The happiest part of the day is dinner. Tonight I was chopping cilantro, and realized a) there is great comfort in this simple activity, preparing a meal for the family, and b) I can’t chop this damned cilantro for some reason, just turn it into a mush. But it was a good dinner and everyone said “I like the cilantro!” So the day’s a win.

Yeah, well, not really. Did I mention that Rotaria is going back home to Barcelona early? Her ticket was open-ended, but the Wuhan Virus changed everything (I call it that because it is a virus that came from Wuhan) and the readjusted prices are insane - 3000 Euros more - so her parents are pulling the plug. It seems remote right now, but it’s just two weeks away, and it pains us all. It’s been such a joy to have her here, and she became part of the family in a trice.

Right now I hear daughter downstairs zooming with some friends, laughing with delight, and her basement tenancy became Normal quite quickly. (Rotaria lives in her room.)

It’s made a hard patch so much more enjoyable, and she likes my cooking! I asked Daughter: is that a Rotary thing, where you say you like it and eat it all? Daughter: yep

As it turned out, I spent Tuesday in a worse mood, expecting the restrictions to be renewed, because Of Course. I have long spiky patches of anger and impotent despair - and I'm doing great. We have lots of room and we have jobs, for the moment. No reason to be unnerved, unless you look outside your own situation and imagine what others are experiencing. That is usually encouraged, but now you're a grandma killer.

Made the mistake of looking at Twitter before the usual “let’s get irritated by the news of the day” time, which is 11 AM, and encountered someone I know and like retweeting stuff about how people want grandma to die. It’s like a switch flips: nope, not going to take you seriously on this matter ever again. Grandma killier is the Godwin of the pandemic.


Here’s one. Of course, no one is saying this. People are pushing back against being accused of saying this, which is somewhat different.

Also lol at the idea that people were more decent in the 80s. They just didn't have international platforms to advertise their soullessness.


Here’s another gem.


Woah, deep! Because beaches

On the other hand, I really want to learn about the toddlers who stormed Normandy.


The rhetoric is interesting, though. Beaches are safe! There’s sun and people can distance themselves. If Central Park is safe, beaches are safe. If the subways are running, beaches are safe.

But if you want to go to a beach, your desire is characterized as “demanding your right to go hang at the beach,” which makes both the action and the voicing of your understanding of your rights something to be pilloried. You are now one of those idiots who are demanding their rights, which says it all these days.

My favorite term is "free-dumbs," which marks the latest continuation of the word "freedom" as a signifier of idiocy. At some point "liberty" fell into disfavor with these people, because the wrong people were insisting that it applied to them as well.

Read in the paper today that a cigar store had been busted. The owner had - get this - texted a few people and said psssst, I’m here, if you want to, you know. When busted and cited he said it wasn’t fair that his business was declared nonessential. One of the comments on the Strib site said this was a good thing because then maybe all the Trump idiots would leave the state.

Two things:

1. We now celebrate speakeasy culture in the 20s, but I wouldn't be surprised if more people died from bad hooch during Prohibition than die dfrom Wuhan Virus contracted at cigar stores open in defiance of government orders.

2. Right now, you can buy cigarettes at the drug store, a convenience store, a corner grocery store. The last one is particularly small and close. You can buy cigars at the liquor stores, which are “essential.” So it’s not the product. They haven’t allowed liquor stores to remain open but put chains and padlocks around the cigars. But if you sell nothing but cigars, you cannot tell four people to come to your store and you will open it up and sell the legal product the other places can sell.

Who cares! More cases were reported today!

i saw that. Where? Was it a result of increased testing? What was the hospitalization rate? Cases are not necessarily the metric.

If the Covidian Miasma is indeed so thick and fatal, nothing should be open. If Target can be open, Macy’s can be open. Mandatory masks and gloves, sanitizer pumps around the store. On any given day at Southdale before the Wuhan Virus (I call it that because they were probably tinkering on a virus to learn things, and crap crap, that shouldn't have happened, well, hope for the best) the men’s department at Macy’s has no customers closer than six feet together. Target is more crowded than any store in Southdale.

But . . . do you really need to go to Southdale? Can’t you buy it online?

Can’t try on pants online.

Can’t you just wait for pants?

