SL 817

I love this essay, “How We Survive Winter.” I also love the embedded images.

I am only consuming fun-fluff for the next two weeks. The Netflix show, Bridgerton, is top on my list. I found the book series on a beach holiday. I walked down to the used book store in town and bought a new one every day. Since then, I reread the whole series another two times.

I am seriously baffled by the rationale behind how gets the vaccine first. I feel like only people who have face-to-face contact with strangers should be in the front of the line.

Check to see if you are eligible for COVID money.

The Elle Magazine profile of the journalist who screwed up her life, when she fell in love with Martin Shkreli, totally screwed me up last night. I couldn’t sleep, because her bad choices made super upset.

Last night, I tweeted, “When this is all done, I’m going to wear fancy dresses in bright colors with lots of bling all the time. I’m thinking about tiaras and cocktails on roof top gardens. I’ll be drunk for a year.” That’s because I’ve been watching Babylon Berlin, which is about the roaring twenties and thirties in post-war Berlin. I had also just been looking at the Anthropologie catalog and feeling wistful about pretty things.

Picture: An old picture of Ian. I think he’s six here. I found this one and another five more for his senior yearbook.

47 thoughts on “SL 817

      1. “The Hesse turquoise and moonstone kokoshnik:”
        And very nice indeed.

        One of our TV presenters wore a tiara on Fridays during lockdown – just another bit of silliness to get us all through….

        Liked by 1 person

  1. If I hadn’t already tried it with various friends in the course of my life, I’d want feminist Twitter to take that journalist out for a night of drinks and Real Talk.


  2. Laura wrote, “I feel like only people who have face-to-face contact with strangers should be in the front of the line.”

    Some notes:

    –But people are mostly catching it at home or from people they know. Also, a lot of older people outside nursing homes aren’t independent enough to be able to isolate effectively, and their helpers often have face-to-face contact with strangers.
    –I was just at the dentist today. I asked the dentist if he’d been vaccinated yet (he was spending several hours with me with my mouth open). He said it hadn’t been offered yet, but he’d take it, but what he’d really like is for his 85-year-old mother to get the vaccine first. I’d like him to get the vaccine first, but we have somewhat different interests!
    –I was just doing a phone check-in with some older relatives. One 70-something relative sounds vaccine-reluctant. She’s not planning to get it. I asked, what about your mom? (Her mom lives with her and is mid-90s.) 70-something relative says that her mom is “really, really healthy” and that people who die of COVID have comorbidities, which her mom doesn’t, and that it’s mostly a question of genetic makeup and lifestyle. (There have still only been a handful of fatalities in that part of the country, which makes it easier to be blase. 70-something relative says 2, but google says 5.) So, it doesn’t sound like they are going to be getting the vaccine, unless the 90-something’s healthcare provider twists their arms.

    Good thing the vaccines are 94-95% effective!


  3. The Elle Magazine profile of the journalist who screwed up her life, when she fell in love with Martin Shkreli, totally screwed me up last night. I couldn’t sleep, because her bad choices made super upset.

    I honestly don’t understand why this story could be considered disturbing. Smythe both got what she wanted *and* got what she deserved. How many people can say that about their lives?


    1. How can it be a bad choice when she is so happy about it? If she is OK with how this turned out, more power to her.

      If you are talking about Shkreli’s girlfriends, this is the woman you should really worry about.


    2. This is the dreadnought of the internet, that you find these stories, or that they are forced upon you. The story that was forced upon me that I still remember and guides far too much of my decision making is someone wearing a gold necklace and using an iPhone in bed and then having the power cord short out on the necklace. But I now think about this probably black swan incident practically every day!


  4. I’m probably never going to wear bright colors, but I’m trying to think of how to dress to look like not a Republican. But I also don’t want to look like someone who doesn’t realize he’s fifty. I’m thinking the key is west coast stuff, but aside from not wearing ties and wearing lots of Patagonia, I’m not sure what else to do.


