Risk benefit analyses for vaccinations

In Marin, a surprisingly large number of kids do not get vaccinated.  This is because a lot of the yuppies here have hippie inclinations.  They want everything natural.  They spend a fortune on organic foods, think raw is always good, and consider vaccinations to be an unnatural and therefore dangerous activity.  “Natural” is their God.  They are unresponsive to gentle sarcasm (“You know, arsenic is a naturally occurring substance.”).  I get that.  Not everyone is subtle.

The problem is that these same parents are also unresponsive to facts.  Point out to them that unpasteurized milk carries heinous bacteria of that type that once contributed to the pre-Pasteur 50% child mortality rate and they’ll earnestly explain that they get milk from “clean” cows.  That’s an interesting notion.  I’ve visited an organic dairy with those “clean” cows.  The cows’ udders trail in the muck beneath their feet, muck composed in equal parts of urine, feces, bugs and generic dirt.  The automatic milking machines aren’t always so friendly to the cows teats, which means that the milking process can be a mildly bloody experience.  When I visited the farm, the fact that the farm workers cursorily wipe the cows udders with a disinfectant before milking them didn’t really allay my concerns about bacteria.  Pasteurizing, however, does set those fears to rest.

The same “if I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist” mentality governs when it comes to vaccinating children.  The current generation of parents has never seen a polio epidemic.  They’ve never gotten reports that their school mates died, or seen them months later, dragging around in braces — or worse, visited them once they were confined in a giant iron lung for life.  These parents have never seen a child struggle to breath through diphtheria, or held that same child in their arms moments after it died.  And of course, they’ve never watched a child fade away slowly from the heart damage inflicted by scarlet or rheumatic fever.

I haven’t experienced these pre-vaccination tragedies either.  But unlike these Marin parents, I have a vast repository of historic knowledge ferreted away in my brain.  I know the statistics.  I’ve read the letters parents wrote in the wake of their children’s death.  Since I’m an older mom, and the child of older parents, my folks grew up in a mostly pre-vaccination era (worsened, in my dad’s case, by extreme poverty).  My mother almost died from diphtheria and my dad from scarlet fever.  I knew men rendered sterile by mumps and people who limped through life, permanently damaged by polio.

Yes, vaccinations have risks.  If your child is the one in ten thousand, or even one in one hundred thousand, who has a seriously bad response to a vaccination, resulting in death or permanent disability, that risk, in retrospect, was too high.  But for the the 9,999 kids or the 99,999 kids who responded just fine to the vaccination — well, you’ve saved them from death or permanent disability, and at much higher rates.  Polio, for example, was a terrible early- to mid-20th century scourge for both adults and children:

Spinal polio is rarely fatal.[33] Without respiratory support, consequences of poliomyelitis with respiratory involvement include suffocation or pneumonia from aspiration of secretions.[56] Overall, 5–10% of patients with paralytic polio die due to the paralysis of muscles used for breathing. The mortality rate varies by age: 2–5% of children and up to 15–30% of adults die.[4] Bulbar polio often causes death if respiratory support is not provided;[39] with support, its mortality rate ranges from 25 to 75%, depending on the age of the patient.[4][60] When positive pressure ventilators are available, the mortality can be reduced to 15%.[61]

In the Third World, the unvaccinated world, kids with  measles or diphtheria or polio die in horrible numbers.

And yet . . . .

Affluent Americans, blind to the world around them, still resist vaccinations.  So on a regular basis, scientific organizations, clinging to their threads of respectability (I think science squandered a lot of its reputation on global warming scares), issue reminders that vaccinations aren’t really so bad.  The latest comes from the National Academy of Sciences, which again reminds us that, in a risk benefit analysis, the risks of vaccinations are much, much lower than the benefit they confer.  In other words, stop worrying about polar bears, melting ice caps and rising seas.  Just vaccinate your children.

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  • Leah

    Ah the cruelty of spoiled parents.
    My children were born in Israel, we even lived in the Gaza Strip when the two older ones were babies. There was an outbreak of polio in nearby Gaza and latter when we lived in Jerusalem. So my kids got vaccinated for a very rare strain of polio. When I brought their vaccine record to the pediatrician here – he was shocked, he’d never seen anyone get those vaccines.

    I’m vocal about vaccinations, luckily, my kids have learned from me about what a blessing they are and will  not fall into the hippie trap. (Thank God not only in this area). At the moment these unvaccinated kids are protected by all their classmates who did the right thing, but if enough of them skip the vaccine – they too will fall ill,

  • Charles Martel

    I lived in Berkeley in 1967 when the so-called Summer of Love was going on in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. I’d often hitch a ride over to see what was up.

