Senate confirms Austin as first Black defense secretary — No, actually, if you check, the Senate confirmed him as defense secretary, not “black defense secretary.” The white guys will report to him, too. Anyway, bottom line, this is good news. I’m looking forward to hearing similar news about Anthony Blinken. Things are taking shape.
Just a few little somethings to kick-start the year. Another fairly random list, mainly consisting of things that have grabbed my attention in recent days:
Designed to Deceive: Do These People Look Real to You? — I’m deliberately starting with something other than politics. Y’all have got to follow the link and check this out. Over the last 25 or 30 years we’ve all seen some remarkable things done with digital images, but this is truly freaky. Now that I’m in the marketing game, I’m regularly exposed to the “fake people” that various clips services provide for websites and such. But those are real people, models, trying to look like real people and failing at it. These images are completely fake, but they all look like real people you might meet on the street — until the writer of the piece explains what to look at to see the flaws. This is amazing, and ominous…
Soon, we can finally ignore Georgia — Of course, our priority is getting to where we can ignore You Know Who, who is still doing everything he can to make sure we can’t. His latest spectacular instance of impeachable thuggishness was over the weekend, and it of course involved… Georgia. (Which makes you wonder how many other state secretaries of state he’s harassing without The Washington Post knowing about it — managing to steal Georgia would do him little good without stealing the votes of several other states). But after the runoff Tuesday, and the insanely pointless demonstration by Joe Wilson and others that we expect on Wednesday, this should all start fading away. And I can’t wait.
Joe Wilson must go — Of course, there is another dozen or so whose names will be forever blackened on Wednesday when they express their contemptible wish to overthrow our democracy. But Joe Wilson is my congressman, so I’m focused on him. I mean, I voted against him in November and all, but his latest step goes so far beyond the pale of civilized behavior that he must be ostracized by decent people in all he says and does from now on.
Zorro at 100 — An interesting piece, marking the century that has passed since the release of “The Mark of Zorro,” starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr. El Zorro looms large in my personal legend — while other kids went with Mickey Mouse, my first watch was a Zorro watch (also licensed by Disney of course, based on the Guy Williams version). I also had a Zorro sword — a plastic foil or epee or whatever, with a piece of chalk on the end, so I could practice making the “Z.” What I like about this piece is the way it charts how Zorro was the progenitor of the whole superhero thing in American culture, what with his secret identity and all (although it gives proper credit to the Scarlet Pimpernel, which came some years before).
Linda Greenhouse’s Joe Biden Story — There’s nothing remarkable about it. Just an experienced journalist remembering encounters she has had with Joe over the years. We’ve all got stories like that, especially those who, like Ms. Greenhouse, have spent our careers in Washington. But it’s something that illustrates why Joe was the One for 2020 — the one person who had everything it took to bring rationality and decency back to our national government, when we needed it most.
My perfect year — I’ve remembered to take those two pills they put me on after the stroke — the platelet-suppressor and the statin — four days in a row now. Which is a significant improvement. Perfect record all year! Anyway, I thought I’d share some real news…
The Zorro I remember best — Guy Williams, the Disney version…
Did you get anything this cool for Christmas? No, it’s not from the hotel…
It’s almost over. Here are some thoughts or things I’ve run across that I found briefly interesting in recent days, while I was busy doing other stuff:
First, how’s your Christmas going? — I’m hanging in there, with the first six days under my belt now. Been trying to catch up with paying, day-job stuff when I haven’t been busy doing Christmas things. And of course, I’m not going anywhere tomorrow night because a) I’d rather stay safe, and b) I don’t want to — I don’t get the whole going-out thing, especially on holidays.
Socialist view of John le Carre’s work — You know how I prefer reading opinion to news, and don’t much care what the point of view is, as long as a case is made effectively? Anyway, I was glad Google showed me this, from the World Socialist Web Site, because it gave me the perspective on le Carre, George Smiley and the Circus from the point of view of Moscow Centre. Well, not really, since the writer doesn’t seem to consider Stalinism to be real socialism (and you know how picky socialists can be about that sort of thing), but it was interesting. Of course, now that I’ve read it, MI5 has probably put me on a list.
