Little Muhammad

We went down the street from my son’s house to shop at the new Syrian refugee just-opened corner store.  They sell Middle Eastern food stuff.  I know nothing about Middle Eastern food save for donairs, falafels, hummus and pita.  When we entered, we were greeted by a small, mature-faced young kid.  Muhammad was only 11.  “Can I help you find anything, sir?”

“I know nothing about Syrian food, Muhammad.  Sell me something you think is absolutely Syrian and, of course, absolutely delicious.  I am OK with whatever your favourite thing is.”

“I highly recommend this spice, sir.  On chicken.  You make it into a thick sauce and rub it all over the chicken and then fry it.  It’s the best.  My favourite.”

For the next five minutes or so Muhammad led me around the store giving me his recommendations and, of course, I bought them all.  I will even be making falafel soon.  But far and away, Muhammad promoted and sold the spices.  Muhammad was INTO the spices.  He also sold me a falafel maker and tried to sell me a can of Truffles.   “Sir, I advise you to consider this can of desert truffles.  They are rare.  They are only picked in the desert and this batch are the last truffles picked before the war.  There are no more.  Not now.”

I laughed out loud but declined.  That kind of rare desert truffle seemed way too fantastic and sounded like a used-car salesman talking.  Still, very fun.  This kid was GOOD at selling and even had a ‘story’ for the most expensive item in his store, a can of mushrooms.

*For the record: I looked it up.  Muhammad was telling the straight truth about the truffles.  Seems they are wild-harvested at a certain time and found only in the dessert.  The Syrian war ended that practice and there are no more for sale for the foreseeable future.  I am gonna go back and buy a can.

As we were finishing up, his dad came back into the store.  I complemented him on raising such a smart kid and suggested that he will either become a lawyer, a doctor or the world’s best used car salesman.  Dad smiled sadly and said, “I hope so.”  But, when dad came home, Muhammad went out to play on his bike in the back parking lot.  He couldn’t go too far.  Customers might show up and he was clearly the draw for the store.

I dunno, Bubba, but I like Muhammad.  I might even like the dad.  I am glad they are here….mostly for Muhammad’s sake……and I will taste the chicken before a full five star endorsement.  Can’t be too careful, ya know?

Odd spin-offs from C-19

A lot of people, practicing isolation and stay-at-home behaviours these past few months, prefer it.  “Ya know, I haven’t had as much work and my income is down and I must admit that I have to get back to work soon but, well, I enjoy the slow pace and getting some home work and projects done and well, I am in no hurry to get back to the rat race.”

Others are not so pleased at the interruption.  I tried to get some parts for Sal’s Suzuki outboard.  “Geez, just about everything is on back-order.  Especially Suzuki, they have been locked down the most and we just can’t get parts!”  I have noticed a lot of items on ‘back-order’ at Amazon, too.

The businesses in downtown Victoria are dying.  Their revenue this year so far is down 95%!  No tourists and no government workers makes for a devastated economy in a government/tourism based city.  Sal and I went down there over these past few days to see our grandchildren and Sal’s mom.  Victoria looked almost deserted.  A ghost-town.  If it weren’t for the 1500 plus homeless people, there would have been no street life at all.

The good news is that my son’s immediate neighbourhood has pulled together in a very natural and communal way.  Son got a new front deck and porch finished up and the neighbourhood seems to gravitate to it every day and early evening.  Mind you, the tradition started when they had the old deck so it is very likely this phenomena is all socially driven – not architectural and only a bit enhanced by Covid.  They can all stand six feet apart and it seems OK on a lawn.

While we sat outside and ate pizza, three or four separate ‘families/neighbours’ popped in.  Dogs came too.  Butts were sniffed.  Some of the people stayed and chatted.  Some had wine.  At any given time, there were at least 5-6 different people other than his relatives (6) hanging about.  Very pleasant.

