Friday, March 20, 2020

March Glyphosate Awareness Newsletter

This one doesn't have a beautiful photo-enriched "creature feature" yet. (April's will. Promise.) Instead, by reader request, here's our official response to "You are preaching to the choir. Please tell us what we can do."

THE “WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT GLYPHOSATE?” CHECKLIST

[] Obviously, don’t spray pesticides on your property. If possible, buy and try devices people are putting on the market to control weeds by harmless mechanical means, to encourage these people.

[] Buy unsprayed food whenever you can. (Some of it will still contain glyphosate, but less than foods that have been sprayed contains.)

[] Raise your own fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes, strawberries, and greens growing in indoor pots or in greenhouses will be safer than those exposed to glyphosate vapor drift in gardens.

[] If your dog or cat acts sick after eating cheap pet food, it is probably having glyphosate reactions. Consider buying the pricier pet foods or, if it’s cheaper, feeding your pet human quality meat, eggs, and bread...but be very careful about the bread!

[] Join the Glyphosate Awareness network. It’s free of charge; you pay only the cost of any printed material I mail to you. (You can, of course, donate money to pay for more material to be mailed to more people, but our Newsletters consist of news, not fundraising appeals.)

[] Subscribe to the Children’s Health Defense newsletter. If you still think of this organization as Marian Wright Edelman’s anti-family lobby, you are in for a lovely surprise. Robert Kennedy is a Democrat but he’s been using CHD to study children’s actual health concerns—excessive vaccination, misdiagnosis and inappropriate medication, and also the effects of glyphosate on children’s growth and learning problems. The Newsletter is now science, not politics. It is free by e-mail or, if you don’t get e-mail, printouts are available for the cost of printing and mailing from Glyphosate Awareness.

[] Write “Letters to the Editor” of every newspaper you read. Gloria Steinem recommended writing one per newspaper per week toward the goal of getting one printed per month. (If you are not as well known as she was, your letters will probably not be printed every month. Save copies for your own future use, and persevere.) You can send the same message to different editors if you put the right name and address at the top of each letter. Don’t reuse a message that has been published.

[] Share your concerns about glyphosate with your elected officials. In each of the United States you have a Representative and two Senators in Washington, plus two officials in your state capitol. These people are paid to represent your views. They need to know what your views are. To keep them informed, send short polite messages, preferably e-mails or postcards, addressed to your official. These messages will probably be read by staffers, probably students, so don’t use language that might embarrass them. Most messages from constituents are simply tallied as being for or against something. Yours may get an answer from a staffer who is an official expert on a pertinent topic. This is good. You can address further correspondence directly to that person. (Follow your elected officials online, and when they support and oppose things that represent your views, thank them. And their staff, by name, when possible.)

[] Pay close attention to what you eat and how you feel afterward. If your glyphosate reactions are very unpleasant you probably eat only a few trusted commercially produced foods, gamble on only one new food item at a time, and know when you’re having a reaction to a new food product. You will want to avoid that food product. The manufacturer needs to know what you’re avoiding and why, so write a reasonably polite letter or e-mail saying that you were sick or ill after eating Product X and you suspect glyphosate is to blame.

[] Consider sharing your story on your web site and any social media you use. You don’t have to discuss your symptoms in detail; doing so will help the movement, but it might harm your career if being perceived as “young” is important to your image. Avoid using your real name, a recognizable picture of your face, your real home address, or any images of or information about children, on the Internet. If you don’t have an established business brand or other screen name, you might use “Online” or “Internet” in place of half of your real name—“John Doe” might become “John Online.”

[] Get the facts on vaccines. Glyphosate contamination is the biggest reason for severe adverse reactions to all those new vaccines that are urged on the young these days. If you are paying your own family doctor with your own money, you may be able to get accurate, up-to-date information about which vaccines help and which do more harm than the diseases they’re supposed to prevent. If not, you may want to request an exemption from vaccination requirements to keep children in school, or consider homeschooling. Griggs, Calvert, and Ron Paul are legitimate homeschool resources that any literate parent or grandparent can use to give a child a better education than most public schools offer.

[] Talk to people you know about how using pesticide sprays actually breeds hardier, more aggressive pest species. In our Twitter Live Chat I like to encourage inventive types to think about building weeding robots and devices that will kill weeds as efficiently as glyphosate does without harming animals or other plants. In some farming and gardening situations, digging up weeds may damage crop plants. For those situations, you can already buy steamers that will wilt the weed while actually watering other plants, or electric zappers that will fry the weed without touching other plants. You might be able to market a no-poison alternative for weed control and actually earn commissions for building your neighbors’ Glyphosate Awareness.

[] Promote awareness of the plants and animals this year’s monthly Newsletters will be featuring. (I’ll try to make that easy by picking pretty ones.)

[] Support the authors and artists in the Glyphosate Awareness Network. You won’t agree with them on every point; they don’t, or didn't, agree with each other, or with me, on everything. Nevertheless, buying as much of their work as you can afford will help offset the harassment, threats, boycotts, blacklisting, and other unpleasantness the living ones are getting. (Note that Glyphosate Awareness is not politically partisan. Hostilities come from both Left and Right. Glyphosate Awareness is global; issues and viewpoints vary, as do languages.) Some of these people's published work mentions glyphosate specifically or "pesticides" generally, and some does not.

[] Don’t buy products from Bayer, Monsanto, or affiliated companies. (Unfortunately, “affiliated companies” includes many brands built by successful small business owners many people admire, like Ben & Jerry’s.)

[] Buy products from smaller companies that have committed to delivering glyphosate-free food...NOW. (Don’t buy poisoned food from companies like Kellogg’s that promise to make their products fit to eat in another five years. Boycott those companies until their products are glyphosate-free.) Buy Barbara’s, Arrowhead Mills, etc. Company owners and policies change, so review their status frequently.

[] Anything that involves two or more humans is political, but try not to bog down in partisan politics. If you feel tempted to lock into hating or defending Trump, remember that our current glyphosate problem developed during the Obama Administration. Monsanto bought politicians in both parties, and Rand Paul. Glyphosate Awareness is not about preferring sold-out politician A to sold-out politician B.

[] Buy land. Raise fruit and vegetables on it if able. Keep it pesticide-free.

[] HANG IN THERE. We have won the debate—we are now at the enforcement stage.

PART II: MORE STUFF WE COULD DO IF WE CHOSE

There’s a lot more that can be done if people want to do it.

[] For example, George Soros is actively recruiting creative people who are interested in the natural sciences away from Glyphosate Awareness and back to Al Gore’s poor old outdated, soundly debunked, theory of global warming. (Soros is European; Gore’s theory looks more credible, due to their local warming issues, in Europe.) There is no reason why we can’t recruit them back by holding writing contests for poems, essays, or short stories that support our cause too, the way Soros is sponsoring contests for creative writing that supports the cause to which he’s still clinging. (Why hate him—most of us will, any day now, outlive him.) It costs only a couple hundred dollars to sponsor a writing contest, and they can be profitable for those who judge the writing.

[] I could not, but some of you might be able to, sponsor a video or graphics contest using the same ideas as the writing contest.

