Tuesday: Hili dialogue

December 28, 2021 • 7:00 am

It’s the cruelest day of the week: Tuesday, and December 28, 2021, the fourth day of Coynezaa and National Chocolate Day.  (On the fourth day of Coynezaa my true love gave to me: four gefilte fish, three matzo balls, two spinning dreidels and a kippah in a pear tree.) Does anybody not like chocolate? I know that it’s toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine, though the toxicity threshold is over twice as high for cats than in dogs (i.e. cats are more chocolate-resistant).

It’s also Call a Friend Day, National Card Playing Day, National Short Film Day, and Pledge of Allegiance Day, marking the day in 1945 when Congress gave “national sanction” to the pledge. The words “under God” weren’t in that sanctioned pledge, but were added during the Cold War (in 1954) to distinguish our religion-soaked country from the godless Communists. Finally, it’s also the fourth of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

News of the Day:

*The headlines of all big media outlets: the CDC has reduced the time that you must isolate if you catch the omicron variant from 10 days until five—IF you’re asymptomatic. Once you test positive, you’re out for five days, but then must wear a mask for five more days. This comes from new research showing that people are the most infectious to others for two days before and three days after symptoms appear. This means that you have to get tested even without symptoms.  But why would you unless you’re obliged to get tested daily or weekly? The NYT says this, but it’s confusing, because they added the bit in bold only this morning.

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said.

The agency had previously recommended that infected patients isolate for 10 days from when they were tested for the virus. But on Monday, it cut that period to five days for those without symptoms, or those without fevers whose other symptoms were resolving.

The new guidance was announced as the highly transmissible Omicron variant is sending daily caseloads soaring, forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights and cities to scuttle or scale back New Year’s Eve celebrations and threatening industries as diverse as health care, restaurants and retail.

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to impact all facets of our society,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the C.D.C. The new recommendations “balance what we know about the spread of the virus and the protection provided by vaccination and booster doses. These updates ensure people can safely continue their daily lives.”

Health officials also said that uninfected Americans who had received booster shots did not need to quarantine after exposure to the virus.

The ambiguous bit (I wrote this before they added the bold bit) is that they said you isolate for only five days if you test positive, but until this morning, you had no way of knowing whether you were positive unless you showed symptoms (or were being tested regularly).

That last paragraph is also unclear. Does “exposure to the virus” mean that you’ve been around someone who’s had it but don’t test positive yourself?

This is, of course, being done purely because new mandates and transportation screwups (1200 flights canceled in the U.S. yesterday) are forcing health officials to loosen the rules.

I haven’t seen the CDC announcement, but other sources basically repeat the same ambiguous information above. A friend called me last night who said he tested positive for Covid-19 after 3 jabs, but had very mild symptoms. He was quarantining at home for ten days, and I told him he’d better check the new rules. But I couldn’t tell him, in light of the above, whether he should only quarantine for a few more days since he tested positive several days ago. I wrote him this morning and told him that the NYT had changed the article and, because his symptoms are nearly gone, he’s free!

*A brief note from the AP:  Israel, which has led much of the world in vaccinations and low infection rates, has made two Covid-related announcements. First,

 Israel’s Health Ministry says it will allow people with two doses of the coronavirus vaccine to get a booster shot after three months, rather than the five-month waiting period it previously allowed.

The government said in a statement Monday that it shortened the timeframe to boost immunity as the swiftly-moving omicron variant spreads around the globe.

Second, what’s probably a harbinger for us, too: more boosters!

Israel began trials of a fourth dose of coronavirus vaccine on Monday in what is believed to be the first study of its kind.

*I wrote a bit about E. O. Wilson yesterday after hearing of his death. He was a great biologist, but the obit at the Washington Post goes a bit overboard:

And adds this:

The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation announced his death but did not provide a cause.

Often cited as Charles Darwin’s greatest 20th-century heir, Dr. Wilson was an eloquent and immensely influential environmentalist and was the first to determine that ants communicate mainly through the exchange of chemical substances now known as pheromones.

