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Day 46 – May 1, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Business & Economics, Science of COVID-19, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

One Saturday morning in the Summer of 1982, I hopped on a couple of buses and made my way to the Robson Square Media Centre, which at the time was the city’s busiest (and perhaps only) place where conventions were held, located around the perimeter of the skating rink, now part of UBC.

I was there because there was a computer convention going on… one of these pioneer computer shows, long before the rise (and fall) of Comdex.

I went around checking out the cool technology of the day, and gravitated towards a few booths with familiar names. One of them was Microsoft, and I got to chatting with a guy who didn’t look too much older than me, some geeky skinny teenager with whom a I had a great chat about the newly-released Microsoft Flight Simulator… a game which I was a huge fan of, and continue to be. I’m sure if the hours spent on MS FlightSim counted towards real pilot hours, I’d be qualified to fly a 747 by now. I had no idea about that company’s corporate structure or who this guy might be; I just appreciated that somebody “official” with the company found time to chat with this pesky little kid, and listen to his thousand questions and suggestions. Nice guy, whoever he was (his name-tag said “Bill”). A year or two later, I realized who that had been.

Sixteen years later, I was sitting at a $1/$2 limit hold’em table in The Mirage poker room in Las Vegas when the PA system paged “Bill for one-two, Bill for one-two”. And shortly after that, Bill Gates sat down a few seats away from me with a few hundred dollars in chips, just like any other regular Joe. And for the most part, he was treated as such; just one more person trying to play his game. I said “nice hand” to him at some point, after he outplayed me and took some of my money. But that was the extent of my interaction with him, and that was the last time I saw him in person.

My definition of knowing someone might be: When you bump into them on the street (6 feet apart these days!) and you both know each other. There are problems with that definition, because sometimes one person knows the other, but not the other way around. More than once, somebody has come up to me like they’ve known me all their lives with a huge hello, how are you, what’s new, how’s work, etc etc. And I have no idea who they are. They look familiar, sort of… maybe? Awkward. More awkward is when both of you know that you should know each other — and probably you do, from somewhere… but neither is sure…. “Oh yeah, hey… how are you? …how’s… uhhh… the family, yeah the kids, how are the kids, gosh they must be getting so big by now, how old are they? Oh yeah wow, how time flies, hey we should get together and have lunch or something… yeah, for sure, have your people call my people and set something up, haha. Yeah, cool, seeya”….. ok, who the hell was that… Super Awkward.

And actually, I guess that two very famous people who’ve never met could bump into each other on the street and know exactly who the other is, but they don’t actually know each other.

Anyway, by any definition, I don’t know Bill Gates… but I’ve been following what he’s been up to for most of my life… he’s gone from the guy who co-founded Microsoft to the guy who ran Microsoft to the guy who stepped back from running Microsoft to the guy who retired entirely from Microsoft, to pursue other things. And one of the things he’s pursued is the foundation he set up, along with his wife.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is involved in sorts of things, many of them hugely ambitious — the sort of thing that requires teams of supremely qualified people, and billions of dollars. Thanks to his life’s work and success, he’s able to provide both… and seeks to tackle things on a global scale: education, health, poverty, access to information and technology. For everyone.

Among his epic pursuits: he seeks to eradicate polio, he pours money into HIV research and treatment and he provides vaccinations for poverty-stricken countries. Thanks to him, deaths from measles in Africa are down 90% in the last 20 years.

So when Bill Gates starts talking about a potential vaccine, it’s worth listening, and he’s had a lot to say. Some of the highlights include his explanation on how a process that can typically take 5 years could be compressed into just 18 months, by overlapping parts of the process that typically would be done sequentially. For example, instead of waiting for a confirmed, tested and approved vaccine before mass-manufacturing, why not scale up the production of it while tests are still ongoing? At worst, it’s not good, and you just throw all that away… but if it works out, you’ve saved months or even years. There’s a cost to that, of course — throwing money at a problem sometimes means throwing the money away, but sometimes money can buy time, and this is one time where we all agree it’s worth it. And where would that money come from? Bill’s foundation is throwing $100 million at it — that’s a good start. Others are joining in as well. There are more than 100 vaccine-seeking research teams hard at work around the world, and probably 10% of them are onto something potentially viable. Human trials have already begun — something way ahead of the usual time-line. All of this, and much more, is worth reading on his blog.

And by the way, it bothers me greatly to hear the stupid nonsense being said about Bill Gates by the conspiracy-fuelled Covidiots whose version of reality somehow involves an evil Bill at the top of a convoluted mess of theories that make no sense at all. They’re not worth repeating, but feel free to “research” it if you want a good head-shake and laugh.

I know some people reading this know Bill Gates personally… a couple from my tech world; fellow geeks who’ve been working closely with Microsoft for decades. And from my horse world; Bill & Melinda’s daughter Jennifer is an accomplished show jumper, and the equestrian world is a small one…. so if any one of you see Bill any time soon, please tell him I say hello, and thank him for what’s he’s doing — from all of us. Of course he’ll have no idea who I am, but that’s ok — truth is, I’d like to “meet” him for a 3rd time in my life. Have his people call my people and set up a lunch, or something.

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Day 45 – April 30, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Life in Vancouver, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , |

On my list of lifetime achievements, there’s one I’m particularly proud of… because it’s one that many people have attempted, but very few have succeeded… and it’s this: I fought a speeding ticket in court, and won. Not because the cop didn’t show up; he did, and we had a nice chat before we went in to the courtroom. I outlined exactly what I was going to say to the judge, and the cop listened thoughtfully to everything I said… and then unilaterally decided to drop the case. We walked into the court, he announced that that crown had chosen not to proceed on these charges, and aside from a rather curious look from the judge (I guess this doesn’t happen that often), that was it. Case dismissed, and I walked out of there 3 points and $138 wealthier than when I walked in.

I had a lot of arguments that I threw at the cop, but I think the one that resonated most was this… that while I was indeed speeding as measured against the number painted on the sign at the side of the road, so was everyone else. In fact, when he stopped me, I asked him… why me? Everyone is going the same speed here. And he agreed; he even said so… “I could’ve pulled over any one of you”.

