Florida of the Day The Current Situation

How well is Florida’s COVID strategy working?

How it started / How it’s going

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Here are the sources for the screenshots above:

Here are the first three paragraphs of the AP article:

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Florida reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data released Saturday, as its theme park resorts again started asking visitors to wear masks indoors.

The state has become the new national epicenter for the virus, accounting for around a fifth of all new cases in the U.S. as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements, and along with the state Legislature, has limited local officials’ ability to impose restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. DeSantis on Friday barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month.

The numbers

Here are the numbers that Google reported last night, around 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 31st…

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…and here’s what the New York Times is reporting this morning (Sunday, August 1st):

If you look at the CDC’s COVID tracking map, all of the southeast United States is experiencing high levels of transmission:

Freedom necessitates responsibility

In the American Catholic magazine Commonweal, theologian and philosopher David Bentley Hart puts into words what many of us who didn’t grow up in the U.S. education system have internalized: Americans are, of course, the most thoroughly and passively indoctrinated people on earth. One major consequence of this indoctrination is that many people treat freedom as  being able to yell “You can’t tell me what to do!” and forgetting that freedom also means taking on responsibilities. Many Americans know the adage “Freedom isn’t free”, but are a little unclear on the coin used to pay for it.

The result of this simplistic approach to freedom is summarized in Ryan Cooper’s article in The Week (featured in the screenshot above): America’s narrow idea of freedom is literally killing us. He poses the question “Which country is more free during the pandemic: the United States or Vietnam?”, and to borrow a popular internet clickbait phrase, the answer will shock you.

Despite the fact that the vaccine was available in the U.S. sooner than in Canada, Canada’s vaccine rate overtook the U.S.’s a couple of weeks ago, thanks to a strong anti-vaccination quack movement and a particularly American brand of Lysenkoism, we still have a significant chunk of the population who refuse to get vaccinated.

The tragic end result will be more stories like the one above, in which a Jacksonville woman lost her grandmother, fiancé, and mother to COVID — all in the space of a week. She tested positive for COVID and was not vaccinated, and neither were her fiancé or mother. She’s now telling people to get vaccinated and plans to get vaccinated herself. (And because this is America, her best shot at digging out of her financial hole might be the GoFundMe that a neighbor set up for her. Throw some cash her way if you’re able.)

So use your freedom wisely, because it appears that as far as COVID’s concerned, remember that more freedom means more responsibility. If it is all about choice as Florida’s “Like Trump, but with an attention span and a work ethic” governor says it is, choose wisely:

  • Get vaccinated if you haven’t already,
  • Avoid crowded places — especially indoor ones — where the majority are unmasked,
  • Mask up when in enclosed spaces with lots of people,
  • Give the unvaccinated a wide berth, and
  • Practice some of that team spirit and resilience that Americans are supposed to have.
Stranger than Fiction

Oddly specific bumper sticker of the day

Bumper sticker that reads “Honk if you'd rather be watching the 1999 cinematic masterpiece ‘The Mummy’ starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz.”
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For me, 1999 was a year of entrepreneurship, hijinks, weird dating adventures, a last-minute marathon Toronto-to-Halifax drive for a New Year’s Eve rave, joining a band that improvised music over rock-climbing dance performances under one of Toronto’s tallest bridges, going to Burning Man, Python entrepreneurship, a trip to Prague, and a whole lot more, so I never saw The Mummy. Was it that good?

And oh yes, you can buy this bumper sticker online.

America The Current Situation

With great pandemic comes great responsibility

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In case you were wondering

Food It Happened to Me Tampa Bay

Great Moroccan food at Le Casa Bistro

Frites, chicken tagine, bread, and lamb tagine.
Our meal at Le Casa Bistro, minus the appetizer. Tap to view at full size.

Last Friday, before going to the Tampa Theatre to see the film about Anthony Bourdain, Roadrunner, Anitra and I decided to do what Bourdain encouraged: We went to a newly-opened restaurant to try some food that we normally don’t get to eat. We went to Le Casa Bistro, located half a block away from the theatre at the corner of Franklin and Polk streets.

Chicken tagine
Chicken tagine. Tap to view at full size.

Le Casa’s specialty is Moroccan cuisine, and they have a very nice selection of tagines (pronounced “ta-ZHEEN”), which are slow-cooked stews that get their name from the traditional ceramic or clay dish in which they’re cooked. You typically serve them from the tagine they’re cooked in.

We started with zalouk, a cooked eggplant and tomato salad served with points of pita, which was an excellent appetizer. For our mains, we shared the chicken tagine, which is garnished with preserved lemons and olives, and the lamb tagine, whose garnish was hard-boiled eggs and prunes. These are rich, saucy dishes, and we scooped up the sauce with the frites and bread that they provided along with our dishes.

Lamb tagine
Lamb tagine. Tap to view at full size.

The service was incredibly friendly and helpful — one of the owners even came out to chat with us. We’re definitely coming back then next time we catch a film at the Tampa Theatre, a show at the Straz, or an event at one of the nearby museums.

We need to check it out on a Thursday, when they’ve got a live DJ and belly dancing, which should be pretty interesting.

Le Casa Bistro is located in the Element Tampa building at 802 N. Franklin St., at the corner of Franklin and Polk. Go check it out before everyone else “discovers” it!

In case you’re wondering: The folks at Le Casa Bistro have no idea who I am and most certainly didn’t pay for an endorsement. I’m just a fan who wants to see them stick around.


Remember, if you’re a “Jr.”…

…and if you’re a “III”, it means grandma did the moaning.

Florida of the Day It Happened to Me

License plate of the day

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I saw this today while getting my car serviced and had to take a photo — you can even see me taking it!

I also think that we should adopt “B HOTMES” as Florida’s unofficial state motto.