Good Night, Sleep Tight…

This time last year I was counting the number of itchy bites I got each day, mostly on my legs. I was convinced I was the victim of grass mites, mosquitoes and/or ants. Then one morning  I found three bites under one arm and a cluster of ten bites on my chest. Uh oh…

Bedbugs? Did we bring bedbugs home with us when we drove from Arizona to Alberta at the end of April? Yikes!

A number of years ago a friend’s home got bedbugs and at that time the treatment was to heat the whole house to an even temperature of over 120 F for at least an hour. It was an expensive procedure.

(By now I had worked myself into a lather, as they say). I called the local bug assassin company. They sent one of their  exterminators out that afternoon. He looked carefully at everything in our bedroom. He could not find any sign of bedbugs. He explained that didn’t mean there were no bedbugs – just not enough to constitute an infestation.

If I wanted, he could spray selected surfaces in our bedroom with a product that his company was having a lot of success with. He explained how he would use it and how safe it was for humans once it had dried. We could use the room again in four hours. Oh, and the cost was a bit less than $200.

I said “Make it So!” He instructed me to strip the bed and wash the bedding in hot water. That would kill any bugs residing in our quilts, pillows etc. He told me not to bother washing anything else. Any bugs that weren’t killed in the first few hours would track us down at night and they would be killed too because the spray would keep working for many months.

The spray was a complete success – that was the end of the bites.

Good night, sleep tight
Don’t let the bedbugs bite.
But if they do, then take your shoe and
Hit them till they’re black and blue.
– Childhood Rhyme –

More About Bedbugs

Bedbugs were all but eradicated in the developed world by the 1950’s because of pest control products like DDT and chlordane – and the widespread use of vacuums and washing machines. Today, however, bedbugs are on the rise again because of increased travel and fewer chemical control products.

Adult Bed bugs are the size and color of a flat apple seed. They hide during the day in mattress crevices, box springs, baseboards, behind electrical switch plates, in picture frames, and even behind wallpaper. At night, the carbon dioxide we exhale lures them out of their hiding spots. Once a bed bug finds a host, it will usually feed for 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes the feeding shows up as a pattern of three bites in a cluster or row. The host usually isn’t wakened by the feasting because bed bug saliva is an anaesthetic.

If you think you have bedbugs, call a professional. In my humble opinion, this isn’t a do it yourself job.

‘Rona #32 – Efficacy and Straws

Straw efficacy: Tim Horton’s has retired their red plastic straws. In my ranking system, these straws had a 95% efficacy at removing the contents of a Tim Horton’s Iced Capp. The new white cardboard straw has only a 90% efficacy because it is wider than the ‘valley’ that holds the “good to the last drop” stuff at the bottom of the cup. The red straw has a 100% efficacy rate for durability. The white paper straw has a 75% efficacy rate because it starts to get squishy about 3/4 of the way through the drink.

The word ‘efficacy’ is very old. It dates back to the 1200’s! It didn’t enter my consciousness until this year, when the term was used in relation to COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine Efficacy
A vaccine with an efficacy rate of, say 85%, means it demonstrated in trials that it could reduce moderate to severe disease by 85%. To do that, the vaccines initiated an immune response that  reduced the number of viruses in the lower respiratory tract. To date, the vaccines are not believed to be sterilizing vaccines that completely stop the virus in the upper respiratory tract too.

In time, the vaccine may prove to be a sterilizing vaccine in some or most of the population. Until then, some governments, such as the one in my province, explain the vaccine in terms of effectiveness in preventing severe disease, hospitalizations and death from COVID-19′.

Here is an excellent explanation of the Covid Vaccine: University of Colorado.

What about Mask Efficacy?

I somehow doubt there will be a mask efficacy rating for the products used by the general public during Covid. There are simply too many variables – material, fit, care in use; indoors vs outdoors; social distancing and other factors limiting people’s activities;  age, immunity, viral load and length of exposure of participants… Analyzing masking is going to be either a statisticians dream or nightmare.

In preparation for the (hopefully) soon removal of mask mandates, last week I performed a small test on public perception of an unmasked person (me). I had to drop a sample off at a medical lab. I walked two car lengths across a parking lot, stood in an outside lineup of one (me) for about two minutes then handed the sample (while still outside) to the masked attendant who, by protocol, stepped outside to receive it.

While I was being a line of one, there was, for a few seconds, a lineup of two – another ‘client’ arrived. Unlike me, she was masked. When the attendant moved to the door to summons me, the masked lady behind me swiftly moved forward to try to hand her item to the attendant. As she came up beside me, she suddenly drew back. I don’t know whether it was because she saw I was unmasked or whether she realized that I was handing a sample to the attendant too.

Either way, I didn’t learn anything about public perception because the attendant and the client were masked – I couldn’t read anything in their faces.

Efficacy of the Virus

Efficacy isn’t actually the term used to describe Covid mortality – it is called  Case fatality. In both Canada and the USA it is 1.8%. There are, however, an unknown number of people who have had Covid, but were not diagnosed with it, which drops the case fatality rate by some unknown amount. The fatality rate in terms of the entire population are .07% for Canada and .18% for the United States.

I’m hoping we aren’t invaded by a new and more deadly variant so that our province  can move towards full removal of restrictions by the end of June… inshallah…

‘Rona #31 – We Got Shot

Vaccines are in short supply here in Canada – so The Car Guy and I decided we would delay getting ours (we are retired seniors who can easily continue to shelter in place). We hoped  that ‘our shot’ would go to younger, but more vulnerable people. (That part worked well – our younger siblings got their shots a few weeks ago.)

We would have kept delaying ‘shot’ time for several more months if the various governments and venues hadn’t  fouled things up a bit. Our Province decided to delay the timing for the second shot by up to four months. Other governments and service providers started to talk about two dose immunization as a requirement to travel or take part in normal life again. We started counting the months until we’d like to visit our home and friends in Arizona and decided we should book our shots.

We ‘got shot’ last Friday. Just in time to be locked down again.

The Province of Ontario is in lockdown too. The Police can’t actually come to your house, of course, but I’m sure there are a few people who wish that officers could do removals…

Hard to forget early 2020 – toilet paper was a major issue. This year, in some places, it is lumber. Prices have gone up by as much as 50%.

Also in 2020 – remember Flatten the Curve?

The goal, you might remember, was to keep the health care system from being overwhelmed. Fourteen months later, we’re doing it all over again. It’s like trying to staple jello to a wall.

There have been a number of Anti-Lockdown Rallies in Alberta. Some people have been pushed to the limit of their endurance. There are concerns that these Rallies will be super-spreader events. The one that caused the most uproar was a Rodeo  that was attended by about 4000 people over the course of 2 days. It has been 10 days since it took place and no cases have been linked to the event so far.

Last June, 15000 people in Edmonton Alberta attended a BLM Rally. That rally, and all the BLM rallies across Canada did not result in an increase of Covid cases either, officials say.

I think many people understand that lockdowns are more damaging to some people than to others. The question being raised in some quarters recently – are lockdowns actually Systemic Racism?

I think we are going to see interesting ‘discussions about best pandemic practices’ once the virus and the world have come to a mutual understanding!

‘Rona #30 – Spike and the Variants

You can find many photos of ‘Spike and the Variants’ on the internet, but the pictures are kind of fuzzy and they make one variant look just like another. Not to worry. With a little imagination and a Pigma Micron No 03 pen, I think I captured their likeness very well.

My home province, Alberta, is currently a hot spot for the wild performances of the spike protein virus, SARS-CoV-2.

‘Spike’, having been booed off Alberta stages twice now, called for some fresh new faces to liven up the act. A group of  ‘Variants’ answered the call.

Experts say there are too many variants to count and most of them are functionally no different than ‘Spike’ the original. However, The WHO has clarified that there are seven variants “of interest” and three variants “with real potential”.

Variant B.1.1.7 from the U.K. has been the most active in Alberta; P.1 from Brazil has tried to make it onto the mainstage, but without much luck. Variants B.1351 from South Africa and B.1.617 from India have so far not been allowed to perform more than a handful of times.

On a more serious note, Government has reacted to ‘Spike and the Variants’ by locking us down for a third time (though in reality, we’ve been in some degree of lock down for over a year now.) Fortunately, the weather has improved considerably – we are ‘allowed’ to meet up with one other family, outdoors, social distanced, as long as there are no more than 5 of us…

All my other ‘Rona stories are at the virus link below.

‘Rona #29 – Pundemic Groaners and Other Funny Thoughts

2020 has answered the question “Hank why do ya drink?”

Anyone else’s car getting three weeks to the gallon now?

At this point I would feel safer if the Coronavirus held a press conference to tell us how it’s going to save us from the government.

Due to my isolation, I finished 3 books yesterday. Believe me—that’s a lot of colouring

Finland as just closed their borders.
No one will be crossing the finish line.

Gwenyth Paltrow said in an interview we should take this time to learn a new language or write a book. I just shook chip crumbs out of my bra and I don’t know what day it is. I’m fairly certain I’m not going to attempt either of those things.

I just Clorox wiped a bottle of Purell and Purelled my hands cuz I touched the Clorox canister. How far down a rabbit hole does this go?

I’ll tell you a coronavirus joke now, but you’ll have to wait two weeks to see if you got it.

I’m not sure how many cookies it takes to be happy, but so far it’s not twenty seven.

It was a quiet Monday morning in September 2053, when John awoke with a need to go to the bathroom. To John this wasn’t just any ordinary day! This was the day he would open the last package of toilet paper his parents bought in the year 2020.

I see a big baby boom coming our way in 9 months. They will be called the C-19 babies and the #1 baby names will be “Charmin” and “Scott”.

Masks are the NEW bra! They’re uncomfortable, you only wear them in public, and when you don’t wear one, everyone notices.

My wife and I play this fun game during quarantine. It’s called “Why are you doing it that way?” There are no winners.

Now is not the right time to surround yourself with positive people.

Ran out of toilet paper… having to use lettuce leaves. Today was the tip of the iceberg. Trying to romaine calm.

Snow White is down to 6 dwarfs. Sneezy has been placed in quarantine.

The grocery stores in France look like tornadoes hit them.
All that’s left is de brie.

There will be a minor baby boom in 9 months and then, one day in 2033, we shall witness the rise of the quaranteens.

The World Health Organization has announced that dogs cannot contract Covid-19.
Dogs previously held in quarantine can now be released.
To be clear, WHO let the dogs out.

To go to the grocery store, they said a mask and gloves were enough… they lied. Everybody else had clothes on.

What do you call panic-buying of sausage and cheese in Germany?
The Wurst Kase scenario.

Why do they call it the novel coronavirus?
It’s a long story…

At Home Dining – We Up our Game

The Eating Bar in the Kitchen: every day dishes; cutlery we got as a wedding present (51 years ago); mismatched drinking glasses. In the background on the right – the box with the new kitchen taps act as a reminder that The Car Guy has to either install them or call the plumber…

For most of the last 270 days, our evening meal has been consumed, in our home, at the kitchen island Eating Bar,  by a Party of Two.

What with Lockdowns; Mandates of how big our social bubble can be; living in a rural setting (a bad mosquito season this summer); general caution by others for (and by) people in our age group; the threat of  Fines for non-compliance; and Snitch call lines – well lets just say our social life has been very ‘quiet’.

Christmas Day Dinner was no different and when I asked The Car Guy if he wanted to ‘up our game’ for dinner for two, maybe use the ‘good dishes’ and newer cutlery, he gave me that look that said “We’re having left over ham from Christmas Eve’s Dinner…”

So I imagined left-over ham on the good dishes on place mats and newer cutlery and Canadian Festive napkins – and said “Yeah, it doesn’t make much difference does it…”

The next holiday dinner is today – Boxing Day. At this point in time,  we have eaten left-over ham at two dinners, two breakfasts and two lunches (because a ham of any size is the definition of eternity). Boxing Day we are serving what we affectionately call New Food.

