Monday, March 23, 2020

Not Affected Much

Old Orchard Beach Pier at dawn
Virus isolation hasn’t changed my life much. Instead of staying home and guarding my toilet paper, I head out before dawn to Maine’s southern coast for first light. Seldom do I see people, especially in February and March, so social distance is easy. Until recently I had few photos of that area but I have a prospective customer interested to buy some. Even without a buyer, however, there are worse ways to spend time. All of Maine’s winding coastline is beautiful.

It’s been cold though and gloves make camera adjustments difficult. When the wind is blowing my eyes tear up but the natural beauty all around me more than compensates for those discomforts. In pleasant surroundings it’s easy to avoid thinking about the virus changing our entire way of life. Will it ever return to normal? I don’t yet know anyone infected but I probably will soon.
Cape Porpoise
After several hours I’m back home downloading dozens, sometimes hundreds of images for editing, and that can take the rest of the day until dinnertime. My wife occupies herself making quilts for the grandchildren and listening to various psychologists lecture on youtube. She’s a psychotherapist and she can multitask like that. I cannot, as my mind can focus on only one thing at a time. Soft piano music won’t distract me while I edit, but nearly anything else will.

Cape Arundel
I like to venture out before dusk and capture twilight as well. As public reaction to COVID-19 progresses, there’s almost as much solitude at dusk as at dawn. Some are out walking but careful to keep a safe distance. We nod to each other and there’s a shared, unspoken sense that we’re all in this together. My wife goes into Shaws or Hannaford at Mill Creek in South Portland early in the early morning during their designated times for older people like us to get what we need.

Old Orchard Beach at dawn
We seldom go out to restaurants anyway so those restrictions don’t affect us. We have all we need and my wife enjoys cooking. I do too, but not as much as she does so my job is cleanup. We watch Special Report the news until seven and then streaming video or just read. The thing we miss most is seeing our grandchildren. We don’t want to infect them and they don’t want to infect us.

OOB Pier at mid-day
We have some fear, however. Two of out daughters are nurses. Both are gearing up for that they see as an inevitable onslaught of seriously ill patients — too many for whom to provide adequate care. Minimizing that scenario is why government wants to “flatten the curve.” One daughter is an ER nurse who just arrived at her new assignment in Portland, Oregon. The other has been pressed to staff an emergency ICU here in Maine for 12-hour shifts alternating days and nights for the duration of this crisis. Though neither has said so, I think they both fear being forced to decide who gets care and who does not.
Cape Porpoise
Can people stay home indefinitely? Some jobs are essential like healthcare workers, police, fire and rescue, keeping the electricity grid running, delivering fuel, and others but small businesses can only be closed so long before collapsing. Most of us expect to get the virus eventually, but how long will flattening the curve take? We’re all going to die of something, someday, and we prefer the dying be limited to the old and sick as much as possible. It’s better to lose grandparents than grandchildren. Writing in National Review the other day, Congressman Chip Roy suggests that flattening the curve may put so much stress on our economy that it cannot recover. Where will we be then? 
Morning at Scarborough Marsh
This fear thing is real and must be addressed. President Trump was criticized for an exchange with NBC’s Peter Alexander. After snarky remarks accusing Trump of trying to “put a positive spin on things” and “giving the American people a false sense of hope,” Alexander asked: “What do you say to people who are scared?” By that time the president was so pissed at the snark that he called Alexander a terrible reporter. It was a missed opportunity for Trump to acknowledge people’s fears and speak to them. Hostile media outlets broadcast only Alexander’s last question and Trump’s angry response. As intended, it made for a terrible sound bite damaging to the president.

Philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote: “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” How many Americans have been forced to do that lately? It’s not a problem for introverts like me, but then the room in which I sit alone is in a house with other rooms, and I’m aware that my wife, also an introvert, is sitting in another. I know she’s aware of me as well.


Kafir said...

