22/11/2020

Walking in L.A.

Antoinette Samardzic, Los Angeles USA

Flying to Seattle. A comfortable three-hour flight (the middle seats are not occupied). Our first time in Washington State. My husband and I are here to buy a classic 1985 Mercedes 300 turbo diesel and drive it back to L.A. She's a beauty that has been pampered and garaged her whole life. We dare not tell the seller that Mabel (as I have christened her) will not be garaged but will be protected by a car cover whilst residing in the driveway. We set off for Portland, Oregon. The purpose of this journey is two-fold since my daughter and son-in-law are considering moving to Portland. However, we do not arrive until dark and since it is cold and wet, and restaurants are still closed for inside dining all we see of Portland is our hotel. The next morning dawns clear and as we drive through downtown we see no evidence of the recent riots. Would we able to live here, I wonder, having been spoiled by L.A. sunshine for the past 39 years? The countryside in Oregon is pretty and reminds me so much of England: the small fields and hedges covered in brambles. It rains steadily as we approach the Oregon/California border and we see much evidence of the devastation wrought by the recent forest fires. We climb up through the Siskiyou pass (happily no snow yet) and admire the snow capped mountains, including Mount Shasta, surrounding Shasta National Park. All too soon we are driving through Central California, which must be the most boring drive ever: flat, endless fields, yellow hills, never-ending almond, pistachio and orange orchards. 

 

We had originally planned to stop off in Oakland for one night to visit our daughter but after much soul searching she decided that it would be best if we didn't because of Covid. A month ago we had visited for a weekend and the day after our return we got a call from D. informing us that she had been tested for Covid at work and the result was positive. So off we trundle to Kaiser Permanente and get tested at the drive thru. Our negative results arrive the next day. D. subsequently tested negative but she and her family still had to quarantine for 14 days, which made their work situation very difficult. For this reason, D. has opted for no visits which means this will be the first time in 41 years that we will spend Christmas apart. I understand, of course, and fully support her, but it is very hard, as I'm sure it is for millions of others. I'm so grateful though that we've been able to see her as much as we have these past 9 months. However, I had a dream recently wherein D. was a little girl again and I was angry with her for wearing two pairs of shorts under her skirt because her skirt is see-through. You need only one pair I tell her. It is very clear to me that I must not lose my temper and shout at her but she complies without further ado.

 

Back in L.A. it's business as usual: blue skies and warm sunny days. A bridge has been built over a busy thoroughfare to link trails from Kenneth Hahn Park to the ocean so I explore it and find as a bonus that a nature center has been built on the hillside, adjacent to the Inglewood oil fields. It's full of native plants and trees, of course, and even has bee hives, and raised beds of vegetables which I examine closely to compare them to my own garden. I give thanks for this little unexpected oasis.

22/11/2020

Seriously isolating 

 Jean, Melbourne Australia

Out of isolation, Melbourne

 

What a couple of weeks it's been. Melbourne is opening up, Biden and Harris were elected (tears, champagne, dozens of phone calls to those near, far and dear), there's news of effective vaccines, and we've had some delectable summer days. There's a palpable sense of relief and promise in the air. I've finally had some real human contact: no touching of course (!) but talking and eating with friends and seeing their whole faces! What a delight it is! But I lie: my hairdresser and acupuncturist laid their healing hands on me. 

Of course it's hard to hold onto this sense of joy and hopefulness when the virus is spreading terribly elsewhere. It looks like South Australia is repeating the Victorian experience of hotel outbreaks followed by the rapid spread through family and work groups, and is going for a very severe response. Having daughters working in UK and USA hospitals is very frightening. Awful scary feeling of being so impotent and unable to provide them any kind of protection.

And then we have to wait still further for the US election results to be confirmed as T doubles down on his reality rejecting attempts to claim victory. All kinds of argy bargy from Republicans in my home state of Michigan, predictably contesting the results in Detroit. And having to wait for the outcome of the Georgia elections in January which will determine how much or how little Biden can achieve.

And now that we are down to zero new cases and deaths in Victoria (20 days and counting) and I'm no longer obsessively watching the Premier's press conferences at 11 each morning for the pandemic update, I actually bought a newspaper (The Age) just like in the old pre-pandemic days so as to more casually catch up on ALL the news and what a sorry spectacle that is: corruption, hypocrisy and appalling behaviour amongst elected government officials, and a criminal investigation into unlawful killings by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. Which calls into question the culture in high places. So much seems to come from a strong sense of entitlement and the belief you are special and can do what you damn well please. Look at Trump and his family...

