Still Here

Battling the forces of evil. Some poetry for a Friday morning. Pardon the religious overtones, it’s still a beautiful poem. If it helps, it is about a saint, so those are inevitable.
A warrior saint.




Deu-me Deus o seu gladio, por que eu faça

A sua santa guerra.

Sagrou-me seu em honra e em desgraça,

As horas em que um frio vento passa

Por sobre a fria terra.

Pôs-me as mãos sobre os ombros e doirou-me

A fronte com o olhar;

E a esta febre de Além, que me consome,

E este querer grandeza são seu nome

Dentro em mim a vibrar.

E eu vou, e a luz do gladio erguido dá

Em minha face calma.

Cheio de Deus, não temo o que virá,

Pois, venha o que vier, nunca será

Maior do que a minha alma – Fernando Pessoa.

D. Fernando, Infant of Portugal

G-d gave me his gladius, that I make
His Holy War
He anointed me His in honor and disgrace
At the hours in which a cold wind blows
Across the cold Earth
He put His hands on my shoulders And gilded
My brow with His glance;
And this fever for Beyond that consumes me
This striving for greatness
Are His name
Vibrating within me
I go, and the light of the lifted gladius falls
Upon my calm face
Full of G-d I fear not what shall come
For come what might
It will never be
Larger than my soul. – Fernando Pessoa

And since I’m in a poem mood, I tried and failed to find my copy of my one book of Reiner Kunze’s poem, so this is just a vague allusion to his poem for which he should not be blamed. Though it was a favorite and I memorized it at one point, it is a 30-year old poem in German.  Take it as such. The clumsiness is mine.
I couldn’t find a copy on line. Somehow it has gotten confused with another poem and that’s what Good Reads lists the title as for a poem that’s actually Abundance From An Empty Creel.


For any brilliance in this, credit Kunze. For any clumsiness, blame me and my memory which I’m sure misremembers and mistranslates things. But what I remember is this:

Things of Clay

We wanted to be like things of clay
Going to the tables of humble people
Working for those who
At five in the morning
Drink coffee in the kitchen.

We shall be as the shards
Of things of clay
Never again whole
But perhaps
A glimmer in the wind.angel-3051233_1280

215 thoughts on “Still Here

  1. Well, I hope that I’m “still here” Monday Evening.


    I’m scheduled for Cataract Surgery on my Right Eye Monday morning. Got to be at the Surgery Center by 8:45 am.

    Should be safe going. Although I laughed when the Surgery Center lady told me this morning that it’ll be the “easiest thing that I’ve ever done”. She changed it to the “easiest surgery that I’ve ever had done”. 😆

    1. You’ll do great.

      Mom is super happy with the result when she had the surgery, for each eye. She went from dang near blind without her glasses, since about age 5, to having glasses required removed from her driver’s license.

    2. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

      Wife had hers done and was shocked at how much color had been getting subtracted by the cataracts. “Were my jeans always this blue?

      Only issue was on the second: There she was prepped and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, Ophthalmologist comes by; What’s the holdup doc? The day before had been a holiday, so surgicenter receiving had been off, so when UPS tried to deliver the lens implant there was nobody there to receive it. Frantic phone calls to UPS, the UPS driver changed his entire delivery route to zoom up and deliver wife’s implant first, and it came in the door just as the doc was getting set to cancel and reschedule.

      Other than that no issues at all.

        1. My experiences with the two major delivery companies – UPS and FedEx – are that FedEx excels at delivering to specific locations in urban office developments. You say your office is in the third sub-basement, tucked in behind the furnace? FedEx will find you. OTOH, they don’t do that well outside of urban buildup. I spent much of a frustrating summer trying to get various companies were were dealing with to understand that sending us something FedEx Newt Day would actually take longer than UPS Ground, because the FedEx drivers apparently could not find us top save their lives. We were out in the country, and I think FedEx drivers think that Werewolves roam the countryside. . .

          1. Yeah, UPS was delivering outside the city limits back when our address was a route number and a box number. FedEx seems to be doing better now that “911” addresses (house numbers) are being used.

          2. The UPS driver Pa dealt with found the place in the country just fine – and would, once in a while, spot Pa in town and transfer a parcel and be done. That was a couple decades back, so… things might have changed.

    3. Got the t-shirts. You should be really happy with the results. Of multiple eye procedures, cataract surgery ranks as “not bad at all”.

      Best wishes for you.


    4. Adding a prayer for all to go well. However – should you be trying to read from a screen right after that work? (Honest question – I’m not quite at that point yet with my eyes, and the last person I knew who had it done and talked about the post-op restrictions was sometime back in the 90s.)

      1. My procedures were in 2012, but as I recall, the post-op eye was protected by gauze and a shield the first day or so. I think I wore the shield at bedtime for a week or two, though I might have that conflated with the somewhat more invasive retina procedure postop stuff. Lots of eyedrops for a week or two. (In my case, a steroid, antibiotic, and a dilator.)

        The main issue is that your prescription can be rather different from pre-op. I’m pretty myopic, and we set the left eye for closeup and the right eye for distance. That got munged when I had to get my corneas buffed and polished–pretty myopic in both eyes.

        FWIW, I had the second eye done two weeks after the first. Recovery was good enough to get by, though it might have been a month after the second that I got new glasses.

