INDEPENDENTLY ENSLAVED

My mother, who saw the stock market crash of 1929 (or how it ruined her father) and who then experienced the hardship of the Great Depression, had no illusions about poverty being a good thing. She knew what it was like to appreciate something as simple as having warm feet in the winter. Therefore, she had a great fondness for the song, “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly”, in “My Fair Lady”.

The desire to escape the misery of cold and hunger, and of needing to choose between heating and eating, is innocent, natural, and often commendable. It has led to the advancements which have allowed the poor in America to face the problem of, (of all things!) obesity. To a certain degree it has been possible to forget the hardships which people who no longer walk with us once told us about. However, those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

This winter could see us again facing a choice between heating or eating, largely due to the insanity of an “energy policy” which seeks to replace what works with what doesn’t work, in order to combat a fictitious bugaboo called “Global Warming.”

The coming election will likely be a statement by we, the people, that we do not feel this “energy policy” is a good idea. It is as simple as that. However, it will cause a shuddering to run through the establishment called “the Swamp”, for the “energy policy” provides them with their paychecks. If they can’t tax the poor to “save the planet”, how can they remain rich?

At this point it is necessary to admit that not all of our desires to escape discomfort are innocent, natural, or even commendable, as was so well pointed out in the song by the Eagles called, “Lying Eyes”.

The song is basically a reproach to all who “sell out” to avoid discomfort, especially women who marry for money. It’s most brilliant line, in my view, is, “Every form of refuge has its price.”

In a sense the coming election is likely to be a rebuke to a minority, the so-called “Swamp”, and a simple statement by a majority that the “price” for their form of “refuge” is too high.

The question, in my mind, is whether or not the “Swamp” will be able to accept this rebuke. If they believe in the United States and what we stand for they will humbly step aside, however there are some indications they feel the majority is merely “riffraff getting uppity.”

In which case they are proclaiming themselves tyrants. They are crowning themselves emperor, like Napoleon did. They are placing the crown on their own head, as Napoleon did, and displaying contempt towards what the United States stands for.

Up until Napoleon crowned himself, he was a hero of Beethoven, and the rough draft of Beethoven’s Third Symphony was initially dedicated to Napoleon. However as soon as Beethoven learned Napoleon had crowned himself, he scribbled out the dedication, and he did so so savagely the quill gouged the page.

In like manner, many people in the “Swamp” may lose the dedication of admirers, even followers, if they ignore the majority. It is the price they’ll pay, for “every form of refuge has its price.”

Despite the evil the Swamp is entangled in, one feels a sort of pity for them, for in a way they too just want to have enough to eat, and warm feet in the winter. However, security is not insanity, and they have lost touch with the down to earth.

Wealth should not be measured by bread alone, or by other low and material “indicators”. One needs to take a hard look at what they call “wealth” and ask themself whether or not it is actually an addiction.

Has one become Independently Wealthy, or Independently Enslaved?

Oh, how sad it is that those who dreamed they’d rise so high sank down to the depths of such a Swamp!

Don’t You Know What Is Good For You?

I’ll try to be brief.

Despite internet “algorithms” that try to channel me to people who agree with me, assuming my dopamine levels will be higher with agreeable people than with disagreeable people, and that I can be herded into compartments like sheep, (or perhaps like paramecium in a Petre dish), I do not go to the sites that appear on my screen without my asking, but rather I seek disagreeable people. If I wanted agreement I’d talk to a mirror, or an echo. Instead, I seek differing views. I was brought up to think this was the way to be broad minded.

Of course, this allows me to travel to the sites of amazingly disagreeable people. They are so nasty, in some cases, that I bite my tongue and lurk around the periphery of their sites. Occasionally I become so curious I ask questions, in a most ingratiating and apologetic manner, as an obvious fool before the obviously wise, and even then, I can find my head served to me on a platter. How dare I even question?

It becomes obvious that such people, unlike me, have no interest in differing views. They so prefer the dopamine rush of agreement that they become like parrots in an echo chamber.

This can be a sad state of affairs if what they agree upon is in some ways an incorrect concept. What they do not see may be a waterfall in the river they drift lazily upon, but you are frowned upon for disturbing their peace and pointing out the waterfall ahead.

This is especially disagreeable when these agreeing people are themselves creating the waterfall they are about to tumble over.

This exactly describes the situation of Global Warming Alarmists, who have created a situation where many may freeze and starve.

I’ve been involved in discussions with Alarmists on the web for twenty years now, and I’d say the Alarmists were of two types. One type enjoyed differing opinions, and both asked and answered questions, and another type did everything possible to prevent questions being asked, even censoring, shadow-banning, and “cancelling” people who dared question.

With the first sort of Alarmist, discussions ranged far and wide, discussing all sorts of nuances of what was right and what might go wrong, fearlessly talking about what resorting to nuclear fuel might look like, what a total ban of fossil fuels might involve, and what sticking with fossil fuels might involve as well. With the second sort of Alarmist no discussion was possible. It was, “My way or the highway.”

The open-minded Alarmists could discuss big problems which would arise if fossil fuels were banned, not only involving gas, heating oil and electricity, but the very fertilizer that grows the crops which feed us. However, the echo-chamber Alarmists simply clung to the idea quitting fossil fuels would mysteriously solve all problems.

Unfortunately, the administration of Fraudulant Biden has chosen the echo-chamber Alarmist idea, and we are seeing energy prices leap and both fuel and food prices soar. The open-minded Alarmist could have told him so, but now they are the ones censored, shadow-banned and cancelled, to their own astonishment.

This brings me to another group of disagreeable people I, in my curiosity about differing views, have visited, quietly lurking about the perfidy of their sites. These are the wealthy people I grew up midst, the “Elite”. And the haughtiest of these people tend to exude a scorn towards any who disagree, as if any who disagree are “deniers”, are mere “rabble”, and that “the rabble does not know what is good for them.”

These people are most disagreeable not when it comes to the topic of Global Warming, but rather when it comes to the topic of population. They do not feel God populated the planet for reasons God only knows, but that the current population is a threat, which they call “overpopulation”, and that what they call “depopulation” would be “for the good.”

Personally, I feel the more the merrier, and wonder what it is they are threatened by. Are they afraid they will have to share? Lose some acres of their estates? If they would be honest about their fear, about their cowardice, we could seek to reassure them, and propose remedies.

Instead, they seem steadfast in their determination to depopulate the planet, “for our own good.”

For example, Russia and Ukraine were on the verge of a peace agreement last spring, but the Elite poured money into keeping a horrible war going. Why? I suppose it was good for the Elite. It certainly wasn’t good for humanity. The world will have far less food and energy because the war was continued. It is not merely Europe that faces cold and hunger this winter. But, if Russia is crushed, the Elite of the European Union think they will “win”.

Such a victory would ordinarily be called a Pyrrhic victory, because the losses so obviously outweigh the gains. As Ukraine pounds the Russians and regains its homeland it regains lands its artillery shattered. Once productive villages are rubble. How can they get back to feeding the rest of us? They can’t.

This is quite OK with some of the Elite, for they believe the rest of us don’t know what is good for us. And what is good for us? Depopulation. In other words, we are supposed to be good sports about freezing and starving. It is for the good of the planet we roll over and die.

I, and a great many others, beg to differ. We refuse to roll over and die. Rather we will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, cut firewood for the cold, shelter the homeless, and, if depopulation must be an issue, we will demand the Elite set the example, and roll over and die.

THE SWAMP WANTS ITS BINKIE

I am horrified by the invasion of Trump’s home by the FBI, and the seizure of things they did not specify beforehand for reasons they did not specify beforehand. It is outrageous. Why?

Look at it this way: As I write a post on WordPress it keeps track of every alteration I make. If I accidentally delete a post, I can recreate most of it by seeking a prior draft. In some cases, WordPress may have as many as forty-nine drafts of even a simple and short-seeming post. The fiftieth draft is my public persona, and the forty-nine are times I got it wrong. In a manner of speaking, the forty-nine are my “private papers”, protected by the Constitution of the United States. They are a necessary component to the development of an idea, but nothing I want published. I would most especially resent the FBI barging in and seizing the forty-nine drafts as proof I do wrong things.

In like manner clients expect a certain confidentiality when with their lawyer, when with their psychiatrist, when with their spouse, and, during confession, when with their God. The FBI violates a vital intimacy when it taps into such conversations. They are as welcome as a mother-in-law in a bride’s bedroom on a wedding night.

As vile as such invasive behavior is, I knew I had seen it before, and when I put my mind to the test it produced an answer.

I am basically a baby-sitter, given the grandiose title “Childcare Professional”, and at my Childcare I often see situations wherein overworked, harried parents, late to work, dump screaming children at our door, offer brief explanations, and then dash away to their cars and screech tires departing, leaving me and my staff to deal with the distraught child.

One situation involves the rubber nipple children suck upon called a pacifier, or “binkie”. Sometimes the binkie has merely been misplaced, and sometimes the parent has decided the child is too old for a binkie. It doesn’t matter what the reason is. The child is like a person addicted to cigarettes denied a cigarette, or a person addicted to heroin denied a needle. For a short time, they can relate as a sociable human, and then they go nuts. They have a total tantrum. They violate even the simplest decorum of civil behavior.

This is what the FBI is doing. And the drug is power. Power is their binkie, and Donald Trump is taking away their binkie.

Their behavior is infantile.

As a so-called Childcare Professional, I can tell you that the appropriate behavior for a tantrum is to be patient, be kind, but never, never to give in.

FIGHTING SHADOWS

I wanted to see what Tony Heller had observed at his site “Real Climate Science” recently, so, using the “Bing” search engine, I typed in realclimatescience.com, assuming that the actual site would be the first thing the search engine linked to. Then I clicked the first site Bing linked to. Much to my surprise, despite the misleading heading, I was not linked to Tony Heller’s site, but some site called, “realclimatescience-com.votted.net”.

Don’t go there. First, all sorts of pornographic pop-ups appear. This might have distracted me if I was young and lusty, but I am no longer so inclined, and in fact the pop-ups made me quit the site on my phone, because as hard as I tried to delete the pop-ups they kept popping up. I could never get to what the site was all about because of all the buxom women. So, I used my lap top.

My laptop has protection, which immediately informed me the site was loaded with “malware”. No buxom women appeared.

Obviously, “realclimatescience-com.votted.net” was not a site I would call “good”, but at this point I became curious as to whether the site might in any way lead me to Tony Heller’s site. On my laptop, using my laptop’s protection, I eluded the buxom women popping up all over the place, and arrived at the actual meat of the site, and, to the best of my ability, could find no way to Tony Hellar’s site.

I did find a way, further down on Bing’s list, but that does not raise Bing, in my esteem. Rather it is proof they should be ahamed of themself (or themselves.)

How can you call yourself a “search engine?” When the exact lettering of a specific website, “realclimatescience.com”, does not bring up the actual website? But rather brings up a complete distraction? Called “realclimatescience-com.votted.net”?

But does the shame stop there? Does Bing ever get around to a link with the actual site “realclimatescience.com”? I looked a little further, and just about blew a blood-vessel. The third link Bing listed was just about the most pro-Global-Warming and pro-government site there is, “Climate Science.” Furthermore, “Climate Science” got a full spread of their site, which seems odd when you did not want their view, but rather Tony Heller’s opposing view.

So I moved on and, at long last, sixth on the list, arrived at a site that actually linked to Tony’s site, though, being a fair-minded individual, the site’s creator also linked to “snow white,” a notorious data-manipulator who would rather “win” than honor Truth.

But the odd thing was that Bing never linked to the actual site, “Real Climate Science.” Or maybe they did, but it was so far down on their list of links I lacked the time to find it.