No more Niekro, and no more knuckleballs — Just thought I’d note the passing both of Phil Niekro, and of a particular, esoteric American art form. It caused my wife to ask me what a knuckleball was, and I told her what I knew, and then went and read up on it to see if I had been right (I had been). Did you know that Eddie Cicotte, ace hurler of the Black Sox, may have invented it? I did not…
The dusty old op-ed page still getting folks worked up — The op-ed page is gone in most communities — The State hasn’t had one for years — but the few that are still around stirred up some trouble in 2020. A perspective on the year a little different from the usual “movies of 2020” story…
Dave Barry’s review of the year — You don’t want the year to end without the perspective of Mr. Language Person himself, do you? I don’t. And I need to get back to reading it, because I haven’t finished. My favorite bit so far was about Prince Harry and his bride, who “are sick and tired of being part of the British royal family and want to just be regular normal everyday hard-working folks making millions of dollars solely because one of them was born into, and the other one married into, the British royal family.” The way Dave relates it, Her Majesty made short work of this, sorting them out good and proper. It didn’t really happen that way, and normally I don’t really dig dark humor, but it got a snort out of me, I’ll confess. Even though, from what I hear from South Carolinians who served with him in Afghanistan, Harry is a decent sort.
‘Mary Ann’ dies of COVID — Or rather, of course, Dawn Wells. This is the only actual news from today. Very sad. Something as innocent at “Gilligan’s Island,” and someone from my childhood, running smack into the hard reality of 2020, and being done in by it. Never mind the fact that her character was the nicest one on the show. This isn’t an appropriate time to bring up the whole “Who was hotter, Ginger or Mary Ann?” thing, so I won’t, except to say that Mary Anne was definitely the more appealing.
The most recent picture I had in my files of Don and Carol Fowler. This was at a reunion of Don’s old Reserve unit, the 360th Civil Affairs Brigade.
Yeah, I know it’s been a few days. I’m still learning how to ration time, interest and my physical/mental energy in the wake of my stroke (still dealing with some fatigue), and what with the holidays and day-job work to do, I’ve fallen behind on the blog. But here are some things I’ve thought about posting in the last week or so, and I decided I’d throw them out and see if any of it interests you:
George Shultz on Trust, from a century of perspective— Possibly the best piece I read last week was in the Post, headlined “The 10 most important things I’ve learned about trust over my 100 years.” Saying “Trust is the coin of the realm,” he explained that “When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.” Absolutely. Long ago (as in, a quarter-century ago), I wrote a column on that subject, which seems quaint now. Things are so much worse today. But the fact remains: We can talk about partisanship, ideology, or Donald Trump, but bottom line, our biggest problem and challenge remains a lack of trust.
Closing religious services — There was another Supreme Court development on this front last week — actually it was about a religious school, but it reminded me of the topic. And I’m wondering a couple of things: First, those of you who, like me, normally attend religious services — how long has it been since you’ve been to one? Second, what observations do you have on the many issues involved — the Constitutional issue, the personal one of how not attending services (or attending them with or without social-distancing protocols) affects your spirituality? Or anything else you want to say about it. For my part, I haven’t physically been to a Mass since March. But we stream Mass every Sunday. And it’s… different.
The passing of Don Fowler — I don’t know how well-known he was to my readers, but for those in the political/media universe, he was a giant. I first met him when I covered the Democratic National Convention in 1988. I remember chasing him down a staircase in Atlanta to get a question answered and thinking as he turned to face me, “This guy’s too busy for me to be bothering him with this.” He was always busy, in Democratic politics on the state and national level (most notably as national chairman during the Clinton administration), and he did his best to lead the party forward productively during an age of sad decline in his home state. Over the years, I interacted with Don through many roles — as party leader, as a consultant, as a former National Guard colonel, as a college professor (on one or two occasions, I took over his class for him when he had pressing business in Washington or somewhere). We often disagreed — after all, he was a party man and I was not — but I always had great respect for him. Don will be missed.
‘Latinx’ hasn’t even caught on among Latinos. It never will. — That’s for sure. I was recently shocked to hear Dr. Fauci use this odd term — obviously created by people who do NOT speak Spanish — on the radio. Out loud, not just in writing. No one who speaks or understands Spanish, or has any kind of respect for the language or the culture it represents, would use such a neologism. Anyway, this opinion piece explains some of the reasons why you will seldom hear a Spanish speaker using it. I thought the headline was a little weird, though. “Even?” Latinos would be the last people I’d expect to use it.