[] Every town, however small, has some sort of Town Festival celebrating something about its part of the world. What do your Town Festivals celebrate? What do they usually offer? Even when the main theme is a birthday, holiday, or anniversary, most festivals celebrate local natural events and wildlife—springtime, summer, autumn, flowers, harvests, etc.—in some way. What can you and your neighbors do with these celebrations? What flowers, fishes, butterflies, songbirds, maybe even wild mushrooms, can you celebrate (and mention, truthfully, how glyphosate endangers them)?

I’ve been reading up on wild morels, because I live in a house with chestnut-wood foundations in an orchard with apple trees, and people always ask me for morels at this time of year. “True” morels are one mushroom that’s impossible to mistake and always safe to eat, but in places where they’ve been exposed to glyphosate in the soil, and especially that mix of glyphosate and dicamba that made so many of my neighbors so acutely sick last summer, people are complaining that morels don’t stay down. Michigan readers, take note.

[] You can collect and print off your own copies of the scientific studies we’ve discussed—most of them are free to view online by now, and others will be in a few more months. Or you can send me the cost of printing them, at whatever size type your intended readers need, 12 cents per two-sided page of plain text, more if graphics are included. Printed copies are available at prices that include no profit for me, with pretty lightweight transparent covers for single articles or binders with tabs and reinforcements if you order six or more articles.

Well...that applies to 5 to 30-page articles. Please note that some articles, as we’ve noted in the Twitter Live Chat, were compiled on computers and classified as articles, reports, studies, or documents, but even in 7-point type (the point where complete letters don’t display on a computer screen) they print out to several hundred pages. They are available in binders only. At least one document I cite will fill two large binders.

If you want all the studies archived by URLs converted to T.co links at the Twitter Live Chat, the sturdy hardwood shelves or metal cabinet you’ll need to store them are not included.

Singaporean Diaspora Stick Together

From Jee Leong Koh at Singapore Unbound:

"
By postponing the fellowships, we are able to create a starting fund of USD2,000, to be called Singapore Unbound Relief Fund (SURF). Creative writers, whether they are Singapore citizens living anywhere in the world or Permanent Residents of Singapore, may apply for a USD200/SGD280 grant from SURF with no strings attached. We ask champions of the arts and well-wishers to donate to SURF so that even more writers may be helped at this difficult time. Since announcing the fund on Wednesday, we have already received 5 donations totaling USD300. Thank you, donors! Donate now at https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/singapore-unbound.

For freelance artists of whatever field, working in the USA, this aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options may be useful. They are mostly offered in the USA, but some are from the UK and Canada too.

Whether you are suffering from cabin fever or not, you will enjoy reading the #CoronaStories that Gaudy Boy, our imprint, is sending out every Sunday. The first installment "The Rice Bowl" by Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a funny and sassy story about two drag queens and a gay boy living in Des Moines, Iowa. Will David leave his father's Chinese restaurant to go off to Chicago with his love? More importantly, will David join Viva and Barbarella in lipsynching Diana Ross at the Iowa State Fair?
"

I'm sorry to note that Blogspot's uploads through Firefox isn't handling live links; there were two in the snippet above. However, those interested in Asian-American literature should go to Singapore-Unbound and subscribe to the newsletter, anyway.

(So far I've received no grant money. Generous readers, please feel free to support this web site too.)

Morgan Griffith Is Out for Blood

Yes, this web site has used that joke before, but it's been ten years...Congressman Griffith calls for blood donations. Linked at SARK's blog, which I just retweeted, is a headline about donor plasma from people who've recovered from coronavirus being ideal for those whose lives are endangered by it. Since my type is neither particularly rare nor particularly good (celiac, had viral hepatitis from that MMR vaccine in Michigan in the 1980s) I'll wait. If your blood is more valuable you might want to discuss this with your local blood bank. Something for people with AB negative blood to think about anyway.

"
Griffith: Give Blood and Save Lives

Friday, March 20, 2020 – The coronavirus outbreak has led to widespread cancellations of blood drives and a drop in blood donations. As a result, the American Red Cross has said the nation faces “severe blood shortages.” Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement:

“During the coronavirus outbreak, donating blood is a vital way to help our fellow citizens. If you are healthy and qualified, please consider visiting a local blood bank or blood drive and donating. Your donation could help save a life.”

To learn more about blood donations, including locations to give blood near you, visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/.
"

For those who think blood donation is a slippery slope and "the blood is the life" and all that...I respect sincere religious beliefs, but wait'll you've seen a transfusion revive a loved one, or a donated eye restore someone's sight. Older people who've lived through a few infections are much less interesting to our friendly neighborhood vampires. The Bright Young Things from Marsh always walk through the Friday Market with their "Starve a mosquito" shirts, and never even beg me for a half-pint. I'd have some concerns about taking a transfusion, but if I were younger, or if someone needed blood badly enough to want mine, I'd give.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Status Update: The Need for Coffee

Well, here I am at the robertsfamilybakerycafe.com , in a Nation In Fear, with some other stalwart souls who have read the literature and expect coronavirus to be just another kind of chest cold, for us. (That's not to say we're taking chances with our elders. My mother can jollywell read this update online, or if she needs errands run she can call, or e-mail me instructions about what to leave on her porch. She'll probably get the virus from someone in Tennessee; she'll not get it from me.)

This is long for a status update because it may be the last one for a while...I'll divide it into sections: Knitting, Weekend, and Latest. It's being posted mainly for the benefit of my relatives, but I think it's worth the trouble of those who use the Internet from wherever they're spending the quarantine to read.

1. Knitting, with Photos, which Do Not Work Well with Firefox and Blogger

I read all the blather about avoiding cafes and restaurants, and I thought, "How convenient. I will just take the laptop home and bask in the spring weather in between the rain showers, get a lot of house and yard work done, and write a book of my own." For the last few months I have been earning a relatively livable income writing short e-books for other people to use as market tests for full-length books they hope to write, on Guru, and I've been thinking, "When will I be able to afford to take a break and put up my own e-books as market tests on Amazon?" While Guru's not working for me looked like the ideal time. I spent the weekend, and the last two mornings, writing (and knitting) furiously. I came into town just long enough to touch base with a client and send off some work I'd already done.

I am a slow writer. One of the occupational hazards of being a slow writer is that a lot of us tend to activate nonverbal circuits in our brains, which is part of the thought process, by doing things that aren't helpful. Alexander Pope described it:

"Be mindful, when invention fails,
To scratch your head and bite your nails."

I try to stretch instead of scratching or biting, like a good cat; but when I'm at home and can spread out yarn, patterns, and large projects on a bench instead of having to sit on a chair, I stir up my brain by KNITTING.

As the computer shows youall have noticed, and probably resented to some degree...I'm trying to spare the remaining browser memory on this laptop. It's been a good one for almost twelve years of hard use, first by Grandma Bonnie Peters and then by me. Now the fan belt, mouse, and keyboard are all going down along with the browser memory so it hardly seems worth trying to keep this one going as anything but document storage. I'm looking for another laptop. Meanwhile, no socializing. And I do miss the socializing. I enjoy reading e-friends' blogs, reading your poems, looking at your pictures. I've actually saved some of them for printing and keeping in my files.

