|Going to Hell||Lightning||Global warming|
There are so many things to worry
about in this world that it's our recommendation that you don't worry about
anything! Whatever worrying you do would hardly be a drop in the bucket of
possibilities! An old Woody Allen movie showed the Woody character getting a
reprieve from his doctor, after worrying that he had a brain tumor.
| Plague, the Black Death, had been
lapping around the banks of the Thames since 1348, but in 1665 it struck
mightily. The writer who said it decimated at city of London --is wrong.
Decimate means to kill one out of every ten. In point of fact, London lost
20% of its population.
Okay, we in the "overdeveloped" countries do not have the garbage strewn, dung dropped, spittle spewed narrow warrens of misery that were London's streets of 1665. Not that such streets can't be found! But we do have a world where, if someone gets sick in Los Angeles, it could eventually affect a man walking down a road in China. We have airplanes. Just as the world economy is all tangled up together, (The housing market mess in the U. S. can mess up the whole financial structure of , say, Iceland.) health problems are also tangled up.( I know that no one has problems anymore, they just have "issues" but I'll stick to the antiquated usage.)
Now we're looking at SWINE FLU! I remember the swine flu scare of 1976. Nothing much happened.Not too many people contracted the flu itself but large numbers of people did run out to get the vaccine. Some who got the vaccine still live with the side affects of the nasty neurological disorder, Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
The last big pandemic, the misnamed 1918-1919 Spanish flu, killed 50,000,000 people. This flu might have made its debut in the US of A, with fresh World War 1 recruits camped in Kansas. Many of these soldiers hailed from farming country, with limited exposure to such germ cauldrons as a Manhattan subway or the British Tube. Their healthy backgrounds made them ripe for the picking. Curiously fewer older people got taken down by the Spanish flu. Epidemiologists had a theory that a less deadly strain had wafted through the world around the l850's, granting some immunity to the aged.The 1918 flu was a H1N1 flu.
This new Swine Flu is also H1N1, but seems to have mutated in an insidious way. Formerly, transmission of this flu subtype from pigs to humans almost never happened. With the rare cases recorded since the mid-20th Century, the victims were thought to have a close association with pigs. Pigs are very agreeable hosts for several flu strains.. They can be infected with influenza strains that usually infect not just pigs but also birds and humans. This is an easy way to get a virus mutation. Moreover, viruses are RNA, not DNA. RNA is much less stable. It mutates easily. It is a giant step when a virus can pass from one species to another, e.g. from pigs to humans. It is a humongous step when it can pass from human to human.
Remember--a virus has one aim and only one aim: to replicate itself!
Bedbugs making a comeback!
In September 2009, New York papers delivered the hardly surprising news that bedbugs had forced the temporary closing of a building at John Jay College. The bugs were detected using special bug-sniffing dogs. (I've known of bodies being found through cadaver dogs, but had not yet learned of bug dogs!)
The college's plight is nothing out of the ordinary, because recently these little blood suckers (typical size 0.2" or 0.5 cm) have made a huge comeback! It's helped them that DDT has fallen out of favor.
The bugs have 6 legs. They lie low during the day. By night, they are literal vampires. They have two very unique properties: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bedbugs/DS00663
They inject an anticoagulant so they can keep the blood flowing. They also use a numbing agent so they won't disturb you while they're feasting, since they don't want you to wake up and disturb them. They usually cause small itchy red bumps, but if you're allergic they can cause large itchy wheals. They're not too fussy. Blood from dogs, cats, cows, birds, people and bats are acceptable. (Any blood type: A, O, B, AB, - or + okay). In addition to beds, they can do trains, planes, cushy theater seats. Like most insects, they thrive in the tropics, but they do travel. We travel too. That's the problem. And we might have more in our luggage than our clothes. Sweet dreams Sleep tight! Don't let the bedbugs bite!
| *Purgatory* has just about been purged from the Catholic lexicon. When I was younger, I used to take great solace from the idea of Purgatory. I knew full well that I wasn't good enough to ascend right into Heaven, like the Virgin Mary, with my shoes on. Purgatory, I could handle. Doing Purgatory wouldn't be any harder than doing jail time. Shamefully, the Encyclopaedia of Catholicism only runs a half-page on Purgatory. "As its core, the doctrine affirms simply a transitional spiritual state ((possibly instantaneous and coincident with death)) of transformation in view of the assured prospect of the Beatific Vision." That's pretty lame. So it must be either Heaven or Hell!
If you're a Catholic, you could always die in a state of Mortal Sin. Many years back, I was in Dublin. On Sunday, churches used to run Masses all day long. Outside St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, a couple dozen vagrant-types were hanging out, trying to shake you down for a bit of silver before you went into church and threw everything in the collection plate. But at a certain point in the Mass, the guys from outside came filing into the last couple of pews in the church. Later, they all left early. They had it down pat! In order for the Mass to count, one has to be present for 3 parts: the offertory, the consecration and the communion. If one missed any of those 3 parts, one missed Mass. That was a mortal sin. If any of these fellows had got their timing mixed up, left too soon, then got struck dead by a car outside on Marlborough Street, they would go to HELL.