There is something very wrong when a search engine fails to “mention” the person, thing, or website you are actually searching for.

These are the shadows we are fighting with.

THE POWERLESS POWERFUL (Revised)

I tend to garden in a somewhat primitive manner, ignoring all the gifts of modern science. Some people call this “organic”, but in my case I think it may be that science involves math, and math was never a favorite subject of mine in school. In any case I’d rather spend hours killing bugs by hand than use insecticides, and I prefer compost to chemical fertilizers. However, I have noticed the results of my efforts are not always good. My crops often can be quite pathetic, yet occasionally are strangely fabulous, and I have had no clue why what happened occurred. Sometimes I’d just shrug, but other times I’d do what one does when one doesn’t understand mathematical equations: I’d search the web, and find videos created by other non-mathematical gardeners.

I tended to skim through a large number, because gardeners do not always agree with each other even about the simplest subject, such as, “how deep should I plant my potatoes?” Sifting through all the answers, I have learned some odd things which may only be true for the soil of one garden on earth. But the sheer variety of experience is far more wholesome (in my eyes) than the sort of one-size-fits-all rigidity the government tends to fasten upon.

You can learn the most amazing things, if only you listen to the little people who politicians only pretend to listen to, and I’d like to share a couple of revelations I gained by listening. The funny thing is that in both cases I began by following advice which poisoned my garden, and only later followed advice which provided an antidote.

The first example involved hearing that adding coffee grounds to soil was a good thing. One of my sons worked in a coffee shop, so I was able to cover a section of my garden with copious layers of grounds. I was dismayed at the miserable growth I saw the first year. I am partial to cauliflower, but my cauliflower were stunted and produced pathetic heads not much bigger than a silver dollar. I cursed the bleeping bleepity-bleep New Age bleep who said coffee grounds were good. I swore the traces of caffeine had practically killed my cauliflower, and vowed never to allow coffee grounds within a mile of my garden ever again. But…the next year…that particular part of my garden produced the most amazing cauliflower I have ever grown, with heads bigger than dinner plates. What the heck?

I had no one to ask questions to, but by searching through a slew of websites of other gardeners I chanced upon the answer. Which was?

Coffee grounds are loaded with good stuff, but before they can release the good stuff they first must break down. The process of breaking down requires certain ingredients. This includes some nutrients which cauliflower require. So, at first, as the coffee grounds break down, they rob the cauliflower of the food it needs. But later, once the grounds are broken down, they supply everything a cauliflower needs to puff out to county-fair award-winning size.

It turns out this this true of all sorts of things people use to mulch between the rows in their garden. For example, if you use grass-clippings, you are using a mulch that eats nitrogen like crazy as it rots, and the nearby vegetables will be deprived of a vital fertilizer.

Heck with that. There is no way I’m going to quit my clippings, for the alternative is weeding between the rows. But I will provide my mulch, both the grass clippings and the oak leaves, with nitrogen. I will water between the rows with “manure tea”. That way they won’t need to rob my plants, and will decompose more swiftly.

The second example involved the fact I heard potatoes liked the nutrients in wood ashes, but the crop didn’t look like it liked it. The potatoes were smaller, and tended to have “scabby” skin. By searching the web I learned that potatoes like slightly “sour” (acidic) soil, but wood ashes “sweeten” (make alkaline) the soil. In other words, I was giving the potatoes the right nutriants but the wrong environment. In fact I was in a way poisoning the very plants I was attempting to help. But what was the antidote?

Vinegar. Ordinary household vinegar. When it is strong it can be used as a weed killer, as the acid kills plants, but if you water it down greatly it doesn’t bother the plants it touches, and sweetens the soil.

I spent this afternoon watering the hundred potato plants I have planted to feed my family next winter with very-watered-down vinegar, to make the soil more hospitable. If my plants all fall over dead tomorrow you will read a funny blog post tomorrow, but I doubt a cup of 5% vinegar for every gallon of water is caustic enough to do more than alter soil chemistry. I have high hopes I have improved things.

But I give these two examples to demonstrate a subtle power small people have, though they do not feel powerful. The rich and powerful may deride the small as “bitter clingers”, but the little people have the ability to derail the plans of the mighty.

The intent of the “Swamp” does not seem to bode well for ordinary Americans, as mothers who can’t breast-feed now can’t get baby formula, and energy prices rise so high it seems the public must freeze next winter. If I was all alone, even the success of my potato patch could only feed a few besides myself. But I am not alone. I may be just one old man pushing seventy, perhaps over producing (if I don’t kill my crop), with (God willing) a few extra potatoes to share with neighbors, but there are millions of others, male and female, old and young, also over-producing in their own small ways. We do not need to know each other’s names. We just do our best, and exchange our abundance when we can, (not merely our potatoes but what we’ve learned about potatoes) when we can, and all the tiny drops creates flood, a Power the “Swamp” never admitted existed as it craved power, but a Power invisible and indivisible that now causes the Swamp to shrink in dread.

The Swamp thinks it holds the keys to power, but there are powers and principalities that make Washington DC look small.

For example, it is supposedly possible for a mere mortal, like you and I, to dethrone the entity called “Zeus” by the Greeks, and “Indra” by the Hindu. You don’t need to have anyone vote for you. You simply need to endure an extreme penance. (It would kill me after four days.) If you can endure forty days, you dethrone the prior Zeus and become the new boss, able to hurl thunderbolts.

Yet there is a very cool story in Hindu tradition about how this mighty figure in the spiritual hierarchy got his come-uppance.

The story begins with this Zeus/Indra power being very loving and throwing no thunderbolts, and giving a village next to a mountain perfect rains and ample crops. The Zeus/Indra expected the villagers to thank him with songs and praises and worship, but a little boy in the village said, “We shouldn’t worship him; we should worship the mountain.”

The villagers were astounded and asked why they should worship an inanimate mountain when they could worship an animate dude with amazing power. And then the little boy produces a wonderful stream of logic, (which amazes me for it is so like the logic of my boyhood’s boring Unitarian Church, which only cared for scientific fact, and couldn’t believe men could do cool stuff like walk on water or part the Red Sea) (unless it could be scientifically replicated.)

But, three to five thousand years before Unitarians existed, this little villager named Krishna materially and scientifically described how the mountain uplifted the air, which created rains, which washed minerals from the soil to feed the grasses, which fed the cows, which made the milk which fed the village. The Zeus/Indra didn’t create any of that. The Zeus/Indra just oversaw what already was there, created by the Creater, and therefore what already was there should be worshipped. In other words, the mountain is more worthy of worship than the fellow able to throw lightning bolts.

The Zeus/Indra character lost it, when he saw the little boy had persuaded the entire village to worship the mountain and not him. How could they not thank him for all his hard work? He should teach them a lesson! Therefore he used his power to hurl down thunderbolts and torrential rain.

The villagers were of course terrified, and afraid they had made a big mistake, but the little boy said, “Don’t be afraid.” Then, not with his index finger but his little finger, he lifted the entire mountain and used it as an umbrella to shelter the villagers from the lightning bolts and downpours of the offended Zeus/Indra.

At that point it seemed to occur to the Zeus/Indra that maybe he was not so big after all, and perhaps he wasn’t so worthy of worship. He recognized the little boy was a child of the True Creator, (Brahma, God the Father), the Only One Worthy of Worship, and that he’d had a lot of nerve to demand he himself recieve worship. Then, though he had vastly more power than any in the current-day “Swamp” have, Zeus/Indra bowed down to the Creator.

I suspect it will be a while before we see the those in the current-day “Swamp” bow down to what Rules the ordinary villagers they sneer-at and call, “bitter clingers.” But that is because they don’t understand power, though they imagine they are experts. They have risen too far, and have forgotten the soil that feeds us all. They dream they control who will eat and who will starve, without ever dirtying their fingertips by planting a seed. But the bumpkins they distain are miles above their heads, when it comes to dirt knowledge (such as simple soil chemistry.) Bumpkins do plant seeds, and therefore have more first-hand control over who will eat and who will starve, even though they never desire such power. In actual fact they are just molecules, and the true Power is what controls them. To God goes the glory.

In a strange sense those who think they have power don’t, while those who think they don’t, do.

The tale of Gideon in the Old Testament seems a good example of great power unexpectly appearing through the actions of the smallest and weakest, who seem most inconsequential.

Gideon was the weakest member of the weakest family of the weakest clan yet was fated to have the power to crush a huge invading army.

Gideon is first seen behaving in a way that seems to demonstrate fear of the invading Midianites, (who arrive at harvest and steal everyone’s food). He is threshing his wheat in a wine press, (which is not where an invader would ordinarily look for grain.) An angel appears and calls him a Great Warrior. I imagine Gideon looked over his shoulder, for he could not think of himself in that manner. In fact, he is so doubtful he is up to the task of saving his nation that, even though scripture specifically forbids “putting God to the test”, he demands proof, in a sense proving how faithless he is by three times “putting God to the test”. God passes the test three times, and then promptly stresses the newfound faith created in Gideon, putting Gideon to the test three times. Three times he asks Gideon to diminish his army until Gideon faces thousands of Midianites with a paltry 300 men. Yet his tiny force routs the enemy. Those who think they have power don’t, while those who doubt they have power, do.

The puffed-up people of the Swamp think they have power, but they don’t. They strut like peacocks, but they are like peacocks getting smaller and smaller, like a deflating balloon. Where once they began as bigshot peacocks, looming above the common man, they have gotten smaller and smaller until now they barely measure up to a common man’s ankle bone. The public stands aghast at the smallness of their behavior, and the public is amazed by how they seem determined to overachieve smallness by becoming microscopic. Already they are looking silly as they strut and fan their tiny tails, for they are smaller than gerbils. They think they are mighty but, if they get any smaller, they soon shrink past a certain point and suffer the indignity of becoming invisible.

Who would wish that on anyone? I would like to advise them in ways which might prevent their shrinkage. But they censor me and make it difficult to find me on search engines. They don’t want to hear what a bumpkin has to say. They say, “La-la-la. I’m not listening” and think that demonstrates power.

Therefore, I must do what a bumpkin has to do. Just be a tiny individual among millions. The Swamp can refuse to count our votes, but they can’t deny our power. It is millions of tiny people doing millions of tiny deeds, but it is controlled by What may be invisible yet is mighty, and What makes little specks of dust add up to a power which I think can not only produce lots of potatoes, but also can drain the Swamp.

THE STRESS OF AVOIDING STRESS; PART ONE

While being rolled down a hospital corridor in a gurney on a Thursday evening early last February, it occurred to me that sometimes avoiding stress can be a stress in and of itself.

It reminded me of when I was a kid and would try not to think of my tongue. The more I tried not to think of my tongue, the more I noticed it. The more I tried to position my tongue in a place where I wouldn’t feel it, the more I felt it. It would just about drive me mad, and it took a supreme act of distraction to break my mind free.

The same sort of thing can happen at my Childcare, when I get some children’s-song stuck in my head: “Good morning! Good morning! And how do you do? Good morning! Good morning! I’m fine. How are you?” To an advanced poet of vast learning like myself, having such drivel repeating over and over and over again in my brain blotched my sense of dignity. It required a serious antidote. Whisky got expensive, so I tended to resort to a sort of spider-solitaire on my computer that allowed one to reverse moves when losing became apparent, and to attempt a different course of action, and to eventually “win” the game, though on a few occasions I’d have to back up and try over again a hundred times, and “winning” took over a week. The intense concentration involved got my mind off everything. I called it “zoning out” and it had its benefits, but my wife could become exasperated when I “zoned out” too much. Eventually I decided “zoning out” had the traits of an addiction, and was as bad as whisky, and I erased the game from my computer.

