216/21

I’m listening to Larry Summers talk to Christiane Amanpour about the economic impact from the Cvirus. We agree on just about every point he is talking with her about. He says we’ll be seeing tens of millions of unemployed over the next 4-6 weeks. It is a national disaster.

The Elephant is Dead

You can’t run the government like an opportunistic shifty business. So sayeth Larry about the Covidiot in Chief putting his son in law in charge of anything. He and Mohamed Al Arian agree that this crisis will create a sea change in politics in this country. Thatcheristic Reagan Republicanism is DEAD. DEAD. DEADDDDD.

We need the kind of patriotism from our business leaders that we saw in the Second World War. Certainly isn’t happening at the moment. Denmark is brought up as a role model for how we should have handled this crisis. You’re better over-reacting rather than under-reacting is the answer. But we don’t seem to have the capacity or the will to do that.

Ebola in Africa

Walls are not the answer when whole continents are affected by this virus. He was referring to the fact that the Cvirus hasn’t decimated Africa..yet. When it does, the impact on the rest of the world? Will we do like we did with Ebola and say, ho hum? No..because active cases of Cvirus can come back and get the people it missed the first time. It’s essentially gone backwards. Instead of starting in Africa like Ebola, it started in China, moved to the west and will end up in Africa. We can’t stop it from coming back when millions upon millions are infected.

So what’s the point of talking about all this? To not talk about it is to give up, and say we are licked. We will no longer be able to care for our citizens, because we lack the will and the resources to handle a crisis .. eventually of any magnitude. In essence, a third world country subject to complete decimation by climate change. Alas, Poor Yorick, we knew him well. But he is us, and we won’t ever be the same after this. I know, I said I was an optimist, but I’m losing that sense of optimism quickly because we don’t have the kind of leaders that can manage this crisis and provide what is needed. People: we’re on our own. Try to make the best of things.

Sorry to be such a downer. I wish it were different. We’ll get through this, but at what cost? Enough. I’m done. Didn’t take my temperature..couldn’t take any more bad news if it’s up. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

UPDATE: My temperature the next morning was 98.1° F.

217/20

So we’re supposed to wear masks when we go out, right? Anybody know where I can get a mask? A bandanna, you say? I’m gonna put a bandanna over my mouth & nose, and walk into a bank? Uh, I don’t think so.

Geez but the world has gotten even crazier than before. The market was up today because Trump said he talked to MBS and it’s all gonna be good. They’re gonna cut 10,000 barrels a day out of production. OK. Where’d that number come from? Out of his butt, most likely. And if they did cut it out, just where would they put it? They can’t just turn off the pumps and wait 10 days to start it all up again. They have to find places to store that gooey stuff. I know, how about cruise ships? They have plenty of room right now. Just be a little messy after they drain it all out.

What is left of Emily’s old Room

We are still waiting for John to finish up work and for the kids to get the rest of that stuff out so we can finish re-arranging furniture and so I can have my writing space back. Right now I have a net of about 1 hour a day in this space. That’s just about enough to check on bill paying and such, and to write this blog piece. Otherwise, it’s John’s office during the day and bedroom at night. Yet, Emily’s old room is not occupied, except with about ten tons of her stuff left behind. Moving is hard.

Cvirus got the elder Marsalis patriach in New Orleans. John Prine apparently is intubated and still alive, but for how long nobody knows. He has heart issues, so that doesn’t bode well for him. I just pray to give him a little peace. He deserves it.

Kinda Looks Like Xena!

I told Erik today that the current situation is like an etch a sketch. You know, the box with the little knobs you turn to make some kind of drawing? If you don’t like what you drew, you just give the box a shake and you start over again. Well, Cvirus has given us a giant shake. A pessimist would bemoan the loss of the old ways. I am an optimist, so I say that giant shake will make things better in many ways. I believe you’re going to see a resurgence of union activity. The ‘gig’ economy could become a thing of the past. Unfortunately, I think nationalism will rear its ugly head too. You know that is almost always a precursor to some kind of war, so that’s a thing to worry about.

