Category: BW Announcements


11 Years of Black Witch

Today marks 11 years of Black Witch. This is really nice. I know the 10 year post wasn’t really anything – but then again, that was practically at the start of the pandemic and wow, can that really distract (for good reasons). We are still in a pandemic but, yeah, at least I have somewhat more to say and do. I’m always astonished that it’s another year because it doesn’t always feel that way. The BW blog doesn’t feel over a decade old to me – but yet it is!

BW Livestream today in two locations: FB Fan Page at 7 PM EST (planned to be 30-45 min) and Instagram Live at 8 PM EST (planned to be 30-45 min)

Accidental vacation, huzzah. The second one in so few months.

I simply had a lot to do. But now, I’m back (I think).

At least I was half active on my Instagram, where I mainly showed my cat, my 3d printed masks, and my orchids recently. Oh, and my roses. I like scented flowers, what can I say? Especially flowers that smell like candy and/or chocolate – though I don’t really like eating candy and chocolate. I’m complex, it is what it is. I’ll eventually post them to my Tumblr.

I think taking breaks are not that bad, especially when juggling a bunch of things. In the past, I would try to schedule posts so breaks weren’t that obvious but then there are times where you simply just go “Nope” and that’s it.

As of two weeks ago, I’ve gotten both vaccine shots against Covid-19. I am now considered “fully vaccinated”. Still wearing masks. Still socially distancing. Still cleaning things. Now, I have experienced (and seen, and heard from others) that getting the Coronavirus vaccine is immensely difficult – oh, and before we touch on that, let’s touch on bunk for a second.

I’ve also heard from others that people will sometimes go out and about and try to sell to people, usually in poorer neighborhoods that have obscene lack of access to vaccinations – due to terrible hospitals, deeply prejudiced/rude healthcare workers, simply no properly enforced vaccination system, and a long, horrific Western medical history of White medical practitioners using Black and Brown (well, anyone that wasn’t White, really) people as lab rats over and over again – these people will try to hock oils that will “get rid of the coronavirus”. I have zero idea what the oils are made of but I can tell you, it’s a load of bullsh*t. These folks tend to target those standing at bus stops and hock their wares. It has also floated to me that this is also a thing on the internet, including fluffy bunnies and dabblers, who are folks who basically like to play pretend when it comes to magick and occultism. (Having a Killstar bag or a cottage dress doesn’t make someone a witch. Hopefully fashionable but not a witch). This is remarkably dangerous for so, so many reasons.

Here’s the thing: while quite a few forms of science has witchcraft DNA (from potions to modern medicine, from alchemy to chemistry, for example), there is absolutely nothing, and I mean not a single thing that can be purchased from Instagram or Facebook that can vaccinate against Covid-19 or remove it from your body. No phony online witch doctor can cure you via DMs. Even in cultures that do have genuine witch doctors and shamans, they will say just about the same thing a person in a lab coat will (in certain places & cultures, they’re also the same people. And they’re still legit). Which is, “It’s the coronavirus. You need to get medicine and/or treatment for Covid. Or best, vaccinated.” If it is being sold (emphasis on the sold part), it is most likely dubious. If it is being sold on the internet, it is definitely dubious. If it is being sold on the internet via social media, it is a 100%, solid gold scam. Social media can provide a lot of things, dependable medicine is not one of them. Especially not ones gears towards a pandemic. If it is being sold on the internet via social media through an influencer – it is not only a super scam but, congrats, you officially seen someone who is willing to kill you for a couple bucks and with a super edited, but glitzy, smile. They should be behind bars and deplatformed quickly.

If you see anyone posting, selling or spreading such information (from oils to spells about Covid, they’re all phony), report them to the social media platform and even to local governments if possible because they are just trying to make money off of scared people, even harm or kill a few. Doesn’t matter if they are famous or fairly unknown, these folks do not need to harm people just to collect a few coins. They don’t care about the population and especially not their communities, just themselves. You’ll be pushing daisies and they’ll dump out a phony apology just to hock the next thing offered to them for a couple more bucks.

Back to the difficulties of getting a vaccine in the community. I have tried to get a vaccine in the community and, wow, is it difficult. There is the option of going to a mass vaccination center, like a football stadium. However, according to those I know who have gone, it can be long, lengthy and nerve wracking – and this is assuming they have appointments. One friend tried to show up a few minutes early for their appointment but wound up soaking two hours away because of how long the lines were. There are pharmacies, like Walgreens and CVS, but they are so inundated that calling on the phone is pointless (it will just direct you to their website, and their website will direct you to their phone, it is an ouroboros of bullsh*t) and should you get a human, they will be a very frazzled and snippy one.

There is also the difficulties of even getting an appointment itself. It should not be easier to buy concert tickets than it is to get an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine (by the way, in-person concerts should not be happening, they’re just super spreader events just waiting to happen). Just like concert ticket sites will hold your ticket for five minutes or so, it should be the same for an appointment setting. Granted, there can always be logistical problems with that – everyone chunking up the system because of all the five minutes (or so) timers are active on available appointments, good ol’ scalpers (that should be sort of easy to fix with checking ip addresses, names and such, to prevent one person scooping up a bunch of appointments and trying to sell them off) – but these are problems that can be handled. Hopefully. I mean, we’re almost a year and a half in of handling a virus that can be easily defeated with regular dish soap and a mask and look at how badly that is being handled, from the start to now. Totally predictable but definitely still disappointing.

