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Consecutive Day Post 209: How Did I Come This Far and Will We Fail?

Feb and March

Somewhere along the line, someone challenged me to follow through with blog posting for 365 days. I’m decently certain it was one of those free webinars that said if we could commit to it, we would see our blogs become profitable. There may have been more to it than that, but I decided I would commit to one post a day for 365 days. I had come close before – somewhere in the 200 range, so I thought I would just need to buckle down and get ‘er done. So, here I am, on day 209, struggling for something to write about. There are a lot of reasons for this; most of them have to do with COVID-19. But let’s examine how I got through 208 days.

The First 170-ish Days

Basically, the first several weeks I was ready to go. I wrote one or two blog posts a day, and I scheduled them out. I knew I was going to be on vacation, and that gave me a great subject to write about. New Zealand was awesome and learning more about it made for easy blog topics. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to write while in New Zealand, so I made sure I had enough content to keep publishing even if I didn’t get Internet.

Afterwards, photos and more articles about New Zealand made it super easy to keep writing. I was reading New Zealand related books, including a money management book that made for several articles, and then things went wonky.

COVID-19 and Immigration

The coronavirus hit, and the U.S. downplayed its effects. People were saying it was just another flu. It wasn’t anything to worry about. I kept writing what I could about New Zealand, money management, penguins and the book I was writing: “Tales from an Alaskan Cabin,” which gave me a lot of days published because I was posting each chapter for my Penguinators at Patreon.

My wife and I went to Moscow to get her Green Card visa. That gave me more photos and things to write about. We did some touristy stuff, and we had Wi-Fi, so it was easy to keep up with. When we got back home, we had to wait for her passport. During the week between returning and her passport being delivered, the U.S. had shut down. We weren’t going to be able to get out.

Of course, COVID-19 provided some fodder for writing, especially after watching dumb people do dumb things. Seriously, in the U.S. in cases that have been resolved, a third of the outcomes have been death. It was 36% yesterday and 32% today. Those numbers might not stay that way, but even if everyone else gets well, the mortality rate of those who have tested positive for coronavirus is going to be about 6% for those in the system. Stay the F—k Home and protect your community.

This Evening

Anger and frustration can only take you so far in the writing world. Yeah, I know, Hollywood called Rod Serling “the Angry Young Man,” and he was responsible for an amazing number of great stories in “The Twilight Zone,” “The Night Gallery” and a couple of other TV movies. Still, there’s only so much bile, venom, and stupidity that one person can take. So, I found myself today talking to my mom, writing for money and not in the good way, and without ideas for how I am going to continue posting.

This problem has been coming for a couple of days now. My wife told me to write how I feel. That’s not what this blog is supposed to be about. I want to explore creativity, travel, and joy. Unfortunately, that all seems a little far off. The blog posts I have done with creative intent have fallen flat. Writing about New Zealand or money management seems to ring a little hollow. Why would I give you ideas about going places you can’t get to? Why would I write about money management as the stock market is cratering, and we have no idea what we will emerge to when this is all over?

The Crux of It All

And that’s really the crux of it. We don’t know how this is going to end. All we know is that it can’t go on the way it did before, and those that try are going to end up on the wrong end of another epidemic of illnesses. Even if you’re one of those people who believe this disease will ultimately only kill between .1 and .2% of those who get it, the reality is that it has killed more than 200,000 people worldwide and more than 55,000 people in the U.S. as of April 27. Each of those people was someone who had loved ones. It’s not just a number that you haven’t seen; it’s a person who could be you, your grandma, or your dad.

Change is the only constant, and this is going to require us to change everything. Or we face the consequences of repeating this history. The problem is we don’t have the leadership with the guts to initiate the needed changes. We have a lot of old people that want to go back to the way things were. Even though our supply chains have failed and just-in-time manufacturing practices have shown how they aren’t good for emergencies, with people showing their true colors and profiteering, much like pharma-bro did a couple of years back, and facing the selfishness of millions of scared, over-privileged people whose biggest rallying cry is “I Need a Haircut,” there’s the thought that will be able to reopen like none of this ever happened.

In the End

That’s not how this is going to work. If we ignore what we’ve gone through, we’ll just go through it again. Someone once told me that God (you’re welcome to substitute Karma, Deity, our own choices) keeps giving us the same lesson until we learn it. The time to learn the lesson is now. The time to implement the changes needed is now. We can’t wait for another pandemic or another disaster to teach us again lessons we should’ve learned before. We can either be the initiators of the changes for a better society and world, or we can react to whatever changes other people want to implement. Which would you prefer: To act or to be acted upon? Go out an make a change for the betterment of the world. Let’s let our selfish urges die, and they’ll take this disease and plenty of other problems with them.

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Coronavirus Delays Our Journey to the U.S.

