C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Data Is In - So?

Did the nation overreact to the pandemic?

Scott W. Atlas, M.D., formerly professor and Chief of Neuroradiology at Stanford University, now a health care policy Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank, presents "five key facts" about the pandemic in this opinion piece published on The Hill political journalism website.  He begins with these startling statistics:
Five key facts are being ignored by those calling for continuing the near-total lockdown.

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

The recent Stanford University antibody study now estimates that the fatality rate if infected is likely 0.1 to 0.2 percent, a risk far lower than previous World Health Organization estimates that were 20 to 30 times higher and that motivated isolation policies.

In New York City, an epicenter of the pandemic with more than one-third of all U.S. deaths, the rate of death for people 18 to 45 years old is 0.01 percent, or 10 per 100,000 in the population. On the other hand, people aged 75 and over have a death rate 80 times that. For people under 18 years old, the rate of death is zero per 100,000.

Of all fatal cases in New York state, two-thirds were in patients over 70 years of age; more than 95 percent were over 50 years of age; and about 90 percent of all fatal cases had an underlying illness. Of 6,570 confirmed COVID-19 deaths fully investigated for underlying conditions to date, 6,520, or 99.2 percent, had an underlying illness.

If you do not already have an underlying chronic condition, your chances of dying are small, regardless of age. And young adults and children in normal health have almost no risk of any serious illness from COVID-19.
I have no expertise in epidemiology, so I make no claims about the truthfulness of this article.  It is thought-provoking, though.  You can read it and form your own opinion, taking into consideration other facts and points of view.

Also in the news:  Navy hospital ship in New York Harbor discharges, transfers last patients

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Sunday Drive: Be Still, My Soul

Sometimes I find the simplest arrangements are the best; here is such a version of a beloved hymn, with English lyrics from 1855.

A Prayer for Spiritual Reception of Communion

In union, dear Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where your blessed Body and Blood are being offered to the Father, I desire to offer you praise and thanksgiving. I present to you my soul and body, with the earnest wish that I may ever be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I pray you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you, and embrace you with all the affections of my soul. O let nothing ever separate me from you. Let me live and die in your love. Amen.

--from St. James's Episcopal Church, New York City,
which is currently providing Sunday Eucharist online

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sunday Drive: Schubert, Ave Maria

As performed in Rome in 1994 by the late, great Luciano Pavarotti:

Friday, April 17, 2020

On Second Thought . . .

By Matt Wuerker from Politico -
click to enlarge.

Wouldn't it be nice if, after the plague has receded, we finally got honest-to-God national healthcare coverage in this country? Not the Band-Aid of Obamacare, but the real thing.

Don't take no for an answer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Pork Boys Do Easter, 2020

Despite unseasonably dreary weather and assorted aches and pains, M.P. as usual worked like a Trojan for three days last week to turn out a beautiful Easter feast for us.  Here, let me show you.

A few weeks ago, M.P. providently picked up the only lamb to be found at the grocery store, a pair of shanks.  These are a bit tricky to make tender, so he first marinated them for two days in red wine, rosemary, thyme, and garlic.  Then on Sunday morning he seared them in a skillet before putting them into the oven to cook low and slow for about four hours.  Here they are ready to go in the hole.

After a cloudy start, Easter Day was bright and sunny and warm - but above is the forecast, which proved quite correct:  a forty-degree drop after nightfall.  The lamb roasting comfortably in the oven, we went out for an hour's drive through the green, leafy countryside, admiring suitably picturesque Texas vistas dotted with assorted cows, horses, and feathery mesquite trees.  I had a good time, it being a rare daytime excursion for your Head Trucker, who is usually confined to the scullery here at home.  Well, somebody has to wash all these dishes and scrub all these pots and pans, you know.  That's how I earn my keep.

After sundown, the electric fireplace was just the thing to keep the chill at bay, and a mantel full of candles cast a charming glow about the room - though not quite as brightly as it appears in this photograph.

Now let's see, is the table all set and ready?  Candles, wine, butter, mint jelly, flowers and herbs, all where they should be?  Yes, I think so.  And notice the paper napkins M.P. worked on for hours to fold and roll in the  shape of Easter lilies - so pretty.  Well, all's ready in here, so we can start with the appetizers.

We begin, of course, with the Pork Boys' favorite appetizer, deviled eggs, accompanied by green and black olives, baby dill pickles, chicken-and-cream-cheese roll-ups, and cheddar, cranberry, and jalapeno cheese slices.  Yum.

Did we put the soup spoons on the table?  Just a moment, let me check.  Oh yes, they're there.  Fine.  Bring the soup bowls and let's begin.

The first course was lavender-lemon consomme, made from homemade chicken stock, perfectly clear and rather fragrant.  It was accompanied by homemade croutons and delightful little whitefish patties (minced tilapia) topped with grated white cheddar and Asiago cheeses.  Luscious.

