Are you familiar with the Drake Equation? Do you know what it “equates”?
If you don’t know, here is a brief explanation by Space.com:
The Drake Equation is used to estimate the number of communicating civilizations in our galaxy, or more simply put, the odds of finding intelligent life in the Milky Way.
Note that the definition states only or strictly inside the Milky Way, our very own galaxy. And how many more galaxies are out there? According to the Hubble Space telescope scientists and mathematicians and their subsequent estimations, roughly 200-billion just within the OBSERVABLE Universe.
Basically, as there is indeed more than dust we see with our naked eye and beyond that more than just molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, neutrons, and probably more than even Quarks, there is just as likely “Still Something More” out there in interstellar space. It certainly stands to reason.
It is because of these above concepts and verifiable principles/proofs that today I can give you song; song that speaks VOLUMES without my words, but with musical notes and lyrics… which speak, which pronounce that truly there is and excitingly always will be…
There is always something more. If one cares to discover more, to stop, listen, observe, examine, absorb, and TRULY understand all, all the nuts and bolts. By doing so then there will be… more! A lot more!
Yet, this begs our rat-race society a question, or more… How much time/effort do we commit to, set aside to actually DO those six things I listed? Are you hasty, have no time, too shallow to stop and observe? Or do you really slow down, apply those six attributes in your life with other people? This begs another question, Do you spend irreplaceable time WITH other humans doing those six things or spend irreplaceable time doing NON-human activities?
I ask you genuinely, honestly, truthfully to think about it! Pay close attention to the following lyrics as you listen to the apropos tune. Then, if you like, share your thoughts below.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
I am going to be frank. These last 16-18 months have been hard, VERY hard here in Texas and the U.S. And it is not just me.
I was asked today “Why do you insist on living where you live?” The mere fact that the question was asked was indicative of the ignorance of the person asking. They obviously did not know, could not comprehend—not that they really tried—to have any clue WHY I live where I want to live and WHY I live the way I want to live.
Does it really take such brutal honesty, in their face words, to infer upon them WHY I am who I am and I am where I want to be right now?
I have learned over many decades that yes, it does indeed take frank, BLUNT honesty to make many people see, to understand what it means to “be true to one’s self.” And isn’t that what a life well lived is all about? To live true to self? To live in a way that impacts not only others, but also makes yourself whole? That you BELONG in this time, right here, right now if you are acutely aware of your place and purpose… with everyone you are with and your family?
I say yes. Actually, I scream YES!
What else is living life for(?)… with those you deeply love and care for and try to play your important part in the big scheme of everyone in this time, in this moment?
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About a week ago I FINALLY went—physically—to my needed in-person doctors follow-up appointment. It had been over a year since I was able to do so. I suspect MANY people were not able to physically, in-person, see their physician… because of the whole COVID-19 disaster.
A week later, after blood-work and necessary lab-work my doctor felt necessary to obtain, for understandable causes that he was seeing in most all of his patients, he wanted additional tests with my blood-work. Unfortunately, a lot more money too for this lab-work. But it was very needed. Most intelligent people/patients understood that going over 1-year without physically seeing your physician and not being able to give your blood to them… was critically important.
My physician reentered my Exam Room and asked, “I would like to also test your Vitamin D levels. Is that okay? It is an additional cost of X-amount of dollars (not cheap), but I really think it is important to check. Is that alright?” I replied yes of course. “I expected the entire gament of whatever you wanted” I said to him “in this overdue visit. That’s fine.“
Those results have come back. Not only were they not good, my physician said “Dwain, they are horrendous.“
Apparently the healthy range for a person’s vitamin D level is 30-100 (ng/mL). My doctor told me mine was a dismal, shocking “9.” I could hear it in his voicemail to me.
If you do not know why vitamin D is important to our health, allow me to briefly explain. WebMD.com explains Vitamin D Defiency this way:
If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegan diet, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods—including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks—and in fortified dairy and grain products.
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.
Needless to say, prolonged vitamin D deficiency from not being out and about, in the Sun, with or without others (strangers included) is NOT GOOD for a healthy human life. Well DUH, right? But that hasn’t really been so possible for the last 16-18 months has it?
