Author Topic: Miscellany  (Read 1988 times)

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Offline anthropositor

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Miscellany
« on: Monday October 14, 2019, 12:46:05 AM »
Miscellany was a regular section near the back of LIFE magazine in the '40s and '50s.  Even as a kid, I read such things with some frequency.  I never new what I would find until I had the magazine in my hands.  When I was about eight, I discovered the New Yorker magazine.  It was a whopping twenty cents.  The most grown-up magazine I had ever seen.  Certainly not in my budget.  My allowance had just gone up to a quarter a week.  But I had to have it.  When the proprietor called my father, a Presbyterian minister, as a courtesy, my Father, an authority figure one step down from God, came down to take me into custody, before I was to be turned over to the cops.   When he saw that the magazine was The New Yorker, he burst out laughing-- at the druggist.  "My kid is EIGHT.  Tell me another one!  You think you can make that fly with the Police?  Tell me another one.  What did he really do?  Sass you?  Swipe some gum or candy?  I'll whop him good."  The druggist, apparently now becoming embarrassed in front of his other customers just said, "Get him out of here."  My father gave my a great resounding whack with that New Yorker going out the door of the drugstore.  "What did you really do?  You sass him?  Apparently no one but me noticed that the magazine had still not been paid for.  My old man threw it in the back seat of the Ford.  "Get in.  I better not hear a word out of you!"  He didn't.

Parenthetically, today the cost of New Yorker magazine is $8.99, a 4500% increase in 70 years, and I still read it.

                                                           *    *    *

Hello to all.  I am back!  I am also behind on just about everything, of course.  The blisters on my fingers from scooping hot gravel on the transmission fire under my old GMC truck are almost all gone now.  The odd things are; most of the blistering was on the edges of the fingers, not the pads of the fingers or the palms of the hands.  Exceedingly puzzling.  And of course, I was lying in that hot gravel on my back wearing a flimsy shirt, yet no blistering on my back, in spite of the time it took to put out the fire, probably four or five minutes.  To have that truck (legally) rustled by a tow truck company, after I risked my life to save it for my Guatemalan mechanic, a man who supports a village of impoverished people, would absolutely infuriate me if I allowed it to.  The scoundrels are too many, the corruption too varied, not just here, but everywhere.   I left full particulars about how and where I could be reached in a gallon ziplock bag under the widshield wiper.  It could not be missed.  I received a notice more than a month later by mail with instructions about how I could recover the truck by paying astronomical storage fees.

Do I name things?  Not if I can help it.  I am more likely to un-name things.  The name of rottenness was once Drumpf.  One world leader now uses an infamous alias, as his father and grandfather did, instead.  Is he an isolated case?  Not at all.  Leaving aside history, in the present time, other demagogues, dictators and dunces rule over billions.  One, seemingly unstoppable, called his predecessor a "woman with bound feet."  Name-calling is widespread in domestic and international politics.  Several of the unstoppables kill their rivals and other dissidents, not only within their own borders, but anywhere in the world they wish, with complete impunity.  Almost all genocidal monsters die of old age.

On a different note, when I came to this forum, I had an intractable bleeding problem on my arms.  I ultimately found its' cause and solution, all without naming it.  I had another problem too.  It wasn't on my arms, and it wasn't in plain sight.  It is not cured.  It is ameliorated substantially.  Fine!  Despair is not in my vocabulary.  Nothing is perfect.  Among all the people I love around here is one named Margarita.  Beautiful, this post is for you, as well as all the other beautiful people who already know I love them, whom I have never met.

Ahem!  A closing note.  In conversations I sometimes ask those attending the conversation to name a creature that sheds its skin.  I have gotten a lot of good answers, but not once has anyone mentioned humans.  But we do.  And we shed it all, repeatedly.  Not in a piece that a snake slithers out of, or an exoskeleton husk that an insect abandons, but in big flakes and particles.  That condition is curable!  Not necessarily by the creams, salves, shots and other notions of the allopathic dermatological physician, but just by realizing that it is normal to shed some skin continuously.  It is amazing, the curative power of not giving a simple normal condition a complex mumbo jumbo name.  Many of us become completely bewildered when an authority figure tells us the name of what is wrong with us and the fancy name of what may make us better.  A very, very fancy name, at a very, very fancy price.  And often with very, very fancy side-effects, which could be even worse than the original condition.  Others, upon hearing that their "disease" is real, has a special name, and can be treated, are eager to proceed.  Examples on request.

