Sunday, May 24, 2020

TEE UP, MR. PRESIDENT!

The golf links lie so near the mill 
That almost every day
The laboring children can look out
And see the men at play!*


CRISIS?  WHAT CRISIS?
COVID-19? WHO CARES!

FORGET COVID-19
THIS IS THE REAL CRISIS!



*The Golf Links by contemporary peace, suffrage and labor activist Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn (1876-1959). 
Here is an interesting student paper about this poem: 
http://cwcs.ysu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Golf-Links.pdf

Friday, May 22, 2020

A SPECIAL RESPONSE TO NEW YORK'S MASK CONTEST

Some readers of this blog may be familiar with the Space Alien Gazette (which I also edit) at  www.SpaceAlienGazette.com.

The Space Alien wanted to enter New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's "Wear a Mask" ad contest, but missed the deadline.    

Here are the finalists in that contest and their creative ads: 
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/wear-mask

The message to all: Wear a Mask

As a courtesy, however, and because we  think readers of this blog would enjoy it, we are printing the Space Alien's entry here. 

Here is that entry.  The Space Alien recommends reciting it as a rap:

You don't have to ask,
I'll still Wear a Mask! 
At home or in space,
I'll cover my face!
Our friends will admire us,
And not catch this virus!
It's fashionable too!
And shows I love you!


And here is the Space Alien in a brand new "country and western" mask!




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Update: Friday, May 22, 2020 Governor Cuomo announced that there had been over 600 submissions to this contest to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) and that over 65,000 people had voted. 

A similar post is at: 
http://spacealiengazette.blogspot.com/2020/05/the-space-alien-enters-mask-contest.html

HAS THE CDC CHANGED COURSE ON SURFACES?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appears to have retracted some of its COVID-19 guidances, and now downplays the need to disinfect surfaces.  

Your Editor would like to know more about the scientific basis for this decision and will try to find out.  Until she does, and given the tendency of the current administration to place political expediency above public health, she will keep her Clorox-based spray handy!

Here are two articles on this revision: 

https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/prevention-cures/499142-cdc-updated-guidelines-state-coronavirus-does


https://www.foxnews.com/health/cdc-now-says-coronavirus-does-not-spread-easily-via-contaminated-surfaces

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A few more references: 

CDC's advisory How COVID-19 Spreads,
 updated April 13, 2020:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html

And related, from the Food & Drug Administration dated May 21 2020:
https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions  
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

POEMS REFLECTING MY CURRENT OUTLOOK


These were collected in February 2019 as I dealt with my broken back (www.JoansBackboneDisaster.com) and even more poignant in 2020 as I we consider life in the Age of COVID-10.  I’ve loved most of these since high school and college days,  but now they mean so much more.   

1.

Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth 
Arthur Hugh Clough 1919-1861


Say not the Struggle nought Availeth

Say not the struggle nought availeth, 
     The labour and the wounds are vain, 
The enemy faints not, nor faileth, 
     And as things have been they remain. 

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; 
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed, 
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
     And, but for you, possess the field. 

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking 
     Seem here no painful inch to gain, 
Far back through creeks and inlets making, 
     Comes silent, flooding in, the main. 

And not by eastern windows only, 
     When daylight comes, comes in the light, 
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, 
     But westward, look, the land is bright.
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2.

A Psalm of Life

1807-1882

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers, 
   Life is but an empty dream! 
For the soul is dead that slumbers, 
   And things are not what they seem. 

Life is real! Life is earnest! 
   And the grave is not its goal; 
Dust thou art, to dust returnest, 
   Was not spoken of the soul. 

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, 
   Is our destined end or way; 
But to act, that each to-morrow 
   Find us farther than to-day. 

Art is long, and Time is fleeting, 
   And our hearts, though stout and brave, 
Still, like muffled drums, are beating 
   Funeral marches to the grave. 

In the world’s broad field of battle, 
   In the bivouac of Life, 
Be not like dumb, driven cattle! 
   Be a hero in the strife! 

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! 
   Let the dead Past bury its dead! 
Act,— act in the living Present! 
   Heart within, and God o’erhead! 

Lives of great men all remind us 
   We can make our lives sublime, 
And, departing, leave behind us 
   Footprints on the sands of time; 

Footprints, that perhaps another, 
   Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, 
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, 
   Seeing, shall take heart again. 

