Hello! It’s Tuesday, May 24, the 144th day of the year. It’s National Brother’s Day, the day you’re supposed to call your brother(s) and tell them you love them. But just today; the rest of the year you can tease and harass them all you want.
Sunrise in Boston was at 5:14 a.m. and sunset will be at 8:07 p.m. for 14 hours and 53 minutes of sunlight. The waning moon is 29 percent full.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a new “What Flower Are You?” quiz. You answer a series of questions, and the quiz tool tells you the flowers that share your characteristics. Word is that Trump took the quiz and got oleander, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, erratic pulse, seizures, coma, and death. Seems about right. Try the quiz for yourself!
What’s it like outside? Clouds dissipated early and were followed by sunshine, high 60s to low 70s. Temps will rise into the mid- to high 70s the next couple of days, with cloudiness here and there.
Hey, sport: With the Celtics-Heat series tied at two games apiece, there will be at least two more games: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Miami, and 8:30 p.m. Friday back here in Boston. (If needed, a seventh game will be at 8:30 p.m. Sunday in Miami.)
After a four-game sweep of the Mariners, and going 8-2 in their last 10 games, the Red Sox pop out to Chicago today for three games against the White Sox (all games at 8:10 p.m. on NESN).
The Revs play in the Round of 16 in men’s soccer’s US Open Cup tournament Wednesday, facing New York at Belson Stadium at St. John’s University in Queens at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+.
After finishing an undefeated season Saturday with a 60-28 victory over the D.C. Divas, the Boston Renegades have three weeks to rest before beginning their title defense in the playoffs June 11.
Today’s US coronavirus / COVID-19 numbers in the US
From the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University
Confirmed US cases: 83,466,691
Confirmed US deaths: 1,002,542
Since my last newsletter on Friday, 936 Americans have died of COVID-19. And 405,710 Americans became infected (that we know of).
So Massachusetts has the first confirmed case of monkeypox in the US this year. Lucky us. The guy who is infected had traveled to Canada and is being treated in isolation at Mass. General.
The virus is common in Central and West Africa, but outside of that area, there recently have been cases confirmed in the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Spain. The World Health Organization says there are more than 100 suspected and confirmed cases in Europe and North America.
Here’s the Globe’s rundown of what you should know:
-- Monkeypox is in the same family as smallpox, which was eradicated by vaccines in 1980. (Hear that, COVID vaccine refuseniks? Eradicated by vaccines.) However, it’s a less serious illness than smallpox.
-- Symptoms are flu-like, but you also get lesions/scabs similar to smallpox as well as swollen lymph nodes.
-- Infections generally last two to four weeks.
-- In Central and West Africa, people get infected from bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products, according to public health officials.
(For some reason, hearing about infectious small mammals caused an image of Marjorie Taylor Greene to pop into my head.)
It’s not easy to catch from infected people, but you can get it through contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox sores, respiratory droplets through face-to-face contact, or contaminated items like bed sheets or clothes. However, household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus. (Just don’t swallow them.)
-- This isn’t the first time that monkeypox has shown up in the US; Texas and Maryland each had one case last year. It’s also relatively new in Nigeria, where it had disappeared for 40 years before reemerging in 2017. Since then, more than 450 cases have been reported there.
There also was a fairly large breakout in the US back in 2003 when health officials found 47 confirmed and probable cases in six states, traced to the importation of small mammals from Ghana. (MTG was born in Georgia, not Ghana.)
Politicos are closely watching the five state primaries being held today for any sign that a Trump endorsement isn’t as effective as he wants it to be.
The most interesting race is the GOP primary for governor of Georgia, where Trump has trashed the incumbent, Brian Kemp, because Kemp refused to go along with Trump’s corruption and illegally throw the presidential results to him, as Trump demanded.
Instead, Trump has lined up behind David Perdue, the former CEO of Reebok and then Dollar General who served in the US Senate from 2015 until Democrat Jon Ossoff knocked him off in 2021. He was one of those Trump allies who wanted the 2020 presidential election overturned, and on the campaign trail this year, has claimed that his re-election was “stolen” from him.
A bunch of Republicans who are fed up with Trump’s duplicity are lining up behind Kemp: former VP Mike Pence, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie have all campaigned in the state.
Trump is foaming at the mouth over these defections; he expects everyone to fall in line when he sets out to exact revenge on someone who hasn’t followed Trump’s orders to commit fraud on American voters.
Speaking of defrauding voters, arguably the most important race in the country today is the GOP primary between current Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger -- the guy who refused Trump’s demand that he “find 11,780 votes” -- and Representative Jody Hice, who wants that job so that he can manipulate election results in 2024, maybe in Trump’s favor if he’s on the ballot.
There are other interesting races to watch:
-- In Alabama, Republican Representative Mo Brooks had Trump’s endorsement in his primary race for the US Senate against lawyer and businesswoman Katie Britt and Mike Durant, an aerospace company owner. But Brooks lost the Orange Menace’s support when he dared to say that it was time to move on from the 2020 presidential election. He later said that Trump had pressured him to vote to illegally rescind the election.
-- Another interesting race is in Texas, where incumbent US Senator Henry Cuellar, the most conservative Democrat in Congress, is being challenged by progressive Jessica Cisneros. This is a runoff and the second time the opponents are facing each other; Cuellar got only a slight plurality, not a majority, when the two squared off in a primary March 1.
Here’s a good overview from FiveThirtyEight.
Finally, here are the next 10 titles you are recommending for our 2022 Summer Bookies reading list.
The theme is books about war (see a fuller description in the May 10 Fast Forward). If you haven’t sent in your recommendation yet, please read the previous lists I’ve printed so you don’t repeat any titles. You can send yours to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the full title, author, your full name and town/state/country, a succinct summary, and why you liked the book. A summary and your thoughts are required, and please write the summary in your own words.
