It’s a Good Thing He Doesn’t Lisp

 

Brandon had a news conference of sorts today. It was great standup comedy though it shouldn’t have been. It was about the Omicron variant of Covid. But … was it?

Brandon started off with this line. “When I was elected, I said I would always be honest with you.”

In the latest episode of Take Back Our Schools, Bethany and Andrew interview political strategist and father of three, Rory Cooper, about the recent election of Glenn Youngkin as Virginia’s new governor. We discuss Rory’s experiences organizing parents against Covid school closures and the role that parents played in the recent election.

Bethany and Andrew also talk about the enormous damage Covid policies are doing to our children and discuss whether the new “Omicron” variant will shut down schools again.

All Eyes on the Legal System, Again

 

You are forgiven for being distracted from the slow-motion train wreck unfolding before our eyes as it descends upon the US Capitol. Why watch politicians arguing over a massive inflation-inducing, pork-infested spending package wrapped in a looming debt-limit crisis when you can watch jury trials? At least it may be more fun to watch than more media and government fear-mongering over the Xi – excuse me – Omicron coronavirus variant. We must not offend our would-be overlords.

Two verdicts last week affirmed our jury system. Everyone knows that Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal was followed up by the convictions of three Georgia men in the murder of Ahmad Arbery. The winner was justice; the biggest winners may be the jurors themselves, who at least in the Rittenhouse trial withstood attempts to intimidate them. Kyle is a winner, too, but he will suffer consequences for many years to come.

Animal Control Officers Ep. 10: ‘Dis-bearing the Lawyers’

 

“The Stories of Animal Control Officers Joe Tuesday and Bill Cannon”

(With a nod to Jack Webb’s ‘Dragnet’ TV series…)

It had been a busy morning – returning two zoo escapees caught wandering the city. The zoo had left its gates open – again. As we returned to the office a call came in – a code 486, “Bear at the Bar”; in this case, the legal bar. Proceedings at the City Courthouse were halted due to an adult black bear on the premises.

Fluvoxamine/Fluoxetine and Other FIASMA Fighters

 

The latest drugs off the shelf to show potential beneficial properties in regards to covid are fluoxetine and fluvoxamine.  Retrospective cohort studies have shown a significant risk reduction for hospitalizations and intubation or death in covid patients who are on antidepressants.  This has led to short-term use of both as yet another affordable potential therapeutic that has been here the whole time.

These two drugs in particular are known as SSRIs (Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitors) Prozac and Luvox their respective brand names.  Like many drugs they have multiple effects across the body, they are also inhibitors of ASM (acid sphingomyelinase) an enzyme that cleaves sphingomyelinase into two parts resulting in a ceramide and phosphorylcholine.

Government Spending on ‘Infrastructure’ Not Quite What You Think

 

Allow me to explain how my experience with the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and the NFS (National Forest Service) informs my view of BBB (Build Back Better) and other Democrat initiatives.  Please bear with me on the background for the next several paragraphs – it’s relevant.  I hope you find these patterns as interesting as I do.

Before I moved to the festering swamps of South Carolina, I lived in the majestic mountains of East Tennessee.  I lived at 3,300 feet, on 56 acres surrounded by National Forest.  There was a National Forest access road that crossed my property for about a mile, and it was the only way into the National Forest for miles in any direction.  So I got to know the National Forest guys – they would need the code to my gate to access their road.  We got along well – really good guys.

About two miles behind my house was a major power right of way, where huge power lines carried electricity from a power plant on one side of the mountain to the Tri-Cities area on the other. The TVA also needed to cross my property to get to their lines.  We had a good relationship as well. Which was good, because the power poles up on top of the mountain were getting old, and there were a lot of power outages, so they had to go up there a lot.

