…and it goes on and on, my friends. We’ve reached October, though, and that’s about all we can say or predict about that. We’ve reached October, and somehow the craziest months of the year may still be ahead of us. We need to stay careful, stay calm and respectful, and stay hopeful that this too shall pass, as have many past national and global crises.
Just finished a book (The Great Influenza, by John Barry) on the 1918 flu, and that was a scarier time than this. That flu just mowed down huge numbers, especially those in their prime between the ages of 20 and 35. And it was interesting to learn how it may have originated in a small town in Kansas (Haskell, I believe) and then spread from there to an Army camp and from there all over the world during the end of WWI. It was only called the Spanish flu because the Spanish press was not heavily censored like the press was in the U.S. and Great Britain and France and Germany, where war-time measures prioritized keeping up morale. So the world first became aware of the flu occurring in great numbers in Spain and then the name stuck. There’s a good a chance as any it could’ve been the Kansas-flu were it not for censorship.
Another lesson from the 1918 flu was that U.S. public health leaders and politicians made a point of downplaying the virus to avoid causing public panic. The censorship and rosy picture painted by leaders and the press eventually caused the public to completely distrust what they were hearing once the second wave of the flu hit with deadly consequences… which led to a worse fear and public panic about the disease.
Anyway, hopefully we are through the worst of it IF people continue to wear masks and socially distance and do what they can to limit infecting themselves and others. And a change in leadership in November would help too, putting the emphasis back on the science, on leading by example, on putting facts and truth over inane and wishful thinking.
So how do we pass the time for what could be a long fall and winter, trapped more and more indoors and more isolated from each other? I, for one, am dabbling in what could be a new hobby… only slightly less manly than mosaicry… wait for it… embroidery!! WHAT?? Come on, man!! I know, I know. But I was re-purposing some old Slip t-shirts into a sound-absorbing panel for the music room and I found the sewing that involved very calming, especially while listening to classic rock tunes (which I’ve taken about a 3-year break from, being outside the Greater Boston radio market for about that long). So then I was like, maybe I could make some sort of art out of sewing. Turns out there’s a name for that. I’m not talking about embroidering silly little flowers with the words Home Sweet Home underneath… I’m talking about art deco style fonts and patterns, stitched into the backs of old t-shirts re-purposed as blank canvas stretched across wooden frames. Huh? Who’s with me?? This could be the coolest thing since friendship bracelets.
It did lead to a good idea for the podcast that Paul and I are finding zero time to get off the ground. Our friendly aliens, Yuri and Guri, can communicate in various ways, but due to their society’s origin as a race of isolated and devoted monks, all formal messages to their commanders must be embroidered. Including urgent missives. “Quick, Yuri, tell the supreme commander our ship’s reactor core is on the verge of losing containment!” “I’m embroidering as fast as I can, Guri!!!” “What stitch are you using, the French knot??” “Damn it, Guri, you know I can’t straight-stitch to save my life!!” Cut to: a half-embroidered message in gorgeous font: “Help, the ship’s core is losi”
On rare evenings where the kids honor that old concept prior to all-remote schooling of a bedtime, I’ve moved on from 1970s films into the early 1980s. Can someone tell me why every urban movie scene from this era includes groups of men huddled around burning trashcans? I’m sure we can tie it directly to the systemic racism that we’re not supposed to teach federal employees about. I get it: white flight in the ’60s and ’70s, so in the ’80s we had to portray all the cities whites left behind as apocalyptic war zones. This is the time period our president is stuck in, by the way.
Hope you all are recovering from the post-traumatic stress caused by the first (and now perhaps the last) presidential debate. I thought Biden did okay given the bullying performance he had to try and counter. Trump called the debate “fun” afterwards, which underlines how it’s all about him and, perhaps until his positive COVID test, all a game to him. I just can’t fathom how people can stomach this poor excuse for a human being as a president. He is the embodiment of “the ends justify the means,” and I’m hopeful that enough people in this country still care about doing things the right way, still value honesty and integrity over self-promotion and opportunism. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Until next time, stay healthy… and let’s try to stay positive, despite likely more chaos to come in the waning months of our worst year ever. I mean, at some point it will be 2021, right? We can count on the march of time! And then, once we’re through this pandemic… we can tackle climate change! Hurrah!! Or we can ask for a ride on Yuri and Guri’s spaceship. I’m embroidering my distress signal to them now.
Yours in peace,