From CBS News:
A roughly 2-inch long insect known as the "murder hornet" has made its way to the U.S. for the first time ever, researchers said. The Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia, has been known to kill up to 50 people a year in Japan, according to The New York Times, and has the potential to devastate U.S. bee populations, which have already been declining.
Trump Press Conference on Murder Hornets
Trump: OK, let’s get started here, I’m leaving to tour a mask factory soon. You all know about the newest Asian invader, this animal. Well many people think of it as an animal, or a small bird of some kind, like maybe a Hummingbird. But it’s really a bug. Not a bug like a virus but the other kind.
Anthony Fauci: An insect, Mr. President.
Trump: Don’t correct, me Tony.
Fauci: Yes, Sir. I mean, no, Sir.
Trump: So listen: everyone is all worked up about this thing, this wasp or whatever. Hornet, many people are calling it. Murder Hornet. Which does sound very, very bad, very dangerous. But I’m here to tell you we have this thing under control.
Reporter #1: But isn’t it here already, and spreading?
Trump: That is a very stupid question. Are you a stinger bug expert? Because I know a lot about these things. There’s like maybe one or two isolated Murderous Hornets on the West Coast. Where they belong. We have them under control.
Reporter #2: But Sir, they have been seen in several states already.
Trump: Did you see them?
Reporter #2: Well, no, not personally but…
Trump: Then you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s like the same two hornets, moving around, flying, and people say they are spreading. But what if it’s two male hornets? Or two girl ones? How would they reproduce? Tony?
Fauci: That’s true, Mr. President, they could not mate and spread under those conditions.
Trump: See? Listen, people are getting worked up over nothing. In like a month, when it’s summer, these hornets—not just the killer ones, but the littler, friendly ones—will all die out. Trust me. It’s going to be a miracle. Like maybe one or two people will be attacked and stung to death. Which will be very painful and horrible for those people. And their families. And probably a lot of bees will also be killed. Like ten trillion. But we’re not going to shut down the economy for two or three Asian murderous bugs. We can’t let the cure be worse than the sting.
Reporter #1: Sir, what should people do if they see a Murder Hornet? Should they report it to a government agency?
Trump: Rolled up newspaper. A big one. Next question.
Reporter #2: But Sir! They say getting stung by a Murder Hornet is like having a red-hot thumbtack stuck in your skin.
Trump: That’s a dumb thing to say. You are dumb. Where do you work?
Reporter #2: BuzzFeed News.
Trump: BuzzFeed? You’re obviously with the Hornets.
-- Josh Piven
New York (CNN Business)The national meat shortage has come for Wendy's. The fast food chain says some menu items are unavailable, and one analyst estimates nearly one in five of Wendy's restaurants are out of beef.
New Wendy’s Menu Items
Like bread? Who doesn’t! (Except those silly gluten-free people.) Features two buns with nothing in between.
Tofu Baconator® Bunanator®
Loads of crispy tofu piled high atop other loads of crispy tofu, sandwiched between our special meatless buns.
How’s a big stack of fried onions, mounded over eye-tearing raw onions, and served on a brioche sound? Sounds like you’ll be cryin’ for more!
Triple Notpossible® Burger
Our newest hit is playing your song: a half-pound seaweed and kale patty smothered in tofu cheese that tastes like the real thing: if the real thing tastes awful.
Hickory Smoked Barbecue Bulgur®
You read that right, it’s not a burger but a bulgur, featuring delightfully taste-free bulgur wheat mixed with a cup of Dave’s special hickory bbq sauce. Served in our new Bunbowl®! Just try eating it without a fork and tons of napkins!
Dave’s Classic Lil’ Lettuce Lunch Combo
Iceberg right ahead: This one’s for the kiddies, with crisp, ice-cold iceberg lettuce slathered with ketchup and topped with salt and sugar. Includes fries, a soda, or milk (ha ha!)
-- Josh Piven
From The Times:
The cruise giant Carnival Corporation said on Monday that it planned to reopen cruising on eight of its ships before the end of the summer.
A message from Your Captain
Welcome back, Carnival Cruisies!™
I know it’s been quite a while since you’ve been aboard a Carnival vessel—except for those who enjoyed our Trapped At Sea™ experience last April—and I want to assure you that the cruise experience you know and love isn’t changing!
