homemade foods at fairs” while the walls climb higher because crime is out of control, and traffic laws become AT BEST traffic suggestions.)

I’m sure there was a period of rebellion against national socialist laws when they first came in but I wasn’t born. And I think my parents weren’t born either (I’m fuzzy on the dates, and too sleepy to go look them up.)  HOWEVER I remember the transition of national to international socialism, in my early teens, and its own sets of bizarre laws which, as always when statists take over the economy and dictate who can work and who can eat involved massive economic disruptions. (Even when it’s just a trade off between statists, you know?)

So I remember stuff like when all bakeries closed because there was only ONE baker’s union, and it decreed general strike. … so everyone and their cousins started a lively trade in black market yeast, and a lot of women learned to make bread. But wait, there’s more. After a couple of weeks, everyone knew which doors to knock at and what the knock was, and they’d sell you bread they made, out the backdoor.  Some of these people were actually bakers, going in and working the bakeries at weird hours, then bringing the bread home to sell.

Other such things went on. People whose business had been seized worked at home,a nnd you could buy their stuff, if you knew the sign and countersign (which was a LARP sensation :-P).

In fact after a while, as people got used to the disruptions, things adjusted around them, and reshaped, and life went on.

Practically anyone who has lived under tyranny has stories like that.  Without the black market, the USSR wouldn’t have lasted 10 years. (And would have managed to starve even more people.)

There seems to be some switch amid even the most law abiding people that goes “The government/authorities are trying to kill me. I’m not going to die.”

Our government/authorities are completely unaware of this, btw, partly because they grew up in a culture of almost German respect for the law. Partly because the parts of the government that are at war with us have been taught a bunch of shit that just ain’t so about how the world works and how much other countries respect law. They’re not precisely stupid, but they are as ignorant of humanity as though they’d been raised by aliens.  (Are Marxists human? Inside the head, where the Marxist software runs, I mean? I don’t know. And neither do you. We also still haven’t found the Martian fever that will salvage the human while destroying the parasite controlling him.)

So when they set about destroying the economy — partly because they hate OrangeManBad, partly because they hate US with a purple passion, for being “ungovernable” and refusing to cooperate with their dreams of socialism — they have no clue what they’re unleashing.

But we should know. We should become aware of it. We should become aware of it if ONLY because this might be a dress rehearsal, if they manage to steal the election in November (and don’t think they won’t. Most people are like infants in their denial of the massive levels of fraud.) But also because frankly, it’s time they realized their schemes aren’t going to work. They need their nose shoved in. They need a demonstration as to why they’re playing a dangerous game. Before they go too far.

So lay in your plans on how to survive their economic blow designed to make sure that only the big corporations (largely under their control) survive this.

What your plan is, depends on who you are.  I know that already hair stylists are doing house calls, and thereby cocking a snook at the closure orders while not calling the kind of fire on them that open defiance would do.

The rest of us? Well…  I’m a fairly useless woman,  who can’t do much but tell stories. But I’m studying ways to start other part time businesses (yes, in my copious spare time) simply to raise the unicorn fist aloft and scream “We will do better than we did before. And also you’re not the boss of us. You never were.”

I don’t know your circumstances, or your place. However, start laying in your plans (Oh, and the person who can and has time to program, please ping me in email again. Have talked to husband. We might be able to start …. something to sell books online right now without infringing on your amazon sales.  Later…. well. Later getting around blocks might be helpful.)  Start getting ready to move.  Not in a violent way (there are other boxes we can resort to, still) but in ways that denies their primary object of destroying us economically.

In fact, because we’re us, and not Portuguese with its long inheritance of dysfunctionality, let’s do this in an American way: Bigger, Better, More in Your Face and Unabashedly.

Let’s make sure we come out of this better off than we ever were.  Each of us and all of us.

Be fearless, be innovative be — despite them — prosperous.

Be not afraid.

Go be productive.

 

 

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike and Book Promo

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Book Promo

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. I ALSO WISH TO REMIND OUR READERS THAT IF THEY WANT TO TIP THE BLOGGER WITHOUT SPENDING EXTRA MONEY, CLICKING TO AMAZON THROUGH ONE OF THE BOOK LINKS ON THE RIGHT, WILL GIVE US SOME AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR PURCHASES MADE IN THE NEXT 24HOURS, OR UNTIL YOU CLICK ANOTHER ASSOCIATE’S LINK. PLEASE CONSIDER CLICKING THROUGH ONE OF THOSE LINKS BEFORE SEARCHING FOR THAT SHED, BIG SCREEN TV, GAMING COMPUTER OR CONSERVATORY YOU WISH TO BUY. That helps defray my time cost of about 2 hours a day on the blog, time probably better spent on fiction. ;)*

FROM S. L. BARON:  Vanilla Blood: A Novella

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Tragedy leaves Livia Hart a broken shell of herself. Craving escape from her grief and guilt, she heads to Europe, taking the trip she’s dreamed about for years.

