It is a very sad fact that the toxic, tribalism-focused, divisive, narrow, me-first way of thinking that some humans practice is their prime limiting factor.
In the end, they will probably do themselves in (taking many of us along with them) as they cling to their ancient emotion and fear-driven ideas, ideals, idols, crystals, horoscopes, and divisive, evidence and reason-lacking ancient dusty tablets and texts – all while the real miracles come from the readily available peer-reviewed and often freely offered findings of science, application of engineering, and acceptance of reality.
Sad indeed but it seems this fact may be one of the ways natural selection is exhibited in the human species.
Another trip around the sun completed successfully.
Some perspective: On this day (July 15th) in 1968 I came into this reality – whatever this reality really is – and as of today, I have existed in this reality for 54 earth years.
Some perspective and observations.
I was premature so I had to cook in an incubator for a while until my body took over and I could support myself without the assistance of science and technology.
I was soon adopted by two amazing people Cathy and Clayton – who accepted me into their home as their own child. They later adopted another child in need and named her Lesly who then became my wonderful sister. She met Jonas and they raised two wonderful children – Cody and Ashlyn – who I just know will go above and beyond and do great things. I am lucky and proud to be a part of this family.
I was born in the middle of one of the times of the greatest scientific and engineering achievements humankind has ever experienced: the Apollo-era moon missions and landings…and, fitting the space exploration and cultural turbulence of the times, the first incarnation of Star Trek – my favorite TV series – was on TV…and it still is and all of its incarnations and I love them all for the messages they bring to all of us – if we have the capacity to understand and accept them and put them into practice.
I have been alive (whatever that means) for ~473,040 hours and accruing. I have orbited our closest star Sol 54 times. I have now traveled around 31,536,000,000 miles (50,752,272,384 kilometers) through space in an ever-spiraling circle around a rather remote and average little yellow star while riding on a water-soaked living rock along with you and over 7.9 billion other naked, bi-pedal, mostly hairless, multi-colored, fire and tool-using, thinking apes, and countless other amazing life-forms – while spinning at an equatorial rate of around 1000 mph (1,609.3 kph) while at the same time passing through the icy blackness vacuum of space at around 67,000 mph (107,826 kph) in our orbital path around the sun while also orbiting around Sagittarius A* the supermassive black hole in the center of our home galaxy at a rate of around 514,000 mph. At this rate, it will take me, you, our wet rock, and our star – about 229 million years to make one trip around the galactic center thereby completing one Galactic Year. And all of this, all of us, everything, our entire Milky Way galaxy – is traveling through intergalactic space at around 1.2 million mph (1.9m kph) relative to the cosmic background radiation.
So far, I have had an amazing existence full of tons of excitement, exploration, friendship, laughter love, and light as well as periods of loss, pain, hardship, and a little bit of darkness.
I was here the last time Haley’s Comet passed by our pale blue watery rock of a dot in 1986 (and I plan to be here to see it again when it comes back around again in 2062).
I rode along in spirit and in support of every space exploration mission humanity has launched since I can remember way back as a 4-year-old kid watching it happen live (well, almost live since round trip communication time between the earth and moon is 2.6 seconds) on TV and then running outside in the yard to look up at the moon where the last Apollo astronauts were bouncing about the lunar surface in the early ’70s. I have since watched in awe, great appreciation, and hope as the space programs of planet earth sent many amazing interplanetary probes to the Sun, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Neptune, Pluto, asteroids, comets, asteroids, and more. I watched as the incredible Space Shuttles flew on huge pillars of flame and 15 nations set aside their differences to build the International Space Station – a castle of science, discovery, and international cooperation 249 miles above all of us in the “sky.” Today I am elated at the rapid evolution of non-governmental space exploration and travel organizations and I hope to see us back on the moon soon – and then sometime before I kick off – great shiny Starships landing on Mars. Go SpaceX! Just a few days ago I witnessed the mind-blowingly beautiful and deeply data-rich images from almost the beginning of time and space come beaming down to all of us overly encephalized hairy tit-sucking mammals living upon this pale blue dot from the incredible James Webb Space Telescope – and I look forward to seeing more that will come to us over the next 20 – 30 years and am so excited for how much the JWST’s imagery will increase our knowledge of our own cosmic evolution.
I chased nature and wild animals, first as a child for personal interest sake, and later in the name of science, education, and conservation of species. My favorites being the misunderstood creatures of the world such as reptiles, amphibians, bats, Opossums, and vultures.
On a few occasions, my body was invaded by festering armies of microscopic “wildlife” that tried to use me as a replicator for more of their kind and/or end me, and yet, my own immune system as well as the findings of many, many great scientists that came before allowed me to boost, augment, and bio-hack my body through the use of antibiotics and vaccinations thereby giving me a “force field of science” inside and out so I could continue awkwardly onward into the future.
In 2014 I came closest to feeding the soil, worms, and trees when a rather archaic and not that useful part of my internal anatomy (my appendix) malfunctioned and suffered a massive R.U.D. (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) – so I had it removed by a robot that was designed by science and piloted by a scientist we all call a doctor so I could continue in my present state of gangly existence.
In 2016 I had an encounter with a wild venomous serpent (Timber rattlesnake) who was only defending himself due to my accidental stupidity and, while I was in no danger of meeting my end – it did really hurt a bit and slow me down for a few weeks (yes, the snake still lives in the wilds of the forest ) The only way I was able to overcome this one without losing a finger and possibly suffering lasting damage to my body was through the findings of science. Yep, there is that science thing again. Ain’t it wonderful
This past year the current plague impacting humanity (SARS CoV2) finally caught up with me. It was no fun at all and took me out for a week or so but I recovered – again thanks to science and my science-augmented immune system.
On all these close calls (and many I have not even been aware of due to my science augmented/trained to recognize and destroy the “bad guys” immune system via all the vaccinations I have gladly rolled up my sleeves to receive since I was a small child ) I was given another chance at existing in this reality through the findings of science, miracles of modern technology and engineering…and possibly a little bit of some as yet to be discovered by science mystical energy field or omnipotent ancient and possibly extraterrestrial/interdimensional intelligence that, for some really disturbingly strange reason, many individuals/cultures/factions on the planet have coined many different names/stories/belief systems for – yet cannot ever seem to agree upon…and often even choose to childishly take sides, argue, fight, and believe it or not even murder each other over…so bizarre and childlike is the proudest monkey.
IMHO – if this intelligence exists – it is as far “above” us as we are “above” our closest relatives the Chimpanzee and Bonobo…or maybe the bacterium…or the virus. Whatever the case, I’m pretty sure that if it does exist it might be studying us as we study the animals…or the virus…and it cares not one single bit about our posturings on its behalf, the myriad of books we write about it, our childish bickering on who/what it is, who or what is “right” and “wrong,” who uses which bathroom, who’s skin is what color, who is “left” and “right,” etc. – just like we do not care about the comings and goings of bacteria and viral organisms…until they invade our personal space and become overpopulated…hmmmm…something important to ponder if you are able to see deep enough or large enough to ponder it…
At an early age, I became tired of all the factions telling me what to do, how to believe, how to think, how to live my life, and how to be a human – so I chose to follow my own path. I chose to listen to nature, to the evidence and logic and teachings of the wilderness, and to the findings and ponderings of the great minds and philosophies of history. Some may call me a “free spirit” – nice! – thank you! Some have called me “lost” – really, how rude! But whatever the case may be this is my path, no one can choose it for me and likewise, I will never try to force it on you or anyone. You must all find your own path.
I learned to drone a didgeridoo – so very ancient and cool!
I fell in love with a wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent human female called Marian and we settled down a bit…but not too much
A few years later I fell into a wonderful career inspiring, leading, and sharing nature, science, and reality knowledge with amazing at-risk youth on the connections, beauty, and joy of nature, wildlife, science, and life the universe, and everything.
While working to inspire tomorrow’s youth to better themselves by connecting with nature, wilderness, wild things, and to trust science and let it be their guide in life – I have connected with so many amazing human beings in my students and my coworkers – my life has been so deeply enrichened from my time with all of you amazing people and I am so grateful for all of you and your lasting contributions to your classroom and to my personal journey.
My incredible students, interns, volunteers, amazing friends Jim and Bob, and I all worked together over many solar orbits with many more amazing project supporters to build a photovoltaic solar power plant that benefits not only our classroom and campus but the entire local community with clean, locally-produced renewable energy from our nearest fusion reactor in space – the sun! Update: During my most recent solar orbit we all – and some wonderful and most-generous new friends – worked to create a solar-powered mobile outreach classroom called the SS NaSA PoD (Science Steve’s Nature and Science Adventure Pod of Discovery) – that will allow us to bring our nature, wildlife, and science messages to our students and to the region – so cool!
About 10 orbits ago my wife and I started phasing out almost all our connections to nature, life, and future-harming dirty fossil fuels. We have been driving mostly electric since 2013 and intend to soon go fully electric with most of our transportation, energy, and fuel needs coming from EVs and local renewable energy sources.
