Have you heard that Tom Brady has left the New England Patriots for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? This is HUGE news … at least it is right now. Normally, I wouldn’t care one iota about Tom Brady or the New England Patriots or the NFL, but these days I am desperate for news of ANYTHING other than the Coronavirus. (Also, in case you didn’t hear, country singer Kenny Rogers has died at age 81.)
The television news is literally nothing but COVID-19. Newspapers are filling all available space (and there is a lot of available space, as it appears advertisers have nothing to advertise) with COVID-19 stories. The New York Times website is roughly 80% Coronavirus-related, with non-scary headlines like (and these are all real): Mayor Warns of Crisis Akin to the Great Depression in New York City; Can City Life Survive the Coronavirus?; Stop Saying Everything is Under Control. It Isn’t; Germany Has More Than Enough Ventilators. Is Should Share Them. And those are all from ONE DAY.
In times like this, I turn to my most trusted source of comfort – The Simpsons. This whole panic reminds me of a great line from the show, when newscaster Kent Brockman asks a professor why “panicky hordes of people are leaving town”.
“Professor,” Brockman asks, “without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s skulls open and feast on the goo inside?”
“Yes I would Kent,” the professor replies.
Panicky hordes of people are not cracking skulls open (not yet, anyway) to feast on the goo inside, but some are almost as stupid. Take a look at this insane video of literally hundreds of people waiting in line to get into a Costco in California. I can say with some certainly that every single one of those people is an idiot.
And speaking of idiots, gun sales in the U.S. (and to a lesser extent, here) have spiked dramatically. I can only assume that the gun crazies in the U.S. are anticipating panicky hordes of people storming private homes in desperate search of toilet paper.
There is no reason to panic buy grocery items. The supply chain – an economics kind of term for getting stuff from one place to the other – is working perfectly fine. There is no need to stock up on eggs, or chicken, or frozen pizza. For a while, grocery store shelves were starting to look like 1960s era Soviet government run stores – empty aisles everywhere. But when I took a trip to my nearby Safeway today, the shelves were well stocked, with a few gaping holes where non-essentials would normally be found. The Toilet Paper People, the idiots who stocked up on everything in anticipation of the Coronapocalypse, are now safely hunkered down behind their wall of TP, leaving plenty for us reasonable folks.
And now for some good news. Maybe not GREAT news, but good news, Or good-ish. It’s the best I could do.
I’m sure you’re all tired of the gloom-and-doom scenarios, so here’s a link to some hopeful news about cures and vaccines. I am confident that, with literally thousands of scientists and pharmaceutical companies with hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal, that a cure will be found sooner rather than later.
And, going out for a drive in a big city like Edmonton is a relatively non-aggravating experience. I did my usual blood donation thing on Saturday, and the traffic was about as busy as Christmas morning. (Speaking of blood donations, this is a great time to roll up your sleeve and donate a couple of cups. There is always a need for blood, and there is no more germ-free place in the world than a Canadian Blood Services clinic. Better yet, after giving blood you should take it easy for a day, which gives you an excuse to just lay back and watch TV. And speaking of which …)
Here’s a Netflix recommendation. There’s a new, absolutely bonkers documentary called Tiger King is the most addictive series on that channel since Wild Wild Country and Making a Murderer. I’ve made it through four of the seven episodes, and I every one of the shows gets crazier, with a cast of characters that can only be described as only-in-America types (and their even screwier subset, only-in-Florida). It’s all about crazies collecting exotic animals, and a vicious feud that developed between exotic animal people. It’s off-the-charts weird.
And while we’re talking entertainment, Shaw cable is offering free previews for a raft of specialty channels. Most of them are junk that are of no interest to me (here’s the list), but there are two gems – the Smithsonian Channel, and BBC Earth, a treasure trove of the best, most amazing nature docs.
And finally, in my copious spare time, I’m reading a book called The Body (A guide for occupants), by the wonderful writer Bill Bryson, one of my faves. Every week, I’ll offer up an interesting, often weird nugget of info from The Body. This week’s offering comes from a chapter called The Outside: Skin and Hair: researchers at North Carolina State University conducted a study called the Belly Button Biodiversity Project, in which they swabbed the belly buttons of 60 random Americans. They found 2,368 species of bacteria, 1,458 which were unknown to to science.
Makes you want to pay a little more attention to your belly button, doesn’t it?