Sunday Evening Open Thread

Yes, things could always be worse. Per Gizmodo, “Engineered Avian Flu Could Kill Half the World’s Humans“:

… In his Netherlands laboratory, virologist Ron Fouchier was experimenting with the avian flu virus to see how it could become even more virulent. (Red flag.) His research involved spreading it throughout a population of ferrets, and he noticed that as the virus reproduced, it adapted to spread even faster. (RED FLAG.) Not worried about ferret flu? Previous research has shown that any strains of influenza that can pass between ferrets can also pass between humans. (RED FLAAAAAAAAAG.) Ten generations later, his efforts had created an airborne strain with the power could kill half the human population. (RED FUCKING FLAG, DUDE!)
Fouchier, who conducted his research at Erasmus Medical Centre admitted that the new strain is “probably one of the most dangerous viruses you can make.” He presented his work at the influenza conference in Malta this September. Now he wants to publish his study in a scientific journal, so those responsible for responding to bioterrorism can be prepared for the worst case scenario. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Not exactly. The research has set off alarms among colleagues who are urging Fouchier not to publish, for fear the recipe could wind up in the wrong hands. Some question whether the research should have been done in the first place. Fair point!…

So… how’s the forward planning in your neck of the woods, tonight?

133 replies
  1. 1
    RossInDetroit says:

    Science fiction nailed this scenario down several generations ago. And science fiction’s predictive record in subjects involving human stupidity is frighteningly good.

  2. 2
    PIGL says:

    You’d have to crazy to publish this….about as crazy as to have made it in the first place.

    OTOH, there are worse things than a world of 800,000,000. A world of 10+ billion comes to mind, and nobody seems to be losing any sleep over that one.

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    I for one welcome our new mutant ferret overlords.

  4. 4

    Ah the open thread, at last … finally, the place for this … a peak at NewsCorp’s hilarious new gay wedding magazine for New York. Just don’t tell the fundies.

  5. 5
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    I have enough food in my house to last my husband, myself, and pets at least 18 months. I have a charcoal grill and a boatload of charcoal. I have hurricane lamps and a boatload of oil. I have a generator and a boatload of gas. I figure we could duct tape up the house and stay indoors for as long as it takes. The 1% won’t be nearly as prepared so there is that.

  6. 6
    gwangung says:

    And half the battle is knowing that it’s possible.

    Ghah. Yes, we ARE doomed.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    Hey Rosali, if you’re here, let’s just be clear:

    avian flu is bad and we’re against it.

  8. 8

    We’re watching the season finale of “Boardwalk Empire” … the creepy incestuous relationship between the mother and son has me feeling icky

  9. 9
    priscianusjr says:

    “Some question whether the research should have been done in the first place.”
    Ya think?

  10. 10

    I frequently suspect that homo sapiens sapiens is a doomed species.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Not to worry. I’m sure it will only infect those who have demonstrated themselves to be morally inferior, by not being in the top .01%.

  12. 12
    Gus says:

    it would probably be the best thing that could happen to the planet.

  13. 13
    Julie says:

    So if he wants it to get to the people in charge of responding to bioterrorism, why not give it directly to them, instead of publishing it in a journal that anyone can read? I’m sure that someone could copy his virus faster than anyone could come up with a vaccine for it. Or has he already developed a vaccine?

  14. 14
    redshirt says:

    Gondolin is almost fully operational! I need another 6 months. All are welcome – as long as you don’t represent the Bird Clans.

  15. 15
    Sirkowski says:

    What could go wrong? *cough*

  16. 16
    Trainrunner says:

    Red Flaaag….

    As long as Kristen Wiig survives, we’ll be OK, I feel.

  17. 17
    BGinCHI says:

    Last line of the article:

    “And since the ink used to print this was made from the virus, I hope you were wearing gloves.”

  18. 18
    RossInDetroit says:

    100 years ago developing a disease this dangerous required dense population centers, poor sanitation and no knowledge of disease transmission vectors. The first world has corrected most of that so now we have to invent new ways to create mass death through infection. Because what’s possible, some scientist will find a way to do.

  19. 19
    PIGL says:

    @Gus: There is that. However, I would want the deed to be done by a tragic tortured noble heroine (as in some sci-fi short story I can’t call to mind), not, you know, some fracking self-absorbed, morally-retarded “scientist” who is clearly part of the problem, and only accidently part of the solution.