This weekend I dug up a file of Naomi Parkhurst's "String Geekery" and other knitting patterns to use in a blanket I've been knitting off and on all winter. For those who don't follow Gannet Designs, this knitter generates original patterns by encoding words--the actual letters in words--as numbers of knitting stitches and turning them into nice symmetrical stitch patterns. They're perfect for the way I design unique blankets, by working bands of stitch patterns across a predetermined number of stitches until a blanket of the right size plops off the knitting needles.

So this weekend I thought wistfully of @naogannet (for those who want to follow her on Twitter, where she posts more than just the knitting patterns), and I finished the Doodles & Typos Blanket.


Cheap cell phone camera exaggerates the slope of the folded-up blanket on the bench beside me...no, it's not a round-yoke sweater. It's a section of a straight, flat blanket showing three approaches to the Doodles mosaic stitch pattern: brown and red with smooth all-purl stitch on the wrong-side rows, brown and blue/white squared up with all-knit stitch on the wrong-side rows, and brown and buff textured with alternate plain and purl stitches on the wrong-side rows. (Stitches will spread out more when it's draped over someone's couch. This is the way the blanket will look when it's folded up in the back of someone's car.)

In real life the colors are richer. The brown is not the plain coffee color that's showing on my computer screen. It's the shade Lion Brand calls "chestnut," which has a strong red overtone and a subtle blue undertone, and suits a lot of people who would not wear other brown sweaters. The buff is showing on my computer in the color to which it will fade if left in the sun all summer (I know because it's left over from a sweater I made in 2010); in real life it's definitely a buff or beige color, not cream, with brown and black flecks. The red, left over from a sweater I made in 2004, is that dark "Victorian Christmas" red with a glittery thread. The blue, left over from a blanket that sold right off the needles last December, is actually paler in real life than it looks on the computer, a baby blue shading to white.

Here's the Typos mosaic stitch panel:


Here's the plain fairisle stitch chart of Doodles:


Most of the blanket is worked in one-color textured stitches like this plain-and-purl version of Doodles, with bands of garter stitch in between.


When this lovely thing reached the size of a full blanket I had some brown yarn left over, so I whipped up a headband using the "Sweet" lace pattern. As mentioned in the original blog post at Gannet Designs, Naomi Parkhurst graphed "sweet" and "heart" as separate lace patterns, and Sweet is the one where the plain, purl, and eyelet stitches form shapes that can be seen as little Valentine hearts, two different styles, stacked in alternating rows.


Well, that's the headband, spread out as flat as it would lie on a flat sheet to show the lace eyelets. The cell phone camera distorts images badly, and posting to Blogspot with Firefox is a chore...I don't know whether any of these pictures will show on your screens.

2. Weekend, with Gross-Outs and a Warning

Anyway it was a productive weekend, although I was sick--just sick enough to notice--especially on Saturday. Chills and fever, that kidney-damage feeling of sleepiness at the computer, that not-normal-cardiovascular-syndrome hypertensive headache to wake me up, sinus drip with traces of blood, celiac sprue. I would doze off on my working bench, then wake up and have to sit up and spend several minutes meditating to get my blood pressure back down...who ever heard of their blood pressure shooting up when they're sleeping? I thought, "What did I eat? Who was I near?" I didn't think it could possibly be coronavirus; wondered if it was yet another round of the flu people have complained about all winter. The only thing I'd eaten that I didn't think was trustworthy was a new batch of a safe food. I brought the wrapper into town to file a complaint to the FDA...and then along the road I saw the band of sprayed horsetail rushes beside the railroad. Glyphosate spraying strikes again. I mentioned that to someone who asked about my health. She said, "Who else was sick?" I hadn't talked to anyone but, on reflection, I had heard people coughing, seen another pile of what was probably an animal's violent diarrhea and a whole box of heavily soiled wet napkins at different points on the road.

Coronavirus is not associated with the puddles of vomit and diarrhea we are seeing more and more of on (sprayed) public roads, Gentle Readers. The combination of glyphosate and dicamba vapor drift, where people spray poison because they are too lazy to pull up or cut back "weeds," is causing this. We need a total ban on all open-air spraying of anything at all...including pure water, which has been shown to trigger conditioned psychosomatic reactions when people (or animals) who've survived reactions to sprayed pesticides' vapor drift have seen experimenters spraying water from a helicopter-mounted vaporizer.

Coronavirus is a separate thing from glyphosate, but in real life, in sharp contrast to #BayerScience, living bodies do not react to different things in discrete ways. One source of harm to the body aggravates another. Glyphosate reactions aggravate dicamba reactions. Dicamba reactions aggravate glyphosate reactions. Exposure to either one is likely to aggravate effects of coronavirus or of any other infectious disease anyone happens to have. Spraying "herbicides" in the vicinity of people who are especially vulnerable to coronavirus is pretty likely to guarantee painful and messy deaths.

How can you tell which symptoms are which? Well, coronavirus is not associated with celiac sprue, but many glyphosate reactions aren't either. Here's a clue. If it's a virus, bacterial, or fungal infection, rain is likely to make it worse. If it's a reaction to glyphosate vapor drift (as distinct from glyphosate in food), rain is likely to make it better.

On Wednesday it had rained...and I felt better. I threw out that wrapper and bought the same brand again, just for a test. I had that food product for breakfast this morning. Guess what, no surge of hostile feelings preceded no stomach and liver cramps today. I don't think I'll bother the FDA after all. I think tomorrow I'll go after the railroad company.

If you're concerned about your elders, or the weakened individuals you've been told to have unnecessary vaccines in hope of protecting from things like flu and measles...you need to ban all pesticide spraying in your locality, now.

3. Latest

So I came into town, not "avoiding cafes" to the extent of failing to e-mail documents I'd promised to send someone, but definitely avoiding the lunchtime rush, on Tuesday. Likewise on Wednesday.

As I walked into the cafe on Wednesday a local government person had just left, and as there were no customers in the cafe the workers were wailing aloud.

"Oh, Priscilla, you may have to stop coming in here!" one of them said, or would have said if my real name had been Priscilla. "We can only have ten people in here at a time!"

"I didn't have a hypertensive headache this morning until she came in," wailed another one who looks far too young to be hypertensive. "Ten people! That's just ridiculous!"

The cafe seats 34, with extra seating for groups in a back room. Only once have I ever been asked to haul the laptop into the back room, in all these years, but many's the time I've seen close to the 34 people occupying the 11 tables at lunchtime. Often two people who want to go online together will feel shy about sitting at the big table next to the charger and thus force me to sit there alone.

I sent the cafe owner a message. Obviously I couldn't be online all day either here, or at McDonald's or Taco Bell, if they were having to make people wait to come in and eat. I thought about other places. Well, the Grouch has Internet access. I could rent it from him if I could stand to be around him...definitely not as a full-time job. There are good reasons why his own wife and children don't work from the Grouch's house. Maybe the cafe owner had some suggestions about places I could rent in town, as in storm-damaged store-or-flat spaces above the Jackson Street stores that nobody currently wanted to rent as store space. I'd been wanting to rent one with the money I'd made at Guru, anyway.

