Mr. Wrong.

I was born in the late ‘50s, at which point the Depression was still fresh enough in the popular imagination that many of its tropes were fairly widespread. (I should say here that this post is not about the stock market or economic collapse. It’s about pop music.) Among them was the hobo — the man who rambled from town to town, riding the rails, carrying his belongings in a bandanna on a stick. While they were seen as down on their luck, often drunk, just as often they were portrayed as free spirits that society never got its claws into. Every big city had SRO flophouses. No one ever talked about untreated mental illness or the need for more housing or support services. All of which is the long way around to notice that every so often a song will pop up in an oldies mix to remind me of how hard this archetype was sold, especially with regards to women.

I was driving home the other day when Spotify burped up “Gentle on My Mind,” Glen Campbell’s show-closing signature song. It’s a song about a woman who is fondly remembered by one of these footloose souls, and it had been a while since I listened to the lyrics:

It’s knowin’ that your door is always open and your path is free to walk
That makes me want to leave my sleeping bag rolled up and stashed behind your couch…

You’ve heard it. And just in case you think it’s about a long-haul trucker or something, the final verse makes reference to dipping a cup of soup from a gurglin’ cracklin’ cauldron in some train yard, which sounds pretty hobo-trope to me.

Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night in Georgia” introduced us to another romantic bum:

Find me a place in a boxcar
So I take my guitar to pass some time
Late at night, it’s hard to rest
I hold your picture to my chest, and I feel fine

But that’s not all. A decade later came the Allman Brothers’ “Ramblin’ Man.” When it’s time for leavin’, he hopes you’ll understand that he was born a ramblin’ man.

Carol Leifer used to do a funny routine about Petula Clark’s “Don’t Sleep in the Subway,” something about girl, you need to find a better class of boyfriend. This was in the ‘80s, which shows that finally, finally women were starting to respond to this preposterous romantic archetype.

At least Brandy, that fine girl (what a good wife she would be) had the sense to love a seaman. At least the Merchant Marine is a job.

Times change. Women wake up and smell the coffee in their own kitchens, not the pot bubbling on the fire down in the train yard. They ask themselves, why is my door always open and my path free to walk to this goddamn bum? It reminds me of Rob’s opening monologue in “High Fidelity:”

What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

Not long after I discovered Glen Campbell on Spotify, I sent Kate a link to “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife,” a song released when I was 10. Even at 10 I knew it was bullshit.

Sometimes I think too much.

I’m writing this at 6 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Conventional wisdom says Joe has Michigan in the bag, but conventional wisdom about Michigan is often wrong. We shall see who Mr. Right really is.

In the meantime, enjoy midweek.

Posted at 6:09 pm in Popculch |

88 responses to “Mr. Wrong.”

  1. Deborah said on March 10, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Nancy, I love it when you post about pop culture. This was a good one, now I’m going to find and listen to “Dreams of an Everyday Housewife”.

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  2. Deborah said on March 10, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Here’s another one “I’m a Traveling Man” by Ricky Nelson, early 60s. Not really about a down and out guy but he brags about a girl in every port. Bullshit.

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  3. alex said on March 10, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Growing up with the car radio always on, I heard some memorable Mom commentaries on music. You managed to dredge up two.

    “Who the hell could sleep on the subway?”

    “Hey, we’re on Highway 41!” (We were in Florida.) “How unsanitary.”

    Loved all of the above songs and never paid much attention to the lyrics, although “Rainy Night in Georgia” always choked me up.

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  4. basset said on March 10, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Continuing yesterday’s enhanced license thread for a minute… Mrs. B and I got both of ours done on the first try in about an hour today, went out to an adjacent mostly rural county (how rural? there’s a Tractor Supply next door to the license branch in the same strip center) and took more documentation than we thought we would need. Sad moment, though, when we switched her license to an ID card, she hasn’t driven in going on two years.

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  5. jcburns said on March 10, 2020 at 6:46 pm

    Aw, thanks for mentioning ’Brandy.’ I have fond memories of listening to that song while delivering Columbus Citizen-Journals at dawn.

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  6. Linda said on March 10, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Yeah, and Brandy’s sailor came across with a braided chain made of finest silver from the north of Spain. Not a girl’s best friend, but not bad.