        Part of postop will entail a pressure check. Some people are steroid sensitive, and after X amount of time, the intraocular pressure spikes to unacceptable levels. OTOH, it took a couple months to show up for me; much longer than I used steroids for cataract.

        1. My right eye will be done Monday with my left eye to be done on Feb 24th.

          Once it’s finished, they’re talking that I’ll only need reading glasses.

          1. That would be great!

            You might eventually need to have the membrane behind the lens cleaned up, but that’s a minor office procedure with a YAG laser. You do get the unnerving feeling of being the target in a FPS game, though.

            Doing them both right away is good.

    5. FWIW Paul, I’ve had both done and great results. I chose the “basic” lenses and not the newer bi-focal variety. For a year plus after the second procedure, I wore only reading glasses and even now I pass the driver’s test without glasses. I did find that wearing a patch over the “new” eye helped with driving and general navigating for the first month or so. YMMV. If you try that, I’d suggest a high quality patch and not something from Walgreens/CVS. The web has lots of options, including the “neoprene” kind I used. The procedure is typically quick. Believe it or not, my first one took 9 minutes. I heard the surgeon call it. LOL. It’s a wonderful procedure. All the drama is pretty much front-loaded, before the operating room, and because the teams specialize, they are usually wonderful. All the v best.

      1. My ophthalmologist told me everyone needs it eventually. Correcting to baseline for prescription and to a large extent astigmatism is built in. I’m hoping for the bionic focus-o-matic implants with built in link to my phone before I need mine done.

        As long as I can block the popup ads, that is.

        1. My ophthalmologist tells me the same thing, although this last year’s visit he backed off on the likely timeline a bit. I not only want the auto-focus I want infra-red and ultraviolet vision as well as death-rays. Why accept inferior replacements in this day and age?

          1. Every time I ask about Lasix, they say “maybe in five more years.” Of course, that is someone having both big astigmatism and big nearsightedness. …..

            So far my corneas seem fine.

    6. I had cataracts for lens replacement early and it the only reason I am fully functional at 82 and still working full time. Otherwise I would have been nearly blind years ago. My grandfather, did not have that option – they removed one lens on one eye and gave him glasses with a huge lens which let him get around. My father also had cataracts, but by that time was able to have lens replacements done and he functioned well until he passed at 94. My surgery was easy, but 6 months apart. and the only discomfort was having to put eye drops in for a week.
      You will never believe how blue the sky will look and be thankful for this modern miracle.

    7. Hope you had a good surgery Paul. In my experience it was not unpleasant (as medical procedures go 🙂 )
      but it was weird. Because they need you awake to cooperate in some parts its local only with a relaxing drug.
      The oddest part was when the natural lens was gone but the replacement isn’t in place yet. the visual effect for me was VERY weird lots of moving and colorful lights. I told the ophthalmologist that it looked like the scene traveling through the space tunnel at the end of 2001. That made her and the attending nurses laugh. Apparently everyone experiences that differently as the brain tries to process lots of random light falling unfocused on the retina.
      Follow the follow directions assiduously and all will be good. As I said the world is going to look VERY different as you’ll see color and detail you probably haven’t seen for 20+ years. Think of it as being a .01% cyborg 🙂

      1. Unfortunately, the Doc said that he couldn’t give me the “eye blast” lenses. 😆

        1. Indeed my Doctor also declined as she felt the ruby lenses to constrain it would not be covered my my medical insurance :-).

  2. Sarah,

    Speaking of you battling the forces of evil, I’ve been meaning to ask: how did trying to write while sick work out? Did anything useful come of it?

    1. Yes. I figured a way around something that had been bothering me about current work. Miniscule work, but if I didn’t work while sick, sad or heartbroken, I’d never work.

      1. If I may ask, what was the problem and the workaround? Might be useful to know next time I’m sick.

  3. In other news we now have some leaked number that are *far* closer to being in line with the Chinese government’s actions than the official numbers:

    154k confirmed cases, nearly 80k suspected, nearly 25k dead.

    China is in deep trouble. A pity that so many people will have to die for The Party to get their comeuppance.

    1. Even assuming every one of those 80k suspected are actually sick, plugging that into a calculator gives a lethality rate of over 10.5%. Holy FUCK.

      1. Okay, slight error in that I forgot to count the 25k already dead as among the infected. So that brings the death rate down to just over 9.5%.

        …Yeah, I’m going to stick with my first assessment: Holy FUCK. If these leaked numbers are anywhere close to being accurate, that’s horrifying.

        1. Rumor is that unless the victim has been explicitly diagnosed with the virus, the statisticians are giving the victim a different cause of death. That shouldn’t affect the mortality rate (since these victoms aren’t included in the infected category, either). But it hints at an even higher death toll and infection rate.

          Hopefully the cases in quarantine in other countries can give researchers a better idea of what this thing is.

          One side worry for me is the rumors that this thing seems to be particularly virulent toward asian males. If that’s true, it could trigger paranoid conspiracy theorizing about a foreign attack on China.

          1. Interesting science rattling around about the infection path into lung tissue via ACE2 expression: Apparently there’s been conflicting studies about whether asian men have higher ACE2 expression than others – a very small n study said they do, but a larger n study said they found no statistically significant difference in ACE2 due to race. But that second study did find a very strong correlation between higher ACE2 and being a smoker.

