THE TWO PANDEMICS – RICH PASCHALL

From the battleground, by Rich Paschall

COVID-19

All of us are acutely aware of the novel COronaVIrus Disease (COVID-19) that has swept the nation. It has devastated businesses, overwhelmed hospitals, and inundated social services. In comparison to the last great recession (December 2007 to June 2009), things are much worse. According to the Pew Research Center, “The rise in the number of unemployed workers due to COVID-19 is substantially greater than the increase due to the Great Recession when the number unemployed increased by 8.8 million from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2010.”  The Great Recession happened over a couple of years, not a few months.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics pegged the number of unemployed at the end of May at around 21 million. That was actually a slight improvement as some temporarily laid-off workers were called back to work. The rise in employment came in ” leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade.” This may be in anticipation of things opening back up. Some of these businesses are in for a shock.

The head of the World Health Organization has issued a dire warning. “Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up,” he said. This might seem contrary to what an orange politician has to say. He might lead us to believe that the numbers are improving in the US. They are not. While numbers here are averaging 53,000 new cases per day (as of July 4th), Dr. Anthony Faucci, Director of the National Institute of  Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has told a Senate committee that numbers could reach 100,000 per day. “Clearly we are not in total control right now.”

The orange one wants to fool you into thinking that increased testing is the cause of more positive cases. If that is not a lie than it is the statement of an incredibly uninformed individual. His job is to be informed. ProPublica looked at a seven day average from Memorial Day to the following Tuesday. In states like Illinois, New York, and Indiana where testing increased, the number of positive cases fell.  This rewarded their early and strong lockdown measures. In Florida, Arizona, and Texas, along with other red states who were too eager to reopen their economies, the number of positive cases exploded.

Stupidity

If you are reading or listening to the real news, not the Faux News the orange one watches, then you know there are plenty of examples of people who scoffed at the virus, and then died from it. We went down that road with you when we pointed out how “Stupidity Rears Its Ugly Head.” Then we mentioned a Virginia pastor, a Texas priest,  a Texas mom, and an evangelical pastor who all took the virus lightly, then died from it.

There have been more examples since that article ran. A lot more examples. And yet there are still people who want to believe that this is all a hoax or at least exaggerated. A death toll of 132,000 is not an exaggeration. It is a fact.

A leader of the ReOpen Maryland protests got so sick he had to go to an Emergency Room. I guess I do not have to tell you what he has. Now he refuses to help contact tracers. “I will not share anybody’s information with the government. I will not do it.” The governor is encouraging people who came in contact with him to get tested and to stay away from vulnerable populations. This is how grandma gets sick and dies.

In Michigan, where the so-called POTUS was encouraging anarchy by suggesting gun-toting right-wingers liberate the state, karma has struck. In East Lansing, they may have been able to enjoy a cold beer or two, but many won’t be doing that this week. One hundred fifty-two (yes, 152) cases of coronavirus were linked to Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub. The number keeps rising. Contact tracers show this moving into 13 counties. Those infected at the bar range from 18 to 28 years old, but there are nineteen secondary cases with ages ranged 16 to 63. That’s how grandpa gets sick and dies.

A student has returned to New York from Florida for a graduation ceremony for Horace Greeley High School. She got sick and since 4 others from the graduation are sick. She had returned from a Florida COVID-19 hotspot and contact tracers are now on the case. Hopefully, grandma and grandpa stayed away.

Eight Trump campaign workers were reported to have the virus after the rally in Tulsa. Two Secret Service agents tested positive and dozens of agents are in quarantine. Oklahoma Watch reporter, Paul Monies, tested positive. Former Republican candidate Hermain Cain also has it. He’s 74 and hospitalized. As for other attendees, time will tell us soon. Hopefully, grandma and grandpa did not attend.

Photo: Washington Post

You probably know I could go on and on. New cases show up every day as certain red states find the situation out of control. And despite all of the news and all of the examples and all of the numbers, some people still prefer the words of a self-centered orange politician over that of medical professionals. Stupid.

