Keeping up with the news

“I read the news today. Oh, boy.”

CarolEarly in our marriage, I was mystified by how my wife didn’t know of events in recent history. And I don’t mean it happened the day before yesterday. It was a function of the fact that I read the newspaper regularly and watched at least one national news broadcast almost daily.

I won’t say it’s flipped entirely but it’s definitely changed. She gets up at 7 a.m. to get the news from overnight. I used to do that pretty much until the coronavirus struck. For me, I realized that there was a numbing sameness. The details would differ – 58,000 dead in the US, or 85,000, or 130,000. It’s surging in state X but declining in state Y.

It’s that I can no longer deal with what feels like ephemeral information. Is this part of the state in phase one or phase two? I know the “big-picture” stats, enough to know that just as Florida wanted to ban New Yorkers, now New York wants to keep Floridians out.

So when my wife asks me some drill-down questions, my standard response is “I can look it up.” Can we go inside this type of business? Since the rules will change in two weeks or two months, my brain says, “Don’t care!”

Part of the filtering involves listening to IMPOTUS, who will take both sides of many issues. Are we cutting back on testing? “Yes.” “No, I was kidding.” “I never joke about things like that.” There is no reason to pay attention when he constantly contradicts himself. My wife will ask what did he say about a particular issue. Heck, I don’t even know anymore.

Natal day

I prefer the more traditional ways my wife and I confound each other. It’s a matter of philosophy. She’ll ask me if I want to throw out the toothpaste squeezed to near empty. I’ll toss it AFTER I have replaced it. She’ll throw it out first. But her way, there’s no toothpaste until we get more. Now THAT’S an important issue!

Anyway, she’s having a birthday today. She very wisely is not on Facebook. So her friends contact me, and I convey messages to her because that’s what I do.

A pleniloquence about coronavirus?

Social distancing, Flatten the curve

Texas coronaYvonne Abraham wrote in the Boston Globe: “The week that the coronavirus changed everything.” And it’s true.

“One after another, the touchpoints of our lives have been falling away. The subtractions came slowly at first: flights from a handful of countries, conventions, political rallies, Little League tryouts. They’ve picked up speed as the week — has it really been only a week? — wore on. We are a danger to each other, our public spaces suddenly menacing.

“Who are we without all of the things that bring us together?

“We’re about to find out, as the coronavirus pandemic separates us, leaving us alone with our trepidation and, if we’re lucky, our loved ones.”

It’s gone from my church congregation sharing hugs and handshakes (February) to expressing love from a distance with a smile, a deep nod and a Vulcan greeting (March 1) to the doors being closed (March 15). While understandable, the transition is really difficult for me.

As an information junkie, I found that I have actually watched less news about COVID-19. This is not to say I KNOW less about it. It’s that the information overwhelms me from so many various venues.

TMI

My travel agent site recommends that I talk to my health care providers, plus “checking the CDC website, understanding how travel insurance works, and keeping informed with our coronavirus updates.” Airlines, hotels, cruises, and tour companies are “relaxing their change and cancellation policies to offer travelers a peace of mind.”

Almost every one of the canceled public gatherings I might have attended provides me with statistics and disease prevention protocols. Meanwhile, there is a battle against the spread of fake coronavirus news articles and unscientific products and advice.

Vanity Fair promised “binge-worthy shows for quarantine”. Entertainment and sports news is filled with disappointed, but understanding, folks, reacting to postponements and cancellations.

There’s a whole new vocabulary. Social distancing. Flatten the curve by staying home. Stop touching your face.

I suppose I should be worried. Someone posted conditions to be concerned about. I qualify on half of them.
If you’re over 50
If you have diabetes
If you have a heart condition
If you are overweight
If you have a compromised immune system
If you are a smoker

But as Mark Evanier noted: “I am not worried about the virus. I’m worried about not doing the right things in a tricky situation… If it turns out that this thing takes a lot fewer human lives than the Worst Case projections, I hope we don’t hear people saying the reactions to it and all these cancellations were foolish and unnecessary.

“I hope they say the fatalities were kept down by swift, smart action and responsible parties erring on the side of caution. And I really hope they say that it was an act of appalling negligence that we weren’t better prepared for this and that we won’t make that mistake again.”

