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On the beach, waiting for Wuhan coronavirus

On the beach, waiting for Wuhan coronavirus

My view for at least the next several weeks, as I await a viral fallout that may or may not arrive.

There are a small number of movies that had a profound impact on me as a child. Having grown up in the generation for whom nuclear war was the looming threat, many of those formative movies concerned the aftermath of nuclear war.

I particularly remember Fail Safe and Dr. Strangelove.

And On The Beach, about the Australian community awaiting the fallout from a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere that destroyed any other human life on earth, or at least any human life that the submarine crew in the movie could find.

I thought about On The Beach today.

This morning I returned from Ithaca to Rhode Island. Previously, as I posted, Cornell announced that students should not return to campus after spring break in two weeks, with all classes to be held ‘virtually’. I suspected with other colleges and universities moving more quickly, that the two week deadline would not stick. And stick, it didn’t.

Yesterday afternoon, the Cornell President released a surprise campus-wide statement announcing that all on-campus classes were suspended as of 5 p.m. that day, and all students who could were advised to leave campus and Ithaca as soon as possible.

Effective at 5 p.m. today (March 13), we are suspending all classes on the Ithaca campus for three weeks. We are doing this for several reasons. First, as noted above, it accelerates social distancing. Second, travel may become more difficult in the coming days, and we want students to be able to get to their homes. And third, we recognize the significant stress that students are under currently, making classroom learning difficult.

All undergraduate students and most professional students are strongly encouraged to return as soon as feasible to their permanent home residences; you must leave campus no later than March 29, unless you receive an exception to stay in on-campus housing….

I implore each of our students to comply with this directive. You can do your part to help de-densify the campus and make it safer for those who need to stay by leaving as soon as possible.

Students already stressed from having to pack up and not return from spring break now were told to leave right away.

The trickle of campus and community closings now has turned into a cascade around the world. It’s as if the world is awaiting the equivalent of nuclear fallout.

So for the next few weeks, at least, the view I’ll be seeing as I sit and type is what you see in the featured image. My ‘beach’ of sorts.

Waiting for a Wuhan coronavirus fallout that may or may not arrive.


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you might want to consider watching ‘panic in the year zero’ with ray miland

    kyrrat in reply to ronk. | March 14, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    Yay. They did have a kindle version of the novel. Settling in to read, it has been a long time since I read this in paperback.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to ronk. | March 15, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    Fav b movie of mine.

    But the DEMOCRAT OWNED COLLEGE ACTIONS remind me of a very appropriate Bette Davis movie line.

    Bette Davis:. WHADDA DUMP!!!!!

    Colleges are taking on their students.

And Onondaga County has closed public schools for 3 weeks. Starting this coming Friday at the close of day.

The sooner you start social distancing, the better it works. Onondaga doesn’t have (any reported or detected) cases of Covid 19. If they get one earlier in the week, closing starts Wednesday.

Wayne County, where I live, hasn’t announced anything yet. I’m actually waiting for a statewide shutdown ordered by our benevolent and all knowing governor.

    Barry Soetoro in reply to gospace. | March 14, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    “The sooner you start social distancing, the better it works.”

    Absolutely, which is why prophylactic public health measures should have been activated before manifestation of the Wu Flu in a given jurisdiction. The progressive obsession on hyper egalitarianism endangers our nation in many ways, including in the realm of public health, which took a major hit during the outset of the HIV epidemic in the ’80s, in which Reagan was shamed out of ordering meaningful public health measures because of homosexual privilege. Now the media and Democrats are putting our public health on the sacrificial altar by colluding with China to support their baseless narrative.

    heyjoojoo in reply to gospace. | March 15, 2020 at 6:22 am

    Yeah, my niece just mentioned this to me the other day. She attended CUSE and also said they’re closing that down too.

It can get worse …
All Pennsylvania liquor stores close indefinitely Tuesday

    ronk in reply to Neo. | March 14, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    you could go to MD, if you are close, better selection and prices, and give the PA revenuers something to do. at least 40 years ago that was the case

    alaskabob in reply to Neo. | March 14, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    That is stupid…. how does one keep a populace quiet with the “soma” of today’s brave new world being withdrawn. Dems reaching for “temperance”? Gasp!

    txvet2 in reply to Neo. | March 14, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Wow. Glad I stocked up on cold prevention medication (rum) today. I used to use cognac, which is around 98% effective, but I can’t get the good stuff in this country.