Costco was busy.  And, this time, it was more relaxed customer-wise.  Everyone needed a mask and the carts were being wiped but the store allowed as many customers as arrived.  It was somewhat crowded.  Given that BC has few cases and no deaths in six days, I suppose the new protocol is fine but I preferred the ‘only ten in the store at a time’ that they had imposed a few months ago.

A friend of mine who works in Montreal reported that he is doing better post Covid revenue-wise and he doesn’t even have to leave his house.  He is a teacher of Karate and Photography and, because of C-19, started on-line classes using Zoom.  He makes more money doing that ‘virtually’ than he did doing it in gathering places.

Everyone knew that C-19 would change things but I am pleasantly surprised that it has changed many things for the better.  Of course, shops, retail and that sort of thing will suffer and traditional large scale operations have immense overhead and so this interruption will knock more than a few out of business but our ‘shopping lady’ is doing boffo box-office and so is my Montreal friend.  Liquor sales are way up.  So is groceries.  And so are home sales!  That is a surprise.

When you throw a large wrench into a complicated system, things go awry.  But rarely do they go better!  In this time of pandemic, some things are going better and that is an unexpected side-effect of this disease.


It is kinda crazy, but…..

The idea of reducing our reliance on the outside world is now a habit as much as a desire or necessity. Of course, when living off-the-grid it would be stupid to rely on the grid for doing so. That’s just nuts. Still, all of us living OTG do, in fact, rely on the grid for SO MUCH that I have avoided declaring independence and total freedom from the GRID. Instead, I admit it. We get food from stores. We get propane from the barge. We get gasoline, wine and well, the list goes on. We have one foot in the forest, one foot in town. There is no question that we are all a lot MORE independent than any city dweller but we are simply NOT independent. Seems no man is an island even when living on one.

But, like I said, the habits are now somewhat ingrained. We try. We do all the OTG things and try to get better at it every year. And, in some ways we are better. Sal’s outboard is running rough and so SHE spent a few hours yesterday stripping out the fuel system and cleaning and checking everything. THAT is being independent. ‘Cept for the fact that, after all her efforts, it is still running rough. So, the attitude is there, the expertise is still a bit wanting.

While she was slinging wrenches and filters, I was building a solar oven. And, like Sal, I was doin’ good. Still am. I have been doin’ good for a while now. The sad part is that, if you do good for too long without actually ACHIEVING good, then, by definition, you are NOT really doin’ so good after all. And I may be getting close to that. My solar oven is running a bit rough.

A great solar oven should heat up to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 C. Mine will only go up to 200 degrees F. The largest part of that is I do not yet have the great wing-reflectors that are needed to focus the sun’s rays. Those are a big deal. So, yesterday, I mocked up a couple and put them on temporarily. They cranked the heat up some 25 degrees but that is simply not good enough. I am going to have to ‘do it right’ with all four sides (instead of just two) or, push comes to shove, add more insulation.

“Dave! Why the hell would you work so hard to make such a stupid thing?”

You make a good point. And presented it so well, too.


While it is true that we live in BC (not known for excessive sunshine) and BC is in Canada (somewhat well known for being cold!), we still get enough sunshine in summer to run a solar oven (theoretically) with even a rotisserie. I’m kinda keen on having a rotisserie.

But the truth is, it was more of an experiment. The REAL truth is that I have enough solar power (electricity) that, in summer, I can almost run an electric oven with a rotisserie. Four more panels and I could. And buying such an oven and buying so many panels is a helluva lot easier than trying to make a solar oven – one that works. But, I wanted to try.

The oven (such as it is) is 25″ x 18″ x 12″. So, it is kinda big. It will cook two large chickens (if I ever get it hot enough). The adjustable and angled stand is salvage from an old satellite dish. The rotisserie was ordered new off Amazon. Materials included aluminum heat tape and heat resistant (to 450F) sealant. A scrap of heavy filter screen forms the angled floor.

OK. OK. It’s a little…maybe a LOT crazy but well, it is half done. I have to finish. Worse comes to worst, I have a very substantial food dehydrator with the optional rotisserie attachment.


