so in the end, who’s to say??

In short, cloth masks are largely symbolic.
Molly McCann, The Federalist


(my little supply)

I’ll admit that I’ve been a bit defiant when it comes to the wearing of a mask
while venturing out in public.
I’ve made several mentions of such here in blogland.

I am fortunate in that I live in a smaller city that has no mandate
to her citizens of the must-wear or else camp.

Naturally, if my governmental officials tell me to wear a mask, otherwise, I’ll die…
well, that’s pretty clear cut, I’d don my mask.

Yet that sort of mandate comes with caveats.

Such as absolutes versus suppositions.

This whole notion of to mask or not to mask came up yesterday when a kind woman commented on my post
“Freedom…hummmmm”
(https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2020/05/26/freedom-hummmm/)

Her comment to me:
I believe that wearing a mask is the polite thing to do in consideration
of the health of others as well as yourself.
How hard is that?
Wearing a mask in public areas is showing self-respect for yourself and respect for others.

My response:
If I am required to do so, I certainly will but what we know about the masks that
the average person wears, of which are not medical grade, is that they are not a defense
against a virus— viruses are smaller than the pores of the fabric so the protection,
if any, is negligible.

I’m all for being polite but I’m also all for being smart.
And as for respect, the wearing of a mask, of which is not
shown to be of any real health benefit, is not my idea of respect
but rather more like blindly following mass hysteria

The majority of the masks being worn by the general public are more or less
dust protection masks.
Masks that help filter out pollen, smoke, and yes the obvious, dust…
and let us note the words “help filter” — which is not 100% filtration.

We know that viruses are so tiny that they can pass through the pores of cloth style masks.
Rather it is the medical-grade masks that will do the trick but they are needed for our
medical teams and first responders as they come face to face, literally, with this virus.

There has been a shortage of medical-grade masks because a panicked populace went out
with a henny penny mentality to gobble them up–and when those ran out they
bought every other sort of mask.
That panic-driven purchasing has left the folks who really need the protection
in the lurch.

That’s what a media-frenzied driven hype does to people…
it generates panic grabbing—hence the shortages of toilet paper, but I digress.

Back when this pandemic mess was just starting to ramp up, the word
from fellow blogger IB, over on Insanity Bytes, was this:

First a word about masks.
So, talking to the general public here, regarding infection control,
should you wear a cloth mask?
Probably or possibly, but with big caveats.
Viruses are really tiny, they go right through the weave of material.
So if wearing a cloth mask makes you feel better, go for it,
just don’t let it give you a false sense of security.
You still need to keep your distance from other people.
Also, you have to dispose of it or wash it frequently, otherwise,
all you’re really doing it putting a dirty rag over your face and rubbing germs right
into your mucus membranes. How long does it take for a mask to become contaminated?
About two seconds.
One sneeze.

https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2020/04/01/the-glove-queen/

IB does have a scientific background and speaks with the knowledge of her field and craft.

Tuesday when I went to the car dealership to have my car serviced…the technicians
who greeted me were each wearing masks and gloves.
The gentleman who checked me in was not.
I was not.

As I made my way to the waiting area,
there were some folks with masks and some folks without masks.
Plus all those waiting and working the showroom were all nicely spread out.

I do know that when one of the folks wearing a mask started coughing and sneezing,
despite their mask,
I found myself with that sinking feeling of ‘great, here comes the good old cold”

Yesterday I read an interesting article on the Federalist regarding the issue
of masks or no masks.
It seems that the mask issue has become more than a medical issue—
it is now a politicized issue.

It is not merely a matter of health but it has morphed into a matter of being a
Trump supporter vs one who is not.
It seems that Trump supporters don’t wear masks.
Those on the left, who despise Trump and all those who support the president,
are demanding masks to be worn at all costs.

Virginia and her Governor are a case in point as the Governor has mandated
that his state’s residents all wear masks.

