Share...

  • (notitle)

Day 22 – April 7, 2020

By |April 7th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Business & Economics, Science of COVID-19, Life in Vancouver, Philosophy, Art & Literature|24 Comments

When Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, took to the airways recently to address her nation, it was only the 5th time in her 68-year reign that she had done so (other than to say Merry Christmas). And when I say her nation, I’m not just talking about the U.K., and I don’t just mean the British Commonwealth, whatever is left of it, though it’s somewhat eyebrow-raising to realize that she has been Canada’s reigning monarch for 47% of this country’s existence… but no, her nation is the world. When you reference “The Queen”, nobody asks you which queen you mean. We’re not talking about the queen of Sweden or the queen of Spain or the queen of Bhutan. Or Beyoncé. There is only one Queen.

The rarity of this sort of event underlines its importance. In time of war, in time of national mourning… when everyone needs a serious dose of encouragement.

Before she even opened her mouth, the picture spoke thousand words. The setting was like a glorious painting, liberally sprinkled with meaning. The bed of roses, because life is beautiful, but sometimes a little thorny. The single lamp, off in the distance — the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. The blank slate; the future unwritten. The empty office holders — signifying the paralyzing of business — which one day again will hold pens, paper clips and postage stamps (no doubt with her ubiquitous silhouette).

Then there was the Queen herself, looking radiant and royal and confident in green — the colour of nature and Spring and renewal. Her trademark pearls. I looked up what turquoise might represent, because that was the stone at the centre of that incredible brooch: Healing, love and protection. Perfect.

And, of course, there is what she said. The final sentence of her address was this: “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again."

It’s hard not to read that in her voice. Strong, powerful words, spoken with an accent that exudes class and elegance to a level we can only hope to achieve. Those familiar with the history of World War II (and/or the music of … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

Day 21 – April 6, 2020

By |April 6th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Science of COVID-19, Travel Stories|0 Comments

When you’re on a plane, approaching the end of a long flight… if you happen to be paying attention at about 30 minutes before landing, you may notice the hum of the engines drop a semi-tone or two. And you will feel the nose of the plane pitch forward slightly. This is the result of the pilots reducing power to the engines, which is the first step of many needed to land the plane safely. It takes about 30 minutes to bring an airliner flying at 35,000 feet and 500 knots down to 0 feet and 0 knots. Indeed, there are ways of doing it much faster than that, and they’re highly not recommended. If you want to get the plane and all its occupants down safely, it’s a process, and that’s how long it takes. But what if we just “dive steeper”? Or just crank the engines and point it down and “go down faster”?

Anyone who’s ever pitched a proposal can tell you what two questions need answering first: how much will it cost and how long will it take. The cost is often negotiable. The “how long” often is not. Some processes can’t be altered nor compromised nor made better nor anything. You want a baby? You need a man and a woman and 9 months. Well, jeez… I’m in a hurry… what if we put 9 men on the job… can we have that baby in a month? Uhhh…. no.

That plane is in the hands of two people who know what they’re doing, and we put our trust in them, and they always seem to deliver. But if you happen to be sitting back in 29B, sitting next to “an expert” who’s explaining to you everything the pilots are doing wrong (“Hey see how that flap extended, man that’s gonna slow us down and burn more fuel, that’s no good, why’d he do that”), then you might understand how I’m feeling today after posting something yesterday that an awful-lot more people than usual read.

I like my plane metaphor, because it’s useful in two directions.

Number one, and more important… today is “double-header” day here in B.C. — we get both yesterday and today’s numbers of new cases, and that can go one of three ways… two wins… or … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

Day 20 – April 5, 2020

By |April 5th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Follower Favourites, Politics, Travel Stories|0 Comments

When the historians who will ultimately document the great pandemic of 2020 begin their work, they will be asking themselves some tough rhetorical questions, many of which will begin with the words, “I wonder why they didn’t….” Indeed, some of those questions are being asked today, in the present tense, and good answers are not forthcoming. When those historians finish their books, most of them will have a chapter titled, “The United States of America”. Often, underneath the chapter name, there is a chapter subtitle… sometimes a little more detail, sometimes a quote. Usually in italics… you know what I mean. This particular subtitle will say:

“I don’t take responsibility at all” — President Donald J. Trump, March 13, 2020

Today is Sunday, “silent day” here in B.C., where the people upon whose words our futures (near and far) may depend, take a well-deserved break. Indeed, as loud as it gets at 7pm every night around here… it gets just as quiet at 3pm on weekdays when the only words you might hear are, “Shut up — Dr. Henry is speaking”. Today is their day off, so my B.C. number is just a guess bases on the averages of last week — I will fix it tomorrow when we get real data. But I’m guessing it’s pretty close.

