except for the masks, everything appeared relatively normal

Estimated reading time is 5 minutes.

I DID SOME SHOPPING YESTERDAY, mostly for food. I also hit the library along the way, using curbside pick-up for items I had ordered online. I picked up a few books (including Steven Pinker’s The Sense Of Style – The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century and Norman Spinrad’s Greenhouse Summer. Except for the masks, everything appeared relatively normal.

Greenhouse Summer is a favorite book by a favorite author. Published in 199, it addressed one of many potential (extreme) futures that global climate change presented years before many people were taking that change seriously. (Hard to believe anyone underestimated it just a few years ago, nyet?) The former is new to me.


Although things may seem to be relatively normal, the pandemic isn’t going away magically.


According to Wikipedia, The Sense Of Style “applies science to the process of writing, and explains its prescriptions by citing studies in related fields—e.g., grammatical phenomena, mental dynamics, and memory load—as well as history and criticism, to distinguish the rules that enhance clarity, grace, and emotional resonance from those that are based on myths and misunderstandings.”

I also picked up a few DVDs, including the first season of The Gilmore Girls, which features Lauren Graham, who I have had a crush upon since first seeing her as Jeff Bridges’ sorta love interest in 2005’s The Amateurs. I also got a documentary titled The Booksellers, whose cover blurb says it is for “anyone who can still look at a book and see a dream.”


Relatively Normal: cover for Norman Spinrad's GREENHOUSE SUMMER from Tor Books in 1991.

This is the cover for the first hardcover edition of Norman Spinrad’s Greenhouse Summer from Tor Books in 1999. It is a book that takes global climate change very, very seriously.

Everything seemed relatively normal

While out-and-abouting, I noticed that my fellow Redmondonians were following the (common-sense) mandates of our state government;

•  Everybody was masked, even outdoors.
•  Everybody maintained reasonable social distancing indoors.
•  Everybody gave wide berth to each other outdoors.

Except for the masks, everything seemed relatively “normal.” And feeling normal usually means feeling safe. Things are still NOT close to normal and therefore NOT safe.

In case the corporate media in your neck of the woods isn’t paying as much attention as it should, here are a few things happening in the United States regarding COVID-19 infections (courtesy of The Washington Post): For the first time since early August, the number of newly reported cases topped 60,000.

At this time, more than 36,000 people are hospitalized nationally with the coronavirus amid a crisis that is intensifying almost everywhere. And, even more telling, forty-four states and the District of Columbia have higher caseloads in early October than they had in mid-September.

The following states (who usually fly under the corporate media’s radar) recently set record highs for new cases:

•  Colorado
•  Illinois
•  Indiana
•  Montana
•  New Mexico
•  North Dakota
• Ohio
•  Wisconsin

Mostly Trump Country.


Relatively Normal: graph of Covid-19 case and death rates by political lean.

The graph indicates that so-called Rep*blican counties around the country are experiencing COVID-19 cases at a rate slightly more than twice that of folks living in Democratic counties. The mortality rate of those cases is slightly less than 2:1.

It isn’t going away magically

The title of the WAPO article is “U.S. tops 60,000 daily coronavirus infections for first time since early August” which is accompanied by this sub-title: “New study shows Republican-leaning counties hardest hit in recent weeks.” It’s a reasonably lengthy read but can be summed up with these paragraphs:

“The increase in cases and hospitalizations since late August has been followed by a more modest rise in covid-19 deaths. That could reflect, in part, improved patient care from battle-tested medical workers. The widespread use of powerful steroids and other treatments has lowered mortality rates among people who are severely ill.

But epidemiologists have repeatedly cautioned that most people remain susceptible to the coronavirus and transmission is likely to be facilitated by colder weather. Not only do people spend more time indoors, but the dry indoor environment is congenial to the spread of respiratory viruses.

Whether this represents a second wave or even, considering the summer Sun Belt spike, a third, is a matter of semantics. The message from infectious-disease experts is clear and emphatic: The virus isn’t going away magically, and everyone needs to prepare for a challenging winter.”

The article is dated October 15, 2020. Before I could get the name of the writer, my free look at the page expired. Yes, you will need a subscription to The Washington Post to read more than a few articles per month.


Relatively Normal: cover of the dvd of THE BOOKSELLERS.

This is the cover for the first DVD release of D. W. Young’s The Booksellers from Greenwich Entertainment from 2020.  It is a documentary film that takes buying, selling, and collecting books very, very seriously.

Rightwingus extremis also on the rise

There is also the infectious agent(s) that is causing rightwingnutalepsy. Also known as rightwingus exremis, it is a virulent sub-branch of conspiracy theoryism. It includes such conditions as militiaitis, boogaloo disease, Wayfairism, and the dread QAnonitis, all of which are all on the rise among the same members of the population.

Masks don’t work but maintaining proper social distancing and staying six feet away from all computers has been known to have salutary effects, even on the long-afflicted. If you know someone with these or related “states of being,” masks won’t help here either but no need to worry as the “survival instinct” of the non-afflicted, healthy (dare I say normal?) individual usually kicks in over time.

Not coincidentally, the longer that someone remains afflicted, the greater the social distancing between you and he/she will become, almost instinctively.


Relatively Normal: photo of Wayfair workers protesting company policies in 2019.

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page accompanies an article on the Fox Business website titled, “Wayfair denies Reddit human sex trafficking conspiracy theory.” I assumed the photo was of some of my fellow Americans ravaged with some form of rightwingus extremis, although they all look relatively normal. Instead, the caption to the photo tells a very different story about these people: “Wayfair workers protest over company’s sales to migrant detention centers.” And no one is wearing a mask because the photo was taken in June of 2019.


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