Thursday, Nov. 12th, Qin and I took a much needed morning and afternoon to stroll lazily through the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. We did strictly observe, of course, all necessary COVID-19 protocols for health and safety, not just for ourselves, but for all other park guests as well. It was tricky sometimes to keep 6-8 feet away on a few narrow bridges and pathways, but we did the best we could. Yes, there were a couple of occasions where other park guests were oblivious to how exactly 6-feet measures out—they seemed to ridiculously think it was 2-3 feet—and two park workers who thought it was 1-2 feet and supposedly no mask was required for one grounds-keeper. Hence, due to continued negligence by others our visit was not entirely tranquil nor altogether safe.
If the park wants to stay open for reasons of profit and revenues, then its authorities really must employ a regiment of security-like roaming guards monitoring guests’ compliance to safety measures. I am also quiet sure the 66-acre park (0.267 sq. km) allowed too many paying guests inside. This was hugely disappointing and shocking. I guess it doesn’t matter because over 73.6 million Americans voted Nov. 3rd for an incumbent of sheer ignorance, sheer denial, and subhuman wanting more and more needless deaths. But enough talk about our out-of-control pandemic and suffering; unimportant right? 😟 Let’s move on to the beauty and splendor of our planet and these botanical gardens shall we.
Qin and I brought along a cooler of Fuji apple slices and fresh-cut pineapple wedges for a noonday snack. Qin toted her thermos of freshly boiled (sterilized) water—a lifelong habit she formed when growing up and living in China. Not that she needs to do it in Dallas, but it’s a habit of comfort for her. I don’t mind. I find it exceedingly safe and charming. 😋
When we reached our designated parking lot and Gate-number, showed our prearranged, electronic time-slot admission receipt, we began the morning stroll and tour of this award-winning Arboretum. It would be a 4-hour respite from 12-days of self-appointed “Stay Home” orders, not to mention for the sake of our mental well-being on top of 10-months plus COVID-19 fatigue. We began at the organic restaurant A Tasteful Place, The Edible Verdant and Scenic Overlook (see below).
As we wound our way out and to the three nearby large lawns and beds of the Jonsson Color Gardens, a challenge was made. We both agreed to have a photo competition: Who could capture on our phones the best images and videos of our Arboretum Day. We wanted you readers to vote on the five images you like most. But before I get to those photos, I created a 6-minute video highlight of our day:
Making our way to the second lawn and bed Qin takes a cozy sit next to William Shakespeare on his bronze writing bench, “你好，威利。” (Nǐ hǎo, wēi lì. or Hello Willy). With a stiff grin and the usual iambic pentameter Willy answers:
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
William Shakespeare – Sonnet 73
Ladies and Gents, time for the contest and collection of images we captured. Now here’s the rub. We have a total of 29 images. Obviously, I could not put each photo into the post-content; your loading time for the page probably would’ve lasted a snail’s pace 5-7 minutes depending on your connection, right? I did not want to torture you all. 😉 If I had tortured you that way, then you could’ve just clicked on a “Thumbs up” button “👍” on each photo to vote on your favorite fiveimages. That would’ve been most convenient for voting, I know. But I had to make a choice: A)torture all of you with a slow page-loading time, or B)fast page-load, jot down your favorite five photos, and put them in your comment at the bottom. I went with the latter. I hope you agree with my decision.
Therefore, as you are going through the images below, at the bottom-left is the photo number, e.g. #1, #9, and so on. Make a note of the number, collect your FIVE (5) favorites, and leave a comment at the bottom with your selections. After a few weeks, with your help, we’ll see who wins the photo challenge, Qin or me, the Professor. At that time I’ll post and reply to all you wonderful participants as to who won the Fall Day at the Arboretum Contest. Good? Good. Thank you for your understanding! Now, off you go with your votes please!
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Wear A Mask!
I want to apologize in advance for some of my language here and my anger at human indecency in the United States this year.
I really, really was hoping that for the last 3-5 weeks I could avoid having to write this, to go here to what I am about to attempt to drive home to far too many naïve, inconsiderate, well-intentioned(?) Americans who despite their general goodness, STILL are not thinking outside of themselves, the bigger picture of just how many other Americans are suffering the loss of loved ones. What makes our nationwide gross naivety, embarrassing gross obliviousness to one of our nation’s highest death-counts in our entire 244-year history? Allow me to put this in the most polite way I know how:
During one of the world’s most deadliest pandemics, with necessary PPE’s, distancing and/or quarantining/lockdowns from high-risk exposures, and finally by following the top expert’s warnings and medical-viral protocols, it’s monumental consequences could have been reduced, probably reduced greatly!
In a number of those 233k cases the odds for surviving could have been easily increased! Yet, too many unaffected Americans—of a specific demographic and political affiliation—wanted to minimalize the pandemic in January–March 2020 and right now they still want to minimalize the near QUARTER-MILLION DEATHS (233,000+) as something other than a historically unprecedented F*CK UP by not just our federal, state, and county leaders across the continental 49, but by perhaps half or more of the American population—332-million citizens total today—who don’t seem to get it, they refuse to get it, or worse ignore those 233,000 families and extended family members! By the time I get this blog-post published, that death-toll will have already climbed significantly. Wrap your brain around that please.
But allow me to put this self-inflicted 2020 American catastrophe and popular insensitivity in proper perspective.