"No! Business as usual!" the owner declared. "We're not going to have all that many customers anyway. People are coming in to take food out, so that's what we'll do. You can sit where you always sit and show people that we're still open! If a crowd of people do come in you won't mind walking out to the post office or something will you?"

I will not, Gentle Readers. As the owner came into the cafe and talked with me and the workers, I realized that in order to face the coronavirus I am probably going to require pots of African, not Colombian, glyphosate-free coffee. I may reduce online hours in order to write on the desktop computer, which makes typing so much more comfortable by not having that stupid battery case jutting out in front of the keyboard. I will reduce time online or in town if I have bronchitis. But y'know, when you think about it...avoiding crowds does not have to mean giving up our favorite road food. People who are accustomed to buying breakfast or lunch at the cafe are still ordering their favorite meals as take-out meals.

Occasional visitors to Gate City, like lawyers who come in to represent someone in court, have been steered to the cafe by Terry Kilgore, Mike Carrico, et al., for years. They should be glad to know they can order take-out to eat in their cars, or in conferences with whomever they're here to confer with. It looks as if there are plenty of places to park right on Jackson Street. They do not need to come into the cafe at all but, if they want to look at the baked goods on the shelves, they'll be able to do that at a good healthy distance from other people.

Avoiding crowds does not mean panic shopping and hiding, especially when no one is actually ill. The economic damage panic can do to communities could be worse than the damage of actually having a virus from which, after all, most people don't even get the symptoms of a particularly nasty cold. Pneumonia has thinned the older generation every year for centuries, and will continue to do so. If you are at risk you should avoid crowds in any case, but avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding normal work, shopping, etc. All it means is keeping a good healthy distance from other people, waiting for the five o'clock after-work crowd to thin out before you go into the grocery store, waiting for the eight o'clock crowd to move on before you go into the post office, and so on. For those of us not already frail enough to be in nursing homes or retirement projects, quarantine starts when someone is ill.

I will be avoiding crowds in town when able. I've notified people that I'm available to pick up mail and groceries and leave them on the front porches of people who are already in quarantine.

This may change...meanwhile, the absence of updates at this web site will tell you something about Blogspot's reduced compatibility with Firefox, not about me. Some of you will get updates by mail, some by phone or text message, and the rest of you may share your mailing addresses (I don't want to know where you live) with Boxholders, P.O. Box 322, Gate City, Virginia 24251.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Morgan Griffith on Office Hours

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Griffith Statement on Traveling Staff Office Hours
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 – Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement on Ninth Congressional District traveling staff office hours:
“The coronavirus outbreak has led to a great deal of uncertainty in planning for the coming weeks, and this includes the schedule for Ninth District traveling staff office hours. Some of the locations that host my staff in the Ninth District’s jurisdictions have decided to close temporarily during this public health situation, and others could make the same decision.
“If your jurisdiction is still scheduled to host traveling office hours, I encourage you to call my district office in Abingdon or check my social media accounts during the duration of the coronavirus outbreak to make sure they are still being held.
“If you planned to attend the traveling office hours in a jurisdiction where they have been cancelled, please contact my district offices. The Abingdon office can be reached at 276-525-1405, and the Christiansburg office can be reached at 540-381-5671. Contacting these offices could also allow for making alternative arrangements for meetings with my staff.”
Cancellations
Russell County’s office hours scheduled for Thursday, March 19 have been cancelled.
Henry County’s office hours scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 have been cancelled.
Other jurisdictions where locations for office hours are closed will be made public as we are notified.
"

Morgan Griffith on Coronavirus (Part 2)

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Friday, March 13, 2020 –                                
Coronavirus
The topic of this column will be the coronavirus. This topic has previously been discussed here before, and because of the rapidly changing situation, the information I present may not be completely up to date when you read it. Nevertheless, these are important facts to know about this significant public health challenge.
The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, and has since been classified by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, an illness with global reach. Cases have been confirmed in most of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Virginia has 30 cases of the coronavirus as of 12:00 pm, March 13. None have been confirmed in Southwest Virginia.
I have been briefed regularly by the public health officials and medical professionals leading the U.S. response to the outbreak, including Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Robert Redfield. Their agencies, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the CDC, received spending increases of 39 percent and 24 percent respectively between fiscal years 2015 and 2019.*
The Federal Government has acted in an attempt to contain and, further, to treat the coronavirus and mitigate its economic and societal effects.
On March 6, President Trump signed legislation approved by Congress and which I voted for, providing $7.8 billion in emergency spending to respond to the coronavirus. Among the provisions of this spending bill are:
  • over $4 billion to make diagnostic tests more available, support vaccine development and treatment, and avert medical product shortages;
  • $2.2 billion to the CDC, of which $1 billion will go to state and local response efforts; and
  • $20 million for disaster assistance loans for small businesses.
On March 11, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded over $560 million of the funds going to state and local response efforts. Virginia will receive $13.4 million.
President Trump has instituted travel restrictions on certain foreign countries to prevent more possibly infected travelers from entering the United States. Meanwhile, his administration is helping to ease the disruption occurring in our daily lives as a consequence of the coronavirus.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted Virginia flexibility to school meal service. For students who depend on school meals, USDA’s waiver will ensure they can continue to rely on them. It is important to note that while USDA will continue to support these meals, local school systems are in charge of the logistics of feeding the students.
The U.S. Department of Labor has also outlined the flexibilities states have in administering unemployment insurance, which can help individuals whose work lives are disrupted by the coronavirus.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced safeguards for its nursing home population, adopting a no visitor stance, suspending new admissions, and screening nursing home staff daily. As older individuals who frequently have other health conditions, residents of VA nursing homes, such as the Salem VAMC, are an at-risk population. The VA’s actions will help reduce that risk.
During a time of widespread contagion, the practice of “social distancing” becomes one of the most valuable tools to mitigate infection. Many entities are cancelling or limiting large events.
Symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you think you or someone close to you may have contracted it, contact your doctor. He or she will determine whether you need to be tested.
The Virginia Department of Health processes tests, but it has strict criteria for doing so. Private labs are expanding their testing capacity. LabCorp and Quest, which have locations in Southwest Virginia, are capable of testing, and other entities are likely to have the capacity in the near future. Your doctor or other health care professionals, however, remain your first point of contact.
It is important to have a clear and realistic view of coronavirus’ dangers and its impacts on our lives. Such an understanding will help protect you and your family and bring closer our return to normalcy.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405, my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671, or my Washington office at 202-225-3861. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also, on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
* Other relevant spending increases included in the chart below. “National stockpile” refers to medical supplies and devices.
###
"

Friday, March 13, 2020

Mark Warner on Coronavirus

From U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), with editorial comment below:

"
Dear Friend,
I’m writing to update you on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and my work in the Senate to make sure Virginia and the country as a whole are responding appropriately to this threat. At the time of this writing, 17 cases of coronavirus have been reported here in Virginia, and Governor Northam has issued an emergency declaration that provides the Commonwealth with enhanced tools to combat this outbreak.

