The Omicron Tailspin

The Omicron Tailspin happened this week.

Truth be told, there was a blizzard coming to New Hampshire on Monday. A big one. Ten inches of snow. Nor’easter winds. But it wouldn’t start until after midnight, so Gavin would have time to get back home Sunday night to his girlfriend, Katelyn, at their place in Keene, about an hour away. This was my plan as of Saturday night.

My plan collapsed, however, when Gavin’s text came in Sunday morning at nine o’clock.

“Hey Dad. We’ve both been diagnosed with Omicron.”

A flood of worries hit me about his health, but also about what I’d do now about my Sunday night Odyssey show. Not only is the inimitable Gavin Bodkin my son, he’s also my Zoom producer. Without him, I can’t do shows.

  Gavin Bodkin

I once had a flu that kept me flat on my back for three weeks and almost killed me. Another time, I had a cough that was so deep and persistent that I injured something down in my left lung—I think I bruised my diaphragm—and a couple of weeks later a huge purple bruise appeared on my left torso. It had traveled all the way through to the skin, even though the cough was long gone. Well, after that, I’ve been wary of fevers with coughs, especially Covid, since the first variant probably would have killed me if I’d contracted it. All this time—all of 2020 and 2021–our three boys and their loved ones had been circumspect about Mil and me. They’d labored mightily during the pandemic to make sure mom and dad didn’t fall ill. Up until now, we still haven’t caught the darn thing. Knock on wood.

But if Gavin came over tonight, I thought, even masked, he’d give it to us for sure. He half-heartedly offered to come anyway, but it was an easy decision for me to make: son, stay home and get better.

I decided to postpone the show. No choice.

In time zones, California is three hours behind New Hampshire. Nine o’clock, here where I live, is six o’clock out in California. Good grief, I thought, Claire, Mark and Regina are still probably asleep. To cancel tonight’s show meant they’d need to email all the ticketholders to let them know. The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast was the Zoom performance in question. Claire, Mark and Regina are the principals at Six Feet Apart Productions.

Were they early risers? Already sipping coffee at 6:00 a.m.? Or were they still happily asleep, unaware of this screwup in New Hampshire?

“I’ll email them at least,” I thought, and shot off a bad news email to Claire. Emails don’t wake people up. Claire hosts the show.

  Claire Hennessy

I paced around until 10:00 my time. No response from Claire. “All right, I’ll call her,” I thought, and rang her cell. Got her voicemail. Still not awake. Heck, it’s Sunday morning. Why should she be?

There was my Taylor 12-string, gleaming with its fresh set of strings. It was set to the Odyssey tuning and ready to go. I always string my guitars the day before a show to get that fresh, bright bronze sound and let the strings settle in.

An hour later I was pacing around my kitchen when Claire rang on my cell. I apologized for calling so early and explained to her what had happened with Gavin. In her lovely British accent she sounded remarkably composed as she chalked it up to “life happens.” She shared how her daughter had come down with Covid over Christmas and how they’d all been forced to stay apart. Her comment made me feel much better. She understood.

Yes, she’d email all the ticketholders from Eventbrite and let them know the show was off for tonight. I suggested we reschedule for January 30, two Sundays away. After a little back and forth, she agreed.

And she did email everyone. Within the day she’d even updated the show logo and sent it over, along with updating the tickets link. We updated our site shortly thereafter, and the deed was done.

Gavin has nearly recovered, I’m happy to say, and Katelyn is back to 100%, she says.

And so on January 30th, Gavin will join me in the Zoom studio and we’ll do my 70-minute Odyssey show and have a lot of fun. It will be good to see him, as usual. It will be good to see my audience, too, since after the show, I’ll be taking questions. The actual story will be on full screen.

My guitar is still sitting there with those fresh strings.

And we’re still selling tickets, too, by the way.


Odds Bodkin

Bradford, New Hampshire

FREE ODDS BODKIN STORY: Earthstone–Episode Three. A Story Ahead of its Time

FREE ODDS BODKIN STORY: Earthstone–Episode Three. A Story Ahead of its Time. Gracie and Charlie, a brother and sister constantly at war, have just escaped The Castle of a Thousand Lights, where the Clockmaker rules, destroying the forest. But now they’re in that forbidden forest itself, and they’re about to meet The Elephant of Surprise, king of the insurgent animals.

Enjoy this excerpt from Odds Bodkin’s original two-hour musical, Earthstone.


Get the entire adventure at Odds Bodkin’s online shop. Included with the EPIC DRIVE and the MASTER DRIVE.

Where’s My Bravecto?

I drove up to Wendell Veterinary Clinic in Newport, New Hampshire the other day, about a fifteen-minute drive, and stood in the downpour under my umbrella outside their Covid window.

In return for handing the young woman my folded check for $60–I whipped it over super-fast since the rain was coming down hard between my umbrella and her window–she handed me a bag containing one Bravecto. It’s a miracle pill.

Back home, Samson our dog ate the chewable with great glee, thinking it was just another tasty snack, snorting with delight down there on the kitchen floor.

