Entry 953: In Times Like These . . .

In times like these, there are only four kinds of TV commercials.

The first kind are ones that mention COVID-19 by name. They are usually from the government, with weird animated icons demonstrating how far six feet is, or showing you how to wash your hands because they believe their citizens would never otherwise know there was soap involved. These spots all end with clever taglines like “Stay home. Stay safe.” or “Use Your Head. Stop the Spread.” or “Healthy horns stop germs.*”

In the second kind of commercial, you’d never know there was a disease going around. Instead, they talk about “times like these.” They would be equally appropriate in the aftermath of a volcano eruption, a hurricane or a nuclear attack. “We have been here to sell you things for 140 years,” the advertisers want you to know, “and we’ll be here through times like these to sell you what you need. Unless what you need is toilet paper.”

Sometimes, advertisers try to turn “times like these” into times for a promotion. Have you noticed all the car companies willing to deliver your new car right to your home with 0% APR for, like 10 years, and no payments due until you stop coughing? On one hand, it doesn’t exactly seem like the perfect time to purchase a new vehicle, since you would have to completely disinfect it before getting in (ruining the new car smell), and there’s barely anywhere you can drive it anyway. But on the other hand, any reason is a good reason to not have to visit a car dealership. How, I wonder, will the salespeople go into the back room to talk to their manager about getting you the best price?

Then there are the feel-good commercials. You know, the ones that thank first responders with stock footage of doctors and nurses. Or the ones that show emotional YouTube videos about how we’re all coming together while staying apart. Oh, look, there are the Italian people serenading each other from their balconies. And here are people driving by a hospital honking their thanks to healthcare workers. And don’t forget the helpful Instagram demonstration of how to fashion a face mask out of a used bra. Some of these also show warm footage of families enjoying each other’s company. That happy family footage was obviously shot very, very early in the quarantine period.

Finally there are the oblivious commercials that don’t acknowledge the circumstances in any way. The advertisers just didn’t see why one of the worst global catastrophes in history should compel them to alter their marketing plans. A lot of these spots seem to be from companies advertising prescription drugs for various non-COVID conditions, as if the message is, “Hey, folks, don’t forget about all these other things you can catch.”

Anyway, I’m sure all of this has you asking a very important question: What kind of blog will this blog be in times like these?

Well, I’ve given it some serious thought, and here’s what I’ve decided:

This blog has been with you for almost nine years now, coming to you twice a week in good times and since Trump became president. And while I’m practicing social distancing just as you should be (see graphic at right) and coming to you from my home, I should point out that I’ve always come to you from my home, so, really, it’s no big change. Rest assured that I will continue to bring you my feeble attempts at humor even as I can feel my family’s mental capacity diminishing to the point where, one morning last week, four of us (and the dog) went running through the house flapping our arms to show our almost two-year-old granddaughter how to fly, which is the only way you can fly in times like these without having to be quarantined for two weeks when you land.

I will also periodically thank President Trump for providing, as any great leader would, entertainment in times like these, when the Chinese virus is ravaging our society. I hope he’ll continue to make stuff up so that we can enjoy a laugh during these tough times.

And because so much of our time will be spent reading, I am providing, as a public service, copies of my book, Kids Are Dumb; Parents Are Dumber, for just $9.99, with no payment due until you get your credit card bill. Just click the link at the bottom right corner of this page to order.

Oh, and please discontinue reading this blog if you are allergic to this blog,

So stay well, everyone. Watch free concerts on Facebook Live. Visit with friends and relatives on Zoom. Stay the hell away from old people. And, remember, There’s no “we” in “isolation.”™

See you soon.

*I’m guessing this one is specific to the University of Texas.

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Entry 952: The Four Passover FAQs (5780 Edition)

Well, Wednesday marks the beginning of Passover, which celebrates a bunch of plagues and the liberation of the Jews from Egypt so they could go wandering around the desert for four decades until they reached the only land in the area without oil.

