Blog

Mississippi Votes to Secede from Rebel Flag

5 a.m. – the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger Reports a Rare Sunday Vote to Remove Confederate Symbol from State Flag

“Here he is, Boss. Deader than hell but won’t let go.” – Cool Hand Luke

The only Civil War military fatality directly related to me was a Mississippian volunteer in a Confederate regiment who died of disease in a Federal prison camp in Missouri.

I have no idea where his sympathies lay in terms of Slavery and such like, since so few Southerners owned slaves, and because many who supported or fought for the Confederacy felt their patriotic duty was to their state, not the confederation of independent states it belonged to under the Stars and Stripes.

After all, prior to the War it was grammatically correct to say, “the United States of America are …,” not “the United States of America is…”.

That being said, many people today do not know or understand that at no time did every southerner condone or support Slavery or the rebellion started because of it.

Every state that joined the Confederacy but one had whole regiments of volunteers that organized and marched away to fight for President Lincoln and the Union he was elected to lead, against the secessionists who forced those states to take up arms against the USA’s legal, constitutional government.

The exception being Georgia, although hundreds of white Georgians served in the Federal Armed Forces none the less.

Some of those states had entire areas under the control of loyalist Americans, who at times engaged in guerilla activities including lethal combat against the rebels in power.

Deep in Mississippi, Jones County was so dangerous to the Confederate militia and their sympathizers that ultimately it was avoided entirely, having to be gone around rather than through. It became known as the “Kingdom of Jones.”

Today, there is a major difference between someone having pride in being a Southerner, or the citizen of a particular state, or having nostalgic affection or sympathy toward southern traditions and ancestry vs. someone who supports or reveres the Confederacy, whose leaders made perfectly clear the CSA was conceived in the fallacy of White Supremacy and dedicated to preserve the heinous institution of Slavery as long as possible.

Or, for that matter, having solemn respect for the marshal gallantry of those that Ulysses Grant described as having “…fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.”

There remains nothing incongruous in holding such opinions and beliefs about venerable Southern traditions while also supporting the complete debunking and expungement of the racist mythos surrounding the “Lost Cause” fantasies, which have been as sadly tenacious as that deceased snapping turtle, deader than hell but won’t let go.

The main symbol of that movement was the Northern Virginia battle flag of crossed blue bars with white stars set against a red field, which was later incorporated into the second official flag of the Confederacy. It has often been claimed by the misguided to represent nothing more than being a non-conformist, independent, hell-raising “rebel,” rather than as the banner of those ignorant adherents to the asinine belief in “White Supremacy,” which it certainly was. And which it has remained to this day as the sullied symbol of the most horrific traits and institutions to ever exist in our national character and its history. And which is finally getting its due as Mississippi becomes the last state to remove it from its flag.

Not a great day in American history, but surely a reverent and momentous one.

COVID-19 Verified Infections – Monday Map

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

A tip of a deadly iceberg, as confirmed cases are certainly but a small fraction of actual infections

COVID-19 map May 8 onemanz.com

Amidst the bizarre and frightening collective denial of millions of Americans, misled by their President, and bamboozled by their own ignorant hubris – and their almost unbelievable selfishness – the United States is poised for a disaster unprecedented in American history.

The rest of the world looks on in horror as what was once the leading nation of the world willfully exposes countless citizens to unspeakable suffering and death in the name of greed and stupidity. And in doing so, the USA is becoming the greatest threat to the people of all other nations in the world today.

Far more tragic than the ravaging pandemic is what it has revealed about the American people. Not all to be sure, but far too many for Americans to ever again claim that theirs is the greatest nation in the world, or even the best country, or even the right to claim we as a people possess the least common decency and good will called for by any of the major religions in the world today.

Remember this day!

Pancho Villa and others at the very first Fiesta de la tarro vacía

Rare photo recently discovered

Sinko de Mayo

A contemplative Villa (left) and a glum Zapata (2nd from right) face an uncertain future

In Mexico during the time of the Revolution, mayonnaise was a national obsession. More of the condiment was consumed there than any other one place on earth, with Hong Kong a distant second.