A Glimpse of 1955

 

I’ve mentioned over the years my involvement with the life and works of Peg Lynch, an American humorist and actress. Small-town Minnesota gal gets into small-town radio, hones her writing chops on ads and skits, comes up with a thing we now call “the sitcom,” ends up in New York, makes a wild pitch to the networks, ends up on national radio. She’s a hit! TV comes along, and she’s in on the early days, doing terrifying live broadcasts on “The Kate Smith Show.” This leads to a network sitcom, which, like everything else, she writes and performs with her stalwart partner, Alan Bunce. After TV ends, she moves back to radio to turn out 750 more shows, each a lapidary example of her style: no schtick. No corn. No stinging, slanging banter. No cliches, no archetypes. Just a situation, laid out, a fuse lit, a slow burn, an almost daredevil-like decision to set the scene without laff-a-minute gag routines.

Most of her sitcoms were saved on kinescope. Perhaps a tenth have been transferred to digital media. (It’s an ongoing process at the U of Washington.) One of the most recent restorations was put up on YouTube for a fortnight by her daughter, and it’s the fabled Halloween ep. “Fabled” because George S. Kaufman said it was one of his favorite things he’d seen on TV; fabled because Peg, iirc, thought it a bit much, but it turned out to be wildly popular. Her co-star was unhappy because his face was obscured for most of the ep.

Memories … Memories

 

I have been reading a story in The Wall Street Journal about the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s procurer (of young girls to feed his sexual appetite), and a mention of what her defense team will do gave me pause. Many of the witnesses will be some of those young girls (grown up now), who will tell their stories of wild parties and sexual abuse at the many homes of the late (and not lamented) Epstein. They will probably mention that Maxwell was the one who contacted them at first and persuaded them to attend those parties.

Her defense team will bring to the stand experts on “false memories” in their attempt to convince the jury that the women falsely remember their experiences with Epstein and Maxwell, and that they weren’t really abused at all. The experts will emphasize that, for the experiences that took place so long ago, the women simply can’t remember correctly what went on, even if they are not bald-faced lying.

What Cookware Is the Best?

 

Spilling over from Susan’s post on Kamala’s recent cookware purchases is a minor debate on what cookware works the best, for what purpose, and at what price. @doctorrobert, @kedavis, and @jimmcconnell have already commented. But what do you think? I suppose I started the digression with this comment:

I confess to you, I have one of these. I’ve only used it once to fry a single egg. I told my wife before l’affaire Kamala that she might as well start using it — we’re not getting any younger.

Omicron Variant: Here We Go Again!

 

No one — I mean no one — is going to put me through the fear and misery of the last two years with COVID-19. Fortunately, I live in Florida, and we’ve watched Gov. DeSantis behave like a mature and wise adult regarding the virus. But once again, panic reigns as another variant shows up on the scene. And one state and most definitely the federal government can’t wait to pass more draconian measures supposedly to protect us.

When the announcement first came from South Africa about the new variant, called Omicron, the scientists emphasized that data was limited:

Health officials in South Africa said the reaction by other countries was premature, given how little was understood yet about the new strain. [Professor Salim Abdool] Karim noted that it was only detected thanks to South Africa’s excellent scientific surveillance of COVID-19 cases, which specifically hunts for new variants. Few other nations have such a robust genomic sequencing program to find the strains.

For Those on the Left, Empathy Is Destructive

 

Two of my three daughters are world-class athletes. The oldest is a freaky fast 6’4″ who could shoot from anywhere, and was captain of the Duke basketball team. The youngest (“Linda”) is a little taller, a little faster, and plays volleyball for Georgetown.  Their middle sister is the world’s only 5’10” girl with a short complex.  She’s a brilliant pianist and was a very good high school athlete. But not an athletic freak like her sisters.

Anyway, all three girls are home for Thanksgiving, and it’s been wonderful. One of the Bastiat family Christmas traditions is we make gingerbread, then bake and decorate gingerbread cookies as a family. It doesn’t sound like much, but to us, it’s a big deal. Always a big production, as you can see from the picture.

