Today, if I can find the recipe for the rice, I am hoping to make sushi. First time I've done it since 2011 or 2012, whenever it was that I made it for my Bible study group.
The recipe I use is from a book I bought lo these many years ago, but that book is packed away right now while the home improvements are still pending. That's a shame; a friend of mine and I made sushi using that recipe and then brought it to a pot luck for the Japanese language class we were taking at the time. Our teacher--a native Japanese woman--told us it was delicious, and the way she said it (tone of voice) led me to believe that it might have been "very delicious".
Anyway, I'll do what I can. I've got cucumber, carrot, and shrimp; I've also had reasonably good results using canned tuna. So that ought to be tasty.
* * *
Trump wonders aloud about using disinfectants in the human body and the press loses its shit, and reports that he "suggested" people inject themselves with, or drink, bleach or Lysol or whatever. This comes at a time they they're reporting that more people are calling poison hotlines with regard to household disinfectants, and they're trying to suggest that this increase in calls (which happened prior to Trump's odd statement) are Trump's fault because he said that.
I've thought about that myself: we have lots of powerful chemicals that essentially nuke disease organisms, and it's a shame there's no good way to use them internally. That's the problem with disinfectants. Their microbiological effects are so powerful they kill the tissue you're trying to protect as well as the bugs you want dead.
Using ultraviolet to disinfect blood, or internal bodily passages. They tried a lot of different things back before antibiotics were invented.
This is a compelling theory. The TL;DR of it is that a person's response to COVID-19 is dependent on the state of his immune system: if he has a lot of autoimmune troubles, he's got a higher risk than if he has none.
It fits the known facts! The elderly are more susceptible to it because what is a common malady that afflicts the elderly? Arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder. And as you get older your immune system becomes less effective.
There's some discussion to the effect that the Chinese virus lab that's the source of this shit was trying to find a vaccine for HIV--which might be why this thing (supposedly) has some of the features of HIV.
Why does hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) work better in some folks than others? Because the severe disease is dependent on what kind of autoimmune condition you have, and if HCQ works on that autoimmune disease, then it works on your COVID-19 infection.
I think he's right when he says that rheumatology is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
* * *
Personally, though? I think "autoimmune" disorders are caused by germs which cause no other symptoms.
In Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton talked about how organisms and their diseases undergo this complex, long dance, where eventually the pathogen and the host co-evolve to live in harmony. So arthritis (to pick an example) may be the result of millennia of co-evolution--and where we are now, the germs don't really do anything to the human host but the human host still wants to get rid of them.
Many of the symptoms you experience during an illness are the result of your body's self-defense system. The excess of mucus is because your mucus membranes (themselves a defense mechanism) try to drown the pathogen in goo and flush it away. The sore throat is because the body detects that there are infected cells, or bacteria present, and sprays them with something that pops them, killing them, and the ones around them pretty much indiscriminately ("ACCEPTABLE LOSSES!!!!") to slow the propagation of the pathogen. Sneezing expels the stuff. Fever makes it harder for the stuff to live.
You stop experiencing those symptoms after your body develops antigens for the disease.
But you don't get sick from the bacteria in your gut. You don't get sick from that because your body knows how to handle them, and in fact if they're gone your digestive tract doesn't work correctly. I'd be willing to bet that there are billions more viruses around than we know, and that a lot of them are benign and cause no symptoms--or almost none--and when someone has an autoimmune problem it's because he's got a virus that is not quite there yet.
* * *
I was going to make a joke here about not knowing what drugs the governor of Virginia is smoking, except that I know what he's intoxicated with: power.
COVID-19 is pretty much over in the United States. It's been here months longer than we knew, it's infected far more people than originally thought, the death rate is a tenth or less of what we thought it was, and the no measures numbers keep being revised downward. From "TWO! MILLION!" dead we're now at 60,000, and even that's starting to look like too big a number. And to get to 60k they're having to conflate "died because of" with "died with".
I heard a joke: "Did you hear about the skydiver with COVID-19 who forgot his parachute? He died of COVID-19!"
Besides that, we've overstocked on personal protective equipment and ventilators--manufacturers are turning out ventilators which will never be used--and we've basically stopped treating other maladies in favor of being ready to fight COVID-19. There are hospitals all over the USA which are furloughing employees because there's nothing for them to do, but they're not allowed to treat "non-essential" cases. Because the government says so.
