. . . like tears in rain . . .

There’s been a lot of talk over the last several months about problems with the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test, the most widely-used test for the WuFlu.

And the stories about the false positive rates are legion. Everything from 77 false positives with the NFL to 5 false positives with the University of Oregon’s football team, UCLA’s team, University of Tennessee, and Nick Saban, University of Alabama’s coach. In fact if you search for “false positives covid tests”, you’ll get back pages of them.

So what’s going on here?

Well, according to this New York Times article the problem is that the test is just too sensitive.

Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus.

The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious.

This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are.

On Thursday, the United States recorded 45,604 new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4,500 of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing.

To simpliy things, the PCR test works by amplifying a very tiny piece of DNA over and over until it’s a large enough sample to test. But the problem is that you can pick up a lot of trash DNA along the way, including thing can show up as a positive without you really having any infection.

As an example, think back to your old VCR days, and what would happen when you made a copy of a copy of a copy of a tape. That’s what can happen if you let the PCR test run for too many cycles.

And this is not new. It even caused a fake whooping cough epidemic back in 2007.

Faith in Quick Test Leads to Epidemic That Wasn’t

For months, nearly everyone involved thought the medical center had had a huge whooping cough outbreak, with extensive ramifications. Nearly 1,000 health care workers at the hospital in Lebanon, N.H., were given a preliminary test and furloughed from work until their results were in; 142 people, including Dr. Herndon, were told they appeared to have the disease; and thousands were given antibiotics and a vaccine for protection. Hospital beds were taken out of commission, including some in intensive care.

Not a single case of whooping cough was confirmed with the definitive test, growing the bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, in the laboratory. Instead, it appears the health care workers probably were afflicted with ordinary respiratory diseases like the common cold.

Now, as they look back on the episode, epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists say the problem was that they placed too much faith in a quick and highly sensitive molecular test that led them astray.

So they knew about this problem 13 years ago, and yet, we’re depending on this type of test again.

So how many of the recent ‘surge’ in China Virus cases and the associated calls for tougher lockdowns, are really due to this problem?

Fool me once. Fool me twice.

What’s the third time going to be?


Thought For The Day:

Everything happens for a reason and sometimes the reason is that you are stupid and made a bad decision.

 

 

Still Near Batesville, IN At The Indian Lakes Thousand Trails


November 4, 2011

A Ray of Sunshine . . .

Looks like yesterday’s hard rain has gone away and we should have pretty good weather until we leave here on Monday. We’ll see.

About 1 pm I went down to the park office to pick up a package from Amazon that had come in yesterday afternoon. That should be it for mail while we’re here.

Getting back to the rig I went through the activation setup for Jan’s new LG Revere cellphone. That only took a few minutes, but a good bit longer to get the contacts transferred over. It’s still not set up quite like I want it, so I’ll have to play with it some more tomorrow.

Later, I called the Wal-Mart in Vandalia, IL so they’ll have our prescriptions ready when we get there on Monday. Since we plan on Wally-Docking there for one night while we visited Jan’s sister, it’ll be really convenient.

Our daughter Brandi called a little after 5 to catch us up on Landon’s Halloween adventures Monday night. They walked him around to some houses in the neighborhood, and, at first, he was a little reluctant to go up to the door. But quickly got the hang of it.

Landon 366

Brandi said that at one house Landon walked up to the door holding open his bag, and that when the lady put the candy bowl down to talk to him, he reached into the bowl, picked out one piece of candy, and put it in his bag. Smart kid!

Several readers had asked for Jan’s Broccoli-Cheese Casserole recipe. Since it uses so many prepared ingredients, it’s easy to throw together on the spur of the moment.

And even better. it’s really, really good. When she takes it to get-togethers’, I’ve learned to get my fill there, because there’s usually none to bring home.

For bigger groups, like tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner, she makes a triple batch of it.

BROCCOLI – CHEESE CASSEROLE

1 16 oz. pkg. Frozen cut-up broccoli
1 cup cooked Minute Rice
1 cup Cheese Whiz
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 can mushroom soup
¼ cup Butter

Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 for 45 min.

I’ve also posted one of her other delicious favorites, Squash Casserole. She usually makes this with fresh squash, but sometimes during the holidays, it can be hard to find. It’s still great with frozen squash.

SQUASH CASSEROLE

2 cups cooked squash – fresh or frozen
1 T sugar
½ onion, finely chopped
1 egg
½ cup mayo
½ cup sharp, shredded cheese
salt & pepper

Drain cooked squash and mash. Beat in egg, mayo and cheese, onion, and salt and pepper.

Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 40 min. If center appears soupy, let it cook awhile longer.



Thought for the Day:

God made man before woman to give him time to think of an answer for her first question.

 

 

Athens, That Is


November 4, 2012

My Home’s in Alabama . . .

Although we had a line of heavy thunderstorms come though last night and bring much cooler temps, this morning started out bright and sunny. Since we had nothing scheduled until later in the afternoon, we used the morning for some delicious vanilla crème coffee and to catch up on some of the programs we had recorded on our DVR

After Jan fixed us cheese toast for lunch I spent some time taking a look at the starting problem I had last Thursday morning leaving Heflin, AL. The American Coach tech I had talked to had mentioned a couple of fuses in the Battery Control Center box that might have blown and caused the problem, but I checked the two 5 amp fuses that were listed as being part of the start circuit, but both checked out OK. I then reseated all the connectors on the board, replaced the dummy plug, and tried the engine. But no luck.

Since it was Sunday I couldn’t talk to the American tech, so I’ll have to follow up while we’re at Gulf Shores next week.

About 1:30 we headed down to the local Wal-Mart to pick up a few things before heading over to my Uncle Ed’s to say goodbye and thank them for their hospitality. Then it was over to my Uncle Theo’s and Aunt Virginia’s to visit for a while. It’s always good catching up with my family and we look forward to coming back next year. And even better, when we left, my Aunt Virginia gave us a couple of loaves of her delicious sourdough and banana nut bread.  Hmmmm!

And since my Aunt Jan gave us some of her pear preserves and green tomato salsa, we’re all set.

Saying our goodbyes to Theo and Virginia, Jan and I headed over to Hwy 72 to have dinner at Bojangles’, a chicken and biscuit chain we’ve seen up and down the east coast, and we wanted to give them a try.

They turned out to be pretty good. Jan liked their Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, and I had a Steak Biscuit and a Country Ham Biscuit. Both good, and their biscuits are really good. In fact we got a couple of their egg, ham, and cheese biscuits to have for breakfast before we head out tomorrow morning.

Coming home, we drove through a nearby Texaco station to verify that we can fit in there to fill up with diesel tomorrow morning.

Finally this evening, Brandi sent over this photo of Landon in his new Mickey Mouse jammies.

Landon in Mickey Mouse Jammies

Tomorrow we’ll head out about 8:30 for a 370 mile run down to Gulf Shores, AL for about 12 days before we head home to Houston.


Thought for the Day:

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. – H. L. Mencken

  

  



November 4, 2014

Called on Account of Rain . . .

A short blog today, called on the account of rain.

Lot’s and lot’s of rain.

After staying north of us all day, about 6:30, right after I’d gone to bed, the bottom felt out, right on my now-somewhat soggy Sweetie. Never really hard, but steady all evening. And it looks like more of the same all day tomorrow, at least until tomorrow evening.

Here’s what it looks like on the Rainy Days app on our Galaxy Tab 4.

Screenshot_2014-11-05-00-42-45

That’s us, the little red dot in the center.

And as I had thought (feared?), there’s no slope or drainage here, so we’re now sitting in a big puddle. Along with all our electrical cords, heaters, fans, radios, etc.

Oh boy!

I’m going to check with the Company Man and see if we can get another load of pea gravel to put down here like we did at our other gate. At least that will get us out of the puddles.

On a bright note though, my new steel-toed boots from Wal-Mart seem to be very waterproof.

But on a dark note, still no Frack Food.

Oh, The Horror.
__________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

mumble, mumble, something about building an ark, mumble,mumble.

 

 


November 4, 2015

Six Days . . .

That’s how long they lasted this time.

The weather actually got a little better today, with the sun and some blue sky peaking through the clouds. Nice for a change.

But last night was another story. It was forecast for fog, but I think it got a little carried away. In fact between 2:30 and 3:30am, it was like a black curtain descended and I couldn’t more than about 10 feet in front of me. And even stranger, I could no longer see the 3 big light towers down at the site. It was just Black.

One of the tanker driver’s who came in about that time said he had trouble following the road. But after about 3:30 the really heavy stuff lifted and it was just normally foggy again.

But it does look like tomorrow night will start off several more days of rain, although it’s not supposed to be nearly as bad as last week, at least not around here.

With the cooler weather it has been nice not to have to run the AC. Sitting right behind us, it’s pretty loud, even on low fan. But it was heaven when it was 98°.

