Deeper in Drought, But 87.5% Vaccinated

(Drought conditions in Minnesota. (July 13, 2021))

There’s more to life than drought and disease, but that’s mostly what I’ll talk about today.

Partly because discussing what I’ve seen in headlines would mean more research and effort than I have time for this week. Besides, apart from a Hubble update and the Pope’s liturgical fine-tuning,1 it’s mostly routine.

Take this sample from yesterday and today, for example:

On the other hand, that “Covid deaths on the rise…” thing reminded me to check the Minnesota Department of Health’s Situation Update for COVID-19 page.

I’ll get back to that.

As for the rest —

In the News: Science, Religion, Chaos Stalking the Land, and Weather

I’m glad that the Hubble Space Telescope is back in working order.

Looks like scientists will be able to do that Hubble – James Webb Space Telescope teamup they’ve been hoping for.

Regarding Pope Francis and Latin Mass? Maybe we’re in for yet another ‘unprecedented catastrophic crisis of looming doom.’

Unless something juicier comes along. Don’t get me wrong. I take my faith, Mass included, seriously. Religion in news media? Not so much.

Climate change kills Germans as chaos stalks the land? Looks like global warming is 0ut, climate change is back in. And folks in Germany are having a bad month.

Drought intensifies in Minnesota? That’s much closer to home. But weather in the Upper Midwest isn’t national news.

Which isn’t an altogether bad thing.

This way, at least I’m not wading through screed: blaming either the previous administration or the current president for our excessive sunshine.

COVID-19, Peaks and Minnesota

(From Minnesota Department of Health, used w/o permission.)
(Minnesota COVID-19 deaths. (March 19, 2020-July 11, 2021))

Minnesota’s Department of Health has been tracking COVID-19 cases since March of 2020, including how many folks died because they’d caught the disease.

My state’s pandemic death toll peaked from April to June last year, and again from November to the end of January, 2021, more or less.

Minnesotans were dying from other stuff, too: old age, vehicle accidents, falling into a lake, drug overdose, whatever.

But at the moment, I’m looking at pandemic-related deaths.

We had a sort-of peak again this year, from April to June. But not much of a one.

Can’t say I’m disappointed.

I don’t see a peak starting now. Not in the MDH statistics.

Conspiracy Theories and Weirdness

'At the Sign of the UNHOLY THREE' cartoon, warning against fluoridated water, polio serum and mental hygiene. And 'communistic world government.' (1955)That could mean that a North Carolina-China conspiracy — in league with the Illuminati, pixies and giant mutant squirrels — stands ready to oppress us all with fluoridated water and polio serum.

Or COVID-19 vaccine. Or whatever seems scariest at the moment.

And that Minnesota stands alone, the last bastion of truth, justice and ice fishing.

Or maybe folks in my state have generally been more agreeable to getting vaccinated.

Or maybe we’re just lucky.

On the other hand, the Minnesota Department of Health could be in league with shape-shifting space-alien lizard-men.

Space-alien lizard-men who are using the Illuminati, pixies and giant mutant squirrels as a diversion. And that we’re about to be abducted by space aliens, destined to toil in the nougat mines of Wackadoo III.

And no, I do not think so. Seriously.

I’ve talked about mRNA vaccines, conspiracy theories and all that before. There’ll be a ‘more of my stuff’ link list later on.

The Usual Suspects and Me

I. Cruikshank's 1808 political cartoon, supporting Jenner, Dinsdale and Rose in the vaccination controversy.I’d prefer living in a world where at least a few of the frightfully faithful couldn’t be counted on to panic over new medical tech.

But the usual suspects have played their roles with smallpox and polio vaccines; and are back, denouncing today’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

As for me, I think COVID-19 is a real disease; that it’s contagious, unpleasant and occasionally lethal; and that not getting my neighbor sick is a good idea.

Staying healthy myself doesn’t sound bad, either. Make that not catching COVID-19. I’m not, strictly speaking, healthy; and that’s another topic.

Apparently-religious scruples may not be the only issue in play currently. I gather that the newfangled vaccines are occasionally perceived as some sort of political plot. Or something dastardly, at any rate.

I’m not happy about the way some of today’s political hotshots have been using a real pandemic to get, keep, or exercise power. But, again, I think the pandemic is real; and that working for the common good makes sense.

So I waited until it was my turn to get vaccinated, and now have had both COVID-19 shots. And that brings me to “87.5% Vaccinated” in today’s title

Both Shots for Three, One Left for One

CentraCare, Sauk Centre, MinnesotaMy wife and I live with our son and a daughter. I’ve had both shots. So have my wife and son. The daughter who’s still under our roof has had her first, but not her second.

My son and I had a good chat when his second shot resulted in a trip to the emergency room. Probably resulted. His symptoms showed up hours after the vaccination and matched possible side effects, so I think the odds favor a cause-effect connection.

I experienced pretty much the same thing, only not nearly as extreme, after my second shot. And my wife’s going through much the same routine as I did. She’s currently recovering from her second shot.

It’s been and is unpleasant. But I still think lowering the odds of catching and spreading a potentially-lethal disease is a good idea.

Minnesota’s Drought, Very Briefly

I live in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, near the northwest corner of Stearns County.

Back in mid-June, we had moderate drought.

Last week we’d been promoted to severe drought. Now we’re at the edge of a severe drought area.

I talked about the drought last week.

As I said then, this isn’t good for crops, and so isn’t good for farmers.

And since this part of Minnesota is largely rural, anything that affects crops affects all of us. Directly or indirectly.

On a lighter note, I see that this week’s Minnesota drought map features a question mark shaped area of severe drought.

North Dakota’s Drought

(From, used w/o permission.)
(Drought conditions in North Dakota. (July 13, 2021))

Minnesota’s drought conditions are bad. North Dakota’s are worse. There’s a blotch of exceptional drought in the middle of that state.

They’re not in the news, not that I’ve seen, but I figure that wildfires in North Dakota, northern Minnesota and elsewhere account for Sauk Centre’s haze and less-than-comfortable Air Quality Index readings.

As for ‘not in the news?’ I could weave a conspiracy theory involving pixie pyromaniacs and whichever political party I figured my target audience hated and feared most.

But I won’t. I’ve lived in this part of the world most of my life. So I realize that wildfires aren’t news unless they’re local, Brobdingnagian, or in California. And that’s yet another topic.

Now, as promised, more of my stuff.

1 These three letters seem to be what inspired this week’s news media hoo-ha:

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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