Covid Virus, Uncategorized

And now…a word from Vic DiBitetto

For those who find Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans” a little too genteel, here’s something from a guy who could’ve come from my days in East Vancouver – although he sounds more like Brooklyn or Staten Island….

Take it away, Vic.

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Covid Virus, Environment

A Cleaner, Quieter World

Hello, Friends.  Hope you are all safe wherever you are.  Here in Canada, as you may have heard, a psychopath went on a killing spree on the weekend in rural Nova Scotia which itself is largely rural.  Among those he shot were a 17 year old girl, her mother and father, a lady Mountie, a beloved elementary school teacher, a kindly couple and their little dog, Zoey.

(https://globalnews.ca/news/6845208/dog-that-survived-shooting-rampage-expected-to-make-full-recovery-says-veterinarian/)

Of those listed above only Zoey survived.  At least fifteen other people were also killed.  As of this writing, 22 are known dead.  There may be more because the murderer also set fire to many of the crime scenes.  Who knows what investigators will find when they shift through the ashes?

Anyway, the point is that as a species Homo sapiens has produced an Einstein, a Thoreau, a Chopin, a Leonardo and so on.  It has also produced scores of mass killers, particularly since World War II.  Why this is…who knows?  To paraphrase the biologist JBS Haldane, “Humanity seems to have an inordinate talent for producing homicidal maniacs.”

The Mounties got this bad guy eventually.  He died from wounds sustained in a firefight.  Some might say not soon enough.  It is slowly coming to light that this guy was abusive to a former girlfriend (surprise!) as well a serial swindler who cheated friends and relatives out of their homes.  He was the pluperfect horse’s rear end and Canada – certainly Nova Scotia – is better off without him.

In comparison, Covid 19 is a killer, too.  As of today (Wed 22 April 2020) it has killed about 185, 000 people, give or take, world wide.  This is only the official count, of course.  Who know how many have died in their home or somewhere other than a hospital?  Or how many deaths were due to Covid 19 but mistakenly attributed to something else – renal failure, heart attack, stroke, and so on.

At any rate, 185,000 >> 22.  Then again, “thanks” to Covid 19 car accidents are down, certain violent crimes are down (although looting of closed stores is up).  The air is clear over urban First World urban areas, even places like Los Angeles and New Delhi.  Many areas are quieter because traffic is down.

Animals are somewhat safer because big fat hunters from North America are not going to Africa to hunt animals who are just minding their own business on the Serengeti and elsewhere.  Although…poaching is up in parts of Africa because there are fewer rangers around.  Hopefully, the good guys will get it sorted out.

In fact, aside from the terrible losses of the Weak and Innocent and the chaos resulting from an antiquated insanely overrevving competition-based economy being thrown into free fall, Covid 19 could be taken for a much needed slap in the face by Mother Nature. Unlike the Nova Scotia mad man, Covid 19 might actually be teaching us something useful.  Although, I do wish She had done it in a gentler way – send some sort of Cosmic Text Message maybe – but obviously that’s not how She Works.

NOW is a good time to re-think how most of us got into this pickle of yet another pandemic and how we can get out of it – if such a thing is possible.  Do we want to go “back to normal” where tens of millions of cattle and poultry are slaughtered every year so that we can have our drive-in burgers and chicken McNuggets?   (It’s a tad ironic that fewer than 200,000 of “us” have died so far because of Covid 19 whereas 500,000 chickens are killed every day in Canada so that people can have their snack food.)

Or what about the rainforests and jungles which are annihilated to be replaced by palm plantations so we can have endless cosmetics, snack foods; not to mention increased carbon dioxide emission, flooding, soil erosion?

Going cold turkey on these industries would be disastrous.  BUT can we limit our consumption and waste to truly manageable levels?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  Can we practise true sustainability.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  What is clear is that we just cannot “go back to normal”.

“Normal” is what led to Covid 19, SARS, MERS, North American Swine ‘Flu, North American Mad Cow Disease, and European (UK) Mad Cow Disease.  Going back to normal then, inevitably, is suicide.  My aide, the Dark Man, thinks that might be the way to go from a Gaian perspective….

