kitchen sink

Today was the day to make kitchen sink soup.  Everyone has a recipe, and they’re all just loose suggestions.  Whatever is laying around neglected and unused is a candidate for the pot.  That savoy cabbage I bought for the colcannon I made for Imbolc was great, but what to do with the rest of it?  It’s a cathartic exercise, making this soup, as it combines a cleanout of all those storage nooks and crannies with the satisfaction that the neglected discoveries are going into something wonderful.  Here on Harbal, lurking in my freezer, were partially used packs of corn, mixed vegetables, and asparagus. In the fridge were some plum tomatoes and partially emptied boxes of chicken and beef stock.  As a very recent addition, a zucchini that came one of 3 for inclusion into tonight’s shrimp scampi got sectioned and tossed in.  Finally, although kitchen sink soup is usually a vegetarian affair, I had that chicken left over from the coq au vin I whipped up last weekend.  As the hen that sacrificed herself to that pot was a tough old bird, Kathy wasn’t too fond of chewing on the “coq” aspect of the dish, although she loved the “au vin”.  I managed a half pound of meat from the saved chicken, and threw that in at the end.

Now I have a big pot of soup, closer to a stew thick as it is.  I haven’t tasted it, but these concoctions are better if they’ve set a while.  So this pot goes into my garage, maybe tomorrow’s dinner.  Meanwhile, it’s shrimp scampi tonight!

I think I may have found my theme song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvkCEEj4I2s\

Oh, and here’s the recipe

don’t screw with my groundhog

Here in Michigan, our quaint local tradition for this time of year has been “delayed”. Because of the weather! Isn’t this exercise supposed to be all about weather? It inspired me to fire off an e-mail to my Vicksburg buds.

So our own (Howell’s) Woody the Woodchuck was to venture out yesterday, survey the presence or absence of shadow, and go back home.  Or not.  Such was to provide a counter to Punxsutawney Phil, who can only comment on weather in central Pennsylvania, forgodsakes.  How his observations became some sort of national weather forecast is a mystery to me.  Had Woody, the bitch, actually gone out on Tuesday those dense clouds would have precluded any shadows, and she would be out frolicking to an early spring!  Now we see this BS, that the shadow assessment event has been “delayed” until Saturday https://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/2022/02/winter-says-not-yet-snowstorm-delays-woody-the-woodchucks-groundhog-day-prediction.html!  This violates over a hundred years of tradition not to mention sacrosanct celestial rhythms that indicate this assessment should occur halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  Sure, Bill Murray got some “do-overs”, but they were on the same damned day, not some bump to Saturday.


This is a travesty.  I’m calling for an investigation

posters

My love for posters, like many of my degenerate tendencies, started in college.  Every bookstore and headshop sold them – cheap – and what a way to cover up a blank boring wall.  Each was a form of self expression, as you could announce your musical likes, political tendencies, sexual attractions, or just general coolness, to you guests.  They were portable, easily going from dorm room to apartment, exacting perhaps their greatest cost from the landlord who didn’t like the marks the tape left on the wall.  You never stopped acquiring them, sometimes because they were free for the taking from some public display.  But somehow they went into hibernation.  I don’t recall putting up a poster in my high rise rent-subsidized apartment in med school, and surely didn’t have any in my cool penthouse bachelor pad in St. Louis.  Yet, I never stopped acquiring them.  Likewise my missus.  I haven’t quizzed her on her poster display habits at little College of Wooster, but I know there was seldom a poster she didn’t like that she didn’t acquire.  The avalanche came when she went to work as NASA’s chief scientist on loan from U of M at the turn of the century.  Space lends itself to some pretty cool posters, and I think she acquired them all.  Me, I was more selective, kyping concert posters in college, the various medical stuff that dribbled in, and actively seeking some things with a Michigan theme.

We sorta knew we had all this stuff, some of it very cool, but it sat in cardboard tubes in our lower level storage room.  A somewhat unrelated retirement project kicked this off the schneid.  I envisioned a “wall of memories” in the hall from our living room to master bedroom which would bear all our various certificates.  With 6 advanced degrees between us, there’s a lot of paper, plus all that stuff they issue you when you’re a doc and can prove you haven’t killed anybody.  Somehow, that got us interested in all those damned posters.  Up came all those cardboard rolls and we committed ourselves to reviewing and measuring (for possible framing).  It was a wonderful trip down memory lane.  Some of those posters went up almost immediately, like the one for Commander Cody’s 4/17/71 concert at Hill, first time I ever saw them.  Now, our house is already plastered with a bunch of Kathy’s space posters, like the one of the moonrise signed by all the Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon and a few more.  Our house is like a space museum and you should come visit.  But now we have 170 posters looking for a good home.  We have a downstairs, but the walls there scream space, like Kathy’s signed picture of Neil Armstrong.  My job over the next several days is to scan our wall space and look for openings.  Our guest bathroom filled up quickly once we assessed our stock.  No one’s going to be bored there again.

I felt compelled to compile stats.  All those measurements made it possible to calculate the total square surface occupied by our posters: 66,215.7 square inches.  That comes to 459.8 square feet.  That’s less that 1/7 of the floor surface of our 3500 square foot house, and barely 1/10th of a standard basketball court (4520 square feet).  I haven’t calculated the bare surface of our remaining walls but I expect there’ll be some mighty competition as to what goes up.  I’m hoping for rotation and variety.  Regardless, it should compel you to come to Harbal to see my view.  It’s not just the one off the back deck.

trio

Here it is a brand new month. Some in this climate where I live dread February – more cold and dark.  Will we ever get through it?  But it’s a sunny morning here in Ann Arbor, and we’re one day away from that extremely underappreciated holiday of Groundhog Day, which happens to occur on a “cross quarter” day, smack halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox.  The Pagans celebrated this day as Imbolc, which I how I choose to observe it (1).  Much was made in their ceremonies with fire and light, as on this day one can perceive the lengthening of the day’s visible sunlight and know that spring is indeed going to come again.

As I sat in my living room with the sunshine streaming in, fire roaring, and tree still up (it comes down at Imbolc), I happened upon a trio of excellent articles touching on aspects of this COVID thing we’ve been going through for almost 2 years.  I’ve been blogging on matters related to coronavirus throughout this time, even putting the first year-and-a half’s output into a book (2).  But today, I’m going to let these three authors do the ‘splainin’.

All posts are on Townhall.com, a reputable, well-established, conservative-leaning news and opinion site.

Wayne Allyn Root is a conservative radio host who has been pointing out the hazards of the COVID vaxx since back before most everyone else had begin to notice.  Recently released data, particularly from our military, are quite damning.  In today’s article, he brings all those reports together (3).

Scott Morefield is a news columnist and journalist, but he actually spends this column describing the work of Ian Miller, an entertainment industry content manager, who has taken it upon himself to construct illustrative graphs about the actual effects of masks and other COVID mitigations, which mostly contradict the establishment line (4).  Twitter has been his medium, but he has compiled a book for the Twitter averse and also should Twitter eventually pull his account.

The whole issue of masks has irritated me enough to prompt to 8 blog posts so far (5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12) plus another my wife mostly wrote (13).

Kurt Schlichter is a wildly successful LA trial lawyer who carries the rank of Colonel from the army national guard where he was a battle seasoned paratrooper.  A marvelously articulate conservative with several books to his credit and a regular column that is always a must-read for me and Kathy, today he’s showing his love for those Canadian truckers and what it all means in the bigger scheme of things. (14)

Legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb has been done with America and living in France for over 20 years.  But he was always on the side of the revolutionaries, and ya gotta believe he’d be with those truckers.

They’re truckin’ towards freedom’!

