Saturday, March 28, 2020

SATURDAY NIGHT THE CHURCH, LEVEL 42.

Sorry for the very light blogging. No time left in between chemo, all the corona mayhem, and trying to keep the company afloat.



The Church with Reptile. Album Starfish (1988).





Aussie band, alternative rock. Formed in Sydney in 1980, still around. Only constant member is Steve Kilbey (lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards).



Level 42 with To Be With You Again. Album Running in the Family (1987).





Longtime DowneastBlog readers may remember I have always had a soft spot for this Isle of Wight band. So damn sorry one of the founding members, Rowland 'Boon' Gould, passed away last year, aged 64.



Nite and stay safe.



MFBB.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

HOW TO HELP ITALY IN TIMES OF CORONA.

You could do it the Chinese way:





Yes I know it's a PR maneuver. I'm sure those dying in Lombardy care about that.



Anyway… you could also do it the Russian way:





Yes, propaganda coup. Probably. Don't matter. AFAIK, 14 planes have landed already. At least 8 medical teams, 100 plus virologists, many with first hand experience in fighting swine flu, ebola, whatever…



...or you could do it the Cuban way:





Cuba is dirt poor, yet they managed to fly across the Atlantic with 52 specialists. Sheesh.



But BEHOLD!!!



You could also do it the European Union way!!!





Brought to you by… Her Majesty Ursula von der Leyen, European President!!!



If this crisis is proving anything, it's that the European Union is FAILING COMPLETELY to address its first major crisis. Yes, its first. The 2015 "refugee" tsunami was actually the first, but the EU had no intention to solving it in the first place - quite the contrary - so that one doesn't count. What a godforsaken mess!!! Italy is bleeding, and the only thing the EU has been able to do the last ten days is host fucking Greta Thunberg and making this shabby video. How UvdL doesn't drop down from shame is beyond me.

When all this is over, there's gotta be some serious discussion about which direction Europa has got to take, and I see no EU in its present form as a constructive part of that movement.



MFBB.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

SATURDAY NIGHT DURAN DURAN, THE STRANGLERS.

Duran Duran with Serious. From the album Liberty (1990).





I passionately hated The Reflex stuff, and loathed their image. But nevertheless, they provided us with a couple of good hits. Serious, a classic poppy tune, is one of them. The lyrics mean nothing, but hey... it doesn't have to be serious.




The Stranglers with Skin Deep. Album Aural Sculpture (1984).





Originally called the Guildford Stranglers when they formed in 1974, this is a band that I will forever associate, first and foremost, with Hugh Cornwell, although he left in 1990 already. But honest is honest: all hail to Jean-Jacques Burnel, who like Cornwell was there too in 74... and who still is.


Good night, and stay safe.



MFBB.

RECOMMENDED READS: AARON GINN'S "EVIDENCE OVER HYSTERIA - COVID-19".

Via Medium.

Hat tip CDR Salamander. Caveat: Medium tells us they don't fact-check so you shouldn't take everything Mr Ginn says at face value, but the article probably nails it in the sense that the panic and hysteria is spreading faster than the virus itself.

I do not want to imply we should sit back and relax - BY NO MEANS. Rather, we should acknowledge that the current pandemic constitutes indeed a grave threat, and act accordingly: very very strict personal hygiene of especially the hands; social distancing; put your kids under house arrest; avoid all unnecessary movement; use vinyl throwaway gloves every time you have to pin, push parking ticket dispensers, elevator buttons (better: use the stairways) etc...

But consider this: a century ago, the Spanish Flu ravaged practically the entire planet, claiming anywhere between 17 million and 50 million lives worldwide. In general, the number of 20 million plus is widely accepted as the best estimate. The world's population at the time was about 2 billion plus. Currently, it stands at 7 billion plus. This means that if we extrapolate the numbers of 1918-1920 (yes, the Spanish Flu lasted 2 years), the death toll two years from now (alas, with upflares I do think the Corona virus will be with us for more than a year and a half)...

