Coronavirus: Comedy, Resiliency, and a Morals Stress Test

I live dab smack in the middle of nowhere in rural Central Pennsylvania. Although we are only three hours or less from some of the greatest cities in America, the Susquehanna Valley is cut off in lots of ways. Wwe are centrally isolated.

Glen and I are watching the Coronavirus spread across the state, and as of this moment, the closes reported cases are all over two counties away, but each day it creeps closer. Like most communities in the USA, all of our non-essential business are closed. Somehow the Eagle’s Wind (yes, Wind, not Wings) doughnut shop is still open. Even if it is not an essential business, it feels like it should be.

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

All the bars and liquor stores are closed too. I always day-dreamed about time travel, I just never imagined I’d land in rural Pennsylvania during Prohibition.

And in the midst of all of this I caught a cold. How is that even humanly possible. I have washed my hands so often I swear you can see my nerve endings. I show an overabundance of caution when out in public. I sanitize every possible surfaces I feel I can open a lab. And I have been so aggressively socially distant, I can barely catch someone’s eye let alone their cold.

Joking aside, this is a scary time for everyone. It is a time of rapid fire decisions by public officials. Globally & in each nation, with our political leaders, & fellow citizens, we are witnessing a Morals Stress Test. As a people, we must consider serious questions.

What do we value most?
Money or the health & well-being of people? How do we consider both while pursuing justice for all? How do we navigate & decide moral conundrums & wicked problems?

“Save Our Planet” painted on the side of a Berlin Wall section.

To shut down national & global economies is extraordinary. A sign of where our values may truly lie. It is potentially good news for our species, a costly one. For my new Susquehanna Life Out Loud podcast, I interviewed Dr. Natasha DeJarnett from the National Environmental Health Association. She quoted Mahatma Gandhi,

The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.

Before the outbreak of Covid-19 many people already were suffering from chronic illness, poverty, isolation, restricted mobility, healthcare woes, & fears of aggressive policing. For others these are new concerns.

Suffering demands residents & governments that multiply compassion, empathy, & justice.

Money is tight and growing tighter for many of us. Our mobility is restricted. Yet in the middle of it all, I am witnessing a loving response by members of my community who are providing food, money, and essential services to those who need it.

Like everyone else, I am trying to process these massive changes in our society while learning how to adapt to these shifts. I am also figuring out what I have to offer in this time of Coronavirus. Below is my spring 2020 newsletter with free content for everyone to enjoy and a special resource page for educators.

Oh and I have created my own Coronavirus Containment Dance playlist on Spotify. Feel free to give me suggestions of some of the tunes that get you moving. Leave them in comments below or just add directly to the playlist.

(featured Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash)

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Audio & Video for your Confinement Entertainment

Free Film & New Podcast







As many people are spending a lot more time at home during the Coronavirus outbreak, I am sharing the rarely seen performance version of Transfigurations–Gender Outlaws in the Bible. It is only available on DVD and differs from the performance lecture you can watch on Amazon Prime. View this special theatre version FREE. Share with friends, family, and fellow Bible geeks!

If you want to watch a classic, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

I am producing a lot of podcasts these days including the wacky yet oddly thoughtful and tender, Bubble&Squeak Podcast. (Most recent episode is Phallic Fruit. In the next episode you will meet a new character, Sebastian, from the Corona Virus Rapid Response Team. Should I call the next episode Anal Thermometer or Circle Jerk?)

I launched a BRAND NEW podcast: Susquehanna Life Out Loud. It reveals the many wonderful features of this region of Central Pennsylvania where I live. The first episode stars my husband, Glen Retief.

You can also hear Bible Bash Podcast, which I co-host with Liam Hooper, and Citizens Climate Radio. Find all these shows wherever you get podcasts or follow the links.

Plus Special Resources for Teaching Remotely

Professors & teachers suddenly need to provide on-line instruction, so I set up a page with resources. I also offer virtual classroom visits, consultation, and customized videos:

  • Read about how to use video effectively on-line
  • Ideas for assigning podcasts to students
  • Virtual visits & custom content at low prices

Learn more at PetersonToscano.com

Click here for something silly and wonderful that always makes me laugh.

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