Readers will remember my frustration a few weeks ago trying to add some Thousand Trails parks in the northeast to our membership. We plan on attending the 56th Escapade up in Essex Junction, VT next July, and our present Alliance membership doesn’t have anything north of New Jersey.

When we were at the Verde Valley TT this past July I talked to a salesperson there about getting a Ready Camp Go card, and she said it would be perfect for that. It was $299 for a year, so I thought I’d wait until this fall to purchase it so we’d get the most use out of it.

But when I went to purchase one a few weeks ago, I found it was no longer available to Alliance members, or the general public for that matter, but you had to be an Elite or Elite Connections member to purchase one. And I could upgrade to an Elite membership for the measly sum of only $5000, well, $4995 anyway.

And then the $299 for the RCG card. I’m sorry, but for $5300 I can stay at a lot of RV parks.

Next I was told that I could add a Zone pass to my membership. At $545 it was more expensive than the RCG card, but it would do the job. Then I found out that, like the RCG card, the Zone Pass was now only available to Elite or Elite Connection members.

I’m starting to detect a pattern here.

Then a couple of days ago I logged into the Thousand Trails website to pay my dues, and I found this.

Camping Pass

It says, “Thousand Trails is currently offering exciting new opportunities for you to enhance your membership benefits, such as. . .”

Now lets parse this out.

“…exciting new opportunities…” It’s plural, more than one.

Well that fits, because I see two different things being offered, a Camping Pass and an Elite membership.

Now then, “…enhance your membership benefits…” and the Bold is theirs.

So we’ve got “enhance”, as in add to something.

So I read this as saying you can add one of these ‘exciting new opportunities’ to your present TT membership. And this is reinforced by the fact that this is only seen inside the TT website, where you have to already be a member to log in.

But then when I called the number listed with the ad today, happy to have finally gotten this taken care of, I was told, “Oh, no. You can’t add the Camping Pass to your Alliance membership.”

Me: “Then who can buy a Camping Pass?”

Her: “You can’t be a member and buy a Camping Pass.”

Me: “So you can’t get one if you’re an Elite member?”

Her: “You can’t be a member and buy a Camping Pass.”

I’m starting to detect a pattern here.

Me: “Then why is if offered inside the TT website, where you have to be a member to log in?”

Her: “I don’t know, but you can’t be a member and buy a Camping Pass.”

I resisted the impulse to chant it along with her.

So, at this point I’m dead in the water again. I don’t think they like me anymore. Of course maybe they never did.

Since I got the charger port on the laptop fixed, Jan had been using it at night to watch some of her favorite old shows we have on DVD. Right now she’s going through the entire series of Northern Exposure. I bought her the entire set for Christmas 2009, but I think this is the first time she’s had a chance to watch it the whole thing at once.

Northern Exposure Series

Northern Exposure – The Complete Series

In 2008 on our way to Alaska we stopped and visited Roselyn, WA where NE was filmed. And it’s all still there, The Brick, Ruth Anne’s store, Dr. Fleishman’s office, the Café, and the KBHR radio station.

Here’s a blog post I did about our visit.

On the Road to Alaska

Check it out. There’s even some Mister stuff there.

Six Days. My second pair of expensive ($6.50 a pair) boot laces made from cheap cow parts from India (they worship them and then turn them in to shoelaces), lasted only six days this time, instead of the previous record of ten days. So until I can order these 550 Paracord Steel Tip Boot Laces from Amazon, I’m back to my cheap ($1) laces from Wal-Mart that last a couple of months.


Thought for the Day:

From Scott Adams of Dilbert fame:

Stupid Car

 

 


November 4, 2016

Last Minute Gate . . .

or Home Sweet Shack

Todd called this morning about 8:40 telling Jan he had a gate for me, and then texted me  the directions. And by 9:30 I was logging in vehicles at the gate.

This is brand new gate, one that has 3 holes that eventually will be fracked, but needs to be prepped first with coil tubing.

When I got to the gate about 9:15, there was no gate there. Todd had just arrived and was rolling out the containment pad that goes under the generator trailer to catch any leaking diesel. So no generator trailer, no guard shack trailer, and more importantly, no potty trailer.

Davila Pad

Since we already had people on the pad that hadn’t been logged in, and I didn’t have any log sheets anyway, I just started logging people in using tag numbers and times. About an hour later,John the maintenance guy showed up with the generator trailer. Of course with no shack yet, we had nothing to plug into it.

