You provide a valuable service, and I wanted to express my gratitude for getting to be part of it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Folk School closed - My Classes at Home

John C. Campbell Folk School is closed due to Covid-19. A person who attended a dance there recently has been diagnosed with this virus. Now several more people have been found to be positive.

NCWN-West will not hold the monthly Literary Hour there in March or April. We will see what the future holds.

This illness is far more severe for those who are elderly and for anyone with high blood pressure or heart problems. Almost everyone I know over the age of sixty is taking blood pressure medicine.

The younger people can get this virus and will be very sick with possible long-lasting effects. But the young adults don't seem to be as careful about social distancing or following the guidelines. They can cause the death of someone simply by spreading the virus when they gather with their friends or any groups of people. 

Families are coming up to the mountains like it is vacation time. What are they thinking? Don't they realize this virus is in every state and no one is safe from it?

No matter what kind of treatment is found, and there is not one that has been proven to work, the only way to stop this virus is by stopping the spread of it.

I am self-isolating at my home, and it isn't easy because I usually have some help come in once or twice a week. Now I have no one come inside my home, and I am responsible for everything. I try to go for a ride and take my little dog to a place where we won't be near anyone. She gets in a walk and it keeps me from feeling like a shut-in. 

My Monday night classes are going really well. Although I have never before taught an online course, I think we are doing well. My students seem to like it. I am thinking about doing more of these in the future.

If you are a writer and would like to guest post here, please let me know. I welcome interviews and 300 word articles on how to deal with this virus, how to keep busy at home, or how to write a good story.

Stay safe, stay well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Sun Rising on a Troubled World

Lakes of fog  at base of Georgia Mountains at sunrise

I seldom see a sunrise, but I awoke at 4:30 AM today and can’t seem to go back to sleep. I am isolating myself for now because of the coronavirus. I am in the high risk group so I don’t want to take any chances.

The sky is unbelievably beautiful, long striations of dark blue clouds to the east over a ridge of mountains.To the south, I see a slight pink tinge above the blue clouds and mountains that float over a lake of white fog.

I am very lucky to live in such a scenic area. If I must stay home, I have a good place to stay. But I am a people person, and I know I must find ways to communicate with others so I don’t get depressed.

I will talk on the phone, email and take a drive or walk my buddy, Lexie. But I also plan to write real letters and send cards to those who don’t use email or don’t talk on the phone for whatever reason. My elderly cousins and my brother are not on the computer.

I miss physical therapy because I was attending twice a week and it was so good for me. Now, I am scheduling thirty minutes each day, writing it on my calendar, to take care of myself physically. That means I get up from my computer or my chair and move! I can dance or do exercises with a video on You Tube. When it is not raining, I plan to take Lexie for a short walk, but we seem to have more rainy days than sunny lately.

I heard that the number of people diagnosed with this virus have increased quickly in the past two weeks. I wonder if my self quarantine will last more than a month. The news is not good and I worry for the medical people who must tend to the sick, taking their chances that they will not contract this horrible illness.
I know it seems to those who are young and healthy that all this concern is not necessary, but I hope everyone in this country, in the world, in fact, will take it very seriously. We will lose many people, and they might be close to us. They could include us. Stay safe, my dear friends. Hang in for the long haul.

Sun rising to the east of my house hidden by fog and clouds

Thursday, March 12, 2020

From 26 to 2....the Democratic Presidential Candidates Have Dwindled

Thanks to Roger Carlton for this post where he gives his thoughts on the political situation of today. 
Roger is columnist for Graham Star newspaper in Robbinsville, NC.

Roger Carlton
Remember the ant and the rubber tree plant. 
That ant had high hopes and so did a whole bunch of Presidential candidates. In that popular song by Doris Day the ant moved the rubber tree plant because he had high hopes. So what happened to those political high hopes held by so many candidates of promise?

Let's start with the debate debacles: The format was horrible. Point counterpoint is no way to inform the voting public of the character of the candidates or the merit of their proposals. Raising your hand for recognition demeans the office. It is what elementary school students do. It would have been so much better to give each candidate five minutes to express their five top problems and solutions. Brief and to the point. Frankly it means nothing to this writer to hear what one candidate thinks about another. Would you expect a candidate to say that their opponent's position is better than their own?

