Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
and I’m feeling good
– Nina Simone
Day 374. It’s been a week since America had new leadership, and the stable, accountable, and hinged approach is a calming and reassuring presence on the global stage. Even amid the dark pandemic winter, it helps immeasurably with my anxiety.
I get over a bad cold with a few days of rest and have been enjoying the time to relax. I had a big existential day of hungry ennui, and anxiety crunching death stats and taking notes while doom scrolling but solved it by binging ‘Bling Empire’ on Netflix with Shaolin. Bling Empire is a drama about uber-luxurious Asians in LA and their melodrama, struggles, jealousies, romances, and frivolous lifestyles. It was comforting to get involved in their lives and stop worrying about the state of the world. Kelly is dating a spicy Latin lover, aka The Red Power Ranger. He’s got some real anger issues caused by early childhood trauma and feelings of abandonment. Later I watch a Youtube Ted Talk about healthy relationships and feel excited to look back upon how I’ve grown over the years.
I’ve got a good pile of reading for the winter break, including The Agency from William Gibson, which I started but put down because life just got busy. I’m looking forward to picking it back up again. I have a list of books for my creative nonfiction MFA, including Storycraft (Writing Narrative Nonfiction), The Business of Being a Writer and Thinking Like your Editor. I’ve started reading ‘In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts’ by Gabor Maté, renowned early childhood trauma and addiction specialist from Canada’s toughest neighborhood, the DTES (downtown east side). The DTES is where my uncle Ken spent decades as a sea captain, tour guide, and writer before his death from cancer, and my uncle Dave is still a social worker and counselor. I’m excited to deep dive further into his very helpful research, thoughts, and ideas, with the intention of finding more peace and quiet inside my mind and with the life that I’ve made for myself. Amor Fati. I think even with no physical vacation to a warmer space, I can make these weeks productive until I go back to work in the spring.
Ethan has been coming over almost every day for English class, reading storybooks, practicing vocabulary. After we eat strawberries and watch Ultraman, his favorite. I found one with English dubbed speech. His English is getting better quickly.
On Day one of the Biden administration, he signed 17 executive actions. The following days gave us a focus on the pandemic, the economy, and other themes. Even this first day was profound. With these executive actions, we got rid of most of the worst things that took Trump 4 years to do. I guess not golfing makes for a productive guy.
What did he do? The Keystone pipeline was revoked (a big environmental win). Eviction and foreclosure moratoriums were extended (a big humanitarian win). Paris Accord was rejoined (huge environmental win). He rejoined the WHO (really important for the pandemic, public health in the world in general). DACA was revived (a pipeline for dreamers, those born in the USA to get citizenship). The Muslim travel ban was rescinded (a meaningless travel ban that hurt many separated families). The border wall was abandoned (a racist lie put to rest). Student Loan Payments were suspended until October (a break for those who need it). With some ample pushing from the left, we can keep this momentum going. Keep up the pressure – no honeymoon! A few days later, Biden orders the DOJ to not renew federal contracts with private prisons, part of a push by the administration to root out systemic racism from federal institutions. It’s reported that stocks in private prisons start falling, and it feels like good news.
The inauguration was a beautiful event, hopeful and optimistic, and the highlight was Amanda Gorman, America’s first national youth poet laureate.
‘When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.
And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.’
– From ‘The Hill We Climb’ by Amanda Gorman
The other highlight that lit the internet on fire wasn’t Lady Gaga or Jlo, or Bruce Springsteen, but Bernie’s mittens. Bernie was photographed in his brown coat, sitting socially distant, with oversized wool mittens and his arms crossed, looking fairly unimpressed. Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles. Soon, Bernie, the new budget chair in a budget (pull out) chair, was appearing everywhere, and the memes united the country in a way that all the work of the inauguration couldn’t do. It’s sort of hard to understand, but I think that there’s just so much goodwill and love for ‘Uncle Bernie’ that we wanted the day to be about him. So many of us wanted Bernie to be the president. Still, as the senate’s budget chair, he might be able to offer Canadian-style universal healthcare to Americans in this pandemic emergency. It’s a nice wish, and it’s important to keep hope alive in the darkest days of winter ahead.