Life’s challenges

123 requested a blog on life’s challenges.  And THAT is a challenge…but I think he/she was thinking more along the lines of classic/tragic/life-altering challenges mixed in with bigger-bite-than-can-be-chewed challenges – those that are inflicted by life and those that are self-inflicted.

I have had some of each.

Having said that, one thing is surprising (and only learned later in life): it is only a challenge if you see it that way.  In other words, challenges are defined by circumstances and timing and all that dross and chaos but I think they are mostly determined by one’s attitude.  As Sal has often said, “Attitude is everything!”

So, I suppose my first challenge was being a short, thick, brutish Celt with a dour attitude (even as a swaddled infant) but NOT knowing that – not at first, anyway.  And that view coloured my entire youth (along with some especially difficult circumstances and bad timing of course).  Ooooooh, it was tough.  It reeeeaaaally was!  Poor me.  I.e. I had some pimples when I was virtually unable to cope with them (lots of Clearasil got me through the worst of it).  I got almost frozen when talking to girls until grade 10 (but then suffered from listening to high school girl drivel for what seemed like an eternity).  I hated school and most schools hated me (or so it seemed) and I have never been even medium sized let alone slim (Hey!  Looking good in tight jeans was important back then).  Youth was just a continual horror show!

But, at 21, I met Sal and sunshine broke through.  It’s all good now.  Whew.

Despite that specious example, I think that the first challenge for a child is knowing when there is a challenge.  Kids do not have perspective.  I.e. we were insanely poor growing up.  My father was totally wrecked from WW2 (100% disability).  I attended 13 different schools before graduating and I skipped a grade!  I had a part-time job from age 11 on.  Had to.  But were any of those real challenges?  Being poor was just ‘the way it was’.  My wrecked father was all I knew.  Adjusting to different schools WAS a challenge but it was also incredibly good training for lowering the intimidation factor later in my life.  Was it a challenge or a gift?

In other words, a large part of ‘challenge’ is attitude.

But you knew that.

123 may have made the request for this subject more to get perspective from my rather disparate readership.  We all have points of view.  We all have attitude.  We are also NOT young.  My dwindling readership is likely of the median age of post-middle.  I am guessing 50+ and maybe older.  The ‘challenge’, such as it is, is to 1. get more readers, 2. get more comments. 3. learn from everyone…..even the Bubbas.  So, I have not met those challenges very well.  But, oh well……(see?  Attitude is everything).

And the forum topic is open……

Before we get to that, it may be that 123 is currently facing a big challenge and either wants advice or wants to vent and share it.  I think that is OK, too.  On the assumption that advice is wanted, I am inclined to the trite: “This, too, shall pass.”  Or, perhaps, “You can always move and change your name.”  Or, “Hey!  Babies happen.  Suck it up and do the right thing, man!”  Or, in the enduring lyrics of Paul Simon, “Get on the bus, Gus!  Get a new plan, Stan.  Get yourself free.”

Clearly attitude should also be very flexible…….



I backed off a little…..

….regarding writing about the sky continuing to fall. Everyone needs a rest from the doom and gloom and, tho it seems to be even more gloomy these days, I backed off. I even told a little story about me being a car thief instead. You know how it is? At the end of an hour long bleak newscast, the anchor then puts on a toothy smile and does a 30-second piece of a bird that steals car keys or a dog that loves a stuffed bear or something. Something cute, ya know, to take the edge off? Since I am much the same shape as a stuffed bear and I stole a car – my ‘theft’ story should have been a little bit cute.

The problem with a bit of levity in the time of Covid is that it is somewhat forced. One has to try hard to find something pleasant to write about these days (if you are even so inclined). Mind you, I should be. I am more fortunate than most if not all. I live in heaven with an angel and everything in our life is almost as rosy as Sal’s cheeks. Despite all Hell breaking loose everywhere else, we are happy, content and (knock on wood) healthy. We are good.