My vaccination came because I work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where they are making a mad dash to vaccinate as many employees as possible. Makes sense, given they are the place that has the core of the vaccine research, that they would have better and easier access to vaccines than the average health clinic in America. No greedy and/or incompetent middle men like what regular health clinics have to deal with, no round-arounds or snippy people, either. There was a line but it moved pretty fast. However, NIH is only vaccinating its employees not the entire country, so a way smaller number of people means a smoother run, I would imagine. Either way, if I didn’t get vaccinated at my job that is literally responsible for the creation of information about covid and the vaccines and treatments, I still would most likely be unvaccinated because of how hard it is to be vaccinated in the communities.

And speaking of government organizations interacting with pandemics – what the CDC said is quite sus. For those not in the know, the CDC said: “… [F]ully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance”. This sounds really simple on paper, and I would sort of agree, except for several caveats:

  • A lot of people are unvaccinated and it is quite easy to lie since there is zero obvious difference between a vaccinated and a non-vaccinated person at face value.
  • Related to above, there is even a black market for buying fake vaccination cards (just like there was and is a black market for buying fake negative covid results), which means a lot of people are willing to risk their lives and the lives of others just to not wear a mask. Oh, and help Covid become new, stronger variants
  • There still isn’t full documentation on whether a vaxxed person can catch and spread Covid to others in asymptomatic fashion. That is still being worked on
  • A lot of places did away with their “laws, rules, and regulations”, they’re pretty open now so the unvaccinated and vaccinated don’t really have any pandemic mandates to go by. One place I know of in Virginia is holding a four day rock festival event that is supposed to have 180+ bands and they have indeed claimed to have no restrictions and aim to be filled to full capacity. Please cue Bad Religion’s “Infected”

At NIH, they’re still operating as if the CDC never changed the rules (meaning full masking and social distancing and all the other pandemic protocols are still in effect) because of a lot of the reasons I mentioned above – especially the “can’t tell if you are vaxxed/unvaxxed by looking at you” part. Also, at NIH, they always include the phrase “against current variants”, because it is the truth – the current vaccinations only protect you against the current variants, and to variable degrees per variant. The USA is *miles* from achieving any sort of herd immunity.

The part highlighted is the most important part: the fully vaccinated. There needs to be a population of at least 70% fully vaccinated to count as “herd immunity” against Covid. Herd Immunity is, as explained by Oxford dictionary, “resistance to the spread of an infectious disease within a population that is based on pre-existing immunity of a high proportion of individuals as a result of previous infection or vaccination.” As you can see on the graph above, we are at 38.6% Fully Vaccinated. And less than half of the nation has at least one shot of vaccinations. Some are indeed refusing their second dose because of how bad the effects the first one was for them, others are very “one and done” and thus do not want their second shot. Being half vaccinated in the nation that has the most Covid cases and deaths in the world and wanting to live, frolic and free, is not a great idea. Partial vaccinations can make it easy for the coronavirus to become vaccine resistant as it interacts more and more with half-vaxxed bodies. Plus the immunity wanes a little bit in the body since it is not at full capacity. This is why people who are considered half vaxxed are still told to wear a mask and adhere to pandemic protocols. Yes, it is not common for viruses to out-pace their vaccines but also Covid has proven to be rather uncommon. Also, there’s the people factor that still gets forgotten in super science pieces: the people who still catch and spread Covid are still real and their lives are still impacted. There still research underway about long haul Covid, which affects a lot of people who have caught Covid. Heck, for example, there is zero clue to as how a child that has caught Covid will do in school or in life due to long haul symptoms such as brain fog, weaker vital organs and upped chances for things like stroke before adulthood because of how Covid affects the brain. In other words, if you brought covid home to your kid, congrats, you may have done a superb neuter to their future and quality of life. At least they might not live long enough to really be that upset, perhaps. Wear a mask, social distance and get fully vaccinated. If you are an essential worker, please be careful for yourself and others. If you are not an essential worker (you don’t work in transport/delivery, food or public healthcare), stop being stupid and stay home. The important part is to try to wipe out Covid, not help it get stronger and mutate better.

Also, here is the graph again, not blocked by the info tidbit:

