March 21, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 7:19 PM


Posted by orrinj at 6:55 PM


Lou Dobbs Said Media Hyped Coronavirus. Now He's in Quarantine. (Matt Wilstein, 3/20/20, ,The Daily Beast)

Less than two weeks ago, even as he reported that the virus had infected 113,000 people in 111 countries and territories around the world, Dobbs was accusing the "national left-wing media" of "playing up fears of the coronavirus" in order to drive down the stock market. 

More recently, he had taken to echoing Trump by referring to COVID-19 as the "Wuhan virus" and lauding the president for causing a brief market increase with his national emergency declaration a week ago. 

Posted by orrinj at 5:38 PM


Posted by orrinj at 9:02 AM

THE SPECTER OF LEONARD (self-reference alert):

To enter out into that silence that was the city at eight o'clock of a misty evening in November, to put your feet upon that buckling concrete walk, to step over grassy seams and make your way, hands in pockets, through the silences, that was what Mr. Leonard Mead most dearly loved to do.
    The Pedestrian

Eller says the story was inspired in part by a very odd story by one David H. Keller, "The Revolt of the Pedestrians," published in 1928, but was triggered by two incidents over a span of years in which, while walking late at night with a friend in Los Angeles (with one friend in Pershing Square in 1940; with another on Wilshire Boulevard in 1949), Bradbury was hassled by the LAPD. "Through these experiences," Eller writes, in his charmingly orotund style, "he had come to see the pedestrian as a threshold or indicator species among urban dwellers--if the rights of the pedestrian were threatened, this would represent an early indicator that basic freedoms would soon be at risk."
    -Ray Bradbury, the Pedestrian (John Wilson, 7 . 13 . 12, First Things)
I'm writing this in the midst of the Trump-Xi flu pandemic of 2020, just as things have started to get truly weird. Up to now, we've not been greatly disrupted personally. The Wife and I are both still working at least, though my staff has been cut in half and our delivery stops drop every day. The two younger kids did have school canceled, but supposedly the High School will start tele-learning on Monday. When the Daughter flew home from her internship in DC she was going to be the only passenger on her first flight, so they bumped her to one where she was with ten people. I got to Logan in an hour and forty five minutes and you could race through Boston, there was so little traffic. But all was at least semi-normal. Now the past few days there are governors ordering entire states quarantined and today comes word that Donald is considering a national lockdown and business closure. Amid it all, the one thing that never changes is that I take our two dogs--a twelve year old labradoodle and a one year old sheepadoodle (apparently the former wasn't degrading enough)--for a five to 9 mile walk every day.

Despite our regularity, this has gotten odd too. For one thing, when we do the longer walk we go across the Dartmouth campus, which is now nearly devoid of people. Students were told not to come back from Spring Break and professors and staff told to work from home. Typically, students who miss their own dogs like to say hi to the puppy, but even those you do see just hurry past. Then we go around Occam Pond, past the elementary school, and down a long residential road, all of which are popular running routes. For a few days the number of folks you'd see out swelled--the combination of nice weather (40s in NH in March) and boredom driving them outside. On Wednesday there were tons of little kids on the playground, riding bikes, etc. Then, yesterday, it seems like the numbers dropped and we shifted to lock down mode. There were fewer runners and walkers out than even on a typical Spring day.

Then a police car drove by....

Mind you, I'm not saying I expected him to stop and order us back inside, let alone arrest us, but it did remind me of this spooky Bradbury tale. Set in some kind of post-Apocalyptic 2053, it features Mr. Leanard Mead, the pedestrian of the title, who defies convention by going shank's mare through an abandoned landscape until the day the police arrest him:
"What are you doing out?"
"Walking," said Leonard Mead.
"Just walking," he said simply, but his face felt cold.
"Walking, just walking, walking?"
"Yes, sir."
"Walking where? For what?"
"Walking for air. Walking to see."
There are other elements involved but this idea--of walking for pleasure--is so transgressive in the prevailing social climate--"In ten years of walking by night or day, for thousands of miles, he had never met another person walking, not one in all that time"--that Mead is sent to the "Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies." Bradbury's story is quite spare and does not really give us any context for why authorities would be so alarmed about someone being out of doors, beyond the fact that no one else is--everyone else seems to be just watching tv. So it is the individualism alone that appears the threat here, or, if you want, Leonard's rejection of the technology that everyone else is content consuming. Of course, there's an immense irony in that 1951 was the year (according to IMDB) that Bradbury began a prolific screenwriting career, including The Pedestrian on his own Ray Bradbury Theater(!), and tv is one of the saving graces of our current crisis...