Plane outside the TWA Hotel

In Sep. 2018, we applied for my wife’s green card to live in the U.S. We thought we would go about it the right way, so we sent in our money and waited. Then we waited some more. Then we waited some more. In between all the waiting, we spent time in the U.S. with her tourist visa. By Sep. 2019, we still hadn’t heard anything, and we decided to book a trip to New Zealand. It would be easier to get to than if we flew from the U.S.

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For the Love of Money or People: COVID-19

Money or people, what are your real values?

This whole thing comes down to your real values. You have a simple choice. Do you value money or life? And you can see by the reactions and the calls those who truly value life and those who value money. As an individual in a system that requires you to have money to have life, you have to make a decision. How much do you value your current level of living and how much are you willing to sacrifice to not have to put your life and the lives of your loved ones in danger?

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Figure out What You’re Fighting for and Why You’re Staying at Home to Successfully Defeat COVID-19

Wear a mask or better yet stay at home

When protesters go out, against the government orders to shelter-in-place, they are clear about what they are fighting for: the economy, their jobs, their freedom, or against government overreach. They don’t believe the threat to them is important or valid, and they’re willing to take their chances without realizing the threat they are exposing everyone else around them to. Unfortunately, their actions and protests make it more difficult for those of us who are staying inside and trying to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Where these a—hats have us beat is two-fold: they are united physically, and they have a clear goal. So, why are the rest of us staying home?

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The Selfishness of ‘I’d rather get coronavirus and die, than…’

I'd rather get coronavirus and die than stay at home?

Protesters gathered in Michigan with their weapons and their privilege to complain about the stay at home orders issued by the governor there. They waved the Confederate flag, gathered in groups brandishing their weapons, held signs saying they would not comply, and blocked ambulances from getting to the hospital. Live free or die! “I’d rather get coronavirus and die than… see a generational company be gone, let America die, let the economy die, GIVE UP MY FREEDOMS!” These selfish a—holes don’t understand what they are doing. If they would like to die, then they better do it quickly and decrease the surplus population. They don’t have to wait for coronavirus; they have guns. It’s the selfish way out, but it’s a lot better than their proposed solution because getting coronavirus isn’t about them dying specifically. It’s about them passing the virus on to someone else and that person dying, and then multiple people dying from one a—hole who decided he or she didn’t want to be inside.

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Open America Now, Emotionally not Economically

Self-isolation spreads the love

In 1918, the Spanish Flu killed 50 million people worldwide. Its second wave, probably spread by the movement of troops during the end of World War I was deadlier than its first incarnation. We’re facing the same type of problem if the Open American Now people have their way.

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America Needs You! To Stay at Home: Unpatriotic, Unprincipled Draft Dodging in the Age of COVID-19

America Needs You to Stay at home

Abraham Lincoln gave a blueprint for the death of the United States of America in a speech that included this excerpt:

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us with a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer: If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by suicide.

– Abraham Lincoln, Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838

Little did anyone suspect how literal his case would be. As coronavirus springs up amongst us, we are its authors and its finishers. As long as we continue to spread the virus, we will be responsible for our own destruction.

The United States is facing, what Surgeon General Jerome Adams is calling, this generation’s Pearl Harbor moment. We are at war with an unseen enemy, and we have all been drafted to fight against that enemy.

Still, draft dodgers abound as they claim bone spurs, bathing in the blood of Christ, and it just doesn’t seem to fit with my style, to help them gather together at church, in parks when the sun shines, and with friends and family they could just as well see over an app on their phone. These draft dodgers burn their hoarded toilet paper and cry, “We aren’t going to follow the recommendations of the experts!”

These unpatriotic individuals with false bravado wave the flag as if they were doing their duty and on the front line. While they are out partying or visiting their congregations, they are ignoring the directions of the generals put in charge to fight this war. Worse, they are putting the actual people on the front lines at risk.

No one is being asked to go and kill people on foreign soil. In fact, we are being asked to do the exact opposite. We are being asked to save lives. We can protect fellow Americans and to keep people from dying by doing one simple thing: stay at home. That’s all we have to do to win this war: stay at home. If you have to go out, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay six feet away from other people.

What are we fighting for? Our grandparents, our parents, and our children’s future. We are fighting for the very essence of America – its people and their safety. This fight is on our home turf, literally, and the more draft dodging nimrods there are, the worse its going to get, the longer the process of healing is going to take, and the more loved ones we are going to lose. Do your part. Stay at home.

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The Future after Quarantine

Old people are more valuable than politicians

All we have to do to get through this pandemic quickly is stay at home, work from home, and be nice to each other. If everyone did that, we’d be through this in a month or so because the virus wouldn’t be able to find new hosts to spread to. As easy as that sounds, staying at home is a lot harder than anyone ever thought. Props to the stay-at-home parents and sedentary retirees.

