March 22, 2020

Steve Martin gets it just right — the celebrity response to the coronavirus.

I won't call attention to celebrities who've gotten it wrong — other than to say Gal Gadot — but here's a celebrity doing it as close as I can imagine — and I do mean imagine — to perfect — right down to the natural soft setting and the delicate colors of his clothes and the gentle smile....

178 comments:

Mary Beth said...

Interesting camera angle. Nice banjo playing.

Stephen said...

The Live From Here folks (Chris Thile, Rachael Price, etc.) have started a great series of YouTubes called Live from Home. Very much in this spirit.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Where have you gone, Martin Mull, a nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.

Bob Boyd said...

Scored some TP this morning on an early visit to the store!
There were about 8 or 10 4-roll packages on the shelf. I only took one because I'm such a swell guy, but it was Charmin MEGA. According to the package 4 mega rolls = 16 regular rolls. Woo Hoo!

Automatic_Wing said...

The Gal Gadot thing, lol. Imagine is one of the worst songs ever, so I hope this deters people from covering it in the future.

Wince said...

The banjo played slowly evokes that Ken Burns American vibe of survival and perseverance through difficult times.

Bob Boyd said...

Imagine there's no Wuhan
It isn't hard to do
No need for ventilators
Oh wait, there's still the flu

Imagine all the people
Their asses spick and span
No harshing on spring breakers
Just trying to get a tan.

I could keep going...

Ann Althouse said...

Martin is showing a subtle quality of humanity. He has been loved for 40 years, and this little video makes the argument why. You can see it in his demeanor, in his face, and in his choice to talk to us like this, through music, music that he has actually learned and practiced over a lifetime.

The Gal Gadot "Imagine" video shows callow celebrities assuming that they are loved and wanted and welcome and they are singing without a thought of singing well. The presumptuousness is actually pretty funny, so there is that. But these people are, to me, screaming that they are throwaway pop culture, here today, forgotten tomorrow. And in 40 years? Who will think of them?

Martin doesn't assume we want him. He is quietly and humbly showing up and offering "balm" — a fragrant, soothing substance.

Tommy Duncan said...

Personally, I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony...

Ken B said...

I don’t know the Gadot thing. I am not sure I will seek it out but I might. Anything is better than reading the Althouse covidiots tell us to lock door handles and boomers should die anyway. But I like your observations about Martin. Once upon a time people became celebrities because of how immediately like able they were. Not so much anymore.

Freeman Hunt said...

Yes, this is perfect. Saw it when it came out and thought the same thing.

Curious George said...

Love Steve Martin. Great comedienne when he was a "Wild and Crazy Guy." I actually appreciate him more now. Despite a world of accomplishments, including being a world class banjo player, we just has such a kind and humble demeanor now. This shows it in spades.

Lyle Smith said...

He's also a comedian. There is that difference.

Ken B said...

I did watch the Gadot thing. Sigh. It was generous of them to share their fabulousness with us, wasn’t it? They really are the best.

Wince said...

Martin is wearing a Cambridge MA 02138 hat?

Can't even attribute it to "Zoom", across the river starting in the 1970s...

"0-2-1-3-4: SEND IT TO ZOOM!"

JPS said...

"This certifies that you have had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite, intelligent and funny - Steve Martin"

- The card he used to distribute to autograph-seekers.

tcrosse said...

The show he does with Martin Short is a scream.

Wince said...

JPS said...
"This certifies that you have had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite, intelligent and funny - Steve Martin"

Yet few will acknowledge that Trump plays a similar schtick in good humor?

Yancey Ward said...

"Anything is better than reading the Althouse covidiots tell us to lock door handles and boomers should die anyway."

Ken, you are going to have to back up that blood libel with actual quotes.

Achilles said...

Imagine is an evil song for people who don't think.

347 people died from the flu in the US.

Last week.

Nobody cares about them.

Yancey Ward said...

Martin is a giant in the entertainment business. I feel lucky to have grown up watching him in his prime. My friends and I passed around audio recordings of work when I was a preteen.

Achilles said...

Ken B said...

Anything is better than reading the Althouse covidiots tell us to lock door handles and boomers should die anyway.


That is a vicious misrepresentation.

You are dumb.

Dumb people lash out at people in stupid ways usually with lies.

You deserve no respect and will get none from here on out.

Inga said...

Sweet and soothing music. Medicine for the soul. Now I’m going to get back to sewing masks. Ive got my own play list going, but it’s hard to hear over the whirring of the sewing machine. It feels good being productive, helping to protect people even if by only reminding them not to touch their faces. Hopefully healthcare workers will all get proper face masks soon!

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Martin is a great talent, and he’s fortunate, as are we, that he has musical skill to fall back on now that comedy is not funny.

And Ken, I would never tell you to lock door handles, but I do advise you to lick as many knobs as you can.

Bob Boyd said...

Atheists Don't Have No Songs - Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmwAD7nHqaY

Yancey Ward said...

Martin in his prime, though, would have coughed through the entire piece.

Bay Area Guy said...

Damn, that man can play!

Also, I recall that he studied philosophy in college 50 years ago.

Love Steve Martin

"I was born a poor black child..."

TML said...

This is perfection and fun and wonderful, too. In a different way. Skill and talent being one of the biggest reasons

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/robbie-robertson-the-weight-ringo-starr-video-885980/

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

“Hopefully healthcare workers will all get proper face masks soon!”

