Unpredictable results of the pandemic

If we knew in advance that a pandemic was coming, and could foresee what would happen, I suppose many of us would have predicted the lockdown under which most Americans now live.  But I doubt that I would have guessed that, beyond the deaths, misery, and confusion, we’d also have to live with more minor but completely unforeseeable deprivations.  Here are three that I’ve noticed:

1.) Nobody can get a haircut, at least not in a commercial salon or barbershop.  The upside is: who cares? Who’s gonna see you? As with others who aren’t bald of depilated, I’m getting shaggier and shaggier (I’ll document this over time):

2.) Sports is effectively dead for the time being. Every night I watch the sports broadcast on the local news (only because it’s the last thing before my beloved but now scary national newscast), and it’s sad: they replay highlights from previous seasons of the Bulls, Bears, Sox, Cubs, and Blackhawks, and simply report that one event after another is canceled. I am not a big sports aficionado, but many people are, and this will be distressing to them.

3.) Dating is pretty much out of the window. You can’t meet somebody either online or in person, since there’s social distancing, and where would you go with them anyway? The classic dating ads tout a love of “long walks by the lake,” but Mayor Lori Lightfoot has closed Chicago’s lakeshore because people were congregating there and violating social-distancing norms.

Those are the three that I’ve thought of in the last day. Do you have other unpredictable outcomes?



  1. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Rapidly approaching a basic beans and rice diet as the local fancy grocery store no longer has an olive bar or exotic cheese.

    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      My go-to meal these days is black beans and rice, with other stuff mixed in: eggs, some stir-fried pork, or the like.

      I’m told that black beans and rice is a nearly complete diet. But I’m getting pretty sick of it!

      • GBJames
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        We ordered out from our favorite local Indian restaurant last night. Got a bottle of wine with it. It was excellent and there are enough leftovers for tonight, too! (Except the wine’s all gone.)

      • Matt
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        I got turned on to black beans at Mexican restaurants. One day at home I made chili and decided to use black beans instead of the usual kidney beans. I’ll never go back! Black beans are the best.

        • GBJames
          Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          “Black beans are the best.”

          True fact.

        • darrelle
          Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          Absolutely! When I was young I hated chili because I hated kidney beans and my Mom always made her chili with kidney beans.

          I still hate kidney beans but have long since come to love chili. Real chili of course has no beans. But even chili with beans is great as long as the beans are black or pinto, heck even white beans.

          • Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            I don’t care for kidney beans (except in certain recipes, where they work) but I can eat them.

            Black beans are my favorite. In Chili I use about 60% frijoles pintos and 40% frijoles negros.

            • darrelle
              Posted April 9, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

              Mixing them is good too.

              What kind of meat do you like to use? Ground beef and or pork is good and easy, but if I feel like taking the time pork butt and beef stew meat are a step up.

        • Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          I have acquired the idea that pinto beans are better than black.

          • Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            I agree. I recoil at the constant assertion that black beans are somehow inherently superior.

            • Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

              I just like the flavor better; but pintos are great too.

              • Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

                I was only railing at how most upscale Mexican restaurants in SoCal offer black beans as if everyone agreed that they were better than the pinto bean (refried beans usually) offered at the lower end places. It’s certainly ok to personally prefer one over the other. I enjoy pretty much all kinds of beans, just so you know.

              • darrelle
                Posted April 9, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink


                When it comes to refried beans I think both black and pintos are delicious. But whichever are used, they have got to be made with LARD!

              • Posted April 9, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

                I would likely agree with you if I knew the facts. I have had a sneaking suspicion that my liking of refried beans correlates almost exactly with the amount of lard used in their preparation. It’s probably harder to hide the lard in the typical black bean preparation.

              • darrelle
                Posted April 9, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

                🙂 Just about anything is better with lard.

              • Mark R.
                Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

                Especially if it’s pork lard!

        • Mark R.
          Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          And black beans have far less calories than other beans.

          • GBJames
            Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            Fewer calories, says the pedant! 😉

            • Mark R.
              Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

              Far fewer sounds better anyway with the alliteration and all.

              • Mike Anderson
                Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

                Far fewer is much less worse.

      • Peter
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        My stylist (cutter?) works from home, and we have agreed that is probably a bad idea for the time being. Things are going to start getting interesting in a month or so.

        We have been surviving on three winter favourites that are easy to prepare, and use simple ingredients: Moroccan harira, which is a chickpea (garbanzo) soup, Minestrone Soup, and Mulligatawny soup. Amazing how many recipes start with: “Sauté onions, carrots and celery”. Recipes can be found with a quick Google search.

        • Mark R.
          Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          Those are three great soups. I’ve also made a big batch of Mysore rasam and last winter made a big batch of harira. I freeze soups in single size portions and they stay fresh in the deep freeze for up to a year. I also have a good stash of cioppino, pozole and caldo de pollo. As you can surmise, I love soup, both making and eating it.