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  7. Deborah said on March 10, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Regarding real id, my husband thinks I will only need my passport, my current driver’s license, my social security card and 2 things that show current address like current canceled check and a bill from somewhere. All those have my current name. If I bring my birth certificate then I have to show proof of a name change, I’ve had 3 names so that would be painful. I think my husband is wrong, I think I’ll have to show proof of all name changes from the get go. So we have a bet on it. I’m going to play it his way because I don’t have any proof on hand of my first marriage name anymore. I have a feeling I will come home empty handed but at least I could then tell my husband “I told you so”. That will be short lived smugness because then I’ll have to go through the process of getting the proper certification of that name change. At least I’ll be able to fly using my passport if it takes longer than the deadline. Women are really at a disadvantage in this process.

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  8. beb said on March 10, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    I’ve been hearing “Ammie”a lot lately. Where the male singer claims that he “could stay with for a while maybe longer if I try….” Probably not a Hobo but still a guy with an inability to make commitments. Then there’s Steve Stills’ “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” How can you be in love with someone while thinking you can love (have sex) whoever is near by?

    Elizabeth Warren was still on the Michigan ballot, so I voted for her. Since Biden is expected to win by a landslide there didn’t seem any more point voting for Bernie than for Warren. I also voted ‘yes’ on the Detroit Institute of Art millage since there’s nothing better than a great Art museum.

    Deborah — since maternity is obvious while paternity is always suspect, I think children should take their mother’s name and keep it through out their life.

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  9. Marianne Molleur said on March 10, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    Deborah, I think you can do it your husband’s way if you also have a paystub or W-2 or one other thing with SSN it. I had to to it your way and it was a nightmare because of maiden name as middle name or middle initial on different forms of ID and once you open that can or worms, you’re in for a long afternoon… so try to nail it down with the first approach. Good luck!

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  10. Suzanne said on March 10, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    I took a bag of stuff to the BMV to get my real id license, but didn’t need most of it. Since I had a valid passport, I just needed that and something with my current address & social security number on it. It was in March or April, so I had a W2 from the tax year that had my SS number and my address on it, and that was it!
    I had heard horror stories about having to have all sorts of documentation but I was done in about 15 minutes. The key was having the valid passport.

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  11. Sherri said on March 10, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    There are 10 long term care facilities in the area with either COVID-19 positive residents or employees. Life Care in Kirkland has 55 confirmed positives among residents, with 19 deaths. Here’s the scary part: as of yesterday, only 30 of the 180 employees at Life Care had been tested, even though 64 are symptomatic.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on March 10, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Suzanne, you’re in Indiana, right? Are you married and use your husband’s name? They didn’t give a fig about my passport, they also wanted birth and marriage certificates. Seems like there’s inconsistency.

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  13. alex said on March 10, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    I heard on the news tonight that the World Health Organization has enough test kits for the whole world, which is why the whole world is getting tested. Meanwhile, back in the USSA, Trump refuses the test kits on the grounds that they haven’t been subjected to our government’s rigorous standards and besides, this is all Obama’s fault. Hey, what’s a few thousand lives when an election’s on the line, right? Probably all Democrats anyway.

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  14. Connie said on March 10, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    NBC Just called Michigan for Biden, as expected.

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  15. Suzanne said on March 10, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    Yes, I am in Indiana. I am married and have my husband’s last name. I had my marriage license, old name & new name social security cards, birth certificate and I am not sure what else, but the clerk told me that with a valid US passport, I didn’t need all that.

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  16. Sherri said on March 10, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    This is a week old, but still relevant, concerning the lessons to learn from Sanders’ failure to win the nomination.

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  17. Joe Kobiela said on March 10, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    It’s, I think I could stay with you
    For a while maybe longer if I do.
    My grandma always said a hobo would work for a meal vs a bum begging for one.
    Looks like Bernie is toast so old uncle Joe will be the candidate if he can remember what office he is running for. Watch closely who is chosen as the Vice President because I believe if Biden wins the office within 18 months he will be declared mentally unfit and be replaced by his V.P. I flew commercial home today on United from Wichita to Detroit via Houston, no blankets allowed on the planes both of which were half empty. One other thought, with the collages shutting down for 2-3 weeks telling the kids to stay home, do the kids get a refund on room and board for those weeks?
    Pilot Joe

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  18. Charlotte said on March 10, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    Watching David Chang’s Ugly Delicious on Netflix and there’s a whole segment on The Schvitz in Detroit … just FYI.