To illustrate just how complex it might be to find a good and true way forward, filmmaker Michael Moore has produced a film called “Planet of the Humans”.  It is directed by Jeff Gibbs.  It is NOT, despite what we have come to expect of Michael Moore, a leftie documentary about how “Going green” is automatically good.  It thoughtful and will give the viewer pause.

It offers a view worth thinking about.  These days of Covid 19 would be a good time to watch it.  The air is clean and our lands are quiet enough where we can actually think about what we have watched.

And it is free.  Thanks, Mr. Moore.

Planet of the Humans

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Covid Virus, Uncategorized

Pro Cremona

This is the 9th entry  since the Covid 19 outbreak started making itself known here in the eastern foothills of the Canadian Rockies.  A lot has happened…obviously.  Most of it bad…also “obviously”.

But rather than talk on about the warehousing industry of old people – sorry, the long-term care facilities health care system for seniors – or the Covid zombies banging on the door to get at Governor Whitmer of Michigan…I thought I’d present this.

We could all use a lyrical musical interlude at this point.

 

 

It features the violinist, Lina Yokoyama, playing the theme from The Mission from a hospital rooftop in Cremona, Italy.  Cremona was the home to Guarneri, Stradivari, the Amati family and other luthiers and preternaturally gifted musicians.

It was also one of the hardest cities in Italy in this time of Covid 19.  Thank you for this gift, Cremona.  God bless you.

Grazie per il regalo, Cremona.  Dio vi benedica.

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Brass funk, Covid Virus, Uncategorized

The Lucky Chops of New York

I realize this sounds a bit odd but there may come a time when we will look upon the fevered present with some nostalgia.  “I remember those days of the Virus.  We didn’t have corporate surveillance like we do now because none of us were working.  The government didn’t adopt the Skynet system developed in China to observe the ordinary citizen like it does now…because none of us were working.  Crime was down, pollution was down and, if you can believe it, we could hear and see animals in the middle of the cities.  Because none of us were working.”

AND…there was still fun then.  Even in New York City that got hit so bad.  B-A-D, man.   But as bad as it got, there was still The Lucky Chops.  They were like the city – the state –  itself:  brash, tough, inventive, serious but not THAT serious, talented.  Hoo-ha.

Here they are:

 

Peace and health, peace and health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Covid Virus, Uncategorized

Day 7: Elephants and Morons

As many of you know, I studied animal behaviour when I was a professor back in the old days.  One of the more interesting cases I knew of was the story of the elephants of Pilanesburg in southern Africa.  The story starts with white rhinos rather than with the elephants themselves:

Park rangers were perplexed by the number of rhinos, young and old, who were found dead throughout the great park.  To be more specific, they had been crushed.  Not shot, not poisoned, not the usual work of poachers and the like.  Crushed.  Like some massive press had come upon, say, a baby rhino and his/her mom and crushed them.

It dawned on the rangers that the only thing that could do such a thing was an elephant.  Rhinos are big of course…the adults are the size of small to medium-sized cars depending on the gender and the individual.  But elephants are bigger still.  Even a young adult elephant is bigger than an adult rhino.

It turns out that years earlier there was a population explosion of the elephants in the Pilanesburg.  The wardens in charge of the park got the bright idea of taking out the adults of the herds.  The adults ate the most and were leading the young all over the place, trampling everything it sight.  Take out the adults – male and female – and the young will probably grow up docile and stay in one place.  As they got older, then the rangers would cull that second generation of adults, too.  So on and so forth such that they would end up with a smaller population of smaller (i.e. younger) elephants that wouldn’t cause any problems.

Sounds like a great idea…if one didn’t know anything about elephants.  What really happened was that when they killed off the alpha males and the matriarchs, the adolescent elephants were suddenly orphaned.  They went rather mad.   Being social beings with no social structure to support them, they did the next big thing: they formed social structures of their own.  Or as we might call them: delinquent gangs.

With no one to teach them manners in the park, they just made up their own rules.  One pattern of behaviour was to kill rhinos if for no other reason than to vent their anomie and frustration in being cast out into a world with zero parenting, zero help.

This went on for a while until the humans – ironically, the ones who caused this mess in the first place – got the bright idea of bringing mature bull elephants from nearby Kruger National Park.   The plan was to bring in these wise, mature bulls to teach the young “punk males” some manners.

