From my reading of social media and the limited eavesdropping I can do while maintaining social distance, the tribes seem to be dividing into three. I would call them:

The fearful: These are the people who can not sanitize, wipe down, bleach or otherwise disinfect their immediate environment enough. Some of them can get a little hostile about it, if they perceive you are not doing the same. “If I see ***anyone*** outside my house without a mask on, I’m going to yell at them!” was an actual Facebook post I saw not long ago, and she was absolutely serious; a few more sentences of finger-wagging followed, all in the same near-hysterical vein. A Grand Rapids doctor posted a video on YouTube that, as we used to say but probably shouldn’t anymore, went viral, explaining how, in his medically educated opinion, we should be handling our groceries. Step one: Leave them in the garage for three days. I didn’t watch any further than that, but millions of others did, and this seems like the fearful Ur-text, if you will.

The what-me-worrys: The Rush Limbaugh listeners and their fellow travelers. It’s just a flu! I got sick in November, so I figure I had it! This is all a plot by the Dems to strip our freedoms away! Anyway, masks are stupid! Anyway, I work out every day in the fresh air and figure I’m immune! Anyway, I’m no pussy! The president said it’s a choice, and THIS IS MINE! Anyway, fuck off!

The rest of us. I wear a mask in an enclosed environment – a store – or outdoors if I have to be fairly close to others. I do not wear one while riding my bike or walking the dog. This doesn’t strike me as socially irresponsible. If this disease were so contagious that just breathing the air after an infected person passed through the area at some indeterminate earlier moment would get you, we’d all have had it by now. Anyway, if I masked up while exercising, I’d faint from oxygen depletion within half a mile. I’m not fatalistic about it; I take prudent measures. But I’m not spraying the bottoms of my shoes with bleach when I come in from outside.

On the other hand, I think I don’t have any of the co-morbidities that maybe the woman yelling about masks is likely to have. Other than being…kinda old, you know.

Still healthy, still sane. Still in a hot spot; god, these numbers.

Some of you asked about the demonstration in Lansing yesterday. I wasn’t there, can’t tell you much about it, other than this: If this was about policy, there wouldn’t have been so many Trump flags there.

What’s happening is, the divide I alluded to a while back is very real: Outside the cities, especially in the deep rural areas where the virus has not established itself yet, many people feel they’re somehow immune, and resent the executive orders from Lansing. An actual county sheriff said, in so many words, that fresh air would somehow “be the best thing” to defeat the virus. I guess some people gotta learn the hard way. Maybe they will.

With that, let’s move to some truly amusing bloggage, an obit of a climate denier, Fred Singer:

A chief talent of Fred Singer, the world-famous climate denier who died on April 6 at 95, was bullying scientists whose work he could never match, and whose findings threatened the bottom lines of his corporate polluter clients.

…Singer seemed to take special pleasure in discrediting scientists who investigated the ways that human activity threatens public health and the safety of our planet, the sort of research that informs regulations to solve problems ranging from acid rain’s toll on forests to DDT’s impacts on wildlife, as well as — of course — the effects of climate change on us all.

…Singer always denied that he took corporate money to spread disinformation, even after evidence came to light that he had: In a 1993 deposition, Singer admitted under oath that he’d been funded by coal interests, and had consulted for Exxon, Shell, and the American Gas Association on topics including climate change.

Just for fun, I googled up the Heartland Institute tributes to him, which only underlined the premise of the obit: He was a major asshole. As the obit points out:

They say you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but I spoke ill of Singer that day, and I feel no need to stop just because the bastard doesn’t breathe. What I saw that day was the face of evil, a detestable animal shoveling fine food into his fanged maw. Many have said to me in private that they also found him evil. That’s why evil persists: because too many fear risking the high salaries that pay for nice meals at French restaurants by speaking up in public. I would prefer to eat bologna sandwiches on stale bread and preserve my dignity.

As writer Anne Lamott once noted, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

Nice way to end the week, eh? Get through it, we’ll talk later.

Posted at 8:13 pm in Current events |

89 responses to “Thirds.”

  1. LAMary said on April 16, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    I yelled at, then called the park police about a bunch of guys playing basketball in the park behind my house. The park is closed, park sports areas are closed. None of the guys were wearing masks or making any effort to not get close to each other. They were drunk and loud. I don’t care if they think I’m a nasty old bitch. I don’t mind people walking by my house, just out for a walk, not wearing masks. I don’t expect them to keep six feet from their spouse or their kids. But no, don’t party in park, guys.

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  2. Deborah said on April 16, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    I always now wear a mask and gloves when I go to the grocery store etc, but I don’t wear either when I go for a walk. First, I hardly ever encounter anyone on my walks and when I do we walk on opposites sides of the street. I read that direct sun disinfects the corona virus anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If you put something out in the sunlight, like a package etc, you do need to rotate it, so each surface gets direct sun.

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  3. diane said on April 16, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Happy Birthday to the mid-April birthdays!

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  4. Dorothy said on April 16, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    Great post. I’m wearing a mask when I’m at the grocery store and the post office (when I’m mailing out masks). I am not wearing gloves to the store and I was glad to hear a doctor on Today say, when a viewer posed a question on this topic, that gloves are not needed in stores. The virus is not absorbed into skin, she said. But you must train yourself not to touch your face while at the store, and wash your hands as soon as you get home. I’ve been doing this all along and was glad to hear the doctor confirm this. I haven’t used hand sanitizer in probably 15 years, and at home I don’t wipe anything off with cleaning wipes. I’ll wipe a grocery cart if I need to with the wipes they have in place, but lately there’s been an employee doing that for customers as you walk in the door.