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  19. David C. said on March 10, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    Mentally unfit like someone who would shut down a collage?

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  20. Dave said on March 10, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    Mentally unfit. Oh, like the current occupant, I got it now.

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  21. David C. said on March 10, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    Oh dear me. It’s just way too easy.

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  22. jcburns said on March 10, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    Pilot Joe, if our current president hasn’t been “declared mentally unfit” by now, there is no, none, zero way that Biden will be subjected to the 25th amendment. And beyond that, the guy’s empathetic. Even when he’s messed up on this or that, you get that he cares. You get (I get, if no one else) that he would rather do the right thing than win. If anything is messed up, he’d hand the presidency over with a smile and a salute. Trump has missed about 430 opportunities to do that, to put country over self. Trump is the purest manifestation of self over country, and most GOP members in Congress missed their chance to stand up too. Amazing it was only Romney.

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  23. Deborah said on March 10, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Good for Biden. Time to call it over and concentrate on getting rid of Trump. We can do this.

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  24. jcburns said on March 10, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    Biden speaking in Philly to, well, just his hard-core campaign staff. I like this conversational Joe better than bellowing Joe.

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  25. Sherri said on March 10, 2020 at 11:02 pm

    Oh, just read that the senior community in my back yard, that I can see from my kitchen window, where my daughter worked food service during college breaks, has had a staff member test positive. I have friends who live in that community, I hope they remain well.

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  26. TGF said on March 10, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    I was born a few years before Our Proprietress and recall accounts of hobos and the marks they left on wood fences, back sheds, etc. to indicate homes of generosity and those that were unwelcoming.

    The hobo’s bandana-bundled kit was called a bindle — for some reason, a favorite word of mine. As talk of hobos faded with the years, I encountered bindle again in relation to pharmaceutical dispensing of a few small tabs or a powdered product. Not being at all child-proof (and after the Tylenol murders) that use fell by the wayside, too.

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  27. Sherri said on March 11, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Evergreen Hospital, which, by the way, is a public, taxpayer supported hospital.

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  28. ROGirl said on March 11, 2020 at 4:26 am

    And then there’s this immortal opening line: sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. But she does rock the sparkly dress.

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  29. alex said on March 11, 2020 at 7:03 am

    For the first time since November 2016 I feel the heaviness of daily dread lifting and despite coronavirus and all the other uncertainties in the world right now, it looks like Trump is going to get his ass kicked resoundingly. As the NYMag piece linked by Sherri notes, turnout for the primary in Virginia was double this year what it was in 2016. It’s been reported as two-thirds higher in some other states. This can only mean one thing. People want to throw the bum out.

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  30. Deborah said on March 11, 2020 at 8:31 am

    I watched “The Laundramat” twice yesterday. First I watched in on my iPad in the afternoon. I thought it was so good I told my husband he would probably like it so we watched on the TV. It was funny but it also made me furious that our country allows those obviously shady tax avoidance shell companies to exist. You just know that Trump is up to his eyebrows in crap like that, also Mnuchin and Wilber Ross and who knows who else. What a racket. I might watch it again today. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s about the Panama Papers scandal. And Sharon Stone has a bit part.

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  31. paper said on March 11, 2020 at 9:48 am

    I understand the reluctance to one-night stand Glen Campbell, but come on, if John Hartford had been on your porch with a sleeping bag…

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  32. Bitter Scribe said on March 11, 2020 at 9:48 am

    For no particular reason, this post is making me think of a long-ago bit by a comedian whose name I’ve long forgotten:

    I like blues music, but it can be awfully pessimistic.

    [breaks into song] “I woke up this mawnin, an’ mah baby was gone…”

    [normal voice] Well, maybe she’s got a job.

    The point, insofar as I have one, is that music may be nice to listen to, but it’s a lousy guide to life.

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  33. Connie said on March 11, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Dorothy, I see there were riots on your campus last night over the announcement that students were being kicked out of the dorms with short notice.

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  34. Deborah said on March 11, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Yes, Dorothy, I was wondering if that university is where you work.

    I was also surprised to read that Harvard was giving students 5 days to leave their dorms.

    On another note: 2 or 3 months ago or so I would have been very depressed to know that Biden would be the presumptive nominee. Now I’m more than resigned, I’m actually happy. Hopefully the Berners will eventually feel that way.

