A TGB READER STORY: Doggerel About COVID-19
Venturing Away From Home in Corona Virus Times

Is There Anything Else to Talk About?

Some good advice that will make you smile:

In the evening, I can get caught up in a book or movie or TV show for awhile and forget this awful but remarkable time we are living in. The earlier part of the day? Not so much.

As a life-long news junky to begin with, a story of the magnitude of the Coronavirus is irresistible even if the perpetrator-in-chief, in his ignorance and cruelty, makes it more frightening than it needs to be.

Stress? Oh, you betcha. I try to keep it in check with a lot of slow, pursed-lip breathing throughout the day which is good for my poor, old, damaged lungs too.

And exercise. Every morning before breakfast, I go through my 40-minute routine. It's good for my breathing and I hope it helps with stress.

But what can a few exercises do to calm one's mind when, apparently, it is not enough to have a worldwide, deadly virus floating around all of us. Early this week, the number of deaths from the virus in United States surpassed those not only in China but those on 9/11 too.

For a few weeks following 9/11, we in New York City asked friends, neighbors, coworkers and others we spoke with, “Is everyone you know okay?” It's beginning to feel to me like it is time to resurrect that check-in.

Even though there are teeny tiny indications in some places that personal distancing is working, this unprecedented virus predicament will last a lot longer than the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and if we haven't yet, we each will need to invent respites for ourselves. I'll do what I can for us in that regard on this blog.

Here's a bit of serious humor for our desperate times – a new video from John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight on HBO. You will see that it was recorded before the president extended the lockdown past Easter but that doesn't make it less pertinent.

I found some fun in it. I hope you will too.

On Monday's post, Patty-in-New-York ended her comment apologizing for her random thoughts. As I responded then, I don't think there has ever been a more appropriate time for random thoughts than now. Go for it, if you are so inclined, in the comments below.

Comments

let me know how funny you find this when one of your family members die from the virus.

That John Oliver video should be required viewing for every American and especially every member of the Trump Cult.

Okay, gotta admit, for my personal emotional health which I do believe can influence physical health, John's on hold 'til later, maybe never. I'm still exhausted from having done a big shop at a major grocery store in this area yesterday. Where two guys thought they were funny, doing a "how close can I get before you freak out?" routine. I was furious, finally back in my car, felt like crying, then home to wash and "decontaminate" all the stuff. I will try again to learn how to order online and pick up.

I'm beginning to look at other so called "disasters," the bubonic plague, the meteoric caused volcanoe/tsunami 6 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs, "snowball earth," all labelled disasters. Which implies " not supposed to happen" in human speak. What we humans think is supposed to happen is more of the same, only better. Yours truly has not been immune, but is beginning to question.

John Oliver's disbelief at things is pretty much perfect--I sure do love that guy, thanks for sharing this video!

On a random note, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as his VP running mate (and she accepts). Also, last night I stayed up until 1:30am watching the first 4 episodes of Netflix' "Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem & Madness". If anything, it helped me realize how someone like Trump managed to get elected to the White House.

You are a bright light in our day! Thank you for putting your thoughts in writing. I pray all of us seniors stay healthy.

Sharing John Oliver's report, as usual well done. I don't usually stay up late enough to hear it Sunday evenings, thanks Ronni, stay well, m


Wishing this all was some April Fool's Day joke... whatta mess, and people are dropping their protective masks on my block as they leave our local hospital, hoping no kids think it's something to play with.

I watch none of those late night shows. I kept fighting to have compassion for all through this trying time but the constant spewing of hate really takes its toll. Instead of trying to find blame let’s work on a cure or at the very least a vaccine to combat this virus. The hatred just clouds the mind from the important things at hand.

Hello All,

I don't know if this is an appropriate time to ask this question, but I'll ask it & let Ronni decide if she wants to post it. I did watch Netflix's "Tiger King" & found it really engaging & entertaining (which is so helpful during this special time). I started watching Netflix's "Unorthodox" last nite & wish it would last more than 4 episodes as it is also engaging. I was wondering if any of you can recommend good shows/documentaries you are watching? We are probably in similar age brackets & would most likely have similar taste in tv viewing. I am staying current with our current world situation, but in the evening I do enjoy briefly forgetting about the troubles of this material world, & becoming immersed in a good tv show.
Thank you all very much in advance. I hope all of you stay healthy & happy. (These are my random thoughts at this moment:)

We've been watching each episode of John Oliver, but feel it's really lacking a lot with just him as a talking head in a box. Still, we'll keep watching.