Ever since I’ve been in a sort of withdrawal. I work too much. I can’t get my mind off what needs to be done next, and on a farm, especially an old rundown farm, the work is endless. A thing I call “the list” gets stuck in my head, like a song. The struggle then becomes to avoid burnout.

That is the point when “relax” starts to appear on “the list”. However, it is like writing down, “Don’t think of your tongue.” You can’t relax when you are uptight about relaxing.

This issue gets exacerbated by aging. On one hand you can’t work as fast, while on the other you are running out of time. When younger, “running out of time” meant I’d work faster, but when you get older there is no such thing as “faster”. When younger I would drive myself and chain smoke, but now I’m paying the price for all the smoking I did when younger. Due to compromised lungs, it takes little to make me huff-and-puff, and I’m forced to pause. I don’t want to sit down though. Another attribute of aging is that limbs stiffen up swiftly, and if you sit down, you may find it hard to get up again. Therefore, the trick is to “pace yourself”, and to simply stand and wait until you catch your breath, and then work until the huffing-and-puffing begins again. In other words, it is still possible to drive yourself. You’re just a lot slower about it. What this means is that, even when it looks like you are relaxing, you are not.

The thing you have to do, as you reach-your-limit at a point where less work is accomplished, is to do a wonderful thing called “delegate”. I always found delegating hard to do, as I am a do-it-yourself type of person. I found it hard to ask for help, (or even to ask girls to dance, many years ago.) (The only “asking” I managed when young was the now nearly-forgotten art of hitchhiking.) However, over the years I slowly learned how to ask for help, and to reward the good people who helped me, until (with much help from my wife) I became a small businessman with an actual “staff” of helpers.

But then a madness hit our nation, which is in some ways a fierce war everyone is pretending isn’t happening. I see it as a war between Globalists and those who believe in what the United States stands for.

If one bothers to read the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the United States is very clear about what it stands for. Globalists, not so much. But, as best as I can tell, Globalists feel there would be no war if there was only a single government, and even that there would be no disagreement, if there was only a single government. Preposterous, I think. It is like saying marriage wouldn’t have any arguments if there was only a single spouse. It might be intellectually true, but it is stupid all the same.

The stupidity of Globalism strikes me as similar to the stupidity of communism, which has brought great misery to beautiful people and beautiful lands, wherever it has been tried. I’ve studied those disasters, and I notice a great difference between the way the Founding Fathers of the United States and Communists regarded small businessmen like myself. Thomas Jefferson stressed the importance of what he called “independent small farmers and artisans”, while communists loathe such people and deem them a “counter-revolutionary petite bourgeoise” which must be purged to make society healthy.

To me it has seemed that the ridiculous pandemonium called the “coronavirus” has in some ways been aimed at ruining small businesses (as well as small churches and small schools). Nothing about the “lock-downs” made the virus less lethal, but it did bankrupt many businesses (and prevent worship and learning.) The intent of the “lock-downs” increasingly seems malevolent, and people who say so out loud no longer sound so much like crazy people lost in conspiracy theories, (which may be why the censorship of such voices is increasingly desperate).

I like to think I am one of the “small, independent farmers and artisans” that Thomas Jefferson liked, and also one of the “Kulaks” whom Stalin despised. This blog describes one man’s view of enduring (and hopefully surviving) what seems like an effort to irradicate individual effort and replace it with a sort of “collective” mentality. One element of this attack seems to be aimed at making it harder for small businesses to find help.

One frightening attack on the supply of labor is the problem of Fentanyl. Even when the Coronavirus closed churches I was part of a small group which went right on meeting, (sort of under the radar), and the purpose of this group was to be a sort of AA for the addicted, and at one these meetings a young man told me a story that shocked me. He said he had to comfort his mother, because she was upset when she had to attend her first funeral of a classmate, and she, in the blindness of her grief, had moaned, “You don’t know what it is like when the person who has died is not an old-timer but instead is your own age.” He responded, “Mom, I do know what it feels like, for I’ve been to thirty-two funerals for people my age.” This opened my eyes to the fact we are midst an actual war, with our youth actually dying.

Another attack on the supply of labor was to offer coronavirus “benefits” which made it more lucrative to be unemployed than to work. I’m glad such seductions weren’t around when I was young and loved leisure, for I found it hard enough to push myself to work as it was; (asking for a job was as hard as asking a girl to dance.) I don’t blame any young person for taking the higher-paying “job”. Why should a young person work a job that pays $300/week when the government pays $600/week for sloth? In a sense the young were being bribed from the world of “small farmers and artisans” to join the “collective”, and the Swamp could afford such a non-productive strategy by simply printing money, with all the inflationary dangers that entailed.

In any case, right when I needed help, help was harder to find. Right when aging increased my limitations, and I could do less, I had to do more myself. My wife and I, on a regular basis, talked about simply closing our Childcare, but we couldn’t really afford to. Also, I felt like I was in a war, and closing my small business would be letting the bad guys win. I had the desire to go down fighting. And so, during the two years we’ve been fighting the coronavirus war, this blog has inadvertently been a recorded history of how free people respond to tyranny.

For me the response of free people has been to find a way to keep right on doing what free people do, in a way under the radar (and under the table) of new rules and regulations. If school is outlawed, homeschool. If church is outlawed, hold many “small groups”. If church suppers are outlawed, hold smaller suppers. If restaurants are closed, find a way to order special food and tip highly. If choir practice is banned, record an online choir of a hundred, separate, “socially distanced” voices, and use virtual technology to combine all the voices and blast a mighty chorus, bigger and better than before. (Some of these “virtual choirs” are utterly amazing, and also represent a spiritual form of counterattack.)

The war we are within is a bizzarre war. It is an invisible war. It is a war that small businesses like my own may be winning. The communist mentality never expected such a pushback. They expected that when they shut schools, I would close my Childcare. My militant counterattack was to tell them “Go f— yourself” and remain open, without masks or vaccination mandates. I was very warlike, but why? Because I was and am kind to small children. (And they are not.)

However, some do die in a war. It is what makes war be war. Though people sung “When Johnnie comes marching home again” as soldiers marched off to our last Civil War, every graveyard in New England attests to the fact many Johnnies never came marching home. Their bodies are not in the graveyard. Their bodies are buried far away. But monuments covered in lichen attest to their sacrifices. Not only the bad guys die, in a war.

Usually, it is the young who are the cannon fodder, but in this bizarre Civil War it may also be the old. I thought of this when, rather than protecting the elderly, New York’s Governor Cuomo imported coronavirus patients into elderly housing, even when Trump made hospital ships available. The infected victims did not need to enter assisted-living facilities. The elderly should have been protected, but Swamp did the exact opposite of what should have been done.

This stupid choice shortened the lives of tens of thousands of senior citizens who deserved better. Some of these elders may have been senile and might have had little wisdom left to offer, but even these deserved better than they got. Other elders had many years left to live and were as sharp as tacks yet were banned from even seeing their own family. Meanwhile the Swamp saved a lot of money, because treating such goodly elders in the kindly manner (which elders had worked long and hard to pay for [and had in fact earned]) cost the Swamp at least $100,000/year. If you have 10,000 elders die of the coronavirus you therefore have saved the Swamp a billion dollars. When money talks, compassion walks.

Money has never been able to talk to me in that manner. I grew up in a wealthy town and know how hollow the core of wealth can be, and how marrowless is the bone. Not that money is evil, but love of money is evil. It takes the “love of money” to think that killing 10,000 of our smartest citizens (and depriving them contact with their loved ones even as they die), results in any societal “good”. It only “makes” a billion dollars from murder. What could be eviler? What could be more an “act of war”?

It wasn’t merely New York that “accidentally” imported coronavirus into the very places which should have been most protected. Massachusetts made a billion, New Jersy made a billion, and you could go on from there. Call it genocide or senior-ocide, I call it disgusting and an act of war.

What a joke it is that, in such cases, rather than the young being cannon fodder, it is the old geezers like myself who may go down, in this idiotic war. But there have been days I confess I don’t get the joke anymore and fear I myself may become a casualty. I’ll be just one more closed small-business. Just like the little, nearby restaurant run by a grandmother. Another empty store-front, killed by the Swamp. I’ve read that 40% of all restaurants in New England have closed, to prevent the spread of a virus by using a strategy which scientists knew from the start wouldn’t work, as the virus kept right on spreading.

My hope is that, with so many restaurants closing, there must be a lot of waitresses who might be inclined to work at a place like mine. I’ve always liked waitresses because they work for less than minimum wage, with the expectation “tips” will make up the difference. They believe if they are kind others will be kind in return. That is so much nicer than communism, and indeed is more Christian than some Christians I know, though many waitresses profess to being Atheists or at least Agnostics. In any case, I do have hope.

But in the meantime, I have to work with a depleted staff though I’m getting too old to be working so hard. And I confess I may not have what it takes. I do like the idea of dying with my boots on, and if it happens, I figure I’ll just be a battlefield casualty. Just a statistic in this invisible war.

Winters are hard this far north, and the past one tested me a lot with frozen pipes and failing heating systems and gloppy, heavy snows I had to remove from driveways and fire-entrances. With January past and the maples feeling the first stirrings of sap, I felt I’d done a decent job, for an old geezer, and gave myself a pat on the back. As February began, I thought I had, at long last, arrived at a morning where I could sit back and write poetry. All was ordinary at first, until I went to use the toilet and noticed the water in the bowl was not clear, but gray. I questioned my wife, “Why is the water gray?” She said, “I don’t know, but the toilet made a funny sound.”

I was very annoyed, and griped, “What the heck did you do?” As if it was her fault. When I turned on the bathroom sink faucet the water shot out like a firehose and shifted from clear to jet black to clear to jet black again. Foolishly I repeated, “What did you do?”

As I headed to the cellar she got in my way, inquiring “Why must you always blame me?”

I gently removed her from my path, apologizing, and saying “Something’s gone wrong.”

In the basement I brushed the spiderwebs from the pressure dial, and saw it pegged out at 120 psi, when the system is supposed to run between 40 and 60 psi. I hurried to the circuit breaker and shut off the well-pump. Then I went upstairs and ran the faucets until the pressure resumed normal levels. I decided the black water was because the extreme pressure cleaned the inside of the pipes, for it stopped happening when the pressure dropped. Then I went down to the cellar to look at the pressure switch, and saw it was burned out. Fried. Lucky the house didn’t burn down. It had melted into an “open” position, so the well pump didn’t stop pumping, and the pressure kept rising and rising.

Fortunately, pressure switches are easy to replace. You basically disconnect a couple wires, screw out the old switch from the pipe, screw in a new switch, and reconnect the wires. You can call a plumber, who will charge you $360.00 to do a ten-minute job, replacing a $20.00 part. Or you can do it yourself. As much as I would have liked to “delegate” the job to a plumber, it seemed once again I should “do it myself.”

This was not the stress-free morning composing-a-sonnet I had planned, However, as “relax” was on “the list”, I relaxed driving twenty minutes to the hardware store to buy the $20.00-part, relaxed chatting with an old friend at the store, and then relaxed driving twenty minutes back.

There are worse things to be stuck with doing than driving through snowy New England woods. I kept the car radio off, to avoid disturbing news, and instead had a private talk with God, involving some intimate things which are nobody’s business, but some things I feel free to make public. Namely, “Why, Lord, do you make Your creation so beautiful, and winter woods so full of poetic images, and yet never give me time to write poems?”

Back in the cellar, though the PSI gauge read zero, I shut the valve on the pipe leading upstairs to keep water in the pipes from flowing down to the cellar. Only then did I remove the pressure gauge. The instant it was removed a jet of water spurted into my face, and I struggled to screw it back in, which stopped the spurting. Then I had to think how there could be pressure when the well was shut off and no water could flow from upstairs. Coffee time.