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  35. Dorothy said on March 11, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Connie I’m hearing differently. Two co-workers have sons who are students here. They did not attend the ‘uprising’ that happened last night, but I”m hearing that students were happy that spring break is starting 3 days sooner than expected. It was supposed to start after end of classes on Friday. Here is what the University President said (cut and pasted from my UD account) in an email he sent out between 7 and 7:30 last night:

    We are suspending in-person classes beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 11, and instituting remote online course instruction beginning March 23 and continuing through at least April 6.

    All residential UD students who are able are asked to leave campus by 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, and return to their homes immediately. Students will remain off campus for at least two weeks following spring break while virtual education continues.

    Notice it said “…students who are able” It does NOT say students are kicked out of the dorms with short notice. Not sure who is spinning this story to say that but it’s false.

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  36. Sherri said on March 11, 2020 at 11:11 am

    What did we have to change about our primary due to Coronavirus? Not a thing. The only impact was the distraction of it, but we’re still exceeding forecasted turnout. Vote by mail for the win!

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  37. Deborah said on March 11, 2020 at 11:38 am

    This is funny

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  38. basset said on March 11, 2020 at 11:44 am

    “The everyday housewife who gave up the good life for me…”

    OK then, here’s one where the wife got fed up and left:

    That’s a newer version of a Norman Blake song from the 70s… and there actually is a Poor Valley in western Virginia, Mrs B and I were there a couple weeks ago

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  39. Sherri said on March 11, 2020 at 11:54 am

    I love all the pundits writing now how maybe Bernie’s success (such as it was) in 2016 was really anti-Hillary more than pro-Bernie. I imagine all the women who had to form secret FB groups to discuss Hillary because of the abuse they received online and all the people who supported Warren this time going, really, you think?

    I see people on Twitter confused as to why people could express support for Medicare for all yet not vote for Bernie. Maybe because we know he can’t wave a magic wand and just make it happen?

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  40. Deborah said on March 11, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Bye bye Harvey… 23 years.

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  41. Peter said on March 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    AP is reporting Sanders will have a news conference in Burlington in 45 minutes…

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  42. Suzanne said on March 11, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Nice article on EverGreen hospital in Seattle. Oddly enough, a friend of mine from college is the hospital lab manager there. She had something about it on Facebook as soon as the people were diagnosed.

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  43. basset said on March 11, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    So Bernie’s staying in… well, he did win North Dakota, so he’s got that going for him.
    And, as a liberal and responsible gun owner, I liked the Biden “full of shit” exchange yesterday.

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  44. Little Bird said on March 11, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    Well, the coronavirus has hit my state. Three cases, one of them about an hour away. Given the large retirement population here, it could get really ugly really fast.
    I had a kind of disturbing thought earlier today; what happens when the virus hits the prison systems? Could we even begin to contain that?

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  45. Sherri said on March 11, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Seattle Public Schools just announced that they are closing for two weeks starting tomorrow. I expect more districts to follow suit soon.

    Inslee announced a ban on gatherings more than 250 people in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties today.

    This is going to be devastating to Seattle’s vibrant arts world.

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  46. Julie Robinson said on March 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Costco wasn’t offering samples, but they were offering cart wipes to everyone. People buying toilet paper and bottled water. What is it with all the bottled water? It was cray cray in there today.

    Now I’m with mom at Kroger and there is NO toilet paper.

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  47. alex said on March 11, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    Glad I keep my house well stocked on butt wipes. Haven’t been to the store lately so I have no idea what all else is being hoarded in this moment of hysteria.

    Work’s trying to set us up to work from home.

    My biggest concern right now is for my parents who are in their 90s.

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  48. Julie Robinson said on March 11, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    When we got home from the store Mom said tomorrow she wants to talk more about having her affairs in order. She’s convinced she won’t survive if she gets it.

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  49. Deborah said on March 11, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    I keep meaning to buy TP and then I get home from shopping and I realize I’ve forgotten again. I have some but then again maybe I should stock up. I don’t see people buying canned goods but the stores are out of hand sanitizer and bleach spray.

    What is interesting to me about the virus is how wide spread it is, not that many cases in the grand scheme of things but they are so far flung, most every state and many cities. It is amazing how much people get around.

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  50. beb said on March 11, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    When I voted, I voted for Elizabeth because she was the candidate I wanted. Later I thought maybe I should have voted for Bernie because I think Biden is a closet Republican who won’t be good for America. (Better than Trump,yes, but that is too low a bar.)