Unlike an orange politician, I do not make up my facts. Therefore, here are my Sources: “U.S. could see 100,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, Fauci says,” by Helen Branswell, STAT, statnews.com, June 30, 2020.
Unemployment rose higher in three months of COVID-19 than it did in two years of the Great Recession,” by RAKESH KOCHHAR, Fact Tank, Pew Research Center, pewresearch.org, June 11, 2020.
THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MAY 2020,” Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, bls.gov, June 5, 2020.
WHO Chief On COVID-19 Pandemic: ‘The Worst Is Yet To Come’,” by Scott Neuman, NPR, nopr.org, June 29. 2020.
No, President Trump, Testing Is Not Causing Case Counts to Rise. The Virus Is Just Spreading Faster,” by Charles Ornstein and Ask Ngu, ProPublica, propublica.org, June 25, 2020.
A leader of protests to reopen Maryland says he is ill with COVID-19,” by Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, nbrnews.com, June 27, 2020.
Re-OpenMaryland co-founder catches coronavirus, won’t help contact tracers,” by Lee Brown, New York Post, nypost.com, June 28, 2020.
Coronavirus cases traced to East Lansing Harper’s Brew Pub rise to 152,” by Andrew Mullin, M Live, mlive.com, July 3, 2020.
NY student sparks COVID-19 cluster after returning from Florida,” by Melissa Klein, New York Post, nypost.com, June 27, 2020.
Eight Trump Campaign Staffers Test Positive for Coronavirus After Tulsa Rally,” by Jamilah King, Mother Jones, motherjones.com
Secret Service agents quarantine after Tulsa Trump rally,” by David Aaro, FOX News, New York Post, nypost.com, June 25, 2020.
Reporter at Trump’s Tulsa rally tests positive for COVID-19,” Associated Press, apnews.com, June 26, 2020.
Former Presidential Candidate Herman Cain Hospitalized with COVID-19,” by Adam Carlson, People, people.com, July 2, 2020.

The orange one doesn’t read but if you have gotten this far we know you can. There is plenty to read above. Stay educated, stay home, stay safe.

See also: “Stupidity Rears Its Ugly Head,” SERENDIPITY, teepee12.com, May 24, 2020.

A THANK YOU NOTE TO AMERICA FROM THE CORONA VIRUS – BY TOM CURLEY

Hi America. This is the coronavirus. I’m writing you this letter to say thank you for all you have done for me.  I know I’m just a microscopic organism, literally the simplest life form on Earth.

I’m just a single strand of RNA enclosed in a protein sheath. Whatever the hell that is. But even so, you all have seemed to have gone way out of your way to make sure I survive. I and my billions and billions of copies want you to know we really appreciate it.

You may not know it, but it’s not easy being a pathogen. We have a hard time doing what we have to do, which is to make more copies of ourselves. Sadly, the only way we can do this is by finding our way into a “host.” Usually it’s an animal, like a bat or a rat. We’re also popular with certain insects, like fleas and mosquitoes.

But every so often we get to live in you humans. When we get inside you we burrow into one of your cells that is particularly tasty and we replace that cell’s DNA with our own. Then we make the cell stop doing what it was supposed to do and instead start making hundreds and hundreds of copies of us!  Pretty cool, right?

Then those hundreds and hundreds of copies invade other cells and before you know it, there’s millions of us inside you!

The only problem is, we tend to kill all the cells we invade. After a while we run out of host cells.

That sucks.

On top of that, all you hosts have an “immune system.” It’s a bunch of asshole cells that attack us and kill us.

Fuck you T-cells!

Fortunately, a lot of you are old or sick and your immune cells either can’t do a very good job, or they are busy attacking other cells, like cancer cells.

Sadly, no matter how good or bad your immune systems are, you either force us out, or you die. That sucks for all of us.

So, in order for me and my billions of buds to survive,  we need to find new homes.  New “hosts.” And for us pathogens, that can be a problem. Most of us can only survive for short periods of time outside our “hosts.” Some of us can survive in water and you can drink us. Some of us can live in fleas and mosquitoes. If they bite you, we get a new home! Let’s go Team Fleas and Mosquitoes!

But the best way we get to find new homes is when you find “hosts , breathe us out and new “hosts” breathe us in. That’s the way we get around.

I don’t want to brag, but right now I’m the envy of all my fellow pathogens. Yeah, that’s right, we talk.  Ebola, Smallpox, the Bubonic Plague, the Spanish Flu, Pink Eye.  We’re all still around.

They all had great runs. But right now, it’s my time to shine.

And they’re all jealous.

I can’t blame them. I got it just right, for a pathogen. I don’t kill most people I infect. Like Ebola. I mean, yeah, Ebola is a serious badass.  But when you burn through all your “hosts” really fast, before you know it, you got no place to live. Bad ass, but stupid. I, on the other hand, only kill about 20% of the “hosts” that I live in.