  2. GBJames
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I didn’t expect to be listening this morning to John Prine and feeling sad.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Last night I watched the 2005 interview of Prine by Library of Congress poet laureate Ted Kooser that one of our fellow commenters had linked to yesterday.

      It’s great.

    • Paul Matthews
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I have two John Prine albums on CD: the first one and Bruised Orange. I hadn’t listened to either in ages but put them both on twice today as my small homage to him. They seem quite different: the first full of gritty slice-of-life songs with a generous dose of sardonic humour and Bruised Orange much more whimsical. Both good, especially the first one. Quite an accomplishment for someone in his early twenties.

      I also felt sad: because of his death, which I imagine was very grim, but also because the characters in the songs of the first album, although presumably fictional, ring true: people for whom life hasn’t worked out. John Prine at least had a full life.

  3. Joseph McClain
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I relocated to the mountains of Virginia in early February. Just under the social-restriction wire. I wonder how or if the movers would be able to cart all my stuff. We sold our Williamsburg house and when we closed, we were met by a woman in gloves and masks, shown into a room with table, chairs, stack of documents and Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. The woman left the room and told us to knock on her door if we had questions.

    With a large landholding in Floyd County, Virginia, we purchased a small tractor. Both deal and the delivery are traditionally sealed with a handshake, but not in these times. Both sides were uncomfortable with the absence. I wonder if it voids my warranty.

    By the way, Prof. Ceiling Cat, Emeritus, you have surface in your alma mater’s social media. Check out Lord Botetourt’s Facebook page.

    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      I just looked but can find no such Facebook page.

      • Joseph McClain
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Try @lordbot

        • Jim batterson
          Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          Yes. Twitter. Four houses of four each william and mary alums quarantined. Pcc(e) in one of the houses. Pick the group with whom you would like to quarantine. Interesting selections from several walks of life.

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It’s an ill-wind that blows no good. I am at best indifferent to sports, and the lack of it not only doesn’t bother me, it’s made group calls with co-workers more pleasant because I don’t have to listen to them talking about the last game, and then asking if I saw it, or what team I support. Also, being married, I not only don’t date, but my wife cuts my hair.

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      1/ For approximately the 2500th time, I’ve just cut a bit of my own hair (assuming a little snip or two, once a week for 50 years.
      2/ Sports is doing it, not watching it, once you’re old and need to: so about 150 km. done on bike, small amount on rollerskis, and poling machine from ConceptII, no rowing macine says hip surgeon for 2 more months.
      3/ On our last date, we each donned a mask separately, she to buy enough stuff to make 6 months worth of granola, me to get drinking water (our well is very clean, but much too ‘tasty’–hardest water in southern Ontario I’d guess.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      There was an article today in the Washington Post that the US has a glut of chicken wings because March Madness, the NBA and other sports activities were cancelled. I did our weekly grocery shopping this morning and sure as shit, they had a huge sale of chicken wings. I hadn’t read the article yet, but I bought a few pounds because they were dirt cheap. Then I bought some blue cheese and ranch and buttermilk. Guess what I’m having for dinner tonight?

  5. boudiccadylis
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    My dog needs a groomer seriously. I’m too small and he’s too big to bathe him. He’s an Australian shepherd so maybe when this is back to some interaction between groomer and the paying and of the client he’ll look as if he’s been herding sheep instead of cats.

    • boudiccadylis
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      End of client

    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      My dog needs his nails trimmed — I don’t see well enough to do it. I also don’t have cutters. He also needs grooming — he’s small, but terrified of water, and I’m short and it’s a mell of a hess if I get him in the sink for a bath. Oh, well. This, too, shall pass.

      • darrelle
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Don’t know if you’ve ever tried them, but there are dog grooming wipes pretty commonly available. I’ve never tried them on dogs, but I’ve used them on cats before and they work reasonably well. Not as thorough as a shampoo, but not bad and much easier. They should be available for delivery from on line pet stores. Amazon has a large variety.

      • Marta
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Mine, too.

        I cut her nails once and nicked the quick and then vowed that, if that was going to happen to her again, it would be because someone did it, not me.

        I think PetSmart (select locations) is still grooming, but I don’t know what restrictions might be in force.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        Might try a cornstarch dog bath or dry shampoo.

  6. Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place and commented:
    At least I now have a valid excuse for looking shaggy.

  7. Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    My kids cut my hair (very short). I don’t watch sports, but my sons are swimmers and this has a normalizing effect on their lives. What was once a distinguishing characteristic among their peers has now temporarily vanished.

    Life without work is hard for those who like to work. I miss work. This is not my life:

    Working Man

  8. Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Now hand lotion is getting hard to find. All that hand washing and purelling has dried out people’s hands.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Luckily for our household my wife has hoarded hand and body lotion for decades. We won’t run out in our life times.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I have cracked knuckle skin and a couple are a little bloody. We have plenty of lotion, but I keep forgetting to put it on…I’ve never liked hand lotion. I’m wearing gloves when I go out shopping and today was the first time I wore a mask. I’d say 75% of the people at Fred Meyer’s in Monroe were wearing masks today. I was glad to see it; makes me feel a bit safer.