Actually, I’ve never heard Wilson touted as Darwin’s 20th-century heir. He was a very great biologist, but there are several others, including Theodosius Dobzhansky and Ernst Mayr, who could be also be seen as Darwin’s heirs as well. In fact all evolutionary biologists could be considered Darwin’s “heirs.” Given that Darwin introduced, popularized, and convinced people of the truth of evolution and natural selection (as well as writing about human evolution and many other topics, his shoes cannot be filled. There is no heir in the sense of someone making as big a contribution as Darwin. It’s like saying someone is Newton’s 20th-century heir. Just a quibble. . .

UPDATE: Andrew Berry sent a photo he took in Ed’s office, showing Wilson with a Darwin bobblehead doll:

*Anybody who knew the Taliban didn’t believe their assurances that women would no longer be oppressed when they took over Afghanistan. That was a big fat lie. As the BBC reports, the Taliban has begun it’s crackdown on women and on pleasures as well. Long-distance travel has been banned for women, as has schooling (despite their promise that women would be equally schooled), and most jobs, and there is now a ban on playing music in vehicles. Bolding from the BBC:

The Taliban have said Afghan women seeking to travel long distances by road should be offered transport only if accompanied by a male relative.

The directive, issued on Sunday, is the latest curb on women’s rights since the Islamist group seized power in August.

A majority of secondary schools remain shut for girls, while most women have been banned from working.

Campaign group Human Rights Watch said the new restriction moved further towards making women prisoners.

Heather Barr, the group’s associate director of women’s rights, told AFP news agency the order “shuts off opportunities for [women] to be able to move about freely” or “to be able to flee if they are facing violence in the home”.

The latest directive, issued by the Taliban’s Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said women travelling for more than 45 miles (72km) should be accompanied by a close male family member.

Didn’t I tell you this was going to happen? But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to have guessed that Afghanistan was going to turn into its old theocratic, misogynistic self under the Taliban (h/t Divy). Religion poisons everything, and Islam’s poison is the most deadly, for in many places (not all) it automatically poisons half the population.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 816,707, an increase of 1,205 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,425,321, an increase of about 6,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on December 28 includes:

  • 1065 – Edward the Confessor’s Romanesque monastic church at Westminster Abbey is consecrated.
  • 1832 – John C. Calhoun becomes the first Vice President of the United States to resign. He resigned after being elected Senator from South Carolina.
  • 1836 – Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico with the signing of the Santa María–Calatrava Treaty.
  • 1879 – Tay Bridge disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom collapses as a train passes over it, killing 75.

This disaster is the subject of a famous poem by William MGonagall, the best bad poet in history.  “The Tay Bridge Disaster” may be his best worst poem. You can read it here, and the third tweet below shows it being recited near the site of the collapse by Billy Connolly:

Matthew found the tweet and added this comment:

The Tay is absolutely immense where the railway crosses it – it’s quite alarming when you go over to Dundee. Must have been terrifying when the accident happened. The doggerel makes us forget the horror.

Here’s the bridge before it collapsed:

  • 1895 – The Lumière brothers perform for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines.
  • 1895 – Wilhelm Röntgen publishes a paper detailing his discovery of a new type of radiation, which later will be known as x-rays.

Here’s Röntgen and his original paper. For this discovery he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. The paper title reads, in German, “W. C. Röntgen: On a new type of ray”

She refused, as an Irish revolutionary, to take her seat. Here she is:

Heydrich, who had a huge part in Nazi genocides was assassinated with a bomb by partisans. The attempt took place on May 27, 1942 (the planning took five months), and it took him a week to die (he could have been saved by antibiotics).  The assassins were tracked down and killed, and, in reprisal, the Germans shot about 5,000 people and leveled the famous village of Lidice after killing all its men and boys over 14.

Here’s Heydrich’s car after the bombing.

Here’s an 17-minute video about the game; click “Watch on YouTube to see it:

  • 1972 – The last scheduled day for induction into the military by the Selective Service System. Due to the fact that President Richard Nixon declared this day a national day of mourning due to former President Harry S Truman‘s death, approximately 300 men were not able to report due to most Federal offices being closed. Since the draft was not resumed in 1973, they were never drafted.

