And When Did He Know It

Personally, I think Bob Woodward has a lot to answer for here. —DP

DAILY SHOW Bob Woodward interview 9/23
from closed caption at 3:10

TREVOR NOAH: You caught a lot of flack from people who said: “Bob Woodward, you sat on this for seven months, and you didn’t tell us that Trump knew how bad this was.” You saw him in the news at rallies saying that coronavirus is a hoax and people shouldn’t worry and it’s gonna disappear, but you knew that he knew how severe it was. Why didn’t you come out and say something?

BOB WOODWARD: It’s a fair question.

NOAH: How do you…yeah.

WOODWARD: Um, when he told me about this on February 7, I knew and thought for sure he was talking about China, because everything was China in January, in February. And if it had dawned on me that he was talking about the United States, of course I would have gone to The Washington Post and said: “We’ve got to run this story.” But it was may when I learned that what Trump was talking about was this critical, central…


WOODWARD: …January 28, uh, meeting when it was laid out to him. When I finally figured it out, frankly, uh, the world knew that, uh, the virus was a pandemic. The world and the people in this country knew it was airborne. They knew that it was deadly. They knew that if you had some sort of…if you didn’t have symptoms, you could still spread it.

NOAH: Right, right, right.

WOODWARD: So this is what Trump knew, and we knew we could put the…the book out before the election—that’s the demarcation line, so people can either accept it or reject it.

Hypercard Dreams

In response to my post about a thread containing lots of yummy pre-Web hyper content, Alan Levine responds:

Back at the house in Arizona I have a virgin set of Hypercard 1.1 floppies circa 1987. To use them you will need a Mac Plus, SE, or Mac II, and at least 1 MB of RAM. Make sure you are running System 3.2 or later.

30th Disunion

Greetings to all my classmates from Reed College Class of 1990 who are celebrating our 30th Disunion today!

It was 30 years ago today that I graduated from Reed College, and it was also the last time I had to—and hopefully the last time I will ever have to—move. (That’s the first digitized photo I have of the house, it looks more or less like it did when we bought it, though it’s from ten years later.)

The spring of 1990 had been hectic, with Barbara and myself frantically searching for a house in a market that was beginning to heat up after the late-80s recession. The rental house we were living in behind the Standard Battery on 38th & SE Belmont Street had been up for sale twice before with no success—the landlord had even offered it to Barbara at one point with nothing more than a piece of furniture as a down payment but it was too small with literally no outside space—but the third time was generating a lot of interest. I’d been working on my undergraduate thesis most of the winter with the possibility that we might have to move (on top of working at Powell’s full-time and taking classes) at any time.

I’ve written before about finding the newspaper listing that led to us buying this house, after several others were snatched out fron under our noses by more-qualified buyers with better realtors (we found out years later she was a classmate of Barbara’s from St. Mary’s, too). Suffice it to say that if it hadn’t been for Barbara’s acumen and enormous aid in fixing stuff on the house from my folks to get an FHA loan, the whole thing wouldn’t have happened. I found the ad in March, and we started getting packed. whle I put the finishing touches on my thesis and prepared to defend what I am reasonably certain is the shortest critical English Literature thesis on record at Reed.

As it so happened, the rental house sold. We were able to move most of our stuff to the new house, but Frieda Rasmussen, who’d lived here for 48 years, couldn’t move until she got the money from closing, which wouldn’t be until early June, so Barbara, her sister Lori (who paid for part of the down payment) and I and our menagerie of cats and dogs couldn’t move in until June.

The day we had to be out of the rental was Sunday, May 20th. Yes, the same day as graduation.

My father’s step-father had been in the hospital and very ill. He passed away on the 14th, and we attended his funeral amid the roundelay of work, packing, and moving.

Graduation was held outside on the lawn in front of Elliot Hall, with then-Director of the Oregon Symphony James DePriest as the commencement speaker. The weather was much as it is today, heavy gray clouds with torrential rain both before, after, and during the ceremony, with proceedings punctuated by some poor souls getting drenched by an orgasmic release of rain that had collected on the tents.

The plan was to meet at the flagpole in front of Elliot, but my family went straight to the tents near the student union where all the food was (there wasn’t much of anything left by the time Barbara and I finally got there).

We were rather hungry by the time the festivities were over and my immediate family headed to Tom’s for what I remember as an unsatisfying breakfast. I don’t know if it was me just being cranky about standing in the rain near the flapole while most everyone I’d invited wolfed down appetizers or if it was the restaurant—where I’d eaten may times before—itself.

After Tom’s, it was back to the rental for the last trips—only three blocks—to the house. Then cleaning, although there was only so much that could be done. The rug wasn’t good before Barbara and Lori had moved in. There was a bunch of slumped plaster in the kitchen from water that had spilled at some point from the bathroom. There hadn’t been a lot of maintenance for a long time.

The same could be said for the new place, but it was ours. Barbara and I replaced the roof ourselves the next year, stripping off five layers of crumbling asphalt and wood shingles, putting up plywood sheathing, adding real gutters. Since then we’ve uncovered the original wood siding, and ripped most of the interior down to the frame (again, with an awful lot of help from my parents). We’ve been here long enough that the roof we put on has had to be replaced (not by us that time).

I’ve lived here more than half of my entire life.

Twenty Five Years and a Day

Yes, it was just over a quarter-century ago—mere months after the last issue of Plant’s Review of Books hit the streets in the winter of 1994—that I started trying to put it online.

I’d set up a web server on a Mac desktop model hooked up to a dedicated phone line using WEBStar. PRoB had been created with the then-industry standard publication software Quark XPress and I was working in the prepress business producing film for catalog printing, cadging high-quality color scans of the artwork (mostly by Eric Rewitzer) for the covers and center spread.

That was the summer I went out on my own as a freelance print and multimedia production person, then I started teaching Macromedia Director at Portland State University and picked up a book contract at the end of the year. Stuff snowballed, and by the time I circled back to the project to do the last three issues, my archives were in disarray.

When I’d worked on the magazine, removable Syquest drives were state-of-the-art and I had a mixture of 44MB and 135MB cartridges, but the readers themselves were tempermental and mine had died. I had transferred most of the content to digital audio tapes (DAT), and I was able to recover the Quark layout files but a bunch of the high-resolution scans and graphic were missing (probably because one issue wouldn’t fit on a single Syquest. Time went on and I thought I’d do a more thorough search, I transferred the archives once again to CD-ROM storage before the DAT drive (even less trustworthy than the Syquests) died, but never found the rest of the art.

Now, of course, I can’t even open the XPress files. The format’s so old that I don’t think even the current version of Quark (it’s still out there somewhere but it long ago lost the war with Adobe InDesign) will open them, so even the low-resolution previews are out of my reach.

Thanks to Chris Lydgate, my classmate at Reed and the publisher/editor of more successful periodicals for prompting this reverie.