“What have I got for that boy?” I’d said, building it up like I always do when I’m preparing to give him a snack. No different from Pupperoni, which he adores, or Dentastix, which are minty and good for his, well, dog’s breath.

Bravecto. It’s a miracle pill because Samson is no longer in danger of contracting Lyme Disease for the next three months. Ticks, fleas and any other nasty little arthropods that crawl onto him, once they bite and dig in, well, all of them die in about six hours. His blood has become poisonous to them. Deer Ticks, the tiny carriers of Lyme, don’t have time to transfer the nasty bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi (scientist Willy Burgdorfer discovered the spirochete in 1981) into Samson’s bloodstream. Instead, the ticks die and dry up, flaking off by themselves. Wood ticks, too. All of them.

The active agent in Bravecto, I’ve learned, is called fluralaner. It’s revolutionary. A stunning advance in veterinary medicine. Gone are the days of flea collars and combing through my dog’s fur for blood-filled bugaboos.

Why am I writing such an unnecessary post about something so mundane? Because 400,000 people a year contract Lyme Disease in the U.S. It’s treatable, but only if you recognize its complex symptoms early enough. Otherwise, you can be messed up for life.

As a man who used to run in the woods in total abandon, fearless and free, busting through thickets and crossing tall grass fields here in New Hampshire, at least until Lyme arrived and the woods became a place to worry about, I have a glaring and probably obvious question to ask.

Where is my Bravecto pill? You know, my human version?

Please, Big Pharma, you could sell millions and millions of these pills. How about it, Merck?

Guys like me would buy them every three months.

Coming up Oct. 29th Live on Zoom: HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror, Odds Bodkin’s scariest tales. Tickets on sale now.




During the centuries of Bubonic Plague in Europe, “plague doctors”, if you could call them that, wore bird-like masks stuffed with herbs. Camphor. Lavender. Peppermint. They had no idea what a bacterium was or what was causing people to die so suddenly and swiftly, but they thought their masks and cloaks might help.

Most people believed the Plague was God’s wrath, visited upon the sinful, which led to the Flagellants—troupes of young men who marched through towns, whipping their bare backs to bloodiness with flails—who hoped that by mortifying their flesh, God would spare their lives.

People in modern times still do this as part of religious devotional ceremonies.

In America, in the scientific age, we now know about bacteria and viruses. We can thank a Dutch scientist named van Leeuwenhoek who, in 1674, first observed microorganisms under his early microscope, thanks to Da Vinci’s discovery of magnification earlier in 1508.

It wasn’t until Edward Jenner, an English scientist who in 1796 discovered that smallpox could be prevented by introducing cowpox virus—a lesser cousin of smallpox– into the skin, that vaccination was born.  He’d noticed that milk maids, who spent time with cows and commonly developed cowpox, seldom got smallpox. He theorized that cowpox exposure charged the immune system against its more deadly relative, and slowly, the notion of vaccination took hold in the West.

“Variolation” – introducing smallpox pus itself into the skin – was an old practice among the Ottomans and other cultures, by the way.  European royalty practiced it, too. The problem was, it killed 10% of subjects, but still offered better odds than full-blown smallpox. At Valley Forge, George Washington ordered all his troops to undergo variolation. It just might have saved the American Revolution, just before his army crossed the Delaware and routed the sleeping Hessians at Trenton. You can read a compelling account of this in Kathryn Goodwin Tone’s THE KINGS BROAD ARROW, a young adult novel.



Dr. Jenner, however, believed in his cowpox vaccine. Scratch yourself with cowpox, wait three months, then scratch yourself with smallpox. No smallpox symptoms appear.

I’m not sure how much of this history modern anti-vaxxers know. I really doubt that the miniaturization of killer microchips has arrived at the level of sophistication where any of these Covid vaccines incorporates them. To what end? To switch off billions of people with the flick of a switch? Why not just let the plague run rampant and kill us off by itself? Besides, there’s a worldwide chip shortage these days. And those are just the regular-sized ones.

Covid is a result of peering into what should be a forbidden area of inquiry–gain of function in viruses and their weaponization—and represents human hubris at its worst.

Sure, in war bullets can indeed be useful, but not if you shoot yourself in the foot with them.







I’d just like to admire the male and female knights of medicine who, all across the globe, are donning their armor and going into battle to save us.





Support personnel.

Ambulance crews.

Manufacturers retooling their factory floors.

An endless queue of worthy persons, doing their jobs and striving for the greater good.

Frontline medical personnel are putting themselves in direct exposure to this pathogen, hoping their suits protect them.

If we accept that a viral pandemic is much like a house fire, we’ll appreciate this moment in human and Nature’s history. This pandemic is behaving much like a house flame just after its early ignition. At the moment, it’s just creeping across the carpet. It hasn’t reached the curtains yet. If we all pay attention and cooperate, we can step on it now and put it out.

Here’s a Joe Rogan interview Chris Bodkin sent me:

Here’s an important and exhaustive article David Batchelder sent me:

I’m sending them on.