*** PLEASE NOTE ***





*** PLEASE NOTE *** I use no other social media, and my comment section here remains closed due to chronic harassment/repeat impersonations by a certain individual. Also, I rarely comment anywhere; when I do, only from this blog as "Chrysalis" or with my real name from email (see correct spelling my profile). If there is ever any question as to legitimacy, please contact myself or Mark via email or phone.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Squid Game ...

 


One of Netflix's best, I would say - very well done, sort of a combination of The Hunger Games and the Saw series. 

I would've given it 5 stars -  if I hadn't figured out the old man's story by episode 3 :/

Still worth a watch, though, because it's a master class in filmmaking.  (Go South Korea, lately, they're on filmmaking fire!)

When I first said it out loud, my husband laughed "Noooo, can't be lol."

I said, "I dunno, we'll see. If I'm right, I'll tell you the subtle, odd, clue moments that tipped me off." 

Let's just say that I was right - and my husband is amazed lol.

And now that I've told him the moments that gave it away for me, he's like, "Oh, yeahhhh."


Hey, don't get me wrong, my husband is super smart, but I'm no genius -  it's just  that I just know film   ;) 



Saturday, September 18, 2021

Folklore/Gossip VS. Reality: James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind" and "Fire and Rain" :)

 

For some reason, I woke up this morning with James Taylor's song, "Carolina In My Mind" :)

Probably, because I'm missing the mountains, after vacationing there in June and spending our anniversary at The Biltmore Estate (see the sidebar videos.)

Also,  I'm a huge JT fan, I love JT, always have - I play JT when I just want to chill or am traveling :)

As for this video, it's someone else's photos to the soundtrack of the song, which shows the diverse landscape of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the western part of the state, to the tropical coastline in the Eastern part of the state :)




Lyrics:

In my mind I'm gone to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
And, ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

Karin, she's a silver sun
You best walk her way and watch it shinin'
Watch her, watch the morning come
A silver tear appearing now
I'm cryin', ain't I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind

There ain't no doubt in no one's mind
That love's the finest thing around
Whisper something soft and kind
And hey, babe, the sky's on fire
I'm dying, ain't I?
Gone to Carolina in my mind

In my mind, I'm gone to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine, sugar?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

Dark and silent, late last night
I think I might have heard the highway call my name
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
Other signs that might be omens say, "I'm goin', I'm goin'"
I'm gone to Carolina in my mind

And it's with a holy host of others standin' around me
Still, I'm on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me
If I'm up and gone to Carolina in my mind

In my mind I'm goin' to Carolina
Can't you see the sunshine?
Can't you just feel the moonshine?
Ain't it just like a friend of mine
To hit me from behind?
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
Yes, I'm gone to Carolina in my mind
Said I'm gone to Carolina
I'd better get back on home again, real soon, you know?
'Cause I'm gone to Carolina in my mind


This started me thinking about the gossip and folklore that surrounds the inspirations behind JT's music VS. reality, and how much that we, as a culture, have now embraced gossip more than fact.

You see, after James Taylor wrote "Fire and Rain,"  which is partially about the death of an actual person, people assumed that all of JT's songs were inspired by actual people and events, and tried to figure them all out lol.

Thus, folklore about the meaning behind his songs took on a life of their own.

What's interesting is - NONE of the folk stories that went any of his songs -  including Fire and Rain - were true.

Thus, it's a lesson on what people believe and spread around versus truth. 

Sometimes, like in JT's case, they're harmless - but other times, not so much (politics).


Folk Story/Urban Legend/Myth about the song "Fire and Rain:" 

There are several folk stories people believe about this song, but the most popular version goes that JT's friend, Suzanne Schnerr, was killed in a plane crash on a surprise flight to London to see him recording at Apple Records, which was arranged by his friends,, and thus explains the lyric "sweet dreams and flying machines, in pieces on the ground" and "Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you."


Reality: 

Suzanne died by suicide - and as he has recently told it, in a 2017 interview -  after "her family had her committed undeservingly, because they wanted to control her" and she wanted to escape this control. 

