*** 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, September 21, 2021

Squid Game ...

 


One of Netflix's best, I would say - very well done, sort of a combination of The Hunger Games and the Saw series. 

I would've given it 5 stars -  if I hadn't figured out the old man's story by episode 3 :/

Still worth a watch, though, because it's a master class in filmmaking.  (Go South Korea, lately, they're on filmmaking fire!)

When I first said it out loud, my husband laughed "Noooo, can't be lol."

I said, "I dunno, we'll see. If I'm right, I'll tell you the subtle, odd, clue moments that tipped me off." 

Let's just say that I was right - and my husband is amazed lol.

And now that I've told him the moments that gave it away for me, he's like, "Oh, yeahhhh."


Hey, don't get me wrong, my husband is super smart, but I'm no genius -  it's just  that I just know film   ;) 



Saturday, September 18, 2021

Folklore/Gossip VS. Reality: James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind" and "Fire and Rain" :)

 

For some reason, I woke up this morning with James Taylor's song, "Carolina In My Mind" :)

Probably, because I'm missing the mountains, after vacationing there in June and spending our anniversary at The Biltmore Estate (see the sidebar videos.)

Also,  I'm a huge JT fan, I love JT, always have - I play JT when I just want to chill or am traveling :)

As for this video, it's someone else's photos to the soundtrack of the song, which shows the diverse landscape of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western part of the state, to the tropical coastline in the Eastern part of the state :)




Lyrics:

In my mind I'm gone to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
And, ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

Karin, she's a silver sun
You best walk her way and watch it shinin'
Watch her, watch the morning come
A silver tear appearing now
I'm cryin', ain't I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind

There ain't no doubt in no one's mind
That love's the finest thing around
Whisper something soft and kind
And hey, babe, the sky's on fire
I'm dying, ain't I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind

In my mind, I'm gone to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine, sugar?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

Dark and silent, late last night
I think I might have heard the highway call my name
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
Other signs that might be omens say, "I'm goin', I'm goin'"
I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

And it's with a holy host of others standin' around me
Still, I'm on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me
If I'm up and gone to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
Said I'm gone to Carolina
I'd better get back on home again, real soon, you know?
'Cause I'm gone to Carolina in my mind


This started me thinking about the gossip and folklore that surrounds the inspirations behind JT's music VS. reality, and how much that we, as a culture, have now embraced gossip more than fact.

You see, after James Taylor wrote "Fire and Rain,"  which is partially about the death of an actual person, people assumed that all of JT's songs were inspired by actual people and events, and tried to figure them all out lol.

Thus, folklore about the meaning behind his songs took on a life of their own.

What's interesting is - NONE of the folk stories that went any of his songs -  including Fire and Rain - were true.

Thus, it's a lesson on what people believe and spread around versus truth. 

Sometimes, like in JT's case, they're harmless - but other times, not so much (politics).


Folk Story/Urban Legend/Myth about the song "Fire and Rain:" 

There are several folk stories people believe about this song, but the most popular version goes that JT's friend, Suzanne Schnerr, was killed in a plane crash on a surprise flight to London to see him recording at Apple Records, which was arranged by his friends,, and thus explains the lyric "sweet dreams and flying machines, in pieces on the ground" and "Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you."


Reality: 

Suzanne died by suicide - and as he has recently told it, in a 2017 interview -  after "her family had her committed undeservingly, because they wanted to control her" and she wanted to escape this control. 

His friends didn't tell him about either being committed or her suicide until he'd finished his first recording in London at the Beatles' Apple studios, for fear it'd blow a big opportunity for him.

Thus, in the lyric "Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you," the "they" refers to both her family's decisions to have her committed, as well as his friends' refusal to tell him about her committal and suicide, which had kept him from being present, and his subsequent guilt, wondering if perhaps if he had been there, instead of London, he could've saved her.  

As for the line, "sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground" was about his own depression that followed after the prior and recent failure of his band,

Thus, the only aspect of this folklore that is true is that the Suzanne mentioned in the song was a friend of JT's that died - period. 


In fact, there are so many stories about the song, and over-analyzation of the lyrics,  that Stephen Colbert and JT created their own parody of the song, filled with nonsense lyrics in 2019, called "Fire,  Rain, and Calzones"  lol 



Now - there was also a show where Stephen Colbert and JT sang "Carolina on my Mind" as a duet (as Stephen Colbert is from South Carolina and still has a home there), but no one has the video for that, just the audio:(

I would really like to see that, because as everyone knows (including my husband), Stephen Colbert is also one of my imaginary husbands lol. 

I have many imaginary celebrity husbands, in every category, mind you lol -  like Aaron Rodgers ins my imaginary sports husband, Sting is one of my many imaginary music husbands (like JT),  and Stephen Colbert is comedians/talk show host husband lol.  

(I don't have any living in books or acting, though, they've all left us, so I guess they're my "heavenly husbands" now, but that's a whole other list, but Gregory Peck, Gene Kelly, and Paul Newman, for starters lol)

All in fun, of course - I'm not a weird, diehard fan of any of these people, and admittedly, I don't care much for football as a whole, I just like Aaron Rogers lol.  But I know who everybody is because my husband is, both pro and college,  In fact, even as we speak, he's watching College Game Day, he never misses it :)

 And  to tell the truth - sorry Stephen - but I don't watch Stephen's show every night, I'm lucky to catch it even in a week (and often just YouTube clips - I usually binge watch TV anyway on the weekends. 


As for Carolina in My Mind ... 


Folk Story/Urban Legend/Myth about "Carolina In My Mind:" 

During his time at McLean Hospital for depression in the mid-60s, a fellow patient and friend, named Karin, became paranoid and hit him over the head with a chair, knocking him unconscious, where he "went to Carolina in his mind," explaining the lyric "Ain't it just like a friend of mine, to hit me from behind" and "Karin, she's a silver sun, you'd best walk her away and watch it shining"

(lol)

Reality:

James primarily wrote the song while taking a vacation break from recording at Apple studios on the Spanish Islands of Formentera and Ibiza, with a Swedish woman named Karin he'd just met, and the pair became stranded on the island overnight, and the song is about seeing the sunrise and feeling a sudden homesickness for North Carolina (JT was raised raised in Massachusetts and North Carolina). 


