All posts by mallagher

Covid Bulletin – Herd Immunity May be a Mirage

From BI

The Spanish government teamed up with some of the country’s leading epidemiologists to discover what percentage of the population had developed antibodies that could provide immunity from the coronavirus.

The study found that just 5% of those tested across the country maintained antibodies to the virus, in findings published by the medical journal The Lancet.

In other words, we are seeing evidence that anti-bodies formed during infection do not last for extended periods of time, at least in certain patients.

One of the Great Routines – Who’s on First?

Abbot and Costello did this masterfully in this video

How did they develop this sketch?

Bud Abbott stated that it was taken from an older routine called “Who’s The Boss?”, a performance of which can be heard in an episode of the radio comedy program It Pays to Be Ignorant from the 1940s.[2] After they formally teamed up in burlesque in 1936, he and Costello continued to hone the sketch. It was a big hit in the fall of 1937, when they performed the routine in a touring vaudeville revue called Hollywood Bandwagon.

Fun Tidbits




A Disturbing Possibility in November

You may have heard about this — the possibility that Donald Trump will lose the election to Joe Biden by a narrow margin, and try to block certification of results in key swing states . To the extent that he can offer a plausible counter narrative that he actually won in those states, the election may be thrown to the US Supreme Court (as it was in Bush v. Gore).

Max Boot writes about this in WP.

No one knows if this will happen. But as Max points out, it  is not unlikely that Donald Trump (1) knows his chances of an outright election win are not that great, and (2) is preparing to max out his chances of staying in the White House by any means possible. Alleging voter fraud and contesting certifications  is the most likely “any means” that he might have at his disposal.

Bottom line: to avoid this, Joe Biden needs to win by a convincing if not overwhelming margin. There can be no doubt of the outcome. And so, if you live in a swing state, especially Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan VOTE! Not just that, get your friends to register and vote.

The key first step is to be sure you are properly registered. Learn the requirements and meet them. Then vote.

Don’t wait until the last minute to register! The registration offices will likely be overloaded and your registration may not be handled correctly. DO IT EARLY!!!

This is the single most important election in our generation. It is not time to “assume” everything will be ok. We need to make sure Biden gets enough votes to win!

Go for it!


Cookbook Alert: You Want the Best of Italian deserts? No Prob!

From Dave Lebovitz about Gina DePalma

Her book, Dolci Italiano, has become a baking classic and is one of those exceptional cookbooks that makes excellent reading (as well as being an entirely enticing collection of recipes), especially the chapter on Italian ingredients, which isn’t just a rote list of what to buy. She discusses the importance of baking ingredients and what they mean to Italians: Olive oil isn’t just to moisten, it’s a flavor. And why citrus figures into Italian desserts more often than vanilla.

Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen: DePalma, Gina ...

If you want to get a sense of Gina’s personality, check out this video of her giving a cooking demonstration and presentation at Google (back in 2007(. Enjoy!

Sixers Lore: The Sixers have No Chance! But they Will Win!

That sounds like a contradiction. And it is, except if we are talking about beliefs. You may believe that the Sixers have no chance to win the NBA title this weird year. And based on what happened during the shortened season, you would have a point.

But the truncated season is not relevant to what will happen in Orlando. Why? Because the Orlando scene will be totally different.

  • all the teams will be equally discombobulated
  • this is now a sprint rather than a marathon
  • the Sixers are healthy and have something to prove
  • when the Sixers play together, they are better than any other team around

So will the Sixers “play together”? I think so. And if so, they will win even though by all measures going into Orlando they have no chance.

There Comes a Time When One Craves Appetizer No. 3!

For better or worse, the lockdown period has made cocktail hour a “thing” for me here in Tartu.

I have tried lots of different variations. Each time, I fall in love with the cocktail, proclaiming “This is it! Nothing else will do!” And so it was for dirty martinis, manhattans, daiquiis, whiskey sours, and now the old fashioned.

The old fashioned is my current fav — but only when it combines one additional ingredient. It must have a splash of Cointreau. At first I thought that this was my own invention. But I was wrong. This is, in fact, a drink that was called “Appetizer No. 3.