I guess we can start small in our own small worlds: I'm providing a restful haven for my visitor from downstairs. It's quiet, he can listen to the birds, and he has a whole bed to sleep on!

Sunday I'm going to picket outside a hotel which has been a holding pen for asylum seekers for more than 7 months while Immigration Minister Tudge refuses to make a decision about their status and they remain imprisoned in closed detention in a bureaucratic limbo.

Got to make a sign.

22/11/2020

Greetings from the far south

Mark Waller, Pretoria, South Africa

The government has opened the borders, hoping to encourage the tourism on which so much of the country depends. It’s a signal to the rest of the world that things have improved, that Covid is on the retreat, that South Africa has weathered the viral storm. So come to the sunny south, book yourself a holiday - the wildlife’s amazing, the people are friendly, and everything’s cheap if you’re using one of the strong currencies.

 

That’s more or less the message being put out by the powers that be. In some ways you can’t blame them. The economy’s up shit creek. The tourism and hospitality industries are desperate. Lockdown hit them the hardest when businesses started going under after the first few months of heavy restrictions. Covid didn’t devastate communities here nearly as badly as we’d feared. And so, the message goes, South Africa is open for business once again.

 

Fine. Except that the message is tone deaf to what’s going on in other -  in most - parts of the world, particularly the “developed” global North. 

 

Media coverage of the situation in Europe and North America, and everywhere else, is as scanty as ever. If you want to find out what’s happening outside SA, you have to watch Aljazeera, BBC World, RT, or then go online and check Associated Press and Reuters. If you do, you might have heard that Covid is killing one person in Europe every 17 seconds, and that in the US the virus “is surging out of control”, and that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention are “pleading” with Americans to stay home this Thanksgiving.

 

What chance, then, of people in those “well off” areas hopping on planes to fly south and going to gaze at the last remaining rhinos in Kruger National Park? I get the feeling that the government here and the tourism industry will soon start wondering why so few people are booking holidays here, why the hotels and lodges are so empty.

 

We have, it’s true, been warned about the dangers of a second wave of infections, and the government has repeatedly called on people to continue to wear masks, wash their hands, socially distance and all the rest of it. But somehow it’s failing to connect the dots, to look at the bigger picture of what’s happening in the rest of the world and to realise, dialectically, that although in some respects we’re not all in the same boat - we never were - in many others we are. 

My kids are almost done with school for the year. Term ends in a few weeks. They’ve been going to school for assessments and exams, and these will wrap up today (Friday) and next week, after which there’s a great stretch to time before they have to think about school again. The schools will be off for the summer break until the end of January. I’ve no idea what we’ll do until then. 

 

I keep wondering if there’ll be a new wave of Covid - there’s already a slight upturn in the daily infection figures - and whether we’ll have a new round of lockdowns, like we hear about in Europe and elsewhere. Uncertainty stretches ahead like a road disappearing into the early morning fog.

22/11/2020

Cotswold Perspective

Rosemary, Rodborough Common

We are now two weeks into our second lockdown. The first time round Spring was in the air and there was a certain amount of novelty to it. This time, winter is creeping in and with Christmas on the horizon it’s hard to imagine just how we will celebrate.

The news about the vaccines has given us more hope for the future, and we should all be grateful to the many scientists who have toiled away during this difficult period to find a solution for the world’s current plight. Seemingly the Oxford solution is just a matter of days away from an announcement, but they have already stated that their vaccine is particularly ‘encouraging’ in adults over the age of 70years. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 94% effective in the over 65s’ - this scenario was something that had previously had a large question mark hovering over it. 

The departure of “Dom” from Downing Street too is good news, but the less said about that the better.

The weather has been dull, and gloomy, but we chose Thursday this week to visit a National Trust garden. Luckily their gardens are still open, but you must book your slot online - the dates for each week are released every Friday morning. Yesterday, the day of our visit, was a perfect day, blue skies, a slight nip in the air, but clear and bright. We visited Tyntesfield in North Somerset, a Victorian Gothic Revival house with extensive gardens and parkland, and just a stone’s throw from Bristol. Originally called Tyntes Place, William Gibbs, purchased it for his growing family in 1844. He completely remodelled the exterior of what was a simple regency house into the Gothic extravaganza that exists today, with all of the interiors being richly decorated and furnished by the country’s leading craftsmen. Unlike many Bristolian successful businessmen, he did not make his money on the backs of the ‘slave trade’. His fortune was made by importing ‘guano’ from Peru, who granted him the sole monopoly on all trade with Europe and North America.