            And lots of people are smokers in China.

            1. Is it specifically being a smoker, or breathing heavy pollution, including cigarette smoke?

              Also phrased as: have you seen the true (as opposed to official) pollution indices in Chinese cities?

              1. Would that not affect Asian FEMALES as well? Or do the women not smoke as much as the males?

                1. It wouldn’t surprise me if the women don’t smoke as much. For a long time, smoking in the West was seen as more of a male thing. It’s possible that this attitude existed in China as well. And China is a much more sexist society than the US.

                    1. I thought we were talking about possible reality, not hysterical nonsense.

                      The Anti-Smoking Crusade went off the rails badly sometime in the 1980’s. As near as I can tell it had something to do with two factors;

                      1) the percentage of smokers in the population had dropped after the ‘64 Surgeon General’s report…and then the drop slowed. The Crusaders simply Could Not Tolerate the stupid people not doing as their Betters told them.

                      2) in the late ‘70’s studies were done that seemed to demonstrate that the methodology of lab-rat cancer studies was deeply flawed. See, the rats used are bred to get cancer. The typical study paints their skin with whatever is being tested, and the NUMBER or tumors is compared to the control group. Some wisenheimer noticed that the number from almost all experimental groups looked awfully similar. So he tried duplicating the test procedure with distilled water. And got heightened rates of tumor development. It seems that being messed about, shaved, and painted with just about anything stimulates tumor growth in these rats.


                      So a lot of the scientific basis for calling things carcinogenic was shaken.

                      Since the ‘80’s the Crusade has put out a lot of bushwa. A lot of the death statistic, when traced back, about to “this person died of something we know is smoking related, so smoking killed them” even if they were a nonsmoking nun who live for the last sixty years of her life in seclusion.

                      I don’t doubt that smoking two packs a day for twenty years can and does cause all kinds of ills. But the idea that secondhand smoke is anything other than an annoyance evaporates when you look into it.

                    2. I’m almost in the mood that if somebody complains about second-hand smoke around me while I’m smoking outside that I’d blow pipe smoke into their face.

                      Almost. 😉

                    3. I’d agree, with one caveat: if you live with a smoker who smokes heavily indoors, then for you, second-hand smoke can be an actual health risk. We know that breathing air with heavier-than-normal concentrations of particulate matter (e.g., living in most Chinese cities) long-term doesn’t do your lungs any favors. The risk might be a higher chance of pneumonia rather than a higher chance of cancer, but living long-term in the same house as a heavy smoker is going to have a negative effect on your lungs.

                      Okay, two caveats: some people are hypersensitive to smoke, and also need to stay further away from smokers than most would.

                      Apart from those two scenarios, though, the second-hand smoke thing was indeed really overblown.

                    4. “some people are hypersensitive to smoke, and also need to stay further away from smokers than most would.”

                      I can’t walk into a hallway, where a room that has had someone smoking, with the door closed, let alone the room itself. Maybe if the room in question is a huge ballroom & they had been smoking at the far end, maybe. Outside, if the wind isn’t blowing toward me, maybe. Clothing on a smoker or even those *close to them*, is also a problem. I will have a migraine. I’ve been in situations where I couldn’t avoid being where smoke isn’t even there, but obviously someone has smoked. Sometimes it is just the person has obvious residue on their clothing. Which means in social situations where someone (to me) reeks of cigarette smoke, I am getting a migraine. It. Will. Happen.

                      *close to them* – for those of us with this chemical sensitivity, if smokers don’t think the residual smell doesn’t transfer to the people they are close to, their kids, their spouses, even if they don’t smoke in their presence or indoors, they are wrong.

                      FWIW. I have a mild sensitivity compared to others.

                  1. My comment with cites to the two papers is stuck in mod because OMG two urls; WP delenda est.

                2. First study found the one asian male had more ACE2; second study didn’t find any difference in ACE2 by gender.

                  Always best to go to primary sources – note neither of these are yet peer reviewed:

                  The first low n study (only 8 patients) that identified the asian male in the study group as having more ACE2 is at:

                  Here based on the public database and the state-of-the-art single-cell RNA-Seq technique, we analyzed the ACE2 RNA expression profile in the normal human lungs. The result indicates that the ACE2 virus receptor expression is concentrated in a small population of type II alveolar cells (AT2). Surprisingly, we found that this population of ACE2-expressing AT2 also highly expressed many other genes that positively regulating viral reproduction and transmission. A comparison between eight individual samples demonstrated that the Asian male one has an extremely large number of ACE2-expressing cells in the lung.

                  The second study (n=99) is at

                  In this study, we analyzed four large-scale datasets of normal lung tissue to investigate the disparities related to race, age, gender and smoking status in ACE2 gene expression. No significant disparities in ACE2 gene expression were found between racial groups (Asian vs Caucasian), age groups (>60 vs <60) or gender groups (male vs female). However, we observed significantly higher ACE2 gene expression in smoker samples compared to non-smoker samples. This indicates the smokers may be more susceptible to 2019-nCov and thus smoking history should be considered in identifying susceptible population and standardizing treatment regimen.