My wife looked at me hopefully as I emerged from the dirty old cellar, and her face registered the fact I looked a little like a drowned rat. She wisely said nothing, and I didn’t look at her, because even a hint of a smile at the corner of her lips might have set me off. (Not that I failed to see the humor in the situation. I just wasn’t ready to laugh.)

I slumped morosely by the woodstove and sadly glanced at my open notebook. Not so long ago I’d been starting a sonnet, and at that time could see the entire thing even as I began. It was loaded with internal rhymes, and I had all the rhymes at my fingertips, as well as the rhythm. It began:

Lord, put Your foot down. But just not on me.
I think it is best that You manifest
And halt this world's insanity. Set free
......

You’ll have to trust me. There was more. However, the sonnet now was like Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”. Coleridge saw the entire poem in a dream and arose to write it, but some bothersome interruption knocked at his front door, and when he extracted himself from the chitchat and returned to his writing, the vision was gone. Utterly. He couldn’t even pretend he could write another line. All we have is the fragment; a great start to a poem which is but a might-have-been. And the above is the start to a great sonnet which is but a might-have-been. Only in my case it was not an unwelcome visitor knocking at my door. It was a malfunctioning pressure valve, and water spurting in my face.

It is hard to concentrate on poetry when you get hit in the face by a jet of water. It is even harder when your wife can’t even use her kitchen sink. It should be obvious why I forgot the rhyme to “manifest.”

In any case, I did enjoy licking the wounds of irony. I’d asked the Almighty to put His foot down. I did request “not on me” but scripture states, “Those God loveth, He abuseth.” Therefore the foot apparently came down on me. Ha ha.

Irony didn’t solve anything. I took a deep breath and focused my mind onto the mundane. How could water spurt from pipes with no pressure? The pressure must come from uphill, where the well was. There was no way to stop water from running downhill, so I would have to devise some plug for the pipe when I removed the pressure switch. After considering how to make a quick plug, (whittling wood seemed like it would take too long), I asked my wife if she had a stub of a used candle. She provided one in a twinkling. I carved a plug of wax, and I headed downstairs to face getting water shot in my face a second time. Lots of water shot in my face, but the plug worked. Then I could work in leisure, but I knew that one final episode of getting water shot into my face lay ahead, when I removed the wax plug and put in the new pressure switch. Sobeit. I put in the new switch and my wife had a kitchen sink again. I was a wet rat crawling ashore, bedraggled and yet victorious.

However, I was seriously behind schedule. Not only did I have to rush off to work a shift at the Childcare, (because the staff has problems of their own, which I won’t go into), but also the forecast was for yet another storm of glop and freezing slush. I had to stock up the woodboxes at home, and also deal with my wife’s anti-Swamp activities.

Where the Swamp seems to want to ban people from visiting elders in old-age-homes, and to ban people from the schooling of their own children, my wife insists on “staying involved”. She is a grandmother who reads stories to grandchildren in Brazil, via computer magic, and who refuses to allow the family’s matriarch (her mother) to enter the hellish “retirement communities” the Swamp offers. And in this particular situation she didn’t want to face the fact the coming storm made travel seem inadvisable. By hook or krook, we were going drive to Maine for a flash-visit of three granddaughters. (A two-year-old and twins-aged-six-months.) But we couldn’t leave until after attending a middle-school-aged grandchild’s quarter-finals basketball game.

At the risk of sounding like a heartless cynic, at times it occurs to me that all this family-stuff does not help me write sonnets. Perhaps that is why many poets live alone. But I have to admit warm and fuzzy family-stuff is a counterattack, in the weird war we are midst. Therefore, I sometimes go along with her sentimental nonsense, figuring her feminine intuition is smarter than my masculine willpower. That is why I might be seen at a grandchild’s basketball game which barely resembles basketball, when I’d much rather be writing a sonnet which does resemble a sonnet.

However, there are times I must draw the line. Driving to Maine is a bad idea if you never arrive. I needed to heed the fine details of the forecast, even while preparing for the storm. But I had no time to sit at my computer to look at the details.

For an old geezer, driving to Maine or even attending a basketball game is stress. It was one more stressful thing on “the list” even though “avoid stress” was on the list. I found myself thinking it might be too much. I might fail to be as tough as I want to be. I might be a battlefield casualty.

My mind slumped into morbidity: Just as the above sonnet is unfinished, much that I have wanted to do in my life will never be done. Life is too short. But this is no different from what happened to my peers in the 1960’s and 1970’s when they became cannon fodder. In the Vietnam war, each young person who died sacrificed their “promise”. Each death was a promise unfulfilled. What might have been would never be. In like manner, the death of every old geezer in the current war is a half-century of wisdom lost, and its promise unfulfilled. War is hell.

As I had these morbid thoughts, I had no time to play my violins of self-pity and compose sorrowful sonnets. I had to gulp down some chili and hurry up and down the front steps, filling the wood boxes. Then I felt a burning in my chest.

I figured it was just heartburn, because I’d hurried to work after gulping chili. I think your suppose to siesta after chili. However, I was pushing myself, carrying a few more logs than was wise, and pulled an obscure muscle I’d never pulled before which must string between the chest and the middle of the back, and likely has to do with lifting shoulders to gasp for breath when the diaphragm isn’t enough. Yet it occurred to me it might be something other than heartburn and a pulled muscle. My heart might be quitting. And as I thought this I was bathed with sweat, which was likely due to collapsing in an armchair by a hot stove to catch my breath, yet such sweating also may be a symptom of a heart attack. Stress.

The stress-relieving thing to do in such a situation is to do what I did in California thirty-eight years ago: Drive to a hospital, explain that you are having chest pains, and have them run a quick ECG. (ElectroCardioGraph). Back in 1984 they’d tell you your heart was fine, and that the chest-pain was due to a binge, you moron, and your stomach was protesting the fact you had drunk something like two cases of beer in two days. In 1984 the diagnosis took thirty minutes and cost $110.00. But hospitals are different now, during this invisible war.

I have a unique perspective, when it comes to hospitals, for my father was a surgeon at the MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) in Boston back in the 1940’s, 1950’s and early 1960’s, back when doctors actually ran the hospitals, and before lawyers and insurance companies ruined everything. Those were glory days, as antibiotics had just been discovered, people stopped dying of staff infections after operations, and people dying of things like syphilis and tuberculosis were learning they wouldn’t die after all. Doctors and nurses walked with a real spring in their step. (How far we have fallen.)

I figured I was probably being a hypochondriac, but I’ve known good fellows who died because they didn’t want to make a big fuss about why their chest hurt. So I figured I should make sure it wasn’t anything serious. I was 95% sure it was nothing, but 5% is stress, and I wanted to avoid stress. Of course there would be some stress because of the coronavirus nonsense. They might object to the fact I was not vaccinated. But what happened might be interesting. It might make a good blog post.

I put off deciding, choosing to instead go close down the Childcare, thinking maybe the chest pains would ebb and I could forget my worry, but, if anything, they grew sharper. I still was thinking it was a pulled muscle, but the worry was there. I then had to face the stress of telling my wife.

She wanted to call an ambulance and I said by the time an ambulance arrived we could already be at the hospital. She said she couldn’t do CPR while driving and I said she could do CPR on me as I drove. She said she’d drive. As she drove, she called ahead to the emergency entrance using her voice-activated car phone, and she answered a slew of questions including my date-of-birth, and then we continued our discussion alone as we drove through the darkness of late twilight.

I was attempting to remain calm and stress-free, saying I was 95% sure I was just being a worry wart, but, if the 5% was true, then, if I was about to die, a good wife would not want to have the last thing her husband heard be criticism. Criticism could exacerbate stress, which contributed to heart attacks, so likely the best thing was praise. I should be praised for remaining so calm when there was a 5% chance I was about to croak. And then we laughed, which is about the most stress-free thing there is.

We arrived at the emergency entrance, which seemed an unnaturally bright pool of yellow light in the darkness of evening, and I hopped out as my wife drove off to park the car. I walked in and introduced myself as the man who had called ahead with chest pains. The lady told me to put on a mask and asked me my date-of-birth and whether I’d been vaccinated. Obviously, the woman did not deserve to be called a nurse.

I have a unique perspective towards nursing, as my mother was a registered nurse at Children’s Hospital in Boston in the 1940’s, and at Brandais College in the mid-1960’s, and as a hospice nurse in the late-1960’s, and then an EMT in Maine in the late 1970’s, through the 1980’s, into the early 1990’s. My mom could remain cool in the face of blood, and boys in my boyhood neighborhood would go to her with a gory cut, because they knew their own mothers would freak-out and perhaps faint. My mom knew freaking and fainting wasn’t any good, so she would tend to the gore. (If I had a complaint as a child, it was that my mother was too cool and too detached and that she didn’t gush enough.)

The woman I was dealing with was not tending to me, the patient, but rather tending to the paperwork. It was likely a good thing I put on a mask, for it hid my expression, which was likely an odd mix between pity and sheer contempt.

For one thing, it took me about two hours of on-line research right at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to understand cheap masks were a dumb idea. As I recall, there were at least three peer-reviewed studies in the “New England Journal of Medicine”, and two more in the English journal “Lancet”, which stated ordinary masks were more or less useless when it came to preventing the spread of virus. At least one study ventured masks were harmful, because of problems other than the transmission of virus. In other words, “science”, as it was defined before the coronavirus, stated masks (other than expensive ones), were useless. However, “science” acquired a bizarre, new definition, once the war on Truth was declared.

In its new incarnation, “science” became whatever furthers a political goal. It doesn’t matter if the goal is low lusts, greed, and desires for power. Science must bow, must disregard its former affinity to Truth, and must be “politically correct”. In essence, science must agree to be false. It is for some “higher good.”

To me this claptrap is such a complete denial of the original definition of “science” that it cannot be borne. Science is supposed to be a study of Truth, just as poetry is a study of Truth. And, when I have studied history to seek examples of at least a single occasion when lies led to some “higher good”, what I see are examples of times such lies led to societal disasters. The ultimate lies were Lysenko’s, who had the distinction of precipitating terrible famines in both Russia and China, “for their own good.”

To put it mildly, I have thought using masks is a deed of rank stupidity for over two years now. Therefore, when I enter a hospital’s emergency entrance and a lady asks me to put a mask on it strikes me as a sure sign that she is ignorant. I pity her, because I know she is just doing her job, but her job is not a nurse’s, and she cannot claim to be one. She is in fact a bureaucrat in a white uniform.

I have an unspiritual inclination to rear back and give such people an uppercut to the snoot, but that would hardly help matters, even in an invisible war. Pity is better. And, as a man who runs a Childcare, I often watch small children struggle to put together simple puzzles, and know it is often better to allow them to figure things out for themselves. To be simply given an answer often involves no true learning, which may be why God, in His compassion, allows people to bungle along learning things. If people prefer falsehood to Truth for some queer reason, well, they will learn the hard way. Only if one, with all their might and main, seeks Truth midst all the fluff and balderdash, is one likely to see the Light.

I looked away from the bureaucrat clicking away at her keyboard to see if there was anyone else around. The news always makes it sound like hospitals are overcrowded with wheezing and gasping coronavirus patients, but this particular emergency entrance seemed downright serene, and understaffed. Even as I thought this a strong, young man dressed in white walked briskly around a corner and approached me. “Hi!” he said, “Are you the fellow with chest pains?” He held out a palm and we shook hands as I nodded, and then he continued, “My name is Zack and I’m your nurse. Follow me.”