I was a conscientious objector then, working in a hospital. When they announced that the draft was ended in 1973, I realized that, legally, I should be released from service. I brought a lawsuit with 4 other guys against the government (the ACLU gave us free legal services), and we won. The decision released well over a thousand conscientious objectors.

  • 1973 – The United States Endangered Species Act is signed into law by President Richard Nixon..

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1856 – Woodrow Wilson, American historian and politician, 28th President of the United States, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1924)
  • 1882 – Arthur Eddington, English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician (d. 1944)
  • 1902 – Mortimer J. Adler, American philosopher and author (d. 2001)

Adler, below, initiated the country’s first “Great Books” curriculum at the University of Chicago:

  • 1922 – Stan Lee, American publisher, producer, and actor (d. 2018)
  • 1934 – Maggie Smith, English actress

Dame Maggie is still with us though she is a cancer survivor and has Graves’ Disease.  Here she is asserting that she’s never seen the show “Downton Abbey”, though she’s the matriarch in that show:

  • 1944 – Kary Mullis, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019)
  • 1946 – Edgar Winter, American singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer
  • 1978 – Chris Coyne, Australian footballer and manager

I always include the Coynes, though I’m sure they’re not relatives. I don’t even know if Chris Coyne is Jewish, though he looks a bit like my dad:

Another actress whom I admire (and think is beautiful). She was of course in the “Girl Who (With).  . . ” movies:

Those who hoped to meet their Maker, but didn’t, on December 28 include:

He wrote the “Daybreak” section of Daphnis and Chlöe; one of the most evocative (to me) pieces of modern music ever written. Notice the cat in the picture.

  • 1963 – Paul Hindemith, German violinist, composer, and conductor (b. 1895)
  • 1983 – Dennis Wilson, American drummer, songwriter, and producer (b. 1944)
  • 1999 – Clayton Moore, American actor (b. 1914)

This was Moore’s famous role, and I never missed an episode:

  • 2004 – Susan Sontag, American novelist, essayist, critic, and playwright (b. 1933)
  • 2016 – Debbie Reynolds, American actress, singer and dancer (b. 1932)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili objects to the new cats in her house:

Hili: The two-cat-solution wasn’t wise.
A: But now we have three cats.
Hili: And this is worse still.
In Polish
Hili: Rozwiązanie w postaci dwóch kotów nie było rozsądne.
Ja: Ale teraz mamy trzy koty.
Hili: A to jest jeszcze gorsze.
And Szaron and Kulka on the windowsill: one sleeping and one watching:

An old Far Side cartoon sent in by reader Rick:

And a photo by Tracey Mills that I reposted on FB. Can you spot the tawny frogmouths? What an amazing example of evolved camouflage. They also sit still with their beaks in the air, looking for all the world like a broken tree limb.

x

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From Athayde, who says, “This prescient cartoon, published way before the current pandemic began.”

As this tweet shows, Masih wrote a piece for the Washington Post (link below or here).

An excerpt:

Many Iranian human rights activists have often wondered why Twitter and other social media organizations take so little action against the Islamic republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other government officials. Meanwhile, Khamenei has banned 83 million Iranians from Twitter, although he and his allies make full use of social platforms to spread their lies — without even a hint of warning labels. The social media playing field remains starkly tilted in favor of the dictatorship.

Testifying before a Senate hearing last October, Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey said Khamenei’s anti-Semitic tweets and his calls for the eradication of Israel didn’t violate the company’s rules because they were only “saber-rattling.” Since Khamenei’s verbal attacks weren’t aimed at his own citizens, Dorsey claimed, they were permissible.

. . . Khamenei has called for crackdowns on his own people. He promotes misogyny and encourages violence against women and different ethnic and religious groups. Only when he called in February 2019 for British Indian author Salman Rushdie to be killed did Twitter take down the offending post after much protest — but it only temporarily locked Khamenei’s account rather than banning it.

From Ginger K., an incest card!

