Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Package Delivered? Uh Oh.

So Amazon alerts me my order has been delivered. I go to the porch, but I can’t find it anywhere. In case there’s a glitch in the system, I wait and check for the next two days. I know, I’m an optimist and held out hope the package would arrived.

But, no package. Amazon still says the package had been delivered.

I go online and follow the directions for a missing order. I’m told to email the company who sent the package. Which I did. Very nicely, too. No reply.

Along with the advice to email the company, Amazon suggests I search around the front porch area. If that doesn’t turn up the package, they suggested I check with my neighbors.

Right, go door to door asking my neighbors if they got my package by mistake. If they did get the package, they’d had two days to let me know.

I didn’t go door to door asking my neighbors. I mean I pay Amazon every year to deliver stuff to my door. I do not join Prime so I can run around the neighborhood asking if someone got my order by mistake.

It’s not that I don’t like my neighbors. For the most part they seem really nice. But is someone going to admit they received the package, but didn’t bother to bring it to me? Or tell me they threw the package in the trash because it didn’t have their name on it? Or better yet that they opened it and decided to keep it?

Or even that they didn’t think it was their place to do Amazon’s work for them?

And really, it’s not my job to ensure a package ordered by me ends up on my porch. My job is just to order the item and pay for it.

It seems to me Jeff Bezos could invest some of his $139 BILLION in itty bitty GPS smart tracker and put them in every package. That way, the actual location of packages would be easy to ascertain. There’d be no need to advise customers to bother their neighbors about a package that may have disappeared long before the bogus delivery.

Not that GPS trackers always help. I read about a woman whose luggage remained at the airport in St. John, Canada for five days after she took a two a half hour flight from there to Toronto. She knew exactly where her luggage was because she had a tracker in her bag. Not that telling the airline folks the bag’s location seems to have helped since no one pulled it out of whatever cubby hole it had been stashed in and put it on the next connecting flight for four days.

And once I explained the lack of delivery to Amazon customer service representative, I wasn’t instructed to search my neighborhood. The very nice person refunded my money with many apologies for the inconvenience.

Frankly, if Bezos has the money to shoot himself to the moon, why not invest in tiny smart trackers? Or at the very least a software program that doesn’t show a package delivered when it hasn’t been delivered.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Who Knew MAGA Voters Were Fentanyl Addicts?

A candidate for office in Ohio (you’ll recognize the political party any second) has come up with an interesting accusation: he claims President Joseph Biden is trying to kill off MAGA voters.

How, you ask? Well, according to this guy, the dastardly deed is being achieved due to the current border policies whereby Mexican drug lords send their minions into the country with truck loads of fentanyl. These minions drive their trucks into the heartland of the USA and sell fentanyl to unsuspecting MAGA voters.

These voters take the fentanyl and die!

The candidate claims :“If you wanted to kill a bunch of MAGA voters in the middle of the heartland, how better than to target them and their kids with this deadly fentanyl?”


I’m sure the MAGA voters in other parts of the USA are heaving a sigh of relief, happy to hear only Midwestern MAGA voters are being targeted.

I think this dude is trying to enflame MAGA voter support with the implication that if he were in Washington, D.C., he’d put an immediate stop to these shenanigans.

It appears he’s trying to appeal to the MAGA base, but then again, isn’t he sort of saying MAGA voters who live in the “middle of the heartland” are all drug addicts? Will they even be able to find their designated voting site?

I heard many of these conspiracy theory guys hold their very own MAGA folks in contempt. Why? Because the guys who spew these theories are amazed at how easy it is to lead their followers down any number of dark conspiracy theory rabbit holes.

Since the guy claiming MAGA voters are drug addicts won the Republican primary, it does make one wonder about the IQ factor of MAGA voters. I mean, this guy basically said if you wave fentanyl in the face of a MAGA voter they’ll buy it and become addicted.

I don’t even live in Ohio and I’m not even a MAGA voter, but I still thought this type of campaigning called the intelligence of MAGA supporters into question.

Speaking of questions, I had a bunch:

Do the Mexican truck driver minions make front door deliveries?

How do they know where to take the trucks?

Do they have a master list of MAGA voters to use as a guide for deliveries?

Then again, how do they know to target only MAGA voters?

How many conspiracy theories does the average MAGA voter have?

Where do these theories come from?

Is there a company whose sole purpose is to create conspiracy theories for the members of this political party?

How much does a conspiracy theory cost?

So many questions, so few answers.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Did You Have Your Glass of Raw Sewage, er, Water Today?

If you haven’t heard of raw water, it’s pretty much what you think it is. Untreated, unfiltered, unsterilized water. Those who drink it collect it from springs or they pay for bottles of water someone says they collected from “natural” sources.

