The busy reaper.

I think today’s post should be, in honor of all the people dying from Covid because they refused to get the vaccine? A roundup. Let’s begin in…Florida:

A Florida mom lost two sons to COVID-19 within 12 hours of each other after they failed to get vaccinated.

Lisa Brandon told News4Jax that she and her sons Aaron Jaggi, 35, and Free Jaggi, 41, who lived with her, got sick with COVID-19 in late July.

While Brandon got better, both of her sons got worse and had to be hospitalized and eventually put on ventilators after developing double pneumonia. Free died on August 12, followed by his brother just hours later on August 13.

Lisa, to her credit, had been vaccinated.

Phil Valentine, radio host who, well, you know:

Valentine had been a skeptic of coronavirus vaccines. But after he tested positive for COVID-19, and prior to his hospitalization, he told his listeners to consider, “If I get this COVID thing, do I have a chance of dying from it?” If so, he advised them to get vaccinated. He said he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he probably wouldn’t die.

After Valentine was moved into a critical care unit, Mark Valentine said his brother regretted that “he wasn’t a more vocal advocate of the vaccination.”

This guy’s wife just died, but guess what he did?

A Republican legislator in Maine who lost his wife to COVID-19 last week appeared at a rally on Tuesday that featured a GOP colleague who compared the state’s Democratic governor to a Nazi doctor who performed deadly experiments on Jews during the Holocaust.

State Rep. Chris Johansen, who emerged in the early days of the pandemic as a fierce opponent of public health-related restrictions, joined a group of lawmakers at the event in Augusta. State Rep. Heidi Sampson delivered a speech to the crowd that baselessly accused Gov. Janet Mills, who has introduced a vaccine mandate for health-care workers, of operating a government campaign to test “experimental” vaccines on unknowing citizens.

Stephen Harmon, mocked vaccines? Died.

Texas GOP leader says vaccines don’t work? Died.

I was seeing these all weekend.

Here’s a video, where a central interviewee — spoiler alert! — dies. But not before saying he hasn’t been vaccinated because “I’m basically a libertarian,” even though there is absolutely nothing about being a libertarian that would preclude a person from being vaccinated. The video is actually really good; you should watch.

Besides watching the proudly unvaccinated drop like flies, it was a hot, steamy weekend and wasn’t good for much other than staying inside, so I read an old John D. McDonald book and a bunch of other things. How about you?

Posted at 9:06 pm in Current events |

48 responses to “The busy reaper.”

  1. alex said on August 22, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    My neighbor Joel, who went out on a booze cruise with us this weekend, has a witty new name for COVID — “the karma variant.”

    I’ll raise a toast to that and to the roundup above.

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  2. Julie Robinson said on August 22, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    This morning at church there were three prayer requests for families with Covid. Two mentioned they were unvaccinated. As far as I know all her members got the vax, and most are still doing online church. The ones who come are too old for internet church and everyone masks up and keeps distant with no touching. But it sure seems like their family members don’t share their common sense.

    Orlando residents have been asked not to water their lawns or wash their cars, because the utility uses liquid oxygen to clean the water and right now the hospitals need it more. We may have a boil water order if people don’t reduce their use. It rains torrentially almost every afternoon, so they don’t need to water anyway, and I haven’t seen any sprinklers on in our little hipsterland. But I’m gonna be pissed if I have to boil water because too many idiots are clogging up the hospital system.

    For a break we drove over to Daytona Beach where our niece was dropping off her son for his freshman year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He and his buddy are both going there, and freshmen are allowed to have cars on campus, and I’m sure nothing will go wrong there. Nothing to focus you on those rigorous first year classes like wheels and nearby beaches, right?

    We drove right past the speedway and it seemed many around us were confused, thinking they were driving on the track. Or maybe they just all had sad small little manhoods.

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  3. LAMary said on August 22, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    I got a job offer. Holding off on accepting until I hear from another company that was talking about significantly more money (if they make an offer).

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  4. Sherri said on August 23, 2021 at 12:49 am

    Why we left Portland a day earlier than planned:

    The area where shots were fired was about 7 blocks from where we were staying.

    Every time the Proud Boys come to Portland, shit like this happens. Today was relatively tame. The police do nothing about the Proud Boys.

