I have my internet connection back (thanks to The Guru)

Indeed. So that means I can post things properly, using all my fingers rather than just one, on a screen I can actually read without taking my glasses off and without putting that screen one inch away from my eyes. The nightmare, for the time being, has ended.

My thanks to Michael for yesterday’s posting, telling you all that I hadn’t died, but was merely out of touch, and for general moral support.

And my special thanks to The Guru, for talking me through all the intricacies of getting reconnected. My best guess is that in the aftermath of the Eclipse outage starting, I tried to rescue matters and that was when it really got bad, because then, when Eclipse got back on track, I didn’t.

One thing I can tell you. Internet outage trumps rather bad health. If you are poorly and without an internet connection, the priority is to get your internet connection back again. Then you worry about health. Or, maybe that’s just another way of saying that my health is not that bad. I suppose if you’re dead, getting your internet back wouldn’t make that much difference.

Anyway, hello, again, and it’s great to be back and gibbering away incontinently, rather than “texting” on the abomination that is my horrible, horrible, insane, mobile phone. Thank goodness (the goodness of The Guru) I don’t now have to start faffing about posting photos on that damn thing, and can go back to using a proper computer, in a big old suitcase, with a big old screen and a big (although actually not that big) keyboard with actual keys on it, and a mouse, as nature intended.

I’m pretty sure that’s not the problem

I made my trip (see below) to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and the trip had the effect of making the state I was in, i.e. the reason I went, worse. Any posture is uncomfortable for me just now. Even just sitting in a moving bus is a bit of an ordeal. So the X-raying was no fun, especially when I had to lie down. They wanted my toes pointing inwards, for some reason, and that was, it turned out, particularly uncomfortable. But they were very nice and didn’t waste any time, and here I am back home.

But not in any state to post more than one quota photo, of a sign, in the cubicle where I went to get changed beforehand:

As of now it is unclear what is/are the cause/causes of my present bodily discontents. For more about that, I must await the X-ray results. But I think we can cross that one off the list.

This did make me worry that I was in a seriously wrong place, though. No matter how much they smother a big and busy place in signs, if you’re visiting it for the first time, you get things wrong. I still don’t know if I committed any violations of a woman’s right to a safe space. I encountered no angry women, so no harm seemed to have been done.

Life at the top of the slope

I am about to journey to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, at the far end of the Fulham Road, to get two distinct sets of X-rays done. Chest, and hip. I have been coughing a lot. And I have pains in and around the arse, back, right leg, and nearby spots. It kind of moves around. “Pain in the arse” is now yet another of those hitherto innocuous phrases which have become filled with meaning in recent weeks. Not the actual orifice itself, you understand, just the bones – or is it the muscles? – in that general area. “Old fart” and “under the weather” are other common phrases that have both, for a while now, made a lot more sense than they did when I was younger.

I am at the top end of the slope, at the far end of which is: death. My body is just beginning seriously to disintegrate. Two years ago, I could stride about London for hour after hour, or babble away on the telephone without a care. Now, not so much. The majority of the efforts of the National Health Service seem to be devoted to looking after the likes of me, softening the blows of ever older age, and thereby prolonging it.

I am hoping that this first serious clutch of discomforts will be curable, or at least treatable after a fashion, to the point where I’ll be able to walk and talk more fluently than I do now. But I do not now assume this.

Farage is up to something!

Sounds to me like Nigel Farage is about to step back into British politics, big time, as the man who will lead Britain out of Lockdown:

Because of his role in contriving Brexit, Farage is already the most consequential British politician alive. If he did this, that would become doubly true.

What people forget, many because they simply choose to, is that Farage is very good at arguing, as the above clip illustrates. Also, he knows how not to be silenced. At present, very depressingly, about a quarter of Britain, maybe even less, thinks Lockdown should end. Farage could double that percentage very quickly, and make Lockdown unsustainable.

If I’m right, this is the best British news there’s been since Lockdown began.

LATER: JH-B‘s all over this, as is Ivor Cummins. Cummins, like me, has become increasingly desperate and bad-tempered in recent weeks. This will surely cheer him up also.

Yes, this is definitely happening.