An integral part of the Passover celebration is the seder, a huge dinner featuring all seven of the Jewish food groups: matzoh, eggs, horseradish, boiled potato, lamb shank, sweet fruit paste and salt water, all of which have been chosen solely for symbolism rather than nutritional value or taste.

I’ve recently mentioned one highlight of the seder (ours, anyway): the plague finger puppets.

Another feature of the meal is when the youngest attendee recites the “Four Frequently Asked Questions” which are all about dipping and reclining and baked goods and everyone has heard them a million times and, really, if we don’t know the answers by now, shame on us.

Those questions refer to things we do differently at the seder than at other dinners. But this year, (which is 5780 on the Hebrew calendar and “Oy, what a year and it’s only April!” for everyone else), we’ll be doing just about everything differently. So I thought we should have different questions, too.

Here they are:

Q. In all other years our whole extended family gathers around the table so that we have to bring all the folding chairs up from the basement and argue over who sits next to Aunt Sadie who, frankly, has an unpleasant odor. But this year, there’s just dad’s laptop with all our relatives’ tiny faces on a Zoom video conference. What’s up with that?
A. Well, youngest person at the table, it’s because gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. But, if you like, we can bring a rotten egg to the table to symbolize Aunt Sadie.

Q. In all other years we wash our hands twice at the seder, but this year we wash our hands 5,780 times a day, once for each year on the Hebrew calendar. Why is that?
A. Well, inquisitive one, that’s because anything in our home, including the dog, could have dangerous germs on it, and we don’t want to catch COVID-19 because if one of us spreads it to even one other person, you just know everyone will blame the Jews for the whole pandemic.

Q. In all other years you hide matzoh throughout the house and give the children a dollar for every piece they find, which we young children really look forward to, because otherwise we have to lose teeth in order to get any money. But this year, you’re only offering a nickel. If I may ask without invoking stereotypes, why are you being so cheap?
A. Well, my little ingrate, it’s because our 401k has taken quite a hit this year and you may have noticed that, so far, the whole “work remotely from home” thing has consisted mostly of us binge-watching Tiger King and trying to keep you entertained.

Q. In all other years, you throw all the regular bread out before Passover begins, but this year, I noticed you stored it all in the basement. Why is that?
A. Well, my newly potty-trained one, it’s because, if this goes on much longer, we really don’t know what we’re going to have to use for toilet paper.

Q. Can I ask another question?
A. You just did.

Q. Oh, come on, dad . . .
A. Fine. Only one more.

Q. In all other years you buy a couple of bottles of Manischewitz for Passover, but this year I notice that you have on hand several cases of bourbon. Why is that?
A. Because, my little–and let me stress this–first-born–bourbon is not strictly Kosher for Passover but I have been cooped up for over a month with, well I won’t mention names but it’s somebody who asks a lot of questions before dinner, and I don’t know how much longer the liquor store will be deemed an essential business, so I bought enough bourbon to last mom and dad through these, um, trying times, which, while maybe not quite as difficult as when the Jews were slaves in Egypt, are not doing anything for our sanity. Now shut up and eat your gefilte fish.

So there you have it: the Four Questions for today’s world. Have a happy Passover, everyone, or Easter, or pagan festival or whatever you celebrate at this time of year.

And don’t forget the ritual face masks.

See you soon.

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Entry 951: More Examples of American Idiocy

In my last post, I wrote that the three things destroying democracy in America were: 1)Too much money influencing elections and elected officials; 2) Partisanship in our government; and 3) The fact that the vast majority of Americans are idiots.

I may have been a bit harsh. I forgot about the Electoral College and jerrymandering. So the fact that Americans are idiots should have been Number 5.

Ha ha, just kidding, Americans. The Stanford-Binet IQ Scale no longer has an “idiot” ranking. But I am prepared to offer proof that a frightening number of Americans apparently have an IQ well below “mildly impaired.”

