Stocks of Anti-WuFlu Drug Looted From French Hospital

Hydroxychloroquine (also called Plaquenil) is a drug that is used to treat malaria, and also to relieve rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. I know it’s been around for a long time, because it was prescribed for me almost fifty years ago to treat my juvenile rheumatoid arthritis of the tendons.

Recent trials have tentatively shown that hydroxychloroquine is effective against the Wuhan Coronavirus. Since it is a long-established drug, it can be immediately prescribed for “off-label” use against the disease.

A few days ago a major hospital in France had its stocks of hydroxychloroquine pilfered by persons unknown. Many thanks to MissPiggy for translating this news report, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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The Play’s the Thing

The future Baron and I are going to see a Shakespeare play (a comedy) this afternoon at a community theater. It’s a long drive from here, so I’ll be gone much of the day. I should be back in time to post the news feed, however, and possibly some other stuff.

While I’m gone your comments will accumulate, awaiting approval. Be patient; they should be done by sometime this evening.

Break a leg!

Flipping Pancakes

Today is Shrove Tuesday, the day when we Episcopalians traditionally hold a pancake supper. It’s our final big blast before the austerity of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

It’s my first stint as lead cook in today’s supper at my church, so I will be away most of the afternoon and part of the evening. Posting will be light as a result.

A Host of Kind Faces

This post was a “sticky” feature for a week, and was first published last Monday. Scroll down for items posted since that time.

Winter Fundraiser 2020, Day Seven

Sunday’s Update: Snaps From the Family Album

This morning’s update will be brief, and will include just two final photos of kind faces from my memory. The first one is the above snapshot of Dymphna from 1987. I’ll tell you more about that in a minute, after I get the formalities out of the way.

Tip jarWe’re down to the wire here in the Winter Fundraiser of 2020: this is the final day. If you haven’t put a jingle into the tip cup (or this link), now is the time to do it.

Just think: this is a way to avoid all those noisome and obnoxious ads that you see on most sites. This blog relies entirely on modest donations by individual readers. I have no commercial sponsors. I’m not supported by any foundations or think tanks. The only sponsors are the people who read this site.

So if you appreciate what you find here, please drop a groat in the cup. A reminder: I send 10% of what I fundraise here to Vlad Tepes, whose video work is absolutely crucial to what I do. If you think he deserves more, please visit his site and click his own donate button.

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The photo of Dymphna at the top of this update is one of my all-time favorites. It captures her essence: that is exactly Dymphna, my beloved wife, with whom I spent forty fortunate years.

The picture was taken at my annual art show in the fall of 1987. The venue was a restaurant on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville. I’ve racked my brains trying to figure out who Dymphna was talking to when I took the snap, but I can’t do it. However, I can identify all three paintings on the wall in the background, despite the blurriness. Funny about that.

The final set of kind faces for this fundraiser is a detail from a larger group photo that was taken in the mid-1980s when the future Baron was just a few months old. As far as I know, the fB and I are the only two people in the photo who are still alive, but just in case I’ve cropped the rest of them out:

That’s Dymphna at the top, and her mother seated in front of her. Boy, I sure had more hair in those days. And none of it was white yet.

These last two snaps from the Bodissey family album wrap up the 2020 Winter Fundraiser. I realize that I’ve been wallowing in nostalgia this past week, but then, wallowing is an emotional necessity for me in these our wintry days.

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Saturday’s donors hailed from:

Stateside: Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Washington

Far Abroad: Lithuania and the UK

Canada: Ontario

Australia: Western Australia

This concludes the 2020 Winter Fundraiser for Gates of Vienna. I’ll post a wrap-up with all the locations sometime in the next few days.

A hearty Bodisseyan “thank you” to all those people on four continents who chipped in. It looks like I’ll be set for another quarter.

Saturday’s Update: Miscellaneous Faces From History, Not All of Them Kind

I’ll switch gears this morning and post a series of faces from history, chosen by whim from my image library. The one above shows Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (a.k.a. Joseph Stalin), Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Sir Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference in late 1943. Sir Winston’s face might be characterized as “kind”, but FDR’s and Uncle Joe’s not so much.

I have more faces to post, but first a word about what I’ve been doing during this week that is rapidly drawing to a close.

For one week every quarter I beg for money from readers to help keep Gates of Vienna going. The tradition began while Dymphna was alive, and continues in her absence. We depended, and I still depend, on the kindness of strangers. Actually, not all of you are strangers, come to think of it…

So if you haven’t done so already, please click that funky tip cup on the sidebar (or use this link) and drop in a ha’penny or two to help keep this enterprise afloat.

