*** PLEASE NOTE ***





*** PLEASE NOTE *** I use no other social media, and my comment section here remains closed due to chronic harassment/repeat impersonations by a certain individual. Also, I rarely comment anywhere; when I do, only from this blog as "Chrysalis" or with my real name from email (see correct spelling my profile). If there is ever any question as to legitimacy, please contact myself or Mark via email or phone.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

I Hope It's Realized ....

... that despite its issues, if we had repealed ACA/Obamacare, there would be even more people who would never be assessed, tested and/or treated for COVID-19, therefore spreading disease even worse, with thousands more dead - 39 million, to be exact, who had no health insurance at all before ACA/Obamacare in 2010.

I hope if nothing else, this public health crisis has helped to reshape political narratives on how we Americans think about what the government should and should not be funding, and that perhaps this our nation's public health should be included under the "general welfare" section of the constitution? 

I don't know about you, but I personally am thanking God, right now, that those who tried to repeal Obamacare entirely - failed. 








Late-Night Comedian, John Oliver, Praises Our Governor's ASL Interpreter's Appropriate "WTF Face."

So ... some local village idiots threw a "Coronavirus Party," and of course later tested positive for the virus.

Our governor (Andy Beshear) mentioned it in his daily state address, yesterday, which drew national attention via late-night talk show host and comedian, John Oliver, who featured a clip of our exasperated governor's announcement, but particularly lauding our ASL interpreter, who John Oliver says did a much better job of conveying a "WTF? face"than Governor Beshear did ...






Governor Beshear said he was trying to remain calm, but mad. 

However, his interpreter is like the cartoon bubble popping out of Beshear's head, expressing his true emotions lol. 

(Her name is Virginia Moore, btw, and she's awesome! :)

I love ASL and a form of communication, btw - they tell you more with their face than they're hands, it's such an honest form of communication, no BS. 

Skip to time stamp 5:20 for the actual clip ...


 



Gotta grab a laugh when and where you can, people ... super hard for me right now (see a few posts below), but if I can do it, you can too :)

I, for one, welcome any and all distraction, right now.

And again, no panic, but no denial either people - let's be smart and stay right in between - which means, no throwing "Coronavirus Parties" please?!?


Studies Still Suggest COVID-19 is Droplet-Borne, Not Air-Borne; Also, Testing Performance Results of DIY Face Masks for Those Still Working With Others Indoors

It is often confusing, but there really are important differences between air-borne and droplet-borne, which I'll get to in a moment. 

However, just an FYI first -  recent studies by WHO are still not detecting virus RNA in air samples around known-infected patients, but WHO says these tests are ongoing and will be updated.


In other words, we're fairly sure, but not 100% sure, this virus is only droplet-borne. 

The confusion between air-borne and droplet-borne arises because many people are insisting they've contracted it without ever coming in physical contact with an infected person or even being within close proximity to anyone symptomatic, but just by being in the same room.

However, just like in the case of regular flu - which we're 100% certain is not airborne - infection can result despite no physical contact and/or no coughing in the environment, and this is attributed to being indoors, and therefore there is less open ventilation to disperse/dilute/move droplets - not because it's airborne.

When indoors with closed ventilation, contaminated droplets can remain concentrated on skin, fabric, and surfaces for up to 48 hours, making even brief physical contact with not only the person, but anything the person has touched even before they were symptomatic (i.e. coughing) -  as opposed to outside, where droplets can disperse/dilute/move within the hour.


Thus, social-distancing measurements are designed to keep you safe from even accidental contact with droplet range, especially indoors. 


Therefore, if you must still work indoors with others, disposable surgical gloves PLUS disposable face masks are best - HOWEVER - healthcare workers need them most, they are going into places where there is known risk, even known infection, every single day - so please do not even try to order face masks.

However, you can make your own - not as effective the N95, but still somewhat effective (see chart results below) - tightly-woven-fabric winter gloves you can wash or throw away immediately PLUS DIY face masks from the materials below may make the difference. 
According to this site (and others I've read), next to surgical masks, testing results have shown the next most effective DIY masks against microbes are homemade masks made of HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner bags.

This chart lists how they performed in testing ...




Otherwise, BIG thank you healthcare workers - especially emergency-room staff - for risking their lives by walking into known risk to help us - every single day. 






Monday, March 30, 2020

Super Nice Gesture From Chewy.Com ...

... I had a recurring autoship with Chewy.com, as well as I had just placed a new order for other items for Snuggy, but canceled them Sunday, explaining the reason was Snuggy had just passed. 

So look what they do upon pet deaths - they send flowers - isn't that nice? 




Nobody sends flowers anymore.  People do for human deaths, I guess, but especially not for a pet death - it was a total surprise. 

They already had great customer service, but this is above and beyond - thank you, Chewy.Com :)

PS - And yes, due to COVID-19, they called first and just left the flowers at the door  ;)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

PS - Just a Song that Helps Me ...

Last night, the reason for the delay in getting him to the vet by a few minutes was a pretty intense thunderstorm, so bad we couldn't see to drive.  

