The United Kingdom approves the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. These days, maybe due to the fact that we have been rather isolated from some normal human relationships for some time already and also that we have always been very vivid dreamers, we have taken to waking up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the latest news in CNN and Bloomberg. Today we were watching the Bloomberg Daybreak Europe at a birdie time of 4 AM Eastern Time when Ms. Anna Edwards, its lovely co-anchor based in London, broke the news that the UK regulator had just approved the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine for immediate use. We literally jumped out of our seat with great joy.

In a further development, the BBC News recently reported that: “Britain’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, says the jab, which offers up to 95% protection,  is safe to be rolled out. The first doses are on their way to the UK, with 800,000 doses due in the coming days. Pfizer said…The UK has already ordered 40 million doses of the jab-enough to vaccinate 20 million people…Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the first people in Scotland will be immunised on Tuesday.”

It is only fitting that the first vaccines will be used in the land of Uisge-Beatha, the great nectar. We will accordingly raise our glasses of whisky when we meet aging with our dear son Gian Luca. We will open a brand new bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Apple we received as a birthday gift.

There is always a good opportunity to celebrate with our friend Jack and this is one of the best.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Today is perhaps the very best holiday we have in the USA as it is celebrated by all the American citizens, regardless of our creed or color. We have been enjoying the get together with our close family members since we immigrated to this country in 1982 (that far in time already?) In this picture you can see my two lovely kids Noël Marie and Gian Luca in a family meal we had in our Miami Beach apartment four years ago.

Unfortunately due to the stringent Public Health requirements of the pandemic, we will not be meeting to celebrate around a family dinner tonight; we preferred to avoid travelling this time. However, we will communicate via WhatsApp later and share our “virtual meal” with happiness. Countless American families will have similar constraints, including our elect President Joe Biden.

We can still rejoice in the fact that we are experiencing the American Dream. E pluribus unum.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Muchas gracias querido Diez

Queridos lectores y colegas blogeros:

Buenos dias. Lamentablemente acabamos de enterarnos que Diego Armando Maradona, el gran astro del fútbol, acaba de fallecer de un paro cardio-respiratorio en Buenos Aires, Argentina. Es y será un gran ídolo de Argentina y otras partes del mundo, como Napoli en Italia.

Nos vamos a acordar siempre de las grandes alegrías que nos dió en la cancha como este decisivo gol contra Inglaterra en el Mundial de México 1986. La tan famosa “mano de Dios” que nos ha hecho reír a todos, incluso a los mismos ingleses que se habían enojado tanto ese dia.

Con todos sus defectos y errores, Maradona constituye una parte indisoluble de nuestras vidas. Sentimos profundamente su fallecimiento y le expresamos un sentido pésame a su familia.

Que Dios Todopoderoso lo tenga en su gloria!

Que están pensando? Por favor dÍgannos.

No me dejen solo.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Today the United Nations, the European Union and other large international organizations are hosting events for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Sadly it is still a major Public Health and societal threat that involves almost all communities. This terrible scourge must be eradicated from our civic, labor and personal spaces.

Unfortunately the forced Social Isolation and extensive economic aftermath provoked by the pandemic has only worsened the living conditions of countless women living with serial abusers. Because most of the cases of violence against women involve familiar perpetrators like partners. Our dear father Mario always admonished us: “Whomever hits a woman is a coward.” Ever since then we have lived with that motto seared in our minds in all circumstances and social settings.

Let us help in this worldwide campaign by developing more civic conscience in the younger generations that must clearly understand that there is never a justification for that barbarism. And let us demand that the laws and regulations of our countries pursue and punish abusers. Moreover, the subliminal violent messages of the “popular culture” must be firmly denounced.

Note. This picture was taken from Wikimedia Images.  https://commons.wikimedia.org

No more violence against Women.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

The very best gift God could give us

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Today, November 5th, my birthday, I would like to thank God Almighty for giving me the greatest gift I could ever receive: my two children, Noël Marie and Gian Luca. This picture was taken in a celebration we had two years ago (when the thought of this terrible pandemic and forced separation did not cross anyone’s mind) My kids are offering me a coffee mug, which I am using right now, that says in Castilian: “For Dad, with lots of love.”

Dreaming about a reunion in the near future around a nice table with homemade cooking is giving us some illusion. Indeed they are both missing my dishes and, in order to maintain my skills in the kitchen, they gave me as a present the Ninja blender-mixer that you can see in the picture below. Are they sending me “a not so indirect message”?

This is a much needed addition to our kitchen appliances to prepare more fancy sauces, doughs and smoothies.

We specially like the option of having a small hatch on top of the lid, so we can safely add liquids and other stuff.

It always gives us great joy to cook for our children and, above all, to watch them enjoy the dishes in earnest.

We would also like to thank María Tomasa, their devoted mother, for lovingly giving dear Life to these two creatures.

Our dear children, the very best gift God could grant us in our lives and the source of much joy and exhilaration.

Thank you very much.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Thank you, Mr. Bond

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Sadly, we just found out in an obituary from The Washington Post that Sean Connery, the great Scottish actor, has passed away at age 90 in Lyford Cay, The Bahamas, where he had been living for the past few years. We grew up with the suavely macho image of the British MI6 agent 007, who could effortlessly get rid of a tough Spectre agent in a hotel room and then go to the lounge to share a martini (shaken, not stirred) with a beautiful lady. We remember that great scene in Dr. No (1962) when a beautiful woman asked him his name to endorse him a check at a casino table and, manipulating a golden lighter for his cigarette, he suavely muttered:

“Bond…James Bond.”