There’s a shitload of earloops hitting the healthcare supply chain this week. Most common surgical masks available by the second week of April. All market, no government. It isn’t difficult to ramp up mask production. It’s the distribution that takes time.

Francisco D said...

Love Steve Martin "I was born a poor black child..."

The Jerk would be rewritten today: "I identify as a poor African American child .."

Yancey Ward said...

The Jerk couldn't even be produced today, rewrite or no rewrite.

Arashi said...
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Arashi said...

The Jerk - nope, Blazing Saddles - hell nope. Two of the funniest movies made.

loudogblog said...

Steve Martin is a great guy. Back in the early 1960s, he was one of the melodrama performers in The Bird Cage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm. I just finished designing the lights for the Boysenberry Festival Melodrama, Riverboat Revenge, last week in there. Unfortunately, there will not be a Boysenberry Festival this year at Knott's Berry Farm. But I'm sure that the melodrama will eventually be performed at some point.

Yancey Ward said...

Looks like the US has reached the 100,000 tests/day goal. Might reach 200,000/day by the mid week at this rate.

Yancey Ward said...

Looks like the only bottleneck is going to be actual technicians to take samples and run the PCR machines, though reagents are likely to be a bottleneck at some point soon.

Lurker21 said...

One man's balm is another man's irritant.

What's with the hat? He didn't go to Harvard. He didn't even have any kids to try to get into Harvard.

Howard said...

I've lost my patience waiting for Gadot

Marc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bagoh20 said...

I agree he gets it right, especially for a celebrity, becuase less is more right now. It's perfect.

Mark said...

I suspect that the angry alarmist meant "lick door handles," but he blew the insult with his misspelling.

Drago said...

Althouse: "He has been loved for 40 years, and this little video makes the argument why."

Martin was viciously attacked by the Woke SJW crowd in 2016 simply for saying something nice about a female.

It goes without saying Martin offered up an apology immediately and then disappeared for awhile to learn his place in the New Order.

Mark said...

There was a moment in time when Steve Martin's "wild and crazy guy" kind of humor was the funniest thing. Then that moment passed.

But The Jerk is a classic. Lot's of usable quotes.

Mark said...

The pizza in a cup never caught on though.

Kelly said...

Mel Brooks and his son did a really sweet one together. Mel was standing in his house behind the glass door, and his son was outside doing the talking.

Bill Peschel said...

I've admired Martin for having the strength and self-presence to go his own way. He stopped the wild and crazy guy stuff because the concerts were no longer about the comedy, but adulation. The Beatles felt the same way.

It seems like he does what he does: write plays, essays, play the banjo. I'd love to see him on stage with Martin Short (who disguises his meanness and pettiness with comedy).

In fact, last week, I came across his little book "Pure Drivel," and have been enjoying it immensely. It's New Yorker-type comedy that's actually funny. At the same time, like the "Holmes and Watson" movie, it's for those who are tuned into that comedy wavelength. I can understand people who don't like it.

And Ken B is still and idiot.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Nice

Achilles said...

Steve Martin has been loved for 40 years. That is not enough to save you.

The storm started Friday when he invited people to ask him grammar questions on Twitter.

Someone wrote, "Is this how you spell lasonia?" to which Martin replied: "It depends. Are you in an African-American neighborhood or at an Italian restaurant."

"I knew of the name Lasonia. I did not make it up, nor do I find it funny. So to me the answer was either Lasonia (with a capital), or Lasagna, depending on what you meant. That they sounded alike in this rare and particular context struck me as funny. That was the joke," he wrote on his website.

"When the tweet went out, I saw some negative comments and immediately deleted the tweet and apologized. I gathered the perception was that I was making fun of African American names."

Achilles said...

Howard said...
I've lost my patience waiting for Gadot

I made it 30 seconds. She is not very interesting.

And her head must have been surgically created. The hair lines were moved back. Like an anime drawing of a person. I would expect her eye sockets to expand soon.

Ken B said...

Yancey

There's a lot of callous sneering going on. Only the sick and old are dying, not such a big deal.

A few quotes, unattributed but from recent threads.

“ Ken, I would never tell you to lock door handles, but I do advise you to lick as many knobs as you can”

“ But why should society come to a grinding halt to avoid a few deaths from natural causes?” Covid being natural.

“So, you can well imagine that I will not be mourning his suffering and potential demise. That is as charitable as I can be.”

“Exactly. Most of those who are dead were already sick. The Wuhan Flu virus was just the coup de grace One last kick in the pants on your way out.”

“ 347 people died of the flu last week” That was said in response to a woman worried her daughter with a heart defect being triaged and left to die.

Tell me you don’t see a lot of “well they,re old anyway”.

Sebastian said...

"Steve Martin gets it just right — the celebrity response to the coronavirus."

As long as he self-isolates. He's old, so at risk. Stay away, Steve.

Gal is young and, umm, healthy, so at lower risk. But I hear she did something wrong.

David Begley said...

Great video. Nice comment by Ann.

LYNNDH said...

Several yrs ago saw Steve Martin with the band he plays with at a Blue Grass Festival in Lyons Co. Great self taught musician, great show.

Quaestor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

What's with the hat? He didn't go to Harvard. He didn't even have any kids to try to get into Harvard.

It's a gentle dig at Harvard. Under the hat is a brain and a pretty good one. There aren't many hats with brains under them at Harvard these days.

Narr said...

Gal's hot, but Steve has talent.

