Saturday, January 16, 2021

New book ready to go Feb 1; New online column; Other

 mark@marktreble.com

Spring Break Resort is expected to go live on Amazon on February 1, 2021. Volume one in the series, Spring Break Awakening, should go on a free promotion for several days around that time.I've already begun structuring the first book of the new mystery series, Sea Monsters. I've had an artist create an illustration for use on the blog, and another artist is creating the sketches of the luxury yacht on which the investigators will work, the Yasmina

This is the cover art for the new book, coming out around February 1.



I've started an online column under another of my writing names, Bill Heath. It is on Substack, a relatively new platform for independent journalists. A number of established journalists, such as Glenn Greenwald, formerly of The Intercept, and Matt Taibbi, formerly of Rolling Stone, have switched to this platform because it promises not to censor based on political beliefs. As a citizen and a writer, I find the practice of censorship to be abhorrent, no matter whose views are being blocked. 

The column is free, and all are welcome to comment. I will reject only comments that promote violence or censorship, or that portray incenst, pedophelia or bestiality as acceptable. Otherwise, you're invited to comment as you wish. It can be found at BillHeath.Substack.Com, and is called "One Foot in the Gravy." Drop by, enjoy or not, join or not, it's free either way. Register to receive columns as they are published, leave comments, offer suggestions or even offer to write a column yourself. I'm not sure how, but content will remain free in perpetuity to all who decide to register during the first six months.

 The title is One Foot in the Gravy.

 


 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Thinking Versus Feeling about COVID19 Deaths

 mark@marktreble.com

 

Remember all the people claiming COVID19 was the same as the flu? Well, in the 2019-2020 flu season 22,000 deaths occurred; 22,000 people died last week from COVID19. That is true if a week is the same as a year.

 Remember all the people claiming that two-week lockdowns were needed only until we bent the curve?  That is true in the same sense that the curve has no end.

We know more today about COVID19 than we did when all of these claims were made. In only one way are COVID9 and this year's most-prevalent influenza strain the same: each is a mutation of a common cold virus. They are very different in age distribution of death, which impacts the gross number of deaths and the deaths' impacts. See https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-10-162.

For COVID19 in the U.S., the average age at death is the same as the general population's life expectancy. My initial suspicion is that the current pandemic is culling the population by bringing forward by a matter of months deaths that were already inevitable. For influenza, the death rate for infected infants and toddlers is higher than that of 70-year-olds. Epidemiology is a matter of numbers, not feelings. I am 73 and in poor health. If I catch COVID19 and die a month from now, some will agonize over my death, but those who can separate thinking from feeling understand that the impact of me losing up to a year of future life pales in comparison to my niece's newborn losing seventy years of her future life.

The use of a single measurement to judge a complex system carries great danger. In another online conversation today on Substack, I replied to a post asking why China was so quick and organized to vaccinate, while we appeared clownish.That uses a measurement of efficiency, which considers elapsed time plus resources consumed. Achieving China's efficiency came at a cost of as many as 150,000,000 deaths at the hands of authoritarian government in the 20th century.

And, the standard FDA process for approving a new medication, be it vaccination or treatment, is for a private company first to spend $2B+ of its own money over twelve years before the medication is released for public use. In China, the process is far more efficient. A medical lab develops a vaccine, the central government orders it manufactured and administered, and the hoi polloi are told when and where to show up. The Chinese have 150M reasons to obey. The U.S., as with Australia, was settled by dissidents and malcontents. Our submission-to-authority genes are weak, and our "Up Yours" genes are strong. The Federal nature of our governments treat states as sovereigns, and our constitution was written for liberty, not efficiency. But, this is an emergency!!!!! No, it's a really contagious common cold virus that primarily kills people close to death already. If this sounds cold, then you're free to disregard it along with the remainder of the real world.




Sunday, January 10, 2021

Progress on two fronts

 

mark@marktreble.com

 

Target release date for Spring Break Resort: Another Pointless College Story with Lots of Gratuitous Sex, set for February 15, 2021. It’s at the editor, and should be back for final sanity check late his week.

 

Also, have structured Sea Monsters, first book in the Frankenbuzz Detective Agency series. One week to prepare, one day to get familiar with the yacht, crew and passengers, and thirteen days on board, under cover with the crew. Eighteen hour days performing crew duties, then the real work starts: Finding who has been killing guests, how, and how to stop the killer.



 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Pandemic Journal, July 31, 2020

 

mark@marktrble.com

 

Pandemic Journal July 31, 2020

 

I’m Logan Matthews. your host tonight. My husband, Tommy West, will be back next week. This is the weekly pandemic journal, broadcasting from beautiful downtown Chicago, the home of mostly peaceful protests and mostly stupid politicians.

 

We are protected from the consequences of many people’s stupidity because we are part of a protected class: professional athletes. Our building is owned by the Minotaurs, our use of the facilities part of our compensation. We are drawing very nice compensation and can do whatever work required of us without leaving a secure cocoon. The same is not true for much of our country. So, we spend a lot of time trying to expand the cocoon to fellow Americans.

 

We do that through programs that Tommy runs for at-risk youth, through my efforts to get competent legal representation for marginalized people, through our food program and the clinic. I doubt that everything we do conforms with the lockdown orders. It’s just that a professional sports team can get away with a lot of things normal people can’t. If Joe the plumber is arrested for violating lockdown orders to go to work and feed his family, he’s screwed. If Antoine Jackson goes to work he isn’t arrested; he gets a press conference.

 

Anyway, enough about the news. Tommy and I have started a new hobby, building our dream vacation. So far, we’ve decided on a driving trip across the country, a big circle. We’ll leave from Chicago and drive through Wisconsin and Minnesota on our way to the Dakotas. We go to Mount Rushmore and to the Crazy Horse sculpture. That’s gonna be amazing. We’re gonna visit the ghost town, Deadwood. Tommy says that Rue McLanahan, the woman who played Blanche on the Golden Girls, had something to do with the town. I’m not really sure if I’ve ever seen the Golden Girls, or what it is exactly. Tommy tells me we should swing by Saint Olaf in Minnesota on our way through so I can visit my relatives. Something tells me that’s not a compliment,

 

The clinic called; both translating nurses are overrun and there’s a family of eleven from Central America that just came in the door. Gotta go. Tommy will talk to you next week.