If you assume, for the most part, that the majority of people aren’t idiots, then you can rightfully assume that, for the most part, people, when acting in their own self-interest, might be mirroring what’s in the best self-interest of the greater good. Yes, I do understand the other point of view… because I often feel it while driving… that guy who’s driving slower than you: idiot. That guy that speeds past you: maniac. Those are the two types of drivers that exist, besides you, who’s the only one doing it properly. But the reality is that at any given point, we’re someone else’s idiot or maniac… and when you average it all out, most of us are in the same boat.

If the speed limit is 50 — well, actually, forget the posted limit for a moment. Granville St. on a quiet sunny Sunday morning at 7am in the middle of Summer… vs. Granville St. at 6pm on Friday in the Winter when it’s dark, maybe icy and cold and rainy and everyone is trying to rush to get home but traffic is a mess. In the first case, mostly open road, it might not feel out of place to be driving 80. In the second case, it’s hard to be going faster than 30, and possibly not safe to do so. In both cases, the posted limit is still 50, but it’s possible in neither case for that to be the appropriate speed at which to be driving.

Indeed, back to the initial crucial point. At any given point on Granville St, measure the average speed that everyone is going over a period of 10 minutes. That’s probably the safest speed. Set that as the speed limit, for the moment, and ticket everyone exceeding it by 20km/h or more. And also, ticket everyone going more than 20km/h slower than that. In my opinion, someone who’s going 30 on Granville and causing an angry back-up of traffic is far more dangerous than one guy who speeds by. Speed differential is the key thing… not just measuring it against an arbitrary number that someone came up with, and which coincidentally is the same speed limit as a tiny side-street a block away. Yeah, the speed limit one block east or west of Granville is 50km/h. Granville is 6 lanes, but a side-street is two at most, with parked cars and oncoming traffic having to wait for you to go by. Try driving 50 there… see how safe that feels; it doesn’t, so people don’t.

And so it is with 3 territories, 10 provinces, 50 states and 200 countries all giving conflicting directives as to how to behave. Many people in places with questionable directives have taken it upon themselves to govern themselves according to what makes sense to them. The state says it’s ok to go to gyms and bowling alleys and nightclubs? Nice, but I think I’ll stay away. The country says going to pubs and restaurants and church is no big deal? Sure, but maybe we’ll keep a social distance and not take grandma with us.

There’s still a lot of emerging data and opinion as to what’s safe and what isn’t. The “better safe than sorry” playbook, now shifting to “cautious optimism” has been very successful here in B.C., and our reward is an emerging opening-up — one we’ve earned, and will get to enjoy as long as we follow the rules we have in place which, at least around here — fortunately — make a lot of sense.

I’ll drive 30 when it makes sense, and I’ll drive 70 when it makes sense… not because I’m happy to go about breaking laws, but because it’s what reasonably makes sense to me at that time, and I’m happy to explain my reasons, and I’m happy that there are people around here who’ll listen to reason and go along with it. And if all 5 million people in B.C. and 38 million people in Canada think that way, we’ll be ok. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting you go speeding everywhere. But if everyone around you is “speeding” and if everyone is choosing to not gather in large groups or go to gyms — if you’re not sure how it’s supposed to work, look around. Most of us are OK drivers. And most of us understand what we need to do these days. Just go with that.

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Day 44 – April 29, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Business & Economics, Science of COVID-19, Travel Stories, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s an interesting thing, this North American attitude… often found in sports. The great American pastime, baseball… there are no ties. The game can go into extra innings, which in turn can end up going on longer than the original game itself. In playoff hockey, same thing… full 20-minute periods until someone scores. Recall the famous Canucks/Stars playoff game that went into a 4th overtime — more OT than the 3 periods that preceded it. And hockey is a good example; there used to be ties in the regular season. And then… no, let’s decide this… they added overtime… and for a while, if the game ended in a tie after overtime, it remained a tie. But that wasn’t good enough… so, shootout. There will never be a tie again. There must be a winner. The most American of all games… the NFL actually allows ties, but there’s OT, with rules that make it almost certain one team will win. The only reason it can’t go on forever is that after more than 4 quarters of football, injuries are far more likely. There’s maybe one tie a year in the NFL; It’s rare, and nobody likes it when it happens. And NBA basketball? They will play overtime forever until there’s a winner.

On the flipside, the most popular sport outside of North America — soccer (fútbol!) — allows ties. What’s the difference in attitude?

I used to think it was attention span. Soccer holds your attention, sometimes for several minutes, between whistles. Hockey, same thing, which is perhaps why it’s not as popular as some of the others (especially in the U.S.). But football, baseball and basketball… endless time between action; time to discuss what just happened. Time to analyze it. Time to replay it, in slow motion, from different angles. That’s what I used to think, but no. What it simply is…. is that we just like to have a winner. After the big battle, a tie is just too unsatisfying.

It’s going to turn out that this virus is not as lethal as we initially thought… but, also…. it’s nowhere near as safe as a common cold or flu. The typical flu kills 0.1% of those it infects. COVID-19 seems to be somewhere between 0.4% and 3.4%. Let’s call it 2% for the moment. That makes it 20 times worse than a common flu. But also, nowhere near as bad as SARS (15% mortality) or Ebola (50% mortality).

The end result, somewhere in the middle, is the worst case scenario for the “I told you so!!!” crowds, because it means everyone can think they were right, and everyone else was wrong. It’s a sort of a tie that nobody likes, and both sides have plenty of ammunition to throw at each other.

In places that evidently haven’t been hit hard (B.C., prime example) the screaming about how we’ve wrecked our economy for nothing. Lockdown/shutdown — why? Look…for 100 dead people, most of them old or unhealthy to begin with? All of this suffering? For what?

On the flipside, places like Northern Italy and Spain and New York, who didn’t or couldn’t do enough to prevent the wave of catastrophic exponential growth in serious cases that led to a complete overwhelming of the medical system. And lots of deaths… multiples of excess deaths over the typical expected numbers.

Let’s look at some real numbers, implied by the general assumptions we think we know about this virus. The chart below shows ranges of age, and next to them, the mortality rate associated to that age group. Next to that, last year’s numbers for Canada’s population, followed by extending that mortality rate to our population. Knowing what we know today, if we were all infected and untreated, 750,000 of us would die, most of those being elderly. 750,000 people out of 37,500,000 = … 2%.

