Showing 1 - 10 of 30 posts found matching keyword: covid19
Monday 3 August 2020
Social commentary! Oh, yeah!
Tuesday 28 July 2020
Press Briefing by President Woodrow Wilson, issued on January 26, 1919:
MR. WILSON: Thank you very much. Thank you, everybody. Thank you.
We've had a tremendous week uniting the country in our fight against the Spanish virus. I have reminded people of the importance of masks when you can't socially distance, in particular. A strong message has been sent out to young people to stop going to crowded bars and other crowded places.
I wanted to come out again today to share some additional news with you: This afternoon, my political team came to me and laid out our plans for the Armistice celebration in San Francisco, California. It's a place I love. I love that state. The drawings look absolutely beautiful. I never thought we could have something look so good, so fast with everything going on. And everything was going well — a tremendous list of speakers; thousands of people wanting to be there — and I mean, in some cases, desperately be there. They wanted to attend. People making travel arrangements all over the country; they wanted to be there. The pageantry, the signs, the excitement were really, really top of the line.
But I looked at my team, and I said, "The timing for this event is not right. It's just not right with what's happened recently — the flare up in California — to have a big celebration. It's not the right time."
It's really something that, for me — I have to protect the American people. That's what I've always done. That's what I always will do. That's what I'm about.
Fortunately, the data shows that children are lower risk from the Spanish virus, very substantially. When children do contact the virus, they often have only very mild symptoms or none at all, and medical complications are exceedingly rare. Those that do face complications often have underlying medical conditions. Ninety-nine percent of all Spanish virus hospitalizations are adults. And ninety-nine point nine six percent of all fatalities are adults. That means that children are a tiny percentage — less than one percent, and even a small percentage of one percent.
I have a very, very special person who loves children, who is — who is, I think, one of the greatest athletes of all time. A lot of people say "the greatest player of all time." Known as a "center fielder" who could have been whatever he wanted. Some people — he is the greatest player of all time, by far. Substantially more runs batted in than anybody else. In fact, he got the Most Valuable Player award recently.
And he — I'm reading off these stats. I knew he was the best. I knew he was great, but I didn't know it was almost double anybody else. But he's a man who loves children — has children, loves children, works hard with children. We're going to go outside and be with some little leaguers. Ty Cobb — you know, he's the "Georgia Peach," right? My wife said, "Darling, why do they call him the 'Georgia Peach'?" I said, "You know, he's just such a sweet man.” And that's exactly what happened.
So, with that, if you have any questions — please.
Q: On the Armistice celebration, were you simply not convinced that you could keep people safe at the convention?
MR. WILSON: I just felt it was wrong, Steve, to have people going to what turned out to be a hotspot. You know, when we chose it, it was not at all hot; it was free. And all of a sudden, it happened quickly. It happens quickly. And it goes away, and it goes away quickly. The key is, we want it to go away without a lot of death, without a lot of problems.
Q: You talk about setting an example on San Francisco. But I — I just wonder: Some people are going to take away from this the lesson that you're pushing too far, too fast. It seemed, for a while, the numbers were going up in San Francisco, and you were going to have a problem there with the Anti-Mask League. This comes up at a time you're pushing for schools to reopen, have the opening of the Major League Baseball season. Isn't — isn't the example of San Francisco that we're — we're pushing too fast?
MR. WILSON: Well, baseball, as an example — we were discussing it a little while ago — you're going to be at an empty stadium. I've agreed — Charles Comiskey is a great friend of mine from the White Sox, and he asked me to throw out the first pitch, and I think I'm doing that on May 8th at Comiskey Park. And I say, "How's the crowd going to be?" And, you know, it's like you don't have a crowd; there is no such thing.
It's going to be interesting, Ty. He's not used to that. I've been at many games. He walks in; the place goes crazy. I think it'd be just as good without the crowd. You were just born with it, you know. Some people are born with it.
I don't know if — this is only for the baseball players, but I've never seen a batter hit a ball where so many bats were broken as Ty. He's got the all-time record. I said, "How do you do that?" He said, "Parents." Great parents, when you get right down to it. Right? "How do you do that?" It's called parents.
Q: That's baseball, but the question really is —
MR. WILSON: Yeah, I just — just to finish, I think — I think that we have to all set examples. I think Major League Baseball is setting the example by, you know, playing to empty stadiums, and so are other sports. You see that. Now, then they’ll allow a certain number in. I see golf is now — soon will be allowing people to come in, in percentages. And all of a sudden, we want to get back to normal.
