Archive for the ‘life’ Category

So the coronavirus is now starting to hit *hard* in Europe. Countries that once were smug about their handling of the situation, like Germany, are now finding out that nope, they’re not immune either. Germany’s infection rate is going up and up, and their death rate is rising too. France is even worse, the death rate in France is higher than in the United States.

I haven’t been posting on a daily basis because my job depends on having one product available and ready for a major billion dollar corporation next week. If we don’t have money from them, we’re out of business. So I’ve been basically working 9 to 9 on that. At least I don’t have to commute anymore, and can take breaks to do things like e.g. go shopping this afternoon.

Shopping was a weird experience. There was no shortage of bread, eggs, and milk, the basics I was looking for. They even had some luxury items in like Nathan’s All-Beef Franks and ‘kraut. I didn’t check on toilet paper, paper towels, or hand sanitizer, since I still have plenty of those. Most people were masked. Most people did social distancing, but not all. We had lines on the floor 6 feet apart to keep us 6 feet apart while waiting in line to check out. Reusable bags aren’t allowed anymore inside the store anymore because they’re a possible source of infection, so instead my groceries got put into the cart and I got to bag them at the tailgate of my Jeep. I was gloved and disinfected everything including my gloves, then when I took off the gloves, made sure to use the sanitizer on my hands (and on the key I’d used to unlock the Jeep!) before touching anything inside the Jeep. Unfortunately a few people did not do the social distancing, they were the same people wearing neither gloves nor mask.

They say that this thing is mostly being spread by asymptomatic people and the normal droplets they emit. So wearing a cloth mask is now recommended to keep you from infecting other people, even though it won’t stop you from being infected. We’ll see how that goes.

It looks like the red states are going to be failed states shortly. Meanwhile we seem to have flattened the curve a bit here in the SF Bay area by being out in front so early in social distancing and closing things down. Meanwhile distribution of gloves, gowns, and masks to hospitals has completely broken down. Some hospitals have hoarded closets full of the stuff, and other hospitals can’t get any no matter how much they want to pay. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that much of our supply of these goods come from China, and huge amounts were recalled because of contamination. Back in WW2 we dealt with that by having the Federal Government handle rationing via ration tickets and allocating critical goods so that they got to where they needed to be without any hoarding, and also price controls to keep profiteers from driving up prices of goods beyond the ability of ordinary citizens to pay, but that was when we had a functioning federal government with a competent President. Unfortunately we have neither of those now.

The Captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt jumped on a grenade for his crew. He knew he was ending his career when he sent a letter above his chain of command, a chain of command which was doing nothing to help his sailors, but he did it anyhow. He was relieved of his command quite loudly and publically… and his sailors were, let us say, respectful of him as he left his ship for the last time. To say the least. Many of those sailors, off the record, say that Captain Crozier was the best skipper they ever served under. I’ll also note that the TR didn’t have the running rust that I see on so many of our supercarriers today… it looks like a ship that’s taken care of. That’s what a good captain does, he inspires his sailors to go above and beyond.

I was somewhat surprised, actually, by the very public way in which Captain Crozier was relieved of duty. Usually the Pentagon, when a flag officer makes them look bad like that, said flag officer is “asked” (ordered, actually) to retire. A couple of weeks later he slinks off quietly to a rocking chair in civilian life, underneath the notice of the press but a warning to the other skippers that stepping out too far is not going to be tolerated. But for some reason the Trump Administration wanted to make a huge spectacle of this. It’s par for the course with the Trumpanzees, it’s all about spite with them, not about the good of the service. So now they’ve told the sailors in the U.S. Navy that they’re supposed to die of coronavirus in order to avoid making the perfumed princes in the Pentagon look bad. You know that has to be making moral go into the crapper, as well as causing a lot of powerful people like Senators to Have Questions that the Pentagon has no good answers to.

BTW, for those who say that his letter let our adversaries know that we had a disabled task force — no. Every single carrier task force out there has a Chinese submarine following it around reporting on its movements, as well as satellites, spy planes, and outright spies. The moment the TR came into dock in Guam and started offloading sick sailors, the Chinese knew what had happened. They knew the TR had stopped in Vietnam just as Vietnam’s COVID-19 epidemic was getting started. They aren’t idiots. They had civilization with cities and agriculture while we Europeans were still hanging out in caves with spears while dressed in bearskins. Expecting our adversaries to be stupid is, well, stupid. Because he stepped outside the chain of command Captain Crozier’s career was over the moment he jumped on that grenade for his crew, but usually that kind of thing gets handled quietly with no drama — the captain gets quietly told to retire, he retires, a new captain takes over, no drama. Now we’ve told our adversaries that we have fucking amateurs running our Navy. Yay.

