Fourteen-year-old Jerry Craft had shoved his mask deep into the back pocket of his dusty stained jeans five-hundred miles ago. He’d scurried into a boxcar at Denver and the inspectors hadn’t found him when they stopped in Salt Lake. Now somewhere in Nevada, August heat scorching him clean, he felt free. “No COVID’s gonna get me.” He suddenly coughed, doubling over and nearly falling from his perch just above the car coupling. Sitting down, his inner demon quieted and let him speak once more. “With Ma and Pa already dead, ain’t gonna let COVID get me before the cancer does.”
The open sky stretched from sand to horizon and the riders advanced on the oasis. Kathleen Morales led her band of rebel outlaws, two dozen strong, toward the wide, limpid pool surrounded by long grass waving in the torrid breeze under the shade of the broad palm branches. But when they finally arrived at this rare shelter amid a vast wasteland of the east, they discovered they weren’t alone.
The desert bandit swung a leg over her saddle and dismounted, heavy boots making their mark on the damp soil. Her hair, a tangle of magenta, azure, and her natural brown, flew up as she landed, and the gold and silver of her nose and ear piercings sparkled in the filtered sunlight. She marched up to the tiny collection of refugees and declared, “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my oasis?”
I’ve been hearing the phrase the new normal a lot lately. It’s the idea that even once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, the U.S. and the world won’t simply go back to “business as usual,” as if the pandemic never happened.
There are some people who even see this “new normal” as an opportunity to “improve” things. For instance, House Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is advocating for people to not go back to work once restrictions are lifted. She is specifically referencing people who work 60, 70, and 80 hours a week at low paying jobs and who feel no security in their lives. You can watch a video of her statement on YouTube.
Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has said that the pandemic response is an opportunity for structural change. Of course that might only be a good thing if you share his political viewpoint.
Yet, from what I’ve seen, the protests people are actually doing go in the opposite direction from Ocasio-Cortez and Biden.
A few days ago, people in Orange County, California (where I used to live) held a mass protest at Huntington Beach opposing Governor Gavin Newsom’s closing beaches in Orange County and only Orange County. He did this in response to a perceived overcrowding at Newport Beach the weekend before. Just how crowded the beach was has been disputed, but based on the photos, it looks crowded.
Nevertheless, Californians are pushing back, including at a rally at the California State Capitol where 32 people were arrested, both because they were in violation of Newsom’s stay-at-home order, and because of the ban against protests on state property (but I thought people had a constitutional right to protest on any public property as long as it was peaceful).
I’ve read a number of social media memes that have suggested the death rate due to COVID-19 has been exaggerated. I also read a New York Times article that said New York City added more than 3,700 additional people who were presumed to have died of the coronavirus but had never tested positive, which seems to support that suggestion.
And yet, when I tried a Google search on overestimates of Coronavirus death tolls, all I came up with is info on how the death rate is underestimated.
Editing an over 28,000 word novella takes a long time. I’m actually okay with that, since I’m not (paid) working today, and we don’t have the grandchildren. My wife is going nuts since she’s far more social than I am, and she’s spent long periods of time talking by phone to our daughter and my Mom.
I thought I’d share portions of my current work in progress (WIP), which involves space travel, time travel, espionage, aliens, and real technology. I’m especially proud of the research I did on mid-1960s American spy satellites.
Here’s a sample of what I’ve been working on. Let me know what you think (and remember, this is not the polished form):
“That son of a bitch,” Smirnoff spat out as ear-splitting klaxons and flashing alarm lights on the bay’s walls announced the opening of the primary launch doors over fifty feet above their heads. “What’s he doing? Romanovich knows the first trial flight isn’t scheduled for six weeks, and Cosmonaut Dobrovolsky won’t arrive here until next Tuesday.”
Utkins could smell stale cigars and vodka on his breath. “Well, Lieutenant! Stop that ship. Don’t let it get off the ground!”
She screamed at her troops and they all rushed forward. Smirnoff ranted at nearby technicians to override the launch bay doors as they were vainly pounding keys and gibbering something about the security lockouts being disabled.
The ramp had been fully retracted by the time the Lieutenant’s complement reached the ship. She ordered them to fire their rifles, sparks flaring off the impervious skin.
To the left, from around the edge of the craft, the two men Smirnoff had ordered to check Romanovich’s quarters were accompanying a very recognizable, diminutive figure, spindly legs extending out of oversized boxers. “Fuck you, Volkov,” Smirnoff murmured with satisfaction. “I see Romanovich pulled one over you.” Then he watched as a blast of force exploded outward from the slowly rising spaceship, vaporizing the irritating Lieutenant and seven other “heroes” of the state.
First off, I’m going to say for the record, that a lot of you aren’t going to like this.
My previous blog post Presenting “What good are constitutional rights if they are violated when Americans get sick? drew a certain amount of attention because (I believe) there’s this notion that governmental intervention in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic (lockdown, quarantine) and U.S. constitutional rights are mutually exclusive. That is, you can’t be a responsible citizen in this crisis and still retain civil rights.
If you complain that there is a potential for certain governments to take advantage of the crisis to not only temporarily relieve citizens of their rights, but to plan to never give those rights back after the crisis has passed, you are considered something like a “pandemic denier” (and there are a few other things that being accused of being a “denier” is like being accused of mass murder).
However, as the graphic and title above suggests, it’s okay to be all three.
That said, I’ve seen a few things on twitter lately that have caused me concern.
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” — Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
With the grand kids over this weekend (long story but it’s coronavirus related), I haven’t had a lot of time to write (even though I’ve still got a lot to say, especially on Easter Sunday and during the week of Unleavened bread). So I’m just posting the Washington Times article What good are constitutional rights if they are violated when Americans get sick?.
No, I’m really not that paranoid, but you have to admit that people are probably getting nervous about not just the pandemic, but governmental responses.
Yesterday, I heard that San Francisco and several of the surrounding countries all went on lockdown:
Almost 7 million people are affected by the lockdown that went into place Tuesday as Bay Area counties followed San Francisco’s lead in ordering residents to shelter in place. It was the first of such measures in the United States as authorities try to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Okay, I get it. The northern California authorities are trying everything they can think of to flatten the curve.