Fortunately, this time the human scheme worked.  The old bulls put the rebel males in their place, calm was restored in elephant society in the Pilanesburg, and the rhinos were safe again.

(See:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHz4FYn-_eE&t=686s.)

Something similar seems to be happening now during the Covid-19 plague (might as well call it what it is): many young human males seem to be unheedful of authority.  This is the disrespectful nature of many young males I suppose but it is particularly maladaptive in this time of Covid-19.  In their impatience and self-absorption, I have seen cars and trucks driven by these rogue males, if you will, tailgate, run stop signs, drive the wrong but more convenient way down one way streets and so on.  If this keeps up there will be a rise in serious vehicular accidents.

Playing basketball on public courts, having picnics in large groups in the parks, going for runs together on the walkways…these are all recipes for disaster.  The beast Covid-19 will find these people, insinuate themselves into them, and ride inside them in the hopes they will be be carried to their residences to infect family and friends.  Covid-19 is nothing if not insidious.

So, these heedless human males are a danger to themselves as well as those around them – just like the rogue elephant males of the Pilanesburg.  Why just today, the Dark Man and I saw a sporty car driven by a late 20 something male follow a family sized car driven by an older man right through a stop sign.   Good thing I was driving: the Dark Man has little patience with the inconsiderate.  If he had been driving I have no doubt we would’ve ended up following the punk with me inevitably watching him get taught a lesson in manners.

Well-meaning but nightmarish scenarios aside, the rise in fidgety impatience among the young, especially the males, has been obvious for a while now.  I know why: they are afraid…and they are stupid.  This leads them to behave rashly.  Again, just like the Elephants of the Pilanesburg.

Where are OUR bull elephants who will come to restore order?  I’m afraid the answer is we will just have to rescue ourselves.  If you are tailgated by some impatient young guy, try to pull to the side to let them rush by.  If you are deliberately pushed by some punk in a hurry at the grocery store, try to slough it off.  If a young male from your own family starts beaking off about how unfair this all is TO HIM, ignore him or – in this case – set him straight.

We really don’t have time to fret about punks, hotshots, and young jerks.  The bigger issue is to fight the Virus.  And the best way for most of us to do that is to keep our heads, act judiciously and not waste energy on things we have little control over.  Just as Covid-19 is really a response to the general neglect of Nature by First World practise, so too am I convinced that the the rude, thoughtless, and potentially harmful behaviour of rogue humans will also be taken care of by Natural forces.

This belief is a hunch based on something Grandma once observed about a particular disrespectful punk who, if I may speak euphemistically, got taken out by Nature via human agents in the old East Vancouver days.  …When it was all over, when the Big Mouth had been ” taken care of”, Grandma observed bluntly that the gangster wannabe was simply  “too stupid to live.”

Just like these rogue young males who are letting their fear and resulting anger lead them to impulsivity, to lash out at the gentle, decent, and innocent.  “Too stupid to live.”  This need not mean a person’s literal demise.  It could simply be one of these impatient, heedless males causes an accident that leaves him paralyzed.

Or he catches Covid 19 while playing ball with his equally unmindful buddies.  His case is not fatal but is severe enough that he is left with permanently scarred lung tissue.  He spends his the rest of his days coughing, hacking, and gasping for air.  Not quite vegetative but definitely very poor quality of life.

Better just to be patient and pleasant, a help to others.  It just makes life easier all round.  Just ask the Elephants of Pilanesburg

Story 2.  To close on a happier note, there is a small mom-and-pop business in Waxahachie, Texas that makes affordable bubble helmet ventilators.  Although not as fancy as the now $50,000 a unit top of the line ventilators, they have been found to be of use in a pinch.  And…they go for $162 U.S. each.

Since Covid-19 got loose, the demand for Mr. Chris Austin’s machines has gone through the roof.  So, he and his crew are gamely trying to meet the demand.

The punch-line to this story is that, unlike the actions of some of the big medical supply places, Mr. Austin has not raised the price of his helmet ventilators.  They still go for $162 or so each.

He just wants to do what is right, I guess.  Bully, for him.  He and his crew are heroes all.