                                                        *    *    *

I did read some comic books as a child.  Perhaps my father's profession drew me towards fantasy.  But kids take to it quite naturally don't they?  One issue in particular included Donald Duck and his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie on a trip to a Castle in faraway Scotland or Ireland, visiting Scrooge McDuck, who was to be found wallowing in a flood of money somewhere in the inner sanctum of this great castle.  I could not sort out why that was such an enjoyable activity.  Apparently it is a pursuit that has entranced plutocrats and oligarchs from almost the beginning of time, and as alien to me as the most fanciful science fiction stories of planetary despots lording-it-over the contrasting plebeian masses of the ordinary and destitute commoners.  Sounds a lot like the present day doesn't it?
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

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Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday October 22, 2019, 11:05:35 PM »
In spite of the Reich which has now lasted now more than a thousand days, not counting the years of chaos it took a devilish demigog to consolidate his power, and link up with a so many of his his fellow monsters and murderers, not mentioning all his disposable dupes and henchmen, there are plenty of happy signs and portents to savor. 

But let us not be premature or overconfident.  Evil that does not know it is evil is incredibly hard to eradicate.  I am going to be very, very busy for several weeks.  But first I am going to smell the flowers and recreate in as many ways as I can think of.  And, afterwards, with luck,  I'll come back and tell you about it.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline Bamawing

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #2 on: Saturday October 26, 2019, 06:27:21 PM »
I have no idea what you're about to do, but somehow I have a feeling I'll read about it in the paper. Good luck, Anthro.

(I'm still cracking up over the swiped New Yorker.)
I'm more confused than a mood ring on a paranoid bipolar schizophrenic chameleon in a bag of skittles!

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #3 on: Monday October 28, 2019, 07:48:29 AM »
With some exceptions, Bama, most of my life has been spent doing my best to stay out of the papers, and avoiding getting my picture taken, unless it was a cast picture in a production of some sort, in costume and makeup.  During the interminable LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush-Cheney and present day disasters, I worked very hard to be discreet.  But I was of journalistic bent, and also gave spontaneous anonymous speeches at events that were well infiltrated by authorities not of my persuasion.  During Vietnam, I wrote for a short time for the Los Angeles Free Press, run by Art Kunkin who took inflammatory liberties with my language while leaving my name at the top of the story.  I left him behind without much regret.  (Actually, none at all.

Years before that, I had been approached by a professor at a community college in southern California, seeking my attendance in one of his courses.  He had seen me in a local bar, expounding on the social conditions that had evolved during the cold war, with special emphasis on the last address to the Nation by Ike, warning of the dangers of an out of control military-industrial complex, and what it could lead to, while wagering on fast chess games for drinks and dollars, with young budding intellects from that institution of higher learning.  Other heroes I favored were Edward R. Murrow, and Mort Sahl, who had been pretty vigorously against the Korean War, and not to shy about his perspective.

I was flattered by the professors attention, unlettered bumpkin that I was.  I said I would register for the course, but that I had never completed my lower education, having escaped my original household at the ages of 12, 13, 14, and 16, whereupon a court in Pennsylvania just emancipated me.  Better late than never.  This had been quite disruptive to my public schooling.  Would I not have to take some tests, and so on?  He said not necessary.  Just audit the class without registering.  Work out better for my classmates, since I won't shift the grade curve.  I was silent about not knowing what a grade curve was.

Ostensibly, he was teaching a philosophy course, whose title I no longer remember.  But it had to do with thinking, and persuasion and propaganda and advertising.  It was quite an eye opener for me.  That professor was quite a pivotal person in my life.  I am glad to have known him. 

But I have a train trip of about 2600 miles, two days from now, and tomorrow an oral surgeon will be removing several broken and loose teeth, right before I leave.  It promises to be an interesting trip of a couple weeks duration, during which I will be toothless.  The purpose is to bond with one of my teen grandsons who is a bit troubled by autism coupled with a certain flair for the arts and music.  When I get back, I hope to get some dentures matching my ideas and specifications, virtually immediately.  That should be quite interesting.

I am, after all, an idea man.
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"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

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Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #4 on: Sunday January 26, 2020, 02:29:32 AM »
Yesterday, I awakened at the sound of my wife screaming from the front yard.  I burst out without my boots, feet bare, hands empty as well, to find my wife struggling with a black dog perhaps half her size, with our oldest most venerable rabbit struggling in his jaws, blood everywhere.  My Honey was beating on the dog with a chrome table leg she had wrenched free from its' table.  I roared as I approached to kill the dog.  Startled, she released the dog in surprise, he bounded out of my reach with that huge rabbit in his jaws.  The rabbit gave a short death scream as the dog finished his kill on the run.  I turned to address my wife's physical condition.