But there is no question that Covid is on a second surge. It may be that the first surge just ramped up (as it appears to be the case in the US) but many countries seemed to get the curve flattened and even dropped it some only to just recently see the curve arc upwards again. That is not good.

A year of this will pretty much knock most modern societies out of their ‘first world’ comfort and third world countries will be devastated. Second world countries (loosely defined depending on who is doing the categorization) usually include the old satellites from the days of the Iron Curtain Russian bloc like Poland and Hungary and will likely fare more like first world countries (poorly) and may, once again, become ripe for invasions by neighbours. The short term prognosis for maintaining a mostly stable global’civilization’ is starting to look somewhat grim.

How does one prepare for the diminishing of a global civilization? What do you need or count on from other countries? Is that even the way to think? Stocking up on Belgian chocolate and Scotch? Will an eroded world re-visit regularly scheduled wars and international aggressions? Will migration cease? Will we all go up in smoke? Will Covid-20 and 21 also pay us a visit? Exactly how do you deal with a world going to hell in a handbasket? It is not like any of us (maybe Elon is a possible exception) can get off the planet (and then, where do you go? Mars?).

I do not mean to be the harbinger of doom even tho I have always seen the glass as half-empty. I am a Celt, after all. Maybe even a Druid! I think I am just writing it as it is……but I do not know for sure, of course. So maybe the better way to end this is to simply ask: Can anyone see a brighter picture over the next year?

Let me help prompt one….if a vaccine gets developed and distributed, that might keep the inevitable depression to one year or close. That would be good. Trump will likely be gone – thank GOD! But, of course, Biden is all about the status quo and the status quo won’t exist for some time. So, he may prove almost as inadequate if that is even possible. And we Canucks will likely still have Trudeau (OMG!). Climate change isn’t going anywhere. Cancer is still with us. The world may unite over this common pandemic threat and the repercussions but, then again, the right-left divisions may get worse. Oil? Tourism?

It will be a crapshoot for awhile I am afraid but the bright side is that maybe this is the kick in the pants we all needed to ‘get it all together’. I hope so.

Good luck out there, my friends. We may be in for a bit of difficulty throughout 2021. I hope I am wrong.

Car Thief!

R and I volunteered to do a bit of community wood-cutting up at the community centre. On email, I asked the guy who got the logs to the dump-area if there was a truck to use to get the rounds we cut up further up the hill to the splitting area. His answer: “I’ll ask S.”

So, R and I went up, fired up the chainsaws and started whacking away. After a dozen or so rounds were lying about, I looked around and, lo and behold, there was S’s truck just across the road – one of those little white JDM trucks. I wandered over looking for a note that might read: “Dave – use truck!”

Well, there was no note. But the key was in the truck. And I know S’s truck when I see it and so, by deduction, obviously S had dropped the truck for me and I was supposed to use it.

So, I did. Got the rounds loaded up and drove them up the hill to the woodshed behind the community ‘house’ in which most formal events are held. As R continued to cut, I continued to load, drive and unload. We were doing rather well but, after an hour and half, both of us were getting a bit fatigued.

I was up the hill unloading when Sal popped in from doing yoga in the gymn next door to see how we were doing and, while inquiring, mentioned, “Oh! You are the one who stole Kath’s truck! You can now add ‘CAR THIEF’ to your CV, hahahaha.”

“Waddya mean? S didn’t leave it for me? Kath was using it? Yikes! I thought it was pre-arranged!”

I drove down to the dump area just to see Kath wandering up the road on her way home by shanks mare. I yelled to her: “I give up! Don’t shoot!” I then spun up against the front of the truck legs and arms fully extended. Kath laughed and said, “I am not going to arrest you!”

“I know. I just like being frisked.”

“You would!”

I explained my way out of it and she was very gracious. Grand Theft Auto: who says you can’t get away with it?

