SL 836

The Quora people found my posts on the Royal Family. Hello, all!

Stacy Abrams somehow finds time to write romance novels

I love politics, and I love art, so the politics of art is my happy place.

The few people still working remotely (33% of all workers) are going back by September. Some people actually think that the public will tolerate teachers working remotely, while they’re busting their asses in an office. They’re in La-La Land. The latest jobs report show how badly women have been screwed over. Schools aren’t going to open because people give a shit about kids — they don’t — they’re going to open because the business community demands it.

The New York Times asked epidemiologists a list of 19 activities (eating indoors, taking public transportation) and asked them what they were willing to do now that they have the vaccine. I scored a 13 out of 19.

Working: I have a ridiculous amount of paperwork and research related to finding a path for a smart kid with no social skills, but I’m trying to keep that work until after 3:00 every day. My book side gig has not gotten enough attention, so I spent yesterday listing books. Steve added more bookshelves to the basement and strung up some motion detector lights in the basement/book storage center. I’m almost done with Chapter 1 of the book. It needs a few more pages and a thorough edit.

Reading: I loved Jojo Moyes’ The Girl You Left Behind, so now I’m reading Me Before You. I was up until 1 or 2 am reading it last night. Such great descriptions about the lack of supports for people with disabilities, which is really inspiring my writing.

Picture: Office buildings in Jersey City as seen from the very bottom of Manhattan. At some point, I’ll do a slide show of the entire trip.

42 thoughts on “SL 836

  1. I see that Hometown U. is planning on enforcing different rules on the vaccinated versus unvaccinated. The vaccinated are allowed to congregate unmasked indoors without masks while the unvaccinated need to be masked. The unvaccinated also need to keep testing and don’t get to do official college business travel. However, in common (?) areas indoors, people need to wear masks. (My husband thinks that this means that the vaccinated can be unmasked in classrooms and offices.)

    I guess that Bill Gates vaccine microchip is going to come in handy for this. (Just kidding–but it would be handy to just be able to wand people to figure out which rules apply.)

    We shall see how well this works in practice. I suspect that the weekly testing regimen for the unvaccinated will be the part of the system that works, as the enforcement is pretty automated. These are the summer rules, so this will give Hometown U. a test run in preparation for the fall, when there will be a lot more people on campus.

    Currently, Hometown U. students are slightly over 1/4 vaccinated while employees are about 1/2. (Not sure about contractors.) The numbers probably are better than that, as some people (like our college freshman) have gotten shots off-campus and haven’t reported them to the system yet.


  2. Some economic news from my cleaning lady:

    –She’s been working solo the last couple times because there’s been so much federal cash handed out that a lot of people at the cleaning company have quit or not come back to work, and her boss has started sending them out alone to work, instead of in teams of 2.
    –Also, their mileage compensation isn’t adequate, given new gas prices.
    –She was planning to build a dog house, but the materials were going to be so expensive that she gave up and decided to get fencing material instead.

    We both boggle at the number of out-of-state plates we’ve been seeing. Some of those have to be Hometown U. students from out of state (there are more than there used to be), but it doesn’t account for all of them. I believe some of them are probably people seeking their fortune.

    In other news, I see that California is down to 4 new cases per 100k, virtually British levels. Their hospitalizations are the best in over 13 months and dying of COVID is getting to be literally a one-in-a-million event (at least daily).


  3. Nice photo.

    Re Stacy Abrams: I actually have never read any of her books, and I’m making it a goal now to read at least one. I read about how Stephen Colbert read sex scenes from her books to her (when she didn’t want them to be) during an appearance on his show, and I am appalled by that. For one thing, good sex scenes in romance novels develop the relationship and can’t be read out of context. For another, it’s creepy for a man to want to force a woman to talk about sex. I’m putting him On Notice, unfortunately.

    I score 7 out of 19 on that list. Today I’m going to drop off some seedlings at a friend’s house. She is not fully vaxxed yet, so it will be a short visit on her porch.


    1. I’ve only done 3/19 (note, they asked in the last 30 days). Mind you, a number I never did (some weird one, like getting my hair cut, but also riding the subway, or dated someone I don’t know well). The big one I’m still not willing to do (and I’m not 2 weeks out from vax yet) is indoor dining, including a dinner party.

      2-weeks out, I got an invite to a drinks gathering and have accepted. I’m not sure whether it will be inside or outside, but plan to go either way. I might not ask, so that I don’t get cold feet if its inside.

      I’m an awkward hugger and try to avoid them, but I don’t think I’ll refuse now. I wish people would stop shaking hands, and when I said that, a discussion started in my family about returning to normal, and where we want things to change permanently. I feel that way about shaking hands, that I want it to change permanently. But, there are many things that some people want to see change permanently (remote school being a crazy option). that I strongly object to keeping.


