Tag Archives: travel

Let’s Summer in Europe!

30 Jun

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Nope! Sorry…we can’t.

The European Union is excluding us from their list of 15 safe countries whose citizens will be allowed to travel there.

I guess we’ve just become too darned great and full of ourselves for being like, well… better than everybody else. Just look at that graph up there. We’re off the charts! When it comes to Coronavirus cases that is… as in… we’re doing so well we’re contagious!

New confirmed daily cases in the EU peaked around mid-March and are now on a clear downward trend, with cases below 10,000 for more than a month. In the US however, new cases are on a steep upward trajectory and have now topped over 40,000 per day!
That’s good isn’t it? Aren’t we winning? Data for the US shows that new cases in at least 36 states are trending upwards compared to the previous week. State and local leaders have said the rise in cases is in part driven by gatherings at homes and in meeting places such as bars.
Of course we Americans are gathering! We’re celebrating because we are free and great! And it’s about time…Now where’s my drink? I’m feeling a bit thirsty and warm.
Did you know that The U.S. has recorded  more Covid-19  cases and deaths than anywhere in the world? (What’s a Covid anyway? And what in the world is the 19 for?!) At almost 2.6 million cases and more than 126,000 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, that puts us in the big leagues with teams like Brazil, Russia and India!: The three nations with the highest numbers of cases after…US!
Whoo-Hoo! How great can we get? We’re in the top division!
Apparently The EU’s decision is based on whether a country has a similar or better epidemiological situation than Europe, as well as comparable hygiene and containment measures…sounds like a lot of crap doesn’t it? I bet they’re just jealous.
But!…The EU has recommended that member states offer entry to China, where the virus originated for crise sakes!…on the condition of reciprocal arrangements. What the ???  That sounds like a bribe or payoff doesn’t it?… Figures!
The other 14 countries that are allowed to visit Europe this summer are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay. What a bunch of lightweights. Do any of them even play football? You know, the real kind!
Oh well. We’ll just have to stay home this summer wrapped in our warm, humble hubris and gloat. It’s good to be great and free and unencumbered by the suffering of others who are poor, and old and or without the proper health coverage that they should have bought for themselves from… wherever…just don’t get me started.
It’s good to be great…again! Now let’s party!
All hail our fearless, wondrous and most beloved leader!
And take that mask off when you do…you wimp!

Carefree Highway

26 Apr

Photo of a busy highway/interstate

It’s Earth week and I’ve been repeating/updating some of my Earth Day blogs from previous years and here is one that I wrote 4 years ago…Every now and then when I go on long highway drives I have a revelation. I’m Not sure if they are in any way prescient or prophetic…hopefully not, but here is my revelatory story from a sojourn across the state of New Jersey not too long ago…

As I was driving down the highway at 75 MPH I noticed, while glancing into my rear-view mirror, an angry old man flashing his lights and gesturing for me to get out of the way. I was already traveling at 10 miles per hour more than the legal speed limit but I also noticed that as far as the rest of the traffic was concerned, I was a slacker! So I pulled out of his way only to find myself in front of a young woman talking on her cell phone who was rapidly gaining on me and looked as though she was prepared to go right through me if she had to.

Yikes! I was now pushing 80 MPH and still cars were passing me and weaving in and out of the traffic created by other motorists who thought that traveling in the 70’s was pretty damn fast…

And speaking of the 70’s I remember living and driving in the 1970s when the speed limit of the land was 55 MPH and set there as a way to save gas and oil and curb our need of foreign oil. And we were also concerned about pollution back then (remember those days?)  and the ecology and the ecosystems of our planet, or at least we said we were. We seemed to be trying. And we had hostages in Iran, and OPEC was ruling the day and we needed to change our dependence on oil and fossil fuels…

And now here we are in 2019, having finished 1 long and grueling war in the Middle East, engaged in another and continuing a third that’s already lasted 18 years!! And yet we are still held hostage by the fear of terrorist groups cutting off our oil supplies. So we now bust open every inch of the earth on our own homeland in an endless search for more fossil fuels for us to waste on our highways, in our wars and with our modern devices of leisure and convenience…while the vast majority of us no longer even believe that any of this is doing any great harm to our world. And even if some of us do, it does not seem to affect our participation in the madness of it all.