Below are news headlines and lead-in sentences (without any commentary from me) about what Americans have been up to.

Note: Since it’s April Fool’s Day, I made up one of the stories below. See if you can guess which one it is.

Footshake injuries soar.
In the wake of the coronavirus, people have been using alternatives to the handshake, but doctors warn against the “footshake,” especially for senior citizens. “Hospitals are already strained,” said one ER nurse, “we don’t need a bunch of broken ankles and concussions caused by . . . ”

Third place finisher in SC Republican primary is Richard Nixon.
In a tweet, President Trump referred to “that loser Nixon” before moving on to the Democratic . . .

Five African nations score higher than U.S. in math.
For years, the U.S. has ranked poorly in worldwide math scores, often with more than 30 nations scoring higher.† But American educators were shocked to learn that five African countries, some of which even American geography teachers had never heard of, and one of which doesn’t even have a school system . . .

Popular conspiracy theory site blames Putin for COVID-19.
Could Putin have engineered the COVID-19 pandemic? As proof, the site ConCon.com offers the facts that Russia is right near China and that Russia has had relatively few instances of infection. When a reader commented that the same could be said for North Korea, the site administrator pointed out that “all three commie countries” had been conducting research into turning bats into biological weapons . . .

Thousands move from Phoenix to Tucson to escape state taxes.
Joan Riley’s ReMax real estate office in Tucson is jumping. “We’ve never been so busy,” she said. “And I have to keep telling people it’s ‘c-s’ not two esses . . . “

About a dozen marchers protest the spread of COVID-19 in front of the CitiPlace Barnes & Noble store in Baton Rouge, LA.
“Hey, we know what the fake news media means when they say ‘novel coronavirus,’” one marcher told . . .

Class action suit against drug company by patients who ignored warning not to use medicine if allergic to it.
Pharma stocks fell sharply at news that a Florida court has allowed a suit to continue which, if won by the plaintiffs, could open the floodgates . . .

Newest viral teen trend: Highway roof surfing.
In California, they couldn’t wait to get to the ocean. But in Middle America, thousands of miles from the nearest wave . . .

Survey: Majority of Americans (54%) believe one or more Founding Father was an alien.
Among the conspiracy theories sweeping the internet, one in particular has gained traction, with various sites presenting “evidence” that the framers of the U.S. Constitution were extraterrestrials . . .

Trump promises to have “America open for business” by Independence Day.
“We could have done Easter,” he said at a press briefing, “but I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to celebrate the end of the virus with fireworks?’ So we postponed the end of the virus until July 4th, and we’re going to have really great fireworks. Tremendous fireworks. I’ve told GM and Ford to start making fireworks . . . ”

Like I said . . . idiots.

See you soon.

P.S. Did you guess which story was fake news? It should have been easy, since they’re all entirely made up. And if you believed any of them, I refer you to the #5 reason (formerly #3) why American democracy is screwed up. April Fools, everyone.

P.P.S. I lied in my P.S. The headline about Nixon isn’t entirely made up. He actually came in fifth.*

*Not really.^
†This part is true.
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Entry 950: Girls Just Wanna Have Run

I think by now it has become glaringly obvious that there is something seriously wrong with the democratic process in America.

As I see it, there are three major reasons for this:

  1. There is too much money influencing elections and elected officials.
  2. Partisanship has taken over our government.
  3. The vast majority of Americans are idiots.

Today I will address none of those. Instead, I want to talk about what M.M. LaFleur believes is the real problem: the lack of campaign clothing.

Before you assume that M.M. LaFleur is a person who is a prime example of #3 above, I should tell you that M.M. LaFleur isn’t a who, it’s a what. Specifically, it’s a women’s clothing company. Even more specifically, it’s a women’s clothing company that believes we need more women running for office.

As I look at the three remaining presidential candidates, I don’t know what could possibly give them that idea. Personally, I think it’s more important that we get more non-geriatric people running for office, but that’s just geriatric old me.