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  5. Suzanne said on August 23, 2021 at 6:46 am

    I noticed an uptick in the refused to get vaccinated now dead from COVID stories this weekend, too. I tried to muster some sympathy but failed.
    Sunday, I had a nice visit with my 86 yr old mother until my very right wing brother showed up. First he told me about his wife’s class reunion and how out of a class of 500, only about 50 showed up and none were black, so gosh, we had all that integration & bussing crap back in the 70s and those blacks can’t even bother to show up to a class reunion. Mostly I try to deflect conversations but then he had to tell me (as he does each time I talk to him) that it’s all the illegals crossing the Southern border that are bringing in covid and it’s costing taxpayers so much money and really, we should just send the National,Guard down to border and shoot anyone who tries to cross. That’s when I could no longer hold my tongue, told him those were God’s children too (he’s a rabid churchgoer) and his response was that they can worship God in their own country. I told him I hoped he’d go home & repent and left.
    We are all getting older and he helps out our mom a lot, but I am increasingly in avoidance mode with him. One conversation ruins the rest of the day.
    And he assures me he isn’t racist.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 23, 2021 at 8:22 am

    Suzanne, I hurt with you just reading that. I’m re-learning a lesson I first picked up in Clinical Pastoral Education (which is a semester-long practicum program many ministers do once, and hospital chaplains often do 3 units of as part of their training); as my father-in-law constantly needles, provokes, and tells needless untruths, I watch myself for just how much I can take without snapping back or lashing out. And it all comes down to how rested, centered, internally at peace I am.

    It’s a fascinating if grueling self-study; I’ve long known & taught & shared that you have to know your own self-care needs & capacity to care for others. But I’m getting an Erlenmeyer flask level knowledge of my own capacity & limits, where my “empty” is by the milliliter. When I’m at that last red line, I either just walk out of the room, or figure out how to do something that feeds me before the next provocation.

    The real problem is that both of us are learning how much this has been who he is forever, it’s just that at 92 there’s no place to go with confronting or challenging or pushing back . . . and he actually doesn’t remember from day to day stuff, since we repeat almost everything now even between morning and afternoon and sometimes a third cycle for the evening. So “teaching him a lesson” or “standing up to him” is about twenty years behind us, if it ever was an option.

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  7. Bitter Scribe said on August 23, 2021 at 11:02 am

    As ridiculous as it may sound, I really think that all this anti-vax stuff is the purest form of political spite. The vaccines didn’t come along in time to save Trump, so these people are bound and determined that Biden won’t benefit from them either.

    Speaking of which, notice how quickly the right has moved off the “Trump really developed the vaccines, where’s his credit?” line. Even Trump himself backed away when he tried to talk up the vaccines at a rally in Alabama and got booed. Trump is, among many other things, a standup/improv comic, and like all comics, he tests new material on the road. I predict this is the last time we’ll be hearing Trump speak in favor of vaccines. From now on it’ll be all Free Dumb.

    Of course, he’ll help kill thousands of people who might have been saved, but what does he care? He’ll get the laughs and cheers at his rallies, and in his universe, that’s all that matters.

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  8. LAMary said on August 23, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Trump was originally whining about not getting credit for the vaccine and I recall one time boasting about his system for distribution which was nothing to boast about. He seemed to initially stay quiet about supporting the vaccine but now he seems to encourage his blind followers with that silence. He’s amoral. No other explantion. He doesn’t care how many people die as long as he still gets mobs of folks with limited critical thinking skills at his rallies or watching him on whatever cable network will give him air time. I would love to unleash my infection preventionist NP friend on him. She works in Jacksonville. Her husband is also a nurse. They are exhausted, depressed and really fed up with the insanity. As nurses they’ve seen death many times but not as many times a day as they do now.

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  9. Jeff Borden said on August 23, 2021 at 11:44 am

    At lunch last week with one of my former editors, we discussed the political calculations behind Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis still refusing to act despite the massive increases in coronavirus cases and fatalities. It’s their boneheaded followers who are dying off like cicadas. We never figured it out.

    Meanwhile, while Joe Biden is pilloried for the clusterfuck in Kabul, today’s NYT has a Page One story revealing the Taliban offered to surrender to U.S. forces in 2003. Fucking Donald Rumsfeld said the U.S. “doesn’t negotiate surrenders.” And here we are 18 years later.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    Best wishes to Mary for the even better job offer, and to Suzanne, Jeff and everyone else struggling with elder care complicated by odious political beliefs.