You can read his story here:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/texas-mom-pop-business-flooded-orders-helmet-ventilators-amid-coronavirus-n1173466

Until next time, Friends.  Peace and health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Covid Virus, Uncategorized

Plague Weekend Hangout

Sounds kind of like the title to a bad science fiction movie, doesn’t it?  Well, it IS the weekend here and it IS a time of plague.  As plagues go, Covid-19 has so far “only” killed about 31, 000 people as of March 28.  In contrast, the Spanish flu of 1918 killed somewhere before 30 to 50 million by the time it was done – some estimates say it was closer to 100 million.

By the way, the first RECORDED case of the Spanish flu was from Fort Riley, Kansas, on March 11, 1918.  Almost exactly 101 years ago from  when Covid-19 first made itself known.  The concepts of “century plagues” and “millennial plagues” have been floated around by screwballs and real thinkers alike for a long time.  I’m just pointing out that bad, bad disease has been around, snapping at us, for a long time.  If anything disease-free periods are the anomalous times, not the plague times.

Anyway, I get that many people are understandably scared.  “Plague” itself is scary just from the sound of it.  But for some of us…not so much.

As I’ve written elsewhere, my longtime friend The Dark Man and I – and sometimes others – work in animal rescue.  Here, just east of the foothills of the southern Canadian Rockies, we work with Birds, Dogs, and Cats.  Mainly, Birds and Cats.  For some reason, when homeless Dogs are seen in the rural areas they are either quickly identified and returned to the homes they wandered away from or…they are shot.  People are not so sanguine about a foundling Goose or a stray Cat.

Anyway, partly because of the intensive industrialized agriculture here – such as acres and acres of cattle “feedlots” – animal borne, usually non-fatal, diseases are endemic.  Every once in a while, though, they will get loose and hit unsuspecting animals who are NOT confined in hideous chicken pens or cattle lots reeking of manure.  In fact, in some ways it is better to be a savvy, free-roaming stray Cat than it is to be an overfed house cat living in an unhygienic farm operation.  In some ways.

The Dark Man and I have seen our share of these animal plague outbreaks.  It is not good to see.  What’s going on in New York, where Governor Cuomo and his people are bravely trying to staunch the tide of Covid-19…that’s what we’ve had to deal with here from time to time.  Frankly, both the animal/trans-human and human situations are largely due to Man’s growing disconnect with Nature as well as with his fellow Homo sapiens.  But, I already talked about that the other day.

The point is: if you’ve never experienced Plague – whatever its form – it is like having a front row seat to Hell on Earth.  And if you HAVE experienced it, then it is like, well, having a front row seat to Hell on Earth.  The key is try to keep your poise and deal with it on your own terms.  Don’t let “it” psych you out.

As Matt Damon’s character, Watney, says at the end of the movie The Martian:

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you… everything’s going to go south and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem… and you solve the next one… and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home. All right, questions?”

Odd thing is this is basically identical to what Gov. Cuomo said in one of his briefings this past week:  “You do the math.  You work with the facts.  It’s not about feelings, beliefs, or hunches.  You work with the data.  That’s the best way of making it through.”

Makes sense to me.

*If you want to read another take on what’s going on, have a look at what Rachel Mankowitz wrote.  Just go to: rachelmankowitz.com/2020/03/28/emotional-contagion.

She’s a fine writer.  Very, very good.  Her piece was thoughtful, touching, insightful, sometimes funny, sometimes sad.  That’s just the way of the human condition – plague or no plague.  I found it moving.  I won’t tell you what The Dark Man thought…he likes to be the tough guy at all times, you know. But I know better…I was there when a drunk driver took out his wife and kids.

See? It’s not just viruses that are dangerous.

Until next time, Friends.  Stay safe.

(This has been the fifth entry since the outbreak of Covid-19 made its way to North America.  Seems like years ago but its only been a few weeks.)

 

 

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Covid Virus, Uncategorized

Day 3: Shopping in the time of Covid-19

I went into town today.  I left the animal sanctuary in the able but intimidating (to some) hands of my childhood pal, The Dark Man.  I went into town to get semi-necessary supplies.  I didn’t REALLY have to get them because we are still good for a while BUT I didn’t want to wait until the cupboards were like Mother Hubbard’s.  Plus – and here’s basic humanity kicking in – I was just curious what town was like.

We hadn’t been to town since Covid 19 kicked in, you see.  That’s just the way we operate at the Sanctuary: only get what you need, only get what you need to last for a season.  The aforementioned Dark Man goes even further.  He gets supplies to last him for a year.