And the lyric, "ain't it just like a friend of mine, to hit me from behind?" 

He's actually referring to the memory of North Carolina sneaking up on him out of nowhere, when he least expects it, during an inopportune time - and if you also paid attention the lyrics before that line, you'd know that  :)


Ah, folklore VS, the reality of songs. 


I remember as a child, folk stories about songs and bands were especially popular with the charismatic evangelical set, only they usually also had a more sinister bend to the rumors, like The Eagles "Hotel California" and any song that KISS every played because they believe "KISS" actually stood for "Kings In Service of Satan," and if you listened to these songs, you took a chance of becoming under Satan's power lol.

Because Lord knows that charismatic evangelicals are obsessed with the devil more than they are with Jesus, as well as their abject paranoia that something sinister outside of us can somehow take over our minds and possess us unaware -  which of course would not only completely negate the Christian concept of free will entirely, but is also a revealing self-portrait of their own propensity towards gullibility  ;)


Thus, I wasn't allowed to listen to most secular music -  but believe me, I've made up for lost time since ;)


And for the record, though I believe young minds are impressionable and they can walk away with the wrong impression after being influenced by people, music, books, movies, video games -  I do NOT that these things, in and of themselves, can "take over" or "possess" anyone, as there's  still always free will choice, even in young ones - nothing can influence you without your choice or consent.

Thus, I believe we shouldn't ban these things, but instead, listen/watch these things WITH our children -  when age-appropriate -  with an open mind, making our own opinion (rather than letting others tell us what we should think, without ever viewing/listening ourselves), thereby giving full perspective and discussing them WITH our children :) 

Besides, forbidding fruit entirely makes it that much sweeter - so IMO, it's good to discuss the pros and cons, the choices and consequences,  with our children ;)


Heck, even with beauty pageants, I'd watch them with my daughter so that she could be sure to get a full perspective on what our culture celebrates about the surface of women VS. the full-picture reality of women :)


Though still not a huge fan, as for KISS, the name of the band means exactly what you think it would mean, "kiss," and drummer, Peter Criss, gave the band its name as an extension of the name of his previous band called "Lips."  

The crazy costumes and hair were simply a gimmick to get attention, positive or negative, just like Ozzy Osbourne (only in KISS's case, perhaps to cover for the fact that though they wrote fun party songs, they weren't very talented? ;)

Hotel California was written after reading the book, "The Magus," by John Fowles, and the band wanting to write a similar, creepy, metafiction, Twilight Zone-ish song, just to see if they could, based on some of the life of excess and weird stuff they saw in California, taken to an extreme. 

Persistent rumors abound that the Hotel California is based on the house of Anton Levay's Church of Satan in San Francisco.

Even if that were true, the song is about the excess and underbelly of entertainment business in LA, taken to a Twilight Zone degree, so it's a criticism of that - NOT an advertisement for it lol.


Just a little lesson in folk story/urban legend/myth and what people believe based on gossip VS. reality, brought to you by me :)






Friday, September 17, 2021

The Independent Scientific Advisory Committee's Review and Recommendations to the FDA on Pfizer's Third-Shot Booster

 


Okay, so the independent scientific advisory board to the FDA (comprised of independent infectious-disease experts, pharmacists, and statisticians) voted "NO" (16-2) on recommending a third Pfizer shot for those 16 and older - HOWEVER - unanimously voted "YES" (18-0) to a subpopulation, those ages 65  and older (those most at risk/with lower immune systems).


Keep in mind, the FDA does not have to follow the independent advisory boards recommendations, but they typically do.


However again  - remember that recently, Aduhelm (adalimumab) was a prime example of a time that the FDA did not take the independent advisory panel's recommendations against the drug, and instead approved it - so it's anyone's guess.


Because today was an unusually long, full-day, intense debate, the FDA did not make it's decision, and thus the final vote will be next week. 

See?  Told you the scientific community was split on this one (see below post ;). 


In the end, it came down to whether the panel thought the small study that Pfizer provided proved any additional benefit from a third shot of the exact same formulation of the vaccine.

At the end of the day, it appeared the majority of the committee  wasn't fully convinced by the small study that a third shot provided additional benefit for everyone, except for those 65 or older,  who are most at risk and have the weakest immune systems.


But again, the FDA itself could disagree and still approve it anyway, like they did Aduhelm.


Now - what I'm not sure of is, if the FDA does agree with the independent advisory committee's recommendations, and it's not approved, either partially (for those 65+) or fully (ages 16 and up), whether Pfizer can reapply again, after new data, i.e. a larger population and longer-term studies for durability of response?

Typically not -  but the again, Aduhelm un-stereotypically (and inexplicably) got second and third chances, after producing more data (that still didn't prove much meaningful statistical significance) - so who knows?   


My hope is that Pfizer will perhaps instead focus on answering the question I posed below - which is whether mRNA vaccines will still need additional variant-strain genetic information added to the original formulation, like "live strain" vaccinations, or not - and if so - perhaps reapply after that has been done and studied in clinical trial for efficacy, safety, and durability of response?


Also, I know the Biden administration really wanted that third booster shot - but the evidence just isn't there yet.

The small study Pfizer provided neither proved nor disproved a third shot of the same formulation added any additional benefit - nor did it determine durability of response of the first two, one way or the other.




Now, I'm a die-hard Democrat, and I love Biden, but unlike Trumpers, I don't pretend he's the hand of God and that everything he says and does is a holy edict of God and that he's perfect - no one is.



If we claim to be the party that "follows the science," then we need to do that - wait for statistically significantly statistical evidence, instead of making biased assumptions, yes? 