By now, you’ve been temperature gunned, issued mandatory personal protective gear, installed our state-of-the-art Carnival Contact Tracer™ app, put on your color-coded bracelet indicating test status, and been shown to your stateroom by one of our robotic stewards. As you get settled, you’ll notice a few minor updates to your cabin. That slot at the bottom of your door is for meal trays: all meals will be delivered to your stateroom—within 15 minutes of ordering! Please do not attempt to speak to Carnival staff as they deliver your meals. You’ll see a set of lights above your cabin door. “Red” indicates that others are walking in your passageway, so your cabin door will remain locked. “Green” indicates it’s safe to go out of your cabin. Your stateroom door will unlock automatically.
Once out of your stateroom, please note: the elevators between decks have been disabled for safety reasons. Please use marked stairways. If you need assistance, someone will be along at some point with a hoist and winch.
You’ll see that our world-famous pools are, unfortunately, now empty. This is for your protection. Please enjoy our Disinfecting Spray-Ground™ where you can cool off and kill any viruses that may have snuck on board! (Please close eyes and mouth while using.)
While bars and restaurants have been closed for safety reasons, our new Carnival Carnivore Virtual Cookout™ has been installed on Deck 5. Just head on over, smell the delicious grilled meats, place your order on the tablet computer, and your meal will be brought to your stateroom! What could be easier?
A note about entertainment. All shows and casino operations have been closed for safety reasons. But don’t worry: You have a wide selection of movies to watch in your stateroom, and for all you gamblers: The World Series of Poker will be run in a continuous loop for the next seven days!
The weather ahead does look a little rough, so we ask that you remain inside for the next 48 hours as we adjust to a more favorable course (not Asia, we learned our lesson there!) Should you develop a fever: For God’s Sake Do Not Leave Your Stateroom Under Any Circumstances I Can’t Go Through That Again!
Have a wonderful cruise!
-- Josh Piven
A few recent observations.
I like the Blue Angels and pointless displays of military hardware as much as the next patriot, but perhaps for the next flight they could airdrop food. Or cash.
I saw a police officer, on a mountain bike, riding down an empty street. He was popping wheelies. I’m thinking this means crime is down.
Why do people wear their face masks while driving? Alone?
How is it that we’ve had videoconferencing tech for 10 years but insurance companies are just this month deciding to cover telemedicine?
If we currently have to wear masks at the grocery store, when they finally do reopen the restaurants, how are we going to eat with masks on?
The Great Depression is taken. The Great Recession, also taken. Perhaps this will be called The Great Lesson, because we might possibly learn something this time? You’re right, seems unlikely.
How is it the airlines got $50 billion in taxpayer funds but American won’t refund my fucking four grand?
Can we all finally agree that high-speed Internet is a utility?
The “cure is not worse than the disease” if you’re the dead one. It’s actually the reverse in that particular situation…
Anyone else amused that AirBnB and VRBO—both companies that rely on travel—are now sending “helpful” emails about cooking, playing games, and exercise at home? Way to stay engaged, guys! I’m sure your business will be fine.
Perhaps now’s the time to discuss the fact that employer-based health insurance has a highly specific single point of failure: when your job disappears. That’s kind of an important detail, no?
Just want to make sure everyone is aware that the first round of checks to those who lost their jobs was delayed because Trump wanted his signature printed on them.
How is it that the ONE elected Republican (Justin Amash) who publicly opposed Trump is now going to run for President? Say it with me now: THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES CANNOT WIN IN OUR SYSTEM.
Did Jared bring peace to the Middle East yet? Just my monthly check in.
Enjoy your Friday. Maybe a home-made cocktail?
-- Josh Piven
From the Washington Post:
Quarantinis are a meme of this crisis. But relying on alcohol could lead to serious problems.
For many Americans, the days of the coronavirus quarantine have been bracketed by coffee at one end and happy hour at the other. Drinking memes and “quarantini” recipes are everywhere, and off-premises booze sales surged by 55 percent in mid-March as people started turning to alcohol to deal with the stress, anxiety and grief brought on by isolation. But weeks or even months of using alcohol to escape difficult emotions could leave those who indulge with a problem that’s hard to shake once the lockdown is over.