Anyway…driving around town during the work week these days is like driving around on a Sunday morning pre-Covid or a Saturday afternoon post-WW II.  People seemed to be driving slower.  After all, where is there to rush to?

At the modest but well-maintained no frills supermarket, things looked normal.  Fewer people but the shelves were well-stocked and the staff were their usual friendly selves.  The older people in particular seemed to be taking things in stride.  Younger men – those in their mid 30s to mid 40s – seemed under duress and hard-faced.

One young guy looked like some kind of construction worker.  Since there is no construction going on at the moment, I guess he had time to get groceries.  One thing he bought was a family pack of pork sausages.   He wasn’t exactly hoarding but he wasn’t exactly going light on the (fatty) meat either.

I found it ironic than in this time where thoughts of disease and mortality were foremost in the minds of people – people who seem to rarely think about anything beyond themselves – this guy was still buying the ground up flesh of slaughtered hogs.  By the way, for you history buffs, it was SWINE FLU that caused an earlier epidemic.  Back in 2009 it was.  Originated in North America, not Asia.

(See:  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627160935.htm)

Anyway, Mr. Grimfaced Construction Guy got his sausages, bagged them (no frills store, remember?), and took off.  More than a hint of negative energy was left in his wake.  The rest of us in the line up – can you really call it a line-up if it is just 3 people standing across a distance of 18 feet? – looked at each other.  “We’re glad THAT guy is gone” was the communal expression on our faces.

After I got my groceries, I doodled outside to the car, put the groceries (rice, grapes, oranges, figs in case you are curious) in the back, started her up and eased out of the parking lot.  There was a tall, thin older guy walking his dog on the sidewalk as I approached the exit.  The dog was a three legged husky.  He looked rather like this fellow:

https://images.app.goo.gl/VRLcQBBVbBykWwWW9

The man had a weather beaten face; reminded me of well cared for shoe leather.  He was sipping a drink out of a styrofoam cup.  I like to think it was a nice warm cup of coffee but I know that many street characters are often just drinking water because they can’t afford coffee.

The dog seemed content.  He had a doggy smile with his tongue lolling out the right side of his mouth.  The man took long deliberate steps.  His three legged pal matched him: STEP, pad-pad-hop, STEP, pad-pad-hop.  STEP, pad-pad-hop.  Syncopated man-dog walking.

The man looked at me.  I smiled back.  He raised and tipped his cup toward me.  Strangers exchanging pleasantries in the time of plague.  It is what civilized people do.

I am back at Sanctuary now.  Back to our own realm of quiet and impecuniousness.  My curiousity about the townies satisfied, I have had my fill of small city life for a while.  I send good wishes to the tall, gaunt old man and his trusty tripod Husky.  I even send good thoughts to Sausage Man – may he live long enough to see the folly of eating tons of death meats….

Speaking of follies, maybe you Good Readers heard of this poor couple:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/24/coronavirus-chloroquine-poisoning-death/

The wife said they got the idea of taking chloroquine phosphate used in cleaning their koi tanks while listening to a briefing from – where else? – the White House.  And now the husband is gone.  Terrible.

By trying to avoid one disease, the husband was killed by another infestation.  One not from Asia, not from Mexico, but from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Until next time, Friends.  Be safe.  Peace and health.

 

 

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Covid Virus, Uncategorized

Day 2: Idris vs The Texan

Hello, Good Readers.  Hope you are all staying well.  At least as well as can be.  And: Welcome to the 1940s.  By that I mean that Covid 19 is turning the world into much of what it was like during WW II in North America – and in the immediate post-war period.

For starters, things were a lot quieter then.  There were days when stores didn’t have what you wanted and you couldn’t just go shopping any time you wanted.  Admittedly, it is a little more extreme than that now when many stores not only may have run out of merchandise  – due to hoarders and profiteers mainly – but many of them are not even open!  So it goes.

And…jobs were a lot scarcer then.  People have jobs still…but most aren’t going to work for fear of stirring the Covid 19 pot.  And rightly so.

Anyway…today’s short blurb is about things said by two public figures.  The first is by the actor Idris Elba who was diagnosed with corona virus.  Basically, he observed that the current pandemic is the Earth’s response to “being damaged by humanity.”  He writes:

“Our world has been taking a kicking. We have damaged our world and it’s no surprise that our world is reacting to the human race.