Basically everybody at a local nursing home has the coronavirus. Nursing homes have been hell on Earth for at least the last 40 years. Nobody gave a shit because the prunes went there to die anyhow, so who the fuck cared if they died a little sooner rather than later? Now all the understaffing and lack of basic cleanliness and infection control is coming home to bite the assholes who own these hellholes on the ass. Well, at least we won’t have to worry about overcrowding in the nursing homes anymore. Because they’ll be fucking empty, yo.

Goodbye to Bill Withers, who passed away due to heart failure:

Ain’t no sunshine where he’s gone, six feet under.

So, Hobby Lobby illegally reopened stores in two states…. then when braced on it, Closed all stores and furloughed all employees without pay and without allowing them to use vacation time. Which, by the way, is illegal as hell here in California — you gotta pay them their vacation time. And by furloughing the employees rather than laying them off, Hobby Lobby also fucked with their unemployment benefits in many states. Hopefully state regulators come down on these sick Christofascist fucks like a ton of bricks and their shitty-ass stores never re-open. Assholes. Fucking assholes.

So in the red states, you still got the dumbasses insisting that the “beer virus” ain’t real. This shit is starting to knock them down like pins at a bowling alley, but they aren’t going to admit they ought to be paying attention to experts rather than deranged megachurch pastors and talk radio gasbags. But hell, these stupid-ass motherfuckers are gonna be denying there’s a such thing as COVID-19 all the way until the time they cough their lungs out in the middle of a Walmart and gasp their last breath as they slump over the handlebars of their Hoverrounds. These are some stupid-ass motherfuckers.

Oh yeah, the #Covidiots keep coming up with more conspiracy theories. Rush Limpdick’s conspiracy theory above was only one of them. Another one is that the whole coronavirus thing is actually because of the gay agenda. Which apparently flies over America with its gay ray of gayness sprinkling magic coronavirus particles everywhere or some shit.

Sprinkling gay coronavirus all over America since 2006

I dunno, these religious dumbasses don’t make sense, they don’t have to, because their sheeple are even dumber than they are..

Meanwhile the refrigerator trucks keep rolling into New York City to collect the bodies of the dead….

– Badthx the Plague Penguin

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So, our quarantine here in the SF Bay area has been extended to May 3. Yay. The good news is that it appears that our efforts here are flattening the curve. We’re expected to have a whole dozen ICU beds left by the time the plague peaks here in late April. Of course, that could tip either way, but hopefully not by much.

Florida, on the other hand, already has almost as many cases as us and only now are they talking about putting in social restrictions. Eep. They are going to have thousands dead like New York City, but they don’t have as many ICU beds or ventilators as New York City. This is going to be bad. I mean, it’s already bad in New York City, with thousands dead, but Florida is going to make New York City look like pie. Assholes like this “Christian” pastor in Tampa FL are going to get thousands killed all by themselves.

My diet continues to be horrible. What can I say, when the world is ending, right? Ate hot dogs for breakfast. Fried bacon and egg sandwiches for lunch. Fresh-baked chocolate brownies with milk for supper. My inner three year old is craving comfort food.

Talking about which, my job situation now officially sucks because of this fucking coronavirus. We laid off 25% of the engineering department yesterday because an expected $1M deal that had already been signed, suddenly the cash didn’t arrive because 50% of the customer’s business collapsed due to the coronavirus. That’s a big fucking pile of money for a small company like ours. Everybody’s pay was cut 15% too in addition to the layoffs. We’re going to apply for one of the small business loans for the “Paycheck Protection Program” in the COVID-19 bailout package so hopefully will be able to meet payroll next month, but the PPP only covers the first $100K of salary. As I’m sure you know, here in the SF Bay Area you can’t afford to rent a closet on a $100K salary. At least I can’t be evicted at the moment. Even after that order expires, the courts are closed until May 4. Nobody’s going to be ordering a Sheriff to evict anybody before then.

The goal is to survive this goddamn virus. If we’re alive, we can rebuild. If not, we can’t. So it goes.

Suppliers of medical masks, ventilators, etc. asking hospitals for money up front before they’ll deliver. Most community hospitals don’t have the money because they’re clogged with non-paying coronavirus patients. Ireland and Spain just nationalized their entire hospital systems because of this problem. Community hospitals were already running on the edge before the pandemic, managing to squeak by on high-paying patients undergoing elective procedures. Now they’re overwhelmed with patients and out of money for buying basic supplies. What this is showing is that our whole health care system here in the United States is a sham. No hospital in Singapore worries about running out of money. But they’re backstopped by the government, and our hospitals… aren’t.

John Prine is critically ill with COVID-19. That fucking sucks too. If the fucking caravan of fools hadn’t fired the pandemic response coordination team at the National Security Council, things might have been different. Instead, we had all the various agencies involved in pandemic response — FEMA, FDA, CDC, NIH, HHS, DHS, etc. — all working at cross purposes because there was nobody coordinating their efforts and overrule bureaucratic bullshit as necessary. So testing was late, contact tracing was late, making sure there was enough ventilators and masks and gloves and gowns was late, everything was late, and thousands are going to die because of that, including probably John Prine. Motherfucking murdering fools.

We now have twice as many cases of COVID-19 as China. We’re #1! We’re #1! U S A! U S A! MAGA!

Are you tired of winning yet?

— Badtux the Surviving Penguin

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So I took the Weesys out riding yesterday to charge its battery and change the gas a little. It was nice and sunny and dry outside, so I geared up, made sure the tires were aired up and the oil was topped off, and opened the garage door…. just in time for a scattering of big fat raindrops to hit the ground. It was only scattered raindrops so I went ahead and rode the motorbike around the neighborhood in circles until it was nice and warm and the voltmeter said my battery was charged, but this is pretty much a metaphor for how this year has been. I thought I had everything planned for what remains of my life, and then this shit happens, upsetting not only my plans but the plans of pretty much everyone else on the planet. “May you live in interesting times” as a curse, indeed.

Trump is concerned about the stock market. I’m just concerned with surviving for the next year or so. I’m losing a lot of retirement funds in the stock market right now, but fuck, I can’t use the money if I’m dead.

Trump seems to be in a meltdown right now. He contradicts himself from day to day, then calls reporters liars when they quote his words from the previous day to him. Meanwhile we still don’t have any leadership. There is no War Production Board equivalent mobilizing American industry to meet the challenge of keeping everybody alive for the next year. The FDA refused permission for a company to sterilize used masks, the governor of Ohio managed to contact President Trump and get him to overturn that refusal but the fact of the matter is that the President should never have been in that position in the first place. There should be a central coronavirus response body with the power to overrule and issue mandates to other federal agencies in order to coordinate response to the pandemic, much as the War Production Board coordinated the industrial response to Pearl Harbor and Hitler. Instead we have the NIH, CDC, FDA, and other federal agencies all protecting their turf and enforcing their own petty mandates, fiddling while America burns.

What’s even more horrifying than the coronavirus itself is the way that for-profit hospitals are treating their staff as if their staff are just disposable assets to be used up and thrown away. This guy, fired for telling the media about a lack of personal protective gear and bad infection control at his hospital, is going to have a job again shortly, because there is a shortage of ER doctors and any warm body has a job now. Meanwhile PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash.is going to endanger patient and provider health even more by working their remaining doctors for even more overtime. Tired doctors make mistakes….

Talked to my next door neighbor yesterday afternoon, from about eight feet distance (neither of us is going to violate the six feet rule even accidentally!). He’s retired after knee surgery (he worked as a delivery driver for UPS until his knees got too bad for that), but his wife was working for the school district and now is working from home. His yard has never looked better because being out of the house doing yardwork during the day when his wife is working from home is the only way he retains his sanity. At least I just have cats to annoy me during the day.

I don’t hear any talk about people seeking Elizabeth Warren’s endorsement anymore. I suppose they finally figured out the diverse nature of her coalition as she clearly described it on SNL — kindergarten teachers, grade school teachers, college professors, and librarians. (Note — I fit into two of those slots, probably why I voted for her in the California primary).

I guess we can call Trump the Murderer-in-Chief. After he criticized the governor of Michigan, vendors quit selling necessary medical supplies to Michigan. Governor Whitmer says she’s been told that vendors were informed their contracts with the U.S. government would be cancelled if they sold to Michigan. That would, of course, be illegal, but nobody’s willing to take on the Toddler-in-Chief when he throws one of his tmeper tantrums.

Talking about temper tantrums, Trump sent only 170 respirators to California when several thousand had been requested in order to deal with the pandemic in the SF Bay and LA areas…. and all of them were broken. Governor Newsom’s office found a company that could fix them and put them on a truck to San Jose to get them fixed ASAP, but this is the level of human being that Trump is. He doesn’t like California, so he’s going to send them either no equipment, or broken equipment. Meanwhile Florida got its full request, plus more. Which had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it’s run by a Republican governor I’m sure…

Gun stores are an essential business, says the NRA as they sue the state of California for ordering all stores including gun stores to be closed during the pandemic. This is ridiculous. Essential businesses are pretty well laid out — they’re businesses necessary in order for people to stay alive. So food stores are open because people need food on a regular basis in order to stay alive, but shoe stores are closed because the shoes people have will last until businesses are re-opened. Hardware stores are open because keeping water and gas and electric flowing to houses and sewage flowing away from them is necessary in order to keep people alive, but bookstores and libraries are closed because people can live without books for the duration of the emergency. And so forth.

