My Favorite Screwtape Quote, Journalists and #learntomanufacture

If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that I like to quote the C.S. Lewis Class The Screwtape letters which is a series of letters from a senior tempter in hell, Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood who is assigned to tempt and help damn a particular Englishman during 1939 and 1940.

Of all the quotes I’ve used from the 39 various letters the one I’ve used most often comes from a letter excoriating Screwtape for allowing his “patient” an actual pleasure that resulted in repentance.

The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. Thus if you had been trying to damn your man by the Romantic method…you would try to protect him at all costs from any real pain; because, of course, five minutes’ genuine toothache would reveal the romantic sorrows for the nonsense they were and unmask your whole stratagem.

C.S. Lewis Screwtape 13

This has been the great reality of that our current situation has brought us. What has become rapidly apparent is that items that were considered critical for anyone of virtue, from discarding plastic bags and plastic straws to using the right pronouns are nothing compared to stocking shelves, and delivering food, to wit:

“We went from being nobodies to essential workers,” said Chad Montgomery, also a driver with Challenger Motor Freight. “I’ve never felt appreciated in my job until now. A lot of people don’t realize it takes a truck to get stuff on shelves. If it wasn’t for a truck driver, you would have nothing.”

via ace who likely already knew this, but a lot of people, particuarly those in elite media, either in news or entertainment do not grasp that while we can live without media reports or new movies, we can’t live without the food and goods the truckers deliver.

Nothing illustrates this better than journalists who when nuts when Mike Lindell of My Pillow took the podium at the president’s latest presser. Our media betters all had shocked reactions, great quips and clever one liners to deploy at his expense.

What could he offer that was more important than that? Only a factory being retooled to create 50,000 N95 masks a day that the country needs desperately right now.

The reality that is this crisis has illustrated what’s real and what isn’t to a culture that had forgotten.

So to our media and entertainment friends who consider themselves so vital I have some suggestions for you via hashtags

  1. #learntotruck
  2. #learntofarm
  3. #learntomanufacture
  4. #learntostock

When you can do those things, then you’ll be as important as a truck driver or a farmer or a grocery store worker or maybe if you’re very lucky someday, the MyPillow guy.

Lockdown in Illinois goes from smiling faces to a preview of tyranny

Blogger running on a Cook County Forest Preserve trail earlier this month

By John Ruberry

Illinois is now in its eighth day of lockdown as part of Governor JB Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Life is anything but normal here.

There’s not much good to report.

On the other hand a few days ago I planned to compose a feel-good entry focusing on the the few good things to report on from where I live in Morton Grove, Illinois about coronavirus. But things quickly turned south. And now we just might have a preview of the damage an overreaching government that claims to be looking out for us can inflict.

I’m a runner–and I’ve not let the lockdown cut back on my hobby. (Oh, Peter Da Tech Guy has been begging me to write a running post for a while–here you go!) After all outdoor activity, including running, is allowed according to Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order, as long as I practice safe-distancing, which I do. During my runs through the Cook County Forest Preserve trails near my home, I’ve seen more people on the paths, including entire families, since the issue of the shelter-in-place order. When the coronavirus crisis fades away, some of those folks might pick up a new appreciation of nature and become physical fitness enthusiasts as well.

I’ve also seen more people smiling at me and waving during my runts. And I reciprocate.

That was through Wednesday.

In Chicago in the early part of last week, particularly on the lakefront, the parks and paths were packed with runners, walkers, and cyclists. There were picnics and barbecues and basketball games. Which caused Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to freak out.

“You cannot go on long bike rides,” the Democrat scolded. “Playgrounds are shut down. You must abide by the order. Outside, is for a brief respite, not for 5Ks. I can’t emphasize enough that we abide the rules.”

“If we have to … we will be forced to shut down parks and the entire lakefront,” the mayor said that day.

