Bill, transportation, travel

We’re on the ship, so updates will be slow in coming…

Here’s a quick post to let everybody know that we boarded Regent Seven Seas Splendor yesterday, so our access to the Internet is a bit spotty. I probably won’t be blogging a lot… or if I do, my ability to update will depend on Internet access. As it is right now, I have a fragile connection because I have a European cell plan! My iPhone is powering today’s short post.

So far, we are loving the ship. It is GORGEOUS. I look forward to writing a lengthy trip report when we get home next weekend. Bill has caught my cold, but he doesn’t seem as sick as I was. I am mostly over mine, except for a little coughing. We ran into a couple we met on SeaDream I in 2011– Ger and his wife, Gail, who are hilarious Brits!

I’m especially happy that my clothes are being laundered… 😉 So, all is well in knottyland. I’ll try to dump some photos on the travel blog.

A first glimpse of Riga, Latvia.
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transportation, travel

Now, we’re in Bergen…

I’ll probably post more on the travel blog, since we’re currently traveling. It’s good to be out of Germany, although today wasn’t without its hassles. We did get to spend all day on an electric train, which was cool. It would have been even cooler if not for a few minor inconveniences, like the credit card machine going down on the train, and some idiot deciding to stand right in front of our door/window at the most dramatic part of the journey. I must admit, I arrived in Bergen quite cranky. But we found beer in a friendly Irish pub and ate some local seafood at the fish market. Now, we’re somewhat less irritated. Or, at least I am.

Younger daughter was kind enough to send Bill Father’s Day greetings, which he really appreciated. I sent her some photos from our scenic journey. It really is a beautiful train ride from Oslo to Bergen and vice versa. However, it does take a long time!

We’ll be here for four days. I may feel compelled to write about the news, once I watch some. I did hear about the horrible situation at Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria on Friday. An American man allegedly murdered one American young woman and seriously hurt another, in his attempt to sexually assault one or both of them. I would like to write about that, and I probably will, but not until tomorrow… Tonight, I need to relax.

Anyway, it’s a treat to be in Norway. If you want to see some photos, I recommend visiting my travel blog. I plan to dump a few pics there tonight. Maybe there will be a story or two. 😉

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condescending twatbags, dogs, safety, transportation, travel

Yes, you CAN fly your dog safely…

Featured photo is Arran in his carrier before we flew with him from Houston to Frankfurt in August 2014. Yes, we did take off his collar before the flight, as it was required by the airline.

This morning, I stumbled across yet another dog related horror story in the Washington Post. I’ve run out of gift articles for this month, but here’s the link and I’ll offer a quick and dirty recap. A family was moving from London to Nashville with their dog, Bluebell. They flew on British Airways, and somehow, the dog wound up going to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia instead of Nashville. Meanwhile, the dog meant to go to Riyadh wound up in Nashville.

When Bluebell finally got to Nashville, she was very upset after 63 hours in a crate. She’s had behavioral issues ever since her flight. The family is now trying to get compensated by IAG Cargo, the group that handles pet transportation for British Airways, as Bluebell has become destructive and very clingy. She was clearly traumatized by her international flying experience.

I don’t blame the family for wanting to be compensated for their terrible experience trying to fly their dog. It’s inexcusable that these two dogs ended up going to the wrong cities. Airline travel for pets is pretty awful, especially in the wake of the pandemic. It seems to have gotten more expensive in recent years, and we’re hearing more horror stories about dogs dying or being misrouted. However, the truth is, in spite of the horror stories and high costs of flying pets, the vast majority of pets who fly come through the experience with no issues whatsoever.

When we came to Germany the first time, back in 2007, we flew our beagles, Flea and MacGregor, on United Airlines as “excess baggage”. They were on the same flight with us, but in the hold of the plane. When we landed in Frankfurt eight hours later, they were waiting for us at the baggage claim. Flea was pitching a very noisy fit, but was otherwise just fine.