    Among the many things that struck me about the “Summer of Love” was the general level of filth. Hippies and would-be hippies, in full rebellion against their uptight middle-class upbringings, were happy to throw overboard all the solemn admonitions about hygiene they’d heard for years on end from teachers and parents.

    Out went washing hands before eating. Out went cleaning one’s bare feet after walking through the grit and dog crap of the big city’s sidewalks (“dirt and s**t are organic”). Out went washing sheets or towels. Out went not sharing toothbrushes, eating implements and other personal items.

    Ironically, the rise in infections and maladies brought on by all this “organic” living led to the creaton of the Free Climic. Later, in medical journals, doctors noted with dismay what it was like seeing diseases that hadn’t been observed since the Victorian era or even the Middle Ages. Typically they were skin, sexual, and respiratory ailments that thrived in places where filthy people lived jammed together.

    To say that the Summer of Love was hyped and romanticized far beyond its reality is obvious in the hindsight of 44 years. Unfortunately, the idiot notion that dirt and disease are our friends if we can just relate to them as latter-day Saint Francises is still with us.


    When I brought their vaccine record to the pediatrician here – he was shocked
    Leah, your story reminded me of my mother, who was born in Jerusalem. She was vaccinated 3x for small pox. The doctors, thoughtfully, did this on a spot on her chest where they new full well a grown woman’s breast would eventually hide the marks. 

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    There is also a “tragedy of the commons” issue here. If only (say) 1% of people go unvaccinated, they made be fairly safe because they are unlikely to encounter someone infected. But if 10% go unvaccinated, then the 10:1 increase in the number of unvaccinated people may result in MUCH more than a 10:1 increase in infections. I believe this phenomenon is called Herd Immunity (googles)…yep…that’s it.

    So up to a certain level, parents who don’t vaccinate their kids are free-riding on those who do…but when they convince enough other fools to join them, the herd protection doesn’t work anymore. 

  • suek

    >>So up to a certain level, parents who don’t vaccinate their kids are free-riding on those who do…but when they convince enough other fools to join them, the herd protection doesn’t work anymore. >>

    Sounds like socialism…

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The thing about that is that in a natural world, Gaia would purge such filthy people from existence. That’s why people developed hygiene. It was dangerous, all those plagues.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    She says much the same things I would. If you can’t kill a man bare handed when drunk, 1. don’t get drunk and 2. you don’t have any rights when engaging in high risk behaviors that requires you to kill someone to get out of being killed or raped.

    High risk behavior is for those ready to face the consequences and prepared to survive or not survive. It’s not for children thinking life is a party.


  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    7 is meant for Sally Z’s article on serial killers of women.

  • Libby

    I also blame the people, such as Jenny McCarthy, who’ve hyped the notion that childhood vaccines cause autism. They’re modern day Rachel Carsons.
    I put this on par with parents who decide to deliver their children at home with a non-medically trained person (a doula?) because it is more “natural”. Yes, this is how women used to deliver their children, but these women and/or their children also used to die when there were complications, such as when the baby got stuck in the birth canal and there wasn’t a doctor to do an emergency C-section. My friend almost lost her son this way.

  • macbethderham

    Thanks for some clear-headed thinking on this.  As a biologist, I have big problems with my friends and their raw milk fetishes.  Besides the manure under the fingernails of some organic farmers, some of the claims about raw foods are absurd. I see several websites which claim raw milk cures diabetes, yet I have one friend who has two kids who have been diagnosed with diabetes since she began serving it.  These are the youngest of 9, so one really has to wonder how all the older kids (pre-raw milk) dodged the disease. On vaccinations, again, folks have to be careful, and informed.  There are some very good reasons to avoid some inoculations, but being “natural” isn’t one of them.  (Isn’t there a Star Trek episode about this? )  My kids have most of their shots, and if I have more kids I will continue to vaccinate.  I say this as a mother who has rushed a child to the ER after a vaccination gone wrong.  My son had a seizure after his MMR.  I cut through the triage line with a limp baby, and all I had to say was “MMR,” and the staff physicians all nodded; NO other questions were asked.  The staff treated the seizure expertly, and my son is fine to this day (well, as fine as any grumpy 15-year-old can be).  The point is, medical community knows there are problems, and we as parents have to be up to date on potential issues with various shots. I also opted to eschew the chickenpox vaccine.  C-pox is just not risky for the middle class demographic, but there have been some issues with the vaccine.  Informed refusal is legitimate.   As for the Gardisil vaccine?  I don’t think saying no to that one for a 12 year old is a bad idea.  But I am not saying it to be “natural.”  When it comes down to it, I also deny that there is anything “natural” about a 12 year old having sexual relations.   Perhaps the parents in Marin would disagree with that idea, too. I rarely comment here, but am a loyal reader on the east coast.  Thanks again for this.

