The Arrow #167

Hello friends,

Greetings from Montecito.

Okay, before we get to the meat of today’s issue of everyone’s favorite newsletter, I’ve got a little housekeeping to go through. All, of course, involving the new platform.

Before I get into the handful of issues, I’ve got to quote from a comment I got from last week’s poll. The person who wrote it had wonderfully kind things to say about the content both before and after the quote below.

Feedback for this week's issue is that it's your newsletter and up to you to do the behind-the-scenes work on the ins and out of your provider. Particularly for paid subscribers. So I only gave you 3 stars this week because I think you should have done more due diligence and known better how your new system worked before making the switch, rather then going on at length about the features missing on it vs. Substack, etc.

Mea culpa. She’s got a point. But in my defense, since The Arrow is a weekly newsletter requiring a lot of time to write and even more time to research, I was under a major time constraint. I had to move everything within one week, and it was vastly more time intensive on my part than I expected for all kinds of reasons. My options were to spend most of my not-working-on-the-transfer time figuring out all the nuances of the new platform, or writing on The Arrow. I chose the latter.

Consequently, as all kinds of issues arose after people got the first newsletter after the switchover, I felt I needed to deal with these publicly, so folks would know the process was going to improve. Thus the long explanations of the differences between the current platform and Substack.

After having been chastised, I’ll try to make the following updates brief. I get a lot of emails from folks who are having issues, so I suspect many more have the same issues, but just don’t write me about them.

One big difference between this platform and the last is that the last one, Substack, has code that accepts a lot of older and outdated browsers. This new one doesn’t, so some people who are loath to update their browsers regularly—my lovely wife, for example—end up not being able to access some of the links and/or graphics. Before I send The Arrow out, I check it on Chrome, Brave, and Safari to make sure everything works. But I keep those browsers updated constantly. If you’re having trouble with links and/or graphics, check to make sure your browser is up to date. If it is not, update. If it is, reboot your computer.

I have a rip-snorting, top-of-the-line MacBook Pro, which replaced my old MacBook Pro when it ran out of memory. The old MacBook Pro almost never, ever had to be rebooted, but I have to reboot the new one about once every two weeks or so to keep it working as it should. Computers vary. So, reboot, as I do anytime I run into a failure to upload problem.

Another issue that has popped up involves the change of an email address. As it stands now, there is no way for regular subscribers to change their email addresses. I can easily do it for you, so if you need to change it, email me at [email protected] and I’ll get it changed. If you are a premium subscriber, which is what the new platform calls paid subscribers, then it’s a bit more complicated. You’ll have to email me, then I’ll have to email customer support, and they’ll change your email. I’ve got one of these in process right now, and it takes a couple of days. The customer service lady I’m dealing with assures me that they are working diligently to get this so that both paid and unpaid subscribers can change their own email addresses on their own. No date (or ETA, as she called it) on the horizon.

One last issue. There are two ways to comment on any issue of The Arrow. You can comment in the comments section, which is public. People can reply to your comment, and you can reply to their reply to yours. I try to jump in there and interact as much as I can.

The second way to comment is through the poll that I put up at the bottom. I didn’t realize it when I put the poll up asking about my performance on a given issue of the newsletter, but readers are given the opportunity to comment after they’ve voted.

I had no idea this was a possibility. I found out about it by clicking all the buttons I could find in the various dashboards the platform provides me to see how many subscribers, clicks, etc. There was a tab that said Polls, which I figured would provide me with a breakdown of how many people voted which way. Which it did, but to the right of that was a window that was titled Replies. Under it were a ton of comments. The comment above about my not having my act together re the new platform came in that way.

I got an email from another reader who wrote that she had written a long, laudatory comment about The Arrow that had simply vanished. She went to the regular Comments section and couldn’t find it, so she thought it had vanished and wrote to tell me the Comments section wasn’t working. I found it in the Poll comments.