The most important thing for all of us to do is to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health officials to minimize the risk of contracting and spreading the virus. I have embedded the CDC’s coronavirus information page on my Senate website, and encourage you to visit the site for both the latest guidance, as well as updates on my work on this issue.
In the time since the coronavirus reached the United States, Congress passed an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus response bill, which the President signed into law. This legislation will direct needed resources to federal, state and local agencies responding to coronavirus. It will also immediately provide Virginia with $13.3 million in federal funding to help cover the costs of preparations for this public health emergency. 
With Congress and the President now working towards an economic stimulus package for those facing economic insecurity due to coronavirus, I will continue to push for measures that take care of workers, not just companies’ bottom lines. My message is simple: no one should have to choose between a paycheck and following the instructions of public health officials. We must help workers who’ve been furloughed, lost their jobs, or had their hours cut — as well gig workers, independent contractors, and others who don’t have paid leave.
Since the outbreak began, I have been in contact with federal, state, and local officials, as well as business leaders, calling on them to respond appropriately to the threats posed by coronavirus. For a full list of my work in the Senate and additional public health information from the CDC, I encourage you to visit my website , then use the survey below to share your thoughts on the coronavirus with me.
If you want to share your thoughts about an issue that’s important to you, you can send me an email any time using the form on my Senate website. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter . I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,

"

Editorial comment: I think that, however deadly coronavirus turns out to be, it's an airborne disease being rapidly spread by people who claim good intentions. It will reach us. We'll get it. Either we'll have more flu-type symptoms that probably aren't nearly as bad as glyphosate reactions are for me, or as a toothache or a flare-up of allergies or rheumatism are for some of you, or else we will be very ill and die. In neither case will throwing federal tax money at the problem do one thing to help it; for one thing it won't have time to.

We could be going into a situation similar to what's described in Hiding Ezra, a rerun of what really happened about a hundred years ago...All I know is that a lot of my elders, on both sides, remembered outliving a lot of same-age friends in 1920 when they died, at ages between 70 and 100, in the years between 1970 and 2010. I'm not looking forward to it; neither am I worrying about it.

Is anybody going to vote for federal payments to people who aren't working? Not sustainable. Try voting with your own personal money and paying a deserving writer (or other self-employed person) who is working.

Hello, Guru Clients...

What a pity...Guru was going so nicely. I used that site to earn over $700 so far this year, mostly by writing e-books and "reports" for clients. Every single one of those clients gave my work full marks. Every Guru client I've had has always given me five stars.

Credit for this should go to Guru as well as me. At other writing sites I've earned good ratings, but, as they say, nobody bats 1.000. At other writing sites I've had clients who happened not to want what I was able to deliver. (Guru made it easier to avoid those clients by steering them to this web site, where they could see the range of types of things I write.) At one site the system fouled up one job because neither the client nor I realized that, within the time allotted for the job, the limit of revisions I was allowed to give the client would be arbitrarily limited. Guru's never done that. At another site the system never worked to the complete satisfaction of anybody because it processed everything through "i-frames" and, "for security," the local server automatically scrambled part of anything processed through "i-frames," so the clients would get 90% of the documents they wanted followed by 10% gibberish. Guru's never done that. So it's been built into the structure of Guru that I've been able, and I suspect other writers have been able, to connect with the right clients. As a matchmaker site for writers and clients Guru has had no equal. At that site and no other, quite a few writers have been batting 1.000.

$787 Earned/Yr
Feedback/Yr

(Firefox won't paste the buttons as graphics. My loss is your browsers' gain. That's what Guru clients have been seeing on my profile page, and if they click over to read clients' reviews, they've seen this...)

"

Feedback (9 Total)

  • Priscilla is an awesome writer. She takes the time to property research her subjects and follows directions perfectly. She asks great questions for clarification as needed. Communication top notch. Will continue to work with her!

    Priscilla King is a fantastic writer! On top of that great communication, transparent, prompt, truly cares about the quality of their work and expect to be wowzy by their creative writing. I definitely look forward to work with you again! Best!
     
  • Priscilla is an excellent writer and we will certainly be using her services from now on. She has excellent communication with us and understands our projects. We look forward to more projects with Priscilla.
  •  
  • I was extremely satisfied with Priscilla's work. Priscilla appeared to be very confident in the work they did & do I will refer them to all of my business partners. Thank you once again Priscilla.
  • Really great work from Priscilla. Thank you very much. On time and top quality!
  • Priscilla was a pleasure to work with. She over delivered on the word count and delivered on time. Her work was very eloquent and clever. I would definitely hire her again!
  • Priscilla King took this job and said she could expand and make this chapter come alive. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she did indeed fulfilled her promise. She took a chapter which lacked depth and made it into something that was a joy to read. She’s very creative and backs up her words w  ...Read More 
  • Excellent, very much enjoyed working with Priscilla and will certainly hire again. Great writing style, good grammar and interesting topics.
  • Great work!
     
"

Then a client tried to use a loophole in the system to avoid paying for a document. Then a Guru employee who obviously resented having to bestir himself to collect the money just happened to notice that...actually writing sites are supposed to file tax information after a writer has earned $500 in one year. However, I'm sharing Firefox's text-only version of what I saw on the tax information page as a fairly precise list of what NO citizen of these United States should EVER transmit via any electronic medium. If a web site asks for any of this information, we should always say "Bad Question! Transaction Cancelled!" 

(In theory, Gentle Readers, refusing to interact with sites that are careless with sensitive data--i.e. that even suggest that you might put any of this information on any device that connects to the Internet--might cost you money. In practice, I've found that it costs those sites a lot more than it does me. Be brave. Own your power. And urge your Congresspeople to enact legislation that criminalizes electronic storage or collection of accurate information in any of the categories below. THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT BELONG ON ANY COMPUTER, CELL PHONE, WEB SITE, SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE, OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT CONNECTS TO THE INTERNET. NOT EVER. Allowing it to appear on electronic media is at least a potential act of high treason--the more useless your identity is to common-or-garden-variety credit fraudsters, the more valuable it is to violent criminals.)

"
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"

If Guru prefers to work with cheating clients rather than honest writers...that can only possibly be their loss.

There is no way to keep people who cheat writers out of the Internet. There are, however, ways to limit their cheating. For example, the loophole that's allowing one person to cheat me will also work to allow the four people who've posted payments for my work to reclaim their money. Much as I hate to recommend that, the appearance of this horrible-looking screen has prompted me to do so.

I can still build documents that upload right into Kindle, with notes, tables of contents, indices and all. And I still will.

I will be posting the e-book I wrote for the cheater as a series.

I will be able to confirm authorship and lack of payment to prove plagiarism if the cheater is collecting any money from this e-book, although frankly, without more information about his marketing strategy, I can't imagine how he ever thought he'd do that. The document is pretty generic, as it stands. The topic has been better handled by better known authors. And I don't know about the cheater, but I happen to be in a position to fix that when building it into a real book.

