Tag Archives: commentary

Getting the Jabs

I haven’t written much about the Moderna jabs, the second of which I got almost two weeks ago.

While vaccine accessibility has been slow in some parts of Canada, initially owing to delays in shipments but also to what now seems like, from here anyway, a decided lack of organisation, in other parts it has been efficient and fast.

Some of this has been surprising. I work in the Northwest Territories, and we deal with enormous distances and a lot of the time, very scary weather where even the snowmen take shelter. If distribution can be streamlined here, then I would think it should be easier in places that don’t have to deal much with weather and distance.

As to the vaccine reaction, yes, I did get one. It lasted about 36 hours after my second shot, but it was eased by ibuprofen, lots of ice cream, really silly movies and naps. Basically, I felt like I had the flu. My husband, M, had a very minor reaction – he said that if he was still working, it wouldn’t have prevented him from going. Almost all of my employees, regardless of age, had reactions ranging from “what shot?” to “just let me crawl away and moan.” Everyone bounced back quickly though.

As far as I’m concerned, the reaction I had is loads better than getting coronavirus or inadvertently spreading it.

But, (there’s always one of these, right?) there’s been a lot of confusion around the Astra-Zeneca. That’s not surprising. This is a novel virus, and tons of data, on a world-wide level, keeps informing us of how this vaccine (and others) is functioning. When our patience for this pandemic is dropping by the micro-second, it’s hard to hang on to it while the research types keep trying to do their best to help us. We have to remember to do ours.

How is it in your area? Are you satisfied with the timeline and how the vaccine distribution has been organised?

And if you have had a shot or shots, how did you do? Any reaction? Or, are you at all concerned about getting the vaccine?

You sure you want to be a writer? Now? #humor #covid #writing

And the best way to know you’re a real writer? You get this gorgeous geek-writer QUERTY painting from the amazing, incredible, real painter-type …

You sure you want to be a writer? Now? #humor #covid #writing

Here’s a funny, wry, realistic piece about being a writer from Barb Taub. If you’re not familiar with Barb, please have a good visit at her blog. It will be time well spent. 🙂

Markle’s Sparkle … Or, Maybe not so Much

Ahead of Oprah’s big interview of Harry and Meghan, I have to say that I’m kind of tired of hearing about them and their so-called issues. It’s getting irritating.

Well, maybe there are issues, but really, are they that bad? Bad enough that after carrying on endlessly about privacy and media intrusion, they go to the absolute biggest doyen of celebrity journalism, Oprah Winfrey, to “tell their truth.” Am I missing something here, or isn’t that inviting more attention? Are they now invading their own privacy?

Meghan

Queen Elizabeth II of the UK is also queen of Canada, and Harry is her grandson, so as a Canadian, I think I can chat about this. After all, when they first escaped the British Royal Family, they hid out on Vancouver Island, and as I understand it, were for the most part unbothered by the media. Locals apparently tried their best to hide their location, and to be as unhelpful as possible to any paparazzi or other prying types.

But soon thereafter, they headed to the US, a country that Meghan said she would never set foot in while Trump was still president. Interesting. They played around with using their royal status to make money. They cut very lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify, all the while releasing communiques about charity and public service and telling people how to live. Really, what qualifications do either of them have for telling people how to live?

By any measure, Meghan, a very cute but third-rate actress, has done very well out of her royal connections. Would she be making these deals if she were one of Harry’s ex-girlfriends? Unlikely.

Queen Elizabeth II of Canada

Which leads me to what I think happened with those two while they were still in UK. I think they wanted to run the show, so to speak. Playing second fiddle to Kate and William (for the rest of their lives!) was just not very palatable. Following royal protocols and doing what a 94 year-old woman wanted them to do was just not in their wheelhouse. Having the agenda set for them was just not their cup of tea.

So, they decided to leave. I admire them for that. If you don’t like the song, gather up your courage and change the channel. But what I find rather off-putting, aside from their seeming inability to stay out of the media spotlight, (if they really wanted privacy, all they had to do was stay on Vancouver Island or another place like it) is the way they did it. In my, well, unimportant opinion, they glow with hypocrisy.

I don’t doubt, not for a second, that they have legitimate complaints. But I think it’s probably a two-way street. And no matter which way you cut it, these two are amazingly privileged (mostly because of royal connections). So while most of the rest of us think about vaccines, masks, the economy, and how to get our kids through online high school, to say nothing of how we can help those who are less well off during this pandemic, these two are wallowing. Shouldn’t they be happy that they have done so well and gotten what they wanted?

