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It seems to us: The benefits of stress, ice boom uncertainty, and turning water to wine

How’s that for a perfect match? With American stress rates rising as the novel coronavirus spreads around the country, one of the recommended strategies for keep ourselves safe is to squeeze a stress ball.

Squeezing the ball is meant to help us all from touching our faces, a habit that is apparently about as addictive as nicotine. We all do it, over and over and over, day in and day out. (You older people, think Jack Benny).

So get a stress ball and if you don’t already have enough to fret over, we offer this fact: Your taxes are due in less than six weeks.

You’re welcome.

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Under normal circumstances, this would be a week for an unqualified cheer. Removal of the ice boom that spends the winter guarding the entrance the Niagara River began on Monday, the second-earliest time in its 36-year history.

The boom prevents large chunks of ice from floating downstream, where they can discommode the intakes of the Canadian and American power plants and cause other havoc. But this year, there was no ice to speak of. In late January, only 2.7% of Lake Erie’s surface area was iced over. Since 1973, only two other years saw less coverage at the same period, according to

It’s hard not to suspect that a warming climate has something to do with that. It’s a warning.

But it’s also hard not to think fondly of the pending arrival of spring. It’s almost here. And, on that score, don’t forget to move your clocks an hour ahead on Saturday night.

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It’s not all bad news in northern Italy, which has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus. In the Village of Settecani, just northwest of Bologna, a drink of water has become a different sort of pleasure. When residents turned on their taps, instead of water they got red wine. It was no miracle, according to United Press International, but the result of a technical fault that allowed wine to leak from a silo into the water pipe. We’ll drink to that.

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