Friday, April 10, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 26: Social Distancing, Melania Irony, and Masked Maroons!

Dear Diary,

I have nothing but high praise for those Americans who are actually obeying social distancing.

Healthcare experts say it's helping stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As for the rest of the other maroons who, for religious or other reasons, are ignoring requests not to gather in groups of 10 or more; there's going to be a special place in hell for them when they contact COVID-19 or infect someone else who dies from being in contact with them.

Pandemic Tidbits
**Journalists attending the coronavirus Task Farce briefings are now being tested for COVID-19. Apparently the WH got some of those 15-minute testing kits - probably with Jared Kushner's inside "pull."
**I hope the rumors I'm hearing are true about Joe Biden selecting Kamala Harris as his VP. She'd be a great pick!

**Once again irony slaps Melania Trump in the face as she is seen in a PSA asking everyone to wear face masks... 

when her husband doesn't, and, the vice president doesn't, and the rest of the rat pack in the West Wing doesn't...

**20-plus hotels in NYC have offered empty rooms for free to 1st responders or overflow patients. Not a word from Trump's flagship property -Trump Tower - about helping.

There's 7 more cities with Trump luxury hotels that are not offering any assistance during this pandemic. Thanks Mr. President... you piece of shit!

**The word from the UK is prime minister Boris Johnson is doing better today in his fight against the coronavirus. I  read somewhere that he was a tough guy, despite his obvious extra weight.

**Under Masked Maroon: I have a friend that was wearing a face mask in Costco when he suddenly had to sneeze...what did he do?
He pulled the mask aside, sneezed, then put it back in place!
Did I mention he's a "special friend?" Got you, Larry! I couldn't help myself!

**It's a mystery to me... why more men are dying from COVID-19; and why are more minorities dying from the deadly virus attacking our country?
On the Homefront - Medford Oregon
**We now have 44 people in the state who have died from the coronavirus - 1,300 known cases.

**1 in 8 workers have lost their job. One of my sons is among those unemployed who is still are trying to reach the state unemployment offices after 3 weeks of calling daily! It's insane. He got a confirmation letter weeks ago...then nothing. I've been reading about the same thing happening nationwide.

**Good information: Oregon now has an online triage tool for coronavirus symptoms.

**Conversations with animals: 
Do you speak to your pets? I do. 
As a matter of fact, I was having a conversation with Bob the cat this morning and he brought up some good points on happiness.

The first thing he emphasized was eating good food whenever he felt like it. As you can see he's no lightweight (25 pounds).

The last thing he brought up on the subject was having "a forever home." It made me sad to think of the many cats and dogs that didn't have one.

"Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness." - Steve Maraboli

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 25: Biden vs Trump and Wonderful Weather

Dear Diary,

Now that I know it's going to be Joe vs the Orange Blob in November, I can breath easy knowing the Democrats didn't stumble into a contested convention giving Trump an edge.

Speaking of the Democratic convention and thousands gathered in one building... there's no need for one now. Biden is in. It would basically just be a pep rally. 

All the Dems need to do is hold a virtual convention and they will automatically get the high ground against Trump whose made it clear the GOP is having a BIG one packed with his rabid base to honor him...regardless of the consequences!

Here's the optics: it's about public safety. The Dems respect the pandemic (hurray for science) while red cap wearing Trump minions flout social distancing. It get's worse if any of those eager Trumpies catch COVID-19 and die after Trump's bigly party.

**I read where UK's prime minister Boris Johnson is still in ICU after contacting COVID-19. This is the third day the UK's leader has been in there. If he dies, he'll be the first leader of a country to fall victim to the coronavirus.

**It's starting to feel like my own personal Groundhog Day every morning when I get up. So far, that's not such a bad thing.

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
**Nothing but beautiful sunshine today, and for the foreseeable future.

**Shirley and I puttered around in the backyard and soaked up those rays. We both treated our legs to shorts. No more long pants. Our legs looked white alabaster columns, but their pinkish now after a day's exposure.

**That's it for all Oregon schools... their staying closed for the rest of the academic year. I really feel sorry for high school seniors for so many reasons. They've been robbed.

**No new COVID-19 deaths reported overnight. Still stands at 39. Over 1,200 confirmed cases statewide.
Life during this pandemic is full of challenges. But we must take heart. The great Moliere once wrote, "The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it." 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 24: A Primary During a Pandemic, Stop Briefings, Iggy vs a Bee

Dear Diary,

Thanks to the conservative majority in the Supreme Court, Wisconsin voters were faced with a choice yesterday; obey the governors orders and stay at home (in essence forfeiting their right to vote), or get in ridiculously long lines to vote in-person and risk getting COVID-19.

