Well, not quite. Shopping yesterday we did get enough coffee to last through a season in Canada. So, with fresh coffee poured I want to wish everyone a good Saturday morning; even though we’re putting up with the most draconian measures in my memory.

In the meantime, starting in the East there was a run on toilet paper. A recent edition of the Business Insiders thought that maybe; “the apparent stockpiling comes as governments and suppliers have warned citizens not to do exactly that.”

”an Australian news tabloid circulated an issue with an extra eight blank pages. “Get your limited edition one-ply toilet paper newspaper sheets” ~ The Northern Territory News (NT News – Australia), March 4, decided to preempt an inevitable joke about the news industry when the country’s demand for toilet paper rose

All of this possibly due to “fears over the novel coronavirus prompting people around the world to clear supermarket shelves of daily necessities, especially toilet paper” (Business Insider).
Before worry sets in, I best enjoy my coffee first. And No, we’re not considering a one-sheet rule.

Costco – A trip to Costco had been on our horizon. We’d heard the place was busy so yesterday we arrived about 20-minutes after the store opened – to a FULL parking lot and with barely a shopping cart in sight! A helpful customer who did not get toilet paper gave me his. At the entrance we were informed that there was NO toilet paper or paper towels – and there were folk like the guy who gave me his cart, who upon hearing that bit of news turned around and headed back out. Panic is a serious thing.

Let the shopping begin, and off we went into the thick of it without a thought of Coronavirus or even Wuhan. It was Marcia who took note an initiated a brilliant ‘counter-move’. She realized that the line heading towards the checkout actually snaked all around the store by first going the exact opposite way. After discovering the line’s very tail end I put our cart in line – empty, and began the slow shuffle forward. Meanwhile Marcia raced up one isle and down another. Every so often she’d spot me and swung by to make a deposit in our quickly filling cart.

I began (actually by ‘ending’ the line) at the store’s side wall next to the dog foods. Then followed my newly introduced ‘friends’ to the store’s back wall and across to an approximately mid-point. At that instant it was a sharp left, where, in the far distance I spotted the registers. About 30-feet out a smiling Costco employee placed us into a secondary line and we were quickly ‘processed’.

Draconian Intervention – By now you’re all aware that, as a nation, we’re now at a standstill. Schools have closed all sports activities are at a standstill, Library and church doors shut. But is all that necessary?

Social Media and the 24/7 news cycle see the importance of promulgating their ‘news’ and their agenda – more sales, more ‘clicks’ and if Trump can get a whack to boot, so much the better. The politicians are between a rock and a hard place and will get a negative ‘hit’ no matter what, especially our current President who, much like President Reagan, is saddled with a 95% negative media coverage.

Between April 2009 and January 2010, 57-million Americans had been infected by the Mexican Swine Flu (also known as the H1N1 virus). 257,000 had been hospitalized, 11,690 had died including 1,180 children. It wasn’t until October that then President Obama declared it a public health emergency.

Here’s how the AP reported this emergency when Obama decided to play golf that very same day: “President Barack Obama sought to look both calm and in command, striking a balance between informing Americans without panicking them.” See the ‘subtle’ difference compared to how the screeching voices are heard these days?

Its people like Dr. Marc K. Siegel, a Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, a Medical Director of Doctor Radio at NYU, and contributor to a wide array of media whose latest book; False Alarm, Profiting from the Epidemic of Fear receives little solid press. And yet, he’s one of many who view the Wuhan Coronavirus as no more than a serious flu which can be managed and see it not as a new Bubonic plague or another Ebola event. We got to get real and live our lives peacefully, yet in part, by hitting back at the panic and fear mongers.

Oratory Festival – Vili, our third-grader was one of 15 kids (grades 1 through 3) selected to represent their classes in a school wide oratory festival. Topics were varied and represented the urban variety found at his North Avondale Montessori School. Topics as diverse as; “Save the Bees, “bullying”, “Australian Wildfires”, “Why Recess is Important”, “Homeless”, “Having Cerebral Palsy” to “Freedom for People to Wear Their Hair the Way They Want” were put forth front and center. Vili’s topic was “Ocean Pollution”. As grandparents sitting there, pride comes to mind. But it’s more than that, there was also hope. Hope watching these youngsters take a serious topic and address it well. Marcia and I headed home with a smile on our face.

Fini – Remember that today is Pi Day, the day to celebrate the mathematical constant Pi. March 14, expressed numerically, matches the Pi number’s first digits, 3.14.

Then, yesterday was Friday the 13th. With some it’s beware for bad luck kind off day. People having that concern; are you aware that Friday the 6th and Friday the 20th are just as rare? Soon you won’t have a single ‘lucky’ day left.

Brother Art and Jolene were supposed to be here this weekend. Friday they cancelled. There were just too many closures to take a chance following a cross-country trip.

Neighbors and friends Barb and Bulent were supposed to be here next week. The plan being was to travel to Louisville and Bardstown, Kentucky for a few days of Bourbon tasting. Again, closures made that mini-vacation untenable and I cancelled our reservations.

But, there was good news. At Costco I filled up – with a smile on my face. Actually, at the ‘Y’ I was talking with some gents of my age and the question of the cheapest gas we could remember came up. I thought I had it with 25¢ per gallon. One of the group beat me; he had crossed the river into Kentucky and filled up at 18¢ a gallon.

Remember that selling your 401K in a panicked market only lines the pockets of those who don’t.

Marcia, listening the the ongoing blather on the virus asked, who exactly are the ‘elderly’ they keep talking about. Without hesitation I gave her the answer; “anyone who is a year older than me.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Marcia’s aunts, Naje and Dodie.

Make it great week, stay safe and healthy!
Dirk

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