I rate "Imagine" as one of the worst songs of the last 100 years--musically inept, lyrically pretentious, and morally self-congratulatory. No wonder so many celebs and lefties (but I repeat myself) love it.

Narr
Lennon was my least favorite Beatle

bagoh20 said...

Very nice, Ken, and not at all dishonestly representing arguments to attack people you disagree with. Classy and very helpful.

Narayanan said...

covidiots
That's good.
Hope it goes viral.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Ken, get back to us when you find a cure for death. Until then, keep isolated.

Ralph L said...

Three numbers with the best banjo playing I've ever heard:

Kruger Brothers & Kontras Quartet

I didn't know a banjo could be made to sing.

Lurker21 said...

I liked Martin when I was younger, but since then I put it down to immaturity, along with liking Woody Allen.

Zadie Smith's review of the movie Shopgirl was brutal. I wonder if there was some irony or hidden depth in the film that she didn't pick up on, or if it was really as smug and vacuous as she said.

Night Owl said...

Steve Martin had a comedy routine where he said the banjo was a happy instrument, and that you couldn't sing a depressing song on a banjo.

Here's a link. It's dated material for young people, but old folks might get a chuckle.

hstad said...

I liked "Steve Martin" as a comedian! Beyond that I don't know anything else but his public persona? AA you're on the point! [Gal Gadot] "...shows callow celebrities assuming that they are loved and wanted and welcome..."

I loved this quote this A.M. "...we are discovering stock boys and truckers matter and Hollywood celebrities do not..."

Not going to tell you where I found this because the Liberals on this site will whine. But it won't be hard to find, given the power of the Internet.

eddie willers said...

Steve Martin is a true Renaissance Man. That he came to us first as a Jester is just because that is what he chose to be.

His autobiography, Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life is not only fun and interesting, but well written. And I DO mean well written!

PS. One of my most fun evenings is when I went to the old "Great Southeast Music Hall and Emporium" for the Steve Martin Mull show. Yes, those boys did a short tour together and it was a hoot! "Am I in heaven, or am I in Miami?"

donald said...

Erm, just no on the quotes thing Ken B. Fer crissakes, I’m sure that every single one of those are from boomers. Some a whole lot more aware and honest than others I suppose.

Marc said...

Am unaware of the series but that Chris Thile has evidently given up playing Bach in public is a happy development.

When I was a teenager I remember a cousin who thought that Steve Martin was the funniest fellow ever; never understood it, myself, but chacun son goût.

Fixed my typo.

Tomcc said...

Steve Martin is one of relatively few people that I've paid money to see in person. He's like a comfortable old sweater. No... shoe. A comfortable old, but still nice, shoe. Not that old, but, you know...

Known Unknown said...

Honestly, I could watch Gadot read the phone book.

She comes off poorly in the video, but she's a pretty down-to-earth and decent person by all accounts. Former IMF, married with several kids and good-natured.

robother said...

I assume that each celebrity who sang a line on Gadot's video was required to give up all worldly possessions as a condition of performing "Imagine". Even as St. John of Lenin did upon writing it.

StephenFearby said...

Blogger Yancey Ward said...
Looks like the US has reached the 100,000 tests/day goal. Might reach 200,000/day by the mid week at this rate.

Context:

NY Post March 22, 2020 | 2:18pm

Coronavirus testing experiment in Italian town may have wiped out illness

A small town in Italy appears to have wiped out coronavirus — with zero new cases this week — after an experiment that called for widespread testing, according to a report.

Researchers wrote in an op-ed for the Guardian that the northern town of Vò started testing all 3,000 residents on March 6 after it became home to the country’s first coronavirus death.

University of Padua professor Andrea Crisanti and Antonio Cassone, who is the former director of the department of infectious diseases at the Italian institute of health, said the pilot study involved testing even residents who didn’t show symptoms of the virus.

“We made an interesting finding: at the time the first symptomatic case was diagnosed, a significant proportion of the population, about 3%, had already been infected – yet most of them were completely asymptomatic,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers said the practice “established a valuable principle: testing of all citizens, whether or not they have symptoms, provides a way to control this pandemic.”

“This allowed us to quarantine people before they showed signs of infection and stop the further spread of coronavirus,” the researchers wrote.

https://nypost.com/2020/03/22/coronavirus-testing-experiment-in-italian-town-may-have-wiped-out-illness/

Daniel Jackson said...

In a classic blue grass style, the melody has a very spiritual gospel quality of Appalachia.

Deep down, Martin is a Calm and Spiritual Guy.

Iman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iman said...

Very soothing. Martin takes great pride in his playing, as well he should.

I grew up in Orange County and I worked with a fellow who had gone to high school with Martin. For a laugh, the office all brought their HS yearbooks in. The classmate of Martin's yearbook had several pics of Martin - one with him with a baseball in his mouth - and you could see he was definitely the class cut-up.

An older lady in our group - a real sweetheart - had attended and graduated from Compton High School and had actor James Coburn in her class. That iconic smile was with him even then.

grackle said...

To those well-meaning commentors who are certain us Chicken Littles are too concerned about the Wuhan virus – please, I beg you to check out this video that explains the Wuhan virus problem much better than I ever could.

mccullough said...

It doesn’t help that Imagine is just a dumb, shitty song.

n.n said...

There's a lot of callous sneering going on. Only the sick and old are dying, not such a big deal.

Neither Planned Parenthood nor Planned Parent.

Mark said...

After trying to figure out what he was really saying arguing with every point that people made, I finally just put him on my "skip over" list.

