About Professor Taboo

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From Rope to Threads

Well, as much as I’d rather post something more comical, scientific, or spell-bounding intriguing… this quick post will be simply a matter-of-fact report (rant) on current goings-on with me, those around me, and stuff in the U.S. If you were wanting/needing a lift-me-up blog-post, best you go somewhere else this time. I’m a realist as well as a hopeful optimistic realist. 😉

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Dallas, TX has very recently experienced over one week of triple-digit temperatures. Today’s expected high (yesterday’s) was a cool frigid 93º Fahrenheit. A happy respite from the 103-106 temps the other week. Most of those days we were also under National Weather Service “Excessive Heat Warnings” and “Air Quality Alerts.” The latter is basically a warning of high levels of ozone air pollution from man-made machines, factories, and refineries to go along with methane and CO² up there. This also includes dust/dirt in lower strata from heavy construction equipment, state-sanctioned (roads & highways) and/or private-sector contractors everywhere in the DFW Metroplex. That pollution is distinctly worse during windy days.

I watched this afternoon, about 1 or 2pm, out my front window three (3) Dallas Police Officers (all white), in two squad-cars, and one of the onsite property managers remove two different residents from my building who were apparently delinquent on their (daily?) monthly rent. One resident, a male perhaps in his late 30’s, packed up everything he could into his massive backpack and rolling suitcase, more things in bags under one arm, and walk out to the street. He then walked down the street until he was out of sight. He may have continued on to the busy 6-lane intersection a half-mile away, under a state highway bridge, with some 6-8 other homeless people (6-8 on a daily basis that is) holding cardboard signs walking out into and around stopped vehicles.

The other residents, a couple perhaps in their late 20’s, began packing up their little beat up used compact car—which was already quite full with tons of other belongings—eventually evacuated the property under watchful eyes of police and property management. As they left, their vehicle’s exhaust was visibly blue smoke; oil leak(s). I doubt their car would pass the state inspection laws in order to obtain liability insurance, required by law to own and operate a vehicle, assuming of course they owned it and possessed current, valid liability insurance minimums. The last 6-8 months I’ve witnessed these sorts of evictions take place. What is glaringly obvious are the vast numbers of homeless people everywhere on our busy street corners and intersections the last 12-24 months. It’s impossible to not notice.

This past week I’ve tried to help this neighbor three doors down. About 2-weeks ago his compact vehicle had a major breakdown. Jumper cables didn’t help. A tow-truck came to haul it off to some repair shop. His only source of income is his job as a Lift/Uber driver. He pays his rent week to week, for obvious reasons. Yesterday I drove him 8-miles to the shop his car was being worked on. It’s in a “sketchy” part of town at a very rundown business building of many old used vehicles scattered everywhere outside. They fill-up the make-shift parking lot.

When he returns to my car where I’m waiting—to make sure his car REALLY IS fixed/ready—with an obvious down-trodden face he tells me There’s a snag, a hangup. Can you wait a bit longer? I tell him of course. Ten minutes later he returns with all of his belongings to go straight to work, and tells me the part that was sent to them had stripped threads. He soon told me with an upset tone that he’s sure THEY (the shop) fucked-up the refurbished replacement part. I must take him back home… without his vehicle (for income). This foul-up has now cost him another full-day of income, making it the 5th day without making money. Today, to help him out at least a tiny bit, I go to the management office and pay for one night on his room/place. That’s all I could afford given my own strapped situation.

I literally just received the THIRD Amber Alert in as much as 7-9 days! This doesn’t count the significant increase in Amber Alerts we’ve had in Texas so far just these last 7.5 months! They’ve been going off noticeably more ever since COVID-19 quarantines and businesses and schools shutdown. By the way, that also includes most daycares for working Moms or Dads.

As many of you know, I am a sports fan, particularly a soccer/football fanatic. If any of you in the U.S. are sports fans as well, you know painfully that ALL of our professional and collegiate sports seasons have either been cancelled, postponed, or undetermined. As a result and for the first time in my entire life, I have become a semi-fan of the South Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), watching a few games at 4:35am… because most of this spring and summer there has not really been any other sports viewing-choices right now or there hasn’t been in the U.S. for several months! And I’ve NEVER liked baseball until my son got into it seriously at age 10 over nine years ago. Pfffft, KBO? Seriously!?