But in indirect ways I knew this was the sort of sacrifice the team HAD to do. I have been a recluse, a hermit basically, for the last year and four or six months. Why? Because that’s public health & safety. Plain and simple. I also wore a mask every time I HAD to got out in public for necessary life-priority items. I also stayed at least 6-10 feet away from anyone—despite the fact that many DID NOT do that and worse, were not wearing a god dayum mask! Which disturbed me and kept me inside, alone, out of the Sun (for vitamin D) so that I would not contribute MORE death, MORE hospitalizations to overrun, overburdened hospitals and ICU’s.
Despite my happy sacrifice for “the team,” for the public, for a known recovery and possible elimination of this god dayum viral pandemic, I am now Vitamin D Deficient along with 4-5 other medical conditions exacerbated by this virus. This is not to mention the OTHER ripple-effects, impacts (financially) this continued pandemic has caused… because Texas and America DOES NOT have enough “team players.“
For the rest of the world, PLEASE PLEASE do not call us by anything other than the Disunited States of America. We have far too many egotistical, self-gratifying imbeciles to be worthy of a name, an honorable team-name such as the UNITED States of America. No, that has disappeared many years ago because we prefer to nurture, promote, and celebrate individuals, those who do whatever they fucking wish “In the name of freedom, liberty, blah blah blah…” and NOT for a greater good, but instead for their own benefit, their own ideology, their own patriotism, wealth and political party. God Bless America and God Bless our opulent Wealth—Screw Everyone Else.
Que the national anthem… “Star Spangled Banner” of American Self, Self, and more wealthy Self. Dog eat dog and screw everyone else. We are the nation everyone wants to immigrate to. HAH! How very very funny and yet, incomprehensibly a Catch-22. Ah, maybe it’s just Texas. 🥴
By the way, I am trying very hard to finish my family vacation posts with pictures, videos and tales of joy, laughter, and foolery of our adventures to the beautiful Mackinac Island, Michigan. Unfortunately, many extenuating circumstances here keep impeding this progress—all due ultimatelyto new COVID-19 variants and their ripple-effects everywhere in life. Plain and simple.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Science Always
I learned a new definition and tag the other day: “Black Swan.”
What is a Black Swan? As best as I can decipher a Black Swan has three attributes:
The event is unpredictable (to the observer).
The event has widespread ramifications.
After the event has occurred, people will assert that it was indeed explainable and predictable (hindsight bias).
These three Black Swan components can comprise a positive or negative consequence, or both. But it is primarily the second component that makes the event historic for the ages.
The origin of the term “black swan” in order to characterize such events I found intriguing. Prior to 1697, not one Western civilization country had observed any black swans in existence. This gave rise to the blind notion that such creatures just didn’t exist. Hence, the term became used to describe situations of impossibility and in my own estimation, egocentric innocence.1And then it happened.
After a black swan was indeed observed in western Australia in 1697, the egocentric innocent assumption was disproved. Since then, “black swan” now describes situations where (premature) perceived impossibilities have later been disproven and those false egocentric paradigms have been shattered. Thank goodness for elapsed time and losing our supposed, imposed innocence.
And Robert Browning called it “sin.”
There are many Black Swan events throughout human history, more than you might think or that you were unaware of or not privy to and as it were was classified as “Strategic Subterfuge” by higher powers. The latter is much more prevalent than one might imagine. Some examples include:
Rise of the internet
The personal computer
The Georgia (1829) to the Black Hills (1874) Gold Rushes and others
Battle of Little Big Horn
World War I
Discovery of fossil fuels then electricity and AC vs. DC
Discovery of nuclear fission
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 or
The collapse of Spain’s global Empire over the 18th- and 19th-centuries
The 15th-century Columbian Exchange
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on targets in the U.S.
The inventor of the term “Black Swan,” Nassim N. Taleb, underscores the point that the black swan event depends upon the observer. A Thanksgiving turkey sees its demise as a black swan, but the butcher and guests dining do not.
It’s important to draw the distinction between a black swan event and a crisis. Not all black swan events are crises, any lottery winner will attest to that. And not all crises are black swan events. Terrorist attacks are an almost daily occurrence worldwide, but the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were of unprecedented magnitude and unpredictability, hence their characterization as a black swan. Additionally, I have included COVID-19 because it meets all three criteria for being a Black Swan event. Yes, its ramifications are just as widespread as other black swan events and in hindsight it was obviously predictable and quite explainable; by all reputable, established, global medical experts. COVID-19 only became a global pandemic, especially lethal inside nations of defiant egocentric ignorance, and without question clearly fulfilling criteria #2 above as a direct result of defiant sectors of the human population. The fact that this pandemic is still not under control and behind us can only be blamed on our chosen, willing defiance and ignorance.
