A Frog in my Throat

“A Frog in my Throat”

I have been invaded by a virus. I have a runny nose, a scratchy ‘frog’ in my throat, and a dry cough. I don’t know if I encountered the virus while still in Alberta, or if it caught up with me during the three day drive from Alberta to Arizona. I don’t know if it is a common cold or if it is one of the Covid variants like Omicron.

I do know that medical advice in both places says stay isolated at home for 5 days after the start of symptoms and don’t clog up the medical system unless the symptoms are well beyond what I’m experiencing. In Alberta, PCR tests are not available unless you are deemed to be severely sick. I’m assuming the situation is similar here in Arizona too.

What isn’t the same in the states we traveled through to get here, is mandates. In Canada, we have been ‘mandated’ up to our eyeballs. Today, if The Car Guy or I wanted to get back into Canada, our vaccine status alone would not be good enough; nor would a promise that we would drive immediately to our home and quarantine for 2 weeks. No, we would also have to have proof of a negative molecular test OR we will be fined $5000 per person. (When we crossed into the USA from Canada we didn’t have to provide any proof of even having been vaccinated. The restaurants and motels we used did not have mask mandates, though some had mask recommendations that few people were following.)

To put this difference between Canada and the United States into perspective (recognizing there are state/provincial/municipal differences), I’d like to start with  a section of a post from Mike Rowe (Mike Rowe Works Foundation):

How much more mandating are we willing to endure to avoid a virus we’re all going to get?

…I’m worried that we’ve become irrationally averse to risk. I’m worried that mask mandates will lead to vaccine mandates, and vaccine mandates will lead to vaccine passports, and vaccine passports will lead to QR codes on our phones, which we’ll all need to present at every restaurant, every gym, every library, every theater… everywhere we go.

Yes, I’m also worried about overcrowded hospitals and stressed-out healthcare workers. And of course, I’m worried about those who won’t survive this thing. But I’m more worried about the path we’re headed down… and that path is paved with mandates.

In my province (as in most Canadian provinces) Mike Rowe’s fears have mostly all come to pass. We have to wear a mask to enter all public settings and workplaces. We need to show our vaccine passport (with a QR code) to enter restaurants, theatres, concerts, fitness facilities etc that want to operate at normal capacity. We can’t board a plane or train without our vaccine passport… and we can’t enter our own country without a vaccine passport…

“I’m worried that we’ve become irrationally averse to risk. – Mike Rowe. Graphic Source: https://xkcd.com/

On a safety spectrum, I’d say much of Canada is highly Safety first. Some parts of the USA – maybe not so much. Which makes it kind of funny that the
Canada Travel Advisory is to Avoid Non-Essential Travel to the United States; the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory: Canada – Level 4: Do Not Travel Due to very high level of COVID-19…

My post on A Safety Third Philosophy in a Safety First World

Cold – When Centigrade and Fahrenheit are Equal

JUST HOW COLD IS IT?
Weather wise, it has been a cold Christmas/New Year here in Alberta. Temperatures have hovered in the sub -20C (-4F) range, but dipped to -40C (-40F) several nights. (Yes, at -40, the two temperature scales collide and agree that it is too cold to go anywhere, assuming your car will even start…)

There is nothing as bad as being alone and too cold.
You become totally ice-olated and cut off.
– Author Unknown –

THE LIGHTER SIDE OF SNOW PLOW SEASON
Twelve snowplows in Chatham-Kent (a Municipality in Ontario, Canada) are sporting new names, thanks to a naming contest:
Anita Shovel
Gordie Plow
Blizzard of Oz
Darth Blader
Pillsbury Plowboy
Sled Zepplin
Buzz Ice-Clear
Qunuk (Inuit word for snowflake)
Flurrious George
School’s Not Cancelled
Snobi One Kenobi
Sleetwood Mac

IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS
Yes, this is how we kept our feet dry inside our boots. Winter boots were often rubbery things that we pulled over our shoes, then buckled up. Spring, summer and fall boots were the same pull on rain boots that we buy today. All boots eventually leaked.  Hence the bread bags that we wore over our feet, inside our boots. (I think we used Sunbeam bread bags.)