The bad “side effects” of my living in you don’t even show up for at least two weeks. That means I get to live in more and more and more and more of you before you even realize I’m living in more and more and more of you!

The only thing that fucks up my traveling to newer and better “hosts” is when you all start doing things like wearing masks and staying far enough from each other that I can’t get into your nose or eyes. You do that, and one moment I’m spreading like crazy and the next moment I’m homeless.

Fuck that!

The other thing you do is “quarantine “hosts” who have me! Not fair!

And that brings me to why I’m writing you this thank you note. An amazing number of you are refusing to do anything to stop me from finding newer and newer homes! Around the world most of you are a bunch of dicks doing every thing to make me go away . But not in something called “America.” You guys are awesome! You started out as real dicks, but then you realized how much that was hurting me and you stopped.  You were wearing masks and staying away from each other. Until you weren’t!

Irony is on speed dial

All of a sudden you went back to going to weddings and funerals and churches and bars and clubs! You sit real close to each other and you sing and scream and shout and sneeze and cough! AWESOME!

That’s exactly what I need! I’ve heard that about 19,000 of you are all going to pack yourselves into an enclosed space to hear one of you tell the rest of you that I’m just a hoax and I’m just going to go away!

I love you guys!!

So, that’s basically it. Thank you America. It’s hard being a global pathogen but you have all really gone the extra mile to help me out.

USA!

USA!

PS: I know a lot of my “hosts” are wondering how I can be writing this blog. Or how I even know what a blog is. My answer is

How the hell should I know??!! I’m a fucking virus!

PROVOCATIVE QUESTION #68 – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #68

What Fandango had to say about this:

“As I write this, the United States has had more than 1.23 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 72,000 deaths. According to the latest projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), by early August, the American death toll is likely to exceed 134,000. And that’s a conservative projection.”

75F69E8C-DFEE-4B8B-A652-F2FF8C99AB56

“Yet despite these very disturbing projections, many states are “opening back up for business,” even though most medical professionals and scientists have noted that the case and death rate will likely shoot up as a result.

This seems to be fine with our president, who is encouraging states and businesses to reopen. Trump admitted that it is “possible” that many more Americans will die as stay-at-home orders are lifted. He told reporters that some people would be affected badly, “but we have to get our country open, and we have to get it open soon.”

And even though the rate of infection shows no sign of slowing, Vice President Pence told reporters yesterday that the federal government’s coronavirus task force could be dismantled in the next month because “of the tremendous progress we’ve made as a country.”

The question is:

I think Fandango answered his own question. The reality is, except for those crazies who follow Trump, most people aren’t going anywhere if they have a choice. Especially people our age. We weren’t all that sociable anyway and if the weather gets livable, I’m sure we’ll take little sojourns to parks where we can take pictures without interacting with others.

More than 28 states are not only failing to level but are in fact exploding with COVID 19. Republicans thought the virus wouldn’t cross into their states, that this was somehow a Democratic disease.

Viruses are about as apolitical as anything could possibly be. It isn’t alive and has no brain. Nature gave it just one function:


Multiply.


That’s it. It will keep multiplying until enough people are resistant to it, dead, or there’s a viable vaccine. Of course, if they keep the vaccine the same way they have managed testing, it could take a decade to get everyone vaccinated. Or longer. But by then, I figure we can assume Trump will have gone away. Far, far away.

Soon Fox viewers will believe that there wasn’t really a pandemic. It was a hoax. Trump has said he will hide the numbers so we don’t know how many people are dead. Does that mean people will fail to notice the people who’ve gone missing? No more grandpa or grandma. Where are the aunts and uncles? And why are all the businesses on Main Street closed?

Even the stupidest of the stupid are not going to be convinced that “nothing happened.” They may be confused about the details, but something definitely, absolutely, 100% happened. Whether it is going to happen to you is an issue with which each of us must grapple.

As for me, I’m going to be very careful and wary with where I go and with whom I interact.

THE ODD COUPLE THAT COULD BRING TRUMP DOWN – natshouseblog

Steven Miller. advisor to Donald J. Trump and Katie Millie, Press Secretary to Vice President Mike Pence, who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Both Millers have daily access to Trump and Pence.

By Nat Helms of natshouseblog

Mother Nature apparently doesn’t like the way things are going in the world at the moment and banded together with irresistible karma to take a whack at Donald J. Trump, the original source of most of the chaos in the world today. It seems the Fates selected a close advisor inside Trump’s White House to host treacherously virulent novel coronavirus spores that have a tendency to make those around the unsuspecting host either sick or dead. It could mean there are about to be some sinister changes inside the White House.

