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Your scribe's family is a frequent amazon customer. Frequent enough that most of the people in the house have our amazon account credentials in their web browser (ree!!!!), and use it to check on order status. Occasionally they place orders too. As the main account holder, I then get an email. When I see a sudden expenditure, I play the good husbander-of-resources I am. I immediately observe, orient, and decide to take no action other than the occasional little scream.

The latest family hobby is to place orders from the next room, with no warning whatever.

They place an order, and start a clock. When I get the email, read it, and scream, they stop the clock. They bet how long it'll take from order-placement to scream.

They compliment me when it's on the order of seconds (amazon email to our house is fast).

They pity me when it's half a minute.

They laugh at me when it's four minutes.

And I get to pay for all this. Send help, friends, and comfort food.

Posted Mon Oct 19 18:10:18 2020

They did it again, the last time. Previously. Previously. Previously. Youtube link available on request.

Posted Mon Jun 8 13:01:37 2020 Tags:

They did it again, a little later than usual, weather was great! Previously. Previously.

Posted Mon May 18 17:17:45 2020

Please be aware that if you are unfortunate enough to wear eyeglasses in our province of Ontario - one of the couple of million people - do not break your glasses, and under no circumstances let your eyes age or change enough that your old eyeglasses stop working well.

Why? Naturally, for our own safety. Our provincial government has mandated that "non-essential" medical procedures be suspended. Optometrists have been instructed to interpret this as a mandate not to see any patients "unless you're going blind" (direct quote from one such Professional I just talked with).

Without an optometrist, you can't get a prescription. Without a prescription, you can't get new glasses. Without new glasses, you may not be able to work --- or drive safely.

Too bad, our betters in Public Health have spoken.

Posted Mon May 4 17:01:59 2020

Thanks everybody for coming! Thanks Michelle Ruby for the lovely writeup in the Brantford Expositor!

Posted Thu Apr 30 13:08:25 2020 Tags:

Thanks everyone for coming!

See here for the SECOND show, Wed. May 2! See here for the THIRD show, Wed. May 20! See here for the FINAL show, Sat. June 13!

Posted Sun Apr 19 18:16:14 2020 Tags:

I lied. I am unable to be dispassionate. What follows is a bit of passionate analysis and some predictions. Spoiler: I'm conditionally optimistic.

Governments

We have two enemies: the virus, and poor government. I am sure government folks mean well. But god, how many ways can things be pooched?

Open borders

Come on, it is elementary. Permitting ongoing international travel, putting practically no screening & quarantine enforcement on incoming travelers ensures a steady flow of bugs. It turns the native population's efforts & sacrifices into a tragic farce. That Ontario or Toronto level security/medical agencies didn't check, track, or detain every incoming person at Toronto Pearson is an abdication of their duty, even if it should have been federal jurisdiction.

Masks

How much longer do we have to hear the charade that healthy people should not wear masks? It is eminently clear - and well proven in medical literature - that even crappy masks do at least some good in blocking droplets/goo from nearby people. Remember, there exist asymptomatic carriers - maybe 25% of the total, maybe more. Yesterday, our provincial CMoH finally admitted on camera that the reason he's not mandating long-term-care staff to mask up right now is in order to protect the stocks of PPE for hospitals. They are needed (tons of old people & staff are sick & dying in these facilities) and they help. You can't buy them, sadly, so let's all make some! These are NYT's plans, there are many others.

Lockdowns

All the "flattening the curve" stuff is well-intended of course. A rapid epidemic that kills 2% of the entire population - especially the old & sick - is tough to imagine. Any alternative is worth considering ...... but the rate at which the "flatten the curve" meme went mainstream is still a wonder. People are led to believe that a lockdown ("suppression") is a well-understood thing: as though if we just did it for a few weeks, things would be fine and the virus would be gone. But that's just not true. People still have to circulate (to pass food and enforce laws and all kinds of things), and they are a vector for infection. And see above about open borders. The virus would just not burn out.

So maybe we need it longer. How do we know? Do your leaders state the exit conditions for your lockdown? Every jurisdiction I know of that has gone into lockdown has failed to state a plan or criterion for lifting the lockdown. And justly so: without timely appearance of a magic treatment, the immediate aftermath of releasing a lockdown is: a brand new epidemic. Without broad immunity, without a vaccine, without good treatments, and without some other serious suppression technique (universal testing, enforced quarantines for the sick, ...), the population is just as vulnerable at the end of the lockdown as at the beginning. And in fact, it's worse, because by then the economy has been damaged too. So yeah, lockdowns without stated exit conditions are a sign of failure. Read this and this and this and this and this.