So far, I’m really enjoying the slower pace of Quarantine life, staying up a little later to read my book, getting up a little later, having a leisurely breakfast with Tom and the kids. Pancakes yesterday! I’m like a home-maker now! Hello, COVID, Hello 1954! Last night, while we watched Tiger King, I even had half a glass of white wine… on a Thursday! Very relaxing!
Things have really slowed down at work, and I’m enjoying being able to make my own schedule. We had a Zoom happy hour last night (TGIF!). It went pretty well. Probably shouldn’t’ve had that second glass of Chardonnay, as I skipped jogging this a.m. Oh well, it is the weekend…
Rainy Saturday. Tom and I cleaned out the basement, what a mess. I was so exhausted I had to grab a glass of White Zin at lunch. Then I took a nap and felt better. For dinner we had pasta so we cracked open a nice Barolo. That didn’t last long.
Sunday Brunch! Bloody Marys or STFU, beee-otch! LOLZ. We did a Zoom brunch, so of course we also had to toast with Prosecco! So fun!
Mon. Day. Back to fucking work. So many stupid videoconferences. Irish coffee in the morning helps. Also: it’s so easy to turn my camera off during meetings and have just a little nip in the afternoon. Makes all these dumb people bearable. Mexican for dinner tonight: Margaritas, woot!
OK, Tom is really starting to fucking piss me off with his constant cracks about my wine consumption. Like, what the fuck, dude? Are you cooking seven nights a week. Didn’t think so. Also the kids: What the hell? Can they maybe do their own laundry for once? I discovered this new drink, a Moscow Mule, it’s really easy to make and they go down quick. Beer chasers, that’s how I roll, motherfucker. OK, gotta go, Zoom book/wine club in five…
Ug, I overslept this morning and missed an important Zoom. Oh well, fuck them, like I have a say in who gets furloughed. Did you know that bartenders drink Fernet because it smells like mouthwash and hides the smell of the hard stuff really well? Totally works, trust me.
Where. Is. The. Fucking. Scotch. Tom that piece of shit bastard motherfucker hid all my bottles. Like he’s some saint! Shit for brains has like two beers a night. And Double IPAs too, not the Session Ales that are like 4.0 IBU. It’s OK though, while he was showering I snuck out and stocked up at the package store. Paid cash so he won’t see the charge. Yeeeah boyeee some bathroom drinkin’ tonight bitches! OK, back to work.
Quick question: Why is Tom such a flaming asshole? He moved out. He took the kids. It’s my fault, I tossed an empty at his head ‘cause he wouldn’t shut up about his sick parents. Mom has COVID? Who doesn’t, Dude? Like I give two shits. Fuck them, his mother hates me anyway.
Sooooo lonely and crying right now. Nobody loves me and it’s all my fault, I am such a fucked up loser. I swear, Diary, I will never drink again. Not another drop. Ever. I’m going back to running. Tomorrow. I swear.
Dear Diary –
Fri-day! Have you ever heard of a Whiskey Sour…?
-- Josh Piven
From The Times:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its list of possible symptoms of the coronavirus. The federal health agency changed its website to cite the following symptoms as possible indicators of Covid-19, the infection caused by the coronavirus. (Previously it had listed just three symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath.)
New symptoms added as of April 28:
From the Times:
Safe Dining? Hard to Imagine, but Many Restaurants Are Trying
Though widespread re-openings may be a long way off, chefs and health officials have begun studying how a post-pandemic restaurant might look. “Everyone’s going to the grocery stores, and there are some grocery stores where nobody has any gloves on,” said Pano Karatassos, a corporate executive chef for the group. “We are going to have an experience in my mind that’s 10 times safer. What we’re doing is looking to move forward with the new way of dining.”
Welcome to Georgia! Please follow our dining-out guidelines, and enjoy your new restaurant experience!
Have a fever? Get the fuck out.
Our restaurants put your safety first… way ahead of the health of the general population! That’s why we’ll be temperature-gunning you at the door! Just relax as the host or hostess—in full PPE gear—shoots you with an infrared temp gun. No fever? You’re welcome to go to the next dining step. Slight fever? Hot flashes? Go home and cook. Again.
