What to do? You can’t argue people out of paranoia. If you try to point out factual errors, you only entrench false belief. The only solution is to reduce the distrust and anxiety that is the seedbed of this thinking. That can only be done first by contact, reducing the social chasm between the members of the epistemic regime and those who feel so alienated from it. And second, it can be done by policy, by making life more secure for those without a college degree.

"They" like to remind people that when you design for the person with a disability or who needs assistance, you make things easier for everyone.

Designing a social safety net that works does not just feed the destitute and aid homeless drug addicts. It gives dignity to all wage earners and a margin of error for anyone.

There are a lot of things I don't understand about people. One is the fear that a thing which may help you may help someone else more.  Another is the belief that help you will never need has no value in your community.

 I understand anxiety and I understand feeling you have not control. I just don't understand how it leads to the belief that no-one at all should have aid of any kind.


I forgot what I was going to say.

My parents have never not ever in their lives had a Thanksgiving that was just them until this year. I don't just mean "in their married lives" (they've been married 55 years) but I mean when they were children, too, even my father's dirt-poor, no-one-had-time-nor-skills-nor-money-for-a-feast family, they always had Thanksgiving guests.

We have always had Thanksgiving guests. 

But not this year.

This is only my second at home alone with my spouse Thanksgiving. And one of only maybe half-a-dozen I haven't been at my parents. We ate very good food. Had a couple great cocktails. Relaxed. Zoomed with my family. Slacked with my best friends. Had a few texts and phone calls with some other folks. 

This year sucks. This world sort of sucks. We're lucky. We love each other. We like each other. We have stable, well-paying jobs we are able to do from the safety of our home--which is safe, warm, nicely appointed and easily affordable on our income. We're healthy. 

I have the best, most trustworthy, kind and giving friends. My beloved sister and her family are within walking distance. We're safe, safe with each other. and even though we have more than that, it's hard to care because of how grateful I am to be safe and safe with each other.

The U.S. is not safe. It is deeply unsafe for so many people. And sometimes even unsafe for people like me. And I am grateful for the things I have and grateful for the people showing me ways to fight to guarantee them to more people.


I got a flu shot at CVS. It was easier than posting on Facebook. 
I went to CVS.com, answered about 10 questions about symptoms (basically I clicked  "no COVID-19 symptoms" about 10 times), then I clicked on an appointment time and said, yeah, I'll show up. 
I went to CVS, waited, then I sat in a room with a nurse, she asked me if I had any questions, checked my ID and insurance, and gave me the shot. Done. 
Easy peasy.

If you haven't, and you can, get one. 

I keep kicking myself because I haven't yet. It's on my list.
Dude! You're more at risk than the rest of us. Today.
Do you need me to Shia Shout DO IT at you?
Um. Now. Please.

A friend had to take her roommate to the hospital this morning. They thought he was having a heart attack--it's COVID 19. I last saw her 16-17 days ago. We met outside to exchange some things. We're waiting to hear. To see what we can do for her, if it's even possilble to help. Maybe deliver soup.

The estimate is that 1 in 16 people in Chicago has an active infection. The realtor who just sold my rental property tested positive last week (I last saw her in person in August). She feels like she's recovering.

Our across-the-hallway neighbors have a steady stream of visitors. I have never seen these neighbors wearing or even carrying face masks but I have only ever run into them when I'm sitting in the back yard. 

I am frightened. I am angry. I am sad.


In a lovely November weekend, I head out to my local winery. While buying a case, I notice there is a photo of a Mason-Dixson crownstone framed on the wall.

I get excited. “You have a Mason-Dixson stone! Can I see it?!!?”

Alas, I was informed, it’s on the owner’s property, and not available for public viewing. Except EXCEPT, occasionally when they do the behind the scenes vineyard tours. Which they aren’t doing now due to Covid, but expect to do so again. As one of the workers there carried my case out, he took me to the side and pointed out where the stone is - in the distance, behind the vines, under a tree. 

I am so going back for the Vineyard tour.

Mason and Dixon and crew placed "crownstones" every 5 miles, way back in 1763. Smaller stone markers were placed in the inbetween miles. The stones were quarried in England, and crown stones were engraved with the crests of the two great houses that commissioned the survey: House Penn and House Cavert. (Calvert was also Lord Baltimore, and the Maryland state flag has this same graphic on two quardrents of its flag)

Five miles north of the Harvest Ridge Winery is the town of Marydel, on the border of Maryland and Delaware. In an unassuming spot by the road is a little chain marked square, with a crownstone inside. My understanding is that this marker was removed and displayed in St. Louis in 1904, and later in Baltimore. It was returned to Marydel in 1954 and was reset in 1964. So it may be a few feet off the original spot. 