    Or other beliefs. This morning I explained to my mom for the nth time that our architect didn’t hate her and wasn’t being trendy with rooms that are at an angle, he was fitting the rooms to the space available. We had a tiny little wedge of land left and he squeezed every square inch of space that he could.

    So this morning I’m researching to find a VOIP system that isn’t an arm and a leg or a super simple cell phone. She gave up her land line when we came here and had already tossed her cell phone, a flip, as too hard to use. She needs something though, for times like yesterday when we were gone for four hours, in case there was an emergency, or we just needed to talk to her. Tell me what your eldsters use, if you’ve found a solution. And remember, the flip phone was too confusing.

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  11. LAMary said on August 23, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    Julie, thank you for the good wishes. I know a few older folks who use consumer cellular through AARP and I think there is a large button phone available. Cricket used to have one too. Considering the number of sketchy “recruiting” phone calls I get every day from India via VOIP it must be pretty cheap and easy. I got one the other day showing an area code in Massachusetts. I called back just in case it was not a sketchy fake recruiter and got a woman in Ireland who said she gets calls all day from people looking for the fake Indian recruiter. I find that NJ, VA and CA area code 925 are the most popular for spoofing. My previous, brief recruiting job, the one with the non existent user name for my computer, required me getting a google voice account for my cell phone. That was free and not a big deal. You might want to look into it.

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  12. Deborah said on August 23, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    Trying to get uncle J to use his iPhone was a lost cause, even when he was in the very earliest phase of Alzheimer’s. He got a kick out of face timing with people though as long as someone could set it up for him. He had caretakers always available to help.

    Julie if you Google cell phones for seniors, there seem to be a lot of them. I don’t have any personal info on good ones though.

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  13. Sherri said on August 23, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Our medical system essentially makes the assumption that the best way to live longer is to buy lottery tickets to fund big breakthroughs and hope that you get the winning ticket. What if the best way to live longer is actually for everyone to live longer, with public health rather than big breakthroughs? Atul Gawande writes about Costa Rica, which has a higher life expectancy than we do:

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  14. basset said on August 23, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Mrs. B is fine with just a flip phone, but we’re getting her a smart phone so her continuous blood sugar monitor (Dexcom) can forward her readings to my iPhone. Hadn’t bought a phone in awhile, they sure have gone up in price.

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  15. David C said on August 23, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    We use ITP VOIP. We use the basic which is $9.99/month. It’s $15 something after taxes and 911 charges. We like it because it has what they call a white list which is a list of numbers that are allowed to call us. It might work well for your mom, Julie. Ours filters out everything but family, doctors, and businesses we use frequently. If your mom is like my parents they feel obligated to answer each and every call which can lead to getting scammed like happened to my parents. You can set it up for those who would have a need to call you mom and know the others are locked out. The call quality is good. Not landline good, but good enough.

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  16. Sherri said on August 23, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    My parents had to move to iPhones to work with my mom’s digital hearing aids, and they actually use those better than their old non-smart phones. They text now, which is helpful because even with hearing aids, my mom’s hearing is bad. They still have a landline, but call from their cell phones about as often.

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  17. Scout said on August 23, 2021 at 3:41 pm

    This post made me think of this:

    Now that the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine, I wonder what the new excuse will be. MAGAland would rather die than admit they were wrong, apparently.

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  18. Jim said on August 23, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    Scout: here is my guess:

    “It doesn’t work against Delta anyway.”

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  19. Suzanne said on August 23, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    Jim, my guesses are
    A) it doesn’t work against Delta so why bother
    B) it won’t work once the Chinese send a new COVID virus
    C) it won’t work on the virus those hoards of unlawful immigrants are bringing across the border

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  20. Suzanne said on August 23, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Just heard a new excuse on why to avoid the vaccine. A local business owner who is a radical right winger (still has Trump 2020 signs on his lawn) died last week of COVID, unvaccinated of course. I just talked to a man who said his nephews still refuse vaccination because the business man who died really died of pneumonia.
    Dear God. Our only hope really is for these people to die off, isn’t it?

