Posts Tagged ‘lockdowns’

By John Ruberry

A few months ago Van Morrison released his 43rd studio album, What’s It Gonna Take? It’s a stupendous work, and most of its songs focus on the COVID-19 lockdown. Van the Man gives well-deserved musical punch in the nose to lockdown zealots Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Klaus Schwab. 

This week, on August 31, Van Morrison turns 77. He’s still touring, in fact, he begins a short American tour the day after his birthday, which includes, hello Peter, two gigs in Massachusetts.

In 2020 was a rare year for Morrison as he didn’t release a studio album, but he did issue three anti-lockdown songs, “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out” and “No More Lockdowns.” Eric Clapton, another foe of lockdowns, recorded a Morrison-penned anti-lockdown song, “Stand And Deliver.” Morrison has been the most prominent artist who has stood up to opposition to the 2020-2021 shutdown of musical venues.

Of course Morrison is rich, but most musicians aren’t. Many are just getting by.

My DTG review of “What’s It Gonna Take?” is here. And yes, sometimes I am wrong. I predicted the mainstream media, as it did with the collection’s predecessor, the double album Latest Record Project: Volume 1, would savage it. On the contrary, because the hostile reviews of that collection probably helped sales–it charted well, the media took a different approach this time. By mostly ignoring What’s It Gonna Take? But not entirely. Morrison has “descended into lunacy,” is what one reviewer, Arthur Lazarus, a psychiatry professor, said of the album in his review. I was under the impression that mental health professionals now avoid words like “lunacy.” Who is the “crazy” one here, Lazarus? On a positive note, National Review gave a favorable notice to What’s It Gonna Take?

To a small extent, Van Morrison, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has become a non-person. Oh, he appears in Google News searches, as the media dutifully covers his concert appearances. I follow Morrison on Twitter. And like myself, likely because he shares views that run counter to those of the Twitter leftists, in his case about COVID, he’s almost certainly been shadowbanned. I never see the Belfast Lion’s Tweets on my feed, although he has been quiet there lately. Remember, this is a person whose first hit, “Brown Eyed Girl,” is one of the most-played songs on radio–ever.

I’ve been a Van Morrison fan for decades, so I decided to listen to every studio album of his, remember, there are 43 of them–in succession–about a week after I posted my Da Tech Guy writeup on What’s It Gonna Take? It was a wondrous musical adventure that took me through many musical genres, mainly, especially in the second half of his career, Chicago blues, but also of course rock, as well as jazz, country, Celtic, swing, as well as Van the Man’s stream-of-consciousness works, best exemplified on his Astral Works landmark album.

Morrison is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, harmonica, keyboards, and saxophone. But outside of the craftmanship of the songs he writes, he’s best know for his vocals. Morrison’s singing style is a combination of Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, James Brown, and here’s an obscure name for you, Louis Prima. Oh, on a side note, Prima was one of my mother’s favorites. And about that voice, it’s most distinctive quality is “the growl,” which I believe is inspired by bluesmen like Waters. 

Morrison has influenced many artists, including Bob Seger, Graham Parker, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Springsteen. Of the latter two, on their debut albums the feel of Van is quite apparent.

During my Morrison musical sojourn, during which I ironically contracted COVID-19–I am fully recovered–I decided to write a blog post where I list, well, in my opinion at least, his ten best albums. It’s time for me to be Casey Kasem–so let the countdown begin!

Oh, but first, links in the album’s titles bring you Morrison’s website, where you can purchase or download each collection, and also find the Wikipedia article on each of them. 

10: Hymns To The Silence (1991). Morrison’s first double album is a tad long, but it contains one of his best ballads, “Carrying A Torch.” You’ll find an even better rendition of that song on Morrison’s duet album, where Clare Teal accompanies him. Van the Man on this record takes a song that has been covered countless times, Ray Charles’ hit “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” but he gives it a fresh take by having traditional Irish musicians the Chieftains accompany him. There’s also an intriguing spoken word piece too, “On Hyndford Street.”

