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Snakepit Round Table: Another round of quarantinis, barkeep!

Will May bring an upturn in our socially distant lives?

Billy Porter Gets Ready For The 71st Emmy Awards With A Marvelous Ketel One Martini Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for RRR Creative

So, how’s it going…

James: My spouse works on the Navajo reservation, so the work-from-home thing is still happening. The reservation may be sparsely populated, but its entire population is made up of people with a high risk of COVID-19 complications. My kids, well they have good days and bad days. Myself, this would almost be a vacation for me, if only I could actually stay put in my house and the people around me were less stressed out. I do, however, miss having baseball around. Also, I’m half a heartbeat away from taking a 30-day hiatus from social media, pre-existing obligations be damned. The social media sphere has become more toxic than ever, which does not add to my calm.

Makakilo: I continue to be strongly optimistic. I am more-than-pleased with my ‘safe’ social interactions; although I am still waiting for a web-cam to arrive. For exercise I have been gardening, mowing the lawn, composting, washing the sides of my house, and walking in my neighborhood. Rarely and with extreme caution, I practice zumba moves in the living room or while standing-in-line. Starting this week, I will walk in a local park. Perhaps I will walk on-the-beach. Your mask: don’t leave home without it!

Turambar: Pretty solid. Strange having to rethink my daily routine since I’m now unemployed due to this crisis. So on that note my usual day involves a 5mi walk with the dog, followed by some work around the house/yard, then gaming, then job hunt, then happy hour. Both my wife and I are stir crazy as hell, but honestly we’re doing great all things considered. Not the ideal way to start married life, but we’re kicking ass.

Steven: Not too bad all things considered. I’ve started taking long walks (30 minutes) during the day just to get some semblance of separation between work and not work and that’s helped tremendously. Seattle is on the downturn of the curve, but I suspect we won’t see normalcy for another 3-4 months. I know my work will only allow 20% of employees at the office at a time whenever that time comes, with plans to expand as the government suggests.

Jim: More or less the same. Hard to believe it’s now approaching six weeks that my job sent me home, and I think it has been over three since I went past the end of the street. We did get some bad news, in that my mother-in-law tested positive for the virus in her nursing home. But she’s asymptomatic at this point, and all we can do is continue to hope for the best. Physically, she has always been very fit. I definitely am enjoying working from home, and hope the company lets my department continue that once this is over.

Arizona’s stay-at-home order expires next week. What do you think will happen?

James: The expiration of the order will change very little in my neck of the woods. Everything remained open throughout the SAH recommendation. The bars and restaurants will slowly re-open for in-person patronage as well, though I expect the actual return of business to be rather more a trickle than a tidal wave. I’m hoping that people still continue to practice some social distancing, but given I see very little being practiced during the SAH recommendation, I am not holding my breath that it will continue for long (if at all) once the calendar turns to May.

Makakilo: Hawaii extended stay-at-home through 31 May. On the positive side, on Saturday Hawaii opened parks for exercise, and the governor said he would open beaches for exercise. I see slow and sure progress without a COVID-19 second-cycle in Hawaii.

Turambar: Likely it’ll get extended, though in some lesser form. Certain businesses will get to reopen, but large gatherings will still be prohibited. “Normal” will likely not return for a while, and Gov Ducey will hopefully continue to take this seriously while doing whatever he can to get the economy open in some form.

Steven: I would hope they extend it like Washington did, otherwise all the work we’ve done will be for naught.

Jim: Personally, it won’t make much difference. I still won’t be going anywhere. But I can foresee some easing of restrictions, with Arizona healthcare facilities having apparently been able to handle things to this point, We may see restaurants allowed to re-open, for instance, albeit with lower capacity and precautions in place. I don’t know about you, but it would be VERY weird to be served my food by a waiter in a mask. Yeah, I’m fine with delivery and eating in for a bit.

Are you more optimistic or pessimistic about a 2020 season than two weeks ago?

James: Given recent player comments and the fact that some are beginning to question who starting the season will actually benefit, I am more convinced than before that the 2020 season will be cancelled.

Makakilo: I am more optimistic because 98% of Costco customers now wear masks while waiting in line (it was only 90% my previous trip) and because the rate of new cases in the US continues to be level (the 3-day average of new cases reported to CDC was 32,375 on 6 April, 32,468 on 10 April, and 31,061 on 24 April). I am sticking with my prediction of a half-season of baseball starting about 10 July.

