Brain Droppings

Random stuff coming……….

I am very pleased that I was able to cast my ballot in the presidential election early and safely. My state and my city have seriously come through for me in these unhealthy, uncertain times. I am proud of what we the people have accomplished in this regard and I am proud that as an American I was able to have my opinion heard.

However…

The downside of voting early is that November 3rd, election day, is kinda irrelevant to me now. Maybe not irrelevant, but more like unimportant. At least until the returns start coming in. I go on social media and have a thousand people asking thousands of other people, what are your voting plans, or how are you going to vote, or are you excited to vote, or everyone get out the vote, etc, etc, and my response is… been there, done that. I took election day off, just in case. I should have taken the day after so I could stay up all night watching returns. On second thought, that would probably be a bad idea. I tend to get a little… animated when fascism is taking over my country and I don’t want to put any added stress on my ticker, or wake up the neighbors, or anything like that.

Basically though… I’m done, there isn’t much excitement about the process left.


Counting today, there are nine days left in October. At the start of the month I decided I wasn’t going to do an album in a month. A few days ago I changed my mind. I’ve got 10 songs in the pipeline. They are all short. They are all weird. They are all simple things based around little poly-rhythmic tricks, or guitarmonies. I haven’t written any lyrics or melodies yet. None of the songs will be instrumentals, but they will all be mostly instrumentals. There aren’t going to be any hooks. Vocal tracks will be short and simple and lyrics will probably just be a line or two. The point of it all is to hear a guitar playing in 4/4 in your left ear, and a guitar playing almost the same thing in 7/8 in your right ear, and how they occasionally line up with each other. Or, songs where the “melody” is just three guitars with tons of fuzz playing in harmony.

In other words, October Music is Robbie’s “I’ve been listening to King Crimson” month.


I still can’t believe that Massachusetts had 1,000 new Covid-19 cases yesterday. The last time we’d had 1,000 cases was in May. All of the progress we made has been flushed down the toilet. How are we as a society capable of landing a space ship on an asteroid 300 million kilometers away and bring it home with a sample of asteroid rocks, but not able to stay in our houses so we don’t get sick. Why are we incapable of just wearing friggin masks and washing our friggin hands?


I thought I was going to have more this morning, but I’m letting myself get distracted. In closing, let me paraphrase my favorite line from this week’s episode of Archer.

I’m your rampage sherpa.

Talk to you all later. Happy Friday.

Covid-19 Numbers

Note that the Massachusetts numbers are the probable and confirmed cases combined.

Here’s what we have for today…….

  • Massachusetts
    • Total Cases: 147,215 (up 1,049 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 9,810
    • Death Rate: 6.66%
  • United States
    • Total Cases: 8,386,634 (up 74,525 from yesterday)
    • Deaths: 222,766
    • Death Rate: 2.66%

Over a thousand cases in Massachusetts. What the fuck?

Ballots

MethuenLive Magazine posted on Facebook today that the city has 35,465 registered voters. So far 1,496 people have taken advantage of early voting. On top of that, 4,649 mail in ballots have already been received.

Early voting is still open for another 10 days, and who knows how many more absentees will arrive.

It’s October 20th and 17.2% of the city’s registered voters have already voted.

Keep up the good work, Methuen. Let’s send the fascists packing.

Track My Ballot

In the spirit of receiving our absentee ballots in the mail earlier today, Jen and I were wondering whether or not there is a way to track your ballot’s status after you send it in. Like… a UPS tracking number for the election.

There is. Well, for citizens of Massachusetts there is. For the rest of ya, I don’t know.

Track My Ballot

I ran the search for myself. My General Election ballot was mailed to me on 10/6 and it has not yet been returned. I knew that already since it’s sitting on the table next to me, but it was nice to know that the city knows too. It also said my September Primary ballot was received and is in Accepted status, meaning it was submitted for counting. Kick ass.

