Hey guys… I’m not really in the mood to write a lengthy post today. My neck and shoulders hurt from sleeping “wrong” last night. Bill has to go away again this week, so I’m not feeling very inspired. I did write a fresh post on the travel blog.
Anyway, since I’m not really in the mood to write a lot today, I thought I’d share some music I recently discovered. I think I found Libera— an English boys choir whose members range from age 7 to 16– on YouTube a few months ago. I was so enchanted by their music that I downloaded a couple of their albums. Last night, one of their ethereal pieces played on my HomePod and I decided to see if they had any more recent albums released.
It turned out they’d released If in 2021. I downloaded and just listened to the whole thing this morning. It’s perfect music for a Sunday morning, especially as I’m writing and thinking. I will confess, however, that I had to stop a couple of times because I was moved to tears. I never really liked boys choirs that much before, but now that I’m getting old, the good ones impress me greatly. I find their music very peaceful and nourishing to the soul. Another album is coming out soon. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for it.
Here are a couple of videos I found today…
And I recognized the music below because I’m a fan of John Rutter’s choral music, and had heard “Deep Peace” done by his Cambridge Singers. Libera does justice to this gorgeous and thoughtful piece…
I really enjoy excellent choirs. I haven’t sung in one myself in a long time, but I do miss the experience. It’s almost as nice to hear them, even if I can’t join them. I am very impressed by how amazing these young singers are. I feel a little jealous, too, because they still have so many years ahead of them to develop their gifts.
While I’m writing about young musical talents, I feel like I should share this awesome news piece I read yesterday about in the Washington Post. Ten year old Pennsylvania fifth grader, Olive Wallace, composed and hand scored a piece that she played at school. She was disappointed in her performance, so she just set the piece aside. Her mom, Mimi, saw the handwritten piece and put it up on TikTok, asking someone to play it for her. Many musicians took up the challenge, and soon Olive was an Internet sensation.
At first, Olive was upset with her mom for sharing her music, but then had a change of heart when she heard a pianist play it. Then, the piece was arranged by Dr. Christopher T.F. Hanson, director of musical education at Seattle Pacific University, and conductor of a string orchestra in Washington State. Olive said that rendition of her song, which she titled “For Greatness We Bring”, was perfect.
Hanson made a controversial statement, saying that he hoped to monetize the orchestra’s version on music platforms and donate the proceeds to music education. I applaud his idea to donate the money to music education, but I also feel like it’s not really his right to decide to monetize the composition, since it’s not his original work. I also took issue with this comment he made:
“I saw it as such a beautiful example of how the 21st century can utilize technology and social media to connect people,” Hanson said. “Because she scrawled some notes on a page, because I can read music and I have access to a community that makes music, we’ve now connected with literally millions of people.”
I don’t know about you, but that statement sounded a bit minimizing to me. This is a ten year old child with an obvious musical gift. Hanson makes it sound like she had beginner’s luck or something, and it took his genius to bring the music to life. That’s not so. Go on TikTok, and you’ll find a lot of interesting interpretations of Olive’s work. Some are better than others, in my opinion, but they all represent creativity inspired by one person’s initiative. Nevertheless, I can’t deny that Dr. Hanson’s string version is beautiful. I cried when I heard it. So did Bill. So did a lot of people commenting on the YouTube link.
I think Olive’s composition is incredible. I think she has the potential to go far, if she nourishes that gift of hers. But I also know what it feels like to be pressured when you’re a kid… so I hope she gets gentle encouragement to develop her talents. I also hope that Dr. Hanson shows her the respect she deserves.
I should mention that I don’t usually enjoy “kid acts”. I find that a lot of times, youth is used as a gimmick to promote and sell the talents of people who should be allowed to be children. However, there are some exceptions. When it comes to boy choirs, naturally, that has to be done when boys are actually still boys.
Well, that about does it for me today. I think I’ll go take a pill and watch some more cop videos or something. The weather is yucky and my muscles hurt. See you tomorrow.
Last night, I happened to see a hilarious TikTok video on Facebook. Someone shared it in the Duggar Family News group— white people having a good old fashioned “praise break”. The TikTok user muted the original music and replaced it with “Linus and Lucy”, by Vince Guaraldi. It’s perfect, if you’ve ever seen A Charlie Brown Christmas. Incidentally, my beagle, Arran, reminds me more of Snoopy every day. Especially at dinner time.
