Day 29: 2020 Pandemic. Can We Change? The Three Steps Required.

Change is incredibly hard. Most of what we do is habit. This pandemic is upsetting those habits and teaching us new ones. Hopefully positive ones. We are being forced to change.

I covered the emotional stages of change in an earlier post– some of you recognize them to the right.

However, there is a large segment of our population that is actively resisting change. They are aided in that by disinformation that propagates from a variety of sources. The Internet not only is being exploited by various political, national, and religious groups but also by individuals. The guy who used to stand on a park bench and rant to whoever is misfortunate enough to be in earshot can now rant on the internet. And some of them get support from like-minded bench screamers.

Many of them will not change. Not matter what the circumstances. We now have FIVE TIMES the death toll of 9-11. New York lost 799 people yesterday alone. We also know that deaths are being under-reported. Some cited with different causes. But also, terrifyingly, there are a number of people who have died alone in their apartment or house and have not yet been found. Let that horror sink in.

Yet, the reaction of many is muted. I’ve been accused of over-hyping the threat, yet as more days pass, my “over-hypes” turn out to be understatements. Yet the same people stick to their party line.

What does it take to change? The first is a mindset that a large percentage of people are simply incapable of. It’s saying the three hardest words: “I am wrong.”

After all, if everything is going great, why do we need to change? But everything is not going great.

The Three Steps of Change

  1. You have a moment of enlightenment.
  2. You make a decision to take a different course of action from what you have been doing.
  3. Commitment to your decision leads to sustained action, which brings about permanent change.

COVID-19 should be a huge moment of enlightenment. 15,000 dead should be. Millions out of work. All should be hitting home. And they are despite the liars and deniers.

The hard part is getting those who can’t see what’s right in front of them to have a moment of enlightenment. Sadly, for rural America, which has tended to view COVID-19 as something they don’t need worry about, the reality is hitting. What needs to be understood is that NYC has been MORE prepared in terms of hospitals, ICUs, ventilators, etc than most of the country.

Unfortunately, what we’re seeing among many deniers is not an enlightenment but a doubling down. The more the facts say they are wrong, the more they insist the facts are wrong. “Fake news” is their rallying cry. Rarely do they offer any “real” news in rebuttal with any facts because the reality is they are wrong.

The decision to change is being forced on many of us. For others, we have an opportunity to do things differently. Our most valuable asset is time and now many of us have time to do things we were always putting off.

Sustained action is something the Army is good at. We called it training. Do something new long enough, it will become a new habit. As this blog goes on one month and lockdowns for many have lasted for weeks, we’re all seeing our habits changing.

Let us change for the better!

If you’re interested in more information on character and change, check out the free slideshow titled Characters under Writing on my free slideshow PAGE.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

Day 28: 2020 Pandemic. Gratitude.

In the midst of all the bad and the negativity and the naysayers and deniers, it’s important to carve out some time to be grateful.

I have a short video clip on my phone that I play every so often and it always makes me smile. It’s my grandson Haydn, in one of those arcades where he’s doing the bowling thing. And he chucks the ball toward the pins and it doesn’t quite gutterball. The ball takes out one pin on the edge and he spins about and jumps up and down and yells: “I got one!”

That’s my motto in dark times: I got one.

Not how many were missed. Focus on the one you got.

We all have something to be grateful for. Look for the sparkle amidst the darkness.

“I got one!”

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

Day 27: 2020 Pandemic. Looking to Italy and History For Our Immediate Future. Food, Summer.

The picture is of volunteers standing outside a medical center in Italy. They’re holding bags of food to hand out to those less fortunate.

Italy has been in lockdown over a month now after bungling early warnings of COVID-19. If we want to get an idea where we’re headed, let’s see where they are, even as a lockdown STILL ripples across our country and our Federal response is rife with graft and profiteering and inefficiency.

In Italy, high unemployment is having a strong effect along with inadequate government support with many unemployed, especially seasonal and gig workers falling into the gaps of getting no support. Sound familiar? Right now people here aren’t hungry or desperate but they are getting that way in Italy. Community support groups are helping, but they have a more homogeneous population than we do and don’t have a government that is actively pitting citizens against each other.

Crime is on the rise. People are going hungry and many are relying on handouts to eat. Hungry people are dangerous people.

In many ways, we are going to be worse off than Italy.