                  My first question on seeing this was to current vs. prior smoking history, and someone asked the same thing on the prepublication site, with the papers author responding:

                  We currently have no clue on the causality. We are looking at the ACE2 expression in populations with different smoking histories and will publish the results soon.

                  1. So the ‘Asians are more susceptible’ thing is because a study found that the lone Asian male in a group of 8 people had the ACE2 stuff?



                    Get a bigger sample size, morons!

                    1. It’s valid science as long as you actually look at the science and see that n=8 bit.

                      But if you are a reporter or an idiot…but I repeat myself…

              2. Dorothy I suspect the answer to both of your questions is Yes. Pollution in the Chinese urban areas exceeds even what places like NYC and LA saw at their peaks in 50’s and 60’s. Probably rivals what early 20th century London had with all the bituminous coal usage for heating. And smoking hasn’t bottomed out in China like it did in the US (at least among middle and upper classes). Again they look more like 50’s/60’s US with smoking being the standard. So IF that ACE 2 pathway matters it may mean the corona virus will be more lethal in Chinese populations than in US/Canada. Europe still has pretty heavy smoking (last I saw though that was 15 + hears ago) so maybe a wash there.

          2. Other reports are that when the hospital runs out of the relevant supplies, they’re sending incoming patients back home, to die (or not) of unspecified causes. One of the anons took a look at realtime emissions over Wuhan, and compared it to what a crematorium would put out; the numbers seem to match the unofficial (ie, much higher) values.

            The hospital setup that TPTB were lauding didn’t look like it was set up for intensive treatment, rather none at all. No IV stands, no place to put supplies or equipment, just beds. Lots of beds.

              1. I looked for it, but couldn’t find it. I’ve seen coronavirus pics and updates in too many places, and looking for the pic at the usual suspects didn’t pan out. The crematorium post was reposted from /pol/ some days ago. That feed is pretty high traffic, and is designed not to be searchable (IMHO, for good reasons).

                FWIW, the 10 day hospital pictures are currently of a boatload of excavators digging footings. Didn’t see any shots of the interior, if they’ve gotten that far.

          3. That would make it more likely that it was the Chinese themselves. They have a major problem of too many males vs females resulting from their “one child” idiocy. This is just the thing that a bunch of communist scum would think is an acceptable fix.

            1. We won’t even discuss the Uighur situation. I expect the mortality rate in those camps to push 100%.

              China has a large number of people in several places that they need to dispose of in ways that won’t horrify the rest of the world. Better to be looked at as incompetent than as genocidal.

              Oh, and to address Sara’s point about Africa, that’s another area with an inconvenient population getting in the way of a Chinese exploitation.

        2. Note, China is China. It won’t play that way anywhere else. BUT just China coming unstuck….
          And I’m hearing vibrations on the ground, not even whispers, that this is already in Africa and as lethal.

          1. Sheesh. Why do I suddenly feel an intense urge to re-read John Ringo’s The Centurion?

            OTOH, we may have dodged a bullet, given that Trump won, and not Hillary. We might have some trouble with crony-capitalist subcontractors doing substandard work on vaccine production or distribution, but not the maniacal idiocy of the fictional Ms. President of that novel.

              1. I have this sudden sneaking urge to email our Illustrious hostess links to the Sunday promo post to The last Centuurion by Ringo and Niven & Pournelle & Flynn’s Fallen Angels.

                As timely reading for all Huns and Hoydens…

                1. Co-authored with Kacey Ezell and Christopher L. Smith, the first volume of a new series came out in January. The volume is called Gunpowder & Embers. The series is called Last Judgement’s Fire. It’s alien invasion aftermath. It’s available in kindle (9.99) and hardcover (22.99).

                  1. Added to my shopping list, although it’s more probable I’ll borrow it when our library gets a copy, money being scant of late.

                    I really wish he’d get back to the Legacy of the Aldenata series. The last volume ended on one crazy heck of a cliffhanger, and I’ve been waiting for the last eight years to find out what happens next.

          2. Data point:

            China’s culture of lies has helped spread coronavirus
            … How many people in China have fallen victim to the coronavirus to date? One hint comes from how busy Wuhan’s 14 crematoriums have suddenly become.

            One crematorium manager told a Hong Kong reporter that, in normal times, his 24 ovens were lit five days a week for four hours at a time. Now, he said, they have so many corpses to deal with that all the ovens are going around the clock. This suggests the body count must be in the thousands.

        3. BTW, I got 12.5 percent from 25/200 since 25+80+154 is about 200 (all in units of thousands).

          Or did I invert the numbers?

          1. Nope, just tried to do math in my head. Sorry. Never mind. (When I actually used a calculator for all of it, it turns out that 159+80+25=264.)

            And yeah, yikes. Last years flu was, what 3.5 percent lethal and was accounted “bad.”

            1. This year, so far, in flu season in the USA: “The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 12,000 deaths, 22 million illnesses and 210,000 hospitalizations from flu” (TV station website).

              Umm, y’all double-check me here: 0.012/22 (counts decimal places; 12K=.012M);
              That can’t be right, can it, because I get: 0.000545 or 0.05% mortality? Did I mis-remember how bad last year’s flu was or are these numbers too preliminary?