Age Mortality Canada Deaths
80+ 14.80% 1,614,000 238,872
70-79 8.00% 2,870,000 229,600
60-69 3.60% 4,607,000 165,852
50-59 1.30% 5,251,000 68,263
40-49 0.40% 4,817,000 19,268
30-39 0.20% 5,183,000 10,366
20-29 0.20% 5,101,000 10,202
10-19 0.18% 4,145,000 7,461
0-9 0.00% 3,982,000 0

TOTAL 2 .00% 37,570,000 749,884

That would never happen here, yells one side. That’s exactly what would’ve happened, yells the other.

On Friday, we will hear two things from Dr. Henry — one, that we have done our part and should continue to do so, and given what we’ve achieved, here are the first steps in the plan of re-opening our lives. And two, keep at it — an integral part of the new normal, at least until a vaccine shows up, will be maintaining the very things that have led to this success in the first place. That’s the side I’m on… and I’d like to think my side has done so well, that, by now, there’s probably enough hospital capacity to house the covidiots marching and protesting on Beach Ave. I’d like to think a small handful of morons isn’t enough to blow this for all of us… but time will tell.

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Day 43 – April 28, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Business & Economics, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Our local numbers shot up a bit today, but it’s a lot less concerning that in might have been a month ago, because we know exactly where and why this is happening… almost entirely due to known clusters playing themselves out — and play themselves out they do… some clusters have vanished, some care homes are down to zero and, for the most part, we have a really good handle on things. Things are on their way to re-opening.

Let’s also talk about some different numbers today, and what they imply.

In general, people talk about the stock market being up or down. Also, in general, it’s well understood that it’s good when the market is up, and and bad when it’s down. How does that apply to what’s going on these days?

First of all, let’s quickly define what we mean by “the market”. Everyone has heard of “The Dow”, and how it goes up and down.

The Dow (which refers to the Dow Jones Industrial Average — which is important to note, because there are other “less famous” Dow Jones averages) is an index that tracks, in real-time, the stock prices of a variety of big American companies, including Apple, McDonald's, Exxon, Boeing, Pfizer, Nike, Visa,, Walmart and Coca-Cola. That’s a little cross-section of the bigger mix… a variety of big industry. There are 30 companies that comprise the index, and you have heard of all of them. They are industry leaders, and how they’re doing is a reflection on the economy as a whole, at any given moment. On some days, when things are good and everything is way up, and the Dow will reflect that. Or the opposite, of course.

Today is a good day to use as an example, because it’s a mixed bag. Technology stocks (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook) are all down. Financials (JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, American Express) are all up. Consumer retail shares are a mix (Walmart, Proctor & Gamble are up, Amazon is down). Telecomm is also mixed bag (AT&T is up, T-Mobile is down, Verizon is flat).

Average it all out today, and the Dow is up… a little bit. There are other indexes to look at; the S&P 500 is the next most-commonly known, and it has a broader inclusion of the top 500 listed companies. It’s perhaps the best representation of the market as a whole. It’s also up a little today. Its little cousin, the S&P 100, which lists an arbitrary sample of those 500, is slightly down today.

At any given moment, what defines the price of an individual stock? It’s the equilibrium point where at that exact point in time, someone thinks buying those shares at that price is a good idea… while someone else thinks it’s the right time and price to sell. And these days, that someone is just as likely to be a big, intelligent computer.

Tens of thousands of shares are being traded every second, so when things get quiet (from a broad market price point-of-view), it’s an interesting oasis of calm before the next storm. Like, briefly, for a moment, everyone knows where things are at. Or, think they do…

Imagine you’ve been sitting on a little seesaw in the park, quietly enjoying smooth ups and downs with your friend. Suddenly, instantly, the seesaw grows to 20 metres long… and your friend is replaced by some gigantic bully that seizes his end of the seesaw and starts slamming it up and down, as hard as he can. You hold on for dear life, understanding that jumping off may hurt you more than just hanging on… and you just hope this giant jerk will eventually tire and go away, hopefully leaving you gently on the ground. This is what it’s felt like to be an investor these days.

The all-time high for the Dow was recent… before things came crashing down. On Feb 12th, the Dow closed at 29,551. From there began a bumpy ride that saw it lose 5,000 points over the next couple of weeks, before bouncing back up a bit. Then, in early March, all hell broke loose, and the wild swings of thousand-point gains and losses began, bottoming out at the lowest of lows, hitting 18,214 on March 23rd. And from there, it shot-up to 22,500. It’s presently sitting at 24,100… still well-off the high, but also significantly higher than that bottom. A 20% “off the high” is still alarmingly awful in such a short time, but it’s twice as good as the 40% bottom from a month ago.

Many people are saying it shouldn’t have dropped that far. Many are saying it should have dropped a lot further, and still could. Many are saying there’s no reason it should have recovered this much already. As per above, for everyone who thinks it should be higher, someone else thinks it should be lower. Those two people are presently buying/selling to/from each other, and that’s why it’s exactly where it’s at.

What caused these drastic moves? Unexpected news, rumours, fear… and, of course, real-world disclosures regarding the long-term effects of shutting down significant parts of the economy. And everyone absorbing that information, independently interpreting it and acting accordingly.

When things move that quickly, it rarely has anything to do with fundamentals. Nobody is looking at price:earnings ratios or dividend streams… more like trying to figure out market sentiment and just riding it out till things settle down.

At some point, when it’s fallen that far, a bounce is not just expected, but possibly predicted. The technical traders — those who care nothing about underlying companies but just analyze the numbers themselves… they love to pick resistance points… and identify trends in the market by when prices bounce off a price, or power through it. One of the most famous ones is based on the Golden Ratio — a relationship found all over nature. Flowers, pine cones, sea shells, dolphins, penguins… all have proportions and other fundamental constructs based on it. The magic numbers there are 61.8% and its converse, 38.2%… and whenever a market tanks, the first thing to look for is a “bounce off the 618” — which is exactly what happened to the Dow in my example above. Which further leads me to accurately assume that really, nobody knows what’s going on fundamentally, so when trying to figure out when to buy back in, “let’s just go with that”. When the Dow hit that 618 retracement, a lot of buying stepping in.