All diners will be given surgical masks. You’ll note that our restaurants’ masks are a bit different: there’s a piece of masking tape covering a mouth hole. This tape should be removed when you take a bite of our delicious cuisine, and re-attached while chewing. Repeat as necessary.
Break up party.
If your party is larger than 4 persons, you won’t be enjoying the full communal dining experience: two or more of you will sit off in a corner somewhere. Hopefully, you’ll be within shouting distance. But, of course, you’ll be masked, so maybe plan to catch up later.
Prepare for tableside boiling.
We want you to know all our utensils are germ free, so we’ll be sterilizing them table-side in a huge vat of boiling water. Don’t worry, accidents have been rare! We use paper plates, and we’ll be incinerating them in the burn pit out back after your meal.
In the interests of safety, our menu will be read over the restaurant’s PA system in a continuous loop. Don’t worry if you missed something: it’s comin’ round again!
Ordering wine just got simple! Just use our “sommelier app” to say “red” or “white” and we’ll pick something that compliments your meal. No returns.
Our experienced servers have already recovered from COVID, and are therefore (hopefully!) immune, so don’t worry, you won’t get them sick!
Rather than risk infecting our patrons in a small, enclosed bathroom, we’ve taken the precautionary step of installing a pit latrine out back. Don’t worry, there are plenty of hand sanitizer stations!
Your meal will be pre-paid before you arrive, so there’s no need to worry about searching for a credit card or paying with (likely contagious) cash.
If you wanted take-out, why'd you come here?
-- Josh Piven
New cocktails at the Trump International Hotel and Tower
Sex on the Bleach
Scrumptious new concoction featuring peach schnapps, vodka, cranberry juice, and 100% non-diluted Clorox. Hope you’ve got a sweet tooth and a current will!
Trump Rusty Nail
An update of a classic featuring scotch, Drambuie, and actual metal shavings from a rusty nail. Bet you can drink just one!
This one will remind you of that end-of-summer fling, and features vodka, grapefruit, cranberry, and a Febreze floater. The fresh smell with knock you out!
Gin and Carbolic
Tonic is so last week as we re-freshen this summer classic with a generous helping of carbolic acid. Please pay before ordering.
It’s hard to improve a classic, but we’ve done it with this complex drink featuring whiskey, lemon juice, egg white, and scouring powder. Bring a designated ambulance driver for this one!
Nothing says summer like this trendy Prosecco cocktail, but with a special Trump twist: a double schpritz of Lysol disinfectant. Try one poolside… or graveside!
What better way to start your 14-day quarantine than this re-imagined classic featuring not rye buy lye! Garnished with a radioactive cherry, we hope someone’s watching the kids—til they’re 18!
-- Josh Piven
Even Soap Operas Are Running Out of Episodes Because of the Coronavirus
Tune in tomorrow while you can: Long-running daytime soaps The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, which halted production last month in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, are about to run out of original episodes.
Pilots for new soap operas coming soon:
General Hospital: The Bankruptcy Years
Once a thriving (and conniving) enterprise, GH has fallen on hard times due to a lack of government support during the COVID era. Dr. Sonny Corinthos spends his days begging for testing kits and personal protective equipment, while also carrying on a torrid love affair with his head nurse, Lulu, who is secretly a world-famous epidemiologist who has lost her license due to a drunken driving conviction she can’t remember because she was so whacked out on amphetamines for three years. She's now working, in secret, on a vaccine. Meanwhile, the head hospital administrator, Curtis, is secretly stealing nasal swabs and selling them on the black market to support his $100/day Peloton class habit, because he needs to stay fit to win back Maxie, who once worked for him but is now pursuing Sonny while also running what appears to be a successful floral shop but in reality is a drug front for a Columbian cartel: a cartel that is seeking to take over the hospital and make it a drug lab. The bad kind.
