What I Learned Today – Friday, August 7

I received my first mail-in ballot yesterday for the Massachusetts primary. I’ll fill it out and send it today or tomorrow. The only interesting race in it is Markey vs Kennedy for Senate.  I’m voting for Markey who I have always found to be a damn good Senator.

As for now, I’m enjoying to sticking to getting most of my news in the morning. The news cycle, especially when it comes to Trump, is just a never-ending barrage of idiocy, bad policies, and it will drive you nuts if you just keep refreshing twitter and watching CNN. Small doses seems to be the best means for consumption now. Like you’re immunizing yourself from some kind of poison. Especially given that the presidential race will be hitting warp speed at the same time that schools open up as the pandemic numbers are already spiking in the majority of the country. I’m not expecting 2020 to go out quietly. We’ll be lucky to get out of this not just with our health, but our sanity.

We have hit the 5 million mark for covid-19 cases in the US. I wish I could report that anybody in government seems to care anymore.

A catholic priest who was upset at parishoners for not going to church out of fears of getting the coronavirus has caught the coronavirus. Must be part of god’s plan.

The US has issued a travel warning about going to New Zealand because they currently have 23 active cases. (I checked this like 3 times to make sure I wasn’t linking to the Onion.) If you want to know how petty this warning is, the population of New Zealand is almost 5 million.  We have had over 5 million coronavirus cases in the US alone and current active cases is almost 2.5 million that we even know about. Oh yeah, and New Zealand has already closed their borders to Americans, just like every other sane nation has done by now.

The stimulus negotiations are not going well with Trump’s chief of staff getting huffy after negotiating with the Democrats for a few hours yesterday. Trump was so upset with the lack of help for the millions of unemployed Americans that he couldn’t even stay in the White House and has left for a three day golfing weekend.

Meanwhile, Kanye, in true Trumpian fashion, is saying the quiet part loud and has admitted that his halfhearted presidential run is just an attempt to take votes away from Biden:

Trump declares TikTok a national emergency and signs an executive order to ban it in 45 days. Because in Trump’s head, Sarah Cooper is a bigger threat than Covid-19. Nobody is really sure how legal this even is. And Trump’s crowing about how the US will get a piece of any sale of TikTok to an American company will surely muddy up the legal questions.

And a Rube Goldberg pop quiz!





What I Learned Today – Thursday, August 6

I started watching Dark on Netflix yesterday. How deep of a rabbit hole did I just enter?

Florida passes 500,000 cases and breaks more hospitalization records. Does anybody even care?

So far the schools that have opened have been amazing….. at spreading the coronavirus.

A high school student has been suspended for sharing a picture of a packed hallway during a class change with no masks. The school’s policy is to punish anybody who posts something to social media that could be construed as negative to the school’s image. I wonder if whistleblower laws apply to this situation.

Jobless report today is 1.2 million.  This is happening while Congress still can’t agree on UI support.  I’m not an economist so maybe I’m wrong here, but isn’t over a million people losing their jobs on a weekly basis kinda bad?

Trump’s bank complied with a subpoena. In any other administration, this would be huge news that captured every single news cycle. I’m not holding my breath on this.

Hey look, two steps forward, 1.9 steps back:

Here’s that ukelele cover of Sweet Child O’ Mine that you haven’t requested but need.

And it’s not the only amazing cover that they have performed.

What I Learned Today – Wednesday, August 5

The remnants of the storm that is spelled close to Isiah but different and I refuse to google for the umpteenth time to see exactly how to spell it passed over us yesterday. We had an hour of rain and wind and then it disappeared, like a miracle.  Ok, coffee made, just rebooted the cat, let’s see what’s going on out there today.

US averages more than 1,000 deaths again for the ninth day in a row. Current death toll is now over 160,000. I’ve never seen death normalized so fast.

Trump completely changes course and says voting my mail is perfectly fine, as long as you are in Florida with that nice Republican governor who is busy killing off constituents with his homicidal negligence.  But voting by mail is perfectly fine.

Also, Trump is suing Nevada to stop them from voting by mail.

Trump claimed that yesterday’s horrendous explosion in Beirut was caused by a bomb. This morning the Pentagon said Trump was full of shit. They may have phrased it differently.

The explosion has left 300,000 homeless and at least 100 dead.  After seeing video of the explosion, it will be a miracle if there are only 100 people killed. That was the most devastating video I have seen short of nuclear testing films.

There are some first hand accounts of living in and around the blast radius in this Reddit thread.

This video is [chef’s kiss]

Chris Cornell’s acoustic version of Fell on Black Days is everything.



What I Learned Today – Tuesday, August 4

Whatever is left of Hurricane Isaias will be passing over me in a few hours. Looks like it should be weakened enough that we’ll just get some rain and some gusts of wind.  Perhaps a thunderstorm. Let’s take a look around the web while I still have electricity and see what’s new.

The above obituary ran in the local paper of Jefferson, Texas.

Coronavirus is found on another operating cruise ship.  Wait, CRUISE SHIPS ARE OPERATING AGAIN?????

Five people who attended a meeting with Gov. DeSantis tested positive for Covid.  DeSantis says “No no, it’s ok, I tested negative.” Schools are opening btw.

Speaking of schools, 260 school employees in a Georgia school district have tested positive for Covid-19. I’m sure adding students to the mix will undoubtedly slow the spread.

