The good times

This morning around 10.* Sunshine!

The monsoon starts here in June, and then it rains every single solitary day till about now. It normally tapers off in October, but I remember one year that it rained on October 1, and that was it. It was a happy month. The Goddess had smiled.

But sometimes she manifests a mean streak, and rains on the cemeteries on the Night of the Dead, November, disproving the existence of a Goddess with our best interests at heart.

It seems to be tapering off now, and maybe it’s ended. Hard to know. But it was a beautiful day yesterday, and this morning dawned in the same way. See the photo above. I planted that pole cactus years ago when it was a pipsqueak. Now it’s about to bump the drainpipe above. Just two of them, the others are farther out.

Yes, the rains are winding down, and it seems the pandemic is following suit, which is no great shock. Pandemics historically last one to two years. In Mexico we had a spike last winter, the first wave, and another in August when it spiked even higher.

But now it’s way down. An ending pandemic will distress the Democrats above the Rio Bravo, a happy thought.

Another indication that life is returning to normal is that we have tenants arriving Sunday for a two-week stay in our Downtown Casita, the first time since 2019. We had a number of reservations last year, but they all canceled due to the hysteria.

In any event, I am wearying of renting the place due to the effort involved and the fact we do not depend on that income. It’s pure gravy. To that end, I have spiked the rent waaay up. If I have to be bothered with tenants, let ’em pay!

But for people I like — perhaps you, for instance — they can come and stay a week or two for nuttin’. Free.

Well, you might leave a tip for Marta the Maid.

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The best month

October has long been my favorite month. When I lived in America, it was my favorite month because that’s when it got cool and nice after the sweltering summers of Texas. That’s not a big factor here because it’s always cool. It’s my fav month now due to the end of the monsoon rains. In any event, I love October.

Sitting on the printer.

Thirty years ago, I started a personal tradition. Every October, I purchased a small pumpkin and placed it atop my computer terminal at The Houston Chronicle.

I still do that today, but it has to sit atop my printer because my H-P All-in-One PC has no “top.”

Life goes on. For how much longer, nobody knows.

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*In December, all that grass and even more will be removed and replaced with stone and concrete. Oh, boy!

Let’s breathe freely

There has been much dispute since the pandemic began about the efficacy of face masks, even within the medical community. Some doctors say wear it. Others say its help is minimal.

I favor the latter approach. I don’t wear masks. I am not a pandemic denier, and I am not anti-vax. I have been vaccinated, though hesitantly this time due to the rush job.

I fight the pandemic in two ways: First, I wash my hands a bit more frequently. Second, I embrace social distancing, which does not require changing my lifestyle in the slightest.

It appears that if you are ill and cough or sneeze, the mask will help reduce whatever you may fling into your immediate vicinity. The mask helps you protect others. Makes sense.

However, if you are healthy, it does little to block your inhaling Kung Flu because virus droplets are microscopic, passing through most materials and around spaces in your face coverage.

And then there is the weird political aspect to the pandemic. If you are a leftist, you embrace masks. If you are a conservative, you embrace liberty. Do viruses vote?

Thankfully, here in Mexico, mask obsession is minimal. And we have few Karens. But there are places you must wear a mask. One is my wife’s gym, which is quite heavy-handed on the mask issue.

And wearing a mask while exercising, from what I have read, is a lousy idea. Exercising or not, it’s unwise to inhale your lungs’ exhaust.

I recently discovered a solution for her. It’s the unmask. That’s one in the photo. It’s sold by a small American enterprise. You can breathe normally through it. I bought one for her. It arrived this week.

If you want to unmask, buy one. If you enter the code UC20 at checkout, you’ll get a 20% discount. Tell them that Felipe sent you, and you’ll score an additional reduction of 0%.

That’s not a typo. I’m always here to serve, amigos.

15 miserable years

Bread line in New York City in the 1930s.

The last year and a half have been unpleasant due to the Kung Flu and political conflicts. And then I think of my parents’ generation. A year and a half would have been a godsend for them.

Their bad times were immeasurably worse, and they lasted 15 years, not our measly (so far) 18 months.

We have a pandemic that’s affecting fewer people than one would think, thanks to modern mass communication and the ratings-mad news media. The political situation, in my opinion, is worse if you consider the long-term.

