Wry & Dry

Alt-science. Mental lockdown. Not the CV-19 Report

Alt-science

Readers will know that Wry & Dry delights in the presidency of Alt-Science-Trump.  He applauds the regular stream of Twitter comments that provide so much humour and relief from the ennui of daily life. 

Readers only have to read the daily, if not hourly, outpouring of home nurtured alt-science theories on how to defeat CV-19: the cocktail of anti-malaria drugs, the imminent miracle vaccine, the thought that CV-19 will wash away by itself or the various theories about social distancing. 

Although, in one of those Only-In-The-Yoo-Ess-Ay moments, a couple who heard Alt-Science-Trump's extolation of one of the anti-malaria drugs decided to ignore the label on the bottle.  And took chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks that is also found in an anti-malaria medication touted by Alt-Science-Trump. 

The self-medication did not end happily.

And Wry & Dry applauds the optimism of Alt-Science-Trump. 

Cartoon Full steam ahead mr president

To ensure that everything gets back to normal, i.e. his re-election campaign, he wants to lift all federal CV-19 restrictions by Easter.  Readers will know that will coincide with the expected peak of the epidemic in New York.  But he would of course fail to see the irony in this.  

His defeat CV-19 plan has taken on the never-waste-a-crisis theme that has morphed into a parallel re-election strategy.  Liberals (i.e Democrats) want the economy in lock down, he says, to stop his re-election.  Conservatives (i.e. Republicans) must therefore do the opposite.

Wry & Dry can carefully observe to the residents of the Yoo-Ess-Ay: No greater love hath a man than to lay down your life for his re-election [1][2].

[1] To paraphrase someone whose influence will be more enduring than Alt-Science-Trump: John 15:13
[2] And Readers will recall former President Richard Nixon's last minute election strategy in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam war.  Just before election day, Lyndon Johnson, the outgoing president and supported by Hubert Humphrey, Nixon's opponent, announced the decision to stop the bombing of Hanoi.  This was to encourage the peace talks with the North, that had just commenced in Paris. Nixon then got one of his aides to secretly contact the South Vietnam government and tell them to pull out of the peace talks.  This made Johnson and Humphrey look idiotic and Nixon's policy heroic.  Humphrey was ahead in the polls and then three days later lost the election.  Nixon won with just 43.4% of the vote, to Humphrey's 42.7%.  George Wallace's independent push garnered 13.5% and helped get Nixon over the line.
Nixon was prepared to waste US military lives (and those of Vietnamese) to ensure his election victory.  He got his comeuppance some years later, when he quit in disgrace.  Alt-Science-Trump should read tea leaves (there's that saying, again), but won't.

Mental lockdown

This CV-19 thing will discombobulate many Readers who are WFH [3].  Take heart, you are not alone: See here.  Yet.

But given the chance: watch this video here    

Thankfully, it's not a total lock down.  Yet.  But Wry & Dry is also WFH.  He hastens to add that the service is excellent and the surroundings amenable.  But his mind is also in a WFH-lockdown: his musings are shorter this week.  

[3] Working From Home.

Not the CV-19 report

It is fruitless W&D giving a commentary on the progress of CV-19.  Rather like Hitler's panzers racing across the steppes of western Russia, it seems unstoppable and immeasurable.

Wry & Dry can only provide a couple of economic updates that will provide some gauge of its immediate impact. 

Yoo-Ess-Ay: In now a non-Olympic year, a new world record: US 'initial jobless claims' - quadruple the previous record.  The number leapt to 3.3 million last week - the highest number of new people claiming what Australians would call unemployment benefits since records began in 1967. 

The Yoo-Ess-Ay is now in recession, although the official data isn't yet out.

Singapore:  First out of the blocks with March quarter GDP data: GDP fell an annualised 10.6% in the first quarter from the previous three months.  This is the worst reading since Singapore split from Malaysia 50 years ago.  The government now expects a sharp full-year contraction in the economy of 1%-4%.  

The reading of the tea leaves suggests that this is not good.  Is this the canary in the coal mine ?[4]  This data is from arguably the most nimble and conservative of economies.  

Resident cartoonist Patrick Cook reports of one cheering stat from the UK.  On Tuesday the National Health Service called for ’fit and healthy’ volunteers and by Wednesday they aroused 405,000 of them. One of their tasks is to telephone people in isolation and chat to them. The friendly human voice is still the best form of social media.

[4]  No apologies for the mixed metaphor.  These are extreme times.  And extreme measures are needed.

The Many

Wry & Dry dips his lid to experts.  If this CV-19 thing is 'war', then never in the field of human conflict has so little been owed to so many by so Many [5].  The Many are, of course, the Experts.  

