12APR2020 – OCF Update – Happy Easter

Good Morning to everyone out there.  It’s a bright sunny day and the wind has died down, although not completely so some of my focus stack pictures I took today of some flowers are probably a mess.  There was frost on the flowers this morning which is to be expected in this weird little stretch of the world I live in.

Camera Girl and I are going to have a video family gathering later and that should somewhat assuage the isolation and she’s making a few treats to make up for the ham or lamb or turkey that could have been.

I hope all of you will have a good day and enjoy whatever company, real or virtual you may have.  And for the Christians have a very Happy Easter.

Holidays Interrupted

The recent lockdown has done a lot for bringing parents and children closer together.  Lots of moms are reconnecting with their kids as daycare and schools have shut down.  And that’s great.  Maybe a few families will reconsider the value of a two-income lifestyle.

But for the extended family, things are quite a bit different.  In my family Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas are gathering times when three and even four generations gather for a big meal and a long weekend or holiday to catch up with each other and reconnect with parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and grandparents.  Everybody plays his role and we perform all the rituals we’ve come to expect.  We repeat all the old stories but with new faces in the younger ranks and maybe an older face or two missing.  We hear about who is graduating or going off to college or has a new job or is getting married.  We try to keep the younger children from getting bored by playing cards or listening to their latest imaginary adventure.  The older folks talk politics and world events.  And everyone eats way too much and for a little while gets to feel much younger again.

Well, not this year.  For the first time in several decades we can’t get together.  I won’t be seeing my brothers and sister.  I won’t even see my own children or their families.  So, no grandkids, no babies.  No fattening and delicious roast beasts or birds.  Just a regular dinner, just me and Camera Girl.  Very sad, very strange.

And I imagine this disruption is being replicated across the country in millions of families in every city and town.  The upshot is that in addition to our jobs and our savings being thrown into disarray and possibly suffering a terrible economic recession we are also isolated and our normal relationships upended.  No one wants to be the cause of someone getting terribly ill or even dying.  And if you have extremely elderly parents in their late eighties or nineties it’s reasonable to say that for the sake of saving their lives, they should be kept isolated at least until we understand this disease a little better.

But now the Health-Nazis are starting to insinuate that we may have to go through this disruption again in the summer and then every year when a fresh seasonal mutant of the coronavirus is identified.  Well, I’ve got news for them.  Not me.  I’m not in my eighties or even my seventies but even at my age there is a higher death rate than in the general population.  I might catch it from a school age relation at a holiday dinner or get together.  Well that’s too damn bad.  I’m not going to allow this charade to go on after this first silliness is ended.  Comes the Fourth of July I’m inviting everyone over for a barbecue and if that puts me in the hospital or sends me to my grave then at least I’ll have had some excellent steak and way too much pie and ice cream.  And I’ll get a chance to see my children and their spouses and my grandsons and granddaughter swimming in the pool and eating hamburgers and watermelon on a hot summer evening.

Now understand, if this thing were a threat to the young then I would understand why caution would be needed.  But it isn’t.  It’s a disease of the old and the chronically ill.  For those individuals, death is a real consideration without the COVID-19 pandemic.  If I were someone who wanted to maximize my odds of living to be a hundred and twenty then I would probably live in a bubble and avoid all contact with the young and active.  And for people of that mindset, isolation would be their own choice.  But I’m not and I won’t.  The authorities are going to have to come up with some better way to minimize the effects of this thing.  My suggestion is to end air traffic to China.  Apparently, that country has a never-ending supply of virulent respiratory diseases.  We can’t afford to let hundreds of thousands of infected people shuttle between China and the West every Chinese New Year just because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

So that’s my thought.  I’ll get through this present phase without the consolation of enjoying the company of my extended family.  We’ll do a video get together and share some time together as we eat our sad meals apart.  But if they think I’m going to keep doing this in the future they are dead wrong.

The Unholy Inception of ShatnerKhan II

Today I was on a videoconference with the Board of Directors of the ShatnerKhan Corporation.  These august gentlemen and I began the initial planning of this great enterprise.  I must tell you, just knowing that ShatnerKhan II would happen despite the COVID-19 Plague was indeed exciting.  It would be like a shining beacon in the inky blackness of cultural hiatus that this quarantine has engendered.  It would bring hope and purpose to a weary nation.  It might even save countless lives by giving these poor souls the will to throw off the deadly clutches of this sinovirus.  “Ad astra per aspera.”