Big sport day

Two IPL games have been happening, both disappointing. That being twenty-overs-plays-twenty-overs cricket, in India. Both games started out with low scores by the teams batting first, followed by relaxed and successful chases by the opposition, and neither contained any English players for me to support. I don’t care which IPL teams do well. I just want the England guys to do well. Some are doing okay, like Stokes, Buttler and Archer, who are all, if I remember it right, playing for the same team. Many are not doing so well. Roy got dropped early. Bairstow seemed to be doing okay, but also got dropped. Blah blah. If you care about the IPL, you’ll know how to follow it. If you don’t care, you don’t need any links from me. (This applies to everything in this posting. So, no links. If you care, you know. If you don’t care, you probably aren’t even reading this.)

So, the Rugby. My over-riding feeling going into today’s games, the last of the 2020 6 Nations, was that the English commentators were being insufferably smug about how well England would do against Italy and how badly Italy would do against England. Well, it’s now half time in that game, and England are up by a mere ten points to five, with each side having scored one try. England have to score four tries to probably win the title, but have kicked away all their possession, as I just saw Clive Woodward complaining about also. When will these people ever learn? This is the Six Nations. Anything can happen.

One thing in particular made me suspect that Italy might do well, which is that they have finally got shot of that guy whose name now escapes me who has been their best player for the last two decades. Sergio Parisse, is it? When a bad team has a “great player” playing for them, there is a temptation for the other guys to ease off and let him do it for them. But once he goes, all the other guys look at the team sheet and say: My God, we’re going to have to do this ourselves. And they can end up playing better. In particular, Italy have what looks to be a great fly half, who pulled off a wonderful dummy pass to score against Ireland last week. He looks really good. To say it again: It’s the 6 Nations. You, famous ex-England player, you don’t know what’ll happen. I don’t know. Nobody knows.

Oh, I just tuned back into this England game, and it would seem that England have scored another try, and need just two more to serve their purposes. Which is quite probable. Presumably they got a bollocking at half time. And yes, that’s exactly what the commentators are now saying. Italy 5 England 17, with somewhat over half and hour to go.

The France Ireland game that happens later is predicted to be a high scoring high risk affair, with both teams seeking to get four tries and a chance to win this thing themselves. So, I now predict a low-scoring stalemate, in which they cancel each other out, and win the tournament for England despite England’s worst efforts.

Why am I in such a bad mood about these games, because I definitely am? It’s partly Lockdown, and partly the fake crowd noises that happened during the earlier Wales Scotland game. Who do they think they are fooling with such nonsense? (Wales lost, by the way, not because Scotland were that good, but because they were not very good.) At least this Italy England game is being accurately reported by the television, without any added-on “atmosphere”. But, that makes it hard to take very seriously, because that means there’s no atmosphere. You need to be able to suspend your disbelief about these contests really really mattering. The seats in the stadium are all empty, and the only people you can hear shouting are the players. It looks and sounds like a training game. It needs to feel and sound like an actual life-and-death battle, but does not, at all.

It doesn’t help any that I have been suffering from persistent “lower back” problems, caused partly by having been sitting for far too long on the wrong sort of chair. I am now trying a different chair, but it’s too soon to say if this will work. This, for me, could be it from now on. If I could trade England winning the 6 Nations for getting rid of this pain in the arse, I’d do that deal in a blink.

England have try number three. They need just one more, with half an hour left. Expert prediction: Doddle. Me: Let’s just see about that, shall we? Meanwhile, England, after a very poor first half, are nevertheless 5-24 up.

In soccer news. West Ham are now leading Liverpool by a goal to nil. Will they do to Liverpool what Aston Villa did to Liverpool, and beat them 7-2? Well, probably not. Liverpool have already equalised. There’s been much discussion about why so many goals are being scored in the Premier League all of a sudden. It has been suggested that, in the absence of spectators, defenders aren’t taking their duties as seriously as they would if there were spectators present to jeer at them when they cock it up. But I would like to suggest another explanation which is that attackers are, for this same reason, a bit more relaxed, and hence better able to score goals, instead of turning into terrified blocks of wood or bodies of jelly just when they need to be at their sharpest. With no spectators to put them off, they can score goals just like they do in training.

England have just scored try number four. So, all those damn experts were right, despite everything. Boring.

Final score: Italy 5 England 34. My understanding is that if Ireland win by more than seven, or if France win by a lot, either of them could win it. But honestly, I find that I don’t care enough to check if that’s right. I’ll just wait to be told.

Result: Liverpool 2 West Ham 1. Boring boring.