Linda’s best friend is “Lisa,” who was a classmate of hers in high school, and basically lives at our house when she’s home from college. Lisa says she’s 5’2″, but that might be optimistic. I find it fascinating that these girls are inseparable even though they look so, um, striking together — but it works.

Fool Me Once…

 

“Can you assure me that you will go to the nearest emergency room within the hour?”

It was the middle of a workday—a Friday. I had sequestered myself in a small room dedicated to personal phone calls. I don’t recall how long it took me to reply to the nurse on the other end of the line, but when I did, my answer started with an “uhh” and ended with a “no.”

“Unprecedented,” a Profound and Disturbing Essay by Michael Anton

 

In the campaign season of 2016, an essay appeared out of the blue titled “The Flight 93 Election” exploring, in considerable depth, the very real dangers for our Nation should Hillary Clinton be elected President. Word of this epochal essay spread like wildfire and it became — not the cliché but the real thing — an overnight sensation. It was introduced to the wider world when Rush Limbaugh read every word of it on his radio show. How much impact it had on the eventual outcome of the election we will never know, but I would speculate that it almost certainly had a measurable effect. Like many in those pivotal days – we had no idea just how pivotal they were at the time — I devoured the article which simply corroborated my conviction that the style of the title was not at all overdone but described the importance of that decision precisely. The author was identified at the time of its release as Publius Decius Mus, the essay may be accessed here. His real identity was Michael Anton.

This very same scholar and highly accomplished analyst has now published another masterful essay in which he reviews the increasingly disturbing, chilling, and, in some cases, frightening developments wrenching our society these days, defined broadly as the last five to six years since approximately — and this is my marker, not the author’s — the most famous escalator ride in history. The theme is the large catalog of savage attacks on, to use Victor Davis Hanson’s phrase, the very pillars of Western Civilization.

Merry Christmas Around the World

 

Do you have any cool Christmas stuff worth sharing–pictures, videos, stories, etc.–from places you’ve been and loved? Here are three of mine.

My favorite Christmas song from the good old days in Sanyati Baptist Mission in rural Zimbabwe is # 7 from the Shona Baptist Hymnal, “Ndiani Kudanga’ko.” It’s the Shona translation of the hymn “Who Is He in Yonder Stall?” Here’s a YouTube version from some Reformation Christians in Harare (Zimbabwe’s capital city):

Let Me Go Get My Teeth!

 

Click!

I should preface this by saying that I am generally a very polite guy. As @arahant would say, I think it is mostly due to my “Southron” upbringing. But even my tendency to politeness has a limit!

Notre Dame Cathedral Gets Disney Makeover

 

Some plans have leaked for the reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral (you know, the one that was hit by a devastating fire that in no way symbolized anything). They call for removing confessional boxes, altars, and classical sculptures and replacing them with a light show of scriptures projected on the walls, modern art murals with more sounds and light to create “emotional spaces,” a “discovery trail” of 14 themed chapels with an emphasis on Africa and Asia, and an environmentally-themed chapel. I am not making this up.

Some critics see this as desecration of a sacred space. On the other hand, if the goal is to gut the place of items of religious significance and replace them with trendy performance art, a lecture on diversity, and an altar to Gaia, I think they’ve absolutely nailed the Roman Catholic Church in the 21st Century.

Adventure in the Persian Gulf

 

Jack “Rattler” Owen had a dream when he was growing up: to become a US Navy fighter pilot. He is now a Navy pilot in today’s US Navy, but he is flying the E-2C Hawkeye, not fighters.

“Treason Flight,” a thriller by T. R. Matson opens with Owen discovering flying the Hawkeye can be every bit as exciting as flying a Hornet. He is over the Persian Gulf, flying a broken Hawkeye to USS Nimitz.

The aircraft has suffered multiple mechanical failures. “The Book” calls for him to bail out. Rattler wants to save the aircraft. It is expensive and operationally valuable. Nimitz has only four, and losing one during a potential war patrol will hurt capability. Rattler asks permission to make one try and gets it. He succeeds, saving the aircraft.

