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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sedan Chairs

     Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary on February 16, 1663, “Up and by coach with Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes to White Hall, and, after we had done our usual business with the Duke, to my Lord Sandwich and by his desire to Sir W. Wheeler, who was brought down in a sedan chair from his chamber, being lame of the gout…” 
     Filthy streets littered with mud, garbage and excrement were a health hazard in 16th and 17th century Europe, but also made walking the street difficult, hence the sedan chair. 
     Named after the town of Sedan, France where it was first used, the sedan chair consisted of a seat inside a cabin with a detachable roof, mounted on two poles and carried by two men known as chairmen, one at the front and one at the rear. 
     Sedan chairs swayed and bounced as they were carried. The passenger would get in and out through a door at the front of the chair. Sedan chairs soon became popular among the gentry because their use allowed the passenger to keep their shoes clean and the detachable roof allowed for the tall, elaborate headdresses sported by fashionable ladies. They were also popular in some places where carriages were unable to navigate the narrow streets. 
     Legally, sedan chairs were allowed on the pavement and it was expected that pedestrians would yield to them if they heard a warning of “Have a care!” or “By your leave, sir!” That last phrase was interesting because en the Marine Corps if one walked up behind an officer and wanted to pass him, you rendered a hand salute and made the request, “By your leave, sir.” I never knew where it came from until now. In many cases pedestrians wouldn’t give way and accidents happened with chairs tipping over, etc. One wonders how many of these were real “accidents.” 
      Just like taxi drivers of today, chairmen were licensed and sedan chair stations were set up from which passengers could hire a chair. Sedan chairs were available for hire around the clock, but after midnight the fare was doubled. After dark, the sedan chair would be accompanied by “link boys” or torch bearers to light the way. 
     The wealthy didn’t actually go to the chair stations themselves, but would send their footman out into the street to summon a chair by shouting, “Chair! Chair!” Or, if they were wealthy enough, they might have their own chair, that was often painted and decorated to reflect the decor of the house. 
     The rapid expansion of the cities and the distances involved meant that sedan chairs eventually fell out of favor and they became less and less fashionable, and by the mid 19th century had virtually disappeared. 

A Short History of the Sedan Chair 

Jungle Jim’s Bacon

   If you do not eat bacon then this post will be of no interest.  However, if you like bacon then read on.  
     Bacon is a staple in our house and we used to buy it at the local grocery store until one day we discovered a meat market that was out in the country about 6 miles away. They had bacon at prices much cheaper than at the local grocery store so that’s where we always bought our bacon. Then one day I noticed a clerk filling trays with bacon out of a box from a company named Indiana Kitchen. 
     Indiana Kitchen is a pork packing plant operating out of Delphi, Indiana and the only place their bacon is available in our neck of the woods is in Marc's stores, a discount drugstore and grocery chain. 
     Marc’s is owned by Marc Glassman with headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio and has over 60 stores in the Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown and Columbus areas. 
     The sale price of Indiana Kitchen bacon runs about half of the cost of the better known name brands. So, while at Marc’s the other day we checked to see if Indiana Kitchen bacon was on sale. It wasn’t, but we noticed a brand called, oddly, Jungle Jim’s, and it was only $2.99 a pound which is about half the cost of the big name brands. 
     Seriously?! How good could an off brand bacon with the name Jungle Jim’s be? But, for the price we decided to try a pack and guess what? It was every bit as good as Indiana Kitchen. 
     Jungle Jim's International Market has two stores in southern Ohio, one in Hamilton and one in Cincinnati. After a little research I discovered they are more than just a grocery store. According to their site, “they have unique and interesting spaces dedicated to creating a robust, educational, and entertaining experience every time you visit, giving you a reason to come back again and again. From a lavish event center and tempered-air outdoor bar, to state of the art meeting space, The Cooking School and Craft Beer Bars, we want to bring the world to you.” 
     The point is, if you live in the area where Jungle Jim’s Bacon is sold, don’t hesitate to buy it because despite the weird name and cheap price, it is every bit as good as the much more expensive name brands. If Jungle Jim's isn't available then Indiana Kitchen is an excellent choice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Reptilian Elite

     According to Time magazine the top ten conspiracy theories are: 