      1. The question was, “ Share saying they had done or would have done the following activities if necessary in the last 30 days.” So, I would have gone to a wedding or funeral, if necessary, etc.


  4. I’m fully vaccinated, my husband is, my teen son is, my teen daughter is a week from being fully vaccinated, and only my 8-year-old is unvaccinated. I’m a yes to just about everything on the list, at least in theory. One big exception–I am not normally a hugger and shaking hands is kind of gross, so while I realize that as a fully vaccinated person, it’s perfectly safe for me in terms of COVID exposure, I don’t wanna.

    I also have some qualms about the small indoor dinner party if there were multiple unvaccinated people from multiple households, but I wouldn’t be concerned for myself, but for the other people.

    My cleaning lady was over this morning and we were both masked indoors in my house, as per usual. I’m vaccinated, she’s vaccinated, why are we doing this? But I’m not quite there yet, I bet she’s required to by her boss, and it would feel rude to unmask if she’s not allowed to. But I’ll ask in a month or so.

    I have some residual scruples, but I am travelling with my unvaccinated 8-year-old to the West Coast in three weeks to see family, so that will probably be the end of 99% of my voluntary COVID observances. It will be interesting to see the COVID rules in a new environment and see how the public deals with them, as I haven’t been more than 20 minutes from my home in Texas in over a year now and sis tells me that our older relatives and many of the people in our hometown in rural WA are COVID outlaws.

    Texas dropped statewide masking requirements and COVID restrictions 2 months ago. The 8-year-old and I went back to church in-person around Easter (my husband the teens had been going for a long time) and our diocese is supposed to drop their masking requirement in two weeks. I get the vibe that the pastor would kind of prefer that we keep masking, though…Hometown U. now mostly just requires everybody to mask in public areas, school requires big kids to mask indoors, and our grocery store requires masking, and usually has a worker at the front door with a basket full of disinfectant wipes and complimentary masks. It feels like things are 90% the way they were before, but we’re living in a transitional time. I’m vaccinated and all the eligible people at my house are vaccinated, and I’m ready to move on, but it’s probably too early for the community at large. I expect that things will be quite different by mid-summer.


  5. I’m a 19 out of 19, as I’m now fully vaccinated. I must add though, that I’m not wild about crowded settings even in “normal times,” so I won’t be rushing to see any play open on Broadway.


    1. Cranberry said, “I must add though, that I’m not wild about crowded settings even in “normal times,” so I won’t be rushing to see any play open on Broadway.”

      Ditto. I’ve never loved crowds, and the past year has made me even more negative about them.

      Three weeks from now, I’m going to be inches away from a complete stranger on a plane, and that’s going to be super weird.


    2. A Broadway play is basically the *only* time I ever want to be in a crowd. 😀 Oh, and maybe a baseball game. I haven’t been into concerts for a long time, though.


      1. I’m definitely in the teens but would not be excited about taking a plane (not because of the flight itself, but the possibility of crowded airports and layovers); indoor exercise (never appealing, except for my one yoga class; and this may be the last thing to return); or indoor concerts/plays at full capacity. I may fly this summer, but we’ll see. People here are still working through whether they are comfortable with indoor restaurants or dinner parties, but I’m up for it.

        I hope hope hope our university requires vaccination in the fall. I do not want to teach in a mask, or in a classroom where students wear masks.


      2. The problem now for me is that being “extra safe” aligns too well with my general dislike of crowds. It will take some time to get back into practice with socializing.

        I think there’s a trend to much smaller weddings? At least, talking with my kids, they can list a number of friends who have had to radically downsize the size of their wedding celebrations to just family. I think this is a healthy change; put the difference in cost toward buying a house or paying off student loans.

        I’m sure the wedding industry doesn’t approve. That includes: restaurants, caterers, florists, planners, limo companies, hotels, travel providers, cruise lines, etc.

        Really, though, a shift to a civil wedding (as in Europe) followed at some point by a party to celebrate the wedding would be nice.


  6. Only four states have increasing rates right now — the rest are falling. Our rates in WA have started to turn around and are falling, and though the case rate is still higher than some other states, our death rate is low. We need to be taking steps to returning to the steady state.

    I’m a bit worried about Florida, but, I think we’ve reached the point where we have to experiment and react. I’ll admit to having a bit of a hope that some cruise ships will require vaccination and others won’t and we’ll be able to see the outcomes. An RCT, of sorts (though not perfectly, since people won’t be randomly assigned to cruises and the choices might change the populations).

    I am toying with booking a foreign workshop in Spring 2022. Need to make some plans like that.


    1. I just saw a tweet from about states with the top vaccination rates:

      Nice to see Mass representing. Now do New York, preferably before the weekend of S’s graduation.

