A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Morning Post (V.2; #12): It Sucks to Be US

I have been working from home this past week.  The novelty of this exercise wore off after three days.  I complain even with the knowledge that I am one of the lucky ones: I am still employed.  Over three million Americans applied to unemployment benefits last week, which I think is a record.

The statistics show that the number of cases is rising in this country, as is the ignorance from the far right.  Medical professionals are dealing with not only tracking and, more importantly, treating new cases but also with researching an eventual cure and vaccine. The cure may very well be a full year in the future.  The cries of “hoax” from the far right are also rising and just as dangerous.  I fear that we will not find a cure for their ignorance.  Their condition is incurable.

Governors of various states have demonstrated that they are the adults in the room by adopting a series of precautions to slow the spread.  Under orders business in many states have ceased operations or, as in my case, transitioned to an all at home work force.  We’re still serving our clients even as we hope these current conditions will be temporary.

The notions of quarantining all at home and safe distancing may do the trick at the state’s levels.  I wish I could say we are getting the same level of competent guidance at the federal level, but...  One minute we are told that we should prepare for an extended period of extra precautions; the next minute we are told that the country should be open and fully operational in time for Easter in two weeks.

Unfortunately, bacterial viruses have no concept of a calendar.  They will do what they are biologically capable of doing before they die.  They don’t punch in and out on a time clock.  Their shift is 24/7.

The federal government’s response — depending on if the ideas of the adults in the room prevail — may hinder our capability to overcome the disease.  Governors in some states are not getting the medical equipment they requested because President Petty* doesn’t feel they gave him the correct amount of respect which he feels is his due.  It’s sad to think how many people will die at the cost of his vanity.

On a personal level, working from home hasn’t been so bad.  My commute has been reduced from 4 miles to six feet.  Dress is beyond casual; shirts and pants are now optional.   That’s as far as I’ll go with that description.

There are some hardships not usually experienced by a typical middle class American.   For example, we have been trying to order carry out from our favorite local restaurants.  The fast food franchises and pizzerias have stayed open.   We did have three Chinese carry outs within a two-mile radius for years.  Not now.  All three have closed until further notice.

Now, with cases rising, the closures may very well be extended for a few more weeks or months.  We understand that this sacrifice is necessary to alleviate suffering and avoid death, but for now it does suck to be us in the United States.

*As in petty and vindictive, not Tom.

(Thank you for reading.  Stay well, everyone.)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Morning Post (V.2, #11): OMG

This past week was a wild ride, wasn’t it?

I will not even mention the stock market gyrations. I realize that use of the word gyrations is an understatement.

Our governor closed everything in Pennsylvania effective Friday.  Grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies are among the few places that can stay open.  Any restaurants that can operate doing only take-out business have remained open, but many have closed.  I fear that a number of them will not re-open once the panic dies down and the rate of viral infection is reduced.

I am now working at home until further notice.  My company had been preparing us to work from home for a week.  Most of my colleagues had already been at home all week.  Needless to say, our physical work place felt like a ghost town since last Monday.

Warrior Queen’s business has also effectively been shut down.  They have figured out a way to do the things they need to do with a rotating schedule of one person in the office/day.  I guess this was a compromise as it will keep contact between employees, and hence the possibility of the virus spreading, to a minimum.

We had planned to do our weekly grocery trip this morning, but WQ decided to postpone her shopping for later in the week since she’ll need something to do to pass the time. I went this morning with my half of the shopping list. The store was more crowded than usual for a Sunday morning, but it wasn’t the frenzy from a week ago.  The store has recovered somewhat from the near sacking of last week.  The bread shelves were stocked again, but the meat department is still vastly empty. 

My main item was cat food.  Unfortunately, these shelves are still largely empty.  I came looking for certain flavors which our oldest cat (Nyla) likes, but I was disappointed again.  As an added complication the queen cat of the house has chosen this time of her life to act all snobbish about what is placed in front of her. I got what I could and hope that WQ will have better luck later this week.