Otherwise, we're no different than Trumpers - we can speculate and believe something all day, but that doesn't make it - we have to prove prove it ;)

Perhaps then if we just focus on getting the rest of the population vaccinated with the first two shots instead, because we DO have real-world proof of its efficacy against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and that it offers at least some protection against variants like the Delta variant, at least when it comes to severe disease.


Now, again - having said all of that - if the FDA goes against the IAC's recommendations and approves the third shot, and it's still offered for free, I would still get it - both because we had no ill effects from the first two, and because we have no proof either way, whether it provides any additional benefit or does nothing more - so why not? 


Interesting stuff, huh?

Well, maybe that's just to me :)








Thursday, September 16, 2021

FDA Reviews Pfizer's Booster Shot Application and Study Info ...

 


Tomorrow, the FDA will review Pfizer's application to provide a third booster shot, and a summary of what's to be reviewed tomorrow can be found HERE at https://www.fda.gov/media/152176/download.


So there's a bit of controversy over this, and not the usual suspects - the scientific community itself appears to be split.

Now - there is no question that real-world follow-up studies have shown Pfizer and Moderna's mRNA-based vaccines have been able to provide efficacy against regular COVID, and at least some efficacy against the delta variant and others.


The question is around the booster-shot study that Pfizer used was a small study in Israel of 312 patients, showing increased antibodies/immunity for 30 days, using the exact same formulation as was implemented previously with no additives.  

Pfizer also used the same study to suggest that immunity can wane over time - but also has no definitive proof of that, as it was a small study, and parameters for durability of response were not well defined, nor had enough time passed to determine that with absolute certainty.


Historically, the FDA does not approve drugs based on small studies with a small population size and short clinical trial periods,  but there are two exceptions - uncommon/rare/orphan disease or public-health emergency.   


If the drug is approved for public-health emergency, then real-world studies back it up, the drug will receive full regular-use approval.  (This was the case with the original vaccines, who originally used small studies to gain emergency FDA approval, and only received regular-use approval a month ago).


Thus, the scientific community is split on whether giving a third shot of the exact same formulation provides any additional benefit, especially to justify the extra expense, based on one small study, typically only considered by the FDA during public-health emergencies, and then only authorized for emergency use until there's more real-world evidence. 


Now, let's go back how vaccines and their boosters vary ...


Unlike Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines, your basic yearly flu shots NOT yet based on mRNA technology (but they're in the works). 

Flu shots are currently still based on weakened strains of the actual influenza virus.   Each year, any new mutation variants are added to the flu-shot formulation.

J&J and AstraZeneca's COVID vaccines are also NOT mRNA vaccines, they also use weakened "live strains."


However, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines ARE based on mRNA, the base genetic code for coronavirus genotypes - just add specific genetic info for SARS-CoV-2.  


This is the reason why the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have offered at least some protection against variants of SARS-CoV-2, while J&J and AstraZeneca's "live strain" vaccinations have not fared as well with variants.


So now, the question the FDA is asking itself is:


"Would a third shot of the exact same formulation of the original mRNA vaccines offer additional or even incremental benefit, especially considering the study sample population size was only 312 people? 


Well, of course, Pfizer's going to tell you "yes" regardless lol.


They're playing the "offers incremental benefit" card, more than the "additional benefit" card, you see, which typically only flies here in the U.S. versus Europe - or I should say at least European countries are is more stringent with their definition of drugs that provide incremental or additional benefits (particularly France) ;) 


Let us also not forget that recently, the FDA broke its own rules with Aduhelm (adalimumab, first drug for Alzheimer's, shown to show little if any efficacy), so who knows what will happen.



However, methinks Pfizer first needs to answer this question ...


"Do mRNA vaccines also need to be adjusted to include more specific genetic components for variants in booster shots, like live-strain vaccines - or not?"


Now THAT is truly the billion-dollar question - one that Pfizer needs to answer, if they can yet -  and I'm not sure they can yet? 


Having said that, if they approve the third shot, emergency status or not, if it's still free,  I'll probably get it.

Why?

Because it at least it offers that 30-day immunity boost, and we suffered no ill effects (other than increased bleeding for me, one month, and exercise stamina reduction for a week or so), and we've clearly benefitted, considering Kentucky ranks right up there in cases and Trumpers lacking in common sense with viruses and we've not contracted it, plus we traveled to the same type of territory in North Carolina - twice - also wearing masks indoors, of course.

However, I'd really like to know that answer to that last question, as soon as they can, too ;)






Wednesday, September 15, 2021

In the Republican-Forced California Governor Recall Election, Newsom Defeats A Monster Trump Variant - In a Landslide

 


Despite Newsom losing much popularity, after implementing very strict COVID restrictions (which I mostly do approve of), as well as some very odd decisions when it came to the order of vaccinations, i.e., the homeless were eligible before teachers (which I don't approve of) - Newsome still easily defeated the monster Trump variant in a landslide recall election  brought about by Republican naysayers.

I think that in the end, it came down to people asking themselves:


"Do you want someone that over-protects you from COVID or under-protects you from COVID?"


In that case, for most intelligent, sane and/or non-treated addicted/dependency-issued people, it's an easy choice (because we know, and have seen, that many people cannot or will not properly respect social distancing and PPE on their own).


And by "non-treated addiction/dependency issues" I mean I have a new theory -  which, to be fair, is based solely on my personal experience and observation only.


My unproven new theory to explain Trump's popularity is that a large portion of his supporters are people with untreated addiction/dependency issues - whether their addiction is alcohol, pills, street drugs, sex, relationship, or even religious addiction.

(Even if you've never touched a drop of alcohol or drugs, you can still have the disease of alcoholism/addiction, mind you).

In other words, people with either untreated or partially treated addictive/dependent personalities, who tend to feel they need something or someone external to cope, to guide them, even "save" them, and often cannot see people or situations clearly and exercise poor judgment. 


That is NOT a diss of people with addictive/dependency issues, you can't help it - it's likely a combination of genetics and dysfunctional-mindset upbringing - but what you can help is admitting you have a problem and getting treatment for it.