There are plenty of reasons of the gods to take aim at the incendiary narcissist and bungler working diligently to destroy all the institutions of America. Their displeasure could be over Trump’s treatment of Mother Earth, or his disregard for the lives of millions of Americans and almost all those who live beyond our borders, or because Trump is just such an asshole all the time. Some things are best left to the gods and the 12 rules of karma to understand.

A real good example of karma in action is the haunting of the White House by dem-princess Katie Rose Waldman Miller, the new wife of Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s closest advisors. Both Millers work deep in the Trumplandian swamp where nepotism is A-Okay as long as they keep it in the family.

Her husband Steven  Miller, 34,  is the unfortunate Jewish doppelgänger of super-Nazi Reinhart Heydrich. Unlike the assassinated architect of Germany’s “Jewish Solution”, Miller keeps his iron fists in velvet gloves while he tramples on the basic rights of his fellow human beings. His thing is staying almost morbidly silent in the background generating ultra-right wing, white nationalist policy that eschews black, brown, and Arab peoples from coming to America.

Karma adherents have always maintained Trump and his gang have something bad coming at them. The Sanskrit For Dummy’s definition of the word karma is “action.”  Laws of karma are all about the positive or negative implications of our words, thoughts, and deeds. Everything we do good or bad creates corresponding energy that comes back to gobsmack us in some form or another.

Miller currently lives high on the hog. The international villain and fawning Trump loyalist married Katie last Feb. 16 at Trump International Hotel in Washington with Uncle Donald in attendance. The event was officiated by Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, a senior adviser to the United States ambassador to Israel. The ambassador apparently was taking time off from helping Israel steal more stuff from the caged Palestinians.

Mrs. Miller, 28, served as a spokeswoman for the United States Department of Homeland Security during the tenure of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Her husband helped engineer Nielsen’s controversial public firing for being too lenient to the babies and children her agency tore from their parent’s arms and stuffed into brutal concentration camps Miller helped organize.

Ms. Miller’s reported affliction with the coronavirus on Friday was the second known case of COVID-19 this week in someone who moves inside Trump’s inner circle.

According to White House pool reports, Pence’s flight to Des Moines, Iowa, was delayed on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for an hour Friday morning, where six people who had contact with Katie Miller deplaned. On  Thursday, the White House confirmed that a personal valet for Trump – a staff member who comes in close contact with both him and his family – also had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Both Trump and Pence reportedly tested negative for the coronavirus on Thursday, the White House said.  Trump often downplays the magnitude of the pandemic while he focuses on reopening the nation’s economy that his weak, vacillating policies helped destroy.

Pence is equally culpable for misdirecting the country through his brainless thoughts and deeds. He came under fire last week for not wearing a mask during a visit to Minnesota’s prestigious Mayo Clinic. He later admitted he made a mistake, claiming he “didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask.”

No shit Sherlock, that’s why the country is falling apart.

HOMEBODIES ON LOCKDOWN – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I never thought that being a homebody would uniquely qualify me to withstand a worldwide crisis, but it has. My “happy place” or “safe place” has always been at home. Growing up, my parents and I always tried to stay at home in pajamas together on Sundays and I cherished this weekly ritual. In the summer, at our country house, we often stayed home for days on end and usually only ventured out to shop once a week. A day when I didn’t have to leave the house (or the property in the summer), was a great day.

For most of my adult life, staying home was just not an option and I adjusted to a busy life out in the world. But whenever I had to leave home for a trip, I would get anxious. I would obsess over packing and arrangements for taking care of the kids, dogs and/or house while I was away. The anxiety didn’t keep me home, but it made the prepping and planning for a trip anxiety-ridden and difficult. I still feel anxious when leaving and I start planning what to take weeks in advance to make sure that I take everything I could possibly need.

Whenever possible, I try to plan my life so that I do most of my errands on one or two days so I can have several days in a row when I don’t have to leave the house. Sometimes I even stock up enough supplies so I only have to shop every ten days to two weeks.

Flash forward to the Coronavirus pandemic and the stay at home, shelter in place orders we have been living with for close to two months now. I realized that by nature, I am well suited to get through this crisis with flying colors. I’m being ordered by my Governor to stay home. No problem! The rest of the world is now afraid to leave their homes – so now everyone is living my dream of staying home all the time. I’m no longer an outlier – my slightly neurotic behavior patterns are now the norm and I’m no longer quirky, I’m just a good citizen. This is my finest hour! I’m a pro at going out as little as possible.