Methuen Life Magazine had a post on their bookfayce page two days ago that reported the absentee ballots were ready to be picked up by the post office. Allow me to quote:

10,000 BALLOTS HEADED TO POST OFFICE, THEN TO RESIDENTS: At 4:45 tonight, piles and piles and PILES of mail-in/absentee ballots (each requested by a registered voter) were outside City Hall waiting for the mailman to arrive for pickup. Standing guard are (from left) City Clerk Jack Wilson, Mike Rubino of the Clerk’s Office and Julian Almanzar of the DPW who is lending his services at the super-busy Clerk’s Office. “In years past, we’ve had 300 or 400 absentee ballots (for an election). This year will be closer to the 15,000 range,” Wilson told MethuenLife. The Clerk’s Office just received the ballots from the state yesterday. You can return your ballot to the secure ballot box located outside of City Hall’s lower entrance or drop it in the mail. YOU CAN STILL APPLY FOR A MAIL-IN BALLOT: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/…/early-voting-by-mail.htm YOU CAN REGISTER TO VOTE by visiting www.sec.state.ma.us/OVR by Oct. 24.(ML photo by Melissa Fili)

That’s a lot of ballots. One of them is mine and another one is my wife’s. We’re coming for you, fascists.

Kiss My Ass, Fascists

Call it a dry run for the General Election in November. I just delivered my mail in ballot for tomorrow’s Massachusetts Primary Election to Methuen City Hall. I’ll do it again in just over two months. Kiss my ass, trump, you nazi stooge you.

Markey or Kennedy

We have a primary here in Massachusetts tomorrow and there is a juicy fight for the US Senate going on. With only one day left to make a decision, I am still very much undecided.

Kennedy currently has a seat in the US House and he is clearly a rising star. Even without the family name he is making waves in all the right ways. I would be very happy to see him in the US Senate.

Markey has been serving the state in Washington for ages. He’s always seemed to quietly be right where we the people needed him to be, doing exactly what we needed him to do. Under Trump he has always stood up to the fascists in the White House and he has been a strong force for right. Oh yeah, and he co-wrote the Green New Deal. I would be very happy to have Ed Markey in the US Senate for another six years.

Up until the last few days I was pretty strongly leaning toward Kennedy. Today, I think I’m leaning toward Markey.

We have vote by mail ballots but we did not mail them. What with the Trump administration dismantling the US Postal system in yet another obvious attempt to rig elections. Instead, I will drop our ballots off at City Hall, either tonight or tomorrow.

Now I just have to make a decision.

One COVID-19 Number

I just looked up the COVID-19 numbers for Massachusetts for today. The state had less than 100 new cases. The last time we had less than 100 new cases in one day was March 20th. It’s been almost three months.

What does that mean? Likely nothing. In all the time we’ve been looking at the daily numbers, we’ve noticed that reports for Monday often feel on the low side. It’s almost like people chose to not go to the hospital on Sunday nights.

Still, caveats aside, it’s really nice to see a daily infection number that’s under 100. There were 87 new cases in the last 24 hours, and 23 deaths. The last time the death count was this low was April 5th. Rest in peace, my neighbors.

I really hope this downward trend continues. The national numbers are down today as well, but the overall trend is still up. Let’s hope those numbers turn around too… though we can pretty much guaranteed that they won’t. Too many states are opening up way too soon for that to happen.

Wash your hands and wear your masks and stay healthy.

The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 39: Monkey

I grew up in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.  Tewksbury, MA to us locals.

I just saw a post on BookFayce that is a screen shot of what looks like a reverse 911 text message stating that there is a monkey on the loose in Tewksbury.

A monkey.

Running amok (I assume) in my former town.

I am so fucking jealous I can’t even tell you.  I want a monkey to come to my house now.  Why should Tewksbury get all the monkeys?  Why can’t Methuen get a monkey too?  We get turkeys and deer and groundhogs and foxes and (once, I think) bobcats and (maybe) coyotes and hawks and eagles.  I want monkeys too!

I WANT AN EFFING MONKEY!!!!

The Latest Massachusetts COVID-19 News

There was a ton of new information given out by the state of Massachusetts today.  The Governor has put some major changes into place.

Please allow me to quote a story from nbcboston.com.  It is titled Gov. Baker Closes Schools, Bans Mid-Size Gatherings, Eating at Restaurants, it was written by Kaitlin McKinley Becker, and it was published about three hours ago.