The World Health Organization “is complete again,” said Ilona Kickbusch at the Global Health Centre in Geneva. “Everybody has wanted the US back in, and having such a multilaterally-minded US administration… is a gift to the world.” In a dramatic about-turn, the new US administration on Thursday thanked the World Health Organization (#WHO) for leading the global coronavirus pandemic response and vowed to remain a member. The US said Thursday it would resume its funding for the WHO as President Biden shifts towards greater international cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 while launching a $1.9 trillion plan to tackle the pandemic at home.
It was also reported as the Biden administration moved in that after requesting the Trump plan to beat the pandemic – there wasn’t one. There literally wasn’t a plan, and half of the vaccines are missing and unaccounted for … it is a complete mess. Unlike Trump, Biden is developing a plan to fight the pandemic. He wants to inoculate 150 million people against COVID-19 in his first 100 days in office, a free vaccine for all Americans. His whole vibe is one of accountability and stability, and it’s really refreshing. He’s got a group of top scientists and experts in his coronavirus task force and increase the national supply of PPE. They’ve got a nationwide mask mandate for 100 days in all public spaces and lead by example by wearing a mask. He’s working on a stimulus package to assist families and small businesses, starting with a $1400 cheque to every American and access to regular, reliable, and free testing.
Here’s where things stand today: 100 million cases worldwide, 2.1 million deaths, 72.2 million recovered so far, although some are long haulers and will struggle for life. There are 25 million active cases, 110,260 in serious or critical at this moment, according to Worldometer’s stats. The USA has 1/4 of those cases, 25.8 million. 431,392 dead at the time of writing. India is next at 10.6 million cases, with 153 624 deaths. Brazil next at 8.8 million cases, 217,712 deaths. Russia at 3.7m cases, 69,918 deaths and then the UK at 3.6m cases with 98,531 deaths. France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Germany round out the top 10 reported cases. Canada is at 22 753,011 cases and 19,238 deaths. A year after it started, China is at 83, with 89,197 reported cases, 4,636 deaths.
These new variants are being studied, and covid vaccines may need updating to protect against new variants. The neutralizing ability of antibodies typically falls eight-fold with 501Y.v2 or B1351 (the South African variants).
Research by South African government scientists reveals that mutations make the variant substantially resistant to antibodies in blood plasma donated by COVID-19 patients, making it more likely to reinfect people who have already had COVID and that vaccines being may be less effective. Researchers have found that the antibodies’ ability to neutralize the virus typically fell eight-fold with the new variant, meaning that in lab tests, eight times as many antibodies was needed to disable the B1351 variant than older ones.
If the South African results are confirmed, the risk of the variant spreading more widely would justify planning for a “potential strain update” in the fall. The B1351 variant first found in South Africa is different from the B117 variant first spotted in Kent in September, though the two share a mutation in the spike protein, which appears to make both more transmissible.
Some experts are looking at 2021 and 2022 with horror. “I am quite apprehensive about what might otherwise happen in the spring and summer,” said Prof. Dr. Christine Drosten in Germany. “Once the elderly and may be part of the risk groups have been vaccinated, there will be immense economic, social, political, and perhaps also legal pressure to end the corona measures. And then, huge numbers of people will become infected within just a short amount of time, more than we can even imagine at the moment. We won’t have 20,000 or 30,000 new cases a day, but up to 100,000 in a worst-case scenario. It will, of course, be primarily younger people who are less likely than older people to have severe symptoms, but when a huge number of younger people get infected, then the intensive care units will fill up anyway, and a lot of people will die. Just that it will be younger people. We can cushion this terrible scenario somewhat by pushing the numbers way down now.”
In the end, the virus is pure math and math just doesn’t care about our feelings or ideology. Math doesn’t care about fake science, conspiracies or “common sense.” Math is math, and the math suggests we are about to get whipped something hard. Believe that or not — that’s your business, but know that each person we shield from infection shields dozens and thousands of others too. Make your choices accordingly. There is a glimmer of beauty in the gritty realism of looking down the barrel of this bleak pandemic winter, a microcosm of the looming environmental and climate catastrophe, and it is that our choices do matter, even if it’s a little bit. They do add up, collectively, to matter more.