  20. 20
    bergman says:

    so is this flu as well-guarded as, say 1000 nuclear warheads, which could kill about half the human population as well. No? Damn…

  21. 21
    Anne Laurie says:


    I have a charcoal grill and a boatload of charcoal. I have hurricane lamps and a boatload of oil. I have a generator and a boatload of gas. I figure we could duct tape up the house and stay indoors for as long as it takes…

    Just don’t use the charcoal grill inside the taped-up house, okay? During the very first H5N1 scare, half-a-dozen unfortunate Hong Kongers managed to kill themselves & their families accidentally by forgetting that carbon monoxide is even more efficient than viruses…

  22. 22
    Jeffrey Goines says:

    Wiping out the human race? That’s a great idea. That’s great. But more of a long-term thing. I mean, first we have to focus on more immediate goals.

  23. 23
    Jeffrey Goines says:

    When I was institutionalized, my brain was studied exhaustively in the guise of mental health. I was interrogated, I was x-rayed, I was examined “thoroughly.” Then, they took everything about me and put it into a computer where they created this model of my mind. Yes! Using that model they managed to generate every thought I could possibly have in the next, say, 10 years. Which they then filtered through a probability matrix of some kind to – to determine everything I was gonna do in that period. So you see, she knew I was gonna lead the Army of the Twelve Monkeys into the pages of history before it ever even occurred to me. She knows everything I’m ever gonna do before I know it myself. How’s that?

  24. 24
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Anne Laurie: LOL Yeah I know that. I am still more prepared than 99% of the population though. (Now where have I heard that number).

  25. 25
    ArchTeryx says:

    So, basically, the guy invented a version of the White Plague from one of Frank Herbert’s novels.

    That particular virus was also invented by a molecular biologist (way before the tools for genome manipulation got this sophisticated). It was designed to kill only women. It was airborne and 100% fatal.

    Fun times after he released it into the wild.

  26. 26
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Southern Beale: How is your new kitteh?

  27. 27
    Anne Laurie says:

    @PIGL: Twelve Monkeys? (Although the tortured noble woman was only the sole witness to the release.) I love that movie, for all its Terry-Gilliam-trademark hot-mess aspects.

  28. 28

    Anyone see that movie this summer, “Contagion” ? Really makes you think that some lethal pathogen will just inevitably wipe out the human race, especially in this age of globalism.

    We’ve had the plague, we’ve had AIDs …. next one is gonna come sooner or later.

  29. 29
    Jenny says:

    Wow. Glup!

    I wish my body looked this good. :(


  30. 30
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    Did people commenting here see Contagion (came out a few months ago with Matt Damon)? Really well done I thought. They had a lot of input from the CDC to make it as realistic as possible.

  31. 31
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    @Anne Laurie: I just commented as Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys) and it went to moderation and now it is gone! oh well…

  32. 32
    different-church-lady says:

    The question, of course, is which half?

    Depending on the answer this might be the kind of thing I could get behind.

  33. 33
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    @Southern Beale: great minds etc.

  34. 34
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The half that put ketchup on hot dogs.

  35. 35
    gbear says:

    it would probably be the best thing that could happen to the planet.

    Well, except for ferrets.

  36. 36
    Anon says:

    If I wanted to kill a lot of people in the modern world, a flu virus, especially one engineered to be deadly would not be the best way. You can get a lot higher kill ratio with assorted poisons for gazillions less dollars in R&D spending.

    “could kill half the human population” <– citation needed. Just because a model predicts a certain epidemic spread does not make it so, and while ferrets are awesome model organisms for studying flu infection and symptoms, their living conditions are nowhere near adequate to model for flu transmission among an open human population.

  37. 37
    BGinCHI says:

    Nice marmot.

    /obligatory TBL reference

  38. 38


    IIRC, Historically, new diseases have had about a 33% mortality rate in humans. Measles, for instance.

    [No, I don’t have the citation.]

  39. 39
    RossInDetroit says:

    Okay, this is weird because a particular ‘cleanup event’ in an elementary school on Friday had me saying “Semmelweis! Semmelweis!” under my breath just like Goines in 12 Monkeys.

    If I wanted to infect a lot of people I would put the pathogen in young adult novels. Kids would get infected, and kids infect everyone with everything. Schools are perfect environments for spreading illness.

  40. 40
    bcwbcw says:

    Of course, identifying the virus is necessary to create a vaccine against it. Who wants to bet that a military lab somewhere wasn’t going to make it anyway? I agree his results should be withheld but not that the research shouldn’t have been done.

