Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Catching a Whiff of Gas


Every Shabbat when it’s nice weather, we take a walk to the park and to the creek. It’s a busy trip out the door with four kids under the age of seven, and we’re always managing trying to keep everyone walking and not into the street. On our walks this spring I would always have a momentary whiff of gas, and I soon realized I always smelled it at the same spot. We walk to the creek without cell phones, and then spend hours there. On the way home, we sometimes take a different route or we’re dealing with exhausted and soaking wet kids. I would always forget about the gas smell, and always assumed that if it actually smelled like gas, one of the families in the houses around the intersection I smelled the gas would have called it in. Maybe they had already and it’s nothing. I’ve never thought about that momentary whiff outside of Shabbat until today, when this happened:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. COVID-19 For Non-Premed Majors


Let’s talk SARS CoV2. It is a very simple RNA virus, that is a capsid of proteins that contains a single strand of RNA. Your body uses RNA to direct cells to build proteins. It’s like a hard-coded program, directions, that organize cell function for growth and repair. SARS CoV2 attaches to certain cells in the body that play a part in a feedback loop that monitors and controls blood pressure. Unfortunately, this includes lung, heart, kidney, fat and even nervous system tissues.

When you are exposed to the virus, it travels into your eyes, nose, lungs or mouth and literally, by happenstance, may come in contact with its favorite cell (ACE 2) receptor. The more viruses you inhale (initial exposure) the higher the probability that a virus will bind with a receptor. The virus capsid itself is a spiky little sphere. When one of about ninety spikes touches a receptor, it binds. Within ten minutes, instead of receiving chemical signals from your body, the receptor opens and becomes an entry way for the viral RNA. The viral RNA enters the cell, reprograms the cell’s normal RNA directed functions and turns the cell into a SARS CoV2 factory. Within 7-8 hours, some 7000 newly created SARS CoV2 viruses begin exiting the infected cell. The infected cell does not “burst” at the end of its reproductive cycle spilling a massive dose of viruses and toxic byproducts as is characteristic with a cold or the flu. Hence, a COVID 19 infection lacks the characteristic fever/chill reproductive cycle that accompanies other common viral infections.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QoTD: One Small Light


You can’t make progress until you let yourself sound like you. –Nathan Gunn, baritone singer

I first encountered Nathan Gunn right here on Ricochet, when @marcin posted a video of the musical, Carousel. Mr. Gunn played the lead role of Billy Bigelow. He performs opera and musicals, is a university professor in music and is very involved in promoting new programs. Besides having a beautiful baritone voice and his being handsome, I was curious to know more about him and found an interview of him on a program called, The Classical Life (video below). His story is in some ways typically mid-western American: 50 years old, born in Indiana, beautiful wife who is a pianist and five kids. But this quotation he made stopped me cold. It is something he tells his students.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Hidden Costs of Riots and Reckless Government


Citizens in places like Chicago, Seattle, Portland, and the other cities that have seen rioting in the last few months are hoping for some respite as the summer ends. Whether it arrives or not, their financial interests have already been severely damaged, and most of them don’t even recognize it yet. But they will. Everyone must pay the piper after the dance.

When you insure your house, one of the things the insurance company looks for, in terms of assessing risk and setting premiums, are things like your local fire department. How is it rated? Is it a city service, or is it manned by volunteers? What are response times like? That’s because the most common loss associated with insuring houses is fire. Thus these questions have an impact on assessing the risk and setting the premiums.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: ‘The Splendid and the Vile,’ Churchill During the Blitz


If you can read only one book this year, I recommend The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. A couple of weeks ago, on the National Review Flagship weekly podcast “The Editors,” Rich Lowry asked what the panelists were reading. One of the panelists said The Splendid and the Vile.

The next week, that panelist said that he had finished and another panelist said that he was now reading it! About that time, I heard one of the panelists at the Dispatch Flagship Podcast mention the book, and if memory serves, an MSNBC person said that he was reading it! All were in thrall with the book.


The time for the fall term is quickly bearing down on us and James and Toby are itching to get kids back in the classroom. But others aren’t so sure. Said the Prime Minister this weekend, “Now that we know enough to reopen schools to all pupils safely, we have a moral duty to do so.”

Also on tap (literally and figuratively) this week: Getting back into the pubs, the new dating forum on Lockdown Sceptics gets press, and fat-fingered police stopped MP Dawn Butler (Labour, Brent Central) and, of course, charges of institutional racism followed. (This from a woman who once claimed that 90% of all giraffes are gay and had her staff forge an endorsement letter from Barack Obama.)


