Puzzle Pieces

Scientists and other experts keep warning us about the coronavirus. But new cases are in decline, and the longer this decline continues, the more puzzling the warnings become.

Maybe this is why there’s been a run on jigsaw puzzles. I think people are in a puzzle-solving mood these days, the more they try to make sense of what the experts keep telling us.

In fact I want to solve a puzzle right now. I’m going to present the pieces of our Covid-19 puzzle, and then fit the pieces together, the best I can figure out. I’m no genius, as I’m sure many reading this will come to realize. And I’ll admit I’m not above using a hammer to make interlocking pieces of puzzles fit together.

Piece #1:
Experts continue to stress that there is no evidence that antibodies protect from future infections. Why do they keep stressing this, when new infections are declining, even as social distancing restrictions are being relaxed?

Piece #2:
Experts say that the more contagious a disease, the more people must possess antibodies to that disease, for us to achieve full herd immunity. Experts further claim the coronavirus is highly contagious, and that because of this, 50% to 67% of the population must have antibodies (if antibodies are even effective) before full herd immunity is possible. However, current estimates of those with coronavirus antibodies seem to range from about 5% to 10% of the population. With so few people having antibodies, why are new cases in decline in most states, at a time when social distancing restrictions are being relaxed in all states?

Piece #3:
I’ve heard some experts claim that new infections are declining because the virus doesn’t do well in warm weather. But if that’s the case then why are hot climate places such as Brazil, India, and Saudi Arabia, currently experiencing a large increase in new infections?

Piece #4:
I’ve heard some experts claim that the coronavirus will return this winter with a second wave that will be deadlier than the first. But experts also say that if antibodies give us immunity, they don’t know how long that immunity will last. If they don’t know, why do they stress a second wave in the winter? Why not in the fall, or next spring? Or one year from now? Or two years? What’s this obsession with next winter?

Piece #5:
The experts I’ve seen in the media claim to know very little about this virus. And yet, they only predict gloom and doom from it. None of them seem willing to speculate that this virus MAY be going away for good, and that there will be no significant second wave. Why aren’t they willing to balance their negative speculations with positive speculations? Why are they so intent upon fearmongering?

I’m no expert. But when I hear experts say they don’t know much about something, and then make awful, horrible predictions about it without offering flip-side possibilities, their credibility suffers with me. And so, rather than relying upon the experts, I’ve decided to think for myself and unriddle the coronavirus mystery the best I can, with my own untrained, dipshit brain. I’ll just utilize that thing that experts seem to hate the most. Which is common sense.

Here’s how I would solve the puzzle:

Piece #1:
Antibodies DO protect from future infection. This seems obvious, because new infections are in decline, even as social distancing restrictions are being relaxed, and even as testing for new infections has increased.

Piece #2:
The coronovirus is NOT as contagious as experts have warned. New infections in the U.S. are in an overall decline, even though only 5% to 10% of the population has antibodies. Social distancing restrictions are being relaxed in all states. Testing is on the increase everywhere. But rather than going up, as one might expect, new cases are in decline in most states. Apparently, herd immunity is achievable with far less than 50% to 67% of the population possessing antibodies. Therefore, this virus is probably not a highly contagious microbe.

Sure, areas of dense population, such as New York City, have been hard hit. But not sparsely populated areas. Dense populations is what this virus apparently needs, to spread quickly and pervasively, due to its lesser virility.

Piece #3:
The coronavirus is not greatly affected by weather. Warm weather will not make it go away, and cold weather will not cause it to return.

Piece #4:
The coronavirus could return in a second wave. That’s because we don’t know how long antibodies afford immunity. But if it returns, we don’t know when that return will be. It could be a month or so from now. Or it could be six months from now. Or a year or two. Or maybe 10 years from now. Or who knows, maybe never. It’s anybody’s guess at this point.

Piece #5:
Those who run the media love fearmongering. It has a track record of driving up viewership and readership. So they’re much more inclined to highlight experts that predict doom and gloom from this virus, than those who are willing to speculate that the virus MAY be going away for good.

Also, there seems to be an element of political correctness involved. It seems that a sure way to be beat up by the press, or be character-assassinated by one’s peers, is to come out and contradict anything the CDC says. Scientists who harbor doubts may also harbor a survival instinct, and thus may be keeping their mouths shut.