The Netherlands was shaken by a third night of riots over covid curfew. About 150 anti-lockdown protesters were arrested after shops were looted and cars set alight in several towns and cities.
The media reports the far-right Bolsonaro government’s response in the heart of Amazonas is like a horror story.
“It took just 60 minutes at daybreak for the seven patients to die, asphyxiated as coronavirus swept back into the Brazilian Amazon with nightmarish force,” said a doctor to local media, broadcasted then around the world – as a cautionary tale. “Today was one of the hardest days in all my years of public service. You feel so impotent,” sobbed Francisnalva Mendes, the health chief in the river town of Coari, as she discussed the moment when her hospital ran out of oxygen. This was a crisis that they saw coming, requested help for, and then, when none came, faced with as much dignity as they could muster. “We need to get back to the fight – to carry on saving lives,” Mendes insisted as she digested losing a third of her town’s 22 Covid-19 patients in one fell swoop – four of them in their 50s. “But we all feel broken. It was such a hard day.” Poverty-stricken Venezuela has sent some oxygen canisters to the hard-hit Amazonas region. Private hospitals are not taking additional patients for fear that they will run out of oxygen again.
India is beginning the world’s largest vaccination program, a herculean effort.
In the UK, Boris Johnson said new studies show new strain B117 can be both more infectious and possibly more fatal. Experts are now saying transmission of the new strains can be 40-70% more infectious, meaning that previously ‘safe’ casual contacts such as a quick unmasked conversation is now quite possible to transmit COVID. It can also be 30% more deadly. Many leaders and experts are now wearing double masks to increase protection.
In Canada, Quebec researchers say they have found an effective drug to fight COVID-19. Colchicine reduces hospitalizations by 25%, the need for mechanical ventilation by 50%, and deaths by 44%. “This is the first hope for patients who have COVID, who are worried and who hope that they will not have complications,” said Tardif. Previously, “there were no tablets that could be taken by mouth and reduce the risks.” As colchicine is a well-understood drug that’s been used for treating gout for centuries, it could be used very quickly to treat people with COVID-19.
Astronaut Julie Payette, recently given the prestigious spot of the Governor-General of Canada but came under heat as a toxic boss and really nasty personality. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau was criticized as ‘star struck‘ by getting a female Canadian astronaut into the top seat without vetting whether she was a good role model. Some have said to make it into such a competitive field, she’d need to be incredibly driven and self-critical. These kinds of people can tend to also be very critical to others. Anyway, she stepped down, and the search is on for a new ‘representative to the Queen of England,’ a largely ceremonial role that affirms Canada’s status in the British commonwealth. A friend, Bernie campaigner and NDPer Tim Ellis, is pushing for wrestler Brett Hart. There’s a petition.
My mom’s old boss, a psychiatrist, known for pushing out other strong professionals and bullying and demoralizing those under her purview, was pushed out for gross incompetence in the pandemic.
Speaking of bullies get bloody noses, Reddit users stuck it to Wallstreet by rallying GameStop against a manipulated hedgefund short, bankrupting hedge funds and bankers out of more than 5 billion USD and allowing regular Reddit investors who bought in at $2 a share, with 12,000% growth now it’s up to $230+ a share, are making tens of millions of millions. The average Joes Reddit army has squeezed Wall Street back. Melvin Capital just got covered for 3 billion, and it’s already gone. Rumors are that other hedge funds need help too. AOC tweeted, “gotta admit it’s really something to see Wall Streeters with a long history of treating our economy as a casino complain about a message board of posters also treating the market as a casino. Anyway, Tax the Rich.”
‘It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more that is poor.’ – Seneca.
Ana Kasparian wrote, “So, market manipulation by federal reserve pumping $ into failing banks & corporations is okay. But Reddit users rallying GameStop is wrong and must be regulated? The entire stock market is disconnected from reality. Funny how quickly the financial press cries for hedge funds.”