22/11/2020

Notes from a factory in the Midlands

MFS, Midlands

Sarah made our Christmas pudding this week, in the run up to “stir up Sunday”, which this year falls on 22nd November. This traditional name for the last Sunday before Advent does not in fact come from it being the time for all the family to gather round and take turns stirring the pudding and making a wish. Rather the name comes from the Collect for this Sunday from the Book of Common Prayer:

 

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the will of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of thy good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded.

 

Plenteous amounts of fruit, and lots more besides, were indeed stirred up and steamed in accordance with Delia Smith’s recipe. And I can now look forward to flaming and eating the pudding on Christmas Day in a small, socially distanced household gathering.  There is much speculation about what rules the government may attempt to impose for the Christmas period. But I am increasingly despairing of the illogicality and downright totalitarianism of many of the Covid restrictions.  A headline this week in the press read “Families fined for attempting to leave the country” – their journey, catching a channel ferry, was deemed unnecessary and they were fined. So apparently, without any of us realising, we are all living in a prison, captives in our own country.

 

Meanwhile in another country, I have been observing the continuing wrangling in Washington, and I give thanks for the normally swift transition of power that follows UK general elections. When an incumbent loses, the Pickfords van turns up the next day to make sure the “loser” gets out of the way of the incoming Prime Minister. It might be brutal, but it at least removes the opportunity for clinging on to power that the US transition timetable allows.  Outgoing President Trump, who still can’t accept that he has lost, is deploying all the tricks used by the UK’s “remainiacs”: those remain voters who couldn’t accept the result of the UK’s Brexit referendum in 2016. 

 

As a “reluctant remainer” I was on the losing side in that referendum. I accepted the result and the fact that the UK would therefore leave the EU. But now I am incredibly annoyed by the behaviour of the two teams of Brexit negotiators (and the governments that gave them their mandates) who still seem to be engaged in a dialogue of the deaf despite us being less than six weeks from the end of the transition period. And HMRC is sending out ridiculous letters to businesses saying things like “you might want to check the tariff codes for any products that you sell to or import from the EU”. We did that ages ago! But what we need to know urgently is whether or not tariffs will actually be applied from 1st January. And as we deal in foodstuffs there is potentially a whole regime of Export Health Certificates that will be needed to allow UK businesses to ship products into Europe, and we still don’t know whether or not this regime will be imposed on 1st January. Businesses in general will always find a way to cope, whatever absurd or  cumbersome decrees governments may choose (or be forced) to introduce. But what we definitely don’t like is uncertainty. And at the moment we have nothing but uncertainty. 

 

From earlier entries some of you may have gathered that I am a long-standing Spectator reader. Well last Saturday’s edition published a delightful poem by our contributor Peter Scupham entitled “Catch”. It begins:

 

I caught it for a moment

as it slipped the raindrops;

between two notes of birdsong

as it moved from light to shade

faster than eyes could corner it.

 

I hope they pay good royalties, Peter!

22/11/2020

Youlgrave lockdown

Dianne, Youlgrave Derbyshire

A complete lockdown week for us this week, following our first ever online food delivery. 

 

For me a whole week spent exploring various crafts. One Zoom aromatherapy session learning about using essential oils to improve sleep. I am quite sceptical about the likely success for me but I have the suggested oils and will certainly give them a go. One muddy walk by the river when the weather brightened up enough to entice me out but it has been a very rainy week here. One afternoon cup of tea catching up with our neighbours in our gardens. We were all wrapped up in blankets and sat outside for well over an hour. It is good to talk to real people in the flesh rather than on Zoom.

 

So craftwise;  

I started with more potato printing on paper. The newly purchased gold paint certainly enhanced the effect and made the designs look less flat. I still haven’t progressed to making my lino print design but today may be the day. Then origami boxes made out of various papers. Japanese origami paper made the most beautiful ones but an old Dandy annual worked well and also wrapping paper and some paper I had marbled in a previous experiment. It took a while to master the hexagon shape. I am full of admiration for the people who design origami and produce something amazing without cutting the paper or using glue. Mary joined in on Zoom and had a Zoom hexagonal box tutorial from my daughter in law Caroline. This is not easy when you can’t reach across to help someone with the tricky folds but eventually a box was made. 

