Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

01 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS: Media Hype Versus Reality

Long-time CNN reporter Gary Tuchman went out to Gulf Shores, Alabama during the Memorial Day Weekend (May 24-26). The beach was open and jam-packed full of people, young and old, who'd been cooped-up in their homes for the last couple of months.

Tuchman opens his report with an alarming falsehood. Coronavirus cases in Alabama are going the wrong way. They are trending up.  But the state is wide open for business."

Well...let's look, shall we? Here's the graph of the number of COVID19 cases in Alabama from March 20th until now.


As you can see from the above, during the month of May the number of new cases was up and down with maybe a slight upward trend.  But it was hardly enough of one to warrant Tuchman's dire opening statement, which was clearly aimed at making people panic.  (Then again, it's CNN so what did we expect?)

Then, sure enough, as we got into June, the number of new cases in Alabama did double, from about 500 per day to 1,000 per day.  But again, it was not a "big spike!" as the media is so often prone to breathlessly describe things.

As he walked around the beach, Tuchman was especially peeved that nobody seemed to be wearing masks. He interviewed many of them, acting at times like an angry parent upbraiding an impudent child. He asked one girl if she wasn't worried about catching the coronavirus? She said no. "There's enough wind and air, and it'll clear it all out of here." 

Doctor Tuchman (he's not a real doctor), clearly annoyed replied, "The wind and the air don't clear it away - there's no proof of anything like that!"

Well, maybe he's right.  So if that's the case, let's look at the number of deaths in Alabama since March.


Hmm.  There were plenty of deaths in April, but then they settled down to about 20 or less per day through the end of May and through June.  On a few days in June, Alabama logged zero COVID19 deaths. 

Well, this is a dilemma...for CNN.  Because here too, the number of people dying from COVID19 in Alabama does not seem to be related to the number of people on the beach at Gulf Shores over the Memorial Day Weekend.  I mean, it's been over a month; you'd think the number of deaths would have started increasing by now.

(Some have claimed that the beachgoers that weekend were made up of people from out of state, not just Alabamians.  But from the random people Gary Tuchman interviewed, it seemed as though the majority of them were locals.)

Here's the problem: People are not stupid.  People understand that they are being fed conflicting information about this coronavirus.  They know intuitively that wearing a mask outdoors...like out on a public beach...is just useless and stupid.

City officials in Gulf Shores (and neighboring Orange Beach) pushed back against the CNN report.  They took issue with its accuracy and reporter Gary Tuchman's agenda.  You can read that story HERE.  It's got the both the original CNN report and the Gulf Shores mayor's response on local TV station WPMI.

Parenthetically, people were quick to point out that the CNN reporter Tuchman was only wearing a mask when he was on camera or interviewing people.  His cameraman wasn't wearing one at all.  Hypocrite much, CNN?

People get to feeling like they're being deliberately lied to.  People don't know who to believe, so they believe no one.  Young people, especially, see through the bullshit and hyperbole.  People saw New York Governor Cuomo panic unnecessarily.  They see with their own eyes that even if we did nothing, this pandemic would not have been nearly as deadly as the so-called experts told us it would be.  (Obviously, I'm inclined to agree.)

Those in the media jump up and down and screech, "It's not the flu!  This could kill you!"  But it's not killing young people; it's not even making them sick.  To them it's basically, well, like the flu.  (Sorry.)

Since I live in a Florida beach town about 30 miles east of Gulf Shores, I can tell you that much like our neighbors in Alabama, Pensacola residents do not see the COVID19 as such a huge threat to their safety and well-being.  They have a certain fatalistic attitude towards the coronavirus, which seems to be, "If you're afraid of catching the disease and don't want to catch it, just stay home."

Here in Florida, the number of new COVID19 cases has been steadily and sharply increasing.  Thankfully, most of them are in the southern, most-populous part of the state.  Governor Ron DeSantis must be holding his breath, nervously watching the numbers.  I'm sure that every morning when he wakes up, the first thing he does is check the COVID19 hospitalizations and deaths.

The governor has re-tightened some of the statewide restrictions that had previously been relaxed.  Here in the panhandle, our beaches are still open.  But it may only be a matter of time until they're closed again.