    1. It is a personal dismay to mr. bj what has happened to the Hawaiian shirt.

      It is an interesting style question, how not to project County Chamber of Commerce, and how it interacts with what one looks like to start out with. Also, one can probably get away with the West Coast tech bro/finance guy loo in the midwest/PA/etc because those tech/finance bros are not wearing the west coast look.

      My (somewhat quirky styled) kiddo told me the other day when I was wearing jeans and ann taylor sweater that I can wear that outfit without screaming auction mom because of what I otherwise look like.


      1. Oh, that’s funny. No, it is a mom who runs fundraising auctions at a private school as a volunteer activity. It requires enormous organization skills, high functioning social interaction (think CEO skills), money (enough to make your own substantial donations), and sophisticated casual dress style (also, usually fairly thin).


      2. Wow, I have a friend who is an Auction Mom and I never knew it was a thing. She is a lawyer/trailing academic spouse who has been in charge of her kids’ schools fundraiser a couple of times, and could run a corporation better than almost anyone I know. But she does not dress like that or fit the physical description.

        I try not to read articles about people who make bad decisions.


      3. Ok, so I know the type, but thought of them as parent association queen bees. We used to joke that the parent leaders we knew could plan and carry out the invasions of small countries.

        What is most interesting, though, is that the auction moms generally don’t run for public office, nor do they join school boards. They carry enormous influence in certain social circles, though.


      4. People joke about the term, but I am very impressed with my auction mom friends. They are impressively capable women who build community and deserve the influence they wield (and usually consider as best they can everyone in their community). I’d be inclined to say they might be unusual but I’ve always hated being described as an exception to a stereotype myself. If a stereotype is wrong about someone, maybe rethink the stereotype?


      5. It is a personal dismay to mr. bj what has happened to the Hawaiian shirt.

        It’s a popular look for Fridays on large construction sites.


      6. MH: definitely not a boogaloo thing. This is something that’s been going on for decades. It’s a TGIF thing. I don’t know how it started, because it predates me! I do know how the suit-and-tie thing started (most folks abbreviate it to just tie); some asshole foreman made a critical remark about the sartorial choices a brother made (something, something, you-fucking-dress-like-a-slob, something). Next day, brother shows up in a 3-piece suit (obtained from the local secondhand joint). Then others showed up doing the same thing in solidarity, basically to irritate said foreman. Now (like ZZ Top), it’s nationwide! (LOL!) Tie day can get pretty competitive (unlike tie-dye day, which is fairly mellow, as one would expect).


  5. I just did a search and realized that “slim suit” (the steady state government employees names for Kushner’s crowd) is (was it also already) an actual name of a suit. And, that it’s possible to get suits with stretch. Boy has been saying that he wishes people would wear suits again (after watching a James Bond movie, in which the streets of Istanbul were filled with suited/hatted men). I told him I think he might get media attention if he convinced his immediate crowd to wear suits and wander the streets of our town.


    1. Bonobos has slim suits with stretch. I’d probably get one if I had any reason to wear a suit more than once a year.


  6. It sounds like my 70-something relative is softening up on getting her 90-something mom vaccinated, after the 70-something’s public health worker daughter suggested that getting grandma a COVID shot would be a good thing, especially once some other people have safely had it.

    I think there are a lot of people who are interested in the COVID shot, but are mildly skeptical of this particular vaccine, and want to wait and see as to whether there are horrid side effects.

    Unfortunately, “nobly” foregoing your shot is likely to drag out the wait-and-see period, as what the public sees is a high-profile person NOT getting the COVID shot. I think there’s been a lot of value in seeing average people and well-known people getting their shots.

    My take on this: elected officials ARE frontline essential workers and faster is better than perfectly fair.


    1. I’ve followed the science of vaccine persuasion for a long time and the process you describe, the public health worker’s daughter chiming in with suggestion and reassurance is one of the prime successful methods: finding trusted individuals within the community to convey information on the value and safety of the vaccine.

      And, although it might be annoying to imagine congresspeople/anti-maskers/covid fabulists getting the vaccine, if Joni Ernst getting the vaccine convinces people in Iowa to get the vaccine, it’s worth the one person who could have stepped in front of her line and hadn’t called health care workers frauds.