9: No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986). Morrison’s 1980s efforts were mostly jazz and Celtic-influenced songs, many of them expressing a love of nature, with some stream-of consciousness songs throw in. The best of these is No Guru, No Method, No Teacher. Its highlights include “In The Garden,” “Tir Na Nog,” and an homage to his 1970s pop hits, “Ivory Tower.” It was around this time I saw Morrison in concert–so far the only time I have done so. I was under the impression, based on his ’80s works, that the Belfast Lion had lost the roar of his growl. Wrong. He growled a lot that night and it returned to his later studio albums.

8: Three Chords & the Truth (2019). The title alone makes this effort at least an honorable mention. “Angry Van” of the 2020s didn’t emerge once the COVID lockdowns kicked in. In “Nobody In Charge” Morrison decries, “politicians that waffle endlessly.” A haunting love sing, “Dark Night Of The Soul,” is another highlight. And Van offers a gorgeous re-working of “Auld Lang Syne” on “Days Gone By.”

7: What’s It Gonna Take? (2022). I’ve discussed this work already in this blog post–but to flesh out my love for this album, it’s as fresh as breathing in, mask-free, mountain air in spring. While anti-COVID lockdown songs dominate the collection, including “Dangerous,” which Morrison’s response to comments about him made by Northern Ireland’s health minister, Robin Swann, as well as “Fighting Back Is The New Normal” and “Fodder For The Masses,” the collection ends with another great love ballad, “Pretending.”

6: Veedon Fleece (1974). Stream-of consciousness Van is at the forefront here. Like gourmet cuisine, you may not appreciated Veedon Fleece at first bite, but it’s a hearty musical meal. “Bulbs,” “Linden Arden Stole The Highlights,” and “Streets Of Arklow” are among the great tracks.

5: Saint Dominic’s Preview (1972). Released 50 summers ago, this album contains two of Morrison’s best-known songs, the title track and “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile).” Van the Man’s greatest “stream” work, “Listen To The Lion,” is an 11-minute long masterpiece.

4: Magic Time (2005). This is the best Van Morrison album you’ve never heard of. There is quite a bit of swing music influence on Magic Time. While Van the Man, as we discussed early, re-worked “Auld Lang Syne” in 2019, he gifts us a New Year’s Eve alternative here with “Celtic New Year.” There’s another preview of “Angry Van” on “Keep Mediocrity At Bay.” Magic Time opens with another great ballad, “Stranded.” And there is a luscious sequel to “Listen To the Lion” in “The Lion This Time.”

3: Into The Music (1979). The Belfast Cowboy–Morrison has a lot of nicknames–ended the 1970s with a bang. It opens with two now-familiar songs, “Bright Side Of The Road” and “Full Force Gale.” There is rock, blues, gospel, and more here. And if Morrison’s “growl” is what you enjoy about him the most, then Into The Music is your album.

2: Moondance (1970). Like many all-time-best albums, Moondance comes across as a greatest hits album. The title track, “Caravan,” “Crazy Love,” and “Into The Mystic” are just four of the great tracks here. And while “Brown Eyed Girl” from Morrison’s first album is one of the most played songs on radio, “Into The Mystic” is a popular song at funerals. And “Crazy Love” is played at many wedding receptions.

1: Astral Weeks (1968). Arguably his first album, as his debut collection, Blowin’ Your Mind, was released without his input, Morrison, with jazz musicians backing him up, recorded a collection that sounded like nothing else up to that point. Is Astral Weeks a rock album? Jazz? Folk? Blues? The answer is none of the above. It’s simply Van Morrison. “The Way Young Lovers Do” foreshadows his 1970s hits, but like Veedon Fleece, stream-of-consciousness dominates here. “Cyprus Avenue” and “Ballerina” are majestic songs. “Madame George” is an enigmatic work, which is one of its enduring qualities.

So, if you are now inclined to explore Van Morrison, you might be wondering “Where do I start?” As I’ve said before, I deplore the term “classic rock,” but if that is your “jones,” then start with Moondance. If your first love is vintage country, then take a look at Pay The Devil. Blues? Get an album that just missed my top ten, Too Long In Exile, where John Lee Hooker teams up Morrison to revisit his “Gloria” hit that he recorded with his band Them in 1964. Are you a punk rocker? Then dig into Morrison’s recordings with Them. If your a jazz aficionado, I recommend Versatile to you. How ’bout Celtic music? Morrison collaborated with The Chieftains on Irish Heartbeat.