It’s not a medical problem, but a snowflake culture problem. Imagine the admin does nothing special, and a student manages to get sick. Quite aside from the seriousness (or lack of same) in the situation, somebody will be crucified over it, and none of them want to be the “somebody”.

    As soon as young people are convinced they’re no more threatened by this virus than any other bug going around, they’re going to use the time off to party, travel, etc.

    The very scary thing is that there is a movement to glorify the deaths of older people from this virus.

    Gen Z Kids Have Nicknamed Coronavirus ‘Boomer Remover’:

    We are one election away from genocide in this country.

      I live in a tourist town and we have a lot of spring breakers who aren’t even remotely concerned that the virus that may give them the equivalent of a cold will kill the at risk population here. Now they’re whining about events being cancelled because it’s “ruining” their spring break.

      nordic_prince in reply to | March 16, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      That’s rich, coming from a generation that thinks food magically appears in grocery stores. I’m skeptical a goodly percentage of them would not survive were they to be left alone in the woods for a week.

      We may be “dinosaurs” but at least we know how survive & thrive without Googling basic info every five seconds.

If you can find it, the 2000 remake of OTB is worth watching. While lacking the star power of the original, it is a faithful, updated remake.

It is being treated as if it is the plague.

This seems well over the top for something where the mortality rates are pretty low, other than in Italy, which may only be due to who has been tested and the community so afflicted.

The other possibility, given that viruses mutate normally, there is a far better known threat to the world than is being let on about. I do believe that China let this out purposefully.

This will be a world changing event, mainly because of the fear and panic that the media has pushed, and the weak people for lapping it up. No one wants to get sick. Yet the actions we are seeing is as if this has a mortality rate that is Ebola high, not what we are seeing in the numbers reported. It is out of proportion, which makes it political. This is a weapon being used against Trump, as another attempt to get him out of office. But it is also concerning where things are headed, which doesn’t match what this virus is reported to be. Why?

If this is a bio-weapon, then the actions we are seeing world wide makes more sense. Yet, the medical community seems to be brushing it off as hyper-over reaction. Which is correct?

    snopercod in reply to oldgoat36. | March 15, 2020 at 7:42 am

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the virus was created in that lab in Wuhan. I have read the theory, though, that the Chinese designed it to be used against their own people in case of insurrection. It certainly put an end to those protests in Hong Kong, didn’t it? Think about it.

    Barry Soetoro in reply to oldgoat36. | March 15, 2020 at 9:00 am

    The mortality rate of Wu Flu is at least ten times that of the typical flu, which is about 0.1%. That’s the mortality rate across all age and health groups. Both viral diseases pose much higher threats to at-risk groups. Plus, viral pneumonia is a terrible way to die, drowning in fluids produced by your inflamed lungs.

    Most would not board a flight with the airline guaranteeing a 99.9% chance of arriving at your destination alive, let alone only a 99% chance. Intelligent conservatives don’t dismiss the risks of this pandemic. Instead, we need to use this crisis to change the national narrative, including:

    • the need to prioritize border control for reasons of public health maintenance (among many others),
    • the strategic need to rebuild our manufacturing base to be less dependent on foreign supplies,
    • the need to diversify our foreign supply chains,
    • the need to rebalance public health and personal liberty priorities,
    • adjusting national risk management priorities (e.g., each year about 500 Americans die from gun accidents, while about 50,000 dies from the flu — we need to root our risk management priorities in science).

      You don’t know what the mortality rate is. You don’t have reliable numbers to work with.

      Might be 1%, might be more or less. There is no way to know at this point. There are likely a high number of people that had the virus, thought it was a minor cold and that was it. They are not included in the numbers. The numbers out of China? We know they lie, so it’s likely worse than what they have reported.

      Italy? Infected by the tens of thousands of Chinese working in the region, a region of old people, so their mortality rate is high.

      Contrast Italy with Korea where Kores gets a lot of “credit” for the measures they have taken. And all along the death rate is low in Korea because they have a younger population.

      None of the numbers are useful.

        txvet2 in reply to Barry. | March 15, 2020 at 12:21 pm

        Besides, it’s just as likely that most of the deaths to date aren’t actually caused by the virus. It’s at least as likely that the virus lowers the victim’s defenses against whatever their underlying health issues might be.

          Barry in reply to txvet2. | March 15, 2020 at 4:07 pm

          Sure, that’s almost always the case with a virus that effects the lungs; cold, flu, the death is related but not caused by.