Add to this that it’s safer to err on the side of caution when many lives are at stake. If an expert were to concede that this virus may be going away, and that it may be safe to relax social distancing restrictions, and then a huge second wave hits, that expert would look very bad, and could lose their job. People love to blame, shame, and punish, and this can discourage professionals with high-paying jobs from sticking their necks out to predict anything but danger.

And so, when I put the pieces of this puzzle together, I see a pattern. And that pattern is a big clusterfuck of groupthink, that has led to an explosion of panic and unemployment, while keeping the jobs of experts safe. The sky is falling because we’ve brought it down upon ourselves, with the help and encouragement of experts.

It is not the coronavirus’s fault that the economy has been destroyed. It is the fault of our own fears, and our extreme reaction to our fears.

It reminds me of owls and mice. Owls are assumed to be wise, but they’re not. Like experts, they just look that way, while only possessing a narrow set of skills.

The “wise” owl catches the mouse by hooting. The mouse runs in fear, exposing itself in the open, only to be swooped down upon and snatched. Likewise, the “wise” experts have hooted, and we have run in fear and in deference to their supposed wisdom. We’ve run into our houses and allowed ourselves to be caged like lab mice, at the mercy of experts. This has resulted in an economy in shambles, with us mice left to pick up the pieces.

Including pieces of a puzzle that the experts could have kept together, with a little bit of common sense.

Hotel in a Hurry

630 miles and his legs were cramping, his back was getting scoliosis, and his hypnotized eyes were following the dashed lines on the highway into dreamland. But even worse, the bran flakes he had for breakfast were sending musical telegrams through the borborygmus of his bowels. He felt the urge to find a room.

Elroy cranked the steering wheel into the first hotel he found.

Lockdowns and social distancing rules had recently ended, and cabin fever tourists like himself crammed the lobby. He had to wait a long time for his turn at the front desk, while tightening his butt cheeks. “Room for one, just for the night,” he blurted out to the petite young blonde behind the counter.

“Certainly, sir,” she typed something into the keyboard, then looked up from the monitor. “Will that be shitting or non-shitting?”

He was caught a bit off guard by that question, and just stood there staring blankly for a moment. “Excuse me?” he eventually queried.

“Shitting or non-shitting, sir?” the blonde smiled, all business-like, with fingers on her keyboard, poised for a reply.

“Uh, I don’t understand. What do you mean?”

“Well sir, if you choose non-shitting, then you’ll only be able to go #1 in your toilet, and not #2. If you do do a #2, you’ll be charged a $200 room freshening fee.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing before,” Elroy mused, feeling a little flushed with irritation. “But I’ve got to go, so of course I’ll choose shitting.”

“Very good, sir,” the pretty clerk cheerfully offered. “Now let’s see . . .” clackety-clack went her fingers, seemingly forever, as she gazed into the monitor, “ . . . looks like we have one shitting room left. That will be 50 extra dollars, for a total of $140, plus $53.75 in taxes and resort fees. So I’ll charge your card $193.75 for the night.”

This was well above Elroy’s budget. “Look,” Elroy remonstrated, “I’m not even going to get into it with you over the resort fee thing. Been there, done that, with other hotels. It ain’t right, but I know I can’t fight it. But this shitting room charge, this is ridiculous!” his voice rising with every syllable. “Who ever heard of charging someone $50 to take a shit?!!” Now he was kind of shouting. And he shook his fist in the air.

The smile on the pretty blonde’s face evaporated, as her lips pursed in fear. She took a step backward. “Sir . . . sir . . . I’m sorry but I don’t set the rates here,” her voice trembled. “Would . . . would you like . . . like to spe-speak with my supe-supervisor?”

Elroy hated to scare people, and immediately felt horribly ashamed at his outburst. But by-goddamnit, this shitting charge was an outrage! Still, it wasn’t her fault. She was just an employee following her training. He forcibly collected himself. He took inventory of his bowels. And he got an idea. He had noticed a supermarket about a block away, as he was driving to the hotel.

He lowered his voice and tried to reassure her. “I’m sorry, ma’am,” he spoke with soothing tones. “It’s not your fault. Tell you what. I just now felt it go back up inside me, so I don’t think I’ll need a shitting room. I’ll take a non-shitter.”

And for a savings of $50, Elroy got himself a room. The first thing he did after he stepped inside, was rush into the bathroom, drop his trousers, and cut about five large loaves into the pellucid waters of the porcelain throne.

Fuck their shitting and non-shitting rooms, Elroy smugly concluded as he gasped with relief. Anyway, how would they know?