This crisis has created a planet full of agoraphobics. I’ve read numerous articles about how long it will take for people to feel comfortable again going out to restaurants or theaters or any place where they are closely exposed to strangers. Even when governors open up parts of the economy, there’s no guarantee that people will come out and leave their safety zones until they’re very sure that it’s safe. That may require levels of testing that we just don’t have right now. Several of my friends have literally not left their houses for over six weeks and get everything delivered to the house. Even I have been going out once a week to shop and get mail. These friends will certainly not jump back into their previous routines of shopping, socializing, and eating out any time soon.

I feel lucky that I’m not ‘suffering’ from being cooped up at home as many people are. I don’t feel ‘trapped’ and I don’t have cabin fever. But I’m sheltering at home with my husband and two dogs so I’m not alone. On the other hand, I don’t have to deal with children and their homeschooling and/or working from home. So adjusting to the new reality has not been stressful for me. We’ve been using Zoom and Facetime to ‘socialize’ with friends and family several times a week so I still feel connected with loved ones.

My husband and I also retired before the virus struck so we weren’t going to work every day anyway. As a result, our daily routines have not been altered dramatically. We both get up at our usual time and get dressed every day – no pajamas during the day. However, I don’t curl my hair or put on makeup and I do wear my furry Uggs instead of real shoes. We mostly miss dinners with friends on the weekends (most of our friends are younger and still working during the week). We will miss entertaining people on the boat when it gets into the water and spending leisurely days hanging out on the dock with others.

Because of our stage of life and my basic nature, we’re surviving the total disruption of life on earth better than most. I’m now part of the mainstream of worldwide agoraphobics who won’t leave our homes until Dr. Fauci tells us it’s safe out there!

ANXIETY AND THE CORONAVIRUS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’ve had an anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would worry about everything and was afraid of almost everything. My mother, a trained child psychologist, tried to give me a form of cognitive therapy by pointing out to me every time I was ‘awfullizing’ or ‘what iffing.’ She tried to make me realize that my anxieties were irrational and always told me “Don’t bleed until you’re cut!” It actually helped me and by my teen years, I had managed to control the worst and most paralyzing aspects of my daily anxieties, for the most part.

Prozac was the first commonly used anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication to burst onto the market in 1989. I was 40 and my psyche and my life changed dramatically as my anxiety and depression miraculously receded into the background. I still have flare-ups of anxiety and some ongoing anxiety issues, but they usually don’t keep me from being a basically upbeat, positive and relaxed person.

However, I would have thought that the Coronavirus crisis would have triggered my anxieties and thrown them into overdrive. I should have been in the first wave of panic buyers and I should have a closet full of toilet paper, paper towels and pasta. But I don’t. When the first stories came out early on about possible food shortages, a friend convinced me to order 40 cans of Progresso soup. I felt silly afterward and regretted that I had let my anxieties overtake me, but now I’m glad I have several cartons of canned goods in the basement – just in case.

Toilet paper aisles in most stores in New York and CT

Since then, I’ve been relatively calm in the face of the horrific health crisis that is getting worse day by day – and I am only 50 miles from the epicenter in NYC. At 70, I’m also in the higher risk population but I still go out once a week to shop and once a week to get mail at the post office. But that’s it for my forays into the potential virus-infected world.

I’m being careful and ‘sheltering in place’. Surprisingly, I’m not kept up at night by visions of worst-case scenarios swirling around uncontrollably in my head.

I’ve wondered why I’m not more anxiety-riddled than I am and I think the answer is that I’m only consumed with anxiety that reflects my irrational fears. I’m actually pretty good at dealing with real-world crises. I’m better dealing with a scary reality than with my inner demons.

My method of coping is staying up to date with what’s going on and acting accordingly to protect myself and my husband. I’ve read studies that show that people who read and listen to Coronavirus news regularly tend to be more agitated than those who don’t check the news as much. I find that the more I know, the safer I feel. Knowledge is power. So I’m keeping track of cases in my immediate area so when that number goes up dramatically, I can reassess my strategy and maybe place orders for pick up at the supermarket and get my prescriptions delivered by mail.

