Writing

Even if it seems unrealistic, or self-important, or just delusional, the act of writing implies that someone in the future will read what we’re currently in the process of writing. That future can only exist if we believe in it now.

Emily Gould

I don’t think so.

Alan R Freshwater

The President’s Brain is Missing.

I doubt there is a sane person left who believes Trump has any sense, or any credibility, whatsoever. Following the news as it unfolds in the US is like watching some surreal black comedy.

It’s something Peter Sellars might have made with Stanley Kubrick – Dr Kidglove, or How I Learned to Stop Thinking and Follow the Trump.

COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS / DEATH TOLL 

Last updated: April 25, 2020, 09:17 GMT
Coronavirus Death Toll

197,694 people have died so far from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak as of April 25, 2020, 09:17 GMT.
There are currently 2,836,338 confirmed cases in 210 countries and territories . The fatality rate is still being assessed.

Follow the world-wide statistics, or country by country, here.

At the risk of being considered crepidarian: There is no doubt this COVID19 pandemic is just as scary as WHO said it could be. We are seeing now that the countries with the lowest infection and mortality curves are the ones with the best, and quickest lockdown response. Go New Zealand.

Now that testing is becoming more prevalent, and more reliable, many countries are finding evidence there is a significant proportion of asymptomatic infectious carriers among the apparently healthy population. These are not all being numbered among confirmed cases.

In our current world, this is about as apocalyptic as it gets.

I’m sure they said the same thing during the great flu pandemic of 1918 when about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected and the number of deaths worldwide was estimated to be at least 50 million.

The population of the world is exponentially greater now. So is the risk.

Stay safe out there. Good Luck.

Self-Isolation

I self-isolated first.

Late last year I deleted, or thought I deleted, my Facebook page. With that act, I cut myself off from over 90% of my daily social interaction. I had not realised at the time how significant this was.

I kept my Eric TDuck page, and my blogs, but they do not involve any conversations with others. That’s just me talking. I really don’t think many are listening. There is very little feedback, or indeed much indication that anyone reads my blog. Most of the ‘likes’ I get are from self interested bloggers pushing a product and farming followers.

It was not until a visit from my best and oldest friend, followed pretty quickly by the Coronavirus issue, that I realised how much my sanity depended on social interaction. Chatting, joking and exchanging views. And it was appalling to realise how much of the social interaction in my life was now virtual, with friends scattered across several countries, and very few physically nearby. That is, less than a week’s drive away.

Social distancing as a result of COVID19 did not change my life one iota.

If I plotted the location of all the friends with whom I stay in touch on a map of the world using blue dots for all those I have at some time actually met and interacted with, and green for those I’ve met through Facebook and never seen in person, by far the greatest number would be green, and the greatest concentration of blue would be around the great southern area of Western Australia. How did that happen?

Even so, it was through Facebook and Messenger that I had stayed in contact with most of these friends. I speak on the phone to only a few. I don’t write letters, and only a few emails. So. By deleting my Facebook page I had cut myself off from almost all of my friends, as well as the sexist, racist, fascist, ignorant twats who had driven me to despair.

The old nose and face conundrum.

I was surprised when, after following a news link which led to a Facebook post, I was offered the chance to log in as Eric TDuck (expected) or as myself (not expected).

So I got my page back. It seems I hadn’t deleted it. And with the return to sharing my thoughts, jokes, photos and political opinions came immediate conviviality and good wishes plus a little bit of the sanity I hadn’t realised I was losing.

Social Intercourse in the Time of Social Distance

Some of the coffee bars are open, with reduced hours, for take-away service only. Even baristas need to make a living.

Customers stand around outside the shop sociably spacing themselves in accordance with the regulations as they await their order. Some stay to sip and chat.

People who, in the past, would not have conversed with each other as they sat drinking their coffee and eating a croissant, now seek something to talk about. They seem fed up with being alone with their spouses and their thoughts. Assuming they have spouses, that is. The demographic is one in which the odds of that are probably 50/50.

The police have been busy enforcing the social distancing requirements quite strictly, it seems. As everyone stands well apart, they repeat the tales hey’ve heard, or read, such as of foolish people picnicking at a picnic table in a park somewhere who picked up a $1,300 fine for returning to the table after being told to disburse by the cops. There’s always someone. I wondered if they were fined as a bunch, or each. No one knew. I suspect the latter. This is Queensland.

What I find interesting is that I’ve had more friendly chats with strangers since the lockdown than I had in the previous six months. All at a respectful distance.

I thought of a cool social game to play with my neighbours. Chatting with a small accidental gathering on the road outside the caravan yesterday, I suggested we should all get our barbecues out, cook up something fun and then play musical barbecues, wandering from one to the other with a plate, to share the food. Then we could all return to a chair outside our own homes, sit, eat, drink a beer or wine, and chat.

It seems I’m the only one in this corner who has a barbecue. so much for that idea.

Lockdown

From The Guardian

Queensland has announced a state of emergency, and along with enforcing the two-person limit, residents are now only allowed to leave their home for one of eight essential reasons. These are:

  • Obtaining food or other essential goods or services
  • Obtaining medical treatment or other healthcare services
  • Engaging in physical exercise, either alone or in the company of no more than one other person; or in the company of a family group who ordinarily live in the same household
  • Performing work on behalf of an employer that is engaged in essential business, activity or undertaking, and the work to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence
  • Visiting a terminally ill relative or to attend a funeral
  • Providing assistance, care or support to an immediate member of the person’s family
  • Attending any court of Australia or to comply with or give effect to orders of the court
  • Attending a childcare facility, school, university or other educational institution, to the extent care or instruction cannot reasonably be obtained in the person’s principal place of residence

A full list can be found here.

