TWL: hide

The studies of viruses, contagion, pandemics are games of microbiology, biochemistry and math. Science and logic. If this, then that. Complex systems follow predictable patterns.

The study of human culture, societies, governments is a game of attitudes, power, and fights for resources. Politics and backstabbing. Smoke and mirrors. To predict what the humans will do demands a coin flip per nanosecond.

When a virus finds a victim, and that victim is human, what can be expected?

How will a virus survive? By attacking its victim and spreading to the next victim.

What if the humans fight back? The virus will mutate, evolve, change its mode of attack.

Then what can the humans do? Fight harder, unite as one, protect each other like family.

What else might the humans do? Deny the threat exists and carry on, oblivious to the threat.

What else might the humans do? Give up and be consumed.

This is it, humans of America. The week ending today 12/28/21 was our worst week yet. In the United States of America, the richest land with the greatest freedoms, with the strongest military defenses and the most brilliant minds, a land of hope and opportunity where we are free to rule ourselves, fight each other, and speak our minds, a tiny virus particle is cutting us down at the knees.

Where are you, America? Why aren’t you coming together to take down this beast? How did COVID infect 2 million of you in one week–the most so far in over 100 weeks?

The next wave is upon us, washing over us like a tidal wave, a mud slide, a forest fire. We can’t run. But we should hide. Voluntarily separate. Demand remote instruction. Work from home. Call in sick. Use your vacation time. Double mask when you must leave the house. Keep your children at home. Let’s not wait for the government to tell us what they are afraid to do, what we know we must do, what the virus has shown us to do.

TWL: 12/21/21 winter solstice

Remember Summer Solstice? During the week ending Tuesday June 22, 2021, there were only <80,000 cases of COVID for the whole week. Six months later and we have double that weekly number per day.

Winter solstice 2021: 150,000 cases each day, and we broke a million cases this week. Delta. Omicron. Travel. Holidays. Unmasked. Unvaccinated. Back to a million. Insanity.

1,050,000 cases this week

COVID-19 is very contagious, but my recent experiences have illustrated the effectiveness of vaccination and booster. During the fall semester of in-person instruction of over 400 students, I tested every week and never tested positive. We were masked during lecture, the university installed HEPA filters, and I was the crazy professor who insisted noses were actually covered by masks. And then when the semester ended, I escaped on a road trip with my sister and spent a day with a Covid-positive human that I love, who found out he had Covid in the hour right before we left. None of the other five of us have tested positive in the 10 days since. We are all vaccinated. A year ago, pre-vaccination, we would all have caught it. Two of us would have gone down, no doubt, with our flimsy lungs. We are so lucky to be vaccinated. Science amazes me.

TWL: week 100

Today was the abrupt end of a four-day road trip with my Irish twin through seven (or more) states and back. Like the Apollo 13 mission, our trek missed the moon, but we got home safely. Unlike the Apollo 13 mission, over the 1375 miles we sang medleys of old musicals (like “I sure am feeling sorry for the pony”) and theme songs from 1970s sitcoms (“people let me tell ya’ ’bout my best friend,” for example, and “do doot do doot do doooo, doot do do doot do doooo do” from M*A*S*H); we laughed hysterically until she was red of face and unable to breathe; we ate pretzel rods and oatmeal and Whoppers; and we did not hydrate, digest, or sleep well. We rode the last 687 miles in masks to protect each other. We classified a thousand drivers by one nice name or one not nice name. We avoided many wrecks and speed traps. We discovered the express lane. And when we arrived back at the starting point, a really nice guy brought us groceries. If the two of us ever go to the actual moon, we’ll probably do most of these things on the trip (and that nice guy will greet us on our return).

I’m processing complex emotions tonight and I’m too spent to line them all up against the wall and march them into paragraphs. Recently this blockage of verbal sharing has been labeled my “filter.” Sometimes it’s intentional. Tonight I’m stymied. I’m stifled. I’m stuck in a loop of worry. Instead of more random thoughts, how about I’ll just share numbers? It’s Tuesday. That’s what you came here for anyway.

One hundred weeks of pandemic

This is the 100th week since COVID-19 found its golden host in the US. We reached the 50 million total case mark and 800,000 deaths on this hellish week, with the virus keeping its steady pace of attacking 120,000 humans per day. Seems to give new meaning to the old saying “No news is good news.”

TWL: 99 weeks and spiking again

As predicted, in week 99 of the pandemic and in the last month of the year 2021, the number of new COVID-19 (coded after the year 2019) cases in the US, 12 days after Thanksgiving, is spiking again. On this 80th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, with 850,000 new cases, we saw a 50% increase over last week. That’s more cases than we’ve seen in one week since 10 weeks ago when we were coming down from the mostly maskless, unvaccinated back-to-school surge. The difference now: cases are going up just as college kids finish final exams and travel across the country for the holidays.

This math isn’t rocket surgery. It is predictable and avoidable. But the lesson is lost on free Americans. The winter will be bad.

12/4/21: National Cookie Day!

It’s Saturday. The sun is shining. There’s coffee. No alarm clock. No struggle through traffic. And it’s National Cookie Day. So I took out some butter and got to work baking some beauties.

I’m always surprised by a delicious non-chocolate cookie. With half a bowl of leftover homemade cranberry sauce in the fridge, I dedicated an hour to making cranberry thumbprint cookies today.

I found the recipe at Lovely Little Kitchen. You should make them. They are delicious.

First I mixed the butter and sugar and egg and almond extract. Then I mixed in the flour.

Then I made little balls and dented them with a 1/2 teaspoon. I know, I know, I was supposed to dent them with my thumb, but yuck to that. The little spoon worked great.

I filled them with a dab of the cranberry sauce (after I pureed it in the blender).

Baked ’em up, made the glaze, and drizzled it on. So yummy.

They are amazing with coffee. Get to work!