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  5. Sherri said on April 16, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    Fred Singer should have died of COVID19. That would have been a fitting end for that merchant of doubt. Or lung cancer. Of course he was a fucking physicist, who can make tech bro’s look humble.

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  6. susan said on April 16, 2020 at 9:32 pm

    I have planned out a four mile walk that is 99% off the paved recreation trail near the river, along a network of dispersed paths in the sand. There are too many people on the pavement. I still have to be wary of occasional walkers with dogs, runners, and the g-d clueless fat-tire bicyclists even on the off-trail. I have begun to despise bicyclists. They zoom by, within 2 or 3 three feet, don’t stop, yell “Passing on your left!” as if they don’t need to practice physical distancing. They think all the trails—paved and unpaved— are their domain. I’m thinking of getting one of those super-loud airhorns to blast them as they approach and pass. Either that or bear spray. They are truly rude and indifferent, even in non-COVID times.

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  7. beb said on April 17, 2020 at 1:41 am

    So we now have three coalitions of states, east, west and middle coordinating when and if to loosing quarantines. I wonder how long before those coalitions will consolidate into one. If they do they might represent a third of the states in the country but half (and maybe more) of the population. Trump keeps telling the State that they shouldn’t depend on the Federal Government. I wonder how he would feel if half the population of the United States were to ask, “Why does the federal government exist anymore?”

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  8. Connie said on April 17, 2020 at 5:03 am

    Yesterday’s Lansing demonstration not only included Trump flags, it also included AK47s and Confederate flags. And not many masks on those on the capital grounds.

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  9. David C said on April 17, 2020 at 5:59 am

    The Michigan temper tantrum was organized by “a group linked to the DeVos family” which translates to it was organized by the fucking DeVos family. Old Uncle Joe would get an enthusiastic vote from be instead of a “he’s not tRump, OK” vote from me if he pledges to make MLMs illegal and make they return all the money.

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  10. Suzanne said on April 17, 2020 at 7:26 am

    I am still working (part time) and since it’s a small office of at the most 4 people, I don’t wear a mask but I do come home frustrated most days because one of my co-workers got too close when asking a question or leaned over me to grab my hand sanitizer from my desk. I do wipe down my phone, keyboard, etc. every day, & use a paper towel to punch the microwave buttons and water cooler knobs. My husband works from home but does occasionally have to meet with people, so I worry about that as well. We are rural, so if the weather is nice (currently snowing) I can walk to my heart’s content and often never see another human being except in a car. No mask needed.

    From what people post of Facebook or in talking to people locally, I would say people aren’t taking precautions terribly seriously. One of my co-workers visited the grandkids on Easter and got together for lunch with a friend last week. People seem to think that social distancing doesn’t count if you are related or good friends. But, I live in MAGA country, so I would expect nothing less.

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  11. alex said on April 17, 2020 at 7:36 am

    In these days of Ask Prudence, Dan Savage, etc., Dear Abby is some pretty weak tea. But I read her yesterday in the local paper and she had a letter from someone who was tired of being invited to parties where unsuspecting guests are ambushed with MLM. Last time that happened to me was about 15 years ago and the friendship has never really recovered.

    Old Uncle Joe should probably answer for his fealty to the credit card industry and his vote for the bankruptcy law that lets it screw consumers.

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  12. Suzanne said on April 17, 2020 at 8:30 am

    There is a podcast about MLMs titled The Dream. It’s quite enlightening.
    The purse/tote company Thirty-Three is big in my area. They aren’t horrid but overpriced and not my cup of tea. Someone gave me one of their wallets that was functional but huge and ugly. The essential oils thing is big around in my area, too. They smell nice but people seem to think they will cure everything from depression to hemorrhoids to ear infections.

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  13. alex said on April 17, 2020 at 8:53 am

    This day in history from 2009 was a rollicking good read. In fact I remembered it years later when the local paper did an interview with a local candidate for political office who was living in an SRO and had porn playing on the TV for the duration of the reporter’s visit.

    If only we could go back to 2009. The world’s problems seemed so much simpler then. We were so optimistic, believing surely that Rupert Murdoch and Fox News would soon be out of business for promoting Glenn Beck and peddling ludicrous conspiracy theories that no one with half a brain could take seriously.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on April 17, 2020 at 9:21 am

    It’s snowing. Again. I ask you.

    Suzanne, I think it’s Thirty-One, but I know who you mean. The people selling it are the sames ones who sold LuLa Roe, or essential oils, jewelry, supplements, hair products, knives, Shaklee and of course, the granddaddy of them all, Amway. After they guilt all their friends into buying and maybe even hosting a party, they have no one left to sell to. They are stuck with their pricey startup kit and desperately try to sell it off cheap.

    Did I forget Tupperware and Avon and Mary Kay? We even were invited to a party selling “original oil paintings”, painted no doubt in a sweatshop in Asia, the “artists” copying the same painting over and over. The hosts lived in a mobile home.

    Ugh, I’m sitting here thinking about how many poor suckers who are out of work are going to spend their grocery/rent money on one of these horrible schemes. Why can’t we get this crap made illegal?

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  15. Suzanne said on April 17, 2020 at 9:48 am

    You’re right, Julie. Thirty-One.
    The podcast I mention has a episode or two on how the government did try to shut down MLMs, in particular Amway, but were unable to do so because the owners were big GOP donors and big with the US Chamber of Commerce and were able to shut down any opposition.