Snyder on Tyranny

Timothy Snyder wrote ON TYRANNY and published it in 2017 – just as Trump took office. That was NOT a coincidence. Trump is a tyrant wannabe and Snyder knew it. His very short treatise on Tyranny (126 half-pages) makes for a quick read and much of it is about resisting what Snyder believes is an inevitable threat to, and an inherent weakness in, all democracies. He believes that elections and such invite aspiring tyrant-types.

But all that withstanding, that is not what he emphasized in the book. He mostly emphasized positive steps to take to thwart such tyrants and, at first glance, they seem a bit simplistic.

#1 is: Do Not obey in advance. Basically that means that many people will anticipate the next level of government stricture and follow those ‘suspected’ demands even BEFORE the jack-boots demand it of them. That seems odd…? Don’t you think? And especially so in the US where logical ‘requests’ of social distancing and mask-wearing in the time of Covid are being so often resisted. Still, Bill Barr, the AG, is a perfect example of following his leader’s wishes without the leader having to state those wishes. Same for the whole White House cabinet, the GOP and, to some extent, same for the police, the Homeland Security and the Border Patrol staff. Those folks are quick to oppress ‘the people’ and they are not being instructed on a day-to-day basis. Trump set the mood and the oppressors are eager to be let loose on the populace! In many ways, the Bubba militas are also warming up to the new regime and we are hearing of conflict within the larger society as well. Everywhere.

#2 is the instruction to defend our institutions. He claims that our institutions are decent and that rejecting them supports tyranny. We should ‘take ownership’ of our favourite institution and we should defend it. Like Sid does on Education and others do on Healthcare. I am guilty of NOT doing that. I believe part of democracy is fair criticism of ‘entrenched’ institutions and that we have to continue to remake them to keep them responsive to changing needs. Having said that, they can’t be responsive if they are gone. Trump is a wrecking ball for institutions. When he can’t attack them directly, he appoints idiots to head them up and, in that way, they will also fail. Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education and Sonny Purdue in Agriculture are classic examples of corrosive and destructive management. Hell, under Trump’s watch the citizenry is seriously considering defunding the police! And so it goes.

#3 is: Beware the one-party state. Duh. That is hardly a revelation, Tim. However, if you don’t take stating the obvious as the real lesson but, rather, variations on it, then there is something to be said for #3. In the US the hoi polloi has often not voted simply because “They are all the same crooks just with different coloured ties.” In other words: the establishment is ONE party. I half-agree with that and find another aspect of one-party tyranny also at play when the Republicans could thwart Obama on Supreme Court nominations and yet push through their own. Even as Trump dispenses with Congress and resorts to government by executive order that same one man/party rule is being exercised. Even though they and we have more than one party it doesn’t look or feel that way.

Snyder went on to write 20 separate ‘observations’ about tyranny and, as the days go by, they are all being manifested before our eyes. He was right.
I won’t bore you with the entire list but there are two more that stand out for me.

#13: practice corporeal politics. “What the Hell does that mean?” Snyder maintains that tyranny requires sloth and complacency to flourish. He advises that we get out, do stuff, volunteer, work, show up, get away from the screens and the Laz-y-boys. He advocates for community action of a physical kind. That kind of advice seems indirect and a waste of energy on the face of it. How can helping your community distribute food stop the likes of Trump? Still, as odd as it may sound, he is right. We do that out here and it it makes us stronger. We will never be strong but being active in the community is definitely empowering everyone in it.

#20 is a bit extreme and gruesome: Be courageous. “If none of us is prepared to die for freedom then all of us will die under tyranny.” I am in no position to agree or disagree with that (being alive) but, so far, he’s been right and I’ll assume he is right on this, too. I am not so sure that I am prepared to be a Patrick Henry (“Give me Liberty or give me Death!”)but I do think having the courage to speak up is a requirement. I’ll hide behind Sal if it gets scary. She has the courage.

Care, caution, paranoia….will it help?