There is another index… it’s called the VIX… and if you Google VIX, you can instantly pull up a chart of it and how it looks. The VIX measures volatility, ie just how wildly things are swinging. The bigger the number, the wilder the ride.

The VIX never broke 20 in all of 2019… like you and your friend on the seesaw, quiet ups and downs. When the insanity began last month, that VIX shot up and broke 80 at one point, and has consistently been over 50 most of March. It’s recently started coming down, which is optimistically implying that things will settle down, at least to the point where maybe there’s some idea of what’s really going on. Call it cautious optimism as places start opening up and life shows some promise of taking its first steps towards normality.

And that’s market sentiment in a nutshell — nobody knows. Especially these days. Even in the best of the quietest times, there are always people on both sides of the seesaw. But the level of “unknown” these days is unprecedented… but I will tell you this, with certainty. The market will be hitting new highs… when? I don’t know. I will say September of 2022. But it could also be a lot sooner than that. Or, it could be a lot later. See what I mean?

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Day 42 – April 27, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Business & Economics, Travel Stories, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Purely for the sake of creating examples, I am going to once again virtually kill a lot of people. Please don’t be sad… this is all made up as I go along.

  • Older lady, sheltering with family. All of them became a little sick, but not sick enough to get tested. Some fevers and coughs. She dies in her sleep, but doesn’t get tested. A few weeks later, the family is tested and they’ve all had it.
    – Young man, smoker, high blood pressure. Has a heart attack and dies. Tested and found to have had the virus.
    – Elderly man, tested positive, was doing ok at home, but breathing is becoming difficult. Gets in the car, speeding to the hospital, blows a red light and gets T-boned by a truck. Killed instantly.
    – Young man who, as a result of the lockdown, lost his business and is now losing his home, history of depression, commits suicide. Tests negative.
    – Same example as above, but tests positive.
    – Middle-aged man has a heart attack, rushed to hospital, but massive delay at ER… and dies while waiting for admission. Tests positive. Or negative. Whatever.

    I can come up with lots of “edge cases”, but perhaps they don’t serve much purpose other than to spark an interesting conversation. Some of these are obvious, some are not, and some, one could argue, should be… but aren’t.

    The question you might think I’m about to pose is… what counts as a COVID-19 death… and yes, that’s part of it… but trying to answer just that question… can be quite problematic.

    At the moment, there is confusion and disagreement with respect to what counts and what doesn’t. There is a certainly a big difference between dying of COVID-19, and dying with it. And there’s a lot of grey area in-between the obvious cases.

    To compound the confusion, different jurisdictions have different ways of counting things… and many of them have changed their method as time has progressed. On April 14th, the state of New York changed what counts as a COVID-19 death, adding 3,700 to their count. More recently, Pennsylvania made adjustments that lowered their number by 200.

    My examples above are only a tiny fraction of the sorts of cases one could argue one way or the other, and my examples are pretty superficial. When it comes to categorizing deaths where there were pre-exisitng conditions, it requires real medical knowledge, and even then… one lung is full of fluid but the other is not, patient was positive but that’s an unusual presentation of the virus, plus this, minus that… it’s up for debate among medical professionals, let alone everyone else who may have a vested interest in that number being higher or lower.

    It’s complicated. And, obviously, necessary to standardize in the long run so everyone can be talking about the same thing. But in the meantime, there’s another number that’s very telling and, to a great extent, indisputable.

    If you want to shut up the “it’s just a seasonal flu” crowd, and the “the death rate is like 0.04% because everyone already has it” crowd… look no further than excess deaths.

    Excess deaths is exactly what is sounds like… if in a certain place, on average, N people die in the month of March, and historically that’s held quite accurately as X% of the population, then you have a pretty good argument for COVID-19 deaths when that number is N+2,000. Even if the official tally says only 1,500 virus deaths, you know it’s been understated by up to 500… which would indicate undercounting by 33%

    You can then set aside the differences between states and countries as to what counts and what doesn’t, because after you factor out the obvious ones such as accidents, you have a bunch of deaths that are generally unaccounted for, with no category. There’s a good chance that this virus is their category.

    This has been going on long enough that we can actually start looking at those numbers, to see if they reveal anything of value.

    Note that there are times when averages are worth talking about… and there are times when they are not. Averaging the ages of passengers on a school bus full of kindergarten kids and their grandparents… tells us little. The average of 20 5-year-olds and 20 people aged 68 to 82… is about 40. And nobody on that bus is anywhere near that age. Two averages tell us a lot more… like one average is 5, and the other is 75.

    Keeping that in mind… is there any consistency with respect to excess deaths?

    Europe is a good place to look, with its diversity of population and experience during this pandemic. The average excess death percentage across 13 countries is 49%… which means for every two documented COVID-19 deaths, there was an additional one that flew under the radar.

    As one might expect, the hardest hit places were Italy (90%) and Spain (51%). Those are two places where things got out of control quickly… and also where there is already enough data to make sweeping generalizations. If you look at graphs of what this looks like, The Financial Times, at ft.com, has an article titled “Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported” with lots of little graphs, per country, to look at.

    Note that this still isn’t apples to apples, because Spain and Italy were first, and are much further along their pandemic trajectory than others. In comparison, you might be tempted to look at other countries and think it doesn’t look so bad, but this is something to revisit in the future, when more than one month of data is available. Those graphs, per country, all show a series of flat, grey lines (previous years) and then the red 2020 line… which goes along quietly on top of the others and then suddenly spikes, sharply and quite alarmingly in most cases. What’s interesting to see is that these spikes are like ocean waves… and there’s no way to tell if that wave is crashing, or whether it’s the first part of the wall of a tsunami. Ideally, it spikes right back down again… and Spain and Italy may well be doing that. The others; the jury is still out. The England/Wales number is “only” 37%, but that graph looks ready to continue to rise, and/or at least continue to fill a long red section. As do many others.

    And when you drill down to certain, known areas of concern… New York City — forget the official stats… they have a 300% excess death-rate to look at. London, 96%. Paris, 122%. Stockholm, 75%. And if you look at Northern Italy, specifically the hard-hit Bergamo province… 464%.

    He are some raw and indisputable numbers of how it looks when things don’t get clamped down. Lots more people die, directly or indirectly, as a result of this virus.

These places seems distant and irrelevant to some of us here, lucky enough to live in a place with 39 new cases yesterday and only 11 today. And that’s a result of doing things right. It’s not just luck.