Those on the raw water train believe raw water is healthier than water from the tap or bottled water. This is the same raw water that provided 19th century Americans with the average life span of 40 years. Treated water, on the other hand, has given 21st century Americans an average life span of 75 years.

Lately I’ve been feelings as if I fell into a Charles Dickens novel. It’s as if all the great medical advances we’ve made against diseases has gone down the drain–where a lot of the causes of those diseases live.

People, especially those living in more modern countries, have access to all sorts of medical miracles that have prolonged their lives. Why, they even get to keep all their teeth these days. But for many of them, it’s as if some fairy godmother sprinkled wellness dust over this country and centuries of medical science had nothing to do with it.

I know a lot of people are distrustful of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the truth is a political party took them hostage and politicians and pundits who have never spent one moment studying diseases discredited the most prestigious public health organization in the world.

Back to raw water.

Any camper with sense knows the CDC’s cautions about drinking untreated water are true, or else why would a camper take along water purification tablets when they camp?

So when the CDC says that “while water flowing in streams and rivers of the backcountry might look pure, it can still be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemical contaminants,” they are telling the truth. The agency warns that drinking contaminated water can increase the risk of developing certain infectious diseases caused by pathogens such as Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, and norovirus, in addition to others.”

The CDC also warns about drinking raw water because all sorts of animal species pee and poo in various raw water sources. Then there’s the chemical contaminants which leech through the soil to the spring water.

So, here’s the raw water aficionado at the mouth of a spring filling up bottles with tasty raw water. Problem is, the mouth of the spring is not the source of the water in the spring. The mouth is the end of a long journey the water took to get there. The raw water aficionado has no idea what percolated into the water during its journey.

It’s just hard to believe there are people who have access to safe drinking water, but prefer to drink from streams. Too bad we can’t take that raw water person’s quota of treated water and give it to someone who has no access to clean water.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Tippy Toes: A Tale of Stiletto Heels

I have a much younger friend who loves shoes and has Lord only knows how many pairs. Since she’s young and fashionable, she latched onto stiletto heels–the ones invented in the 1950s that women get tricked into wearing every other generation. I can’t figure out why anyone would want to spend the day walking on their tippy toes, but women all over the world have decided it’s a great idea.

Fashion has sort of left me in the dust as the old age clock keeps ticking and comfort becomes more important. If it weren’t for television, I wouldn’t even know about guys like Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, or Jimmy Choo who make those expensive, high high heels for women.

Funny enough, if you check out photos of those men, you won’t find any of them tippy toeing around in high high heels. Their feet are encased in comfortable, handmade shoes bought with all the profit they’ve made off of maiming women’s feet. Since they’re all older gents, I doubt they wear those heels even when at home alone.

Back to the Fashionista Friend

But I’m getting diverted from my story. Back to my fashionista friend. She was clickety clacking down the stairs at work one day when she tripped–surprise–and ended up on the floor with a broken ankle.

Now maybe she would have broken her ankle no matter what she was wearing when she fell, but would she have fallen if she’d been wearing sensible, flat shoes? If she hadn’t been teetering on her toes, would she have had better balance and not fallen in the first place?

Still, she’s young and entitled to be foolish about fashion even if she’ll have to pay a high price as she ages. And she will eventually pay. Medical research shows that wearing high high heels contributes to a host of permanent health problems. Not only are a woman’s toes bent in an unnatural position, the shoes redistribute body weight incorrectly. Nerve damage, bunions, injured leg muscles, irreversible damage to leg tendons, osteoarthritis of the knee, low back pain, muscle spasms–what fun lurks around the corner for these gals.

Is Running Possible in Stilettos?

Not only fun lurks around corners, what about a lurking ex-boyfriend or spouse or just some weirdo? Her body is screaming flight, but her shoes are screaming WHAT? Try as I might, I can’t imagine a woman running away from a bad guy in those shoes. Even if she kicks them off, will she be able to run on her now damaged feet or legs contorted with ruined muscles?

Just wondering.

Frankly, I’m glad I was too young for those shoes when they originally appeared and too smart when they returned. Staying flat suits me fine.


Saturday, February 19, 2022

Killing Folks With Disinformation

Who would have ever thought an American political party would use biological warfare to kill off its own citizens?

Yep. I’m talking about the Republican leaders.

Biological warfare? Tish tosh. Don’t be silly. Those Republican politicians and pundits are just telling it like it is. That we have a right not to wear a mask. That all those infectious disease doctors don’t know a thing. This virus is just like the flu.

Well, let’s look at the definition of biological warfare: It uses microorganisms as weapons.

And what are microorganisms? Hmmmmm, microscopic viruses, fungi, or bacteria.

The key word here being microscopic–tiny, little, bitty organisms that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Which is why they went undiscovered until the microscope was invented in the 1600s.