Just now, thinking back to not only what my friend said (see the extra PS to the below post), I remembered a song that got me through much, a few years ago, during the recession and all, that I'd forgotten all about.

Okay, don't roll your eyes - yes, it's a Contemporary Christian song -  but actually OK musicians and not total cheese.  


It's about how God doesn't always save us, but he's still right here with us, until the very end- and how you can see him in the situation, if you look in the right places.

The video helps,  depicting 3 people's stories - a man who was laid off during the recession, a young woman who's husband left her, and on older lady who was just diagnosed with terminal cancer.  

A a total stranger leaves them each a box with a single firework in it, with instructions to set it off at midnight - which  creates a collective firework display - and they suddenly realize, they're not alone - they're all struggling, in different ways, together  :)

I thought maybe others might need this song, right now, too, for different reasons?

It's called "Light Up the Sky" by "The Afters" - lyrics are below.  The lyricist says he wrote it during the worst time of his life, unable to see God around him, when he prayed that he could feel God near.  Just then, an unpredicted, popup thunderstorm came up and it wasn't until later, that was an answered prayer, lightning up the sky in a beautiful fireworks show for him :)





 Lyrics: 


When I'm feeling all alone
There's so far to go
The signs are no where on this road
Guiding me home
When the night is closing in
It's falling on my skin
Oh God will you come close?


Light light light up the sky
You light up up the sky to show me
That you are with me
I -I-I can't deny
No, I can't deny
That you are right here with me!


You've opened my eyes
So I can see you all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me
That you are with me


When stars are hiding the clouds
I don't feel them shining
When I can't see beyond my doubt
The silver lining

When I've almost reached the end
Like a flood you're rushing in
Your love is rushing in


Light light light up the sky
You light up up the sky to show me
That you are with me
I I I can't deny
No I can't deny
That you are right here with me
You've opened my eyes
So I can see you all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me
That you are with me


So I run, straight into your arms
You're the bright and morning sun
To show your love, there's nothing
You won't do
(you won't do)


Light light light up the sky
You light up up the sky to show me
you are with me
I I I can't deny
No I can't deny
That you are right here with me
You've opened my eyes
So I can see you all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me
That you are with me


_______________________

Romans 8:38-39 New International Version (NIV) 

"38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

My Sweet Snuggy Pug ...




 ... is now a true comfort angel.  He just officially earned his wings.  He passed at 4:00 a.m. this morning - in my arms, looking straight up at me :(

He had just turned 15 - and having degenerative myelopathy, his paws were gone and now his neck was weak, for the past week, he'd lost his voice, and hadn't eaten well for 2 days.  Then he began seizing tonight.  I tried to give him Karo syrup, in case it was hypoglycemia, considering he didn't eat but still required insulin (which I tried go gauge based on what he ate).  However, he seized again and I couldn't get another dose down because his tongue was hanging out now. 

When I called the emergency vet hospital to make sure they were still open during this COVID thing, they said they were, but the waiting room is closed - to call from the parking lot when I arrived, the vet assistant would come out to my car to take him to be examined, then the vet would come out and tell us her findings for us to make decisions - from our car :(

He was fighting to stay, but struggling. He looked terrified in his eyes, but when I spoke to him, he still turned his ears toward me and settled.  

I just kept telling him, "Buddy, I know, I'm here, precious - momma's right here, till the very end.  I'm trying so hard to fix what I can, but some things I just cannot fix, I'm so, so sorry. You know I want you to fight this, stay with me as long as you can, and I know you want to,  but if this is too hard, I understand - so if it's too much, you can go, precious.  Don't stay because of me, I'll be fine. Go where you can run again, if you need too. We'll see each other again.  IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou. "

The vet assistant was literally walking out the door in mask and gloves, when he suddenly looked straight up in my eyes, stiffened, and died in my arms, still looking in my eyes.  I felt his little life just leave him. Poof, gone - just like that. 

There was nothing they could've done - he hadn't been doing well the past week, especially the last two days and I think I knew it was near time.  I was going to call the vet on Friday, about his poor eating, but I hesitated, both because of COVID and if our regular vet wasn't on, we feared they'd want to put him down due to the degeneration (but I swear, he was still happy as could be, despite less mobility, until I week ago).

I just keep wondering what if I did?  What if I had gotten to the vet 5 minutes sooner?

I'm not sure it would've made a difference, but still, so many what if's and feeling like I could've done more:(

At least he died in my arms, looking straight up at me - the way I hoped he would go.  And I had worried about if I caught the virus and was weak, how would he get the special-needs care he required all day, every day? But he did, to the very end. 

He was given up twice before I adopted him - I just hope he knew how much he was loved?

He hung on for a year, though the vet predicted he'd lose all function by 6 months because of the adjunctive diabetes.  He proved us all wrong lol.  He was a tough guy :)

I guess I should be grateful for the extended time; time to prepare and say goodbye, and I am.  But I still feel robbed of time and wonder if it was me that robbed us of it? 