    It’s nice that some companies are allowing workers to work from home except how many workers, over all, are able to work from home. Those would be the pencil-pushers who if they just self-quarantined for two weeks would not be noticed by anyone.But what about all the other people, the clerks in grocery stores, cops and fire fighters, water and sewerage plant operators, and all the assemble line workers. They won;t get paid if they aren’t there and they can’t afford to shelter-in-place for two weeks. It’s going to be hell.

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  51. David C. said on March 11, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    What’s with all the toilet paper hoarding? Do people hear flu-like and think they’re going to get the shits? Whoever started calling gastritis stomach flu has a lot to answer for.

    We went to the grocery yesterday and everything seemed to be well stocked. I didn’t look where the hand sanitizers is shelved though.

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  52. Sherri said on March 11, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    I warned you on the TP!! I don’t get it, either.

    As expected, other school districts are shutting down now, including Lake Washington, which is my local district, and the second largest in the state.

    I’ve talked with a number of friends with college students back east who are now having to get them home as their universities are shitting down. One kid was already here on spring break and now will have to go back and empty out her dorm room as her school is going online only the rest of the semester.

    Another friend who’s on the board of one of the community colleges said they just had a board meeting today to approve dipping into the reserves to cover the costs of switching to online only. I’m afraid to ask my friend who’s on the board of Evergreen Hospital what the impact there is financially.

    Shit’s getting real, friends.

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  53. Heather said on March 11, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    Italy just shut down all non-essential businesses. Banks, food stores, pharmacies, and some public sector services (post office, etc.) remain open, but everything else–closed.

    Hospitals are having to go to extreme triage–deciding which patients would benefit most from intensive care and respirators. They are talking about instituting an age limit.

    We’re at the number of cases that Italy was at about two weeks ago.

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  54. David C. said on March 11, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t know why they aren’t directing anybody at work to work from home as much as possible. Most everyone has laptops except engineering where I work. We’re still tied down to towers. From what I’m hearing, when it gets to this point, separation is about the only thing that works.

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  55. Sherri said on March 11, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    March-May is high season for nonprofit fundraisers, and even before today’s ban on gatherings of more than 250 people, these events were being cancelled. I had three on my calendar that have been completely cancelled, and two more that have been rescheduled to fall. This will be a significant hit for the nonprofits and for the sites slated to host these events.

    A friend on the board of one of the nonprofits who talked to the manager of the local Marriott, to cancel next week’s luncheon, told me that manager said he’s already had to lay off 50 people, and might have to shut down.

    Microsoft is paying its hourly workers, but the usual degree of travel and people coming to Microsoft is obviously not happening. On any given day, there would typically be a few thousand people visiting Microsoft from outside the area. There are a non-negligible number of employees who work remotely and come to Redmond about one week in 4 or 5 or 6. None of those people are traveling to Redmond now.

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  56. JodiP said on March 11, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    I work for the county. They recently stated we can’t travel out of state for anything. However, there is a social work conference happening in Minneapolis now with oh, about 3000 people form all over the state. Not a word about whether one should attend or not. We’ve had just a handful of cases, but I think this is the time we start social distancing, not when we have a 100 cases. As someone pointed out, we have important unknowns: actual number of infected, how long the incubation period is.

    I am worried aobut our homeless people, and as Little Bird pointed out nobody’s talking about jails and prisons. We had a flu outbreak at our local jail a month ago, and they reorganized the jail to keep infected people in certain quads. It’s super complicated, because there are people with mental health issues who don’t do well in gen pop, and all the “keep separates” due to past history of violence with each other in the world.

    Hey, on a much more hope-giving note: I really recommend Jason Kandor’s memoir. He is so refreshing, and had a podcast through Crooked media a while back.

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  57. alex said on March 11, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Managed to find some TP at Kroger although the shelves were picked pretty bare. Cottonelle with Strong Cleaning Ripples TM. Stocked up on canned goods and rice and beans, not a whole lot, and some ground beef and fresh produce for a batch of chili. A coupla grapefruit. A bag of avocados and some toasting bread. Cat food. Contact lens solution and toothpaste. $200.

    Checked in on the nonagenarian parental units. They’re taking it in stride. Their dietary needs are so minimal at this point they could probably exist on the canned soup in their cabinets, pizza in their freezer and beer and wine in the fridge. I come from some hardy stock. I eat better than they do and I have diabetes and coronary artery disease and they don’t.