But finally about 11:30 Todd showed up with the shack, and he and John got it set up.

Davila Pad 2

So by 12:30 I was logging in for real, with a lot of trucks circling through with load after load of big equipment and large drilling fluid tanks. The rest of the afternoon was steady, but not really heavy, so not too bad.

Even though we’re about 10 miles out in the country, I’ve still got good 3G on my Verizon aircard so that’s good, and the over-the-air TV signals are fine as well.

My relief, who was supposed to show up at 6:30pm, didn’t make it until about 6:40 because he took a wrong turn. Turns out he’s two spaces down from us in the park.

It’s kind of confusing about the shift times at different gates. So far we’ve been at 5 to 5 gates, 5:30 to 5:30 gates, 6 to 6 gates, and now a 6:30 to 6:30 gate. Not sure why it works out like that.

We don’t know yet where this gate is going to go. It could expand to have a greeter on the pad and one on the staging area, as well as my gate out front. Or, I guess it could all go away tomorrow. You never can tell.

Next up is to try to figure out the night time guard and I can switch. He would rather work days, and I would rather work nights. So I need to sit down and figure out how we can switch shifts. It may be our wives can help us out, but I’ll to write it down to be sure.

Now I’m going to bed. I have to be up at 5:30AM ! Yikes!


Thought for the Day:

“It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government.” – Thomas Paine

 

 

 


November 4, 2017

Fallin’ Back . . .

Heads up.

In case you haven’t heard, tonight’s the night the clocks fall back, so at 2am Sunday morning, it becomes 1am Sunday morning.

We both did little or nothing today. Jan read, napped, and watched TV, while I mostly did computer stuff . . .  and napped, too.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the‘snarky’, or downright nasty comments that show up in the many Facebook RV groups. I’ve regularly seen friend’s like Ed Hurlburt’s RV Group threaten to kick people off, or actually kick them out of their respective groups because of what they said, even after repeated warnings.

But you would think that a cooking group would be immune, but no. Recently in the Instant Pot for Beginners group, one of the admins had to threaten several members with expulsion if they didn’t stop berating and arguing with other members.

So much for civility.

Elsewhere on the FB front, we still don’t have our ‘Like’ emoticons back. And according to Google we’re not the only ones to have the problem, some dating back four or five years. A number of different fixes haven been recommended, but none have worked so far.

I do know it’s not the browser since it does exactly thing in Internet Explorer as it does in Chrome. So I’ll keep looking.

On the Amazon front, a couple of weeks ago I ordered a 4TB external hard drive to keep on-site system image backups of the 3 PC computers at my clients.

4TB HD

4TB External Hard Drive

At 4-1/4” x 3-1/4” x 3/4” it’s tiny, at least compared to my very first HD, a 10MB SCSI drive that was connected to my Commodore Amiga. It was the size of a shoebox and cost $995 in the early 90’s. In comparison, the 4TB drive cost only $110 and holds 400,000 times more data,

Modern Technology!

The Word of the Day is:  Musette


Thought for the Day:

How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

 

 

 


November 4, 2018

A Busy Week Ahead . . .

I spent most of the morning trying to straighten out our prescriptions at WalMart. First up, the first part of October both Walmart and Sam’s Club updated (changed) their discount drug lists.

Luckily the ones that WalMart dropped got picked up by Sam’s and vice versa. So it just means we’ll have to move some of our scripts back and forth. But the real problem came with the prescription renewals that our doctor faxed over this past Friday.

Yesterday afternoon we got a text from WalMart saying 8 prescriptions were ready, for a total of $1358.92.

That’s One Thousand Three Hundred Fifty Eight Dollars and Ninety Two cents.

YIKES!

Checking out both discount lists, my drugs should have totaled $46 and Jan’s about $84.

It was also a problem that the nurse sent all the scripts to WalMart, and not the ones that were supposed to go to Sam’s.

So where did the $1300+ come from?

Looks like I was going to have to talk to the WalMart Pharmacy directly for that.

Jan and I finally left the rig a little before 2pm with our first stop for lunch at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood. It’s been a couple of months and Jan was jonsin’ for their catfish fillets, and I could certainly go for a big bowl of their Shrimp Gumbo.

But we both started with a Side Salad, Jan’s with Ranch and mine with Blu Cheese.

Floyd's Side Salad

It’s kind of funny, but I never really liked Blu Cheese Dressing until I got hooked on Wedge Salads. Now it’s my choice on regular salads as well.