  9. Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    people were congregating there and violating social-distancing norms.

    It’s funny how quickly social distancing has become a “norm”.

    Anyway, you regularly make posts bemoaning the quality of modern pop music and I usually respond by saying that good quality music is still available but you have to go and see the bands live. Clearly that’s not happening at present and I normally spend the summer at three different music festivals. Two have been cancelled and the third can’t be far behind.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      I’ve had to cancel a couple of concerts I was really looking forward to also. I’m sad because I may not get another chance to see at least one of them, Tool.

      I was also looking forward to seeing Jerry in Tallahassee. The kids were looking forward to it also. Probably wont’ get another chance to see him either.

      • Mark R.
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        I was planning on a bunch of friends flying into Seattle and all of us were going to Comicon. Nope. Then we had a trip to Boston planned. Nope. And my grandmother turns 93 this year and we were planning on flying down to California at the end of May for that. Nope. Maybe next year…

        • darrelle
          Posted April 10, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          We can get through this!

  10. David Fuqua
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Looking good, Professor!

    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Pretty soon he will be a gray version of 1972 if he’ll just grow a beard.😂

  11. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    “If we knew in advance that a pandemic was coming, and could foresee what would happen,…”

    Everyone with investments would have sold in massive numbers, tanking the economy.

    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Tanking the stock market you mean. Donald Trump thinks the economy and the stock market are the same thing, don’t fall into the same trap.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Wow – you mean, even _I_ could be President of The United States?

        Seriously though- I was talking broadly- I understand your point… actually I don’t know the difference so I’ll have to read about it.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Everyone with investments would have sold in massive numbers …

      You mean the way some US senators who had received a confidential briefing on COVID-19 in January did?


      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        They claimed a third party made all decisions for their portfolio

        I hope they tell us all who they have, I want their company.

        I wonder how they signaled the sales- tug on right ear lobe, wipe down forearms, … touch face! AAAAGH!

  12. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    One of John Oliver’s recent coronavirus videos shows an Italian official criticizing mobile barbers. It is sadly hilarious,

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I caught that show too…sadly hilarious is right. He’s still doing well in his small office. The not wearing pants bit last weekend was also hilarious.

  13. Laurance
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I can’t go to the dentist. It’s not the dentist’s fault. The PA government said so. At first even emergencies were forbidden, and people with emergencies were told to go to the emergency room – which does not do dentistry!

    I’m glad my abscess and root canal came right before the virus reached Pennsyltucky and things got shut down.

    Now, enough people protested to the government that I do believe there are certain things a dentist is allowed to do.

    I can’t see well, and I need my glasses checked. I haven’t even tried to see my eye doctor. I suspect she’s shut down, too. I don’t know if she’s able to see patients with an emergency.

    (And eye emergencies do happen, too. A young man suddenly was seeing double. The eye doctor took one look at him and sent him straight to the emergency room. In no time at all he was in the operating room to have a brain tumor removed.)

    These little local distilleries have added hand sanitizer to their repertoire. There’s a wonderful distillery just down the street from me, and in addition to their fine booze and fine bottled cocktails, they are now giving out their own fine hand sanitizer to customers who can order booze on the website and then come down to the distillery and cellphone call inside and someone will bring their purchase out to them.

  14. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Don’t have hair on top any longer so starting to look like larry from the three stooges.

    If you wanted to know about the most expensive waste of time, the no longer acting secretary of the navy can take that prize. Modly is the name to forget but he spent $243,000 and 35 hours round trip to speak directly to the crew of the Roosevelt and trash their fired captain. Made the flight, not commercial by any means, but on a C-37B, same as a Gulf Stream 550, cost per hr. $6,946. This is how the military spends our money these days. Don’t you feel safe?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      He wanted a mission, and for his sins they gave him one. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, he never wanted another.

      He also got shitcanned and got 14 days in quarantine due to coronavirus exposure. Couldn’t’ve happened to a more deserving fella.

    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I find a kind of poetic justice in it.

      He fired the ship’s captain essentially for using an insecure channel to criticise the Navy. Then he himself got fired essentially for using an insecure channel to criticise the captain.

  15. Stephen Mynett
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Never thought I would witness a concert played to an empty house but that is exactly what happened with the last performance by the Berliner Philharmoniker before the lockdown.

    They had already decided it was unsafe and unwise to allow an audience in but with extra spacing the orchestra decided to play the planned concert and it was streamed live, also free.

    They are also showing quite a bit of free stuff online. There is also the option of a trial free week for their subscription service, although card details needed and you have to remember to cancel. That said, 150€ a year is a good deal when under normal circumstances there is a live performance streamed nearly every Saturday and an extensive archive available all of the time.


    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      I occasionally watch Circle TV that we get via antennae, and they now show live and taped concerts at the Grand Old Opry with great artists playing to an empty hall.

