Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

March 20, 2020
by funny
3 Comments

No Cure for Stupid

LOL!!! There’s a BIG SIGN attached to the front gate reading

PLEASE DELIVER PACKAGES FOR THE BOXANKLE FAMILY TO 1234 EAST WHIZBANG DRIVE.

YOU ARE AT 1234 EAST WHIZBANG ROAD.

* ROAD AND DRIVE ARE DIFFERENT. *

Well…or something to that effect, only slightly more polite.

 

Apparently “polite” is not operative on “stupid.” Once again a UPS moron delivered a package for Josie, who’s holed up behind a wall of weeds and refuses to answer doorbells. So I had to traipse this thing over to her and leave it outside her locked security gates. She’s attached a new interior screen to the things, so you can no longer toss a misdelivered package into her entryway. But it doesn’t matter. The weeds and the jungle are now so thick no porch pirates can spot anything left at the door. 😀

Honestly. Neighbors you wish would move away….

The renters at the Perp‘s house, across the street, also fall into that category. Their ragweeds are up to your fanny. And they’re bikers. They like to roll their motorcycles out to the driveway and sit there revving up the unmuffled engines.

So how are y’all doing in the Great Pandemic Terror? I see they’ve locked down California and locked down Texas (whateverthef**k that means), but so far have refrained from applying prison technology to the inhabitants of lovely Arizona. We have closed all the schools, though; we’re told there’s some possibility that the public schools will remain closed for the rest of the semester.

Local parents have found a way to defeat that public-health measure, though: They’re banding together in neighborhood collectives to lodge the kids with a stay-at-home parent while all the worker bees go on in to the office.

This has some charm, despite its obvious untreatable stupidity: yesterday afternoon walking the dog was like a lovely Sunday afternoon, with all the little cutie-pies out playing up and down the streets. These beautiful children do add a great deal of charm and joy to an aging central neighborhood. But one hopes they’re not carrying anything to cut short one’s own plans for aging…

Frankly, I find myself wondering if a bunch of parents won’t decide that home-schooling isn’t such an eccentric quirk after all, once they discover that a home-schooled kid can get through a whole day of public-school content in about 90 minutes to two hours, at the dining-room table. If they figure out that they can hire on retirees and stay-at-home residents to watch the kidlets in play groups or take them on field trips while the working parents are at the jobsite, home-schooling may begin to look one helluva lot more attractive.

Once again, Ruby was attacked by some moron’s off-the-lead dog yesterday. When I started hollering at this pair — a young(ish) man and wife — to keep their F**KIN’ DOG on a leash, dammit! — they just didn’t get it. The dog did have a leash on. They just weren’t holding the other end.

Yes! They were letting their dog roam around their unfenced front yard dragging a leash behind it. See? “Dogs must be on leash”? Our dog IS on a leash. Right?

Neighbors we wish would move away…

Haven’t had much to say here because I’ve been paddling frantically to keep my head above a tsunami of incoming work. Sent off edits for a huge study in business management to the expectant authors. It’s an amazing thing, one that has taken a decade of research. Very, very interesting.

Literally had no time to take a deep breath when in came a book-length project. This is a historical study of Burma, Vietnam and waypoints  — again, extremely interesting. The author is a native speaker of Chinese teaching at a prestigious US university. I’m excited to read it…this is going to be a significant contribution to her field and quite a privilege to work on.

Made a run on AJs to pick up a crucial supply I’d forgotten to hoard: wine. {gasp!} What would one do if one ran out???

The shelves — all of them — ranged from empty to half-empty. Staff said the place had been going crazy for the past week — though my observation, a few days ago, was that AJ’s was pretty calm compared to Safeway, which literally was a mob scene. Most of the good cheap wine was sold out, but fortunately, I’m an aficionado of fine wines in the $8 to $9 range…and so is my pal, the AJ’s wine concierge. So managed to find an Oyster Bay Sauvignon blanc (!!! I thought they didn’t carry it! Walmart’s finest vintage!) and four superb bottles of…uhm…red stuff. This should last for a few days. I hope.