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  21. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks, all. I was looking for personal experiences, and I’m going to check out the ITP VOIP that David mentions. I like that you can have a white list because she got very grouchy about the spam calls. Our daughter had sent me some reviews but when I clicked on them none of the deals were the same, so it felt like a bait and switch.

    Her last flip phone was so easy to use–flip it open to answer, flip it closed to hang up, and all you had to do was dial the number and press send. Somehow that was too complex. And don’t even get me started on speed dial!

    An interview I heard yesterday said 30% of non-vaxxers said they would get it when the FDA approval came through, so like the rest of you I’m waiting with less than bated breath to see it happen.

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  22. LAMary said on August 23, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    I’ve seen that argument that someone did not die of covid many times. Frequently it’s mentioned that the hospital and the doctor get extra cash if the cause of death is covid so hospitals put it on lots of death certificates.

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  23. alex said on August 23, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    Like FDA approval’s gonna matter to people who think they’re being microchipped.

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  24. Icarus said on August 23, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Julie Robinson @ 10

    I get that you are looking for a low tech solution but maybe in this case high tech is the way to go. You can make phone calls with an Amazon echo device and all your mom needs to do is say “Alexa call Julie”.

    I know it might invite other issues but maybe it solves a few more?

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  25. susan said on August 23, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Now that Pfizer’s vaccine has been officially approved, the anti-vaxxers will complain and refuse to get it because the approval process was too rushed.

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  26. Jim said on August 23, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    Well, this is not a surprise. “Quite sick with COVID.”

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  27. Dorothy said on August 23, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    I am seriously not taking any glee about the death of any individuals. But let’s all be honest about this: if someone chooses not to get vaccinated and insists that it’s all made up, or fake, or anything along those lines, aren’t we all thinking along the same lines? That they’re getting what they deserve. They’re reaping what they sow. The cliches go on and on in my head, but I refuse to work up any kind of sympathy for dumbasses who won’t follow science. And then it makes me glad that means there are fewer and fewer idiots walking the earth. I know it makes me sound unsympathetic or callous but truly I just don’t give a shit. Now I feel better saying what’s on my mind about all these anti-vaxers.

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  28. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Icarus, I had no idea. Does she have to have a phone first? The kids have those little google devices all over the house, no alexas. More research to do.

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  29. David C said on August 23, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    This article is a couple of years old so it may not be the same anymore but if this is still the case, I wouldn’t want an Alexa in my house. Even though the only reason I can think of that someone would listen in on my mundane life is that they’re being punished for something bad they did, I don’t even want the possibility.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    That battle has already been lost with all the Google devices which are all over our house, even the kids’ bedrooms. Not ours.

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  31. Sherri said on August 23, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    My trainer uses Alexa to keep in touch with her boys when they’re at home and she’s at work. She doesn’t have a landline, and while the 15 year old has a cellphone, the 10 year old doesn’t, and this way the 10 year old has a way to contact her without going through his brother.

    As for privacy, you should assume that anything attached to the Internet with a microphone in it is eavesdropping on you, and yes, that includes your computer. And your smartphone.

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  32. alex said on August 23, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    Whether it’s through malign neglect or horse de-wormer or what have you, Trump’s base killing itself brings me great schadenfreude, I cannot deny it.

    The Washington Post has a great piece on the year Vanessa Williams won the Miss America pageant. It was sort of a fluke that she became a contestant in the first place. A pageant scout saw her in a college musical production and convinced her to try out and she ended up winning Miss New York.

    With these pipes and that stage presence, it was her contest to lose:

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  33. Deborah said on August 23, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    What bugs me are the people who have a public platform like a right wing radio show personality or someone like that who says cavalier things about the vaccines that convinces people on the fence to not get one. When those shock jock types die of Covid I say good riddance. When the dupes they exploit don’t get vaccinated and die, that’s a shame. A crying shame.

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  34. Dexter Friend said on August 24, 2021 at 1:50 am

    Family warfare here. My wife’s memorial service was scheduled for the middle of September before the variant exploded. Most family members still want the gathering, one daughter says we must postpone until a lull of infections gets here. They insisted I assume the dictator role and I deferred to a vote, knowing that would make the dissenter very disagreeable. Awful texting went on, all day and night. We are having the service, plenty of N-95s were secured by the nurse practitioner, and this day of hateful bickering is over…now anyway.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 24, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Dexter, it sounds like letting them vote made sense to let some pressure off you; the local health authorities may force a reschedule or limits on you. I’ve done two funerals for friends in the last six months, and the negotiations for how and under what guidelines have been Palestinian/Israeli in nature, with rogue factions doing what they will no matter what the immediate family decides. All I can say is do whatever you think you need to do to protect yourself without apology, even if you have people saying “oh, it’s okay.” And I do hope you take care of yourself through this. You’re valued and honored by a lot of folks you’ve never met.

