The Plague-Ground – How to divert – and defend – yourself this weekend.

Enough of reality. It makes my head hurt. We’re all locked-down. It’s not even February. So rather than writing about plagues and insurrections, today’s Plague-Ground will be unimpeachably and giddily about you.

Here are some ways to divert yourself.

  1. The Bart Simpson Gloom Eliminator. Test your blackboard writing skills. Tell Miss Jones what you really meant to say back in Grade 5.
  1. Live in the past. The Guardian profiles five people who made their home into the perfect replica of an earlier era – from the pre-War 30s to the Abbey Road 60s.
  1. Buy a personal video greeting from a C-lister you adore. Would you kill to have John Cleese, Lindsay Lohan or Dionne Warwick greet you by name? Then go to Cameo, where you can buy anyone from Nadia Comanici for $50 to Richard Dreyfuss for $999.
  1. Eat less. Buy less. Two weeks into the New Year and already feeling irresolute? This piece, Our Stuff Weighs More Than the Entire Planet, will get you back on the scale.
  1. Feeling Unsociable? You can learn How to Be Sociable. Our friends at The School of Life offer lots of courses to make you happier and even more balanced. In their words, “We all long to have sincere, intimate, warm-hearted and interesting meetings with friends and strangers – but too often, we fail to connect as we would like to. This is a class expressly designed to teach us the skills to have the kind of social life we deserve.” I assume, that is, when we’re all freed from lockdown.
  1. Get the Irish Coastal Experience without the raincoat. Just click here and generate your own coastal noises. You don’t have to be Irish to do this, or even British. No reason you can’t think you’re on Georgian Bay, either.
  1. No time to read books anymore? Check out the wonderful James Crabtree on How to Read 50 Books This Year.
  1. Yearn for gourmet cooking? Especially from yourself? Michael and Guy Rubino brought Toronto restaurants like Zoom, Rain and Luce. They then produced Made to Order, the TV series that reached 600 million households every week. Now, you can try their Made to Order Cooking Classes where they supply all the ingredients – and the online coaching.
  1. Things to keep you going this year. Just crib from the redoubtable Jason Kottke’s list of 21 Things That Kept Me Going in 2020.

Okay, that’s it. I’m done. I promised some diversions and I got to 9 before I cracked.

I just can’t keep up this alternative-reality any longer.

I have to go back to the real world, even if it hurts, and it looks like next week in America, it will do that.


  1. Want to throttle the nearest Trump never-ender? Here’s how to talk to conspiracy theorists and still be kind. From, of all places, The MIT Technology Review. 
  1. I bet you want to stay sane, too. Right, the same publication has some cures for going crazy. Or rather, it lists some new online tools to treat anxiety before it reaches a crisis point.
  1. It’s an old story. Finally, this from the Lincoln Project, the group of former Republican strategists who broke off from Trump and campaigned for his defeat. They created this spot before the Nov. 3 election and decided to release it last week. Here’s how it begins: “It’s an old story. At first, they seemed ridiculous, the  big egos, the bad ideas.” And on this last week of America’s brush with fascism, I urge you to view Bloodlines to see how it ends.

Sign up for the FREE and murderous RamsayTalk with mystery author Robert Rotenberg on his new novel, Downfall.

Monday. Feb. 1 from 7 to 8 p.m. ET. Click here for more info.

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5 thoughts on “The Plague-Ground – How to divert – and defend – yourself this weekend.”

  1. MIT Technology Review is one of the mags that, over the last 15 years I’ve routinely read cover-to-cover (although they’ve switched to bi-monthly now). Thought it was behind a paywall, glad to see you can still see some articles for free. Thanks for this, Bob.

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