Apparently not. One of the interview ads suggests that Harry is going to compare Meghan (and their situation) to Diana’s. Meghan accuses “the firm” of lying about them. So it seems that they are going to do some major bashing, going all the way back to the death of Harry’s mother.

Why would they feel they need to do this to a 94 year-old woman whose 99 year-old husband is in the hospital? For a couple who says that one of their missions of service is the development of compassion, this doesn’t seem very compassionate.

So, here’s what seems to be the reality. Harry and Meghan are very privileged people who are extracting further privilege out of the fact that they are connected to a very privileged institution. To me, doing an interview at the expense of Harry’s elderly grandparents (setting aside that they are at the head of the royal family) makes them look kind of mean, and more than a little self-centred.

While I’m sure they have issues with “the firm” I have no doubt that “the firm” has issues with them. Most things in life are not as one-sided as these two are trying to insist, including a completely saintly Diana or a completely villainous Charles.

Wild about Harry?

These two were given every opportunity to do what they wanted; now they should shut up, do it, stop whining and while they’re at it, drop the whole title bit (how can you continue to complain about the royal family when you keep using a royal title to facilitate your climb to the top?). He says, “Call me Harry.” She says, “Call me Meghan.” Harry and Meghan Windsor – maybe they should really follow through on that. It would certainly improve their credibility, especially in a country that threw out the monarchy a long time ago.

Meghan is no Diana, no matter how much Harry tries to say that she is. Meghan strikes me as a big-time toughie (isn’t acting a pretty tough gig?); Diana was much more vulnerable. I really can’t feature Meghan being chased to death by paparazzi, or some other similar scenario.

Meghan has been accused of bullying by some of her former employees, and I have no doubt there’s truth to it. On the other hand, has Meghan had to deal with racially motivated criticism? I have no doubt that there’s truth to that, too. All I have to do is think about that horrible Piers Morgan and the vindictive way he talks about her to see that there is, indeed, truth to it.

But what they are about to do is probably very unwise. It’s something that they will never be able to take back; a very public airing of their problems and issues. To me, this is totally unnecessary. They have already made their point with their feet. What’s the use of rubbing salt in the wound? Are they trying to bring down the royal family? Cause their demise? Actually, they’re probably just trying to be right, and a lot of wrong has been done in the name of trying to be right.

Kate and William

Almost certainly, Meghan will cry or be teary-eyed during this interview, but I don’t think she really has all that much to cry about; they will wring themselves out for the public, to get “their version out there.” But why does their “version” need to be “out there?” If they cared about their privacy, they wouldn’t need the public to know. It all just sounds like they are trying to persuade the public, especially the American public, of how awful the royal family is and how badly they have been treated.

The public’s opinion is clearly very important to them, and they feel they need to do some convincing. But their actions have already spoken much louder than their words. Can’t they continue that approach and earn the good opinion of the public through their hard work? They keep saying they are committed to public service; why don’t they just start doing that?

These two are rich and famous and living in one of the priciest and most exclusive areas of the US. They are about to release an interview that may contain something important (support for Black Lives Matter, maybe, or other important movements?) but more likely, is going to contain drivel, and spun in a way that attempts to make them look like saints and the royal family look like devils on speed.

As for me, I’m royalled out. Ms Markle has lost her sparkle. I am not going to watch their interview. I am going to try to avoid reading about them or other royal types. The only royal I want to see is the picture of Elizabeth on the 20 dollar bill. And frankly, when Elizabeth passes on, I would like to see the end of monarchy in Canada.

The bottom line is that in the scheme of things, these two just aren’t that important, not unless they really do something to change that. They are second-fiddle chairs in an outdated orchestra that’s struggling to find relevance in the modern world. They say they have “stepped back” from that orchestra, but in the end, what does that even mean? I’m just not seeing it. Do you?

2020: A Retrospective

I recently saw a sign that said “2020. Written by Stephen King. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.”

Apt, yes?

The calm before the storm.

Well, yes and no. For all its tragedies, fears, stresses, economic disasters, fires. floods, storms, inconveniences and annoyances, 2020 could have been a lot worse. In fact, history has recorded quite a number of years that were much worse than this one. 1944 was the worst year of WW II; June 8, D-Day, saw the deaths of almost 7000 allied soldiers (British, Canadian and American) in that 24-hour period alone.

1918 was the start of the Spanish flu. That plague went on to kill 50 million people world-wide. Whole communities were wiped out.

