October 29, 2020
Singapore is comfortable talking about toilets. My Singaporean friend, Jack Sim, founded the World Toilet Organization there. The WTO launched World Toilet Day. The Singaporean UN Delegation put WTD on the official UN calendar. Back in the bad old days, you could get fined for not flushing a public toilet; sustained behavior change resulted. Now a Singapore ad agency is touching hearts by reviving the love of reading on the toilet. And they have so many public toilets you probably could get away with it.
October 25 – Sunday Reading
Today’s New York Times has the 2020 Greats! Angela Davis is one of them. Read it all and look at the images, from her FBI Wanted poster to an artist’s take on mature Angela spreading the word. Before the world knew what intersectionality was, the scholar, writer and activist was living it, arguing not just for Black liberation, but for the rights of women and queer and transgender people as well.
Another 2020 Great:
What it the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head we a campaign diary trick? A video prankster creates a hilarious illusion. (Go straight to the vid and believe nothing you see. Sheer brilliance!)
The New Borat Movie Is Less a Satire Than an Exposé. The bumbling provocateur who stormed the United States in 2006 has now become an unlikely voice of reason.
October 21 – Mt. Zion
New routine now that it’s too cold for yoga on the grass and too scary for Body Pump, even if the gym opens. Missy and I are hiking in the Eastern Olympics on Wednesdays. We started with Mt. Townsend. Now fitting in lower peaks before the snow. Next week Mt. Elinor. After that the rivers: Duckabush, Dosewallips, Hama Hama, Dungeness and the now-free-and-wild Elwha.
October 20 – From WBUR to KCAW via WBEZ and KUT
Me too! The radio stream equivalent of great coffee table books as proxies for tiring trips. The quote below answers the daily NYT request Let us know how you’re dealing with the pandemic.
“While I can’t travel now I’ve been livestreaming radio stations from places I’ve enjoyed visiting. The lilting accents of announcers on an Irish classical music station transport me to the craggy cliffs we walked on a family genealogy trip. The surf report from a San Diego station recalls time spent spotting gray whales from the coast there. I’m safely home, but miles away.”
— Kathleen J. Corbalis, Galloway, N.J.
Herd immunity declaration and counter declaration.
John Snow Memo This is a grassroots initiative with no outside funding by and for scientists alarmed at the highjacking of science. Named after the world’s first great epidemiologist. Have they forgotten he died in poverty, his work at the water pump and with people dying of cholera unacknowledged in his lifetime.
Biden’s Covid Response Plan Draws from FDR’s New Deal Mr. Biden has staked his campaign on a more muscular federal role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. But some of his big government proposals may be difficult to put into effect.
With infection rates ticking back up in much of the country as the weather cools and social distancing becomes tougher, addressing the public health crisis could reach new levels of urgency by Inauguration Day. If current trends hold, as many as 400,000 Americans may have died from Covid-19 by then, recent projections show.
October 19 – Descent into Nuttiness
I’m afraid that Charles Blow is responsible for some of Jack’s optimism. Gotta say I’m unnerved by the conviction that change is coming.
Democrats Dare to Believe. Donald Trump himself doesn’t seem to think he stands a chance.
The following lines come from speeches Trump has delivered in just the past few days:
“If he wins, the radical left will be running the country and they’re addicted to power and God help us if they ever got it, because we would never have the same country again.”
“If he wins, there will be nothing but bedlam all over the place.”
“If Biden wins, China wins, all these other countries win.”
“If he wins, the radical left will be running the country. He won’t be running the country. The radical left will take over.”
“If Biden wins, your borders are gone, which means your health care is gone, the middle class is gone, and your safety is gone.”
“If Sleepy Joe Biden and the Democrat Socialists are elected, every citizen in America will be subjected to their extreme ideology, possessed by this Marxist madness.”
October 5 – Democracy and Outdoor Gatherings – Letter to City Council
Note: Nicholas Johnson’s front page article in today’s paper makes reference to a Port Townsend Main Street survey, which I found in this City of Port Townsend MailChimp notification. Since my reply exceeds the limit of 1000 characters, it appears here.
I strongly support efforts to increase the number and size of outdoor gathering places, though not primarily for consumer activities. We need places where we can safely engage as citizens for civic events, face-to-face teacher family conferences, brief stand up meetings, and appropriate communal activities such as TaiChi, big board chess, or competitions among boat builders or robotics teams. As the US Constitution guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” it seems appropriate for the City of Port Townsend to provide such amenities, with or without Main Street collaboration.
In early summer, I discovered that well-managed outdoor venues had protected school children and their teachers from TB and the flu before World War I. The kids got though winters in the Northeast with special sleeping bags, woolen watch caps and layers of sweaters. I also learned that those clanking, century-old, steam radiators in New York apartments were designed to bring a bit of warmth when the windows are open.
So I looked around for outdoor spaces with protection from the rain. The bandstand at Chetzemoka Park can accommodate a COVID-19 Stage 2 party of five. Union Wharf can accommodate a Stage 3 party of ten. Chimacum School has a covered area large enough for bike classes. While most park picnic shelters – Kah Tai, North Beach, Tri Area – are tiny, H.J Carroll Park is well endowed.
How about putting our heads together to consider alternatives to a walled, heated tent, for which we’d still need to ensure adequate ventilation? Perhaps purchase the functional modular structures used in humanitarian crises and stockpile them for emergency use post-CSZ event or worsening houselessness? Cover existing courtyards with transparent corrugated plastic on wooden frames or canvas panels on cables? Call on local carpenters and boatbuilders to recycle materials on hand into temporary shelters? Enlist our sailmakers and riggers to design fabric structures that could be furled when the winter winds are just too strong?
Can we get greater shared bang for the CARES bucks by exploring options? Even in winter, outdoors remains a welcome alternative to inside or online. As the Swedes remind us: There is no such thing bad weather, only bad clothes.
Carol McCreary, 650 Hudson Place, Port Townsend
October 4 – #ProudBoys
Will any other moment of the month prove as charmingly unforgettable as the takeover of the #proudboys hashtag? Loving photos of elderly couples kissing. Urban gays dancing in the street in bikinis and high heals. It took a while for the gun-toting, “Christian”, hetro-cis, white Proud Boys to catch on so it was all mixed up in the initial hours.
Late today, the Proud Boys tried out #Leathermen as an alternative. You can get where that went.
When ever I need to keep the endorphins running, I go to Tweet Deck and type in #proudboys. Proud Boys are furious that gay men have taken over their hashtag. Forbes helped cheer up the nation by sending us to that hashtag.
October 1 – Terrifying Prospects
Troubling analysis. All Russia has to do now is to circulate Trump’s hysteria about “election fraud” and maybe pull off a couple of successful hacks to show he’s right.