At least I didn't have to put him down, in the end, that thought plagued me since he was diagnosed.  Like ALS, they're minds are fine, they just progressively lose all body function, and I was constantly worried about how would I know it was the right time. I guess the combination of diabetes and lack of mobility decided for me.

But he was happy, still wagging his tail, still loving his food, and nuzzling on me until about a week ago.

Oh, my precious, precious angel - I loved you so SO much, I just hope you knew that.  I miss you so much already I could scarcely bring myself to walk through our door without you.  

And I wonder, where did you go? All that energy that sustained you past the time predicted, where does it go?  

And you were so upset if I wasn't in the room with you every second, since the day I brought you home - will you be okay without me with you? 


Thank you for being a part of my life, precious one; you truly were a comfort angel, and I tried my best to be yours.  I hope I was even half the comfort to you that you were to me  ...




Snuggy Pug with daddy in 2015


PS - The world feels even quieter and scarier right now. I can't explain it.  There was something about him that just made the world feel a little safer, a little better.  Like it didn't matter if the world outside fell down, as long as he was on my lap with me in here, everything was going to be okay   ...

PPS - My beautiful friend who I've known for many years, said these wonderful words of comfort today. 

I told her all of the "what ifs" I'd mentioned below that I wished I'd done.

Trying to remember, all is a bit fuzzy right now, but she said something to the tune of (paraphrasing). 

"Noo, stop this, be kinder to yourself. Those words are not yours, those are scripts left, curses spoken over you by other people.  You did NOT cause this. And as for being a momma, let me just say, I loved my Mom, but I wish my mom had the characteristics you have."

"It's normal, to say to a certain degree, 'What if I had done this differently? Is this my fault? They were looking for me to save them and I didn't' - but you take yours further to, "I'm a bad mom and bad person, aren't I? Just tell me the truth" because your family conditioned you to blame yourself for everything, so they didn't have to take responsibility for themselves. 

"In fact, Chrystal - this is God answering your prayer.  Because if you HAD gone to the vet on Friday, or gotten to Animal Hospital just 5 minutes earlier, he would've died on a sterile exam table in front of total-stranger emergency vets, because of COVID-19 restrictions - without his mommy and dad anywhere in sight, having to sit in the car outside."

"God answered your  prayer, Chrystal - Snuggy died the way he was supposed to, in your arms, looking straight in your eyes, and the only way for God to answer that prayer was to have it unfold like it did." 

My husband said: 

"Amen, M - I believe that, too. I have never seen a better momma, she adored that dog and he adored her, they had a very special bond. That's why he stayed past prediction, he didn't want to leave her. She knew what every look on his face meant and ran to him if he even whimpered."

"But she won't listen to me because she thinks I'm just telling her what she wants to hear. Well, she thinks everyone does, who doesn't beat her up and blame her for everything, like her family.. She keeps continuing the family-scapegoat abuse on herself for them, though years gone now."


Now it was my friend essentially said amen.

You know what? 

After having that shitty life earlier, can I just take a moment to say how blessed am I now, compared to then, to have such a wonderful husband, spiritual mom, and comfort angel of a dog in my life?

Then I said, "Amen."  :)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Numbers Don't Lie Or Have a Political Narrative ...

Say what you will about the problems with socialized healthcare, but ...  do you have another explanation for why the countries that spend the most tax money on their healthcare, as well as aggressively regulate healthcare/pharmaceutical prices the most - Germany Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland - have astonishingly lower death rates in proportion to their populations than the rest of us?





It is possible to socialize healthcare without being "socialists,"  people, it's called Democratic Socialism - these nations prove it's not only possible, but it can work (especially Germany).  

Not perfectly, but they have appeared to thus far pass a major crisis test we overly-capitalist, overly-wealthy, overconfident, overly stingy Americans have not - despite being geographically closer to the original virus breakout location than we are.  

In short, despite all of our money, our superiority complexes, our blustering bravado and boasting, and our renewed obsession with reducing everything to winning and losing  - we, of the USA, lost this involuntary Healthcare Olympics - by a long ways :(






Dispelling Theories By Overactive Imaginations ...


Lots of rumors going around - Chinese bioterrorism, former psychic predictions - none of which actually help anyone, of course, even if true.

First of all, let me start by saying - again - no, I do not believe this is Chinese bioterrorism or political bioterrorism otherewise - and if you believe that based on zero actual proof at all, then you've been reading too many Dean Koontz novels.

And if you've ever taken microbiology or virology, as well as epidemiology, you wouldn't think so either.

Is it possible?

Of course - but highly unlikely - here's why.

Now, let's just all take a deep breath, stop looking for someone we can blame (which won't help solve the problem), and start using use our brains and actual logic, shall we?

