Retired, sometime civil servant, sometime consultant, active intellectual, former lawyer, active property manager, and on rare occasions in the past a political activist. He has recovered from the experience.

Retired, sometime civil servant, sometime consultant, active intellectual, former lawyer, active property manager, and on rare occasions in the past a political activist. He has recovered from the experience.

On Good Friday, Sauron has won the Ring

I am for various reasons a more faithful attendee of Good Friday services than Easter ones. No resurrection without death. But it is worse than death. Death comes for all living things and is as natural as falling water. It is eternal death that I worry about. Eternal Spiritual Darkness. I mean that for me Good Friday is the day of triumph of evil, for ever. The boot stomping on a face, forever. God renounces his only Son. “Son, you have to do this for yourself. Otherwise no one will believe you went through everything a man will go through. You have to die, Son. Agony, bloody sweats, pain, humiliation, degradation, and a sneering mob. Only then will mankind pay attention to you, when you come back from the dead, and you have to die to do that. So have a really bad day, Son. It is the only path, and we have foreseen this day since time began. Now be a Man and die”.

Not a cheerful doctrine. But I believe it is a true one. In the meantime we live in the world where Sauron has the One Ring, and all is lost, at least until the Resurrection, when we can begin to hope again that his rule is not complete or final.

The Crucifixion of Jesus | Jesus was crucified on a hill cal… | Flickr
What Could Sauron Have Done Had He Regained the One Ring? | Middle ...

1920 and now

A LETTER FROM  F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, QUARANTINED IN 1920
IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE DURING THE SPANISH INFLUENZA OUTBREAK.

Dearest Rosemary,

It was a limpid dreary day, hung as in a basket from a
single dull star. I thank you for your letter. Outside, I perceive what may be
a collection of fallen leaves against a trash can. It rings like jazz to my
ears. The streets are that empty. It seems as though the bulk of the city has
retreated to their quarters, rightfully so. At this time, it seems very
poignant to avoid all public spaces. Even the bars, as I told Hemingway, but to
that he punched me in the stomach, to which I asked if he had washed his hands.
He hadn’t. He is much the denier, that one. Why, he considers the virus to be
just influenza. I’m curious of his sources.

The officials have alerted us to ensure we have a month’s
worth of necessities. Zelda and I have stocked up on red wine, whiskey, rum,
vermouth, absinthe, white wine, sherry, gin, and Lord, if we need it, brandy.
Please pray for us.

Besieged

We are in a siege. The enemy has invested us, and then besieged us.

Wikipedia defines besieged in these terms:

“A siege is a militaryblockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from Latinsederelit. ‘to sit’.[1]Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static, defensive position. Consequently, an opportunity for negotiation between combatants is not uncommon, as proximity and fluctuating advantage can encourage diplomacy. The art of conducting and resisting sieges is called siege warfare, siegecraft, or poliorcetics.”

We are in day 30, say, of the siege. Food is still plentiful and booze and drugs are available. Disease or resistance to disease may wipe out the besiegers (the communicability of the virus) just as well it the virus may kill some of us. At first we thought this was a bit of a lark. Now we are starting to realize that, no, this could be the shape of our lives for months – even years – to come.

Ho ho ho! Is the cat out of the bag?

  1. The virus came from a type of bat, according to a report by Chinese scientists.
  2. The bat is not native to Wuhan but comes from 300 miles away.
  3. Two centres of disease research are near the Wuhan wet market from which the virus was held to have originated.
  4. The two centres for viral research use this particular type of bat in their research.
  5. This information comes from a report by Chinese scientists that has been on the web for the past two months.
  6. The American National Institute of Health and other flak-catchers for the Chinese government have denounced in vigorous terms any suggestion this virus was an escaped bioweapon.
  7. The Chinese government has accused the American government of starting this plague.

In the old language of Mao, we have some running dogs of the Chinese government in the west, and they do not even have to be told what to do, so obedient are they to the requirements of political correctness .

The Wheel of Leftism

Hat tip to Oleg Atbashian, the former Soviet agitprop-painter whose cheerfully satirical website, the People’s Cube, reminds us of the Soviet nature of popular propaganda. Atbashian had recognized the Leftist nature of the media long before I realized that he was not kidding or exaggerating. Though I had long realized the leftist nature of CBC, the Globe or the Toronto Star, it took me several decades to realize the depth of their commitment to the “we are always wrong” interpretation of world events. Have you ever had one of those conversations where the words “campus rape culture” was used seriously? Atbashian has carefully summarized the tropes by which any conversation may be derailed. The point is never the point. It is always the Revolution.