By the stink-ass smell, of course. But Elroy had a plan for that. As soon as he finished his business, he planned to walk down to that supermarket and buy a can of air freshener. Then he was going to spray the hell out of the bathroom. And God knows, it needed it. He crinkled his nose.

He stood up, flushed the toilet, and hitched up his pants. But suddenly, as the last gurgling gasps of the plumbing faded away, an alarm went off over his head.

Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!

It scared the crap out of him. Figuratively, of course, as his cannon had already spent its ammo. He looked up and spied a round device on the ceiling that resembled a smoke detector. He immediately sprang up onto the edge of the tub, in an attempt to reach this tattletale alarm and silence it.

But then came a thundunkerous pounding on his door.

He swung the door open and came face-to-face with the petite, blonde clerk. How the hell was this frail-looking thing able to knock so hard? he wondered.

“Sir, the stink alarm has gone off in your room,” she sternly advised him. “Did you take a shit in there?” Then the effluvium hit her and she twisted her face. “Eww, you did, didn’t you?”

“Please, I was desperate,” he begged. “I’m going to clean it up with air-freshener. I promise!”

But none of poor Elroy’s begging and pleading could sway her. Rules are rules and policies are policies. She was sympathetic but firm. His card would be charged an extra $200.

Learn a lesson from Elroy. Never choose a hotel in a hurry. Take time to check out all their fees and rules before you walk in their door. On top of exorbitant taxes, you may find a nebulous resort fee, an outrageous parking fee, wi-fi fees, early check-in fees, early departure fees, late-arrival lockouts, cancellation fees, minibar charges, extra person fees, fridge fees, linen fees, and yes, even toilet paper fees.

You could even be charged for writing a bad Yelp review.

Elroy’s story is fictional. So far, I’ve never heard of shitting and non-shitting rooms. But I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that is next. And if it should happen to you, my advise is to lay off bran flakes, and all other forms of roughage, for a few days before your trip. You can always have an enema after you return home.

This tip alone could save you hundreds of dollars.

Our Sophie’s Choice

The term “food insecurity” is cropping up more and more these days, as unemployment levels rise and food lines grow longer. For me, food insecurity occurs when I can’t find anything to eat in the cupboards or fridge, except things I have to cook.

But for many others these days, food insecurity is when there’s nothing in the cupboards or fridge, and they don’t know when they’ll eat their next meal. It’s when kids tell their parents there’s nothing to eat, and they’re not exaggerating.

A recent study indicates that nearly one in five children in the U.S. are now going hungry, as a result of lockdowns and high unemployment. That’s about 13 million young Americans. Their out-of-work parents simply don’t have enough food to feed them. Food banks are strained, and with schools closed, many kids don’t have school lunch programs to help fill their bellies.

According to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, our current unemployment level is probably around 25%, or nearly double the official figure. And it’s still rising. So it makes sense that food insecurity is becoming an issue. When people can’t work, they find it difficult to eat.

So let’s face it, our economy has gone to hell in a handbasket. I think it’s safe to say that we’re in a depression. I know I feel depressed. And I still have enough to eat.

But not everyone is feeling depressed, according to some conservatives. They claim that our self-destructing economy is great news for liberals. They accuse liberals of cheering on and facilitating this depression, because liberals believe a bad economy will keep Trump from being reelected.

It’s as if liberals have become kamikazes in their effort to sink the big, bloated battleship, U.S.S. Trump.

I find this a fascinating theory. It’s highly partisan, of course, and designed to inflame conservative passion against liberals. But I wonder if there’s any truth to it? I also wonder if it’s not such a bad idea.

I’ve noticed what seems to be glee in the tone of some liberal pundits, when discussing our plummeting economy. And it seems to me that it’s liberals who are most resistant to opening up the economy, with the rallying cry, “Choose lives over the economy!”

And yet, ironically, some lives are in danger of starvation as a result of choosing lives over the economy. Incredibly, here in America, this is actually happening. Right now at this moment, millions of children in our country are suffering from malnutrition because of lockdowns and business closures. So are we really choosing lives over the economy, or are we choosing something else?

Are American children going hungry due to our fear of the coronavirus, or our hatred of Trump? Are we trying to keep from getting sick? Are we worried about old people dying in rest homes? Or do we want so badly for Trump to lose reelection that we’re willing to sacrifice the lives of children, our economy, our livelihoods, and our civil liberties, to convince voters to oust him this November?

And even if we are trying to keep from getting sick, and prevent old people from dying, is that worth starving millions of children?