While in London, her prayers are answered when she meets Lucian Llewellyn. Lucian offers her more than just one night of bliss to forget her loss: the gift of immortality, to be reborn as a vampire.

Livia enters a world where vampires refuse to mourn their existence. They instead embrace their roles as powerful predators, hiding in plain sight and preying on those who won’t be missed.

But secrets from Lucian’s past threaten Livia’s newfound happiness. Can she survive in her new life knowing the truth? Or will the revelations condemn her to an eternity of regret?

FROM LAURA MONTGOMERY:  Sleeping Duty (Waking Late Book 1).

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Gilead Tan and Andrea Fielding survived their stint in the military, got married, signed up to emigrate to a terraformed colony world, and went into cold sleep for the journey from Earth. While they slept, the starship went through the wrong fold in space and settled for a different world, a wild world.

Three centuries after the founding of a colony on the uncharted planet, Gilead awakens to find humanity slipped back to medieval tech and a feudal structure.

Worse, the king who wants Gilead awake won’t let Gilead awaken his wife.

FROM ANNA FERREIRA:  As She Was No Horsewoman: A Pride & Prejudice Sequel.

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Elizabeth has never learnt to ride a horse. Darcy thinks this a grave oversight in her education, and with the help of a little mare named Rose, sets out to teach his wife the art of horsemanship. Poor Elizabeth had no idea what she was getting herself into…

FROM ALYX SILVER:  But He Turned Out Very Wild: A Short Pride And Prejudice Variation.

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In the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen there was only enough good between Darcy and Wickham to make a “good sort of man.”
But what if that were NOT true? What if what we — and Darcy — think we know about Wickham was all wrong?
In this short story of intrigue and crime, one might end up feeling sorry for George Wickham himself.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: High-pitched.

There will be chapter by the by

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Hi guys. I was hauling river rock.  Freed an entire flowerbed for cosmos, which are great flowers because they self-seed and don’t let weeds bother them. Oh, and I can use them for cut flowers.
I also am ALMOST at the point of digging up the side flower bed for the “dedicated” rose garden. (For now. Next year, if things are okay, I’d like to put a gazebo in the middle of the yard, with roses climbing over it, but that’s…. not this year. It’s conditional on my writing enough and the economy doing well enough we can afford to spend around 1k on “it makes Sarah happy.”

I will do a chapter today or tomorrow, but …. things hurt.

Oh, yeah, I’ve been driving.  So if you’re in Denver and you see a crazy woman with calico hair (an attempt to remove the hair dye, you don’t want to know) driving a red honda, beware.  Anyway, today I forgot it’s not the expedition, so I loaded the trunk with 500 lbs of soil and manure and then it drove like a barge.  I came home before going out for further shopping.

On the good side, heavy work always calms me down and I’m feeling rather happy.  Just dead on my feet. It reminds me of Heinlein’s ode to the wheelbarrow.

Panic Reaction on a National Scale by David Burkhead

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Panic Reaction on a National Scale by David Burkhead

So, for some months now we’ve been engaging in greater or lesser degrees of restrictions in order to “flatten the curve” (although now people are claiming it’s to completely stop–more on that in a moment) of COVID19 (which I like to call “Winnie the Flu”).

Few, if any of these restrictions make a lick of sense.

First off, the models that drove most of the reaction (and, let’s be honest, the panic) were created by Neil Ferguson, a “mathematical epidemiologist” who had previously made such predictions as (https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2020/05/08/so-the-real-scandal-is-why-did-anyone-ever-listen-to-this-guy/) …

– 2002: Predicted up to 50,000 in the UK would die form Bovine Spongeaform Encephalitis (“Mad Cow Disease”). To date, there have been 177 deaths from that cause.
– 2005: Predicted that up to 150 million people would die from that year’s Avian Flu. In the end, only 282 people died from that strain.
– 2009: Swine flu this time. Based on Ferguson’s advice a UK government estimate was 65,000 deaths in Great Britain. Actual deaths? 457.