As Wall Street is pulling out the stops to restrict normal regular people from engaging in the economic system, popular trading site Robin Hood has restricted the trading of GameStop, AMC, and others Redditors have had success in trading, many progressives with a platform have encouraged regular people to ‘hold the line.’ Hedge funds be like: Socialism for me! Capitalism for thee!
Ja Rule tweeted “Yo, this is a f—–king CRIME what Robinhood is doing. DO NOT SELL!!! HOLD THE LINE… WTF.”
The billions the banks and hedge funds they gambled with and are losing aren’t needed yet are covered by banks. On the other hand, many of those who’ve made money off this have said they were in pandemic financial troubles until this development—quite an interesting economic story to follow.
It’s interesting to see 2021 starting with a cleansing of bad leaders and bullies as the year of the Rat winds down, and the Year of the Ox will soon begin. A Year of the Metal Rat is meant for dreaming and doing. Since metal is a conductor of electricity, I had lots of energy at my behest to get creative plans in motion. Starting was the hardest part. Once I initiated action, I felt a lot of momentum, much like a high-voltage current pulsing through a wire. The Metal Ox year will present its own challenges, but just like the Ox itself, it will be a year of hard work, determination, and building – or rather, rebuilding. After the Rat year’s chaotic moments, the Ox year will be about rebuilding things to make way for something better.
After Jag pushed it, and many friends and I signed on, the House of Commons in Canada passed a motion to declare the Proud Boys a terrorist entity.
Trudeau was the first leader to meet Biden. I hope it went well. Alberta premier Kenny is upset Biden didn’t consult him first before canceling the Keystone pipeline. I guess he knows how it feels for the people of Alberta to have decisions made without input (teacher’s pensions, coal mining, labor rights, university cuts, daycare legislation, indigenous climate leadership plan, etc.–). Dear America: despite what some oil industry-captured Canadian politicians might tell you, climate concerned people across Canada are overjoyed that Joy Biden has canceled KXL. You don’t build oil pipelines in a climate crisis. That’s a no brainer.
Canadian mogul (Great Canadian Gaming GEO) resigns after being fined after getting the COVID vaccine meant for indigenous residents. Rodney Baker and his wife traveled to a remote community of 100 in Yukon and claimed to be workers at a local motel to beat the vaccine lines. They’re looking at serious fines, but many are pushing for jail sentences to teach the elite they can’t buy their way to the front of the line.
Rapid testing is finally coming to Canada, a year after it was proposed. We are slow to adjust but finally getting some tools in our belt. A new study shows cannabis reduces inflammatory ‘storms’ caused by COVID-19 (such as Bradykinin or Cytokine storms) – legal now in Canada for recreational or medicinal purposes.
New information is coming from the WHO team in Wuhan regarding the origins of the pandemic. It’s still early to speak conclusively, they say. Last month, Chinas chief virologist said he does not believe (SARSCOV2) did originate here. I wonder what it will take to discover with all the politics surrounding the science.
In China, despite very low global case numbers, we are taking things seriously. We’ve got lockdowns along the Russian border and some districts that have small outbreaks. We have reported 1885 active cases in China now, 110 in serious or critical condition, and we had the first death in 8 months a week or two back, an elderly villager near the Russian border. As China gears up for our lunar new year celebration, the whole country has basically canceled non-essential, non-emergency, and recreational travel both domestic and international ahead of our national holiday. If you have to take a train or domestic plane, you’re required to provide negative COVID tests. Still, we are getting leakage and limited spread.
After more than 300 days without cases in our fortified supercity, Chongqing is passing around gossip of new cases again, but I’m waiting for official confirmation. We are quite cautious when we go outside, masks and temperature checks at the supermarket and shopping malls, subways, busses, etc.
Despite all our caution, the numbers are reassuring to me. The world average cases per 1 million population is 12,866. The USA is 77,871/1m, way over that average due to a combination of misinformation, mismanagement, and finally, testing. India, second in global cases, is 90% better, it seems, at 7,694/1m. Brazil, in the 3rd spot, is about half as bad as USA, at 41,575/1m. Russia, number 4, is 25,613/1m. 5 spot, UK is 53,895/1m. Canada, not in the top 20, but at 22, is 19,852/1m. China is barely making the top 100 spot anymore, and only 62/1m.
