Writer, Broadcaster

Category: Life (Page 3 of 20)

Sign up for Writing News! Or Not…

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Update: Turns out the Newsletter sign up form was glitchy. But it should work now! If you tried signing up any time before Monday April 6th I’m afraid you’ll have to sign up again. Sorry for the trouble!

Off to the right there on this very blog you’ll see a place where you can sign up for writing news about Yours Truly should you be so inclined. What writing news, you ask? How many words I’ve written each day? How many I haven’t? Which words I wrote? Which words I deleted, or rewrote, or spelled wrong?

Nah, nothing like that. Just news about new books I have out, or appearances at various book fairs, along with anything else I think you might be interested in.

As with all such newsletters, you need to expressly opt-in to be included, to ensure that nefarious characters like me don’t spam you. And you can opt out at any time by simply clicking “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the newsletter, or by dropping me a line and saying, “Will you please take me off this newsletter, please, I thought you were Joe Mahoney the baseball player, not some lame writer guy,” or the like.

I’m only asking for three pieces of information about you. Email, for obvious reasons, name, for relatively obvious reasons, and country, just cuz that would be interesting to know. You don’t even have to tell me the truth. You can just make a country up, if you like. That might be even more interesting.

A note for those who might have signed up before: I’m afraid you’ll have to sign up again. I was using a different service before, which hasn’t worked out. So starting fresh with Mailerlite, which I’m optimistic will work much better.

Anyway, here’s hoping you sign up. If enough people do, expect to start seeing some newsletters. Not too many though… don’t want to inundate anyone. But I should be able to manage at least one or two over the next ten or twelve years…

Pandemic Questions

(Image courtesy of Pexels and Anna Shvets)

People love to tell me that there are no stupid questions.

Well, there are, and I ask them.

I think it’s important to ask questions. I think it’s especially important to ask questions even when you think they might be stupid. Chances are somebody else is wondering the same thing. And once you know the answer, you are less stupid than you were before.

So here’s a list of questions I have about the virus officially known to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2,” and “SARS-CoV-2”, or simply as the disease Covid-19 to the rest of us.

I am under no illusion that any of these questions are particularly astute or original. Some of them are obvious; others might well be stupid. Some have probably already been answered. Others, I know, nobody has answered yet, though scientists and medical professionals the world over are hard at work trying to come up with answers.

So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s what I’ve been wondering about:

A pangolin
  1. Once you’ve had Covid-19, can you get it again?
  2. If you get it and do become immune, how long is that immunity likely to last?
  3. Are there different strains of Covid-19 out there? The answer appears to be yes, though the differences are minute. And it doesn’t appear that one is more dangerous than the other. Will yet more strains emerge? Might they be more or less dangerous? I would like to know.
  4. Considering that Covid-19 is a novel coronovirus, a new strain that has not previously been identified in humans, why do otherwise healthy people respond differently to it? Why do some succumb to it, others get very sick, others experience minor symptoms, and yet others show no symptoms at all? Not talking about the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions; just wondering why healthy people respond differently.
  5. Just how infectious is Covid-19? What are the actual odds of getting it if I’m talking to someone who’s infected and I foolishly touch my nose, eyes, or mouth? Will I definitely get it, or am I just likely to?
  6. How exactly did this begin? We know that its origin was natural. Apparently there are two primary possibilities. It could have evolved through natural selection in a non-human host (most likely a bat) and then jumped to humanity through an intermediate host (such as a pig). This is the most likely scenario, and if indeed this was the case, it could easily happen again. A less likely possibility is that a non-pathogenic version jumped to humans (from an animal such as a pangolin) and then, once inside humans, evolved a ruthless ability to bind to human cells, and became the super-villainous virus we all know and hate today.  So… which was it? Or was it some other natural phenomenon altogether? Whatever the case, what can we do to reduce the possibility of it occurring again?
  7. Approximately one third of the planet is currently in lockdown because of the pandemic. What are the rest doing?
  8. Are people still fighting wars while the pandemic rages? If so, where? And more importantly, why? And what will the impact of that be? Nothing good, I would imagine.
  9. Will there be a second pandemic wave? If the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu is any indication, the answer is yes. How do we prepare for that?
  10. When will it be safe to emerge from our homes? The Spanish Flu pandemic lasted two years (though the worst of it was one three month period in 1918). We know more than we knew then. We are responding in an unprecedented fashion pretty much worldwide. One has to hope this will result in a much better outcome.

If I stumble upon any answers, I’ll let you know.

Grace upon Grace: Book Review

A lovely little book

Grace Upon Grace is the aptly named memoir of Grace Fraser Henry’s experience with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a progressive immune disorder that wreaks havoc with one’s immune system. Like other sufferers, Grace has experienced diminished physical and cognitive functionality.

In just over 62 pages, Grace lets us see her life before and after MS. We glimpse her as a healthy child, climbing trees and running faster than anyone else. We see her as a young adult touring with a popular Jamaican Gospel group, getting married, and starting a life in Canada. And then, once MS strikes, we witness it derail her successful teaching career, but fail utterly to derail anything else about Grace. Her spirit and faith and courage live on despite her prognosis.

Grace frequently draws parallels between memorable events in her life that resonate with her challenges with MS. The result is a concise, lucid, and charming memoir, full of hope and light, just like, I suspect, Grace herself.

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