By Rosalie Tirella
I love what documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is doing during these uncertain, scary times. The American collapse, a new America being born … Moore is helping me understand it all, wrap my head around the madness …
Often, when Moore’s on cable TV news shows, he’s the young, sexy, smug news caster-hosts’s punch line. They smirk when they interview him because, unlike them, Moore is fat, frumpy, old, insecure and self-effacing – the nerdy kid at your junior high cafeteria lunch table looking for cool validation. Can I sit at your table, Mark? Great i phone, Tammy! Moore’s RUMBLE podcasts blow that bumbling persona outa the water!! You see the real Michael Moore♥️🗽🇺🇸!: Our brilliant and beautiful American Essayist/Artist. Audio only. Truth only. Moore’s TV “costume” – his goofy baseball caps and black sweatshirts and blue jeans gone, along with his blubbery mountain shaped physique. Just his wonderful words. Just his great reporting, interviews, opinions – always real, tough, well-spoken and compassionate. His age and body have been the impediment – what has been keeping him from getting his own cable news show! Reaching millions more … Shame on MSNBC!
🇺🇸People, LISTEN TO his Rumble podcasts, little works of art … little audio jewels that bring us his gorgeous word pictures, his soothing easy-listening voice, his deep knowledge and love of America – all 50 states, his comedy, his no bs advocacy for the average American. US.
Two days ago, in my opinion, Moore put out his masterwork (posted below): the story an artist holed up in his apartment building in NewYork City (for 20+ days), aware of the collapse of America as we know it, aware of death lapping at his door, all our doors, PIS*SED AT OUR MADMAN PRESIDENT – TRUMP AND EVEYTHING TRUMP HAS WROUGHT – bummed and questioning … …. yet LOVE WINS. THE human spirit in NYC – ground zero for the COVID 19 pandemic – soaring, singing, clanging, cussing WINS! AND THEN MOORE WINS! WE WIN!
FU*K YOU, COVID 19!
FU*K YOU, COVID 19!
I don’t want to give away too much. Listen:
IN FRANCE … Chef Joey … An American acts like an American
FRENCH COVID-19 DIARY
BY CHEF JOEY
Did you every think that one day you would be afraid for your own life on a daily basis? Just for going outside? It is surreal. We are all aware of car accidents, so we wear seatbelts … balconies, so we install railings … cold, so we wear jackets and hats … the list goes on and on. I recently came to France to bring my mother back to her home here. My Miss Gigi was enrolled in school and it was great. Daughter Gigi and I headed back to Massachusetts, and we stayed a few weeks … and I was headed back to France knowing about CORONAVirus and COVID-19.
Being a product of the 20’th century, I have seen many changes: from the first man on the moon to out current cell phone watches. We have seen Sars, Ebola, Equine encephalitis, Lyme disease and even as recently as Zika, which was rampant during the Olympics in Brazil. I personally was getting bitten when I was in Martinique a few years ago.
Well, we arrive in France on a Monday. Gigi went back to school on a Tuesday. Wednesday there was no school. Thursday rolls around, and mid-day Italy is in crisis and it’s “Heading our way.” The French president announces the closure of schools starting Monday the 16th. Incidentally, it is Gigi’s birthday – so now I will remember forever! Friday the 13th, ironically, is the last day of school. Posters go up in public parks and supermarkets became mayhem.
So this particular Friday, I walk Gigi to school, come home and get my mother. I said: “Let’s get what we need for a couple of weeks, provisions, as they just announced. Let’s be safe.”
We get to the first market she likes, and we cannot even pull in. We have handicapped cards for parking – all 8 spaces are filled. People are double parked, and there was no way my mother could wait in line to go in. So we left after being stuck in the parking lot for 10 minutes.
We head into the hills of Grasse, perfume country. Being springtime in France, there are flowers and trees budding, and it’s just a beautiful drive. I stop for gas, might as well fill, just up in case. We get to the market. IT IS MOBBED.
I have never seen this store so full of shoppers! We are in, my mother has her carriage, and so do I. We navigated around the store, which is a “Hyper Market” – they sell TV’s appliances plants, almost like a BJ’s, without having to buy bulk. The employees were stocking as fast as the aisles were being emptied. Ironically, pasta, rice and flour were the big-ticket items. We had bathroom paper a plenty on shelves. Things were on sale. My mom even picked up a new twin memory foam mattress for her bed! They come shrink-wrapped and squished like a sleeping bag and, when you cut the plastic wrap, it pops into full shape – 10 hors later it is good to go!
We stop for lunch at one of my mother’s favorite places and head home to unpack the heavily loaded car. Two refrigerators full of food and frozen items and lots of dried legumes, I feel confident that this was the last run. I pick Gigi up at school, talk briefly with the teachers, get the information for on-line class to commence Monday and we walk home.
