Plagues in perspective

THERE WAS A global pandemic in 1957-58, an H2N2 virus. The estimated death toll was 1.1 million. I was 13-14 years old, and I do not remember it. Do you? If you weren’t born yet, ask your mom and dad.

In 1968, an H3N2 virus caused another pandemic. It killed an estimated 1 million to 4 million globally which, yes, is a very wide range, and about 100,000 in the United States, most of whom were over age 65. Sound familiar? I was 24 years old, married with a daughter. I do not remember this pandemic. Do you?

Why are they forgotten?

During those pandemics, nations did not clobber their own economies nor force citizens to stay home and wear face masks to walk outside. What has changed? Communication has changed. And we’re scaring ourselves out of our wits.

This year we have the coronavirus, which has killed about 700,000 worldwide and about 159,000 in the United States, and it seems to be winding down in many places. In Mexico, 48,000 have died, which is one of the world’s highest tolls.

Mexico’s GDP has taken a terrific hit due to forced business closures.

To put that global death toll of 700,000 in perspective, it’s about midway between the populations of Albuquerque and Austin. For the whole world, which houses 7 billion, 800 million and change, people-wise.

Following is a brief video from the inimitable Katie Hopkins. She is addressing a ham-fisted shutdown in Melbourne, Australia, where lockdown has reached stellar absurdity.

The sex-change fad

AT TIMES, I am so perceptive I stun myself.

Last week, I left a comment on someone else’s blog to the effect that sex change, or transgendering in NewSpeak, has become a fad. That inspired another reader to call me a rude word. I am unrepentant. I had no specific evidence, but I keep my ears to the ground on cultural issues, and the ground had told me that transgendering is now a fad.

New ImageAnd, by Jove, a few days later the New York Post published a piece on this very topic, that transgendering has skyrocketed in the Western world over the past 10 years, especially among teenage girls, that demographic most susceptible to fads.

And schools, radical as they now are, push this issue.

Public schools peddle gender ideology with a fervor that would make a preacher blush. — Abigail Shrier in the New York Post.

Did you know that some schools stage assemblies to celebrate “gender journeys”?

Good God Almighty!

Not just schools but social media “gurus” promote this. The teen years are difficult at best, and the considerable angst felt by adolescent girls hitting puberty is now being used by the nuttier elements of society, especially the LGBT people. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of gender surgeries for girls quadrupled in the United States. In the United Kingdom, “gender dysphoria” among teen girls increased 4,400 percent in a decade.

The girls are not coming up with this nincompoopery on their own.

You can read the disturbing piece in the New York Post right here.

“A police-free future”

FROM THE Star-Tribune in Minneapolis yesterday:


In their boldest statement since George Floyd’s killing, nine Minneapolis City Council members told a crowd Sunday that they will “begin the process of ending the Minneapolis Police Department.”

“We recognize that we don’t have all the answers about what a police-free future looks like, but our community does,” they said, reading off a prepared statement. “We’re committed to engaging with every willing community member in the City of Minneapolis over the next year to identify what safety looks like for you.”


Those nine members make up a veto-proof majority of the Democrat-dominated Minneapolis City Council.

Felipe’s been distracted

GOTTA INQUIRY from a reader today, Dave Davis, wondering why it’s been silent here for a week. I’ve been busy with other things. That’s all.

For instance, yesterday we drove down the mountainside to the nearby state capital to see the movie Joker, especially since so many leftists are hysterical about it and the bad example they say it sets. People might even shoot up the theaters, they howled and wept.

Crazy people do bad things with guns, you know, and it’s the fault of the guns.*

jokerI fail to understand the hubbub about the movie. It was reported to be very violent. It isn’t.

There are four murder scenes, no more. In two of them, a pistol is used, and I didn’t see any blood whatsoever. Also, a suffocation. Again, no blood. A knife was used in the fourth, and it got a bit grim, but by modern, anything-goes standards, the flick’s almost PG.

You want to see violence? Watch Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 cult classic The Wild Bunch. Now there is a violent movie, one which I love, by the way.

Joker is similar to the 1976 movie Taxi Driver in that both are about losers who descend into homicidal madness. Taxi Driver and Joker are about equal on the violence scale. And Taxi Driver‘s star, Robert Di Niro, has a role in Joker. Coincidence?

Joker is very dark and grim, not suitable for young children for that reason. It’s less about violence than it is about insanity. The movie’s finale was too drawn-out. Otherwise, it was interesting, and Joaquin Phoenix is a very good actor.

* * * *

I’ve also been busy with time-consuming computer matters. A word-processing program I’ve used for years, and on which I had some important documents saved, decided recently to display everything garbled. I could find no solution. Luckily, I also have hard copies of most of the documents, but they’ll have to be typed all over again.

Now I’m using Zoho Writer. I gave other options a test drive, but Zoho won out. It’s an Indian company if you don’t know. Nice document program. Free.

I also investigated browser options. I’m a browser junkie. My primary goal always is to dodge anything Google, and that includes the Chrome browser. I had been using it a short spell due to my previous browser, Comodo Icedragon, disappointing me.

First, I decided on Brave, and it worked well for a week or more till one morning I turned on my H-P desktop, and it simply was not there. It wasn’t anywhere on my desktop machine. Poof! Gone! How strange. I liked it too. Lovers disappoint you.

I downloaded it again, but now I cannot trust it. It’s a backup.

I returned to Chrome, short-term. It is reliable, reliably good, reliably evil. Chrome is a nosy parker. If you open Chrome, take a moment to open your task manager. You’ll find a long list of Google Chrome things running quietly in the background like mice, and if you close Chrome completely, they keep on running. They don’t close when the browser does.

Your life is their cheese. No other browser I’ve tried does that. Not even Firefox.

I’ve settled on a new browser that’s working quite well, a lot like Chrome. You can even use Chrome extensions, which is great. My new browser is Yandex, a product out of Russia. I had tested Yandex a couple of years ago, but it was too Russian, the language.

But it’s improved a lot!

Now you can set it to come up in English nearly always. Occasionally, it will display something in Russian, but it immediately translates it into English. It works very much like Chrome but with some nifty, additional features.

I imagine you’re using Chrome or Firefox and always will. They’re like Facebook and Twitter. They get their claws into you, and you submit like a putz. Sad.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, Dave. Movie-going and online investigating: word-processing and browsers. Also, some yard work and the afternoon visits to the plaza downtown to sit with coffee and my Kindle. It keeps the old boy busy.

* * * *

* A parable: A flock of sheep noticed that wolves came into the pasture at night and ate some of their fellow sheep. The sheep noticed that wolves have teeth, so the sheep decided to pull out their own teeth. They felt safe after doing that. But not for long.