Well, I don’t have a choice in the matter, because I have to wait for pants. IT'S THE LAW. OR THE GASEOUS SIMULACRUM OF SUCH THAT RUNS THINGS NOW. But is this really where we’re at? You shouldn’t be able to buy pants because you might drive immediately to a nursing home and sneeze on someone’s grandma? Is that the model going forward for six, nine months?

I know, I’m being obtuse. I might have it, and I might spread it to someone who lives with their grandma, or is in a high-risk group, or just gets a bad case.

Possible. Now let me ask you: is it likely?

I’m wearing a mask. So is the clerk. What’s more, neither of us have it, which is a big factor in these things. Can I be certain of that? No. But it’s more likely that we don’t. And even if I did have it, the viral load the clerk gets would be small, because we’re standing on opposite sides of the counter, masked, perhaps with a plastic shield between us, and the only point of contact is when I pick up the bag.

AH HAH! THAT’S THE VECTOR! No, it’s not. Look, I didn’t pick up bags then rub my eyes before this, and I certainly don’t now. I carry a vial of hand sanitizer around, and use it after I've touched something.

(In bursts a tweet from an ER nurse who bitterly describes what people go through and how I don’t want to go through it)

Agreed, but is it likely?


Is it likely? Or have we abadoned the likelihood of something happening for the fear of the possibility?


Because I like to be out in the world, and think it’s a good thing for store clerks to have jobs.


Ding! Godwin gets another royalty check.

I think a lot of people who lived their lives in a quivering state of imminent ecological collapse-panic have moved those emotions from that box into this one, and feel energized because the dread now seems even more imminent, and they have Science! on their side, and their enemies are all the right enemies, and this time they can make a difference. And it requires nothing.

I could get the Wuhan Virus (I call it that to push back against Newthink that insists the smart people call it the European Virus) and I could die. I know that. I keep that in mind all the time when I leave the house, and gather my tools and shields, and mind my actions with care, for the same reason I signal a lane change on an empty highway. You never know what's in your blind spot.

But I leave the house. My reasons today were many, but one would strike some people as absolutely insane. We ran out of Rotaria's breakfast cereal a few days ago.

She loves that stuff, and won't be able to get it in Barcelona, and I want her to remember that one day it was gone, and then one bright May morning, it was back, because we knew she liked it.




It’s 1958.

Passenger plane crashes happened a lot.


The details:

Flight 67 was the first of four fatal crashes in the space of two years involving Capital Airlines Vickers Viscounts; the others were Capital Airlines Flight 300 (May 1958), Capital Airlines Flight 75 (May 1959), and Capital Airlines Flight 20 (January 1960).

. . . conditions were ripe for icing. The plane's crew apparently attempted a steep turn to align the craft with the runway. This caused the plane to stall, which was followed by a spin. The crew could not regain control, leading to the crash.




Things that would not age well:

The hound! He’s hot in pursuit!


Holed up in his lair!

Well, that one’s probably in hand; whew. Safe to make travel plans.

The cliched "iconic" image was there from the start, wasn't it?


A reminder of the days when freeways were a source of pride.

A jet-powered helicopter!
Well then:
What, she had a horse named "Tension"?
  No one remembered this, even when the first Gulf War happened.

Probably for good reason.

The Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan was a short-lived country that was formed in 1958 from the union of Iraq and Jordan. Although the name implies a federal structure, it was de facto a confederation.

The Federation was formed on 14 February 1958, when King Faisal II of Iraq and his cousin, King Hussein of Jordan, sought to unite their two Hashemite kingdoms, as a response to the formation of the United Arab Republic between Egypt and Syria. The union lasted only six months, being officially dissolved on 2 August 1958, after Faisal was deposed by a military coup on 14 July.

And by “deposed” we mean executed.

This regicide marked the end of the thirty-seven-year-old Hashemite monarchy in Iraq, which then became a republic.

Ha ha, republic. Fun fact:

King Faisal II was the model used by Belgian comic writer Hergé for his character Prince Abdullah of Khemed in The Adventures of Tintin.

It's true!


The shocking movie of the day, complete with a "Cry Room for Your Baby:"


It was part of a shopping complex in Warrington, and I can’t quite find it, despite the Cinema Treasures page info.

There’s this closeup from a postcard:

And there’s this sad last-day photo.

Lasted longer than Batista or Faisal, though.



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