4:30 a.m.

April 6, 2020

BW photograph of a grocery in the early early morning in the age of COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have always favoured the early morning.  In the time of COVID-19 and social distancing, this is, perhaps, the best time to do the allowed grocery shopping.  This particular morning also provided a clear sky along with the glow of a nearly full moon.  It was a wonderful time to be outside.

At such times, it is difficult to juxtapose the current circumstances with such a lovely beginning to the day.  The need to don masks and wipe down everything before touching and radio reports of the building crescendo of potential deaths this week presented a sobering contrast.  Reality, as is said, does indeed sometimes bite.  And hard.

Condolences to all who have lost loved ones.  Best wishes to all for what is yet to come.

Be safe and well.

April 1

April 1, 2020

BW photography of a patch of fungi.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

April 1 is traditionally April Fool’s Day in the U.S.-a time when folks typically play tricks on one another.   Given the impact of COVID-19 and substantial “stay at home” orders in place throughout the country, it is difficult to imagine being in a playful mood.  A microbe has exerted control.

BW photograph of lichen attached to a rock.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Interestingly, liquor stores and gun dealers have been determined to be “essential” businesses in some states.  Access to liquor and firearms in a time of quarantine.  What could go wrong there?

As Jimmy Buffett sings “…I shot six holes in my freezer.  I think I got cabin fever…”

Be well.

Broken

March 23, 2020

BW photograph of a broken tree.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

COVID-19 has continued its rapid spread worldwide while appearing to recede in China.  This is a new coronavirus, hence the term “novel”; however, the world has been here before with other outbreaks.  One might expect that history would provide a roadmap and impetus with regard to research and preparation.  Indeed, watch this from the 7:10 mark until the end-the closing message is one of great importance:  “Science, Communication, Education” are important tools to be used in this arena.

However, one must now interject the reality.  Please also read this.  History shows that once epidemics and pandemics dissipate, so does the political interest in long-term planning and preparation.  This, then sets the stage for the U.S. to not have enough PPE (personal protective equipment) for its healthcare workers, for example.  Misinformation continues to spread, which is simply not helpful.

Please be sure to pay attention to credible sources of information as “Science, Communication, and Education” are indeed critical.  As such, The New York Times published this useful primer.  The CDC and WHO provide updated information on their respective sites.

Please do take the requisite precautions-states have varying degrees of restrictions.  If everyone takes care of themselves and follows the proper protocols, then we will be taking care of each other as well.

Be well.

Chaos

February 29, 2020

BW photograph of downed trees and tree debris.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P, Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Take your pick:

COVID-19 has led to thousands of deaths and a free-fall in the U.S. stock market;

Russia extends its involvement with the upcoming U.S. 2020 election;

Australia has had punishing floods and hail on top of extraordinary wildfires;

Syria escalates its conflict with Turkey;

India reacts violently to state-sponsored discrimination over a citizenship law; and

the overall continued political turmoil in the U.S. (there are too many links to do this one justice).

What is especially disconcerting about the above, and the myriad of humanity’s other issues, is the political will behind nationalism and the efforts exerted to remain in power.  This opposes the seeking out of genuine cooperation, both nationally and globally, to find lasting solutions.  The more that factions retreat into tribalistic groups that demonize the other, the more that cooperation becomes a wistful dream.  When something immediate, like COVID-19 (although this is a new strain, the issues surrounding its appearance and the manner that characterized the initial response are not), or something much, much more chronic, like climate change, arises, there is plenty of global expertise to assess, evaluate, and implement strategies to avoid or mitigate the damage.  Adaptation may also be required.  However, this means being open and above-board and having a willingness to work with others.  It means having effective leadership-contradicting the CDC and WHO is not that…

No one who knows me would ever use the term “optimist” as a descriptor.  I would argue that I am more of a realist who does focus on problem areas-perhaps overly so, but I am genuinely concerned by the current state of affairs.  I very much advocate for the awareness of current events, and their historical antecedents (it is so very important to have a sound grounding in history-that provides the context for a proper perspective on today’s issues), so as to be an informed citizen-especially in an election year.

