Saturday, April 4, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 20: Parodies, Lies, and Clueless Governors

 Dear Diary,

Here's the deal, there's 39 states, and Washington DC, observing stay-at-home orders in order to help contain the pandemic sweeping our country.

That leaves 11 states with governors so clueless they should be tried for war crimes when this pandemic is over for not utilizing the national strategy of having non-essential workers and the rest of the population hunkering down at home to contain the spread of the virus.

The bottom line for this lack of teamwork among Americans is simple: the 11 states I mentioned above have Republican governors. They'll all be ultimately responsible for extending the lifetime of the coronavirus. Enough said.
                                                ---
**Trump's latest government rip-off for his benefit; The Secret Service had to sign an "emergency order" this week to rent $45,000-worth of golf carts to be used at his golf course in Virginia (which is still open).

According to The Washington Post the 30-cart fleet, which is being rented through the end of September, was described as being necessary in order to protect a "dignitary." Guess who?
Bits and Pieces
**Republicans for the Rule of Law used this ad to scorn Trump's false claim that he'd always taken the threat of the virus seriously. Our serial liar-in-chief in full bullshit mode!
                                                  ---
**I was disheartened to see the results of this COVID-19 poll. Basically, Democrats are more concerned about the coronavirus than Republicans.

On the surface this doesn't make sense. How could such a large swath of Americans disagree about the effects of a deadly pandemic sweeping the nation and the world?

The answer is, it's a matter of fact vs fiction, and the Republicans have chosen Trump's world over reality.
                                                   ---
**Quote - "It could be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." - Mark Twain

**Coronavirus musical parody videos show nothing can stop humor from emerging during the worst of times"
Check these one's out:
"My Corona" by Chris Mann
"We Didn't Spread the Virus" (Billy Joel parody)
"Sweet Caroline" (Neil Diamond parody)


On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon

**There's been one new case of someone dying from the coronavirus since yesterday. We're at about 900 cases statewide.

Listening to the local news, it sounds like Jackson County where we live, is showings signs of increased COVID-19 activity. I'm not particularly worried however. We're staying at home, and only going out when we absolutely have to.


**Picture on the right- Butter, our loveable Iggy, didn't want to get out from beneath the covers this morning!

I didn't blame him either.

**It's been cold. Our highs have been in the 50s lately. It's raining today, and expected to rain for the next few days. 

A soggy spring for sure.

These daily entries are cathartic for me. As a wordsmith most of my life, I derive deep satisfaction in sharing information, and opinions. Onward, and upward.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 19: New CDC Guidance, 'Zoombombing', and the Chaos Report

Dear Diary,

Don't be afraid if you see a masked person walking around in the streets or local stores.

More than likely, they're not a bank robber. 

New CDC guidelines are telling us all to wear masks now. Sick, or not. This issue of when to wear masks has been fluid since March. 

At one point, we were told that masks should only be for front line health workers, or someone sick. It was almost patriotic not to wear one.

That's changed according to Trump and his Coronavirus Task Farce yesterday. Now we're supposed to wear a mask when we go out. Luckily, there are ways of making your own as CDC experts say clothe works:

Check out the following videos for making your very own COVID-19 mask:

Using... Men's underwear - bras - tank tops - Hard core home made masks made by Chinese people


Strange and chaotic shit report

**Beware of being "Zoombombed.

The FBI is warning users of the new Zoom conference app that their privacy is at risk. It seems trolls and assorted internet denizens are interrupting video conferences with profane language and images.
                                              --
**It's strange watching Republican governors defy science in the name of ideology. Arizona's governor Doug Doucy is ground zero for stupidity in action during a pandemic.

Just watch what happens to his state in the coming weeks. It'll be blood on his hands, and he'll suddenly embrace science when it's too late. Like that ass Gov. DeSantis in Florida did.
                                               --

**All pretense of fairness has been stripped away as a Georgia a GOP Leader bemoans the fact that election officials are making it easier for residents to vote! No shit.