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  16. Deborah said on April 17, 2020 at 9:53 am

    I had to google MLM, I call them Ponzi schemes. The Shaklee stuff was really big when I was a senior in college and still a few years after I graduated, that was 40 years ago, I thought people would have wised up by now.

    I told this story before but that hasn’t stopped me. I went to Amway headquarters in Grand Rapids to try to get an exhibit design project maybe 12 years ago. They wanted to have a place where potential sellers could go and learn the Amway story. Their target audience was Asians, they were doing a rip roaring business in China but the Chinese were going about it differently and they felt they needed to educate them to the proper way to sell. One of their most popular products in Asia was a skin whitening cream for women. We didn’t get the project, and I was so happy not to have to work with/for them.

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  17. Bitter Scribe said on April 17, 2020 at 10:09 am

    Yesterday I was out jogging, hating the cold, my runny nose, and the sweatpants that I had to stop and retie twice because they kept slipping off my flat butt. I kept fixating on how much I wish the fucking gyms would reopen.

    Then a voice went off inside my head: Get over yourself, will you? There are tens of thousands of people on respirators, fighting and gasping for every breath, who would like nothing better than to go out for a jog and fill their lungs with cool, fresh air. Shut up and keep moving.

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  18. JodiP said on April 17, 2020 at 10:15 am

    People in rural counties also should realize that if people get ill, there aren’t enough hospital beds/vents to keep them alive. It wouldn’t take too many cases to overwhelm rural healthcare systems, which are already under resourced.

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  19. colleen said on April 17, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Isn’t Betsy Devoss’ money from Amway?

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    • nancy said on April 17, 2020 at 11:00 am

      Part of it — she married into the family of an Amway co-founder. But in the great Grand Rapids Dutch tradition, her own family was already sinkin’ rich before she and Rich tied the knot.

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  20. LAMary said on April 17, 2020 at 11:18 am

    I went to one great Tupperware party. It was hosted by a friend whom I would never expect to do such a thing, but when I met the Tupperware lady it made sense.

    Phranc was very entertaining. It really was a great party. I recommended Phranc to a few people after that.

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  21. ROGirl said on April 17, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Betsy’s brother is Erik Prince, of Blackwater fame

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  22. Suzanne said on April 17, 2020 at 11:27 am

    David Brooks emerges from his bubble to comment on what a pandemic can teach us

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  23. David C said on April 17, 2020 at 11:30 am

    Deborah, I don’t know if you saw it when you were in GR, but there’s a pyramid shaped building near the airport that once was Steelcase HQ. I’ve heard from more than a few people that they were asked if it was Amway HQ, such is the relationship between Amway and pyramids.

    Betsy’s money came from Prince Corporation which was an automotive parts manufacturer in Holland. Her father Edgar Prince was a Franco loving fascist son of a bitch. Her marrying Dickie DeVos was a marriage made in fascist heaven.

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  24. St Bitch said on April 17, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Snowing here, too. And the Mississippi River is cresting.

    Love my Tupperware, all bought online…never at a party. Heaven forbid!

    I re-upped groceries on Wednesday, after 3 weeks of not getting into my car to go anywhere public.

    Walking around the ‘hood without a face mask doesn’t feel risky. If someone is coming towards me on the sidewalk, one or the other of us steps out into the street…though not all the way across it.

    Gerry-rigged a bandana mask for shopping. My first stop was at the nearest gas station to put air in a front tire, and I popped on the mask in case I needed to go inside for quarters. Ouch! My ears were pinching and folding over. I had enough change, but saw that no one else going in or coming out wore masks. Hmmm!

    Pulling into the Fresh Thyme parking lot, it was a relief to see almost everyone there was sporting face gear. Definitely a different demographic. Once I was inside the store, I switched out my Uggs gloves for latex, making me feel secure handling avocados as well as everything else. I don’t care what anyone says about not needing gloves, my hands are always unconsciously all over my face. (Found Rao’s, Alex. Several flavors…hard to choose, as you didn’t suggest a favorite…then noticed the ‘Four Cheese’ was on sale for less than half the price! I didn’t go to Costco, so I don’t have pizza; but I think it might be a nice change from my homemade pesto on fresh GF pasta.)

    Exit strategy was to take the cart of bagged groceries to a secluded bench inside the store, remove my irritating bandana mask, sort and re-bag everything into my own bags, throw away the latex gloves and put the Uggs back on.

    Once home, I schlepped everything up the steep flight of stairs, removed outerwear, washed my hands, and put on another pair of latex gloves to put groceries away.

    That’s the extent of my tribe one behavior, except I’m now counting down incubation days…checking my forehead for fever, wondering if I can really feel whether my throat is okay.

    If I was successful in dodging the corona bullet, I should soon be back in the tribe three camp for 3 more weeks.

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  25. Julie Robinson said on April 17, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    I’m probably #3. Not wiping down groceries, but getting pickup every 10 days-2 weeks, along with the senior hour at Costco when we’re out of produce and milk. Other than that, staying home. I found an almost full box of latex gloves, though, and I was probably unnecessarily excited.

    The tourist industry is tanking. Guess whose family gets its income from the tourist industry?

    This morning’s grocery pickup included both birdseed and suet, which they were out of last time. We filled the feeder and the birds were there in less than five minutes. Watching them now, hunting for seeds in the snow as they wait their turn at the feeder, I’m having a gratitude moment. Some of the smallest birds disappear under the snow, and it’s still coming. I get to be inside.