The US Population is about 330 Million, by the way

There is still the concern of vaccinations in historically marginalized communities. Already racism has shown it’s ugly head time and time again during the pandemic (and before the pandemic, and will again after the pandemic). It is zero surprise that when it comes to scarce supplies and unstable lines like how vaccine rollout has been, prejudice will very obviously show its head. From White people flocking to the historically marginalized communities to suck up available appointments to trying to route vaccines towards richer, historically privileged communities. Then there’s turning hospitals and health centers in the historically marginalized communities with atrocious community histories into vaccination centers. I have already heard of several, such as King hospital up in New York. John Hopkins is in its own class of “holy sh*t, what the f*ck”, stretching from inception to now. This alone can make people turn down the vaccine. If you terrify people from even wanting to walk through your doors or looking in your general direction, you’re probably not going to have a densely vaccinated population. Most people, when it comes to needles and bed-side manners, generally do not want to have Jigsaw from the Saw series come to mind. This is a systemic issue that is heavily danced around by, well, the system that keeps it in place. Even when it was brought up on Global Citizen’s VAX Live online concert event, the distrust, it was never really talked about, just painted as “Oh, those silly Black and Brown people. How dare they not believe in science! They have no reason to fear. Because everything that has ever happened in science was always ethical and above board. Always. What paranoid kooks. Don’tevertalkaboutwhathappened,we’resaviorsandyou’reliars.” People in historically marginalized communities definitely want to be vaccinated, we’re the ones who have been really seeing the decimation, but it is difficult to want a vaccine when there are systemic, physical and psychological barriers put in place. Needles are already scary by themselves, there sincerely is no need to try to make that experience even more terrifying, especially not to the point of driving someone to say, “Ehhhhh, I rather take my chances with Covid. Both these doctors and this virus are trying to kill me but at least the virus is honest about it.” This is something the medical community is extremely aware of and their current methods of handling such issues is, well, things like VAX Live. (I love the Foo Fighters with all my heart but the entire event is still a load of crock when you think about it. The Foo Fighters are amazing though). Yeah, the smart answer would be “to work and diligently root out all systemic issues via hiring better, firing system enablers (as well as the bystanders and inducers, etc), actively listening to the community (which must include ‘hearing the not-fun and the really not-fun parts – and without pulling the classic “speed them up to shut them up” method’), working diligently to improve systems and not in a way that is strictly self serving and out of pandering” but remember, that all requires work and a lot of introspection that will bear very few happy self-realizations. And I mean very few.

Very, very few.

These vaccinations are very important and the mad dash to get them shows the problems that were already here and spoken about at length by the affected. It is very important to get vaccinated, it is very important to get accurate information about the vaccine and the virus, it is extremely important to have trusted individuals in health – especially public health – fields to express this information and not be confusing about it nor allow for wide gaps to be abused out of blatant selfishness. There is still a lot of research and information that needs to be done about how Covid is going to affect all our lives, for the rest of our lives. I lived through a lot of things, such as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the HIV/AIDS pandemic (which is still happening, by the way), 9/11 and more – this is definitely not going to be one of those “things we will eventually forget, maybe even the week after its over”. There are a lot of untold issues, sicknesses and definitely fatalities. At least a vaccine is a good first step but not if it is tagged with countless problems. Otherwise, we’re all going to be right back at square one.

At least this still gives me a proper chuckle:

I was going to talk about the Great Conjunction that happened on Christmas/Yule, buuuuuuuuuut the Capitol got attacked.

Now is a good time to lay out some points, especially since the Inauguration is really fast upon us here in the US (Wed, Jan 20th):

  • Claims from National Security about not being able to foresee the attack is a phony call. It was remarkably obvious that an attack of some sort was going to happen on the 6th. The 6th is a significant day for the electoral votes to be counted officially, what a great time to have a “last hurrah” – next to the Inauguration itself. Angry White folks are very good at being violent, especially en masse – check any history book from the Tulsa Massacre to general policing in America, to anti-abolitionist movements, anti-civil rights movements (or just read how Dr. King was murdered, or Medgar Evans, or general lynchings). Non-angry White folks are also very good at enabling the angry ones – check any history book of White abolitionists, suffragettes, participants of the civil rights movement (or just look at the White folks who bought Twisted Tea as “allyship” but never used it on their MAGA relatives because “they’re not that bad” – (why buy if not use? Otherwise, it’s pointless virtue signaling)).
  • The core & target readers of this blog are Black so here’s a word: stay home, stay out the way. This is not about race, let the White folks happily punch each other because their favorite racist didn’t win. If White: Stay home. Seriously. The National Guard and Capitol Police aren’t going to play around like they did prior, I think a good chunk of them are not applying the “White is Right” rhetoric they usually do – and got them caught with their pants down on the 6th.
  • Stay home, bears saying twice. Stay home. I remember the Baltimore riots of 2015, the National Guard does not play around. If they have a shoot-to-kill order, even White privilege isn’t going to nullify that like it usually does. And no one ever knows if the insurrectionists are going to try to pre-game by attacking Black folks or other PoC that they find around them. That’s how it usually is, since forever.

Now, does the Capitol deserve to have its jewels ran? Yes, but not in favor of White supremacy. The Capitol already is rife with that. Now, my only concern for the attack was for the people in the Library of Congress because the LoC is across the street from the Capitol and violent people are violent. I worked at the LoC, so I personally know people there. The only people who should be most upset that the Capitol was busted up are the Architect of the Capitol, just about no one else. The Capitol is a building, it can be revamped and rebuilt. Windows break on a regular day, doors fall on a regular day, that is a 200+ old building for you. Given how much I hear White tears over buildings in the face of riots or protests, unless you are an architect or the owner of said building, there is zero need to be upset. Even the World Trade Center in NYC was rebuilt. The 3,000+ people who died in the attack still very much dead, though.

