Mask Mask Mask Mask

On April 15, 2020, New York Governor Mario Cuomo announced during his daily coronavirus briefings that New Yorkers would be required to wear masks when “social distancing” would not be possible.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that immediately following this announcement, the infection rates in the state drove downward quite noticeably.

You can see it for yourself. I screen-captured this graphic from the New York Times (from a running article updated as of today).

Now this is no sociological study. It’s a news graphic. I know. But what, that’s mere coincidence? I don’t think so.

Mask Mask Mask Mask

We Gotta Get Tempuratured

Also, over at Plague Journal 2020, my Dad, who is one of the best-read human beings walking around (chances are good he’s reading a book right now), has offered selected suggestions for reading in the context of Black Lives Matter.

I am currently reading The Impostors by Steve Benen, which is most interesting in its thesis, which draws a strong demarcation for recent Republican history. Republicans since the Obama era, it argues, are a completely post-policy party, and thus, they in 2016 elected the first wholly post-policy president. Much in the book is obvious stuff if you’ve been paying attention and in fact there is an economic point he misses when discussing Trump’s weird hard-on for a 6-percent GDP.

What are you reading?

A Story in Three Tweets

Lisa Lucas is Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. Her father, Reggie Lucas, was a musician and songwriter of some import, and he died in 2018.

Lucas tweeted this on Father’s Day:

Every American kid in my generation now has a song in their head. “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” released in 1980 and as performed by Stephanie Mills, was ubiquitous at the time. The record beat entrants by Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, and Minnie Riperton for R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 1981 Grammy Awards.

Lisa’s mother, Kay Lucas, tweeted a response.

It turns out this was new information for Lisa Lucas.

As you might imagine, that Twitter feed is blowing up right now.

Farter’s Day

This is Fred. He was kind enough to pose for me yesterday as I enjoyed a Ruck’s Pizza Kitchen Italian Sub (Amiel’s never answered the phone) on the deck yesterday. Yes, after more than 90 days in self-imposed isolation due to the SARS CoV 2, I ventured over to visit the folks for the famous Father’s Day. It was good to break this routine, great to see family, and, certainly, it was wonderful to get some doggo time.

As stolen directly from MeFi… “Shostakovich’s first opera is a surrealist piece about a man who wakes up one day to discover his nose is missing. It features tap dancing noses.”

I am not making this up.

Heck Of A Job

From CNBC:

~ The U.S reported more than 30,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday and Saturday, the highest daily totals since May 1, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

~ New cases across the country are surging faster than ever, especially in states in the South, West and Midwest.

~ Seven states hit record cases on Saturday, including Florida and South Carolina, which had their third consecutive day breaking single-day records. Missouri, Nevada, Montana, Utah and Arizona also hit records.


And: Yes, Wearing Masks Helps. Here’s Why (NPR)

Blue Hawaii

I think Turner Classic Movies is essential during a pandemic. You can put on the TV and get a little escape while at the same time working on your cultural literacy.

I mean this even for a movie like Elvis’ Blue Hawaii. This is Elvis’ eighth feature film and was made after his return from military service. Thus, the plot of the movie, Chadwick Gates returns home from a stint in the military. His dad wants him to go into the family pineapple business (of course), and he doesn’t want to.

There are of course a buncha musical numbers. And some dramatic stuff. And of course, by the end of his movie, Chadwick Gates works out his dilemma and gets the girl. Happy happy happy.

Fun fact: The producers of Blue Hawaii took the bank they made on it and used it bankroll another film called Becket.

In Other Funny

Nobody Puts Gidget In The Corner

A young girl in summer. She is introduced to a new world. She is an oddity in this world, naiive when all the others seem more worldly. She is initially perceived as immature looking, overly-eager, and as an outsider. Even her nickname brandishes her immaturity. Soon, though, despite this underworld’s attempts to send her home, she becomes more ubiquitous as days go by. Her parents approve before they know more but later disapprove. She develops a friendship though with this scene’s mentor, who begins helping her master the group’s essential cultural activity. Indeed, she is invited to a nighttime party that is of the hush-hush variety and is witness to a scene most outsiders do not see, with music and bonfires and dancing. And she is pulled away suddenly. There is conflict and hurt, and she is forbidden by her parents from rejoining this crew. Yet, through happier circumstances, she rejoins her old friends, and the result is surprising.

Is this “Dirty Dancing,” or is it “Gidget?”

Meanwhile, in other funny…

84 days

It was March 19 when I started working from the home office and have been on essentially necessity-only excursions, which means trips to the grocery and booze stores. I walk around sometimes, and I try to get the car around the block once in a while to make sure it still goes. That’s 84 days between now and then.

The first week of June was paid time off for me. Had to take it, it’s use-before-July-1-or-lose time. The normal plan would be to drive three hours west of here and enjoy the small, spring-fed lake that is my life’s touchstone. Such a trip would mean trusting the state of New York to manage its rest areas reasonably enough so I could stop to pee without contracting the SARS-CoV-2, this risk taken for a few measly days away. I opted to stay in Rochester.

It was a good staycation. Aspects of the apartment have not been working, and I worked to improve some of this. I watched some good movies, most specifically a six-hour block of Marx Brothers movies on Friday.

The first line of Monkey Business is what struck me most hilarious this time around. It’s always something new with a Marx Brothers film. The line:

Officer: Sorry to report there are four stowaways in the forward hatch!
Captain: Stowaways! How do you know there are four of ’em?
Officer: Why, they were singing “Sweet Adeline.”

Be careful when you wear novelty comic mustache glasses. They can leave Groucho marks.

I attended an online panel discussion proctored by Sinbad … wait, easier to copy and paste: “Featuring Brent Fischer, Dr. Clare Fischer’s son and Grammy award winning Producer; St. Paul Peterson of The Family/ Fdeluxe; #1 Hit Song Producer David Z; and Arne Frager, owner of the legendary @ThePlantStudio that produced over 50 #1 hit songs during his tenure.” Five bucks was admission. For that I guess I could not have expected to get to ask a question, which would have been that I notice that Jill Jones’ album benefits from a few Clare Fischer tracks, and did any other ingenue projects get the same benefit?

It was a fine presentation, and Brent has many stories.

I think I fell asleep.

So I started doing an Internet radio station again. That’s how bored I’ve been. I felt the need again to make a vanity radio station nobody will ever listen to for a blog nobody reads. It’s at , by the way. I am still learning the software and building the playlists. It is currently weighted toward 80s tunes, but that is likely to change.

I went on an Obama nostalgia tour on YouTube. That can sure be devastating.

I sorted through old newspaper clips and memories and also had days where I just sat for an hour. I dreamed and plotted my increasingly feckless, long-standing dream to move closer to that little lake, and turned up to the fact that even if I had the means, the logistics, the will to try to finally claim a placid lake life, I could not. It took me some time to translate that to the actual reality in front of me.

I am doing the best that I can. And I mean that quite in every sense of the word, to the extent that every word in that sentence buckles out and shines. I am doing the best that I can. I have maintained my income and my health. So far for 84 days. I don’t think I’ve ever typed “I am doing the best that I can” and ever meant it so nakedly.

Also, Maria DeCotis did another thing. Laugh now.