And so she did. In a condescending press conference the following day, Mayor Tenderfoot announced, while upping her warning that training for marathons was also not allowed on the lakefront during the lockdown, that all Chicago parks along the lakefront, along with the 606 Trail on the North Side, were closed and would be barricaded. Violators of Lightfoot’s order face a citation and a $500 fine.

Okay, I get it. COVID-19 can be deadly. Playing close contact sports such as basketball is stupid. But cooping people up in home will be psychologically demanding. And what will happen if the internet in Chicago slows down to a trickle because of an overwhelming demand in residential areas?

Will spouse abuse instances spike? And child abuse?

And it’s not just a Chicago issue in Illinois. At a large park in Skokie, the town just east of me, a friend of my daughter’s was playing tennis with her boyfriend. Someone living next to the park called the police, they them to told stop playing and leave. The cops also cleared out the rest of park. There were no gatherings there of more than ten people. Just a few people here and there, I was told.

On Friday Lightfoot encouraged people to call the non-emergency 311 line to inform on businesses that are deemed non-essential that remain open. Employees can rat out their bosses. Violators face up to a $10,000 fine.

What we are witnessing in Chicago is a preview of life under a Green New Deal tyranny-of-the-enlightened-few led by know-it-alls like Lightfoot. Because of “climate change,” the city’s lakefront could be closed for weeks during the summer. After all, many people drive to the lakefront parks and the adjoining neighborhoods.

On a national basis industries such as travel could be altered and possibly destroyed. Travel by jet spread the virus. So let’s shrink the airline industry, which produces greenhouse gases. What about the jobless pilots, machinists, and the flight attendants? Force them to attend a green jobs training program doubling as a re-education camp.

If the government goes after jet travel will the automotive industry be next? What about recreational boating? Why not shutter restaurants that serve food deemed as unhealthy? Who hasn’t heard obesity called an epidemic?

Does a family of four really need a huge house? Do you really need to take an out-of-state vacation?

Presumably in a Green New Deal America the running trails near my home will still be open and I can train for a marathon if I choose. But I’ll expect to see fewer smiling faces there.

Yes, I’m taking COVID-19 seriously. I’m washing my hands and drowning them in hand-sanitizer. I’m keeping safe distances.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Seeing America in this Crisis through my Father’s eyes and liking what I see

Whoever does not see the hand of God in this is blind sir, blind!

Stonewall Jackson 1862

I was reading Sarah Hoyt’s list of predictions when I woke up 1st thing this morning concerning how the reverberations of this crisis will treat us over time, some good some not so good and I thought of my parents and how their lives shaped me.

My parents as depression era people and as children of people who basically had little or nothing but what they grew or produced themselves did not waste, did not splurge (well my Dad would TRY to splurge for mom but it just wasn’t her nature too need or want anything more than to be at home with her children and grand children around her) and had a profound sense of gratitude for all the good life brought because believe me they had plenty of bad to deal with and the most dangerous place to be when near them was as a threat to their family in any form. Any man who purposely put themselves in that spot was taking his life into his hands

They were also quite different in their outlook toward people. Dad was a natural optimist, Mom was a realist. Dad was always willing to take a chance (too willing sometimes). Mom was a person who played everything close to the vest. Dad couldn’t bear to see people in pain or want if he could help. For example when he got a plow for his truck he would disappear for hours because if he knew you needed to be dug out it was unthinkable to him not to do it when he had a plow handy. Mom would make sure the house was taken care of 1st and a nest egg secure before quietly offering her hand. Dad was chivalrous to a fault, no door for a woman was ever left upheld, no kid crying left without a piece of chocolate, no guy down on his luck to be passed by without being given a buck or two, even if it was his last one and no person stranded by the side of the road to be un-towed and if it was a woman with children he’d usually get them towed to a friend who would take care of them either at cost or for nothing. Mom was always unfailingly proper and polite, but minded her own business and never even volunteered advice to a friend unless explicitly asked. Dad was universally loved and when he died, too young at 65 the funeral home was overrun with people to a point I haven’t seen since the death of Mike Romano. Mom was universally respected and her wake despite taking place in 2012 a full quarter century after her husbands took place in her own home in the room she died in with her very large immediate family in attendance along with her children and grandchildren a private person to the very end.