I believe that I’m doing what’s needed to limit my exposure so I feel relatively safe. I’m healthy and rarely get colds or flu so chances are good if I get it, it will be mild. I’m not consumed with worry that my husband or I will get seriously ill – or that I’ll run out of toilet paper before the stores can restock. Just in case, we also have a bidet!

If one of us gets sick, I’ll deal with it as best I can. I won’t bleed until I’m cut.

So, despite my propensity for anxiety, I seem to be dealing pretty well, psychologically speaking, with this very real, worldwide pandemic.

DONALD TRUMP GETS CONFUSED BETWEEN TOM BRADY AND CORONAVIRUS – DA NOOZE

For reasons that are difficult to understand, Garry turned on Trump’s daily “briefing” on the Coronavirus. Now, we both know our so-called president does not have a good grip on English, but this evening was special. After a couple of sentences, I realized he wasn’t making any sense. If he were a doper, I’d have to assume he was stoned. But not being a doper, I guessed he was just a dope — in the original meaning of the word.

Mexican troops at U.S. border

What got my attention was his announcement that Mexico had put 27,000 soldiers along our border and as far as I could make out from this nonsensical ramble was that these soldiers were being led by Tom Brady (“A great guy”) and this was going to solve our problems with people getting sick. Some people (he said) are getting very sick or even sicker and not getting better. Sometimes dying.

It turns out we were not the only people confused by his message. I found this headline and article from the Daily News:


Donald Trump gets extremely confused about Tom Brady and coronavirus during press conference

Donald Trump went on a protracted tangent about a Tampa Bay Buccaneers player at a press conference in the midst of the government’s catastrophic failure to respond to the coronavirus.

“Somebody in the fake news said that one of the governors said, ‘Oh, we need Tom Brady.’ He meant that in a positive way. He said ‘We need Tom Brady, and we’re gonna do great,’ and he took it very positively. They took it differently. They think Tom Brady should be leading the effort.

“That’s only fake news, and I like Tom Brady. Spoke to him the other day. He’s a great guy. I wish the news could be real, I wish it could be honest, I wish it weren’t so corrupt. But so much of it is. It’s just so sad to see. We had a great meeting.”

JM Rieger

@RiegerReport


“I would say maybe one person there was a little, tiny bit of a raising of a voice, a little wiseguy a little bit, but he’s usually a big wiseguy. Not so much anymore. We saw to it that he wouldn’t be so much anymore.”

Embedded video

Trump, in the way only he can be, is insanely wrong about this on two fronts. He’s referring to a Washington Post story about a call between him and all 50 governorsAccording to the Post, Trump called the federal government a “backup” and Washington governor Jay Inslee responded, “We don’t need a backup. We need a Tom Brady.”


Apparently, Tom will lead this great army and then get back to working out in Tampa Bay because I don’t think he gave up football. Yet. Or maybe it is one of the other national leaders he named that will solve all of our problems. I’m not sure where the army came from.  Garry wanted to know if he’d missed a sentence because he wasn’t at all sure what was going on with the army and Tom Brady.

I tried to find a text of the “speech” but it isn’t up anywhere. Translations of his speech are available and they leave out all the interesting parts. I tried. I really did.

Meanwhile, get ready. A huge army of Mexicans led by Tom Brady is coming to your town to save you from the epidemic … or something like that.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TOILET PAPER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

The panic buying spurred by the Coronavirus has highlighted the products that Americans feel are most essential to their wellbeing. Apparently toilet paper leads the pack since most stores initially reported that they were completely out of toilet paper.

Toilet paper hoarding has become a national joke, with people buying carts full of the stuff in anticipation of long periods of ‘sheltering in place.’

I was surprised to discover that toilet paper has only been around since 1857, which means that humans spent centuries and centuries without this basic item of civilized life. So what did people do before this life-changing invention? Sailors used the frayed end of a rope dipped in saltwater. The Romans used a sponge on the end of a stick. Rural areas used corn cobs hung in outhouses.

Stones and moss were also used as were all kinds of printed paper, which were put to double use. People wiped indiscriminately with everything from newspapers and catalogs to almanacs and literature and even government proclamations.

Then around 1857, Joseph C. Gayetty invented the first commercial toilet paper called “Gayettey’s Medicated Paper.” It was made of hemp, had the inventor’s name watermarked on each sheet and claimed that its four medications combined with the paper pulp prevented and cured hemorrhoids. It was clearly a luxury item only for the rich because it sold for $30 in today’s money for 1000 sheets.

