Hello f-book friends

I’m leaving facebook. I’ve had it with all the ads and Russia hackers and now that they have changed it so that my posts aren’t text blocks anymore, just day-glo hot pink blobs with all-capital TrumpTweet letters  and they look exactly all the adds that now are embedded all over “my” page. Zuck has just gone too far.

Instead I will use this blog, victoriachamesblog.wordpress.com , which is free, for connecting with my f-book friends. I won’t give YOU up, and so I propose this idea for anyone else who is also fed up with f-book.

WordPress blogs are free, so are google ones, but WP doesn’t suck every bit of private information about you into it’s inescapable archives and sell it to advertisers, spammers and scammers. (My advice, avoid google, including gmail.)

Anyone can follow your blog, and get (or choose not to get) an email flag when a new post goes up. Or just visit from time to time. You can go to a friend’s WP blog anytime and leave a note in the comments space of the most recent post. Or a link to your blog or website or some article you read, whatever you want. Your comments go to the blog owner privately, where they decide whether to publish them in “comments” or not.  You/they/each blog owner has full control. Nobody can post anything you don’t approve. and you also control comments, and other nice things. Photos, links, anything you want. Free WP blogs have ads, but only one on the page, and they are not obnoxious snake-oil and soft-porn like f-book. Paid blogs have no ads, and cost about $40 a year I think. My personal/spiritual blog More About This is a paid blog, this one you’re reading is free. You can change the design of your blog anytime. You can make it private, with a password required, or regular “public” that gives you a platform for wisdom, kindness, rants & raves, or whatever you want to share.

Let’s keep in touch. You can also reach me here:  “2020 (at)  victoriachames – dot – com” (and BTW, never type your email address in its normal form into any website,  unless you are registering for something legitimate in a secure site. That way it can’t be harvested by spam-bot spiders and sold to businesses in China. (You don’t want that, trust me.)

Also, this and other available WP themes automatically adjust to be read on laptop, tablet, or cellphone. If we start a chain of connections, we can build our own private f-book. We could call it – I dunno – FaceLink?


11. Update: your part is easy but crucial: Please don’t kill anybody unless you really want to.

Dear neighbors and friends,  These are critically dangerous times. Here in California we’re doing better than other states because we started early and have stayed consistent using the limited defenses we do have— sheltering in place, maintaining safe distances, masking, and restraining ourselves from group social activities we  badly miss. This is an effective defense; it is working.

However… This week I saw groups in the park and much more traffic on the street since Gov. Newsom announced that we’re beginning to turn the tide. This is NOT the time to throw away all we have accomplished. When/If we get careless, that will destroy all the progress we’ve made and start a drastic new surge in cases and deaths. I’ve noticed that among our neighbors, people are getting more casual, cheating just a little bit, and I even heard someone mention “having therapy in my home.” I didn’t ask, but for all our sakes and everyone we associate with, I must re-assert:

NO ONE should enter your living space except those who are permanent residents there! To do so exposes roommates or family to this extremely dangerous disease that is more contagious than any ever seen in history. One of its worst qualities is the fact that no symptoms appear in infected people till up to nine days later. Within those nine days, anyone can, without knowing, infect many more. And each one of those they have infected, also without knowing, will infect many many more. And each one of those many many will infect dozens more. In this s way, one careless mistake causes a thousand or more new infections, about 1/3 of which, at any age, are likely to die. I can’t imagine that any one of us really wants to kill so many people for no reason at all except a brief convenience. Please THINK and be aware that this is a branching system of infection that needs only a little bit of carelessness to give it a horrendous advantage all over again. Please don’t do this. Don’t throw away the sacrifices we all have already made to get us this far, almost in control, but with a long way to go before we can say “all clear.”