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Day 41 – April 26, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Travel Stories, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Today is the quiet day with numbers, so not much to say except let’s see how tomorrow pans out. Yesterday’s spike around here is mostly attributable to a few known and developing clusters, but we’re at the edge of the 14-day window after the Easter long weekend… so its effects, if any, may also be coming to light. I’ve just guessed at today’s B.C. number, but for what it’s worth, Ontario today saw it’s lowest numbers for new cases and deaths in two weeks; more signs of everything going in the right direction.

I’ll adjust numbers tomorrow when we get a real update, but for now, with not much more to add, writing yesterday’s airplane post reminded me of something that happened about 20 years ago… just before 9/11, when there was a whole lot less security… almost non-existent in some airports. So I’ll tell you about that.

I was traveling from Chile to Costa Rica, via a brief stop-over in Lima, Peru. The usual pit-stop for fuel and more passengers.

The city of Lima is right on the coast, and the airport is next to the water. Having stopped there before, I knew there had been a time when they'd make you get off the plane and go to the waiting area, where they'd hoped you’d spend your hard-earned dollars on low-grade over-priced Peruvian artisan crap. I guess nobody ever bought anything because now they’d given up; now you wait on the plane. In fact, as punishment, except for those whose final destination was Lima, nobody was allowed off the plane.

The plane lands, the doors open, air-stairs pull up. The plane is out in the middle of the tarmac, so they open both the front and back doors, allowing the lovely midday breeze to flow through the plane. The sickly aroma of trash, rotting fish and jet fuel is a "refreshing" change. The holy trifecta of nauseous smells, all conveniently packaged for your travelling convenience.

They leave the doors open because those guys in orange vests and clean-up people and inspectors and whoever are all walking through, and then the new passengers start getting on as well. The plane's air-conditioning hasn't been turned off during any of it, so the smells are well-infused into the system by the time they close the doors.

A few people are complaining about the smell, but the stewardesses are helpless. They shrug their shoulders and make sympathetic noises about spraying deodorizer once we're in the air. I've got my face buried in this little "eye-pillow" — it's not very big, but it's full of Lavender and Sage and other wonderful-smelling herbs.

Fast forward to about an hour into the flight… the smell hasn't gotten any better. In fact, it's worse — especially the fish aspect of it. It's really bad. I'm wondering how it could possibly be getting worse; that doesn't make too much sense. What sort of air system amplifies bad smells?

Suddenly, there's gasping and shouting coming from the back of the plane… and then, the most awful pungent disgusting stench you can possibly imagine overwhelms the entire cabin. Someone had decided to open the overheard compartment to get something. Well, as you well-know, be careful when opening the overhead bins… items may shift during flight…

As it turns out, one very special sort of idiot boarded the plane with fish. Not a fancy wooden box of freeze-dried Canadian Salmon sort-of-thing; not the overpriced touristy last-minute gift-shop vacuum-sealed sample of the local delicacy… not a jar of herring… not a can of sardines… no, not that…

No… this was a good old-fashioned styrofoam box with a loose lid, and a fish or two thrown in it… and the styrofoam box and at least one of its occupants now found themselves on the floor of the plane. I was in the window seat, so really couldn’t see to the back; I was relying on the play-by-play of the lady on the aisle, and here are some of her comments, translated from the original, colourful Spanish:

"For the love of sweet Jesus and his sainted mother, he has a fish!"
"For God's sake, I think the fish is alive, it's moving! Oh, no, it's just that some guy is stepping on it"
"That little girl is going to be sick, I just know it, I can tell, I know these things. See, I told you"

It really is hard to describe. I mean, we've all smelled fish. We've all smelled rotten fish. But if you've ever been in a cigar tube 7 miles above the ground with no opportunity to open a window — well, it does add a whole new dimension to the experience. And add to that, the variety of sounds and smells of other people becoming ill. I recall the guy on the other side of the aisle in the "crash position" with his head between his knees. He was next.

After a lot of hysterics, things got better. They found some plastic wrap and sealed the whole mess. They sprayed some powerful, good-smelling stuff on the fish juice on the floor… and throughout the cabin. And free drinks for everyone. All good.

Thinking back on it… and I realize this was before 9/11, but still… can someone kindly explain to me how someone manages to get a box of fish onto an airplane? Was the guy at the X-ray machine asleep? Didn't care? That X-ray must have been hilarious to see, a literal fish skeleton. Hey sir, mind if we look in the box? What’s in here? Oh, fish, of course, that’s what we thought. I mean, that’s what it looked like and we could smell it a mile away… just wanted to verify! Have a great flight!

Agh.. you know, we were going to order sushi tonight. Now I’m not so sure.

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Day 40 -April 25, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Business & Economics, Travel Stories, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

When I was a kid, I used to ride my bike all over the place… without a helmet. Also, when I was a kid, I was taken to many soccer practices and games in the back of a station wagon — the coach’s car served as a sort of team bus… and since I was near the end of the “bus route”… I’d end up thrown in the back, along with the soccer balls and oranges… all of us bouncing along to the endless rhythm of a creaky suspension. And… quick right turns and pot holes… often, the trip to and from the field bruised me up more than the soccer itself.

Such was the spirit of how it was in the late 70s, so it won’t surprise anyone to learn that flying in those days was also a little more lax. On family trips where the plane’s seating configuration was 3-4-3, we would be in that middle section… my parents on the aisles, my sister and I trapped in the middle… and that was ok, because on long flights, one of us would curl up on the two middle seats, and the other on the floor. And, to be honest, I preferred the floor. There was more room there… and sometimes, if we had the bulkhead, we’d both wind up there… sleeping on the floor, for hours. Seatbelts? LOL. The flight attendants would provide us extra pillows and blankets and smile at the cute little kids sprawled out on the carpet.

Back then, you could smoke on planes, and many people did. In my earliest memories, the entire plane was one large smoking pit. But I have an excellent memory of when they instituted a no-smoking section, at the back of the plane. My parents booked seats back there, but when got to our four seats, every other seat around us was already occupied, many of them with people smoking. My father found a flight attendant and asked… aren’t these supposed to be no-smoking? “Oh sorry… yes….” she replied, and then proceeded to velcro onto our four headrests these little fabric “No Smoking” logos. Perfect… problem solved.