From Barry: John Cleese tweets about his cats:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. A field biologist locked down in her own country:

These people truly hate Brussels sprouts, as do I. I have not found a way to cook them to make them edible.  Read more on the thread about how she fooled her Dad with a faux mince pie.

A rampaging otter wreaks havoc!

These cats are OFFENDED!

 

52 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Brussels sprouts are great steamed and tossed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, a bit of garlic and a pinch of salt. They go well with a side of fruitcake. Just kidding about the side of fruitcake, but I do love Brussels sprouts.

    1. Heresy! Like gremlins, they ought not ever be exposed to H2O. Roasting, my friend, is the way to go. Then I like to make a seedy mustard vinaigrette, toss with bacon, toasted walnuts & chevre.

      1. Totally agree. Cut in half, Tos. in olive oil and sprinkle with a little flaked salt, roast in air fryer until edges are crispy and then drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar …. yum !!!

  2. “Edward O. Wilson, Harvard naturalist often cited as heir to Darwin, dies at 92”

    I don’t know if it had an influence on the WaPo obit, but “the new Darwin” is the moniker Tom Wolfe hung on Wilson in his 1996 essay “Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died”, contained in Wolfe’s 2000 collection of short pieces Hooking Up. (“Already there is a new Darwin, or perhaps I should say an updated Darwin, since no one ever believed more religiously in Darwin I than he does. His name is Edward O Wilson.”)

  3. Another thing about the draft days in the U.S. Your time in service depends on the branch of service and if you were drafted or not. If drafted into the Army your active time is two years, if you live through it. If you join the Army it is three years. If you join the Air Force as I did, it is four years. However, your obligation in all cases is for 6 years. After six years you get a letter from the president congratulating you on your release. I got my letter in 1974 from Nixon. He hung on just long enough to get my letter out. I never saved that letter.

  4. Driving south to visit my daughter in Tallahassee – a “Tallahassee Lassie”, remember that tune? – I tuned into an NPR talk show. The interviewee was a biology professor, and the topic was genes and their quirky effects on everyday life. The prof remarked that he hated broccoli and had done some research into food preferences in relation to one’s genetic makeup. Turns out that there is an allele possessed by some portion of the human population that results in Brassica species tasting unpleasantly bitter. Those without that variant happily consume many of those vegetables. As one who despises most of them (my brother does as well), I have remembered that.

    As another example, there is a fairly common forest fungus in my region, known as the Bitter Bolete. And it is, inedible for most, including me. But there are those who consume it happily, considering it one of the best Boletus species for the table to be had.

    1. Mention of Tallahassee brings to mind that I was scheduled to see Jerry give a talk in Tallahassee, but then the talk was canceled due to the initial US Covid-19 outbreak. Still disappointed because Tallahassee was by far the closest to me Jerry has given a talk and probably my one chance to hear him speak.

    2. Turns out that there is an allele possessed by some portion of the human population that results in Brassica species tasting unpleasantly bitter. […]
      As another example, there is a fairly common forest fungus in my region, known as the Bitter Bolete. And it is, inedible for most, including me.

      If I recall correctly, one of the simpler flavour molecules tastes of oranges as an L-isomer and lemons as an D-isomer.
      The braincell told me “limonene”, and indeed, from that Wiki article :

      The D-isomer, occurring more commonly in nature as the fragrance of oranges, is a flavoring agent in food manufacturing. […] The less common L-isomer has a piny, turpentine-like odor, and is found in the edible parts of such plants as caraway, dill, and bergamot orange plants.

      It’s less than surprising that there are genetic traits involved in taste.

  5. “Here’s Röntgen and his original paper. For this discovery he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. ”

    It was the _first_ Nobel Prize as well, being one in the set given in 1901. Quite historic.

    (… IIRC … )

  6. 1. Operation Anthropoid is a great and daring action for which the Czechs paid a terrible price.
    The execution of a criminal against humanity, a war criminal, indicates that once we understood these concepts well and were able to punish so-called “devils” who commit such terrible crimes.

    2. Bridges sometimes collapse vide Point Pleasant (West Virginia) The town is best known for the Silver Bridge crash in 1967, killing 46 people.