References

1.         Ike B.  cross quarter.  WordPress.  Posted February 1, 2020.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/02/01/cross-quarter/

2.         Ike R.  Musing through a Pandemic.  My year and a half with Mr. Corona.  Volume I.  about Mr. Corona.  Amazon (Kindle) 2021.  ISBN: 9798530730. https://www.amazon.com/Musing-through-Pandemic-Year-Corona/dp/B098GV14KY/ref=sr_1_5?crid=3S6D9VX3MNOBK&keywords=%22robert+ike%22&qid=1643650138&sprefix=robert+ice+%2Caps%2C114&sr=8-5

3.         Root WA.  The COVID-19 Storyline Is the Greatest Scam in World History – The Truth Is This Is a ‘Pandemic of the Vaccinated’.  Townhall.com..Posted January 31, 2022.  https://townhall.com/columnists/wayneallynroot/2022/01/30/the-covid19-storyline-is-the-greatest-scam-in-world-history–the-truth-is-this-is-a-pandemic-of-the-vaccinated-n2602554

4.         Morefield S.  This Must-Read Book Obliterates the Mask Cult.  Townhall.com.  Posted January 31, 2022.  https://townhall.com/columnists/scottmorefield/2022/01/31/this-mustread-book-obliterates-the-mask-cult-n2602565

5.         Ike B. Who was that masked man?  WordPress.  Posted April 16, 2020. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/04/16/who-was-that-masked-man/

6.         Ike B.  Masks.  WordPress.  Posted April 30, 2020.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/04/30/masks/

7.         Ike B.  Masks 2.  WordPress.  Posted May 1, 2020.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/05/01/mask-2/

8.         Ike B.  No stinkin’ masks. WordPress.  Posted May 6, 2020.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/05/06/no-stinkin-masks/

9.         Ike B.  masks, criminy.  WordPress.  Posted July 4, 2020.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/07/04/masks-criminy/

10.       Ike B.  masks, droplets, aerosols, and all that.  WordPress.  Posted August 29, 2020.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/08/29/masks-droplets-aerosols-and-all-that/

11.       Ike B.  masks, again. WordPress. Posted December 22, 2020.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/12/23/masks-again-2/

12.       Ike B.  Off with the masks!  WordPress. Posted January 4, 2022.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2022/01/04/off-with-the-masks/

13.       Ike B (actually Clark K).  wifey’s turn.  WordPress.  Posted April 27, 2020.  https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/04/27/wifeys-turn/

14.       Schlichter K.  Keep on Truckin’, Working Class Rebels.  Townhall.com..Posted January 31, 2022.  https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2022/01/31/keep-on-truckin-working-class-rebels-n2602553

CC&hLPA!

Some readers of this blog may have picked up by now my deathless devotion to that 70s band out of Ann Arbor, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen.  Has any band had a wilder name?  And, I submit, no band was more fun.  In my life, I’ve never had more fun than what I felt at a Commander Cody concert.  I wrote a small book about the joyous, raucous relationships I’ve had with the band and its offshoots over the past half century (1), and posted a loving blog about my celebration of the 50th anniversary of my first seeing them in concert (2).  While it was a hobby of mine in college to kype concert posters, I never snagged the one for that show.  I’ve since located it – kyped from the Commander’s web page – and it hangs proudly in my entryway, first thing you see as you come in the door. 

Now that the Commander is dead can we elevate his band to the immortals?  The remaining Lost Planet Airmen still play about in various guises, with enthusiasm.  But the originals all together were so special and unique, we need to take every opportunity to experience them.  Sure, between the whole band and the Commander himself, they’ve put out a host of CDs with the same songs over and over.  But I’ve just become aware of a new release that anyone who is CC&hLPA curious needs to hear.  Released on www.sunsetblvdrecords.com, the two disc set even states that a dollar of each purchase will go to the American Cancer Society in the memory of George Frayne aka Commander Cody.  It was esophageal cancer that finally took him on 9/26/21 after a 3 year struggle.  Fortunately, the band left a trail of tapes to be tapped.  This new CD set – “Strange Adventures on Planet Earth” – is one of them. 

Don’t the boys look mellow? For those of you not in the know, left to right, it’s Lance Dickerson (drums), Bill Kirchen (lead guitar, trombone, vocals), the Commander (piano, vocals), Billy C. Farlow (vocals, cornet), Buffalo Bruce Barlow (bass), John Tichy (standing: rhythm guitar, vocals), Android E. Stein (fiddle, sax).