Also, don't expect a quick fix, it takes years -  especially if you have "saturated" brain from using -  but even if you've never touched a drop of alcohol or used drugs, the dysfunctional behavior is ingrained in you and you need to find or develop new brain pathways to cope.

In fact, though I rarely drink and have never used drugs, I, myself, come from a family with dependency issues, but have received (and am still receiving) treatment - it's amazing the clarity that comes from treatment/therapy, being able to see more clearly the people and situations around you :)






Monday, September 13, 2021

A Work in Progress - Making My Own Fall Wreath ...



Almost there :)





I broke up many of the picks and reeds to place around it.  

Not sure, there maybe too many leaves - I almost feel like there's too much going on?  

Maybe not, though, I tend to always feel like that, and if I take stuff off, then there's not enough and holes lol. As people who know me know, I always make my Christmas wreaths, but this is my first attempt at making my own fall wreath :) 







Sunday, September 12, 2021

So ... What Exactly is This Mess, You May Ask?

 



Well, it's the raw materials for the fall wreath I'm making :)

I'm still deciding what I want to go where, so check back in a week or so to see if it's still a mess, after I make it, when finished ;)

Plus I'm not quite ready to actually decorate the house for fall yet, but we're almost there :)







Saturday, September 11, 2021

Where I Was When 9/11 Happened, and After ...

 

(*edited) 

With the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and the events in Afghanistan, I wrote a post recently on my unfortunate indirectly personal connection to Middle-East terrorism - and I'll let you find it on your own rather than linking to it, because of the deeply personal nature of it ;)


So where was I, on September 11, 2001?


I was sitting in the waiting room of the later therapist, I mentioned, who at the time, worked for a local clinic.  The Today show was on, and they broke in with footage of the first plane.   At that point, we weren't sure if it was an accident or intentional, but suspected terrorism.

When I went into session, we discussed it, both scared out of our wits - but she also had this remarkable calming effect - not that everything was going to be okay, but that whatever it was, we would handle it.  

At this point,  I hadn't told her about my experience with a family member in South Florida yet, that would be a few weeks later - and my first thoughts were how I was going to handle explaining this to my daughter, anyway, so we spent the next 50 minutes talking about that. 


They suspected if it was terrorism, there may be be more, but it wasn't confirmed yet, and we had no idea who was responsible.

One thing we both agreed on - if it was terrorism, this event was going to change America irrevocably - and we were right.


After the session, everyone was gathered around the TV, the second plane had hit, and we learned it was definitely terrorism.


So after the second plane confirmed it as terrorism, the first call I made was call the schools, to see what they were going to do and asked them not to tell the children what happened, let us as parents do that, please.  

They said they were releasing the children in an hour and sending them home and would not explain why - they were letting the parents do that. 


The second call I made was to my older sister, whose husband, a project manager of construction, was working on renovating O'Hare Airport in Chicago, literally working in a jet hangar.


Me:  "K, have you seen the news?"

 

K:   "No, I've been working, I've got a deadline.  What's the problem?" 

 

Me:  "Okay, apparently now it's two commercial jets that have crashed into the World Trade Center.  The buildings are on fire and are expected to collapse.  They suspect there are more, headed towards other locations, and they don't know which airports these planes are coming from.  Would you please contact M and ask him to come home from O'Hare for the day?  Just for the day." 

 

K:  "Jesus, stop being so melodramatic! IF that even happened, which it likely didn't, it's probably an isolated event and won't affect us.  In fact, IF that even happened, it was probably an accident, air-traffic-controller error or something. My GOD, you're so fucking selfish!  You get me so upset!" 

 

Me:  "Oh -  so it's about YOU and whether or not YOU are upset?" 

"That's funny - I thought it wasn't about you OR me, but about possible terrorism  - and the fact that your husband is currently working at Chicago's O' Hare Airport, one of the largest international airports in the country - literally renovating a jet hangar." 

 

"But yeah, you're right, ya caught me - I personally did this, with all of that power that I have, I personally orchestrated crashing planes into the WTC -  for the sole purpose of upsetting YOU." 

"And it's not like the whole reason I'm calling you is not for myself, but because I'm worried about M or anything, right?  But I'M being selfish, when all you're worried about is whether or not YOU are upset?" 

 

"K, seriously, this isn't about you OR me - just turn on the TV - I'm just worried about M working at a hangar in O'Hare, because we don't know if there are more and which airports they're all coming from.  Please just turn on the TV so you can see, I'm not making this up!" 

 "If I'm being dramatic, then so is the rest of the world, they've even grounded planes and shut down airports in Canada, even some in Europe, because they don't know  the details on the planes yet!"  

"But fine - call me whatever you need to - just promise me you'll get him away from that airport, just for today, okay? Just so we can be sure he's safe." 

 

K:    "Whatever.  But you didn't have to call me and upset me about it."  

 

(Click.)


???? 


Yeah, that's K, especially with me, hating me since the day I was born.

Why?

Because she says as an only child until I was born, I "took all the attention away from her."

Yeah - sorry I was born and was a newborn baby that needed to be fed and changed ???

Also, hate to tell her this, but our parents were so wrapped up in themselves that no one got proper and appropriate attention lol.

Lastly, she has not the slightest idea of who I am and never has,  because she can't see me clearly, blinded by her own issues, often projecting them onto me - including being the biggest drama queen I've ever known, always starring her as the innocent victim (well, it's a tie between her and my mom.)

(As an aside, my younger sister can be, like I can be, but really not like those two - with us, it takes certain specific triggers.)


ANYWAY - point being, I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone that most people reacted "dramatically" to 9/11, considering that all planes were later grounded that day  and airports were shut down (and for several days after), several thousand people died, and we're still talking about it 20 years later!


My third call was to my fiance, at the time, my first husband (not Mark).  

We decided that when his son got home, he would bring him there, with my daughter, sit them down on the couch with us, with them in our laps and our arms around them, explaining what happened.

By that time, a plane had hit the pentagon, and we also learned there was another plane yet unaccounted for.