What’s amazing to me is the large number of modest donations that have come in. They’re generally quite small, but there are so MANY of them — they really add up. I’m humbled by your generosity, and pleased to see so many first-time donors.

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Fly Away Home

I don’t know about the rest of the country — or even the rest of Virginia — but the part of the Piedmont I live in has been suffering from a plague of ladybugs for at least the past 25 years.

The first time they came to my attention was in the fall of 1994, which was also the worst year of infestation. The little bastards would get in through the tiniest gaps around windows and doors, and then buzz around the house, forming large clumps in the corners where two walls meet the ceiling. I remember at one point seeing a mass of ladybugs as big as a ping-pong ball in one corner. They all eventually found their way up here to the Eyrie, the highest point in the house. They also seem to prefer to enter through the south window here, which is bright and warm during the day. They make their way through tiny cracks around (or in) the frame, then buzz all around the window, and spread to the rest of the room. When there are a lot of them, I have to cover my coffee cup when I’m not sipping from it, because they have a habit of dropping into it and drowning. If I then sip from the cup without looking first, I get an unpleasant surprise — they taste NASTY.

Back in 1994 I resorted to keeping the vacuum cleaner up here in order to deal with the ladybugs. I scrounged around and found all the lengths of pipe extensions we had for it, as well as a four-foot flexible hose. The straight, rigid section I put together was about eight feet long, allowing me to reach almost the entire room while standing in the middle of the floor. Some days I would vacuum up several hundred of them in several passes through the room. I learned to appreciate the satisfying thwip each bug made when it was sucked into the narrow aperture in the outermost attachment at the end of the pipe.

When I was done with a vacuuming session, I put a piece of duct tape over the end of the pipe to keep the prisoners from escaping. I found out early in the game that if I didn’t do that, eventually some of the little demons would make their way out of the pipe and back into the house.

1995 was also bad, but not as bad as 1994. Since then there have been some really bad years, and some where there were almost no ladybugs. But there have been no years in which the annoying creatures were entirely absent.

The period of their annual infestation seems to have gradually moved to later in the season. They used to be here from September until about December, with almost none after New Year’s. Now the peak is generally from January to March. They’re pretty bad this year, which is why I’m writing about them. I sucked up a lot of them yesterday, but many more have come in today.

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These aren’t the normal ladybugs that we were used to before 1994. They’re not bright red, like the ladybugs of my childhood — in fact, they may have displaced the original population, for all I know. They’re kind of dull brown, and not at all attractive.

They’re also aggressive, and will occasionally bite if they land on your skin. They seem to prefer fair Nordic types, and tend to bite them more often. But I’ve been bitten by them a few times — a sudden sharp stinging feeling, followed by itching.

I’ve been told that these new updated ladybugs were introduced into the local ecology by the state department of agriculture, to control the bark beetles. Timber companies have invested in large tracts of pine forests in this area, and the bark beetles are a serious problem for them. I assume they lobbied in Richmond for the ladybug solution.

After I heard about the ladybug project, I realized that I had seen one of the first drops of the bugs back in 1989. The future Baron and I were out for a ride in Nelson County, and we stopped when we saw a helicopter operation in a field next to the road. We watched the helicopter take off, and then a cloud of something was released from its cargo bay into the air above us. Five years later, when the bugs hit and someone told me about their origins, I put two and two together and deduced that the fB and I had seen the first wave of the buggers being released into the local environment.

Now they are permanent residents here, and a permanent nuisance. I don’t suppose that our being plagued with the damned things carries much weight when balanced against the need to harvest enough pine trees to print the Congressional Record and The Washington Post. So we have no choice but to endure them.

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A final note: Typing the word “ladybug” reminded me that what we colonials call “ladybugs” are known as “ladybirds” in England. Or at least they were in the 1960s, when I lived there.

2020 Vision

…A total portrait with no omissions.

Happy New Year, everyone!

The weather here isn’t at all like that shown in the photo at the top of this post. It’s been mild (and mostly dry) for more than a week. I haven’t seen any snow so far this winter.

It’s just that I like that picture a lot. The future Baron took it a number of years ago during a road trip to Southwestern Virginia, one of the most Deplorable regions of our sovereign Commonwealth.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

The above photo was taken here at Schloss Bodissey ten years ago, on Christmas Day of 2009. It’s not at all like that today; the weather is quite mild, with no precipitation.

I’ll be involved in family doings most of the time today and tomorrow, so posting will be light. However, I hope to post a news feed tonight — God willing and the Creek don’t rise.

Joyeux Noel!

Seneca III sends his Yuletide greetings.

May I wish all you GoVers a very happy and joyful Christmas, hopefully amongst your family and friends; if this is not so either through Service or misfortune, may my thoughts and prayers and those of many others walk beside you this night so that you will not be alone.