Farewell to Lamar Alexander, one of the vital few — I’m very sorry to see Lamar leave politics, and was glad to see George Will take the time to honor him on the way out. Of course, Lamar is closely linked with my youth and the early stages of my career — the week I spent traveling with him in 1978 was my first experience of covering a statewide political campaign (it was his first successful run for governor of Tennessee). He became my favorite Republican of that era. And I guess, in spite of his disappointing me last year, he’s my favorite of this era as well, although partly because of the lack of competition (with John McCain gone, and Lindsey Graham’s conscience gone). And now Lamar, too, will leave the scene.
Serbian Elevators — Someone used this phrase in a tweet the other day, and I immediately added it to my list of possible band names. Just to keep you posted on the progress of my band, which I’ve been intending to get together since 1971, once I get the details sorted out. You gotta get the details right — like, you know, deciding who will be in the band…
Cunningham for governor? — OK, this is technically something I just saw this morning, but I’ve added it to the list. Anyway, good luck with that. Joe’s a pleasant young man, but seriously — if we couldn’t elect a war hero and respected (across the political spectrum) lawmaker such as James Smith as a Democrat statewide, this seems unlikely. And we tried awfully hard, I assure you. Anyway, that’s my first reaction. Perhaps someone will talk me out of it.
Just a quick one to toss some possible discussions out there:
What are you doing for Thanksgiving? — I’ve been asking this of people I speak to about unrelated things. Mostly, there is some concession to the resurgence of the plague, and the danger the holidays pose — but it varies greatly, from families gathering on screened porches to not gathering at all. Everyone in our fam is dining in their own home pods — except my two single kids who live in town, who will eat with us, but spread out in the house. Then, if weather permits, we might all go have dessert out in my parents’ spacious back yard. We’ll see.
Ex-SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh pleading guilty to fraud charges — To start things off, I’ll cite the reaction of one of the most illustrious members of our little blog community. In reaction to the news that Marsh “is facing prison time and fines worth more than $5M after pleading guilty to defrauding S.C. ratepayers who paid billions for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear power plant,” our own Lynn Teague tweeted two words: “Richly deserved.”
You know what? That’s enough for now, just to get things started. I need to get back to some work, and then go bake a cake…
Fly wins veep debate — I missed the beginning of this, and then missed a good bit more because I wasn’t what you’d call riveted. Congrats to both for being more civil than Trump. A low bar, of course. And is it civil to completely ignore time limits and refuse to shut up, but do it in such boring voice that people fall asleep and don’t notice? Someone should ask Miss Manners.
The likability trap — Maybe this should be a separate post. Anyway, here’s one of the things that keeps me from being a feminist. Feminists believe there’s some “likability” standard that applies only to women. There isn’t. The fact that they keep saying there is makes me not like them. For instance, Donald Trump is the least likable S.O.B. (we can have a separate discussion later about the “B.”) in living history of American politics, which would be enough to keep me from voting for him for anything. We just don’t talk about it much because it’s such a bigger deal that he is both stupid and evil. Joe Biden is one of the most likable people ever to run for president, and it’s a real asset for him. Even though he doesn’t drink beer, you want to have one with him. We don’t know whether Mike Pence drinks beer, but we don’t care because we don’t want to have one with him. Although he’s less unlikable than Trump, we just don’t want to hang with him. Kamala Harris has many assets, but no, being likable isn’t one of them. But she wasn’t particularly unlikable last night, because she didn’t say stuff like “That little girl was me.” So have we got it all straight now? Have I mansplained it enough? Stop making me do this. I don’t, you know, like it.
Trump pulls out of debate over plan to hold it virtually — Maybe he’s scared he can’t talk over everybody in that format. Or maybe he’s just scared, having seen polls after the first debate. Or maybe he suddenly wised up, realizing a COVID patient shouldn’t be debating… naaahhhh.
I’m tired of looking for stuff. You want to talk about something else, bring it up. I’m in enough trouble already with the “likability” thing…
With the election coming up and all, I should do more of these — even on a slow day like today:
Trump’s erratic tweets on economic relief leave strategy unclear — Or, we could headline this one, Trump Yadda-Yadda. I think he must be somewhere around Barstow — the drugs are kicking in. You notice that we’re having a bit of a lull? Which is nice, after the crisis-every-day of last week. This is the lull between Trump’s helicopter ride back to the White House, and the upcoming one back to Walter Reed. But maybe not. I hope not. I want him healthy. I don’t want him having an excuse when he loses. The message of repudiation by America needs to be as clear as possible.
