COVID-19: What can I, personally, do to help?

I think we’ve all read enough about the coronavirus pandemic to take it seriously.  We have no idea what the infection rate, survival rate, etc. are going to be, apart from broad parameters;  we can only go by the information available to us, and much of that information is suspect.  However, the trend is ominous.  (The statistics at the link will update daily;  the graphic below was accurate at the time of writing.) The powers that be are taking a pessimistic view, and implementing increasingly draconian measures to slow down the spread of the virus – no matter how disruptive those

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Sometimes the blows come at the worst possible time

A friend’s wife, Valerie Richardson, has just been through a harrowing experience – and at the worst possible time, with the coronavirus pandemic already disrupting lives, work and income. A couple of weeks ago, Valerie was feeling ill and went to bed with what she and her husband thought was the flu. A few days later he took her to the emergency room to find out she had pneumonia. She was transferred first to Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, Kansas, and then to the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. She has since undergone thoracic surgery to help her breathe better.

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“Such high temperatures would completely melt an automobile in less than a minute”

That statement is from a report analyzing the destruction of Abu Hureyra, an early agricultural settlement in Syria, some 12,800 years ago. Abu Hureyra, it turns out, has another story to tell. Found among the cereals and grains and splashed on early building material and animal bones was meltglass, some features of which suggest it was formed at extremely high temperatures—far higher than what humans could achieve at the time—or that could be attributed to fire, lighting or volcanism. “To help with perspective, such high temperatures would completely melt an automobile in less than a minute,” said James Kennett, a UC Santa Barbara

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COVID-19: Look after the small things you can control

The fear-mongering and panic stations concerning the current coronavirus epidemic are reaching fever pitch.  Politicians are accusing each other of failing to prepare for it;  pundits are bloviating every which way;  and alarums and excursions are the order of the day.  In the midst of all this folderol, we find ourselves rudderless.  Which way should we turn?  Whom should we believe?  What should we do? The short, simple answer is that we should do whatever is in our power and our control to do.  If something is beyond that – national health-care policy, hospital staffing and facilities, international implications – then why are we worrying ourselves about it? 

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Sunday morning music

One of the advantages of the so-called “digital age” is that it allows us to recreate sounds and sound effects that had long been lost to history.  One can electronically alter what one hears so that it resembles sounds that were made long ago, but which can’t be accurately reproduced today for any number of reasons. One of those sounds is the Orthodox liturgical chant used in the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Constantinople, later a Moslem mosque following the fall of that city in 1453, and today a museum.  The acoustics of the Hagia Sophia were legendary, and added greatly to the impact of the liturgical

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The Superbowl, sex, and society

Like millions of other Americans, I watched Super Bowl 54 last night.  The game itself was good, with two teams going at it for all they were worth.  Since I didn’t have a favorite to support, I was able to enjoy the game overall, and support the sport rather than a tribal favorite participant.  The Kansas City Chiefs won, but that was only clinched in the last quarter of the game.  Up until then, their opponents, the San Francisco 49ers, could have won as well – both teams were very evenly matched.  Congratulations to both sides. What really saddened me – and

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“Unsalvageable” humans?

An article in Taki’s Magazine refers to some human beings as “The Unsalvageables“.  Here’s an excerpt. Some of you might remember Anthony Stokes. He was a 15-year-old DeKalb County, Ga., hood rat with a bum ticker who kept getting passed over for a heart transplant because of his “high risk” lifestyle, which included burglary, weapons charges, arson, and neglecting to take his prescribed meds. Seeing how donor hearts aren’t found on trees (or in Dollar Trees), doctors were reluctant to give a young crime lord in training one of the precious organs. So Anthony’s granmoms or auntie or whoever the hell

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Important lessons to learn from the Texas church shooting

I’ve been watching the security camera footage of the Texas church shooting last Sunday, and reading as much as I can find about it.  It contains some important lessons for all of us, not just in terms of church security, but our personal approach to security as well. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with the man who shot the criminal.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. Wilson recalled the events leading up to Sunday’s shooting and said there was concern about the individual as soon as he entered the building due to the way he was dressed, in a long coat with a fake beard

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Sunday morning music

Enough with the Christmas muzak already!  Let’s have something that’s both tuneful and prayerful.  Words aren’t necessary. First, here’s Mannheim Steamroller with “Fum, Fum, Fum“.  It’s a very old tune from Catalonia in Spain.  (Lyrics at the link above.) Next, an ancient English air, “Greensleeves”, the tune of which was adapted in the 19th century to the Christmas carol “What Child Is This?“.  Lindsey Stirling does the honors. Here’s a hymn from the Orthodox Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which was set to music by Tchaikovsky in 1878.  It’s not Christmas music, strictly speaking, but it seems to me to fit in very well with the season. 

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