On the plus side I guess we finally figured out a way to stop mass shootings. Or pause them anyway.
Here’s some news to keep things in perspective during these trying times.
“It is essential that we continue to increase production of our nation's only 5th generation stealth fighter in order to ensure the United States maintains air dominance and to further reduce overall program costs,” a group of 130 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle wrote in a letter to the House Armed Services Committee and Defense Appropriations panel this week according to Politico. They’re asking for money for almost one hundred more F-35 fighters in an upcoming bill. Last year the cost for one of these big flying bad boys was between like $80-100 million according to Popular Mechanics but I don’t know maybe they are getting a good deal right now. Maybe these babies are priced to move. We’d practically be suckers not to get in on the action.
“Although the cost to buy has come down, the cost to fly remains high. The F-35 costs $44,000 an hour to fly, or $44 million to fly for 1,000 hours, or $352 million over the 8,000 hour lifespan of the jet.”
Elsewhere the Pentagon announced on Friday it had “successfully tested an unarmed prototype of a hypersonic missile, a nuclear-capable weapon that could accelerate the arms race between superpowers,” according to Agence France-Presse.
The Pentagon is pressing to catch up with rivals Moscow and Beijing in the race to develop hypersonics, even as it recognizes they could dangerously raise the risks of a nuclear conflict, as countries struggle to build defenses against them.
In its fiscal 2021 budget the US Defense Department requested $3.2 billion for hypersonic programs, up from $2.6 billion in the current year. The goal is a deployable hypersonic capability by 2023, though that could be difficult.
"Delivering hypersonic weapons is one of the department's highest technical research and engineering priorities," the Pentagon said.
I feel like I can be real with you guys on here. I have been having a tough time of it today after mostly keeping my spirits up for days. But every now and again when you're at your lowest someone shows up for you and it means everything.
Every single other person who ran for the Democratic nomination would be doing a better job being visible and leading right now than Joe Biden is even the shittiest ones who had no business being in it in the first place. I never thought I’d find myself longing for the sober steadying hand of fuckin...Joe Sestak.
I don’t know about you but if I were the frontrunner based on nothing besides my supposed electability and my ability to restore a sense of calm and normalcy to the country and my straight-shooting no nonsense toughness I would be on TV every single day explaining to people exactly what is what and what needs to be done and by whom and how we are going to get through this together. Instead ol’ Invisible Uncle Joe hasn’t made an appearance since this.
Here’s fucking Michael Stipe doing more to buoy people’s spirits than Biden has.
Yesterday Biden came out and said in an interview that he was “desperately” trying to figure out a way to be in touch with the public maybe through some technological conferencing type scenario. “They tell me there’s ways we can do teleconferencing via us all being in different locations,” he said.
Not everything is bad right now for example look at this normal shit going on in a neighborhood in Ohio where the families are all still going outside to say the pledge of allegiance every morning.
An interesting part for me about this ~whole thing~ is that we’ve been taking walks around the neighborhood and seeing things that we’ve driven by so many times and never actually looked at. I don’t mean it in the way like if you stop and look the universe it’s beautiful man or anything like that but it’s still nice enough to go like oh weird that is an interesting house I never even noticed it. And then you think about how much the house costs and get pissed off at the people inside.
I went for a run the other day and saw this in the sidewalk near a school like a half mile from me that I wasn’t even aware existed.
On a different walk we noticed that there were a handful of these posters all over the neighborhood. They seem pretty old and tattered and I wonder if they ended up working? I wonder if the grand romantic gesture of the poem in cement worked too. Let’s all come together and believe that they both did shall we. Isn’t it pretty to think so?
A woman named Danni Askini was feeling unwell in February so she called her oncologist who had been treating her lymphoma. The doctor sent her to the emergency room where they suspected it was pneumonia and they sent her home. Askini remained sick over the next few days and went back to the emergency room a couple times. Over a week later they finally realized what it was she had the famous thing we all know about.
