Tagged: COVID-19

The Face Mask as Rebel Flag

It’s heartening to see display of the Confederate flag being given the improper burial it deserves along with other symbols of the former Confederate States of America—a group of states with people who believed in enslaving other human beings who were ripped from their native land, shipped across the ocean like cargo and put to work against their will. Just a simple exercise of “states rights.”

Yeah, yeah..I lived in Georgia for eight years. Attended the Stone Mountain laser show where disciples of Lee, Jackson (the Stonewall variety) and Davis yahoo in reverence to the men who led the CSA to utter defeat, but remain in high regard to many as symbols of southern culture. You can yank down monuments to these losers but you can’t really level Stone Mountain, which, by the way, is an excellent park.

In 1987 I covered for CNN a civil rights march in Cumming, Ga., about 30 miles north of Atlanta. On the day before the march I spent the day with Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels who came over from New York City to help, er, contain things because trouble was expected from a group of militant white racists. The Guardian Angels were not welcome by the local PO-lice and some obviously racist residents. When I asked Sliwa about that he said, “We were treated like hemorrhoids!” Such a charming New Yawk thing to say. (see video)

On the day of the march while waiting to do a live shot, I was also treated with the respect of a bulging butt growth as some fine gentleman wearing the Stars and Bars decided to welcome me to the proceedings by launching a soda bottle filled with sand directly at me. Now that’s a hearty Jaw-Jaw howdy! I narrowly avoided the projectile and those that followed. Then I had to shake my head. That’s one reason you idiots lost the war. Couldn’t hit a standing reporter from 30 feet.

Over the years, including this one, I’ve heard repeatedly that shhheeeeeeet…the Confederate Flay-ag represents Southern culture, and our rights as Amuricans. No it doesn’t. It represents bigotry, hatred and the losing side in a horrible war. By the way…that’s not Southern culture. I love Southern culture—the culture of courtesy, warmth and foods that’ll kill ya but are second to none in taste and satisfaction. When I was transferred up to Detroit in 1989, by my request—it was a promotion—I missed Atlanta and Georgia very much. Well, except for the 24/7 gridlock. But everything else. In fact, before the transfer, we were looking to move to a larger house as our family grew.

Still, there’s a stubbornness among those who cling to the Confederacy and that same mule-headedness has now manifested itself among those who refuse to wear a face mask. We’re not wearing them because someone is throwing a global masquerade party. We’re wearing them to keep ourselves and others from dying. Yet when you ask someone to put one on the reply is rarely, if ever, “oh, sorry. I forgot.” OR “Ooops..left it home. My mistake.” No. The retort is “It’s my right not to wear the damn thing…and it’s uncomfortable and hot.” OR “Mind your own effin’ business. It’s my decision.” What is wrong with you? Have not enough people become ill or died because of COVID-19? Got news for you.. only characters in Marvel comics have superpowers. But we all have the power to contain this viral bastard, saving ourselves and others.

Wearing a face mask isn’t foolproof, but it’s an honest effort to do the right thing—an easily accomplished act of decency and unselfishness.

Oh by the way…your “rights” don’t mean shit…if you’re dead. Just like the Confederacy… and just as useless.

The Face Mask as Rebel Flag

It’s heartening to see display of the Confederate flag being given the improper burial it deserves along with other symbols of the former Confederate States of America—a group of states with people who believed in enslaving other human beings who were ripped from their native land, shipped across the ocean like cargo and put to work against their will. Just a simple exercise of “states rights.”

Yeah, yeah..I lived in Georgia for eight years. Attended the Stone Mountain laser show where disciples of Lee, Jackson (the Stonewall variety) and Davis yahoo in reverence to the men who led the CSA to utter defeat, but remain in high regard to many as symbols of southern culture. You can yank down monuments to these losers but you can’t really level Stone Mountain, which, by the way, is an excellent park.

In 1987 I covered for CNN a civil rights march in Cumming, Ga., about 30 miles north of Atlanta. On the day before the march I spent the day with Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels who came over from New York City to help, er, contain things because trouble was expected from a group of militant white racists. The Guardian Angels were not welcome by the local PO-lice and some obviously racist residents. When I asked Sliwa about that he said, “We were treated like hemorrhoids!” Such a charming New Yawk thing to say. (see video)

On the day of the march while waiting to do a live shot, I was also treated with the respect of a bulging butt growth as some fine gentleman wearing the Stars and Bars decided to welcome me to the proceedings by launching a soda bottle filled with sand directly at me. Now that’s a hearty Jaw-Jaw howdy! I narrowly avoided the projectile and those that followed. Then I had to shake my head. That’s one reason you idiots lost the war. Couldn’t hit a standing reporter from 30 feet.