If any of you have followed the current American MLB shortened season going on, its season and teams are an organized mess because of COVID-19 infections popping up in at least 4-5 different team’s club houses at different times. The New York Yankees just had 1-2 games postponed because of positive CV-19 tests. More postponements or cancellations might be happening. The entire league’s 60-game season it is said will have a HUGE asterisk attached to it and its October World Series (if it happens?) because of this unprecedented time America and Americans are going through.

I watched two interviews over the past 2-3 weeks that I thought were poignantly revealing summaries of what our country has been put through. Sadly, it did not need to be this bad, not even close! Had our federal leadership heeded all the warnings coming from all the domestic and global experts back in Dec. 2019 thru mid-February 2020, this continuing crisis could have been shortened SIGNIFICANTLY and with much less economic tragedy. But then it happened again this past May over Memorial Day weekend and in another spike July… over 4th of July celebrations and holidays. Here’s what wealthy mogul and former Microsoft owner Bill Gates said about the handling of this pandemic by our federal government and leadership:  Bill Gates on GPS: “Testing insanity” is unique to U.S.

The other interview was by Christiane Amanpour of PBS with former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. It is well worth the 3-minute watch, I promise.

Personally, I have been COVID-tested twice now because both times I was experiencing 6 of the 11 symptoms for the lethal virus. Fortunately, both results were negative. But my last CV-19 test, inside Dallas County (one of the worst hot spots in Texas) took almost 5-weeks to return a result. The only reason my two results have been negative is because #1) I stay at home alone as much as possible. #2) because since early March I have social-distanced like an OCD MoFo, I wear a mask anytime I go out in public, I wear rubber gloves when I go into any places of business doing my BASIC shopping for essential items and/or grocery store items. And #3), if I don’t get out of my vehicle, that’s because I’ve shopped online for curbside delivery done by only ONE worker to my car… that is, a car parked over 8-10 feet away from any other vehicle!

And yet, after near 7-months of this consistent distancing, preparation, and wise, considered caution anywhere I go… this has become a change from “doing well enough” in April 2020, to making things tighter and stretching out longer in July 2020—going from a stabilized ship in a horrible storm at sea—to grasping for ropes to cling to as the HMS Titanic goes down, and to now desperately seeking THREADS that might hold me above the surface of a self-created (by my nation & its leaders) Level-5 hurricane I and everyone around me are getting sucked into. And yet there’s more.

Day before yesterday I ran out of one of my two high blood-pressure meds. When I requested the pharmacy to contact my primary care physician’s office for the refill, the next day they called back stating his office denied my request. I know why. I haven’t gone to have my blood lab-work done yet. It costs me $135 (no insurance) to have it all done, plus the tele-visit or video-visit with the doctor to initiate it. Plus on top of that the cost of the generic prescriptions. It’s money I do not currently have because of several other pressing priorities due to COVID-19 affects and consequences on businesses.

Oh well, hopefully life gets better for everyone and reduces hypertension and high blood-pressure—that if chronic, inevitably leads to heart disease and other medical problems. HAH! 😆 That’s a subject Dr. Sanjay Gupta covered in his extensive 1-hour documentary on HBO called One Nation Under StressIn the documentary Dr. Gupta uncovers the root causes of why American life expectancy, that is primarily Caucasian’s life expectancy, is falling and is now shorter than all other major developed countries. It is a disturbing revelation of our nation’s true health. Here’s the trailer:

So what’s the rub? Can we Americans make it until November 4-5? Can we survive with minimal casualties in this raging, unforgiving storm/hurricane of a crisis that could’ve been lessened significantly, probably avoided in many ways? Because this pandemic virus has affected and infected so many socioeconomic and healthcare sectors and lives, that not even I could’ve anticipated, it could get much worse and last much longer! And I am a HUGE nerdy science guy who tries his utmost to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But this shit is going to outlast even my own predictions back in February. I told everyone then this pandemic and its ripple-effects would last till late-August or early-September before a downward trend and gradual respite occurs. It appears my prediction is coming up wrong and well short. 😔😷