      Ilan Omar should get the vaccine, too. So should Trump (unless official health guidance says he shouldn’t because he has documented COVID, but I don’t think it does).


      1. bj said, “Ilan Omar should get the vaccine, too. So should Trump (unless official health guidance says he shouldn’t because he has documented COVID, but I don’t think it does).”

        The Surgeon General said that Trump’s COVID + monoclonal antibody history meant that he shouldn’t get the vaccine. I didn’t get to hear the explanation why, though. It wasn’t clear if the reason was that it was pointless or that it was in some way risky.


      2. I can’t recall who said this, but somebody said recently something like, anybody who is telling people not to get vaccinated right now is sabotaging the vaccination effort–even if it is for altruistic reasons like letting somebody else have it.

        I haven’t heard anything about problems with this yet, but as I recall, once they thaw and prepare a batch of one of the vaccines, which might be thousands of doses, there’s a very narrow window for using up the batch (6 hours?). It’s awful to think of any vaccine being wasted at this point, but it could very easily happen.

        This issue does make me a bit more sympathetic to the case for prioritizing essential workers, because as people have pointed out, essential workers are a lot easier to find in large groups, compared to solitary old people.


  7. Laura retweeted Elizabeth Warren saying:

    “A recovery looks like a K when an economy bounces back from a recession in an unequal way.
    One group — the billionaires and giant corporations — not only recovers, but some even do a lot better. Everyone else falls sharply and struggles to make it out of crisis.”

    That’s transparently false. While some players (like Amazon) are doing very, very well, anybody who is healthy and has kept their job and their income is doing more than OK financially, compared to small business people who suffered some combination of having their business model made illegal or months of civil unrest and uncertainty.

    Also, I don’t know if EW has discussed this elsewhere, but the combination of the pandemic and local government restrictions has been calculated to benefit major corporations (who are either benefiting from the pandemic or positioned to weather economic fluctuations) while crushing small local brick-and-mortar businesses. See, for example, the CA bar video clip. The small local bar with outside seating was forced to close entirely, while the huge movie crew was permitted to have much larger outdoor dining. See also SNL being allowed to do stuff publicly that small NYC businesses would get ticketed to death for.

    Over and over again, state and local governments have put their thumb on the scale to crush small businesses. Major corporations didn’t do that–EW’s political allies did that.


    1. “Over and over again, state and local governments have put their thumb on the scale to crush small businesses. Major corporations didn’t do that–EW’s political allies did that.”

      That is a vast oversimplification. State and local governments played the hand they were dealt, and the Republicans clearly dealt them the worst possible hand by bungling the pandemic response on every level, from the public health level to the economic level to the political level.


    2. And, to the extent that restaurants needed to close (and, I think they do, since they are indoor spaces that require unmasked interaction) they needed to be helped by giving them money. Because state governments cannot run deficits that required federal government help.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Thoughtful reopening of other retail spaces (rather than blanket bans) might be helpful, but, retail areas that rely on the collection of crowds and tourists for their ambiance and sales also could not thrive during a pandemic.

      I’ve also been hearing of how the USPS’s inability (and, potential dysfunction) to deal with holiday traffic is significantly affecting small businesses, who rely on USPS to ship. Local bookstores (who rely on the media prices), small retailers who can’t negotiate contracts with the big shippers, and, who say that they are put at the end of the line when deliveries become tight. I myself have experienced shipping problems with USPS with three items from smaller retailers.


    4. “Over and over again, state and local governments have put their thumb on the scale to crush small businesses. Major corporations didn’t do that–EW’s political allies did that.”

      I work for a small business – we were employing 45 staff pre-shutdown. We’re entering a 28-day lockdown, and one of my locations has been closed since Oct 12, and the one that will close tomorrow night has been at 10 students max (we used to have 50/class) for weeks. Our revenue is in the toilet. And I will blame our government for shutting down too late, so that we will probably have a much longer road ahead than we would have with a swift and thorough shutdown in Oct rather than all the partial measures (our locations are 10 min apart but over an arbitrary line.)

      But I would say COVID-19 is what did it, not the government.