    Working at home in springtime. Sounds like the best vacay/staycay I’ve had in years. Bring it on.

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  58. Julie Robinson said on March 11, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    Sherri, our nephew is at University of Virginia and came home for spring break on Saturday. They are now telling students to stay home indefinitely, maybe for the semester. But his books and research materials are back at school, so how will he prepare for classes? We’re entering unknown territory.

    BTW, I didn’t buy either toilet paper or water today. I was just restocking after our trip. 🙂

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  59. Mark P. said on March 11, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Our governor here in Georgia is a big Trump supporter, and it seems like he had taken to running the state health department like Trump is handling the outbreak. One of the Atlanta stations showed the health department website from earlier today. It had numbers for confirmed and presumptive cases in the state. Later in the day the numbers disappeared. The station called and got some figures that were not consistent with what local officials and hospitals are saying. Now we have to wonder not only about the disease, but also whether we are being told the truth about it.

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  60. Mark P said on March 11, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    A while ago I mentioned a health policy expert’s blog, and his belief that some of the response to the corona virus could cause more harm than the outbreak. However, he has a new blog post in which he recommends that people follow the rules — hand washing, stay home if you’re sick, avoiding large gatherings, avoiding close contact. He also mentions the doubling time of the disease. Depending on your assumptions, and some unknowns at this point, he said the number of cases needing hospitalization could overwhelm hospitals around the country and impact other health services in a relatively short time. For anyone who wants to check his blog, it’s

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  61. susan said on March 11, 2020 at 10:43 pm

    Thank dog our governor is a Democrat.

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  62. jcburns said on March 11, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    We avoided watching the speech. We read coverage afterwards that seemed to be saying ALL travel from Europe (minus UK) was going to stop. THEN at 10:30-ish a tweeted press release from the DHS head “clarifies” that US Citizens (permanent residents) are exempt. Just INSANE.

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  63. Little Bird said on March 11, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Well, fuck. Guess I should go get some toilet paper. And some more supplies in general.

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  64. susan said on March 12, 2020 at 1:58 am


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  65. Dexter Friend said on March 12, 2020 at 3:16 am

    Ramblin’ Jack Elliot left a fine Brooklyn Jewish life to be a travelin’singin’ cowboy. He was really good. Here’s one of his tunes.
    For years I subscribed to “The Hobo Times” and I had a beer and bought a couple for the man crowned “King of the Hoboes” year after year, “Steamtrain Maury”. Maury was a helluva guy. Unable to move and jump a freight car in his decline, he visited jungles for a tin can of mulligan stew hither and yon by utilizing a big van. I read “The Hobo Times” just for the stories, just got a kick out of it. I never did more than jump an empty box car as a kid for a goof. As I reported here before, I still will take a thermos of joe and a “sinker” (what the hoboes call donuts) and sit in my van and watch trains roll by, maybe a few times a month. And…when I was 19, I adopted a lifelong theme song, Bob Seger’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”

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  66. basset said on March 12, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Dex, are you familiar with the songs of Utah Phillips?
    He wrote mostly about hobos and working folks, “Rock Salt & Nails” is his best known… “Heart Songs” by Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin is all Utah songs and a good place to start.

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  67. Peter said on March 12, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Many years ago I had a client who told me her boss was so dumb he couldn’t find his ass with two hands and a map.

    I thought about that last night during the oval office address. Four corrections or clarifications within 30 minutes of trying to read off a teleprompter.

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  68. Mark P said on March 12, 2020 at 10:32 am

    And Peter, apparently the act of reading off the teleprompter taxed his capabilities.

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  69. Peter said on March 12, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Well Mark, I guess that’s only fair, because listening to it certainly taxed MY capabilities!

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  70. Deborah said on March 12, 2020 at 11:19 am

    I read this morning that the Chicago St Patrick’s day parade and the greening of the river have been canceled or postponed. I’m glad to hear that, much less vomit on the streets after St Pat’s. But I suppose the bars on Division will still be open so maybe not.

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  71. Jakash said on March 12, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Jeff Borden,

    We saw “Bug” at the Steppenwolf Theatre last night, as you referred to in the previous thread.

