The Economist, 25 July 2020

Modest Changes in Behavior leads to “huge rises in coronavirus infections”: The Geometry of the Pandemic, p. 19

This article focuses on a model by Rajiv Rimal of Johns Hopkins University. And it’s a big, fat chunk of the article (maybe a third), longer than she usually manages to quote. But she wanted to share it. Knowledge is power!

When “American states began easing lockdowns . . . their caseloads were three or more times higher than in Europe, in part, argues Jarbas Barbosa of the Pan-American Health Organization, because most states never had full lockdowns. Texas had 1,270 new cases on the day its governor said restaurants could reopen: 44 per million. In Georgia, the rate was 95 per million. Disney World reopened the day before Florida announced a record 15,000 new cases in a day. Just as incredibly, in two-thirds of states, infections were rising when governors started to ease lockdowns. By contrast, France, Spain and Italy had 13-17 new cases per million when they began to re-open their economies and numbers were falling fast.

“On April 12th … 95% of the population was staying at home (leaving the house only for essential visits), with 5% ignoring lockdown rules. Based on those assumptions, his model predicts that Americans would have had 559,400 cases on that day — an accurate assessment (it actually had 554,849). On July 14th, Mr. Rimal assumed that 80% of the population was staying at home, i.e., only a gradual change. On this basis, his model predicts the country would have 1.6m cases, again not far off the actual number and confirming the impact of modest rises in activity. If people really altered their behaviour, the number would rise even further to 5.6m cases if the stay-at-home share drops to 60% and to 9.5m if it falls to 20%. In that worst case, America’s death toll could top 400,000. Such is the dark logic of geometric growth.”

The Economist concludes that “to drive the level of infection down to perhaps a tenth of what it is now (closer to European or Asian levels) … seems to require full lockdowns.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Good and Bad News, Brought To You By wsj 23 July 2020

Chipotle Triples Its Online Sales (and self has never eaten in Chipotle!)

Las Vegas Sands Revenue Drops by 97%

Whirlpool Benefits from Stay-Home Repairs

Dow Jumps 165, Lifted by Pfizer Shares

Dairy Prices Near Levels Before Slump

 

RIP for the Lost

Just recently, self heard The Octopus Literary Salon, in Oakland, where she and friends had all variously read, had closed. SAD! It was a mainstay of the local literary community.

Self was just looking through her pile of contributor copies (for stories she’s published in literary magazines) and realized that there are quite a goodly number that do not exist anymore. Like, The Rambler? This magazine of nonfiction appeared in North Carolina, survived a number of years, and took two of self’s flash.

How about Isotope? A place for creative and science writing. Edited by poet Chris Cokinos. In the same issue as poetry and plays, an essay on math (with numbers!) or biology. This one published out of Utah.

Here are self’s list of The Departed (the ones she knows about):

  • 5_Trope
  • Alimentum: The Literature of Food (Self loved this magazine. It moved to on-line only, and self still loved it. Then, ALAS!)
  • decomP
  • Elsewhere Lit
  • Isotope
  • LITnIMAGE
  • Our Own Voice  (featuring writing of the Philippine diaspora)
  • The Cricket Online Review
  • The Rambler
  • Used Furniture Review
  • White Whale Review (The editor solicited her after reading her blog)
  • Word Riot

Most of these magazines fell into the experimental and/or social justice arena. They were trying to do something different, and their presence in the literary world was exciting (Face it, if self had to rely solely on the big literary magazines, her career would have been over years ago). They were labors of love (as every literary magazine, big or small, is) and their vision was unique.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

We Who Live in the Real World

from The Economist, 25 July 2020, p. 17:

  • New confirmed infections are surpassing their previous peaks in mid-April, sometimes exceeding 70,000 per day. The unemployment rate in June was 11.1%, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects it to decline only modestly to 8.4% in 2021. The “v-shaped recovery” that America had hoped for seems out of reach. About 18m are still unemployed, compared with 6m before the recession. Surveys from the Census Bureau show that 16% of adults who owe rent or mortgage payments missed them last month, and 11% report that they do not have enough to eat at least some of the time (compared with 8.8% in early March). Eviction notices, many filed by landlords who are also struggling, have begun to pile up.

