C-19 is not the only disease….

Trump has a 15% Covid-19 response approval rating in Canada according to Ipsos Reid.  85% disapproval.  But that number is skewed by Alberta which has close to a 40% approval of Trump’s buffoonery during the crisis.  Most provinces disapprove more than 85%.  Trump barely gets a 40% approval even in Bubbaville, Tennessee or Cretin, Kentucky.  Turns out we have even dumber Bubbas in Canada. 

The picture attached to the article I read shows a man sitting in crowd with his wife and one of them has a MAGA hat (sitting on a lap).  This is a crowd (presumably listening to a Covid-19 lecture) with no masks, no social distancing and no brain matter.  And they are the smartest ones.  At least they went to the lecture. 

Oh, I know that Trump supporters have a point.  Only one, mind you.  The swamp SHOULD be drained.  The old institutions needed shaking up.  ‘Merica is slipping behind in oh-so-many ways.  The world’s leading nation needed a fresh mind, an irreverent spirit, a revolutionary-of-sorts.  But, sad to say, they got a mean-spirited, incompetent idiot whose only obvious natural skill is massive narcissism, self congratulations over cheating and going bankrupt and criticisms of others with an education.  Guy can’t read or talk properly, either.  And we have had three years of him proving it.  And the swamp keeps getting bigger.

The guy is a HUGE loser!

But you know all that.  My question is: how can a man who intimidated us (NAFTA),  ‘stole’ from us (3M false masks) and discriminated against us on the world stage get any approval whatsoever from any true Canadian?  Trump wanted to keep honestly ordered face masks from Canadians during a pandemic!  How does anyone reconcile that?  Do Albertans subscribe so much to the Bubba doctrine that they admire even those who renege on legal contracts and, in doing so, harm fellow Canadians?  How do they wear the hat of a ‘movement’ that spews hate and bigotry and NOW also includes cheating and discriminating against their closest neighbour and ally?

But, again, you know the answers to those rhetorical questions.  The point of today’s blog is this: Trump will go.  If not in November, then four years later.  I am hoping a Secret Service guy snaps.  But the legacy Trump will leave will be one of a divided nation hated and despised by virtually all other countries in the world.  Trump came, he saw and he divided.  He accomplished nothing of any value and destroyed decades, if not centuries, of American relationships around the world and in North America.

But he didn’t stop there.  He has further fractured our own country like a spy-within.

We have always had an uneasy national family.  Quebec usually acting like the misunderstood black sheep, wanting more, threatening more, controlling more of the economy and the government (most Prime Ministers come from Quebec).  Quebec has been a smidge hard to live with at times.  And Alberta has always been what they call CONSERVATIVE but which is anything but conservative.  They spell conservative, S-T-U-P-I-D.  They relate to Texas more than their own neighbouring provinces and ‘drill baby, drill’ is like their motto.  They are clearly on a different path than BC, the land of tree-huggers, whale-savers and lotus-eaters.  They are the uneducated rednecks and we are the la-la-land hippies.

Of course, everyone loathes Ontario.  We shouldn’t, really.  Ontario is hated mainly because it and the Federal Government are so Ontario-centric.  Neither the feds, the MAIN media nor the Ontario government cares much for Eastern or Western Canada.  They really just like themselves. A lot!

So, it was not a difficult demolition for Trump to undertake.  Canada is a bit of a modern and divided family that rarely dances or plays well together.  But we have hung in there and, when the chips were down, Canadians have previously rallied and pulled together.  But Trump is a test.  A REAL test!  How can we accept our dumb-but-adjacent sister, Alberta, knowing that she is on the side of the person who cheated the family?  How do we continue to tolerate the idiocy of someone who prefers Texas non-culture over BC eco-culture?  How do we live with a province hell-bent on embracing environmental destruction, bigotry and corruption?  How do we look a MAGA hat wearer in the eye?

It will be difficult in future for our country to heal our own internal wounds.  Having said that, MOST Albertans aren’t idiots.  Most Albertans are good people.  Most Albertans are good Canadians.  But, sheesh, they have a high number of numb-nuts.  Jus’ sayin’…..

