Hey, come jump off a bridge with me!

I think a large part of why I’m so frustrated by the “well, nobody else is bothering with having a mask mandate, so there’s no point” argument is that we’re living through a real-world, literal version of the old parental peer-pressure cliché of “if everybody else jumped off a bridge, would you?”

As kids, it’s such an obviously mockable cliché, because of course not. Jumping off a bridge is an obviously life-threatening activity, so first off, that’s not something that a lot of people would do, and secondly, I sure wouldn’t be so foolish as to do that.

And yet. Here we are. With society at large jumping off every bridge around, and people lining up to jump with them.

Only it’s worse than that, because jumping off the bridge is a solo action that only threatens the life of the person jumping. But refusing to mask or encourage others to mask means that the jumpers are grabbing those next to them and pulling them over the edge of the bridge as they jump.

And here we are.

Keep Masking In Public

In case you or your organization/workplace has been waiting for the CDC to recommend masks — the CDC is (once again) (finally) recommending wearing masks in public spaces to protect against catching and spreading respiratory diseases such as RSV, flu, and yes, COVID.

The Centers for Disease Control Prevention on Monday encouraged people to wear masks to help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses this season as Covid, flu and RSV circulate at the same time.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a call with reporters, said wearing a mask is one of several everyday precautions that people can take to reduce their chances of catching or spreading a respiratory virus during the busy holiday season.

“We also encourage you to wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses,” said Walensky.

They’re also (finally) pointing out that you don’t have to wait for the CDC to encourage masking to put a mask on.

“One need not wait on CDC action in order to put a mask on,” Walensky said. “We would encourage all of those preventive measures — hand washing, staying home when you’re sick, masking, increased ventilation — during respiratory virus season, but especially in areas of high Covid-19 community levels.”

(And in case you haven’t checked recently, while the based-on-hospital-capacity level for King County is “low”, the King County community transmission level — a better metric to track, as preventing community transmission would do more to keep people healthy than only paying attention to when they’re sick enough to land in the hospital — is “substantial”, and there is no county in Washington that has “low” community transmission levels.)

Out in public? Wear your mask. Keep yourself and those around you safe.

📚 The Girl Who Married A Skull and Other African Stories edited by C. Spike Trotman, Kate Ashwin, Kel McDonald, and Taneka Stotts

57/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The last (for now) of this series of cautionary fables and fairy tales. I’ve enjoyed all of these, and am looking forward to getting the final volume.

Michael holding The Girl Who Married A Skull

📚 The Nixie of the Mill-Pond and Other European Stories edited by Kel McDonald and Kate Ashwin

55/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The next in this anthology series. As this one is European stories, it was the first with stories I recognized. Once again, a good selection, with good artwork, and while overall a little lighter than the other two I’ve read so far, still has a few pleasant moments of darkness.

Michael holding The Nixie of the Mill-Pond

📚 The Woman in the Woods and Other North American Stories edited by Kel McDonald, Kate Ashwin, and Alina Pete

53/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One of a series of six (eventually; five are published, the sixth is in production) anthologies of short comics based on indigenous cultures; this one is stories from North America. I enjoyed all the stories, with a good range of humor, heartfeltness, and darkness.

Michael holding The Woman in the Woods

📚 Past Prologue by L.A. Graf

52/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

More time travel shenanigans to get everything wrapped up means more opportunity to get a little confused as to which version of each character is in which setting, but it works out in the end. And the final scene is actually a nice way to finish things off.

But once again, the back cover blurb is wrong, but has just enough relation to make me think that there were some major rewrites and the blurbs were written from the original pitch instead of the final work for some reason.

Michael holding Past Prologue

📚 Future Imperfect by L.A. Graf

51/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Part two of this trilogy involves a lot of time travel, or dimensional travel, or both, which occasionally makes it a bit difficult to keep track of who is where/when, but for the most part tracks decently.

The back cover blurb is somewhat closer to the plot of the book than with the first book in the series, but still has some notable differences. Maybe the blurbs were written much earlier in the planning process, before rewrites and editorial adjustments? The cover image also has no relation to the story.

Michael holding Future Imperfect