Whatever You Do, Don’t Go Against the Narrative

The following video from Bild talks about the adverse health effects of prolonged mask-wearing, especially as it concerns children. The report gains added significance from the fact that Bild subsequently removed it — evidently the paper had been notified by the Powers That Be that the video contradicted the Narrative on the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

Continue reading

Eyeing the Results

I’m about to head out to the retinologist’s office to get a periodic injection in my left eye to treat my condition (wet macular degeneration).

I have a lot of good stuff in the pipeline, but I didn’t have time to put together a post before leaving. So I’ll let this be a placeholder till I get back.

I know y’all are anxious to discuss the election, which seems to be morphing into the Big Cheat, as expected. The post-election ructions have already commenced, and I assume the Antifas will be out in force to make sure everyone is OK with the ordained official result — OR ELSE.

You can use this post as an open thread to leave comments about all that, or anything else in the news. When I get back I’ll moderate what has come in, before I lie down and cover my eyes to escape the dancing bubble.

See you later.

The Postman Cometh

After severe tribulations, my email has been fixed. I can once again send messages from my mail client.

It’s been a hellish four days. If you sent me a message since Monday morning, and don’t get a reply before the end of today, please email me again — it may have got lost in all the backlog.

My feeling of relief right now reminds me of a Root Boy Slim lyric (from “I Used to be a Radical”): If it wasn’t for quick action by some freaky doctors, Root Boy Slim be long since dead.

Those freaky techies were a BIG help.

Email Problems Yet Again

I’m having a similar problem to the one I had three months ago: I can receive emails, but I can’t send them. I’ve spent hours on the phone with the hosting service trying to sort it out, but no luck so far.

If you’ve been sending emails, I probably got them, but couldn’t reply. I hope to resolve this tomorrow.

All this hassle has delayed other posts. I’ll be putting up the news feed, but nothing else tonight.

One for Good Luck

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of the founding of Gates of Vienna.

I’m not doing anything special for the occasion. We had planned a big hoopla for the fifteenth anniversary last year, but when Dymphna died it kind of took the stuffing out of me, so I didn’t do much last year, either.

This year I simply note that another twelve leaves have dropped from the calendar. Time flies when you’re having fun!

The graphic at the top of this post features a photo of the cake that Dymphna and I created for the first anniversary on October 9, 2005. It was a real cake — I vaguely remember eating a little piece of it.

Looking at it reminds me of the day I put the tableau together and took the photo. It was pleasantly warm, like today. If you look closely, you’ll see a reflection of the candle flame just below the red star portion of the cake. The entire assemblage was mounted on a glass pane from the storm door of the front porch, under which I placed the printout with the Arabic script.

That was a vintage storm door, and the pane was actual glass, not Plexiglas. During the disassembling of the photo shoot — which took place on the front porch — I managed to break the glass. The replacement that is now in the door is a standard-issue Plexiglas pane from Lowes.

Tempus fugit.

Pedal to the Metal

I’ll be leaving shortly to pay a visit to my cousins. I’ve become so mask-averse that it borders on obsession, so I’m pleased to say that my relatives aren’t at all mask freaks. They wear them when they have to, like I do, but they don’t rant about it as much.

I’ll be away overnight, so there will be no news feed tonight. However, I should be back early enough to put one up tomorrow night. Comments will be moderated upon my return.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people are now closing their messages with a new pandemic-related signoff. I’ll join the trend, albeit ironically:


New Directive on Wearing the Corona Hijab in the Bundestag

A recent internal message from the president of the German Bundestag may reinforce the feeling that most ordinary people have of being stifled or suffocated by the loathsome Corona muzzle.

Hellequin GB has translated two articles about the news from the Bundestag. The first piece is from FOCUS Online:

Bundestag explains its irritating mask recommendation — and rows back

With the end of the parliamentary summer recess, the Bundestag will be full again. As everywhere, the Corona risk increases here, too. Bundestag President Schäuble reacts — with a message that raises questions in places.

In view of the increasing number of Corona infections, the Bundestag is increasing its security measures after the summer break. In a house message, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) urgently recommends wearing a mask in all buildings of the Bundestag from September 1st.

“This urgent recommendation applies to all people and all traffic areas such as the corridors and stairwells, lounge areas, sanitary rooms, catering areas (with the exception of the table) and the library, but also to boardrooms and meeting rooms,” the house message says.