Death stats are quite varied as well; when you look at total deaths per 1m population global average: 275.8/1m. USA: 1,299/1m, India: 111/1m, Brazil: 1,020/1m, Russia: 479/1m, UK: 1,447/1m, Canada: 507/1m, China: 3/1m
How does Chongqing keep safe? We are reporting our new protocols and they’re again, stronger than most countries abroad it seems. If you enter Chongqing from abroad, you must spend 14 days in a government quarantine hotel, temperature monitored and regularly tested. Then it’s 7 days of self-imposed home quarantine and a further 7 days of vigilant self-care monitoring for symptoms (and PCR tests along the 28 days). This is to account for some cases being outside the average of 14 days we accepted early on to keep outbreaks from escaping the quarantine zones and entering the general population. The government implements comprehensive disinfection and nucleic acid testing for imported cold chain foods, from imported goods, port inspections, transportation, and disinfection management to block any virus transmission. This has led to a successful situation of having 0 local causes in the community and 0 being treated in the hospitals.
If you wanna know how we’re doing.
Still, we are braced for things to change, ready for anything.
In science news, the team of Professor Zhang Shengjia from the Department of Neurosurgery at the Second Affiliated (Xinqiao) Hospital of Army Medical University in Chongqing published a paper online titled “A novel somatosensory spatial navigation system outside the hippocampal formation” in Cell Research, a sister journal of the internationally renowned magazine “Nature.” This discovery will open up a new field of systems neuroscience and have important significance for studying brain navigation and brain-computer interaction. The future feels like it’s coming at us, fast.
A recent study is encouraging Biden’s return to the world stage, suggesting that vaccinating poorer and developing countries an economic and moral imperative and that hoarding vaccines ‘could cost wealthy countries $4.5tn’ – The Guardian UK.
I read on Reddit that $6,472,200,000,000 is how much we could seize from the billionaire class… without even reducing the number of billionaires. That could entirely eradicate world hunger for 216 years. 1/20th of it would halt climate change by 2030. Oh, and remember, this doesn’t even take a penny from people with ‘only’ 1B. Higher taxes for the elite mean less weight for the working class, and it seems to work well in China. One thing that I hope comes out of this pandemic is a more socialist approach to managing crisis: global health is imperative, global prosperity is imperative, a fully healthy globe is imperative. We are not in this by ourselves. We are all in this together.
I shared a meme; as the conservatives are raw and sensitive, this was bound to blowback, but sometimes I don’t mind pulling the tiger’s tail if it feels right. “For many people, the most profound legacy of the Trump presidency will b the painful knowledge that a significant knowledge that a significant percentage of their neighbors, friends, and family are consummate idiots.”
I got an email from my cousin, angry.
“I give you credit for being dedicated and articulate in criticizing the 45th President. If you were in the USA, you could have worked for MSNBC. Criticizing him now is moot, so I hope you do not get bored. Ciao, Scotty.”
I scroll down – that was the last one, wait, there’s more.
“If it were up to me, the minimum wage in North America would be 6 per hour. I have heard people say, “why would I bother going to university? I make good money at my unionized cafeteria job.” Raising the minimum wage results in people losing motivation to get an education or skill, and thus a better career. Furthermore, many countries have low wages (Vietnam, Bangladesh) so raising our minimum wage results in manufacturing being outsourced. In the USA, I thus hope the republicans win, as I oppose the democrat’s minimum wage. Furthermore, I would not defend Trump I people were not so harsh on him. Complaints such as “I pray to God trump does not win,” “Trump is worse than a serial killer,” and “Trump is the worst person on earth” are so exaggerated that I feel like standing up for him. I have been holding my tongue on these issues, but I am fed up. Biden was inaugurated, yet you post about Trump? Biden won. You won. Only a loser does not realize when he was won. You are a loser. Seriously. A person at the Revel Alliance wrote that strippers deserve guaranteed income; she is a loser, too. If I see you at a family event, keep your distance. Do not bother me if you come to Toronto. Seriously.”