I actually did experience a not wholly dissimilar encounter when we were really little kids (excuse any false memories that follow). The Other Brother and I were playing in the front yard in East Orange, NJ when a strange looking black and white went by. The driver banged a u-turn and pulled up, at which point we could see that the windshield was odd because bullet-proof glass was bolted over it. The officer told us to go inside and stay and if our parents turned on the radio they'd tell us why. As it turned out, neighboring Newark had exploded in riots.

Nowadays, in the wake of 9-11 and Black Lives Matter, and with a cop in the family, I make sure to wave every time a police car rolls by us--which happens frequently as the walk takes us past the station. And after a period of perplexity, it's gotten to the point where all the local police wave back. So even if our national situations deteriorates further over the next couple weeks, I'm sure they'd be polite and just tell us our walks were done for awhile, not pack me off to a psych ward. But the specter of Leonard does haunt...

    -WIKIPEDIA: Ray Bradbury
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Ray Bradbury (
    -BIO: Ray Bradbury (
    -BIO: Ray Bradbury American writer (Erik Gregersen, Encyclopaedia Britannica)
    -WIKIPEDIA: The Pedestrian
    -ETEXT: The Pedestrian (Ray Bradbury, 8/07/1951, The Reporter)
    -AUDIO TEXT: The Pedestrian
    -AUDIO: The Pedestrian (YouTube)
    -VIDEO: The Pedestrian from Ray Bradbury Theater (Amazon Prime)
    -STUDY GUIDE: Ray Bradbury: Short Stories Summary and Analysis of "The Pedestrian,/a> (Grade Saver)
-STUDY GUIDE: Ray Bradbury's The Pedestrian: Summary, Analysis & Theme (
    -STUDY GUIDE: The Pedestrian (eNotes)
    -EPISODE GUIDE: the Pedestrian on Ray Bradbury Theater (IMDB)
    -OBIT: Ray Bradbury, Who Brought Mars to Earth With a Lyrical Mastery, Dies at 91 (Gerald Jonas, June 6, 2012, NY Times)
    -OBIT: Ray Bradbury dies at 91; author lifted fantasy to literary heights: Ray Bradbury's more than 27 novels and 600 short stories helped give stylistic heft to fantasy and science fiction. In 'The Martian Chronicles' and other works, the L.A.-based Bradbury mixed small-town familiarity with otherworldly settings. (Lynell George, 6/06/12, LA Times)
-OBIT: American science fiction author Ray Bradbury dies age 91 (NICK CLARK, 06 JUNE 2012, Independent)
    -OBIT: Ray Bradbury dies aged 91 (The Telegraph, 6/06/12)
    -OBIT: Author Ray Bradbury, who fused sci-fi with morality, dies at age 91 (Agence France-Presse, Jun 7, 2012)
    -TRIBUTE: Ray Bradbury Believed That Stories Could Change Lives,/a>: The author, who died this week at 91, wrote novels and short stories that highlighted the transformative power of a good narrative. (Joe Fassler, June 7, 2012, The Atlantic)
-REMEMBRANCE: LOVING RAY BRADBURY (Junot Díaz, 6/06/12, New Yorker)
    -OBIT: Ray Bradbury, a passionate sci-fi writer with the gifts of a painter: Ray Bradbury wrote his more than 500 stories, novels, plays, and poems on a typewriter, creating imagery that helped bring sci-fi and fantasy into the mainstream of American popular culture. (Gloria Goodale, June 6, 2012, CS Monitor)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Ray Bradbury vs. Political Correctness: The science-fiction author, who died Wednesday, was a fierce critic of thought-control. (SOHRAB AHMARI, 6/06/12, WSJ)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Ray Bradbury, Pulp God: The fabulist of the Space Age was half doomsday prophet, half man-child. (Bryan Curtis, June 6, 2012, Slate)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Remembering Ray: A visionary science-fiction writer, and a dispenser of good advice. (Ted Elrick, 6/06/12, National Review)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Ray Bradbury, Dead at 91, Taught Generations of Readers How to Dream: The fantasy writer Ray Bradbury scorned the label of "science-fiction writer" and taught generations of readers the benefits of letting their imaginations run wild, writes Malcolm Jones, 6/06/12, Daily Beast)
    -REMEMBRANCE: Ray Bradbury: Finding Our Reflections Where We Didn't Expect Them (PETER SAGAL, 6/06/12, NPR)
    -INTERVIEW: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203 (Interviewed by Sam Weller, Issue 192, Spring 2010, Paris Review)
    -INTERVIEW: Rocket Man: In conversational orbit with Ray Bradbury (Steven Mikulan, 6/26/04, LA Weekly)
    -ESSAY: The Truth of Ray Bradbury's Prophetic Vision Michael Moorcock: Why Fahrenheit 451 Endures (Michael Moorcock, May 18, 2018, LitHub)
    -ESSAY: Relevance of Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' stressed in HBO film (Mark Dawidziak, 5/12/18, The Plain Dealer )
    -ESSAY: How Runners Are Getting Creative During the Pandemic: With every race canceled, runners face logistical and ethical dilemmas. Some have turned to unusual solutions. (Martin Fritz Huber, Mar 20, 2020, Outside)
    -ESSAY: Outdoor Meccas Are Not a Social Distancing Hack: As wilderness hubs like Bishop and Moab shutter their gates to visitors, what's an outdoor lover to do during a pandemic? We're here to help. (Christopher Solomon, Mar 20, 2020, Outside)
    -ARCHIVES: bradbury (The Atlantic)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Walking to See: Ray Bradbury's "The Pedestrian" (Robert M. Woods, August 17th, 2012, Imaginative Conservative)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Ray Bradbury, the Pedestrian (John Wilson, 7 . 13 . 12, First Things)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Ray Bradbury's Vision of the Dystopian City (Tyler Falk, June 6, 2012, City Lab)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Ray Bradbury Hates Technology: Analyzing "The Pedestrian" (literature Essay Samples)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Has Mankind Really Made Progress? A Critical Analysis of the Characterization,Theme, and Imagery of "The Pedestrian" (lone Star College)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Revisiting Ray Bradbury: "The Pedestrian" (Pat Shand, February 25, 2016, Blastoff)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Stumbling in the dark: Ray Bradbury's Pedestrian and the politics of the night (Matthew Beaumont, 07 December 2015, Critical Quarterly)
    -REVIEW: of The Pedestrian (Emily Babb, Dystopic)
    -REVIEW: of The Pedestrian (Superkick Writes)
    -REVIEW: of The Pedestrian (Howard Allen, Owlcation)
    -REVIEW: of The Pedestrian (Weekend Notes)
    -REVIEW: of The Pedestrian (Swinfiction) Men with Lit Matches: a review of Fahrenheit 451, The Fiftieth Anniversary Edition by Ray Bradbury (A. W. R. HAWKINS, The University Bookman)
    -REVIEW: of Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury (Alexander Zaitchik, NY Press)
Posted by orrinj at 7:41 AM

