Book Review: Sea of Tranquility – by Emily St. John Mandel

Sea of Tranquility is a misleading title for this book. This is a book about a pandemic (which came out just in April of 2022) which is meaningful as we all have learned a thing or two about pandemics in the last few years. It’s a book about time travel with an unusual twist, and of course it was the time travel part that got my attention first. It has very little to do with what we associate with the Sea of Tranquility, the location of the Apollo 11 moon landing, other than there are several moon bases near that location by the year 2200, two of which play a major role in the plot.

It’s also about the idea or concept that our entire world is just a simulation, an elaborate video game that someone or something else is playing.

The story starts in 1912 with the hapless son of a British aristocrat who has been sent to exile in British Columbia, and plays in part in the late 20th century, and then again in early 2200 and 2400.

There really is not one single protagonist to follow. It’s a group of people and it takes some time for the tale’s threads to get woven together into a consistent tapestry, but in the end it all makes sense.

It made me marvel about what it would be like to live on the moon and it provides some good and descriptive passages. It’s a quick read, and I enjoyed the book.


A Lanyard with a Message

This week I embarked on my very first business trip since the March 2020 shutdown. I attended a conference at the Cincinnati Convention Center.

Conference attendees had to wear masks at all times in the facility, and there are always name badges, of course. They usually come with a lanyard, which are generally sponsored and paid for by one of the attending vendors and contain the company name for advertising purposes.

Here is mine:

When I picked up my badge, there were three colors of lanyards to choose from with a sign describing the meaning:

Green – I am comfortable with hugs and handshakes.

White – Keep distance and fist bumps only.

Red – Do not come close!

I picked green. There were a few friends I had not seen in two years that were huggers. I was fine with that.

Most people wore green, quite a substantial percentage wore white, and I do not remember seeing any red. I am sure there were some.

And that’s a lanyard with a message.

Are Kids, Are Choice

Here is an enlightening picture of protestors in Science Hill, Kentucky.

Image Credit: Reddit –

Let them breate. We will pool are kids out of school so they don’t learn readn and writn and ritmatic.

Are Kids, Are Choice.

I wonder how the feel about Are Bodies, Are Choice when talking about abortion and contraception?

This is a little bit of evidence of the progressive dumbing down of America.

People want a choice about a cloth in front of a child’s mouth. But by exercising that choice, they are willing to expose their children, their teachers, and themselves to unfettered spread of a deadly virus, and to prolong the pandemic, and to help the virus mutate further.

But of course, the same person that can’t spell Are Choice is probably challenging Dr. Fauci and his recommendations, based on something they read on Facebook.

The virus does not care. It kills a substantial percentage of those that get infected, it leaves massive long-term effects for many of those who survive, and it creates massive hospital bills that most people can’t afford.

Good luck with Are Kids, Are Choice in Science Hill, Kentucky – oh the irony.


Trump’s America – Are We Great Again Yet

Right now, every minute, THREE Americans die of Covid-19. 

Every minute, day, night, 24/7. 

Are we great again yet? 

Mask Use Prohibited

This is presumably taken at a Nebraska parking lot. The business is not identified.

Click for picture credit – Reddit


Must be brilliant leadership at that business.

It bothers me is that we can’t identify them when they show up in the emergency room. They ought to have a face tattoo identifying them as “No Scaredicat” so the emergency room can turn them away and deal with the problem themselves. Must be scared pussies, right?

Dumbing Down of America: Covid Does Not Exist

There are people, actually quite a lot of people, in this country, and in other countries, who still don’t believe that the Corona Virus exists. Our own President Trump seems to still tell people today that the virus was somehow created to “hurt his re-election.” Yes, as of December 7, there are 67 million people all over the world infected by this disease, and 1.5 million have died, of which 283,000, or 17 percent of all of them, died in the United States. – all just to make Trump look bad. That truly is a world-wide conspiracy the likes of which we have never seen before.

There are now nurses who work in intensive care units who say that patients lash out a them because they think Covid does not exist – yet they are dying of it. There are countless people who ridicule others for wearing masks, because they somehow take their “freedom” away. Do they realize that it costs $20,000 on average for a day in the ICU, and if you need a ventilator, which is required for about 36% of ICU occupants, the cost is about $40,000 a day.

I just bought a set of new, high-end cloth masks for $9.95 each. They are very comfortable. Maybe I have impaired my own “freedom,” but I am doing what I can to prevent going to the hospital and owe them a fortune – if I survive.

Denying the reality of this disease is truly bizarre behavior for rational human beings. Fortunately this illness really does follow Darwin’s theory and those that are stupid enough to ignore it are more likely to die and “clean the genepool” for the rest of us.

Can you tell I am exasperated?

Vaccine Priorities

My blogger friend salsawordtraveler has posted his thoughts about priority of vaccinations here. He asked for our input.

Here is my list:

1. Medical workers (doctors, nurses, EMT, firemen, ambulance drivers, nursing home staff)
2. Delivery people (Amazon, FedEx, UPS, USPS, all the folks who come to your door)
3. Teachers, childcare workers, the folks taking care of our kids, college professors
4. Airport staff (TSA, counter people, food court people)
5. Airline flying staff
6. Bus drivers, train conductors
7. Grocery store staff (checkers, packers, etc.)
8. Restaurant staff, waiters, cooks, hosts, bartenders
9. Nursing home occupants
10. Anyone over 80
11. Anyone with preexisting conditions
12. Now it’s starting to be my turn…..

Covid-19 is Raging Right Now

The election in the United States has had us all preoccupied for the last week or two. Meanwhile, Covid-19 is raging all over the world. We all thought March and April were bad. Right now it’s much, much worse.