Who should you believe? We are  getting lots of conflicting information, especially from the undeniably psychopathological sociopath president, who truly, clinically, has no sense of human compassion at all. Please believe the licensed, experienced Medical experts who Trump is finally allowing to tell some of the truth, even as he continues to lie for his own financial and political gain. The medical people know that, and so they are downplaying his crimes so they can fight the pandemic without getting immediately fired by him. Another concern is to try to prevent mass panic. The result is, we are all challenged to figure out who and what to believe.

I’ve shared “just the facts” with you all for your sake and my own safety. I don’t want to get sick and die, by accident, just because you didn’t know. So if you’ve read the posts I sent, you do know, but maybe sometimes you forget that this is not a passing thing, it is the most serious thing we are likely to experience in our lifetime.

Why should you believe me? Who knows – I could be crazy too. I could be lying for some sick reason like Trump so insanely does. One thing we all know for sure by now, is that Trump and others on TV who claimed “No big deal, it will just go away” were wrong. Some ministers, hungry for 5 minutes of fame, called their members to gather in church, saying (quote) “Our people are willing to die for their faith.” And “God will protect us.” etc. Well, I figured out when I was 10 years old that yes, God does protect me, but He is not a circus pony  and we should not expect Him to jump thru hoops for us on command.  And so, when they gathered in church, large numbers got sick and many quickly died. Trust me when I say, You are as smart as a 10-year old, use your head. My old Granny told me, “Pray, but row for shore.”

Who the hell am I, anyway? Why should you believe me? Well, I have a working lifetime in Fire Service as a First Responder, Paramedic, and more recently, 20 years as a hospital E.R. paramedic/ nursing tech. I’m a certified CFSTES Fire Instructor (Ca. State Fire Marshal) and former Program Director of the state approved Alameda County EMS Continuing Education program for  EMTS and Paramedics for 8 years (Fire Med, State of Ca EMSA) and I have paper credentials if there is any concern that I’m lying.  I’ve been a caregiver for more than 30 years, and it’s my nature to care about you.

A few more notes about masks.
1. Wear one whenever you leave the house. When you come back, wash it, and don’t use the same one more than once without washing and drying.
2. Know how the different masks work, and choose wisely. There are lots of well-meant home-made ones that are pretty, but very little help, and give you a false sense of safety that is dangerously not true.
3. STAY at least 6 ft. away from others ( I recommend 12) even if you all feel fine.
4. Read the Masks blog-post again, I have updated it this week. https://victoriachamesblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/3-about-the-masks/

Each day more information comes to light. Now they are admitting another thing I said six weeks ago: The disease is airborne. Breath from someone infected, perhaps unknowingly, lingers in the air for minutes or hours, especially in closed rooms. Even outside you may walk thru an invisible patch of infected air. I can’t stress this too much: use your own common sense, take this very seriously, and do your small but incredibly important part to control this terrible disaster for all humankind. It’s not hard to do. Please, just do your part.

10. Good-News only

Hello possums! It’s time for some good news. I found this website with true stories and headlines that are positive and powerful. GO  GET  SOME. https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/g31658888/coronavirus-covid-19-good-news/

Thank you for sticking with me this far, even when you disagreed with my op-eds, (as I’m sure you must have on some of my rants.) But Truth has the ability to float above the quicksand of politics, and right now, it’s really struggling to do that. I see it making ground, but we’re not free yet. We are still under the control of the Insane Infantile Dictator Trump. I decided today that while we need to keep a close and strong unity against the continuing terrible destruction being done by the dictatorship, we also need some good news, and when we find it, to share it. 

My parents were Republicans when I was a little kid, they voted for Eisenhower. They were good people, honest people, who cared about humanity and taught me the importance of personal integrity, fairness, and above all, honesty. Whatever that Republican Party was, it’s gone now. I feel a sincere compassion for the few Real Republicans who are left, seeing their party totally replaced by the crazy, greedy, brutally inhuman ReTrumplican Party, totally ruled by fear and greed. The Real Republicans, Whatever their faults, have always been extremely loyal. I don’t know where they will go now.