It is pointless to read his comments, even more pointless to try to engage with him.

Achilles said...

Ken B said...
Yancey

There's a lot of callous sneering going on. Only the sick and old are dying, not such a big deal.

A few quotes, unattributed but from recent threads.


People disagree with douchey asshole who posts quotes out of context and attributing unintended meanings.

Douchey asshole responds by posting quotes out of context and attributing unintended meanings.

Douchey asshole also shows he is kinda stupid.

Sebastian said...

CDC range for annual global flu deaths: 291,000 to 646,000.

So, what's the over-under for Wuhan virus? Are betting markets getting involved?

Say I arbitrarily pick the midrange, 470K total, for Wuhan within the next six months. Do you take the over or the under? How much are you willing to put down?

Jason said...

For what it's worth, here's my banjo version of "I Will."

https://soundcloud.com/jason-van-steenwyk/i-will

Best wishes to everyone.

Ken B said...

Achilles
Every time someone posts death numbers you post some form of a so what response. You cite flu deaths, or some population number or AIDS or something. It happens every time. I don’t much care that you don’t care, but don’t get huffy when I point out you don’t care. It’s unbecoming.

Ken B said...

Sebastian
How is 470 for 6 months the mid point? The others are yearly numbers.

Derek Kite said...

I didn't even know who it was. I was drawn in by the unusual playing of the banjo, his technique. It was soft and lovely.

The hat, the sunglasses, the location, everything was understated except the music.

CStanley said...

Very nice, Jason!

CStanley said...

I sure wish commenters would stop assuming bad faith in other commenters.

A lot more deaths today in US. I assumed the last two days were an anomaly but certainly would have been happy to have been proven wrong. It’s going to be a rough couple of weeks and people at risk or with loved ones at risk are likely to be very scared. People fighting this in the hospital wards and those who can’t even be by their loved ones sides as they die are going through hell. Likewise the people out there doing essential services to keep us all going, who are going to increasingly face risk of infecting themselves and their own loved ones.

pchuck1966 said...

The secret to this was that he didn't say or sing anything. It was just random music.

pchuck1966 said...

Gadot was atrocious with that stupid video singing that stupid piece of dreck by John Lennon. Nevertheless, she is hot and she can field strip an Uzi blind folded.

n.n said...

The banjo captures the sentiment. Human like us. Just right.

FullMoon said...

Ken B said...

Achilles
Every time someone posts death numbers you post some form of a so what response. You cite flu deaths, or some population number or AIDS or something. It happens every time. I don’t much care that you don’t care, but don’t get huffy when I point out you don’t care. It’s unbecoming.


Pretty sure Achilles point is that we do not shut down the whole country for flu.
Some agree , some don't.

narciso said...

She couldnt save meet the jones, largely because gafinakis but still.

Static Ping said...

That was very nice. Thank you for sharing.

My playlist had just loaded "Life During Wartime" by Talking Heads just as I read the post. Seems apt, somehow.

Static Ping said...

And then the playlist pulled up "No Time to Kill" by Clint Black.

I'm half expecting "King Tut" next. Shuffle can be a joy.

Ken B said...

FullMoon
Pretty sure that's not his only point. He has made other comments that shed light. I'm not going to quote them all.

FullMoon said...


I'm half expecting "King Tut" next. Shuffle can be a joy.

Reminds me of Bangles "Walk like an Egyptian" video. Played a lot on MTV. Middle school peripheral said, "I am glad I am not an Egyptian, it is too hard to walk like that"!

Bangles Video

Lewis Wetzel said...


Blogger FullMoon said...
. . .
Pretty sure Achilles point is that we do not shut down the whole country for flu.

I am ambivalent, not because I do not care, but I do not know.
So I look at the metadata.
Medical professionals, especially people charged with containing the virus or caring for the sick, can be expected to give worst-case scenarios. That's their job. If they say that they need a million hospital beds, they want to make sure that they did not give low-ball number. Some politicians are in the same boat.
BUt we should have wise heads in politics who know that creating a million hospital beds requires resources, and if these resources are taken from other government functions, the result may be worse than not having a million hospital beds.
Sometimes not doing what the worst-case scenario requires that we do is the best option.

Nichevo said...


FullMoon said...
Ken B said...

Achilles
Every time someone posts death numbers you post some form of a so what response. You cite flu deaths, or some population number or AIDS or something. It happens every time. I don’t much care that you don’t care, but don’t get huffy when I point out you don’t care. It’s unbecoming.

Pretty sure Achilles point is that we do not shut down the whole country for flu.
Some agree , some don't.

3/22/20, 3:58 PM



Without picking a side:

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/everyone-loses-their-minds

Jim said...

very enjoyable. low key. upbeat. Martin always was pretty casual, mostly humble. Loved the way he just set up, played, and went his way. He is a very talented man, wish he did more stand up still. kind of the opposite of most of hollywood types. if you are on twitter, he is a good person to follow.

Mark said...

When it is just one or two people to skip over, it's not that big a problem.

(And feel free to skip over me if you want. I'm sure some do.)

It's when you have the responders to the skip overs that it becomes a problem.

NCMoss said...

Nice little piece (especially if he wrote it) but it's weird how bluegrass players perform in such a deadpan style as Martin does here - it's all too animatronic.

madAsHell said...

I won't link to the Gateway Pundit, but I did appreciate the irony in this headline.....When will WHO be held accountable?

Ken B said...

