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Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3968
Joined: 2004
Cranky on NYE
12/31/2020 10:04:49 PM
Anybody tired of the incessant whining over COVID? I am.
[Read More]

No question COVID-19 has been a bugger. No question that the number of dead and infected is not just high, but higher than necessary. No question many rites of passage have been messed up and/or lost entirely. No question celebrations, at least for those sensible enough to recognize danger, have been curtailed. Etc. etc. Yada Yada Yada. Amen.

Think 50 years ago. And think about a COVID-69. No smart phones/devices. No internet. No cable networks. No streaming. Rip-off rates for long-distance phone calls. No on-line shopping. No means of off-site work. No teleconferencing. No online schooling. You had letters and the mail to communicate. That, IMHO, might have been an uglier scenario than 2020.

We – meaning the world, and not just the US as my link implies, or appears to focus on – have gone through a shitty year. But I find it somewhat self-focused and self-indulgent to think 2020 comes anywhere close to the “worst year ever”!

I think it’s time we reject he media attempts to make us feel under unprecedented assault, or to keep saying we’ll still have to suffer for a while longer. Jesus wept!

Let’s just come to grips with what we have to live with. Let’s do what we can to foil COVID. Let’s quit snivelling about what’s been “stolen” from us for 9 months, and get on with the rest of our lives.

End of rant. Happy New Year, if you celebrate this least meaningful and most nonsensical holiday of the year. Ooh! Maybe now, end of rant!

Cheers. And be safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 802
Joined: 2005
Cranky on NYE
1/8/2021 5:48:20 AM
Hi Brian,

Just picking up on this thoughtful post - hopefully I'm (just) within the acceptable time frame to also wish you a Happy New Year.

One word leapt out from your post: 'unprecedented'. I've heard this more and more; you would be forgiven for mistakenly believing this is the first pandemic in human history or the first time human beings were subjected to a 'lockdown' or quarantine.

Times are indeed hard, but those who came before us faced worse. Many (most?) have been able to work from home, food hasn't really run short, we have internet, we have video calls, we have DVDs, we have books; there is no shortage of means to entertain us. Home schooling has been tricky in my household, but we've (just about) managed.

The end is also in sight, with vaccines popping up and new drugs being found to the treat the worst cases. Unfortunately, more people will die before we can conquer this virus but there is no doubt (and never was any doubt) that humanity will survive. I'm not sure our ancestors in the 14th century had the same confidence that they would make it.

All the best,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5271
Joined: 2004
Cranky on NYE
1/8/2021 9:56:01 AM
At the risk of seeming callous, let me suggest that the overwhelming majority - more than 80% ? - of people who have died of covid had already attained a lifespan far beyond the attainment of most people who were considered healthy adults as recently as when I was born.

This I cannot state as fact, but I would be willing to bet on it.

I suppose in terms of thwarted expectations, and disruption to a very aspirational culture, the impact of the disease has been profound and distressing. The higher you raise the bar in terms of expectation , the more drastic the disappointment. Many of us, I daresay, have become so presumptuous in our wants , that we see them as needs and are appalled by circumstances that our forebears would have considered to be pampered luxury.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3968
Joined: 2004
Cranky on NYE
1/9/2021 9:19:52 PM
Phil, I don’t know if you’re being callous. I also don’t know whether you are correct in your assessment of the age of those dying. I honestly don’t even know if your comment is meaningful, at least in a couple of senses. Many of Canada’s “cluster deaths” have been centred in nursing homes/elderly care centres/assisted living complexes. Whether they’ve died because of the quality of care provided or the levels of training of staff or simply because they are old and weak is hard to call. So before we consider such deaths as a reflection of past actuarial norms or current COVID expected vulnerabilities, I hope we’ll consider how we look after our aged.

I’m 9 months from turning 80; I live on my own, do my own shopping and cooking, and have so far escaped anything but a case of serious food poisoning (you’re never too old to be stupid about chicken!). And, of course, I have heart disease, COPD and a few other problems which are typical of most old farts and that COVID loves to attack.So I’m “prime meat” according to the actuarial projections and your argument. I just don’t feel any of that plays into my feelings about my lifespan, to be honest. I don’t discount myself enough to suggest that if someone has to die it may as well be me. I don’t buy that kind of numerical tyranny at any rate. My life is not less valuable for being long. I still look forward to waking every day.