Or maybe not!  As I've said all along, we shall see...

29 June 2020

CORONAVIRUS: The CDC Finally Catches On

Oh, dear God.  So now the CDC is saying that the number of people infected with COVID19 in the U.S. is likely "10X" higher than the number of confirmed-positive cases? 

We already know this. WE. KNOW. THIS.

Some of us have been saying this for months, ever since the *three* studies were done back in April that showed that the actual number of people infected back then was between 20 and 80 *times* higher than was "officially" reported.

What this tells us is that the mortality rate for COVID19 is really, really tiny...like (depending on location), less than half of one percent.  Not three or four or even six percent like some people are reporting as gospel.

Back in April, New York State was estimated to have just over 20% of its citizens infected. You know what that would mean?  Herd-immunity.  You what *that* would mean?  It would mean that the virus had run its course.  And whaddya know, right now New York State (and Italy as well) are *done* with the coronavirus.  Done.  There will be no "second wave" as other parts of the country "surge."

I just wonder why it took so long for the CDC to come around and admit the truth?

Read the article HERE


https://www.dailywire.com/news/fatality-rate-plunges-as-cdc-director-says-covid-cases-likely-10x-higher?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=dwbrand


24 June 2020

CORONAVIRUS - New Cases and Death Rate: Is There A Connection?

Well the mainstream media is in a literal head-exploding panic, going crazy because the number of new COVID19 cases is increasing in many states.  They seem to think that this is some sort of catastrophe, or at least something unexpected.  Actually, it is neither.

We've known for a long time that the number of actual cases of COVID19 was quite a bit larger than the number of people who were getting tested and turning up positive.  

Back in April, the results from three different studies in three different cities told us that the actual number of people infected with the virus was between 25 and 80 times higher than the number of people testing positive.  So it stands to reason that if more people are getting tested, then more positive cases are going to turn up.  The logic of that seems to elude member of the media, who misinterpret the numbers and jump to some erroneous conclusions.

But okay, I'm not an idiot...is there more to it than just "more testing = more cases?"  Some states, like my home state of Florida are showing dramatic daily increases in the number of new cases.  Who would deny that some of that increase is the result of the unavoidable re-opening of society...bars, restaurants and beaches?  It's got to be a factor.  If we were to plot the age range of the new cases, I'd bet it would skew pretty young.

But by itself, the number of new cases doesn't matter a whole lot.  What matters is how many people will need to be hospitalized, and how many people are going to die.  And honestly, both of those numbers are extremely low for young, healthy people.  Many of them will get the virus and not even know it - the asymptomatics.  Others will get sick and go get tested, but won't be so sick that they require hospitalization.  Fewer still will die.

So the fact that the number of new cases is increasing is not, by itself, cause for alarm.  By the way, of the last two people who've died in my county, one was a 100 year-old woman in a nursing home.  Yes, they say she died OF CORONAVIRUS.  Now isn't that stupid?  And Dr. Fauci seems totally baffled by the fact that we're a skeptical society that distrusts so-called science and "authority figures."  Here's why, Doc: We Americans know bullshit when we smell it.  And we've been smelling it a lot throughout this whole pandemic.

I've been tracking the COVID19 numbers for a while now, internationally, nationally here in the U.S., and locally on state and county levels.  What has been frustrating is that there seems to be no correlation between the number of new cases and the number of deaths.  We "know" that if you're going to die from coronavirus, it'll take a month - maybe a little more from the time you contract the disease.  So COVID19 deaths "lag" behind the new cases by a bit...if that theory holds.

In fact, generally speaking, as the number of new cases goes up, the death rate is going down.  As an example, let's look at the state of Washington.  They had a peak of new cases around the end of March.  Conventional wisdom would tell us that Washington "should" have seen a spike in deaths around the end of April.  But the number of deaths peaked around the same time and has been on a downward slide ever since.  Compare the two charts below and see if you can come up with some sort of correlation, because I can't.



Even more confusing are the numbers for Florida.  Check 'em out!



