The Backside of Winter

The Backside of Winter

Yesterday afternoon, it was in the fifties, so we went for a walk in Tower Grove Park. Sort of a last hurrah, because today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future it is going to be cold, cold, cold. There was visible progress on the reintroduction of a stream into the eastern end of the park. I’m still unsure how this watershed is supposed to work, but as Anne said, it is more important that those who are doing the work know what they are about. In other news, I ordered and received new KN95 masks. We have been using cloth masks, but the CDC is now recommending that everyone switch over to N95 or KN95 masks. I also ordered our four free at home Covid tests. They are expected by the end of the month. Otherwise, it is just hunkered down time.

Doing the Math

Respiratory Droplet, David Goodsell, 2020

Saying the quiet part out loud seems to be a thing these days. So, let’s get started here. Since last spring, when we were first vaccinated against Covid through last fall, when we were both boosted, our chances of dying from Covid have fallen significantly. Last summer saw the Delta variant surge and even now Omicron is raging out of control. Both waves of infection were followed by thousands of fatalities that were primarily borne by unvaccinated adult Americans. Numerous scientific studies have identified that the majority of the people who have died from Covid in the last six months can be correlated with voters who had supported Trump. The reason for this correlation is abundantly clear. Rightwing politicians and media have been feeding their supporters a steady diet of anti-vax propaganda, causing these people to eschew getting safely vaccinated like we did, in favor of unproven and ineffective home remedies, such as horse dewormer or their own piss. The results of these decisions by Trump supporters are that they are now dying at election demographics shifting numbers. In his recent Medium article Donald G. McNeil Jr. has laid out the math. Looking at just four battleground states, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada, which Trump lost by just razor thin margins in 2020, McNeil lays out the math. Currently, 95% of Americans who are dying now of Covid are unvaccinated. What is less clear, is the political affiliations of the deceased, except that death rates in counties that voted for Trump in 2020 are about three times higher than the death rates in counties that went for Biden. Call this 3-to-1 split a 75% chance. McNeil writes, “Right now, about 60 Arizonans, 36 Georgians, 34 Wisconsinites and 14 Nevadans are dying of Covid each day. Seventy five percent of 95 percent of that would be minus 103 Trump voters per day — just in those four swing states. Week after week. That adds up.” McNeil surmises that Donald Trump has seen the “arithmetic on the wall”, hence his recent to advocating for the vaccines, even in the face of booing from his fans.

Eagle Eyes

Mature Bald Eagle Roosting on Mississippi River Ice

After days of bitter cold, it has warmed up some around here. Yesterday, we took advantage of this warmer weather for a little road trip up to the Riverlands. It’s eagle season there now and after initially not seeing any, we did eventually spy two. The pictured one was closest of the two, standing out on the ice. There were some Trumpeter swans about too, but not as many as we’ve seen in the past, but maybe we were there at the wrong time of day. The swans usually leave the Riverlands at dawn, only to return near dusk. They spend their days grazing in the adjacent cornfields. As we were getting ready to head back home, signaling that this might be the case, a thousand Canada geese returned in one giant flock.

Back to the eagles, walking around the Riverlands Audubon center, we came upon an eagle eye test. The first sign said that hundred feet away there was a second sign and inside the red square on it was a picture of some small eagle prey. My first comment was, “What red square? What sign?” Walking down the path, we eventually did see the sign and then the red square and finally the picture of the prey in the middle of it. While most humans, now myself included, have 20/20 vision, eagles have 20/5. This means that they can see an object at twenty feet as well as we can see it at five feet. They also can see further into the UV and the infrared than we can. In the center of our retinas is a fovea, where the light sensing cells in our eyes are concentrated, giving us better eyesight, when looking with that area. Eagles have two fovea, where one is for farsightedness and the other is for nearsightedness. Giving them the best of both worlds. I saw my eye doctor today and after examining me, he told me that both my vision and glaucoma pressure was good. I told him about the eagle eye test that I had failed, and he laughed at that.

Mirror Pass

Mirror Pass, Earl Bliss, 1975

Today, Dan and Britt left town, bound for New York City. Before they left, we wined and dined them both. Last night, we had dinner at the Mission Taco Joint, the one in the Central West End, followed by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. This morning, we breakfasted at the Peacock Diner and were joined by Dan’s friend Vicki, who regaled us all with stories of her parents, their dog and her hiking adventures around the area. At one point I interrupted her monologue with a question, have you ever thought of doing standup? With a straight face, she answered yes. All of this eating has not been very good for our Weight Watchers, but now that we are home all alone again, we plan on getting back on track. Over the last couple of weeks, over which our children and their significant others have been visiting us the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has exploded with infection across this country. Yesterday, saw more than a million new infections. The kid’s social life and by proxy all the while our associating with them have likely left us more exposed to our own infections than I would have preferred, but that’s all water under the bridge now. None of us have suffered any symptoms. We were all triple vaxxed. We’ll just have to wait a while and see if anything develops.

Teach Peace

Teach Peace

Yesterday, we finally got around to putting up our Christmas decorations. First though, we tried to get a tree, but all of our regular favorite tree lots were bare, supply chain shortage. We also failed to find any boughs. We do have some evergreens on the front door that we snagged a week ago. We resorted to putting up a few ornaments on the mantel, over the dining table and around the living room. It still looks pretty good. Dan made it home late last night after a marathon 900-mile drive from Brooklyn. I had already gone to bed, but Anne was still up to welcome him. I had another eye doctor appointment today. Everything is going well. What used to be my bad eye, my left eye is now my best eye and has 20/20 vision. What used to be my good eye, my right eye is now no longer the best with 20/30 vision, although it might improve some more still. I’m still taking bunches of eye drops, but their numbers continue to decline. Overall, I am very satisfied with the results from my surgeries. I’ll see the surgeon once more in the new year.

Because of Omicron, we will not be going to the Saint Louis Blues hockey as originally planned. Dave had asked to go a few weeks ago, but now he and Maren don’t feel comfortable being in a crowd. I had bought the four tickets through StubHub, so I could try to sell them on that platform, but I wouldn’t get all of my money back that way. I’m hoping that the game next week gets postponed, because then I’ll get more favorable treatment. The Blues two games between now and that game have already been postponed. If in the unlikely event the game gets cancelled, I would actually make money on the deal. Something similar occurred in 2020 after I had booked camping reservations for our planned trip during that year. Because of the pandemic all my reservations got cancelled and I got a full refund, instead of the only half refund I would have gotten otherwise. I’m hoping that lightning strikes twice.