As we walked further into the bright depths of the emergency entrance, I explained I was 95% sure I just pulled a muscle in my chest, and that I was just playing it safe, and Zack agreed it was better to be safe than sorry. I like agreeable people, and I took an immediate liking to him. We chattered away as if it was an everyday thing for me to strip down bare-chested and for him to start sticking small plastic sensors to various parts of my chest. For example, I stated there were a lot more sensors than there were in 1984, and he asked what happened in 1984, and I gave him the short version. When I mentioned the two cases of beer he laughed and stated that he had also learned two cases of beer in two days was not a wise idea, when he was younger.

My cellphone beeped and it was my wife texting. She said the hospital wouldn’t let her wait inside. She wondered if she should wait in the parking lot. I asked Zack how long the ECG would take, and he said besides the EKG there would be blood tests, and it would take at least an hour for the results to come in. I texted my wife it was going to take longer than I thought; over an hour; she texted back she’d wait in the parking lot until I had more news.

Zack clipped a thing onto my finger to measure my oxygen levels, and then stood back and regarded a computer display above the bed in satisfaction. It made efficient-sounding beeping noises, and besides a graph of my ECG had around ten other numbers. Then Zack hurried off, and swiftly returned, telling me the doctor said the EKG looked good, but that the doctor wanted to do other tests, including a cat scan. I asked how long it would take, and he said likely at least two hours, and maybe five. I texted my wife my ECG looked good, but there would be other tests, and she probably should wait at home. She sent an emoji of a relieved face.

Zack was swabbing the inside of my elbow, but rather than just drawing blood samples he was inserting an IV with a Y junction to allow saline in as well as to draw blood out. I asked why they had to do other tests if the ECG looked good, and Zack said an EKG wasn’t enough to prevent malpractice suits; if I had a heart attack in the next month the doctor could expect to have his socks sued off. Therefore, insurance companies required a whole slew of tests, to cover the doctor’s butts. I said it was all about money, and that lawyers and insurance companies were driving up prices, and Zack diplomatically shrugged.

From there we moved on and had a chat about why I said ECG and he said EKG. They mean the same thing, and I told him that as a writer I preferred English, and “cardio” began with a “C”. I wondered if EKG meant the machine was made in Germany, and Zack laughed. Then I asked him how long he’d been a nurse.

It turned out he’d worked eight years for a crew laying concrete foundations. The money was better than he made nursing, especially with all the cement-work overtime, but he was getting worn down. I told him cement work was rough on backs, and that I knew cement-workers who’d turned to Fentanyl to escape the pain. He adroitly avoided the subject of Fentanyl, but stated he indeed had worried about his back. I said nurses had to be careful not to hurt their backs as well; some patients could be pretty fat. Zack laughed and said this was true, but cement was heavier.

By this time I was all wired and tubed-up like a person at death’s door, and Zack hurried off to bring a couple blood samples to a lab, and a very tired-looking doctor came trudging in.

I’ll call him Dr. Robe because he struck me as being like a robot. He asked a long string of questions in a monotone yet hurried voice, as if he was asking them by rote and wasn’t interested in many of the answers. The questions seemed very much like the checklist of questions you have to answer on forms as you enter a doctor’s office, questions more aimed at malpractice lawyers than your health, questions that hold the echoes of some past court proceedings: “But did you inquire as to whether the patient was a pathological liar?”

Right off the bat Dr. Robe struck me as the sort of doctor my father would have railed should be disqualified. Doctors were not supposed to look so tired and bored and discouraged; they were supposed to radiate faith and hope and to activate the placebo-effect with their complete confidence. Their confidence was supposed to be reassuring and infectious; Dr. Robe looked infected by gloom; he had no spring in his step; he trudged.

I resisted the urge to rail at him as my father might have done, and instead prodded my slouching sense of pity. (Patients aren’t supposed to pity the doctors; it is supposed to be the other way around; but the weird war we’re within has things upside-down and backwards.)

It occurred to me it must be humiliating to be a doctor these days. Gone is the respect people once had. Where once doctors gave their opinions from a sort of pedestal, now they are told to keep their opinions to themselves. They receive orders from the Swamp, and if they beg to differ, they could lose their jobs. Rather than being treated like professionals they are treated like lackeys and flunkies. All their experience, all that they have learned over the years through actual contact with the hurting, all their success and failure, is disregarded, in favor of some Swamp commandment. Worst is the fact that the Swamp’s new definition of “science” is looking increasingly stupid, as it is confronted by its failures to be like true “science”, and to honor true Truth.

The Swamp is confronted by the failures of its “promises” to come true. Masks were supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Social distancing was supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Vaccines were supposed to stop-the-spread but failed. Those who trusted the Swamp, and complied, now can’t help but to increasingly feel disappointed and even betrayed. Me? My faith was trampled very early on, and I’ve been a Skeptic for nearly two years now.

I think what originally set off alarms in my head was my perception the Swamp did not like second opinions. My father was very big on getting second opinions. I could recall that, back in the glory days when doctors ran their own hospitals, doctors were always sharing what they had discovered, or asking if the other doctors had ever come across an unexpected complication they were confronted by. They were well aware every patient is different, “what is good for the goose may be bad for the gander”, and they had open minds that sought the insights of others. As a small boy I liked to hang about the periphery as they talked over drinks after work, for they all seemed excited to hear each other’s latest discovery.

The Swamp now seems utterly different. They seemed to epitomize the Globalist view that there should only be one view. And this sense was verified when the first news about hydroxychloroquine surfaced. To me it seemed very good news, and I was appalled when the doctors who sought to publicize the beneficial possibilities were censored on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. At that time there was no vaccine, so why repress a potentially good treatment?

And so it has continued, through numerous other helpful treatments including ivermectin. Second opinions are not allowed. Only vaccines and masks are allowed, even though they aren’t working. (Who doesn’t know at least one person who wore masks religiously and had both the vaccination and the booster yet still got the coronavirus?)

Despite the censorship of Free Speech, (and even of the last president of the United States), people still do communicate, and the second opinions of those doctors who dare speak out are disseminated from obscure websites across the globe. And sick people always have a propensity to try even the most crackpot cures, when their first doctor fails. And, when the supposedly crackpot cure works, though the Globalists scoff, the word spreads despite Globalists best efforts to quash the word. People simply want to be better, and no amount of malarky can deny that the impulse to be better is a truly good impulse in the mortal soul. If you repress the urge to get better, you are basically a complete jerk.

This returns me to my earlier point that Globalists feel this world would be a better place if there was only one view allowed. I asserted their idea is like saying marriage would involve less disagreement if there was only one spouse. True, but then it wouldn’t be marriage. And the fact of the matter is that the Creator created us different. We share our fingerprints with no other soul among the nearly eight billion currently alive on earth. This might make us feel alone, if it were not for the wonder of understanding.

That is what I remember most from the glory days of medicine. Doctors had no fear of second opinions, because their interest was understanding. They did not see a second opinion as a threatening disagreement, but rather as the wonder of another view. As impossible as it may seem to some, disagreement wasn’t disagreeable. It was the opening of a window to a new sky.

How far we have fallen. When I looked at Dr. Robe I did not see a brave doctor of the sort who would be banned from YouTube and Twitter, but rather a compliant yes-man, subservient to the Swamp. He feared losing his job, craving dollars. Yet as much as he makes, it is never enough. He must pay back three times what I make in a year just to pay for the “insurance”.

Back in the glory days, when doctors ran hospitals, my Dad didn’t worry about being sued. When he saved a fellow’s life, we’d get a “grateful patient” gift from where the fellow reclined in Florida, a big cardboard box filled with oranges, tangerines, and juicy grapefruit. Now? Now doctors spend $150,000 a year for malpractice insurance. You have pay for the “privilege” of saving some goofball’s life. How far we have fallen.

Actually, it isn’t so hard to pity Dr. Robe. For a third of what he pays just to avoid the vengeance of ungrateful patients, I happily subsist. I pay my bills and live a good life with children and grandchildren. I am not rich but feel blessed in many other ways. But maybe I too will face the vengeance. I may face the vengeance of a sort of Stalin, who loathed the Kulak, who I am sort of like.

To be blunt, I feel the Globalists are narrow-minded, and that they find it offensive that so many live outside their myopia. Where they are consumed by a lust for power, the powerless simply get by. The Globalists ask, “What right have the powerless to be happier?” (For indeed we are.)

The answer, (which they don’t want to hear), is that we simple bumpkins deal with Truth, which is Beauty, yet which they seek to deny. They think they have their reasons to deny the Truth about cures for the coronavirus other than their vaccine, but when their vaccine fails and other cures work, the “cure” is something called the Truth. At this point, they can either confess their error, or they can deny Truth.

At which point one wonders what low craving they are blinded by. They must know on some level that their so-called “science” has been made to look foolish. Why do they insist on stating they are not fools when, it is increasingly obvious, they are fools?

There are various theories about what motivates them, ranging from the simple pride of a person who doesn’t want to admit a mistake, to more elaborate conspiracy theories.

One theory states that the profits from vaccines are gigantic, as much as twenty dollars back for each dollar put in, and Globalists are deeply invested, and don’t want to face a crash. Another theory states all sorts of wicked results are the real intent of jabbing every person on earth. Some even state they want to reduce the world population to half a billion.

All I know is that vaccines don’t work. People get vaccinated and still get the corona virus. Back in the old days, this disqualified the jab from being even called a “vaccine.” But the new “science” decrees that the jab results in “milder cases”. How can they compare a case with what never happened? The question should be, “Have vaccinated people died?” Because some have, the vaccination failed to vaccinate. So why push it? And why push it on small children, who almost never suffer complications from the coronavirus? Especially as the vaccination has some side effects which have killed some people. This may be a “small” risk, but why expose a child to such risk at all? Simple question. Just answer the blasted question! Instead, they change the subject. For example, am I a racist?

The effectiveness of various cures are topics which, back in the glory days when doctors ruled their own hospitals, would have been freely and openly discussed after work while sipping an Old-Fashioned. Now you hear cures discussed behind the magazine rack at the local market, or on obscure uncensored sites on the internet. However, as I looked at Dr. Robe, it did not even occur to me to bring up the topic of alternative cures. He was not a brave doctor. He was just a poor man, poorer than me, striving to pay off fabulous college loans and incredible insurance costs, cursing whoever told him that being a doctor would make him respected and rich. Increasingly he is neither. Rather than respected, doctors are increasingly a laughingstock. Surely this must eat away at them. Some pity must be felt, (unless, of course, doctors seek revenge on the public.)

These may seem like odd thoughts to be drifting about my head when I had a 5% chance of meeting my Maker. But they say your whole life flashes before you, as you die, and the downfall of hospitals has been a part of my life. Also, I must say this about Dr. Robe: He did reduce my 5% worry I was dying to around 0.1%, simply by stating my ECG looked normal. This relaxed me greatly, and from then on, I was just going along for the ride, enjoying the views of how hospitals look now, compared to how they looked when I ran about the MGH in Boston as a little boy.

After asking me a robotic checklist of questions Dr. Robe droned that he wanted to be absolutely sure enzymes in my blood didn’t change in three hours, and also to make sure I didn’t have a blood clot in my lungs, by having me go through a cat scan.

I hadn’t seen the bill. ($6,402.77). I hoped insurance covered a lot, but knew somebody somewhere was making money from the nonsense. Should it cost so much to learn nothing is wrong?

In any case, Dr. Robe vanished, and I never saw him again. It was the end of his shift, and hopefully he went home to a nice wife and good backrub. But I could not go home, and texted my wife that things still looked good, but I couldn’t go to the basketball game or Bible study, because it would be at least three hours before they were done checking me over from top to bottom.

