Tuesday, April 13, 2021
The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.
There was Alfred Hitchcock the lower–middle-class lad from the East End of London who from earliest days was obsessed by the shadow play of three-dimensional images on a two-dimensional screen, and then there was “Alfred Hitchcock,” a balding fat man in a double-breasted suit with a protruding lower lip and an instantly recognizable profile, who made a fortune in Hollywood by playing to, and playing upon, our deepest fears and phobias. Which was the real man, if there was one?
John Banvillle says in this piece that “It’s unlikely that he held on to his faith.” But a Jesuit priest, Mark Henninger, who got to know Hitchcock when the director was an old man recounted in a Wall Street Journal article some years ago that “Hitchcock had been away from the church for some time, and he answered the responses in Latin the old way. But the most remarkable sight was that after receiving communion, he silently cried, tears rolling down his huge cheeks.” He certainly had a Catholic funeral.
New research suggests that a long-forgotten playwright might be the source of some of Shakespeare’s most memorable works. As journalist Michael Blandingargues in North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work, Sir Thomas North, who was born nearly 30 years before the Bard, may have penned early versions of All’s Well That Ends Well, Othello, Richard II, A Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII and several other plays later adapted by the better-known dramatist.
Monday, April 12, 2021
Above all, she hated herself, and however much gin she swallowed, she could not die. In the lonely fifteen years which followed her lover’s death, she lasted and lasted.
Ultimately, for all his shrewd constructions, his enviable ear, it’s the quality of Fuller’s description that most recommends him. The book glitters with memorable phrase-making and seemingly effortless coinages, images at once surprising and inevitable, casting their light back and forth within the atmosphere of frail mortality and ebullient living: a grandfather clock is a “coffin for time,” parents in rain ponchos are “[u]pright as bears in holiday attire,” remembered fathers are “spruce acrobats” or “tender-hearted dandies.”
… In 1950, the publisher Charles Scribner sent galleys of my father’s first novel, From Here to Eternity, to Hemingway, hoping for an endorsement. What Scribner got back was a letter so vile, so cruel, so ugly, it is still hard for me to believe Hemingway wrote it. He compares my father’s writing to snot, he calls him a phony and a coward (a wounded combat veteran of Guadalcanal!), and Hemingway ends by saying he hopes my father kills himself.
Sunday, April 11, 2021
(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
P&V seem to pride themselves on sticking close to the original. But the reason so many celebrated translators do not do so as diligently as they do is that languages differ in what means they use to convey concepts. This language conveys something with an adjective while that language needs a phrase for it. This language conveys something with a quiet resonance from a word while that language nails that something with an explicit suffix. This language expresses something which, rendered in that other language, sounds hopelessly affected or insincere and you have to work around it.
Saturday, April 10, 2021
While Trump was in office, it was all “kids in cages!” all the damn time. Now the kids in cages are back, but since it’s Biden, it’s not a bad thing anymore. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be a thing at all. Even Democrat politicians are publicly stating how bad and crowded things are, especially at the Donna facility in Texas. But Jen Psaki will have to “circle back” to that topic. Ted Cruz went down to see for himself (he is one of two senators from Texas, this is one of his areas of responsibility) and the Biden administration, excuse me, the Biden-HARRIS administration, sent some PR chick down to stand in front of Cruz’s phone as he was videoing the kids in cages. She tried to make it all his fault by repeating the intended-to-be-guilt-inducing mantra of “this isn’t a zoo, sir. Please have respect for the people.” All the while standing in front of literal cages with people laid out under space blankets looking like so many giant baked potatoes. Yep, lots of respect for their humanity there!
Apr 8, 2021
With all adults soon to be eligible to get a “free vaccine,” and large efficient distribution centers in many areas, what are you waiting for?
“Amazing” is the word that Dr. Monica Gandhi used in her 13-minute presentation on COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Gandhi is a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research.
COVID rates and deaths are decreasing—good news. Is it because of the warp-speed vaccine rollout? More than 168 million doses have been given in the U.S., and 18 percent of Americans are considered ”fully vaccinated” as of Apr 7.
There are several potential reasons for falling rates of a respiratory disease: (1) springtime warmer temperatures and more sunlight; (2) Farr’s Law (epidemics rise and fall in roughly a bell-shaped curve); (3) herd immunity (a sufficient number of immune persons in the population likely to be exposed); (4) adoption of early effective treatment (mostly outside the U.S. and Western Europe).