For some reason, I remember saying, "Somebody fought back.  That plane isn't going to hit its target."

My fiance said, "How do you know?"

I said, "I don't know that, for a fact, I'm just hoping.  Just because it hasn't hit its target yet, like the others, and they have no idea where it is or why, only that it hasn't hit anything.  That's just what I'm hoping, is they figured out what was going on somehow and fought back? If so, those people are heroes, my God, the bravery, knowing they were likely going to die either way."


Of course, that ended up being United Flight 93, and we know now that Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, and Tom Burnett told dispatch operators they had a plan to rush the hijackers in the cockpit, using a food cart. 


Then Todd Beamer told the dispatcher, Lisa Jefferson, that one of the hijacker had a bomb vest on.

Then he led everyone in the Lord's Prayer and Psalm 23, then his last words to dispatcher, Lisa Jefferson, were "Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll."

The next sounds recorded were the sound of the food cart ramming the cockpit, several sounds of fighting and yelling, with one hijacker yelling in Arabic in pain, the sound of crashing glass, suggesting they were able to breach the cockpit, and then several utterances between the Arabic pilot and Americans, suggesting they were struggling for control of the yoke, ending with "Pull it up! Pull it up!"

But it was too late, they were already in a dive, landing in an empty field in Stoneyfield, Pennsylvania.

The plane was believed to be headed for the White House.


In fact, out of everything that happened, the one thing that can still make me tear up is what happened on United Flight 93 :(


Later, this would be the story we focused on, when telling our kids about 9/11 - but first, it was how to tell them what we knew thus far.

At the time, my daughter was 7 and my former stepson was 6.

So the first thing we did was hug them like there was no tomorrow when we saw them, smile and smother them with love, and then sit them down on our laps.

My fiance (again, not Mark) had already said, "You talk.  I'm too shook up. Plus I'm fucking pissed, at whoever did this, and I don't think I can hide it, and we're trying to keep them calm."


So we said a prayer first for wisdom and the right words to say, before they came home, and then I said:


"Okay, everybody comfortable? Okay. So you're going to see some things all over the TV, because every channel is showing it, even kids channels have interrupted their regular programming - some very scary things. I wish I could tell you they weren't real, like a movie, but this one is real - BUT - I want you to understand that although it looks like a movie, it's not a movie, it's real. A lot of people in New York City and Washington D.C. have been hurt and killed - BUT - I also want you to also know that you're safe - the schools sent you home - you're safe with us."


"Here's what happened so far. Some planes crashed into the World Trade Center and they're on fire and collapsing. Those are some very tall skyscrapers in New York City, with thousands of people in them. A plane also crashed into the pentagon, which is where all our military leaders work and military decisions are made. There's also another plane that they just found in a field, which they think was headed towards the White House, where the President lives."

"You're going to see a lot of this all over the TV and at school, people will be talking about it, so let's talk about it as a family now, and then we'll turn the TV on, for a limited time - we're going to put a time limit on it, and watch WITH you - in case you have any questions. Just know that whatever you see, you're safe, you're home, you're okay, and we're here if you need us, okay? "

"I also want you to know, however you're feeling is okay - scared, mad, sad - it's all normal and okay - you have every right to those feelings."

"So let's talk about those feelings, it's important to talk about them with us and each other. Just use your words rather than show us, okay?"

 

Then I explained what happened and asked if they had any questions, telling them there is much we still don't know.

Their questions were:


Kids:  "Who did this?  Why?" 

 

Me:  "We don't know yet, just some very bad people.  There are more good people in the world than bad people, but there are some bad people, too, so it's important to be careful.  

"Now - having said that - you're going to hear a lot of people accusing lots of other people, and lots of people blaming things like the country they were from, even their skin color or maybe even their faith - but lots of people say a lot of things - we don't believe things just because people say so, in this family - we don't listen to gossip, we wait for facts and proof, okay? 
"But what I want you to know is, countries are big, they have a lot of people, and like I said, there are more good people than bad. Religions are big, they have a lot of people, and there are more good people than bad in them, too. Groups of people with dark skin are big, they have a lot of people, and there are more good people than bad in them, too." 
"Every group of people in the world has a lot of good people and a few bad ones - so we don't blame an entire group of people for what a few people choose to do - especially because of the country they're from or the color of their skin or who they pray to, okay?"

 

Kids:   "Okay.  How far away is New York and D.C.?  Are those bad people coming here?   

 

Me:  "We don't think so.  We're in Kentucky, there's nothing they'd really want, here, and no one they want to hurt as much as big buildings in big cities, especially our nation's government buildings, so you're pretty safe because we are hundreds of miles away" 
"But keep in mind, just because it didn't happen to us and WE'RE safe doesn't mean everyone was or that we shouldn't care about what happened and be respectful. Also, this happens a lot in other countries, it's just the first time it's happened  in multiple locations here in continental America in our lifetime, so remember how lucky we usually are, too."  
"Also, we have lots of soldiers, police, firemen, EMTs, doctors and nurses going up there to help.  So you may go to school with some of the kids of these people, who have a family member or friend that were in New York or Washington DC and the places they hit, or are one of the police, firefighters, EMT, or soldiers called in to help and they may get hurt and die, too, so we need to remember that - be kind to other people and be careful what you say, because their family or friends could be hurt or even die there, okay?"   
"Also remember these are some very brave soldiers, police, firefighters, EMT, doctors, and nurses doing everything they can to make sure we're safe now, getting control of it and help people heal, so thank your soldiers, police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors and nurses, okay?"


Kids: "So are YOU guys scared?" 

 

Me:  "I was scared, at first - but we're home safe, and the more information I get, I feel better - education is always the key to feeling better, the more you know.  Plus the good people are getting control." 

"Now I'm just sad - very, very sad for all of those people, for how much MORE scared THEY must be and for those that were hurt and died - but I'm also also very, very proud of all of the heroes working hard to take care of us.  See, you can feel lots of things at the same time and that's okay and normal, too." 

"J?" 

