How do you know a pandemic is ending?

How do you know a pandemic is ending?

Salivating neocons can gratefully and unabashedly return to the (very distant) sidelines and cheer on the slaughter of Palestinians. Our tax dollars at work. There's probably a box somewhere on our tax forms that would allow us to waive our refunds to help send more bombs and ammunition to the IDF. You can choose whether you want a Democrat or a Republican (they're in lock-step) to send you a note thanking you for your service. Notes from Matt Gaetz may fall into the NSFW category.

I watched some weird clip of Biden behind the wheel of a truck. One reporter asked if it was okay (asked if it was okay!) to ask a question about Israel. Biden said something to the effect of no, unless you get in front of the vehicle and I drive. The reporters giggled like school kids. Awww, Biden and the reporters, they so cute.

A lot of my posts over the past year were something along the lines of "Can you imagine what Fox would be saying if Obama had said that?" Fair's fair. Can you imagine what the Dems' twitterverse would be saying if Trump said that? Biden was joking. As is often the case with Biden, it was a lousy joke. And why didn't the reporter ask the question? I think any fair, honest viewing of that video should make us acknowledge that you don't have to be a QAnon type to believe the media treats presidents differently. Oh those reporters''s like a cuddly teddy bear and hot chocolate.

It looks like Biden is waiving sanctions on the production side of that Nord 2 something or other pipeline. I'm glad he's dropping them. I don't think we should be telling anyone how they can and cannot make energy decisions.* We wouldn't tolerate it for a second. I'm no longer a student of international affairs, but my amateur take is that it's a big win for Putin. And from what I've gathered, Trump opposed the pipeline. I'm just a simple blogger, but that sure seems inconsistent with four years of media and Saturday Night Live narratives declaring Trump a Russian asset. I doubt Congressman Ted Lieu or Speaker Nancy Pelosi are going to get on MSNBC and ask, "Just what is it that the Russians have on Biden?"

Always happy to state my biases and positions, especially for folks who have just stumbled on the blog. I think Trump was an incompetent, lousy, narcissistic, lazy (Executive Time!), dishonest president who had an affinity for autocrats and led the GOP in some weird, dangerous directions. I'm grateful Biden won. But Biden has some awful history and tendencies, and journalists should take off their Team Biden pins. At least drop the giggles. (Short online video snippets should never be trusted. The reporters may have come back with some hard questions. Regardless, I think the actions in the video warrant some criticism.)

That's not how I intended to start this. I'm fond of the fair's fair phrase. So - I think I started with the above to procrastinate on some self-criticism. Aspiring documentary photographer watches the pandemic from the sidelines.

Let's just say that the pandemic started in America in March 2020. I'm not trying to identify an actual start date, more of a collective oh shit date. We're closing in on a year and a half. And the past week has seen some huge developments.

I'm convinced that in 5 to 10 years we are going to be seeing powerful, cathartic documentary photography work in galleries everywhere. Photo narratives that help  us make sense of the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd (and too many others), the Black Lives Matter marches, the violence on the fringes of the Black Lives Matter marches, the 2020 election, the cult of Trump, the 6 January events at the Capitol, the lockdowns, etc.

I'm not going to have any work in those galleries. Probably a good indication that I'm not cut out for this, at least not beyond small personal projects. Ugh, I shouldn't have used the word galleries. That makes it sound like it's about fame. The hell with that. I'm using galleries in the sense of communal viewing spaces. Exhibit spaces, libraries, coffee shops, zines. There are photographers out there who have spent the past 15 months in their cars and on the streets, and when they get a chance to sift through their work, we'll get a chance to look back on these weird times and reflect. I hope they're resisting the urge to post every shot to Instagram. Don't post the images. Look through them, cull them, compile a narrative.

I need to start wrapping this up. I have been walking around a lot the past week. It was strange being on the streets in the wake of the CDC's new guidance about masks. I think their messaging has been bad, but I'm glad they released the guidance about masks not being required for vaxxed people, especially outside.

I know there are still a lot of unknowns, and we have to make our personal risk assessments. Mine is that the vaccines work. I'm fine walking around unmasked and being indoors unmasked. I still wear a mask in a lot of situations because I want to stay in step with my neighborhood, and businesses are still requiring them. If wearing a mask protects people with vulnerable immune systems, I'm all for it. We shouldn't put any mask policing responsibilities on workers who are already dealing with more than enough. Make it easy on workers and tip them well. (Classy, Ricky Schroeder, classy.)

Masks are no longer required in my building. It was weird seeing that the signs had come down.

I did have one pandemic project that I have waffled on for months. I wanted to get instant photos of the Capitol Hill industry folks in their environment. This is history. Bartenders, servers, and kitchen staff working during the pandemic, masked, in one of the riskiest environments - indoors around people who have to remove their masks to eat or drink. I wanted to put the photos in an inexpensive zine for them. That's history. I kept talking myself out of it. Oh they won't want to do that, that's dumb. (It's not dumb.) Another reason I'm not cut out for this work.

I'm impressed with HBO Max. I binged Perry Mason and loved it. 1930s Los Angeles...very cool. The actors and acting are fantastic. They've got their work cut out for them, that's for sure. I think they're partly writing a 1930s Los Angeles that most of us wish had been reality. Hell, it's a reality we want now. I won't spoil anything, but I'm referring to Della Street and Paul Drake. Man, they're both scene stealers.

Mare of Easttown. Not spoiling anything here. Wow, that most recent episode.

I'm re-reading John Julius Norwich's The Middle Sea - A History of the Mediterranean. If you like the history of that region, I recommend picking up a copy. I'm underlining 60% of the sentences with the intention of writing them down or referring to them here. I won't do either of those.

Capitol Hill Seattle 2021
Capitol Hill, Seattle, May 2021.
Capitol Hill Seattle 2021
Julia's, Capitol Hill, Seattle, May 2021. The light and the shadows - trippy. Hard to look at.
Capitol Hill Seattle 2021
Free Palestine, Capitol Hill, Seattle, May 2021.
Capitol Hill Seattle 2021
City Market, Capitol Hill, Seattle, May 2021.
Capitol Hill Seattle 2021
Laundry, Capitol Hill, Seattle, May 2021.
Rancho Bravo Capitol Hill Seattle 2021
Rancho Bravo, Capitol Hill, Seattle, May 2021.
Bergman's Capitol Hill Seattle 2021
Bergman's Lock & Key, Capitol Hill, Seattle, May 2021.

*We should, however, be working in cooperation with everyone to quickly and drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. The Nord 2 stuff is a Melian Dialogue; it hasn't got anything to do with the environment.