... that the death toll today would be around 70 million. That's the population of France and Belgium combined.

With all the medical progress made over 100 years, we can, with mathematical certainty, say that that is NOT going to happen.

True, I fear that many more lives are going to be lost. But never something on the scale our grandparents or great-grandparents witnessed. And they lived through it. And thrived.

So, while we should be extremely careful, panick and hysteria are NOT the answer. We should face the crisis with a cool head, common sense, and, dare I say it, a little bit of optimism.


Aaron Ginn:


"After watching the outbreak of COVID-19 for the past two months, I’ve followed the pace of the infection, its severity, and how our world is tackling the virus. While we should be concerned and diligent, the situation has dramatically elevated to a mob-like fear spreading faster than COVID-19 itself. When 13% of Americans believe they are currently infected with COVID-19 (mathematically impossible), full-on panic is blocking our ability to think clearly and determine how to deploy our resources to stop this virus. Over three-fourths of Americans are scared of what we are doing to our society through law and hysteria, not of infection or spreading COVID-19 to those most vulnerable.

The following article is a systematic overview of COVID-19 driven by data from medical professionals and academic articles that will help you understand what is going on (sources include CDC, WHO, NIH, NHS, University of Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, NEJM, JAMA, and several others). I’m quite experienced at understanding virality, how things grow, and data. In my vocation, I’m most known for popularizing the “growth hacking movement” in Silicon Valley that specializes in driving rapid and viral adoption of technology products. Data is data. Our focus here isn’t treatments but numbers. You don’t need a special degree to understand what the data says and doesn’t say. Numbers are universal.

I hope you walk away with a more informed perspective on how you can help and fight back against the hysteria that is driving our country into a dark place. You can help us focus our scarce resources on those who are most vulnerable, who need our help.
Note: The following graphs and numbers are as of mid-March 2020. Things are moving quickly, so I update this article twice a day. Most graphs are as of March 20th, 2020.

Best,
Aaron Ginn








Table of Contents

1.) Total cases are the wrong metric
2.) Time lapsing new cases gives us perspective
3.) On a per-capita basis, we shouldn’t be panicking
4.) COVID-19 is spreading
5.) Watch the Bell Curve
6.) A low probability of catching COVID-19
7.) Common transmission modes
8.) COVID-19 is likely to burn off in the summer
9.) Children and Teens aren’t at risk
10.) Strong, but unknown viral effect
11.) What about asymptomatic spread?
12.) 93% of people who think they are positive aren’t
13.) 1% of cases will be severe
14.) Declining fatality rate
15.)So what should we do?
16.) Start with basic hygiene
17.) More data
18.) Open schools
19.) Open up public spaces
20.) Support business and productivity
21.) People fear what the government will do, not infection
22.) Expand medical capacity
23.) Don’t let them forget it and vote"


Like I said, don't take anything Ginn says at face value. His points 18 and 19 are nonsense, as I can all too well confirm from my neck of the woods, Belgium, where they closed schools, pubs, restaurants whereas they did not do so in The Netherlands and the UK. It is already plainly apparent that Belgium took the right decision by implementing exactly that which Mr Ginn disadvocates. Still, his material, often backed by offical stats, should give you something to ponder.

So don't panic. Don't raid supermarkets.

Cool heads. Common sense. Precautions. (Moderate) optimism.



Everybody stay safe.


MFBB.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

SATURDAY NIGHT JOE JACKSON, PIXIES.

Joe Jackson with Real Men. Album Night and Day (1982).





There's bass, there's violin, but - correct me if I'm wrong - there ain't no guitar, electric or otherwise, on the entire album!



Pixies with All Over The World. From the album Bossanova (1990).





In my not so humble opnion, Bossanova, with its typical surf rock/space rock blend, remains Pixies' best album.


Goede nacht.


MFBB.

RECOMMENDED READS: JAMES MCCOY "IS AMERICA'S MELTING POT BECOMING A FRAGILE MOSAIC?"