The aim is to find a way to restrict or postpone the elections so that Democrats can win it. I'm not sure how much of this was ever about keeping the population healthy; the elites don't act like this is any worse than the common cold even as they tell us we're standing too close together and need to wear masks whenever we're out of the house and by the way, too bad if you want to go shopping with your spouse, because "social distancing".
If they can crush us under their heels for two years, they can make the emergency permanent, and have us live like this all the time. They could then create the permanent underclass on the dole that they've so desperately wanted since Karl Marx had pubes, see to it that as many people as possible depended on the government for their income--and after that, it's a rather quick sashay down Fascism Street to Communist Town. All perfectly legal, because those proles on the dole will vote for whatever they have to vote for to keep the government cheese coming to them.
* * *
By the way--I've started a preliminary read of AV to check for glaring errors. There are a few lines I've come across that I love to pieces.
According to some schools of thought, I should cut them solely because I like them. I've never understood that; if you have enough self-awareness to write well and you know it's good, why would you cut it? It seems to me that's a one-way road to writing something you absolutely detest at the least, and unreable garbage at worst. This notion that a person must suffer when creating or consuming art is ridiculous, and worse than that it obviates the entire reason man created art in the first place.
Anyway, the "since Karl Marx had pubes" line I used above is part of a line from AV that I really liked.
* * *
You need not worry about this happening. Apple is a hardware company. They sell phones, tablets, and computers. They sell these items at a vast markup in order to make a lot of money.
(Did you know that Apple stock doesn't pay dividends? I didn't know that until recently. Why own it, then? Except maybe temporarily?)
(I might have heard incorrectly, but I was shocked when I heard it. Dividends are the reason most investors hold stocks.)
The likelihood of Apple selling a reasonably powerful laptop for less than $1,500 is remote. Chromebooks aren't their competition. Windows laptops aren't exactly their competition, either. No, what Apple is selling is designer hardware--which is to say, hardware with a specific label on it--and the cachet that is attached to it.
Okay, a woman with a Versace handbag didn't buy it because a $5,000 purse is better than a $50 Walmart purse. A purse that costs $5,000 doesn't have better performance or more features than the $50 one. Assuming similar dimensions they hold about the same amount of stuff, and there are no weight-reducing or theft-prevention properties inherent in the $5,000 purse that makes it $4,950 better than the $50 one. It won't extend her lifespan or make her kids smarter or make her husband taller.
But none of that matters, because she buys it for the label that says "Versace". It's a status symbol--and, what's more, it's a signal for other women that she's higher in status than they are. A woman with a Versace handbag is a woman of means and taste! Don't you want to be her?
Apple cultivates the same sort of thing. They go to a great deal of trouble to make their stores ooze "cool" and "chic", and at every step they take pains to make their stuff fashionable and stylish. Are you cool enough to use Apple?
Their prices are part of that. Are you rich enough to afford a $1,000 phone? (If you're really cool but poor, we haven't priced it so high as to be out of your reach; here is a convenient installment plan....)
The $5,000 monitor with the $1,000 stand is the perfect example. The Macintosh computer that it goes with is competing with high-end desktop workstation computers used by "content creators", high-salary people involved with media or who make movies or TV shows or music or whatever. If you're an executive producer you almost have to have $20,000 worth of Mac hardware on your otherwise immaculate desk, or everyone will think you're some kind of hack.
If Apple were to start making a reasonably-priced computer that performed as well as an average Windows laptop in its price class, they might lose that. Since it's really the only thing they have--selling overpriced, underperforming computers to people who don't know better--they're not going to jeopardize that.
* * *
I don't know what to think about Disney's trouble during these times. I'm ambivalent about it, because I really don't have any sympathy for Disney, yet I know that there are hundreds of thousands of Disney employees who are being hurt by this, and who will be hurt worse if the company fails.