Bookstores being closed for the duration of the emergency doesn’t mean books are banned. Hair stylists and barbers being closed for the duration of the emergency doesn’t mean hair is banned. And gun stores being closed for the duration of the emergency doesn’t mean that guns are banned. Their lawsuit makes no sense. There is a clear public health reason for as many stores as possible to be closed right now, and there’s nothing special about guns as compared to books or shoes that would make it necessary to have gun stores open right now. But the NRA death cult doesn’t care. They want people to die. Dead people means more sales because dead people means more scared people who want a magic talisman to stick under their pillow. Nevermind that most of these people have no idea how to use that bang bang stick or how to properly store it, and the NRA howls every time someone talks about requiring gun buyers to take a NRA-sponsored gun safety class before being allowed to buy a gun. It’s all about profits to gun makers now, and dead bodies? Well, if dead grannies is what it takes for the NRA’s sponsors (gun manufacturers) to profit, then dead grannies is what they want, by gum!

And finally: We’re about to lose a carrier battlegroup to COVID-19. The Theodore Roosevelt battle group is now infected with COVID-19 There is no — zero — way to keep the coronavirus from mowing down sailors like pins at a bowling alley. People sleep on top of each other on Navy warships, often hot-bunking (i.e., someone else sleeps in your bunk when you’re not sleeping in it). You can’t maintain isolation or a sterile environment or social distancing on a warship. It just can’t happen. The carrier group swiftly dashed to Guam, where the carrier is now docked (“for routine scheduled maintenance” lol), but Guam is small and lacks the facilities for dealing with something like this. But at least we won’t have dead ships wandering the high seas.

And for supper tonight I had hot dogs, baked potatoes, cole slaw, and chocolate covered almonds. This pandemic has not done my diet any good, lol.

– Badtux the Still-alive Penguin

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I’d feel better about having a flexible schedule if the weather wasn’t so damned gloomy. It’s been cloudy and drizzling on and off every day since I started “sheltering in place” on March 13. My yard is starting to look like a jungle, but it’s too wet here in the Newark Swamp to do any kind of yard work unless I want to use my rubber boots. Yeesh.

I say this as water drips off my roof and falls to the ground. It’s drizzling *again*! Ugh, what’s the use of being at home if you can’t even get some daylight?!

So anyhow, my sourdough starter is bubbling away as I feed it twice per day. I’m having trouble regulating its temperature, the oven gets too warm when I put the light on and the starter gets overactive, then it gets too cool when I turn the light off. I’m thinking maybe open the oven door slightly while the light is on? Because of the cold damp weather outside, the house is usually pretty cool even during the daytime, much less at night when it gets down in the lower to mid 60’s inside. Too cool for yeast to do its job, anyhow.

I used some of the starter for pancakes this morning. They weren’t bad pancakes, but they were a bit tougher than I wanted too. I think the flour I’m using for the starter is a bit higher in gluten than the flour in the pancake mix I usually use, and I’ll need to add more egg to make it fluffier. Oh well.

About 40% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 are between ages 20 and 54. All these young fools out there partying like they can’t get COVID-19? Fucking #covidiots , that’s what they are. Not only are they spreading the virus, but they’re also getting sick themselves.

Nancy Pelosi unveils a $2.5 trillion dollar COVID-19 stimulus package aimed at bailing out ordinary Americans, not giant corporations. Which of course means it can’t happen. SIGH.

Trump suggests that we allow 8.5 million Americans to die in order to protect the stock market. This a day after Texas’s Republican Lt. Governor suggested that let’s kill granny in order to save the economy At this point the only difference between Republicans and Nazis is branding. Mass deaths are fine as long as they make money off of them. WTF?!

Of course, the problem is that 8.5 million sick old people in need of hospitalization, of whom 850,000 need ventilators would utterly overwhelm our healthcare system. We have around 825,000 beds total in our entire healthcare system, and on the average day around 750,000 of those are full. We have around 80,000 total ICU beds in the United states, and on the average day around 60,000 of those are full. We normally have around 62,000 ventilators of which normally around 50,000 are in use, and can surge maybe that many more older models if needed for around 130,000 ventilators total. So…. we’re talking about people on blankets in the streets outside of hospital doors because there isn’t even room on the floors to put more patients into the hospitals. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people gasping their last breaths like fish out of water because there’s no ventilators. And not all of these would be COVID-19 patients. If you’re in an auto accident and need emergency surgery to stay alive? Forget it. All the supplies, all the doctors, all the facilities are overwhelmed by people in front of you. So you just die. Have a stroke and need emergency surgery to put a stent in your brain to prevent further brain damage? Sorry, no doctors, no hospital beds, no supplies, you die. And so forth.

