The beauty of it all

Cellphone towers atop summit of North Mountain.

Cellphone towers atop summit of North Mountain.

I believe you can find beauty in almost anything.  Even in the looping knots of the magnified Ebola virus.  And yesterday evening I found beauty in cellphone towers.

It was sunset when I started down from the summit of Shaw Butte, a relatively high peak in the middle of Phoenix.  It is one of the two tallest peaks in North Mountain Park.  The other, North Mountain, is just a shade smaller.  Both mountains are in the 2,000 foot range in elevation, yet 1,000 feet higher than nearby terrain.  And both are dotted with cellphone towers.

Metal amid nature.

Metal amid nature.

Standing tall on Shaw Butte.

Standing tall on Shaw Butte.

Heading down the rough road, I suddenly became struck by these metal trees.  I must have caught them just at the right moment.  The mix of man-made metal and Nature-made shadows compelled me to pull out by old Canon and shoot away.   Behind the towers, clouds of all colors amid an azure sky enhanced the scene.  Nature’s own cellphone tower, a giant Saguaro, rested nearby, the tops of its numerous arms swathed in sunlight. It would be hard to choose one tower over the other unless you intellectualized it:  Nature is best, cellphone towers on mountain tops are evil.

All of this reminded me to take longer looks at things that at first seem repulsive.

Unearthly constructions.

Unearthly constructions.

The Saguaro, Nature's tower.

The Saguaro, Nature’s tower.

The other night watching “Forensic Files” I could barely stand to look at a disfigured woman.  Her son had stabbed her three times in the head with a long knife.  She recovered but her face looked akin to a burn victim.  It took great courage for her to now walk in public, to see the stares, to see the quick-turns of faces looking away.  But I believe if you examined that face long enough, that courage would be reflected somewhere, in some aspect on that face  And that would be beautiful.


‘Apartment Zero’ and the Ebola scare

If there is one Ebola case in the U.S. that Americans should follow closely it is the one involving Louise Troh and others living in her apartment in Dallas late last month.  This case of “Apartment-Zero” should tell Americans just how contagious this strain of Ebola actually is.

Troh was the Dallas girlfriend of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first human in the U.S. to die of the disease.  She resided in an apartment with Duncan as his infectious symptoms emerged on September 25.  Also staying in the apartment at the same time were Troh’s 13-year-old son, her nephew and a friend.  At least five others lived in the apartment or had contact with Duncan during the critical period.  None of course wore protective gear.

Probably none had more exposure to Duncan than Troh’s daughter, Youngor Jallah, a nurse.  After Duncan was amazingly sent back to the apartment after appearing with symptoms at Presbyterian Hospital, it was Jallah who took care of Duncan as his condition worsened and was the one who finally called 911 to transport the victim back to the hospital on September 28.  By then, Duncan had suffered from fever and diarrhea in the apartment for three days.  He received an Ebola diagnosis two days later.

It is all good news so far after 18 days.

None of the exposed  has come down with symptoms.  All are in quarantine at another residence in Dallas as Ebola’s 21-day incubation period approaches.  Under current CDC guidelines, Troh will be considered Ebola-free on Monday, the 20th, and supposedly her quarantine would be lifted immediately.  Since most of the disease’s symptoms appear within 8-10 days, this is good news.  Here, you have a wide sample of exposures involving different age groups and genders.

So far, the only cases within the U.S. involving transmission of Ebola have been two high-risk nurses who treated Duncan during the most contagious period.  Should Ebola ever get into the general population via casual contact, then, and only then, do we have something serious to talk about.

It is almost mind-boggling how the media has hyped the bad news about Ebola in the U.S. and has lost their way in covering the tell-tale Apartment Zero.   It would be fully mind-boggling if it didn’t happen so often.  In the meantime, Americans continue to show a propensity to panic before knowing the facts, thanks in part to the ineptitude of the CDC and Dallas hospital where the U.S. outbreak has occurred and hyping the dangers, particularly  by CNN and Fox News.



A page for bumbling America

It surely has become obvious to many that America is in a state of decline and denial.  Starting this century with 9/11, you see case after case in which incompetence, bad decisions and deceptions are a large part of this country’s daily diet.

With this in mind, Long Row starts “Bumbling America” hoping to  identify some of the more egregious examples.  Although the page begins today with the looming possibility of an Ebola epidemic in this country, “Bumbling” will not hesitate to reach back in time to summarize other significant events in current America history be they large or small.

Suggestions are welcome and will receive attribution if used.

Losing our heads over Ebola

Two Americans are beheaded by ISIS in the Mideast.  Polls reveal a turn-around in public perception. Many Americans suddenly want to go to war.  A significant number want soldiers on the ground, particularly if those soldiers are not their sons and daughters.

In the meantime, Ebola arrives in the U.S.  It concerns us only a little.  To me, Ebola poses a much larger threat to this country than ISIS.  The survival rate is about 50 percent.

“I have no doubt we will stop (Ebola) in its tracks in the U.S.,” says Dr. Thomas Frieden of the Centers for Diseased Control and Prevention.

I for one am not in the believing mood.

Sincerity and truth are hard commodities to find these days in a cover-up American society.  People stew over losing their jobs.  They refuse to admit mistakes.  Like 9/11, WMD and the tragic invasion of Iraq in 2003, the financial crisis of 2008 and more recently the dithering over ISIS and under-estimation of its threat to the U.S.  And the Secret Service lapse:  A knife-wielding man penetrating undeterred deep into the White House.  And then the Secret Service lies about the incident.

And now Ebola.

Incredulously, we have allowed an infected man to enter the U.S. by simply taking a flight out of Liberia, one of three West African countries already decimated by the infectious disease.

You would hope that anyone traveling out of that African region would be quarantined for a while.  Not so.

It is reported the Liberian victim now being treated in a Dallas hospital was cleared for “symptoms” before boarding the plane and then sent on his merry way to visit relatives in the U.S.

Most victims, it is reported, show symptoms within 8-10 days after infection.  It is during the symptoms stage that the disease can be transmitted by contact.  So how does anyone know the health status of passengers leaving Liberia by sticking a thermometer in their mouth?  What is apparent today may not be apparent in a week.  How can you not quarantine travelers for at least two weeks and see if they are OK?

The man arrived in Dallas on September 20, became ill on the 24th, visited a medical facility and was sent home before a later diagnosis of Ebola.  Even more alarming was a report today the victim was sent home after telling the medical person he had come from Liberia!

It will be difficult for most Americans to admit what is so obviously true and has been increasingly true for all of the 21st Century.  We live in a bumbling country.  Neither government nor citizens have their heads screwed on right.

You can not make foreign policy over two beheadings. You should not make policy from polls.  You can make policy over who gets into this country from Liberia.