Gayettey’s product was sold only in sheets, as were the other brands that popped up, but it continued to be sold into the 1920s. It wasn’t until 1890 that Irvin and Clarence Scott of Philadelphia’s Scott Paper Company revolutionized the world of toilet paper by selling it on rolls. If you look at the original patent, you can see that the roll was designed to be placed with the sheets coming OVER the roll, NOT UNDER!

Original patent showing OVER was the intended way to position each roll

A later patent tried to address the problem of finding the ‘end’ sheet if it’s not hanging down. It was not successful, nor were the others that subsequently tried to tackle that pressing issue. Later improvements on the toilet paper roll addressed the problem of waste – too many sheets unraveled with each use. In 1891 a patent was granted for a roll of toilet paper with perforations to separate sheets so that only one sheet of paper came off the roll at a time.

Another welcome improvement in quality came in the early 1900s when a company boasted of its super-refined, “splinter-free” toilet paper. Ouch! Before this time, minute wood pulp splinters were a common residue from the papermaking process. By 1943, toilet paper was advertised as “soft and oh so gentle” for the first time!

Toilet paper has also been used as a political tool and numerous American politicians have appeared on rolls, including George Bush and Donald Trump. Prior to World War II, some British toilet paper was made with pictures of Adolph Hitler and other Nazi leaders printed on the sheets. One such roll from the 1930s was recently found in a barn in England. It was thin, war issue paper and was only twenty sheets, but it showed Hitler giving the Nazi salute. It sold for $240!

Are we going to face prices like that for Charmin in the near future? If it had pictures of Donald Trump on it, it might be worth it.

The toilet paper of my childhood came in colors and colorful patterns

AN ODD ST. PATRICK’S DAY POST – GARRY ARMSTRONG

St. Patrick’s Day usually is a cause for upbeat feelings around here.  But the 2020 version brings no joy.

The Coronavirus aka “The Satan Bug” has thrown cold water on worldwide celebrations. Hell froze over in Ireland where all pubs were ordered closed as safety measures. It became clear the action was necessary when bleary-eyed celebrants seemed oblivious to the danger of public gatherings right now.

Irish Eyes are not smiling in Boston where the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has also been canceled. No parade. No boisterous parties with green beer spouting from spigots hither and yon. No one day Irishmen puking their guts on the streets of revelry.

Shamrocks

I usually covered St. Patrick’s Day for the Boston TV station where I toiled for 31 years.   Yes, I hauled out my green corduroy sports jacket, dark green dress shirt, plaid green tie, and loden green khakis. I topped it off with some awful green-tinged tobacco in my pipe which was constantly lit through the long, loud and off-key version of “Danny Boy,” “Galway Bay,” and “Wild, Colonial Boy” streaming out of myriad pubs I visited for stories.

Each stop required I share a pint or two with the regulars to confirm my Irish roots. The legend had become fact after our 1990 Irish Honeymoon where I learned, to my great surprise, that I indeed had Irish ancestors.  It made me something of a local hero in Southie (South Boston) where Irish Boyos are regarded with esteem.

Our news “live shots” were always a challenge on St. Patrick’s Day. No way of dispersing the lively crowds who surrounded our camera and equipment, serenading me as I delivered my reports with exuberance. I frequently was doused with “good stuff” as I wrapped up my reports. I’m proud to say it WAS good stuff, usually Guinness. Sometimes Guinness and Irish Whiskey, depending on the crowd’s affection for me. Ah, those were the days.

All the old school Irish Pols showed up, telling the same tales about the good old days with “himself,” James Michael Curley, the legendary Boston Mayor of “The Last Hurrah” fame. Crime usually took a partial day off. Lots of drunks and disorderlies but few hardcore, violent felonies. There was a line you didn’t cross on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston.

From “The Quiet Man”

Then – as now – I looked forward to the traditional viewings of “The Quiet Man”.  I remember one year, Marilyn and I watched the John Ford classic about the ‘old country’ on several stations running the film simultaneously. You could catch John Wayne courting Maureen O’Hara for several hours all over the TV channels. When we watch “The Quiet Man”, Marilyn and I exchange smiles, taking in the places we visited on our honeymoon, including young Sean Thornton’s cabin which was still in decent shape in 1990.  No, I never give Marilyn a whack on her backside. John  Wayne could do that to Maureen O’Hara but not Garry Armstrong to his Marilyn.