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  26. ROGirl said on April 17, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Went to Aldi and the line to check out was snaking half way through the store, so I left. It’s my lunch hour and it would have taken too long. It hasn’t snowed this much since…December?

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  27. Heather said on April 17, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    I got suckered into going to a Mary Kay presentation once where they were trying to find new salespeople. It was pretty incredible. The woman went on and on about how much money she made and how she and her husband went on a private tour of the Vatican, etc. “You don’t even have to sell the products–they sell themselves!” At least Tupperware is useful.

    susan @6, I’m a very careful cyclist, always go way around people, but yeah, too many don’t. I actually got in a yelling altercation with a guy about a week ago in the park who zoomed about 2 feet away from me while I was walking. I yelled that he needed to be further away and he claimed to be avoiding a hole. The path in the park is at least 12 feet wide, and it was cold and windy so hardly anyone there–there was no reason for him to be so close to me. I can’t remember if I mentioned this on here before but it stayed with me. I haven’t really wanted to go back to any parks for that reason.

    I do wipe down groceries and packages and wash my hands afterward, but I’m not obsessive about it. I’m avoiding enclosed spaces for now, having stuff delivered and asking kind friends and neighbors without high-risk conditions to get stuff for me. I have to go get more gas in my car at some point–the battery died on me once already since it’s just sitting there, so I have to take it out occasionally–and that’s going to freak me out. I don’t have any gloves so I’m thinking some plastic bags over my hands.

    It’s snowing here too but I think it will be gone by this afternoon as it’s supposed to rain. If it’s going to snow, I wish we could at least get enough so I could go cross-country skiing. I didn’t get to go once this winter.

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  28. Jakash said on April 17, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Running in Chicago sucks right now. A tone-deaf, first-world problem, as noted by Bitter Scribe, above, but the social distancing got old real fast. The nice paths for running are closed, as they should be. Which leaves running in the neighborhood — which is what I mostly do, anyway.

    Start on a sidewalk until somebody is approaching, then head out into the street, until a biker is approaching, then over to the other sidewalk — rinse and repeat dozens of times. I try to stay 12 ft. away from folks, and won’t pass somebody I’m behind on the sidewalk, but will head out into the street. “Too Many People” as Paul McCartney sang on his second solo album.

    And, no spitting. Can you imagine? And this is the way it’s been during this preposterous Spring, when it’s in the 30s instead of the upper 50s, as the “average high” is supposed to be by now. I shudder to think what it’s gonna be like when the weather is actually good for a few days in a row. Unlike the Scribe, I won’t wear pants to run unless it’s really winter. Below 30. My legs getting cold is seldom a problem. My hands, tho… On the upside, there is a lot less traffic in the streets to contend with.

    Wearing a mask for these outings is not an option. I have a hard enough time making it through our rare grocery trips without having to blow my nose. I do hate the mask idea, but I understand the need for it in a place where you just can’t avoid people. Yesterday most people were wearing masks, and it’s hard not to be (silently) judgey about the folks who don’t, at this point. To wit, “To nag or not to nag those social distance violators?”:

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  29. Sherri said on April 17, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Getting a grocery delivery slot is impossible, and getting a pickup slot is difficult, plus I don’t get everything I order, and it’s hard to predict when and what will be substituted. I find if I go to my local organic coop for fresh produce, it’s not crowded, and if I go to the big supermarket in the early afternoon, it’s not bad. Back in March, I bought a variety of masks on Etsy, so I have a good supply.

    I think probabilistically about exposure. I’m not going to worry about low probability scenarios like exposure from packages and groceries. Those fall into the realm of possible but not likely. I will wear a mask in stores, not because it’s a 100% protection, but because it reduces the likelihood of me exposing others or of me being exposed, and reduces the viral load if I am exposed. I’m not going for sterile field level decontamination here. I’m reducing risk.

    My anxiety comes not from worry about personally catching COVID19, but because I feel like I’m on this train. Up ahead, I can see that the bridge is out. The people running the train keep talking about how we’re going to get to the other side, without talking about the bridge.

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  30. 4dbirds said on April 17, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    I’m in the third group. I take precautions when I go out, but rarely go out. When I go out, I see most people wearing masks and only a third wearing gloves. I don’t do the glove thing either. I wash my hands all the time. When our work requires us to show up again, I’m going to ask HR for an exception for a few weeks. I have three risk factors; age, diabetes and recently had a bout with sepsis. From everything I’ve read, no matter how careful there will be a bump in cases in everyone goes back to work.

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  31. Jim said on April 17, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    The confluence of MLM and tv produced On Becoming a God in Central Florida. I found it truly weird but enjoyable.

    Kirsten Dunst follows up her role on Fargo with this. On Showtime. There is a season two coming.

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  32. Jakash said on April 17, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Wonderful to see Dr. Phil lapping up some of that sweet, sweet publicity that Dr. Oz got yesterday.

    “By the way, Dr. Phil is no more of a medical doctor than Dr. Van Nostrand.”

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  33. Jeff Borden said on April 17, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Why can’t rich assholes just sit around and enjoy their fortunes? Why can’t they float around on one of their numerous yachts or fly in their fancy private jets to St. Tropez? Why are so many of them unremitting shitheels who work to make the lives of the less fortunate so miserable? DeVos is one of the worst. My understanding is she’s also a Christian dominionist, too. She checks two boxes: rich asshole and fundamentalist scold. She is loathsome.

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  34. Jim said on April 17, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Just fell off my chair! Reading Today in nn.c, I had to look up oleaginous. My google search yielded a Merriam-Webster link, and a picture of Ted Cruz was there along with the definition!