  16. Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Trapped for a month at my mountain farm in Central France. My only distraction are four half-grown Muscovy ducks, and from my Conservatory I can watch them parade back and forth to the pond a hundred yards away. The lack of feminine company is a torment. What do women look-like? What do they smell like? What should I say if I meet one after all these weeks alone? Hope I don’t start to quack. George…

  17. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    One unforeseen consequence COULD be that on average we get a bit fitter. One way in which people are using the time in enforced lock down is by taking up exercise, often following some tv ‘guru’ or alternatively in other cases dusting down bits of exercise equipment that have remained embarassingly unused for months (or years) previously. Of course we will have to see if the initial enthusiasm is maintained but if it is it could be a small positive outcome of the pandemic.

    Admittedly my speculation assumes that the number of previously inactive people taking up exercise will out-number those whose previously vigorous sporting activities have been curtailed by the lock-down. However, my feeling is that the latter group will find some way to keep exercising so there could be a net increase in exercising. It’s a nice thought anyway that the pandemic might lead indirectly to a few premature cardiac arrests being avoided.

    • Matt
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      In my county they are threatening to shut down the bike trail because many walkers and runners aren’t social distancing on it. Why do idiots have to ruin it for the rest of us?

      • Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        We also have this rule but any risky recreational activity also brings the risk of an accident, thereby risk to A & E personal, unnecessary time wasting on over stretched medical facilities and resourses. Social distancing is just one facet of concideration.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Could be. I can see it going the other way though too. Sitting around eating, drinking, watching TV.

      In favor of your speculation, I’ve been looking for weights to buy for working out at home since I can’t go to the gym. I haven’t been able to find any. Nothing used from private sellers, nothing from the local sporting goods stores. I talked to the proprietor of a local sporting goods store yesterday. He asked what I was looking for, I said, “Weights, preferably an Olympic bar with center knurling, about 500 lbs of weights, a power rack and a good bench.” He laughed. He said he had a pair of 2.5 lbs Olympic plates and one 80 lbs cowbell. He said he’d been wiped out, but sometime next week he has a truck coming in with 20,000 lbs of weight equipment. But you have to be quick because the last such truckload he got was mostly gone within 4 hours.

      So apparently people are buying fitness equipment like crazy. Me? I’m still stuck doing pull-ups, push-ups and squats with a backpack filled with cat litter (clean!). I’m definitely going to lose ground at this rate. Which is frustrating because it’s much harder to get it back at my age than it was even 10 years ago.

    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Entropy takes over. People will mostly choose the ground state. It’s very hard on elite athletes. Some will walk more, but mostly it is the psychological effects that put a burden on most.

      Stress can take years off many people’s lives.

    • davelenny
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I see lots more people walking and biking than I used to

      Lacking any home fitness equipment other than some not very useful resistance bands, I greatly miss the gym, especially HIIT on exercycles.

      On the plus side, i’ve rediscovered the benefits of isometrics. Lifting yourself off a solid wooden chair, or pulling down by gripping its underside, attempting to lift with one hand a heavy wooden table while reading, provide an excellent upper body workout. Every 10 mins on the computer is now followed by one minute’s exercise. Instead of multiple push-ups , try the three minute push-up, ie, take 90 seconds to lower yourself, 90 seconds to return.

  18. Matt
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I get worried when Trump says we are approaching the peak of the virus. I’m afraid his MAGATs will take this as a cue to relax social distancing and masks thereby prolonging the virus.

    During my last few trips to buy groceries I have seen several people (total of about 10 so far) wearing their mask under their chin instead of over their mouth and nose. All of these people were black. I have seen reports of higher incidence of the virus among blacks. Why would a person bother to wear a mask in public if they are going to wear it under their chin???

    • rgsherr
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Because they’re afraid of being shot if they wear it over mouth and nose?

    • rooks
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Seriously? Social distancing is what is prolonging the virus, the quickest way to get through it is to let herd immunity develop. The current plan seems to be to destroy our economy while we isolate waiting for a miracle cure or, more likely, waiting 18+ months for a vaccine, which may never arrive.

      • Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        I’m glad you’re not in charge of the response: you just want to let the virus rip and millions of people die.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        You must be in charge of the Trump plan. Anti-human psychology is the govt. plan.

      • Matt
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        rooks I think you’d be happier watching Hannity and Ingraham.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          I recommend OANN – One America News Network

          John Oliver highlighted OANN in his piece on Sunday

          • darrelle
            Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            Saw that. It was good. Oliver is a national treasure.

            I’d never heard of OANN before I watched the Oliver piece. Holy shit. You couldn’t possibly parody that operation.

            • ThyroidPlanet
              Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

              All the way to and including the romance with Trump.

      • phoffman56
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Just look at the numbers difference between Norway and Sweden (several other examples as well) to see how wrong you are.