Recorded across a number of live dates in ’73 and ’74 ranging from Australia to Rotterdam to Stony Brook, the band is at the top of their game.  An indication they’re at the end of the line is that Ernie Hagar is on pedal steel, replacing Bobby “Blue” Black, who’d replaced West Virginia Creeper.  Ernie was no slouch, an ace pedal steel player, recording since ’65.  At the end of the last cut on the first disc  – “Hey-hey-hey-hey” John Tichy calls to the audience “We love you, goodbye!”.  Is that it?  Fortunately, disc 2 opens with Billy C. singing “There’s good rockin’ tonight”, and for 13 more cuts, there surely is.  How can you not like a set that begins with “Hot Rod Lincoln” and ends with “Too Much Fun”?  In between is all that Commander music that serves poorly to promote sedate and sober behavior.  But sometimes, that’s just what we need.

$23.99 on Amazon and worth every penny, IMHO.  If you want to immerse yourself in an hour and half of the Commander Cody experience – accompanied by the intoxicant(s) of your choice, of course – this would be the dive I’d recommend.

If you want to have a little taste first, check out their performance at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor December 1971 (3).  On a bill that included Stevie Wonder, Phil Ochs, Bob Seger, Archie Shepp, Joy of Cooking, David Peel, Teagarden and VanWinkle, the Up, and John Lennon (yes, the Beatle), they stole the show before the 17,000 assembled.  Here’s their performance, ripped from “Ten for Two” the documentary of the event bankrolled by John and Yoko (she was there, too).  The set includes their big hit plus the saddest song ever written.  Fortunately, the boys move right into “There’s a riot going on”, so you barely have time to put away the razor blades and the barbituates.

As the Commander and his boys sung many times “Don’t let go” (4).

References

1.         Ike B.  Lost in the Ozone…Again!  The Commander, his Boys, and Me.  50 years and Counting.  Amazon (Kindle) 2021.  Available at https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Ozone-Again-Commander-counting-ebook/dp/B096KY4Z4D/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Bob+Ike&qid=1624277207&sr=8-3

2.         Ike B.  Two triple cheese….  WordPress.com 4/17/21 https://theviewfromharbal.com/2021/04/17/two-triple-cheese/

3.         Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.  John Sinclair Freedom Rally performance.  (from Ten for Two, premiered 4/1/72.  Produced by John Lennon and Yoko Ono).  Posted to YouTube by RW Ike 3/3/21. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ21BHiSlJ4

4.     Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.  Don’t Let Go (embellished by the Commander’s videography).  YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZs0NuhOuUs

one toke

It’s been established that smoking wards off coronavirus (1 ,2), although that fact has not been widely promulgated.  Could you be protecting yourself even better if you were smoking dope?  I apologize if this is old news.  Two days old to me, which is when my dear friend and high school classmate in Houston sent me this news item about a finding out of Oregon State University (3).

In a diligent collaboration between researchers at the “Global Hemp Innovation Center” and the “Linus Pauling Institute” (who can beat that combo?!), came this discovery.  It’s well known that cannabis sativa contains a myriad of biologically active molecules.  Thanks for the THC, but there’s way more.  The class known as the cannabinoids must be important, as our brains and other cells have receptors for them.

What these folks ended up with was really a beautiful piece of work.  They stated a bit of their driving philosophy in the intro: “Natural products are the most successful sources of drugs and drug leads in the history of pharmacology.  Although combinatorial chemistry receives more emphasis for lead discovery by the pharmaceutical industry, nature continue to be a source of unique structural diversity for new drug discovery.”  So true.

Their search benefited from prior investigations that defined the battleground.  Infection by coronavirus begins by the attachment of the virus through the receptor binding domain (RBD) for the S1 subunit of the spike protein (residues 331-524) to the host receptor ACE2 on the outer membrane of cells, not just in lungs, but on arteries, heart, kidneys, and intestines.  Yes, they really do know this stuff down to the last molecule.

So, anything that gets in the way of this interaction would be a good thing.  It’s what those experimental mRNAs try to coax out in the form of antibodies to the spike, which get ever more ineffective as the spike continues to mutate beyond the original SARS-CoV-2 strain that provided the RNA..