I also wish to thank you all for the abundant and thoughtful comments you have appended to the various articles and reports published throughout the year for these in so many ways define our community.

Seneca III, in Middle England on this wonderful Silent and Holy Night in the year of our Lord 2019

For links to previous essays by Seneca III, see the Seneca III Archives.

The Vision Thing

I had my appointment with the retinologist this afternoon to assess the condition of my left eye (which has wet macular degeneration). It has remained stable for three months now, so he is going to switch from a scheduled injection every two months to a situation where he monitors my condition every two months with scans, etc., with no injections unless the situation changes.

That’s all I had to do today — have my eyes scanned, and then a look-see by the doctor. No injection! It’s a good day.

My pupils were still dilated when I got home, which is why I haven’t gotten down to posting until now.

The Forbidden City

Chances are, anyone who is having the problem described below is unable to read this post.

I’ll explain what happened: Late Monday night I started to get reports on skype and by email that people were getting a “403” error when they tried to access Gates of Vienna. The actual text of the message varied, depending on the browser and operating system, but it would look something like this:

You don’t have permission to access this resource.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Since I am a technical dunce when it comes to website mechanics, I consulted with Vlad Tepes and Henrik Clausen about what was happening. They looked into it, and it seemed that a crucial setting on the site was disabled for some reason, and needed to be enabled. Henrik enabled it, and over the next 36 hours people reported back to me that they were once again able to access Gates of Vienna. So everything was fixed.

But only for about 36 hours. I started getting messages today from the same people, and also additional ones, that the same error message was popping up when they tried to visit this site. It’s only happening in Europe and Israel, as far as I know. I’m getting no emails from the USA, Canada, or Australia about the “403 Forbidden” message. Countries affected include the UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Romania, and Israel. And probably others that I’m forgetting. But not on this side of the Atlantic.

I consulted at length with the hosting service, and the setting that Henrik enabled was still enabled. They can’t recreate the problem, since they’re in the USA. So there’s nothing more they can do unless I can give them specific instructions about what needs to be changed.

Something is fishy here. One time could be just a random glitch, but twice? And all within less than 48 hours.

My paranoid intuition says that when whatever it was the major ISPs in Europe tried to do two days ago failed — that is, when Henrik enabled the setting. So they decided to try something else to accomplish the same purpose. I don’t believe this is a coincidental, accidental malfunction — I think it is deliberate.

But then, I’m paranoid.

So… If you have friends, relatives, or acquaintances that report this problem, please explain what I have posted here. And most of the significant content I post is also posted at Vlad’s place, so they can go over there to stay somewhat up-to-date.

I don’t think this is an issue in the USA because not many people are very interested in what’s going on in Europe. I don’t report on Adam Schiff, Jerrold Nadler, Nancy Pelosi, Bill Barr, or any other facet of the impeachment circus. I leave that to the specialists, and that’s where all the American traffic tends to go.

But this blog has a wide readership in Europe. Or rather, had — I think my European traffic is probably significantly reduced by now.

All the Leaves Are Brown…

I’ve held off posting this wrap-up about the Autumn fundraiser because I was kind of waiting to see if more of my thank-you notes would bounce. However, I’m still writing them, and I’ve got quite a ways to go. So this is an interim update, and if anything else bounces, I’ll post a further update.

Just three thank-you notes have bounced so far, after two attempts apiece. The intended recipient of the first lives in Southern California.

The second one listed no address with PayPal, so I can’t tell you his location. All I know is that his name makes it likely that he is an Anglophone.

The third is in Georgia (the one in Dixie, not the Caucasus).

If you’re missing a thank-you note, that may the reason. On the other hand, you may be one of the people I haven’t written yet!

The most interesting comment I got in reply was this:

In your fundraising posts, you may wish to consider bragging a bit more about niche, reach, influence, etc., e.g.: “The ONLY/BEST daily roundup of news from non-US sources, with UNIQUE videos and translations.” I know of no other source for this info.

He’s probably right. But I told him that I’m a severe introvert, and not inclined to brag. It just goes against the grain. Yes, more self-promotion would probably be a good idea, but this dog is too old to learn new tricks.

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Here’s the final tally of places (leaving out donors with no listed address):

Stateside: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington

Far Abroad: Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK

Canada: British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan

Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria

The Well of Memory

This post was a “sticky” feature and was on top throughout fundraising week. Scroll down for the whole week’s worth of more recent items.

Autumn Fundraiser 2019, Day Seven

Sunday’s Update: Madonna and Child

At last! We’ve arrived at the final day of Gates of Vienna’s quarterly fundraising week. After today I’ll stop bugging you for three more months.