Louis Wetzel
Indeed. We need to make tough choices. That requires we acknowledge them. One of them is that aside from any coordinated shutdown now the virus could wreak havoc on the economy later. It’s hard to discuss the risks and the costs when one side of the argument just chants “flu, flu, flu” and refuses to acknowledge that there is a serious risk from doing too little.

As an example I asked if anyone can picture the effect of 50 million getting sick in one week, many of them seriously, and many of them dying. I was told by one of our resident denialists “it doesn’t work like that”. But absent effective measures now that is exactly how it works.
So how do we sensibly discuss choices, risks, and costs if that's the response?

walter said...

Bob Boyd said...Scored some TP this morning on an early visit to the store!
There were about 8 or 10 4-roll packages on the shelf. I only took one..
--
You can find me selling "loosies" at intersections.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

You can find me selling "loosies" at intersections.


I love this idea. It's like pan-handling in reverse.

bagoh20 said...

"So how do we sensibly discuss choices, risks, and costs if that's the response?"

"Sensibly" would first require avoiding throwing out numbers that are just for effect, or do you believe that 50 million people will suddenly get sick in one week? Do you think there is any realistic chance of that? If not, then why did you preface with that?

Bay Area Guy said...

Steve Martin? Yes!

Gail Godot? On looks only - Hell Yeah!

Howard's pun above? Yes!

Ken B's epidemiological skills? Meh

Carry on and stay calm, folks.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Ken B wrote:

"As an example I asked if anyone can picture the effect of 50 million getting sick in one week . . ."
The CDC says that in a normal flu season (6 months), about 50,000,000 Americans get the flu.

narciso said...

what were those numbers they tossed out last week, by the hospital 96 million,

BlackjohnX said...

As regards the Cambridge hat Martin is wearing - he was the Hasty Pudding's Man of the Year in 1988 and it may well be that the hat dates from that event.

narciso said...

lobby, mr. daystrum doesn't offer criticism well, (yes the star trek analogy isn't intended)

Ken B said...

Louis Wetzel
The flu doesn’t grow exponentially. If, and this is the premise of my hypothetical, we do too little now to stop a full scale outbreak then yes you suddenly get tens of millions sick in a week. 50 million is quite possible, but if it matters to you let’s take 25 million (and then wait a week) or 7 million (and wait three weeks). But look at Bagoh's response. He doesn’t even think I could be serious, I must (like all the scientists) be diddling him.

walter said...

I have a bucket for cash 20 ft away. You roll down yer window and I throw it in.
Got a good spiral right now. (In case Belichick is reading)

Ken B said...

Yancey
Name me the denialists here who even take seriously the possibility of an outbreak on the scale we might be facing. You don’t have to believe it’s likely, but isn’t it odd they won’t even consider the possibility?

Narr said...

Second the Martin memoir recommendation. Very funny guy, with a serious mind. The
Aaron Copland part is a gem.

I'll bet his "pudding collection" is 'tube-able (I have to go eat right now or I'd look
for it myself).

Narr
Everything I don't know, I learned on the Interwebs

narciso said...

all this doomsaying, narr, reminded me of this offering,


that was my first introduction to kerr,

Josephbleau said...

King Tut is very good, but Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs wooly bully owns the niche.

Rory said...

Classic TV Armageddon tonight: Spock's parents get a ride on the Enterprise; Columbo matches wits with a Grand Master.

narciso said...

mission to Babel, was it, Colombo endures even in lukewarm episodes,

Jon Ericson said...

Here ya go ken b:

for firefox

for chrome, brave and their ilk

Just stick achilles, bruce h etc in and bob's yer uncle.

boatbuilder said...

Ken B: In the entire world, there are 350,000 reported cases of coronavirus. Only a small percentage of those are sick, and a tiny percentage have died. There are 7.5 billion people in the world. That is 7 thousand five hundred times one million.

I am willing to believe that the figures from China are pure bullshit and perhaps things are a lot worse than they say they are. Even so we are looking at nothing in China (Pop. 1.5 billion) remotely close to your 50 million number. And nothing remotely close anywhere else.

I am also willing to believe that the "authoritarian" regimes in Japan, Singapore and South Korea are on the ball enough to control everything so that nobody breaks the "shelter in place" policy and they track everything (Not really, but for purposes of argument).

I am further willing to believe (OK not really) that the US populace and US healthcare is worse than all of those other countries in dealing with "pandemics".

What I find hard to believe is that there isn't some third world shithole country where the kind of out-of-control growth of the infection you keep warning us about has occurred or is occurring. Sure, third-world shitholes don't do statistics or reporting very well, but if there is a place on earth where this is happening I would think it would be heard about.

Where are the numbers?

Other than because I like to scare myself, why should I buy the "50 million sick" scenario?

Ken B said...

Unknown
You shouldn’t “buy it” as a prediction, which it isn’t, but as a possibility, which it is. Nothing is certain, but we must consider all the plausible outcomes.
How many cases were there a week ago? A week before that?
Check next week. See what the numbers are then.

25% of the world got Spanish Flu in short order, and there was more immunity to that than to covid. It’s unknown yet whether covid is worse to get than Spanish Flu. But it seems bad enough to worry.

Ken B said...

Jon Ericson
I will check it out. Clearly explanations are pointless.

narciso said...

how they walk and chew gum

Unknown said...

Two points:

The banjo is an African instrument.

As my brother once said ‘I’d give my right arm to be able to pick a banjo like that.’

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Speaking of celebrities who are "doing it right"...
I'd definitely add this guy to the list.