 

J (My Ex-Husband):  "Yeah, I was scared.  But now I'm just mad.  I don't know who I'm mad at, I'm just mad at the bad people who did this and want to do something about it."

 

Me:  "So see?  We may feel the same about it or differently  and that's okay, you're allowed.  You have the right to feel however you want to - let's just talk about it, not show us by slamming doors or yelling at each other." 

"It's more important than ever that we appreciate each other and focus on love, okay? Because that's what bad people want.  It's okay to be scared, but the bad people want us to STAY scared, all the time, and forget to appreciate and love each other - so it's more important than ever that we keep remembering to appreciate and love each other, and keep going, regardless of what happens, because if we don't, that's how the bad people really win."


 

Then we turned on the TV and the images were everywhere, holding them tight and waiting for questions, until their questions had subsided for the moment.

I don't talk about my daughter much, here, for security reasons after prior events online - and she  unfortunately doesn't remember a lot from when she was little - but she does remember that day and nearly verbatim what I said, confirming that I handled that one well, she felt very safe but also very empathetic to what happened.

Thanks be to God and a good therapist I ran it by first :)


Speaking of that therapist, she returned her now private practice to Lexington a few years ago, and I went to see her.   As I said, I was not only sitting in her office when 9/11 happened, but she was the first person I told the full story of what happened with that family member in South Florida.  She was also there when a lot of other things happened in my family and knew the truth (because my mother also attended the same clinic she used to be a therapist in - she wasn't her therapist, but she knew of her, and she also knew my daughter and supported how I mothered her versus my family, I consulted her every step of the way.)

Thus, she cried with me, for everything that had happened since, horrified to what had happened since and who was in control now, verifying for me, in my self-doubt, that the family was extremely dysfunctional and toxic, I was the scapegoat, and they had resisted the healthy techniques I had begun to employ in my own life and was teaching my daughter, as well as beginning to stand up to them in more healthy ways.


Since she returned her private practice to Lexington, I began seeing her again full-time, and she has this amazing calming effect on me, I can't explain it.  

I guess because this is a person whom I've known for 22 years, who knows everything there is to know about me and gets me.

She's extremely intelligent, an intellectual, but also a Christian - a liberal/Democrat Christian, like me.  She has this balance of science and spirituality that just - works - and she knows I was telling the truth, the entire time, about everything  :)

In fact, though I've had therapists since her, I can't explain it but - I'm just doing the best I've ever done in my life returning to her, when she returned back in town.

Of course, it helps that I've had a lot of time to heal, completely removed from my family, and a wonderful, supportive loving husband, and a few good friends, but she gets me.  That is not to say we always agree or that she doesn't ever confront me, but she has the gentlest way of doing it, mostly in the form of, "Okay, let's talk about that.  I understand why you want to confront this, but let's talk about the backlash, and the toll it will mostly take on you, if you do" - like a role-playing thing in advance, in a way. 

Mostly, I just felt like I got it all out - I felt safe enough to re-experience the pain, the grief, the anger, the shame, without judgment or misinterpretation, in a safe place.


It's interesting thinking about 9/11 today and being in her office - because at the moment, she's away with her daughter, after the girth of her very first grandchild last week :)

That's life, isn't it?  That we remember these things, but that also life goes on regardless ...







Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Speaking of Some Children at Home, Manny the Manatee's Message ;)

 

The other day, I wrote about not knowing what I would do, if I still had a daycare-age or school-age child, right now, with COVID and bus routes and daycares and childcare canceled.  

Luckily, there are people like my friend, who is a grandmother to 7 children, and has become the childcare during COVID.

She sent me a video today, of three of them, saying hello to me, and showing me their stuffed buddies, whilst (not-so-quietly) reading their books lol - it made my day! 

(I won't share it due to privacy, of course, but believe me when I say they are precious, precious, precious!)

But what I can share is the message from MY stuffed pal, Manny the Manatee, giving kisses and praises for reading books, in hopes of giving encouragement and a smile back :)





She said they were thrilled - aw, so glad, those boys are precious!


Well, it's good to know I can still pull out and dust off all those crazy voices, I once did, to entertain my daughter lol.

Let's see, there was "Lion Friend" and "Mr. Elefante" (who was actually a dog toy but became part of the gang) and "Floppy" the bunny, but her favorite, believe it or not, was when times were tight or rough, I used to put a sock on the end of my hand, whom we called "Monsieur Ticklebug," who appeared when she refused to go to sleep.  He rarely spoke, but when he did, he had a French accent, and used to give her kisses and tickled her until she finally agreed to go to sleep :) 








Awesome New Fayette County Public Schools COVID-19 Dashboard (Which Unfortunately Also Includes a Letter to the KGA Co-authored by Uncle Cracker ;)



There is an awesome new dashboard, upon which staff, parents, and students can follow the weekly COVID count, which includes a breakdown of each school and staff building - the link is  at https://apps3.fcps.net/covid-dash/v4/dashboard.asp.

Here's a screen shot from this morning... 





Thank you, great job, Dr. Liggins, to keep everyone on the same page and informed!


Also great job to the FCPS Data Team!

(Which Mark is on, but not the COVID count) 



Also, here is the newsletter on COVID-19 from Superintendent Liggins that is sent to staff, parents, and students, which gives an additional vaccination report.

 





Note that only 27% of children 12-17 are vaccinated.

Note also that unvaccinated individuals account for  70% of all the new COVID cases, 80% of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and 90% of all COVID-19 patients in the ICU. 


I'm not sure it could be much clearer than that - it proves the vaccination is working, largely to prevent more severe symptoms and hospitalizations.



HOWEVER - we also took note that the Kentucky General Assembly convenes today to discuss COVID-19 matters - and that Fayette and Jefferson Counties, and their school-board chairs, have written a letter to Governor Beshear, requesting "safe" continued in-person learning. 


Okay, I like keeping us informed with counts - but good luck with that, considering only 27% of students age 12-17 are vaccinated in Fayette County.


Sigh.  


Oh, and great, Tyler Murphy is on that case, coauthoring the letter to the KGA, I feel so much better and safer now.  