And remember, this is all Trump’s fault.
So to me, this has all gotten absolutely ridiculous.
It has become a matter of control rather than health and safety.
And that is something I cannot abide by.

The article, which I’ve linked to below, was written by Molly McCann—
Here are a few excerpts.

An April 18 article in the Washington Post underscores the strategy,
presenting the mask controversy as a left versus right debate.
People resisting mandatory mask policies are, per usual, painted as unreasonable,
headstrong, and backward—displaying ignorant American bravado while
rejecting science and good sense.
(That caricature is itself a tool to mock, marginalize, and silence dissent.)

The most telling passage of the article is this one:

For Trump’s supporters, declining to wear a mask is a visible way to demonstrate
“that ‘I’m a Republican,’ or ‘I want businesses to start up again,’
or ‘I support the president,’ ” said Robert Kahn, a law professor at the University of St.Thomas
in Minneapolis who has studied Americans’ attitudes toward masks.
‘Masks will quickly become the new normal in blue states,
but if social distancing continues through 2022,
the mentality among Republicans could well change, too:
If I can go to work and the cost of marginal improvement in my life is wearing a mask,
maybe Americans of both parties do accommodate ourselves to it.’

Masks Are of Limited Benefit
The truth is you aren’t irrational or obdurate if you are skeptical about masks.
The “experts” have admitted that masks’ efficacy is usually negligible.
Dr. Anthony Fauci himself, in a “60 Minutes” interview early in this pandemic,
dismissed masks as essentially useless.

“There is no reason to be walking around wearing a mask.
When you are in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel better,
and might even block a droplet,” he said with almost an eyeroll,
“but it’s not providing the perfect protection people think it is,
and often there are unintended consequences…”

Fauci may have changed his tune, but plenty of sensible doctors are still speaking up.
Last week, a doctor in the Wall Street Journal pointed out that cloth masks—the type worn
by the overwhelming majority of the population—are not very effective,
echoing Fauci’s earlier admission. The WSJ author noted that even the N95 masks fall short:
“They’re considered effective at blocking coronavirus particles only when they’re
form fitted and tested to make sure there isn’t any leakage.”

In short, cloth masks are largely symbolic.
The science hasn’t changed, but the agenda has.

Implementing mandatory mask policies across a society of 300 million because
it makes some people feel better is absurd on its face.
But the policy makes a lot of sense if you understand its purpose and usefulness to
shift the American mindset.

Mandatory masks are a critical predicate conditioning us to accept abuses of our liberty.
Mandatory masking provides the foundation on which governments continue to justify emergency
measures and rule by executive fiat, and it creates a national mood of consent that
America will accept indefinite government expansion because we face a “new normal.

https://thefederalist.com/2020/05/27/mandatory-masks-arent-about-safety-theyre-about-social-control/

Even well known liberal left-leaning CNBC had an interesting article
posted back in early March.

“Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams
said via Twitter over the weekend.

“They are NOT effective in preventing [the] general public from catching coronavirus,
but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients,
it puts them and our communities at risk!”
The warning from America’s top doctor is consistent with medical advice from the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
which has said there is no evidence to support wearing face masks.

Instead, Adams said “the best way to protect yourself and your community
is with everyday preventative actions, like staying home when you are sick and
washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of the respiratory illness.”

‘Not a lot of evidence’ to support wearing face masks

It has been suggested wearing face masks could be useful if you’re sick in order to
prevent you from sneezing or coughing into somebody’s face, David Heymann, who led WHO’s
infectious disease unit at the time of the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003,
said at a Chatham House press briefing last month.

But, “a mask that is used to stop getting an infection is sometimes not very effective
because people take it off to eat, many times they are worn improperly (and)
if they get wet and somebody sneezes on that mask it could pass through.

So, there is really not a lot of evidence (to support wearing masks).”

Thus the moral of this convoluted little tale—
if I’m told “no mask, no shirt, no shoes, no service”
I’ll be donning my mask— otherwise, I’ll be 6 feet away while washing my hands.