Beautiful photos. Well done. As a native who loves the ME coast I can’t wait to get back from So. FL where many of the tourists have left early and the mood for those still here is very somber.

Trying not to go to the supermarket where the nitwits are hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizers and paper towels. I even saw one obviously self-centered young woman filling up a baggie with hand wipes meant for individuals to sanitize their grocery carts. Have at it, lady.

Morning and afternoon walks help even if the beaches are off limits. Reading more and doing small chores around the condo passes the time. Unlike me, my wife is an extrovert but neither of us are prone to snarky whining as are many of the fools in the mainstream media. We won’t get through this unscathed, but we will get through it and maybe even learn a few things along the way.

Tom McLaughlin said...

This came via email and I post it here with Rose's permission:

Hi Tom - hunkered down here in NJ - have to stop watching the news as it is too saddening. I hope this week ahead passes quickly as i fear it will be a very tough one. Will be venturing out early tomorrow to get some groceries for myself, a friend and my mom - she is 90 in the Bronx - with my brother - her aide had to stop coming as her daughter was exposed to virus so she is in isolation.

My parish has several virtual prayer groups whcih are helpful and a local priest live streams mass each day - so my day starts with grace, but that quickly diminishes with news watching.

Loved your column and the pictures - very calming. Stay well Tom and keep writing. A virtual hug to you.

Rose Sullivan

CaptDMO said...

Social distance.
In the cities, there was a tacit acknowledgement of "We're all in this together" of apology when folks are forced into otherwise close company with strangers. "Prevailing unavoidable circumstances,
Elevators, subways, nightclubs, arenas....
In the country,a tacit acknowledgement of "We're all in this together" when strangers are forced farther apart than "respectable"...
Prevailing unavoidable circumstances.
Must be hell in the suburbs.

Kafir said...

The Dems want to add a “wish list” of BS items to the Coronavirus relief package. How despicable. There are a number of sites reporting this information but I chose to use Fox News as my source. See:

Brian said...

This is getting hilarious! Kafir butts in last post saying "Off topic but needs to be mentioned....then get's embarrassed and angry because he didn't realize Trump was off golfing during the crisis, and leaves in a hissy fit of "F-you", and then proceeds to once again butt in and change topics on this new post with his same nonsense. Still all angry about everything but Trump's disastrous handling of the first crucial weeks. Not sure how he can't be furious about Trump's golfing though, after his Obama comments!

Kafir said...

The F You still stands, Brian.

“When you’re dead, you don’t know that you’re dead. All the pain is felt by others. The same thing happens when you’re stupid (Brian).” -Anonymous

As for Trump vs. Obama golfing:

I watch the briefings daily and last evening’s (Tues.) was very professional and encouraging. When I read “The art of the Deal” deades ago, Trump hired and surrounded himself with the best people available for his businesses. He’s doing that in this crisis. Plus, the polls approve of his handling of the pandemic much more than the media’s snarky detractors.

If you believe that $25 million should be in the relief package for The Kennedy Center, that’s on you.

Btw, did I mention that the F You still stands, Brian?

Brian said...

Wow. It's like you are a glutton for getting your stones chucked back at your shattered glass house, because once again:

"It's going to be down to zero soon, like a miracle" - Yep, that while doing nothing in the all-important early stage.

And yes, Kafir, you did reiterate that you are indeed an angry, childish little name caller, just like your idol.

Brian said...

After looking into your Kennedy Center issue, and the outrage it caused you, it seems I should return your latest thrown rock. Because what was easily found out was the fact that Trump himself (Yup, the same one that golfed during the crisis) on Wednesday defended the inclusion of $25 million in the Kennedy Center funding! Crazy, huh? You must be pissed at him!

That would be the sound of another pane of your glass house shattering. Yeah, I know, "F me", but really, you gotta stop blaming the messenger.

Kafir said...