Beyond all of this there was one other trait their shared. In any kind of a crisis either or both of them were the best people to have around. I never saw either fail to rise to the occasion in any crisis personal or public the only difference being that Mom hand, being full blooded Sicilian, would be less visible to others when deployed.

In my youth I saw their best traits minced by many in their generation but as I’ve grown older and seen all of my mothers family die and only one sister and brother-in-law of my father’s still remain those traits have become rare to the point of non-existence. That’s because those traits were built on a culture that had seen death and trouble up close and had handled them so thoroughly that their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren thought that peace, comfort and safety were the norm in society rather than the incredible historical exception made only possible by the genius of America and the efforts of her people.

And having seen the errors that this assumption has caused, particularly over the last twenty years I have been remarkably delighted over the last month with my fellow Americans.

With the exception of a few hoarders and some idiots I’ve seen a nation and a community that has done rather well in showing its best face when the chips are down. From hard working staff at the local grocery stores to the folks at the local diner, worried stiff about being able to make it, to folks carrying on at their place of work with a mask on their face I’ve seen Americans rising to the occasion, bending but not breaking.

Even in the field of politics, with some exceptions which must be expected I’ve seen people willing to lead and to do the hard work in concert with others. I’ve seen folks willing to deal with realities on the ground even when their personal philosophies may contradict with them, sometimes they’ve been forced out of their bubbles by events, sometimes with great reluctance, but on the whole reality has been respected and actions have been done accordingly

Only in media have I seen the bubble, shored up by the efforts and cash of our country’s enemies, resist puncture but with the new media, social platforms even if this bubble hasn’t burst it we have seen it bypassed.

When all of this started it was my opinion that we as a country would get though it. The more I’ve seen of our people over the last month the more I’m convinced that we will not just get though it but will thrive to a degree that we didn’t realize we were still capable of.

Perhaps I see to much of the world through my father’s optimistic eyes rather than my mothers realism or perhaps I’ve taken Eric Idle’s advice to always look at the bright side of life too to heart, but if the last three years had brought back the hope that America’s best years are ahead of us, the last month has turned that hope into a conviction that will require a lot of evidence to the contrary to shake.

God has put us to the test and so far it appears that America has decided it will not be content to squeak by with merely a passing grade. I think my father would be proud and my mother, while showing her best poker face to the world, would be pleasantly surprised.

Review, Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

By John Ruberry

“While we can’t predict where the next influenza pandemic is going to come from,” Dennis Carroll, the director of the emerging threats unit of US Agency for International Development, says in the third episode of the new six episode Netflix documentary series Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak, “there are certain places that you want to pay particular attention to–and China is one of those, that’s the place where we’ve seen the emergence of virtually all of the deadly influenza viruses over the last half-century.”

Carroll says this while images of a Vietnamese wet market, where live chickens are sold and slaughtered, are shown.

“We know that viruses move from wildlife into livestock into people,” he says early in that same episode.

I’m writing this from home in Illinois, where I am living under Governor JB Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order because of the COVID-19 coronoavirus outbreak. While the origin of this disease is still being debated it is likely, according to experts, that it did first infect humans at a wet market.

I saw Pandemic last week on my Netflix welcome screen and at first I looked away and said to myself, “If I want to know about pandemics I can switch on the local news–or cable news.” And I was concerned that this was, to use the legendary chant from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a “bring out your dead” series. And it starts that way, with Carroll, at a mass grave in western Pennsylvania, one that is marked by a single crucifix. The site contains the remains of victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Yes, not only can it happen here–but it has happened here.

And the “not-if-but-when” pandemic has arrived, only it’s coronavirus instead of influenza.