Now that I’ve listened to all 43 of Van Morrison’s studio albums I have a plan for what’s next: the Belfast Cowboy’s live albums.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The death toll from lockdowns

Posted: August 2, 2022 by chrisharper in covid
Tags: ,

By Christopher Harper

The death toll from lockdowns increased deaths from heart attacks to cancer to alcohol and drug overdoses to murders.

As of January, the CDC registered roughly 875,000 Covid fatalities [now just over one million], with an alarming number of Americans 65 and up accounting for more than 70 percent of the deaths, according to the CDC and The Wall Street Journal. The federal government counted more than 145,000 Covid deaths among nursing-home residents, most in the pandemic’s first year. At least 2,250 nursing-home staffers also died from Covid-19.

According to a study published in the JAMA Network Open, heart disease and stroke mortality rates rose 4.3% and 6.4%, respectively, in 2020.

Stephen Sidney, the lead author of the study, reported that the 696,962 recorded deaths from heart disease in 2020 was the highest yearly number, adding that preliminary CDC data for 2021 are similar. Stroke deaths rose 1.2% to 162,140, he said.

Much of the increase can be attributed to the inability to get standard medical care because of lockdowns and hospitals being overwhelmed with Covid cases.

For example, four of my close friends died over the past year because they couldn’t get adequate health care for cancer, and I know only one person who died from Covid. 

According to preliminary data from the CDC, drug-overdose deaths jumped to a record of more than 107,000 in 2021 due to the lockdowns and mental health issues.

Gun murders increased nearly 35% to 6.1 homicides per 100,000 residents from 2019 to 2020 to the highest level since 1994, according to a CDC report. Agency officials cited economic stress, disruption of services, and social isolation during the pandemic as potential factors. The firearm-suicide rate also increased slightly, and that trend continued in 2021.

According to the report, the rate hit 6.1 homicides per 100,000 residents, rising 34.6 % during the first year of the pandemic compared with a year earlier. 

Several cities set new highs for murders in the past two years. Philadelphia, Portland, Oregon., Louisville, Kentucky., and Albuquerque, New Mexico, had their deadliest years on record in 2021, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal

The number of deaths involving alcohol increased between 2019 and 2020 from 78,927 to 99,017, an increase of 25.5%.

Health experts say it will likely take years to understand the lockdowns’ toll fully. The consequences of people delaying care for chronic illnesses, like diabetes, or delaying cancer screenings that could catch harmful malignancies early have yet to be fully realized, Gerald Harmon, the president of the American Medical Association, told The Wall Street Journal.

In 2020, screening prevalence for breast cancer and cervical cancer decreased by 6% and 11%, respectively, compared with 2018, according to data from the American Cancer Society published in JAMA Network Open. Colonoscopies for men and women dropped 16%.

Add these issues to the impact on the economy, personal wealth, and educational preparation, particularly for kindergarten through high school, and we can indeed say that lockdowns had a lot of unintended consequences that the “experts” failed to consider adequately.

By John Ruberry

When one looks back the great artists–and I dislike this term–of the classic rock era of the mid-1960s thru the early 1970s, the usual big names to come to mind, the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Bob Dylan. 

One name–and he just released his 43rd studio album last week–is generally overlooked. And that artist is Van Morrison, also known as Van the Man and the Belfast Cowboy. Oh sure, he’s recorded some memorable hits, such as “Brown Eyed Girl,” along with “Moondance” and “Have I Told You Lately.” Before Morrison’s first album, Blowin’ Your Mind, was released in 1967, he was the frontman for Them. That band’s anthemic “Gloria” deservedly appears on many best-ever song lists. 

But Morrison isn’t a much of a self-promoter–he doesn’t do many interviews and he’s not the best media conversationalist–even though Van the Man’s lyrics are generally eloquent and articulate. 

Two years ago Morrison began attracting media attention for his impassioned opposition to COVID-19 lockdowns, which, during the height of them, prevented Van, who turns 77 this summer, from performing live.