Here’s the full text, but you can visit the story here:

Baker said the three-week suspension of educational services is out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of children and school staff and given the evolving data regarding the cases of COVID-19.

The school closures go into effect Tuesday and will remain in place through April 7, the governor said.

Gov. Baker ordered a slate of other coronavirus changes, including:

Any restaurant, bar or establishment that offers food or drink shall not permit on-premises consumption. These establishments may continue to offer food for takeout or delivery, effective Tuesday. Establishments must also follow social distancing protocols outlined in the department of public health guidance. This order does not apply to grocery stores or pharmacies, Baker said. “This is about bars and restaurants and those places people do not absolutely have to go,” he said.
Gatherings of over 25 people will be prohibited, including all community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, and any similar event or activity that brings together 25 or more people in a single room or a single space at the same time. This includes venues like fitness centers, private clubs and theaters. This order amends last week’s guidance that prohibited gatherings of 250 people or more.
Some requirements will be relaxed around current unemployment claims, allowing many workers who are affected by closures to get some financial relief faster.
Emergency legislation will be filed to allow new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits that currently exist under state law.
Emergency regulations will be filed to expand eligibility around collecting unemployment for people who have been impacted by COVID-19.
Long-term care facilities and nursing homes will be prohibited from allowing any visitors.
Hospitals will be required to screen visitors and restrict visitation.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles will extend the renewal timeline for certain credentials to reduce the need for customers to physically visit an RMV service center for in-person transactions.
Hospitals will be directed to postpone elective surgeries to ensure medical workers and hospital space is available.
All commercial health insurance carriers will be ordered to allow providers to deliver services via Telehealth, allowing people to avoid physically going anywhere should they need to consult a medical professional.
Legislative package will be filed to help address challenges surrounding the municipal governance issues that have been raised by many cities and towns, including potential delays and holding town meetings and adopting fiscal year 2021 municipal budgets.
While it was announced last week, legislation will be filed Monday to officially postpone the Boston Marathon until September 14, 2020.
These orders will remain in effect through April 17.

“I realize these measures are unprecedented. But we are asking our residents to take a deep breath and understand the rationale behind this guidance,” Baker said. “As we said yesterday, grocery stores are getting restocked. The reason we are seeing bare shelves on the news and when we shop is because people are taking stocking up a little overboard. Just remember if you buy two years worth of canned soup, that just means your neighbor may have to go without.”

Gov. Baker also addressed rampant rumors regarding a shelter-in-place order, saying he has no plans for that.

“Everybody needs to get their news from legitimate places, not from their friend’s friend’s friend’s friend,” he said.

Baker said for the vast majority of people, approximately 80-percent of the population, coronavirus would mostly feel like the flu and would not lead to hospitalization.

“But the reason we are taking this so seriously is because it is incredibly contagious,” he said. “There will be more cases of COVID-19, but we also know that if we take decisive steps now and everyone plays their part by following the best medical guidance, we can slow down the spread, and our healthcare system can be better positioned to care for the people who need it.”

Health officials said Sunday the number of residents tested has jumped from 475 to nearly 800.

The 26 new cases were announced amid the Commonwealth’s effort to ramp up testing for the coronavirus after restrictions were loosened on testing protocols.

New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only requires clinicians to submit one nasal swab, as opposed to submitting both nasal and throat swabs that were required before. With the change in clinical testing protocols, the State Lab’s testing capacity has doubled, increasing to approximately 400 patients a day, up from 200.

Massachusetts clinicians now also have more flexibility to determine which patients should be tested without having to call DPH’s Epi Line.

With more clinical labs in the Bay State working to get FDA approval, health officials say even more testing capacity will be available soon.

As of Sunday, the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory has tested 799 patients, officials said, up from 475 one day prior.

Forty-five of the state’s 164 positive cases have been subsequently confirmed by the CDC.

Four of the 26 new cases announced Sunday are related to the employee meeting held at a Boston hotel by the Cambridge biotech firm Biogen last month. Health officials say 108 of the 164 cases are now tied to the Feb. 24-27 meeting held at the Marriott Long Wharf hotel, which has since closed “in the interest of public health.”

Included in the new cases is a health care worker at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The hospital announced the case Sunday morning and said patients and staff who may have had contact with the infected worker are being contacted.

