2:00PM Water Cooler 2/27/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I am up to my eyeballs in the muck of that horrid Cochrane study on masks (finished, here), so all I can do is post one image of a plant. Tomorrow I will be back in form. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert P.S. At least one of you has mentioned a bird whose songs you wish to hear. Please remind me in comments!

* * *

Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From JN:

JN writes: “Dogwood on ice.” Nice framing; I’m meticulous about my edges and my corners. Where’s Blondie?

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Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So if you see a link you especially like, or an item you wouldn’t see anywhere else, please do not hesitate to express your appreciation in tangible form. Remember, a tip jar is for tipping! Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of donations helps me with expenses, and I factor in that trickle when setting fundraising goals:

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Samuel Conner

    Do readers have ideas for suppression of algae in seed germination trays? I’m starting Salvia splendens in covered trays with unregulated heat (heat mat is on at 100% power; no thermostat), under domes, and I’m getting germination starting in 4 days, which is very fast for this species and very desirable from my perspective. I’m keeping the setup on the wet side to protect the seedlings from dessication, but between the warmth and the humidity, I’m getting major algae growth before the tray has reached the target 70+% germination rate. I could keep the trays cooler or dryer, but that would slow germination and I’m trying to keep that fast due to space constraints in my grow rack.

    Is there a way to suppress algae growth in conditions that promote its growth? I’m retroactively applying Neem to some trays that are already badly greened to see if that can stop progression, but am not sure what it may do to seeds not yet germinated. I have a substantial seed order placed that will be used as grist for experiments to evaluate whatever ideas come up, to try to optimize the conditions for fastest germination without algae overgrowth for future propagation seasons.

    1. Lex

      a little bit of hydrogen peroxide should do the trick. You can put it in a spray bottle or drip it on the soil surface. Avoid getting it directly on plant leaves. With surface moisture that high, keep a close eye for damping off or other fungal issues at the seedling stem. If you have good germination at this point, you can also start opening the dome vents (if present). Humidity will still stay high enough to promote the rest of the seeds germinating but you’ll also start to see some surface drying of the soil which will help with the algae.

      The hydrogen peroxide (just use drug store grade) won’t harm the roots. If anything it will do some oxygenation of the root zone. All the soil biota that it would kill are anaerobic which aren’t the kind you want anyhow. And you’re not drenching the soil with it but just the surface. This trick will also sometimes save seedlings that are in the earliest stages of damping off or if you see a touch of surface mold growth.

      1. Grateful Dude

        We use grapefruit seed extract, GSE, for molds. I’ve seen it in natural products as a preservative.

        And, a quick lookup on “PH algae” revealed that keeping PH between 6.8 and 7.2 will prevent algae.

    2. thousand points of green

      There was a time when I started bunches of tomato seedlings. I would put a 1/4th inch thick layer of fine-flake vermiculate on top of the mix with the tomato seeds in it. This was to prevent any damping-off fungus from beginning.

      Would it work against algae? I don’t know. Perhaps it could be tried just to see.

    3. Big River Bandido

      You and Lex are much more serious gardeners than I, with my 15 or so spider plants and philos in my 2-bedroom apartment. Your posts make me wonder if I misdiagnosed something I first noticed last fall: a thin sort of light gray, fuzzy growth on the top of the soil. In a few spots there were larger, thicker patches of dusty white fuzz. Because of the watering and humidity, I assumed it was a fungus and have been applying 4 teaspoons baking soda per gallon of water with the usual waterings. This does help mitigate the white fuzz problem; but the thin light grayish growth reappears on the top of the soil in more modest amounts in between waterings. (In Iowa, during the growth season most of these plants need water about once a week, in winter that could extend to even 2 weeks depending on the plant.) I have only noticed this growth on the spider plants.

      Now that you mention algae, what I’m seeing resembles algae more than fungus. If so, I diagnosed the wrong thing and should look into Lex’s suggestion.

      If you two live in modern nations, I apologize for my use of Imperial units.