Of course, it’s easy to say that more women should run, but M.M. LaFleur is doing something about it. Evidently, the company thinks that the biggest reason more women in America don’t hit the campaign trail is because they have nothing to wear on it. And I can understand that. After all, being naked during a televised debate might distract from the issues. I certainly wouldn’t want the current slate of presidential contenders to do it.

M.M. LaFleur plans to solve the female political wardrobe problem by lending “our clothes, for free, to any woman who is running for public office — whether it be for the House of Representatives or your town council.” The candidate can keep the clothing until they “decide to drop out of the election, or until they become elected, whichever comes first.”

The company says it got the inspiration for this program right after the 2016 presidential election. I guess it thought the result wasn’t because of Hillary losing Wisconsin as much as it was her choice of pants suits. So it decided it needed to do more to support women. One might argue that a bra company would be better positioned to do that, but M.M. LaFleur thought they’d give it a shot anyway.

So, on behalf of my female readers who might be considering a run for office, I have a few questions:

  1. M.M. LaFleur says that candidates can wear the five outfits until they “decide to drop out of the election, or until they become elected, whichever comes first.” Well, for one thing, I don’t think the “whichever comes first” is necessary, because there’s only one order in which those two events could occur. But my real question here is, what if they stay in and lose the election? Do they get to keep the clothing as a consolation prize?
  2. Just how local can the office be that you’re running for in order to qualify for the free rentals? How about condo board?
  3. Admittedly, this question is coming from someone who wears the same sweatshirt and pants for a week at a time, but, considering how long American political campaigns last, are five outfits enough?
  4. Will M.M. LaFleur make clothes specifically for this program, with the labels on the outside? You know, for branding, like the Nike swoosh? For that matter, if the clothing needs to be returned, doesn’t the candidate have to leave the tags on throughout the campaign?
  5. Will voters start making their decisions based on whether they think a particular candidate is wearing a dress previously seen on, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

To that last point, I thought I was being silly when I initially wrote it, but then the New York Post took issue with a sequined dress Ocasio-Cortez wore on The View, to which the Congresswoman replied via tweet:

“Yep! I rent, borrow, and thrift my clothes. (It’s also environmentally sustainable!) The Post is just mad that you can look good fighting for working families. Sequins are a great accessory to universal healthcare, don’t you agree?”

AOC did not say if she rented from MML.

Seriously, though, this program, while possibly well-intentioned, should be recognized for what it could really accomplish. Because lack of clothing isn’t what’s preventing all women from running for office; it’s only preventing poor women from running for office. I mean, my family is not rich, but if my wife wanted to run for Congress, she wouldn’t need to rent a bunch of outfits in order to shake some hands around Stamford CT (especially since no one wants to shake hands with anybody anymore).

So more poor women running for office. I think that’s a good thing. Let’s get that lobbyist money into the hands of folks who can really use it.

See you soon.

P.S. The “campaign posters” in this post use photos from the M.M. LaFleur website. I did them so you could see how interesting the company’s clothing could make elections.

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Entry 949: Unpresidented

As someone posted on Facebook, the number of times the word “unprecedented” is being used is unprecedented.

Here are two other things that are unprecedented:

  • The number of unprecedented events we’ve had to deal with in just the first two decades of this century.
  • The unprecedented inability of a President to deal with an unprecedented event.

This second item was demonstrated dramatically in a seemingly innocuous way the other day during a coronavirus press conference in which NBC’s Peter Alexander asked President Trump the following question:

“What do you say to Americans watching you right now who are scared?”

Before I get to Trump’s answer, let me point out that Alexander was doing Trump a favor, presenting the President with the opportunity to reassure the public, to inspire unity, and to at least try to quell the panic that had overtaken every aspect of American life.