Lastly, I find it all rather ironic that there are those out there who
are claiming to be ‘following the science’
(hence the shuttering of the various Houses of Worship while allowing
the doors of abortion clinics to swing wide open) but is not “the science” telling us
that the common mask is actually not medically beneficial?

So in the end, who’s to say?…
Obviously a great many who are both in and out of the know.

melted pats of butter…

“I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts.
Well-preserved indeed! Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched,
if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.
That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings


(clipart image of a melting pat of butter)

I’ve been heard, as of late, to lament that I feel as if I am a melting pat of butter.

Meaning….
I am tired.

Simply melting away.

But really, who isn’t tired these days?

Nurses.
Doctors.
EMS.
Police.
Firefighters.
First Responders.
Teachers.
Educational Admins.
Parents.
Grandparents.
Work from home folks.
Students.
Kids.

We are all so, so tired.

Physically.
Emotionally.
Mentally.
Spiritually.

Remember, you can go to Walmart or the liquor store…but you can’t go to Chruch.

We are tired of mixed messages.
We are tired of lockdowns.
We are tired of politicians.
We are tired of not being able to work.
We are tired of not being able to move.
We are tired of not being able to pay our bills.
We are tired.

We are tired of being told what to do.
We are tired of being told what not to do.

We don’t know who to believe.

Our leaders are a mixed bag of nuts.
As in many are truly nuts.

And we are tired of nuts.

And so I cling to the One constant…

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

tales of the asinine…Vol. I

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
Søren Kierkegaard


(the oddity of a tiki flaming pineapple in the heart of Atlanta, absurd or odd / Julie Cook / 2019)

According to Merriam Webster, the word asinine means:

asinine: adjective
as·i·nine | \ ˈa-sə-ˌnīn \
1 : extremely or utterly foolish or silly

Utterly foolish or silly…

I think I’ll opt for such words as utterly foolish, idiotic, absurd, ridiculous
and really really stupid.

My daughter-n-law and I were running a few errands yesterday when she asked if I
had heard the news story about the police officers, out in Arizona, who were visiting
a Starbucks and were asked to leave because another patron told management that the
presence of the police made them nervous.

I responded that yes, yes I had heard that story and it had to be just about the most
idiotic thing I’d ever heard…

Incensed all over again, I told her it was just one more tale in the endless sea of lunacy
in a long line of “the tales of the asinine”…

Her response was that we should start writing a series entitled “the asinine journals, or
perhaps chronicles, of our times…”

For you see, I’m the type of person who happens to feel safer whenever I’m out and about
and police, or any other first responders, happen to be patronizing the same establishment
I am.

As in…when I’m out, say, eating a hearty breakfast at a Cracker Barrell and
there happens to be a table full of firemen also enjoying breakfast–
all the while as the crackle of their radios with the latest breaking news
echos around their table, I feel safe in knowing that should I suddenly have a
heart attack or choke on my Sunrise Sampler or lest a fire breaks out in the kitchen,
it’s all good.

Cops getting coffee in a Starbucks says to me that no idiot is going to come busting in
hoping to pull off an armed robbery…and if they do, the trauma should be short-lived
as the cops would be on the idiot(s) like white of rice.

Just an added bit of peace of mind while venturing out into our ever-growing
crime-ridden world.

But no, instead we have to have some idiot who tells a coffee barista that they just don’t
feel safe ordering a coffee mocha latte while some police officers are doing the same.
And so the equally idiotic coffee barista tells the officers to leave.

And so now tell me something…
God forbid that later, the barista should have to call 911 due to some sort of robbery
or calamity, how would those same officers feel about having to respond?

My guess would be that because they are duty bound,
they would respond regardless of any slight or offense because that’s what cops do.

And for all those naysayers, snowflakes and Antifa folks out there…
yes, there are bad cops, bad soldiers, bad doctors, bad priests, bad lawyers, bad teachers…
as in there are simply bad people out there who do bad things to good people…

Just like there are good cops, good soldiers, good doctors, good priests, good lawyers,
good teachers…as in good people trying to do good things for other people.
Good people who try to do their utmost for those they serve or for those who they
simply interact with on a day to day basis.