If you make a comment at the bottom of the Poll, I’ll see it, but I can’t respond. If you make a comment in the Comment section at the bottom of the actual post, everyone can see it. And respond to it. But I typically keep that available for paid subscribers.

Okay, that’s about it for the housekeeping. It should get shorter and shorter each week as all of us accommodate to the new platform, which I’m starting to understand better and like a lot.

Broken Science Initiative Meeting

MD and I spent last weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona at a Broken Science Initiative Epistemology Camp. It was a small gathering of folks (see photo above) who are concerned about the terrible state of scientific publication these days.

There were only a few speakers who made formal presentations. The rest of the time we all spent discussing the dismal state of scientific research integrity and what could be done about it.

Since it was such a small gathering, we ended up spending a lot of time with folks we don’t get to see too often. I got to talk to Tom Seyfried and Bob Kaplan a long time the first day we were there. We spent a bit of time with Matt Briggs and his wife. Then the second day we had lunch with Jay Bhattacharya and Bob Kaplan. Then dinner that night with Malcolm Kendrick and Roger Kimball. And, of course, we spent time with our friend Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit and the moving force behind the Broken Science Initiative (BSI) along with his right hand woman, journalist Emily Kaplan, who makes everything run on time.

On the last day as we were all gathering up our stuff to head back to our various hotels, a guy I had spent the entire weekend with, riding back and forth on the shuttle, and seeing in the hotel lobby all of a sudden struck me as someone familiar. I couldn’t place him exactly, but the more I looked at him, the more certain I was that I knew him from somewhere. I finally asked Emily who he was. She told me he was J.J. Couey. I was stunned. I had watched many of his videos on the Covid virus and vaccines. And have posted a few on The Arrow. What threw me off was that in the videos he was wearing glasses and looked normal sized. In life, he is 6’ 5” and doesn’t wear glasses except to read.

I was pissed, because I really didn’t get much of a chance to talk to him. He comes to all these BSI meetings, and I never recognized him, or at least never put two and two together, until this one was over. We did talk a little as the event was closing down. He is a neuroscientist and had virtually the same experience I did with the Covid pandemic. We both realized what we were hearing did not jibe with our scientific training. We both then bought current immunology textbooks to see if the field had changed. When we found that it hadn’t, we both began publicizing what we had found and pointing out how the mainstream was leading us all astray. We exchanged emails. He’s going to send me a book. And I’ve got a new friend.

I was really happy to spend some time with Roger Kimball, who wrote one of my favorite books. It was the one that turned me onto the Australian philosopher David Stove, who, along with Ed Jaynes, is part of the glue that binds the BSI. Roger also publishes The New Criterion, which is the only non-medical, non-golf magazine I subscribe to. I had met him a few times, but this time I really got to spend some time with him. Not only that, he treated Malcolm, MD, and me to a lovely dinner after the meeting.

We also spent a bit of time with Gerd Gigerenzer, a German psychologist who was one of the speakers. He gave an excellent lecture on how the statistical analysis just about everyone uses in scientific journals today was bastardized by a statistical textbook author years ago. And science has suffered badly since.

Here’s the short version of the story.

Back in the early- to mid-1990s, a very bright Brit named Ronald Fisher came up with a way to apply an analysis done on a sample to a larger population. Fisher was a fierce defender of his own work. After he had published, two other statisticians named Jerzy Neyman, from Poland, and Egon Pearson, from England, attacked Fisher’s methods as being incomplete. Fisher, of course, was outraged, and a huge battle ensued. Meanwhile other statisticians were using Bayesian statistics, first outlined by an English theologian in the mid-1700s and improved by Laplace later.

According to Gigerenzer, somewhere along the way, a statistician (he would not name him/her) published a textbook of statistics in which the Fisher and Neyman-Pearson methods were more or less jumbled together to come up with a means of statistical inference that is almost universally used in the scientific literature today.

You can read the longer version in Gigerenzer’s 2018 paper.