More paper craft followed with making rolled paper beads.  You can make various shaped beads by cutting the strips of paper in different ways although I concentrated on making cone shapes. Caroline made some beautiful earrings. This is quite addictive and needs more exploration. Finally a day spent making clay beads and simple clay dishes. What a very satisfying way to spend a week.

 

The speed at which vaccines are being rolled out is exciting. A few months ago we were being told it could be late next year before any would be ready and now there is talk of starting a programme of vaccination before Christmas.

We just have to keep safe until it is our turn.

22/11/2020

Bookbinding

John Underwood, Norfolk

Pepys to Prostitutes

 

My father was a big fan of Samuel Pepys. Dad worked in the City of London for much of his working life, and looked the part, complete with bowler hat and rolled umbrella. I think that Pepys’s diaries appealed because my father walked the same streets every day, and I suspect that he enjoyed the racier aspects of Pepys’s life. My father read the three volume Arthur Bryant set, and I still buy them today if I see them. During his life I managed to find various other Pepys diary excerpts, and I think, had dad been younger and had better eyesight, he would have bought the full eleven volume diary edited by Latham and Matthews. I regret not being able to give dad the letter signed by Pepys and a couple of his Navy Office colleagues that we bought a couple of years ago. He would have just loved holding a document that Sam Pepys had touched.

A while back, I visited the V&A museum in London, and in one part of the c17th gallery found Sam Pepys’ Spinette- or was it a Harpsichord or set of Virginals? I forget, but it was a keyed instrument that was owned by Sam Pepys. I had a sudden compulsion to lean out and touch a key that Sam had played upon. Big mistake. As soon as I had touched the keyboard, just touched it, with no malice aforethought, an alarm sounded, and I fully expected steel cages to slam down around me. A tail between the legs moment if ever there was one…

Pepys rather enjoyed… dalliances… with various women that he met in the course of his walks around London. Today he would be called a serial adulterer. I’m not certain that he used prostitutes - I suspect that he would have been terrified of catching diseases from “low women” but he certainly fooled around with other men’s wives. What made me think of this subject was a recent sale that we made in America via an American dealer. We have been finding sales very patchy, which, given that we are trying to trade in a world pandemic is unsurprising I suppose. 

A while back we bought a most unusual collection of what are now known as “Tart Cards”- nothing more or less than the calling cards of escorts and prostitutes left in telephone booths in London in the 1980’s. We rather enjoy exhibiting items from street culture alongside items from high culture at Book Fairs. Apart from the obvious business transacted by the (largely) women in question, there was a whole subculture existing to service these cards. There were the people who produced the cards, at first hand written and then with photocopied and printed text and imagery. The cards were then placed by “carders”, students, street people, and full timers who worked for the prostitutes or their pimps. It must have been fairly hazardous making a collection of these cards - some 500 or so - and there are stories of people being chased and beaten up for removing the cards. Usually vulgar rather than graphic in their imagery, the cards have been appropriated as “accidental art”, and various institutions including the V&A have holdings. Our collection apparently went to a University Special Collection in the US. The whole Tart card subculture ended with mobile ‘phones and the demise of public phone boxes. Pepys collected street literature and chapbooks. You just wonder if he might have been tempted…

22/11/2020

“Survival” diary

Susan, Country Victoria, Australia

While the virus figures in Europe and America alarm, another Australian state has had cases arise from hotel quarantine. You would have thought that the lessons of the Victorian situation would have tightened arrangements, but no. The Federal government is silent on the trip up. Am I too cynical in thinking it might be because the governments are of the same political persuasion, and it has taken off the front page a couple of scandals involving government ministers? Anyhows, private security guards in hotel quarantine working jobs in multiple locations have caused a cluster of cases in Adelaide. The lockdown has been swift and hard. For six days everything but essential services is shutdown and will be extended if need be. It will be interesting to see if it works. Adelaide is pretty much a big country town, so that is on their side. 

 

We are hosting a lunch tomorrow and I’ve been in the kitchen for most of the day. I’m looking forward to seeing my niece and her family for the first time in over six months. I did managed to squeeze in a zoom Pilates class this morning. I don’t think Audrey will be able to upload today’s session for later viewing. Her youngest daughter Billie took full advantage of having her mother in a position of weakness. We were treated to some piano accompaniment, the camera being shifted so we had a headless tutor and finally a device playing the Talking Heads so she could show us “some moves”. 