Someone in the group wrote:
When I was in college we often would get loaded and go to listen to the music at tent revivals. It was an enlightening experience. We did lose one friend, who while under the influence of LSD went up to be saved. He came back a fews days later…
Bwahahahhaha! I had a good laugh at that. It actually sounds like a great way to spend time with friends. I wish I had thought of that when I was young enough to appreciate the entertainment value of a good tent revival. Now that I’m as old as I am, I know that there’s more to religion than praising a higher power. It’s also a hotbed of corrupt people who want to control others.
Still, what a hoot it must be to watch a bunch of rhythm challenged folks catching the spirit and dancing like… well, very inhibited white guys. I’m not the greatest dancer myself, but I do think that’s something we should all learn how to do. Or, at least learn not to be ashamed when the mood strikes us to bust a move. I know… I’m sitting here laughing at white people dancing in church on TikTok. Maybe that’s hypocritical of me. The video would be much less embarrassing if these folks had not been taught to be so inhibited in the first place.
Dammit, why didn’t I find this last month? Guaranteed to make you smile! That is, if you like banjo… and I do. Someday, maybe I’ll learn to play.
I’m not sure what got me on this topic today. Currently, I am reading two new books. I don’t usually read two at a time, but one of the books is a good, old-fashioned, honest-to-God book. Bill usually falls asleep before I do, and I can’t read regular books in the dark. A couple of nights ago, after I finished reading Spare, I started reading a new Kindle book. The new Kindle book has literally been waiting years to be read. It’s actually a pretty compelling book, too, and not at all like the physical book I’m reading.
The physical book is a true crime story about two terrible murders that happened in Middlesex County, Virginia, back in 1990. The book is very good so far, although I’m having some trouble reading it, because the print is very small. It’s not available on Kindle, which is surprising. People are still interested in reading about this case. I am personally interested, because I grew up in neighboring Gloucester County. I remember when the murders happened. Hopefully, I will finish the book quickly, both because I’m eager to write about this crime, and because reading tiny print is hard on my eyes.
I will also probably write more dedicated posts about Prince Harry’s book, Spare. Maybe I’ll even do that today. I just decided that my first post of today should be different. A whole lot of people are writing reviews and making YouTube videos about Spare. I watched a couple of them yesterday. Reactions to Spare seem mixed. I would say more people like the book than don’t, with many people sympathizing with Harry and Meghan. However, a significant number of readers seem offended by Spare.
Sky News in Australia seem to think that Meghan Markle can “smell” weakness on King Charles III and is “out for blood”. Personally, I wouldn’t give her that much credit. If the British monarchy crumbles, it certainly won’t be because of Meghan Markle. However, the controversies raised by Harry’s book, coupled with the “woke brigade” and people who think the Royal family costs too much, could spell the end of the monarchy. I don’t know.
Personally, I wouldn’t call myself a royalist. I am simply a child of the 80s, and I grew up watching the British Royal Family because they were always in the news. Also, my earliest memories are of living in England. I will admit, though, that Queen Elizabeth II was an exemplary monarch, and it will be extremely difficult to follow her. She had an incredible devotion to service, and she was mostly very appealing to the public. I don’t think King Charles III can come close to his mother’s popularity. However, I do think William might, which is why I think he will eventually be King. Beyond that, who knows? I’ll probably be long dead by the time George could be King.
Harry’s book doesn’t do William any favors at all. Harry makes William sound like an asshole. He describes his interactions with William and Catherine, at least post marriage to Meghan, as tense and angry. He makes William sound unfriendly and intolerant, and Catherine sounds cold and snobby. I, for one, am taking Harry’s comments with a huge grain of salt, though. Because I think his wife is a liar, and is pushing an agenda. Also, I never heard of any of this type of behavior until Meghan came on the scene. Catherine, in particular, has never put a step wrong in public.
Sky News Australia is notoriously anti-Meghan and Harry. I take what they say with a huge grain of salt, because their coverage regarding Harry and Meghan has been very obviously biased and negative. However, if Meghan is really a narcissist, then we can expect a relentless smear campaign. That’s what narcissists do.