      The FB group for parents at E’s university in NY is full of “OMG, I can’t believe they’re requiring students to be vaccinated next fall. It’s an eXpERiMEnTaL vaccine!!!” Sigh. I am just hoping I can teach without a mask. I will wear a mask every other time outside of my house, but when I teach, I just want not to have to wear a mask.


      1. Wendy said, “I am just hoping I can teach without a mask. I will wear a mask every other time outside of my house, but when I teach, I just want not to have to wear a mask.”

        I want to go to the gym without a mask.


    2. bj said, “I’m a bit worried about Florida, but, I think we’ve reached the point where we have to experiment and react. I’ll admit to having a bit of a hope that some cruise ships will require vaccination and others won’t and we’ll be able to see the outcomes.”

      Paying a bonus to vaccinated workers or offering a discount to vaccinated passengers might be a work-around.

      “I am toying with booking a foreign workshop in Spring 2022. Need to make some plans like that.”

      Ooooh! Europe might be fine by then. Canada is a pretty safe bet. And the UK, of course.


  7. One thing that struck me about the WaPo article on women returning to work is the hint of the idea that you can work and care for the children at the same time with flexibility. There could be children and work that can be done in those circumstances, but, I think it is a rare combination. I think there are people deluding themselves and being given a break right now for combining the two who think they can do it. An example, an image in our newspaper of a remote teacher who was teaching with a baby in a carrier. I don’t think that can be done without having a significant impact on productivity. But I can see why a worker might like it, even if purely for the child care cost savings.

    The article goes on to say that higher pay is needed to pay for child care. But, in what circumstances does it make sense to have higher pay for women who work and need child care, and for the child care provider to produce the value added needed to have that make economic sense? There’s maintaining skills, there’s the benefit of having women continue to work even when it doesn’t make sense for 5 years or 10 years, there’s the benefit to children of having “pre school” or being cared for in non-parent environments, there’s the benefit to care takers of having breaks from intensive caretaking work. But we need to talk more openly about the goal.


    1. bj said, “An example, an image in our newspaper of a remote teacher who was teaching with a baby in a carrier. I don’t think that can be done without having a significant impact on productivity. But I can see why a worker might like it, even if purely for the child care cost savings.”

      There are chill babies who will go along with that–but definitely not for everybody.

      Back in the day, my husband used to do a lot of computer-type work with our middle child in a front carrier. At a certain age, a lot of babies just want to be held. He had a colleague who brought her baby to work for baby’s first 6 months, taught with baby, had baby in Pack N Play in office, etc.

      On the other hand, I vividly recall that when our oldest was a toddler, her idea of a good time was to flick the caps off the keys on my laptop.

      “But we need to talk more openly about the goal.”

      Riiight. And a lot of things make sense for a short period of time that won’t work long term.


      1. I haven’t been editing for a while (pandemic break), but I know that I need sepulchral silence to be able to concentrate.

        I’d never, ever be able to concentrate well enough while keeping an eye and ear on young children.


    2. Yeah, those chill babes. And, I guess chill parents/moms. I was also entirely unable to do almost anything else when caring for a child and I don’t think it would have helped if my child was chill. So, maybe the babes who can be taught with are more than I think.


      1. I worked from home (very part time), starting when my son was 3.5.

        I *never* worked during the day. Not only was he a super-inquisitive kid – into everything in a particularly messy and destructive way (silence was a huge wake-up call that something I did *not* want to happen was going on) – he needed a lot of attention and interaction (and was not shy about seeing he got it!)

        We went to Playcentre [local parent-led ECE concept, unique to NZ] in the mornings (some mornings both of us, others he had a drop off – and I madly raced around doing supermarket shopping, etc.); and went to various parks, etc. in the afternoons (anything to keep him interested and engaged).

        Once he was in bed, I was able to work for 2-3 hours a night. I needed deep concentration and no Mummy-hyper-vigilance to do the job – and there is no way I could have done it while he was awake.

        Some kids will sit quietly on the mat playing with lego while you can concentrate on something else (I always thought they were Stepfords, though). But, no parent can reasonably expect that behaviour for 8 hours a day.


  8. “Across education, this could be the moment for bold approaches to the future of school. ”

    I so completely disagree. This is the time to get schools opened and back to normal.

    The suggestion of a four day school week will get some discussion, though (as per the article), especially in those districts where there are already short days (in our case, on Wednesday). I wouldn’t mind it for high school, but for elementary it would basically be a reduction in care that would have to be paid for elsewhere, and would be replaced with something that kind of looked like school but where caretakers were paid lower wages.

    There are a number of school districts that either have or have experimented with 4 day workweeks (Hawaii, Denver two big places).


