THE GIGGLE ECONOMY
The Dirty Dog Jazz Café will remain closed until our jazz family can again safely gather in an intimate setting to hear live jazz. What makes the Dirty Dog and jazz so important in our lives is its ability to bring us closer together. For the moment we will have to stay close by staying apart. This necessary intermission will end, and jazz will once again leak out the Dog’s front door and smiling people will pour in. See you then.
THE JOKE EDITION
Sometimes I write this blog for others . This blog is for me. I needed a lift.
“Howard, I think the dog wants to go out.”
From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere. Dr. Seuss
I have been having a hard time seeing anything funny in the wake of personal tragedies that are occurring every moment, every day around the world. I am thinking that adversity isn’t always all that it is cracked up to be. In this period of social separation we don’t get to witness other’s despair first hand, we can only feel it. This would normally be a time to lock arms and together face whatever comes our way. For the moment arm locking isn’t possible so maybe wisecracking will have to do. We joke because if we didn’t, we’d cry.
No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds. Red Skelton
We are alone in our own homes, powerless and isolated, A joke now and then is our most reliable shield, and our warmest comfort blanket. We as individuals can’t stop the wave of infection sweeping our country.
The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up. Mark Twain
Laughter, however, will help us to take back control, and when we share a joke it will start to connect us with others. This is a way to to spit in the eye of the invader.
Christopher Hitchens said that humor was “part of the armor-plate” of humanity, protecting us from life’s grim reality
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Victor Borge
On a dark April morning my wife and I were glumly looking at depressing images on our screens. I looked over at my wife and she was crying. Then she was guffawing, and then she was crying, guffawing and laughing loudly. The more we watched it together, the more we laughed together the better we felt about the ordeal ahead. It felt a lot better than looking at death graphs. Here is the day changer that some kind soul had posted.
My husband and I were dressed and ready to go out for a lovely evening of dinner and theatre. Having been burgled in the past, we turned on a ‘night light’ and the answering machine, then put the cat in the backyard.
When our Uber arrived, we walked out our front door and our rather tubby cat scooted between our legs inside, then ran up the stairs. Because our cat likes to chase our canary we really didn’t want to leave them unchaperoned, so my husband ran inside to retrieve her and put her in the backyard again.
Because I didn’t want the Uber driver to know our house was going to be empty all evening, I explained to him that my husband would be out momentarily as he was just bidding goodnight to my mother.
A few minutes later he got into the Uber all hot and bothered, and said (to my growing horror and amusement) as we pulled away,
“Sorry it took so long but the stupid bitch was hiding under the bed and I had to poke her arse with a coat hanger to get her to come out! She tried to take off so I grabbed her by the neck and wrapped her in a blanket so she wouldn’t scratch me like she did last time. But it worked! I hauled her fat arse down the stairs and threw her into the backyard….she had better not poop in the vegetable garden again.”
To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it. Charlie Chaplin
I found it difficult to find jokes on isolation, masks, toilet paper and other topical subjects that made me laugh.
For now, there are plenty of self deprecating jokes and a plethora of musician slams.
When I look back on this time I will probably see the humor.
Bill Mauldin saved my childhood. World War II was a grim time to be young boy, but here was Bill Mauldin on the front lines with his sketchpad lightening our spirits just a little.
This can’t be a combat man. He’s looking for a fight.
Bill Mauldin’s everyman heroes were a couple of long-suffering, wisecracking infantrymen named Willie and Joe. As they appeared in the Army’s Stars and Stripes magazine Willie and Joe were reliable men of few words who shouldered the craziness of war with dignity, and Bill Mauldin was praised for his honest images of what most soldiers felt during war-time. General George S. Patton, Jr. complained about the scruffiness of the characters and blamed Mauldin for disrespecting the army and “trying to incite a mutiny“. But Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander European Theater, told Patton to leave Mauldin alone, because he felt that Mauldin’s cartoons gave the soldiers an outlet for their frustrations. The War Department supported their syndication. The cartoons helped publicize the ground forces and showed the grim side of war, demonstrating that victory would require repeated sacrifices.