My son has been ordered to work at home. Even though he seems to prefer that when it’s his choice, when the boss says get-the-hell-outa-here, it’s a different tale. “I’m bored!” quoth he. He was reduced to cleaning out the kitchen drawers.

Yes. When you work at home you get a lot more work done a lot more efficiently than you do at an office…same as when you study at home. 😀

Speaking of work…it’s onward to Burma for me…

March 15, 2020
by funny
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Covid Prophylactic?

So earlier today, I came across a British doctor who was holding forth, on his own site, to the effect that vitamin D works to protect against respiratory infections and to reduce severity of those that you do catch.

Riiiiggghhht! thought I. If that ain’t woo-woo, I don’t know woo-woo when I see it.

Well.

Maybe I don’t know woo-woo when I see it… Started exploring around, and discovered that lo! The research is actually out there, to the effect that indeed, a hefty level of vitamin D in your system does improve your resistance to a number of viral and bacterial agents and, holy mackerel, the stuff actually does help you withstand and fight off a respiratory infection.

Here, for example, is an article in Clinical and Experimental Immunology, which appeared in 2009; the authors, Hughes and Norton, report findings that support the likelihood that vitamin D is protective against lung infection and inflammation. This is not the Journal of Woo Woo Fantasy — CEI is a peer-reviewed medical journal published by Wiley-Blackwell for the British Society for Immunology.

That appeared way back in 2009. In 2017, the British Medical Journal reported that “Vitamin D supplementation was safe [but see below before buying this assertion] and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall.” Regular daily doses proved to be more effective than a single walloping dose.

In more down-to-earth layman’s language, Medical News Today interpreted the BMJ study: “if 33 people took vitamin D supplements, one acute respiratory tract infection would be prevented. If these results are confirmed, vitamin D supplementation could potentially prevent millions of respiratory infections each year. . . . [T]he positive effect was more pronounced in participants who took daily or weekly vitamin D without additional large doses.

The World Health Association, in 2019, called for further research into the matter, expressing some skepticism about the 2017 study.

Interestingly, we seem to have had no panicky runs on shelves of vitamin D nostrums. This morning, the nearest Sprouts was richly endowed with the stuff. Taken in moderation, it’s harmless. If there’s a chance it might protect you from the worst effects of the present contagion, it’s certainly worth trying.

Don’t overdo it, though. Taken in excess, vitamin D can lead to bone loss, abdominal discomfort, kidney problems, and other harms. Toxicity arises when you dose yourself in the range of 60,000 IU a day. I think I would not take more than one 5,000 IU capsule a day, especially if you live in a sunny climate or you eat a balanced diet rich in fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel), vitamin D fortified products (dairy, fortified orange juice, soy milk, cereals), beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Nor does it seem wise to take vitamin D supplements indefinitely.

Vitamin D supplements may (or may not) be helpful to ward off the threatened covid-19 viral infection. But once the scare is past, it’ll be time to lay off the stuff.

March 14, 2020
by funny
5 Comments

Adventures in Panickland

Be afraid. Be very afraid…

The Old Folkerie where my dear friends are dwelling these days has locked itself down. Staff are so terrorized by the covid-19 scare that you have to pass a test to get in the door!

Welp, they needed some grocery items and their cat was out of food, too. So I added a side trip to Safeway onto my planned junket to AJ’s.

Holeee maquerel… Shelves were empty in every department. For every rack of shelves, at least one shelf was empty.

Couldn’t get the cat’s preferred cuisine, so bought something else and then searched for it at AJs. Not carried there. Thank gawd I know how to cook Ruby’s food, though plenty of the commercial stuff is presently in-house. And thank gawd my roommate is a dawg, not a cat.

AJ’s, because it’s a spectacularly overpriced specialty store, was not overrun. But the Safeway was maxed. At one point the manager came on the intercom and announced that they were running out of bags and would people please forego bags if they could possibly just put their purchases in their car or if they didn’t have many purchases. I have a lot of grocery bags in the garage, because I use them to pick up after the dog. So I’ll probably take a few fistfuls up to the store for them to re-use.