Interesting first had account dealing with Covid-19/Wuhan.

narciso said...

this one wrapped up the week

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Media Mock Trump - but it might be showing signs of working .

boo hiss corrupt hack-D press. boo hiss.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Bloomberg "newz" - you can trust that!

Didn't someone already shoot that down? high doses of any drug can be lethal. Bloomy and his fake news can eat rats.

boatbuilder said...

Sure Ken B--worrying is good. Lets all worry about what might be possible.

I will grant you that 50 billion sick in the US is a possibility. My having a fabulously wealthy relative who I never heard of who dies and leaves me millions is also a possibility.

I am not banking on it.

Is the US somehow ahead of the curve? My understanding is that we are behind the curve. Where are all the millions of sick people?

narciso said...

good news everyone, yikes

narciso said...

Russia, china, Qatar, we're for sale

boatbuilder said...

Not 50 billion--50 million--as a possibility. Big jump from 350,000 worldwide, but a possibility.

Similar to annual flu stats, but whatever... (I know, comparing to the flu is verboten, bad.)



bagoh20 said...

". But look at Bagoh's response. He doesn’t even think I could be serious, I must (like all the scientists) be diddling him."

"All the scientists", huh? That's convincing. No, I don't think you are serious. If you really believed it, you'd be living like a survivalist in the mountains somewhere as far from everyone as possible, or holed up in you house, armed and refusing to open the door. Because that would be the reasonable response. If it was the 1300s and nobody knew anything about viruses, and therefore, no effective prophylactic measure were taken by anyone, then that could be possible, but that's no more reality today than your scenario. You should be able to make a reasonable argument with realistic numbers.

narciso said...

they can't or won't do anything right

tcrosse said...

Back to Steve Martin, if I may. Back in 2010 he gave a talk at the 92nd St Y about Art, which is an enthusiasm of his. But the audience wanted to talk Show Biz, much to his disgust. He walked.

narciso said...

quelle surprise

Tomcc said...

Well, shit. "Steve Mnuchin said the lockdown affecting many Americans is likely to last 10 to 12 weeks." (Yahoo News)
I'll be cooperative for two to three weeks. Unless the infection rates/death rates show alarming increases, I'll be looking for a "re-open plan". I'll wear gloves and a mask, if necessary, but dammit we can't put ourselves into an economic coma!

StephenFearby said...


DM 16:35 EDT, 22 March 2020

"One-in-THREE positive coronavirus tests are from ‘silent carriers’ who show NO symptoms, classified Chinese government data suggests

The number of people infected with coronavirus who show no or delayed symptoms could be as high as one-third of those who test positive for the disease.

According to classified Chinese government data seen by the South China Morning Post, the true scale and of the hidden number of these 'silent carriers' could be higher than first thought.

This discovery has huge ramifications for the strategies being used by countries to contain the virus.

Scientists are currently unable to agree on what role asymptomatic transmission plays in spreading the disease and how infectious people with no symptoms are.

The number of people infected with coronavirus who show no or delayed symptoms could be as high as one-third of those who test positive for the disease.

According to classified Chinese government data seen by the South China Morning Post, the true scale and of the hidden number of these 'silent carriers' could be higher than first thought.

This discovery has huge ramifications for the strategies being used by countries to contain the virus.

Scientists are currently unable to agree on what role asymptomatic transmission plays in spreading the disease and how infectious people with no symptoms are.

...[Hiroshi Nishiura, an epidemiologist at Hokkaido University put the proportion of asymptomatic Japanese patients evacuated from Wuhan at 30.8 per cent, a figure similar to the classified Chinese government data.

Nishiura added: 'The asymptomatic ratio … could be higher among children than in older adults. That would considerably change our scope of the outbreak, and even the optimal interventions can change.'

...Western countries such as the United States, Britain and Italy do not test people without symptoms, apart from clinicians who have been repeatedly exposed to the virus.

...Data collected by the Japanese government from the Diamond Princess cruise ship shows that of the 712 passengers and crew who tested positive, 334 were asymptomatic."

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8140551/A-coronavirus-cases-silent-carriers-classified-Chinese-data-suggests.html

sinz52 said...

Tomcc: "Unless the infection rates/death rates show alarming increases, I'll be looking for a "re-open plan""

By mid-April, you'll have your wish. Alarming increases in the death rate. Unless some game-changer intervenes before then. That's based on the exponentially increasing death rate to date. Exponential growth is scary. It starts off slow--and then really takes off.


sinz52 said...

Steve Martin is age 74, which puts him at a high risk of severe complications if he catches the coronavirus. I always liked him and I wish him the very best of luck.

walter said...

StephenFearby,
I think we get it.

Tomcc said...

Unless some game-changer intervenes before then.
You mean like keeping people at home across the entire country for several weeks- that kind of game-changer? (And, I do realize not everyone is self-quarantined. Nonetheless, there is dramatically less human interaction going on now than two weeks ago.)

stevew said...

Certain entertainers understand, innately it seems, that they must win my support. They must deliver content that amuses me, makes me think, incites me to an intense emotional reaction, perhaps all three. Martin gets this. It's not about him specifically, it's about what he offers me. Gadot, on the other hand, shows that she thinks it's all about her. She takes a song written and performed 40 something years ago - by a guy that's been dead for nearly 40 years - and makes a mash of it expecting that we will be enthralled because, well, she's Gal Gadot, of course.