Just a few solar orbits ago the amazing findings of the science of genetics and DNA sequencing allowed me to connect with my wonderful biological father, sister, brother, and other awesome family members and answer many of the questions about my genetic roots and my connections to nature that I have had since an early age.
And now I find myself near the end of a global viral pandemic that has sadly ended the lives of many and upset the lives and plans of most. As before, I will follow and trust the science as I ignore all the other randomly repeated, vociferous, evidence-lacking, overly emotional, opinions and options and roll up my sleeve and gladly accept the expertly recommended vaccinations against this microscopic attacker (but I did still get the virus – only not as bad as some I know who did not or could not roll up their sleeves). I will continue to trust in science, even with its changeable and incomplete nature, to give me guidelines and support during this global human emergency. I hope you will choose to join me and in doing so, together, you and I will get through this thing – and hopefully, I will still be here to rewrite this yet again next year on this day.
Whatever all the facts and reasons may be, I am very glad to still be here on this incredible and sometimes bumpy but always interesting wild ride through the cosmos with all of you other crazy wonderful, and beautifully mixed-up mosh pit of humans and always wonderful animals.
I’m not sure where we are going or when, where, and why we exist – but wherever, whatever, whenever, and whyever – at least we are making good time and it has been and will continue to be one heck of a wild ride through the cosmos on this one strange rock we all call home.
Thank you all for being here and for riding along on this roller coaster called life with me Now let’s all take another spin around the sun together on spaceship Earth!
Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, and thrive.
Some of us will get through this thing with science and common sense leading the way and sadly, some will not.
As I learned in the Boy Scouts: be prepared.
1. Listen to the experts – they know more than you – that is why they are the experts.
2. Keep your distance – especially from strangers.
3. Wash up well.
4. Keep wearing that mask.
5. Get that shot and then get the booster.
6. Ignore/report/block/delete the ignorant anti-science and anti-common sense conspiracy “theories” and “natural cures” being fabricated/spread/sold by the covidiots, crazy meme trolls, greedy charlatans, and religiopolitical fanatics crapping their steaming fresh clickbait turds all over the internet.
There are only two options in this thing we call life on planet earth: adapt or die. Science, technology, and good old common sense are the ways we humans improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, and thrive.
Yes, I am posting this one twice – it is that important.
In the early summer of 2020, as the world went into lockdown during the early days of the SARS CoV-2 (Corovavirus/COVID-19) global pandemic – I noticed many individuals declining to wear masks stating personal reasons and evidence-lacking “reasoning” as to why they would not comply with the recommendations of infectious disease experts all over the planet.
I also noticed several stories of different scientists testing masks to show how they were effective in reducing the spread of respiratory droplets/aerosols between people therby reducing the spread of the potentially deadly virus (as well as far less deadly but yet still annoying viruses such as the common cold).
I decided to perform a similar mask test for my students in my science education classes.
To do this I acquired some Petri dishes (from an Amazon supplier), then – with the mask off and a petri dish held at arm’s length – I coughed, sneezed, sang, and yelled at the open dishes. I then put on a two-layer cotton face mask and repeated the demonstration using a new petri dish. I labeled the dishes and let them incubate for a few days in a warm area – I did not have an incubator at the time but it was June so it was warm in the classroom, therefore – growth happened…LOTS of growth, far more than I expected…it was really gross and it smelled really funky.
The odd thing was that, while the dish that was exposed to my respiratory droplets/aerosols without a mask did in fact have more colonies of growth – so did the plate I had coughed on while wearing a mask. At first, it appeared that the mask did little to stop the spread of respiratory droplets.
I wrongly assumed the error was in the growth media of the Petri dishes so I acquired some new dishes (Amazon) with the same growth media used by many of the other researchers – 5% sheep’s blood – and I repeated the demonstration. This time I also added a table and placed several dishes out at .3, .9, and 1.5M (1′, 3′, and 6′) in an attempt to show how droplets travel outward from the body.
Again, the results were the same – not much difference between masked and unmasked.
I was perplexed.
I compared my results to the others and came to the only possible conclusion: my samples had been contaminated by the classroom environment. The natural dust and dirt on our feet, bodies, and hair that the students and I bring inside with us from the nearby forest and garden, our sloughed off human skin cells and hair, animal/bird dander (we have several free-range chickens), the fact that the building is an old log cabin. Along with all this fun with particulates – the classroom is host to many different species of reptile, amphibian, fish, arachnid, and sometimes even an Opossum. Then there are the billions of free-floating fungal spores and pollen grains from the forest all around us as well as the occasional wandering house fly or gnat – and all the fun little friends that hitchhike on their feet and faces. All these contaminants and contaminant vectors were, well – everywhere. So, my first two experiments were contaminated by the nature of nature.
What to do? How could I reduce the natural contamination factor of my classroom environment to produce a more un-contaminated result? A room air filter you say? Yes, I already had one of those – a big one. Obviously, it could only do so much.
Since it would be next to impossible to make my classroom free of natural contaminants – the only option was to build a Cleanroom to rule out some of the contamination in the hopes of obtaining a better result – so, that is what I did.
The video below shows the results of my efforts and I hope it serves to demonstrate the how and the why of why masks work and why it is important to wear them during a global pandemic. Watch to the end if you are interested in learning how I built the Cleanroom.
This video is long because I choose to be thorough and transparent. To demonstrate this requires procedure and patience. If you are in a hurry and want to bypass all the “meat” of the video and go directly to my findings – then feel free to do so by skipping ahead to the time index of 39:17
I just learned of another “event” that is predicted by many “woke” “thinkers” and “researchers” to happen on Feb 21st. 2021.
A zombie apocalypse.
Yep, you read that right.
A friggin zombie apocalypse.
I am not ready for this.
If you go to Wikipedia and search for “end of the world predictions” you will find a treasure trove of hundreds of terrible, horrible, violent, “evil” civilization-ending disasters that were certain to occur.
You know what?
They didn’t happen. None of them.
The prophets (profits), doomsayers, soothsayers, and end times gurus were wrong every single time.
No, zombies aren’t real. They are fiction. They are, in fact, biologically impossible.
No, there won’t be a zombie apocalypse this year – or any year…well, except on TV, at the movies, and in the brains of some people who have never opened their mind to reality…oh wait, I forgot about that small cadre of walking dead brainless zombies who followed the insane dictates of their idiocy-tweeting führer and stormed the Capitol on January 6th, 2021 in a lame attempt to start a “civil war” or some other such nonsense.
If there had been “real” zombies (who are far more intelligent than any of the Capitol rioters or their führer) they would not have promoted their “civil war” on many social media outlets and taken selfies and videos of themselves and their friends in “action” – then post them all over the internet as an invitations to identify, locate, and arrest they and their comrades – then toss them in the jailhouse to rot like the gray matter lacking, putrid, slimy, worm-ridden filth that they are.
…oops, sorry…where was I…zombies, right.
As the gang from Scooby-Doo found out – the real monsters are always us.
Nope, zombies are not real so there will be no zombie apocalypse this year…or any year.* However, I’m pretty sure it won’t be the only apocalypse and/or other bizarre conspiratorial evidence-lacking fabrications predicted this year (“Jewish space lasers” anyone) and, like this one, all the others have been or will be revealed to be total fabrications and/or non-events as well. (Except for all the book-writing and DVD/movie “documentary” producing, prepper product selling, soothsayers, doomsayers, and end times preaching pontiffs, charlatans, swindlers, and conmen – for them, it’s all just more of your money in their pockets.)
See you on the 22nd for just another day on this water-soaked rock we multi-colored primates call planet earth.
*There is one sure way we could create an apocalyptic situation for the population of our planet: not listening to the findings of the world’s experts and scientists, putting myth, magic, mysticism, and money above common sense and reality. I believe Carl Sagan said it best:
“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…
The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
I test several common protective face masks in a cleanroom of my own design.
This video is long because I choose to be thorough and transparent. To demonstrate this requires procedure and patience. If you are in a hurry and want to bypass all the “meat” of the video and go directly to my findings – then feel free to do so by skipping ahead to the time index of 39:17
The back story: in the early summer of 2020 I noticed many mask tests being conducted by different scientists to demonstrate the effectiveness of wearing masks to protect us from COVID-19 (and other nasty infectious diseases such as Influenza). Below is an example of one of these mask demonstrations from Dr. Rich Davis -the regional director of microbiology at Providence Health Care in Spokane, Washington.
Dr. Davis’s example along with others (listed below) inspired me to attempt a similar mask test in my classroom for my students in the attempt to show the effectiveness – and the necessity – of wearing a mask during a global pandemic.
To do this I acquired some Petri dishes (from an Amazon supplier), then – with a mask off and a petri dish held at arm’s length – I coughed, sneezed, sang, and yelled at the open dishes. I then put on a two layer cotton face mask and repeated the demonstration exactly as the first time.