So what these Beavers (Oregon State’s mascot) did was take a shotgun approach.  Thinking there must be something in this weed that would work, they employed a method called MagMASS in which they basically put the S1 component of spike protein on a bead and ran through stuff to see what would stick.  Many things did not, including THC, but 2 cannabinoids bound quite tightly: CBGA (cannabigerolic acid: tetrahydocannbinolic acid, THCA-A) and CBDA (cannibidiolic acid).  After that “aha” moment, the investigators showed the structural similarity of these compounds to the spike protein binding site, showed that these compounds blocked entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cultured cells, and showed this same blockage to variants B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta).

There are several pretty pictures in their paper.  I like this one which show how the cannabinoids bind snugly to the spike protein. Take that, Mr. Corona!

So what happens next?  Can stoners waive this paper at the COVID nazis demanding to see their vaxx passport?  At the very least, such preparation might make such oppression feel a little more tolerable.  Hey, what have you got to eat?  But seriously folks, there is more work to do.  What concentration of CBDA and CBGA needs to be attained at the alveolus to achieve relevant blocking?  How does that compare to the levels attained by smoking a regular joint?  Such data are attainable although I could only find the means, not the end (5).  Fortunately, CBDA is the most abundant cannabinoid in hemp (6). Concentrations of both CBDA and CBGA vary from strain to strain (7). One could see a route by which the OSU researchers patent the compounds, or at least the delivery system, and leave us with some sort of inhaler, costing God knows how much. A combo product with tobacco has some appeal, with perhaps some synergy between the anti-COVID compounds from each leaf. Not to be too blunt (8). With tinkering with marijuana’s genes a reality, and continuing to advance (9), producing a strain that makes only CBDA and CBGA should be feasible. Coronavirus protection without the buzz. Where’s the fun in that?

And time for our epidemiologist buddies to kick into gear!  There are now 28 states where marijuana use is either fully legal or significantly decriminalized.  How are those states doing with their COVID compared the other backward knuckle draggers?

While we wait for the data to roll in, seems to be a way forth https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNKL9onYB_8

You always knew it was good for you.

References

1.         Ike B.  Smokin’ corona.  WordPress. 2020 March 18. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/03/18/smokin-corona/

2.         Ike B.  smoke ‘em if you got ‘em?  WordPress. 2020 April 23. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/04/23/smoke-em-if-you-got-em/

3.         News staff.  OSU study: Compounds in hemp block COVID-19 from entering human cells.  KVAL 13. January 11, 2022.   https://kval.com/news/local/osu-study-compounds-in-hemp-could-block-covid-19-from-entering-human-cells?fbclid=IwAR2i9prcOU0Bl3mMv_lvvSYMFseh2_ar8puP4AV01UzW3-ofCkGK6Xe6gNE

4.         van Breemen RB, Muchiri RN, Bates TA, Weinstein JB, Leier HC, Farley S, Tafesse FG. Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants. J Nat Prod. 2022 Jan 10. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35007072. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946

5.         Fundación canna.  Quantification of the concentration of THC, CBD, CHG, THCA, CBDA, CBGA, THC total, CBDTotal, CBGTotal in HPLC. https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/quantification-concentration-thc

6. Formato M, Crescente G, Scognamiglio M, Fiorentino A, Pecoraro MT, Piccolella S, Catauro M, Pacifico S. (‒)-Cannabidiolic Acid, a Still Overlooked Bioactive Compound: An Introductory Review and Preliminary Research. Molecules. 2020 Jun 5;25(11):2638. doi: 10.3390/molecules25112638. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7321064/

7. Coogan, T.A. Analysis of the cannabinoid content of strains available in the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program. J Cannabis Res 111 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-019-0011-z

8. Hitt C. The tightly-rolled history of the blunt. Thrillist. 2020 August 21. https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/what-is-a-blunt-history-origins-timeline

9. Long A. Genetic editing offers marijuana and hemp companies a way to improve plant strains. MJBizDaily. 2021 February 23 (updated 2021 December 17). https://mjbizdaily.com/genetic-editing-offers-marijuana-and-hemp-companies-a-way-to-improve-plant-strains/

songs

A movement needs some good songs. We – all of us skeptical about what our betters are telling us to do about this little virus – are starting to get some.