And let’s not forget WW I. On August 22, 1914, 27000 were killed during The Battle of the Frontiers. That was a single day’s losses. In total, that war killed 1.35 million soldiers; that number doesn’t include civilian deaths.

I could give many other examples, but you get the idea.

In the scheme of things, 2020 just wasn’t that bad. In common with others, though, I did a lot of moaning and complaining. But really, I haven’t been that badly affected. It’s more precise to say that I’ve been inconvenienced.

I kept my job. I didn’t lose anyone to coronavirus. I had to stay locked up and quarantined for weeks, but Spouse and I are both introverts. It wasn’t really that difficult.

Given that situation, a spotlight has been focussed on some things to which we need to pay attention; it’s like we’ve been given a second chance. Let’s not blow it.

So in that spirit, here are some realisations, appreciations and habits I hope to take with me:

The worst may be over. For now.

1. Respect for nature. We don’t need to spread ourselves over every single millimetre of this planet. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that this is the attitude that lead to (probably) bat, snake and pangolin DNA combining to bring about coronavirus.

2. Mindful travelling. (https://mindfultravelco.com/5-steps-to-mindful-travel/). Trying to cram an entire continent into a 10-day package tour where the point is to post as many braggy photos to Instagram as possible? That’s not travel. To me, that sounds like a lot of gobbling and very little appreciation. Much of this type of travel is causing extreme damage to the very things people want to see. And the environmental injury is becoming enormous.

3. Solidarity. We’ve all been hit by this. The whole world. Focussing on our commonalities is much better than focussing on our differences.

4. We are a lot more capable than we have let ourselves become. We figured out some amazing, innovative, and environmentally friendly solutions to the coronavirus issues. And those vaccines! So amazing and so fast!

5. There are wonderful people from all walks of life who have stepped forward during this crisis. And sometimes, I was very surprised by who did (and who didn’t). For all we think we know people, we really don’t …

What do you think?

Tiger Hug

This amazing photograph of a Siberian tiger hugging a tree was taken in the wild with a hidden camera. The camera was set up in the forest and then left to be triggered when the tiger came by.

Sergey Gorshkov’s winning Wildlife Photography of the Year image is called “The Embrace.”

As you can imagine, pictures of these extremely rare tigers are difficult to get and this one has very deservedly won the Wildlife Photography of the Year competition for photographer Sergey Gorshkov.

To read the original article, click here: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/science-environment-54518336

Enjoy the rest of your week. 🙂

Blogging Insights – What Are Your Reading Habits?

The idea for this post comes from Dr Tanya at Salted Caramel. Thank you, Dr. Tanya. 🙂

Please see the original post: https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2020/06/08/blogging-insights-32-your-reading-habits/

Northern Autumn Morning

1. How often do you visit the WordPress Reader?

I always use my reader. Wherever possible, I’ve disabled email notifications (it’s strange that I sometimes get them anyway) and I rarely use or check the Gmail that’s attached to WP. So, if you’re trying to contact me through WP email, leave me a comment letting me know. 🙂

I unfortunately already get about 150 work-related emails a day in addition to my personal email, so more emails? No thanks. If someone I follow has posted, the post shows up in my reader, usually, unless there is a mysterious glitch that results in an undirected “unfollow.” But, if that happens, I won’t get an email notification anyway, so …

And, an aside: isn’t that strange? Sometimes I just “unfollow” someone I’ve followed, in some cases, for years. The link seems to drop or fail or something. Or another thing is that people’s posts may suddenly stop arriving in my reader. It will occur to me that I haven’t seen someone for a bit and then I’ll go looking. Anyone else experience this?

One Yellow Flower

2. What kind of blog posts are you more likely to read?

I will read anything that strikes me as interesting or humourous, and of course, I look at a lot of photographic blogs. When I first started (almost eight years ago; I can’t believe it’s been that long!), I read many blogs about narcissism. I had had a miserable (but very short) marriage to a narcissist followed by an ugly divorce, and I was doing some of my homework through reading up on people’s experiences with the narcissistic element.

It’s interesting that I now don’t read any blogs that are completely devoted to narcissism, or at least, not very often. The last blogger I followed who used to write with some regularity about narcissism stopped posting in December; she started other projects. What that tells me is that I don’t need to do that any more; I’ve moved on, and that’s partially due to the reading I’ve done here.

