Today at the Editor’s glance: In the tropics: Hurricane Larry, a Category 4 hurricane, has Bermuda in its sights by next Thursday. Annual Pet Parade: Not to be confused with St. Thomas Episcopal’s wonderful annual, fall blessing of the animals, the Matanzas High School Leo Club hosts the second annual Pet Parade at the Florida Agricultural Museum Dairy Barn from 1 to 4 p.m. today. The museum is at 7900 Old Kings Road N. True, Raquel Welch is 81 today, but if you’re in a commemorative mood Arthur Koestler’s 116th birth anniversary today may be more appropriate. He’s the great author of Darkness at Noon (1940) and–a personal favorite–Dialogue With Death, from 1942 (“It had become a tradition during the last few years that dictators acted and democracies protested, a division of labor which seemed to please everybody,” or: “When Socrates, sitting in the midst of his pupils, reached out for the goblet of hemlock, he must have been at least half convinced that he was merely showing off”). He was born in Budapest, twin city of the Carpathians, reported from the Spanish Civil War for a British newspaper (the London News Chronicle, in case you wish to pick it up at Publix), and was captured by Franco’s fascists. He was imprisoned for four months, “most of the time in solitary confinement and most of the time convinced that I was going to be shot.” (Picture Max von Sydow playing his life story somewhere in an alternate dialogue.) The experience led to Darkness at Noon, still a classic of totalitarian absurdism. “I plead guilty to having placed the idea of man above the idea of mankind,” he wrote, a glimmer of Kant we don’t hear often enough in our semi-totalitarian submission to what Nabokov called “a too grim preoccupation with solid teamwork” (in Speak, Memory, a more exuberant version of Dialogue With Death, written nine years later (1951). “Humanitarian weakness and liberal democracy, when the masses are not mature, are suicide for a revolution,” Rubashov goes on to say in language that seems a bit dated today. The language is dated (even the word “revolution” is dated), the idea isn’t. Speaking of suicide: Koestler was a member of Exit, a right-to-die British organization. On March 1, 1983, he and his wife left a note for the maid to call the police when she finds them dead. They had both chosen to die of their own means. Koestler was 77, had Parkinson’s and leukemia. His wife Cynthia, once his secretary (she started working for him when she was 22), was 55 and in good health, though there was speculation that she had cancer. But she was devoted to him. Too devoted. The two swallowed barbiturates and honey and died together, Arthur drinking brandy, Cynthia drinking whiskey. “The story of Koestler’s marriage, of the danger of devotion, seems to make a mockery of his work, where he explored the danger of the human impulse to surrender onself out of loyalty to others,” Bernard Avishai wrote in a December 1996 New Yorker piece. But nothing indicates that Koestler actually knew that Cynthia would also kill herself. He had written his suicide note for himself, with no hint that it was a suicide pact. The decision appears to have been hers alone, and may well have occurred well after Kosetler died. They were found a day and a half later. See Koestler’s suicide note below, following the Flagler Health Department’s usual exhortations to otherwise suicidal Flagler residents who continue to refuse to get vaccinated.
Health Department’s Covid Testing and Vaccination Schedule and Information:
The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County (DOH-Flagler) has modified its COVID-19 testing schedule at the Flagler County Fairgrounds for the Labor Day holiday. Testing will not be offered either Saturday, September 4 or Monday, September 6.
Priority will be given to any students, faculty and school staff of public or private schools in Flagler County, followed by the general public, who should schedule testing appointments by calling 386-437-7350 ext. 0.
All individuals and families should consider the following when testing with DOH-Flagler.
- Testing should take place at least 3 to 5 days after exposure. Testing sooner than this may result in false negatives.
- Plan ahead and expect long lines. Bring snacks and drinks in the car, as well as books or toys to keep kids entertained while waiting for your turn. Note: you will park and walk into the Cattleman’s Hall where testing takes place. This is NOT a drive- through test site.
- Wear a mask inside the testing facility. Should you test positive, you may be asked to exit the facility and wait for the rest of your party outside to avoid transmission.
- DOH staff and volunteers are working extended hours to keep pace with the significant demand for testing. We are expanding our team to help with testing, contact tracing and case investigation, and appreciate your patience during this challenging time.
- It will take time for case investigators and contact tracers to reach you when/if you or your child tests positive for COVID-19. You or your child will need to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Take initiative to protect your loved ones by speaking with family members and other close contacts so they can get tested and watch for symptoms.
- If you are identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive, you may not hear from the health department if resources are not available.
- If you have been vaccinated (two weeks after your final dose) you will not need to quarantine if you do not have symptoms.
- If you have symptoms, get tested as soon as possible.
- Students will need to quarantine at least four days after the date of exposure.
The weekday testing schedule for September 4 through 12 follows:
Sunday, September 5 8AM to 12PM Flagler County Fairgrounds
Monday, September 6 CLOSED for Labor Day Holiday
Tuesday, September 7 8AM to 12 noon Flagler County Fairgrounds
Wednesday, September 8 8AM to 12 noon Flagler County Fairgrounds
Thursday, September 9 8AM to 12 noon Flagler County Fairgrounds
Friday, September 10 8AM to 12 noon Flagler County Fairgrounds
Saturday, September 11 CLOSED
Sunday, September 12 CLOSED
As a reminder, the health department does not offer testing for travel verification or provide return-to-work notes.
Vaccinations continue to be offered at 301 Dr. Carter Blvd three afternoons a week – Monday (except Labor Day), Tuesday and Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:00PM. Appointments are preferred; Walk-ins are welcome.
The health department is awaiting additional guidance for the administration of booster doses and expects to add vaccinations to its operation at the Flagler County Fairgrounds later this month. Details will be shared when plans are finalized. Currently, CVS, Walgreens, Publix and Walmart are offering boosters to immunocompromised individuals.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccination and testing locally, please visit flagler.floridahealth.gov. For testing and vaccine appointments, please call 386-437-7350 ext. 0 weekdays between 8AM and 4:30PM.
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