1.   If anyone had the kind of biotechnology to "create" viruses, the same technology would enable us to have the kind of knowledge to know how to cure viruses, including the regular flu, even common colds - but we don't (with the exception of hepatitis C). 
2. Why would any government create a virus that affects their own people first, killing 6000, or even affect their own country eventually, considering every country has now been affected - that would defeat the entire concept of biological warfare? 
3. Acts of bioterrorism are intentional, political acts of war - therefore, someone usually eventually claims responsibility for it, even if anonymously - because true, intentional political bioterrorism sends a message - they either want something or it's revenge - and no one has, despite ample time.
5.   Of course, accidents happen - and though accidental bioterrorism leakage may be more probable than intentional bioterrorism,  an accidental leakage of a bioterrorist agent is still highly unlikely - because again - no one truly understands virology yet - if we did, we could cure most viruses in general, but we can't - only hepatitis C.
6.   Contagions aren't created in Wuhan or at the CDC (those agencies aren't allocated the money that you think) -  already-existing disease is researched and epidemiology is tracked at those locations.  
*IF* governments created bioterrorism agents, those agents would most likely be under military jurisdiction -  not public health jurisdiction. 
Experiments would likely be performed in little-known, highly-guarded government/military-facility labs - NOT a very public, very well known, easily accessible government public health research facility!
Why would any government mix their biological warfare agents in the exact same institution as their public-health facilities, risking contamination? 
They'd either have to be incredibly stupid or want to destroy themselves - which would defeat the entire point of biological warfare? 

Thus, the most likely scenario - based on at least some evidence we already have - is that after it's discovery, it was sent to the health-science lab in Wuhan for study and research, when either there was a leakage or safety precautions were not followed properly.

Then, as we know, the Chinese government did not take the leakage seriously enough, at first, to stop it (which we can't fault them for, because our governments did the same thing until Italy) - but by then, it was too late.


*However* since that time, China has actually done a very good job of handling it since and slowing the spread, using a model our countries have since followed because it proved effective.

Thus, IMO -- *IF* -- if it were intentional bioterrorism - which again, I highly doubt - it would more likely be some lone psycho, or very small posse of psychopaths who either hate people in general and did this randomly or felt slighted by someone either in some imaginary way or overreacted to a slight - just like internet psychopaths.


Now, those other viral doomsday rumors: 


1.   Bill Gates predicted this (some say caused it) - FALSE





Bill Gates has been predicting an epidemic for some time and preparing for it - but he's a numbers guy - and
lots of smart, stats  people have predicted it - because statistically, we're actually overdue. 

Also, never forget -  Bill Gates has always been a better marketing guy than a numbers guy - and he is, as we speak, reveling in having the world's extra attention. 

Expect new Microsoft products soon?  ;)

2.  Dean Koontz, while researching for his 1981 novel, "The Eye of Darkness" - in which a deadly biochemically engineered-in-China virus, literally called the "Wuhan Virus," kills thousands - stumbled across evidence they were working on a biochemical weapon - FALSE
















Okay, first of all, what many people don't know is that Wuhan is the health research and epidemiology center of China - much like our CDC is, here in America.

Dean did his homework before writing the book to find that Wuhan is their health research center, that's true - but even if he hadn't admittedly made it up, the story would be inaccurate anyway, because it is highly unlikely that bioterrorist agents would be created at a well-known public-health research facility, rather than a  lesser known military lab. 
And if that were true, that Dean Koontz had a an almost 40-year heads up on COVID-19, then he had enough knowledge to either be ruling this planet, by now, in a maximum-security prison, or dead - but he isn't lol.

Oh, and there's the pesky fact that Dean Koontz swears he made it all up based on Wuhan being like our CDC and has no psychic ability whatsoever  lol. 


And for those saying terrorists got the idea from him? 

Again - no one has the technology to "create" viruses - if we did, we would've been able to cure even regular cold and flu viruses, by now, but we can't.

3. This next viral rumor was of course spread by Kim Kardashian - the now-deceased psychic Sylvia Browne predicted this in her 2008 book "End of Days:  Prediction and Prophecies for the End of the World" before her death - HALF-TRUE. 













Here's what she said:
"In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and all known treatments," Browne wrote. "Almost more baffling than the illness will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attack again ten years later and then vanish completely."
Okay, granted, she got the year right and that it has to do with the lungs - but it's actually not "pneumonia-like," although pneumonia can become a complicaction. 

In simplest terms, the virus essentially doesn't cause the lungs to clog, like pneumonia does, per se - the lungs essentially just become so inflamed they stop working properly.  

However, someone not in the medical field might interpret it like that, so that's why she gets some points. 

Even if she was 100%, that's one time out of like 100,000 times she was wrong - famous. 

Because let's not forget this is the woman who otherwise lost all credibility due to the following:  

1.   In 2002, Browne informed the parents of 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck, who had disappeared earlier that year, that "he had been kidnapped by a dark-skinned Hispanic man with dreadlocks" -  and was now deceased.[18][19] Hornbeck was found alive in 2007; his kidnapper was Caucasian and short-haired.[20] 

- and especially THIS ...

2.  In November 2004, Browne told the mother of kidnapping victim Amanda Berry, who had disappeared nineteen months earlier: "She's not alive, honey." Browne also claimed that Berry was "in water", and that she had had a vision of Berry's jacket in the garbage with "DNA on it".