I wonder… how in THA HELL did our Greatest Generation (of America) do it for well over 5-6 years during World War II  on top of coming out of the Great Depression!? Holy crap they must of been truly “E plurabus unum” (like superhero MoFos)… like we stamp on all of our coinage. HAH! Is it really a United States of America rather than a DISunited States of America, “One nation, under stress, and very divided!” as our new revised Pledge of Allegiance the last 4-years might be uttered today? Other nations around the world handled and managed the pandemic SO MUCH BETTER than the U.S.! That’s undeniably true.

Ugh, my rant is done. Tired I am. Everyone keep being safe, being well, and safely distanced. Try to keep going and hang in there! I hope I can too. 🙄

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P.S. One last thing. Have I ever expressed my rising annoyance with most everything electronic, internet, streaming, or WiFi-based over the last decade or more? And with that near boiling-point annoyance of said electronics I am quickly approaching the brink of ‘going postal.’ Have I expressed that? And how many times all my electronic devices I have ever owned (especially the last 10-12 years!) get overly spammed, hacked, and breakdown into some cyber-neurotic psychotic tantrums after ONLY 24-months from their purchase? Then I am forced to purchase a new cutting-edge “newer” device. Imagine that!

Does anyone else experience this incredibly frustrating, cyclical consumer entrapment on a society addicted to an electronic-everything world? Just a passing thought.

I really miss those days (in the 80’s and 90’s) when items, machines purchased would last a good 10-15 years, easily. Now, most mega-corporate business models are structured to generate what they call “perpetual revenue” and repeat consumers that appease, gratify share-holders for many quarterly P&L reports. Ugh, I so love hyper-capitalism.

That last sentence was extreme satirical sarcasm by the way. 😠

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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“C-God” 13.8 Billion Years Old

Yes, it has been confirmed:  13.8 billion years old.

That is the age of our entire known Cosmos (C) or Universe from the very first millisecond it exploded into existence until today. Or for the hard-line Faithers out there, “Yahweh” or “God” or “Allah” or whatever your personal supreme being is named, it is without question 13.8 billion years old.

There have been several techniques to calculate and estimate the age of the Universe. Over the last century four methods of approximation have been used:

  1. The Hubble Constant
  2. Decay of radioactive elements/objects – can also be applied to gases, but with less accuracy
  3. Age of White Dwarf stars, locating the faintest/oldest
  4. Age of ancient star clusters/globulars

Fortunately, and for all prosperity and posterity, science has a fifth and final method ending any debate about the Universe’s age. It is remarkably accurate to within less than 1-percent.

Incorporating method #4 above with the compiled data of NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) launched in 2001, and the European Space Agency’s Planck-satellite launched in 2009, we can determine exactly how long our known, visible Cosmos has been around. Watch NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) two-minute video here explaining in layman terms just how this measuring and time-dating works.

NGC 3603 star-cluster

NGC 3603, an open star cluster and starburst region in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way around 20,000 light-years away from the Solar System

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

If those four common measurements are not enough to convince you or other doubters, then perhaps Cosmologist and graduate of Yale and Rutgers Universities in Physics, Mathematics, Astronomy, and Astrophysics, Dr. Neelima Sehgal, currently Associate Professor in Physics & Astronomy at Stony Brook University, NY, can assist your unlearned hesitation. From Stony Brook University’s research journal:

The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) team in Chile confirmed previous measurements of ancient light-clusters extracted from the Planck satellite data.

[…]

Neelima Sehgal - ACT

Dr. Neelima Sehgal, ACT and Stony Brook University

Obtaining the best image of the infant universe, explains Professor Sehgal, helps scientists better understand the origins of the universe, how we got to where we are on Earth, the galaxies, where we are going, how the universe may end, and when that ending may occur.

[…]

The new ACT estimate on the age of the universe matches the one provided by the standard model of the universe and measurements of the same light made by the Planck satellite. This adds a fresh twist to an ongoing debate in the astrophysics community, says Simone Aiola, first author of one of the new papers on the findings posted to arXiv.org.