What if ending the coronavirus restrictions resulted in a rebounding economy and four more years of Trump, along with a second wave of infections? Would that be better than continuing the restrictions, where children continue to starve, but Trump is defeated, and a second wave is prevented?

It’s one hell of a dilemma. It’s kind of a Sophie’s Choice, in my view. After all, Trump’s belligerence and incompetency could easily plunge us into nuclear war if he’s reelected. And that would be far worse than a great depression. But to prevent his victory in November, and prevent a second wave, we must continue our descent into poverty and immiseration, while allowing millions more children to starve.

I believe this is the most crucial question we face in this crisis:

Which poison is the least toxic?

What would be our best Sophie’s Choice?

Black Market Bingo

Three quick raps from the back door, followed by two slow ones. I peeked through the shutters and saw an old lady leaning on her cane. It was Big Mouth Betty. I cracked opened the window on the door and hissed, “What do you want?”

“Governor Gavin’s a gasbag,” she hissed back. That was the correct passphrase, so I opened up and let her in.

Betty was our first arrival for Black Market Bingo. The bingo hall had been shut down two months ago, due to the coronavirus lockdown. Bingo regulars, such as Betty, had been going stir crazy, itching to get back to their favorite game. My wife and I were bored and needed something stimulating to do, so we organized a game for them.

We had to be careful, so we only invited those we knew and trusted. But anyone wanting admission had to remember a secret door knock and passphrase. That’s standard. It was a habit we insisted our clients got into.

Another door knock. Four quick raps, and that was it. I felt suspicious. I peeked out and there stood Madelyn. All 81 years of her. Yikes! I always had to be careful around Madelyn. “What do you want?” I hissed.

“The Governor’s in a . . . a . . . b-bag of gas,” she hissed back. Close enough. I let her in, then gave her a wide berth. Yet still she managed to brush her fingers across my thigh as she moseyed past me.

George, Lucy, and Lil the Pill arrived next, and all managed to get the passphrase right, more or less.

Lil the Pill was last to walk into the room, and greeted everyone with, “Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening!” with one good evening for each person present, other than herself. We each returned her greeting with a good evening, because we knew that if we didn’t, she’d get in our face and keep saying good evening to us until we said it back.

We also made sure we smiled when we said good evening to Lil, or she’d order us to smile. Everyone hated Lil the Pill, but nobody dared admit it.

The bingo players sat at least six feet apart from each other, in our spacious livingroom. Lucy had a cough that left everyone feeling nervous, so we put her a little further away, off in the corner.

“You better not have the virus!” Big Mouth Betty remonstrated to Lucy.

“No, no, [cough, cough] I just swallowed something wrong,” Lucy defended herself.

Madelyn made sure to sit close to the front, where I would be calling the numbers, and might perhaps stray within arm’s reach. George sat near my wife and leered at her. And Lil sat in the middle of the room, because she always liked to be in the middle of things, making demands of everyone.

Big Mouth Betty was rambling on and on, like she always did. My wife stood up and clapped her hands for about 30 seconds. That finally shut Big Mouth up and got everyone else’s attention as well. “Alright, listen up! There’s a $10 buy-in. Has everyone paid?”

“All but Lil,” I informed my wife.

“I forgot my money. I’ll pay next time.” Lil firmly declared.

“Okay, Lil. But you can only play for fun. You can’t win anything tonight,” my wife said sweetly, while smiling like a cherub. She knew how to handle old bitches.

Lil the Pill rummaged through her purse, and after a minute her bony fingers produced a ten-dollar bill. That settled that.

[cough, cough] went Lucy.

“Now we all have to be very careful,” my wife continued. “If anyone knocks on the front door, we all have to be quiet. No talking at all!” she cast a hard, meaningful glare at Big Mouth Betty. “My neighbor across the street is very nosy, and she might call the cops on us.”

Everyone nodded in agreement. They understood. Lucy coughed.

“Lucy, you shouldn’t have come here with that cough!” railed Betty. “You’re making us all scared!”

“It’s allergies,” Lucy pleaded. “I always get them this time of year.”

“None of us are wearing masks,” my wife pointed out, “And the county no longer requires it. So if you cough, be sure to cough into your arm,” she said to no one in particular. But we all knew she meant those words for Lucy.

My wife sat down, then stood up quickly. “Gaah!” she yelled. George had scooted his chair near hers and put his supinated hand on her chair’s seat, just as she sat down.