  41. 41
    chrome agnomen says:

    bring it on !!!

  42. 42
  43. 43
    Lojasmo says:

    Frankly, dividing the population of the earth in half would likely be beneficial. Release the hounds!

  44. 44
    4tehlulz says:

    ITT we advocate genocide.

  45. 45
    Jamie says:

    as a ferret keeper, I’m thinking you guys really need to get more treats to keep the ferrets happy.

  46. 46
    khead says:

    Thread needs kittehs

    They grow fast. From two to three pounds in two weeks.

    They also make friends.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    RossInDetroit says:

    Plenty of people believe we’ve already had one man-made plague: AIDS. Though I guess the American Indians could legitimately claim to have been the victims of similar treatment.

  49. 49
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    here is a picture I took yesterday that I particularly like.

  50. 50
    Comrade Mary says:

    Democrats offer compromise on payroll tax cuts.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is set to offer a “compromise plan” Monday to extend payroll tax cuts now scheduled to expire at the end of the month, a fellow Democratic senator said on “Fox News Sunday.”
    Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota would not reveal the details of Mr. Reid’s plan, only that it will include ways to pay for the tax cuts without increasing the deficit, and he blasted Republicans for standing in the way of an extension.
    “We should not have a tax increase on the middle class,” Mr. Conrad said. [Mr. Reid’s plan] will be paid for in a way that is credible and serious.”
    A payroll tax cut extension would cost about $110 billion, but the average American family would see a tax increase of about $1,000 per year if the provisions expire. A Democratic proposal to extend the cuts and pay for them with new taxes on the wealthy did not clear the Senate last week, while a Republican offer to tie the measure to salary freezes and reductions in the federal workforce also came up short, setting the stage for a possible compromise.
    Republicans support an extension only if it’s accompanied by spending cuts that take effect immediately, rather than years down the road.

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    @Lojasmo: Problem is figuring out which half you’d be in. Not really down with the odds, myself. Family of 6? Not looking good for my home team. Zombie Apocalypse OTOH, my family has it made.

  52. 52
    MonkeyBoy says:

    “Engineered Avian Flu Could Kill Half the World’s Humans”

    this strain was not “engineered” in the same sense that the word is used in “genetic engineering”. It was just selectively bred (as is done with dogs or most agricultural plants) by repeatedly passing it between different organisms. No particular things were engineered into it.

  53. 53
    The Dangerman says:

    This plague thing is almost as terrifying as going to a dinner party and Jessica Fletcher showing up; people drop like flies around that gal.

  54. 54
    Chet says:

    @Gus: You know, nobody’s stopping preening eco-misanthropes from doing their bit and reducing the planet’s carbon footprint by one.

    Just sayin’.

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    So is anybody getting any dreams about (a) a 100 year old black lady with a guitar from Hemingford Home Nebraska or (b) a tall lanky guy dressed in deninm who looks like Peyton Manning in a Bon Jovi Mullet? If you are better start worrying now.

  57. 57
    Joel says:

    I’ll wait until scientific publications I can understand (e.g. Nature, Science, Cell) weigh in on this before passing any judgment.

  58. 58
    JGabriel says:

    I have to read this just when I’ve gotten sick and my throat is so inflamed it feels like someone soaked my tonsils in acid? Now I’m worried that I’m dying of a mutant ferretized avian flu.

    And it’s all your fault, Anne Laurie! Well, yours and that Fouchier asshole who ferretized it.

    (Is “ferretized” a word? It is NOW.)


  59. 59
    scav says:

    Would anyone really be that surprised if the species manages something really stupid? If not fast with a virus then slow with any number of SUVs or guns or tranches of CDOs of same. And that’s just over and above the probability of something nasty happening that isn’t directly our own damn fault. Fire or Ice? I lean slightly toward the camp of something we do to ourselves and probably something very very silly. The global equivalent of walking under a hanging piano and slicing a dangling rope without first looking up. Banana peels may or may not be involved. We’ve had episodes of losing masses of population already, only not on this geographic scale and at least they usually left populations that didn’t think chicken came cellophane-wrapped with flawless Béchamel. Some clever hominids or possibly ferrets will figure things out. Odds are, something will happen at some point. Haven’t seen the large lizard neighbors recently.

  60. 60
    Delia says:

    Not let him publish his paper on how to create a deadly new virus that will wipe out half the human race, to say nothing of ferrets? But how will he get tenure?