You may think calling it biological warfare is extreme, but what other label fits the politicians and pundits who advocate letting a killer virus rampage through the country? The USA is approaching 1,000,000 deaths from this benign-isn’t-a-threat-don’t-bother-to-wear-a mask-or-get-a-vaccine virus.

Twenty-four months ago we hadn’t even heard of COVID19. Now a million citizens are dead from it.

This number includes 1,000 children under the age of 17. Let’s not forget the children who survive a COVID19 infection only to suffer multi-system inflammatory syndrome. Thus, the disinformation campaign is killing or seriously hurting kids, too.

And can anything be done to prevent this virus from ravaging our country? Just simple steps like: get vaccinated, wash your hands, and wear a mask. How hard is that?  

Way hard apparently.

Rather than get a free vaccine, wash hands, or wear a mask, folks would prefer to pretend the virus doesn’t exist and resume a “normal” life. Where normal means a preventable virus can at any time end one’s life.

Then again, viruses have been around since humans showed up on earth and the human race survived, right? Of course, the knowledge of how to prevent the viruses didn’t exist until modern times. No, back in the good old days when there were no vaccines, folks just got sick and either got well or died.

I guess that’s how the Republican party sees our future. We’ll co-exist with COVID. A percentage of people will die, others will have debilitating lifelong effects, others will recover.

Just like the flu.

Except the COVID death toll leaves the flu death toll in the dust. If COVID were no worse than the flu, 72,000 deaths would have occurred in two years, not nearly a million. It would take about 25 years of flu deaths to equal two years of COVID deaths.

Not just like the flu.

From a political party standpoint, one has to wonder why the Republicans have chosen the path of disinformation. A path that ends up killing more of their supporters than anyone else because these folks are more likely not to take any steps to curtail the spread of this benign-isn’t-a-threat-don’t-bother-to-wear-a mask-or-get-a-vaccine virus.

Why won’t they take these steps? Because politicians and pundits they know and trust have repeatedly told them not to worry.

Statistically, more people who vote for Republican office holders have NOT gotten a COVID vaccine, while most people who vote for Democratic office holders have gotten the vaccine.

Sooooo, these political leaders and pundits are killing off their own party? And their party’s children? I wonder which political party will survive a virus that doesn’t care who you vote for.

Perhaps the Republican should adopt this motto: Don’t let COVID change your lifestyle, let COVID end it. 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Quit Your Whining and Get Vaccinated

If I hear, “oh, they made it too fast” one more time, I’m going to bop somebody upside the head. It’s not like the drug companies made the COVID-19 vaccines in a garage–although good things, like Apple computers, have come out of garages. Then again, people make meth in garages and some folks suck it up without complaining about how long it took the drug dealer to make it.

As for the COVID-19 vaccines, they were actually made by folks who know what they’re doing. Vaccines have been around since the 1700s, although early vaccines were a lot more scary than what we have now.

Back to the whiners. Here’s the main problem with so many slackers, you’re affecting the rest of us and ensuring the virus and its variants will be with us for a very long time. Truth is, most of you whiners would been dead before you hit 40 years old if visionaries hadn’t figured out that vaccinating people saved lives.

Raise your hand if you got measles, mumps, whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, or polio shots. All in all, I doubt there are many U.S. citizens who haven’t had multiple vaccinations during their life. Shots that kept them from contracting debilitating and deadly diseases.

According to an old school record, by the time I was a year old, I’d had smallpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus vaccines. Which means my brothers and I got measles and mumps as kids. I remember getting the polio vaccine in elementary school. Yep, they just lined us up and gave it to us. By the time I got it, they were soaking the vaccine in a sugar cube. So we ate the vaccine.

My dad was in the Navy and he got orders for an accompanied tour to Malta when I was about 8 yrs old. That meant he could bring his family. I don’t know how many weekly visits to the medical clinic we made to get all sorts of shots.

I probably got a smallpox booster shot because it hadn’t been eradicated worldwide yet. In case you didn’t know it, eradicating small pox was a tremendous feat of modern medicine and global cooperation. Imagine defeating a horrible disease that killed or disfigured millions of humans for centuries. Traces of small pox have been found on Egyptian mummies so it had a long run.

Years later, I accompanied my Army spouse on a tour to Germany. Another round of shots for me and our daughter. Not nearly as many as I got to travel to Malta, but it was twenty years later.

When I learned a vaccine for shingles and pneumonia was waiting for me when I hit the right age bracket, there I was, sleeve rolled up! I tripped and cracked my knee cap a couple of years ago. Was my tetanus up to date? Nope. Not a problem, here’s my arm! They gave me a DTap for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis in the ER.