In fact, leaders on both sides of the conflict were crazy for the stuff. But it was Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata circa 1910, who spread the spread among the common people, as it were, so that its popularity soared.

In those days, England was the mayonnaise capital of the world, with Cross & Blackwell’s, and Hellmann’s as the most popular brands, and the largest shipment of all time, some tens of thousands of jars, set out from Southampton by steamship on April 10, 1912, bound for Vera Cruz, by way of Cherbourg, New York, Charleston, and Havana.

But as history showed, the vessel was none other than the ill-fated H.M.S. Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank on April 15th.

When news arrived in Mexico twenty days later, the war-torn people were devastated. Their anguish was so great that a truce was declared between the Federales and the rebel factions, for one day of mourning. And thus was held the very first Fiesta de la tarro vacía (Feast of the Empty Jar.)

(photo: Museos de México)

feast2

It has been observed ever since, on this very day, now known colloquially as Sinko de Mayo.

Thank you, I’m here all week …

 

Too Tired to Go to Bed?

Ah yes.

Those special moments, when you feel extra tired extra early and can’t even find the wherewithal to watch TV, or even want to get up to head to bed.

But you manage to get up and shuffle down to the kitchen to wash out your water glass, and all those other odds and ends that you haven’t washed yet, and then wipe down the counters, and brush your teeth and wash your face, and floss, put down some dry cat food and fresh water, and take off your slippers and get undressed and find you are now wide awake and nowhere near being able to fall asleep.

Sigh.

Don Shula 1930 – 2020

Remembering the exceptional American, and Ohioan, who was Don Shula

I rooted against his Miami Dolphins every single game, but boy where they great!

Don Shula died today at the age of 90.

As a little boy, I saw things very much in a all or nothing way. And I was stung by Coach Shula leaving the Baltimore Colts, the first sports team I connected with – probably because of the pretty cowgirls in their entourage. But also because their kamikaze rabid dog linebacker Mike Curtis. I didn’t realize (consciously) that they were the longtime rival of my dad’s Cleveland Browns, but he never said a discouraging word against it.

Shula jumping to the AFL was another snub, even if they were merging with the NFL. And he had the bad manners to move to a team in the same division as my Colts, and take the lowly Dolphins to the playoffs in his first season. At least my Colts won the Super Bowl that year – finally!

But  worst of all, he beat my Colts 21-0 in the AFC Championship in his second season on the way to losing the Super Bowl, preventing a rematch between the defending champion Colts and the eventual champion Cowboys. But then he went on to win the next two Super Bowls, including that “Perfect Season,” where I rooted against them every game they played.

But I always had tremendous respect for his Dolphins, and admiration for their rhino fullback Larry Czonka and the rest of those glory teams.

He was a tough S.o.G., some say a veritable alligator as a coach. And I always loved this story, recounted in his obituary at NFL.com.

“After the 1969 season, Shula moved to Miami, where he was given a 10 percent stake in ownership of the team (he later sold it). His first team made the playoffs. His second made it to the Super Bowl. His third and fourth teams won championships and established themselves as South Florida legends, complete with a famous story about the time former Dolphin Manny Fernandez captured an alligator from the Everglades and put it in Shula’s shower after practice. When Shula ran into the locker room, fullback Larry Csonka informed him that players had taken a vote — with Shula prevailing by just one — to decide whether to tape the alligator’s mouth shut.”

He was drafted by the Browns in 1951 as a Defensive Halfback, but spent most of his seven seasons with the Colts, who in 1963, made him the youngest coach in NFL history, at that time.

And the rest is very much history indeed. R.I.P. Coach Shula. It was a great 90 years.