A huge misconception right now is that rural areas are safe. People are focused on New York City and the massive tolls there, but the reality is that NYC might actually be at the peak and perhaps crawling through it to the other side. It’s elsewhere that that the water has receded from the shoreline and people are out and about on the exposed beach. Literally, in the case of Georgia which opened its beaches this past weekend.

We have a large media outlet and a president that are downplaying the severity of this virus; many people in rural areas believe them. This is going to kill a lot of people. I’ve predicted mass graves in Florida. New York is already facing this issue. Oddly, I was in the midst of writing a scene in my next novel on Hart Island in New York City when the city announced that many victims would probably end up there. It’s a small island near City Island in the Bronx where over a million people have been buried over the course of more than a century. Potters Field. I foresee mass graves in Florida given the aging, unhealthy population and, frankly, an overall ignorance of the reality of the threat.

People in rural areas are, overall, less healthy. Older. There are many counties without ICU beds. In fact, there are counties without hospitals. Here in TN we face a severe shortage of medical care in rural areas.

We had our first mail carrier die from COVID-19. Warehouse workers are sick and dying. Our supply chain is fraying at the edges and it will get much worse.

Having deployed to countries where civil order broke down, often rapidly, I know it can happen here. The people in the places I went didn’t think it could happen there either. And it did.

In a month we will see a surge in crime. People will be stealing food and supplies. That’s just a reality. We already have a White House black market on PPE and ventilators with Jared Kushner favoring Republican donors and the government selling its stockpile to private companies which then inflate the price and sell it to the states. It’s not going to be different at the local level.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Try to have a month’s worth of food on hand. Think about rationing what you have to last. Stay at home. Lock your doors. Be very careful of scams and people calling or coming to your door. If you need to go to several stores in the next few days to get those supplies, do so. Some will accuse me of advocating hoarding. No. Because the shelves are relatively full now in most places. You won’t be there in two weeks when people are fighting over what there is. Technically you’re leaving more for them to fight over then.

Long term, get a garden going. We started ours this week. Understand who your “A-Team” is. Who in your neighborhood do you trust? I have an entire section in the Survival Guide on building an A-Team.

Here is a slideshow that talks about FOOD and also expiration dates which need a bit of interpretation.

One misconception is that the virus will “die out” in warmer weather. Actually, the flu and COVID-19 aren’t bothered by warmer weather. The reason these viruses are worse in cold weather has nothing to do with temperature. It has to do with the fact that humans are crowded together indoor during cold weather and thus they spread more easily.

The storm over New York City, New Orleans and other cities will now move outward.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

Day 26: 2020 Pandemic. Exhaustion of the Truth and Reality

The map above is the estimate chances of an epidemic across the country. The darker, the worse.

I sometimes wonder how this event will be studied by historians. I know it will be seen as a turning point in history. Exactly how, isn’t certain yet, but I have a few guesses.

The experiment called the United States is over. It lasted far longer than the Founders ever thought it would. Sadly this happening in our lifetime. It was inevitable given that we incorporated slavery into the Constitution. An Amendment didn’t change the core of that document. We needed a new Constitution. We could have had one except for an assassin’s bullet in 1865. I often think we underestimated how much Lincoln’s death hurt this country. He was the one man who could have helped us truly let go of slavery and move forward. Instead we compromised.

Anyway. I took the dogs out today and was shocked how many people are out and about and walking past each other and biking past each other and running past each other as if it’s a holiday. The southern states are going to be slammed in the coming weeks because a number of governors took their cues from Washington which has been clueless.

We were introduced to “alternate facts” three years ago and now we are living in an alternate reality. Except it’s a deadly one. We have now passed 10,000 deaths. Over triple 9-11 where we reacted with such violence we destroyed the world order. Now we’re so numbed by lies, one wonders if we even have a Federal government. Our Department of Defense has not defended us. Instead, it’s turning on itself as political appointees dismantle it.

I’m tired. My eye hurts. I’ve got a headache. I take heart in the unbelievable sacrifices being made by doctors and nurses and garbagemen and those who stack the shelves and truck drivers and all those putting themselves at risk. Then I’m appalled and angered at the profiteering and ignorance displayed by others.

We will get through this. What awaits on the other end will require a rekindling of spirit.

We must remember reality. We must remember facts. And we must remember those who betrayed us.