Morrison just concluded a short USA tour, a British tour begins Monday. 

In 2020, Morrison released three anti-lockdown songs, “Born to Be Free” and “As I Walked Out,” as well as “No More Lockdown.” That same year Eric Clapton recorded a Morrison-penned anti-lockdown song, “Stand and Deliver.” Clapton, who celebrated his 77th birthday in March, was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week. Hey, no reasonable person believes COVID is un-catchable. 

Those anti-lockdown songs led Northern Ireland’s health minister, Robin Swann, to write a Rolling Stone op-ed attacking Morrison, where Swann declared, “Some of what is he saying is actually dangerous.”

Last year in Belfast, after four of his concerts were cancelled, Morrison led a “Robin Swann is very dangerous” chant at a banquet. Because of the chant, Swann sued Morrison.

Which brings us to “Dangerous,” the opening track of Morrison’s brand-new album, What’s It Gonna Take?

Somebody said I was dangerous
I said something bad, but it must’ve been good
Somebody said I was dangerous
I must be getting close to the truth, alright, alright

But Morrison isn’t done with lockdowns, as the first ten songs of this 15-song effort attack COVID-19 restrictions on varying levels.

On the title track, Morrison opines,

Politicians don’t represent the people
Government doesn’t represent us at all
Government takes and ruins all our business
Big tax about to take it all.

In life, I’ve learned that sometimes life is just blah blah blah. Really, because that’s another great tune here, entitled of course, “Sometimes It’s Just Blah Blah Blah.”

How do you like the new normal?
Tell me, how is that going for you?
How did you overcome the restrictions?
How do you handle the news?
Do you still think the government’s not lying to you?
Oh, has the penny dropped yet?
Seems there’s no way out of this impasse
Is it something we’ll live to regret?

What’s It Gonna Take? is absolutely an essential musical release but I suspect it will be savaged by the critics, most of whom are liberals. Morrison’s prior collection, a double album, Latest Record Project, Volume 1, also blew the whistle on lockdown restrictions, as well as social media–quite obviously so on the song “Why Are You On Facebook?” It’s a good album, albeit a bit long, but still far better than the swill that passes as 21st century music. And the critics for the most part hated that Latest Record Project, Volume 1.

As recently as 2017 Morrison described himself as apolitical. Clearly, at least in regards to COVID lockdowns and government overreach, he is now a strident libertarian. 

Rock music, with few exceptions, hasn’t been the soundtrack of rebellion for decades. It’s ironic that the most rebellious rocker today–or perhaps he’s a bluesman?–is a man in his late 70s, the Belfast Cowboy, Van Morrison.

Here’s one final brilliant lyrical excerpt from Van’s latest album, this time from “Damage and Recovery.”

Snowflakes hiding in their houses
Most of us need to get right back to work
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Jobs don’t thrive on barren ground
Narrow-minded politics
So-called social scientist tricks
Telling lies, they’re meant to be
Watching morons on TV.

There are a couple of references to “Gates,” as in Bill Gates, a COVID-alarmist. A couple of weeks ago, the Microsoft founder and self-appointed virus expert said about COVID-19, “We didn’t understand that it’s a fairly low fatality rate and that it’s a disease mainly in the elderly, kind of like flu is, although a bit different than that.”

Wow. Two years ago, if someone posted that sentence on Facebook or Twitter, they’d probably have their accounts suspended.

Morrison was right in 2020 about lockdowns and Gates was wrong.

There’s a little bit of Van Morrison in all of us. There’s a lot of Van Morrison in all thinking people.

What’s It Gonna Take? is available for download on iTunes and for purchase in the CD format on Amazon, where, as of this writing, the reviews are fairly good. And you can buy it or stream it from the Van Morrison official website.

UPDATE May 31, 2022:

Yesterday multiple United Kingdom news outlets reported that Morrison has turned the tables on Robin Swann. He’s suing the Northern Ireland health minister.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit, he’s married to Mrs. Marathon Pundit. Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately” plays on their wedding video.

A large fraction of the nations of this world are descending into abject tyranny, caused by hysteria over the Wuhan Virus.  It is truly appalling to watch, knowing that it is even taking hold here in several states.

