No news items came across my desk this month. That is not to say that there is not a lot going on behind the scenes and I will get to that in a bit.
What does seem to be on everybody’s mind is the Covid-19 virus. Some people may be taking solace in the fact that it is the elderly and those with weak immune systems who are the most affected, but for the children, it also means the loss of beloved grandparents, great aunts and uncles whose wisdom influences the upbringing of these youngsters. It should be noted that no trend is perfectly consistent; there have been some deaths even among seemingly healthy young people. For instance, a 12-year-old girl died in Belgium and a 13-year-old boy in the UK. The most alarming aspect is how people are failing to deal with the stress of being cooped up with their children. I have been getting some reports from instructors doing remote learning with students with the necessary equipment. Apparently, some parents out of exasperation are telling their children that the virus will go away if they are good little boys and girls (echos of similar admonitions during the Black Death or the witch hunts). Children already internalize bad things that go on around them and I find it despicable that parents have resorted to this. The kids think they are being punished for misdeeds and that is why they cannot go to the park to play with their friends!
Behind the Scenes: Like many people, the virus did temporarily slow down business for me which gave me a chance to catch up with things. But readers should be assured that if there is not much happening on the surface of the website, there are things happening behind the scenes. You wonderful readers are periodically coming forward with interesting leads and information and it is necessary to follow up in a timely manner. A few of you have noticed some additions to the reference pages of this site and are helping to fill in the gaps. There is also a lot going on to help give proper identifications to random images floating around on the internet. People scan images because they like them (Pinterest is a notorious example) and do not bother having source information attached to the images. Sometimes someone will obsess about a particular model though and so an effort is underway to create an index of model names (or pseudonyms) along with page layout information that can serve as clues to the original source. Because of the effects of censorship, it is not even possible to get a comprehensive index of the books and magazines that have been produced. We are working on remedying that.