Our dear leader had another train wreck of an interview.  All of his interviews are fairly disastrous. He has surrounded himself with sycophants who will agree with whatever his brain worms are saying that day so when anybody asks him a question, no matter how much of a softball it is, he can’t do anything but flap around like a fish out of water.

Oh good god.  He really clings to the testing graph like a person who can’t swim in the deep end of a pool clinging to anything that looks like it can float.

When asked what he thinks about John Lewis, he just keeps bringing up how John Lewis didn’t go to his inauguration.

The entire interview is here if you really want to put yourself through it.  You won’t learn much new though if you already have come to the conclusion that Trump is a narcissist without any cognitive ability left in his warped racist shriveled brain who needs to be escorted from the White House and transferred to a padded cell as soon as possible.

And I made myself a promise when I started doing these longer blog posts that at least one link would be something positive and not dealing with politics or pandemics. So my favorite subreddit of the day, /r/Museum where beautiful works of art are posted daily.  My favorite of the day:

Books I Read in July

The amount of books that I have read this year is really down.  I just realized it’s probably because I’m working from home and that a lot of my reading happened while I was commuting on the train into Boston. So only two this month.

The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah I think I discovered this one googling about books about traveling. British author Tahir Shah buys a mansion in Morocco which belonged to a caliph and needs renovating. Actually, now that I think about it, this is similar to Under the Tuscan Sun that I read last month except there are caretakers who believe that djinn inhabit this house and get angry about everything. Quite a culture shock on how to navigate through the red tape, slums, and gangsters of Casablanca. Shah is an immersive writer who brings you right into his world.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller Whoa. I went into this book blind. It somehow made its way onto my library queue and it was the only book available when I finished The Caliph’s House so I figured I would read a few pages before returning it to the library. Instead, I was transported into Miller’s retelling of The Iliad. This is easily one of the best books I have read this year and may be one of my all time favorites at this point. Not even going to say more.  Just download a sample from Amazon, if you like the first chapter you’ll love the rest.

What did you read last month?

What I Learned Today – Monday, August 3

Good morning. I trust everybody had a good weekend where social-distancing was still being practiced and when human interaction was unavoidable, masks were worn by all? I guess we might as well start the week. My colleague is next to me full of anticipation about what we will find out is going on in the world today:

Florida broke a new record for weekly coronavirus deaths with 1,230. I’m sure Governor DeSantis has some convoluted spin on how this is a good thing but I just don’t feel like googling for it at the moment.

Pelosi is calling out Dr. Birx for being a Trump lackey. Well, I lost all credibility with Dr. Birx quite early on as soon as she stepped in front of a camera and said[Trump is] so attentive to the scientific literature & the details & the data. I think his ability to analyze & integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit.” Well, we know that Trump has the attention span of a coked out sand flea who can’t even bother to have his daily briefings acted out for him with puppets, so the likelihood of him being able to spell ‘scientific literature’ is nil so we know either Dr Birx’s Hermes scarf is either too tight or she decided to cover for him. (A little while after this is when Trump turned to her during that press conference to declare that injecting disinfectants was something his experts were looking into and you could see the last of Dr. Birx’s credibility leave her in a huff, never to return.)

11,000 Americans were refused entry to Canada. Well, yeah, the border is closed so the surprising part about this is that thousands still tried. I can’t really blame any country right now for closing their borders to us Americans given how poorly we have responded to this pandemic.

GOP Michigan Senator who was anti-lockdown just tested positive for Covid-19. Because, of course he did.

The CDC is predicting 19,000 more deaths in the next 20 days.  This sounds like a lowball figure to me given that we are almost at 1500 deaths a day now. We are currently at 158,375 deaths as I write this.

My god, this chart:

The GOP is blocking journalists from their racist convention.  Ok, fine.  Don’t cover it. Don’t give them any attention at all. The only thing Trump is actually good at is getting publicity, so starve him.

Trump is still mad at Tik Tok and threatening to ban it unless Microsoft buys it.  I don’t use Tik Tok.  I don’t foresee myself ever using Tik Tok. I know whenever I post anything about Tik Tok that people tell me why Tik Tok is bad and riddled with spyware. Which could very well be the case, but there’s no way that is the reason why Trump wants to ban it.  He’s pissed that Tik Tok users messed up his Tulsa rally. That’s the only thing Trump can comprehend. And maybe it’s Sarah Cooper’s fault.

This is a real headline: Egypt tells Elon Musk its pyramids were not built by aliens. Sigh. I’m assuming Elon said something stupid on twitter again. I would delve into this but Trump has taken up all my patience of stupid rich people who think they are geniuses on the tweet machine.

34 blueberry recipes?  Yes please.

And why people think the world is flat?

Florida Breaks Deaths Record For Fourth Straight Day

257 new deaths. Hey Floridians, you may want to impeach your governor for, you know, murder.

The Florida Department of Health reported 257 new COVID-19 deaths in Florida on Friday, marking the fourth consecutive day the state has surpassed its own daily death record.

The state’s total amount of lives lost to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic in March now nears 7,000, with 6,843 Florida resident deaths and 123 non-resident deaths. July alone saw 3,409 COVID-19 related deaths recorded – nearly 50 percent of the state’s total COVID-19 deaths.