“Whoops, sorry,” George grinned, “I didn’t see you there.” George was a 75-year-old widower. His wife had been my wife’s friend, and while she lay on her deathbed, George started making passes at my wife. He’s been pursuing her ever since.

“Okay everyone, let’s get started!” I announced. I stood before a TV tray with two bowls on it. One bowl contained folded paper slips with letters, and the other contained folded paper slips with numbers.

My wife and the other five contestants sat poised with their bingo daubers and cards. I reached into each bowl, randomly selected paper slips, and unfolded them. “B-16,” I announced.

“What? What? What? What? What?” came a chorus, back.

“Speak up!” my wife reminded me.

“Beeeeeeeeeeee–16eeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!!!” I shouted.

“Oh, this is so exciting!” Big Mouth Betty proclaimed. “When I was young I knew someone who was in the mob during Prohibition. He was a big tough, guy, and he blah blah blah blah blah . . .”

I continued with my job, selecting paper slips and announcing numbers. And Big Mouth Betty continued with her job, yacking and yabbering away.

“Would you shut up!” Lil finally snapped at Betty. “I can’t concentrate!”

“Oh sorry,” Big Mouth apologized.

But a minute later her logorhea kicked in again. She just couldn’t help herself. Big Mouth Betty was always the most reviled contestant in the bingo hall, and she continued to live up to her blatherskite reputation at our Black Market Bingo.

“Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-55iiiiiiiiiiive!!!!!!” I shouted.

“[cough] Bingo!” Lucy shouted back with glee.

“Shit!” everyone else muttered.

Sure enough, her card checked out. I paid her $54, which was the $60 prize money, minus our 10% vigorish. Then we prepared for a new round. Lil managed to find another ten-dollar bill in her purse. Everyone was in. But then Lucy raised her hand.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” she announced.

“Number one or number two, Lucy?” my wife inquired.

“[cough, cough] Number one. But I can’t get off the toilet once I sit down. Do you have an old spaghetti pot I can use while standing up? That’s what I do at home.”

Note to self: Don’t ever eat Lucy’s spaghetti.

Madelyn stood up. “While Lucy’s using your spaghetti pot, I’ll use your bathroom.”

“No wait, Madelyn,” my wife stopped her. “Lucy, I’ll help you get up. You’re not using my spaghetti pot. Madelyn, you’re next after Lucy.”

About ten minutes later it was Madelyn’s turn. But as she walked past, heading toward the bathroom, she somehow tripped and fell against me. I instinctively grabbed her by the waist to keep my balance, while she steadied herself with her hands all over my ass, and her lips and face pressed against mine. “I’m so sorry,” she apologized, with a huge smile on her face. Then she triumphantly proceeded down the hallway, while I brushed my face and clothes off the best I could, feeling grossed out and dirty.

Finally everyone was seated and ready for the next round. I announced the first number. But before I could announce the second, there came a rapping on the front door. Front door? My hackles went up. My wife cast a worried look my way. I put my finger against my lips and shushed everyone, especially Big Mouth Betty.

I crept to the door. “Who is it?”

“It’s your neighbor, Mrs. Javvits!” we all heard. That fucking nosy bitch! “Is there a party going on in there? What are all these cars doing parked by your house?”

“I don’t know, Mrs. Javvits!” I shouted through the door.

“Aren’t you going to open up so I can talk to you?”

I had to think of something quick, and I don’t think well on my feet. What should I say? What should I say? I frantically searched my brain. Finally, “No, I just got out of the shower. I’m naked!” I heard Madelyn sigh, somewhere behind me.

Silence. Then, “Okay, well, I hope you’re not having a party. We all have to do our part to fight the virus, you know. Have a good evening!” I heard retreating footsteps.

We resumed our play. But after this scare, everyone was subdued. Even Big Mouth Betty lowered her voice.

“Innnnnnnnnnnn-42oooooooooooo!!!!” I hush-shouted.

“Bingo! [cough, cough]” announced Lucy.

“Shit!” from everyone else.

Betty turned on her with daggers in her eyes. “Lucy, you shouldn’t have even come here! You sound like you have the virus!”

“No, no,” Lucy pushed back. “It’s my heart condition. It makes me cough sometimes.”

But Lucy’s win, after my neighbor’s visit, broke up the game. Everyone decided they’d had it and it was time to go home. But they all said they’d had a good time, and vowed to return in a week for more Black Market Bingo.

“Can you come to my house someday?” George whispered into my wife’s ear, as he walked out the back. “I have something that my wife wanted you to have.”