Jan of course, went with the Catfish and the Grilled Veggies,

Floyd's Grilled Catfish 2

while I got the Shrimp Gumbo, also with the Grilled Veggies.

Floyd's Gumbo with Grilled Veggies

And when I say Shrimp Gumbo, I mean Shrimp.

Floyd's Shrimp in Gumbo

And Floyd’s is the place that turned us on to the Grilled Veggies, and we’ve gotten them at several other places too. They’re jus the normal Steamed Veggies thrown on the grill for a few minutes with a little butter or oil.

Just ask. We’ve never had anyone tell us No. Give it a try.

Our next stop was WalMart and their Pharmacy. Turns out that for some reason the nurse had sent over a prescription for Vescepa. And a month’s supply of it is $858.

YIKES, again.

And we don’t know why it was sent over anyway. It’s for high triglycerides, and it’s never been prescribed to Jan before. So we dropped that.

Next up was Losartan, which should have been sent to Sam’s, not WalMart. At Sam’s it’s $12 for a 90 day supply. At WalMart it’s $345 for a 30 day supply. So that was out too.

So now all we had to do was to send the other ones over to Sam’s and it was all straightened out.

Heading home we drove by the house to see what was up with it. And rather that looking better, it actually looked a lot worse than when we left for Florida over a month ago.

House Condition

The front yard was littered with trash and branches that fallen from the trees. Plus about 15 feet of the sidewalk was gone, seemingly dug up to replace the water meter box, which looked new.

Don’t know what the problem was, but it wasn’t there when we owned it.

Next week looks to be a busy one for us. Beside work, Tuesday afternoon we both have ophthalmologist’s appointments to take a look at our cataract situation.

Jan has had hers for a number of years, waiting for them to get big enough to be operable.  Mine, only in my left eye, wasn’t there a few years ago, so I don’t know if it’s large enough to take out too.

Then on Thursday, we’ve got tickets to the Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Market.

Nutcracker Market 2

Put on for the last 37 years, it’s a fantastic event full of gifts, food, and sugar plums. All as a fund-raiser for the Houston Ballet.

Nutcracker Market

It’s been a number of years since we’ve been and we’re really looking forward to it. And even better, Brandi will be meeting us there.

BTW if you really need Vescepa, with a discount coupon from GoodRx you can get it for only $242.00.


Thought for the Day:

Indecision is Key to Flexibility

 

 

 


November 4, 2019

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain . . .

Some of you will recognize the above as one of the last lines in replicant Roy Batty’s dying soliloquy in the finale of Ripley Scott’s movie, Blade Runner.

But something you may not know is that Hauer rewrote his lines the night before the scene was filmed.

Originally the scripted lines went like this:

I’ve seen things… seen things you little people wouldn’t believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion bright as magnesium…
I rode on the back decks of a blinker and watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments… they’ll be gone.

But Hauer’s rewrite went like

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die

Shorter and much more to the point.

But rather than try to describe it, you can watch Rutger Hauer and Harrison Ford (Rick Deckard) in one of my all-time favorite movie scenes.

The reason I’m really talking about this is that this 1982 film was set 37 years in the future. That’s right.

November 2019

So where are my flying cars? I want my flying cars!

Along with the many films Hauer did, he was also originally cast in the Peter Weller part as Robocop. But they decided he was just too broad shouldered to look right in the suit.

And in a fitting wrap-up to all this, Rutger Hauer died this year just as did Roy Batty.

After 3 or 4 months of twice-daily use, the battery in my SwitchBot battery is finally on its last legs.

SwitchBot Battery Level

I can actually read the battery level from the SwitchBot so I know it’s time to change it out. It’s never failed to work yet, but I don’t want to take a chance on waking up to no coffee.

Turn out to be really easy to change, and I didn’t even have to detach it from the Mr.Coffee.

SwitchBot Battery Change

Just pop off the back, pull out the CR2 battery, plug in the new one, and now I had this.

SwitchBot Battery Level 1

So our coffee is safe for tomorrow.


Thought For The Day:

feel-the-irony-08

2 Responses to . . . like tears in rain . . .

  1. Nancy K says:

    That’s pretty much what I’ve been thinking.  WAY too many false positives resulting in highly skewed numbers.  That’s how they scare you into lockdown and control.

  2. Linda in NE says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It doesn’t matter how many test positive. What matters is how many get sick enough to land in the hospital or die. Same as with influenza. Reporting every single positive test is just scare tactics.

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