"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead"
click pic to reminisce


Posted by howard in nyc


Well, three cases now.  The New York Times had assured us as recently as Tuesday that experts state the chances of ebola reaching the US were extremely small.  (That statement has been removed from the NYT website.)

I am anticipating tons of misinformation, for the most part unintentional, on both the overly 'no big deal' and the 'time to freak the fuck out' ends of the spectrum.  I have no idea which end is the correct choice at this time.

The dynamics of such an infectious pandemic are beyond my experience and understanding.  For the AIDS, I had a front row seat and I know that one, but that was a very different ballgame (much more difficult to transmit, incubation period of years.)  But I'm learning as fast as I can.

I have no idea if the approach of isolation, symptomatic and supportive treatment, and allowing the spread to burn itself out is worthy of confidence or of panic.  I am not clear on the ease or difficulty of transmissibility (considering some workers in full hazmat gear have been infected.) I do not understand the dynamics of spread in a large, dense city like Dallas or DC as opposed to the villages and modest urban areas of West Africa.  I have no idea if the CDC is doing a fantastic job, or are a bunch of bumbling happytalk fools dooming us to a mass death episode (or if their efforts are largely irrelevant.)

The fact that while China and Cuba sent hundreds of doctors to West Africa to work to stop this pandemic, while our government sent thousands of soldiers doesn't fill me with hope.  Seems representative of our general mindset.

Regardless of the actual threat level, I anticipate a rapid swing from too-calm complacency to full-on freak out, complete with militarized trampling of laws and freedoms in the interest of public health.  (Again, I have no idea if such a freak-out is right or wrong, warranted or not.)  Already in Dallas the finger-pointing wrt discharging the patient from the hospital, and authorities not allowing a cleanup crew to properly dispose of contaminated materials are signs of freak out.

I bet we in the developed world will have our own behavioral answers to the irrational violence directed against aid workers and hospitals in Senegal and Liberia seen in the past weeks.  Same level of irrationality, different flavor of expression is my guess.

That we as a society, and our governing authorities, are going to act stupid is a pretty easy and safe guess.  Now the tough guess--how bad is this gonna get?  With minimal information, knowledge about such things nor experience, I'll wild-ass it that it will be scary but not too bad, a few hundred deaths before burning out.  And the resultant panic will have significant economic and other societal bad effects, but will be blamed for much much more should this pandemic coincide with the next phase of financial panic and collapse.

October 2014 Final Jeopardy! Challenge  

Posted by howard in nyc


It's back.  Popular demand (one guy on the sportsfrog asked for it.)

Tiebreaker #1:

A river is named for this man born in Scotland in 1764, the first European known to have crossed Canada

Answer:  Who is Alexander Mackenzie? 

Tiebreaker #2

Meaning "not working properly", it may date back to a character in the comic strip "The Katzenjammer Kids"

Answer:  What is 'on the fritz'?

Friday 10/24
Clue:  Although she has appeared in only 2 Broadway musicals, she got Tony nominations for both, for 1962 & 1964

Answer:  Who is Barbra Streisand    ?

Monday 10/27
Category:  Rock and Roll
Clue:  A restaurant chain took its name from a British band's fourth chart-topper, this 1967 song.

Answer:  What is Ruby Tuesday    ?

Tuesday 10/28
Category:  The Bible
Clue:  The first conversation recounted in The Bible is in Genesis 3, between these two; it leads to trouble

Answer:  Who are Eve and the serpent    ?  Satan is also acceptable.

Wednesday 10/29
Category:   American-born authors
Clue:   In 1915 his reasons for naturalization included "having lived and worked in England for the best part of forty years"

Answer:  Who was Henry James    ?

Thursday 10/30
Category:   Monarchs of England
Clue:   The fifth king & the eighth king of this name share the distinction of both having been proclaimed king but never crowned

Answer:  What is Edward  ?

Friday 10/31
Category:  Inventions
Clue:  This machine was invented in 1929; the govt. began buying them to help prevent any more in a series of Army Air Corps fatalities

Answer:  What is the flight simulator    ?


Wednesday 10/1
Category:  U.S. CITY FIRSTS
Clue: Among its firsts are underwater auto tunnel to a foreign country & corporation to net more than $1 billion in a single year

Answer:  Where is Detroit    ?

Thursday 10/2
Category:  2014 Newsmakers
Clue: Both making news in June, these 2 Davids with similar last names are LeBron's new coach & Eric Cantor's conqueror

Answer:  Who are David Blatt and David Brat   ?

Friday 10/3
Category:  TV in the 2000s
Clue:  A key scene of this sitcom's 2014 finale after 9 seasons was actually filmed in season 2

Answer:  What is How I Met Your Mother    ?

Monday 10/6
Category:  Music
Clue:  John Williams said his music for this event, not a film, tried to capture "the spirit of cooperation, of heroic achievement"

Answer:  What were the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, in Los Angeles, California? (I usually get the right answer for things in history which I was there)

What was the Olympics? is sufficient.

Tuesday 10/7
Category:   Fauxbituaries
Clue:   He received a real obituary in The Albuquerque Journal in 2013 noting his "long battle with lung cancer"

Answer:  Who was Walter White    ?  Breaking Bad character.  Guess he got what he deserved.

Wednesday 10/8
Category:  Novel Title Characters
Clue:  "His madness being stronger than any other faculty",  he "resolved to have himself dubbed a knight by the first person he met"

Answer:  Who is Don Quixote    ?

Thursday 10/9
Category:   Historical Figures
Clue:   A 2012 poll by Britain's National Army Museum voted this man, born in 1732, as the nation's greatest military enemy

Answer:  Who was George Washington    ?

Friday 10/10
Category:   Countries of the world
Clue:  It became a colony of the U.S. in 1898, a commonwealth in 1935 & an independent country in 1946

Answer:  Where are The Philippines    ?

Monday 10/13
Category:  Sports Figures
Clue:  He was featured on the September 22, 1947 cover of TIME, with the caption "He and the boss took a chance"

Answer:  Who was Jack Roosevelt Robinson    ?

Tuesday 10/14
Category:  Business
Clue: Today this company markets more than 100 times the number of products found in a slogan it used in 1896

Answer:  What is Heinz    ?  ("57 Varieties")

Wednesday 10/15
Category:  Wordplay
Clue:  Subtract a letter from the name of a keystroke found in computer commands & you get this violent reaction to social change

Answer:  What is 'backlash'    ?

Thursday 10/16
Category:  Literature
Clue:   This title 1864 adventure is embarked upon by a descent into Iceland's Mount Sneffels

Answer:  What is "Journey to the Center of the Earth"    ?

Friday 10/17
Category:   Coats of Arms
Clue:   This country's coat of arms features a palm tree & a 19th century American sailing ship
Answer:  Where is Liberia    ?

Monday 10/20
Category:  Literature
Clue:  A chapter heading in this 19th century work calls the title character "One-eyed, Lame" another calls him "deaf"

Answer:  What is The Hunchback of Notre Dame    ?

Tuesday 10/21
Category:  18th Century
Clue:  Losses in this event included 12 chests of souchong

Answer:  What was the Boston Tea Party    ?

Wednesday 10/22
Category:  Eponymous Geography

Clue:  Named around 1616, it's the world's fifth-largest island & the largest named after a person

Answer:  Where is Baffin Island    ?  Really, where the fuck is it?

Thursday 10/23
Category: French Food History
Clue:  A popular product was born when Jean Naigeon of this city substituted the juice of unripe grapes for vinegar

Answer:  Where is Dijon    ?