Right at this point a tiny, masked woman dressed as a nurse came to roll me off for a cat scan. This struck me as a little absurd, for it seemed a big, strong nurse like Zack should have done the rolling. But back in my boyhood men weren’t nurses. Zack would have been called an “orderly”, which may now be a sexist term. Who knows? All I knew was a tiny woman began detaching plasma bottles and saline bottles I didn’t need from a height she could barely reach on tiptoes and putting the bottles above my head on another rack she also could barely reach, attached to a bed she barely looked strong enough to roll.

Above her mask she looked a little stressed to me, and in a hurry, so I tried to think of some way to relax her. After all, as one approaches age seventy, scrawny young women one wouldn’t have looked twice at, when aged twenty, have a surprising beauty, even when you can only see their eyes and foreheads. And I know life is hard at hospitals, midst this invisible war. I evaluated her.

The little nurse seemed disinterested in conversation, only stating, “I’m taking you for your cat scan” before becoming very efficient, so it was up to me to break the ice. Something impish in me had me state, “I think I am going to like this. Will you mind it much if I squeal, ‘wheeee!’ as you roll me?”

She looked at me with severe surprise above her mask, and said, “Please don’t.”

I laughed and said, “OK I won’t, but, you see, I run a Childcare, and I am forever pulling wagons or dragging sleds full of children, and they say, “wheeee!” as I pull them, but they never pull me. So, this is a new experience for me. I think I will enjoy it very much.”

She met my eye, and the severity of the young face above the mask went through a lovely transformation. She laughed, and said, “I push strollers at home and gurneys at work.”

I replied, “Gosh! You never get a break! Well, I suppose my old age does have its advantages…” Her forehead vanished as she lowered her shoulders to push me, but I did hear a chuckle.

I must admit she pushed well, achieving speeds faster than I thought wise, and she also had an amazing ability to navigate through automatically opening doors even when she had to show some sort of badge to make them open. I didn’t say “wheeee” even once, but did at one point inquire, “National Guard?”

This was because, down from the emergency entrance, we passed the non-emergency entrance, which is not the “main entrance”, (which has been closed a long time due to the coronavirus). The non-emergency entrance is where they take your temperature and ask a slew of questions and make you put on a mask before you go to an appointment about a hangnail. And as we passed through a crossroads and I looked down towards that entrance, I saw not the usual nurses but big men in combat boots and camouflaged uniforms.

The nurse pushing me simply explained, “Yes. We’re understaffed.”

I said, “Those big fellows should be pushing the gurneys. You should be swiping the foreheads.”

“Maybe, but they can’t run the cat scan.”

“You do that too?”

“Yes.”

“You must have to do a lot when you’re understaffed.”

“Yes”

“I know some nurses who quit.”

“So do I.”

“Strange times.” There seemed little else to say about the nurses who quit when ordered to have the vaccine or the booster, (or even other vaccinated nurses, who quit when ordered to order the unvaccinated to vaccinate). It was just part of the war. I suppose, given more time, we might have discussed the various reasons which the media never talks about, but we had arrived at the cat scan, and she had a job to do.

The cat scan was a futurist looking plastic donut covered with green lights and digital readouts, and a few red lights, with a table that shifted in and out of the donut. I had to shift my old carcass to the table, which involved rearranging various wires and tubes, and also the nurse had to add a “tracer” in my blood, which involved my answering a whole slew of questions, including my date-of-birth again. (I was patient with this stuff because both my mother and father had told me of outrageous mistakes made by hospitals that weren’t careful, such as amputating the wrong leg, or the right leg from the wrong person.) I did wonder a bit what the “tracer” was, and what side-effects it might have, and why they asked so many questions about allergies. The nurse mentioned I should tell her of various side effects, including heat in my crotch or anus. I was about to ask further questions, in a hopefully disarming voice, but just then I was hit in the face by a jet of water.

In order to inject the tracer, the nurse had to loosen the saline drip, and the little tube had jumped from her fingers. “Oh! I’m so, so sorry!” she exclaimed.

“Don’t worry. I’m getting used to it. It’s the fourth time today I’ve been squirted in the face.”

Her eyebrows raised above her mask as she dabbed my face with a white towel, which I found enjoyable. When was the last time a young woman dabbed my face with a towel? My mother? Sixty years ago? She brought me back to earth by asking, “What squirted you the other times?”

I gave her the short version of replacing the pressure switch in the cellar, and by the time I was done the “tracer” was in me, so I dismissed asking about side effects. Whatever will be will be. The ‘tracer” might cause cancer (or even have been the vaccine), but there are only so many conspiracy theories a man can handle at once, and these days I’m overwhelmed.

The nurse was shifting all the tubes and wires so they wouldn’t get hung up in the donut, and we were ready to roll. I rolled in, and the machine’s robotic voice (feminine) told me to hold a deep breath, and I did, and things clicked and whirred, and the machine said “exhale”, and things whirred and clicked, and then I rolled back, and there were more clicks and whirrs and a beep, without me needing to hold my breath, but then I rolled in again and had to hold my breath again.

As I rolled in and out of this “hole” I chuckled. It occurred to me the situation could have Freudian implications. It had some similarity to sex, or perhaps birth. But that idea was so utterly absurd that it made me think that all the time I spent fifty years ago, studying thought and psychology based on Freud, and even the thought and philosophy of those who rejected Freud by fighting Freud, such as Yung and Pearls (gestalt) and Lang, was a complete waste of my time. Fifty years ago, I thought I was seeking Truth, peering deep into the subconscious, but the fact of the matter is that, when you are rolling in and out of a hole, the Truth is that you are rolling and out of a hole. Psychologists make Truth complex when it is in fact simple.

The way this idea crossed my mind made me chuckle to myself, which made the masked face of the tiny nurse pop up and regard me studiously, even as the cat scan was completed. I’m glad she didn’t ask why I chuckled. It would have taken several hours to explain Freud, Jung, Pearls and Lang, (let alone Timothy Leary). Rather than asking me any questions she (I suppose) looked for “symptoms” and became satisfied my chuckle wasn’t a symptom. After this swift appraisal of my mental state, (especially swift when compared to Freud), the little nurse vanished as she bowed her shoulders and trundled me at great speed back to where I began by the emergency entrance. When we got there, I thanked her for the ride, just as I always thanked drivers who gave me rides when I hitchhiked fifty years ago, and, just as drivers then vanished and I never saw them again, she vanished.

So there I was, back where I started, when I arrived with the simple question, “Am I having a heart attack?” Maybe now they would let me go home? Not so fast.

No sooner had the little nurse completed the task of shifting various tubes and wires from my mobile and rolling situation to my static situation, when the new Doctor came ambling in. In fact, I’ll call him Doctor Amble, because he had the ease of a refreshed man just starting his shift, which was different from Dr. Robe, at the end of his shift. This difference alone should highlight the importance of second opinions. After all, our own opinions shift, from first thing in the morning to when we go to bed weary. However, the difference in opinion between Dr. Robe and Dr. Amble was more than that, and I found it interesting to see it manifest.

Not that Dr. Amble actually said Dr. Robe was wrong. He was in fact just telling me what Dr. Robe had prescribed. Much that was prescribed I already knew, (such as the cat scan), for I had already endured it. Yet, as Dr. Amble spoke of Dr. Robe’s prescriptions, he made telling noises. He never actually said, “Pshaw”, like an old time Yankee, but made odd noises that meant the same thing. For example, he seemed to feel the cat scan was a waste of time, for he made the slightest “puh” noise as he read that prescription. He also seemed to feel a sort of scorn for the first blood test and the second one three hours later. He had a better test. Not that he said a thing to me, but I am a surgeon’s son who grew up in a hospital, and I know a second opinion when I see one. I wondered what his second opinion was, but he just told me I seemed well, but they’d need to make sure with a few more tests. Then Dr. Amble ambled off, likely unaware I was scrutinizing him more carefully than he scrutinized me, and coming up with diagnoses all my own.

For one thing, I sensed his relaxed attitude was an act. An emergency ward is a stressful place to work even during peacetime, and he was working midst an invisible war, where political pressures had doctors forced to bite their tongues and keep their second opinions to themselves. Once again, I felt I, as a patient, should pity the doctor more than the doctor pitied me, especially as I’d already learned I was well.

Apparently Dr. Amble’s second opinion involved his own way of finding out if a chest pain was due to the heart. His way was to have the patient put a tiny pellet of nitroglycerine under their tongue. If the pain vanished, there might be a problem with the heart. If the pain failed to vanish, the problem might be a pulled muscle, or heartburn due to the sort of diet which invites an ulcer.

A nitroglycerine tablet costs less than a dollar, so you can see Dr. Amble’s approach might get him in trouble with those who see medicine as a way to make big money. For example, suppose Dr. Amble’s approach was more effective than a cat scan, which involves a machine which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and an entire staff of technicians. It might seem obvious a diagnostic tool that cost a dollar would be more attractive than a tool that cost a million, but that is not how the Swamp works.

The male nurse Zack came hurrying back to where I lay, holding a tiny paper cup and a tiny bottle of tiny nitroglycerine tablets. After asking me a few questions including my date-of-birth he very carefully shook a single pill from the bottle to the paper cup and told me to put it under my tongue and allow it to dissolve, and to quickly tell him if I felt any dizziness. I did put the pill under my tongue, and then asked him if it might cause a migraine headache.

Zack looked surprised asked me why I asked that, and I told him I once was watching a crew blast granite in Maine and they told me not to stand downwind of the blast, because even a whiff of nitroglycerine might cause an instant migraine headache. He said he had never seen that, but my blood pressure had already fallen ten points. Then he asked me if my chest still hurt. I shifted about and said, yes, it still hurt the same. He shook out a second tiny pill into the cup, and after I dissolved that one under my tongue, he shook out a third.

I noticed Zack was taking great care not to touch a pill, and asked him why, and he laughed. Still keeping his eyes on the electronic display above my bed, he told me that even without touching the pills his body was absorbing enough nitroglycerine to, if he went to the airport the next day, set off alarms. He would be pulled aside as a suspected terrorist. I said it was amazing airport sensors were that sensitive and Zack agreed. Then he asked me again if the pills lessened my levels of pain, and I said not a jot, and he nodded, and left.

Soon Dr. Amble came sauntering back into the room, shuffling through a sheaf of papers in a scornful sort of way, and he said I was likely fit as a fiddle and right as rain, and that my blood tests showed no unusual enzymes, but they’d have to give me another test in an hour to see if there were any changes, and then he heaved a sigh, as if he himself thought it was a big waste of time. Then he turned and ambled out, but I thought I detected a slight slouching, as if he was under a burden.

Then I had to sit for about for an hour, which can be a little stressful for a person like me. I entertained myself by holding my breath and seeing if I could make my O2 levels drop to where it made a little light blink, but that got old, and then I drummed my fingers and fidgeted. Even though I don’t smoke any more, I’m still addicted to an occasional nicotine lozenge, but they were in my shirt on a chair six feet from the bed. Reaching that chair without unplugging various tubes and wires became an interesting challenge. I thought I had succeeded and was sucking a lozenge and back to making my O2 levels drop, when Zack came hurrying in. I asked him if he came because my O2 levels had dropped, he replied no, he came because I was dead. Apparently, I had disconnected some wire that measured my pulse. After he reconnected me, he stated it was time to take my second blood sample. As he took the tubes of blood, I asked him how long it would take the results to come in, because I wanted to tell my wife when she could pick me up. He said around an hour, so that is what I texted my wife.

Then I had to endure one of those slow hours which remind me of math class in high school. (Math was my last class of the day. Waiting for the minute hand to reach twelve was like seeing time come to a complete halt.)