I “get” certain of the “rages” of the very youthful. I have a grandson who lost his Senior Prom, graduation ceremony and introduction to the university environment. And I get that 10 months (give or take, depending on where you live) is a part of the life lived. Whatever anyone feels about such events later in life, at the time they are hard to lose, because they have been designated as ritual doors to adulthood and maturity.

You also note: Quote:
I suppose in terms of thwarted expectations, and disruption to a very aspirational culture, the impact of the disease has been profound and distressing. The higher you raise the bar in terms of expectation , the more drastic the disappointment. Many of us, I daresay, have become so presumptuous in our wants , that we see them as needs and are appalled by circumstances that our forebears would have considered to be pampered luxury.
While I couldn’t agree more I think this comment is bound to lead to a very different thread. I think it’s a brilliant comment, and hugely important not just to our continued response to COVID-19 but to what is taking place politically/socially in the US. I’d rather this thread stay clear of that if possible, but I might start another thread with you comment.

Cheers. And stay safe, even if you’re old!
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5271
Joined: 2004
Cranky on NYE
1/10/2021 7:07:49 AM
Brian,

Thanks for your reply.

Reading it was a chastening experience for me, albeit an inspirational one !

Bedtime reading last night brought me to a book that says it so much better than I can.

I'll pick up on the relevant passage and pitch it into the thread, along with the details of the book.

Regards, and here's to staying safe at any age !

Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5271
Joined: 2004
Cranky on NYE
1/10/2021 12:49:15 PM
Here's the book that I want to bring to your attention.



THE SPECIES THAT CHANGED ITSELF : How Prosperity Reshaped Humanity.

Edwin Gale

Gale is a retired medical doctor and academic who has a lot to say about the way our perceptions of life and death might be reviewed. He writes about the " phenotype" as opposed to the " genotype" : our genotype is no different from that of our grandparents, but our genes are active participants in a dialogue with their environment, that begins at conception and ends with our final breath. This interaction of genotype with environment is referred to as the " phenomenon type"...... hence, phenotype.

He reckons that if Covid-19 had swept Britain in 1800, the chances are that no one would have noticed.

He goes on :

" We are the most fortunate generation ever. If you don't believe it, the prophet Isaiah's vision of the New Jerusalem is a useful starting point. Never again, he said, will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years : he who fails to reach a hundred will be accursed. By these criteria, we are doing rather well."

I have more or less copied those words from a review of the book, but I will now actually cite a passage from his book that really got to me :

As a young doctor I worked on the wards of a public hospital in a fading industrial city in the English midlands. There I encountered a dying generation of men and women whose working lives had unrolled from the 1920s through to the 1950s. As they passed the age of seventy - an age beyond which they did not expect to live - they could look back at a lifetime of exhausting work, at relationships of the " for better or worse" variety and at the families they had raised. They did not see health as a commodity. Worn out but undefeated, they showed me how to die.

People who did not expect to live beyond seventy : and that in the 1950s.

That's what I was groping for in my earlier post.

In a couple of years, I'll turn seventy, and , while not in the " bloom of youth", I feel a vigorous enthusiasm for the years ahead of me.

No complacency, though : this Covid has been a hideous shock, and right here in London it hits hard. My grandchildren, too, have had their points of reference ripped away, and I fret about this.

In a day or two, I will have finished this book, and feel strongly that it should be read far and wide. Gale wrote just as the first news of the disease was reaching us, and his comments are all the more striking on account of this.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 2924
Joined: 2010
Cranky on NYE
1/10/2021 3:05:14 PM
Quote:


You also note: Quote:
I suppose in terms of thwarted expectations, and disruption to a very aspirational culture, the impact of the disease has been profound and distressing. The higher you raise the bar in terms of expectation , the more drastic the disappointment. Many of us, I daresay, have become so presumptuous in our wants , that we see them as needs and are appalled by circumstances that our forebears would have considered to be pampered luxury.
While I couldn’t agree more I think this comment is bound to lead to a very different thread. I think it’s a brilliant comment, and hugely important not just to our continued response to COVID-19 but to what is taking place politically/socially in the US. I’d rather this thread stay clear of that if possible, but I might start another thread with you comment.