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  35. Sherri said on April 17, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Good framework for evaluating what you read about COVID19:

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  36. SusanG said on April 17, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    Masks, unless specifically designed for respiratory diseases, will not protect us from the virus. They will only protect others if we have the virus. Wearing gloves, unless you’re a health care provider, is a waste of time.
    A sane voice in the wilderness, is Bill Gates. Now he’s a target of the crazies, including Robert Kennedy Jr.

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  37. Scout said on April 17, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    While decent and sane Americans are finding ways to be of service during this global pandemic, you can always trust that the witless idiots who love them some DJT will find a way to make things worse. I haven’t wished for anyone to contract this disease but if the morons parading around in defiance of distancing guidelines get it, they will have only themselves to blame.

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  38. alex said on April 17, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you Jim!

    When I scrolled down I got both Cruz and Pence:

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  39. Connie said on April 17, 2020 at 3:01 pm

    Ed Prince and my father were house mates their first years in grad school at U of M. There is actually a place there called Dutch House, meant to provide housing for good Christian boys from Hope and Calvin.

    Ed Prince was a self made millionaire who invented and produced something to do with dashboards and put a great deal of his money into projects that benefited the city of Holland. When the department stores and chains started moving to the mall, his ideas and loans kept the storefronts occupied and led to the lively downtown there today. He also funded a very nice senior center.

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  40. Dorothy said on April 17, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Keep scrolling, kids. You missed Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell’s pictures!

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  41. LAMary said on April 17, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Although it wasn’t on the Michigan Dutchistan scale, there was plenty of that Dutch uber Christian stuff in the part of NJ when I was growing up. A whole lot of “I got mine. God must not approve of you if you’re not making lots of money.” My dad was somewhat guilty of that although he was not at all religious. I can think of four families on our block who were pretty well off, two of them owned dairies, one a jeweler, one a real estate agent. We had blue laws that prohibited stores from being open on Sunday and the only stores that could be open were pharmacies and milk stores. I guess it was just a coincidence that all the local dairies were owned by Dutch families.

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  42. Julie Robinson said on April 17, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    They are wealthy because of predestination. It’s a handy little Calvinist tenet that says God already decided who is worthy, AKA preordained. How do you know if you are one of the saved? Because you are wealthy, natch. See how that circle works, so conveniently excluding anyone outside its cozy border?

    Poor? Sick? Brown skinned? You deserve nothing because you aren’t saved.

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  43. Deborah said on April 17, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Ha ha, enjoying the oleaginous brigade.

    The only thing that brings me joy right now is planning for gardening. We had a hard freeze last week and some of the plants in the yard here in Santa Fe that were greening up nicely, have taken a nose dive. The flowering fruit trees look terrible for the most part and our silver lace vines are looking very wilted. I’m not well enough versed on plants of the southwest (or anywhere for that matter), to know if some of these will rally. It’s an added reason for being depressed, as if we needed more.

    Yesterday LB and I started building the structure for the vegetable victory garden. We’re doing it with a perimeter of large stones, which is the way the native Americans in this area did it many moons ago. We dismantled a planting bed in the side yard which had been built who knows how long ago and wasn’t yielding many plants. We stacked them into an amorphous shape that we can access into for tending easily from all sides and we bought lots of seeds. Probably too many seeds. We need to get some garden soil to fill in the planting bed area before we plant those seeds. I’m hoping we can order the soil to be delivered, so far haven’t figured that out. I hope this works. We also have to figure out how to keep the critters out. Lots to think about which is good because it distracts from worrying about the orange menace destroying our country.

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  44. LAMary said on April 17, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Home Depot will deliver soil, Deborah. We got some yesterday.

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  45. beb said on April 17, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    I never understood the reasoning behind “Predestination.” If God knows before you’re born whether you are going to heaven or hell, then there is no “Free Will,” and therefore God is willfully sending millions of people to eternal torment. What kind of God willfully inflicts an eternity of suffering on people who have no way to avoid it. Thus God must be Evil.

    And this is why Socrates was condemned to death, for teaching the youth of the city how to argue….

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  46. LAMary said on April 17, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    That’s the stuff, Julie. The really religious households near us went to church on Sunday and then spent the rest of the day inside. No yard work, no car washing, no letting the kids play outside. If a neighbor did any yard work or car washing they would call the cops. The cops would just warn people and tell them they were upsetting the neighbors. That didn’t stop my family, but if my Dutch grandmother was visiting she would insist everyone stay inside.

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  47. Deborah said on April 17, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Beb, predestination was always one of those subjects in bible class that got vaguely glossed over, one of the mysteries you weren’t supposed to think about very strenuously. I honestly don’t remember it being discussed much in religion courses when I went to a Lutheran college. I’m sure it must have come up but I don’t remember it.

    LA Mary, I went to the Home Depot website, the bags of soil I determined I want to get, says are only available in the local store. Maybe I need to call, or look for a different type of soil.

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  48. Jeff Borden said on April 17, 2020 at 5:35 pm


    I was taught in Catholic school that god knows me even to the number of hairs on my head (not that hard to tally these days) and knew what I had done, what I was doing and what I would do. As a younger person, I never gave much thought to this, but by high school, it was bothering me. When I asked a parish priest why I needed to go to confession if god already knew my mind, he was kind of flummoxed and said I needed to have faith. Apparently, I failed that test. My only visits to houses of worship are for weddings and funerals.

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  49. LAMary said on April 17, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    Deborah, your local store can deliver it and you can enter which store is near to you when you search for items. I get stuff delivered from my local store if it’s big and hard to move. They deliver. Home depot sells lots of stuff people can’t pick up.

