Entries tagged with “coronavirus”.

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There’s certainly been a lot going on this past week, some of it very good and some of it very bad. On the good side, I would count the Democratic convention with its focus on education, empathy, reducing racism, stopping climate change, raising working-class wages, and expanding healthcare.

On the bad side, I would count the coronavirus pandemic, which in less than six months has killed 175,000 Americans and sickened 5.6 million. In West Marin, the most unavoidable bad side is the huge wildfire in the National Seashore, which was only 5 percent contained at 6 p.m today after four days of firefighting.

The Woodward Fire as seen from Mitchell cabin in Point Reyes Station Tuesday. The fire west of the Point Reyes National Seashore’s Bear Valley Visitor Center and just south of the Woodward Trail, broke out Tuesday following lightning strikes, which ignited numerous wildfires around the Bay Area.

What was first spotted as a three- or four-acre fire….

quickly grew to hundreds of acres and then thousands. The fire more than doubled in size Thursday night to 2,260 acres. (Marin County Fire Department aerial photos)

While all this was going on here, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden halfway across the country in Wisconsin eloquently addressed his party’s convention, earning praise from even conservative news media.

The Woodward Fire was ominously reflected in the clouds over Inverness Ridge at sunset Tuesday.

Meanwhile the Covid-19 pandemic continues to keep almost everyone on the streets in West Marin six feet apart and wearing masks. The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on many small businesses. The Bovine Bakery on Point Reyes Station’s main street is remaining open by selling its pastries out the door to mask-wearing customers.

Likewise donning face masks at the Democratic convention in Milwaukee Thursday were (from left): Dr. Jill Biden and her husband, presidential nominee Joe Biden; vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. The importance of safe, loving families was a major theme of the convention.

An air tanker approaching the Woodward Fire Friday. Air support for the ground crews was late in arriving because most planes were being used to fight the many other lightning-caused wildfires elsewhere in Northern California. Cal Fire aircraft finally began showing up Thursday, and more arrived Friday. With the fire grown to more than 2,260 acres, residents of Olema, Bolinas, Inverness Park, and Inverness were alerted that a mandatory evacuation might be ordered.

A “super scooper” collects Tomales Bay water to drop on the fire. (Marin County Fire Department photo)

A Cal Fire helicopter over Mitchell cabin Friday en route to the Woodward Fire. The heavy air traffic low over Point Reyes Station went on throughout much of the afternoon.

Aside from the fire, the convention, and the pandemic, life around Mitchell cabin also had its tranquil moments this past week. Here a jackrabbit contentedly grazed beside the cabin Sunday.

Also relaxing. The stray cat we’re sheltering had been roaming with raccoons when we brought her into the cabin three weeks ago. Here she watches one on Tuesday eating kibble with a skunk on our deck. She’s five to six months old and in need of a good, permanent home. A veterinarian has confirmed her good health.

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Sheltering in place to avoid the coronavirus pandemic, as we have been instructed, clearly is keeping local customers away from a number of West Marin businesses, creating financial calamities for some of them, as The Point Reyes Light reported Thursday.  And it’s creating a dilemma for homeless residents. Where can someone without a shelter go to shelter? We retired folks probably have it easiest. I simply pull up the covers, turn on the electric blanket, and lay my head on the pillow.

(Updates: On Saturday, March 21, so many folks from out of town wanted to get out in nature that they clogged roads to and from the coast, prompting the Sheriff’s Department to warn that “the visitors created traffic congestion which interferes with first responders’ ability to handle emergencies. In addition, state and county park parking lots and bathrooms are closed due to the shelter-in-place order, adding to further congestion and creating problems with sanitation.”

Sheriff’s Department photo of traffic heading into Dillon Beach.

On Sunday, the Park Service responded by closing Limantour access road, Drakes Beach, Drakes Estero, and Mount Vision Road gates. Also closed were visitors centers at Bear Valley, Drakes Beach, and the lighthouse. “Limited access will be allowed to Palomarin Trailhead area beyond Commonweal entrance, Pierce Point Road, Lighthouse and Chimney Rock parking lots,” the Park Service noted.)

President Trump on Sunday, March 22.

President Trump on Thursday raged against the major news media’s coverage of coronavirus and the White House’s response to it, lambasting NBC reporter Peter Alexander for asking him: “What do you say to Americans who are scared?” The president responded, “I say that you are a terrible reporter.  That’s what I say.” He went on to also claim The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post “are very dishonest….

“It amazes me when I read the things that I read,” Trump said. “It amazes me when I read The Wall Street Journal, which is so negative, and The New York Times — I barely read it. We don’t distribute it in the White House, and the same with The Washington Post.” In short, he writes off the three most respected newspapers in his country. No wonder he’s such an ignoramus.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy later commented, “This is unbelievably dangerous. The press has done nothing but convey the gravity of the crisis, and by discrediting the media, Trump empowers the hoax purveyors and conspiracy theorists who tell people there’s nothing to worry about.”

Three bald eagles sharing a nest and together incubating the eggs. (Steward of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge photo)

Elsewhere in the press, Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Huppke has penned a tongue-in-cheek denunciation of a “pervy bird threesome….  A trio of Illinois bald eagles — two male and one female — have formed a wholly indecent three-person couple… Thanks to nearby cameras — presumably installed by avian pornographers — the uninhibited bird pervs have shoved their nontraditional lifestyle in the faces of wholesome people across America and around the world….

“It’s unnatural, and the fact that this three-way eagle fornication party is happening in nature — thus interfering with my ability to call it unnatural — makes it even more unnatural…. To preserve the values that made America great and to protect the proud infallible institution of marriage, I demand the Illinois Department of Natural Resources intervene and break up this so-called marriage.”

Marijuana buds.

One news story circulating internationally in the English-language press concerns an eight-year-old Canadian boy who won a $200 gift basket of marijuana-laced chocolates at a raffle during a youth hockey tournament in British Columbia. According to a New Zealand news service, Newshub, “Each team is usually responsible for putting a gift basket or prize together with a minimum value of $50.”

The boy’s father gave him $10 to spend on raffle tickets, and the kid put a ticket on what he thought were conventional chocolate candies. As his grandfather, Keith Redl, later recalled, “My grandson thought he had won a great prize. ‘Dad, I won chocolate!'” Redl  recounted. “No son,” the boy’s father said. “There’s bad drugs in the chocolate.” This prompted the boy’s grandfather to muse, “How do you explain that to a kid?”

The Dawson Creek Minor Hockey Association later said the donated gift basket was intended for an adult winner, and the cannabis was never exposed to children. Commented the disgruntled grandfather, “I was a policeman for 32 years, and you … try to protect people from [this] stuff…. There is no place for drugs at a child’s hockey tournament.”

Filmmakers Steven Spielberg (left) and George Lucas on the set of Star Wars in 1977.

Still more unlikely news. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s daughter Mikaela has announced she’s started producing her own sex videos to run on the internet’s PornHub. “I got really tired of not being able to capitalize on my body, and frankly, I got really tired of being told to hate my body,” she explained in an interview with The U.S. Sun, a tabloid based in the British Isles.  “And I also just got tired of working day to day in a way that wasn’t satisfying my soul.”

Mikaela Spielberg.

Mikaela said her parents don’t mind her new porn career and that she’s limiting herself to masturbation videos because she doesn’t want to be unfaithful to her fiancé Chuck Pankow.

That may sound a tad conservative to be coming from a porno actress, but she did acknowledge that her long-term goal is to become a stripper.