Decent article by James McCoy over at Townhall:


"Editor's note: This column was co-authored by Dr. Loyd Pettegrew.

The melting pot metaphor applies to a society where many different types of people blend together as one. A national identity bouillabaisse if you will. It is essentially an environment in which many ideas, religions and races are socially assimilated. Since its inception America has prided itself in being a melting pot. While some countries are composed of people who are almost all the same in terms of race, religion, and culture (Scandinavia, the Middle East, Asia and India come to mind), the United States is a nation of many different types of people.

This concept was recognized with the gift of the Statue of Liberty to America back in 1886. In recent years, however, it seems that the assimilation of peoples and cultures has become more of a distant memory than a present reality.

....

In 1892, the U.S. government opened a federal immigration station on Ellis Island, located near Bedloe’s Island in Upper New York Bay. Immigrants were greeted by the Statue of Liberty as they arrived in Ellis Island for processing. Between 1892 and 1954, some 12 million immigrants were processed on Ellis Island before receiving permission to enter the United States. Lady Liberty carries the saying: “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me/I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Now some 124 years later, many Americans are wondering if we remain a melting pot or if we have become simply an incoherent mosaic of difference. If we have departed from our early melting pot ambition and identity, it is because many of our most prominent politicians have promoted societal, cultural and religious division to advance their own political careers over the best interest of the nation. Bi-lingual K-12 education is but an example.

This purposeful fracturing of American society for political gain was plainly evident in the Democratic Presidential Primary in South Carolina on February 25, 2020, as presidential candidates groveled for the black vote before Super Tuesday. Tom Steyer even went so far as to claim he was the only candidate on stage in favor of reparations for the black population. He also proposed the establishment of a race commission to retell the story of discrimination and injustice towards African-Americans. It is hard to imagine the political, social and cultural chaos that would surround efforts to enact such legislation. Nonetheless, each candidate seized their opportunity to convince the listening audience why they were the best candidate to represent the black population despite South Carolina being a melting pot, like America.

Each candidate similarly courted the Hispanic vote in Nevada. The identity of an American electorate seems to be blindly lost in the fervor for tribal voting blocs. The two largest minority voting blocs are firmly rooted in race and culture. Consequently, you have the political promises and pandering. Since the civil rights movement in the 1960s, democrats and the left have perpetuated a social tension between minority groups, which are quickly approaching a majority level, and Caucasian populations as a political lever to garner support for federal social programs which disproportionately benefit those minority groups. This in turn increases their appeal to those same groups. The loser in these divisive tactics are the American middle class taxpayers. The one candidate who seems to advocate most often for an all-inclusive American electorate is President Donald Trump. He believes that the best way to realize the benefits of a true blending melting pot is a prosperous economy for all groups.

Pew Research documents that there are nearly 11 million illegal immigrants in our country. Unlike previous years, many are actual family units, not individuals. Some believe this is good for America and support open borders. Others believe America has both a right and obligation to control who enters our borders and that our safety is at risk with unbridled illegal immigration. The reality of the immigration issue is that the United States economy simply cannot afford open borders. The flood of immigrants from Latin and South America, and quite possibly elsewhere, will overwhelm the social safety network programs that the Democrats and the left are so willing to extend to them to further expand and consolidate their political base."



A functioning melting pot America is possible with these people:





It is most definitely NOT with cockroaches like these:





Which faction will be dominant and will either mold together a strong nation... or else fracture it beyond repair?

The upcoming elections will be a lithmus test.



MFBB.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

CANDACE OWENS AT CPAC 2020.




From this side of the Pond it's incredibly difficult to gauge the effect of Candace Owens' campaigning on behalf of the GOP and its effect on the black vote. One reason is, of course, that coverage on Owens in our media is nonexistent - for obvious reasons. An accomplished, intelligent, attractive black woman who is a Conservative? The horror!!! So I have to make do with tidbits like this. Via ABC11:



Friday, January 24, 2020

"RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Danielle Robinson is a newly registered Republican in Raleigh. But the bold choice has been met with concern from her family and online backlash and name-calling from strangers.