The use of p values has become a ritual. According to Gigerenzer it has become what he calls the null ritual. Here is how he describes it.

The essence of this hybrid theory is the null ritual:

1. Set up a null hypothesis of “no mean difference” or “zero correlation.” Do not specify the predictions of your own research hypothesis.

2. Use 5% as a convention for rejecting the null hypothesis. If the test is significant, accept your research hypothesis. Report the test result as p <.05. p < .01, or p < .001, whichever level is met by the obtained p value.

3. Always perform this procedure.

Let’s look at an example of what this means.

Assume we have a series of questions we could ask people, the answers to which we could use to accurately determine the level of happiness or optimism or whatever of the respondent.

We recruit a number of subjects to whom we administer the happiness (or whatever) test. Based on the results, we divide them into two equally “happiness” matched groups. We then instruct one group to go about their daily lives as usual. We instruct the subjects in the other group to go about their daily lives as usual, but in addition to walk a mile every day.

We set our null hypothesis to be that there will be no difference in happiness between the two groups at the end of the month after one group has walked a mile per day and the other group hasn’t.

At the end of the month, we re-administer the happiness test and after putting the scores through a complex statistical equation, we determine that p value is less than 0.05 (p < .05). We then say that the null hypothesis has been disproven. And that there is a statistically significant difference in happiness occasioned by walking a mile a day for a month.

In other words, this is taken as proof that walking brings happiness.

And maybe it is never repeated. Unless it is, the notion that one can walk one’s way to happiness is codified. And repeated everywhere.

But this is a simple study. And it doesn’t take much to replicate it. So maybe another researcher does replicate it, and the answer turns out to be the same. The more the study is replicated and comes up with the same finding, the stronger the hypothesis becomes.

But more often than not, it seems, when these kinds of studies are replicated, the findings are different. Then someone else replicates the study and either confirms or refutes the findings of the original.

What you are looking for in an hypothesis is predictive value. Not just a p < .05 or even < .001. You want to be able to comfortably predict an outcome based on, say, a therapy. Not just get a p value that implies statistical significance.

Some studies are so expensive they’ll never be replicated. So if the outcome is a p < .05, then we’re stuck with it. And drug companies can make a fortune on a drug that may or may not have a predictive value as to whether it works or not.

This is what we need to fix. And that is what the meeting was all about.

And I’ve probably screwed the description up, because until I watched Gerd’s lecture and read his paper, I had no idea this had all gone on. I’m still processing, and the above is sort of a shot from the hip.

Speaking of predictions, sometimes predictions are all too accurate. Tom Seyfried told me that one can predict with almost certainty if brain cancer is irradiated, the patient will follow a rapid decline and die fairly quickly. It’s been repeated over and over and over.


A couple of reasons.

First, the irradiation causes the brain to swell. To treat the swelling, physicians give the patients corticosteroids. Which do decrease the swelling in the brain, but also raise blood glucose levels. The tumor feeds on the glucose and grows.

Second, the irradiation damages some of the tissues in the brain, which releases glutamine, which the cancer loves. It ferments it and uses it to grow.

But irradiation is the standard of care despite the fact that patient after patient begins a precipitous decline after and spirals into death in a matter of months. As Dr. Seyfried says, If you want to see an experiment with predictive results, just look at brain irradiation, and you’ll find it. Doesn’t make it good, though. But it is predictive. Tom and his group have kept patients alive for years as long as they can get to them before the irradiation.

After writing all the above, I was looking for something on BSI website and came across this video by my friend Emily Kaplan, who keeps everything going at BSI. She gives a wonderful explanation of the p-value. I wish I had seen it before I wrote my own:

Before I Became the Mellow Guy I Now Am

Here is a little interlude before we move on. MD and I finally got out of our last storage unit at a facility we’ve ‘supported' with our dollars for over 20 years. The company running the place finally raised the monthly rent so high, we said enough is enough. We gave our notice, then came to Montecito to clean it out and go through it. Problem is, it was pouring rain when we got here, and we were under the gun to get it moved. We had no place to put all the stuff, a lot of which (as MD never fails to remind me) is boxes and boxes of medical papers I’ve been promising to go through. We had to do something with it, so we borrowed tents from our son. And now we have two tents in our driveway, which have, so far, kept everything dry. [Agony in the teepee — the Bride commented — the pain was in tents.]

