#WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

I got both my Covid booster and my flu vax shot last night. Same arm. One show two inches above the other like a badass. Other than a bit of soreness in my arm that may just be due to my earlier badass workout, I’m all good. No second head. No super powers. No 5G brainwaves. No more government tracking than usual. It could be the tinfoil fedora I wear around, but it’s beginning to look like all the horror stories of the vax turning people into slavering mutants were just the fevered dream of people who know fuck-all about how the world works.

But I digress.

We’ve tried vaccinations and masking and while those work to some extent, there’s still a contingent of mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers out there who seem hell-bent on dragging this whole pandemic out as long as possible in the name of their freedoms. At this rate, it doesn’t seem like there’s that much we can do to smash Covid in its tiny balls. It’s too quick for us, too ready to change, too fully ingrained into the environment for us to ever be completely rid of it. Which means years from now you could be innocently planing boards or robbing sperm banks, take a breath at the wrong time and – bam! – your sense of smell and taste have borked off and a fever is treating your body like a two-dollar whore.

The vast majority of people who get that level of sick – especially when they’re fully vaxxed – is will walk away from it within a few days. But what about the drooling idiots who refuse to wear masks because reasons and refuse to get vaxxed because they’re worried they’ll grow a second head? Or, worse yet, what about all those countries that simply cannot afford to vaccinate their populations?

Take those problems together and you’ve got yourself a recipe for problem soup with a side of endemic bread topped with a delightful ivermectin crema.

Fortunately, the big pharma groups have decided to play a little ball with the world. Don’t worry, they’re getting paid so it’s not like they’re going hungry. Merck, for instance, developed a pill that seems pretty damned good at stopping the bad Covid infections before they become disastrous put-you-in-the-hospital-with-a-tube-rammed-down-your-throat-and-not-in-a-sexy-way infections. And Merck, possibly looking forward to an endemic future where Covid pills are a regular thing, has agreed to share the formula royalty-free with others until the WHO (not the one with Pete Townsend, the other one. The one with the doctors) has decreed that Covid is no longer a world-wide emergency. Considering the fact that Covid will be with us probably forever, that means Merck has years of royalties to look forward to even after the pandemic is “over”.

So, on the one hand, good for them. Merck’s putting people over profits at least for the time being. On the other, maybe we don’t need to throw out our shoulders patting them on the back since Covid will never fully go away.

Check the original story here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are: Sylvia McGrath and Belinda Witzenhausen

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).
2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.
3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
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And now, your moment of Zen.

Book Review – Night Shadow by B.K. Bass

2019 was the last time the world was normal. Our president was loud-mouthed idiot, but we’d learned to make fun of him, everyone was still working in offices, and we didn’t have to wear masks everywhere or listen to mouth-breathers explain how vaccines turned us into mindless robots with 5g connectivity. Covid was lurking, but it was still in the shadows, and we all had heady expectations of 2020 being a great year instead of the massive cluster-fuck it turned out to be.

2019 was also the year I got to read B.K. Bass’s first entry in his Night Trilogy – Night Shift. It was a novella focused on taking a traditional hard-boiled detective and dropping him into a cyberpunk reality with all the fun gritty nastiness one would expect from such a mashup. Early 2020 saw the release of part two – Night Life – where the antes were upped and nastiness got, uh, nastinesser. Nastierness. Let’s just call it a good time in a city that likes to eat people.

Now 2021 is grinding to a halt and sharpening its claws for one last dig into our throats, but at least we’ve got the conclusion of Bass’s trilogy – Night Shadow.

Night Shadow finishes the adventures of Harold Jacobson, now on the run and hiding out while he plots his revenge. The world has other plans for him, though, and Harold finds himself stuck in the middle of fiery revolution that will leave the city quietly sobbing to itself in the corner. Being the badass that he is, ol’ Harold will find a way to use the revolt to his own gains.

While the first two books in the series focused on corruption growing like a cancer in the shadows, Night Shadow lets the cancer loose on an unsuspecting city. My guess would be Night Shadow was heavily influenced by the events of summer 2020 (see, there was a reason I was talking about last year). 2020 was the year the United States exploded. Too much pressure, too much uncertainty, and way too much fear and loathing. Bass manages to capture that powder keg atmosphere in Night Shadow and isn’t afraid to let it loose.

It could be argued that there’s a certain meta-ness to the story. A hint that while the revolution is of the people and for the people, there are plenty of folks out there who, for better or worse, have no qualms about using the chaos to their ends. The final entry in the Night trilogy is bigger and badder than the first two and takes us in an unexpected direction. It still feels like part of the trilogy, though, and that’s no mean feat to pull off.

Taken as a collection, it could be argued that there was a certain prescience in the trilogy. All the corruption and violence of the first two books only served to increase the pressure until an explosion was inevitable. The ethical quandaries of exploiting the explosion aside, the only question left to ask is whether Harold did the right thing for all the wrong reasons or the wrong thing for all the right reasons.

And questions like that are what cyberpunk/detective-noir mashups are all about.

New Angeles is in turmoil.

The government, the corporations, and the organized crime families have the city in an iron grip. As that grip tightens, the people decide they will not take it anymore. When the citizens rise up and the city burns, Harold sees an opportunity to exploit the chaos.

But is his crusade one of justice, or vengeance?

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