Nevertheless, we have work to do. First of all, to keep ourselves informed and connected, and our fighting spirits strong and true. Get the Real News: MSNBC, CNN, KQED Democracy Now & World News (BBC from Britain, DW from Germany, and NHK from Japan and see what the rest of the world thinks of the U.S. in all this.  

Meanwhile, go read some Good News. https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/g31658888/coronavirus-covid-19-good-news/

9. Update: good news, bad news

1. Trust me, I’m old, and I know stuff. Today the TV news told everybody what I told you 10 days ago, like How the Masks Work Or Don’t, and the truth that yes, this virus does spread through dry air by speaking or just breathing in indoor spaces. (Those posts are below).

On last week’s grocery-store run, I used a surgical mask (the square flat kind) from my first aid kit, left over from years ago. It quickly got hot, moist, became a blotter for collecting every kind of ambient bacteria & virus on its surface. Also, air was pouring in all around the edges, and I had to keep touching/adjusting it with my gloved grocery-store fingers. Not so great really.

Next time I tried what we used to wear for grass-fires in Alameda County Fire Department. (It wasn’t enough either, but it was all we had then.) A bandanna, cowboy-bandit-Style. A simple triangle of cloth over the nose, tied in back, and the front corner tucked inside your T-shirt. Actually fits better, protects more than the surgical mask. Neither mask nor bandanna is 100% and the N-95 respirator masks are only for up-close personal contact with sick people, where WE should not be.

That’s the whole point. Drs and nurses are dying in shocking numbers now because they HAVE TO BE up close to sick people, and hospitals have run out of masks and other critical protective gear. Nurses in their twenties are having to write their last will and testament. When not-sick people hoard or price-gouge critical medical gear, in practical reality, it’s the same as murder. Likewise, anyone who is casual about the 6-foot thing, now you know that even though you feel fine you might cause the deaths of an unknown number of people, by spreading the virus unknowingly to some people who will spread it unknowingly to many others, who will spread it to thousands more. PLEASE DON’T DO THAT. Keep the rules. It’s an inconvenience for us, it’s life itself for potential millions.

2. There’s good news and bad news. First the good news. California is a bit ahead of some other states because we have an intelligent honest governor who saw the obvious, and took immediate decisive action. So far our infectious rate and death toll are lower than predicted– (but that’s just so far). It’s estimated we will lose about 5% of our population instead of  20% because we declared the social space, and we did not delay any action, like Trump told the whole country to do. However, we are still far below our peak, guesstimated at a month away.  Those deaths deaths are already inevitable. But we’re having significant success in the control process. There is actually hope, IF we strictly adhere to the rules. We started earlier than New York and we still have a chance to do better than they can, it’s already too late to stop the numbers infected there, but not yet too late for California– IF we don’t get overconfident and careless. We have not yet seen even the tip of the iceberg. It might take 3 to 6 months, but it could take 19 months or more, depending on what we do NOW. It will end sometime, and the more we stand firm against it, the sooner it will reach its peak, and then begin to gradually diminish.

3. The bad news. There’s too much to tell, so I’ll just hit a few points. Trump has refused to allow any of the 700,000 people who lost their insurance along with their jobs to get Obama care. This is Trump’s #1 vendetta, he hates everything done by Obama and has steadily destroyed everything he can. The Obama administration & Congress had set up and funded a preparedness/ response system  for pandemics after the Ebola pandemic (2014 thru 2016). One of the first things Trump did was to delete it, and transfer the money to something else. (His glory-wall? Who knows.) This week, only after screams of terror and warning from the medical experts, Trump took back his insane order of “everybody go to church Easter Sunday, and a miracle will make the whole pandemic go away.” Trump only reluctantly, and much slower than necessary, allowed the fed. govt. to send some supplies to some states, but he is blatantly holding out on states that he doesn’t personally like, especially New York, because the state has so many lawsuits pending against him for many crimes and illegal business practices. (there are thousands of other lawsuits pending against him all over the U.S. but he has dodged them by claiming “Executive Privilege.”) He finally allowed some hospital ventilator machines to be sent to California, but only a few of them actually worked. Gov. Newsom sent them to No. Cal to an expert repair team, then back to So. Cal where needed most. I won’t say any more about the fool on the hill because it makes me sick, but Just be aware that the most dangerous thing in our country now is not the pandemic, it’s still Donald Trump’s delusional and destructive obsessions.