Sal’s mom is in her 90’s.  Our newest grandchild is just closing in on 8 months.  And we were going to visit them this week.  In theory, we are safe.  In fantasy theory.  Even though Sal and I have isolated for months, all those people with whom we include in our very small ‘bubble’ have not.  That means we have not.  We are clearly low-risk but we are not no-risk.  We called yesterday to postpone our trip for yet another pure-isolation period.  We’ll go in 14 days.

How could two, senior stay-at-homes on a remote island separated by water from normal traffic and having little or nothing to do with the outside world STILL be a risk?  Simple: my daughter came to visit from Alberta two weeks ago.  Her visit was factored into the schedule to allow for us the required ‘break’ before visiting family this week.  But then a friend came up (sailing), stayed for three days and basically interrupted our isolation period.  Start the clock again.  And our neighbour loaned his cabin to two pleasant people and we picked them up in our boat.  Technically, our isolation was ‘set back’ again at that point.  Then, of course, Sal attends the food distribution program on Fridays and, technically, sets it all back again every time.

And yesterday Sal went to bookclub.

None of the ‘encounters’ were with people showing any kind of symptoms but, on the other hand, there is a lot of pollen in the air and some people sneezed.  Covid?  Or pollen?

And all the social distancing etiquette we practice just can’t hold up when people stay in your home.  We all tried.  No hugs.  Six feet apart.  Socialize outside (and we have a pleasant breeze most of the time to assist)….but then I hand them a glass of wine, we eat dinner together, we ride in the boat together… is simply impossible to be ‘good’ for more than a few hours – life and living just gets in the way.

Now bear in mind that Sal and I and most of the locals are more isolated than most people and, being retired, are not as engaged with ‘the larger society’ anyway.  Most of us sport masks if we do rub shoulders with the hoi polloi but none of that makes you ‘pure’, it just makes you less compromised at best and still a carrier at worst.  Two old people living OTG for months still cannot be sure of their health in the age of Covid.

When it comes to infants and grannies, we have to be.

As mentioned before, almost the majority of our community is a senior.  47% are 65 or older.  If you count ‘senior’ as 55+ then it is the majority.  And, if you factor in the average age (likely 55+) then we are getting past senior and into bucket-list.

All this is not particularly interesting information, I know.  But it makes me wonder how they (us) will ever get C-19 fully under control if even folks like us cannot be sure of non-transmission.  I am not the risk that a waiter or a teacher or a bus driver poses.  I am not the risk that presents every day to urban people in the least.  But I am NOT pure.  And, if I am not pure, and Sal is not pure, and our community is not pure….the rest of the world is definitely still very much at risk.

Accidental Residents and the New Stormtroopers

Back in early 2017 Sal and I wrote a somewhat prescient novel regarding Trump(post election but pre-inauguration), HomeLand Security, immigrants, old folks and the US border services. As part of the fiction we employed pertinent background ‘facts’ and one of them was the ‘out-of-control’ police actions being done overtly and covertly against our Accidental Fugitives, Charlie and Nancy Moon. We enjoyed writing it and we tried to make it so that a cheap B, shoot-em up movie might come from it. The book tanked. No one bought it. Bummer.

Still, we had fun. And we even had fun being rejected. “Why would you not carry our book?” “Well, it’s political. It’s fiction. And we don’t want to be part of anyone’s dystopia especially when it is not true.” “Fair enough. Good luck with that.”

In effect, they said we were exaggerating to the point of fantasy and being potentially divisive. Those were American rejections. But sadly, that is now the American reality.

The below article introduction and link was in the Guardian today. By the way, the Guardian allows a reprint so long as they are credited properly…..and there is no profit to be derived therefrom which, as any of my readers know, profit is non-existent on my blog. I should be good.

A remarkable and nightmarish scene playing out in Portland should terrify anyone who cares about the US constitution: unmarked vans full of camouflaged and unidentified federal agents are pulling up next to protesters on street corners, then snatching and arresting them with no explanation.

