At Home


So, we all find ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic, which would have sounded strange to write a few months ago, but now sounds normal. If you read the details of the hotspots, which I haven’t done today, it sounds terrifying, because what people in New York and other places are suffering is a nightmare, and we don’t really know if every single city will become a hotspot eventually, or if our partial shutdown and stay-at-home orders will keep some areas merely warm.

Today I heard some advice on a nutrition podcast, someone discussing how she and her husband are staying sane at home with 4 year old twin boys. They have made a schedule for their kids, not so different from a pre-school schedule, but also a daily schedule for her and her husband. She said it removes some of the stress and keeps her on track with things she wants to do. So I’m trying it out for the first time, and this is writing time. It’s working in that I’m writing.

Yesterday I grocery shopped for the first time with a mask on, a dust mask I found in the basement, crumpled up in a bag with some paint supplies. At first it looked like I was the only one with a mask, but then I noticed that most of the elderly people had surgical masks. It was late and not many people were there, so that was good.

My wife teaches medicine and works at a clinic one day a week. I worry about that one day. Being a part timer they haven’t fitted her for an N95, since they are in short supply. She took one of our crappy dust masks this morning. Our daughter has started to sew cloth ones and I think she will send a couple.

You would think I’d use this time for all sorts of productive things, reading more, working with the activist groups I’m part of, photography projects, writing, but I found myself a little scattered the first couple weeks, online too much. I have to make sure I’m done with reading or listening to any news by the early evening, otherwise I go to bed too wound up and can’t sleep well (either not falling asleep, or waking up too early, mulling things over).

Perhaps the strangest thing about this global catastrophe, what feels like World Wide Katrina, is the isolation. Solidarity is crucial, but solidarity depends so much on proximity. Isolation kills solidarity by forcing us to become hyper-focused on our individual needs. I need to start calling more people on the phone just to check in.

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The Green New Deal and Growth

The current economy only functions if it is expanding enough so that capitalists can make more and more profits, leading to very unhealthy levels of the wrong types of industry, bad land development, abuse of workers in order to compete, and poor use of natural resources.

Some environmentalists argue that we need to reach a “steady-state” no-growth economy, and that will require sacrifices. I think in some ways it is not helpful to frame it this way. We need an economy that is equitable, serves our needs well, and doesn’t kill us, yes. But growth comes in many forms. We want continued growth in technical and scientific progress, medical discovery and treatment, general education for all, spiritual growth, growth in our wild areas, growth in our ability to feed each-other safely, growth in our renewable resources like soil and water and the natural life therein, and most of all growth in community and international bonds of solidarity. Progress without pollution.


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Border Crisis Solution

As the Trump administration assembles the usual list of ghouls to work on the overthrow of Venezuela, consider our long history of intervention in Latin America. Always in support of the right, always with dire results for regular people.


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Nah, forget that blog

After several months of using the blog that Squarespace provides with its website kit, I’m giving it up for absolute lack of traffic. Back to this one, which at least occasionally sees a visitor and a comment. Still keeping the website for my Duluth photos, but not the dusty blog.

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New Website

Okay, I started a new website over at squarespace with the same name as this blog. And it also has a blog. And that blog has all the same posts, plus a couple new ones. I will likely be using that blog until I get sick of how limited the software is compared to some other platforms… Kind of an “argh” situation. I like the galleries and the overall design, but every time I try to do something to the blog design it turns out they don’t offer it and you have to upgrade to the even more expensive premium package so you can figure out how to inject custom code from some third party solution… like if you want a way for people to subscribe to your blog, which seems pretty basic. But I digress.

The website features my Duluth photography in a more organized way than my main photo pile/depository.

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The 20 Minute Run-Walk

Okay, this is more or less the simplest exercise you can do, mentally and physically, if your legs are more or less ok. It provides just enough aerobic exercise, and most importantly, it doesn’t leave me with the burned out “I never want to do that again” feeling that straight running does.

Here’s the trick: You run for a minute, then you walk for a minute. Repeat ten times. That’s it. Forever. You don’t bother with increasing your time or distance or interval spacing. Keep it simple. The goal is to get out there and do it. As you increase your aerobic capacity you will find yourself running a little faster. That’s good. If you start off with the smallest of shuffles for the running that’s fine.

You should find that you become a little short of breath during the running sections. That’s what you want, just not too much. I use an app on my Apple Watch called Intervals to help me keep track, and it shows that my heart rate gets up to around 150 or more towards the end of the workout. You can also use it on your phone, or just look at a regular watch and keep track in your head.

Even doing this only twice a week helps. No need to do it every day, but I suspect four to five times a week is ideal.

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Trees and Trees

From another dog walk near a “country club” golf course…


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