The Young & The Hopeless
In this compelling new daytime drama, Ashley Abbott is a wealthy/immoral tech titan who has flown her private jet to her estate in New Zealand to escape the plague. Meanwhile, Billy Abbott, who believes he is her biological son but is actually the product of a love triangle featuring an ER doctor, a mail carrier, and an Uber Eats delivery driver, has come down with COVID-19 and threatens to fly to New Zealand to expose Ashely to the virus unless she pays him $10 million—in the mistaken belief that New Zealand allows anyone except rich white people to enter the country. Meanwhile, his real mother, the ER doctor Hope Adams, wants to reunite with her son, but she can’t because she’s now on a ventilator that may (or may not) be malfunctioning due to a design flaw that Ashley’s company is responsible for (but not yet publicly known).
The Last Days of Our Lives
Chad is sure his baby was swapped at birth, but can’t prove anything because during the COVID crisis all hospital records have been contaminated and are being burned one at a time to draw out the drama. Meanwhile, Gabi was shocked to find out that Stefan, who she’d assumed just had seasonal allergies, has the virus and now has to wear a surgical mask, making foreplay difficult. Little does she know that behind the mask it’s actually not Stefan, but his long-lost twin brother Steven, who does not have the virus but is just wearing the mask to hide his identity while he seduces Gabi. Stefan, however, actually does have the virus, but has been kidnapped by a group of right wingers who are seeking to extract antibodies and use them to create a vaccine to be used only in red states. Stefan, however, has secretly coughed on his kidnappers while they slept, and is now counting down the days until they lose lung function and he can escape.
The Bold and the Beautiful-Even-Without-Makeup-And-Haircuts
Flo is sure that Sally’s medical records have a hidden secret: that she was born a brunette. Now, thanks to COVID, Sally can’t get a dye job and her hidden past may come to light in, oh, about two-and-a-half more weeks. The problem is, Sally is no longer attracted to Wyatt because he tried to give himself a haircut and it did not go well. Meanwhile, Brooke and Quinn are mulling a wild night on the Vegas Strip, because they’re completely clueless about the virus and assume casinos are essential businesses. As it turns out, though, they learn that Indian casinos are actually exempt from social distancing and quarantine rules (because they have their own laws! Who knew? ) so it looks like they may be able to go casino crazy after all, as long as they are willing to drive to the Metlakatla community in Alaska. Which is all the way past Canada, which has closed its border, forcing a dangerous night crossing. Luckily, they both speak Canadian.
-- Josh Piven
Many Web sites and videos have been devoted to new games/activities/DIYs performed during the pandemic. Here are a few we suggest here at Housebound.
Game: Dirty Laundry
How to play: Discuss reasons clothes are getting dirty since we don’t leave the goddamn house.
Object: See who has the most realistic explanation for anything other than underwear and socks being dirty.
Game: Guess the loads!
How to play: Guess how many times we will run the dishwasher in a week.
Object: See who comes closest to predicting how many fucking loads of dirty dishes we’re creating by eating in three meals a day for weeks with no fucking end in sight.
Game: Whose videoconference is louder?
How to play: Requires 2-4 people in the household on videoconferences at the same time.
Object: See who screams unnecessarily into the microphone, and whose remote colleagues are most annoying. Cannot be played with headphones.
Game: Guess who’s cooking dinner? Again?
How to play: Try to figure out why, with multiple people in the house all day and perfectly capable of making at least pasta, the same parent cooks all the meals.
Game: Bottle toss
How to play: Throw empty wine and booze bottles into the recycle bin when you’re drunk, hoping they won’t break but secretly knowing at least a few will.
Object: See if you can go three days without filling the bin. Good luck!
Game: CVS Roulette
How to play: Spin a dial that will point to the person who will risk their life by going to CVS for the toilet paper and sanitizer you know they won’t have, because they never have them.
Object: To not get the virus.
Game: Flight to Fresh Air
How to play: See who can stay outside the longest before running back to the house after being frightened by strangers and/or deranged people who get too close.
Object: To not get the virus
DIY Project: Replace the toilet paper roll when it’s empty, if you used the last sheet.
Steps: Self-explanatory. Just like it’s been for the ten years before the quarantine.
DIY Project: Do your virtual school work without bitching about it for once.
Steps: You don’t need to get up until 8:30am, don’t need to leave the house, and have three hours of work per day, if that. Yet still, you complain.
DIY Project: Bring your dirty dishes down from your room and put them in the dishwasher without being asked
Steps: Good luck finding them all. Try using your sense of smell. Bonus points for mold.
-- Josh Piven