Eight more cases are associated with travel, bringing that total to 13. Eight remain associated with a cluster in western Massachusetts, and 35 of them are now under investigation, health officials say.

Of the state’s 164 cases, 74 are women and 90 are men. Middlesex County residents still account for nearly half, 75, of the cases statewide. Norfolk and Suffolk counties both have 31 cases, while there are nine cases in Berkshire County. There are now six cases each in Essex and Worcester counties.

Plymouth, Hampden, Barnstable and Bristol counties have one case each. Two cases are of unknown counties at this time.

Two more patients have been hospitalized, bringing the total to 13 so far, though 36 other cases are listed as being under investigation, according to Sunday’s figures.

The update in coronavirus cases Sunday came shortly after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak and announced sweeping changes for bars and restaurants in the city in an effort to protect residents.

Boston EMS urge people to not call 911 to request COVID-19 testing. People are asked to call their primary care providers, the mayor’s health line at 617-534-5050, or the state DPH information line at 211.

Virus-related symptoms include fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, trouble breathing, or shortness of breath.

The main take away from our selfish point of view is that there will be no gatherings of greater than 25 people, and restaurants and bars are only allowed to offer take out services.  Grocery stores and pharmacies can stay open.

I first read about restrictions like this being enacted in parts of Italy late last week.  This is just the start of the difficulties.  The one thing I am afraid of is towns blocking their borders.  We share custody over the kids with their father and he lives two towns away from us.  Unfortunately given the circumstances, that two town distance includes the state line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  If that border closes while the kids are on the wrong side of it, it will be pretty fucking awful for us.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

State of Emergency

I am going to copy the text of a wgbh.org story, written by Kaitlyn Locke and published (I think) within the last half hour or so.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in response to the spread of the coronavirus on Tuesday, after officials announced 51 new presumptive positive cases of the virus. The total number of confirmed and presumptive cases in the state is now 92.

The news comes the day after Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo declared a state of emergency, and amid several cancellations of events throughout the state. Many local colleges and universities are holding online-only classes, asking students to vacate on-campus dormitories and not to return to campus after spring break.

“This declaration will give our administration more flexibility to respond to this evolving outbreak,” Baker said. “In addition to the state of emergency, our administration is moving forward with enhanced guidance for employers and large organizations. Responding to this evolving health threat requires everyone to be vigilant and for everyone to be part of this effort.”

Person-to-person spread is beginning to occur in Massachusetts, officials said, meaning that the virus has spread beyond people who contracted the disease overseas.

Baker announced new guidance for all employers throughout the state, which includes discontinuing all work-related travel, both foreign and domestic, and encouraging telecommuting whenever possible. He emphasized that any person feeling sick should stay home from work.

“The purpose of moving forward with these measures now is to act before the numbers increase to a point where the virus spread is severely impacting the commonwealth,” Baker said. “The highly contagious nature of this disease means that if everyone plays their part in slowing the spread, the number of people who become infected and require medical attention doesn’t spike all at once, which would overwhelm many of our systems.”

Baker reiterated that “for the vast majority of people who contract this disease, it is not deadly. And the latest research shows that children and young people are at an especially low risk of health complications. But we must step up these mitigation efforts to avoid large numbers of people requiring medical care all at the same time.”

The T will increase disinfection and sanitation of all vehicles, he added.

Logan Airport will also increase the frequency and intensity of cleaning public surfaces, Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito said.

“The T has issued a new protocol requiring all high-contact surfaces at subway stations to be cleaned every four hours, including station handrails, fare gates and fare vending machines across the system,” Polito said. “The T has also added hand sanitizing dispensers in stations across the system.”

Monica Bharel, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said that state officials made a request for supplies from the strategic national stockpile. That request has been approved and state officials have been told that the supplies are on their way, she added.

Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders reiterated that vulnerable populations — the elderly, pregnant and immunosuppressed — should avoid large gatherings.

This is a developing news story and will be updated.

The count yesterday was 41 and today it’s 92.  It’s coming.  It’s still not worth panicking over, but it’s coming.  My fellow Massholes are more than up to this challenge, I assure you.  Just remember:

Wash your damn hands.