Friday, July 30, 2021

COVIDIOTS and Anti-Vaccination Idiots:

 COVIDIOTS and Anti-Vaccination Idiots: 


I’ve had enough. I’m sick of hearing idiots on social media call this virus a hoax and asserting that this plague doesn’t exist. These certified morons should talk to nurses on the fifth floor of East Jefferson Hospital in Metairie, a suburb outside New Orleans. This ward is where many COVID patients recover or die. The idiots need to talk to me and many of my friends about people we know who died from COVID or who have had long-term illnesses because of this virus. Please don’t say this is a hoax to so many of my friends who have lost someone. Don’t insult any of us who know better and don’t spill your dirt on blogs and posts that illustrate your stupidity. Please don’t publish information from ignorant sources that convince other gullible people to avoid getting the vaccine. 


This last sentence brings me to another topic: anti-vaccination idiots. I’ve heard complaints from followers of a certain political figure that NOT getting vaccinated is their right. Word to the wise, Bubbas and Bubbesses: You don’t have the right to endanger me, my husband, or my other fellow humans with your “right.” I, too, have rights, but I’m careful to exercise those rights with care. I have the right of free speech, but I don’t scream “fire” in crowded buildings. 


When I was a kid, my parents made sure I was vaccinated against various illnesses. They didn’t want me to catch horrible illnesses like polio. In fact, they rejoiced when they themselves could be inoculated against illnesses that had threatened them in an earlier era. Additionally, the school required students to be vaccinated against illnesses. My parents did not argue with this or assert their “right” NOT to vaccinate me. They knew vaccination was for my safety and that of my fellow students. What now gives these people the right NOT to vaccinate themselves, and now that the vaccine is open to teens, NOT to vaccinate their children? Too many parents don’t vaccinate their children for many illnesses; they are endangering their children and their children’s friends. Too many people in this society have made COVID-19 a political issue. This should not be a political issue; it is a public health issue. Too many educated people—teachers, health care professionals, and government workers—are buying into this political game and NOT getting the vaccine. This idiocy is staggering, yet many of these same people argue that they want the economy on track and long schools, stores, and other events to continue as normal. Get with it, people! Things will get back to normal when people are vaccinated! BE RESPONSIBLE!



Thursday, February 18, 2021

Overthrow of a Utopia:


Millions of years ago--in a distant galaxy--a planet existed that boasted an advanced technology fueled by intellectual curiosity.   The citizens of Utopie had undergone many changes since the founding of their government.  At the founding of Utopie, a small group had dominated others. The Dominante came in many physical types; some were small of stature while others were tall.  They possessed blue skin that glowed like coal on fire, and their golden eyes penetrated the darkness.  The Nascente were once the natives of the land, but when the Dominante arrived in flying ships powered by the wind, the Dominante usurped the Nascente's land with their superior weapons and glowing eyes. The Nascente were a people of superior hunting skill; however, they lacked the Dominante's deadly weapons and soon succumbed to the cannons, poisoned gas, and expanding bullets of their enemies. The Nascente soon inhabited only a small part of the prosperous planet, living in squalid conditions; however, many of the Dominante envied their raven tresses and glowing bronze skin, making concubines of their women.

As the Dominante progressed, their leaders searched for other ways to enhance their expanding economic power.  They invaded other planets, particularly that of Lebensmittel, and enslaved the people there. These people were tall and majestic, marked by their burgundy skin, taut bodies, and green eyes.  They were relegated to rural areas and worked on elaborate tenant farms, enabling the ruling Dominante to build an exclusive and elitist socialization system. 

Eventually, leaders emerged from the ranks of both the Lebensmittel and Nascente people who fought for the rights of their people. One man in particular, Reverend Fromm, preached reconciliation among the people while he demanded their rights and paid respect to the country's gods. Even when a deranged Dominante assassinated him, he achieved equality for those who faced discrimination. Soon, many leaders of the Dominante heard the pleas of the oppressed. Injustices were rectified, and the various peoples progressed towards unity. 

Some Dominante, however, were unwilling to relinquish a stranglehold on their power. A leader emerged from the Dominante who would stroke their unease. This being was one of the Dominante, but he possessed glazed eyes that no longer shone brightly, and his blue skin had turned to gray ash. He was of the most elite class that controlled every major infrastructure n the planet. During state festivals, he donned elaborate robes and appeared with his chosen concubine at the balcony to wave at the masses. His supreme concubine was not of any race on Utopie. Hass, the Agitator who would be Ruler, selected his concubines from a planet populated by females of porcelain skin, gray eyes, and tails like that of wild horses. These females walked upright , but their tails railed behind them.  Hass seized power and worked to eliminate the rights guaranteed to the many classes. 

