More Proof that Children Don’t Spread COVID

No child has been found to have passed coronavirus to an adult, a review of the evidence in partnership with the Royal College of Paediatrics has found.

Major studies into the impact of COVID-19 on young children suggest they “do not play a significant role” in spreading the virus and are less likely to become infected than adults.

This is very important. Does grandma need to be isolated from the grandkids forever? The research shows she doesn’t.

Poll: Reading Lineup

I’ve made this sticky to let everybody vote. Scroll down for new posts.

We haven’t had any polls in a while, so let’s do one. There’s nothing else to do but read books but here’s a dilemma, which one to read first?

I’ll read all of them, so you are not thwarting any reading opportunities by making a choice. But where to start?

Book Notes: Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This novel, which is a debut by a New York Times Magazine journalist, is the perfect quarantine read. It’s so incredibly clueless, the characters are so contemptible, their problems are so ridiculous, and the author is so elitist that the whole thing ends up being a lot of fun.

Fleishman Is in Trouble is a midlife crisis novel, which already tells you that it’s going to be stupid. The characters are New Yorkers of the kind that think a yearly salary of $285,000 means a person is a total loser. The protagonist is called Toby Fleishman, and he’s the loser with the tiny $285,000 salary. As part of his midlife crisis, he gets divorced from his wife Rachel. Rachel is a victim of patriarchy that prevents her from living up to her potential and making good money. That’s why she only makes 15 (as in fifteen) times more than Toby. Which is a pittance, obviously.

The extreme suffering Rachel experiences as a woman of such a limited income living in the midst of the evilest of patriarchies is described with such earnestness one begins to suspect Brodesser-Akner was wearing her pink pussy hat while writing.

Nobody in the novel ever comes across any normal people and experiences any normal problems. This is something to be grateful for because it’s become fashionable among today’s authors to include in their novels an encounter between their ultra-sensitive patriarchy-fighting characters and evil, disgusting, flyover plebs that wounds their already strained sensibilities with its lack of appreciation for the protagonists’ suffering in the clutches of patriarchy.

If you think, however, that Toby and Rachel are the worst this novel has to offer, you’ll be mistaken. There’s also the narrator, Libby. Her entitlement and snowflakery are such that the rest of the characters look downright sweet and homey in comparison. And guess what? She’s also a victim of patriarchy.

There is no trace of irony in the treatment of these characters. This is not a parody of the elitist rich people. It’s all completely serious, and that won’t surprise you if you read The NYTimes Magazine.

The novel got nominated for a feminist award because, obviously, feminism is all about rich snowflakes and their bouts of pouting. It’s also being turned into a TV series.

The only thing that bothers me about this whole thing is that all of the characters are Jewish, and we* don’t need any more stereotyping as rich, obnoxious elitists than we already get.

Other than that, the novel is extremely enjoyable in its utter stupidity.

*I’m Jewish on my father’s side.

Favorite Novels

People are so pretentious. The lists of favorite novels on Twitter are absolutely pathetic in their naked desire to look sophisticated.

“1. War and Peace

2. Moby Dick

3. Anna Karenina

4. Brothers Karamazov

5. Infinite Jest”

writes a suburban real estate agent with zero Russian parentage. And then everybody repeats the list with slight variations.

I’m a professional literary critic, so my list updates every week. But even I wouldn’t reread any of the stuff that makes it onto people’s lists even if you paid me to do it.

Let’s Really Close Schools

Governor Pritzker ordered the schools closed until the end of the academic year. Which would be fine if schools were really closed. But they aren’t. They are working very hard on turning little kids into screen addicts.

If you know anybody who has kids in grade school, all they want to talk about is the absolutely insane amount of time idiot teachers are forcing kids to spend online.

An assignment from a Physical Education teacher: “Find information about the importance of physical activity and prepare a 500-word report.” We have beautiful weather. The hiking trails are open. And this is the assignment this pathetic excuse for a teacher comes up with?

I believe it’s child abuse to make children stare at screens. Parents in the Mommy group on Facebook are full of horror stories. Many people are just now realizing what incredible crap secondary education is. I predict a spike in homeschooling after this is over.

We need to realize that schools teach absolutely nothing (as I’ve already discovered from meeting a whole generation of college freshmen) and everything we want kids to know we have to teach ourselves. And constantly battle the idiot teachers who want to outsource everything they do to stupid apps.

And please don’t think it’s just public schools in the US. A very expensive chi-chi fru-fru school in Canada where my niece goes is exactly like this, too. What they are doing to kids should be illegal.

Book Notes: Richard Russo’s Chances Are…

I have no idea how I managed to miss Russo’s new novel last year but I did. Russo is one of the best writers in America today. He writes in the great realist tradition that nobody does better than Americans. Chances Are… is the novel where Russo comes the closest to the tradition of the great Wallace Stegner, and I’m glad the writer is going in this direction.

Unlike some of Russo’s best work, Chances Are… isn’t about the working class. The protagonists are three men in their sixties who vacation on Martha’s Vineyard (so definitely not working class) and remember their youth.

There’s a mystery that the protagonists are trying to solve, a great plot, and very memorable characters. It’s a very enjoyable novel, in short. There should be more novels about men who are being men and trying to figure out their male lives. As one reviewer pointed out, the novel drips with testosterone, and I think that’s great.


There’s one thing I don’t get about Chances Are… The author set the novel on the eve of the 2016 presidential election and linked every character to the most primitive political stereotypes.

The Democrat in the novel is an impotent, immature, constantly terrified fusspot who is incapable of forming a family or procreating.

The Republican is very good at procreating but he’s a judgmental, rich, clueless guy who is comically conventional and incapable of going through life without his wife controlling every aspect of his daily existence.

The non-voting guy is a layabout whose only child is an opioid addict.

And the Trump voter is obviously a rich wife-beating, rapey bastard who is rude, hateful, racistsexist, and anti-education.

There’s even a scene where a group of “Christian tourists” comes to the Vineyard, and the tourists can’t agree on which Republican candidate they support. Of course, the most stupid, rude, and downright disgusting of them turn out to be Trump voters.

I’m not sure why any of this is in the novel. Everything else is so much better than these primitive stereotypes. My enjoyment of the book was undermined every time the Democrat demonstrated his terror of the physical aspects of human life and the Trump voter shook his naked beer gut at strangers. If anybody on here reads the novel and has an explanation for this, please share. There must be something, some plan or goal that I’m not seeing.

It’s still a great novel, though.

Mass Shooting in Canada

Yesterday the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history took place. A 51-year-old denturist from Nova Scotia killed 18 people for reasons currently unknown. These things don’t get extremely politicized from the get ho in Canada, so it’s likely we will find out what really happened.

My condolences go to Canadian friends. This is a terrible tragedy.

Middle Age Is Here

Thank you, dear friends, for the birthday wishes, the kind words, and the gifts! You are wonderful people.

Now that I have a makeup refrigerator, I’m fully ready to enter middle age. And in that spirit, I will be starting my very first regular 9 to 5 job on July 1. If everything reopens, that is. I truly hope my first ever regular office job won’t be thwarted by a quarantine.

The regular office job means I will be reading much more because there’s not much to do at the office. So more book reviews and more fun for everybody.