I labeled the dishes and let them incubate for a few days in a warm area – I did not have an incubator at the time but it was June so it was warm in the classroom, therefore – growth happened…LOTS of growth, far more than I expected…it was really gross actually and it smelled really funky.
The odd thing was that, while the dish that was exposed to my respiratory droplets/aerosols without a mask did in fact have more colonies of growth – so did the plate I had coughed on while wearing a mask. At first it appeared that the mask did little to stop the spread of respiratory droplets.
I wrongly assumed my error was in the growth media of the petri dishes so I acquired some new dishes with the same growth media used by many of the other researchers – 5% sheep’s blood – and I repeated the demonstration. This time I also added a table and placed several dishes out at 1′, 3′ and 6′ in an attempt to show how droplets travel outward from the body.
Again, the results were the same – not much difference between masked and unmasked.
I was perplexed.
I compared my results to the others and came to the only possible conclusion: my samples had been contaminated by the classroom environment. The natural dust and dirt on our feet, bodies, and hair that the students and I bring inside with us from the nearby forest and garden, our sloughed off human skin cells and hair, animal/bird dander (we have several free-range chickens), the fact that the building is an old log cabin. Along with all this fun with particulates – the classroom is host to many different species of reptile, amphibian, fish, arachnid, and sometimes even an Opossum. Then there are the billions of free-floating fungal spores and pollen grains from the forest all around us as well as the occasional wandering house fly or gnat – and all the fun little friends that hitchhike on their feet and faces. All these contaminants and contaminant vectors were, well – everywhere.
So, my samples were contaminated by the nature of nature.
What to do? How could I reduce the natural contamination factor of my classroom environment to produce a more un-contaminated result?
A room air filter you say? Yes, I already had one of those – a big one. Obviously, it could only do so much.
Since it would be next to impossible to make my classroom free of natural environmental contaminants – the only option I could see was to build a Cleanroom myself in the hopes of ruling out some of the environmental contamination in the hopes of obtaining a better result – so, that is what I did.
The embedded video shows the results of my efforts and I hope it serves to demonstrate the how and the why of why masks work and why it is important to wear them during a global pandemic.
Watch to the end if you are interested in learning how I built the Cleanroom.
No, actually – it is not…I was just trying to get your attention 😉
I am sharing this link not because I was one of these people, I am sharing because many people have found themselves in this position and have been able to recognize the trap they were in and then get themselves out of it before it was too late. The link is a story of great advice from one of these individuals who recognized the danger and got out – others, however, are not so lucky and will need help from friends and family in finding their way out of the deep, dark, pit of conspiratorial thinking they have fallen into. Without a ladder or a rope of loving support from their loved ones – and sometimes the long arm of the law – they will dig themselves in even deeper and the ever-increasing depth of the pit will increasingly prevent them from escaping the gravity well they have fallen into – a gravity well that is crushing the life out of them and often, everyone around them.
IMHO, intentionally denying verifiable, peer-reviewed evidence and instead choosing to support conspiracy “theorist” “thinking” and belief systems – is one of the most dangerous threats we face in working toward a prosperous future for us all.
Have you unfortunately found yourself stuck in that bizarre world of conspiracies where you actually fully believe everything is a lie, a cover-up, a hoax?
You know what I’m talking about – but just in case you need a refresher – here are a few of the more common examples:
Area 51 is hoarding and hiding alien bodies/artifacts
The Apollo moon landings were staged/produced by Stanley Kubrick…
The earth is flat…or hollow…
Australia does not exist…
Lizard people are controlling our government…
Giants once existed…
Dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time…or dinosaurs never existed and their bones are a manufactured to give scientists a job…
Chem-trails are real…
911 was staged…
The “deep state”…
Climate change is a hoax…
Covid 19 is a bioweapon and was manufactured in a lab by Bill Gates and friends, and/or Bill Gates is putting tracking devices in vaccines to track/follow/control you…
Vaccines cause autism…
The democrats/republicans/greenies are plotting to take your freedoms…
The virus is not real and mask mandates are about control…
College brainwashes people to become liberals…
All that Qanon nonsense…
…yada, yada, yada…
If you believe any of these and/or similar bizarre claims and beliefs – without seriously analyzing and questioning the authenticity of those claims and beliefs…the what and the why of what and why you believe what you believe – and especially if you believe these things without any verifiable evidence to support your claims and beliefs – then you may have inadvertently become stuck/trapped in a cultish following that has hijacked your brain.
Ask yourself some serious questions:
Is this belief system taking up a large portion of my time?
Have I ended friendships or am I fighting with family members over it?
Have I dropped out of school or lost jobs because of it?
Am I living in constant fear of friends/family/neighbors/strangers that I once respected?
Am I afraid – terrified – of what may happen next?
Am I stockpiling food and weapons?
Am I always online “learning” and “researching” the latest claim, “theory” or “truth”?
Am I worshiping an ideal or a person in power/politics/prestige as a “savior” of humanity or our “tribe” or way of life?
Am I worried that friends who listen to and support the recommendations of science are the ones who have been duped?
Am I concerned and/or do I believe that education and knowledge are work of “the left,” “evil” or “the devil?”
Do I believe that I am 100% right about my beliefs because simply my belief system, my friends online, and/or that loudmouthed “woke” guy on YouTube, or my favorite end of the world/prepper/echo chamber website (that interestingly is always asking for money to support their cause) – tells me so?
If any of this sounds like you then please, get professional help now before it is too late.
The fact is this: if no evidence exists to support their/your claim, “theory,” or belief system – then in all the probability that exists – that claim, “theory” or belief system is – most likely – simply wrong/erroneous and/or manufactured – probably to make some slimy, smelly, troll in a dim, dank basement somewhere – loads of money – your money.
Sadly, you may have already lost your freedom to whatever the belief system it is that is controlling you and you will see everything and everyone as a lie, a hoax, a threat to you and your freedom.
Again, if any of this sounds like you then please, get help now before it is too late – before the gravitational pull of the lunatic fringe pulls you past the point of no return and you disappear over the event horizon into the black hole of darkness never to return to the land of the living.
If you can find the inner strength to realize you made a mistake – as the brave woman in this story did – then you can rescue yourself from the toxic world of conspiracy theorists and lies. Next is a story of a man who realized he was conned by the Qanon crazy and got out before it totally controlled his life.
Personal freedom comes when you find the inner strength to break the molds imposed upon you by the conspiratorial, religious, and political conditioning that ended your childhood trust in others and destroyed the insatiable curiosity all children have in the natural, real, observable, measurable, and so very fragile connections between all things in the cosmos.
Until you are able to shed the toxic skin of your past – or the mind predators of your present – you will run the risk of remaining easily controlled, divided, fearful, and under the thumb of the charlatans who want to own your life for their own personal gain.
True freedom does not come from without, it comes from within. It comes from letting go of all the things that have a hold on you, that control your thought process – and replacing them with only reality – even if the reality is that no one is really in control and we are all working, fighting, clawing to exist on a tiny, inconspicuous, remote, wet rocky speck of a rather ordinary planet orbiting just another ordinary star in just another ordinary galaxy in this vast ocean we call the cosmos.
We may not be all that special when it comes to the vastness of the cosmos, but each and every one of us are unique, special, one of a kind individuals and we each have wonderful gifts, talents, generosity, compassion, and love to offer to those around us. Let go of the imaginary things that control you and open your eyes and see reality as it really is – and then you will truly be free to live, share, and enjoy the life and time you have.
Life is not about the ending, it is about the living.
One of the most important things I have learned over my over 1/2 century of life on planet earth – is how incredibly important the methods, tools, and findings of science, (and engineering, and technology) are to my very existence – and to the existence of everyone who is reading these words.
Without the discoveries, methods, and tools of science, we would still be living in the “dark ages” surrounded by filth, sickness, decay, and death. In all likelihood, many of us would not be living at all because our very lives, and the lives of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and possibly even farther back – have been saved and or supported many times over by the findings, tools, and methods of science. How have I come to this conclusion you may ask? The answer is in the evidence I see all around me and in what I know best – my own life story, so I will use my story as an example.
July 1968. I was born. I was a bit premature yet I am alive and healthy today, why? Because doctors, medical science and engineering, and life support technology saved my helpless, somewhat premature-born life and therefore, I was able to begin my growth and development.
I was never sickened or harmed/disabled/disfigured or rendered into compost by deadly diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, polio, hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies…why? Because my parents listened to the medical professionals and had me – and my pets – vaccinated when we were young pups. They listened to the science that supports the evidence that vaccinations work, they protect us, our food, and our companion animals (and therefore again – us) from the hordes of microscopic infectious invaders that only seek (but not desire) to cause us harm (but not intentionally) for only their own uncaring, unthinking, benefit – the continuation of their life cycle and their species.
Ask almost any person older than 60 alive today and they will tell you the only thing vaccines cause is healthy adults, long life, and grey hair.
In light of current anti-vaccination related events I feel that I must expand on this subject a bit.