  61. 61
    piratedan says:

    and all this time, nobody thought to elbow Ron in the ribs and make the suggestion about how to treat it instead of making it worse. Looking forward to discussion on the impending mine shaft gap and supplies are laid in for the innoculated betters to survive the coming apocalypse.

  62. 62
    GregB says:

    Why so glum?

    Nuclear winter is bound to kill off this virus.

  63. 63
    scav says:

    But, seriously, I’m thinking this is a faster that light neutrino situation.

  64. 64
    licensed to kill time says:

    I was going to post this under another handle tonight, because…well, let’s just say I value my privacy a lot. But…this place has been a refuge for me for quite some time, and right now I am going through a tough time. So, here I go.

    My life partner, who I had been married to for 40 years, died suddenly a couple of weeks ago, in his sleep (eerily like the James Joyner’s wife occurrence) and I am having to adjust to a whole new life without my guy. He’s always been there for me, and now he’s not. I am constantly turning to tell him something that I know would make him laugh, or to have him tell me something witty or insightful in return…and then I remember that he’s just not there anymore.

    It’s so weird, and so unexpected, and so – like, how does one deal with it? I don’t expect any answers, really, but I just wanted to get this off my chest and tell some people who I respect and find very funny and insightful and engaged and empathetic.

    Luckily I have a great support system in my (thank the FSM !) NOT crazy family, and have moved to a new home and area that is quite lovely and nice (I was living in the Baja for quite some time) but it’s such a change….

    So, sorry to dump a bummer of a story on you all but I just had to tell you all, and thank you for being my go-to place for like-minded people and good old snarky fun-with-politics. John Cole has created such a great place here on the intertubulars, and I am so grateful for that.

    Today I was walking the family dog along this beautiful coastal walkway and admiring all the boats and the gulls and the fresh gopher holes in the park and the goddamn healthy-looking people everywhere and…I just started crying, tears rolling down my face and looking insane, I suppose, to anyone passing by. Grief is such a hit or miss phenomenon, it strikes you at the most unexpected times.

    I’m coping, so nobody needs to tell me to call the suicide hotline or anything. It’s just…difficult.

    That’s my story for what I am going through tonight. Thanks for listening. I am so grateful for this little corner of the intertubes, which is where I spend about 99% of my time.

    Ok, I’ll shut up now.

  65. 65
    Tim F. says:

    If it makes you feel better, the Soviets did amazing things with pox viruses forty years ago. Hell, so few people are resistant to plain old smallpox now that should it get re-released could probably crash the system without any mod at all.

  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Good luck with all that. If you’re within smelling distance of other people i hope you’re ready to either entertain them as guests, or kill them as potential invaders.
    Because they will find you. And they won’t give a shit about manners.

  67. 67
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @piratedan: I’m sure some enterprising young exec in Goldman-Sachs, in the pharmaceutical finance dept has that covered and when the cure is there voila! St. Mary’s or the Three Waters plague is unleashed, and when one-half of the 99% is wiped out, a miracle happens and the cure is found. As Tom Cullen would say “M-O-O-N, at that spells record profit!”

  68. 68
    Corner Stone says:

    @JGabriel: Fucking ferrets. I blame First Draft.

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @MonkeyBoy: Well hell! That makes the end of the world much more enjoyable!

  70. 70
    Xenos says:


    My condolences – I know it sounds silly and superficial to say that, but it is sincere.

    One can think of little comments that try to make you feel better but really are not going to do so… as it turned out, you are the one to mourn, not the one to pass peacefully. I am glad to hear you have support. I look forward to seeing you on these pages for years to come.

  71. 71
    MikeJ says:

    Weird this story came out now. I had never read The Stand, and I’m in the middle of it now.

    Seattle area survivors, meet me at Snoqualmie Falls so we can be the hydro plant up and generating.

  72. 72
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    another photo, from October.

  73. 73
    MikeJ says:


    But how will he get tenure?

    Publish *and* perish?

  74. 74
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Xenos: Thank you for your thoughts…I think it IS harder to be the one left to mourn. But I am grateful that my partner’s passing was quick and apparently painless.

    I keep waiting for him to contact me and tell me about the afterlife – we used to talk about that sometimes. So far, no luck.

    I lurk here on this site every day but comment only occasionally…it’s a high bar to vault, ol’ BJ.

  75. 75
    MikeJ says:

    @licensed to kill time: Wish I knew what to say.