Speaking of things that are commonly mentioned in conspiracies, I still do not get QAnon. It just sounds like a turducken of every flimsy conspiracy theory slapped together with the usual glues of racism, misogyny, anti-semitism and Christian fervor. Is the media biased? Yes, but usually for prejudiced reasons (race and journalism historically makes for a poor mix, especially when a lot of outlets still steer along “White is Right” rhetoric, ditto with gender). Do slimy things happen in the entertainment industry? All the time, usually for greed and prejudiced reasons. The idea that there is an illuminati trying to control people using Katy Perry and Beyonce is ridiculous at best. I have already written about this, several times. I have spent years around the music industry, it’s a plain industry. Does pedophilia/ephebophilia happen? Surely does, including among non-rich people. Most abuses happen in families and with friends of the family (from siblings to literal friends of the parents). Also, the abuses tend to go on for long periods of time because, welp, no one likes to listen to kids thanks to adult ego (also known as “if your kid doesn’t want to hug someone, stop forcing them  – you’re teaching the kid that a) their boundaries don’t matter and b ) you probably wouldn’t care or believe if they did tell you”). The feelings of another adult tend to hold a lot more weight than the feelings of a child and children do not have the mental or verbal capability to just out and say “that person molested me. Yes, they are your best friend but that’s who they are”. Then there’s the issue of believing the child or believing the accused adult – by the way, the accused adult has a bevvy of abilities to make any accusation from any kid look phony. And, guess what? They work pretty darn well. There are countless writings online from adults who are CSA survivors (Child Sexual Abuse) that have definitely talked about it. Or, you can just read the accounts of rape and sexual assault victims of any age. Also, throw in race and gender, it gets a lot worse. And these are with normal, regular people who are not under 24/7 scrutiny from media, fans, handlers, etc and TMZ always sniffing at their door. It is amazing to hear the force behind accusing celebrities but when it comes to the plain people around them, it’s more “ehhhh, kid’s probably lyin'” or “kids are wild nowadays”. At least apply the same gusto to regular people … wait, wait, the concept of “ehhhhh, [the victim]’s probably lyin” shows up even in celebrity rape/sexual assault cases, just look at R. Kelly’s case, and Weinstein’s case – and there was overwhelming evidence in both. QAnon didn’t pop the lid off those cases, it took countless years from the victims’ side, complete with documentaries and news articles, to get anything to happen. While QAnon mentions things that could potentially sound bad – it all falls on its face when given longer than a cursory glance. There are reasonable explanations for everything they suggest, granted the explanations are less nefarious sounding and world-rocking but they are there.

Back to the inauguration and security.

Remember, stay home.

The FBI is worried of an insider attack, even removed two people in the National Guard who have connections to White extremist groups (but were not involved in any plots, they were just members). That’s great … except, it’s pretty pointless. The FBI, secret service and the US military have literally no ability to see their own blindspots. They have ghostskins by the payload. “White is Right” is basically how they hire in general, trying to find a racist is like wading through a cranberry bog, not a needle in a haystack. They can only pin-point ones that have actively gone through the motions of joining far-right groups. Speaking as a Black person, I can very much assure you I have met maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaany hateful White people and I would say a solid 99% were:

A) not part of any far-right groups

B ) would shun the existence of far-right groups

C) still hateful, they just aren’t card carrying members to “Random Hate Group & Co”

D) didn’t mind curbing their hatred because:

D1) they’re pretty enabled by society, which already has pro-White racism cooked in – to the point that the person of color affected is blamed and ignored

D2) they use other methods that is not outwardly violent, such as micro-aggressions, law-making, dog-whistling, and (kind) appeals to dehumanization

D3) when they did get violent, the Person of Color is usually told what they should have done to avoid the aggression. And they feel pretty privileged to be aggressive to anyone about anything, even other White folks

D4) love to virtue signal to other White people (such as posting a black square or buying Twisted Tea) because they genuinely believe they are not racist because they don’t know how to tie a noose or never owned a slave or dragged a Black person behind a car – basically, the good ol’ “because people worse than me exist, that must mean I am Very Good”

Looking for card carrying members of hate groups means most are going to be missed or ignored – kinda like the Trump supporters who planned out in the open to raid the Capitol … and succeeded. Apparently, White people toting guns, bombs and homemade napalm while waving racist symbols are “less threatening” than, ohhhhhhh, Black people carrying signs about civil rights. Even when BLM protests dissolved into riots, they were already met with over-passionate, militaristic force – even buzzed by helicopters winds. In Trump’s crowd, there were actual members of the military and police stretching across the USA. Gotta admit, though, for a very “Blue Lives Matter” crowd, they were really okay with killing and beating police officers. How … unsurprising.

If the FBI & military was sincere in their searching, the inauguration protection force would probably dwindle down to twenty five people and a Capitol Hill squirrel.

While I would usually say it takes one to know one, I don’t think the FBI & military are good at spotting racists in an effective way. That would take unhinging the deep seated concept of “White is Right, Everything else is Suspect”, and they have been working on that since, what, the 1960s? 1970s? It’s 2021 (or as I like to call it “2020, Pt 2: The Reckoning”).

Just stay home. If something wild happens during the Inauguration, it’s going to happen.

Dating is difficult. Dating while Black and Pagan is even more difficult. Tack a killer virus on top and it makes things way more difficult. Social distancing, mask wearing, lockdowns, it makes finding someone a bit tough, to say the least.

Already there are the usual barriers I face to dating, such as having a small dating pool on the account that I’m Pagan. Some people don’t know what that is so they’ll pass, or think it is a kooky faith because “you really believe in that stuff?” It’s even more ironic when it comes from the Christian crowd – a zombie carpenter is plausible but all other faiths and ideas are considered “out there”. At least I personally fare best with Muslims and Buddhists. Then there’s the fact that though I’m hetero-romantic, I’m demisexual, which reduces my pool further. Throw in anti-Black racism/good ol’ misogynoir and it shrinks even further.