The shape of the curves of COVID-19 deaths in Israel (55% vaccinated) and South Africa (0.3% vaccinated) is roughly the same, as the first graphic shows).
“Shocking” is the word others use for what they consider a mass experiment on the whole world without adequate consent, which would include the fact that long-term health consequences cannot yet be known.
There is a spike in the number of post-vaccination deaths reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as the graphic and chart show. Since 2011, 2,749 deaths associated with ALL vaccines have been reported, and nearly 64% of them have occurred soon after a COVID-19 jab. The CDC, however, does not find a causal relationship. People die or have strokes every day.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused, restarted, and then restricted to younger populations because of a rare type of clotting problem. The UK’s Yellow Card system shows that this problem has been associated far more frequently with the AstraZeneca vaccine than with the Pfizer product. All the COVID-19 vaccines are associated with reports of pulmonary emboli, brain bleeds, strokes, low platelets, other blood disorders, and many other adverse effects.
NONE of these are listed on the “Fact Sheets” distributed at the time of vaccination.
All these effects can occur with the COVID illness, so the argument is that the disease is worse than the vaccine. Therefore, people should protect themselves, and also altruistically protect others. Vaccines are supposed to do that, and Dr. Gandhi says that these do. The CDC, however, does not make this claim, stating that: “We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19.”
There are many unknowns. But in making their decisions, people might consider that deaths from COVID are declining, and reports of deaths after vaccination are increasing. One particularly interesting experience is deaths in Irish nursing homes before, during, and after the vaccination campaign (see graphic below).
Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Apr 7, 2021
COVID-19: Is Your Mask Safe?
Do you know what your mask is made of?
Your mask will keep you from inhaling at least some infected droplets that are too large to get through the gaps, but at the price of inhaling whatever tiny particles are coming from the mask itself.
Some worry that mask components may be the new asbestos, inhaled all day long from a source right in front of your nose.
Health Canada has issued a warning about blue and gray disposable face masks, which contain an asbestos-like substance associated with “early pulmonary toxicity.” The SNN200642 masks, which are made in China and sold and distributed by a Quebec-based company called Métallifer, had been part of Canada’s public school reopening plan.
The masks contain microscopic graphene particles. Graphene is a strong, very thin material. Some daycare educators had expressed concerns when children complained that they felt they were swallowing cat hair.
A similar disposable mask, known as MC9501, was likewise recalled throughout Canada after 31.1 million had been distributed by government.
Nearly all face masks increase the daily intake of microplastic fibers. Scientists first discovered microplastics in the lung tissue of some patients who died of lung cancer in the 1990s. Plastic degrades slowly, so once in the lungs it tends to stay there and build up. Some studies have found that the immune system can attack these foreign objects, causing prolonged inflammation that can lead to diseases such as cancer. Reused masks produced more loosened fibers.
The nonwoven material in disposable surgical masks is melt-blown polypropylene plastic, which the masks can be shown to shed when examined under a microscope. Virus adhering to these microparticles can survive for days. The symptoms a surgeon experienced after wearing one such mask for four hours were like those he had had when working with fiberglass.
Some masks contain fiberglass. One anesthesiologist said she can feel the fiberglass in the disposables and now only wears flimsy nylon masks.
The mask that your child may be forced to wear likely does not meet National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) safety standards. What might it be doing to his little lungs?
Jane M. Orient, M.D.
Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
She disliked literary parties, rebuffed influential people, including Ottoline Morrell, and had ‘an abhorrence of self-promotion’. She lived in Gordon Square without ever knowing her close neighbour Virginia Woolf or other members of the Bloomsbury Group.
… Prior organizes her book based on twelve essential virtues, calling to mind a sort of literature-based It is this organizational structure that sets her book above standard literary criticism. Prior has paired polemics and narrative to both instruct and persuade. In each chapter, she uses a work of narrative fiction to extol and analyze the nature of each virtue, resulting in a work both entertaining and edifying.
Friday, April 09, 2021
“No solid justification is provided for why a ‘lab-related accident’ … should be considered ‘extremely unlikely,’” according to the scientists’ letter. “It is at best unclear whether the Chinese joint study team members had the leeway to express their fair evaluation of all hypotheses in the presence of Chinese government minders.”
Naturally, the Chinese government has denounced them.