It looks tacky, I know. But it keeps the stuff dry and saves us $541 per month. I repeat my admonition from the first time I wrote about this: Don’t. Store. Shit.

Anyway, I’m in here working away on The Arrow, and MD, who has been out sorting boxes from our old clinic, comes through the door laughing. She says, Look what I found and hands me this. I vaguely remember it. I must have been in a bad mood. This came as a fax. I replied and faxed it back.

Petty? Of course. But we all have our bad days. I’m no exception. Time has passed, and now I’ll admit to it.

Mercola Redux

I figured this would happen.

Obviously someone sent my analysis of Dr. Joe Mercola’s column last week to him. I had a number of people send me his response.

He didn’t mention me by name, but the timing all but screams that he did come across The Arrow and decided to reply to his followers.

I’m not going to go through it all again—you can read last week’s Arrow to get my in depth take on it. He didn’t really come up with anything new; he just basically repeated what he had written before. But this time he included a couple of videos.

I just tried to access his article, but it is already taken down and archived. But here is a link to the pdf, which, at the time of this writing, is still live.

Here is the video he put up with his explanation.

Just in case the video doesn’t play with the embed code I used, here is the SOURCE.

There was some back and forth in X over all this, and a few people mentioned that Dr. Mercola relies for much of his information on the Randle cycle from a guy named Georgi Dinkov. There was a video of him in this latest article in an interview with Paul Saladino. You can watch it below.

Problem is, he’s incorrect. He’s not really even interpreting it as Philip Randle wrote about it, and he certainly isn’t interpreting what goes on as shown by Robert Wolfe’s correction.

Mercola and Dinkov make it sound like you can go only one way or another. If you eat fat, you can’t burn any carb you’ve got on board, so your blood sugar goes up. And if you eat carb, then you don’t really burn fat, so you need to keep your fat intake below 30 percent of calories. Whenever you read or hear someone talking about fat burning (or carb burning, for that matter) and they discuss it in terms of percent of calories, then you might as well quit paying attention.

Fat and carbs are burned by the gram, not by the calorie.

If your diet were 800 calories, and 35 percent of those 800 calories were fat, would that shut down glucose burning? I don’t think so.

I hate to use automobile analogies, but in this case it is sort of appropriate. You can think of your body as a plug-in hybrid. The electric part of it represents glucose; the gasoline part of it represents fat. Which isn’t that far off.

In a plug-in hybrid, you juice your battery up overnight. Then when you drive, you use the battery as you need it, and it recharges a bit as you drive along. The gasoline (the fat, so to speak) does most of the work. The battery will get you 25-40 miles, depending on the kind of hybrid you have. And it gives you brief bursts of speed if you need it. But most of the work of propelling the car comes from the gasoline.

If the gasoline tank is full, the battery doesn’t start operating. If the car is running on the battery, it doesn’t stop the flow of gas. Same with your body. It’s constant cycling back and forth providing your body with what it needs, when it needs it.

And as Dr. Wolfe demonstrated, if anything, the glucose situation is in greater control than the amount of fatty acid you’re burning.

Dr. Mercola showed a couple of graphics on his video that are worth looking at.

First is this one showing the electron transport chain (ETC).

He uses this to show how the electrons move down the ETC from left to right and end up powering ATP Synthase, which is a big complex that churns out a lot of ATP. In my case, it probably churns out literally a ton of it every ten days. That’s the amount required to provide most of the energy for someone my size. Your ATP Synthase complex produces about your body’s weight in ATP each day, so it is a busy little beaver. Although it’s not really an ‘it’. There are many of these in each mitochondria (~4,000-5,000), and a lot of mitochondria in each cell (1,000-2,500), and countless cells in your body. All that combines to crank out a lot of ATP.