Askini had been planning to move for a new job soon Time reported and so she was in between jobs and so she was in between insurance because that’s how we do insurance in this country for very normal reasons everyone understands and loves. When she got the bill for her treatment of $34,927.43 she was basically fucked as every single one of us would be. Good luck to one and all.
I did this thing again last night where when I poured myself a drink I started virtually tipping out of work bartenders and a bunch of you sent me money to distribute and I think I way underestimated how much of a pain in the ass it would be to make like forty Venmo transactions while getting progressively drunker. I still have some money left so I’ll give out the rest of it tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime I found this tool that anyone can use to find out of work service industry people in your state. Click on where you are from and it will pair you with a random worker’s Venmo or Cash app. You can also fill out a form to apply yourself to get in the mix if you lost your industry job.
How is everyone’s drinking by the way? Mine has not been let’s say… great. Are you having trouble with it during all this and teetering on the edge? Are you sober and struggling to keep it together? I’d be happy to hear from some of you and share your stories in here from either perspective if you want to write in. It can be anonymous.
A thing that has been dawning on me is that my typical vibe of withdrawing from the world and into my depression felt subversive when everything else was going on as normal around me but when it’s my only choice it feels a lot less appealing.
A friend sent me this very polite eviction notice he just got. Seems extremely legal.
Here’s an interesting piece from Bloomberg telling us what we already know but is nonetheless interesting to see transpire in real time.
Coronavirus didn’t invent the gulf between the rich and everyone else, it has just exposed gaps that were already there. In the past two weeks, the sick tried and failed to get tested, the nervous watched their retirement savings shrivel, and thousands have already lost their jobs. Money and power, however, have been tickets to comfort and protection.
“The coronavirus loves the inequitable health-care system that we’ve got,” said Arthur Caplan, who directs the NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s program in medical ethics. “The 1% can pull strings,” he said, while millions of people can’t get tested: “It’s wrong, but it’s true.”
One private concierge health service said it has hazmat suits for home visits and personal relationships with virus-testing vendors. A billionaire investor said it would be easy to get his hands on a test if he wanted one, but that the real scramble among the elite in New York is for reserving a hospital bed. The billionaire, who has personal connections to a major New York hospital, said he’d only pull strings for family or his best friend. Inside another billionaire’s Hamptons estate, the worries this week weren’t about life and death: Calls went out for a dermatologist who could provide Botox injections, according to a person in the house.
Here are some thoughts posted to Twitter by a doctor named Augie Lindmark who is a resident at the Yale School of Medicine.
“Our hospital floor is full and we need open beds for the imminent COVID surge,” he wrote. “But multiple patients of mine can’t leave the hospital because they’re awaiting prior auths from commercial insurers. Insurance companies are clogging up the system in the middle of a damn pandemic. This pandemic will expose global health inequities. It will also reveal the U.S. health system's inefficiencies, spaces where greed often dictates health care. To beat COVID, yes, social distance and wash hands. We must also pressure those whose place profits over patients.”
“Every day in American health care clinicians waste time arguing with private insurers. A prior authorization essentially asks, ‘Are you sure you know what you’re doing?’ We do. Let us do our job. Right now, we can’t afford to waste time. There is no place for frivolous delays so health insurers can solidify their bottom line. We already had a president say this pandemic was a ‘hoax.’ Now health systems are playing catch up.”
Here’s some good news. I just read that the Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon got a 19% raise this week. Got to give it up for Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon.
Someone wrote to me just now asking what the cartoon was that I shared a while back about the end of the world and did I remember the one and I said yes I did it was this by David Berman. Here it is again.