              1. OK, my brain made that 3.5% number up; should have known I didn’t know that many people who have died from the flu last year. It was 1/10 of one percent or 0.1%. That’s from ~35,000 fatalities out of 35 million illnesses. See Note that flu deaths are not reportable; the CDC infers them from pneumonia and other deaths. So, last year’s flu was five times worse than this years, apparently.

                Oh, on the subject of righteous warfare, fair warning: the Prince will make peace with you if you will, but the King ain’t taking prisoners.

          2. 25+80+154 is 259, so your divisor is much lower than it should be. 25/259 gives about .0965, which I was rounding down to .095. If you go the other way with the 80k suspected and assume they’re all clean then that’s 25/179, or about .1396. So back-of-the-envelope math says lethality is anywhere from 9.5% to 14%. And that’s just from the disease itself; I can only guess at secondary consequences like panic and economic collapse.

            Needless to say, I really hope Ian’s numbers are wrong.

            1. Remember, the total deaths attributed to this thing are only going to count *diagnosed* deaths, and not suspected deaths from it. As a result, I’m not sure that you should include the 80K suspected infections.

            2. Remember that such numbers are “of people who are symptomatic and reported”. Many, perhaps most infected will have few to no symptoms (with flu, asymptomatic is estimated as high as 70%) or will not be sick enough to report. (This is why quarantine of just the obviously-ill won’t really work. Closing the ports is better.) The main reason this novel virus is a problem IS because it’s novel to humans, so NO ONE has immunity. So it’s not that it’s particularly more lethal; it’s that everyone gets it at once, thus you get all the initial severe cases at once instead of in seasonal drips and drabs. Even if there’s low mortality, that’s enough to overwhelm every medical facility. Eventually, we will all be exposed and develop immunity (coronaviruses are everywhere, and cause some types of common cold). But it’s better if this is achieved slowly, not everyone at once, if only so we can keep up. Hopefully by the time it becomes world-pandemic, we’ll have a decent vaccine.

              1. As our hostess notes elsewhere in the comments here (and she’s not the only person I’ve seen mention this), there’s something weird going on. The regular (get it and get immunity from further instances of it) thing doesn’t seem to be happening. Or it’s mutating rapidly enough that the people are literally catching a mutated version of it just after getting over an earlier form of it.

                So “develop immunity” might not be as easy and clear-cut as it usually is.

        1. Whose numbers can you trust? WHO? CDC? There was an interesting piece on Insty about issues with Kong Flu in Hong Kong.

          1. yeah. And when we were looking at how many Japanese on the cruiseship were infected…. well, despite the confined to cabins thing, the infections are up to 60. Which denotes the fact that they were already infected, the incubation period is just LONG.

      2. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was about 10%
        SARS ran about 4 to 6% mortality rate.
        Most of what I’ve read to date on the coronavirus is it’s running about 2%
        But since most of the cases and reported deaths are in mainland China, any of those figures could be suspect.

        1. The article linked above points out a good reason to be suspicious of the official death tallies, even if you’re skeptical about the higher totals the article is written about.

          Namely, the official fatality rate has been exactly the same with every day’s with ZERO fluctuation, aside from the day it dropped by a percentage point (and hasn’t since changed from the lower rate).

    2. Ugh. Sadly, I am not surprised. I haven’t trusted anything coming out of official Chinese channels since the whitewashing of Tiannenmen Square.

        1. I won’t be surprised if this came out as Ringo the soothsayer foresaw, at least regarding China.

      1. Oh I am. It is probably worse than that. Fortunately (for us) this thing seems to really like eating Chinese and not everyone else.

        Even if it is only as bad as the linked numbers there is no way China can control it at this point.

        1. >> “Fortunately (for us) this thing seems to really like eating Chinese and not everyone else.”

          I’m not sure who to hate more right now: myself for immediately thinking of a tasteless joke about Chinese food leaving you hungry again in an hour or you for inspiring it.

        2. RE: Preferring Chinese

          Keep in mind that this thing seems to have a lengthy incubation period, and its contagious during that period…

          1. Based on the timing we should know in the next week or two if we have a problem over here.

            Fortunately the data up till now has been promising.

          2. I suppose I should add my point, which is that it’s entirely possible that there are already sizable infected groups outside of China that we don’t know about because the virus is still incubating.

          3. What I said below. Plus what I’m hearing from people in health care is that it doesn’t QUIT. It keeps coming back. On the same, already-weakened people.
            Guys, you know, if it does come here, I’m high risk. I catch pneumonia at the drop of a hat. As do both boys. As does mom. It’s apparently a defective gene of Iberian Sephardic Jews. So much cousin marriage!
            Anyway — I have a post to go up, should…. it go South. You’ll know.

            1. Time to start stockpiling food in case you suddenly have to stay home (and away from the infected) for a prolonged period of time.

              1. Suggest a box or two of Pedialyte might be appropriate to set aside – both you-mix-it powder and bottles are still in stock at Amazon, though bottles seem preferable for easy access when ill.

                1. When Beloved Spouse was recovering from intestinal blockage and abominable cancer we found Target;s store brand of Pedialyte quite effective AND doctor recommended. So if you’re experiencing trouble holding food in at one end or the other Pedialyte equivalent can be very useful.