The key is to get back to normal, because nobody wants to see this. But I think it's really good that baseball is opening. It looks like football is opening. It looks like sports are opening. We — we have — it's a tremendous thing, psychologically, for our country.
And we're all — we're all, whether we're — we're going to see right now some beautiful, young Little Leaguers outside with a great future ahead of them. They're already practicing on the front lawn of the White House, and we're going to go out and say hello to them, and it'll be really great.
Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Follow-up communiqué by President Woodrow Wilson, issued three days later:
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Friday 24 July 2020
From the article "U.S. Health Service Issues Warning," The Newnan Herald Vol. 54 No. 11, December 13, 1918, page 5:
The Bureau of Public Health, Treasury Department, has just issued a striking poster drawn by Berryman, the well-known Washington cartoonist. The poster exemplifies the modern method of health education. A few years ago, under similar circumstances, the health authorities would have issued an official dry but scientifically accurate bulletin teaching the role of droplet infection In the spread of respiratory diseases. The only ones who would have understood the bulletin would have been those who already knew all about the subject The man In the street, the plain citizen and the many millions who toll for their living would have had no time and no desire to wade through the technical phraseology.
Speaking as someone living one hundred years in the future, I don't think it's the "technical phraseology" that people object to.
Saturday 18 July 2020
True story: Emma is my favorite Jane Austen novel, and I was really looking forward to the latest movie adaptation when it finally opened in my local theater the second weekend in March. (I've seen other adaptations, of course. The 1996 version is good enough that it almost made me like Gwyneth Paltrow.) However, the second week in March coincided with the arrival of COVID-19 and the global shutdown. That's right, this whole pandemic exists just to keep me from Emma. Curses!
Well, I finally fooled you, COVID-19.
126. (1780.) Emma. (2020)
Fifteen minutes into my rental, Mom asked me, "What is it you like so much about bitches?" She was referring to protagonist Emma Woodhouse, who at the start the novel is very unlikable indeed, something the movie leans into *hard*. (Some might say that she's not much better at the end. Those people are heartless monsters.) Mom also knows I just watched 6 seasons of Downton Abbey and developed a bit of a crush on Lady Mary Crawley, another character who always gets it her way. In response to her question, I replied, "I like women who are like my mother." We did not talk much for the rest of the movie.
The enjoyment of Jane Austen's story is Emma's journey of self-discovery through a series of misadventures and comic misunderstandings which the movie does perfectly. In fact, the movie does just about everything perfectly. If you can't get behind Miss Woodhouse and the rest of the amazing cast, you at least should be able to marvel at the lush, Technicolor-like cinematography and stunning Regency period outfits. (Oscars for everyone!)
If I have any complaint, it's that the relationship between Emma and her beau develops too quickly. (Austen's Emma is constructed more as a detective novel than a romance. All the clues are there the whole time, but nothing comes together until the end.) It's a minor quibble, and the modernization of the plot does nothing to damage an otherwise wonderful adaptation. (The Harry Potter movies disabused me of the notion that movies should be exact visual duplications of their source material. If you're going to adapt another piece of art, you need to bring something new to the table.)
I've been in such a foul humor lately, what with the eternal cycle of bad news, that it's truly an unexpected delight to have a distraction like this. While I've always highly recommended Emma, the novel, I can now do the same with Emma., the movie.
Thursday 16 July 2020
Watchmen, published in 1986, is arguably the greatest comic book ever made. At its heart is a hero so driven by the horrible inevitability of global nuclear war that he willingly becomes history's worst villain in order to force the nations of the world to unite against him. It's brilliant storytelling.
As recent events have proven, it's also total bullshit.
It's become obvious to everyone in the past four months of the ever-escalating COVID-19 pandemic that there is a portion of the human population that is too selfish to give a shit about their own well-being even when a crisis is upon us and the path leading to solution has been well marked.
Most of this group refuses to take action merely because it would be inconvenient to do so. Others would rather see civilization crumble than face any potential loss of face or influence. Sadly, too many of these are the ones we've allowed to become our leaders as we have increasingly mistaken stubbornness for wisdom.
See, the world doesn't need another villain. It's already got plenty.
Fuck you, Watchmen.
