Sunday, March 15, 2020

Self-Quarantine-Day Two | Lefsetz Letter

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach

“The Boys Of Summer”
Don Henley

Are you bored yet?

There was certainly no one on the road yesterday. The 405 south was a ghost land. However, on the way back up the hill there was traffic, because it’s raining. It hadn’t rained since January 1st, now we’re getting a week of wetness. Which is kind of weird, because the days are getting longer. We equate wetness with winter, darkness. What did George Harrison say, “Beware of darkness”?

So it started to feel like “Testament.” You remember that Jane Alexander movie from 1983, don’t you? The people are slowly dying after a nuclear bomb. It’s grim, but it’s not panicky. You’re just enduring…

I’m convinced I’m gonna get the virus. Yup, after Angela Merkel said 60-70% of the public would get it. And then there was that U.S. prognosticator who claimed 40-60% yesterday. It seems that we’re self-quarantining as to not overwhelm the health system, but how long is that gonna last?

My text and e-mail feeds yesterday were full of people at loose ends. Funny how you’re always looking for free time, but when you get it you don’t know what to do with it.

But I finished “The Underground Railway” by Colson Whitehead, you know, the book that won the Pulitzer and the National Book Award? The one wherein the underground railroad is really a railroad? I’d started it, but couldn’t finish it. But then I got hooked earlier this week. I’m trying to finish all the books I’ve purchased but haven’t read, but first I might have to read Erik Larson’s “The Splendid and the Vile,” his book about Churchill during the bombing. I swore I’d never read another Whitehead book after “Sag Harbor,” which is one of the first books I bought when I got my Kindle back in 2009, it was a slog. And at first I got really hooked on “The Underground Railroad,” then again, it’s not one of those books where you can concentrate on every word. I do not skim, but if you read “The Underground Railroad” word by word, you’re gonna get bogged down and still not fully understand what’s going on. And yesterday I almost fell asleep reading after partaking of the kokosh which Avi Ellman sent me. And earlier in the week Fiona Bloom sent me some babka from Breads Bakery. Actually, the cinnamon one was better than the chocolate one. And I’ve got insulin resistance so sweets put me to sleep and is that why I was having trouble reading “The Underground Railroad” or is it Colson’s style? I’d say both, although I will say there’s a good ending, not great, but good.

Let’s see, what else have I read…

I finished Jenny Offill’s “Dept. of Speculation.” I used to write in this style in college, it flummoxed the teacher. But I don’t recommend it.

“Strangers and Cousins” was better, but also not great. I don’t have a single new book I can recommend. I’ve read other stuff, but if you read those books you’ll never trust me again, just like we can no longer trust Trump.

Oh, a couple of days ago the story was how the governors usurped Trump’s power, but today…I kind of feel like I want to tune out the news, if something dramatic happens, I’ll hear about it. Like Vail and Alterra closing all their ski resorts, my text feed blew up about that.

As for Trump, there’s a “New York Times” article about all the lies he’s told in the past few days. But I’m still getting e-mail from his acolytes saying it’s Obama’s fault and there’s not really a problem. Proving, once again, if the Democrats are planning to win by swaying Trumpers, forget about it, like Bitecofer said, it’s about rousing their base. As for the election itself…it may not happen. Come on, if states can postpone primaries do you really think that Trump can’t postpone the election?

And I’ve heard a couple of cool tunes on the Spectrum. That’s Sirius XM’s adult rock station. If you pay attention to the media, we live in a hip-hop world 24/7, but that is not true. We need a new metric for success, streaming quantity is important, but it’s not everything.

Anyway, I thought I didn’t like the Black Keys, but then I heard the opening cut from their new album, “Shine A Little Light,” on the aforementioned Spectrum and I got into it, if you’re a rocker you will too. Also, the channel plays “Uneventful Days” from Beck’s last album, “Hyperspace.” We’ve been overhyped on both these acts, tried them and been disappointed, but these two cuts don’t fit today’s cookie-cutter world, they don’t pay attention to streaming rules, they evolve, as opposed to needing to grab you immediately, if only there were a way to bring music other than hip-hop to the forefront.

And we finished “Safe,” the first Harlan Coben Netflix show. The ending sucked, unpredictable and unsatisfying. The road was fun to follow, but don’t put it on the top of your list.

But now we’re four episodes into “Giri/Haji,” which I picked because it was number five in some online list of the best Netflix shows ever. And it’s really damn good. I don’t know how it slipped under the public’s radar. Maybe it’s the title, maybe it’s the occasional subtitles, but “Giri/Haji” uses film production techniques, it’s visually interesting, and the story is intriguing too. Just watch the first episode, you’ll be hooked. Now I really want to go to Japan (although most of the series is set in London). More when I finish.

And speaking of streaming… Isn’t this the time when some studio should launch a new movie pay per view? I mean Disney is releasing “Frozen 2” on its streaming service Sunday, but I’m talking about a theatrical film that’s never been released. It’s not like God is gonna make new weekends, flicks will be dying on the vine. Sell them to Apple, they’ll pay and they need a hit. Better yet, Netflix. Or, you could go pay per view, as I said above, but the distributors are too anxious about pissing off the theatre owners, as if everyone’s gonna continue to go out to the movies in the future, like everyone is still buying CDs…

And now is the time to get your Kindle! Or use the Kindle app on your iPad or smartphone. No touching needed! Just go online and the book is whisked to you. Try it, you might like it.

And yesterday everybody was too freaked out to leave the house.

But after being in the house for days straight, I ventured out to Poquito Mas to get some grub. At first I was gonna sit there, but then Felice wanted me to bring her some takeout, but I was stunned that people were sitting in booths like they always do. And unlike yesterday, you could get a spot in the Gelson’s parking lot (that’s a market, for those not SoCal savvy).

As for the Shell station (you know, where the turtles go), I figured they’d be out of paper towels, but they had plenty, and I did use them to hold the pump, then again, my hand hit the side of the dispenser and…

I realized, this self-quarantine ain’t gonna stay on lockdown soon. Yesterday people were scared, today…it wasn’t like Italy out there, it was almost like a normal Saturday afternoon. Unless someone they know dies, expect people to come out of their houses. Sure, offices may not be open, primarily because of liability, but people are social animals, they can stay inside for a few days, but not much more than that unless there’s a grave danger.

Then again, I’m convinced I’m gonna get it. I mean that’s what Tom Petty said, right, “You’re gonna get it”, but I am anxious because of my compromised immune system. But yesterday I thought if I was vigilant, I just might escape, but now I’m thinking the only way to be that vigilant is to never leave your house, never accept any mail and grow your own food. I’m not saying you should go to a concert, but I am saying that people are gonna loosen the reins.

As for Trump?

No one is listening to him anymore except those that are.

But Trump has been successful in making science and facts irrelevant, unfortunately.

So I’m leaving you to your own judgment.

Until tomorrow…


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