                2. Not Gatorade? It supposedly has electrolytes and sugar to help rehydration. My issue is that there few decongestants that I can safely take. We’ve got water and other stuff.

            2. Sarah, take a road trip to Texas, walk into the first Walgreen’s past the border, and get the pneumonia vaccine.

            3. you’d suddenly find a great number of people willing to sit by your bedside and care for you…

          1. There have been scattered cases of coronavirus reported in the US. There even one in College Station.

              1. Get hit several times by the same bug? Yeesh! (I’m gonna dieeeeeee!) It’s OK. I’ll take as it comes. Hopefully it won’t be too bad.

                1. I once was sick with a bug that made me all stupid and sluggish, and met my sister before it was full blast. Then it descended into a mere though persistent cough — and I met my sister again, two weeks later. She was sick. And I went back to the stupid and sluggish phase because it had mutated enough.

      2. This. China lies. We know this. Once we see actual independant confirmation, that’s when I’ll look at it with less skepticism.

        1. You are missing that China’s story is 30k confirmed infected and <300 dead.

          Meanwhile leaks from the doctors have been saying 90k infected for a while.

          And our independent confirmation is that the Chinese government is acting like they are in full plague conditions.

          1. I get you. I just have a very high bar to clear before I believe *anything* that comes out of China on first pass. That is to include leaks.

            So far I believe that the Wuhan flu is bad, but until it’s caught and studied in the States or somewhere else I trust, I absolutely would not put it past China to have pulled anything from an excaped bioweapon to overreaction because they *under-reacted* last time to a regular (still deadly to infants/old people) flu that seems to crop up every ten years or so.

            I could be wrong, and am prepared for that. But not trusting the Chinese government, no matter how they are reacting, is going to be my go-to until the whole thing collapses of its own corrupt weight.

            1. There is something else: the smuggled out videos.

              You need a truly bizarre set of circumstances to get both literal bodies in the streets, and to have the numbers be much below this leak.

              1. If diagnosed or suspected people don’t have a place to stay in the hospital, and feel like they can’t go home, you will.see.people sleeping outside in winter and/or dying on the streets. Supportive care is important.

                1. Change people to heros in this comment. It is good to get a reminder, however horrible, that it is the government that is evil, not the people.

    1. Haven’t you heard (from Solar scientists) that the Sun is entering a Solar Grand Minim.
      You know one of those things like in the Middle Ages “The Maunder Minimum” 1645 to 1715, 70 years of low temps.

      Not to long before all those shutdown Coal Plants will be back up and running full bore.
      Climate Change indeed.

      1. Yeah, Instapundit mentioned it in the last couple of days. The fun part will be when the watermelons go from screaming about global warming back to screaming about global cooling (like they used to decades ago), all without missing a beat.

        1. Of course we’re not at war with Eastasia! We’ve always been at war with Eurasia. That part Mr. Orwell got spot on.

        1. Sun doesn’t have to be dead to mess extensively with humanity. Low enough level Sun could turn North Texas into North Dakota. As long as I have food, shelter, heat, power (firewood), meds, money and Steve, I’ll be OK.

  4. Forces of Evil? Lately they’re looking more like the Forces of Derpitude.

    They’re termites, unnoticed gnawing away at the foundations of our liberty while we attempt to build a better future. That’s not evil, that’s mindless destruction by a hive mind.

    1. Sufficiently advanced derpitude is indistinguishable from evil. And this is extremely advanced derpitude.

      1. “Never attribute to evil that which can be adequately explained by derpitude.”

        – Robert J. Hanlon (kinda)

          1. Stupidity, really ignorance, unredeemed by demostrated clarity and truth *is* evil. There is none so blind as he who will not see.

          2. I sense a movie there: The Evil Derp!

            Mindless shambling horrors roused from their mommies’ basements by The Communomicon, a vile compilation of idiocy and wishful thinking, inscribed on the hides of several hapless sheep by the anti-priest Marx. Logic, reason and arithmetic are useless against that insidious screed.

            They don’t eat brains; far worse, they chant passages from The Communomicon until your brains melt down and dribble out of your ears all on their own, and then you join their unclean horde.
            Not everybody should go to college. Some folks, you send ’em to college and you just wind up with an educated idiot.

    2. Termites have a valid role in nature, clearing downed trees. Note sure the same could be said in the political ecosystem for these.

    3. Derpitude is a step on the road when you combine the influence of the forces of evil, and unusually high levels of comfort and security.

      The high levels of comfort and security will go away, eventually. But in the meantime, people will keep being stupid. After all, one of the goals of the forces of evil is to turn everyone else into unreasoning animals.

      And those animals don’t have to be sheep so long as they follow the leader.

      1. Like the woman who’s 4 year old looked to be coming down with the flu, her other 3 young children HAD the flu. The Doctor proscribed Theraflu(not sure) for the whole family. But naturally she didn’t fill the proscription because she was one of those anti-vaxers. She went online to the Anti-Vax site and asked for help with what to do. There were many NATURAL cures suggested. She used some NATURAL Cures. One night not long after one of her children came yelling that something was wrong with the 4 year old. He was non-responsive next to his bed. ASAP took him to the doctor. Doctor told her he had had a seizure because Oxygen was cut off to the brain. A couple days later he died.
        Another Anti-VAX success story. Maybe one day they will learn but I doubt it.