Actually, it is not a bad thing to have time slow down, at this stage of my life. Usually, it feels like things happen too fast and I can’t keep up with the craziness, and I’m left gasping for time to collect my thoughts. Now I had time. Strange that the place for such peace was an emergency ward.

I made good use of the time, thinking deeply about hospitals, doctors and nurses, and what I’ve seen in sixty years. For some reason my mind kept returning to Dr. Amble, and what I might say to him to uplift him. I had a clever insight I thought I might share, a witty and pithy statement which might be short, like a sonnet, but which he might find worth mulling over afterwards. Sadly, like Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”, it was not completely delivered.

Not that I didn’t try. The moment Dr. Amble reappeared I lifted an index finger and flashed a witty smile, but he never looked up from the papers he shuffled. He came in one door and ambled in a seemingly relaxed way through the room, and out the other door, shuffling papers all the way and never looking up once. I followed him the entire way with index finger raised and witty smile, but he never noticed.

In conclusion, I heard his conclusions, but he never heard mine. He said I was fine and could go home.

A young woman I’d never seen before entered after him and detached me from all the tubes and wires, I put my shirt back on, and then she looked scandalized when I put on my jacket and was about to leave. “Where is your mask? You can’t leave without your mask!”

I had forgotten all about masks. After searching we found it, crushed on the sheets I’d spent hours laying upon. Once it was back on my face, the nurse seemed very relieved, and I was allowed to walk out to the emergency entrance.

I was uncertain which door to exit by. The same woman who was there when I entered was still there, clicking at the same keyboard, and she was able to tell me what door was acceptable. Then, five hours after I entered, I walked back out into a pattering of raindrops, and towards my wife’s car I could see idling out in the parking lot.

Did this experience lower my level of stress? Yes, in terms of worry about my chest pains. But in terms of my levels of worry about hospitals? I’m not so sure. It’s not that the people who actually work there are bad, but rather that the absentee landlords who oversee hospitals are…. Deranged?

As my wife drove me home though the inky dark, I apologized for the fact my hypochondria had cost us five hours. I said my chest still hurt, and, if I hadn’t been reassured, I likely would have worried all night and all the next day, but at least now I knew I was OK. But it should have taken 45 minutes, like it did in California in 1984. She was very nice about it, simply saying her prayers had been answered. Then she promptly discussed driving to Maine.

This had the potential to immediately increase my level of stress, partially because it involved forecasting New England weather, which is inherently stressful if the outcome matters to you. The potential for being wrong is likely greater in New England than it is for most of the rest of the world. I avoided stress by exhaling slowly and deeply, and also by avoiding making a forecast. Often it is best to simply say, “We will see in the morning.”

The trip to Maine is another story, and this one has gone on long enough. Hopefully the trip to Maine will be “Part Two” of this description of how stressful it can be to avoid stress. However, I think it is good to stop “Part One”, at this point, for it is a sort of happy ending, and I do like happy endings. What can be happier, and more stress-relieving, than to find out your chest pains do not mean you are about to die?

But gosh! It sure can be hard getting that answer! Downright stressful!

ARCTIC SEA ICE —In Memory Of Barneo—

For the fourth straight year the Barneo base on the Arctic Sea has been cancelled. It was fairly obvious that it would have to be cancelled, with Russia at war with Ukraine, and cooperation between Russia and Ukraine such a big part of what made that unique base work. As with all war, much that it is good is destroyed, and I am prompted to look back briefly at the good that was lost.

The Barneo base served three functions: Military, scientific, and tourist.

It was a military exercise in rapidly setting up an airstrip on the Arctic Sea, and deploying arctic troops on skis. Though always created on the Russian side of the Pole, it is quite obvious how advantageous such a base would be in wartime circumstances if set up, for example, off the coast of Alaska.

It was a scientific base, with boreholes drilled in the ice and various experiments set up on, in and under the ice, some of which were short term, but some of which drifted with the ice even after the base was closed in warmer weather. The “North Pole Camera” was for many years set up from the Barneo base, and sent weather reports, a GPS location, and visual pictures from April until it was retrieved by an Icebreaker down in Fram Strait, usually in September. This is how I came to first be acquainted with the Barneo base.

Lastly it was a lucrative tourist trap. Weathy individuals were willing to pay $10,000 to $40,000 for the unique experience of standing at the North Pole, or running in a marathon on the Arctic Sea, or in one case sky-diving to the ice in a wet suit and then water-diving under the ice. The base alone made roughly 60 million dollars a year in tourism, and hotels and airlines in Svalbard and Norway made more.

I always enjoyed covering the doings at the Barneo base because there was something delightfully in-your-face about jets landing on the sea-ice, when compared to the Alarmist narrative that the sea-ice was melting away. The Alarmists tended to use every crack in the sea-ice as proof the ice was thinner and more “rotten” than ever before, (and was going to melt away completely that summer, as early as 2012), and if a lead formed on the blue-ice air strip they took that as evidence as well, (for example in 2011), yet Alexander Orlov, who managed the production year after year, was never discouraged, and seemed to have an uncanny ability to handle all the problems with sea-ice shifting, logistics, and political squabbles. His death before the start of the 2018 season seemed to mark the beginning of the end.

With the advantage of 20-20 hindsight many of the squabbles were ominous hints that the current war was on the horizon, though in those happier times few people felt other people could take such petty differences to the lengths they have reached. For one thing, with 60 million dollars to be made in a mere month, few felt such money would be cast aside, but it was cast aside, even before nonsense got out of hand, and even before the difficulties created by the coronavirus appeared.

Outside of the 60 million made at Barneo, considerable money was made on Svalbard by having the rich tourists pass through on their way to the Pole, but some in Norway felt outrage about how Russians behaved in Chechnya, and this created an unwillingness to support the Barneo base, which meant Russia had to create a new support route through Franz Josef Land, and all the hotels in Svalbard lost out. How Alexander Orlov handled such squabbles must have been fascinating, but as soon as he was gone, they spiraled out of control.

Another difference which seemed almost comical at the time was the squabbles between Greenpeace and Russia. Greenpeace had the strong belief the Arctic Sea should be a pristine National Park, or perhaps World Park. while Russia felt its northern lands should be developed and that a Northeast Passage to China be made feasible by launching a fabulously expensive fleet of enormous icebreakers, some of which were nuclear powered.

The humor entered in because Russians would not, when discussing its north coast waters, use the word “development”, seeming to prefer the word “exploitation” simply because, over at Greenpeace, the word “exploitation” made heads explode. At that time some of Greenpeace’s actions were borderline-militant, as they blocked the passage of large ships with smaller boats, and even boarded ships as part of their protests. The Russian response was to simply throw the protesters in jail and serve them non-organic food. This caused problems for our State Department, but after ninety days in a Russian Prison the protesters were in no hurry to protest again.

Five years ago this did not seem likely to ever be anything other than fringe-politics, yet now things look different, and we are in a situation which we should have seen coming. The simple fact the USA is midst an energy crisis, when only 16 months ago we were energy independent, seems largely due to Greenpeace-thinking, and the simple fact Russia is making boatloads of money with its oil despite sanctions, seems largely due to its anti-Greenpeace-thinking.

Here’s a bit a good bit of detective work I did, concerning an uproar Russia generated when a Ukrainian jet crashed at Barneo, “polluting” the arctic.

And here is another post from that year, hinting at the problems Alexander Orlov had to deal with,

Much more can be discovered simply by searching this site using the word “Barneo”, but my conclusion is that the entire situation is very sad, and that I side with neither side.

What is my side? Well, I’ve been doing a lot of serious thinking about that subject. I will likely devote a long and tedious future-post to my thoughts. In essence it is that Truth should never be denied for the sake of an “agenda”, and an “agenda” should never hide its true aims. (If you worry about over population and your agenda includes reducing the world population by eight and a half billion, you should just say so, just in case someone has an alternative idea which is better, which it might do you good to hear.)

Also, I shall soon write a post about the sea-ice maximum, which is currently occurring, or has already occurred.

However, my main reason for this post is to express my sadness about what war costs us, not merely in terms of the physical destruction of life and property (which the sensationalist media smears all over the screen), but also in humbler terms, terms involving the quality of our lives, and our ability to study simple truths, and enjoy simple things.

OLD SONG APT FOR TODAY

I was listening to this fifty-year-old Randy Newman song today, and something about it seemed strangely prophetic. It was not so much the rational of the song, but the heart of the song. Not that the Swamp seems to be anything but selfish and heartless, but the heart of the Heartland has a power beyond the ken of so-called rational people, spoken more clearly by music than words.

RETROGRADE VENUS: THE POWER OF AUDE LANG SYNE

Venus is taking the plunge. After blazing in the evening sky as a marvelous Christmas-like star, it is swooping low, for it is about to cross between the earth and the sun. In fact, if you had the superb vision the homerun-hitter Ted Williams had, (I don’t), you would notice the orb of the planet enlarged as it aproached, which at first would make it brighter, but also you would notice it becoming a crescent, which, like the moon, makes it dimmer, (although Venus does not stay the same size as the moon does, but gets bigger and bigger as it approached the earth in the process of orbiting around to cross before the sun, when it is at its nearest.) It makes me wish I had eyes like Ted Williams, but all that my dim eyes can see is that the star, which not many days ago was high in the evening sky, is now sinking down into the ruddy glow of the twilight. From experience I know it will soon vanish, and not long afterwards the ruddy glow of morning twilight will witness the birth of a new morning star, rising higher and higher.

If you are into astrology this is a big deal, for it doesn’t happen every year, and also Venus is the planet controlling love, and to have it come so close to the earth has certain effects. I used to poke my nose into this subject, but discovered that, when it came to gaining any sort of advance warning, I had better luck predicting the weather, (and I wasn’t so good at that, either). But I still watch the stars, as they wheel and deal, because they are worthy of wonder, (but not worship.)

One interesting thing about the time Venus swings around to pass between us and the sun is that the planet is going the opposite way the sun is going, against the background of stars.

In actual fact the sun is not going, we are the ones going, but, as we swing around the sun it looks like the sun is moving. (Move your head, and it will look like an object halfway across the room is moving, against the far wall, though that object does not budge.) Because the earth moves 360 degrees around the sun, it appears the sun moves 360 degrees against the background of distant stars. This movement is steady and in one direction, through the twelve signs of the zodiac. Currently the sun is plodding through the thirty degrees astrologers call the sign, “Capricorn”, at a rate of roughly a degree a day. On the solstice the sun was at zero degrees, and the next day it is at one degree, and the next day at two degrees, and so on. Pretty simple.

But Venus is not so simple. As it swung around the sun it appeared, against the background of stars, to rush well ahead of the sun, until was more than forty degrees ahead, and shone high in the evening sky. But as Venus curves around it can only get so far from the sun before it reaches a limit (greatest elongation) and then seems to draw back towards the sun as it curves towards us. In terms of the background of stars it looks like it goes slower and slower, until it stops and appears to go backwards. (Retrograde motion). In reality it never goes backwards, however it looks like it is, in terms of the background of stars. It nearly gets to 26 degrees of Capricorn, and then, as it passes before the sun, it retreats to 11 degrees of Capricorn before, in the morning sky, the arc of its orbit, as it heads away from the earth, creates the illusion it is no longer heading backwards but forwards again, in terms of the background of stars. In terms of the morning sky it is still rising higher and higher, and becoming brighter and more glorious. However, in terms of background called “Capricorn”, the “retrograde” period is over. In terms of astrology, a second period some call the “shadow” occurs as Venus appears to retrace its movement from 11 degrees of Capricorn back to where it began at nearly 26 degrees of Capricorn. But in terms of the “closest approach” to earth, the excitement is over.