I remember that flight in particular… because I sat there, unable to sleep, and inhaling 2nd-hand smoke for 8 hours. And I remember that whole charade of the the no-smoking nonsense…. like, forget the ridiculous and meaningless logos attached to our seats, ironically perhaps, given that we were the only people within 3 rows either way who didn’t smoke… but, seriously, what difference is it going to make anyway. If one single person on this plane is smoking, we’re all smoking. It’s not like we can open a window, and there’s only so much recirculated air filtering can do with that volume of smoke. On top of that, we were so far back, we couldn’t see the movie… which was one big crappy projection screen 30 rows ahead of us, blocked by 100 heads, faded and scratched with time, barely visible through the haze of smoke… and the sound wasn’t electronic headphones but rather these plastic tubes that conducted sound via air, not electrons. The whole thing sucked.

It’s ludicrous to imagine that, with a straight face, an airline can offer a no-smoking section… like rows 10 to 29 are smoking, but 30 to 50 are not. The guy in row 31 has a pretty valid complaint when he says he didn’t sign up for this.

Similarly, today… the guy who lives in Alabama, but near the Georgia border…

OK, let’s back up a bit and expand my little airplane metaphor. What if this 50-row plane was… umm, “governed” by 50 different flight attendants. And each flight attendant could make their own rules about what gets to happen on their particular row. Row 11 is no smoking, but free drinks. Row 14 is smoking but no drinking. Row 17 allows smoking, but only cigars and pipes. Row 20 was promised as no smoking and no drinking, but the raucous from the 10 rows in front of it are making it an unpleasant journey for those folks.

To a great extent, when everyone booked their seat, they really didn’t know what rules would apply, nor did they realize that they might change “on the fly (haha)”, but many are complaining that it’s not fair that row 25 gets this, but row 29 does not. The plane hasn’t even taken off yet, and it’s chaos… and, typically, when there’s confusion in the cabin, the flight attendants look to the captain and co-pilot for guidance… but let’s not go there again.

Back on the ground, the state Georgia, as of yesterday, is back in business. Some of it, anyway… including gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body-art studios, barbers, cosmetologists, hair designers, nail care artists, estheticians and massage therapists. It’s a curious list… gyms? Fitness centres? Bowling alleys? Places where lots of people breathe hard, touch common surfaces and are in close quarters? Should be fine.

Since there is no relevant leadership at the federal level, and no federal guidance… it’s up to the 50 states to decide what they want to do. Given the individual differences and motivations and lobbying efforts at the state level (Gyms? Bowling alleys?), things will be 50 versions of different. And that can turn out to be a pretty serious problem, because the cigarette smoke from Georgia will most certainly drift into Alabama. And Florida, and Tennessee, and the Carolinas.

There is understandably a tremendous amount of pressure to get things going again. Around here, there’s a plan in place, based on what we’re seeing and expect to see in the near future. Today’s jump in numbers in B.C. can be attributed largely to the breakouts in known clusters, in this case, a correctional facility. That’s one number to look at, but just as important are hospitalizations and ICU cases. There’s no jump there. And generally speaking, across the country today, encouraging signs that the trend continues to show a slowing of growth. TTD numbers used to be a few days… and now they are a few weeks. This is exactly what we want to see to line things up for re-opening the province… and the country.

But doing so requires a coordinated effort, with buy-in from everyone.

Looking below the 49th, doing it differently all over the place guarantees one thing: everyone, doing something different, can’t all be right. Which means in some places it will be wrong… how wrong, and the effects of that… remain to be seen.

Fasten your seatbelts, my American friends… there’s turbulence ahead. Rest assured, the plane will eventually land safely… but it’ll be a bumpy ride.

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Day 39 – April 24, 2020

Categories: COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Science of COVID-19, Travel Stories, Philosophy, Art & Literature|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday, I talked about the dinosaur apocalypse… how they were all wiped out. But, to reiterate, the only ones that were fully wiped out were the ones on the ground. As hard as it is to believe, and I know some will take exception to this… but… birds… are not descendants of dinosaurs. They are dinosaurs… the ones that survived that cataclysmic event 65… sorry, 66 million years go.

That cataclysmic event was so… umm, cataclysmic… that it wiped out 75% of all species on earth. That was fortunate for those who survived, because it gave them the evolutionary advantage to thrive, among them… mammals.

It’s a long line of evolution between those mammals and the first hominoids… but it does beg an interesting question; has the human race ever been close to extinction? Terrestrial dinosaurs were around for close to 200 million years. Humans have only been around… well, depends how you look at it. With broad brush strokes, the human animal… maybe 300,000 years… but we only began to exhibit what you might call “modern behaviour” around 100,000 years ago.

What would’ve happened if a pandemic-capable virus had shown up? Not much, because there was next to no overlap of communities distanced by geography. It makes one wonder, how often have there been these sorts of viruses over the centuries? Probably lots. But it was localized, there was no treatment, there was no social distancing… all that happened was a big wave of very sick people dying, and eventually through herd immunity and/or lots of death, the virus made its way through everyone it could, and then disappeared from existence.

But the human race actually did come close to extinction, and it wasn’t that long ago, geologically speaking. Well, this is one theory. It’s interesting, as usual, to research things on the Internet because you can always tell where the conformation bias lies. You can tell what people want to believe, and how they conform their evidence to support their side.

Around 75.000 years ago, there was a massive volcanic eruption — one of the biggest ever. The Toba Supereruption (Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia) erupted and ejected some 2,800 cubic kilometres of magma. That is a staggeringly huge cube of hot, melted rock… and it left behind something the same size as the crater that took out the dinosaurs… an enormous 100 x 30 km caldera complex. Once again, it messed with the environment very significantly… the six billion tons of sulphur dioxide that were ejected into the atmosphere caused a global cooling of up to 15 degrees all around the planet for at least a few years, and it was many decades before things returned to normal. This lowered the tree line and snow line by about 10,000 feet… and for humans who were used to a dry, temperate climate, years of perpetual snow did not sit well.

There is a genetic bottleneck at the time when looking back at humans, meaning it seems we can all trace our DNA back to a small group (like a few thousand humans) who made it through that. The rest were wiped out. And to some extent, if that’s what happened, you have to assume we’ve all evolved from a pretty tough group of humans. This was survival of the fittest imposed in the harshest of ways.