      So far, COVID-19 has proven to be a bust, as an apocalyptic disease, in the US. There have been only 60 deaths attributed to this disease, in the last month, in the US. At that rate, we should see about 360 die in six months, the length of the average flu season. If 4.5 million people contract the disease, about average for influenza, and the mortality rate remains at the current 0.17%, that is a death toll of 7650. if 100 million people actually contract the disease, with a 0.17% mortality rate, that is 170,000. But, it is likely that the mortality rate will continue to decrease as we get a better idea of the actual rate of infection and as natural immunity kicks in, through simple exposure to the virus, as well as the development of effective treatments. Now, though 170,000 sounds like a big number, it is only 3x the mortality rate in traffic accidents and a severe flu season and about the same as the yearly death toll from common household accidents [falls, poisoning, electrocution, drowning, etc.], ~160,000/year. And, we have engineered prophylactics in motor vehicles [incorporated safety features] and with influenza [vaccine and effective treatments].

      What this irresponsible speculation, by the media, is doing is destroying this country economically. The economic destruction, caused by this panic, is going to be felt for years. It will likely be worse than anything felt in the 8 years of the Obama Administration. And, it will effect several times the number of people as the coronavirus itself. What the US population is doing is the equivalent of blowing its brains out, because its neighbor has the flu.

        Barry in reply to Mac45. | March 15, 2020 at 4:06 pm


        We may have a couple more weeks before the entire economy is destroyed. After that, it will take years to recover.

        The virus will be an afterthought.

    Overstated, in my opinion, for where things are at now. In suburban NJ, schools closed Friday, churches and libraries too. No large congregations of people, like sporting or entertainment events, nationwide. Tele-work in NY City. A relative told me it is like a ghost town there. We will not have perfect “sheltering in place” but, if we did, the problem would be trivial in a month.

    The death rate is highly exaggerated if the elderly or those who are not healthy just stay home, which is not hard for most of them to do. We had our first person diagnosed in our town today – a younger person who had had previous contact with an infected person – no dangerous symptoms – just staying at home, self quarantining.

While you are hunkered down, you may want to read ‘A Town Like Alice’, another book by Nevil Shute. It’s hard to believe that it’s by the same person that wrote ‘On the beach’. ‘Alice’ is a book filled with hope and courage and gratitude. Stuff nobody writes about anymore. It’s a great story too, one of the best I ever read.

    Strelnikov in reply to tomganley. | March 15, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Since you’ve got the time, watch the Masterpiece Theater miniseries, starring Bryan Brown and Helen Morse. Prepare to fall madly in lover with Morse.

Getting to the beach got harder ..
SXM restricting international travel by cruise and plane for 2 weeks starting Tuesday

It may be interesting to watch academia defend distance learning so as to not have to make refunds, while at the same time demanding full freight for the fall semester.

Let’s face it: Academia is not what it masquerades as: It is a for-profit business – profitable to those on the inside. Crazy salaries and legions of serfs teaching undergraduale classes. I would love to see a ranking based on the number of students in undergrad History, PolySci, Psych, etc. A freshman in a 300 seat auditorium taught by an adjucnt with a heavy accent, may be better off with distance learning.

Signed: A frustrated grandparent.

    Saw some stuff were professors were telling each other not to make the remote classes too good.
    I assume they feel the lessons will be used in place of them in the future.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Beaufort. | March 14, 2020 at 11:00 pm

    Another advantage of distance learning is that parents and/or grandparents can deprogram their children or grandchildren in real time. I am pretty unhappy with the shit my oldest child has been fed.

The is taking this seriously. Almost complete travel ban for active duty members. My son can’t make his planned trip to NY from TX in 2 weeks.

“On the Beach” was a very powerful movie that had the same impact on me as it had on Prof. Jacobson. I saw it–at age ten or eleven–not long after it appeared in theaters (it was released in 1959), probably on NBC’s feature “Saturday Night at the Movies.” Nevil Shute’s book was very popular, possibly a sensation. The most chilling moment in the film–in my view–occurred when a lead male character (I believe a doctor) gives a pill to a young woman, who has or possibly will develop mortal sickness from radiation exposure. “This cures it?” she asks. “No,” says the man, “this ends it.”

I empathize with Prof. Jacobson and wish him well.