Again, I cannot see a correlation between the two graphs.  They don't seem to be related at all.  I don't know what to make of it.  The number of new cases (blue chart) reached a peak on June 20th.  Then we've had two consecutive days of decline.  Is this the start of a trend?  Who can say.

The news media would like us all to panic and go back into lockdown-mode.  They throw catchphrases around like "second wave" as if they know what they're talking about.  On the contrary, I believe that some states are still in their  "first wave."  And if they keep trying to "tamp the virus down" they're only going to extend the time period that the people in that state suffer from the disease.  It's probably better to do like New York did and get everybody infected early.
 


Given that there doesn't seem to be any connection or correlation between the number of new COVID19 cases and the death rate, the question will now be whether this huge SPIKE!! that the media is panicking over will translate into more deaths?  I'm guessing that it won't.

If I were Florida Governor DeSantis, I wouldn't do a thing just yet.  I'd let this play out.  Just because more positive test cases are turning up doesn't mean we all have to go back and shelter-in-place like last time.

11 June 2020

CORONAVIRUS: Herd Immunity At Last?

Okay, okay, here’s the deal: Nobody…NOBODY really knows or can say with accuracy how many people have been infected by COVID19. The problem is those who are asymptomatic. If you have the virus but don’t know it and don’t show any symptoms, do you even exist? Well, as far as coronavirus researchers are concerned, no. So-called heath “experts” talk about “contact tracing” and “antibody testing.” But neither of those can do one damn thing to prevent the spread of the disease.

The World Health Organization initially said that transmission from one asymptomatic to another was not a big thing. Now they’re “revisiting” that stance. But again, the problem is: How many asymptomatics are out there?

Well, what does all this mean?  

Doctors in Italy now claim that the coronavirus is virtually gone. Gone! They say that the coronavirus weakens as it transmits from person to person and now, the “viral load” they are seeing in people being tested is virtually negligible. This is kind of illogical, and those health “experts” are scrambling to counter the claims of the Italian doctors. But the evidence is clear. Just look at the graphs of new cases and deaths in Italy and you’ll see that the virus is dying off.


Why is this happening? We are told that this is not how viruses usually behave. Well, Italy was hit pretty hard by the coronavirus in the beginning. It spread through their society quickly and efficiently, and did overwhelm their health care system.

With a population of 60,000,000 people, Italy now claims a total of 236,000 confirmed cases and 34,043 deaths. Using simple math and divide the number of deaths by the number of confirmed cases, we get a raw case-mortality rate of 14.4%, which is alarmingly high. But that would also mean that only 4% of their population has been infected (236,000 divided by 60 million). We know that’s not right. Many, many more people in Italy must be infected with COVID19 than those who test positive. And now Italian doctors say that the virus is pretty much gone. And that appears to be the case; you cannot argue with the data.

Here in the U.S., most states are seeing a gradual increase in the number of new cases. Some people use scary words like “spike” and “surge” or “second wave” for certain states, but if you look at the actual numbers since the beginning of the outbreak, you would not use those terms. And if you don’t believe me, the Google will provide up-to-date graphs (the same ones I publish here) for all fifty states and most countries on the planet. Pick a location and look at its graph and stats .

When you do, you’ll see that most of the states in the U.S. have curves that are either: flat; increasing slowly; or decreasing slowly. Trends are generally hard to discern because the numbers are always up and down.  There are usually no big changes one way or the other. Except for…well, except for one state: New York.

The State of New York has 19,400,000 people. They report 381,000 confirmed cases of COVID19 and 25,000 deaths. This gives them a case-mortality rate of 6.6%, with only about 2% of their population infected. But as with Italy, we know those numbers don’t tell the full story. Because again, nobody knows the actual numbers.

Check out the graphs for New York State.



Pretty incredible, right?  No other state is seeing such a noticeable trend.  

New York’s arrogant Governor Andrew Cuomo takes credit for this. He believes that his intelligent lockdown policies along with the cooperation of all New Yorkers is what is responsible for this falling-off of new cases and deaths. Me? I’m not so sure. In densely-populated New York City, they never did shut down their mass-transit system. Is anyone willing to say that was not one of the reasons they had so many cases and deaths so quickly?