This is one theory, and it’s very interesting. There is another group of scientists who claim that’s hogwash, and that the evidence doesn’t necessarily imply any of that.

Whatever the case, all of that I learned yesterday while digging into dinosaurs… you know how the internet can be… one moment you’re reading about what you were researching, like dinosaurs and their extinction… and 40 minutes later you’re reading about mentally ill monarchs throughout human history.

That’s a good little segue onto a topic I really don’t want to touch here. I had a whole thing written out, and indeed, I could write a book on my thoughts with respect to American politics of the day, but this is a scientific and statistical endeavour, ostensibly aimed at keeping track where we are with respect to this pandemic. On that note, it’s not irrelevant to point out, as I have earlier, the shortcomings I see when it comes to leadership pulling in different directions, etc etc. But I just deleted many paragraphs that delve into far more detail, and will leave it at that.

OK, one paragraph. I worry greatly for the great country of the United States of America. Every single day, thanks to the actions or words of just one man, the chasm that separates two groups (big broad brushstrokes here: Republicans and Democrats) — gets a little bigger. It started on day 1, lying about the inauguration crowd size. “Who really cares” is really what should have been the answer, but he chose to lie about it, then double down on his lies, then make others lie for him… it was bewildering, to be honest. What the hell is going on? There was incontrovertible evidence… pictures and witnesses and everyone who was there… but no. It ended up with “alternative facts” trying to be jammed down our throats. All of this on day 1 of his presidency. And since that day, whenever he says or does something that is completely unpresidential, both sides rise to the challenge. And while the argument rages on about who’s right and who’s wrong, the country slides a little bit more downhill. This is not to bash on Republicans and Democrats… there was a time when both those parties worked in harmony for the greater good of the country, especially in times of crisis. I really wonder how repairable this is now. Long after Trump is gone, the degree of bipartisanship needed to successfully guide a country — may not be achieved for many, many years. And I’m not interested in the bullshit arguments of what a great job he’s presently doing. He’s not. I don’t use vague handwaving and gut feel to come to my conclusions, I use hard facts. As you may recall, this entire project of charts and graphs and light commentary started with a simple exercise of trying to track Canada’s response to this crisis as measured by comparing the U.S. and how they were doing. And comparing them to Italy, who was ahead of them. The short answer now is: Awful. Brutal. Look at the numbers, look at the graphs. This isn’t fake news, this isn’t opinion. These are their numbers. These are confused people. These are hospitals that can’t keep up. These are states and leaders with mixed messages. These are deaths. These are the preventable disastrous blue line and its associated numbers, towering over the green, red and black ones below it. This is failed leadership, from the very top.

Sorry for the long paragraph… but I did say, just one paragraph. But, some numbers… Canada, today, flat or better growth all across the country. U.S…. more deaths today than the number of new cases in Canada. Also U.S., more deaths today than the entire number of known cases seen in B.C., active or resolved, since the beginning of this pandemic. And finally, U.S., more new cases today than all of what Canada has seen, combined, since day one. By the end of the weekend, the U.S. will have seen its one millionth case. Canada will be below 50,000. That same proportion maps to deaths. And some quick math for you… no, the population of the U.S. is not 20 times that of Canada. Not even 10. As President Trump likes to sign at the end of many of his Tweets: Sad.

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October 15, 2020

By |October 15th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Philosophy, Art & Literature|0 Comments

There has to be something inherently wrong with a political system that can so brazenly show everyone the middle finger, with zero care or concern, and face zero repercussions.

The Republicans are blatantly trying to give themselves every possible advantage, legal or illegal, that they can in this election, and while it seems the media does what it can to report on it, the people pulling it off just laugh, don’t care… and just carry on. The shenanigans are blunt and transparent.

The most blatant of all has to do with the infrastructure that’s going to decide the election. Trump himself has made a lot of noise about mail-in ballots and absentee ballots… which for some reason are patriotic and acceptable and honourably welcomed in Republican states, but vilified and fraudulent in Democratic states.

And now, ballot-drop boxes in Republican states are being limited to one per county… but in California, a Democratic state, the GOP themselves are putting up theur own (illegal) ballot-collection boxes. They have been handed a cease-and-desist order… but have chosen to simply… not cease-and-desist.

Can you do that? The last time I checked, laws and court orders exist to uphold some semblance of civilised society. You don’t get to pick and choose which laws apply to you and which don’t; that’s a fundamental point of democracy.

But no… the Republicans, empowered by their “anything goes” and “make it up as we go along” leader, are doing their part. “What will help us win this election?”, they ask… and the answer is pretty simple, depending on where you are; either they will help you cast your vote, or they will help to suppress it. Every vote counts. We are all equal. Until we decide what counts and what’s equal.

To whom are these illegalities accountable? Remember Orwell… everyone is equal. But some people are more equal than others. What does that mean? Well, you’re seeing it play out with your own eyes.

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October 14, 2020

By |October 14th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Science of COVID-19, Philosophy, Art & Literature|4 Comments

Blood is in the news… for a couple of reasons. The first reason is a recently-published Canadian study (which followed-up on earlier studies) that analyzed different blood types and how they relate to C19. In a nutshell, it’s slightly better to be type O and slightly worse to be type A… as far as likelihood and severity of C19. In no way should it alter anyone’s behaviour, because it’s not *that* statistically significant.

I happen to be one of these type-O people… O-negative, in fact, which makes me a universal donor. If any of you ever need some blood, hit me up – I’ve got lots, and can always make some more. Being O-neg, as many of my fellow O-neg people will tell you, means a phone call from the Red Cross every 56 days to go donate blood. I don’t go every 56 days, and I’ll admit I haven’t gone in quite a while… but I do go, and I enjoy my well-earned orange juice and chocolate-chip (not oatmeal-raisin!) cookie for doing so.

Here in Canada, apart from the cookies and juice, we don’t get paid to donate blood. I was interested to learn that in many parts of the world, you do. It’s not a lot, like around $30 per donation, but for some people that can make a difference, and there are people who depend on it. It’s a strange sort of welfare system.