If this were happening in Venezuela or Iran, the US government would be threatening international sanctions. Since it’s happening in the US, Trump’s acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary is defending the decision and even promising more.

The stories from witnesses and those who have been picked up by the unmarked vans – apparently being operated by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which is under DHS’s control – are downright terrifying. One victim told the New York Times: “One of the officers said, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK,’ and just grabbed me and threw me into the van. Another officer pulled my beanie down, so I couldn’t see.”

The article by Trevor Timm continues……

As a friend of mine is so fond of saying, “You can’t make this stuff up!”

Well…….we did, actually. We ‘made that stuff up’ and now it is a reality.

When you write a novel, the inevitable question is ‘what happens to the protagonists AFTER the book is done?’ And so, in my mind, I had kinda naturally conjured up a follow-up story. But it was never written because there was no previous audience to the first book. Previous sales of half-a-dozen does not portend well for a sequel. Little did I know that Trump was working on sequels all on his own.

I am considering, ‘ACCIDENTAL REFUGEES’ – why the citizens of the #1 country in the world all migrated away.

Taking off the blinders

Writing about Trump has almost become boring.  The guy is so insane that I doubt that he, himself, will ever get boring but writing about him is getting close.  Just how many trainwrecks does one have to see before not bothering to look?  I am getting close.

Writing about Trudeau is getting to be much the same, too.  Foot-in-mouthism, whiny drama crap, then a sad-eye, squinchy-faced apology.  ”That’s getting to be more than a bit lame, Justy.”

Hearing of idiot ‘leaders’ trying to ‘re-open the economy’ just to have them fall back five steps a week later is also getting tiresome.  Ron DeSantis (R – governor of Florida) has proven beyond incompetent, he is verging on criminal negligence.  Ditto Greg Abbott of Texas but Doug Ford is not trailing them by much.  Arizona and California not much better.  The clear and simple message is their and our leaders are failing us, they are incapable and incompetent and the proof is in the growth of the pandemic and the shrivelling of the economy not to mention the chaos and division in society as a whole. * (see excerpt-article below)

“So, what else is new?” 

Well, I am glad you asked.  This should surprise you: the best country in dealing with the pandemic is rated POOR in health care, ranks 26th, I think.  It has fewer health professionals and fewer hospitals.  It discovered it’s first case in early January (one guy from Wuhan) and they immediately went into total response mode.  They did it all, they did it quickly and they have had no deaths and only a few dozen cases.  Even more surprising, they have a distant neighbouring country that did almost as well under similar conditions.  Vietnam and Taiwan have managed to deal with C-19 better than everyone else and, South Korea and Japan are much closer to a similar situation than say, we are.  We are ‘poor responders’ by comparison and we have been hundreds of times harder hit.  Canada has NOT done well.

“We have done a lot better than the USA!”

True but that is not enough.  That’s just sad.

But this blog is not about lamenting our poor response, nor even our pathetic leaders.  This blog is about something bigger. This blog is about me.  This blog is all about me and Sally and how we are coping.  In a nutshell, we are doing very well, thank you.  No worries.  All is good.

But it is different.  And, more to the point, it will continue to be and grow even more different as we trudge along over the next few (remaining?) years.  The world will never be the same again and maybe that is OK.  Maybe C-19 will simply be viewed as the catalyst for the change that was so desperately needed, that the Bubbas lashed out and voted for Trump.  That vote, it seems, was really a ‘cry for help’, a desperate ‘Hail Mary’, an ignorant and primal response to ‘felt’ danger.  The over-run-with-rats ship of state was sinking and the rats panicked.

I do not have a crystal ball.  I can’t see five years ahead.  But I suspect that five years is the very least amount of time that will be required to ‘stabilize’ the global economy, manage the disease and calm our collective jitters.  And, if that effort is further stalled by fools-in-charge, the five year clock doesn’t even start.