Over the years, including this one, I’ve heard repeatedly that shhheeeeeeet…the Confederate Flay-ag represents Southern culture, and our rights as Amuricans. No it doesn’t. It represents bigotry, hatred and the losing side in a horrible war. By the way…that’s not Southern culture. I love Southern culture—the culture of courtesy, warmth and foods that’ll kill ya but are second to none in taste and satisfaction. When I was transferred up to Detroit in 1989, by my request—it was a promotion—I missed Atlanta and Georgia very much. Well, except for the 24/7 gridlock. But everything else. In fact, before the transfer, we were looking to move to a larger house as our family grew.

Still, there’s a stubbornness among those who cling to the Confederacy and that same mule-headedness has now manifested itself among those who refuse to wear a face mask. We’re not wearing them because someone is throwing a global masquerade party. We’re wearing them to keep ourselves and others from dying. Yet when you ask someone to put one on the reply is rarely, if ever, “oh, sorry. I forgot.” OR “Ooops..left it home. My mistake.” No. The retort is “It’s my right not to wear the damn thing…and it’s uncomfortable and hot.” OR “Mind your own effin’ business. It’s my decision.” What is wrong with you? Have not enough people become ill or died because of COVID-19? Got news for you.. only characters in Marvel comics have superpowers. But we all have the power to contain this viral bastard, saving ourselves and others.

Wearing a face mask isn’t foolproof, but it’s an honest effort to do the right thing—an easily accomplished act of decency and unselfishness.

Oh by the way…your “rights” don’t mean shit…if you’re dead. Just like the Confederacy… and just as useless.

Masking in the Spotlight

facemaskmontage2Got a mask? A lot of people do and that’s a good thing. It’s all about being safe. Who wants to breathe in someone else’s viral voom?

I like these two kids in love using their masks like kissin’ condoms. No tongue, no problem. That’s real social distancing.safemasking

I thought I was ahead of the game when I found a couple of old face masks in my garage that I use when I’m spray painting something or the pollen gets to me when I mow my lawn. But I quickly discovered a boring white, pre-made mask is almost a fashion faux pas during this terrible pandemic.

Stuck at home with so much free time, people are getting creative, using whatever materials they happen to have on hand to stick over their noses and mouths.

EdMaskMy wife, being a master crafter, quickly created this one for me out of one of my old, discarded dress shirts. Despite being semi-retired for almost four years, I can still smell the stench of corporate meeting rooms on the material and, while wearing the mask, often have hallucinations of being trapped in an endless Power Point presentation.

I call the mask this guy is wearing “The Shmotah.” That’s Yiddish for rag and that’s pretty much what this gentleman has decided will do the trick for him. Personally, it looks more like something you’d use to chloroform someone attempting to steal the toilet paper from your shopping cart.shmotamask

Which brings me to a masked marauder I discovered in a supermarket. That shopper decided to emulate Jesse James by affixing a bandana around her nose and mouth. Was she there to stock up on soup and crackers, or awaiting the arrival of the next Wells Fargo stagecoach in order to stick it up? Regardless, I gave her wide berth, and removed my watch.jessejamesrobbingstagecoachmask

lettucemaskI don’t know what this person was thinking by slapping a lettuce leaf over most of her face. If she had done this here in Michigan, the poor thing would have been immediately doused with ranch dressing.

I found this photo of a guy who seems to be protecting himself from coronavirus while also launching a campaign promoting electrolysis for anyone suffering from a new affliction I hear the CDC is calling “Hirsute Blue.”bluefurcolorfulbandanamask

jokermaskThere are some Jokers out there combining prophylaxis with paranoia.

pooohmaskThis little girl found a way to stick out her tongue while keeping it in.

minimousemaskMinnie Mouse doing her part to provide maximum facial cover.

mardigrasmaskOoops…Mardi Gras’s over. No masking this couple’s cluelessness. All they needed to do was look to their left to realize, “we made a boux boux, chere.”

facemaskmontageSo whether your mask is of the pre-fab, store bought variety, a shmotah, bandana, home crafted or creatively improvised, don’t forget to slap it on because right now, the last thing you wanna do…is go viral.