Mask to take a deep breath “rather push it under your chin”

The in-house notification is supplemented by some information on handling, wearing time, disposal and the cleaning of mouth and nose covers. It recommends washing reusable masks at 60°C (140°F).

However, some sentences in the recommendation raise questions.

It says:

“After just 30 minutes of wearing, depending on the type of mouth and nose covering, there can be a significant increase in the CO2 level ​​in the blood, as the exhaled air may not be able to escape as easily. Constant loosening and tightening the mouth-nose covering does not make sense, however, as this increases the risk of contamination. In between, you should push it under your chin to take a deep breath, but keep it on.”

An increase in CO2 levels in the blood? The mask should be pushed under the chin?

Bundestag administration explains communication — and rows back

A spokesman for the Bundestag administration told FOCUS Online that the recommendations came from the relevant authorities such as the Robert Koch Institute. This includes that the mouth and nose cover should not be put on and taken off all the time.

“With a realistic approach, however, there is occasionally the need to ‘breathe deeply’ for a brief moment in suitable situations,” the spokesman explained the formulation in the internal communication. “On the other hand, pushing under the chin appears to be a ‘lesser evil’, even if it should be avoided as much as possible.”

The reference to the rising CO2 values ​​in the blood, however, is not based on scientific knowledge, but is intended to explain the “pushing under the chin”:

“The reference to the CO2 value serves only as a possible explanation for this need, but includes no scientific statement and in particular no claim of a health hazard.”

The Bundestag administration now wants to adjust the recommendations retrospectively.

“In order to avoid any misunderstandings, it is intended to revise the information in the annex to the internal communication,” said the spokesman.

FDP politician Theurer: “It is not without a certain bizarreness”

The recommendations met with mixed reactions from members of the Bundestag. The Deputy FDP parliamentary group leader Michael Theurer is surprised by the content of the in-house announcement.

Continue reading

Outcast From Comcast, Plus an Eyeball Update

I went to the retinologist’s office this afternoon to get a periodic injection for macular degeneration in my left eye — which I was glad to receive, because the early symptoms of a flare-up had just begun to appear last weekend.

As a result, I’m only semi-functional this evening. There will, however, be a news feed, and possibly a couple of other posts, if all goes well.

As most of you know by now, my protracted summer fundraiser was made more interesting by my being cancelled by PayPal. I was forced to switch to snail mail as an alternate route for donations, which necessitated the exchange of a lot of emails with people who needed the snail-mail address to use.

In the process of all that correspondence, it emerged that most of my emails to Comcast accounts were being bounced. To the extent that I could decipher the bounce message, it seems that my mail server is listed as a spam host in their database. I experienced the same thing a few years ago with another company (Microsoft, I think), and it taught me that it can be a difficult and protracted process to get rid of a false listing as a spammer.

The problem has been further compounded by its not being 100% consistent — I think some of my emails to Comcast accounts got through.

So if you have a Comcast address and emailed me, and never heard back, that may be the reason. Please send me another message, and I’ll endeavor to reply by alternate means.

A final note on the fundraiser: there were at least five anonymous cash donations, with no name and no return address, two postmarked in Illinois, two in California, and one in Washington State (I think that’s all of them). Thank you all very much — you know who you are, but I don’t.

Dr. Bhakdi on the Dangers of Masks and the Risks of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Professor Doctor Sucharit Bhakdi is a German virologist and professor of microbiology. He is an ethnic Thai who was born in the USA and educated at schools in Switzerland, Egypt, and Thailand. He studied medicine at the University of Bonn. He is the former head of the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene in Germany.

Dr. Bhakdi is 73 years old, and says he will never allow himself to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Below are two videos featuring Dr. Bhakdi. The first is a brief clip in which the doctor examines the possible legal consequences for those German public officials who issue mandatory mask orders.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

The second video is a 20-minute interview with Dr. Bhakdi. Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript #1:

Continue reading

Forced Corona-Testing of Schoolchildren

I reported last week on a school in Germany in which fourth-graders were forced to undergo coronavirus testing without the knowledge or permission of their parents.

The video below from Aurich TV is a follow-up to its earlier report. It includes an audio interview with the mother of one of the children who were tested.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

Continue reading

Moving On

This was the new “sticky” post for the extended summer fundraiser. It was first posted on September 1; scroll down for lots of newer articles and videos.