Nathan Silver, Bethesda, MD

Stanley Kramer was the king of pious limousine liberal message movies in the 1950s and 60s. Some, like “Judgement At Nuremberg” hold up, while many of the others, like “The Defiant Ones,” are barely watchable today. The last shot of “In the Beach” is a banner over a deserted street that reads “There us still time…Brother,” in case you Missed the Point.
Kramer’s biggest sin, however, was taking the greatest cast of funny people ever assembled in “It’s A Mad, Mad World,” and churning out a movie that’s only intermittently funny. Sadly, we shall never see such a confluence of talent again.

    nisquire in reply to Darwin Akbar. | March 15, 2020 at 12:34 am

    Mad World, a terrible movie.

    gonzotx in reply to Darwin Akbar. | March 15, 2020 at 7:09 am

    It’s a Mad Mad World was terrific , one of the funniest ever and really holds up
    The remake was terrible

    Sorry for the accidental downvote. Consider it given to Stanley Kramer for his movie sins insteaf.

    Anyway, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World” included a cameo by one of my all-time favorite comedians, Buster Keaton, one of the three great Silent Era comic actors. (Another 1960s film, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, also included him in a cameo role, though for a longer runtime, and with actual lines.)

    I try to model many of my posts after Buster Keaton’s movies.

    Sorry for the accidental downvote. Consider it given to Stanley Kramer for his movie sins instead.

    Anyway, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World” included a cameo by one of my all-time favorite comedians, Buster Keaton, one of the three great Silent Era comic actors. (Another 1960s film, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, also included him in a cameo role, though for a longer runtime, and with actual lines.)

    I try to model many of my posts after Buster Keaton’s movies.

I think Private William “Skeeter” Hudson said it best.

“Game over, man!”

Hit it, Skeeter…

Just imagine if that moron obama was president right now:

“How about considering Barack Obama’s response to the 2009 swine flu outbreak? Journalist James Lileks has done so on his blog The Bleat. Obama declared the outbreak a national emergency only after four months, when the toll in the U.S. had reached 1000 dead (as of this writing, 32 have died in the U.S. of the coronavirus, the vast majority over 70 years old). More importantly, the media coverage of the swine flu––even though it was more deadly and half its victims, unlike the coronavirus, were healthy and young––was nowhere near the breathless hysteria or extent of the coverage today.

We know the explanation for the disparity. Barack Obama enjoyed eight years of the media’s “slobbering love affair,” as Bernie Goldberg called it, filled with uncritical, laudatory, and selective coverage from the mainstream media, whereas Trump has been incessantly attacked with slanted or outright mendacious stories based on tendentious analysis and anonymous leaks. Examples abound. Barack Obama is caught on a hot mic promising Putin’s flunkey “flexibility” on missile-defense after his reelection, and the media yawn. Trump urges the president of Ukraine to investigate his country’s meddling in the 2016 election and, its notorious corruption that involves a U.S. Vice President’s son, and he’s impeached on the made-up charge of “abusing his authority.” This is just one example from a lengthy catalogue of journalistic morale idiocy and professional malfeasance.”

Colonel Travis | March 14, 2020 at 10:57 pm

Last thing I want to do is watch a disaster/disease movie.

My liquor supply is plentiful, I’m watching old B&W comedies, Mystery Science Theater reruns and anyone who tries to bring me down can go to hell.

    I stocked up today. Big rush at Randolph, but not at the Class VI. I guess I’ll start working my way through my Jesse Stone collection.

Fluffy Foo Foo | March 14, 2020 at 11:22 pm

How close are you to Middletown, RI? A college friend of mine is from there and grew up in a home on an inlet that looks like your backyard view. Beautiful place to live. Stay safe!

Meanwhile, I’ve consulted my physician as regards Coronavirus and he suggests I merely keep taking the tablets.


One of the first good novels about the aftermath of nuclear war was “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank. Another more recently written and quite frightening is “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen. Not that the present hype is anything like that but it gives some insight into how human nature is liiustrated after a collapse of civilization.

“The veneer of civilization is exceedingly thin.” I wish I could remember who said it. Heinlein, maybe.

liiustrated = illustrated

On the Beach was a very depressing book. I never watched the movie because, why would I when I didn’t like the book?

Dr. Strangelove, on the other hand, was hilarious. Peter Sellers was a wonderful, demented genius. I think I’ll watch that one again.

    MajorWood in reply to irv. | March 15, 2020 at 1:47 am

    Strangelove is my favorite movie of all time, because it is timeless.