Tuesday 14 July 2020
My latest lawn ornament:
I was planning something for "Back to School" season next, but since it doesn't look like there's going to be one of those, maybe football season instead. That'll be a sure thing, right?
Monday 8 June 2020
The 2020 Superman Celebration would have been held this coming weekend if it hadn't been stopped by a microscopic germ. (That sort of thing happens surprisingly often in comic books.) This would have been the 42nd celebration in 42 years. They already have a date for next year, which I guess will be numbered 42 despite the one-year gap. That won't bother anyone who has read a lot of comics where schedules are mostly a suggestion.
Events that will not be held include the raffling of a 30-inch by 15-inch Superman "S" Shield made entirely of LEGO bricks. Those dimensions were chosen to match the chest of the Superman statue overlooking downtown Metropolis, Illinois, home of the celebration. I hope someone went ahead and built the sculpture anyway. It's not like we haven't had time on our hands.
There was also supposed to be a 5K run through Fort Massac State Park. It's also cancelled. I mean, I guess you can go run it by yourself. The state has opened the park, but race organizers won't be there, and you won't get a t-shirt.
The Metropolis Planet newspaper (which has a totally kickass header banner, by the way), estimates that the cancellation of the celebration will cost the city an estimated $4,427,212. That number seems super specific for an "estimate." Perhaps it came from the Calculator. (That's a reference to a DC Comics villain from my youth. Back in the day, the Calculator wore a purple suit with an electronic calculator stuck to the chest. These days, he's drawn as a suspenders-wearing accountant. I don't consider it an upgrade.)
Action Comics #522 (1981)
Plague or no, I can't imagine that anyone will be making a LEGO statue of that guy anytime soon.
Thursday 28 May 2020
He sat back in his overstuffed easy chair and watched the giant Space Force rocket blast off on his television screen. He smiled. It was about time America got back in space – and with the largest rocket yet! It must have cost a pretty penny, but it was worth every cent.
Tomorrow couldn't get here soon enough. Around the water cooler, everyone'd be eagerly talking about today's launch. In the past, they'd've shared the experience on social media, but that was the past. Things were better now. Great, in fact. Better the internets should be shut down than continue to spew their hateful hoaxes and lies. Some people were stupid enough to fall for anything.
He belatedly realized he wouldn't be going to work tomorrow. Work was canceled, thanks to Tommy. The jerk had come down the Chinavirus on Friday, and the company was closed for quarantine. All the employees had been let go. Stupid Tommy. Didn't everyone know gargling a little bleach killed the virus? Oh, well. More time for golf, right?
Except that the course had been unplayable ever since The Wall had been finished and immigration had been outlawed. No one to cut the grass, they said. That's okay. He wasn’t a very good golfer anyway. At least now he didn’t have to lie to anyone about how many strokes he had taken; zero was the best number you could get on any hole.
The thought of exercise made him thirsty. He'd've liked a beer; all he had was the new official drink of America. There'd been an election on the issue. He'd meant to vote but couldn't take the time off from work. Heh. He had nothing but time now. It'd taken some getting used to, but vodka wasn't all bad.
The white rocket continued to slide up his television screen. So powerful, so beautiful, so white. Just like it ought to be. America sure was great again.
Tuesday 26 May 2020
PBS ran a Memorial Day weekend marathon of Downton Abbey. I know I'm really late to this party, but let me say it's a damn good show.
I've now seen most of the fourth season, the series finale, and the movie, though mostly in reverse order. I think maybe I should watch the rest of the series back-to-front so I can see all the characters live their lives backwards.
I've still never seen an episode with Mary's oft-mentioned first husband, Matthew, or Thomas' oft-mentioned first wife, Sybil. It's kind of nice to see characters who live on past their expiration date like real influential people do.
Now that the marathon is over, I guess I'll go back to my previous quarantine stand-by, The Golden Girls. To think that there was a time when people lived naturally into old age. What a wonderful world!
Saturday 16 May 2020
While we're dealing with the double whammy of toilet paper and beef shortages, it's important to remember that there are still some silver linings to our current situation. For example:
Normally preferring to keep no more than $10 worth in at a time, I fully fill up the gas tank in my Jeep less often than once every half-a-dozen blue moons. But market-crash induced gas prices have been so good lately, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
What disaster will lead to the Jeep's next full tank? I guess we'll find out when we get there.