Until recently, none of us had even heard of Dr. Bonnie Henry… but now, we all want to adopt her. And it’s not just the calm, soothing voice of reason that’s so enchanting… it’s the actual substance of what she’s saying. She’s not making it up as she goes along. She’s not up there to make herself look good. She’s not up there incoherently throwing blame around. She’s surrounded herself with excellent people who she consults on a continual basis. She’s not afraid to admit she was wrong, and, accordingly, she’s willing to course correct… which, if you read back on the evolution of this emerging pandemic in B.C., has happened more than once. She is, in every sense of the word, a leader.

On the day Donald Trump spoke those words, there were 2,300 known cases of COVID-19 in the USA. By that point, Italy was well aware they had a serious problem on their hands. They were at close to 20,000 cases and growing … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

Day 19 – April 4, 2020

By |April 4th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Life in Vancouver, Philosophy, Art & Literature|0 Comments

When time and good weather allow, you’ll often find me on my bike. I really enjoy it… doing something healthy that gives me the opportunity to get lost in my thoughts without interruption. And since physical distancing doesn’t mean locking yourself in a cabinet, just staying far away from other people, today was a perfect day to do that, and the contents of what you’re reading were generated while cycling around the city, observing people.

And what I saw many of were… masks. A hot topic these days, so just thinking about it as I rode around — here is every argument I could think of, broken down into 4 quadrants of possibilities, and reasons that fit those categories, as wrong or misguided or irrelevant as they may be. A brain white-boarding exercise to see if out of the conflicting arguments, some sort of reasonable course of action can emerge. And many of these reasons aren’t just made up by me, they’re speculative… so put “might” or “could” in front of most of these:

A. Reasons you should wear a mask
– prevents you coughing your potentially infected droplets onto other people and surfaces
– prevents you inhaling other people’s droplets who cough in your vicinity
– shows others you’re taking this seriously

B. Reasons you shouldn’t wear a mask
– there’s a front-line medical worker who needs it more
– increased (false) sense of security
– virus could get caught in it and linger there for a while, increasing your risk of infection
– uncomfortable
– looks silly

C. Reasons everyone else should wear a mask
– when they cough, they’re not shedding virus onto other people or surfaces

D. Reasons everyone else shouldn’t wear a mask
– looks silly
– can traumatize and cause anxiety in other people

There’s this whole “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” thing… but I prefer a slight variation: “don’t do unto others what you wouldn’t want them to do to you” — it’s a subtle difference, but it’s more along the lines of… if what you’re doing isn’t hurting anyone, they shouldn’t care. And, of course, if someone else is … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

  • (notitle)

Day 18 – April 3, 2020

By |April 3rd, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Business & Economics, Science of COVID-19, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|16 Comments

By now, we’ve all settled into some sort of routine… or, at least, the intention of one. 3pm-5pm is my “Corona time” — not because I sit back to enjoy a refreshing Mexican beer (and my preference would be Guiness anyway), but because I’m trying to give this aspect of my life a limited and structured block of time. I listen to the provincial 3pm update from Dr. Henry and Mr. Dix while digging through articles and messages I’ve received, updating numbers, and writing this… and 10 seconds after posting this, shortly after 5pm, I try to forget all about it for the next 22 hours. Much easier said than done, but distraction helps.

If you’re reading this post on Facebook, then you have at your disposal the technology to distract yourself in isolation forever… with endless books, music, videos, movies… all at your fingertips. Distract yourself to your heart’s content with all of that… or just send memes and pictures of cute cats to your friends; whatever keeps your brain in a happy place.

And, of course, connect socially — not physically. You know, of all the whacked-out conspiracy theories I’ve heard — and I’ve heard many — if I had to believe one, it’d be that this virus was created by the people who are behind the Zoom software.

To Zoom’s credit, they took advantage of this situation very intelligently. Luck = preparation + opportunity, and lucky they were… but also smart. They announced that their software would be unlimited and free for educational purposes. Every school jumped onto it. They also made it free for everyone, sort of. Up to 100 people can communicate for free, for up to 40 minutes. It’s genius, because if you manage to get a large group together for free for a 30-minute meeting… and the meeting invariably drifts toward that 40-minute mark, the hassle of hanging up and starting over is superseded by the simplicity of just signing up. Somebody on that call will sign up. We are all signing up in droves. And above and beyond all of that, they understood where the “friction” was, and removed it. Setting up a conference is easy. Joining one, even if you’ve never done it, is simple. Jump through a couple of hoops and you’re in, … [Continue Reading]

close

Subscribe by Email

Share...

close

Subscribe by Email