      Tom Servo in reply to MajorWood. | March 15, 2020 at 7:14 am

      there are so many layers of satire and humor built into Strangelove! The War Room scene is even more hilarious when you realize that every major character in those scenes is a parody of a real person. President Merkin Muffley is Adlai Stevenson
      Gen. Buck Turgidson is Curtis LeMay
      Soviet Ambassador: combination of Gromyko and Dobrynin
      Strangelove is Werner von Braun

        CKYoung in reply to Tom Servo. | March 15, 2020 at 8:25 am

        “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” Our film prof pointed out many of the innuendos… merkin/turgid/precious bodily fluids…

One college starts doing it, and they all follow. It’s called “monkey see, monkey do”.

Cello lessons by FaceTime suck!

If this keeps up, you may need to watch Soylent Green.

Close The Fed | March 15, 2020 at 7:48 am

I’m not changing my routine at all. I’ve always tried to stay away from people I know are sick and I continue to do that.

But work, shopping, etc., no change. No panic buying…. Thinking about going on a trip in a couple of weeks because the airlines are empty — and I NEVER fly. The TSA is garbage which never should have been created and seems thrilled to molest small children and old people. But I may make an exception this year.

Close The Fed | March 15, 2020 at 8:00 am

Oh, and I just remembered: Thinking about the Ebola outbreak; remember when that woman came back and she refused to stay in a quarantine?

Funny how none of the lefties are touting their “right” to break isolation now. They’re just going with the hysteria. Evidently, it’s all good if it’s to get rid of Trump.

Seeing some common sense would refresh me.

‘Andromeda Strain’ had a huge impact on me when I was a kid. I still think abouth the broad themes of that movie. Another movie that had a big impact was ‘Close Encounters.’ Something that stuck with me is how the government used disinformation to restrict access to the Devil’s Tower area (train wreck/hazmat incident). Information, disinformation, propaganda etc. are extremely powerful tools. In our current “crisis,” media narrative is far more powerful than cvid19 itself. We have a corrupt media covering for corrupt politicians. Hopefully this will lead to more awareness regarding our corrupt system.

I stopped watching movies twenty years ago because of precisely what’s going on right now. Fake stuff on a screen doesn’t even remotely compare.

I witnessed a demonstration yesterday of how many zombies I’ll have to worry about were the “big one” to ever hit. Supermarkets were deluged by the mindless zombies who never prepare for anything.

I’m all stocked up for long emergencies, including plenty of water, food and ammo to defend it. I have now been assured that the ammo part is very important.

BTW, can you think of a faster way to get everyone infected than to create a panic sending everyone to the same place to fight for food and other necessities? And then everyone self-quarantines as far away from each other as possible and bathing in Purell. Brilliant.

So we learned at least three very important things in this “crisis”:

1- The zombies are out there in shockingly great numbers and

2- How easy it would be to enslave us.

3- We can’t trust our government (but we already knew that).

It’s not war, earthquakes, or pestilence that scares me the most. It’s living in a country populated by zombie sheeple. Eek! A spider! Everyone self-quarantine!

I am a Nurse and have been dealing with this outbreak in a more direct way. So being my usual quixotic self I have been watching movies like Outbreak.

texansamurai | March 15, 2020 at 9:25 am

” on the beach ” was indeed a powerful film and reasonably faithful to the novel–astaire. as the former racer. chose to go out in the saddle of his faithful horse with a good bottle of whiskey–epic

kramer’s screenplay was tight and controlled up until the gratuitous ” there’s still time ” banner at the end–unnecessary and ridiculous statement to end an otherwise brilliant film

another from that era is ” seven days in may ”

kubrick’s ” 2001: a space odyssey ” was the film i most remember from that time–like ” citizen kane ” far ahead of it’s time both in the scope of the production and the technical innovation of the film itself–saw it on the big screen at least a dozen times–truly a masterpiece, a genuine work of cinematic art

time to start separating my double ply TP into single ply….or just taping one of my 4 cats to a stick and roll out the garden hose LOL 🙂

Iain Sanders | March 15, 2020 at 1:17 pm

They should ban Pot – again. Being hallucinogenic in the age of Corry is NOT a good thing. But – pot is what millions might turn to, & wake up dead in the morning.

I am glad you are someplace truly beautiful Professor. Can fish from your front yard?? Awesome.

Stay safe.

Hubby and I are up in the mountains. Very small town. I am dreading tomorrow.

buckeyeminuteman | March 15, 2020 at 10:43 pm

In Ohio; all schools, colleges, social clubs, restaurants, bars and churches have been ordered to be closed by the Governor. Schools are most likely closed until August. Everybody is losing their damn mind; our RINO governor most of all.