2020 April

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Letters to the editor with pictures since 2002. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.

[Be Prepared ~Boy Scout Motto] The outbreak of the respiratory virus began in China and was quickly spread around the world by air travelers, who ran high fevers. In the United States, it was first detected in Chicago, and 47 days later, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. By then it was too late: 110 million Americans were expected to become ill, leading to 7.7 million hospitalized and 586,000 dead. That scenario, code-named “Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.

The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 (Link) that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed.

The draft report, marked “not to be disclosed,” laid out in stark detail repeated cases of “confusion” in the exercise. Federal agencies jockeyed over who was in charge. State officials and hospitals struggled to figure out what kind of equipment was stockpiled or available. Cities and states went their own ways on school closings.

Many of the potentially deadly consequences of a failure to address the shortcomings are now playing out in all-too-real fashion across the country. And it was hardly the first warning for the nation’s leaders. Three times over the past four years the U.S. government, across two administrations, had grappled in depth with what a pandemic would look like, identifying likely shortcomings and in some cases recommending specific action.

In 2016, the Obama administration produced a comprehensive report (Link) on the lessons learned by the government from battling Ebola. In January 2017, outgoing Obama administration officials ran an extensive exercise on responding to a pandemic for incoming senior officials of the Trump administration. Congress was briefed in December on some of these findings, including the inability to quickly replenish certain medical supplies, given that much of the product comes from overseas.  ~New York Times


If you have a nose hair like this you don’t need a mask!

Toilet Paper from The Carol Burnett Show. Video


[“Some believe that socialized medicine would have saved many lives”] No one ever said socialized medicine saves lives. That was the poster’s way of justifying his stance against national healthcare—fake news. I think what  folks who want national healthcare will say is that there wouldn’t be any shortages of protective gear for hospital workers and we wouldn’t be scrambling around trying to find them.  And later, the survivors wouldn’t lose everything paying for their for-profit care.

Let’s call it what it really is: Anti-social distancing.
[Busted Fencing] Because there’s no cars on the deer overpass on the way out of Big Pine, I got a good look at the damaged fencing. It’s awful and wouldn’t stop a fast food wrapper never mind a key deer! Government spends all this money on planting trees on the byways but won’t spend a dime fixing the fence after almost three years.
[Lay-offs] County to furlough 30 to 100 employees. How about cutting the over $100,000 salaries first before hurting families that are working a County job, as well as another job too. I guess one human family doesn’t mean squat in our current environment.



[Gifts That Keep on Giving] Today’s my 75th birthday. I got a dozen rolls of TP from my spouse and another dozen from Pennsylvania. What a thoughtful family!

[Free Ad] We have lots of buffs for face and nose cover, 2 big shipments just in. Fun prints for men and women and more coming Tuesday.  We have awesome Key West Aloe dog shampoo, probably the best dog shampoo ever, treat your babies to it, they and you will be happy you used it, and you have the time to pamper them. Lots of Sun Bum sunscreen and uv shirts , plenty of straw hats (because we know us locals still living life on the water and loving life) Salt scrubs and soaps from 3 companies. We are sanitizing after every person that comes in and we are abiding by County rule of face coverage. Times are tough for all of us here in the Keys, but hey, we live in the best place to be. We, after Irma, said, “keys strong” that’s who we are. Be safe, be happy, and never lose hope. Brighter days are so close. We’re here for you Tuesday thru Friday 12-5. Saturday 10-5. Thanks for the outpouring of love and support after 34 years we’re looking forward to the 35th. Pamela, owner of Summerland Sandal & Surf, mm 24.8 Summerland Key. (fyi building is for sale not us, so please pay no attention to their bad choice of timing to make it look like it’s us in the building. We have always been here for you all and all of you for us and that I cannot thank you all enough for, peace love and thankfulness to you all.


[“For-profit healthcare”] I never really looked at it that way. Thinking about it, I realized that it’s wrong to make a profit on peoples’ misfortune. No one wants to get sick. It just happens. It’s devastating to get sick and then you get further shocked by the crazy bill for that healthcare that could put you back in the hospital or cause you to lose all you own.

[An observation by George Carlin] The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. Link
(This was not written by George Carlin as wildly believed. Possibly inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s final speech in The Great Dictator.)


[Crime Is Down] I just do not understand why our criminal element is being so well behaved. What a great opportunity. Many businesses are closed but well stocked. For example, bars with enough liquor on hand to kill you and all your friends. No need to carry weapons and possibly get your ass shot for threatening them because there are no employees or customers. And best of all the security cameras will not provide much evidence because everyone is wearing a mask like yours. Let the looting begin! After all, there is not much other work available and you have habits to support (just kidding–mostly).

