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BeyondGeography's Journal
BeyondGeography's Journal
May 1, 2020

Matty Simmons, a Force Behind 'Animal House,' Is Dead at 93

Matty Simmons, who helped launch National Lampoon and was instrumental in bringing its most famous side project, the 1978 movie “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” into being, died on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 93. His son Michael announced his death.

In his 2012 book, “Fat, Drunk and Stupid: The Inside Story Behind the Making of ‘Animal House,’” Mr. Simmons gave a succinct version of his unusual career path.

“The Diners Club begat Weight Watchers Magazine,” he wrote, “which begat the National Lampoon and that begat ‘Animal House.’”

... Weight Watchers asked him to help turn their corporate publication into a general-interest magazine, which he did in 1968, to considerable success. His company, he said, had a half-share stake in the new magazine, and with the profits he began looking to invest in other magazine projects. The president of a magazine distribution company introduced him to three young men from the student publication The Harvard Lampoon: Henry Beard, Robert Hoffman and Douglas Kenney.

More at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/01/business/media/matty-simmons-dead.html
May 1, 2020

'And then, boom': Outbreak shows shaky ground as Texas opens

PARIS, Texas (AP) — Barely a week ago, rural Lamar County could make a pretty good argument for Texas’ reopening on Friday.

Only a handful of the 50,000 residents here, right on the border with Oklahoma, had tested positive for the coronavirus. None had died. The mayor of Paris, Texas — a pit stop for drivers passing through to snap a selfie with the city’s miniaturized Eiffel Tower — had drive-thru virus testing in the works, just to give locals peace of mind. Some wore masks but many saw little reason to bother.

Then an outbreak at a nursing home turned up over the weekend.

Now at least 65 people are infected, and everything has changed. A courier drove 11 hours through the night to pick up testing kits and stores are second-guessing reopening as Lamar County becomes a cautionary tale of the fragility of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to get Texas back in business faster than many states. And on the eve of every retailer, restaurant and movie theater being allowed to let customers back in the door, Texas set a single-day record high for COVID-19 fatalities Thursday with 50.

“We don’t know what it’s going to do here,” said Taylor Wright, owner of Aden Ann’s, a women’s boutique in Paris. Word of the sudden outbreak at Paris Healthcare Center, she said, shelved her plans to reopen over fears of exposing her staff and family. “We don’t know where it’s all spreading,” she said...


April 25, 2020

Holst: The Planets - Neptune, The Mystic

William Steinberg, Boston Symphony Orchestra (1971)

April 22, 2020

AP/NORC Poll: Few want virus restrictions eased

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite pockets of attention-grabbing protests, a new survey finds Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of stay-at-home orders and other efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. A majority say it won’t be safe to lift such restrictions anytime soon, even as a handful of governors announce plans to ease within days the public health efforts that have upended daily life and roiled the global economy.

The survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that more than a month after schoolyards fell silent, restaurant tables and bar stools emptied, and waves from a safe distance replaced hugs and handshakes, the country largely believes restrictions on social interaction to curb the spread of the virus are appropriate.

Only 12% of Americans say the measures where they live go too far. About twice as many people, 26%, believe the limits don’t go far enough. The majority of Americans — 61% — feel the steps taken by government officials to prevent infections of COVID-19 in their area are about right.

About 8 in 10 Americans say they support measures that include requiring Americans to stay in their homes and limiting gatherings to 10 people or fewer — numbers that have largely held steady over the past few weeks...



April 18, 2020

#FloridaMorons is trending: 'COVID-19 is not here, bro.'

At Florida's reopened beaches, crowds gather, tempers flare

Duval County opened its beaches Friday evening — with certain restrictions — but it appears that the stir-crazy crowds weren’t following the social distancing rules. And now, a #FloridaMorons hashtag started trending on Twitter Saturday afternoon as social media users posted pictures on Twitter and Facebook of shorelines full of people in the Jacksonville area, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

...“The scene at Jacksonville Beach wasn’t one of caution in the middle of a worldwide pandemic,” reported CNN. “Crowds cheered and flooded the beach when police took the barriers down. People were seen swimming, biking, surfing, running and fishing. “Social distancing seemed to be the last thing on anyone’s mind Friday.”

But not everyone saw it that way. Two hours after the beaches opened, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, who wanted beaches open, retweeted Jacksonville councilman Rory Diamond’s aerial photo of an empty stretch of beach where only a few people are visible — like a handful of stray ants. “Thank you Jacksonville. I appreciate your social distancing and responsible behavior as we opened our beaches for walking, swimming, running etc.,” Curry tweeted. “No groups congregating. ... Well done Jax.”

The image was immediately challenged by Floridians who, in a state ravaged by the coronavirus — with the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths growing by the hour — think re-opening public spaces like beaches in the middle of a pandemic is premature. “What about the 5:20 pm shot literally everyone else saw?” asked a Jacksonville resident who posts as Guido. Others posted drone photos from Action News JAX’s televised report that tell another story as people are seen jamming the sands and waters.

“Why is he deliberately posting Rory’s deliberately misleading photos from the deserted part of north Neptune Beach? Far from where the action is on Jax beach,” posted @stephendare, who is described as an “urban activist” on Twitter...


April 11, 2020

Finnish baker's toilet roll cakes keep profits rolling in

A quick-thinking Finnish bakery has saved itself from financial ruin due to the new coronavirus pandemic by creating a cake that looks like a toilet paper roll.

The dismayed staff at the Ronttosrouva bakery found all their orders cancelled last month, at the same time as panicked consumers began to hoard toilet paper rolls.

This sparked the idea of a toilet roll cake made of oat batter, passion fruit mousse and covered with white fondant.

The first five cakes sold within an hour, baker Uliana Timofeeva told Reuters, and the cake became a social media hit.

The bakery now has hundreds of orders and its owner Saana Lampinen has even been able to hire two extra people to her 9-member team.

April 9, 2020

General says coronavirus may affect more Navy ships

Source: AP

WASHINGTON — Pentagon leaders anticipate that the coronavirus may strike more Navy ships at sea after an outbreak aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific infected more than 400 sailors, a top general said Thursday.

Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said one member of the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was hospitalized Thursday in intensive care on Guam, where the carrier has been docked for more than a week. He said 416 crew members are now infected and that 1,164 test results are pending.

“It’s not a good idea to think that the Teddy Roosevelt is a one-of-a-kind issue,” Hyten told a Pentagon news conference. “We have too many ships at sea. … To think that it will never happen again is not a good way to plan.”

The Navy’s top officer, meanwhile, said the biggest problem is the inability to test enough people quickly, including those aboard the USS Nimitz, the next U.S.-based aircraft carrier due to deploy out to sea.

Read more: https://apnews.com/9394ddd56b9d02fdb3ea1e75165661f5

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