The pundit debate monitors did a terrible job of focusing the issues and controlling the screechers. Half the debate time spent on Medicare for all and no questions about climate change and the explosive growth of mass murder borders on malfeasance by someone who calls themselves a journalist. In this environment, the candidate with the best one liners seemed to be heroic to the debate monitors and the candidate with manners and who followed the rules was labelled weak. Did anyone make their decision on who to vote for based on debate performance? Doubtful.

The billionaire factor. One candidate spent $250 million starting nearly a year ago with a single message. He was the best person to beat President Trump. Could you figure out what he would do once elected? Another candidate spent $500 million in a few weeks telling us his role as Mayor of New York gave him the credentials to be a good President. Probably true but his total of 20 minutes of debate performance negated a lifetime of business, philanthropic and political success.

Please keep one thing in mind. The total primary expenses through Super Tuesday were nearly $900 million. The money went mostly to media so this kumatai slugfest was a source of untold profits for the media moguls and their stockholders. No wonder the Wall Street Journal vilifies one of the candidates as being a Socialist without explaining what that means. To put the dollars into perspective more money has been spent so far than the taxable value of 80 percent of the property in Graham County.

With all due caution to avoid political incorrectness the gender, gay, racial and religious factors remain top of mind with many voters. Let's be honest. It took 143 years from the end of the Civil War to elect an African American President and it has been 100 years since women were granted the right to vote. While the two remaining candidates don't fit into the definition of diversity, let us hope that they will select a capable Vice President running mate who comes from one of the groups that made capable candidates available but could not put them across the line for the top job.

The fire in your gut concern. 
Many of the candidates had great resumes but bland personas. Bernie consistently railed against the oligarchs on Wall Street and the outrageous profits made by the medical companies. He wanted you to believe that the money changers needed to be thrown out of the Washington temple and he was the candidate to do that. Joe Biden said wait a minute. We can't afford all this. He was calm and did not point his finger at you. All the rest of the candidates fought for a place in the continuum of recognition by the media and failed to find a sweet spot. 

Finally, voters saw through the opposition dirt researching and did not hold a candidate responsible for some stupid behavior or slip of the tongue 30 or more years ago. Who among us hasn't said or done something that they regret. Joe Biden helped his son with getting a lucrative job for which he was unqualified. Bernie praised some political strongmen with whom he was enamored many years ago. Has not the current incumbent in the White House done the same for his children and their spouses? Does he not cotton up to the current strongmen of the world? 

All these factors taken together whittled down a broad and diverse group of candidates to two old white guys. 
Perhaps Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest best describes the primary process to date. There are a few more big primaries. It seems that all the debate smoke and mirrors will now pare down to who has the best chance to beat President Trump. Is that any different than four years ago when the question was who had the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton?  

Thursday, February 27, 2020

DataDataU came to my rescue

Today, Feb. 26, I am happy to have had Courtney Williams, co-owner of DataData U, in Hiawassee, Georgia spend an hour with me at my computers. She is kind and patient, helping me without intimidating me. No arrogance or patronizing tone from this smart young woman. She understands that new technology can be overwhelming for someone like me. She asked me to tell her what I needed. She explained and corrected my problems. She taught me what I needed to know.
I bought a new laptop a few months ago. It came with all the latest updates from Microsoft, so new and different that I just could not wrap my mind around many of the changes. I found out that I am like many people who don’t like the Microsoft Edge.
I find I need to use either Chrome or Firefox for my default. Last night I could not sign into Chrome or Amazon, but today, thanks to Courtney, I have all the programs I use pinned where I can easily click on them. I can pop right into Google and Amazon with no problems at all.
If you live in Hiawassee, Young Harris, Georgia or Hayesville, NC, I suggest you put this number on your list to “go to” when you have computer questions

Courtney recognized that I had a virus in my desktop, and she went to work clearing that out. That was likely why all my passwords failed last night.
I needed a printer connected for both my desktop and my laptop. Courtney set that up quickly and advised me to purchase a longer cord for the printer.
Because I am extremely impressed with Courtney and Ron, I am recommending them to anyone in my local region. Oh, BTW, Ron hooked me up with a router that brings in all my streaming programs now. Find them at the link below.