[Density] The urban planners have been thrown a curve with this virus. They have been supporting high density living. They say it is better for the environment because you reduce your carbon footprint by walking to stores and work. It seems they neglected to figure the hazards of living on top of one another and riding in crammed transportation. Oh well, next plan …



[Washing Hands In A Pandemic] After the coronavirus pandemic passes, a new economic reality. What happens when you can’t wash your hands in the midst of a public health crisis. And a look into Wuhan, China as the lockdown lifts. Audio

[“Socialized medicine”] When are those who are against a healthy America, start with their citing obscure instances of misuse or abuse in government healthcare states? To them I say you can find many more abuses by for-profit insurance companies screwing the ill. I still say those who speak against it are in some way benefiting from the paid-per-illness system we now have. There’s more profit in treating an illness then there is in preventing it. That’s why we don’t have national healthcare.
[Gun Control] An appeals court in Ohio determined that in order to qualify for the right to carry a gun on school grounds, teachers must train a minimum of 728 hours. Why such a large number? Because that is the level of training defined as “police levels.” As is the police are the only one qualified to bring a gun to school.


[Germ Free Protection?] It looks like India or Pakistan really missed the class on hygiene. If I should have to go anywhere, I will use the hand sewn mask my favorite wife made for me on Wednesday. Everyone should really consider wearing a mask if you aren’t at home and must go near any people anywhere at any time.  I’m home and I don’t go out because I do believe the CDC. Video

[Damaged Bike Path] Does anyone know when the County or State is going to repair the bike path trail that runs along US1? It has a lot of very dangerous areas that were damaged from the equipment that cleaned up after Irma and from the crews planting the new trees. Summerland & Cudjoe Key are particularly bad in a lot of areas. Please see what you can do before someone gets seriously hurt or worse.



VFW Post 10211 Volunteers & The Firm Realty Group gather at Arthur’s Island Kitchen in the Upper Keys to serve many hundreds of meals to those in need.

Packaged toilet paper wasn’t sold in the United States until 1857. Joseph Gayety, the man who introduced packaged TP to the U.S. had his name printed on every sheet. It wasn’t until 1935 that a manufacturer was able to promise splinter-free toilet paper. 10 million trees a year give up their lives so we can wipe our bums. More
[Drugs] I do not think that the FDA should be allowed to test and approve any medication or treatment that is not made in the U.S.A.



[Wanted] I need to use an adult tricycle for physical therapy outside in the street. However, the existing bike seat is uncomfortable for me. Does anyone have a tractor seat to donate that I can weld onto the existing bike seat stump?  I can have a friend pick it up from you. Thank you. 352-207-6492.

[“Garlic breath”] Another chemical in the quartet of chemicals released only when garlic is smashed or otherwise damaged, cut, for instance, is Allicin. The garlic needs to rest for a minute or so after the damage to develop the compound completely. If cooked even slightly it is destroyed. The benefits of this stuff?  It has been shone through many studies to prevent lung cancer- and even slow or stop its spread if already present. Can’t handle raw garlic? Just chop a clove up into three or four chunks and swallow them like pills. I have experienced no ill effects from doing this. Even better, buy some enteric coated capsules and stuff them with slivered garlic, this will protect it from harsh stomach acids and get it farther down the gut. One clove a day.


[Easter Celebration] I still haven’t decided where to go for Easter — The living room or the bedroom.

[Stir Crazy] As we end week 2 of the lockdown, I’ve been thinking about Osama Bin Laden. He was stuck in his house with three wives for five years. I’m beginning to wonder if he didn’t call in the Navy Seals himself!



Hand sanitizer for the Keys. Video

“Tommy” featuring Tina Turner — The Acid Queen



[Patriotism] As he tells the story, “I am the flag” you will get goose bumps.  Very well done. Video

[Boat Trailering] When your truck goes one way and your boat goes another. Video
[Virus] Thanks to all the doctors, nurses, medical staff, first responder’s and all their helpers.



The Calusa Indians of Florida built ingeniously engineered water courts to supply them with fish. The lost tribe of Florida that early explorers wrote home about. Link

Italy’s communist recipe for disaster. Link



Burning Man Festival bonfire.

[Flu Shot] I would love to see statistics on how many of the Corona virus hospitalizations and deaths were in people who got a seasonal flu shot that may have compromised their immune system.



[Tornadoes] 13 dead as tornadoes and storms tear through southern states. Video

[Covid Lockdown in Canada] A friend tells me that if you get caught going to the grocery without a list in hand of essentials, you can be fined $1,000! So I asked, “Who determines what is an essential?” To a computer programmer, it might be cheese puffs. And for an alcoholic …? Now in that province, you can’t even buy a case of beer in the grocery, so I asked if the government-run liquor stores were open. (When they are closed, you call a cab. Their trunks are well stocked at twice the price plus cab fare for delivery). She replied, “They say liquor stores have to be open because of alcoholics. They would get sick and we can’t see a doctor here.” I guess that answers the definition of a government “essential”, but I wonder if it applies to your crack or meth supply?



[Do It Yourself] IKEA is now selling toilet paper.

[Heal Thyself] The reaction to this virus is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen.  Why do grown (supposedly) people need the government to tell them how to respond to a virus?  Just give people the facts and let them decide for themselves if they’re willing to risk catching it.  If you’re so afraid that someone might give it to you, by all means, stay in your house – forever – if you wish.  I think it’s time sane people realized enough is enough and stopped letting the government control every aspect of your life.  This is just nuts.