Northernheckler's Blog

A Yorkshireman's adventures in the big Smoke

Flu Jabs do not give you flu !

In my Facebook feed this morning was a link to this “News” story :Piers Morgan receives flu vaccine injection from Dr. Oz, then gets sick

The article relates that celebrity UK journalist Piers Morgan, appeared in US television having a flu jab, live, in an apparent attempt to convince the public of the safety and efficacy of flu vaccines; but that after the jab, he then came down with influenza – and concludes :

Millions of Americans now know that flu shots can make them sick, thanks to Piers Morgan

The author adds : It is difficult not to chuckle at the whole ridiculous charade. What was meant to further pull the wool over the eyes of gullible Americans literally blew up in the face of those that perpetrated it, as millions of Americans have now had their eyes opened to the fact that flu shots are dangerous and can, indeed, cause flu-like symptoms and other health damage.

Well excuse me if I don’t chuckle – excuse me if I go away and weep in despair at the sheer bloody ignorance of people who frankly don’t know shit from shinola.

When you get a flu jab you’ll get a leaflet tel you what it can do, and what it can’t do.

Typically a flu jab helps prevent infection from around three different strains of flu. It won’t prevent you from catching it – but it will dramatically reduce the chances. In the unlikely event that you do catch one of those strains of flu it’s likely that the effects will be less severe than if you were not vaccinated.

If you catch a strain not covered by the vaccination – of which there are many  – you will not be covered at all – and stand more or less the same chance of catching flu as you did before – however the strains in the vaccination represent the ones most likely to be caught at that time, and the ones most likely to cause a severe illness.

You can not contract flu from the vaccination – it’s not a live virus – this can not happen.

You can suffer from side effects from the virus – the most likely is a mild fever in the hours following the jab. From personally experience I can say that your arm’s a bit stiff for a day or two as well.

You could suffer an allergic reaction to the jab – the likelihood is tiny – far less than the likelihood of catching flu.

You could just conceivably contract Guillain-Barré syndrome – however the risk of this happening is no greater – and probably lower than the risk of contracting the same condition via catching flu – as a calculated risk it makes sense to vaccinate.

This information is well researched – it’s out there in Doctors’ surgeries, clinics, Health department websites – it’s very easy to find – It’s been researched properly and scientifically.

So what does Piers Morgan’s flu jab and subsequent illness show us ?

Well it shows he has a flu jab. It shows he lost his voice 11 days later.

And that’s it basically. It doesn’t show that he had flu, it doesn’t show that it was caused by the virus, it doesn’t show that the virus was ineffective.

All of the information we have from this report is absolutely consistent with the information that is routinely given out to people taking the vaccination

It would be as sensible to say :

Piers Morgan drank a cup of coffee on January 11th, and on January 23rd complained of losing his voice


Millions of Americans now know that coffee can make them sick thanks to Piers Morgan

And of course people will say – well how can you trust all that research and Government information ?

Right – Well maybe I’m a sucker for authority but I’d sooner trust the global research community and the US & UK Governments than “The NaturalNews Network”  which  “is owned and operated by Truth Publishing International, Ltd., a Taiwan corporation. It is not recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit in the United States, but it operates without a profit incentive, and its key writer, Mike Adams, receives absolutely no payment for his time, articles or books other than reimbursement for items purchased in order to conduct product reviews.”

There are two sad aspects to this story, the first is that there will be people who will read this article and as a result will not be vaccinated against flu, and will die this year – because they catch flu.

The other is that yet again it becomes more difficult to argue coherently and sensibly about any subject, when large numbers of people around the world are either incapable of, or unwilling to critically analyse news information, to tell the difference between fact and opinion, and to carry out even the most cursory checks on the accuracy of information that they pass on. These are skills that are taught in primary schools – why can’t intelligent adults apply the skills they have been educated in ?

Most articles that come my way via Facebook are generally misleading or in some cases entirely untrue  – it’s seems sad that we’ve developed our technology to the extent that we can now use it to go back to the ignorance of the dark ages

What 'S' is it traditionally quite easy to tell from Shinola ? - well for most people anyway !

What ‘S’ is it traditionally quite easy to tell from Shinola ? – well for most people anyway !

January 30, 2013 Posted by | education | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you want milk in your black Americano ?


... and what size would like your small black coffee ?

In the last two days I’ve found my self in two very different, but superficially strikingly similar, coffee bars.

The first, a branch of Costa, in a semi-rural middle-class market town within easy commuting distance of London.

I ordered a black Americano.

“What size would you like that ?”

“Small please !”

“Er, well we do medium & large”

“Well I’ll have the one that’s the smallest please”

I was starting to get a bit tetchy, and before I could reign myself in had already blurted out in my best “I know bloody everything” voice :

“You know, by definition, you can’t really have a medium size unless there’s at least one size smaller and at least one size larger !”

I regretted it before I’d finished saying it, my shortness due to similar conversations I’ve had in other coffee shops – including a particularly stroppy one in America – of which more later.