According to Dr. Mercola, the electrons go down the ETC in one direction, but, says he, if they go backwards, it’s called reverse electron transport, and they throw off reactive oxygen species (ROS), in other words, the dreaded free radicals. Here is his diagram showing this.

It’s a little more complex than that. I’ve doctored up his graphic to make it a little more realistic.

I could have kept going, but I didn’t want to gild the lily too much. Let’s walk through this to see what’s really going on.

First, the yellow blob you see identified as Complex II is really part of the Krebs cycle. The little bluish circle above and to the right of it is the CoQ couple, and it is a kind of roundabout where electrons feed in from Complexes I, II, and the ETF, which isn’t shown on Dr. Mercola’s diagram. It is the black pentagon in my tweak.

NADH and FADH2 are electron carriers. They tote the electrons from the breakdown of glucose and fats to the Krebs cycle. The NADH, that comes from the breakdown of glucose and fat feeds into Complex I. FADH2 coming from the Krebs cycle (which throws off one FADH2 for each two NADH) goes through complex II and the FADH2 from the breakdown of fat via beta-oxidation goes through the ETF, which stands for electron transfer flavoprotein (almost never shown in diagrams of the ETC, but very important).

Here is a graphic showing the ETF in more detail. I don’t know why it is left out of most diagrams of the ETC:

Here is what happens. The electrons from the various complexes converge in the CoQ couple and get passed on through the other complexes. As they release energy along the way, that energy is used to transport protons (the H+) across the membrane creating a chemical and electrical gradient across the membrane that puts pressure on the membrane much like water behind a dam. The relief valves are the ATP Synthase complexes. As the protons rush through these complexes, they literally turn a tiny turbine that ends up generating ATP, the currency of life.

Before we get to the reverse electron transport, let’s just contemplate the whole system. Remember from last week, fats, proteins, and glucose all feed into the Krebs cycle and provide NADH and FADH2. The breakdown of fats via beta-oxidation throws off NADH and FADH2. They don’t really inhibit one another because they all basically throw off the same electron carriers. The NADH thrown off by the Krebs cycle’s breaking down fat or by the beta-oxidation of fat are the same. Burning pure glucose produces NADH, which is the exact same NADH as that produced by oxidizing fat. It all goes to the same place: Complex I.

To Complex I, it is all NADH, no matter where it comes from.

Now, if we’re not burning a lot of ATP, but are still sending all kinds of NADH and FADH2 because we are eating way more than we need, what happens?

Well, the CoQ couple gets overrun, so to speak. It’s like a roundabout or traffic circle when there is a traffic jam. When that happens, the electrons back up and flow back through Complex I, as shown by the circular red arrow. When this happens, they do pop off some ROS. But, as it turns out, ROS are signaling molecules. Not always the dastardly tissue-destroying molecules we’ve been led to believe they always are. Not in these amounts, at least.

One of the things they do when there is an electron backup is to signal that the fat cells are full and to turn away entry of nutrients. When the nutrient level builds up in the circulation, it sends a signal to the satiety center that we are full and to quit eating.

There is a theory that an excess amount of polyunsaturated fats can blunt this signal and allow the fat cells to increase in size, leading to obesity. I gave a talk on it here if you’re interested to learn more.

Before we leave this section, I want to go over one other issue. Dr. Mercola said that it is good to have some extra NAD+ around, and he’s right on that one. He recommends taking it, but there is another way. You can create it yourself on a ketogenic diet.

I do take issue with him on the paper he showed that he called a “landmark study” showing rodents consuming nicotinamide increased their NAD+ over 32 times. I took a look at this study and discovered it came from China. Never, ever believe any study that comes out of China. They have massive financial incentives to publish in American journals. The researchers get paid for it, they get promoted for it; and they often cobble shit together and hope for lax peer review. I’ll show you a study later on that point that is a fine example.