Evangelical types of Christians, so-called, swear on their bibles that: other Protestants, Jews, Episcopalians, Atheists, Unitarians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jains, Scientologists, Anthroposcopists, Quakers, Ethical Culturalists, Pagans, Wiccans. Santerios-well, anybody but an Evangelical Reborn Christian---will surely go to Hell.
||Anyone could go there. Anyone still can. Temptations lie everywhere, even within your own body. "Self-abuse." Deliberately calling a line wrong in tennis. Drunkenness. Adultery. Cussing out your mother. Anything AT ALL to do with the Occult. Reading the "Book of the Law " April 9, l0 or 11 to commemorate Aleister Crowley. Playing with Tarot cards. Playing with matches. Messing around with Ritual Magick. Acting too proud. Not acting proud enough.|
| Just remember the words of the Athanasian Creed:
"He ascended into Heaven, He sits on the Right hand of the FATHER, GOD Almighty: from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At Whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies: and shall give account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting: and they that have done evil into everlasting fire."
Modern Day: Even more Things to Worry About
Today the list of things to worry about is unfortunately greatly expanded. Sadly, terrorism is added to the list-as are economic difficulties in the U.S. with widespread unemployment and a growing budget deficit. The list of things to worry about shows little sign of diminishing.
New Disease Spreading!
The Return of Smallpox
West Nile Virus
Ashes, Ashes, All Fall Dead
of Bubonic Plague: Fever, headache,
vomiting, pain, delerium, coma, death. The site of the original flea bite forms,
first a blister, later a blackish carbuncle.
Lymph nodes swell and suppurate, forming "buboes." Red colored
spots appear on the skin. The formation of these red spots inspired the nursery
rhyme "Ring around a Rosy."
| Mighty scary, yes. If it's any consolation, you
can usually tell cutaneous anthrax from an insect bite because the anthrax looks
like just one insect bite. If it really is an insect bite, you'd have seven or
eight bites. In the more serious inhaled anthrax, the patient might not look too
toxic at first, but as we all know, looks can be deceiving. One symptom that
might tease out the diagnosis is tachycardia.
So store up your Cipro and Doxycycline. Either is good for anthrax. The latter is also helpful in smallpox, brucellosis and plague.
|This is also called Cyprus fever, Gibraltar fever, Malta fever, Mediterranean fever, rock fever. It is mainly a disease of cattle, pigs, goats and some of our other four-legged friends. But people mess with these animals and drink some of their milk products. Or a simple break in the skin… Symptoms include fever, weight loss, headache, muscle and joint pain and the disease can either be acute or hang around for months. Although the disease doesn't usually kill, nasty things can develop: encephalitis, meningitis, pneumonia. So what out for that.|
These animals are regular
reservoirs for bubonic plague. There are a lot of prairie dogs in the S.W.
United States. And while on the subject of bubonic plague…….
|Encephalitis in New York! (four and twenty blackbirds)|
|A severe mosquito-borne form of viral encephalitis, the "West Nile virus," has struck New York. Birds first began dropping around the Bronx Zoo. Later - people!|
|Crows were dropping like flies! Health official sprayed the streets of New York. It read like a chapter from "Death in Venice." People in New York and points south were asked to box up dead crows and send the corpses in for toxicology tests. With the autumn migration of birds to the south, the "West Nile virus" will sail right down with them. This disease is a "newbie" to the Western Hemisphere, but it is similar to St. Louis encephalitis.|
Getting struck by lightning:
No one is exempt from this unpleasant experience. Most of us know that a
golf course is a great place to get struck. You can also try a beach.
Lightning tends to strike the highest thing, and on a beach a vertical person is the highest thing.
|1918 Flu and Beyond to Ebola|
| I have long had great interest in the virulent flu of 1918. This pandemic
devastated the population, killing 20 million people or more worldwide.
Some put the numbers at nearly twice that high. In those days, there were no antibiotics to treat the pneumonia and other bacterial infections that often invaded the virus-weary immune systems of the sufferers.
| We have antibiotics now--temporarily. Wouldn't it be something if it turns out
that they are with us for only a couple of generations? We all know that
they are rapidly losing their effectiveness. It is classic survival of the fittest: the antibiotics knock out 99% of the bacterial bugs so the resistent 1% live on to
One curious thing about the 19l8 flu is that a few of its survivors were left with permanent sleeping sickness, eventually falling into a comatose state. This phenomenom was publicized in Oliver Sachs' book "Awakenings" and the film by the same name. The movie version has people waking up after 40 years, dancing around, falling in love and going on fun outings, courtesy of an experimental drug treatment. The small, newly aroused patient community is quickly sobered, however, upon noting that the person who had been reawakened the longest starts going back to sleep. Alas their wakeful bliss is temporary. Any bliss is.
In reality, a few patients did show signs of temporary arousal but I don't think they did any dancing around.
Scientists are now investigating the 1918 flu bug in a few bodies buried in the Norwegian permafrost. Their lungs are expected to exhibit the bug, which will then be sent to several laboratories.
We all know that flus rapidly transmute. That's why the flu shot formula for this year won't do much good a few years down the line. The "lock" changes so the key no longer fits. And sometimes a fairly benign flu can mutate to the point where it is much more lethal--in short, we could have another deadly 1918-style pandemic.
|Today, 2014, Ebola has arrived in America. If you think you should be afraid of this disease-yes you should. Ebola is a member of group of viruses called hemorraghic and bleeding is the end stage of the disease-then death. I have been reading "The Hot Zone" and Ebola and related hemorrhagic diseases and their possible spread have indeed caused this reaction from virologists: "it scared them shitless." These viruses literally explode cells and the end stage if not treated vigorously can be a massive bleed out within say intestines and stomach, brain, lungs, etc. - and even under the skin. In one case, before death, a nosebleed would just not stop bleeding or one person had a massive heart attack because Ebola hit the heart.|