* JFK Assassination 
* 9/11 Cover-Up 
* Area 51 and the Aliens 
* Paul Is Dead 
* Secret Societies Control the World 
* Moon Landings Were Faked 
* Jesus and Mary Magdalene 
* Holocaust Revisionism 
* The CIA and AIDS 
* The Reptilian Elite 
     It’s the last one that is the most fascinating. This theory says the world is controlled by a group of elite reptiles. These blood-drinking, flesh-eating, shape-shifting extraterrestrial reptilian humanoids are among us and they have only one objective: to enslave the human race. They are leaders, corporate executives, actors and actresses and singers. 
     These Reptilians were responsible for the Holocaust, the Oklahoma City bombings and the 9/11 attacks. And, here’s another secret: two Brits who are in the know claim members of the royal family are reptiles with crowns. 
     These reptiles have controlled humankind since ancient times, but some of the moderns are: Queen Elizabeth II, George W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Bob Hope, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. It’s also been claimed these reptiles are behind secret societies like the Freemasons and the Illuminati.  
     In reality they are fifteen-foot tall reptilian-like creatures who have the ability to change their shape by creating vibrations that give us the illusion that they are human. They came to Earth from outer space and slowly took over our governments and entertainment industry for the sole purpose of enslaving the human race. 
     They exercise control by creating wars and mindless entertainment to keep us distracted. You see, back in ancient times a group of advanced reptiles from the Alpha Draconis star system came to Earth and infiltrated the governments of the ancient civilizations in order to control all the humans and enslave them and became their rulers. 
     Worse yet, these reptiles bred with other humans to form crossbreeds so that their DNA can infiltrate the minds of humans. With their DNA inside our systems they can control us by making us dumber, slower, and weaker and therefore easier to control. 
     Scientific proof for this reptilian DNA is based on the fact that in the early stages if you use your imagination developing embryos look a lot like reptiles and could be classified as such. 
     Then too, the oldest parts of our brain which control the most primal functions and instincts is called the reptilian brain. And, of course, humans originally evolved from reptiles as they were the first animals that existed. Thus, it’s only natural that parts of our body would be similar to reptiles. 
     Additional evidence for this theory is that many religions depict some sort of reptilian god or goddess. It was these reptile beings, who once openly ruled, that created structures like the Pyramids of Egypt. 
     If you’re looking for something more modern as proof of the theory you need look no further than the Bieb...Justin Bieber! There is a video of him in which his eyes seem to shift and turn reptile-like. His eyes do that because it’s hard for these reptiles to keep their true selves hidden through the camera. But, how do you explain that other reptiles posing as celebrities avoid their shifty-eyed camera stares? The simple explanation is it’s the result of a glitch or camera malfunction. 
     It’s easy to tell when someone you know has been possessed by a reptile from outer space. The signs are: 

* the predominance of green or hazel eyes that change color, but also blue eyes
* piercing eyes * red or reddish hair 
* you get a sense they don’t belong to the human race 
* they have low blood pressure 
* they have deep compassion for fate of mankind 
* they possess keen sight or hearing 
* they have psychic ability 
* they have extra sensory perception 
* they unexplained scars on their body 
* they have connections to UFOs 
* they love space and science 
* they have had contact with aliens 
* they have the capability to disrupt electrical appliances 

     I’m not sure how many of these it takes to arouse suspicion, but I myself have a scar on my left forearm that is unexplained. It’s been there for as long as I can remember and I don’t know how I got it. Additionally, I once had contact with an alien...many times in fact. He was my boss and was the vice-president (Aha! A corporate executive) of engineering. He was originally from England and that made him an alien. 

    There are many reasons people would believe this theory, but many of them are conspiracy theorists who believe in many other conspiracy theories. When people believe one conspiracy theory it becomes easier for them to believe in more theories, because once someone has accepted the possibility of one irrational belief then it is easier to rationalize other ones, too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

There Is Nothing New Under The Sun

     A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable. 
     Research suggests that belief in conspiracy theories can be psychologically harmful or pathological and that it is highly correlated with psychological projection, paranoia and those with a personality trait in which a person is so focused on their own interests they will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve their goals (known as Machiavellianism). 
     Conspiracy theories have always existed and were once limited to fringe audiences, but today mass media and social media means baseless and even harmful conjecture can reach millions of people in seconds. 
     The most recent involve conspiracy theories involving Covid-19. People across the United States are donning homemade masks, staying at home and seeing businesses shut down in an effort to curb transmission of the coronavirus. At the same time the coronavirus has brought with it a flood of conspiracy theories. That is because when the future looks uncertain, or people feel a lack of control, they turn to conspiracy theories to make sense of what is going on. 
     In some cases conspiracy theorists are nothing more than bullies looking for a fight while in other cases they originate with those who are fearful. In the case of bullies, it’s probably best not to engage them in a discussion at all. If somebody thinks that global public health officials, politicians and the media are all involved in some big conspiracy, you're not going to be able to have a reasonable conversation with that person. 