    3.The solution to the problems with 3 cats is obviously the 4 cat and the duck, then everything will be back to normal.

  7. 1. Operation Anthropoid is a great and daring action for which the Czechs paid a terrible price.
    The execution of a criminal against humanity, a war criminal, indicates that once we understood these concepts well and were able to punish so-called “devils” who commit such terrible crimes.

    2. Bridges sometimes collapse vide Point Pleasant (West Virginia) The town is best known for the Silver Bridge crash in 1967, killing 46 people.

    3.The solution to the problems with 3 cats is obviously the 4 cat and the duck, then everything will be back to normal.

  8. Heydrich: I read somewhere that Himmler was aware of the plot but let it proceed since he was in a power struggle with Heydrich and was happy to have him out of the way. Also, the sepsis he died from was the result of a puncture wound from a seat spring in the Mercedes.

    1. Thanks for posting this, I’m sorry to hear of Keri Hulme’s death. Yes, The Bone People was most excellent; a very eye-opening account of Māori culture in modern New Zealand. I had no idea it won the Booker Prize. I read the novel when it first came out, so perhaps she hadn’t won the Booker yet.

      1. Yeah, I first read Wolfe’s piece in his Hooking Up book (but when I went looking for it this morning, I found the reprint in The Guardian). What I knew of Wilson before reading that essay was essentially limited to the infamous ice-water incident and the stir Sociobiology had caused in the pages of The New York Review of Books.

    1. Wikipedia doesn’t say anything about the relative toxicity for cats versus d*gs, but does note:

      The same risk is reported for cats as well, although cats are less likely to ingest sweet food, with most cats having no sweet taste receptors.

      It also says:

      In 2014, four American black bears were found dead at a bait site in New Hampshire. A necropsy and toxicology report performed at the University of New Hampshire in 2015 confirmed they died of heart failure caused by theobromine after they consumed 41 kilograms (90 lb) of chocolate and doughnuts placed at the site as bait. A similar incident killed a black bear cub in Michigan in 2011.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theobromine#Effects

  9. 1972 – The last scheduled day for induction into the military by the Selective Service System.

    Since I had a low draft-lottery number, I got called in for my pre-induction physical Thanksgiving week 1972. (I figured the draft board did it that week so it could catch those of us who went away to college back in our home towns, since the college-deferment program had been terminated that year.)

    I went in classified 1-A, came out 1-A, too, despite having sung any applicable verse from Phil Ochs’s “Draft Dodger Rag” as we moved from station to station, booth to booth, to get checked for flat feet, pierced eardrums, bum tickers, what have you.

    My cohort was eligible for induction as of January 1973, but no one actually got called up, since the Paris Peace Accords, ending US participation in the Vietnam War, were signed that month (and the conscription laws expired that summer) — although over the preceding Christmas it looked like the war was escalating again when Nixon and Kissinger launched their Operation Linebacker II bombing raids on Hanoi.

    1. I had forgotten when the college deferment was taken away. Interesting they took it away about the same time the draft was stopped anyway. Since I got out in 1972 but still had two years of so-called obligation I figured it was women and children first.

  10. As cliché as it may be, Ravel’s Bolero has long been a favorite of mine. In the 80s and 90s I bought many recordings, comparing and looking for the best. There were 2 stand outs. One early acquisition, an RCA record (vinyl) that for several years was the clear winner. But then the Musical Heritage Society (I was a subscriber at the time) released an excellent recording on CD of the The Philadelphia Orchestra with Ricardo Muti conducting that to this day is my favorite. Both the quality of the recording and the performance are stellar, in my opinion. Also on the same disk, their performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is easily in my top 3 recordings of that piece.

    My least favorite performance / recording of Bolero I have in my collection is by Karajan conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker. I’ve tried many times to like Karajan as he is considered one of the greats, but I’ve been disappointed every time. I just don’t get him as one of the greats, but then I’m not an expert, merely an avid consumer of music. To me he is invariably flat, though meticulous, and lacking in passion.