Quote of the Day: Rich

 

“I am indeed rich, since my income is superior to my expenses, and my expense is equal to my wishes.” – Edward Gibbon

This year — or maybe last — I became rich. Not Bill Gates rich or Jeff Bezos rich, but rich by my definition of rich: If you can maintain the lifestyle you desire without having to work, you are rich. If not, whether you are earning $15,000 or $400,000 a year you are still among the working poor.

Trivia Question for the Football Fans Out There…

 

Who was the last Ohio college to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes? Ohio State has won an impressive 43 straight in-state games since that loss, but they have lost to Ohio opponents before. Do you know who beat them?

In 1921, immediately after winning the Rose Bowl, Ohio State lost to Oberlin, by a score of 7-6. Ohio State’s only touchdown was on a blocked punt, and they missed the extra point. The game was in Columbus, in front of 10,000 fans.

This year, the Buckeyes are 10-1, and Oberlin is 1-9 (beating only Hiram College 31-28). So if a rematch was held today, it might go differently. But you never know. And apparently, Ohio State doesn’t want to find out – they didn’t schedule Oberlin this year.

What a 2,000-Year-Old Story Can Teach America

 

Every month I’ve been leading a group on Zoom to discuss some aspect of Judaism that we all may not know much about. Although some of my research describes familiar practices and beliefs, almost everyone learns something new. This month we discussed Chanukah, which begins very early on the secular calendar on November 28. We reviewed not only the familiar stories, but I realized that everyone, American Jews and non-Jews alike, have opportunities to reframe the way we see our lives during a season that is holy for many. These are the insights that emerged for me.

The Lighting of the Chanukah candles—

Most people probably know that Jews light eight candles, plus the shamash, which is the lead candle. The candles are lit to commemorate the miracle of Chanukah: when the Maccabees liberated the Temple from the Seleucids and restored and cleaned it, they found only one pure cruse of oil remaining. It was enough to burn for one day, but it burned for eight days, until additional oil arrived. To Jews, the miracle was a reminder that G-d was once again with us. The shamash, which is used to light the other candles, serves as the leader in this process. It “lights the way” to remind us of the miracle of the holiday.

Why Are Jews Businessmen?

 

Lots of things in life rely on instability to thrive.  Think of “Necessity is the mother of invention,” or even, “No pain, no gain.” But mankind (and womankind, especially) also have a deep and visceral fear of insecurity and risk.  Stability is planning for the long haul, while instability means being able to improvise and function “in the moment.” No person can live a good and full life at either extreme – those who live to avoid all risks are not living, and those who embrace all risks will not live for long.

But for some reason, Jews are more risk-tolerant than the average person. Why?

Burned Out on Reality or Who Cares How Kamala Harris Spends $500?

 

A restlessness is pervading my soul. I’m tired of the horrid news, the insolubility of the issues, the repetitiveness of the ideas and my own inability to do something productive, when hopelessness seems impossible to shake off.

And this morning, I heard all the outrage about Kamala’s disgusting behavior in France when she bought a bowl and a pot at the insane price of $500—how dare she? When our own televisions and refrigerators are stalled indefinitely in storage containers in the ports of our great country.

CovidLand

 

I’ve been leaving CovidLand every weekend now for about eight weeks. It started with my vacation in western New York, then continued as I started the “restoration” of the dining room (i.e., removing the old wallpaper and painting) in the family’s western Pennsylvania home. Mom has set the deadline as Thanksgiving, when we expect about a dozen or more family to come to dinner. A far cry from the 30 or more that was a regular feature of my childhood, but a vast improvement over last year’s six.

Funny thing about that. We never asked if we should limit it to six last year. It was before any vaccine, and the family is aging to the point it just seemed prudent not to expose a lot of the older members of the extended family to the risk. Another funny thing. This year mom was shooting for 20, and we didn’t ask anyone about that either. You see, we don’t live in CovidLand.