This blog is from a friend of mine on FanStory. She is living in Canada and wrote this piece about the Pandemic that has reached our shores. There is valuable information and I encourage all to read it. Everything she says about Canada, just think the USA. It is still very applicable.
My views on the Covid19 outbreak.
Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can. John Wesley
Mark Twain: The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.
By D Dawn Munro
C/net: “SARS-CoV-2 is the virus responsible for the disease COVID-19, which has claimed over 1,300 lives and sickened tens of thousands of people, primarily in the Hubei province of China where it originated. We are well aware of the frightening toll it is taking. Now we also have a better look at the virus itself.”
That was as of little more than a week ago. Now the death toll exceeds 2,600 and the confirmed cases top 80,000.
Complacency is strongly discouraged. While panic is anything but helpful, ignoring the warnings is equally dangerous.
We need to err on the side of caution. For once, Canadians need to take a more active role in caring for Canada’s interests rather than downplaying the risks… Proper hand washing — great. But hardly enough protection…
The window of opportunity may already have closed for containing the spread of this virus. Self-quarantine, for example, by those found to have been exposed, is a little too optimistic a view, in my opinion — are we willing to gamble the lives of our loved ones, ourselves?
I say that a two-week compulsory quarantine is little enough to ask.
It’s going to be a year and a half before there’s a vaccine. How many lives will be lost by then?
How many countries do not even have the capability to test for Covid19 exposure? Yet there is nothing to stop anyone from boarding a plane and heading to Canada from anywhere in the world.
Prime Minister Trudeau, don’t let this be one more case of “I should have when I could have.” There are too many on record as it is. Not on your watch, necessarily, but we MUST be proactive in 2020. With an incubation period quite possibly in excess of 14 days, what good is checking for symptoms at airports?
Please. Consider closing our borders. Make quarantine compulsory. It’s only for two weeks and a small enough sacrifice to make if it is going to save Canadian lives.
Just my thoughts… WHO agrees.
“We must focus on containment, while doing everything we can to prepare for a potential pandemic”-@DrTedros #COVID19
Proper hand washing:
I wish I had been able to download the most current news reports here, in Toronto. The next best thing is to advise friends and family to stay current with local news because the changes in numbers are unprecedented day-to-day.
Here is one from South Korea just two days ago–if what is happening in other countries is any example, it is undoubtedly worse today:
This is my memory that I put down on paper (computer) for a FanStory contest that turned out not to happen. I decided I would share this with you. Shirley
This is a memory from way back in the 1900s. Well, how about 1990. I was living in Hawaii and enjoying my life. This memory happened when my sister, Sharon, came over for a visit.
I planned for us to go to the big island and spend a few days playing tourist. I was so excited to get there because I would finally go deep sea fishing. I had fished nowhere except the creeks, and lakes around home.
We checked into our room that overlooked the ocean and she couldn’t believe how green everything was. Eastern Oklahoma remained brown in color by the time she arrived in September. We spent the first night looking around the resort and just enjoying our time together.
The next morning I was to meet Captain Chris Fischer to take Sharon and I fishing. There was one other person going with us besides Chris’s crew and that was Mr. Farnsworth.
Six boats set out from the pier the same time we did. We traveled out to sea ,but I have no idea how far. The waves were slapping us around. The crew helped Sharon and I get our poles set . We could see the other boats from where we set. I know I couldn’t see the shore. My sister got seasick almost immediately. She was even wearing a patch behind her ear for seasickness I felt so bad for her. She lay up on the side of the boat, feeding the fish.
It didn’t take long for Mr. Farnsworth, to hook a small Mahi-mahi. That was all that was caught for several hours. I was watching both the poles for Sharon and me. She was still feeling quite green. Suddenly my pole zinged. Chris told me to see in the chair and she strapped me in and handed me a pair of gloves. I reeled the line in. It felt as if I was trying to drag a whale in.
I fought that fish for an hour and then brought him in. Well if I’m honest, it might have been Sharon’s pole I caught the Ahi on, and Chris’s crew pulled the line while I reeled.