With 6.6 million people filing for unemployment this week, including Robin who was able to do so online after many attempts, something needs to happen and soon. Mohamed Al Arian wrote a piece on Bloomberg News yesterday, suggesting these four things need to be resolved before there can be any economic recovery. They are:

  • The duration and severity of the economic sudden stops caused by the coronavirus, something that will be determined by medical issues and not economic and financial ones.
  • The time it takes for the policy-driven cash to get to struggling businesses and households and, therefore, to prevent liquidity problems from becoming more devastating solvency ones; and how some of the more financially exposed countries, including in the emerging world, will afford the required policy interventions.
  • The tricky restart for interconnected national, regional and global economies that were never wired to withstand a sudden stop well.
  • The changes to the post-crisis landscape that will include greater emphasis on resilience and a move away from efficiency; a lot more corporate debt in the context of poorer earnings prospects for many companies; a much larger differentiation between winners and losers; much greater entanglement of governments in private-sector activity; and a deglobalization trend, just to name a few of what is already a full one-page list I have on my desk.
Coming to a Street Near You

I think he’s a very smart guy, and what he says makes absolute sense. According to Mnuchin, the checks will start going out April 9th, and will continue until all 150 million recipients get theirs. But a more difficult aspect of the legislation is the loans/grants from the SBA, administered through local banks. They have no instruction on how to proceed, and likely won’t do anything until it’s clear they aren’t jeopardizing their own financial well being because the government can’t figure out what they’re doing. So that part will drag on, much to the detriment of the restaurants, bars, dentists’ offices and the like that could use that money to pay their people until this gets resolved. Those folks will get paid, either through those government-supported wages or through unemployment. If not, then there will be armed uprisings in the streets, social isolation be damned. For sure, it’s like an episode of The Walking Dead, only instead of zombies, you have laid-off bartenders and dental hygienists. A scary thought indeed.

That’s enough for today. My temperature is either 98.6° or 97.9° F. I took it twice. Luego.

218/19

So I ventured out to the grocery store today. Still not much in the way of chicken (legs still make good soup) and definitely no paper products. But I did score the powder stuff that goes in he dishwasher to keep your glasses gleaming and spot-free. That was a major accomplishment!

A Major Necessity of Life

I also bought another 250 caplet bottle of Ibuprofen, Publix brand. Why? China makes like 90% of all the ibuprofen in the world, and we know their supply chain hasn’t really been re-established, right? There are some things to take for granted, but I assure you, ibuprofen isn’t one of them. Is that hoarding? If so, too bad.

We’re getting closer to having the cottage cleaned out. I removed dirty dishes from the sink in the kitchen area, and immediately put them in the dishwasher on Sanitize cycle. There was green stuff dripping from one of them, I swear. Goodness knows how long they’d been sitting there, probably growing a combination of ptomaine and Cvirus and botulism all rolled into one. On the other hand, maybe I flushed a proven cure for all of the above. Ah well, missed opportunity. C’est la vie.

Criminal or Foolish? Who Can Say?

The market was down like a thousand points today. Big surprise. Up and down like a yo-yo, which is either pump and dump or fools buying and then getting cold feet and selling. Doesn’t matter. I don’t know why I even look. It’s so ridiculous. Nothing to buy until all this is over. Don’t be tempted.

So Mnuchin says checks will go out starting on the 17th of this month … unless you are on Social Security and too poor to file a tax return. Then you get nothing. I guess there’s some logic to that, but if there is, I fail to see it. Are y’all kidding me? If you are getting Social Security, they have your bank account information, so that isn’t it. It must be some inchoate fear that people who on Social Security who don’t file returns aren’t poor, they’re secretly very wealthy and aren’t filing because they don’t want to pay. That’s the same Republican thinking that led to the fearsome four Senators balking at the $600 a week premium to unemployment because nobody would want to go back to work if they were making ALL that money. These guys should be put against a wall and shot with paintballs coated with monkey vomit. They are all idiots, including our very own Rick Scott. Give me a break.

Take That, Rick Scott!