Thank you very much for giving us so many exciting moments in your prolific actor’s career with 60 feature films. We also remember the nice impersonations of an Irish cop in The Untouchables, of a defecting Soviet submarine commander in The Hunt for Red October and the eccentric father of Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Ark. According to John Cork and James Scivally in their book James Bond: the legacy, “his appeal comes not just from good looks, it comes from a particular confidence, a certainly within himself…a natural. authoritative grace, which was at once seductive and intimidating.”

Rest in peace, dear Sean. We have your memory in our retinas and in our minds. Thank you for your great legacy.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Checking the galley proofs of our book

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. We would like to thank all the auspicious messages that you have sent us lately, encouraging us to continue editing the galley proofs of our new book, the pre-requisite before its final publication in the near future. As you can see in the shot of our computer screen below, we are busily checking for any and all possible errors.

We also would like to thank the professional team at Outskirts Press that has been helping us all along this task. God willing and weather permitting, we will finish the correction process in the next few days and then it’s ready.

 

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Post-pandemic Trinity effect

This article was excerpted from the chapter Epilogue – What do women want from our soon-to-be-published new book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague.

“Can you fly that thing?” Neo said, pointing at a parked helicopter.

-“Not yet” Trinity replied. She takes off her glasses and picks her Cel.

-“Operator…I need a pilot program for a B-21-2 helicopter…Hurry.”

In the other end, the operator maniacally clicks his keyboard a few times.

She closes her eyes for a few seconds while her eyelashes suavely flutter.

 Suddenly she opens her eyes and commands to Neo: “Let’s go.”  

In that memorable scene of The Matrix [i], the central characters are quickly aided by Artificial Intelligence to flee the pounding pursuit of the malevolent Mr. Smith. In that vein, we can watch now that people who were barely able to send e-mails before are now turning experts in tele-conferencing and phone applications. Skills that used to be the preserve of the Millennials and highly educated nerds are seeping into other socio-economic strata that used to shun them, including the Old. There might be empirical evidence that a glaring gender gap is spawning.

Recently une femme d’une certaine âge [ii] told us that she had found solace from the forced distancing from family and friends by using WhatsApp chatgroups and Zoom conferences. “And your husband?” we asked. “Forget it,” she shot back.

As some distrait men keep stubbornly yearning for their Past, most women are already daringly colonizing our Future.

[i] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/

[ii] Euphemism used in the French language to delicately refer to “an older lady.”

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Two women awarded the Nobel Chemistry Prize

It was about time that the Nobel Prize committees would become more aware of the great accomplishment of women scientists in so many disciplines that have made a crucial difference for the Human Welfare. Even though Marie Curie, née Sklodowska, was one of the early recipients of the prestigious award in Physics, she had to share it with two men. In 1903, the Nobel Committee awarded half the prize in Physics to Antoine Henri Becquerel “in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by his discovery of spontaneous radioactivity” and the other half to the Pierre and Marie Curie “in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel.”

On October 7, 2020, Sharon Begley and Elizabeth Coney announced in a Stats article that: “the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences…awarded the Nobel prize in Chemistry to American biochemist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, and French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, for their 2012 discovery that a bacterial immune system called CRISPR can be repurposed to edit DNA, the molecule of heredity.” Dr. Charpentier was surprised that for the first time two women shared the prize, which would send a clear message to young girls that science might be for them too.

In a seminal 1992 Science article, Martin Jinek et al (including Drs. Doudna and Charpentier) exposed the RNA-mediated defensive mechanism of bacteria called Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, whose acronym is CRISPR. This defensive mechanism is based on the engagement of the bacterial cas genes organized in operon(s) and CRISP array(s) that consist of genome-targeting sequences (spacers) It is based on three steps:

  1. Reacting to viral threat, bacteria integrate short fragments of foreign sequence (protospacers) into the host chromosome at the proximal end of CRISPR.
  2. The transcription of the repeat-spacer element of CRISP RNA is followed by the enzymatic cleavage that produce short crRNAs.
  3. Those crRNAs target the foreign viral sequences of DNAs, disabling them.

They said: “the Cas9 endonuclease can be programmed with guide RNA engineered as a single transcript to target and cleave any dsDNA sequence of interest.” Cas9, a bacterial enzyme, could be paired with the bespoke CRISPR-related RNAs in order to target any site of the viral DNA molecule to disable the virus infectivity. This technique might eventually allow for the careful design of better targeted and much safer genetic therapies for the treatment of grave diseases of human beings.

We might be the beneficiaries of this novel technique in future clinical protocols.

Note. The featured image was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

Vote early to get respect

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon. For all those that are proud citizens of the USA, wherever you may be now, it is imperative that you exercise your right to vote in the upcoming November 3rd American Presidential elections early on by duly visiting a voting center or sending it by mail. We went yesterday to a Public Library in our Miami neighborhood and inserted the envelopes in a special booth set up by the Dade County Elections Commission. We feel honored and satisfied.

We must all vote. It is the democratic way for our voices to be heard by the politicians and persons of influence.

If you do not like how things are turning out now, get off your butt, fill the ballots and plonk them in the box.

The worse thing that you can do is to despairingly flung your arms in the air, saying: “Why bother? Nothing changes.”

Wrong. Very wrong. We can work for incremental changes by selecting our honest and dedicated public servants.

Vote now!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.