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  50. David C said on April 17, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    I grew up pretty much secular. I’m the only one who stayed that way though. When I was young I’d always go to vacation bible school because there was nothing better to do. I never memorized my bible verses and they didn’t much seem to care. None of it ever made any sense to me. So, my brother got himself full dunk baptized. My parents and my sister all go to church. They know I’m unaffiliated and leave me alone about it, so that’s nice. I leave them about it too. Whatever gets them through their day.

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  51. Deborah said on April 17, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Our local Home Depot wants $79 just for delivery. I think we’ll just go to the store tomorrow morning, they open at 6am. I need 5 bags 2 cu ft each, of garden soil. I’ll need assistance getting it to check out and then in the Jeep. Once I get it back to the condo parking lot I can get it out of the car by letting it drop out of the way back onto a dolly. I think I can handle it.

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  52. basset said on April 17, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    LAMary way back up the thread, was that a real Tupperware party or an ironic Tupperware party?

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  53. alex said on April 17, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    I wonder if that Calvinist thing is rooted in European feudalism. In Hungary, anyway, the aristocracy were Reformed and the peasantry were Catholic and there wasn’t really any sort of social mobility. People were simply born into a caste and marriages were arranged, sort of like the practices in India that we all find so abhorent.

    I don’t know about New Mexico, but here in Hoosiertucky it’s cheaper to have a dump truck bring a load of black dirt to your house than to buy bags of it at the Big Box store. We’ll probably schedule a delivery one of these days as soon as we can build our new raised beds that we’ve been planning.

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  54. Peter said on April 17, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    Right out of college, my roommate and I organized a Tupperware, women’s lingerie, life insurance, and wine tasting party for our friends. Before you ask, the Life Insurance guy was invited because he paid for the wine.

    The Tupperware Lady was Not Amused. She said she was walking out, but then tried one of the wines. After a few more samples, she showed off the Tupperware. After a few more, she modeled the lingerie.

    I still have that life insurance policy and a couple of Tupperware containers, and last I heard the Tupperware lady and the life insurance guy are still happily married.

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  55. LAMary said on April 17, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    It was real, Basset. Phranc was really funny and she had composed songs about different Tupperware items that were hysterical. Best was when she introduced the newest item from Tupperware and played Also Sprach Zarathustra on her guitar to reveal a covered bowl set. I bought stuff. Everyone had a good time.

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  56. beb said on April 18, 2020 at 12:56 am

    I kind of remember Tupperware parties in either the 50s or early 60s. I was pretty young at the time and don’t have clear memory of them. What I do have a good memory of is that the Tupperware we bought and used was good product. I don’t think you could find the like on store shelves like you can today. The MLM property of these companies was no so evident because they were selling a true thing. The same was true for Fuller Brush or Amway sales people. As long as they were selling real things they weren’t so bad. But now MLM’s mostly seem to be selling frauds like “essential” oil or diet supplements MLMs have become clear ponzi schemes.

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  57. Jakash said on April 18, 2020 at 1:41 am

    “After a few more, she modeled the lingerie.” Well, Peter, that seems like a thread win to me, even before the mic-drop kicker of her marrying the life insurance guy!

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  58. Beobachter said on April 18, 2020 at 6:12 am

    (called out by 3*Calvin – that boy from the ‘wild’ west..) – greetings from Zwingli-land!

    * Groceries: Haven’t been for a month, online grocery experience was earliest delivery in 3 weeks, *if* you’re lucky to get an open window

    No senior special hours.

    1 chain’s solution=’top 100′, big inventory reduction+only non-refrigerated items. Much easier for free slot in a week. Min order was 100 francs, now reduced to 69.

    Another chain revived their (recently cancelled) social shopping app, Amigos. Available to risk groups only, no minimum, up to 2 paper bags/order.

    Volunteers (known as ‘bringers’) register thru the app w/photo+Bank account.

    You can ‘tip’ your bringer a max of about $5 (a Big Mac is $6.71), otherwise no fees, 6000 item inventory.

    Tried yesterday: 1 bag order, bringer ‘match’ in 45 seconds, and delivery the next morning.

    Ran downstairs (tribe#1 behavior – avoiding elevator air of other 20+ folks in building) to lobby, separated fridge vs ‘3 days in bomb shelter’ ( ).

    * Leaving home: Heard walking impossible for social distancing; so 7am bike rides 4 times/week pedaling along carefully selected routes (some ‘normal’ paths include walkers).

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  59. Deborah said on April 18, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Alex, I have no idea how to get a load of dirt delivered to us in Santa Fe, plus they’d have to dump it in the parking lot which would piss off the other residents. We don’t need that much, all we need is 10 cu ft.

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  60. Deborah said on April 18, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Beobachter, Switzerland?

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  61. Beobachter said on April 18, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Deborah@60, Yep

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  62. Deborah said on April 18, 2020 at 10:19 am

    They’re starting to show the number of covid19 cases by zip code, which is interesting. Our zip code in Santa Fe has/had 7 cases. The most cases of Santa Fe county zip codes had 22 cases. Our zip code is way more dense than the one that had 22 cases. By far the largest number of cases in New Mexico, is on the west side of the state where the Navajo Nation is. I haven’t been able to find the number of cases for our zip code in Abiquiu, which is in a different county than Santa Fe.

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  63. Deborah said on April 18, 2020 at 10:26 am

    I found it, our zip code in Abiquiu has zero cases.