Just got back from a long stroll along the sidewalk at Fort Lauderdale Beach. I was a bit despondent when I thought of the huge financial hit the owners and employees of the hotels, restaurants and bars are taking during their peak tourist season while the jackasses in the media are distraught that President Trump referred to the coronavirus the “China Virus”. Typical Beltway and NY bubble mentality. It’s too bad that CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS and ABC aren’t quarantining their fear mongering out of touch talking deadheads.

Thankfully, we have a high profile, successful businessman in the WH who knows how to get things done and not another damn, useless, elitist lawyer. We’ll bounce back even stronger and wiser because that’s what America does. 🇺🇸

Brian said...

I just got back from a long stroll through the woods and by a lake. I was a bit despondent when I thought of the rapidly growing death toll of the corona virus, many having to do with the jackass response of The Donald.

"Don't worry, cases are going down, almost to zero",

"The vaccine is almost here"

"The churches will be full on Easter"

Meanwhile the death toll doubles in two days.

And who cares where the virus originated from? Why Trump feels compelled to bring that up can only be guessed...a weak attempt to deflect blame? Who cares....

How revealing that the best praise Kafir can come up with for Trump is successful businessman. For one, who wouldn't succeed after being given millions of dollars and constantly being pampered and bailed out by rich daddy? That is an accomplishment? A pulling yourself up by your bootstraps American success story? Like Bloomberg, Soros, Steyer, or Bezos? And "high profile"? Really? Like that has anything to do with leadership and wisdom?

Trump is the epitome of "elitist". American will bounce back, in spite of the incompetent fool in the White House, not because of him.

Because America is so much greater than the living caricature of the selfish 1% he represents.

Jared James Bristol said...

Good ole Brian...
Again you're at it. Is it your life's desire to counter anything and everything Tom writes? I will counter all your vomit with one thing: In late January when the first case of Covid-19 in America (the first case) was revealed, Trump immediately shut down the travels to and from China. Your demented idiot, Biden, accused him of xenophobia and racism. You stand with Sleepy Joe? One simple question, guy. Trump was, has been, and is, all over this crisis with a fabulous assembled team of people both public and private. Meanwhile you deal in nothing but criticism of his every word, especially herein when he has consistently tried to lift spirits and be optimistic. He expressed hope we could loosen up for Easter. He didn't say it would be over. Try really listening and shutting your mouth.

Brian said...

Well Jared, I didn't counter a single thing Tom said in this post. And it is not personal with Kafir, I just feel compelled to call out BS where ever I see it. So I'll call out yours now.

It seems you want to pat Trump on the back for restricting China travel but ignore all the other proof of a horribly botched response. OK, so he restricted travel after the virus had already entered our country, and 10 days after the first country had done the same. It seems the obvious move was then to immediately move on to measures to protect the spread, not encourage people to carry on as usual, and brag in tweets that nothing is shut down, call it a hoax, make "hunches" about how experts are wrong about the death rate, state that he thought we don't need all the test kits, and that “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” How about telling Cuomo that “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators”?

But let's back up to the start of his presidency when he disbanded the National Security Council’s Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense and replaced it with.... nothing. Then Tom Bossert was fired, the homeland security adviser who had called for a comprehensive biodefense strategy against pandemics and biological attacks. Oh, and also let go was the head of pandemic response, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, and his global health security team. And then he has the gall to say that this pandemic "snuck up on us"???

One simple question...what is your defense of those actions? I'll answer your question about Biden. I'm not a Democrat and am not a big Biden fan but would get behind him in ousting Dopey Donald. Now you can answer my question. If you don't run and hide like others here.

As to Trump's fabulous team, I agree they are good. If you think so as well, you might be concerned about the amount of times Dr. Fauci has to contradict Trump's inane blatherings and misinformation about the virus. A frustrate Fauci said “When you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times..."

I'll wait for your defense of the dismantling of important agencies and in downplaying the virus in the early stages instead of moving quickly to social distancing and other protections.

Kafir said...