When we flew Delta Airlines out of Stuttgart in 2009, we had a couple of challenges. Flea had prostate cancer and, the day of our scheduled departure, a plane landed in Stuttgart without its landing gear. That shut down the runway, and our flight was delayed by a night while the mess was cleaned up. The next day, we flew to Atlanta with no problems. Once again, in spite of having cancer, Flea was pitching a huge, noisy fit… drawing admiration from southerners who like hunting dogs and drowning out the comments anyone had for us about flying with dogs.

But what was the alternative? Rehoming them in Germany? A lot of Germans already think Americans are shitty pet owners, precisely because some of them don’t take their pets with them when they move. Besides, Flea and MacGregor, both of whom are now at the Rainbow Bridge, were our babies. In those days, American carriers would fly pets as excess baggage. Now, they require people to use “cargo”, which as far as I can tell, just costs more and lands the animals in different parts of the airport.

When we moved back to Germany in 2014, we had Zane and Arran. We flew out of Houston on Lufthansa, which is probably the best airline for flying with pets. They flew as “excess baggage” again, but Lufthansa has holds that are light and temperature controlled. Again, no issues at all… They were waiting for us at baggage claim in Frankfurt. I don’t expect we’ll be flying with Arran again, since he has lymphoma and probably isn’t too much longer for the world. With Noyzi, we’ll probably need to hire a pet shipper, which will cost big bucks. But I fully expect he’ll survive the experience just fine. Thousands of animals travel with no issues whatsoever. The horror stories aren’t the norm, which is why they make the news.

Whenever there’s a news piece about an animal having a horrific experience on a plane, there are always a bunch of ignorant, emotionally rooted comments from people, most of whom have NEVER traveled internationally with a pet. They suggest doing things like rehoming the animal or hiring a private jet… or using a boat. To my knowledge, there is only ONE cruise ship that transports dogs and cats. That would be Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, which travels between New York and Southampton, England. So if your pet needs to go somewhere other than across the Atlantic Ocean, you’re out of luck if you want to use a cruise ship. You also have to book way ahead, because there are only 24 kennels, and the cost could be prohibitive, especially for larger dogs, who might need two kennels. And it takes time to cross the Atlantic on a ship.

Chartering a private jet is also very expensive and, obviously, is not a realistic or feasible option for most people. Nevertheless, I saw people writing that that’s would they would try to do if they had to move abroad with a pet. I think they’d come down a few thousand feet if they saw how expensive that option is. People of average means won’t be able to swing the cost. It’s also not exactly the most environmentally sound option.

Some people think dogs should be allowed to fly in the cabin with people. They do things like claim their pets as support animals. The airlines in the United States have now pretty much banned emotional support animals on planes, because people were abusing the privilege and bringing untrained animals onboard, or they were bringing inappropriate animals, like peacocks and pigs. Dogs and mini horses are commonly used as assistance animals, and they can be specially and highly trained to do those jobs and behave appropriately in public spaces. Some people were trying to pass off their untrained pets as support animals, which does a huge disservice to actual support animals and the people who depend on them.

If your dog or cat is small enough, they can fly in a kennel under the seat in front of you. But they have to be really small to be able to do that. Most animals won’t qualify. So that’s why people find themselves flying with their pets as “excess baggage” or in cargo.

Our dogs in the Houston Airport before they went through security. They were so young!

Flying with pets can be extremely stressful and expensive. Sometimes, there are true horror stories caused by negligence on the part of the airlines or cargo staff, or due to the owners’ own idiocy. For instance, there was a very sad story a couple of years ago about people who flew their dog from Korea to Germany. They took their dog out of her carrier in an unsecure location. She got away from them and was killed by a car.

We had our own nightmarish pet transportation story, when we tried to adopt a dog just as COVID-19 was striking. The pet taxi driver who brought him to us took him out of his box before putting a leash on him, and he got away from her and found his way to the Autobahn. People blamed us, as we publicized the situation in an attempt to get him back to us safely, which sadly wasn’t to be. It was pure negligence on the pet taxi driver’s part, and she ended up being sued by the rescue who hired her to bring the dog to us. Yet, even though that happened to us with ground transportation, it’s still not the norm.

