Random Covid Thoughts

  • Here’s what we all need to do right now: If you can, stay home–not for your own sake but for the health and safety of vulnerable people. Here’s a short paper by Nassim Taleb that explains why.
  • Call people who are alone and have a chat.
  • Worrying about being productive isn’t productive. It’s okay to be anxious. Do the two things above and that’s enough for the day.
  • We need to support, in any way we can, those that have to work right now. If you’re using a delivery service tip generously. And I keep thinking about this essay in The Baffler by Lizzie O’Shea “We Keep You Alive” that debunks the idea that “unskilled” labor is, in fact, unskilled. I’m grateful for food service workers right now.
  • It goes without saying we also need to appreciate and support anyone who works in the medical profession.
  • Some people don’t understand non-linear systems and risk.
  • I’m mad with Charles Eisenstein. Releasing a podcast, at this time, skeptical of the benefits of quarantine in the midst of a pandemic and then going on with a guest to denigrate vaccines is irresponsible. Yes, I’m one of those people who are “triggered” by vaccine and quarantine skepticism. I’m triggered because the stakes are high. Eisenstein’s skepticism (and I mean this in the technical, philosophical meaning of the word) is a symptom of the type of person who spends too much time speaking and writing and not enough time working with their hands. Find some balance brother Charles.
  • An opera fan friend of mine let me know that the Metropolitan Opera has dropped (as the kids say) free Wagner all week. Last year I watched the Ring Cycle on YouTube in its entirety (the amazing Boulez version) and worked it into so many conversations that Kelly begged me to shut up. If you’ve got 15 hours to spare (and most of you do) you can begin with the Met’s version of Das Rheingold today. Note the instructions for how to access them for free. Yes, Wagner was a terrible person. No, he was not a proto-Nazi (the Nazis loved Puccini). The Ring Cycle is a profound meditation on ecology and industrialization and the hope for a better world. The music is breathtaking.
  • Speaking of a better world, the DSA-LA has a Zoom meeting this Saturday
  • I’m noticing that this “urban homestead” lifestyle thing sure is handy right now. Wish I had some citrus growing but I’m grateful for the eggs and avocados.
  • Lastly, I used a sprayer to paint Kelly’s shed interior yesterday. I didn’t pull up the hood on my painting jumpsuit all the way. When I came into the house and looked in the mirror I had gone prematurely gray. Counting my blessings that this is the only problem I have right now.


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  1. As one who went permanently prematurely gray in my forties and never considered it a problem, I think you might enjoy the view of your future appearance instead of finding it problematic:)

  2. My citrus trees usually only bloom every other year. They bloomed last year and gave me lots of oranges and lemons. Two of the trees are covered with blooms this year! Something to be positive about!

  3. Watching the Ring cycle seems an excellent way to pass time. However, if you are currently stranded on a cruise ship, I would not advise watching Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.

    On the lighter matter of accidental hair coloring, I was once spraying some wicker furniture green, when I was suddenly called into work. When I returned home, I realized that my gray hair was light green. Later, when I asked my work colleagues why no one had commented on this, they told me that they believed that whatever I did on vacation was entirely my own business!

  4. Vaccines are so much life savers. I would be triggered to by ingnorance.

  5. My mother has told me repeatedly that her greatest fear was that I would get polio. When the Salk vaccine became available, my parents hustled me right down for the shot. I remember having a very sore arm–but I never got polio.

    • Oh, I knew my mother was terrified her four little children would develop polio. We got the vaccine! I was thinking that I had fears about my children, but nothing as devastating as polio.

  6. My husband and I run a small diversified no till market garden in a sort of remote part of California. I am finding I am conflicted trying to understand if this is essential work. We are less than a drop in the bucket of food production and distribution in the big scheme of things. But we do have our committed customers.
    It feels strange being able to head off to our gardens to continue to go to work. While it is early season for right now, we are brainstorming how to safely distribute our produce. We know it is good clean food and that is likely a good thing right now. Thank you

    • We’re receiving produce delivered by a small farm csa right now and it’s wonderful. Certainly an essential business. The one thing that makes us a bit nervous is lettuce because it’s the hardest to wash of the things we eat raw. Maybe focus more on greens that cook well, like spinach?

  7. I am finding my vegetable gardening skills are rusty. Vegetables require attention to get going right, which is one of the reasons I let it go the last couple of years. I have pea starts that got three inches high before I realized it and then needed to get lights on them. And then forgot to turn the lights off right now. Not a great start. But I know how to do this. I have the time to pay attention. I just need to get back in the habit of having a bit more care.

    Reaaaaaaallllly glad we got pullets last summer. One less reason to need to be at the grocery store.

  8. This is such an interesting photo. The Spanish flu figures large in my family’s history because my father’s father and his nearest-in-age brother died from it a week apart, both strong healthy young men, leaving widows with several young children. My dad was about five.
    On a lighter note, I can’t imagine any cat I have ever had allowing a mask to be tied on it’s face.

    • Look at the insert. I believe the cat does not have a mask on. It just looks like it.

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