Monday, April 13th, 2020


Haul and Oats

If one were to choose song lyrics to represent the food experience for most Americans compared to people around the world, one might include phrases like, oh to live on sugar mountain, I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill, or food, glorious food. But in a pandemic, it's not a given that our strawberry fields will go on forever, or that we won't soon be singing bye, bye to American pie. Here are a few of the concerning details you may not have heard through the grapevine: While many Americans are lining up at their local grocery stores and a growing number are lining up at food banks, some food producers are lining up their output for destruction. In short, food is off the chain. Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic.

+ "While food continues to be produced on the nation's farmland during the coronavirus pandemic, the subsequent lockdown of society has caused a seismic shift in what people are buying and eating, and distribution networks haven't kept up. As a result, some food items are not getting to where they need to go." California dairies dump milk.

+ One of the largest pork processing facilities in the US is closing until further notice. South Dakota's Smithfield employees accounted for more than half of the active coronavirus cases in the state.

+ "At a Wayne Farms chicken processing plant in Alabama, workers recently had to pay the company 10 cents a day to buy masks to protect themselves from the new coronavirus." 'Elbow to elbow:' North America meat plant workers fall ill, walk off jobs.


Science Lab Rat

"His agents have repeatedly planted and spread the idea that viral epidemics — including flu outbreaks, Ebola and now the coronavirus — were sown by American scientists. The disinformers have also sought to undermine faith in the safety of vaccines, a triumph of public health that Mr. Putin himself promotes at home." NYT: Putin's Long War Against American Science. (He's got a lot of allies in that war...)


Letter R.I.P.

They'll deliver through rain, sleet, hail, and as we've all witnessed, even a pandemic. But can the Post Service survive politics, especially in a year when the efficiency of voting by mail could make or break the election? It's unclear. WaPo: White House rejects bailout for U.S. Postal Service battered by coronavirus.

+ "The bitter irony is that just when the Postal Service is again proving crucial, its future has never seemed more tenuous."

+ Vox: The debate over a post office bailout, explained.

+ Related (at least at this moment in history): Virginia governor makes Election Day a holiday and expands early voting.


And Justice for Call

For the first time (and for some very important cases), the Supreme Court will hear arguments by phone. That seems pretty doable compared to defendants facing jail time in court cases that are being held over Zoom. The Marshall Project: The Judge Will See You On Zoom. (I'm not even on trial for anything, but at this point, I'd cop a plea to avoid another Zoom meeting.)


Resting Mitch Face

"Trump and McConnell have come to understand each other. The President needs him to govern. McConnell knows that if their relationship fell apart it would be a disaster for the Republican majority in the Senate. They're very different in many ways, but fundamentally they're about the same thing—winning." The New Yorker's Jane Mayer risked all kinds of contamination and went deep into Mitch McConnell: How Mitch McConnell Became Trump's Enabler-in-Chief. (This one should not be read without sanitizer and a facemask.) Robert A. Caro chimes in: "In a way, McConnell and Johnson are very similar. They both used the rules and procedures of the Senate with great deftness. But, in a more significant way, they couldn't be more diametrically opposite. Johnson, for all his faults, in his later years used the rules and procedures to turn the Senate into a force to create social justice. McConnell has used them to block it."


Prescription Strength

"Dr. Nadeau placed her hand on his shoulder, then used her phone to FaceTime with his family, telling them of his choice and holding up her phone so they could say what might be a final goodbye. It was the third time that night at Columbia University Irving Medical Center that Dr. Nadeau had helped critically ill patients communicate with their families over FaceTime." NYT: ‘I Cried Multiple Times': Now Doctors Are the Ones Saying Goodbye.


Industry Huggers

"For some government officials familiar with the supply-chain end of the coronavirus fight, it was yet another example of Trump's task force serving industry as the White House tried to corner the market on medical supplies." Behind closed doors, Trump's coronavirus task force boosts industry and sows confusion.

+ I know some people are tired of the media looking back to the failures that took place before Trump acknowledged the virus threat. Fair enough. Let's look at the failures that have taken place since. NPR: A Month After Emergency Declaration, Trump's Promises Largely Unfulfilled.

+ In fact, let's even predict some future failures. Axios: What Dr. Fauci has coming. (Prediction: Short-term, an unceremonious firing. Long-term, the Medal of Freedom.)


Walking the Gangplank

Mel Magazine: Not Even the Coronavirus Can Stop Real-Life Sex Parties. "Whatever it is, picture that thing in your mind. Feel how badly you want it. Imagine what you'd do to get it. I bet you'd go to great lengths; maybe you'd even give up something in exchange, or risk your life for it. Now imagine that thing is a gangbang." (Weird, I imagined the same thing the whole time...)


Feel Good Monday

One of the good things to come out of this pandemic is Some Good News with John Krasinski. Not as good as Damon Lindelof's NextDraft quarantine story, but good. Episode Three is here.

+ Awesome video, NY Tough.

+ This landlord canceled rent for 3 months and told tenants to go spend at local businesses.