      1. Lex

        Ha! No, I live in the same backwards nation as you. White fuzz is probably a soil fungus of some sort and will not generally be problematic for mature plants. In fact, it’s probably a sign of a fair amount of soil life in the container. The surface treatment with hydrogen peroxide would work for that too. Using baking soda in the irrigation water will adjust the water pH, which may or may not adjust the soil pH over time. Most houseplants aren’t going to be super susceptible to soil pH variations and the adjustment from adding baking soda will be dependent on the pH of your tap water.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      cant really force nature into yer schedule, nor yer desires.
      back way off on the watering.
      let it dry out almost completely between deep waterings.

      you’re soaking it and thereby actually growing algae.
      be a gentle, periodic, rain, instead.

  2. MinNYC

    Re: airborne SARS-CoV-2

    I stumbled across a DHS site with a calculator that estimates the length of time it takes for airborne virus to decay/deactivate based on temperature/humidity/UV conditions.


    Have other readers seen this site? Does anyone and have knowledge of how accurate/trustworthy the calculations are?

    The site is timestamped as ‘Last Updated: 12/20/2022’

  3. LawnDart

    Spring is on it’s way or underway, depending on where you’re at or how screwed-up your local weather is. I put in a respectable 10-12k on the motorcycle, mostly in the upper-Midwest, last season. I’m looking at doing something similar into Summer this year, before I need to heed the call of career (and hopefully bail-out of USA, for a while at least).

    However, I’d like to spend more time under the stars:

    When one sleeps inside, your dreams may fill the room
    But when one sleeps outdoors, you dreams will reach the stars

    –Bedouin proverb

    I’m a tent-camper (when necessary) and like to avoid RVs and public campgrounds in general. I found this site which is pretty useful, although surely limited. Any other suggestions?


    1. Screwball

      I don’t know how far you want to travel, but I would suggest the North coast of Ohio. Sandusky, Put-in-Bay, Kelley’s Island area. Plenty to do and see, and camping/hotels all over. You could spend a day at Kelley’s alone. You and your bike could take Miller’s Ferry for probably 20 bucks round trip. There is a state campground on the island. They also have a hotel that is called a resort. Venture Resort. I have stayed there – highly recommended, but you might want to book soon. They are very busy in season.

      Enjoy whatever you decide.

      1. LawnDart

        I’ve done Western Pennsylvania a ton, but that part of Ohio, never. It sounds like a good waypoint for travels so I think I should check it out– thanks for that.

        If you’re out that way, Cheeseman Farm off I-79 in Portersville (hour North of Pittsburgh) is pretty chill– no RV-hookups, so that crowd goes elsewhere. Good day-hikes and a number of waterfalls to choose from; the campground is nice dog-friendly, no copperheads or venomous snakes (unlike Washington County, PA), and they do enforce “quiet hours” (though they do have areas for more boisterous groups– far away from everyone else). But a few more hours South puts you in WV, and that totally rocks.

        I’m finding the old-school state atlases to be my friends– Goog’s maps leaves a lot out, but county or private campgrounds (many nice ones in midwest) are usually missed by both. State and national forests are go-tos, but they can be far between, so I’m still looking for additional resources that could be found in the web.

        Oh, one thing that worked in PA was a fishing license and a pole: you can night-fish in areas closed to camping– I’d clip the license to a ballcap and hang it nearby so on the occasions a ranger passed on patrol, they’d at most shine a light in that direction before moving in. I think this should work in most states as long as you’re not being a knucklehead.

    2. griffen

      I notice a lot of motorcycle traffic out my way, going north to Asheville and the western mountains of North Carolina. There are quite a few scenic places in this Upstate region of South Carolina as well. South Carolina highway 11 gets a lot of traffic starting in the spring into the fall.

      Clearly the Blue Ridge Parkway offers up scenic options for driving to add the obvious. Pisgah National Forest is the national forest I can think of the quickest. Lot of state operated options as well, Dupont is a huge attraction (Dupont is pretty busy too with bicycle trails).

    3. earthling

      Campendium might be a good 2d opinion to hipcamp.