Coronavirus is Bad Enough–Don’t Let Cabin Fever Shut You Down

cabinfeverNo. I don’t have cabin fever. Thank goodness I don’t have any fever and neither do any of my immediate family members….now. One did a week or so ago. That’s done. Again. Very thankful. But cabin fever? Not at all. You shouldn’t have it either, or at least submit to it.

Think about what cabin fever really is. You’re tired of being stuck in the house and can’t go out because of some condition. Unless you’re sick, you shouldn’t have it and I hope you’re not.

You don’t need to succumb to cabin fever because if you’re not sick, there’s no excuse for staying in. You can go outside. Take a walk, take a ride, hop on your bike if you have one..or a boat of some sort. I have a kayak. It’s easy to be socially distant when you’re in the middle of a lake. I doubt I’d be in danger of infecting, or being infected by, a bluegill. Those are all safe things to do if you don’t do them in groups where people are close to each other.

lindenWe’ve started discovering and re-discovering parts of our state by taking rides from 1-3 hours buzzing through localities, cities and towns, sometimes getting out to walk a little if it’s not too crowded. Just yesterday we visited the tiny town of Linden, Mich. Seen it on the map but never in person. On our way into town we happened on a great little loop of a trail at park overlooking a lake. There were  a few people walking, maybe half a dozen. But the trail was long enough for us to space ourselves sufficiently.

In downtown Linden, such as it was, we were able to pull into a small lot close enough to see the water from the Shiawassee River flow over a little dam without getting out of the car.  lindendam

From there we headed east to Fenton. It’s larger than Linden with new restaurants and stores, and it also featured a small park and walkway with a view of Shiawassee River water flowing over a small dam, creating as much of a waterfall as we needed to justify a quick photo and this little video.

It was a little more popular than we thought comfortable so we found refuge in the car and began the 45 minute ride home, going through the historic burg of Holly and assorted scenic rural townships. Holly is best known for the Holly Hotel located in Battle Alley. According to legend, the hotel is haunted and that lore has many firm believers to this day.

HollyHotelProhibitionist Carrie Nation also called Holly home for about six years to wail on the evils of alcohol.

battlealleyantiquesWe visit Holly about once a year even during the best of times. We especially enjoy the Battle Alley antique arcade which is in a rambling old house with wonderful creaking wood floors, three levels of any kind of old stuff you either need, don’t need or just want. Oh, you can always count on a plate of fresh cookies sitting on a shelf along the main, cobblestone aisle..there for the grabbing. The windmill cookies are especially tasty.

We’ve done the route between Holly and home many times before only now we took closer notice since the ride wasn’t the route to an activity, but our activity. 

As you can see, or not see, I haven’t provided any photos of my own except for the Fenton dam. That’s because I was driving most of the time and snapping photos while driving with my knees would probably be more dangerous than the virus. You would think this predicament might spark faster development of autonomous cars. But the real deal is I just wanted to enjoy the ride and sights and talk about them with my family,  taking notice of places we might want to return when it’s safer to get out of the car and explore more thoroughly.

It doesn’t really matter how far you go. A little ride to some place that’s not your driveway or parking space is just the mental break you need to try to maintain some sort of sanity. Besides, gas is cheap right now. Go ahead…filler ‘er up, hit the road, and give your brain a little something more to chew on than a TV or computer screen. Yes..get out of your cabin…and break the fever.

The Coronavirus Kick in the Ass

man in yellow protective suit holding a newspaper

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

It may not seem so right now, but on the other side of this pandemic some things will have changed that perhaps should have happened long ago. I conveniently created a short list:

1-The necessity of “going to the office” has been severely challenged. I’ve always looked at offices as petri dishes of cultural bacteria, fomenting time-wasting meetings, gossip, jealousies, clock-watching and commutes that contribute to harmful emissions, wasteful and costly fuel consumption and misuse of valuable time.

Oh sure, there’s the notion of team camaraderie and collaboration, but that can be accomplished much more efficiently and conveniently without forcing employees to spend their days tied to an assigned workspace where they’re sitting ducks for all manner of productivity-sucking distractions. Scheduling regular in-person meet-ups may be sufficient to satisfy the need for a little person-to-person contact and relationship/team building. Working remotely doesn’t mean permanent exile!