Cold? Go Stand in the Corner. It’s 90 degrees.

DID YOU EVER WONDER

Why are there no dead penguins on the ice in the Antarctic? Where do they all go?
Well, Penguins are very ritualistic birds that live extremely ordered and complex lives.
If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, family members and their social circle will dig a hole in the ice with their little wings and beaks. When the hole is deep enough, they will roll the dead bird in to it, then fill the hole back up.
Then the penguins will gather in a circle around the icy grave and sing:
“Freeze a jolly good fellow.
Freeze a jolly good fellow.”
… you really didn’t believe that I know anything about penguins, did you?
– Author Unknown –

If you rarely drive on snow, just pretend you are taking your grandma to church. There’s a platter of biscuits and 2 gallons of sweet tea in glass jars in the back seat. She’s wearing a new dress and holding a crock pot full of gravy.
– Twitter advice from @Chadsu42 –

HAVE YOU HAD THE SNIFFLES YET?
Another kind of circulating cold is the OmiCold. Oh, I know that isn’t what this Covid Variant is being called yet, but when you have mild symptoms (cold, flu or even covid like) and your government tells you to just stay home (isolate) AND you are not mandated to get tested, then it seems like Omicron is being lumped in with its sibling cold coronaviruses – 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1.

 

https://xkcd.com/

For up to date and non-scare mongering advice, I consult my Doctor and watch the videos posted by Dr. Zubin Damania. His Alt-Middle vision of health and communication is refreshing. His latest take on Omicron is Omicron and the Endemic Phase of Covid.

I did an analysis of Covid stats in my province: ‘Rona Virus – The Alberta Picture. Yes, Covid is ‘real’ – but we now know it targeted some groups much more severely than others.

RETURNING TO THE WEATHER
You can read more quotes about the weather at “Weather and Season Quotations”.

Many Moons ago

Quite a few moons ago (in 2013) I got a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS camera. It has a 50X optical zoom lens with Image Stabilizer. Some of the first photos I took were of the moon, of course! The montage above are just a few of the most interesting ones. (I have not enhanced the colours.)

The next two photos have been enhanced with various filters.

An HDR filter from the program Topaz Studio.
A squiggly filter from the program Topaz Studio.

If you don’t have a camera with a zoom lens, you might want to look closer to home for ‘cosmic beauty’.

Toilet Paper – The Great Debate

The preferred method at The Red House is the over hang. How does it hang at your house?

It is written in the book of ‘Internet’  that paper products were first used to do ‘clean ups in aisle one and two’ in the mid 1800’s. One option were sheets of manila hemp paper infused with aloe vera. Another option were the pages of the first widely circulated catalogs from Sears Roebuck. By the late 1800’s, paper was being rolled onto cardboard tubes.

From that day forward, people who had nothing more urgent to discuss, would debate how toilet paper should be hung. Some would advocate the forward (over) hang method, suggesting that might stop the paper from clinging to the wall.
The backward (under) hang proponents would point out that the family cat was less likely to unravel the roll if it was clinging to the wall…

Toilet paper holders have come a long way! I like this one from ‘Planet Dork Sculptures’

Friendly debate continues to this day, though it would seem that the over hang method is the preferred one. Manufacturer Georgia-Pacific conducted a survey in 1993. 73% of those polled preferred the forward hang. In 2010, the Cottonellle Roll Poll attracted half a million votes – 72% chose the ‘over’ method.

And so it went until 2020 when the world  went mad and people started buying up toilet paper. There may in fact now be a few homes with enough stockpiled toilet paper to last them for a very long time, as described in this joke that circulated late that year: “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.”

Also in 2020 – Stock Market Report
Helium was up, feathers were down. Paper was stationary.
Fluorescent tubing was dimmed in light trading. Knives were up sharply. Pencils lost a few points.
Hiking equipment was trailing. Elevators rose, while escalators continued their slow decline. Weights were up in heavy trading.
Mining equipment hit rock bottom. Diapers remained unchanged.
The market for raisins dried up. Balloon prices were inflated.
And toilet paper touched a new bottom.

What’s a mathematician’s favorite type of toilet paper?
Multiply.

