Rabies: Vampires and Werewolves

Rabies, HIV, Hepatitis, Tetanus can all be spread through bites, animal or human. There are of course insect bites that will give you all kinds of diseases: yellow fever, dengue fever, Lyme disease, plague, malaria, etc. But I’ll focus on Rabies, for now.

The discovery of the cause of rabies didn’t occur until the early 1800’s and didn’t get a vaccine until Louis Pasteur figured things out later that century.

I have to wonder about the disease, Lyssavirus (named after Lyssa, the Greek goddess of insanity and rage) and its symptoms, in one variant, madness and an odd psychological fear called hydrophobia.

So, you, a carrier, bite someone and your victim becomes infected, insane with madness, and cringes from the sight of some mundane substance. Sound familiar?

(Seems that Lyssa and Lycaon, the Greek king who was cursed by Zeus to become the first werewolf, could have made the perfect couple.)

Hey, Bram Stoker, did you read about rabies in the London libraries around the 1890’s? Two legends, vampires and werewolves, both being vectored by saliva (viral infection) passed during a bite. Hmm, a curious coincidence.

Image courtesy: http://www.horror.land

A mind filled with crap

During the first half of my life I valued experiences far more than things. Get out into the world and engage. Hike the mountains, run the rivers, drive the highways, swim the oceans and eat, drink and dance the cultures of the country.

Fatherhood supplanted that trend, but only in practice not in spirit. Now it was my kids who needed the experiences: beach combing, berry picking, lizard catching, exploring, experimenting, creating.

And then that phase, too, passed.

Sure, I watched my share of TV, enjoyed a movie now and then and read a ton of novels. But time spent passively consuming life paled in comparison to actual participation.

This is no longer the case.

Even without a pandemic constricting real-life involvement, the trend has been to fill one’s time with other’s experiences. Binging episodic entertainment has replaced empirical existence, hands-on living. I find myself turned into a submissive slug, my mind filled with inane garbage pumped from the likes of my media masters.

Years ago I predicted that humanity would never reach the stars, never travel to other worlds. Why? Because a virtual life was so much easier to endure. Let the “influencers” (organic or AI) risk life and limb. I’ll just jack in and let my mind be fooled into thinking I’m actually living a life well lived.

This morning I woke up, not thinking of my own existence, but that of the characters I’d been mainlining—an insidious entertainment epidural—my mind filled with crap, no room for my own thoughts.

Courtesy: Pixabay.com

Beyond Surreal

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“Oh, did you see that? That foul ball took the head right off that cardboard dummy standing in for a real fan. Brutal!”

…And their mouths hung open for a minute or two. Then all the Muds down in Mudville, the tall and the small, all cried ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Is this like some alter-universe baseball version of Brazil?

Cardboard-fucking-cutouts? As fans? I… I have no words for this.

Geezus, go play ball in an Iowan corn field. Find some goddamned high school that’s got no high schoolers in it due to, you know, pan-fucking-demic, and play at their field.

To stick cut-outs of people into seats—not just behind the plate, no, behind the outfielders too—is beyond surreal. It’s sick. This is a sign of sickness.

(And I don’t care HOW much those idiots—whose faces coat those cut-outs—paid to get their dopey faces onto those half-assed dime store mannequins. Nothing could be worth the SHAME of playing before a pantheon of paper people. Nothing.)

Beachcams I’m addicted to

The television cable system here where I live allows for most services to connect through. Services like Youtube. So, Saturday and Sunday mornings, I turn on the boobtoob and select one of these two live feeds. I had been watching other “beach loops” but they’re not as entertaining as the live feeds. In the winter, I favor the fireplace loops with their crackling and popping.

These feeds are the perfect accompaniment to my writing environment.

Fred Hotel, St. Croix:

Pacific Sands Beach Resort, Tofino, British Columbia, Canada:

 

Doer vs Reviewer

The argument of writer vs reader produced additional reflection.

Both George F. and Phil H. suggested activities which prompted me to analyze the concept in greater detail.

Here are some additional thoughts:

We are of two minds:
1) one, in the moment and reactive,
2) a second, out of the moment and reflective.

Consider any competitive game, sport or activity. While you are engaged in a game of chess (George F.) or skiing down a mountain, serving a tennis ball or swinging a baseball bat your mind is focused on the moment and the skills you employ are those immediately available.

It is only after you complete your pursuit can you review your results.

• I used to coach girls’ softball. I had one player who would close her eyes while she swung the bat. She denied this, of course, but when shown a video of her swing, was stunned. “How can I see the ball if I… Oh!”

• During my time learning the game of golf I had the neophyte tendency to lift my head, just a tad, causing the club to repeatedly “skull” the ball. I had no idea why I kept topping my strikes until my teacher forcefully held my head down.

In performing arts, one can practice the dance, tweak the notes, stop and repeat offline (Phil H.). But once on stage, you have but the one chance to get it right. Your mind is hot and body hotter, applying your training, such as it is.

Later, during analysis through critics, recordings or video, you might discovery errors in performance.

Fixes on the fly? Well, that’s the goal.

As beginners, while “doing”, we are incapable of “analyzing”. Only when we can sit back and review can we determine our flaws and failures.

In performance art, competitive activity, or focused application our behavior is immediate and reactive. Post action we can evaluate and analyze, applying a methodical and deliberate critique of our active endeavor.

The two minds act separately, at first. I believe that as we gain mastery, we teach ourselves to be both participant and observer. The coercion of these two minds into one is, once again, evidence of a master. To analyze and correct yourself, while you act? That’s one helluva trick.

Writing is unique in this regard.  We can run amuck, running riot with words, casting errors and faux pas like confetti—first drafts are garbage. But then we can sit on our work for days, weeks or years returning to polish, at will, until our editor’s mind is satisfied.

Imagine a concert where the guitarist twangs a sour note, stops the presentation and goes, “Hold on, let me try that again.”

The melding of our two minds will not be enough, however. Our critical self must continuously elevate our notions of quality. It becomes a never ending game of catch-up, our doer ever chasing our reviewer.