COVID, Continued

Today could be the day I get COVID-19 and die.

But if it isn’t, it will be yet another day in which I ignored every single piece of medical advice handed out on “CNN Plus” and suffered no penalties as a result. Of course, the whole staff of Riverside Green is fully quad-boosted, but let’s just imagine for the sake of discussion that I never allowed Pfizer or Moderna to inject me with an experimental drug. The vast majority of my vaxxed co-workers have gotten COVID; a few of them have gotten it more than once. The more they get the vaxx, the more they seem to get COVID. Most of my triple-vaxxed friends have gotten it as well.

My son and I traveled across the country several times over the past few years. Other than skipping a few international flights because the borders were closed, I never stopped traveling; hell, I was literally staying in New York’s Chinatown when the first panicked “stay home” demands were made, and I’ve returned to NYC a few times since. I attended a zillion “super-spreader” events, stood in lift lines from West Virginia to NorCal. Never got it. My kid never got it. My wife never got it.

All of this, despite the fact that I am so susceptible to pneumonia that I have almost died from it twice. I once literally dragged myself out of a hospital against medical advice with nine fractured bones and a burned-out spleen just because I thought I was starting to get pneumonia symptoms. I am terrified of pneumonia and do not think I am in any way immune to diseases of any sort.

I’m not saying I’m smarter than anyone else. I am saying that the iceberg bulk of what has been said, written, and propagandized about COVID-19 is provably wrong. But why listen to me, when you could listen to an actual data scientist who thinks the same thing?

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Weekly Roundup: You Can’t Quit You Edition

Few things in life, other than my son (and my new 2022 F-250 Platinum 7.3 4×4) (and my new(ish!) 2019 Radical SR8 Generation 3), have given me as much joy as watching the much-ballyhooed Twitter Quitter movement among automotive journalists (and other completely feckless people) completely implode inside seventy-two hours. Jimmy Page regularly went without heroin during the Seventies for longer periods than these voices-of-a-generation could keep themselves from posting “hot takes” on the Internet. Let’s be real: if you can’t do without something for three days, you’re addicted to it. There’s one exception to that rule, and it’s “water”. Going 72 hours without eating is hard, but it’s not impossible.

I first observed Twitter Addiction firsthand about eleven years ago, during a weekend I would later describe in fictionalized form for TTAC. A relatively well-known female autowriter had agreed to travel with me in under-the-radar fashion for a few days. We had sound reasons for this secrecy: I was living with someone at the time, as was she. Plus she was trying to build a career in autowriting that would have been irreparably damaged were people to realize that she and I were an item. We flipped a coin to see which one of us would stay off social media for the four days we would be together, and she lost.

Two days later, she had a full-fledged mental breakdown in a junkyard because she wasn’t allowed to Tweet.

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Formula 1 Before the Beautiful People

Note: Another guest submission by Patrick King. -TK
Now that the Big Three road and street races in this part of Florida are behind us my attention turns to media coverage and in-person access at Formula One events in the current year compared to days past. This weekend, F1 TV Pro will present me with six hours of on-track activity from Italy, plus endless commentary before and after each practice/qualifying/sprint session and the race itself, in stereo though my Klipsch speakers – unbroken by commercials – for a prorated cost of $2.83. To show my appreciation, here’s the official name of the Grand Prix formerly known as Imola:

FORMULA 1 ROLEX GRAN PREMIO DEL MADE IN ITALY E DELL’EMILIA-ROMAGNA 2022

My interest in Formula One has waxed and waned since the early sixties, spiking at milestones like Frankenheimer’s “Grand Prix” and camping at Watkins Glen to watch Jackie Stewart run away from the field in 1970 only to be felled by a broken oil line in his first race with the new Tyrrell 001, allowing an unknown youngster named Emerson Fittipaldi to win his first Grand Prix. Later, the Canadian Grand Prix became my home F1 race, Montreal being less than a five hour drive from Boston.

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Weekly Roundup: The Sexual Pleasure Of The Mask Edition

Warning: this discussion is not for children, people who are incapable of reading at a (pre-21st century) college level, or people who struggle with abstract thought. Thank you for respecting this disclaimer.