  76. 76
    piratedan says:

    @licensed to kill time: my condolences and yes this is a safe place to share, I did so just a couple of weeks ago and it was snark free support by people that I respect. makes the community one of the best in my books.

  77. 77
    PIGL says:

    @Anon: There you are, bringin up your “facts” and “evidence” and “science”, all to ruin a nice paranoid apocalyptic vision. Party pooper.

    If the christo-fascists can have Revelations, why can’t I have The Stand? At least in the Stand, all the Republicans are destroyed in Vegas. In Revalations, they are all raptured to paradise. I’ll take my version any day.

  78. 78
    Yutsano says:

    @licensed to kill time: @MikeJ: I’m pretty lost myself.

  79. 79
    licensed to kill time says:


    There really isn’t anything to say, and I don’t want to be a thread-killer.

    I remember you helping me one time when all my comment text-box buttons disappeared, and you suggested I clear my cache (duh) which solved the problem, so …thank you! See, you were helpful once already :)

  80. 80
    PIGL says:

    @Chet: Nah…see, those of us think this way at times accompany our misanthropy with a rational assessment of who is more to blame, and who are the bigger assholes to be gutted by our army of zombies. So it’s not about suicide from guilt…it’s more about justice and aesthetics. By way of for instance, people who drive Hummers just really need to be killt with a shovel.

  81. 81
    PIGL says:

    @licensed to kill time: I am so sorry for you….what a terrible loss.

    I beg you, don’t make the same mistake my mother did, and refuse to grieve properly and willfuly prevent yourself from ever recovering. Your partner would want you to be happy again one day.

  82. 82
    Redshift says:

    @licensed to kill time: I’m glad you were able to share that with us. I don’t have much to speak of from personal experience, but based on the experience of several close friends recently, it does get better in time.

  83. 83
    El Cid says:

    @licensed to kill time: I’m really, really sorry. No matter how unalterable and invariant, it’s still strange how time and existence work — the people we love are here, and then they aren’t. I’m glad this assorted collection of vaguely categorizable weirdos seems to help out at just this time.

  84. 84
    licensed to kill time says:


    Thanks, Yutsano. Like I said, I hesitated before even posting this because…well, it’s crappy to hear about, and no one knows what to say. Because there’s nothing really TO say. But I appreciate the responses anyway, gracias.

  85. 85
    Yutsano says:

    @licensed to kill time: FWIW I greatly appreciate your perspective on happenings in Missouri. Or Misery as you so lovingly call it. I think it would be terrible to lose that from here. I also think everyone will understand if you need time to yourself right now. We’re not going anywhere. :)

  86. 86
    licensed to kill time says:

    @PIGL: I constantly imagine him laughing at me and telling me to lighten up. That’s what he was like. I’m going to honor his wishes and be happy – in my own way. Thankfully that involves grandkids and not young men half my age, haha.


    Well, one of the cruddiest things about getting older is that people start getting sick and dying around you in an alarming fashion. What can you do…I think it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet, oddly.

    @El Cid:

    That’s one of the hardest things to process – how a person can be ‘there’, and then ‘not there’. I just….still don’t know how to deal with it, but I am. And the help of this ‘assorted collection of vaguely categorizable weirdos’ is invaluable.

    I thank you all- you guys are the best.

  87. 87
    licensed to kill time says:


    I remember you talking about your struggles with your mom and step-dad…your mom just passed away, right? I’m so sorry. Even if you think you are prepared, it hits you so hard.

  88. 88
    eemom says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    I’m very sorry.

    Since I know you won’t hold it against me if I can’t think of anything really good to say, I’ll offer the couple of feeble thoughts that come to mind. First, I have always loved your screen name.

    Second, I’ve been married 20 years…..a lot of it was rocky and we almost split up a couple of times…..but somehow, miraculously, we managed to really get it together after the last one, about 6 years ago, and we’ve been solid ever since. I can honestly say that my husband is my best friend.

    Recently, as we’re getting on in the years, and I hear stories like yours — I’ve begun to imagine, as I never have before, how devastated I would be if I lost him. I think of that in the night when he’s snoring and I growl at him to roll over, and kiss his back.

  89. 89
    Yutsano says:

    @El Cid: @licensed to kill time:

    assorted collection of vaguely categorizable weirdos

    Tag. Naow.

  90. 90
    Redshift says:

    @Yutsano: More than a tag, a rotating subtitle!