 If Guru can convince me that they are legitimately trying to continue connecting writers with clients, I'll resume working there. If they're trying to enable cheating and destroy the good reputation they've built, I won't, and that will be their loss.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Morgan Griffith on Coronavirus

From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA-9):

"
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 –                                
The coronavirus currently poses a public health threat in the United States. Although no cases are presently confirmed in Southwest Virginia, I want to share with you information and resources that will help prepare you and your family to stay healthy.
Testing is a clear concern for many. Last night on a telephone town hall, one of the questions I received involved tests.
Testing capacity is growing rapidly. Virginia’s Department of Health currently imposes strict guidelines on their testing, but commercial laboratories including Quest and LabCorp are available to process tests if they are ordered by a doctor. Most insurance companies are covering these tests but check with your insurer first to make sure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, CDC.gov, features many resources on the coronavirus, including information about symptoms, prevention, and testing.
Practicing good hygiene is essential to prevention. Also, consider rearranging large activities and gatherings, and be careful when making travel plans.
Symptoms of coronavirus include fever, shortness of breath, and cough. Seek medical attention if you come down with these symptoms and avoid contact with those who have them. Older individuals and those with significant underlying conditions are most at risk.
I am receiving frequent briefings about this outbreak from medical professionals and public health officials. Please check my website (morgangriffith.house.gov), Facebook (facebook.com/RepMorganGriffith/), and Twitter (twitter.com/RepMGriffith) for more updates.
"

Friday, March 6, 2020

Why My Hair's Getting Blacker, and That's Not Good

This started out as a quick status update, but no, I think the existing level of confusion on this topic is enough to make it the full-length post for which someone paid...

I'm over fifty years old. Most White people who are over fifty years old have either grey hair, or hair that's been dyed some uniform and unconvincing color. The options used to be raven black, brassy yellow, or weirdly uniform brown; normally brown hair grows in a mix of shades, so when every single hair on the head is the same shade of brown, you know it's been dyed. Then there was henna, a natural plant extract that actually coats the hairs, making them look thicker and healthier, but also either a shade of red that can look very nice on some people, or else black with a greenish tone. Now the dye options include all kinds of colors in which human hair does not normally grow, which are quite popular with people my age. We know nobody's going to believe our hair ever was golden blonde or raven black. We don't want to look like some pathetic old thing trying to look younger with that almost-lifelike-but-not-quite brown dye, and we don't feel that henna suits us. Some of us feel that purple, or some other sports team color, maybe even team colors in sections, shows a sense of whimsy or irony instead of just fear of grey hair.

In my thirties I started saying I was keeping my white hair to prove the black was real. Like most mammals with black hair I have a few random white hairs that grow in and fall out, here and there; the first white hair grew down to collar length, and was noticed, when I was thirteen. At thirty I had about a dozen white hairs at the point where I part my hair. I liked them, and hoped they'd form a streak, like the white streak I admired in a friend's hair. They have yet to form even a patch of white hair. I still part my hair, when I get up in the morning and comb it, right above that potential patch of white. It's still just a highlight, because the individual hairs don't grow long enough to form even a tiny streak, but I keep hoping.

Then of course I walk out to work and the wind and humidity rearrange my hair...I never get into town with my hair looking the way it did when I left the house, and have given up fretting about it. It is not the kind of thick, heavy Real Cherokee Hair that weights itself straight down at all times. Neither is it the kind of Real African Hair that grows in coils like tiny wire springs. Though dark, it is basically European-type hair, which is relatively thin and thus absorbs humidity from the air and forms little waves. Hardly ever will any individual hair form or hold a complete ring shape; hardly ever will the hair lie down straight and flat all the way down, although when it's allowed to grow long it will weight itself down toward the ends. Very rarely will all the hairs wave in the same direction at any given time. Some White women have been able to "organize" this kind of hair, so that the little waves form one consistent shape all around the head, by wrapping their hair around rollers or applying chemicals to it. I have not. My hair is too wispy to "organize" but, when it's healthy and not split off into little tangled mats of split ends, its random waves do at least resolve, visually, into the look of thick healthy hair.

For which I am grateful...because in youth I had thin, brittle, "problem" hair that split off and fell out when it grew more than three inches long. It would have looked better if it had been chopped off short, but that was the 1960s. Boys and men had to have their hair cut short to prove they weren't potheads or homosexuals or draft dodgers, and in my parents' household, at least, girls and women had to have long hair hanging down their backs or piled up on their heads to prove the same thing. When I piled my long hair on top of my head it broke at the scalp and formed bald spots, so mostly it hung down my back and looked ratty and tatty and matty, until I was paying my own rent and cutting off my own split ends. In my twenties I didn't achieve healthy-looking hair, but at least from a distance the split ends looked like ordinary "problem hair" rather than the sort of messy rat-tail effect Dad insisted was necessary to prove I was a girl, just in case anybody failed to notice the C-cups below. (Only in a father's wildest dreams does anybody ever fail to notice C-cups on a thin female. Anyway. While living with my parents I had waist-length hair--the twenty or thirty individual hairs that lasted long enough to reach waist length.)

One of the things that changed when I went gluten-free was that I finally achieved normal-looking hair. "Problem hair" looks repulsive because it indicates ill health; it goes with little bags of saggy, sickly-looking skin around the eyes and jawline, and acne, and irregularity, and other manifestations of chronic nutrient deficiencies that visually advertise when a young person is not going to be much of an asset to a team. Around age thirty I shed all of those visual liabilities, and everyone agreed I looked much better at forty than I did at twenty. "Thick black hair," some people said enviously. Well, by White standards it was either thick or black. By Cherokee standards it never was and never will be either of those things, but I'll take what DNA has given.

Around age fifty I noticed that while the front view of my hair, which I normally see in a mirror, was still black with that tiny potential patch of white, the back side of my head was showing several random white hairs. Definitely "black lamé," if not "salt-and-pepper." And I thought, well, that's normal for a White person my age, and I am more White than Cherokee, so why not consider white hair my form of White pride. One of my younger sisters has been a henna redhead for years. I've not given any serious thought to that option; for one thing someone might think I was trying to look like her.

A funny little quirk of the DNA in my family, though, is that my White relatives' white hair tends to grow in slowly. Relatives who have Real Cherokee Hair may keep solid black hair until they're fifty or seventy or in a few cases even eighty, but when the white hair does appear, it spreads fast. I remember one of the cousins' hair showing grey in July and being almost snow-white the next time I saw him--in February. Whereas Mother and her English-and-Irish relatives tend to have salt-and-pepper instead of black, or brown instead of red, hair for thirty or forty years.

This is more thought than I usually give my hair in a day. It's there, right. I don't need to wear hats all the time, as one of my teachers told the class he did, to prevent headaches from cold or heat exhaustion from exposing his bare scalp to the weather. I give thanks for this small blessing and move on. The only hair problem I really think about fighting is "bed head," which takes about one minute per day to fix, and then once a year, on the first hot day, overgrown hair overheating my head, which takes about fifteen minutes to resolve for the rest of the year.

But this week I had some other, heavier thoughts to think about. My Significant Other had a birthday this week. One more birthday not celebrated together but we all agree that he's done all the driving in the rain God can possibly expect him to do in this lifetime. I may have some driving debts to pay, and I expect to be called to start paying them soon, but the way my eyes feel about driving is that it's not to be done for a mere birthday party.