You may recall Amanda Berry, along with two other girls - was actually found alive in 2013 - in the basement of a psycho in Cleveland - two months after her mother died, believing her daughter was dead, because of what Sylvia Browne said :(

Okay, granted, if there are psychics, they have bad days - but that's a pretty bad day, and a pretty bad record overall - and especially heinous that she pronounced it truth so emphatically to the mother. 

And even if her prediction was true - she says it disappears quickly - so there you go, Sylvia Browne says it goes away for 10 years, will come back, and go away again - so what are you worried about? ;)

LOL.

In fact, though I am open to psychic belief - understanding that there are different psychic abilities and no one is ever 100% correct - I AM skeptical of "famous" ones.

Thus, I looked back at 2020 predictions by famous psychics, and guess what? 

No famous psychic predicted this. 

The closest any of them came was Jeanne Mayell, who said a health crisis would affect Trump's presidency in either late 2018 or 2019 (but the way she worded it made it seem like a personal crisis. 





















Apparently, she's always a bit vague like that -  too vague - but she comes the closest, I guess, and to her credit, she admits herself that she doesn't know how to interpret the images she receives, that she can interpret the symbolic/metaphoric/allegorical images very incorrectly, so she has to be careful with the predictions she makes.

For example, for the 2016 election, though a Clinton fan herself, and despite every other famous psychic predicting Clinton, she said most of her images predicted a win by Hillary, but not all - enough to find them concerning - and therefore did not elaborate on making a conclusive prediction because she straight up said she wasn't sure/didn't know. 

Regardless, let's do realize all of this speculation (that some confuse for information) is useless at helping us be prepared, protecting ourselves, and healing, right?

Friday, March 27, 2020

PS - Ozark Reaction to Episode One ...

Just an update to this morning post about "Ozark Day." 




No spoilers, but as usual, the last 5 minutes are the craziest.  And the best. 

OMG, Ruth and the KC mob boss's son - LOL!

That girl has no fear -  I'm both horrified and impressed at the same time!?!

He's an idiot and loose cannon, total douche, but still - stupid thing for a smart girl to do. 

And Wendy, in the last 5 minutes?  

She has just gone completely off-the-chain insane, drunk with her own power.   I think we're going to discover she's the most duplicitous, the most passive-aggressive and sneakiest and therefore actually the most dangerous. 

Don't get me wrong, Marty can be behind-the-back, too - both of them can, as rich white people seem especially good at - but at least he feels bad later and is now just doing this schtick because he feels like he has to, not because he still enjoys it.

He beats her at her own game a couple times in this episode, though -  of course in horrible ways - so I see a war coming in this marriage soon.  One I don't think he'll win, unfortunately.

Horrible people!  And yet you can't stop watching!

Makes me glad I'm married to the man I am.  Speaking of which, we both love this show - and I promise you, there is no one I'd rather be in isolation with, we've made it fun :)

We have always lived well together, which people don't realize is important is an important part of marriage, until they actually do live together.  

We're the same level of neatness, we like many of the same things (but enough differences to keep it interesting, and are open to new ideas from each other), don't make any decisions without the other, and talk about everything, no secrets.  

Of course, easy for me to say at only 3-1/2 years in (8 years of living together, though), but still - still happy as can be! :)

Varying US Sports Response to COVID-19

The NFL/AFL season is not yet affected, so Drew Brees donates 5 million to the City of New Orleans to help with testing, lost wages, etc. 




NBA (basketball) canceled their season and executives took a 20% pay cut, with several NBA owners (like Mark Cuban) paying the arena and lower-level staff salaries for this season, and also personally donating like  newcomer, New Orleans Pelicans' eenter, Zion Williamson, pledged to cover all Smoothie King salaries (arena named after this business) as well as $1 million to a private community center fund in New Orleans ...




NHL has officially canceled their season, though they still may play in the playoffs, with many teams refunding season ticket money, and some players donating, including Florida Panthers' Sergei Bobrosky, who donated $100,000 (later matched by each teammate.  

(Keep in mind, if that amount seems lower, they don't make as much as other sports.) 






Then you have the MLB (baseball)  - the the odd (greedy) men out.




   
The season is still in question, likely just delayed - and though the league itself donated a million, and a few players have lower-figure donated - there has otherwise been few donations by players, teams, and owners, and a salary conflict.

The players' union initially demanded to still receive their multi-million-dollar salaries, regardless of games played or not, after threats to sue the MLB, owners, etc.  

The union and owners/MLB just now finally agreed upon terms - per USA Today (per ESPN): 

"Teams have also pledged to pay players on 40-man rosters a lump sum of at $170 million in upfront money, based on a sliding scale with service time. Players are scheduled to receive their first paychecks on April 15, and if the season resumes, they would be paid on a pro-rated scale based on how many games are played."


Are. You. Kidding. Me. With. That? 

You know what? 

Now, overall, I'm a union fan for protection of workers and largely think unions do a pretty good job of that - i.e. -  Kentucky coal miner unions were crucially needed in the 1930s and 1960s, because coal companies were literally sweatshop/slave-laboring their miners.