+ British bakers reintroduce World War II bread in coronavirus fight. (Hopefully, it's a fresh batch...)

+ "When the jet was 2,500 feet above ground and the pilot began to climb, the passenger panicked and reached for something to hold onto.
Unfortunately, that something was the ejector seat button -- and the 64-year-old flew from the fighter jet. To make matters worse, he had not securely attached his helmet, which went flying in midair." He's fine!


Something Something Something Murder 13

The most excellent Damon Lindelof has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. The first 12 chapters are here.

Chapter 13: He's Gonna Fire Fauci, Isn't He?

I promised you Morgenthau and Morgenthau you shall receive.

But first a few pieces of housekeeping whilst we all keep in our houses. Three things, then Morgenthau.

Thing one. All things end. And yes it's true that some naked blue fellow once said the opposite, that nothing ever ends, but he was pretend and this is real. So it will end. And soon. Unlike our current predicament, which is uncertain at best, you deserve a definitive denouement and you will get it in Chapter 20.

Thing two. Someone will in fact get murdered in Chapter 20. This was foreshadowed in the title and also you people love fucking murder. Murder makes everything better and every great story has it. To illustrate, let us review this past year's Academy Award nominees for best picture (WARNING: SPOILERS)

Parasite. Delightful satire about wealth and class and also a stabby murderfest.

The Irishman. De Niro murders everyone.

Joker. De Niro gets murdered.

Ford v Ferrari. Ford murders Ferrari (assumption, didn't see)

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. Horrific real-life mass murder is averted via Comedic fictionalized mass murder.

Little Women. Scarlet Johansson murders Beth. (skimmed review, may be scarlet fever instead of Johansson, speaking of…)

Jojo Rabbit. Adorable coming-of-age story with abundant murdering.

Marriage Story. More like Murder Story. (allegorical, also has Scarlet Johannson)

1917. One single shot, nine thousand murders.

So yes, folks, you will get your precious murder in seven short chapters and no, it will not be subsequently erased by the deus-ex-machinations of time travel. It will be a murder that is permanent and lasting and as irreversible as a melting polar ice cap or the destruction of our precious institutions. Unlike the fictitious death of young Jon Gilchrist via Pop Rocks and Coke, in Chapter 20, there will be actual blood, lots of it, so put on your ponchos lest ye be spurted upon.

Which brings us finally to Walter Morgenthau, the latter half of the infamous Gilchrist/Morgenthau Effect, so named in that infamous paper published by The University of Michigan in the midst of the coldest winter to befall Ann Arbor in a century. To understand the effect itself, we must first understand the slash (/) that separates Gilchrist and Morgenthau as one that not only divides the two by decades (Gilchrist's story unfolded in the early 1980s, Morgenthau's forty years later) but also by the magnetic poles of repulsion and attraction. This is confusing by design as such research papers are not meant to be understood by laypersons and the really good ones are not meant to be understood by Malcolm Gladwell, lest he write a book about it and give it a pithy title like "Blink" or "Outliers" or "Stink" or "Fartholders," the latter two being how Dr. Julius Starbury referred to the former two, so bitter was he when Gladwell did indeed take his precious research and synthesize it into a bestseller entitled: "Urban Legend, Rural Truth" (Little Brown, 2022) the gist of which was this:

Gilchrist was supposedly killed by Pop Rocks and this created a mass collective effect of repulsion. Aside from the rare thrill-seeker, most children did not want to risk their faces exploding. As a result, the candy became obsolete following the viral spread of the "Mikey Rumor."

Walter Morgenthau was supposedly saved by Ivermectin and this created a mass collective effect of attraction. Deep in the throes of respiratory failure and on a ventilator, Morgenthau's symptoms abruptly disappeared and subsequent tests could not detect any trace of COVID-19. Such a miraculous recovery, particularly in the case of a seventy-three year old patient, was unprecedented. Morgenthau happily announced to the Kansas City Star upon his release from the hospital that identity of his savior was none other than his granddaughter, Matilda.

Despite social distancing guidelines, Matilda recently had a playdate with her cousin, Sophia while their parents drank margaritas and chatted about how ridiculous social distancing was. Matilda did not contract the virus from Sophia, but she did contract head lice. After a few days of unbearable itching, Matilda's pediatrician prescribed an oral medication and through a series of mundane misunderstandings that would not be worthy of a Three's Company Episode, when Matilda's mother went to the pharmacy for pickup, she accidentally swapped her father's blood pressure meds with her daughter's lice pills and that is how, six hours before he was eventually intubated, Walter Morgenthau unwittingly ingested Matilda's Ivermectin. One day later, he was cured and crediting it all to the miracle drug that saved his life.

Two weeks after that, Ivermectin would claim more lives than the virus itself.

Walter Morgenthau was a domino. One of many that had tipped with the click-clacking inevitability of spacetime. But he could be untipped. Lives could be saved.

But it would cost Elizabeth Rosenberg the thing she held most dear.

And it would cost Hillary Rodham Clinton her eye.

To be continued...