For the moment, put aside your preconceived notions – good or bad – about vaccinations and just think about the thousands of times a week you come in contact with other people and their human residue – their exhaled breath and flatulent out-gassings wafting on slight breezes, their constantly shedding germs that become the floating motes of the melting pot of humanity before joining forces with the minuscule bits and pieces of everything else to become a microscopic menagerie of human/floral/faunal/bacterial/fungal/viral/chemical and technological atmospherically delivered effluent that – with the help of your need to breathe to live – finds its way into the tacky folds of your nasal cavity before paying a visit to the fragile, warm, humid depths of your oh so sensitive lungs.
How many times do you ride in a friend’s car, a public bus, train, taxi and share this air with others?
How often do you open a door by grasping the handle – what grimy, nose, and buttocks picking, crotch-grabbing, bipedal naked ape fondled that handle only moments before you did? Where had they been? Who had they been with? Exactly what form of nasty had they been doing only moments before? Did they wash their hands after they did whatever or whomever they did? Did they just blow or wipe their snotty, runny, dripping, mucus, and booger-filled nasal cavity and then use their soiled paw to grab the doorknob/fuel pump handle that you just grabbed moments after them!?! Is that why it was sticky when you touched it?!!?
How often do you ride in the confines of an elevator/subway/taxi/Uber/Lyft/handsome cab with strangers? How often do you use rental bicycle, Lyme or Bird electric scooters? When was the last time you used an escalator or elevator? When was the last time you pumped gas or used an EV charging station? How often do you visit a public toilet? How often do the others visiting that toilet wash their hands…how often and how well do YOU wash your hands after touching your face, your genitals, and/or excreting your bodily waste products? How often do they/you then walk out into the restaurant and grasp the serving spoon on the buffet line – I shudder at the thought…
When was the last time you shared space with a friendly stranger in a coffee shop, a restaurant, bar, airplane, cruise ship? Where were they from? Did they just come from a trip to a highly populated city where they visited a crowded street market or maybe even a “bushmeat” vendor or “wet market?” Did they just come from a tour of duty doing humanitarian work in disease, war, or climate refugee camps on the other side of the planet? Did they just come from an ultra-orthodox anti-vaccination community on the other side of town? How would you know? They may be really interesting and very nice but now you are inhaling the air they just breathed out, and you are in-taking a portion of their germs – wherever they picked them up – yikes. How many times per day/week/month/year are you exposed to countless invisible invading armies of microorganisms that have been evolving alongside humans and the animals they hunt, eat, or keep as pets for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years? I am sure the numbers are truly staggering.
Food for thought from the Mythbusters.
The good thing for you my friend is this: evolution gifted you with an incredible immune system and it is constantly at work in the background protecting you from a large percentage of the armies of microscopic invaders that you are constantly assaulted by from all sides, surfaces, foods, beverages, strangers, friends, family, pets and even wild animals. Without your immune system doing its job, you and I would have passed away long ago. However, even though our immune systems are very good at what they do, sometimes an infectious agent comes along that beats our defenses and sickens us. Our immune systems then go into overdrive and eventually destroy the invader, remember it, and hopefully, we are never sickened by that particular baddy again. Then there are the germs that are hell-bent on the all-out destruction of their host. Germs that your body has little defenses to overcome. The high-yield nukes of the germ world. To fight these bad guys your body needs a little outside support from science, it needs some training in how to identify and fight these new enemies so when they try to get in again the immune system will remember them and be able to fight them off effectively without making you severely ill. This is where the science of vaccines come in. The fact that your parents (hopefully) chose to trust science and have you vaccinated when you were a young child now allows your silent army of immunity to quietly and quickly identify and fight off the invaders, therefore, allowing you to carry on with life as usual – blissfully protected and unaware of the microscopic turf wars going on inside your own body.
However, if you are not vaccinated, I wish you only the best of luck – but luck will not fully protect you – only science and common sense will. So please, use some common sense, wise up, and go get some science and go get yourself vaccinated!
In fact as I write these words (early fall 2019) only a few hours ago I received my Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (whooping cough) booster vaccination and yes, a few weeks before that I received my Influenza vaccination.
Yep, I am “vaxxer” 100% – and I am alive, healthy, and have gray hair in part because of it. I trust vaccines, I trust the medical professionals who invented them, I trust the professionals who administer them, and I trust the science behind why they work.
Why do I trust them?
1 – I trust them to protect me from the uncaring microscopic nasties that “want” nothing more than to use my body as an incubator for their offspring and then use me as an unaware, robotic-zombie-like delivery system to spread more sickness, pain, suffering, and death to all those around me…
2 – I trust them to protect me from the “anti-vaxxers.” The unthinking, irrational, the dangerously overly skeptical, and often conspiracy “theory” following, FUD spreading, individuals who choose to NOT trust medical science and then choose to NOT receive their vaccinations for themselves and for their offspring. These individuals are intentionally making very bad choices that make life much more hazardous for themselves, for their families, their friends, and for all of the other humans beings they come in contact with – directly and indirectly.
These anti-vaxxers either lack accurate knowledge, are resistant to facts, or they may lack the common sense and the highly developed critical thinking skills to understand that getting a vaccine will protect you and your loved ones from some of the nastiest, ugliest, most harmful, painful, diseases that have been all but eradicated since the invention of modern medicine. Diseases that are sadly making a comeback because of the bad choices of a small number of uninformed and/or irrational individuals.
3 – I trust them to NOT “give” me autism. Vaccines do not cause, give, or instigate autism. That is a myth perpetuated by Andrew Wakefield and his followers and they have no verified evidence to support their erroneous, fabricated claims.
Your future is in your hands and, if you are vaccinated – it is also in your bloodstream.
Being vaccinated I now feel a bit like a superhero with a force field around me – a force field of immunity driven and augmented by the findings of science!
Come at me now ugly germs – my immune system is armed and ready and you don’t stand a chance.
That brings us to today, and now there is COVID-19 to be concerned about. Luckily, just a few days ago I received my first COVID-19 vaccination (see next photo) and soon will receive my second and will join the millions of people all around the world who are working together with science to fight this new deadly viral scourge.
Next,more food for thought – this time, on Tetanus and what it does to the human body.
If you are still questioning how vaccines work check this out:
Speaking of germs and sickness, I am not free from all of them – no one is. In fact, we need our germs, the good ones, to keep us functioning and healthy – this is our Microbiome. Science is discovering that our microbiome is a huge part of our health and when your microbiome is suppressed or unhealthy due to stress, imbalance, or illness it can lead to other more life threatening conditions and infections.
I had have had many of the common – and some uncommon – ailments and issues that attack humans everywhere. Mononucleosis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, many episodes of allergy-induced acute and chronic sinus infections, exercise-induced asthma, labyrinthitis, and reoccurring eczema-like skin conditions – all these conditions and situations could have developed into more serious conditions (and/or even death) had I not been given professional medical care and treatments, medications, professional recommendations, and allergy immunotherapy that combated all of the previously mentioned ailments bringing me back to a state of nominal health. So yet again, that branch of science we call medicine and those scientists we call doctors came to the rescue of this blood, bone, and meat-filled sack that I pilot around the planet daily and refer to as my body.
It is important to note that none of the before mentioned conditions were caused by my childhood vaccinations – or any other vaccination. They were products of my genetic susceptibility coupled with my childhood exposure to infectious viral, fungal, and bacterial organisms that are not dangerous enough to have a vaccine…yet. These germs – AKA the common cold and other similar yet rather mild infections – were shed by others around me while I was in school and I was infected by them but recovered using my natural immunity. However, how many times was I exposed to more virulent and destructive microorganisms lurking in the public environment of school, church, summer camp, the movie theater, the beach, the birthday party, the mall, etc…? Organisms that would have rendered me dead or disfigured had I not been vaccinated and therefore protected from those nasty little armies of vampiric little buggers that are only out to invade and use our warm, moist, meat-robot, bodies as incubators for their multitudes of dastardly little offspring…we may never know. But I do know that I owe my long, healthy life to those thousands of doctors and scientists who worked tirelessly to develop, perfect, and administer those life-saving vaccines and other medications – and to my parents who opted to have me vaccinated as any good parent would and should do.
Then there were the environmental and chemical irritants and pollutants that I was exposed to over my younger years. These irritants came to me in the form of “natural” pollen, dust, and dander while the pollutants came in the form of household chemicals and agricultural chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other chemicals that were used by my family in our house, greenhouses, and on our farmlands. I was a child and had no knowledge that the toxic soup of chemicals I was being exposed to on a daily basis was harming my health via the oils, particulates, and VOCs I was inhaling as well as taking in through direct contact. My parents had no knowledge these chemicals were potentially harmful as it was the early-mid 1970’s and many of these chemicals were only just beginning to be used on a large scale so their impacts on human and wildlife health were not yet known to science. As a child, I was also exposed to even more diffuse/concentrated chemical pollutants that were the toxic by-products/emissions from fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the form of lawnmowers, tractors, old inefficient cars, and diesel school busses which, at the time, had limited to none of the emissions controls required today. Then there were the local energy generation operations – all of which were coal-fired at the time. These fossil fuel emission-based toxic atmospheric pollutants, combined with the chemicals and natural irritants I had been exposed to earlier in life, worked together to compound and exacerbated the damage to my young respiratory and immune systems resulting in the conditions that I suffer with to this day.
