Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Never worry... even when you should...

I am quite happy today, despite everything, because I am listening to the Vaselines.

I first heard the Vaselines on a cassette tape I got back in high school. I was immediately fixated on this band, a duo from Glasgow that played silly, sweet-sounding songs that were actually all about sex, but Frances McKee’s coy voice was like a blushing child-bride and the songs took on an air of innocence. Their album was perfection.

Odds are, you’ve heard Vaselines tunes and didn’t know it. Nirvana has covered a few Vaselines songs - “Molly's Lips,” “Son of a Gun” and “Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam.” When I first found Nirvana’s Tribute to the Vaselines in the bins at a record store in college, I felt vindicated in my love for both bands.

In college, I played that Vaselines tape to death, and was sad. A few years later, I found the CD in New York and was happy again. Now, they have re-released the album, with bonus stuff. This also makes me to be happy. I posted a review of it here.

Now, all of the things I could be sad about, were it not for the Vaselines…

Bye-bye Pontiac - It seems GM is getting rid of Pontiac, as part of their bid for survival. I drive a Pontiac. It’s the one that everyone makes fun of, but it’s the comfortable functional car I’ve ever been in. I will drive it forever, because I don’t know of anything that will match it’s versatility or comfort, even if it’s ugly.

It’s my second Pontiac. The first was was 1980 Bonneville. Bonnie was a couch on wheels. She may have been a gas hog, but she was a comfortable car, and HUGE! I moved in that car several times.

Of course, along with the demise of Pontiac goes the demise of another crapload of jobs (crapload is an industry term). I don’t get it. All of the jobs are going away, but nothing is taking their place. What are people going to do? How many people will lose their homes before the government figures out things are that hosed that something REALLY drastic needs to occur?

Then again, if all of those unemployed people were to just not be here, like if the population were drastically reduced by a pandemic of some sort….

Whoah! Let’s back up, because I’m not suggesting that’s a planned thing. In fact, I really don’t think the pig flu is that big of a deal. It’s serious, yes, but it’s not going to destroy life as we know it (Even though life as we know is getting a bit dreary right now).

I found this article that really breaks down the seriousness of the issue.

This snippet really puts it into perspective:

Yet consider the much-cited Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918. It's common for commentary to cite infection rates and total associated fatalities.

It's estimated that about 28 per cent of Canadians and Americans contracted the Spanish flu. Worldwide, an estimated 2.5 per cent of the sick died of complications, which made the pandemic one of the most lethal flu outbreaks in recorded history. Certainly it was one that imprinted itself upon human consciousness for several generations.

But there's another way to look at those statistics. You might observe, for example, that they mean that even during the worst ravages of the 1918 flu, 97.5 per cent of those infected survived and recovered. Or that 72 per cent of the population -- even in the absence of the sophisticated public health planning and infrastructure that Canada and the U.S. have since built -- was not infected during the pandemic.

So, even if we had a repeat of the 1918 flu, the chances were seven out of 10 that you wouldn't catch it and if you did, the odds were better than nine out of 10 that you'd survive.

This is from an era when we didn’t have the medical technology or fast communications we have now. It sucks that people will die from this, and we’ll all do well to wash our hands, etc., but for the most part, panicking is really unnecessary. Call me when it’s an Ebola pandemic.

Even so, if the infection rates do increase, you all will be invited to our plague party, so get your nice clothes ready.

There are other things actually worth worrying about around here. Chrysler is less than 48 hours from learning its fate, and if the worst happens, that’s another crapload of jobs.

If Detroit really falls, and falls hard, it won’t recover, and people will flee even faster. What’s that mean? It means we’ll flee to find new work, which will mean a foreclosure on our house, which is essentially worthless right now. My neighborhood, which is a nice little bungalow neighborhood, has nice houses on the market for $30k right now – and they’re not selling. It’s the perfect time to buy, assuming that, you know, you’re not already saddled with a house that you paid ten times that for, which is now worthless.

The house directly behind me is for sale though, so if you want to buy it, and you’re awesome, we should knock out the back fences and make one big yard of awesomeness.

Getting on to happier things...

TFN and I have settled into a bizarre routine. We have a big book of diseases – the big ones throughout history, like the plague, malaria Typhoid (which is different from Typhus, I have learned) and yes, the Spanish flu. We read aloud about diseases right now. It’s fun, if a little bizarre.

We planted 75 heirloom tomato plants by seed, to offset one of our more expensive vices. They were doing quite well, until the cat ate over half of them. We were fortunately able to go out and replace them with some actual plants, which are now sitting in an even more cat-proof spot, waiting to move outdoors.

We also planted two big beds of flowers, adding curb appeal to our house, which in this economy adds about $6 to its value.

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