THE FEAR OF FLYING

Mask-less (Zipless) Encounters and Liaisons

Erica Jong wrote a book in 1973 called Fear of Flying, which was a portrayal of female sexuality. Some say that work helped propel the second wave of feminism. Women read the book for its liberating sentiments and men read it for the titillating stories about Ms. Jong’s sexual exploits. Go ahead and look up the term “zipless,” but the current reality of having random encounters with strangers who aren’t wearing masks clicked me back to that book. Some say we are about to enter our fourth wave of the pandemic while others say the third wave of feminism is embodied in the #MeToo movement.

Ms. Eric Jong, circa 1973

Here in the US, we are facing a strange conundrum of having the world’s largest supply of vaccines while a significant percentage of our population refuses to get a shot. Hey, thanks for being so damn selfish. Almost 15% of Americans say they will not get vaccinated and the percentage among Republicans is alarming.

According to a CBS-YouGov poll, “50 percent — said they felt the vaccine hadn’t been properly tested or they were waiting to see what would happen with the vaccine. Forty percent said they didn’t trust the government, while 30 percent said they didn’t trust science or drug companies. Eleven percent of those polled said they believe that because they’ve had COVID-19, they’re now immune from the virus.” I’m not sure why they would think that but who am I to question?

This idea that the vaccines have not been “properly tested“ might be related to the daft feeling among many of these folks that they would be safer if Donald Trump was still president. They’re not good with details and science. Let’s not forget that Trump became infected with Covid-19, was hospitalized and then got better. He and his wife became fully vaccinated in January, so what’s the delay all about?

There was a great article in the New York Times today that highlights the fact that the vaccines have not been “officially” approved by the FDA, which keeps some people from getting the jab. If you subscribe, you can find it under the tag, ‘The No. 1’ public health issue.

What happens when the FDA or the USDA learn that tainted meat has entered the US food chain? They get the lot numbers of the bad meat and then send out bulletins far and wide warning to NOT EAT that meat. They then quickly mandate a recall of the tainted lot. In this case we want them to move quickly, so, why is fast action on a virus that kills less desirable than something that just gives Americans the runs?

While the CDC stresses that people need to get vaccinated, the FDA follows it’s guidelines of waiting at least 18 months to insure the treatment is safe. This leads to one of my favorite concepts, the implication of the opposite.  Here’s another excerpt from the New York Times article mentioned earlier, “…officials insisted that they were merely ‘following the data.’ In truth, though, they were basing their advice on a narrow reading of the data — and not understanding how most people would interpret their comments.” Sadly, people are not following the data now.

Moderna and Pfizer tested their vaccines among 30,000 people. By the way, the United States paid those pharma firms for the testing as part of the Warp Speed deal. So, with the testing and the subsequent total of 338,491,374 Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson shots, what is causing the wait? It’s time, and time cannot be changed.  It’s constant and it takes, well, time. The FDA requires 18 months of data to ascertain the possible side effects and by-products of the shots and they cannot change time.

One of the conspiracy theories is that getting a shot will affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant or have kids. Well, with only eight months of vaccinations how could anyone be able to confirm or deny that notion? There is absolutely no evidence that an mRNA vaccine affects DNA or reproductive biology. There is no indication that if does anything to a man’s sperm or a woman’s ability to produce eggs. Judging by the pregnancies, births and growing kids all around us, I think we are safe.

So, for those people waiting for OFFICIAL APPROVAL, could it be their fear has been exacerbated by the merging of bad data, rumor and conspiracy theories instead of the large body of medical evidence? You know, those pure facts like 99.5% of the people getting COVID right now are unvaccinated.

A person trained in the legal profession is adept at the technique of sowing doubt with the facts to get a win for their client. Reasonable doubt works in the courtroom, but the vaccination jury has been out for so long I wonder if they even remember where we were a year ago. Back then we were having 125,000 new cases and more than a thousand deaths every day. Now with the vaccines we have about 30,000 cases and under 300 deaths per day. How can anyone doubt that this positive change is the result of vaccinations? And I hate to throw some salt in the open wound, but just weeks ago we were down below 10,000 cases a day and less than 200 deaths per day. Thanks, Delta Variant and vaccine hesitancy.

A quote by Rebecca Robbins, who covers the vaccines for New York Times, jumped off the page at me. She agrees that full approval, whenever it happens, is “probably going to be the catalyst for many new mandates.” Does she mean that people who work in the healthcare and nursing home industries will be legally bound to get a shot? If that, along with more people getting fully vaccinated, is the result, then I say let’s get this approval NOW!

The New York Times added, “Right now, it appears a full approval for the Pfizer vaccine could come in September, with Moderna not far behind.” WHAT? That is only ten months after first shots were administered, not 18 months. So, why wait until then?

Oh yeah, they are not being influenced by a raving maniac in the White House so they’re playing steady and safe. I get it, but isn’t the risk of full approval worth it? We are over 608,000 fatalities from Covid-19. How many more? Did we learn nothing from Fear of Flying? Liberation has some risk but a potentially huge reward.

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BRAND NEW BOOK

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SELFISH INSENSITIVE OR BOTH

Predicted by Politics?