Which brings us to the curious second reason; a plea from a university in the U.S. to its students… to not purposefully contract C19, with the intent of creating antibodies and then selling their plasma.

Convalescent plasma therapy (one of the treatments Trump received) involves taking the blood plasma of a person who’s had C19 and has recovered… but still has the antibodies floating around their blood. Injecting a C19-infected patient with that plasma should give said person’s immune system a good kick in the right direction. Indeed, early trials show a 35% better chance of survival when this is used in “optimal patients”.

It goes without saying that contracting C19 on purpose — any purpose — is not a great idea. That a university has to threaten its students with suspension or expulsion seems to speak to numerous larger issues: young people … [Continue Reading]

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October 13, 2020

By |October 13th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Business & Economics, Philosophy, Art & Literature|2 Comments

In today’s news, we got lots of new numbers… see for yourself. It’s pretty-much what’s to be expected… a little better, if anything. Nothing drastically bad, at least.

What might be turning drastically bad… ok, not drastically, but just to point out… that in elections of the somewhat distant past, there have been some wild accusations thrown around… like the opposing candidate is a well-known to be an extrovert! His sister-in-law is a thespian! He’s engaged in nepotism with his sister in law! Not only that… but, before he was married, he practiced celibacy! And… when in college, he matriculated! Scandalous!

The voters of yester-year we suitably horrified and of course would never vote for such an awful person. You can almost see them crowded outside the balcony with torches and pitchforks, and the poor guy stammering, “But… but…”, but being drowned out by the crowd all chanting “Scoundrel! Scoundrel!”

Indeed, like that not-so-old joke says, waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay sounds like a lot of fun… unless you know what those two things actually are.

The problem with those amusing election allegations is that they’re all true, but of course, nowhere near as scandalous as they sound. Candidates have been hurling insults at each other forever, but I suppose it’s a bit of an art to do it powerfully, yet truthfully.

You might think this is all leading to a little Trump-bashing, but it’s not… other to mention that curious statement he served up recently… where, asked why he hadn’t implemented a nation-wide mandatory mask mandate, he accused Joe Biden of not doing it. It was puzzling to hear, because, of course, the only person who could mandate that is the president himself. But Trump knows what he’s doing, and loves it. He makes it up as he goes along, and his crowd doesn’t care. It doesn’t make sense to accuse Biden with something he couldn’t have done to begin with, but the Trump crowd couldn’t care less. It’s irrelevant. Trump good. Biden bad. Facts – whatever. It’s a bit of a contrast to the past, where as awful as the (non)-insults were, they sounded like they could destroy a career.

Ironically, Trump himself is an extrovert… and a thespian… and he’s been engaged in nepotism with most of his … [Continue Reading]

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October 12, 2020

By |October 12th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Life in Vancouver, Philosophy, Art & Literature|3 Comments

Food, water, oxygen. Those three things have something in common… which is, none of them are a big deal… until you don’t have access to them. Then, depending on how much time has elapsed, they all become a big deal. That is how it is with things we take for granted.

In the case of these three things, roughly speaking, three minutes without oxygen will kill you. Three days without water might too… and the same goes for three weeks without food.

These things we take for granted… we should think about more often than once a year… certainly, on the tail-end of this three-day (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend, pandemic notwithstanding, we really have a lot for which to be grateful.

Most people reading this are living in a country that is most certainly (as it is ranked, year after year) in the top-three in the world with respect to quality of life. And of the cities in this great country, let’s agree Vancouver easily hits that top-three list as well.

There’s no deep political message today; I guess I could write about the original Thanksgiving, and its ultimate implications. Certainly, the associated Columbus Day (which is today in the U.S.) requires a deep look and an intensive re-write, a process already in the works.

But let’s keep it simple… the sentiment of being grateful for what you have; that’s word-wide and eternal. If you’re sitting around a table doing the turkey thing tonight, or did it yesterday, or even if you don’t do it at all, it’s at least a good day to ask someone (and yourself) – name three things for which you’re grateful.

I always have a tough time answering that question. Not because I can’t think of anything, but because I have too many things I’d equally rank and can’t decide what to prioritize. It’s a dilemma I identify as “a good problem to have”. And if you’re reading this, you automatically share in that part of the same problem/dilemma. As bad as things may seem these days, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

We have plenty to appreciate. We have plenty to acknowledge. And we have plenty to celebrate. With that in mind, I think I’ll go have a slice of pumpkin pie. Maybe two. … [Continue Reading]

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October 11, 2020

By |October 11th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, Politics, Humour, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|1 Comment

When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stepped onto the ice a couple of weeks go to present the Tampa Bay Lightning with their hard-fought-for Stanley Cup, there was something missing. Well, there was a lot missing, not the least of which were the fans. To its credit, the NHL pulled off an excellent season, given the complexities involved. It all worked out as planned, their whole bubble-infrastructure held together, and even virtual fan experience was so well-executed, you’d forget there weren’t sold-out arenas surrounding the play. The lights, the sounds, the announcers, the crowd noises – as genuine and convincing as possible.

But what was missing were the boos. It’s a well-known tradition… Bettman steps onto the ice, and the fans boo. Loudly. Like the monkeys pulling each other back from reaching the banana, most people might not even know why they’re booing… but everyone else does it, so you do it too. And, for what it’s worth, there are plenty of reasons to boo the guy; pretty-much every team has a reason to, thought it occurs to me that Arizona might be the only exception… and further to that, Arizona might be the only place on the planet that cheers Bettman and boos Wayne Gretzky.

I’m sure the NHL and the broadcasters thought about it. I’m sure they had the recorded boos all queued up ready to play, and left it to a last-minute decision. I’m sure Bettman wouldn’t have cared; he always laughs it off. And/or knows, to a great extent, that he deserves it.

It was a missed opportunity though… just one little bit of normality that could’ve been implemented, but wasn’t… and that’s too bad. I guess the politics and implications of it outweighed the humour and fan appreciation of it… but these days, when all of us are looking for evidence that, as crazy as things are, there’s some normalcy lurking in the background… it would’ve been nice to see.

I hope the next time he’s awarding the Stanley Cup, Bettman is showered with 20,000 real-life boos. I can’t wait. It will long and loud and powerful. I’d love to experience it. And, considering what that implies, I think we'd all love it. Even Bettman himself.

… [Continue Reading]

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