     We are living in a time where credible, well sourced facts in scientific research or news reports are not meaningful to, or trusted by, a lot of people, so it may be necessary to use sources that the person you're talking to won't reject and that can be difficult. Fact-based arguments are best, but even then it may be unsuccessful. 
     In one study involving 3,000 Americans it was found that people who believed in one conspiracy theory were likely to believe in several more. What that means is that debunking one conspiracy isn't likely to be all that effective. The researcher compared it to playing whack-a-mole where you try to knock down one but then another one pops up. 
     Some facts that are ignored by conspiracy theorists on social media regarding coronavirus: 
* Here are the numbers for the US for Oct-Apr 2019: the CDC estimates that 24,000 to 62,000 died from the flu. The exact number is unknown because the flu is not a reportable disease in most parts of the US.
* US coronavirus deaths so far: over 82,000. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington believes the US will see 147,000 total deaths by August.
     Clearly, even though we are not at the end of the coronavirus cycle, the number of deaths exceeds that of the flu. That doesn’t matter to the conspiracy theorists because they think the numbers are faked. 
     Masks. Do they work? The conspiracy theorists say no even though the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people cover their faces with cloth or fabric when going out in public. 
     It’s true that cloth may cut down on some large respiratory droplets from a cough or sneeze, but it’s unclear whether it will catch smaller droplets called aerosols that are released by just breathing or talking. In any case, cloth masks, as well as surgical masks, are designed to protect others from virus spread by the mask wearer, not the other way around. When the masks are worn they are designed to prevent people from unwittingly transmitting the virus to others. Wearing a mask is not meant to be a replacement for social distancing, hand washing and other efforts
     The prestigious Mayo Clinic says face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, help slow the spread of the disease. 
     The Cleveland Clinic, one of the world’s premier health care organizations, continues to take the threat seriously and is continuing to take stringent safety measures at their facilities. 
     All this stuff isn’t new. In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 
     Cholera is a nasty infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated. 
     When a cholera pandemic swept through Europe in 1831, a riot broke out in the Prussian city of Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). What were people rioting about? People who did not agree with the cholera regulations assembled on July 28 for the funeral of a carpenter and after refusing a request to disperse, they invaded the police building and threw files and papers into the street. The military fired on the crowd and eight people were killed. 
     According to author and historian Richard S. Ross in his book Contagion in Prussia, 1831, the rioters believed that the carpenter had died not from cholera but from a medication prescribed to treat him. They were also angry about the quarantines and other cholera rules that interfered with their ability to go about their lives. 
     Many of them believed a conspiracy theory in which the disease itself was a government plot to cull the lower classes. By the chief of police's account, the rioters shouted that "the doctors are poisoning the poor, the police drag them to (jail) and close up their houses, saying they have to go because they are poor."
     By the end of the upheaval, there had been looting, armed clashes in the streets, and hundreds of arrests. Ross noted that when the rioters stormed the police building they destroyed police records and papers concerned with cholera and quarantine measures while chanting, "We want the cholera germs." See my post Beware of the Pot Lickers
     Similar cholera riots broke out across Europe. The ruling classes were likely to be targeted by rumors and revolt because it was they who belittled the superstitions of villagers, minorities, and the poor, violated their burial customs and religious beliefs and ...imposed stringent anti-cholera regulations even after most of them had been proven to be ineffectual. 
     Some of the elite rulers addressed resistance with military force and brutal repression. But, as many cities were rioting, the authorities in Berlin loosened the local cholera regulations while the government and charities organized relief efforts. Berlin saw no riots. See Michigan's Gestapo Governor
     The unrest in America hasn't been entirely nonviolent, but mostly in the form of civil disobedience and organized protests. There has even been report of speakeasies opening up in New York, San Francisco, and elsewhere. Again, nothing new.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Eye Health

Joseph Allen, O.D., F.A.A.O. has a Youtube channel HERE that explains almost any question about your eyes and glasses you might have.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Ignoring Facts

     I saw a meme on Facebook by a group calling itself Christian, Conservative, Patriot and Not Afraid and after reading their About page, I think I could agree with most of what they claim to stand for. 
     What got my dander up though was the meme that called quarantine house arrest, mislabeled social distancing, belittled the terms Safe At Home and “greater good” and compared the restrictions to Nazi Germany. 
     This is disappointing on many levels, but the site it apparently ignorant of 1) the meaning of quarantine and 2) the US Constitution which they claim to believe in. 
     Quarantine is the correct term and it is perfectly constitutional. According to Mirriam-Webster a quarantine is: 

1) a period of time (40 days) (who knew?!) 
2) a nautical term referring to: a) ships arriving in port and suspected of carrying a contagious disease and held in isolation from the shore; b) a regulation placing a ship in quarantine; c) a place where a ship is detained during quarantine 
3) a) restraint upon the activities or communication of persons or the transport of goods designed to prevent the spread of disease or pests b) place in which those under quarantine are kept 
4) enforced isolation 

     House arrest is a misnomer because being confined to one's home is not done when someone is arrested. House arrest is done after someone is arrested and subsequently sentenced to time at home, under close surveillance, rather than serving a jail sentence. 
     The federal government derives its authority for quarantine from the Constitution under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264). The federal government is authorized to, among other things: 

1) prevent the entry of communicable diseases into the country 
2) quarantine and isolation may be used at ports of entry. 
3) is authorized to take measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases between states. 

States are authorized to: 
1) enforce isolation and quarantine within their borders.     

     Also, the site is ignorant of history. There is a precedent for what we are experiencing. During the deadly 1918 Spanish flu epidemic cities that took strict measures like social distancing and closing places like schools, churches and theaters had lower mortality rates. 
     By the way, the Cleveland Clinic is one of the top medical organizations in the world and they are taking the coronavirus seriously (as are other major medical organizations) so that should tell us something.