What’s most continuous with earlier letters is a predilection for the playful, a term Frost himself endorsed: “Great thought, delicate thought, sinister thought, but in any case playful thought. It must be a play of thought to be a poem.” At times the play is pure, untouched by anything delicate or sinister, as when he assures the author of a guidebook to Vermont that he has read about every town once, and some twice, and advises him: “Next time put in more elevations. Nothing is so uplifting as the heights of small towns. The height of Peacham did me good.”
Baudelaire was born 200 years ago today.
Thursday, April 08, 2021
Even after being unceremoniously fired from her position (a move falsely announced as a retirement) in February, she remains buoyant when discussing books and writers she loves. Her knowledge of noir is encyclopedic, and it’s no wonder than her interest in crime began with her family’s set of encyclopedias. In our conversation, she was frank about how reviewing has changed, when to find beauty in the ugly, and why Agatha Christie is still the greatest.
The visual arts are in a crisis of relevance, largely due to dire mismanagement by our cultural institutions. Instead of being encouraged as a communion for all, for over a century many art administrators have favored art as a divider, an opportunity to flaunt elitist attitudes. Officially sanctioned art often emphasizes theoretical formal matters and sociological notions designed to exclude, rather than engage, the general public.
The society which Heinlein imagines in the book came about due to processes we see happening today: politicians who couldn’t care less about their constituents while enriching themselves, who use the military as cannon fodder for every conceivable purpose, and a party which claims to care about “science” all the while relying on preposterous theories … the results of which have made society more dangerous.
Today I discovered that this is my thousandth post. Imagine that. All of these poems, paintings, and stray thoughts sent out into the ether for eleven years. To what end? The beautiful particulars of the World noted in passing, and with gratitude. And, speaking of gratitude: thank you, dear readers.
No, thank you.
Wednesday, April 07, 2021
Tuesday, April 06, 2021
… the gospel most beloved among laymen is also the most contested among scholars. For some, it is a uniquely illuminating, intimate piece of reportage on Christ’s life and passion. For others, it is a patchwork of evolved fabrications – eloquent, to be sure, but offering small tangible comfort. As one new worktreats in depth, even some evangelicals have fallen into the habit of treating John as the red-headed stepchild of gospels scholarship. To the cautious sceptic who asks where the truth of the matter lies, I would reply that while the case in John’s favour may be out of academic fashion, it nonetheless merits a fair hearfing.
Cynthia L. Haven Celebrates the Life and Work of an Unsung Translator and Intellectual
He was obviously not a superstar poet—such as Richard Wilbur, or Seamus Heaney, or Anthony Hecht, who also translated Brodsky’s poetry although they didn’t know Russian—but rather a Slavic scholar with a serious interest in poetry. This book shows how deep this philosopher’s commitment was, and that these poems were not the whimsy of a dilettante. His translations were important not only because they were the first, but because they tried to preserve, as Brodsky wished, the metrical and rhyme schemes of the original, often with surprising sensitivity and success.
… I’ve long held a torch for Mathews’s poetry, which I first encountered through and a pamphlet from 1974, . The early poems are filtered through a Mediterranean dazzle, featuring a pastoral closely associated with marriage, as in ‘The Pines at Son Beltran’, where ‘the high pines bend/Seaward in slow acknowledgment of mountain wind’ and a ‘square stone’ table is ‘set with blue figs’.
Monday, April 05, 2021
Sunday, April 04, 2021
And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight.
Saturday, April 03, 2021
A biographer’s ingenuity, and certainly Bailey’s, is to mold mere chronology — a heap of undifferentiated facts and events — into more than trajectory: into coherent theme. As in a novel, what is seen at first to be casual chance is revealed at last to be a steady and powerfully demanding drive. A beginning attraction may be erotic happenstance; its fulfillment in marriage can be predictable hell, and for Roth not once but twice. The same holds for his most inflammatory fiction, as when the playfully priapic young Portnoy becomes in time the chaotically disintegrating satyr Mickey Sabbath of “Sabbath’s Theater.” It is Sabbath who personifies the meaning of Roth’s imagination: the will to “affront and affront and affront till there was no one on earth unaffronted.” Yet to apply platitudes such as as either a dominating motive or a defining motif of Roth’s work is to fall into undercooked language. His overriding intent is nothing less than to indict humanity’s archenemy, whose name is Nemesis (also the title of Roth’s final novel). “No,” Roth’s fictional avatar argues in “Operation Shylock,” “a man’s character isn’t his fate; a man’s fate is the joke that his life plays on his character.”