Bill Mauldin showed a young boy that when every vestige of civility and society has been stripped away in wartime, Willie and Joe remained good and decent men.
Louis Armstrong had a public persona that matched his hit version of the song What A Wonderful Life. This was just how he wanted to be seen, and was an in your face response to the hardships he faced throughout his life. It took some effort, but he carried it off. He was a man entirely content to live in his own skin. Louis didn’t tell jokes. He just gave us instructions on how to handle adversity.
I can imagine Louis and the Coronavirus facing off, with the virus creeping away a victim of a couple of blasts from Louis’ horn followed by that unique smile of his.
Dizzy Gillespie said of Louis, “I began to recognize what I had considered Pops’ grinning in the face of racism as his absolute refusal to let anything, even anger about racism, steal the joy from his life.” Call it the pursuit of happiness: despite the tough world he had grown up in and the far from perfect one in which he made his career, Louis Armstrong really did believe that “It’s a Wonderful World.”
Saxophonist Charlie Holmes summed up his joyous exuberance
“Other trumpet players would be hitting high notes, but they sound like a flute up there or something. But Louis wasn’t playing them like that. Louis was hittin’ them notes right on the head, and expanding. They would be notes. He was hittin’ notes. He wasn’t squeakin’. They wasn’t no squeaks. They were notes. Big, broad notes. . . . The higher he went, the broader his tone got—and it was beautiful!
JAZZ MUSICIANS ARE AN EASY TARGET
What’s the difference between a drummer and an extra large pizza? The pizza can feed a family of four.
How does a jazz musician end up with 1 million dollars? By starting with 2 million dollars.
What do you call a jazz musician without a girlfriend/boyfriend? Homeless.
St. Peter in Heaven is checking ID’s. He asks a man, “What did you do on Earth?” The man says, “I was a doctor.” St. Peter says, “Okay, go right through those pearly gates. Next! What did you do on Earth?” “I was a school teacher.” “Go right through those pearly gates. Next! And what did you do on Earth?” “I was a musician.” “Go around the side, up the freight elevator, through the kitchen…..”
What’s the difference between a rock guitarist and a jazz guitarist? The rock guitarist plays 3 chords for 1,000 people, the jazz guitarists plays 1,000 chords for 3 people.
A couple goes to see a marriage counselor. They say their marriage is on the rocks because they never speak to each other. The counselor tries to get them to talk, but they just sit there with their arms folded and their mouths closed. So he pulls out his upright bass and starts taking a solo. Instantly, the couple turns to each other and starts conversing for the first time in months. Shocked by this, the couple asks the counselor: “How did you know that would work?”
“Simple,” he says, “Everyone always talks during the bass solo.”
What’s the difference between a dead squirrel on the side of the road and a dead trombone player? The squirrel was on his way to a gig.
How do you make a jazz guitarist play quieter? Put a chart in front of him.
How do you get a jazz musician off your front porch? Pay for the pizza.
What would you have to do to make a jazz musician feel bad about their playing? Absolutely nothing.
How many bassists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, the pianist can do it with his left hand.
On a windy night in a bad neighborhood, a tall man in a trench coat walks into a crowded bar with a trombone case. As he drops the case on the ground, the entire bar falls silent and stares at him, frightened. He bends down to open the case, and takes out an AK-47. The entire bar sighs in relief and goes back to their drinks.
How Many Saxophonists does it take to change a lightbulb? One to screw it in. And four other ones to stand there and talk about how Coltrane could have done it better.
How many trumpet players does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One to screw it in and four others standing around saying they can do it higher.
What do you call a hundred smooth jazz sax players at the bottom of the sea? A good start
Laughter is God’s hand on the shoulder of a troubled world. Bettenell Huntznicker
Stay safe until we can once again share a laugh and some music at the Dirty Dog.
GETTING TO KNOW THE VIRUS
We are all in the hands of our scientists. They will let us know when we can return to a normal life or at least near normal. Folks like myself have a special interest in them getting it right. They only have one job, get to know this virus so that they can defeat it. This article is from the Fred Hutch News Service.