I replied, as I read, stunned by the time I got to the end:
“Hey Scotty, I’m happy Trump is gone, and Biden won; we don’t need to waste our time arguing. Woah, I just read your last line– I guess you’re pretty butthurt. I hope you change your mind.
I’ll remove you from the revel alliance for now so you can get some time to think about what you said.
I’m happy that on day 1, Biden reversed some of the worst of Trump’s things regarding the environment and covid.
I just want a better world, one where truth matters, the environment matters, and science and health matter. To me, Trump deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail for all the bad things he did, but it’s not up to me, so I’m just happy he’s gone.
I was always proud of us for tolerating each other’s different political views, so your last line disappointed me greatly, but I hope in time you can calm down and regret it or at least soften because family is important, and so is patience and tolerance.
wish you and your girlfriend well and stay safe in this pandemic; love, always, your cousin Kai.”
I got a quick reply, and opened it:
“What do you want from me? Are you drunk? Your socialism is too much…..f–k off.”
I went to bed, and wrote a quick message back the next morning, before I could think about it too much.
“I hope one day you regret your misplaced anger.
Later in the day, he replied again, less angry, perhaps it was progress.
“The best example of “misplaced anger” I have ever seen is your crusade against Trump. Perhaps you should see a therapist about it. I might see a therapist about my hatred (scorn, contempt) for the idea of raising the minimum wage over $10 per hour.”
I decided to write one more, and then leave it alone, to heal or fester, as they would.
“I have empathy for poor people, as I grew up without a lot and made my own success due to social programs like student loans that helped me make something of myself.
I have anger for bullies like Trump that never had to live a day poor, borrowed $100 million from his dad, and made many people’s lives miserable — I hate him for a lot of good reasons, as do most rational, non-nazi people.
I always wondered if the reason rich people don’t want to give poor people a chance at life is that they’re scared the only thing that makes them special is their birth lottery, and if they had to compete fairly with everyone else, there would be nothing at all special about them. Education, opportunities, a fair chance, that’s what privilege gives you. Everyone deserves that chance.”
I haven’t heard back yet.
My buddy Yan Zombie described the crumbling conservative rage well: “So funny watching the whole Q thing collapse and seeing them grasp at straws. The guy they thought was getting and prosecuting pedophiles is actually a notorious pedophile. The storm never came. None of your insane fantasies or prophecies happened.
You must feel so ….f-king stupid and embarrassed.”
Conservative politicians almost always rely on the ignorance of voters to get elected. Ted Cruz tweeted that Biden is “more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.” But the Paris agreement not only represents the views of Parisians — 189 countries have signed on to the treaty in a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Still, Cruz went on to claim that the “agreement will do little to affect the climate and will harm the livelihoods of Americans.”
AOC fired back, “Nice tweet Sen. Cruz. Do you also believe the Geneva Convention was about the views of the citizens of Geneva?” She then took it even further and added, “Asking for everyone who believes US Senators should be competent and not undermine our elections to incite insurrection against the United States.”
We are waiting for Trump’s second impeachment, a historical stain on his legacy, to begin February 8th.
One year ago today I was preaching masks, and the western experts told me to shut up. When discussing vaccine shortages, President Biden said, “masks, not vaccines, are the most important tool we have to fight COVID-19.”
It’s still impossible to understand how the powers in the west, from the surgeon general, CDC, and our own Canadian CPHO Dr. Tam, could have led us so far astray and given the antimaskers the ammunition of authority— one day I hope to ask them one day.
A year ago Surgeon General Jerome Adams’s tweet summed up the argument: “Seriously, people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
To help manage the shortage, the authorities sent a message that made them untrustworthy. Finally, providing top-down guidance with such obvious contradictions backfires exactly because lack of trust is what fueled hoarding and misinformation.