"There's coon. There's Uncle Tom. It's just sad that as black people, we limit the expression or the journey of other black people," Robinson said. "I'm tired of the idea that the Left thinks that they can have black people in their pocket."

"There's coon. There's Uncle Tom. It's just sad that as black people, we limit the expression or the journey of other black people," Robinson said. "I'm tired of the idea that the Left thinks that they can have black people in their pocket."

Nearly 1.5 million black voters are registered in North Carolina, and nearly 80 percent of them are Democrats, according to the State Board of Elections.

But there's a movement afoot to get black voters to leave the Democratic Party, one that has fueled voters such as Robinson to abandon politics as usual.

It's Blexit -- also known as Black Exit.

Robinson is state director for Blexit North Carolina. The group launched this month in Charlotte with a rally on MLK weekend.

"That rally signaled that black people, we are ready to have that discussion," Robinson said.

Blexit NC said it will hold forums to discuss candidates on the left and right running for local and state races. The group also plans to encourage people of color to consider new ideas without influence from Democrats.

Democrats are dismissive of the idea.

Robert Howard is the state's Democratic Party spokesman. He released a statement critical of the organization and the media, saying: "Blexit is a fringe organization started by a far-right provocateur. It's embarrassing any news outlet would lend credibility to this organization when they deserve none."

Robinson disagreed. She said Blexit NC is not getting funding from Republicans currently, but it is not opposed to accepting funding from anyone who supports its mission. Right now, Blexit NC is self-funded.

"We don't need to worry about Candace Owens," Robinson said of the woman who started the Blexit movement. "She has found the end of her journey. We've got to worry if we are on our correct journey and on our correct path."

Dr. Hasan Crockett is a political science professor at St. Augustine's University in Raleigh. Crockett said blacks have consistently supported Democrats ever since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a move signed into law by a Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, but also fiercely opposed by many Democrats in the Senate, particularly in the South.

Crockett said controversies around voter suppression and gerrymandering will be challenges for Blexit.

"The fact that they are looking at African-American issues and to empower the black community -- fine. But when you talk about moving into the Republican Party that has a historical agenda that opposes black leadership, suppresses the black vote, that has minuscule presence in the black community -- I think you're going to run into so many problems," Crockett said.

Robinson said Blexit NC will be targeting millennials.

"Many of us as an organization are conservative or unaffiliated, but that's because we did the work. And so when you think about it, only people that have walked away can help others figure out if they should make the same decision," Robinson said. "We're invested in that process. And black people need to be invested in that process."

The group has another rally set for next month at Appalachian State University.



Well, time will tell.


MFBB.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

SATURDAY NIGHT PETER GABRIEL, NIRVANA.

Peter Gabriel with DIY. From the best live album evah, Peter Gabriel Plays Live (1983).





Originally on Gabriels second solo album which was titleless (1978).



Nirvana with Come as you are. Album Nevermind (1991).





Nevermind was grunge going mainstream. I remember well the euphoria it caused in Belgium. And that is now... almost thirty years ago! Jesus.


Goede nacht.


MFBB.

BELGIAN VLAAMS BELANG MP DRIES VAN LANGENHOVEN TO PM WILMES: "DO YOU REALIZE WHO OUR TRUE ALLY IS? IT IS OUR FELLOW EUROPEANS, THE GREEK PEOPLE."

A fiery speech this week in Belgian Parliament, where VB MP Dries Van Langenhoven told Belgian MP Sophie Wilmès in no uncertain terms whom she should support, and it is NOT Erdogan.

As you may recall, the Vlaams Belang toppled the Michel I government in the wake of the signing of the Marrakesh Pact, as the VB's stance on this monstrosity, which effectively blurs any distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, forced N-VA out of the government. In less than a year, the predictions of the VB re the effects on illegal immigration turned out to be, unfortunately, all too true.