      Study up on ‘dispersed camping’ on BLM (Bureau of Land Management), National Forests, State Forests, and State Trust lands.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      i think Lambert or Yves has my phone number.
      i have pastures to stay in…with adjacent showers, and even a Wilderness Bar////

      warning: i’ll put you to work

    5. Darius

      Have you been to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? The Keeweenaw Peninsula is scenic. The drive along Lake Superior from Marquette to Munising can be breathtaking. Miners Castle in Pictured Rocks stunning. Tahquamenon Falls is another great spot. The only drawback is getting there. You go over about 25 miles of straight two-lane M-28, which my Aunt Louise said was so boring it puts drivers to sleep. The Seney Stretch.

      1. LawnDart

        The southern coastline of Lake Superior is amazing: I did Ashland to Marquette (again) last year– it’s not touristy and there’s excellent “sea food” from shops near the harbors where the commercial fishermen ply their trade. I would definately like to explore more of the MN and MI shorelines.

  4. Janie

    Lambert, thank you for bringing Konrad Lorenz’s book Solomon’s Ring to everyone’s attention. It’s wonderful. I love his story about the talking pet jackdaw.

  5. Big River Bandido

    Dear Lambert,

    Thank you so much for the phrase “getting wrapped around the axle”. It’s such a handy metaphor, truly brilliant, and I am using it now at appropriate moments. Did you invent it?

    1. Angie Neer

      In my experience that’s a not-unusual colloquial expression. I agree it’s handy, and Lambert knows how to use it well.

    2. FreeMarketApologist

      Didn’t it originate as part of the description of the dancer Isadora Duncan’s demise?

      1. Stephen V

        In red-necky land one hears:.WE’VE got to get this project off of top-dead-center. –another Motorhead metaphor I presume.

    3. some guy

      That phrase has immediately leapt to mind on three occasions when I was outside in “borderline” weather conditions in November. It was very cold, raining, wind whipping around in ” all directions at once” and my brain suddenly handed me the following bunch of words . . . ” there’s a lot of Cold Energy getting wrapped around the axle”. And each time I got that sudden feeling, the rain turned to snow within the next 1-3 minutes.

  6. Tom Pfotzer

    My basement Lettuce Farmette was a topic of conversation last week.

    I had asserted that I expected to harvest 2 heads of lettuce a day from a space 3′ x 6′. That was met with some well-justified skepticism, and I was politely requested to show some pix.

    Here’s a quick update on the product development project that created the Farmette. It’s the third report in a series, and there will likely be a few more before the farmette is producing the fabled 2 heads a day.

    While the Farmette is cool and may end up being very useful in its own right, there’s a bit more to the story. Many of you know that I advocate for bottom-up econ devel, and that I think it’s important to restore the household to its rightful place as the center of economic activity.

    I’d like to revisit the debate between Hamilton and Jefferson. Hamilton advocated for centralization and intensive capital production, whereas Jefferson advocated for distributed production occurring in artisanal households… e.g. what we now call “local”.

    The question comes “can the household ever compete economically with concentrated capital?”

    As you look at the progress report, ask yourself “was it possible to make that Farmette at the household level ten years ago?”

    Probably not. The economics and state-of-the-art of local production are very much in motion.

    One more quick hit: the Commons. That farmette was derived from work freely exchanged and discussed on the Internet. The designs for the parts that I 3D printed were free to download.

    Free. Great stuff, given away for free. Somebody worked really hard to create it, and then gave it away. Built the commons, and hardly got a pat on the back for it.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Thanks, Tom!

      I concur 100% with your posture of “no rents on ideas” and have been silently “Amening!” your periodic advocacy of this kind of future.

      This project is fascinating and stimulates me to try to move a little in the direction of plant tissue culture as a baby first step, though as hinted in my above inquiry, I have significant issues with environmental contamination in my present grow arrangements.

      I’ll need to hang out more at the realeconomy site.

      Again, thanks!

      1. Tom Pfotzer

        yer sure welcome, Samuel.

        Hope you do stop by the blog once a month or so. I’d like to hear your ideas and maybe do a little collaborating.

        I’m OK at the design-build thing, but not all that hot at horticulture.

        1. Carla

          I’m kinda decent at growing perennial flowers, but have not had much success at producing edibles — so I am in awe of home gardeners who can do it — indoors OR out!