Final Update September 10, 9:00pm EDT

The end of the summer fundraiser is already more than two weeks overdue, and fall will officially begin in just a few more days, so it’s time to put an end to this bleg. Even though I haven’t made a final decision about which alternative to PayPal to use, I’ve taken this post off sticky and will let it recede in the rearview mirror while I consider my options.

The snail-mail response to my appeal was nothing short of astonishing. The total raised by that and other methods was well over 50% of the average, enough to see me through at least one more quarter without any difficulty. I thank you all for your amazing generosity, and thank-you emails are still being sent out.

I had to rule out several possible alternative payment services for various reasons — they wouldn’t accept me, or they didn’t allow for “donate” buttons, or they required a cell phone, etc. There are several more that I haven’t looked at yet, and two that I am actively considering, TipSmack and GiveSendGo. The former takes a 10% cut, which is the main reason I haven’t yet signed up. The latter is a free Christian fundraising service, and looks promising. I’ll be examining it more closely in the next day or two.

I may end up trying both of them, so as to have a more robust fundraising capability. I’ll continue to offer the possibility of using snail mail, for those who don’t want to see 10% of their gift siphoned off.

Which reminds me: if you want to send a snail-mail donation, please email me at gatesofvienna {at} chromatism {dot} net, and I’ll send the address to you.

Of the other methods used to send donations, Western Union looked promising. However, today I received this note from one of my British donors, who had sent money to me that way:

I think I have been cancelled by Western Union!

When I sent that payment to you, that was the first time I had anything to do with them. At the time I didn’t include your email address because it said it was optional. I was just thinking of sending you another payment, and on this occasion I included your email address, thinking you would be advised at the same time as I made the payment.

Guess what happened?

I went to send the money, and before the payment was authorised I got some message that came up on the screen saying something like, ‘Payment cannot be made — your status is being reviewed’, whatever that means.

They have since said, ‘Sorry we can’t make the payment for you,” without giving any further explanation.

They gave me a UK number to ring, so I thought I would ask for an explanation. I just got this message ‘calls to this number are barred.’

I told him it was starting to sound like a Thomas Pynchon novel.

So it looks like Western Union may be out, but we’ll see.

When I’ve settled on one or more online payments services, I’ll let you know. And I’ll be holding another fundraiser, but given all the complications, I don’t know whether it will be autumn or winter.

The astonishingly generous donations flowed in from:

Stateside: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

Far Abroad: Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

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

Australia: Victoria

I’ll see you when the weather gets cold!

Update September 5 8:45pm EDT

I’ll take a break from the relentless fundraising saga and tell a little story.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the cardiologist’s to take my first-ever stress test. For those of you who haven’t had one, that’s when they make you walk on a treadmill and increase the speed until you almost have a heart attack.

OK, that’s not fair; it isn’t really that awful. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had expected. They just worked me harder than I ever work myself, with EKG leads and a blood pressure collar attached. I was breathing hard and sick of it by the time they let me quit, but it was generally OK. The good news is that my heart performed normally, and my blood pressure did exactly what was expected of it. Despite my advanced age, my heart is apparently in good shape.

I celebrated the occasion late this afternoon by going out in the early-onset fall weather and doing some heavy-duty lawnmowing. I have a big new 8.5 horsepower Briggs & Stratton push mower (not self-propelled), and I wrestled with it non-stop for an hour and a half in the difficult areas alongside the driveway, at the edge of the woods. Without being nervous or anxious, because I’d been worked harder than that with an EKG attached, and passed with flying colors. No need to worry!

When I mow the lawn, I limit myself to a single tank of gas, so as not to overdo it, and that usually means an hour to an hour and a half. When I was done and sat down to rest on the front porch, I felt great.

It made me think of something Isak Dinesen wrote. I’m paraphrasing, because I never actually read it myself — Dymphna read it to me decades ago, and it was so striking that I have retained the gist of it ever since. Ms. Dinesen listed the three conditions necessary for true happiness: To live in the absence of pain, to feel in oneself a sufficiency of strength, and to know that one is doing the will of God.

Life is good.