David Ralston, the Georgia state House speaker, admitted he doesn't like the fact that absentee ballots will make it easier for people to vote - and presumably increase turnout - because that will hurt Republicans. Enough said.
                                                 --
**Banks are warning about "utter chaos" in the new small business lending program.
                                                 --
**Coronavirus conspiracies are popping up like ripe poppies in the flowing fields of Afghanistan. Meet Rodney Howard Brown

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
*Sadly, we've had two more deaths (total 22) since yesterday from the coronavirus. There's a total of 826 known cases in the state at this writing.

**The good news is that social distancing seems to have worked in mitigating COVID-19 cases in the southern part of the state - including the Rogue Valley thus far.
                                  
**The chow line...

Pictured are all five of our fur babies at the food and water dishes. 

They each respect the other's space even in close quarters. You can barely make out Oliver (far left black blot), Bob, Butters, Tommy, and Molly.

This little group of cats and dogs, show that animals can accept - and coexist - with other species. Too bad mankind can't do the same!
                                          --

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 18: Late Night Comedy Sucks Now! 104 Year-old WW II Vet Kicks COVID-19 Ass!

(Photo by Beth Nakamura - William Lapschies is 104 year-old WW II veteran who may have set a world record for COVID-19 recovery. Story under Homefront below)

Dear Diary,

TV has became a necessity.

Millions of Americans are stuck at home and have turned to the boob tube like nursing babies. Beating boredom is no easy task. And now, a continuation of national stay-at-home orders for another 30 days.

It's strange seeing the effects COVID-19 has had on late night comedy shows and TV anchors - both local and national.

To be honest, the new format of filming out of home basements, etc., doesn't cut it for the comedy shows. The news is a little different.. I can hang with that format.

I love Colbert (The Late Show). But, watching him without an audience is like listening to two instruments trying to imitate a full orchestra. He falls flat. Maybe it's the absence of applause every time he tells a joke that sets me off.


I watched Colbert hook up - via satellite - with John Oliver (another great comedian) the other night. 

Mind you, I've seen these two together (with a live audience) and they were dynamite!

What I witnessed though was sad. It was like watching a magician suddenly fail to pull a rabbit (or anything) out of his top hat. A truly embarrassing moment for performer and audience.

I've watched Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Conan, etc., al. They all suffer the same fate as Colbert with the new format... they suck!
I'm distracted today

My aging brain can't seem to wrap around the idea that in the months to come anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will die.

That's more causalities than the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined!

A thief has come in the night and is stealing lives from coast-to-coast. This invisible killer knows no boundaries. It invites itself to every large gathering of humans. Age. Gender. Ethnicity. All are equally in danger.


On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon

**Encouraging news. An Oregon WW II veteran who turned 104 years-old yesterday could be one of the oldest people in the world to survive the new coronavirus!

Here's the story in short: William Lapschies was among the first Oregonians known to have the infection.

His happy daughter Carolee Brown (picture above - photo by Beth Nakamura) told reporters he was declared free of the virus.

Meanwhile...

**I'm concerned for a relative who is a correctional guard at the state penitentiary in Salem, Oregon. The prison has reported at least one case (an employee) who tested positive for the coronavirus.

**Oregon authorities have only given limited coronavirus statistics to the press thus far. I did read that Providence (the biggest hospital system in the state) had double the amount of COVID-19 cases in the last six days.

**I'm not updating the death count today. There's enough bad news going around.
                                              ***
"Just when the butterfly thought the world was over - it became a butterfly." Anonymous

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 17: Trump's Sudden Awakening, Chippy Interviews, and False Prophets


Dear Diary,

Our Supreme Leader Trump finally figured out that the coronavirus is more vicious than the flu.

If you watched the daily Trump Task Farce briefing yesterday, he finally set aside most of the happy time shit he's been pushing since day one, and admitted "painful weeks are ahead." 

Painful, as in at least 100,000 Americans will die in the coming weeks and months. Possibly more, according to healthcare experts who say the number could be 200,000.

The daily briefings are becoming increasingly chippy. Trump lies about something, and reporters respond by calling him out on them. He then turns on them like a honey badger in heat.

Like a moth seeking light, Trump needs an audience. Social distancing has robbed him of his beloved rallies. The result is daily briefings are becoming longer as he rambles on for the camera.
Observations
**The latest controversy is about face masks. Should we wear them in public? I've heard arguments for wearing and not wearing them. As of today, the White House and the CDC...are still looking into it!

