A Miserable 22 weeks

Some of my good and faithful readers recall what seems like a decade ago when I told you my tale of preparing to get dentures for all the teeth I had.  That meant sitting in the dentist’s chair for more than four hours on April 13.  I had no idea what I was getting into–and contline to endure.  This means this has now gone on for more than 22 weeks.

That means 22 weeks of almost no solid food, except some grilled fish.  It means way more liquids than anything else.  While milkshakes can sound yummy from time to time, too much of anything becomes wearisome.  Honey buns and chocolate milk even lose their appeal.  My sister urged me to get bean protein powder to get some nutrition.  OMG.  How foul?

Waking up every morning and trying to figure out what you can gulp down is no fun.  You lose your appetite for things you’ve eaten all your life..  My insurance company sent me 14 pureed meals.  I think 12 of them went in the trash.

The gums are now healed.  Thank goodness.  But “gumming” stuff to death is not very satisficing.

I have made some really dumb decisions before, but I think this was the dumbest.  The dentist swears that I had no real choice.  If it were now early April, we would find out.

I’m told that there is now light at the end of tunnel and I should have the permanent dentures within a few weeks.

In the meantime, I will keep on gumming.

GOP Now Has A Crystal Ball

As I write, it is Tuesday night, September 14, 2021 and the big election news is a recall election in California where an effort is being made to recall Democrat governor Gavin Newsome.

His primary opponent is Republican Larry Elder, a right wing talk show host and attorney.  All I know about Elder is that he is a frequent guest on Fox News.and a die hard Donald Trump fan.  And he has taken a page from Trump’s playbook and proclaimed that he is a victim of THE BIG LIE.”

In fact, Elder’s website carried a statement on Sept, 13 claiming that he lost the Sept. 14–EVEN THOUGH THE VOTE HAD NOT BEEN COUNTED.  He further added that he has hired an army of lawyers to go to court.

This is what we’ve come to?  Not the most votes.  The most lawyers..

And these clowns want us to believe they are patriots.  Give me a break.

This is treason.  Nothing less.  And a very sad situation.


The Only Change Is Constant

Editor’s note:  More info from the 2020 U.S. census was released this pat week.  While it shows a profound impact on our future, it did hot seem to get the scurrility it deserved..as it definitely has severe political consequences as to how diversity will play out.

The New York Times has a brief, but well-done, article that deserves you attention.


From Panola With Love

You can’t get to Panola, AL from here.  In fact, it’s hard to get there from anywhere.

But I have been.  Even been to church here.  And a barbecue.  It’s tucked back in the pines just off highway 17 on the west side of Sumter County.   Some say it has about 400 residents.  Truth is I’m not sure anyone is counting.  The same can be said for Danzy or Warsaw or Geiger.

It’s been the home of my friend Clyde Marine for decades.  His daughter Connie is just a few hundred yards away.  Clyde is 95 years old now.  Without doubt, one of the most interesting people I’ve ever known  If a machine has a motor. Clyde can make it run.  Or build one for it.

Dorothy Oliver runs a very small store in Panola.  If something is going on in the community, Dorothy knows about it.  Her sidekick is county commissioner Druicilla Russ-Jackson.  In this little part of the world, if help is on the way, someone who lives there has to provide it.

So it was when the coronavirus came to west Alabama.  Dorothy and Druicillia set about to get locals vaccinated.  By the time the job was done, the majority of people in Panola had gotten a shot..

And news about their effort traveled all the way to New York City where The New Yorker magazine did a short documentary about what they The Panola Project  Take a few minutes to watch it and be uplifted by the effort of Dorothy and Druicillia to help their neighbors..( Editor’s note:  click documentary on bottom right to activate sound)

It is impossible to watch this and not contrast it to so many who are intent to try and twist public health policy to their own selfish political purposes with this virus.

A Message From Mobile

Editor’s note:  From time to time I share info about my son, Kevin in Mobile. Unfortunately he has an inherited medical condition that greatly impairs his respiratory system.  Consequently he has spent “high alert” for the last year regarding Covid-19.  He went to great lengths to obtain a vaccination..

Now he is very perplexed at the attitude of his fellow citizens as to the need to be vaccinated.  Not only do so few have concern about their own health, they don’t value the lives of others much either..

