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wnylib's Journal
wnylib's Journal
December 28, 2020

Positive covid case in my senior living complex.

I live in a senior housing complex, a multi-storied building. Next door is another multi-storied building of seniors and the complex management office is in that building.

Today the management office informed all of us that there is a positive covid case in their building. Last week I saw several of them returning from a senior shopping outing in a van, part of the services provided by management for seniors who don't drive or have a car any more, or who need assistance getting around. I was in that building to pick up a package that I had ordered online. Since my mailbox is too small for packages, UPS and USPS deliver them to the management office.

The group crowded together at the two small elevators and got onto them in groups. I went home and decided to go back the next day for my package, double-masked and wearing gloves. Now I am so glad that I did. If any one of those shoppers was the positive case, the rest will be sick soon.

I knew this would happen sooner or later. I have dreaded this moment. There are signs in the lobby and in the halls and common laundry rooms on each floor reminding people to wear masks outside of their apartments. Only about 25% actually do.

To get my mail in the lobby, I need to walk the length of my hall, touch elevator buttons twice, and open two different doors, then repeat the same thing going back. Add a third door when I go outside.

I am worried that this will spread quickly through both buildings. I feel trapped for my own safety.

December 27, 2020

2020 is dying. What epitaph would you give it?

With its passing, perhaps now it is us who can rest in peace.

December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas to all!

Have a good one wherever you are and whomever you are with.

December 22, 2020

Erie County Executive Poloncarz shuts down covid briefing over press obsession with Bills playoffs

Yesterday Mark Poloncarz gave a press briefing on the status of Erie County's covid 19 cases which have made the county and surrounding areas into an orange zone.

After noting that the rise in cases and deaths has levelled a bit since the orange zone restrictions, Poloncarz expressed concern about new spikes likely after Christmas. He talked about vaccination plans, and then opened the briefing to media questions.

One reporter asked about public access to Bills home games in the playoffs. Poloncarz said spectators would not be allowed. Then one question after another focussed on how spectators might be allowed in, e.g. after testing, or if a limted number of tested people might be allowed, etc.

Poloncarz was noticeably annoyed and said that tests are being used for monitoring a serious crisis and he would not waste them on getting people into games that they could safely watch from home .

When still another Bills question came up, Poloncarz told reporters to "get some priorities." He said people are dying and we're struggling to contain infections and all the media can talk about is risking the players' and potential spectators' health and lives by opening up for the public."

He repeated that they needed to get some perspective and priorities. In the usual media manner, reporters tried to call out over each other their questions about the Bills games and Poloncarz said, "That's it. We're done. People are dying and all you can ask about is sports. Anybody with questions unrelated to the Bills can contact our office."

He left. Update over.

I share his disgust and applaud him for his handling of it.

December 13, 2020

Christmas history and traditions

There are many stories about the origins of the Christmas holiday and celebrations. I know some of them, but I am sure that others can add more.

Christians celebrate it as the birthday of Jesus, but nobody knows the actual date of his birth. December 25th was chosen to replace Roman celebrations of the god, Mithra, whom Romans had adopted from Persian Zoroastrians. Worth noting when fundies complain about Christmas being coopted by others.

Martin Luther started the custom of decorating trees for Christmas. In Pagan times, Germanic tribes considered evergreens as symbols of life because they remained green throught the year. They brought boughs indoors on the short days of winter. Luther decided to decorate trees and boughs with Christian symbols and candles to represent Christianity instead of Paganism. Queen Victoria's family was of German origin. When she decorated a royal tree for Christmas, the custom caught on and spread.

In Mexico, there was a goddess that the Native people celebrated for 9 days around the time of Christmas. When Spanish priests realized that converted Native people continued to enjoy their traditional long celebration period, they introduced the idea of a 9 day Christmas, with people reenacting the search of Mary and Joseph for a place to stay. This was the origin of the Mexican Posada, in which people spend 8 evenings going around seeking a place, only to be turned down and sent away. On the 9th evening, they are welcomed inside with the Posada song to enjoy a festive Christmas party.

The American Santa Claus goes back to Dutch settlers in colonial times who celebrated St. Nicholas Day on December 6. In Dutch his name was Sinter Klaas. The British settlers merged the name with their tradition of Father Christmas to become an Anglicized Santa Claus.

The early Puritans (Congregationalists) in New England banned celebrations of Christmas because they were mixed with old pagan customs in Britain and were often rowdy drinking occasions. Even saying a quiet, "Happy Christmas" to someone in the Puritan colonies was punished. But, today, the few conservative congregationalists that remain in the US are among the people who complain about a war on Christmas.

Mistletoe and Yule logs are old, Pagan customs carried over to Christmas. Mistletoe is English, considered sacred by druids. Not sure where the kissing custom came from. The Yule log custom was brought to England by Danish invaders, I think. Maybe someone knows more about that

Many people today celebrate Christmas as a time for gifts, parties, and lighting up homes and neighborhoods against the short days of winter, without any religious association.

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