His friends didn't tell him about either being committed or her suicide until he'd finished his first recording in London at the Beatles' Apple studios, for fear it'd blow a big opportunity for him.

Thus, in the lyric "Suzanne the plans they made put an end to you," the "they" refers to both her family's decisions to have her committed, as well as his friends' refusal to tell him about her committal and suicide, which had kept him from being present, and his subsequent guilt, wondering if perhaps if he had been there, instead of London, he could've saved her.  

As for the line, "sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground" was about his own depression that followed after the prior and recent failure of his band,

Thus, the only aspect of this folklore that is true is that the Suzanne mentioned in the song was a friend of JT's that died - period. 


In fact, there are so many stories about the song, and over-analyzation of the lyrics,  that Stephen Colbert and JT created their own parody of the song, filled with nonsense lyrics in 2019, called "Fire,  Rain, and Calzones"  lol 



Now - there was also a show where Stephen Colbert and JT sang "Carolina on my Mind" as a duet (as Stephen Colbert is from South Carolina and still has a home there), but no one has the video for that, just the audio:(

I would really like to see that, because as everyone knows (including my husband), Stephen Colbert is also one of my imaginary husbands lol. 

I have many imaginary celebrity husbands, in every category, mind you lol -  like Aaron Rodgers ins my imaginary sports husband, Sting is one of my many imaginary music husbands (like JT),  and Stephen Colbert is comedians/talk show host husband lol.  

(I don't have any living in books or acting, though, they've all left us, so I guess they're my "heavenly husbands" now, but that's a whole other list, but Gregory Peck, Gene Kelly, and Paul Newman, for starters lol)

All in fun, of course - I'm not a weird, diehard fan of any of these people, and admittedly, I don't care much for football as a whole, I just like Aaron Rogers lol.  But I know who everybody is because my husband is, both pro and college,  In fact, even as we speak, he's watching College Game Day, he never misses it :)

 And  to tell the truth - sorry Stephen - but I don't watch Stephen's show every night, I'm lucky to catch it even in a week (and often just YouTube clips - I usually binge watch TV anyway on the weekends. 


As for Carolina in My Mind ... 


Folk Story/Urban Legend/Myth about "Carolina In My Mind:" 

During his time at McLean Hospital for depression in the mid-60s, a fellow patient and friend, named Karin, became paranoid and hit him over the head with a chair, knocking him unconscious, where he "went to Carolina in his mind," explaining the lyric "Ain't it just like a friend of mine, to hit me from behind" and "Karin, she's a silver sun, you'd best walk her away and watch it shining"

(lol)

Reality:

James primarily wrote the song while taking a vacation break from recording at Apple studios on the Spanish Islands of Formentera and Ibiza, with a Swedish woman named Karin he'd just met, and the pair became stranded on the island overnight, and the song is about seeing the sunrise and feeling a sudden homesickness for North Carolina (JT was raised raised in Massachusetts and North Carolina). 


And the lyric, "ain't it just like a friend of mine, to hit me from behind?" 

He's actually referring to the memory of North Carolina sneaking up on him out of nowhere, when he least expects it, during an inopportune time - and if you also paid attention the lyrics before that line, you'd know that  :)


Ah, folklore VS, the reality of songs. 


I remember as a child, folk stories about songs and bands were especially popular with the charismatic evangelical set, only they usually also had a more sinister bend to the rumors, like The Eagles "Hotel California" and any song that KISS every played because they believe "KISS" actually stood for "Kings In Service of Satan," and if you listened to these songs, you took a chance of becoming under Satan's power lol.

Because Lord knows that charismatic evangelicals are obsessed with the devil more than they are with Jesus, as well as their abject paranoia that something sinister outside of us can somehow take over our minds and possess us unaware -  which of course would not only completely negate the Christian concept of free will entirely, but is also a revealing self-portrait of their own propensity towards gullibility  ;)


Thus, I wasn't allowed to listen to most secular music -  but believe me, I've made up for lost time since ;)


And for the record, though I believe young minds are impressionable and they can walk away with the wrong impression after being influenced by people, music, books, movies, video games -  I do NOT that these things, in and of themselves, can "take over" or "possess" anyone, as there's  still always free will choice, even in young ones - nothing can influence you without your choice or consent.