"Don't worry about me!  Save the rabbit!"  She was hysterically loaded with adrenaline, and never having heard a rabbit's death scream before, (they are rare indeed), she did not realize the rabbit had screamed his last gasp.  I calmly pointed out that she and her injuries were my only interest now.  She calmed into a seething rage.  "Go kill that dog!"  "Plenty of time for that," I lied.  "We'll just take care of you right now.  All right?"  Apparently it was.

My wife had some abrasions, but none of them were dog bites.  It had been my first worry.  The dog had no collar, no license tags.  That would have meant a series of  painful shots for my Honey in case the dog was rabid.  But all's well that ends well.

By and by. after mourning Friend Rabbit, breaking fast with boiled eggs, mochas, ferment pudding, pumpernickel, cheddar and mushrooms, I shod myself, grabbed a cane, machete, a short knife and headed to the dogs' house.  Not knowing the circumstances there, I opted not to cut across the ravine directly to their back yard, the route the dog took with Friend Rabbit for a dine in the dirt.

"Not taking your gun?"  "No."  "They got a Pit Bull."  "Not there.  Would have heard it when the black one brought back Friend Rabbit."  "You going to kill him?"  "Friend Rabbit is already dead, dear."  "No.  I mean the Dog!"  "Now, why would I do that?"  "He killedFriend Rabbit!"  "He looked frantically hungry.  Those folks don't always get back every day.  Maybe something has happened.  I'm just going to find out what."  "Shoot that damn dog!"  "Not starting any feuds with the people across the ravine.  The dog knows he did wrong.  I'll just snarl at him some, so he remembers."  And I did.

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #5 on: Saturday February 08, 2020, 10:35:25 PM »
I had meant to get back sooner than two weeks, But "the best laid plans of mice and men oft' go astray."  And my plans are not always the best laid.  Life has its' frequent surprises, like the dog and Friend Rabbit.  I deliberately did not name the rabbit, or the others seven years ago, or the other half dozen I got with him.  Their mission was to teach me as much as I could find out, in a terrestrial Ozark jungle, how rabbits might work out as multipurpose animals and companions in the space of the solar system, along with other specie of life we will require to make life sustainable, as we collectively infestor rather, populate the planets, asteroids, and satellites of the solar system. 

Friend Rabbit was the best of them by several measures.  I imagine there is data that I could study that will give me statistical information that would save me an immense amount of time and effort and creative, emotional, imaginative thought.  What I have learned in the last seven years of the twelve we have survived here, is that rabbits are likely to be rewarding companions in the most challenging of environments.  I could only have learned what I have from interacting with these creatures in sweltering heat and frigid cold, flooding tropical rains, intense winds, arid dry spells that had to be dealt with, ala carte, as we all experienced the range of needs for survival.  Many of our successes in that survival came from dealing with whatever we had to deal with, when we knew a lot less than we do now.

Outer space experience is going to be, in many ways, analogous to the lives of terrestrial refugees that, more and more, do infest the lands and waters of our ravaged, pillaged Earth.  And misfits like me will be among those in the vanguard of the adventure.

Consider my wife, Honey.  The incident with the dog does not even seem possible if one has recently viewed the multiple ubiquitous commercials depicting elders having fallen, yelling "Help! I fallen and I can't get up!" so the advertiser can sell a pendant with a push button to alert a phone rep to summon immediate, and prohibitively costly emergency services like ambulances and Emergency Room visits which routinely attend such events.  (If one believes the commercial, it happens every 18 seconds, somewhere or other.)  Ongoing monthly cost for the service?  Perhaps $30 or $40 a month. 

My Honey is eighty-three years old.  She was brandishing a metal table leg, and doing her utmost get Friend Rabbit out of the dogs jaws.  Would any of the pathetic helpless oldsters depicted in those commercials have even been able to do that?  The answer is a probable "yes" if you got between them and their royalty checks for doing the commercial.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #6 on: Thursday April 02, 2020, 03:55:29 AM »
This Fool's Day appropriately honors one of the greatest in these singularly troubled times.  resident rump is not alone.  Half the world is led by nationalist, populist regimes just as shortsighted as he.  Many practice extra-judicial killings outside their national borders to achieve their ends.  We are all in jeopardy.  Give us this day, and in the coming months and years, enough good sense to survive and overcome our collective shortcomings.  Seek truth, justice and equality where ever it is to be found.  Amen.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline Gobe

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #7 on: Thursday April 02, 2020, 10:50:29 AM »
Amen.
Love inhabits the heart forever.