Cheers. And stay safe, even if you’re old!
Brian G


Yes, I almost jumped in myself. Would enjoy such a thread.

Trevor

PS Reading this I had the Rolling Stones song " You Cant Always Get What You Want" going through my head. It only just occurred to me that Mr Trump always had this song playing at his rallies until Mr Richard threatened to sue him.
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3968
Joined: 2004
Cranky on NYE
1/10/2021 8:04:13 PM
Colin, you got it.

You say, in part, Quote:
Times are indeed hard, but those who came before us faced worse. Many (most?) have been able to work from home, food hasn't really run short, we have internet, we have video calls, we have DVDs, we have books; there is no shortage of means to entertain us. Home schooling has been tricky in my household, but we've (just about) managed.

I’ll be honest. I’m glad I didn’t have to face the challenge of home schooling. I found it (and still find it) challenging enough to be an active and supportive parent while still attempting to infuse a sense of moral and social integrity in my kids, without having to wear a completely different hat simultaneously.Quote:
… Unfortunately, more people will die before we can conquer this virus but there is no doubt (and never was any doubt) that humanity will survive. I'm not sure our ancestors in the 14th century had the same confidence that they would make it.

Between your thoughts concerning those who suffered through the Black Death and Phil’s comments about Edwin Gale’s Species That Changed Itself, we have an interesting dichotomy, don’t you think? Particularly since at least some contemporaries are leaving their fates to chance or to politics rather than to science, and others are placing themselves (once more) in the Hands of God. In the 1350s, life was simply a suffering before entering a better world (sorry, minor distraction: I was brought to mind of Wallace Stevens’ “The Good Man Has No Shape”, and those marvellous two lines describing man’s existence – “For centuries he lived in poverty./God was his only elegance.”). In our time, that argument is less universally held, but it appears there are some who for whatever reason have decided to ignore any personal responsibility and leave their lives up to chance.

I’m gonna argue information overload, because I do not know how hard Glasgow has been hit. London (and therefore Phil) gets more attention on this side of the pond.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3968
Joined: 2004
Cranky on NYE
1/11/2021 11:57:54 PM
Trevor, you and Sigrid have been on my mind. I can see why the whining and snivelling about “loss” might twig your interest.

I’m mulling a post. I’ll probably put in in Area 51, since I think all of the current posters have access. Colin, you have access to Area 51, I trust?

But I need to make a comment or two on this thread before I head in that direction.

Cheers. Stay safe. Be strong.
Brian G

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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 802
Joined: 2005
Cranky on NYE
1/12/2021 12:26:07 PM
Quote:
Colin, you have access to Area 51, I trust?


Hi Brian,

Yes, I've got access to Area 51. Looking forward to your post in there.

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 6748
Joined: 2006
Cranky on NYE
2/16/2021 8:19:12 PM
Quote:
Trevor, you and Sigrid have been on my mind. I can see why the whining and snivelling about “loss” might twig your interest.

I’m mulling a post. I’ll probably put in in Area 51, since I think all of the current posters have access. Colin, you have access to Area 51, I trust?

But I need to make a comment or two on this thread before I head in that direction.

Cheers. Stay safe. Be strong.
Brian G




Hi Brian, & Colin,

Funny you should mention Area 51, I was watching a show on "Big Foot in Alaska", & now the theory as to why they are roaming all over the world yet never caught, is because they escape into Black holes, or Worm holes!

The damn things are tricky, ducking into invisible spaces like that!

Don't you think??
& don't think of following them into these mystical places,
you may not come out!?

Cheers,& stay away from Big foot!
D

BTW Brian I'm especially worried about you, lots of them are on Vancouver Island!?
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

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