Maybe…just maybe…Italy and New York State reached a level of “herd immunity” more quickly than other nations or states? Maybe Italy and New York State are just “ahead of the curve,” so to speak. If so, it tells us something very important. And that is, states that have not reached herd-immunity by now still have a long way to go before the virus begins to abate. In a very weird way, Italy and New York State “got lucky.” They went through the worst early on, and for them the problem appears to be disappearing.

07 June 2020

Enough Is Enough

It was about this same time back in 2011 that I arrived in Brewster, Washington to begin my summer flying job drying cherries in ancient Sikorsky helicopters. I did not expect that it would last nine seasons, but it did. The people I met and got to know, and those I worked with were great, the actual work was easy and I had way too much fun. It kept me going back, summer after summer.

The trouble was that up until that time, I had a pretty fun life here in Pensacola, Florida, especially in the summer! My friends down here like hiking, camping, and canoeing/kayaking – you know, outdoor stuff. And the time to do that stuff is in the summer. Not to mention that I like to go on motorcycle trips. And it’s not that it’s too cold to ride in our “winter,” but the days are just too damn short and I don’t like riding at night anymore.

At first, I only went up to Washington for a couple of months. The cherry season only runs from about June through early August. But there is much to do to get the helicopters and equipment ready for the upcoming season, and then there’s a lot to do to de-mobilize everything and get it put away. The company consists of the owner and his adult son; they need help. So I started going up earlier and earlier, and staying later and later.  It got to where I was spending just about half the year in Brewster, and half the year in Florida.

After my sixth season in Washington, I said that one would be my last. And I meant it, too! But come the next Spring, my boss in Brewster cajoled me into go back. And so I did.  And he did that again another two seasons after that. Like I said, it was too much fun to resist.

But this year I did not go back up to Brewster. This year I officially quit. None of my friends believed me; they’d heard that story before, at least three times already. And they assumed that I’d cave and go back up again this season. But I held firm. This year, I’m staying home.  And yeah, I'll miss Washington.

The plan is to do more of the outdoorsy things I used to do before getting roped-in to my summer flying job. We’ll see about that. I’m ten years older now, and from a physical stamina standpoint, there’s a difference between age 54 and 64. But if I do nothing more than just ride my motorcycle(s) around and go to the beach a lot…well…that’ll be okay too.

And of course, ironically, as soon as I made the decision to quit, I got two offers to go up to Washington and dry cherries for other operators. I’ve written before about how tough it is to quit aviation. But sooner or later you have to put your foot down and say enough is enough.

02 June 2020

CORONAVIRUS: Mama Mia! What's Going On?!

From Italy comes word that the coronavirus weakens with every new person it infects. Two doctors in Italy now say that for all intents and purposes, the virus is...gone…in Italy. You can read the article HERE.

If true, this is huge. It means that the virus will indeed go away…as President Trump predicted (he just got the timing wrong). But it seems illogical that a virus would weaken as it mutates. Then again, I’m no epidemiologist. Maybe it is logical.

But check this out! From the article...

Alberto Zangrillo, who heads Milan's San Raffaele Hospital, told Italian TV on Sunday that "in reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy.”

"The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago," Zangrillo said.


Wow!  That's awesome news, no?

But of course, the Italian government, the CDC and the World Health Organization are crying foul…or at least urging caution and saying, of course, that there have been no official studies on this and so we must be careful not to give Italians (or anyone else) any false hope. Okay, you knew they were going to say that.

But for some complete and utter bullshit, we must turn to two people from the World Health Organization. First is a guy named Michael Ryan. He is the Director of the Health Emergencies Program at WHO. Next is Maria van Kerkhove. She is a “technical lead” at WHO, whatever that is. Ryan and van Kerkhove seem to disagree with the Italian doctors.

According to the Business Insider article, Ryan stated, 

"It may not be that the virus itself is becoming less potent. It may be that we are — as community and as a global community — successfully reducing the number, intensity, and frequency of exposure to the virus, which, on the face of it, the virus then looks weaker."

On the “Stupid Things To Say” scale, that rates about a 10. Because what Ryan is really saying is, “We don’t know what those Italian doctors are seeing, but in any case we don’t believe it and here's our cockamamie theory.”

