RANDOM THOUGHTS ON POPPIES, COVID-19, RACISM, BIRDS, AND MORE - June 2020

The swifts have returned to the south of France. They chirp. They zoom like Spitfires. They eat bugs. And they shit up a storm. It seems as though they deposit the remains of every fly that they eat on the windshield of our car. Love the swifts. Hate the swifts.

About every second or third year is a good year for poppies. Here's one pic. I'll put up more on a separate post.


It;s hard being an American in a foreign country right now. France is certainly not perfect. But you can't point to evidence of institutional racism as easily as you can in the USofA. Police killing suspects in custody is unheard of here, much less that people of color are killed in greater numbers than their percentage of the population. There is no evidence that courts sentence people of color differently than whites as there is in the States. Is immigration from North Africa and the Middle East a perceived problem? Yes, it is. The fact that the number one name for newborn boys in the UK is Muhammad is startling when you think about it. And John Cleese was excoriated for saying that London doesn't feel British any more. But European countries were not founded on the principle of welcoming the immigrant in the same way that the USofA was. I'm not particularly proud of saying that I'm happy at this point in my life to be living in a rural, relatively apolitical region of an advanced European social democracy instead of the States. But there it is.

By the way, and before the Europeans in the audience get to feeling too righteous, let's not forget that slavery in the States was founded by people who were British citizens at the time.


If you lived in post WWII Los Angeles, the smog was so bad that people routinely wore masks. Only the creation of the EPA in 1970 eventually led to clean, breathable air in L.A., Pittsburgh, and other American cities. Wearing masks then wasn't a sign of slavery or social engineering. Wearing a mask was self-protection. Now, wearing a mask not only protects you, it protects the people that you come in contact with. Not perfect protection, certainly. But do you know if you have asymptomatic COVID-19 and could be an unwitting carrier? Wear the damn mask!

And speaking of COVID-19, a friend of mine in the States pointed out several weeks ago that France had a higher number of deaths per million population than the USofA. Take that! But in just a few weeks, the States has come close to catching up and will soon pass France in that unfortunate category. Nobody knows if there will be a second wave. Nobody knows if the recent fears of inflammatory diseases among children is a direct result of the virus. Nobody knows if a mutation will make matters worse. Wear the damn mask!



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