 

We had some wild weather this week. It resulted in remarkably little damage in the garden. The bamboo tripods I fashioned for the sweet peas needed some running repairs, but I think they should make it through the season. Some lovely old elms around the town didn’t fare so well and arborists had a busy few days. We had some excited local furniture makers on the scene though, so all is not lost. Flowers for the house this week are sweet peas, and more sweet peas. I thought last season that sparrows had eaten all the seeds from a variety I have been growing for over thirty years, and so for the first time I sent for named varieties. My original plants have self seeded freely around the garden, so I should manage to collect seed from them and now I have some other really charming varieties. 

 

Stay well.

22/11/2020

From Twickenham

David Horovitch, Twickenham

On Sunday I broke my duck and did my first zoom play reading, playing Leontes in The Winter's Tale. It's a massive role and I'd been working on it with great diligence for the last couple of weeks. This meant that, though I was reading rather than giving a full performance, I was sufficiently familiar with the text to be able to lift my head from the page quite often and make virtual eye-contact with my fellow actors in their little boxes on my laptop. Often though I'd look up and the little box in which I expected to find Hermione, would now be occupied instead by The First Lord and, finding  her box was moving all over the place, I had to search in my mildly myopic way all over the screen before I found my inch-high wife. It all went pretty smoothly though and I derived immense satisfaction from taking on a hefty Shakespearian role again, my first since Prospero in 1990. I think, too my work on the sonnets over the last few months - I've now memorised 118, of which 90 can be found at www.sonnetsinisolation.com - was equivalent to days working out on an iambic rowing machine. I was well limbered up. We'd had a virtual meeting with our director the day before but literally no rehearsal at all. He'd warned us of the limitations of the medium and said that our real object was to raise money for the charity, Acting for Others, and we were not to worry if we fucked up. This was both reassuring and frustrating as, being a professional actor, I've spent 50 odd years worrying if I fucked up and why change the habits of a lifetime? - it's amateur not to worry if you fuck up isn't it? And besides I was dying to have a crack at Leontes and I wanted to do it justice. Anyway, I didn't fuck up very much, though it would take a lot of rehearsal and, indeed playing in front of an audience to learn how to play that last scene. For those who don't know the play, it famously presents problems of plausibility. Very early on Leontes, King of Sicily, becomes irrationally jealous of his wife, Hermione, who he believes to be having an affair with his best friend, Polixenes, King of Bohemia. Rather in the manner of Donald Trump, he fires everyone who doesn't share his paranoid delusion, causes the death of his wife and son, Mamilius, and orders his new-born daughter, who he insanely believes to be the issue of Polixenes, to be dumped on some far-distant shore. In the meantime, he has sent to find the truth of his wife's infidelity to the Oracle but, when the messengers return from Delphi with the news that Hermione is chaste, he says -'This is mere falsehood' - thus anticipating ''Fake News' by 500 years. However, he instantly repents when his wife dies, and spends the next 16 years praying at her graveside. BUT, to cut a long story short, (it's Friday morning and the deadline's 3pm and I've bitten off more than I can chew here) a statue is made of his wife and, in the last scene, it comes to life, the banished baby daughter, now 16 years old,  returns from Bohemia with Polixenes' son Florizel with whom she is in love and harmony is restored. Although this last scene is much shorter than the first three acts in which Leontes winds up his jealous fury, being a scene in which he is passive and receptsve, I knew it wasn't something I could really prepare on my own. It would come gradually in rehearsal with the other actors and one day it would just' happen'. It's easier to work on a scene alone when you are its motor than when you are reacting to events. 

 

Strange, empty feeling when it was over. We all said good night and I looked around me and realised that not only was I not the King of Sicily, I wasn't even in the dressing room of a theatre, about to go the bar with my virtual colleagues, most of whom I had  never even met: I was alone in my flat on a Sunday evening in the middle of November, locked down in an epidemic and there was nowhere to go but bed. A winter's tale indeed. 

 

Some interesting reactions though - my son, who is not a great Shakespearean, said he'd found it much easier to follow than the lavish, wildy expensive stuff that he'd seen me in not so long ago at the RSC. He'd sat there, bless him, with a synopsis of the text beside him, and found himself enthralled by watching actors at work pare back to the bone this absurdly beautiful story. I wonder increasingly if, when audiences come away from a Shakespeare production praising the set or the music they may think they've had a good time but they probably haven't experienced the play: they don't know what they're missing. 