Telecommuting isn’t new, of course, however, many companies offer this option as a favor or reward to precious few employees. The fact is, given today’s technology, you can perform almost any task, conduct meetings that include graphics and video and collaborate on projects from any place on Earth with decent web or mobile connectivity.

Now that so many office workers have been forced to do their jobs remotely, a lot of them are finding they’re more productive, less stressed, can manage their time better, saving money on gas and are enjoying a better quality of life. I’m betting that once this crisis is over, bosses should be ready to field a ton of requests to keep working from home, or Starbucks at least most of the time, and it’s about time more office inmates had that option.

Of course…some folks love going to the office to either get away from the house for awhile or just to be with other adults or for the free coffee or whatever. That’s great if it works for you. Here’s hoping businesses that did not previously offer the option of telecommuting will see positive outcomes during this time and make it more available to appreciative employees.

2-Car dealers that rely so much on showroom foot traffic have been forced to rethink its importance as we practice social distancing to help kill off the spread of coronavirus. Who doesn’t dread spending 2,3,4 hours at a dealership from the time you choose your new ride to sitting at the sales person’s little desk, haggling over the price, then pivoting to the finance person’s star chamber where they try to foist extended warrantees, safety and security plans or a dizzying number of finance options. My wife and I excel at this process. We walk in and tell the person, “we’ll make it easy on you. No to everything.” The last guy we did that too just sagged his shoulders while he surrendered saying, “it’s just not gonna be my day.” That was some time into our third or fourth hour.

But now dealers have learned that online vehicle marketplaces are catering to exactly what many consumers want. Do it all online, quickly. To deal with the need to socially distance, a lot of brick and mortar dealers are offering home or office vehicle deliveries, online document signing and even virtual test drives where a “concierge” will give you a tour of the vehicle via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, WebEx, etc. My friends at DriveShift.comwill even have the concierge start the engine so the customer can give it a listen. It’s true, nothing beats a physical test drive and the chance to literally kick the tires, but for some customers, expediency carries the day.

Yes, many dealers have had a long time online presence but not all have made it possible to complete the entire process without a showroom visit. As George Augustaitis, one of my trusted sources of prescient auto industry analysis at CarGurus.com told me the other day for my Forbes.com story, “To me, dealers should be thinking about relationship building, where if you’re online and you have a staff that can answer emails, text messages. I think a lot of this is about producing content. People can watch at home, answering questions online. When people feel like they’re ready to buy their car they’re going to reflect upon the fact that over these many weeks the dealer is always answering my questions, sending me videos, doing these things so I can do my research.”

So that’s just one example. The pandemic has spurred scores of other businesses that have never been involved in e-commerce to jump in and are offering the convenience of remote ordering and delivery which are especially helpful for shut-ins, disabled folks and others who are just really busy or don’t have personal transportation.

3-The whole concept of “social distancing” is one we should have been practicing to some extent anyway. Giving others some space–enough space so whatever nasty stuff is in your cough or sneeze is deprived a landing pad on someone else’s epidermis, is not only smart, but considerate. Honestly, I hate it when I’m in line at the supermarket checkout and the person behind me insists on getting close enough to read the fine print on the booze bottles in my cart to the point where they comment, “Oh yeah..Makers Mark..love the stuff. Just had it for breakfast!” Back off! That’s my lunch you’re talking about..achoo! Got ya.

4-Much of the world has given up on using cash for even the smallest transactions and because of the danger of touching bills that may have been handled by hundreds or thousands of others, the use of credit and debit cards for in-person purchases has increased. That way, you’re the only one who has to handle your method of payment. For those of us codgers who still carry folding money and change, that’s something going into the memory bank as we make the transition. I was dragging my feet. The virus helped me pick up the pace. Perhaps it will do the same for the more of us who still like the feel of cold cash but not the bacterial loot it harbors.

5-This final one is probably the most important. I see more concern between human beings about each other’s welfare. Not just friends and family, but co-workers, acquaintances, even those with whom you have casual contact asking how we’re feeling, and parting with the words, “be safe,” or “stay safe.” I see a degree of unselfishness that’s so heartening. If you browse posts on the Nextdoor app, you will see quite a number of posts where folks volunteer to go to the store, do a little yard work or perform other errands and services for those in tough spots…for free, in many cases. We’ve gotta keep this going even after the worst is over.

So those are just a very few examples of how this terrible time we’re in right now has kickstarted some positive actions and behaviors that should have been in wider practice all along. I bet you can think of others. I’d love to hear about them.