Deprived of its main coalition partner N-VA, Charles Michel continued with a minority government which was promptly labeled "Michel II". In October 2019, Charles Michel was rewarded for his treason with a cushy job as President of the European Council (in a similar way, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen was rewarded for a disastrous 7-year tenure with an even cushier job as EU Commision Chairwoman, efffectively European President).

Anyway, Michel was succeeded by Sophie Wilmès, of his own MR Party (Mouvement Réformateur), formerly the PRL (Francophone Liberals). The most votes Wilmès, a fanatical Fleming-hater, ever got in her life was somewhere around 4,500, but let that not be a problem. Anyway, like the rest of the cretins in the remaining rump government, Wilmès is just as much of the kick down, lick up variety when it comes to dealing with Erdogan. So someone had to remind her where her loyalties should lay.

That someone turned out to be Vlaams Belang MP Dries Van Langenhoven:





Sorry, subtitles in Dutch, but Infowars has some background in English:


“Prime Minister, if I told you that I would have given the keys of my house to a burglar and that I would now pay him not to break into my house, you might have declared me crazy,” van Langenhove said. “Well, this is exactly what CD&V, VLD and also the N-VA [Belgian political parties] did in 2016 when you signed a blackmail deal with Erdogan. You gave him the keys to our European borders and then paid him many billions of euros, not to make an abuse of these keys.”

“But Erdogan, of course, is a whole lot smarter than you ‘establishment politicians' are. The Turks have a leader who - unlike you - know what ‘Realpolitik’ is. Erdogan knew from the beginning that he could very easily blackmail Europe with this deal.”

Van Langenhove touted his own party, the nationalist-populist Vlaams Belang faction, as the only party that has not supported sending billions to Ankara in exchange for defense of the EU’s borders from mass migration.

Calling Erdogan’s move an “act of war,” van Langenhove unfurled a Greek flag and aimed his final statements directly at Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès.

“Do you know this flag, Prime Minister? Do you know this people?” van Langenhove asked. “They are the Greeks, and they also guard our border. They also watch over our future. My question is therefore simple, Mrs. Wilmès: do you now realize who our true ally is?”

“It is not Erdogan, madame Minister. It is our fellow Europeans, the Greek people.”



And in Greek:






Congrats Dries!!! More of the same!


MFBB.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

SATURDAY NIGHT THE TRAMMPS, TEARS FOR FEARS.

The Trammps with The Night The Lights Went Out. Album The Trammps III (1977).





The Trammps more or less invented disco. I was never a huge fan of the genre, but must admit key hits deserve their rightful place in Humanity's Great Pantheon of Music. Earl Young was the key figure throughout, being co-founder, singer and drummer.



Eighties softrock: Change from Tears for Fears. From the album The Hurting (1983).





Tears for Fears, i.e. the duo Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal, formed in 1981 in Bath, UK. Despite their rather ghey look, especially Smith, TfF were immensely popular with teen girls in the Low Countries in the early to mid eighties. 'Despite' or perhaps rather 'because of' cause they were not the only band like that for which them females fell in droves (Duran Duran, the inventors of metrosexuality, comes to mind). Anyway, TfF had considerable talent and it's a pity they broke up in 1990. Some of their stuff is perfect and does not deserve the relative obscurity their oeuvre has sunk in.


Goede nacht.


MFBB.

THE JOYS OF MULTICULTURALISM: CONGOLESE RAPPERS SET FIRE TO CONCERT HALL AND GARE DU LYON IN PARIS.

Last week, Congolese rappers gave a concert near the Gare du Lyon in Paris last week. A bunch of other Congolese not pleased with the rapper's fans musical style showed up and there followed a huge brawl between the two parties, resulting in the setting of fire of the concert hall, which then spread to the Gare du Lyon:





When fire crews arrived to fight the flames, they were attacked by the Congolese and couldn't do their job, result:





More scenes of this lovely multicultural event:





Unfortunately, French Police wasn't able to intervene because they were far too busy a coupla blocks away to smash the umpteenth demo of tax paying Gilets Jaunes apart. Macron and Hidalgo know their priorities.