        • EdwardM
          Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          In the absence of a vaccine or other effective therapies, no matter the different ways this pandemic is fought at some point authorities are going to have to make a decision; when do we pull the trigger and open our economies back up? Without a vaccine or other effective therapies our only solution has been to shut down our economies. That has been effective but it is not sustainable. Norway, for example, has got control of their epidemic and expect to open back up on 27 April. What happens if the virus returns on 1 June? It will return.

          The hard truth is that our civilization cannot survive 18 months of shut economies waiting for an effective therapy. We are really under the gun. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is my primary anxiety.

          (I do think there is hope for much faster resolution – and that’s what I’m clinging to.)

          • phoffman56
            Posted April 9, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            Surely ‘open up our economy’ is NOT a black/white, AKA 0/1, matter. That’s the crux, and the hope, for countries whose ruling (party/criminal moron) isn’t so bad as that in in U.S.

            I realize it is still early and some relative numbers may change considerably. But a situation with two countries
            right next to each other,
            very similar populations,
            among the world’s best in health systems, but

            two governments who decide quite differently what to do, and finally,

            9 times the number of deaths in the country with only twice the population,

            that seems to me getting very convincing that anything even remotely like the ‘let tham die in droves and get lots of immunity for those left standing’ strategy has been by now pretty surely shown to be a grave error.

            • phoffman56
              Posted April 9, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

              Sorry, not 9 but about 7.5

      • EdwardM
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Rooks is factually correct – the fastest way through would be to let the virus run its course. Of course that’s not acceptable and people like rooks say it mostly for shock value and, in some cases, because they are not moral people.

        However, it must be stated that at some point in the future we will have to return to work and the virus is not going anywhere. We will have to make this kind of calculation at some point. Hopefully we will have enough immunity and proper therapies so that the number who die is not unacceptable. Remember, we tolerate more than 40000 flu deaths every year in the US and we still all go to work. Once we have a vaccine, much of this problem will be workable. Until then, we may have to make a very difficult decision somewhat along the lines that rook makes.

        • Matt
          Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          The virus could be eradicated in a couple of weeks if EVERYONE followed the social distancing. The virus is unsustainable without hosts to pass it around. If people want the economy to return they should focus on their behavior and not the economy.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Lemme guess: you got your medical degree from the same school as Diamond & Silk?

      • Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        That’s a very frightenng comment, espeically for those of us who live in poor countries with marginal health care.

        There is, however, a third way. We are spending trillions on stimulus and the economy of the world has tanked, and this si truly intolerable (again especially in poor countries where people have no savings and, shortly, no food). If we had, early on, bought everyone in the world high quality masks incorporated into a full-face mask, even if it cost $100 each, we’d have come out ahead and saved the world in the process.

        We can still do something like this on a smaller scale. It cold solve the problem quickly.

  19. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    As for sports, the horses are still running at Gulfstream. Available on TVG.

  20. Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    We’re in the process of moving from a house that we’ve lived in for 35 years, and all the places that would normally take donations of unwanted items–ARC, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.–are closed. On the positive side, I never would have predicted the number of items people will haul away from a parking strip.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Hey, Gary. I think you mentioned once that you were a John Prine fan. I put a link in #2 above to an interview he sat for in 2005 with the poet laureate of the Library of Congress. Thought you might find it interesting.

      Gonna miss that guy somethin’ fierce.

  21. fishnet123
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Australia has done a good thing for golfers. They allow groups of two plus distancing rules.

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      When your two balls occasionally end up very close on the fairway, walk fast and pick the better lie. You’re neither allowed to handle the ball to see which is which. But remove it from the cup at the end of the hole with a sterile wipe (and, half the time on average, say ‘Oops, sorry, wrong ball!’

  22. Tom MacPherson
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I am bingeing on podcasts while doing a lot more baking, and recently heard PCC(E) on an episode of the Infinite Monkey Cage.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      The whole family has started bingeing The Great British Bake Off show now available on Netflix. It has led to baking. Just cookies and tiramisu so far, but much more is in the works. Next is some sort of lemon cake with Limoncello curd and a lavender sauce.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      My wife is a bread baker and has wanted to bake bread since the lockdown. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been yeast available for a month. I checked at two stores today and still no yeast. Go figure. No rice either or popcorn. Grrr.

      • Steven Hill
        Posted April 10, 2020 at 12:26 am | Permalink

        Sourdough? Tastier and healthier. If your wife has some rye flour she can get a sourdough starter up and running in 4-5 days. If she has only wheat flour it will take longer. Google “Make a sourdough starter”.

        • Mark R.
          Posted April 10, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          Good advice, thanks. We had a starter for many years (named Captain Kirk for some reason)…rye flour…will have to check.

      • Marlene Zuk
        Posted April 10, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        I ended up buying yeast from Amazon at not too great expense. What has annoyed me (and probably your wife) is that I bet many of those buying yeast have never baked with it and are buying it performatively out of that vague panic-hoarding sense. I actually use it all the time and had just run out!

        • Mark R.
          Posted April 10, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          It’s crazy, we had a stash in the freezer, but it was 5 years old or so and we threw it out a couple months ago after doing freezer maintenance. Like dopes, we didn’t replace it. Yes, Amazon will probably be the where to purchase.