The focus of Pandemic is on the scientists, the aid workers, and the doctors on the front lines of disease prevention and cures. People like Jake Glanville and Sarah Ives, the scientists who are working with pigs in Guatemala to develop an all-strains flu virus, as well as Dr. Dinesh Vijay, who treats flu patients at a crowded hospital in Jaipur, India. But disease isn’t just an urban phenomenon. In Pandemic, we meet Holly Goracke, the sole doctor at tiny Jefferson County Hospital in rural Oklahoma, who works 72-hour shifts. And we also become acquainted with Dr.Syra Madad, the director of the special pathogens program of New York City Health and Hospitals.

Along the way we are introduced to anti-vaccination activists in Oregon, health care workers at an Arizona border detention center, and World Health Organization disease fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who not only face the risk of contracting the extremely deadly Ebola virus, but also getting murdered by gangs.

Surprisingly, religion is viewed favorably in this scientific docuseries. Madad, Goracke, and Vijay all rely on faith to strengthen them as they battle disease.

Not surprisingly there are a few knocks in Pandemic over lack of funding from the Trump administration. Including from Madad. But she’s not infallible. In January, in a CNBC interview shortly after the debut of Pandemic, Madad praised China’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, although she did parse her statement with, “It’s too early to tell.” I wager she’d like to take that praise back.

If you are suffering from anxiety over coronavirus, you may want to stay away from Pandemic. The same goes if you are an anti-vaxxer–you’ll just get POd. Also, I suggest if you decide to view Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak then take it in just one episode at a time. At times the series is emotionally exhausting.

Pandemic is rated TV-14, Netflix says, because of foul language and smoking. And there are some disturbing scenes.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Cows, Trees, Taps, Chocolate & Wuhan/Corona Virus Update

Yesterday I had to get up early to take my son who is going to be on 11 straight days at Market Basket to work for 6:30 so I spun down to church for the 7 AM mass where I found out that that mass and the 8 AM mass would be the last in Fitchburg for a while (so I stayed for both) and swung by Market Basket.

I didn’t need milk so I didn’t go in that aisle but they had very little bottled water and a bit of toilet paper, the shelves were not full but you could get it. I bought a two liter bottle of diet Sunkist soda, a pair of cooked chicken breasts and a package of Hershey chocolates.

I really don’t understand the hoarding of Milk, Water and Toilet Paper

Four important facts

  • To the best of my knowledge Cows are still giving milk and there is no prospect of the Corona/Wuhan virus spreading to cows and stopping them from doing so. There is no prospect of the country’s milk supply to disappear.
  • Two thousand years ago the Romans were big on aqueducts that brought fresh flowing water to the cities. Today we not only have that capability in terms of indoor plumbing as standard equipment in homes and apartments, but we have waste water treatment plants to make sure said water is safe. To my knowledge the Corona/Wuhan virus has not affected either the water supplies or the faucets in peoples houses.
  • Unless there is a medical development I’m unaware of there is no evidence that the Corona / Wuhan virus has affected trees or saw blades or papermills. Furthermore thanks to industry tree farming there is an abundant supply of trees to make sure that we can make all the toilet paper we want.
  • Gas prices are dropping like a rock and Truckers continue to be on the road so the ability to transport milk, bottled water and toilet has not been impeded in the least.

These are all reasons not to hoard Milk, Water or Toilet Paper but if they are not enough to stop you from panic let me add one more fact.

I was able to buy chocolate today.

Now chocolate is a wonderful thing but when it comes down to it, it’s not a necessity. For most of human history chocolate was not available and in the last two thousand years I suspect more human have spent their lives without chocolate than with.

Yet the chocolate supply remains unimpeaded.

When I see supermarkets without chocolate and other items that are not vital THEN I’ll start thinking, hey maybe I should be worried.

But as long as I see Chocolate bunnies near the checkout and pastries galore in the Market Basket bakery I think I’ll decline to worry about where my next roll of toilet paper is coming from…and you should too.