We live in a balance of good vs evil.
Plain and simple.

Good people doing good things for and by other people.

So for some police officers to come into a Starbucks to get a cup of coffee or a
cup of tea or whatever, only to be asked to leave simply because they are cops who
happen to make one fellow patron uneasy, is in a word, asinine.

Yes, the Starbucks Corporation has since issued an apology.
The Corporation, not necessarily the individual store or community.

Yet does a corporate apology make this incident now better or okay?

These sorts of little incidences keep happening all over the country.

Police are being victimized and even ambushed and murdered simply because they are
police officers.

Just yesterday, a sheriff’s deputy from Hall County, a part of the city of Gainesville, Ga
was shot and killed by four teens as he stopped them for having stolen a car and for their
involvement in burglaries.

A 28-year-old young man, a deputy sheriff who was two years younger than my own son.
He was both a young husband and father.

From convenient stores to restaurants—when policemen, State Troopers or deputies come into
various businesses in order to buy something and are told to leave all because someone else feels
uncomfortable in their presence is, well, absolutely an absurdity.

Yet our culture has fallen into some sort of odd ‘guilty by association’ mentality.

A police officer is seen on camera hitting, kicking, shooting a suspect…in most cases
images that are publicized by our media of the suspect which is a black male.
And so we now have a tremendous backlash from the black community that they are being targeted.

This goes back to the fact that we do indeed have rotten apples, those known as the bad guys pretending
to be good guys.

But that does not ever mean that all officers are bad or monsters or aimed at targeting
any particular community of people…

Yet good luck convincing the progressive left and liberal media of anything other than.

And so we have a culture now screaming henny penny the sky is falling over
what should be common sense…as we find ourselves living in the time
of the asinine.

Shame on Starbucks and any other business that shuns our first responders.

Those same responders you pray will come to your aide when you’re trapped in an
overturned and burning car or should some crazed madman invade your home and
terrorize you and your family…you can only hope and pray the police will get there
as fast as they can…lest you lose your life.

The good becomes bad and the bad becomes good…
as a culture slowly loses her common sense.

Volume II of The Asinine will follow tomorrow…

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

Proverbs 2:6

looking up and being reminded


(a pigeon rests on a statue placed above the ridge of the Assumption chapel at the corner
of Garancière street and Palatine street, behind the Saint-Sulpice church. / Julie Cook / 2018)

Back in the summer, back when the beach was consuming so many of our minds,
I offered a post featuring some shots I’d taken of some pelicans I’d seen while enjoying
our summer trip to the panhandle of Florida.

Nothing says beach and ocean like seeing a brown pelican sitting on an old weathered pier or that
of a formation of these gangly birds gliding effortlessly just above the surf…

Days such as today…days that are damp, windy, overcast and grey quickly push our thoughts
to warmer sunnier days. This as we are just entering into our darker colder days of the year.

I noted in that previous post how much, for reasons unknown, that I love pelicans…
They are my favorite birds oddly enough.

Birds that eat whole fish and hold them in their gullets for later…
my husband calls them nasty birds while I call them resourceful.

My previous post touched on the seemingly odd relationship pelicans have had in Christian lore
and tradition.

I did a little research and offered a bit of teaching from the information that I had gleaned…
The premise was that during times of famine, mother pelicans have been known to pluck their own
breasts until they bled in order to offer their own blood to their hungry babies…
offering life-giving sustenance.

A direct reference to Christ who offers His own blood for our spiritual hunger and
our own salvation.

So recently when visiting Paris, we were staying at a small hotel just outside of
the Luxembourg Gardens.


(just a tiny area of the Luxembourg Gardens with a shot of the Senate building behind/
Julie Cook / Paris, France / 2018)

This boutique hotel sits in the shadow of the second largest church in Paris,
Eglise Saint-Sulpice.