        1. Tamiflu, probably. Which is an anti-viral, not a vaccine.

          Theraflu is some kind of OTC infusion.

          1. Ssshh, everything where someone doesn’t Do What The Doctor Said is now anti-vaxx and no matter how skimpy the details, totally fair game to blame for the death of their child.

              1. Oh, goodie, you’re joining in the attempt to hijack “don’t kill innocents” to force people to do what you think they should, too?

                Funny, with how excitable you are about not trusting other folks’ judgement when it’s about you and yours.

        2. Poked around to find the story– they’d actually just come back from the ER when the four year old collapsed. The kids had high fevers for a week, and one of the others had already had “feveral seizures” which the hospital said was normal. (????)

          Used “natural” treatments to try to break the fevers, yeah, but also went to the hospital– which suggests there’s some tail-covering involved.
          Names and such here:

      1. With all the latest woke-to-dream that defies sanity, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the DSM targeting clear thinking as the next mental health crisis.

        If two genders, innocent until proven guilty, content of character and not color of skin, and *math* is insane, I think I’ll just stay crazy. It’s far more survivable.

  5. Wow, Portuguese infants are well spoken!

    I know, Infante is a title of nobility for the children in the line of succession to the monarch, but on a flat read it struck me as funny.

  6. Funny, but I could understand about half the words and I don’t even speak or write Portuguese. But not enough understanding to actually pick up the jist of the poem without a real translation.

  7. I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
    They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
    I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
    His day is marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    His truth is marching on.

    I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
    “As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal”;
    Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
    Since God is marching on.


    He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
    He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
    Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
    Our God is marching on.


    In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
    With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
    As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
    While God is marching on.



    > I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel

    That line always sends a chill down my spine.

    1. Yes indeed! It’s easy to forget when we are surrounded by pop-culture that the Most High and His angels are scary. Like people who read the first five chapters of Isaiah and recoil in horror. Well, yes, that’s why you avoid doing things that lead to that fate!

      One of my favorite Sacred Harp hymns is “Morning Trumpet,” the version with the military verses. (“But now I am a soldier/ My Captain’s gone before . . .”) That and the third verse of “Be Thou my Vision,” the one most Protestant hymnals have dropped. (“Be Thou my battleshield/ Sword for my Fight . . .”)

      1. I think nearly EVERY time an angel shows up their first first words are to the effect of “Be Not Afraid”. Hints they are down right terrifying. The only exception I can think of is when in the gospel of Luke the Archangel Gabriel shows up to announce to Mary her carrying the Savior. Seems Like Mary was one tough teenager with her head stuck on right if an archangel popping out of nowhere didn’t phase her.

        1. “Don’t freak out.”

          Which is what Marion Harmon had the Archangel Michael tell Hope when he paid her a visit. 😀

          Of course, in the world of Wearing The Cape, there are beings that could “play being an Archangel” and Hope knows it.

          But then, whoever the being was, he didn’t care that Hope didn’t believe he was the Real Archangel Michael and did provide her with some needed help.

          I thought Mr. Harmon did a good job with “Michael”. 😀

              1. Holy Carp there’s 8 Wearing the Cape!?! I hadn’t looked since Villians Inc. (2) was new…I may have to look again. Always can use additional known readable material… 6 Books of it is a bonanza.

                1. And there’s “A Christmas Carol” a short story that follows Book 8.

                  Hope and company have to find out “who left those Christmas Gifts in her home”. 😀

    2. My son, singing that makes one weak and teary. After singing it at an audition for choir at 12, they wanted to give him a fully scholarship to study opera.
      Unfortunately he wanted medicine instead.

    3. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is a magnificent reuse of the tune of “John Brown’s Body”.
      I’ve heard the 2nd verse (starts with “I have read a fiery gospel “) rarely, most modern hymnals eschew it (Even not so modern, the one I grew up with from the 40’s the Pilgrim Hymnal does not have it)
      There’s a gorgeous SSAATTBB (yes 8 part mixed arrangement) that has the male singers sing the last verse

      In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
      With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
      As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free

      in mezzo piano shifting to FFF in the last line with the high tenors tagging A above middle C. Very technically challenging and invokes shivers if pulled off correctly. I think there’s a nice rendition of it by the US AIr Force (Academy?) Chorus on the Intertubes.

      For me that last verse always does me in whether sung by professionals or a congregation. Some modern hymnals bastardize tha last line of Julia Ward Howes poem to this

      As He died to make men holy, let us LIVE to make men free

      I can not describe the contempt I have for that change (at least not in polite company such as the Huns and Hoydens 🙂 ). It radically shifts the meaning and pulls it away from the fact that the sacrifice is parallel to that of Jesus and also pulls it away from the scripture reference ” Greater Love hath no man than to lay down his life for another”. Feh dainty little fainting goats that can’t take a tough statement. Probably would wet themselves from the first line of the second verse..