To show you how a competent leader (or even George W. Bush) would have responded, I’ll “answer” Alexander’s query with actual quotes from past Presidents in times of crisis:

Alexander: “What do you say to Americans watching you right now who are scared?”
George W. Bush (on the morning of the 9/11 attacks): “The resolve of our great nation is being tested. Make no mistake. We will show the world that we can pass this test. God bless you.”

Alexander: “What do you say to Americans watching you right now who are scared?”
Franklin D. Roosevelt (at his inauguration in the midst of the Depression): “We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of the national unity; with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values; with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike.”

Alexander: “What do you say to Americans watching you right now who are scared?”
John F. Kennedy (10/22/62, about the Cuban Missile Crisis): “Let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No one can see precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead–months in which our patience and our will will be tested–months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing. The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are–but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high–and Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender or submission.”

Alexander: “What do you say to Americans watching you right now who are scared?”
Barack Obama (to Congress, 2/24/09, at the height of the great recession): “While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.”

You see how that Q&A is supposed to work? Now, in some fairness to President Trump, the quotes above were from speeches, not press conferences, so we must assume they were written in advance, possibly by other people, and definitely with careful consideration (although in Bush’s case at least, it would have had to have been done very quickly). On the other hand, I think we can agree that all of the Presidents quoted, and most of the other Presidents we’ve had, would have been able to think fast enough to say something–anything–in response to Alexander’s question that was much better than what Trump did say, which was this:

Alexander: “What do you say to Americans watching you right now who are scared?”
Donald J. Trump: “I’d say you are a terrible reporter. I think that’s a very nasty question, and I think that’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.”

In the video of the press conference, Alexander looks genuinely shocked at this reaction. He had pitched President Trump a softball, and Trump had responded by charging the mound.

In conclusion, I’d like to say to the American people that I’m confident our scientists, doctors and courageous first responders will help lead us out of this unprecedented crisis. But only you, the American voter, can lead us out of this unprecedented President.

See you soon.

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Entry 948: Stir Crazy

Well, as I write this on Friday evening of March 20, we’ve come to the end of self-semi-quarantine Day 7 . . . or 10 . . . or 500. I’ve lost track.

One thing I’ve learned: there are just too many hours in the day. It’s difficult to get through them all when I can’t go anywhere because another person could conceivably be where I’d want to go and I might not notice that other person until I was less than six feet away from them, and then I’d catch coronavirus from that horrible person who should not have been outside and who definitely shouldn’t have been where I was, and then I’d go on to infect two people, who would each infect two people and pretty soon everyone but President Trump would be sick and I don’t want to be responsible for President Trump being the last person alive on Earth.

Still, I have to do something to pass all that time. I was tempted to go to the supermarket, especially since I qualify for the special “senior hours” they have now, but then I thought, who wants to be around all those sick old people? I finally ended up going during regular hours with my daughter (more on her in a moment), but there were still mostly old people milling around. Why weren’t they shopping when they’re supposed to instead of endangering me?

I managed to kill some time the other day trying to get through to Air Canada on the phone because we were supposed to go to Toronto this weekend but, of course, our flight was canceled, and we wanted a refund instead of vouchers which we would have to use before the end of the year. You see, we were going to Toronto for a very specific purpose, and we have no other reason to visit Canada in the near future, particularly not before the end of the year, if, in fact, we’re allowed to go to any country before the end of the year, or even leave our house before the end of the year. The Air Canada phone queue kept saying things like “wait time is approximately 45 minutes,” but that must have been Canadian minutes, because an hour and a half later I was still hearing Canadian muzak interspersed with announcements telling me that I could reserve my seats in advance for a small fee, as if this was a good time to be booking a new flight. I never did speak to anybody, which means friggin’ Air Canada is going to get to keep our money (because the cancellation was due to something out of its control), and, frankly, if I’m going to personally bail out an airline, I’d prefer it to be an American airline like JetBlue, which I take to Florida all the time to visit my mother, and which I will certainly fly on in the future if the nursing home my mother is in ever again allows visitors.

