OH BRAVE WEIRD WORLD – BLOGGING AND THE PANDEMIC – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

Blogging Insights and the Pandemic

From the author, questions about the pandemic and blogging and where you stand as a blogger in relation to it:


Posts about the pandemic feature prominently on many (if not most) blogs these days. Blogs by definition are chronicles of the lives and views of their authors and the world around them. It is no wonder that the pandemic features prominently in many (if not most) posts today. 

Articles and posts about corona virus/COVID-19 could be seen dotted about the internet since the beginning of this year. These were mostly articles about health, epidemiology and the environment.

In the beginning , Covid-19 had not spread across continents. It reached the status of pandemic a couple of months ago and turned our lives topsy turvy. The lockdowns and social distancing that followed are things that we have never experienced before. The pandemic has changed the world as we know it . It has deeply touched the lives of all, even those who have not been infected.

In today’s Blogging Insights we discuss how it has affected our blogs and blogging.


QUESTIONS: 

1. How frequently do you post about the pandemic? Please share links to a couple of your “pandemic posts” that you particularly like. If you have not written anything about Coronavirus/COVID-19 (seems unbelievablewhat are your reasons for this? 

https://teepee12.com/2020/05/27/history-and-plagues-end-marilyn-armstrong/

https://teepee12.com/2020/03/27/how-often-do-plagues-hit-our-world-marilyn-armstrong/

https://teepee12.com/2020/05/12/a-sneaky-little-virus-marilyn-armstrong/

https://teepee12.com/2020/05/21/my-day-at-the-hospital-marilyn-armstrong/

https://teepee12.com/2020/04/07/on-the-upcoming-50th-anniversary-of-earth-day-marilyn-armstrong/

https://teepee12.com/2020/03/31/it-is-not-over-marilyn-armstrong/

There are many others written by different people, either those who share this blog with me, reblogs, or other contributors. There is often a paragraph about the current “state of affairs” hooked onto another post which isn’t focused on COVID — for context.

2. What kind of “posts about the pandemic” do you like to read? (If you don’t, then please tell us why?“Like to read” is probably a misphrase in this post. Although if someone thinks they are making a breakthrough, I’ll read that until I get to the end and realize it is all early experimentation and probably won’t go anywhere.

I read enough news to keep current. Other blogs which seem to contain opinions from other countries. Sometimes, a headline and a paragraph are more than enough. We watch some of the evening news, then abandon it. Colbert, when he’s on. John Oliver, when HE is on.

Somewhere inside, I’m enraged. Furious. Angrier than I have ever been. I can’t fix it. I can’t even try, not if I want to live.

3. How have you and your blog adapted to “the new normal”?

More pictures, more memories, rewriting older posts that feel appropriate, and simply need updating. I try hard to not rant but often fail. When I need to write about the here and now, I reblog when I can since digging into my soul to write it is not the fun stuff I signed up for when I began this blog.

4. Have you seen any change in your blog stats during the pandemic? Also, are you posting more or less than you used to?   

My stats are higher than they were, but that could as easily be an unrelated fluctuation. I think I have been writing better, at least some times. I’m trying to include more photography and “upbeat” material because everyone is bummed and they need things that don’t remind them of the mess we are in.

Many are outright depressed. I know I can’t read dark stuff at all. Other than enough news to make me feel connected, I can’t deal with it. It makes me sad, depressed and feeling helpless, and hopeless. Not the best set of feelings in such a stressful period.

Known spread of the virus. Obviously changed since this was published.

All of this has taken a terrible toll on my ability to laugh, a real pity because that’s what I most need.

I’ve counted on laughter to make life bearable when times are hardest. These days,  it’s hard to get so much as a chuckle. Maybe someday, should we all survive, we’ll be able to look back and find the “funny,” but it’s pretty hard to find it right now. Not surprisingly, pictures of birds and flowers are doing better than much of the writing.

 

MAY 2020 – THE CHANGING SEASONS, A DIFFERENT WORLD – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

The Changing Seasons, May 2020


To say that the world is a different place than it was last month and completely different than the month before, AND has almost nothing to do with last spring or even last winter is probably an understatement. I hardly know where to start. Plagues,  riots and warm winter without snow which, in one night, turned into summer.