We gave that Ahi to the Captain and I had my picture made with that big Yellow Fin Tuna. We thought about having it mounted for our dad. When we were faced with the cost and shipping we quickly changed our minds. What a memory.
Healthcare In America Is Already ‘The Best In The World’
This was posted in 2014 and it still applies today. Please let me know what you think of universal healthcare and why. Shirley
One of the more positive sounding admonitions from health care reform opponents was that the United States had “the best health care in the world,” so why would you mess with it? Well, it’s true that if you want the experience the pinnacle of medical care, you come to the United States. And if you want the pinnacle of haute cuisine, you go to Per Se. If you want the pinnacle of commercial air travel, you get a first-class seat on British Airways. Now, naturally, you wouldn’t let just anyone mess with someone’s tasting menu or state-of-the-art air-beds. But like anything that’s “the best,” the best health care in the world isn’t for everybody. The costs are prohibitively high, the access is prohibitively exclusive, and the resources are prohibitively scarce.
What do the people in America who “fly coach” in the health care system get? Well, at the time of the health care reform debate, they were participating in a system that was, by all objective measurements, overpriced and underperforming — if you were lucky enough to be participating in it. As anyone who’s fortunate enough to have employer based health care or unfortunate enough to have a pre-existing condition can tell you, health care for ordinary people already involved all of those things that we were told would be a feature of the Affordable Care Act — long waits, limited choice, and rationing.
When the Commonwealth Fund rated health care systems by nation, the top marks in the surveyed categories went to the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Ezra Klein examined the study, and observed:
“The issue isn’t just that we don’t have universal health care. Our delivery system underperforms, too. ‘Even when access and equity measures are not considered, the U.S. ranks behind most of the other countries on most measures. With the inclusion of primary care physician survey data in the analysis, it is apparent that the U.S. is lagging in adoption of national policies that promote primary care, quality improvement, and information technology.'”
The only thing that perhaps matched the vastness of the spread or the depth of the traction of the “death panel” lie was the predictability that such a lie would come to be told in the first place. After all, this was a Democratic president trying to sell a new health care reform plan with the intention of opening access and reducing cost to millions of Americans who had gone without for so long. What’s the best way to counter it? Tell everyone that millions of Americans would have increased access … to Death!
The best account of how the “death panel” myth was born into this world and spread like garbage across the landscape has been penned by Brendan Nyhan, who in 2010 wrote “Why the “Death Panel” Myth Wouldn’t Die: Misinformation in the Health Care Reform Debate.” You should go read the whole thing.
But to summarize, the lie began where many lies about health care reform begin — with serial liar Betsy McCaughey, who in 1994 polluted the pages of the New Republic with a staggering pile of deception in an effort to scuttle President Bill Clinton’s health care reform. As Nyhan documents, she re-emerged in 2009 when “she invented the false claim that the health care legislation
in Congress would result in seniors being directed to ‘end their life sooner.'”
Nyhan: “McCaughey’s statement was a reference to a provision in the Democratic health care bill that would have provided funding for an advanced care planning for Medicare recipients once every five years or more frequently if they become seriously ill. As independent fact-checkers showed (PolitiFact.com 2009b; FactCheck.org 2009a), her statement that these consultations would be mandatory was simply false–they would be entirely voluntary. Similarly, there is no evidence that Medicare patients would be pressured during these consultations to “do what’s in society’s best interest…and cut your life short.”
But the match that lit the death panel flame was not McCaughey, it was Sarah Palin, who repeated McCaughey’s claims in a Facebook posting and invented the term “death panel.” As Nyhan reports, Palin’s claims were met with condemnation from independent observers and factcheckers, but the virality of the term “death panel” far outstripped its own debunking. To this day, the shorthand for this outrageous falsehood remains more firmly planted in the discourse than the truth.