 

Free Shakespeare from Canada

Shakespeare from the Stafford Festival on Line

Free during the long social distancing season

Did William Shakespeare really write the masterpiece King Lear while under quarantine during the plague year 1606? Yes, along with other great plays like Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. Starting the previous year people were expected to remain in their London homes except when genuine need forced them to seek food for medicine. Sound familiar? Just like now, it helped save countless lives.

The Shakespeare Festival of Stratford, Ontario is offering free viewings of twelve films beginning with King Lear. It started on April 23, but I only know learned of this. So here is the schedule

“Each will debut with a 7:00 p.m. viewing party and will be available free-of-charge for three weeks afterwards on the Stratford Festival website.”

https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/

Coriolanus debuts today! Lear remains available through May 14.

stratford festival free shakespeare onemanz.com COVID-19 soical distancing

The films have received four Canadian Screen Awards and 16 nominations, including Best Performing Arts Program for King Lear.

The schedule is as follows:

King Lear: April 23 to May 14

Coriolanus: April 30 to May 21

Macbeth: May 7 to 28

The Tempest: May 14 to June 4

Timon of Athens: May 21 to June 11

Love’s Labour’s Lost: May 28 to June 18

Hamlet: June 4 to 25

King John: June 11 to July 2

Pericles: June 18 to July 9

Antony and Cleopatra: June 25 to July 16

Romeo and Juliet: July 2 to 23

The Taming of the Shrew: July 9 to 30

 

More Information Here

Happy Shakespeare Day!

Shakespeare to watch at home that is absolutely thrilling!

See clips of recommended watching below

Four-hundred and four years ago today, the world lost William Shakespeare. And if it weren’t for a small group of dedicated friends and colleagues half of the known plays he wrote would have been lost forever. Since the drama, comedy, and history that is the NFL draft starts tonight, I am putting off my Will Fest a day or two. But I will be watching the following this weekend.
 
Mark Rylance’s all-male production of “Twelfth Night”, the stage production from the Globe Theater, Ian McKellen’s “Richard III” set in a 1930s England beset with Fascism, and Kenneth Brannah’s lavishly adorned “Hamlet. Marvelous stuff! And you can see some short clips of them below.
 
And here is a list of the plays that were only known because of the First Folio that his friend published in the poet’s honor:
 
All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Henry VI, Part One
Henry VIII (All is True)
Julius Caesar
King John
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Twelfth Night
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
 
Amazing, really.
Check out this opening sublime sequence of Ian McKellen’s 1930s Fascist version of Shakespeare’s Richard III. A $3 HD rental on Amazon, or free on YouTube.
And this glimpse of the lavish spectacle of Kennith Brannah’s Hamlet. Free on Amazon!
And Mark Rylance’s hilarious all-male cast of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Available for the U.K. on line https://globeplayer.tv/videos/twelfth-night
And available DVD for the U.S. and worth every farthing!

How Weather and Environment Might Impact a Coronavirus

Corona Virus and weather onemanz

A learned friend speculates on the contribution of environmental factors, such as lightening, in the spread or recession of a coronavirus such as influenza

The mechanics of a coronavirus can be explained through the metaphor of a vinyl record player

Consider how a record player works. There’s a record with grooves of various frequencies and amplitudes spinning around. There’s a tonearm with a phonographic cartridge in it that tracks the record. This phono cartridge holds a tiny diamond tip on the end of a shaft, attached to the cartridge body with a flexible joint.

Being a mechanical system, the tonearm and cartridge have resonances. The two major resonant modes are 1) the diamond tip resonating at high frequencies; 2) the tonearm resonating at low frequencies.

High frequency resonances occur when the diamond tip is tracing out grooves on the record that are heavily amplitude-modulated at high frequencies – like loud bell strikes. At resonance, the diamond tip is destructive to the grooves of the record, operating like a tiny jackhammer.

At much lower frequencies, e.g. cannon-shots on the 1812 Overture, visible movement of the tonearm occurs, and even cases where the tonearm jumps out of one grove and into another. Lateral displacement.

