Daily Archives: May 14, 2020

It’s Five, Not Four . . .

Does Chase Bank know something we don’t?

Last night I logged into the Chase Bank app on my phone and deposited our Stimulus Check. And a few minutes later I got the usual emails saying it had been received and credited to my account.

Now normally, unless I deposit a check early in the morning, it’s the next day before the funds are actually available. But then this morning I had an email alert from Chase saying that they had put a one week hold on the funds, but didn’t say why.

So I put in a call to Chase Bank Customer Service to find out why. And I quickly found out that due to the WuFlu, they don’t have any Customer Service. Or at least anyone that you can actually talk to. It’s all canned questions and answers, none of which covered my problem.

But later in the afternoon, I went back to my account and found the funds were now available, so I guess they finally figured out that the U.S. Government is still somewhat solvent.

Iceland is having great results from HCQ

Florida, which has over 151,000 people in nursing homes, many times the number in New York, has 1/7 of the deaths, 745 to over 5300. Why is that?

This new survey completed on March 27, 2020, reported 6,227 physicians in 30 countries found that 37 percent of those treating COVID-19 patients rated hydroxychloroquine as the “most effective therapy” from a list of 15 options.

And apparently a number of doctors who want to prescribe HCQ for the WuFlu, but are being prevented from doing this on an out-patient basis by state rules, are just prescribing it for other diseases like lupus, malaria, hypertension, etc.

The World Health Organization’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, says, “I would say in a four to five-year timeframe, we could be looking at controlling this.”

And that’s even with a vaccine. Yikes!

And now there’s this.

DOD study raises tantalizing question: does flu shot increase vulnerability to coronaviruses?

Just another reason for me not to get the flu shot.

Finally here’s a great short video from Kevin James of King of Queens fame, predicting what might be coming our way sooner than later.


It’s Five Countries, Not Four . . .

Scenic Cruising 5/1/19

We left Budapest about 6pm last night heading for Vienna, Austria, a 24 hour trip. So with today our first day at sea (at river?), I decided to spend some time exploring our ship.

The Sun Deck is on the roof and runs the entire 443 foot length of the ship.

Skirnir SunDeck

Besides a covered area, there’s a herb garden,

Skirnir Herb Garden

and a small 4 hole putting green golf course.

Skirnir Golf Course

And thirteen laps around the deck equal a mile, good for working off all the delicious food they serve on board.

At 10am there was a mandatory safety drill. And by mandatory, I mean when they count heads and you’re not there, they come looking for you.

Skirnir Safety Drill

You’re supposed to show up on the Sun Deck wearing the life vest that’s stored under your bed. Each deck has their assigned spot to gather, with a crew member holding up the red ‘lollipop’ with your deck number on it.

Once everyone was accounted for, and we were checked to see if our life vests were on properly, we were done for the trip.

Unless we actually sink. Then we can pretty much just walk to shore, since in many cases there’s only 6 feet of water under the keel.

Later in the morning we got the Wheelhouse tour that we signed up for earlier.

Skirnir Wheelhouse

And it’s like a big video game, complete with a joystick for steering the ship.

Skirnir Wheelhouse Tour 3

And it’s an all-digital ship.

Skirnir Wheelhouse Tour 1

The 3 black and white gauges across the top show the position and power of the bow and stern thrusters. The ship has 2 bow thrusters on either side, and 4 double-propped individually-steerable stern drive systems like this.

Skirnir Stern Thrusters

The bow thrusters look like louvers on a window AC and can be pointed forward, rearward, or anywhere in between. Which means that the ship can just pull up to the dock and then move sideways into a space only a little larger than the ship itself. Like here.

Skirnir Docking Sideways

And one of the neat things is that the captain doesn’t have to worry about controlling all this individually. He just moves the joystick in the direction he wants to go and the computer does the rest.


The 3 larger screens underneath are, from left to right, a GPS mapping program, the radar, and a screen that tracks the identity of other ships on the river.

What’s not apparent at first is the low clearances the ship encounters going under many of the bridges, sometimes less than 1 foot. And this is with the Sun Deck flattened.

Everything on the Sun Deck, and I mean, everything folds down.

Skirnir Flat Sundeck

The railings, the chairs, the canopies, everything. Even the wheelhouse retracts.


Note the hydraulic scissors jack underneath it from this angle.

But it’s a two part retraction system. First the top, windowed part slides down, which means you can no longer stand up inside. Then the whole thing drops down into the opening underneath.

At this point if the captain actually needs to see out visually, he can pop his head out through this skylight opening in the row.

Skirnir Wheelhouse Tour 2

But if something goes wrong with this system, it can be deadly.

Viking Wheelhouse Crash

This took place in 2016 on the Freya, another Viking ship. I don’t know exactly what happened, but the two officers were killed in the collision with the bridge.

We had heard that our ship was completely booked up with the maximum of 190 passengers and 50 crew members, but according to the numbers posted in the wheelhouse, we only have 179 passengers onboard.

Our cruise is listed as touring 4 countries along the way – Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Holland (The Netherlands). But we also travel through Slovakia, but we don’t stop, so I guess it doesn’t count.

In case you missed the memo, Czechoslovakia no longer exists. It broke apart in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union into the Czech Republic and . . . Slovakia.

Who could have seen that coming?

Passing through the capital of Bratislava along the Danube we came across the Bratislava Castle. Well, Doh!

Bratislava Castle

Though parts of this structure date from the 13th century to the 16th, there have been fortified settlements here since 3500 B.C.

And it what we see a lot over here, there’s a new, modern hotel less than a mile up river.

Bratislava Hotel

A little past that, we came across the Devin Castle.

Bratislava Devin Castle 1

Bratislava Devin Castle 2

This castle was first mentioned in literature in 864 A.D. so it’s even older than that, with a lot of its original stonework.

Dinner tonight was as delicious as we’ve come to expect, with Baby Greens Salad,

Baby Greens Salad

Weiner Schnitzel, Jan’s favorite,

Weiner Schnitzel

and the famous Sacher Cake for dessert.

Sacher Cake

On the VPN front, my ExpressVPN is working great, with an unexpected benefit.

If I Google sometime without using it, most of the search results come back in German. However, if I VPN through a server in Dallas, Google thinks I’m in the US and everything’s in English.


We’ll see how long it takes to get this posted. And I’ll try to get another one up ASAP.

Thought For The Day:

T-Rex v Flying Saucer


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