One thing worth pointing out is that Palin, in creating the term “death panel,” intended to deceive people with it. In an interview with the National Review, Palin admitted: “The term I used to describe the panel making these decisions should not be taken literally.” Rather, it was “a lot like when President Reagan used to refer to the Soviet Union as the ‘evil empire.’ He got his point across.” Of course, while Reagan was exaggerating for effect, he wasn’t trying to prey on the goodwill of those who were listening to him.
he Affordable Care Act Is A “Jobs-Killer”
Naturally, the GOP greeted anything that the Obama White House did — from regulating pollution to flossing after meals — as something that would “kill jobs.” The Affordable Care Act was no different. As you might recall, Republicans’ first attempt at repeal came in the form of an inartfully named law called the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” But did the health reform plan threaten jobs? Not by any honest measure. Per McClatchy Newspapers:
“The claim has no justification,” said Micah Weinberg, a senior research fellow at the centrist New America Foundation’s Health Policy Program.
Since the law contains dual mandates that most individuals must obtain health insurance coverage and most employers must offer it by 2014, “the effect on employment is probably zero or close to it,” said Amitabh Chandra, a professor of public policy at Harvard University.
As McClatchy reported, the “job-killing” claim creatively used the “lie of omission” — relying on “out of date” data or omitting “offsetting information that would weaken the argument.” The Congressional Budget Office, playing it straight, deemed it essentially too premature to measure what the effect the bill would have on the labor market. At the time, Speaker John Boehner dismissed the CBO, saying, “CBO is entitled to their opinion.”
Perhaps, but lately, job growth in the health care industry has bucked the economic downturn and health care has remained a robust sector of employment. And it stands to reason that enrolling another 30 million Americans into health insurance will increase the demand for health care services and products, which in turn should trigger the creation of more jobs.
Is there a downside? Sure. More demand, and greater labor costs, could push health care prices upward even as other effects of health reform push them down. But it’s more likely that repealing the bill will have a negative impact on jobs than retaining it.
I took a writing class under Dean Koontz and this writing was for the class. I may have shared it sometime ago but it’s always worth rereading. Have a blessed day. Shirley
1. Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure
This is the structure that changed the path of my career as a writer.
It catapulted me from a mid-list genre novelist to a 21-Time New York Times bestselling author.
I’m a Pantser, not an Outliner, but even I need some basic structure to know where I’m going, I love that Koontz’s structure is so simple. It consists only of these four steps:
1. Plunge your main character into terrible trouble as soon as possible. Naturally that trouble depends on your genre, but in short, it’s the worst possible dilemma you can think of for your main character. For a thriller, it might be a life or death situation. In a romance novel, it could mean a young woman must decide between two equally qualified suitors—and then her choice is revealed a disaster.
And again, this trouble must bear stakes dire high enough to carry the entire novel.
One caveat: whatever the dilemma, it will mean little to readers if they don’t first find reasons to care about your character.
2. Everything your character does to get out of the terrible trouble makes things only worse. Avoid the temptation to make life easy for your protagonist. Every complication must proceed logically from the one before it, and things must grow progressively worse until….
3. The situation appears hopeless. Novelist Angela Hunt refers to this as The Bleakest Moment. Even you should wonder how you’re ever going to write your character out of this.
Your predicament is so hopeless that your lead must use every new muscle and technique gained from facing a book full of obstacles to become heroic and prove that things only appeared beyond repair.
4. Finally, your hero succeeds (or fails*) against all odds. Reward readers with the payoff they expected by keeping your hero on stage, taking action.
*Occasionally sad endings resonate with readers.
2. In Medias Res
This is Latin for “in the midst of things,” in other words, start with something happening. It doesn’t have to be slam-bang action, unless that fits your genre. The important thing is that the reader gets the sense he’s in the middle of something.
That means not wasting two or three pages on backstory or setting or description. These can all be layered in as the story progresses. Beginning a novel In Medias Res means cutting the fluff and jumping straight into the story.
Toni Morrison’s 1997 novel Paradise begins “They shoot the white girl first.”—the epitome of starting in medias res.
What makes In Medias Res work?
It’s all in the hook.