What do you call someone who goes from one store to another looking for toilet paper?
Bounty hunter.

Francis Ford Crapolla – This photo is near the top of my sidebar. Click it and you will be whisked away to a random post… on my blog, not on your blog…

Since this might be my last post ever about toilet paper, I expect you want to share your thoughts on these important questions:

Does your toilet paper hang over or under?
Are you the empty roll change agent in your house?
Do you have an interesting roll holder?
Where do you keep extra rolls of toilet paper?
Your preferred vernacular – lavatory, throne, loo, WC (water closet), john, latrine, comfort room?
How many books or magazines do you have in that room?

My ‘Rona Virus’ Toilet Paper Posts, none of which went viral:

Will Trade Grapefruit for Toilet Paper

Not So Close Contact

More of the Lighter Side

 

Andrew Cotters Olive and Mabel; Jeanne Robertson – Friday Funny (Videos)

First Date

Jeanne Robertson was a professional speaker who specialized in down home humor. In this video she speaks, as she often does, about  her husband, Jerry, who she lovingly called ‘Left Brain’ (Jerry is the man in the green sweater). Jeanne and Jerry died within months of each other in 2021, but Jeanne’s special brand of humour lives on in her many videos.

Do you remember your first date at a Drive Through Hamburger place? Did it feature the accidental escape of ketchup from one of those little ketchup packages, such that there was more ketchup on the girl’s good white blouse than on the guy’s french fries?

It Has to be 9PM Somewhere:

When I was a kid, getting put to bed at 9 PM, I couldn’t wait until I was a grown-up and could stay up until whatever time I wanted. That time is, apparently, 9 PM.
– Author Unknown –

The recent referendum in our Province (that asked if we wanted to stop changing our clocks twice a year) was 49.8% for and 51.2% against. I am disappointed, though not surprised that half of the people wanted that ‘extra’ hour of light at the beginning of the day and the other half at the end of the day. On the positive side, when the clocks change again in early November, most of the clocks in my clock collection will be on time again.

An Idea for Christmas – Borrow the Neighbours Kid for your Family Christmas Photo:

Get your relatives speaking to one another again by sending a heartfelt Christmas card with a picture of your family with an extra child nobody knows.
– Author Unknown –

Beep Beep! Has PETA ruled on Cruelty to Cartoon Coyotes?

PETA is asking Major League Baseball to stop using the term “bullpen” to describe the area where pitchers warm up and instead use the term “arm barn.” The nonprofit organization argued that saying “bullpen” is insensitive to cows in a news release on Thursday.
– Sports Washington –

I’d Watch the News if This Happened:

If liar’s pants really did catch on fire, watching the news would be a lot more fun.
– fb/New and Interesting –

Tree Hugging When Lumber Prices are Off the Charts:

Another Dog Tail from Olive and Mabel

A Motorcycle Joke

If my name was David and I had a boy, I would have to name him Harley. That way, he could introduce himself “I’m Harley, David’s son.”
– Dad Jokes –

Canadian Thanksgiving – Tradition Ideas – Mirthy Monday (Video)

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving! Happy Eat Until you are Stuffed Day!

Does your family have any interesting Thanksgiving Traditions? How about treasured recipes that your family always serves?

Here are a few non-traditional ideas that you might want to try next year!

We stuff our Thanksgiving bird with cereal—sometimes sugary, sometimes silly, not usually healthy but one year it was Grape Nuts.
– Author Unknown –

Speaking of stuffing – how about a Rice Krispies/Marshmallow turkey with smarties stuffing for dessert!?

When I was a kid, my aunt gave every one of the cousins a little chocolate turkey as we wrapped up the evening. We all assumed it would stop when we grew up, and yet there are still around 15 tiny chocolate turkeys circulating through the house every year. We’ve taken to hiding them in each other’s bags so she doesn’t know we aren’t eating them anymore. Pretty sure one of my cousins unknowingly went home with about 8 of them in 2016.
-Author Unknown –

This would be the ultimate way to ‘baste’ a turducken! (A turducken is a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck which is then stuffed into a deboned turkey).

Here is a video for a Mini Turducken wrapped in Bacon.