**With the White House all but shut down except for essential staff, Melania is stuck all day with Barron - who by all reports is happy he's not going to school right now - and Trump himself. Sounds like she's in the fourth inner circle of hell to me!

**Today is National Census Day. I filled out the questionnaire and mailed it.

**For the second time in two days, police have charged a pastor with defying public safety orders against large gatherings by holding church services with hundreds of members.

I had a hunch that not all churches were going to go along with the national social distancing guidelines. Most have, including Catholics. But there's always cult churches that listen to con men and false prophets who defy science, logic, and community rules for safety.

Perhaps local communities should start keeping track of these defiant zealots and keep them out of public places unless they agree to be tested for COVID-19. 

On the other hand, it is a good way to thin the herd...


On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
**The coronavirus has hit 29 senior homes (at least 1 death) in Oregon thus far, but not in the senior homes in the Rogue Valley.

There's about 600 nursing and assisted living centers in Oregon, and about 1,500 adult foster homes. With that in mind, I suspect it's only a matter of time before we get cases here.

**We have 84 new cases of COVID-19 statewide. The death toll went up by two yesterday. It now stands at 18 deaths.


**Another lazy day in the Stancliff household. 

Tommy (cat) Molly (black pug) and Butters (blond Iggy), snuggling up on a rainy day.

 This little fur scrum is not an unusual sight as these three are buddies. Our other two cats, Oliver and Bob practice social distancing!

**Our governor, Kate Brown, has tested negative for COVID-19 after exhibiting symptoms of possible coronavirus.

Went to the grocery store today with Shirley. She went inside and I sat in the car. Because I'm almost 70 and have COPD, I just came along for the ride. It was a chance to see what the outside world looks like.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 16: Not So Social Distancing, Inside Trading Scandal Starring Senator, and Tom the Cat


Dear Diary,

It didn't take long.

I really didn't expect the mandatory social distancing would go smoothly even though it's being done for people's safety. Americans are very independent, and stubborn, when compared to other societies.

Social distancing stories
**An 86-year-old NY woman was standing in a packed hospital waiting room where everyone was trying to keep a distance from one another. It was impossible.

She got faint while standing and gripped a pole attached to a wheelchair with a woman in it to get her balance.

The woman became infuriated and punched the 86-year old in the face, sending her crashing to the floor! The woman died four hours later. The attacker was treated for the illness she came in with and was released. 

Police were notified 5 hours later, and they arrested the woman, who by the way had a history of assaults.

**A Florida Sheriff arrested a religious leader for refusing to stop holding packed church services. The pastor claimed his church was protected by some "machines," and that he could cure the state of Florida from the infection.

Nevertheless, the unimpressed authorities cited him for flaunting social distancing rules.

**A Maine man reported that armed neighbors descended on his home and chopped down a tree to block his driveway to prevent him from leaving because they thought he had the coronavirus.

When the police arrived the armed neighbors weren't there, but the tree sure was.

**Then we have the daily flaunting of social distancing when Trump and his Coronavirus Task Farce stand so close together they appear to be members of a chain gang shackled together so they can't run away!

Observations from afar
**Like the majority of Americans who are obeying stay at home orders, I'm watching anything on TV that has to do with where I live, and the nation. 

**Under the society pages... a daily litany of famous people dying from COVID-19.

**Much to my surprise, the Justice Dept. is investigating Republican Sen. Richard Burr's stock sell-offs before the virus spike. As the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee he had inside info on when to sell, according to investigating regulators.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
**The grim count: 3 new deaths in Oregon make it 16 who have died from COVID-19. We've surpassed 600 coronavirus cases in the state.

**The state's ban on self-service gas station's has been lifted due to staffing problems caused by the coronavirus. You can now pump your own gas if you're in a hurry.

Meet Tommy the Rockstar! As you can see, he's a handsome cat with a regal bearing.

Don't let that innocent bunny-looking face fool you. 

He's a cunning predator. He's our outside/inside cat and is likes to display his hunting prowess by bringing . 

The other two, Bob and Oliver are inside cats. Oliver for obvious reasons - he's blind. 