Here’s what I wrote at the time:
I’m not sure what stuck out for you but that bit about how at the end of the world “the terminally ill perk up” is an ocean man it’s an entire novel in a stick figure throwaway gag. The world was already ending for them but now it’s ending for everyone and in that they’ve been made just like the rest of us. It might seem sinister in a way but it’s not it’s a sort of comfort in knowing that you don’t have to die alone anymore you get to die with everyone else at the same time. It’s finding out you belong again. You weren’t singled out to suffer.
I don’t know if that sentiment applies to the what have you we’ve got going on right now though. Maybe it still does I don’t know. While we’re here here’s another Berman piece I posted in that same Hell World that’s worth re-reading.
I asked followers to share some fundraising efforts they’ve seen going on to help other out of work people and here are some of the ones they sent if you’d like to chip in to any of them. A lot of them are from Massachusetts but so am I so sorry about that.
- Restaurant Strong Fund
- Boston Artist Relief Fund
- Great Scott / O'Brien's Pub Employee Relief Fund
- Aid for Abilene Staff
And here’s an ask from AHOPE a Boston group working with unhoused people struggling with addiction and mental health and chronic illness. They could use all sorts of donations like:
- individual cocoa packets
- individual packets of coffee with cream + sugar (like nescafe)
- cup-o-soups/ramen cups
- PB+J 'uncrustables' or pre-packaged sandwiches
- granola bars
- disposable coffee cups, stirrers
- bottled water or Gatorade
- individual oatmeal packets
- paper bowls
You can send them directly to AHOPE (c/o) Sarah Mackin or Clare Schmidt at
774 Albany Street Boston, MA 02118 of if you want to donate to Sarah’s Venmo you can find her at @sarah-mackin-4
Every month I complain about having to go DJ Emo Night and every time I end up having fun and then it comes around again and I complain about having to do it again but now that I can’t I really miss it and that is also true of everything else in my life for example I REALLY WANT A DUNKIN DONUTS LARGE ICE COFFEE AND LIKE FOUR (4) GLAZED MUNCHKINS RIGHT NOW SO BAD.
We tried to keep spirits up or down as the case may be considering the style of music in question by posting a playlist of what we would have been playing on Thursday night at Emo Night had we all been together and you can listen to it here if you like.
A thing I’ve been thinking about is how in the Leftovers an ongoing background gag was what celebrities died in the whatever it was that had happened and it seems prescient since I suppose we’ll be getting a taste of that type of ambient cultural loss soon. Anyway RIP in peace to Kenny Rogers. I don’t think he died from the virus to be clear he just regular died but still it all sort of ends up the same way I suppose. The best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep as the fella said.
I know it's late, I know you're weary
I know your plans don't include me
Still here we are, both of us lonely
Longing for shelter from all that we see
Why should we worry, no one will care girl
Look at the stars so far away
We've got tonight, who needs tomorrow?
We've got tonight babe
Why don't you stay?
Pretty sure this isn’t what they meant by we’ve got tonight but that’s basically all I can really think about when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by all this. The idea of being isolated and stuck at home and unable to see anyone for weeks more never mind months more seems so suffocating that if I let myself envision it I feel like I’m going to collapse. So instead what I’m trying to do is think about it one day at a time as the folks in the program say. You don’t have to survive and wait out the entirety of this thing all at once right now all you have to do is make it through today. Tomorrow will probably be the same shit and the day after that too but tomorrow isn’t your problem at the moment. Make it through today for me will you?
Also you don’t have to watch CNN helplessly for nineteen hours a day to see the bad numbers go up. Everything that was bad about the for profit cable news media is still bad today. Check in from time to time sure but rest assured if something bad enough happens you’ll hear about it.
Ok see you guys soon. <3
You're thick-skinned, but you know
It's beyond our control
Shadows gleaming through our eyes
Been living the past, dear
Be free from those dull years
And we'll see daylight through the blinds
Drifting in a cold state, the glowing cracks of old days,
Bodies slack and pressed beneath the hour in your eyes
Fingernails and cold skin, your parents' bed we lay in
Arms outstretched to emptiness, the space you left behind