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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,889

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A classic updated for 2021

"No one is an island entire of itself; every one
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod is washed away by the sea, the whole
is the less, just as if a promontory were, just as if
any homeplace of your friends or of your
own were; any one's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in humankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for you."

I don't want them to die.

Not even the MAGAts.

Not even the mean stupid selfish fearful people who have put us all at risk for their stubborn insistence on lies and folly.

The price of stupidity should not be death, but unfortunately it sometimes is.

When dealing with a deadly pandemic, that goes from "it sometimes is" to "it often is."

I don't even want the cynical criminals who benefit from sowing chaos and dissent and misinformation to die.

Although I do want them to be held accountable for the harm they are doing.

They're not at much risk, of course.

They did get vaccinated, before they started spouting lies to the fearful and credulous about vaccination.

Most of them have the resources to stay safe, while those they've deceived are dying in hospital corridors.

I want them held accountable.

Not dead.

Their dupes may never realize the price of that smug sense of "we're right you're wrong", even on their deathbeds.

And I don't want them to die, either.

I don't want the white supremacists to die. Or the homophobes. Or the misogynists.

Or the xenophobic fools terrified of hordes at the borders.

No, I don't want even them to die.

I want them to live. And maybe someday learn.

And if they can't learn, to at least get to the place where they are pretending not to be hateful assholes again.

Because hateful assholery is once again out of style. Frowned upon, in fact.

Live, my fellow humans. Get the vaccine.

The tolling of the bell is becoming too frequent.

And ever more painful by the lack of necessity.

You CAN live.

Those who died last summer didn't have the same choice.

But you can choose.

Sign out of the Facebook Group. Turn off the television.

Call your doctor, call your health department.

Get the vaccine, and live.

You can hate me again later.

It works better when you're alive to do it.

I promise.


I Want My Mom...

She is in the Twin Cities.

I am in New Mexico.

She is 91 and in good physical health but has a mild dementia and increasing loss of short-term memory.

The past 18 months have been a terrible ordeal for her as she's had to move three times.

The first move took her from her familiar home. She didn't want to leave, but she was very much at risk there.

Within weeks of the move to her first independent living apartment in a senior community it was locked down.

She was in a strange place, isolated and lonely.

My sister who lives in the Twin Cities got certified as a home care aide and did her best.

But Mom became increasingly depressed, disoriented, angry and despairing.

The facility wasn't great. Last fall we got her moved to a facility that seemed like it would be an improvement.

It was, but not much.

Mom was still lonely, isolated, increasingly bored as her resources for using a modern television evaporated and her ability to track more complex reading matter was impaired, and she could not go to her AA meetings.

We did our best, buying "Grandpad" video tablets, communicating several times a day, sending fruit, little gifts, reminding her she's loved, not forgotten.

The depression, anxiety, etc., returned and started building up again.

Finally, this Spring - some hope! An assisted living apartment opened up at a community Mom really liked.

And it looked like Covid was about to be licked. We were all vaccinated.

We moved her to the new community in June. She likes it very much.

She can attend community meals, events, exercise classes, etc., because the facility is not locked down.

Mom started doing better.

The esposo and I began discussing plans to drive to the Twin Cities over the summer for a nice long visit, as soon as the Covid new case rate dropped sufficiently along our travel route and in Minnesota.

I really want to see Mom, while she still knows me, while she's enjoying life, while we can do some fun things together, maybe go to the Arboretum or walk around Lake Nokomis.

I don't want her to be locked down again - it takes a terrible toll on her.





I miss my Mom...

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever see her in person again, when she can still smile and light up and know who I am and give me a big hug.


SF Chorus pushes ALL the wackjob buttons with hilarious video... and are getting death threats now.

As a capstone of their Pride celebration, SF Gay Men's Chorus posted a video of their funny/sad/hopeful/loving and very popular number "A Message From the Gay Community". It's about how younger generations are learning not to hate and fear, and features delicious lyrics like "even grandma likes Rupaul / And the world's getting kinder / Gen Z's gayer than Grindr" and lovely, hopeful ones like "Your children will care about / Fairness and justice for others / Your children will work to convert / All their sisters and brothers".