The vast majority of pet transportation outfits will get your pet from point A to point B without a problem. That’s true with any form of transportation. Airlines have been transporting pets for many years. But, when these kinds of horror stories are publicized, people are naturally outraged, and assume that flying with pets is inherently unsafe. The outrage then causes well meaning, but highly restrictive laws to be passed, which makes it much more difficult to travel with pets. While it may seem like common sense to tell people they shouldn’t have pets if they plan to move abroad, consider what that might mean for the many animals who are waiting for a home.

A whole lot of people who travel with pets are people who are in the military or work for the government. If all of those people quit adopting animals because they might have to move abroad, that would mean more pets in shelters and rescues, waiting for families. That will mean even more healthy pets being euthanized due to overcrowding in shelters. The people screaming about how “cruel” air travel is for pets never seem to think about that, do they?

Automatically telling people to simply rehome their pets if they have to move abroad is also a crappy and insensitive idea. Sometimes, that is actually the best solution, but I think it should be a last resort. Pets are family. Our dog, Arran, is very bonded to Bill, and he was passed around a lot when he was a puppy. I think he’d be heartbroken if we left him in Germany. We’d be heartbroken to leave him here.

It seems to me that what needs to happen is airline reform to accommodate pets who need to travel. Think of the animals who have been rescued from meat markets in China, or horrific puppy mills in Virginia, where their fate was to be sold to laboratories for medical research. Our own Noyzi came to us from Kosovo, where he was a street dog. Isn’t it better that he has a loving family? And shouldn’t we insist on being able to get him home with us safely, if and when the time comes for us to move back to the United States?

When we’ve had to fly with our dogs, we’ve done all we could to make sure they traveled as safely and comfortably as possible. That means booking the shortest route with no layovers, and driving as much as we can. Last time we had to travel with animals, we had the luxury of using Lufthansa. People who are flying on the government’s dime typically have to fly on US carriers for as far as possible. Until recently (and perhaps even still) people got around that rule by booking code shared flights through US carriers. That is, they’d book a ticket on, say, United Airlines, but it would be a Lufthansa flight. That way, the animals could fly as “excess baggage”, on the same flight as their owners. It was a lot cheaper, too.

Anyway… we don’t know how much longer we’ll be in Germany. We’re not in a big hurry to leave here. One of the main reasons we don’t want to move is because of having to travel internationally with our dogs. It really is an expensive, stressful pain in the ass. And this is just one area where airlines need to do a lot better. It’s also too bad that people become such judgmental twats when tragedies happen. Some of the people who were commenting on Bluebell’s case were blaming the family for what happened to her. It’s not their fault. They should be raising holy hell with the cargo company that routed her to the wrong city. Sounds like they’re doing just that. I hope they get the money they deserve.

Our sweet Zane, on his way from Houston to Frankfurt. I’m glad we didn’t rehome him. And yes, we did take off the collar before the flight.

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disasters, Duggars, Reality TV, transportation, YouTube

Jim Bob’s auditions, Derick’s defection, Josh in prison, and the world’s oldest profession…

Lately I’ve been kind of obsessed, watching some of the old episodes of the Duggars’ reality show that have been recently posted on YouTube. They’ve brought back a lot of repressed memories. I did used to watch the show, back in the days before we knew the truth about Josh Duggar. Even before I knew about the Duggar family, I found super large families interesting. It’s probably because of my dad’s experiences growing up in a big family. My dad and his siblings always seemed very close-knit and loving, even if my experiences as my dad’s daughter seemed to be less like that.

My dad was one of nine children, and I always thought that was a huge family. By today’s standards, it is a huge family. But my dad’s family still had fewer than half of the kids in the Duggar family. In fact, compared to the Duggars, my dad’s family almost looks petite.

Back when their reality show premiered, I thought the Duggars were fascinating. Most of the kids were cute and precocious. Even Josh, back in the day, seemed benign in his brightly colored polo shirts and khaki pants, with his neatly cut hair. It wasn’t until the specials turned into a show that I realized how smug and glib Josh appeared to be. But then there was Jim Bob… and Jim Bob frequently came off like a blockhead– a heavily shellacked blockhead. Sometimes he said things that made it sound like he’d been inhaling too much hairspray, or something. But then, after watching the Duggars for awhile, I realized that Jim Bob is quite narcissistic and uses people, especially his family. For years, he’s used his own children as a source of power and money.