However the young woman behind the counter was made of pleasanter stuff – “Yes I see what you mean that is true”

“Actually I’m not sure that we do do medium and large, I think it might be small and medium”

Anxious to redeem myself, I quickly struck up a more friendly conversation, after glancing at the menu which showed the two sizes “Primo” and “Medio”

“You know in America some branches of Starbucks won’t take your order unless you use the words Tall, Grande, or Venti”

“Yeah, I know – they come in here asking for Tall – what’s it supposed to mean ? It’s supposed to be Italian – but my Dad’s Italian and he’s never heard of it. In Italy they’d ask for ‘piccolo’ if they wanted a small one – only they wouldn’t anyway, because Italian coffee tends to always come in the same size. I suppose Primo means ‘first’ and Medio is medium – but yeah it doesn’t mean anything unless there’s a large”

And with that she gave me my Primo Black Americano. (Which was pretty large by anyone’s standards)

It might be worth recounting the experience I had in America some two years earlier. I’d gone into Starbucks and ordered exactly the same drink – A small black Americano.

I learned many years ago that an English style black coffee is not easy to get in Italy, and after drinking a heck of a lot of Espresso, and Cappucino in my efforts to get the drink I wanted, I finally made the break through and asked for it “American Style” – Americano !  This of course is a black coffee – an Espresso topped up with hot water, to resemble the filter coffee drunk in America, Britain, Germany & Northern Europe.  There’s no white version – because there’s no problem ordering white coffee because English and American white coffee lovers really like the Italian milk versions. I’ve learned though that in the world of the modern coffee shop, it pays to specify “black Americano”

I digress.

“What size would you like that ?”

“I just said ‘Small’ ”

“All our sizes are Italian sir – we do Tall, Grande or Venti – which would you like ?”

“I’d like the one which is the smallest”

“It’s part of Starbuck’s ethos – all of our sizes are in Italian”

“I don’t speak Italian – could I have a small black Americano – per piacere ?

He huffed around and slammed my change on the counter

“Grazie !”

It stuck in my mind.

The day after my Costa experience I visited Starbucks this morning – this time in central London –  Bloomsbury to be exact.

“I’d like a small black Americano please ?”

“I’m sorry” – the woman serving had a strong Eastern European accent – not Polish – I’d guess at Latvia or Lithuania, but it would be a fairly wild guess.

” A small black Americano please ?”

“black Americano – certainly sir – and what size would you like that ?”

Surely I wasn’t going to get a repeat performance of my American Starbucks experience

I kept my cool.

“A small one please” as politely as I could

“Would you like that to take away ?”

“No I’ll drink that here”

She grabbed a paper cup. “No – I’d like to drink it here please”

“You want to drink it here ? Sorry !”

She carried on writing on the paper cup. Ticked a box that said Americano and then asked

“Would you like any milk in your black Americano ?”

I stood there dumbfounded for a second or two – and she asked me again

“Would you like any milk in your black Americano ?”

“Er .. No !  …. I’d like it black !”

“Tall black Americano !” she shouted across to the “barista” – (I half expected to see Magic Johnson walking in the door – but no she was talking about the coffee.)

When I got the coffee it was in a paper cup. The rest of the customers had ceramic mugs. “Could I get this in a real cup please ?”

Blank Looks. I repeated my question

More blank looks, and then they handed the paper cup to me smiling and said “Tall Black Americano !”

I took it away and sat down.

Now I’m not really making any kind of point here – just expressing my frustration. If it’s so difficult to order a cup of coffee in your own capital city, or in a country that speaks the same language, then what chance do we have for eliminating world poverty, and promoting lasting international peace ? Much as I felt only anger towards the smart alec in the American Starbucks, I felt only admiration for the intelligent young woman in Costa in England – dealing effortlessly with a potentially difficult customer (me), and demonstrating a knowledge of English and Italian, whilst engaged in a relatively menial job.

I felt quite sorry though for the women in the London Starbucks. Clearly struggling with English – I suspected also that they struggled to communicate with each other because of different first languages, and in all likelihood were paid a very low wage, barely enough to pay the rent demanded in a city like London.  Their lives must be difficult.

And if that wasn’t hard enough, things are made even more difficult for them by asking them to do business in a mock Italian language, which neither they nor their customers (including the Italians) understand.

So I relate all this only because it made me think a little – I hope it makes you think too.

If you are interested in the size’s of coffee at Costa and Starbucks; Starbucks originally served “Short” and “Tall” coffees – as was the custom in English speaking Seattle – they then introduced the Italian “Grande” – which is large or grande, and eventually dropped the “short”, and introduced the Venti – which again is Italian –  but means 20 – referring to the number of fluid ounces in the cup. Bear in mind though that these are are US fLuid ounces – so a 20 ounce contains around 1.20 pints – 24 Imperial fluid ounces (It’s not there to make it easy for Latvian baristas is it ?). So in effect they have Large, Very Large, and Stupidly Enormous.

Costa have primo – which is “first” – and “medio” medium – but many of their stores also have “massimo” – maximum.

Oh and by the way – if you ask for a Latte in Italy, you will be served with Milk not coffee – you need to ask for Latte Macchiato.

If you ask for Lartay however they will know you are English – and you may or may not get the drink you were after.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | idle banter | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments


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