Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's Nice Things Ninety-Nine
Happy Sunday to you all! We hope you're holding up OK and staying safe; it's incredible to me that in all the stuff going on, my home state had a literal 6.5 magnitude earthquake Tuesday and somehow that was just a one-day story, though that's mostly due to the fact that it was in a remote area, and there was no serious damage or injuries. Also, no, it's not connected to the Yellowstone supervolcano or fracking. But that was a pretty interesting 15 seconds here in Boise.
And now, let us get on with the Nice Things!
Stuff To Read!
The New York Times has a pretty cool story on the medical illustrators who created the iconic image of the SARS-CoV-2 virus -- that spiky ball I've been photoshopping into all the pictures of Donald Trump. Alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins
were asked to create "an identity" for the virus. "Something to grab the public's attention," she said. Ms. Eckert expected that whatever they came up with might appear on a few cable news programs, as their creations had in the past.
Instead, as the pandemic spread and intensified, their rendering's reach did, too. "It started popping up around the world," she said.
Eckert also created an illustration of "a cluster of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that cause gonorrhea," for a 2019 report on antibiotic-resistant bugs. The Times says,
In her portrayal, the bacteria float like jellyfish, their tentacle-like pili intertwined. The aim was to "make them look like they're really alive," she said, "so you know to be aware of them."
True enough. But the Times was too polite to say the image also makes our inner 12-year-old say, wow, they LOOK LIKE NARDS!
Beyond our puerile smirking, the article is a really nice look at a professional who brings the tools of art to scientific communication — the kind of "how they do it" stuff I'm a complete sucker for.
Also pretty cool is this interview at Electric Literature with science fiction writer Ted Chiang, who helps explain what kind of disaster novel we're living in right now:
While there has been plenty of fiction written about pandemics, I think the biggest difference between those scenarios and our reality is how poorly our government has handled it. If your goal is to dramatize the threat posed by an unknown virus, there's no advantage in depicting the officials responding as incompetent, because that minimizes the threat; it leads the reader to conclude that the virus wouldn't be dangerous if competent people were on the job. A pandemic story like that would be similar to what's known as an "idiot plot," a plot that would be resolved very quickly if your protagonist weren't an idiot. What we're living through is only partly a disaster novel; it's also—and perhaps mostly—a grotesque political satire.
Idiot plot. That sounds about right.
Update On Our Invasion Of The Slog's Book Club
This scene's much funnier with John Cleese and Eric Idle
Kids, I really let you down last week: Tuesday, we were gonna invade The Slog's Quarantine Club, which is discussing Albert Camus's The Plague, but right around the time their discussion of Part Three of the novel went up, Boise went and had a earthquake and I was kind of useless for the rest of the evening. And I just couldn't kick myself in the pants to go say anything about that section of the novel the rest of the week, either. (It's probably the most depressing part, which didn't help, either.) But I was happy to see that at least one Wonkette reader did show up to add their two cents, and it was a good comment, too.
So, in the spirit of Boxer the horse, I Will Work Harder, and this Tuesday, April 7, when the discussion of Part Four of the book goes up, I will be there. So hey, let's try this again and see how it goes, shall we? To get a sense of where their discussion has been, supplement your reading with their discussions of Part One, Part Two, and Part Three of the novel, and we'll be all ready to go when the post on Part Four goes up, in the late afternoon. Bring cakes we like!
The reading schedule for the rest of the book is:
- Part Four: Tuesday, April 7
- Part Five: Tuesday, April 14
Bring On The Twitter Stuff, Will Ya Dok?
OK! I shall.As you might expect, the usual cute animals were supplemented by bored humans at home this week. Like Patti LuPone, who knows how to do April 1 right: not so much a prank as just flat out fabulousness.
Ya bored yet? https://t.co/kDZR1jYWyG— Patti LuPone (@Patti LuPone) 1585780669.0
In The Air Tonight drum solo: Quarantine edition https://t.co/iwfHikau0d— Classic Dad Moves (@Classic Dad Moves) 1585678177.0
Stupid Human Tricks! Don't try this at home. Unless you record it.
I’m definitely here for old folks challenging other old folks to chug a beer in their garages during this Coronavir… https://t.co/3464E3hzRB— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@Rex Chapman🏇🏼) 1585863466.0
Some people use their quarantine for crafts. Others are members of my karass.
I put the dirty clothes in a hamper exactly once since being quarantined https://t.co/kS9zGXMMUE— Tressie McMillan Cottom (@Tressie McMillan Cottom) 1585853603.0
Wildlife finally returning to Thames. Nature is healing🌷 https://t.co/d6uBxSaIAx— ruby🦎 (@ruby🦎) 1585504008.0
Have you been missing our Echidna friends?! Well, here is a gorgeous clip of one of our keepers spending some enri… https://t.co/2mjEwqq2mK— Bonorong Sanctuary (@Bonorong Sanctuary) 1585865122.0
Well yes, I had to follow this account, of course I did:
A gentleman leaf https://t.co/NAjVgk0rHr— Faces in Things (@Faces in Things) 1585767976.0
Pareidolia, it'll troll ya.
https://t.co/O5aBdf7lBC— Faces in Things (@Faces in Things) 1585858510.0
Ostrich! https://t.co/S2B0b1hJ9G— Faces in Things (@Faces in Things) 1585337116.0
Oh no! I've been opened! https://t.co/qN3ZBUn4sn— Faces in Things (@Faces in Things) 1583170064.0
Sandra the orangutang started washing her hands because she saw all the zookeepers doing it repeatedly during the C… https://t.co/QgOHZCRhIQ— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@Rex Chapman🏇🏼) 1585757353.0
The Pairi Daiza zoo in Domaine du Cambron, Belgium, has a family of Asian small-clawed otters living along the little stream that flows through its orangutan enclosure. It's part of the zoo's goal of keeping the great apes "entertained, occupied, challenged and kept busy mentally, emotionally and physically at all times," as a zoo spokesperson put it. The otters and the orangs seem to like the arrangement.
Plus, it's a heck of a good setup for a D&D joke from fantasy/horror writer Sam Sykes, who you should of course follow.
“You enter a large cave. The Orcs’ trail led you here. Now, before you lie three paths, one of—“ “i jump into the w… https://t.co/yO6VxXlLjH— Sam Sykes (@Sam Sykes) 1585620695.0
"Fine, I cast detect canned clams"
He’s very argumentative. https://t.co/B3CfyeAmVh— Sam Sykes (@Sam Sykes) 1586054271.0
You may have heard about the goats that have taken over that town in Wales now that there's practically no traffic. They're ready to rumble with the 5 to 6 feral hogs in Italy that have done likewise.
The Llandudno goats are so much better with a West Side Story soundtrack. (thanks to @AndrewStuart and the Bergamo… https://t.co/IezM69rnm1— David Schneider (@David Schneider) 1585651696.0
I've told you before you should follow Dick King-Smith, who wrote the story that became the movie Babe. Here's another reminder.
During these unprecedented times, every athlete from across the globe stands idle, as sporting events everywhere ar… https://t.co/bFDkFgzcgs— Dick King-Smith HQ (@Dick King-Smith HQ) 1585576975.0
@thatcountryjew Excellent work, Sir.— Dick King-Smith HQ (@Dick King-Smith HQ) 1585581947.0
King-Smith elicits the nicest replies, too!
@DickKingSmith 👏👏 How about this - a #tripod #greyhound playing snow #soccer ? Yep perfect paw to snout coordinatio… https://t.co/PO5284XhSW— jennifer holmgren (@jennifer holmgren) 1585628091.0
The Atlantic' s Adam Serwer isn't just one of the sharpest political writers out there, he also has kitties and a baby.
I thought I would never catch it on camera but here is Benne giving the human kitten a lil’ boop (he checks in with… https://t.co/M09L1EqEdZ— Adam Serwer🍝 (@Adam Serwer🍝) 1585572447.0
This may well be the platonic ideal of baby pictures. The bright eyes. The knowing half-smile. The arm chubs. The polite hands. The curled toesies.
There are no cats in this pic, I just want everyone to know how beautiful my daughter is. https://t.co/OAr6r30AWo— Adam Serwer🍝 (@Adam Serwer🍝) 1585668231.0
#Puckdate: These baggages r no match for meee! #QuarantineLife https://t.co/2qxo2ktcwV— Dr. Waitman Beorn's Fight Goes On 🇺🇸🇬🇧👊 (@Dr. Waitman Beorn's Fight Goes On 🇺🇸🇬🇧👊) 1585507669.0
Blanket cats. I especially like Elsie's discovery of the obvious culprit: her tail.
@MaryRobinette My cat also enjoys this pastime. https://t.co/AF1OiLRbmC— Matt Tit-less Cox (@Matt Tit-less Cox) 1585866621.0
Tough but accurate:
Indiana Jones was more interested in a lump of worked gold than he was in the fact that a pre-modern central americ… https://t.co/TcxQaEznCc— Catdad, la grande peste 🐈 (@Catdad, la grande peste 🐈) 1586047371.0
Yes, I still like the AI-generated cat pics, and no, I will not stop posting them.
Guild Navigator Cat can see through time. https://t.co/ZKxOGzGQFD— Doktor Zoom (@Doktor Zoom) 1585777800.0
Historian Kevin Gannon's doggos will get us all through this.
The pulled pork wanters have logged on https://t.co/QVuJpARAik— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon) 1585608724.0
I CATCH MEATZ IN MIDAIR WITH LIGHTNING SPEED https://t.co/wkwoSRGKvw— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon) 1585609905.0
Ahem. Puppy Yoshi. I repeat, puppy Yoshi:
@AuntSophie1 Here's Yoshi as a baby (we didn't get LuLu until she was over a year old, so sadly no baby pics 🙁) https://t.co/D4Gz5ufKZv— Kevin Gannon (@Kevin Gannon) 1585882678.0
Foster fails (where you end up keeping the animal you were only going to have for a short while) are the BEST fails.
In an unexpected turn of events, Wyatt’s adopter backed out and @KrisGoldsmith85 and I are officially adopting him.… https://t.co/8MRDUiw6Ne— Lauren Katzenberg (@Lauren Katzenberg) 1585748860.0
@HerbCarmen @KrisGoldsmith85 Yes I am now the proud mom of these two goobers https://t.co/40zHTJaoRL— Lauren Katzenberg (@Lauren Katzenberg) 1585749192.0
Who says you can't teach cats to do tricks? I said "Thornton, be cute," and he did! https://t.co/SK4oCwOEw9— Doktor Zoom (@Doktor Zoom) 1586102508.0
Stay home, be safe, wash your hands, don't wash your cats' hands, and have a good Sunday!
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.