So, to predictions: Sal and I will not be traveling. Amazon and our garden will only get bigger.  Governments will fall.  Some folks will get stinkin’ rich with various pandemic  ‘responses’ and we’ll see a minor baby boom by this time next year.  The cost of living will increase.  Real estate will shift somewhat….commercial properties fall or go flat, suburbs much the same, but small rural towns will become more desirable and thus more expensive.  Working from home will quadruple (or more) in occurrence.  Electric cars will continue to displace ICE vehicles.  Electric bicycles will explode in urban areas.  Even suburban areas.  Maybe even rural areas.  Out-in-the-air transportation will be more popular.  Immigration will continue – even grow.  A ‘new’ generation of TV based entertainment will come along to keep us home and a lot of small moms-and-pops will cease.  So will the restaurant society.  More home cooking.  There may even be a universal income within a few years.

Russia will push somebody too far and will be engaged in a war.  The horror of that statement is that, currently, we are amongst the most-pushed.  Russia keeps encroaching on us to the North.  The very worst is when some idiot decides to mine or ‘develop’ the north.  And the protests will come then but not if the encroacher is another country.  Then Canada will sit back and just take it.  Biden will be overwhelmed.  He’ll do well but not great.  It may be that they cannot Make America Great Again.  I just hope they don’t try too hard – because when they try to be bigger and better, that usually means more wars.

Crime will increase – partly out of desperation, immigration adjustments and increased competition for fewer and fewer jobs.  Partly out of entrenched police ineptness.  Racism will continue to grow.  Domestic terrorism will continue to grow.  But smaller communities will ‘pull together’.

More on future-casting to come……………suggestions welcome…………………………

—————————–(this excerpt/article by H. Adelman)—————————————-

Where does Canada stand in its handling of the pandemic crisis? The situation clearly is not as bad as America’s. Just past mid-May, Canada had 77,000 cases of COVID-19 with 5,782 deaths. Two months later, on 11 July, the country had almost 108,000 cases and 8,783 deaths compared to America with 3,236,000 cases and 134,572 deaths, up from 1,520,000 cases and 89,932 deaths on 15 May. The U.S. doubled its cases over the last two months and increased the number of deaths by 50%. The Canadian case load increased 40% and the number of deaths by 52%. Thus, while a great deal of attention has been paid to the horrendous situation in the U.S and Canada has seemed in good shape comparatively, a close look at the figures indicate that Canada is increasing its number of cases at half the American rate but its death toll at roughly the same rate.

The U.S. has a population of 328.2 million people while Canada’s has only 37.6 million. That means that in absolute numbers relative to population, Canada has suffered about half as much from the pandemic as the U.S.

U.S. Canada
Population 328,200,000 37,600,000
COVID-19 cases 3,236,000 108,000
Cases per 1,000 1 .28
COVID-19 deaths 134,572 8,783
Deaths per 100,000 35.6 23.4
Thus, although our rate of increase in cases is half the American rate, in absolute terms we have less than 30% of the number of American cases though one-third fewer deaths on the basis of population. However, if the American record was not such a complete disaster, Canada’s record would look like a horror show.

This becomes clear if we compare the Canadian rate to that of South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Country Cases Deaths Cases/1000 Deaths/100,000
Canada 107,590 8,783 3.3 23.4
South Korea 13,479 299 .27 3
Taiwan 451 7 .04 .04
Vietnam 371 0 .004 0

In my accounts on Taiwan (more than half of Canada’s population), South Korea (1.5 times Canada’s population), and Vietnam (2.5 times our population), the number of cases over almost the same period, was 451 and 371 from Taiwan and Vietnam respectively and 13,479 in South Korea (versus 107,600 in Canada), while the number of deaths respectively were 7 and 0 with 299 in South Korea (versus 8,783 in Canada). There is no comparison between Taiwan and Vietnam compared to Canada. Even South Korea has been far more successful in handling the pandemic. It is only when Canada is compared to the United States that the Canadian record looks reasonably good.