“Now we’ve come up with an answer where Planck and ACT agree,” says Aiola, a researcher at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York City. “It speaks to the fact that these difficult measurements are reliable.”

Eternal is Not So Eternal

Oddly enough, it seems now there is actually a beginning and an end to eternal. The Greek words and concept the Alpha and Omega (Rev 21:6; 22:13) are in purely astrophysical terms seemingly truer than ever. Maybe. So it follows then that there is no such thing as forever, timeless, or Eternal. From the above five methods of dating the age of the Cosmos, we now have other fascinating inferences and deductions by astrophysicists, cosmologists, astronomers, and advanced mathematicians about the end or death of our Universe or Creator-God. There are three or four probabilities.

The Big Freeze
This is the death of all differences in heat, or thermodynamics. As the Universe/Cosmos continues expanding at an increasing rate, eventually all forms of energy (heat) will dissipate over time until everything—all celestial bodies, i.e. stars/suns, galaxies, planets, etc.—are just a fraction above absolute zero degrees. The universe will be so spread out over millions, billions, then trillions of light-years, and continuing, that it will become deader and emptier with every millenia.

The Big Crunch
If there is enough or too much stuff in the Universe, i.e. celestial bodies with mass, the expansion of the Cosmos will slow then stop. More stuff means more gravity. The more mass all the bodies gain means more stronger gravity, which means everything gets pulled back in, contracting inward until the Universe becomes so compact, so dense with mass that an astounding inferno occurs, the Big Crunch.

The Big Change
If our Universe is expanding and its expansion is accelerating as most scientists today agree, then matter and energy as we normally understand them could not allow the Universe to continue behaving in this basic manner. In 1998 teams of astrophysicists examining Type 1A supernovae for the Hubble Constant discovered that expansion wasn’t slowing down, but actually accelerating.

Even more bizarre was the expansion had been decelerating, as once thought, until 7-8 billion years after the Big Bang. At that point, for reasons yet to be learned, a puzzling “anti-gravity force” began to dominate, taking over the gravity-induced contracting placed on expansion and then reversed the slowdown and began accelerating. This was dubbed Dark Energy. This energy pulls everything in the Universe apart,  and turns it upside down. The basic building blocks of fundamental particles like electrons and Quarks could be entirely different, radically overhauling our rules of chemistry and maybe impeding the formation of atoms and molecules. It would be quite an inhospitable Big Change. If that were to happen, then plants, animals, humans, even planet and stars would be destroyed. Dark Energy currently makes up about 68% of all energy in the Universe and that percentage is growing each day.

Accelerating Universe - Big Change & Rip

Different possible fates of the Universe, with our actual, accelerating fate shown at the far right. After enough time goes by, the acceleration will leave every bound galactic or supergalactic structure completely isolated in the Universe, as all the other structures accelerate irrevocably away. (NASA & ESA)

The Big Rip
The Big Rip is a more remote, unlikely ending, but nonetheless cannot yet be ruled out. Dark Energy could be more destructive, more powerful than scientists know right now. Here’s the very weird part.

While the Cosmos is expanding, Dark Energy’s (DE) density remains fixed. What this also means is that with increasing volume, more DE pops into existence over time in order to maintain the constant density. What’s even more extraordinarily freaky is that if the density of DE increases as the Universe keeps expanding, then what would happen if DE enlarges faster than the Universe is expanding? In other words, DE’s speed of growth surpasses the speed of light! 😲 This theoretical model is called phantom dark energy and its mechanism is called the Big Rip. Fortunately for our super distant descendants, if this rip were to happen, it would be a horrifically instant death occurring so fast our brains could not process anything that was happening. Woosh! Gone.

And So the Purpose of Consciousness and Life

Everything we mortal humans eventually learn is that all things in life have a beginning, a middle, and an end. All experience, all evidence we have and understand of life indicates a start and a finish. Nothing, not even an original cause or imagined “Creator” is timeless or eternal. It too was born 13.8 billion years ago. He/She/It is growing obese, quicker than before, and will die a final death. Not only is the word eternal fictitious and conceived from ancient, mortal Earthlings’ crude ineptitude passed on transgenerationally, but it is also fruitless, unrewarding for the present. Therefore, I think James Oppenheim had much to say about our life, existence, and the human condition: The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.

