Archive for Quarantine Time

American Master…

We may all have a case of cabin fever but there is no scarcity of good books, videos, films, and music to keep us occupied while we wait for Covid-19 to be vanquished. On Sunday night M and I watched a beautifully made PBS documentary American Masters:Wyeth, chronicling the life and work of Andrew Wyeth the great American realist painter–who lived most of his life, by choice, in self-isolation. 

While taking an art history class in the 1950s, I became aware of Mr. Wyeth’s work but didn’t understand how to place it in the continuum of American art. Neither did the arts experts; realistic painting seemed old fashioned to them. But, in 1948, Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, purchased what has become Wyeth’s most famous painting, Christina’s World, for $1800 and that act helped change the art world’s perception of what “might” be modern. At the time abstract expressionism (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clifford Still and others) was the big thing in modern art and realism was out of favor and assigned to a place in art history.  read more

No Smell, No Taste…

Granny

My restless brain is in overdrive search now that I have all this time and nowhere to go, so when I heard that one of the symptoms of Covid-19 was the loss of smell and taste, I free associated back to a bar of the same name (No Smell No Taste) in the West African country of Liberia. As Jerry Jeff Walker said about going to jail “I wasn’t there on a research project.” No Smell No Taste was a shanty bar, part wood, part corrugated tin, dirt floor on the road from the airport at Roberts Field to the capital, Monrovia. Big fun. Heineken beer preserved and fortified with formaldehyde (not unlike Trump’s injection of disinfectant) and a favored watering spot for Pan Am crew members. But, that’s another story. read more

Is This It for Us?

As of today, April 24, 2020, there are 2,736,979 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide and 192,125 reported deaths. Of those, America has 870,468 cases and 50,031 deaths. Here in Washington there are 12,282 confirmed cases and 682 deaths.

“April is the cruellest month” (T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land)

The world is on lockdown. Our streets are empty. Essential businesses are permitted. Nothing else is open. In New Orleans, rats are swarming in the streets, because the restaurants are closed, the dumpsters are empty, and there’s nothing to eat. read more

Where’s My Alan Mullaly?

Seattle’s horse left the barn in 1997 when Boeing acquired its sickly competitor McDonnell Douglas. Little did anyone suspect that a company on life support could hijack the culture of its acquiring giant and precipitate a corporate tailspin that would drive the company into financial bailout territory.

The public could be forgiven for believing Boeing’s problem is the 737 MAX safety issue compounded by the Covid-19 crisis. The truth is more complex and the problems, including those related to the 737 MAX, derive from a cultural change that began with the McDonnell Douglas merger.  read more

Chernobyl and Coronavirus…

I think of myself as a healthy person, but airborne contagion doesn’t care what I think, and it doesn’t care if I go to fitness class or run marathons. It’s an equal opportunity disrupter. A neurologist once told me that some people are more vulnerable to diseases of the central nervous system than others. He thought I was one of them because in my time on the planet I have uploaded viral meningitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, transient global amnesia, two episodes of myasthenia gravis and what a pediatrician diagnosed as a mild case of polio. I’m lucky that they’re all in the rear-view mirror now. read more