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Shame Game


“Shame off you,” he said.

It was the first time I’d heard that term, and I was a little taken aback until I realized that he was exactly right. Shame is something we wear, like a wet, smelly blanket someone dons for no good reason. Some bully at some point threw it over the person’s shoulders, and unless that person chooses to shrug it off, there it stays, and the bully wins.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How to Be an Anti-Racist


Kyle Smith’s take on Robin Diangelo’s anti-racism shtick in NRO:

[Y]ou can’t prove you’re not a witch, just as you can’t prove you’re not a racist. If you don’t confess to being a racist right away, that marks you as a clandestine racist — the most insidious kind. Not being a racist is, of course, not an option, not if you’re white.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Just Call It a ‘Peaceful Protest’


Governor Newsom has banned church services in the state of California. But protests are allowed. Of course, that’s unconstitutional but it will take a while to get through the courts. And getting arrested will ruin anyone’s day.

In the meantime, Pastor John MacArthur has solved the problem by holding Sunday services in church and calling them … “peaceful protests.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Teachers Beware: Parents Are Watching


“I could never homeschool.” It’s something I used to hear all the time, but haven’t in months. After an entire spring of all of my friends are also home with their children full-time, overseeing their education as they participate in “distance learning” with their school, I don’t hear that much anymore. This summer, school districts across the country announced that they would be doing “virtual” school this fall (at least) and a fair number of friends lost patience with the idea of “distance learning” and decided to formally homeschool their children next year.

Parental approval of homeschool has skyrocketed over the summer according to studies,


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Are We Heading for Electoral Disaster in November?


I don’t normally abuse my podcast privileges to post up promotions for the Power Line Show, but I think I have a mini-scoop today. Everyone is freaking out about the recent and highly publicized report of the Transition Integrity Project, whose simulations of potential scenarios for a contested election in November yielded frothy news stories about riots in the streets, either Trump or Biden refusing to recognize the election result, rival slates of electors coming to Washington, western states demanding secession, and, most alarming of all, what might the military do?! It all makes for great copy. Also hysteria.

As it happens, I know one of the leaders of this project, Nils Gilman. He’s a very smart lefty, and he readily agreed to do a long-form podcast interview with me about the TIP report and other things. We try to take a non-hysterical look at the subject, and work through some of the serious problems of holding a national election in the midst of a pandemic. I think the conversation/argument we have here is a model of the kind of civil discourse that is the aim of Ricochet.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What is the Ultimate Goal of Virus Transmission Mitigation Efforts?


Everybody is going to come into contact with the Wuhan virus at some point, unless the person chooses to live the life of a hermit, the virus is not likely to just disappear. Efforts to mitigate the transmission of the virus can at most delay contact with the virus, those efforts cannot prevent for all time contact with the virus.

The probability that a person not already living in a nursing home will have serious medical consequences from contact with the Wuhan virus is extremely small. Very few people who come into contact with the virus will suffer significant negative medical consequences.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. COVID-19: It’s Over, But How Do You Convince People That It’s Over? Part 2


The title to this post is a reprise of Day 104: COVID-19 It’s Over, But How Do You Convince People That It’s Over? posted on May 3. The key graphs in that post for my purposes today is:

[T]he epidemic has definitely slowed in this country.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Swimming the Bosporus 7: Of Popes and Patriarchs


Six posts in and there’s a question I keep getting: “We get why you left evangelical protestantism for Orthodoxy. But why didn’t you just choose the Catholic Church?” For a Westerner, swimming the Tiber is simpler than swimming the Bosporus based on cultural affinities alone. And, according to Google Maps, the drive from Wittenburg to Rome is 400 miles shorter than Wittenburg to Constantinople. So what gives?

To answer, I first need to give some historical context.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If You Won’t Listen to Dead White Men…


On the riots:

  • Anger and madness are brothers. African proverb
  • A doctor who invoked a storm on his people cannot prevent his house from destruction. Nigerian proverb
  • Outside noisy, inside empty. Chinese proverb

On Antifa: 


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Who’s Teaching at Your School?


This tweet a couple of days ago from a teacher attracted a lot of attention:

“So, this fall, virtual class discussions will have many potential spectators – parents, siblings, etc – in the same room. We’ll never be quite sure who is overhearing the discourse. What does this do for our equity/inclusion work?”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Democrats Trying to Convince Democrats to Vote Democrat


There have been peaceful protests violent riots every single night in Portland now for nearly three months straight. There appear to be many different groups involved, with many different messages, from “Black Lives Matter” to “Antifa” to people carrying signs with the Soviet hammer and sickle. But there is one thing all the rioters have in common. They all hate Donald Trump. All the riots have signs saying things like “Dump Trump” and other more explicit words saying the same thing. The rioters are urging people to vote against Trump in the next election. Remember, these riots are in Portland, Oregon.