There are countless forces that we know dictate our individual lives, significant portions of our lives at the start, most of all with our biological parents. Theirs was also significantly dictated by their biological parents or guardians, and family members. No one has any control whatsoever about who and what their ancestors would be. Earth too is fated to follow external forces. She is just one planet of nine gravitational bodies within our one tiny solar system among billions and trillions of galaxies with millions of other star systems. Our Sun and Jupiter are heavy, major influencers upon Earth’s condition! At the risk of sounding silly and stating the obvious, no one, let alone the entire human species, has the ability (yet?) to make our Sun or Jupiter do anything we wish. And as we’ve now learned from interdisciplinary science, particularly cosmology and astrophysics, the clock is ticking. There will indeed be a final, universal end that not even our man-made God(s) can escape. Is that the Coup d’état of ultimate nihilism? Or is it, as I believe, the epitome of liberation and empowerment, here and now? A tranquility from accepting our place and definitive demise of us, of all things then, now, and that will ever be?

I exist as I am, that is enough. If no other in the world be aware I sit content. And if each and all be aware I sit content. One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself. And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years, I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait. Walt Whitman

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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May 22-25, 2020

Happy remembrance of Memorial Day Weekend everybody on this 4th of July, 2020! Simply check the infection rates and hospitalization rates for coronavirus to see what took place then and as a result is happening now.

As all the fireworks go off Friday night, July 3rd and Saturday night July 4th, let’s remember not just war veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, but also every single one of those ordinary citizens who, over the past Memorial Day weekend defiantly ignored warnings of the seriousness and lethality of the COVID-19 pandemic since February 2020. They either lie in a hospital bed now, maybe in ICU barely clinging to life, or are already deceased from the deadly virus and are now six-feet under.

FOX4 News reported yesterday: Dallas County reports more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, setting single-day record.

dfw-county-map

This is just one county out of five major populated counties encompassing the DFW Metroplex. Dallas County has bounced back and forth with Harris County (Houston) as the #1 most infected counties in all of Texas the last three months.

Lady Liberty fireworksOn this day of America’s Independence from Great Britain in 1776, let’s step back about 8-weeks to May 10th with A Salute Before the Storm and May 12th with Color-coded Alerts? followed by May 27th with It’s Over, We’re Free! and the images in that blog-post where Americans, especially Texans in my home state, arrogantly defied safety orders and the invisible, lethal virus just to get out on beaches among hundreds of thousands of other celebrating rebels for loads of self-pleasure. As a result, Texans today are on world wide news almost daily because of our stupidity and lack of any intelligent leadership both on the federal level and state level to heed warnings and strong advice by real epidemiological and virological experts, who almost cried publicly to say ‘do not reopen businesses so prematurely.’

TX COVID-19 Cases

TX COVID-19 Hospitilizations

With all the numbers spiking upward once again, what do the majority of Texans plan to do this July 4th holiday? Here’s an abbreviated list* of DFW municipalities and their plans for the weekend in the wake of Gov. Gregg Abbott’s latest About-face orders and admonishments to “Stay Home”:

FRIDAY, JULY 3RD

Allen, TX:

Spirit in the Sky Fireworks
9:30 p.m.
Best viewing area: Within one mile of the corner of W. Exchange Parkway and N. Watters Road
Encouraged to watch from your home or car.

Arlington, TX:

Independence Day Fireworks
9:30 p.m.
Globe Life Field (Parking open to public in Lot B, C, F, M and N)
Encouraged to remain at and around their vehicles, maintain social distancing, wear a mask when appropriate and bring their own food and drinks.