Whatever comes out of this, it’s going to be different. Possibly very different. Or maybe not. Does anyone know? I sure don’t know.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (Photographic):

Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month

Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them.

The Changing Seasons Version Two (Choose your favorite format):

Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month

Don’t use archived stuff. Only new material! Except for maybe this and last month when a lot of us have gotten out of the house much — or at all.

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to SuLeslie’s post, she can update all the entries with links.

“DOUBLE TROUBLE” AT THE BELISSIMO! BY GRETCHEN ARCHER

“DOUBLE TROUBLE” DUE FOR RELEASE JUNE 9!

Every mystery written by Gretchen Archer has been complex with multiple subplots and complication upon complication building to a crashing yet happy ending. In this novel, the complications are so intricate you have to read carefully to pick up the clues.

Many authors write convoluted stories with the inevitable corpse showing up where a dead body is most unlikely. When it gets too labyrinthine, ye olde “Deus Ex Machina” drops by to fix everything.

Ms. Archer doesn’t have a Deus Ex Machina. If Davis found her way into the disaster, she will claw her way out. For every knot, she finds a way to unknot it before the book concludes.

This story begins with the Bird lady who runs the Lost & Found department. She is old. No one is sure how old, but very would be a good guess. She is forgetful. She has a unique way of doing things and that being said, no one knows exactly how she does whatever she does. Her entries use a unique shorthand. Birdie has her own coding system.

Gretchen with granddaughter during COVID-19 pandemic

Her codes and shorthand made letting her go a bit scary. Who’d figure out what was going on unless Birdie explained it — if she could explain it? She didn’t hear well or remember much. No one entirely understood her and she didn’t seem to fully understand herself.

There has been a massive rebuilding of the Belissimo Casino and Resort since it was nearly destroyed by Category Four Hurricane Kevin.

Davis Way is no longer in charge. She is a part-time employee. A quarter-time employee or even less. She adores her children but misses her work. She was warned to let Birdie go before something went terribly wrong, but Davis hadn’t quite gotten to it. Firing a very old woman from the only job she ever had isn’t easy. She intends to take care of it, but it’s been waiting in the wings.

Then, calamity happens. Just like everyone said it would.

Five-million dollars that never should have arrived at the Casino go missing. Birdie might have the money (probably not).  It might be one of the people Birdie worked with who Davis had not been allowed to vet. Or a third unknown party.

Bradley’s away on business and Davis hasn’t told him what’s happening. Moreover, she can’t find a babysitter that she desperately needs. This is why her mother arrived accompanied by Bea (her former mother-in-law) who definitely should not be there.

Also arriving are many baby tomato plants doused with dangerous fertilizer and the smell from hell. Davis hadn’t wanted to tell Bradley what was going on, positive she could handle it in just a few hours (NOT). Bianca won’t talk to her and …

Where are the $5 million dollars? What does the money have to do with the wedding cake? Who is taking care of Birdie’s cat? Who stole the Mercedes? Did I mention all those Elvis impersonators?

“Double Trouble” is the most complex Davis Way caper ever. You’ll need your best mystery-solving abilities to find your way to the end. It’s an exciting ride with never a dull moment! But if you know Gretchen Archer’s work, you’ll know that somehow, despite the madness, it will be resolved … and hopefully, all will be forgiven.

On a personal note, I wish that Gretchen would stop keeping everything to herself and tell Bradley the truth. Upfront rather than after the disaster. I always find myself muttering, “Good grief, just TELL him already!” But of course, if she did, there wouldn’t be a story to tell.

Other reviews of previous Davis Way Capers:

THE LAST ORCHID OF MAY 2020 – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

bushboys world

As it happened, I took these pictures yesterday late in the day. This really is the last photo I took. Usually, I’m not sure because, for reasons I can’t explain, this aging version of Photoshop doesn’t necessarily number things in the same order they appear on your SD card. This time, they did … and also, I remember taking the picture.

All I did was crop it slight, sign it, and make it small enough to not fill up my blog space.

The last photo of May 2020

It could have used some color adjustment but this is au natural.

