3rd Quarter 2021
Episode 896, 897, 898, 899, 900, 901, 902, 903

Episode #896: Those Cookies Suck
First Broadcast: 6/21/21
Repeated: 6/28/21
This week, I take a deep dive (some might say too deep) into the difficulties of installing the Vivaldi web browser onto a Windows 7 system. Yeah, I know, I should probably just upgrade to Windows 10 already, but since its "end of life" has now been announced, maybe I should hang on for a little bit and upgrade to Windows 11 instead? Anyway, is this an example of the kinds of discussions we here at Free New York can have when we don't have to worry so much about the twin horrors of COVID-19 on one end and the former guy tweeting up a storm of nonsense every day on the other? Maybe so! Get vaccinated! Wear your mask in the subway! Rank your choices for Mayor! And support your local bodega cat!

Episode #897: Chaos Ensues
First Broadcast: 7/5/21
Repeated: 7/12/21
While you're stuck in traffic, you can ask yourself this question: Hot enough for you? On Monday, June 28, the temperature reached 113 F in Portland, Oregon, which was hot enough to melt power cables. That same Monday, the temperature reached 115 F in Vancouver, British Columbia, breaking a record that was last set in 2009. A few miles away in the town of Lytton, the temperature reached 121 F, setting an all-time heat record for the entire nation of Canada. On the other side of the Pacific, the temperature reached 118 F in Siberia. Down south, heat caused the power grid to fail in Texas. Out west, heat exacerbated the extreme drought in California, causing water levels to fall beneath those required for hydro-electric power to be generated, and enabling wildfires to spread more easily. The tri-state area wasn't immune to the heat either: on Wednesday, June 30, temperatures hit record highs of 100 F at LaGuardia airport in Queens and 103 F in Newark, New Jersey. This kind of weather can literally cook you to death! Should I make a plan to escape to Buffalo, if I ever become a climate refugee? Things can't be all bad there if a socialist is running for mayor there!

Episode #898: You're a Lizard, Harry
First Broadcast: 7/19/21
Repeated: 7/26/21
On Friday, July 9, 2021, the temperature reached 130 F in Death Valley, California, one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in modern history. The next day, July 10, not too far away in Las Vegas, Nevada, the temperature reached 117 F, tying the city's all-time record high for only the 4th time since 1942. This is dangerous weather for people to be in, because--as we pointed out in the previous episode--low-temperature cooking starts at around 113 F, and since people are mostly meat, we're not immune to this kind of low-and-slow barbecue! We also ask the question: Why aren't more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19? Is it simply because they want to piss off the people they hate, a.k.a. liberals and Democrats? And do any of the former guy's lawsuits against Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding? (Spoiler: probably not.) Watch out for that Delta variant!

Episode #899: Omega Virus
First Broadcast: 8/2/21
Repeated: 8/9/21
Even though at least 55% of the New York City population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, positivity rates are going back up again, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that all people, even if they're fully vaccinated, go back to wearing masks indoors if they're in counties where transmission rates are either "high" or "substantial," definitions which apply to all five counties that make up the five boroughs of the city. As disconcerting as that is, New York State still isn't as in as bad shape as Florida, Louisiana, or Arkansas, states in which every single county now falls under the same masking recommendations as NYC. What's the reason for this "third wave" of COVID? Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC put it plainly on July 16: "This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated." The statistics back her up: At least 97% of all people being hospitalized for COVID now have not been vaccinated for it. What's it going to take to get them their shots? Will mandates and cash incentives work? Or are these vaccine-refusers permanently intractable? I wish I didn't have to wait any longer to find out the answer!

Episode #900: Our Pandemic Slideshow
First Broadcast: 8/16/21
Repeated: 9/13/21
If you like photos taken before, during, and in the aftermath of biological outbreaks, have we got a program for you! Commemorate our 900th episode with us as we show off a collection of photographs taken by Chris and Kim in and around Manhattan during our year and counting dealing with COVID-19! Let's hope Episode #1000 isn't more of the same!

Episode #901: Ironic Penny Loafers
First Broadcast: 8/23/21
After a brief discussion about TV programs that been on the air longer than ours (did we mention our 900th episode aired last week?), the Voyager spacecraft, and whether or not V'ger is the origin of the Borg, we talk about the recent beginning of the withdrawal of American troops and evacuation of American citizens and Afghan refugees from Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban taking over that country after the Afghan government collapsed in the face of its imminent demise. Perhaps the Afghan government knew its days were numbered when the Trump administration signed an agreement about the future of Afghanistan with the Taliban in February, 2020, that excluded the Afghan government altogether? There's no question that Afghanistan is in a state of chaos right now as one group relinquishes control and another group assumes control without a formal transfer of power, while possibly the most stable force in the country proceeds to depart permanently. But, you know what? This was always going to be a shitshow because the United States never should have been in Afghanistan in the first place, and after 40+ years of U.S. interference, continuing to keep U.S. troops there and hoping that the country won't deteriorate further is just ridiculous. Have we learned anything from this? Is the U.S. destined to force itself into another Vietnam or Afghanistan in the future? I wish I had some better answers, but only time will tell...

Episode #902: Cross References
First Broadcast: 8/30/21
In between discussing Judge John Hodgman, "That Happens," the various flavors of Mountain Dew, and Iron Chef, we talk about New York State's newest governor, Kathy Hochul, the similarities between two previous governors' departures, the expensive rents in New York City, the awful people who oppose vaccine requirements, and how Pfizer's COVID vaccine finally received full FDA approval. So, there's at least one piece of good news in there this week, I hope!

Episode #903: You Are Not a Horse
First Broadcast: 9/6/21
Repeated: 9/20/21
Since the overwhelming majority of people who are suffering infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19 now are unvaccinated, and since all 3 authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. are free, you'd think people would be falling all over each other to get vaccinated if they haven't done so already, but you'd be wrong! Apparently, a sizable number of Americans would rather take a chance ingesting veterinary medicine meant for horses that hasn't been proven to prevent hospitalization or worse from COVID at all, than take vaccines that have been proven to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID among the millions of Americans who have taken them. Not only that, but more than a few Americans would rather pay hundreds of dollars to get a fake proof-of-vaccination card that could subject them to fines and imprisonment, even though--as we keep saying--a genuine vaccine and the card that proves you received it are both FREE. You would think the increasing number of right-wingers who railed against vaccines and then died from COVID might be a sign that vaccines are a good thing, or that the number of people insisting that COVID is a hoax even while they're dying from it would be a clue that maybe getting vaccinated is a good idea after all, but too many people seem to think that vaccination is a "personal choice" that only affects themselves and no one else, even though every person who could get vaccinated but remains unvaccinated becomes a potential spreader of COVID to those who can't yet get vaccinated--namely children under the age of 12--and the increasing number of people under 12 getting infected with COVID in states like Florida, where COVID positivity rates soared upwards over the summer, seems to prove that refusing vaccination puts those younger people in danger just as much as it does for those who are refusing the vaccines. So, is there any chance that the people who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 yet would maybe--MAYBE--get vaccinated to make life a little safer for the children who can't get vaccinated yet themselves? Is it at all possible for them to think of someone besides themselves for once? Of course, if they could think of other people, maybe so many of them wouldn't have voted for Trump...

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