Here’s the next batch of your suggestions:
51. “The Rabbit Girls” by Anna Ellory
Lynn Feinman of Lynchburg, Va.: I’m not sure this book qualifies because there are no “battles” except mental ones. It’s the story of life in Ravensbrück concentration camp through letters from a prisoner to her lover, which were sewn into the seams of her uniform and found by his daughter as he was dying. It tells the story of the lovers, their capture and imprisonment in Ravensbrück and Auschwitz, and the daughter’s prison in an abusive marriage. This is the story of the fallout of war on vulnerable people and the lives of those around them.
52. “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz” by Erik Larson
David Rumpf of Ashland, Mass.: I heartily recommend this book. Compelling story of England’s resistance during the year of the blitz. Many personal insights into both Churchill’s and Hitler’s inner circle. Inspiring.
53. “Glamour Girls” by Marty Wingate
Judy Ross of Franklin, Mass.: This is the little-known story of women pilots in England during WWII. These women were not allowed to fly bombing missions, but instead, as members of the Air Transport Authority (ATA), ferried warplanes across Britain to RAF bases. It is a personal account of this unheralded group of brave women – their friendships, families, and the impact of WWII on the lives of the British people.
I liked this book because it revealed yet another unsung group of courageous women, their effect on history, and how they overcame the skepticism of male pilots and ground crews.
54. “The Last Green Valley” by Mark T. Sullivan
Jeanne Steele of Yarmouthport, Mass.: The true story of the Martel family of German heritage who have lived in Ukraine for decades, and in 1944 struggle to escape Stalin’s brutal order to murder Ukrainians of German descent -- so like Putin’s scorched-earth policy in the war in Ukraine today.
As I was reading this, I felt like I was right there with this family and their incredible will to survive during WWII, and the will to survive in Ukraine today and its people who are struggling to escape Putin’s murderous army.
55. “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo
Barbara Cloonan of Andover, Mass.: From Wikipedia: “Joe Bonham, a young American soldier serving in World War I, awakens in a hospital bed after being caught in the blast of an exploding artillery shell. He gradually realizes that he has lost his arms, legs, and all of his face (including his eyes, ears, nose, teeth, and tongue), but that his mind functions perfectly, leaving him a prisoner in his own body.”
I read this as a 17-year-old high schooler in the midst of the Vietnam War. The sheer horror of the title character’s condition shook my teenage soul. Registered to vote within days of my 18th birthday and voted for every anti-war candidate I could, and continue to now.
Don Regan of Black Rock, Nova Scotia, Canada: Trumbo pulled the book from distribution in the late ‘30s as he feared it would dissuade young Americans from joining the fight against the Axis Powers. Trumbo was later blacklisted in Hollywood in the McCarthy Era.
It’s about the futility of war, the horror of war through the story of a young person who was terribly wounded in WWI and returned home in a near vegetative state. Trumbo was a fine writer. His book “Rambo” was also an antiwar story as he wrote it. The ugly Stallone movies were made after Trumbo’s death.
John Grady of Harvard, Mass.: This book will impact you forever. All you really need to know about war. And who pays ...
56. “The Paris Apartment” by Kelly Bowen
Betsy Orcutt of Hingham, Mass.: A heart-pounding page-turner. The City of Lights is occupied. How does a young woman survive? That is the question 75 years later as a granddaughter inherited her grandmother’s Paris apartment. Can the apartment reveal the clues as to who her grandmother was?
It always amazes me how unselfish the people of the WWII era were and willing to risk their own lives.
57. “The War That Saved My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Nancy Smith: This is a YA book, but without exception, every adult who read it fell in love with it. It is about Ada, a 10-year-old with a club foot and her brother Jamie who live in London with an abusive mother who is particularly cruel to her handicapped daughter. When Jamie gets sent out of London to escape the war, Ada sneaks out and they are sent to live with Susan Smith for the duration. Susan is not married and has no children of her own, but with patience and love, and Butter her horse, the two eventually thrive. But the threat of having to go back to their mother is ever present.
58. “The Moon Is Down” by John Steinbeck
Travis Meyer of Philadelphia: The German officer tells the mayor of an occupied town to tell his people to obey them and work in the mines. The mayor says that he doesn’t tell his people what to do, they tell him what to do; he serves them. Paraphrasing. Really an excellent book. A celebration of the durability of democracy. There are no “peaceful” people among those whose freedom has been forcefully taken away.
59. “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Bob Bishop of Pompton Plains, N.J.: “Slaughterhouse-Five” tells the story of the life of the narrator Billy Pilgrim, with a focus on his time as an American soldier in Germany during World War II. It is semi-autobiographical since, like Billy, Vonnegut was captured by the German Army and survived the Allied firebombing of Dresden where he was held as prisoner. In Vonnegut’s quirky style, there are science fiction elements in the story, including Billy’s time travels and his abduction to a planet many light-years away called Tralfamadore. It is a powerful anti-war story with the overall theme being the death and destruction that war leaves behind. As Vonnegut would say, “So it goes.”
60. “Girl at War” by Sara Nović
Robert Lurie of Lansing, Mich.: This novel is set in war-torn Croatia and describes the life of 10-year-old Anna Juric as she navigates the war in the Balkans. Enveloped inside the book is the story of the same 20-year-old American college student Anna, 10 years later, who struggles with her past and ultimately returns to connect with her past.
Telling the story through the perspective of both a 10-year-old living the event and the same 20-year-old looking back is very powerful. Its power is in its raw and genuine simplicity. The story of children at war, especially a young girl, is missing from many pieces of war literature.
Many thanks! More on Friday.
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