      1. If you are familiar with Mark Steyn’s “Song of the Week” essays and have yet to read this one —
        … “By a strange quirk of history,” wrote Irwin Silber, the great musicologist of Civil War folk songs, “‘John Brown’s Body’ was not composed originally about the fiery Abolitionist at all. The namesake for the song, it turns out, was Sergeant John Brown, a Scotsman, a member of the Second Battalion, Boston Light Infantry Volunteer Militia.” This group enlisted with the Twelfth Massachusetts Regiment and formed a glee club at Fort Warren in Boston. Brown was second tenor, and the subject of a lot of good-natured joshing, including a song about him mould’ring in his grave, which at that time had just one verse, plus chorus …

        — you’ve a treat in store. If you’re not familiar with Mark Steyn’s “Song of the Week” essays you’ve really got a treat in store.

  8. Still here. I was at my doctor. She was so worried about my high potassium that she made me get an EKG. Also she told me that this problem was caused by the kidneys so she couldn’t do much except tell me to quit eating potassium foods and took me off my hbp med. This is always the scary part when I walk through the shadow of the valley of death.

    I’m still here though.

    BTW I enjoyed the poems.

      1. Have you tried turmeric in coffee? Turmic acts like an anti-inflammatory and tastes good in coffee. Plus it brings up the potassium.

        Of course I can’t use turmeric any more.

      2. Assuming it doesn’t interfere with other health stuff or meds… There are ways to bring down potassium levels. Some are kinda weird, like eat more calcium foods, or eat a garlic clove in the morning. Also exercise.

        The Kidney Foundation has a good page about hyperkalemia and its causes and treatment.

        1. I’m eating more dairy, taking more fish oil, and more water. I do walking… about the most I can do because of the fatigue. Both of my doctors know my particular problem is because I have stage 5 kidney disease.

  9. I just sent you an e-mail regarding the missing promo from Sunday that you wanted me to remind you of today, along with a fresh attempt to send you the guest post that keeps going astray. Please let me know when you get it, or alternative e-mail addresses if it doesn’t show up in a reasonable amount of time.

      1. Thanks. Did you also figure out what went wrong with my promo info? I’d really prefer not to miss two weeks in a row, especially considering the nice little sales bump I got on Jan 26.

              1. OK, then I’ll try sending the same title from multiple addresses, to see if at least one can get through. (I have accounts with two different commercial e-mail providers, and my webhosting provider allows me to make effectively infinite mailboxes on the domains I have hosted there. I just don’t do it that way because getting mail via my cPanel is more of a hassle).

          1. It liked mine when your other email didn’t like the vignette one. . .

            Meanwhile, two emails off for this week.

  10. Broadsword
    By Jethro Tull

    I see a dark sail on the horizon
    set under a black cloud that hides the sun.
    bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
    bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.
    get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing.
    take women and children and bed them down.
    Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
    bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.
    bless with a hard heart those who surround me.
    bless the women and children who firm our hands.
    put our backs to the north wind. hold fast by the river.
    sweet memories to drive us on for the motherland.
    I see a dark sail on the horizon
    set under a black cloud that hides the sun.
    so, bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
    bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.
    so bring me my broadsword
    and a cross of gold as a talisman.

      1. As did I Mary. If I still had the album (Broadsword and the Beast) the words MIGHT be on the cover back or slipcase and I could check. However I suspect its just Ian Anderson failing to enunciate, or our hearing of his accent :-).

    1. I was thinking of this one, also. The line “Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding” is so very powerful.

  11. Recessional
    By Rudyard Kipling

    God of our fathers, known of old,
    Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
    Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
    Dominion over palm and pine—
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    The tumult and the shouting dies;
    The Captains and the Kings depart:
    Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
    An humble and a contrite heart.
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    Far-called, our navies melt away;
    On dune and headland sinks the fire:
    Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
    Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
    Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
    Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
    Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
    Or lesser breeds without the Law—
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    For heathen heart that puts her trust
    In reeking tube and iron shard,
    All valiant dust that builds on dust,
    And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
    For frantic boast and foolish word—
    Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

  12. This is completely off topic but does any have a recommendation for a good humidifier? My lungs are not my friends.

    1. I picked up a GE-branded one a few years ago. It works so well I’m thinking about using the drain fitting and boring a hole through the wall for a hose…

      It’s fairly quiet, has several fan settings, and you pick your preferred humidity with a digital readout. It’s fairly heavy; it came with wheels and needs them to be remotely portable.

      1. We had a fancy one like that when I was a kid; worked great. Conversely, I just put a pan of water in front of the kitchen heat register. When it’s empty it blows out to the middle of the room. Refill and repeat. Works at least as well as the cheap powered ones. As a bonus, it runs when the heat does, which is when it’s needed.

      2. Whoops! I was describing a DE-humidifier.

        The last thing we need here in swamp country is MORE humidity.

  13. Oh, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

  14. Sarah,
    I like the new website. I have read the Space Operas and the Shifter series and Witchfinder and parts of Rogue Magic on the website. All good but for my money Witchfinder is the best. But WHERE is the rest of Rogue Magic? I need it!

    1. Ah. Probably not till next year, sorry. Unless I resume writing it here on Saturdays, which I might.
      Before it there’s the story of Seraphim’s younger brother, and the young lady he gets tangled with… Witch’s Daughter.

      1. Understandable then. I get so tired of people who feel that they have to apologize for their beliefs. Glad to see you are not falling into that trap.

  15. As many times as this post has popped up in my email today, so many have I been prompted to ponder the rarity of moonshiners unregulated distillers posting signs to announce the location of their workplaces.

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