I am getting to spend a lot of time with my granddaughter Sydney because she has moved in with us for the duration, along with her mother and father, in order to avoid the population density of the Bronx, which is where they usually live, and the population density of their apartment, which is too small for two and a half people to be quarantined in for any length of time without one of the full people murdering the other full person. So we now have four and a half people in our house, which was a problem when I received my 2020 Census Form the other day, and one of the questions was “How many people will be living with you as of April 1, 2020?” and the way things were going, it didn’t look like our house was going to see any significant reduction in population density before that date, but, on the other hand, I didn’t want the Bronx to be under-represented in Congress.

Fortunately, our granddaughter is a delightful child who is a joy to be around but might be even more delightful if she took longer naps. I have to say that one side effect of the coronavirus seems to be a massive increase in Syd’s allowable screen time to the point where I find myself wishing that Elmo would catch a particularly virulent form of COVID-19 and infect Abby the friggin’ flying fairy and all the other denizens of Sesame Street.

Plus, Syd has a lot of toys, and her mother keeps ordering more from Amazon, which are delivered on a near-daily basis in boxes that our UPS guy probably spits on because why should he be risking infection just to help us keep Syd entertained. One new toy involved cling-on animal stickers that pretty much cling onto everything including, Syd quickly discovered, our large screen TV.

Of course, Syd would be perfectly happy playing with the same old toys over and over (and by spreading all her toys over the living room), but we get bored with the old toys, so the new toys are really for us. And we have about a hundred new children’s books, too, because we know how all the old ones end (Z is always zebra).

And then my wife Barbara unilaterally decided that one condition of “the children” staying with us is that our daughter Casey, the master baker whose appearances on a Canadian TV baking competition show air weekly, must provide dessert every night, so I’m sure I’m gaining a lot of weight so that, by the time things are back to normal, I’ll be too fat to go outside.

If I get really bored, I suppose I could put my dog Riley in the car and take him to one of the Stamford CT parks that are still open, but Riley gets carsick, and who the hell wants to be cleaning up dog vomit in addition to everything else we’re dealing with, and apparently, while dogs may or may not be able to get the virus, they evidently can literally carry the virus on their bodies, so that if Riley sniffs some other dog’s ass in the park, he could bring the germs home and infect my entire family, and then one of us would eventually have to go out for supplies, and that person would undoubtedly get too close to two other people, and then each of them would infect two people and pretty soon everyone but President Trump would be sick.

And I’m pretty sure my dog would not want to be responsible for President Trump being the last person alive on Earth.

See you not very soon.

Posted in babies, humor | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Entry 947: How the Coronavirus Affects Your Brain

Much has been made of all the flulike symptoms of COVID-19, but nobody is talking about how it affects your brain.

That’s probably because everyone is so focused on social distancing and deciding what to binge-watch while they’re in self-isolation that no one is noticing how the contagion is disrupting our thought patterns to the point where the only sane people left in America may be the folks who had previously been quarantined in asylums.

I’ve previously posted about the mad dash to stock up on Hostess Twinkies (and Ding Dongs) in the wake of the virus, but here are some more examples of what I’ll call coronabrain, none of which I am making up:

>There was a fight in a Sam’s Club near Atlanta. This altercation was not over the last remaining canned goods (or even the penultimate box of Twinkies). The struggle occurred in the wine aisle, and escalated to the point where two guys were going at each other with broken bottles as if they were in an Old West saloon. To further demonstrate the insanity-causing aspects of the virus, when I mentioned this story to my wife and daughter as an example of lunacy, they thought the fight (and especially the fact that it was in the wine aisle) was perfectly rational.

>Everyone’s complaining that stores are out of toilet paper, but no one’s asking why the hell stores are out of toilet paper. Why are people hoarding Charmin? It’s not as if diarrhea is a symptom of COVID-19.

