Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Friday Food and Drink Post: Before There Was AllRecipes, There Were Cookbooks!


And I’m a sucker for cookbooks. My favorites are the ones with personal touches, personal stories, and family recipes. In all of those veins, some of my “go-to” volumes are Nigella, Jennifer Brennan, Jamie Oliver, M.F.K Fisher, and Julia Child. In addition, when I’m visiting foreign climes, and if at all possible, I like to bring a local cookbook home with me. Here’s my rack. (Men of Ricochet, those of you whose minds live in the gutter, rise above!) Click to embiggen if you would like to read the spines. It’s the result of over half-a-century of collecting, and of occasional heartrending refinement, because I only have so much room:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How ‘Tiger King’ Made Me That ‘Game of Thrones’ Guy


If you dare speak to me about that stupid dragon show again I will eat you.
I was never into “Game of Thrones” (henceforth referred to as GoT). Many other people were, however. There were even GoT nights at bars were people dressed up and talked about GoT. This is all fine. It’s nice that people have (had) the time and freedom to mingle with their fellows about shared passions. I wish that there was an American history night at bars but I’m used to being in the intellectual and philosophical minority.

But there was a flaw not uncommon with GoT fans. They could not understand that I did not want to talk about “Game of Thrones.” This is a typical conversation with GoT fans when the show was still on air:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus and the Experts: Which Will Cause More Harm?


Experts – can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em! We need their expertise, but one expert will tell you one thing while another tells you the opposite. Sometimes the same expert will tell you opposite things at two different times. What the…?!

Take President Fauci – er, I mean, Dr. Fauci – for instance. That would be President Trump’s head honcho bigwig infectious disease doctor advising him on all things coronavirus. On January 26, this medical “expert” said during an interview on a radio program that, pertaining to the coronavirus, “It’s a very, very low risk to the United States.” That was his “expert” opinion at the time. Funny thing is, the last time I checked, the United States is now closed for business, lights out, curtains drawn, shut down until further notice. Presumably, either Dr. Fauci or some other equally brilliant “expert” will let us all know when it’s safe to go back to normal again – if indeed anything will ever be normal again.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Passover: The Nature of Modern Slavery


Passover has become a very special time for me. Not only do we celebrate the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt, but it arrives at a time of new beginnings: springtime.

This year, Passover time fills my heart with mixed emotions. I will not be able to celebrate with the @iwe family in Baltimore. They have grounded my Passover observance in holiness and light, and they were central to my own personal spring/rebirth, my return to Judaism. This year I have asked my husband to participate in a mini-Seder, just the two of us, so that we might observe not only the Jews’ freedom from slavery, but also how we are called to pay attention to the real and imaginary ways that we enslave ourselves, and how we might transcend those limitations.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Gates of Hell Hath Seen His Shadow…


…and declared 18 more months of quarantine:

You will be tested, whether you like it or not. You will be vaccinated, with his vaccine, whether you like it or not. You will not be allowed outside until late May at the earliest, and you won’t be allowed to gather in groups for 18 months, because that’s how long the vaccine takes. This is the plan, folks.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus: My Projection


I posted a preliminary projection yesterday (here), at the end of one of my regular reports, but I wasn’t very happy with it. Here is my official COVID-19 projection for the US. I’ll post it so that I can be properly humiliated if I’m wildly wrong, or improperly smug if I turn out to be right.

I’ll show my rationale, in case it is of any interest to you.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Merl’s Magical Sandwiches


Here’s something fun to take your mind off all your anxieties—my son Nathan’s storyboard for his latest animation project. He’s taking 2D animation this semester at the University of Utah.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When the Going Gets Tough…


The tough get going. The State of Israel came into existence in such a situation of extreme crisis that responding to a crisis is second nature to it. Here are two good examples of such.

Israeli Medical Volunteers Release Ventilator Blueprints Using Off-the-shelf Parts


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Weird in WA: Color Me Surprised


I can’t believe I am actually saying this, but I think the normally-stupid Governor of Washington State actually did something very good this week. This action leaves me shaking my head in bewilderment, but smiling. It so happens that, this week, Inslee vetoed $445 million in spending passed by the heavily-Democrat legislature. This is simply unbelievable! Finally, there is something more worthy of taxpayer dollars than the usually-leftist policies that get funded in Washington. I’m betting that whatever was funded and vetoed probably won’t be missed.