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            not tech, but robust microbiota in a healthy soil matrix is what will save the world.
            nothing less, i’m afraid…

            1. Tom Pfotzer

              Amfortas – this point, which I subscribe to, has flummoxed me for years. I started out absolutely revolted at the idea of hydroponics. How can plants work better in nutrient solution when their roots have evolved in soil, with all manner of symbiotic biota providing all manner of nutrient-processing and the soil particles providing physical attach-points for the chem compounds plants need?

              So, for a good 2 decades I resisted, mocked and ridiculed hydroponics.

              And then, in a bout of crazy, I tried it. And it worked way, way better than I expected.

              That doesn’t, however, obviate your points. Still need to account for nutrient importation, still need to feed the soil on behalf of all the rest of the plants that aren’t fed hydroponically.

              Way back I determined to grow in soil, contained in 2-cubic-foot bins, and use my (huge) compost pile and areas of relatively poor soil as inputs, with some organic minerals, to make a soil blend for growing.

              Some time – one or 2 seasons later – I’d dump the pot into the hole where the soil came from, and then I’d cycle nutrients, add back enriched soil, sequester carbon, etc.

              There are good horticultural reasons to do this, but the mechanics of it really bollixed me. It’s heavy, extremely labor intensive, has weeds, soil-borne diseases, etc. Major issues.

              And if you’re exporting crops, and to make $ you need to export crops, then you’re exporting nutrients, and that means re-importing nutrients.

              A while back I read Will Bonsall (a personal hero), whose book addresses these things at least as well as anything I’ve ever read. His personal story (traversal from western lands mineral prospector to self-contained dirt farmer) is an example of phenomenal self-evolution.

              I expect to revisit this subject, after some more dialog with more experienced people. In particular, people who are not lumbered down, as I am, with the love of complexity and machinery. There are ways to do this really well, and I’m … not up to speed.

              Hopefully, some of us will lean on this subject some more, and devise some good development pathways forward.

          2. Janie

            Start with plants and varieties that are known to do well in your area and whose growing requirements meet your locale. Get advice from neighbors. Use lots of compost and mulch. Good luck. You can do it!

              1. Tom Pfotzer

                Ya. One great source of useful mulch, I’ve found, is local arborists. They have truckloads of wood chips they need to get rid of (yes, it’s a _problem_ for them!).

                I have space for a truckload of chips; whenever I see a wood-chipper truck with a load of chips, I jump out of the car, and hand them a _pre-prepared_ map to my house, and give them a 6-pack of beer upon delivery.

                That’s a viable inducement, btw.

                I let the chips rot down for a year (get that fungus going!) then top-spread where most needed. Worms and fungus do the rest.

                Some towns collect leaves, have piles of them for the taking. Another great source.

    2. Lex

      Nah, I think you can get two heads a day from that system. They might not be the massive, grocery store iceberg heads but with proper secession planting of those towers (and especially considering you’re going to germinate outside of the towers), that’s totally doable. They hydro is going to make a big difference.

      Another consideration is to plant varieties capable of cut and return in that system. If i’m looking at it right and there will be three of those towers, you could very easily harvest the equivalent of two heads from cut and return leafy green growing.

      Is it going to live in the greenhouse or in a basement with artificial light? If the latter, the only potential problem I see is that the lowest growing nodes are going to be a long ways from the light (if top lit only) and you might get reduced growth and/or pretty extreme legginess. It might be a good application for low wattage LED fixtures along the outside of the structure, or you could accept legginess and plant loose leaf varieties at the bottom for the cut and return. With only top light, head varieties might not work very well in the lower spaces.

      That’s a super cool system. I love that it’s really built too and not just having the controls kludged together the way I’d do it if i was building a similar hydro setup.