Continue reading

The Corona Paper — Covid-19 is a ‘Global False Alarm’

Back in May I reported (here and here) about a scholarly German paper (pdf) by Stephan Kohn, the head of an Interior Ministry crisis management task force that issued a report on its analysis of authorities’ handling of the coronavirus crisis. It concluded that the government had badly overestimated the threat, and that the severe restrictions that had been implemented were the result of a false alarm.

The report was announced, and then the text was leaked to the media. The reaction to the report was predictable: the author was removed from his position, and his conclusions were suppressed to the extent possible.

JLH has undertaken the huge task of translating the executive summary of the scholarly paper, and Miss Piggy has kindly provided this introduction to the Stephan Kohn affair:

The Corona Paper — Covid-19 is a ‘Global False Alarm’

by Miss Piggy

Stephan Kohn was a senior civil servant (Oberregierungsrat) within the German Ministry of the Interior in Berlin under Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). Mr. Kohn worked for Section KM4 and was in charge of the project “Renewal of the strategy for national critical infrastructure” and tasked with the protection of critical infrastructures.

On May 8, 2020, Mr. Kohn released a 192-page report of his analysis of the response to the Corona pandemic by the federal government to his counterparts in the sixteen German states (Länder) of the Federal Republic of Germany. This report had been drafted by a scientific panel appointed by the interior ministry and composed by external medical experts from several German universities. Among these experts were at least ten of Germany’s leading scientists and doctors. Interior Ministry staff and superiors had been involved in drawing up the paper. The head of the KM4 department had even praised the document before he was abruptly transferred from his post.

The analysis included a medical damage assessment of the lockdown, which came to the conclusion that the measures should have never been taken. It stated that in terms of the dimensions of a national civil protection system, the Corona infection never had the potential to trigger a national disaster with a significant threat to the general public. The report also noted the fact that all the figures, including those from the RKI (Robert Koch Institute) confirmed this. The analysis included a detailed description of how the error in the decision-making processes occurred during the reaction to Corona.

Within two hours of the release of the report, the government tried to dismiss it as, “the work of one employee”, and its contents as “his own opinion”.

Following that, the Corona paper was also leaked to at least two websites (Achgut and Tichys Einblick). The German government and taxpayer-funded media engaged in damage control, because the report challenged the established Corona narrative. Stephan Kohn was suspended (May 10th) and a ministerial statement was issued dismissing the contents of the paper as the opinion of a rogue, mentally disturbed person who did not have permission to distribute the paper. Günter Krings, the representative for Interior Minister Horst Seehofer — the whistleblower’s boss — said the following when asked if he would take the document seriously:

“If you start analyzing papers like that, then pretty soon you’ll be inviting the guys with the tinfoil hats to parliamentary hearings.”

Der Spiegel reported on May 15, 2020 the following: “Stephen Kohn (the whistleblower) has since been suspended from duty. He was advised to obtain a lawyer and his work laptop was confiscated.”

The authors of the report issued a joint press release on May 11th, berating the government for ignoring expert advice, and asking for the interior minister to officially comment upon the experts’ joint statement:

Therapeutic and preventive measures should never bring more harm than the illness itself. Their aim should be to protect the risk groups, without endangering the availability of medical care and the health of the whole population, as it is unfortunately occurring…

We in the scientific and medical practice are experiencing the secondary damages of the Corona-measures on our patients on a daily basis…

We therefore ask the Federal Ministry of the Interior, to comment upon our press release, and we hope for a pertinent discussion regarding the [Corona] measures, one that leads to the best possible solution for the whole population.

Here are some of the report’s key points:

  • The dangerousness of Covid-19 was overestimated: probably at no point did the danger posed by the new virus go beyond the normal level.
  • The people who die from Corona are essentially those who would statistically die this year, because they have reached the end of their lives and their weakened bodies can no longer cope with any random everyday stress (including the approximately 150 viruses currently in circulation).
  • Worldwide, within a quarter of a year, there have been no more than 250,000 deaths from Covid-19, compared to 1.5 million deaths [25,100 in Germany] during the influenza wave 2017/18.
  • The danger is obviously no greater than that from many other viruses. There is no evidence that this was more than a false alarm.
  • A reproach could go along these lines: During the Corona crisis the State has proved itself as one of the biggest producers of Fake News.

