Thursday, April 2, 2020

Thought for the Day


Dr Suess and more in the age of COVID-19

Following on from the lockdown One Day More . . .


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If Dr. Seuss wrote a poem about Covid-19 . . .

(Anonymous)

The buildings were big
And people would smile
Travel they would
Mile by each mile

But sick they’d become
And numbers, they grew,
Businesses worried,
Communities too

Things stop for a bit
The world slowed its roll
The virus had certainly
Taken its toll

But what they then saw
From slowing things down
They now had a lot
Less reason to frown

Families now gathered
'What games shall we play?'
'Pass me the blue crayon'
'Give mummy the grey.'

'Daddy is home guys!
He'll read us a book.'
Then all of us together
We all might just cook

The lungs of the planet
Caught a small break
Less travel meant less
Pollution to make

People did realise
That it will be okay
They don't need so much
To get through the day

Maybe this virus
That caused so much stress
Showed the whole world
That more may mean less.



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The following link is to a revised version of Julie Andrews singing Do-Re-Mi in Sound of Music, well worth clicking on:

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If you happen to be a Neil Dimond fan (just remember that some days are Dimond, some days are stone), click on this link to hear him sing "Washing Hands":

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Thought for the Day


Brett’s Monthly and One Day More


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In these times of worldwide ill health, fears and social isolation, what better than a musical item from the appropriately titled Les Miserables – “The Miserable Ones.” 

The Marsh family of Faversahm, Kent in the UK used their lockdown time to recreate the “One More Day” number from Les Mis with changed lyrics.  The video has gone viral and been seen 3.5 million times.  Dad Dr Ben Marsh, a history lecturer at the University of Kent in Canterbury,  said his children -  Alfie, 13, Thomas, 12, Ella, 10, and Tess, eight – have starred in a few school productions but otherwise have no musical theatre training. He and his wife Danielle Marsh, he added, have no background in music.  “There have been messages from people who are self-isolating, or even people with cancer on hospital wards, saying it has made them smile or cry,” Dr Marsh said of the reaction to the video.  “We really weren’t expecting it and we are really touched by the way it has resonated with people. Hopefully it will give parents an idea of how to keep the kids occupied – besides doing Joe Wicks or watching Netflix.”

The vid is well worth the watching, see it by clicking on the following link:


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As he does each month, Brett B has emailed me his list of Daily Bizarre and Unique Calendar Holidays, this time for April, come she will when streams are ripe and swelled with rain.  Thanks Brett.

His list appears below.  You can click on the daily ones to expand.

It seems somewhat ironic that today is April Fool’s Day and International Fun at Work Day, and that April is National Humour Month.

By the way . . .

The Name of the month April is derived from the Latin word aperit, which means to open. It is thought  that April is the month of the growing season(Northern hemisphere) and when trees and flowers begin to “open”. It is also believed that the month’s name is named after the Greek goddess, Aphrodite (Aphros).

Month:

  • National Humor Month
  • International Guitar Month
  • Keep America Beautiful Month
  • Lawn and Garden Month
  • National Kite Month
  • National Poetry Month
  • National Pecan Month
  • National Welding Month
  • Records and Information Management Month
  • Stress Awareness Month
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Weekly Celebrations:
  • Week 1 Library Week
  • Week 1 Read a Road Map Week.
  • Week 2 Garden Week
  • Week 3 Organize Your Files Week
  • Week 3 Medical Labs Week
  • Week 4 Administrative Assistants Week
  • Week 4 National Karaoke Week
April, 2020 Daily Holidays, Special and Wacky Days:
April 1
National Walking Day - first Wednesday in month
April 2
April 3
Don't Go to Work Unless it's Fun Day - we know your decision
National Walk to Work Day - first Friday of month
April 4
April 5
Palm Sunday - date varies
April 6
Plan Your Epitaph Day - a little morbid if you ask me
April 7
Caramel Popcorn Day - Most likely created by a popcorn maker, or an Ecard company.
April 8
April 9
April 10
Good Friday - date varies
April 11
Eight Track Tape Day - do you remember those?
April 12
Big Wind Day - this day blows me away!
Easter Sunday - date varies
April 13
Dyngus Day always the Monday after Easter
April 14
Look up at the Sky Day - don't you have anything better to do?
April 15
Income Taxes Due (most years, it's on the 15th)
April 16
National High Five Day third Thursday
April 17
April 18
Husband Appreciation Day - third Saturday in April
International Juggler's Day - also applies to multi tasking office workers
April 19
April 20
Patriot's Day - third Monday of the month 
April 21
April 22
April 23
National Zucchini Bread Day - they hold this at a time when you are not sick of all that zucchini.
Ramadan - begins at sundown, date varies
April 24
Arbor Day  -last Friday of month
April 25
April 26
April 27
April 28
Kiss Your Mate Day - guys, do not forget this one. Kiss her, then read her some poetry.
April 29
April 30