 

Here is the link if you missed it and fancy watching some, or all of it:

https://youtu.be/4r810Dz0B0

22/11/2020

Thin Air

John Mole, St Albans

CENTRE STAGE    

 

This is the theatre

of waking dreams

 

become a nightmare

played out scene by scene.

 

Wisdom and Patience

huddle in the wings

 

as Fear has taken

centre stage.

 

He struts and frets

with viral gestures

 

in expectation

of applause

 

while empty seats

refuse to grant it,

 

calling for the curtain

to come down.

22/11/2020

A View from Crazy Town

Chris Dell, Washington, D.C.

Roll On, Crazy, Roll On

 

Folks, the hits just keep coming.

 

As our Dear Leader fights for our very survival, He leaves no Crazy unturned. A sampling of the latest news and comments:

 

"What I saw with Rudy Guiliani, who I've known for decades, was bizarre, was unfocused."
Geraldo Rivera (one of the earliest Crazy journalists and charter member of the Faithful).

 

"That press conference was the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest." Christopher Krebs (until last week the head of cyber security for the Department of Homeland Security).

 

As devoted followers of this column, the Gentle Readers are well prepared for this latest outburst of sheer nutso, but as always, a little context may help our international readership sort their way through our uniquely American strands of insanity. In brief, having seen His legal strategy dismissed in one (Faithless) court after another, Dear Leader has concluded that His best prospect for securing His Ultimate Apotheosis is to cast doubt on the very legitimacy of the electoral process, confident that with enough Crazy, His Will will be done. Finding that His previous team of lawyers were not nearly up to the job, our Dear Leader turned to His most reliable partner in these endeavors, the ever amusing Rudy G.

 

At a public event peopled with a cast of reporters and Rudy's Gang, colloquially referred to as a press conference, Rudy and his associates in Crazy laid out a perfectly plausible theory to explain how He Who Shall Not Be Named was attempting to thwart the Will of Dear Leader. Brace yourselves, Gentle Readers, for it is a plot so dark, so dastardly, and so sweeping that it surpasseth all understanding. Unless you have Rudy as your guide to make all clear. It seems that this tale of evil traces back to the election of 1960 when the then-mayor of Chicago, one Richard Daly, famously secured the presidency for JFK by "voting the tombstones." So pleased were the Faithless with what they had wrought, that they have relied solely on this tactic to win elections ever since, honing their skills with every passing contest. However, since Dear Leader successfully separated Light from Darkness on the First Day four years ago, the Faithless have been compelled to resort of an ever-widening cast of malevolent international actors to perpetrate their Schemes. Yesterday Rudy and The Gang for the first time revealed the depths of this depravity to a previously Innocent Public. They exposed a Cabal of breathtaking dimension involving China, Antifa, BLM, Cuba, two presidents of Venezuela (with a special hat tip to Richard Daly for successfully bringing back the dearly departed Hugo Chavez to assist in mobilizing the tombstones), every poll worker and election official in every precinct everywhere, and other co-conspirators to be named at a future hotel lobby of Rudy's choosing.

None of this is easy and Dear Rudy has been laboring mightily in The Cause. Alas, the strain has begun to take its toll, as he literally sweats blood for Dear Leader (lest you doubt the veracity of this assertion, we include photographic evidence here), prepared to expire heroically at His feet in the very moment Ultimate Apotheosis is achieved.

 

Speaking of expiring, Your Intrepid Reporter is pleased to report that it is not only safe but downright wise to ignore those nasty warnings of a so-called "Second Wave," rapidly filling hospital beds and 250,000 deaths. Mere inventions of Lamestream Media and the failing polling industry. The much more reliable Flat Rat Alley Index underscores yet again Dear Leader's omniscience. The index of two-dimensional rodents currently stands at zero for the first time in months. Further proof, as if any were needed, that we have indeed turned a corner, just as He promised. Anything else is just crazy talk. 

 

(Editorial Note: Due to the untimely scheduling of Thanksgiving next Thursday, Y.I.R. will be forced to lay doff his reporting hat and take up his apron and carving knife, or risk the wrath of Mrs. Intrepid. Proof positive that the rolling pin is mightier than the pen. A special double edition of Crazy Town will be proffered the following week in order to keep the Gentle Readers abreast of all the latest Crazy.)

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