So, it was kind of fun talking about something so frivolous and light hearted.  No life and death diseases, no do or die elections just the foibles of that demigod of bad acting William Shatner.  We committed ourselves to a much more organized effort.  As you might remember ShatnerKhan I was an impromptu gathering with almost no planning, preparation or notice.  And most importantly not nearly enough time was spent on the menu for the event.  For as I’ve often stated ShatnerKhan is mostly an excuse to eat highly indigestible but exquisitely delicious and altogether splendiferous food.  So, I extracted this promise that the first thing to be fixed was the menu.  I am a reasonable man and will not prevent whatever personal favorites the Board requests.  All I ask is that dill pickles, corned beef, pastrami, pumpernickel bread, potato salad and good brown mustard are lavishly provided.  There was talk of all kinds of delicacies but we’ll see what they decide on.  I know that sausage and peppers, eggplant parmigiana and panko coated drumsticks were mentioned but I also know that Chinese food was listed at one point.  Well, at such an intellectually challenging event the sages need to keep up their strength somehow.

Moving onto the agenda we discussed how best to avoid burnout from the sheer volume of Shatneriana that was available for review.  It was decided that we would extract the quintessence of Shatner goodness from each historical record and in this way reduce the time needed to review it.  This will require great amounts of preparatory work.  And it will also require much greater technical skill than is currently at the disposal of the Board.  For I must confess that when it comes to digital expertise, we are blithering idiots.  But this aspect I’ve taken on myself to explore.  But the idea is to have a live stream that will capture us bloviating on the various scenes we are critiquing.  Of course, to maintain anonymity we will be masked.  I suggested Shatner masks.  I understand that the mask that the Michael Myers character wore in Halloween was actually based in some way on William Shatner’s face.  Whether this is true or not I have also been tasked to look into the masks and other props needed for the event.  It was suggested that I find a three-dimensional chess board and a Vulcan lyre like the ones that Spock employed during various episodes of the original series.  While I’m at it why don’t I look for Shatner’s missing hairline?  But I digress.

There was a discussion about inviting the great man himself to this great homage to his name.  But we were reminded that he’s eighty-nine and also fabulously wealthy.  But we may invite him anyway.  My guess is he won’t be too pleased by our take on his career and talents.  But who knows?  I thought maybe we should contact Kevin Pollack.  After all he’s fairly famously for imitating Shatner.  As you can see, bull was flung pretty freely at this meeting but it was quite stimulating talking about the event.  As far as timing the earliest it would be held is midsummer.  But based on the current crisis it might also be closer to September.  When asked by the Board if the readers of Orion’s Cold Fire could be a source for ideas for the gathering, I said I thought it very well might be.  I know of at least one reader who has shown enthusiasm for the idea and I think there is the potential for a collaborative effort where local groups could participate in the live streaming and eat equally indigestible, delicious and splendiferous food.  Of course, they’ll have to provide their own masks and food but the spirit of bright camaraderie will more than pay for the foodstuffs needed.

So, I’m throwing it out to the audience.  If you have any ideas practical or ridiculous that should be brought to the attention of the Board and if you have interest in remote link up during such an absurd venture leave a comment or send an e-mail and I’ll make sure you’re kept in the loop when any actual information is available.

28MAR2020 – OCF Update

This is the beginning of Week 3 of the COVID-19 lock-down here in lovely but chilly New England and the cabin fever hasn’t really set in yet.  But I must say the news has been a little monotonous.  Even Italy hasn’t reached their peak mortality yet and we’re still climbing so we’ll be here for at least a few more weeks.

The only political news is that Creepy Uncle Joe is not just creepy he’s a sex criminal.  One of his Senate staff workers accused him of an actual sexual assault on the streets of Washington D.C. back when he was just a lowly Senator.  Immediately calls to draft Andrew Cuomo as the Democratic Presidential Candidate began circulating.  It’s just amazing how terrible the Democrat bench truly is.

I must apologize for the low output on political posts.  I’ve tried to compensate by posting more reviews and photo stuff.  Just to let you know why this is, I’ve always felt that banging away at the same old thing when there’s nothing new to say is boring.  I assume it’s just as boring for the reader as it is for the writer.  So that’s why I haven’t been producing much of that stuff.  Chances are this is a very temporary lull caused by the lock-down.  We all know that regardless of whether the Democrats nominate Biden or an even worse candidate (as hard as that is to imagine) this election season will be the loudest, nastiest street brawl imaginable so I don’t see the need to pound away at the same old stuff when nothing is currently happening.