Saturday, we do usual things. Sunday we went for a walk in a mountain top park for fresh air, only to be told that we were not supposed to be out. I was referred to a website.
Monday morning comes and so does my email from the school with a small video made by her teacher, and a few papers to print out and a list of “TO DO” letters, numbers and shapes. I start to clean. Tuesday is the same, except Tuesday is music day so I download the songs and play them. Gigi knows them all by heart! Even the Italian ones, what a great day! I keep cleaning.
Wednesday there is no school, but we do the letters, shapes and numbers, and then I clean some more.
Thursday, lessons come in, her home schoolteacher is frustrated because it’s math, easy math one plus one, two plus one etc.…. the teacher hands her a calculator and I continues to clean. The whole downstairs has been cleaned, furniture moved, rugs turned and shampooed, walls baseboards and floors cleaned, windows scrubbed, and the smell of cleaner wafts through the rooms. Success. Now the upstairs needs to be done – we will hit that tomorrow.
Thursday night gives us a nice television broadcast by the French president Emmanuel Macron who announces even more “Lockdown.” Schools and non-essential businesses were already closed, but now EVERYTHING is closed: hairdressers, banks (they have been automated for years without tellers so no big deal), garages, lawyers offices, insurance companies, even the government. So when you call an office the phone rings on someone’s cell – whoever is on call, takes the info and says “no worries everything is on hold.”
This is serious stuff. Now, if you leave the house, you have to download a form that is filled out with your civil information, name, address, birthdate, and a reason for leaving the domicile. There are 4 choices: Necessary food shopping, Visit and care for an elderly or handicapped person(s), Personal exercise and or walking a dog or Pharmacy/doctor visit. I don’t even remember Friday’s lesson plan; my head is spinning.
Our friends just over the border, in Italy, had already been on lockdown the week before. They are singing from the rooftops and balconies, and it’s making the news. Saturday the cleaning resumes, and Sunday I am out of cleaning solution and fresh veggies, so I download the form, fill it out and take Gigi and head out. One of my ticket items was planting soil to make a deck garden for a project. We pull out of the driveway, drive a ¼ mile, we round the corner and get stopped by a roadblock. It could have been anywhere like the Gaza Strip, World War II roads, Check-point Charlie; I panic. I actually panic and fumble looking for my “form”! The officer looks at me and Gigi in her car seat. He has me hold the form up, notes my departure time and the date on the form and records my plane number with a scan.Off I go.
Mind you, there are cameras everywhere, and the French Riviera started installing facial recognition cameras everywhere. I feel safe and go to the store. First stop, Carrefour, a lonely store that was short-staffed and did not have the plant soil I needed. Picked up a few items, mostly wine on sale, and continue down the street to Lidl Market – German owned, also part of Adli and Trader Joe’s owner! – no dirt, but a great bakery so we loaded up on croissants and pain au chocolates.
The parking garage was empty, we sanitized a cart and headed up to the store. A small line had formed. It looked longer because each carriage was two meters apart. We walk in, and there is the 20-pound bag of dirt I wanted. We go in and shop for an hour. We get snacks, butter, eggs, flour and go through the cashiers stand, load out grocery bags that we brought, French law for 20 years, head to the car and go home.
We unload our items outside and head into the house to get cloths to wipe down each item before bringing them inside (recommendations that are just hitting stateside). Birds had noticed various items on display, so we had to work quickly! Shopping is now a chore. I must go out again maybe tomorrow and am not looking forward to it.
Things here in Europe are restricted. Nothing is open. Schools are closed and will be for a month. No one can go to work, except large food markets, pharmacies and hospitals. No construction, no stores. When we went to the market last week we passed a garden center with a whole parking lot full of dead plants that were eagerly waiting for people to buy and plant them, trees that were already a couple of years old wilting in their pots from lack of water. This is only one of many stores. There is no real “Take Out” here except for delivery shops that do not accommodate eat-in customers. Everyone must be off the streets by 6 p.m. – police vehicles cruise the streets making announcements to stay home. My new love for cleaning is diminishing, we are doing more dishes than laundry … the food consumption needs to go down. So we are definitely choosing lighter fare at night.
So, having shared what happened here in France and has yet to happen: Stay Home!! Nothing is that important. Take time to relax: we have everything accessible by Internet to keep our minds busy. This is a great time to reconnect with your kitchens. I know many people have them because they came with the house! But soak a bag of garbanzo beans overnight to make hummus or to use in a soup: cut 2 carrot in slices and place in a pie plate with water, place in the sun and watch them take root and plant them in the spring. There are many things to do to reconnect and drop expenses down to near nothing. This is the time to “stretch that dollar”! Here is to all of you staying safe and healthy!