The take home message is that no paper from China is a landmark study, no matter how much you believe in what it says.

Take a look at the graphic below on the synthesis and breakdown of ketones.

You can see in the blue on the left the stepwise fashion in which ketones are made in the liver. If you follow the line on the very bottom, you can see where what they’re calling 3-hydroxybutyrate is made (I always refer to it as beta-hydroxybutyrate). It ends up going to the tissues to be used as a nutrient. But if it isn’t used, it can be cycled back around to Acetyl CoA, the same compound from which it was made.

If you follow the path, you’ll see that if one molecule of NAD+ is made in the lower left in blue, but then that same NAD+ is reduced back to NADH if the beta-hydroxybutyrate isn’t used as fuel and begins the cycle again. But if the NAD+ goes out with the urine, as a fair amount often does in folks following a ketogenic diet, the NAD+ isn’t converted back to NADH (the red X) and is instead there for the using. So we can increase our NAD+ by simply following a ketogenic diet. You can’t do that with a high-carb diet.

Let us be done with the Randle cycle.

Speaking of studies from China…

Here is one for you that demonstrates why I never trust studies from China.

I read about this one in the Broken Science Initiative archives, and it is stunning that it passed muster with a decent journal and ended up getting published. After peer review, no less.

What jumped out at everyone was the AI generated image with nonsense labels.

Somehow peer reviewers overlooked this obvious screw up. The editors of the journal accepted it, and it was published. It is now retracted, but here is the link if you want to download the pre-retraction version as it was published.

A number of people pointed this out publicly, including the one below:

Ultimately, the journal got the message and retracted the article.

If you download the article today, you’ll find every page marked thus:

The whole affair was a huge embarrassment for the journal, as it should have been. But it shows how egregiously obvious things can make it past peer reviewers and editors and show up in the published version of good journals. In defense of the peer reviewers on this one, I seriously doubt that any of them saw the illustration. That one falls on the editors.

The point of all this is that the Chinese government wants as many papers as Chinese researchers can get into American journals and is willing to pay for it. They bonus the researchers and bestow more prestige on them in many ways. The book Science Fictions described the machinations of both the Chinese government and the research institutions themselves to get as many papers published as possible with reckless disregard for the accuracy or scientific veracity.

This is a disturbing trend. You hate to see any death rates increasing for this age group composed of people who, even at the age extreme of 44, have a lot of years left.

In this study the authors used the diagnostic codes for cancer deaths to search the CDC records. They limited their search to people aged 15-44 starting in 2010 and ending in 2022. The quote below was edited for clarity.

We show a rise in excess mortality from neoplasms reported as underlying cause of death, which started in 2020 (1.7%) and accelerated substantially in 2021 (5.6%) and 2022 (7.9%). The increase in excess mortality in both 2021 and 2022 are highly statistically significant (extreme events). When looking at neoplasm death reported as one of multiple cause of death, we observe a similar trend with excess mortality of 3.3% in 2020, 7.9% in 2021, and 9.8% in 2022, which were also highly statistically significant. [My bold]

This can be shown better graphically. Take a look at the trend line below starting in 2010. And remember these are just deaths in the US in people of both sexes between the ages of 15-44. The top chart shows deaths per 100,000; the bottom chart shows numbers of deaths.

As you can see from the red line, from 2010 till 2019 the red line representing deaths in this age group from cancer was on a steady decline. Then, starting in 2019, it began to increase rapidly.

And take a look at these comparisons of deaths in the 15-44 age group from cancers compared to overall deaths during the same time period.

A pretty horrible picture when you think of the years of life lost to these people. And it’s even compounded when you realize the awful treatment cancer patients endure and the deaths they experience. I can’t imagine what the misery index would be for all this.

Why is it happening? Why are these young people dying of cancer?