(Yes, that was sarcasm.)  


He's the School Board Chair I've mentioned that claims to be a Democrat, but we don't claim back, because he acts like a Trumper, including throwing public fits when he doesn't get his way, making crazy false accusations/backs conspiracies, and literally goes after people's jobs when they don't cave to his demands. 


In total, Tyler has vindictively targeted the jobs of 4 people - including his fellow board member - anyone who didn't cave in to his tantrums - two white and two black - and with the other person of color,  he told the interim superintendent that she needed to advise this person to:  "be nicer to white people."


???


If you all knew who this person was, you'd laugh - because every time he saw my white husband, he'd give him a giant bear hug - long before (during and after) Tyler accused this person of reverse racism and had the interim superintendent "counsel" him.

Methinks Tyler just meant be nicer to him  - kiss his ass and give in to his temper tantrums - because the tension between them had nothing to do with Tyler's white skin color ;)


This from a supposed fellow Democrat, sitting on an all-white school board.


Regardless, the targeted person found work elsewhere and quit after being told that, because he recognized he was being targeted by Tyler for not giving into his demands, and making their disagreement about race when it wasn't.

And can I just say how hilarious hypocritical it is that his most recent accusation is of a fellow board of member's dishonesty, after he himself spearheaded a petition to have the former superintendent (Manny Caulk) removed for not returning the children to school sooner, then when Manny died unexpectedly from cancer, he acted like his best friend and actually held memorials for him?

Yeah - he's THAT kind of a guy - total weasel.



Many parents love Tyler, because he talks a good game in person and they don't know, unless they attended or saw the broadcasts of school-board meetings (particularly closed sessions) - which is unlikely - they didn't see him make crazy-paranoid accusations about transparency, throw fits and walk out of meetings, and they don't know how he has successfully gone after people's jobs when they don't cave to his demands (or just people he doesn't like), although the school board is supposed to have zero control over internal hires and fires. 


I also think that if the parents of color knew about the above-mentioned staff member being told to "be nicer to white people" (meaning himself), as well as falsely accusing any staff who stands up to him, he'd be a lot less popular.



In short, don't be fooled, fellow Dems, this time on our side - just like Trump, Tyler Murphy will say anything to get elected - he's your stereotypical power-hungry, populist, vindictive, questionably racist little weasel, regardless of what political hat he wears - and I don't mind saying so publicly.


That may sound harsh and as you know, I'm a big fan of kindness and giving people the benefit of the doubt (my husband would say I give too many chances).

I don't like being rude, mean or name calling - but even Jesus had his exceptions, calling Pharisees and publicans a "brood of vipers" lol.

My 3 exceptions are:


(1) Someone who has used up all of their chances/benefit of the doubt with me, and yet keeps pushing me into self-defense/defense of others I care about. 

(2) Bullies. 

(3) Similarly, an elected official  who abuses power.


In this case, I don't know this person personally, so at first I gave the benefit of the doubt and chalked it up to gossip - until I saw for myself, ON VIDEO and audio recordings, of the unnecessary drama and temper tantrums from Tyler creates, with crazy accusations without proof and tantrums  - so Tyler Murphy falls into both categories 2 and 3.



In fact, I'm not going address him by his name anymore - henceforth and hitherto, he shall only be addressed as "Uncle Cracker."


Not like the band with this name, but because he looks like a creepy uncle AND because he is the very definition of a "cracker."


For those who don't know the derivation of the term "cracker,"  it originated during slavery, and it means a white person of power who cracked the whip on their slaves to keep control, imagining themselves as "benevolent patriarchs" doing what's best for society :/







  


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Holiday Weekend, Then Back to Work/School - with 12 Bus-Route Cancellations for Fayette County Public Schools


Hope everyone had a great Labor Day :)

We didn't go anywhere, this time, except a new walking/hiking trail for us, and we also decided to unplug from the internet and news for the weekend :)

We did binge-watch "Clickbait" on Netflix, though, which was worth a watch. Being a retired aspiring screenwriter (lol), I'm pretty good with "whodunit" stuff and can usually tell you "whodunnit" after 15 minutes in - but this one stumped me. 





Well, the twists do almost reach the absurd, after a point, but it does reveal some interesting things about our own prejudices, much like "The Undoing" - only in the opposite direction.

It also shows us what's possible with social media, how quickly we snap-judge assumptions about a person's life and character, based on an online snapshot of them, as well as how easily influenced we are to believe or disbelieve something -  even a person's guilt or innocence -  by what we think we see and hear online, even though we know much online content is deceptive and sleight of hand may be involved - and also asks us as a culture if we really believe what we say about justice in our constitution or not, when it comes to judging what we think people deserve based only on what we think we saw? 

If you haven't seen it, stop reading now, SPOILER ALERT. 

Our culture tends to think where there's smoke, there's fire, and sometimes that's true - but it can be a different story, someone else can create the fire and smoke - especially online.

Sometimes the motivation is jealousy, rejection, or retaliation for some wrong the perpetrator felt was done, either real or imagined, etc. - but law enforcement is discovering more and more these things are often done randomly, out of nothing more than the perpetrator's own boredom, sometimes the perpetrator just wanting attention or to feel powerful, not knowing the victim at all. 

(Thus, it doesn't feel like a real crime to the perpetrators, because people tend to objectify people online anyway, especially perpetrators with the "boredom" and "wanting to feel powerful" motivation). 

In fact, though this is not a true story, the examples they stumbled upon while investigating were in fact taken from real cases across the U.S. and the problem with online legalities, to include "freedom of speech" arguments, as well as extradition issues if the online crime was done in another state or country.

It's worth a watch, and though it's worst-case scenario-almost-to-the-point-of-absurd, considering the fact that much of the content was taken from real law-enforcement cases that had at least been initiated online, it's worth a watch, if for nothing more than to show you what's possible online and how unsafe and un-legally protected we really are.

