Her name is Kate Bond

Her name is Bond. Kate Bond and she likes her drinks shaken, not stirred.

Under a rather frail appearance, she hides the body of an athlete. She usually moves at a leisurely pace but is capable of extraordinary feats if the situation demands it. In a bind, she can make enormous jumps with the ease and stealth of a ninja. In passing, she is a Krav Maga expert and licensed to kill. She is known in the business as 666.

Kate has been living with us for quite a while and accepts free food and lodging. To be frank, she is rather lazy and spends long hours sleeping, but she has assured me that her seemingly lethargic behavior is deliberate. She mulls problems for a long time (more than me) before acting, but when she does, she is quick and decisive.

She is fluent in half a dozen foreign languages, and while pretending to not understand, she comprehends every single word of any conversation.

Now, to my problem. Lately, I have become increasingly worried about some of my neighbors. I know that this sounds paranoid, but I wonder if the Proud Boys (and Conceited Girls) have infiltrated our peaceful community. The FBI has been particularly active in monitoring their recent activities and it suddenly occurred to me that Kate Bond could be very helpful in containing this problem.

Due to her constant patrols, she knows the neighborhood like the palm of her paw and is aware of everything going on there. Since she can move so stealthily, I have been thinking of providing her with a small microphone and camera to record any suspicious activity. We need some evidence, and only Kate Bond could provide this.

I still have not discussed this matter with her, but I intend to do it soon. I know that she is no pushover and that I will need some compelling arguments to convince her, but the safety of our community is at stake, and something has to be done.

Every cat has a price and Kate Bond is probably no different. The problem is that she is very finicky, and I don’t know what kind of incentive to offer her. Like the previous (infamous) administration, I could offer a slew of pardons for all her past misdeeds, but she probably does not care.

The best way to deal with her would be to Joindre l’utile à l’agréable (to combine business with pleasure) but I still don’t have the slightest idea how to do this. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Keep in mind that

“Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow.” Jeff Valdez

Ta ta for now…

Alain

Covid-19 vaccination

After weeks of requesting, imploring, cajoling, begging… and many more other words (some not very nice) ending in “ing”, I finally got my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

Despite the fact that I am a longtime Marin County resident and an equally longtime member of Kaiser Permanente, I had to go to San Francisco to get my shoulder pierced. My wife volunteered to drive me there, and since parking in Baghdad by the Bay can be pretty nightmarish, I gratefully accepted.

The vaccination was ultimately done through Kaiser at the USF Koret Health and Recreation Center on Turk Street in San Francisco. After a quick ride from Marin, my wife dropped me there and went looking for a parking space.

I have to admit that this mass vaccination was very well organized. At the entrance of the center, on Turk street, you were greeted by half a dozen nurses and security people who asked for your credentials. Because to be vaccinated, you absolutely had to have an appointment before being allowed into their cavernous inner sanctum.

 

After a short wait outside (about 20 minutes) my time slot group was ushered inside. The gigantic hall was staffed by a multitude of volunteers? and a large contingent of USF nursing students who administered the shots. It was immediately apparent that the young woman who gave me my injection was a trainee. She seemed very tentative and was coached every step of the way by an older gentleman. She finally, rather hesitantly, gave me the injection, and even though the syringe needle looked at least one inch long, it was surprisingly painless.

After I was given the injection, I was re-scheduled for a second shot and asked to sit down and wait for at least 15 minutes to make sure that there would be no ill side effects. Nothing of this sort occurred to me or to any of the other people sitting around me.

Some oddballs (anti-vax) are still refusing vaccinations and are denigrating that procedure. Probably the same groups who blamed wildfires on Jewish space lasers, and who believe that the shootings at ParklandSandy Hook, and Las Vegas were staged.
Where are these psilocybin mushroom induced stories coming from?

Unfortunately, “There is no vaccine against stupidity.”– Albert Einstein

In about 3 weeks I will get my second shot, along with some peace of mind. I hope that I will be (temporarily?) protected and unable to transmit the virus to anybody else. But does this mean that I will be able to ditch my mask and hug anybody that I fancy?
Absolutely not. Masks will be with us for a long time to come and going without it would be foolish. So, get used to it and be glad you are still breathing.

But do I see a flickering of light at the end of the tunnel? I do. After a long troublesome year, like millions of people, I yearn to get back to a normal, unrestricted way of life. And it will happen, but not tomorrow and not even in 2021.

In the meantime, keep a stiff upper lip (rather difficult to do with a mask) and carry on! That’s all you can do.

Alain

Everybody likes a good story

Everybody likes a good story, that’s why gossip rags, scandal sheets, magazines, books, and movies sell so well. The world is hungry for stories, the juicier, the better.

“Storytelling: the world’s second oldest profession.” ~ Danny Harris

But a good story must have a head, a body, and a tail. In other words, it must have a beginning, a mid-point, and an end. AND, above all, it absolutely must have a denouement, a good or bad conclusion where everything is explained or resolved. If your narrative does not fit these criteria, or if the end is ambiguous, it is not a good story.

Last night I started to watch a French-speaking flick (Nos batailles) with a promising beginning. It was a story about an average working guy employed by a fulfillment center looking suspiciously like Amazon. Everybody looks harried and under pressure. The guy is married, with 3 children, and seems to have a happy home life. He is also a company team leader, concerned with the fair treatment of his team. He sometimes works late, trying to resolve some employee’s disputes.

One evening he comes home to discover that his wife is gone. She packed some belongings, left the children behind, and vanished without leaving any clue about where she went or why she left. The rest of the movie is spent watching the man going berserk trying to find out where his wife went and wondering if she is ever coming back.

But like many modern French stories, the end of this tale was extremely disappointing. It was disappointing because, after about 90 minutes of suspense, we were left wanting, hungry for closure. We never saw the wife again and were never told why she left and whether she would ever return.

The French seem to specialize in this kind of sadistic ending. A little bit like an inconclusive roll in the hay that leaves both partners frustrated and angry.

And last night this is exactly how I felt. Disappointed and angry. Because even after you go to sleep, your mind does not necessarily follow suit. It remains alert, groping for answers. In any movie, I want to know who killed the old lady and why. Was it the maid, the butler, or even the cop? I don’t care who did it, I just want to know who and why. Fair is fair.

Just imagine telling a bedtime story to a young child, and after 30 minutes of colorful details, you close the book and tell the kid to go to sleep. This is a clear case of mental cruelty, punishable by literary impeachment.

I don’t necessarily want a happy ending. I just want a good story with a well-thought-out, rational conclusion… so sue me…

Alain