I had the flu last week, probably the worst dose I've had in ten years. The all time worst was when I was a sophomore in high school (I thought I was going to die) and the second worst was in Italy when we had something go through the barracks that was unGodly awful (guys were soiling themselves in bed, not very pleasant). I recall we were so shorthanded some of the NCOs and officers actually had to get off their lazy, useless friggin' asses and actually do some work.
But for some unknown reason I've always been interested in pandemics, as least as they relate to history. And one of the more interesting for me was the 1918 influenza pandemic. It appeared out of nowhere, killed millions and disappeared just as quickly, in fact almost overnight. It was so widespread and so deadly it could have potentially changed the course of World War I (unfortunately for the Kaiser it hit the German Army just as hard as the Allies). 600,000 Americans died from the "Spanish Flu", between 50 and 100 million worldwide (they're not really sure). One could wake up feeling fine, have a 105º temperature at noon and be dead by five. It struck all ages indiscriminately; the young, the old, the healthy, the sick, it made no difference whatsoever. It's was like a plague of Egypt, some folks got it, some didn't and for no rhyme or reason. Some became infected and recovered, but most didn't.
As it turns out this was a hybrid virus sort of half bird flu, half human flu. But what made it unique it had a particular combination of amino acids (proteins) that allowed it to attack the pulmonary sacs in the lungs which for some reason are normally imune to virus. So the victim suffocated, which of course explains why they turned blue before they died.
By the by, that sweet young thing pictured is an Alaskan Inuit woman who died from the stuff and was buried in permanently frozen ground above the Arctic Circle. Along with her contribution and lung samples from a few soldiers from Fort Devens and Fort Riley, CDC geneticists were able to piece together the what, why and how of this killer.
So, if you get the flu this year just keep in mind, you're gettin' off easy.
The Blog: A compendium of thoughts on politics, world affairs, economics, pop culture and social issues, from the center right perspective of me--Bryan McGrath--a University of Virginia graduate who spent a career in the world's greatest Navy keeping my mouth shut about politics and social issues (ok, publicly keeping it shut). Those days are over! I've also invited a few friends to join in, so pull up a chair and chime in where you will. Keep it clean, civil, concise and relevant.
The Fish: The fish is a "coat of arms" for the blog, symbolizing three formative influences in the life of the blog founder. The first is his experience at the University of Virginia--symbolized most importantly by the fish itself, or a caricature of a "Wahoo", the fish we have acquired as an informal nickname. Additionally there is the sword, the sword of a Cavalier. It is not wielded in a threatening manner, as this is a civil blog. But it is there, should it be needed. Thirdly, there is the influence of 21 years in the Navy--symbolized by the anchor on the Wahoo's fin (and again, the sword) . Finally, there is the bowler, tuxedo, and monocle, symbols of a refined, intellectual conservatism, or what I seek to encourage here.
The Policy: I take FULL responsibility ONLY for what I write. I do not take responsibility, nor will I be held responsible, for what my guest bloggers write or for what those who offer comments write. I will occasionally exercise my right to edit/delete both blog posts and comments if they do not meet my view of what clean, civil, concise and relevant mean.