So, given this stellar track record, the real question is: why did anybody give this idiot any credence at all when he admitted using undocumented 13 year old code intended for a then feared flu epidemic and not for coronavirus?

But, governments around the world, including those of the US and its component states, saw those dire predictions and panicked.

“Keep social distancing, stay at least 6 feet away from other people.” Why six feet? For viruses carried in normal breath it’s dramatic overkill. 3 feet, a fairly comfortable “personal space bubble” for most people in most situations, is plenty. Droplets carried by coughs and sneezes go farther, much farther than 6 feet. So in one situation it’s inadequate. In another it’s overkill. This is a case where “somewhere in the middle” buys nothing. If you’re going to dismiss the sneezing and coughing issue (maybe by expecting people to cover their mouths–which they should be doing anyway) then six feet buys nothing over three feet. If, however, you’re concerned about sneezing and coughing then six feet is as bad as three feet.

“Gatherings of no more than 10 people.” Um, okay. Ten people in the local Petsmart. Then 10 people at the drug store. Ten people at Kroger. Ten people at the local park. Ten people at a blot (call it a “bible study and support group” for those of a Christian persuasion). And so on. One person going from place to place and now all those people are exposed.

And a lot of things just seem to be so arbitrary. Married couple who live together sitting together on a bench? Separate, more than 6 feet, or be ticketed. Really? In what way does that make sense?

Man surfing all by himself. Arrested for violating quarantine orders–and put in a jail where he’ll be in enforced close association with a bunch of other people. How is “in jail” better from a perspective of slowing the spread of disease than is “surfing all alone, not another person in sight”? Boating (so long as no more than 10 people) okay. Drop a baited line off the boat (fishing) and that’s a violation. How does that make sense?

Then there’s New York. New York is a city utterly dependent on mass transit. So, shutdowns reduce the number of people traveling every day? Well and good. But with fewer people using the mass transit, the city reduces the number of subways and buses running, thus ensuring that the remaining ones are every bit as packed as they were before the shutdowns. Packed subway cars, a perfect breeding ground for the spread of disease.

COVID19 is largely harmless to people who do not have serious co-morbidities, to people who aren’t the very old, or with significant heart and lung problems. So, nursing homes are filled with the most vulnerable people. So why require nursing homes to accept COVID19 patients? Yet that was exactly what Cuomo ordered.

There is absolutely no sense to the restrictions being imposed on the American People in the name of COVID19. They range from the useless to the deadly. This does not mean that there are not things that can be done that would actually help the situation:

– Wash your hands.
– If you’re sick, stay home (unless you’re sick enough to need to go to the hospital).
– Isolate those who are most at risk (the elderly, those with significant heart or breathing problems).

Really, you should be doing all of that anyway. If COVID19 gets people actually doing that then that’s a win. Not worth the other nonsense but, “it’s an ill wind” and all that.

But the rest? Not only useless but actively harmful. First, from the way diseases work, you want the low risk people to get the disease. Get it, get over it, and stop being a risk to everyone else. You want it to spread quickly and thoroughly through the low-risk population. By slowing that, you delay when “herd immunity” is able to protect the higher risk people. And then there’s the other effects of all the restrictions, the effects on the economy. People keep trying to dismiss that as “millionaires profits” but economic damage extends far beyond some millionaire having to find a less expensive brand of champagne. It causes suffering and death for real people.

– Because rising unemployment kills people. We’re already, as of the last figures I’ve seen 11% higher unemployment than before this started and it’s going to go a lot higher before we’re through. Another figure I’ve seen is that each 1% of added unemployment leads to 2 additional suicides per 100,000 population. Do the math.

– Because food shortages (which we will have) and outright famine (which, if we don’t have here, other people will because the food we normally export we’ll be keeping to make up the shortages here) kill people.

– Because delaying other medical testing and treatment in fear of “the Rona” will kill people. This is not a hypothetical. A friend of mine had a breast tumor biopsy delayed because “elective procedure” (“elective” in medical terms simply means “can be scheduled” rather than “get him in the OR right now or he’ll be dead right now”).

– Because people going violently “stir crazy” by being cooped up at home and not able to engage in their normal activities kills people.

This “shutdown” that people are trying to call a quarantine (an actual quarantine is where you isolate the sick and known or at least suspected carriers until they’re no longer contagious) also kills people. And nobody, at least not at the decision-making levels, is doing any kind of realistic assessment of the costs (human and otherwise) of the measures being taken vs. the cost of the disease itself. At least then one might be able to chart a course that leads to the least suffering and death.

