Suddenly: One Night Only

Saturday evening, for one night only. Elizabeth in concert.

A duet. A romantic song of falling in love at first sight. The kind when both man and woman glance back to see if the other noticed. The stage was kept on the darker side, under dark pink and dark blue lighting, to set the mood. In place of the live performance, a montage featuring Elizabeth is used in this video. The audio track is from the live performance.

This video is best viewed in full screen 1080p HD and the volume set on high.

On the track

Lead vocals: Elizabeth & David Ramos
Keyboards and piano: Andrea Kanakredes
Lead guitar: Blake Dylan
Guitar: Barry Dylan
Guitar: Mike Dozier
Bass: Michael Evans
Drums: William Edward O’Brien
Percussion: JD McClain
Strings: Wendy Stills, Sarah McNeal, Jen Harrison
Flute: Melody Reynolds

Composer: John Farrar
Arranged by: Andrea Kanakredes

Recorded live at Front Range Concerts.
© Copyright 2021 – Team KRW. All Rights Reserved.

Prelude: One Night Only

Saturday evening, for one night only. Elizabeth in concert.

It began with this video, on the large screen, of North Ranch in September. Colorado at her finest. Summer still ever present, the tall prairie grasses barely stirring. Accompanied by an orchestral fanfare composed by Dennis McCarthy, conjuring and bringing forth the emotion found in the heart. The fanfare is better known as Archer’s Theme.

This video is best viewed in full screen 1080p HD and the volume set on high.

While the fanfare played, Elizabeth was off-stage, listening for her cue.

She was beautiful. She was in fine voice.

On this song:

Lead guitar: David Ramos
Keyboards and piano: Andrea Kanakredes
Acoustic guitar: Blake Dylan
Bass: Barry Dylan
Percussion: Michael Evans
Drums: William Edward O’Brien
Strings: Wendy Stills, Sarah McNeal, Jen Harrison
Oboe, clarinet: Melody Reynolds
Horns: JD McClain, Perry Cortes, Vernon Lerner, Mike Dozier

Composer: Dennis McCarthy

Recorded live at Front Range Concerts.
© Copyright 2021 – Team KRW. All Rights Reserved.

Where No Man Has Gone Before …

The Blue Origin flight carrying William Shatner into space went as planned, earlier this morning. The flight was nominal. You just can’t get any better than this.

This is the flight that truly captures and fires the imagination.

Growing up, the first landing on the moon was the inspiring. You absolutely knew many said, “That is what I want to do.” Of course, you didn’t know everything that goes into becoming an astronaut. It didn’t matter.

Shatner was awestruck.  Now, he is part of a very exclusive club.

It may not be in our lifetime for us regular folk to have our turn in space. But, we can always dream.

To Boldly Go …

On Wednesday morning (0630 PT/0930 ET), the Captain who epitomized Starfleet derring-do in the Star Trek series, is headed into space on a 15-minute, sub-orbital flight onboard the Blue Origin spacecraft.

Blue Origin launch site, West Texas
photo courtesy: Blue Origin

Bill Shatner, who played James T Kirk in Star Trek, will be making the flight as a guest of Jeff Bezos.

This captures the imagination. Not Elon Musk’s one-way missions to the Moon and Mars, or his private-citizen crewed flight. Not Richard Branson’s “How much more money can I make?” flights.

Shatner, in his presser, said he hopes not to see a gremlin during his flight, making reference to his classic Twilight Zone episode. While acknowledging the gee-whiz factor and excitement of the flight, Shatner understands its seriousness. A successful flight moves the ball a little further down the road, taking those tentative first steps into space.

When Shatner takes his place onboard the Blue Origin spacecraft, it will be curious to know if they will keep with tradition in saying, “Captain on the bridge.”

Follow-Up: Crossing Ethical Lines

Three different versions of the same story regarding the decision by UCHealth to deny a transplant procedure …

The recipient, Leilani Lutali, in this case, found her own donor and was not on any organ priority list. Also, she is an employee of UCHealth and has a medical exemption. In an interview shown on local television, she made reference to her doctors advising her to forgo vaccination due to issues surrounding her stage five renal condition. If liability regarding COVID was an issue, both Lutali and her donor, Jaimee Fougner, who is also unvaccinated, were ready to sign releases. UCHealth declined the alternate solution, or any other solution in which Lutali remains unvaccinated.