Maybe I built all this up too much beforehand, only to discover on the day that I had become an adult. Maybe that’s my problem. It seems unlikely, but I suppose it could be that.

Apparently Ireland have to win by seven or more, and score at least four tries. So England are now hot favourites for the Six Nations 2020. Hoo ray.

LATER: Biggest laugh of the day. They got it wrong, and I got it right the first time! Ireland just have to win by seven or more. No four tries. Just win by a bit. France have to win by a mile, so, go France. But don’t go too well.

EVEN LATER: Well France obliged, by winning, but not by enough. England are champions. It didn’t feel like anyone was, really. The way France took their tries against Ireland was what I’ll remember from today.

I googled the Great Barrington Declaration and got there straight away

I am now following Nico Metten on Twitter, who has long been anti-Lockdown, well before I was. Not sure whether this is because he only just arrived on Twitter, or merely because I only just found him.

Whatever, I just read this tweet from Carl Vernon, which Nico has retweeted, which says this:

Google “The Great Barrington Declaration” – the petition signed by over 10,000 scientists, docs and experts – and it’s completely gone. Nowhere to be seen.

Welcome to the new method of burning books.

So, I did google “The Great Barringon Declaration” and I immediately got there, in seconds. It’s putting it very mildly to say that I am not the cleverest googler there is, but I had no problems at all. Multiple references, including, near the top, the GBD website itself.

Is Carl Vernon lying? Or is his world somehow different from mine, and did he jump to paranoid conclusions? Does google tweak what it tells different people? Did the GBD temporarily disappear? I’d love to know the answer.

Lots of tweeters in response got there too, immediately. And lots of other tweeters said: DuckDuckGo! Maybe I will. Although I don’t mind being tracked. I don’t care who knows my choices. I just don’t want to have my choices censored or otherwise hidden from my view.

How politics and sport are spreading the truth about Covid

I still think that this earlier posting here was right about the direction that British public opinion is moving on the subject of lockdown, but I was clearly wrong about how far it had already changed and how much further it has to change before lockdown is done away with. Mea culpa. Bubble thinking.

The problem is that a majority has been scared into thinking that Covid, which is a bit harmful and sometimes very harmful to those whom it harms, and deadly to those whom it kills, is much more harmful and deadly than it really is, statistically speaking. Almost everyone who “gets” Covid – almost every Covid “case” – is going to recover.

One of the means by which public opinion will come to its senses is when it notices that many people are testing positive for Covid, but that not many of these are dying. This is why celebrity Covid cases are so important.

Trump “got” Covid, yet is now, apparently, thriving. A piece of anecdotal evidence goes … tick. Then a bunch of other people close to the White House “got” Covid. The Democrat media rejoiced, but failed to think ahead. None of these apparently stricken Republicans has died, which I know because if any of them had died, the Democrat Media and their offshoots in Britain would have yelled it from the rooftops. Tick tick. Next, we learned, some prominent Democrats “got” Covid. Excellent. The more the merrier. I hope and expect that none of them will die either. The immense sway that American politics has in Britain ensures that many here Britain will notice these anecdotes and learn the lesson of them. Tick tick tick. Covid is much more widespread than the lockdown fanatics have been saying, and much less deadly. Lockdown has done nothing to stop the spread. But humans have proved much more resistant to the Covid virus than had at first been assumed.

Particularly important is the number of well-known sportsmen who have tested positive for Covid. I follow rugby union. An important Premier League play-off game was won by one side, simply because members of the other team tested positive for Covid. Now, it is being reported that if a winning semi-finalist team contains some players who test positive again, the team they defeated in that semi-final may now, despite having lost, may now play in the final. So, if Covid was as deadly or harmful as had been feared, there should be deaths and retirements in some numbers happening quite soon. There will not be. Tick tick tick tick.

The importance of politics and sport is that politicians and sportsmen don’t seem to have the option of being tested positive, but then keeping quiet about it. This is because, in their world, they have to keep going, unless there’s a public reason not to. Other celebrities, notably actors, can conceal having tested positive. They can just be “resting”, and keep it to themselves. Thus, when they don’t die either, it will not be very noticeable, so actors are contributing less to public enlightenment than you might suppose, given how celebrated the most celebrated of them are. Tom Hanks, also not now dead, chose to reveal that he had tested positive, but did he have to? Surely not. But politicians and sports celebs, the sports people especially, are, with their very public medical histories, telling the Covid story like it is. There’s a lot of it about. But, we should all just take our chances and be allowed get on with our lives. A few old and frail ones will lose this anti-lottery. Most will not.