 

A trip to town….

…I had a few things that needed doing and it seemed like delaying would only make the risk greater.  So, today, I went to town.  I went alone.

Interesting.

The 11:00 am ferry off the near island is usually one of the busiest.  There were less than a dozen cars today.  I first went to the bank.  The ATM.  Sitting in front was a pudgy, older woman with a hand-held sign saying ‘STOP’.  On her lap was a small explanatory statement saying the obvious.  By then, I was already wearing a mask and rubber gloves.  She waved me through.  I was alone there.  Two machines.  Halfway through, some guy arrived to use the second ATM.  I noticed that two people side-by-side at ATMs are NOT six feet apart.  He did not have a mask.  He did not have gloves.  When I left, I wiped the keyboard with an alcohol wipe.  A woman waiting said thank you as I left.  She did NOT have a mask or gloves either.

I then went to a store to get rice (for my world famous sushi – emphasis on ‘my world’) and the two people in the store are Japanese.  No masks.  No gloves for the cashier.  “Hey, you two.  I’ve been in Asia.  Typically you would be wearing a mask.  No?”

“We cannot find any.  We would but we there are none.”

“We’ll be making some.  I’ll send you a few.”

Then to the liquor store.  It was there I saw the first OTHER person wearing a mask and gloves.  He was old.  At least my age.  We nodded.  The staff were good and I went to the car with one of them helping to carry.  “Hey, man.  Not my business but I am wearing a mask because I am in contact with old folks many of whom have compromised immune systems.  I am guessing you have more than a few customers who are the same.  Shouldn’t you have a mask?”

“Yep.  They are coming this afternoon.  Tomorrow at the latest.  We are all sweating it out in the meantime.”

Bottom line: one person (other than me) with a mask.  The BC Liquor store WITHOUT masks.  No one but me with gloves.  Everyone indicating that they were aware but – all but one – doing nothing about it.  Are they stupid?  No.  Just playing the hand they were dealt.  I get it.

But, if the disease endures, you do NOT have to wonder why.

 

 

 

 

C-19

I am assuming that you have all kept up with the C-19 pandemic. I am sure most people have all over the world. But I am writing because I just changed my mind/attitude/fear level AGAIN. I now think it is worse by twice….meaning: I am thinking about taking a few extra steps.

“What changed your mind?”

Ontario Health is projecting our ‘lockdown’ or response phase on this virus may last as long as 24 months. That’s a possible game changer. It feels like it might be.

C-19 is a killer. People will die. It will get much uglier. But that is NOT what changed my mind. I already knew that. Death happens. Sometimes in bunches. For me, the bigger issue is the prolonged time. Two years is massively disruptive to a pretty fragile, just-in-time, built-for-profit social system.

Emergencies that last a few days, seem to change little (like ice storms, blackouts, etc.) for the larger society. Emergencies that endure a couple of weeks make much more significant impacts (Hurricanes, floods, battles and terrorism) and, when that happens, the local area is in a rebuilding/renovation phase for a considerably longer time (Haiti, Katrina, etc) – weeks and months. But a slow-burn, drawn-out crisis has the potential for changing supply lines, institutions, services, civil behaviours, even infrastructure.

Twenty four months of disruption may derail our modern society even more significantly than might a natural disaster that we had previously found more common. For those ‘common’ disasters we seem to have some kind of typical response plan even if those responses are usually found somewhat wanting for those suffering.

We do not have such a plan for this emergency. We do not have a typical response to this. And, worse, it seems that the response we do have is already strained to the max as well as starting to come apart. And the virus is still in the growth phase. I do not think the ‘system’ can hold for 24 months.

When I say that, I am not implying chaos and anarchy, zombies and armed Bubbas, starvation and contagion. I am not suggesting that this is the apocalypse. But I am saying that such a possibility is now (possibly) on the radar. Disruption is likely approaching. I feel I have to at least think about it. A lot. And I feel as if I had better be prepared to act on my new thoughts.

I am not alone. If the general population is steady now at say, Defcon 5 (alert and responding), I am at Defcon 2. (freaked). I just feel as if I have to do more.

