My Blog Week: March 8 to March 14
Readers, I had to take a sick day yesterday, not for that. Just a vicious migraine. So My Blog Week got missed Sunday, but here it is in its proper slot today.
A Word on the Week
A few weeks ago, apropos of nothing, I was noticing how little lead time I have on the amount of groceries I keep in the house. I usually buy once a week, and I’m not big on stocking canned and frozen stuff. I don’t bake much, so the flour I have is old and stale. It occurred to me I had no more than a few days’ supply, if a time of crisis should arrive. But even in the light of crisis, I don’t see much room for practical improvement. Especially, the foil-packed bomb shelter cuisine seems like it would only make difficulties.
Even if you’ve bought normal food, you have to eat your stores before they go bad; which in a power failure/freezer scenario, could be quite an undertaking.
I went to the Kroger today to buy just those things as I’d run out of…and yes, there were empty shelves. No sandwich bread; no buns, etc. All the frozen vegetables except cauliflower cleared out. Like everyone, it appears, I felt the times hadn’t yet devolved to the point of cauliflower. I made substitutes: I bought “bowls” for veg, from the frozen meals section, modestly fancy white beans and feta, Mediterranean lentil. And I found some packs of Pillsbury-style biscuits, which should make for pretty good sandwiches anyway. But we can assume this is no crisis at all, just a temporary mismatch of supply and demand. (Also a cost/benefit assessment. Rather than try every store in town, so that somewhere I might have found bread and veg, I saved my hours and made do.)
Is it any surprise the Trump idea of lowering interest rates hasn’t helped buck people up? I don’t know why the point isn’t intuitive, even to a Very Obtuse Person. Uncertainty is making the markets suffer, and the uncertainty is because the testing has been so bungled. What we need is a sense of the scope of coronavirus spread. When the numbers are under-reported, no one knows where the disease is going or how big it’s going to get. If everyone stays home for a week, and then goes back to their old routines, they could start the whole thing over again. Testing would provide statistics needed to project trends: on a county by county, town by town, neighborhood by neighborhood basis. When does it peak? When does it decline? Does it peak in one district, fade, then peak simultaneously in adjacent districts? How does it effect various professions? Who gets mild vs serious cases? How fine are the distinctions? How many people have actually had a mild case?
With data like that, public health officials can frame the outbreak so the public feels able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Without data, but with the knowledge most of what’s said is invented or wrong, the public mood is to hoard a little, hole up a little…for some, deny a little…
But those with the inclination to accept platitudes and try to be jauntily ironic, still have no reason to think this will be over soon. Bearing in mind it may, now the virus has rooted in, come back cyclically, like its cousin the cold, and like the flu.
On Monday, Cartoon Stories, on the theme of topical jokes. Tuesday, a new Jumping Off poem, “Not a Living Thing”. Wednesday, one from my book Rattus, “Confess”, an artificial intelligence growing self-interest. On Thursday, Frédéric Boutet’s “The Fortuneteller” part one, with a scheming husband trying to game the game. Friday and Saturday, more reissues that can be found in my book Rattus, because I’m in a busy writing period, trying to get four projects plus poetry done: “Omnibus”, and “The Earth Unseeded”.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: March 8 to March 14