      Because here in Canada, my business has been receiving wage subsidies, and some businesses have been receiving rent subsidies, utilities and property tax forgiveness – and that’s all come in a much easier way than the PPP (I’m in a lot of industry groups and have been in touch with US peers who have both received and not received PPP.) I am floored by the difference between our countries that way. Most of our dollars have come from the Feds.

      The thing is…shutdowns hurt, for sure, but even fully open it’s unlikely we’re be okay. We’re fitness, and if people are scared for their health or getting sick, they just decide not to renew their classes. And then it’s a decision *they* made so they don’t come back – ever. Sure, it would be a slower slide in our revenue, but I think – hope – we will have a better recovery this way. It also levels the field for us because we spent so much – it is shocking how much – on PPE, plexiglass, HVAC, touchless faucets and doors, etc., and if we were adhering to health guidelines and our competitors weren’t, that could end up showing up long term as we account for those costs and they – don’t. At least when the rules are the same for everyone they’re the same.

      If we make it, and I think we will if people are vaccinated by the end of the year, it will be because of our government supporting us. It will still be rocky as the economics roll out but the support we got is key.

      Global pandemics suck.


  8. Laura wrote, “Check to see if you are eligible for COVID money.”

    One of my ongoing gripes is the treatment of adult dependents.

    During the last round of checks, we got nothing for our then 17-year-old. Granted, we did not need anything for her–but I bet a lot of people with dependents that age did need the money. The powers that be are doing it again this time:

    “Another segment of the population who won’t see checks: adult dependents.
    The CARES Act authorized payments for children under 17. While some Washington lawmakers had pushed to include dependents of all ages, that change was not included in this legislation.
    Children who do qualify will get bigger payments this time, $600 rather than $500.”



    1. I really haven’t understood why the threshold is 17, even if adult dependents are excluded. I wonder if there’s an explanation hidden in some definition somewhere?


      1. bj said, “I really haven’t understood why the threshold is 17, even if adult dependents are excluded. I wonder if there’s an explanation hidden in some definition somewhere?”

        When my husband looked it up last time, it was something about how some 17-year-olds would be turning 18, and the feds didn’t want to go to the work of being more precise and figuring out who to give a check and who not to give a check. Apparently, that’s how the feds usually handle the age cut-off.

        But it really, really stinks for anybody in need who has a 17-year-old to feed. They’re in high school! They’re dependent minors! And it’s a pandemic!



    ““The thing that will best protect people against short-term illness and outbreaks and save lives is getting the first dose into as many people as you can,” said Allison McGeer, an infectious-disease physician at Sinai Health System and a member of the federal government’s COVID-19 immunity task force.”

    This is as opposed to the conventional schedule, which would involve vaccinating half as many people with a first dose and keeping a second dose in reserve.

    “Both [the Pfizer and Moderna] vaccines are given as two injections either 21 or 28 days apart. In Moderna’s case, the vaccine was 50.8-per-cent efficacious in the two weeks after the first dose, and 92.1-per-cent efficacious after 14 days from the first dose, but before the second jab.”

    “The second dose, Dr. McGeer and other experts agree, is crucial to ensuring immunity lasts as long as possible. They say everyone should get the second dose on schedule, but if supply issues delay that injection by a week or two, it shouldn’t hamper how well the vaccines work.

    “Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist at U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health who worked on the new modelling, said she and her colleagues projected that frontloading vaccine doses would avert between 34 and 42 per cent more symptomatic coronavirus infections, compared with a strategy of keeping half the shipments in reserve.”

    I hope the CDC is thinking about this!


    1. More quotes:

      “Peter Juni, scientific director of the science table and a professor of medicine and epidemiology at U of T, said his personal view is that it is “absolutely justifiable” from a scientific perspective to inject the available doses as soon as possible, and count on future shipments to supply the follow-up dose.”

      “Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have said they won’t hold back doses, while other provinces have decided to reserve some vials or are still working out their plans. “I have a real challenge leaving vaccine in a fridge when there are so many people at risk right now,” British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry said earlier this month.”

      Ontario is currently planning on reserving doses.


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