Dating apps have spiked in use since the pandemic started, I’ve used them before myself. They’re great for those who are introverted and rather connect digitally than go out into the world and meet lots of people you sincerely wish you never had. At least in a dating app, I can screen bad choices and wary folks to the point that they can’t talk to me (or even see me) if I don’t want them to. And I never want them to. In the physical world, that doesn’t exists. But cat-calling and street harassment does and I am not interested at all in experiencing that while trying to date. So, dating apps it is.

The app usage is roughly the same as it would be in non-pandemic times. Some have taken a bit of a greedy advantage of the pandemic by piling on “Buy this, buy that, and get seen more/get better matches”. And the prices can be staggering, usually teetering around $80-100 for maybe three months of “Premium” access. For many, especially during a pandemic, that can be annoying, if not frustrating. Many people have lost their jobs or are bumbling down the dismal pipe of losing their job so shelling out any money to a dating app when there are stacking bills to pay seems like bad personal economics.

There are dating apps like Nuit (an astrology/natal chart based dating app), Coffee Meets Bagel, Hinge, Bumble and more which varies in taking pandemic concerns into account. All ping you for money (Hinge, OkCupid and Tinder being the worst, their services practically become unusable unless you shell out lots and lots of money) but some take into consideration that we’re all in a pandemic and jabbing pockets just to be functional isn’t that great an idea. Coffee Meets Bagel is a good example of that. Nuit is still starting out so they haven’t gotten into pocket-jousting yet.

Once upon meeting someone, there is the dating part. For those who grew up on the internet, this isn’t that tough because relationships blossom over the internet all the time. For others who are not super accustomed to exchanging digital interactions, it can be a weird and jarring experience because you’re talking through screens and avatars, not face to face. There were always places like IMVU, Second Life, etc etc. for more digitally apt folks to interact with each other and develop a bond. For example, in IMVU, you can sit in a winter cafe and talk to each other using floating chat bubbles via personalized avatars. Even hold hands, hug or kiss. Then there’s the upgraded version: Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality allows you to interact with someone as if they are beside you. You can talk to them, play cooperative video games together, even hang out with them in your own personal private spaces. You can both be on a vast sun planet that has stars for flowers, you can be on a swaying pirate ship rampaged with little, cute chibis. You can create an entire movie theatre for you both to sit and be together in. Depending on your VR setup, there are even haptic vests and gloves which can easily simulate touch. Full body trackers that can simulate full body movement. For example, pair a Valve Index with Vive body trackers and your entire body, even individual fingers, will move. Pair that with a haptic vest and you can feel a hug. I own only a VR headset but that’s enough for virtual reality dates, even if whoever I date doesn’t have one. This brings back closeness during a time where we are all supposed to be apart. Granted VR can be a bit steep for some, the cheapest headset is an Oculus Quest 2, which is in the $200s range and a Facebook product, which brings in problems of privacy. It is also the only cheapest and best noted stand-alone VR headset so far on the market. All other VR headsets need a computer, which has to be “VR ready” because VR can be very intense on a computer system. I have a gaming laptop. Though it is not slated to be “VR Ready” like its more expensive counterparts, it does meet and exceed the requirements to run my VR headset, which is a Windows Mixed Reality VR headset. The only bonus with that is because I use Windows already, Windows Mixed Reality is already built into the computer or is super easy to get. But I’m not sure I would be able to run a Valve Index or the latest Vive, which is fine for me, I already can do enough with my current headset.

As said prior, dating is tough. Throw in a nasty virus and it gets even tougher. Thankfully, it is not the 90s and there are a bevy of ways of still connecting, even over a distance. The remaining hard part is finding those connections.

Woo, today is day one of 2021. (Ne ga chae chala ga – dang, writing Korean 2ne1 lyrics in English looks off)

We’re still in a very fatal pandemic.

Things still suck.

Covid-19 is still here (by the way, everyone, the “19” in “Covid-19” is because the virus was found in 2019. It is officially 2021.)

There’s a vaccine, which is great. It is going to take a remarkably long time to pump it out to everyone, which is not so great.

Viruses naturally mutate, this one is no different. A new, variant has been discovered in the UK and it’s already in America. (If it was in Korea, you know for fact it is in the US). Woooo, that mean there’s a potential the vaccines may or may not work on everyone and for all forms of Covid-19. Because usually vaccines are for one kind of an ailment, not if the ailment’s genetic strand takes a souped up turn (by the way, the new Covid variant’s name is “B.1.1.7”, “VUI-202012/21” or, my personal fav, “London’s Bridge is Falling Down, These Guys Have a History of Plague” or “Bloody Rats!” for short. “British Flu” is a nice runner up. So is just plain singing “Posies”). This might turn out just fine and the current Covid vaccines can knock it out. Things might turn out not so fine and everybody has to go back to the drawing board to make another vaccine, just for the variant.

Basically, new year, same nonsense.

Happy 2020 pt 2: The Reckoning, everybody!

And remember:

 

 

And wear a mask

We are in our tenth month here in the US of Covid 19 lockdown and it has officially been a whole single year that the Coronavirus has been on this planet.

Can’t say that I’m thrilled.