A Big Entrance

He watched Dewy Crowe bring a pump shotgun out of the trunk and start back this way, all business now, his mind made up, his dumb pride taking him to a place it would be hard to back out of.

. . . Raylan in his shirtsleeves, Dewey Crowe taking careful steps now, holding the shotgun out in front of him.

“Mr. Crowe? Listen, you better hold on there while I tell you something.”

It stopped him about fifty feet away, his shoulders hunched.

“I want you to understand,” Raylan said, “I don’t pull my sidearm ‘less I’m gonna shoot to kill. That’s it’s purpose, huh, to kill. So it’s how I use it.”

Fire in the Hole

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A Fine Bromance

Since self is currently reading Fire in the Hole, she’s on a Justified nostalgia kick.

Lookit these two! The hottest dudes on TV for six glorious seasons:

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Timothy Olyphant as US Marshal Raylan Givens; Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder

Chemistry between these two was high, every encounter struck sparks.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Aryan Knights of Freedom

Hot, hot day. Still reading Elmore Leonard’s “Fire in the Hole”.

Trigger Warning: white supremacy, ‘niggers,’ spray-painting synagogues. Elmore Leonard could have been writing about today.

  • This Jared had come recommended from an Oklahoma group, the Aryan Knights of Freedom. Jared saying he heard of Crowder’s Commandos he couldn’t wait to drive his new SUV over to Kentucky and join up. Saying he was anxious to get into high explosives ‘stead of chasing niggers down alleys and spray-painting synagogues; shit. He said he was in Oklahoma City for the Murrah Federal Building, got there just a few minutes after she blew. He said it had inspired him to get in the fight. Sometimes talking about the Murrah Buiding it would sound like he had taken part in that mission with Tim and Terry.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“Fire in the Hole”

The title story:

They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years. Now it looked like they’d be meeting again, this time as lawman and felon, Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder.

Boyd did six years in a federal penitentiary for refusing to pay his income tax, came out and found religion. He received his ordination by mail order in South Carolina and formed a sect he called Christian Aggression. The next thing he did, Boyd formed the East Kentucky Militia with a cadre of neo-Nazi skinheads, a bunch of boys wearing Doc Martens and swastika tattoos. They were all natural-born racists and haters of authority, but still had to be taught what Boyd called “the laws of White Supremacy as laid down by the Lord,” which he took from Christian identity doctrines. Next thing, he trained these boys in the use of explosives and automatic weapons. He told them they were now members of Crowder’s Commandos, sworn to take up the fight for freedom against the coming Mongrel World Order and the government’s illegal tax laws.

That’s some opening. Probably one of the best short story openings ever.

So Boyd Crowder was a neo-Nazi skinhead? Somehow, this little fact escaped self’s mind when she was watching the show. Or perhaps they downplayed it for the adaptation, to make Boyd more likeable.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Portland a ‘Test Case’ for Feds: USA Today

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Critics said the president is testing out heavy-handed enforcement in Portland, a largely white city known as one of the most progressive in the nation, before moving on to more diverse cities. They also accused the president of creating more conflict amid national protests over racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans.


“They have done this paramilitary (stuff) to immigrant communities with ICE … and now they’re seemingly testing it out in Portland,” he said. “I think this is their first attempt to roll it out on a major American city and on white people. I think they thought they were going to get away with it. And we are not going to let them get away with it.”

“The Vanishing” : Rosebud, Issue 67

“The Vanishing,” self’s story of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, had been making the round of slush piles when Rosebud‘s editor reached her on her cell and told her he was pulling hers from the slushpile.

Rosebud is a very ambitious magazine.

The section Once Upon a . . . features re-tellings of Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel.

A section called Songs of the City are stories set in . . . what else? Cities.

A section called Looking Up features stories about the moon and other planetary bodies.

“The Vanishing”

Pope Alexander VI draw a line from pole to pole, dividing the world like the two halves of an orange: everything east of the line belonged to Portugal, everything west to Spain. In one stroke, centuries of struggle between the two arch-rivals came to an end, and the world at last seemed able to contain the two countries’ teeming ambitions, ambitions that had taken root and flowered in a dream born as a whisper in the ear of a friend of a friend of a friend: Francisco Serrao, Portuguese, who wrote to the crown from the Moluccas, in words both ardent and teasing. “Gold and riches,” Serrao wrote. “Spices and women.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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