Check out the latest, out of Canada, where they have it way worse than we do, even with the “free health care”. Matt Bevner is a contemporary Christian music artist. But this message is secular https://youtu.be/_qrSbTIA2Lw.

I’m glad some young folks are stepping up. Till now, the strongest songs were from my generation’s septagenarian guitar god Eric, this his most recent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNt4NIQ7FTA.

And this his first one, with a little help from Van Morrison, protesting the lockdowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DirL4RI1448

Way back when this first started, I thought we needed to have a fun song to keep our spirits light as we fought this thing together (beware, much virology follows the song nonsense) https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/03/14/my-corona/.

It stopped being a laughing matter long ago, but our spirits can still use a boost. Thanks to Messrs Bevner, Clapton, and Morrison for their contributions to that effort. Lets hope we hear some more.

Off with the masks!

My wife and I have decided the masks are forever off.  Should anyone question us on our decision, our response will be “we’re just not doing that bullshit anymore”.  Sure, there might be some situations when donning a mask is a social grace, like entering the UPS store or teaching a class, when a fight is just not worth it.  But mainly, we’re done.  There was no reason to expect that masks, with their 300 nm pore size, would stop the 100 nm coronavirus. Even back in 1918, at the time of the Spanish Flu epidemic, studies concluded that mask use did not impede transmission of the virus.  St. Anthony’s back and forth last winter should have been a clue that masks had their power as symbolism rather than prevention.  Have you ever seen the Haz-mat suits that people who study viruses actually wear?  The latest ramp up that the more expensive N95 should prevail over Omecron points even stronger at the nonsense of the whole dictate.  N95 masks let pass but 5% of particles 100 nm or smaller.  So did Omecron shrink in all of its mutations?  If not, why is this shield now preferred for a virus with far less virulence?  I’ve taken to tack a strip saying “N96” onto my cloth mask, indicating its evident superiority.  If “11” was good for Spinal Tap.  Time to pass all the damned masks into a big bonfire.  Better get an EPA impact statement.

the end

The best thing about 2022, besides it not being 2021, is that Mr. Corona in his current Omicron configuration, will sweep over us, leaving us at last mostly immune to further coronavirus.  Ditch the mask, give your friend a hug, and enjoy the concert.

It came to me there’s a way to make this happen faster.  As I’m not really that smart, have no academic standing any more, and zero political connections, I’ll bet there are others who’ve had the same idea and can make it happen.

In the theme of “everything old is new again”, let’s return to the turn of the 19th century, London.  Smallpox was a scourge, a disgusting disease that disfigured the victims with blisters and open sores before sometimes killing them, about 3 in 10.  Survivors retained their scars.  The disease lingered into the 20th century in parts of the world, which is why we have pictures like this

Enter Edward Jenner. 

A prodigy who apprenticed himself to a surgeon at age 13 and there first heard the tale of a milkmaid who’d contracted cowpox and considered herself protected from smallpox, he took a while to make something of this lesson.  We know now both cowpox and smallpox are caused by closely related viruses of the variola family.  Throughout the 18th century, inoculation of swabs from cowpox sores to healthy people in order to ward off smallpox, called variolization, had been practiced in various parts of Europe and even in the Royal Court (1).  But Dr. Jenner was the first to do a proper study and write it up, so he gets credit (2).  If you click to the source, you can see he prefaces his report with a letter to the King. Beating smallpox was a big deal.

All of jolly old was ecstatic at Jenner’s discovery.

Gillray, James, 1756-1815, The cow-pock, or, The wonderful effects of the new inoculation! [print] : vide – the publications of ye Anti-Vaccine Society, [London] : Pubd June 12th 1802, by H. Humphrey St James’s Street, [1802], 1986.319, (imaged on display in Gilray and the Art of Satire exhibit, Fall 2019)

Smallpox has been eradicated, with the last case in the world reported in 1977.

Jenner is rightly revered to this day.  He’s considered the father of immunology.  So as a rheumatologist, he’s one of my patron saints.