The next day, we traveled south to the south western most point of Delaware. I planned the route to take us across on the Woodland Ferry. (Google maps doesn't realize this ferry is an option, so you have to convince it.) Apparently this ferry has been running since 1743ish, by the Cannon family, who were eventually granted “exclusive ferrying rights”. The Cannons ran the ferry for 100 years, among other business ventures. The Deldot brochure on the ferry mentions a jilted groom, strongarm foreclosures, slaving, and honey disputes that end in death. Apparently the Cannons were assholes, and their demise was not mourned. The county and eventually the state took over the ferry, which is free to use today. It’s about a 2 minutes crossing and can fit 4-6 vehicles at a time. (And from my home in Dover to the southwest corner of Delaware, only a 5 minute detour from google’s “fastest route”.)

Anyhow, at the south western most point of Delaware there is - you guessed it - and monument placed by Mason & Dixon. It is another crownstone, called the Transpeninsular Midpoint Marker and it is much better protected than the Marydel one. Also in the protective cage are 2 smaller survey stones done by other surveyors before Mason & Dixon came around. Mason & Dixon verified the earlier survey work. There is ALSO a third smaller stone, which apparently is just there because when they were building the cage, a local had it, thought it looked similar and belonged with the others, so put it with them. Another point for my Delaware is Awesome tally.

People throw change into the cage. Dunno why. We left our 2cents and moseyed on.

Out of 24 county equivalents in Maryland, exactly half are named for people directly related to the Calvert family.
Cool! History is cool.
I am trying to engage my kid on seeing the connections. Astronomy! Surveys! Taxes! The crests! The Flag!
Ferrys before Bridges! ... mostly she just roles her eyes at me. But I'm hoping some of it sinks in.

She did seem to perk up when I said that Jeremiah Dixon was a miscreant that got disowned from the (Quaker) church. But I'm hoping she remembers the other stuff too
Some of it will sink in. Says the guy whose father dragged him to every civil war and American revolution battlefield in driving distance.

If your call for "unity" does not begin with the statement that Black Lives Matter, I reject it. If your call for "unity" does not start with the acknowledgement that the humanity and dignity of Black people, of Latine people, of Indigneous people is unassailable, I reject it.

If you call for unity without declaring that humanity, dignity and a basic right to exist belong unequivocally to gay, lesbian and queer people, I reject it. If you call for unity without without proclaiming that humanity, dignity and a basic right to exist belong unequivocally to transgender and nonbinary people. then I reject it.

If you cannot state that women are without exception as fully human as men, then your call for unity is false.

I will try to acknowledge your humanity, and I will try to preserve your human dignity. I will fight for healthcare that includes you, for clean air and water and climate that can sustain your children and grandchildren, for economic justice that relieves your burdens, for systems that support and feed you and your family. But I will not defend you. I will not join hands with you.

I will reject your beliefs because they are not equal to mine and they have no place in society.

​​​​​​​“A quote widely attributed to James Baldwin, but was, in fact, coined by Robert Jones, Jr. on August 18, 2015 on Twitter, succinctly states the intention of Son of Baldwin:

We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”

A note from the author, Robert Jones, Jr.: "I said this originally in response to public disagreements between social justice activists I witnessed on Twitter. I wanted to note that despite having different ways of accomplishing what is essentially the same mission of liberation, it's important to keep each other's humanity in mind. I initially didn't think about the broader impact of what I said until it went viral. I find it especially meaningful given the prospect of a Trump-led America, where bigots have found new energy and resolve. It's a reminder that no dogma supersedes any person's inalienable right to liberty. It's a statement meant to let, for example, the queer-antagonistic business owner know that no matter how fervent their religious convictions, it doesn't grant them the right to discriminate against or dehumanize queer people in the public sphere. That's the price of living in a civilized society. What they believe in their own private spaces is one thing, but the moment they enter public spaces, they must abide by the standard of equity that is inherently ours from the minute we are born, simply because we are born. James Baldwin, someone I deeply admire, once put it like this: "From my point of view, no label, no slogan, no party, no skin color, and indeed no religion is more important than the human being."

-Son of Baldwin


I firmly believe that every single time any one of us goes to a doctor for any reason, we should write our Congress and describe in detail the existential angst and the out of pocket costs and the dread and fear and threat of complete financial ruin if there's any diagnosis requiring any follow-up care.

The calculus of out of pocket vs deductible limits, the confusion of six bills for the same visit which you just keep paying for. The the six hours of phone calls trying to figure out which medication they can maybe prescribe instead because that one is $300, but the automated nurse on the phone said there was something that was only $20 and the pharmacist said a third one was about the same but has to be prescribed as a generic.

Then end strong with a demand for Medicare for all.

These fuckers need to fix things. We need to stop letting them get away with not doing it.


We're in a complete media black out. It's less burying our heads in the sand and more accepting our impotence and protecting our nerves. I'm not working this week and had pulled together a stack of projects in the sewing room, but today I'm watching Monstrom on PBS Passport, sorting socks, playing video games. 

I made breakfast tacos. I have an appointment with a remote notary at 1. Zoom cocktail hour later. We have our late fall several day run of sunny warm weather, so maybe my sister will come sit in the yard for coffee.

All we can do is wait and hope.