In other words, the Republican death cult wants to not only kill 8.5 million old people (who, remember, are their base, for fuck’s sake, it’s not that these Nazi-admiring motherfuckers are evil, it’s that they’re stupid evil who don’t even do evil that benefits them!), but they also want to kill hundreds of thousands of other people who need life-saving interventions on any given day. This is deranged. This is just fucking deranged. And evil. Let’s not forget evil. But hey, it’d save on Social Security and Medicare expenses in the future, right?

And that’s all for now. I’m going to go eat the last of the pulled pork and some brownies from the batch I baked on Sunday, then feed my sourdough starter, then go back to work. Tomorrow, eh?

– Badtux the Overeating Penguin

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So I didn’t do much yesterday, just worked from home, washed clothes, washed dishes, fed my sourdough starter, you know, the usual. I did get my 8 terabyte drive in from Florida. Unfortunately it appears to be having issues. I’m sending it through ZFS scrubs after putting it into my array, we’ll see.

I believe I have mentioned that the dosage for chloroquine is very difficult to calibrate and don’t do this at home unless you want to die. Furthermore, while chloroquine has anti-viral properties beyond its anti-malarial properties (it changes cell acidity and makes it harder for viruses to enter cells to reproduce), it’s unclear whether it works against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The only “study” had results equal to chance, and some of those treated died so it’s clearly no magic bullet and would have to be used as part of an anti-viral cocktail if it ends up being part of a cure at all. Nevertheless, Arizona Man and Arizona Woman, the world’s dumbest Trump supporters, decided to give Florida Man a day off and decided to test it out. Arizona Man died. Arizona Woman didn’t but it was close.

Don’t try this at home, folks. Just sayin’.

Took my temperature. It’s a perfectly normal 98.4F. So far so good.

I’m waiting for President Trump to slap Pete Gaynor on the back on live TV and say heckuva job, Petey! as FEMA utterly fails at delivering masks from their stockpiles to hospitals in need. He also contradicted WHO guidance on testing on public TV.

Latest deranged Bernie Bro conspiracy theory — Biden didn’t actually win the majority of the votes in the last few primary states, it was all a conspiracy by thousands of county clerks at the behest of the DNC — including *Republican* county clerks as well as Democratic ones!

Yeesh. The whole point of our decentralized system of elections is to make it hard to have a conspiracy that actually makes a difference outside of a few tight elections where flipping one county could throw the election. To talk about conspiracies of thousands of county clerks is paranoid-delusional nonsense of the first order. Yet these people are spreading this nonsense with a straight face. Ugh.

Our school crossing guard, an elderly lady who lives in the neighborhood, is wandering around on the sidewalk in front of the school looking lost. She doesn’t know what to do with herself without her orange vest and stop sign and little ones to protect. So she’s just walking around to get some exercise, I guess, but she looks sad. She’s fierce in defense of “her kids”, and no matter what else she does, it can’t be as rewarding as making sure little ones don’t get run over by the maniac drivers around here.

Finally, here is how I stay warm on cool mornings:

A furry blanket

— Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

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From Nextdoor: “My friend is looking for a lawyer to do their will and trust quickly. Her husband is a doctor and there is a good chance he will be affected with covid19. Let that sink in.. while we are complaining about boredom.
And if anyone has a recommendation, please let me know.”

A lot of medical personnel are not expecting to survive this. There are a lot of wills being updated right now.

ICE wants masks for their deportation agents

So ICE is going to almost literally rip the masks off of nurses’ faces so that they can safely pursue their vendetta against brown people. WTF, America? People are going to literally die if nurses don’t get the masks they need. Meanwhile, nobody dies if ICE has to temporarily suspend being mean to brown people. Why are people who save lives (nurses) worth less than people who literally put lives at risk by putting toddlers into concentration camps?!

So, I had to go to the office to do a couple of things ( replace a hard drive in a RAID array, reset a switch and give it an IP address so I can get into its configuration UI to configure it).

Before I did that, I went by the Big Lots and bought a couple more boxes of that dark chocolate brownie mix, because chocolate (!!!). They had plenty of baking powder, which I don’t need (I have two cans), but no yeast. I went to the Lucky the next exit down and scored some Brawny paper towels, needed because I only had 3 rolls of paper towels left, but they didn’t have any yeast either — is there a run on yeast? Did Hair Twitler say yeast cured COVID-19 or something?

After scoring the paper towels, I headed in to the office and did what I needed to do. Doing this on a Sunday guaranteed there would be nobody around to infect me, though my boss and his wife were in the back room working on their Burning Man art project, as if Burning Man is actually going to happen this year (we’ll see, I guess, but I doubt it).

Then it started raining — just like every other day since the declaration of “Shelter In Place”. I was going to stop by Costco on the way home and fuel up including putting some into the gas can, but I’m not doing that in the rain, thank you very much! I outran the rain and then decided to try the *other* neighborhood Mexican grocer to see if I could find some bakers’ yeast. Success!