The comedian-actor Timothy Alan Dick, known professionally as Tim Allen and sometimes known to me as a dick, is often not the smartest Allen wrench in the toolkit. When he got successful and didn’t agree with the government taxing half his salary, he became a conservative, or more accurately, a Republican.

As I studied both Republicans and Democrats over the years, the word ‘selfish” has come up many times. Here’s a story that pops into my head when I think of selfishness and try to understand how some people can be so downright insensitive. On April 1, 1996, the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos were playing an Opening Day game where John McSherry was the home plate umpire. McSherry called a timeout seven pitches into the game, then he stumbled forward and collapsed. Resuscitative efforts were begun immediately on McSherry and he was taken to Cincinnati’s University Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival. He was 51 years old. The story doesn’t end there.

Marge Schott, who was the rather colorful and outspoken owner of the Reds, supposedly said, “Snow this morning and now this. I don’t believe it. I feel cheated. This isn’t supposed to happen to us, not in Cincinnati. This is our history, our tradition, our team. Nobody feels worse than me.” Schott said she was concerned for the 50,000 fans who might be unable to attend a makeup game if that day’s game was postponed. Selfish? Yes. A veteran of the baseball game died of a massive heart attack on the field, but it was her party and she wanted it to continue.

Cincinnati’s name was derived from the German name “Zinzinnati,” and the city has a large Oktoberfest every year. Ms. Schott was banned from managing the Cincinnati Reds from 1996 through 1998 due to her statements supporting German Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler. Her disqualification came as no surprise to the many German descendants living in the city and Schott sold most of her shares in the team shortly after her suspension. Marge Schott’s maiden name was Unnewehr, and it’s ironic that she inherited the Cincinnati Reds when her husband died of a heart attack in 1968, just like umpire McSherry was taken down in 1996.

This research startled me. A recent CBS News poll found 34% of Republicans say they will not be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Independents aren’t too far behind, with 30% saying they will refuse the shots. Only 10% of Democrats say they’ll abstain. Republicans are the least likely to say “yes I will get the vaccine” or “I already got the vaccine” — 42% — compared to 46% of independents and 70% of Democrats. Why these vast differences?

I have a strong hunch that Donald Trump is lurking behind the numbers. He milked the position that “it’s only a bad flu” and “there’s nothing to worry about” so much that many of his party loyalists not only believe his crazy theories about light and bleach but they have never taken the pandemic seriously. Why should we have to postpone a baseball game just because someone died? Why should I have to get a shot? Someone else can do it. There are whackos who believe the government is using the shots to “track” people or think inoculation will change their DNA. It’s all crazy stuff. Most of them don’t realize that Trump and Melania got their shots back in January.

When we get a terrible headache, we don’t sit around and complain about it, we take an aspirin or pain killer. When someone breaks a leg, they get to the hospital as fast as they can unless they’re a Christian Scientist, which is a totally oxymoronic name for a religion. It’s selfish and insensitive for anyone not to do their part in defeating this virus. Why should political party affiliation have anything to do with it?

I’m not going to say that 66% of Republicans are good people and the remaining 34% are stupid, ignorant, self-serving bastards, but I could. I’m thinking about the jacket Melania Trump wore to see kids in cages at the border, “I really don’t care, do you?” I’ve come to the realization that if you don’t want to get the shot, fine. If you get Covid-19 and die, well, read the jacket, Jack.

Had Marge Schott been more thankful about all she had, perhaps she might have been more sensitive, but that wasn’t the case. On November 13, 1992, Cal Levy, a former marketing director for the Reds, stated in a deposition for Tim Sabo, a former employee who was suing the team, that he’d heard Schott refer to then-Reds outfielders Eric Davis and Dave Parker as “million-dollar niggers.” Oops, we all know that lady karma eventually gets her say.

Schott was a long-time chain smoker and toward the end she suffered from health problems. In 2004 she had to be put on life support, a ventilator, and she died in the hospital on March 2, 2004 at the age of 75. I had to laugh when a satirical comedy website posted, “Trump campaign announces they have received endorsement from Marge Schott’s reanimated corpse!” Of course, had she been alive she certainly would have endorsed Trump.

There’s another deep irony here. Many thinking people with conservative leanings tell us that each person should have a right to accept or decline the COVID vaccine. They think it should come down to a person’s choice. While being so pro-choice on this health measure, they are the very ones who would like to deny women’s reproductive rights. They would rather decline a Covid shot and put older adults at risk than terminate a fetus. Great logic.

It’s all a matter of whether THEY want to take the risk for themselves and their families. If they don’t get the vaccine and then get sick, or if they infect their loved ones with the virus, they are not only prolonging this crisis but potentially killing those they should be protecting. It’s way more than selfish, it’s stupid and foolish.

But hey, if 34% of Republicans don’t want the vaccine, and still want Trump to be president, what possible argument could I make to convince them of their bad thinking? 81 million Americans voted for Joe Biden and he is now the president. I’m going with the majority on this one. I got both shots, and I will soon see my grandkids. If you refuse inoculation, why don’t you reserve a ventilator now? Think ahead. And please stop telling me coronavirus is a hoax. I guess you will get the shot only if someone dies right before the start of the game. It’s the game of life. Do your part or fuck off.

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Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

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The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

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