    1. I’ve learned – stimulated by this website – of Ravel solo piano material, performed by Argerich, and what a rich expression it has – I’m not sure of the words. IOW check out Argerich playing Ravel. You’d never think Bolero was by the same composer.

      As for Karajan – I subscribe to a certain music service from a certain California town, and I found a set (or had pushed to me) called something like “Karajan 1960’s” which has a great coverage of material – under a number of album covers – that I am slowly but steadily absorbing – Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, … perhaps Beethoven – the stuff never disappoints.

      1. Thanks for the tip on Argerich playing Ravel. I’ll have to check it out.

        I have several recordings of Karajan from the 60s, some “24 karat master recordings” (or something like that) by Deutsche Grammophon, but they just leave me cold. But given his status I’m sure the problem is me, not him.

    2. In Blake Edward’s movie 10, Bo Derek says that “Bolero” is the most descriptive sex music ever written, and that she learned this from her (step-)uncle — all to Dudley Moore’s discomfiture:

    3. Karajan was a master with the BPO in performances of Bruckner’s symphonies and other late romantic German classics, although he made a really bad recording of Wagner’s ring cycle
      in the 70’s. BTW, according to Michael Kater’s history of music in the 3rd Reich, The Twisted Muse,
      Karajan joined the Nazi party twice.

      1. Just loaded up on Karajan and associated orchestras thanks to this thread … saw one with Ravel and Mussorgsky – I live the old DG covers with those paintings – now I have to read the Hili Dialogue to see how exactly this came up!

  11. Regarding the new CDC isolation requirements:

    I’m in Canada so we have our own health advisory, but there is one glaring question to which I can not find even a hint of an answer:

    All the recommendations I’ve seen in regards to household isolation practices have to do with one or more people in a household contracting COVID, in which case it’s advised to isolate those people from the uninfected members of the household – e.g. isolate them in their own room, practice distancing and masking in common areas etc.

    But what if the ENTIRE household becomes infected? Then what? I see zero advice or information addressing this scenario, and yet with the Omicron wave that’s already a very common scenario.

    My son brought COVID home from his university and our family of 4 were pretty quickly all infected – mostly mild flu like symptoms. So what’s the protocol then? Is there still any need to distance, mask, isolate from one another?

    The intuitive answer is “No” because…what the hell, everyone has it anyway. But on the other hand the severity of a COVID disease outcome has been linked with the level of viral load your system encounters – the more you take in, the worse the outcome. So what are the implications if everyone is sick and just hanging out together, where the air you breath is essentially swarming with covid viral particles, while your body is trying to clear that disease? I can’t find any information at all on this.

    The closest answer that made sense came from a friend who figured that once covid had taken hold in your body it would have been reproducing at a massive rate inside you, so that the amount of viral particles you may inhale from being around another sick person are likely inconsequential in that regard. Your body is already fighting off a massive number of viral particles replicating inside you.
    That makes some sense to me.

    Does anyone else have some knowledge or insight on this question?

    1. Good question. I think I would go with your common-sense approach buttressed by your friend’s rationale. Pretty soon we’ll all be exposed, most of us even vaccinated will likely get it (mildly), and we’ll stop caring by February. Speaking as a good citizen I’m not going to behave that way myself just yet but for a house full of COVID snifflers I don’t think I’d bother doing any isolating at all. Ventilation and handwashing are good for all infectious diseases, in case one of the household has some other less contagious disease at the same time. The question is how do you get groceries if all of you have either confirmed or presumptive COVID?

      I can tell you that if either one of us got COVID — we are vaccinated of course — we would not isolate from each other. Life is too short. If I started to snore or cough at night I’d get sent to the guest room but that’s about it.

      1. I agree with the judgement that the viral load from an active infection inside you is likely to be far higher than what crosses from someone else in the same room. There might be edge cases where it’s not the case, but at some point, you’re a virus machine pumping out viruses which then distribute approximately on an inverse-square law before hitting the next target. So being 1cm from a shedding nostril will get you a lot higher loading than being 100cm from a shedding nostril.

        The question is how do you get groceries if all of you have either confirmed or presumptive COVID?