So I’m at home now, and a batch of dark chocolate brownies is baking in the oven. I’m going to open up the pulled pork and make pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw for supper tonight, with chocolate brownies for dessert.And now it’s raining outside here. I’m going to be 300 pounds by the time this is all done, between not being able to go outside and walk because it’s raining, and all this baking!

Oh yeah — since there was only three packets of bakers’ yeast, I’m going to set up a sourdough starter tonight. I’m going to try to make a plain old sourdough bread once it’s ready five to seven days from now.

Oh yeah, basic supplies: Lucky had plenty of general purpose flour, but no bread flour. I forgot to check for beef franks. The Mexican grocer had plenty of eggs and milk and lots of meat, but no beef franks. Plenty of chorizo though, of course! If I was going to make white sausage gravy for biscuits’n’gravy that’s what I’d use, it’s a yummy sausage and goes just right in that recipe. Of course, first I’d have to bake some biscuits, but I have a drop biscuit recipe around here somewhere that works real well. But not today!

Update: The pulled pork sandwiches were okay, but the brownies are great. Dark chocolate brownies… mmmmm!

Ah yes, the ferals are doing fine. Snowy and Patches are sleeping curled together in one cat bed most of the time, but earlier today were sleeping in two different cat beds as other cats came and went eating kibble on the patio (on the patio because it’s raining outside and I didn’t want the kibble to be wet). Chuck and T’Challa are doing fine too. Here’s the scene on my patio a bit earlier today:

Snowy, Patches, and Blaze — three feral cats.

And here’s Chuck in the cat trap:

The cat trap worked!

Right now Chuck and T’Challa are chasing each other up and down the central hallway of the house like a herd of stampeding cattle. Meanwhile I have servers howling in my ear as I do some work for the office. So it goes.

– Badtux the Still-alive Penguin

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This morning I got up *really* late, like 10:30am late, and headed into the kitchen. After feeding the fur-bearing varmints both indoors and outdoors, I then had the question of breakfast. I ended up pulling out the cast iron pan and frying bacon, then frying eggs in the resulting bacon grease. Toasting some stale bread I then made egg and bacon sandwiches with yellow mustard, and drank it down with some sparkling water

The world’s dumbest Congressman, Kevin McCarthy, whines that the Governor should have consulted him before putting California on lockdown. And of course he insisted that COVID-19 was not serious enough for the severity of the order that the governor issued. There is, of course, no requirement in law or custom for a sitting governmor to consult a U.S. representative when engaging in executive action allowed under both state and Federal law. As for his notion that COVID-19 is not serious, look at the news from Italy. Chilling shit there. If we can avoid being Italy, that’d definitely be preferable.

Talking about COVID-19, a journalist who spent fifteen years as a research biologist details the biology of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and possible drug therapies that might provide effective treatment. Basically, he’s suspecting some of the approaches we took to find an effective treatment for the AIDS virus might work against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. There are, alas, no guarantees though — unlike what Hair Twitler tweeted yesterday, we simply don’t know as much about this virus as we need to know yet in order to figure out what an effective treatment looks like. But an effective treatement would be huge. It’d let us open up for business again, for one thing.

I was running a bit low on milk, and needed some vegetable oil for baking because I used most of my supply with the last batch of brownies, so headed out to the local Grocery Outlet. They had plenty of both milk and vegetable oil. I also was looking for baker’s yeast, they didn’t have any of that (and were also out of flour but had plenty of pasta, pasta sauce, and mac’n’cheese), they were out of franks too darnit. I did get some coleslaw for my pulled pork sandwiches though.

Next I went to Arteago’s Mexican Grocery And Taqueria. They were out of baker’s yeast too. They had baking powder and baking soda, and they also had small bags of flour, but the spot for the bakers’ yeast was empty. They did have turkey franks, but I despise turkey franks. I went over to the Taqueria side and they’re doing a lot of Doordash, their assembly line was running as usual and ending up in bags under the heat lamp and Doordash guys were coming in and out grabbing bags as needed, so I ordered a chile verde burrito (to go of course!). The guy making it noticed that it was me and not a DoorDash order so he came back and gave a couple splashes more of rice, beans, and chile before wrapping it up, so it was more of a full-grown burro rather than a burrito ;). Remember, Doordash takes a percentage off the top for their own profit, they appreciated that I was paying pull freight and gave me my money’s worth!

All in all, things were very quiet outside. There was plenty of food in both the Grocery Outlet and the Mexican grocery. There was probably more people in the Mexican grocery store than in Grocery Outlet. There was lots of meat in the Mexican grocery store too, just not gringo meat like edible weiners.

A medical worker describes terrifying lung failure from COVID-19 — even in his younger patients. This looks an awful lot like what people reported during the 1918-1920 flu pandemic, which ended up with 625,000 Americans dead out of a population of 110 million, except they didn’t have ventilator machines back then so people just gasped to death. We of course have three times as many people today in the USA. Let us hope we don’t have three times as many deaths, but it very possibly could be.