Supremes say SC absentee voters must get witness signature — This is way old, but hey, The State led with it this morning as though it hadn’t happened way back on Monday. And we haven’t talked about it. Maybe we don’t need to. Let’s use this one as a departure point for anything you want to say about absentee voting, which opened with a bang this week.
Stephen Miller gets COVID — I’m going to confess something here, so y’all can give me a hard time about it. Which I deserve. I was walking last night, listening to NPR on my earbuds, when I first heard this news. And for a split-second, I felt my face start to smile. I stopped it immediately, because I think that is inexcusable. I really believe the things Bret Stephens said in his column yesterday, “Wish a President Well Who Doesn’t Wish You Well.” That applies to Miller, too. Maybe if he didn’t look like a movie villain (specifically, a young Jonathan Banks). Or better yet, if he didn’t act like a movie villain. But those excuses are inadequate. I should not have felt that impulse.
Islamic State ‘Beatles’ charged in US over hostages’ deaths — Just to say, this stuff is still out there. Our inward-looking insanity isn’t the only thing in the world. A quick point about this: Is it a weakness, in the sense of a flaw in the system, that it takes liberal democracies this long to get around to processing something like this? These monstrosities took place in 2014.
Eddie Van Halen dies — Wow, now even the kids are dying. Yeah, I know, he was almost as old as I am. But the ’80s were when my kids were kids, so after my time. Anyway, I hate to see it.
Did y’all feel the earthquake? — Twitter tells me that Synithia Williams did. I did not. I was asleep at 8:07 a.m. Sunday. But my wife came and woke me up to tell me about it. She said she heard some rumbling upstairs like a heavy person was walking around, then she heard the wind chimes at our back door. She later seemed a bit concerned that I slept through it. But hey, I used to live in the Andes, so I’m all like, Call that a quake? I was, however, impressed that it would be felt so far away from the epicenter…
Jaime catching up to Lindsey — This is very encouraging, although I won’t feel like it’s real until Jaime gets several points ahead. Actually, I won’t feel like it’s real until Election Day. I’m avoiding getting excited about polls these days. Things are too squishy and vulnerable. I have practical experience in the last election reminding me about most white South Carolinians’ physical disability that prevents them pulling the lever for a Democrat, no matter how good the Democrat or embarrassing the Republican.
In case you want to talk about football — I notice from Bryan’s Twitter feed that football fans are talking about college football being on the verge of being cancelled. Of course, if you’re me, you’ve kind of amazed that anyone was even considering it this year. But, you know, football fans are as inscrutable to me as those white South Carolinians who can’t figure out how to vote for a Democrat (something that would absolutely amazed their grandfathers — so we know it’s not genetic).
Linda Bell won’t back Henry’s foolishness any more — State epidemiologist Linda Bell has had enough of being used as a prop by the governor’s office, and says, “I will not ‘stand next to the governor’ anymore without speaking to what the science tells us is the right thing to do, particularly as his staff intend to portray that as my complicity with his position.”
This may be my thinnest excuse for a picture ever: This post mentions Marian Wright Edelman, and this is the library named for her in Bennettsville. I took it during the campaign. It works, don’t you think?
Russia Is Trying to Steal Virus Vaccine Data, Western Nations Say — Let’s look at the bright side. If it helps them enough that they actually develop a working vaccine, and do it before we do, we can steal it back. But I doubt they will. If they thought they could, they wouldn’t have to steal it. Not that they don’t outdo us sometimes. There’s Sputnik. And the Kalashnikov. And the T-34. Oh, and remember that for the last decade or so, we’ve been having to cadge rides to space from them.
15 women accuse then-Redskins employees of sexual harassment — Hey, these guys just can’t seem to catch a break, can they? I mean, they change the name after refusing to all those years, and before people are done patting them on the back (and before they even think of a new name), there’s this. Not that I’m saying they deserve a break. I’d have to care more about what football teams do before taking a stance like that. I’m just saying they can’t seem to stay out of trouble. And I’m holding myself back from suggesting that hey, maybe this has something to do with the NFL being what it is.
We Interrupt This Gloom to Offer … Hope — I offer this mainly for the headline. It’s a Nicholas Kristof column. Also, it quotes Marian Wright Edelman. She’s from Bennettsville, so you know she’s smart. So, be hopeful…
I got up at 6:30 this morning to get a head start so I could go all the way to Lexington and get my real ID. I should probably do a post about that. Anyway, despite getting a head start on the day (hard for me these days), I didn’t get done nearly what I wanted to today.
But here’s an Open Thread:
Did you get a Real ID yet? — More to the point, have you done it during COVID? It was interesting. On the one hand, they really had it organized. My wife and I got in and got the job done in record time. And all the members of the public had on masks. However… not quite all of the DMV workers did. I mean ON. Some had their noses uncovered, and one lady we had to deal with for several minutes, passing papers back and forth, had her mask draped under her chin. So there was that. Oh, and I got my Real ID picture done with my Santa Claus beard. Not sure that’s going to help me much when getting on an airplane after this is over and I start shaving again. Guess I should keep using the passport. Anyway, I don’t suppose I need to do a separate post on this now.
Trump replaces campaign manager — Well, that took several minutes longer than we thought it would. Or maybe several minutes less. I don’t know. I just mean it’s no surprise with a guy who is loyal to no one. Somebody else be snarky about it… You know, once they start coming after the Brads, you could be next…
Walmart Will Require Shoppers To Wear Masks — For months now, I’ve had to go to Walmart and I see the signs that say something about requesting people wear masks, or suggesting it, or whatever, and I’ve bristled at the wussiness of it. I mean, y’all are Walmart! TELL THEM. And now they have.
This shouldn’t be too hard. I could mine stuff that’s happened since my last post. It’s been a busy few days. We brought my parents down to their house at the beach a couple of days ago, and before that I was busy trying to get work done so I could do this. We’ll be back soon. Want to be away well before the Fourth:
Hey, at least Henry showed himself wearing a mask — This is about the governor you people elected actually appearing, briefly, wearing a mask at his Friday briefing. And I want to thank him for that. I’ve long said if he would do that, it would be at least half the battle — it would show seriousness. And I guess if you’re Henry, and you’ve tied yourself and your everlasting reputation to Donald Trump, it took guts to do it. Of course, he won’t do the other half. The headline in the P&C says, “McMaster urges South Carolinians to ‘follow the rules’ and wear masks, but won’t mandate it.” A better way to write that hed would have been, “McMaster urges South Carolinians to ‘follow the rules’ and wear masks, but won’t make it an actual, you know, RULE”…
Way to go, Mr. Clyburn! — As long as I’m handing out plaudits on the mask issue (and I’m particularly touchy on this issue today, since I’m at a place filled from people all over this country, none of them wearing masks) I need to send a big cheer to Jim Clyburn. He won’t recognize committee members who are big-enough idiots to show up at a meeting without face coverings. If only he could permanently ban them from Congress for such behavior. Anyway, this is the best thing Jim has done since he saved my main man Joe — and therefore the country — back in February. Nothing’s as great as that, but this is pretty good…
Rabid bobcat found in Lexington County — Good thing I’m not there today — although this was way far from my neighborhood. I mean, seriously — don’t we have enough problems right now without bobcats going rabid on us? This probably wouldn’t have happened if the bobcat had been wearing a mask, right? The good news is that no people were exposed. The bad news is that apparently, several dogs were.
Trump Got Written Briefing in February on Possible Russian Bounties, Officials Say — OK, there’s where you went wrong. You put it in writing. You know he doesn’t read; it would cut into his busy TV-watching schedule. This allows him to use the classic, “I have plausible deniability because everybody knows I’m an idiot” defense. Well, not exactly a classic, since no previous president could have used it. But it’s what we’ve come to expect the last three years or so.
The End of the Alan Brady Show — OK, I know it sort of demeans Carl Reiner to reduce him to that one small role on one TV show he created, but that’s how I was introduced to him as a kid, and if he had never played anyone else, he’d still have been a genius. You kids would know him as the old guy in “Ocean’s 11”…
What conclusions should we draw from the fact that not even the state epidemiologist wears a mask? Oh, wait — I think the video I took this from is old. But still…
About time I gave y’all some things to discuss:
987 cases. In one day. In one state — ours. — Sheesh. The State said this amounted to “breaking” the single-day record. As I said on Twitter, this is not “breaking” — it’s more like “destroying,” “demolishing” or “obliterating.” Meanwhile, did you read the editorial the other day in Cindi’s new paper — way before this record — about how stupid Henry is being about this? Or something like that. I know that Henry, and the word “stupid,” were both in it.