The authors speculate:

The rise in cancer-death rates as underlying cause might be the result of an unexpected rise in the incidence of rapidly growing fatal cancers and/or a reduction in survival in existing cancer cases. Further stratification is underway, for example by age and cancer type to understand these trends and their relationship to pandemic related factors such as access to or utilization of cancer screening and treatment, changes in health-related behaviors such as exercise or smoking, exposure to COVID-19 disease or COVID-19 vaccines. [My bold]

At least they have the decency to speculate that it could be the Covid-19 vaccines. I’m not sure it would be more smoking or less exercise. They didn’t say obesity, which is a cause of some cancers. It could be as a result of the lockdowns and delay of treatment or diagnosis, but I doubt they would drive such a large surge in this relatively young age group.

The issue I have is that our own public health services should be trying to figure out what is going on here. Instead, they are trying to cover their asses and saying The Science, The Science. And still recommending the vaccines, which could be causative.

Citizens are dying. Young citizens, at that. Our public health officials would do themselves a lot better by admitting they screwed up and then trying to sort out what went wrong. Instead, they are stonewalling.

In my view, their behavior is appalling.

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The UK Is Also Stonewalling, But At Least They’re Having Hearings

A recent article in The Telegraph titled It’s infuriating to watch the Covid Inquiry ignore damage caused by draconian lockdowns explains the frustration of those injured as they watch their leaders waffle.

A couple of my favorite passages:

So I am delighted and relieved to see the open letter from 55 leading scientists and academics to Baroness Hallett, which suggests that a “fundamentally biassed” inquiry has failed so far to hear evidence from those who suffered the “negative effects” of the decision to shut down society. Organised by professor Sunetra Gupta, one of the world’s most distinguished epidemiologists, and Dr Kevin Bardosh, director of Collateral Global, a British think-tank set up to examine pandemic policies and an expert in infection medicine at Edinburgh University, the letter points out that there is a total lack of curiosity as to whether Covid measures were appropriate and what mistakes were made – which should never be repeated. [My bold][Link in the original]

This bold above is the same aggravation I have: A total lack of curiosity as to what really happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Problem is, I suspect they know what happened. And know who is to blame, so would rather focus on the upcoming election while sweeping their own idiotic actions under the rug.

The inquiry should not be a backside-covering exercise for officials who floundered and made poor choices. Lockdown criminalised human contact for the first time in our history; the loss of freedoms was devastating for the elderly and the isolated as well as for children like Harry, cut off catastrophically from his teachers and friends. It now looks as if the numbers killed or harmed by lockdown will far exceed the numbers who died of the virus. The damage to our society – the breakdown in trust is incalculable.[My bold (the whole thing could have been bolded)]

As I wrote above, at least there were hearings there. Maybe there will be in the US at some point. I certainly hope so, and when we do have them, I’m hoping those who conduct them won’t allow the perps to wiggle off the hook. We need a come to Jesus moment.

When MD and I heard Rand Paul speak a few weeks ago, he started out by saying when he comes home to Kentucky from Washington and his wife greets him at the door, she doesn’t do so with a kiss and a martini. Instead, the first thing she asks is: Is Fauci in jail yet?

I’m with her.

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Okay, time for…

Video of the Week

This video needs a little backstory to make it relevant. When I was about 20 or so, I took my first trip to Europe and it started off in disastrous fashion. The first leg of the flight was on Braniff, which was supposed to take me to Buffalo, NY, where I was to connect with a charter flight to Frankfurt.

We took off and about halfway there hit massive storms. We couldn’t land in Buffalo, so we circled forever and ended up going to Kansas City, of all places. The airport in KC was not an international airport at that time, so all the passengers could not deplane as we had already cleared customs. We all slept on the plane with no AC all night in summer. It was brutal. Early the next morning, a new crew came on and we took off for Buffalo. We got there and I boarded the flight to Frankfurt. I was in the very back seat of an old Boeing 707 by the window. The kid in front of me kept his seat back the entire flight, and I couldn’t recline because I was against the bulkhead. To make matters worse, it was a charter flight, so everyone brought their own food and drink except for me. Somehow I didn’t get the message.