Rockwall, TX:

Concert by the Lake
7:30 p.m.
The city is asking people to consider wearing masks and to practice social distancing. But, that’s not a requirement for the concert or fireworks shows over the weekend. Fireworks shows will happen on both Friday and Saturday night in Rockwall, as well as a downtown Rockwall parade Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

SATURDAY, JULY 4TH

Frisco, TX:

Frisco Freedom Fest
9:30 p.m.
FC Dallas parking lots available to the public for viewing. Fireworks will also be streamed live on FriscoTexas.gov. All patrons are encouraged to stay in their vehicles.

Grapevine:

38th Annual July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza
9:30 p.m.
Lake Grapevine (Parking with a fee offered at Oak Grove Park, Rockledge Park and other locations)
No walk-in traffic allowed. Boat traffic only allowed at the Dove Loop Ramp and at the softball fields. Face masks required.

The Colony:

Liberty by the Lake Fireworks
9:30 p.m.
The vicinity of The Colony Five Star Complex, 4100 Blair Oaks
Encouraged to watch from “the safety and comfort of your car” or with social-distancing.

Trophy Club:

Fourth of July Fireworks Show
9:30 p.m.
Independence Park
Nearby parking map available here. Health department advised those who attend fireworks to stay in their vehicle or wear masks.

* – Source: https://www.nbcdfw.com/entertainment/the-scene/4th-of-july-events-across-north-texas-see-whats-cancelled-and-whats-not/2399073/

Stacy Fernández is one of Texas’ most prolific journalist on breaking Texas news having spent years first with NPR, The Dallas Morning News, and at News21 as a reporter, and she correctly writes in The Texas Tribune Thursday, July 3rd:

Health officials want people to choose Harper’s route, finding safe alternatives to yearly traditions. But with Texas’ recent history of temper tantrums by a small but vocal slice of the populace who don’t want to wear masks and insist bars and hair salons reopen, that seems unlikely.

“We have learned in the past these gatherings that took place during the Memorial Day holiday did lead to the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Friday interview with KSAT. “If people gather on 4th of July the same way they did in Memorial Day it is going to lead to a massive increase in the number of people testing positive, the number of people who will be hospitalized, and it could lead once again to an increase in the number of people who lose their lives.”

[…]

“It’s shocking to me that so many people aren’t taking this seriously. I’m curious to see how the fourth is going to be as far as what changes and numbers,” Harper said. If Texans socialize this weekend as they did over the Memorial Day weekend “it could be catastrophic,” said Phil Huang, a doctor and director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, in a press conference Thursday.

[…]

Abbott also amended his executive order and lowered outdoor event limits from 100 to 10 people. Outdoor gatherings, like those typically held for the Fourth of July, must be approved by local officials if they more than 10 people are expected. The few exceptions include religious services, outdoor sports and summer camps. Outdoor events of 10 or less do not need prior approval.

That same day, in response to Abbott’s order, Collin County Judge Chris Hill approved all gatherings of more than 10 people.

Added July 5, 2020 — The Dallas Morning News:  Despite Health Warnings and Governor’s Plea, Fourth of July Revelers Flock to Dallas-area Lakeshores.

Since this past February and March—I really wish then I had been wrong—I have tried to politely explain to as many Texans as I could that if all of us do not go the full long distance, no matter how long it takes, with all known effective measures of stemming this lethal virus from spreading out of control, over-running our hospitals, those consequences are guaranteed to be worse. If we don’t do this together, then we are looking at September or October for flattening the curve (again) and at the earliest. An even more catastrophic impact will take place on all sectors of the economy lasting for many more months after. Since last December and January the true experts have been proven right at every surge and resurge of the coronavirus. We better listen and obey this time around.

Texans, instead of celebrating your own personal independence from tyranny, inequality, oppression of your civil rights, and obligations to those less fortunate than yourself, why not celebrate the HOPE of independence from this deadly virus taking your life, your child’s life or that of your immediate family members, or a dear cherished close friend. I say that’s worth celebrating, alone, or with one or two others who tested negative for COVID-19.

Added July 6, 2020:  FC Dallas out of MLS is Back Tournament amid coronavirus cases — this is the result of North Texans defying Governor’s orders for COVID-19 protection and determent for all North Texans’ safety, and the exact same thing can and will happen to their beloved Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers season-openers if they refuse to take the deadly virus serious!

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Live Well — Stay Home — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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