Traveling at 80 MPH, it would only take us about 3 hours to reach the end of Earth’s atmosphere…all around our planet… about the distance from North Jersey to Washington D.C…that’s it. 3 hours of air and then you would be driving off into space and hoping that your car’s air conditioning would save you while you try to turn around. Of course it wouldn’t because the guy behind you would be flashing his lights and honking his horn while yelling at you to get out of the damn way…plus the air conditioning thing wouldn’t work…but you knew that, right?

But I digress, because I believe my true revelation was that we all now live in a truly material world… and have no intention of going quietly into that good night…Unless some scientists come up with a way to save the planet from ourselves and then get the dumb asses in Congress to believe them, rather than take Big Corporate’s money and continue to commit global suicide, I fear none of the rest of us will care nor take the time to pay any attention to what’s going on around us to see our own end approaching.

Our planet is alone and finite…an island in a sea of endless space, with only about 240 miles of surrounding air for us all to breathe… The Earth is Over 7 billion humans strong, living and breathing and polluting each and every day, with still many, many more polluters to come… And a mere 56 billion polluting land animals are killed every year to sustain us.

So who needs a “Green New Deal” when our president is growing more popular and killing it every day with cow fart jokes at his pep rallies? Sooner or later this planet is going to shake us all off like a bad cold…or not. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…that is if any of us plan on paying attention at that time…

Bugs Too!

18 Jan

Image result for superbugs and asian pharmaceuticals

While Scientists around the world have been studying the decline of flying bugs and insects in our environment, Medical doctors say that they are encountering an increasing number of patients who bring home drug-resistant bugs or rather bacteria from abroad and that many of those new bacteria can potentially lead to harmful infections that are increasingly harder to cure…

Because these highly resistant bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to the point where antibiotics are no longer effective against them! The World Health Organization has identified these drug-resistant bugs as one of the most acute threats facing global health and about 700,000 people around the world die each year from infections against which medicines have no effect.

One of the bigger problems is  that about 80 to 90 percent of all antibiotics are now produced in China and India by giant pharmaceutical companies who not only make these drugs but also illegally dump significant quantities of antibiotics through their wastewater and into surrounding streams, rivers and lakes. Scientists who have been studying this practice have found concentrations of antibiotics in some of the bodies of water that were at times several thousand times, higher than the levels predicted to select for resistance!

And when exposed to a high concentration of antibiotics these microscopic bugs, like most living things, begin to develop defense mechanisms to protect themselves from those substances which are harmful to them…and so new “super bugs” begin to develop and grow and spread.

As a result Antibiotics are losing their effectiveness at an increasing rate and this loss of effectiveness is being accelerated by their misuse in humans, animals, crops and by Pharmaceutical company practices. So much so that the problem is now seen by many leaders at the highest political levels as a most dire and urgent one.

So while the world is losing insects…bugs, worldwide at a rate so accelerated that we are now just beginning to notice their absence…at the same time the world is gaining bugs…bacteria, at an accelerated rate that we don’t notice… until we can feel their presence.

I know this is rather chilling and macabre to say or think about but… remember when the other kind of bugs were eating us alive? And that wasn’t so bad?! We humans need to start thinking about how we can undo what we’ve already done before we’re done in!

It’s a problem that is going to take 21st Century technology and medicine and our most advanced thinkers and scientists and political institutions to solve if the human race has any intentions of continuing to advance and thrive! And this is just another reason why fighting over a wall is such nonsense. For one, a wall won’t work at all… and B: It certainly won’t stop… BUGS!

 

Have I Seen Everything Now?