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  64. LAMary said on April 18, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    The seventies, a fashion wonderland:

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  65. St Bitch said on April 18, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    Uh oh! My tonsils are swollen on this 3rd day of incubation. No other symptoms…yet. Fingers crossed it’s a garden-variety cold. I’m only supposed to take my ass to the nearest Emergency if fever, coughing and difficulty breathing not only show up, but become acute. Gonna order some Vitamin C with Amazon Prime.

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  66. LAMary said on April 18, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    One of the ESPN channels is showing the world championship of Tetris.

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 18, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    beb, our friend Beobachter’s neighbor (not chronologically) Jean Cauvin, aka John Calvin, wrote volumes (I think five) on the subject of predestination and free will, which you can read here:

    But this passage sums it all up nicely for me:
    “We are not our own; therefore neither our reason nor our will should predominate in our deliberations and actions. We are not our own; therefore let us not propose it as our end, to seek what may be expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own; therefore, let us, as far as possible, forget ourselves and all things that are ours. On the contrary, we are God’s; to him, therefore, let us live and die.”

    That’s Calvinism at its best. A challenge to not make either a set of church doctrines or merely our own personal preferences the measure of our lives, but to seek something a bit beyond ourselves as our own best standard.

    Of course, the next act was various Protestants fighting each other over who had the better line on those higher ideals or better practices, ethically or spiritually. But Calvin was about more than just “who you are and how things will be are set in stone before you’re even born.” And give him his due: he was not a big fan of nobility and the sort of practical predestination that was coin of the realm in his day. His spin on only God knows how we’ll turn out meant he was for a pretty advanced for that day form of democracy, because a peasant and a prince were equal in the Lord’s sight. Or so Calvin argued.

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  68. Dave said on April 18, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    We’ve been nowhere for 17 days now, except walks around the neighborhood. We’ve ordered our groceries to be delivered from Publix, which they’ve done fairly proficiently. You don’t always get exactly what you ordered but that’s not something we can be concerned about. Fortunately for us, we had bought a fair amount of toilet paper on sale before all of this started and the same with paper towels, so we’re good for awhile. Any of the three orders we’ve placed with Publix has always ended with “Not available at this time”, for those items. I was this close to making it to Costco a couple of days ago, a big adventure, and my wife said that maybe we should just stay home.

    Meanwhile, the Florida schools are now closed for the rest of the year, as ordered by our governor but the WWE, big contributors to Trump, can wrestle. The governor . . .

    I’ve been binge-watching and reading. I’d always wanted to see Barry but don’t subscribe to HBO, so they’ve made it accessible on Amazon temporarily, I guess. I’ve made it through season one. I’ve also started Ozark, rather dark, my son recommended it. These are not the kind of shows we watch together, my wife doesn’t like violence and doesn’t like a lot of foul language. She wouldn’t like these. I had thought of giving Breeders a go with Martin Freeman but in the first five minutes, he’s cursing his little children, F this and that, do parents in general talk to their small children like that now? Same for the family talk in Ozark, course, he is laundering money for a drug dealer.

    I know I may sound prudish but I just can’t imagine talking like that to my children or grandchildren. In my lifetime of railroading, I said plenty but not at home.

    Our old favorite neighbor in Fort Wayne is in Parkview North, they thought he had CV-19, but they’ve decided no. He’s 83, no one can go see him, his wife is stuck at home, all of their children live at least 100 miles away, they just got a new grandchild within the last two weeks they can’t visit. It’s awful for them.

    Appears that there’s a lot of April birthdays here, including me. I turned into another decade this month, that 7 in front of 0 just looks so OLD to me. Oh dear.

    I read the posts from the campaigns and the comments from 2009 and all I could think is how nuts the present administration would have made Prosper/Caliban, to say nothing of what it’s doing to us.

    Hope all of you stay healthy.

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  69. Deborah said on April 18, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    The local Home Depot did a great job this morning of social distancing and being very helpful loading up our cart and our jeep with the 10 cu ft of bagged dirt we needed. We already planted some stuff that said it was ok to do. Most of our seeds are for this geographic region so I’m hopeful. All of this is for growing vegetables which I’m expecting to be for a critical time after they open up the economy too soon. We’re figuring out every little spot in the condo yard where we can grow edibles. We will share our bounty with the other residents if we’re successful. Fingers crossed for success.

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  70. Deborah said on April 18, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    My hair is looking really shitty, but in the scheme of things what’s more important, everything basically. No one sees it anyway, and if I give myself a bad haircut, hair grows back. I’ve had white hair for years, no coloring so I don’t have to think about that. And when I think about the money I’m saving on haircuts in Chicago, it’s totally worth the shagginess.

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  71. Brian stouder said on April 18, 2020 at 8:11 pm

    Deborah, you’re a perfectly beautiful woman, by any measure; and good luck with the gardening project. Hereabouts, we had accumulated SNOW on the ground this morning! I recall snowy Marches in the past, but not April! A few days ago neighbors were mowing grass, and I was contemplating the same…. Anyway, here we are 10 hours later, and all the snow is gone.

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  72. Jakash said on April 18, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    “In my lifetime of railroading, I said plenty but not at home.”

    That’s the way my dad was, Dave. He was a factory worker and I imagine he had a spicier vocabulary with his co-workers, but he always kept it under wraps around us yutes. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty much that way with coarse language, as well.