A short primer on coronavirus biology
Hutch virologist explains viral pandemics and COVID-19
APRIL 3, 2020 • BY SABRINA RICHARDS / FRED HUTCH NEWS SERVICE
A shopper wearing PPE makes her way through the ShopRite supermarket on April 03, 2020 in Plainview, New York. Currently, over 92,000 people in New York state have tested positive for COVID-19Photo by Bruce Bennett / Getty Images
A coronavirus is swallowing the world’s attention and pushing scientists to study the virus and gain new insights at a dizzying pace, making it difficult for those without expert knowledge to keep up. Dr. Michael Emerman, a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center virologist, has studied the interaction between the immune system, HIV and related viruses for 30 years. He teaches a 10-week course on viruses to Fred Hutch and University of Washington graduate students, including a lecture on viral pandemics. This year he repeated a version of this lecture virtually, drawing on data from the 2003 SARS outbreak and the 2009 swine flu to give context to the pandemic being caused by this novel coronavirus.
We adapted some of this information to create a short primer on coronavirus biology and the scenarios that may play out in the coming months.
First, a point of clarification about COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2.
“The virologist in me has to point out: they’re not the same thing,” Emerman said.
Just as we distinguish between the virus HIV and AIDS, the disease it causes, we distinguish between SARS-CoV-2, the virus, and COVID-19, the disease it causes.
Transmission electron micrograph of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle, isolated from a patient. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
SARS-CoV-2 — new but not unique
Though new and potentially deadly, SARS-CoV-2 is not the first coronavirus we humans have encountered. In addition to the coronavirus that caused the sudden and short-lived outbreak of SARS in 2003, four coronaviruses currently circulate among humans. Three of them cause about 15% to 20% of colds, while the fourth coronavirus is responsible for about 2% to 5% of cases of croup.
We typically encounter these coronaviruses as children.
“In general, it seems to be a biological property of coronaviruses that they are much less severe in young children than they are in adults,” Emerman said.
Getting the disease as a child appears to offer some protection against reinfection later in life; adults encountering these coronaviruses for first time generally have more severe disease than those who were first infected as children, Emerman said. It is believed that immunity to a coronavirus-caused cold typically lasts about three to five years and that subsequent reinfections are less severe.
Where does SARS-CoV-2 attack?
Where a virus replicates can dictate the infection’s symptoms. The cold-causing coronaviruses replicate in the cells lining the upper respiratory tract and trigger symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 primarily infects cells — and does most of its replicating — deep within the lungs. Current studies show that it also replicates in the nasal passages and upper airway, which may help it transmit more easily than other lower respiratory tract infections.
“Coughing and droplets from the mouth are the major way it is spreading,” Emerman said. The fact that SARS-CoV-2 primarily targets the lower respiratory tract also contributes to the worrisome lung damage it can cause, he said. “The upper respiratory tract is less susceptible to damage, so infections to the upper respiratory tract are going to be less deadly.”
So why are we testing for the novel coronavirus by running swabs in people’s noses and the back of their throats? While there are hints that SARS-CoV-2 may replicate in both the lower respiratory tract and nasal passages, the swabs are also detecting virus that has been coughed up from lower down, Emerman said.
“That’s part of why you can have false negatives,” he said. Someone infected with SARS-CoV-2 deep in their lungs may not have coughed up enough virus to be detected via swab. If they do test later, their results can flip to positive. But for large-scale screening, nose and throat swabs are still the best strategy, Emerman said; sampling deep in the lungs is too invasive.
Coronavirus biology explains its stability
Much of the public health recommendations for reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 focus on its ability to linger to linger on surfaces in our environment. It turns out that coronavirus particles are more stable than influenza virus particles.
Learn more about the distinctive structure of SARS-CoV-2 in this companion story, What’s with the spikes?