Yesterday, I watched the Duggars, then listened to a couple of YouTubers opine about them and their family. One v-logger, in particular, highlighted Jim Bob’s lengthy application/questionnaire that he handed out to his daughters’ suitors. The v-logger commented that the questionnaire seemed almost akin to an audition. The young men who came a’courtin’, had to explain their religious beliefs, and describe how they planned to support the Duggar daughters.

An interesting video by kyeluh about Jill, and her upbringing in a cult.

It dawned on me that Jim Bob was holding auditions, to keep the gravy train rolling. It mattered less if the potential suitor was a good match and had things in common and basic chemistry with his daughters. He was looking for guys who were reasonably attractive, loyal, hard working, and, above all, malleable, and willing to submit to Jim Bob’s authority. So far, it doesn’t look like Boob is the best judge of character, even with that lengthy audition/questionnaire he makes his potential sons-in-law fill out for him. Ben Seewald seems to be the only one who stays totally loyal to Boob, besides Boob’s own sons. The other sons-in-law mostly seem interested in actually being the “headship”, rather than allowing Boob to stay in that role.

Then I thought about how Jim Bob had basically “prostituted” his children to TLC, using a contract in which he collected all of the money from the episodes of the Duggar series and specials, supposedly to dole out the money to the participants. However, Jill Dillard and her husband, Derick, later sued Jim Bob so they could get paid for their participation on Counting On. It’s been widely reported that Jill was basically paid minimum wage, and the cost for pursuing that money, as well as being allowed to live life on her own terms, was being ostracized from her family.

I remember when I first saw Derick Dillard. I thought he seemed reasonably intelligent. I even kind of liked him. He did, at the very least, seem to really love Jill, anyway, and God knows she needed someone to show her some authentic love. Then later, Derick was criticized for making transphobic comments about fellow TLC reality star, Jazz Jennings. It got to the point at which he was no longer on Counting On. At first, I thought TLC gave him the ax because of all of those transphobic comments he made about Jazz Jennings, and the backlash resulting from them. Later, I read that he and Jill had decided to leave the show, because they weren’t getting paid, and because they didn’t enjoy having their personal lives plastered all over a reality show solely for Jim Bob’s profit.

I also realized, sad as it is, that a lot of Americans probably have feelings that are similar to Derick Dillard’s when it comes to issues regarding the LGBTQ community. While I disagree with Derick’s opinions regarding that community, I can also understand why he still has a voice. It’s because many people agree with him, but aren’t saying so out loud. They don’t want to be lectured or canceled. It’s sort of the same reason why Donald Trump is popular, in spite of being an obvious and major narcissistic dickhead.

It would be nice if every person’s controversial and problematic views evolved at the same time, but that’s not reality. The truth is, it takes time to change public sentiment. That’s why we still have issues with racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. Loftily telling someone to “educate themselves”, when they have an opinion that isn’t politically correct, isn’t likely to end with positive results. People don’t like to be told what to do or how to think or what their opinions should be, even if more progressive people have come to different conclusions. Telling them that they have to change their views is going to result in a lot of defiance, and championing of those who are bolder about expressing their opinions.

So, instead of disliking Derick Dillard simply because he made those offensive, transphobic comments, which are right in line with his conservative Christian beliefs, I choose to look at him in a more positive light. I don’t agree with his ignorant comments about people who aren’t heterosexual, but I like that he encourages Jill to live a less constrained life. I like that he seems to love her very much. I love that he took on Jim Bob, and doesn’t let Jim Bob run his or Jill’s lives. I love that Jill does more of what she wants, and their sons go to public school, where they are exposed to people who aren’t just like them. I love that Derick insisted on being paid for the work that he and Jill did.

Jim Bob acts like a pimp, and his wife and children, and now his grandchildren, are pressed into service to make money for him, just as if they were prostitutes for TLC. I’m glad Derick stopped allowing Jim Bob to prostitute him and Jill, using them for his personal gain. While some people may not like that I use the terms “pimp” and “prostitute” to describe Jim Bob and his family, if you look up the definition for “prostitute”, you will find that it’s not always a word that’s used for sex workers. It’s also used for people who surrender their self-respect and misuse their talents for personal gain. A pimp is a “go-between”– a “purveyor” of services rendered, especially if they’re sexual. But, if you think about it, Jim Bob kind of does sell off his offspring, if not for reality entertainment value, then for their abilities to reproduce and make more bodies who can be raised to think the way he does.