Soon, another leader emerged who sought to reconcile a divided Utopie; Heilige, a Dominante, rose from the ranks of the people to demand a legal election. At his side was a female from the Nascente, named Apostel. Together, they would restore justice to Utopie, but Hass would not concede defeat.  He gathered his forces at the foot of the Capitol housing the planet's leaders and bellowed to a small number of enraged Dominante that he had been dethroned unjustly and that their rights, culture, and way of life would vanish under Heilige and Apostel. Carrying weapons and chanting "Death to Nascente and Lebensmittel," they stormed into what was once a seat of justice and attempted insurrection until a combined force of enlightened Dominante, Nascente, and Lebensmittl warriors subdued them.  Alas, the steps made toward justice and equality would be forever s

Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Land of No Dissent

The Land of No Dissent:

Many years ago, a planet existed that boasted great diversity among its creatures.  Creatures of every type existed, and the planet was divided into units.  One unit, Tiarnai, gained supremacy over all others because of its diversity and existed as a planet leader.  Though it was diverse, the wealth of this unit was unequally shared among its creatures.  For many years, the Geal held the best positions, obtained the best education, and controlled the most resources.  These creatures were orange with green veins running through their skin and believed that their beauty was unequaled.  The other creatures in this diverse population were the Ruaim and boasted many rainbow-like colors, but they all shared the same green veins as the Geals.  All of the creatures walked upright, and their hair was like the mane of unicorns. Ruaim creatures often worked more than Geal creatures but did not share equally in the wealth of the unit.  This unit prized itself on a document that protected all its citizens, and this sacred document guaranteed all creatures the right to free speech and peaceful protest.  

Because of these guarantees, Ruaim achieved a measure of equality with the Geals, but some Geals resented sharing the wealth with the Ruaims and passed repressive laws to keep the Ruaim in their place.  Both sides argued their position with passion within courts and within documents that would become law, and the Ruaim eventually stood equal to the Geals within the unit. Sadly, distrust still remained within some individuals and groups. However, as technological advances grew and as each group blossomed through education, the walls of injustice crumbled.  Some ignorant Geals held onto their regressive views and committed violent acts against Ruaims—who were now neighbors and equals under the law.  Many Geals and Ruaims socialized, married, and held the same jobs in the highly skilled Tiarnai work force.  

However, at times, some ignorant creature abused this peaceful co-existence and committed an act of brutality seen by masses of people all over the planet and in other units.  Such an act disturbed the peace of Tiarnai one day when the unit was already in a state of turmoil because of a plague that had swept the land. A few years earlier Geal leader rose to the seat of leadership and wanted to advance his political power by inciting disaffected Geals resentful of the gains of the Ruaim.  This leader, Leathcheann, convinced his followers that the plague that killed millions of the creatures all over the planet was merely a plot to discredit him. He stamped his feet and cried like an infant of the tribe when crossed or contradicted.  He told his followers not to worry as the plague took its toll on millions of creatures in the unit. Any creature of intelligence and science that contradicted the Supreme Dictator’s view received a sentence of banishment. 

Tensions were high when a confrontation erupted between a Geal in authority and a regular Ruaim.  In the dramatic conflict between the two, the Ruaim died.  Millions of Ruaims and many fair-minded Geals took to the streets.  They demanded justice and even more reform.  Many of their demands were met, but a faction of disaffected creatures from both the Geal and the Ruaim clan decided that they wanted to end Tiarnai society and the damage brought by Leathcheann.  The dictatorial leader justifiably repulsed these reformers, but in protesting against the dictator, they wanted to erase the history of the planet and the past that had brought both pain and enlightenment.  In doing so, they denied their youngsters the education brought by past mistakes and triumphs. They labeled anyone with an unpopular opinion as unjust or unfair and called for boycotts of their work.  Factions developed within the Ruaims and within the Geals.  Factions within each group burned books and films that could educate but instead were lost for all time. 