That’s the kind of demonstration I like — old school— Sorry not to have mentioned this sooner. I haven’t posted since it happened over the weekend. It was the “Million-Man March” in Columbia over the weekend. There weren’t a million men or anything, but still. All those black men in suits and ties, saying “respect me.” Very MLK. Very Old School. I liked it. More than that, though, I see it as an effective approach.
I’ve decided on a new way to do Open Threads. I’ll just share things I tweeted or retweeted about during the day. It seems to work better than looking at the main pages of a bunch of news sites and trying to find something that I’m interested in commenting on.
It’s not going to be balanced with a diversity of topics, the way my threads and Virtual Front Pages usually are. It’s super Trump-heavy. There’s nothing about ongoing protests (although a couple indirectly relate), and a couple of COVID items. But these are the things that randomly provoked responses or retweets from me at different points today.
So let’s try this:
What on Earth is there to struggle about? — That’s part of my response to a tweet that said, “JUST IN: GOP Sen. Murkowski :”struggling” with whether to vote for Trump.” My full response was, “‘Struggling?’ What on Earth is there to struggle about? She KNOWS what the right thing to do is. Her other comments make this clear. All that is lacking is having the guts to stand up and follow through…”
The Lafayette Square ‘highlight video’ — This is from Jimmy Kimmel, represented as the White House’s own highlight reel from the administration’s great victory Monday night against the harmless protesters. Be sure to watch to the end.
COVID-19 Can Last for Several Months — I actually haven’t even read the piece in The Atlantic that this refers to, but I thought I’d pass it on in case other people had a chance before I did. The tweet said, “I wrote about COVID-19 long-haulers—the thousands of people who’ve been struggling with *months* of debilitating symptoms. Many have faced disbelief from friends and medical professionals because they don’t fit the typical profile of the disease….”
Kind of a long list for an Open Thread, but I wanted to give you everything.
Actually, I almost forgot: I’m kind of interested in THIS. Maybe I’ll post about it later.
… or Open Threads, for that matter.
I tried to do one yesterday, but I just could not bring myself to be interested in anything that was in the news.
So instead, here’s a brief list of the kinds of stories I’m NOT interested in right now, so maybe you’ll understand:
The latest idiocy from Trump — You know — not wearing a mask, firing yet another inspector general, pushing through an embarrassingly unfit nominee to head up U.S. intelligence, “Obamagate,” insulting various women’s appearance on Twitter. It gets tiresome.
Joe Biden’s running mate choice — In particular, all the opinion pieces saying he’s GOT TO pick some lefty, or pretty much anyone except Amy Klobuchar. When the truth is, Klobuchar is the one truly suitable candidate whose name is being mentioned. That’s been the case for a long time now. I just want to get to the election, and get a new president. The prelims are boring me.
Features on how to cope with the stress of quarantine — Because, as I’ve explained, I have trouble identifying with all that because I find this state of affairs to be just fine — personally. I feel terrible about people who are truly suffering — those who have the disease, and the loved ones of those who’ve died, the people who have lost jobs that aren’t coming back, and the people of Hong Kong who are seeing their hopes of freedom dim. But please, enough about how tedious this is and how we can find creative ways to distract ourselves. Oh, I’ve also had enough reporting on the idiots who are resuming gathering in crowds as though this were over.
Graham expects recurrence of coronavirus cases in the fall— I only posted this for one reason: Doesn’t everyone expect this? I mean, I’ve been hearing this as long as I’ve been hearing about the “novel” coronavirus, so since… I don’t know… maybe January? I’ve heard, over and over, that we should get ready for a pattern like the Spanish Flu, where it landed for a while, went away, and then hit much harder in the fall of 2018. But since I don’t see a lot of headlines saying this, and sometimes I see things that seem to be obviously avoiding it, maybe it’s news to some people. So I include it here, in case…
And you know what? I’m tired now. And that one’s enough for a conversation. And I need to save energy for work, of which I need to do some today. If you have other subjects, bring them up…
… since it’s a bit late to call it a Friday thread. Sorry to be so chary with the posts. As I’ve explained, this crisis has me busier working at home than I was at the office. One thing after another, as clients try to communicate their way through it all.