Instead, we’re getting a panic reaction, people running around with their hair on fire not even realizing that they’re just fanning the flames.

Oh, and those who are beating the panic drums in order to use the “crisis” for their own cynical political ends.

The Danger of Masks

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Over and over, everywhere, they’re out in force.  “I wear a mask because I care.”

The fact this phrase is always used tells me it’s not original. They heard it somewhere, and it sounded good to them and they’re going to use it buckle and tongue whenever anyone challenges the UTILITY — or the sanity — of their wearing a mask.

In fact their wearing a mask is tying a yellow ribbon in their front yard during the Iran hostage crisis. It is flying the flag after 9/11. It’s a way of showing their feelings, their emotions.  It’s also a way of feeling part of a crowd.  (Yes, I flew the flag after 9/11. But my dears, I fly the flag all the time, up to and including when I get a wild hair.)

They don’t even TRY to argue it does something useful. They just view it as a symbol to tie to their faces, to show they “care.”

The problem is that it isn’t a gesture without a cost.

Flying the flag or tying the ribbon, or wearing the AIDs ribbon also did bloody nothing, except perhaps lend comfort to other people in the same situation. Like your neighbors who wanted the hostages back already and wanted life back to normal.  Or your friends who wanted a cure for AIDS. Or other people grossly infuriated by the attack on the twin towers, who wanted to do something when there was nothing they could do.

Yes, I DO understand the need for solidarity and a psychological feeling of doing something, even if it doesn’t mean much in the real world. I’m a writer. I deal in symbols. Of course I understand.

But wait, there’s a problem with the mask as the chosen symbol of “I care.”

I’ll admit if we’d done it INSTEAD of locking down I’d probably have done it (or tried to do it. For me there are costs greater than for most people. More on that later.)

For now let’s talk about the danger of masks.

No, not psychological dangers, though those exist too.

We’re going to talk about the CLOTH masks most people wear, which someone on facebook was insisting “cut your risk by 25%”.  I’m fairly sure those numbers are PFA or refer to the N-95 and surgical grade masks.

Because the cloth masks are about as good for stopping a virus as a window screen for stopping smoke.

You can’t, at the same time, say this virus is so tiny it hangs in the air, OUTDOORS for 10 hours, waiting for people to pass by, and that it is so big that it’s stopped by regular fat quarter cotton weave.  Or think that those who refuse to wear the mask are trying to kill you, but advice asthmatics like me, or those who have panic attacks with something in front of their mouth and nose that they must wear it “under the nose” or “really loose.”

It’s one or the other or it’s nothing.  In this case it’s nothing. The mask is solidarity, a symbol, a badge of “I wear it because I care.”

But you don’t care. Because what you’re doing when you not only wear the fargin magic mask, or tie it to your poor kids’ faces, or act like anyone not wearing one is trying to kill you is going to make people very sick. Or kill them.

So, let’s talk about what those cloth masks do.

On the PLUS side, they keep you from sneezing at people.  I don’t know about you but since the swine flu years ago, I have been sneezing into my elbow and facing downwards.  This means any extra particulate is going on the ground. Unless you’re licking the ground, you’re probably safe.

But let’s say you’re a rudesby who likes sneezing in people’s faces. Okay then, the mask keeps you from doing that.

But let’s talk about what the mask IS: a cloth medium that holds on moisture and particles you exhale.

Now let’s talk about cold viruses: you’re full of them. No, not just Coronavirus. LOTS of Corona Viruses. Rhino (from nose, not the animal) viruses too.  Even when you’re not sick, a certain amount of viruses live in you. They might just be too few to infect anyone, and besides, your immune system keeps them in check.

I had a friend who used to yell at me that my sons getting soaked to the skin in a snow storm was no reason to be scared they’d get sick, because you “get sick from viruses, not getting cold and wet.”

She was right and also woefully wrong. Her understanding of biology is such that though we’ve not spoken in years I’m sure she’s gone full frontal Karen and yells at people in public not wearing masks.

You see, the reason our ancestors, who weren’t dumb as rocks, called colds “colds” is that they were often brought on by a shock to the system. Like getting soaked and cold.  The virus was already there, but not in quantities to cause a horrible illness.  Until, of course, your defenses went down.

Also for the record, viruses mutate extremely fast and can interchange DNA and create super mutant viruses. This is why animals and people living in close proximity is a big issue and why we have swine flu, chicken pox, etc etc.

So when you tie a piece of nice — kept moist by your breath — fabric in front of your mouth and wear it EVERYWHERE you’re going to give those viruses an ideal place to grow and mutate.