As for Bob... he stays inside because he's just not the brightest penny in the pack!

Tommy's other side is a sweet, get along kinda guy who is friends with everyone in the house... even Oliver whose noted for being somewhat grumpy at times.

I'm grateful to all five of our fur babies, and my vastly patient and sweet wife Shirley. The combination make for great entertainment!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 15: Presidential Diaper Shortage, Stalled Supremes, and Oliver the Cat

Dear Diary,

As hospitals across the country scramble for more supplies; from face masks, respirators, surgical gowns, to COVID-19 testing kits, there's another shortage many Americans are unaware of but is vital to the nations security...

Trump's signature Presidential Diapers - Trumpies - are almost gone! The warehouse supply is so low his aides and staff have appropriated funds from the new Stimulus Bill to restock it.

A WH spokesperson who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, told me that Trump has been wearing his Trumpies full time since the Impeachment hearings began in January. 

This accelerated usage, with at least six diaper changes a day, couldn't be anticipated according to Trump's new acting Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. 

Meanwhile...

**The Supreme Court has responded to the coronavirus by postponing the 2-week oral argument sessions scheduled for several cases.

On hold are two cases centered on Trump's tax returns and other financial records, sought by the Manhattan district attorney and House committee investigators.


Observations 



**Gun sellers across the US are reporting major spikes in firearm and bullet purchases as the coronavirus spreads across the country. I'm not surprised to see this. We're a nation of guns, and are always ready to use them... even on ourselves!

**Right now the major COVID-19 hotspots are big cities like New York and Detroit but Healthcare officials are saying it may hit later, and harder, in rural areas.

**After passing a 2 trillion dollar Stimulus Bill Congress is already looking at another one. That doesn't bode well at all.

**In the middle of a pandemic Trump is touting the viewership his daily Coronavirus Task Farce briefings are getting, and comparing them to The Bachelor. Captive audience much?

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon

**69 new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday, bringing the total to 548. The good news no new deaths were reported.

**Texting tales - Shirley is texting a lot, and getting a lot of texts. She has 100s of contacts - friends and family. Lately she is rediscovering everyone and filling me in on their lives.

**Meet Sir Oliver Wendel Holmes, our blind black kitty. He's kicking his Trump doll's ass in the photo. Yes, he's a Democrat!

He's also the boss of the other four animals in our house who've learned to defer to him. 

Oliver follows me from room-to-room like a faithful dog, always settling down by me when I sit somewhere. I'm convinced he has some kind of sonar because he seldom bumps into things.

The photo on the right was taken last spring. It looks like Oliver is watching the birds on the front lawn.

He made a funny little chittering noise as he turned his right from right to left. I suspect his predatory instincts were aroused by just the sound of those birds.

I love the way he fits in seamlessly with the other animals when it comes time to eat and drink. They actually take turns. You'd have to see it to believe it.

That's enough verbiage for today. I'm going to smoke a bowl now.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 14: A Horrible Time, Healing Humor, Bob the Cat

























Dear Diary,


What a horrible time to have the most inept president in American history...

I'm very concerned about the elections in November. Election officials and voting experts are warning that the coronavirus pandemic is already threatening the safety and integrity of the presidential election.

There's talk of a constitutional crisis. We must have the elections (we managed during the Civil War) on time.

The only way I can see of insuring a safe election is by mail. Currently, only five states hold all of their elections by mail. The state I live in, Oregon, Washington State, Colorado, Utah, and Hawaii. 

Those other 45 states need to get on the bandwagon fast. I predict Republicans in some southern states will push back at the idea for political reasons. Especially if the Imbecile in the Oval office wants his buddy Putin to interfere in his favor...again.
                                    Under Humor

**I love The Rolling Stones hit song "Can't Get No Satisfaction." Here's a great video of a family singing a parody of it: "The Sanitiser Song"

**Quote: "Fate is like  strange, unpopular restaurant filled with little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like." - Lemony Snicket

**Have a cold one!

Now you can drink like a Mexican drug kingpin too, says his daughter Alejandrina Guzman (pictured), whose company has developed a craft beer dedicated to her infamous, incarcerated kingpin father Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. 