“Like what?”

Well, we have enough food and water for months. But not 24 months unless I start to kill deers and, even then, that is helluva lot of venison sandwiches to suffer through. So food supplies have to be looked at. And so it goes. Our medications will not last that long either. Gas for the boat? Propane for the stove? And that is just the OBVIOUS wrenches-in-the-works that pop up. As you know, an emergency is something very hard to plan for. What will the next emergent’event’ look like?

“Dave! Calm down.”

I am calm. But, when things change, it is prudent to adjust to the change. I think Ontario Health just changed the BIG picture.

Big talk. No action.

Cougar Sal and Dave were planning to risk it all on a one-day delivery turnaround down in the Big Smoke.  Deliver moho, throw the keys at buddy and jump in the still-running Pathfinder to go home.  Move fast.  Carry little.  Only sandwiches, masks, gloves and a thermos of tea.  Kiss no one.  It’s the simple plans that have a chance.  Throw in a wrinkle and all progress stops.  It’s the Canadian way.

And what simpler wrinkle can there be than they stopped the ferries?!

That’s right.  The route we take (Departure Bay to West Van) wasn’t just cut back, it was eliminated!  Nada.  Zip.  And it is gone, gone, gone for 60 days!  Virtually no notice.  Which, since we were leaving early Monday, could have caught us ‘outed’ on the highway but (whew) it did not.  I am sure some poor saps coming down from Up Island for a Saturday crossing are pretty ticked but there it is.  Live on an island and die by the ferry.

Such drama is NOT quite true.  There are still some limited sailings from other terminals and they would work as long as Murphy doesn’t mess with us.  But add a Murphy wrinkle and the whole schedule falls apart.  No flexibility.

Bottom line: we don’t go.  Not yet, anyway.

“I called my nearest island neighbour. “Good news and bad news, J.  Which do you want first?”

“Gimme the bad news.” 

“Bad news is that Sal and I are staying here with you and Jo on the island.  Not going!”

“Yikes!  That’s horrible news.  Can’t you go somewhere else for awhile?  So, what’s the good news?”

“Good news is that Sal and I are staying here with you and Jo on the island.  We can go fishing.”

“Yippee!  That’s great news!” 

C-19 is putting some pretty major dents in the system.  Things you might expect (airline stoppage, lay-offs, illnesses, deaths, shortages, etc) and some you don’t (our cell phone service has been poor, we can’t go on the ferry, no whales sighted yet).  This is a time of major change and no one saw it coming.  Which kinda proves my theory that you cannot really plan for an emergency because emergencies, by definition, are surprises.  C-19 is proving surprising if nothing else.

Or is it?  Surprising, I mean?  Our Covfefe (Circle of very fine entertaining friends and eccentrics) includes more than just a few conspiracy theorists.  They send me stuff.  And they posit that C-19 was all a plot by either the USA, Russia, the Queen, China, the CDC, WHO, Tom Brady or maybe even the Guess Who.  The motive is anything from making Trump look good to making Trump look bad, getting Putin appointed cheese-for-life, getting revenge on the Patriots or even just patriots, teaching Harry and Megan a lesson and on and on and on.  Conspiracy types are usually strong on suspicion and extremely creative in weaving unrelated ‘facts’ together.

The latest one was based on the fact that the CDC recently posted a number of jobs available for pandemic management.  They advertised those positions in November of 2019 and, by doing so, PROVED that they knew what was coming.  Furthermore, they KNEW what was coming because they, themselves, released the virus in order to (see list of motives above).

“I saw a posting for a seismologist.  Does that mean the US Geological Survey Department or maybe the National Geographic magazine or maybe the US Fracking Agency or maybe the Saudis are planning an earthquake?”

“Wow.  I never thought of that.  I better get on that, man. “

Nothing like a pandemic to bring out the best in us.

 

S’oft the grid

Another beautiful day.  But cold.  Sal’s going up to the post office for the new food delivery sorting that is now happening every two weeks.  We all order one week in advance and then the BIG village order goes in by way of the net.   SaveON does the shopping and boxing, a taxi takes it to the water taxi and then it comes out a couple of days later.