“Not to defend the country but to make it worth defending”

The interview with Freeman Dyson is a magnificent review of the effectiveness of WW2 bombing, the ending of World War 2 with Japan, science policy, what to do with surplus nukes, too many science labs focused on nukes, how to control the spread of nuclear weapons, and he reveals a careful, sensible mind. I cannot believe I said that. I know he is wrong but I am not sure why. I may be coming around to many of his views.

And God said….

God has heard us and answered our prayers. We said: too much carbon dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere. We must cut back on carbon emissions. The planet is heating at an unusual rate. The Lord, tiring of the whining, and knowing full well an ice age will shortly arrive (as reckoned in celestial time), put forth His hand and said: let there be a pernicious virus that will keep everyone at home. I will not make it too deadly, but I will make it as contagious and surreptitious as possible. The carbon dioxide will be cut way back. Families will be forced to play board games, and mothers will be forced to educate their children, such as by making up new rules for creating property rights in Monopoly or by teaching them not to cheat (or how to cheat). Travel will virtually cease. Skies will clear. China will be disgraced. Trump will be humbled (greatest miracle of all). The mighty will be brought low, and the poor truck drivers and store clerks exalted. And great shall be the joy in heaven thereof.

The clangour of global warming hysteria has finally creeped Him out. He has determined to put an end to Greta Thunberg’s pernicious moral influence.

Does this sound plausible? Once you grant a Supreme Deity, the interpretive possibilities are much richer.

Image result for The lord has heard your prayers and they are really creeping him out

Changing the track on a skid steer

I thought the readership of Barrelstrength would be informed and spiritually refreshed by an Andrew Camarata video. This one involves changing the track on a skid-steer. Maybe as many as half of you will have never heard of a skid steer. As you contemplate the world from inside your sealed compartments, just imagine needing to have a skid steer to get your work done. It is not a form of software download or a protocol translator.

Also, in terms of cool forestry equipment, there is a company in Sweden call Kranman making cranes and haulers that work from an ATV rather than from a tractor. The idea started as a toy for kids until the builder began to receive interest from adults, and voila, a small industry was born.

I am sure there is thesis for a business school in this story somewhere: innovation, small business, marketing, youtube, market need. I know that if I were rich I would definitely get one. Though I would not dress up as a Korean riot policeman to go into my woods.

A statistician looks at COVID-19: relax, that’s an order

William Briggs is a statistician, and he blogs at www.wmbriggs.com. I wish he were better known, but he does go off for pages on Thomas Aquinas when he is not commenting about numbers. This is his latest posting about coronavirus. His take? The fear is exaggerated. The reaction outlandish. I will say no more and let him speak for himself.

  • In Wuhan itself, the City of Doom, some 2,446 souls departed their fleshly existence earlier than expected. Google tells us the city has between 11 and 19 million, depending on whether you count the entire metro area as “the city”.
  • The city had 49,995 cases. The case rate was 0.26% to 0.45%, depending on what China called “the city”. The total dead rate was 0.01% to 0.02%. The case dead rate was 4.9%.
  • People fixate on that last number, forgetting you first have to get the bug before you can die from it. But everybody now seems to believe they’ll get it with certainty. Review Bayes Theorem & Coronavirus!
  • If everywhere will eventually be as bad as Wuhan, then, given 7.7 billion of us now speak with authority on “social distancing” and “flattening the curve”, as if we’ve been using these neologisms from birth, from 20 million to 35 million the world over will get the bug, and from 1 million to 1.7 million will croak from it. (Fifty million died from 1918’s Spanish flu.) ….[clip]
  • CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 36 million flu illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths from flu.

  • That’s in the United States alone, friends. Mostly pneumonia and old folks (God bless them). Worldwide at least ten times that number.
  • If the Wuhan numbers apply globally, losing a million or two of us worldwide is not welcome news, but it’s not panic-level, end-of-the-world, buy-every-roll-of-toilet-paper-in-sight news. It’s wash-your-damned-hands, stay-at-home-if-you’re-sick news.

There is much more that follows at the original site.

I have been reading Twitter a lot these past few days and have decided that, for most commentators, the advice and commentary is as significant as what is heard in the hen coop. Cluck, cluck, cluck.