  23. Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    One unforeseen consequence is that Trump can’t sell his hotel in Washington.


    The reason why he is ostensibly trying to sell it is because of conflicts of interest, but I did read somewhere that the Trump organisation needs the cash to service its debts. It may be that Trump will notch up another bankruptcy.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Selling it because of conflicts of interest…that is funny.

  24. chris moffatt
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    If people practised ‘hygiene’ like Mayor Lightfoot they could get their hair done too! But if you stay unhygienic you have to stay shaggy. Tant pis.

  25. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I think this pandemic is a good demonstration that there is no free will

  26. drakodoc
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Unforeseen consequences: Local paint stores in our area are extremely busy. Apparently people are doing home beautification during quarantine. Also, the garden centers of local hardware and yard item business are selling quickly out of plants, mulch, soil and yard ornaments as exterior landscaping projects exponentially increase.

  27. Muffy Ferro
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    What I did not foresee is outdoor activities being curtailed. Like ski areas and boating reservoirs closing.

  28. Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The Einstein hairdo is always ‘nice’, sports could use no socks like Einstein, and one could possibly date your cousin, also like Einstein.
    Then again … Einstein didn’t like the quantum stuff … so not all Einstein is legit …

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Even marry her.

  29. rickflick
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Late last year I had a front tooth removed to be replaced by an implant in September. So, I’ve been going around with a gap which may endear me to locals as that’s rather common here in the Wild West of Idaho. Only, I don’t have confidence the dentist will be able to finish the job and give me back my normal appearance. Maybe sometime next year.

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Lots of excuse to frown (mouth closed) these days, unfortunately.

      • rickflick
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Ha, yes. 🙃

  30. samoffat@28gmailcom
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    abandoned animals, house pets – and after the tiger got the virus (true??), there will be ignorant cat owners who dump them. Dogs abandoned due to cost or irrational virus fears. If strays or lost are seen, please notify local shelters?

  31. docbill1351
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I’m going for the Einstein look.

    You can call me Al.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Ok, Al. But don’t think that means you can call me Betty. 🙂

      • docbill1351
        Posted April 10, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        I hope we both have that ear worm, now!

  32. Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Related to number 2 – a separate Sports Section has disappeared from the Denver Post, and the sports writers are actually writing some interesting personal life stories, e.g. the local MLB umpire who is spending much of his time preparing and delivering food relief.

  33. uommibatto
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    A few random things I didn’t anticipate:

    In my neighborhood, people putting out boxes of free things to share, such as citrus and in one case, notecards intended to be sent to elderly shut-ins

    Not gaining weight. This isn’t due to an exercise regimen, but I simply don’t feel much like eating.

    How quickly some environmental aspects have improved, such as less air pollution. Makes me hope that after this mess is largely over, people will think, “gee, we can positively affect the environment.”

    Larry Smith

  34. jhs
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    A potentially useful link –

    Ponytail Haircuts: Best 40 Ponytail Hairstyles For Boys And Men:

  35. Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    There have been reports of people having virtual first dates. It wouldn’t surprise me if the major dating apps have added such functionality. The apps could presumably interface to Zoom or equivalent to enable an online meeting without having to exchange phone numbers, email addresses, etc.

    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      To be followed by virtual marriage, virtual consummation of the marriage, to be followed by virtual progeny for the baby carriage.

      • Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Your point being “what’s next?” Well, virtual dating does reflect a positive outlook. It assumes the pandemic will one day be behind us and we’ll live to see it.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        People won’t know if they’re virtually married to a real person or an AI construct. Their virtual offspring could be half AI.

        I have no doubt that AI/human hybrids will be stigmatized.

      • phoffman56
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        “.. virtual consummation..” sounds like it needs much study and practice.

  36. kraeuterbutter
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    The Easter visit to my sister and her children had to be cancelled due to the restrictions. So we sent each other little presents.

    My Easter Bunny was very resourceful. I received canned food with one my favourite spread: cooked Mettwurst and Niedersächsisches Heidefrühstück (literally “Lower Saxony Heath Breakfast”). Yummy. 🙂

  37. Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I am letting my beard grow out. I call it “The Darwin”. The wife hates it.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Hahaha. Same here! I was growing mine out too and in respect to my wife I shaved. But I also remembered reading a comment by Ken Kucek who said he might shave since he had a habit of stroking his whiskers.

      Hey Ken, have you shaved yet?

  38. Mike Anderson
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    It’s not surprising that there was a run on toilet paper and guns, but I didn’t expect a run on….dogs?


  39. eric
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    2.) Sports is effectively dead for the time being

    This morning’s talk radio said something about the NBA televising a Horse competition. Horse! The sports fans are getting desperate.

    Do you have other unpredictable outcomes?

    My kid appreciates school. No doubt 40 years from now, he’ll be telling my grandkid to suck it up, ‘back in my day when we had the coronavirus, we treasured the opportunity to do what you’re whining about.’

