Well, seems as if I was a bit off about this being "the last normal week," eh? When I set aside this banner art a year ago, who would have thought she might strike people as Charon?

Which is RIDICULOUS, I know.

I went to work on Thursday, feeling as if I should be very careful. This was unwise. This was like skipping through Sarajevo at the peak of the sniper war.

But then I saw something that seemed absolutely surreal.

People were walking back to the office with lunch, chatting away, passing through the skyway in the usual numbers. AS IF NOTHING HAD HAPPENED!

There was a guy looking at the skyway map, rubbing his face in contemplation. I saw a woman punch numbers into an ATM and touch her nose.

Am I . . . am I crazy?

No, I'm on Twitter.

Here's the thing. I'm concerned, but not alarmed. I'm prepared, too. What constitutes preparedness? Lots of food, fresh stocks of painkillers, lots of beer, two extra bags of dog chow. Boxes of almond milk, which keep, and a quantity of powered milk. Soup in cans. Probably not enough canned food; I feel bad about that. SO LET'S GO TO THE STORE

No, you're fine -


But people my age aren't supposed to go out


I know, inner voice I have created for the sake of writing about this, but still . . . okay. Thing is, I've been quietly gathering for two weeks, just adding stuff to the cart. For example: chicken soup. If people presume they're going to come down with the lung-fungoo, they might want the comfort of Chicken Soup. Well:

Everyone else thinks so, too.

Lunds was out of toilet paper. Hand sanitizer. Cleaned out. Lots of bacon, though. Busier than I expected. The bagboy said they were out of a lot of stuff but couldn't restock, because they were out, but the truck was coming Friday, although it probably wouldn't have everything. He seemed exhausted. You could read into that what you wish, and make it a sign of the times, but the truth was he'd worked a long shift and was about to punch out. No more than that.

They didn't have Birch's brand of dog food for a price I'd pay, so I figured in for a penny, in for an aerosolized burst of ambient virus, so why not try another store. Cub. It was busier than I've ever seen on a Thursday night. No one seemed stressed. But there were a lot of people.

This was the second wave: the people who shrugged or snickered during the Toilet Paper Accumulation Phase were now reading things on the internet, or hearing that people were being made to work from home, and something clicked in: maybe I ought to prepare . . . but how?

The question is: was 2009 worse? No. Does social media have something to do with it? Yes. I've stopped looking at Twitter, because you can feel spiky pathogens flowing out of the stream. It's the glory days for catastrophizing miserabilism. For some it seems as if this frustrated apocalyptic fears, invested in the Climate Crisis but never paying any returns, suddenly surged into the newly dredged COVID19 channel. I'll let others debate whether we were all logistically prepared for this, but our psychological state seemed absurdly fragile. Why? That's for next week.

This blog will not be a parade of stats and warnings and imprecations and dire wails. This blog will talk about the times, and salve the shaky days with irrelevancies, and, now and then, a dog.

Not all of it is from our Beloved Internet. The first is a snippet from a 70s ad I came across this week.

Is it just me, or is this get more unnerving the more you gaze upon it?

An ad for a book:


I was unaware that James Taylor had become a foreign-policy establishment figure turned fierce critic of current events


I was googling some small towns for yesterday's Main Street, and saw that Eldon has a rather underwhelming hero image chosen to sum up the town's culture:



A break from the usual stuff: a shot of a big block-wide residential project going up on the edge of downtown.

It'll look solid once it's sheathed in brick. People will think it's made of brick. But it's made of wood.

This one just popped up the other day. I mean, it took about three weeks, and shazam, there it is. It's in a curious part of downtown, away from the fun and the core and the new apartments, but perhaps that's the point. It's close to the hospital.

We'll see what the exterior looks like.

I predict . . . brick.

The wrapping is coming off the Public Services Building.


From my vast collection of things with almost no monetary value whatsover, I bring you this week's entry.

We can figure out the year easily enough, can't we? Of course. The K? Right. The name of the ship? Google that until you strike your forehead and say "duh." This was part of a four-stamp series on artic / antarctic exploration, and this particular one celebrated whaling.

The Soviet efforts in this field were called "THE MOST SENSELESS ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME OF THE 20TH CENTURTHE MOST SENSELESS ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME OF THE 20TH CENTURY," and given the Soviet accomplishments in that field, that's quite an accomplishment.

The Soviet fleets killed almost 13,000 humpback whales in the 1959-60 season and nearly as many the next, when the Slava and Sovetskaya Ukraina were joined by a third factory ship, the Yuriy Dolgorukiy. It was grueling work: One former whaler, writing years later in a Moscow newspaper, claimed that five or six Soviet crewmen died on the Southern Hemisphere expeditions each year, and that a comparable number went mad.

Physics, dude, physics.

Solution is here.



Syndicated show, 1945-46. Fifteen minutes per ep. Not, shall we say, lavishly budgeted.




That damned gong. They loved the gong.




Stop with the gong!


Eventually there was a manhunt, and the man, hunted, was caught.

I post these sometimes to remind you that the medium was widely strewn with dreck.


Yeah, no, I don't buy this for a moment.

She cut quite a few sultry torch-song albums. You wonder if the guys who bought the albums thought she'd been dumped by her hubby.




I remember her from "Emergency," where she played a nurse. Her husband was a doctor. Her ex-husband, Webb, was the show's producer.

An amiable break, I assume.



Mother knows! Why? Because she has produced offspring

That'll do. See you Monday for the first of three bad weeks. That's my prediction. But I was wrong before.



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