So on we go, taking one day at a time and trying to live through everything that life throws at us. My friend Sue’s father in law just got put into hospice, and her little old dog fell in the pool and drowned. I asked her if she was feeling a bit like a biblical Job, and to watch out for locusts and boils (and frogs I think?) When it rains, it pours.

No more to say..take care and wash your hands..my temperature is 97.9° F.

UPDATE: Per the Washington Post, facing withering criticism, the Administration has reversed its position on the $1200 checks to pensioners too poor to file a tax return. God bless and protect the media. Without them, these kind of injustices would be rampant.

219/18

The A/C guy came today and put more freon in one of the compressors. There’s a slow leak in the air handler, so he has to add a couple pounds every six months or so. We can get by this way for a while, but it’s an old unit. Sooner or later, it’ll have to go.

This One went Pretty Fast

I finished the second 500 piece jigsaw puzzle today. I started it on Saturday, so it went pretty quickly. These are sea creatures, and for some reason it was easier than the previous one. Maybe I’m just gettin’ in the groove for jigsaws.

My good friend Patricia Mary went back to work today after a 5 day hiatus. I guess we’re all concerned about her being a health care worker, and being exposed to all those people who may or may not be exposed to the virus. I asked her about the ethics of turning people away if they have a fever. She works in an outpatient heart clinic, so the question isn’t at all straightforward. She said she’d update our other friend Sue and me when she gets home. I said a little prayer to keep her safe today.

Nifty Logo, Eh?

Speaking of good friends, I tried contacting my friend Nancy all the way out in Washington state. I haven’t heard back from her yet, so I’m hoping she’s OK. She’s a widow and lives alone, so I worry about her safety. She lives in a tiny town that probably has limited health care facilities. Boy, the things we took for granted before the Cvirus era. CVE..coronavirus era. Maybe that will be a new time definition, you know like BCE before the common era. It used to be Before Christ, but I guess that definition rankled some folk. So now everything will be post-CVE.

Since the kids moved, we have a shortage of comfortable seating in front of the TV. We need to move some furniture around so we can sit and watch the tube without having to wiggle around, trying to find a comfortable position in a rocking chair that is sadly obsolete (no babies to rock). Guess it’ll find its way out to the porch, and we’ll bring John’s reclining couch into the house for additional seating in the living room. That will make way for moving the loveseat, which is comfortable to stretch out on. That’ll work!

All to report for today..oh, let me go check my temperature. It’s 98.0° F. Still good. Auf wiedersehen.

220/17

More progress was made in the move-out with the kids. It’s quiet now, but still far from back to any kind of normal. There are odds and ends of furniture everywhere while we try to figure out where everything will go. There is still a whole lot of their stuff in the cottage. That means John can’t move out there until it’s all gone. That’ll likely take the rest of the week. Sigh.

Hours & hours of Solitaire Makes your Mind go Mush

That means my writing space is not mine at the moment. Instead, it’s John’s office, where he is working from home. He doesn’t really get much in the way of calls now, as things are getting very quiet. That means he’s playing a lot of games of solitaire on his computer while he waits for people to phone.

I am fascinated by these epidemiological models that are predicting a peak in deaths by April 15th. My guess was the 22nd, and I still think I’m right. They may be assuming too much self-isolation going on. But we shall see. One of us will be right, or maybe we’re both wrong. Again, the idea of the peak is when the number of cases and deaths start to dip down into what they refer to as manageable range. That’s not much of a benchmark. Only a few of us will die on the downward slope. Doesn’t that make you feel better? Nope..me either.

People Buying Stock at the Moment

The market was actually up today. Fools. They must be living in a parallel universe, or they just like to throw money around and hope to stimulate the rest of the fools to do the same. You cannot evaluate a stock until you have the data, and so much has changed that you cannot rely on what’s available at the moment. So keep your cash cool and be ready, maybe in June to see opportunity.

The Man who Wrote Hello in There, a Great Song Covered by Many Great Artists

What else? Had a scare about John Prine. Erik came home from Publix saying he’d heard John Prine had died from the Cvirus. Turns out the radio was wrong. He is in the hospital and they believe over the worst of it. That assumes he doesn’t experience a cytokine storm. Say a prayer for John. He’s a gifted song writer and a cool guy.

