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story.lead_photo.caption Brenda Looper

Quarantine is really getting to me. I'm not sure what day it is anymore. I'm about 80 percent beans and rice at this point. And I can only concentrate in short spurts. So buckle up, because it's going to be random today.

Advice on wearing masks is confusing, but I and many others are choosing to wear one whenever we're outside. Medical-grade masks should be saved for those working in hospitals and doctors' offices, but even there, many are having to improvise because of shortages. Groups across the nation are making masks to help health-care workers, but they shouldn't have to, nor should states have to compete with each other for limited supplies in a time of pandemic.

While I'm still waiting on the vented allergy masks to replace the one I already had that disappeared, I have received a more basic face mask ... with cats on it, of course, because one need not have a feline at the moment to be a crazy cat lady (yes, I know, it's been a while, but the furry one is a hard act to follow). While it won't protect me as much as needed where germs or my grass allergy is concerned, it will keep me from sneezing on other people and/or touching my face, and it's cute and washable. Plus, it will protect me from punches from people who can't tell I'm cussing them.

Pets seem to have adjusted to their people being home all the time, which means they do what they ordinarily do. That might mean you'll spot a pup lounging on his dog-sized sofa in the background of a meteorologist's forecast broadcast from his home, or a cat grooming himself (yeah, that's attractive) behind that guy anchoring a newscast minus a studio (yes, both of those happened).

The dog might feel a little guilty (though he'll get more attention than the forecast). The cat doesn't care. That news guy was in his shot.

People around the world are taking out the trash while wearing costumes or evening wear and posting the photos or videos on social media. Since that's the only trip outside many get, they want to take their minds off what's going on and give others a laugh or two.

To my neighbors: Sorry it was just regular pajamas. All my costumes are at the cleaners.

Bradley Gitz has spent a couple of columns lately on movies to watch while we're in isolation. I have to admit there are some on his list with which I don't agree, and that's partly because there are a few too many westerns on it for me. But Hitchcock (any, really)? Citizen Kane? Local Hero? Casablanca? O Brother Where Art Thou? Yes, please!

I would add some lighter fare, such as the original animated version of Aladdin with Robin Williams. Will Smith couldn't come close in the live-action version to competing with Williams' portrayal of the Genie. I might also add Peter Sellers' Being There, as well as Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. God forbid we're still here by Christmas, but if so, I'd be watching It's A Wonderful Life, just as I do every year at that time, along with Nightmare Before Christmas.

Being a child of the '80s, I'd add The Breakfast Club too. Heck, I might even do the dance. It's not like anyone can see me now. No one needs to see it, either.

I knew there was a good reason I got the laptop with a shutter over the webcam.

Since we frequently have people who forget the rules or think they don't apply to them, a few reminders for letter-writers while we're stuck in quarantine. Most of us in the newsroom are working remotely, like those of you who are able to. What that means for the Voices page is that I won't be getting snail-mail/fax/hand-delivered letters until this is over, so it's better to send your letters through the Voices form (arkansasonline.com/contact/voicesform) or to the Voices email (voices@arkansasonline.com). If you take a picture of a handwritten letter to email, please make sure the writing is clear and dark enough for me to read.

At the moment, we're back to having far more letters come in than we can print, so originality, clarity and brevity can really make your letter stand out. Remember that the Voices page isn't the place for personal, legal or business disputes, nor is it the place to call specific readers idiots or to present falsehoods as facts. Hostility won't win you any fans, either in a Voices letter or communications with staff.

About 300 words fit in the maximum space we allot for a single letter (it's an average, not a hard cutoff); a little over we can usually work with, but if you send in 500 words, expect cuts or no publication. Multiple letters from the same person and form letters are bad ideas as well. Letter-writers are allowed one published letter per 30 days; exceptions are sometimes made, but not often, and are at the discretion of Voices staff. If you feel passionate about a cause, write your own letter about it rather than using the cut-and-paste letters found on activist websites; it will have a deeper impact coming from you.

And while we're at it, stay safe and sane out there. We need you.

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Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com. Email her at blooper@adgnewsroom.com.

Editorial on 04/15/2020

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