“The Quiet Man” will air tonight at 8pm our local time and I wonder how it will feel on another day of the Coronavirus, the political follies and our general sense of melancholy. I’m putting my money on Young Sean Thornton,  Red Will Danaher and all the rest of those folks from Innisfree to bolster our spirits on THIS St. Patrick’s Day.

Any question about who’s the best man in Innisfree?

Trump fails in desperate attempt to save his political skin – REBLOG – The Shinbone Star

This is a good summary of how we’ve gotten to where we are. How long will we stay here? Very good question. As one of the vulnerable ones, I would really like tests available. I’d like to know if Worcester County has many, few, or no cases. As it stands, Massachusetts has almost no tests available, not even in our biggest and best hospitals and here in the boonies, I’m sure we have none at all. Thus, the only people who get tested are athletes who get paid in the millions of dollars. Apparently, a knowledge of the risks is available only to the rich and famous.

What a shock, eh? Hey, there’s no inequality in THIS country!


 

THE SHINBONE STAR

Impeached President Donald J. Trump failed last night in a desperate attempt to save his political skin with a television talk designed to calm a nervous nation confronted with a killer virus.

After using the power of the media to deliver details of a series of legislative and economic actions — including a ban on travel from Europe for 30 days — and bragging about how his administration had managed to keep the deadly novel coronavirus from sweeping across the country, Trump uttered this unforgettable line:

“I will always put the well-being of America first.”

Those words must have been comforting for relatives of the 38 Americans who have already died from coronavirus and the nearly 1,200 others diagnosed with the disease over the past few weeks.

But the real problem with that bogus and pandering statement is that it came after more than a month of Trump downplaying the…

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GUEST BLOG: DENTISTRY: NO LONGER AS SIMPLE AS PULLING TEETH – JOHN H. CORCORAN, JR.

Dear Friend,

If the Corona Virus makes inroads at or near pandemic level, we cannot fully anticipate how it will change our day to day habits. especially regarding healthcare. John H. Corcoran, Jr., makes a rare foray into serious journalism and reports on the shocking findings of Dr. Skippy Gzitzman, DDS. They may save your life.


Dentistry: No Longer as Simple as Pulling Teeth
by John H. Corcoran, Jr.

There are several critical aspects of the Corona Virus (aka COVID-19) that will change the way health treatment is applied. As a public service, here is one way to help you prepare for changes and to eliminate that worry-free weekend you’d been so looking forward to. Today, we’ll talk about your teeth. I just talked about mine with my dentist, Dr. Skippy Gzitzman.

Dr. Skippy says if COVID-19 becomes a Pandemic either countrywide or in your neighborhood, you will have a quandary when and if that aching Bicuspid turns into absolute agony and must be pulled.

The current “best advice” for people to avoid transmitting Corona Virus to others is to sneeze into your own sleeve, fart into your own shorts, and never touch your lips with your own fingers or someone else’s toes. The problem for the practitioners of the Dental Arts is that dentists and hygienists don’t have a choice. They have long been required to not only touch their patient’s lips, but essentially dunk their digits in your abundant mouth slobber.

Dr. Skippy explained how he will now be able to extract a tooth while all but eliminating his own chance of infection. “My office is on the fifth floor. I’ve just rented a suite of offices on the tenth floor, directly above it. Upon arrival at the building, a voice-message will direct the patient to the tenth floor. There an intern will affix an extraction device to the bad tooth and push the patient out the window.

“The anchoring pulley removes the tooth—no muss, no fuss—completing the extraction procedure as it passes by five floors below. If you survive the fall, you then pay for services and we send you on your merry way.”

“Wouldn’t a ten-story fall with tooth extraction be painful?”

“Probably. But we’ll keep our windows shut during the procedure so it’s hard to hear the screaming.”

“What about fillings?”

“Three words. Remote-controlled blasting caps.”

“Still it sounds very dangerous for the intern who comes in contact with the patient.”

“Not a problem. Interns are easily replaced.”

“Any other potential complication for the patient?”

“Only if the extraction wire wraps around their neck. We’ve had a couple of full and partial decapitations, but we sell the videos to reduce costs for you, our valued customer. I’ve seen them. Excellent production values and editing. The head popping off looks like a blood-filled Piñata nailed right on the button.”

“And where are you during all this, Doctor?”

“Drinking Brandy Alexander’s on the veranda,” he said. “Now then, let’s get you into X-ray.”


Copyright 2020 – John H.Corcoran, Jr.
John “Cork” Corcoran Jr.