The US is the worst stricken nation on the planet for Covid-19. (China is also quite possibly nasty-struck based on their ratchet human-rights & human welfare track record buuuuuut they cook the books too much to make that solid determination. Bad enough one can’t even search about the coronavirus online without heavy censorship over there). America is doing poorly for the same reason China didn’t kick off to an amazing start: Terrible government leadership, misinformed populace, and more terrible government failures that were and are due to being image-conscious instead of pandemic-conscious. No one cares about your reputation if everyone is dead all around you, including you. That and both nations seriously should not kid themselves over image: Both America and modern China have a solid reputation of being awful, from rampant human rights violations (from police black sites in America to concentration/death (read: organ harvesting) camps in China of Falun Gong and Uyghur (Xinjiang) people) to invasive technology (Project Prism, Homeland Security & the NSA in the USA and literally the entire Chinese tech infrastructure). Maybe it would be better to worry about reality and not fantasy.

Off that little soap box, there is an old phrase: “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”. Meaning: it is better to do a little to prevent a problem than need to do a lot to fix it once it strikes. I always prefer preventative measures over reactive measures for any and everything, simply because it is usually easier to prevent problems than it is to fix them. In this situation, it is much, much easier to prevent getting the coronavirus than actually dealing with it. At least the prevention measures won’t kill you. Covid can. 

Here is an overview from Osmosis about the current treatments of Covid-19:

These treatments are also, by the way, very potentially costly. Plus, you sincerely have no idea if you are getting “bed rest” covid or “death bed” covid. That is one wheel of fortune you do not want to spin. 

Also, even though I am a Pagan/witch blog, I’m not going to recommend any herbs, oils or spells – because absolutely none are necessary. Anyone who says different is trying to make you spend money and there are definitely a lot of nefarious opportunists who only care about “collecting their coin” and taking advantage of a scary situation. Those folks deserve to catch the coronavirus, no one needs greedy people in a pandemic and it isn’t like they deserve the air they breathe. If you contract the Coronavirus, you need actual doctors, not snake oil charlatans out trying to make a buck. 

Oh, and full disclaimer: I work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the library. Woo, information.

 

Let’s start with the basics:

  • Wear a Mask
  • Keep Your Hands Clean
  • Social Distance (6ft/2m, no closer)
  • Stay at Home, when/if possible

 

It is remarkably stupid that the idea of mask wearing in the US is “political” but hey, Americans tend to be stupid, why battle that stereotype now?

Wear a Mask – a cloth mask, a disposable mask (put in a trash can, not on the ground). Anything made of cotton weave or better. The reason masks were touted as “not necessary by the general public” at the start was because not a whole lot was known about Covid-19 in the beginning and our data was coming from a national government that literally edits out whole history-changing massacres that happened on live television if it doesn’t make them happy – even to the point of banning the candle emoji when the anniversary rolls around. So, that means a good chunk of the data was quite a bit misleading. That and the US was (and still is) quite unprepared for the virus, as it pertains to masks and proper equipment for actual doctors and nurses so public health officials wanted to prevent a bank run on masks that would leave medical professionals super S.O.L. – now medical professionals are just plain really S.O.L., which is not much better. Wear a mask, plain and simple. It won’t kill you but the coronavirus certainly can. Also, handle your masks by the loops, not the front. The front has what is called a “viral load”, meaning if you were exposed to the virus, it is on the mask and not in you. That is also why it is important to wash your masks regularly, so you don’t risk transferring the virus to yourself while handling your mask. 

Keep Your Hands Clean – Wash your hands with soap and water. Soap pops the lipid (fatty) defense layer of the coronavirus, killing it on contact. Thoroughly wash your hands, front and back and frequently. If you are somewhere where you genuinely can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60% or above. I personally never go under 70-75%, frankly. But wash your hands, first and foremost.

Stay at Home – Some can’t do this because they work essential jobs such as in grocery stores (who should be receiving hazard pay) or are at risk of losing their homes because of terrible American social care infrastructure that shouldn’t exist but if you can stay home – stay home. It is insidiously moronic to tell one another “stay safe” but not “stay home”. If people aren’t being social butterflies, Covid-19 can’t take flight in the communities. Do not booze up and especially stay away from drugs – you don’t need anything marring your judgement and chemically suppressing your immune system. Putting yourself at better risk of catching the Coronavirus isn’t going to help your situation much. If you live with others, try to wear a mask around them. 

Social Distance – Keep 6ft away from each other. This is to prevent the spread of droplets that come from your nose and mouth, especially if you are not wearing a mask (you should) or if your mask is not as protective as you thought it was. The Coronavirus spreads through the air, mainly through the nose and mouth. Stay away from each other. If you can’t (you should), at minimum wear a mask. But seriously, stay away from each other. If you have to go somewhere, use this handy dandy site to figure out what your risk is, Safer Covid – My Risk. And make sure you fill it all the way out. It covers everything from pumping gas to going to events. There is even a “custom” section for places and events not covered. 

 

Always a convenient reminder

And let’s crack out the Social Distance Bingo Board!

 

What I have gotten on mine:

 

 

Woo, fun for everyone. 