This article, Vaccine Segregation And Quarantine Camps Are Flashing Warnings To Stop Covid Insanity Before It’s Too Late, by the Federalist, chronicles the sickening tyranny.

In Austria, COVID-19 vaccines have become compulsory, and a “lockdown for the unvaccinated” has partitioned society into classes of jabbed and unjabbed. In Greece, those older than 60 without a vaccine are fined €100 ($112) a month.

Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Slovenia have all introduced vaccine passportsIn Lithuania, speakeasies and “Soviet-style markets” have opened to sell groceries to those incapable of entering stores without showing a vaccine passport. Now Germany intends to violate their Nuremberg Code, introducing a “de facto Covid lockdown for the unvaccinated” and possibly mandating vaccines.

None of this compares to Australia where:

Australia is setting up COVID quarantine camps, relocating people from their homes in towns with regional outbreaks. Guards are stationed to capture and return “people who escape.” No matter the “free wifi, nice food, and aircon” provided for detainees, internment at the camp is still involuntary for international arrivals on repatriation flights. A comfortable prison is still a prison.

The author of the Federalist article notes a dangerous historical parallel between the events now regarding the Wuhan Virus and the events and rhetoric that led up to the Holocaust and other mass slaughters.

The Parasite Stress Hypothesis finds the presence of infectious disease in nations with low sanitation is a prerequisite to authoritarianism. States enforce conformist social policies to reduce transmission, or “stop the spread.” Minority groups are scapegoated as harbingers of pestilence, with propaganda depicting them as rats, fleas, or parasites. Under communism, the Ukrainian Holodomor killed millions of people with the justification that they were “pariahs, untouchables, vermin.”

In other words, there is historical precedent to the claim that demonizing your fellow man as a socially irresponsible bioweapon can precede genocide. We’re watching other frightening prerequisites move into place as well.

The rest of the world is far more susceptible to genocide and similar horrors than the United States because our constitutional system is based on inalienable individual rights, rather than collective rights granted by the government.

Jean Jacques Rousseau’s “Social Contract” conceives rights as given by the government — not recognized and protected — thus allowing the government to rescind them at any time. This belief in government as progenitor — rather than guardian — of rights, is replicated in Germany’s philosophical tradition: with Friedrich Hegel decreeing that obeying the state provides “the very conditions in which Freedom is realized.”This line of thinking is why the French revolution differed from America’s; why Germany birthed Marxism and Nazism in the span of a century; and why Europe is now subject to forced vaccination. The American experiment is unique and a bulwark against the tyranny seen overseas.

All of the hysteria caused by the Wuhan virus pandemic is based on several lies and out right fraud.  The most notable fraud involves the PCR test, which is the test almost universally used to detect Coronavirus in humans.  Check out this article by the Brownstone Institute PCR Tests and the Rise of Disease Panic

PCR tests magnify the number of target DNA particles in a swab exponentially until they become visible. Like a powerful zoom lens, the greater the magnification needed to see something, the smaller it actually is.

The magnification in PCR is measured by the number of cycles needed to make the DNA visible. Known as the Cycle Threshold (Ct) or Quantification Cycle (Cq) number, the higher the number of cycles the lower the amount of DNA in the sample.

To convert Cq numbers into doses they have to be calibrated against the Cq numbers of standard doses. If they aren’t they can easily be blown out of proportion and appear more significant than they actually are.

Take an advertisement for a car for example. With the right light, the right angle and the right magnification, a scale model can look like the real thing. We can only gauge the true size of things if we have something to measure them against.

Just like a coin standing next to a toy car proves it’s not a real one, and a shoe next to a molehill shows it’s not a mountain, the Cq of a standard dose next to the Cq of a sample shows how big the dose really is.

The idea that PCR may have been used to make a mountain out of a molehill by blowing a relatively ordinary disease outbreak out of all proportion is so shocking it’s literally unthinkable. But it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened.

The effectiveness and safety of Coronavirus vaccines is another monstrous lie.

The announcement that another variant of the Wuhan Virus is spreading across the globe is causing a marked upswing in the hysteria an tyranny.  This hysteria and tyranny is based on a fraud because the Omicron variant is a mild variant.