Guilty Pleasures

Yes, I was going to read all those important, profound books about neoliberalism. But then the temperature rose to 70°F, Sophie Hannah released a new novel, and I spent the whole day lying in the backyard with my Kindle and a bag of jellybeans.

It was extremely enjoyable but strangely exhausting.

Did you know, by the way, that when you see a huge flock of birds in the sky that almost covers it, there’s a name for that? It’s called a murmuration. How cool is that?

Price of Food

Did groceries become more expensive? Or am I buying more expensive stuff because I subconsciously feel like it’s YOLO time?

I just paid $240 for groceries for the week. I’ve never paid anything like that. We very rarely eat out and never do takeout, so it’s not that we suddenly eat at home more. The only person who used to eat outside the home is Klara, and it’s not her food that’s inflating my grocery bill.

Does anybody else feel like food costs more?

Academic Achievements in Quarantine

Everybody on social media is sharing the amazing academic achievements their kids are accomplishing while in quarantine.

My kid is accomplishing no academic achievements whatsoever. Yesterday we lay in the grass and stared at the blue sky for two hours. The day before she built a puddle in the middle of the lawn and called it a lake. Then we found a worm and followed it around. Tomorrow we are planning to sunbathe in the verandah. Much of the day I don’t even know what she does because I have to work and if she’s not screaming, it means she’s not physically hurt and I don’t need to know the rest.

I’m not trying to structure her day or imitate the school schedule. And hey, I’m not saying that people who do it are wrong in any way. Good for them that they are so serious about it. But I’m probably the most anti-education professor I know. I don’t believe in homework or exams. I kind of think that everybody will end up learning whatever they need, and that can be anything and happen any time.

Schooling before college is extremely, gigantically, mega important for socialization. And absolutely nothing else.

But once again, I sincerely admire people who are trying to be all school-like in quarantine. This is not a criticism.

Nate’s TDSing

People asked me what TDS is. Here’s a classic example. It’s yesterday’s tweet from Nate Silver. He’s writing about the coronavirus stats:

Here’s another interesting comparison. Yesterday, detected cases increased by 31% in Trump states as compared to 21% in Clinton states.

If you don’t get why what’s happening to Nate is sad, you might have caught a bit of the TDS, too.

I used to like this guy. (Said I for the millionth time since TDS started affecting the population).


Folks, see what Mike writes:

The issue is that after a certain point — and I think it’s about three months — economic relations break in a way that cannot be mended. There will be no repair, only destruction. The economy isn’t a Windows 95 machine that can be rebooted when it crashes. It doesn’t work like that at all.

Mike is anything but a Trump fan, by the way. But he’s absolutely right. Maybe it’s a bit longer than 3 months but I’ve personally experienced the kind of disintegration of the economy that he’s talking about back in 1990. And, folks, he’s right. Our economy back then was a lot less complicated and interconnected, and it was still a total bastard trying to get it working again. People went completely nuts. Yes, it was a different situation but still there are gigantic similarities. Everybody was sent home overnight. Everything closed down. Even toilet paper shortages were part of it. I’m telling you, it’s not a game you want to play.

It’s not insane, immoral or Trumpist to care about this. And I’m not saying let’s all head back to work today. I’m saying let’s not pretend like this isn’t a very big deal.