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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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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It’s Over, We’re Free!

I’d rather be posting about the joint SpaceX-NASA launch today at 4:33pm EST. It will be the United States first launch of two astronauts into space since 2011 atop the new Falcon 9 rocket. It will be big news for many reasons. I do hope everything goes well, goes perfectly and hopefully the weather is going to cooperate. Unfortunately, we are still in the middle of a much bigger, unprecedented pandemic story dealing with just as much risk of life and death as space exploration ever has, actually more so for the mere fact that COVID-19 has taken hundreds of thousands of American lives and 350,000+ around the world. Controlling then stopping this pandemic is more important than the distraction and excitement of a SpaceX launch.

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This past Memorial Day weekend saw record crowds outside at beaches, parks, resorts, and Memorial-Veteran celebration events not seen since mid-March or before. As all 50 states began lifting and easing coronavirus restrictions this past week under pressure from pro-business, pro-economy, pro-danger-n-risk GOP groups, many Americans blatantly disregarded social-distancing and wearing protective masks. From Al Jazeera news:

In the Tampa area, along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots. The county’s sheriff, Bob Gualtieri, said about 300 deputies were patrolling the beaches to ensure people did not get too close.

In the state of Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation hot spot popular with Chicagoans, over the weekend.

One video showed a crammed pool where vacationers lounged close together without masks, St Louis station KMOV-TV reported.

In West Virginia, ATV riders jammed the vast, 700-mile Hatfield-McCoy network of all-terrain vehicle trails on the first weekend it was allowed to reopen since the outbreak took hold. Campgrounds and cabins were opened, as well.

Patrick T. Fallon-Reuters

Florida beach front Memorial weekend – Patrick Fallon/Reuters

Many authorities and law-enforcement have been confronted with disdain and hostility by Americans when trying to enforce or promote safety measures during the entire pandemic restrictions. This is perhaps the saddest testimony of a Dis-United States of America during this crisis. Park authorities, municipalities, and law-enforcement all agree that they cannot possibly monitor and make all Americans stay at least 6-feet apart. They do not have the staff to accomplish such a ridiculous order. However, they do remind all Americans that it is 90% self-governance and kind regard for neighbors, friends, and strangers alike. It is safety and health for everyone first as well as yourself. Common sense, right?

Port Aransas, Texas [Eric Gay-The Associated Press]

Gulf beach at Port Aransas, TX, Memorial weekend – Eric Gay/Associated Press

In a May 2020 study by the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London, the W.H.O. Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling, the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analytics, the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics, Imperial College London, and the Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, there are 24 states in the U.S. that still have not contained their COVID-19 outbreaks. Here are the 10 worst, most at risk states for a June 2020 resurgence of the deadly virus, from worst to less worse:

  1. Texas
  2. Arizona
  3. Illinois
  4. Colorado
  5. Ohio
  6. Minnesota
  7. Indiana
  8. Iowa
  9. Alabama
  10. Wisconsin

I am not the least bit surprised that Texas leads the pack in being #1 in NOT controlling our coronavirus outbreaks and most likely to suffer the worst with another June outbreak. For well over two weeks here in Dallas there are noticeably less and less people applying social-distancing or wearing masks. That most likely means they are not washing their hands regularly either. Texans see our nation’s leader never wearing a mask and taking doses of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has no clinical tests proving it works against COVID-19. This is a remarkably sad testimony for how Americans and Texans do not care for each other—unless of course it is their own family or a dear financially beneficial friend or Good Ole Boy—and care less about medical-scientific facts on pandemics and what the true experts warn and recommend. It’s a new era of illiteracy and unenlightenment.

Despite the increase of rebels and protesters throughout late April and all of May here in Texas and an uptick in the number of deaths, in Dallas County the number of ICU patients and emergency room visits for COVID-19 has flattened out. This is encouraging, yes. But the real indicator of whether this reopening happened too soon and many blowing off safety measures in public will be the final numbers around June 10th through the 14th when the incubation period expires for Memorial weekend infections and hospitalizations trend upward again. Whatever happens, the fact remains that in February and early March all of this should have been seriously addressed nationwide by our federal leadership. It wasn’t. American death-toll:  100,000+ and counting.

Three cheers for COVID-19. The winner! It is going to be around and a menace for a long, LONG time with this kind of unity and lack of virtues for others. I hope a tested, FDA-approved, effective vaccine is found and distributed very soon.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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