When it comes to “idiots with credentials”, I struggle to think of a more egregious example than noted fool Paul Krugman, who has spent his entire life being publicly incorrect about virtually everything, but in this case I think we might have a stopped clock telling the correct time at least once. It’s not that surprising since the OMG VIOLENCE predicted by Krugman is already happening, and has been for some time. A quick Google will show… many such cases. People are attacking other people for not wearing masks as well. There is something about “masking”, both in its presence and in its absence, that elicits strong emotional and physical reactions in human beings.

The science regarding COVID-19 transmission and masks is fairly simple, and easy to understand: nothing short of hospital-standards mask use will do much to keep a “masker” from contracting the virus. Very few people outside the medical specialties understand what’s required to wear the right kind of mask properly. It’s genuinely unpleasant, by the way. But that doesn’t mean that masks are useless. Far from it. They significantly reduce transmission from infected people — and it pretty much doesn’t matter what you use. It can be an N95 or KN95 mask, it can be a cloth mask, it can be a neck gaiter. All of them reduce the “spray” of airborne droplets that contain the virus. It doesn’t matter that the virus is individually capable of entering almost any kind of mask. It needs a “ride” to get there.

There is also quite a bit of evidence concerning the importance of “viral load”. Those of us who are of a certain age remember all the animations of HIV turning an innocent individual cell into an HIV factory — but in the real world, a single HIV particle probably isn’t capable of giving you HIV, and the same is true for COVID-19. You need a “viral load” with enough active particles to overwhelm your local defenses. This is why handling money, which is terrifyingly dirty, doesn’t automatically kill you. The strength of the “viral load” in any individual exposure case is what more or less determines whether or not you will get sick. Masks of all kinds go a long way towards reducing the amount of “viral load” in your immediate vicinity.

The science suggests that you should wear a mask if you might be sick — and forego one if you are not sick, because mask use is not an unalloyed good. It causes a variety of problems, including impaired cognition. Three out of four people who wear masks properly (to medical-professional standards) report headaches, while one in four report difficulty thinking. That’s not good. Of all the people who shouldn’t be suffering from impaired cognition, doctors are right up at the top with pilots and nuclear powerplant operators. Masks are also bad for kids, to the point that prolonged mouth-breathing from mask use can alter the shape of their faces.

That’s the science. But there’s the science, and then there is THE SCIENCE, of course. THE SCIENCE is a modern religion that is no more rational, and often more harmful to society, than any other religion in history has been. It is largely indistinguishable from whatever cherished ideas lead the vanguard of progressive thought, in much the same way that THE LAW nowadays appears to be far more concerned about who is committing a crime than it is about what crime has been committed. THE SCIENCE is obsessed with masks. Masks are a sacrament to THE SCIENCE. But how did we get to this point? And why are masks such a dangerous subject, both on the printed page and in real life?

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Weekly Roundup: When Mayer Met Maren Edition

Here’s the story: Handsome fellow with plenty going for him has cute girl with plenty going for her, and there’s no reason in the world they shouldn’t be happy together, but there’s another fellow involved. A little (or a lot) more famous, a little (or a lot) more adored by the public. There’s some “creative work” involved. Does it go farther than that? We can only guess. But we can guess.

That’s how I got my ticket for John Mayer’s remarkable performance at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville this past Tuesday: a friend of mine has a girlfriend with whom he is squabbling. She’s an artist and she is popular with various D-list celebrities. My friend would be almost any woman’s dream date: tall enough, fit, handsome, articulate, conventionally masculine, thoughtful, and working a high-paid job that actually means something and almost never involves an office. Truth be told, I’m a little attracted to him myself, mostly in an envious way.

Ah, but he’s not famous. Let’s insert the usual The-Current-Year disclaimers about how there is no difference between AMAB (assigned male at birth) citizens and AFAB (absolutely fabulous) citizens, and formally assert their validity in all circumstances… and then click the jump.

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BMWs and More!

Note: Another submission by regular RG reader, Patrick King. -TK

My second car after a ’69 Dodge Dart GTS 340 was a new 1971 BMW 2002 that left the dealership with many hot rod modifications (although the 45 DCOEs didn’t go on until a 3,000 mile break-in period was complete).

My ’71 autocrossing in ’75.

I daily drove, autocrossed and tracked that car for six years until it was pretty much beaten into submission by my driving style and the Boston winters. Continue Reading →