Thus, I believe we shouldn't ban these things, but instead, listen/watch these things WITH our children -  when age-appropriate -  with an open mind, making our own opinion (rather than letting others tell us what we should think, without ever viewing/listening ourselves), thereby giving full perspective and discussing them WITH our children :) 

Besides, forbidding fruit entirely makes it that much sweeter - so IMO, it's good to discuss the pros and cons, the choices and consequences,  with our children ;)


Heck, even with beauty pageants, I'd watch them with my daughter so that she could be sure to get a full perspective on what our culture celebrates about the surface of women VS. the full-picture reality of women :)


Though still not a huge fan, as for KISS, the name of the band means exactly what you think it would mean, "kiss," and drummer, Peter Criss, gave the band its name as an extension of the name of his previous band called "Lips."  

The crazy costumes and hair were simply a gimmick to get attention, positive or negative, just like Ozzy Osbourne (only in KISS's case, perhaps to cover for the fact that though they wrote fun party songs, they weren't very talented? ;)

Hotel California was written after reading the book, "The Magus," by John Fowles, and the band wanting to write a similar, creepy, metafiction, Twilight Zone-ish song, just to see if they could, based on some of the life of excess and weird stuff they saw in California, taken to an extreme. 

Persistent rumors abound that the Hotel California is based on the house of Anton Levay's Church of Satan in San Francisco.

Even if that were true, the song is about the excess and underbelly of entertainment business in LA, taken to a Twilight Zone degree, so it's a criticism of that - NOT an advertisement for it lol.


Just a little lesson in folk story/urban legend/myth and what people believe based on gossip VS. reality, brought to you by me :)






Friday, September 17, 2021

The Independent Scientific Advisory Committee's Review and Recommendations to the FDA on Pfizer's Third-Shot Booster

 


Okay, so the independent scientific advisory board to the FDA (comprised of independent infectious-disease experts, pharmacists, and statisticians) voted "NO" (16-2) on recommending a third Pfizer shot for those 16 and older - HOWEVER - unanimously voted "YES" (18-0) to a subpopulation, those ages 65  and older (those most at risk/with lower immune systems).


Keep in mind, the FDA does not have to follow the independent advisory boards recommendations, but they typically do.


However again  - remember that recently, Aduhelm (adalimumab) was a prime example of a time that the FDA did not take the independent advisory panel's recommendations against the drug, and instead approved it - so it's anyone's guess.


Because today was an unusually long, full-day, intense debate, the FDA did not make it's decision, and thus the final vote will be next week. 

See?  Told you the scientific community was split on this one (see below post ;). 


In the end, it came down to whether the panel thought the small study that Pfizer provided proved any additional benefit from a third shot of the exact same formulation of the vaccine.

At the end of the day, it appeared the majority of the committee  wasn't fully convinced by the small study that a third shot provided additional benefit for everyone, except for those 65 or older,  who are most at risk and have the weakest immune systems.


But again, the FDA itself could disagree and still approve it anyway, like they did Aduhelm.


Now - what I'm not sure of is, if the FDA does agree with the independent advisory committee's recommendations, and it's not approved, either partially (for those 65+) or fully (ages 16 and up), whether Pfizer can reapply again, after new data, i.e. a larger population and longer-term studies for durability of response?

Typically not -  but the again, Aduhelm un-stereotypically (and inexplicably) got second and third chances, after producing more data (that still didn't prove much meaningful statistical significance) - so who knows?   


My hope is that Pfizer will perhaps instead focus on answering the question I posed below - which is whether mRNA vaccines will still need additional variant-strain genetic information added to the original formulation, like "live strain" vaccinations, or not - and if so - perhaps reapply after that has been done and studied in clinical trial for efficacy, safety, and durability of response?