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  73. Carter Cleland said on April 19, 2020 at 1:02 am

    I’m somewhat non-plussed that in all of the conversations about masks and/or gloves, no one seems to bring up one pretty obvious reason I give for using them, that being that when you go to rub your nose, your eyes, or your chapped lips, you run into whatever style of mask you’ve fashioned. And stop. If you wear both gloves, and a mask, there are 2 reminders not to touch your face.

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  74. LAMary said on April 19, 2020 at 1:06 am

    Now that my sons are grown I’ll toss some bad words around. I still am not comfortable with saying the f word in their presence. Away from them, yes. I’m sure they know I use that word pretty often and that it’s only for their benefit that I stifle it.

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  75. Colleen said on April 19, 2020 at 1:31 am

    I think that’s how people talk to/in front of their kids. I heard a neighbor f-bomb their kid during a recent dressing down.

    I’m not a prude, but I think it’s overused and generally unnecessarily so. It’s just used as a casual adjective, which may take away some of its power as the dirtiest word, but still sounds, to my ears, very coarse and uncreative.

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  76. Dexter Friend said on April 19, 2020 at 3:26 am

    My mask is from China. Nice. I can’t read the characters, so you sinophiles please don’t tell me it’s from Wuhan.

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  77. Deborah said on April 19, 2020 at 8:46 am

    I kept my language pretty clean around LB until she was in her late teens and started using colorful language herself. Now I have an indecent mouth, but I try to use F bombs sparingly. However since Trump got elected that’s been very difficult.

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  78. Jakash said on April 19, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    This comment from LA Mary on April 19, 2011 is as timeless as one of Dolt 45’s hypocritical tweets:

    “I’m hating on NBC for giving Trump as much interview time as they do. Fox I can understand for their own nut job reasons, but NBC is doing it to promote his hideous show on NBC. He is so thoroughly awful.”

    Alas, that was followed by several members of the Commentariat stating why he would never really run for president.

    I’m not particularly surprised that he *ran* for president. I’ll never get over the fact that he became an actual *nominee* for president, let alone that he could come anywhere *close* to *becoming* president. Ugh.

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  79. basset said on April 19, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Our only thermometer gave out last night. Buying another is going about like you’d expect.

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  80. susan said on April 19, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    bassett, I still have—and use—three mercury thermometers. Bet you can’t even buy those anymore. They don’t have any electronics, don’t need batteries, and aren’t connected to the intertoobs.

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  81. Connie said on April 19, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    I also have an ancient mercury thermometer. And two cheap little electric ones.

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  82. Deborah said on April 19, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Are you guys talking about fever thermometers or weather thermometers? We got a new digital fever thermometer by Braun, that you use on your forehead, in Santa Fe. We have another digital fever thermometer in Santa Fe that works under your tongue (and elsewhere, ewww) that we’ll take back to Chicago if we ever go back there.

    I keep meaning to order a weather thermometer for the cabin, but I keep forgetting about it.

    I’m back in Abiquiu for the next 3 days. We planted 3 Russian sage plants out here that we dug up in Santa Fe to make room for the victory garden in the side yard of the condo. Our biggest problem in being successful with growing vegetables at the condo will be keeping the critters away. Any suggestions?

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  83. beb said on April 19, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    I want to flag this story from Deadline Detroit for two reasons. One is that it’s an incredible expose’ to a big Covid-19 scandal here in Detroit and the other is to ask why didn’t this appear in one of our two daily newspapers?
    Eric Starkman is a former Detroit News business reporter, now a west coast PR advisor and blogger. I presume that this story forst appeared on his blog. Beaumont hospital chain is a major hospital chain in Michigan. They abruptly closed their hospital near the Metro Detroit airport just as Covoid-19 cases were climbing. And at a time when the Army Corp of Engineers had commandeered Cobo Hall (now TCI Center) as an emergency field hospital. Starkman lays into Beaumont with a salt encrusted knife!!

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  84. LAMary said on April 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Not sure what sort of critters are eating your vegetables, Deborah. I used to plan gopher purge and that kept them away. Then I got a cat named Edith and she used to bring me at least one dead gopher a day for a while. After a couple of weeks the gophers must have noticed their relatives were disappearing and they left the premises permanently.

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  85. Deborah said on April 19, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    Last year LB planted tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and decorative corn in 2 galvanized buckets. The tomatoes were the cherry type and birds would make off with them, saw them do it. She got very little yield of anything. This year we’re doing a raised bed, nothing is growing yet but we have skunks and raccoons that come in the yard in the early, early morning hours. I worry that they’ll pick everything clean, or root around looking for grubs etc and dig stuff out not giving it a chance. We’ve tried all kinds of things to get rid of the skunks like chili powder, moth balls, coyote urine powder, and x-lax. The x-lax seemed to work for a while, not really sure. I guess we’ll have to try that again. Our place is about a block up from the Santa Fe River so lots of critters come around from there. Even bears, not in our yard yet but they’ve been spotted in the river a few years ago when there was a major drought.

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  86. Deborah said on April 19, 2020 at 8:18 pm

    Correction: they’re large galvanized tubs, not buckets, we’re going to plant some stuff in those again this year too, plus a large fire bowl, we’re using that as a planter this year.

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  87. Deborah said on April 19, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    One more thing: on our 50 mile drive to Abiquiu we go past 3 Pueblos, Tesuque, San Ildefonso and Santa Clara. They had digital signs on the highway saying that the Pueblos are closed. They’re being hit hard by the virus.

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  88. Deborah said on April 19, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Ok one more thing, we actually are pretty close to another Pueblo, Ohkay Owingah (spelling?) That’s where I met up with Jeff tmmo when he was out here a few years ago.

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