We're baby-boomers, a generation that currently is being made to feel afraid to mention any health problems we have. On the Glyphosate Awareness page I'm the only one who ever mentions a symptom. People expect a callous, even hateful response--"Well, so what, you're getting 'old'!"

I mention this every few months because of all the confusion. There may be families where it's normal for people over age seventy, or fifty or even forty, to go home and bar the doors, declare themselves disabled, and just sit around getting sicker and more disabled for the next thirty years. I am not related to any such family.

For my elders it's normal that, after age seventy, we do notice longer recovery times after injuries and greater vulnerability to some types of infections. The Bible says "Thou shalt rise up before the white head." Seventy is when we usually acquire white heads, and it does become appropriate for younger people to protect older people from those injuries and infections, as well as defer to the reality that they have less time to finish their work in this world than other people have. Retirement is not something we do...well, people retire from one specific job or another, but people have work to do after age ninety. The usual pattern is that disability is part of a "final illness" that may last two weeks or two years. Some of my relatives have chronic disabilities, some due to injuries at birth, and work around those...but we don't do that rheumatism-and-memory-loss thing. If we have rheumatism, it's a symptom of something to be cured. Many of my elders have died before age ninety but it always seemed sudden, and as if they were far too young.

My Significant Other's family have mixed DNA. Some of them grow old the way my relatives do, and he obviously got that gene. Some of them are sickly and die young, and he's buried a lot of relatives who didn't live even forty years. There doesn't seem to be much in between. There are chronic disabilities due to injuries, of course. He's been working around a few of those for most of his life.

What we had in common, when we met, was a surprising ability to do heavy physical work and like it. We met on a construction job, restoring a fixer-upper house, working young people into the ground every day.

Well...he's had Lyme Disease. It's not a chronic disability, but it flares up into an acute disability after every glyphosate poisoning episode on his side of the mountain.

I've been working around being a celiac all my life, and nature did not intend that to be a disability at all. It's a trait, a distinction. We can't eat everything other people eat. In the process of finding this out we also find that we're stronger and hardier than most of those people are, and probably more resistant to some diseases. Who knows, maybe we'll turn out to be immune to coronavirus. In the normal course of events part of the celiac journey is saying to other people, with regretful empathy: No, unfortunately you probably will not become as healthy as we are by going gluten-free; your genes have their potential for health, longevity, looks and so on, which you should try to reach, and for you eating unsprayed, natural wheat may help you enjoy your full potential, which may or may not fall short of ours.

Unfortunately, in the United States today, wheat is almost by definition sprayed and unnatural. And a lot of people who aren't celiacs are suffering from pseudo-celiac reactions, and although going gluten-free can offer them some relief from those, the relief is only partial and temporary because there's enough glyphosate to trigger their reactions in a lot of things that aren't wheat, too.

Wednesday afternoon, I came in from work. I'd felt fine all day but suddenly I felt dead-dog tired. I kept dozing off on the bench in front of the computer in the office. I gave up, turned out the light and pulled the quilt in the office up over me, and anticipated feeling ready to get back to work after a nap. No such. As I lay down I had just a slight touch of vertigo, the illusion that the bench was on a boat. I like boats, so would I dream about summers on the Eastern Shore, or Saturday afternoon "river-cleaning" kayak rides?

Neither. Instead I had tics...not dog ticks, but muscle tics, the kind of tiny involuntary muscle spasms that sometimes cause the skin on a person's face to twitch visibly for no obvious reason. I had them from head to toe, in between and sometimes overlapping with sprints to the bathroom from the celiac reaction I also started to have. I could see the skin twitch on whatever part of the body was uncovered at any time during the next nine tedious hours. Sometimes the tics formed uncomfortable cramps during the celiac effects, and sometimes when I lay down and started to relax they jerked me awake. "Good Lord, what's this all about? It has to be a symptom of something, but what? I've not read about it being a symptom of coronavirus...I've not read about it being a symptom of cancer, either...I've not heard about it being a symptom of Norwalk Flu, although this wrung-out exhausted feeling of being faint and almost sick from weariness, after such an effort as standing up and walking from bathroom to bed, is like Norwalk Flu. What is the matter with me?"

Also I was feeling hypertensive all night. This is new for me. Everyone has felt their blood pressure rise to a point that would be called "high," but for healthy people it drops back to normal in minutes. I've learned to raise or lower my blood pressure at will, through meditation. I don't lead the kind of life that promotes the kind of cardiovascular disease that many middle-aged Americans have, but in just the past year I've noticed that during some especially bad celiac reactions, all of which have involved glyphosate poisoning, my blood pressure goes up and stays up.

I suppose the subconscious part of my mind is angry. It does know that this particular form of discomfort, and damage, and if it lasts long enough disability, is something someone else has done to me, just as if someone had broken my leg with a sledgehammer. And my conscious mind does feel that it would be good for those people, if they don't feel their own reactions to glyphosate vapors as such, if somebody did break their legs with sledgehammers. Of course I don't think people should do those things as private acts of personal revenge that start personal quarrels. They should be done formally, and publicly, as a demonstration of society's refusal to tolerate this kind of physical abuse of innocent people.

I always wonder how many two-year-old children are going through whatever I'm going through, and how many are having reactions that feel even worse. The day people who watch television realize that "weed killers," not even applied to tares in a wheat field but to crabgrass in a lawn, are what's making a toddler or baby twitch and fuss and cry all night, there is going to be a public demand for punishments of glyphosate sprayers to be carried out in a less detached, humane, official spirit than the Final Solution to Timothy McVeigh.

I did not come out to work on Thursday. I told myself, and texted to a friend, that since my job was writing fiction I could use the day to visualize a small town completely different from either of the two about which I've written other "small-town romance" fiction. Then I sat at the computer, still twitching, still emitting those awful drainpipe noises celiac reactions make, and still feeling the need to lie down and rest, all day, more or less as I'd done all night, although the pain subsided as the digestive tract emptied. Of a thirty-page novelette I wrote one page. The first page of a work of fiction is usually slow, with time out to visualize where things are in the fictional town and what sort of things the fictional characters remember and so on, but I can usually verbalize more than one page in a day.

It was a beautiful day, too. This is the eighth day in a row of extra-whippy March-type weather. The old saying is that "Sunshine and shower won't last half an hour," or "Sunshine and snow, more's to follow, we know." If the sun is shining while some sort of precipitation is falling, we can normally look forward to a sunny afternoon, then more rain or snow the next morning. But this year the mix of sun with rain, or sun with snow, or sometimes rain with snow, has not moved on in the usual way. So yesterday morning the sun and rain finally gave way to a few hours of warm sunshine...during which I went out and burned the trash and trailed switches for the cats to chase through the not-a-lawn for half an hour, and came in feeling so exhausted by this hard work that I slept for the next three hours.

My scalp itched, slightly, in the way it does when hair is falling out. I combed out, not a handful, but enough to look like the tail of an actual rat. How grey it looked in the comb. I don't usually bother looking at the back of my head in a mirror, but last night I did. How black the hair on my head looked.

