Alexander Strange is marooned in Key West waiting out the pandemic. Here’s his latest report.
We start out this edition of The Strange Files with an uplifting little story, not the least bit weird other than the setting is the Florida Keys, the epicenter of strange in America.
Tip of the hat to the amazing staff at the Miami Herald, which in addition to covering the Sunshine State’s massive failure to deal with the coronavirus epidemic (more on that in a moment) also found time to point out that not all is doom and gloom.
This bit of uplifting news come from the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key, just up the chain of islands from Key West, where daily thousands of people get to play with Flipper and his friends.
But fear not. Nobody is violating social distancing. The show is virtual.
The Keys are locked down. The tourists have been banished. But Mary Stella, the head of public relations for the center, said:
“We knew it would be really easy to keep the dolphins connected with people via Facebook Live, so we tried it. Our goal is to keep these organic and spontaneous, while showing a variety of ways that we connect and care for the dolphin family.”
You can see the show, too, by clicking here:
So far, the dolphin center has been able to keep all of its 70 employees working. Donations help make that happen.
Back to weirdness
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has finally issued a stay-at-home order.
There are exceptions. There are always exceptions. Some make sense, of course. Grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies. We want them to stay open.
But this is Florida. So you have to expect that things will go sideways. And they have.
DeSantis has added to the list of permitted activities golfing, hunting, and attendance at megachurches–indeed, all religious services.
As if you can pray away a virus.
Doctors’ heads are spinning.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Ezekiel Emmanuel, co-author of a new report on the epidemic by the Center for American Progress.
“I’m feeling deprived not being able to go to synagogue,” he told David Leonhardt of The New York Times. “It really bothers me. But it’s really important.”
Shortly after DeSantis issued his stay-at-home order, with much fanfare, he quietly issued a followup directive overriding more strict local quarantine rules, such as the one that recently resulted in the arrest of a megachurch minister in Hillsborough County.
Praise Jesus and pass the sanitizer.
In Orlando, a Florida Man exposed himself to students attending virtual classes by hacking into a Zoom video lesson.
No, it wasn’t an anatomy class.
And in a nostalgic note, the Florida Legislature has passed a bill that will wipe all laws regulating telegraphs from the books.
What’s a telegraph some of you might ask?
Kinda like the Pony Express except with wires.
Indeed, during the Civil War, cutting telepgraph lines was one of the tactics both the North and the South used to disrupt communications. That’s how long the telepgraph has been around. And Morse Code.
One of the laws that will bite the dust with this legislation is a statute that held telegraph operators liable for mental anguish or suffering caused by delays in delivering a message.
STRANGE FACT: The telegraph and the code used for transmitting electrical messages in the form of dots and dashes over wires, was developed by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail.