Going the Distance (‘Rona #24)

We’re All in This Together – but in an Apples to Oranges kind of way. Just look at Social Distancing regulations!

WHO (the World Health Organization),  China, Denmark, Hong Kong, and Singapore – 1 metre or 3 feet apart.
Australia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain – 1.5 metres.
USA – CDC says 6 feet or 2 meters. Canada, New Zealand and the UK – 2 metres.

Face Masks: There are countries who have a long standing face mask culture, and countries that don’t. In Japan, “The wearing of cloth or paper “sickness masks” while healthy and in public has become such a standard practice in Japan that in average years, the nation manufactures 4.3 billion face masks for personal use. … “sickness masks” have morphed into a trendsetting statement worn by celebrities and fashionistas. – National Review –

In other countries, surgical quality face masks are in short supply. The manufacture of hand made cloth face-masks has become a vibrant cottage industry (and a trendsetting statement.)

The Second Leg of the Cornonavirus Triple Crown (Warning – one swear word)

Should We Open our Community?

This gem was in my email inbox – what the medical people have concluded:
The Allergists were in favor of scratching it,
but the Dermatologists  advised not to make any rash moves.
The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it,
but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.
Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was laboring under a misconception,
while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea farsighted.
Many Pathologists yelled, “Over my dead body!”.
while the Pediatricians said, “Let’s grow up!”
Psychiatrists  thought the whole idea was madness,
while the Radiologists  could see right through it.
Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing
and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.
The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would “put a whole new face on the matter.”
The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward,
but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.
Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas,
and those lofty Cardiologists  didn’t have the heart to say no.
In the end, the Proctologists won out by suggesting that we leave the entire decision up to the assholes in Government.

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
– Edmund Burke –

Social scientists have found that when confronted with either an enormous threat or a huge reward, people tend to focus on the magnitude of the consequence and ignore the probability.
– The Politics of Fear, Al Gore, CBS News –

I have a second Part to my blog. For now it is called The Truth Fairy. It is the home for all things (mostly issues) that I’ve researched.

If it leans politically, it is way right of the far left, and way left of the far right.

If you choose to leave a comment, I understand that we may have a difference of opinion. That is okay with me, because what our world needs right now is the free flow of thoughts and ideas to counter the movement that tries to restrict free speech. Mass and social media has done more to damage our relationships with people ‘not just like us’ than anyone realizes.


Mildly Amusing Missives – If Tom Cruise Ran for President (Video)

If Tom Cruise Ran for President – Actor: MILES FISHER: https://linktr.ee/milesfisher

Other Things I Found this Month while Surfing the Internet:

Understanding Engineers:
– Percussive Maintenance: I hit it and it started working
– Cycle Power to the Panel: Turn it off and on again
– High Impedance Air-Gap: I forgot to plug it in
– Organic Grounding: I got electrocuted
– Thermally Reconfigured: It melted
– Kinetic Disassembly: It blew up
– Thermal Shock: It burned






Speculations about the Chicken

This post is dedicated to the Chicken Grandma.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.
Why did the duck cross the road?  It was the chicken’s day off.
Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide.

If the following people were to answer the question of why the chicken crossed the road, this might be how they would respond. (Source: the Internet.)

ISACC NEWTON: Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in motion tend to cross the road.

DONALD TRUMP: I’ve been told by my many sources, good sources – they’re very good sources – that the chicken crossed the road. All the Fake News wants to do is write nasty things about the road, but it’s a really good road. It’s a beautiful road. Everyone knows how beautiful it is.

JOE BIDEN: Why did the chicken do the…thing in the…you know the rest.

BARACK OBAMA: Let me be perfectly clear, if the chickens like their eggs they can keep their eggs. No chicken will be required to cross the road to surrender her eggs. Period.

DICK CHENEY: Where’s my gun?

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white?

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won’t realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he is acting by not taking on his current problems before adding any new problems.

ANDERSON COOPER: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I’ve not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Alberta and COVID-19 – Facts Amid the Fears (‘Rona #25)

Mass and Social Media have done a good job of making people highly fearful of COVID-19. However, as we learn more about the virus, statistics and studies support a less fearful scenario.

The media dwells on case counts but it is becoming obvious that confirmed cases are mostly mild and don’t, in fact, represent the number of actual cases. Many cases may have gone undetected because people didn’t have symptoms or didn’t seek testing. (If officials don’t know how many cases there actually are, how can they say what the COVID death or survival rate is?)

Here are the statistics in Alberta that I think are more important and less fearful:

1. The most significant metric of Covid is how many people died. Covid deaths to date are a very small percentage of both the population and of Alberta deaths per year. Covid deaths are less than 2 times greater than the flu season of 2017-2018, which was a high severity flu season.
– Deaths from all causes in Alberta in 2019: 26,972
– Covid-19 deaths to August 9, 2020: 213 (.0036% of Alberta’s Population of 4,428,247)
– Lab Confirmed flu deaths in the 2017-2018 flu season: 92

2. Another important metric is the number of hospitalizations. The 2017-2018 flu season (high severity) had significantly more hospitalizations than Covid. Covid Hospitalizations peaked in late April and have not reached a level anywhere near the capacity of Alberta’s health-care system.
– Covid Hospitalizations: 598 (.0091% of the population)
– Hospitalizations in the 2017-2018 flu season: 3047

3. The vast majority of Covid deaths were Seniors over the age of 80. The Average age at death was 83. Ninety one percent of the deaths were people over 70 years of age.
– Deaths 80+ years and older: 148
– Deaths 70-79 years of age: 46
– Deaths 70+ years and older: 194 ( 91% of the deaths)

4. Ninety percent of the people who died had 2 or more comorbidities. Officials have not said whether there is a distinction between death caused by Covid and death caused by the comorbidity but Covid was present.
– Deaths with 2 or more comorbidities: 179 (90% of the deaths)
Comorbidities include: Diabetes, Hypertension, COPD, Cancer, Dementia, Stroke, Liver cirrhosis, Cardiovascular diseases (including IHD and Congestive heart failure), Chronic kidney disease, and Immuno-deficiency.

5. Data and studies point to new assumptions that differ from those held at the beginning of the  Covid-19 pandemic:

– The perceived risk of transmission from contaminated surfaces is lower than it was earlier in the pandemic when not much was known about the coronavirus. (Linsey Marr, expert in the transmission of viruses, Virginia Tech, studies of the survival of COVID-19 on surfaces)

– The vast majority of transmission seems to be through close contact with an infected individual, primarily in an indoor setting. (Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease physician, Toronto General Hospital.)

Wearing gloves for extended stretches while touching various objects can lead to cross-contamination the longer you’re wearing them which winds up being less helpful than just washing or sanitizing your bare hands regularly. (Infectious disease specialist Dr. Zain Chagla, associate professor, McMaster University in Hamilton.)

Playgrounds are probably one of the safer places for kids to congregate, if they have to congregate. And the reason why is that sunlight kills off the virus pretty effectively(Linsey Marr, expert in the transmission of viruses, Virginia Tech, studies of the survival of COVID-19 on surfaces)

– Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. (New England Journal of Medicine, Universal Masking in Hospitals)

– The absolute risk of infection from an exposed individual was 12.8% at 1 m and 2.6% at 2 m. (From a Study of observational papers, published in The Lancet, June 1, 2020)

– We therefore strongly support the calls of public health agencies for all people to wear masks when circumstances compel them to be within 6 ft of others for sustained periods. (New England Journal of Medicine, Universal Masking in Hospitals)

– Recent data suggests that the human body reacts no differently to this virus than to other respiratory viruses: it mounts immunity, and once achieved, the virus gets cleared and there is protection from future infection. (Dr. Neil Rau infectious diseases specialist, medical microbiologist, Oakville, Ont.)

– Increased infections, as long as they do not involve the elderly or medically vulnerable, are an unavoidable path to herd immunity. Our “flattening of the curve” has once again proven the axiom: “You can pay me now or pay me later.” Holding out for a vaccine is impractical and likely naive, in light of previous vaccine failures with other coronaviruses. (George Delgado, MD, Covid Planning Tools)

The Piano Guys -The Calm after the Storm – The Cello Song (Video)

The QuipperyThe Hail Storm

Southern Alberta (hailstorm alley) experienced a severe hail/rain storm Saturday night. According to news reports, 48.7 millimetres (1.8 inches) of rain fell between 7 and 8 p.m. Some parts of Calgary saw hailstones the size of tennis balls that fell at speeds of 80 to 100 km/h. They punctured house siding and broke windows; pockmarked car bodies and caved in windshields.

We were fortunate this time. We got the rain but the hail was small and didn’t do much more than put holes in the rhubarb leaves. We haven’t always been so lucky, as you can see here, here, here, and here. (We are so glad our house still has 40 year old cedar siding – a blob of paint quickly covers the gouges a hail stone can make…)

The Covid-19 Storm

Alberta is lifting restrictions. At our house, family and repair people have been coming and going. We’ve personally relaxed some of the more diligent social distancing and mask rules – but our visitors are certainly welcome to distance and mask in whatever way they feel comfortable.