    1. I’m totally disgusted by education reporters and edu-thinkers. There all have their heads up their asses and are utterly clueless at best, utterly irresponsible at worst, for how they have been covering schools during the pandemic. I know that nobody wants to read bad news and truthful articles don’t get clicks, but they’ve allowed a narrative to continue that is going to lead to big Republican wins in 2022, decrease truth in the media, and increase income inequality.


  9. I may be calling it too soon, but India looks like it may be peaking. Lots of caveats, of course, but any sort of slow-down is a lot better than the vertical line that they’ve been having.

    NJ continues to look fantastic: 8 cases per 100k, 55% with at least one dose and new cases down 75% over the past 14 days.


  10. A tweet came through saying Ohio is going to run a lottery for vaccinated people — every Wednesday for five Wednesdays, with a million dollar payoff. Cheap at 5 million. I think it is an excellent idea. Anyone who knows vaccine delayers who would be incentivized?


    1. bj said, “A tweet came through saying Ohio is going to run a lottery for vaccinated people — every Wednesday for five Wednesdays, with a million dollar payoff. Cheap at 5 million. I think it is an excellent idea.”

      I actually came here just to post on that, but I see you guys are on it.

      My husband and I were talking about the lottery idea earlier (we were thinking of a $1,000 daily local drawing), but I’m really happy to see that somebody is running with it. I like the fact that people who already got vaccinated are eligible.

      DeWine tweeted, “Two weeks from tonight on May 26th, we will announce a winner of a separate drawing for adults who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. This announcement will occur each Wednesday for five weeks, and the winner each Wednesday will receive one million dollars.”

      I like the bit where this all starts in two weeks–so it creates a lot of urgency to get vaccinated fast to be eligible for all of the drawings. There have to be a lot of people who are kind of interested, but not in a big hurry.

      I hope other governors follow. As bj said, this is so cheap. The free publicity alone would be worth at least as much as the prizes. And Ohio is actually doing OK right now–but I guess they want to take it to the next level:


      1. Ohio is also doing a drawing for a 4-year Ohio state college scholarship for 17-and-under. Several of my medical twitter people feel queasy about the ethics of this…but at least it’s not cash.

        Gov. DeWine tweeted, “On Wednesday, May 26th, we will announce the winner of a drawing of all those 17 years old and under who have been vaccinated, and the winner will receive a full, four-year scholarship to our State of Ohio universities. This will include tuition, room and board, and books.”


  11. They’re starting to do vaccine clinic + free tickets at sporting events. Some items I saw when googling “free tickets with vaccine”: free entry at aquarium in Long Beach, CA, Atlanta Braves tickets, St. Louis Cardinals tickets.

    It’s happening!


    1. This is all coming just in the nick of time.

      I don’t really believe in holiday spikes, but it can’t hurt at all to take care of business before Memorial Day.


    2. They’re holding vax clinics at many middle/high schools in our city. The one at my kids HS is next week, walk in, with parent consent forms available online. Kiddo got his 2nd shot already, yesterday (and is kind of miserable today), so doesn’t need to use the clinic.


  12. NJ still crashing! 55% have gotten 1st doses and there are only 7 new cases per 100k now!

    And I suppose everybody has seen the new CDC guidelines. Assuming you are vaccinated, they are green-lighting everything–no masking necessary either outdoors or indoors.

    It’s crazy how fast we are having the indoor conversation, given that outdoor masklessness was controversial just days ago.


  13. I was talking to one of my older unvaxxed WA relatives tonight. As I’ve seen people mention online, the prospect of a yearly booster seems to be a sticking point.


  14. I was out at the zoo this morning and on campus for a picnic lunch today.

    My what a difference a day makes! Between Hometown U’s summer mask policy email and the new CDC letters, it feels likes masks have virtually disappeared outside. I would say that it was suddenly down to 2-5% outside. I don’t know yet what the changes will mean indoors.

    My BFF is going for her second shot later today.


    1. I saw a decrease last week outside (path around a nearby lake, where people run), after the outside guidance. I wore my mask ’cause I’m not fully vaxed, but spouse didn’t.

      None of our retailers are changing rules yet (and, a local bookstore tweeted right away that they weren’t making changes). Since everyone became eligible only 4/15 here, I respect retailers not making the change until all their workers have had a chance to become vaxed. I think with no verification some non-masked people will not be vaccinated, and so the employees will be at risk until they are vaccinated.


  15. NJ still crashing: 55% vaccinated with 1 dose, cases down 80% over the past 14 days, hospitalizations down 39%, deaths down 28%. I think deaths are about to fall a lot, given the new case drops.

    NJ now has 5 new cases per 100k, the same as Hawaii, and just slightly more than California and Oklahoma (4 cases per 100k). The US overall is at 10 cases per 100k.


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