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Coronavirus Chronicles / Reactions in a Time of Plague

An Ongoing Series

A compendium of thoughts, reflections, asides or just whatever

from a variety of writers, artists & everyday folks, during the Pandemic


Oh Happy Day!

The Mennonite gardeners have returned to caring for the acreage at the Presbyterian Church across the street. Or have they always been there? And if so where have I been? Am I simply watching a high-budget reality show featuring a peaceful religious cult? Or am I in the show as a star, or just a bit player passing through? I hope I am at least a regular whose own storyline is important. Is this the story of the Mennonites, or the story of the strange couple across the street feeding peanuts to the squirrels and Jays while watching the Mennonites mowing and trimming? Is it possible that two separate shows, from two different networks are somehow overlapping into one so-called reality? If so, are you in our show, or are we just occasional contributors to yours? Do you have an entirely independent third show and I have been cut from it for budgetary reasons? At least I hope I haven’t been dropped for creative differences. Is it possible that I may be watching too much TV and have lost touch with reality? Perhaps we should turn to the main question that has haunted primates since the monolith first appeared to the apes ~ WHAT IS REALITY??!!??

Oh never mind, I think I’ll just have another cup of coffee and grab some more peanuts.

CUT TO: The Kitchen - Day

The old fat man looks puzzled. Why has he entered the house?


A squirrel peering in through the kitchen window.


A look of recognition crosses his gray, sagging face. He goes to the pantry and pulls out an enormous bag of peanuts.


James BigBoy Medlin © 2020

James BigBoy Medlin was the sports writer for the original Austin Sun. His column was called "Why Not?"


Trump/GOP horror show in 3 minutes



Survival in Nature

by Dave Moriaty

From here, the city no longer roars. At night the frogs sing, uninterrupted by sirens. There is the whistle of a distant freight, then just the insect noise and the fireflies.

In the archives, there is a picture of the Congress Avenue bridge shortly after it was completed in 1910. A horse and wagon, two pedestrians, a bicyclist. Last week at 11 am I drove across and there was just me and a bicyclist.

Late at night sometimes you hear the mad max

crazies screaming across the bridge and up 183 taking advantage of the deserted road. The cops have clocked more people at over 100 mph than in history.

(Photo: Chris Brown)

Motorcyclists die and car crazies sometimes survive. A BMW rolled at high speed when it went off the road and was finally stopped by a tree. The driver, who was wearing his seat belt, survived. His girlfriend who was not, did not. She was ejected 40 feet before the tree. The driver tested positive for alcohol and meth, the breakfast of champions.

It’s a wonder any men survive to senescence. I briefly owned a Honda Superhawk when I was stationed in South Carolina. I remember maxing it out at 105 on the two-lane blacktop when any stationary object you might encounter is instant death, not to mention an armadillo, or a pebble in the road.

Paradoxically, there seems to be fewer wild beasts in our micro wilderness. I guess now the humans are gone, the beasts have more room. No more coyotes, just some herons and a pair of wood ducks.

When civilization roars back, it’s gonna be really loud.


Dave Moriaty (c) 2020

Dave Moriaty was the Managing Editor of the original Austin Sun from 1974-1977.

He lives in Austin overlooking a river, and observes its patterns from his deck.





Michael Ventura to James Medlin:

The answer to everything these days seems to be: We are all connected so stay isolated.

Where's Jean Paul Sartre when he's needed? NOT playing baseball, that's where.

Yet baseball remains the most grounded and comforting of all absurdist philosophies: No matter how badly you're losing, you still get a ninth inning. No one can run out the clock on you. Ninth inning that is the height of human philosophic depth.

Yours ever, that great infield hitter, positioned somewhere to the left of second base,

— Michael Vincent Ventura

Medlin back:

Through depressions and World wars, baseball has always been America’s glue. It’s a distraction uniquely American in origin. And even though we live too fast these days for it to be the most popular sport, it is still the one sport where we stand up and sing about crackerjacks. Here’s hoping I can take someone out to the ball game real soon.

Have been contemplating the eternal mystery of why tea remains hot longer than coffee does. I considered many factors - density, color, climate, chemical balance. I stayed up for days sampling both products over and over and over. At last I discovered ... oh dagnabbit, I can’t remember!

James Medlin




From Enrico Deaglio in Turin, Italy (virus numbers changed to reflect most current data as of 4/04/2020):

Friday night Italy reached 119,827 positives, and we had 58,773 deaths, 760 in the last 24 hours. Two thirds of the cases and the deaths are in Lombardy, in the towns of Bergamo and Brescia, heart of steel and mechanical industry. There is a kind of psychosis for an incoming “battle of Milan”, that means that if the virus spreads in the metropolis, the health system is going to collapse. Fact is that the ratio of deaths in Lombardy is abnormal, more than 10 per cent of the positives. No sure explanation. Old population; pollution that has weakend the lungs of the Lombards, insufficient protection of doctors and nurese who have indeed helped spreading the disease Density of population, no clear statistics. Autopsies are not performed, bodys are carried away by army trucks and cremated outside Lombardy. Surely one of the sources of contageon has been the football match between Atalanta (the Bergamo team) and Valencia (Spain) for the Champion League. It was attended by 40.000 thousand supporters in a crowded stadium. Nobody dared to stop it because it was the first time Atalanta played the Champions league. So, Atalanta won 4 to 1, and probably caused some thousands of deaths. Nobody thinks the peak is going to be reached soon. At least two more weeks. People are behaving well, but surely the phase of singing from the balconies is finished. 71 per cent have faith in the government (coalition of PD and 5 Stelle). Populist propaganda (Lega di Matteo Salvini) has nothing to say. Can’t blame immigrants. Alas for them, no immigrants are involved. Berlusconi took his private jet and flew to his villa in Nice with his new mistress, 30 years old. Industry has stopped. The food chain is still working. Supermarkets are still full of food. Roma and the South of Italy still seem less affected. Torino is desert, everything is closed.


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