All public schools in the city are closing (which may not make much difference for the kids’ education but does make a difference for the poor little guys and gals who get their only full meal at school). Some churches have closed. I believe (but do not know) that All Saints contemplated whether they should close in this week’s emergency meeting, but so far they have not done so. Apparently they’re going to move most or all of the school’s instruction online. The church itself is staying open, though.

However, our choir director has told us that choir members who feel they should absent themselves may do so without consequences. And given that I’m im the middle of the allegedly most vulnerable age range, I guess I’ll have to take him up on that. {sigh}

The high hysteria, though, is not surprising, given  the amount of screaming and yelling from the news media. This evening we learn that EEEEEEKKKK! AWWWKKKK! OMIGAWD!!!!! 12 CASES OF COVID HAVE POPPED UP IN ARIZONA!  Heavens to Betsy!!!!! 

Twelve cases. Arizona has a population of 7.38 million, as of 2020. That’s less than 1%. Microscopically less than 1%.

Meanwhile, call up news.google.com and you find 53 stories about the covid-19 flap and 20 (count ’em, twenty) on all other topics. That’s not including the sidebar content, which also is preoccupied with the supposed plague. No wonder people are obsessed with this stuff.

Don’t allow yourselves to be panicked, folks. Humanity has been through worse, and we’ve survived. Just keep clean and stay out of public places.

March 13, 2020
by funny
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Watch Out: Covid-related malware

As usual, bad actors are taking advantage of a crisis to take advantage of you. MarketWatch, one of my favorite financial sites, warns that hackers are playing on the present coronavirus hysteria to trick users and infect their computers.

Most annoyingly, the popular Covid-tracking map from Johns Hopkins University has been targeted by hackers imitating the site and trying to get users to download software. The real Johns Hopkins map does not ask you to download any programs! View the map only from the Johns Hopkins site or from the one operated by ArcGIS Trust Center.

The respective URLs for these sites are as follows:

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html?mod=article_inline
https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6?mod=article_inline

And (in case you’re forgotten), remember never to download an attachment in an email from a source you do not know. A number of fake emails are on the float, as we scribble:

  • One pretending to be from the CDC, inviting you to click on links for information about the virus
  • RTF files emanating from hackers in China that exploit MS Word
  • Lures to fake and look-alike websites

None of this stuff is anything new; it’s the same old BS, only coronavirus-themed. Be alert, and don’t get suckered in.

March 11, 2020
by funny
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A Strategy for the Plague?

Don’t be deceived: I have none. Neither, far as I can tell, does anyone else, other than recommending that people follow what should already be routine sanitary practices.

The coronavirus has arrived in the Valley of the We-Do-Mean-Sun. Nine cases have been reported in the state, five of them in Pinal County, which is just up the road.  One wretch spent time in two crowded nightclubs and 80 people in the state have been tested for the disease. Entertainment venues are closing, and the Democratic debate slated to take place here will have no live audience in attendance. And, always happy to share, we sent two positive cases on a plane from Phoenix to Toronto. In Massachusetts, 72 of the state’s 90 cases occurred in people who had attended a Biogen corporate meeting.

None of this would get me very exercised, except for the fact that I’ve been so sick so often in the past few months. And that I still have an infection where the orthodontist stuck that post that probably will have to be surgically removed. Honestly: I just do not want to see the inside of an ER room again! Not for a long, long while.

And at age 75, I’m smack in the middle of the group most at risk of serious outcome from this fine disease. No doubt made more so from having been weakened by the late series of epizootics and unhealing dental surgery.

Sooo…. Given my proclivity to catch every bug that comes along, I’m thinking maybe I should step out of choir (and concomitantly, church) for the duration of this epidemic. Or epic flap, whatever it really is.  One epidemiologist suggests we avoid gatherings and face-to-face meetings. There’s a limit to how practical that is. But…it would seem that if you don’t have to be at a gathering, maybe you shouldn’t be.

I will say, one year I got splendidly sick when one of my fellow singers plopped herself down behind me and spend two hours coughing at the back of my head and neck. So…yeah. Choir is potentially a sink of contagion. And this is one particular contagion I’d like not to partake of.