In Medias Res should invest your reader in your story from the get-go, virtually forcing him to keep reading.
The rest of the In Media Res structure consists of:
3. The Hero’s Journey
Made famous by educator and widely published author Joseph Campbell, it’s often used to structure fantasy, science fiction, and horror novels.
J.R.R. Tolkien used The Hero’s Journey structure for The Hobbit.
Step 1: Bilbo Baggins leaves his ordinary world
Baggins is happy with his life in the Shire and initially refuses a call to adventure, preferring to stay home.
The wizard Gandalf (soon to be his mentor) pushes him to accept the call.
Baggins leaves the comfort of his Hobbit life and embarks on a perilous quest across Middle Earth, getting into all kinds of trouble along the way.
Step 2: Baggins experiences various trials and challenges
Bilbo builds a team, pairing with dwarves and elves to defeat enemies like dragons and orcs.
Along the way he faces a series of tests that push his courage and abilities beyond what he thought possible.
Eventually, against all odds, Bilbo reaches the inmost cave, the lair of the fearsome dragon, Smaug where the ultimate goal of his quest is located. Bilbo needs to steal the dwarves’ treasure back from Smaug.
Bilbo soon finds he needs to push past his greatest fear to survive.
Step 3: Bilbo tries to returns to his life in The Shire
Smaug may have been defeated, but the dwarves face another battle against others and an orc army.
Near the end of the novel, Bilbo is hit on the head during the final battle and presumed dead.
But he lives and gets to return to the Shire, no longer the same Hobbit who hated adventure.
4. The 7-Point Story Structure
Advocates of this approach advise starting with your resolution and working backwards.
This ensures a dramatic character arc for your hero.
J.K. Rowling used the 7-Point Structure for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The Seven Points
Hook: your protagonist’s starting point
In Philosopher’s Stone, this is when we meet Harry living under the stairs.
Plot turn 1: introduces the conflict that moves the story to its midpoint.
Harry finds out he is a wizard.
Pinch point 1: applies pressure to your protagonist in the process of achieving his goal, usually facing an antagonist.
When the troll’s attacks, Harry and his friends realize they are the only ones who can save the day.
Midpoint: your character responds to conflict with action.
Harry and his friends learn of the Philosopher’s Stone and determine to find it before Voldemort does.
Pinch point 2: More pressure makes it harder for your character to achieve his goal.
Harry has to face the villain alone after losing Ron and Hermione during their quest to find the stone.
Plot turn 2: Moves the story from the midpoint to the resolution. Your protagonist has everything he needs to achieve the goal.
When the mirror reveals Harry Potter’s intentions are pure, he is given the Philosopher’s Stone.
Resolution: The climax. Everything in your story leads to this moment, a direct contrast to how your character began his journey.
Harry defeats Voldemort.
5. Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method
If you like outlining your story, you’ll love The Snowflake Method.
But if you’re a Panster like me (someone who prefers to write by process of discovery), a story structure like Dean Koontz’s Classic Story Structure or In Medias Res might feel more natural.
The 10-step Snowflake Method
Start with one central idea and systematically add more ideas to create your plot.
Write a one-sentence summary of your novel (1 hour)
Expand this into a full paragraph summary, detailing major events (1 hour)
Write a one-page summary for each character (1 hour each)
Expand each sentence in #2 into a paragraph summary (several hours)
Write a one-page account of the story from the perspective of each major character (1-2 days)
Expand each paragraph you wrote for #4 into a full-page synopsis (1 week)
Expand your character descriptions into full character charts (1 week)
Using the summary from #6, list every scene you’ll need to finish the novel
Write a multi-paragraph description for each scene
Write your first draft
6. The Three-Act Structure
This formula was used by ancient Greeks, and it’s one of Hollywood’s favorite ways to tell a story.
It’s about as simple as you can get.
Act I: The Set-Up
Introduce your main characters and establish the setting.
Brandon Sanderson, a popular fantasy writer, calls this the “inciting incident”— a problem that yanks the protagonist out of his comfort zone and establishes the direction of the story.