Certainly his perspective is unique, but is worthy of consideration.  So I share an article of his in The Daily Beast..

“I expected COVID-19 to bring fever, loss of taste, pneumonia, maybe a tube down my gullet. My anger, though, was unanticipated.

No, I haven’t contracted the disease, but it is consuming the world around me, faster than most places in the United States. Here in Mobile, Alabama, the virus’ more transmissible Delta variant has ravenously fed on the 69 percent of adults who have so far ducked vaccinations. On July 26, the county of just over 400,000 residents added another 499 cases to its tally, most with the Delta strain, most all unvaccinated. The next day was another 553 cases, then 472 the day after that. The seven-day average was the highest it has been, surpassing last winter’s peak.

The metro area surrounding Mobile Bay is Alabama’s COVID-19 hotbed. We’re also below the state’s vaccination average—the nation’s lowest—while leading in COVID-19 positivity at nearly 20 percent. Hospital beds are filling across the county.

If you’re stuck in this mess with lung disease, like me, there are added levels of concern and caution. Once vaccinated, most others weather breakthrough COVID-19 like a standard cold. My colds or flu often turn to bronchitis, then pneumonia and hospitalization.

That’s why I’m exasperated. It isn’t just a few recalcitrant misanthropes endangering me. Two out of every three adults here rebuke practicality and their responsibility as community members. They’re keeping COVID’s influence alive.

I assume they don’t know about smallpox, a disease that killed 30 percent of its victims. The first vaccine came in 1798 and once we made a concerted effort at wide-scale inoculation—mid-20th century kids lined up in school hallways to get hyper-jet injections—it was eradicated by 1980.

I guess the vax refusers don’t know about polio, either. It disabled 35,000 a year through the first half of the 20th century. Vaccines chased the debilitating and deadly illness out of the Americas by 1994. It disappeared in Europe in 2002. Polio survivors are among us—like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—but their sway seems absent in the current pandemic.

It’s more charitable to assign ignorance to anti-vaxxers. Otherwise, it means they don’t care how they imperil everyone else, including supposed loved ones, and that kind of pathology is worse than sheer oblivion.

I got a glimpse of promise during late spring’s pre-Delta window, that sweet spot after many of us got our vaccinations and before the more aggressive strain arrived. No more endless hours in confinement. Friends would be available for dinner, to laugh, and embrace. I could rejoin my active roles in organizations that inform, entertain, and magnify marginalized cultural components of our community. I could feel valuable again.

That window slammed shut in July, the latch locked by bitter socio-political division and ungrounded paranoia. Instead of feeling valuable, I simply feel spurned now.

Alienation comes easily in this place. My values and perspectives on society and politics seem mostly at odds with the extreme attitudes around me. I already endure widespread derision of the social safety net that supplies my medical coverage and hear calls for its eradication. Now, it feels like another target is drawn on my back as some of those same critics volunteer to incubate more lethal COVID-19 variants.

Those around me generally eschew masks, even in crowded rooms. They demand everything continue in a pre-pandemic manner with no mask or vaccination mandates. Open schools. Flout caution. March everyone into epidemiological machine-gun fire. Politicians catered to the insanity by prohibiting private businesses from enforcing their own measures.

My wife’s boss chose this surge as the time to end her remote work option and return to the office. For the last 15 months, she isolated at home to guard against infection and my exposure. Today, she is sweating out her first day back where she claimed to be the only masked person in the office. She’s vaccinated, but the Delta variant can hitch a ride in her anyway.

Right now, too many anti-vaxxers are counting on us maskers and vaxxers to get rid of the disease for them. That’s freeloading while putting me and my loved ones at risk. How do I not grow angry at that?

This will accelerate when the region’s holiest season arrives next month as football players snap chinstraps and shoulder pads. Anti-vaxxers will crowd into high school and college stadiums. Come October, last winter’s deadly surge could seem paltry.

When it’s all done, many anti-vaxxers who survive will suffer far longer. COVID-19’s documented “long haul” effects—cardiomyopathy, lung scarring, brain fog—will add them to Alabama’s already sizable share of disabled residents.

People here pride themselves on stereotypes of hospitality, grace, and conscientiousness. I guess COVID-19 will kill that myth, too, since those who genuinely care about others don’t spread death through inaction.”