In terms of gravity, the slight tug of the “close passage” fades, and I stop looking for earthquakes. I say that as sort-of-a-geologist, who more disciplined and trained geologists might roll their eyes at. But occasionally my madcap observations even pekes a trained geologist’s interest. I tend to notice stray coincidences they did not note.

I like to be free and free people notice stray coincidences by-the-book people don’t. However, I also understand the risk of being so haphazard. No conclusion should be based on what you have only seen happen once, (because scientific discipline demands replication), and yet how much occurs because of once-in-a-lifetime events?

Therefore, I am of two minds. I observe, but also question:

One “event” I’ve observed occurs during the “retrograde” period of the planet Venus deserves questioning, but, for what it is worth, it is this: When Venus draws nearest earth, we earthlings inexplicably seem to be sentimentally drawn backwards; IE: In one way or another we are drawn down memory lane. Even if we have rejected our past, some person from the past reappears. It may be a dear friend, or some complete jackass. But for a time, we are distracted from going forward, by our past.

I would ask you to test this out for me. The current retrograde period of Venus started on December 19 and will end on January 29 (with the “shadow” ending on March 1.) But such a test is a bit foolish, for this period covers Christmas and New Year’s, which tends to be a period when people get together with those they haven’t seen in a year. Even for dysfunctional families, ’tis the season for dysfunction. So, the theory would be prone to verify, even if the planet Venus mysteriously exploded and vanished from the sky.

Instead, as it is it the season of “Aud Lang Syne”, I want to focus on the oddness of looking backwards, rather than forwards. It makes no sense, when you think of it. Who drives ahead focused on the rear-view-mirror?

Furthermore, often the past has held some trauma I deeply want to escape, and looking backwards is PTSD, a nightmare, a glob in my subconscious that rears up and drags me backwards. What good can come of looking back?

The good is something called “reconciliation”, which doesn’t fit the idea of PTSD. Rather than a nightmare, the past holds some semblance of sanity.

The very word “reconciliation” suggests the powers that divide us are overcome. The “Re” in “Reconciliation” is important. The word suggests those who were divided come together AGAIN. The peace which was shattered by war comes back AGAIN. The sweet love made ugly by divorce returns AGAIN. The focus is on a better way to be that existed BEFORE.

As a sometimes-bitter old man running a Childcare, I am often confronted by the reality of children in the BEFORE state. A few are sadly already traumatized, but most cannot suffer PTSD, as they live in a BEFORE. I have no idea what trauma may occur in their futures, nor what variation of PTSD that future trauma may create, but it is very obvious to me that the less trauma in their future the better, and that humans, down at their core, are the antithesis of trauma.

In other words, down at our core trauma is not what we are, but rather something which happens to us.

Therefore, the trick of looking backwards is to look past the trauma, which is a cause of PTSD and can be used as an excuse for bitterness (and even as an excuse to further war, which creates further trauma), and to see, past the trauma, reconciliation.

To arrive at this reconciliation is no easy thing, when we deal with people who strike us as assholes and jerks. To be honest, they seemingly deserve vengeance, a pop in the snoot. And, as I have a fiery temperament, I am far more inclined in that direction than towards what is conducive to reconciliation. When someone has screwed me over big time, I am not inclined to be forgiving in the slightest. Yet reconciliation is all about forgiving.

To be honest (and this is worthy of its own post) the only way I have learned to be forgiving is to be stuck with people for decades, with no chance of escape. (Many do not have this opportunity, as they live transient lives and never know their neighbors.) However, I have lived in the same town for over thirty years now. There are certain town characters who were jerks thirty years ago, and despite the efforts of many to reform them, are still jerks today. Yet, as strange as it sounds, when they now behave like a jerk I feel a fondness I never could have dreamt I could ever feel, when they behaved like a jerk thirty years ago. Rather than familiarity breeding contempt, it has seemingly bred forgiveness. In some way I have given up hope of ever reforming them, and making them model citizens, and am resigned to them being jerks. And apparently being resigned is important, on the road to reconciliation.

The people you are most stuck with, even if you are transferred hither and yon by the military or big business, are your brothers and sisters. And, as a baby-boomer, I had three brothers and two sisters, and all had to deal with the family jerk, who just so happened to be me. All efforts to make me a model citizen failed. And now we have gotten old. Rather than despising me, they are resigned to the fact I am what I am, and from that resignation has seemingly sprung the beauty of reconciliation.

Blame the planet Venus if you will, but reconcilliantion struck me as the most astounding thing. Here I was, the epitome of what defines a dysfunctional family as dysfunctional, returning to what seemed likely to be a furtherance of dysfunction, and it simply failed to happen. Instead, this year, we simply enjoyed ourselves. They enjoyed me and I enjoyed them.

It shouldn’t be so hard. It shouldn’t take a half century. It shouldn’t take Venus retrograde. All it takes is “a cup of kindness.”

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=should+old+acquaintance+be+forgot+song&&view=detail&mid=72C29010AB0BC56565E772C29010AB0BC56565E7&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dshould%2520old%2520acquaintance%2520be%2520forgot%2520song%26%26FORM%3DVDVVXX

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Man-Eating Walrus–

Photo Credit: Joel Garlich-Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

I confess the title of this piece is intended to be click-bait. Not that there is not such a thing as a man-eating walrus, but I am primarily aiming at undoing the damage done to me by censors in control of Google search engines, and sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Somebody somewhere has decided that there must be no questioning of the theory of Global Warming, and I apparently have been deemed such a questioner.

Not that I am able to adhere to the discipline of strictest science. Mostly, often in an intentionally silly way, I merely point out stupidities. The media makes little attempt to fact-check, when it comes to such politically correct narratives such as the theory of Global Warming, and it is quite easy for even a rank amateur such as myself to point out glaring inconsistencies between their narrative and recorded history. So, I have done so, often in a spirit of good-natured fun, and apparently made enough people chuckle so that even my silly posts might get 500 views, and one post even got 5000. But then the censorship hit, and now I’m lucky to get 50.

This seems unfair to me, and to violate Free Speech, and so on and so forth until I have worked myself into such a tizzy that I decide to fight fire with fire, and to utilize the irresistible click-bait of man-eating walruses. I figure this will overwhelm the capacity of analog censors to silence me, and I may reach a few people actually interested in sea-ice, besides the many who will be drawn by man-eating walruses.

I happen to know a thing or two about walruses because my mind has a strange capacity to absorb trivia, and trivia about trivia, and even trivia about trivia about trivia. Originally my interest was Greenland Vikings.

Greenland Vikings were able to raise several thousand cattle, and over a hundred thousand sheep and goats, on Greenland during the first decades after the year 1000. We can’t do that any more. This tidbit of history is a historical fact that the media failed to recognize, while touting the narrative that it is warmer now than it was in the Medieval Warm Period. It may indeed be the fact that got me censored.

But my further investigation of Greenland Vikings noticed they survived even when their cattle, sheep and goats didn’t do so well, as the climate slumped towards the Little Ice Age. They turned to trading, and one thing they had which Europe thirsted for was walrus ivory. This led to many delightful sidetracks involving walrus ivory, which of course led on to further trivia about the actual walruses the ivory came from.

(If you are interested in sculpted walrus ivory from the twelfth century, run “Lewis Chesspieces” through your search engine.)

One bit of trivia that delighted me was how the Europeans envisioned that the creature the tusks came from appeared. Many of us know the legend of the unicorn sprang from tusks of narwhales, but what sprang from the tusks of walruses?

One legend was the legend of the “morse”, which apparently slept while hanging by its tusks from cliffs. (Of course, I came across this because the Alarmist media was stating Global Warming was causing large numbers of walruses to fall from cliffs in Russia.) In any case, here is a somewhat skeptical discussion of the “morse”, as seen in the fifteenth century:

One thing I noticed about the ancient descriptions about walruses was that they were described as meat-eaters, who might even chow down on a man. This seemed very different from the modern view, which sees them as practically vegan in their tastes. But I knew they did eat clams, and clams are meat. So, I decided to dig deeper. Did, perchance, they dine on other meats? A crab, perhaps? Or a lobster?

That was when my sidetracking got a bit of a surprise. I discovered certain walruses will eat seals. After all, a walrus weighs two tons, and a small seal is only a hundred pounds. It is easy to see who would win that battle. However, did they only scavenge dead seals, when at the point of starvation? Or did they go out of their way to hunt living seals? And here I got another surprise. Some of the biggest male walruses, with the broadest shoulders, seem to say “to hell with clams”, and prefer seals.

Of course, my skeptical side rears his head, but here is a summary of a paper by two scientists, published back in 1984:

One sentence from the article intreagued me. It was this:

“Our findings from the stomachs indicated that seal eating was 10 to 100 times more common during the 1970’s and early 1980’s (0.6–3.0%, N=645) than it had been in the previous three decades (0.07–0.20%, N=4015).”

This may demonstrate how far trivia leads me afield, and you may ask, “What does that have to do with sea-ice?

The answer is that sea-ice expanded to a high point in 1979. The media was producing sensationist articles about a “Coming Ice Age”, rather than “Global Warming.” And the expansion of sea-ice meant there was less open water for walrus to hunt clams in. It also meant that seals and walrus were crowded together. So what was a poor walrus to do?

Now we come to the crux of the matter. Could a walrus mistake a human for a seal, and attempt to chow down on a man? And, because walrus were equally stressed back when the Medieval Warm Period’s open waters were giving way to the Little Ice Age’s thick ice, (ice which led to Iceland being icebound and ice fairs on the Thames in London), could not the poor walruses become so ferocious that they resembled the “morse” of lore?

Sadly, I couldn’t find a single example of a man-eating walrus on the web. And if you can’t even find it on the web, where you can find many unlikely things, then it likely isn’t worth thinking further about. So I stopped looking, although, as I have explained, trivia has an odd habit of persisting and lurking about in the dimmer recesses of my mind. But I gave it no further thought, until……TODAY!!!

Today I was just lurking around during my spare time (which I have too little of) looking for sanity on sea-ice sites (which there is also too little of) and I visited the zoologist Susan Crawford’s “Polar Bear Science”, to see what the polar bears were up to. It just so happened that she recommended an old video from 1986, “back when science hadn’t become so political.” I thought that might be a refreshing change and sat back to watch.

This video, called “Edge Of Ice” by William Hansen, is about the wildlife of Lancaster Sound, well north of Hudson Bay. Like many nature-documentaries it includes long spells of music where the narrator seems to have fallen asleep, but I didn’t mind because I happen to like views of sea-ice, especially underwater views. But what was especially unique was that it was not merely the narrator talking (where often one feels the narrator has never visited the arctic) but it also included the voice of an actual Inuit, describing how he hunted on the edge of the ice. And this Inuit, in a most offhand manner, casually mentions that one needs to be wary of walrus, for they can eat a man. It is amazing how casual it is; the music doesn’t even pause or become more dramatic; it is as casual as it would have been if he stated “Water freezes when it gets cold.”

If you want to see it for yourself, watch the wonderful video. (Hint: it is towards the end of the first half; and the video is 55 minutes long.)

To conclude, yes, it may be possible Walruses indeed do eat people. Not that I say this with any scientific certainty, but I say it in my mischievous manner, hoping to stimulate discussion. Science is all about discussion, as imagination wages its ceaseless battle with reality. Is such a thing possible? Well, let’s talk about it. Why not? Why censor?

I likely should end with a disclaimer, just in case any walruses are reading this. I am not saying that walruses want to eat us. After all, Great White Sharks don’t want to eat us; it just so happens that a surfer in a black wet suit resembles the seals the Great White Shark wants; apparently we don’t taste all that good, and the shark swiftly spits us out, but alas, by then it is too late. The damage has been done. And perhaps the same is true for walruses. Further research is needed. Please send funding.