As I’ve also said, I expect it to slow down at some point, and to start feeling the lack of economic activity out there. It just hasn’t happened yet. And I’m glad to have the work.
Here are some topics. Maybe you’ll have some better ones:
An outbreak of incompetence — Jennifer Rubin riffs on Jared Kushner’s stunningly ironic statement that “when you elect somebody” you should “think about who will be a competent manager during the time of crisis.” As she notes, down here on the state level (the level that Jared doesn’t want touching any of his federal stuff), we see the stark difference between competent governors, and those who take their cues from Jared’s father-in-law. Ahem. Hey, I did what I could to elect a good ‘un. And Mandy, too. Wasn’t enough, I guess.
Explore your family history for free on Ancestry while cooped up at home — I’m jealous. I’m cooped up at home but am too busy to spend the time on my own tree. But yeah, if you’re idle, or relatively so, this is a great time to form a new obsession. My own tree now has 8,120 people on it. Yeah, I know. Maybe it’s time I rested on my oars and let someone else have a chance…
Want something to make you smile? Check out the bears — I figure I’m at least a Yogi, striving to be a Berenstain. That’s all. Nothing else to say…
Did you get one of these? Did it kinda scare you for a second?
Yeah, another late-in-the-day post. I continue to be really busy with my day job. Hope to stay busy, but who knows?
McMaster orders closing of nonessential SC businesses — Holy Moly! Did you get one of those bulletins (above) on your phone? Made it seem really dramatic, didn’t it? My wife said it startled her for a second. Well, it’s not an order for everybody to stay home, but he’s inching in that direction. Henry’s problem, I fear, is that he’s way overly concerned about the opinions of people like this.
But… don’t a lot more people than that actually have it? — Notice there is no link on this one, because I can’t find an answer to my question. When we read that 1,000 people have it in SC, we know that the real number has to be higher than that. Tests are scarce, and generally only people who are symptomatic are tested — right? And people often have it for a couple of weeks before feeling symptoms and therefore getting tested. So… the real number of people walking around and infecting other people could be WAY more than these grim numbers we’re hearing, right? Someone out there must be trying to do the math to make an educated guess of how many really have it. But I’m finding it. Maybe I’m searching wrong. Surely thousands of other people are thinking the same thing…
Isn’t this gorgeous? I don’t even LIKE the color orange, but this drew me from quite a distance on my walk today. I’ve never seen azaleas this color.
Sorry not to have posted today. I’m drawing to the close of one of the busiest weeks I’ve had with ADCO since the end of the 2018 campaign. I expect things to slow down some (maybe a lot) now, but these last few days at home have been pretty packed. A lot of clients communicating about the coronavirus — letting their clients know what they’re doing, how to do business with them from afar, those kinds of things.
I still get out and take walks, hence the pictures above and below, showing nature is continuing to do its thing despite all.
Here are some topics, starting with the worst news:
The coronavirus took our friend Karen Pearson today — We sort of had warning of it yesterday, but this sad news is still hard to take. Karen was one of the vulnerable, with previous health problems. And we have a lot of friends and loved ones like that. Karen had been a member of this blog community since at least 2007 — when I looked back at her comments just now, there were 133 pages of them. So we all knew her. She was always a thoughtful and considerate commenter. She was a kind lady. This will not be the end of such tragedies that strike close to home. I think Mandy was talking about Jack West, son of Gov. West, late yesterday when she tweeted, “A friend of mine died today from COVID19. I would love for this to be the last time I type that sentence. Please isolate … and take care of yourselves.” Amen.
Henry still won’t tell us to stay home — But cities are doing it. I can’t decide what is causing his hesitation. Can it be as simple as wanting to play to the Trump crowd? I hope not. I hope he’s really trying to do his best by us.
Is anyone having a worse allergy season than usual? — Speaking of nature. This may seem silly to mention in the face of a deadly pandemic, but for me it actually is kind of related. Bad allergy days can make me feel like I’ve got some sort of bug, just crappy all over, and I can’t help thinking, “Is this how it begins…?” But mostly it’s just my eyes itching worse than in many a year. Are any of y’all experiencing the same?
Joe Biden reminds us: Help is on the way — Yeah, we’re still having an election this year — maybe. I mentioned this Jennifer Rubin column in a comment yesterday, but I thought I’d share it more prominently, because she does a good job of setting out the reasons that we can take some comfort from knowing Joe is out there, ready to take this guy’s place.