That’s all for now. Wash those hands, stay away from hackers and coughers of all sorts, and love your family – and tell them you do.

My temperature is 97.6° F.

221/16

So much for filling the churches on Easter. Social distancing until April 30th is now the directive. Then it’ll be May 15th; then June 30th.

COVID-19 AKA Jaws

Just because I expect the peak on April 22nd doesn’t mean it’ll be safe to go back in the water. Jaws, aka COVID-19, will still be around. There will just be a decrease in new cases and a slow decrease in new deaths.

But no matter what, we won’t match Italy’s record. You have a 50/50 chance of surviving if you get hospitalized in Italy. Is this because they’re rationing care? Probably, at least to some degree. Is it because Italy is full of old people? May be a contributing factor. I just wonder what protocol they are following to treat these cases. I haven’t seen anything written about that anywhere.

I have a leaky air handler – looks like this one

On another note of nauseating familiarity, the Dow futures are down about 300 points. I don’t expect tomorrow to be a good day in the market. It’s still way to early to invest, as there is no earnings data to allow a reasonable calculation of fundamentals. That data likely won’t be available until the end of April or later. So we shall watch and wait and hope I don’t have to replace a leaky part in my air handler with my government welfare check.

Isn’t there something new to talk about? Some new show or movie or…anything? Nope. Geez, my brain continues to deteriorate. The kids are in the process of moving out, but everything is still a wreck. Moving is hard, as we all know. And it takes time, but in their case, I think it’ll take a real long time to get settled. Something about young folks’ lifestyle makes me believe that will be so.

I miss my exercise class. I want my old life back. Will we ever get back to what we used to call normal? I’m beginning to wonder. My temperature is 79.7° F

Bye.

223/14

Trump signed the CARES Act bill today, so allegedly in 3 weeks we’ll all be $1,200 richer and Robin will have unemployment compensation to keep her and her family whole. Kirsten got notified that they’ll pay her forward and deduct leave hours later. Guess that means she needs to stay healthy after this is all over with.

Teleconferencing with Zoom

Starting next week, Elaine and I will be talking via Zoom instead of in person. That makes sense, at least for another month or so. There’s no value for either of us in risking exposure to the virus from one another.

Speaking of another month or so, according to the latest model information, the virus cases should peak sometime between the second week of April and the end of May. I concur with that assessment. I also read a piece in Medium that is finally talking seriously about cytokine storms being the cause of so many deaths, especially in Italy. Treatment needs to change from antivirals to immunosuppressants to keep those nasty cytokines from killing the person. I wonder how Italy’s doctors are handling those situations. Maybe they need to change their protocols.

Starting to move tomorrow!

I’m frankly getting so tired of talking about the Cvirus, the stock market and D.C. I’m so ready to move on to real life. But how’s this for good news: Robin and family are beginning their move to the apartment tomorrow instead of April 4th. The complex called to say their designated unit wouldn’t be ready in time, so they substituted this one which is actually closer to where Jopie is. That’s good news. They will rent a truck in the morning and we’ll get started moving them out. I’m happy for them and eager to get my own spaces back. After 3 years, it is so time for that to happen. I especially miss my designated writing area. John is using that space until they’re out, so maybe by mid-week next week, I’ll have mine back. My goal is to finish the Redemption series outline by Saturday of next week. How’s that for ambitious? We can do it!

Have you figured out what you’re going to do with your largesse from the government? I think I’d like to invest it. Something to think about.

Ready to Clean

After they’re gone, we will go to town cleaning this place. As Elaine pointed out today, kids don’t want to live in a house where someone is always nagging about putting things away. It was a lost cause anyway, so after a while I just stopped. Now’s my opportunity! Clean floors! Clean kitchen! Not having to run the dishwasher every day! Laundry when I want to do it! Yippee!

That’s all. My temperature is 97.9° F.

