Two items in the ‘Better Late Than Never’ category, in the fight against the pandemic, were in the news today.
1. Dr. Scott Atlas, Trump’s coronavirus adviser resigned. (His ‘expert advice’ appalled public health experts).
2. Washingtonians can finally activate or download the Coronavirus Exposure Notification app. (In Western Washington, the number of new daily cases jumped six-fold just from September to November). The diagram below shows how this works.
Here’s how my Sunday afternoon went. 1.30 pm Are you free for tennis? texted Harris. Yes, sure, I said. It was a sunny day (but not warm! 49 °F /9.5 °C), and now we had three; still needed a fourth.
Ardee was at Costco. Jesse was a no, as was Chuck. Jackson might be available .. checking. No, his girlfriend says no, he texted. What?! How dare she? was our reaction :-). 2.00 pm Still no luck finding someone. Alright. Let me go and scout out the courts, I offered. We were not even sure if the courts were, in fact, dry. 2.15 pm I arrive at Amy Yee Tennis Center. (Inside is closed, of course). The six outside courts are dry, kind of (big damp spots) – but already filled with players. We had no reservation. The courts can be reserved the day before with non-refundable deposits, but nobody really does that this time of year. The weather is too unpredictable. 2.30 pm Just come on out to the courts, I texted Harris & Cam: Worst case, the three of us can hit a few balls on a semi-dry court. 3.00 pm I’m still camping out by Court 5 & 6, waiting for one to open up. Alan from my social tennis club happens to play on 5. Maybe he will stay on and play with us, I thought. 3.05 pm Harris & Cam arrives. 3.10 pm Court 5 opens up. Yay! We can go on, and Alan agrees to be our fourth. 3.40 pm The thin sunlight disappears for good, behind swirling low-land fog that’s rolling in. We keep on playing. 4.20 pm Yikes. It’s becoming difficult to see the ball in the twilight and fog! Almost done, though. It’s 6-6 in the second set and we’re into a 7-point tiebreaker. Alan and I lose it 5-7.
No matter, it was just great to be able to play!
The official Black Friday is here .. but it’s been ‘Black Friday’ online, every day since at least last week!
One has to wonder how busy the malls were, given their decline even with no pandemic. These days, I don’t even go into the grocery store as a rule. I buy the groceries online and go pick it up. So shopping at the mall was absolutely not going to happen.
Here’s a picture that New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson had posted on Twitter on Monday, after being reunited with his cat Mousse.
Mousse had escaped from an apartment in Williamsburg (the neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York), but was found a few hours later.
The venerable Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index closed above 30,000 for the first time today. (Trump can eat his words now— the ones where he had said the stock market would crash if Biden won).
These slides are from the online Wall Street Journal. The annotations are mine.
Move over 2017’s LEGO Millennium Falcon (7,541 pieces) and LEGO Taj Mahal (5,923 pieces)!
The up-and-coming LEGO Colosseum (on sale this Friday) clocks in at a colossal 9,036 pieces, making it far-and-away the largest official Lego set ever.
And yes, it comes at a high price for that many bricks: US$ 550.
Am I tempted to go for it? Well, I would rather spend that kind of money to buy bricks like I did for my Doon Drive House creation.
Maybe I can design and build a LEGO Castle of Good Hope – the one in Cape Town, with its brick walls and five-pointed footprint. Now that would be a challenge.
I see President Obama’s memoir ‘A Promised Land’ is available at the Red Balloon toy store here on 15th Ave. Even though it runs 800 pages, it is only the first volume. The second volume is in the works, apparently.
Obama had aides that assisted him with research, but he wrote the manuscript himself, by hand, so that ‘half-baked thoughts’ could be exposed and highlighted in a first draft. (That’s certainly his prerogative — but surely phrases and sections can be very efficiently highlighted and annotated in digital text?).
Looking south from Galer St & 19th Ave, tonight at 4.17 pm. Sunset was at 4.26 pm.
P.S. In the town of Utqiaġvik (UUT-kee-AH-vik, formerly known as Barrow) north of the Arctic circle, and near the northernmost point of Alaska, the sun came up on Thursday at 12.54 pm, and disappeared 34 mins later. The sun will not appear again for two months; the polar night has started there. There will still be a number of hours of so-called civil twilight, every day, though.
We now know most of the answers to the questions we had pondered in March, about the pandemic.
Looking back, some of them are really shocking. We had to forego most of the public celebrations of summer. Kids could not go to school. Even so, the country is now in worse shape than in March. We have to give up this year’s traditional Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year celebrations as well.
The patchwork of approaches to mitigate the pandemic, and the communications failures from the White House down, did little to stop the virus.
We have now crossed 250,000 fatalities here in the States, and logged some 170,000 new infections just today.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. The milestones that I look forward to are –
1. The Pfizer-Biontech/ Moderna vaccine gets its Emergency Use Authorization (by Dec. 31);
2. President-elect Biden takes office (Jan 20).
(US) A person who steers the rear wheels of a fire truck (a tiller truck) or controls its ladder
I first heard ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ by British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens from a vinyl record in 1980. A friend of mine in Stellenbosch, South Africa, played it for us in his dorm room. The record was made in 1970, and the artist changed his name to Yusuf Islam in 1977.
Fast forward 50 years from 1970, and now there is a ‘reimagined’ Tea for the Tillerman, issued on CD. There is a clarinet to accompany the piano in ‘Wild World’. In the ‘Father And Son’ remake, the young Yusuf’s voice for the son’s lyrics was left intact, but the today-Yusuf (72) sings the lines of the father. It’s very touching.
These screenshots are from a German TV commercial that has an older man from the future reminisce and talk of the ‘Corona Winter of 2020’, as if it had been a war. (Germany reverted to stricter stay-at-home measures on Monday Nov 2).
The commercial is nicely done, but has had a lukewarm reception in Germany. Someone on Twitter said that Germans like to complain about Germany.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was on TV this morning, announcing that indoor social gatherings are prohibited. (No, the sheriff or policemen are not going to knock on the door and arrest people, but everyone is asked to take responsibility and comply).
Indoor dining is prohibited. In-store retail is limited to 25% indoor occupancy. No wedding and funeral receptions, and so on. The restrictions are statewide and will remain in effect until Monday, Dec. 14.
– It’s still safest to stay home.
– If you go out, stay six feet apart, wear a face covering and wash your hands.
– Stay local.
– Fewer, safer interactions are crucial.
I lost what little tennis the ESPN channel offered on TV when I cancelled my cable TV subscription. So with the year-end Nitto ATP* Finals looming (it starts in London on Sunday), I had to make a plan.
I subscribed to ATP Tennis TV – very reasonable at $8 a month for streaming of year-round tournaments with no commercials. Looks like it excludes coverage of the four Grand Slam tournaments, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
*Association of Tennis Professionals. (Nitto is the main sponsor, manufacturer of high-quality car & truck tires).
With very few votes still being counted, the New York Times and other news organizations now report that Biden has won Arizona and Georgia, and Trump has won North Carolina. Biden 306 electoral college votes, Trump 232.
The pictures below are from Wednesday when it was still dry.
I walked down to the Capitol Hill public library — looking like a bank robber with my mask and woolen skull cap.
Only the lobby of the library is open right now, but that’s OK. It’s a hot spot for downloading electronic newspapers with the Pressreader app onto my iPad.