The second unbelievable action was taken by the leftist Mayor of Seattle. Now, the city has been shuttered and streets empty of traffic for many days. What Mayor Durkan did in support of all the essential workers in town was to make all parking in city paid-parking zones free. Yes, essential workers, who are the only ones allowed out of their homes, now will find all the parking meters and pay-stations inactivated. No more paid parking and no more time limits. The powers-that-be in Seattle are dominated by “get the people out of their cars and into government transportation” leftists and parking has become very expensive, both on the street and in garages and lots. It’s great that they have taken pity on those who must use their private vehicles. At least for a while.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Policing the Pandemic


I have a new piece up over at PJ Media in which I discuss some of the more bizarre incidents of overzealous law enforcement going on across Southern California in the name of keeping us “safe” from the coronavirus. I’m sure members of the Ricochetti across the country can describe similar happenings in their own cities and towns.

I do not discount the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, I am of a sufficiently advanced age to be considered a high-risk patient if I were to contract the disease. But neither do I discount the genuine threat to liberty posed by the various orders, decrees, edicts, and mandates lately imposed by the nation’s governors, mayors, health commissioners, and every other sort of government functionary exercising their newly discovered power to limit the freedom of their fellow citizens. In the case of the people being hassled for watching the sunset, cited above, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department was so proud of this exercise of authority that they made it their pinned tweet on their Twitter account.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Following The Science’: Rule by Models and Experts


Lately, we have been preached to a lot about “following the science” by some people who have consistently accepted only the “science” which seems to reinforce their own worldview. At times in the past, we have “followed the science” down a path leading to both failure and death.

In this country, the drift toward “progressivism” more or less began with the proclaimed need to have “experts” be in charge of the major decisions of society. The world had just become too complicated, too advanced to allow the individual whims of uninformed masses to have dominant sway over critical issues. Things would just run better for everyone if we turned from the individualism on which we were founded in the first place. Top-down decisions for everyone by the experts of each concern were to be the answer to the future.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Scruton on Faces


In The Soul of the World, Roger Scruton writes:

My face is … the part of me to which others direct their attention, whenever they address me as ‘you.’ I lie behind my face, and yet I am present in it, speaking and looking through it at a world of others who are in turn both revealed and concealed like me. My face is a boundary, a threshold, a place where I appear as the monarch appears on the balcony of the palace….


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘A Pandemic Is a Lot Like a Forest Fire…’


“A pandemic is a lot like a forest fire,” Bush said at the time. “If caught early it might be extinguished with limited damage. If allowed to smolder, undetected, it can grow to an inferno that can spread quickly beyond our ability to control it.”

In the summer of 2005, President George W. Bush was reading an advance copy of a book about the Spanish Influenza pandemic.


In a span of weeks in early 2020, Congress passed over $2 trillion in legislation aimed at rescuing the U.S. economy from the scourge of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus. So is Congress doing a good job of spending our money? What’s next on the COVID-19 policy agenda? How do we best address the economic dislocation that is affecting everyday Americans and vulnerable populations? And are there things we can do to help Congress better navigate complex policy challenges like this one?

To help us think through these questions, we turn to Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin’s 8th District, which encompasses Green Bay and much of northeastern Wisconsin. Rep. Gallagher is one of the youngest members of Congress, a wee 36 years old, and has emerged as one of the most interesting and energetic engines of conservative thinking in that chamber.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Hypothesis: What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?


I’ve been posting regularly on the progress of the COVID-19 epidemic in Western Europe and the US, so I have the data readily available. Today, David Foster has a post, In a Time of Widespread Craziness, reporting that some people are burning down 5G towers in the apparent belief that 5G causes coronavirus. David was quite dismissive of this hypothesis but did not offer any empirical support.

Fortunately, I have the data available. According to this report from February 2020, 5G is commercially available in the following Western European countries: Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. So I analyzed my data on COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 population for the month of March 2020, based on the commercial availability of 5G service in Western Europe. The countries in which 5G is not available are Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal. I grouped countries based on the availability of 5G service (as usual, starting each trend line when the region passed 0.05 deaths per 100,000). Here is the result:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Who’s a Good Dog?