I hope Harry prepares, too. If he and Meghan ever have a falling out, she will use his book to cast him in a bad light. He was very frank in the book, with multiple revelations about mental health issues, drug abuse, and questionable behavior (wearing a Nazi uniform, anyone?). If they split up, and there is a custody dispute, it stands to reason that Meghan will point to that book as evidence that he’s not a fit parent. I hope it doesn’t come to that… but I still hear those pesky “N” chimes.
Well, I suppose it’s time to do some housekeeping chores and get back to reading my new books. In the spirit of getting loaded and going to tent revivals, may you all have a blessed Thursday. I encourage you to dance, but try not to emulate the kids on A Charlie Brown Christmas.
It’s Monday again, and I’m sitting here pondering a discussion I got into yesterday after a nursing friend shared a viral meme about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Right now, people are talking about CPR. Professional football player, Damar Hamlin, collapsed on the field and received CPR, which saved his life. I don’t watch football, so even if I had been in the United States when it happened, I probably would not have seen it happen live. But a number of people on my friends list saw it.
Damar Hamlin is reportedly now doing much better. He will have to recover from this incident, but as a young athlete, he’ll probably be fine. However, as one nurse pointed out, CPR doesn’t always end well for every patient. She made a meme, and it went viral.
I saw this meme because one of my nursing friends shared it. It made me remember a blog post I wrote in 2013. Back then, it was in the news that an 87 year old woman, who lived at an independent living facility in Bakersfield, California, had collapsed. No one rendered CPR to her. Instead, a supposed nurse at the facility called 911. The nurse explained to the 911 dispatcher that it was against the facility’s policy for employees to perform CPR on residents. A lot of people seemed shocked that this was a policy at a place where it seemed like there would be emergency medical assistance available for residents.
The dispatcher, upset that the “nurse” wasn’t acting, reportedly pleaded:
“Anybody there can do CPR. Give them the phone please. I understand if your facility is not willing to do that. Give the phone to that passerby,” the dispatcher said. “This woman is not breathing enough. She is going to die if we don’t get this started.”
But the nurse refused to render aid, and followed the protocol set by her employer. An ambulance arrived a few minutes later, but the woman died at the hospital.
It outraged a lot of readers that the nurse simply let this 87 year old woman die without a fight. Many people posted that the woman’s family should sue. Some felt the “nurse” should be fired and lose her nursing license. Some seemed to think police should arrest the “nurse”.
Inspired by some of the more vitriolic comments, I decided to blog about the situation. In that post, I wrote:
As someone who has studied public health and social work, and lived abroad several times, I was amused and amazed by the comments that came with that article. There’s quite cultural statement made about this situation. Look at it. The woman was 87 years old. That’s an impressive life span. CPR is a very traumatic thing to do to another person. Even if you’re young, CPR can cause cracked or broken ribs, a broken sternum, and internal bleeding. At 87 years old, I would imagine this woman was a lot more fragile than your average adult is. Moreover, CPR done to elderly patients doesn’t actually have an impressive success rate. It’s an emergency intervention and doesn’t usually turn out the way it does on TV shows like ER.
CPR done correctly might have saved her… just in time for her to spend days or weeks in the hospital, hooked up to machines and running up big medical bills that perhaps she had no means to pay. At age 87, she was likely on Medicare. She might have made a full recovery… or she might have suffered brain damage, because the CPR wasn’t done correctly and she went without oxygen for too long. She might have lapsed into a coma, where doctors and relatives would have to decide when the appropriate time to let her go would be. But here in America, we are taught from a young age that we should spare no expense to save a life, even a life that has been well lived and is about finished. You are seen as a criminal if you opt for death.
I remember posting about the case on my Facebook page. At the time, I had a lot more “friends”, and some of them were argumentative types. The thread about this case got heated, fueling the post even more. I continued:
…there are many places around the world where no one would have raised an eyebrow at what happened to this lady. In many places around the world, family members or neighbors care for theelderly. And when death comes, it’s not always seen as something that has to be fought. Death is a part of life, and it will happen to everyone at some point.
While I can see why it’s distressing to think of a person just watching someone die while on the phone with 911, I can also understand why that assisted living facility has the policy they have. You can bet it has a lot to do with litigation and insurance.