The Appetizer No. 4 Recipe

The history

Appetizer No. 3, which appeared in Patrick Garvin Duffy’s The Official Mixer’s Guide in 1934. Taking the crisp orange flavor of Cointreau, it applies it in a trace dose to a bourbon base; further accented with the soft anise-hinted character of Peychaud’s bitters, the drink is finished with a spray of lemon oil. Couldn’t be easier, or more approachable.

BTW, I am using a Jim Beam bourbon that I highly recommend.

Jim Beam Double Oak 43% 70cl - Goalco

I first bought it because it was on sale. And I keep going back to it!


Women on Bicycles? Hope They Have the Bloomers On!

Some summer fun!

The modern bicycle was a 19th century invention. Initially, they were called “velocipedes“.

High-wheelers, Velocipedes and Bicycle-Face: Bikes Throughout History

A strange name!

The term was probably first coined by Karl von Drais in French as vélocipède for the French translation of his advertising leaflet for his version of the Laufmaschine, also now called a ‘dandy horse‘, which he had developed in 1817. It is ultimately derived from the Latin velox, veloc- ‘swift’ + pes, ped- ‘foot’.

Over the next half century, designs improved. – for example, pedals were attached to the front wheel enabling the rider to achieve much higher speeds.. Various models came to market. There was the “boneshaker”, and the “penny farthing”.  The penny farthing looked awkward, and a bit dangerous, but the large front wheel actually gave a smoother ride. But watch out if you fall!

Early Velocipede Bicycle - Version 2 - T-shirt Digital Art by Daniel ...

Here is one in use

Penny Farthings; Crazy Ride or Nostalgic Bliss? | Penny farthing ...

Then came the “safety” bicycle, which had a design that we still use today.  At first, it was derided, but its benefits were obvious.

Safety Bicycle - the first bicycle

And with the safety bicycle came a social revolution. Women wanted to ride them!

The cycling craze of the 1890s saw women mounting bikes, escaping the bonds of domestic duty and chaperoned travel. The bicycle changed how women got around.

As the article then points out, “men freaked out.” Among the complaints by men

Commentators raised concerns that women riding bikes could be led to “loose” lifestyles. Some worried that bicycles could be sexually stimulating, so designers began building bicycles with less padded seats, and handlebars adjusted so the rider would not lead over too far and experience physical pleasure.

But women were undaunted. They wanted to ride!

This is what men figured would happen if women rode bikes. Female cigarette smoking was controversial at the time as well. 189?, public domain.

Not just that, women were actually competing in velocipede races! Om fact. the first recorded race took place in Bordeaux in 1868, using front wheel pedal models.

First Female Velocipede Racers, Le Monde Illustré, November 1868. Image:

There was, as they say, a hitch

The pedals were attached to the axis of the front wheel, which meant that the first female velocipede racers sat with their legs stretched out in front of them. With the speed of the velocipedes, their clothing flowed behind them, revealing their legs as seen in the illustration. Le Monde Illustré called their outfits “foolish.”

Far too racy for Americans!

The following month, the American journal Harper’s Weekly, A Journal of Civilization, printed the same illustration with one difference. In the American version, undergarments were added to cover the legs of the female velocipede racers. Apparently, the French version was considered too risque for American readers, despite the “Reform Dress” movement already percolating.

First Female Velocipede Racers, Harper’s Weekly, A Journal of Civilization, December 1868. Image:

The new undergarments were a perfect match for this new exciting past time

Bloomers had appeared in The Water-Cure Journal, the popular women’s health journal, in October 1849. The new garment was a response to the cumbersome fashions of the time that hindered women from athletic activity. Amelia Bloomer took a liking to the new garment and published it in her journal, The Lily. By 1851 Bloomers had become the craze.

Amelia Bloomer?

Amelia Bloomer - Women's Rights National Historical Park (U.S. ...

And this is how we got to today

Wheel Sport: Young Girl Riding Bicycle Outside. Healthy Lifestyle ...

Perhaps the next revolution in transport will be led by women?