Day 25: 2020 Pandemic. How To Do An Area Study. Understanding Threats and Assets

The first thing I have people do in my Survival Guide, and when I conduct Survival Workshops, is an Area Study. Why? Because everyone’s situation is different, thus generic solutions don’t necessarily apply to all. A handful, such as pandemics do. My wife’s mother just asked her on the phone how come we have masks—my wife told her I’ve got all sorts of stuff ‘downstairs’. She has no clue the half of it. But I’d done a blog post on the Inevitable Pandemic around the time I published the first version of my survival guide about eight years ago.

Anywho. An Area Study is examining your environment with the perspective of evaluating assets and threats so you can properly prepare. An Area Study will allow you to tighten down your preparation and focus on things in order of priority. It’s not just the environment but also includes yourself and your team.

In Special Forces, prior to deploying to an Area of Operations, we conducted an Area Study of that location. You must conduct an Area Study of your Area of Operations (AO). This means studying your home, your work, school, and any other locales where you and people on your A-Team spend a significant amount of time. When taking a trip, you should conduct a travel area study, examining the route you will take, your destination, and your route back.

There are so many cases where a thoughtful Area Study followed up by the appropriate preparations would have saved lives. Preparation is so much better than reacting. Which is what we’re doing now.

Think about it. You live in a tsunami zone. Have you actually driven your evacuation route? How long does it take? Have you figured out the quickest escape route on foot, when an accident caused by terrified people blocks the road or everyone in your neighborhood flees at the same time on the same route creating a traffic jam? You work on the 40th floor of a skyscraper. Do you ever look around and ask yourself: how do I get out of here if the normal means of egress are blocked? While schools run active shooter drills, what about the work place?

Some of the core questions to start with: How close are you to the nearest military base? Nearest police station? Firehouse? Hospital? Do you know where the closest emergency room is? How long will it take to get there? How quickly can an ambulance respond to your location? When my wife and I lived on a winding road that was difficult and confusing to travel, during one medical emergency my wife had to be driven to the nearest largest road to meet an ambulance as it came toward us, saving considerable time and perhaps her life.

You want to examine your environment for a lot of things. What can harm you? What can help you? What can
hide you? What are your enabling factors? What are your disabling factors? What is the terrain and how can it help you or hamper you in movement? What are the roads, trails, rail, etc. What effect does your environment have on you? What effect will you have on it?

In essence, an Area Study requires you to invest some time and energy on research and to look at your surroundings from a different perspective. It can actually be a fun experience and allow you to see the world around you with a different perspective. Get your household involved because we all look at things a little bit differently.

When my A-Team traveled, the engineers would be looking at things with a unique perspective. When they saw a bridge, they were mentally calculating how to blow it up. When they saw a stream, they were thinking how to provide a water supply to villagers and irrigation for fields. My weapons men would look at terrain for fields of fire for direct and indirect fire weapons. And cover and concealment for us. As a survivor, you have to look at your environment in terms of what you can use and what can be a threat, what can be scavenged and much more, which requires you to assume a different mindset for a while.

We live in a variety of natural environments. There are also a wide range of human developments from urban to remote rural. Thus one size doesn’t fit all. Doing an Area Study is critical so you can tailor your preparation for your specific situation. Some threats are going to be of much more importance for you to prepare for than others. For instance, if you live in Oklahoma, the threat of hurricane is nonexistent (so far), but tornados and earthquakes are likely.

Unfortunately, we ALL needed to prepare for a pandemic. But its better late than never. Also, consider the issue if you have another natural disaster that is prone in your area, such as tornado or earthquake (my son just experienced a mild on in San Diego the other day) on top of the COVID-19.

A free slideshow on Area Study and other survival topics are on this page.

PLEASE! Take this virus seriously. Stay safe.

 The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

Day 24: 2020 Pandemic. Mass Graves in Florida and Georgia and other states before the end of April. How to wear an surgical mask.

Got your attention? Sadly, if you’re reading this, I’ve probably had your attention.

I despair of the stupidity and willful ignorance in this country. We will have the worst death percentage among First World Countries because of the pathetic and uncoordinated response. It didn’t need to happen, but the ship has sailed. It’s too late. We dismantled so many programs that could have helped or even prevented this over the course of the past three years, no matter what propaganda and spin you’re hearing.

If you live in those states or have relatives there, especially older ones, please try to get them to understand the gravity of the situation. I live in Knoxville, TN and am watching with dismay as people go about life with just minor inconveniences.

I just put together a couple of our garden boxes. Also sorted our emergency supplies. Not just to know what we have, but in large plastic bins if it should reach the point of bug out. We’re quite a ways from that; or we should have done it already. We didn’t because we can shelter in place indefinitely. We would actually be more at threat if we left. I’ll post a blog in a week or so about when its time to “bug out” but no place is there, not even NYC. Actually, if people in NYC bug out now, and I’m sure some are, they are bringing the virus with them. So don’t.

Actually, it’s pretty much everywhere. We just don’t know because so few people have still been tested. Remember when the VP said we’d have a million tests by the end of the week? How many weeks ago was that?

As far as the surgigal mask goes, here’s a tidbit. There’s an upside. The one with the wire, which you bend around your nose. I’ve seen people wearing them upside down.

Sort of like “Front toward enemy” on a Claymore. Here’s the official spiel:

How to put on a face mask

  1. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
  2. Remove a mask from the box and make sure there are no obvious tears or holes in either side of the mask.
  3. Determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose.
  4. Determine which side of the mask is the front. The colored side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face.
  5. Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
    • Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.
    • Face Mask with Ties: Bring the mask to your nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow.
    • Face Mask with Bands: Hold the mask in your hand with the nosepiece or top of the mask at fingertips, allowing the headbands to hang freely below hands.  Bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head so that it rests over the crown of your head.  Pull the bottom strap over your head so that it rests at the nape of your neck.
  6. Mold or pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose.
  7. If using a face mask with ties: Then take the bottom ties, one in each hand, and secure with a bow at the nape of your neck.
  8. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.

How to remove a face mask

  1. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band.Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
  2. Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold both of the ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.
  3. Face Mask with Ties: Untie the bottom bow first then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from you as the ties are loosened.
  4. Face Mask with Bands: Lift the bottom strap over your head first then pull the top strap over your head.

My son reported San Diego had a minor earthquake. Here’s a thing to consider in the midst of this. What other problems could crop up? I joked about a plague of locusts and someone pointed out Africa is experiencing that. Next? A river turning red? I’m sure it’s happening somewhere. I’ll post on doing an Area Study either tomorrow or the next day.

PLEASE! Take this virus seriously. Stay safe.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The NY Times has dropped its paywall for information about COVID-19, Coronavirus. Click HERE to go to it. Also, The Economist has dropped its paywall for information about COVID-19 and it does a very good job drilling down on various aspects.

Day 23: 2020 Pandemic. The Long Term Outlook. Plan for It!

Is not good. This isn’t going to be over any time soon. Honestly, as I type one-eyed, I vacillate on the outlook. There are two things to consider: the Covid-19 itself and then the effect on civilization.

As far as the former, it’s confusing but overall most public officials are really under-estimating how long this is going to last. I’d say here in Knoxville we’re a month to six weeks behind New York. Nashville is probably two weeks ahead of us, as far as the reports I’m seeing. What that means is that this ripple effect is going to sweep over the country. Florida is going to get slammed big time. Not only is the governor an idiot—and that’s not an opinion, if you don’t like it, go elsewhere—but the population lends itself to disaster. Older, many Faux News watchers, it is woefully unprepared for what’s going to happen. Is happening.

So far, my predictions, sadly, have been on target. Look for mass graves in Florida in 3 to 4 weeks or crematoriums working around the clock. That’s reality.

Here I’m watching five guys working on the house next door, redoing something inside. One has a terrible deep chest cough. My wife and I have taken to wearing N92 when we go out the door based on the fact this virus stays in the air longer than people think. We monitor where the dogs go and we will not take them off the property. Scout’s going a bit nuts not getting her long hikes every other day, but so be it. I can’t do them anyway because I’m supposed to be taking it easy which is driving me as nuts as her. I’m also watching tree cutting and landscaping crews doing something across the street in the backyard of a house. They will all be infected within the week. And their families. And their friends. That’s reality but few want to accept it.

Bottom line on COVID-19. It’s here, we’re all likely to get it, except for the few who manage to isolate until a vaccine which won’t happen until, at the earliest near the end of the year.

From the start, what’s really concerned me is the supply chain. Right now, mail is being delivered, UPS is pulling up and dropping off packages, etcetera. I don’t expect that to last. Long haul truck drivers will get sick. Local delivery people will get sick. People will call in sick from isolation. People stocking stores will not show up. How far we break down? How long will we break down?