It’s hard to think of sitting on your hands in a situation like this. It is a little unnerving to think about when a person’s life is no longer worth saving due to advanced age. But I think in this case, it’s likely that this woman had a better death than she might have. I wish we could come to some kind of consensus as to how we can let people die with dignity. We can’t have everyone living until they’re 100, though. The system can’t and won’t support it.
So… there I was yesterday, looking at that viral meme, and remembering that 2013 case. When I looked at the comments on the original thread, I found out people still seem to think CPR is always justified, no matter what. The person who originally shared the meme is apparently a nurse, and she’s run many codes on people. A lot of the codes she’s run have been on people who are clearly at the end of their lives. They either didn’t have a “do not resuscitate” order or a living will, or their distraught family members feel compelled to keep them alive at all costs. Family members don’t always realize what goes into a “code”, and how violent and aggressive it can be.
Some commenters were profane in their responses, “bravely” stating that they don’t care about broken ribs if it means another day with a loved one. It’s easy to say that when you’re not in severe pain, or dealing with chronic health issues that make life torture. The fact is, everyone dies. And in every life, there will come an opportunity to make an exit. Sometimes, when a very elderly person collapses, it’s simply their time to go.
Later that day in March 2013, I wrote more about the case. I identified the woman who collapsed. Her name was Lorraine Bayless. She lived at an independent living facility, as opposed to a nursing home or even an assisted living facility. The stories referred to the woman who called 911 as a nurse, but it wasn’t clear if she actually was a nurse. It wasn’t clear if she’d had a DNR, either. Some sources reported that she didn’t have a DNR, but at least one other reported that she did. Experts at the time were talking about how “morally wrong” it was not to render aid to Ms. Bayless. But other people in the know were discussing what happens to a person when they get CPR.
I’m 50 years old, and I live with aches and discomfort every day. I’m not in terrible pain yet. A lot of what ails me is helped with over the counter pain medications, or even a glass or two of wine. Unfortunately, as people age, they tend to hurt more. They become more fragile, and develop health conditions that make it more difficult to recover from illnesses and injuries. And, it’s always sad to bring this up, but healthcare is very expensive, especially in the United States. A very elderly person who is nearing the natural end of their life will run up huge bills, even if they survive another day or two.
As many of my healthcare friends pointed out, it’s uncommon for very elderly people to fully recover from CPR interventions. I’m not saying it never happens, but that it’s rare. And that kind of intervention, which almost always involves broken ribs and severe bruising, will mean significant pain in addition to whatever the condition was that caused the collapse in the first place. The whole point of the viral meme I read yesterday was that people often suffer when they get CPR, along with the suggestion that people talk to their loved ones about what they would like to have done to them if they collapse. One would also hope that they put their wishes in writing, so that medical personnel can honor their wishes without risking their careers or their freedom.
On another note…
One thing I noticed and want to comment about is another one of my “pet peeves”. So many people seemed to be deliberately obtuse about the meme’s message. It was as if people thought the nurse was saying that CPR is never justified. That’s not what she was conveying. She was saying that CPR is brutal to bodies. Some people won’t recover from the physical or mental trauma of the violence and aggression of CPR. People should consider that reality before demanding that medical staff resuscitate their very elderly and frail loved ones who suffer from chronic illnesses.
And also… I wish to God that people would read things before commenting. So many people mentioned cracked ribs and other injuries that come from CPR. I think it’s inconsiderate to post comments without reading the post in question or other people’s comments. Why should I read what someone writes when they haven’t taken the time to read what others have written?
In essence, people who comment before reading are telling everyone that their comments are more important than other people’s comments are. That is quite an arrogant and self-centered statement, in my opinion. Reading before commenting saves time in the long run, because you might find that your comment is unnecessary or, perhaps, inapplicable to the situation. I know that making this statement might make me look “mean” or “rude”, but honestly, I think it’s rude to waste people’s time by making statements that are irrelevant or have already been made umpteen times. Just my opinion.
I hope you have a good Monday. I’ll be watching for new inspirations, as I continue to read my latest book. See you tomorrow.