We have also resolved to do as much as we can for local businesses as we can in the meantime.  Our favorite local pizzeria is still operating for take-out and we ordered a delivery from them yesterday.  We’ll get more than a few meals out of the food we ordered.  So, if nothing else we shall use this as our rallying cry: Support your local pizzeria!

Like everyone else, I am hoping that all of this — the closures, the shortages, the quarantines, the financial hardships, and the pandemic — are all short lived.  Over in two weeks?  Doubtful, but we’ll persevere in any case.

(Thank you for reading.  Be safe, be healthy.)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sunday Morning Post (V.2 #10): Greetings from Montgomery County!

(EDITORS NOTE: We must admit at the outset that we had reservations about publishing this entry when Arteejee submitted it to us for editing.)

As you may remember, the last two entries were full of despondency and anxiety.  Well, fear not!  Those moods are gone.  The bad news: it appears that he has made a 180 degree turn in the other direction and…well, perhaps its best if we put it out there and you decide.

Greetings from Montgomery County, one and all! Home to the largest mall (King of Prussia, by actual retail square footage) in North America!  Also, the epicenter of the newly minted Coronavirus pandemic in the state of Pennsylvania!  Yay and yahoo!

Pennsylvania officials have identified 19 confirmed cases* of Coronavirus in Montco, and a number of others have been tested.  All are quarantined and the governor declared schools should be closed for two weeks.  This was also the signal for every adult in the county to suddenly lose their minds, instinctively switch on their mob mentality, and race to the stores to stock up/hoard every food and cleaning supply they could think of!

I actually walked into this panic, not having heard what the governor had declared.   I thought I could just walk in, gather up two weeks of cat food, and walk out.  Ha!  I now know I was extremely naïve to make such assumptions, but I’ll save the details for another time.

The next day, the governor closed all of the schools in the state in an effort to contain the virus.  After all, why should Montgomery County have all the fun!

We couldn’t have done it without the outright neglect and indifference to public health by the current regime.  It was, after all, the President’s administration who defunded a government agency (created by that Obama guy during the Ebola outbreak) which would have monitored and identified the Coronavirus as a possible epidemic months before now.   Now, as last week demonstrated, we’re trying to catch up real fast.

American business kept a close eye on the situation as the first virus cases were reported on the west coast.  Then Wall Street got all panicky and started selling off everything.  One day it was a few percentage points, followed by a slight recovery as investors bought stocks at bargain basement prices.  The President gave a national address to reassure his beloved ones on Wall Street.  He announced travel restrictions to keep that “foreign disease” from spreading, tried to advise people that anyone could get tested for the disease if they wanted to be tested, and he was thinking about suspending payroll taxes until after the election.

The speech was meant to reassure everyone that his administration was on top of the situation.  No one was assured and the next day the stock market had its worst performance since 1987, dropping over 2,000 points in one day.

Mayday!  Mayday!  Mayday!

Please don’t take our word for it.  Let’s go to our reporter on the floor of stock exchange.

Oh dear!  He seems to be taking the stock market difficulties a bit too seriously.  You’d think that he was the one that had $2,000 evaporate from his 401k account in the last two weeks!

The closure announcements started the next day.  First it was the schools, followed by non-essential businesses, then government buildings.  The federal government announced the closure of the Senate and House office buildings to the public until the end of the month.   Federal workers – staffers and members of Congress - will probably be told to stay home next.   How will day-to-day working of government look?   Perhaps we should look in on CSPAN for a clue.

Well, that didn’t look good.  Either the senator has caught the virus, or CSPAN has opted to show Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in a continuous loop until everyone comes back to work.  Actually, given the current state of our dysfunctional government today, Mr. Smith is more reassuring than reality television at this point.  I get the vibe that our system will survive…even if we human beings don’t survive.

On second thought, don’t come near Montgomery County and stay home for a few weeks.   We’re closed: our schools and the malls.  Yes, even King of Prussia!

*as of Saturday afternoon, March 14, 2020.

(Thank you for reading.  No Wall Street tycoons were harmed in the production of this post.  Lucky them!)