      1. Tom Pfotzer


        Great, great comments. So, to respond:

        a. Yeah, need top-to-bottom lights. Ordered 6′ long light strips; they’ll be hung vertically on a shower-curtain type rod, on those little roller hooks, so you can slide the lights “curtain” from side to side to get at the plants.

        b. Yeah, def need the cut and grow-again routine most of the time. I’m thinking I’d just cut a bag of greens per day, a snip here and a snip there, get some herbs, some lettuce, a little bok choi, etc. and make a great salad. Probably get better production, right? Plant doesn’t have to go thru the entire develop-the-root-system routine nearly so often

        The tower is mounted on a lazy-susan roller bearing, so the tower spins on its long axis. Easier to get at the plants, makes the foraging for salad job quite pleasant.

        I just finished writing the robot sw, next I’ll connect a few wires, so tomorrow the plants go in, and that marks the beginning of testing.

        So now the next most important thing to do is to get better at starting plants. The setup I have is a real kluge. I kinda need an ebb-and-flow type tray so I can put the rockwool cubes in there, high density, and put it in the germination tank, and just check on it every few days. If anyone’s got experience with ebb and flow seedling germination, and can provide pointers, I’d be grateful.

        As you can tell, I’m excited about this thing. Thanks to everyone for their ideas and encouragement.

    3. lambert strether

      > My basement Lettuce Farmette

      My favorite Dagwood and Blondie joke [nobody noticed my Easter egg…]

      DAGWOOD, to GREENGROCER: Do you have a head of lettuce?

      GREENGROCER: No, but I have a heart of gold! [prolonged belly laugh]

      1. Tom Pfotzer


        Thx for letting me post into the thread, Lambert. Hope you’ll get some enjoyment out of this subject.

    4. Ana

      I now live in a 12 story senior apt building but used to have the standard issue house in the ‘burbs with a large front and back yard in which I grew a lot of veggies, dwarf fruit trees and herbs. No hydro, just dirt in raised beds and large pots.

      Fast forward to selling the house and moving here because reasons. I deliberately chose the south facing side to live and now have a container gardening rig on the balcony.

      This year I persuaded assorted residents including the retired owner of a local commercial nursery to form a gardening group. Some of us are seed starting right now for dozens of people living here. We also talked management into giving us part of the landscaping to grow veggies.

      Moral of the story is that you can make food in small places even if all you have is small spaces.

      Hydro or dirt in containers work well. Try it out. It’s fun, and you can get supplies from Habitat for Humanity, ahem, dirt cheap.

      Ana in Sacramento

  7. Mildred Montana


    CNN’s Michael Smerconish highlights some troubling statistics about young men in the United States and argues that they are in crisis. Okay, I know it’s CNN but here’s more:


    “Men in their 20s are more likely than women in their 20s to be romantically uninvolved, sexually dormant, friendless and lonely.”

    I mentioned this several months ago. The inter-generational and societal stressors are out there and they’re growing. Young, energetic, testosterone-driven young men will not put up with things as they are for long. Already, from my limited observation, acts of vandalism, stranger attacks, and violence committed by young men are on the rise.

    Government ignores them at their (and our) peril.

      1. Onward to Dystopia

        Hopefully we finish losing this war with Russia before we pivot to lose a war with China.
        One thing at a time.

    1. JBird4049

      I mentioned this several months ago. The inter-generational and societal stressors are out there and they’re growing. Young, energetic, testosterone-driven young men will not put up with things as they are for long., from my limited observation, acts of vandalism, stranger attacks, and violence committed by young men are on the rise.

      Government ignores them at their (and our) peril.

      Why would it have to be just the oh so scary young men? I would think dropping the words young and testosterone from the description would make it fit many more, if not most, Americans.

  8. fresno dan

    Jeb Bush sang the praises of Ron DeSantis in his typical muted fashion and it might be seen as a passive endorsement by Jeb for DeSantis.
    This puts the Establishment wing of the Republican Party in a bind with Jeb’s complimentary words for Desantis. It also causes some heartburn for DeSantis supporters who are hoping to bring Trump supporters on board.
    uh, I’m thinking the endorsement of Jeb! is the kiss of death for any Florida govenor in the repub primary…

    1. davejustdave

      With regard to the mask efficacy issue, Dr Lucky Tran concludes his piece at the Guardian:

      But we need to stop giving so much air to bad faith actors. Their goal is to exhaust us and numb us into losing empathy and giving up. Unchecked Covid-19 spread is still significantly harming and disrupting the lives of many people, especially those who are at higher risk. We can’t let the avalanche of disinformation give us a convenient excuse to look the other way. Plenty of science shows us that masks protect ourselves and our communities when we all wear one, and masks are still needed now. Let’s put that science into action.