Review: Season One of Ragnarok

By John Ruberry

“The whole world groaned beneath them. A storm, the likes of of which had never been seen, scorched the sky. Ragnarök was upon them, the twilight of the gods.” Nicholas Day, in the Netflix series Myths and Monsters.

Many religions have an end-time narrative, including the ancient Norse faith. If you are familiar with the movie Thor: Ragnorok, then you know that Ragnarök encompasses total destruction, only there are no space ships and no Incredible Hulk in those old tales.

A few weeks ago the Norwegian six-episode series Ragnarok began streaming on Netflix. On the surface it’s a teen angst drama. After many years away, teens Magne (David Stakston), Laurits (Jonas Strand Gravli), and their mother, Turid (Henriette Steenstrup), return to the small industrial town, Edda, that is adjacent to a fjord. By the way, “Edda” is the term scholars have given to the medieval collections of Norse mythology, the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda.

As the family arrives in Edda, an old man riding a motorized scooter blocks their car as it stalls. Magne gets out and asks him, “Do you need help?” The old man oddly replies, “Do you know what a strange town this is?” Magne gets the scooter running and then the old man’s wife, who operates the local grocery, smiles at him and then tells Magne, “You’re a good kid” as she touches his forehead. Magne’s hazel eyes then flash with lightning. Magne’s hero journey has started.

Edda is indeed a strange town. Surrounded by gorgeous mountains, the economic engine of the town Jutul Industries, owned by Jutuls, the fifth-richest family in Norway. Its factory sits right next to the fjord. If it is ever said what Jutul produces, other than toxins that end up in the drinking water, I missed it. Vidar (Gísli Örn Garðarsson) is the patriarch and he runs the factory, his wife, Ran (Synnøve Macody Lund), is the principal of the high school Laurits and Magne attend. Their children are Saxa (Theresa Frostad Eggesbø) and Fjor (Herman Tømmeraas). They are all beautiful. Seemingly perfect. Too perfect because the are really jötunn, giants in Norse mythology, the enemies of the gods. And Saxa and Fjor aren’t really children.

Magne learns after his encounter with the grocer that he can run very fast, he has superhuman strength, he can speak Old Norse, and tellingly, he can throw a sledgehammer–Thor’s weapon was a hammer–an enormous distance. And Magne no longer needs his eyeglasses.

Like the young Clark Kent in Man of Steel, Magne has trouble fitting in with other kids, His only friend is Isolde (Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin), another social misfit who is the school’s biggest green advocate. And there is plenty for Isolde to investigate in Edda.

Laurits, who is a bit of a prankster, has better luck working his way up the high school social ladder, which is of course dominated by the student Jutuls, and Ragnarok contains quite a bit of the distress that you find in most television shows centered on teenagers. Meanwhile Magne’s powers, which he barely comprehends, draw the attention of the entire Jutul family.

And Magne and Fjor fall for the same girl, Gry (Emma Bones).

Ragnarok was filmed in Norwegian, it is dubbed in English for Netflix, although the trailer posted here is in Norwegian with English subtitles.

The coronovirus pandemic will sadly find many people with lots of free time on their hands. Watching Ragnarok is a worthy way to fill that void. Although I’m still working, for now, and I viewed the series last week.

Netflix has already approved a second season.

Ragnarok is rated TV-MA. It contains brief nudity, violence, foul language, teen alcohol consumption, and sexual situations.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Sundays at Rest: The Movies I’ve Bought from Amazon: The Seven Samurai


I’m been meaning to get this Series of movie posts started for while but with Corona Virus/Wuhan Virus panic in place it seems the best time to start recommending movies to buy and watch at home that perhaps folks have not seen.


Common sense tells you that a movie that runs over three hours and twenty minutes would have a slow moment or two that you can or want to take your eyes off the screen.

However that is only common sense if you’ve never watched the Seven Samurai.