(Eglise Saint-Sulpice / Julie Cook / Paris, France / 2018)

I happen to really love this church as it is not Notre Dame.


(Notre Dame / Julie Cook / Paris, France / 2018)

It is not consumed by crowds and tourists.

It was the anchor to the neighborhood my aunt and I called home for a couple of
days about 8 years ago and the same anchor to the same neighborhood my husband and I called
home more recently….the Germain-des-Prés, Odéon of the 6th arrondissement.

Entering this historic building is definitly otherworldly.

It’s like walking into an ancient, silent and dark crevasse…as well as
stepping back into a far removed time…think pre-Revolution and pre-Bonaparte.
Yet the Revolution did hinder the finishing of the facade.

The original church was constructed in the 13th century but the building we see
today dates to the early 1600’s—finally being completed in the late 18th century.
Yet it suffered, as did so many in Paris, during the Revolution.

There are some famous paintings by Eugene Delacroix…

Along with some masterful statues and some simple but lovely stain glass…

Along with the scars from living through the days of a revolution down to
simple neglect and decay…

Add of course the massive and impressive organ

And yet there is reverence…
There is a deep and mystical yearning by many who come here…
those who come curious or those who come seeking.

They come to sit,
to pray,
to sleep,
to hide,
to rest,
to wander,
to wonder…

And so it was when I was actually outside on a side street…
walking alongside the perimeter of this massive hulking building that I looked up
and actually saw it…
the mother pelican sitting atop a spire of a side chapel.

The same imagery that came to mind back in July…and here it was again in September.
Found not at the beach and not in some warm tropical locale but rather in the midst
of a massively large city whose people are often too busy to glance upward albeit toward
their rather famous tower…

And yet here it was…as always, a powerful reminder of sacrifice.
Life, death, redemption, and salvation…


(all photos by Julie Cook / Paris, France / 2018)

Remember to always stop long enough to look up…

And may we now offer our prayers for our Jewish brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh
as well for all the first responders…

Lord have mercy…

https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/pelicans/

sacrifices and selfishness

There is nothing that I shudder at more than the idea of a separation of the Union.
Should such an event ever happen, which I fervently pray God to avert,
from that date I view our liberty gone.”

Andrew Jackson


(The Victory statue in Nashville’s War Memeorial / Julie Cook / 2018)

When one hears the word Nashville, I’m certain that trashy TV shows, country music,
as well as rowdiness is what most likely first comes to mind.

Add to that honky tonks, day drinking, The Grand Ol Opry, party destinations, country stars,
football, hot chicken, Bluebird cafes…yadda yadda…

I’ve visited this city once before, for a business convention, and we stayed close to the
country music hub. It was a short and sweet visit, yet such a visit that I told myself
I’d like to one day come back.
This city seemed to have so much more to offer other than that of her more rowdy reputation.

Plus being a big fan of our 7th president, I wanted to come back to visit his
homeplace just outside of the city.

Fast forward a couple of years…
we made the 4.5-hour trek northward earlier in the week.

On this particular trip, we opted to stay more northerly…
blocks above the crazy honky tonks and debauchery.
In a quieter area just opposite the State Capital.

Because who knew that Nashville was touted as holding the honor of having the Nations’
largest 4th of July Fireworks display?

Who knew that the city would swell with an additional 250,000 folks over the 4th?

Add in those coming for bridal parties…both gals and guys…
along with all those summer vacationers… so what we had anticipated as a fun yet
laid back trip was anything but laid back.

Oh did I mention the heatwave?

108 on July 4th in downtown?

Hotter in Nashville than the 4.5 hours south at our house.
Hotter than Nashville hot chicken.

Who knew?!

Hot, sticky, rowdy, scantily clad bodies adding in their own heat and it’s a wonder
everyone didn’t fall out with heat stroke.

Nashville has done a very nice job of providing a walking friendly and inviting feel to
the particular area of its burgeoning and growing city that we called “home” for 4 days.