  • heather

    Children with immunity issues, or very young infants who have not had all their shots yet depend on the herd immunity factor.  It upsets me that “crunchy” moms are trying to have their kids benefit from the herd immunity when they don’t need to!  It increases the risk for those other vulnerable children.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who rely mainly on the Internet for medical information.  It’s astounding the fear-mongering misinformation that is out there on the subject. 

  • Caped Crusader

    I am working on a new medical hypothesis that living near cold salt water makes people less resistant to common sense to the point they are willing to sacrifice their lives and the lives of those around them. I will label this Cold Coastilian Disease (those who live near cold salt water and suffer from this malady). It is rampant to epidemic levels on nearly all of the west coast and even worse along the northeast coast. It seems not to effect those who live and the southeast and pockets of those living south of LA, but it has a propensity to spread even there.
    One permanent immunization against this disease is to be a pallbearer for a friend, classmate, and fellow American Legion baseball team mate in your teen years who died 8 hours after developing a “headache”. To dread to even touch the casket afraid you might pickup the dreaded virus that closed entire cities in that era and struck panic in your parents anytime anyone developed a headache.
    People now, I find, have an incredulous look when you tell them there was no such thing as antibiotics when you were young  and there till might not be any even today had a janitor not forgotten to close a window in Dr. Fleming’s lab over a holiday and his observation that airborne bacteria would not grow near fungi blown in by the wild. Had he reprimanded the janitor instead of having his “thinking cap” on we might still be waiting for the discovery of antibiotics. Most great leaps forward are born of random observation of untoward happenings and the dogged pursuit of the cause by the observer.

  • Caped Crusader

    That should be more resistant to common sense. Apologies for poor proof reading!0

  • NancyB

    There are many sensible people who’ve chosen, after much research, to not vaccinate or to limit the number and types of vaccinations their children receive.  Yes, there is plenty of false information available but there is just as much that is reliable and useful to the thoughtful parent.  Decisions made by the thoughtful parent are not based on some philosopy of living but on what seems reasonable and safe for their children. “Herd protection” seems a weak excuse to me to vaccinate – either the vaccine works and your child is protected or it doesn’t.  Which way is it?  Sounds like “it takes a village” – give my kids vaccines that may or may not be good for them so they can (maybe) protect other kids.   Home birth has proven to be safe and beneficial for mothers and babies in the majority of instances when Mom is well-nourished, well prepared, and supported by a father who loves the mother and the baby.  I’ve worked in labor and delivery in several hospitals since 1977 and can unequivocally tell you that many birth complications are a direct result of meddlesome birth attendants.  Babies often get “stuck” in the birth canal because labor is induced too soon – mom is lying in bed instead of up walking around and forced to push when baby is not ready.  So again, one size glove does not fit all.  And I won’t even get started here about unnecessary c/sections (40% and rising) and unnecessary inductions. As to raw milk, my digestive system thanks me daily for drinking it. I was surprised by how almost every response gave no room for a reasonable alternative – had I not known better, I would have thought this to be a liberal blog. Finally, I’m not a rich, granola, hippie, yuppie lady – just a hard working no nonsense RN who can’t afford to retire. 

  • kali

    Charles Martel : Hippies and would-be hippies, in full rebellion against their uptight middle-class upbringings,
    Charles, I lived through the Summer of Love as a child, with a parent who had hippie tendencies. She also had been trained as a microbiologist, so while we jettisoned some aspects of her middle-class upbringing, we never jettisoned hygiene. Or pasteurized milk . . .

  • Old Buckeye

    If you watch the documentary “Food Inc.,” you might change your mind about how clean our food sources are. I don’t think slapping an organic label on something makes it any cleaner.