The Duggars, and the people who have married into that family, are all conservative Christians. Most of them hail from the southern United States, which is Bible Belt territory. I think it’s unrealistic to expect most of them to change their beliefs about homosexuality and transgendered people on a dime. It would be nice if they could instantly join us in the 21st century and stop being homophobic and transphobic, but that isn’t reality. While I think their show should have been canceled ages ago, I also think the fact that it wasn’t is a sign that a lot of Americans are, deep down, more like them than they’d like to admit, political correctness be damned.

Maybe it’s not necessarily a bad thing that the Duggars had a reality show for so long. If anything, the show and the incredible fall from grace the Duggars are experiencing, shines a light on the very disturbing and destructive IBLP and ATI cult formed by Bill Gothard. If not for the Duggars, would most of us even know about Bill Gothard? I don’t think I would. Maybe I would have eventually gotten around to reading a book about fundies, but it takes more time and effort to read a book than watching a TV show.

Personally, I think it’s better to try to understand the Duggars where they are, and realize that for now, they are homophobic and transphobic, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. We have to work with what we have. They aren’t going to change their beliefs simply because I tell them they need to educate themselves. They have to want to change. And right now, they have bigger fish to fry, as eldest son Josh awaits his sentencing and trip to federal prison. Speaking of which…

Lately I’ve also been watching videos made by former prisoners. I’ve been watching Jessica Kent, who served time in New York and Arkansas, for some time, but I’ve also watched a few videos by Christina Randall, a winsome YouTuber from Florida who did time in prison there. Recently, I saw her video about what it’s like to be transferred to prison, and how terrible an experience that was. I think Josh has some terrible days ahead of him, but at least he won’t be pregnant when he goes to prison.

This is actually a pretty harrowing video. Being transported to prison sounds pretty hellish.
Jessica’s experience. She was pregnant when she went on that horrible five hour drive to prison.

I don’t have any pity for Josh. I don’t think he is someone who should ever be on the outside, mainly because people like him can’t be rehabilitated without extreme measures. Basically, he’d probably need to be castrated to have any hope of quelling his deviant desires. We know that’s not going to happen. He poses a danger to the world’s most innocent and fragile people. But even though I don’t pity him, I also know that he’s going to be in for a rough time. And I know that in spite of how I feel about his family– especially his father– there are people in that family who love him in spite of what he’s done. So I have some compassion for them, and basic compassion for Josh, because he is still a human being who has done really terrible, monstrous things.

Josh is not ever going to be trustworthy, especially around children. And it is sad for his SEVEN children than their father is a sexual deviant who is going to prison. Although it would probably be sadder for them if he had been acquitted, and allowed to raise them, since it’s likely that they were victimized by him. The sad fact is, people who look at what he was looking at usually have to produce it themselves, in order to be trusted in that sick community. I would be surprised if Anna doesn’t get investigated, too.

Of course, not everyone in the Duggar family is guilty, and they shouldn’t all have to pay for Josh’s mistakes, or the fact that the patriarch trotted them out on reality TV so he could make a fast buck. They can’t help being who they are, or how they were raised… and even if the world is telling them they should be different, it’s a scary proposition to reject one’s family and upbringing, and the ideals that they learned during their formative years. I have hope that some of them will break away and have the courage to live life on their own terms, rather than being Boob’s enslaved prostitutes for publicity.

Anyway… this whole fiasco has been an epic shitshow. It’s really something to watch the oldest episodes of the Duggars’ reality show and see just how deceptive they were, and how much “actual reality” was being obscured by “reality TV”. It’s always sad when someone’s image is significantly less than the reality of who they really are becomes obvious. But I do take heart when I see glimmers of hope and light, and I do see those when I see Derick Dillard take on Jim Bob and Josh. No, he’s not perfect, and I certainly don’t agree with his homophobic or transphobic opinions, or his conservative political views. But I think it’s a beautiful thing that he supports his wife in her recovery, and doesn’t let Jim Bob whore him out to the highest bidder. That’s got to count for something.