Posted by orrinj at 7:25 AM


Kenny Rogers, country music star, dies aged 81 (The Guardian, 21 Mar 2020)

Rogers was raised in public housing in Houston Heights with seven siblings. As a 20-year-old, he had a gold single called That Crazy Feeling, under the name Kenneth Rogers, but when that early success stalled, he joined a jazz group, the Bobby Doyle Trio, as a standup bass player.

But his breakthrough came when he was asked to join the New Christy Minstrels, a folk group, in 1966. The band reformed as First Edition and scored a pop hit with the psychedelic song, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).

Rogers and First Edition mixed country-rock and folk on songs like Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town, a story of a Vietnam veteran begging his girlfriend to stay.

After the group broke up in 1974, Rogers started his solo career and found a big hit with the country ballad Lucille, in 1977, which crossed over to the pop charts and earned Rogers his first Grammy.

Rogers invested his time and money in a variety of endeavours over the course of his career, including a passion for photography that led to several books, as well as an autobiography, Making It With Music. He had a chain of restaurants called Kenny Rogers Roasters, and was a partner behind a riverboat in Branson, Missouri.

In 2007 The Gambler became the unofficial anthem of the England World Cup rugby team, catapulting Rogers back into the spotlight.

It was, of course, his "Quick-Pickin' 'n Fun-Strummin'" home guitar course ads that made him famous, back in the day when we only had 4 to 8 tv stations and syndication ruled the air waves.

Posted by orrinj at 7:15 AM


President Trump ignored CIA warnings about coronavirus pandemic for MONTHS (ANDREW COURT FOR DAILYMAIL.COM)

'Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were -- they just couldn't get him to do anything about it,' one official stated, adding: 'The system was blinking red.'

Officials were first alerted to reports about cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China on January 3, after a director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spoke with Chinese colleagues. 

'Ominous, classified warnings' purportedly put together by the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence began to increase over the course of the month. 

'There was obviously a lot of chatter in January,' one of the officials told The Post. 

Despite this, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar had trouble contacting Trump until January 18. 

Two officials told The Post that when Azar finally got a hold of Trump over the phone and attempted to discuss the coronavirus, 'the President interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market'.  

Meanwhile, the intelligence reports also warned that 'Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak'. 

But on January 24, Trump took to Twitter to praise China for its 'transparency' about COVID-19 infections.  

'China has been working hard to contain the coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In Particular, on behalf of the American people, I want to thank President Xi,' he wrote.