However, Mr. Taleb disagrees with me and anyone else calling COVID-19 a Black Swan. You can read his argument in The New Yorker entitled The Pandemic Isn’t A Black Swan But A Portent of A More Fragile Global System. It is an excellent article that I recommend reading. Though Taleb disagrees the pandemic is a black swan, he is correct in pointing out that there are clear reasons why humanity, nations, and governments are all too often repeatedly unprepared for them. This denial or chosen innocence/ignorance by populations gives more credence to the above framed quote on how costly the chosen apathetic mindset becomes.
Moving along now to the distant history in the ancient Levant.
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I want to add another Black Swan event to the list that many in the Western Hemisphere and the U.S. will want to take exception. What is it? In a word: Christianity. Several of my regular blog followers will have a general idea as to how and why I add 4th-century CE (and after) Christianity. You’ve read enough of my blog-posts over these last 10-years to know how and why I would label it as a firm, strong holder of being a Black Swan. Listing all the verified, contextual evidence as well as the likely plausible conclusions based upon the said exhaustive interdisciplinary components, it is in my mind without question a Black Swan. Specifically the event? The 17-year disappearance of Yeshua bar Yosef from the Greco-Roman—not the Jewish account, but the Roman—canonized New Testament. This event caused and causes an entire host of many further problematic ripple-effects fragmenting and eventually destroying Christendom’s veracity.
If you did not know about or had not heard of a Black Swan event as I had not, now you know. What are some Black Swans you can recall or comprise as one? Feel free to share them below!
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
I am midway through the organizing, drafting and creating my blog-presentation and a CD-version of my family’s June 2021 vacation in Michigan on Mackinac Island. I have enjoyed immensely crafting this presentation for my family and friends; there are so many lifelong memories we made up there on that magnificent island and gorgeous Lilac Festival. Several of my friends and extended family have asked me once or twice, “Dwain, when are you going to pass it out, present it to us and let us see and watch your wonderful trip?“ They are politely getting a wee bit impatient. I don’t blame them, honestly.
But this past week and weekend I have been increasingly hindered by our state’s and my DFW Metroplex’s recent, newest surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant and its domino-effect, ripple-effect impact upon all aspects of daily living… again.
I am also increasingly upset, frustrated, and approaching livid with fellow Texans, Americans, and anywhere else that has a large populous of ignorant, defiant, science-deniers and refusers of our advanced, highly effective medical sciences, i.e. our epidemiology, virology, biology, and cytology—to name only the four major players of medical science—that has in fact provided humanity amply three-to-four different 95% effective vaccines against this unbelievably deadly global pandemic. Furthermore, since at least March this year these highly effective vaccinations have been increasingly uncomplicated, convenient, and widely available at most all clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, grocery stores, or your own physician’s office! And yet, as of July 14th, 2021, five months after most American/Texas adults could receive their first dose, and 3-4 weeks later their second final dose… only 42.4% of Texans have gone to finish this extremely easy, publicly safer fight against a deadly virus.
This virus absolutely becomes smarter, stronger, and more lethal over time, if given the time and freedom to kill millions and millions more by lazy, stupid, arrogantly defiant human beings. And Texas is not the only American (Red) state to see alarming surges in new cases of COVID-19. And according to past trends of these newest waves of infections, yes, no surprise our hospital ER’s and medical frontline staff will once again get overrun and bombarded with insane numbers of admissions, ventilator shortages, overloaded morgues, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah… another painfully exhausting and mass mortality rate as 2020 had been! Why?
Simple. Very simple actually. In basic biology, cytology, and virology with an aerial transmissible virus like COVID-19 the cells learn in time how to become smarter and more resistant to human vaccines. Honestly, a fourth- or fifth-grader can comprehend this science.