To celebrate, we invited a guest and I set the table in the Dining Room. (How many of you have Dining Rooms? How many times a year do you use that room? We travel through ours many times every day because it is the only way to get to the kitchen from the rest of the house.)

Boxing Day Table set; guest is already here.

The good plates, the good cutlery, the good crystal glasses, a centre piece and Bruce the Moose as our guest. We are all set to ‘Up’ our Dining Game!

(To be honest, this post was inspired by some truly awesome photos of Christmas Dinner posted by friends and family. By virtue of extremely good taste in decorating and/or more people in their family bubble, they had what looked to be a festive and fun Christmas Day.

The reality for many seniors (like us in Alberta and maybe elsewhere) Christmas was somewhat more subdued. Maybe this is because as Covid time passes, it is getting harder and harder to emotionally ‘kick it up a notch’. We are surrounded by a society where government is ruling by keeping people in a blind, perpetual fear.

We are asked to put ‘safety first’ but ignore the inner voice that asks, “what about the collateral damage?” So, we do things as safe as we can, we keep the people near us as safe as we can, but it is a task beyond our ability to make sure everyone else and everything we do is absolutely safe.

Many of us seniors have lived through two pandemics already. Some served in a war or two. We learned to drive before seat belts and air bags. We rode our bikes without helmets. We got chicken pox, measles and mumps. Between 95 to 99.9% of us seniors will chalk up another win in the pandemic column!

So, this year is different, and we can live with that in good humour and good grace. But next year I hope we’ll see a full complement of people at our ‘turkey or ham’ table!

 

 

 

What Colour is a Balanced Life? (Video)

An uplifting 3D animation about a Father (Copi) and his son who are trying to find the balance between assigned tasks and creative living. Watch what happens when this is out of balance. Does it make you think about how unbalanced we have become in the ‘RonaWorld? What colour are you when you are in balance?

Balance is not something your find, it’s something you create.
– Jana Kingsford –

Alike – This animation production took 5 years to complete
Directed by: Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Mendéz
Produced by: Daniel Martínez Lara and Nicolás Matji
Music by: Oscar Araujo
Production Company: Pepe School Land
Release date: July 8, 2015 (Mundos Digitales); December 13, 2016 (Online)

‘Rona #27 – Chimps and the Evening News – Hans Rosling TEDTalk (Video)

Hans Rosling discusses how Chimps and People differ in answering multiple choice questions. If a group of chimpanzees were given a challenge that had three possible responses, the likelihood is that each one of the responses would be chosen by 33% of the chimps.
That’s not the case with humans. Why? Hans explains how bias affects the answers. Humans watch the evening news. Chimps don’t.

Here are a few ‘Rona Virus questions to test whether you know more than the Chimps do!

First and foremeost: did Corona Beer Sales go up, down, or stay the same?
Answer: Up, then down. “Most consumers understand Corona the brand has nothing to do with corona the virus. Our consumers are very comfortable with the brand and the results speak for themselves.” Unfortunately production was stopped when the Mexican Government closed nonessential services.
– Constellation Brands CEO Bill Newlands –


Does a Thermal Scanner detect Covid or Not?
Answer: This is a kind of a trick question… yes, the scanner detects a fever, which might mean you have Covid. But no, there are many other causes of fever.
– WHO –

 

When you are exercising, should you wear a mask or not?
Answer: We’ve heard much about who, why, when and how we should wear masks – but should we wear a mask when we are exercising?

“People should NOT wear masks when exercising, as masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably… instead – maintain physical distance of at least one meter from others.”
– World Health Organization (WHO) –

“People who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, may not be able to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing. If unable to wear a mask, consider conducting the activity in a location with greater ventilation and air exchange (for instance, outdoors versus indoors) and where it is possible to maintain physical distance from others.”
– CDC –

Note: in some parts of the world, like Canada and the United States, the recommended distance is twice the WHO recommendations. Some countries say you should wear a mask during exercise…

‘Rona #25 – Going the Distance

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. It is called Counter Current. 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.