“Ohhh, okay, we’ll see,” my wife patted him on the back while pushing him out the door.

This unnerving exchange distracted me, and Madelyn managed to sneak in a goose, as she followed George outside. Dammit!

After everyone was gone, there came a pounding on our front door. It was a cop.

“Excuse me sir, but we got a complaint that there was a party going on here. Are you aware of anything like that around here?” the young officer inquired, while peering over my shoulder and observing my wife straightening out the furniture.

“No sir, not here,” I told him. “It could be my neighbor across the street, though. She has family reunions there all the time. You might want to keep an eye out on her house. I think she’s been breaking the lockdown rules a lot.”

He looked me over carefully. Finally, “Okay, well sorry to disturb you. Have a nice evening,” and he left.

That was a close call, but we got away with it. And with a total vig of $12, plus $29 in net profit from refreshments and snacks my wife had sold, we’d netted $41.00 under the table.

All-in-all I think we did okay for our efforts. We got together with some screwy, but fun old people, and filled a vacuum of loneliness that months of lockdown had created. It had been a successful night for everyone, at Black Market Bingo.

[cough, cough]

This story is fiction, but the characters are not. They’re real people who frequented my wife’s beauty shop for many years, before she retired. Her beauty shop was connected to our house, so for better or worse, I got to know them well.

Stolen Quotes: Expert Failures

Experts once recommended cocaine toothache drops for kids.

There’s been a lot of talk about experts these days, and how we should listen to them when they give dire warnings about a certain virus that shall remain unnamed. But are experts always right? Not so, say some experts. In fact they claim experts tend to be wrong more often than right.

David H. Freedman, author of the book, Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us—and How to Know When Not to Trust Them, wrote this article for the New York Post in 2010 entitled, Why Experts Are Usually Wrong: https://nypost.com/2010/06/13/why-experts-are-usually-wrong/

In 2015, Wired Magazine published this article, entitled, Scientists Are Wrong All the Time, and That’s Fantastic: https://www.wired.com/2015/02/scientists-wrong-time-thats-fantastic/

And in 2017, this interesting article appeared in the online magazine, Pacific Standard, entitled, Modern Scientists Are Wrong Far More Than You Think: https://psmag.com/education/scientists-are-wrong-a-lot

These articles got me wondering about what experts have been wrong about in the past. So I jumped in my time machine and went hunting for quotes to steal from the experts our ancestors blindly believed. I found a mother lode. I hope the following will help cheer you up if you’ve been listening to experts and feeling anxious lately:

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” ~ Albert Einstein, 1934.

“We have reached the limits of what is possible with computers.” ~ John Von Neumann, physicist and computer scientist, 1949.

“Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.” ~ Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under President Eisenhower, 1959.

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” ~ Marshal Ferdinand Foch, French military strategist, 1911.

“Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” ~ Thomas Edison, 1889.

“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.” ~ Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926.

“Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become a practical proposition.” ~ Dennis Gabor, British physicist, 1962.

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” ~ H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

“X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” ~ Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.

“More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.”
“11,105 doctors say Lucky Strikes prevent throat irritation.”
~ Cigarette ads from the 1940s.

“If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.” ~ Peter Ustinov, English actor and comedian.

The Fuck You CDC Mask

My wife has designed something she calls the Fuck You CDC mask. She’s very much against lockdowns, and believes the government is communistic, dictatorial, and overreaching when it tells us to stay home and orders businesses to shut down. So she has an attitude that’s willing to rebel against any CDC requirement.

However, she partially agrees with the CDC on the issue of facemasks. But only for wearing while indoors at businesses, and not outdoors where few people are around. Wearing them outdoors is just plain unnecessary and stupid, according to her. Fortunately, our county no longer requires them outdoors, so she’s no longer in danger of being cited.

She also doesn’t like CDC’s design for a mask. It’s painful, hot, and suffocating, and she wonders if the CDC might be trying to kill us with this mask.

Here’s the design, in case you disagree with her and want to go with the CDC recommendation: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

She’s a handy seamstress, and made her first masks using the CDC design. She even made a bunch for some nurses at a local hospital. But after wearing them for awhile, herself, she decided these masks are bullshit, and are not suitable for human use.

A supermodel showing off the Fuck You CDC mask. This particular mask is a little on the long side. Most of the masks my wife has made only hang about six inches below the nose.