Just one of the lovely vaccines we have to fight infection and disease. All brought to you by medical researchers and infectious disease doctors. I don’t know why some people seem to think these guys just sit around twiddling their thumbs while various diseases run rampant.

Can you picture yourself running toward the outbreak of a disease like Ebola? That’s what many infectious disease doctors do. They go to hotbeds of disease to get data about the disease. Then medical researchers use that data to research and often create vaccines or medications that will help control the disease.

mRNA type vaccines such as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may be the newcomers on the block, but Dr. Katalin Kariko, an immigrant who escaped communist Hungary in 1985, was key in researching their use. Soon after arriving in the U.S., she began her research into mRNA vaccines. In those early years her work was overlooked and she was repeatedly refused government grants. Fortunately for humanity, she persevered in her research.

Maybe some folks think 35 years is too fast for vaccine development.

I say nay, nay.

Dr. Kariko shared her research and others also began following the mRNA path. All the research in the world doesn’t help if you’re told it’s not the traditional way to create a vaccine and you’re denied funding for clinical trials.

Then along comes a pandemic and the wealthy countries throw gobs of money at you because suddenly the world needs a vaccine against a deadly virus. You’re in the right place at the right time and the research you’ve been doing for years provides plenty of data for vaccine companies. And there’s the funding you could never get.

There have always been people against vaccines for one reason or another. Had everyone listened to them, the life span of the average human would still be 40 years.

Is that the world you want to live in?

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Goat Gonads and QAnon

There are a lot of outlandish claims floating around the Internet these days. They are so whackadoo I can't believe anyone would believe them. But then, I read the Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock. It’s the story of a man named of John R. Brinkley. 

In 1917, John R. Brinkley–America’s most brazen con man–introduced an outlandish surgical method for restoring fading male virility. It was all nonsense, but thousands of eager customers quickly made “Dr.” Brinkley one of America’s richest men–and a national celebrity. 

Efforts to expose him “seemed only to spur Brinkley to new heights of ingenuity, and the worlds of advertising, broadcasting, and politics soon proved to be equally fertile grounds for his potent brand of flimflam. 

What was the outlandish surgical method?

How about let me cut you open and stick goat gonads in or near your sexual organs to increase virility in men or increase fertility in women.  

Doc with Saw

Brinkley claimed to be a doctor. He did attend medical school for about a week, but even in those days you needed more than a week of school to be a real doctor. The lack a degree didn’t bother Brinkley. He was a seasoned scam artist. He and his new wife went a town in Kansas that needed a doctor and set up a clinic.

This man killed a lot of goats, became internationally famous, and made pots of money.

He also took advantage of the recent development of the radio to broadcast his false medical claims far and wide. In fact, you could call in to his radio show and he would listen to your symptoms and prescribe a cure. Naturally, the cure was one of his tonics available for purchase, the sale of these tonics netted him thousands of dollars a week.

Think about it. Brinkley’s listeners heard him on the radio and believed his claims. No one fact checked him although one man did pursue evidence for years and eventually brought Brinkley down. There are no statistics on the number of people he killed because the patients left the clinic after the procedure and went home. There were a number of wrongful death lawsuits, but that didn’t slow Brinkley down too much. He had plenty of money for lawyers.

Let's face it, he implanted a foreign organ in people. The goat gonads were going to rot inside the patient’s body which can’t be healthy. Still, many patients claimed the procedure worked and that kept people coming to the clinic and kept Brinkley rich.

Of course, modern research has revealed people don’t like to admit when they’ve been conned.

Here we are, almost a century later and instead of the radio, we have the Internet. We also have a lot of folks believing an anonymous Internet person called QAnon who makes unfounded claims about various United States citizens, institutions, and political leaders. This person has never come forward and identified him or herself. Rather, this person, or computer artificial intelligence program, or Russian minion, or Chinese hacker makes unfounded accusations.

Since the statements are vague, a group of followers have taken it upon themselves to interpret them. Reminds me of all the Biblical scholars debating Revelations. Or people who try to figure out what Nostradamus meant in The Prophecies

The followers believe so deeply in this anonymous person’s prophecies, they  alienate themselves from friends and family. I base this observation on the fact that friends and family have readily identified and tipped off the FBI about QAnon followers from video and photos taken during the infamous attack on our Congress earlier this month.

Whoops. Off to jail the followers go. But not their leader. He or she or it has chosen anonymity to avoid any jail time for causing mayhem in this country. 

It seems to me, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Ninety years ago a portion of Americans were willing to allow Brinkley to cut open their scrotums and uteruses and insert goat gonads in their bodies. Today, a portion of Americans have chosen to believe an anonymous Internet person who claims to be the source of knowledge about our citizens, political leaders, and institutions. Rather than question the source, these Americans lay down on the table and let QAnon insert goat gonads into their brains.