Also, I know the Biden administration really wanted that third booster shot - but the evidence just isn't there yet.

The small study Pfizer provided neither proved nor disproved a third shot of the same formulation added any additional benefit - nor did it determine durability of response of the first two, one way or the other.




Now, I'm a die-hard Democrat, and I love Biden, but unlike Trumpers, I don't pretend he's the hand of God and that everything he says and does is a holy edict of God and that he's perfect - no one is.



If we claim to be the party that "follows the science," then we need to do that - wait for statistically significantly statistical evidence, instead of making biased assumptions, yes? 


Otherwise, we're no different than Trumpers - we can speculate and believe something all day, but that doesn't make it - we have to prove prove it ;)

Perhaps then if we just focus on getting the rest of the population vaccinated with the first two shots instead, because we DO have real-world proof of its efficacy against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and that it offers at least some protection against variants like the Delta variant, at least when it comes to severe disease.


Now, again - having said all of that - if the FDA goes against the IAC's recommendations and approves the third shot, and it's still offered for free, I would still get it - both because we had no ill effects from the first two, and because we have no proof either way, whether it provides any additional benefit or does nothing more - so why not? 


Interesting stuff, huh?

Well, maybe that's just to me :)








Thursday, September 16, 2021

FDA Reviews Pfizer's Booster Shot Application and Study Info ...

 


Tomorrow, the FDA will review Pfizer's application to provide a third booster shot, and a summary of what's to be reviewed tomorrow can be found HERE at https://www.fda.gov/media/152176/download.


So there's a bit of controversy over this, and not the usual suspects - the scientific community itself appears to be split.

Now - there is no question that real-world follow-up studies have shown Pfizer and Moderna's mRNA-based vaccines have been able to provide efficacy against regular COVID, and at least some efficacy against the delta variant and others.


The question is around the booster-shot study that Pfizer used was a small study in Israel of 312 patients, showing increased antibodies/immunity for 30 days, using the exact same formulation as was implemented previously with no additives.  

Pfizer also used the same study to suggest that immunity can wane over time - but also has no definitive proof of that, as it was a small study, and parameters for durability of response were not well defined, nor had enough time passed to determine that with absolute certainty.


Historically, the FDA does not approve drugs based on small studies with a small population size and short clinical trial periods,  but there are two exceptions - uncommon/rare/orphan disease or public-health emergency.   


If the drug is approved for public-health emergency, then real-world studies back it up, the drug will receive full regular-use approval.  (This was the case with the original vaccines, who originally used small studies to gain emergency FDA approval, and only received regular-use approval a month ago).


Thus, the scientific community is split on whether giving a third shot of the exact same formulation provides any additional benefit, especially to justify the extra expense, based on one small study, typically only considered by the FDA during public-health emergencies, and then only authorized for emergency use until there's more real-world evidence. 


Now, let's go back how vaccines and their boosters vary ...


Unlike Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines, your basic yearly flu shots NOT yet based on mRNA technology (but they're in the works). 

Flu shots are currently still based on weakened strains of the actual influenza virus.   Each year, any new mutation variants are added to the flu-shot formulation.

J&J and AstraZeneca's COVID vaccines are also NOT mRNA vaccines, they also use weakened "live strains."


However, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines ARE based on mRNA, the base genetic code for coronavirus genotypes - just add specific genetic info for SARS-CoV-2.  


This is the reason why the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have offered at least some protection against variants of SARS-CoV-2, while J&J and AstraZeneca's "live strain" vaccinations have not fared as well with variants.


So now, the question the FDA is asking itself is:


"Would a third shot of the exact same formulation of the original mRNA vaccines offer additional or even incremental benefit, especially considering the study sample population size was only 312 people? 


Well, of course, Pfizer's going to tell you "yes" regardless lol.