In reports published by Newsweek and The Hill, both intimate the Lutali’s religious convictions form the basis of her unvaccinated status. Whether they are or not is immaterial. UCHealth, simply, is treading on shaky ground. They should know Lutali has a medical exemption to allow her to stay on the job. Again, she is a UCHealth employee with a medical exemption.

Read the three different versions, and decide for yourself.

  • KKTV (local media) version, read here
  • The Hill (national media) version, read here
  • Newsweek (national media) version, read here

Why does it matter? UC Health should know:

A May 5 study published in JAMA found that 46% of 658 transplant patients did not mount an antibody response after two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

‘Although this study demonstrates an improvement in . . . antibody responses in transplant recipients after dose two . . . these data suggest that a substantial proportion of transplant recipients likely remain at risk for covid-19 after 2 doses of mRNA vaccine,’ the researchers wrote. They think this lack of reaction is probably a result of the immunosuppressive drugs they take.

The second Leilani Lutali receives her first dose of immunosuppressant in post-op, whatever COVID protection she has will likely be reduced in a significant manner.

Unraveling A Pandemic: Crossing Ethical Lines

Cyclosporin A is an immunosuppressant given to prevent organ rejection after transplant surgery. The drug works by lowering the immune response in the patient. Without the drug, or incorrect dosing, a transplant patient will likely die in the days and weeks following surgery.

University of Colorado Health announced on Tuesday, October 5 they will not perform any organ transplants on unvaccinated individuals, no matter how the dire the situation may be. Translated: an unvaccinated patient can be near death, and an organ transplant being the only means to save that person, will be denied the operation. The governor, who is an idiot also, is backing the decision, saying “it is following the science and best medical advice.”

Since science was brought up, let’s talk science. The kind reported in scientific journals, and reported again in open source media.

A May 5 study published in JAMA found that 46% of 658 transplant patients did not mount an antibody response after two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

‘Although this study demonstrates an improvement in . . . antibody responses in transplant recipients after dose two . . . these data suggest that a substantial proportion of transplant recipients likely remain at risk for covid-19 after 2 doses of mRNA vaccine,’ the researchers wrote. They think this lack of reaction is probably a result of the immunosuppressive drugs they take.

May 2021

 

Emerging research shows that 15 to 80% of those with certain conditions, such as specific blood cancers or who have had organ transplants, are generating few antibodies.

May 2021

 

Patients with a condition known as chronic lymphocytic leukemia had a very weak response even if they were not undergoing treatment. The condition, which affects the blood and bone marrow, can sometimes be asymptomatic.

May 2021

 

The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE induces weaker immune responses in elderly people compared to younger and middle-aged adults, new data suggest. Researchers studied 91 vaccine recipients under the age of 60 and 85 recipients over age 80. Seventeen days after the second of two doses, nearly one-third (31%) of the elderly recipients did not have any antibodies capable of neutralizing the virus. This was true for only 2% of the younger group, the researchers reported on Friday on medRxiv ahead of peer review. Even among those under age 60, only 16% had neutralizing antibodies after the first dose, the researchers found.

March 2021

 

Those patients who have received stem cell replacement also generate fewer antibodies. The same applies to those being treated for rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic psoriasis, chronic eczema, and other diseases treated by use of a biologic. (A biologic is a class of drugs which modifies the immune response, often reducing the response. The  COVID vaccines fall into this category, by placing the immune response in a “standby” mode. When the immune system detects the presence of COVID, it responds accordingly.)

Further, the numbers cited by public health officials and infectious disease specialists, often repeated in media interviews, lack statistical value. Both the CDC and NIH chose not to collect categories of data. When they did, the sampling size was insignificant. For example …

According to the analysis, unvaccinated individuals were 44 times more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who had received the vaccine.

March 2021

 

The comparative data to support these conclusions were not collected from both unvaccinated and vaccinated groups who presented with COVID symptoms. How many were hospitalized, how many had died, what was the course of treatment. These conclusions are often cited to encourage vaccination as the highly virulent delta variant became more prevalent. The other problem with these conclusions, they were asserted before the delta variant emerged.

