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COVID vaccination · March 11, 2021menu icon

COVID vaccination record

As today's media is headlining the March 2021 one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic – surely an oxymoron if ever I've heard of one! – I received a vaccination.

Why did I receive one, when others haven't? Partly, it's a matter of my fitting into the defined vulnerability classes, partly it's a matter of enfrancishement. Having worked in a health care system, I have ties, in this case just dumb electronics rather than personal. I received an email inviting me for an immunization. For my sake and the sake of people around me, I promptly accepted the invitation.

Vaccinations are not magic. It's rather like having an umbrella in a rainstorm: the umbrella won't keep your feet from getting wet, but it's far better than nothing. And if it's a stadium-sized umbrella, it protects others along with you.

It feels encouraging. I have escaped any significant personal effect of the virus, but a year without seeing people's faces or having ordinary social contact is a while.

Soaps & shortages · February 4, 2021menu icon

Empty soap racks

The pandemic has created odd shortages. In a way, the shortage of cleaners is understandable, as an instinct – but in practice not highly effective, since COVID transmission seems to occur far more through air-borne droplets that by surface contacts. The cleaning instinct has resulted in shortages of all kinds of cleaners, particularly in spray format.

I have been unable to find shower spray, which is not so particular a cleaner, but something that helps the soap run down off of the shower walls. After a while, I improvised my own, using household ammonia – of which there is no shortage! – and a little laundry detergent, added to water in a spray bottle. It works just as well as the commercial shower spray. In fact, it is a very good cleaner for all kinds of things.

This has led me to think about all the different kinds of cleaners there are. In my bathroom, I find that my needs are perfectly well taken care of with three items for personal care – toothpaste, body soap, and shampoo – and my homemade spray mixture. In the kitchen, I can do well with a slightly larger handful: dishwasher tablets, liquid detergent, Bon Ami (for cleaning of white things with an oxidizer), Barkeeper's Friend (for cleaning metals with a slightly acid agent), and my homemade mixture. It is truly amazing to look at all the other cleaners I have been doped into buying, which add no practical value to the fundamentals enumerated here.

The Capitol · January 16, 2012menu icon

U.S. Capitol

I have loved the Mall in Washington, where I grew up. The space is large, clean and inviting. Its pristineness leaves visitors (with rare exeptions) on their best behavior. Buildings such as the National Gallery of Art are open and free; you simply walk in the door and wander through, at your pleasure.

I was much saddened at recent events, just as I was at the burning of Notre-Dame de Paris – the difference being that the Cathedral event was an accident. Things won't be the same afterwards. After a few years, I imagine, the climate of D.C. will revert toward where it was until recently, but an irreversible loss of virginity has occurred.

The web site · January 1, 2021menu icon

Paul Nordberg self-portrait

After thinking it over for the last year, I have decided that this website is due for a makeover. Partly, that is because my life has evolved over the last six years since I started it. Partly, it is because techology has evolved, in some ways that will be of advantage to me, in others that won't, but in any case ineluctably. I do believe it will become much easier to maintain.

It will take me a while. First, I want to think about the structure and big parts, considering which have been most used and useful. Then, there will be the technical matter of executing the plan, which will be no small feat. I expect it will take me some months.