What I will do is look for interesting stuff in the news and life and post it along with my own cultural notes.  So hang in there.  Something horrible is bound to happen in Washington and we’ll have plenty of chances to be outraged sometime soon.

Also I want to start getting some feedback from the readers on the various types of posts I do.  After all Vox Populi, Vox Dei.  I want to see what is most interesting to the readers and give them more of that.

24MAR2020 – Site Poll – Where Do You Go for Opinion?

Finally found a new plugin that does polls.  Doesn’t allow write-in stuff (so far as I know) so if your choice is somewhere else you’ll have to add a comment.


Where Do You Go for Opinion

  • Tucker Carlson (31%, 5 Votes)
  • Right Wing Blogs (19%, 3 Votes)
  • Rush Limbaugh (19%, 3 Votes)
  • Whatfinger (19%, 3 Votes)
  • Somewhere Else (13%, 2 Votes)
  • Cable Shows (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Newspapers (including on-line versions) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Nothing Says Spring Like a Blanket of Snow

We had a very warm, snow-free winter this year and now that it’s officially spring, the snow started coming down heavy this morning.  But I’m telecommuting today and don’t have to drive so why not?  There were five deer in the forest outside my living room window.  I was enjoying the view until the German shorthaired pointers joined me.  They started barking and scared the deer away.  But before the fearless defenders of the castle did their job, I was watching the deer feeding.  Apparently, there are enough new shoots on trees and bushes for the deer to browse on.  Yesterday the mallards returned to the swamp and grazed on the plant life that has been available since the pond thawed out two weeks ago.  Camera Girl saw a turtle swimming around over the weekend and the sound of the spring peepers has been noticeable lately.  I put up that photo of the first garter snake and the first bluebird has made an appearance at the feeder.  So even though it looks like January 23rd outside my window I’m not fooled.  Sure, we could still get the April Fool’s Nor’easter this year and even have to break out the snow blower one last time before moving the lawn mower to the front of the shed.  But spring is busting out all over the place.  This is just the spiteful spirit of annoying New England and its contrarian position against anything normal and happy.  But it won’t win.  We just have to be a little more stubborn than the powers of death and dissolution.  There’s snow on the ground but Spring’s in the air.

22MAR2020 – OCF Update – Locked Down in New England and Annoyingly Upbeat

Don’t ask me why but for reasons unknown I am disgustingly cheerful today.  It can’t be the temperature because it was 20F this morning and that’s not spring in my book.  Maybe it’s the sunshine and the increased daylight hours.  But whatever the cause I haven’t got any angst to distribute this morning.  What’s a prophet of doom to do?  So, I’ll use my COVID-19 lockdown leisure time today to walk the prison yard, shank a few of my enemies with a shiv, or shiv them with a shank and start a new tunnel to freedom.

I was looking around at a number of science sites talking about quinine derivatives that might be a component of an effective COVID-19 treatment and a couple of interesting things emerged.

  • The first is that there is some pretty good evidence that chloroquine and azithromycin is effective in preventing COVID-19 infected people from developing life threatening pneumonia.
  • The second is that many people in the pharmaceutical industry hate Trump so much that they are angry that he may get credit for pushing a successful treatment forward in a timely manner.

I work with a lot of technical types and they are mostly anti-Trump.  There will be a fair amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth if the President gets credit for shortening the pandemic to something manageable.  These people really are almost gleeful in the face of a looming depression.  That’s how much they despise the President and, by extension, how much they despise us.

Maybe that’s part of the reason I’m optimistic and cheerful today.  I think the therapy being mentioned is going to be effective at lowering the death rate to a very minimal level and allow the rest of us to get back to work.  Boy, that would piss off a lot of people I know.  Good.

This week I expect some more movie reviews and possibly music reviews.  I also feel it is time for a political satire.  What exactly it will entail is hard to say sonce there are so many targets to choose from.  I think I’m overdue to put together a description of the current state of Sony mirrorless photography and identify the much smaller number of holes in the system that exist currently.  And going along with my recent defense of Western Civilization, I think I’ll have a post giving my take on outreach to the various groups that are assumed to be wholly owned subsidiaries of the Democrat party.  I mean, some of those people, women especially, probably haven’t heard a conservative argument about anything in their whole lives.  We may be able to do some recruiting.

And on the photo side I’m going to do a few more focus stacks.  I was at a standstill this week because suddenly my computer thought my camera was a storage device and not a camera and so I couldn’t use the software that allows remote control.  I found that the only thing that fixed the problem was reloading the drivers for the USB devices.  Of course, it is a little chilly for outdoor focus stack work but I am a martyr for my art.