“These are the tales the Dogs tell, when the fires burn high and the wind is from the North.” — Clifford Simak, City

The conclusion to the 1957 movie, Old Yeller, has to be among the two or three most heart-rending scenes ever filmed. If you remember the story, Old Yeller, the beloved family dog, fights off a rabid wolf who is attacking the youngest son of the family. During the fight, Old Yeller is badly wounded.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Virgin Experience #2: Grocery Delivery


You might have read the post about my virgin experience of pizza delivery. You would think it would have prepared us for our first adventure into grocery delivery. Not hardly.

We finally convinced ourselves that grocery shopping in a store with potential coronavirus zombies disguised as real human beings was not a good idea. Many people insisted that having our groceries selected and delivered by strangers made more sense. Since I am very picky about the food I buy, I was skeptical. Selecting raspberries that aren’t moldy or strawberries that are ripe at the end of the season are iffy propositions. But I finally relented.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Experience Having COVID-19

COVID-19 under the microscope. 3d illustration. Photo by

In case anyone’s curious about one COVID-19 experience: Two friends, my wife, and I went to London the second week of March on a long-planned vacation. Did the whole tourist thing, but tried to be safe by washing hands, Purelling, etc. We came home on separate flights on March 14. and immediately went into self-quarantine.

All four of us eventually got sick. Our medical friends in the group got tested. After a week, the results came pack COVID-positive. So we got tested – the mouth swab. I had a fever for 12 days (no fun, I can tell you, but it never got too high), felt cruddy, but I work from home and so was able to get most of my work done. Naps every day. Never had the breathing problems, thankfully.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When Anyone Claims We Can’t…


I have seen a bunch of memes make the rounds along the following lines:

  • When anyone claims we can’t afford a new government program…
  • When anyone claims we can’t provide all Americans with free healthcare…
  • When anyone claims we can’t provide work from home options…

Just remember we could do all the above during COVID-19.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How to Say Thanks to the Front-line Doctors, Nurses, and Health Professionals


My husband and I are both practicing physicians on the “front-line” (he considerably more than me) of the COVID epidemic. We often hear and deeply appreciate friends, acquaintances, family members and sometimes even strangers say, “You guys are the heroes. Thank you for what you do. What can I do to help and support you?”

Here is one answer: Tort reform.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Civil War: Some Random Observations from Quarantine


With more time on my hands, I’ve taken the time to re-introduce myself to the American Civil War in both fiction and non-fiction. Not the happiest subject, I admit, but one that, at least for me, is endlessly fascinating and reminds me that things could be far worse.

On the non-fiction side, I’m halfway through the first volume of Shelby Foote’s three-volume history of the war. Yes, he was a man of the south (Mississippi), and the southern view of the war permeates his history. But his history falls far short of southern hagiography, and he writes like a dream. You’ve got to love studying the war to read these books, but they reward the reader’s diligence. Next up, I’m going to re-read Allen Guelzo’s Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, which I consider the best book on the subject.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Problems


“Isn’t it wonderful; if you have a few problems, you have trouble, but if you have a whole lot of problems, they start solving each other.” – H. Beam Piper, Ministry of Disturbance

Problems? We all have problems today. Enough problems that this aphorism (which Piper used some variant of in several stories) begins to apply. If you have enough problems you can put them together to start solving themselves. It is a principle I have cheerfully, indeed ruthlessly, applied since my early teens when I first came across it in one of Piper’s sci-fi novels.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Its Effect is to Hold The World Together’


The whole neighborhood is home and the grills are going. I sniff the air like Yogi Bear and start pulling things out of the freezer to grill for the week. My cousin from Vegas called to check on us. She is 10 years older and, if there was a liberal chart, she would fall off. We have been closer in touch since the passing of her sister, my other cousin, 15 years older, a couple of years ago. We don’t breach politics. We skirted the issue when she revealed her “psychotic event” when Trump was elected – sigh. So we keep it light. I love the sound of her melodic voice that reminds me of childhood.

She called yesterday and in our five-minute call, as I said we were on our way to pick up food, lamented that Las Vegas is a ghost town. It thrives on crowds — the Strip, gambling, sports events, concerts, conventions — now all gone. Then she suddenly began to rail on Trump, and how his “slow” response to the virus caused our current situation. I asked what about all the other world leaders and their responses? She said, but we are the greatest country, and he dismantled Obama’s emergency response team! I won’t go there but I dismissed it with, “Well, glad you are all ok, and can I call you back?” I don’t feel like calling her back.