    2. Not Again

      Well, all the old neocons from W’s time are Democrats now. I’m pretty sure Liz Cheney will be voting for Biden next year.

      1. some guy

        Only if the Republicans nominate a Trump Republican. If they nominate a Cheney Republican, she will vote for the Cheney Republican.

    3. Questa Nota

      When you’ve lost found Jeb!, what else is there? /s

      Recalling those debate panels and such way back in 2015-16, and noting that something was seriously wrong with Jeb! and with those promoting him.

      Anything to beat self-flagellate the bushes for another candidate, or was it some secret dynastic tool? Egad, what is next, Chelsea?

      1. JBird4049

        Jeb! had nothing beyond being the smarter, less charismatic, Bush brother. Look out for Jeb! and his time to shine!

        Well, he was offering conservatism with a kinder, gentler, more compassionate fist face, just as the Shrub had already done. Been there, done that.

    4. FlyoverBoy

      Oh, I don’t think it’s a bind at all. My personal view is that DeSantis absolutely IS the Republican establishment candidate. He’s their version of Warren against Sanders: the imitation who’s supposed to be just as good as the original, only not crazy so you should all like him better than that guy over there that we can’t control. There’s a reason Murdoch reportedly buttonholed Trump recently and warned him that if he runs again, they’ll pour everything into vaporizing him in favor of DeSantis.

      Except, as with Warren, I think it won’t work because the crazy guy’s supporters recognize and love the greater authenticity of his craziness (yes, I know Sanders gets questioned on this, but it’s relative; Warren is far less genuine by any measure).

  9. Raymond Sim

    Thank you for your service Lambert. Just starting to read that I believe I felt learned helplessness beginning to gnaw at my heart.

  10. Hepativore

    Are you stressed out, but you do not have a cat or cannot take one to work with you? Here is Purrli, the cat purring simulator!


    You can change the frequency as well as pitch and add small meows.

    1. LawnDart

      Hmm, that made me think of this: the Annoy-a-tron!

      The original Annoy-a-tron from Think Geek was one of the most clever, fiendish and frustrating prank devices you could ever legally unleash on your fellow co-workers. This evil little gizmo was designed to be hidden somewhere where it could never be found and emit random annoying beeps in 2-8 minute intervals.

      And you can find devices like this in cat.

      I’d love to hide one behind someone’s dashboard, or above ceiling tiles… maybe taped under a table near the to-go counter at the local Chinese place by the courthouse– sit back with a cold Tsing-Tao and watch the fun!

      1. Hepativore

        The sound of a cat purring is one of the most psychologically-calming sounds known from what studies have shown, so maybe this can be used for people who are having a meltdown.

      2. Martin Oline

        I never did it but I have heard taping a banana under a table will soon draw gnats. Lots and lots of gnats.

        1. wendigo

          Not that I have any personal knowledge, but apparently if you put a dead fish in the ventilation duct of a hated high school principal’s office it attracts flies and stinks.

          Even after it is removed.

  11. kareninca

    Here is an on-the-ground report re traveling and avoiding covid despite not being able to mask. None of it is medical advice; I am not a medical professional.

    I am not vaccinated for covid. I have never had covid (I have to test weekly for my volunteer position in Silicon Valley, CA and have never tested positive), and I have never had covid symptoms. I wear an N95 mask in public settings and use various preventatives. I really, really don’t want to catch covid, and I don’t like to travel or socialize much anyway, and my situation has been generally fortunate, so it has worked out so far.

    However, my mom is in small town CT. She had arm surgery two weeks ago, and I got anxious; she is 80 years old and has loads of friends and is living with her boyfriend as she heals, but I was very worried. So I booked a flight.