The Many is a collective of professional Experts (e.g. bank economists), amateur Experts (the bore at the cocktail party), the celebrity Experts (Alan Kohler), the political experts (Alt-Science-Trump) and RDS [6] Experts (Jeff Kennett).   Any of the Many make pronouncements as though they are His Holiness Ex Cathedra, knowing full well that they don't know themselves what the future will hold, but are publishing forecasts anyway. 

Unemployment at, well, let's see, it has to be a big number, otherwise, no-one will notice.  So, let's go with 7%.  No, 10%.  Oh, hang the expense: 12%.

Cartoon you will listen to an expert

Consider a comment from the Yoo-Ess-Ay.  St. Louis Fed President James Bullard expects "an unprecedented 50% plunge in US GDP and the unemployment rate hitting 30%" in the coming months.  Good grief.

Allow Wry & Dry to advise Readers that no-one knows how bad this is going to get.  And any reported unemployment number from the good folk at the ABS is going to wildly miss the reality.  The same for GDP growth, the budget surplus deficit, inflation, market fall/rise, etc. 

Wry & Dry's advise is to ignore the Many.  And believe only... Wry & Dry.

PS.  Notice how the Many are pulling economic data from the clouds.  When will someone start thinking about the social impact of millions of unemployed people?

PPS.  Importantly, when will the government start cutting non-essential expenditure?  Surely it's a matter of starting at the very beginning, a very good place to start...  

PPPS.  With revenue from media collapsing, Readers may look forward to football and cricket returning to more amateur sports. 

And with all the panic buying out there..

Cartoon whos the headless chook

[5]  With apologies to WSC.
[6]  Relevance Deprivation Syndrome.

Why women live longer than men

Wry & Dry has often wondered why it is that women live a lot longer than men.  Is it that men are the weaker sex?  Or perhaps that men work under more difficult arrangements?  Or perhaps some weird evolutionary arrangement to disadvantage men?  Or perhaps that God has a sense of humour and that man is the butt of the joke. 

Well, Wry & Dry now has the answer.  Men are just plain stupid. 

Cartoon men you invested the brake

The below chart shows which gender is more sensible about this CV-19.  There is a good chance that this applies to other risks in life.

Chart male female CV 19 worry

Readers will be aware that men have won every one of the Annual Darwin Awards [7].

Say no more.

[7]  https://darwinawards.com/darwin/

South of the Border

Readers will be aware that section 92 of the Constitution of Australia states that "...trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States...shall be absolutely free."

Readers will therefore be as confused as Wry & Dry as to the legality of various states 'closing their borders' (to intercourse?), as is happening with this CV-19 thing.  Aside from the fruitlessness of the plan, the waste of policepeoples' time and the virtuelessness of virtue signally ("we are protecting the people of Queensland..."), Wry & Dry is concerned that Queensland has closed its borders only to stop the threatening CV-19 getting in.

Cartoon the big queensland

Queensland needs to prevent other threats getting out.  That is, Pauline Hanson and the Queensland cane toad.  Both of which, Wry & Dry considers, will last a lot longer than CV-19.  

Wry & Dry will wait

Wry & Dry has little interest in autobiographies of politicians.  Or of any person.  Quite often the writing of a tell-all tome is a symptom of RDS; the motive of revenge or profit and the output a dog's breakfast of failed wordsmithing, large font and short sentences. 

Readers will be aware of the writings of ex-sportspeople, especially cricketers and footballers.  Perhaps only the scratchings of the late Max Walker told the story with humour, humility and self deprecation.  

Politician's autobiographies are worse, as the desire for revenge greater than the need for dispassionate observation.  And the retrospective justification of hitherto errant decisions abounds. 

And so Wry & Dry will be avoiding the upcoming but already heavily discounted (to $35 from RRP of $55) memoirs of former PM Croesus Turnbull.  Croesus was/is not known for any or all of humour, humility and self deprecation. 

For Croesus, revenge was always a dish best served cold. 

Wry & Dry has no interest in the book, even if discounted further.  He will wait for Notflox.

Spot the problem economy

Germany's GDP is twice the size of Italy's.

Germany's CV-19 palliative fiscal spending will be at least €150 billion.  Italy's fiscal measures total €25 billion, one sixth of Germany's.  

The noise that Readers can hear is the Italy-problem-can being kicked down the road by the EU. 

So, now you want our help

Kim Jong-Un, the five two North Korean in the flared pants, has requested international help to assist with managing the CV-19 thing. 

Readers will know that decades of economic mismanagement have left more than 40% of North Korea's population chronically undernourished.  And most vulnerable to CV-19. 

Wry & Dry is sure Alt-Science-Trump will rush to aid his close friend.

Meanwhile...

