Friday, September 18, 2020

My Dinner with Brendan


Last night, my brother invited me to dinner. I have eschewed restaurants for the duration of this madness because I will not participate in the Kabuki nonsense of what someone called the stupidest 30 feet of your life: wearing a mask whilst walking to your table. But he suggested a local establishment, run by lovely people, worthy of support. Besides, he was buying.

Summer clung to the air like grim death, so they were able to offer us an outdoor table in the alley, with a view of St. Michael’s Cemetery.

Over dinner, my brother reminded me of that bit in 1984 where Winston Smith tries to figure out which of his neighbours will be spared when the authorities come. This one seems to love the Party, that one says all the right things, and so on.

Of course, Winston was mistaken. They came for everyone.

My brother and I are rather different people, each of us with our own gaps, but together we make a considerable man.

Reasoning in concert, we concluded that we are facing such a Winston Smith moment now.

As Lavrentiy Beria said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.”

Or as Sean Parker said (in the movie, anyway), “Whatever it is that’s gonna trip you up, you’ve done it already.”

Per Winston, I used to believe that being forced to say 2+2=5, with the full knowledge of all involved that it is a lie, was the point of the exercise.

Now I suspect you must be subjugated, forced to speak what is untrue, and then destroyed anyway.

You can wear a mask while driving alone, or raise a fist in obeisance to the new racial hierarchy, or declare that men can bear children. They are still coming.

If you know me at all, you recognize that I have made many mistakes, sometimes loudly and in public, but I am not given to rococo conspiracies or bizarre notions out where the buses don’t run. You probably consider me a man of moderate intelligence who happens to be extremely attractive (my eyes are up here, people).

I would rather gasp my last, asking my God, my God, why He has forsaken me than live on my knees with a mask on my face and a chip in my arm.

The choice may not seem so dramatic today, but this is the moment when we decide.

Incidentally, I had a green salad and rigatoni, while my brother had the soup and some kind of fish.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Manners in a Dangerous Time

On my run today, as I came south on Glen Road, several sets of pedestrians were coming north on the same sidewalk. Being nothing if not gracious and handsome, I was glad to veer into the street on my left such that they could proceed without worry.

Each group exchanged a smile and wave with me as we passed one another. That is, until a particular woman of a certain age approached.
Once again, I bore left into the street, among the bulldozers and bobcats making repairs and, as I did so, she veered toward her left, up the driveway and nearly to the front door of the house beside us.
"What a coincidence," thought I, "she happens to live here."
Rather, she stopped and snapped up her mask until I passed, then snapped it down again and proceeded on her unmerry way.
Now, forget for a moment that she chose to make no acknowledgment that I had surrendered the sidewalk (although that is very much a thing). It has been said that manners, which truly hold a society together, are obedience to the unenforceable. Just as only my incandescent chivalry was all that bound me to step aside, she was under no obligation to show an inkling of gratitude.
But even the most fanatical Faucist cannot believe that this virus that must not be named will leap 40 feet in the outdoors on a glorious, sunny day and, if it could, would then be halted by the huffy displacement of a bit of cloth.
I may have laughed audibly and she may have turned and said something about that but, as fate would have it, the Overture from Rocky was playing on my iPod. I would not remove my headphones at that moment for a health-scare harridan, or anyone else, for that matter.
As always, I would rather light a candle than curse the darkness. Consequently, I shall focus on the demeanor and number of maskless normals whose visible smiles greeted me on this lovely day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A Second Wave of What?


It is amazing how often “science” means whatever a certain segment of the population wants to do anyway.

At times, this convenient science is awarded the definite article, implying none other exists, as when Joe Biden says he will follow “the science” in deciding whether to lock Americans down or force them to wear masks.

Meanwhile, equally rigorous science, or even basic arithmetic, that arrives at different conclusions or raises unhelpful questions is dismissed, ignored, and censored.

For example, on the topic of masks, there is copious science, from diverse bodies all over the world, averring that the wearing of them by the general populace ranges from useless to dangerous. Nevertheless, when politicians and non-governmental busybodies discuss whether to compel people to don 2020’s amulet of virtue and subjugation, this particular science goes unmentioned.

Similarly, at the time of this writing, science of the approved sort is ubiquitous in the media, claiming that a “second wave” of COVID-19 is coming this autumn.

If that is so, using only good science (this is, the kind one can post on Facebook or YouTube without fear of it being struck down), it is fair to ask: A second wave of what?

Even before the Centers for Disease Control quietly revised their numbers recently, admitting that 94 percent of reported COVID deaths were not directly caused by the disease, the approved science and numbers used to justify this crisis had not panned out.

When this began, and Americans were asked for “15 days to slow the spread” – which sounds downright adorable now – the worst-case science of the finest minds estimated the COVID mortality rate could be as high as 4 percent, and warned that hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients.

While scientists battle over COVID’s true mortality rate today, all concur it is an infinitesimal fraction of what was originally feared. Hospitals and health systems have not been overrun, but the ancillary harm we hoped to avoid occurred anyway, inasmuch as other treatments have been delayed or cancelled, causing untold pain and death.

All this was done for a disease that will not kill you, unless you are elderly and otherwise infirm, and for which you will probably require a test to find out if you have it. As many have asked, were it not for politicians and the media, would you even know this “crisis” exists?

I do not think I have had COVID-19 (who could say that of Ebola or the Black Death?), but I accept that a case of of could be deeply unpleasant for me. I believe in science, and I am not smart enough to suppose I can twist reality to suit my preferences. This is in contrast to those who slap a lab coat on their opinion and call it science.

Simply put, COVID-19 is nowhere near the horror we thought it would be. And yet, we are cautioned to hunker down for a “second wave,” as though the phantoms we feared in March have suddenly come to life.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the CDC’s massive revision – which, for context, brought the number of COVID deaths down to just a shade above 9,200 in a nation of over 330 million – was the awareness that it would make no difference.

The same policymakers and journalists are still playacting at science, dreaming up new mandates and sanctions to guard against a miniscule menace. The admission of America’s most august scientific body that only 6 percent of its reported deaths are directly attributable to the disease has done nothing to slow them down.

Indeed, it seems we are being prepared for an acceleration – “second wave” and all.

Some have suggested that all of this – the lockdowns, the masks, the ubiquitous rules – is intended to impose a new regime upon us – a Flu World Order, if you will – culminating in mandatory vaccinations.

Having never been invited to be part of a conspiracy, I cannot comment. I wonder, however, if another inoculation is coming, though not the one they intended.

Could it be, having been so badly misled and manipulated, many of us are immune to falling for this again?

Almost all of us were eager and willing to do our part when this started. We were relieved to see our worst fears unrealized and took our leaders at their word. Seeing now where that got us, have we developed antibodies against petty tyranny?

Which do you fear most – getting sick in a second wave of COVID, or losing your freedom to a second wave of control?

Theo Caldwell wanted to be left alone. Contact him at