Tiarnai split into factions that drifted to other units within the planet. The great ideal of diversity within the unit collapsed as creatures labeled each other as traitors when anyone said anything against a popular movement.  Any creature uttering an unpopular opinion was cast out from the group after being rolled in smoldering ash and pelted with rocks. The outcasts joined the ranks of those who had offended the Supreme Ruler.  The Supreme Ruler eventually fumed at dissenters and supporters alike, stamped his feet, and wailed like an infant. During one tirade, steam erupted from the top of his head, sending the false violet hair he wore to the ceiling and revealing the pointed horns jutting from his skull. His skin took on the color of cigarette smoke as he dissolved into the mist; however, his narcissistic, divisive reign had inflicted lasting harm on the unit. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Very Grim Fairy Tale

A Very Grim Fairy Tale:

Once upon a time in a faraway planet named Orwell lived creatures who were similar to humans in many ways.  They were male and female but each being boasted multi-colored hair and high cheekbones that added to their aesthetic beauty. A tall, regal male creature with orange hair wearing a black robe dominated over the beings and governed with what he termed justice; however, his justice was unequal.  He administered stringent rules and harsh justice to female beings while sparing males from suffering few or any consequences.  

Male and female children received separate and different educations.  They attended separate schools and had separate roles.  Even though the females were expected to work for the communal good, their standard of living was inferior to that of the males.  They also were expected to reproduce with approved partners, appointed by ministers to the Robed One.  Females were sent to the School of Reproductive Certainty while males attended the School of Arts, Language and Science. Fraternization among beings other than those approved by the Robed One and his associates was forbidden.  

Though the school could not teach the females what the males learned, the School for Reproductive Certainty attempted to nurture the spirit and intellect of its females charges.  Many of the female teachers included some instruction limited to males and lobbied for the students to have more advantages.  The Robed One did not appreciate any challenge to his authority.  He bribed several of the compliant female teachers to spy on others, informing him that some of the adult females had grown to love each other too much.  

The Robed One then sent or outsiders from the planet Ifreann to preside over the School for Reproductive Certainty. These beings hailed from the planet Luzifer. The creature appointed as head master was named Schikarieren. He wore a long tail which he rolled into baggy trousers so as conceal his true identity from the female beings.  Before taking the position, he sawed the antlers on his head to make himself look like an Orwellian male. Unlike the hair of the Orwell residents, his was a dull white streaked with gray.  With him came a female from Luzifer named Hundin. She also had a tail, which she concealed in a knot within a loosely fitting skirt.  She’d dyed her hair a pale blue, similar to many of the females in the school, and she’d styled it in waves that concealed the small horns jutting from her head. 

Schikarieren boasted a booming voice even though he was small of stature, unlike the Orwellians. He demanded adoration of himself, Hundin, and the Robed One, holding long diatribes on video about how the Robed One did not receive the proper respect from a planet that showed no gratitude.  Hundin, who was very skinny, brought giggles to the females when she appeared in the video. Her voice squeaked, and the students often pointed at the bulge in her backside, so unlike them.  Sometimes, her hair fell, revealing her horns. The two Luziferians then began to harass the female Orwellian teachers who loved too much.  They found fault with their teaching methods, their ideology, and the way they worshipped the god supported by the Robed One.  

The two outsiders banished the females who loved too much to isolated planets, but then, the empire they hoped to construct fell apart.  Schikarieren and Hundin fought for control of the school, and too many beings had complained to the Robed One of the pair’s cruelty.  The Robed One sent a spy to work in the school, his sister,  Faisneiseoir. Schikarieren disliked her and thought she was one who loved too much.  He complained about her role as head of religious studies and verbally assaulted her when he didn’t think the students showed proper piety. She reported her treatment to her brother, and both Luziferians were banished.  

The school soon withered, destroyed by oppression and hypocrisy. Some females vanished to neighboring planets. Others simply drifted around Orwell without any focus, refusing to reproduce with those approved by the Robed One or reproducing with those who were unsuitable.  Of the banished women, some died while others raised an insurrection, toppling the Robed One and his oppressive regime.  

Saturday, May 16, 2020

COVID-19 and Our Way of Life

COVID-19 and Our Way of Life: 

I’ve heard too many people say, “I want this quarantine over because I’m sick of being in this house.” I’ve also heard that “they” are making “too much of a big deal about this. People die of other things.” Well, yes, people die of other things, but arguing that people die of other things is ignoring the fact that COVID-19 is highly contagious and people who may be carriers are often asymptomatic. Too many people in this country see this as a “Leftist conspiracy” designed to “persecute” the saint in the White House.  