We finally got to Frankfurt at night. I checked on the train schedule to get to London, and discovered I had to get on the train right then if I was going to make it to Trafalgar Square on time.

My best friend in engineering school had planned his European trip for almost two years. He had everything scheduled to a T. His entire itinerary day by day. I decided at the last minute to go and got my charter flight scheduled, got my Eurorail Pass purchased, and had about five dollars to my name. My girlfriend at the time had gone over to visit her sister, who was in school there. I couldn’t bear the thought of her coming back and yammering to me all about Europe, which is why I decided to go at the last minute. Her parents were scandalized that we were both going to be on the same continent at the same time unsupervised. I mean, what would the neighbors think? Despite it all, they sent me a card and a birthday gift via her smart-assed little brother. Who showed up at the dive in which I was living, gave me the card, and said, Now you can stay twice as long. It contained a $5 bill, which was my birthday present.

Once I knew I was going, I told my engineering friend I was coming over, so he told me to meet him at Trafalgar Square in London under Lord Nelson’s statue at 5 PM on a specific date. A couple of days before I was to leave, my frigging charter flight got canceled. I hustled around and found another one, but it left two days later. I wrote my friend care of American Express in London—which is how you did it back then. Told him I would be under Lord Nelson’s statue at the appointed time, but two days later.

I left Frankfurt and rode the train all night crammed into a car with a bunch of hooligans. It wasn’t until later that I realized that Eurorail passes gave one first class travel, but I didn’t know it then. So I was awake all that night. After a couple of train changes, I ended up at Calais and boarded the ship to take me across the channel. I made a major screw up there because I didn’t see any ticket counters and everyone was just walking aboard. So I did, too. As it turned out, you were supposed to buy your ticket at the bursar’s window while on the trip over and present it to leave the ship. I did not know this, so when I saw everyone getting off and forking over a ticket, I knew I was screwed. I told the ticket taker when I got to him that I didn’t know how it worked, and I didn’t have a ticket. He got pissed, and made me wait till everyone had gone through, took me to the bursar’s office, where I bought the ticket and was able to escape.

I barely made the train I needed to catch to keep on schedule. I finally got to the appropriate stop in London, got off and made my way to Trafalgar Square and found the statue of Lord Nelson at about 4:50 pm. I was ten minutes early. I waited for almost two hours for my friend, who never showed. I desperately wanted him to appear and lead me to a hotel where I could crash. I had been awake for three nights and felt like I was getting a cold. And there I was all alone with no hotel arranged. All I had was my Europe on $5 a Day book, which I began to flip through to try to find a hotel. I had almost no money—I had managed to borrow $200 from a friend the day I left. But he wrote me a check, so I had to get another friend to cash it for me and wire the funds to me via the American Express in London.

I was waiting for the friend who never came. As it turned out, he never got my letter, so he figured I couldn’t get my act together and come over; he had been under Lord Nelson on the originally appointed day. As I say, there I was, waiting and worried that my wired funds wouldn’t come through and dreading having to find a fleabag hotel; I was totally demoralized. I was 8,000 miles from home with almost no money and not knowing a soul; I was at a low point. Believe it or not, it even got worse before it got better. And I was facing seven weeks ahead of me in Europe before my charter flight back.

But it did get better and I had an unforgettable summer.

So, when I heard this song the first time many, many years later, it dredged up a lot of memories of that day of despair. When you’re down on your luck, and you ain’t got a buck (I was there), in London you’re a goner. Truer words were never said based on my first experience.

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Wow! I just filled it all in for me. I was going to do something clever, and the above poll just popped up. I love this platform. Uh, and don’t contemplate the letter I wrote to the poor schmuck who wrote me about Protein Power that I answered so unkindly while you’re responding to this poll. Please.

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