    Indeed, the acting was superb and it was a classic Steppenwolf production. Particularly liked that final set change. Mr. Letts was ahead of his time in addressing what would become the avalanche of conspiracy-theory based, delusional thinking that would become almost commonplace a quarter-century later. “Intense,” as you put it, is spot-on. And I gotta say that, while there was a notice going in with regard to nudity, I did not anticipate the duration nor directness of it. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

    Seeing that play in the midst of this pandemic was noteworthy, as well. After having read Sherri’s comment yesterday regarding a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people in her area, and having read the day before that the Court Theater here is limiting its audiences to 100, being in the sold-out, 500-seat Steppenwolf was… uh, shall we say, thought provoking.

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  72. JodiP said on March 12, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    I have to stop checking news about the corona virus. I am not getting a lot done at work. I just put my gym membership on hold. Some co-workers and I think that the county should really be implementing working at home now. They are planning for this, as we are all getting Microsoft teams installed tomorrow with instructions for training and encouragement to practice working remotely.

    I am part of the team that responds to crises–I had some training a while ago for family debriefing, so when it hits, I will likely be busy.

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  73. Sherri said on March 12, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    As most of you know, my best friend was elected mayor of Redmond and took office Jan 1. (Whee!) I just checked in with her, to make sure she was remembering to take care of herself, and she gave me a call.

    She is a big believer in good government, and she is incredibly disheartened at how poorly the federal administration is handling this. I commented yesterday to my husband and repeated to her that we have a federal government that not only won’t help but actively makes things worse, and she said yes, they have, and won’t do anything to fix it. She was on a conference call yesterday with the White House. The person from DHS talked about Iran and China, never mentioned Italy, and assured them that they were keeping the southern border secure. The person from Transportation did mention Italy, but didn’t say anything about TSA, and then the news broke later in the day about three TSA agents testing positive in San Jose.

    She’s doing fine. She does have to fly out tomorrow and help her daughter pack up her dorm room, because her daughter’s college just shut down, and she’s got another daughter in Senegal she’s keeping a watchful eye on how she might get her out on short notice if need be, but she’s got a good team in the city.

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  74. Jakash said on March 12, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    I guess you’d call this funny, if it weren’t, you know, terrifying that our Supreme Leader is such an ass.

    “One man… immune to information. PANDUMBIC”

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  75. Sherri said on March 12, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    I also talked with my friend who’s president of the school board this morning. (I’m just checking in with my friends, who are under a lot of stress right now. I text them, they call me when they get a chance.)

    Schools are shut down. They’re working on providing childcare for those who need it, and how to provide meals for kids on free and reduced lunches. Although, as she points out, kids on free and reduced lunches qualify for SNAP; why aren’t we immediately increasing SNAP benefits? It’s such a no-brainer, it’s the biggest bang for the buck in terms of stimulus to the economy because that money gets spent, in the community. Maybe out legislature can move on that.

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  76. Little Bird said on March 12, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    I’m immunosuppressed. I’m at risk when I get out of the house now. I’m still recovering from surgery, so I’m not out much. But I do need some supplies and the people hoarding stuff make that difficult.
    I’m hearing stories from other locals about shortages. It’s actually a little frightening. Apparently one of the Walgreens was slammed at 4:30 am because that’s when the toilet paper shipment comes in. And now there’s very little left, if any. I just want enough to last me if I’m literally stuck at home for two weeks.

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  77. Peter said on March 12, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Little Bird, some years back I went to the annual Kitchen and Bath Show at McCormick Place, and I saw the saddest display there – it was for a South Korean startup service that would retrofit your toilet with a washjet and a cloth towel roll, like those old fashioned dispensers you used to see by sinks. The idea was after you were finished you pushed a button to get a blast of water to your private parts, then wiped yourself on the cloth roll, then the company would have someone come by once a month and replace the roll.

    They weren’t making a lot of sales, and I just didn’t have the heart to ask them how they expected anyone to buy this when toilet paper was so cheap and plentiful.

    Well, I’m sure they’re thinking (in Korean, of course) WHO’S LAUGHING NOW!?!?!

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  78. ROGirl said on March 12, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    I stopped at Aldi on my way home from work and it’s being picked clean. I was going to get some dried beans and couldn’t find any. Good thing I bought a big package of toilet paper last week.

    Yesterday one of the IT guys at work was checking to see who has the app installed on their laptop for remote log-in, in case the office has to close. I’m set up, but not everyone is. We have to use our computers to enter our hours so that we can get our paychecks. Unless some other options are made available, some people won’t be able to get their paychecks.