Your caring is so GREAT you’re cultivating new viruses, just there for people to catch from you. Isn’t that nice?

On top of which, because the pieces of fabric don’t fit well and are uncomfortable, everyone I’ve seen fumbles with them constantly,thereby bringing whatever viruses they just picked up on their hands or gloves near their faces …. and adding to the petri dish.

This goes double for little kids, who are AT BEST little petri dishes, anyway, and I say this as someone who loves kid. They’re going to lick the inside of that mask, you know they are.  And continue wearing it.

A friend who is a nurse says under no circumstances should you wear a mask — the same mask — longer than half an hour.  Another friend who is a biologist says no, leaving the mask in the locked car in the sun is NOT enough to disinfect it. You need to run it through a bleach cycle on hot. (I’m not sure about the bleach, but the hot cycle is a good idea, I think. AND loads of detergent. And a hot dryer.)

And guess what? We’re already seeing pneumonias and strange viral things not Winnie the Flu from the mask mania.

In fact, I predict a very hard season ahead. And these people are doing it to themselves, because they “care” so much.

Look, disengaging your brain is always a bad thing. Disengaging your brain and playing with biology is a horrible thing. But go right ahead and tell us how much you “care.”

Oh, and by the way, there are people who simply can’t wear the mask. So when you go on an unhinged rant about how everyone who goes unmasked wants to spit in your face and kill you, not only are you an ignorant moron (being a moron is not your fault, but you could at least inform yourself, assuming a) that everyone is infected and b) that this virus is lethal in every case — which is so far from the truth it’s not even on the same planet. –) you’re also wanting to kill everyone who has asthma. Mine came out of remission with a vengeance within ten minutes of having a mask on. And, yes, asthma CAN kill you.  So can panic attacks. So can about a hundred other respiratory illnesses, chronic and not, that say ANYTHING blocking your airway is a bad idea.

And for the love all that’s holy, don’t jog with a mask on. You’re giving yourself hypoxia and brain damage, and trust me, you need every brain cell you have. They’re lonely as is.

Also don’t drive in a mask. You might not notice and depending on what you made your mask of you might become extremely hypoxic and crash.

If you have to wear a mask for work because your governor is a moron (Hi Jared Polis!) change them every half hour, and wash them in REALLY hot water with plenty of detergent when you get home.  If you don’t want to bleach them, color bleach might AT LEAST help some. Dry them in a hot dryer. IRON them.  Do your best to sanitize them if you can.

Oh, and before you bleat that Asia wears masks, and look how much better….

You know what else Asia, or at least Japan, did? NEVER SHUT DOWN.  And as for masks, friends there inform me that they do INDEED wear them: If they’re sick, and are in a place where they might not be able to cover before they sneeze on strangers two feet away.  So, if you ride the NYC subway and are feeling punk? DO WEAR A MASK.  If not? You’re not doing what they do in Asia. It’s a courtesy thing, not a “this protects me” thing.
Stop taking badly interpreted bits of other cultures and trying to graft them on like magic talismans. It only hurts you. And those around you.

On top of that, btw, since Winnie the flu is asymptomatic in about half the people and MILD in most people under 60 unless there are other conditions present, by wearing the mask, supposing it worked — it doesn’t, but let’s suppose it did — unless you’re one of the at risk, you’d be delaying herd immunity. Which means you’re giving the virus a chance to get to more VULNERABLE people and kill them.

A mask doesn’t show you care. It shows you don’t think. Or if you think, it shows you want to kill asthmatics, those at risk, and  want to inflict us with some plague that’s much, much worse than winnie the flu.  Your need to belong to the herd will kill people.  But don’t let that stop you. Go right ahead. Why not? Evolution finds a way.

Oh,and on belonging to the herd: Masks are apocalyptic cosplay.

One of the earliest needs of humans is to see human FACES. We are in fact programmed to see human faces in everything. Ever stared at a stone wall long enough? the random tracery will become a face.

In public, a smile diffuses tense situations, and strangers often give each other a vague smile meaning “you’re not a threat.”

Instead, we’re going out in public into a faceless landscape, often with angry eyes.  It prolongs the sense of fear, heightens the back brain panic, and in general makes everything worse out there.  It holds people in terror.

So, go ahead. You want to wear a mask? Wear a mask. But don’t tell me you care. Tell me you want to belong, and are either selfish or a dumb ass.

Because there’s a price for everything. And the price for mask mania is way too high.