Violating self-quarantine

We’re not going to get through the coronavirus issue unless we think of ourselves as part of a larger community. I most worry about those creatures with the XY chromosome. If you’ve been to most men’s bathrooms in 2019 or earlier, you’ve likely seen guys who wash their hands for two seconds, rather than twenty. Or often not at all.

Worse, from the March 6 Boston Globe: “A New Hampshire man who’d recently returned from Italy and had symptoms of the novel coronavirus had been told to quarantine himself, but instead attended an event last Friday at the Engine Room in White River Junction, Vt. A few days later, he tested positive for Covid-19…” Hey, we have to be in this together.

John Oliver.
Mel and Max Brooks.
He lies, again.
Years of Austerity Weakened the Public Health Response.
My Corona ~ Kevin Brandow (Parody ~ My Sharona by The Knack).
Facebook was marking legitimate news articles about the coronavirus as spam due to a software bug. The company is fixing the posts and bringing them back.

Z is for zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (sleep)

When children don’t fall into a regular pattern of sleep, parents aren’t sleeping much either.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.. oh, phooey…

This is true: I am writing this at 2:30 a.m. a couple weeks ago. I went to sleep, but woke up.

This time, I know it’s because I ate too late. I realize, from experience, that me eating after 7 p.m. is a recipe for nocturnal interruptus.

To put me back to sleep – which usually works for me – I got up and just looked for sleep-related articles, all from the CBS News This Morning program, just to show how significant the topic is.

How lack of sleep affects health and tips for a good night’s rest – October 11, 2017

It’s “frightening” how few young people get enough sleep, expert says – June 25, 2018

New data suggests lack of sleep early in life can raise the risk of heart disease later. Research in the journal Pediatrics connects insufficient sleep in young teens to cardiac risk factors, including high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and obesity.

In the book “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,” published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (a division of CBS), Matthew Walker says sleep is underestimated as a means for preventing disease.

“For example, even if you’re getting eight hours but are waking up many more times throughout the night or you’re not getting that deep sleep, what we’ve discovered recently is that deep sleep provides the very best form of natural blood pressure medication that you could ever wish for.”

Parents are hiring coaches to get their babies to sleep better – December 1, 2018

New parents face a host of challenges, but one of the most common is dealing with sleep issues. When children don’t fall into a regular pattern of sleep, parents aren’t sleeping much either.

A recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that at six months old, only 43 percent of babies were sleeping 8-hour stretches and at 12 months old, only about 57 percent.

To train their infants to sleep when they do wake in the night, some parents won’t go to their baby’s crib, or may delay feeding. But for others, it is too difficult to ignore the crying.

Also, I heard about Bose Sleepbuds which cost about $250, a bit pricey. Here are some reviews:
New York Times – “tech probably isn’t my solution”
Engadget – helpful but needs improvement (4 stars out of 5)
Techradar – (4 stars out of 5)
Tom’s Guide – They Ruined My Sleep (2 stars out of 5)
PC Magazine (3 stars out of 5)
390 customers on Amazon reviewed it. 5 star 35%, 4 star 16%, 3 star 11%, 2 star 15%, 1 star 23%

AMAZINGLY, 40 minutes of reading about sleeping has made me tired again and… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

For ABC Wednesday

November rambling – We are not the enemy

Tips on how to endure the 18+ hour flight

Cease fire Sooner or later, tyrants are always abandoned by their followers

The American civil war didn’t end, and we have a Confederate president

The First Family of Fraud

Fox and Friends: If the Media Doesn’t Want to Be Called ‘The Enemy’They Should Report the Story How He Wants

Amy Biancolli: We are not the enemy

John Oliver: Migrant Family Separation and Drain the Swamp

Why Is It So Hard to Vote in America? Voter turnout lags in the world’s most powerful democracy? and Cost of Voting in the American States

A Legislative Agenda for House Democrats

What Republicans fear most of all

A man who survived a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 was among those killed in the 2018 mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, CA

There’s very little known about the thousands of victims who survive deadly shootings

Tammy Marshall – My Breast Implants Almost Killed Me – The Truth About BII

The US just elected 9 new scientists to Congress

The Ancestor Hunt: Historical Jewish American Newspapers Online

Why are the Spanish living so long?