“It is no surprise that a virus has been created that is going to slow us down, and ultimately make us think differently about our world and ourselves.

“For me, that’s a stand-out thing that is really obvious. This is almost like the world’s cry out. Like: ‘Hey, hey, hey – you are kicking me and what you’re doing is not good, so we will get rid of you.

“As any organism would do, (the world) is trying to get rid of an infection, and maybe this is it for the world.”

“One of the upsides of this whole drama is that we are forced to think together as a race,” Elba said.

(See:  https://www.nme.com/news/film/idris-elba-says-coronavirus-pandemic-is-earths-response-to-being-damaged-by-humanity-2633451)

Now before anyone says “Who cares what ‘some actor’ thinks?”, I should point out that the renowned scientist James Lovelock predicted as much in his development of the Gaia Hypothesis decades ago.  Essentially, he argued the Earth is just another living organism – granted it is a BIG organism but it is an organism nevertheless.

And when a complex organism is attacked externally by some kind of disease process, it activates defense systems to eradicate that disease.   That is, a threat to the well-being of the Earth will activate her vast immune system.  In this case, HUMANITY is the disease (because of its endless rapaciousness) and the Earth’s immune system response is the Covid 19 virus.  To paraphrase Sylvester Stallone from one of his movies:  “We are the disease; Covid 19 is the cure.”

(See:  https://theweek.com/articles/899439/coronavirus-environmental-wakeup-call)

Ooh…that’s a twist, eh?  We are the virus and Covid 19 is the defense.  …Well, something to mull over as you sit self-isolated at home doing things people used to do during war-time like read a book, cook/bake in the kitchen, and, ye Gods, actually talk to family members who aren’t running off to practise, a club meeting, or a coffee date.

… Now…in contrast to the thoughtfulness of Mr. Elba and the insightful predictions of Dr. Lovelock, I bring you a true “Covid Follies” moment by that esteemed gentlemen of the great state of Texas: Senator John Cornyn

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/19/coronavirus-china-cornyn-blame/

I guess the takehome message there is that we could logically anticipate one day of having to face down “The Texas Disase” or “The Texas Virus”, too.  Bloody Lone Star State snakeaters….

Until next time, friends.  Good health through soapy hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Covid Virus, Uncategorized

Day 1: Sunday, 22 March 2020

Hello, Good Readers.  It is Sunday, 22 March 2020.  The time is 1209 pm – lunch time – here just east of the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.  It is around zero degrees Centigrade with no wind.  Or, as we Canadians say, “It’s just like Springtime.”

On everyone’s mind of course, is the plague known as CoVid-19 (or Covid-19) which is sweeping across the planet.  As plagues go, it is somewhat terrifying because it is so recently evolved (for those reading this some time in the future, the “19” stands for the year when Corona Virus Disease first made itself known) that we have no natural immunity nor are there any vaccines or medicines specific to treating it.

In actual fact, compared to familiar scourges,  Covid 19 has yet to achieve major league lethality.  That is, as of today, there have been about 13, 000 deaths world wide due to disease.  In comparison, in a study done by the World Health Organization in 2017, ‘flu-related deaths by respiratory causes alone (i.e. no other complications) was between 290,000 to 650,000.  More recently, in 2019, another study estimated that 99,000 to 200, 000 deaths from lower respiratory tract infections were likely ‘flu-related (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6815659/).

So, depending on how you measure things, the “usual” flu is about 7 to 15 times more lethal than the new Covid on the block.  Of course, this is not to say that Covid 19 could not surpass the ‘flu in lethality if we are careless, stupid, or less (three traits all too common in Homo sapiens these days).  BUT, the fact is IF we are smart and proactive, we might be able to keep Covid 19 in the minors.

Similarly, SARS – which is a slightly older relative of Covid 19 – only killed 774 people during its time.  The good news then is that deadly corona viral outbreaks can be contained.  The bad news is that Covid 19 has already killed more than SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) (https://www.cdc.gov/sars/about/faq.html) and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) combined.