It feels very much like we are in the calm before the storm. Things are very quiet here. I spend a lot of time reading or browsing the Internet. I fear things will not remain calm, though….

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So I couldn’t deal with my own cooking for one day longer, nor the cabin fever from being cooped up in my house all day for nearly a week. I ordered out for pizza. Carry out, of course.

The pizza place was empty of course, since only carryout and delivery are allowed. There was the manager, a cook, and then the manager’s boyfriend was hanging around. That’s it. I saw nobody going in or out. I squirted myself good with the hand sanitizer they had by the cash register after I was required to touch the credit card machine in order to hit the buttons to make it work. I don’t think they’ve quite figured that one out yet. BUt they seemed appreciated, anyhow.

THe only thing that has made this even halfway bearable are T’Challa and Chuck. They have taken to sleeping in a kitty pile beside me on my bed at night. They also get along very well, playing with each other, eating side by side like they’re brothers, and so forth. I have a sneaking suspicion I could even put them into the same carrier to haul them around without any fur flying. They’re just amazingly compatible.

It's a Kitty Pile!

It’s a kitty pile!

Also the outdoors cats are a trip. There’s a pair of the outdoors cats, Snowy (a spayed female), and Patches (a neutered male), that have taken to sleeping in the cat beds on my back patio. Patches will start napping in one, then Snowy will climb in on top of him. A bit of grooming later, and they’re napping in a cat pile:

Snowy right as she climbs in on top of Patches. (Bad security cam zoom).

Today the mailman brought: Two ADATA 240GB SSD’s to use for boot disks for my new server (RAID’ed of course), and a new nasal pillows CPAP mask for my CPAP machine. It came with two sizes of pillows, the Large one ended up being the one that fit. Of course. Because I have a big schnoz, duh. All of which distracted me from actual work. But actual work is hard to do with this sense of ominous doom that’s all around right now. Some people are treating it like a vacation. I’m too old for that though.

The trip I was supposed to take next month to meet up with old friends I haven’t seen in years is off, obviously. But everybody is just holding their breath waiting. Will it get as bad as people are saying? Well, there’s word that there’s at least one patient in Brooklyn who died a couple of days ago because the hospital he was at ran out of ventilators, so maybe we’re not far from the disaster of Italy, where doctors have to make tough choices, such as reserving ventilators for people under age 60 because otherwise even more people will die who should have lived.

Maybe people will re-think their priorities after all this, but I doubt it. Greed is just too powerful. I do have a sense that the world is going to be a different place in six months than it is now. And that the change might not be for the better.

– Badtux the Apocalypse Penguin

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So, looks like Chewy.com is crumbling under the weight of people ordering large quantities of pet supplies from them. Since the pet store where I buy cat litter is closed, I decided to order my second-choice cat litter from them. Nope. Sold out. So found a second choice they still had in stock, and put two 40 pound bags into my cart, then went to add some cat food to meet the “free shipping” criteria. First choice: Sold out. Second choice: Sold out. Third choice — yep, my cats will eat that one, so added it to the cart. If this goes on, things are going to get grim for cat owners, maybe to the point where they have to make their cats into indoor-outdoor cats. At least I can still get cat food in large 40 pound bags locally, at least until Costco runs out.

One of the interesting things locally has been what has happened to our local Nextdoor group. This is generally a bunch of angry white people who post messages about suspicious people walking down the street (suspicious people who seem to always be brown), suspicious cars (driven by brown people, duh), omg I saw a snake in my backyard is it poisonous (answer: no, we don’t have any poisonous snakes in our city, rattlesnakes don’t like swamps), and so forth. But now there is a lot of people who are offering to help the older members with shopping and who are filling us in on what stores are open and what items they have so that people don’t need to drive all over to find what they need, as well as restaurants we should be supporting by ordering take-out, and so forth. It’s more like what was always envisioned for Nextdoor, neighbors helping neighbors.

The Giant Orange Underwear Shitstain hit the markets hard today with yet another incoherent babbling speech that did more harm than good but that his moron supporters undoubtedly ate up like chocolate ice cream despite the fact that, except for color, his bullshit shares nothing in common with chocolate ice cream. Meanwhile, the most honest man in the NIH, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which is already testing a vaccine and a treatment, has been sidelined for, well, being honest. Despite the fact that his organization is the only one in the whole shitstain that is the Trump Administration that has actually responded quickly and competently to the crisis. Because competence is not rewarded in the Trump Administration. Loyalty is. Thus my new bumper sticker that came in yesterday:

Any Functioning Adult

Any Functioning Adult 2020

Mostly people seem to be complying with the shelter in place quarantine orders. The exception is Elon Musk’s Tesla, because building electric luxury cars for rich people is apparently an essential business in his eyes. Gotta meet those quarterly production numbers, y’know. Elon Musk now becomes a trope, the corrupt evil corporate executive. I bet those of you who were worshipping Musk a few years ago feel silly now, eh?

