There are no containers of hand sanitizer to be had in the city if Minneapolis.

Well, southwest Minneapolis, and its environs. I went shopping tonight to HOARD - no, let me rephrase that. We were out of paper towels, napkins, and low on dog food, so I went out Monday instead of Wednesday. It’s interesting what’s available, and what’s not.

What’s available: pretty much everything

What’s not: hand sanitizer, the cheapest spaghetti

I went to the drug store, thinking they might have some hand sanitizer. They did not. They had hand-sanitizing foaming soap, which serves the same function, more or less, but people don’t think it’ll do. I took a peek at the NyQuil aisle; they had all the name-brand cold / flu bottled medicine, but all the generics were gone. This might mean that people are stocking up out of caution, but they don’t want to spend extra, or the people who are doing the “Cautious Advance Supply Management” thing are people who always buy the cheap stuff out of necessity. Or neither or both.

I thought I’d pick up some Pedialyte, because it’s something wise to have on hand. Right? And, uh, some Altoids, so it doesn’t look like I came in to panic-buy and could only find generic electrolyte replacement. There was one lady ahead of me in line. She had the day / night cold / flu package . . . and the same bottle of generic electrolyte replacement fluid I had.

Well, let’s see if there’s any hand sanitizer online at Amazon . . .










I’m reading a plague-related potboiler novel, recommended by a co-worker. He began the introduction thus: “I assume you liked ‘The Andromeda Strain.’”

Can’t be unhappy with any conversation that starts out like that. We are on the same page, my friend; proceed.

He almost apologized for the book’s opening sequence, saying “it’s a lot like the Andromeda Strain,” after which I said “a team of scientists tasked with recovering a space probe discover a dead community in the middle of nowhere where everyone died horribly?” And he said “pretty much.”

“Do they take it down to the bottom level of a secret facility?” I asked, and he grinned, and said “pretty much.”



Now. You cannot write a book about a biohazard that kills everyone and has to be studied by Experts in a Secret Lab without knowing this has been done before. You also must know that someone will see the similarities, but perhaps you are expecting that the people who pick it up at the airport bookstore won’t know.

Because “The Andromeda Strain” was a very long time ago.

Then again, the author wrote the screenplay for “Jurassic Park,” so I think he’s familiar with Crichton’s work.

It’s not bad, though. The author seems to have asked “what if Stephen King wrote a novel about a plague from space?” And then thought oh right, right . . . well, same idea, but not so meta and big. So he lavishes lots of time on the backstory of the characters in brisk colorful King style, which is . . . what? I can’t quite say. It has a certain lift. An affection and a distance. Like some godlike perspective zeroing in on someone and giving him a big broad lurid moment, elevating the ordinary elements of their life to something suddenly and almost desperately relevant. It’s what King goes well, and this guy does it too.

It made me want to watch “Andromeda Strain,” but I have that on file, and it’s not on any streaming service, so I decided to watch “Outbreak.” OH LORD it is not good. It was horrifying at the time, IIRC, but it is dreadfully 90s.

Super-competent government bodies that are undercut by politics! Sexy tousled-hair scientist babe who was married to the super-smart intense scientist guy who grasps what his superiors don’t get, and they’d like to shut him down, but he’s too good, and gets result! Morgan Freeman for moral authority that eventually comes down on the right side! Donald Sutherland for corrupt indifferent machinations deployed with a faint smile!

There’s a scene early on where Hoffman enters an African village where the disease has broken out, and everyone’s just in a suppurating mood. One of the team members barfs in his suit and rips off his hood - breach! Breach! Fear not: Bespecktacled African Doctor enters, and states, with the sonorous enunciated gravitas specific to his genre, “it is not airborne.” Next scene: Hoffman is talking to the doctor, walking around outside, with his hood off.

To say nothing of the infectious lab security systems that require people to put their hands on a fingerprint reader.

Let's take a look at how people get access to these sensitive labs:

"We're dealing with infectious organisms here. Make sure everyone has to touch something in order to proceed."

Let's swing through BL2, the moderately-awful-stuff lab:

So . . . no seal on the door, and just take your face mask off before you leave!

C'mon over, baby, whole lotta sealin' not goin' on, by the way.

Let's see how it's going on Level 3:

Those masks must itch! Let's take a look at the next lab:

It's more obvious in higher def, but you get the idea:

The beakers in the ebola room are sealed with crimped foil.






It’s 1897. Don’t leave home without your ham!

Daddy! Your bacon!

Daddy's going to kill bacon, sweetie. But thanks anyway.

In this day and age - so fast-paced and modern with so many wondrous things being invented - you need a book that contains everything known as of last year!

I remember that name. They were founded in 1839 and ceased operation in 1990. Why? Mergers and debt:

To retire some of its debt, the 149-year-old publishing house sold its greatest assets — the U.S. rights to books by Agatha Christie and Max Brand — to the Putnam Berkley Group in 1988.

“Buffet smoking and library cars.”

I’ve taken it. Well, one of them; the name has a venerable history.

People understood that thing to be - well, you know what that is, right?

A hundred bucks for all:

About that Pope fellow:

Albert Augustus Pope (May 20, 1843 – August 10, 1909) was a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel in the Union Army. He was an importer, promoter, and manufacturer of bicycles, and a manufacturer of automobiles.

The move into cars may have sunk him. They were electric cars, and we know how that went.

Pope declared bankruptcy in 1907 and abandoned the automobile industry in 1915.

Spurn spoke, go broke!


. . . and they’re not easy, either. All of a way to get people to subscribe to the Century, I think,.

Here’s a sample.

You absolutely can.
The very idea that someone could just learn the trade without a four-year - why, it flies in the face of modern-day knowledge.
Admiral Perry won his battle - thanks to Yeast Malt!

Something you might have forgotten:

Perry served in the West Indies during the Quasi War of 1798–1800 against France, in the Mediterranean during the Barbary Wars of 1801–1815, and in the Caribbean fighting piracy and the slave trade, but is most noted for his heroic role in the War of 1812 during the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.

We forget about that one. Still taught at the time of the ad, I'm sure.

Glories are replaced by fresher ones. Or at least they used to be.

That'll do. More tomorrow! And if you find hand sanitzer, for heaven's sake snap it up. It's practically money now.



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