Act II: The Confrontation
Create a problem that appears small on the surface but becomes more complex. The more your protagonist tries to get what he wants, the more impossible it seems to solve the problem.
Act III: The Resolution
A good ending has:
High stakes: your reader must feel that one more mistake will result in disaster for the protagonist.
Challenges and growth: By the end, the protagonist needs to have grown as a person by overcoming myriad obstacles.
A solution: All the trials and lessons your character has endured help him solve the problem.
Suzanne Collins’s bestselling young adult trilogy, The Hunger Games, uses the three-act structure.
7. James Scott Bell’s A Disturbance and Two Doorways
In his popular book Plot and Structure, Bell introduces this concept.
A Disturbance early in the story upsets the status quo—anything that threatens the protagonist’s ordinary life.
Doorway 1 propels your character to the middle of the story. Once he goes through this door, there’s no turning back.
Doorway 2 leads to the final battle. It’s another door of no return but usually leads to disaster.
The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way uses this story structure.
Upon hearing that their adoptive father has passed away (the disturbance), six siblings return to their childhood home.
Here they learn the world will end in a few days (Doorway 1). While the siblings try everything in their power to stop the potential global apocalypse, they unwittingly create another threat amongst themselves.
Good Morning, today I’m switching gears. As some of you know and now everyone will know that I’m having Bariatric surgery when I get through jumping all the insurance hoops. The end result is I’m now receiving lots of information.
This morning I received a copy of Herbaly Tea’s blog which I thought I would share with you. I know a lot of people who are drinking diet soda and do not know the risk they are taking.
Diet soda is specifically advertised to people who want to lose weight.
Obesity is widespread all around the world, and research says that it just keeps getting worse. Losing weight is an important goal for many of us, which is why there’s a huge market for the sugar-free versions of popular drinks or snacks.
The way these products are marketed makes them sound like the solution to weight issues. Many people looking to lose weight start with switching to diet products. And what’s not to love about diet soda? It tastes almost right, and you know for sure that it’s sugar-free.
But in reality, diet soda is a danger to your health. It’s important to take a moment and look at what the research says about it. It’s not pleasant.
The Problem with Diet Soda
What exactly makes diet soda a risk to your health?
To get the taste right, diet soda manufacturers use a variety of artificial sweeteners. While sweeteners aren’t all dangerous, many of them pose a risk to your health. Diet sodas mainly contain aspartame, a widespread sweetener which has many negative side effects.
Aspartame has been linked with a number of conditions, which include:
For now, researchers are still working on proving or disproving the connection between aspartame and these conditions. But there are a few things we know for certain.
The Aspartame in Diet Soda Leads to Weight Gain
Instead of helping you lose weight, diet soda causes weight gain. For people already struggling with obesity, this can mean a major backslide. An increased body weight puts you at risk of many diseases and it also decreases your life expectancy.
So how does this artificial sweetener cause you to gain weight?
Consuming sweetened drinks may change your eating habits without you noticing. These sweeteners cause you to consume more calories. Even if you’re trying to be mindful about what you eat, they may cause cravings which will ruin your diet plan.
There’s a Link Between Diet Soda and Heart Issues
Columbia University and the University of Miami conducted a ten-year study on 2,500 people from New York. At the end of the study, they found that people who drink diet soda are likelier to suffer a stroke or a heart attack.
After analyzing data from nearly 60,000 women, the University of Iowa found that the difference is really significant. Women who drink two or more diet sodas a day are 30% likelier to have heart problems. Their chances of dying of heart-related issues are 50% higher than average.
So, What Can You Do?
Even if science fails to find more links between diseases and aspartame, it’s clear that the best thing to do is avoid diet sodas.
But it can be difficult to give up on a habit. In general, we drink soda to feel awake and energized. The taste is another reason why soda is so well-loved across the world.
If you want to stop consuming both soda and diet soda, the best thing to do is to find a good replacement. In other words, choose a refreshing and delicious drink that will power you through the day.