So she redesigned the Bullshit CDC mask into the Fuck You CDC mask. This mask is much less uncomfortable to wear, and is her way of saying “fuck you” to the CDC. It’s still uncomfortable, as any mask will be if you wear it long enough. But it is not nearly as painful, hot, and suffocating as CDC’s bullshit mask.

She eliminated the elastic bands that go around the ear. These damned torture restraints pull painfully on the ears when you wear them for long periods of time. She replaced the bands with bias tape cloth ties that wrap around the head and tie in the back. After you tie them once, you never have to tie them again. You simply slip the mask over your head, to put it on or take off.

Also, there’s only one set of ties. The mask ties at the top, and that’s it. There are no bottom ties. Yes, technically bottom ties seem necessary, to comply with the CDC requirement that masks fit snugly against the side of the face. But fuck you, CDC! Bottom ties make masks suffocatingly tight, and impossible to comply with the CDC’s other requirement, that masks allow for breathing without restriction.

Besides, even without bottom ties, I’ve found that the Fuck You CDC mask does a good job at holding against the sides of the face. But it does so without pressing the mask against the mouth and restricting breathing. And it stays against the side of the face even when coughing or sneezing.

She makes the ties 18 inches long, and this length allows for an option in wearing, besides tying behind the head. Rather, you can drape the ties over your ears, and the weight of the dangling bias tape material will be sufficient to hold the mask in place.

Also, if some store manager tells you that your mask must have bottom ties, there’s enough slack to allow you to drape the ties over your ears, then wrap them under, and tie them in place below your chin.

But that suffocates, because it pulls the mask against your mouth. So you only want to wear the mask this way in the unlikely event that you’re required to wear it this way. Allowing the bottom of the mask to hang loose like an apron makes breathing much easier, and complies with the CDC requirement of having unrestricted breathing.

To further aid in breathing, she sews a vertical pleat down the middle of the mask. This creates an air pocket below the nose and around the mouth. In addition to easier breathing, the air pocket makes the mask cooler to wear.

She cuts the cloth layers of the mask to two 10-inch wide by 7-inch long rectangles. But the 10-inch width narrows to 7 inches at the top, and 9 inches at the bottom, after she creates the pleat, and connects the two layers using a half-inch seam.

The Fuck You CDC mask hangs loosely from the nose, down to around the chin. Since there’s no bottom tie, it’s open from below and allows the convenience of drinking through a straw, slurping poisonous coffee, or picking your teeth with a toothpick.

My wife believes this mask will protect OTHERS from the wearer, if the wearer fails to sneeze or cough into their arm. But she says it will NOT protect the wearer FROM others if they’re not wearing a mask, and they sneeze or cough into the open air.

Personally, I feel skeptical about the Fuck You CDC mask protecting anybody. But then again, I feel skeptical about all cloth facemasks, as I doubt their effectiveness at blocking airborne particles as fine as a virus. According to an article in USA Today, cloth surgical masks won’t block fine particles, and the only mask that will keep you from inhaling the coronavirus is the N95.

Even the CDC was against most people wearing cloth facemasks, until they changed their mind in mid-April. Now they claim that cloth facemasks will slow virus particles down, so that when someone coughs or sneezes, the virus won’t travel as far from the mouth. Perhaps, but it will still get into the circulating air of a building, and in more concentrated form.

Seems to me like it’s safer for people to cough or sneeze into their arms. But I suspect people are less inclined to do this when they believe the mask they’re wearing is protecting the air around them.

In fact, coughing or sneezing into the arm seems to have been dropped from public education campaigns, since the mask requirement came into being. I sure haven’t noticed it. So even the CDC seems to have fallen into the false sense of security of mask wearing.

If it’s true that a cloth facemask slows the velocity of a virus (and it may well be), then the mask must be able to stay in place when sneezing or coughing, and not flop around like an 18-wheeler’s mudflap. I’ve found that the Fuck You CDC mask does stay in place when coughing or sneezing. So if cloth really can slow the velocity of a virus down, this redesign will do it, in my view. For what that’s worth.

The redesign also succeeds at another thing. Admission. When I wear my Fuck You CDC mask, I’m allowed admission into supermarkets, drug stores, and doctors’ offices. Nobody has yet challenged my Fuck You CDC mask.

It’s a little uncomfortable, but not too bad. It’s bearable. And it’s much less uncomfortable than that damned, Bullshit CDC mask.