I may have mentioned this here already, but I've discovered a history podcast that has me enthralled. It has many episodes covering various events, but I started with a trilogy on the Achaemenid kings of Persia -- the same time period that the events of the movie "300" (based on one of the battles between the Persians and the Greeks during that period) falls into, and now am on part 3 of that, nearing the end of that era.

I can't explain why this has captivated me so, but perhaps it has something to do with how harsh life was then, nearly 3,000 years ago, and yet the world and humankind has survived, and I think it's fair to say, has made vast progress in quality of life and behavior. At any rate, it leaves me feeling hopeful.

I read a post this morning that cited Anne Frank's and John McCain's internment as examples of so many of those who had (and have) it so much harder than I can even imagine. Food for thought.
I wish I could see your John Oliver selections in Canada. Darn broadcast regulations!

Random thoughts:
Thank goodness I can have a video and phone appointments with my doctor. But I still have to go in for blood work.
What if this damned stuff comes back every year with the flu?
Recalling funny and weird things my sons have done over the years. Decided to write them up and include with old photos for their birthdays. That will keep me happily busy.
Putting off ordering groceries because I'm worried for those delivery people. Tipping them well. TIP them WELL please.
How lucky we are living here even with the butt head in office. War homeless in Syria getting sick and getting bombed.

Wish you all well. Stay well and stay home.

I can't believe it's been a year
since I didn't become a better person

Dear Herman Schwatz, Your opening comment pierced my heart. I am sorry for your loss. (Hackneyed words I know , but they helped me - even from the mouths of strangers - when my beloved husband died. ) As for those of us not directly affected but filled with fear for our loved ones and ourselves, laughing releases stress, eases loneliness in a moment of sharing. We have given up so much. We do not need to sacrifice laughter.

Ann

to elizabeth re: Netflix

I just finished watching "Hillary" (4 hrs) and I thought it was a real eye opener. Not an American myself but I found it a very interesting documentary.

My DIL is a healthcare worker and she says that when you're working that close to what's going on you tend to have a dark sense of humour. I couldn't watch the Oliver video (not an American), but I imagine from some of the comments here it would be right up her alley.

I am not well but do have neighbours checking in with me and picking up groceries or whatever as needed. I get a lot of emails from a needlework group I belong to raving about how much stuff they have accomplished while staying home and I just wish they'd keep it to themselves because I can't do any of that stuff. But I say nothing because one day I will be well and, who knows, raving about how much stuff I have accomplished...

I appreciate the sarcasm, irony, humor and truth of Oliver’s and others on this situation. Oliver certainly captures the issues, but there’s only one problem with him and them. The assessment of our self-proclaimed genius leader’s actions or inactions is being made based on a belief he shares our goals for saving lives and preserving the current form of government as a democratic republic. Nothing could be further from the truth as he has said in so many words since assuming office. In case no one is paying attention, democracy has been under assault in multiple nations around the world by leaders who are assuming increasing autocratic powers in their countries. Our nation with this leader is doing the same. The continuing grab for increasing executive power, his diminishing the power of other branches of government, his ongoing efforts to malign responsible truth-teller members of our press are part of the process as he undermines trust in our government. Allowing the creation of chaos as with the handling of this Coronavirus serves to create an environment conducive to our leader eventually assuming a dictatorial position. We better hope he never has the occasion and we never allow him to declare martial law. The pattern is obvious, one followed by autocratic leaders elsewhere now and revealed in history, including earlier in my lifetime, with the loss of democratic freedoms for citizens. I shudder for our nation’s future as I’ve watched this unfold the past four years but with a slightly increasing chorus of voices sounding the alarm.

Regarding watching TV as a way to stay sane... we are choosing to educate ourselves by watching a good documentary (various topics, from Linda Ronstadt to An American Factory, which won an Oscar) and to entertain ourselves by reading good books and watching tried-and-true films and TV series. My monthly book club may try Zoom meetings to discuss our next book, Lily de Jong. Right now we are bingeing Friday Night Lights, a delightful compromise drama which includes football (for hubby) and family drama (me). We are not much for comedies. One goal I have is to figure out an n home exercise routine. Feeling my bones freezing up with inactivity.

Kathy: Search 'Chair Yoga'.

A good book: "A Very Stable Genius" by Rucker.

Those outside the US: Try youtube when looking for John Oliver

Movies: Ford vs Ferrari, Two Popes, Knives Out.

Series: Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

To Elizabeth re: what to watch during lockdown

I enjoy the following streaming TV series: Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey, The West Wing (8 seasons), Gran Hotel (a Spanish serialized drama with great costumes), Miss Fisher's Mysteries, Sherlock Holmes.
For movies, try Mary Poppins Returns, Paddington Bear and its sequel, and March of the Penguins.

Ronni, connecting with you and your readers is great for my mental health, thank you!

