Two days left in “W” stories voting block, a little rant . . . and a Cactus Ent

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The “W” stories voting block has a little over 48 hours before it ends and the results recorded in the annals of insignificant history.  If you like a particular story, in addition to voting for it — and if you feel like it — now is the time to nudge friends and family into reading it (and also ask them to read the others in case they don’t agree with you) and to cast their votes.

No matter how you come to them or who you vote for, if you’re a reader of our stories and someone who votes, the writers wish to express their gratitude and appreciation. Links to the stories and the poll for voting for “Alphabet Challenge W-Stories” are HERE(link) Votes will be accepted until  Noon (Central Time) on Monday, January 25th, 2021.

So, photos . . .

These were shot in Central Illinois last July. They are dead now.

Kind of sobering to read, isn’t it? You probably felt a small pang of “why did he ruin my enjoyment of them?”

But, you already know all the annual flowers are dead, certainly if you live in high enough latitudes where winter temperatures dip below freezing.

Think about the fact that if I had said “all of last Summer’s flowers are dead and rotted away” you would have felt next to nothing . . . then think about the difference in how you feel when you hear someone you know has died (even if you barely knew them) and when you hear 400,000 people have died from COVID-19. 400,000 in addition to the approximately 2.8M Americans who died every year pre-COVID-19 (LINK). Did you even know about all the different causes of death?

We’re not good at processing large numbers. I mean, we know we’re supposed to “feel” something, but a large number is just that. A Large Number.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere . . . and somewhere. I just read that Larry King died and I felt nothing. I mean, I know the name, but I never watched his show or interviews and know very little about him as he never crossed my “interest boundary”. I’m sorry he’s dead . . . I guess. I don’t particularly wish death on anyone (well, OK, I do keep a list, but it’s a short list, and they deserve it, trust me) but the emotional connection is not there. Maybe if I learned more about him, but I’m not moved to do so.

Then, I thought about why I heard about Larry King’s death by name as opposed to the other thousands of people who died today, some of them likely closer to my interest sphere than Larry king. Heck, Dawn Wells died three weeks ago (of COVID-19), and I didn’t hear about her death until today (and only because I came across a site that mentioned it), and she had much more impact on my life than Larry King.

There are memorials to the Twin Towers victims where you can read each of their names. Even as I recognize the pain and consequences of the event — it’s burned forever in my memory and we continue to live in the darkness of its long shadow — I can tell you that when presented with 2,700 names, my eyes glaze over.

My eyes glaze a little less if I read the names of the Oklahoma City Bombing because the numbers are lower (168, including children). 

Another flower that’s now dead.

Do you know when my eyes don’t glaze over? They don’t glaze over when photos and a description of each of the victims are attached to each name. (9/11 LINK, OCB LINK )

Smiling faces of young and old people who — at the time their photos were taken — did not know their lives would be tragically ended as a result of anger, incompetence, greed, politics, religion, fanaticism, and a criminal disregard for the life of others. No, my eyes don’t glaze over; they tear up, and I have to stop reading.

And then I think of the 400,000 nameless COVID-19 victims that are just parts of a Large Number casually presented in newscasts and press briefings; just a number without faces, without a story attached to them . . . but they are not faceless and they each have a story, and I blame anger, incompetence, greed, politics, religion, fanaticism, and a criminal disregard for the life of others for those 400,000 (and more) deaths.

Whenever I see a person with their mask below their nose, or not wearing a mask at all, or people disregarding social distancing, or hear the pronouncements of certain pundits, politicians, religious ‘leaders’, I’m reminded we are little more than apes that managed to cover their naughty bits and now call ourselves civilized, and wonder if we deserve to be here at all.

Sure, we were lucky, but did we earn it? Do we respect and appreciate the accident of our existence?

Whenever I hear politicians, pundits, and religious leaders make grand pronouncements that make a mockery of what we know, I’m glad I’m not Zeus because, if I were, they would be incinerated where they stand . . . wait . . . did I say “glad I’m not”? . . . I meant the opposite.

As a society — and civilization — we are being tested in a variety of ways (as many times before). It’s too early to say what the result will be, but so far, the results are not encouraging. Little more than apes, indeed.

So ends my little rant; something I had to get out of my head . . .

Now, because I don’t want to leave you all depressed and shit, about Cactus Ents . . .

I assume none of you had any knowledge of Cactus Ents. Neither did I . . . until yesterday. Why yesterday? Because yesterday I posted this photo.

You can click on that photo and see a slightly larger version, but you would be hard-pressed to see the Cactus Ent (with family in tow) walking around with nary a care in the world. That photo is too small to resolve their presence.

No; if you want to see it — them — you need to click on this LINK and open up the full-size photo (16,500 x 3,400 pixels, 9MB).

After it opens, click on the photo to zoom in and out of different parts of the photo. Oh, you might need a bit of imagination, but they are there, trust me (again); an adult Ent with family in tow. Pretty neat.

“Well,  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is that!?!?” you ask.

Try and guess.

This LINK will take you to the SmugMug gallery that has the full-size versions of the above and also photos from recent reminders.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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