Showing 11 - 20 of 37 posts found matching keyword: covid19

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.

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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.

The real villain here is DC Comics

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.

Tears of a clown

Fuck you, Watchmen.

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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?

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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.)

If you don't know who this villain is, congratulations on an appropriately spent youth
Action Comics #522 (1981)

Plague or no, I can't imagine that anyone will be making a LEGO statue of that guy anytime soon.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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As I type this, the United States has 1.188 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 68,276 deaths. More Americans have already died in the past 2 months from COVID-19 than died in the entire Vietnam War. And it's not over yet. By the time you read this, those numbers will be worse.

A quick computation of those figures reveals a current mortality rate of nearly 6%. If you've been paying attention (what else have you got to do?), you may remember that back at the beginning of March, the World Health Organization was estimating a 3.4% mortality rate — an estimate our wise president chose to call "a false number" in a live television interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News. He objected to the WHO number not because it was too low, but because it was much, much to high. "I would say the number is way under one percent," said the president.

(Footnote for future historians: That comment was made on March 4. A month later, April 14, Trump withdrew funding to the WHO claiming that they failed to report the true danger of the virus back in January. Quote: "The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain that and share information in a timely and transparent fashion." By that logic, I guess we should stop funding the current American president, too.)

Testing continues to be a problem, so we can't really be sure that the 1,188,122 number I referenced above is the true extent of the contamination. If we assume that the actual mortality rate is closer to 3.4% previously observed in other countries, it would mean that over 2 million Americans currently have or have had the disease. That's over a million hidden, untreated, pandemic-spreading cases. Sure seems like someone should be thinking twice about opening those shopping malls, Governor Kemp.

Also unreported in all those grim details is another victim of COVID-19. Specifically, I'm talking about my flattop.

Egghead!

I haven't seen a barber in over a decade, but in an act of solidarity (and maybe a little laziness), I decided to go ahead and trim my hair down to the scalp. Does it make me look more bald or less?

These days, the fact that I'm alive and well enough to worry about such things feels like an accomplishment.

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Art by Jack Kirby and Chick Stone, words by the actual President of the United States:

Credit to Twitter:@PresVillain

So brilliant, I wish I'd thought of it. But the credit belongs to twitter.com/PresVillain.

But wait! The joke works even better if you know the original panel from Tales of Suspense #66 (1965), written by Stan Lee:

He was being sarcastic!

Don't worry, Captain America survives, but by the end of the issue, he's heiling Hitler. Stupid disinfectants.

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Walter, what have you been doing with your time in sequestration?

Well, Walter, for one thing, I've started talking to myself.

Also, I've been working on the Jeep. Several electrical components needed fixing, most notably the headlight switch. The original switch had worn out, causing the headlights to blink off at the slightest bump in the road. (And if you're familiar with Jeeps, you know they find lots of bumps in roads.)

At its age, even the dirt is a collectors item

The old switch was held in place with 11 phillips head screws (9 for pieces of the dashboard cover and 2 for the actual component), and only had to be unplugged. The hardest part was swapping over the grime.

That really only leaves the radio, which I promise to get around to rewiring one of these days. Not today, though. No, it'll take at least another month of sequestration before I'm that nuts.

So that's what I've been doing, Walter. Thanks for asking.

You're welcome.

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To be continued...

 

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