Excellent points, Joared!

Dear Herman: It sounds like you lost someone you love to this terrible virus. I'm so very sorry. We are all bound to lose some one we love, we know, we wish we knew.

We're all scared, and having an inept leader doesn't give us calm. Being in fear trying to navigate a grocery shopping, our pharmacy, is not the way we invisioned our old age.

I hope you have someone who loves you to help you through your grief. If not, we at TGB are here.

I'm still in a nursing home tucked into the gentle hills. I want outta here.

I can’t make myself watch “Tiger King”, but if it sheds light on those horrible roadside zoos and the total lack of laws in this country regulating the ownership of exotic animals, that’s great. I’ve seen too many of these yokels and those poor creatures at local county fairs and malls over the years.

Personally I watch re-runs of “Schitt’s Creek” on Netflix, as well as “Hell on Wheels”, a Canadian production that was originally on A&E about the building of the trans-continental railroad. Occasionally violent, but an interesting story based on real characters. “Seinfeld” reruns on Hulu, and on broadcast tv (have an antennae, no cable or dish anymore) “Gunsmoke” is my daily must-see. I don’t think satire plays very well in these times, I used to watch the Late Show with Stephen Colbert religiously, but I think of all the late night shows, Jimmy Fallon has hit the right note for our current situation.

I’ve been “socially distanced” every flu season for the past 4 years since my cancer diagnosis, so am somewhat used to a reclusive lifestyle. Have been hearing from friends & what few relatives I have left fairly regularly, and it seems that people I talk to from all over the country (in dealing with various medical and/or insurance issues) are really in the mood to talk, and I sure don't mind listening.

Best of luck to us all.

I second the recommendation of the documentary "Hillary," which I really appreciated. For heartwarming stories you can't really go wrong with "Call the Midwife." The current season is on PBS and you can probably find earlier seasons elsewhere. "The Good Fight" is a really fun lawyer show--the first two seasons are on Netflix. So is "Grey's Anatomy," which I am enjoying more than I thought I would. I never watched it before, but it's been on since 2005 so there's plenty of material. A doctor show with both humor and pathos.

Regarding our fearless leader: I think it's past time for broadcast media to man up and decide not to carry these daily briefings live. Instead, they should pull out the useful bits and get rid of all the political blaming and general bloviating that have nothing to do with the virus. These briefings have become just a substitute for the rallies Mr. T can't have right now.

It is difficult to escape the devastating news. I was a child then but this reminds me of the scary times in Paris during WW2. I have been isolated in my house for 18 days now, seeing no one (I don’t know anyone here in Nashville.) My daughter had groceries delivered to me 10 days ago. She cannot come to visit as both her and my son-in-law are physicians working in hospital with very little protective gear and I am what they call the elderly with underlying health condition… but still, I was pleased to cancel my heart test check up so I would not have to go out. Governor Lee of Tennessee has not ordered the shelter in place mandate yet (even though thousands of TN doctors have asked him to do so) as he says it would impede on people’s freedom. So everyone has the freedom to get the virus and die I guess. What bothers me the most is seeing groups of people still walking in front of my house, close to each others. To avoid thinking and getting worried about my son-in-law treating contagious patients in the ER I have kept busy writing a post for my blog and avoiding watching the news, and above all avoiding the Trump furer TV pandemic/campaign rallies. I just read news updates at night.

We are currently re watching the "Doc Martin" series and find them still interesting. KCET is showing the series again and we will watch a show tonight. Also we've watched "Death in Paradise" but now with mostly re-runs my husband does not appreciate it anymore. "The Durrells on Corfu" was also entertaining about a widow and her 4 children relocating to Greece. .

"Longmire" was very good though I do not know on which of the various choices, like Netflix, it is available.

Of the current dramas presently on tap we always record "Tommy" and "Stumptown". Last night we viewed the last of this series of "Good Doctor", that we had recorded. It
featured a natural disaster and many of the medical staff died which made me cry and think about our current situation. No TV for me today but I may relent and watch the national news at 6:30.

I loved Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax. Babylon Berlin was excellent with English subtitles. Thank you for your suggestions. Trying to be a “helper” in what limited forms I can. As Fred Rogers mother said “when you are afraid - look for the helpers.”. I have my circa 1951 Singer out and am making masks, albeit slowly. It helps me ride the waves of panic, fury, hopelessness and exhaustion.

Sarah--Some of us are doing well to make any masks at all. I can usually stand sewing up one mask per day - which beats no masks per day!

Gosh, I would love to know the name of that History podcast Cathy J. is listening to & where to find the trilogy about Persia. I would love to listen to it too.

Thank you to all who mentioned what they are watching during this stay-at-home time.

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