I don't go quite as far as referring to it as "the Devil Mouse" but Disney is really not a good corporate citizen. They've run roughshod over a lot of ground, including getting our government to twist copyright law all out of shape in order to protect their intellectual property. Okay, "Mickey Mouse" should have dropped into the public domain decades ago--would have, if Disney corporation hadn't heavily lobbied congress to change copyright law. By then Walt Disney was dead and could receive no further benefit from his creation, but the corporation needed to keep a tight rein on who could use Mickey et al. The last time I checked copyright law, it extended from the moment of creation (registered or not) through a period of something like seventy-five years after the original creator's death. I might be wrong about that last; "15 years" sounds more correct, but it might have been 15 years at some point and was extended to 75. All I know is, you can thank Disney for that; their lobbyists did that.
Disney has run roughshod over the entertainment industry. They were only able to get the rights to Studio Ghibli's films after Miyazaki made them promise not to cut anything from them, but the dubs are still not right, and (at least at first) they tried to take credit for the things by prefacing them with a long monologue from some Disney executive. No idea how long they have the rights, but in the beginning, it was questionable whether or not the subtitled versions would even be available. There was enough fan outcry that Disney had to include subbed versions, because there were plenty of fans who simply refused to buy them otherwise. (Self included.)
Their theme parks are overpriced clip joints. They used to be a lot less expensive, but a one-day adult ticket to Disney World is $115. $124 on peak days. And that's just your admission to the park. Food and drinks are extra (as I recall you cannot bring in your own) and souvenirs--forget it.
When Disney acquired Star Wars, a lot of people thought it would be saved. Instead we got one of the biggest shit jobs ever, on purpose, because Disney didn't own Luke Skywalker and Han Solo the way they own Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. They had to pay George Lucas some fee to use those characters--so rather than gracefully ease them aside they just went on a slaughter-fest and gave us Mary Suewalker.
The company is so SJW-converged now there's really nothing to be done with it but let it collapse. It certainly can't be fixed. I feel sorry for the people whose jobs are jeopardized by that, but the rich asshats running the thing can't be fucked to care for their own employees anyway.
And the comics industry is going to be hurt first, and worst, by that.
Diamond Distributing is pretty much a monopoly in the comics business. If you're a comic store, they are your wholesaler, and if they don't carry it, you probably won't, either. Only in recent years have some independents bypassed that. Of course it's all SJW-converged and under the control of the NPC crowd:
I can't work up much [sympathy] for the guys that were fast out saying, that the people who buy Arkhaven, Alterna and Cyber-Frog are NOT OUR CUSTOMERS.Comic stores in general are lefty-type businesses. I remember going to the place I patronized in the 1990s and seeing Limbaugh's books stocked under "True Crime". Why even carry the book, you idiots, if you don't like it? Who's forcing you to carry it? You do realize that just by ordering the book in order to make your (juvenile) point, you've put money in his pocket, right?
...anyone who says, "I don't want those people for customers!" is an idiot. I don't care why you buy my books. Burn them, use them as toilet paper--just buy the fucking things.
There is a significant population out there who wants good entertainment which does not talk down to them and does not call them "nazis" and "fascists" and "bigoted homophobe sexist racist assholes". The comics industry has, for several years--decades--been doing exactly that, denigrating the right wing, and not realizing how many people they were turning away from comics entirely. The explosion of manga and anime may be an indicator, particularly since Japanese manga is usually almost entirely apolitical, at least from this side of the Pacific.
And so here we are, at a juncture where comics stores are closed as "nonessential", and the two major comics publishing houses are suffering because they can't sell books. And again, it's hard to feel sorry for them.
* * *
I was just thinking the other day about Elio Motors, and how sad it is that they flopped.
If they'd started building them on schedule, I might have bought one in 2018; certainly I would have bought one by now. Because it's got that rear seat, it would be fine for use in my current job, and I would have still had the Jeep for bigger loads.
Their site is still active, still talking about building the thing. Last update to their blog was Dec 9, 2019.
The thing they should have done was to start with electric cars. That way, they could have gotten all kinds of funding from the federal government. (That was during the Obama years; they could have gotten it.) Then, once they had the assembly line going, and everything was percolating nicely, start making gasoline cars.
The MSRP has risen to about $7,500, which is still not at all bad. I think they missed something by trying to get it classified as a car instead of a motorcycle, to be honest, because $7,500 is the price of a good new bike, and I don't see why they could not have had classes for people who wanted to get one...only driving Elios to get their bike licenses. (It's legally a motorcycle; why can't you use it to get your motorcycle license?) (But then again, the law is an ass.)
But nope, it ain't happening. It's a pity, really.