‘Autonomous Zone’ Storm

I’ve declared our home and yard to be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ – free from the  authority structure in which we are embedded. I’m working on my manifesto, but rest assured it will grant equality to everyone, including pirates.

I was inspired to make this declaration as a result of the occupation in Seattle by Antifa and Black Lives Matter.  They call their zone the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone – CHAZ.

The biggest difference between their zone and mine, however, is that I’m not displacing any people and businesses. That seems too much like colonialism.

CHAZ is doing a few other things that seem similar to the actions that are frequent targets of other protesters:

–  CHAZ put up barricades and walls – an act very similar to the contentious construction of walls between Mexico and the United States.
– CHAZ posted armed security guards around their perimeter (courtesy a self-appointed police force led by a rapper named Raz Simone) – an act in direct contrast to demands for greater gun control.
– CHAZ required residents who live within the boundaries to show ID to prove they “belong” there – an act very similar to segregation
–  CHAZ assaulted a street preacher (who was apparently saying things that upset people) – they supposedly pinned the man to the ground. This seems very similar to the police brutality that they oppose.
– CHAZ welcomed the homeless into their land (and discovered that the homeless took all their food) – well that is just too funny to even comment on.

Other than those items, and maybe some things I don’t know about, I’m in full agreement about freedom from the authority structure (Canadian Liberalism) that I am embedded in…

After the Storm Music – Hello Cello

It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.
– Johann Sebastian Bach –

Speaking of which, just imagine what went into taking 8 cello tracks and turning them into one song!

The Cello Song is based on one of the most recognizable classical pieces ever written, J.S. Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1: Prelude… Steven Sharp Nelson decided that this piece needed some accompaniment… Adding some original material and 7 more cello parts stacked on top of each other…
The Piano Guys

What positive things are starting to happen in your part of the world?

White Admiral Butterfly

The Flutter Files
Name: White Admiral Butterfly or possibly Western White Admiral
Species: Limenitis arthemis
Native to: Much of Canada, with the Western White Admiral in Alaska and western Canada
Date Seen: June 2017
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Notes: Black or deep brown body with wide white band.

Lady’s Slipper Orchids

I’m not really finished my ‘Time Off Break’ – I just forgot that this post was scheduled. The timing is good though. These orchids, which grow in a rural ditch, were ready to bloom in the next few days – but the county mower came through yesterday and chopped off their heads.

I know it is probably not the best time of year to transplant them, but I picked out two small clumps and dug them out of the ditch. Hopefully they will survive in my yard! If yes, I’ll post pictures!

Photo altered with an HDR filter in Topaz Studio
Photo altered with a Fine Wine filter in Topaz Studio
Photo altered with a Contrast filter in Topaz Studio

My Story about these Alberta wildflowers is at Lady’s Slipper Orchid – No Match for the Mower

Taking a Break

Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.
– Paulo Coelho –

Nothing, but also everything – isn’t that what the past few months have been like!?

Now the world is tuning in for the Covid Analysis. It will be interesting – yet depressing; optimistic – yet fearful and biased; congratulatory – yet a blame and shame fest. All in all, a good time for me to take a break from news and social media. My blog is going to take a holiday too!

I’d like to thank all my family, friends and fellow bloggers who have made these past few months seem not quite so lonely. I’ll stop by and visit as many of you as I can while I am taking a break!

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.
– Anne Lamott –

The problem is that technology has become an extra limb for some of us. It’s important to utilize this technology, but at the same time it’s important to know when to take a break from it.
– Alex Broches, Start Living…Now! –

The truth is, we don’t know how taking a break frees up the mind, but it does: Somehow it freshens our little neurons, or perhaps it prompts the brain to create more cleverness molecules.
– Elizabeth Sims –

Face Masks – When and Where to Wear (‘Rona #23)

Wearing a Face Mask. This is still a matter of choice in many parts of the world, though there are places that have made it mandatory under certain circumstances. There does seem to be agreement that home made masks will not block the entry of a virus. These masks might, however, reduce virus spread by asymptomatic carriers. The effectiveness depends on the mask material, how well it fits, and the competence of the user. Social distancing is still considered to be the best way to prevent the virus from spreading.