Start the day off on a sweet note by serving your traditional Thanksgiving pies for breakfast with coffee instead of after the big meal. That way, you won’t be too full to indulge in dessert.
– Good Housekeeping Home –

Bowling with Turkeys – Forget bowling balls and bowl with a frozen turkey this Thanksgiving using soda or water bottles as makeshift pins. This hilarious tradition started in 1988 at Lucky’s grocery shop in Newport Beach, where the bowling took place in the alleys of the store.
– Culture Trip –

There are many ways to cook carrots, but at Thanksgiving they are best if they are in a carrot cake with cream cheese icing!

Host a potluck dinner… asking everyone to bring a dish to pass can create a more diverse, exciting spread. It also lessens the load on the host.
– Good Housekeeping Home –

More about the Holiday and the Bird:

Thanksgiving and Turkey Quotations

Our Canadian Thanksgiving – 2018

‘Rona Virus – It Feels Like the Movie ‘Groundhog Day’

Do you remember the movie ‘Groundhog Day’? Bill Murray portrays Phil Connors, a cynical television weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He becomes trapped in a time loop, forcing him to relive February 2nd repeatedly

Welcome to the ‘Groundhog Day’ Pandemic

Here in Alberta, we are in the fourth wave of ‘Spike and the Variants’. Like the previous three waves, it is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. For the past 18 months we have been subjected repeatedly to  ‘short sharp lockdowns’ that aren’t short. The difference with the fourth wave is that now we have enough vaccine for everyone – except not everyone has chosen to get jabbed and not everyone who got jabbed has the same immune response. Thankfully we haven’t been put into another ‘lockdown’ but we have been mandated back into masks, have restrictions for gatherings and need vaccine passports to enter some venues, etc, etc.

On the plus side, The Car Guy and I are surrounded by vaccinated family and friends whose risk tolerance is similar to ours. We live carefully, but a bit more liberally, than the more fearful do.

The ‘Groundhog Day’ Election

Canada’s Federal Election (#44) was held on September 20, 2021.  Prime Minister Trudeau called it mid way through his term. He hoped he would get a majority government.

The election cost the taxpayers $612 million (the most expensive election in Canadian history). What did we get for our money? Same old, same old. Justin Trudeau is once again the Prime Minister of a minority government  but with the new distinction of having the slimmest share of overall electoral support in Canadian history (32.6% of the popular vote.)  The voter turnout, at about 62% is one of the lowest since Canada’s first election in 1867 (maybe having an election during the fourth wave of the pandemic had something to do with that).

Journalist Tristin Hopper probably summed it up best:  at $36.02 per vote,  16,991,074 voters might as well have bought a  24-pack of Molson Canadian Beer instead.

Unlike this election result, at least the movie Groundhog Day was rewarding.
– Tasha Kheiriddin –


Fortunately, there is still a lighter side to the ‘Rona Virus:

‘Rona Virus – 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!

Cairo, Egypt – a Food Market – Friday Funny

Cairo Egypt, December 11, 2002. Note the meat hanging in front of the Butcher Shop. A few blocks away from this market, a bloated carcass floated in the water of a drainage canal.

This photo is from my post Foreign Street Scenes.

The next photos were altered with filters in the program Topaz Studio.

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.
– Mark Twain –

Some of my friends claimed that they received a mail from the famous Prince of Nigeria and even I too got one from an Egyptian Pharaoh. Only I found out that this was all a part of the pyramid scheme.
– Author Unknown –

After discovering the tomb of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, the archaeologist opened it to find that the entire mummy was covered in chocolate. Later they named it the Pharaoh Roche.
– Author Unknown –

Deep within the Great Pyramid, Pharaoh Khufu gazed at the walls of what would eventually be his burial chamber, asking himself what he had been thinking in entrusting its adornment to the teenaged Prince and Princess, but comforting himself with the certainty that the younger generation would soon tire of these annoying “emoticons” and return to the rich thirty-character Egyptian alphabet.
– G. Andrew Lundberg, Los Angeles, CA –
(see my post Bulwer-Lytton Quotations for other suggested opening sentences for the worst possible novel that was never written.

Rounding out this post about Egypt:  this is from my February post This and That: