Getting quieter

They’re closing the borders with Mexico and Canada tomorrow. My periodontist just canceled my oral surgery next week — what a surprise. From a personal standpoint it all seems sort of less dramatic than I expected, maybe because I don’t know anyone who’s gotten sick yet. And I work from home so my life hasn’t really changed. I’ve been posting lots of updates in the Lincoln Squirrel (latest closure: playgrounds) but that’s slowing down now that basically everything has been canceled. One thing I notice this week is that there are zero traffic stops in the police log. I wonder if people are driving better (certainly way less cars on the road) or the cops just aren’t bothering. I read that in Philly, they were told not to go after minor crimes fir the time being. Sort of makes you wonder if they’re spending the time training on how to fight looting and bury bodies. At this point I have to think that this semi-lockdown is going to last for many months. As soon as they lift it, there’ll

Breathtaking speed

Amazing how news become obsolete so fast in this pandemic. Two days ago I had a flight all booked for Becky to return on Wednesday. On Saturday night after I last posted, I got an email saying the Jewish National Fund had contributed $500,000 to charter a plane so America kids studying n Israel could get home ASAP. This was to JFK, so I quickly had to book a connecting flight to Boston for her and cancel the Turkish Airlines flight. The plane left Tel Aviv last night and landed this morning, and I went to Logan at about 10:30 to pick her up, not sure what to expect after the shitstorm that hit after Trump's half-assed travel restrictions resulted in people packed like lemmings into airports for hours, which is of course a GREAT way to slow down a pandemic. Well, it's done a 180. The Mass. Pike looked like a Sunday morning rather than Monday morning, which isn't surprising, but Terminal C was eerily empty (see photo). Becky said her flight from New York was only about

The changes pile up

The list of restrictions and cancellations grows almost hourly — Disneyworld, the Boston Marathon, sports, Broadway, concerts, schools, the entire country of Italy... Most if not all colleges have kicked out their students, and six states have closed elementary schools. Lincoln schools are closed, of course, and they just announced Boston schools will close as well, which is going to be a real problem for low-income kids with food insecurity, not to mention working parents. Reportedly the governor is being pressured to close schools statewide. Thursday night and Friday were... busy. Becky is in Israel and is not due to return until March 24. Needless to say, all parents (and many of the kids) in the program. are freaking out and want to leave early. There was a Zoom call Thursday night from the school in Israel saying they were working on it, but many parents are going ahead and booking flight themselves. I did the same, getting her on a Turkish Airlines flight on Wednesday — a 15-ho

Welcome to the coronapocalypse!

Last post: eight years ago. I used to write in this blog when I had a job with too much time on my hands some years ago. Now I have less free time even though I'm self-employed and working from home (which, don't get me wrong, is fabulous). The reason I'm starting again is to create a diary of the coronavirus situation. Here's what's happened so far, but first a bit of background to get caught up. Becky (now Becca to most) is 18 and is on a half-semester program in Israel. The 10-week program was already a bit rocky because they overbooked incoming group, so they moved all the kids to another campus and then moved the back again after much parental outcry. We're in touch via WhatsApp, of course, and today Becky reported that one of the groups at her location is being sent home due to virus fears. Many of the kids are entitled rich girls who say things like "Time to spend Daddy's money!" The group being sent home, according to Becca, is from L.

Best. Day. Ever.

Becky in Florida mode (she's a lot more cheerful than her expression would indicate). We wake up around 9:30 or 10. The pool is bright blue in the sunshine. A little cereal, a little coffee... the girls are having a blast in the pool. Ben joins them. I jump in as well and we play Shark. Ben retires to the adjacent hot tub. I eventually get out and sit in the lounge chair and read for a bit ("Friday Nights" by Joanna Trollope). Then I sit on the screened porch and read the New York Times cover to cover. Now time for a little lunch -- I boil some hot dogs for me and the girls, Ben eats some cold chicken and pickles from the fridge. Then more lounge-chair time. This is one of the rare times I do nothing but stare at the sky, watching the clouds and trying to guess which layer will cover the sun and which will move away. I love when the cloud layer is just the right thickness so I can look directly at the sun and see a perfect, sharply edged circle of light. I get a lit

Worst. Commute. Ever.

I left work at about 5:10 p.m. last night, It usually takes an hour or a bit less until I'm walking in the door. Last night? Not so much. I stood on the platform in Kendall for about half an hour until a train came -- packed like sardine can, naturally -- and I literally couldn't get on. (Meanwhile, a train going the other way was sitting at the opposite platform with its doors open. For about 20 minutes.) But my patience was rewarded, or so I thought, when 10 minutes later another train arrived, and I crammed myself into the last few cubic inches of space by the door -- which also satyed open as the minutes dragged by. I overheard another passenger say it had taken the train 45 minutes to get to where I was from Park Street (two stops). That's about when thought to myself, "Do I really want to be snuggling upright with my fellow commuters for an indefinite period in a train packed to tight that I can't even move my arms enough to get at my iPhone or magazine?&q

You rock, you farshluggineh kids!

Usually Ben has little interest in this blog, but recently he actually suggested that I post something here -- something that tells a profound and historic story in images. I'll let him take it from here... Ronnie James Dio apparently is credited with inventing the heavy-metal hand sign that means "You rock!" In doing a bit more digging on the web, the honor also seems to have been claimed for Gene Simmons and even John Lennon. Won't they all be shocked to realize that the gesture was actually invented in Farmingdale, N.J., by Jewish chicken farmers. The historically important moment was recently discovered in a photo taken on February 24, 1946 at the wedding of none other than my parents (Ed. note: from left to right, person #1 and #3; person #2 is unknown but looks somewhat menacing and/or drunk.) Look carefully at this picture and you'll see one of the invited guests expressing his enthusiasm for the wedding, proudly proclaiming, "You rock, and d