Let us, then, be up and doing, 
   With a heart for any fate; 
Still achieving, still pursuing, 
   Learn to labor and to wait.

______________________________________________

3.

John Milton — On his Blindness

1608-1674


When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait." 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
4.
 From. Tennyson Morte d’Arthur


Lines From Morte d'Arthur by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 

     And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge: 
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new, 
And God fulfils Himself in many ways, 
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world. 
Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me? 
I have lived my life, and that which I have done 
May He within Himself make pure! but thou, 
If thou shouldst never see my face again, 
Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer 
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice 
Rise like a fountain for me night and day. 
For what are men better than sheep or goats 
That nourish a blind life within the brain, 
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer 
Both for themselves and those who call them friend? 
For so the whole round earth is every way 
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God. 
But now farewell. I am going a long way 
With these thou se√ęst—if indeed I go— 
(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt) 
To the island-valley of Avilion; 
Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, 
Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies 
Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard-lawns 
And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea, 
Where I will heal me of my grievous wound." 

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5.

Shakespeare Sonnet 71.
Sonnet 71: No Longer Mourn for Me when I am Dead

No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell; 
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so, 
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot, 
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O, if (I say) you look upon this verse, 
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse,
But let your love even with my life decay,
Lest the wise world should look into your moan, 
And mock you with me after I am gone.


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6.
Dylan Thomas, Do not go Gentle into that Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night
Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
7.

A collection of poems about death and dying: 
Here’s one from that collection- It moves me to tears whenever I read it.   It’s in the voice of a Salmon.
It’s pretty corny when I stop to think about it but every time I read it, I cannot stop crying.  I call it the Salmon Poem.   

A LEAP OF FAITH

I was coming home
I was coming home to die
I was coming home to die in my own bed
Although buoyed by this hope
I could feel my strength ebbing
As I struggled against the tide of life
That had finally turned against me
Suddenly, the world erupted
Into turbulence and confusion
I had reached the last hurdle
I would now have to overcome
With all the power remaining
In my mortal being
I leapt free from earths’ pull
And soared through the air
I am McSalmon of the Salmonidae
I was home, I was home to die
I was home to die in my own bed

Michael Ashby, Sidmouth
Michael Ashby - thefuneralpoem.com
With Picture at: 


8.  Something to think about  - a link to an Essay by Mark Twain. 
What if Dying Isn’t so Bad by Mark Twain



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9.
Hamlet’s soliloquy — Shakespeare of course!
Speech: “To be, or not to be, that is the question”

(from Hamlet, spoken by Hamlet)

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th'oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of dispriz'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th'unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovere'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.



10.

From the Yiddish - that best describes my frame of mind now — 

Boyle Schaechter-Gottesman. Harbstlid (Song of Autumn)



Ze, s'iz harbst -- See, it's fall --
Un vos gegrint fargelt, farvyanet. And all that greened has yellowed, withered.
Ze, s'iz harbst -- See, it's fall --
Un vos geblit fargeyt ... And all that bloomed is gone ...
Un ikh, vos kh'hob gemeyn s'iz shtendik friling 
And I who thought that spring would last forever,
Un kh'halt in hant And that I hold in my hand
Di gantse eybikeyt. The entire Eternity.
Oho, falndike bleter! Oho, falling leaves!
Oho, fliyendike teg!    Oho, flying days!
Oho, vi vel ikh itster blondzhen, Oho, how will I wander now,
Ven s'ligt gedikhter nepl af mayn veg.. When thick fog settles on my way ...

Kraken feygl, Cawing birds
Zogn troyerik: "Zay gezunt dir!" Say: "Good-bye!" (lit. be healthy)
Krekhtst in fentster Making noise at the window
Un se klogt der vint: And the wind moans and wails:
O, vi volt ikh itst avek fun danen, I wish that I could get away from here
Tsun a breg To a shore
Vu nokh der friling grint ... Where there is still green spring ..."
—- Oho, falndike bletter …etc.  Oho, falling leaves...
Flit der regn -- Driving rain
A galop af vildn ferdl. A gallop on a wild horse,
Roymt mir ayn a sod: er hot mikh holt. Whispers secret love into my ear:
"Tsu vos zhe darfstu vartn afn friling, "Why do you need to wait for springtime...
Az s'hot der osyen fule koyshns gold. "When autumn has baskets full of gold." 
Oho, falndike ... Oho, falling ...