These allergies, sinus, skin, and other health conditions are now mostly non-existent but the ones that do occasionally resurface can be mitigated with the peer-reviewed recommendations from my doctors and their methods, tools and findings of medical science. Yay science!
Not that long ago I was possibly exposed to the Rabies virus while rescuing an injured animal. I quickly received a preventative Rabies vaccination series, and I am still alive and healthy – and now have a higher than your average human’s resistance to Rabies – again – yay science!
Later, I developed appendicitis – had my faulty appendix removed – and live on to this day. Again – yay science!
Then there was the time I was accidentally bitten by a wild Timber rattlesnake. I took an ambulance ride to the hospital, received antivenin (anti-venom), and made a full recovery. Yep, science yet again. Take a look at the video below if you are interested in my rattlesnake bite misadventure.
My point here is this: without science – I may not have been born and I would have died or been disfigured many times over.
Without science, I would not be telling you the story of my life so you can hopefully use my insight to help you make good choices for your life.
For all these reasons and so many more I choose to trust science.
If you are still here, and you are interested in what was going through my brain on the day I received my first COVID-19 vaccination – then feel free to watch the next video. It is my long-winded commentary on the value of science ending with my first COVID-19 vaccination.
I am frustrated at the apparent willful ignorance of so many people – people I thought were smart – acting like it is all a hoax, ignoring the science, promoting and sharing lame-ass conspiracy theories that have the potential to harm – or end – those who choose to believe, follow, and promote them.
In recent weeks the infection numbers have been rapidly growing and are higher than ever before. Yet – in many areas the restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, bleachers, beaches, party venues, churches, and streets are packed with people – many maskless and in very close proximity.
In the USA the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are fast approaching as is winter. I have a great concern that many will ignore the recommendations of the experts and will chose to gather inside with family and friends to celebrate these traditional holidays. I fear that if this happens the infection rate will climb even higher and many more innocent people will suffer and die all because people chose to put their own wants over the needs of everyone around them. They will chose to willfully and deliberately ignore the recommendations of science as if they actually believe they will somehow be magically protected by their deity of choice.
Life does not work that way no matter how much you want it to.
Nature does not care about you.
You must care about yourself and those around you.
In grocery and hardware stores I have seen everyone from toxicically masculine macho men to young parents with their kids – all unmasked – closely mingling with others and acting as if nothing is wrong.
I have spoken to mask-wearing front-line workers in these stores and asked them how they deal with these maskless bandits stealing the health and lives of others. They say at first they were told by their superiors to enforce the mask mandate – but then, after extreme push backs and verbal attacks from these maskless partons – they were told to just let them in the door and stop enforcing the rule. Why? Are the store owners afraid of losing profits? Are they afraid of confrontation or litigation? Whatever the reason it just boggles the mind that a store owner would choose possible contagion over doing what is right – tossing the whining, tantrum-throwing, maskless bandits out on the street and telling them to not come back in their store until they are following the rules set by the store owner, the authorities, and by science.
When I visit any store/shop I always wear a mask. In fact, as I have an elderly mother and other family members who are more at risk, and as I am a school teacher – I must limit my chance of bringing an unwanted hitchhiking virus back to my students/coworkers and loved ones. So, when I enter places where I have noted low mask use – such as WalMart and Hardware stores – I opt to wear a 3M N100 full face mask custom fitted with an exhale filter. Yes, I get many odd looks from the maskless bandits but I do not care.
They look at me as if I’m some kind of fearful nutjob.
The reality is that I am not living in fear – I am living with facts.
I look back wondering what is the matter with them – are they really so blind to facts, do they really have no care in their hearts for themselves or their fellow human beings, could they be some of the blind followers of any number of the anti-science, bible waving, greedy ego-maniacs in politics, religion, and on the internet who think it is all a hoax and/or a way for the government to impart control on the population and/or are just using the pandemic as a way to profit off the fear and uncertainty of their followers? Are they all getting some kind of mental fix from this game of Russian roulette they are playing with their lives and with the lives of countless others?
I do not know the answers. What I do know is that I have given up trying to educate those people because no amount of knowledge I share will make them change their minds and listen to reason. It is almost as if they are part of a dangerous anti-science, masochistic, pseudo-religious, cult of toxic self-centeredness.
Sadly sometimes, we thinking types just have to toss up our hands and walk away.
We must continue to protect ourselves by staying as far away as possible from the maskeless bandits.
We must not give up or give in and we must continue to follow the knowledge and recommendations of the science from the experts.
We must do all these things as well as just curl up in the safety of our caves and just sit back and let natural selection run its course.
What follows is a transcript of comments between my friend since high school Gordon Smith, myself, and other friends. This comment thread took place on social media outlet Facebook mid-summer 2020. Gordon contracted SarsCoV-2 (Corona virus/COVID-19) in July of 2020 and the following commentary outlines how it has impacted his life. Gordon and I have teamed up to bring his story to you and it is our hope that his experiences dealing with this new virus may give you and your family the knowledge, willpower, and ammunition to use against it to stay healthy and virus free.
7/19/20 10:10pm Gordon: Well fuck. Not tested yet, but no doubt I have it (COVID-19). Guess I have to make some serious lifestyle changes the next month. Ugh. Still in Raleigh and thinking I may go into UNC hospital in a bit. I literally feel like I am drowning in mucus. I have literally gone from oh it is not that over the last 3 days – to shit.
7/19/20 11:24 pm Gordon: Cannot breathe well and that just happened this afternoon.
7/19/20 11:36 pm Gordon: I am most definitely positive. 102 temp and every symptom plus driving and literally throwing up mucus.
7/20/20 4:15pm Gordon: Just got my chest x-rays. Walking pneumonia with a side of Covid. Lol
7/20/20 4:26 pm Friend: you tested positive for Covid-19?
7/20/20 4:27 Pm Gordon: Yeppers. Go big or go home eh!?!? Tested twice. Quick test yes, we shall see on the other one.
7/20/20 4:28 pm Friend: Ugh. Please be careful and follow their directions.
7/20/20 4:28 pm Gordon: OH I am and will.
7/20/20 4:35 pm Gordon: It is much worse. This hit me fast and made me panic. I literally made a will last night thinking I would be dead today. Lol… not dead…not as bad. Drove home from Raleigh and now working on what hotel I am going to go stay in.
7/20/20 12:10 pm Gordon: Wow….while sitting here at Pardee urgent care in Fletcher I have heard 11 (people), all men except for one girl child, say the exact symptoms.
7/20/20 12:28 pm Gordon: Ugh – bastards just did another covid19 nose jam test.
7/20/20 12:46pm Friend: When will you know?
7/20/20 12:48 pm Gordon: This test – a few days. The quick test was positive.
7/20/20 12:49 pm Friend: Oh hell. What are you going to do?
7/20/20 Gordon: Not sure yet. Got to find a place to go. Thinking the Marriott.
7/20/20 3:53pm Friend: Omg Gordon my new friend who I love. Fucking be careful.
7/20/20 4:14 pm Gordon: I am er was.
7/20/20 4:32 pm Gordon: Just got my chest x-rays. Walking pneumonia with a side of covid. Lol…oh yea, and a cracked rib too from coughing or throwing up!
7/20/20 4:44 pm Friend: That is a HORRID cough to crack a rib!
7/20/20 4:51 pm Gordon: Yea let me tell you!
7/20/20 7:17 pm Friend: My husband cracked ribs also, but in March, no tests … you are pretty much confirming he had it for me.
7/20/20 7:21 pm Gordon: That hurts! Did you have the thousand stabs breathing?
7/20/20 7:04pm Gordon: They put me on some drugs for the pneumonia but otherwise a wait and see what their test says. They are not relying on my other doctor’s quick test.
7/20/20 8:37 pm Gordon: It will be ok in time. Just hope I do not get any of the damage it seems to do to some.
7/20/20 7:02 pm Gordon: Lungs are sort of like hundreds of needles stabbing when you breathe. Otherwise I can handle the rest.
7/20/20 7:16 pm Friend: Are they keeping you or are you home?
7/20/20 7:19 pm Gordon: At home for the moment, moms next door with our neighbor/bestie. If I keep getting worse they said to go on to the ER.
7/20/20 11:32 am Gordon: So now getting x-rays at Pardee urgent care fletcher since my Doctor’s machine broke down. 7 people in the lobby here to get tested. My quick test was positive.
7/20/20 11:34 am Gordon: It’s like my head has opened up some sort of drain. Hose system. I literally feel like I am drowning in mucus.
7/21/20 9:57 am Gordon: Thousands of needles to my lungs when I breathe.