The water taxi pulls up to the public wharf, dumps it all in a heap and a few of the locals (Sal and gals) ‘sort it’ back to the individual orders and put those orders in the freight shed.  Then, over the course of a few hours, the various ‘customers’ come by to pick up their order.  It is starting to work rather well.

Every week is, however, a bit different from the previous ones.  Sometimes all the items ordered get delivered in the manner one would hope.  Most times, there is a shortage of something and so the SaveON shopper makes an executive decision and the customer gets a pound of broccoli instead of the cauliflower they wanted.  Sometimes the shopper is less caring and simply deletes the item and there is nothing in it’s stead.

And sometimes, because SaveON up here was new to all this delivery-thing, or maybe  because the Virus is influencing everything, a whole bunch of screw ups can happen.  Our food coordinator may or may not complain depending but, to be fair, we knew this whole thing would take time to ‘sort out’ and so there has been general acceptance of just about everything so far.

And sometimes we screw up.  Someone orders 3 pounds of butter but the three was typed in wrong and they were put down for only one pound.  Human and computer  error all over the place.

It’s a costly business but worth it.  Especially in the time of Virus.  The taxi adds $25.00.  The water taxi is $50.00 for 150 pounds.  Our coordinator takes a small fee.  If it were just me and Sal ordering and we ordered 150 pounds of food that say, cost $300.00, our additional charge would be at least $75-80.  Or $380.00 for $300 worth of food.  But, but, but……….we did not have to go to town, we did not have to wait for a ferry or pay for one.  We did not use $30.00 worth of gas (boat and car) and we did not have to ‘do the work’ or buy lunch.

I did an analysis some time ago and, counting everything, (car maintenance, insurance, depreciation, time, labour, boat expenses and general frustration that old guys have with shopping) I figured going into town cost at least $100 whether I bought anything or not.  So, the new water-taxi-shopping is actually SAVING money despite seeming costly.

Of course, with neighbours pitching in with their orders, our coordinator makes her time worthwhile, the cost per customer drops and SaveON treats us better and better the bigger the orders become.  So, making this popular is the right thing to do and so we are all ‘talking it up’.

BUT get this!  Because the government is throwing money at virus-caused problems, they are helping to keep people isolating at home by subsidizing food deliveries!  And that means that (we have figured roughly) if they approve us (and we are more eligible than most since so many of us are seniors) we will likely pay only a 1/3 or a half of the extra costs what we paid before.  That has not yet happened and may not.  But, if it does, we have the system, we have the volunteers and we have the need.  It could be very, very good.

The biggest flaw in the program is that no one is saying out loud that they will shop and deliver booze.  Yes, wine and spirits are a legal product and the government is the purveyor but I doubt that the LCB has a designated shopper and, even if they did, they are kinda set in their ways and so making that popular with LCB staff would be tough.  So far, booze is not on the menu.

So, there you go…..a little more ‘daily life OTG’ to contemplate.  Pretty damn civilized if you ask me.  I recall not too long ago (15 years) fetching water from the stream in buckets, showering with sun-warmed plastic bag water and cooking on a Coleman stove.  A bucket in the bushes served as a toilet.  And all day was spent in hard labour.

We are spoiled rotten now.

PS. Sal’s back. Seems this week was $1700.00 worth of food. That represents about a dozen orders. Ours was, once again, one of them. It took three women about 90 minutes to do the sorting and re-boxing. And, of course, no one got everything they ordered save one lone bachelor who tried the service for the first time. He got all he ordered. One box. We missed out on paper towels and bleach but we got three boxes. At this rate, we’ll probably average 15 customers every two weeks pretty soon and that represents a lot of saved town-trips.

Sacrifices

I got up this morning committed to going to Vancouver and returning the moho.  Convinced it was the right thing to do.  Then I read the morning news and found myself ‘changing my mind’….maybe.  Dunno.  Decision-making is made more difficult in the time of Virus.  One minute you are brave and determined and the next you are quaking in your slippers.  Well, Sal is, anyway.  “I dunno.  I am changing my mind.  I am not sure.  Kinda thinking that, if it is not life and death, why make it so?”