4. Some more good news. Everywhere I look these days, I see people stepping up to help each other. Even some corporations have developed a conscience. Humanity is not as sick and selfish as some of our so-called “leaders” are. Right now it’s a fact that our former democracy is staggering under the weight of an insane infantile dictator, and that’s the truth. But we as individuals have not, and will not, give up our democracy, our decency, our integrity, or our sense of humanity.

We are still more good than bad. One of history’s greatest teachers once said “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” I believe that. In my life I have seen it happen, and I know that all the lies in history have never been able to do that. We as a nation, as a brotherhood, as a family, as neighbors, as caring and respectful people wherever we are, we have the power to write history, right now. It will be what we make it, and that’s the bottom line. We can make a difference. That’s what I believe. And trust me, I know stuff.

5. Who should you believe? Nobody. Listen to the experts who have actual training and experience first, and don’t just believe the orange-faced guy who yells the loudest. Don’t accept what you hear, until you have looked at it with your own good common sense, and tested it in your own heart. There is a common wisdom in our human species that we are desperately in need of right now, because we are on the brink of an immense breakthrough of human evolution. Yes, seriously. It’s happening and there’s no turning back. It’s not just the pandemic, it’s showing up in the earthquakes, the tornadoes, the volcanoes, the firestorms, the massive floods, the tsunamis, the hurricanes. The earth is changing, and the human species is about to break through to a new way to live, because it must. We have made a mess of things, and now we have got to change.

Lots of people are looking for ways to understand all this. I can recommend something that  helped me to get a grip, get my feet back on the ground without the fear. Two DVDs made by world-known futurist and cosmologist Barbara Marx Hubbard. One is: “Visions of a Universal Humanity,” and another, “Humanity Ascending.” Or read her book Conscious Evolution. For me, they made some real sense out of all this. What’s happening on our tiny planet is not random, and it’s not just an end, it’s an absolute beginning of something we’ve never seen before. The ideas and truths in her work and the many others on the DVD will make you feel a lot less helpless and less afraid. Read her book, and give it some thought. After all, you’ve got some time now.

I also recommend keeping a personal journal or diary of your thoughts and feelings. It helps you get some clarity, and keeps things from spinning around quite so confusingly. It will help you calm down, and give you “someone to talk to” that you can trust, who you can’t offend, who will truly listen and remind you to respect and appreciate yourself and others. It will make everything feel a little more controllable.

Simple meditation can release those stress-knots in your neck and shoulders. Sit quietly in a private place and take some deep, calm, breaths. (This alone works wonders.) Gently but firmly one by one, push away all the wild worried thoughts that barge into your brain, and claim a safe space for yourself.  You might want to think about it as “opening your heart-mind” to God, The Presence, the Buddha, Allah, or whatever you know or sense as  the Universal Spirit of your own natural understanding. Or the classic practice is to make your mind completely empty. (I admit, I have never been able to achieve that.) Be still, be safe, let all your body sink down, and know that right here, right now, you are completely safe, and the unknowable universe loves you, and sort-of bathe your soul with the silence. Take peace for yourself, and know that it’s there for you, deep down, wherever you are, always.

