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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.


I haven't seen a barber in over a decade, but in an act of solidarity with coronavirus-positive Tom Hanks (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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Real men wear flattops.

If you're reading this blog, you probably know that my hairstyle of choice is the high and tight flattop. I've been sporting a flattop of one color or another for well over a decade. The style is commonly associated with politically conservative men of action, which of course I am: "program," "sleep," and "complain" are all action verbs. The style has many benefits: it gets ready before I do in the morning, makes it easy to see if I'm tall enough to ride roller coasters, and ensures that I never get "hat hair," only "hat forehead." I can't imagine wearing any other hairstyle, especially now that my hairline has ordered a steady and orderly retreat up my forehead. I may be losing the battle with Father Time, but at least I've still got style.

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I've just cut off my facial hair that I was growing out in an effort to determine if I looked good with facial hair. I didn't. I just looked like a poser with an itchy face. Besides, everyone knows that goatees are the indicator of alternate universe versions of oneself. Since I'm typically a prick, I'd have to be a nice guy if I had a goatee. That's simple logic.

Kneel before... wait, that was the other guy.

Case in point: Superman never wears facial hair. A mullet, maybe, but not a mustache or muttonchops. Facial hair is for villains. (See Superman II for details.) So of course Christopher Reeve never had any, even after he was no longer able to shave himself. Although, once he shaved his entire head, he looked more like he was auditioning to play his own arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor.

Christopher Reeve as his own worst enemy. Or would that be a horse?

Hmm. Facial hair = bad. Bald = bad. So clearly someone who is bald with facial hair must be a terrible person. That's simple logic. (I'm looking at you, Samuel L. Jacksonified Nick Fury!)

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At this weekend's WWE Wrestlemania event ("the Super Bowl of wrestling!"), it has been announced that either WWE Owner/Operator Vince McMahon or Real Estate Tycoon Donald Trump will shear his hair off following a "Battle of the Billionaires" match. Unfortunately, we won't see Trump wrestle. Instead, representatives of each man will wrestle, the loser determining which billionaire's head is "shaved." (I put the word "shaved" in quotes like that because these hair vs. hair matches don't always take the hair down to the scalp. Usually, the winner just cuts off some long hair unevenly, then the loser goes to a proper salon and ends up with a fine looking hairdo. Hardly as dramatic as the billing would suggest. But then isn't that usually the case with wrestling?)

Vince vs. Trump: this picture should be in each man's resume.

Now, we all know that Donald Trump is not going to lose his hair on a Vince McMahon promotion. (Unless Trump is in chemo or has lice and is looking for a way to profit from it. Which, I suppose, isn't impossible given the man's history, it's just so unlikely that it's practically impossible. Especially since the guest referee will be "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, McMahon's wrestling arch-nemesis.) But the announcement of this match seems to have caught the fancy of many a non-wrestling fan. The Associated Press recently ran a story about the match. CNN's poll question for today is "Would Donald Trump look better with no hair?" Most people say "no," which, when you think about it, sort of answers the question, "who thinks people look good with comb-overs?"

Oh, Donald; always a showman, never the show.

"Battle of the Billionaires," it's called. I looked it up. According to Forbes Magazine, Donald Trump makes the list of the top 100 richest Americans with a net worth nearing $3 billion. McMahon hasn't been worth more than $1 billion since his XFL flopped in 2001. That would make this the "Battle of a Billionaire and a Guy Who Will Lose His Hair." Maybe that's why there's no truth in advertising: truth is just so boring.

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Last night I watched Rocky IV for at least the XVII-th time. Every single time, I pull for Ivan Drago, the charismatic Russian fighter with a superhero physique and totally kick-ass hairstyle. ("If he dies, he dies.") And he just keeps losing. One of these days, I'm going to remake Rocky IV and Drago is going to win. Then no one will have to suffer through Rocky V anymore, because Rocky will be dead.

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I present, for you viewing pleasure, poodle:

Chere at rest

This is an old picture from fall 2004, I think. Last week I gave her a jacket and pants clip (her normal summer attire these days), but she'll be back to her puppy clip in a few months when the temerature drops a few dozen degrees. I've tried giving her quite a few different style clips over the years, but in the Georgia heat, she prefers it short most of the year. (Only in the rare case where there is snow on the ground does she ever thank me for leaving her winter coat on.)

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Late for my haircut, (gotta keep the flattop flat, you know), but I took the time to post the new charactersheet to the dnd page. We'll see how it works this weekend.

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To be continued...


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