HOWEVER, I do recognize that certain unions can get just as greedy as corporate executives and Wall Streeters - i.e., car companies in Detroit, the UAW and AFL/CIO in the 1960s under Jimmy Hoffa, who was no better than a street thug for the mafia, skimming off the top for himself and the mafia.

Unions still are not even close to corporate and Wall Street greed overall, but there are some union exceptions and this is one of those times - this is some serious greed. 

You now will be paid $4.25 million dollars per player on 40-man team, even if you don't play another game this year.

Get outta here with that, baseball player's union -  you're out of your effing minds.  

I can't believe the MLB agreed to that to avoid lawsuits. 

Thus, I'll be saving my pennies to spend elsewhere, perhaps watching other sports, because I won't be attending any MLB games this year until baseball players step up to the plate on realizing the financial reality for most Americans, other than themselves, right now, like ever other sport has. 

It's Ozark Day!

For those of you losing track of time, working at home, it's Ozark Day on Netflix lol.




For those of you who haven't watched this show yet, think Breaking Bad meets hillbillies - nodding to both Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch as influences. 

Chicago super-accountant/financial advisor, Marty (played by Jason Bateman), reluctantly dabbles in - erm - "creative accounting" for a South-American drug cartel, which he thinks is a temporary gig,  in order to pay for college for his children.  

When he finds it's not so simple to just get out, he runs and hides with his family in the Ozarks - only to find the hillbillies are even scarier lol.

(Also known as people probably related to me.  Just kidding.  Mostly.)

Additionally, his wife, Wendy (played by Laura Linney), thrives on the duplicity and the politics, there, and his son has developed a disturbing fascination with guns, all of which weigh on his conscience, but he does not appear to have the backbone to do anything about as he partially blames and is disgusted with himself, but at the same time, it's clear part of him enjoys the thrill, too. 





Of course, as is the current trend, virtually no one is a good guy, but still likable, so there's an internal moral pull, when watching these characters. 

One of my favorites is Ruthie.  She's totally a foul-mouthed, redneck, crooked as the day is long (she really had no other choice to survive), but also super smart and hilarious. 

Take note for those of you who witnessed Daniel Craig's horrible foghorn-leghorn Southern accent in Knives Out - THIS is how you do a Southern accent - bravo, Julia Garner, fully deserving that Emmy.

(FYI, there are dialects and degrees of accents depending on the different regions of the American South, mind you. Daniel Craig was apparently going for Atlanta gentile, but failed miserably.  Julia Garner delivers a backwoods-redneck Missouri accent perfectly.)




One of my favorite scenes is where psychopathic FBI Agent Petty tries to blackmail and threaten her into testifying against the Marty (the accountant).  





Nothing against FBI, Mark has a few FBI friends and they're straight arrows, but not this guy - this guy is an off-the-chain psycho.

Well, relatively speaking - we are talking about a cast of characters essentially comprised of sociopaths and psychopaths already lol.

That's the strange appeal of the show - internal moral dilemma.  These people are complete sociopaths and psychopaths, and yet likable - and you hate to admit to yourself you like them lol. 

The interaction goes something like this ...





Shady FBI Agent Petty"If you don't testify against Marty, I'm going to do A, B, and C ..."
Ruthie"Ohhhh, okay.  Go eff yourself."
Shady FBI Agent Petty:  "And then I'm gonna do D, E, and F ..."
Ruthie:  "Aw, ya want me to tell you how to do it?"
Shady FBI Agent Petty:  "And THEN I'm going to do G, H, and I to your little cousins ..."
Ruthie:  "See, what you do is, you curl yourself up into a ball  ..."

Hahaha!  Totally unphased because she's seen worse, so a total fail for Agent Petty. 

Let's just put it this way - instead of getting his man, very bad things happen to Petty, as a result of his methods, and no one at all will miss him, including the FBI.

Interested to see where this story line goes ...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Word To The Wise On the Taking Stimulus Benefits ...


Here's a great article answering commonly-asked questions about the new stimulus package that passed the senate and is expect to pass the house - but what I didn't see (unless I overlooked it) - is whether or not if we take any of the benefits - including the $1200 stimulus check and unemployment - will  it be counted as income on next year's taxes?

I'm not 100% certain of that, but it's likely - it's the reason I didn't take the Florida state stimulus after the hurricanes.

(FYI, I also didn't claim it on my federal taxes because being that my income was under a certain amount, those type of deductions didn't help, I just took the standard deduction amount.)


(It wasn't much and wouldn't have saved me financially, anyway, because offshore outsourcing came next for my field and was even worse than hurricanes financially  lol.)

The temptation may be to grasp at straws, any job or "free gift" that comes your way, when times are desperate - *but be careful* - more often than not, if things appear too good to be true, they probably are, there are often unspoken strings attached which obligate you  - and you don't want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire by doing so, right?  

We live and learn - I mostly learned by grasping at straws during these times, so trust me on this ;)




Timing, People - Feed the Good Dog Inside You The Most


The title refers to a quote from Lakota Sioux holy man and leader, Sitting Bull, and I'll get to what that means in a second, but first ... 