7/21/20 10:01pm Friend: How are you???!
7/21/20 10:02 pm Gordon: Not sure how to reply. One thing is better – like lungs and breathing I think – but seems to change every few hours. More things going wrong than right. I know this is a war not a battle.
7/21/20 10:03 pm Friend: are you up and able or bedridden?
7/21/20 10:05 pm Gordon: No I am up. I do feel like a truck ran over me. Sleeping about 16 hours. I, lol, am the son of another Gordon. We do not go down easily, nor does my mother!
7/21/20 11:08 pm Gordon: So wow…only about 18 hours of a med and my lungs are doing stupid great! No longer a thousand needle pricks on every breath – only a hundred! Kidney or liver issues maybe? Not sure. Going back to a Dr. tomorrow morning. Every fiber in my body aches like I have been run over by a bulldozer I would think. Severe headaches, nausea (Did not let the scrip happen) and severe pain every time I hack from the ribs and the whole inner cavity. I still feel somewhat that I have a faucet in my brain that is totally on tap flowing down my throat making me what to puke. Lol…SO I feel better basically! I think I can and will sleep about another 14 hours soon. So wear a Mask and a full body shield. And – and stay home. This is the worse I have ever been. Oh yea, also found my BP is now 142 over 110. So who knows – might still stroke out. BTW. I made out a will just in case. If something happens bad, it would please me if you all meet on the published day/night at Christie’s restaurant which you can eat whatever and drink whatever. I made provisions for a wake there. Also it will be great cabs.
7/21/20 11:10 pm Friend: Hang in there…. with luck, the worst is about to pass.
7/21/20 11:10 pm Gordon: Kind of do not think that since I really have crappy luck.
7/21/20 11:12 pm Friend: Stay positive… perhaps take heart in the old saying that only the good die young…you could be immortal.
7/21/20 11:14 pm Gordon: Oh no Billy Joel lives in me… I went to a catholic school with the bus driver Mrs. Adams playing that for us boys every trip to the YMCA from school! It stuck and I am not good!!!!!!!!!! ROFL!
7/21/20 11:16pm Friend: As a recovering Catholic, embrace the guilt and move on LOLOLOL
7/21/20 11:10pm Gordon: I am going to try and describe what is going on so you will know what you have to look forward too. I am running a 98 temp so I am cool as far as temps. Everything else sucks. I honestly feel like I am dying, imagining what that may be like. If I lie down I wheeze and need to sit up to breathe. I am taking 20 breathes a minute and they are all painful.
7/21/20 11:45 pm Gordon: Even though I am drinking about 3 gallons of water and a half a gallon of OJ a day – I am having sever Charlie horses that curl my toes about every two hours. That is weird.
7/21/20 11:46pm Gordon: I upped my daily vitamins by basically 8 times. Not all of them mind you but I have upped most of them knowing the body gets rid of the rest.
7/21/20 11:53pm Gordon: …oh yea…. severe chest pain on my left side but no radiating nor do I feel like and elephant sat on my chest. Nor any back pain. So no heart attack I think.
7/22/20 1:10am Gordon: I am doing 8 times me normal vitamins for the most part. I am more worried about my heart, liver and kidneys at this point. I am now thinking no more 100 years as I thought I would make it. More like 80.
7/22/20 1:11am Gordon: One of my friends in China that was in Wuhan is my age and now doing mini strokes – blows her and my minds.
7/22/20 1:22am Gordon: I always think of “Ming and Joe” that were there. They saw it firsthand.
7/22/20 3:05am Friend: If you need to go to hospital, don’t hesitate. I’m sorry you are going through this, my friend.
7/22/20 9:31 am Gordon: Wear a mask, face shield, and gloves buddy. You do not want this!!
7/22/20 10:20 pm Friend: Feel better buddy! Get rest and see the doc. We have been down a week now and just got negative Covid tests. I still wonder if we would have tested positive 2 days after…
7/22/20 10:27 pm Gordon: This is a mother I can tell you this. Never been this sick in my life and I had cancer once! Hope you do not get pneumonia like I did. Had a lot of tests done today on my liver/kidneys/heart, and blood. Time will tell.
7/23/20 6:43 am Gordon: Wooohoooo! Woke up this morning without the constant mucus flow (Or brain leakage as I call it) at 1000%. Now it is at maybe 25%. Here is to hoping that symptom is gone soon. The Steroid will help with breathing I was just put on. The cough is the MF’er with the cracked rib. Highly irritable missing my great wines and work.
7/23/20 6:51 am Friend: Maybe you’ll come up with a covid cookbook? I heard you should never let a good crisis go to waste 🙂
7/23/20 6:52 am Gordon: Oh trust me on this one…you do not want to eat or drink. Just drink lots of water.
7/23/20 8:03 am Friend: I hope you’re turning the corner!
7/23/20 8:04 am Gordon: Ah other things are crappy but this one is good!
7/23/20 8:38 am Friend: How are you? This is pitiful. 😩
7/23/20 8:39 am Gordon: Got to agree. Lol
7/23/20 8:40 am Gordon: I am posting so some of my FB friends that still disagree with masks face shields get to know what is coming their way.
7/23/20 8:48 am Friend: I hope it works. So many that I know still believe it’s just political non-sense. I hope you feel better soon. 🙁
7/23/20 8:50 am Gordon: So now I have 3 FB friends that have had it or going through it now. (Won’t out the other 3, but one is now a believer!)
7/23/20 8:52 am Friend: I think it takes some people to have that up close and personal experience to believe it. I just wish it wasn’t that way. But, either way…I’m proud of you for trying. ❤
7/23/20 9:10 am Friend: Keep feeling better, bro. So sorry you’re going through this.
7/23/20 9:12 am Gordon: Thanks. This has a lot of complications. Mask and face shield up!
7/23/20 9:15 am Friend: I don’t go out in public without mine.
7/23/20 9:36am Friend: Happy you are getting better. 🙏😁
7/23/20 9:36 am Gordon: One thing is…others not.
7/23/20 10:05 Friend: 😢 Sending prayers
7/23/20 1:56pm Friend: Don’t get too comfortable … treat yourself like you’re sicker than you are because it WILL sneak back up on you…
7/23/20 1:11 pm Friend: Are you serious about the cracked rib?
7/23/20 2:44 pm Gordon: Oh yea. I had a GF about 15 years ago that had a daughter that jumped on my chest and even though she was about 40 pounds she cracked a rib. I coughed so hard it re-cracked.
7/23/20 9:20 pm Gordon: Was told no more steak. So I bought one more for myself. 3#s Angus. I’ll gnaw on it for 3 days. Too bad I cannot smell or taste the damn thing. So onto other news. Fever running 101.4 all day. Mucus is almost nothing. (In other words not swallowing every 20 seconds) might have kidney, liver and heart damage. No idea about the lungs. I am having memory issues. Went to do something I have done thousands of times and totally had no clue today. BUT!!!! I was smart enough to open mom a Justin cabernet with her steak ($25) Instead of the good stuff since I had to have a few swigs. Soooooo – I STILL HAVE SOMETHING UPSTAIRS THAT HAS NOT LEAKED DOWN ONLY TO BE SWALLOWED!
7/23/20 10:46pm Friend: I’d rather be dead than not be able to eat a good steak…be careful of what I wish for…
7/23/20 10:51 pm Gordon: Yes, Mask and Face Shield up! Steak is not worth death. Found out a lot with this Covid19 and testing. I am over weight as we know by 42#’s. My heart is not in good shape nor kidneys or liver. Excessive living, even though I prefer Seafood. Time to make that change. Just wish the gyms were opened. Called an old buddy who was in the Army Special Forces who will come get me out of bed 5 days a week when I am better and force me to work out and get back into shape.
7/23/20 10:52 pm Friend: I have the same issues… I’m fricking 64 and… Never mind! Get better!
7/22/20 10:28 pm Gordon: Oh by the way – reason #36 why you need to wear a mask, face shield, and gloves: Constant diarrhea. Yea, smells like roses.
7/23/20 2:36 am Friend: Yer gonna get sued by Roses for this post 😉
7/23/20 3:13 pm Friend: THAT’S where all the toilet paper went! No, seriously, that could be from your huge antibiotic.
7/24/20 10:24 am Gordon: Day 6 of having this crap. Woke up with excellent oxygen saturation. Whew. Morphed onto my sofa the last 16 hours since the bedroom is 20 steps away. My doctors are worried about heart, kidney and liver damage and have tested. I am more worried about my mind. Forgetting things I know and that is terrifying. I was good wearing good masks (n100s) but not always wearing my glasses that wrap around. I bet that I got this through my eyes. Wear a face shield!
7/24/20 12:27 pm Gordon: People really got to realize just a great mask is not enough. Eyes are the easiest way to get it.
7/25/20 8:33 am Me: Hey Gordon, how are you feeling today and what are your symptoms looking like? Also, what are your thoughts and recommendations to all the people out there who think this thing is “just a little cold,” or a manufactured hoax, government/election year plot, conspiracy to control people through mask-wearing, forced vaccinations…yada yada yada?