  91. 91
    Yutsano says:

    @Redshift: That’s actually what I meant. I just worded it wrong. :)

  92. 92
    Cassidy says:

    @licensed to kill time: I’m sorry for your loss.

  93. 93
    handsmile says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    My deep condolences for your loss and heartache. I am glad that you find some measure of comfort in this website’s community. Happier still to read that you have a loving family and have found the strength to move to a new area that you find appealing.

    Your message makes clear that you are coping with your grief with self-awareness and dignity. Please write here as often as it helps you, and continue to take good care of yourself.

  94. 94

    Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

  95. 95
    Redshift says:

    @Yutsano: Yeah, I knew that, and probably JC would have figured it out, too, without my being pedantic about it. :-)

  96. 96
    licensed to kill time says:


    Ha! I was just telling my daughter that I needed to change my screen name, but it always seemed so apt. Lately, I have far less ‘time to kill’ because I am now helping to take care of three active little grandbaby-boys. Talk about a full-time job..

    I wrote to my best friend that there were a few times in our 40 year marriage when I just wanted to get the hell away from my guy – all marriages go through things like that, I think – but we worked all that garbage out, and now I would give anything to have him snoring next to me and annoying the hell out of me, or telling me that I’m totally wrong about whatever, or making some snarky remark that made me laugh like crazy. One of the best things about our relationship was his sense of humor…he could always make me laugh, a LOT. I think that’s very important in the long run.

    eemom, you always make me laugh, so I don’t pay any attention to the peeps who rag on you sometimes. Keep on keeping on, gal.

  97. 97

    @licensed to kill time: There really aren’t words – I’m sorry for your loss seems so little. But I really am and am so sorry you have to face this.

    I’m glad you can share here, I’m glad you have a support system. Just remember, no one grieves the same. Your grief is yours and you’ll move through it the best way you can. I hope you’ll find comfort in memories. Be gentle with yourself.

  98. 98
    Cassidy says:

    @licensed to kill time: I think it’s funny; when I was down and out, this is where I cam as well. There’s something very comforting about this place.

    In 2005, I lost some friends in Baghdad. I know it’s not the same, but that has never left me.

  99. 99
    Dee Loralei says:

    @licensed to kill time: I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m glad for you if in any way this ragtag group of miscreants could help ease your struggles. We’re often not nice people, but we are people. And we realize when face-to-face with actual human struggles in our stream, that their are actual humans here. I hope you find peace, and remember your loves. I hope you can carry on. I hope your burden will be eased as we traverse this mortal coil. I wish for you to be able to find humor in your loss, love in your neediness, peace in your prospects. I wish you well. Va ya con Dios.

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    So sorry for your loss, licensed TKT. I’ve had close family members die suddenly, and recall some strange vibes for a period of time after they were gone. Almost like they were still around, but invisible.

  101. 101
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Cassidy: I have read all your stories and your down times and the help you received here…I have friends who served in Vietnam and lost good buddies and came back all messed up and I hope that you have/or will find peace within yourself after what you have experienced. War is fucking hell, no matter what.

    And I do thank the powers that be, or the FSM or whoever for this space, this place, to express ourselves and to get support when we need it.

    Thank you for your thoughts. It does help, a lot.

  102. 102
    eemom says:

    @Yutsano: @Redshift:

    assorted collection of vaguely categorizable weirdos

    meh, fuck the tag and rotating subtitle. Let’s just change the name of the blog. Cole won’t notice.

  103. 103
    Yutsano says:

    @eemom: Quick! Have soonergrunt do it before JC wakes up. I bet he barely notices.

  104. 104
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Dee Loralei: Thanks Dee L. It really does help to be able to talk about it with people that I feel like I know, even if they are all screen names and pixels ;)

    @General Stuck: You know, I have been hoping that I would get some sort of message or impression from my guy, but so far,zippo. One nutsy neighbor of mine told me this convoluted story about a friend of hers who she had set up a candle/picture/shrine to, and how he had shot a ball of blue energy toward her from his picture and it hit her in the throat.

    I (thought to myself) MY guy better not try something like THAT!! Hahaha. One thing I can still do is laugh, thank the noodly dude..

  105. 105
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    I just started crying, tears rolling down my face and looking insane, I suppose, to anyone passing by. Grief is such a hit or miss phenomenon, it strikes you at the most unexpected times.

    My sister-in-law died unexpectedly last January. I am still having exactly this reaction. Grief hits with no warning, and for no apparent reason, and I expect it to go on for a long time to come.