There is not a shot, not a performance and not a line not even a glance in the picture that is wasted. Everything plays to the story. It’s everything that a movie is supposed to me.

If you are firm in the quite rational belief that The Godfather or Casablanca or Gone With the Wind or Citizen Cane is the greatest movie ever made nothing will challenge it more than watching this movie.

In theory the movie is about Seven Samurai who are hired come to save a poor village from bandits.

The reality is it’s really about how the process of doing so saves them. I find it one of the most Catholic movies I’ve ever seen. It’s all about responsibility, sacrifice and being one brother’s keeper and the costs that come from it.

In the beginning we see the bandits arriving at the village and noting that the barley harvest has not yet taken place and deciding to come back later when it does. The villagers frustrated by the cycle that all of their labor going to feed others without recompense look for a solution. The old man of the villege suggesting hiring Samurai. When they insist they have nothing to offer expect for food he replies “Find Hungry Samurai”.

Thus begins the 1st of three distinct phases of the picture

  1. The quest to find Samurai
  2. The preparing of the village
  3. The Actual Battle

For the modern viewer ignorant of history the culture shock of the caste system whereby a Samurai has the authority to kill and the villager is nothing and where rice is a currency in itself is striking, but this group of poor farmers attempt to approach Samurai who consider themselves far above them is really something. Eventually they get lucky when they encounter Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) a wandering rōnin, (masterless samauri) who saves a young boy taken hostage by a bandit who considers their problem and agrees to help, they also get in the bargain the young and inexperienced Katsushirō (Isao Kimura) who, impressed by Kambei’s rescue of the child begs to be his disciple. Meanwhile Kikuchiyo also impressed by Kambei’s ( Toshirô Mifune ) actions starts shadowing them .

This entire sequence of Kambei attempting to find and recruit men to go on this quest that offers no glory or reward could easily stand alone as a movie in its own right. In fact if this picture was made in 2014 instead of 1954 it would likely have without a doubt been a trilogy and a whole franchise. Eventually Kambei recruits an old friend Shichirōji ( Daisuke Katô ), Gorobei ( Yoshio Inaba) who is fascinated by Kambei, Heihachi ( Minoru Chiaki) whose real skill is morale rather than the sword ; and Kyūzō ( Seiji Miyaguchi ) the master swordsman interested only his his craft.

These six (followed by Kikuchiyo ) head to the village where the 2nd part of the movie begins. The interaction between the villagers and the Samurai, the preparation for the attack and the bonding of them as a team and dramatic contrast as the villagers deal with both their fear of the Samurai and the sacrifices that they come to realize this entails. There is also the drama of Rikichi one of the farmers who went to recruit the Samurai who has a painful history unknown to them.  It is also a time of comic relief provided mainly by Kikuchiyo & Heihachi who never passes up a chance to needle him.

The climax of this idylic scene comes shortly after the encounter between Katsushirō and Shino ( Keiko Tsushima ) whose father Manzo ( Kamatari Fujiwara ) has disguised as a boy to hide her from the Samurai he fears. They spot three scouts for the bandits coming to spy on the village and the transition to the final phase of the movie, The Battle, begins.

The initial repulse of the 1st attack fills the villagers with confidence that they will be left alone for easier pickings but when they discover that the bandits are in worse shape than them and need to conquer or starve comes the realization that it is a battle to the end. Here we see the real costs of war as the villagers and the samurai both take losses up to the climax.

Ironically director Akira Kurosawa was constantly going over budget and Toho films tried to kill the project repeatedly. Kurosawa who wrote as well as Directed the picture however reasoned that the investment in the picture had been so great that they were unlikely to let it die and successfully argued fought for its completion.

While the movie was a success the critics in Japan were not as impressed but upon foreign release it reaped rewards and directors far and wide would be inspired by this storytelling. The film would be remade in the US as the Magnificent Seven replacing samurai with gunfighters with Mexico as a setting over Japan but the reach of this film, it’s cinematography is perfect, the performances (particularly Mifune & Shimura ) are outstanding and complement some of the best writing and storytelling you will see in a movie.