White hairs are more brittle than black or red ones. White hairs break off and fall out. The hair on my head is thin and brittle, fuzzed with split ends, tatty and matty and ugly, but it is black, or at least sable...because I've been too ill, too often, to maintain that nice healthy growth of black lamé.

I thought what a disappointment this hair will be to my Significant Other, when we meet. The body shape below it, too...I'm not fat, but during these celiac episodes I puff out and look practically pregnant. In a dress the overall look can pass as merely fat, but in "fat pants," or relaxing inside with my Significant Other, no. Even when people want babies, nobody wants to look at a pregnant woman's body shape. Nature tells us to get our germs and curiosity away from her and her baby. If there's not going to be any baby? Eww. Ick.

Then I wondered whether my Significant Other worries about becoming disappointing, too, due to "old age." Well, admittedly, I do like for the other people I know to do the driving. Not always realistically, I think anybody else who can get a driver's license, however many restrictions they may have, must be a better driver than I am. I have generally avoided travelling with people who weren't. But I have to be fair. All of my elders and most of my friends have older eyes than I have, and the fact is that some of them are not better drivers. In cloudy weather, more than one friend's driving has caused me to volunteer to change seats. Grandma Bonnie Peters did most of the driving for most of the people she knew, for fifty years, with no major accidents and only one ticket, but now if we go out in a car we have to agree that it's my turn to drive. I hate the actual driving; I do not think any less of the person.

But the "old age" part? Spare me. What we are is middle-aged. What go wrong with our bodies are illnesses and injuries that people can have at any age.

I keep banging on about this because, although I've never had nonstop tics like I had on Wednesday night, before...even the tics are a regression to symptoms of, before glyphosate reaction, the gluten reactions I had continually through childhood. They weren't conspicuous or chronic. Only once, in grade four as I recall, did somebody notice one in my face and helpfully tell me that it might be a symptom of one of the chronic nutrient deficiencies all undiagnosed celiacs always have. But no, muscle spasms and the stiffness they leave behind them are not a new thing for me. When I began seriously studying neuromuscular therapy, around age thirty, I had about two-thirds of the patterns of muscle stiffness associated with a life of hard work and with all kinds of injuries I never actually had.

I see a lot of people who are showing symptoms they were not showing ten years ago. Some of them are in fact going through midlife; some of the changes in their faces are normal aging, rather than reactions to illness. Thinner, drier skin, and white hair, are normal aging. Puffy, sick-looking skin is a reaction to illness. These are two separate things, though often seen in combination. Really old faces often look beautiful; sick faces inspire pity at best.

But even though the stereotype of aging as a combination of white hair, rheumatism, and memory loss has to have some basis in the real world, and even though actual illness is more common and harder to control as people grow older...hello? If you've been told "So what? You're getting 'old'!", ask yourself since when vomiting blood has been part of the stereotype of aging. It never has; it's not part of aging. It's a reaction to an acute illness, and although a hundred years ago the illness that caused that symptom was likely to be tuberculosis or cancer, today it's more likely to be glyphosate poisoning...which the commercial media are trying so hard to tell you does not exist. So get tested for tuberculosis and cancer. Surprise! Neither of those things exists--in your body, or that of your blood-gushing relative. Push your doctor, if you go to one. Demand a test for glyphosate poisoning. Surprise! That does exist, in your body or your relative's! Demand tests of the blood in the toilet bowl during the week after the poisoning occurred, compared with tests of the blood in the same person's fingertip at times when the person's use of the toilet is normal. I guarantee that 99% of Americans who do those tests will find themselves muttering "Ber-lood! Ber-lood!" when they think of the makers and users of glyphosate. If people actually need transfusions, by all means, let's think of those reckless endangerers...and let's drain'em dry!

I don't particularly like the look of grey hair. Well, my Significant Other has it, now, after all those years with just a few random white hairs to prove the black was real. He still looks good to me. If his Cherokee hair ages the way my relatives' did, in another year he may have snow-white hair, and he'll look good to me that way too. I've never actually looked forward to seeing myself with grey hair, even in back...but when I consider the way my hair has actually grown blacker in the last few years, I want that look. I want to be healthy enough to grow visible white hairs, instead of picking clumps of white hair out of a comb every morning and shuffling into town, feeling miserable, looking sick, but showing, yes, the black hair of the particularly sickly and unttractive teenager I used to be.

Yes, of course we're getting older. Of course, if we don't die young first, we will one day be "old." In the year 2020, not being able to out-work the young people on a construction job is still something that happens to either one of us for a day or two at a time, as a symptom. If those symptoms recur often enough and keep us on the sidelines long enough, it may become normal; we may become as inactive as those young people. (That's where the rheumatic shuffle and clumsy "old" hands of the stereotype begin.) In a glyphosate-free world, however, we should be able to expect another twenty years, at least, of out-working young people, on most of the occasions when we work beside them, while flaunting our grey hair.

I want my full genetic potential lifespan of ninety-plus active years.

I want my grey hair. Which will probably stay grey, lightening barely enough to be noticed, between the ages of fifty and eighty, before it goes completely white, and even then it'll probably still show random black hairs. I don't mind matching my Significant Other, nor do I mind looking like my beautiful mother. What I mind is looking like the sickly teen-troll I was as a young undiagnosed celiac, in any way.

I want people to stop trying to pretend that symptoms I had before I was even half-grown have anything to do with normal aging. As a child I had all kinds of minor chronic symptoms of ill health because my body does not metabolize nutrients when its digestive tract is exposed to wheat gluten. As a strong healthy adult I had none of those symptoms because I stopped subjecting myself to wheat gluten. As a less healthy adult I'm having those symptoms again because other people are poisoning me with glyphosate, which affects me in the same way wheat gluten does only moreso.

And stop trying, while I'm here, to pretend that symptoms The Nephews have when some of them are barely half-grown are natural parts of a mysterious "celiac disease" that's not cured by a gluten-free diet. And stop trying to pretend that symptoms my friends' children (and grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.) are some other mysterious disease...clutching at straws..."He's far too young to have mononucleosis, but this gland was swollen, so maybe it's some rare form of mononucleosis. Her blood tests don't usually show any kind of anemia, but she did show iron-poor blood one day, so maybe it's some rare form of anemia." Look at the big picture! We may all have different reactions, but we're all having them at the same time...what else is going on at that time? Time after time! If doctors started testing blood samples for glyphosate every time they had a local epidemic of "flare-ups" of symptoms on the same day...we'd soon know why the chemical companies have been pouring so much money into efforts to discourage them from doing that!

I want a global ban on all sprayed poisons, whatever specific lifeform they're supposed to be "-cides" for. I want to grow old, the way nature intended my kind of humans to grow old, in a world where any fungicides or insecticides that may be necessary to protect humans or our crops are applied in non-volatile, very target-specific forms, producing no vapor drift and no reckless endangerment of other people's lives.

Just stop poisoning me, and my Significant Other, and just about everyone else we know, and then you'll see what aging looks like. Thin, translucent, brittle skin on hands that can still do whatever young people's hands do, and better than most, as long as we're careful not to break the skin. Thick white hair that glistens in the light like snow, above shoulders as straight and strong as they ever were. That's how we Highly Sensory-Perceptive types show age...as distinct from illness.