Five years ago, I had never heard of Planet Fitness. When I read a story about a woman who got shamed for being too buff. I wrote about it on my old blog. Apparently, at Planet Fitness, members aren’t allowed to show off. There’s a dress code that is supposed to prevent fitter members from intimidating less fit members. And Tiffany Austin, the subject of my first post about Planet Fitness, got a talking to for wearing a tank top with spaghetti straps that showed off her “toned” body. People complained, and a staff member asked her to cover up. While she was waiting for a t-shirt, another staffer approached and asked her to cover up. Naturally, this annoyed Ms. Austin, who went to the media with her concerns and canceled her membership.
Planet Fitness, the gym that allegedly focuses on “not judging” other people, is giving people something to talk about again. This time, I ran across a viral post on Facebook written by Diane Newberry, of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Ms. Newberry shared a picture of herself in a tank top. She’s not wearing a bra, but she’s quite slender and probably doesn’t even need one for support. She’d only need it to cover those “obscene” nipples of hers.
Apparently, while she was working out at Planet Fitness, a manager approached her and said there had been “many complaints” that Ms. Newberry wasn’t wearing a bra while exercising. Newberry asked the manager if she was breaking a rule by not wearing a bra. The manager admitted there wasn’t a rule about bras, so Newberry brushed it off and went home. On her next visit, she told the manager that she thought it was inappropriate for staff members to shame women for not wearing bras. The manager replied that this topic had been one of discussion lately and they were looking into seeing if their dress code was specific enough. Newberry responded by canceling her Planet Fitness membership and joining the YMCA, where bralessness isn’t an issue. I’d say that was the right response on Newberry’s part. Planet Fitness obviously isn’t for her. I’m glad she found a place where she can wear what she wants, and truly has the freedom to work out the way she wishes.
Naturally, Planet Fitness is a private business and the corporate powers that be have the right to set rules regarding dress codes. However, while women are expected to wear bras to cover up their nipples, men also have nipples, and sometimes they even have breasts large enough to rival those of women. We don’t expect men to cover their nipples; why is it considered immodest when women don’t cover theirs? What is so obscene about a nipple? It’s got a purpose– primarily to feed babies. What’s the big deal if you can see the outline of them under a shirt? I think it’s time Planet Fitness and society at large take a look at this attitude and consider changing it.
Clearly, Newberry is guilty of breaking a social more. It’s a more that probably should be challenged, especially in this age of women fighting to be able to breastfeed at will. It’s ridiculous to be alright with a man showing his boobs, but not a woman. I understand that men find boobs sexually exciting, but that’s really their problem, isn’t it? Breasts were not meant to “titillate”. They were meant for feeding babies. And I see no reason why a nipple should be offensive, in any case. It’s just a little piece of darkened skin with a knob on it. Big whoop.
While I’m all for not “shaming” or “judging” people who are trying to get healthier through exercise, it seems to me that Planet Fitness is hypocritical in its advertising. They claim to be a “judgement free” zone (and they spell judgment the British way, which makes me judge them), yet they have a “lunk alarm”, which is a siren that staffers set off when people do something against the rules.
I guess this business model works, since lots of people still work out at Planet Fitness. It has cheap membership plans at just $10 a month. But who wants to be lectured about their workout attire? They claim to not want to intimidate or judge people, but I think I would be mortified if someone on staff complained about my workout attire, especially involving undergarments. For a “judgement free” zone, that seems awfully judgmental.
I get that Planet Fitness doesn’t want people to feel ashamed or intimidated, but they seem to be violating their own policy when they insist that women wear bras, but they don’t ask men to wear them. Reminds me of that cute comic by Scott Metzger, starring topless Helen and her equally endowed husband, who tells her it’s obscene to go on the beach like that. Why is it okay for him to show his manboobs, but Helen has to cover up? Makes no sense.
Anyway… I prefer to get my exercise climbing up church towers and walking my dogs. It’s done nothing to slim me down, but I did learn that my heart still works yesterday as I ascended 328 steps at the church tower in Frankfurt. On the other hand, I was also reminded of a certain scene in In Bruges.
Well… after that humbling experience, I suppose I’d better make a point of walking the boys today. But I’ll wear a bra, because after you hit your 40s, gravity kicks in.