6. Most of us will survive this pandemic. Millions of us will not. The sort-of-good-news is that even though the numbers of people involved is much greater than the Ebola pandemic,  the ratio of infections-to-deaths is lower than that was. This is also true of the H1N1 virus, called “Spanish” flu of 1917-20. It lasted 3 years and 500 million people died, about 1/4 of the world’s population. We know better now, have better medical knowledge and techniques. If we can hold down the numbers to what we can somehow have enough medical people and equipment to treat, this will not be as bad as that pandemic was. It will still be very bad, and it spreads a lot faster. We should decide to stop as much of it as we can, because, the truth is, we can. It’s a choice.

What matters now is what we do now, so that we save the lives that are not yet infected. We can, and I ask you please, let’s do, save ourselves and them. Don’t break the rules. Don’t cheat or fudge. Don’t be careless. You are a causative agent in either the survival or the destruction of human life. Make the right choice, you know you want to.

To get ahead of this catastrophe, we have to think ahead. The guy who said this better than anybody was Wayne Gretzky, legendary hockey player. He said. “You don’t want to be where the puck is, you want to be where the puck is going to be.”

That’s where we can make a difference. Look ahead, think ahead, make a plan, and do it.

 Gretsky.jpg  “The Great Gretsky”


8. Please- Don’t drink the Kool-Ade!

Now Trump’s insane proposal is to simply stop all defense against the pandemic and reassume a carefree lifestyle in a symbolic massive church attendance on Easter Sunday. He promises a Trump-induced “beautiful miracle” that will cause the plague of coronavirus to immediately vanish. He says “It will be so beautiful, all the people in their churches.” Reality-check – That miracle not going to happen, and if very many people are crazy enough to do this, it will escalate the coronavirus pandemic beyond hope of control.

Infectious disease experts predict (as accurately as can be right now) that Easter is about the time when the pandemic here in the US should peak and then begin to gradually decline, IF WE CONTINUE our diligent defense, sheltering in place, instead of spreading it. IF WE CONTINUE our diligent defense,  this will begin to turn the tide. It will may take as long as a year to fully control, but we will begin the overcoming of it.

IF WE DO NOT CONTINUE – IF WE ABANDON OUR ONLY DEFENSE as Trump wants to do, the peak will obviously explode astronomically HIGHER, and NOT decline. Instead it will launch a much greater escalation than has been seen anywhere in the world so far. We will be worse than Italy, worse than Spain, much worse than China.

Some of us are old enough to remember the Jim Jones massacre of 1978, when 912 people died, 1/3 of them children. This man convinced/ brainwashed his followers to sell all their earthly goods, give all of their money to him, and move to his cult-village in Guiana. Then when authorities came to arrest him and free his cult followers, he gathered them together and told them to drink cyanide-poisoned Kool-Ade and go to heaven with him. They all did. All but 5 died of the poison, and then he shot the rest. When they were all dead, he shot himself in the head. TV news showed the huge landscape of dead bodies laid out together, a vast carpet of corpses.

Like Jim Jones, Trump is a self-proclaimed messiah, and also like him, also insanely, Trump actually does believe he is greater than all mortals. The main difference between Trump’s massacre by suicide and  the Jonestown massacre by suicide is that Jim Jones killed only 912, and Trump has already killed many more than that, by delaying our country’s ability to defend itself, lying and insisting that it was no big deal,”well under control” which of course it was not. Trump himself (and no others except by collusion) helped the infections to grow freely for nearly 3 months, which caused many more people to be needlessly infected and killed. Now he says HE will make it all go away on Easter Sunday. This bogus miracle will ultimately cause 100s of thousands or possibly millions more deaths than necessary. When is it ever going to be enough for this man?

Here’s the thing: Already hospitals are crushed by the numbers of cases. They have run our of beds, machines, equipment, and caregivers. Doctors and nurses are dying as never before in history since the Bubonic Plague of the Middle ages. In New York, morgues are overflowed, and refrigerated trucks have been brought in to hold the corpses as they begin to rot in beds that must be emptied for more sick flooding in, hundreds a day, and no one knows how many are on already on the way, infected, some of them doomed, but not yet showing symptoms. We surely don’t need Trump’s hundreds of thousands more.