Dealing with the Coronavirus is tough but mainly because not everyone is doing their part. If people simply wore masks more, cases would drop almost overnight instead of spike to the moon. These measures certainly are not a violation of any human rights, civil rights or constitutional rights. Being told to stay home and wear a mask is lightyears away from being at Masanjia, Auschwitz or Manzanar. It is a major concern, public health-wise, that as many people should participate as much as possible. It is going to be a remarkable long time before a safe vaccine comes out and there is enough public trust to use it. There is already concerns of a “Trust Gap” from Black Americans, Latin Americans and other groups of Americans that were inhumanely treated like guinea pigs for the past two to four centuries by the American medical system and still face prejudice in medical care to this very day. Huh, it’s almost like treating whole groups of people like Jigsaw from the Saw series for several generations has a weird knock-on effect during times where trust is most crucial. Odd. 

Wear a mask and don’t simply “stay safe”, practice social distancing and clean your hands.

I’m a little late on The Arts! but I had to beat the rest of Rhythm Heaven and then Contagion finally released on Steam (I am considering a feature on them, as well, it’s a really good game).

“Ro-Na”

An Outkast “Hey Ya” parody about the current viral plague. It is humorous as it is very accurate.

Wear a mask, stay home, maintain social distance if you have to go outside.

“How Cop Orientations Must Be Like”

I thought this was humorous but what I liked most was how straightforward it was

– How concepts of being okay with brutality and oppression is passed down from seasoned officers to newer officers, pretty much indoctrinating hatred instead of actual law enforcement

– How when newer officers try to do the right thing (and basically their jobs and proper training), it is “corrected” by more seasoned officers because “this is how things are done” and if any make a fuss or correction, shamed and off the force they go. Guess what happens when you fire good cops for being good and keep (as well as laud/promote) bad cops for being bad? Not a decent police force, that’s for sure. And a lot of dead minorities. Oh, and ensuing protests and even a police department that gets torched like a Guy Fawkes wet dream. By the way, did you know you can make a s’more nacho dish? Just take some graham crackers, marshmallows, candies or chocolate, arrange nachos style, place on heat and done. Hard to eat with a mask on but quite delightful. Also available at Target. lol.

– The difference between how non-Black & belligerent individuals are treated (waved off and let go) and Black & reasonable individuals are treated (with great risk of being pretty dead)

My Corona!: The Redux

We are in month *stares at calendar* five of this viral plague of the Coronavirus. The United States is performing the worst in the world right now for Covid everything.

The day prior (July 8) was over 62,000 new cases in a day. Oh, and we are still in our first curve. Update: July 10th, the day this post came out, showed a record breaker of 66,786 new cases in a day

But, wow, do we try to paint a picture that other nations are suffering worse than us or just as bad.

Distraction at its finest

Here is what Sweden’s Covid numbers look like:

Jumpy but looks nothing like a horror tale of “How Not to Handle Covid”. That would be the graph above

 

Yeah, I wouldn’t start queuing Blindside’s “Bring Out Your Dead” or “We’re All Going to Die” just yet as Sweden’s farewell songs. The United States is doing far, far worse. And the worst part: we are not even testing everyone. For one, in the US, Covid tests cost money, between $100 and $400 dollars. And that’s the test, not the treatment, which is pretty much “Suicide is much cheaper” expensive.

And then you have the desire from the White House that they think “if we test more people, it could make us look really bad”. Basically, the “Hey, China did it, so should we” method. Speaking of China, let’s bring up the good ol’ middle kingdom.

Unfortunately, there is major reason to believe that China has been doctoring their Covid numbers and cooking the books to make the pandemic seem a lot less worse than it actually is. There are countless reasons to assume that millions upon millions are affected in China. For one, America’s Covid numbers and the stark fact we literally are making several of the same mistakes China did.

A) China did not fly to the presses, or anyone for that matter, about the fact Covid was spotted. Actually, how the Chinese govt found out about Covid was from reading private messages from a group of doctors, one of them being Dr. Li Wenliang. The Chinese government saw a conversation that basically went, “hey, something weird is floating about, stay away from this particular market in Wuhan, it could be from there.” Major human rights violation aside (inb4, “Man, the US is better” – Google “Project Prism”, “Patriot Act” and “Civil Rights Movement/BLM Activists tracked by the FBI”), instead of the Chinese government going “Wow, this is bad, we should hop on it”, they knocked on Dr. Li’s door four days later and made him sign a document of charges that stated he was making things up in attempt to cause social discord. He tried to point out to them, “Nope, not making things up, this is pretty serious-” but they weren’t trying to hear it. Instead, the Chinese government worked to discredit Dr. Li, and said nothing at all or “The US did it”. This severe mishandling – which I only glossed over, a lot more happened than that – bought the coronavirus priceless time to really settle its roots and make a worldwide bang.

B ) Though outfitted with technology that makes Big Brother in 1984 literally look like it came out of the actual year of 1984, China bumbled the virus badly with their own civilians because, just like the US, they wanted to save face. And thought the best ways were by censoring discussions of Covid on Chinese internet such as WeChat, Weibo, QQ and Baidu, wielding doors to family homes shut and tying individuals spotted without masks to pillars … still without a mask on. They tried to show that their harsh, human-rights-violation-multipliers methods work well but … they don’t. Consider this: if you only had 83,000 people infected with Covid in a nation filled with 1.4 billion people (thus holding 1/5th of the world’s population), isn’t tying people to pillars and wielding homes shut a bit much? Unless the numbers are far, far worse. Which is more like what is actually happening. Modern China has a long, well marked history of cooking numbers and editing history to spin whatever story that benefits the Chinese government – not necessarily the people of China – to either look like they are doing the best job in the world or to present itself as a feeble nation ill-equipped to defend itself from the evil, imperialist West. Though the West has definitely put a wallop on China out of White supremacist-filled imperialism, this does not change the fact that China is currently a superpower nation with the 2nd strongest economy in the world. And one that is fumbling the virus like mad. Just like their geo-political, superpower nation rival, the United States of America.