In Mexico, we have a doofus demagogue who can hardly speak correctly. In the United States you have a senile old codger propped up by an oligarchy. In Canada, there is a metrosexual, politically correct fop of a prime minister who’s in office entirely for being good-looking and having his father’s name.

But all of this is a walk in the proverbial park compared to what my parents endured. First a decade of the Great Depression and then five years of world war. So far we have it mighty good. What’s down the line is another matter, but count your blessings. You’re not in a blocks-long bread line or lying dead on Omaha Beach.

1944: The sad casualties of war — husbands, fathers and sons.

Kung Flu facts & figures

Occasionally, I look at my daughter’s Facebook page. I did that today, and rolled my eyes at the mass of Kung Flu posts. She worries! Another Facebook page, a chat site that deals exclusively with my mountaintop town, also fixates on Kung Flu numbers. Worries!

It appears Mexico is having a sizable increase in cases due to that Delta variant, which is, I hope, the last variant we’ll see with this pandemic. Pandemics usually last one to two years, so we likely have to slog through a bit more of this, and the media-driven hysteria too.

Don’t discount the media-driven hysteria. It’s a fresh element to pandemics. The other fresh element is that it appears the Red Chinese developed the Kung Flu and then, accidentally or not, let it get away from them. Bio-warfare or big boo-boo? Lord knows.

I look at the hysteria, and I look at the facts, which are that the general survival rate is somewhere around 98 percent, but somewhat lower for old folks like me. Any virus will kill old folks faster than younger folks. And if you sum up the cases of any virus within a large population like a city, state, nation or globally, those numbers will get spooky.

Not just viruses. Cancers, heart attacks, traffic fatalities, murders, etc., if the population is large, the fatality figures will be hefty too.

But the numbers are meaningless without taking into consideration the population number in question:

In Mexico, the death toll now sits at around 246,000. Wow! That’s scary. But it’s about 0.19% of the population. Not so scary now, huh? In the United States, the death toll is about 635,000. YUGE number. The streets must be lined with corpses. But it’s, coincidentally, also about 0.19% of the U.S. population. The world death toll to date is about 4,334,000. That’s four million-plus. Good Lord!

But it’s about 0.055% of the global population.

It’s a question of perspective, little of which is mentioned by the media, just the fat-looking numbers.

In contrast, the Bubonic Plague of the 1300s wiped out about one-third of Europe’s population, 25 million people.

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Here in Mexico — at least in my area but, I suspect, most of Mexico — the government mimics what the United States does. Stay home, wear masks, close your business, etc. We also have little rubber mats filled with bleach or something at the entrance to businesses. You know, to disinfect the soles of your shoes where viruses might hitch a ride.

Is that silliness done above the border?

I read a news story recently from Nuevo Leon which reported those rubber rugs do squat except get bleach on your shoes. I always step around them. Nobody cares.

And my very favorite: bottles of antibacterial gel everywhere. Of course, something antibacterial has squat to do with a virus. It’s like swallowing an antibiotic for a cold. Does not work.

Masks, gels, rubber mats, social distancing. The government mandates them, but people mostly do as they please, and nothing happens to them with some rare exceptions. The big plaza downtown has huge signs warning that you’ll be arrested if you don’t wear a mask. Yet some people don’t, me included, and I’ve seen no arrests.

It’s theater. I see cops with no masks.

The masks are a joke. They do next to nothing. Viruses are microscopic. The cloth and paper masks most people wear offer next to no protection. Viruses can enter through your eyes. There are masks that protect against viruses. That’s one in the photo, a hazmat mask.

Not available at the corner drugstore.

Back to stats now: Sky-high survival rate. Ninety percent of cases get resolved at home in bed with Tylenol. Of the 10 percent who end up in the hospital, most do not die.

Most of our Kung Flu rules come not from the federal government, but from state and municipal officials who are going through the motions.

Local governments report things like the town hospital is at 90% capacity in the covid ward! What always is missing is that the ward has, say, only 10 beds allocated to covid, and nine are occupied. And those covid wards are never full. They are saturated!

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I’ve known a number of people who’ve had the Kung Flu, actual cases, not asymptomatic ones discovered by a test, an issue for another day. Friends, acquaintances and relatives. They got sick, they recovered. Just two were hospitalized due, I imagine, to being old and fat. But they did not die. And neither will you.