Queensland now restricts gatherings of more than two people. This applies in public areas but exempts members of the same household.

This means if someone leaves their house for an essential reason, such as exercise, they can be joined by only one other person or the members of their household.

On Thursday the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said that inside a person’s home they were allowed to have all the members of the household and two guests.Advertisement

Palaszczuk said this amendment is intended to help families who may not all live in the same home to stay connected. She also clarified that those who live alone are allowed to have one or two social guests.

Queensland police officers will be able to issue on-the-spot fines of $1,334.50 for individuals and $6,672.50 for corporations, who breach these laws. The maximum penalties available through the courts will be 10 times those amounts.

From 3 April, Queensland borders will be closed to everyone except residents and essential workers, including freight carriers and emergency workers. This includes erecting barriers in the Gold Coast suburb of Coolangatta, which straddles both Queensland and NSW.

There are some exemptions for those who regularly cross the Queensland-NSW border for work.

The Times, They Are A Changin’

Bribie Island Caravan Park is closed to people wishing to camp or who want to rent a cabin. Only we permanent residents remain. The pool, kitchen, tennis court and common room are closed, as are half the ablution blocks. Visitors are discouraged. Social distancing is encouraged. It has been suggested we have a “social period” now and then in which we sit outside our own homes and talk to our neighbours.

The doctors at my practice are now doing consultations by phone in all cases when the patient does not need to be physically present. My next consultation, to discuss my last pathology lab test results, will not require me to make the usual two hour round trip.

Federal Police are confining international travellers in motel rooms and standing guard. The first person has been jailed for breaching self-quarantine requirements three times in less than a week.

Body bags have been delivered to remote communities in anticipation of an outbreak there, which, if it happened, is expected to be far more devastating than among the general population. Some see it as sinister that resources for body bags are more easily found than for sending free supplies of soap and sanitising chemicals and cleaning equipment.

Unemployment has spiked since so many businesses must close.

The cost of food has spiralled out of control. Especially in the outback. Drought, fire and flood have no doubt contributed to this.

Grey nomads have been requested to forego travelling to remote areas. Their response so far has been selfish, along the lines of “But we want to visit the Argyll diamond mine before it closes down”.

The public pools are closed. Hotels, clubs and restaurants, also. Only takeaway fast foods are open. Gatherings of more than two non-family members are forbidden.

Sales of duct tape have skyrocketed as shops and banks and pharmacies mark out queuing areas and 1.5 metre spaces with lines and crosses.

More and more old people are appearing in public wearing masks. No one makes a fuss as they did over niqabs and hijabs. Yet these folk terrorise supermarket checkout staff in a manner unprecedented over matters completely beyond their control.

Goanna still drops by…

SAS Deployed in Brisbane as Unrest Increases in the Suburbs.

The newly formed Special Assembly Squad of the Department of Health had only just completed its inaugural training exercises, when a sudden upsurge in grumpy elderly people congregating at supermarkets necessitated their early deployment.

The SAS is manned by elite members of the Flying Hygiene Squad, considered to be the most highly trained Environmental Health Officers on the planet. The identity of the individual squad members is known only to their close family and the boys at the pub.

We spoke to an officer of the Corps, anonymous under his blue surgical mask and impenetrable dark glasses. He told us that the squad has been training with non-lethal means of subjugating grumpy old bags and petulant old codgers, as well as a few stroppy young mothers with crappy little babies.

“Though the temptation to use lethal force can be overwhelming, especially when one sees the weeping remains of a checkout lady writhing and wailing on the floor, suffering extreme PTSD, we mostly stick to our aerosol cans of Glen-20 and clever blunted snake catcher hooks which are ideal for pulling a walking stick or walker out from under an assailant” he said.

“Mostly” he added.”Sometimes things can get a bit rough. Have you ever confronted an old lady who has been shopping here since before you were born young man? It can be pretty scary.”

He shivered at some remembered horror. Then pulled himself together.

“Apart from a few broken hips, which we consider acceptable collateral damage, there have been no casualties among the public” he told us.

Only one member of the squad has been injured, when struck by some loony old bat’s umbrella. He is recovering at a secret location.

Twelve Monkeys

It’s happening.

Good for NZ.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism.

Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (19 Mar 1891-1974) 

Positive Outlook

My visit to the Doctor’s surgery this morning was like getting through American immigration. There’s a checkpoint Charlie with a screening procedure to get through before one even gets into the waiting room. I got all the silly questions, but not the retinal scan.

The apocalypse is upon us. Must watch The Road and Mad Max again for survival tips.

On my return to camp I found I had an email from management detailing the steps they too were taking in response to COVID. It mostly affects only new visitors, except that I and the 13 other permanent elderly residents who do not have our own en-suite facilities now have our ablution block to ourselves, with an entry code different from the others around the rest of the camp.

I’m not sure who that is expected to save.

But I digress.

When I finally got through to see Doctor Mehdi, I cheerfully commented that the apocalypse is upon us. His response: “And governments are being stupid as usual”.

Then he gave me some positive news. My results of the last biopsies were positive. More chopping to be done. My frigate bird is going to lose more wing just as Mehdi predicted. Then he chopped out the latest two on my shoulder. He is “very worried” about one of them in particular. Going on his 100% record of diagnosis so far, I’m positive I should be worried too. I’ll get the results when I go back next week to have my wing clipped. Considering these latest melanomas and the carcinoma have all developed in the last three months, I’m switching to positively high alert.

Readers, friends, and in particular, family, should take my advice and get a skin check.

I’m positive. It’s a good idea.