...the isolation police will get you in the end:

Cartoon isolation lighthouse

Snippets from all over 

1.  Britain's oldest pub on the brink

Ye Olde Fighting Cock, which claims to be Britain's oldest pub, is close to closing its doors forever, because of the CV-19 pandemic.

Wry & Dry comments:  It's getting serious.

2.  Ford Motor downgraded to 'junk'.

Downgrades by Moody’s and S&P Global stripped Ford of its investment-grade credit rating on Wednesday, a week after the car-maker shuttered most global plants, sending $36 billion of its debt tumbling into the junk bond market.

Wry & Dry comments:  Ford was struggling even before the CV-19 pandemic.  But it will not die.

3.  Australia's consumer sentiment plunges to 30-year low

The ANZ/Roy Morgan weekly measure of consumer sentiment tumbled 27.8% through the past seven days to sit now just above its all-time low recorded in 1990.   

Wry & Dry comments: It is 17% below the bottom reached during the global financial crisis in October 2008.

4.  Oil to stay down

The collapse in oil demand will lead to a massive oil glut that not even a supply production freeze or cut from OPEC can rectify, according to Goldman Sachs, which predicts a 14M b/d surplus in Q2. "Any potential agreement between the U.S., Saudi and Russia to freeze or reduce output is too little too late.  It would take months to impact inventories globally and would be dwarfed by the current demand losses." 

Wry & Dry comments:  The firm sees Brent crude remaining near $20 a barrel next quarter, while West Texas Intermediate oil will likely fall well below that level as storage swells.

And, to soothe your troubled mind ...

Miscellany 

Last words ...

I cannot support a move to lean on the federal government for a stimulus or bailout that prioritises our company over others and relies on taxpayers to guarantee our financial position."

 -  Nikki Haley, former American Ambassador to the UN, on quitting the board of Boeing. The company has requested a $60 billion lifeline from the government.

Bookmark this move.  Haley will one day stand for President of the Yoo-Ess-Ay.   

... and more on shale oil:

“Shale thrives at $100 a barrel, survives at $50 and dies at $25."

 -  Jamie Webster, senior director at Boston Consulting Group, referring to the shale oil and gas industry.

Which means it's dead.

A lightly salted absurdity ...

Deepak, Wry & Dry's Uber driver ... 

...grinned as Wry & Dry opened the door of the jalopy and in place of the usual corona-sized pack of sorbet, a lollipop sign lay across the floor.

“Before you ask, it was a piece of cake,” Deepak said.

“What was a piece of cake? Furthermore what’s with the paddle,” asked Wry & Dry confused, forgetting with such a busy week that Deepak had been summoned to court for alleged narcotic importing.

“I told the judge that given the who’s who of who bought my tea online that it could hardly be a crime. I was about to read out the list of my biggest buyers, when all of a sudden I just got a community service order. Now I am officially a traffic-crossing controller,” Deepak said proudly, gesturing to the paddle.

“Well, you know what they say Deepak, a man with a pole and a whistle, is indeed a man empowered,” said Wry & Dry profoundly.

 “They didn’t give me a whistle, just this grubby vest,” Deepak said dejectedly.

“It’s a state government thing, they don’t like whistle blowing these days. Those whistles cost a lot of money but never mind. Has the Crocodile allowed your re-admittance into the Taj Mahal?” Wry & Dry asked with a chuckle.

“Absolutely, I’m back in, Mr. Wry & Dry,” Deepak said.

“If I was a betting man, I’d say the odds weren’t in your favour Deepak,” Wry & Dry quipped.

“Mr. Wry & Dry, you see its all about implied probabilities,” Deepak retorted with a sagely air.

Wry & Dry raised his eyebrow; “implied probabilities?”

“You say, Mr. Wry & Dry, that the implied probability was close to 100% that I would not be allowed back home?”

 “Well I guess so,” said Wry & Dry suddenly wondering where the conversation was heading.

 “In such cases one needs an event to balance the odds,” Deepak enlightened.

 “And so, you had an event?” Wry & Dry asked.

 “Sort of,” Deepak beamed, tapping his nose for effect.

 “What did you do, Deepak?” asked Wry & Dry, with an equal measure of curiosity and concern.

 “Simple, I told the Crocodile that the police wanted to know who my accomplice was for importing the kava tea. And there was only one way to stop me dobbing her in. And that was of course to allow me…”

 “Re-admittance to the Taj Mahal! And so, Anjali’s vindaloo is on the menu again!” announced Wry & Dry, happily finishing the sentence.

 “Absolutely,” Deepak said, smacking his lips.

 “Genius Deepak, always knew you had it in you.”

 And with that Wry & Dry alighted, a curious blend of whistles, curry and paddles on his mind.

   -  from the quill of Mrs Wry & Dry. 

 

Cheers

Anthony 

 

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