Social Isolation from the Corona / Wuhan Virus might not be pleasant, but if it means that you and millions others will discover this classic it will certainly not be wasted.

Why Toilet Paper?

I swear the Demcorat/media who have gone all in on panic must have gone long on Scotts paper shares

My grand mother in law used to hoard Toilet Paper for reasons that I never quite understood but of all the things that are going on the hoarding of Toilet Paper makes the least sense to me.

Yes it’s a vital thing in the western world, and it’s something that doesn’t go bad so you can store it for quite a while, and I completely agree that when you are out of it, you really miss it but think about it.

  1. How much Toilet Paper do you use in a single “sitting”?
  2. How long does it take you to go through a roll in a normal week?
  3. Of all the things whose production might be curtailed by the pandemic, why on earth would Toilet paper be high on that list?

If you add those things together none of this makes any sense.

By an odd coincidence I was almost out of Toilet paper a few days ago and bought 8 rolls for the house. The supermarket was well stocked (and even had it on sale). Two days later the panic began and people began buying as if the world is coming to an end.

Now as I said this is a product that doesn’t go bad, that you will need for your entire life so in one sense all of this insanity is not going to do a lot of harm, other than promulgating an inordinate number of toilet humor, “scared shitless” jokes etc.

But until I see the local junkie’s at the street corners with rolls of Charmin I think I’ll refrain from being rolled by this like everyone else.

Prediction: Three months from now this is something a lot of us are going to be laughing about and lots of people are going to feel stupid about.

Why Corona Panic? Because we’re so Insulated from Danger

Right now the panic over the Corona Virus is doing a lot more damage than the virus itself. The media for both political and rating reasons are pushing this for all it’s worth and the public seems to be buying into this hook, line and sinker.

One might wonder why this is the case. After all this isn’t the first new virus out there and it won’t be the last, moreover the death rate is rather small and there is a specific population that is most at risk (elderly and infirm) who can be targeted for protective measures.

So why is everyone acting as if the world is going to end and that we are all in danger? I suspect because we so rarely are.

Unless you are living in a gang controlled area of a Democrat run city or have a job that involves risking your life regularly odds are you rarely if ever face an actual non-accidental danger to your life. Oh there is the odd hurricane or tornado and once is a very great while some lunitic goes off on a binge, but the reality is that basic threats to one’s life that were common 200 years ago, from nearby enemies, brigands and raiders or from diseases which were common 100 year ago have generally been eliminated from ordinary life in he US.

We life in a society that rarely faces death, and while that is good thing one of the side effects culturally is that we as a people don’t cope with the reality or the possibility of death very well. We deny it, we duck and dodge but death as a reality of life just isn’t there for most people on a daily basis.

So just like college students at $50K a year universities who cry oppression without irony when ginned up by activists with an ulterior motive the public living in one of the safest societies in the history of humanity is stampeded by a media who knows better into a panic for a disease which while dangerous is when it comes down to it a severe flu and can be arrested in its spread by basic hygiene that people should be doing anyways.

This is the price of the life we currently have and given the alternative of living in much more dangerous times it’s a small price to pay, but I sometimes wonder how such people are going to cope when an actual crisis comes up..

I suspect not well.

Joe Biden Saved by the Mrs. Tessi Democrats

Back in Jr high I had a crush on a girl named Mary Beth Tessi.

She was not only beautiful girl (oh what eyes!) and as Italian as her name implied but brilliant. As far as I was concerned time stopped when she entered a room. Alas for the dreams of a 13 year old she married someone else, a very fine and devout fellow and like myself has been married over 30 years. Both are very lucky to have each other but I must confess 40+ years later I still melt a bit on the rare occasions I see her.