MFBB.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

PRAGER U: "DATING: DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME".

Valentine's Day has come and gone, so I'm a bit late with this video. It's about 'dating'.

Funny, not two weeks ago CDR Salamander tweeted a quote by his old man re 'dating', more precisely 'quality dating'. I'm not sure I get the words right but the counsel of Pa Salamander went something like this: 'careful who you date. You might fall in love, and you don't want to fall in love with a jerk or a twat who ain't worth is'.


We will leave it to the lovely Miss Chen to enlighten us further on the matter:






MFBB.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

SATURDAY NIGHT JAMIROQUAI, DAVID BOWIE.

Jamiroquai with Love Foolosophy. Album A Funk Odyssey (2001).





We don't hear from Jamiroquai anymore - at least not in my neck of the woods - although they are supposedly still around. British funk and acid jazz band which formed in London in 1992. Guy's name is Jay Kay, by the way.



David Bowie with Let's Dance. From the album Let's Dance (1983).





It was my mate John D., my original (and only) mentor in rock, who introduced me to the Early Bowie, of which he was a huge aficionado. However, when Bowie released Let's Dance, John more or less defenestrated him for being '(far) too commercial'. I for one didn't really mind. The album indeed featured a couple of rather catchy songs, but I couldn't care less whether a whole new bunch of people suddenly were huge Bowie fans. It was just another example of the man's eerie capacity to reinvent himself time and again.



Nite.


MFBB.


Friday, February 14, 2020

YOUR TAX £ AT WORK!!!

Uh-oh:





Via The Telegraph, JAN 19, 2020:


"Wind farms were paid up to £3 million per day to switch off their turbines and not produce electricity last week, The Telegraph can disclose.

Energy firms were handed more than £12 million in compensation following a fault with a major power line carrying electricity to England from turbines in Scotland.

The payouts, which will ultimately be added onto consumer bills, were between 25 per cent and 80 per cent more than the firms, which own giant wind farms in Scotland, would have received had they been producing electricity, according to an analysis of official figures.

The payments have prompted questions in Parliament, as one charity warned that consumers were having to fund the consequences of an "excessive" number of onshore wind farms, which can overwhelm the electricity grid...."



More harrowing info here.

It is quite clear. Wind turbines turn more on subsidies than on wind.


MFBB.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

SATURDAY NIGHT TALKING HEADS, U2.

First off, my sincerest apologies for the nonexistent blogging of the last couple of weeks. The old monster (Multipel Myeloma aka Kahler's Disease) is back. I am again under the competent care of Dr. F. The five years he envisaged in 2013 for PFS (Progression Free Survival) turned out to be six. I am undergoing a DRd regimen now (Darzalex Revlimid Dexamethason) plus some radiation for a nasty spot in the pelvis. Most difficult thing however is to keep running the company. Well, there's no other way than to sail forward into the storm. MM is still incurable but I must stay hopeful. That, using the brains the good God gave me to the fullest extent, and pray. Pray a lot. I don't ask for support but if you can spare a (figurative) clap on the shoulder, thx!!!



Then it's time for Talking Heads with And She Was. Album Little Creatures (1985).





Decent song. Great video.



U2 with One Tree Hill. Album The Joshua Tree (1987).





The lyrics were inspired by the tragid death of U2 roadie - and personal assistant to Bono - Greg Carroll, only 26 years old, in a motorcycle accident in Dublin. The band flew to Carroll's native New Zealand to attend his traditional Maori funeral.

Prolly the last truly authentic U2 album. That it was produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno will have played a role in that.



Jan - if you are still out there - I've been unable to reach you ever since my laptop crashed and I lost all Outlook mails. If I have never again replied to mails you sent thereafter, it's not because I chose to ignore them. If you read this, get in touch via the comments. Hope you're doing fine.

Leo - same. Hope you're doing fine also.


Goede nacht. I'll try to post some better material shortly. I feel better, treatment in its third week by now, and DRd is possibly the best I can get right now.


MFBB.

Monday, January 20, 2020