New Normal? What New Normal?

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
John Wooden

“West coast street artist Hijack Art has created a mural of two soldiers fending off the coronavirus in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of LA. ‘This particular issue involving the coronavirus and all the devastation it’s leaving in its wake, was a no-brainer for me,’ said the artist. ‘The fear and call to action of this pandemic has really captured the imagination of many in and outside my city.’ Located at the intersection of West Pico Boulevard at Reeves Street, the two characters in the piece are wearing Hazmat suits, while attempting to fend off the virus with a feather duster, Windex, hand sanitizer and a vacuum bearing a ‘No Covid-19’ symbol. It taps into the dire need for alcohol-based hand sanitizers. ‘It’s been a mixed bag of careless spring breakers, toilet paper hoarders, conspiracy theorists and hypochondria,’ adds Hijack. ‘I’m being told “it feels like we’re in wartime,” so I also wanted to add that element to the piece.'”
‘It feels like wartime’: how street artists are responding to coronavirus, by Nadja Sayej, The Guardian, 25 March 2020

Ah, the muralists of Los Angeles.

“Nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, according to the UN’s environment chief, Inger Andersen.

“Andersen said humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences, and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.

“Leading scientists also said the Covid-19 outbreak was a ‘clear warning shot’, given that far more deadly diseases existed in wildlife, and that today’s civilisation was ‘playing with fire’. They said it was almost always human behaviour that caused diseases to spill over into humans.”
Coronavirus: ‘Nature is sending us a message’, says UN environment chief, by Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 25 March 2020

Well, I’m not a scientist or a theologian, but if Nature is sending us a message, and this really is a cull, a third of humanity would have died in the first week. Yes. there are too many of us on the planet, yes we suck as tenants, but Nature is a system/process humans poorly understand (and often forget we’re part of), not a destroying angel.

Also, viruses make the species jump when humans live close, or too close to animals. That’s why there’s Ebola and AIDS in human populations. It’s horrific, but as far as I can tell, it’s not The Flood. Really.

“Japan’s space agency was not declaring war. The bombardment was part of the work of Hayabusa2, a robotic space probe that is gathering hints about the origins of the solar system by studying the rocky object, Ryugu. It is a type of asteroid that is full of carbon molecules known as organics, including possibly amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.”
Remember When Japan Blasted an Asteroid? Here’s What We Learned, by Kenneth Chang, NYT, 23 March 2020

Amino acids from outer space… and Japan has a space program? That’s awesome!

“Heir to the throne is now self-isolating at home in Scotland and is said to be ‘up and about'”
Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus, by Caroline Davies, The Guardian, 25 March 2020

“Britney Spears has amplified a call for a strike and the redistribution of wealth in the US in a post on her Instagram. Spears, 38, shared a graphic by the writer Mimi Zhu, which included the line: “We will feed each other, re-destribute [sic] wealth, strike.'”
Comrade Britney Spears! Star calls for strike and wealth redistribution, by Laura Snapes, The Guardian, 25 March 2020

Um… Gah?

“Cybercriminals are exploiting two unpatched zero-day flaws affecting all supported versions of Windows, Microsoft has warned.

“The Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities affect Adobe Type Manager (ATM) Library, the part of Windows that manages PostScript Type 1 fonts.

“For now, there are no CVE identifiers and the only confirmed details are in Microsoft’s warning:

“‘Microsoft is aware of limited targeted attacks that could leverage un-patched vulnerabilities in the Adobe Type Manager Library and is providing the following guidance to help reduce customer risk until the security update is released.’

“Attackers could exploit the flaw by persuading users to open a malicious document. Importantly, however, the same danger would arise even if users viewed that document using the Windows Explorer file manager preview pane.” Gah
Windows has a zero-day that won’t be patched for weeks, by John E. Dunn, Sophos blog, 25 March 2020

Challenging times bring out the best in most of us; bring out the worst in some of us. Please practice even more computer and cyber hygiene than usual because even in a pandemic, the usual plague of assholes continues unabated.

“It is calling up 100,000 troops, extending grants to small businesses, prioritizing essential goods, and cracking down on profiteers. No, that’s not the United States federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic: it’s Amazon’s. The e-commerce behemoth is poised to become one of the major winners of the coronavirus crisis. As smaller businesses (even those that are not in any sense of the word small) falter and fail, Amazon is expanding its dominance over American commerce and society.” Gah
‘The US of Amazon’: how the coronavirus has created a governance vacuum the tech giant is quickly filling, by Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian, 24 March 2020

And I used to joke that either Google or Amazon would own us all one day. I’m sorry I might be right.

“Leaders in California are scrambling to prepare the state amid a shortage of hospital beds, limited access to masks and ventilators and a patchwork approach to testing, as a surge of cases in New York provides a warning of how quickly the coronavirus crisis could spiral out of control.”
California scrambles to avoid Covid-19’s worst-case scenario: ‘It will take a heroic effort’, by Mario Koran, The Guardian, 24 March 2020

Has anyone seen or heard from Jerry Brown lately? I hope he’s okay.

“But it was New York that made him a reality television star. And what reality television prizes more than anything, we’ve learned, is a Darwinian frame of mind. The contestants aren’t there to make friends. They’re there to destroy each other. They’re there to win. Only the best win. But this is not a game. Trump has no clue how to marshal the forces of federal government, which he stripped down to the studs. He has no unifying instincts at all. New York will be gasping for breath, and the other states will soon follow. Unless he takes action, now.” Gah
Trump to New York: Drop Dead, by Jennifer Senior, NYT, 24 March 2020


As the twig is bent the tree inclines.

Ask five economists and you’ll get five different answers six if one went to Harvard.
Edgar Fiedler

Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn’t they’d be married too.
H. L. Mencken

Be brave, young lovers, and follow your star.
Oscar Hammerstein II

Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
John Boyle O’Reilly

Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.
John Wooden

Blue thou art, intensely blue; Flower, whence came thy dazzling hue?
James Montgomery

Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.
Dave Barry

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.
John Wooden

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