I honestly got no idea and am open to your thoughts on my original blog post, if you’re reading this on Medium which is where I copy this too. Sometimes I’m optimistic but then I see in NY they are opening feeding centers for anyone who needs to eat. I saw a video of a long line of cars waiting for a food bank outside of Detroit. It’s not just that people didn’t prepare: many people couldn’t afford to prepare. I really wish people had more empathy for those less fortunate. I remember thinking I was middle class growing up, when actually we were poor (mother a home-maker, father a garbage man, 4 kids, living in a 600 square foot place) but we saw people who were really poor.

If you can, try to stock up on non-perishables that will last a month. At the very least, when you go to the store, buy two week’s worth of food even if you have to put it on the credit card you can’t pay. You can’t eat the card. I think people are doing that. I noticed less cars the other day when I went for my follow up appointment at the food stores.

Keep checking long term camping food on Amazon. The other day this bucket of Mountain House was available, now it’s listed as unavailable, but if you keep searching through, sometimes you can buy individual meals. Every little bit helps.

Start thinking longer term survival beyond just COVID-19. Once more, for those who can’t buy the survival guide, email me and I’ll send you a pdf version for free.

For those who have bought it or got it, if you can leave a review on Amazon as that helps as I’ve had to cut my advertising budget for it, thus its lower on search engines as I’m competing against bigger businesses than me and Cool Gus which can spend more than Gus.

PLEASE! Take this virus seriously. Stay safe.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The NY Times has dropped its paywall for information about COVID-19, Coronavirus. Click HERE to go to it. Also, The Economist has dropped its paywall for information about COVID-19 and it does a very good job drilling down on various aspects.

Day 22: 2020 Pandemic. Leadership, or Lack Thereof

I haven’t posted the map in a while. Note Florida is heating up. These maps and all the numbers are really skewed by how few tests we have. Bottom line– its everywhere. Also I couldn’t get the whole map because I”m writing this sitting in bed, head tilted left, with an eye patch covering my right eye.

As a novelist, especially one who writes thrillers and science fiction, and with a background in Special Forces, where the biggest thing that made us special was our planning, I spend a lot of time “what-iffing” things.

I always thought we spent a hell of a lot of money on aircraft carriers; too much. Yes, I’ve been on one which we used a floating Forward Operating Base, launching Nightstalker choppers and A-Teams from. But that’s not what they’re built for. They are a projection of air power. And a huge investment in capital and manpower. The USS Theodore Roosevelt cost 4.5 billion to build in 2007 dollars. I’m not sure what that is in bitcoin today. Takes over 5,000 sailors to operate. And that’s not counting the multimillion dollars aircraft, the cost of any one of which could have probably provided all the N95 masks we need now.

I used to sit and think of ways to disable such a formidable weapon. Flocks of small drones, each carrying a little bit of plutonium dust? Sure they’ll shoot a bunch down, but many will get through. Crash land on the flight deck, contaminate it for longer than my lifetime. But now we know the easier way? Find one sailor just before it sails, have some pretty girl give him a smooch with a virus and it’s out of action a few weeks later.

Seriously? Yep. If I’d written it, you’ve wouldn’t have bought the book. I did write the pandemic thriller, everyone does, with the brilliant title Z. Yep, just the letter. Aspiring writers, don’t do that. It’s called being stupid. Title has to invite readers into the book. I added Final Countdown after republishing it. Does Z invite you in?

What worries me is that our senior leadership in the Department of Defense has become a bunch of lackies. Buried in the bailout was a provision that the members of the Joint Chiefs could stay on past their normal terms. Why? Has Trump finally found the sycophants he needs to run the military? Has the pardoning of war criminals and the attacks on honorable servicemembers finally had its inevitable results?

It starts with a Commander-In-Chief who uttered the statement that disqualifies any leader at any level: “I don’t take any responsibility at all.” Game over.

Where does that leave us? On our own. Some governors have followed the White House lead, which is meaning doing nothing.

So don’t count on the military to save us. They can’t save themselves from their own leaders.

It’s down to local communities.

So enough ranting—here’s the point. Don’t count on anyone to save you. It will take at least until the end of this year for a vaccine if not longer. That show I recommended yesterday shows how they make vaccines and it’s time consuming. This virus is going to keep rippling around the world. We could get lucky and it mutates into something less lethal. Or unlucky and the opposite. No one really knows. The more I listen to the experts, the more I pick up their uncertainty.

I’ll get back to more practical advice as I heal. I went for my check up today, reluctantly (I was the only masked person in the waiting room). My eye is healing. The gas is at 50% which means I actually can see the line of the bubble across the middle of my eye but that’s it. The assistant made me cover my left eye and asked what I could see on the chart and I was “What chart?” Seriously. I got nothing in that eye, but in a week I should be seeing something.