Is the lamb ready?  Oh yes, certainly, and just as tender as you please.  And oh, that aroma!  Do cut me off that nice juicy part right there.  Thanks.

Are we all set now?  Fine, let's dig in.

From the six o'clock position:  roast lamb, garlic mashed potatoes (15 cloves!) with pan gravy from the lamb drippings; fried crook-necked squash with a cream-basil-sage sauce; Brussels sprouts with Thousand Island dressing (try it, you'll like it); and homemade croissants.  Scrumptious!  At upper left, a banana-pear salad in a sweet, creamy sauce.

Sometime later, after much good eating, conversation, and cigarettes, at last it was time for the piece de resistance:  M.P.'s famous Lemon Mousse, a light, delicate sensation of foamy sweetness that was simply sublime:  the perfect end to a delightful meal.  I wish I could hand each of my truckbuddies a glass of it.

And so, as the blue light of early dawn was seeping through the blinds, we concluded our feast with grateful hearts for another happy evening of light and joy in a gloomy old world.  I hope all of you had a lovely day and dinner, too.

What's that you say?  The dishes?  Oh we simply left them in the sink.  And I just now got them all finally washed up and put away tonight.  You can do that when you're retired!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday 2020

The Incredulity of St. Thomas, Guercino, 1621

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, sings what is for many of us who still cling to the Faith, however tenuously, the essential Easter hymn:

I wish peace, light, and joy to all my truckbuddies.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Cowboy Up, Part VI

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:

Cowboy Up

Chapter 6. Endgame

Detail from Brokeback Mountain special edition by SpyrousSeraphim.  My thanks.

Summary:  The title says it all, really.  The last chapter and the mystery of Piers Nivans is finally revealed.  It's sad in places, but hopefully you'll find the end uplifting.  A new game awaits.

Claire looked on in shock as the handsome face of Piers Nivans was slowly revealed by the image scrolling down her computer screen.  A Piers Nivans who had died sixteen years ago.  She couldn't believe it, she certainly didn't understand it.

"Keep calm, Claire, it's a mistake, or his father, or uncle, or something equally logical.  It's not Piers, how could it possibly be?"  But the eyes, they were unmistakable.  And those two little moles on his left cheek.  Whoever it was was identical.  The same color hair, the same golden skin.  It was Piers.

Continued after the jump . . .

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Queen's Broadcast, 4/5/20

The Queen spoke to the British nation and the Commonwealth in a broadcast from Windsor Castle today:

We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

The Queen made a touching reference to her first broadcast via radio, addressed to the children of embattled Britain in 1940 when she was 14 years old; her sister, Princess Margaret, age 10, chimes in at the end:

Sunday Drive: Vivaldi, NIsi Dominus

Truckbuddy Tim kindly suggested today's musical offering:  Andreas Scholl singing the largo from Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus, an apt work for our troubled times.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Cowboy Up, Part V

A guest post by my truckbuddy Tim from England, now resident in Spain:
Cowboy Up

Chapter 5.  The Simple Tenses

Detail from Brokeback Mountain special edition by SpyrousSeraphim.  My thanks.

Summary:  The Simple Tenses:  Past, Present and Future.  They all seem to be coming together at the Lazy-R.  Chris Redfield is more concerned with living in the present, whilst sister Claire plans for a brighter future.  But is the past catching up with the beguiling Piers Nivans?

Previously:  Andy and Piers both stopped joshing the moment they walked into the kitchen.  Chris had his back to them.  He was holding Claire tightly.  Her head lay on his shoulder, and she was crying ... .


Claire looked up as they entered, and smiled through her tears.  She saw that Andy had his arm around Piers' shoulders, they seemed to have sorted things out between them.  She beckoned them in with a hand.

"It's OK boys, these are happy tears.  C'mon, group hug."

Andy looked somewhat embarrassed.  Claire fixed him with the look.  "Would you refuse a lady's request Andy Walker?"

"Um, I reckon not Miss Claire, if'n you puts it that way."

"I do!"

They all embraced.

"Are we good Andy?" Chris asked his old foreman.

"Yes, Boss.  Didn't rightly know what to think a'fer, but your young fella set me to rights."  Piers smiled.  And so did Claire.

"Bless you Piers, you've bought my old brother back, thank you." she said

The hazel eyes whirled, "It's meant to be."  Piers said simply.

Claire couldn't be sure, only she thought there was a hint of sadness in Piers' voice.  But she was feeling emotional, and she quickly dismissed the thought as they all sat down to supper for the second time that evening.  She was just pleased to see her brother so happy and content.

During the meal, as the men noisily helped themselves to the beef stew and vegetable hash she'd prepared, Claire tried to collect her thoughts.  She didn't want to steal Chris and Piers' thunder; but she had important news of her own too.  She'd practiced the pouty face, in case Chris proved stubborn.  Given his joyful mood at present, she hoped it wouldn't come to the giving him the sisterly hell!

Continued after the jump . . .

Related Posts with Thumbnails