Spreading Coronavirus News

I’ve been gathering coronavirus news, and now I’m taking this stifling mask off and spreading it around:

Mount Baldy, California: The Mount Baldy Mountain Resort got hit with a shitload of snow in April, but alas it was in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown. But they said, “Fuck this shit, we’re opening anyway.” Golf courses have been allowed to reopen, so in late April they took a cue from the golf courses, implemented social distancing measures, and opened up to skiers. They did not wait for permission from the government. Hell, by the time they might get that, all the snow would be melted away. So far the government seems to be leaving them alone.

My source: https://abc7.com/weather/mount-baldy-opens-despite-being-deemed-non-essential-business/6125570/

Boing: The Boeing Company is bouncing back by implementing safety measures and returning thousands of its employees to work. Isn’t it nice to know they can resume building airplanes nobody wants to fly in?

My source: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/boeing-implements-safety-measures-to-get-employees-back-to-work/

Orange County, California: Beaches in Orange County, California opened up the last weekend of April. But Governor Gavin Newsom was unhappy about this, and deployed his iron fist to close them down the next weekend. But after intense pressure, and being called a party pooper, he’s now allowing them to reopen. However, anyone using the beach must stay physically active. Laying about on the sand will not be allowed. You must constantly stay on the move, whether by walking, swimming, surfing, doing cartwheels, practicing yoga, juggling beach balls, or otherwise looking like you’re doing something. I wonder if standing still is allowed as long as you’re picking your nose?

My source: https://news.yahoo.com/california-allows-more-orange-county-192436329.html

New York City: A slew of calls poured into New York City’s Poison Control Center, from people who drank Lysol, bleach, and other household cleaners, the day after President Trump suggested injecting disinfectant to fight Covid-19. The Center says they received twice the amount of calls they normally receive for such poisonings. But the good news is that none of the callers died, either from poisoning or from Covid-19.

My source: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/nyc-poison-control-calls-for-bleach-lysol-double-after-trump-disinfectant-comment/2389593/

Bakersfield, California: Two doctors held a news conference that went viral on YouTube, claiming that the death rate of Covid-19 isn’t nearly as high as officials are leading the public to believe. They called for stay-at-home orders to end. They also criticized Dr. Fauci of the CDC, stating, “We’re actually seeing the patients. Dr. Fauci hasn’t seen a patient in 20 years.” YouTube has removed the video of the press conference, explaining that YouTube prohibits content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local health authority recommended guidance on social distancing. I understand that this censorship of opposing viewpoints to CDC guidelines also occurs on Facebook and Twitter. Whew! It’s a good thing that YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have recognized just how stupid we are, and are here to help us make the right decisions about how to deal with this virus.

My source: https://abc7.com/health/doctors-use-disputed-data-to-suggest-stay-home-orders-be-lifted/6138585/

Albany, New York: Governor Cuomo has expressed shock that 84% of new coronavirus hospitalizations are people who are mostly staying home, and not going outside much. Does this mean the CDC has completely fucked up, and given us the opposite recommendation of what we must do to stay alive? And what happens next? Will the CDC change it’s policy and recommend we get the hell out of our homes? Will our governors issue “stay-away-from-home” orders, and force us to be locked out, rather than locked down? They reversed their policy on wearing masks, so who knows what’s coming next from the CDC.

My source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/ny-gov-cuomo-says-its-shocking-most-new-coronavirus-hospitalizations-are-people-staying-home/ar-BB13Hcqt?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Los Alamos, New Mexico: Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have reported on May 5, that the coronavirus has mutated into a new, more contagious strain that is spreading across the U.S. This is very depressing, fucked up news. We’re DOOMED!

My source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/05/the-coronavirus-mutated-and-appears-to-be-more-contagious-now-new-study-finds.html

Reactions of Experts to the Experts at Los Alamos: Dr. Scott Gottlieb, of CNBC reacted to the news of May 5, about the new, more contagious strain of coronavirus, by urging caution. He stated that the study by Los Alamos has not been peer-reviewed and “doesn’t prove anything.” He also divulged a well-known fact within scientific circles, that is apparently not well known to the general public. And that is, viruses generally mutate into weaker strains, not stronger. This is all about evolution. Viruses cannot survive long if they kill off their hosts, so they tend to become weaker over time, because they want to keep their hosts alive. Other doctors seem to concur, with one claiming that this is “Virology 101.” Okay, so maybe we’re not doomed. Perhaps it’s best to stop reading the news.

My sources: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/06/dr-scott-gottlieb-cautions-on-coronavirus-mutation-study-new-strain.html


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