7/25/20 11:20 am Gordon: Wow…new record. Just took me 15 mins to make 2 packages of instant oatmeal, a new personal best record for me this week. Betting Webster’s this week replaces my picture for a sloth.
7/25/20 11:22 am Gordon: Day 7. Slept in until 10 am. Took O2 reading of 86. (Get an oxygen reader everyone) that is going the wrong way. All usual symptoms still here. Headache, fatigue, (getting off the sofa is not easy), diarrhea, cough, pain from broken rib, forgetfulness, fog, mucus overflow, and weird sharp pains. Daily routine is drinking 12 33.8 oz Smartwaters a day, refilling all of them, in addition to 1/2 gal of OJ. Vitamins all along. Steroid inhaler, horse pills (Augmentin) zinc, vitamin d, and melatonin. Sleep of 16 hours a day. Water in water out, that’s my big day. Keeping the house at 65 and still sweat? No desire to eat but planning grilled swordfish tonight with a leek and caper Amish butter, saffron rice and haircut de vert. Normally I can whip that out in 30 mins. This is going to take all day to prep.
7/25/20 11:37 am Gordon: I still know a few FB friends that do not believe nor think masks are needed. I sort of agree with them. Like my 2 friends in china that did not go out without proper PPE being a full respirator mask. I am now using the 3m 6700. IF your eyes are not protected you will get it if you walk through where I just exhaled and you walk through it. I know from them and was posting on this timeline that many were dying in China and they literally stopped counting over there. MY friend “Ming” was there trying to get the word out desperately about what was happening and what was coming to the rest of the World. (Going to nominate her for CNN’s annual awards) I think the idiots that think this is political and a “Control” thing are so fucking nuts that I get rid of them pretty quickly now. Personally I have offered to buy them beers and come on over and let’s discuss in person and keep the mask at home. Steve O’Neil – all I really know and see now is our country needs to start spending a lot more money on mental health since there are a lot more unstable people out there then we thought there were. I get the boomers who have no education but now I see people we went to school with being a complete wacko on 5G etc. etc. etc. I also think it needs to be some sort of crime to deliberately publish untrue information and that FB and Twitter now do need to be regulated and have to flag all potential garbage and have consequences for publishing it. It is all a mess. I have been spending weeks looking at property in the south of France. 450k buys a good 8 acres with a nice little 3 bedroom home with insane views and a very nice quiet life. I have my escape plans.
7/25/20 1:59 Me: Yes, same here. I find it hard to believe that in today’s world with so much access to peer-reviewed science-supported facts – that so many people still choose to ignore those facts – on so many topics – and instead choose to believe the fear-driven conspiracy theories around the pandemic…and the shape of the earth, the existence of gravity, the moon landing, “chemtrails,” vaccines, 5G, Bill Gates, microchips, Chloroquine, alien “demon spawn/sperm”…so many lunatic-fringe type wacko things. I suppose it is just a sign of the times but they can say what they like, I’m always choosing the peer-reviewed science and reason over the fear mongering, evidence-lacking hearsay, and conspiracy-minded madness. I have a P100 respirator half mask on the way in the mail. I plan to use it when I have to go anywhere public or when I visit my mother. I would feel horrible if I visited with her and she came down with the virus after I had picked up her groceries for her. I don’t know how I would live with that. The new mask does not have eye protection but your story now has me considering a face shield to wear over the respirator. You are so right about mental health. So many people seem to be stuck in a crazy downward spiral of ignoring the facts and believing and sharing all the fear-mongering – it is really scary. I have had to delete one person already because they continuously trolled me on almost every factual post I shared about almost anything. They just attacked and ignored reality and substituted their own manufactured idea of reality. It was truly bizarre. I am not sure what the answer to all this is but I do know that following the lead of science is a great place to start. I also know that my students give me great hope for the future. They are so smart and focused and they despise the hate, injustice, the racism, and the sleazy, perverted, greedy old men wanting to run everything with only profit in mind – when they become adults they will oust the greedy warmongers and doomsayers running things now and hopefully, the world will change for the better. The respirator mask I ordered: https://www.amazon.com/GVS-SPR451-Elipse-Respirator-Medium/dp/B013SIIBME/?tag=theedcmaga123-20
7/25/20 2:00pm Gordon: You got to protect your eyes! We know it can hang in a spot I just exhaled for 2 hours in the air.
7/25/20 2:02 pm Gordon: I am really sure that is how I got it.
7/25/20 2:11 pm Me: Do you have an idea of where you may have picked it up?
7/25/20 2:12 pm Me: Whenever I am in a store I constantly listen for coughing – if I hear it, I immediately go the opposite direction.
7/25/20 2:13 pm Gordon: Yes I am very sure I did (get it) on July 4th when all the out of towners invaded Hendersonville. I went out and wore my usual to get to my bar seat that was well away from everyone until the out of towners from GA, SC and Fla ordered drinks right next to me.
7/25/20 2:14 pm Gordon: Coughing is Number one on my radar too and I know the cough since I had it in Jan/Feb and now again.
7/25/20 2:14 pm Me: Damn. Yep, that sounds very plausible. I am staying away from all bars, pubs, restaurants, any public places where people from out of town – and now locals who think it is a hoax – may mingle.
7/25/20 2:17 pm Me: I also have a very strict sanitation regimen I have been using since April to help keep COVID out of my home, my classroom, my students, my friends, my family…and my body. I can trust myself to do all these things and take all these precautions – but the hard part is trusting others to do what is right for themselves and for everyone else they may come in contact with. I just cannot understand how some people ignore the facts and put their own selfish interests first while endangering others in the process.
7/25/20 2:18 pm Gordon: Asheville and Hendersonville are over run now with outsiders but now our local population has it. When I was getting tested last Monday in the hour I was there 11 others came in hacking. 9 men (Construction types) 1 woman, and a 11 yo girl. All had the same symptoms. 7/25/20 2:21 pm
Me: same here in Brevard. People everywhere, acting like nothing is wrong. I understand that people are done with this, but this is not done with us. Until we have a vaccine and/or better treatment – nothing will get better unless people just toss out their wants and focus on taking care of each other over their own personal desires. That is nuts…so many, so fast…
7/25/20 3:57 pm Me: It (my new mask) came today. I’ll be closing off the outflow valve to protect others from me.
7/25/20 3:57 pm Gordon: shop goggles?
7/25/20 3:59 pm Me: yep, they should fit over my glasses.
7/25/20 4:00 pm Me: Some may say I’m living in fear, but no, I’m living with facts.
7/25/20 4:15 pm Me: So true. My healthy fear of getting this thing is far lessened by my trust in the facts and the recommendations of the experts. Sure, I could still get it but I believe I have greatly reduced my chances by taking all the recommended precautions and then some…and soon an eye shield as well. I think that part of the problem some seem to have with the science and the recommendations of the experts is that they are often changing with new scientific findings. This uncertainty causes some people to mistrust the experts and science in general. This just shows that many people must not have listened in school when the teachers/professors told us that is exactly how science works – especially when something totally new comes along that not much is known about such as SARS CoV-2. The scientific process is not perfect, but it is far better than doing nothing, calling it and a hoax, and all the other anti-science nonsense floating around on the interwebs. Healthy fear keeps us healthy. Healthy fear allows us to improvise, adapt, overcome and evolve to meet any new situation life may throw at us. Editor’s Tangent. While what follows was not part of the original social media comment thread, it is relevant in the context of this post. As of 8/9/20, and due to your experience Gordon, I am no longer taking any chances when I need to visit a public place such as a grocery or hardware store and I am now using this mask which protects my mouth, respiratory system, and my eyes from almost any possible infection.
Here’s a photo from a few days ago…and before anyone asks – yes, I have added a filter to the exhale port to protect others.
When I wear this thing I feel like a cross between an astronaut and a SCUBA diver with a little bit of dark lord of the Sith thrown in for good measure. Do I care what people think? In a word: no. I know that some people will see using a mask such as this (or any mask) as living in fear or overkill or both, but I do not – I see it like this:
I wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and other specialized safety/protective equipment when needed for any other potential hazard to life and limb. For example: I wear rubber gloves, mask, and goggles when treating someone else’s wound, I wear a face shield, gloves, and chaps when chain sawing and weed trimming, I wear leg gaiters and use grip extending tongs and hooks when working with venomous snakes, I wear a filter mask when painting or working with chemicals , I wear boots for walking over challenging terrain, I wear insulated gloves in the winter, I wear ear/eye protection when using power tools or target shooting, I wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or caving/rock climbing, I wear a seat belt when driving, I wear SCUBA gear when diving, I use a flashlight at night, and I wear clothes at varying thicknesses depending upon the current environmental conditions (yes, clothes are PPE). So yes, just like all these other hazardous/potentially harmful activities – I choose to wear a filter/respirator mask when I am placing myself in situations where other animals or human animals may be carrying an infectious disease that has the potential to sicken, harm, or end me – and especially when some of those humans choose to endanger all of us by choosing to not wear a mask when in public during a global viral pandemic.
