Behind the Scene
by Randy Limbird
Editor & Publisher, El Paso Scene
The other day I went to a local pharmacy for a flu shot — the first flu shot I had received in 50 years.
I really don’t have any reservations about flu shots — I just don’t get the flu that often and never think much about it. Now that I’m officially a senior citizen, I’m supposedly more at risk from the flu and its complications. Furthermore, now that I’m on Medicare, the flu shot is free, so why not.
Besides, I finally realized that even people who don’t get the flu should still get the flu shot because it lowers the chances that they might pass on the flu bug to someone else. You can be a carrier without getting sick. With our 1-year-old granddaughter coming to visit for Thanksgiving, that’s a pretty good reason to take an extra precaution.
This year’s shot was voluntary, at least. In 1968 the Hong Kong flu had become a pandemic, killing up to one million people worldwide. Public health officials decided everyone should get a flu shot. At my high school, the “shot” was very literal — the nurses used “jet gun injectors” that fired the vaccine directly into our arm without a needle.
Public health agencies always take the flu very seriously, fearing that each new outbreak could spread out of control. That fear stems from the great Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which killed as many as 50 million people across the globe. As this month’s feature story points out, El Paso was hit as hard as anywhere else in the country.
Ironically, many of the soldiers struck down by the flu had just returned from Europe where the “War to End All Wars” was winding down. The armistice was signed Nov. 11, a date now celebrated as Veterans Day, but the war against the flu would last into 1919.
By the way, the Spanish got a bad rap for this pandemic. When the flu spread across war-torn Europe, Spain was a neutral country and was more willing to publicize the disease in its newspapers. So that deadly strain of flu became associated with Spain and the name stuck.
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Last month’s Hike up Cristo Rey sponsored by El Paso Scene got rained out. To be precise, it got muddied out. The rain poured so much the day before that the trail was considered too slippery for a group hike. The good news is, we’re planning another hike for 11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 30. It will probably be colder, but hopefully drier. Check next month’s Scene for details.
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Call to artists and photographers: We are always looking for good winter scenes of El Paso for our December and January covers. If you have an image (or images) you want to be considered, send them to me at email@example.com. You can send low-resolution jpegs — if we decide to use any, we’ll request a high-resolution image as needed.
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Couldn’t help but notice the El Paso Times’ latest circulation report that came out in early October. They’re printing less than 20,000 copies a day; back when El Paso Scene began in 1993, the Times circulation was nearly 65,000.
We started printing 11,000 copies per monthly issue back then and grew quickly, leveling off at 40,000 copies per issue, which remains our current circulation.
I never imagined that the day would come when the Scene would print more than twice as many copies per issue as the daily paper. Unfortunately
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