    The round trip flight was only $800 including taxes and including the extra for making it a changeable ticket, even though I booked it the day before flying. That was a lot cheaper than my prior experiences of last-minute bookings for emergencies. And, all four of the flights that I was on were only about 4/5ths full. That was surprising, since over the last five or more years all the flights I’ve been on have been jammed. Almost no-one in the airports or on the planes wore masks.

    I wore an N95 on the flight and the shuttles, removing it only briefly to eat or drink. That was not an issue. The big problem was in the household where I was staying. It was nothing but socializing – my mom’s friends, visiting nurses, visiting hired PAs, mom’s old co-workers, little kids of friends, friends of boyfriend, and on and on. It was more human interaction than I usually get in a decade, since I don’t much like to be around humans.

    And, I couldn’t mask there. I simply couldn’t. No-one else did (except one visiting nurse in a surgical mask). And I had to renew and create social ties with people for my mom’s benefit.* Masking was not an option, and I know in advance it wouldn’t be. Even though people in CT are still catching covid like crazy.

    So the day before I left I took a blob of horse paste (which I do every three weeks anyway). I took my usual zinc, hawthorn (heart), olive leaf extract (anti viral), and turmeric (endothelium). Every several hours I used Xlear nasal spray (I think that was the biggest help). I also took black cumin oil capsules.

    I’ve been back a week now and have tested negative as usual, and no symptoms.

    Every vaccinated person my mom knows in CT has caught covid at least once. My mom has three friends (all in their late 70s) who are not vaccinated (that is very rare in that area, and they have endured a lot of nastiness as a result). Two of them have not caught covid; one of them seems to have just been lucky, the other uses saline nasal spray often (she was very interested in the Xlear). A third unvaccinated friend caught covid and afterwards developed strep throat and an ear infection and six months later still is not back to her usual excellent health.

    While I was there I heard many, many anecdotes concerning local people developing cancer and dementia. Way more than usual. All of them would have been vaccinated (CT is that way), so if this is due to covid the vaccine doesn’t appear to be helping. I suppose one could claim that without the vaccine it would have been worse, but it’s hard to think of things being much worse than what is happening.

    *I also very much like and care about the people I was around, but as far as that went I would have worn a mask and told them to endure it.

    1. kareninca

      Oh, I forgot to mention the claritin!!! Two a day. I’ve been using claritin throughout the pandemic, one per day during ordinary exposure times, and two a day when I’ve had to be in really high risk settings.

        1. kareninca

          I use claritin as a preventative due to a study done early in the pandemic in a Spanish nursing home: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7833340/#!po=34.9057 (“Early treatment of symptomatic COVID-19 patients with antihistamines and azithromycin, and administration of antihistamines in asymptomatic and high risk patients, close contacts and relatives, had excellent outcomes in our population reducing fatality rate, hospital admissions and ICU admissions in this elderly population, regardless of patient’s age and risk factors.”)

          The paper gives the mechanisms that they had in mind, but really I just looked at the conclusions.

    2. Daryl

      I’ve been avoiding the covid as well, but somehow got a cold* last week, not surprisingly due to carelessness about masking indoors. I’ve been using mouthwash and Enovid and while it didn’t prevent the illness, I do feel it shortened it at least going off of my history (I tend to get very sick for many days with any cold, this time was about 3 days of real cold-like symptoms). Still haven’t caught covid, though I did take the “vaccines” (really stretching the definition of the word here)

      * Am fairly certain due to symptoms and negative tests, but you never really know.

  12. antidlc


    Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
    As we strive for a healthcare system & economy that work for all, we must center the voices of COVID #LongHaulers.

    #LongCOVID remains a crisis and we must address it head-on.

    Video at the link.

    I used to think that once Congressmen/women suffered from long covid, maybe there would be a sense of urgency to do something. Now that Inhofe mentioned there were five or six others, I don’t think that it will make any difference. (Not sure if Inhofe was referring only to the Senate, in which case there are probably even more in the House.)

    I have come to the conclusion, the only thing that will cause change is when the corporations decide enough is enough. You’d think we’d be there by now, with all of the work absences and disability claims.
    I guess not.

    I found it interesting that Inhofe went public. He kept his long covid hidden. He could have just retired and said nothing about it.