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complaints, stupid people, transportation, travel

I will be BOOSTED tomorrow, but some folks just won’t get with the program, will they?

The featured photo is one I took in Ireland back in 2016.

Bill made me an appointment to get my third COVID-19 shot. As of 1:00pm, I will likely be standing in line, waiting for the needle. I’m not sure which shot will be offered. I had Moderna last summer. I hope I don’t feel crappy afterwards. Bill had a negative reaction to the booster last month, but it only lasted a little while. He had reactions to the first shots, as well. I didn’t have any significant issues with the first two shots. I had a bit of a sore arm with the first one, and almost no reaction at all to the second. So we’ll see how the third shot goes.

I need to wash the sheets, which is a real pain, since I also want to do the duvet covers. It takes forever to do laundry in Germany, thanks to the washing machines. We do have a short cycle setting on our machine, but even that one takes awhile. And then I have to get Arran to get his ass off the bed, which makes him grumpy. He doesn’t mind making a nest in the naked duvets, though, while everything gets clean. I may end up doing the linens tomorrow morning, so it will all be clean and comfortable in the afternoon, just in case I feel like crap on Thursday.

I am slowly planning to take down all the Christmas stuff, too. I have already put away the non-tree affiliated decorations, tree skirts, and stockings. Maybe today, I’ll take the stars off the trees. I got pretty tired decorating the whole living room by myself in November. I think taking Christmas down is easier than putting it up, but it’s still a real pain in the ass. I do like looking at the lights, though, and I like how the trees make the living room look more “homey”. We don’t have a lot of furniture in the living room, so most of the year, it looks about half inhabited.

Yesterday, I happened across a Facebook ad for tourism in Ireland. Some guy in the States was lamenting about the vaccine mandates. He asked how an unvaccinated person can travel to Ireland. Some lady was also whining about the vaccines, and how power grabbing in the US has gone amok. One person even brought up the whole “show me your papers” nonsense. See below…

Tell me how an un-vaccinated American can… 😒

And this was what some woman was whinging about…

exactly, we’re not allowed to go anywhere now. Half of us are now prisoners in our own country. And the same for anyone in other countries. Just have to wait til everyone calms down.

My response was this:

You could just get vaccinated. I live in Germany, and it’s strict here. If you aren’t vaccinated, you can’t have fun. It’s not just America. And the reason is, because the virus is killing people. So, if you’re complaining about federal mandates in the USA, just realize it’s the same or even stricter in most of Europe, and for very good reason.

I totally get not liking government overreach, but there are good reasons for public health mandates. If you really are dead set against getting the shots, you might want to plan for a US trip.

What I wanted to add, but didn’t, was, every time you get on an airplane to go somewhere, you have to “show your papers.” To come to Ireland, he would have to show a passport, right? And if he was going somewhere where a visa needed to be arranged, he’d have to arrange for that, right? I can remember in the late 1970s, before my parents took me on a trip to Tunisia, I had to get vaccinations. Why? Because Africa has some pretty serious fucking diseases and it wouldn’t be cool to bring one home as a souvenir.

Well… COVID-19 is a pretty serious fucking disease for some unlucky people. Yes, a lot of people have survived it, but I know people who got it and are still dealing with flare ups. Some people had COVID-19 and are disabled now. And a lot of people have died! I know one lady who had COVID, recovered, and is now dealing with a nasty, painful looking COVID related rash that randomly flares up. It reminds me of shingles, which I have had, and it sucks– even when it’s a mild case.

I’m so tired of reading comments about how vaccination doesn’t work, either. The goal is to slow the spread and give your body a heads up so that when the virus inevitably invades it, it will have some clue as to how to respond instead of simply going haywire and dying. I don’t get why so many people can’t understand this concept. Yes, you can get COVID-19 and make a full recovery, but not everyone is that lucky.

In any case, what that guy should realize is that this vaccine campaign isn’t just in the United States. It’s in Europe, too. And here in Europe, during this time of year, you CANNOT have any fun if you aren’t fully vaccinated or can prove you have recovered from COVID. And even those measures only last for a few months. I’m afraid that’s just how life is right now.