Trump doesn’t care. He says it’s just another flu. Please notice that this man’s personality is devoid of all human feelings, people are meaningless numbers to him, and this is just an annoying inconvenience. His hotels are losing money, and he is losing the millions of dollars of our money he usually spends each weekend on his golf vacations, paid for by us, at his own resorts where our money goes straight into his own pocket. (But you already know that story.)

One more thing: It’s worth noting that Trump’s entire political career has precisely followed the same game plan as Adolf Hitler’s. Like Hitler, he uses the new mass-media (then it was the invention of radio) to proliferate his propaganda far and wide, with unlimited free advertising, all day and night, endlessly repeating the lies till they become drilled into people’s minds like the ABCs we learned as children. (The psychological principle and the effectiveness are exactly the same.)

And yet a shocking number of us are still unaware. The rest of the world sees and knows that our president/dictator/emperor is a psychopathological egomaniacal sociopath, but incredibly, some of us still don’t want to see it. Like a child playing peek-a-boo, we think that if we just don’t see it, it will go away. It’s not going away, and the more we let our planet’s and our species’ decency and humanity die away, and the spiritual cancer grow, the more of us it will kill. We can change this, if we choose to. We have a choice. Wake up.  Stand up. Speak up. Who’s going to do it if we don’t?

7. Why the log-jam in Congress?

My Op-Ed:  Because the ReTrumplican Congress demands 75% of the 2 trillion dollar relief budget must go to large corporations (like his) and hotels (more things Trump owns.) But Democrats want more than that tiny 25% that’s been proposed for all the human beings in this equation, the people and small businesses who are struggling to survive. Also the Republicans want NO oversight or restrictions on what the corporations can spend our money on– they don’t have to pay their employees, they can use it for their own debts.  That won’t fly with Democrats, (or any decent human being) even though the Republicans are trying to force their bill thru by claiming “urgency” and blaming the Democrats for the delays that they, the ReTrumplicans, are so ruthlessly causing. They know if they keep on lying loud enough, they can still can get a few people to believe a few more lies.

Urgency? Today Trump said he wants to just send everybody back to work by Easter! No problem, he says. Except that would put all of the US on the same helpless track as New York, (which he hates because the state has so many lawsuits against him, and worse, Cuomo has been telling the truth about him, right out loud!)

Meanwhile Trump still has time to keep on pushing his lawsuit to cancel the Affordable Care Act, and take away 20 million people’s insurance. And he is pursuing massive sales of offshore oil drilling rights to corporations, and he is still spending our money on his self-glorifying useless Mexican wall.

Today Trump announced he wants this shelter-in-place to end in two weeks flat, ending our only defense against the pandemic that is sweeping the world, because i’s inconvenient for him. His NYC real estate holdings and hotels are losing money, and he  doesn’t like that, even though he’s much richer now than he was 3 years ago, having robbed hundreds of millions of $ of our tax money for his every-weekend luxury resort vacations, always at someplace HE OWNS, so that whatever he spends goes right into his own pocket. He even actually raises the prices each time he comes with his large army of bodyguards, so he can steal more. $16,000 to rent one golf cart, for example. Did you know?) Last weekHe missed his every-weekend vacation, so he didn’t get the millions he usually gets, all because this annoying global catastrophe is inconvenient for him. Trump doesn’t like anything getting in his way, especially anything like responsibility.

Enough said, and more than enough. I’m sick of all this selfish insane greed, this pathological liar self-crowned emperor who openly and unashamedly values money much more than human life. I will simply recommend you to google “sociopath.” And maybe “megalomania” and “paranoid delusions.” The list of signs and symptoms will explain almost everything you need to know, to understand Donald Trump. Don’t take my word for it. Google it.