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  36. Maris said on August 24, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Nancy’s post and the comments remind me of the headline from a recent Paul Krugman column: The Rage of the Responsible.

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  37. Jim said on August 24, 2021 at 11:03 am

    Alexandra Petri nails where the anti-vaxx goalpost will be moved:

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  38. deni menken said on August 24, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Oh Dorothy! Thank you for voicing what is in my head. If I do extra time in Hell for these mean thoughts, I might have some intelligent company.

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  39. LAMary said on August 24, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Charlie Watts died. Not Keith Richards. The clean guy, Charlie Watts who stayed away from drugs, went first.

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  40. LittleBird said on August 24, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    You want to know something NOT FDA approved? Tattoo ink.

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  41. Sherri said on August 24, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks in no small part to large Republican donors like the DeVoses, among the least regulated areas are dietary supplements. You know, the things that anti-vaxxers think will keep them healthy instead of a FDA approved vaccination.

    I guess it’s literally the American Way!

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  42. David C said on August 24, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    Supplements are as much on Tom Harken as the Rs. He wrote and pushed the bill that pretty much deregulated the supplement industry because he thought taking bee pollen cured something or other.

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  43. Deborah said on August 24, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Charlie Watts was always the surprising one to me. Keith Richards will outlive us all.

    I finished “Anything is Possible” by Elizabeth Strout which I started on the flight to NM Saturday. I’m totally hooked on Strout’s work now after reading “Olive Kitterdidge” and “Olive Again” before, I’ve ordered “My Name is Lucy Barton” to arrive in Santa Fe before my flight back to Chicago and “The Burgess Boys” which hopefully will arrive in Chicago a day or two before I return there. I went through this reading cycle with Alice Munro, I expect I’ll end up reading everything Strout has written.

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  44. Heather said on August 24, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Well, my friend and I decided to cancel our trip to Hawaii this fall. The governor asked people not to come until after October bc their hospitals are filling up, and we were scheduled to come the last week of the month. I knew there was a chance it might not happen as the variant surge is growing stronger. I suspect they’ll institute some requirements that will make traveling both to there and around the islands more difficult. Plus, I don’t want to be a jerk. I’m sad–HI has long been on my bucket list–and I feel bad for the hotels etc., but it’s the right thing to do.

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  45. Sherri said on August 24, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    I can’t be the only person who sees anti-vax preachers and thinks “snake-handlers”, right?

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  46. Julie Robinson said on August 24, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    Or just plain snakes.

    Heather, I know how hard it is to cancel or postpone and I hope all will come together for another Hawaii trip in the future. I’m feeling more and more nervous about New Orleans in mid-October, but the wedding has already been postponed twice so I think they’re gonna have it this time for sure. Our decision to drive is looking better and better.

    For those of you who talked about making phone calls over an Alexa, can you point me to easy instructions? What I’ve found so far is making my eyes cross.

    We stopped by the office of a doctor who was recommended by three different friends, only to find out he isn’t taking new Medicare patients. I was so upset I actually started arguing with the receptionist and was shocked at myself afterward. Back to the drawing board I guess. I feel defeated and deflated.

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  47. Dexter Friend said on August 24, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Jeff MMO, You are the one valued more than you realize, and I thank you, after hoping you would offer a comment to my post. Nobody’s calmed down, the Florida daughter abruptly cut short my phone call today when I told her the decision has been made. I would like to sit in on a conversation between you and Jon Meacham, the philosopher and religion commentator who’s on MSNBC frequently. He’s from Tennessee.

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  48. Icarus said on August 24, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Julie Robinson @ 46:

    I think you just have to allow Alexa access to your contacts, which is easiest for you to do from your cell phone with the Alexa app. Your mom would be using those same contacts or she could ask Alexa to call a specific phone number (555-867-5309)

    I use my dot to call my cell phone whenever I cannot find it in the house.

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