I haven’t been to the States since 2014, but it’s my understanding that unvaccinated people are still allowed in society in some places. Here in Europe, there are more draconian rules. Cloth masks aren’t allowed in Germany, for instance, and they haven’t been allowed since January 2021. In some places, a surgical mask won’t suffice; one must don a FFP2 or N95. You can’t use public transportation if you haven’t been vaccinated, nor can you do any non-essential in person shopping. In Germany, you can visit the grocery store if you’re not vaccinated, but you can’t go to a gift shop.

In some countries, if you’re not vaccinated, you have to stay home. Austria, which Bill and I noticed was lenient about masking when we were there in October and November, has some pretty tough rules for people who don’t comply with the mandates. At this point, there are steep fines, but I would not be surprised if non-vaxxers soon find themselves detained.

I’ve mentioned before that there are situations in which people can be detained for public health reasons. It HAS happened in the United States, and still does, for people who have diseases like tuberculosis, or some of the more exotic illnesses one can contract in places like Africa or Asia, and refuse to get treatment or stay isolated. Here’s a link to an article about how the United Kingdom proposed handing public health detainees.

I read a story on CNN.com the other day about a woman named Marisa Fotieo who was traveling with her family to Switzerland. She had a layover in Iceland. On the way to Iceland, about three hours into the trip, she started feeling bad. She did a rapid COVID test and it was positive. She spent the rest of her flight in the lavatory. She did so voluntarily, because she’s an unusually empathic person.

Then, when Fotieo landed in Reykjavik, she was immediately taken to a special quarantine hotel, where she spent Christmas alone. Her family went to Switzerland without her and met up with her in Iceland on the way back. I read that, Ragnhildur Eiríksdóttir (Rocky), the super cool Icelandic flight attendant who helped her was kind enough to arrange with other flight attendants to bring her a little Christmas tree and some gifts. Marisa Fotieo was fully vaccinated and boosted, but she still got mildly sick. If she hadn’t been vaccinated, she might have still gotten mildly ill, or she could have wound up in a hospital. There’s no telling.

So… I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people like the guy who was complaining about having to get vaccinated before going to Ireland. That’s life right now. Build a bridge and get over it… or build a bridge from the USA to Europe. That may be the only way he’s getting across the pond without shots.

I sure would like to see COVID become less threatening, and I think the only way that can happen is that people man up and get vaccinated or get the disease and recover. It’s not in the virus’s interest to kill every host, so the sooner people become more resistant, the sooner it can mutate to something less dangerous. I miss having fun. I haven’t left the neighborhood in about a month, although obviously, I will do that tomorrow afternoon.

That being said… I do understand why some people are concerned that the mandates could become permanent. I am concerned about that, too. I do NOT want to go through life being forced to wear a mask. I take comfort, though, in realizing that masks have been used before, and they eventually became obsolete. One hundred years ago, people had to wear masks because of the Spanish Flu. Once that strain of the flu became less dangerous, the masks went away.

I have every reason to believe the same will happen when COVID is inevitably made less dangerous, because in spite of all of the vocal face mask cheerleaders out there, I think many more of us hate wearing them and want them gone. We just don’t say so publicly, because we don’t want a lecture from all of the people who went to the Google School of Public Health. And as a MPH graduate of the Arnold School of Public Health (at the University of South Carolina), I can say that. 😉 Of course, my sister went to the supposedly superior University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill for her Ph.D. in public health, and she’s an anti-vaxxer… so there you go. (I seriously don’t know why she’s against the vaccine– I don’t talk to her very often. I think she’s drinking the Trump Kool-Aid– although even Trump has gotten vaccinated.)

Anyway… I suppose I’ve yammered on long enough this morning. My guitar has been calling out for me to give it some attention. I may do some vocal stuff today, too. Or… maybe I’ll read some dirty stories on the Internet. Already, this morning, I’ve read a story called “You Haven’t Had Your Colonic Yet, Miss…” That was a real eye-opener… or butt opener. I guess my day isn’t THAT bad yet. 😉

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