So right under our nose is the final solution to COVID, in a manner Jenner would heartily approve.  Omicron is probably a little closer to 2019-nCoVBetaCoV/Wuhan/WIVo4/201 than cowpox virus is to smallpox virus, but it exerts the same effect.  Viruses are basically dead without a living host, but they all can be propagated in tissue culture, and Omicron is no exception (3).  Such culture systems can be ramped up to industrial levels.  Aliquots of virus could be produced for much less than the billions we dumped on Pfizer, Moderna, and J & J,  although Fauci wouldn’t get a cut out of this one. Final product, little spray vials everyone could shoot up their noses, thereby getting their own little case of Omicron and getting it the hell over with.

Even easier.  Pretend life is normal now.  It actually is, dontcha know. To paraphrase John Lennon “COVID is over, if you want it”.

Happy New Year

References

1.         Riedel S. Edward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2005;18(1):21-25. doi:10.1080/08998280.2005.11928028.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1200696/

2. Jenner E.  An inquiry into the causes and effects of the variolae vaccinae: a disease discovered in some of the western counties of England, particularly Gloucestershire, and known by the name of the cow pox.  London: Ashely & Brewer, 1802.  https://collections.nlm.nih.gov/catalog/nlm:nlmuid-2559001R-bk

3.         Zhao H, Lu L, Peng Z, Chen LL, Meng X, Zhang C, Ip JD, Chan WM, Chu AW, Chan KH, Jin DY, Chen H, Yuen KY, To KK. SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant shows less efficient replication and fusion activity when compared with delta variant in TMPRSS2-expressed cells. Emerg Microbes Infect. 2021 Dec 24:1-18. doi: 10.1080/22221751.2021.2023329. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34951565. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34951565/

Hogmanay!

You think we Yanks do a New Year’s blow out, check out what the Scots do!  They’ve been celebrating Hogmanay this time of year since Mary Queen of Scots returned from Paris in 1561 (1).  The church forbid public celebrations of Christmas, as it was seen as an appropriated pagan tradition which discounted the sanctity of Christ’s birth.  Living in a temperate climate with latitudes similar to ours, the urge for a solstice-time celebration was primal, as the pagans well knew.  So what’s close?  The New Year!  And since one night is not enough the Scots were set to go this year from Wednesday till tomorrow.  What happens?  General carousing.  Public festivals hearken back to Viking times.  Natives do a lot of visiting.  And drinking.  The first person to step into your house on the1st is given special status.  Drunken Scotsmen in kilts toss fireballs into the bay.  Fire is a big part of the celebration.  Dark times.  Gotta encourage the light.

All that was to have been ours.  Shortly after reading about this celebration last year, we booked passage and a cottage on the water in Edinburgh.  A month or so ago we checked out regulations about you know what.  Unvaxxed, we thought we were screwed.  Not so, we were welcome but would have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.  With only 9 days booked, we saw problems.  Fortunately, the nice lady at the cottage company pushed our booking to same time next year, so we may still get to do this, God willing. We just learned today that the Scots were cancelling the whole thing this year because COVID. Damned shame. Where are those drunken Scots in kilts going to throw their burning trees? I’m sure the drinking will continue.

Meanwhile, how do you celebrate Hogmanay at home?  We’re confining our fire celebration to the fireplace, but there’s plenty of that.  And there’s the food.  It’s been said that all of Scottish cuisine is based on a dare (2).  But last year, I learned how to make a few choice snacks.  We haven’t sought a sheep’s stomach to fill with oatmeal, etc., but neeps’n’tatties and kirlie are pretty tasty.  This year I’m taking on meat and ale pie, daring to alter the on-line recipe by substituting lamb for beef.  As I write this, it’s still cooking and hasn’t been finished with a crust over each mini-serving.  I expect it will be fabulous.  We’ll finish it up right before the bowl game starts.  We hope our Wolverines throw a fireball at the Bulldogs and continue their relentless pissed off pursuit of victory.  We’ve got the champagne chilling.  Go Blue!  Brandon too!

Oh, if you want to try that meat pie:

References

1.         Hogmanay & New Year in Scotland.  https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/events/christmas-winter-festivals/hogmanay/

2.         Mike Myers.  Haggis.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CloGus131G0

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