The best article I have found to date, that discusses masks, is this one: Understanding Health Canada’s advice about Wearing Masks in Public. (Read the Author’s About page if you would like to know Blair King’s credentials.) He discusses Conscientious Mask Wearers, Conscientious Non-Mask Wearers, and Non-Conscientious Mask Wearers.

Wear a mask when you can’t social distance but when in public at a safe social distance it is just as safe to not wear masks. To be clear, if you see me on a bus; I will be wearing a mask. If the store asks me to wear a mask; I will wear a mask because that is store policy. But in situations where I can safely social distance, I will follow our health professionals’ advice and keep my hands to myself while keeping a safe social distance and not wear a mask.
– Blair King, Understanding Health Canada’s advice about wearing masks in public

Of course, this is one man’s opinion and it might not mesh with everything you have read in your preferred mass media or what your friends tell you on social media. So be it. Mask wearing is still a choice in most situations. It is not the right or responsibility for any of us to comment on or shame others for the choice they have made. (This topic is discussed at ‘Behind the Mask’ at the blog ‘A Life Well Lived’.)

I’ll end this with a story that shows how hard it is to know what to believe these days – even when you get information ‘straight from the horses mouth’!

When we were getting ready to drive from Arizona to Alberta, I read mass media stories about states closing their borders. So I researched the entry/exit rules for the three states we would be driving through – Utah, Idaho and Montana. Each state website talked about 14 day quarantines if you entered the state, but that didn’t apply to visitors who were only going to drive through the state. Overnight stays were allowed too, as long as they weren’t in parks that had been closed. We were good to go for that part of the trip.

Then there was the Canadian website (returning Canadians without symptoms section). It said “You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while traveling to the place you will quarantine (self-isolate). Go directly to your place of quarantine, without stopping anywhere, and stay there for 14 days.”

Hmmm. We had our own vehicle, we had masks… but why would we need to wear them in our car for a 4 hour drive? What if we needed gas or a bathroom break?

Fortunately, the people who write these things aren’t the people who greet you at the border and let you into the country. It was a normal border crossing, with a short discussion about Covid and some questions about where we were going to stay during quarantine. Last, but not least, we were told we MUST put on a mask IF we had to stop before we got home.

So, which mask type are you?

All My Virus Posts (and lots of funny things) are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.

Sitting Duck (‘Rona #22)

There is a rock (glacial erratic) in the field behind our property. It is about the size of a small house and is a favourite resting spot for many species of birds. This year the coveted ‘peak’ is being hotly contested by a group of male mallard ducks, a pair of Canada Geese, some magpies and a hawk.

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
– Douglas Adams –

The hawk seems to be at the top of the pecking order, though I haven’t seen what happens if the hawk were to challenge the Canada Geese. I think the Geese would win.

At any rate, the ducks make me think of the term ‘Sitting Duck’. Most of the time that is what they do after they have established which duck goes where. Watching them, and the bird power-plays, was ever so easy to do during our 14 days of Canadian Covid quarantine.

A few days after the quarantine ended, we visited our doctor for our semi-annual tune up. His advice – don’t be fearful, social distance, wash hands – but venture out into the world to do things as the lock downs are lifted. He explained that though we are in a higher risk age group, we do not have the comorbidities that would make us ‘sitting ducks’. After 2 months of being relatively isolated, we could, however, face a downward spiral in health if we stay in lock-up. (Staying at home and waiting for a vaccine is not a preferred lifestyle choice, in his opinion.)

In Canada, as in many countries, the Covid ‘sitting ducks’ were the frail elderly. Almost 70% of those who died in hospitals in Canada were over the age of 80. 95% of the deaths in hospital were people over the age of 60. (Worldwide, the death rate in many countries tells a similar story).

Many of the elderly were living in seniors facilities that were in lock-down mode, but the essential service care-givers apparently brought the virus in.

But all the wonderful protocols on paper cannot mask some of the persistent challenges in care facilities, chief among them residents’ great vulnerability to infection because of their underlying health conditions, and their intense dependence on staff such as personal support workers, who can be vectors for transmission. Complicating the response is that many workers juggle shifts between various facilities and their pay and benefits are so abysmal that they are reluctant to take time off if they are sick.
– The Globe and Mail –

We still have one aged relative in ‘lock down’ mode in a seniors housing complex. Her stories give me the renewed ambition to never give in to suggestions from family members to move into one of those places (in the hopefully distant future) …

The Covid memes have slowed down to a trickle, but here are a few of the most recent ones.

Today’s Weather?  Room temperature.


All My Virus Posts (and lots of funny things) are here: The Lighter Side of Covid-19.