MERS has killed 858 since 2012.  See: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/faq.html as well as  https://www.who.int/emergencies/mers-cov/en/

SARS, MERS and Covid-19 are all human corona virus (HCV) diseases.  They are all SCARY.  We should not be complacent because they are not as lethal as the flu.  But we should not panic yet either.

For you Jurassic Park types, look at it this way:  We are living in the time when the average T. Rex is not bigger than a wolf or a tiger.  They ARE deadly BUT with some common sense we can manage them.  IF we don’t manage them properly, IF we are not respectful of their evolution, they could become the HCV equivalent of what Tyrannosaurus later became – a monster 40 feet long and 10 tons in mass that dined out on “lesser” animals that were only the size of your modern SUV.

Just sayin’.

Until next time…wash your hands, be kind to others.

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

And now…a little Kipling

 

Happy 2020, Everybody.  There have not been posts here in a long time.  Not much to say, really.  We do our bit for the rescued animals – Les Animaux Perdus, if you will – and try our best to stay away from The World.  It’s a bad place after all…going there is like jumping into a whirlpool to rescue flailing, daredevils friends: it can be done but why?  We will only be carried under along with the rest.

But, as you know, the World has a way of intruding.  The latest intrusion at this end is the recent downing of the Ukrainian jet by the Iranians.  About one-third of the 180 or so who died who are from our neck of the woods here  just east of the Canadian Rockies.  For posterity’s sake, for those who will be reading this years from now, let me offer a quick recap:

Iran (what used to be ancient Persia) and America (what used to be nothing much in particular but which has now grown strong) have been cheesing each off for decades.  There are religious differences and, consequently, worldview differences but, by and large, they are very similar political entities in that, like most governments truth be told, they can be rather stupid.  And deadly.

Recently, the Americans (or, at least, their current administrative head and his cronies) decided to kill an Iranian figure said to be very powerful in that country’s military, political, and less savoury actvities.  He was Major General Qassem Suleimani, of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.  At the time of his death he was commander of the Quds Force which engaged in, as the spooks say, extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.  Especially, against American interests.

This naturally pissed off the Americans to no end.  And so, on or around January 3, 2020 the Americans terminated the general and his travelling companions with a drone strike as they were motoring along a road in Iraq.  Whether or not the Americans thought through the consequences of this killing is open to debate.  As you know, we here at Sanctuary, tend to think most Bandar Log do not think much at all, much less try to anticipate the consequences of their actions.

Anyway, General Suleimani’s death resulted in a great hue and cry in Iran proper.  Millions went out into the streets to protest, attend his state funeral, and generally make a Big Show.  Whatever we may think of one Bandar Log state or another the fact is that given our experiences with them, these great demonstrations could’ve be predicted.

So, too, was the response by the Iranian government to the assassination of one of their favourite sons: they retaliated in kind with an aerial attack of their own.  Namely, the launching of guided rockets to American military bases operating in Iraq.

Yes, yes, I know.  It’s something THAT species has been doing since time immemorial.  One tribe offends – or is offended by – another tribe.  Whacking take place, followed by counter-whacking.  It is all tedious but such is the nature of the Bandar Log.

Unfortunately, caught up in this imbroglio, was a commercial aircraft full of civilian innocents.  It seems to have inadvertently been targeted by Iranian missile defense systems and blown up shortly after take off from nearby Tehran.  All aboard perished.  As several “experts” on such matters have observed, such is the nature of the fog of War: Innocents die.

Which of course is just more words coming from members of a species where words seem to mean increasingly little.

My point is, however, there is footage of the wreckage of that jet plane of innocents.  Here it is here:

 

Now if you take a look at around 1:40 – 1:45, you will see my focus of today’s remarks.  It is the charred but mostly intact figure of a pink equine.  A little girl’s “horsey doll” as we used to say.  That is to say: Yes, in the fog of war, the Bandar Log not only continue to kill themselves and each other but also their young.  Still!

This is, of course, what some of our friends of the ancient Levant would call a “pesha” or “Mered”.  It is an act of direct defiance of that which is Holy.  Or what we would call a transgression of the Jungle Law.

I have nothing more to say on this matter, you Kits and Cubs, except to remind you – and myself – of what Old Baloo once said when I was of a certain age:

“We do not drink where the monkeys drink; we do not go where the monkeys go; we do not hunt where they hunt; we do not die where they die.”

That is the lesson for today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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