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #8 on: Saturday April 04, 2020, 06:47:40 AM »
We are challenged.  We are in disarray.  We have our dogmas.  Cults proliferate in confusion.  We will need great skill and patience to even make sense of the complex array of survival challenges we need to meet, and will need to struggle with in the decades to come. 

We have insufficient ventilators and personal protective equipment.  Our beleaguered medics and nurses will soon be overwhelmed, suffering far more casualties in their ranks because of the actions of one resident who believes himself to be the leader of the world, with an entourage of sycophantic fanatics, fully entrenched and doing his bidding with enthusiasm, if not ability.

I would commend to you all, a book by Naomi Klein called The Shock Doctrine.  It will present to you the central existential dilemma we now face.  It is of personal consequence to us all.  It is immediately available as an E-book delivered to your computer instantly.  Let me know here what you think of the book, and what it did for you.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday April 22, 2020, 03:02:48 PM »
For the past month and a half, I've been thinking of the respiratory challenges of Covid-19.  The continuing insufficiency of ventilators where they are needed and when they are needed is going to go on and get much worse, do to the current leadership deficit.  It shows no sign of letting up.  Many of the unknowns of this pandemic remain with no solid answers at all. Hopes, guestimates, fervent wishes and bombastic rhetoric, central manipulation of the distribution of critically needed materials, and the slowing of procedures at every turn; a clearly deliberate and unscrupulous slowing that is breaking down of every civilized structure we hold dear.  The very best of the experts we can come up with now are frank that they do not have the answers.  This is a novel disease.  This one is going to go beyond what we have seen before.  We were not just unprepared.  We were de-prepared.  It is evident it is not just a virus we are fighting!  Are there subversives in our midst?  Do they permeate our institutions in a metastatic way?  Is our body politic fibrillating convulsively?  Once again I say with vigor, Naomi Klein defines the nature of the manipulation of natural and manufactured disasters, to conquer and subjugate whole populations to tyrannies of state.  You will be better prepared for what is yet to come, with a full understanding of The Shock Doctrine.

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #10 on: Saturday April 25, 2020, 08:09:18 PM »
Quote
Quote
I have, for as long as I can remember, had several different categories of innovative development.  Profit making is not the Prime Mover.  It may come in fourth or fifth, or often not at all.  I have made canes for elders and people with physical infirmities for twenty five years.  The profit is in the prevention of mishaps resulting in serious injury or worse.  The fractured pelvis or broken limb prevented is the profit.  I have canes and walking sticks and staffs too numerous to count, with several on my truck at all times.

As our more attractive features wane in the fullness of time, who among us does not want to cling to our previous youth.  The resistance to using a cane or walking stick comes from that stubborn vanity.  If you can convince such a proud person to use a cane, that value will perpetuate itself and spread among others.

When I developed The practice of prevention of influenza and other viral disease, my motive was to help myself not to get these sicknesses and their potentially fatal complications.  I have no regrets about these efforts.  I would do it all again.  As a matter of fact, in view of how little is now known about the parameters of this Pandemic and even how long it might conceivably continue require our diligence and close attention for the duration, however long that may be.

As often happens, I just spent some weeks going in a direction that was less than optimally fruitful.  Disappointing!  I was looking at open-cell foam nasal inserts.  There is no doubt that given adequate time they could be a solution.  But right now, we need to address the serious deficit in masks and the associated PPE's.  We are losing far to many of our heroes and the most vulnerable in our populations.  And we are barely in the second inning of this Pandemic!  We cannot solely rely on the blithering nonsense spouters and wishful thinkers.

What is on the Prevention thread now will certainly be of great help for all who learn it and use it.  The things I will outline here in the coming weeks will be useful for the full range of circumstances in every country, everywhere.  Not just in American beleaguered hospitals.  Watch this spot. 
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

Offline anthropositor

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #11 on: Tuesday April 28, 2020, 02:18:30 PM »
In the 1980's, for several years, I was the only test subject in the development of preventive measures against the influenza's themselves, and their complications (pneumonia).  Freshly and smartingly divorced, with two young sons shunting between me and my ex, I was also attending my father, who had suffered a major stroke, which crippled him up for a few years.  Though I doubted Dad would survive long, he actually went on for seven more years, in the hottest part of the California Inland Empire, this side of hell.  I like to tell myself he even had some good times, though he hid it pretty well.