Tip jarBut this morning I’ll take this final opportunity to remind everyone what this week is all about: Modest donations from lots and lots of readers provide enough wherewithal to keep this website going. The generosity of our donors has enabled us — and now it’s only me — to get by every quarter. Just barely, but I get by.

I’ll have to postpone indulging my taste for champagne and caviar until one of my relatives gets elected to high office and arranges a place for me on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, with a nice seven-figure annual stipend…

If you’ve only just discovered this fall’s bleg, or if you haven’t already hit the tip cup, please go over to the sidebar and make it clink. Alternatively, you can use this handy link.

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My final installment concerning Memory for this fundraising week will be a few more reminiscences of my time with Dymphna.

The photo at the top of this update shows Dymphna and the future Baron. It was taken in the late 1980s, in the late summer or early fall. That summer had been hot and dry — there was a devastating drought early on, in May and June. In some of the photos from June the grass is utterly withered and brown. But by the time this photo was taken there had obviously been some rain, because plenty of green is visible in the background.

When I came across this photo recently, I looked at Dymphna’s face, and it seemed so recent — there she was! And then I looked at the fB — he obviously wasn’t yet two years old. That means that more than thirty years have passed since that early autumn afternoon.

I can remember a lot about what happened between then and now. A few years after the photo was taken I taught the future Baron to read and write, and made him do his sums. Then Dymphna’s mother came to live with us, and I took care of her for a year until she died.

All through the ’90s we were quite poor. I was painting pictures, and not making any significant money doing it. Dymphna was a social worker, and then later had her own housecleaning business. She kept us afloat, but all those years were pretty lean.

Yet we never lacked for anything. My son had no idea we were poor. He had a VCR and lots of videos. I made sure to take him to the beach at least once every summer. We didn’t get to stay at any high-toned beach accommodations, mind you, but that didn’t matter to him — he was just a kid. Staying in a little cabin and eating at Burger King was fine with him.

Just before Y2K I had to stop home-schooling him, because my skills in chemistry and physics were minimal. We sent him to private school, and I found well-paying work as a programmer so that we could afford it. The Lord provided. It worked out.

Just before he graduated from high school, his sister Shelagh, Dymphna’s daughter, died of a methadone overdose. The fB went off to college, and Dymphna went into a tailspin that she never really recovered from.

The foundation of this blog was my idea: I thought it might help her work through the pain of grieving. And it did. Most of you have seen her early work on this site, either when she originally wrote it twelve or fifteen years ago, or in the reposts I’ve been doing since she died. She was a powerhouse of a writer, and putting her heart into her essays help bring her back to the land of the living. Even as her condition worsened (she suffered from fibromyalgia), she kept at it as much as she could, right up until the end.

And now here I am, maintaining the site by myself and dealing with my own pain of grieving. My wife is gone, but she lives on in her writings, and is ever-present with me in this empty house that we shared for forty years.

I will always remember her, as long as memory remains.

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Gentlemanly Conduct

In the last few weeks I’ve noticed a number of new commenters, so now is a good time to revisit this site’s guidelines for commenting.

It will also fulfill a request by Dymphna. Months and months ago she asked me to post the rules for comments used by Mark Steyn’s website, which are similar to ours, and ones that she greatly approved of. I feel guilty that I didn’t do it before she died, but better late than never. Here are the Steyn Rules:

SteynOnline greatly appreciates your comments. We do not, however, publish comments containing: profanity, ad hominem insults, off-topic remarks, overly lengthy responses, commercial or other promotions, ALL-CAPS COMMENTS, incitement to violence or unilluminatingly insulting generalizations about various identity groups. We greatly value comments that are to the point and civilly expressed. Please do not simply put in links. Mark is interested in hearing YOUR comments. A URL is not a comment. Commenters’ email addresses will not be displayed publicly.

These are pretty much the same as my guidelines. The main difference is that I sometimes redact comments that violate the guidelines. If there aren’t too many violations in a single comment, and I’m not pressed for time, I’ll replace the profanity or ad-hominem slights with an acceptable synonym inside [square brackets], or just indicate that a word or phrase (or an even longer section) has been [redacted]. Recommendations that people or groups be tortured, slaughtered, etc. are generally replaced with [intemperate recommendations redacted].

If I don’t have time or am out of sorts, I’ll just delete the comment, which is of course much easier. Repeat offenders — people who just can’t seem to get the hang of the rules, even after having their comments redacted a few times — tend to annoy me, so I just delete such comments.

My habitual shorthand for our guidelines is this: “Gates of Vienna’s rules about comments require that they be civil, temperate, on-topic, and show decorum.”

See also: Guidelines for comments.