Roundup of September 2020 Posts

autumn leaves, transition kitchenThis month was busy for both Susanne and me, resulting in decreased production and fewer posts than usual to collect for September 2020. Still, we managed to publish some interesting new material. There also have been updates to some of the previous posts.

Covid-19, Obesity and Mortality

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal featured a story on how “Covid-19 Fuels Rise in Obesity Surgery” by Robbie Whelan. People who have been paying attention know that, “obesity and the related problems of diabetes and hypertension were among the biggest risk factors for Covid-19. The article notes that,

“As hospitals ramp up elective surgeries after several months of pause amid the pandemic, patients are flocking to sign up for procedures such as gastric bypasses, laparoscopic bands, and gastric sleeves that restrict the size of the stomach and alter signals between the stomach and brain.”

obese American eating, obesity, overweight, Covid-19, pandemicMr. Whelan details some of the ways in which obese patients are “at much higher risk for serious cases of Covid-19, including ICU visits and intubation, and even death.”

While gastric surgery is a drastic step, the threat from Covid-19 is real. Clearly many people have gotten the message and think that step is worth it.

Stupid and Annoying Things

A regular reader submitted her pet peeve. As Shelia puts it:

“The perky nurse who walks into the room and greets me with ‘And how are we today?’  If I am in a particularly sour mood I reply, ‘I don’t know how YOU are, but  I am not well.’  It often goes right over her (and it is always a her) head.”

A new one occurred to me the other day, probably because I do a lot of online research. It’s when you start to click on a link and the screen refreshes just as your finger presses down. The screen comes back up in a new configuration so you end up clicking on an ad or something you don’t want. Probably full of malware.

Publication Alert

Trickster's Treats #4, Frostfire, Things in the Well Publications, short story, writingI’m happy to announce that another of my short stories is being published.  “Frostfire,” which I wrote many years ago, will appear in an anthology of zombie stories called “Trickster’s Treats #4: Coming, Buried or Not.”

It’s an Australian charity anthology and the proceeds will go to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Louise Zedda-Sampson and Geneve Flynn are the editors and Trickster’s Treats is a Things in the Well Publication.

Surprising Horror

Okay, I know what you’re thinking; “Eew, I hate those stories with rotting corpses lurching around, trying to eat brains.” That’s not what the story is about, really. “Frostfire” is a story of love and obsession, duty and redemption—but with zombies.

If you’re surprised that I sometimes write horror stories, so am I. As a tour guide, I deal in history and as a novelist, I write science fiction. Sometimes, though, a niggling little idea rises to the surface and a short story is the best way to work it out of my head. It’s like having a nightmare to blow off something that frightens you.

zombie hand, economic zombie myths, self-regulation,I wrote “Frostfire’ after asking myself what a planetary ecosystem would be like if the dead had to rise in order to continue the cycle of life. (See? There’s the science fiction.) The rising of the dead is very orderly and very necessary, even if some of the bereaved have a problem with it. “Frostfire” is nothing like The Walking Dead, I promise.

John Palisano, president of the Horror Writers Association, described Trickster’s Treats #4 as, “A delicious bag of Halloween candy overflowing with all the good stuff! The binge read of the season!”  W Paul Ganley, two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award, said, ” Horror can come in various guises, including an innocent-looking child on hallowe’en night. This collection of tales and poems constitutes a load of mind-twisting events.”

I’ll let you know when the anthology comes out but here’s a link for pre-ordering.  After all, it’s a twofer: you get to read some good stuff and benefit a worthy cause at the same time.

Roundup of September 2020 Posts

Here’s the roundup of September 2020 posts to remind you of any you might have missed reading.

Boston and History

Food and Cooking

Health and Safety

Lifestyle and Culture

Upcoming October

See what I mean?  That’s nowhere near our usual output but I expect October to be somewhat quieter, at least for me. That means I can do more writing. Halloween won’t be what it has been, as nothing this year has been normal since the pandemic hit. Life goes on.


This entry was posted in Boston, History, Language and Writing, Lifestyle & Culture, Susanne Skinner and tagged , , , , , , , , by Aline Kaplan. Bookmark the permalink.

About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

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