Essential Services

All the jurisdictions that lock people down permit some businesses to operate, like grocery stores, etc. Some pretend to designate a logical & sufficient set of businesses as "essential", forgetting that every product from something as mundane as a pencil has an unbeliveably broad and deep supply chain. No government bureaucrat has any idea about EVERYTHING that goes into a single desired product or service. People who mess with the supply chain imperil eventually everyone.

But Ontario did something smart: they designated a basic set of essential businesses AND added that any other business that supplies, supports, services an essential business is itself an essential business. This makes for a large set of "essentials" but is far more right and sustainable than a jurisdiction that allows food manufacturing, but neglects to permit paper & metalworking needed to create the cans to package that food, or the tire services for the trucks that carry it, or ... on and on and on! Read this if you imagine you or anyone could centrally plan a supply chain.

Transparency

Information - even unpleasant, embarrassing, or scary information - must flow. Models must be open to scrutiny. The press must practice Journalism(tm) rather than propaganda - if they still know how. Patient privacy should be suspended, so people can help contact-trace. Otherwise, the people's trust in their institutions will become brittle and break. And you don't want breakdowns during a disaster.

Pessimism

If governments don't wisen up ... keep throttling their own people ... turn people against people via snitch lines ... not realize that the infrastructure/economy that keeps us alive requires our actual work, not just sitting at home waiting for money-printer dollars ... chain reaction infrastructure failure would nuke food / sanitary / law&order systems ... cities would become hell. If we're still in lockdowns after 3 months, I'd become seriously concerned about these outcomes and prep like hell to defend my family & friends.

Optimism

All that said, I am optimistic.

I place the odds at 75% that a miracle cure will in fact pop up soon. I see too many second-hand reports of the #TrumpPills and similar concoctions working to believe they are all flukes. The left will be heartbroken at Trump's certain gloating in the aftermath, but tough, the world will have dodged a bullet. If our casualty rates go way down, then we can all get back to work immediately, and the V-shaped recovery in business (and the stock market) will be incredible.

Furthermore, I place the odds at 50% that some nations deliberately or accidentally go the "herd immunity" route through this epidemic -- get it over with, quickly. They will show the rest of the world that it is not THAT bad. Heck, we may see it with organizations such military units or police forces, where sick members just cannot be put into idle-quarantine in significant numbers. In this case too, I expect the lockdowns to be wound quite a way down, maybe with some halfway protection measures (mandatory public masks) in place AND tacitly accepting defeat of curve-flattening. No V recovery in this case, but still better than an indefinite lockdown & mayhem.

And when it's over, let's repatriate all that industry we foolishly sent to China, or at least anything with a plausible national security angle. Nationalism will reign awhile. Good, we have had too much of the opposite. In the mean time, let's stay skeptical of government and experts. Let't not be too harsh on each other daring to set foot on some green space or meeting friends. We will muddle through. Good luck to us all.

Posted Thu Apr 2 00:04:01 2020 Tags:

The following whiteboard, lovingly (?) assembled by our second brat, makes me reconsider the wisdom of teaching him karate ... and rhyming ... and writing.

The collection keeps growing. He offered this one in light of coronavirus and the cold section of a grocery store. I should have apologized to the staff for laughing out quite that loud.

When Frank, the geezer, becomes a sneezer,
I'll surely put him in the freezer
Posted Wed Feb 5 19:31:42 2020 Tags:

Humblebrag alert. I'm being distracted from the next room over, by Eric starting to dabble in playing that super famous American piece of music by Gershwin. It has been an aspiration for a few years, and now he's just about able to do it justice. The anticipation over the next few months as it comes together will be hard to bear.

Posted Fri Jan 31 10:40:38 2020 Tags:

If you are within travel range of Columbus, Ohio, and have some $ left to score a few tickets, go see this show. It is the most beautiful performance - of anything, not just live dancing & symphonic music - in the most amazing building - that I have ever seen. If you can, go now.

Will add some smuggled photos shortly.

Posted Sun Dec 22 07:53:27 2019

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