I recently watched the first season of Dirty John (a true story) on Netflix (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_John_(TV_series) ) and a couple of times had an intense feeling of déjà vu as I watched Debra Newell deal with the narcissistic sociopath she had married. Her experience was much, much worse than mine, but mine paralleled hers in some very important, definitive ways. I was able to predict what she should have been doing and when and found myself willing her to take action or act differently. It was an edifying viewing experience, in more ways than one.

I regularly read the blogs that I follow, so I don’t follow more blogs than I can handle. I skip around to read many single posts, however. I don’t find WP’s “Discover” to be very interesting or appealing (some of it is) and I’ve stopped taking a look at it. I used to enjoy Freshly Pressed (remember that?) much more, but it had issues too (I was floored by the poor quality that sometimes showed up there).

Dominican Republic

How about you? What are your reading habits?

Weirdism Wednesday

I find working from home to be weird, even after almost a month of it from my locked down state.

I’m feeling it, both mentally and physically.

Normally, I walk to work and then spend a lot of my day on my feet. I’m in and out of offices and other areas and people are always dropping by to see me for all sorts of reasons. It’s busy busy. My days can flash by.

It’s a different road right now, whether we want it or not.

I’m trying to separate work and home, but that’s difficult when home starts in the hallway outside my door.

I’m sitting at my computer for long periods of video calls, phone calls and texts and have to remind myself to get up and stretch.

I’m missing items and materials that are in my work office, but I can’t go there.

My home printer died a couple of days ago and I need a scanner.

I’m gaining weight.

I’m sometimes finding it difficult to focus.

It’s not the best situation by a long stretch, a very long stretch.

Dawn breaks.

But then I remind myself of all the people who have lost their jobs in this virus world and I remember to be grateful and stop my whining.

I remember that I’m not sick, nor are any of my loved ones. I haven’t lost anyone to this scourge. I’m together with my M, and I have food, a comfortable place to live in, caring phone calls and texts from friends and family and colleagues, and best of all, I have toilet paper. 😉

It’s a strange weird world and I don’t want to be in it (wah) but there are many alternatives that are a whole lot worse.

Sing a Song of Social Distancing, a Pocketful of Hand Sanitizer

I am in the midst of returning home after an overseas trip. I have a strong sense of getting back just ahead of the drawbridge being pulled up, even though no deadline has been given. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday in a press conference: it’s time to come home.

In common with many of my compatriots, I have travelled internationally a lot, have lived in other countries, and have served in the military. All of these experiences have made me very aware of how fortunate I am to be able to come home, especially to a country that cares about its citizens and that doesn’t see us a commodity to be expended. It’s nothing but an accident of birth, but that difference has given me multitudinous advantages and opportunities.

So over the next couple of days, I will be navigating airports and aircraft with lots of hand sanitizer, hand washing, and distancing. I feel fine, but I will need to go into self-isolation for 14 days to ensure my health and that of others.

And, for the first time ever, I will be working from home. A new experience.

I wish everyone clean hands and good health.

🙂

To Recline or not to Recline?

I have done a lot of flying. As a pilot or passenger, I’ve spent loads of time in airplanes, both large and small. I am intimately acquainted with how cramped the environment is and getting into the pilot’s seat often feels a bit like I’m a puzzle piece squeezing into my slot.

I’ve banged my knees, whacked my head, knocked my elbows and thumped myself in innumerable other places getting in and out of pilot seats and airplanes. They are not built to be places of sprawling comfort. Anyone who has ever been on an airplane of any size knows that.

So, what about the argument around seats? That is, do you recline or don’t you?

I don’t recline. Neither does my 191 cm (6 ft 3 in) husband. And frankly, I get a little irritated when others do, especially if I’m trying to use my little table for whatever reason: working, eating, sleeping (yes, I sometimes sleep on the table). I don’t want a strange person in my lap, and I’m sure the people behind me don’t want me in their laps.

We’re all in this cramped space together, so let’s try to be as respectful and careful with each other as we can. That’s how I see it, anyway.

However, that’s often not how these things go.

Recently, a man aboard a commercial flight in the US began banging on the seat of the person ahead of him because she had reclined. Here’s the article:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/airline-passenger-says-she-s-hurt-after-her-reclined-seat-repeatedly-punched-1.4816808

Part of the problem is that airlines have crammed people in, but I also understand about the narrow margins on which airlines operate. And to be fair, this has been a problem for many, many years. I remember my mother complaining about the “recliners” when I was a child.

What is your opinion? Should airlines remove the recline function on airplane seats? Should we avoid using the recline function out of respect for our flight mates?