Just because you haven't been a victim of a cybercrime in some form yet - from random hacked email or social media account to identity theft with banking or otherwise, even up to stalking/harassment -
it does NOT mean you're either more or less attractive than others, a nicer and/or better person than others, smarter than others, or saner than others - it in no way means that you're either more or less "deserving" of being a victim of cybercrime than anyone else - it means you're lucky - period.


(And if you think otherwise, check your victim-blaming attitude and have a chat with your local law enforcement about the reality of crimes -  especially cybercrimes.)


Also worth a watch to show you that mob rule doesn't make the mob right, when it comes to a person's guilt or innocence, especially when it comes to what we think we see online, and again, makes us question ourselves, as a culture, as far as what we say we believe isn as justice in our constitution versus how behave when it comes to justice, especially online?


Anyway, it's back to work today, and here was a rude awakener ...






At present, we have 12 morning bus routes to Fayette County Public Schools Canceled. This is due to lack of bus drivers for two reasons - COVID and children acting out/fighting on the bus.

At last count, we had 324 people with confirmed COVID, with 70 of those being children - three people with breakthrough infections in my husband's department :/.

Yes, breakthroughs for the vaccinated are mostly milder, but still - with my husband's stroke in 2017, I worry.)

The new superintendent, Dr. Liggins, is from Texas, and is used to a district that demanded schools reopen early, during the original lockdown, and is trying to keep them open here due to similar demand.

Here, however, it's not just Trumpers that created the backlash previously (although we had those, too, standing outside the new Central Office, ranting about having to wear masks, and some recently carrying rifles and guns).

Also the backlash also came from poorer parents, who had no childcare and could not afford to pay for child care or be home to home school their children due to work.

(I don't think people realize the rules are stricter for people with menial jobs - no, you don't get to leave work to drive your kids to and from school or soccer practice and your 15-minute and 30-minute breaks are clocked in and clocked out, if you even really get them.)

Honestly, if I still had a school-age child, and wasn't working from home, I don't know what I would do, so I feel for those upset parents :/

However, what I'm 100% certain I would NOT do is  - instead of going to work -  stand outside the new Central Office to protest mask mandates, all day, with my children, carrying a rifle or gun (this picture was taken before the gun-toters showed up).






Because first of all, I'm a mask believer (at least offering some protection) and secondly, the only person there I understand being there at all is a disabled person, for whom wearing masks/getting assistance with masks is difficult (but then again, the solution to that problem is not NOT wearing a mask at all, but getting assistance with it or virtual learning for now).

Everyone else has no excuse for missing work and involving their children in a selfish protest. 

Honestly, are that bored or over-privileged, that wear a piece of cloth over their nose and mouth to protect them/ their children from a contagious virus is worst thing to ever happen to them or their community?

Again, ask yourselves - "What's the worst that can happen if I wear a mask?" 

And then "What's the worst that can happen if I don't wear a mask?"

True, there is a chance you could still get COVID either way, but at least a mask offers some barrier for protection?







Wednesday, September 1, 2021

OMG! JoBeth Williams is on Josh Gates Tonight (Talking About Those Scenes That I Literally Posted About 2 Days Ago!)

 

I literally just wrote a post,  two days ago, about what JoBeth Williams had to endure in the filming of Poltergeist (in the Val Kilmer post, about what a bad idea it is, to ever argue with directors/filmmakers - you do what they tell you, period - using JoBeth as an example) - and she's on the brand-new episode of Josh Gates Tonight (S4: Episode 22) called "I Am (Urban) Legend" talking about it - and she just confirmed again that they were real skeletons!!!


(However, she says she didn't find out until years later they were real - I thought she didn't know until after the first few takes.)

I'll post a clip of it when available.

Interestingly - keep in mind the 40-year-old rumor I mentioned in that post - about Steven Spielberg having an unhealthy obsession-bordering-on-stalking of JoBeth, and these scenes being retaliation for rejecting him, as she had just married John Pasquin, whom she's still married to -  as you read the way this interview went ... 


Josh asks her, straight up, if Tobe Hooper directed Poltergeist or Steven Spielberg, because there's been a lot of controversy over that (to say the least). 

She said Steven was the producer, but he was there, every day, it was really his film.


Josh mentions that Tobe - who directed "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" - had always been known for using fake blood and skeletons -  but used real ones, this time?

JoBeth pauses and says, "Yeah, apparently they were cheaper lol"


Real human skeletons from India were cheaper than plastic-mold casts? 

Allllrighty.


Josh then asks her what he (Steven Spielberg) was like.

She says, without missing a beat: "Like a 13-year-old kid with his favorite toys."

Mm-hm.


Josh asks her about the bedroom scene.

(AKA the overly-aggressive near-spiritual rape scene, that I mentioned in that post - that went on way too long, was oddly out of place with the rest of the film, included inappropriate cheap, crass, through-the-legs panties shots, and inappropriately attempted to make rape sexy, rather than what rape actually is, just another method of power abuse.)

Josh didn't say any of that last paragraph, he just asked her about it, clearly being careful, and seeming slightly uncomfortable.  He awkwardly throws it out there and kind of just waits to see what she'll say about it now.


Interestingly, she tells another story I hadn't heard - which is that she did about 75 takes of that bedroom scene,  in a rolling room (to make it look like she was on the wall and the ceiling) -  and by the time she was done, her legs and arms were bruised and bleeding. 

She said, "Steven, I'm bleeding ..." 

... to which Steven Spielberg replied, "Don't worry about it, we can clean that up, no one will see it."


???


Then Josh asks her if she was okay with all of this?

She says, "As long as I'm still getting residuals, yes, lol" 


Brilliant answers, what class act, love her - she laughs it off as if she's teasing Steven as a friend, putting a positive, funny spin on it -  but there is an undeniable slight edge to it, too.


HOWEVER ... hmm ... not sure that helped dispel those rumors or actually lends more credence to them. 

Like I said, JoBeth will never tell, if she ever wants to work again, and she is still working -  but she does seem to drop us hints, doesn't she? 

(And she's still married to John, almost 40 years, mind you.)