Source: Schaechter-Gottesman, Beyle, Zumerteg: Tsvantsik zinglider. Yiddish League, 1990


See Lecture: "The Seasons"
For information about Schaechter-Gottesman, see the webpage by Jane Peppler entitled "Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman: poet, composer, living legend"


Also performed here: 
by the Schaechter Techter  (The Schechter Sisters, the poet’s granddaughters)

And see: 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

CDC RELEASES LATEST REOPENING PLAN

Center for Disease Control (CDC) released its latest document on Opening America.  

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/php/CDC-Activities-Initiatives-for-COVID-19-Response.pdf

Entitled CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-10 Response and the President's Plan for Opening America Up Again, May 2020, this document subtitled: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-10) Response is dated May 2020 and purports to summarize "CDC's initiatives, activities and tools in support of the Whole-of Government response to COVID-19. "

According to Politico.com this is the most extensive document from CDC which has been the subject of much political controversy.

This article from Politico.com published May 20 2020 offers a review of the twists and turns as what should be straightforward scientific decision-making has been (in the opinion of Your Editor)  fed through the political sausage-making machine.   


https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/20/cdc-guidelines-reopening-coronavirus-270607


Sunday, May 17, 2020

ANOTHER VOTE OF THANKS TO GOVERNOR CUOMO

In his daily televised briefings, which I find tremendously motivating and reassuring, New York's Governor Cuomo has given us a model that public officials at all levels would do well to emulate.

This picture says it all. Governor Cuomo's release of this photo on Sunday, May 17, will hopefully motivate others to be tested.

Unfortunately, the Gov. Cuomo uses resources for testing only available in New York but what a great model for other Governors to follow, especially since the President has shown himself to be, in a word, useless (or worse!).    

The URLs in the caption and below relate to New York, but are still informative. 


Governor Cuomo takes a COVID-19 test at press briefing to demonstrate how easy it is.  
Also see: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news 
To receive briefings write: Email@exec.ny.gov

And see New York State's COVID-19 website here: 
https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
While much here is NY based, there's still much useful information. 

Every state should have a website like this!  
Here is Illinois': https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/

See my poetic Tribute to Governor Cuomo at: 
https://joanscovid19blog.blogspot.com/2020/05/a-tribute-to-governor-cuomo.html

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Friday, May 15, 2020

THE LANCET SPEAKS OUT FOR THE CDC

Now that our Administration reportedly appears to be sidelining the CDC (U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention) https://www.cdc.gov, our friends across the Pond have tried to come to the rescue. 

A strongly worded Editorial in the venerable British medical journal Lancet is well worth reading.  

Here is the final paragraph:


The Trump administration’s further erosion of the CDC will harm global cooperation in science and public health, as it is trying to do by defunding WHO. A strong CDC is needed to respond to public health threats, both domestic and international, and to help prevent the next inevitable pandemic. Americans must put a president in the White House come January, 2021, who will understand that public health should not be guided by partisan politics.  The Lancet

Here's a link to the entire editorial in the issue dated May 16, 2020: 
https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(20)31140-5.pdf

And check out the sidebar articles here too!

This editorial is just one page and says it all!
Share your views with your  Representatives in Congress (House and Senate).

Also see The Lancet online for many more relevant articles on COVID-19.  https://www.thelancet.com/

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

CDC GUIDANCE OF MAY 14, 2020

The latest reopening guidance from U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is discussed here:

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/delay-cdc-releases-guidance-states-safely-reopen/story?id=70687074

Here is the description from the above website:

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, while voluntary, is the most specific instruction yet from the federal government on how not to trigger an outbreak, as President Donald Trump pushes states to reopen and most have already started to do so."

Here is that newest CDC link:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/index.html

It has many parts, with links to all at the above website.  It should supersede previous guidances from CDC.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TEE UP, MR. PRESIDENT!

The golf links lie so near the mill  That  almost  every day The laboring children can look out And see the men at play!* CRISIS?  W...