224/13

The CARES bill passed the Senate 96/0 after Bernie threatened to hold it up. They aren’t dumb..nobody wants to hold up unemployment benefits for the 3.3 million unemployed..and that’s just last week. Next week should be an even bigger number. The House will pass it tomorrow and DtheT/Blunderbuss will sign it quickly. Let’s get those $1200 checks into people’s bank accounts and wallets. We’re in trouble here, people.

The Apartment Complex Robin & Family will move into on Saturday

As previously mentioned, Robin is laid off and Kirsten can’t go back until a week from this Monday. We can only hope this bill provides some compensation for them when they need it most to cover their living and in the case of Robin’s family, moving expenses. Their move out date got moved to day after tomorrow since the apartment they selected wasn’t going to be ready for several more weeks. I suspect they lack staff to do the cleaning and such to get it ready. Nonetheless, we’ll be moving them this weekend, and still trying to maintain social distance from the people that they need to interact with. For example: they have their furniture in storage, so they may have to interact with the staff there. They will have to interact with staff at the apartment to pay the rent, unless they can do that online (more than likely they can). And all of us will be working to get them moved in so John can move into the cottage. That can’t happen until after we get it cleaned up after their departure.

Crazy Horse

As research for the redemption sequel, I’ve been reading about Crazy Horse and George Custer, two characters I intend to include in the story. Stephen Ambrose wrote the book, and his painstaking research has provided some extremely helpful details about the life of these two men. It will make my story much more authentic to know the characters through Ambrose’ book. Looking forward to getting started.

Still working with my therapist, although mostly we just talk at this point. Most of my issues that brought me to her are resolved, and she’s a great sounding board for these ideas about my writing. I really enjoy our time together, and hope to continue through this time of isolation and difficulty.

Mass Gatherings Greatly Increased Cases

It appears the US now has the most cases of any country, surpassing China and Italy. This should come as no surprise, given our late entry into this disaster, and the laxness about testing. We’ll see how the death rate tracks, compared to Italy and Spain. New York and New Jersey seem to have cornered the market on deaths so far. Governor Cuomo keeps warning that the test of us will be next. I’m not sure that’s true. I think it’s a question of timing and possibly location that will determine the results. That was certainly the case with the 1918 flu epidemic. If you avoid large crowds and maintain your immune system in good fettle, you will more than likely make it through this thing unscathed. Now, that is not to say that will be so forever. If it comes back, we’ll have to go through it again. Not fun and deeply damaging to bodies and pocketbooks.

That’s all for now. Take care of yourselves out there. My temperature is 97.7° F.

225/12

Not a good day. Robin got laid off and Kirsten was told she can’t return to work until April 4th. Neither has clear direction on how they’re supposed to be reimbursed for these lost wages. In the meantime, Congress fights over a $600 payment designed to even out differences in unemployment compensation rates between states. Republican Senators fear that $600 will keep people from going back to work. Oh for God’s sake: what is the matter with those morons?

Bless You, Brother Bern..You Got it Goin’ On

Bernie Sanders said he’d stall the whole vote if they try to change the language and eliminate that $600. Good for him. At least somebody’s got some gumption up there on Capital Hill. The House is just waiting for the Senate to send over the bill, and they’ll approve it post haste. At least somebody has their act together. Bless you Aunt Nancy.

The stock market is schizophrenic at the moment, with good reason. Is the damned bill gonna pass or not? But little do those machines that invest know that this is just the proverbial drop in the bucket. By the time this thing has cleared up – nation wide likely not until the fall – we will have likely had at least two and possibly three quarters of deep negative growth. Last week’s unemployment numbers will come out tomorrow, and that will be a big honkin’ number. I expect to see a drop in the Dow tomorrow when that reality hits. There will need to be at least two additional packages, one to keep people whole and the other as stimulus. We’re probably looking at 4-6 Trillion dollars before this thing is over. Oh my.

Not As Good Online as with Lynn at Jupiter Fitness

Around here, we continue to get through each day. I tried a little exercise today, but found that particular on-line routine dull, so I quit after 15 minutes. John is still working from home, and it’s interesting to listen to him help his fellow employees with their IT problems. He’s very patient and always seems to get them squared away. I’m sure they would miss him terribly if he weren’t available to help them.