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Quote for the Day

Musings and Miscellany

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Byter Graham E, aka Mr Trivia, Mr T and lately Mr No-Trivia, sent me an email in response to yesterday’s musing where I queried the media not having given the COVID-19 pandemic a catchy name. I used as an example Captain Trips, the superflu that kills nearly everyone in the world in Stephen King’s novel The Stand. I also said that the reason why it is called Captain Trips is never disclosed. 


Graham’s email: 
Hi Mr O, 

Further to you bytes today re Captain Trips……. 

The name Captain Trips was used as a nickname for a hippie character in Stephen King's miniseries Golden Years, also it was a nickname for American musician Jerry Garcia (1942–1995) and Alfred Matthew Hubbard (1901–1982), a proponent for the drug LSD, who worked at various times for the Canadian Special Services, the United States Justice Department, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Office of Strategic Services. 

The Stand: Captain Trips is a five-issue comic book miniseries, the first of a six part Marvel Comics series called The Stan, adapted from Stephen King's novel of the same name. 

Stephen King wrote about the origins of The Stand in his 1981 book Danse Macabre, citing one source as the Patty Hearst case. His original idea was to create a novel about the episode because "it seemed that only a novel might really succeed in explaining all the contradictions". While struggling with the plot lines he read a news story about the Dugway sheep incident, (aka the Skull Valley sheep kill) in 1968 when 6,400 sheep were killed by a US Army chemical and biological warfare program test at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. This reminded him of the plot in George R Stewart's novel Earth Abides, which describes the odyssey of one of the last human survivors after the population is nearly annihilated by a plague. King also states that The Stand was planned as an epic The Lord of the Rings–type story in a contemporary American setting. 

Cheers 

Mr G 
Thanks, Graham 
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Spoilers ahead 

I used to be a Stephen King fan.  

At the end of The Stand, the book’s villain Randall Flagg reappears at another location and presumably the entire battle begins anew. The same happened at the end of his book Needful Things. It pissed me off enough to cause me to write to him to tell him that both endings sucked, that having stayed with him through 800-odd pages of good v evil etc in The Stand, the whole thing simply starts again in a new location and that he now he did iut again in Needful Things. I to;ld him that it was asclumsy and amateurish a literary device as a school child writing “It was only a dream.

He never wrote back to me. 
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Films about pandemics that you might want to watch wild self-isolating ; 

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The Seventh Seal (1957) 


Set during the Black Death plague of the 1300s, the film centres on a knight who encounters the Angel of Death, and the game of chess they play for his soul. Stars Max von Sydow, who died only a short time ago. The scene in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey where they are playing against the Angel of Death is a reference to this film, only they are playing Battleships. BTW, Bill and Ted 3 is being made. 

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The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey (1988) 


Men seeking relief from the Black Death, guided by a boy's vision, dig a tunnel from 14th century England to emerge in 20th century New Zealand. A quirky movie that is well worth watching. 

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The Omega Man (1971) 


Lone survivor, doctor Robert Neville, struggles to create a cure for the plague that wiped out most of the human race while fighting The Family, a savage luddite death cult formed by the zombie-like infected to erase the past. Stars Charlton Heston, prompting the female love interest, Rosalind Cash, to state that she was uneasy before her love scene with Charlton Heston, saying "It feels strange to screw Moses." 

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I Am Legend (2007) 


A remake of The Omega Man, starring Will Smith. Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles to find a cure. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Michael Douglas, Mel Gibson, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Ted Levine were all considered to star over the years this movie was in development.  Can you imagine it . . . the last man on Earth says "I'll be back."

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The Andromeda Strain (1971) 


A team of top scientists desperately work in a secret, state-of-the-art laboratory to discover what has killed the citizens of a small town and learn how this deadly contagion can be stopped, after the return to Earth of a satellite. The scientists methodically study the alien life form unaware that it has already mutated and presents a far greater danger in the lab, which is equipped with a nuclear self-destruct device should it manage to escape. 

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Outbreak (1995) 


Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo and Morgan Freeman star in this tale of Army doctors struggling to find a cure for a deadly virus spreading throughout a California town that was brought to America by an African monkey. 4/10 entertainment value 

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12 Monkeys (1995) 


A sci-fi classic starring Bruce Willis as a time traveler sent back to the 1990s to identify the origin of a global pandemic that nearly wiped out humanity. Also has Brad Pitt. Not exactly a feel good movie, but there is a lesson in DIY dentistry shown. 