Food-wise, I finished up the hot dogs for lunch. With pickle relish, mustard, and ‘kraut, of course. I ate fish and baked potatoes for supper. I haven’t even touched the canned food in my pantry yet.

I haven’t ventured out of the house today other than to fetch the newspaper and feed the ferals that appear to be living on my back patio now, they’re sleeping in the cat beds and hanging around most of the day. It’s all been virtual interactions. We are well on the way to the world of the Newsflesh Trilogy, where people don’t interact with each other in person because anybody could be carrying the virus and turn into a ravenous zombie at any moment, everything’s done via the Internet or remote delivery into sterilization chambers. The governor has stated that school is probably cancelled for the rest of this school year, and has cancelled standardized testing since you can’t really test what hasn’t been taught because the schools are cancelled. People are setting up study groups and virtual schools on the Internet but that isn’t really a substitute for school, regardless of what the “unschooling” advocates believe.

Talk now is that the way things are is going to continue until at least mid-summer, which is going to take a horrific toll on the economy because most stores are closed and unemployment is going to go sky-high. And Republicans are talking about sending every American a check for $2,000. Republicans. Wow. We are in bizarro world.

I don’t know what the world is going to look like after all of this is done, but I have a suspicion it’s going to look somewhat different from what it looks like today. Meanwhile, I have food and drink, I’m healthy, I still have a job (for the moment), so we’re going to have to see what happens, I guess.

– Badtux the “Interesting Times” Penguin

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One of the things about being restricted to home is that supposedly you can eat better than if you’re eating out. But that hasn’t been the case for me. I’ve been eating hot dogs, ham and cheese sandwiches, pizza, and other things not particularly good for me instead of health things. Oh well.

This was the first official day of quarantine. Here is what traffic looked like on one of our major thoroughfares at rush hour:

Usually it’s bumper to bumper at rush hour there. Now it’s less traffic than a typical weekend.

The neighbor took advantage of his enforced vacation to finish building a deck. He hadn’t been able to work on it on the weekend because of rain. So hammering and drilling was what I most heard today.

Hard to get motivated to do work when the world seems to be ending… sigh. But have to do something in order to be paid, or else I’m fired. Rather than work, I’ve been watching the feral cats on the security monitors. One particular bonded pair, Snowy and Patches, have been of especial interest because they appear to have decided that my patio is their home. They sleep in a cat pile on a cat bed at the far back corner of my covered patio, and go out catting in the morning and evening before returning there during the day and at night. It is oddly touching, seeing these two very different cats (one neutered male, one spayed female) who quite obviously are quite fond of each other. And people say that cats are solitary creatures….

Alameda County Superior Court has cancelled all civil proceedings for the next two months. No evictions. So at least people who have lost their jobs due to quarantine are going to have a home for the next two months because the courts won’t be operating to process them. This will be interesting.

The crazy Democratic idea of sending every household a $1K check has now been embraced by…. President Trump? Not that it matters. Moscow Mitch is still holding up any COVID-19 relief in the Senate.

Kaiser-Permanente has rented large party tents from most of the vendors in the Bay Area and is setting them up in front of their emergency rooms to operate as triage centers. This is the closest I’ve seen to panic on the faces of medical personnel in my lifetime. Kaiser is probably best situated of all local healthcare providers in that they have extensive facilitiies that can be repurposed, large numbers of personnel who can be repurposed, and people on staff who have first hand experience with epidemics, and even they are looking really, really grim right now. Maybe because of a paper that said that 2.2 million Americans could die in this epidemic if the health care system collapses — and the health care system in the United States is already close to collapse on a normal day.

The CDC has been utterly useless. Their web site for healthcare professionals has all sorts of advice for preventing transmission of COVID-19, but nothing on how physicians should actually treat patients sick with COVID-19. The CDC is also responsible for the testing fiasco in the United States, refusing to allow anybody to do testing unless they were using the same obsolete machine and obsolete firmware version that the CDC uses in its own labs. The Federal response to COVID-19 has been so horrifyingly bad that the AMA refers its member physicians to the World Health Organization, which has tons of practical advice and research on its web site.

The National Institutes of Health, on the other hand, seems to be pretty on top of things. They have both an experimental vaccine and an experimental antiviral treatment already in trials. If the vaccine works, though, large quantities of it won’t be available until the fall. This tends to indicate that the current state of emergency is going to continue for longer than anybody has ever envisioned. I don’t know what the nation is going to look like at the end of this. I suppose we will find out, though.

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