  106. 106
    licensed to kill time says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Thanks TaMara. I am finding out that grieving has it’s own way of working through you; unpredictable, sometimes unsettling, and sometimes rather comforting. It’s all so new to me, but I am coping in my own inimitable fashion, I think.

  107. 107
    dead existentialist says:

    Life’s a bitch. Amirite?

  108. 108
    Phylllis says:

    @licensed to kill time: Be gentle with yourself. I was widowed in January of 2006. Things wil seem rather crazy for a long time. I would regularly melt down in my car. The grocery store? Hey, watch the weeping lady as she buys an assortment of items none of which will work together to make a meal of any kind! I found this site remarkably helpful: It’s an unmoderated forum and sometimes things get a little hairy on there. Take what you need from it, leave the rest.


  109. 109
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: I’ve had 3 close family members die in the last year; now my guy, too. It’s like the Year of Death, or Endings, or something. Not fun.

    But you just keep on going, no opción as they say in Spanish. No option.

  110. 110
    licensed to kill time says:

    @dead existentialist:

    Life’s a bitch. Amirite?

    Yep. And then you die.

  111. 111
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Phylllis: Thanks for the link-I’ll check it out. One word I had never thought would apply to me is widow. But then I always thought I’d die young and leave a good-looking corpse, too.

    Ha. Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.

  112. 112
    Phylllis says:

    @licensed to kill time: Re: the grocery store thing. I struggled with that a lot partly because I hadn’t done the grocery shopping for years. Oh, I’d stop and get milk, eggs, bread. But my real job was to follow him around the grocery store and say, ‘Wanna get some of that? Wanna get a couple of those?’

    And I was never a big believer in signs. On the board I linked to, there’s inevitably a thread about pennies, or dimes, or dragonflys being signs. My stance on that has pretty much been “$100 dollar bills, sweetie.”

  113. 113
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Phylllis: Yeah. I’m not a huge believer in signs, either. I’d prefer them to be unequivocal, if ya know what I mean.

    Having said that, just the other night I was sitting outside with my son-in-law, talking about ‘El Rey’, as we called him, when we saw a huge bright falling star dropping right from Orion’s belt. My guy loved watching the night sky, and knew all the constellations and their proper stories, etc.

    I just felt he wanted us to see that star falling from Orion’s belt. Irrational? Sure. Comforting? You betcha.

    I think that’s why we tell ourselves we see ‘signs’.

  114. 114
    licensed to kill time says:

    @handsmile: Thank you for your very kind words. I have really appreciated and enjoyed your erudite comments on the OWS movement and wanted to tell you that. This is such a great community.

  115. 115
    gwangung says:

    @licensed to kill time: Ah. Ah. Ah.

    I am so sorry for your loss. BUt it sounds like you’re hanging in there well (and that’s good, ’cause your one of the folks that make this place a good place to be).

  116. 116
    Sock Puppet of the Great Satan says:

    ” Previous research has shown that any strains of influenza that can pass between ferrets can also pass between humans”

    Didn’t Kawaoka, another Stunt Virologist, get a bit embarrassed he predicted because the Mexican H1N1 which slew ferrets no bother, turned out to be a damp squib in humans. Palese at Mt, Sinai thinksH5 is not a big deal. I.m inclined to agree with him.

  117. 117
    licensed to kill time says:


    Thank you so much – I AM hanging in there, because I have no other choice but to do so…also, thanks for noticing that I hang out here and counting me among the good folks on this blog. It really is a special place (except for those few shit-stirrers whom I will not name, because I think we all know who they are).

    Now I have to try to sleep….wishing for one of those hockey-puck sized Am.bien that Cole was fantasizing about the other day…

  118. 118
    Keith G says:

    @licensed to kill time: You did the right thing by sharing you feeling here. We/I can’t do much, but we/I surely can listen…, tomorrow, and on.

    Sleep tight. Don’t let the ferrets bite.

  119. 119
    gelfling545 says:

    @Linda Featheringill: The real surprise is that we’ve survived this long.

  120. 120
    Lojasmo says:


    Well, I am obsessive about washing my hands. I suggest we all be. Also, doorknobs, and elevator buttons are a big no-no.

    Likely it will be the frail who will get the short end of the stick, and to a lesser extent the young.

    @licensed to kill time:

    So sorry. I echo somebody above who said take time to grieve and mourn.

    I selfishly hope to go before my beloved wife, or maybe simultaneously…many years from now.