19 Jun

Image result for gas station deli and grill

The other day I was driving along and passed the Exxon Deli and Grill!…As in the Exxon gas station has a deli and grill attached to it now. Whatever happened to repair shops being attached to gas stations? Now they’re making me a sandwich while pumping my gas?

So if I go in there and ask for a sandwich made just the way I like it, and they ask me what kind of oil I’d like on it, do I ask for 30 weight or 40? And does it matter if I’m buying my sandwich in the Winter or Spring?

What’s on the grill? Alaskan Duck marinated in Exxon Valdez oil spill?

Oh well, at least now I know what the oil companies are doing with my Trump Tax Break. Now that they’ve raised their gas prices all of my tax savings are going straight into their wallets!

So “Fillerup!” And make my grilled salmon to go… with an extra helping of fumes!”

Of course it’s to go. I’m at a freakin’ gas station for cryin’ out loud!!!

 

Nice Work If You Can Get It

23 Oct

trumpgolf2.png

Here is a fun fact…President Trump has already golfed on average 1 out of every 4 of his days in office as The President of the United states. So if he continues on this pace, then after his 4 year term as President, he will have spent 1 full year on the golf course and only 3 years in his office.

And the best part is that he only golfs at Trump golf courses where his Secret Service Agents must rent golf carts in order to follow the president and protect him as he makes his way through fairways, sand traps and other golf hazards. ( I seriously don’t know why they can’t just follow him around on foot? How fast can a 70+ year old play?)

But I digress, because at the current rate of golf cart rentals the Secret Service is spending over $100,000 per year just on that…and all of that money goes into President Trump’s golfing businesses. So that’s over $400,000 for golf cart rentals alone over a 4 year presidency which means that President Trump will not only spend 1/4 of his time in office golfing, but he will also be paid for it in an amount equal to 1 year of his presidential salary.

And if we calculate all of the money spent by the Secret Service renting rooms at his properties etc. etc. etc…and add it to President trump’s income, well, all I can say is…  Nice work if you can get it, huh? And get paid while doing it too!? And while not even working?! And after trashing our former POTUS for golfing too… at 1/8 the frequency!

Wow! America, meet our plutocratic, pietistical, Polytetrafluoroethylene POTUS! Making America (and himself) Great Again…one swing at a time.

Hey Republicans…At least he’s not Obama, right? (wink, wink)

 

Big Brother, Can You Spare a REAL ID?

20 Oct

Here is something about America that you may not know…I didn’t but then I’m not much of a traveler. Back in 2005 Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which established minimum security standards for state issued driver’s licenses. And since a driver’s license is needed in order to pass through airport security, you will need one of these new Congress approved licenses in order to board your plane to… wherever.

And you’ll need one by January 22nd, 2018! That’s 3 months from now!

The Act prohibits the TSA from accepting any licenses or (ID Cards) that don’t meet the new standards set by Congress back in 2005. That was 12 years ago…and guess what? Only 26 states have met the new standards, as you can see by checking the map above.

And if the other 24 states don’t receive an extension from the government (and some haven’t even been reviewed yet) then you won’t be able to board an airplane unless you find an alternative form of ID by January 22nd.  So if you live in New York, California, Illinois, Louisiana or Michigan you’ll need a passport even/just to fly within the United States. (The other states have already received extensions…phew!)

Or you could use a DHS trusted traveler card, U.S. military ID (active duty or retired military and their dependents) Permanent resident card, Border crossing card, DHS-designated enhanced driver’s license or a passport card…

And since no one yet knows if more extensions will be granted or if states will comply in time or what the government will come up with next you might want to get busy finding new ID…but only if you are planning on flying the friendly skies in 2018. BYW it takes 4-6 weeks to get a passport so… what are you waiting for?

But the news gets better. (not) Beginning October 1, 2020 American citizens will only be allowed to use REAL ID driver’s licenses or another acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel…

And here, after 62 years of living in the USA, I already thought I knew who I was…and could prove it??? Silly me.

So…what’s in your wallet?

 

 

 

 

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