However, let’s get more personal. More than a year later, it has not been determined why Tasha passed away from COVID when her symptoms were slight. More than two months later, it has not been determined why Tess passed away from COVID despite begin fully vaccinated and tested regularly, every 2-3 days. It is nearly six months since I experienced a severe adverse reaction, and it has not been determined why. Tasha and Tess deserve better. Saying “it’s too bad” is not an answer.

Denying an individual an organ transplant based on vaccination status is not science. It is a breach of ethics and morality. The decision made by UCHealth management is contrary to what is taught on Day One of medical ethics, to first year medical students, the god complex. Make an exception here, it makes it easier to allow an exception elsewhere.

More to the point, Andrea in her remarks, when a new group of students were formally accepted into the School of Medicine, three years ago, said it is important to remember why they have chosen the medical profession. “It is to heal. First, last, always. Don’t have the solution, find it. Have the solution, share it. It defines who we are in the profession.”

What was true in March is still true today. To refresh your memories, please read here.

National Taco Day

Everyday is a national food or beverage day. Last week, coffee was celebrated. Today, the week begins with National Taco Day.

A taco can be anything from a taquito to a fried corn tortilla folded in half to a warm flour tortilla, small to burrito size. The filling can be whatever a person wants. More basic it can be, the better. Too much, most of the filling will be on the plate instead.

ice-cold Modelo from the Sunday afternoon BBQ with Amanda (North Ranch, Oct 03 2021)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper taco fest without the proper beverage. Preferably an ice-cold cerveza, an authentic,  no-name Mexican beer. Dos Equis is brewed in Mexico, but owned by Heineken. Corona, Modelo and Pacifico belong to Grupo Modelo, owned by Constellation Brands. From Mexico, Modelo is the #2 imported beer in the USA. It depends upon the individual palate.

What’s on my plate tonight? Leftovers from the Sunday afternoon BBQ with Amanda and leftover cole slaw from Friday night. Tacos for dinner will come on another day.

A Dark Grayness

Low clouds. A definite chill in the air.

skies over North Ranch, Sep 30 2021

While it seemed threatening, it didn’t storm. More of a smothering grayness. A gray of very dark moods and very dark impressions. It is the other bold color of fall, bad moods included.

A Mystery Pandemic

Is there another, much deadlier pandemic at work?

A 30% reduction in songbird populations has been observed across the eastern United States since the early 1970s. Bird species affected include the American robin, bluejays, grackles, starlings, and other common songbirds. More recently, a mystery illness has been ravaging the songbird population. The usual culprits, habitat loss and a warming climate, have been suggested for the accelerating die-off. However, they do not explain the dying process these birds are enduring. Environmental toxins do not explain the dying process either.

Of course, there is the usual crowd who say we shouldn’t worry about a songbird die-off. But, then, there is that very nagging saying and truth about the canary in the coalmine.

Wildlife specialists and ornithologists are stumped by the mystery illness. Several known pathogens have been ruled out. They include COVID-19, bird flu, West Nile virus and common illnesses and diseases that are known to affect birds. To understand the illness, they need to know what it is and what’s causing it. Wildlife specialists are still completely in the dark. “I think the issue now is we don’t have something that’s consistent that we’ve seen across the board in terms of a pathogen that’s present,” says Christine Casey, state wildlife veterinarian for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “There’s a complexity to disease and disease ecology that people don’t understand.” Simply, it cannot be brushed off as “a wildlife problem.”

Environmental toxins, while not completely ruled out, may not be the culprit either. How they poison the environment is that not only birds would be affected, but would soon affect other wildlife species. Predators and scavengers, in particular, as they consume dead and dying birds. Eventually, a toxin would spread into the urban/suburban environment.

While Rachel Carson/Silent Spring comparisons would be made, we have a better understanding of how toxins spread and kill in the broader environment. In 1963, toxins such as DDT weren’t killing off songbirds. They were killing off eagles and other raptors.

image credit: CNET

A rapid, widespread die-off among songbirds would be a harbinger of something very bad unfolding in the environment. There was a reason why coalminers brought canaries along with them. Once the canaries stopped singing, coalminers knew dangerous levels of methane and other coal gases had accumulated. If bird song goes silent, the danger would be among us. Any kind of action would be much too late. It would make the COVID pandemic a walk in the park.

To read more on the mystery illness affecting American songbirds, please read the special CNET article here. This is one of their best science articles in a long while.