JLH’s translation of the executive summary:

KM4 Analysis of crisis management (summary)

Prefatory remarks: The task and goal of crisis management teams and any crisis management whatsoever is to recognize exceptional dangers and combat them until a normal situation is achieved again. Therefore, a normal situation cannot be a crisis.

Summary of results of analysis

1.   Crisis management has in the past (unfortunately counter to better judgment) established no adequate instruments for the analysis and evaluation of dangers. In the present crisis, the SITREPS in which all information relevant to decision-making should be summarized, show thus far only a small band of the spectrum of dangers. An evaluation of the danger is not possible on the basis of incomplete and unqualified information in the situation overviews. Without correctly achieved evaluation of the danger, there can be no appropriate and effective planning of measures to be taken. In every transformation, the methodological deficit moves to a higher level. The policy thus far has a severely reduced chances to make the factually correct decisions.
2.   The observable effects and impact of COVID-19 identify no sufficient evidence — in terms of health impact on the population as a whole — of more than a false alarm. At no point in time did a greater-than-normal danger to the population exist (comparison standard is the usual deaths in the EU). Statistically, the people who die this year are at the end of their lives and their weakened bodies cannot resist the random strains of everyday life (including the ca.150 currently active viruses). The danger from COVID-19 was overestimated. (Within three months worldwide, no more than 250,000 deaths from COVID-19, against 1.5 million during the 1917-18 influenza epidemic). The danger is clearly no greater than that from many other viruses.

We are most likely dealing with a long unrecognized false alarm. This analytical result has been validated, and does not substantially contradict the data and evaluations of risks presented by the Robert Koch Institute.

3.   Essentially, the suspected false alarm remained undetected for weeks, because the applicable guidelines for the actions of the crisis team and crisis management in a pandemic lack any appropriate detection instruments for automatically setting off an alarm that would cause an immediate halting of measure soon as a pandemic warning proves to be a false alarm or it can be foreseen that collateral damage — including danger to human life — threatens to become greater than the health-related deadly potential of the disease in question.
4.   The collateral damages become greater than perceptible benefit. This determination is not based on a comparison of material damage to human (personal) damage! It is based on a comparison of deaths from the virus to date with deaths from state-mandated protective measures (both without a certain base of data). An overview compilation of collateral health damage (including deaths) validated by scientists is appended below.
5.   The (completely pointless) collateral damage is now gigantic. Some of this damage will manifest in the near and more distant future. This cannot be stopped, only limited.
6.   Critical infrastructures are the arteries of modern societies. In critical infrastructures, as a consequence of protective measures, there is no security of supplies, as is customary (gradual reduction of the security of supply, which may decrease in coming times of stress on the system). The resilience of the highly complex and strongly interdependent system of critical infrastructures has lessened. From this point on, our society will be living with a heightened vulnerability and greater risk of default in critical infrastructures. The results may be fatal, should the reduced resilience level of KRITIS (1) be confronted by a truly dangerous pandemic or other threat. UN General Secretary António Guterres spoke about a fundamental risk four weeks ago. According to a report from Tagesschau on April 10, 2020, Guterres said: “The weaknesses and the faulty preparation exposed by this pandemic offer an idea of what a bio-terrorist attack could look like — and [these weaknesses] may possibly raise the risk of that.” According to our analyses, there is a serious lack of an adequate system of danger analysis and evaluation in crisis situations (see above).
7.   Largely still in force are the state-decreed protective measures, as well as the social activities and initiatives — initially protective measures which have meanwhile lost all meaning. It is imperative to rescind them completely, to prevent damage to the populace — especially unnecessary additional deaths — and, if possible, to stabilize the increasingly precarious situation in critical infrastructures.
8.   The deficiencies and errors in crisis management have led to transmission of invalid information and thus loosed disinformation on the public. (A criticism could be: In the Corona crisis, the state has proven to be one of the greatest sources of fake news.) From these findings, it follows:

Continue reading

The Fundraiser That Wasn’t

This fundraising post was “sticky” for two weeks. Scroll down for lots of posts that were put up after it first appeared.

Update August 30 5:30pm EDT

I’m struggling with the new payments service, trying to find out how to make a form, or get a quick link, for a donation button. Until I manage to do that, snail mail is the only option. If you would like to make a postal donation, please email me at gatesofvienna {at} chromatism {dot} net, and I’ll send the address to you.