Steven: About the same. I thought there wouldn’t be a season two weeks ago and nothing we’ve seen has made me change my mind on that subject, especially with Donald Trump suggesting we use disinfectant and bright lights to destroy the virus inside the body.

Turambar: The silence from the League offices is deafening. Very little has been said publicly on what MLB will do going forward and with each passing day it seems the prospects of a cancelled season is starting to look like a reality. I hate to say it, but that’s what my gut is telling me.

Jim: I’m sure there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes, such as negotiating with the players’ union, etc. There’s still time enough: we’ve lost 28 games as of today (per James’s simulation!), so I can still see scenarios where games get played. Half a season would be better than no season at all, for everyone.

Have you been watching any of the Taiwan baseball games?

James: I’ve caught highlights, but not games.

Makakilo: Although I have not seen the games, I read that the games are played in empty stadiums with cardboard cutouts in some of the empty seats. It would be fun to see a few cardboard cutouts for the AZ Snake Pit.

Steven: I’ve mostly been watching old games on youtube.

Turambar: Nope, not me.

Jim: It has largely brought home to me how much I am a Diamondbacks’ fan, rather than a baseball fan generally. No Diamondbacks = no interest.

Recommend us a TV show, Youtube video channel or movie to watch.

James: I have been decidedly underwhelmed by almost anything “new” that has come out in the last six months. One exception to that was The Gentlemen, which I reviewed already. So, given that I have an extensive media library, I have been rewatching shows that I enjoy. Some, I have been picking and choosing episodes, others I have just been staring and letting run while I do stuff around the house. One that does have a new installment releasing in the States sometime soon is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I’m also a very big fan of Lucifer, which has a new season preparing to drop, likely in MAy, on Netflix.

Makakilo: The Good Fight series can amuse, surprise, shock, and/or delight me. I appreciate the artistic freedom of the writers who truly achieve out-of-the-box.

Steven: Like most everyone, Jon Bois Dorktown special on the Seattle Mariners has been highly entertaining. You can start it here (

Turambar: I’m a big sci fi, especially when it comes to Warhammer 40k. On that note I’ve been obsessed with this FAN MADE series called Astartes. I cannot get around that a line fan made this and not a major animation studio. Check it out!!!

Jim: We’ve been stumbling around YouTube in the mornings, just bumping into things. Here are three of the video channels which have kept us entertained:

  1. Jimmy Carr has been doing a daily quiz. It’s fairly British-oriented but has definitely been fun. Here’s the first week’s questions in an omnibus edition:
  2. Red Bull do Soapbox Derby races around the globe, where competitors build elaborate vehicles and race them downhill. And, quite often, crash or fall apart on the way:
  3. World Chase Tag. Yes, tag as a competitive sport. The tagger has 20 seconds to catch the taggee, in an arena dotted with various obstacles around which the taggee can run, hide behind and use to their aid. Failure wins the taggee’s team a point. Surprisingly addictive:

On his death bed, Kim Jong Un names you the next Supreme Leader of North Korea. What’s your move?

James: Step 1 - officially end the Korean War.

Makakilo: I would jump in my car, drive to a local military base, and arrange for my physical safety.

My guess is he wanted to name his sister, Kim Yo Jong, but decided against it because she would be killed immediately. I would contact two people:

  • His sister: name her my trusted vice-Supreme-Leader because she is the rare voice of sanity in the elite group. She would help prevent my assassination because she would be next in succession.
  • Military leader: tell him I won’t break his rice bowl but nevertheless I’m directing top-level-policy and will make changes.

I would implement policy changes. Change would be difficult except I am now Supreme Leader and my decisions cannot be questioned upon penalty of judgement and death. My policies would include:

  • With full international inspections allowed, stop missile development and dismantle half of existing missiles in return for significant financial aid from the US, all of which would be directed to lift the entire North Korean population out of poverty (bypassing the wealthy elite class).
  • Increase business cooperation and social interaction with South Korea while reassuring China this policy is not a threat to them. My focus would be to move toward reunification of Korea (although reunification could take a decade).

Steven: Open the borders to civilization.

Turambar: I’d set up a big military parade. During which I’d announce the opening of the county. Then, upon the culmination of the festivities, I’d cap it off with free beer for everyone, thus setting the stage for my very own rival to Oktoberfest. Good times.

Jim: I can’t improve on Turambar’s idea. Though I’d probably just sit around, stroking my white Persian cat for a bit first, laughing maniacally!