Ken Levine interviews media consultant, Valerie Geller – Tell the truth, make it matter, never be boring: Learn the keys to successful communication

Ntozake Shange, Who Wrote ‘For Colored Girls,’ Is Dead at 70

Former San Francisco Giants first baseman Willie McCovey’s presence was one of a kind

In Conversation: Alex Trebek The Jeopardy! icon on retirement, his legacy, and why knowledge matters

Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), a former Navy SEAL, representative-elect: SNL mocked my appearance; here’s why I didn’t demand an apology

Jimmy Kimmel: Trumpy bear

John Boehner: Washington Needs to Legalize Cannabis – NOW, he says it

The Crazy Contentious History Of Taco Tuesday

Scott McCartney, travel writer for WSJ, taking world’s longest flight — Newark to Singapore; tips on how to endure the 18+ hour flight

The cheapest ways to get to the center of Manhattan from the three airports that serve the Big Apple

Esquire Fiction: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah – Annual holiday super sale? Or zombie apocalypse?

Video tour from the forties Los Angeles side-by-side with the same route in 2016

It slices, it dices, and it’s older than me

This image has exactly 12 dots, but it’s impossible to see them all at once

Now I Know: The Problem With Anonymous Lottery Winners and The Cat’s Meow, Instrumentalized

Fabulous German words with no English equivalent

MUSIC

Take the A Train – Roy Clark And Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown; Roy Clark, country guitar virtuoso, ‘Hee Haw’ star, dies at 85

Above The Law – The O’Jays

BE A DJ: Kathy Buckley – 10/30/18 (WDST, Woodstock, NY)

Snippets of Hey Red! B/W We’re Not Going Steady – Herb London on Buzz Records; London, Conservative Thought Leader and occasional political candidate in New York State, died at 79. (HT to Dustbury)

Solid Rock is now a cultural part of Australian music history

Alexander Borodin’s String Quartet No 1, performed by the Moscow String Quartet

Recording of a warning chime recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – In all, Lincoln commissioned six different non-critical warning chimes from the orchestra, covering 25 vehicle functions

Careless Whisper – Train, ft. Kenny G

Happiness is just around the bend – Brian Auger

Anything You Can Do – Voctave

9,999,999 Tears – Dickie Lee

Alice Cooper in a Dodge commercial

National/local news: Megyn Kelly, blackface

Fox News Says Megyn Kelly’s Blackface Comments Not Racist Enough to Get Old Job Back.

Megyn KellyIf you’re in the United States, you might be familiar with Megyn Kelly. She was a news personality for Fox News from 2004 to 2017. She was a panelist at one of the Republican “debates”, where she had a bit of a row with one of the candidates, the one who ended up getting the nomination.

I imagine it’s why she was hired by NBC to be their “conservative female journalist.” On her short-lived Sunday evening show, she interviewed conspiracy nut Alex Jones, which was not a popular move.

Then she was given the third hour of the four-hour block of the TODAY show, but she never fit in thematically, or, apparently, personally. Her rating were disastrous.

When she was in a discussion about Halloween and described that using blackface had been considered acceptable when she was growing up, a couple things happened. One was that she was heavily criticized, especially by her NBC colleagues.

She gave up an apology, acknowledging the painful legacy, but diminishing her statement by mentioning how she tended not being “politically correct.” She lost her post as host of the 9 a.m. hour of the “Today” show.

I wish there had been a bit more of that explanation, not merely that it was “offensive.” CBS News Sunday Morning provided Blackface: A cultural history of a racist art form.

Borowitz of the New Yorker, wrote, satirically, Fox News Says Megyn Kelly’s Blackface Comments Not Racist Enough to Get Old Job Back.

The other reaction was from where she grew up, which happens to be Delmar, Albany County, NY. Students from her high school alma mater condemned Kelly’s comments, saying she was not accurately describing their town.

One prominent Albany Law School grad complained that, largely based on her race-baiting arguments on Fox, the law school shamefully put Kelly, class of 1995, on the cover of its alumni magazine, hosted her book signing, and had her speak at a graduation.

Ivan Rodat, who went to high school with Megyn Kelly wrote a measured response in Blackface in the ’Burbs.

A good friend of mine told me that the family now lives in the house Megyn Kelly grew up in. I only recently learned that when NBC first signed Kelly, the network wanted the current owners to “meet cute” the former resident. That was, to say the least, a non-starter.