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28 Days Later (2002) 


Good Brit film about the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a highly contagious virus. Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary. Followed in 2007 by a sequel, 28 Weeks Later, with talk of a further sequel 28 Months Later. 

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World War Z (2013) 


Post apocalypse zombie film with incredible special effects. The US pronounces it “Zee”, hence “World War Z” as an allusion to World War Three. We here in Oz pronounce it as “Zed. It doesn’t have the same ring to it . . . World War Zed. 

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Not a pandemic movie but a good one to watch whilst the world goes to hell . .

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) 


An asteroid named "Matilda" is on a collision course towards Earth and in three weeks the world will come to an absolute end. One man decides to spend his time searching for his long lost love from high school during the coming catastrophe. 

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Quote for the Day


Musings

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One thing that intrigues me about the coronavirus pandemic is how the media hasn’t come up with a catchy name for it. Say 9/11 and everyone knows what you’re talking about. 


In Stephen King’s book The Stand, the developed strain of influenza that escapes the military facility and kills 99.4% of the world’s population is known as Captain Trips, although it is never explained why it is called that. 

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I read a reference recently to the current world situation as “the newfound Mad Max-ness of everyday life”. 

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Have you wondered why it is sometimes called COVID-19 and sometimes coronavirus? 

Some facts about the terminology . . . 

There is not only one coronavirus. 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). 

When you look at coronaviruses through a microscope, they look, sorta, like a crown. Corona means crown in Latin, which is how coronaviruses got their name. 



The virus and the diseases they cause do not have the same names, just as above SARS can cause upper respiratory tract disease. Nonetheless, in public usage the name of the virus and the illness caused thereby are often referred to by the same name. 

The new strain of coronavirus was initially referred to as “novel coronavirus”. Once scientists figured out exactly what this strain of coronavirus was and how to identify it in tests, they gave it a name: SARS-CoV-2. The illness resulting from it is called COVID-19. 

For simplicity, most people are calling the virus and the disease it causes the same name, COVID-19. 

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I like this explanation on the Queensland Government Health website: 
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was discovered in 2019 when a higher than normal number of people in Wuhan, China, started to get pneumonia after having an illness similar to the flu. When doctors tested them, they found these people had a type of coronavirus they hadn’t seen before. There were already lots of types of coronavirus in the world, but this one was new. 
How is it possible to have a new virus that no one has had before? 
Viruses are microscopic organisms that can enter a living host (like you) to live and multiply. Think of them like an unwanted guest that shows up unannounced, moves into your house, eats out of your fridge and begins to reproduce. 
When a new virus makes its way into your body, your immune system realises that it’s not part of your normal bodily system, attacks it and tries to kill it. After that, it remembers the virus, so it can get rid of it straight away if it ever comes knocking again. 
Just like any living creature, viruses change themselves to survive in their environment. Over time, they change in ways that makes it hard for our immune systems to recognise them. That’s how we end up with new versions of viruses, like this new version of coronavirus. Imagine your unwanted houseguest has come back, but with a wig and new glasses. Your immune system doesn’t recognise it, so it gets in the front door before your immune system realises it should fight it off. 
https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-sars-queensland-australia-how-to-understand-protect-prevent-spread-symptoms-treatment 

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Apparently the movie theatres are especially concerned at the big movies going straight to online rental. The film companies have been wanting shorter theatre release times to increase profits from online release, the current events working in their favour. The US box office has recorded zero revenue for the first time in history after the country’s near total cinema shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

With ticket prices, car parking fees and food costs (whether dinner or theatre refreshments) making a family trip to the flicks a very expensive exercise in the past, it is no wonder that renting a film and ordering in some pizza was a cheaper and more comfortable option. 

It remains to be seen whether theatres go the way of drive-ins and 3D films. 

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One final musing . . . 

Did you know that there is a Saint Corona? 


A Roman soldier by the name of Victor, serving in Damascus, was arrested in 160AD and tortured for being a Christian. Corona, aka Stephanie, the sixteen-year-old wife of another soldier, comforted and encouraged him. For this, she was arrested and interrogated. Victor was beheaded, Corona was tied between two bent palm trees which were then released, tearing her apart. Other sources state that they were husband and wife. Or so the story goes. They’re both now saints 

But its no good praying to her for help in respect of COVID-19, that task belongs to St Edmund, the patron saint of pandemics and kings.