This morning, I read about Dr. Katie Bouman, a scientist who is about to start teaching at California Institute of Technology and was instrumental in providing the world the first photograph of a black hole. Although I know the story broke yesterday, I haven’t been following it. I’ve had other things on my mind. Still, when I saw a picture of a delighted Dr. Bouman, looking so radiant in the wake of her success, I couldn’t help but stop and read about her. She’s just 29 years old and still adorable in her youth, and yet she’s done something extraordinary. But she did have help…
America loves its heroes. When someone does something extraordinary, or even if it just sounds like they did, that person will soon find themselves on the fast track to fame. Dr. Bouman, to her credit, was quick to point out that she was not the only one responsible for this amazing achievement. Indeed, there was a whole team of scientists from around the world involved in creating the algorithm that made the photograph of the black hole possible. Bouman is certainly worth looking up to, but she’s one of many people who made this happen– and many of the others involved are young women in science (STEM). For example, in the New York Times article I linked, 24 year old graduate student Sara Issaoun, who studies at Radboud University in The Netherlands, is quoted as also having worked on the project.
Yesterday, as the picture of the black hole circulated on social media, I noticed Occupy Democrats made a meme about Dr. Bouman, which was already being circulated. Have a look.
I did see a “corrected” version of this meme, but it still doesn’t address that this discovery was the result of a lot of work by many people, not just one person. I like heroes and heroines as much as anybody does, but let’s not get it twisted. Dr. Bouman, to her credit, isn’t getting it twisted.
I remember back in 2003, when 19 year old Private Jessica Lynch was a prisoner of war in Iraq. The media turned her into a sensation, with wild tales about how she went down fighting the Iraqis before she was finally overcome by her injuries. For months, that was the narrative about Jessica Lynch. They’d turned her into a heroine. Later, the truth came out. Jessica Lynch had never fired a shot. Her weapon had jammed and she was badly hurt in a vehicle accident. To her credit, Lynch tried to set the record straight. I remember seeing her being interviewed on television and she very plainly stated that people were giving her credit where it wasn’t due. She was a young, pretty blonde who had signed up for Army duty. What wasn’t to love about her? She made a great heroine. But when these stories come out and a person becomes “celebrated”, the legend eventually gets debunked, and the fall from grace can be devastating.
Meanwhile, there were seven others from her unit that were captured. One of the captured was 30 year old Shoshana Johnson, who had worked as a cook. She was not as young and photogenic as Lynch was. She is also black. Johnson and the other soldiers, all of whom were male, got a lot less attention than Lynch did at the time. Although critics probably rightfully accused the media and the public of racial bias, in the long run, it might not have been so bad being overlooked. The American public is quick to turn on people. When a person does something that seems great, they may find themselves rocketing to fame. But the minute that person does anything that tarnishes that glow, the pedestal is liable to fall and the person may find themselves falling back to to Earth in a jiffy.
On my old blog, I wrote a number of posts about people who went viral after being caught on camera saying or doing “bad” things. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of this kind of thing. For one thing, everyone has good days and bad days. I don’t like to see people being permanently vilified for having a bad day. Maybe someone gets caught saying or doing something horrible in a one or two minute video, but that video hasn’t captured what led up to the incident, nor does it take into account that those two minutes are just a fraction of a person’s lifetime. Even though news travels fast and notoriety waxes and wanes, thanks to the Internet, stuff stays out there forever. Those kinds of viral posts can affect a person for years. Or, they can make it seem like they’ll affect a person for that long, which can cause them to give up on living.
I do think people are right to congratulate Dr. Katie Bouman for her success in a challenging career, for being a wonderful role model, and for her part in a significant scientific discovery. I don’t condone implying that she was the only one who made that discovery happen, she’s some kind of patron saint of science, or that she came by her success alone. Let’s keep it real.
People are imperfect, and almost no one is 100% good or 100% bad. I mean, as much as I despise people like Donald Trump and Bill’s ex wife, I still recognize that even they aren’t 100% horrible. In Bill’s ex’s case, she kind of saved my place for me and made it so that anything bad I do kind of pales in comparison to her antics. Ditto to whomever takes Donald Trump’s place once he’s finally drop kicked out of the White House.
On a completely unrelated note, every time I think of “black holes”, I’m reminded of assholes. I have my former Peace Corps colleague, Jan, to thank for that.
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