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  79. Deborah said on March 12, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    You know it wasn’t that long ago that people only had cloth diapers. I used those for LB when she was an infant except when we were out and about. You just shook the poopy ones out in toilet water then put them in a pail filled with some solution and then washed them in the washing machine with hot hot water and detergent with bleach.

    I had a nice lunch with Heather this afternoon, it was nice to see her again.

    The retirement home in Charlotte where my husband’s mother lives is under lockdown now. They won’t even let her own daughter in to visit her. His mother is bereft after her hip surgery, she keeps saying she just wants to die. No one believes the low numbers of people who have contracted covid-19 because so few have been tested. My husband doesn’t know if anyone who works or lives in the home has contracted it. So sad.

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  80. Sherri said on March 12, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Normally, I’m always a little worried that my aging parents live on their own in the middle of nowhere. Not so much right now.

    The governor just closed all schools in the three counties until April 24.

    Trump says he might ban travel to Washington state. Dude, the only people traveling here are the people trying to get home when their colleges shut down.

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  81. alex said on March 12, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Deborah, when I was a kid we had cloth diapers and we had a “diaper man” who dropped off fresh ones and took away the dirty ones.

    Was remembering the time we got together with Heather and how hung over and hammered I and my companions were. It was embarrassing. It was also my birthday weekend, which is why we were in such poor shape. We’d gone out to the Twin Anchors for dinner the night before and drank on empty stomachs as we waited the obligatory two hours for a table. By the time we got our table I was barely able to keep myself from planting my face into it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so rough again since that shindig. But I adored your place.

    About to go trade in my iPhone 6 for an 11 Pro because my partner wants to buy one for me. And we want to do it before we can’t go out anymore, if it comes to that.

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  82. Deborah said on March 12, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    Alex, rest assured we had no clue, you seemed like perfectly normal human being and we enjoyed your company.

    I would be happy to host a nn.c get together in Chicago sometime at our place. It would be cool to meet even more of you. Maybe let’s wait until after the covid19 calms down though.

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  83. Heather said on March 12, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Yes, we had a nice lunch and hangout today. No hugs though! Alex, I remember you being chatty but your partner was very quiet. I thought he was just shy! Now I know the whole story.

    I had a nice bike ride downtown and back to meet Deborah–pretty mild temps today. I’m debating whether I should go to my gym or not. I’m very careful about wiping down the machines before and after, but you just never know. There are a lot of older people at my gym because it’s also a rehab facility associated with a hospital, so I wonder how busy it will be in the next month. And I have a massage scheduled for Saturday. My guy works out of a chiropractor office and he says they’ve been very careful about cleaning everything between patients. Still, it’s close contact.

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  84. LAMary said on March 12, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    Both my kids had cloth diapers. The boys are 26 and 29 now. I used them to keep doo doo and plastic out of the landfill, and I used a diaper service which was cheaper than buying Pampers.

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  85. Sherri said on March 12, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Sixty-seven employees at Life Care in Kirkland are now showing symptoms, but still only a third of the 180 employees have been tested.

    But her emails.

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  86. Little Bird said on March 12, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Well, there is no toilet paper at the store I go to. Neither is there any hand sanitizer, and most of the household cleaners are wiped out too (only things like easy-off and silver polish left). The soups are mostly gone, along with pasta and sauces. It feels like a dystopian nightmare in there.
    I have a good friend whose husband is an EMT/firefighter, his team thinks the numbers here are far higher than being reported. The tests take too long to process, AND we’re very much a tourist town. I’m staying home for the next couple of weeks. I can reschedule all my appointments.

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  87. Heather said on March 12, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    My cousin called and told me that her husband, a teacher, shares a computer and other equipment with another teacher, who came into work today with a fever (!!!!!). How dumb can you be? Her boss made her go home, but now my cousin is afraid her entire family has the virus, even though there’s no way to find out if that’s what it is, since you can’t get tested unless you get really sick.

    IL Gov Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had a press conference today and announced they were banning crowds of more than 1000 in Chicago for the next 30 days, and are canceling major sports events.

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  88. David C. said on March 12, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    I heard today if we follow the same Covid progression as Italy, we have about ten days until all hell breaks loose. I don’t remember the name of the epidemiologist, but she believed that was the most likely scenario.

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