Then, van Kerkhove chimes in. Again, quoting the article:

Van Kerkhove added that measures that reduce and suppress transmission, including contact tracing and quarantining suspected cases, "reduce the potency and power of the virus."

What? I’m sorry, but that doesn’t make any sense. How does contact-tracing and quarantining reduce the potency and power of a virus in a person? What kind of bullshit is that?

Before we pass judgment on what the doctors in Italy are seeing, let’s look at their actual statistics. And then let’s look at statistics from other countries – like, ohhhh, Sweden? Because if the coronavirus is not weakening in other countries, then we have to question the claims of the Italians. 

First, here are two charts showing the number of new cases and the number of deaths that Italy has seen since the last week in February.




Now, for a comparison, let's look at Sweden.



Okaaaaay, that's certainly a pretty flat curve, but they're still seeing between 300 and 600 new cases every day.

Here's the United States...



A steady decline of new cases in the U.S.  But we are not seeing the kind of drastic dropoff that Italy is seeing.

And finally, here's Spain.



Hmm.  Seems that Italy, Spain and Portugal are all seeing the same trend in new cases and deaths. (I didn't show Portugal, but their graph is almost identical to that of Spain.) 

To be honest, I don't know what to think.  It sure does seem that there are factions of society that would have us in a constant state of paranoia and panic over this virus.  

The computer models of the disease were wrong from the beginning.  The actual numbers of people getting infected and dying from COVID19 are nowhere near even the updated numbers that some "experts" predicted. And if what the Italians, Spanish and Portugese are seeing is true, then perhaps the coronavirus really will begin to disappear.

Fascinating stuff!

01 June 2020

CORONAVIRUS: Where Are We?

When it comes to the coronavirus, people generally have their mind made up about stuff. Including me. I believe that the virus is far less deadly than the "experts" predicted, and the national lockdown was completely unnecessary. And it is from that viewpoint that I look at "the numbers."

Here in Florida, we've been back "open" for about a month. I say that, but bars and movie theatres are still closed. Restaurants are limited to 50% capacity. People were predicting that our governor was opening too soon, and that we'd see a big spike in new cases and deaths.  So what are the numbers of new cases and deaths? Well...


As you can see, we had a peak around the end of March, and then the number of new cases has been up and down ever since - fairly flat with no definite upward or downward trend. Same for the number of deaths.

Here's the last 30 days...


Again, fairly flat.  So far, Florida has had 2,460 deaths.  Maybe.  It turns out that so far this year, Florida is reporting about 1,500 deaths from pneumonia, compared to about 1,200 for the same time period last year.  The suspicion is that some of those "extra" 300 deaths were probably from coronavirus.  Even so, that would make Florida's COVID19 deaths 2,760, which is still pretty low compared to, say, New York.

But let's look at another random state, like ohhhh, Iowa.  There are a large number of meat-packing plants in Iowa, and they had some outbreaks in some that were disturbing.  Other than that, how's their number of new-cases doing?

Iowa's new-case peak was around the end of April.  Governor Kim Reynolds (who had never issued a stay-at-home order) began re-opening her state on May 1st. You would think that by the end of the month there would be some sort of evidence of this.  But no dice, no spike.  If anything, it appears that the number of new cases is trending downward.  It's so hard to tell.  But what about COVID19 deaths in Iowa?


Well, aside from that one strange spike around May 25th, Iowa's death rate shows a steady and slow climb, which is to be expected.  Maybe.  The last reported data was on May 28th.  It will be interesting to see what the new numbers are as we begin this week.

Other states are experiencing a similar leveling or slight decline in the number of new cases and deaths.  However, for some reason the news media still wants us to panic over the coronavirus, doing absurd things like wearing masks outdoors and while driving alone in our cars.  They still cling to the narrative that this virus could explode through the population like wildfire, despite statistical evidence that it's doing no such thing.

Protect the elderly and vulnerable.  Wash your hands more than before.  If you feel unsafe, or horrified at the thought that you could become an asymptomatic carrier and kill some random person, then stay the hell home until we tell you it's safe.  

Which might be never.