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The flu and coronaviruses transmit to new cells by bundling their genetic material into virus particles. But the flu also packages proteins with specialized activity, called enzymes, to facilitate entry into target cells. Coronaviruses don’t need to add enzymes to their particles because they co-opt host-cell enzymes to slip inside cells. But enzymes quickly lose activity. By including them, flu viruses limit their shelf life. By leaving enzymes behind, coronaviruses extend the time that they stay infectious outside the body, Emerman explained.
The fact that some coronaviruses (not the four mild ones circulating among humans) cause gastrointestinal infections in animals like pigs also underscores their ability to remain stable in harsh environments that other viruses can’t withstand, he said.
Dr. Michael Emerman walks us through basic coronavirus biology and what scenarios may play out in the months to come.Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service
What will the future hold?
“It’s complicated and we don’t know yet,” Emerman said.
The are many factors that could influence ebb and flow of coronavirus infections over the coming year, he said.
The most optimistic, best-case scenario — that the globe will come together to stop the pandemic before fall — will depend on how well we in the Northern Hemisphere implement physical distancing measures and how well countries in the Southern Hemisphere prepare for SARS-CoV-2 as their winter looms, Emerman said.
“If it is not controlled in the Southern Hemisphere in their winter, it may well be back [in the Northern Hemisphere] in the fall,” he said.
And Emerman doesn’t believe that summer weather will be the panacea that some are hoping for.
“[Summer is] going to make transmission less efficient, but [the coronavirus is] not going to go away,” he said.
The cold-causing coronaviruses follow a seasonal pattern much like the seasonal flu: up in the winter, down in the summer. But they never go away completely. And a pandemic doesn’t necessarily follow seasonal patterns: In contrast to seasonal flu, the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic peaked in May and June before dropping in August. And like the 1918 flu pandemic, it returned for a second wave in the fall.
This is another potential outcome: SARS-CoV-2 cases may decline in the summer months, followed by a resurgence as the weather cools and the air grows drier, Emerman said.
As Hutch researchers and others have shown, SARS-CoV-2 is circulating among us — including many people who are unaware they are infected. If there’s a second wave in the fall, its size will be influenced by how many people were exposed during the first wave, as well as whether drugs to treat COVID-19 are approved by autumn, Emerman said.
If more people have developed immunity to SARS-CoV-2, they’ll act as transmission dead ends for the virus, blocking it from spreading easily through the population. A protective vaccine, once it’s developed (though likely not by fall), will have the same transmission-blocking effect, minus the COVID-19 risk.
Emerman also described a third possible scenario: we never rid the world of SARS-CoV-2 and, after a year or two as a pandemic, it joins its four coronavirus brethren and the seasonal flu to become a virus that waxes and wanes over the year.
In this scenario, a vaccine “may be something that is part of a routine vaccination that we’re getting maybe once, maybe once plus boosters,” Emerman said.
Alternatively, it may be that SARS-CoV-2 “becomes like the other seasonal coronaviruses that cause common colds,” he said: a mild infection of childhood that protects against severe disease in adulthood.
Hopes for a vaccine
Coronaviruses don’t mutate as quickly as, say, influenza, which is good news for scientists rushing to develop a vaccine. This has made scientists fairly optimistic about creating a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, but it’s not a slam dunk, Emerman cautioned.
We already know that adults can get re-infected with cold-causing coronaviruses every three to five years. But why reinfection occurs varies among the viruses.
Though all coronaviruses mutate more slowly than the flu, one of them mutates just enough that after several years, it’s unrecognizable to our immune systems and escapes the immunity we’ve built up.
“For the other one, that does not appear to be the case; it just appears that the immune response is not strong enough to give lifelong immunity,” Emerman said.
Whether SARS-CoV-2 falls into either camp is unknown. If it does, that would influence vaccine strategy. For a slowly escaping virus, it may be that a vaccine will need to be tweaked every so often. If our immunity to SARS-CoV-2 isn’t long-lasting, we may perhaps need booster shots, as we do with the combination vaccine for tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria.
Sabrina Richards, a staff writer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has written about scientific research and the environment for The Scientist and OnEarth Magazine. She has a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Washington, an M.A. in journalism and an advanced certificate from the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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