In 2016, Donald Trump won 17% of the vote in Portland. Who are these people trying to convince? There hasn’t been an out-of-the-closet Republican sighted in the wild in Portland since the Reagan administration. And such exotic fauna will most certainly be scarce in Portland in today’s hostile environment. So the Portland riots are essentially Democrats trying to convince Democrats to vote Democrat, while they destroy one another’s property. I don’t get it.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Young Inconsequentials


I haven’t posted in…like…forever. But all the recent Thomas Sowell posts got me thinking (as Sowell tends to do for all of us). His concept of “consequential knowledge” versus “inconsequential knowledge,” introduced in Intellectuals and Society, has always stuck with me because, you see, I have no consequential knowledge. Zero. Zilch.

I am fully aware that in the coming Zombie Apocalypse I will be one of the first to be pushed outside the safety of the compound, provided only a gun with a single bullet, while the useful humans attempt to make their escape. You see, I write music for a living. And there is nothing terribly consequential about that when the world is coming apart at the seams.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Funny Thoughts on Beautiful Music


Ricochetti and Ricochettes, for your amusement and edification, here are some videos made by the renowned Daniel Barenboim on listening to music, for a Sunday afternoon.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. We Are Missing the Best Part


In early June, Bravo reality star, Stassi Shoroeder was fired from her role on the series Vanderpump Rules. Known at first for her mean-girl antics, Schroeder had dramatically evolved over the eight seasons into a more compassionate human. The reason for her firing were accusations by a former castmate, none of which were denied by Schroeder. Accusations she had previously spoken about publicly and admitted her wrongdoing. You can read in detail about them here. 

I don’t defend the actions of Schoeder. But by firing or “canceling” people for their imperfections, are we missing the best part? What if Bravo hadn’t fired her and instead, they used the next season to demonstrate how to effectively hold people accountable while leaving space for them to grow? Vanderpump Rules is a reality show after all, and what better way to model the realities of reconciliation, than including Schroeder in the next season. If we truly want to move toward a world with less racism, hatred, and prejudice, we have to be willing to do the work. Shaming people for their mistakes without offering any constructive path of restoration, isn’t going to change hearts. 


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump Pets the Unicorn


President Trump has signed a series of Executive Orders to provide coronavirus relief for people in Democrat-occupied America (and elsewhere). Pelosi-Schumer thought they had him boxed in to force bail-outs for Democrat-occupied America to secure government-employee union pensions and pay, to pay for promises to illegal aliens, to make up for tax shortfalls when they shut down productive activity to kill the economy and secure power. But Trump is invoking the “Obama pen” and signing his way to re-election.

Is this a good government and Constitutional rectitude? No, it is not. But President Trump has decided that the Constitution is not a suicide pact; that the Supreme Court (notwithstanding having appointed two justices) is not going to aggressively protect the civil liberties of the people in the age of the Democratic-occupation. And President Trump is trying to manage the Executive with various weights and traps that even is his supposed “allies” in the GOP seem to accept as the cost of doing business in DC.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Navigator’s Account of SAC


Between 1946 and 1992 the Strategic Air Command was the United States’s main shield against Soviet aggression. Its bombers flew constantly, fueling aloft to reach any point in the world.

“SAC Time: A Navigator in the Strategic Air Command,” by Thomas E. Alexander, is the memoir of a man who spent three years in the Strategic Air Command and thirteen years in the Air National Guard.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Former World Chess Champion Tal


Tal was an exuberant person. He was closer to a bohemian than a dissident in the Soviet Union. He became world champion by defeating Botvinnik in 1960. He was known for his wild attacking style. One game had to be moved to a private room because the crowd was so amazed by Tal’s slashing attack that they refused to be quiet.

In the mid 1980s, an Englishman who was working towards the grandmaster title was playing at the same tournament had this encounter. After Rogers drew an endgame minus 2 pawns vs. Viktor Garikov, Ian and his wife Cathy were joined in the lift by Tal, who asked how the adjourned game had gone. On being told, Tal cracked up with laughter…


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Do You Donate?


It has been a while since I really thought about this, but since I am home with nothing better to do at the moment, I started thinking. How many of us donate to our political choices? When I get really fired up about a candidate, I have been known to donate. Recently, though, I can’t say that I have felt any compelling reason to donate.

I came across this site: WinRed.