**You've got to eat it, to beat it! 


That's the philosophy of one Hanoi chef who is attempting to boost morale in the Vietnamese capital by selling green, coronavirus-themed burgers.
On the Homefront - Medford Oregon

**A wet week ahead as weatherman predicts more spring showers. That's okay. We need it.

**Not a good sign. There's been 65 new cases of the coronavirus since yesterday. The state count is now 479 cases. And growing... 

**New State of Oregon PSA: "Stay Home! Don't accidently kill someone!" I guess that's pretty straight up!


**Introducing Bob the cat. He's the baby of our little group of animals.

Ways Bob stands out from the group:

He's the heaviest (outweighing both dogs).

He's a shy guy and spends a lot of time in his bed in our closet. When he comes out to visit it's for food... or fun. Or both.

Every night he and our other noctural predator Oliver (our blind cat) have a great time playing and getting into stuff.
They get so loud at times that Mollie (our Pug) - who sleeps with us - wakes up barking and runs into the Livingroom...

… a habit I can't say I've gotten use to yet! Mr. Bob is a sweet-natured guy whose so passive he allows Oliver to bully him at the food dish.

His favorite sports: Eating. Napping. Nocturnal Olympic Games (various events).
Time to sign off. Another day gone by during the Great Pandemic Crisis of 2020.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 13: Pollyana Dreams, Tops Are In, Bottoms Are Out, and Dr. Fauci Doughnots

                                     
                                       The Sacramento Bee

Dear Diary,

I woke up today with a real Pollyanna scenario playing in my head like a musical from the 60s.

What if this terrible pandemic brings Americans closer together? What if we actually start treating each other, conservatives and liberals, with respect? 

By the time I finished my first cup of coffee and reality set in while watching the news, the thought of mutual respect among the reds and blues seemed too ridiculous to contemplate.
Moving on...
The days of the week no longer matter.

Today is Saturday, but it might as well be Tuesday. No such thing as work days with weekends to look forward too. On one hand it's kind of liberating. On the other hand, it's another example of the changes in our society because of the coronavirus restrictions.
Odds and ends...
**A pissed-off Trump has finally evoked the Defense Production Act; something he's been hesitant to do for weeks for political reasons.

**Despite the House passing a historically massive relief bill (2 trillion), the stock market plunged yesterday.

**Under signs of the time: Walmart is reporting a run on tops, but no bottoms. The reason why is teleworking. Video conferencing is the way many employers have had to go with their work force isolated at home.

*Hypocrite of the week: New Hampshire Republican Donald Bolduc went on a radio show and said he wouldn't ask people for money. But right beforehand, he sent out an email doing just that!

**Another sign of the times: New York Doughnut shop sells Dr. Fauci doughnuts.

This is how popular the only truth-teller on Trump's Coronavirus Task Farce is. 

*Still another sign of the times: A Missouri woman gave birth in a Walmart toilet paper isle yesterday. I can just hear the overhead sound system announcing the event, "Baby on Isle Seven!" 
On the Homefront, Medford, Oregon

**Alarming news... Oregon state and county health officials reported nearly 100 new coronavirus cases Friday, marking the largest increase of infections in a single day and bringing the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state to 414.

**I hope the state's Pollyanna assumption is true that if Oregonians stay at home, hospitals appear capable of handling the coronavirus burden.

Listening to stories around the country of overloaded hospitals and front line health care workers dying from lack of protection, has been harrowing.

**Pet talk. These two cuties keep us entertained. 

Mollie is the black pug, and Butters is our Iggy. They're both 7-years old. 

Mollie is a bully, and Butters is very passive. She considers two of our cats, Tommy and Bob, as her kitties, and hangs out with them. 

Our other cat, Oliver (who was born blind) is the king of the roost however. The others - including Mollie - give way to him constantly. Oliver is a loving cat as long as you don't startle him or he'll turn into Edward Sissorhands slashing out indiscriminately.

**Shirley and I have a daily routine that seems to be working out well. It's not easy for her because she is a social butterfly and chronic hugger. 

I suspect we'll have to make adjustments as the days turn to weeks. The hardest part is not knowing when our lives will be restored to normal... whatever that was before the pandemic.