We had another Publican booby in charge, who was sure that AIDS wasn't even a crisis, since it just struck queers and addicts, who fully deserved it anyway, according to the Holy Scripture!  Reagan's message, some of you may recall, was that women and their children were not even likely to be afflicted.  How is that better than his current counterpart, rump, suggesting that we try shooting up, (injecting hypodermically) disinfectant chemicals to eliminate Covid-19.  Even Nancy knew what to say to that:  "Just say NO."

I did not just coin the word, Publican, but I commend it to you to replace the name of the nominally ruling party, may they all soon rest in peace. In Biblical times, publican meant, variously; tax-collector, bartender or Innkeeper.

For the first years of the eighties, I was not in any particular rush to spread the word about that preventive procedure.  Fatal complications of influenza generally struck less than one in a thousand.  What I did want was to survive myself to see my kids survive and thrive in adulthood, and to bring no one to grief in the process.  Plenty of time to be careful, I thought.  Just get it right!

But delays in this Pandemic have already cost many additional tens of thousands of lives!  Time waits for no man.  While things are looking better and better, I still must double check what I am doing and make the procedure and the new modifications that are necessary under our current conditions work for the most people throughout the whole planet.  It's weighing on me.
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis

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Re: Miscellany
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 07:51:04 AM »
For more than half a century, I have been advising inventors, theorists and entrepreneurs to guard against developing a destructive notion called "The Proud Pappa Syndrome."  We all are in danger of falling under the spell it can cast on us, particularly inventors.  A few examples are in order.

One fellow, whom I had taught chess for some months back in the 1970's had developed an idea which he was pretty secretive about.  He was downright paranoid that some rich product developer was going to steal it from him, before he was ready to go to market with the finished product.  By and by, he concluded he could tell me about it.  I said he needed to generate some disclosure paperwork, which I needed to sign in the presence of a Notary who would witness the document.  Little did I know that he had already been talking to people who were going to "help" him set up the manufacturing to produce his product.  He thought he was being pretty cagey.  His vendors were enthusiastic, applauding his idea, giving him the notion that his product would sell itself, it was so good.  He needed to have a lot of them on hand, they said.

Eventually he took me to his spacious three car garage which was full of cartons of his product.  hundreds of them.  He opened one, pulling out a slate gray litter basket that had a metal clip which was going to hold that basket in place on the hump between the seats in a vehicle, after the clip itself was installed on the hump, requiring drilling two holes of the right dimension to admit two drive screws to hold the clip which would hold the basket until it was full of the debris it was to collect.  I asked some questions, diplomatically.  Tell me how his market research had gone, and so on.  He hadn't even thought about testing the marketplace.  He just "knew" it was going to sell, because his vendor was so effusive about how everyone was going to beat a path to his door to get his product.  His vendor made thousands of dollars, and perhaps laughed all the way to the bank.

I was going to give you another example.  Let's skip it.

I too have vestiges of the proud pappa syndrome.  I should know better, but I really don't.  One member of my local think tank strongly disagrees with my using a paperclip to install my nasal filters.  He wants to make money.  I want to save lives.  The more the better.  My Publican associate just wants to do business.

While in this quarantine for several months, I have taught this new Covid-19 procedure to several dozen people over the phone.  That too, is a kind of market research.  The results have seemingly been dismaying.  I have done no follow-up, figuring there will be questions and commentary.  They had not been coming in.  I was sad indeed.  One lady I mentioned had come up with the idea of using a bobby pin instead of a paperclip.  Certainly a workable idea, but I worried about the range in the kinds of bobby pins, and the possibility of potential injury from using some of them, if used improperly or thoughtlessly.

Then I got a call from a woman I've known for twenty-five years or so.  Now, she is a bit of a curmudgeon hard to describe.  I liken her to the character in a movie played by Emma Thompson across from Tom Hanks's Walt Disney in the story about the writer of Mary Poppins bringing the story to the screen in "Saving Mr. Banks."

Though she is a good friend, she can be obdurate at times, to say the least.  I expected a 1% chance she would even give it a try.  She IS doing it.  She likes it!  Go figure.

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." Chinese Proverb.

"What all men speak well of, look critically into; what all men condemn examine first before you decide"-- Confucius

Pray to the Gods, for the Gods are not unless you pray to them.--Don Marquis