Since the last time I posted an update, more snail-mail donations have come in from the following places:

Stateside: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, West Virginia, and Washington

Canada: British Columbia

A big thank you to everyone who sent in their contributions. Your generosity is astonishing!

Email acknowledgements have gone out to most of the donors, and the rest will be sent shortly.

The Fundraiser That Wasn’t

Update August 25 8:00pm EDT

A week ago I thought this was going to be a normal quarterly fundraiser. I started it in the usual fashion, with an opening post on Monday for the fundraising “octave”. Then I woke up on Tuesday morning and discovered to my dismay that I’d been shut out of PayPal. After a conversation with the lady in the Terminations Department (as I think it was called), I was left in no doubt that I had been cancelled for my political opinions.

This eventuality was hardly unexpected; it’s not like I’m the first to be cancelled by PayPal. Over the past couple of years I watched the big guns go down one by one — Jihad Watch, Tommy Robinson, and numerous others. Since I’m just a tiny popgun in the “racist” scheme of things, my day of reckoning was delayed. But it had to come someday.

Hitting this speed bump made me decide to keep this post on top for a few extra days, to make sure that everyone gets a chance to see it. Newer stuff will continue to accumulate below it.

For the time being I’m fundraising by snail mail. Those who want to donate and don’t already have the address, please email me at gatesofvienna {at} chromatism {dot} net, and I’ll send it to you.

So far the results have been encouraging — a fair number of envelopes have arrived in the mail. I’ve already started writing the thank-you notes. I really appreciate your willingness to pitch in. And at least five people who have never donated in the past were affronted by what PayPal did, and wrote to ask for the address.

Even so, there’s no doubt that PayPal’s heinous actions will reduce the amount I can successfully raise. Not everyone will be willing to send money by regular mail, and the logistics for overseas gifts will be tricky.

The big question is whether the reduction will be significant enough to threaten the continuation of this site. Everything should proceed as normal for at least another quarter — I have enough savings to cover that.

In the meantime, I’m determined to find a substitute for PayPal. I’m in the throes of attempting to set up an account with a new service, but the interminable process of account verification is still incomplete. So keep your fingers crossed, or send up a smoke signal to the fire god, or say a novena for me — I need all the help I can get.

Continue reading

“I am needing to speak with Mr. Edward”

I get a lot of spam phone calls, and the first line spoken by the caller after I say “Hello” is often something like the above. I probably don’t need to tell you that the esteemed gentleman on the other end of the line invariably sounds a lot like Apu, even though he identifies himself as “Dave” or “Mike”.

It’s remarkable how non-multicultural these phone spammers are. Their cultural region lies roughly within a triangle whose vertices may be found at Lahore, Dhaka, and Bangalore.

Such calls are always about Medicare. Either my insurance company or Medicare itself has sold my phone number to the telemarketers. The dodgy entity doing the calling is usually identified as “Medicare Services” or something similar, in an attempt to fool a geezer in his dotage into thinking that he’s talking to an official Medicare representative — who just happens to have immigrated recently from Mumbai — but without being legally liable for fraud.

If I’m in the middle of something, I just hang up on the guy. But if I’m in no hurry, I might play with him a little bit. Sometimes I say, “There’s nobody on Medicare in this house,” making sure that my voice holds a tone of earnest puzzlement. To which the caller sometimes responds with: “I am so sorry; I will take your number off the list.” Which I really like to hear.

Other times I say: “Mr. May died last week. This is his stepson Herbert. Is there anything I can help you with?” After which I receive the deep condolences of the caller before he hangs up.

Today’s call came just after lunch. I responded to his opening line with: “I’m sorry; my hearing is not good. I’m having trouble understanding you. Could you please put on someone who speaks English as his native language?”

Apu:   “But sir, is this not English which I am speaking to you?”
Baron:   “Yes, but it’s not your native language. Your native language is Urdu, or Hindi, or possibly Tamil. I need someone whose native language is ENGLISH.”
Apu:   “So, you are an American, then?”
Baron:   (Patient) “I need someone whose native language is English.”
Apu:   (Sarcastic) “Ah, then, so you are from England?”
Baron:   (Still patient) “Please put on someone who speaks English as their native language.”
Apu:   (Now angry) “You, sir, are a RACIST! Goodbye!”

And he hung up.

It was a very satisfying phone call.