6. don’t hog bandwidth

Now that most of human society has been shockingly lurched into the crisis of pandemic and the mandate of semi-isolation, the challenges are showing up everywhere in all sizes. I read something in a cellphone news headline from Britain— never thought of this, but it makes practical sense:

In this time of physical separation from our normal social circle, we are streaming more  movies, videos, games, courses, etc. from the Internet. The web gets overloaded with users, and transmission is slowed way down by the overwhelm of something called “bandwidth.” I googled it. “A range of frequencies within a given band, in particular that used for transmitting a signal… the capacity required…” I still don’t quite know what this is, but I know this:  it has physical limitations which we must consider, in order to prevent crashing it.

We can significantly lighten the load on worldwide Internet servers by streaming in standard instead of “high definition.” This uses much less bandwidth and speeds up transmission of all data for everyone. The movies will be the same, just not as crystal-sharp. I could live with that, better than the constant stopping of the movie while I sit there watching the little circular arrow spin around. And around. And around.

I don’t know how to set/select this on streaming TV and other devices. IF YOU DO, please share it in the comments-box below, or send  to:  heresthething@victoriachames.com

Thank you!

This confusing and challenging time will likely go on for a long while. We will get thru it, one way or another, for better or for worse. Better is definitely better, and definitely possible. Let’s do that, each one of us, one little thing at a time. After all, we ARE the world.

5. remedies for cabin fever

These are scary times, and we are suddenly discovering that not only do we need each other, but when separated by force, we’re finding that we actually WANT each other. People and institutions are stepping up to help, like Berkeley Public Library. They offer lots of stuff online, free, to help get thru the isolation. In addition to ebooks, they also have two free streaming services:

Kanopy – has hundreds of movies, e-books, documentaries and specials from Public Television. The “Kanopy Kids” section has great stuff, books, cartoons, and movies. You can set “parental restrictions” if you wish.

Hoopla is similar, with more commercial movies. Also has a Kids section with cartoons and kid’s books etc. You can set “parental restrictions” there too. Both are available on desktop, phone, tablet, Alexa devices, Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV. You can stream or download their app also.

Both have library limits, 3 weeks for books, 72 hours for movies. Both are available from city of Berkeley Library with just a signup by library card number, or if you don’t have a library card, you can get one right there on the website. You don’t have to live in Berkeley. https://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/  Oakland Library likely has similar services.

MORE: a friend in Palo Alto is using child-labor to build a teaching and learning and really fun experience for his boys: growing a garden. My next door neighbor (a grown-up) is doing a garden too. Do you have any other great ideas for antsy home-bound kids and adults? Are you willing to share them here?

4. how it works

Okay, here’s the thing. Trump is still hedging the truth about coronavirus spread, so here it is in plain words from a 20-year veteran ER worker. We can get thru this, and we will, the choice now is how well and with what costs of human life. It’s time to re-awake our good common sense. Here are some facts to help you plan your way thru the tough times. Here’s why this self-isolation thing is SO important, and why it’s absolutely urgent that you DO NOT CHEAT OR FUDGE.

How it works:  Primary spread is by close contact with a positive carrier. Breathing the same air, touching their skin or something they have touched and then touching your face, ears, eyes, nose, or mouth areas. Or by getting coughed or sneezed micro-droplets of spittle onto those places. The carrier may feel flu-ish, or they may feel fine. The greatest number of carriers right now are healthy young adults with no symptoms.

Secondary “community” spread is like this: a carrier may have no symptoms, never get sick, but has unknowingly touched something that has been touched by someone who is positive for the virus. Then they touch YOU, or something you will now touch, by shaking hands, holding a handrail, pushing an elevator button. You CAN get the disease from them this way, though it’s less common than direct contact infection. Or you may unknowingly become a carrier.