Therefore my loyal, patient Followers, because this rise/surge effects all aspects of daily life, jobs, social life, travel, income, higher expenses, more risks, etc, etc, should I go on? I am having an increasingly harder and harder time to complete my family’s Mackinac Island story for anyone interested. I am truly sorry. 😥
Meanwhile, I will list these old blog-posts I published over the last year and a half regarding this deadly pandemic and America’s naivety and laissez-faire attitude to this killer virus, as if they’re immortal Supermen or Wonder Women and no kryptonites exist. WTH? So here’s my list below in a fashion of “I told you so… how many times people?“ 🤦♂️
I didn’t feel up to snuff to write yet another blog-post about COVID-19, the millions upon millions of premature deaths we governments allowed, the unimaginable hardships this pandemic was upon (and still is) our remarkable frontline medical workers, the sheer stupidity of one political party here politicizing this deadly virus and spreading tons of disinformation, fallacies, and cow-manure about the virus—not to mention on our most scrutinized, most legal 2020 Presidential and state elections ever in our nation’s history—and finally our average level of UNintelligent science-medicine numbskulls who have apparently and willingly had lobotomies done to themselves and fellow, like-minded, cattle and goats so as to “belong” and blindly follow the blind. No, I just didn’t have it in me. Sorry. Select whatever older posts you’re interested in revisiting.
Finally, if we must go through another 2020 because of this widespread sheer stupidity—I was essentially a totalhermit recluse for 14-months straight!—there’s no telling what I might do to escape (or lose/snap) this pandemic-epidemic idiocy here. I mean, how much more can we reasonably intelligent, street-smart, and post-grad book-smart people of well-established science, biology, cytology, virology, and epidemiology… endure? 😵💫
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For more reliable, precise health and medical information other than social-media platforms designed to spread fallacies and disinformation which translates eventually into lost lives… see these below medical sites and professionals.Why the medical science works, unquestionably:
For a detailed, documented version of the above video, click here.Two questions I had for the CDC or the University of California–Davis School of Health & Medicine were the following:
Will the COVID-19 vaccines protect against new variants of the virus?Answer here.
What do we know and not know about the more dangerous strains of coronavirus such as the Delta variant?Answer here.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Science Always
Today’s blog-post is going to be slightly out of blogging character for me. Well, in the sense that I don’t often unveil amorous secrets behind the curtains of the Professor’s heart, today I am sharing a portion of my private, romantic, sentimental side. WARNING! For any Alpha-hyped He-Man reading this, if you have aversions to being swept away in passion and raptured in the moment, then look away! Read no further! This will not be your pitcher or keg of beer. Sorry mate. No bowed-up pectorals or brawling here.
It may or may not come as a surprise to some of you who follow my blog that I am a sucker for serendipitous enchantment on matters of the heart. If this beguiling moment includes windows of history, windows I’ve been enamored by since I was a boy, then just count to three and ring the bell because I am out, done, a goner. I will be so lost you’d think I was hypnotized or lobotomized. Add aspects of time-travel in the story and like Richard Collier, I will never return. Yes, with hands in the air I confess; my propensity for moments when time stands still is my kryptonite.
Who is Richard Collier you ask?
Funny you are wondering. Elise asked the same question, sort of, and she could barely take a breath waiting for the answer. But I will come back to this moment in time a bit later, hah, apropos teaser intended. What I want to first spill is how our long-awaited family trip unexpectedly came about.
For over two years Mom has been itching to travel somewhere. For several years she has yearned to see Australia and her Great Barrier Reef. This has been a long-time dream of hers and her closest sister, her now late sister, unfortunately. Recently though if it was with her domestic partner, or a close friend, or with me and my sister, it didn’t matter. She’s wanted to go before it’s too late, at her advancing age, and medical issues make it impractical. The last three years she has been reminding us how thrilled she’d be to go and experience another part of the world, somewhere, anywhere she hadn’t experienced.
Lately we’ve been pummeled, so to speak, with her getaway-gestures every month, if not every week. The getaway bug-n-itch had had a grip on Mom for some time. I’d say it no longer itched, it turned into a damn rash! Her pleading was unrelenting sometimes! Yep, Mom’s former years as an Eastern Airlines flight attendant (above image) had been reenergized with a vengeance! Mom was once an Eastern Airlines Flight-attendant in 1958–1962, based out of LGA, JFK, and EWR, New York and New Jersey respectively. She wanted to fly a lot longer, but a special surprise from her then boyfriend (my father) stopped those plans after their very “romantic weekend” in San Antonio, TX in the former Robert E. Lee Hotel downtown. But I am rambling and digressing; apologies. Back to our story.
For years we had been tossing around destinations, but never made a final decision. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic along with the predictable outcomes and repercussions the last two-plus years. Pfft, no more elaboration needed on that world catastrophe.
