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Isolation

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I haven’t touched another human in close to three weeks. Technically, my physical therapist has touched me, but he wears gloves and mostly inflicts pain on my knotted leg muscles and tendons. I have not touched anyone in a way that conveys affection, friendship, or merely shared humanity.

I am, and have been for much of my life, comfortable with being single, solitary, and celibate.  Right now, though, I sure envy couples their intimacy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine.  I’m probably more suited to surviving this weird isolation and physical separation than most.  I’m just saying that I miss the occasional hug, shaking hands when I meet someone or see a friend, huddling together in the cafe over coffee or a laptop, the ordinary, careless contacts which filled our lives until this pesky virus upended the world.

I’ve been reaching out to friends to make sure they are OK.  I now, to my knowledge, have one friend who probably has the virus.  He isn’t sick enough to get tested. Thanks to the travesty of a response from our incompetent leadership, there aren’t enough tests to go around. My fervent hope is that every one of those bastards who have been systematically dismantling our government and health care system will get infected with this virus.  I don’t want them to die, but I want them to be terrified by the prospect that they might.

It is said that one needs 8 hugs a day for maintenance, 12 for growth. Who knows if those numbers are in any way scientific. I wonder, though, how this social distancing and lack of physical contact will work on the psyche of individuals, communities, nations, and the human race. Will it further exacerbate the divides already widening between us. or will it inspire us to find new ways to connect?

I suppose the choice is ours.

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Nothing To Add

There is a plethora of verbiage floating around the blogosphere about the Coronavirus. I have nothing new to contribute, so here is a photo of the archbishop of Cuba visiting Baracoa in 2013. I happened to be right in front of the procession at the time.

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Insufficient Data

Lots of graphs out there of the rising growth of coronavirus cases. The thing is, those are graphs of the people who have been tested.  Here in the US, that number is pitifully low. I wonder what the graph would actually look like with complete data. Would it still be going up exponentially, or would it have topped out already with most of us exposed? With a virus that shows no symptoms in almost half of the population and few or none for two weeks in those who do get sick, combined with testing restricted to either people who are already really sick or are rich and famous, we have no idea.  Uncertainty feeds fear, fear feeds panic, panic creates toilet paper and egg shortages, not to mention stock market crashes and the shutdown of the economy. Get everyone tested already, so we can know exactly where we stand, and send out those damned checks so we have an economy left when this is over.

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To Be Clear

Social distancing and self-quarantine will not stop Covid-19.  What they will do is slow down the rate of infection enough so that our medical system is not overloaded, causing an even greater crisis. Now here’s a picture of a crowd of people.

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New Delhi 2007

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What’s On Everyone’s Mind

Two weeks ago, I made a flippant post about the Corona Virus and the media frenzy over it being responsible for the economic downturn. I’m not reversing my position, but I am definitely modifying it.

The media have been horrible fear mongers on the left and irresponsible conspiracy theorists and deniers on the right.  Neither stance serves the public.

The virus is here.  Most people who get it show no symptoms, and if they do it takes two weeks for them to manifest.  Our government has been pitifully inadequate in developing and deploying tests.  So basically, we are all going to be exposed to it, just as we are all exposed to the common cold, which is also caused by corona viruses.  People will die, just as people die every year from the flu.  We don’t actually know what percentage of people because we haven’t been testing enough for exposure.  The 3.5% is based on known infections, not actual infections.  Chances are, the number is lower.

Dear Donny, BANNING TRAVEL FROM EUROPE (except the English speaking UK) WON’T DO A DAMNED THING.  YOUR STUPID WALL WON’T STOP IT EITHER.

Basically, we all just have to ride this out.  Practice good hygiene, stay home if you’re sick, and be especially careful around vulnerable people. If you are invested in the stock market, stay calm, it will come back.  That is the one thing Donny Dumkopf got right in his address.  Buy stock when it hits bottom, if you can. All you sports fans, read a book for a change, even if it’s a biography of Kobe. Students on mandatory vacation, study anyway.  Or go out and have fun. If you are not sick or at risk, go out and frequent those businesses who depend on you.  They are all going to be hurting now.

Our president may be an incompetent buffoon, but there are a lot of intelligent compassionate people working on this day in and day out.  Next year, we will all get vaccinated against it.

Whatever you do, this is not the time to start reading Stephen King’s The Stand.

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Petroglyphs at V bar V Heritage Site

Not far from Sedona, AZ is V bar V Ranch, which boasts (according to the docent) the most petroglyphs of any site in the Southwest.

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The docent told us a number of stories about the location, and offered explanations of the meanings of some of the glyphs, with the caveat that much of the interpretation comes from the modern day descendants of the people who left this record.  Those interpretations vary so widely as to be rendered almost moot.

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If you look closely, you will see bullet holes in a number of the above photos.  A sign of the disrespect that bored cowboys had for the history of the region.  By contrast, you can tell by the way the glyphs below are obscured by patina, that they are at least 1000 years older than the others around them.  These were left by the ancestors of the ancestors of the Navajo and Hopi.  What was significant to me is that they were left unmarked by the generations who came later. Respect.

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One more interesting story from the docent.  See that double squiggly line in the center of this rock face?  Well, nobody knew what it was until one day a visitor said, “Hey!  That is the Verde River!”  Turns out he was an avid ultralight flyer who was very familiar with the contours of the local waterway.  Sure enough, the docent found an aerial map of the Verde and put it side by side with a photo of the glyph.  1500 – 2000 years ago, someone managed to map this river, which was certainly the life blood of the valley, with astounding accuracy.

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