Neither of us think it is REALLY life or death but the news is increasingly bad.  Every day is worse.  The warnings increasingly prominent.

Do I really need this hassle? 

There are counterpoints, of course.  The moho has to goho sometime.  What makes anyone think next month will be any better?  Could be worse in April and May.  Hell, they may even cancel the ferries altogether at some point and then that window will be shut.  At least for awhile.  Maybe we should just get going while the going is still possible?

The irony is that we are not afraid of C-19.  I mean, of course, we are ‘respecting it and what it can do‘ but, for the trip we have in mind, we think we can go in, get out and NOT be anywhere near anyone.  Touching nothing but credit cards and gas pumps.  At all.

“What would you do if you were on the road and you saw a naked woman walking alone, obviously in some kind of trouble?”

“I’d slow down and throw her a towel.” 

“Really?  That’s it?  Do we even have a towel in the car?  And wouldn’t you feel that she needed help?”

“Oh, yeah.  She needs help alright ’cause I ain’t stopping.  She might have C-19.” 

“OK….she also has a naked child with her…..you gonna stop then?”

“Nope.  Only have one towel.” 

C-19 is changing us, it seems.  Well, Sal, anyway.  She’d keep driving.  I’d stop for a naked woman even in an Ebola epidemic but that’s just me.  I am kinda noble that way.  I’d ask her to put a towel over her head, maybe….for safety reasons, of course.  “Breathe into the towel, OK?  Stick your head out the window, maybe?  No, no need to thank me.  Just lean out the window.  I am fine with this.  It’s my duty.”

 

 

Risky business

We may risk it….and go to town.  Not ‘little town’ but the Big Smoke.  Vancouver.  Yeah, you read that right: Dave and Sally may go to Vancouver in the time of Virus thus proving, once and for all, they are not quite right in the head.

“Why would you do that?”

Well, the moho is not ours and some of my buddy’s children are unexpectedly returning to the family home and he could use the ‘room’.  So, ‘doing the right thing’ is part of it.  But the other part is that this might just be the safest time to travel – you know, when they say ‘Don’t travel’?

No one is out there right now.  The ferries are running half empty and no one is getting out of their cars.  That means we should be able to get all the way to Buddy and back and NOT have to interact with anyone save for a credit card transaction or two.

Sal will bring sandwiches and a large thermos of tea.

Armed only with tea and sandwiches the seniors braved their way towards the eerily deserted urban jungle……… 

Of course nothing ever goes as planned.  And unexpected things usually involve other people and well, we are very likely riding to our doom.  Still, one has to do what one has to do, right?

Into the gaping maw of the ship of death drove the two seniors……

The real challenge is staying overnight.  Doing a full turn-around in one day is difficult, exhausting and just a smidge rude to Buddy so staying over night is ‘proper behaviour’.

No one knew it at the time but little Timmy was a super carrier…….

The moho has bad tires.  That does not portend well.

They knew it was a bad part of town.  But it was the shortest route.  The sound of a tire blowing out was the last thing they needed…..

‘Course, if you get a flat tire in the big Ugly, they will likely fine you if not arrest you.  And, if the authorities don’t screw up your day, you might just have to deal with a gang of diseased squeegee-zombies trying to spread Covid-19 on your windshield.  It can be a bit harrowing in skid row in the time of plague.

One coughing, hacking, diarrhea-splattered street person grabbed the mirror of the moho and would not let go.  He kept licking the outside of the vehicle despite the old man veering from side to side and getting the big behemoth beyond the speed limit.  The virulent street-limpet was laughing hysterically as he hurtled toward certain injury.  The screaming sound was coming from Sally.

“We have to go back.  I parked the Pathy behind you.  It’s still back there!”

“OK.  I’ll turn back but I cannot stop.  You are gonna have to do a tuck and a roll.  Careful of your knee.  Are you armed?

“I have a thermos?”

“That will have to do.  Good luck.”