C) Chinese social media doesn’t bounce the same party lines of the Chinese government, especially in the Wuhan area. I know Chinese, I have access to Chinese social media and friends in China (Wuhan, included). They’re not exactly bubbling with joy over the cover up and doctored stories. When Dr. Li died of the Coronavirus, there was quite the uproar from the Chinese citizens at their government because that was a boiling point. You can’t tell people “We care about what is best for you” and silence anyone who goes “No they don’t and I can prove it” and expect that to hold up forever. They have had protests (both violent and peaceful) in the Hubei province, where Wuhan is, over this and the draconian methods that, frankly, are not working to help stem the virus. The only “China is Amazing And That Is All” I have heard from Chinese social media comes from state media and their nationalists. Just like White Nationalists, Chinese nationalists are just as idiotic and insidiously allergic to actual facts. Everything is “fake news” unless it is bullsh*t they like – then it is somehow very real.

China has the same faults and failings as the USA. Both countries suck at dealing with Covid – the only nation that has been doing an outstanding job is literally South Korea. North Korea has unfortunately been struggle-busing because of a multiplex of problems but North Korean news is quite the humdinger right around now about Covid. I also know Korean so I have been glimpsing at North and South Korean news livestreams. If there is one thing that Covid is revealing, it is how nations handle their social problems. Some actually try to handle the issue, and others go for spin because actual hard work is, well, hard.

Let’s bring up South Korea, actually.

S. Korea is presently going through their second wave, which is also their second curve. This is what the curve is supposed to look like when actual efforts are made. Testing (with no price tag), contact tracing, not wielding family houses shut, closing potential hot spot businesses like karaoke cafes, wearing masks, these are what kept the numbers comparatively low. Granted, Korean news and some civilians feel that not enough is being done. Still some people ignore masks and forgo social distancing, which is indeed a problem, but they still have some glorious numbers. If the US or China had these numbers, then those nations would be justified in playing “Look at [random nation], they are one wrong turn away from turning into World War Z” stories … but they don’t.

Korea is trying to open up as slowly as they can. Just like other people in the world, the civilians are anxious to return back to normal life. But we still do not have a vaccine anywhere (and if politics nonsense continues, it could tack on more time than anyone would like to admit). However, they are still trying to open up. It’s been an experience, with its own wacktacular moments. Such as allowing students to go to school physically and then find they cause cluster infections. And so do beaches and houses of worship. And this is in the nation that has been performing best with Covid. If anything, it shows how anxious the world is as a whole to get back to normal. And how pervasive the coronavirus is when even given a sliver of a chance.

So, what now? As this is a US blog and the US is the hardest hit nation by Covid, it is remarkably obvious that something viciously needs to be done to help with the issues of dealing with Covid. People are out trying to enjoy the summer and that is causing major spikes in the Covid numbers – and, remember this about the numbers: these are the people who can afford to be tested, millions of Americans lost their jobs and thus their health insurance. These party people need to wear a mask. There are people out there forced to protest because White supremacy is far deadlier and with a bigger death toll than what Corona could aspire to accomplish. However, these people also need to wear a mask (I will always say this – if you don’t like tear gas, wear a mask. Please be smart in how you protest. Covid is not the only danger out here). Long story short, there are people are out here, giving Covid countless opportunities to spread. Please participate in social distancing, please wear a mask, and don’t murder Black people because you’re a homicidal racist. (I mean, if you are racist, please catch Covid. Dead racists do tend to equal alive Black people and improved quality of life for Black people. Even if your racism is of the lighter “I’m not racist, I vote blue/listen to Jay Z/etc” variety. Still a walking problem.) Covid is definitely something to worry about, no matter your age. It isn’t just an “old person disease”.

To sum it up, there is still a nasty plague out here. Spin and propaganda does not help stifle the virus. Murdering minorities out of bias does not limit the virus – actually, due to the murderer’s behavior and, in extension, a justice system that hardly works, it puts more people at risk because they have to go out an protest this just to get anything cohesive to happen. If there were less racist murders, that would mean less protests and more people home, which would halt the spread. People need to distance themselves socially, wash their hands, and take the impact of plague seriously. Both viral plagues and plagues of racism.

Black Witch is 10 years old today.

This blog has lasted a lot longer than I thought. I managed to keep up with this blog at some regular-ish interval.

Astonishingly, I don’t have a whole lot to say, really.  I’m sure I will before the month is out, I think part of it is that it doesn’t feel like it hit 10 years, it just feels like yet another year at BW.

Either way, I rescheduled my FB Live on my fan page to today at 6PM EST

 

 

Tomorrow is the tenth year of Black Witch. Every anniversary, I do a live stream on my FB fan page. It will be at 6 PM (EST). Instagram (@thisblackwitch) is a new addition so I’ll be doing a Live there at 12 PM EST.

 

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