With all that established, I have to say the Steve Martin thing, and Althouse's embrace of it, misses the mark for me. Seems a lot of people that live their lives in relative isolation want to coach and advise me that living this way under a mandate can be wonderful. That is not my life. This is a huge adjustment for me. I don't live that way usually because it is unfulfilling. I do plenty of things on my own or in small groups, but a significant proportion of my live is lived out in the world, with other people, engaged in various multi-person activities. This is not easy. This is stress inducing.

FullMoon said...

When it rains, it pours:

WEINSTEIN TESTS POSITIVE IN PRISON

bagoh20 said...

Here in Nevada, we have tested just over 2600 people. 7% were positive. That's out of people who showed symptoms, and thus were tested. I suppose it also included a few elites and connected as well. 2 deaths. Most business shut down.

Marcus said...

I too enjoyed his autobiography. I cannot remember if I read it or listened on Audible.

THEOLDMAN

If the Internet goes down during isolation, I may have to take up book reading again.

Arashi said...

I kind of liked the Steve Martin banjo piece. It must be nice to be at a place and time where you can lock yourself away from everybody and everything yet still post interesting things on the web.

No one here is really going to convince the 'deniers' and no one is going to convince the 'we are all going to die' folks. Name calling is pointless.

One thing I am fairly certain of is, if we here in the greater pugetopolis do not start the local economy back up in the first part of April (we are sort of in a lock down until the end of March) there is not going to be much economy left. A lot of folks just getting by from paycheck to paycheck will have joined the ranks of he unemployed and homeless. A lot of retired folks will have their retirement savings devestated. They might be looking at having to go back ot work, but won't be able to becasue there won't be any work.

For all the folks who seriously think we are all going to die unless, what do you think will be left if we continue to shutdown for months? Will you still own your home? Will you still have a job? A retirement? How many folks killing themselves out of desperation will be acceptable, or will that just be collateral damage - you know destroy the village to save it?

So far today, I have received more than a dozen emails touting sure fire things you can do to stop the WuhFlu dead in is tracks. They are all bullshit, but they are prolific and varied.

We are in a strange place, and I do not beleive any of us knows the truth of it all. Yelling at each other seems counterproductive.

rcocean said...

Reporter: Mitt Romney and 3 other Senators are in isolation due to the virus.
Trump: Mitt Romney? Gee that's too bad.
Reporter: Is that sarcasm?
Trump (Straight Face): None whats so ever.

Haha. What a Great President.

rcocean said...

For a Hollyweirdo Steve Martin isn't a total piece of shit.

Funny comedian - in his prime.

Nichevo said...


Blogger rcocean said...
Reporter: Mitt Romney and 3 other Senators are in isolation due to the virus.
Trump: Mitt Romney? Gee that's too bad.
Reporter: Is that sarcasm?
Trump (Straight Face): None whats so ever.

Haha. What a Great President.




Please, I need a link to that video and timecode.

Nichevo said...

Also, is old Rommel really sick?

narciso said...

more of the lawgivers bounty

Yancey Ward said...

"Here in Nevada, we have tested just over 2600 people. 7% were positive."

Important caveat- it isn't just the people who showed symptoms and were tested- it is the people with symptoms who at least demanded a test be run.

Here has the been patter over and over. The first case or two in a location, like a city or large county, or a small state, doesn't concern people. Few of the people with flu-like symptoms will bother even going to a clinic for them even today with just one or two nearby cases. However, that slowly changes as the case number goes up- it hits 10, then suddenly you have 100 more people demanding the test, and cases double. This causes even more panic, and 1000 show up demanding a test, and so you get 100 new cases the next day. And so on.

When I checked Tennessee last night, we had around 280-290 cases, and had run the typical 3000 tests. However, that 250 barrier was a trigger, and we are now running more tests today than we had run in the last 5 days. However, we will still about the same ratio of positives we had for the first 3000 tests, it will just be that we will have run 6000+ tests by the end of tommorow. I expect Tennessee with pass the 1000 mark on Tuesday, and this will trigger 10,000 people to seek tests in the day or two that follows.

If the US really can run 1,000,000/day sometime next week, then we will see 100,000 new cases/ day for a while.

Meanwhile, my gym was ordered closed today and supposedly will remain that way until April 6th. All to prevent the spread of a disease already widely and deeply spread. Of course, the closure won't be reversed on April 6th since there is zero chance any politician will reverse a closure until new cases drops to zero. Gotta do it, even if it saves just one life.

rcocean said...

Very comedians are funny after 60, unless they have a particular type of comedy Jack Benny, Groucho, WC fields were funny to the end.

rcocean said...

Just go on Youtube and type in Romney and Trump

rcocean said...

Romney is in isolation because he had contact with Ron Paul - and the other 2 Senators. I guess.

n.n said...

The first rule of pandemics is to not spread social contagions.

boatbuilder said...

sinz52--"death rate" https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=princess+bride--that+word+you+are+using&&view=detail&mid=82BA1284AD68B1417C6F82BA1284AD68B1417C6F&rvsmid=AFB9C721B2E3483F11ADAFB9C721B2E3483F11AD&FORM=VDQVAP"--

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

You had me at ...Romney is in isolation

Lewis Wetzel said...

Ken B said...
Louis Wetzel
The flu doesn’t grow exponentially.

Yes, it does, at a low x value 1+x for the exponent, for a while and then the curve flattens out & eventually the exponent is < 1.
Surely you don't believe that the new cases of covid-19 can grow exponentially forever, Ken B? In the real world the processes explained by exponential equations are limited, they don't go one forever; eventually they process return to the old stasis, create a new stasis, or you have a whole new process.