But what’s going to happen after we get through this? Is it going to be business as usual, and by usual, we’re looking at business as it was done before the environment was protected since the protections were rolled back while we weren’t paying attention? Are we just going to go back to the same habits and systems that got us to where we couldn’t protect ourselves from a virus in the first place? Where states and the federal government are fighting over medical stockpiles and which entity they belong to? Where the most vulnerable are still vulnerable, economically and medically? Maybe, but they don’t have to go back, and some things won’t be able to go back. We can choose a direction.

Making a Habit

It’s been said that it takes four weeks to make a habit. After four or more weeks of staying at home, people will have gotten used to the convenience of having things delivered. Ordering from the Internet for everything will become the new norm. It’s going to take a lot to get people to come out of their homes and get them into restaurants and other businesses, especially if there’s any lingering fear of the infection. People from the Great Depression era had a tough time throwing things out and severely rationed for much of their lives even when the economy was booming. The economy will no longer be driven by brick-and-mortar profits but by Internet profits, including website monetization, video commercials, and sales.

Even if the U.S. Postal Service stops working in June (as its budget projections show it may), Amazon (affiliate link) will have its fleet of contractors. UPS and Fed-Ex will likely be around. Your local restaurants and other businesses will probably have delivery in place. In some places, cab drivers will become more than just a mode of personal conveyance.

People will support the arts through page views, Patreon and other sites as they realize the value that arts have to everyday life. They will have read more books, binged more movies, and surfed the Internet looking for more ways to entertain their children at home. Entertainment springs from the arts, and a more aware citizenry may be willing to fund their favorite creators.

Human Nature

Human nature will likely trump habits at least for a time. Within the first couple of weeks after restrictions are lifted, people are going to go out more than ever. The deciding factors that will temper this urge to hit the restaurants and theaters are the actual amount of discretionary income everyone has, what the weather is like, and what kind of job advertisers have done to stoke the desires of those experiencing cabin fever.

The first few movie weekends, for those movie theaters that are still around, are going to be huge. As long as people have confidence that they won’t be getting ill for going out, they’ll likely show up in droves. Chances are that these movie-goers will still be wearing masks, which could put a damper on concession sales and movie theater profits. The same could be said of sporting events and concerts. The only question will be whether or not movie companies have figured out how to capitalize on Internet releases. Hollywood, i.e. Disney, may be willing to forgo releasing movies to the theaters if they can get more people to subscribe to Disney+ or to pay for premieres in their own home.

Restaurants will fill up as people look to get away from doing the dishes and worrying about what to make. Malls will see an increase in mall-goers, if not actual consumers, especially if the weather is bad. While city parks may have been widely used, their use will sky-rocket as everyone has already created the habit and can now congregate in larger groups.

Finances and Politics

Financial pressures are going to be problematic. People who have put off their bills for a month or two and find them coming due just because the situation has been declared safe may face a mountain of debt they can’t overcome. Paying one month of rent is hard enough. If they are required to pay two months at a time to cover back rent, the country will be looking at a lot of people becoming homeless. Bankruptcies will increase. Homes will get foreclosed. The problems most associated with financial issues, alcoholism, suicides, and domestic violence will also increase.

A president may see the best way to relieve these problems is to convert the economy by starting a war. This could come from the outside where other countries are seeing the U.S. response to the virus as weak and untenable. They may think that the U.S. won’t recover from the damage that this virus and other policies have done to the country, and in its weakened state, is ripe for an invasion.

Many are already comparing the U.S. to a third world country. It won’t take much to convince the president of a former world power and now third world country to go to war. War brought us out of the Great Depression, it could cure our economic problems again.

As Americans get back on the roads, commuting to their jobs or heading to take a break from their immediate area, gas prices will increase. This will further depress the economic growth of the country and create a target in the Middle East for a war to free their peoples (and liberate their oil in the process).

No End Game

There is a possibility that there is no other side. As people, states, and the federal government refuse to put into place the necessary restrictions to eliminate the virus, the infection rate will continue to grow until everyone has been exposed. Companies will have to figure out how to replace ill employees. Funeral parlors will be a booming business, and old people will continue to be at greatest risk for infection and death due to the infection.

At some point, we’ll have to figure out how to continue, what an acceptable mortality rate is, and who will pay for the treatment for those who are hospitalized due to coronavirus. We could figure out a new way to do things to minimize the possibility of death and disease, or we could throw up our hands, as some pundits and pseudo-news people already have, and say, “F… it! We failed. I never really liked my grandparents or parents anyway, and since they’ve retired, they’ve been nothing but a drag on the economy.” In doing so, we may sign our own death warrants as the virus mutates.