If you have a faint heart or a hint of humanity for mass deaths caused by wars, terrorism, natural disasters, or pandemics, then I advise you to skip the following slide-show of some of our nation’s most horrific losses of life since 1776. WARNING, some images may be graphic and disturbing:
At this current rate we will surpass in 2021 the total American deaths of World War II: 419,400. Once that number is passed only the American Civil War remains as this country’s last greatest loss of life. Do we really want to surpass the most appalling four years this country has ever endured, bar-none?
You might be asking “Professor, deaths from a pandemic, from an invisible killer-virus similar (in terms of risk and death) to other global diseases or cancer or heart disease are not the same thing as world wars, large military conflicts, terrorism, or natural disasters.” Perhaps. That’s a logical yet premature response. I’d immediately ask Is this not a war on a virus to stop and minimizeas much as possible the number of casualties this pandemic steals?
When a war is waged between two or more nations, do they not rally all their mental, physical, and material resources of their people to win the war? Do they not rally with each other to defeat or better prepare for the next horrific, natural disaster? So why wouldn’t we do the exact same thing? Why wouldn’t we do everything possible to wage war on this lethal enemy as aggressive as possible?
This maniacally invisible hostile who cares nothing about who we humans are is wiping out over a quarter-of-a-million Americans, innocents who were not given the/our best chances of winning or of surviving? To add insult to injury with a smack, it is not the dead that must suffer years or decades after COVID-19 takes those loved ones, it is the living who must endure the torment that their loved ones probably did not have to die or suffer permanently for the remainder of their lives.
So yes, how is this war, this fight against COVID-19 any different than those above images for lives that did not have to die or contract permanent damage?
On the contrary and despite America’s epidemic indifference to the loss of so many innocent lives, following below after this paragraph are examples of what many of us rudely brush over about this Pandemic War. With already too many orphaned kids of their parent(s), or grandparents, or uncles, aunts or cousins, 233,000 dead Americans and counting represents only a portion of all the suffering. Sons and daughters who lost their elderly parents. Grandchildren who lost their favorite Grandpa or Grandma. Dearest close friends or coworkers—who have unnecessarily lost their favorite coworker, boss, or job—must also face the looming reality of bankruptcy or homelessness. Here’s an idea of what I mean by American indifference to unnecessary loss of lives and permanent damage or suffering…
Tuesday night, October 27th here in Arlington, TX, the site of MLB’s World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays, third baseman Justin Turner had to be removed from Game 6 in the bottom of the 7th inning after he had tested positive for COVID-19. Quarantining were the rules, the protocols of MLB and all the teams and players BEFOREthey started the 60-game season in July 2020. Everybody with the league, including all 3,000+ players agreed to COVID-19 protections and rules. Duh, it was for the safety of everyone involved in the bizarre 2020 season. It was for the safety of everyone’s family members too. Despite this necessary protection for all lives, here is what took place when the LA Dodgers won the World Series:
And yet, this is what Justin Turner decided to do for himself, and his teammates let him do, encouraged him to do with no regard for their own safety, their teammates, everyone’s family members, and let’s be clear… no regard for the children there on the field for pictures and celebrations! This gross indifference essentially represents the entire bulk of Americans in that specific demographic I mentioned above.
But there’s more. Unbelievably, there is MORE blatant disregard for the highest possible safety of fellow Americans, teammates, coworkers, family members, and yes… small children too. A revisit of photos I’ve already posted in previous blog-posts going back to early Spring 2020:
The ripple-effect of this ignored Pandemic War stretches so VERY MUCH FURTHER than simply the 233,000+ American deaths! The emotional toll and permanent change for so many families will likely never be fully appreciated, fully known, or fully empathized if so many in America unaffected by this killer pandemic continue and continue to brush-over, minimalize, and constantly dream-up excuses or justifications to be unsafe and disregard, no… basically say “I don’t give a f*ck about YOUR safety or chances of surviving this deadly pandemic war. I will do whatever tha hell I want.” Though some Americans do not explicitly verbalize it out loud, their actions say it.
I must ask some really idiotic questions: When there exists a chance of you or a loved one surviving a highly risky undertaking, say like climbing Mt. Everest, or going into a wild, remote woodland with nightly temperatures of 20-30 below zero and grizzly bears, or joining your military for an ongoing conflict against formidable enemies trying to kill you, do you not want the best chances of survival? If there is any significant chance you could survive life’s dangers, say a 75%, 50%, or a “decent chance” of returning alive, intact, and unharmed, who WOULDN’T take the best odds possible? Is how you might die, leaving all your loved ones behind, important to you? Important to your wife, your own kids and how they might suffer in the aftermath?
And yet for most of 2020 there have been too many Americans who answer those questions with their middle finger, the F*CK YOU bird.
This insane thinking and self-absorbed snubbing for the safety of fellow Americans, let alone our own family members, has got to stop! Why? First, I can’t believe anyone would seriously ask that question! But for those dimwits who don’t get it and most of all simply Out of Respect For all the American fatalities from COVID-19 that didn’t really have to die early, and their suffering family members—whose loved ones seem to not matter to all to these thousands or millions of moronic Americans not yet personally affected—I can only say in utter bafflement and rising resentment:
Are you a human being? Do you not have any empathy or respect to how this Pandemic War has permanently affected millions and millions of American lives!? Are you F*CKING KIDDING ME!?
Where did America’s common decency disappear to!?
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
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 Stress. In 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 DISunitedStates 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. 😠
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always