Dr. Brian, Hope you watched the Task Force press conference on Fox News this evening with the experts and the partners from the private sector. I checked CNN and the local channels which didn’t carry it. My guess is that you didn’t watch it either but are relying on the Fake News for your information. Good luck with that.

In the meantime, here’s a meme for you and your ilk.

Brian said...

Holy crap, thanks for sharing that meme! That is one I would have posted myself to make fun of the ridiculous Trump. I'm sending to my friends, they'll get a "kick" out of it as well. What a childish, self-centered little brat. Were you also proud of your Buffoon Dictator bragging about ratings while many are dying?!

I noticed you have run away from the questions I asked. You can't be taken seriously while you avoid them. I'll wait....

Brian said...

And here is one for you...

Jared James Bristol said...

Oh Brian, Brian, Brian,
I'll put this in terms you might understand; Is this: "One simple question...what is your defense of those actions? I'll answer your question about Biden. I'm not a Democrat and am not a big Biden fan but would get behind him in ousting Dopey Donald. Now you can answer my question. If you don't run and hide like others here." expect that this is an answer to Biden calling Trump xenophobic and racist when he stopped travel to China? Immediately after our first case? You do understand Biden was supposedly calling him out for acting too soon and for immoral reasons, right? You would back Biden's stance here? Try again.

Brian said...

So, you can't defend Trump's actions put can only deflect with the lame "but what about...."

Biden did not call him out for "acting too soon" by any stretch of the imagination.

I answered your question, you can't answer mine. I guess the argument/debate is over. Trump's actions are indefensible.

Jared James Bristol said...

You say you answered my question? You would prefer Sleepy Joe over Dopey Donald then? And thus you support that Trump closed travel to and from China for xenophobic and racial reasons and too early at that? That was Joe's response and thus yours. As long as you're on record. Now to answer your every step, Trump is trying to calm the massive fear and panic among the American people. He wishfully states how great it would be to be back in business for Easter, and all your side (TDS side) goes apoplectic about how foolish he is to state we'll be over it by then. he didn't say that. We won't be over it..for who knows how long? He tries at every step to look for a positive outlook. He is trying as hard as humanly possible. But then, you're super-human...I forgot. Trump's actions will save maybe a million American lives or more. And Joe is senile. Face it. By the way, Fauci is and has been a drooling Hilary fan! That puts you in perfect company. Not a Dem my ass. You're surely no rational conservative.

Jared James Bristol said...

How 'bout supporting the obviously tremendous efforts of our President and his team in a time of national peril? Maybe you can come back with strong measures Obama would have taken here based on his strong record? Or Joe's strong record of family corruption with Hunter at the head of the pack? Let's go there. Shall we?

Jared James Bristol said...

Try this article, Bri-Bri.

Brian said...

There you go deflecting again. The question I asked you had nothing whatsoever to do with Obama or Biden.

I simply asked if you could defend the horrible decision of Trump to disband and fire pandemic teams as well as his repeated calls to cut the budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies.

Or his early dangerous spreading of misinformation (the cases are going down, like a miracle they will be zero, carry on it's like the flu) and poor planning (test kits, protective gear, calling earlier for isolation)

I will give him credit for finally taking the experts more seriously but I maintain that his early response was horrible, resulting in many American deaths, and can not be defended. You sure haven't been able to defend it yourself, instead you desperately try and change the conversation.

Jared James Bristol said...

You defend Joe, Obama, Hilary and their minions. I'm expanding on the subjects not desperate to change anything. As far as Trump firing people, he's very good at it. And he does it for cause. I don't claim to know what they did or didn't do, but I fully belive our "system" that is to prepare for these things was likely woefully inadequate. That is now changing bigtime. He could have been wrong to do it. Neither I nor you know the facts nor will we. Get on with it and quit looking for every conceivable nit-picking thing to cite. You're not helping anything at all, and your preferred choices to replace him are dangerous. I wouild have to guess you fully support Pelosi? Come on, state your position on that deplorable excuse for an American.