Pandemic Ramblings III

August 10, 2020 at 9:54 am | Posted in Climate Change, Covid-19,, Environment, Health | Leave a comment

A year and a half ago, back when people used to fly on airplanes, I went out to Claremont , California, to visit a bunch of Grail elders at a retirement community there, Pilgrim Place. During my daily walk around town, I noticed something that interested me: in front of a number of the beautiful and pricey homes were signs that read “Immigrants and Refugees Welcome Here.” And in front of those homes, or in their driveways, were multiple SUVS, vans and small trucks. I guess the residents didn’t entirely grasp why a good number of immigrants were coming north from Latin and Central America: droughts and famine caused in large part by green-house gas emissions.        And now, as I walk past the elegant Victorian-style mansions north and south of our apartment building here in west Flatbush, what do I see? “Black Lives Matter”  signs on their lawns and SUVs and trucks parked out front and in the driveways. I guess the residents don’t grasp that there are a number of reasons why people of color “can’t breathe,” not just cops with knees on their necks. Of course, lest you think anything is simple, the owners of some—a few—of these mansion and SUVs are themselves people of color. Their breathing must be pretty good.

And speaking of those mansions—I often wonder, as I walk past them, who is going to do all the landscaping and painting and repair and reconstruction of them if Trump and cronies manage to keep all immigrants out. I never hear a word of English from the current bunch of workers. Maybe all the recent college graduates who can’t find jobs would like to come out here to south-central Brooklynns to mow the lawns and repair the gutters?

And speaking of SUVs: when I was walking just north of the Parade Grounds where the soccer ball had smacked me, the day after Hurricane Isaias blew threw here, I passed a part of a huge tree that had broken off and fallen down. It didn’t hit the SUV, but it hit a big light pole, and that hit the rear-end of the SUV and smashed it. Nature’s revenge.

During my morning walk, I often think about my cataracts, especially after Hurricane Isaias, with all the branches down on the sidewalks. I can barely see them, so I have to be very careful. Occasionally I see someone walking toward me with what I think is an ice cream cone up near their face; turns out to be a cell phone! Or somebody walking with what I take to be a child, except it’s actually a dog. My cataract surgeries at the end of March and the beginning of April were cancelled at the last minute, with the end of elective surgeries. I try not to complain, with all so many people dying of covid-19. Now the surgeries are back on. I made my first of nine trips up to Weill Cornell Ophthalmology the other day, including covid-19 tests three days before each surgery. Fingers crossed. I really need to be able to see punctuation again!

Today on my walk, I passed a guy sitting on the step in front of an apartment building wearing a black tee shirt that read “No Lives Matter.” Wonder what that means? Maybe he’s a climate activist.

With that, I leave you. I have a book review to write.

 

Pandemic Ramblings II

August 3, 2020 at 11:33 am | Posted in Catholicism, Covid-19,, Trump | 1 Comment

When I went out on my morning walk the other day, I was thinking about the question of who wears masks and who doesn’t. Some speculate that women wear them more than men. I guess that’s true, though I also see couples where the man is wearing a mask and the woman isn’t. And there are really a lot of men pushing kids in carriages, or with babies strapped to their chests, wearing masks. But I suspect that the current intense heat and humidity are more important than gender differences. After I have walked for twenty minutes,  my black cotton mask is seriously wet. Not a great encouragement for any of us.

i have long believed that if everybody in the US just lived in the west end of Flatbush, out here in Brooklyn, they would stop hating the “other,” because there are just so many different kinds of others here. I regularly pass people speaking a foreign language—often a language I  can’t identify (Russian, Ukrainian? Chinese, Korean? Creole?). Sometimes I don’t hear a living soul speaking English during my entire walk. Another thing that often strikes me is how people—women, often—wearing strict religious clothing like Muslim women in veils and orthodox Jewish women in wigs—have cell phones shoved up against their faces. I wonder what they’re reading or watching? Finally, it cracks me up how people from every possible ethnic/racial/religious background seem to have their teenager children–especially teenage girls—giving them trouble, arguing, scowling, dressing distinctly differently from their parents. We all have a lot more in common than we think.

This morning while I was walking I was mulling over a series of articles about how the “devoutly Catholic” William Barr is less the head of the US Justice Department than he is DT’s “defender in chief,” in part because of his commitment to absolute presidential power. What the articles got me wondering about is how the US Catholic bishops have over the years refused communion to Catholic politicians who would not oppose the legal right to abortion, even if they personally would not have an abortion but have not said a word about Barr defending someone who brags about grabbing women by their crotches and has been accused of sexual misconduct numerous times. And then there’s Barr leading the Justice Department when it reinstated the death penalty after Pope Francis defined the death penalty as “inadmissible” in the Catholic catechism. I guess unborn fetuses and the right to fire gay employees are the only things that really matter.

Finally, the other day after my walk, I heard Amy Goodman do the second of several interviews with Noam Chomsky on “Democracy Now.” What struck me about the interview was Chomsky’s comment on all the articles and reports claiming that Trump’s behaviors are fascist. Fascists, Chomsky pointed out, were intelligent and extremely well organized—that’s how they almost conquered the world. Trump et al, on the other hand, don’t have the faintest idea what they are doing—they’re just destroying essential parts of the social infrastructure because they can and to please their corporate supporters.

Well, I guess I’ll ramble home now. Talk to you again soon.

 

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