No sugar-coating it... the Supreme Court has chosen a GOP agenda over the health of Wisconsin voters who risked getting COVID-19 to vote in-person. 

GOP ideology has successfully superseded public safety in another court power grab. One more blow to democracy.
**When is cable news going to quit covering Trump and his pathetic Task Farce? Can't they see he's using them like puppets for his daily campaign rallies? Actual news seldom comes out of them anymore. 

I realize people like to watch Trump entertain them by attacking reporters and facts freely and without inhibition, but this charade has gone too far. Too many lives are being lost because of it.

After weeks of disinformation, and partisan campaigning, it's about time cable news rooms everywhere re-evaluate their coverage of the buffoon. Let the mainstream news give a few soundbites (if merited) during the 5:00 o'clock news.
On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
**The differences between northern and southern Oregon have been well documented by social scientists.

What I'm seeing is people in Portland who are ignoring social distancing rules despite the state mandate, and folks here in Medford in almost perfect compliance. The difference between north and south this time may be judged by lives lost.

**Speaking of lives lost, Oregon has had 34 deaths thus far, and 1181 known cases. Some healthcare experts are predicting the virus may peak in a couple of weeks, as long as a worst-case scenario doesn't happen.

**Pet talk - Our Iggy, Butters, was chasing bees yesterday and managed to catch one in his yap... much to his dismay! Little lumps sprang up almost immediately on his head!

Shirley went and got some Benadryl and gave him some.

It helped, but not before the right side of his little face was swollen and his lip drooped.

Amazing how fast it did work however. An hour later and he was fine. There's no doubt in my mind he didn't learn his lesson... I expect him to be chasing bees again today.
Another Pandemic day gone by.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 23: Trumplicans vs Science, B-Ball Wonder Woman, and Dog Grooming During the Coronavirus

Dear Diary,

Words fail to express my dismay at times during this deadly pandemic when all of America should be united.

Trump has been disagreeing with healthcare experts regularly during press briefings that are thinly disguised daily rallies for his re-election. I can't believe this is happening in America.

I'd like to be a fly on the wall someday in the distant future when historians talk about this momentous year - 2020 - these three things will stand out: 

1) Congress impeached Trump, but he was acquitted in a stacked Senate hearing.

2) When the deadliest pandemic in world history since 1918 hit America, Trump and his minions bungled the response costing thousands of unnecessary lives.

3) There was a presidential election in November. (Hopefully we'll have gotten a new president!)

On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
One of our neighbors told us about a mobile dog groomer a while back. We were still taking our dogs to a regular groomer when Oregon suddenly went to a stay-at-home posture because of the coronavirus.

Only essential businesses have been allowed to stay open around here. 

Pet grooming parlors, like human beauty parlors, have been shut down.

The groomer, Rebecca, pulled up in front of our house in her mobile grooming parlor, and went right to business. She took one dog at a time, expertly bathing them and trimming their claws.

The real kicker was her services didn't cost anymore than what we we're use to paying, and ….we didn't have to drive anywhere! Just proves good things can happen in bad times. We discovered a service that was available in the worst of times!
                                               ---                                            --
**Not so good news... Kaiser Westside Pharmacy had to shut down after seven employees tested positive for COVID-19.

**Latest mortality stats: 1,100 cases of coronavirus in the state. 29 deaths.

**Redux Spring... rainy days are supposedly behind us as the weather is warming up nicely. Forecast is sunny days ahead. Shirley and I are ready with our gardening gloves and numerous projects in the front and back yard.

**Shout out to this basketball marvel - Eugene, Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon Ducks), who was named the Nation's Most Outstanding Player!

She won the Wooden Award again this year, making her only the sixth player to ever have won multiple Wooden Awards.

Ionescu also won her third Nancy Lieberman Award as Point Guard of the Year; she repeated as a Wade Trophy winner, and won her first Naismith Award.

But that's not all! Ionascu was named the AP and USBWA Player of the Year; Pack 12 Play of the Year; and is an unanimous All-American.

Just another manic pandemic day for the record.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 22: Coronavirus Hair Cuts, Scams, and Best-Sellers

Dear Diary,

There's no getting around it... there will always be people who prey on catastrophes like sharks in a school of fish. 

These subhuman pieces of shit profit in times of panic. As the death toll climbs from the deadly COVID-19 bug they're taking advantage of people's fears.
**I suspected there would be a renaissance of reading throughout the country with so many stay-at-homes. What people are reading is fascinating.

One unusual best-seller on Amazon is a 700 year-old Italian book called, "The Decameron" by Giovanni Boccaccio. I'm sure the book's attraction lies in it's storyline about people escaping the Black Plague.