Oddly enough while I rarely see her the person I DO still see regularly is her mother who I never knew in my youth. She’s in her late 70’s early 80’s is very devout and I admire her greatly. While considerably younger than my mother (who would be 96 if alive today) they were friendly and despite my balding head and occasionally gray beard she invariably slips me a five dollar bill and tells me to buy myself and DaWife some ice cream when she sees me.

I constantly run into her at Church or Catholic events or in adoration but there was one time she really threw me off.

It was about five years ago during the primaries, I had run into her at Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the subject of the primaries and election came up in passing and she expressed her hope that Hillary would be able to win.

I was Gobsmacked. There could not be a candidate more antithetical to the values of a devout Catholic than Hillary but as I spoke to her a bit on it I suddenly realized something.

Mrs. Tessi came of age at a time when the most powerful Catholic from Massachusetts was John McCormick a devout Catholic. Her daughter Mary Beth was born during the term of John F Kennedy the 1st Catholic President of the United States and her 2nd when Bobby was still alive. During her 40’s the biggest name in the Democrat party nationally and in the state was Tip O’Neill as Catholic as you can get. Furthermore Hillary had stayed married to a cheating husband a very Catholic thing.

She wasn’t a person who followed politics and when she thinks of the Democrat party she still thought of it as the party of McCormick, O’Neill & Kennedy and I certainly wasn’t going to able to shatter that illusion, in a few minutes when my own mother didn’t figure it out Jan 2010 two years before she died.

And that brings us to SuperTuesday and Joe Biden.

If you look at the exit polls there was a huge divide when it comes to age on the Democrat side. Among the worst groups for Bernie Sanders were Democrat voters over the age of 65 (15% for Bernie). For Joe Biden this was among the best groups for him (48%). Meanwhile the best group for Bernie were people age 18-29 (58%) and 2nd were those from 30-44 (41%). Those age brackets were Biden’s worst (30-44 23%, 18-29 17%).

This is very significant, because one of the things I’ve observed in life is that what you were taught in school tends to stick with you.

The age groups who voted for Joe Biden were born at a time when Democrats and Republicans alike were cold warriors and taught in school that still extolled Capitalism and discussed the Horrors of communism. If you were born in 1975, the low end of the 45-65 you were being taught American History while Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and St. John Paul II were bringing down the Evil Empire of the Soviets. If you were born in 1965 you were taught the evils of communism and if you were born in 1955 or before odds are you had a family member who fought against the communists in Korea. It’s worth noting btw that voters age 45-65 AND 65 or older do didn’t vote for Biden went for Mike Bloomberg the vocal pro-capitalist in the race.

For the last two weeks when it became likely that Bernie Sanders could be the Democrat nominee those voters who were taught the evils of communism and socialism were confronted by an MSM who fearful of what an unrepentant communist at the top of the Democrat ticket would do to races at the bottom for the 1st time did not sugar coat Bernie Sanders love of Communism and history of backing folks like Fidel. They finally saw Bernie Sanders for what he was not because the media and party which knew all along, finally found it in their interest to tell them.

And so remembering the lessons of their youth they turned out and voted against their cold war adversary. For those who decided that they just couldn’t vote for a human gaffe machine who couldn’t tell his sister from his wife ended up voting for Mike Bloomberg the unrepentant Capitalist in the race. It’s no coincidence that among the groups that Bloomberg did best with were the 45-65 & 65 and up age groups while voters who were in school in time to hear Socialism and Communism glorified (ages 30-44 & 18-29) loathed him.

It’s fair to say that for now Barack Obama’s efforts to push Mayor Pete and Senator Amy out of the race might have saved Joe Biden’s political life. It’s even fair to say that Joe Biden’s political life was saved by Black voters who remember him as Obama’s right hand man.

But I think that Joe Biden campaign lives another day because the Mrs. Tessi Democrats remembered the lessons of their youth and voted to save their party against an evil they still recognized.

Alas in four years there will likely not be enough of them to do so again.