It used to be said that back in the Soviet Union if there was a line, you first got in line and then figured out what the line was for — people knew that there were going to be shortages and that the authorities often lied, so they hoarded. And when people feel as though they may not be getting the full truth from the authorities, snake-oil sellers and price gougers have an easier time.
Given that there is indeed a mask shortage and that medical workers absolutely do need these masks more, what should the authorities have said? The full painful truth. Despite warnings from experts for decades, especially after the near-miss of SARS, we still weren’t prepared for this pandemic, and we did not ramp up domestic production when we could, and now there’s a mask shortage — and that’s disastrous because our front line health care workers deserve the best protection. Besides, if they fall ill, we will all be doomed.
A year later, a year after people mocked me for my double mask and goggles look, many experts are now suggesting we use two masks.
“In recent months, a growing number of public figures including football coaches and politicians have been spotted wearing two masks — usually a cloth covering over a medical-grade mask. “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” said Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, during a January appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.”
We had a lovely dinner with a few teacher friends from around the world. It was delicious, a Japanese buffet that went on for hours as we poured down hot Sake and eat plate after plate of delicious delicacies. In a quiet whispered moment, I heard about a teacher that left China in the middle of the night, in disgrace, for gross conduct … who had seemed nice enough. You just never really know people, unless you really do.
Sometimes I think there’s little difference between good and evil, we all have angels and demons on our shoulders, but those of us that live wise and virtuously are also good at exercising self-control. We hold back in what we say, what we do, we think of our impact, our legacy. Being an adult is learning that happiness is not everything, moderation and responsibility mean a lot more. At least, to me, and it’s been a heck of a journey. In this pandemic, I feel like teaching others that it’s not about our rights or our freedoms, but about our obligations that mean the most, that help the most.
Save Chris Sky: a private group called ‘Save Chris Sky’ has 1.3K members on Facebook. “His next court date is to be announced. Stand with Chris Sky and those who wish to challenge the lockdown– United noncompliance is key! Open your businesses!”
I’ve been going back to the gym, and we had a great pizza night with Eden and Jin. After, we went to the arcade and both Shaolin and I sprained our wrists playing 3D arcade fishing games and first person shooters. My wife used to hate video games, so this feels like really good progress. We’ve sure come a long way together.
I’m looking forward to the break— and wondering what lies ahead. If the metal rat is the beginning of a 60-year cycle, we have to ask ourselves what kind of cycle we are beginning.
If you’re a pessimist, you could say it is one of fires, disasters, pandemics, and plagues where life as we know it is never the same.
If you’re an optimist, you might suppose it would be a cycle where incredible advances in technology begin to address and defeat existential and long-ignored societal problems.
If you’re me, you’d brace for a good mix of both. The years to come will be full of challenges, but having clear eyes and truthiness, leadership that actually takes responsibility at the wheel at the highest levels of western and eastern leadership is essential to have a chance of addressing and overcoming these vast obstacles. 2021 is starting off right — but we have a long way to go.
“All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allen Poe. Gabe Newell said recently in an article that soon we’d have tech and games more realistic than reality lol— I wonder if that’s got me thinking.
Things will get worse before they get better, even in the best case, so let’s take some time to enjoy the present.
We watched this new Anthony Mackie movie called Synchronic, about time travel, and it was fascinating how they explained it.
At one point, he sums up his feelings:
“It’s just been… oh man,
if all this works out, I’ll,
I’ll tell you about it someday.
This is delicious.
This dirty, shitty river,
wouldn’t change it.
The clock just…
keeps tickin’ down and
the lower that number gets,
you realize how f–king amazing
The present is a miracle, bruh.”
I sort of feel that way too, and after seven years of coming to terms with leaving my Canada behind for an adventure around the globe, a new life in China, and a mostly quiet life of a husband and teacher, I finally feel peaceful, most of the time. The restlessness or feeling I was supposed to be somewhere else rarely bothers me anymore — I’ve made my peace, and here is where I feel happy, the place I hang my hat.
Being at peace, in this moment, feeling ready for what’s to come, knowing it will be a struggle but feeling ready, is about as close to happy as I’ve been in a long time. I hope I’m not the only one.