PLEASE! Take this virus seriously. Stay safe.

Oh yeah– 18 days until my next book, titled X. No, seriously, it’s Area 51: Earth Abides.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The NY Times has dropped its paywall for information about COVID-19, Coronavirus. Click HERE to go to it. Also, The Economist has dropped its paywall for information about COVID-19 and it does a very good job drilling down on various aspects.

Day 21: 2020 Pandemic. It Was Inevitable. Invisible Killers.

Long day of trying to rest my eye after the surgery—supposed to spend most of the day on my left side as well as all night and getting business stuff done with a new release coming out later this month.

Just watched a show my wife found on Amazon Prime from Discovery Channel titled Invisible Killers. It was made in 2018 and it pretty much discusses the inevitable influenza pandemic we are now living through. The now famous Dr. Fauci is in it.

I highly recommend watching it to get an understanding of the big picture of what influenza is and why it’s such a problem.

It’s a statement of the human condition that we will spend over 700 billion on defense in a year and leave ourselves defenseless against the inevitable pandemic. And now, we are seeing that great DOD falling apart in the face of this. The fact a Navy Captain went public with concerns for his crew means his chain of command failed him. No one could make a decision. I respect what he did because he threw his career away over concern for his sailors. They may publicly say at the Pentagon that there will be no repercussions, but he knew by doing what he did it was over. But he had a point—he had a combat ineffective multi-billion dollar war machine. When we need 50 cent masks. That are now being bid on by competing states.

It’s late. The dogs are snoring. My eye hurts and I’ve got nothing left today. Tomorrow will be another day. Hang tough. Be nicer to each other. We ARE all in this together.

I just realized its three weeks since I started this blog. And here in Knoxville, we’re still waiting for the tsunami that’s already rolled over New York and New Orleans. Sadly, everyone here in town is so thankful the UT students never came back from Spring Break; that UT pulled the plug while they were gone. That bought us some time.

PLEASE! Take this virus seriously. Stay safe.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The NY Times has dropped its paywall for information about COVID-19, Coronavirus. Click HERE to go to it. Also, The Economist has dropped its paywall for information about COVID-19 and it does a very good job drilling down on various aspects.

Day 20: 2020 Pandemic. Still At the Beginning. Start a garden.

Pandemics don’t just come and then disappear. They come in waves; hopefully smaller and smaller waves, but until we have a vaccine, COVID-19 will be with us. China is having another wave of infections, the news of which they are trying to suppress.

We have our own suppression of reality in this country as the administration pivots from “not a problem” to “if you’re listening to this, I saved your life” which is pretty amazing. Right now, there is nothing we can do about that. We have to focus on the short term in order to make it to the long term. The problem is that misinformation continues to produce a haphazard and incoherent national response. States are bidding against each other for critical items.

The lack of leadership, not just at the White House, but all high federal levels is stunning. To have an aircraft carrier captain go public with his situation (290) positive on board means the chain of command did not deal with this. Personally. I’m disgusted with the highest levels in the Pentagon and the lack of integrity among flag rank officers.

For each of us, we have to take charge.

I’ve been talking about the long term and here are some thoughts.

Start a garden. We’re getting to that time of year. You can get seeds on Amazon. Books on how to do it if you have no experience. You’ll be amazed how much food a small garden can produce. We’ve added in these planter boxes to our regular garden since we have a concrete pad and fence that used to be a kennel we can put them in. This keeps the rabbits out and also helps with the stooping over—something us older coots have to think about.

A garden is also a good distraction and a great thing to work on. I’ve always enjoyed plants. Even if you live in an apartment, you could put one of these planters on your balcony if you have one.

I’ve also started to do some work with solar, something I’d planned on doing and now have the  motivation to explore. I’ve gotten several solar panels and a battery and am trying to remember my “juice” classes from West Point on the difference between combining in series or parallel etc. More on this to come as I’m able to do more.

Right now, still mostly bound to lying down on my left side to let the gas bubble in my eye slowly be replaced by organic material without ripping the laser seal on the retina. Hard to believe its only be four days since the surgery. I think a lot of people are experiencing, in deeper and more somber ways, how quickly life can change and things we thought were important aren’t so important any more.

PLEASE! Take this virus seriously. Stay safe.

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also now in Kindle Unlimited.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)