We Make the Choice

The point is, we get to choose what happens at the end of this, but only if we make conscious choices to change for the better. Now is the time to think about what you want for the future and to start putting it in motion. Going back to the way things were isn’t an option, just like it was never an option after Sept. 11. If you want things to get better, you can’t cross your fingers and hope for good luck. You need to be the initiator of that change, large or small, for you, your family, the country, and the world.

If you choose not to direct the change, you’ll have to deal with whatever someone else creates to fill the voids. If you know what you want the future to look like and have some starting steps to get there, leave your suggestions in the comments.

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Never Have so Many Been Asked to Do so Little to Save the People of the World

Wear a mask or better yet stay at home

Man, it’s a crazy time! I hope you’re doing everything you can to keep you, your family, your community, and the people of the world safer. It’s hard with some of the mixed messages coming from different news and not-news sources, but listen to the experts. Stay at home, get regular exercise, practice social distancing, buy only what you need for two weeks, and limit necessary trips to the bare minimum.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill: Never have so many been asked to do so little to save the people of the world. To be fair, it’s not so much a paraphrasing as a butchering, but it still works, especially since we’re being asked to do so little to save each other.

Stay at Home

All we have to do is: Stay home. How hard can that be? For years, stay-at-home moms got a bad rap for being at home all day with nothing to do but watch daytime soaps and feed themselves into oblivion. (Maybe now we have more respect for people who choose to stay at home over getting a job. Just like we should have more respect now for teachers.)

Think about it. Even with the difficulties associated with staying at home, many of us are getting exactly what we wished for: a chance to grow and be at home away from our jobs. That’s amazing! Stay at home, play video games all day, and eat cheese from a can (if you can find it). Read, binge watch something on Netflix or your other favorite streaming service, and start a new hobby if you have the supplies or can order them through Amazon (affiliate link). Stay away from any of the hobby stores that are open; they aren’t necessities and you shouldn’t be going to unnecessary places.

We can be heroes by staying at home. Who’s pulling out the old Atari with me and getting back their old high score on Donkey Kong?

People before Profits

Still, there’s a core section of the population that is finding it difficult to stay at home. They want to work, or they want others to go back to work, or they want you to go back to work, so they can prop up their portfolios and profits. These men, and some women, are a—holes. You should ignore them. They aren’t doctors. They don’t know anything about how the virus is going to progress. Most of them aren’t even economists. They are pundits or talk show hosts, who have somehow disguised themselves as journalists or they are business people, who have somehow found themselves in a position of authority for something they know nothing about. These talking heads are putting profits before people.

Worse, even though they claim to be pro-life, they are advocating killing off up to five percent of the population, most of those being old people and those with compromised immune systems. That doesn’t make them heroes even if they are willing to make that sacrifice. These same advocates of exposing people to a deadly disease make their proclamations from their isolated basements or the sanctuary of their knowledge that their money and position will get them a test and a result in 15 minutes while the average person has to show signs of the virus and wait much longer than 15 minutes to get any results. They continue to doubt the experts and suggest that people do things that will end up in their own deaths or the deaths of loved ones. The longer they encourage people to go outside and come in contact with others, the longer this pandemic will last.

Stay Home

As long as people keep partying with their friends, keep going to their non-essential jobs, keep leaving their homes for no real reason, America will keep facing the deadly consequences of a view miscreants ill-advised acts, and the healthcare system will continue facing an overwhelming job that will result in life and death decisions due to a lack of resources. Communities can’t wait until they see symptoms and confirm that there is a case or cases in the area. It’s like a horror movie or ninjas. If they wait to act, and the action is to stay at home and do nothing, it will be too late. Getting ahead of the curve and shortening the effects of this virus means acting now.

Stay at home, stay away from others, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and wear masks if you have to go outside. If your work requires you to go in and your job can be done from home or is non-essential, consider telling your boss, “No. I don’t want to be responsible for transmitting a disease that could kill someone.” It’s difficult to stand up to your boss, especially if you need the money. However, someone is going to have to do it. Maybe it starts with you, and it might help to send your boss a poem or that video with Samuel L. Jackson (see below). Be safe, my friends and don’t let anyone trade your life and lives of those you love for money.

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The Moral Dilemma of Employees at Non-Essential Businesses

Old people are more valuable than politicians

There are some people who are still going to work because they are essential. Doctors, nurses, fire fighters, police officers, grocery store workers, postal workers, the people who keep the Internet running are a few of those people. We salute them for being on the frontlines. Everyone of them deserves a pay raise for being at risk of catching coronavirus. Here’s hoping they have adequate medical coverage. By staying at home and not going any place you don’t have to go, you’re honoring the sacrifice and the risk these workers are taking to keep your community functioning and in touch with the rest of the world.

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