Moving on. Fast-forward now to February 2021, but skipping over our two hellacious winter storms that came within a few hours of wiping out Texas’ entire electrical grid for a long, long, very long time.
With mass production of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, etc, vaccines finally rolling out once competent federal leadership in D.C. took office January 20th, followed by mass distribution scaled much higher and wider than the previous Administration ever cared to do, getting the vaccines into cold-storage, out to sites, and proper staff to stick Americans twice, our family getaway was back on and indeed probable. Hold your horses cowboys and cowgirls! Now comes a number of new stumbling blocks. I had the honor and privilege to temper Mom’s jet-setting excitement, if that was even possible.
I explained to her and sister that if we were going to make this dream-trip happen and safely, our first major hurdle was going to be full vaccinations for all three of us, in a timely immediate manner at that. Easy? No, not really. In fact, I thought I might have to persuade Mom to postpone our excursion for another year—ugh, after having just done that in 2020 due to the pandemic. Moreover, I knew how formidable it was going to be to motivate my sister to get fully vaccinated soon. I would have to hound her even more than I was already doing! Mom and I have received both our shots, my sister received her second shot this past week. Done! First couple of hurdles behind us.
Skipping back a month, when the three of us were able to finally coincide our three different schedules/calendars and meet for a weekend in mid-April 2021, we toss about places such as the Grand Canyon National Park, Glacier National Park, Sequoia National Park, Gatlinburg, Colorado Springs, Nags Head North Carolina, Portland in Oregon, The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York, and Augusta, Maine. Then I threw into the pile of possible destinations, one of my personal wishes: Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel. To my dismay my sister and Mom became very intrigued. Mom was immediately sold on the Lilac Festival and the Butterfly House & Insect World, and my sister to the fact that it was an island completely unlike a hectic 21st-century tourist bee-hive rat-race with way too many rude people scurrying by you and over you. After all, she did suffer from panic-anxiety attacks easily triggered by too much perceived chaos. My sister is also an artist and art fan. She still paints when time allows. Mackinac Island has a sizable artsy twist as well, with art shops and an art museum. It seemed I had hit a homerun with my longstanding longshot, teenage dream destination! They had all sorts of questions. They wondered too how I even knew about this island lost in a bygone era. Answering their curiosity, I return to the beginning of this blog-post.
I admitted to them that I have always had a weakness for serendipitous romance, history, the Victorian-Edwardian Eras, and a very soft spot for time-travel stories, books, and films. Re-enter Richard Collier and Elise McKenna:
“Is it you?” Woah, I get goose-bumps every time I watch that scene because of what Richard Collier went through to get there with Elise. This 1980 cult-classic “Somewhere In Time” was filmed on Mackinac Island, Michigan because the Grand Hotel and island’s Tourism Bureau vowed to freeze time and banned all modern, polluting, combustible-engine vehicles as well as other “modern” developed fossil-burning machines in order to preserve its uniquely vintage history—its Victorian-Edwardian Age on Lake Huron. There is no other island like it within the United States proper. The island is seemingly and delightfully stuck in time. Needless to say, I was and I am beyond myself, ecstatic to be traveling there with Mom and sister in just a few weeks.
If any of you are unfamiliar with the timelessness of Mackinac Island, MI, then I give you a quick photo-montage (below) followed by a link to the island’s Bureau of Tourism. I hope you too can see why I have always held a special place in my heart for this island… lost Somewhere In A Time not so long ago when finer things in life were patiently appreciated, savored, sought, enamoring, and embraced. I start with images from the movie with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve at the Grand Hotel. Following those images are current photos of the small Victorian-Edwardian town, popular sites like the Butterfly House & Insect World—the place where Mom and sister will spend many hours—tea houses out on grand patios, Al fresco dining spots, Fort Mackinac where I plan to visit, and one location Mom and I plan to lounge many times: the Grand Audubon Wine Bar.
Should you be interested in more details and information about this incredible island, visit the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. There you can also view online their 72-page guidebook which introduces you to the island’s historic splendor.
We will return home after eight nights and nine days there. Travel will take two half-days. I do hope to bring back with me many photos of our getaway on Mackinac Island. This might be my last blog-post until then, after we return to Austin, TX, then I back up to Dallas. In the meantime, the anticipation is mounting, ugh, as if time is slowing down. Imagine what time will be when we are there!
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always