Ken B said...

“ Surely you don't believe that the new cases of covid-19 can grow exponentially forever, Ken B? I”

That’s sort of a straw man Lewis. Things grow exponentially until they start running out of new, non immune hosts to infect. So eventually it turns into something more like a logistic curve. By the time that happens about half the non immune are affected. The non immune could easily be nearly all of us. Unlike flu. Another way flu is a bad analogy.

stephen cooper said...

Say what you want about Gal Gadot, unlike the guy who wrote that stupid song, she

DID NOT WRITE IT, and it is a good thing not to have written such a stupid song,

I also think Gal Gadot was never arrested for domestic violence.

What's that you say, John Lennon was never arrested for domestic violence?

Well it is possible he and his best pals used to beat their women (that is, get angry and punch them in the face, the way disgusting young cowards often do to their women) and keep them from the things they loved.

DO NOT ADMIRE CELEBRITIES

maj said...

Love it. Neil Diamond's is pretty good too - "hands . . . washing hands . . . reaching out, don't touch me, I won't touch you!"

Lewis Wetzel said...

Ken B wrote:
"That’s sort of a straw man Lewis. Things grow exponentially until they start running out of new, non immune hosts to infect."
Not always. Frequently the virus mutates to become less lethal or non-contagious. Covid-19 is as prone to mutation as any other virus.
Also, lethality works against selection for virus reproduction. A dead man infects no one (not exactly, but the social interaction of a dead man is much reduced).

stephen cooper said...

you will never know a celebrity well enough to know if your admiration of them is just a sad delusion, unless you are a fellow celebrity.

That being said, Steve Martin could have done a lot worse.

He could have done a lot better, but you know that, and he knows that.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I'm not trying to be smart ass, Ken B, I am trying to figure out why, if covid-19 is such an excellent example of a virus, we don't get more pandemics with similar lethality.

Ken B said...

Lewis
Why do you call it an excellent example? I assume you mean exemplifying the usual traits of viruses to an extreme. I don’t know that it is such a thing. It’s an RNA virus and I think most known viruses are DNA. I don’t know how atypical it is. Its most important feature seems to be that humans don’t have much immunity to it yet. Most common flus are variations on viruses we have seen before and substantial parts of the population have immunity. I read doctors don’t think we have the same levels of defence. I don’t know how solid that conclusion is, I don’t think anyone does.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I don't know either, Ken B. I am trying to separate the plausible from the likely. It's plausible that a comet could strike the earth next year. It is not likely.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Good banjo, great hat!

Lewis Wetzel said...

Covid-19 is a retrovirus (RNA). Retroviruses mutate more easily and more frequently than DNA viruses. This could be its strength and its weakness.

Ken B said...

Lewis
Yes. Mutation played a big role in stopping SARS, which was another Corona virus. Can’t count on it though.
We are many. orders of magnitude more likely than comets here. Your priors need updating.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The last big asteroid hit was about 35 million years ago. That's about 5.6 orders of magnitude greater than the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.

Crazy World said...

12:32 loudog remember the Japanese Deer Park? Loved that place!

Achilles said...

Ken B said...

Achilles
Every time someone posts death numbers you post some form of a so what response. You cite flu deaths, or some population number or AIDS or something. It happens every time. I don’t much care that you don’t care, but don’t get huffy when I point out you don’t care. It’s unbecoming.



The first step you douchey asshole is to stop posting bad faith garbage attributing things to people they didn't say.

The second is that you should stop whining when someone points out actual facts and deal with them like an adult.

You people are pretending that nothing like this has every happened.

I am just pointing out that is really fucking stupid.

This is happening every day.

I am also pointing out you all are doing massive damage to peoples lives and you gave Governors dictatorial powers.

pious agnostic said...

He's playing his song "You Are A Friend Of Mine" which he wrote for his friend Marty Short.

Ray Visotski said...

Someone may have it in all the comments, but I can’t help but remember the skit where Steve starts playing a pretty tune, says “You just can’t play a sad song on the banjo. You can’t sing Oh, death and grief and sorry and murder”.

Jeff Brokaw said...

He’s been a living legend for a long while now, and like Althouse I love his entire approach here.

Let’s take inventory on his good points: funny, good natured, great musician, family man, lots of top notch movies, never been in trouble of any kind (cannot even imagine a “me too” situation with him). You could take your kids to anything Steve Martin has ever done and not have to worry about anything. Bad points? What would those be?

We re-watched “Parenthood” a couple weekends ago; a classic that for some reason gets little respect or attention. Steve Martin is perfect in that movie too, he steals the show, really. Lots of good solid family advice in the movie too. I saw it when it came out, and was a new father at the time (‘89), and have often quoted the “by the third one you let ‘em juggle knives” line. It’s true! Lol.

pious agnostic said...

Lurker21 said...
Zadie Smith's review of the movie Shopgirl was brutal. I wonder if there was some irony or hidden depth in the film that she didn't pick up on, or if it was really as smug and vacuous as she said.

3/22/20, 1:31 PM

I recommend you watch the movie and form your own opinion. Or better yet, read the book first, which was also written by Steve Martin.

GRW3 said...

Steve Martin is an accomplished banjo player. He has a couple of excellent Bluegrass albums of songs and tunes HE wrote, backed up by the Steep Canyon Rangers, a top Bluegrass band. Look them up and give them a listen.