>Amid horror stories about passengers stuck for weeks on cruise ships and then finally disembarking only to be quarantined in military facilities . . . and after the CDC warned people not to take cruises . . . thousands of vacationers boarded a Carnival ship in Galveston last Thursday. “I think the whole coronavirus thing is overblown,” said one of the travelers. “We’re just going to go to Mexico and have a good time.” Maybe they’ll be okay . . . until they get off the boat at their destination and get shot by members of a drug cartel.

>Elon Musk tweeted that “the coronavirus panic is dumb.” On the other hand, given his history of comments (see: tweet, Thai cave, calling rescuer a “pedo”), maybe his insanity is not virus-related.

>KFC announced that it was suspending its “finger lickin’ good” campaign in Great Britain. This came just a few weeks after announcing the search for a “professional finger licker” who would be featured on billboards across Britain. “It doesn’t feel like the right time to be airing this campaign, so we’ve decided to pause it for now,” said a spokesperson. Well, first, I have to say that no time feels right for a professional finger licker. But, more importantly, what does this have to do with the coronavirus? Can you spread the virus by licking your fingers after eating chicken (assuming you washed them before you ate the chicken)? Or does the campaign show Brits licking other people’s fingers, in which case, eeewwww!

>Every company I’ve ever done business with is sending me emails to let me know what they’re doing about COVID-19. Okay, I can understand airlines and hotels. Maybe even banks (our pens are clean!). But I also got an email from Genworth, which is my long-term care insurance company, about how clean they were keeping their offices, as if I would choose this particular time in history to pay them a visit in person. It’s also a bit disconcerting to hear from my dentist, since I was kind of under the impression he’d try to keep his office pretty germ-free under normal circumstances. And finally I received a “Coronavirus Update” from Altice, my cable service provider. “We are actively monitoring the COVID-19/Coronavirus situation,” it said, “and taking steps to help keep our communities safe.” It went on, but I stopped reading because I had more important Coronavirus updates to read, such as one from my local pizza place (they were instituting curb-side pickup). Here’s my question: What steps could my cable company be taking to keep me safe? Disinfecting the wires?

>People have readily accepted “news” that cocaine cures COVID-19. These were likely the same people who survived the previously-circulated cure that involved drinking bleach. For the record, cocaine is just to get you through the self-quarantine, not a cure for the disease.

>While many industries are experiencing severe downturns due to the virus, a few are seeing booming business. Of course, companies that manufacture any sort of sanitizer are making big bucks, but there are also less obvious firms benefiting. Take, for instance, Paulsen, makers of the IDC Infectious Disease Control Spit Shield, which is now being sold as protection from germs. Folks buying them now are ignoring the fact that these items are intended to be worn by prisoners during transport (note the fashionable orange attire on the friendly-looking model) so that they can’t spit on the guards. In other words, these things would only protect you if everybody else in the world was wearing them. Also, it should be noted that the Paulsen IDC Infectious Disease Control Spit Shield comes with the following disclaimer: “WARNING–This product may contain chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” Wouldn’t it be a shame if you got cancer instead of COVID-19?

>Finally, no post about stupidity would be complete without mentioning President Trump, who has shown his concern about the virus and demonstrating what Americans should do about it by meeting with the infected communications chief of Brazil and waiting days to get tested.  In the meantime, he met in person (and shook the hands of) as many important people as possible, and made sure to visit the CDC to spread some germs around there. Trump explained the episode away by saying he only stood next to the Brazilian for “literally seconds” to take a picture, and then added “Now, I did sit with the president (of Brazil) for probably two hours, but he’s tested negative, so that’s good.” Our leader apparently wants us to know that, if you have contact with an infected person, you won’t get the disease unless everyone who comes in contact with that person gets it. Trump has always been a great role model for these sorts of things, like when he was photographed looking at the sun during the eclipse.

See you soon, but probably not in person.

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