When will COVID-19 be eradicated from our midst?  We don’t know, and a vaccine seems to be somewhere in the distant future.  This disease has taken its toll on our way of life.  This spring in Louisiana brought none of the festivals we so love.  St. Patrick’s Day festivities were non-existent. French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, and Greek Fest all were cancelled in the wake of this pandemic. I totally understand the frustration many people feel.  Our anger and frustration does not alone derive from our love of partying and frivolity and our role as the nation’s hedonists (our more judgmental countrymen sometimes label us residents of Louisiana as decadent hedonists). These events and all of our private parties (crawfish boils, church fairs, etc.) reflect our love of life and our communal spirit.  We see friends at these events.  We shake hands, hug, and kiss. We lock hands and sing together.  When Springsteen sang “We Shall Overcome” at Jazz Fest in 2006, we wept together, shared tissues, and hugged.  We share communal meals at church celebrations, and we celebrate events like Mother’s Day with a crawfish boil. We mourn out community; we miss the family and friends we cannot see. Even when we see each other, we do so from safe distances.  We mourn those hugs and lost caresses. 

We mourn for those who have lost their jobs and revenue. Too many of our friends and neighbors no longer have income.  Many of the people who could ill afford to lose jobs have done so.  Economies across the globe are reeling, and we don’t know if even a loosening of restrictions will help in the long run.  The corona cases could spike again.  The hospitals could fill in record time.  We again could face lockdown. 

We also mourn those lost to this virus.  Many of our loved ones have succumbed to this illness.  Many of our loved ones are healthcare professionals who risk their lives daily.  Friends and neighbors work in hospitals, grocery stores, and essential businesses.  They deliver groceries and other goods.  The mail carrier wears gloves and a mask; the nurses and other healthcare professionals have daily temperature checks. 

Will there be a vaccine or a cure? Maybe a vaccine, but no one knows when.  What will happen is that this virus will weave itself into our lives, into our psyches.  We will accept its insidious presence as we did polio, measles, and other debilitating diseases.  We will watch as people sicken and sometimes die.  Living with COVID-19 will become part of our daily lives, as polio was part of our culture in another generation.   We will mourn those who die and celebrate those who recover.  We will learn to adjust—no more hand shakes at church, no more casual kiss when greeting friends.

What will we learn? We have learned the value of people and of all we took for granted.  We have explored our neighborhoods while we exercised, talk to our friends from a safe distance, and taken pleasure in simple things.  A shared movie in the den is a treat.  Eventually, we will have gatherings even with the threat of COVID-19. Our gatherings will be on our outdoor patios.  Each guest will pour wine with sanitary wipes.  We will adapt to handshakes being a thing of the past. Hopefully, we will see the wisdom in the masks as a means of keeping each other safe and look beyond our own convenience. We may pour into the Superdome to see our Saints while we wear masks. I will start the school year wearing a mask and making sure kids are seated far apart.  

This is life in the era of COVID-19. Other eras have lived through plague, polio, and other devastating illnesses.  Eventually, life settled into a rhythm for our ancestors.  It will do so again.  We will adapt to the rhythm.  Hopefully, we can adjust with grace and courtesy for others.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Modern Plague: COVID19

A Modern Plague:

In previous years, I'd only thought of a disease that could shut down a global economy and take millions of lives as a phenomenon occurring in far distant times, not one afflicting us in a more modern age.  After all, the Great Influenza was my grandmother's generation; tuberculosis also afflicted family members of another generation. Images of priests dying over their congregation's prostrate bodies as they performed last rites were relegated to the medieval era of Chaucer. As a United States citizen, I'd heard of swine flu, Ebola, etc.; however, I'd known of few people actually afflicted with those illnesses.  As a resident of Louisiana, I'd heard of yellow fever killing many people, but I'd witnessed nothing that took so many lives or disrupted the global economy in such a destructive manner, as has COVID19. 