They're playing the "offers incremental benefit" card, more than the "additional benefit" card, you see, which typically only flies here in the U.S. versus Europe - or I should say at least European countries are is more stringent with their definition of drugs that provide incremental or additional benefits (particularly France) ;) 


Let us also not forget that recently, the FDA broke its own rules with Aduhelm (adalimumab, first drug for Alzheimer's, shown to show little if any efficacy), so who knows what will happen.



However, methinks Pfizer first needs to answer this question ...


"Do mRNA vaccines also need to be adjusted to include more specific genetic components for variants in booster shots, like live-strain vaccines - or not?"


Now THAT is truly the billion-dollar question - one that Pfizer needs to answer, if they can yet -  and I'm not sure they can yet? 


Having said that, if they approve the third shot, emergency status or not, if it's still free,  I'll probably get it.

Why?

Because it at least it offers that 30-day immunity boost, and we suffered no ill effects (other than increased bleeding for me, one month, and exercise stamina reduction for a week or so), and we've clearly benefitted, considering Kentucky ranks right up there in cases and Trumpers lacking in common sense with viruses and we've not contracted it, plus we traveled to the same type of territory in North Carolina - twice - also wearing masks indoors, of course.

However, I'd really like to know that answer to that last question, as soon as they can, too ;)






Wednesday, September 15, 2021

In the Republican-Forced California Governor Recall Election, Newsom Defeats A Monster Trump Variant - In a Landslide

 


Despite Newsom losing much popularity, after implementing very strict COVID restrictions (which I mostly do approve of), as well as some very odd decisions when it came to the order of vaccinations, i.e., the homeless were eligible before teachers (which I don't approve of) - Newsome still easily defeated the monster Trump variant in a landslide recall election  brought about by Republican naysayers.

I think that in the end, it came down to people asking themselves:


"Do you want someone that over-protects you from COVID or under-protects you from COVID?"


In that case, for most intelligent, sane and/or non-treated addicted/dependency-issued people, it's an easy choice (because we know, and have seen, that many people cannot or will not properly respect social distancing and PPE on their own).


And by "non-treated addiction/dependency issues" I mean I have a new theory -  which, to be fair, is based solely on my personal experience and observation only.


My unproven new theory to explain Trump's popularity is that a large portion of his supporters are people with untreated addiction/dependency issues - whether their addiction is alcohol, pills, street drugs, sex, relationship, or even religious addiction.

(Even if you've never touched a drop of alcohol or drugs, you can still have the disease of alcoholism/addiction, mind you).

In other words, people with either untreated or partially treated addictive/dependent personalities, who tend to feel they need something or someone external to cope, to guide them, even "save" them, and often cannot see people or situations clearly and exercise poor judgment. 


That is NOT a diss of people with addictive/dependency issues, you can't help it - it's likely a combination of genetics and dysfunctional-mindset upbringing - but what you can help is admitting you have a problem and getting treatment for it.

Also, don't expect a quick fix, it takes years -  especially if you have "saturated" brain from using -  but even if you've never touched a drop of alcohol or used drugs, the dysfunctional behavior is ingrained in you and you need to find or develop new brain pathways to cope.

In fact, though I rarely drink and have never used drugs, I, myself, come from a family with dependency issues, but have received (and am still receiving) treatment - it's amazing the clarity that comes from treatment/therapy, being able to see more clearly the people and situations around you :)






Monday, September 13, 2021

A Work in Progress - Making My Own Fall Wreath ...



Almost there :)





I broke up many of the picks and reeds to place around it.  

Not sure, there maybe too many leaves - I almost feel like there's too much going on?  

Maybe not, though, I tend to always feel like that, and if I take stuff off, then there's not enough and holes lol. As people who know me know, I always make my Christmas wreaths, but this is my first attempt at making my own fall wreath :) 







Sunday, September 12, 2021

So ... What Exactly is This Mess, You May Ask?

 



Well, it's the raw materials for the fall wreath I'm making :)

I'm still deciding what I want to go where, so check back in a week or so to see if it's still a mess, after I make it, when finished ;)

Plus I'm not quite ready to actually decorate the house for fall yet, but we're almost there :)