  40. Curtis
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    1. Choosing colleges. Campus visits are out. My daughter is a high school junior and wants to play a sport at the division 2 or 3 level. She cannot go to recruiting tournaments or camps. We had planned to mix one with our spring break and another with our summer vacation and those are out.
    2. Hiking – as ridiculous as that seems. The state parks are closed. The national forests are closed. The local university has closed its forest land. I am forced to hike illegally.
    3. Libraries are closed. Thank ceiling cat for Kindles.

  41. Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    A variety of surprises come to mind:

    1. Hospitals not being able to handle anything (almost) but Covid-19 patients. This will also cause loss of life for people who were scheduled for life-saving procedures.
    For example, after an angiogram it was determined that my son-in-law could get stents. Had he needed open heart surgery, it couldn’t have been done now.

    2. Learning that ventilators may not help people survive if they must use them for too long. Are these people being offered a choice if they’d prefer a different kind of death? Also, learning that a Covid-19 patient when told that he needed a ventilator was more concerned about the cost and the impact on his wife.

    3. Learning that Blacks and Latinos have a much higher percentage of deaths from Covid-19.

    4. The unbelievable unpreparedness of the federal government for a pandemic.

    5. The federal government leaving it up to each state to obtain its’ own critically needed medical supplies, etc.

    6. I hadn’t expected much from our president but, he exceeded my greatest fears. Touting a drug that hasn’t been fully tested and approved (and, which he may own some of).
    Using his press conferences for election purposes rather than sticking to pandemic matters. Trying to exert influence over distribution of relief money to big business. Etc. We all knew that he was incompetent and a liar.

    7. Finding out today that Churches and other religious entities can receive handouts as though they were small businesses.

    7. Finding out today that federal funding for most community Covid-19 testing sites stops tomorrow, ostensibly to allow “states to dictate their own priorities” which “will
    ensure each state has the flexibility and autonomy to manage and operate testing sites within the needs of their specific community and to prioritize resources where they are needed the most”.

    8. People wearing gloves and/or masks to protect themselves and/or others but then throwing them on the ground.

    There’s so much more, but to end on a positive note, I am thrilled to see the heroism of the medical profession, first responders, employees of essential businesses, etc. And, how wonderful to see the many good things being done by so many human beings.

    • Curtis
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I live in area with very few cases and the hospitals are empty. I talked with an ER nurse and they are starting to see emergency that come from people avoiding doctors and hospitals. She mentioned gall bladder complications and even heart attacks.

      If you are truly sick, you still need to go to the doctor.

    • phoffman56
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      All but 3. may be surprises. But the negation of 3., had it been a fact, would be the surprise.
      In a country with a (3rd world/make a shitload of money from the public) style of health system, the impoverished, and the xenophobicly, sometimes racially, discriminated against, are surely going to be much worse off in a pandemic in every way, especially the probability of being killed. Statistics about other earlier than most deaths from diabetes and heart disease already say so.

  42. JezGrove
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    My daughter is feeling aggrieved because the public exams for those a year older (A
    levels) and a year younger (GCSEs) have been cancelled, but she had/will have the stress of taking them.

    My son, in the year below her, is equally aggrieved because he really only got his act together at school when his mock results weren’t what he was hoping for, and now he won’t have a chance to improve on them. School was closed without notice, so he didn’t get to say goodbye to his friends and no-one knows if/when his leavers’ Prom will take place.

    My youngest is only 11 and so exams aren’t an issue for her, but she enjoys school and misses the routine and social side of attending.

  43. Posted April 9, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Nice Hawaiian shirt Jerry!

    When I’m not wearing tie-dye, I’m wearing Hawaiian! 🙂

  44. Posted April 9, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m the same age as you (actually a month older), and when you posted earlier “Should I get my haircut” that was the day after I had asked myself the same thing and answered “No”. So my hair looks much like yours now.

    Last week I had to go to the bank to deposit a cheque. Yes, a lot of cheques you can just photograph them with the app and upload them to your account. But not this one. Once I had found a branch which was open, I went over there and found there were guys in masks interviewing you before you could go in, to try to exclude people who might have the virus.

    It used to be that when you had masked men in your bank branch, you were in trouble. But now it’s all different.

    • GBJames
      Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Is that you, Paul? Or is that you, Rosemary?

      • Paul Clapham
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        It’s me, Paul. WordPress highjacked my sign-in and used the one from our WordPress blog even though I told it not to. Grrrr. Seems like I can’t use the e-mail I use to sign in to WordPress to comment here, then.

      • JezGrove
        Posted April 9, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Maybe Paul and Rosemary are like Bob and Roberta Smith: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_and_Roberta_Smith

  45. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I listen only to the PM’s briefing every day at 11 am est then don’t consume any other news. I find it too stressful to be constantly bombarded with covid news. I used to always consume news.