... Keller-Williams Realty called me and asked me if I was ready to start looking at homes and if I was ready to buy a home.

???

Um - are you aware that both state and federal government advised us to stay in our homes, right now, except for necessities and emergencies?

That's pretty much what I said lol. 

Then she went into, "But the interest rates are coming down" sales pitch. 

Click.

I don't usually hang up on people, but seriously, what the ?

Yes, that's exactly what I need to be focusing on, right now, looking at new homes and possibly catching or spreading disease in the process, buying a new house before a looming recession, so that I can properly dig myself a new credit hole to fall in, after I just climbed out of the last one, all so that YOU can make a quick buck.

Now, look, I understand wanting your business to continue, and I'm doing my best to support local business,  during this time - but let's do that responsibly and not predatorily, shall we? 

Then, I was later sent emails by their office stating, "Our hearts go out to anyone affected.  If you'd like to buy a new home, we're here for you."

Oh, puhleease, you don't give a damn about us and what's safe, or you wouldn't be asking people to come look at homes, right now, possibly catching/spreading the virus OR whether buying a new home would put people further in debt, despite a looming recession - you just want a sale for yourself lol.

No worries, I didn't say any of that - but I did think it.

I mean, it just seems manipulative and almost predatory to me, right now?

Though things are chaotic, and I think we should give each other more of a break than ever, on things said/done when stress and emotions are high -  on the other side of that coin -  let's balance that with recognizing there's a proper time and place for certain things, and we can start by asking ourselves, "Is now the right time for this?" 

There's a way to try to keep your business afloat AND be socially responsible, and to not take advantage of the situation.

You can tell the difference between sincere and insincere businesses saying things like that, because the sincere ones will also reassure you in efforts they're taking to be socially responsible, as well as not try to sell you on non-necessary things that are not in your best interest, right now.

Employers may say the same about "being here for you," but here's how you can tell whether or not they're sincere - their actions speak louder than their words.

Not only will they tell you exactly what they're doing to prevent infections, but offer to help you any way they can and actually do that.


I'm lucky that I have 2 gigs, right now, especially in a dying, competitive field - and have finally found 2 ethical, professionally-behaving, non-cut throat, non-"throw each other under the bus for a buck" companies to work for (but I kissed a lot of frogs to get here :)

Though the first gig's work nearly ground to a halt (only emergency appointments), they bent over backwards to accommodate us and support us during this time - again, their actions were louder than their words


They don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk - what they say they'll do, they do, to help us - they're going above and beyond. 

I personally voluntarily stepped back from that first gig,  to make sure what work did come in was for people for whom that was their sole source of income (because I have two, plus a husband), as well as I recommended setting up a donation fund for those people who won't be able to make ends meet, we all give what we can each month to it, and they're trying to set one up as we speak, like a monthly pool, they can offer to the most needy that month?  

(Because I've always said when I was even in a slightly better place, after struggling so much during the recession, I would help.  Slightly better only is right, but better enough to help where I can :)

Hey - we've got to help each other, where we can, and not wait and leave it to everybody else and the government to do, right?


During crises like these, we often may see both the best and the worst of humanity - acts of abject selfishness as well as incredible acts of compassion and unselfishness - thus, you have a choice. 

Sitting Bull said ...





So do we want our species to survive or not?

Feed the good dog inside you!



Now onto government actions, right now, equally annoying is people spreading political dysinformation/fake news at lightning speed about government actions and political partisanship on social media - even at the grocery store, we've heard nonsense. 

It isn't helping anyone's panic level, and even that seems a bit predatory to me, trying to sell you on party political narrative in the midst of a public health crisis?

Like I'm dumb enough to go, "Dohkay,  you're saying Political Party A literally sent and caused the virus so they can profit from it, and that MUST be true, simply because YOU said it, and YOU know, so I'm going to join YOUR political party, right now, because we can only trust YOU and YOUR political party to save us." lol

It's actually slightly insulting, like they think either think you're less informed than they are, a complete dumb ass, or just gullible or easily manipulated; or worse, they are trying to take advantage of catching you at a vulnerable moment, thinking you might be swayed by what they only imagine are their superior skills of persuasion - though it's total bullshit and you actually critically think and read and decide independently for yourself. 

Just smile and change the subject, or slightly tap them by asking them to cite their sources for that information, if they get too aggressive. 

People that are overly focused on selling you one political party or the other, during this crisis, are predators - virtually no different than predatory scammers, right now, taking advantage of people's panic, catching them while they're vulnerable - so they can sell them bogus products or ask you to donate to fake donation charities to help the victims. 

Now - having said that,  I get the concerns of government overreach to a certain degree - but actions like this one, by one of our state lawmakers, wreak of taking advantage of our vulnerability, right now, to make things unnecessarily political. 

It's not so much her point, because she could be right about government overreach - but her timing?

To actual encourage people to sue the state government, this soon, when we're still trying to keep people at home and safe - especially when we just passed unemployment expansion bill, both the state and then the federal government - is going too far. 