Here are a number of charts I pulled for the industrialized nations that took drastic measures early on and made huge sacrifices throughout the year 2020. Yet, it was all for nothing. The virus is now spreading more than ever before, and more people are dying. We are not even close to getting better. It’s not just an problem in the United States, even though we have the worst numbers, it’s all over the world, as you can see from the charts below.

Please note that they are not to scale. You have to read the number of cases on the Y-axis to get the true scale of each country.

Data Credit: Johns Hopkins University.

United States






United Kingdom






I attribute this problem to the time of year. It’s now cold outside in the northern hemisphere, and people can’t be outside anymore. They gather more inside, and we have learned that this virus spreads through aerosols. It all makes sense.

I feel fortunate that in Southern California we happen to live in a warm climate where it’s still over 25 to 30 degrees Celsius outside during the day and we can eat at restaurants outside. Most people in the world are not so lucky.

This pandemic is obviously far from over.

COVID à la Sesame Street

Here is Elmo with an umbrella.

When it rains outside, we can use an umbrella to stay dry.

If you don’t use an umbrella, and you go out in the rain, you get all wet.

Getting wet is not good.

Staying dry is good.

That’s why we use an umbrella in the rain.

Elmo is smart.

He uses an umbrella.



Cause and Effect: Per Trump, Testing Causes Cases

Trump likes to say that we don’t really have a problem. It just looks like a problem, because we see more cases than any other country because we test more  than any other country.

To elaborate on that, I guess we could say that “testing causes cases.”

Well, testing does not cause cases. The cases need to be there before testing can find them. That would mean that other countries that do less testing find less cases, but the cases may or may not be there.

However, I can conclusively say that testing does not cause deaths.

We have the highest death count.

People die of COVID whether they have been tested or not.

None of Trump’s statements even make sense anymore.

Who are we kidding?

Pandemic Desktop

I have been working from my home office now for over 7 months solid. I spend a lot of time at this desk, and I found that having some fresh flowers behind my laptop brightens up my mood.

On July 30th I posted about growing sunflowers from seeds. Here is that post. Now, the sunflower plants line our fence, some of them eight feet tall. Here are a few sunflower blossoms grown in our own yard, from those seeds.

It’s a bright spot in my day.

Another Report from a COVID-19 Case

President Trump actually said at a rally yesterday that “Covid affects virtually nobody.”

Tell that to the parents and siblings of Adeline Marie Fagan, a 28-year-old Medical Doctor in her 2nd year of residency, treating COVID patients. She died on September 19th.

From Facebook:

Adeline was doing wonderfully for the last few days. Last night was no different. Around 10:00 we called and got a good report. As we settled down for the night 30 minutes later, the phone rang – Houston, TX. There was a problem and we needed to decide about performing a procedure to relieve the pressure of a massive brain bleed. The nurse came into her room for a routine task and noticed Adeline was not responsive. They immediately rushed her for a CT scan which showed the extent of the damage. The neurosurgeon said it was a “1 in a million” chance she would even survive the procedure, but that Adeline would have several severe cognitive and sensory limitations if she did survive. Of that the doctor was sure. Everyone was crushed by the events, the nurses, the doctors, and, of course, us. The doctor said they have seen this type of event in COVID patients that spend time on ECMO. The vascular system is also compromised by the virus, resulting in bleeds. We spent the remaining minutes hugging, comforting, and talking to Adeline. And then the world stopped…***

Check the GoFundMe page for more details.

Covid affects virtually nobody.

— Donald Trump


A First-Hand Report from a COVID-19 Case

This is a report from a friend of my daughter in New York City. She is mid-thirties. I have redacted her husband’s name to XXXX for privacy. These are her words:

Back in March XXXX and I were both sick for 2+ weeks each with what is presumed to be Covid-19. While our cases are considered mild (meaning we did not go to the hospital, we were not able to get tested due to extreme shortages, and were advised via telehealth appointments) it was still the scariest time of my life. Taking care of XXXX while the world reeled and the city fell totally silent, riddled with this mystery illness and mounting deaths, was isolating and awful. Although we did not go to the hospital, this was the sickest I had seen XXXX and our symptoms were beyond the kind we are familiar with caring for at home-like recurring circulation issues and chest pain bad enough to wake me up at night.

We have recovered but up until last month, five whole months later (almost half a year!), we continued to have days of extreme fatigue and recurring lung and chest pain. We would walk the dogs or unload the dishwasher and have that pinching feeling in our lungs, like we had just gone for a marathon run. In May we ventured out for a meandering 3 mile walk. We stopping half way to sit down. It was a sunny WARM day and when we got home, we were both so cold and fatigued we began to shiver and had to take long hot showers just to warm up.

Despite clear sinuses, I completely lost my sense of smell at the start of April. It took nearly two months for it to faintly return and even today it’s still not the same. Today I read this article and it was so comforting to know it wasn’t just me. For me the phantom smell is akin to a disgusting, slightly sweet, stale garlic breath. Like a bad practical joke, mint smells like this, as do many cleaning products, laundry detergents, and some foods. I smell it everyday, multiple times a day. For a while I even thought it was me that smelled. Just last week I started to really lose my patience and complained about it to XXXX, telling him it was as though a spectrum of scents have fallen off in my brain and they now register as old garlic breath. I wasn’t totally wrong.

I am thankful this is all we have to report but I worry for those who are hit harder and I try not to think too much about the unknowns, such as any future health complications that may surface as a result….

It is possible to find comfort in uniting against this and doing the right thing by others. The virus is real. It’s worse than the flu. I know it’s hard and we are all suffering from fatigue (or much much worse) but please wear a mask, practice caution, and be mindful.

And this is why I remain in quarantine.