  46. JezGrove
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    The BBC has a video about cutting your own hair: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-wales-52221971/coronavirus-how-easy-is-it-to-cut-your-own-hair

  47. Posted April 9, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    As democracies are forced to adopt increasingly draconian, totalitarian social measures in order to control the spread of the epidemic, so the citizens of these societies become inured to living under such strictures.

    How much freedom will people regard as ‘normal’ after the pandemic passes?
    And how will democratically elected governments weald this new found power?


    • Posted April 9, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      The power to make people stay home an hoard toilet paper? Wear masks in public? Stay away from restaurants? Those devils!

  48. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Regarding hair cuts, it is interesting that here in South Australia hair dressers are still open, and churches etc were among the first to be closed down! I had my hair cut yesterday since I was beginning to feel like a wool-blind sheep.

  49. Hempenstein
    Posted April 9, 2020 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t had anything close to a haircut in at least 5yrs. It reaches a steady state. Of course when I tell people that, they have no idea what I mean.

    Little interest in sports other than baseball, and haven’t followed that for a long time, so I haven’t noticed that, either.

    I was laying bricks / rebuilding the greenhouse out back before this all started, and I continue, with my mason. We keep suitably separated for the most part. We talk about the virus, he’s very interested in what I know about the general molecular details, and I always ask whether anyone in his sphere is showing symptoms, which they don’t seem to be. I like to think that brick/mortar dust and the virus may be mutually incompatible. And then when it’s too wet or cold I have electrical work in the basement, which is a solo effort, so aside from infrequent trips to the grocery store it’s basically business as usual for me.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted April 10, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      You have just written the beginning of the next dystopian novel.

      • GBJames
        Posted April 10, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Yes! Or perhaps the beginning of a great mystery series.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted April 10, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Thx! Continuation of the plot is contingent on Lowe’s remaining open (for mortar). Most everything else needed can (and does!) come from salvage, incl old railroad rail from the remnants of the old steel mill, destined as joists for the floor of the potting shed above the cavernous cellar that was intended for growing mushroom (which, it turns out, was a Victorian passion).

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted April 10, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        It does seem to be a good opening. I want to know what is next for Hempenstein. Did the virus destroy all of humanity, is he now alone wandering old Lowe’s stores looking for supplies?

        • Hempenstein
          Posted April 10, 2020 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

          I can think of two ways to go in reply to you, but for the moment, the Wandering part of your comment reminds me of my favorite post-apocalyptic film

          • rickflick
            Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

            They shoot cows don’t they.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted April 11, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

            It’s interesting that in Slavic languages, July and August – and other months can have the same name as in another- hard to explain but look here :


        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted April 11, 2020 at 12:06 am | Permalink

          Set amidst a dusty landscape, and a cracked asphalt parking lot, a Lowe’s – the dyes in it’s well-known warm blue colors faded to reveal an unusual red color, has become an outpost for coronavirus-resistant wanderers. A girl in ragged dress hands out a cup to those who push through a gateway fashioned from nickel-plated hinges, plywood, and a Nest home surveillance system, as the doors don’t work anymore. He pours from the cup a blend of mineral spirits and Fast Orange to sanitize a spot on the grip on the giant wobbly blue dolly, as the casters swivel and squeak along the unusually shiny floor.

          [ who wants to go next? ]

          • GBJames
            Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink


        • Hempenstein
          Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          Beside the contractor’s checkout register, someone put a sign on the coffee station that used to provide free morning coffee that reads, “In Memory of Days Gone By”.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 10, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      A lot of this reminds me of the Cloverfield trilogy.

  50. Posted April 10, 2020 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    Go with the hairy look Prof C., it looks good on you. Like my ultra shaggy Australian Shepherd dog “Aussie”
    “Oh well, a touch a grey kind of suits you anyway.” – Grateful Dead.

    All the best my friend,
    D.A., J.D., NYC (The HOT ZONE!) see my article about living here –

  51. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Bill Maher delivering his Real Time monologue while using an umbrella in the rain https://youtu.be/ipNQdZ9EDdQ

    … it’s oddly soothing!

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      And gave proof that it does rain in Southern California. We’ve had something like five days of it now which is somewhat unusual this late in the season. Perhaps we’ll have a wetter spring in the age of global warming.

      I think Maher really misses his crowd. I’m a bit surprised he doesn’t try to do his group chat but instead talks to each guest separately. Perhaps that would be too close to Hollywood Squares.

  52. Matthew Jenkins
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    I work in an operating theatre, now being converted to an emergency intensive care unit. There were a number of things I didn’t see coming – such as the relationship between us at work becoming tighter. Neither did I realise how uncomfortable it would be to scrub for a long operation in full PPE, as the filter masks have to fit very tightly and a) hurt and b) tend to cause you to mouth-breathe. Trying to learn enough ICU background to hit the ground running is hard and likely to prove a rocky path and not one, it occurs to me, that you want to hit running.

  53. Andrea Kenner
    Posted April 12, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I found a local dairy that delivers! They have the yummiest choco milk!

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