  • Mrs Whatsit

    Bookworm, I’ve lived on an operating dairy farm for over 20 years and though most of what you say about raw milk and pasteurization is dead on, I do want to correct one misstatement.  Milking machines are NOT damaging or “unfriendly” to cows at all, in any way.  They are designed to generate a gentle sucking that is as much as possible like that of a calf, minus butting, yanking, and teeth.  Put your finger inside a teat cup as it operates and you will feel nothing but a nice smooth rubber surface, mildly contracting and releasing.  The machine is far, far kinder to the cow than knobbly grimy human hands, full of bones and knuckles and impatience.   
    If there’s blood in the milk — and sometimes there is — it is NOT caused by a properly functioning machine. It was there already, from an injury or an infection.  The machines are not somehow glued on the  cow; they stay in place only because the cow allows them to.  She has two powerful back legs and great big hooves right there and if she does not like the machine, believe me, she kicks it right off.   When a cow does this, it means there’s something wrong, perhaps an injury to the teat or a maladjustment in the machine.  The cow is a lot bigger than we are, not to mention damned stubborn, so if the farmer wants to milk her, he’s got to figure out what has gone wrong and fix it.  Almost all of the time, a cow being milked stands there comfortably, eating her grain or chewing her cud, behaving not one bit as if she minds what’s going on and very much as if she enjoys it.  The proof that cows don’t mind being milked is in the newest milking technology: robotic milkers that cows CHOOSE to enter on their own volition, to be milked at whatever intervals please them.  This is far and away the healthiest and most productive way to milk a cow.  Link here:  
    You are absolutely correct that there is no such thing as a “clean” cow, no matter how carefully the farmer cleans the udder beforehand.   However, automatic milking with equipment that is sterilized before every milking is far cleaner and healthier for the cow than milking with the unsterilizable human hand.  Farmers keep track of two measures of milk cleanliness: the bacteria count, which is what it sounds like, and the somatic cell count, which measures primarily white blood cells in the milk and  indicates the degree of inflammation or infection if there is any.   But you don’t get these every day (unless you have a robotic system, which delivers this info for each cow every milking).   Even when these measures are ideal — and on our farm, they usually are — that is not a guarantee that some cow in your herd hasn’t JUST developed an illness or that unwanted dirt didn’t make it into today’s milk despite all your precautions.  Raw milk is generally not dangerous, but when it is, it’s VERY dangerous, and the people who prattle about clean cows are proving that they do not know what the h*** they are talking about.  
    What people don’t understand about dairy farming is that there is no way to coerce milk out of a cow.  The one and only way to make a cow produce plenty of milk is to keep her comfortable and healthy at all times.   Read a dairy publication and you will see the words “cow comfort” repeated probably more often than any other phrase. This is not propaganda, it is the plain truth learned from years of experience: the only way for a dairy farmer to make money is to keep the cows happy.  If a dairy farmer’s cows are unhappy, that farmer will soon be out of business.  Contrary to the dishonest cant of the organic dairy industry, this is true of every dairy farm, everywhere.  If milking machines were harmful to cows, they would not be in use.
    That’s all!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Thanks Nancy for providing an alternative view. I think, for the most part, people’s experiences here with holistic or Eastern medicine has come from contact with hippies or Leftist Gaia worshippers. Thus those people automatically choose high risk, low gain, avenues in life just because. Whereas conservatives that choose the route of non-Western medicine or some other medicinal or nutritional or biological solution, would tend to be more thoughtful and careful.

    After all, the Left is evil and an enemy of humanity not because of their policies but because of their content, character, and malignancy. A good ruling council can make even socialism workable for it provides freedom of choice, to opt in or out. A bad ruling council can use capitalism and the free market to enslave everyone by forcing them into debt peonage or bankruptcy or loss of life savings.

    While I’ve heard of conservatives using such things and refusing vaccinations for kids, because it was forced upon them by unsafe and unwise government policies, I do not have personal practice or experience in this. Thus the opinions you read here will almost invariably be from those who lived with Libs and saw their early transgressions against medical practice. Back then, medical practice didn’t have government authority behind it. Now it does. Now if you don’t do what the government tells you concerning your kids, they will punish you and take away your kids. As Californians know very well. Thus times have changed, but people’s experiences have invariably not changed. Since many Bookworm Room readers was once of the Left, they tend to be stronger attuned to Leftist malpractice in medicine and hygiene, than with alternative options.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Milk is very good for the immune system, if people drink it every day. Like half a gallon every day. Like a lot of nutritional resources, it only has dramatic effects when you consume a lot of it.Thus it doesn’t really matter whether it is raw or not. You just need to drink a lot of it. And keep on going. Instead of water, drink milk.

  • suek

    Amazing that the human race survived all these centuries…

    The two major problems with milk are tuberculosis and brucellosis. These are the biggies that are remedied by pasteurization. When they say that the cows are “tested” at some particular interval, these are the problems they’re testing for. They’re almost non-existent in the USA today, but testing is mandatory it keep it that way.