I am my mother’s healthcare care-giver. I do not want to take a potentially deadly disease to her or her friends. If this happened, I just do not know how I would be able to live with the knowledge that I was the vector of the pathogen that harmed her or someone else.
I am an essential employee and I do not want to take a potentially deadly disease to my students and coworkers. If this happened, I just do not know how I would live with the knowledge that I was the vector of the pathogen that harmed someone on my watch.
I would rather spend a onetime cost of ~$200 on a top of the line mask and filters, than the tens of thousands of dollars I would need to spend on treatment for COVID-19…and the costs associated with being out of work during a battle with COVID-19…and the potential of losing my job due to possible life-long health complications that could arise from having COVID-19.
If I came down with covid-19 – my wife and I could lose everything. Therefore, I am going to do everything in my power to not let that happen. If wearing a huge ugly mask in public, staying home and staying away from public places/gatherings as much as possible, physical distancing, following the recommendations of the infectious disease experts, listening to the science, and washing my hands a bit more is the only recipe available to keep me and my family, friends, students and coworkers as safe as possible from this monster of a virus – then so be it. I will do all these things until a time when either the experts say it is safe to resume “normal” activities and/or a vaccine/treatment is available and infection numbers start to drop.
After COVID-19 has passed into the history books I may continue to use the mask for other things such as but not limited to; breathing in very dusty conditions, breathing while painting things, breathing during a forest fire, breathing in the event of another epidemic or pandemic, breathing while working with hazardous chemicals (not that I ever do this – but now I will have the PPE if it ever comes up), breathing and surviving a chemical/biological attack from a domestic or international terrorist, or a “zombie apocalypse,” etc.…
I am not living in fear – I am living with facts. Now, back to Gordon’s story.
7/25/20 4:17 pm Gordon: Not to mention those that think “god” is going to protect them from COVID or has predetermined if they will live or die.
7/25/20 4:23 pm Me: Exactly – those folks are totally lunatic fringe dwelling wackjobs. Best to stay far away from them.
7/25/20 1:33 pm Me: Looks like it is a war for sure. Hang in there man, don’t let this thing get the best of you. Keep up the sleep, antibiotics (you may want to consider taking a high quality probiotic if your doctor agrees – it may help with the intestinal distress caused by the virus and the antibiotic – Augmentin really ripped me a new one once when I had to take it but probiotics literally saved my guts), lots of water and other therapies and hopefully the swordfish will help – I had a slab of salmon for breakfast 🙂
7/25/20 1:34 pm Gordon: All good advice. Doing yogurt.
7/25/20 1:34 pm Friend: How’s your O2 sat?
7/25/20 1:35 pm Gordon: Crap….86 waiting patiently for my new Oxygen machine to arrive via Amazon today.
7/25/20 1:31 pm Gordon: Here are links to what I have bought and am using to combat this crap.
7/25/20 1:45 pm Gordon: Had a UV system put on my HVAC a few days ago. Combo UV, Ionizers and Ozone units I am thinking with HEPA Filters
7/25/20 1:47 pm Friend: I live in the desert where dust is always an issue. Buying a BlueAir purifier has been the best investment for improving the overall air equality inside my villa. This might help in your journey. Any particulate matter can impact your lungs as you recover from covid.
7/25/20 1:52 pm Gordon: Just bought this! Blueair Air Purifier
7/27/20 7:14pm Gordon: Day 9 beginning to wonder if this crap will ever end. My cough has stopped for the most part. My oxygen level is holding well. Got my test results back and my liver and kidneys are fine. Lungs….eh. Glad I am not a smoker. I am going to buy a new sofa since this one is starting to smell like me, since I rarely leave it. This sucks. Wear a mask and a shield.
7/29/20 9:05 am Gordon: Day 13. Way better. Tired beyond belief. Other symptoms almost done. Lungs are now wheezy and that might be permanent. Liver and kidneys are good.
7/29/20 9:12 am Friend: Is your doctor telling you it might be permanent? So glad you’re feeling better though. Don’t overdo it.
7/29/20 9:13 am Gordon: Yes. Asthmatic now. No marathons in my future – or Cuban cigars.
7/29/20 9:15 am Friend: I wouldn’t listen to them just yet but I’m stubborn like that. You’re still not over the illness. Try not to worry just yet. It hasn’t been two weeks yet, right? How can they say that when it hasn’t yet been two weeks? I’m not a doctor but that seems alarmist. Probably best on the cigars though. 👌
7/29/20 9:16 am Gordon: Everyone is different of course, but they are going on info from what has already been seen throughout the world.
7/29/20 9:17 am Friend: I have heard it takes people time to regain their senses sometimes. Taste and smell.
7/29/20 9:18 am Gordon: and the “fuzziness”
7/29/20 12:24 pm Friend: Glad to see that you’re feeling better. I hope that you continue to heal completely and have no lingering effects.
7/29/20 5:23 pm Gordon: Well, that is all kind of suck news. I need to see a cardiologist now. Had an EKG scheduled next week and got in early.
7/29/20 6:35 pm Friend: No way!! That’s insane and absurd! I am glad your liver and kidneys are OK
7/29/20 7:18 pm Friend: Glad you are on the mend!!!
8/02/20 10:23 pm Friend: Feeling a little better?
8/02/20 10:25 pm Gordon: 100% better. Still have the lung crap and asthma now but otherwise looks like I beat it for now.
8/02/20 10:25 pm Friend: I’m very glad to hear that! 😁
8/02/20 10:26 pm Gordon: Me too! Making some lifestyle changes which were needed. Got to prolong the ticker as long as I can.
8/8/2020 Gordon: Just looked and it is hard to believe this all happened as fast as it did. I am a lucky one. My favorite bartender in Raleigh age 26 died first in March. My next door neighbor in Raleigh, a marine with 5 kids in excellent shape, age 41 died after 5 days getting it somehow. My attorney, 61 died in Brevard. He did have underlying issues but Covid took him out, and my mom’s best friend’s mother got it and died in 3 days. She was 94. So knowing these people – I am lucky. I have heart issues they detected using an EKG comparing it to one I just had 6 months ago along with blood tests. I now have asthma. I have a lot of times now where I feel I cannot breathe and hit my oxygen concentrator machine I bought during the illness. I never spent a night in the hospital but still have $17,482.15 in bills. I got to say I really thought I was going to die the second day I knew I had it. I started feeling bad on a Thursday 7/16 and by Friday 7/17, I thought that was it! I was in a panic trying to get a will done fast to make sure mom was going to be fine. I have no real symptoms now. The cough, fever, headaches are gone but the “fuzziness” is here as is the complete lack of energy. I feel like I am around 20% of my usual 100% energy level. To be honest sometimes it is hard to type. Before I came down with the monster that is covid I was pretty careful but I know I could have been more vigilant. I hope whoever reads this understands the fact that this is a terrible virus and it will not go away until everyone masks up, uses a face shield, gloves, and limits contact with everyone. Deaths today on 8/8/2020 are 161,682. I bet that number is larger but politics are now happening so who knows what our numbers actually are or will be, but having gone through it I would not be surprised if our death rate here in the US goes up 4 or 5 times this number. Good Luck Gordon S.
Update: Since Gordon’s last post he is doing a bit better but continues to have unusual cardiac and neurological after-effects from the virus. He is continuing to receive medical care and hopefully, in time, he will fully recover. While Gordon is doing better and on the road to recovery – the people close to him who were taken by this virus are forever gone, their friends and families in mourning, their human social and emotional support networks forever disrupted.
The lessons we should all take away from Gordon’s experience – if not plainly obvious – are as follows: SARS CoV-2/COVID 19 is a very real, very dangerous, potentially debilitating, and sometimes deadly disease.
This virus does not hunt for you – you hunt for it. You are its habitat – but only if you let it infect you.
The best way to keep from finding it and to keep it out of you is as follows: Stay away from places where it concentrates – places where there are high concentrations of other people – especially people you do not know that may have traveled from other locations.
Listen to and follow the recommendations of the infectious disease experts. Yes, these recommendations may change, that is just how science works. It is up to you to listen and adapt your life to any new information they may provide.
Just because a politician or other talking head on TV says it is OK to open the doors and go back to business as usual again – do not fully trust them – they are not infectious disease experts and they are not always following the recommendations of those experts when they make their – often profit over people based – decisions. Make your decisions based on the recommendations of the infectious disease experts. Until the time comes when the infectious disease experts say it is safe to go back to business as usual, Gordon and I and the infectious disease experts suggest the following:
Stay home. Work from home. Enjoy your newfound home life. If you must go out – please wear your mask and other PPE. Physically distance yourself from others. Wash your hands – often.
Trust science. Be patient. Science takes time. Love one another. Stay healthy.
Gordon Smith, Steve O’Neil, and friends – October 2020
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