        The expectation here is that you then order delivery by whichever supermarket you can get a delivery slot at. That’s if you don’t have any nearby friends or relatives willing to take the risk of shopping for you.
        It’s mildly concerning for me, since with no family within 500 miles I’d have to learn how to organise online food ordering, and I’ve never ordered even a hot pizza online. And I’ve no idea about slot availability. So I just keep a fortnight’s food in the freezer, and another week or two in the dry store. Should see me through, or into the hospital. One way or the other.
        I gather there are local charities that also do food delivery, but I’ve no idea how that works either. Probably differently from one side of town to the other.
        That reminds me – it’s about time for my second test of the week.

        1. Thanks for the replies. That does make some sense.

          Though I really wish we could know which variant our family had. But they don’t tell you with the PCR tests. We got infected right during the changeover from Delta to Omicron, so don’t know which one. If it was Delta, we have the misfortune of getting Delta just as it’s making it’s way out and Omicron is the variant we will be encountering afterward. And Delta infection doesn’t give much protection from Omicron infection. But if it’s Omicron, we would be in much better position immunologically.

          Meanwhile my eldest son, now out of quarantine is doing his very best to encounter the virus – going to bars, the gym, hanging with friends etc. My only worry there is that if we had Delta, then my son could just bring home Omicron and infect us. Worse (since my wife and I aren’t quite over our illness), apparently you can be infected by both Delta and Omicron at the same time, to more disastrous results.

          So much uncertainty….

  12. These people truly hate Brussels sprouts, as do I. I have not found a way to cook them to make them edible.

    Try sautéing them in duck fat. I was never particularly crazy about Brussels sprouts until my bestie, the teaching chef, fixed them for me that way. Then again, I imagine almost anything tastes great sautéed in duck fat.

    1. According to Wikipedia:

      Consuming Brussels sprouts in excess may not be suitable for people taking anticoagulants, such as warfarin, since they contain vitamin K, a blood-clotting factor. In one incident, eating too many Brussels sprouts led to hospitalization for an individual on blood-thinning therapy.

      So that’s something else to hold against the vegetable!

    2. I start mine with bacon on the stove & then transfer the whole braising pan to oven to roast. If I can get my hands on duck fat, I’ll be sure to try. But alas, I’m not optimistic. I’ve been looking for lard for weeks & the store shelves remain bare.

    3. I made a cassoulet for Christmas and I sautéed everything (including duck confit) in 2T of duck fat. It was very tasty and very rich, as a Christmas feast should be.

      1. When I was staying with my bestie for a couple weeks pre-pandemic, a local French restaurant donated a vat of duck fat to the culinary institute where he was teaching. He brought home a tub of it, and he and I ended up using it in almost everything we cooked. Gawd, it was great; I couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

        1. One of my favorite presents I’ve ever received from a client was a giant 8 lb block of mangalista lard. It was a gift that kept on giving.

  13. Oh dear, I love sprouts, finished the second stalk yesterday. Just never put them in water – steamed with chestnuts is my preference, not to take away the flavour of sprouts, just because I also really, really like chestnuts.

    Growers are taming down the sulphur compounds to produce a sweeter, more palatable sprout – my question is: how will the sprout haters ever know unless they try one? In the meantime, we in the other camp will mourn the lack of flavour.

  14. Theodor Fontane, the Prussian novelist, also wrote a poem (ballad) about the Tay disaster: ” Tand, Tand, ist das Gebild von Menschenhand”

  15. Can you friend not take a lateral flow test every day – if that is negative he is OK? I assume you have those tests?

    1. LFTs have a significant false-negative rate – and a significant false-positive rate. The PCR tests have lower rates of each. The advice here was to assume that you’re positive if you’ve got more than 2 of the regular list of symptoms, or if you’ve LFT’d positive, and then order a PCR test to apply at home and send away for processing.

      There’s an obvious hazard there – and I noticed that the local post office has a sign saying (I paraphrase) “take PCR sample kits directly to the sorting office for fast shipping ; we won’t accept them over the counter”. I’ve never been to the sorting office, but I guess they have a biohazard bin which some one in full PPE collects several times a day for the labs.

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