    1. FlyoverBoy

      Thank you, Lambert. I had an old friend accost me with this one 2 weeks ago on Facebook. Your rebuttal has already gone up on my page.

    1. lambert strether

      Great link. If I do a follow-up — I had to leave an entire section about how the study was no good even accepting Cochrane’s methodology on the cutting room floor — I will incorporate it.

      Cochrane Library just another institution coasting on brand fumes? Surely not….

      1. Raymond Sim

        This thing might be what you get from huffing those last fumes.

        It’s already hackneyed to speculate on the degree of brain damage in darksiders, but some of the stuff I’ve seen recently truly makes me wonder.

  13. petal

    BREAKING NEWS: Biden administration watchdog to investigate Pete Buttigieg’s 18 taxpayer-funded government jet flights – after he insisted it was CHEAPER than flying in commercial economy class

    Snip:”A U.S. government watchdog will audit Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s use of taxpayer-funded government airplanes for trips, his office said on Monday.

    The Transportation Department Office of Inspector General will review 18 flights Buttigieg made on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) planes over seven trips. The audit will reportedly also include a travel review by the previous Transportation Secretary under former President Donald Trump, Elaine Chao.

    The costs of the flights for Buttigieg and staff was $41,905.20 and in six of seven trips, the department confirmed that flying on FAA planes was less expensive than flying commercial.

    ‘Glad this will be reviewed independently so misleading narratives can be put to rest,’ Buttigieg wrote on Twitter.
    ‘Bottom line: I mostly fly on commercial flights, in economy class. And when I do use our agency’s aircraft, it’s usually a situation where doing so saves taxpayer money.’

    Kerry Arndt, the press secretary for Buttigieg, told The Washington Post in an emailed statement that his team welcomed the audit, which would ‘put some of the false, outlandish, and cynical claims about the Secretary’s mode of travel to rest.'”

    1. Milton

      Looks like the Biden administration is none to happy about Mr Mayo’s E. Palestine response. Better to abort the baggage than carry it to term.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s too late to fire him for performance. That paternity leave during the transit negotiations was a bit much.

        This could be their attempt at ousting Buttigieg.

  14. square coats

    It might’ve been me who mentioned a bird here which was the Potoo. In searching for my comment I discovered you already posted some potoos, but I didn’t come across any posts by you with the White-Winged Potoo, which has a curious song.

    In my previous comment there’s a link to video of a Common Potoo singing, which is worth watching even if you’ve already heard it before.

  15. griffen

    “Con Air is a cinematic masterpiece.” Well, adults can and will disagree on such matters. I am just not very sure after all, whose acting chops would highlight their performance in this boondoggle.

    Those very words above were commented yesterday. You know, watching these last 30 minutes or so of this masterpiece leads me to one overall conclusion. This movie was greenlit at a point in time when Hollywood was throwing up all manner of crap tastical treats for the audience.

    Cinematic excellence from the late 1990s? yeah so Forrest Gump is real heavy on the Hollywood schmaltz but Con Air is just absolute crap. Added, I’m just politely making fun of our American efforts at fictional and mindless entertainment.

  16. LawnDart

    Chris Hedges on “Russia!Russia!Russia!” and how MSM came to embrace propaganda as a business model:

    Chris Hedges: Russiagate & Journalism’s Death

    The advent of digital media and the compartmentalizing of the public into antagonistic demographics has destroyed the traditional model of commercial journalism. Devastated by a loss of advertising revenue and a steep decline in viewers and readers, the commercial media has a vested interest in catering to those who remain.

    The approximately three and a half million digital news subscribers The New York Times gained during the Trump presidency were, internal surveys found, overwhelmingly anti-Trump. A feedback loop began where the paper fed its digital subscribers what they wanted to hear.


  17. Glen

    Here’s a guy that states he has been BRIEFING the CIA on Russia (he admits it in the video):

    Peter Zeihan – Russia Is Done! Russia Is Going Back To Stone Age

    It’s funny as I listen to this, the thing that comes through big time is that the EU is done. He ends by saying if you want a BMW made in Germany, buy it now because they’re done.

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