All this is bound to have consequences for public opinion, given how seriously lots of people follow sport, sport especially.

Has anyone said that they opposed Lockdown at first, but now favour it? If they have, I missed it. The movement in public opinion is all one way. Politicians who fail to get out in front of how things are moving will suffer electorally.

Some recent animal tweets from SS-W

Whenever Friday comes around, I like to do postings that involve the other animals with whom we share our planet. I mean, this is the internet. And currently my favourite source of animal stuff is the Twitter page of Steve Stewart-Williams. He wrote a book about one of the apes, The Ape That Understood The Universe, in other words: us. And his animal tweets often illustrate stuff he has already said in that.

But then again, sometimes he is just saying, along with the rest of the internet: Wow. take a look at this. There follow links to just a few of the many creaturely tweets SS-W has done lately, ones that particularly caught my attention.

Take a look, for instance, at this hammerhead shark skeleton. Wow. Or the amazing camouflage of the great grey owl. Wow again.

All the cute animal stuff on the internet is so cute because it shows animals plucking on our heart strings by behaving the way human children behave, often because they’ve evolved to do exactly that. Our animal pals can be unselfconsciously enthusiastic, eager to please, eager to try things. And as often as not they do all this with big round eyes.

Like this dog that plays volleyball with humans, or this baby rhino learning new dance moves. From a goat.

But don’t get too carried away with the cute. Take a look at how this stork throws one of its babies out of the nest. Take that, internet. And, don’t get all superior to Mummy Stork there. Humans are only as nice as they can be, and are regularly as nasty as they feel they have to be. For many centuries, resource-stretched human parents would give up on their less promising young ones, and I bet there are out-of-the-way spots on our planet now where they still do this kind of thing. Plus, you know, wars and massacres and whatnot. So yes, Mother Nature can be a bitch.

But then again, sometimes she’s a generous bitch. Venom from honeybees has been found to rapidly kill aggressive and hard-to-treat breast cancer cells. I wonder how they found out to investigate that. Guess I’d better now read the article.

Ivor Cummins speaks to Niall Boylan

Yesterday. As an (I hope) intelligent layman, I am finding this radio interview to be at a very helpful level, so to speak, of scientific complexity. There’s plenty of science, but it is well explained.

Ivor Cummins’s work experience, so his Twitter feed tells us, has been as a “team leader” and as a “complex problem solving specialist”, which I take it means that he has experience of leading people with very varied types of expertise. So, he has lots of practice in talking clearly, in plain English, to enable such teams to work together effectively. With regard to each particular type of expertise being deployed, all the other experts in other areas are also “intelligent laymen”, so the man in charge has to be good an explaining complicated stuff clearly, to people not expert in it. So, I believe Cummins’s background has prepared him for the historically huge role he is now performing. The world now needs people to pull all the expertise of others together and to explain it convincingly, and from where I’m sitting, Cummins, more than anyone else, seems to be the man who is doing this.

Boris Johnson thinks he’s now Churchill in 1940, or at least he did a couple of months ago. Cummins isn’t Churchill either, but he’s a hell of a lot closer to being Churchill than Johnson is. Johnson thought that the “Nazi hoards” equivalent now was Covid itself, and he probably still does. But the real Nazi hoard equivalent is the crazy, panic-stricken and politically driven over-reactions to Covid. That’s what’s now doing the serious damage. And Boris Johnson is more like Lord Haw-Haw.

Completely asymptotic and no comorbities

Someone wanted their tweet to be thoroughly noticed. I must be one of many thousands of pedants already LOLing at these spelling errors:

Our President and First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19, however, rest assured they are both fine and completely asymptotic. The President is in very good health and has NO comorbities.

I worry that when Trump does bow out, not enough people will be around who understand how he did what he did, and we’ll be back to “Presidentical” Republicans being either thrashed or turned by the Democrats. But this Ronny Jackson guy has clearly mastered one of his master’s techniques. Spell something wrong, and the retweeting by your enemies goes through the roof. They can’t help themselves. And your message spreads like it never would have if you’d spelt everything right.

And I won’t be the only one saying all that either.