We were told, on this last trip, that 95 to 100 new folks move into the city on a daily basis.
That’s why there are 7 massive building projects taking place downtown—
expansive condos, apartments, hotels and massive skyscrapers all with that live,
eat and shop sort of vibe.

But what drew me in on to this trip was not the glitz and rowdiness down on Broadway
but actually, the area leading up to the state’s capital building.

A marble lined promenade leading toward the capital building—a stately building perched
on a dominant promontory allowing for a sense of guardianship over the city she has been
tasked with governing since 1796.

This expansive marble lined avenue that leads up to the capital is known as the city’s
War Memorial…

It is an area that offers a very stately tribute to those Tennesseans who served
and willing gave the ultimate sacrifice for not only their fellow Tennesseans but to their
fellow Americans.

There are memorials to all who those who have served and yet never came home…

I was unable to capture each memorial before the rains began.
But I did get a shot at the Korean memorial

A memorial to those lives lost in submarines that were sunk while defending the North Atlantic and Mediterranian as well as the Pacific waters during WWII

There was a memorial to those having been awarded purple hearts as well as those
law enforcement members and first responders who have also sacrificed the ultimate
offering to their fellow statesmen.

But the most prominent memorial was the statue of Victory offered in memory of those who lost their
lives during the Great War…the Great War that was to end all wars…
World War I.

The statue was the product of a husband and wife duo—
Tennesse native Belle Kinney along with her Austrian born husband,
Leopold F. Scholz.

The massive statue sits within the open-air atrium of the War Memorial building and
was constructed in the late 1920’s shortly following the war.

Yet sadly the memorial has been defaced.

The marble base with words reading
“In memory of the sons of Tennessee who gave their lives in the Great War
1914-1918”
had been defaced with a black sharpie.
Anarchy symbols and derogatory words were scribbled all over the marble.

Graffiti say some, as they simply shrug their shoulders.
Vandalism say others.

Selfishness is what I say.

I thought this while on the same day I visited this War memorial, the Nation watched a woman being
arrested in New Youk for her stunt of attempting to scale the Statue of Liberty.

A protest they say.
Protesting ICE and the issue of immigration.

And is not protest a “right” of Americans argue the masses.?

Yet it was a dangerous protest.
And it was a selfish protest.
And so if there is an endangerment to others, is that then, in turn, more than a protest but
merely selfish attention seeking?

This woman put not only herself at risk but those first responders tasked with
getting her off the fragile copper veneered statue.

Let’s not forget the hundreds of tourists and vacationers who had planned a visit the statue
on the 4th during their trip to New York. A visit they would not be able to make due to the actions
of one selfish woman.

The area had to be shut down and secured for hours as authorities worked to get this woman down.

As I stand staring at a tribute erected to those lives lost 100 years ago in a world war fought in
hopes of ending all such wars, my thoughts turn to our selfish overpaid athletes who think their
kneeling protests to the National Anthem is some sort of brave act.
And I think of the countless supporters who think such protests are perfectly great.

Selfishness is not brave.

It’s easy to act a fool.
It’s easy to be disrespectful.

Bravery comes when one willingly lays down his or her life in hopes of protecting
his / her fellow man.

Those who have served and continue to serve this Nation and her citizens with not only
their time, their expertise, their skills but most importantly their lives,
are the true heroes who deserve our respect.

Be it 200 years ago, 100 years ago or simply last month in which a serviceman or woman
gave their all in order for us to be selfish…is…well…gravely lopsided in terms of worth.

And it is something we each should remember.

And so I am thankful that on this past July 4th,
I had the opportunity to be reminded of just that…that of sacrifices and selfishness.

I’m just saddened seeing that so many of our younger generations just don’t get it.

“I weep for the liberty of my country when I see at this early day of its successful experiment
that corruption has been imputed to many members of the House of Representatives,
and the rights of the people have been bartered for promises of office.”

Andrew Jackson