    There is also the possibility of environmental contaminants, and since milk is such an excellent source of nutrients, those contaminants can be a problem if the milk isn’t handled in a manner to minimize it. Mrs Whatsit pretty much covered the most of it, but she doesn’t mention the fact that the milk is drawn from the cow into sterile tubes that cool the milk and transport it to a vat that immediately chills it down to temperatures that reduce the possibility of bacterial reproduction – even before it’s pasteurized.

    By the way… as far as I’m concerned, the passion for cleanliness has made us all less resistant to infections. I think that just as we immunize, we also need _some_ exposure to common bacteria to stimulate natural immune functions in our body in case of a massive exposure.

    My mother used to say something like “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die, but you don’t have to eat it all in one meal”. I have no idea where _that_ expression came from – but I take it to mean “don’t go overboard” in either direction.

    Oh yeah…and blood in the milk is probably more likely due to a particular cow having mastitis* than being injured by the milking machine. Cows have to “let down” their milk, and as Mrs Whatsit says…an unhappy cow is one that isn’t going to let her milk down. It’s a hormonal thing, and stress interferes with the hormone production.

    * Not that that’s a happy thought – mastitis is a bacterial infection. It would be likely to show up not only as blood, but in that bacterial/leucocyte count Mrs Whatsit mentions.

  • jj

    Crusader, you’re very opposed to living near the water, but I’m afraid you have an uphill struggle with that one.  Ever since we crawled up out of the sea and took an experimental breath, the race has retained an affinity for its place of origin, and the vast majority of the human race lives within 100 miles of the sea.  It’s an atavistic thing, and unlikely to change despite tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.
    Alexander’s physicians knew that wrapping wounds in moldy bread was a good thing; so did Caesar’s and Leonidas’.  Penicillin, in the basic form, was around for 2,000 years before Fleming was a glint in his father’s eye.  Our forbears didn’t know what moldy bread was, or how or why it worked – but they knew that it did work, and that was all they needed.  They didn’t have microscopes, but they did have eyeballs, and an affinity for observation.
    Obviously vaccinating kids is a good thing, but the long-term effects on what Heather refers to as the ‘herd’ are less clear.  We over-medicate generally – a tendency in which vaccination plays a role – to the point where immune systems in the first world are becoming far less robust than they should be, and the long-term implications of this are as yet unclear.  Over time, as the plague recurred in Europe, it carried off fewer and fewer people, because the ones who survived earlier outbreaks did what came naturally, bred – and passed on their resistance.
    I have read that by the year 2500 or so – if we’re still here – everybody on the planet will be bald, fat, in need of glasses, and diabetic.  I’m unsure where baldness comes in, but ancestors who couldn’t see, and were afflicted with diseases such as diabetes, generally didn’t live long enough to pass on those – if not positively ‘defective’ certainly considerably less than ‘effective’ – traits.  Natural selection applies to us as well, and by interrupting it we have done something the implications of which will not come clear for a very long time.  We no longer only have people who were naturally resistant to polio, diphtheria, etc. passing along their genes: now everybody survives to do so.  In the short term this is an obvious good, and I am absolutely in favor of vaccination.
    On the other hand we all have much less robust immune systems than our great-grandparents did, and the long-term implications for the herd – who knows?  If an immune system is never allowed to be exposed to a problem, it doesn’t develop the muscles to combat it.  Natural selection is harsh, but it leaves the strong and naturally resistant or immune to reproduce, pass on the immunity, and thereby strengthens the breed.  Having short-circuited this process to an extent, we are in the midst of an experiment.  Some results are immediately apparent: we are neither as strong nor as fertile as our forbears – males, Caucasian males, are producing much, much lower sperm counts. 
    If you don’t vaccinate you’re an idiot – but it’ll be interesting to see how it all comes out.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    JJ sounds like some future historian wondering about the causes of the Fall of the First American Empire.


  • Mike Devx

    > On the other hand we all have much less robust immune systems than our great-grandparents did, and the long-term implications for the herd – who knows? 

    This reminds me of the debate over how much to protect your children from “the elements” when they are < 3 years old.

    “Honey, I’m taking Britney for a walk in the stroller.”
    “Over my dead body!  It’s 57 degrees out there and windy!  There seems to be a drizzle at times, too.  NO WAY.”

    But the correct answer is, bundle the little tyke up and yes, absolutely, get that stroller out and go for that walk.