By “informed”, I mean very carefully vetting information.  Critically analyze its source and content.  Social media algorithms are specifically written to drive content for which one has a demonstrated historical preference-this is part of what creates confirmation bias.  For example, one cannot properly vet (or fact check) one anti-climate change article by going to another anti-climate change article.  This post-modern age, characterized by data manipulation, does require a greater degree of due diligence.

Take care.

Warm

February 23, 2020

BW photograph of backlit silhouetted trees in the early morn.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It is another brilliantly sunny day, with temperatures forecast to rise into the upper 50s in parts of the Mid-Atlantic region.  What is the problem with that?  It is late February.

In accordance, NASA (and here) reported that earlier this month, temperatures in Antarctica had reached 64.9 degrees (F), “…matching that day’s temperature in Los Angeles…”  Please do read through those links as there are a number of potential ramifications should this be a developing pattern and not an isolated weather event.

(As an aside, foehn winds, which are described in the second link above, play a significant role in The Eiger Sanction.  This is mentioned because I first learned of such winds, and the problems they can create, by reading that book years ago.)

Also, please note that NPR posted a correction at the end of the report.  In an era when anyone with a computer or smart phone can publish whatever is desired, it is vital to be able to critically evaluate the validity and reliability of info.  In this case, the author of the NPR report has links to the original NASA report as well as other sites supporting the content.  The fact that this correction was posted is also a mark of a legitimate news organization.  When there are inaccuracies, they are fixed.

Take care.

Sticker

February 7, 2020

BW photograph of Morgan Run after a hard rain.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Today is February 7, 2020.  Over the past week or so, this part of the country has had temperatures in the 60s, which are about 20 degrees higher than normal.  This morning, parts of central Maryland received a tornado warning as a strong storm moved through the area-temperatures slid through the 50s into the 40s, torrential rains fell leading to localized flooding, and the wind kicked up spreading tree debris across the roadways.  A tornado did not appear.  Morgan Run was roiled, but the water level was not what was expected given the amount of rain that fell in such a relatively short period of time.  Perhaps the smaller feeder streams around the area, which were much more inundated, had not emptied as yet.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, this is happening.

When out and about following the heaviest of the rain, there was a vehicle ahead sporting a sticker that read “Stop Global Whining”.

Take care.

Wilted

February 2, 2020

BW photograph of a bouquet of wilted mums.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Followers of the impeachment trial will have no doubt drawn their conclusions about the process and desired verdict.  Fortunately, the recent House and Senate proceedings have been aired live so that folks could watch/listen as they were occurring.  This is especially critical given the polarization of opinion and the spin that gets placed on info by partisan outlets.  Social media bears the brunt of this, but broadcast networks are certainly not immune.  As such, one must take great care to be cognizant of implicit and confirmation bias as to the drawing of conclusions.

BW photograph of a bouquet of wilted daisies.

Copyright 2020 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is the third impeachment of a U.S. president in our history.  That we have reached a point wherein the Senate has actively engaged in defending the president instead of working as a co-equal part of government to provide oversight, investigate, and judge as designated is of great concern.  The Senate is, in effect, abdicating its power to the embellishment of the executive branch.  This was not the intention of the framers of the Constitution.  They were particularly concerned with the interference of a foreign power in our elections.  Said interference is a central point in this impeachment.

Regardless of one’s political persuasion, the profound emphasis on the achievement and maintenance of power rather than adherence to the principles of democracy as espoused in the Constitution is a dangerous place in which to be.  It would be important to read that document (the Constitution) so as to have a foundation for understanding the points being made and those being obfuscated during these and related proceedings.

UPDATE:  The above paragraphs were written before the Senate voted to not call any witnesses or hear additional testimony from said witnesses.  This is in contradiction to polls which have indicated the majority of Americans wanted additional witnesses to be called.  It appears that a Senate vote to convict/acquit will occur on Wednesday, with the latter being the most likely outcome.  Given that additional information related to the articles of impeachment continues to be uncovered, the decision on Wednesday will not be the end of this issue.  No matter what, there is an election in November.

The current issue of The New Yorker also contains this article, which is very much worth a read.  I found it interesting/amusing that Ms. Lepore used “withering” in the article-I choose “wilted” here, a choice made before reading that piece.  Both appear to be an accurate descriptor.

Take care.