I made banana nut bread this afternoon, as there were a couple very ripe bananas in the basket that I wanted to use. It’s Martha Stewart’s recipe, very easy and generally turns out great. Everybody around here likes it, except Emily, of course. I’ve been making it for years, so I don’t even have to consult the recipe. One batch makes three mini loaf pans’ worth. They’ll be gone by Friday.

Bless You, Yo Yo

Finally, a plug for Yo Yo Ma’s #Songs of Comfort that he has started on Twitter. A whole lot of folk are contributing songs, acapella, accompanied and everything in between. PBS features it a couple times of week as part of their arts coverage. It always makes me sad and proud of Americans when I see how we can come together this way, especially with home grown music. There’s even some from as far away as Lebanon, a country that seems to have lots of problems of its own at the moment. Check it out, and if you can sing or play, contribute something!

I need a project. Guess I’ll clean out the refrigerator tomorrow. Temperature 97.9° F. So far so good.

226/11

The Dow went up the most it had ever risen since 1933, in anticipation of that big honkin’ payout from the gummint. This morning, Jake Sherman from Politico wrote a piece saying the Republicans were going to delay passage because Trump had dissed it. Apparently, either he changed his mind (Jared must have talked to him) or there was a misunderstanding. Allegedly it’ll be done by tomorrow and signed off on by our Fearless Leader. The question is: will anyone know how to access the money? How long will it take for those checks to go out? Will he hold up the money before it goes out unless we agree to investigate the Bidens? Enquiring minds want to know…

The 500 piece puzzle was done. Here’s how to went down.

Puzzle on a Glass table…totally unassembled

After many hours of back breaking work (low coffee table), here’s the final product:

Finished puzzle – all five hundred pieces

The next one we’ll start on (after my back and butt recover) will have critters of the sea as a theme. What fun! Anything to stay occupied while we wait for this thing to pass.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah The Golden Haggadah, c. 1320

So the epicenter of the Cvirus is now in New York by a factor of about 10. What is it about New York that makes it so? Overcrowding; anti-vaxxers in the Hasidic community; old people; or God’s wrath on Gomorrah? You choose the answer you like. I say it’s maybe all of them except probably the last one. Not sure The Big Apple is any more Gomorrahish than anywhere else in the country. Depends on your denomination, I suppose.

The next time we get a pandemic – say in another hundred years or so – do you think we’ll have learned anything from this experience? Will we be any more prepared then than we are now? We’d always assumed that so-called modern medicine would rule out any more pandemics, because we understand so much more. We have the yearly flu vaccine, and even conquered Ebola. So what was it about this particular Bat Soup virus that made it turn into a pandemic? Nobody seems to know the answer to that one. My answer is it was just time to happen. All the right tumblers fell into place, and the magic pandemic door opened. If it hadn’t been this one, it would have been another. In a hundred years, we are still no better prepared to fight this than we were in 1918.

The Epitome of Lethality

Now let’s assume that, like the flu in 1918, it comes back in successive waves over say eighteen months or so, killing more people and disrupting global commerce in a big way. What happens then? The government can print all the money they want, but it won’t amount to a hill of beans difference. Back in the 14th century, there was this thing called the Black Plague that wiped out about half the world’s population. That was another case of the tumblers falling properly into place, with a mini ice age and fleas on rats. What came out of that was roving bands of debauching marauders, masquerading as religious zealots. Today we have Jerry Falwell, Jr. calling the Cvirus a plot to hurt Trump. Sure sounds like a debauching marauder masquerading as a religious zealot to me. So much for science. Who needs it?

I reiterate my prediction: the worst of this will be over on April 22nd. That’s when the number of new cases and deaths will start to decline. It won’t be over at that point, not by a long shot. But it will signal that this won’t go on forever and we can slowly go back to normal. But will we ever really be normal again, if we survive this plague? That remains to be seen. Seems like we’ll go in one direction or another: into total oblivion or rejecting false demagogues and embracing science and facts. At this point, I wouldn’t bet on one or the other..yet.

Soldier on and wash your hands. My temperature today: 98.0 degrees Fahrenheit.