  • Caped Crusader

    JJ, heavens to Betsy, I hope you realize that was tongue in cheek for the most part. I am sure my classmate would have preferred a drop of vaccine on a sugar lump in 1950, had it been available, instead of dying at 18 to improve the herd’s natural resistance. Just trying to eradicate a COLD SALT WATER liberal disease (TIC). Those near warm water have less of this propensity. And for heavens sake if too many people lived near the shore how would we ever have had Swiss cheese, cuckoo clocks, fine watches, and bells around cow necks? Would humanity have developed without these essential items? I am all for natural resistance and the benefit it showers on mankind but what 50% of your family and community would you like to see die or be maimed forever to make us stronger in 500 years? Had my family not had and taken advantage of the latest medical treatment my, not available 50-100 years ago. my wife would have had died in childbirth, I would have died in 1974 from cancer and my children would never have existed. The smart have always taken the short term latest advances in science and hope to outsmart the changes induced with further advances later on.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    A lot of people died in the Black Death simply because their immune systems were shot. They had no nutrition. Vitamin deficiencies. Malnutrition. They may not even be getting enough carbs/bread for the day. That is a strong immune system? No, No. That’s a weak immune system. And that’s why people die. On the other hand, nature has a solution for this since not everybody will die off, and the ones that survive even with a bad immune system, are the ones with an “efficiency” or “immunity” against the virus. And that gets naturally passed on simply because nature doesn’t like weaklings and you either live or die due to your strength.

    Now in the modern world, our nutrition is top. Supposedly. On the other hand, we don’t do a lot of the right exercise or activities to “activate” the passive genes. or even neurological functions of our brains.

     So if you want a strong immune system, do sports, hobbies like martial arts, or competition training like olympics, and get a strong foundation in nutrition. Then you’ll have a strong immune system.


  • Midknight

    mrs. Whatsit- Your bit on how cows get milked made me flash back to the opening chapters of John Ringo’s “The Last Centurion” – which is less Sci-Fi story based on Xenophon’s march than a long rant (vaguely like Starship Troopers.) – and yes, it deals with farming, disease vectors, etc.


  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Fascinating, Mrs. Whatsit. Thank you so much for that excellent information.

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  • michal

    Ymarsakar, I have only this to say about milk:  LACTOSE INTOLERANCE
    giving birth without anesthesia is less painful than drinking milk. I”ve compared the experiences and that is what I’ve concluded.

  • suek


    When my kids were growing up, they were not allowed to use foul language. They weren’t allowed to go to R movies, and even as adults, if they visited at my house they weren’t allowed to watch R or X movies on my TV (I still had younger ones at home). Now in maturity – even seniority – they have become very protective of me…as if they think that just hearing such language or seeing such movies would somehow make me turn into Jello and evaporate… It’s actually kind of funny.

    So…my son recommended I read “The Centurion” and even sent me a copy. After the first two chapters, I called him and asked him if he thought my education had been neglected and was trying to see the job done right! Holey Moley!

    Nevertheless, I persevered, and once past the first 2-3 chapters, the story was compelling, and for some reason the seemingly mandatory expletives ceased. It really is a good story, and one I recommend. However…those first few chapters…! I may be the only one who’ll even notice it…I feel so out of step some days!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The medical community has yet to reinvigorate the bacteria in one’s intestines to cure lactose intolerance. Taking antibiotics, I have heard, has been known to produce such things. Broad spectrum anti-bacteria. And i’m sure many children have taken such for common colds or fevers. But once killed, they don’t seem to really grow back.

     But that’s only because crazy hippies made penicillin ineffective by using it for everything.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Ringo’s Centurion was basically a prediction for post 2008 elections, except it wasn’t Hillary that got elected but Obama, and it wasn’t Texas fighting about whatever it is they are fighting about.

  • Gringo

    Instapundit recently linked to a study on measles vaccination- or not.
    florescent_beige writes “In the September Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Gregory Poland, M.D. writes that ‘More than 150 cases of measles have been reported in the United States already this year and there have been similar outbreaks in Europe, a sign the disease is making an alarming comeback (abstract). The reappearance of the potentially deadly virus is the result of unfounded fears about a link between the measles shot and autism that have turned some parents against childhood vaccination.'”
    This follows the recent release of a massive review of studies into the side effects of vaccination, summarized here by Nature, which did not find convincing support for the idea that MMR shots caused autism.
    I credit the good health I enjoyed while working and traveling in the Third World to the battery of shots I took before traveling.