Now think of the influenza virus mechanical structure: little masses on stalks (viral spikes) attached to a much more massive viral body. This is another grossly bi-modal resonant mechanical system. There will be at least two resonant points that correspond to frequencies that excite the spikes and the bodies.

The spinning record for the virus is thermal energy. Within the host body, what matters most is the thermal energy that comes from the temperature of the host. A fever is both a defensive mechanism and the result of a body combating an infection. A virus can cease to function beyond a certain temperature, but sometimes lethal damage occurs regardless.

Viruses have evolved to take advantage of natural processes like absorption (a liquid or other material being absorbed by another liquid or solid) and adsorption (atomic or molecular material adhering to the surface area of some material or other.) The latter comes into play because of how viruses stick to metal or plastic surfaces and resist being washed or blown away. But they stick even better to our organic skin and hair, etc. so they leave the metal, porcelain, or plastic, and adhere to us. Fortunately, they stick even better yet to the fatty lipids in common soap.

Outside of a potential host body, the thermal energy source that matters most to the viral structure is sunlight. Water vapor, being the most abundant greenhouse gas for Planet Earth, is a nearly ideal medium for converting photons of infrared light into mechanical energy. Its absorption spectrum is so broad that it is referred to as an absorption continuum.

Mechanical resonances will be set up at various partial pressures of the water vapor, due to the gas spring nature of the vapor. Within tiny pockets of water vapor, mechanical movements of water molecules will become synchronized, resulting in coherent movement of those water molecules. When this coherent movement occurs, ion generation due to collisions is minimized. Whereas incoherent movement results in more ions – even gross-level electric charge build-ups in the water vapor. This is the basis for lightning strike conditions in clouds.

The mechanical system of the virus is tuned to the resonances generated in the water vapor, under the right conditions (vapor pressures.) Small resonances result in movement of the viral spikes. Large resonances result in movement of the bodies as a whole. Sunlight provides for vapor resonances at higher frequencies. Host body thermal energy provides for resonances at lower frequencies.

Host body thermal energy might also provide for resonances at lower frequencies. Vibrating viral spikes might lead to penetration of host cell membranes. Jumping viral bodies might lead to attacks on adjacent host tissue cells.

Poor conditions for generating this movement of the spikes maybe be signified by electrical discharges, i.e. lightning. Global hot spots of influenza infection such as Southeast Asia and the east coast of the U.S. show fewer lighting strikes. Global areas where outbreaks of influenza are virtually non-existent, such as Africa and the Tropics,  show higher rates of lightning strikes.

Seasonal weather variations can likewise be characterized by lightning activity. It is low in the cooler months when outbreaks are more likely, and higher in warmer months when lightning occurs more frequently, and incidences of flu drop off dramatically. These differences may be explained by differences in humidity, leading to differences in water vapor pressure. [ed. – while not proven, this is a fascinating claim, and well thought out.]

Host body temperature differences infer varying internal thermal radiation patterns. For example, a dog’s body temperature is higher than that of a human. Dogs and humans contract different viral infections. But the human body’s temperature rises during viral infections. Different internal thermal radiation occurs.

There are many implications for humidity and temperature differences leading to different viral behaviors. H2O resonances at different vapor pressures, and thermal radiation at different frequencies and intensities, create together complex mechanical systems that can be exploited by different strains of coronaviruses, with different spike and body construction.

But while the mechanics of a phonographic record player are a metaphor, a coronavirus like influenza plays a deadly music, composed by thermal radiation, pressed onto a record made of water vapor. It seems likely that other deadly viruses might be found in the same record collection.

About the writer:

David Plummer is a self-titled propellerhead who studied mathematics at Harvard University, before concerning himself with hardware and software systems. The math rock star he admires most is Alan Turing.

These days he spends his time doting on his granddaughters, Grace and Zoey, with assistance from his beloved wife of 40 years, Joan, their children Devon and Nathan, and their inspirations, Vivian and Kate.

David has been known to read papers about mice that have Alzheimer’s and then build stuff for experimenting on himself. Really.