  121. 121
    Paul in KY says:

    @redshirt: My father and I, we call him ‘The Dark Elf’, would love to shack up there…

  122. 122
    Paul in KY says:

    @Anne Laurie: Back when I lived in a ‘neighborhood’ of sleazoids, I would sometimes grill in the house. Would have it set up in bathroom & would use attic fan to get the smoke out.

    Sometimes it looked like the house was on fire. Good times…

  123. 123
    Paul in KY says:

    @licensed to kill time: My condolences on your loss. He was lucky to have you & you were lucky to have him for 40 years.

  124. 124
    Ken says:

    This is very embarrassing news for everyone who has watched a SyFy original movie and screamed, “You really expect me to believe a scientist would engineer a half-shark-half-octopus just because he could!”

    Why yes, yes he would…

  125. 125
    Paul in KY says:

    @licensed to kill time: It’s good that it was comforting.

  126. 126
    dsc says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    I am constantly turning to tell him something that I know would make him laugh, or to have him tell me something witty or insightful in return…and then I remember that he’s just not there anymore.

    (Not the same I know) I used to be one of 5; in one year I have become one of 2. I lost three siblings (very close to my sister especially) in the past year–about 6 months apart. All went quickly. It hardly seems real.

    but when I get the urge to call (numbers all still in my cel) or to talk to them, I just do. They are still in my heart–still real and alive as when I last saw them so. The tears are still so close all the time, but when I need to–I tell them the things I would have told them anyway. No, they don’t reply, but sometimes, if I really need them to, I can hear them laughing. Sometimes, that’s enough.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  127. 127
    licensed to kill time says:

    Again, thanks to all of you who took the time to give me words of comfort. I appreciate it so much.

    My guy and I had been together since I was 16 and he was 19, just kids, really, who ran away to Berkeley and later hit the hippie trail. That started years of traveling the world…I have great memories of my traveling partner. That’s one of the great tests of a relationship-if you can travel without strangling each other, you’ll probably make it in the long run.

    Muchas gracias, Tashakor, Bedankt, Danke, & etc.

  128. 128
    Gus says:

    @Chet: Who’s preening? Do you disagree? Are you perhaps a global warming denier? Do you think that 10 billion people on the planet is sustainable?

  129. 129
    rb says:

    @licensed to kill time: LTKT: my sincere condolences. May his memory stay with you, and grow ever fonder.

  130. 130
    rb says:

    @dsc: Ah, geez, dsc. I’m so sorry. I hope time lessens the hurt but lets you keep the laughter.

  131. 131
    opie jeanne says:

    @licensed to kill time: I’m so sorry. Like everyone else said, it does seem to get better after a while.

    It sounds like you’re still in shock, and no surprise at that. It was like that when Mom left us in 2003, turning to go to the phone to tell her a funny story and then the “oh, right” moment.

    We’ve been married for nearly 42 years (anniversary two days after Christmas) and I am terribly aware that he could just be gone one of these days, with no warning.
    Like eemom (I think it was) there were some rocky moments but he has always been my best friend.

  132. 132
    opie jeanne says:

    @eemom: I think about that too, when mine snores, and he doesn’t exactly snore. I could live with that. He has these sudden bear-attack! snorts that come out of nowhere and I am instantly awake and ready to run. Where? Who knows? Just run, there’s a bear.. in… my bed.


    I should just gently roll him back onto his side and kiss his back like you do with yours.

  133. 133
    opie jeanne says:

    @Phylllis: $100 bills is very sensible.

    My dad heard about the pennies thing and when we took him to visit the WWII memorial, an online friend of mine offered to give us a tour of the Pentagon, and this was when there were no public tours being given. We toured the place and were introduced to so many 2 and 3 star generals that we hardly blinked at any lesser rank. There is a really long escalator at the entrance, and at the end of the private tour when we had gone all the way to the bottom of this escalator, Dad spotted a penny. Now, Dad was 88 at the time so he doesn’t bend or move very quickly, and he insisted on bending over and getting THAT penny because Mom had surely sent it just for him. I tried to get him to move aside because there were people behind us on the escalator and they couldn’t get off. I glanced up to see a whole lot of guys in uniforms, some of them generals, and all of them trying to back up on the escalator.

    My online friend admitted later that he thought it was hysterical but managed to keep a straight face at the time. I think it’s funny now but I was so embarrassed by it at the time, that image of my dad’s behind up in the air and a long line of generals walking backwards on an escalator.

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