It's beautifully produced. And it ignited the predictable firestorm on hatewing media with the lyrics "we're coming for your children" and "we'll convert your children". But the firestorm quickly escalated to thermonuclear levels as the Qdiots and the KillerJeebus loonies got into the act, painting the song as an open declaration of pedophilic intent. Within 36 hours chorus members were subjected to death threats, doxxing, having employers contacted with accusations that they are sex offenders and pedophiles, etc.

The chorus responded by making the video private, but bootleg and altered versions accompanied by frothing violence-inciting commentary have proliferated all over social media.

SFGate may still have a working link to the original version of the song here:

Extremely Funny SF Gay Menís Chorus Video Unleashes Torrent of Right-Wing Threats, Vitriol

The Chorus is keeping people up to date on Twitter here:


The video, and the song, moved me to tears as well as laughter. Pretty powerful stuff. So, maybe not surprising that it has terrified the hatewing extremists into a frenzy.


We (homo sapiens) appear to be failing a major evolutionary test.

Keep in mind that in evolutionary terms everything happens very slowly over long periods of time - millennia. As a species, we have speeded up our own evolution to some extent as we have invented ever more complicated tools that have sharply accelerated many survival processes.

We don't "control" the conditions that facilitate evolution; they are too big, too complex, too slow for that. For millions of years, all we as a species could do was experiment with survival options, develop better tools, build cultures that increased our chances of passing on our DNA to new generations.

For all those millions of years, we worked with a balance of self-interest (sacrificing the survival of others to ensure my survival and that of my offspring) and altruism (sacrificing my own well-being or survival to ensure the strength of a community that could improve the survival chances of my offspring).

Over time, the tools and techniques of altruism- the development of cooperative hunting bands, the change from nomadic hunting/gathering to nomadic herding/opportunistic harvesting to sessile agriculture and husbandry, ultimately giving rise to cities and city-states, have paid the biggest dividends in the spread and survival of our species. The more we learned to work together, the more successfully we have evolved economies that support larger populations, the better tools we developed to respond to the impersonal unfocused threats of disease and natural disaster, the better we, as a species, have prospered.

Each advance has been tested, mostly by our own self-interest mechanisms: If one group gets too greedy and exploitive of others at the expense of their survival, that group ultimately is forced to change or die. Empires rise and fall. Power moves from autocracies to oligarchies. Monarchs enable an elite class to support their rule and then are forced to share power with that elite class, which enables a merchant class to support the broader distribution of wealth they require. In time the barriers between merchant and elite classes become more permeable.

Sometimes human groups that observed existential challenges closely, learned from them, experimented with changing their culture and developing new cultural survival mechanisms survived and learned the value of change. Sometimes human groups that clung stubbornly to what worked for their ancestors rode out the existential challenges and had their beliefs in the wisdom of the ancestors confirmed. On the species level the seemingly-random successes of these various strategies improved overall survival.

But over the course of history the balance has steadily shifted towards flexibility, willingness to change, and the embrace of altruism - these two strategies reinforce one another. We build a more complex world; we need a strong, diverse, curious community that values the survival of all to successfully develop and test new ways to meet existential challenges.

And as our species has ballooned in numbers and placed ever greater demands on the resources needed for survival, the frequency and intensity of the existential challenges we encounter has grown dramatically.

Plagues and natural disasters are SOCIAL tests above all - we cannot survive them by running from them. The wealthy few building their elaborate funk holes are whistling in the dark - if the species fails catastrophically, their DNA, too, will ultimately vanish.

We have all the resources of creativity, ingenuity, access to materials, etc., to survive the current crop of existential social tests. But we are failing them, because we are falling back on self-interest and fear-based conservatism to meet these challenges.

It is not too late to turn around.

But it might be, sooner than we think.

We had a good run, I guess.


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