What’s so deadly about this virus is that the infection multiplies much more rapidly than any known virus. It increases like  pyramid. Here’s what that means: When one carrier passes the virus to (for example) 2 people, they may infect (for example) 2 more each, (that creates 4 more carriers so far.) At this rate, (which could be much higher – we’re just saying 2) those 4 can infect > 8, those 8 can infect > 16, those 16 > can infect 32,  those 32 > can infect  64, those 64 > can infect 128. These example numbers are IF all of them only contact TWO people each. But in a crowd, one person might touch or cough on 50 or more. And this process can happen in a single day, and continue into the millions if not stopped by isolating the carriers. That’s why we must test everyone to  identify the carriers, and until we do, we don’t know who they are. They are invisible in he crowd. That’s why Italy is on national “lockdown” and if we don’t take action now, that WILL happen here, or anywhere.

Not saying this to scare anybody, just to say we really should get scared enough, not to panic, but to get our brains in gear and take intelligent effective action, each one of us. It’s crucial to protect yourself not just for your own sake, but for the unknowable number you might infect by becoming a carrier without knowing it. Millions are in the equation.

Don’t just blow it off and keep shaking hands like Trump, bragging that your’e healthy. That’s really great if you are, but KNOW the cost of carelessness. Don’t be the “healthy” person that might cause illness or death of innocent others. Unless that’s your thing DON’T  DO  THAT. Panic will not help. What’s important is to just get serious and do what needs to be done. It will not be fun, but think ahead. Now is the time.

3. about the masks

Mask Update Notes:  April 15, 2020

Lots of good people are now sewing and giving away thousands of home-made masks. They want to help. But you should be aware that many of them are nearly useless or even dangerous. Here’s what to look for in your go-to face-mask.
1. It should seal or at least close all the way around. If you feel air coming in or going out around any edge, that means viral, bacterial, and other components are coming in and going out also. Some of the prettiest ones, a friend of mine said, “You might as well just strap a pancake to your face, for all the good they do.” People mean well, but all of this is so new, and moving so fast, I just want you to have the facts, without fudging the truth in order to be polite. That being said, know that even a pancake would be some protection, as it would stop or at least slow down the force of particles and mist from you, and prevent it from getting on others. But anything that allows air to flow in from the top, bottom, or sides, allows all the viral infection too, carried on that invisible cloud of air. It need not be an audible cough or sneeze. This is not to scare you, but to encourage everyone to take this challenge very seriously, even though, as you know so well, it’s not easy to change your everyday habits, and it’s not fun.

(End of addendum, start of original post):
What kind of mask is the right kind for you? It depends. The square ones you’ve seen people in China wearing on the news, those are surgical masks, also called barrier masks. They are designed to protect other people FROM YOU. They stop your germs, your sneezes and coughs from splattering unto other people and objects. They prevent (somewhat) aerosolized droplets from your mouth and nose from getting onto other people. They can also filter larger particles such as  soot and dense smog (somewhat) that’s why Chinese folks have worn them for years, they have a bad smog problem from fossil-fuel/coal-powered commerce, one that is growing here in the U.S. too.\. Barrier masks like this, can’t stop microscopic “aerosolized” (turned into fine mist or airborne) bacteria or viruses from passing through them, or being breathed-in around the sides, so they are not 100%.

These masks do protect you from most direct sneezes and coughs. Hospital workers now are desperately short of these and other supplies, so if you have scored a whole bunch or know someone who has, shame on you. Please donate them to the closest hospital ASAP. Those MDs and nurses are risking their own lives and health to take care of people like you. Give them half a chance, please. 

Respirator masks, like N-95, are designed to protect the wearer from others by hepa-filtering. They have to be correctly fitted airtight in order to work, are one-use only, are nearly impossible to find in drugstores, and very expensive. if you find some, please don’t hoard them. They are desperately needed by hospital professional caregivers and ICUs. They are not necessary unless you must be in close contact with an infected person. It’s almost impossible to know who is infected without symptoms,  and people who seem healthy are now the main spreaders of this disease. You should consistently avoid placing yourself in close contact with anyone, even friends and family, if possible.