Finally, a suggestion came up during the preliminary planning for ShatnerKhan II.  It was hinted that maybe the program could include non-Shatner-related themes.  It seemed like heresy to me but I said I would consider it.  I throw it out to the readership if this is anathema or is it the natural evolution.  I think the only way to even consider this is if deep theoretical research is done in advance to justify the validity of non-Shatner content.  I foresee the need for enormous quantities of deli meats and potato salad to even begin this kind of philosophical discussion.  What do you think?

So good morning my fellow prisoners of the COVID-19 gulag.  We have nothing to lose but our chains so have a fun day.

Two Nations Under One Flag

Yesterday I said that my co-worker hated President Trump so much that he was ecstatic at the idea that the economy would be tanked by the COVID-19 outbreak because it would throw the election to Biden.  Think about that.  He would rather see his beloved 401K devalued than let a conservative run the country.  That seems to me to be a marker.

We’re not just philosophically different.  We are two enemies trapped in the same cell.  We don’t just dislike each other we can’t tolerate each other’s presence.  And yet we have to interact with them every day and everywhere.  But it’s a very lop-sided arrangement.  They know we exist by virtue of the resistance we give to laws they make to afflict us.  But we are surrounded by their institutions.  We are submerged in their culture.  We are drowning in it.  We have to hear their propaganda 24/7 on every television channel, every social media site, every newspaper, every pop song, every movie screen.  They propagandize our children and run the human resources department of every company in the country.  They’ve even taken over almost every pulpit in every church.  We need our own space.  But how do we keep it when any attempt to go our own way is protested, harassed and criminalized?

What will need to be done is form an underground.  And the best way to do that is in plain sight.  My personal favorite idea is to form our own church.  How exactly that is done is the detail that needs to be worked out.  Should it be an existing denomination that has a very hands-off attitude toward parishes or should it be a new sect?  I tend to think a new sect is the better way.  That way no one enters it thinking it is something than what it turns out to be.

Theologically, it would be traditionalist.  It would stress scripture.  It would adhere to the traditional church teachings on marriage, family and personal behavior.  It would reinforce the traditional roles for men and women in the family and the community.  And church business would be governed by a group of elders which consisted exclusively of married men who have children.

Once a church was up and running all the other programs that a church sponsors could reflect the community this church represents.  Youth sports programs, community charitable programs, outreach to the poor and elderly, community entertainment like theater and music programs.  We’ll have to replace the scouts with our own version of that once useful organization.  And, most difficult, but a truly worthy goal would be a school.  But a school would be very difficult because keeping the progressives out would be a constant war.  And the government would make it its highest priority to force it into compliance with the progressive norms they so dearly love.

So, to start with, religious instruction would be an important program.  It would be something that prepared children to recognize the errors in the surrounding culture and provide them with coping mechanisms to allow them to exist in that outer world without letting it poison their minds.

Another aspect of the church would be community networking.  It would encourage members of the church to practice solidarity and support each other in business relationships and social groups.  It could produce a list of preferred service providers and craftsmen for the various trades that a community needs and, in that way, help make the community more self-supporting.

And finally, church social functions like dances and clubs could be an opportunity for young people to look for love.  What better place to find a mate than among families that already see eye to eye on values?

I am very interested in getting all kinds of feedback on the practical problems in starting such a community.  If anyone has information or links to similar endeavors I’d be obliged.  And if you have any different but equally useful ideas on building something for our side feel free to comment or send me an e-mail.

Spring Fever 2020

To the superstitious, pardon my use of the f-word in the title of this article.  I intend no pun.  I’m just anxious for spring to sweep away a very odd winter.  This has been an extremely warm and snowless one and now with the pandemic altering how we work and live I’m impatient for good weather to get me out of the house and make the world more interesting.

I’m tired of tv and the internet and want some real things to see and do.  I read that the Vernal Equinox will be March 19th.  This is the earliest it’s been in 124 years.  I guess that has something to do with this being a leap year.  So, this is the last week of winter.  In honor of that I’ll go out today and get a few photos of leaves budding and flowers sprouting and anything else that says spring.

Meanwhile I think I’ll look for some cheerful topics to write on.  I’m pretty bored with doom and gloom.  I’ll search for some activities that I haven’t been able to do since last year.  And that will put me in a better mood for writing.  So, excuse me for a while.  I’ll be back later this morning to see what new catastrophe has descended upon us.  But until then you all have my permission to go have some latest winter fun.