Tomorrow I have to go staff the church’s front desk for four hours. Cannot even begin to imagine how I can gracefully get out of that…

Fortunately, though, I scored a couple more canisters of Lysol wet kitchen counter wipes, supposedly disinfecting. My plan is to take some of those in and wipe down the desk and the phone, plus have some to wipe my hands every time I think of it. Not as perfect as putting light-years of distance between oneself and the bug. But one heckuva lot better than nothing.

In the same vein, I laid off the cleaning lady, who was supposed to come by today. I’d already scored the 80 cash dollahs needed to pay her, and offered to give it to her when she’s over in our parts at WonderAccountant’s place. She declined. So this means when she comes back I’ll have to find some gift for her, maybe a Costco or Walmart cash card. That is a figure-it-out for another day.

Cleaning Lady begone, because she now has a LOT of cleaning customers, so she’s rooting around in sheets, bathrooms, and kitchens of many unknown folk. Plus she has a middle-school-aged daughter who will enjoy the predictable exposure to every bug that comes along, and most certainly will bring this one home to Mom and Dad. Since I’m fully capable of pushing a vacuum cleaner around, that’s a risk we can forego for the nonce.

Speaking of the which, the penicillin (recently determined not to be one of my many drug allergies) the orthodontist prescribed seems to have beaten back the infection around the dental post but not completely killed it off. It still aches, and the gum still feels odd near the damaged socket. Dollars to donuts, that will have to be removed…to the tune of an expensive and sterling unpleasant procedure.

The next appointment I have with him isn’t until the 18th; but this penicillin runs out tomorrow. I can NOT get past his front office staff, because I can’t make the woman understand what the concern is — i.e., I do not want to let an infection grow for a week if the penicillin didn’t kill it all off, nor do I want to promote resistance to the penicillin by stopping for a few days and then starting up again. I don’t know whether the woman is too uneducated to understand the issue — highly likely, given the quality of Arizona’s public schools and colleges — or whether objectively there’s nothing to worry about.

But…I did just get through to my regular dentist. He’s going out of town tomorrow, so they want me to show up in his precincts in…about an hour and 45 minutes. Yeah. Schlep through the rain over streets infested by lunatic drivers who don’t know how to drive in rain, and do it right this minute.

And so…away!

March 10, 2020
by funny
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Love (of $$) in the Time of Cholera

I’m cruising down Conduit of Blight Blvd, headed for Costco’s gas station, whereinat I need a fill-up. A half-block from the intersection to turn west toward the CC stands a nondescript gas station. I note that they’re proudly offering regular gas for $2.89 a gallon. Huh.

Around the corner, into the gas lines — NO WAIT!!!!!! — jump out, and eyeball the pumps: $2.59 for regular. A thirty-cent a gallon difference! 

Ten gallons would save you three bucks. Can you imagine? At that rate, if you commuted a distance to work it wouldn’t take you long to pay for the CC membership just in savings on gasoline.

The dust from this weekend’s Plague Frenzy seems to have settled. Was able to buy the few little things I needed at Sprouts and Albertson’s uneventfully. Nothing that I needed was sold out. Across the floor at the Albertson’s I could see the pickin’s were slim in the paper goods department, but thanks to Costco I have a lifetime supply of that stuff.

It’s a beautiful, warmish overcast day — a San Diego day, as I like to think of this kinda weather. Supposed to rain in force for the next four days, but so far little precip has…precipitated. Our bums are out in force this morning: you never saw so many derelicts in your life. I imagine they’re headed for shelter from the rain, wherever that may be. Some of these folks are very colorful, indeed. On occasion, rather raucous, as they do battle with their Voices or try to persuade you to give them a handout.  But on this day: to a person, they’re quiet and mellow.

It’s too bad Conduit of Blight isn’t safe to walk on. Today’s errands ran a tight little loop over to the post office (couldn’t pay me to walk through that neighborhood), then back to the Sprouts on CofB, then straight down CofB to the Costco, then right straight back up CofB to the Albertson’s, and from there about 40 seconds back home. If it were even faintly safe to walk in that area, I would’ve been able to get a nice little bit of exercise on a beautiful day. But it’s not. So I didn’t.