Also up there on the list:

**Fire and Fury: Inside the White House

**Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

**A Wrinkle in Time

**Dog Man and Cat Kid #4

**The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life 
On 'Stay-at-Home' Haircuts and Make-Up
**I am one of the few lucky men in America who has a wife whose not a hairdresser by profession, but has perfected giving me a haircut after 46-years of experience.

Unlike two of my three sons, who are already bald, I still have a thick head of hair that's gracefully turning a dirty white. So cutting it takes expertise.

I wonder about women however, who have husbands that have never given them (or anyone else) a haircut? It reminds me of the first year of Shirley and I's marriage when she made the mistake of letting me "trim" her hair because we were short of cash.

Lesson learned in 2020. She has not approached me about cutting her hair, apparently content to let it grow long during these times of shuttered beauty salons.

The other item I wonder about is make-up. Are women going to stop wearing it at home since no one will be seeing them other than their husband or partner?

For men who have been living with "high maintenance" wives, the absence of makeup may be a jarring experience!
On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon
**I'm surprised to see that Jackson Country (where we live) has tested more people per capita for coronavirus than every state except New York, Washington, and Louisiana - three viral hotspots with thousands of patients. We're not even a hotspot in the state.

**Fur babies - (Left to right, Butters, Molly, and Tom) 

It's funny watching Tom hang out with the dogs more than he does with our other two cats.

It's entirely possible Tom thinks he's a dog - or they're cats!

**I love seeing the local Jigsaw puzzle themes featuring everything from Bigfoot to Marijuana Plants. Making a jigsaw puzzle can be a zen-like experience, especially when you're stuck inside and are tired of reading or watching TV.

Another day. Another reality. When will things return to normal? Or, will they? It's a not-so-brave world now.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Pandemic Diary Day 21: Science vs Religion on Palm Sunday

Dear Diary,

On this Palm Sunday, I wonder what Jesus would say about protecting ourselves during a deadly pandemic?

In particular, what would His advise be on attending church today? 

A) Ignore CDC warnings about gathering in large groups in order to prevent the spread of the invisible killer COVID-19.


B) Follow the advise of the CDC and worship from afar via telecommunications and other methods to protect yourselves and the rest of the community.

I'm going with B because I assume Jesus had common sense. There's no biblical quotations about going on suicide missions when they're not necessary to prove your faith.

Science vs Religion
During the late Middle Ages 1300-1500, scholars were making sophisticated observations about the world around them that conflicted with what the Catholic Church taught.

Scholastic philosophers sought to remove divine intervention from the process of explaining natural cause, rather than stating it must be the work of divine providence.

Many of these scholars and philosophers lost their lives when authorities became aware of their works. It took centuries before The Church quit killing scientists because they thought they were sorcerers.
The Role of Religion in America 
During these perilous times it's only natural people fall back on their faith to cope with the coronavirus. We are a country that celebrates freedom and human rights. That includes the right to worship as we see fit.

Right now, when governors across the nation are pleading with people to stay at home to help contain the spread of COVID-19, some churches are defying stay-at-home orders.

In the News: 
**At least 70 people infected with coronavirus linked to a single church in Sacramento, California 

**Pastor of Tampa Church that held two large Sunday services arrested, and jailed

**Some Pennsylvania churches resisting the need to close their doors to stop the coronavirus. In Pittsburgh, a pastor plans to organize an outdoor "Woodstock"-like service in protest of the stay at home orders.

**Megachurch pastors defy pandemic, insisting they have the right to worship.

Evangelic churches with a right-wing, Christian Nationalist political bent really want nothing more than to resist government orders to cease holding services during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The main drawback is that there's the possibility of killing off their congregations!
On the Homefront - Medford, Oregon

**Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sent New York 140 respirators to help out with the COVID-19 crisis there. To me, that indicates we are in pretty good shape in this state if we can share vital equipment like that. I hope I'm right.

**Today's lazy pet pic:
Tommy emerging from beneath a cover on our bed. 

This shot was taken during the day when he likes to sleep.

Come nightfall, he prowls the neighborhood and hangs out with the local cats chasing smaller animals and each other.

Looking at his sweet mug you wouldn't think he's a superb predator - but he is, often bringing us his trophies (that no longer move) to the back door.
It's a slate gray sky today that occasionally weeps and wets the streets. Looking out the window it's hard to believe that people are dying every three minutes in New York from the coronavirus.

Quote for today: "Anyone who thinks sitting in a church can make you a Christian must also think sitting in the garage can make you a car." - Garrison Keillor 

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.


**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.
**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.

How The Crazies Found Their Voice in America

I miss the good old days when the crazies in our society wore tinfoil hats and communicated with aliens from another galaxy. Whenever they ...