THE MAKING OF AMERICA – RICH PASCHALL

It Isn’t Great, by Rich Paschall

After 100,000 have died, millions have lost their jobs and America’s cities burn, we can hear the right-wingers now. “You can’t blame this on Trump. This is not Trump’s fault.” But here’s the problem. It IS Trump’s fault, just about all of it.

LIAR in Chief

The amount of lies Trump has told the American people is staggering. This is not just a wild assertion as some on the right side of the aisle may claim.  It is a well-documented fact. This is not just put out there by the Washington Post, but also by many fact-checkers around the country. If the Post is too liberal for you, you can find a variety of sources. If he is talking or tweeting, he’s probably lying. Now he wants to stop Twitter from fact-checking him.

Opportunist  in Chief

Despite something known as the Emoluments Clause, Trump has taken the opportunity to further enrich himself and his rich friends. He plays a lot of golf on the taxpayer’s money, then has the secret service and others in the entourage stay at his lodging, also at taxpayers’ expense. This is the way to funnel your money to himself.

Clause 7   The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

He would not know the meaning of this, nor would he care.

Tax Cutter in Chief

OK, this was never meant to help you.  This was all about giving himself and his rich friends a tax break. In other words, the rich got richer.

Hater in Chief

You may think this one is pretty strong. Am I actually calling out someone as a hater? His whole term in office is about hate speech and defending “some very nice people” with confederate or Nazi flags and automatic weapons.

Anarchist in Chief

The statements by someone already in an office that are meant to undermine local, state, or even federal government are outrageous, to say the least. He has used his position of authority, not to work with others, but to bad mouth mayors, governors and US Senators, and Representatives. His provocative speech has indicated to his base of supporters that it is OK to “Liberate” states. It is ok to challenge public officials. That white nationalist protestors include some very nice people. White Racists, including the KKK, favor Trump. In fact, the KKK endorsed him in the last election.

Mis-manager in Chief

He had the opportunity to take the lead in times of crisis. He blew it. He blamed China, he blamed governors, he blamed scientists, he blamed Obama. He blamed everyone for not getting out in front of this crisis but himself. As we write this at the end of May, the virus is on the rise in many states. Trump encourages the opening of states because it would help the economy. The only thing it may help is the death toll.

Leaders of some countries took early and decisive action. Trump dismissed it
“We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”  – January 22nd.

The World Health Organization warned of a worldwide pandemic, Trump called it a Democratic hoax: “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power … to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”  – March 9th

Other countries took action to help their people. Trump and the Republicans blocked a second stimulus payment. They work toward legislation to protect companies from any liability for forcing employees back to work. They threatened to cut off unemployment benefits. Trump refused to cancel student loans.

Nero in Chief

He may not know how to play the fiddle, but he is doing a good job of pretending to be Emperor while the cities burn.  Here is why it is his fault:

Robber in Chief

Yes, there are people who are taking advantage of a bad situation to do bad things. Some are looting stores for their own personal joy or gain. Some are causing destruction to make one side or the other look bad. As I write to you, my emergency alert on my phone is not announcing bad weather, it is announcing a city curfew.  There is violence in the streets.

There are lawbreakers among the protestors and rioters, that’s for sure. And no matter what any of them may steal tonight or in the days to come, Trump has already stolen from them the most important thing necessary to make and keep America great. He has stolen HOPE. He has left many Americans broken and alone while he sits on his toilet, or wherever, sending tweets of hate into cyberspace. Meanwhile:

  • Is there any hope that situations will improve between big-city police departments and communities of color?
  • Is there any hope that economic opportunities will come to the communities of color?
  • Is there any hope that gun violence and people violence will subside in our country?
  • Is there any hope that immigrant families, ripped apart at the border, will be united?
  • Is there any hope that a leader will step forward and unite America with one voice through this pandemic?
  • Is there any hope that that the poor and middle class will find more assistance during extended unemployment, as other countries have done for their citizens, or will stimulus really be a way to hand more money to the rich?

People who take to the streets in protests that turn violent have lost hope that change will come by any other means. They have been driven down and stepped on and had a knee put to their collective throats. They are sick and tired of it. The words from the Orange Menace in Washington signals to the people of the nation that indeed, there is no hope.

On Monday Limbaugh and Hannity and Trump will all rage away. Will anyone offer hope to the masses?