Like I said, it's not so much her point, because she may be right, who knows - but it's her timing - it sets off predatory, political-power-hunger alarms.

It just wreaks of: "I don't care if people are protected from the virus, I just want my political party in power and my own freedom/civil liberties."

I'm sure there will now be 1000 lawsuits later, and some may have legitimate concerns.

However, I can also see where the courts would just argue: "You know what, you're alive and well because of emergency actions the government took, for you to even be able to file this lawsuit," too.

Who can say and we shall see.


What I DO know is this - we can't have it both ways, people.

We cannot demand more government action/ protection, then bitch about it, when they do it.

That puts the government - local, state, and federal, regardless of political party - in a damned if they don't, damned if they do scenario - and no one wins.



From the LHL: 



"Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, has filed a floor amendment to her own House Bill 322 that would gut the contents of the bill and replace it with new language adding limitations to the emergency powers of Kentucky’s governor.   
 
On Wednesday, responding to a flurry of critics on Facebook, Maddox added: “At the onset, I thought the Governor was doing a great job handling this situation. However, using the force of government to close 2/3 of Kentucky’s private businesses and picking winners and losers among said businesses is a different matter.”
The co-sponsor of the original HB 322, GOP Rep. Jerry Miller of Louisville, said on Wednesday that he has nothing to do with Maddox’s amendment.
 
“Savannah is the purest libertarian we have in the House, so with that in mind, it makes sense for her to file this sort of thing,” Miller said. “Her base is the Northern Kentucky Tea Party folks. From a purely libertarian viewpoint, I mean, I get it. But now’s not the time.” 
The floor amendment Maddox filed last Thursday would instead require a governor’s emergency orders during a “disease outbreak, public health threat or similar occurrence” to be “narrowly tailored towards meeting the exigencies of the emergency,” “no broader or burdensome than is necessary,” “actually issued in response to an emergency or immediate threat of an emergency” and “in effect no longer than is necessary to meet the exigency giving rise to the emergency.” 
“Any person adversely effected by an emergency order may bring an action, individually or as a class action, for declaratory and injunctive relief, in the circuit court in the county in which the person resides or in which the person’s affected business is located,” the amendment states. 
Circuit judges would have to hold a hearing within seven days — notwithstanding any other emergency orders largely shutting down the court system, such as one presently in effect — to determine if the governor had erred.  
As originally crafted, the House bill required better reporting of asset forfeitures by law enforcement agencies. 
What happens if a governor oversteps those boundaries? Kentuckians could sue 
At these hearings, plaintiffs would argue “that their personal or business activities do not in fact present a substantial risk of furthering the emergency” or “that the personal or economic impacts of the emergency order ... are more severe than the impacts of the emergency.” The state would send lawyers to respond to the individual complaints and defend the emergency order.
________________________


C'mon, people - let's feed that good dog inside you and just fix the problem, right now - plenty of time to play the blame game and sue people, as is the American way, later lol  ;) 







Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Symbol of Hope, Right Outside My Window - Just Now :)

I was in the middle of texting back and forth in a group text thread - someone had just announced they'd been laid off, due to this situation.  

We were all offering what words of comfort we could find, when seconds later, something drew my attention to this outside my window ...




I was instantly reminded of the story of Noah and the great flood - how a rainbow was the symbol of God's promise to never attempt to destroy mankind again.  

(It also has a special personal significance to me regarding my grandmother.)  

Even if you're not a spiritual person, rainbows are hope bringers :) 

Most things are just coincidence.  Some things are overly coincidental.  

The fact that my attention was drawn outside, just after this person announced their bad news, when we were all struggling for the right words, signified to me it may be the latter - and as they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words :)

Like a wink from a loved one to let you know they're near.

Or perhaps even God himself, saying, "Yes, I saw that.  It totally sucks.  I can't intervene in what humans decide - that would negate free will.  But I saw that, I'm here, and I love you. "

I'd like to believe my attention was drawn outside to snap this photo for that person in particular; however, later, I thought perhaps we all could benefit from a little hope, right now - so I thought I'd share the photo, as it might be a hope-bringer for others as well :)

God's peace xo 


Go, Universal Pictures!



As you may have heard, Universal Pictures announced they would start streaming brand new movies to certain streaming companies to keep people out of theaters, last week.

They launched it last Friday, so you can see "Invisible Man," "The Hunt," and "Emma" from home as we speak,  if you have Amazon Prime, AppleTV, Xfinity, Vudu, Google Play, Verizon, FandangoNow, and Microsoft Movies - with more movies added soon. 

Here's an easy link to join "Movies Anywhere," which tells you which services are streaming them - both current Universal Pictures "in-theater" movies and Universal movies past.

PS - You can thank my brother-in-law (Mark's little brother) for that - he's the senior executive accountant for Universal Pictures  - (his official title is Senior Director, Financial Planning and Analysis) ;)

The price is $19.99, but before you balk, consider it's cheaper than taking entire families to the movies and safer :)