News headlines blare out the number of dead around the globe.  The U. S. president and his staff deflect, evade, and sometimes answer questions on the health of the economy as well as the dire shape of our health care system.  Foreign leaders field similar questions from their press. None of them know when we will awaken from a nightmare that has left the most vulnerable at risk and helpless to fight a sinister killer. Some will survive; some will die.  Ironically, your chances of conquering this killer depend upon the resiliency of your immune system and the strength of your DNA.  Scientists and health care workers do not know just what keeps some people healthy or asymptomatic; they don't know why some people are afflicted but recover while others die. It's the proverbial luck of the draw. Yes, we have statistics.  Most who die are older or have pre-existing health problems. Some people, however, are young and die. Some were healthy and die.  There is still so much we don't know.  Will we ever?

My husband and I went to our local grocery last night, wearing masks.  I thought of so many of the doctors and nurses I personally know who are fighting this killer on the front lines.  They are running out of supplies; they are watching helplessly as people die.  Governors plead with the government for more ventilators. My young cousin faces this daily in his job as a nurse.  Another young friend is pregnant, nursing ill people while she carries the new life inside her.  Then, there are the many people who are silent and often not acknowledged in this battle. My mail carrier comes to our front door wearing a mask and gloves. God bless him as he goes about his job!  The garbage collectors pick up the trash placed at the edge of our lawns wearing gloves and masks. The young woman who checked us out last night at the grocery did so behind Plexiglas.  She wore a mask and gloves, and I wondered at her resolve.  With her long braids and smile behind the mask, she looked no older than the kids I teach.  I'm sure she works for minimum wage. I sincerely hope no one ever puts down these people who work minimum wage jobs. These are the people dying and fighting the good fight (along with the health care professionals) so that we still have essential services.  

When will our lives be "normal"? I live in New Orleans, in south Louisiana. We are a people who love to hug. We have festivals, many of which have been cancelled until the fall. We host crawfish boils and wine parties; our friends and family gather for New Orleans Saints games. We bury our dead in ceremony and then gather to celebrate those lives.  Several friends and relatives of friends have passed since this pandemic invaded our existence; all burials were private--only immediate family could attend.  More than anything, we in Louisiana (and I'm sure the rest of the country and the world) want the fabric of our lives to return to what we call normal. I'm sure all of us want to enjoy our lives again, but the fragile fabric of our lives will have been altered; the people who comprised part of its pattern may no longer be within the intricate needlework of our lives.  Some of us will no longer have jobs and may miss the people we once knew so intimately. Many of us will mourn those swallowed by this tidal wave of death.  COVID19, you are an assassin. Conquer you we will. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Sweet Trudy: 

August would have been my cousin Trudy's birthday.  She was two years older than I and possessed a smile that won hearts and spread love. This description may sound corny, but it's accurate. Trudy was the type of person who was always thinking of other people, displaying her love for her family and friends on a daily basis. 

Trudy was a nurse, a very fitting profession for her. She genuinely cared for other people, especially the family she cherished and the friends she'd known her whole life.  When my mother was very ill, she would visit often, advising me how to handle a very ill woman. She sometimes sat with Mama so I could have a break from the sometimes-grueling task of nursing my poor mother or when my work duties took me away for an evening.  She and Mama would watch television together as she clipped Mama's toenails, trading gossip and chocolate candy.  When my mother lay on her deathbed, Trudy and my aunt sat with me. Trudy took her pulse and monitored her breathing until she drew her last.  She also comforted me when I mourned my mother's passing, assuring me I couldn't have done more for her. 

Her generous spirit knew no bounds.  She hosted her friend Peggy's bridal shower.  She nursed her patients with care. She was a loving aunt to her siblings' children, a loyal wife to John, and a devoted mother to her only daughter Jennifer. Trudy's husband, a native of Guyana, recounted her visit to his homeland. A young relative was hesitant to greet this lady with long blond hair and hid behind his mother's skirts. Trudy spread her arms wide and said, "Come give me a big kiss!" At her funeral, John read an email from that young man, now a successful adult, who remembered Trudy's kindness. 

When she developed a horrible blood cancer, Trudy approached it with the optimism so typical of her.  Determined to enjoy life, she dove into treatment and looked beautiful at her daughter's wedding; however, within a year, the cancer was back.  Her brother David donated blood cells, but the cancer had spread. She died before the birth of her first grandchild Mason.

Recently, we celebrated the first birthday of Trudy's second grandchild, little Madelyn Trudy. Her daughter and grandchildren have thrived, but I wish our sweet Trudy had lived to see her gorgeous grandchildren. I truly hate cancer.  It robbed Trudy of life and tortured her in her last months.