It’s not as awesome as the orange azalea, but it’s impressive. This volunteer tulip popped up spontaneously, 3 or 4 feet from the nearest flower bed in our yard. We didn’t plant it. And we’ve lived her more than 22 years and never seen it before.
A retired Shakespeare (Kenneth Branagh) working in his garden…
I didn’t post yesterday because I was too busy with work — all of which I’m doing from home, of course. A number of clients are hurrying to get out various communications related to coronavirus. But I’m not sure what will happen when they’ve said all they can about that. We’ll see.
What about all those partying punks? — I don’t have a link with this one, because I’m not talking about the kids on spring break in Florida. I heard this morning from someone who lives around the USC campus (no, not Kathryn Fenner — someone else) who is really fed up with the students around her constantly partying. A neighbor keeps calling the cops, and they quiet down momentarily, then resume making jackasses of themselves. (I find myself idly wondering whether any of them are our governor’s tenants, but I have no knowledge that they are.) I guess there’s no cure for stupid at that age.
Senate nears passage of $2 trillion stimulus deal — I’ve got to ask: Are any of y’all paying much attention to this? Are you hanging on every word? Are you heavily invested (other than financially, which I suppose we all are) in whether the Democrats or the Republicans get their way on this? Does it seem like this debate is going on in another universe, one where it’s still 2019 or something? Apparently, some people on Wall Street care, though. News that they’re nearing agreement has caused stocks to recover somewhat today.
Trump says he may soon push businesses to reopen — This is one of those “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” moments… And if reminds me of a separate post I’m thinking about writing, posing the question, “Do you ever get the sense that we’re devolving as a species?”
Seen anything good on TV? — I saw an interesting movie my wife had borrowed from the library (which of course is now closed, so no more of those). It’s called “All Is True,” and it’s about the last three years of Shakespeare’s life, when he retired to Stratford after the Globe burned down. It stars Kenneth Branagh (although it’s hard to recognize him) and Judi Dench. It was interesting. I was particularly fascinated to think that at 49, Shakespeare did actually stop writing. How could he — a guy who had always been so prolific? Had he just said everything he wanted to say? Oh, and last night I started watching that Netflix series about the origins of British football — “The English Game.” Not bad so far…
A variety of things we can yammer about as we sit at home:
The breakdown of our food distribution system?— Last night I tweeted the above picture from Walmart with the words, “The deli meats section at Walmart tonight. Every item, gone. This is insane, people. Cut it out…” I was actually getting kind of a creepy feeling walking around the store. No sugar. No rice (except in those microwaveable single-serving packs). What if our food distribution breaks down to where we actually can’t get what we need to eat? But in spite of the specter of imminent starvation, I had to smile when I got Mandy Powers Norrell’s reply to my tweet: “Food Lion in Lancaster didn’t have tofu vegetarian dumplings. I thought I was the only person who ate them.” I’d have thought she was the only one, too, in Lancaster anyway…
Is selling off your stocks really the worst thing a person can do? — This is one of those things where I’m tone-deaf, because it’s about money. But I’ve had trouble getting shocked at Sen. Richard Burr selling off his stocks before the market tanked. Yeah, I get that he sort of had access to extra information, but anyone could have gotten a gut feeling any time this year, and dumped his stocks. But Tucker Carlson says “There is no greater moral crime…” Even if I grant that it’s wrong — and I suppose it is — I think I can think of some worse ones. What do y’all think?
Kirsten to the rescue! — Did you see that Kirsten Gillibrand has stepped out on a limb and endorsed Joe Biden? Bryan Caskey tweeted that it was “Like Jeb Stuart showing up late at Gettysburg.” I replied “No, because Lee was actually DEPENDING on Stuart…” People stopped thinking about, much less expecting anything from, Sen. Gillibrand months ago.
Earworm of the Day: Elenore, by the Turtles — I’ve actually had this one stuck for a couple of days. Had to look it up. I learned that it was intended to be a bad song, a sarcastic reply to the record company execs who kept pestering the Turtles for another song like “Happy Together.” From Wikipedia: “The band recorded “Elenore” as a parody of the type of happy-go-lucky pop songs they themselves had been performing, but with deliberately clichéd and slapdash lyrics such as: “Your looks intoxicate me / Even though your folks hate me / There’s no one like you, Elenore, really’…” But as a joke, it failed. Turned out to be another hit.